Report

Saudi Arabia Plans to Expand Yemen Offensive

A bomb attack targeting the governor’s office in Aden, Yemen, killed four people yesterday morning, though the governor was not injured. Aden is currently controlled by anti-Houthi forces aligned with the Saudi-led military intervention, and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi is reportedly planning on returning to the city next month, concluding his exile in ...

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A bomb attack targeting the governor’s office in Aden, Yemen, killed four people yesterday morning, though the governor was not injured. Aden is currently controlled by anti-Houthi forces aligned with the Saudi-led military intervention, and Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi is reportedly planning on returning to the city next month, concluding his exile in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi airstrikes against Houthi strongholds continued yesterday across northern Yemen in five provinces. A Saudi military official announced that Saudi forces plan to push north of Sanaa, into Houthi strongholds near the Yemen-Saudi border to defeat Houthi forces and reinstate President Hadi’s government. The civil war has killed more than 4,300 people since March, and earlier this week the head of the International Red Cross told reporters that “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.”

Israel Responds to Palestinian Rocket Attack Launched from Syria

Four rockets launched from Syria landed in the Golan Heights yesterday, starting minor brush fires but not injuring any people. Israel has said the rockets were fired by Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and responded with airstrikes targeting the Assad regime’s forces, which Israeli officials say they hold accountable for attacks launched from Syria. Syrian state news has reported the five people were killed, who they claim were unarmed civilians.

Headlines

  • The Wall Street Journal responded to Iranian media accusations that WSJ reporter Farnaz Fassihi was passing information to political dissidents in Iran; the rumor is “completely false, outlandish and irresponsible” and appears to have originated from poor translation of a Forbes column.

 

  • The British government will formally reopen its embassy in Tehran this weekend; the embassy has been closed since 2011, when it was stormed by violent protesters.

 

  • Saudi Arabia has begun registering women to vote and run in local elections, in accordance with a new law.

 

  • Libyan border security has stopped guarding the Libya-Egypt border, which is known for being porous and facilitating the transit of people trying to flee to Europe.

 

  • The Australian government is considering a request from the United States to expand its participation in the counter-Islamic State air campaign to include strikes in Syria.

Arguments and Analysis

How we learn about bombs in Cairo” (Basil El-Dabh, endless transition)

“Last night was the first terrorist attack in Cairo since Sisi issued the new anti-terrorism law, which has no shortage of critics. Article 33 of the unilaterally passed legislation sets its sights on the media, imposing large fines on journalists for ‘contradicting official accounts of militant attacks.; Some of the public support for this aspect of the new law comes from a series of militant attacks carried out in Sinai last month. While media outlets (both Egyptian and foreign) reported dozens of fatalities, the Armed Forces’ final official death toll was 17 (here’s a shrill op-ed calling on foreign media to apologize to the ‘mothers of Egypt’). There are many problematic aspects when it comes to making journalists in Egypt wait for official government narratives before filing reports (sometimes official statements take a while to come out, other times different government institutions provide contradicting accounts, and anyone paying attention to developments in Egypt over the past five years knows that the absolute truth of the state’s narrative cannot be taken for granted in Cairo, let alone an area like Sinai where there is an effective media blackout). Egypt’s habitual lack of freedom of information creates a lot of challenges and allows the media to use anonymous sources both as an effective tool to obtain useful information and as something that can be abused and utilized to shirk responsibility for the information being disseminated, and it’s sometimes difficult for a reader to tell the difference.”

 

How ISIL Out-Terrorized Bin Laden” (Will McCants, Politico Magazine)

“Most people, al-Qaeda’s leaders among them, can’t imagine that political success could come from enraging the masses rather than charming them. But the Islamic State has deliberately provoked the anger of Muslims and non-Muslims alike with its online videos of outrageous and carefully choreographed violence. It showcases the beheading of prisoners—something Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda today, had expressly warned against—and dumps enemy soldiers in mass graves while the camera is rolling. The State revels in gore and wants everyone to know it. And yet it has been remarkably successful at recruiting fighters, capturing land, subduing its subjects, and creating a state. Why? Because violence and gore work. We forget that this terrifying approach to state building has an impressive track record.”

-J. Dana Stuster

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

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