The United State上海品茶网s laun上海夜生活论坛ched airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria before dawn on Monday, in response to a series of drone attacks on facilities used by American personnel in Iraq, the Pentagon said.
The three targeted sites — two in Syria and one in Iraq — were used by Iran-backed militias to launch drones against bases used by the United States in Iraq, spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.
Four militia members were killed in the strike at Qaim, on Syria’s side of the remote border with Iraq, according to pro-militia Sabereen news agency, which released photos of the four deceased fighters.
Iraq’s armed forces conde上海品茶网s laun上海夜生活论坛mned the strikes, calling them a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security in accordance with all international conventions.”
“Iraq renews its refusal to be an arena for settling accounts,” read a statement by the spokesman for commander-in-chief and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
The Pentagon described the sites as “operational and weapons storage facilities” frequented by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada near the Iraq-Syria border. The strikes were “defensive in nature,” Kirby’s statement read, and invoked international law and Article II of the US Constitution.
“Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks,” it said.
It continued, “The United States 上海品茶网s laun上海夜生活论坛took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation — but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.”
President Joe Biden previously authorized strikes in February against buildings on the Syrian side of the border that the Pentagon said at the time were used by the same two Iran-backed militias. Those strikes came after a rocket attack that killed a US civilian contractor and injured coalition personnel.
Militias backed by Iran control major roadways in Iraq’s Anbar desert leading across Syria’s border to the west, which they captured during the multinational war against the Islamic State (IS).
Video from Sabereen, the pro-Iran militia channel, circulated on Telegram purporting to show one site in the aftermath of the strikes. Rubble and what appear to be at least two destroyed artillery guns are visible in the footage, which was not independently confirmed by Al-Monitor.
The move is likely to amplify debate in Congress over the White House’s war authorizations, and is unlikely to halt future attacks by pro-Iran militias in Iraq.
“I expect to be briefed tomorrow by the White House on the US military airstrik上海品茶网s laun上海夜生活论坛es along the Iraq-Syria border,” said US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) in a statement Sunday night.
Murphy, a prominent member of the Senate’s foreign relations panel, cautioned that the repeated back-and-forth strikes may require congressional authorization.
The United States carried out the strikes hours after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad on Sunday. It was the first visit by an Egyptian president to Iraq since before the 1991 Gulf War, in which Egypt joined the US-led coalition against Saddam Hussein’s forces.
More than 3,000 US troops remain in Iraq and northeast Syria as part of the international coalition against IS. Launched in 2014 during the Obama administration, the ongoing mission was authorized under a 2001 law that allowed the White House to go after those who planned the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
IS surrendered its last significant territory in March 2019, but US troops have remained in there to maintain local stability and political leverage over the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. Thousands of US personnel departed Iraq last year, following orders from former President Donald Trump, who considered the stabilization mission to be “endless war.”
Democrats have renewed a push in recent years to repeal or modify the laws that authorized the so-called War on Terror. The current administration has signaled support for moves for reform.
A series of rocket attacks have hit facilities used by the United States in Iraq in recent years, as pro-Iran factions seek to pressure American forces out of the country. Despite retaliatory strikes by the Trump administration that led to the brink of conflict with Iran early last year, the attacks have not abated.
Since April, at least five drone attacks have targeted sensitive sites used by the United States, including a CIA storage facility at Erbil air base. Four explosive drones hit buildings northeast of the US Consulate in the Iraqi Kurdish capital early on Saturday morning. It was not immediately clear why the sites were targeted.
Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of US military forces in the Middle East, has said that drones pose the most vexing risk to American forces and their partners in the region since the demise of IS. US air defenses have failed to stop previous drone attacks in Iraq. The military is experimenting with counter-drone technology, the commander has said.
The United States has bolstered local air defenses in Saudi Arabia — which has also come under repeated projectile attacks from Iran-linked groups — and quietly supported Israel’s campaign of airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria since 2018. US officials have said Israel’s campaign has prevented precision-guided weapons from moving close to its borders.
