News Roundup and Notes: July 13, 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

Iran announcement planned today. Contingency plans have been made for an announcement ceremony today if the parties to nuclear negotiations succeed in reaching a final agreement, according to diplomats. Success is not guaranteed however, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the talks would continue as long as necessary. [Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau and John Irish]

Consensus was reached over the weekend that the most important obstacles to an accord had been overcome, including the last-minute deadlock over the UN arms embargo and restrictions on Iran’s missile programme. [The Guardian’s Julian Borger]

European officials are pushing for agreement to be reached today, warning that the diplomacy could fail if a deal is not reached by tonight. [Wall Street Journal’s Laurence Norman and Jay Solomon]

Iran dominates the Sunday Shows. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the nuclear deal with Iran as a “very hard sell” on “Fox News Sunday.” Verification is key to any Iran nuclear deal, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, adding that Tehran will “cheat by inches,” in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Speaker John Boehner suggested that a nuclear “standoff” with Iran was preferable to a bad deal, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The Hill provides a “wrap-up” of the main highlights.

“Exaggerated tales” of “Iranian regional ascendency” following the conclusion of a nuclear deal don’t “jibe with reality” but are nonetheless threatening to “upend” a historic deal with Tehran, write Trita Parsi and Tyler Cullis, explaining that Iran’s military might is not what it’s said to be. [Foreign Policy]

Tehran-Moscow ties should be “viewed in a multidimensional analysis,” writes Bijan Khajehpour, exploring how the lifting of sanctions and reengagement by the West in Iran will effect Iran-Russia relations. [Al-Monitor]

IRAQ and SYRIA

The Iraqi offensive to retake Anbar province from the Islamic State was launched today, according to state television. ISIS captured Anbar’s capital, Ramadi two months ago. [Reuters]

Bomb attacks across Shi’ite neighborhoods in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad killed at least 35 people early Sunday morning. The Islamic State is suspected of responsibility for the attack. [Al Jazeera]

The U.K. should “spend more” on the SAS and drones to assist in the fight against the Islamic State, the country’s Prime Minister David Cameron told defense chiefs. [BBC]

ISIS has launched a Russian-language propaganda channel, a further indication of the growing prominence of the group’s Russian-speaking faction, particularly in the North Caucasus. [The Guardian’s Joanna Paraszczuk]

Al-Qaeda and ISIS are “totally the product of our modernity, which is something that we are afraid to accept,” writes John Sifton, in a book discussed by George Packer at The New Yorker.

Syria’s Aleppo is once again “in the eye of the storm,” reports Mohammed al-Khatieb, detailing the ongoing “chaos” in the city with regime and opposition fighters vying for control. [Al-Monitor]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

ISIS released an audio tape purporting to contain the voice of its leader in Afghanistan today, sparking doubt over whether he was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Friday. [Reuters]

A bomb attack near a former CIA military base in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 33 people today. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, though the Taliban are known to target the area. [BBC]

The U.S. is pushing North African countries to consider positioning drones at bases on their territory to increase surveillance of ISIS in Libya. [Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous and Gordon Lubold]

Fighting continued in Yemen this weekend, despite plans for a UN-backed humanitarian ceasefire. [Washington Post’s Ali al-Mujahed and Hugh Naylor]  At least 21 people were killed in Saudi airstrikes on Monday. [Reuters’ Mohammed Ghobari]

A data breach may have compromised private information at the Army National Guard, an incident unrelated to the OPM security breach. [The Hill’s Mark Hensch]  In the wake of the OPM hack, the agency’s director, Katherine Archuleta resigned on Friday, amidst mounting pressure for her to step aside. [The Hill’s Cory Bennett]

A car bomb destroyed the Italian consulate in Cairo; ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. [NBC’s Charlene Gubash and Jillian Sederholm]

At least five people died in al-Shabaab attacks on Somali hotels this weekend. In condemning the attacks the Obama administration reiterated its support for Somali and AMISOM forces. [The Hill’s Kyle Balluck]

NATO should “get serious” about conflict with Russia, argues The Brookings Institution’s Michael Hanlon at Politico Magazine. 

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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).