4th March 2016

  • Two Italian hostages held in Libya since last July were freed.
  • French forces in Mali reportedly killed a Spanish al Qaeda commander.
  • Boko Haram is suffering the effects of a food crisis it created.
  • At least 50,000 people have been killed in South Sudan’s two year civil war.
  • The African Union plans to deploy monitors to Burundi.
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to extradite a Rwandan genocide suspect.
  • Three Save the Children aid workers were kidnapped in eastern DRC.
  • In the Central African Republic, rape victims and their “peacekeeper babies”struggle.
  • A new report argues that the US, and other top arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, are failing to meet “their legal obligations under the UN Arms Treaty” by continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu called for the expulsion of the families of Palestinian attackers to Gaza.
  • Israel’s minister of culture and sport introduced a “loyalty in culture” bill last month, triggering a major debate about freedom of expression.
  • With US help, Israel is preparing to launch one of the world’s most advanced missile defense systems.
  • Hamas executed one of their own commanders last month, after a strange twisting story that began with his admission that he diverted brigade funds to himself and then involved rumors of treachery and stories of his homosexuality.
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Increasing tension between the Iran-backed group and Saudi Arabia trapsLebanon.
  • The US delivered 8 Black Hawk helicopters to Jordan to aid them in the fight against the Islamic State.
  • Jordan is now the testing ground for a jobs program for Syrian refugees.
  • A car bombing and rocket attack, blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),killed 2 police officers and wounded 35 people in southeastern Turkey.
  • “It wasn’t a war at first, it was a revolution against the system.” Five years into their fight against dictatorship, Syrian rebels are exhausted.
  • A “cessation of hostilities,” began on February 27th in Syria. Violence damagedthe partial calm on the second day, and Israel alleges that Syria has used chemical weapons during the truce. One of the rebel groups says that Syrian forces aremobilizing to gain further ground during the ceasefire.
  • The UN postponed Syria peace talks to March 9.
  • The Syrian drought is the worst in 900 years.
  • An American general said that Russia and Syria are “weaponizing” the refugee crisis to destabilize Europe.
  • Long read: “As long as it’s under 10, we’re good to take the shot.” Inside how the Pentagon makes its calculations about acceptable levels of civilian casualties.
  • US Special Forces captured an Islamic State operative in Iraq.
  • In Ramadi, the Islamic State left behind a booby-trapped city.
  • Engineers warn that the Mosul dam’s collapse could be imminent, with a huge death toll.
  • Yazidi refugees return to Sinjar.
  • An Australian reporter who “witnessed the birth of Isis” during his seven years living in Iraq, has made a film chronicling the carnage he saw.
  • China plans to increase its defense spending by 7-8% in 2016.
  • Following UN sanctions, North Korea fired projectiles into the sea and ramped up its propaganda battle against the US and South Korea.
  • No breakthroughs were made in Paris talks over Ukraine, where death toll has hit 9,160.
  • Ending US use of Russian rocket engines could cost $5 billion.
  • The Obama administration tries to encourage tech companies to participate in the fight against the Islamic State.
  • The encryption battle between Apple and the FBI goes on.
  • The latest release of bin Laden documents shows the Al Qaeda leader warned against a caliphate.
  • A judge ruled that Indiana unconstitutionally discriminated against Syrian refugees.
  • Four Minneapolis men facing federal terrorism charges will undergo a court-ordered de-radicalization program.
  • Long read: the ISIS hunt for dirty bomb components in Belgium.
  • A team of refugees will compete at the Olympics.
  • There were 99 allegations of sexual abuse against UN staff last year, 69 of which were against peacekeepers.

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