Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Garrett Hinck
Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 12:10 PM

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe resigned after Zimbabwe’s parliament began impeachment proceedings against him, the New York Times reported. Mass protests against Mugabe’s rule followed an army coup last week. Mugabe, who has been in power since its independence in 1980, said he is stepping down immediately. On Tuesday, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president who is widely seen as Mugabe’s presumptive successor, called for the president’s resignation, according to the Washington Post. Mnangagwa worked with the military to seize power in the coup.

President Donald Trump designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in a move aimed at pressuring the regime to drop its nuclear weapons program, the Times reported. The designation puts the Kim regime on a list—with Sudan, Syria and Iran—of countries that support international terrorism. North Korea was on the list from 1988 to 2008, when President George W. Bush removed it to gain leverage in the then-faltering six-party nuclear negotiations.

The Justice Department petitioned the Supreme Court to allow the current travel ban restrictions to take full effect and overrule the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ partial hold, Reuters reported. Last week, the 9th Circuit allowed the order to take effect only for people from the ban’s targeted countries and who have no connections to the U.S. The Justice Department’s appeal argues that the ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries is not motivated by “religious animus.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general said the agency is delaying the release of a report that said its implementation of the January travel ban order violated court orders, according to Politico. Inspector General John Roth sent a letter to Congress expressing concern that DHS told him it is considering preventing the report’s release on the basis of attorney-client privilege or another privilege protecting DHS’s “deliberative process.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia in advance of a summit on ending Syria’s civil war, the Wall Street Journal reported. They are meeting with Turkish and Iranian leaders to continue negotiations about a post-conflict settlement in Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to coordinate their military operations to destroy the Islamic State in Syria, according to the Post.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on an Iranian counterfeiting ring that it believes the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) uses to finance its global operations, the Journal reported. According to Treasury officials, the counterfeiting operation printed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Yemeni currency for the IRGC. The U.S. has linked the IRGC to Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah terror attacks.

A suicide attack at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 50 people, the AP reported. No group has yet said they were responsible for the attack, but authorities suspected Boko Haram insurgents based in a neighboring state.

A truck bomb at a marketplace in northern Iraq killed at least 20 people, according to Reuters. The market is located in a predominantly Shiite Turkmen region south of Kirkuk. Iraqi officials have said the Islamic State is likely to employ suicide bombs to continue its insurgency against Iraq.

Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, traveled to Hungary during the campaign and met senior Hungarian officials, ABC News reported. A senior adviser to Hungarian President Viktor Orban said he met with Page on his September 2016 visit. Page’s visit came under scrutiny from the House intelligence committee when Page interviewed before it on Nov. 2. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski called Page a “low-level volunteer” a week after Page’s interview.

State Department officials accused Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating the Child Soldiers Prevention Act by not listing Afghanistan, Iraq and Myanmar as countries that enlist children, Reuters reported. In a memo in the State Department’s “dissent channel,” the officials said Tillerson ignored a unanimous recommendation from mid-level officials to keep the countries on a list of offenders. The child soldiers law imposes conditions on U.S. military aid to states on the list.

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor made an official request for an inquiry into alleged U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, the Post reported. Fatou Bensouda said alleged war crimes by U.S. military personnel and CIA black-site detention facilities justified the investigation. Bensouda will also target Afghan Security Forces, the Haqqani network and the Taliban in the probe. While the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, members of its armed forces can be investigated for crimes committed in ICC member states such as Afghanistan.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Harry Graver summarized the the Classified Information Procedures Act’s key provisions and relevant legal issues.

Paul Rosenzweig shared news of his new affiliation at the R Street Institute.

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