World News Brief, Tuesday April 14

US boosts role in Yemen; Chinese hackers likely responsible for cyberespionage campaign; Japanese PM to visit Kazakhstan; Taliban forces attack Afghan army posts; Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail; historic meeting between Castro and Obama; and more


United States Expands Role in Yemen

The United States boosted its intelligence sharing (National) with Saudi Arabia, including providing information on military targets. The Saudi-led Gulf coalition air campaign against the Shia Houthi rebels has not prevented their advances in much of Yemen. At least 648 civilians have been killed (WSJ) in the two weeks since foreign intervention began, according to UN officials. Separately, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, exiled in Saudi Arabia, named (AP) former Prime Minister Khaled Bahah as the country's new vice president, a move that is seen as an attempt to strengthen the embattled executive branch. The Houthis have called for the formation of a presidential council.  Meanwhile, tribal forces in Shabwa province took fifteen Houthi fighters hostage (Al Arabiya) on Sunday.


"Washington undoubtedly hopes to offer just enough support to placate its traditional allies while settling the deal with Iran. That will be a difficult balancing act to maintain, for the Saudis can always up the stakes. The United States cannot simply turn away from the Saudis, but the wisest path forward is to move as quickly as possible to a final agreement with Iran," writes Paul W. Kahn in Al Jazeera America.

"If the Houthis are not stopped, they are destined to become the next Hezbollah, deployed by Iran to threaten the people in the region and beyond. The oil shipments through the Red Sea that much of the world depends on will be in jeopardy, and Al Qaeda and other radical groups will be allowed to flourish," argues Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the New York Times.

"Saudi interests in Yemen should not replace those of the United States. With this in mind, the Obama administration should work to find an immediate political solution to the conflict, one that can be embraced by the various Yemeni factions," writes Ali AlAhmed at CNN.


Report: Chinese Hackers Behind Cyberespionage Campaign

Chinese hackers are likely responsible for mounting a sophisticated cyberespionage campaign (WSJ) in place since 2005 that targeted governments, firms, and journalists in Southeast Asia, India, and other countries, according to U.S.-based cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. In response, Chinese officials referred to past denials that the government is behind hacking. Meanwhile, Beijing said Taiwan will not be a founding member (SCMP) of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

JAPAN: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans (Yomiuru Shimbun) to go on a five-nation Central Asia tour in August, including a visit to Kazakhstan, in a bid to strength ties between Japan and the resource-rich countries according to government sources. The anticipated trip will be the first of its kind for a Japanese leader since 2006.


Sharif to Give Statement on Yemen

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to make a statement (Dawn) on Yemen’s civil strife on Monday. Last week, Pakistan's parliament unanimously passed a resolution urging neutrality despite a request from Saudi Arabia for troops, ships, and planes in the military action against the Shia Houthis.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban forces attacked (AP) Afghan army posts in northeastern Badakhshan province killing eighteen soldiers, beheading eight of them.

This CFR InfoGuide explores the challenges in combatting the Taliban.


Hillary Clinton on presidential campaign trail

Historic meeting between Castro and Obama

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on