The countries in it, either in major or minor roles:
USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Jordan, UAE, Qatar,Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, Yemen, Nigeria,France with (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad ) Germany, Italy, Czech Republic,Albania, Estonia, Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Japan,Republic of Korea, Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Norway, The Netherlands, Luxembourg,Bulgaria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Novorussia, Ukraine, Russia, Chechnya, Somalia, Iran, India, South Korea, North Korea, Central African Republic, Kenya, Tunisia, ThePhilippines, Egypt, Albania, Serbia, China, Sudan, South Sudan, Bukina Faso, Palestine,Georgia, Chad, Spain, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Nepal, Congo, Uganda, Romania,Mexico, Gambia, Haiti, Cameroon, Chad, Algeria, Venezuela, Thailand, Argentina, Vietnam,Myanmar, Georgia, Burundi, Senegal, Macedonia, Armenia, Dominican Republic
Turkey joined the fight against Islamic State, but not for the reasons you think
After months of wavering, Turkey agreed on July 23 to partner with the United States in launching joint air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. However, soon after pounding Islamic State positions in Syria, Ankara quickly turned its attention to strike at the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, whose Syrian wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) is a key U.S. ally against Islamic State.
The decision to strike against the PKK was made with the aim of advancing Turkey’s governing AK Party’s political position ahead of early parliamentary elections. But it will be a pyrrhic victory: Syria’s problems will continue to spill over Turkey’s borders, making a solution to the conflict ever more elusive.......
These 5 Stats Explain Turkey’s War on ISIS—and the Kurds
Turkey enters the battle against ISIS, but it's real target seems to be the Kurds
On the heels of a major suicide bombing in the border town of Suruç a couple weeks ago, Turkey has officially joined the war against ISIS—though it’s not clear what it actually aims to achieve. Turkey and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan were riding high just a few years ago, with a strong economy and a growing international profile. Now the country’s economy is tumbling, and its politics are fragmenting. These 5 facts explain Turkey’s various motivations for going to war. Be warned—they’re complicated.
1. A Faltering Economy
Until recently, Turkey was an emerging market darling. In 2010, its economy was growing at a robust 9.2 percent. But by 2013, GDP growth had fallen to 4.1 percent. The slowdown has continued, and growth for 2015 is now forecast at 3.1 percent, which may actually be a generous estimate. Unemployment in the country has reached 11 percent, the highest rate in 5 years.
It’s not clear that joining the fight ...........
From AlJazeera (interactive map at link)
A close look at the most Major Kurdish factions
influential Kurdish groups in the Middle East spread over Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Instead Of Fighting ISIS, Erdogan Pushes Turkey Toward Chaos And Despotism
In Turkey, an ISIS suicide bomb kills 30 and wounds many more in the Kurdish area town of Suruc. The Kurdish insurgent terrorists, the PKK, then start killing Turkish policemen and soldiers while ISIS attacks a Turkish military border post. Peace demonstrations ensue in some cities which police put down with the, by now, familiar methods of severity against civilians. Ankara and Washington reach an agreement allowing the US to use its bases inside Turkey against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Erdogan’s spokesmen announce that Turkey’s air force has conducted raids against both PKK and ISIS targets across the border. Turkish authorities arrest some 900 people nationwide, mostly Kurds, for allegedly belonging to terror networks. Turkish tanks shell Kurdish villages in Syrian borderlands near Kobani. Meanwhile, news leaks that the US has solid evidence of Turkish collusion with ISIS in months past. Let us pause here and dispel some of the fog.
First, let us remember that Turkey conducted a national election on June 7 and still hasn’t formed a government. All these decisions in a time of crisis are being taken by somebody. Someone’s running the country. We’ll get to the full implications later but initiatives are being taken, ......
1. Turkey used 3 planes to strike IS targets in Syria on night of 23-24 July. The next night it used 75 planes to hit PKK targets in Iraq.— Alev Scott (@AlevScott) August 1, 2015
Obama Authorizes "Defensive" Airstrikes Against Assad Regime In Syria
On Friday, we checked in on the Pentagon’s ongoing effort to recruit, vet, and train ambitious "freedom fighters" to join the battle against ISIS in Syria.
It goes without saying that covert US efforts to aid the multifarious groups vying for control of the country have met with disastrous consequences so far, but if there’s anything Washington is particularly adept at, it’s making bad foreign policy outcomes worse, which is why we weren’t at all surprised to learn that the commander of the Pentagon's new Syrian "force" was captured, along with his deputy, by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra last week near the border with Turkey.
