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Foreign Policies Media Roundup (August-September)

[Image of Putin and Erdogan meeting in August. Image by Sergei Karpukhin/Flickr] [Image of Putin and Erdogan meeting in August. Image by Sergei Karpukhin/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:

In An Effort To Maintain U.S. Ties, Turkey Softens Its Tone (1 August 2016) Following Turkish conspiracies that the U.S. played a part in the coup, the regime is no softening its tone, saying it wishes to maintain ties with Washington. Primarily, following a meeting between the two countries, both agreed that they would be more successful fighting ISIS together than alone. 

U.S. Launches Airstrikes against Islamic State in Libya (1 August 2016) The United States expands its air campaign against the Islamic State to Libya by bombing Islamic State positions in Sirte. U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and local militias continue the fight to reclaim territory from the Islamic State in Libya. 

Turkish Media Sure U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup (2 August 2016) Turkish newspapers are reporting that American academic and politicians were pro-coup, and in some cases, directly responsible. These are the latest in a line of conspiracy theories regarding Washington’s deceit of Erdogan.

U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed (3 August 2016) The United States sent first installment of $1.7 billion settlement to Iran over a failed arms dating back to 1979. The payment, which was transported to Iran in an unmarked cargo plane, coincided with the release of four Americans who were detained in Tehran.

U.S., Israel Close Many Gaps In Defense Aid Talks (4 August 2016) Washington and Tel Aviv have closed many gaps present in a future multibillion dollar aid package from the former directed to the latter. This new pact will last one decade regardless of future circumstances. One major concession being discussed is that all military aid be spent exclusively and U.S.-made weapons. If this does go through, moreover, it would represent a major step for America, as over twenty-five percent of this aid has been spent on improving Israeli military ministries.   

U.S. Not Persuaded To Extradite Imam Over Turkey Coup (4 August 2016) U.S. officials do not necessarily agree that Fethullah Gulen is responsible for Turkey’s coup. Therefore, they do not plan to extradite the Imam. This has greatly frustrated the Erdogan government.

U.S. Releases Rules for Airstrike Killings of Terror Suspects (6 August 2016) Newly declassified documents shed light on the US government’s targeted killing policies. The Presidential Policy Guidance, which was passed by President Obama in March of 2013, was released to the ACLU following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to release information on the US targeted killing program. 

Spies-For-Hire Now At War In Syria (8 August 2016) Following escalation of the Syrian war, Washington is sending three-hundred military contractors to fight in the war-torn country. These contractors will work to fight ISIS and aid U.S.-trained rebels in Syria.

U.S. Aid Delivery To Lebanon Army To Counter Militant Threat From Syria (9 August 2016) The United States delivered fifty armoured vehicles, fifty grenade launchers, and forty pieces of artillery to the Lebanese military following the escalation of the Aleppo conflict. Moreover, this weaponry will help Lebanon defend themselves against ISIS. 

U.S.-backed Militias in Libya Claim to Retake ISIS Stronghold of Surt (10 August 2016) United States-backed militias in Libya claim to have retaken Sirte from the Islamic State with help from US airstrikes.

ISIS Ranks Dwindle To Fifteen-Thousand Amid 'Retreat On All Fronts', Claims Pentagon (10 August 2016) “A top US commander has claimed the military campaigns in Iraq and Syria have taken 45,000 enemy combatants off the battlefield and reduced the total number of fighters ISIS to as few as 15,000.” This represents a huge step for the U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq, however, does not discuss the humanitarian costs necessary to achieve such a number. 

15 Guantanamo Detainees Are Sent to Emirates in Largest Obama-era Transfer (15 August 2016) The Pentagon announced the transfer of fifteen Guantanamo detainees to the UAE. The detainees, originally from Yemen and Afghanistan, were held without trial for fourteen years. Although President Obama has not succeeded in closing Guantanamo Bay as promised, the number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay has not dropped to sixty-one.

Does The U.S. Ignore Its Civilian Casualties In Iraq And Syria? (17 August 2016) The U.S. has taken effort to mitigate harm to civilians in Syria and Iraq, however, airstrikes are inherently indiscriminate. Thus, when the coalition claims no citizens have perished from the anti-ISIS fight, they are lying and somewhat in violation of international law. 

