1) As Houthi rebels continued to gain ground in Yemen this week, Saudi Arabia has decided to step in. The Saudis began “Operation Decisive Storm,” with 150,000 soldiers and a series of air attacks to drive back the Houthis from their positions. Iran has condemned the attacks. The turmoil inside Yemen could lead to great calls for independence in the south.
1) After Denmark announced plans to add radar capability to some of its warships and participate in NATO’s missile shield, Russia made specific threats to target Danish ships. The missile shield is not directed as Russia but at other nuclear threats like Iran. Russia says the move is damaging to Russian-Danish relations and says it will carry out threats if Denmark moves forward with its plans.
1) Israel heads to the polls today. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s lead slipped in the days leading up to the election.
2) U.S. diplomat Kevin Sturr was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the weekend but was quickly released. He was picked up with journalists and activist attending a pro-democracy conference engaging youth in politics. The arrests were on the grounds of a national security threat. The journalists have been released, but not the activists.
1) Sec. of State John Kerry has deviated from the U.S. stance on Syria by saying America will need to negotiate with President Assad. Assad responded by saying he wanted to see actions not just words.
1) ISIS has released a video of a child appearing to execute a “spy” from Israel in the latest brutal clip from the terrorist organization.
2) NATO says that Russia still has a presence in Ukraine and that they are equipping pro-separatist rebels with weapons and tanks. Russia has opted to stop participating in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Over the weekend Russia arrested 5 people in connection with the murder of Boris Nemtsov. However, one of the men has retracted his confession, saying he admitted to the killing while being tortured.
1) US-backed rebel group, Hazzm, dissolved after targeted attacks by al-Nursa Front. The Hazzm movement was supposed to target ISIS with U.S. training and weapons. The terrorist organization claims to have captured all of the group’s supplies from America. In the past, al-Nursa aligned itself with Al Qaeda, but recent reports say the smaller organization plans to split off and form its own group with backing from Qatar. The goal of al-Nursa has been to target the Syrian government and remove Bashar al-Assad from power. This morning, Syrian State media (SANA) reported that the army had successfully killed al-Nursa’s leader, Abu Humam al-Shami.
Note: The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was attacked in Seoul by an anti-war/reunification activist this morning. Lippert is stable and recovering.
1) Boko Haram released an ISIS-style execution video at the beginning of the week. The video alleges the two men are spies, and shows their bodies, but not the beheading. There is currently no information on who the two hostages were or where the video was taken.