Plan to End Yemeni Civil War Presented at Peace Talks
U.N. Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed presented a roadmap for a peace agreement to the parties participating in peace talks in Kuwait. The plan was previously delayed by disagreements among the warring factions, and the groups are still reportedly unable to reach an agreement on the sequence of events under the arrangement. Ahmed said ...
U.N. Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed presented a roadmap for a peace agreement to the parties participating in peace talks in Kuwait. The plan was previously delayed by disagreements among the warring factions, and the groups are still reportedly unable to reach an agreement on the sequence of events under the arrangement. Ahmed said controversial issues, including disarmament and conceding captured cities, have been discussed, and that the parties have agreed to form a unity government to oversee a political dialogue and the redrafting of the constitution. The timeline for the government’s formation and the consequences of violating the roadmap remain issues of contention. “I am reassured by the commitment of the two delegations, but I am appealing to them to finalize these difficult negotiations and reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible,” Ahmed told reporters yesterday.
Conflict between pro-government Saudi-backed forces and Houthi rebels continue despite the progress in Kuwait and a nominal ceasefire being in effect. In addition to clashes between pro-government and Houthi forces, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacked a prison in Jaar province, freeing several inmates. Separately, a German national who was being held in Sanaa was flown to Muscat after the Omani government negotiated hostage’s release.
Secretary Kerry Meets with Dissent Memo Authors
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with eight of the 51 signatories of a State Department memo filed through the organization’s dissent channel that argued in favor of U.S. airstrikes against Assad regime targets. Though Kerry has reportedly argued for a more assertive U.S. military policy in Syria within the administration, he stressed the risks and questioned the consequences of the actions proposed in the cable in his meeting with the mid-level diplomats.
- A surge of refugees from Fallujah, Iraq, have overwhelmed aid agencies and many are now receiving little food and are exposed to the elements; a U.S. military official in Baghdad said the Iraqi military controls only a third of the city, as opposed to 80 percent as the Iraqi government claims, and that the worst fighting in Fallujah may still be ahead,
- Libyan troops supporting the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord are preparing to attack besieged neighborhoods of Sirte occupied by the Islamic State; the Islamic State has retaliated against recent losses in and around Sirte with terrorist attacks, including an attack on an arms depot in Garabuli that killed 34 pro-government troops.
- Lebanese troops receiving U.S. and British military support have retaken area near the Lebanon-Syria border and the Lebanese town of Arsal from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.
- Iran and Hezbollah reacted angrily to news that the Bahraini government had its country’s foremost Shia cleric stripped of his citizenship; Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani issued a statement saying that the move stepped over “a red line whose crossing will set fire to Bahrain and the region and will leave people with no path but armed resistance.”
- Israeli Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz is promoting a plan to build an artificial island off the coast of Gaza that would provide Palestinians with an airport and seaport; the project is currently seeking funders and could be constructed by Saudi or Chinese firms.
Arguments and Analysis
“State Department Draft Dissent Memo on Syria” (51 Anonymous Signatories at the U.S. State Department, via the New York Times)
“We recognize that military action is not a panacea, and that the Asad regime might prove resilient even in the face of U.S. strikes. We further recognize that the risk of further deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations is significant and that military steps to stop the Asad regime’s relentless bombardment of the Syrian people may yield a number of second-order effects. Nonetheless, it is also clear that the status quo in Syria will continue to present increasingly dire, if not disastrous, humanitarian, diplomatic, and terrorism-related challenges. For five years, the scale of these consequences has overwhelmed our efforts to deal with this conflict; the United States cannot contain the conflict with the current policy. In this regard, we firmly believe it is time the United States, guided by our strategic interests and moral convictions, lead a global effort to put an end to this conflict once and for all.”
“As the Obama administration approaches its end, it is interesting to watch former Obama administration officials debate and disagree about its legal legacy. The most recent episode came in response to the State Department dissenters’ proposals for intervention in Syria to remove Assad. Ashley Deeks and Marty Lederman argued that the proposed intervention likely would be unlawful under domestic and international law, and sought to tidy up and distinguish some episodes during the Obama administration — especially in connection with the threatened Syria intervention — that seemed to suggest otherwise. In response, Harold Koh refers to the Ashley/Marty post as ‘puzzling.’ He cites ‘as-yet undisclosed internal administration legal analysis’ and some evidence canvassed in his Frankel lecture, to support the claim that ‘humanitarian intervention in Syria could be lawful under both domestic and international law.’ For what it’s worth, I think Harold has the better of the descriptive argument about the Obama administration’s views about its legal authorities.”
-J. Dana Stuster
MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images