U.S. to Meet Target of Admitting 10,000 Syrian Refugees: White House (29 August 2016) The White House predicts that it will reach its goal of admitting ten-thousand Syrian refugees for the fiscal year of 2016. The United States hopes to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the country by a few thousand for 2017.

Turkish Syrian Offensive Caught Washington Off-Guard (30 August 2016) Turkey’s newest Syria offensive, while not unwanted by the United States, did catch the Obama administration off-guard. This is a sign of decreased cooperation between the two countries post-coup.

U.S. Set to Approve Sales of Boeing Fighters to Qatar, Kuwait-Sources (1 September 2016) The United States moves forward with a plan to sell $7 billion worth of Boeing fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait, despite years of delays. The US government is expected to inform US lawmakers about the deal in the coming weeks.

Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors in Terror Fight (5 September 2016) As a result of a shortage in drone pilots, the Pentagon has added four contracted drone pilots to the sixty drones typically flown by uniformed Air Force personnel. The Pentagon hopes to add six more additional contractors to their collection of drone pilots.

Obama to Veto Bill Allowing 9/11 Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia (12 September 2016) The White House announces that President Obama is likely to veto Congress-approved legislation allows victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia for damages. 

U.S. Finalizes Deal To Give Israel Thirty-Eight Billion Dollars In Military Aid (13 September 2016) The package is the largest of its kind ever in the history of the two countries’ relationship. Additionally, the new deal will no longer allow Israel to spend about a quarter of the aid to buy Israeli arms. This had been the case for a long time, and consequently served as a way to strengthen the Israeli arms industry.

US Funds Fed Corruption in Afghanistan, Eroding Security Fighting Taliban-Report (14 September 2016) The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issues report detailing how $100 billion of aid to Afghanistan since 2001 has contributed to corruption in Afghanistan’s government. 

Obama Prods Netanyahu After Signing Of U.S.-Israel Aid Deal (14 September 2016) Following the signing of the historic aid deal between Israel and the United States, President Barack Obama has called for Netanyahu to engage in peace discussions regarding a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This comes in the face of Netanyahu’s relatively recent comments regarding being forever opposed to such a deal.

U.S. Gives Boeing, Airbus Go-Ahead to Send Airliners to Iran (21 September 2016) In one of the highest profile trade deals since nuclear sanctions were lifted off Iran in January, the US government gives a thumbs up to Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE to sell letliner to Air Iran. Deliveries may begin this year.

U.S., Russia Continue To Exchange Charges Amid Effort To Salvage Ceasefire (22 September 2016) Following a failed round of Syrian peace talks, U.S. Secretary Of State John Kerry announced that Washington will continue to work for a Syrian solution at all costs. Moreover, grave warnings were also provided by foreign policy higher-ups in Washington.

War Of Words With West And Russia Is Worst In Decades (26 September 2016) The “war of words” between Russia and the United States over Syria is at its worst since the Cold War. Following Syria’s U.N. Ambassador’s approach to the podium at the United Nations Security Council, representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, and France left in protest. This followed failure of negotiations with Russia and Syria over a potential peace agreement.

U.S.-Backed Effort to Fight Afghan Corruption Is a Near-Total Failure, Audit Finds (27 September 2016) A report by US auditors from the Office of the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction describes the $26.6 million in aid for asset tracking in the Afghanistan government, among other large expenditures to combat corruption, as a near-total failure.

Claims of Saudi Role in 9/11 Appear Headed for Manhattan Court (29 September 2016) After Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of the 9/11 Bill, US lawyers and victims of 9/11 are quickly moving to take advantage of the new legislation.

U.S. Pledges Over Three-Hundred-And-Sixty Billion Dollars In Aid To Those Suffering From The Conflict In Syria (27 September 2016) The funds, officials say, will help provide healthcare, food, water, and resettlement to those suffering from the war in the region.