Monday’s strikes come as the Biden administration is seeking to revive a 2015 international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, a move which Israeli officials have opposed.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israel’s new Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Rome on Saturday.
Secretary of 上海品茶网State Antony上海夜生活 Blinken called on US allies Monday to take responsibility for their citizens suspected of joining the Islamic State and who remain in the custody of Kurdish forces in northeast Syria.
“This situation is simply untenable. It just can’t persist indefinitely,” Blinken said in Rome during his opening remarks at a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
“The United States continues to urge countries — including coalition partners — to repatriate, rehabilitate and, where applicable, prosecute its citizens,” he said.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are holding some 10,000 suspected militants in informal detention centers. About 2,000 of them are fore上海品茶网State Antony上海夜生活igners, the US government estimates. The United States has repatriated 28 of its citizens from northeast Syria and is prosecuting many of them on terror-related charges.
But other countries are reluctant to deal with their citizens, even as the US-backed SDF warns that it lacks the resources to put them on trial or continue holding them.
Why it matters: More than two years上海品茶网State Antony上海夜生活 after the collapse of IS’ self-declared caliphate, some 43,000 men, women and children with perceived ties to the terrorist group languish in detention and displacement centers scattered across northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch estimates.
Blinken highlighted the efforts of Kazakhstan, Finland and a number of Balkan and Central Asian countries that have successfully prosecuted or rehabilitated their citizens accused of supporting IS in Syria and Iraq. The secretary also described Italy as one of the few Western European countries willing to bring home its nationals.
Coalition members France and the United Kingdom, which suffered a number of IS-inspired terrorist attacks on their soil, have been particularly slow to reclaim their nationals and in some cases have revoked the citizenship of accused IS supporters. Some foreign governments cite concerns the IS suspects could evade justice in European courts due to a lack of battlefield evidence against them.
What’s next: Violence is rife in the Syrian detention sites, which experts warn could serve as a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists and stateless children. Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, said in April tha上海品茶网State Antony上海夜生活children are especially vulnerable to radicalization. The failure to reintegrate them, he said, risks “giving ourselves the gift of fighters five to seven years down the road.”
Health services are poor in the camps, and hundreds of children are believed to have died from malnutrition, pneumonia and other conditions in Hasakah province’s sprawling al-Hol facility. Aid organizations continue to sound the alarm over the potential for the coronavirus to worsen the already dire humanitarian situation.
Know more: Read Mohammed Hardan’s latest on the threat posed by IS remnants in northeast Syria and in the Syrian desert, known as Badiya.
S Secretary of Stat上海夜生活论坛e Antony Blinken met in Rome today with repres上海品茶网entatives of the 83-member coalition against the Islamic State (IS) to reinforce Washington’s stance on the conflict in Syria.
Blinken and Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio chaired the conference, the first such meeting under the Biden administration.
Current US officials have largely carried over the approach developed during the Trump administration, namely leaving US troops to indefinitely occupy oil- and agriculture-rich northeast Syria while economically isolating the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The policy remains in limbo amid indirect negotiations with Iranian officials in Vienna. Though strictly focused on fighting IS, the US military’s continued presence in Syria — and the State Department’s isolation policy toward Damascus — have been influenced by the ambitions of both Iran and Russia in the country and the wider region.
“Together, we must stay as committed to our stabilization goals as we did to our milita上海夜生活论坛e Antony Blinken met in Rome today with repres上海品茶网ry campaign that resulted in victory on the battlefield,” Blinken said in Rome on Monday.
A Western official familiar with the meeting said little has changed since the last US presentation on the conflict. Joey Hood, the State Department’s acting top policy official for the Middle East, told reporters last week that Blinken would call in Rome for a nationwide cease-fire in Syria.