The NY Times called the kidnapping "perhaps [the] most embarrassing setback yet," for Washington’s ragtag contingent of volunteer militiamen and indeed, the fact that the Pentagon had hoped to field a "force" of 3,000 men by the end of the year but has so far only managed to train 54 speaks to the futility of the entire effort.
Or perhaps not. It all depends on what the real aim behind the program was in the first place. If the goal was to field a fierce band of well-trained warriors to rout Islamic State, then things aren’t going so well. If, however, the idea was simply to give the US an excuse to get directly involved in facilitating the swift demise of Bashar al-Assad now that his forces have been largely decimated by a three-front war, well it’s mission accomplished, because as WSJ reports, President Obama has now authorized US airstrikes against Assad’s army in the event they interfere with America’s very serious 50 solider effort to combat ISIS. Here’s more:...........
Taking sides in Syrian civil war? Obama authorizes airstrikes ‘to defend’ US-trained rebels
The US president has reportedly authorized the Air Force to protect Syrian rebels trained by Washington to fight against Islamic State by bombing any force attacking them, including Syrian regular troops.
Thus the US may become involved in the Syrian civil war on the rebel side.
The change was first reported by US officials speaking on condition of anonymity with the Wall Street Journal Sunday. The first airstrikes to protect American trainees in Syria have already taken place on Friday, July 31, when the US Air Force bombed unidentified militants who attacked the compound of the US-trained rebels..............
....Capt Davis said the US would provide defensive fire support to the NSF "no matter whom they came up against".
Many will see this as "mission creep" as the administration of President Barack Obama has always insisted that the battle inside Syria is against IS alone, the BBC's Gary O'Donoghue at the Pentagon reports.......
Attacks on Chinese escalate in Turkey
On July 1, news broke that a group of five men attacked a Chinese restaurant named Happy China with sticks and stones in the center of Istanbul. The attackers were heard to say, “We do not want a Chinese restaurant here, get out of our town!” The owner, Cihan Yavuz, said in a TV interview, “We are all Turks here; our chef is a Uighur Turk. We serve Muslim East Asian tourists and rarely ever have Chinese customers. We do not serve alcohol. We never received any warnings of an attack. But I see it may not be possible for us to earn a living here.”
On July 4, in the western city of Balikesir, a group protested against China for persecuting Uighur Turks and hung an effigy of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
On the same day, a group of ultranationalists attacked a Korean tourist they assumed was Chinese in the popular Istanbul tourist district of Sultanahmet.
To add insult to injury, Devlet Bahceli, chairman of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), gave an interview to popular journalist Ahmet Hakan on July 8 about the attacks. Bahceli said, “Our nationalist youth is sensitive to injustices in China. They should have the freedom to exercise their democratic rights. These are young kids. They may have been provoked. Plus, how are you going to differentiate between Korean and Chinese? They both have slanted eyes. Does it really matter?” His racist and ignorant statement caused an uproar in the Turkish and international media.
Nusra Front attacks Western-backed rebels in northern Syria
The al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front attacked Western-backed rebels in northern Syria on Friday, rebel groups and an organization monitoring the war said, escalating tension between rival insurgents near the Turkish border....
.....Opposition sources say that one of the rebel groups targeted in Nusra's overnight attack, Division 30, has been a participant in the newly launched U.S.-led program to train and equip insurgents to fight Islamic State.
Division 30 says Nusra fighters abducted its leader and several other members earlier this week. The Pentagon has said however that no members of the "New Syrian Force" had been captured or detained..........
@APDiploWriter Results of #Ukranian shelling of #Gorlovka last night https://t.co/EwlimJIJkn #Donbass #Donetsk #Novorossiya #Ukranian #nazi— J(@SPB_citizen) August 1, 2015
Ukraine court backs self-rule plan for conflict zone
Ukraine's highest court has approved constitutional changes that would allow limited self-rule to the rebel-held eastern areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The changes are part of a peace deal aimed at ending fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels.
But many MPs oppose autonomy for the east and the decision must be voted through parliament.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released $1.7bn (£1.08bn) in aid to Ukraine.
The payment is part of a bailout aimed at stabilising Ukraine's struggling economy. The country is also trying to reach a deal with its main creditors on restructuring its debts.........
