Report

Congress Reaches Threshold to Sustain Veto, Implement Iran Agreement

On Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced her intention to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement. She is the 34th member of the Senate to declare her support for the accord, giving President Obama enough votes to sustain a veto on a planned vote on a resolution of disapproval on the deal. The ...

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On Wednesday, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced her intention to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement. She is the 34th member of the Senate to declare her support for the accord, giving President Obama enough votes to sustain a veto on a planned vote on a resolution of disapproval on the deal. The vote will determine whether or not the United States can implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated with Iran and the P5+1 that was announced in July.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed his own parliament’s upcoming vote on the nuclear accord in an interview with state television. “The parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal issue,” he said. “I am not saying lawmakers should approve the deal or reject it. It is up to them to decide.”

Drowned Refugee Children Who Washed Ashore in Viral Photograph Identified

Two drowned children whose bodies washed ashore in Turkey after the boat by which they were trying to reach Europe capsized have been identified as Galip Kurdi and Aylan, refugees from the Kurdish Syrian city of Kobane. Nine other people drowned when the boat sank, including the children’s mother, Rehan. The boys are survived by their father, Abdullah, who has abandoned his plans to travel to Canada to return to Kobane to bury his family.

Headlines

  • Two successive suicide bombings struck the Al Moayyad mosque in a pro-Houthi neighborhood of Sanaa, killing at least 28 people; the Islamic State’s Yemeni affiliate has claimed responsibility.

 

  • Kuwait will bring to trial 26 people on charges of possession of weapons, ammunition and explosives and espionage for Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah; three defendants remain at large and will be tried in absentia.

 

  • Russia may be ramping up support for the Assad regime with new shipments of armored personnel carriers, training and advisory forces, and possibly air support.

 

  • President Obama will host Saudi Arabia’s King Salman at the White House tomorrow for a discussion that is expected to focus on policies on Iran and Syria; Saudi Foreign Minister is in Washington today laying groundwork for the meeting.

 

  • The civilian toll of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State could be greater than 200 deaths, according to a new report citing several monitor groups; the U.S. government has said it knows of only two civilian casualties.

Arguments and Analysis

His Town” (Ryan Grim and Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Huffington Post)

“Above all, [UAE Ambassador Yousef al] Otaiba’s rise as a powerful foreign policy operator reflects the ways in which the Arab Spring has upended the traditional power dynamics of America’s Middle East policy. Once-reliable U.S. allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have seen their regional power and their clout in Washington erode. New enemies, like the Islamic State, have emerged. And now a major adversary, Iran, is ever so slightly coming in from the cold. In the midst of these historic shifts, the UAE, led by Otaiba in Washington, has become a key ally for the U.S. — and an increasingly aggressive influence on U.S. foreign policy. Michael Petruzzello, the longtime representative of the Saudi diplomat-turned-foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir, observed that Otaiba does not fit the model of a typical ambassador. ‘What he understands is that the traditional way of conducting diplomacy, just getting close to a few key people in Washington, isn’t enough any longer,’ he says. ‘You need to approach it like a public campaign, with everything that entails — media, philanthropy, the Hill, the White House, all of it.’”

 

Why I Shared a Horrific Photo of a Drowned Syrian Child” (Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch)

“My notebooks are full of tragedy. Ali Pintar, a Syrian Kurd, fled with his three children after ISIS tried to take control of his hometown of Qamishli by sending suicide car bombs into the town. He has his train tickets to Munich, but police are preventing him from even entering the train station, so he has been sleeping rough for the last three nights with his children. He is utterly dejected, telling me of the humiliation he has faced: ‘It would have been better to stay in Syria. There, you only die once when there is an explosion or something. Here, I feel like I die a thousand deaths each day.’ Some say the picture is too offensive to share online or print in our newspapers. But what I find offensive is that drowned children are washing up on our shorelines, when more could have been done to prevent their deaths.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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