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Europe on Alert as Police Raids Continue

Europe remains on edge today amid police raids and further violence. Three men professing their loyalty to the Islamic State stabbed a teacher at a Jewish school in the city of Marseilles yesterday; the teacher survived and is expected to recover. French authorities are still trying to determine whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected planner of ...


Europe remains on edge today amid police raids and further violence. Three men professing their loyalty to the Islamic State stabbed a teacher at a Jewish school in the city of Marseilles yesterday; the teacher survived and is expected to recover. French authorities are still trying to determine whether Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected planner of the Paris attacks, was killed in a police raid in France yesterday. Belgian authorities are conducting their own police raids today, following up on people connected to Bilal Hadfi, one of the Paris attackers. Sweden is also on alert; authorities there raised the nation’s threat level, citing “concrete information” about a possible attack.

Interpol said it is tracking more than 5,800 people suspected of traveling from Europe to Syria to fight there. “But with some estimates putting the number of foreign terrorist fighters at more than 25,000 clearly a significant gap still exists between the number of foreign terrorist fighters we have identified and those estimated to have reached conflict zones,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said yesterday. Turkey has deported several Moroccans yesterday and is still holding others who were arrested upon arrival at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul on suspicion of ties to the Islamic State. In a speech in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called “on all leaders of Muslim countries to put up a united front” against the Islamic State. “If not, those who knocked on our door in Ankara, will knock on your door elsewhere, as they did in Paris,” he said.

In a new issue of its English-language web magazine, Dabiq, the Islamic State claimed it had executed two hostages, a Norwegian man and a Chinese man.

Iran Removes Thousands of Centrifuges, According to IAEA Report

Iran removed 4,500 centrifuges from nuclear facilities at Natanz and Fordow over the past month, according to a new confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency obtained by Reuters. Iran must reduce the number of installed centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,100 to adhere to the nuclear agreement reached with the P5+1 in July. Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium must be brought down to 300 kg as part of the deal, but over the past three months that stockpile has increased by 460 kg. A senior diplomat dismissed the increase in uranium stockpile as a normal fluctuation, saying that “there is nothing special in that.”


  • Israeli officials are praising convicted spy Jonathan Pollard ahead of his scheduled release on parole this Friday; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested that Pollard be allowed to complete his five years of parole in Israel.


  • The war in Yemen has killed 5,700 people since March 26, according to new figures released by the United Nations; 82 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, including 320,000 acutely malnourished children.


  • Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam said it is considering a proposal for a localized ceasefire with other groups that would take effect near Damascus.


  • British police arrested a Libyan man for the 1984 shooting of a British policewoman that occurred when someone inside the Libyan embassy began firing at people at a protest against Libya’s then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.


  • Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow the provision of 3G high-speed mobile data service to the West Bank; the news will be welcome to Palestinian app developers who have introduced new apps to better navigate checkpoints.

Arguments and Analysis

The War in Iraq Against the Islamic State After Paris” (Douglas Ollivant, War on the Rocks)

“So how can the United States help Iraq in the war against ISIL without deploying more troops? The answer is simple. We have yet to deploy the most critical enabler in any war — presidential involvement. President Obama should spend a significant portion of his last year in office ensuring that U.S. efforts in Iraq are far better synchronized and that more effective use is made of the resources committed. Presidential involvement is important in any administration, but it is arguably critical in the current one. It has become apparent that any policy that truly matters to President Obama is run from the White House, and while complaints of centralization at the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) are perennial, they are heard louder during this administration than any other since the days of Kissinger’s tenure heading the NSC. But for any new policy (and in government time, a policy that started last summer is new), White House involvement is key. Bureaucracies do not like to do new things, or do them differently, or do them in opposition to established procedures, and if left to themselves, will execute with dubious efficiency (see, for example, The White House has clearly been involved in putting limitations — appropriate or not — on the campaign. What it has not been involved in is ensuring that the actions that are being taken are appropriately coordinated, synchronized, and occurring with all prudent speed.”


After Paris, Will ISIL Now Become a Global Priority?” (Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington)

“Gulf civil society and media have also been outspoken and unanimous in their condemnation of the attacks. The Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia said, ‘Terrorists are not sanctioned by Islam and these acts are contrary to values of mercy it brought to the world.’ But reaction in the Gulf and the rest of the Arab world did note the distinction between the heavy global attention paid to the carnage in Paris and the relative inattention to a devastating pair of suicide bombings in Beirut shortly before. The UAE’s flagship English-language newspaper, The National, noted, ‘Just as we have long known the nature of ISIL, so too the nuanced and appropriate response to the events in Paris and Beirut remains unchanged from before. ISIL has to be defeated not just militarily but even more importantly on the ideological battlefield, by offering a compelling counternarrative to the extremist ideology that unfortunately has appeal to disaffected youth across the globe.’ This sentiment and analysis more or less sums up the prevailing reaction among mainstream discourse in the Arab Gulf states, and most of the rest of the Middle East and, indeed, the world at large. However, even with the overwhelming bulk of the human family united in horror and outrage at this spate of attacks, including those in Beirut and culminating in the Paris massacres, there does not yet appear to be a concomitant global or international commitment to adjusting the international approach to dealing with ISIL. It may well be emerging. But if this is, as some have said, a ‘game changer’ for the international community, its response to ISIL remains to be developed.”

-J. Dana Stuster


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