The Cable

FP’s Situation Report: Ukraine and Russia agree to a ceasefire; Obama’s Islamic State fight pits him against Democrats; Ebola’s death toll could have been much higher; and more from around the world.

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat A ceasefire is reached in Ukraine. European leaders announced a deal that requires both sides to remove heavy weaponry from the front lines. But it’s not clear whether the agreement would create a lasting end to the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The ...

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat

A ceasefire is reached in Ukraine. European leaders announced a deal that requires both sides to remove heavy weaponry from the front lines. But it’s not clear whether the agreement would create a lasting end to the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The Washington Post’s Michael Birnbaum: “The binding agreement was signed by lower-level representatives from the Ukrainian and Russian governments, along with the two top rebel leaders and a delegate from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is charged with monitoring the cease-fire.”

More on Ukraine below.

The authorization to use force against the Islamic State pits Obama against his party. President Barack Obama submitted an Authorization for Military Force that did not limit U.S. operations to Iraq and Syria, a “fact that congressional sources say will prompt protests from progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans uncomfortable with the way the war authorization passed in the aftermath of 9/11 was used to conduct lethal military operations around the world,” FP’s John Hudson and Kate Brannen report.

More on the Islamic State below.

Ebola killed thousands in Africa. It could have killed many more. Obama said Wednesday that American efforts are shifting from stopping the spread of Ebola to eradicating it. Still, thousands in West Africa fell victim to this disease. FP’s David Francis reports that without an unheralded international response to the region, the death toll could have been catastrophic.

More on Ebola below. 

PRESS PACK: Obama asks Congress for new authority to fight the Islamic State.

The New York Times’ Peter Baker: “The proposed legislation Mr. Obama sent to Capitol Hill would impose a three-year limit on American action that has been conducted largely from the air and, while allowing Special Operations commandos and other limited missions, would rule out sustained, large-scale ground combat.”

The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung: “House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Obama, is also ‘going to have to go out and make his case to the American people. The delivery of this authorization is the beginning of a legislative process.’”

The Wall Street Journal’s Carol E. Lee and Michael R. Crittenden: “Mr. Obama on Wednesday said the proposed resolution authorizing military force is important not only for the U.S. strategy against the group, but also to the cohesion of an international coalition, which includes Arab countries.”

ONLY IN SITREP: American Donations Come Up Short on Ebola

FP’s David Francis: According to an analysis by the consultant group Dalberg Global Development Advisors, only 7 percent of the $1.2 billion spent on the Ebola response, as of the end of 2014, came from U.S. individuals, private foundations, and companies. Contrast that with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, where individuals, companies, and foundations accounted for 62 percent of total funds contributed and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, where 36 percent came from the same group of givers.

“My sense is that part of the reason for this far weaker response in contributions is due to the media coverage which in large part focused on the risks and threat at home rather than the humanitarian crisis [in West Africa] and what individuals or companies could do to help,” Vicky Hausman, director of Dalberg’s global health practice, told Foreign Policy.

Welcome to Thursday’s edition of the Situation Report, where we know for a fact that Francis Fukuyama “liked” a piece by FP’s Elias Groll on the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea’s love of the renowned scholar’s work.

Connect with me at and @davidcfrancis and spread the word about SitRep — your destination for global security news and Washington whatnot. Like what you see? Tell a friend. Tell your colleagues. Don’t like what you see? Tell me. Or holler with tips, reports, or anything else the world needs to know, and I’ll try to include it.


9:30 a.m. General John F. Campbell, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Afghanistan before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 10:00 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing on the Islamic State. 2:00 p.m. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts a panel on “The Battle Against the Islamic State.” 2.30 p.m. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.


The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman and Keith Bradsher: “The Obama administration accused China on Wednesday of providing illegal export subsidies to critical industries, flexing its muscle on trade as it presses Congress to expand President Obama’s authority to secure major trade accords.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Gabriele Steinhauser and Viktoria Dendrinou: “Eurozone finance ministers struggled to find a clear line on how to deal with Greece’s financial issues early Thursday in light of what they said were mixed messages from the new government in Athens.”

The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg: “Republicans in Congress challenged Barack Obama to drop his veto threat and sign a newly passed Keystone XL bill into law on Wednesday — or risk seeing the measure attached to other pieces of legislation.”

UKRAINE: Ukraine gets a new lifeline from the IMF. Moscow claims the West is trying to destroy Russia.

The New York Times’ David M. Herszenberg: The International Monetary Fund agreed on Thursday to throw a new $17.5 billion lifeline to Ukraine, hoping to stabilize the country as it teeters on the edge of default.

The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Sonne: “Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told a Russian state newspaper that the U.S. was orchestrating events in Ukraine in a bid to overthrow Mr. Putin’s government.”

Business Insider’s Jeremy Bender:Russian troops are directly engaged in fighting in Ukraine along the front lines of the critical town of Debaltseve, U.S. Army Europe commander Ben Hodges said on Wednesday.”

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST: Human Rights Watch alleges Sudanese troops raped at least 221 women and girls in Darfur.

The Associated Press: “The incident is at the heart of a recent deterioration of relations between Sudan and the international community over a region gripped by violent chaos for more than a decade.”

EUROPE: Europe increases intelligence sharing after Paris attacks.

Euobserver’s Nikolaj Nielsen on the EU moving closer to allowing the sharing of information on airline passengers: “Euro-deputies in Strasbourg voted on a resolution with an amendment to reach an agreement on the EU’s passenger name (EU PNR) record bill by the end of the year.”

EBOLA: Obama details transitions in the fight against Ebola.

The New York Times’ Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “The president said that civilian employees of various government agencies, along with American volunteers and about 100 members of the military, would remain in West Africa as the effort moved from containment of the virus to eradication.”

UNC SHOOTINGS: The parents of the three Muslim students killed by a North Carolina man Tuesday night allege it was a hate crime.

The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino and Nicky Woolf: “Chapel Hill police said a preliminary investigation revealed that an ongoing dispute between neighbors over a parking space may have led Craig Stephen Hicks to shoot his neighbors Deah Barakat, 23; Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.”


The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission published a report on “China’s Incomplete Military Transformation: Assessing the Weaknesses of the People’s Liberation Army.”

AND FINALLY, FP’s Elias Groll on not-so-happy-birthday wishes from Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to Iran on the anniversary of its revolution.


David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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