The POMED Wire

Tobruk-Based Libya PM Targeted in Assassination Attempt

Photo Credit: CNN/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni of the Tobruk-based government survived an assassination attempt yesterday by gunmen in Tobruk. While on his way to the airport after attending a parliament session, al-Thinni’s motorcade was attacked, leaving one of his guards wounded. The motorcade was reportedly ambushed by five unmarked cars as a sole gunman opened fire on the Prime Minister’s car. Al-Thinni described the incident to the media stating that, “We were surprised by a lot of bullets… Thank God, we managed to escape.” Hatem el-Ouraybi, the spokesman for al-Thinni’s, said, “The prime minister was not hurt…It was an assassination attempt.” During a House of Representatives session for the Tobruk government before the attempted assassination, armed protesters planned to storm the building while firing shots into the air and demanding for al-Thinni to be removed from office.

Prior to the assassination attempt, a leader of Tobruk’s Obiedi tribe threatened al-Thinni before the assassination, saying that, “This prime minister must resign, if he doesn’t I will smash his head…either he leaves or we won’t let the house of representatives stay in Tobruk.”

Meanwhile, Jean-Louis Romanet Perroux suggests that “the country is sliding into a civil war, and a …

POMED Hearing Notes: Egypt Two Years After Morsi: Part I

On Wednesday, May 20th, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa held a hearing entitled “Subcommittee Hearing: Egypt Two Years After Morsi: Part I.” The committee invited speakers Eric Trager, Ph.D., Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Samuel Tadros, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute; and Nancy Okail, Ph.D., Executive Director, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy to testify.

To keep reading, click here for the PDF or continue below.

Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) opened by stressing Egypt’s importance to U.S. interests in the region, while also noting that human rights and promoting free democratic societies are top priorities. She called the postponement of parliamentary elections a “major setback” and added that the elections must be held as soon as possible. Ros-Lehtinen also commented on the importance of ensuring security, of countering terrorism in Sinai, and of Egypt acting as a counterbalancing force to Iran. Having long taken interest in the high-profile NGO worker case that led to the conviction of 43 individuals, including several Americans, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen called on Sisi to work for their exoneration. Finally, she stressed the need to “find the right …

Yemen Peace Talks Postponed Indefinitely

Peace talks which had been set to begin on May 28th between Yemeni government and opposition members, including the Houthis, have been indefinitely postponed. The inclusive peace talks were to be hosted hosted by the U.N. in Geneva. The goal of the talks, as expressed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was to  ”restore momentum towards a Yemeni-led political transition process.” The U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed stressed the importance of relaunching the political dialogue so that a peaceful transition can take place.

Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi rebel group, had publicly voiced his opinion that the talks are the “only solution” to the current conflict, while Foreign Minister Riad Yassin expressed concern over the short notice given by the U.N. and claimed that he never received an official invitation to attend the talks. Yassin had also requested that the Houthis be required to “disarm and leave the cities they have seized” before the peace talks begin. Another Yemeni government official blamed the postponement of talks on the Houthis, arguing that they were not willing to commit to disarmament and withdrawal.

Bruce Riedel argues that based on the current status of Operation Decisive …

Analysts Call for More Aid to Tunisia as President Essebsi Prepares to Meet Obama

In anticipation of  Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi‘s meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, there have been calls to increase U.S. support for the young democracy. Citing security and economic concerns, President Essebsi has stated ”we are in a very difficult situation, and if Tunisia is going to get out of that, we need support.” Tamara Cofman Wittes writes that the support Tunisia needs has not been forthcoming in the levels appropriate for the only Arab Spring country that has experienced a lasting democratic transition. Deriding the fact that the support Tunisia has received has been security-focused, Wittes argues that “a relationship with Washington that’s overly rooted in security cooperation risks repeating the same mistake U.S. administrations made for years with other Arab governments and that brought us neither democracy nor stability.”

Similarly, the Center for Islam and Democracy and the American-Tunisian Association issued an open letter to President Barack Obama calling for drastically increased aid; the letter argues that increasing support for Tunisia is critical to the promotion of democracy in the region, stating “this is not always easy in the fog of war and terrorism, but right now Tunisia offers the best democratic example, ever, in …

Yemen Ceasefire Ends, Saudi Airstrikes Resume

Photo Credit: Reuters

Despite appeals by the United Nations for an extension, Saudi Arabia and Houthi forces have resumed fighting in Yemen. Reyad Yassin Abdulla, Yemen’s foreign minister, blamed the Houthis for a failed truce renewal. Yemen’s exiled president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi suggested that the Houthis “endangered local, regional and international security…aborted the peaceful transition of power that was agreed upon.” 

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made a plea for a five-day extension to the truce, after declaring that “the humanitarian pause is important to give them [Yemenis] time to seek medical assistance and receive much-needed humanitarian assistance which so far has been unable to reach most Yemenis.” Yemen’s Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman responded to the failed plea attempt stating that, ”despite daily appeals of health institutions and hospitals about the disastrous health situation and the lack of drugs, we did not find any response during the days of the truce.”

Highlighting the importance of humanitarian aid in Yemen, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 12 million Yemeni people were food insecure, 13.4 million lacked access to clean water or sanitation, more than 300,000 people have been displaced, and

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