Nation and World News

Nation and World News

Iraq

During his visit to Washington D.C., Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saudi Arabia is improperly interfering in Yemen, where it has launched an aerial campaign to restore the ousted president to power and roll back the territorial gains of Houthi rebels.

“The dangerous thing is, we don’t know what the Saudis want to do after this,” Abadi told a small group of reporters on Wednesday. “Is that to build a regional power where they will intervene in any place they want? Is Iraq within their radar? That is very, very dangerous.”

Saudi Arabia’s actions have largely been seen as a counter to Iran, which is thought to fund and support Yemen’s Houthi rebels. However, Abadi denied this claim and said, “Yemen was not an Iranian proxy at all.”

Abadi’s statements come at a delicate time for the United States as it tries to balance various interests and conflicts in the Middle East.

The United States has supported the Saudi campaign in Yemen by providing intelligence and refueling capabilities. Meanwhile, the United States is also backing the Iraqi government and Iranian-backed Shiite militias that are fighting to reclaim territory captured by militants of the Islamic State.

Russia

President Vladimir Putin addressed a huge Russian audience on Thursday as he conducted his 13th marathon annual phone-in with the Russian public.

Putin answered many questions on the current conflict in Ukraine, and said that the Ukrainian government is “cutting off” the rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine through economic means, describing the situation as a great problem and tragedy.

“There are many problems there and we do not see the current [Ukrainian] authorities wanting to restore the social sphere, or the economy…” said Putin.

Putin also denied the accusations of many Western countries that Russia is directly arming and reinforcing the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The separatist rebels reject Ukraine’s rule from Kiev and regularly accept humanitarian aid from Russia, which annexed the Crimea region last year.

The Philippines

The Philippines is seeking more substantive support from its long-time security ally United States on balancing China’s rapid expansion in the South China Sea, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

“We are, at this point, seeking additional support from the United States in terms of being able to take a stronger position in defending our position, which is to uphold the rule of law,” said Foreign Minister Albert de Rosario.

China’s growing activity in the South China Sea has made nearby nations, including the Philippines and Vietnam, feel increasingly uneasy.

China’s expansion has also drawn criticism from the United States. President Barack Obama has said Washington is concerned China is using its “sheer size and muscle” to push around less powerful nations surrounding the disputed waters.

11,50 Filipino and American soldiers will soon hold the largest-ever 10-day war games in the Philippines called “Balikatan,” or “shoulder-to-shoulder,” which is expected to remind China of other nations’ defense capabilities.