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Foreign Policies Media Roundup (August-October)

[Image of Obama and Putin shaking hands. Image by Flickr.] [Image of Obama and Putin shaking hands. Image by Flickr.]

  This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials related to other countries' foreign policies toward the Middle East. It does not reflect the views of the Foreign Polices Roundup Editors of Jadaliyya. You may send recommendations for inclusion in the Foreign Policies Media Roundup to info@jadaliyya.com, mentioning "Foreign Policies Roundup" in the subject line

 

United States: 

Tests on Rounds Fired By ISIS Against Kurds in Iraq Have Tested Positive for Mustard Gas, Says Pentagon (24 August 2015) The Pentagon has reported that ISIS used mustard gas against Kurdish forces.

The United States and Turkey Will Soon Launch 'Comprehensive' Operations Against ISIS (25 August 2015) The United States and Turkey will soon begin to fight together against ISIS, per Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Additionally, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, France, and Britain may also take part. These joint operations will revolve around providing support for rebels and creation of a safe zone.

Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS (31 August 2015) Retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus recently claimed that the United States should utilize al-Qaeda in order to defeat ISIS. The idea stems from the General’s experience utilizing Sunni militias to “end” the fighting in Iraq. Fortunately, this strategy would lead to many legal and political problems and is likely to never happen.

U.S. Launches Secret Drone Campaign to Hunt Islamic State Leaders in Syria (1 September 2015) The CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have expanded their drone collaboration to behead Islamic State leaders in Syria. The collaboration will be focused on the CIA identifying who are Islamic State leaders and JSOC conducting the drone strikes.

Head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command Visits Egypt (3 September 2015) The head of the U.S. Air Force Central Command recently met with Egypt’s Air Force commander-in-chief. The meeting occurred in order to lead to military stability between the two countries.

Iran Military Plane Takes Close-Up Film of U.S. Aircraft Carrier (3 September 2015) An Iranian military plane took close-up film of American aircraft carriers in the Strait of Hormuz and published it on a government-sponsored news website.

U.S. Revamping Rebel Force Fighting ISIS in Syria (6 September 2015) Following the poor showing of coalition forces in August, the Pentagon is attempting to change how the rebel forces fight in Syria. This change will include rebels present in a great number of safe zones, improving rebel intelligence, and revamping the entire training regimen. 

United States Moves to Block Russian Military Buildup in Syria (8 September 2015) The Obama administration has asked Greece and Bulgaria to close their airspaces to Russian transport planes. This is because Washington is concerned with Russian military buildup in Syria.

United States to Take at Least Ten Thousand More Syrian Refugees (10 September 2015) President Barack Obama ordered his administration to prepare itself to take at least ten thousand more Syrian refugees. This comes as the refugee crisis throughout the Middle East worsens. Moreover, Barack’s political opponents suggest some refugees will become terrorists.

Drone Kills Four al-Qaeda Suspects in Yemen (10 September 2015) Four al-Qaeda operative were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. These drone strikes come in the midst of the undying Yemeni Civil War.

U.S. To Bolster Force In Sinai (10 September 2015) The United States is sending an additional seventy five military personnel to the Sinai Peninsula in order to bolster the U.N. Peacekeeping Operation in the region.

Egyptian Military Likely Used U.S. Weapons to Kill Tourists (14 September 2015) Egyptian forces have mistakenly killed a number of tourists in the country. Moreover, it seems likely that the Egyptian forces utilized Apache helicopters provided by the United States.

Analysts Detail Claims That Reports On ISIS Were Distorted (15 September 2015) A group of intelligence analysts have provided documents that suggest the U.S. government reports regarding the war against ISIS were slightly fabricated. These distorted reports would include discussions like personal responsibility, the readiness of Iraqi security forces, and the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. Making Plans for Syrian Migrants (15 September 2015) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is detailing a plan that would allow the United States to take in ten thousand Syrian refugees.

More Civilians Killed By U.S. Drone Strikes Than al-Qaeda Terrorists (15 September 2015) The latest U.N. report reveals that, in Yemen, the United States kills more civilians from drone strikes than al-Qaeda terrorists do.  

Few U.S.-Trained Syrians Still Fight ISIS, Senators Are Told (16 September 2015) Only four or five Syrian individuals who were trained by the United States are still fighting ISIS, per U.S. Central Command. This is a reflection of the failure of the anti-ISIS strategy. Moreover, the General testifying to congress suggested that the United States would not train the five thousand fighters originally suggested by the administration.

