24th February 2017

  • Russia signals increased involvement in Libya by inkingan oil deal.
  • The UN has said that Seif Qaddafi should be turned over to the ICC, but who will?
  • Tunisia struggles to deal with returning militants.
  • The US Export-Import Bank has provided $315m in taxpayer-supported financing to a New Jersey company to pursue deals with African mines using slave labor and accused of human rights violations and environmental damage.
  • A car bomb in Mogadishu over the weekend killed 39 and wounded dozens.
  • After first calling it a fake, the Democratic Republic of Congo is now investigating a video that has surfaced showing soldiers massacring civilians.
  • A judge blocked South Africa’s attempt to leave the ICC.
  • Famine looms over half a million Nigerian children.
  • Why 20 million people are on the brink of famine in a world of plenty.
  • In Nigeria’s camps, women who have fled the dangers of Boko Haram now face dangers from the men inside.
  • Israel refuses to issue visas to Human Rights Watch staff, calling the organization “hostile.”
  • A journey through Assad’s Syria.
  • The Syrian city of Al-Bab fell to rebel forces. Following the retaking of the city from the Islamic State, the group killed 42 people in a car bomb attack in Sousian village, north of al-Bab.
  • An investigation commissioned by Médecins Sans Frontières shows that Russian as well as Syrian forces were responsible for a February 2016 hospital bombing in northern Syria that killed 25 people.
  • Some background on the latest Syrian peace talks.
  • As Iraq’s offensive for the western half of Mosul begins, videos emerge of men in Iraqi security forces uniforms brutally beating and murdering people inside the city.
  • The US adjusts its rules of engagement for the Mosul fight.
  • Iraqi troops liberated Mosul’s airport and retook Ghazlani army base.
  • The battle for Mosul in maps.
  • The Islamic State is having financial difficulties.
  • In an unusual step, the Iraq Museum of Baghdad is granting permission for 40 artifacts––some of them only recently repatriated after the museum’s 2003 looting––to leave the country and be displayed at the Venice Biennale.
  • A Benedictine monk works to save Christian and Islamic manuscripts under threat from the Islamic State.
  • How you can help refugees around the world.
  • Jamal al-Harith, who spent two years in Guantánamo between 2002 and 2004, became a suicide bomber for the Islamic State.
  • In Bahrain, a constitution amendment making its way through the legislature would enable military courts to try civilians.
  • Three Indian soldiers and a civilian were killed in a gun battle with militants in Kashmir.
  • The global arms trade is at its highest volume since the end of the cold war.
  • The humanitarian situation worsens in Myanmar despite hopes for Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Malaysian police say that Kim Jong-nam, estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader, was killed by a nerve agent.
  • The Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency has asked the International Court of Justice to reopen a 2007 case in which the court found there was not enough evidence to find Serbia responsible for genocide.
  • Everyone seems to have a peace plan for Ukraine. A reported plan presented to Trump included a provision that Ukraine conduct a referendum on whether Crimea would be leased to Russia for 50 or 100 years.
  • The Kremlin’s fake fake news debunker.
  • The White House reportedly asked the FBI to publicly deny links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • Retired Adm. William McRaven, former JSOC commander, called Trump’s anti-press statements “the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

17th February 2017

  • 13 years after the end of the civil war, Liberians still struggle to rebuild, with most living without proper electricity for decades.
  • A rebel group in the Central African Republic killed 32 civilians and captured fighters after clashing with a rival group in December.
  • Protests by the English-speaking minority in Cameroon were met with violent response.
  • A rough guide to foreign military bases in Africa.
  • The government of Burundi will not attend planned peace talks.
  • Uganda raises alarms over the strain from an influx of South Sudanese refugees.
  • Congolese soldiers killed 101 people, including many civilians, when they fired indiscriminately during clashes with a rebel group.
  • Ethnic clashes in central Mali killed at least 13.
  • Though Trump himself demonstrated a public lack of commitment to the two-state solution, UN ambassador Nikki Haley insisted US policy has not changed.
  • An economy shattered by war encourages child marriage in Yemen.
  • The US fired thousands of rounds of depleted uranium in two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Syria in late 2015. The Pentagon had sworn it wouldn’t use the munitions.
  • Syria used chlorine bombs systematically in Aleppo.
  • Clashes continue between Islamic State-linked militants and more moderate rebels.
  • Why the Islamic State targets scholars.
  • A digital exhibition displays prints and photographs of Palmyra before the Islamic State’s depredation of its ancient cultural heritage.
  • Former Syrian rebel Haisam Omar Sakhanh was sentenced to life in prison in Sweden for his role in the 2012 killing of seven captured Syrian soldiers.
  • A car bomb in a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 54 people, the deadliest attack in the city in a month.
  • Residents in the liberated portions of Mosul get inventivein order to get water.
  • Afghan refugees return home to squalor.
  • The UAE ambassador to Afghanistan died of wounds he sustained in bombing in Kandahar last month.
  • An Islamic State suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in a town in Sindh province killed 75 people and injured 150. Pakistan has said 39 militants have been killed in the resulting crackdown.
  • Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader, was assassinated with poison at Malaysia’s main airport.
  • Germany says that Russia targeted German soldiers stationed in Lithuania with a disinformation campaign accusing soldiers of raping an underage Lithuanian girl.
  • Citing Russian aggression, Finland is increasing defense spending and raising troop levels.
  • Escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine reaches the outskirts of Mariupol, which had achieved a stretch of relative confidence and calm.
  • Russia violated a 1987 arms control treaty by deploying a new ground-launched cruise missile.
  • Deutsche Bank, which has loaned hundreds of millions to Donald Trump, conducted an internal review to see if those loans had Russian involvement. The review unearthed nothing, but the bank remains under pressure over its relationship with Trump, et. al.
  • Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn resignedafter ongoing fallout from the revelation that he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador before the inauguration. He also lied to the FBI about it. It’s a real who-knew-what-when situation. This comes amid related news that Trump campaign staff and associates had repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials during the election.
  • Retired Navy Admiral Robert Harward was offered Flynn’s job and turned it down.
  • Several White House staffers were dismissed after failing background checks.
  • In photos: refugees flee into Canada from the United States.
  • 48 Jewish community centers in 27 states and 1 Canadian province received more than 60 bomb threats in January.
  • Peter Pomerantsev on resisting the narrative trap set by self-styled nationalists like Trump and Putin.

