Yemen, Sudan, Libya: Can US douse flames of Middle East hot spots?
With the euphoria over the Arab Spring wearing off, President Obama is sending top aides to the Middle East to address worsening violence in Yemen and fears of renewed civil strife in Sudan.
With several conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa deteriorating, President Obama is dispatching senior members of his foreign policy and national security team to the region to try to stop things from getting worse.Skip to next paragraph
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The White House announced Wednesday that John Brennan, Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, is in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum consulting with government officials on recent setbacks to a 2005 peace accord that some in the region fear could mean a return to civil war.
After Sudan, Mr. Brennan will continue on to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where the US will try to give renewed impetus to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s proposal for a transition of power in Yemen. Yemen has witnessed raging gun battles and mounting deaths in recent days as President Ali Abdullah Saleh has rebuffed demands that he step down.
On Tuesday, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to the region next week to participate June 9 in the next meeting of the international Libya Contact Group in the UAE. From there, Secretary Clinton will continue on to Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
The Libya Contact Group, which includes NATO countries and countries from the region, is pressing Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi to leave power. NATO announced on Wednesday that it is extending its military mission in Libya, ostensibly undertaken to protect Libyan civilians from Colonel Qaddafi’s military might, by another 90 days. The current mission was set to end in a month.
In a speech in Brussels Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he hopes a “solution to the conflict” can be reached within the next four months, or by the end of September when the extended mission would end.