United States Announces Eighty-Nine Million Dollars in Humanitarian Aid to Yemen (17 September 2015) The United States announces nearly one-hundred million dollars of humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen. The aid will go toward food assistance, clean water, and medical care for the nearly eighty percent of Yemenis in need of aid.

U.S. Begins Military Talks With Russia on Syria (18 September 2015) The United States has reached out to Russia in order to avoid escalation between the two countries in Syria. Syria has become a geopolitical chess match between the two countries, as well as other nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and France. Nonetheless, the prospect that these talks lead to a broader solution -- according to a number of experts interviewed by the New York Times -- seems to be slim-to-none.

Did a U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebel Commander Defect to al-Qaeda? (23 September 2015) Michael Weiss reports that the commander of Division 30-- one of the U.S. trained Syrian rebel groups -- has gone missing, and furthermore, may have joined al-Qaeda. Division 30 has had no contact with Abu Zayd -- the rebel who has gone missing -- since he was deployed into Syria.

U.S. State Department "Welcomes" News That Saudi Arabia Will Head U.N. Human Rights Panel (23 September 2015) Glenn Greenwald examines a State Department briefing about how the U.S. State Department, in the face of all of Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, will head the U.N. Human Rights Panel.

White House Says Obama and Putin Will Meet Next Week (24 September 2015) Following a month-long buildup of Russian involvement in Syria, Obama and Putin seek to meet. The former wants the later to respect a diplomatic approach to solving the Syrian crisis. Additionally, Obama wants Putin to drop support for the Assad regime.

Putin Plans Airstrikes in Syria if no U.S.-Russia Agreement is Reached (24 September 2015) Following the announcement of a potential meeting between Washington and Moscow, Putin announced if the two countries do not join forces he will aid Assad with airpower against the Syrian rebels and Islamic State.

U.S. Reports Twenty-Five Airstrikes Against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (26 September 2015) The United States reported on September 25 that they recently conducted twenty-five airstrikes against ISIS.

U.S. Intelligence Suggests Russia May Be Seeking Proxy in Case Assad Falls (26 September 2015) A U.S. intelligence reports that Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria is occurring in order to establish a proxy government when Assad falls.

Iranian President Proposes Prisoner Exchange with United States (27 September 2015) President Rouhani has proposed a prisoner swap with the United States that would lead to Washington Post Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, being released. This comes after failed negotiations between Washington and Tehran regarding prisoner exchanges.

U.S. Will Not Directly Confront Russia on Syria (2 October 2015) President Obama has stated that the United States will not directly confront Russia on Syria. He furthered that it will be Russia’s quagmire to get stuck in and that Washington will not become involved.

U.S.-backed Syrian Rebels Appeal for Anti-Aircraft Missiles (4 October 2015) Following Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, U.S.-backed Syrian rebels have appealed for anti-aircraft missiles, fearing without them, they will be defeated by the new Russian coalition. Moreover, this occurred after a Russian attack against the U.S.-backed rebels that did not target ISIS.

U.S. Blocks U.N. Probe Into Civilian Deaths in Yemen (4 October 2015) The United States blocked a U.N. investigation into Saudi Arabia’s crimes against humanity in Yemen. This follows Saudi Arabia’s placement on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

U.S. Sees Russians Drive Against CIA-backed Syrian Rebels (5 October 2015) Over the past week, Washington’s intelligence community believes that Russia’s airstrikes have been more focused on attacking U.S.-backed rebels than ISIS. Moreover, the Washington Post reports that U.S.-officials debated asking Russia to avoid hitting certain areas in Syria where the CIA-backed rebels are housed.

Russian and U.S. Policy in Syria Demonstrated in One Graphic (5 October 2015) A New York Times graphic shows the difference in where Russian attacks and U.S. attacks are occurring in Syria. Russian attacks are focused in areas concentrated with rebels fighting the Assad government, not ISIS. Whereas, on the other hand, the U.S. has focused on fighting ISIS and supporting Kurdish forces. Nonetheless, due to the lack of U.S. strategy, innocents have been killed. Additionally, Russian attacks have resulted in deaths of ISIS members. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Bans Negotiations with the United States (7 October 2015) Supreme Leader Khamenei banned further negotiations with the United States.The speech was highly critical of the United States and occurs in the backdrop of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif shaking President Obama’s hand, which frustrated the Iranian right wing.