10th February 2017

  • Egyptian authorities raided and forcibly shut downthe Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture in Cairo.
  • A Kenyan court blocked the planned closing of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.
  • Gambia will reverse its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.
  • Turkish president Erdogan approved a constitutional reform bill that would expand his powers if citizens vote yes in an April referendum.
  • The botched January raid is giving Yemen pause about some aspects of its counterterrorism relationship with the US.
  • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that nine young children were killed in the raid.
  • And Anwar al-Awlaki’s militant legacy continues.
  • 12 million Yemenis face war-induced famine and the UN says it needs more than $2 billion in aid to address it.
  • Trump risks drawing the US further into the ongoing conflict.
  • Israel passed legislation that retroactively legalized 4000 settlement homes constructed on Palestinian land. 17 Palestinian municipalities in the occupied West Bank are petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to strike down the law.
  • A new report on Syria’s infamous Saydnaya Prison describes it as a “human slaughterhouse” where extrajudicial proceedings deem detainees guilty based on false confessions extracted through torture and where many thousands of people have been hung in mass executions.
  • Both the Russia-backed pro-government forces and the Turkey-aligned Syrian rebels, are advancing on the northern Islamic State enclave of Al-Bab. A Russian airstrike on the city killed 3 Turkish soldiers.
  • Secular and Islamist Syrian rebels are turning on one another.
  • Documents left behind by the Islamic State in a Mosul neighborhood hint at disillusionment among foreign fighters.
  • Parts of Mosul are coming back to life after being liberated from Islamic State control.
  • In photos: the destruction left behind by the Islamic State//the battle for Mosul.
  • Hunting and war have pushed Iraq’s wildlife to the brink.
  • Falluja was taken from the Islamic State eight months ago, but the victory remains vulnerable and incomplete.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied to mark the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, with state TV showing them with Trump effigies and anti-US signs.
  • 2016 was another record year for civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Especially worrisome is the 65% increase in the number of children killed or wounded by left-behind explosives.
  • A Taliban attack killed six Red Cross workers in northern Afghanistan.
  • A suicide bombing in front of the Afghan Supreme Court in central Kabul killed 20 and wounded dozens.
  • Gen John Nicholson, the US commander in Afghanistan, has requested several thousand more troops to help break the stalemate.
  • Meanwhile, this administration has so far paid little attention to America’s forgotten war.
  • Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is said to have discussed sanctions with Russia before Trump took office.
  • In his call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump denounced the 2010 New START nuclear treaty.
  • Russian LGBT activists have been missing in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine since the end of January.
  • Conflict is reignited at the Ukrainian border.
  • Hungary announced plans to “house” all refugees in shipping containers along the border.
  • How can Europe protect its elections from propaganda, meddling, and right-wing extremism?
  • Anti-corruption protesters have been coming out in forcein Romania.
  • The end of hostilities in Colombia means a baby boom for guerilla fighters after five decades of reproductive restrictions by FARC.
  • A draft executive order would suspend the conflict minerals provision in Dodd-Frank, opening up US funding of human rights abuses and advancing corruption.
  • DHS is toying with the idea to ask visitors to the US tohand over their social media passwords.
  • Know your rights: how can you handle border agents asking for your cell phone or social media feeds?
  • Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, on trying to explain her work to an intense, persistent border agent after returning from abroad.
  • Trump’s travel ban was dealt a blow in court after a unanimous 9th circuit decision upheld the temporary restraining order.
  • In photos: Dorothea Lange’s rarely seen images of Japanese internment.
  • The lonely fight to save Guantánamo’s prisoners––and America’s soul.
  • A draft executive order is in the works that would allow Islamic State detainees to be held at Guantánamo.
  • A New York judge ordered the NYPD to disclose recordsrelated to the surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists.

