The POMED Wire

State Department Fact Sheet Details U.S. Commitment to Syria

usaidPhoto Credit: Reuters

The United States Department of State published a fact sheet on Syria today, titled “Syrian Crisis: U.S. Assistance and Support for the Transition.” The report reaffirms the United States’ support for “the Syrian people’s struggle for a democratic, inclusive, and unified Syria,” and outlines the programs the United States has targeted with its more than $2.9 billion in humanitarian assistance and $330 million in non-lethal support to the moderate Syrian opposition.

U.S. aid packages to Syria are supplemented by continuing diplomatic efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict devastating Syria. The fact sheet cites Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a principal barrier to a diplomatic solution of any kind in Syria. It also reaffirms the U.S.’s firm commitment to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, which it is doing in tandem with the United Nations.

U.S. humanitarian aid targets those most affected by the conflict, with half of the $2.9 billion going to humanitarian relief organizations working inside Syria, which provide conflict victims with medical care and supplies, shelter, immunizations, food and clean water. The other half of the humanitarian aid goes to assisting refugees and their host communities.

Non-lethal assistance to the Syrian …

Kuwait Revokes Citizenship of 18 Nationals

Kuwait Photo credit: AFP

Yesterday the Kuwaiti government invoked Article 13 and Article 21 of the Nationality Law to revoke the citizenship of 18 people, including that of prominent opposition activist Saad al-Ajmi. Article 11 stipulates that no Kuwaiti national may hold Kuwaiti nationality while also maintaining citizenship in another state. Article 21 states that the Kuwaiti nationality may be revoked if it was obtained by fraud or on the basis of a false declaration or false evidence submitted by a witness. Out of the 18 Kuwaiti nationals, 11 were naturalized citizens whose Kuwaiti nationality was deemed “not in accordance with the law.” No explanation was given for the other nationals or for Ajmi.

Kuwait has already stripped the nationality of 30 people since July, including a Muslim cleric, the owner of a pro-opposition TV station, and a former Islamist lawmaker. The actions were taken after the government instituted an “iron fist policy” against those accused of “undermining the stability” of the state. A spokesperson of the nationalist opposition Popular Action Movement and a former correspondent for Al-Arabiya, Ajmi said it was clear that the government is “targeting people with political positions.”

In response to the government’s revocation, opposition leader …

POMED Notes: “An Assessment of President Rouhani’s Visit to the United States”

CaptureOn Monday, September 29, the Woodrow Wilson Center held a panel discussion titled “An Assessment of President Rouhani’s Visit to the United States.” The panel featured former Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center and Affiliate Graduate Faculty and Lecturer at the University of Hawai’i Farideh Farhi and Managing Partner of Atieh International Bijan Khajehpour.  The panel was moderated by Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center Haleh Esfandiari.

For a full summary, keep reading or click here for the PDF.

Ms. Farhi stated that there has been a high degree of unity between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani with regards to the nuclear issue, which allows Iran to reject the notion that fractures between Rouhani and hardliners are to blame for a potential failure to reach a nuclear deal. Instead, Ms. Farhi said that the Iranian regime can now posit that the U.S.’ excessively high demands are to blame. She also added that due to the historically strained relations between the U.S. and Iran and due to the progress of the nuclear program under the sanctions, Iranian negotiators cannot settle on any given deal. She saw Rouhani’s presence at the …

President Hadi Accused of Delaying PM Appointment

Yemeni Pres Photo credit: Associated Press

Today, local journalists and political analysts accused President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi of purposefully causing delays in the appointment of Yemen’s new prime minister. ”President Hadi is wasting the time he has to choose the prime minister, while he can ‘save the day’ and avoid a complete failure,” said political analyst Waili. According to journalist Saif Gourbani, political parties had already reached consensus on the candidates for the position of prime minister, but at the last moment, the nomination was cancelled.  Another journalist, Faisal Hajj, provided a dissenting opinion, offering that the number of political parties and a joint process for choosing a prime minster caused the delays. “Perhaps a well-considered choice of prime minister is better than a careless one [...],” he said.

Meanwhile, the State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki issued a statement on Saturday regarding the conflict in Yemen, condemning “ongoing hostile and aggressive action against the Yemeni government and political targets” and calling for all parties to “turn over all medium and heavy weapons to the State.” Psaki also denounced members of the former Saleh regime and Houthi leadership who are taking advantage of the current security situation to “further their own …

Islamic State Kills Iraqi Human Rights Activist Samira Salih al-Nuaimi

071542_910496_Samira_Saleh_Al_Nuaimi_dlPhoto Credit: Getty Images

Islamic State militants killed Iraqi human rights activist and lawyer Samira Salih al-Nuaimi last Monday, September 22 in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The militant group seized al-Nuaimi from her home after she posted messages on her Facebook condemning the Islamic State’s “barbaric” destruction of religious sites in Mosul. According to the United Nations mission in Iraq, al-Nuaimi was tried in a “Sharia” court for apostasy. The militants tortured al-Nuaimi for five days before publicly executing her.

The Islamic State has destroyed historic and religious landmarks, as well as forced religious minorities to convert to Islam and pay special taxes. UN monitors have documented numerous executions of women by the Islamic State, including two candidates in Iraq’s Nineveh Province elections in July. Hanaa Edwer, an Iraqi human rights activist, said that in recent weeks, the Islamic State has murdered five women rights workers and political activists.

The United Nations envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov stated that “By torturing and executing a female human rights’ lawyer and activist, defending in particular the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul, ISIS continues to attest to its infamous nature, combining hatred, nihilism and savagery, as …

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