As Russia escalates, U.S. Rules Out Military Cooperation in Syria (8 October 2015) Following recent Russia escalation in Syria the U.S. government claimed that it will not cooperate with Moscow. This comes after repeated requests for a joint coalition between Russia and Washington via Putin.

 

Russia:

Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria (1 September 2015) Russia has begun to send planes into Syria. One report suggests that the Russian pilots are gearing up alongside Assad’s airforce. The evidence for this, while circumstantial, does indicate calls for Russian support to Syrian troops.

Moscow Says Russian Military Experts Present in Syria (9 September 2015) Moscow’s foreign ministry has sent military experts to Syria in order to enforce weapon exchanges in order to “fight terrorism.”

Russian Troops Join Combat in Syria to Support the Regime (9 September 2015) Three Lebanese sources have confirmed that Russian troops are aiding the Assad regime in Syria. There is a supposed divide between Russia and the United States, where the former believes the Syrian government needs to be included in any peace plan, and the latter feels change is necessary. The Russian regime would rather place someone from Assad’s political network into power than have an entirely new government.

Russia Expanding Major Syrian Airport (13 September 2015) Russian forces are expanding a major airport tarmac in Latakia, Syria. This will allow larger planes easy access to Syrian landing zones.

Putin Said to Explore Sidelining Assad Even As He Arms Him (14 September 2015) Russia is sending signals to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that it would be willing to ease Bashar al-Assad out of power, even while it is supplying him weapons. A Soufan Group report suggests Putin is more concerned with defeating ISIS than Assad maintaining his grip on power and this could be why he is willing to see Assad off if it means a united coalition to fighting ISIS.

U.S., Russian Top Diplomats Talk Amid Syria Buildup (15 September 2015) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called John Kerry to discuss uniting each other’s foreign policies in regards to the Syrian conflict.

Libya's Tripoli Government Says Captures Russia-Flagged Tanker Smuggling Oil (16 September 2015)  A Russian oil tanker was captured out of Tripoli trying to smuggle oil from the port of Zawara.

Russia, Iran Seen Coordinating on Defense of Assad Regime in Syria (21 September 2015) U.S. intelligence reports that the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, Iran’s Foreign Minister, and Russian Foreign Minister have met in Moscow to discuss how to resolve the Syria dilemma.

Netanyahu and Putin Spar Over Syrian Threat to Israel (21 September 2015) Netanyahu and Putin recently disagreed over Syria’s threat to Israel. Netanyahu claimed that Iran and Syria are sending weapons to Hezbollah, an enemy of Israel, and that Iran and Hezbollah will attempt to wage war against the Jewish state. Putin disagreed and emphasized that their is no threat. 

Russia Expands Military Presence in Syria, Satellite Photos Show (22 September 2015) Private satellite images revealed Thursday September 17 demonstrate that two new Russian military facilities have been built in Syria. Privately, security officials are wondering if the United States could work with Russia to help ease Assad from power.

Israel Military Says It Is Coordinating with Russia on Syria (24 September 2015) Following a meeting between Netanyahu and and Putin regarding Russian involvement in Syria -- where the former expressed security concerns to the latter -- the two countries have begun coordinating in Syria. Israel has no desire to see Assad remain in power; however, they fear that a rebel government would be a greater threat to Israel than a Russian-supported coalition government.

Russian Troops in Syria Could End Up Helping ISIS (25 September 2015) The Royal United Services Institute recently released a report that suggests Russian troops are being sent to areas run by groups opposed to ISIS. Thus, rather than fighting ISIS, Russian military involvement may end up aiding the terrorist group.

Over Eight Percent Increase in Egyptian Tourism During the First Half of 2015 (26 September 2015) Egyptian tourism has significantly increased throughout 2015. Moreover, much of the tourism increase has come from Russia. Egypt’s government is reporting that Russia has provided over three million tourists to the country.

Hezbollah Welcomes Russian Buildup in Syria (26 September 2015) Hezbollah has recently claimed acceptance for Russian buildup in Syria to support the “common ally” of Bashar al-Assad.

Iraq Turns To Russia in Fight Against Islamic State (28 September 2015) Russia, Iran, and Iraq have agreed to an accord leading to intelligence sharing in order to fight the Islamic State. Moreover, Russian control of Iraq’s military may also occur in the future.

