Update and Assessment: September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015

Key Takeaways:

  1. In what may be a shift in Russian diplomacy in the region, Russia’s ambassador to Yemen, Vladimir Dedushkin, met with Saudi officials and members of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government in Riyadh before meeting with al Houthi representatives in Sana’a. A delegation of al Houthis and members of Yemen’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress, led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, then traveled to Oman to meet with the UN envoy to Yemen.
  2. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has a “constitutional duty” to protect the Islamic Revolution. Khamenei’s statement was probably in response to President Hassan Rouhani’s September 15 remark that the IRGC is not the “sole guardian” of the Islamic Revolution. This is the latest in the Supreme Leader’s public corrections of President Rouhani, likely in an effort to curb Rouhani’s influence in the wake of the nuclear deal.
  3. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked a mosque on a Pakistani Air Force base in Peshawar, Pakistan, in retaliation for Pakistani military operations against the group in the FATA region. Twenty-three of at least twenty-nine casualties were Pakistani Air Force officers.