20th November 2015

  • Gunmen have taken 170 hostages at the Radisson hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako.
  • The Islamic State’s control has strengthened in central Libya and the group is carrying out public executions.
  • 32 people were killed in a suicide blast in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola.
  • Sambo Dasuki, security adviser under the previous Nigerian administration, has been arrested and charged with stealing $2 billion from the campaign against Boko Haram by awarding fake contracts for helicopters and fighter jets.
  • A Nigerian military court sentenced a general to six months in prison for failing his duties during a battle with Boko Haram in January, one of the worst defeats of their army by the militant group.
  • Burkina Faso is debating what to do with the former headquarters of the presidential guard, a notorious site of torture and assassination.
  • Russian officials confirmed that the Russian jetliner that crashed in the Sinai, killing all 224 on board, was brought down by an act of terror.
  • The attacks in Paris and the downing of the Russian jetliner illustrate a new strategy for the Islamic State, one that looks more globally in the vein of Al Qaeda.
  • France has confirmed that the ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a raid in Saint-Denis. A woman, Abaaoud’s cousin, detonated a suicide vest during that raid –– the AP looks at the history of female suicide bombers.
  • One of the suicide bombers who detonated outside the Stade de France had a fake Syrian passport that he used to travel into Europe with refugees. This has already had the effect of stoking fears over the exhausted and war-ravaged refugees arriving in the West.
  • Following the attacks in Paris, authorities raided the Molenbeek neighborhood of the Belgian capital of Brussels, a neighborhood with well-known links to radicalization. A decade ago, a young Muslim journalist investigated the neighborhood’s radical roots and found it to be full of extremist literature and recruiters for the fight in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
  • A number of the Paris attackers were on US watch lists.
  • Russia is using its air war in Syria to debut weapon systems that haven’t previously seen combat, like the Raduga Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile.
  • Russia says that 160 Russians fighting with the Islamic State have been killed in Syria.
  • Saudi Arabia will host a conference of Syrian opposition in December, with the aim of unifying it.
  • The US is selling $1.29 billion worth of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia to replenish its stock, used up over Yemen.
  • Of the over 5600 people who have died in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, more than 2500 have been civilians. Not only that, but Riyadh’s airstrikes aredestroying Yemen’s architectural heritage.
  • Lebanese authorities have carried out a series of arrests following the attacks in Beirut that killed 44 people.
  • In response to the attacks in Paris, France launched a serious assault over the weekend on the Islamic State’s capital in Raqqa, Syria. It is also seekingassistance under the EU treaty.
  • The Islamic State has claimed, in its magazine Dabiq, that it executed two hostages: a Norwegian man named Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad and a Chinese man named Fan Jinghui.
  • The execution of Fan Jinghui raises further questions about China’s future role in the war on terror.
  • The Islamic State is “aggressively pursuing” chemical weapons capabilities.
  • Violence continues in Israel and Palestine with attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. In the past seven weeks, 18 Israelis and 80 Palestinians have been killed.
  • Three Americans held captive by Houthis in Yemen have been freed and flown to Oman.
  • Paramilitary groups in Iraq are asking for more funding to fight the Islamic State.
  • In the devastated Iraqi town of Sinjar, recently liberated from the Islamic State by the Kurds, anger runs deep.
  • The Taliban have silenced Radio Roshani, a station that aired programs promoting women’s rights and the rule of law.
  • Though US combat operations have ceased in Afghanistan, those deployed and their civilian counterparts still face attacks.
  • The Department of Defense knowingly shipped defective gun parts to troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – parts which exploded and wounded the soldiers and Marines using them.
  • In Uzbekistan, the government has detained more than 160 people in and around Tashkent since the end of October on suspicion of involvement with the Islamic State.
  • Iran arrested cartoonist Hadi Heidari, sending him back to prison to complete the rest of a suspended sentence. Iranian journalist Reyhaneh Tabatabaei has beensentenced to a year in prison for spreading anti-Iran propaganda.
  • The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee criticized an Iranian crackdown on journalists, activists and dissidents in a non-binding resolution.
  • China has reportedly killed 28 alleged terrorists suspected of involvement in an attack on a coal mine in Xinjiang province.
  • China says it has shown “enormous restraint” in response to US provocations over Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea.
  • European authorities find themselves at a disadvantage in dealing with the Islamic State’s online predations.
  • Der Spiegel interviews White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes on the Paris attacks and the possibility of ground troops in Syria.
  • The Washington Post rejects the argument that Snowden’s leaks had an impact on intelligence regarding the Paris attack.
  • Rapprochement between the West and Russia over Syria and the war on terror isgiving Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe  pause, fearing that Moscow will use its new position to make gains in Ukraine.
  • For Colombian rebels, giving up their weapons and demobilizing is a big leap of faith.
  • The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), originally established as a temporary agency to deal with the threat of IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, is transitioning into a permanent organization, now called the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency. Meanwhile, the threat of IEDs has only grown.
  • Some in Congress celebrate the delay in the closure of Guantánamo and push to keep it open permanently.

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