Russian Strikes Target CIA-Supported Rebels
Though Russia claimed yesterday its airstrikes targeted the Islamic State, Syrian rebel groups told reporters that the strikes hit other groups, including some rebels believed to have participated in a CIA-supported training program. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter noted that the strikes, which occurred in western Syria, were in locations “where there probably were ...
Though Russia claimed yesterday its airstrikes targeted the Islamic State, Syrian rebel groups told reporters that the strikes hit other groups, including some rebels believed to have participated in a CIA-supported training program. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter noted that the strikes, which occurred in western Syria, were in locations “where there probably were not ISIL forces.” The U.S. representative of the Syrian National Coalition denounced the strikes, saying, “The Russian claim that they are there to fight ISIS is a baseless claim, and that was proven today. They are there to uphold a regime that lost its legitimacy and only controls 14 percent of the land in Syria.”
So far, Russia has conducted approximately 20 airstrikes, according to the Russian military. Russian officials have made contradictory claims about who has been targeted: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in New York that “the rumors that the targets of these strikes were not positions of ISIS are groundless,” but when a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the strikes, he told reporters there are multiple targeted groups. “These organizations (on the target list) are well-known and the targets are chosen in coordination with the armed forces of Syria,” he said. Iran has announced its full support for the Russian air campaign. The U.S. and Russia have agreed to urgent military talks to discuss potential coordination and deconfliction.
At U.N., Abbas Says “Cannot Continue to be Bound” by Oslo Accords
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in remarks at the U.N. General Assembly, said he was no longer bound by the 1993 Oslo Accords because Israel had violated their terms. “We declare that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements,” he said. Abbas called for renewed peace talks in his speech. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to speak today. An official in his administration told press that “there is no partner for peace.”
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- The government of the Netherlands has withdrawn a U.N. resolution calling for an international inquiry into human rights violations in the war in Yemen, allowing it to be replaced by a Saudi-drafted resolution which would allow the Yemeni government to conduct the investigation.
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for Europe to find creative and compassionate solutions to the refugee crisis inundating Europe, without which “the winners will be smugglers, traffickers and unscrupulous employers.”
- The Israeli government has indicted seven Arab citizens on charges of forming an Islamic State terror cell and plotting attacks.
- Kurdish forces backed by coalition airstrikes seized several Islamic State positions near the city of Kirkuk, Iraq.
- The United States and Europe are airing disagreements about what potential international negotiations to resolve the Syrian civil war should look like and the extent to which Europe should participate.
Arguments and Analysis
“Mapping the Yemen conflict” (Adam Baron, European Council on Foreign Relations)
“Yemen’s president recently returned to the country after nearly six months in exile, but the conflict appears far from reaching a tidy conclusion, growing, if anything, more complicated by the day…Rather than being a single conflict, the unrest in Yemen is a mosaic of multifaceted regional, local and international power struggles, emanating from both recent and long-past events. The following maps aim to illustrate distinct facets of this conflict, and illuminate some rarely discussed aspects of Yemen’s ongoing civil war.”
“International Community’s Position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad” (Institute for the Study of War)
“This chart contrasts international leaders’ positions on Assad before and after mainstream media coverage of Russia’s deployment of aircraft to Syria, marked here as September 4, 2015. Several leaders softened their stance on the Syrian leader following Russian intervention, undermining the United States’ stated goal of achieving a negotiated political solution in which Assad is not in power.”
-J. Dana Stuster
DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images