Obama Administration Threatens To Suspend Talks With Russia On Syria, Considering Sending Weapons To Vetted Rebels (28 September 2016) The Obama Administration has threatened to allow the CIA to send weapons to vetted rebel groups in order to fight Russia and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Some would note that this threat has been made multiple times since the beginning of the conflict, but yet, to no avail. Although, this time, the rhetoric between Washington and Moscow is much harsher than in times past. 

Russia: 

As Obama Dithers, Syrian Rebels in Aleppo Brace for Putin’s Onslaught (1 August 2016) Following intelligence that Russia is planning an assault on rebel-held areas in Syria, the opposition has begged the international community for support, only to little avail. The Obama administration is “dithering” in regards to Putin’s new threat to the Syrian rebels.

Rescuers Say Toxic Gas Dropped On Syrian Town Where Russian Helicopter Shut Down (2 August 2016) Following rebel attacks on Russian air power in Aleppo, the Russian regime has dropped toxic gas on the city’s civilians. The type of gas was unidentified, however.

Russia Says Syrian Rebels Used Toxic Gas Against Civilians (3 August 2016) In opposition to initial reports, Russia is claiming that the Syrian rebels used toxic gas against the city of Aleppo. This is, frankly, odd considering why the Aleppo conflict is being fought and which supporters live in said city.

Putin And Erdogan, Both Isolated, Reach Out To Each Other (8 August 2016) Russia and Turkey are going to meet with each other in an attempt to resolve their dispute over Syria. This is a sign of both dictators, who are each facing their own geopolitical issues, attempting to increase their alliance with each other.

Russia Announces Daily Cease-Fires To Allow Aid Into Aleppo (10 August 2016) These cease-fires are a sign that Putin is attempting to at least work with the United Nations’ humanitarian concerns. Nonetheless, the three-hour period is not nearly long enough to grant serious access to concerned countries and, thus, this is merely a gesture by Putin.

Russia, Spurning U.S. Censure, Launches Second Day of Syrian Strikes From Iran (17 August 2016) Russia, using a base in Iran, has launched significant airstrikes into Syria. This would violate a U.N. resolution regarding a Syrian ceasefire.

Spate Of Deadly Attacks In Syria Ahead Of Cease-Fire (12 September 2016) Following an agreement was struck between Assad, the Syrian opposition, Russia, and the United States, but before its implementation, the Syrian regime bombed rebel-controlled neighborhoods, killing ninety or more civilians.

Russia And Turkish Military Chiefs Meet In Ankara (15 September 2016) As the Syrian ceasefire has become completely ineffective, Russia’s and Turkey’s leaders met in Ankara to discuss a unified Syria policy. The agreement supposedly brought the two countries into agreement regarding how to protect the failing Syrian ceasefire.

This Is How Russia Bombed The U.N. Convoy (21 September 2016) Pierre Vaux analyzes - using all open-source information - how and why Russia bombed the U.N. Convoy in Syria. This adds to the analysis that suggests it was indeed an intended operation, conducted by the Russian military, that resulted in the death of humanitarian aid workers.

Russian Airstrikes Killed Over Nine-Thousand In Syria Over Past Year (30 September 2016) The Syrian Monitor reports that Russian airstrikes have killed nine-thousand-and-three-hundred people in Syria over the past year. On September 30 of last year the Russian military began its intervention in Syria. Since then, nearly four-thousand innocent civilians have been killed by Russian airstrikes. Moreover, the war is no closer to ending than it was one year ago.

Europe:

Turkish, German Citizens Rally In Germany To Support Erdogan (1 August 2016) Turkish citizens have rallied in Germany to support Erdogan’s regime following the Turkish protests. Germany, however, has banned a video allowing Erdogan to speak to his German supporters.

Turkey And Germany Face New Diplomatic Spat (1 August 2016) The growing tensions between the two countries are problematic as the European Union continues to struggle post-Brexit. This is potentially leading to a clash between the EU and Turkey itself. Moreover, this problem is present in France-Turkey relations too, especially following the Nice attacks. 

German Authorities Accuse Mosques Of Playing Turkish Politics (16 August 2016) For years, Germany encouraged Turkey to send Imams and other teachers for Germany’s large Turkish minority. Now, however, the guidance has become political as well as religious. This is resulting in Turkish, nationalist angst into German cities, which is an unwelcome development by Germany’s government.

