March 20th, 2015

  • A terror attack at the National Bardo Museum in Tuniskilled 23 people. It has since been claimed by the Islamic State and other terror groups, although there is no conclusive evidence tying the gunmen to one in particular.
  • Almost all of the 436 mosques in the Central African Republic have been destroyed in fighting.
  • Troop morale appears to be riding high in the fight against Boko Haram.
  • At least ten were killed in a Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria.
  • Erik Prince reportedly pitched a mercenary army to the Nigerian president last year.
  • An Al-Shabaab leader reportedly connected to the 2013 Westgate Mall attack was killed in a US drone strike in Somalia.
  • This Friday morning two (and possibly more) mosques in Sana’a were targeted by suicide bombers. At least 35 so far are reported killed.
  • The Pentagon is unable to track $500 million in weapons and equipment it gave to Yemen as part of military aid.
  • Well-known Yemeni journalist Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani was killed by gunmen outside his home on Wednesday.
  • A French woman and her Yemeni translator, kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen last month, have been freed.
  • A warplane attacked the Yemeni presidential palace in Aden on Thursday.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will keep his position of power after this week’s elections. His last-minute hardline attempts to rally voters, including a rejection of the two-state solution, are now being walked back.
  • BuzzFeed interviewed three Syrians about life in their country as the fifth year of war begins.
  • Syria remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.
  • A Syrian army defector turned Islamic State smugglermay have been on the Canadian intelligence payroll.
  • Groups fighting the Islamic State in Iraq face increasing trouble from IEDs, which IS is using on a scale that is “unprecedented.”
  • A new video posted by the Islamic State appears to show the beheading of three Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
  • UN investigators say the Islamic State is guilty ofgenocide against the Yazidis.
  • This past summer, following the liberation of the Iraqi town of Amerli from Islamic State control, Shi’ite militias backed by Iran raided nearby Sunni villages – looting, bombing and burning homes in 30 villages over the next months.
  • Demos assesses the ways the Islamic State is using encryption to dodge surveillance efforts.
  • A draft nuclear deal with Iran would cut the country’s machinery for nuclear weapon production by forty percent.
  • Former warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, now Afghanistan’s vice president, is powerful on paper butfeels marginalized. He has since denied the NYT’s report that he cried during a security meeting.
  • US bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad will probably stay open beyond 2015.
  • Samiullah Afridi, the lawyer representing Shakil Afridi – the doctor involved in the CIA’s fake vaccination campaign targeting Osama bin Laden, was shot and killed in Peshawar on Tuesday. Two groups have both claimed responsibility.
  • An Indian police station in Kashmir was stormed by rebels, leading to a four hour gun battle that left six dead.
  • Photographer Max Avdeev chronicles civilian life in Donetsk, Ukraine, under the ceasefire.
  • Religious intolerance is on the rise in Donetsk.
  • Even with the ceasefire in place, fighting between volunteer troops and pro-Russian rebels continues in Mariupol.
  • Ukraine has submitted a preliminary request for UN peacekeeping forces.
  • The ceasefire is being strained by disagreements over how the peace plan should proceed.
  • Human Rights Watch finds that both sides in the Ukrainian conflict used cluster munitions in January and February.
  • Putin signed a treaty militarily and economically integrating South Ossetia, a breakaway region from Georgia, into Russia.
  • The UN Security Council held an informal meeting on human rights in Crimea, which Russia, China, Venezuela and Angola refused to attend. Russia called the meeting “counterproductive and provocative.”
  • Meanwhile in Crimea, since the annexation “detentions, abductions, false accusations, and torture at the hands of local security agencies have become routine.”
  • The case of Boris Nemtsov’s killing puts Putin uncomfortably between Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the FSB — the country’s security services. The New York Times asks whether Putin’s “Faustian bargain to gain stability in Chechnya… has backfired.”
  • One of the suspects in the 2006 poisoning of Kremlin defector Alexander Litvinenko is thought to be willing to cooperate with the investigation.
  • Estonia aims to protect itself against cyberwar.
  • Eight suspects in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre have been arrested in Serbia. These are the first arrests of direct participants in the massacre.
  • China for the first time admitted its special units tasked with cyberwar.
  • US counterterrorism forces reportedly played a role in a fatally botched commando raid in the Philippines in January.
  • A senior Chicago PD commander has resigned as part of the fallout from investigations revealing police torture at the Homan Square “black site.”
  • In 2014, 80 UN personnel were accused of rape, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
  • A Guantánamo parole board cleared Yemeni prisoner Saeed Sarem Jarabh for release. He has been in the prison since February 2002.
  • The Brennan Center examines what has gone wrong with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is “no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communication.”
  • The ACLU filed a disclosure lawsuit on Monday to obtain documents about the drone program, including the criteria for being put on the “kill list.”

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