While the frontlines of Syria’s conflict have largely frozen over, a renewed push by Russia and the Assad regime against opposition-held Idlib province would immediately worsen the country’s humanitarian catastrophe.
Left with few options and little leverage in the complex, stalemated war, US officials led by White House coordinator for the Middle East Brett McGurk have been fine-tuning the policy to reduce the potential for inducing additional humanitarian harm.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is seeking potential avenues toward compromise with adversary Russia. Earlier this month, the Treas上海夜生活论坛e Antony Blinken met in Rome today with repres上海品茶网ury Department announced a sanctions exemption for COVID-19 relief for Syria, Iran and Venezuela.
A mix of regime corruption, Lebanon’s financial collapse and international economic sanctions led by the United States has sent Syria’s currency plummeting to unprecedented lows, triggering extreme shortages of bread and fuel in regime-controlled territory.
Among Blinken’s top priorities at the meeting was the upcoming vote in the Security Council to renew the UN’s mandate to deliver cross-border aid into Syria from Turkey. Russia has sought to block such aid, insisting that the Damascus government only deliver the aid, citing Syria’s sovereignty. But the Assad regime has used food and medical aid as a tool of war, critics of the Kremlin’s approach point out.
Also discussed on Monday was the simmering crisis of 10,000 captured IS fighters who remain in makeshift prisons run by Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria. Another roughly 50,000 IS family members live in squalid internment camps.
Several thousands are foreign nationals who joined IS in Syria, but few countries in E上海夜生活论坛e Antony Blinken met in Rome today with repres上海品茶网urope — with the notable exception of Italy — are willing to take them home for reasons of perceived political liability.
“This situation is simply untenable. It just can’t persist indefinitely,” Blinken said on Monday in Rome.
The top US diplomat praised Italy, Finland as well as Balkan and Central Asian states that have repatriated nationals from detention in northeast Syria.
The problem of lingering IS camps has raised concern among the high echelons in the US military. The head of all US forces in the Middle East, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, has repeatedly sought to draw public attention to the crisis, saying it will become a “military problem” if the detainees are left indefinitely.
Blinken on Monday also announced an additional $436 million to help people displaced by Syria’s conflict.
Roughly half of Syria’s population has been displaced by the conflict. An additional 100,000 people were displaced when former US President Donald Trump’s administration opted to allow Turkey’s military to attack Syrian Kurdish fighters receiving US support against IS.
More than 500,000 people have been killed since broad swaths of Syria’s population rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. The Assad regime cracked down hard, killing protesters en masse and initiating a civil war that now stretches in its 10th year.
The United States intervened militarily in 2014 to fight IS. Now, two years after the jihadist pseudo-caliphate surrendered its last territory to the coalition, US forces continue to train Syrian Kurdish-led militias and Iraqi security forces to maintain stability and hunt down jihadist cells.
Facilities used by the remaining US forces in neighboring Iraq have repeatedly been hit by harassing rocket fire, and more recently by precision drone strikes, by suspected Iran-backed militias.
Earlier on Monday, Biden authorized airstrikes on three Iran-backed militia targets in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to deter further attacks.
The endgame for US troops in Syria is not clear. The United States insists that the Assad regime must make substantial political reforms before pressure on his government is released, but the regime — backed by Russia’s military since 2015 — has not signaled outward willingness to comply.
US troops at the isolated al-Tanf base in Syria’s southeastern desert also inhibit Iran-backed militia movement into the country.
Though largely defeated in battle in Syria and Iraq, IS affiliates continue to gain strength in sub-Saharan Africa, a problem that Italy’s foreign minister today called “alarming.”
was in Saudi Arabia,上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网d the United Arab Emirates last week to de-escalate a potential conflict between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Samuel Ramani has the background here on why the UAE — which has strong ties with all three countries — is emerging as a key diplomatic broker and partner in this effort.
