World News at a Glance
Posted May 11, 2018 10:12 p.m. EDT
U.S. Takes Risk: New Iraq Allies Were Once Foes
Iraq’s interior minister, Qassim al-Araji, was detained twice by the Americans at the notorious Camp Bucca prison during the Iraq War and held for 23 months. As a former commander of an Iranian-backed militia, his loyalties are open to question. But when he met with the U.S. ambassador last year, he had a surprising message: He and other former Shiite militants wanted the Americans to stay. Iraq needed their help, he said, to stabilize the country and combat the threat of the Islamic State. The request represented an opportunity for the United States to achieve its elusive security goals in the region, albeit with some unlikely partners.
On U.S.-North Korea Talks, China May Hold the Cards
Along the Chinese border with North Korea, the evidence of Beijing’s leverage in the coming talks between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is everywhere. Footage of China’s president, Xi Jinping, hosting Kim this week plays in a loop on a big outdoor screen in the city of Dandong. Traders say they are putting in advance orders for coal from North Korean suppliers. The Trump administration insists it will maintain its campaign of “maximum pressure” on the North until Kim dismantles his nuclear arsenal. But the buoyant mood in Dandong is a reminder that China, as North Korea’s main trade partner, can decide how strictly to enforce the international sanctions.
Iran Rallies Against U.S. and Warns Europe Over Endangered Nuclear Deal
Iran’s hard-line authorities organized nationwide rallies Friday to denounce the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, burning American flags and warning that Europe might further sabotage the accord. The reaction reflected the view held by many hard-liners that the U.S. withdrawal had vindicated their suspicions that Westerners were treacherous. The anger on display in Tehran and other cities also reinforced the possibility that Iran would now abandon the agreement as well, restarting the nuclear-fuel enrichment it had halted. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami admonished fellow citizens against making any deals with foreigners “since they cannot be trusted.”
Secure in Hungary, Orban Readies for Battle with Brussels
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in his first address to parliament in his new term, styled himself as the leader of a movement to reform the European Union and as defender of the sovereign rights of its member nations. He presented a vision for Europe that stood in stark contrast to the one embraced by Western leaders like President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, with their acceptance of political and ethnic pluralism, dissent and fairly high levels of migration from Asia and Africa and the Middle East.
Pakistan and U.S. Restrict Diplomats’ Travel, Adding New Strain on Ties
Pakistan placed travel restrictions on U.S. diplomats based in the country, the latest in a series of retaliatory measures that threaten to plunge already strained relations to their worst level in years. The restrictions were imposed on the same day the United States barred diplomats working at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington from traveling outside of a 25-mile radius around the city without approval. The United States has long complained that Pakistani police and security officials frequently harass U.S. diplomats and their staff with traffic stops and citations that require considerable time and effort to resolve.
Britain’s Lords Savage Brexit Plan
Unelected, and with an average age of 69, members of Britain’s House of Lords rarely dominate news headlines. But after inflicting its 14th defeat on the government’s legislative preparations for leaving the European Union, or Brexit, the low-key second chamber of Britain’s Parliament has put itself at the heart of a fraught debate and become something unfamiliar: a big political stage. In vote after vote, this holdover from Britain’s aristocratic history has acted as a brake on the government’s Brexit plans, sending them back to the House of Commons where they could face uncertain, knife-edge votes.