There Is No Little Enemy

July 25, 2016

In the news:

In his first visit to the U.S. as Foreign Secretary to the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson proposed a new joint campaign to document evidence of war crimes in former ISIS-held areas that have been liberated.

Ahead of the Rio Olympics Brazilian police have detained ten individuals suspected of organizing a terror attack during the games.

Walid Bin Attash, suspected of helping organize the 9/11 attacks, was ejected from his trial on Thursday. The Guantanamo detainee began shouting as his appointed counsel approached and refused to obey the judge’s orders as the pretrial hearing began.

In other news out of Guantanamo, the review board has recommended another detainee’s release citing superb compliance while under detention and clear indications of change in his mentality. Mohamedou Ould Slahi wrote a memoir about his time in detention titled Guantanamo Diary.

Following the stabbing of five people on a train at the beginning of the week in Germany, a shooting broke out in a shopping center in Munich on Friday. The attacker, an eighteen year old dual German and Iranian national, killed nine people and was apparently mentally troubled.

A joint report prepared by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International titled, “You Don’t Exist” uncovered several instances of torture and arbitrary detention in the Ukraine’s east. Both the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed separatists have been accused of violations.

New details about the Nice attack have revealed that the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, received assistance from at least five individuals in planning the assault. The suspects have been arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, terrorist conspiracy, and possession and transportation of weapons.

French newspaper Le Figaro reported that around 100 foreigners per week travel from Turkey into Syria to join ISIS. France’s foreign minister said this information raises doubt as to Turkey’s capability to be a partner in the fight against ISIS.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly promised to request that the U.S. extradite a Muslim Cleric, Fethullah Gulen, currently living in Pennsylvania, on accusations that he incited the attempted military coup last week. Since the failed coup, President Erdogan has imposed a three month state of emergency in Turkey and crackdowns have led to the arrest, suspension, and firing of nearly 60,000 people.

A Greek court sentenced eight Turkish military members to a two-month prison term for illegal entry into Greece. The sentence has been suspended pending the Turks’ asylum applications. President Erdogan has demanded that the escaped soldiers return to Turkey to stand trial, but they fear they will be killed if they do so.

Two days after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed nearly sixty people in Manbij, Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels have issued a two-day ultimatum for ISIS militants to vacate the city. Manjib has been under ISIS control since 2014.

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, hopes that recent successes against ISIS may shorten the timeline for retaking Mosul in Iraq to October 2016. However, Western officials are skeptical about achieving this deadline, particularly without an established strategy for the city after retaking it.

A video surfaced last week of Syrian rebels beheading a young boy they suspected of being a part of a pro-regime militia. The Syrian National Coalition has denounced the attack, and stated legal procedures would be applied to punish the perpetrators. The boy was reportedly taken from an unofficial refugee camp near Aleppo where he lived with his family.

Several people lost their lives when two car bombs exploded near army checkpoints in Mukalla, Yemen. To date, the conflict in Yemen has killed over 6,000 and displaced nearly 3 million people.

In Yerevan, Armenia over fifty people have been hospitalized amidst clashes between protestors and police at a police station. A standoff, lasting eight days now, began after gunmen stormed the police station and took hostages, while demanding the release of a detained opposition figure.

In the latest statement of defiance, a senior Chinese admiral warned that foreign navigation patrols operating in the South China Sea could end “in disaster.”

Following the downing of a helicopter in Libya by ISIS that killed two French soldiers, France publicly acknowledged its military presence in Libya. The unity government in Tripoli denounced the French involvement because it revealed France’s cooperation with Brig. Gen. Khalifa Hifter, leader of the opposition to the unity government.

Also out of Libya, thirteen fighters were killed and 110 were wounded in a battle with ISIS in Sirte. Libyan fighters are meeting increased resistance as they work to liberate the city, which has been under ISIS control since 2015.

Around the web:

Inside A Failed Coup and Turkey’s Fragmented Military. In a piece for War On The Rocks Aaron Stein delves into the discovered details of Turkey’s most recent attempted military coup and what can be expected going forward.

China and Pakistan’s Budding Alliance Just Got Awkward. Kevin Knodell dissects the implications on the China-Pakistan alliance of Chinese President Xi Ping’s recent statements regarding maintaining atheism within the Chinese military.

The Trojan Drone. Rebecca Gordon discusses how advancements in drone technology have changed military strategy in U.S. and led to a circumvention of U.S. and international law.

Pentagon Revamps Law of War Manual to Protect Journalists. Charlie Savage, writing for the New York Times, discusses the recent changes made to the Defense Department’s Law of War Manual. While the manual overhauled some sections, specifically the section about war correspondents, other more disputed sections have largely been untouched in the overhaul.

On the blog:

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 to apply and obtain more information.

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