Report

Germany to Increase Role in Syria Coalition

Germany will increase its role in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State. Today, the German cabinet approved a plan to send “Tornado reconnaissance jets, refueling aircraft, a frigate to protect a French aircraft carrier, and up to 1,200 soldiers to the region,” though it will not conduct airstrikes in Syria. Germany’s decision to step ...

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Germany will increase its role in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State. Today, the German cabinet approved a plan to send “Tornado reconnaissance jets, refueling aircraft, a frigate to protect a French aircraft carrier, and up to 1,200 soldiers to the region,” though it will not conduct airstrikes in Syria. Germany’s decision to step up its military support for the campaign against the Islamic State was prompted by a request from France. Germany’s defense minister stressed that “there will be no cooperation with Assad and no cooperation with troops under his command,” but noted that this is distinct from the diplomatic track, on which she did not rule out that elements of the Assad regime could retain a role in the government in a negotiated transition. The proposal will now go to the Bundestag, where it faces some opposition.

President Obama met with another coalition partner, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit today. Obama urged Erdogan to reduce tensions with Russia and discussed possible actions that could de-escalate the situation. “Our concern is to not come out badly from this, but on the contrary to turn this into peace and contribute to the peace in the region,” Erdogan told reporters after the meeting.

Syrian Family Resettled in New Jersey amid State-Federal Debate

A Syrian family of seven was resettled in New Jersey last night despite Gov. Chris Christie’s claim that he would block refugee resettlement and aid to refugees in his state. The U.S. effort to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year is facing a challenge from politicians who claim that the refugees could be a security threat despite a rigorous vetting process. Though more than 30 governors have made statements like Christie’s, they do not have the legal authority to block resettlement. However, a refugee family was diverted to resettle in Connecticut in November on account of concerns that the original location for them in Indiana might have been hostile to them.

Headlines

  • Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, released a group of Lebanese hostages today as part of a prisoner swap arranged by the government of Qatar; Lebanon has agreed to release prisoners wanted by Nusra, including the former wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

 

  • The body of Lt. Col. Oleg A. Peshkov, the Russian pilot killed when his Su-24 was shot down by Turkish warplanes, was returned to Russia after the Turkish government secured the release of his body from groups in Syria.

 

  • Shelling from Yemen into Saudi Arabia’s Jazan district killed a border guard yesterday, the eighth death from cross-border shelling since Saturday.

 

  • The Israeli government is promoting a new effort led by Arabic speakers and programmers to identify and remove online content that is inciting violence against Israelis.

 

  • In response to Israel’s suspension of some contacts with the European Union, an EU spokesperson said the European Union would continue to work with other partners and the Quartet on the peace process.

Arguments and Analysis

Want to help the Islamic State recruit? Treat all Muslims as potential terrorists.” (Richard Maass, Monkey Cage)

“Many excellent scholars — both before and since 9/11 — have produced research that tells us about the relationship between discrimination and counterterrorism. Here’s what we know. To be most effective, counterterrorism policies need to make an explicit distinction between the individuals who genuinely threaten others with terrorism, on the one hand, and on the other, the broader populations those terrorists claim to represent. Counterterrorism efforts — especially using force — should narrowly target only the former, as much as possible. Groups that commit terrorism often hope to provoke a violent overreaction against the community they claim to be defending. Even though most people in that community are nonviolent, such a reaction might force them to turn to the terrorist group for their own defense, swelling its ranks and realizing its ambition for greater political power.”

 

Education of Syrian Refugee Children: Managing the Crisis in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan” (Shelly Culbertson and Louay Constant, RAND Corporation)

“With four million Syrian refugees as of September 2015, there is urgent need to develop both short-term and long-term approaches to providing education for the children of this population. This report reviews Syrian refugee education for children in the three neighboring countries with the largest population of refugees — Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan — and analyzes four areas: access, management, society, and quality. Policy implications include prioritizing the urgent need to increase access to education among refugees; transitioning from a short-term humanitarian response to a longer-term development response; investing in both government capacity to provide education and in formal, quality alternatives to the public school systems; improving data in support of decisionmaking; developing a deliberative strategy about how to integrate or separate Syrian and host-country children in schools to promote social cohesion; limiting child labor and enabling education by creating employment policies for adults; and implementing particular steps to improve quality of education for both refugees and citizens.”

-J. Dana Stuster

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