News Roundup and Notes: November 4, 2015

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

Turkey has launched a renewed air campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, an indication that the re-elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to continue its military offensive against the PKK, reports Dion Nissenbaum. [Wall Street Journal]

American and Russian military planes have carried out communication tests over Syria, part of a new strategy to ensure the two states do not come into conflict during their parallel campaigns in the country, a US defense official said. [Al Jazeera]

President Obama’s decision to send troops to Syria may not jumpstart the long-stalled debate on authorizing the use of force against the Islamic State, according to skeptical senators. [The Hill’s Jordain Carney]

US-led airstrikes continue. The US and partner military forces carried out seven airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Nov. 2. Separately, coalition forces conducted a further 15 strikes on targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

“Close up with ISIS captives;” interviews with some of the Arab prisoners freed during a joint Kurdish/ US raid on an ISIS stronghold in Hawija last month, from Michael R. Gordon at the New York Times.

In the “inexorable logic” of Syria’s civil war, “worse is ahead,” writes David Ignatius, outlining how the country’s conflict may face further escalation. [Washington Post]

“Shrewd, calculating and driven, [Ahmad] Chalabi will almost certainly be remembered within Iraq as an architect of the country’s de-Baathification policy.” [New York Times’ Alissa J. Rubin]  And Gareth Smyth comments that’s the Iraqi nationalist, who passed away this week, “knew very well that Iraq … was a victim of the hostility between Washington and Tehran.” [The Guardian]

GUANTÁNAMO BAY

A new strategy for the closure of Guantánamo Bay detention facility will be published in the coming days, with much at stake for President Obama and his counterterrorism chief, Lisa Monaco. [Reuters’ Jeff Mason]

Yemeni “forever prisoner,” Mansoor Abdul Rahman al Dayfi has been cleared for release by a national security parole board; of the 112 prisoners still held at the camp, 53 are now approved for release. [Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg]

A former prisoner has been held for six weeks without charge in Morocco following his repatriation by the US, despite reassurances by the American government that he would be quickly released upon his return. [AP]

EGYPT

Protests are expected to take place in London this evening and tomorrow as Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrives in the UK for an official visit. Sisi is accused of human rights abuses against the Egyptian people. [The Guardian’s Haroon Siddique]  Ian Black suggests that Sisi’s visit constitutes “business as usual” with Egypt, noting that the leader is now “accorded broad international legitimacy, even as opponents condemn his as a dictator who seized power in an illegal coup.” [The Guardian]

NATO member states have a responsibility to help stem the spread of Islamist extremism in Libya, Egypt’s President Sisi said ahead of his UK visit. [The Daily Telegraph’s Con Coughlin]  Sisi also defended sweeping new security laws, insisting he is carrying the nation on a path to democracy. [BBC]

A car bomb in Egypt’s Sinai today has killed at least five people, sources report. Egypt’s ISIS affiliate, Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attack. [Al Jazeera]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

The assassination of Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin took place 20 years ago today. Jeremy Bowen considers whether his murder destroyed the best chance for peace. [BBC]  And Isabel Kershner explores the shift in Israeli politics in the 20 years since his death, at the New York Times.

Long-term stability will struggle to resume following the latest wave of violence, according to Israeli intelligence agencies who point to damaged relations with the Palestinian Authority. [Haaretz’s Amos Harel]

Stone-throwers will serve a minimum prison sentence of three years, following the passage of legislation on Monday night by the Israeli parliament. [Al Jazeera]

An interview with retired IDF brigadier general, Michael Herzog, from Danny Vinik at Politico.

AFGHANISTAN

The Pentagon has failed to keep its promise to reveal details regarding the deadly airstrike it carried out on the MSF hospital in Kunduz on Oct. 3, report Nancy A. Youssef and Shane Harris. [The Daily Beast]

Life in Kabul has “pulled back” since the NATO combat mission came to a close in 2014. Alissa J. Rubin provides the details at the New York Times.

“Afghanistan’s war widows,” from Margherita Stancati and Paula Bronstein at the Wall Street Journal.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May will publish a draft bill for a new investigatory powers regime in the UK today. The Guardian has live updates.  The bill is expected to contain provisions giving police and security services access to every website visited by UK citizens in the past 12 months. [BBC]  Alan Travis provides a first overview of the newly proposed powers at the Guardian.

Former UK independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile owns a private consultancy with a former head of MI6, and has received £400,000 from that work. [The Guardian’s Harry Davis]

Al-Shabaab rebels ambushed Somali soldiers late Monday, killing at least 15 government soldiers, a military official said. [AP]

Only one-quarter of the 21.5 million victims of the OPM hack have been notified that their information was compromised, six months after the breach, according to an agency representative. [Reuters]

Hillary Clinton’s recent Benghazi committee testimony eased the public’s concerns over her use of a private email server while in office as secretary of state, according to a Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll released late Monday.

A Lebanese-American technology expert has been arrested in Tehran, accused of spying, state media says. Nizar Ahmad Zakka was in Iran on the invitation of the Iranian government and had gone missing on September 18. [New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink]

Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan described himself as a “defense hawk,” during an appearance on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” [The Hill’s Kristina Wong] 

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security