News Roundup and Notes: July 1, 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 talks deadline extended. Negotiators have pushed back the cut-off point for reaching a nuclear deal for a week past yesterday’s deadline, which was widely expected to be missed. If the parties succeed in reaching a comprehensive agreement by the July 7 deadline, Congress will get just 30 days to look over the deal. However, if they fail to reach accord before July 9, U.S. lawmakers would have an additional 30 days to review. [Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman and Carol E. Lee]

President Obama expressed a willingness to walk away from any proposed accord unless the Iranians accept a “serious, rigorous verification mechanism” to ensure its compliance with the deal, at a Washington press conference yesterday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also displayed caution, saying that if the West fails to hold up on its promises, his country would resume suspended nuclear work immediately, state news agency IRNA reported. [Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi and John Irish]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a deal on Iran’s nuclear program won’t stop it from developing a nuclear weapon, cautioning world powers against passing the deal at a press conference yesterday.   And, the official Twitter account of Netanyahu posted a video comparing the Iran to the Islamic State yesterday, as talks between Iran and the P5+1 took place in Vienna. [Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor]

The negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program illustrate the “growing divide between those seeking desperately to hold on to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and those with the desire to move on,” writes Thomas Erdbrink, surveying the situation on the ground in Tehran. [New York Times]

What if the negotiations fail to result in a deal? Aaron David Miller explores the potential fallout for the Wall Street Journal.

IRAQ and SYRIA

A Syrian Kurdish militia has reclaimed full control of the border town of Tel Abyad following a victory over the Islamic State who had raided it the day prior, the group has said. [Reuters]

U.S. expenditure on the fight against the Islamic State has reached close to $3 billion, the Pentagon reported in an update yesterday. [The Hill’s Rebecca Shabad]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this week that the international community should be ashamed of its failure to bring peace to Syria, three years after the adoption of a blue print for the country’s peace process in Geneva. [UN News Centre; AP]

EGYPT

A string of attacks on army checkpoints in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula today killed at least 30 soldiers. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, however it bore the hallmarks of the country’s Islamic State affiliate, reports Ashraf Sweilam. [AP]

Egypt’s President Sisi vowed to create new laws to expedite judicial processes and enforcement of the death penalty, in a speech at the funeral of the state prosecutor who was assassinated Monday. [The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley]

Three militants died in a car explosion in a Cairo suburb yesterday; authorities believe the explosives they were transporting went off accidentally. [AFP]

YEMEN

Houthi rocket artillery targeting the Mansoura district of Aden early today has killed at least 17 civilians and wounded dozens more, according to medical sources. [Al Jazeera]

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is facing mounting pressure, as UN officials prepare to declare the humanitarian situation in the country as “Level 3,” placing it in the ranks of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises. [New York Times’ Somini Sengupta]

AFGHANISTAN

A suicide car bomb attack in Kabul, targeting a convoy of U.S. troops, left one Afghan dead and 22 injured yesterday. An angry response from locals following the incident resulted in the stabbing of one American soldier. [New York Times’ Joseph Goldstein and Ahmad Shakib]

The Human Terrain System has been terminated by the Army. The program, which placed social scientists in warzones in order to help troops curb excessive bloodshed and improve civilian lives, had been the subject of much controversy. [USA Today’s Tom Vanden Brook]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

Israel will build a wall on its eastern-border with Jordan as part of its “national security” effort to prevent the entrance of illegal immigrants and terrorists. [Haaretz’s Barak Ravid and Gili Cohen]

ISIS vowed to “overrun” Hamas in a video statement. [Reuters]   Hamas has faced increasing attacks from Islamic State affiliates in Gaza. [New York Times’ Diaa Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The gunman responsible for last Friday’s attack in Sousse, Tunisia trained at an Islamic State base in Libya in January; Tunisian authorities say Seifeddine Rezgui trained at the camp at the same time as two gunmen who killed 22 people in an attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March. [The Guardian’s Chris Stephen]

The NSA has temporarily resumed collection of data from American phone records, following authorization by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Monday. [Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima] The ruling was made in accordance with a Senate bill that mandates the phasing out of the program by November 2015. [Intercept’s Dan Froomkin]

The State Department released 3,000 pages of emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last night, which cover a broad spectrum of issues.The release is pursuant to an order by a federal judge to release information every 30 days. [National Journal’s Ben Geman]

Drone footage has shown a Russian military camp in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. The footage – released yesterday by a Ukrainian pro-government volunteer regiment – shows the rapid development of the camp over the course of two weeks. [The Daily Beast’s Pierre Vaux]

Yassin Salhi, the main suspect in last week’s decapitation attack in France, has links to the Islamic State in Syria, a French prosecutor has said. [The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis]  Salhi, who denies having a terrorism motive, claims he does not remember the incident itself or sending an image of the scene to a friend in Syria immediately afterward. [AP]

Democrats have asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on domestic terrorism, following the recent shooting at a historically African American church in South Carolina. [The Hill’s Jordain Carney]

The escalating debt crisis in Greece is an issue of U.S. national security interest, the White House has made clear. President Obama said yesterday he is encouraging Europe to salvage a deal with Athens. [New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Binyamin Appelbaum]

The U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to reinstate full diplomatic ties, and to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals, according to a senior administration official speaking yesterday. Secretary of State John Kerry will outline further details of the American effort from Vienna today. [Wall Street Journal’s Felicia Schwartz et al] 

Filed under:
About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security

Sarika Arya

Former Summer Fellow at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@sarika_arya).