Why it matters: For Ethiopia, the GERD offers hope of a boost for its economic and energy development, potentially positioning it as an electricity exporter in the region. For Egypt, the Nile is vital in another way, providing over 95% of its water needs; Sudan, too, depends on Nile water. Both countries are concerned about water supply disruptions from the dam and have called for an internationally brokered arrangement for the management of its water flow. Mohamed Saied reports here on the high anxiety in Egypt over recent develop上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网ments, and Abdulla Kadry reports on a new “popular front” to protect Egypt’s access to Nile River water.
Benchmarks: Ethiopia holds elections June 21, which will be a referendum on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s policies. The elections had been delayed from August 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The GERD is a hot nationalist issue; Abiy can’t be seen as buckling to pressure. Ethiopia is threatening to go ahead with the second filling of the GERD in July, a phased process taking at least five years to fill the dam and make it operational. The decision has sparked concern in Egypt and Sudan that the Nile’s water flow would be disrupted again this summer.
Realignment: The GERD dispute is linked to a realignment in the Horn of Africa. Abiy, who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for making peace with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, is aligned with Eritrea in suppressing unrest in the Tigray region, which is becoming a regional conflict. Military operations by Ethiopian, Eritrean and proxy forces have been condemned for huma上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网n rights abuses by the United States and the international community. The conflict has at times spilled over into Sudan. In addition to this newfound partnership with Eritrea, Ahmed Gomaa reports that Ethiopia plans to build military bases in the Red Sea. Muhammed Magdy writes here about how the Nile dispute correlates with Egypt expanding its own regional security network; Cairo recently concluded a military agreement with Kenya, in addition to expanded security ties with Sudan, Uganda and Burundi.
Final word: The risk of military conflict over the dam may be low, but the Nile dispute is high stakes for all three parties. A diplomatic, face-saving offramp may be in the making, perhaps after the Ethiopian elections. There is also a chance the dispute could end up at the Security Council, but the parties and mediators may prefer a regionally driven mediation, with US engagement Meanwhile, the crisis has spurred Egypt to consider new approaches to water management, including via contacts with China, as George Mikhail reports.
Erdogan’s make-or-break meeting with Biden
As NATO heads of state flock to Brussels for the alliance’s annual summit next week, all eyes will be on President Joe Biden and his Turkish coun上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网terpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Topping the agenda for their long-anticipated June 14 meeting is the persistent friction over Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400s and the country’s subsequent expulsion from the American F-35 joint strike fighter program. The two leaders also are expected to discuss the Biden administration’s support for Kurdish forces in Syria and Washington’s refusal to extradite Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The Turkish leader has a tricky balancing act ahead of him. As Metin Gurcan writes, “Erdogan remains squeezed between an imposing need for a thaw in his fraught ties with Washington and the task of selling it to his fold at home, where anti-American sentiment is running high, not least because he has often fueled it himself.”
Turkey’s ‘killer robots’ in Libya
A new United Nations report says combatants in Libya’s civil war were “hunted down and remotely engaged” by artificial intelligence-equipped armed drones likely deployed by Turkey.
Military sources confirmed to Metin Gurcan that the Turkish-built Kargu-2 drones were operating in Libya, where Ankara provided military support to the Tripoli-based Government of National A上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网ccord (since supplanted by the Government of National Unity). The sources, however, denied the drones relied on AI to select and hit targets and instead they claimed that on-the-ground operators — humans, in other words — made the decisions to strike.
The UN report “was met with nationalist euphoria in Turkey’s pro-government media, which lauded Kargu-2 as further proof of how far the domestic defense industry has progressed under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” Outside of Turkey, the debate continues over whether such lethal autonomous weapons should be banned from war.
Lapid, not Bennett, holds the strings
Right-wing Yamina leader Naftali Bennett is gearing up to serve as Israel’s next prime minister, but it’s Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, not Bennett, who will be the ultimate arbiter in Israel’s new government.
