News Roundup and Notes: December 23, 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.

SONY AND NORTH KOREA

North Korea’s Internet connection failed yesterday; while the incident may have been coincidental, the drop in the connection began hours after President Obama announced a “proportional response” to the “cybervandalism” against Sony, report Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger. [New York Times] The Internet is back up in the country following the nine-hour disruption. [CNN’s Dana Ford]

North Korea’s Internet outage was likely the result of hackers rather than another government, suggest David Perera and Joseph Marks. [Politico] Shane Harris considers the international law implications should the U.S. have been responsible for the drop in connection. [The Daily Beast]

The UN Security Council considered the human rights situation in North Korea for the first time yesterday; North Korea chose not to address the Council and instead wrote a letter to the body. [New York Times’ Somini Sengupta]

IRAQ AND SYRIA

Armed clashes between the Islamic State and the Nusra Front in the Qalamoun region and Daraa province of Syria indicate heightened tensions between the rival jihadi groups and an expanding Islamic State presence in the north and east of Syria, reports Yezid Sayigh. [Carnegie Middle East Center]

The U.S. has appointed the Pentagon’s Inspector General, Jon T. Rymer, as the lead inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve—the name of the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State. [The Hill’s Kristina Wong]

The Syrian government has approved the delivery of medicine to areas of the city of Aleppo controlled by the opposition, according to the World Health Organization. [BBC]

GUANTANAMO BAY

The State Department envoy responsible for negotiating the repatriation and resettlement of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Clifford Sloan, is resigning from his position. In an interview yesterday Sloan denied claims that his resignation was due to frustration over the Pentagon’s “foot-dragging,” reports Helene Cooper. [New York Times]

Sen. James Inhofe has criticized President Obama for the release of four Guantanamo detainees this weekend, suggesting the repatriation will “embolden terrorists.” [The Hill’s Kristina Wong]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Cuba has indicated that the extradition of U.S. fugitives granted asylum in the country is not a subject it is willing to discuss, even as the two countries move toward reinstating diplomatic ties. [AP’s Michael Weissenstein and Andrea Rodriguez]

Fabricated claims about an election year plot in 2004 were central to the resumption of the CIA torture program, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings. [Al Jazeera America’s Marcy Wheeler]

The Afghan Taliban has publicized a training camp, purportedly in the northern province of Faryab, in a video released through the group’s propaganda site on Dec. 18. [Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio and Caleb Weiss]

Five explosions took place in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a today, killing one person; no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Reuters]

A bomb attack in the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe killed at least 20 people; Boko Haram are suspected of being behind the attack, which took place at a bus station. [Wall Street Journal’s Gbenga Akingbule]

A raid by Pakistani authorities in Karachi killed 13 people who officials say were members of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). [Al Jazeera]

The Algerian military has killed the leader of the Caliphate Soldiers, the militant group responsible for kidnapping and beheading a French citizen in September. [Reuters’ Lamine Chikhi]

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to renounce the country’s “non-aligned” status, with the aim to eventually join NATO. [Reuters]

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security