News Roundup and Notes: October 29, 2014

Always Improving. As you may have noticed, we’ve recently been tweaking the design of the News Roundup to make it easier for you to read. We’d love to get your feedback on the design changes and hear your thoughts about how we can improve the News Roundup. Take this quick survey and share your thoughts about how we’re doing. Click here to see an older version of the News Roundup. Thanks!

Here’s today’s news.

IRAQ and SYRIA

As many as 200 Free Syrian Army rebels have arrived in Kobani to assist Kurdish fighters defend the Syrian border town against the Islamic State. [BBC]

Around 150 Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters arrived in Turkey early today as part of their planned deployment to Kobani to provide assistance to the Syrian Kurds. [Reuters’ Dasha Afanasieva and Alexander Dziadosz]

A 30,000-strong force of volunteers from the predominantly Sunni Anbar province will be created to combat the Islamic State in the region, the program having been approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. [Asharq Al-Awsat’s Hamza Mustafa]

The Islamic State killed 30 pro-Syrian government fighters during an attack on a gas field yesterday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Reuters]

U.S. forces carried out four strikes against ISIS targets in Syria over Monday and Tuesday, and a further nine strikes in Iraq in conjunction with partner nations. [Central Command]

The Islamic State utilizes a powerful intelligence apparatus which allows it to “purge” its opponents, marking the group out from its predecessors and similar extremist groups, explains Al Monitor’s Ali Mamouri.

The most senior member of the Islamic State from Australia has reportedly been killed during fighting in Syria. [The Sydney Morning Herald’s Rachel Olding]

Iraq’s victory over ISIS militants in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar required the evacuation of all residents and has left the town annihilated, highlighting the numerous challenges still facing the Iraqi government, writes Loveday Morris [Washington Post]

Tunisia is the largest source of foreign terrorist fighters joining the Islamic State; Kevin Sullivan explores this unintended consequence of the country’s successful Arab Spring as freedom has become “exploited by Islamist radicals.” [Washington Post]

The Kurds should not be left alone to defend the Syrian town of Kobani, argues Kurdish resistance commander Meysa Abdo, calling for the “attention and help of the world” in their struggle to defend a “democratic, secular society.” [New York Times]

Thomas L. Friedman draws parallels between the U.S. response to Vietnam with the crisis currently in Iraq, suggesting that in both situations America has failed to see the indigenous nationalist struggle within the conflict. [New York Times]

Germany has vowed to contribute $635 million over the next three years to assist countries struggling under the weight of an influx of Syrian refugees. [Wall Street Journal’s Harriet Torry]  The U.S. also announced that it would provide $10 million in additional humanitarian aid to assist with the care of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in neighboring states. [Department of State]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

A senior Obama administration official described Israeli prime minister as a “chickenshit,” a comment which underlines the state of anger with Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. [The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg]  The Israeli premier has responded to the comments, saying: “I am being attacked because I am willing to defend the State of Israel.” [Jerusalem Post]

Israel believes that Hezbollah has tunneled under the border between Israel and Lebanon in anticipation of any future war between the two, according to an Israeli army general speaking today. [Reuters]

Palestinian and Israeli police forces work closely together, and continued to do so during this summer’s Gaza war. Ruth Eglash explores this “controversial partnership.” [Washington Post]

RUSSIA and UKRAINE

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia not to recognize the separatist elections planned for November 2, stating that the vote “would be a clear violation of the commitments made by both Russia and the separatists that it backs in the Minsk agreements.”

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called on Moscow to withdraw all troops from Ukraine in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Russia and Ukraine will begin a new round of crisis gas talks today as pressure mounts ahead of winter and as the European Energy Commissioner responsible for mediating the talks prepares to leave office. [Reuters]

Europe is attempting to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, amid the political rift over the Ukraine crisis, writes New York Times’ David Buchan.

Suspicious cyber activity was detected on the White House’s computer network and steps have been taken to address the matter, a White House official said yesterday. [Reuters’ Steve Holland]  The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima reports that the hackers are believed to have been working for the Russian government, according to sources.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The FBI acknowledged that it faked an Associated Press story to track a bomb threat suspect in 2007, but said yesterday that it did not create a fake Seattle Times Web page as part of the operation. [AP]

Security at U.S. federal buildings is being increased following last week’s terrorist attacks in Canada and sustained threats from groups like the Islamic State, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. [Politico’s Josh Gerstein]

It would be a “huge mistake” for lawmakers not to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance program that was enacted after the 9/11 attacks, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday. [The Hill’s Kevin Cirilli]

Egypt has ordered residents living along the border with Gaza to evacuate their homes in advance of the government setting up a buffer zone, intended to stop weapons and trafficking between Egypt and Palestine. [Al Jazeera]  The Washington Post editorial board calls on the U.S. to halt its support of Egypt’s “repressive regime,” suggesting that the Sisi government offers a case study of why the Obama administration’s policy of sometimes subordinating human rights commitments for U.S. national security objectives is misguided.

Uganda has deployed 2,700 fresh troops to conflict-stricken Somalia in order to reinforce the security of Somalia’s government and infrastructure, according to a military spokesperson speaking yesterday. [Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo]

The conflict in Libya is pushing the country “very close to the point of no return,” according to UN special envoy Bernadino Leon, as initiatives to broker a ceasefire and peace agreement have seen little success. [Al Jazeera]

The United States and Iran have entered into an “effective state of détente” this year, engaging in direct negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and facing the common enemy of the Islamic State, report Jay Solomon and Maria Abi-Habib. [Wall Street Journal]

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the U.S.’s solidarity with Canada during a visit to Ottawa yesterday, pledging to “win the battle of ideas.” Kerry and the Canadian Foreign Minister met to discuss security issues among other topics. [Department of State]

North Korea may allow a visit from a special UN human rights investigator, in an “interesting turn of events.”  In a report presented on Tuesday, the investigator suggested that the Security Council refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court.  [New York Times’ Rick Gladstone and Choe Sang-Hun]

A man was arrested in London this morning on suspicion of assisting another individual commit terrorism related activities. [BBC]

If you want to receive your news directly to your inbox, sign up here for the Just Security Early Edition. For the latest information from Just Security, follow us on Twitter (@just_security) and join the conversation on Facebook. To submit news articles and notes for inclusion in our daily post, please email us at news@justsecurity.org. Don’t forget to visit The Pipeline for a preview of upcoming events and blog posts on U.S. national security. 

Filed under:
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