News Roundup and Notes: December 2, 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 

The US plans to deploy a special operations force to Iraq in an attempt to increase pressure on the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. [BBC] The specialized group would also be able to make targeted raids into Syria, Carter told a House hearing yesterday. [New York Times’ Helene Cooper] Kimberley Dozier asks whether the “hunter-killers” being sent by Obama can “turn the tide” in the fight against ISIS. [The Daily Beast]

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that “we do not need foreign combat forces” on Iraqi soil, in response to Carter’s announcement. [Al Jazeera] Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the Iraqi government was fully briefed on the American plan. [Reuters] 

UK parliament votes on Syria strikes. British lawmakers will today vote on whether to extend airstrikes against the Islamic State into Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron sparked controversy last night by accusing opponents of the strikes, including opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, as “terrorist sympathizers.” [BBC] Matthew Weaver and Julian Borger provide an overview of “everything you need to know” ahead of the vote. [The Guardian] In an op-ed at the Guardian, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn writes that Cameron has failed to make the case for strikes. The Wall Street Journal editorial board weighs in, accusing Corbyn of turning “tragedy into farce” through his opposition of the strikes.

Live updates on today’s parliamentary debate available from the BBC and the Guardian. The full text of the proposal put before the House of Commons is available here.

President Obama has called on Turkey and Russia to put aside their disagreement over the downing of a Russian warplane and instead focus on their “common enemy” in ISIS. [AFP] Obama also warned Russia’s President Putin that he risks a new Afghanistan in Syria. [Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere] Moscow and Ankara have this week exchanged accusations over the purchase of oil from the Islamic State. [Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor]

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Brussels for talks aimed at securing greater assistance from NATO allies in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. [Washington Post’s Carol Morello]

The United States has not succeeded in containing ISIS, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford yesterday. [The Hill’s Kristina Wong]

President Obama chose to ignore early warnings about the rise of the Islamic State in order to serve his reelection “narrative,” according to former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen Michael Flynn speaking on CNN.

Many Iraqi people suspect the US of colluding with ISIS, a perception which is damaging to American efforts against the Islamic State in that country, reports Liz Sly. [Washington Post]

ISIS is stopping civilians from fleeing Ramadi after Iraqi security forces dropped leaflets warning people to get out of the city ahead of a planned offensive to retake the city, residents said yesterday. [Wall Street Journal’s Matt Bradley and Ben Kesling]

New peace negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in Syria could take place in New York in mid-December, according to diplomats. [New York Times’ Somini Sengupta]

An airstrike struck a water treatment facility in Syria’s Aleppo last week, cutting off the water supply to some 3.5 million people. [UN News Centre]

The Islamic State’s “statehood project is now in distress,” reports Ben Hubbard, suggesting that the challenges faced by the militant group could provide opportunities for its enemies. [New York Times] 

As many as 500 Iraqi civilians were killed last month in a “vicious circle of violence” across the country, according to the UN Assistance Mission there. [UN News Centre]

The situation of Syrian refugees will “likely” form part of the spending bill currently being considered, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. [The Hill’s Jordain Carney]

YEMEN 

Two staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross were kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen yesterday. One of the workers, a Yemeni citizen was subsequently released however a Tunisian woman is still being held. [New York Times’ Shuaib Almosawa]

Yemen’s prime minister has rejected a cabinet reshuffle ordered the by the country’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, according to a senior government official. [Reuters]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Montenegro has been invited to join NATO, the first expansion of the military alliance for six years. Russia has described the move as a “powerful confrontational message.” [BBC] And the Pentagon is going ahead with plans to heighten defense in Europe against Russia’s military programs, in response to Moscow’s refusal to deal with White House concerns over its breach of a landmark arms control agreement. [New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon]

A prisoner at Guantánamo Bay detention facility was arrested partly in a case of mistaken identity, US officials admitted yesterday. Mustafa al-Azis has been held for 13 years at the prison camp and is seeking release as no threat to the US. [Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg]

The leader of a Taliban splinter group allied with ISIS has been killed, according to Afghan government officials and Taliban commanders. [New York Times’ Taimoor Shah and David Jolly]

A pipe bomb attack targeting an overpass close to Istanbul metro station injured five people yesterday. It is unclear who was responsible for the attack. [Reuters] 

A double suicide attack in Cameroon overnight killed at least three people, officials said today. Boko Haram is suspected of being behind the attack. [Reuters]

Cybersecurity talks started yesterday between the US and China, aimed at improving cooperation on commercial investigations. [The Hill’s Cory Bennett]

Pakistan has executed four men for their role in the attack last December on an army school in Peshawar that left over 150 people dead, mostly children. [BBC]

A Briton accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Kenya has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Mombasa. [BBC]

“Snowden’s biggest European fans stay loyal.” From Laura Kayali at Politico. 

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security