“He has concentrated enormous power in his own hands,” Mazal Mualem writes of Lapid. Under the proposed rotation deal, Lapid will first serve as alternate prime minister and foreign minister. But like Bennett, he too will have veto power over governme上海夜生活论坛 Qatar an上海品茶网nt decisions and together they will call the shots. The arrangement is pretty remarkable, given that Bennett campaigned on how dangerous Lapid is.
The Knesset on Sunday will decide the fate of the new government, with the coalition against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at least as of publication time, expected to prevail with a razor-thin majority.
Israeli Arabs split on Ra’am head Abbas
The inclusion of the Mansour Abbas-led Ra’am, an independent Arab party, in Israel’s emerging new government is historic. But are Arab Israeli voters impressed?
As Afif Abu Much explains, some fear a dangerous precedent has been set by Abbas’ singular focus on narrow if vital issues for Israel’s Arab community, such as pushing for the recognition of Bedouin villages in the Negev region.
It remains to be seen how much influence Abbas can wield in the eight-faction governing coalition, but for some supporters, the Ra’am party leader has at least succeeded in ending Netanyahu’s “Wild West treatment of Arab citizens of Israel.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Jews and Arabs are not giving up on coexistence after the violence in mixed cities last month, as Abu Much reports here.
Gaza’s reconstruction off to a slow start
The Gaza Strip has a long road ahead to recovery, after more than a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas reduced parts of the already impoverished Palestinian enclave to rubble.
Rasha Abou Jalal has this analysis on how competition between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over reconstruction funds could slow the rebuilding process.
At the same time, unnamed Hamas sources in Lebanese media are threatening that the militant group will resume fighting if Israel prevents Qatari aid from reaching Gaza, writes Hana Salah.
As residents of the coastal enclave continue picking up the pieces from last month’s 11-day conflict, Taghreed Ali tells how many Gazan women are making ends meet by selling handcrafted goods on social media. And Mai Abu Hasaneen reports from Gaza’s beaches, where thousands of residents flocked after the recent fighting ended despite high water pollution levels and fears of COVID-19 spread.
What we’re reading: ‘Midnight in Cairo’
Raphael Cormack chronicles the stories of enterprising women, including vaudeville star Rose al-Youssef and nightclub singer Mounira al-Mahdiyya, who revolutionized Egypt’s entertainment industry in the early 20th century in his new book “Midnight in Cairo,” which tells the stories of Egyptian women who were “demanding to be heard as they asserted their wishes, claimed their rights, and made space for themselves.” Check back next week for Andrew’s podcast with Cormack.
One cool thing: Egyptian relics in Saudi Arabia
Long-lost artifacts dating back to the era of Egypt’s King Ramses III could be buried in Saudi Arabia, Hagar Hosny writes. Archaeologists have already uncovered in northern Saudi Arabia some evidence of Egyptian trade, including Ramses’ hieroglyphic inscriptions. With an excavation planned for November, the archaeologists are hoping to shed light on the pharaohs who sent trade missions to the Arabian Peninsula more than 3,000 years ago.
What we’re listening to: Al-Monitor interviews Israel’s Lapid, Bennett
If all goes as planned, an unlikely coalition of Israeli parties will bring an end to Netanyahu’s 12-year rule on Sunday. In case you missed them, and even if you didn’t, check out Ben Caspit’s podcasts from last year with the prime minister in waiting, Naftali Bennett, and the man who orchestrated Netanyahu’s political downfall, opposition leader Yair Lapid.
Turkey might have manage上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活off pressure to withdraw its military presence in Libya by agreeing to pull out the Syrian militia, but Ankara’s policies are widening the divide between rival Libyan actors and expanding the anti-Turkey front in the international arena.
Germany hosted the second Berlin conference on Libya on June 23 in a bid to advance efforts to carry the country to nationwide elections in December under a road map agreed as part of the UN-led efforts.
The process following the first Berlin conference in January 2020 has seen the announcement of a permanent cease-fire, the formation o上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活f a new unity government, and the formation of a military committee tasked with the unification of rival armed forces in the country.
