Report

U.S. Soldier Killed by ISIS While Advising Kurdish Troops

A U.S. soldier was killed near Irbil, Iraq, when Islamic State forces broke through a line held by Kurdish peshmerga and advanced “two to three miles” to where U.S. forces were advising Kurdish troops. This is the third U.S. combat death fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. Few details have been released so far. Despite ...

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A U.S. soldier was killed near Irbil, Iraq, when Islamic State forces broke through a line held by Kurdish peshmerga and advanced “two to three miles” to where U.S. forces were advising Kurdish troops. This is the third U.S. combat death fighting the Islamic State in Iraq. Few details have been released so far.

Despite protests in Baghdad, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is “in a very strong position,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters yesterday while en route to Germany for a meeting with other leaders of the military coalition to defeat the Islamic State. “Prime Minister Abadi stands for and has been a partner in all of the things that are important to Iraq’s future, namely a country that holds together and doesn’t just spiral off into sectarianism,” he said. Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is also traveling to Germany for the meeting, told Foreign Policy that the United States is “concerned” about the political deadlock and its potential implications.

U.N. Envoy in Moscow in Effort to Restore Ceasefire to Aleppo

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura is in Moscow today meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to try to make progress toward restoring a ceasefire in Aleppo. De Mistura’s meeting with Lavrov comes a day after a series of meetings held by Secretary of State John Kerry that he said have come close to reinstating the ceasefire but require more support. Violence in Aleppo is continuing today and reports have noted several deaths in government-held neighborhoods from rebel shelling and rocket attacks, including three women who were killed in an attack on a hospital. More than 250 people have been killed in Aleppo in the past two weeks since the collapse of the ceasefire, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Headlines

  • A proposed amendment to the Turkish constitution that would strip parliamentarians of immunity, clearing the way for prosecutions of sitting pro-Kurdish opposition politicians, was passed out of committee after a debate on the measure turned to a brawl and pro-Kurdish parliamentarians walked out of the proceedings.

 

  • A British foreign fighter with the Islamic State, Raphael Hostey, who was responsible for much of the organization’s English-language propaganda and British recruitment was killed in Syria, probably in an airstrike.

 

  • The Israeli military will hold Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal in “administrative detention” for four months without charge or trial on suspicion of “unlawful activity” with a terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

 

  • The Saudi Ministry of the Interior killed two men in a gunfight and arrested a third in a counterterrorism operation in Bisha province over the weekend; the operation was reportedly in response to an imminent threat and the men were suspected of involvement in Islamic State attacks in Saudi Arabia.

 

  • Egyptian journalists have called for protests at the Journalists’ Syndicate building in Cairo today in observance of World Press Freedom Day and in response to a police raid on the building on Sunday in which two journalists were arrested.

Arguments and Analysis

Is Muqtada al-Sadr Good for Iraq?” (Renad Mansour and Michael David Clark, War on the Rocks)

“Sadr has since undergone a rebranding process. He disbanded the notorious Mehdi Army and later established Saraya al-Salam (the Peace Brigades), which semantically has a less aggressive and non-sectarian tone. Last year, in a battle against the Islamic State, Sadr withdrew his paramilitary fighters as soon as allegations emerged of crimes committed by his men. Moving away from strictly a sectarian militia, his fighters are also fighting alongside Sunni tribes, such as the Albu Nimr in Anbar, against the Islamic State. Moreover, members of his paramilitary have welcomed the idea of integration into the Iraqi state, but only when the government’s security apparatus is perceived as effective and legitimate. Many analysts criticize Sadr for hypocrisy, claiming to fight corruption while sending individuals from his own ranks to become government officials. His officials have been part of the very problem of corruption that Sadr claims to oppose. However, Sadr is increasingly cautious about who he sends to represent his voice in government. Under accusations of corruption, he has on occasion removed the bad apples and blessed the courts’ legal proceedings. For instance, when Abadi issued legal proceedings against Sadrist Deputy Prime Minister Baha Araji, Sadr issued a statement ordering Araji to resign and forbade him from leaving the country prior to completion of the judicial procedures.”

 

The Time Has Come for a ‘Sexual Spring’ in the Arab World” (Kacem El Ghazzali, Huffington Post)

“When we say that nowadays to call for sexual freedom in Arab and Muslim societies is more dangerous than the demand to topple monarchies or dictatorial regimes, we are not playing with metaphor or attempting to gain sympathy. We are stating a bitter and painful fact of the reality in which we are living. In Arab and Muslim milieus, sex is considered a means and not an end, hedged by many prickly restrictions that make it an objectionable matter and synonymous with sin. Its function within marriage is confined to procreation and nothing else, and all sexual activity outside the institution of marriage is banned legally and rejected socially. Innocent children born out of wedlock are socially rejected and considered foundlings. This situation cannot be said to be characteristic of Arab societies only, but we experience these miseries in far darker and more intense ways than in other countries.”

-J. Dana Stuster

SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images

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