9th December 2016

  • Egyptian authorities arrested leading women’s rights activist and advocate Azza Soliman.
  • The Islamic State has been pushed out of Sirte.
  • In Mali, peace “looks increasingly like war by another name.”
  • The trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier and former Lord’s Resistance Army commander, began this week in the Hague for 70 charges ranging from murder to forced pregnancy. Ongwen is the first member of Joseph Kony’s LRA to go on trial.
  • Long read: Ongwen’s former child soldier status brings up interesting questions of victimhood and culpability, examined in this piece from January.
  • Even as Boko Haram loses territory, it remains a threat.
  • South Sudan deported an AP journalist.
  • Ghaith Abdul-Ahad visits Sa’ada, “ground zero of the 20-month Saudi campaign in Yemen.”
  • US-delivered weaponry has been used in unlawful airstrikes on Yemen by the Saudi coalition.
  • The border between Syria and Turkey is a “death strip” for refugees.
  • Pro-Syrian forces are making serious gains in Aleppo. Russia has claimed that combat has ceased in the city, though residents reject the claim.
  • The Syrian White Helmets say that within a short time they expect Syrian and Iranian forces to reach the areas in which they operate and are pleading for protection, saying “our volunteers face torture and execution in the regime’s detention centers. We have good reason to fear for our lives.”
  • A doctor in Aleppo offers a dispatch from the misery.
  • The Islamic State launched an offensive against pro-government forces near Palmyra.
  • New Islamic State propaganda from Mosul featuresBritish captive John Cantlie.
  • The first UN distribution of aid inside Mosul was a scene of chaos.
  • Long read: Carlotta Gall on the Saudis bankrolling the Taliban.
  • The Taliban overran the Ghorak district of Kandahar and seized a cache of US-made weapons.
  • The Guardian’s shortlist for agency photographer of the year includes some amazing work from photojournalists from Mosul, Turkey, and the refugee crisis.
  • Nguyen Ngoc Luong, an indispensable guide, photographer, and translator for the New York Times during the Vietnam War, died at 79.
  • Satellite images show Vietnam beginning dredging work on a reef in the South China Sea also claimed by China and Taiwan.
  • Some backstory on US relations with China and Taiwan, at the center of a recent Trump transition incident.
  • “Times photographer Daniel Berehulak photographed 41 murder scenes — and 57 bodies — in 35 days in Manila.”
  • A cyberattack in Germany stokes fears of election interference.
  • Human Rights Watch makes the case for a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons.
  • The Global Magnitsky Act, which authorizes sanctions against non-US citizens who target whistleblowers, passed as part of the 2017 defense bill.
  • President Obama gave his last national security speechand directed the publication of a report outlining the framework and parameters for fighting the war on terror, something rights groups have been calling for for a long time.
  • In full: The “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations.
  • Trump’s election means concerns for some of the progressmade in the Pentagon on LGBT service, women in combat, and sexual assault reforms.

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