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24 February 2017



Middle East 

Treasury sanctions 2 senior leaders in al Qaeda’s Syrian branch 

Author/Source: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal

“The US Treasury Department and the United Nations have designated two senior jihadists in Syria as terrorists…”


Iraq monument underscores Iranian commander’s role in Qods Force 

Author/Source: Amir Toumaj, Long War Journal 

“A monument dedicated to an Iranian general has been erected in Iraq for the first time in the country’s history…”


Iraqi forces inside west Mosul proper after taking military base 

Author/Source: Andrew V. Pestano, United Press International 

“Iraqi security forces entered the first district within west Mosul proper in its offensive against the Islamic State after taking control of the strategic al-Ghazlani military base…”


Israeli Arab Teen Stabbed to Death in Latest Violent Incident in Community 

Author/Source: Noa Shpigel and Jack Khoury, Haaretz 

“A 17-year-old Israeli Arab was stabbed to death in central Israel on Thursday in what was the second suspected murder in Jisr al-Zarqa in as many months…”


UN: Israeli culture of impunity boosted by Hebron shooter's lenient sentence 

Author/Source: Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post 

“The United Nations warned on Friday that the 18-month prison term given to IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria this week ‘reinforced a culture of impunity’…”


Car bombers kill scores near Syria's Al Bab 

Author/Source: Al Jazeera 

“Two suicide car bombings have gone off near Al Bab, killing scores of people, just a day after ISIL fighters were pushed out of the northern Syrian town…”


Iraqi jets strike Islamic State in Syria for first time as troops advance in Mosul 

Author/Source: Mustafa Salim and Loveday Morris, Washington Post 

“Iraqi warplanes have conducted airstrikes on Islamic State targets inside neighboring Syria for the first time, Iraq’s prime minister said Friday, vowing to chase down the militants ‘everywhere’ as Iraqi forces opened new fronts in the city of Mosul…”


Suicide bomber kills at least five soldiers in Yemen 

Author/Source: Al Jazeera 

“A suicide bomber has killed at least eight soldiers in an attack on a military camp in Yemen's southern city of Zinjibar at dawn, according to local official and residents…”


U.N. Security Council credibility at stake on Syria sanctions talk: France 

Author/Source: Rodrigo Campos, Reuters 

“The credibility of the United Nations Security Council is at stake as it meets to discuss possible sanctions against Syria for the use of chemical weapons against civilians, the head of the French mission to the United Nations said on Friday…”


Israel denies visas to staff from 'hostile' Human Rights Watch 

Author/Source: Peter Beaumont, The Guardian 

“Israel is refusing to issue visas to the international staff of one of the most prominent international human rights NGOs - Human Rights Watch – accusing the group of an ‘extreme, hostile and anti-Israel agenda’…”


Jordanian jet fighter crashes in southern Saudi Arabia 

Author/Source: Middle East Monitor 

A Jordanian F-16 fighter jet crashed in southern Saudi Arabia, reportedly due to a ‘technical error’, according to a Saudi-led Arab military coalition in which the aircraft had been taking part…”


Central Asia


Azerbaijan, future gas supplier to Europe, faces shortfall at home 

Author/Source: Nailia Bagirova and Margarita Antidze, Reuters 

“Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan is on track to send gas to western Europe by the end of the decade, but is having to import supplies to use at home, compounding economic hardship that prompted protests last year…”


Georgia, Armenia Mull Deeper Economic Ties 

Author/Source: Thea Morrison, Georgia Today 

“Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his Armenian counterpart Karen Karapetyan discussed mutual economic ties and perspectives of deeper cooperation…”


South Asia


Car bomb kills 2 soldiers, wounds 3 others in Afghanistan 

Author/Source: Associated Press 

“An Afghan official says a suicide car bomb has killed at least two soldiers and wounded three others in southern Helmand province…”


Pakistan says gas leak, not bomb, behind Lahore blast 

Author/Source: Al Jazeera 

“A Pakistani minister said investigators have concluded a deadly explosion the previous day in the city of Lahore was caused by a gas leak from a cooking cylinder - not a bomb as stated earlier by officials…”


