Monday, February 9, 2015
In the news
The conflict in Ukraine continues in the Donetsk area, where a shell hit a hospital last Wednesday killing four people. The Ukrainian military has started evacuating civilians from the key town of Debaltseve, which has been under fire from the pro-Russian rebels. The U.S. is now considering providing military aid to Ukraine, and US Secretary of State John Kerry went to Ukraine last week to discuss this possibility. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were also in Ukraine, as well as in Russia, in order to push for peace in the region.
ISIS shocked the world once again with their latest video showing a Jordanian hostage being burned alive in a metal cage. Although Jordan had been negotiating for his release with ISIS for the past week, experts believe the hostage may have been executed over a month ago. As promised, the Jordanian response was “strong, decisive and swift”. Two convicted terrorists, including the woman whose release ISIS had been demanding, were executed hours after the video was released. These events have led some to express doubts regarding the release of ISIS’s last hostages, among them a 26 year old American aid worker. Jordan is also reported to have led several airstrikes that resulted in the death of fifty-five ISIS militants, including a senior commander.
The fight against Boko Haram is becoming regional, as the Chadian military entered Nigeria to join the battle against the militant Islamist group. Meanwhile, the African Union is waiting on the U.N. Security Council’s approval of its decision to intervene by establishing a 7,500 member military force, named the Multinational Joint Task Force. Although some speculate that Boko Haram’s forces number between seven and ten thousand fighters, the exact size of the force they are up against remains uncertain.
While Hezbollah is reported to have asked Israel for a ceasefire, violence continues in other parts of the world. A group that had pledged its support to ISIS claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on a Shiite Mosque in Pakistan, killing at least 49 people. The Kurdish militia made rapid advances against ISIS in the Kobani area in Syria this week. Syria is also seeing the use of less traditional tactics as pro-Assad hackers accessed the Syrian rebel’s tactical battle plans by using… Skype.
Around the web
An interview with Assad. In a recent interview, Bashar Assad appeared eager to involve Western governments in his struggle against Islamist terrorism, appealing to those in Washington that believe he could be useful in the US-led fight against ISIS militants. His interviewer, however, believes the Syrian dictator is too delusional to end the civil war in Syria. Watch the interview here.
New ICTY genocide conviction. The ICTY affirms the genocide conviction in another Srebenica case. One of the ICC’s legal advisers gives an interesting analysis of the international humanitarian law issues involved in the ruling.
On the blog
Caught in the Crossfire. A reminder that on March 5th, the American Red Cross and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies will host an expert presentation and panel on ensuring the existence of a safe space for education during conflict. RSVP on the blog to attend in person or watch the event live-streamed in HD at bit.do/caughtinthecrossfire.