Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Monday, August 15, 2022, 4:23 PM

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The Biden administration announced that it will not release the $7 billion in frozen Afghan assets. Read Lawfare’s explainer about Afghanistan’s assets here. The decision comes after the U.S. strike on Ayman al-Zawahiri and revived concerns of terrorist threats in Afghanistan. Following the strike, the United States stopped talks with Taliban officials on the assets, which are needed to reduce inflation and stabilize the struggling Afghan economy.

Ukrainian weapons hit the main military base of the Wagner group in eastern Ukraine. It is unclear how much damage was sustained to the base of the Russian paramilitary group, but the strike was reportedly conducted using HIMAR rocket systems. The headquarter’s location was posted online by a Russian journalist last week.

A fire at a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo killed 41 people, including 18 children, during Sunday service. The fire is believed to have started when a generator, which was being used because the power was down, exploded once the power came back on. The majority of the deaths were attributed to a stampede that started within the church as the fire spread and smoke inhalation. The incident came after years of concerns regarding the country’s safety and oversight standards. 

William Ruto, deputy president of Kenya, was declared the president-elect with 50.49 percent of the vote. Before the election commission released the results, numerous commissioners said that they would not support the results because of the “opaque nature” of the vote-counting process. Ruto’s opponent, Raila Odinga, has seven days to contest the election results.

Eight people were injured in an armed attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday. Five Americans were injured in what authorities are saying was a terrorist attack. Israeli media said the attacker was a Palestinian resident and that he voluntarily handed himself over to law enforcement.

Author Salman Rushdie is recovering from being stabbed during a public event and is now off a ventilator. A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied that the country was connected to the attack, placing blame on Rushdie and his supporters. The former leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeimi, issued an order to kill Rushdie after he published his novel “The Satanic Verses” in 1988.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

A team at Lawfare analyzed the unsealed search warrant the FBI executed at Mar-a-Lago and the inventory of seized materials from the search.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Quinta Jurecic, Pete Strzok, and Alex Wellerstein to discuss the unsealed search warrant.

Jack Goldsmith offered several factors and unknowns that have to be assessed in order to determine whether Attorney General Merrick Garland made the right decision in executing the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

Renanah Miles Joyce analyzed the risks of U.S. attempts to train militaries in other countries, especially when the United States attempts to promote human rights abroad.

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