Report

U.S. Increases Troops in Sinai Peninsula

The United States is increasing the number of troops deployed to the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping operations in the Sinai Peninsula. At least 75 additional troops are part of the new contingent, which includes “a light-infantry platoon and a surgical team, as well as surveillance equipment and other assets designed to beef up the ...

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The United States is increasing the number of troops deployed to the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping operations in the Sinai Peninsula. At least 75 additional troops are part of the new contingent, which includes “a light-infantry platoon and a surgical team, as well as surveillance equipment and other assets designed to beef up the peacekeepers’ self-protection,” the Associated Press reports. The new forces will augment the approximately 720 U.S. troops already in the Sinai.

The increase in U.S. troop presence comes after four U.S. soldiers were wounded in a roadside bomb attack last week, though U.S. officials noted at the time that they were already discussing potential changes to the peacekeeping mission.

Houthi Leaders Targeted in Severe Airstrikes

Bolstered with new ground reinforcements, Saudi Arabia bombarded Sanaa with some of the heaviest airstrikes in its five-month war yesterday, targeting military bases and the residences of Houthi leaders. The deployment of ground forces and uptick in bombing is largely seen as a response to a rocket attack on a Saudi coalition munitions depot that killed 60 soldiers. The coalition’s escalation since could be the start of a “prolonged, uncontrollable war,” writes the Economist.

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Headlines

  • The Lebanese government is nearing the completion of a plan that would reopen and rehabilitate two landfills and renew trash collection, alleviating the nation’s trash crisis.

 

  • In the latest issue of its online magazine, the Islamic State published “ransom posters” for two hostages, a Norwegian national and a Chinese national.

 

  • Secretary of State John Kerry told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the State Department is looking into ways to expand the current ceiling on the number of refugees resettled in the United States each year to accommodate more displaced Syrians.

 

  • New reports suggest that the Indian nationals targeted in a Saudi airstrike off the coast of Yemen were smuggling fuel from Djibouti to Yemen; seven crew members remain missing and are presumed dead.

 

  • In a visit to London, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged European nations to work closely with Israel on counterterrorism issues; “Europe should support Israel — not pressure Israel, not attack Israel, but support Israel, which is the only real shield that Europe and the Middle East have against extremist Islam,” he said.

Arguments and Analysis

Arbitrary detentions and blatantly unfair trials mar PYD fight against terrorism” (Amnesty International)

“As a de-facto governing body the PYD-autonomous administration is obliged to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law including with regard to the prohibition on arbitrary detention and the obligation to ensure fair trials. Many detainees interviewed however have been arrested for acts that are not recognized criminal offences, and often with no evidence of criminal wrongdoing against them. Some detainees were never told of the charges against them or brought before a public prosecutor or judge. Out of five detainees convicted on terrorism grounds interviewed four said they had been sentenced after grossly unfair trials without any substantiated evidence of their guilt.”

 

How will Syria’s war end? Other civil wars suggest an answer.” (Michael O’Hanlon, PostEverything)

“Of these four, only the last [partition] seems realistic for Syria. Even this plan would be hard, given how many of the country’s central cities are ethnically intermixed. But it has a chance, whereas other strategies offer little hope. The core reason is this: Any Syria deal is going to have to be enforced. And at present, for the first three options listed above, there is no viable candidate for enforcing it. The parties to the conflict are too extremist, too mistrustful of each other and too far from any clean military outcome. No foreign power has the will and means to impose a solution countrywide.”

-J. Dana Stuster

U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill

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