Here's a prediction which is super easy to make. As the Nordic countries are fast becoming fiercely anti-immigrant, especially immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, give them a few years and some of them will break away from the EU and will put in place new immigration laws instead of taking orders from Brussels or they will force Brussels to respect their own new laws on immigration.
Why are anti-immigration parties so strong in the Nordic states?
The Danish People’s party’s success in the election continues a trend of rising support for rightwing parties across Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.....
.....Most crucially, attitudes to immigration have become significantly more negative in Sweden and Denmark. According to the Eurobarometer, a record number of people now see immigration as one of the two most important issues facing these countries. In Finland, the share has declined after spiking between 2007 and 2010 (support for the Finns follows a similar pattern), and immigration is now seen as less pressing than the economic situation and unemployment (the country was in recession for most of last year, and growth is still flat).......
Abductions Hurt U.S. Bid to Train Anti-ISIS Rebels in Syria
A Pentagon program to train moderate Syrian insurgents to fight the Islamic State has been vexed by problems of recruitment, screening, dismissals and desertions that have left only a tiny band of fighters ready to do battle.
Those fighters — 54 in all — suffered perhaps their most embarrassing setback yet on Thursday. One of their leaders, a Syrian Army defector who recruited them, was abducted in Syria near the Turkish border, along with his deputy who commands the trainees. They were seized not by the Islamic State but by its rival the Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda that is another Islamist extremist byproduct of the four-year-old Syrian civil war........
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Aug-01/309278-syrian-rebel-group-leaves-their-hq-after-clash-with-al-qaeda.ashx US-backed rebel group flees north Syria HQ after clash with Nusra
Clashes between members of al-Qaida's branch in Syria and a rebel faction in the country's north believed to have been trained by the U.S. government have stopped after the rebels left their headquarters, activists said Saturday.
The fighting came a few days after the U.S. and Turkey announced the outlines of a deal to help rebels push ISIS back from a strip of territory it controls along the Syrian-Turkish border, replacing it with more moderate rebels backed by Washington and Ankara.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said members of the Division 30 faction fled to a nearby area controlled by a Syrian Kurdish militia. Abu al-Hassan Marea, a Syrian activist who is currently in Turkey near the Syrian border, confirmed Saturday that Division 30 fighters have withdrawn from their headquarters.
Abdurrahman and Marea said Division 30 had less than 60 fighters and that on Friday alone the group lost five fighters and 18 others were wounded.......
...Perhaps the strongest criticism came from Reformist Ghanoun newspaper in an article by Saman Saberian, “Hamas: Bank account in Tehran, stronghold in Riyadh.” Saberian wrote that Hamas’ turn to Saudi Arabia cannot be viewed as merely seeking Saudi funding and help because in the latest war, “The Saudis helped Tel Aviv the most and the only support they gave to Gaza was coffins for the martyrs.”
The article touched on a rumor circulating in the Iranian media that Meshaal would send fighters for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is three months into a bombing campaign of Ansar Allah forces, which it claims are backed by Iran. The multi-sided war has been a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Saberian acknowledged that no one has confirmed the rumor of an agreement between the Saudis and Hamas, but Iranian reports citing anonymous Saudi sources have said that Saudi Arabia has requested special Hamas forces trained in the same military tactics as the Lebanese group Hezbollah to combat Yemen’s Ansar Allah. Whether the rumor is psychological warfare or not, it reveals how tense the region and how heated the rivalries have become.
Russia willing for joint Iran in fight against ISIL
Russia has voiced interest to team up with Iran to fight the Takfiri ISIL terrorists operating in the Middle East region.
“We can develop anti-terror cooperation with Iran, first of all, in the Middle East region,” Ilya Rogachev, the director of Department of New Challenges and Threats Issues of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Monday.
“The notorious international terrorist organization as Islamic State (ISIL) can be and has to be the object of our cooperation with Iran,” the Russian official said.
Turkey sends in jets as Syria’s agony spills over every border
Turkish air strikes in Syria last week signalled a new phase in a conflict that has left its bloody mark on every country in the region. But will the Turks now agree to US demands to cease all clandestine dealings with Islamic State?
When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.
The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.
As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world..........
How migrant smuggling is funding extremist groups like ISIS in Libya: http://t.co/KbA6Vc3YbD— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 16, 2015
Turkish warplanes have bombed military positions of Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in neighbouring Iraq, a spokesman for the PKK has said.
The air raids came just hours after Turkish warplanes pounded Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions in Syria on Friday morning, marking a significant shift in Ankara's position on how to deal with armed groups in Syria and Iraq.
