1) Turkey has requested an emergency meeting with NATO concerning ISIS and its border with Syria. Officials from member countries will meet on Tuesday, July 28, to discuss the situation. Reports currently say that Turkey has not made any call for any military help. The meeting falls under an Article 4 consultation in the Alliance’s 1949 treaty, as opposed to Article 5 which calls for armed forces from NATO.
1) Boko Haram attacks continue to happen across Africa with more than 50 dead in Nigeria and at least 13 killed in Cameroon by a suicide bomber. This week the U.S. has pledged additional military aid to help Nigeria tackle the militant group. The increase happened after President Muhammadu Buhari called out the American government for indirectly supporting Boko Haram by not providing lethal aid to countries under attack.
1) Three Spanish journalists went missing in Syria and are presumed to be kidnapped. Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre have not been heard from since they entered Syria via Turkey on July 10th. The journalists were supposed to be in Aleppo but are now feared to be captured by ISIS, who kidnapped journalists in the same area last year.
1) ISIS went on a kidnapping and killing spree across the Middle East over the weekend. In Libya, 3 Christians from different African countries (Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana) were kidnapped by ISIS, who released a statement and their passports online. Then on Sunday night, four Italians working in Libya were also reportedly taken though ISIS has not claimed their abduction. In reaction to an assault on Anbar, ISIS orchestrated a suicide car bombing in Iraq that took more than 100 lives. Reports were also released showing that ISIS has been using chemical weapons in Syria, multiple times, during the month of June.
2) A draft of the investigative report on the down MH17 plane in Ukraine has been leaked to the media. The report blames pro-Russian separatists. The crashed killed 298 people, many of them from the Netherlands. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has called for a UN tribunal, but Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the request. Russia continues to deny involvement with the crash or violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.
1) Georgia has accused Russia of violating international law in its occupied region of South Ossetia. Russia has maintained a military presence in the region (as well as Abkhazia), since its brief war with Georgia in 2008. Russia had placed self-declared border markings in South Ossetia which they have been gradually moving farther south to increase the Russian-held territory. This week Georgia says Russia has added new border markings encroaching further on their sovereign territory. The shift of more than a mile took over both farmland and a pipeline, as well as cutting off Georgians from their home village. An EU monitoring mission has confirmed the borderization.
1) Iran and six other countries, including the U.S., have agreed to a draft for the Iranian nuclear deal. The deal calls for giving UN inspectors greater access to important sites, limiting the country’s nuclear program and relieving international sanctions. Opponents of the White house-backed negotiations have already come out against the deal, saying it is too lenient on Iran and lacks certain things promised to congress.
I’m very sad to report that despite last week’s upbeat announcement, we will not be restarting the World Class Hour (on FTR and on the podcast) and will remain on hiatus for the time being.
1) After more than 130 people died in 48 hours in Yemen, the UN has finally managed a humanitarian ceasefire which will extend until July 17th, the end of the Islamic religious holiday of Ramadan. Both the Yemeni government (backed by Saudi Arabia) and the Houthi rebels have agreed to the internationally-brokered deal. Relief agencies will attempt to reach the 25 million people (80% of the population) in need of aid.
1) An Iraqi warplane killed 7 civilians after accidentally bombed a residential area of Baghdad. The plane had been returning from a bombing mission against ISIS when a technical error caused the explosive to drop over the city and hit three homes.