Report

Flight from Paris to Cairo Crashes in Mediterranean Sea

An EgyptAir flight, Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea and is believed to have crashed. In terms of altitude, speed, and radio contact, there was no indication that anything was wrong before 2:29 AM, when the plane stopped responding to air-traffic controllers and began swerving in an erratic descent and ...

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An EgyptAir flight, Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea and is believed to have crashed. In terms of altitude, speed, and radio contact, there was no indication that anything was wrong before 2:29 AM, when the plane stopped responding to air-traffic controllers and began swerving in an erratic descent and then dropping off radar. There were 66 people aboard the flight, including 10 crew members and security officers. Search and rescue operations are underway, with Greek and Egyptian boats and planes participating in the effort. One of the Greek teams has sighted what may be debris from the plane, but the finding has not been confirmed. Russian and Egyptian officials have said that they believe terrorism is a likely cause for the crash.

Netanyahu Set to Expand Coalition with Appointment of Lieberman as Defense Minister

After briefly courting the center-left Zionist Union party to expand his governing coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party are poised to make a deal to appoint Avigdor Lieberman as minister of defense and integrate his right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party into the majority. Netanyahu’s coalition has governed with a one-seat majority since his reelection last year; the arrangement would shift the six Yisrael Beitenu legislators from the opposition and bolster the stability of Netanyahu’s government. If the deal goes through, Lieberman will replace Moshe Ya’alon, a member of the Likud party, who has drawn criticism from the right for supporting the military’s prosecution of an Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian attacker in March. The arrangement is expected to be formalized this weekend.

Headlines

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has selected Binali Yildirim, the current transportation minister and a staunch supporter of Erdogan, to succeed Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister; Yildirim is expected to be formally appointed at an special party congress convening this Sunday.

 

  • Assad regime forces, supported by Hezbollah fighters, made large gains against rebels southeast of Damascus, capturing the town of Deir al-Asafir and pushing back rebel forces in Eastern Ghouta.

 

  • Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi announced that $4 billion has disappeared from the country’s Central Bank and that the government is on the brink of declaring bankruptcy.

 

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo yesterday and discussed the possibility of Egypt playing a role in mediating talks with the Palestinian leadership; journalists were not allowed at the presidential palace for the meeting and the State Department press pool traveling with Kerry was kept “corralled” at the airport.

 

  • A Turkish journalist was sentenced to 20 months in prison and was stripped of her legal guardianship of her children for reporting materials from a courtroom trial last year regarding searches of trucks that Turkish intelligence was sending into Syria; two editors at Cumhuriyet were sentenced earlier this month for reporting on the same news story.

Arguments and Analysis

‘Where Is My Father?’: Detention and Disappearance in Huthi-Controlled Yemen” (Amnesty International)

“Detainees or those who witnessed arrests have described how Huthi forces or armed men belonging to Ansarullah, the Huthi armed group’s political wing, carried out detentions in homes, in front of family members, at security check points, at workplaces, or in public venues such as mosques, without arrest warrants and with no explanation of the reasons or grounds for detention, and without providing any information about where the detained were being taken. Individuals detained and later released told Amnesty International they had been held in makeshift detention centres, typically in private residences. Some were transferred multiple times between different centres across multiple governorates in Yemen. The detainees whose locations are known have been held in four different locations in Sana’a: the al-Thawra pre-trial detention facility and the al-Habra pre-trial detention facility, and prison facilities run by the PSO and NSB, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Prosecutor General. Most families Amnesty International spoke to were not given access to their relatives for prolonged periods of times, in some cases several months. Some do not even know which of the Huthi authorities they should address with queries about their relatives’ cases. None of the detainees whose cases are featured in this report were given an opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and to Amnesty International’s knowledge, none have ever been officially charged or brought before a prosecutor.”

 

‘We Feel We Are Cursed’: Life Under ISIS in Sirte, Libya” (Human Rights Watch)

“The ‘Charter for the City’ that ISIS issued in August 2015 in Sirte promises to keep those who accept its edicts ‘safe and sound.’ Yet even as it taxes Sirte’s residents, ISIS has failed to provide them with basic services that they make available to its members, all former and current residents interviewed said. The 300-bed Ibn Sina public hospital and local public clinics initially remained open after ISIS took control, but those facilities are now empty as nearly all doctors and nurses have fled, according to all former and current residents who spoke with Human Rights Watch, including two health-care workers. Some private clinics remain open but they are too expensive for most residents. ISIS commandeered the few doctors still practicing in private clinics for its members and their families, former residents said. The group has hijacked truckloads of medicine, three former residents said. One exiled councilman said ISIS also seized the ambulances. Almost no food is available in the city, all residents interviewed said.”

-J. Dana Stuster

THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

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