Report

Congressional Review of Iran Deal Ends, U.S. Begins Implementation

With the 60-day period of congressional review officially expiring on Thursday, the Obama administration has officially begun implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international nuclear accord reached between the P5+1 and Iran in July. Despite several efforts, opponents of the agreement in Congress could not muster enough support to bring a resolution ...

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With the 60-day period of congressional review officially expiring on Thursday, the Obama administration has officially begun implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international nuclear accord reached between the P5+1 and Iran in July. Despite several efforts, opponents of the agreement in Congress could not muster enough support to bring a resolution of disapproval to a floor vote. Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Amb. Stephen Mull to coordinate U.S. implementation of the agreement. The JCPOA requires little action from the United States at this stage, Reuters reports. Iran must refit much of its nuclear infrastructure to bring it in line with the agreement before it receives new sanctions relief, a process that could take into 2016.

Saudi Officials Confident about Safety Concerns for Hajj

More than 1,000 pilgrims were evacuated from a hotel in Mecca after it caught fire. The city is still reeling from the deaths of more than 100 people in a crane collapse two weeks ago, which occurred shortly before the annual hajj pilgrimage that will take place next week. Saudi officials have issued statements assuring pilgrims of their safety, saying that they will be able to thwart any potential terror attack and that incidences of the MERS virus are declining.

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Headlines

  • Israeli officials increased security in Jerusalem’s Old City, placing an additional 800 police officers in the district and restricting access to the al-Aqsa mosque, after Palestinian leaders called for a “day of rage” protest following several days of clashes at the mosque earlier this week.

 

  • A Saudi diplomat in India left the country using his diplomatic immunity after being accused of raping and abusing two Nepalese domestic workers.

 

  • Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted down an Egyptian proposal to require Israel to open its nuclear sites to inspectors and declare the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone.

 

  • Pope Francis, who has spoken frequently against the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, said Thursday he now wears a cross that belonged to an Iraqi priest who was killed because of his faith.

 

  • The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said that reconstruction in Gaza has “visibly accelerated within the last two months.”

Arguments and Analysis

The Role of Local Actors in Yemen’s Current War” (Sama’a Al-Hamdani, Adam Baron, and Maged Al-Madhaji, Saferworld)

“Five months into the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, the humanitarian catastrophe continues to escalate — some 20 million Yemenis are on the verge of famine and in June the United Nations elevated Yemen’s crisis status to Category 3, on par with Syria. Any upcoming resolution that fails to take into consideration the position of local stakeholders will not succeed, while at the same time finding such a resolution has grown even more difficult, owing specifically to the new power many stakeholders have attained since the Saudi-led military operation began. It is incumbent that the international community begins to understand how its policies and actions play out in the complex and dynamic relations between these local actors to refrain from further inflaming the situation in Yemen, and rather, begin to tamp the flames.”

 

The Arab uprisings as international relations” (Marc Lynch, Monkey Cage)

“The comparative politics literature on the uprisings has demonstrated real theoretical progress, sophisticated empirical analysis and useful — if too often ignored — policy advice. This comparative politics approach to the uprisings has always been problematic, though. The Arab uprisings began in transnational diffusion and ended in transnational repression and regional proxy wars. Put simply, there is not a single case in the Arab uprisings — with perhaps, as Monica Marks argues, the very partial exception of Tunisia — in which international factors were not decisive to the outcome. It is remarkably difficult to accurately explain the course of events in Egypt, Yemen or Libya without reference to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Iran. However, with but a few notable exceptions, the academic literature on the uprisings has been dominated by comparative analysis and country case studies, with international factors included as one among several variables, if at all.”

-J. Dana Stuster

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