The US-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched new airstrikes in Kobani, a Syrian town along the Syrian-Turkish border. Reuters reports on the airstrikes.
CNN reports that at least 70 ISIS militants were brought to a western Syrian hospital over the weekend, a direct result of the US-led airstrikes in Kobani, along with a reinvigorated military offensive on the part of Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
The AP tells us that the US also airdropped weapons, ammunition and other supplies into the city of Kobani. The aid is meant to help the Kurdish forces who have been helping to push back ISIS.
But the Daily Beast breaks some pretty distressing news: while the airstrikes have indeed been hitting ISIS, apparently, US humanitarian aid—everything from medical supplies to food—has been inadvertently landing in ISIS’ lap. The aid is intended for displaced Syrians, but ISIS has increasingly been gaining control of the various shipments, often holding them ransom or even distributing the goods as if ISIS militants were the ones to provide struggling Syrians with support.
Ibrahim Kalin, the Deputy Undersecretary of State and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister of Turkey, has penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal addressing Turkey’s role in the ongoing crisis in Syria. Kalin says that asking Turkey to send in ground troops to Syria—which many have encouraged the country to do—“defies any logic.” Kalin lists many reasons why Turkey shouldn’t send troops into Syria, and reminds us that Turkey has done the most to help displaced Syrians since the beginning of the conflict. Finally, Kalin argues, strongly, that the only way to a path to stability in Syria is to finally bring down Bashar al-Assad.
Still, it seems Turkey will help to “facilitate the movement of Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as pesh merga, to the embattled Syrian town of Kobani to join the fighting there.” The New York Times reports.
Lawfare’s Sean Mirski has a written a piece for The National Interest arguing that ISIS may be further in decline that we might realize. Mirski argues that ISIS’ strategy of attempting to establish itself as a legitimate “state” will ultimately be its undoing:
By creating a caliphate, ISIS has also created a new vulnerability for itself: it has become governor of a territory encompassing millions. Its statehood has brought it fame, funding and foreign fighters, but it has also established fixed assets that the United States and its allies can easily hold at risk. It is hard for the United States to pin down shifting and elusive people-based networks like Al Qaeda; it is much easier to target the infrastructure and operations of a territorial government.
Iraq has formed a new unity government. But many concerns still remain about the longevity of the unity in parliament, and a new UN report highlights the extraordinarily high use of the death penalty in the country as a potential challenge to unity. The Atlantic covers the report. Also in Iraq, per the Times: at least 43 have been killed in suicide and car bomb attacks.
“Denmark Tries a Soft-Handed Approach to Returned Islamist Fighters.” That’s the headline from this piece in the Post.
The Pentagon has announced plans to help address the Ebola crisis in America. The Washington Post tells us that the Pentagon’s Northern Command is compiling a team of 30 medical experts that will be ready to “quickly leap into a region” if new Ebola cases materialize.
Apropos, the Times’ Helene Cooper hails originally from Ebola-stricken Liberia. In this article, she shares her unique perspective on the crisis.
Al Jazeera reports of an increase in violence in Benghazi, and across Libya generally. Libya is in a state of internal chaos: two competing governments continue to vie for power, while terrorist organizations have also taken retreating to Libya as a kind of safe haven.
Rhe crisis in Libya shows no signs of dying down, but the US and its European allies have “called” for an end to the violence, according to the Telegraph. The countries released a statement expressing disappointment at the continued fighting and also threatened sanctions should it continue.
It was a messy weekend for Nigeria. First, on Saturday, the AP told us that the Nigerian government announced a truce had been struck with the militant organization Boko Haram. The group is still holding over 200 schoolgirls captive after kidnapping them over six months ago. But, on Sunday, a wave of violence across the country at the hands of Boko Haram put serious doubt into the success of any kind of a ceasefire, dampening the hopes that the girls might soon be recovered.
Sweden is searching for a suspected Russian submarine in waters east of Stockholm. DW explains that the Swedish government received a report of “foreign underwater activity,” which prompted the search.
The AP reports that there was an exchange of gunfire along the border of North Korea and South Korea on Sunday. The South Korean army placed the blame on North Korea, explaining that some of their soldiers had aggressively approached the military demarcation line. After both sides traded fire, the North Koreans retreated.
The United States has been accused of misleading the British government concerning the conditions of Shaker Aamer, a British citizen held at Guantanamo. Earlier this year, US officials assured the British government that Aamer was not subject to force-feeding and other harsh tactics, despite reports indicating otherwise from fellow Guantanamo detainees. But, the Guardian explains, the director of British legal charity Repreive isn’t buying it. Clive Stafford Smith insists that that reassurance is deceptive.
The National Security Agency has launched an internal review of its Chief Technical Officer, Patrick Dowd, and his part-time work for former NSA director Keith Alexander’s private corporation. Reuters reports that Dowd’s part-time work for IronNet Cybersecurity Inc, though somewhat unprecendented, had been approved by the upper echelon of the NSA. But the arrangement is now under review, amid concerns that Dowd’s work might “blur” the lines between government and business.
Lastly, new research suggests that a key pay-gap may be closing the Washington-area job market: the pay differential between security-cleared workers and their un-cleared counterparts has been on the decline. Read more in the Post.
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