The swift and sudden action involved 100 Saudi jets, 30 from the United Arab Emirates, 15 each from Kuwait and Bahrain, 10 from Qatar, and a handful from Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, plus naval help from Pakistan and Egypt, according to a Saudi adviser.
The Egyptian state news agency on Thursday quoted Egypt’s Foreign Ministry as saying Egypt’s support also could involve ground forces.
What do those countries have in common? They’re all predominantly Sunni Muslim — in contrast to the Houthi rebels, Shiite Muslims who have taken over Yemen’s capital of Sanaa and on Wednesday captured parts of its second-largest city, Aden. The Saudis consider the Houthis as proxies for the Shiite government of Iran and fear another Shiite-dominated state in the region.
“What they do not want is an Iranian-run state on their southern border,” CNN military analyst Lt. Col. Rick Francona said of the Saudis.
Negotiators aim to conclude a framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program by March 29, diplomats said as talks in Switzerland resumed after a week-long break.
Reaching an understanding by Sunday is a best-case scenario and the sides may be forced to go until March 31, according to three European and U.S. officials, who asked not to be named in line with diplomatic rules. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is provisionally scheduled to attend an event with President Barack Obama and Senate leaders on March 30.
Kerry resumed talks on Thursday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Beau Rivage Palace on the shores of Lake Geneva in Lausanne. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to join them from March 27 to 29. Top diplomats from China, France, Germany, and the U.K may also attend.
ISIS is still showing the world that it is evil. This story by Nick Cumming-Bruce is about a week old, but unfortunately I didn’t hear about it, until just now.
Yazidis lined up for food at a refugee camp in Khanke, Iraq, in August. Credit Lynsey Addario for The New York Times
GENEVA — United Nations human rights investigators on Thursday leveled accusations of genocide and war crimes at the Islamic State, citing evidence that the extremist group’s fighters had sought to wipe out the Yazidi minority in Iraq.
The investigators reported that the pattern of attacks against the Yazidis, a religious minority living mostly in northern Iraq, pointed to the intention of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, “to destroy the Yazidi as a group.”
Although the report states cautiously that the extremists “may have committed” genocide, one of the most serious international crimes, Hanny Megally, a senior United Nations rights official, told reporters in Geneva that “all the information points in that direction.”
As the United States and a group of five other world powers held nuclear negotiations with Iran, U.S. ally Israel used espionage to glean details of the secret talks and work behind the scenes to scuttle any potential agreement, according to a report posted late Monday by The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal said senior White House officials learned last year that Israel was using eavesdropping, information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and European diplomatic contacts to learn details of the talks.
The report said Israel denied directly spying on the United States, but instead got information by monitoring Iranian leaders who received updates on the meetings.
The United States will not take the floor at the main U.N. human rights forum on Monday during the annual debate on violations committed in the Palestinian territories, as part of a previous agreement not to speak.
The European Union, however, reiterated “the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial efforts towards peace”.
“The U.S. delegation will not be speaking about Palestine today,” a U.S. spokesman in Geneva told Reuters in response to a query as the debate began.
The last time that Washington spoke under that stand-alone agenda item was in March 2013, U.N. records show.
Tunisian authorities have arrested more than 20 suspected militants in a nationwide security crackdown since gunmen killed 23 people, mostly foreign tourists, in Wednesday’s attack in the capital, the government said.
Hundreds of people gathered for a mass in the cathedral in Tunis on Saturday, lighting candles to remember the victims, who included three Tunisians, in a ceremony attended by government ministers.
Outside, there was a heavy police presence along the central Habib Bourguiba boulevard. But Tunis was calm, with a music festival going ahead in the city center.
And now we know the real reason Bibi’s doing the back-step into the two state shuffle.
On a more serious note if Israel’s leadership can’t persistently commit to the two state strategy agreed to by our alliance then there’s no need to continue this dance of parrying and blocking for them.
President Barack Obama told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Washington would “reassess” its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after the Israeli prime minister took a position against Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign, a White House official said.
Obama’s telephone call to Netanyahu followed a television interview in which the Israeli leader backed away from his pre-election declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, an about-face apparently aimed at quelling U.S. criticism triggered by his comments.
The White House, unmoved by Netanyahu’s effort to backtrack, delivered a fresh rebuke against him on Thursday and signaled that Washington may reconsider its decades-old policy of shielding close ally Israel from international pressure at the United Nations.
By Brian Murphy March 19 at 2:18 PM
Apparent backtracking on his promise this week to fully oppose Palestinian statehood, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he could support the idea after changes in the region’s political and security landscape.
“I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change,” Netanyahu told MSNBC in an interview two days after his Likud party pulled off an unexpected victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections.
With polls showing his party behind just days before Tuesday’s balloting, Netanyahu reached out to right-wing voters with a pledge to oppose the so-called two-state solution with Palestinians as long as he was in power.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Victory Is a Loss for Israel: The Israeli People Will Become Even More Isolated in the World.
The results of Israel’s election are good for Benjamin Netanyahu in the short run but bad for Israel in the long run.
Many have commented that the outcome will exacerbate tensions between Israel and President Obama, but that misses the larger point—which is that it will also further alienate Israel from the world.
Key here is Netanyahu’s declaration on the eve of the vote that there will never be a Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister—thus reversing his commitment, in 2009, to a peace process capped by a two-state solution.