"At around 11:00pm (20:00 GMT) tonight, Turkish warplanes started bombing our positions near the border, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling," PKK spokesman Bakhtiar Dogan told the AFP news agency.....
Turkish warplanes pounded Islamic State targets in Syria for the first time on Friday, with President Tayyip Erdogan promising more decisive action against both the jihadists and Kurdish militants.
Hours after the initial attacks, fighter jets were launched in a second round against Islamic State, while others targeted militants camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, according to local media.
Reuters was unable to confirm the second round of strikes. An attack against PKK camps in Iraq would likely mark a major blow to Turkey's already stalled peace process with the Kurds.
Friday's operations followed a telephone conversation between Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, and were accompanied by police raids across Turkey to detain hundreds of suspected militants, including from Kurdish groups.
Ankara said it had approved the use of its air bases by U.S. and coalition aircraft to mount strikes against Islamic State, marking a major change in policy that has long been a sore point for Washington.........
Punjab: Why it took 11 hours to kill 3 terrorists http://t.co/vCXcKy2hiK— Times of India (@timesofindia) July 27, 2015
Mideast Alliances Shift Again
July 31, 2015
Like shifting desert sands, the volatile Middle East is going through a new, though subtle, realignment of adversaries and allies, with Turkey’s political tensions shaking up one area while Saudi Arabia makes moves of its own, as recounted by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
By Paul R. Pillar
Some recent policy decisions by Middle Eastern governments have the potential to shake up regional alignments, or what are widely perceived to be alignments. In the near term this will have little to do with the Iran nuclear agreement, despite the attention the agreement is getting at the moment. That accord will not lead to realignments as great as its opponents fear, and its larger impact on regional diplomacy will be gradual and only slightly apparent in the near term.
The agreement by the Turkish government to cooperate more actively than previously with the United States in combating the so-called Islamic State or ISIS in northern Syria represents a more immediate shaking up..........
Egypt Is Struggling to Cope With Its ISIS Insurgency
A rocket attack on a warship was just the latest in a series of escalating attacks on Egyptian forces in Sinai
They have attacked on land and at sea, killing dozens of soldiers. They have assassinated a senior official in daylight and attempted to seize a small Sinai town.
The insurgents control no significant area of land, but they are far from being defeated. A season of deadly attacks by insurgents in Egypt — including those backed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria group (ISIS) — underscores an escalating insurgency that the Egyptian state is struggling to suppress.
The surge in violence began in late June when Egypt’s chief prosecutor was killed in a car bombing in daylight in an upscale Cairo neighborhood. Two days later, the ISIS-affiliated militants launched a massive assault on military positions in north Sinai, attempting to seize control of a small chunk of territory in Egypt. At least 17 Egyptian soldiers died, although some reports placed the death toll much higher........
Suspected Boko Haram chief recruiter arrested in Chad
Suspected Boko Haram recruiter Bana Fanaye, also known as Mahamat Moustapha, has been arrested by the authorities in Chad.
Fanaye, who is said to be the mastermind of Boko Haram operations in Chad and northern Cameroon, was arrested on Friday afternoon, with assorted weapons, as well as cell phone SIM cards for various countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The suspect is said to be the brain behind most Boko Haram operations including arms purchases in Chad and northern Cameroon.
Multiple media reports quoted Chadian officials as saying that Fanaye is in charge of recruiting Boko Haram terrorists, arms purchases and planning of terrorism targets and operations in Chad and northern Cameroon.
It was his arrest that helped security forces locate and kill other Boko Haram members housed in an area called Diguel Diguessou in the 8th district, tchadinfos.com reported.......
Chad says killed 117 Boko Haram fighters in two-week campaign
N'DJAMENA Chad said on Thursday its forces had killed 117 Boko Haram insurgents during a two-week military campaign aimed at clearing islands on Lake Chad used by the militants as hideouts and bases to launch attacks.
Chad has deployed thousands of soldiers alongside troops from neighbors Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger to tackle the militant group whose six-year insurgency has killed thousands.
"We killed 117 Boko Haram fighters during the two-week operation. We lost two men and several wounded," Colonel Azem Bermandoa, spokesman for the Chadian army, said.
"We destroyed their boats and seized various weapons during the operation," he said........