Turkey's Migrant Deal With Europe May Collapse Under Post-Coup-Attempt Crackdown (23 August 2016) European countries are frustrated with Turkey’s widespread human rights abuses post-coup. Moreover, Turkey is frustrated that Europe is not removing its visa restrictions for Turkish citizens. This, consequently, is resulting in the agreement between the European Union and Turkey regarding refugees coming close to falling apart.

Syria's Kurds: An Embattled U.S. Ally In A Complex Civil War (25 August 2016) Tensions between Turkey and the Kurds pit NATO against the strongest military in the Syrian civil war. I.E., Turkey’s government wants nothing to do with the Kurds, and moreover, considers them a terrorist group. On the other hand, the Kurdish militias have been far-and-away the most effective in the Syrian civil war.

Saudi Arabia Makes Plea For Britain Not To Ban Arms Sales (6 September 2016) In light of claims that British weapons were used to murder in Yemen, the UK Parliament has discussed banning weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, and the latter is begging for it not to happen. This is the latest in a series of diplomatic conundrums suggesting that the Saudis are not as trustworthy to the West as was originally thought.

Scaling Up a Drug Trade, Straight Through ISIS Turf (13 September 2016) Investigators of Italy’s anti-drug unit discover fifteen metric tons of hashish aboard a freighter bound for Libya and discover new drug trafficking routes across North Africa. 

In Leaked Emails, Iraq War Architect Expressed Relief That Brexit Distracted From Iraq War Inquiry (13 September 2016) Former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has emailed former U.S. Secretary Of State, Colin Powell, claiming his relief that Brexit distracted viewers from the releasing of the Chilcot Report. The Chilcot Report examines the United Kingdom’s role in the Iraq war and claims that it was greater than initially believed. 

France Wants International Mideast Conference This Year (19 September 2016) France wants an international conference to help put an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This conference would decide on a list of incentives to get both Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiation table.

François Hollande, France's President, Urges Action On Climate And Syria (20 September 2016) France is arguing for calm minds to prevail in Syria. Following the end of the ceasefire, France is seeking to get Assad, the opposition, Russia, and the United States back to the negotiation table in order to salvage any sort of peace agreement from the ashes.

China:

Egypt's Tourism Sector Turns To China (16 August 2016) Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Yehia Rashid, noted that due to the country’s struggling tourism industry, Cairo is turning towards a new market: Beijing. China’s tourists to Egypt more than doubled during 2015-16, and thus, the Egyptian government is beginning a new advertising campaign in the Asian country.

Chinese Admiral Visits Syria In Show Of Support (18 August 2016) “A top Chinese military officer visited Syria this week in a show of support for President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime, official media reported Thursday, underscoring Beijing’s backing of fellow authoritarian governments and concerns about the spread of religious militancy.” Xinhua News Agency, moreover, reports that the Chinese government is willing to strengthen its military relationship with Assad. While the Chinese government has constantly attempted to “stay neutral,” this development represents China’s realist, pro-authoritarian foreign policy, and puts their support behind Assad and Putin.

Russian MP Says China's Upgrading Ties With Syria Can Form A "Non-Nato-Anti-Terror Coalition" (20 August 2016) “Chairman of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) Defense Committee, Admiral Vladimir Komoedov, has noted that the Chinese military’s desire to upgrade ties with Syria could be the first step towards forming a military and political coalition of non-NATO countries.” Furthermore, he noted, "The Chinese military in Syria is the first step towards putting together a serious military-political coalition dominated by countries that are not aligned with the aggressive NATO bloc. The time has come to form such a coalition.”

China Is Supporting Syria's Regime. What Changed? (17 September 2016) China’s decision to further engage in the Syria conflict is based on its concerns of UIghur militants and for its desire for further regional stability. The second has been a goal for Beijing ever since they began their “One Belt, One Road” strategy for expanding trade with the Middle East.