Russia Begins Syria Air Strikes (31 September 2015) Russia recently began airstrikes in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. These strikes ended up hitting certain CIA-backed rebels as well as Islamic State targets.

Assad Says No Peace Settlement Until War Against Terrorism Is Won (4 October 2015) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed over the weekend that no political reforms will happen until the war against terrorism is won. This statement came after Assad expressed confidence that the new coalition formed by Russia will lead to the defeat of ISIS.

NATO Denounces Russian Incursion Into Turkish Airspace (4 October 2015) Following Russia’s intervention in Syria, they violated Turkish airspace. Following this, the United States and NATO denounced Russia’s actions. The United States warned that had Turkey responded it could have resulted in a shoot down.

Egypt Backs Russian Airstrikes in Syria (4 October 2015) Egypt’s Foreign Minister stated that Russia’s airstrikes will defeat ISIS in the region and fully supports Russia’s intervention.

Russians Moving Artillery and Ground Troops Towards Hama (5 October 2015) The Russians are moving the battle “against ISIS” towards Hama, an area that Senior U.S. Defense Officials are saying does not house the terrorist group.

Russia Missiles Hit Islamic State in Syria From Caspian Sea (7 October 2015)Russia claims it has launched missile strikes against the Islamic State from the Caspian Sea. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has called this “the most intense fighting in months” in the Hama and Idlib provinces. 

Russia Calls for Joint Alliance Between Washington and Moscow in Syria (7 October 2015) Following Russian naval strikes against ISIS in Syria, Moscow has called for joint action between themselves and Washington.

Russian Warplanes in Syria Destroy Main U.S.-trained Rebels Weapons Depot (7 October 2015) A series of Russian airstrikes have destroyed the U.S.-rebels main weapons depot in Syria.

Iraqi Shi'ite Politicians Call For Russian Airstrikes Against ISIS in Iraq (7 October 2015) Iraqi Shi’ite politicians have called for Russia to expand their airstrikes against ISIS to Iraq.

How Iranian General Plotted Out Syrian Assault in Moscow (7 October 2015) During a July Meeting between Tehran and Moscow, a general from the Iranian Quds Force convinced Russia of the importance of Syria. This was preceded by high level intelligence conversations between the two countries. At this meeting the two countries came to an agreement that says Russian airstrikes will aid Iran, Hezbollah, and Assad in Syria. Additionally, Moscow agreed to supply more sophisticated weaponry to the Syrian army as well as aid the government of Iraq.

Syria Extends Major Offensive to Retake Territory in West (8 October 2015) Assad’s government extended an offensive to retake parts in the west of the country today. They were backed by Russian military aid. U.S. officials believed four of the missiles Russia fired at western Syria hit Iran, however, the Russian government denies this charge. This advance is significant because the rebel forces recently took over the west part of the country.

 

Western Europe:

Britain Takes In So Few Refugees From Syria They Would Fit On A Subway Train (1 September 2015) Four million Syrian refugees have fled; yet, Britain has only taken in a little over two-hundred. As Germany prepares to bring in over eight-hundred-thousand, Britain’s lack of accepting refugees reflects problems with the imbalance amongst European nations. Moreover, this reflects the political environment in the country, which views refugees as an invading army.

The 'Kill List': Royal Airforce Drones Have Been Hunting UK Jihadists For Months (8 September 2015) The Royal Airforce has been hunting and killing UK-born members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for months. This has led to the creation of a “kill list” and is a result of London’s fear that these citizens will return to the UK and pose an internal security threat.

France Weighs Airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria (8 September 2015) France will start sending reconnaissance flights across Syria and is weighing bombing the Islamic State in Syria. These reconnaissance flights will provide the French government with the needed intelligence to make a decision.

German Minister Attacks French and UK Talk of Syria Air Raids (9 September 2015) The German Foreign Minister recently attacked French and British discussion of air raids against Syria. The German Foreign Minister believes attacking Syria risks damaging the global diplomatic solution to the Syrian Civil War.

Syria Rejects British Proposal for Assad to Lead Transitional Government (10 September 2015) The British government suggested that Bashar al-Assad lead a transitional Syrian government for six months, followed by the leader’s relinquishing power of the country. Assad, however, rejected the proposal and claimed Britain’s policy is backwards by asking the only leader fighting ISIS to step down.

