Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a three-month state of emergency last night after a meeting with his security council that lasted five hours. The state of emergency will grant Erdogan wide-ranging executive powers in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday. “The aim of the declaration of the state of emergency is to be able to take fast and effective steps against this threat against democracy, the rule of law and rights and freedoms of our citizens,” he said in a televised speech. Turkey will also suspend the European Convention on Human Rights for at least a month, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told NTV.
Approximately 50,000 public employees have been arrested or fired in purges that began over the weekend. The judiciary, which was among the first sectors to be affected by the government crackdown, has been so hard hit and the purges are moving with such speed that rights groups say laws and due process have been bypassed. “They are not applying any kind of law at this stage,” a Turkish law professor told the Washington Post. “The courts are only a formality at the moment.”
Syrian Rebels Issue 48-Hour Warning to Islamic State in Manbij
Citing public pressure mounting after recent civilian casualties in airstrikes, Syrian rebels besieging the city of Manbij issued a warning to Islamic State fighters, saying that they have 48 hours to leave the city and that they may take light weapons with them. The statement also encouraged civilians to flee before fighting increases in urban areas. As fighting bears down on the Islamic State, U.S. officials say they are increasingly concerned about the long-term sustainability of Jabhat al-Nusra and the effect it could have on global jihadism.
- The government of Kuwait issued an ultimatum to the warring Yemeni parties participating in peace talks, saying they have only 15 days to reach an agreement, after which the country will no longer host the negotiations.
- An explosion occurred at what may have been a Hezbollah outpost in Quneitra, Syria, near the Golan Heights; the blast was attributed by Syrian rebels to an Israeli airstrike, though Hezbollah claimed it was a rocket attack by Jabhat al-Nusra.
- Iranian authorities arrested 40 people accused of belonging to a terrorist cell that was plotting to attack military targets via tunnel; the arrests occurred in Sistan-Baluchistan province, where four Iranian border guards were killed by rebels earlier this month.
- The U.S. State Department approved the sale of $785 million worth of bombs and other munitions to the United Arab Emirates to facilitate their involvement in the fight against the Islamic State.
- Saudi Arabia’s General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars reissued a fatwa originally put forward in 2001 that calls the game Pokemon “un-Islamic”; Pokemon, according to the fatwa, promotes the theory of evolution, idolatry, polytheism, and gambling.
Arguments and Analysis
“Sinai tells its own story” (Heba Afify, Mada Masr)
“‘Both state-owned and private media can’t get the information,’ says Mostafa Singer, a Sinai-based journalist working at the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper. ‘Reaching the location of events in Sinai has become almost impossible. Official sources don’t give any real information, and they [mainstream media] all operate under serious constraints, not to mention the threat of prosecution.’ In response to this militarized narrative, some of Sinai’s residents have taken to Facebook to fill the information gap in different conflict-stricken cities, creating networks that have come to serve as news sources for the local population. ‘We are not journalists, but our reality has forced us to report the suffering of our people,’ declares Sinai News 24, one of the locally run Facebook pages reporting from North Sinai.”
“U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria can’t stop at counterterrorism” (Steven Heydemann, Markaz)
“The agreement that Secretary Kerry is negotiating with Moscow holds out some potential for reducing violence against civilians, limiting the activities of the Assad regime air force, and preventing attacks against moderate opposition forces—but only if Russia agrees to it and, even less certain, can get the Assad regime to go along. Abandoning a comprehensive strategy in Syria, however, and engaging with Russia in the fight against Nusra and ISIS without explicitly making that cooperation contingent on a clear, defined process of political transition in Syria, would have major shortcomings. It would do little to address underlying sources of radicalism, further compromise prospects for a negotiated transition, and virtually guarantee that Obama will bequeath to his successor an open-ended Syria conflict that continues to destabilize the Arab east and Western Europe. Failure to use engagement with Russia to prevent this scenario from unfolding will be a major missed opportunity as the Obama administration prepares to hand off the Syria file to an incoming president.”
-J. Dana Stuster
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