China Urges Continued Implementation Of Truce Deal On Syria (20 September 2016) Following the failing of the Syria peace agreement, the Chinese government has urged for both sides to continue implementing said truce. China is desperate for stability in the region, and whilst the leaders in Beijing prefer Assad, the country’s primary goal is a solution to the Civil War.

Egypt Says It Will Start Talks On Two Billion Dollar Loan From China (20 September 2016) Cairo and Beijing are expected to further talks on a multi-billion dollar loan from the latter to the former. In exchange, the banks in both countries will establish relations, and thus an attempt to strengthen Egypt’s economy. 

The Middle East And The New Silk Road (22 September 2016) Middle East Monitor has provided an interview-based, primary source report on China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy in the Middle East. China’s trade with the Gulf has expanded to the point where Beijing is the latter area’s largest trade partner. Thus, while China’s trade with the Gulf is expected to increase because of this initiative, the One Belt, One Road strategy is designed to improve Beijing’s relations with other countries in the region.

Other Countries/Middle East:

Rebel Supporters In Aleppo Created Their Own No-Fly Zone (1 August 2016) Syrian government forces - with the help of Iran and Russia - have begun a massive bombing campaign of Aleppo. Rebel supporters created their own “no-fly zone” outside of the city of Aleppo to protect at-risk citizens. This is in addition to the Syrian and Russian regimes offering “safe passage” if you claim support of the regime.

Turkey Hires PR Firm after Coup Attempt (4 August 2016) Following a failed coup in Turkey, the government has hired APCO Worldwide to perform “crisis communications” between the United States and Turkey. Turkey has accused a US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for encouraging the coup attempt.

Turkey Calls For New Round Of Syria Talks In Geneva (5 August 2016) Turkey has called for yet another round of Syrian peace talks. This follows both the Turkish coup and the Russian assault on Aleppo. Thus, it provides a way for all Middle East actors to save face.

Jihadis With al-Qaeda Links Break Assad Siege Of Aleppo (8 August 2016) The rebel groups who have been successful at stopping Assad’s siege of Aleppo were not “moderate” rebels. Rather, they were groups with links to al-Qaeda. These groups were able to kill more than four hundred members of the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah over a five day period.

Battle For Aleppo May Be The Most Crucial Of The Syrian Civil War (10 August 2016) Karen DeYoung and Hugh Naylor argue that the battle for Aleppo has united most rebel groups - Islamist and secular, liberal and conservative, political and apolitical, etc. - in a fight for the future of the war.

Saudi Coalition Airstrikes in Yemen Kill at Least 19, Mostly Children (13 August 2016) Following the breakdown of UN-sponsored peace talks in Yemen, and after a five month hiatus in bombings, Saudi Arabia and its coalition resumed airstrikes, reportedly incurring civilian casualties. 

Bombing of Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Yemen Kills at Least 15 (15 August 2016) Saudi-coalition airstrikes hit a Doctors Without Borders Abs Hospital in Northern Yemen’s Hajj Province, killing at least fifteen people. This bombing comes less than a week after another Saudi coalition airstrike killed nineteen civilians, including children.

With Operation In Syria, Erdogan Shows His New Power Over Turkey's Military (25 August 2016) Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, the Turkish military commanders have refuted Erdogan’s constant attempts to invade Syria. Now, post-coup, however, Turkey is clearly sending its military into the war-torn country. This is evidence of Erdogan’s new-found power over Ankara’s military.

Turkish Military Launches Sixty-One Artillery Strikes In Northern Syria Over A Twenty-Four Hour Period (29 August 2016) The Turkish military has begun a full-force offensive in Syria. The government has launched over sixty artillery strikes to fight ISIS over a twenty-four hour period.

Iran Deploys Air Defense System around Fordo Nuclear Strike (29 August 2016) In an effort to protect an underground Fordo nuclear facility, Iran has deployed Russian-made S300 air defense systems. The Iranian government claims the facility is being used to develop medical isotopes and does not violate its recent agreement with the United States.

Australia To Step Up Airstrikes On Islamic State (31 August 2016) For the first time, Australia’s military will be involved in the war against the Islamic State. This is a change in military policy spearheaded by Australia’s new conservative government with the sole goal of defeating the Islamic State.