German Schools Face Testing Time With Influx of Syrian Children (10 September 2015) Germany has taken in thousands of Syrian refugees, and the government plans to incorporate the children into their education system. The schools are acknowledging the difficulty in doing so, but also recognize their moral responsibility. German law mandates this education and refugees learn German language, culture, and other common educational practices in these schools.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE Shop at London's Arms Fair (11 September 2015) The British government extended invitations to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE to attend the world’s largest arms and security fair in London.

Britain Gives Aid to Yemen But Sells Bombs To Its Enemies (11 September 2015) Britain has supplied Yemen with fifty-five million pounds of aid, however, continues to give Saudi Arabia weapons as they bomb the country. Thus, Britain is helping the exact Yemeni civilians it is hurting.

Over 4,500 Migrants Rescued off Libyan Coast in One Day (19 September 2015) An Italian naval vessel as well as other European ships rescued 4,500 migrants off of Libya’s coast over the course of one day.  

French Companies Fear Losing Iran Trade (20 September 2015) French companies are warning their government that the tough stance on Iran is hurting the former’s ability to achieve oil agreements when sanctions are lifted.

France Confirms Sale of Two Mistrals Built for Russia to Egypt (23 September 2015) The French government recently agreed on a sale of two mistral-class warships to Egypt. These are helicopter carriers and continues the summer’s trend of Egypt gaining French weaponry.

Iran Firm Signs Branding Deal with French Hotel Chain (23 September 2015) In the first agreement post-Iranian nuclear deal, Tehran came to an agreement with a major French hotel chain. The company, AccorHotels manages seventy-one hotels in ten countries in the Middle East. This agreement will aid Iran in its goal of vastly increasing tourism to the country over the next few years.

Dutch Want U.N. Human Rights Chief to Report on War-Torn Yemen (24 September 2015) The Netherlands are calling for a U.N. report on war-torn Yemen. The Dutch decision places France, Britain, and the United States in a position where they may need to oppose the countries’ respective ally in Saudi Arabia, who clearly oppose the resolution.

France, UK Concerned by Russia Military Buildup in Syria (24 September 2015) French and British leaders have made public statements voicing concern over Russia’s increased involvement in Syria.

France Seeking Clarity on Purpose of Russia's Military Buildup in Syria (26 September 2015) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius wants clarity on the purpose of Russia’s military buildup in Syria. He furthered that Assad can not stay in power over the long-term, both because of realistic and humanitarian reasons.

French Firms Set to Revamp Tehran Airport in Nearly Three Billion Dollar Project (26 September 2015) Two French firms will begin to finance and revamp Tehran’s main airport, this project will be the biggest transportation project in Iran’s history. This project will more than triple the airport’s current visitor capacity.

United Kingdom to Extend Surveillance Aircraft Use in Iraq and Syria (26 September 2015) Britain’s government recently decided to extend its usage of surveillance drones in Syria and Iraq for another year. This comes in the face of recent reports suggesting intelligence failures in Iraq and Syria.

France Bombs Islamic State Group Training Camp in Syria (27 September 2015) France’s airstrikes in Syria have begun to take effect. Recently they resulted in the bombing of a Deir ez-Zor training camp. This is indicative of the country’s change in strategy. Before September, France had only been bombing Iraq.

Britain Foreign Minister Says Russia's Military Buildup in Syria Strengthens Assad (27 September 2015) Phillip Hammond claimed that Syria’s military escalation in Syria is meant to aid the Assad regime. This is not surprising, however, because Putin recently said in a 60 Minutes interview that aiding Assad and fighting ISIS were the exact reasons for the Russian military buildup.

France Tells Putin to Confine Airstrikes to ISIS (2 October 2015) Following a meeting between France and Russia’s Foreign Ministers, the former told the latter to confine airstrikes solely to the Islamic State.

France Rebuffs Putin Over Syria Government, Rebel Forces Comments (7 October 2015) Following Putin’s comments that current Syrian rebels can join Russia in fighting ISIS, France’s government stated that solution cannot happen unless Assad leaves power. This is in contradiction to Russia and Assad’s belief that political change can only happen following ISIS’ defeat.

 

China:

Egypt's Sisi to Visit East Asia (1 September 2015) Egypt’s leader is planning an “Asia tour” that will kick off with a three day visit to Beijing.  This visit is predicated on reaffirming relations between the two countries and strengthening economic partnership.

China Construction to Build and Finance New Egyptian Capital (8 September 2015) Egypt signed an agreement with a Chinese firm in order to build a new administrative capital east of Cairo. This initiative is one of many new construction projects proposed by al-Sisi in order to attract foreign investment and create jobs in the country.