Pakistan launches terrorism crackdown after spate of bloody attacks 

Author/Source: Sophia Saifi, CNN 

“Pakistan's military has announced a major new nationwide operation to deal with militancy in the country in the wake of a string of terrorist attacks…”


Southeast Asia


Malaysia Says VX Nerve Agent Used in Murder of North Korea's Kim Jong Nam 

Author/Source: Pooi Koon Chong and Anisah Shukry, Bloomberg   

“A preliminary report showed that VX Nerve Agent was used in the murder of North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam, Malaysian police said…”


Leila de Lima: Top Duterte critic arrested on drug charge 

Author/Source: BBC 

“A leading critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Leila de Lima, has been arrested on drug trafficking charges…”


East Asia


China say North Korea's nuclear plan is a problem between U.S. and North Korea 

Author/Source: Ben Blanchard and Robert Birsel, Reuters 

China on Friday dismissed renewed pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump over its role in North Korea, saying the crux of the matter was a dispute between Washington and Pyongyang...”


China builds shelters for missile systems in South China Sea 

Author/Source: Elizabeth Shim, United Press International 

China has built structures to house surface-to-air missile systems at three outposts in the disputed Spratly Islands, according to a U.S. think tank...”




South Africa clashes at anti-foreigner protest in Pretoria 

Author/Source: BBC 

“South African police have used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to try and disperse anti-immigrant protesters in the capital, Pretoria…”


4 Save the Children staff kidnapped in central Somalia 

Author/Source: Anadolu Agency 

“Four Save the Children staff members, including three Somali aid workers have been kidnapped in Somalia's central Hiran region by suspected al-Shabaab militants, a government official said on Friday…”


Boko Haram attack kills seven in Nigeria: security sources 

Author/Source: News 24 

“At least seven soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram attack on military positions in northeast Nigeria, a civilian vigilante and a security source said on Friday…”


Donors pledge $672m at Oslo summit to avert famine in Nigeria and Lake Chad 

Author/Source: Ben Quinn, The Guardian 

“A third of the $1.5bn in emergency funding sought by the UN this year to prevent a famine in Africa’s stricken Lake Chad region has been raised at a summit in Oslo…”




Syria talks hit snag before opening ceremony in Geneva 

Author/Source: Al Jazeera 

“UN-led negotiations on the war in Syria got off to a delayed start following disputes over the participation of the Syrian opposition delegation…”


Turkey coup: 136 diplomats and relatives seek Germany asylum 

Author/Source: BBC 

“Germany says it has received 136 asylum requests from Turks holding diplomatic passports since the July coup attempt against the Turkish president…”



US & Canada


Kansas shooting: FBI investigating after Indian man killed 

Author/Source: CNN 

“The FBI has joined an investigation to determine whether a shooting that killed one man and injured two others at a crowded bar in Kansas is a hate crime…”


Trump repeats call for US nuclear supremacy 

Author/Source: BBC 

“President Donald Trump has said he wants the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, in his first comments on the issue since taking office...”


Cab driver who tried to help Islamic State faces sentence 

Author/Source: Associated Press 

“A taxi driver caught helping a friend try to join the Islamic State group during an FBI sting faces a sentence of anywhere from four to 28 years…” 


Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to Donald Trump: We will defeat ISIS ‘rapidly’ 

Author/Source: David Sherfinski, Washington Times 

“Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, said Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the Islamic State terrorist group will be defeated ‘rapidly,’ while allowing that the battle against the underlying ideology behind it is likely to take longer…”


South and Central America and the Caribbean


Mexican foreign minister expresses 'concern,' 'irritation' over U.S. immigration policies 

Author/Source: Andrew V. Pestano, United Press International 

“Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray expressed the ‘concern’ and ‘irritation’ Mexicans have over U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policies ‘that could be harmful’ during a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson…”



IUCTS Highlights


Jerusalem Post  on February 29, 2012: “Iran’s last diplomatic chance?” by Prof. Yonah Alexander and Dr. Milton Hoenig