U.S. Plan for Iraq Faces Challenges
The U.S. plan to deploy a “specialized expeditionary targeting force,” announced in a congressional hearing on Tuesday, faces challenges in Iraq. The proposal has drawn sharp criticism from within Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi governing bloc. “The government is not allowed to authorize a deployment of American troops in Iraq even if it they are ...
The U.S. plan to deploy a “specialized expeditionary targeting force,” announced in a congressional hearing on Tuesday, faces challenges in Iraq. The proposal has drawn sharp criticism from within Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi governing bloc. “The government is not allowed to authorize a deployment of American troops in Iraq even if it they are expeditionary or intelligence gathering forces,” a Sadrist politician told Reuters, and another parliamentarian threatened a vote of no confidence. Abadi’s hold on power was threatened last month as well, when the parliament would not approve a series of reforms. Another concern raised about the U.S. expeditionary force is that there is no clear delineated plan for the detention of captured Islamic State fighters.
The United States is also trying to rally and train Sunni tribal forces in Iraq. Tribal leaders, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, praised the U.S. training effort but complained that the weapons being supplied are obsolete and outmatched by the Islamic State. While the success of this effort has been limited, the Sunni fighters are expected to play a large role in efforts to retake the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State.
Britain Joins Air Campaign against Islamic State in Syria
British warplanes bombed oil fields held by the Islamic State last night, the first expansion of the British participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. The strikes came just hours after the British Parliament voted to participate in the U.S.-led coalition air campaign in Syria after an impassioned day-long debate in the House of Commons. Previously, British participation in the military campaign against the Islamic State had been limited to Iraq.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency issued its report on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear research, concluding that Iran halted its active weapons program in 2003 and that no evidence was found of continued weapons research after 2009; the findings are consistent with U.S. intelligence reports.
- Amid strained Russian-Turkish tensions, a Russian deputy defense minister accused the Turkish government, including President Tayyip Erdogan, of profiting from the Islamic State’s oil trade; Erdogan responded that “no one has the right to make such a slander as to suggest that Turkey buys Daesh’s oil.”
- Israeli law enforcement has arrested several suspects who are believed to have been involved in an arson attack in July that killed a Palestinian family in Duma.
- The Saudi government will grant divorced women and widows greater legal rights, including the ability to manage family affairs without a court order or approval of a male figure, according to a Saudi news agency.
- The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is suing the U.S. State Department in District Court to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in its state, claiming that agencies participating in resettlement have a “statutory duty” to consult with the state government.
Arguments and Analysis
“Yemen’s Saudi-backed leaders at loggerheads” (Brian Whitaker, Al-Bab)
“Simmering differences between Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is still widely described as Yemen’s president, and Khaled Bahah, the man he appointed as vice-president and prime minister, turned into an open rift yesterday when Hadi announced a cabinet reshuffle and Bahah rejected the changes. Bahah, who was in Paris representing Yemen at the climate summit, is said to be aggrieved because Hadi over-stepped his powers in attempting the reshuffle. Yemen’s constitution (Article 130) clearly states that cabinet ministers are to be chosen by the prime minister, though ‘in consultation with the president’. The dispute further undermines claims that the disastrous Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is aimed at supporting ‘legitimate’ government.”
Speech in British House of Commons in Favor of British Airstrikes in Syria (MP HIlary Benn, Transcript via Huffintgon Post)
“As a party we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. We are faced by fascists — not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this Chamber tonight and all the people we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy — the means by which we will make our decision tonight — in contempt. What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. It is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists, trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It is why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. My view is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria.”
-J. Dana Stuster
HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images