China, Iran Reach Agreement On Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (8 September 2015) Iran and China have reached an agreement to protect intellectual property between the two countries. Moreover, they will jointly sponsor education programs for technology and business professionals in both countries dealing with intellectual property.

China, Egypt Consolidate Ties After Sisi's Attendance at Military Parade (9 September 2015) Egypt’s al-Sisi’s second visit to China in the past month, this time supporting a Chinese military parade, has experts saying the two countries have consolidated ties. This is important because it helps improve stability for Sisi’s regime while giving China an opportunity for great foreign investment.

China and Iran Attempt Steel Agreement (9 September 2015) China and Iran have reached an agreement regarding steel development in Tehran that will be funded by China’s wealth. The project will cost well over one billion euros. 

Iran, China to Develop Cooperation On Employment (10 September 2015) Iran’s Minister of Cooperative Labor and China’s ambassador to Iran met in order to increase business cooperation between the two countries.

Iran's Foreign Minister to Visit China to Discuss Nuclear Deal (11 September 2015) Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will visit Beijing to discuss the Iranian nuclear agreement. Part of this is designed to encourage cooperation between all countries involved with the Iranian nuclear agreement.

How China Helped Cause the Syrian Refugee Crisis (14 September 2015) Unlike Russia, China’s support for Syria has been more covert. They supply over thirty-one percent of Iranian weaponry. More crucial, China and Russia are biggest suppliers of air defense systems and missiles and eighty-five percent of Iran weaponry traded to Syria came in the form of air defense systems in missiles. In other words, China sends weapons to Iran, which the latter sends to Syria. 

Iran Wants China's Help to Resolve Tensions in the Middle East (15 September 2015) Iran wants China’s help to resolve tensions between Muslims in the region. This came about in a recent Sino-Iranian meeting where Javad Zarif claimed that the economic ties between the two countries will allow them to work together to solve wars in the region. 

China Says World Should Not Arbitrarily Interfere in Syria (1 October 2015) Following Russian statements that it will become involved militarily in Syria, China claimed that the world should not “arbitrarily” pick sides in the conflict.

 

Other Countries/Middle East:

Houthi Rockets Kill Fourteen Civilians in Yemen (24 August 2015) The Iran backed Houthi rebels attempted to attack the anti-Houthi, Saudi coalition. This resulted in fourteen civilian deaths.

Boko Haram Sends Terrorists to Help ISIS Take Libya (25 August 2015) Boko Haram has sent hundreds of fighters to Libya in order to help ISIS take over the country.

Turkish Jets Join US-led Airstrikes Against ISIL (29 August 2015) Turkey recently announced that their fighter jets have conducted their first strike against ISIS. This is a follow-up to ISIS seizing five villages in Northern Syria.

India's Iran Oil Imports Fall to Five-Month Low in August (4 September 2015) India’s oil imports slumped twenty-seven percent in August, a five-month low. This will get worse because, for about a month, India’s Iranian oil refineries are going to shut for repair in mid-September.

Coalition Attacks Yemen Capital After UAE, Saudi Soldiers Killed (5 September 2015) Following the deaths of sixty-plus Saudi soldiers, the Sunni coalition made up Gulf rentier states bombed Houthis in Yemen’s capital. An Emirate news agency suggests that the Houthis sustained heavy damage from the attacks. 

Qatar Deploys One Thousand Ground Troops to Fight in Yemen (7 September 2015) Qatar’s armed forces, backed up two hundred vehicles and thirty helicopters head to Yemen to fight against the Houthi rebels. They will join the Saudi forces in Yemen’s Maareb province.  

Rouhani: Iran Ready to Hold Talks on Syria with U.S., Saudi (8 September 2015) Iran’s President plans to host a summit with the United States and Saudi Arabia regarding a potential solution in Syria. 

Tony Abbott Says Australia Will Accept Twelve-Thousand More Refugees (9 September 2015) Australia’s recently removed Prime Minister has claimed Australia will accept twelve-thousand more Middle Eastern refugees. This comes across as problematic because the country only accepts a little over thirteen-thousand migrants per year.

Indians Bombed in Boats Between Yemen and Somalia (9 September 2015) A Saudi-led coalition bombed two Indian ships carrying twenty Indians between Yemen and Somalia. Seven of the twenty are currently missing.

