The Early Edition: September 13, 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

The ceasefire in Syria was mostly holding at the start of its second day today, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [Reuters]

Some violations have been reported, residents and activists saying that Assad government forces had dropped barrel bombs on a neighborhood of Aleppo, report Liz Sly and Karen De Young at the Washington Post.  Assad vowed to retake all Rebel-controlled territory in the hours before the ceasefire, underscoring doubts that it will hold, writes the Financial Times’ Erika Solomon.

Turkey shelled two targets in Syria after a mortar round struck inside its borders minutes after the cease-fire came into effect, reports the AP.

Whether the truce will hold depends on whether Russia can restrain Assad, suggests the Washington Post editorial board. Luckily, it says, Moscow has a motive to succeed in this, by doing so it will have realized its aspiration of “imposing its will on the US.”

Israel hit artillery positions in Syria today after a projectile was fired at the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights. It denied a claim by the Syrian government that it shot down two Israeli aircraft in an assault. [AP]

Senior Islamic State leader Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani was killed in a US precision airstrike on Aug. 30, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed yesterday.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein condemned the Syrian government for a catalogue of human rights abuses today in a speech opening a three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. [Reuters]

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out 16 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Sept. 12. Separately, partner forces conducted seven strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command

SAUDI ARABIA and YEMEN

Saudi-led airstrikes on a water well in Yemen have killed 30 people and wounded 17, a UN official said yesterday, one of the deadliest attacks since peace talks collapsed a month ago. [AP’s Ahmed Al-Haj]

The UN has called for a comprehensive inquiry into human rights in Yemen by an international body, reports Reuters.

Delays in paying wages by the Saudi-led coalition are prompting Yemeni government soldiers to threaten to walk off the battlefield, report Saeed Al-Batati and Nour Youssef at the New York Times. Despite being well-financed, Saudi Arabia is slow to pay the fighters who have been battling the government’s main opponents, the Houthis, for the past 18 months, according to the Yemenis.

FRANCE

Preliminary charges have been filed against three women on suspicion of terrorism linked to the gas canister-loaded car found outside the Nortre Dame cathedral in Paris last weekend by French authorities, bringing the total number of women charged to four, Nick Kostov reports at the Wall Street Journal.

A single French Islamic State member is the link between at least four terror plots in France since June, according to sources close to an investigation into Rachid Kassim, who most recently is believed to have been in contact with the French women charged in connection with the gas canister-loaded car in Paris. [AP’s Lori Hinnant]

Kassim reaches his recruits through social media, reports the BBC. The amateur rapper and youth leader was himself radicalized either through the internet or during a trip to Algeria in 2011, it is believed.

TURKEY

Turkey made a formal request to the US for the arrest of Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen on charges of orchestrating the attempted military coup on July 15, Turkish media reported today. [Reuters]

The conflict between Turkey and Kurdish rebels could be resolved in six months if Ankara resumed peace talks with Kurdish militants, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan claimed yesterday, urging Turkey’s government to return to the negotiating table, reports the AP.

Turkey suffers from the Sèvres Syndrome, suggests Tim Arango at the New York Times. Named for the French city where Western powers signed the treaty ending the Ottoman Empire after World War I, it describes Turkey’s enduring trauma since, leading to the proliferation of conspiracy theories about Western plots to undermine its infrastructure.

NORTH KOREA

The US and South Korea will seek to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test with the “strongest possible” resolution at a UN Security Council meeting including new sanctions and the removal of existing loopholes, reports the New York Times’ Choe Sang-Hun.

The US flew two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over South Korea in a show of force against the North, reports the AP.

North Korea’s nuclear program is aimed at the US, a close adviser to leader Kim Jong Un said after last week’s nuclear test, according to reports by Japanese lawmaker Ri Su Yong who is particularly close to Kim and just returned from Pyongyang, Anna Fifield reports at the Washington Post.

North Korea’s latest tests further incentivize closer military ties between the US and Japan, suggest Alastair Gale and Chieko Tsuneoka at the Wall Street Journal. Japan’s new Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is due to make her first official visit to the US this week.

CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY and TECHNOLOGY

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz publicly subpoenaed the full FBI case file on its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State Monday, reports POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures will be discussed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence when it meets this Thursday, reports Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London next month, the prosecutor’s office in Ecuador said yesterday. A Swedish appeals court announced earlier that it would rule at the end of the week whether to rescind the detention order against Assange. [AP]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Iran threatened to shoot down US Navy aircraft as they were flying in the northern Persian Gulf over the weekend, a US defense official said, citing initial reports. [CNN’s Barbara Starr]

The US and Israel have reached final agreement on a new package of US military aid. The 10-year pact is expected to be signed within days, sources told Reuters today.

“The international order mustn’t be mistaken with the American order,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said yesterday in response to accusations by Defense Secretary Ash Carter last week that Russia “has a clear ambition to erode the principled international order.” [AP]

A bill that would allow families of victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia was passed to the White House yesterday after it was passed unanimously by Congress, reports Seung Min Kim at POLITICO. The White House is expected to veto the bill.

Security ties between the US and the Philippines are “rock solid” and a treaty between the two nations would be honored, the Philippines said today. [Reuters]

A suicide bombing at a mosque in southern Pakistan was foiled by Pakistani police, they said today. Three police officers were wounded when they apprehended the bomber, who then detonated his explosives. [AP]

Three Syrian men have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of being sent by the Islamic State to carry out attacks, with police seizing “extensive material” in pre-dawn raids today, though no concrete evidence of orders from the terrorist organization has been discovered so far, reports the BBC.  German Federal prosecutors said they suspect the men were dispatched to Germany in November 2015, either to carry out a mission or to wait further instructions, reports Reuters.

A 61-year-old man has been arrested in London by UK police on suspicion of “possessing an article” for the purpose of terrorism, reports the Guardian’s Jamie Grierson.

A multinational group was behind the attack on the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan, a senior Russian FSB security service officer has said. [Reuters] 

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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