From Global Discussions:
Turmoil in Yemen
On Thursday, January 22, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansourr Hadi resigned, due to an attack of his palace by the Houthi rebel group, which broke a cease-fire deal between the Yemeni government and the Houthis. The cease-fire deal stipulated that the Houthis would have increased representation in Parliament if they released the President Hadi’s Chief of Staff, whom they have held captive since Saturday. So far, Yemen’s parliament has not accepted the President’s resignation, but the Houthis have and are planning on creating a ruling council. These events could have a large impact on U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Yemen; President Obama has acknowledged that the U.S. has had a lot of success with counterterrorism in Yemen, but much of that success came with the help of Present Hadi. Experts are also worried that in the absence of Yemeni government, al-Qaeda may take political control.
To find out more about the Houthis, click here.
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Strengthening Ties with India
President Obama’s trip to New Delhi, India signals a warming relationship with the country. He is the first U.S. president to be invited to India’s Republic Day parade, which took place on January 26 and celebrates the day when India became a republic after the adoption of the Indian Constitution. Obama is also the first U.S. president to visit India twice while in office. The invitation to visit from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an immense honor, as each year India invites a different foreign head of state.
During Obama’s visit, he and Prime Minister Modi renewed a 10-year defense pact, agreed to have joint military hardware production, and decided to work together to reduce problems of greenhouse gas emissions that have affected the world’s climate. Prime Minister Modi has already agreed to increase the use of solar-powered electricity in India from 3,000 megawatts to about 100,000 megawatts by 2022. Obama and Modi are also working to help reduce India’s use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a main part of coolants used in refrigerators and air-conditioners. Obama wants Modi’s support for a United Nations climate change accord that is set to occur in Paris in December. Hopefully this visit to India will mark the beginning of more effective negotiations with the U.S.
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Elections in Greece
Greece’s left wing party, Syriza, is heading to a victory in the general election after years of a severely troubled economy and near exit from the euro. Under the previous control of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Greece’s unemployment rate reached a high of 28%, as well as faced decreased wages and older retirement ages. Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, promises to end Greece’s austerity, alleviate debt, and return social justice. Speaking to a crowd on election day, Tsipras said, “We are regaining our lost dignity… now that we are heard by all of Europe, we will fight with the same passion, the same confidence. So let’s go and let’s all continue this beautiful and tough fight.” This historic victory has the potential to elevate other populist parties’ movements in Italy and Spain.
Changes in Saudi Arabia
On Thursday January 22, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died at age 90. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. undoubtedly have had vast political differences, but since Abdullah has been king, the two countries have been able to unite over common interests. Saudi Arabia has oil for the U.S., while the U.S. has the weaponry and technology Saudi Arabia needs for its security. Abdullah was known as a reformer, and Secretary of State John Kerry noted that “the United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader.” Abdullah will be succeeded by his half-brother, Crown Prince Salman. Many predict a smooth political transition.
Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group who recently reportedly killed 2,000 civilians in the northeastern town of Baga, have captured the strategic northeastern city of Maiduguri, with dozens already reported dead.
Over the weekend, 30 people were killed in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, while an additional 102 were injured. Early reports indicate pro-Russian separatists are responsible.
In a clash between police and Egyptian protestors, at least 16 people have been killed. The protests marked the fourth anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 political uprising.