News Analysis: Yemeni crisis mirrors regional unrest in Middle East
CAIRO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing crisis in conflict-stricken Yemen is reflection of a regional unrest in the Middle East, especially after the forces of fleeing President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi seized strategic southern city of Aden against Shiite Houthi fighters, said Egyptian experts.
Yemen has become more like a battlefield for regional and even international powers that seek more influence in the Middle East region through the ongoing conflict hitting the country, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"Yemen has always been a place of interest for the United States, and former U.S. President Clinton said openly that Yemen is a matter of a national security for the United States," said Gehad Auda, professor of international relations at Helwan University.
The professor told Xinhua that Yemen is highly located due to its control of Bab al-Mandeb Strait that connects between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as well as between the continents of Asia and Africa, "therefore it is a very critical area geopolitically and geostrategically."
Being responsible for guaranteeing the security of its Gulf allies, the United States must have helped with the seizure of Yemen at the hands of pro-Hadi forces to reassure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners about their national security, according to the expert.
SAUDI ARABIA VS IRAN
Unhappy with the recently-reached nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers led by the United States, Sunni Saudi Arabia is obviously concerned about greater influence of Shiite Iran in the region and about Iranian attempts to turn Yemen into a Shiite state, given that the Iran-backed Houthi fighters are Shiites.
Although the deal is expected to strengthen Iran's influence in the region, experts believe that it will take a few years until Iranian regional expansion can be strongly felt after the deal. ......
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill over 120 in Yemen, humanitarian truce announced
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed over 120 civilians and left 150 injured after a fierce attack on Friday in the southwestern Yemeni province of Taiz. The coalition has announced a five-day humanitarian truce starting on Sunday night.
Local sources told AP that most of the houses in the area were in ruins and a fire later broke out in the port city of Mokha, on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. They said that most of the corpses found there, including children, women and elderly people, had been completely immolated in the flames. One resident, Ahmed Mohammed al-Mouzay, who took part in rescue operations, reportedly said that most of his neighbors had died. A security official told AP that it was impossible to take the injured to the provincial capital due to the roads being blocked by the ongoing violence.......
Vid below is not for the faint of heart. See for yourselves how many civilians are dying at the hands of Saudi + coalition + USA/UK/Russia weapons
From English IRIB
Bombing kills 14, injures 47 in northeast Nigeria
At least 14 people have been killed and 47 others wounded in a bomb attack at a busy market in northeastern Nigeria, the latest in a string of deadly attacks in the violence-hit country.
According to witnesses and hospital sources, the blast occurred on Sunday at 0850 GMT in the Nigerian town of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State.
Market trader Garba Abdullahi said the attack took place when a female assailant blew her explosives “at the... entrance of the market where commuters were arriving.”.......
Saudi Defense Minister Threatens to Occupy Kuwait
Saudi Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman threatened to launch war on Kuwait after differences between the two Persian Gulf Arab states escalated over Khafji oilfield.
"Mohammad bin Salman threatened that his country would attack and occupy Kuwait, claiming that not only Khafji oilfield but also entire Kuwait is part of the Saudi territories based on historical documents," Middle-East Panorama quoted on Sunday intelligence sources of the Persian Gulf Arab littoral states as saying.
Kuwait has complained that the continued shut down of Khafji oilfield it shares with Saudi Arabia will incur huge losses Riyadh must compensate for in the future.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali Al Omair in a letter to his Saudi counterpart Ali Al Naimi urged him "to take adequate measures to resume production at Khafji...........
Kuwait imposes limited control on entry of Saudis
The security agencies of Kuwait have imposed a limited control over entry of Saudis into their country, said an online newspaper.
This is being done to tighten security measures at various entry points of the country following the terror attack on June 26 at Imam Sadiq Mosque, which left 25 people dead and over 200 injured.
Brig. Gen. Adil Al-Hashshash, director general of public relations and security media, told the newspaper that the number of those who were barred from entering Kuwait was very small and they had some security issues.
He said the ban had come as a result of “precautionary actions and required measures due to the situation in the region... and that the situation should not be open as in the past.” ...........
Sunni Arab nations are "Israel's allies," says Israeli Foreign Ministry director general in NY http://t.co/w5yA52VYMV pic.twitter.com/oaQAwebyJR— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) July 29, 2015
Suicide bomber, clashes kill 12 Libyan soldiers in Benghazi
Nine Libyan soldiers were killed in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday by a suicide bomber and in ensuing clashes between troops and Islamist fighters, medics and military sources said.
Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government have been fighting Islamist groups in the country's second-largest city since last year, part of a wider struggle since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.
A suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a group of soldiers during a street battle in the city center near Benghazi's Mediterranean port, killing three soldiers and wounding eleven, medics said.
Shortly afterwards, Islamist fighters blamed by the army for the suicide bombing attacked troops loyal to the official government in the same area. Six more soldiers were killed and 10 wounded in the fighting, medics said.........
BBC subtle and stealth report trying to make way for UK and additional warmongers from EU to return to Libya. Read between the lines.
"The roads are targeted. Cars are often hit," says British Dr. Natalie Roberts. "Every few hundred meters you see another burned out vehicle; every bridge on the road has been bombed out".
Roberts, who is in Yemen with Doctors Without Borders, has worked in conflict zones before. But she says Yemen's war zone is unlike anything she has seen elsewhere. "What's really surprising to me here is that I've never seen so few [aid workers and journalists] on the ground. Syria, when i was there, was counted as the most dangerous conflict in the world — but Yemen? I just haven't met anyone."
Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world, and has been politically unstable since the Arab Spring. But civilian casualties really began to increase in March this year, when a Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing towns and villages to try to defeat a rebel force known as the Houthis.
More than 80 percent of Yemen's 25 million people are now in need some form of aid, and the United Nations has warned the coalition that indiscriminate bombing of populated areas is against international law......
In late March 2015, a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia initiated a military campaign against Yemen consisting of intensive air raids, the arming of local allies and a de facto naval and air blockade of the country. Initially termed Operation Decisive Storm but since renamed Operation Restore Hope, it continues to this day. Riyadh identified the recent territorial gains of Yemen’s Houthi movement, and the ouster of President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi and his government, as the reasons for its campaign and pledged that both would be swiftly rolled back. Four months later neither objective appears to be in reach, nor is a negotiated end to this conflict in sight. As part of a series of Quick Thoughts with International Crisis Group Middle East analysts, Jadaliyya asked April Longley Alley, Crisis Group Senior Analyst for the Arabian Peninsula, to shed light on the causes and course of this war.]
Jadaliyya (J): Who exactly are the Houthis, why have they apparently aligned with their former nemesis Ali Abdullah Saleh, and is their domination of Yemen in your view sustainable?
April Longley Alley (ALA): The Houthis are an armed group that has its roots in a movement for Zaydi cultural and religious revivalism in north Yemen. (Zaydism is a branch of Shia Islam distinct from the Twelver Shiism prevalent in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon). They have a strong militia component, but view themselves as a political and social movement against corruption and Western imperialism. Their primarily base of support is in the northern Zaydi highlands and especially in the Saada governorate bordering Saudi Arabia.
During and after the 2011 uprising against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the movement expanded rapidly, forming alliances with disgruntled tribesmen in the north, left-leaning activists and even some southern separatists. As the Yemeni transition collapsed, they took advantage of.........
Bitter feud between Turkey, Egypt undercuts U.S. hopes for Middle East
Two of America’s linchpin allies in the Middle East are bitterly feuding, complicating the Obama administration’s hopes of confronting Sunni Salafists and containing the ambitions of Shiite Iran.
Egypt is accusing Turkey of working with the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula, a new low in the already poor relations between the two regional powers.......
Regional manoeuvres: A Hamas visit to Riyadh leaves Egypt, Iran wondering
A visit to Riyadh by the head of Hamas left consternation among some parties and questions among some observers. What did Saudi Arabia aim to achieve, asks Ahmed Eleiba
The visit by Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with King Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz raised the issue of how the kingdom has opened up to the group under King Salman’s reign. The visit is part of a series of meetings with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood leaders and key figures in the Yemeni Reform Party (Al-Islah), Abdel-Meguid Al-Zindani and Salman Al-Ouda.
Senior sources close to Hamas, however, stated there were problems between the kingdom and Hamas that delayed the visit by two months, but that the Muslim Brotherhood general guide in Jordan, Hamam Said, visited Saudi Arabia two weeks ahead of Meshaal’s trip.
Said was invited by Saudi Minister of Religious Endowments Saleh Bin Abdel-Aziz Al-Sheikh and talks resolved most outstanding issues between the two sides. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukri on Thursday, said "there was no political visit by Hamas to the kingdom", trivialising the significance of Hamas visit, saying it was only a religious pilgrimage and Riyadh's position on the Palestinian Islamist movement remains unchanged..........