Where Two Are Fighting A Third One Wins

June 20, 2016

In the news:

In Colombia, the guerilla militant group FARC is set to release around twenty to twenty-five child soldiers. Though FARC claims there are “no more than 25 children in its ranks”, that claim is disputed by witnesses, the Colombia Family Welfare Institute, and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The U.S. has deployed its second aircraft carrier into the Mediterranean, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The carrier is expected “to continue on to the Gulf to participate in U.S. airstrikes against ISIS”.

Protesters organized outside of Ramstein Air Base last week to protest the base’s support of U.S. drone missions abroad. Although some motorists were irked by the message and presence of the activists on the roadways, it was a peaceful event without any reported incidents.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced early last week that two more Ukrainian nationalists currently in custody in Russia on charges of terrorism and spying would be exchanged for two Russian military officers.

A former guard of Auschwitz concentration camp was sentenced to five years for complicity in the murder of at least 170,000 people. The 94 year-old man expressed remorse for his participation in a “criminal organization”, and not doing anything to oppose the injustice.

On Friday, the European Union extended economic sanctions against Crimea for another year; sanctions were put in place after the peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014. This week, there will be another meeting to consider extending “broader economic sanctions” against Russia until the end of the year.

Following a decision by NATO ministers to classify “cyber as an official operational domain of warfare”, the NATO Security General stated that a severe cyber attack might prompt the organization’s mutual defense guarantee.

NATO’s Security General has also announced that the organization’s ministers have decided to dispatch 4,000 troops to NATO’s eastern border. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and operations in eastern Ukraine, the Baltic States and Poland have expressed concerns for their security and requested a stronger NATO presence.

A Washington-based think tank, Institute for Science and International Security, estimates that North Korea may currently posses anywhere between 13 to 21 or more nuclear weapons. The estimates were announced after a senior US State Department official stated that North Korea “restarted production of plutonium fuel” despite international sanctions.

More than 400 people have died in Ethiopia following a lethal response by state security forces responding to protests that began in November of 2015. Protests began after the announcement of a plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, which would displace many farmers belonging to the Oromo ethnic group.

Air strikes in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province killed at least 27 people early last week. It is yet unclear whether Russian or Syrian planes carried out the strikes as both were in the area at the time of the strikes.

Iraqi government forces snagged a significant victory in the battle for Fallujah last week. Forces were able to capture a government complex within the center of the city that was utilized by ISIS. The city has been under ISIS control for two years and tens of thousands of civilians still remain in the city.

The deputy supreme commander of United Arab Emirate forces has announced, “war is over” for the state’s forces stationed in Yemen. Meanwhile, some speculate that the commander’s statement still leaves open the prospect that Emirati troops may remain to carry out “counterterrorism operations”.

A UN panel announced Thursday that ISIS is committing “crimes against humanity and other war crimes against the Yazidi community in Iraq and Syria”. The panel urges more states to do more to end the violence and abuse.

Following shooting at a main border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Islamabad says it is engaged in negotiations with Kabul to neutralize tensions in the area.

Around the web:

Civilians Lives and the Fate of Campaigns. Christopher Kolenda sheds light on the impact of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) both on civilians and the U.S. military in their campaigns.

Washington’s War on the Islamic State Is Only Making it Stronger. In an article for Foreign Policy, Hasan Hasan discusses how Washington’s military campaign on the ground could actually increase ISIS’s appeal.

Skirmishes Scar the Ethiopian-Eritrean Border. Peter Doerrie examines the history of the conflict as well as what the recent attacks mean for the outcome of the conflict.

On the blog:

Conflict and Stabilization Operations: Atrocity Prevention. In an effort to prevent and combat atrocities the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) was established. Led by the White House, the board seeks to identify and address atrocity threats as well as oversee institutional changes so that the U.S. can better prevent and respond to mass atrocities against civilians.

International Humanitarian Law: A Primer for Professionals. Register for one of our upcoming one-day workshops. Audience members will learn to recognize and understand situations where international humanitarian law is applicable. CLE credits are available! Contact us at ihlaw@redcross.org to apply and obtain more information.

IHL Action Campaign. Follow the work of the IHL Action Campaign, and our other youth education program updates!

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