Report

No Negotiations Until Houthis Surrender, Yemeni Government Says

With anti-Houthi forces closing in on Sanaa and Saudi troops entering Yemen’s northern frontier, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Yassin Riad said there will not be negotiations until the Houthis and their allies put down their weapons. “The Houthis and (former President Ali Abdullah) Saleh’s militias must implement the U.N. resolution and surrender their weapons, and only ...

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With anti-Houthi forces closing in on Sanaa and Saudi troops entering Yemen’s northern frontier, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Yassin Riad said there will not be negotiations until the Houthis and their allies put down their weapons. “The Houthis and (former President Ali Abdullah) Saleh’s militias must implement the U.N. resolution and surrender their weapons, and only then the dialogue and political process can begin, with the participation of all Yemeni parties,” Yassin said after meeting with the Arab League. “That is the only solution that is on the table; there is nothing else.” The Saudi-led coalition is expected to begin an assault on the capital of Sanaa within the next two months.

Saudi troops entered northern Yemeni territory yesterday, staking out high ground to prevent Houthi forces from shelling Saudi border towns. Saudi officials claim the incursion into Yemen will be temporary. The Saudi campaign in Yemen’s north is under new criticism from rights groups. Human Rights Watch this week released a report detailing the Saudi air campaign’s use of cluster munitions, which are banned by many countries for causing high civilian casualties and leaving unexploded bomblets on battlefields like landmines.

Turkey and U.S. Joint Plan for Syria Confirmed by Pentagon

After the White House denied earlier this week that the United States and Turkey had agreed on a plan for joint Turkish and U.S. strikes on Syria, the Pentagon confirmed that an arrangement has been reached. “It could take a few days to put these technical arrangements into place at the operational level,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters. The plan will integrate Turkish airstrikes into the U.S.-led air campaign but it is unclear how it addresses Turkey’s proposal for a safe zone in Syrian territory.

Headlines

  • Two Iraqi generals and three other soldiers were killed Thursday morning by an Islamic State suicide bomber outside of Ramadi.

 

  • Deaths from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus have surged in Saudi Arabia, with 19 people dying of the disease over the past week.

 

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency expressed concern about recent construction at the Iranian military facility at Parchin that could interfere with its efforts to inspect the facility for nuclear research believed to have occurred there.

 

  • Two French journalists have been arrested and charged with attempted blackmail for demanding King Mohammed VI of Morocco pay them €3 million to prevent them from publishing a scandalous book.

 

  • 200 people are believed dead after a boat loaded with migrants sank shortly after departing from Libya for Europe.

Arguments and Analysis

A provocative article says the Islamic State is a mystery. Here’s why that’s wrong.” (Costantino Pischedda, Monkey Cage)

“The anonymous author wonders at the Islamic State’s ability to control and elicit at least passive cooperation from large segments of the Sunni Arab population in Syria and Iraq, given that most of these people do not share in the group’s religious fanaticism and recoil from its gruesome violence. How could the Islamic State prosper while violating the cardinal principle of guerrilla warfare of not alienating one’s constituency? This view fails to grasp two well-documented dynamics of civil wars: the ability of violence to shape the behavior of civilian populations and the power of shared identity in the context of large-scale bloodshed across ethno-sectarian lines. When armed actors can selectively wield violence to punish ‘misbehavior,’ even individuals who do not share the ideological outlook tend to fall in line.”

 

Securing the Sinai MFO Without a U.S. Drawdown” (Eric Trager, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

“This is not the first time that Washington has considered drawing down the MFO. During the previous two administrations, the Pentagon briefly advocated this approach because it wanted to direct personnel elsewhere. Yet the Obama administration’s deliberations are driven by entirely different — and quite valid — concerns about ensuring the security of MFO personnel. The jihadists’ increased sophistication, coupled with the Egyptian military’s outdated strategy, significantly endangers a peacekeeping operation that was previously considered very low-risk. Despite these concerns, however, the administration should keep in mind the dangers of changing the MFO’s deployment anytime soon.”

-J. Dana Stuster

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

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