The Early Edition: May 2, 2016

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

Protests in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Dozens of supporters of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr breached the city’s heavily guarded International Zone on Saturday to protest the suspension of parliament before it finished voting on a slate of new ministers. [Wall Street Journal’s Ghassan Adnan and Matt Bradley]  The protesters disbanded after a day inside the building at the direction of al-Sadr. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered authorities to arrest and prosecute the protesters who attacked security forces and legislators. The Guardian‘s Simon Tisdall profiles al-Sadr and describes some of the political context of the protests.

The Islamic State killed 23 people at a crowded sheep market in Baghdad with a truck bomb this weekend. The group originally meant to target Shiite pilgrims as they walked to a shrine in Baghdad. [Washington Post’s Loveday Morris]

Who will rule Mosul once the city is liberated from the Islamic State’s control? Foreign Policy’s Dan De Luce and Henry Johnson describe the political maneuvering that is underway to determine who will run Mosul before the fighting to retake the city has even begun.

Syrian ceasefire. Speaking from Geneva, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that talks with Russia and coalition partners are “getting closer to a place of understanding” on a renewed ceasefire in Syria that would include Aleppo, which has seen a serious escalation in violence in recent weeks. [Reuters]

Nearly 30 airstrikes hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria as part of a government effort to retake control of the city. It was the ninth day of strikes, despite the Syrian army’s announcement of a “regime of calm” in the country. [Washington Post’s John Davison]

Bloodshed, misery, and hope in Aleppo. Declan Walsh profiles life in Aleppo where fighting and civilian casualties continue. [New York Times]

Turkish artillery and drones killed 34 Islamic State militants in Syria this weekend. The strikes were a response to the Islamic State’s earlier shelling of Kilis, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border. [Reuters]

TURKEY

Two police officers were killed when a car bomb struck the entrance of a Turkish police station in the southern city of Gaziantep. The bombing also injured 22 people, including at least four civilians, in a day marred by violence and May Day protests. [Associated Press; The Guardian]

A Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for an attack in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa last month. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons said the attack was in response increased security operations in predominantly Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey. The suicide bombing wounded 13 people. [Associated Press]

YEMEN

Peace talks in Yemen have stalled. The Yemeni government pulled out of the talks in response to Houthi rebels seizing a military base north of Sanaa. Several soldiers were killed during the attack. [Reuters]

The United Arab Emirates has seized the strategically important city of Mukalla, Yemen from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, with the support of the Yemeni military and local Yemeni tribes as part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country. Mukalla is home to Yemen’s second largest port and AQAP was earning substantial revenues by taxing the shipment of goods there. [Politico’s Michael Morell]

CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY and TECHNOLOGY

European officials are more vocally pushing for changes to accessing data from American tech companies. They argue that American laws and corporate policies are hampering their counterterrorism efforts, calling for reforms to the mutual legal assistance treaty framework and changes to policies and laws that impede foreign access to data stored by American companies. [Wall Street Journal’s Devlin Barrett, Julian Barnes, and Valentina Pop]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The US military released a report on its investigation into the bombing of a Médicins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last October. The report described serious violations of the law of armed conflict, but concluded there were no war crimes committed because the service members involved lacked intent violated international law, writes the New York Times’s Matthew Rosenberg.

The 28 classified pages of the 9/11 Commission report contain inaccurate and unvetted information, according to CIA Director John Brennan. He argued that releasing the pages would give ammunition to those who want to tie Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks. [The Hill’s Jessie Hellmann]

Israel, Hamas, and Egypt have formed an unlikely alliance to fight the spread of a growing Islamic State affiliate. Last week, Hamas sent several hundred fighters to the Sinai-Gaza border to prevent Wilayat Sinai militants from crossing the border, while Israel announced plans to build a barrier in the region. [Washington Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan and William Booth]

Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has turned into a series of “miniwars.” There are more than 60 armed groups operating in the east of the country, making security an unattainable goal. [New York Times’s Jeffrey Gettleman]

China may be making moves to fortify a small shoal in the South China Sea that some experts are referring to as the “red line” in the region. The contemplated fortifications around Scarborough Shoal may inflame tensions in the volatile territorial dispute in the region. The waters around the shoal have historically been used by both Chinese and Filipino fisherman, and was used as a bombing range by the US Air Force until 1991. [Associated Press]

The US has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia, according to NATO’s outgoing Supreme Allied Commander. Gen. Philip Breedlove said the US needs to deploy more technical intelligence assets, including spy satellites, to keep an eye on both troop movements and terrorist training camps in Russia. [Wall Street Journal’s Julian E. Barnes] 

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About the Author(s)

Megan Graham

Former Assistant Managing Editor and Security, Privacy, and Technology Fellow at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@meganmcgraham).