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. 

27th January 2017

  • It is the sixth anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.
  • It’s been a year since the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo and the lack of answers about his death has poisoned relations between Italy and Egypt.
  • The bodies of 90 militants were found at the site of a recent US airstrike in SIrte.
  • Malnutrition in northern Nigeria is so severe that there are barely any children under five left alive in the region.
  • Al-Shabaab overtook a remote Somali military base near the Kenyan border and claims to have killed 57 Kenyan soldiers stationed there as part of a peacekeeping mission.
  • At least 28 people were killed in an Al-Shabaab attack on the Dayah hotel in Mogadishu.
  • Uganda’s Bidi Bidi camp, opened six months ago, already hosts nearly 300,000 South Sudanese refugees.
  • As South Sudan is consumed by violence, questions are raised about its newly achieved independence.
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo will extradite 186 suspected Burundian rebels, despite rights groups’ concerns about what they will face in Burundi.
  • After 27 years of rule and a great deal of resistance to the transition of power, Yahya Jammeh has left Gambia and Gambians are celebrating their new president, Adama Barrow. Before his exile, Jammeh managed to steal millions from his country in his final weeks in power.
  • Turkish nationals have lodged 5,363 cases against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights over the post-coup crackdown and purges.
  • In the final hours of his administration, President Obama released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority in defiance of Republican members of Congress who had placed a (non-binding) hold on the funds.
  • Israel approved a huge new settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
  • Representative Tulsi Gabbard revealed in a CNN interview that she had indeed met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a recent trip to Syria and in the same interview pushed regime talking points about Syrian rebels.
  • Trump’s proposal of safe havens in Syria is met with skepticism.
  • The Islamic State is losing on all fronts except one: it is gaining ground against coalition forces supporting the Syrian government.
  • Famine looms over Yemen as millions require immediate life-saving aid.
  • The battle to take west Mosul looms.
  • In photos: the battle for Mosul.
  • The attorney general of Afghanistan ordered the arrest of nine of Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum’s bodyguards after an elder from Dostum’s Uzbek tribe accused him of abducting, beating him, and ordering his bodyguards to torture and rape him.
  • The Rohingya are escalating their armed insurgency.
  • Sergei Mikhailov, a senior officer at the F.S.B.’s Center for Information Security, has been arrested for treason.
  • Ukraine is worried that Trump will cut Kiev out of the decision-making process on agreements over ending the violence in eastern Ukraine.
  • The Doomsday Clock advances toward midnight.
  • The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, which releases an annual report on the state of democracy around the globe, said the world continues to be in a democratic recessionand downgraded the US from a full to a flawed democracy.
  • Trump’s insecure Android phone is a serious national security threat. We should already assume the device has been compromised by hostile foreign intelligence services.
  • Trump revived the debate over the use of torture, drawing immediate ire from Senator McCain.
  • This administration’s new immigration policypaves the way for a huge expansion of detention facilities at the southern border and is likely to have devastating humanitarian effects.”
  • A draft executive order is in the works that would drastically cut US funding to the UN.
  • The State Department lost a large number of senior management officials this week. It’s unclear if they were forced out or resigned in protest.

20th January 2017

  • Dozens were killed in a car bomb attack on a military base in Mali.
  • US air raids on Islamic State camps in Libya killed more than 80 militants.
  • Moscow signals interest in Libya.
  • The Nigerian air force mistakenly bombed a refugee camp near the border with Cameroon, killing as many as 170 people.
  • Senegalese troops entered Gambia yesterday in a bid to force President Yahyah Jammeh to relinquish his rule to the democratically-elected Adama Barrow. Jammeh has been given until midday today (Friday) to cede power.
  • The Ivory Coast’s military mutiny is cause for worry in an otherwise bright post-conflict narrative.
  • In the wake of war and ebola, Sierra Leoneans need mental health support but have one lone psychiatric hospital and two psychiatrists.
  • The Sudanese government says it is ready to sign a peace accord with one of the major rebel groups in the Darfur conflict.
  • South Sudan and the limits of American influence.
  • In Somalia, Al-Shabaab is making extensive use of child soldiers. The verifying the recruitment of more than 6,000 children between 2010 and 2016 and estimating that half of the group’s forces were child recruits.
  • Purges have weakened Turkey’s military.
  • Corruption allegations plague Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Despite the ceasefire, aid to besieged Syrian civilians is at its lowest level in a year.
  • After reclaiming Palmyra in December, Islamic State militants have destroyed a tetrapylon and part of a Roman theatre.
  • The death toll in the war in Yemen is now more than 10,000 people.
  • In Iraq, a 650-mile trench “runs from Sinjar, in the north-west, to Khanaqin, near the Iranian border, following the line of Kurdish military control.”
  • Marsh Arabs make a return to Iraq’s wetlands 25 years after Saddam Hussein drained them.
  • Iraqi forces secure eastern Mosul.
  • “This is the Catch-22 facing the world. The more defeats IS suffers in the Middle East, the more it must expand its operations abroad.”
  • The Islamic State’s oil fires have destructive consequences.
  • Iraq struggles with an overwhelming need for mental health care.
  • The Taliban refuses ownership of an attack that killed five Emirati diplomats.
  • Kompromat moves from a domestic tool of the Kremlin to an international one.
  • Russia extended Edward Snowden’s asylum.
  • In her last major speech as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power delivered some severe criticism of Russian aggression.
  • Domestic refugees in Ukraine wait out the war.
  • In a lawsuit brought in the International Court of Justice, Ukraine has accused Russia of “acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression.”
  • Lithuania is building a fence along its border with Russian Kaliningrad.
  • Kosovo accused Serbia of wanting to annex part of northern Kosovo following the “Crimea model.”
  • NYT journalist Adam Nossiter talks about the reporting and consequences of his piece on French olive farmer and eloquent migrant smuggler Cédric Herrou.
  • Analysis: the consequences of Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders.
  • Among his hundreds of acts of clemency as he left office, President Obama commuted the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence. She will be released in May. For those who might criticize the choice, here’s an essayfrom Lawfare in September arguing the case for her commutation. Also important to note that her pre-trial imprisonment was investigated by the UN and deemed “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” and she has since faced inter-related struggles with gender dysphoria, suicide, and solitary confinement.
  • Obama also commuted the remaining 35 years of Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera’s 55 year sentence for “seditious conspiracy.”
  • Obama’s last detainee transfers from Guantánamo leaves the prison population at 41.
  • Newly released CIA documents add details about the torture program, including internal concerns over it.
  • Human Rights Watch calls Trump’s inauguration the “dawn of a dangerous new era.