Yet no progress has been achieved on efforts to merge rival Libyan institutions, form a national army, neutralize irregular Libyan militias, or draft a new constitution and election laws. The presence of foreign fighters in the country has turned into a major obstacle before all efforts on these fronts.
International calls for the withdrawal of foreign fighters from the country were echoed in the final text of the meeting as well.
However, the article was accepted with Turkey’s reservations. According to the Libyan sources, Turkey sought to use “all mercenaries” instead of “all foreign forces” in the wording of the text in a bid to secure the presence of the Turkis上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活h troops on the ground, yet its demand was denied by Egypt.
Ankara’s strategy is to bargain away the Syrian fighters it transferred to Libya in a bid to keep the Turkish troops in the country and to keep the spotlight on foreign militia fighting for Libya’s eastern-based forces loyal to retired Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter.
As part of this strategy, Turkey sought to force the Libyan Government of National Unity to back Ankara’s stance ahead of the conference. A large, high-level delegation including Turkey’s foreign, defense and interior ministers as well as presidential spokesman, intelligence chief and chief of the general staff paid an unannounced visit to the war-torn country on June 12.
While Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush has kept a firm stance on the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country, the head of the unity government, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, who was in close contact with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during the conference, is making a distinction between foreign fighters and mercenaries.
Dbeibeh’s distinction favoring Turkey has become apparent after his 上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Following the meeting on June 24, Dbeibeh said he stressed the importance of urgent withdrawal of “all foreign mercenaries” from the country.
The State Department’s readout on the meeting, in turn, said the parties emphasized the importance of “the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.”
Speaking to the press on June 24, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joey Hood acknowledged the difficulties before the implementation of the withdrawal calls but added that “the Libyans are clear: They want everybody out.”
“We can’t wave a magic wand and make this happen, but working together with the Libyan people, I think there’s a strong chance that we can set the conditions to provide the incentives and maybe other parameters for these forces to leave,” Hood said.
In the absence of a mechanism to enforce the withdrawal of foreign forces, the matter rests on negotiations between the involved parties, particularly between Russia and Turkey — two powers heavily involved in the conflict. As the conference w上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活as ongoing, The Associated Press reported that Russia and Turkey “tentatively agreed” to begin a process of withdrawing foreign fighters from Libya, citing a US official. The official told the AP the deal is not yet done but that the two countries were to discuss a withdrawal of about 300 each.
Mangoush voiced optimism over the matter. “We have progress in terms of mercenaries, so you know hopefully within coming days, mercenaries from both sides are going to be withdrawing and I think this is going to be encouraging,” she said, speaking in a joint conference with Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the end of the conference.
Maas said the withdrawal would have to be carried out “step by step” and in a balanced way to ensure neither Russia nor Turkey do not gain an advantage.
Sparring parties seem to have divided over which mercenaries leave the country first. The Russian-backed eastern forces have advocated the pullout of Syrian and Turkish fighters but sought to keep Syrian, Chad and Sundanese militia fighting in their ranks.
Ankara, in turn, has argued that withdrawal of Turkey from the country before the removal of militia backing Hifter would turn the tables against the legitimate Libyan government. For Turkey, the Turkish troops’ presence in the country is based on an agreement Ankara reached with the country’s legitimate government and is aimed at training the Libyan forces. Some Libyan groups supported by Turkey have also expressed their fears that withdrawal of Turkey might lay the ground for Hifter to reignite the war.
A road map proposed by France suggests a gradual withdrawal of foreign fighters. The road map unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the G-7 summit foresees the withdr上海品茶网d to stave 上海夜生活awal of Syrian fighters first, Wagner mercenaries second and Turkish troops third in a bid to unify rival Libyan armies.
Turkey’s objections indicate that Ankara is also supporting a gradual withdrawal in coordination with Russia. The simultaneous withdrawal of Syrian fighters from both camps might give Ankara time to prolong the presence of the Turkish troops in the country.
