Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Garrett Hinck
Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 11:14 AM

Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, rescinded his resignation after returning to Lebanon and meeting with President Michel Aoun, Reuters reported. Hariri said he agreed with Aoun that it would benefit Lebanon’s stability for Hariri to continue as prime minister. The announcement puts the political crisis in Lebanon that began when Hariri said was he resigning while on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmar’s military carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims, the Washington Post reported. The military operations against the Rohingya population have caused over 600,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The U.S. joins a chorus of international organizations that have described the atrocities in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, the Wall Street Journal reported. Mueller’s team is looking into Kushner’s role in a dispute at the U.N. over a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. Kushner initially failed to list any foreign contacts on his security clearance form but later updated it to include over 100 instances of contact with foreign representatives.

The American-led U.N. Command in South Korea said North Korea violated the terms of the 1953 truce when its troops fired on one of their own soldiers defecting across the demilitarized zone, the Times reported. The U.N. Command—which oversees the armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean peninsula—said North Korea breached the ceasefire agreement when its soldiers fired across the border line and when one of its troops went on the other side of the line.

A U.S. Navy transport plane crashed into the ocean near Japan, the Post reported. The U.S. 7th Fleet said its ships had rescued eight of the 11 passengers on the plane, leaving three still missing. The incident is the latest in a series of accidents among 7th Fleet forces, including two collisions between U.S. warships and civilian ships that left seventeen dead.

The U.S. attorney’s office in the southern district of New York denied Turkey’s allegations that the office is carrying out politically motivated prosecutions, the Times reported. Turkey has charged that the case against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman accused of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, is motivated by political opposition to the Turkish government. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim denied that Gulenists, a group of political opponents to the Turkish regime, had any role in the case.

A U.N. tribunal convicted Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian-Serb commander, of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Times reported. Mladic led the Bosnian-Serb military operations that killed thousands of Muslims and Croats at the siege of Sarajevo, in concentration camps and in massacres like that at Srebrenica that killed 8,000 Muslims. The verdict is one of the last for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which convicted Bosnian-Serb Radovan Karadzic of similar crimes last year.

A U.S. airstrike in central Somalia killed over 100 al-Shabab militants on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The pace of U.S. strikes against militants in Somalia has increased dramatically since a bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, that killed hundreds in October. The Department of Defense said it had coordinated with Somalia’s government to orchestrate the strike.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Garrett Hinck outlined the threats against submarine communications cables and the legal regime protecting them.

Robyn Greene argued that polling data suggests Americans are generally concerned about their privacy despite findings that they are apathetic about specific surveillance programs.

Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with David Ignatius about his new book, “The Quantum Spy.”

Amanda Sloat explained why the Reza Zarrab case is matter of high interest to the Turkish government.

Daniel Byman analyzed the significance of decision to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Paul Rosenzweig posted a video of a Federalist Society panel on international counterterrorism surveillance cooperation.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Benjamin Wittes and Gordon Wood about the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

 

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