News Roundup and Notes: October 22, 2014

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

IRAQ and SYRIA

American military forces carried out four airstrikes near Kobani over Monday and Tuesday, and a further three strikes with partner nations in Iraq, including around the Bayji oil refinery, Mosul Dam, and Fallujah. [Central Command]

A video released by the Islamic State yesterday purports to show at least one bundle of U.S. weapons in the possession of the terrorist group, a misfire of U.S. efforts to airdrop aid to Kurds fighting the group in Kobani. [The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin]  The Pentagon said that it is examining the video but could not yet confirm whether it is authentic. [BBC]

By secretly cooperating with Syrian Kurds in Kobani, the U.S. “crossed a Rubicon” that may indicate a more hands-on approach to future operations against the Islamic State. [Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous et al]

The Syrian military has intensified air strikes in rebel areas, conducting more than 200 strikes over 36 hours, according to activists. [BBC]

The U.S. and Iraq are planning offensive operations for Iraqi troops to retake territory lost to the Islamic State, but the plan will not be implemented in full for several months, according to a senior administration official. [Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung]

The U.S. is considering a request from Iraq for more American advisers to assist the Iraqi military in their efforts to tackle the Islamic State, according to senior U.S. officials. [Al Jazeera]

Iraq’s Anbar province has been transformed into an important battleground by ISIS militants, raising fears that fighters will have “an open route from the Syrian border all the way to Baghdad.” [Reuters’ Ahmed Rasheed et al.]

A series of car bombs in Baghdad on Tuesday targeted Shia areas of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 18 people. [Al Jazeera]

Iraqi tribes in the city of Abu Ghraib are alert to the threat of takeover by ISIS, ready to fight the group if necessary. [AP]

Iraq’s new Defense Minister Khalid Al-Obeidi vowed to reclaim all areas under ISIS control in his first televised speech yesterday. [Asharq al-Awsat’s Khalid Mahmoud]

U.S. operations against ISIS have cost approximately $424 million since the air campaign began on August 8, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said yesterday.

The effort to cut off ISIS’s finance stream is being led by David Cohen, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, reports the New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis.

The failed kidnapping attempt of a Syrian rebel from a southeastern Turkish city highlights the Islamic State’s mounting reach into Turkey. [Washington Post’s Liz Sly]

David Gardner explores Turkey’s struggle to “cope with ISIS reverberations” and the risk its attitude poses to relations with the Kurds. [Financial Times]

There is strong evidence indicating that the Islamic State attempted to commit genocide against the Yazidi minority, threatening to exterminate them if they refused to convert to Islam, said assistant UN secretary general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic. [New York Times]

Five British citizens per week are travelling to join the Islamic State, according to the U.K.’s most senior police officer, a statistic said to be a minimum. [The Guardian’s Shiv Malik and Duncan Gardham]

Canada has raised its internal terrorism threat level from low to medium due to an increase in “general chatter” from organizations like the Islamic State, but not in response to a specific threat. [CBC News’ Laura Payton]

Despite Tunisia’s success following the Arab Spring, it has sent more foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State than any other country because “the new freedom that came with the Arab Spring revolt has allowed militants to preach and recruit more openly than ever before.” [New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick]

RUSSIA and UKRAINE

Ukraine and Russia failed to reach agreement on the natural gas dispute yesterday, largely due to Kiev’s ability to pay, but the two sides will resume discussions next week. [Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Mock]

The Ukrainian government has denied allegations that its troops used cluster bombs in Donetsk earlier this month, as reported by Human Rights Watch yesterday. [Kyiv Post’s Oksana Grytsenko]

A series of attacks on Ukrainian politicians is adding to the tension in the build-up to the parliamentary elections on Sunday. [New York Times’ David M. Herszenhorn]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

New data indicates that Afghan security forces are being targeted at the highest rate in over a decade, with 950 soldiers killed in the six month period since March 2014. [Wall Street Journal’s Margherita Stancati]  Azam Ahmed explores the efforts being made by new Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to “make his mark” on the presidency. [New York Times]

Former CIA director Leon E. Panetta reportedly clashed with the CIA over his recently released memoir after he allowed his publisher to begin editing the book before he had received final clearance from the agency, apparently in violation of the CIA’s employee secrecy agreement. [Washington Post’s Greg Miller]

The Obama administration intends to fully consult Congress over negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, according to Secretary of State John Kerry speaking today. [Reuters]  Vali R. Nasr argues that the chance to reach a nuclear deal with Iran is “now or never,” and suggests that “the longer it takes, the more likely it is that politics here and in Iran will ultimately coalesce to sink any deal at all.” [New York Times]

Fierce clashes between Houthi rebels and al-Qaeda backed Sunni tribesmen continue in Yemen, with 68 people killed in the Bayda province. [Al Jazeera]

The Libyan government called on its military, led by General Khalifa Hafter, to advance on the capital, in order to “liberate” Tripoli “and state institutions from the grip of armed troops.” [Al Arabiya News]

The U.K. government has extradited to the U.S. a terrorism suspect, Haroon Awsat, who is alleged to have been a colleague of Abu Hamza al-Masri. [New York Times’ Steven Erlanger]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has set up an investigation into attacks during this summer’s Gaza war on UN facilities and the use of the organization’s sites to store weapons. [UN News Centre]  Secretary of State John Kerry said this morning that the current situation between Israel and Palestine is “unsustainable.” [Reuters]

David Ignatius discusses an alternative approach to preventing terrorism that is used by a small U.A.E.-based international organization, Hedayah. [Washington Post]

Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans known to be detained in North Korea, has been released, the State Department announced yesterday. [AP]

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About the Author(s)

Ruchi Parekh

Former Associate Editor at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@RParekh88).

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security