Foreign ministers from the P5+1 and Iran are meeting today in Vienna to try to finish work on a deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Portions of the agreement on sanctions relief, which have been a sticking point in negotiations for months, were reportedly drafted over the weekend. Those details have yet to be finalized, though, and Iran is pushing for sanctions on its ballistic missile development to be lifted as well. “There’s no appetite for that on our part,” a Western official told Reuters.
Sections on inspections and verification are closer to completion, and the International Atomic Energy Agency is preparing technologically advanced tools to safeguard Iran’s nuclear material. “There’s real-time monitoring, and then there is Iran-time monitoring,” one IAEA official told the New York Times. “And if we are going to have any assurance that Iran will stick to its new commitments…our inspections in Iran are going to have to move beyond the world of film and little wire seals.”
Yemen Discusses Humanitarian Ceasefire
Yemeni officials are discussing a “humanitarian pause” to the fighting in the country that could last through the end of Ramadan. The United Nations has advised groups to begin shipping aid in preparation for a ceasefire. Saudi airstrikes have continued, destroying the headquarters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party in Sanaa and killing 30 civilians in a marketplace in Saada province.
- Concerns are mounting that a tenuous agreement on oil revenue sharing reached last year by the Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government is near collapse.
- A new law pending approval in Egypt would criminalize the publication of any terrorism statistics that differ from those issued by the government.
- The Jordanian government has arrested an Iraqi man accused of planning a terrorist attack in Jordan on behalf of Iran.
- Islamic State militants attacked the Iraqi refinery town of Bayji with two suicide car bombs and running gun battles on Saturday, days after Iraqi officials said they had reclaimed control of the city.
- Two lion cubs that were being kept as pets at the Gazan refugee camp in Rafah have been transferred to Jordan via Israel to live on a wildlife sanctuary.
Arguments and Analysis
“Why would Turkey invade Syria?” (Jeremy Shapiro and Omer Taspinar, Order from Chaos)
“Interestingly, to achieve both these international and domestic advantages, it is not necessary or even wise to actually go through with the intervention. Domestically, all that is necessary is to convince the population that the situation is sufficiently insecure to require firm, one-party leadership. Internationally, it just requires using the prospect of intervention to gain U.S. attention and convince the U.S. government to reduce its support of the PYD. At the current moment, the prospect of intervention is very useful for the Turkish government. Actual intervention, with all of the attendant risks of quagmire, is significantly less appealing.”
“When Policies Collide: Security, Democracy and Re-arming Egypt” (Jeff Goodson, War on the Rocks)
“Seventeen months later, the Obama administration reversed itself. The decision was made because of bipartisan political pressure, new urgency over events in Yemen and Iraq, and the fact that the freeze simply didn’t work. The administration recognized that the al-Sisi regime “is in place, it’s not going anywhere, it’s stable, and our previous policy hasn’t gotten us very far … Clearly, this is not about democratization.” In ending the freeze, the White House did not claim that Egypt had made progress towards democracy, instead certifying that the move was “in U.S. national security interests.” Common security interests cited in the May 2015 certifying Memorandum to Congress included “countering transnational threats … Egyptian adherence to its peace treaty with Israel, counterterrorism and counter-proliferation cooperation, support for U.S. military operations and international peacekeeping, and the security of the Suez Canal.”
-J. Dana Stuster
CARLOS BARRIA/AFP/Getty Images