Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Monday, October 14, 2019, 12:31 PM

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been deployed for the first time in years within Kurdish-occupied regions in northern Syria as part of a last-minute deal to counter the Turkish offensive, reports the Washington Post. Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a potential broadening of Turkish operations in Syria as they consider occupying Manbij, a city where U.S. forces had been stationed prior to President Trump’s withdrawal decision, according to the Post.

Over the weekend, hundreds of ISIS family members and supporters escaped from the Ain Issa displacement camp as fighting occurred nearby, reports CBS News.

EU member states on Monday pledged to suspend weapons exports to Turkey in response to the Turkish operations underway in northern Syria, reports Politico. EU diplomats said that this decision falls short of the EU-wide arms embargo but has the same practical effect with faster implementation.

President Trump announced on Twitter that he was working with many members of Congress including Senator Lindsey Graham about “imposing powerful sanctions on Turkey.”

Gordon Sondland intends to tell Congress in his testimony this week that a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was not his own assessment of the matter, reports the Washington Post. An anonymous source familiar with Sondland’s testimony said regarding the text, “It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth.”

Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, intends to step down from the board of the Chinese company BHR by the end of the month, reports the New York Times. The statement added that if his father were to be elected president, Hunter would “agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies.”

The Spanish Supreme Court sentenced former leaders of the Catalan independence movement on Monday for sedition in their failed attempt to break away from Spain in 2017, reports the Times. Oriol Junqueras, the former deputy leader of Catalonia was handed the harshest sentence of 13 years in prison.

Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno announced a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed International Monetary Fund-backed austerity package known as Decree 883 that included revocation of fuel subsidies, according to the Associated Press. The deal will end nearly two weeks of protests that have left seven dead in the country.

U.S. officials and representatives of the Afghan Taliban have begun considering ways to restart a peace process after talks fell apart last month, reports the Wall Street Journal. Meetings held in late September and early October allegedly included a possible prisoner swap or a reduction in violence such as a cease-fire.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which Scott Anderson spoke with journalist Leah Sottile about the far-right militia movement in the United States.

Thomas Renard and Rik Coolsaet explained that European governments should consider repatriation for many of their foreign fighters held in Iraq and Syria.

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