The Early Edition: July 21, 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.

TURKEY

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency late yesterday which allows authorities to impose curfews, prevent people from gathering or traveling, and conduct searches. The banning of certain newspapers, books, films, etc, will also be possible, and law enforcement officers are entitled to shoot people who fail to surrender when asked to. The last state of emergency in Turkey was declared in July 1987, and lasted until November 2002. Nuray Babacan and Turan Yilmaz discuss the implications in Hürriyet Daily News.

The state of emergency has been imposed in order to “protect [democractic] values,” Erdoğan insisted. [Financial Times’ Mehul Srivastava and Geoff Dyer]  Speaking to Al Jazeera before announcing the measure, Erdoğan said that Turkey will “remain inside a democratic parliamentary system.”

Erdoğan’s cabinet’s decision to impose the state of emergency must be approved by Turkish lawmakers, who are expected to do so today. [AP]

The crackdown on alleged conspirators continues, the Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor reporting yesterday afternoon that at least 99 generals and admirals – almost a third of Turkey’s military officers – have been charged with involvement in the failed coup.  This morning, a further 32 judges and two military officers have been detained by Turkish authorities, reports the AP.

The coup is not going to affect the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said during a summit in Washington yesterday. He also advised that his Turkish counterpart had reassured him as much. [NPR]

President Obama’s continuing support of Erdoğan despite the crackdown and the state of emergency serves as a stark reminder that Erdoğan is “still better than any other option” and remains a “linchpin” in the campaign against the Islamic State and other critical issues, writes Mark Lander in the New York Times.

However divisive Erdoğan is, he is better than a successful military coup would have been, writes Fawaz A Gerges in the Guardian, the fallout from which would have been seismic for Turkey, the wider Middle East, and for the western security architecture, especially NATO.

How did the coup fail? Turkish officials say it was put down in a matter of 10-12 hours, reports Sarah El Deeb et al for the AP, who chart the unfolding of the coup attempt and what is known about why it failed.

Allegations of a Turkish naval exodus by UK newspaper The Times’ Hannah Lucina Smith, who said on Tuesday that 14 ships remained unaccountable following the failed coup, have been flatly denied by the Turkish government. Only one vessel – the missile-armed frigate Yavuz – was confirmed as taken by putschists during the coup attempt, and has since been recaptured. However, if Smith’s claim is true, writes David Axe in The Daily Beast, a significant proportion of Turkish naval power has been lost.

Should the US now pull its nuclear weapons from Turkey’s Incirlik air base? Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, debate this question in the New York Times.

The coup has not prevented Turkey from sending aid to Gaza this week as part of the recent Turkey-Israel deal, a spokesperson for President Erdoğan telling Al Jazeera’s Samya Kullab that “nothing has changed on that front.”

IRAQ and SYRIA

The long-term stability of Iraq and Syria and the long-awaited recapture of Mosul were key topics of discussion on the first day of a summit in Washington yesterday at which defense and foreign ministers from over 30 US-allied countries were present. Defense Secretary Ash Carter led a summit of defense officials, while Secretary of State John Kerry led a parallel summit with foreign ministers from the coalition, where he secured pledges of over $2 billion towards stabilizing liberated areas of Iraq. Today, the defense and foreign ministers will convene for a joint summit. Paul Sonne provides a full report for the Wall Street Journal.

“Is the United States-led coalition winning the battle but losing the larger war?” Despite successes against the Islamic State on the battlefield, this was biggest question for US and allied defense officials at the summit, reports Helene Cooper for the New York Times. Representatives said afterwards that they had discussed ways in which to reduce the terrorist organization’s ideological reach around the world.

Syria’s main opposition party the Syrian National Coalition has called for an investigation of US-led coalition airstrikes blamed for the deaths of dozens of civilians in and around Manbij on Tuesday. President of the group Anas al-Abdah issued a letter to foreign ministers of coalition countries stating he believed such incidents were indicative of “a major loophole in the current operational rules followed by the international coalition in conducting strikes in populated areas.” [Wall Street Journal’s Noam Raydan]  Al-Abdah also called for a suspension of the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria while the investigation takes place, reports Reuters.

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out three airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on July 19. Separately, partner forces conducted 13 strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

GUANTANAMO BAY

Can the 9/11 death penalty case proceed without a capital defender? Alleged 9/11 plot deputy Walid Bin Attash has been unhappy with his defense lawyer, Cherly Bormann, for months. For the first time yesterday, prosecutors at the Guantánamo Bay war court argued that Attash could fire his attorney and proceed with only a military attorney representing him. Judge Army Col. James L Pohl seemed to sidestep the issue, reports Carol Rosenberg for the Miami Herald, ruling instead that Attash did not have good cause to fire Bormann, who hasn’t spoken to her client since February.

