Globe Trot: Saudi Arabia joins the fray in Yemen
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/26/15, 11:35 am
YEMEN: Overnight, Saudi forces began airstrikes against Houthi rebel positions in Yemen. The Iran-backed rebels have in recent weeks driven U.S. special forces from Yemen, along with the country’s U.S.-backed head of state—ending what had been a successful counterterrorism operation in this part of the world and setting the state for a Sunni-Shiite proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Meanwhile, U.S. fighters launched airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Tikrit, putting the United States in the contorted position of siding with Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq while siding with Saudi forces against Iran in Yemen. As Anne Barnard of The New York Times noted, it’s a “weirder than usual Mideast day.”
AFGHANISTAN: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion, even in the aftermath of five years’ captivity by the Taliban. And it’s fair to question whether President Barack Obama broke the law by authorizing the release of five Taliban detainees held by the United States in exchange for Bergdahl without consulting Congress.
It’s also fair, and necessary, to look at then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the deal for Bergdahl’s release. “She was heavily involved from the beginning, she was very skeptical of the arrangement, she was very wary of it,” one official said at the time.
GERMANY: Reporters have asked and questions have gone unanswered about the religion or other motivation of Germanwings copilot Andreas Lubitz, whom investigators now say “deliberately” crashed the plane he was flying over the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board.
NIGERIA: Ahead of presidential elections on Saturday, a Nigerian pastor highlighted for the U.K. parliament the life-threatening problems Christians face: “Leave your faith or be shot dead.”
At least 500 children are missing near the Niger border, feared Boko Haram captives. And the 200 girls abducted in Chibok a year ago are being held in Gwoza, according to a woman recently released by Boko Haram from the same location (ATTN: First Lady Michelle Obama, Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill et. al., African Union, U.S. Africa Command …)
CHINA: A pastor who demonstrated against the Chinese government’s demolition of churches has been sentenced to one year in prison for “gathering crowds to disturb social order.”