15th January 2016

  • The Islamic State has picked up the pace on its anywhere and everywhere terror campaign, with attacks in Jakarta, Istanbul, Jalalabad and Baghdad this week.
  • This morning (Friday), Al-Shabab attacked an African Union base in southwestern Somalia. The group is claiming to have killed dozens of Kenyan soldiers.
  • Boko Haram, which has pledged its allegiance to the caliphate, also carried out attacks in Cameroon.
  • Military victories over Boko Haram have not removed pervasive fear from the lives of Nigerians.
  • Radio Biafra has returned to Nigeria, and along with it a wave of protests.
  • Rape and abuse allegations continue to pile up against UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. Investigators discovered that four peacekeepers were paying 13-year-old girls 50 cents for sex.
  • Violence in Burundi continues, with horrifying reports of security forces gang-raping women as they conduct searches of opposition homes. Witnesses also report nine mass graves around the capital, Bujumbura, including one containing the corpses of 100 people killed in early December.
  • Egypt is rounding up activists ahead of the January 25th revolutionary anniversary.
  • Amnesty International documented the tortures and deaths of detainees in Tunisia as the government has responded to last year’s terror attacks with repressive tactics.
  • Turkey, in response to the Istanbul attacks, struck Islamic State positions inside Syria and Iraq, later claiming to have killed 200 militants.
  • Turkey is building its first base in Africa.
  • Ankara detained 12 academics who were among those who signed a denunciation of the military campaign against Kurds in southeastern Turkey.
  • Israel struck a target on the northern Gaza border, an infrequent occurrence since the 2014 war, killing a Palestinian man and wounding three others.
  • Confrontations between protesters and the IDF turned fatal, and retaliatory violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces continued.
  • 3 Americans and a Belgian are suing Israel in US court for compensation for injuries sustained in a deadly 2010 Israeli commando raid of an aid flotilla.
  • Israel’s diplomatic relationship with Sweden took a bit of a nosedive.
  • In Lebanon, strict laws and border controls make the already desperate lives of refugees much worse, setting them up for abuse and persecution and forcing them to the social margins.
  • Peace talks in Yemen are postponed.
  • Tensions are rising among rival Shi’ite tribes in the Iraqi city of Basra. Troops have reportedly been sent in to disarm them.
  • Elsewhere, in Iraq’s Tuz Khurmatu district, fighting between armed groups of Kurds and Shi’a Turkmen are harming the region’s civilians.
  • Amaq News Agency gets the scoop directly from the Islamic State, while attempting to pass as an objective source of information.
  • While Kurds remain in close partnership with the United States, Russian airstrikes in Syria have given the group some freedom to gain new territory even over American objection.
  • Syrian activists accused the UN of complicity in the Assad regime’s siege and starvation tactics. The UN has called the starvation and deprivation of Madaya awar crime.
  • France and the UK called an emergency Security Council meeting to address the need to end sieges on Syrian towns.
  • Iran briefly held ten US sailors after their boats strayed into Iranian waters.
  • Russia, looking for opportunity in the US drawdown, will ship small arms to Afghanistan next month.
  • Four-way talks among Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China began this week over the future of negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban. The possibility of peace talks will have a lot to do with the Taliban’s new leader.
  • NCIS reopened an investigation into allegations that Navy SEALS and their Afghan counterparts beat Afghan detainees at a remote outpost in 2012, killing one man.
  • The family of Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto, who was killed last year in an American drone strike while held hostage by Al Qaeda, still want answers.
  • Paramilitary forces raided the home of a New York Times correspondent in Islamabad on Tuesday.
  • A Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber detonated outside a polio vaccination center in Quetta. More than a dozen people died and the vaccination program has been suspended.
  • India postponed peace talks with Pakistan after Pakistani insurgents were tied to an attack on an Indian air force base.
  • A Beijing-based Swedish human rights activist is being detained for “making trouble in China” and for helping “radical political activists.”
  • In a show of force directed at Pyongyang, a US B-52 flew low over South Korea.
  • Five Hong Kong publishers have disappeared in recent months, all of whom work for a publishing house critical of the Communist Party.
  • Europe worries about creeping autocracy in Poland.
  • Countrywide economic protests in Azerbaijan resulted in scores of detentions.
  • The Islamic State is recruiting in the Balkans.
  • El Chapo was caught and Sean Penn, Rolling Stone and a Mexican soap opera star were all weirdly part of it.
  • The genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was once again suspended.
  • Ten Yemeni Guantánamo inmates were resettled in Oman, bringing the prisoner population of the facility down to 93. This is the first time it has been below 100 since 2002.
  • The Navy is reviewing naval job titles to ensure they will be gender neutral.
  • Nuclear facilities in 20 countries may be vulnerable to cyberattack.

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