The Early Edition: September 16, 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.


The US and Russia are accusing each other of violating the ceasefire in Syria after at least 23 people were killed in airstrikes in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor yesterday, reports CNN’s Joshua Berlinger and Tim Hume.

Russia has accused the US of covering up violations of the ceasefire by rebels, which it says have not withdrawn from the Castello road into Aleppo while Syrian regime forces have. [The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour]

Russian troops have deployed along the Castello road in the run-up to the possible arrival of aid convoys, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [AP]

Russia is using its influence to get the Syrian army to fully implement the ceasefire agreement, the Kremlin said today. [Reuters]

Two children and an adult have been killed in Aleppo since the ceasefire took effect two days ago, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [AP]

The Syrian government is holding up aid deliveries in violation of the US-Russia ceasefire deal, the UN mediator for Syria Staffan de Minstura said yesterday, reports Nick Cumming-Bruce reports at the New York Times.

There is widespread concern among Pentagon officials that Russia will not live up to its side of the deal, write Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan, who recount the lead-up to and the terms of the ceasefire agreement at the Washington Post.

Even if the ceasefire in Syria collapses it could have a lasting impact on the conflict there, suggests Max Fisher at the New York Times. Ceasefires, successful or not, “alter how a war’s participants weight the benefits of fighting versus talking.”

Russia and Turkey’s chiefs of military general staffs’ met in Ankara yesterday to “bring the parties’ assessments of the current situation in Syria and the measures necessary for upholding the ceasefire closer,” according to the Russian Defense Ministry. [AP]

“Chlorine: the gas of war crimes.” Prompted by recent reports of chlorine gas attacks in Syria, Kathryn Harkup at the Guardian presents the chemical’s “dark history.”

Four British soldiers have been condemned for their parts in the death of an Iraqi boy in 2003 by a judge investigating civilian deaths in the Iraq war, the BBC reports.  The UK Ministry of Defense has said it is “extremely sorry” over the death of Ahmad Jabbar Ali, who drowned in a canal after he was detained by British troops on suspicion of looting. [Press Association]

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Sep. 14. Separately, partner forces conducted 10 strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command


President Obama is delaying the planned veto of a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the attacks, report Jennifer Steinhauer, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Mark Mazzetti at the New York Times.

Should we let 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia? The Washington Post editorial board says this would weaken the principle that sovereign nations should not be liable for official action in the civil courts of over sovereign nations.


The House backed legislation that would temporarily halt the transfer of more detainees from Guantánamo Bay prison yesterday, reports Mary Clare Jalonick at the Miami Herald.

Former Guantánamo Bay detainee Aby Wa’el Dhiab has emerged from his coma but remains in danger following his hunger strike in protest at being relocated to Uruguay, a medical examination ordered by a judge has found, Leonardo Haberkorn and Ben Fox report at the AP.


“The Cold War is over. The Cyber War has begun.” The rules of this new game have yet to be established with precision, writes David Ignatius at the Washington Post, which is why this period of Russia-US relations is so “tricky.”

President Obama should respond to Russia’s hacking of the US election campaign after he set benchmarks for doing so with a presidential policy directive setting out how federal government should deal with “significant cyber incidents,” says the Washington Post editorial board.

Google throws money at privacy academics in an attempt to influence government policy on antitrust regulation, telecommunications privacy, online security and other issues, Sam Biddle writes at The Intercept.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a “disgruntled employee,” not a whistleblower, according to a report by the House Intelligence Committee released yesterday. [The Hill’s Katie Bo Williams] Snowden dismissed the report’s findings in a series of tweets, the BBC reports.

WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s European arrest warrant over a rape accusation has been upheld by a Swedish court, reports NBC News and Reuters. Assange’s defense lawyer said the court had ignored the risk that Assange will be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks’ dumping of classified documents. Assange’s questioning by Swedish authorities in London next month will go ahead, Reuters reports.


The US and Japan will conduct joint training patrols and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea, Japan’s Defense Minister said yesterday. [Reuters]

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s revocation of a permit for a US military base to conduct land reclamation there was illegal, a Japanese court ruled today, supporting the government’s plan to press ahead with the reclamation despite local protests. [AP]


Turkish authorities plan to build 174 prisons over the next five years, a move probably related to the strain placed on Turkey’s penal system by the purge of alleged July 15 coup attempt perpetrators, writes Ishaan Tharoor at the Washington Post.

US-based cleric Fethullah Gulan called Turkey’s post-coup crack down “dark pages in world history” yesterday, denouncing the suppression of his supporters back in his homeland, Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.

Five Kurdish militants suspected of involvement in the assassination of a politician from the ruling AK Party have been killed by Turkish soldiers in largely Kurdish Semdinli, part of Hakkari province, Reuters reports.

Sanctions have been issued against two men based in Turkey with ties to the Islamic State by the US Treasury Department, it announced yesterday. [The Hill’s Sylvan Lane]


European Union leaders are to gather in Slovakia today to discuss upgrading member states’ defense cooperation as well as Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and dealing with clandestine immigration, James Kanter reports at the New York Times.The discussions are part of a broader effort to make Europe more capable of providing for its own security independently of the US, reports Michael Birnbaum at the Washington Post.

The EU extended sanctions against Russian officials and separatists in Ukraine yesterday, reports Laurence Norman at the Wall Street Journal.


The US’s annual defense policy bill is unlikely to be finalized before lawmakers leave for recess and will probably come out after November’s election, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said yesterday. [The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel]

The Obama administration will pay more than $1.1 million to the family of Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto who was killed in a US drone strike along with American Warren Weinstein in 2015, Stephanie Kirchgaessner reports at the Guardian.

Canadian Kevin Garratt returned home yesterday after being held in China on espionage charges for over two years, Ian Austen reports at the New York Times.

France will open the first of 12 “deradicalization  centers” at the end of the month in the town of Beaumont-en-Véron, about 180 miles from Paris, hosting a maximum of 25 individuals between the ages of 18 and 30, James McAuley reports at the Washington Post.

Correction: yesterday’s Early Edition incorrectly attributed the New York Times article, ‘Pardon Edward Snowden,’ to the editorial board, whereas it was in fact written by Kenneth Roth and Salil Shetty. 

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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