Erdogan Says Turkey Would Join U.S. to Fight ISIS in Raqqa, an ISIS Bastion in Syria (7 September 2016) Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discusses the possibility of a joint US-Turkish offensive against the Islamic State in the Raqqa. US officials have yet to comment on the suggestion.

Israel Strikes Syria After Projectile Lands In Golan Heights (8 September 2016) An Israeli military aircraft struck Syria following a projectile landing in the Golan Heights. The projectile came from the Syrian Armed Forces, per Israeli intelligence. This is one of only a few Israeli actions involving the Syrian conflict, others of which include strikes on Hezbollah arm shipments destined to Bashar al-Assad.

Israel Strikes Syria Five Times Since Initial Projectile Landed In Golan Heights (13 September 2016) In the week since a Syrian projectile landed in the Golan Heights, Israel has engaged in a targeted military campaign against the Syrian regime. Shortly after the initial air raid, Syrian military units struck down an Israeli war plane. Thus, a projectile, air war is taking place between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia Has Welcomed The Syrian Cease-Fire (13 September 2016) Saudi Arabia has urged both the rebel groups and Syrian regime to abide by the cease-fire. The kingdom has declared that a political transition is only possible when a peace has been successfully established.

Tankers Seized in Yemen Port, Risking Deeper Import Crisis (15 September 2016) Reports allege Houthi authorities seize two tankers from Ocean Tankers at Hodeida in Yemen. In light of dwindling medical and food supplies and an ongoing air campaign led by Saudi Arabia, analysts suspect this action will deepen Yemen’s import crisis.

Australia Expresses Regret For Syria Airstrike (18 September 2016) “Australia’s prime minister has expressed regret for any loss of life to Syrian troops in an airstrike that involved Australian planes.” Australia is taking part in a U.S. review of what went wrong and why intelligence felt the Syrian military was an ISIS hideout.

Saudi Arabia Appears to be Using U.S.-supplied White Phosphorus in its War in Yemen (19 September 2016) After photos of white phosphorus mortar shell were posted on social media, speculation about the American origin of the white phosphorus has come to the fore. US officials say they have supplied Saudi Arabia with white phosphorus in the past, but would not give details when or how much they supplied.

Saudi-led Coalition Air Strike Kills at Least 19 in Yemen: Residents (21 September 2016) According to local officials, residents, and doctors, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a house in western Yemen, killing nineteen civilians and wounding dozens.

Treaties, Agreements, United Nations, and Statistics:

Yemen's Exiled Government Accepts UN Peace Proposal (1 August 2016) Yemen’s exiled government has accepted a United Nations peace proposal that calls on Houthi rebels to cede power and resistance.

Houthi Rebels Are Only Group To Reject Peace Proposal (1 August 2016) Following an almost universal acceptance of the UN peace proposal for Yemen, the Houthi rebels refused it, and began military actions right away.

U.N. Chief Says Saudi Air War Taking Heavy Toll on Yemeni Children (2 August 2016) Following threats from Saudi Arabia to cut funding to the United Nations unless they were removed from a list of armies who kill or maim children in conflict zones, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon continued to criticize Saudi Arabia-backed coalition airstrikes in Yemen for their devastating effects on children.

U.N. Report on Yemen Says Houthis Used Human Shields, Islamic State Got Cash (4 August 2016) In a confidential report to the United Nations Security Council, it is reported that Houthi forces used human shields, the Islamic State profited from the conflict, and Saudi Arabia bombed civilian homes on more than one occasion.

United Nations Considers Role In Russia's 'Deeply Flawed' Humanitarian Corridors Plan (5 August 2016) The United Nations is internally discussing overseeing Russia’s humanitarian corridors plan for Aleppo. More specifically, Russia and Assad want an exit location for Syrian citizens living in Aleppo who support the regime. The debates are intense, however, because of the humanitarian flaws present in the plan; and moreover, the United Nations has declared an immediate ceasefire to the Aleppo conflict to future discuss this plan. 