“Guantánamo Diary” author Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been cleared for release from Guantánamo Bay detention center by the US parole board in a decision dated July 14. Slahi has spent years in a special detention site called Camp Echo, segregated from almost all other detainees. He has never been charged and has previously won an unlawful-detention suit, which was then overturned and returned to federal court for a rehearing that has yet to be held. [Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg]

NICE

Preliminary charges against five suspected of involvement in the terror attack on July 14 in Nice have been recommended by anti-terror prosecutor François Molins today. The five are those who were detained late last week. Investigative magistrates will decide whether to accede to the recommendation and file charges later today, report Inti Landauro and William Horobin for the Wall Street Journal.

France’s Interior Minister has called for an enquiry into policing on the night of the Nice attack. [France 24]

LIBYA

The French Defense Ministry has revealed for the first time that French troops are active in Libya in apparent operations against the Islamic State there, the disclosure coming as it confirmed the deaths of three French soldiers in a helicopter crash “while on a mission” in Libya, following the earlier reports of anonymous officials. James McAuley reports for the Washington Post.  French President Françoise Hollande said yesterday that the soldiers had been killed during an intelligence-gathering operation, and that France is currently “carrying out dangerous intelligence operations” in Libya. [Al Jazeera]

Libya’s UN-backed unity government accused France of failing to coordinate with it over the presence of French troops in Libya following the announcement of the soldiers’ deaths, adding that there could be “no compromise” over Libyan sovereignty. [Reuters]

IRAN

A New York federal appeals court threw out the lower court ruling that upheld the government’s seizure of a landmark building in Manhattan on charges that it was a front for Iran, yesterday, a setback for victims of attacks linked to Iran. In a separate decision, it reversed a ruling that relatives of those killed in terrorist attacks linked to Iran could collect proceeds from the sale of the property. [New York Times’ Barry Meier and Benjamin Weiser]

An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader accused of masterminding Argentina’s worst terrorist attack is the subject of an arrest request to Singapore and Malaysia by an Argentine judge – actually a reinforcement of existing arrest orders. Ali Akbar Velayati is currently visiting Southeast Asia to attend a regional summit. He was foreign minister of Iran in 1994, when the AMIA Jewish community in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 85 people. [AP]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The US has accepted an invitation to send a Navy ship to New Zealand for the first time in three decades, Vice President Joe Biden said today, after New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy prompted a stalemate between the two nations. The ship will participate in the New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary later this year. [AP]

Taliban fighters have taken over a district in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, intense fighting ongoing after three days of clashes with security forces. [Al Jazeera]

Panama has launched an investigation into the 1989 US invasion that removed Manuel Noriega from power. The commission created to carry out the investigation has been tasked with clarifying who died in the invasion, investigating claims of human rights abuses, and evaluating calls for a day of national mourning. [AP]

Four members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen were arrested in Bangladesh today on suspicion of involvement in the attack on a café in Dhaka on July 1 which left 22 dead. [Reuters]

Kenyan officials have challenged accusations that security agencies have killed or abducted dozens of men suspected of links to al-Shabaab, levied by Human Rights Watch which has documented 34 “enforced disappearances” over two years, undertaken as part of counterterrorism operations. [Al Jazeera]

Brazil is reviewing potential threats against the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games after a jihadi channel on messaging app Telegram called for followers to target the Games, detailing targets and methods, according to Brazil’s intelligence agency, SITE. [CNN’s Pamela Boykoff]

Clashes close to a police station in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, where armed men have been taking hostages for four days, have left more than 50 people injured. Police moved in late last night to clear out a protest camp that had been erected close to the police station. A number of protesters have been detained, reports the AP.

Mali has extended a state of emergency for ten days after a series of attacks by armed groups that have resulted in the deaths of dozens and destabilized the country. [Reuters]

Just what makes Russia’s “Yarovaya” anti-terrorism Laws so controversial? The measures are so draconian that even Kremlin-friendly forces in Russia’s parliament balked at voting for them, says The Economist. Alarm at the legislation extends to broad swathes of Russian society, engendered by the law’s “extraordinarily wide remit” which leads many to suspect that its true targets are those who take to the streets to protest rather than Islamic terrorists.

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About the Author(s)

Zoë Chapman

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security, Legal Researcher at UK-based human rights organization, JUSTICE