News Roundup and Notes: April 3, 2015

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Officials on Thursday announced a “preliminary framework” for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.  While not final, the framework will guide the nuclear negotiations in the lead up to the June 30 deadline for an agreement aimed at keeping Tehran from building nuclear weapons. [Reuters‘ Louis Charbonneau and Stephanie Nebehay]

The plan was lauded by the New York Times Editorial Board as establishing a promising way forward. William Burns, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an advisor to the U.S. during the talks, explains the plan’s strengths. [New York Times]

The Iran nuclear deal still leaves some key areas open for interpretation, reports Politico‘s Michael Crowley. Meanwhile, The Washington Post‘s Ishaan Tharoor provides a breakdown of some of its key provisions.

The deal has much broader implications than for just Iran’s nuclear program. NPRs Greg Myre explores the potential impact of improved relations between longtime enemies Washington and Tehran and what this might mean throughout the world. 

While early congressional responses have been tepid with lawmakers demanding to review any final agreement, many are shying away from vowing to kill the accord. [New York Times‘ Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer]

‘Falling short.’ The Washington Post‘s Editorial Board is not pleased with the deal. It would leave too much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place with few restrictions on Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons as soon as the deal lapses in 2030, writes the Post’s board.

The end of economic sanctions against Iran will free it to join Saudi Arabia as a religious petro state with unlimited resources to pursue international ambitions, and this isn’t a good thing, argues Bobby Ghosh in Quartz.

AL SHABAAB ATTACK IN KENYA

At least 147 people were killed in yesterday’s al Shabaab attack in Garissa, Kenya. [Reuters’ Edith Honan]

The incident was the worst terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and brings the total number of people killed by al Shabaab there since 2012 to more than 600. It appears that the attackers targeted Christian students throughout the dorms at the Garissa University College campus. [New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman, Isma’il Kushkush, and Rukmini Callimachi]

YEMEN and SAUDI ARABIA

Houthi rebels seized a central district in the Yemeni city of Aden, before pulling back after one of their tanks was destroyed and another captured by forces loyal to Yemen’s embattled president. [Via Reuters’ Mohammed Mukhashaf and Anees Mansour] In the wake of this news, David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim report in the New York Times on the risks inherent in Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen.

Pakistani officials say their country won’t participate in the Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen, but will help Saudi Arabia defend its own territory if necessary. [Wall Street Journal’s Saeed Shah]

In a significant shift, it seems that Saudi Arabia is warming up to the Muslim Brotherhood, due to both the weakness of the Brotherhood in the country and rising concerns that the group is a distraction from concerns about Yemen and Iran, writes Yaroslav Trofimov in the Wall Street Journal.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Two women in New York have been charged in connection with a bomb plot in the U.S. The women were reportedly inspired by ISIS and AQAP. [CNN’s Ray Sanchez and Shimon Prokupecz]

Israel’s Supreme Court has blocked controversial plans to extend the separation wall through the Cremisan Valley. [Haaretz‘s Daniel Estrin] The Valley is home to several churches and has been the subject of a high-profile campaign to prevent the extension of the wall. [The Guardian‘s Peter Beaumont]

China’s former security chief has been charged with corruption and leaking state secrets. He will become the highest-level politician to stand trial in China in more than 30 years. [Associated Press]

More than 25,000 foreign fighters from at least 100 countries have joined terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS according to a recent UN report. [BBC]

New Snowden documents show that the GCHQ has engaged in a misinformation campaign in the Falkland Islands to assist the U.K. in retaining control over the islands. [The Intercept‘s Andrew Fishman and Glenn Greenwald]

The Vatican is backing an “urgent and effective response” to Boko Haram, the strongest statement yet on the matter. [The Daily Beast‘s Barbie Latza Nadeau]

A recent U.N. report found that peacekeepers in Mali used “unauthorized and excessive force” when they fired at civilians protesting outside their base in January of this year. [New York Times‘ Somini Sengupta]

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About the Author(s)

Megan Graham

Former Assistant Managing Editor and Security, Privacy, and Technology Fellow at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@meganmcgraham).

John Reed

Managing Editor of Just Security (2014-18). Follow him on Twitter (@ReedJustSec).