U.S. Urges Russia To Halt Syria's Sieges; Russia Slams Politicization Of Aid (9 August 2016) “The United States, Britain, France, New Zealand and Ukraine organised an informal Security Council meeting on Aleppo on Monday with briefings by a "White Helmet" rescue worker and two U.S.-based doctors from the Syrian American Medical Society who recently returned from Aleppo.” This is following a debate between Washington and Moscow regarding Syrian aid and the current conflict.

NATO Says Turkey Remains a “Valued Ally” after Erdogan Visits Putin in Moscow (10 August 2016) Following Turkish President Erdogan’s recent visit to Moscow, in which he promised increased cooperation between the two nations, NATO reaffirmed Turkey’s position as a valued member of the alliance and its commitment to countering today’s most dire international security threats.

Russia, Syria Violated International Law by Dropping Incendiary Munitions, Report Says (16 August 2016) A new report from Human Rights Watch alleges that both Syria and Russia have violated international law by dropping incendiary munitions on civilian-populated areas in Idlib and Aleppo. The report claims that the Russian-Syrian campaign used incendiary munitions at least eighteen times in the past nine weeks.

Civil War Costs Yemen $14 Billion in Damage and Economic Losses-Report (17 August 2016) A joint report from the United Nations, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the European Union estimates that the cost of the civil war has reached $14 billion in damages to infrastructure and economic losses.

U.S., Others Agreed 'Secret' Exemptions For Iran After Nuclear Deal (1 September 2016) The United States and its negotiating partners secretly agreed to let Iran slip on nuclear deal restrictions during the last check. These loopholes relate directly to the amount of sanctions Iran has and will face.

'Gaps Of Trust' With Russia Bar A Syrian Truce, Obama Says (5 September 2016) President Obama notes the lack of trust between himself and Vladimir Putin are the cause of a failed Syrian peace talk at the G20 summit. While the U.S. leader did not identify the source of the gaps of trust, it is nonetheless clear the relationship said gaps have with Russia’s support of Assad, and thus the two countries will not be able to lead Syria into a peace agreement any time soon. 

Aid Groups Suspend Cooperation With U.N. In Syria Because Of Assad's Influence (8 September 2016) More than seventy aid groups have suspended cooperation with the United Nations in Syria because of the multilateral organization’s ineffectiveness. The groups could no longer tolerate the “manipulation of humanitarian relief efforts by the political interests of the Syrian government that deprives other Syrians in besieged areas from the services of those programmes.”

Ten-Day Syrian Ceasefire Comes Into Effect (12 September 2016) Following peace discussions with Russia and the United States, a ten-day Syrian cessation of hostilities has come into effect. This was agreed to be most of the rebel groups and the Assad regime.

Russia, U.S. Accuse Each Other Of Ceasefire Violations (15 September 2016) Following two days of a successful ceasefire, war restarted in Syria, causing all sides to cast blame. The opposition blaming regime, regime blaming opposition, and the U.S. and Russia blaming each other. The attack occurred in the Eastern Province of Deir Ezzor and twenty-three people were killed.

Syrian Truce Receives New Blows With Airstrikes, Shelling (18 September 2016) The U.S.-backed Syrian rebels began to attack a Syrian military unit until they were halted by Russian forces. Dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed and this has led to harsh verbal attacks against the U.S. by Moscow and Damascus. 

Aid Convoy Is Hit In Syria As Ceasefire Falters And Bombings Resume (19 September 2016) A humanitarian aid convoy was attacked in Syria effectively ending any previous ceasefire. Moreover, the regime began heavy bombardments of the city of Aleppo as soon as the seven-day period was over. At least eighteen United Nations trucks were hit, dumbfounding leaders of the multilateral organization. 

U.S. And EU Sanctions Are Punishing Ordinary Syrians And Crippling Aid Workers (28 September 2016) Internal United Nations assessments obtained by The Intercept suggest that sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians. These sanctions make providing humanitarian aid difficult at best, and impossible at worst.

American Airstrike Killed Afghan Civilians, U.N. Says (29 September 2016) The UN Mission in Afghanistan condemned an American airstrike there. The UN has reported that despite US officials’ claims that the airstrike had targeted a gathering of Islamic State affiliates, it killed at least fifteen civilians.

 

 

 

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