The Libyan actors’ unwelcoming stance to the Turkish presence, meanwhile, is complicating Ankara’s strategy.
First of all, unlike his public remarks, Dbeibeh might be adopting a different stance over the presence of the Turkish troops in his private deliberations. As the head of the unity government, he has to take into account Hifter-led forces’ demands as well. Besides, in addition to Turkey, Dbeibeh needs the support of France, Italy and Egypt, which are at odds with Turkey over the presence of foreign fighters.
Furthermore, the Biden administration’s support of the UN’s road map indicates the days that Turkey imposed its own realities on the ground have long gone.
Hifter has already claimed that conditions on the ground are making it impossible to hold elections, fueling the pressure on Turkey further.
Turkey’s political blunders are also adding to the controversy. The Turkish delegation’s visit on June 14 has undermined the budget bill vote in the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. Head of the Defense and National Security Committee Talal al-Mihoub blamed Dbeibeh’s open support for Turkey and the Turkish delegation’s unannounced visit for the veto of the budget bill.
“We, the Libyans, have been fighting the Turks since 1825; it hasn’t started today,” Misbah Duma, a parliamentarian, said during the budget discussions marred by a brawl.
Hifter-led forces aside, some other Libyan groups are also irked by Turkey’s overreaching policies in the country.
Aref Ali Nayed, head of the Ihya Libya Movement, called on the United Nations to push for a binding timetable for the withdrawal of the Turkish and Turkey-backed foreign fighters. Nayed also lashed out at the Turkish delegations’ frequent visits to Mitiga airport — a strategic airbase where most of the Turkish troops are based.
Apart from its military presence, some Libyan circles have also accused Turkey of eyeing economic gains through its military intervention. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call on his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev for joint investments in the Libyan energy sector has irked many in the country, leading to questions over Turkey’s respect for Libya’s sovereignty.
Deepening confrontations with the various Libyan actors further increase the question marks over the future of controversial military cooperation and maritime deals Turkey had signed with Libya’s Tripoli government in 2019 — the agreements have yet to be ratified by the House Representatives.
Meanwhile, Ankara’s insistence on keeping its troops in the country also mars its efforts to improve ties with Egypt, which asks Turkey to fully withdraw from Libya before a normalization between the two countries can be achieved.
major teachers uni上海夜生活on in the United States will soon vote on resolutions in support of the Palestinian cause and against US backing for the Israeli and Saudi governments.
The National Education Association (NEA) represents American public school teachers, and is the largest such organization in the country. During its annual meeting, which is taking place virtually until Saturday, union members will vote on a variety of resolutions.
Some of the resolutions pertain to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as US-Saudi relations. New Business Item 29 calls on the association to support the Palestinian cause and demand the US government stop military and other support to Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“The NEA will publicize its support for the Palestinian struggle for justice and call on the United States government to stop arming a上海夜生活nd supporting Israel and Saudi Arabia,” read the item.
New Business Item 29, like most such proposals, was submitted by 50 unnamed union representatives. It referred to the “heroic struggle” of Palestinians against Israel.
“The Arab population of Palestine has again risen up in a heroic struggle against military repression and ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the Israeli state and extreme nationalist forces in Israeli society,” it read.
Another Palestine-related resolution is New Business Item 51, which says the 上海夜生活sociation should educate the general public on Palestinian history, as well as the detention of Palestinian children by Israel. The item also calls on the teachers to advocate for the educational rights of Palestinian kids, among other things.
The association’s consideration of these resolutions was first reported by The Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative news outlet.
A resolution similar to New Business Item 51 was defeated at a 2019 meeting of the NEA.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an increasingly divisive issue in the United States. The United States provides billions in aid to Israel every year, in addition to a smaller amount to the Palestinian people. Criticism of US support for Saudi Arabia has also grown in recent years, in part due to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemeni civil war and the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.