Australia to Extend Bombing Raids Against Islamic State in Syria (9 September 2015) Australia has decided to extend bombing raids against the Islamic State in Syria. Moreover, the Australian Prime Minister has not removed the possibility of boots on the ground to fight ISIS. 

Egypt Sends Up To Eight Hundred Ground Troops to Yemen's War (9 September 2015) Following recent escalation of the Yemeni conflict, Egypt has sent eight hundred ground troops to support the Gulf’s coalition fighting the Houthis.

At Least Sixteen Yemeni Civilians Killed in Saudi-led Air Strikes (12 September 2015) Following the Gulf countries’ increased drone strikes against Shi’a neighborhoods in yemen, sixteen civilians were killed in one day. The raids pummeled the HOuthi-controlled Sanaa and Taiz.

South Korea Looks to Revive Crude, Condensate Inflows From Iran (18 September 2015) South Korean energy firms look to increasing crude trade with Iran when sanctions are lifted. This follows a South Korean delegation visiting Iran in August 2015.

As Air War Intensifies, Saudi Arabia Launches Charm Offensive (23 September 2015) Saudi Arabia and its international allies are engaging in a diplomatic offensive to avoid sanctions for their war in Yemen. This is because many of those killed by the Gulf coalition are innocent civilians.  

Saudis Seek to Fend Off U.N. Inquiry On Yemen (24 September 2015) Following the Netherlands request for a human rights inquiry into the Yemen conflict, Saudi Arabia has pushed back in the Human Rights Council. Saudi diplomats have lobbied Asian, African, and European states to oppose the resolution in Geneva.

Yemen Suicide Bomber Kills Twenty-Six in Mosque (24 September 2015) Yemen’s Islamic State affiliate is responsible for an attack that killed nearly thirty civilians.

Oil Exports From Northern Iraq to Turkey Restart (26 September 2015) Following a sabotaging of oil wells from Northern Iraq to Turkey, oil have begun again. This is important, because many of the rebel forces get their funding via money from this oil well.

Helicopter Attack Kills Thirty Civilians in Yemen Village (27 September 2015) Residents and medics in a Yemeni village say that a Saudi airstrike killed thirty civilians. The Saudi government has denied such claims.

Iraqi Kurds Call for U.S., Russia to Unify on Syria (2 October 2015) Iraqi Kurds call for Washington and Moscow to unite in their fight against ISIS on Syria. The Iraqi Kurds believe Russia and the United States are engaged in geopolitical rivalries and that is hurting any chance of defeating ISIS.

Gulf States Plan Military Response as Putin Raises the Stakes in Syria (3 October 2015) As Russia intensifies airstrikes on Syria, the Gulf coalition, originally designed to help the United States, is aiming to arm rebels against the Russian military. This is also opposed to the U.S. statement that it will not “directly” fight Russia in Syria.

 

Treaties, Agreements, United Nations, and Statistics: 

Water is Called Casualty of Syrian War (25 August 2015) The United Nations recently announced that the availability of water in Syria has halved since the beginning of the conflict. Meanwhile, millions of Syrians are dehydrated due to this lack of water.

Banned Cluster Bombs Were Used in Five Countries This Year (3 September 2015) The Cluster Munitions Coalition, a watchdog group that tracks international cluster bombs, reported that five countries used the internationally frowned upon weapon this year. The aforementioned nations were Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Sudan, and Yemen. None of these five countries have signed the international treaty -- signed by 117 other countries -- banning the usage of these weapons. Coincidentally, the United States has also not signed this treaty and exports these weapons.

Saudi Arabia Inks Fifty-Four Million Dollar Deals with United Nation Agencies for Yemen Relief  (6 September 2015) The King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid has signed three agreements with aid agencies totalling around fifty-four million dollars of assistance. The first agreement was with the United Nations Development Program for nearly two million dollars; the second is with the World Health Organization for over twenty-two million dollars; and the third organization is the United Nations Children’s Fund for over twenty-nine million dollars.

United Nations Chief Promises Investigation into Chemical Weapons Usage in Syria (10 September 2015) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has promised a “speedy” evaluation of how chemical weapons have been used in Syria’s civil war.

Iran, United States, and China Discuss the Final Text of Nuclear Agreement in Vienna (14 September 2015) Representatives from Tehran, Washington, and Beijing all met in VIenna in order to ensure the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement is effective.

 

 

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