News Roundup and Notes: November 11, 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

Russia has presented a Syria “peace plan” at the UN, proposing constitutional reform in the country over 18 months, followed by presidential elections. The document makes no mention of President Assad stepping down during transition. [BBC; AP]  Syrian opposition rebels have rejected the draft proposal. [Reuters]

The UN is ready to support any decision made by parties at the next round of Vienna talks on the situation in Syria, the special envoy on the crisis, Staffan de Mistura said yesterday. [UN News Centre]

President Obama is utilizing a combined diplomatic and military approach to force President Assad out of office, for the first time in the four-year Syrian civil war. David E. Sanger and Helene Cooper provide the details. [New York Times]

Turkey has put the situations in Iraq and Syria on the agenda for the G20 summit to be held this weekend in Antalya. [Reuters]

Syrian government forces broke through a more than year-long ISIS siege at the Kweyris military airport in northern Aleppo, AFP reports. It is the most high-profile victory for the Syrian military since the start of the Russian intervention on Sept. 30. [Reuters]

US-led airstrikes continue. The US and coalition military forces carried out 15 strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Nov. 9. Separately, military forces conducted a further 16 airstrikes on targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

French authorities arrested a man with suspected links to the Islamic State in Syria over an attack plot against military personnel at a major navy base. [AFP]

Republican candidates bumped heads on how to deal with ISIS during last night’s debate, Donald Trump saying he supported President Putin’s decision to “knock the hell” out of the militant group. [Al Jazeera]

EGYPT

The “capability of the security on the ground at Sharm el-Sheikh” played a likely role in the Oct. 31 crash of the Russian Metrojet plane, British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond said yesterday, suggesting that incompetent or complicit Egyptian security was at fault, reports Karen DeYoung. [Washington Post]

Syria and the rest of the world “await” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reaction to the apparent terrorist bombing of a Russian aircraft, Moscow’s conclusions about the incident potentially changing “the president’s endgame in Syria,” write Shaun Walker and Julian Borger. [The Guardian]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “struggled to repair relations” with American liberals yesterday during an appearance at the Center for American Progress in Washington, Dan Roberts reports. [The Guardian]

Netanyahu called for bipartisan support of Israel during his hourlong appearance before the group, aligning his message with that of President Obama, reports Julie Hirschfeld Davis at the New York Times.

There is a “looplike dynamic” to Israeli-Palestinian violence, write Isabel Kershner and Rami Nazzal, describing the “stabbings of Israelis followed by swift, often deadly responses by Israeli security forces” and then video footage inspiring “replica” attacks by Palestinians on Israelis, at the New York Times. 

The European Commission has adopted guidelines for the labeling of products indicating if they are from territories occupied by Israel since 1967, a senior EU official said. [Haaretz’s Barak Ravid]

GUANTANAMO BAY

President Obama would sign the latest version of the defense bill passed by the Senate yesterday, despite provisions in the bill keeping Guantanamo Bay detention facility open. [Wall Street Journal’s Kristnia Peterson and Carol E. Lee]

President Obama does not have the constitutional authority to use executive action to unilaterally close the prison, Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday. [The Hill’s Scott Wong] 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS 

A US contractor detained by Houthi rebels in Yemen has died, the State Department confirmed yesterday. The cause of his death is unclear. [The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino]

An interview with reporter Charlie Savage on the legacy of President Obama’s war on terror, with Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept.

Heavy fighting in Benghazi, Libya between ISIS militants and forces loyal to the official government has left at least 16 people dead, Reuters reports.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a stay on an order made by Judge Richard Leon on Monday, halting the NSA’s collection of records about one California lawyer. Julian Hattem provides the details at The Hill.

Kenyan military forces have destroyed five camps used by al-Shabaab-linked militants inside a forest in the north of the country, according to an official. [Reuters] 

Ukraine is at the center of “one of the world’s hottest ongoing cyberwars.” Margaret Coker and Paul Sonne provide the details at the Wall Street Journal.

Thousands of ethnic Hazaras marched in protest today in Kabul, demanding government action over the beheading of seven members of their community by militants loyal to ISIS. [Al Jazeera]

“Soon our government will know everything we are thinking, and in that moment, we will stop thinking.” Frankie Boyle comments on the perverse consequences of the UK government’s surveillance proposals, at the Guardian. 

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security