World News Brief, Tuesday May 12

Saudi King to miss Gulf summit in Washington DC; 2000 refugees on way to Thailand rescued after traffickers allegedly abandoned ship; Pyongyang test-fires ballistic missile; Hollande visits Cuba; Turkish cargo ship shelled off coast of Libya; and more 


Saudi King to Forego Gulf Summit in Washington

Saudi King Salman announced (Reuters) on Sunday that the crown prince will attend this week's Gulf Arab leaders summit in Washington and Camp David in his stead. The Saudi foreign minister cited timing conflicts due to a planned humanitarian cease-fire in Yemen and the opening of a center for humanitarian aid later this week. Meanwhile on Sunday, Shia Houthi rebels accepted (National) the Saudi-led coalition's offer of a five-day humanitarian cease-fire set to begin Tuesday evening. Separately, the Houthis claimed to have shot down (BBC) a Moroccan F-16 warplane on Monday that was taking part in the Gulf coalition's air campaign in Yemen. Saudi Arabia also announced that tanks (Al Arabiya) had arrived on the border with Yemen, following heavy cross-border bombing.


"The Arab regimes see a series of conflicts that the United States must resolve and a series of failing states that it must rehabilitate. Washington’s gaze is more narrow and its ambitions more circumspect. The United States remains committed to its war on terrorism in the region with its reliance on drones. It is seeking to degrade the self-declared Islamic State and prevent it from taking over strategic cities in Iraq. Beyond that, there is no real U.S. Middle East policy to speak of," writes CFR's Ray Takyeh in an Expert Brief.

"If the Gulf leaders bring more complaints to U.S. policymakers about Iranian 'treachery' and 'malice,' this will fall on deaf ears in Washington. If the leaders go to Washington carrying careful questions and insist on having answers regarding these aspects of the nuclear deal, they would be letting Washington know they are unwilling to content themselves with smooth talking and 'reassurances' and insist on strategic guarantees rather that distraction meant to keep them away from shaping the future of the region," writes Raghida Dergham in Al Arabiya.

"The Saudis risk becoming entrenched indefinitely in an adventure that neither helps battered Yemeni citizens nor scores undisputed victory for a leadership that is navigating a difficult terrain. The only way out of this awkward and dangerous situation is for the proposed five-day suspension of military action to become permanent, giving way to negotiation and compromise. This would allow Saudi Arabia to claim a different kind of victory rather than the one the Saudi leadership hopes for and ensure that the Saudis save face," writes Madawi Al-Rasheed in Al-Monitor


Thousands of Refugees Arrive in Indonesia, Malaysia

Nearly two thousand Myanmar Rohingya, Bangladeshi, and other refugees were rescued (AFP) in or swam ashore to Indonesia and Malaysia on Monday after traffickers allegedly abandoned ship. The arrivals come as Thailand, a common destination for refugees in the region, cracks down on human smuggling following last week’s discovery of human remains at an abandoned migrant camp.

CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick discusses Thai policy on trafficking in this blog post.

NORTH KOREA: Pyongyang successfully test-fired (Yonhap) a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Saturday, according to state media. The testing heightens simmering tensions between North and South Korea.

This CFR Interactive explores the ongoing conflict on the Korean Peninsula.


Hollande visits Cuba

Turkish cargo ship shelled off coast of Libya

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