World News Brief, Friday May 15

Obama hosts Gulf leaders, talks nuclear negotiations; Japan likely to expand scope of overseas military operations; Malaysia turns away migrants; Vatican to recognise Palestinian state; gunmen storm Kabul hotel; and more


Obama Hosts Gulf Leaders at Camp David

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting (AP) representatives from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates at Camp David on Thursday. The president is expected to address concerns over nuclear negotiations with Iran and affirm Washington's continued commitment to security in the Gulf region. Gulf and U.S. leaders are also expected to discuss (WSJ) the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian officials have reportedly vowed to match (NYT) Iran's nuclear capabilities.


"Washington should pledge to respond to any military attack against its Gulf partners—whether by Iran or any other adversary—with military force. It should follow that pledge with a more formal commitment to multilateral security by establishing a political–military consultative mechanism and a joint command structure, and finally a legally binding collective defense treaty," write Bilal Y. Saab and Barry Pavel in Foreign Affairs.

"As the GCC states become more independent, the United States will not always like the solutions they come up with to deal with regional security issues, such as the ongoing civil war in Yemen or whatever crisis might arise next. At times, U.S. officials will need to seek difficult compromises. But in most circumstances Gulf state ownership of their problems—and the solutions—will lead to better outcomes than American-led efforts, particularly military intervention," write Jeremy Shapiro and Richard Sokolsky in Foreign Policy.

"But while many are optimistic over a final deal—coming with a change in Iran's attitude and behavior—many are preparing for the post-agreement consequences. And any unexpected turn of events, such as Iran engaging further in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon, could jeopardise the past several years of diplomatic talks, held in good faith, and transform the region into the roaring furnace of the worst conflict the world has yet known," writes Camelia Entekhabifard in Al Jazeera


Abe's Cabinet Approves Japanese Security Bills

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet adopted two bills that, if passed by parliament, would expand (Japan Times) the scope of overseas military operations. The bills propose removing geographic restrictions on where Japanese forces can operate and allowing Japan to come to the military aid of allies.

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Malaysia turned (AFP) away two boats carrying more than eight hundred migrants on Thursday, while another boat carrying hundreds of abandoned Muslim Rohingya was spotted in Thai waters in the Andaman Sea. Thailand said that it will build (Bangkok Post) more temporary shelters to hold migrants pending their repatriation. Thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants are feared stranded in Southeast Asian waters.


Vatican to recognise Palestinian state

Gunmen storm Kabul hotel

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