Investigation of Istanbul Bombings Turns to Chechen Suspects

Turkish government officials say they are investigating the possibility that the bombing at Ataturk airport in Istanbul on Tuesday was carried out by Eastern European and Central Asian Islamic State militants. Though officials have only said publicly that they think one of the attackers was a foreigner, Turkish media have reported that the attackers were ...

GettyImages-543542178
GettyImages-543542178

Turkish government officials say they are investigating the possibility that the bombing at Ataturk airport in Istanbul on Tuesday was carried out by Eastern European and Central Asian Islamic State militants. Though officials have only said publicly that they think one of the attackers was a foreigner, Turkish media have reported that the attackers were citizens of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Russian province of Dagestan, and that at least two of the attackers, including the organizer, Akhmed Chatayev, were of Chechen origin. Turkish police have raided 16 locations in Istanbul and Izmir believed to be associated with Islamic State militants in Turkey and have made 13 arrests in connection with the bombings.

The Turkish military also said today that troops along the Turkey-Syria border killed two suspected members of the Islamic State over the weekend as they attempted to cross into Turkey. At least one of the men killed was believed to be plotting a suicide bomb attack either in Ankara or Adana province.

U.S. Airstrikes Pummel ISIS in Iraq, but U.S.-backed Rebels Forced to Withdraw to Jordan

Turkish government officials say they are investigating the possibility that the bombing at Ataturk airport in Istanbul on Tuesday was carried out by Eastern European and Central Asian Islamic State militants. Though officials have only said publicly that they think one of the attackers was a foreigner, Turkish media have reported that the attackers were citizens of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Russian province of Dagestan, and that at least two of the attackers, including the organizer, Akhmed Chatayev, were of Chechen origin. Turkish police have raided 16 locations in Istanbul and Izmir believed to be associated with Islamic State militants in Turkey and have made 13 arrests in connection with the bombings.

The Turkish military also said today that troops along the Turkey-Syria border killed two suspected members of the Islamic State over the weekend as they attempted to cross into Turkey. At least one of the men killed was believed to be plotting a suicide bomb attack either in Ankara or Adana province.

U.S. Airstrikes Pummel ISIS in Iraq, but U.S.-backed Rebels Forced to Withdraw to Jordan

The U.S.-led coalition launched a series of airstrikes targeting Islamic State forces fleeing the Iraqi city of Fallujah yesterday. Initial estimates suggest as many as 250 fighters were killed and 40 vehicles were destroyed. However, U.S.-backed forces in the New Syrian Army coalition were forced to withdraw to Tanf airbase in Jordan after the Islamic State repelled their advance along the Iraq-Syria border. The Islamic State claims they killed 40 New Syrian Army fighters and captured 15 others, but these numbers have not been verified.

Headlines

  • Evidence collected from the black boxes and wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804 shows signs of heat and smoke in a bathroom and the avionics bay, where sensitive electrical equipment is housed, suggesting a fire was involved in the crash; the cause of the crash still has not been identified.

 

  • U.N.-backed Yemeni peace talks being hosted in Kuwait went on hiatus yesterday and will resume on July 15; previous comments by diplomats suggested the break was in response to deadlocked talks, but U.N. Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said it would give diplomats a chance to confer with their respective leaderships.

 

  • A 19-year-old Palestinian man stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli girl to death and wounded a security officer in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba before being shot and killed.

 

  • Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from the U.N. Human Rights Council on account of its commission of human rights abuses in its intervention in Yemen; the Saudi ambassador to the council rejected the criticisms today and claimed Saudi Arabia is “keen to abide by international humanitarian law” in Yemen.

 

  • Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced the head of the Iranian military, an ally of Hassan Rouhani who had been in the post for 27 years, with Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, a veteran of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps during the Iran-Iraq War.

Arguments and Analysis

Russia is in Charge of Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield and Negotiating Table” (Sam Heller, War on the Rocks)

“Russia has used its military primacy to oblige others — including the United States — to treat it as the gatekeeper to a negotiated solution to the conflict. But not all is well for the Kremlin. Russia finds itself in the middle of a war that seems impossible to resolve military or politically — on Moscow’s terms or anyone else’s. Russia is invested heavily in a political process that, thanks to uncooperative Syrians on all sides of the war, seems unlikely to succeed. Yet Russia also appears convinced that a purely military victory by the regime is impossible. Now, with negotiations stalling, Moscow must grapple with how to deliver ‘success’ in Syria. Russia has used its intervention in Syria to reshape the military and political contest for control of Syria and to deliberately constrict the space for countervailing American action. The idea that America can menace Russia’s regime partner in Syria unilaterally and without consequences is an unreal one. And unless America is willing to risk a dangerous and unpredictable confrontation with Russia, the course of Syria’s war hinges on what Russia does next.”

 

Here’s why Saudi Arabia is loosening its restrictions on women” (Yu-Ming Liou and Paul Musgrave, Monkey Cage)

“Conventional wisdom says Vision 2030 is driven by low oil prices and soaring military expenditures caused by Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The moves to liberalize Saudi society, by contrast, are often explained as springing from generational turnover or a gradual evolution in social attitudes. Separating fiscal and social policies in that way, however, overlooks how the kingdom’s finances and its policies toward women are linked. In a forthcoming article in  International Studies Quarterly, we argue that autocrats in oil-rich states strike bargains with important societal interest groups. Rulers impose repressive social policies to secure the backing of key groups — as the Saudi royal family has done with the Wahhabist religious authorities. If those social policies are being withdrawn, it means that the monarchy is trying to rewrite that bargain.”

-J. Dana Stuster

Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images

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