12th June, 2015

  • The Islamic State’s Libyan branch is gaining ground in and around Sirte.
  • The group is also clashing with some of Libya’s other Islamist militias.
  • The UN has presented Libya’s warring factions with a draft proposal for a unity government.
  • An Egyptian court sentenced a police officer to fifteen years for the killing of activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh during a January demonstration.
  • Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish teenager held in Egypt for two years, is considering a hunger strike.
  • A year-long UN human rights investigation into Eritrea says the country is potentially guilty of crimes against humanity, citing torture, sexual slavery and extrajudicial executions.
  • Boko Haram burned down six villages in northeastern Nigeria and killed 37 people.
  • Nigeria will lead a five-country joint African force to fight Boko Haram.
  • Gunmen, suspected to be jihadists, attacked a Malian police base near the Ivory Coast.
  • Anna Badkhen on climate change and extremism inMali.
  • Read UNICEF’s most recent situation report from Mali.
  • Attacks in the Darfur region have caused many thousands, maybe as many as 200,000 civilians, to fleetheir homes.
  • High rates of mental illness, addiction and divorce plaguethe men of Somalia, say researchers.
  • The UN is supporting the Congolese government with troops and aircraft in the fight against rebels in the northeast
  • Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, who has delayedelections from June 26 to July 15 over unrest, has refusedto reconsider his third-term bid for the office.
  • Burundi’s government is claiming there are no more protests over elections, blaming any further demonstrations on journalists. The UN’s mediator in the crisis has also quit.
  • We are now in the midst of the worst migration crisis since World War II.
  • In a victory celebrated in Kurdish areas across the region, Turkey’s Kurds for the first time won enough support to enter Parliament–a major moment in the country’s politics.
  • Keith Broomfield, an American fighting with Kurdish forces against the Islamic State, has been killed.
  • The Syrian Druse population have hard choices to make when it comes to their alliances.
  • Families of two Yemeni drone strike victims filed suit in US federal court last weekend to have the strike declared unlawful.
  • Yemen’s exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has said he will refuse to negotiate with Houthi rebels.
  • Al Qaeda is trying its hand at governing inside Yemen.
  • The Israeli military has cleared itself of wrongdoing in a missile attack last summer that took the lives of four children playing on a beach in Gaza, calling it a “tragic accident.”
  • Palestine will present initial war crimes reports to the Hague at the end of the month.
  • Three Lebanese businessmen were sanctioned by the US over their ties to Hezbollah.
  • Hezbollah and the Islamic State are clashing heavily along the Syria-Lebanon border.
  • A Delta Force raid last month inside Syria has, according to the US, offered up a wealth of information on the Islamic State.
  • President Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 450 more troops to Iraq as advisors.
  • The US has spent $2.7 billion on the fight against the Islamic State since the air strikes began and spends about $9 million a day.
  • Coalition aircraft have had 100 near misses – almost firing on Iraqi troops thinking they were Islamic State fighters.
  • The BBC reports on life inside Mosul.
  • A multi-byline article at The Guardian examines the ways in which the Islamic State has overshadowed and stunted Al Qaeda.
  • Tariq Aziz, the long time second-in-command to Saddam Hussein, died in a hospital last Friday. On Thursday night, gunmen stole his body from Baghdad’s international airport.
  • A bomb attack targeted the Jalalabad office of Afghanistan’s Pajhwok News Agency, injuring two.
  • The AP gets a tour of Afghanistan’s shiny new “mini-Pentagon.”
  • Seven Pakistani soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber in North Waziristan.
  • Pakistan has evicted the Save the Children organization.
  • Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, a former member of Al Qaeda’s executive council and emir of the Turkistan Islamist Party, can be seen in a video from May of 2014. Previously thought killed in a US drone strike, it appears he might instead have been injured.
  • An Islamic State propaganda film features its Balkan fighters.
  • Russia is repeatedly entering Baltic airspace and conducting extensive naval exercises in the Baltic Sea.
  • Russian groups are using online crowdfunding, usually under some guise of humanitarianism, to gather funds for the war in Ukraine.
  • Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab reports that virus infected its own systems, a virus it classifies as an “advanced persistent threat.” The firm says the virus was used to infect venues used for the Iran nuclear negotiations and blames Israeli intelligence.
  • Novaya Gazeta investigative reporter Elena Milashina has been forced to leave Chechnya after threats.
  • Stalin makes a comeback.
  • A 373-page report examining state surveillance and investigatory practices in the UK was released by an independent investigator with many recommendations and guidelines. Here is some analysis of its content at Just Security.
  • A New York Times investigation digs into the history of SEAL Team 6.
  • Lawyers for Mohamedou Ould Slahi – Guantánamo prisoner and author of Guantánamo Diary – have filed a motion in the DC district court. They are aiming to obtain an order to show cause why Slahi has not appeared in front of the Periodic Review Boards despite an executive order mandate that all detainees begin review.
  • Army Secretary John McHugh will step down by November.
  • The head of the US Marshals Service is stepping down.

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