3rd February 2017

  • Somalia is on the brink of famine.
  • Police teargassed crowds gathered near the home of Congo’s late opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.
  • Zimbabwe arrested a pastor accused of trying to overthrow Mugabe upon his return from the United States.
  • The new Trump administration changed longstanding US policy by saying that Israeli settlements were not an obstacle to peace, though warned against further expansion.
  • Hundreds of angry protesting settlers holed up in a synagogue in the illegal settlement of Amona in the occupied West Bank as Israeli soldiers moved to evict them.
  • Turkish officers are seeking asylum in Germany amid the country’s post-coup purges.
  • An investigation has begun into an American raid in Yemen that left a Navy SEAL and a number of civilians dead, including Anwar al-Awlaki’s eight-year-oid daughter.
  • Military officials have said the raid was undertaken “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.”
  • Former Obama administration officials reject the White House’s story that this particular mission had been planned for a long time.
  • Pro-government forces in Syria have retaken Barada Valley, home to Damascus’s water source, from the rebels.
  • The Trump administration has tossed aside the Obama White House’s months-long plan to retake Raqqa by arming Kurds in northern Syria.
  • Nine Syrian officials are being accused of torture in Spanish court.
  • Inside east Mosul’s growing healthcare emergency.
  • The US is preparing new Iran sanctions after they test-fired a ballistic missile.
  • Dr. Marzia Salam Yaftali runs the last hospital left standing in Kunduz.
  • The Taliban are diversifying the ways they collect revenue, collecting electricity bills from residents in at least two provinces.
  • The Afghan government is losing territory to the insurgency, according to a bleak quarterly report from the US watchdog for the Afghan conflict.
  • Kim Won-hong, North Korea’s state security minister, was fired in January for corruption, abuse of power, and human rights abuses.
  • Human rights lawyer U Ko Ni, who had been working on a draft constitution that would strip Myanmar’s military of some of its powers, was assassinated on Sunday.
  • “[A] striking new geopolitical landscape has come clearly into focus: a crescent of Russian influence, arching from Donetsk in the east to Tripoli in the west.”
  • Fighting in Ukraine is intensifying. Avdiyivka has been the site of days of violence, the worst hit in the new eruption of conflict. This latest round of fighting has prompted evacuation of civilians.
  • Tens of thousands protest corruption in Romania.
  • WikiLeaks turns to the French election.
  • The Trump presidency jeopardizes the standing commitment to “Europe whole, free and at peace.”
  • A deadly assault by a white supremacist on a Quebec City mosque left six dead.
  • Inside Quebec’s far-right movement, exposed in this mosque attack.
  • The Myth of the Muslim Country
  • Protests continue against Trump’s travel ban, including a strike by New York City’s Yemeni bodega owners.
  • The travel ban has recently been amended to allow in the families of Iraqi interpreters.
  • A dissent memo circulating within the State Department criticizing the executive order on immigration has as many as 900 signatories.
  • Two queer women who fled Communist regimes, Masha Gessen and Martina Navritilova, describe the fear, anger, and despair brought on by the new administration.
  • The US government’s Countering Violent Extremism program is being shifted to solely focus on Islamic extremism and to no longer address the threat of white supremacist groups.
  • A survey of the foreign policy establishment (which is overwhelmingly male) finds that they are uninformed on research about the role of gender in conflict and national security and don’t usually think of it as a significant factor.

Useful Websites on: Political Maps

40 maps that explain World War I

The Map – AS History – The first World War 1914 – 1918

42 Maps that explain World War 2

Atlas of World War 1

ISIS – ISIL map, map of war in Syria, Iraq, Libya….

Maps of Syrian Civil War/Global Conflict in Syria

Institute for the Study of War – United States-based think tank founded in 2007 by Kimberly Kagan. ISW describes itself as a non-partisan think tank providing research and analysis regarding issues of defense and foreign affairs.

40 more maps that explain the world

PoliticalMaps.org searches the web for the latest political maps mostly based on US presidential elections. They primarily feature maps created by others with attributions including a link to the original source. 

Aon Empower Results – Political Risk Map 2016: 162 emerging economies including a map examining political risk, considering risk through nine risk icons:  exchange transfer, sovereign non-payment, political interference, supply chain disruption, legal & regulatory risk, political violence, risk of doing business, banking sector vulnerability and inability of government to provide stimulus.(access gained through subscriptions)

Electoral Calculus by Martin Baxter on British Politics: featuring a two-dimensional political map (last revised on the 19th of December 2016) using two dimensions, the first one is the traditional left-right economic axis and the second being internationalism versus nationalism. 

Maps of CIA featuring physiography and transportation maps.

The politics Of the Map in the Early Twentieth Century by Michael Heffernan, examining the wartime production of maps as aids to geopolitical strategy in three Allied cities with reference to geographical societies in these locations. Derived from Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2002, pp. 207-226. 




This is only a draft and will be continuously updated in the near future. Please feel free to provide your own input if possible.