May 5, 2014
Democracy’s Deepening Recession

While the world’s attention has been riveted on Ukraine and what move an emboldened Vladimir Putin will make next, diverse threats to democracy have intensified on other fronts as well. The story is not new. According to Freedom House, 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which more countries experienced declines in political rights or civil liberties than improvements. Since 2005, democracy has ceased its decades-long expansion, leveling off at about 60 percent of all independent states. And since the military coup in Pakistan in 1999, the rate of democratic breakdowns has accelerated, with about one in every five democracies failing.
Read more. [Image: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]

Democracy’s Deepening Recession

While the world’s attention has been riveted on Ukraine and what move an emboldened Vladimir Putin will make next, diverse threats to democracy have intensified on other fronts as well. The story is not new. According to Freedom House, 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which more countries experienced declines in political rights or civil liberties than improvements. Since 2005, democracy has ceased its decades-long expansion, leveling off at about 60 percent of all independent states. And since the military coup in Pakistan in 1999, the rate of democratic breakdowns has accelerated, with about one in every five democracies failing.

Read more. [Image: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]

May 2, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Nine have been killed and 70 injured this week during student protests in southern Ethiopia. 
EU peacekeepers undertook their first operation in the Central African Republic, taking over security of the main airport on Wednesday.
Doctors Without Borders suspended its activities in a CAR town after a hospital attack. 
An Egyptian court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader and 682 supporters to death.
Sen. Leahy (D-Vt.) is blocking aid to Egypt over justice system abuses. 
Bashar Al-Assad has declared his candidacy for the June 3 presidential elections in Syria.
Syria missed the revised deadline for chemical weapons export or destruction.
Foreign Policy reports on the high-tech efforts to send weapons to Syrian rebels, but keep them in check.
The PLO has voted to continue its bid for statehood and sign onto 63 UN conventions.
Mahmoud Abbas issued a formal statement declaring the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era.”
Palestinian leadership has agreed to return to the negotiation table on the preconditions of another prisoner release and a settlement freeze.
Netanyahu considers unilateral moves.
Saudi Arabia has purchased its first drone fleet. 
The US and Gulf states plan a missile defense system with Iran in mind.
Ukrainian forces are reportedly conducting an operation today on Slavyansk, held by Russian separatists. It seems that two Ukrainian helicopters have been shot down and their pilots killed. 
BuzzFeed reporter Mike Giglio and his translator Elena Glazunova appear to have been seized by Russian separatists at a checkpoint near Konstantinovka this morning.
"…we have to begin to view Russia no longer as a partner but as more of an adversary…" says Alexander Vershbow, deputy secretary-general of NATO.
Ukraine detained a Russian military attaché on suspicion of spying and declared him persona non grata.
The US claims to have recorded proof of Russian espionage in Ukraine.
Turkish protesters clashed with riot police during May Day protests. 
A State Dept report says there was a 40% spike in terrorist attacks globally between 2012 and 2013, as well as a surge in activity and aggression from Al-Qaeda affiliates in various regions. 
Iraqis went to the polls to vote for a new parliament on Wednesday, the first nationwide elections since America’s departure.
The Afghan election is set for a run-off between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.
The Afghan Taliban military chief, Mullah Zakir, is stepping down.
President Karzai has accused the US and UK of continuing to run illegal detention facilities in Afghanistan.
Afghan troops and Western air support rebuffed a 300-strong militant attack by the Haqqani Network, et al. at the Pakistani border.
A British helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing 5 NATO troops. 
Since the CIA’s use of the vaccination program in the intelligence-gathering for the bin Laden raid, health workers in Pakistan have been much more involved in the country’s combat with the Taliban.
Sinn Féin’s president, Gerry Adams, has overnighted at an Antrim police station, being questioned in connection with the 1972 Provisional IRA abduction and murder of Jean McConville.
The British government has refused to order a probe into the 1971 killings of 10 Catholics (including a priest) in Belfast by British police.
Former Venezuelan intelligence chief Eliecer Otaiza was shot dead outside Caracas on Saturday.
The US and the Philippines signed a 10 year defense pact.
Officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency say that agency head LTG Michael Flynn will leave his post this summer under pressure from DNI Clapper.
The Senate confirmed Robert Work as the next deputy Secretary of Defense. 
Military sexual assault reports to the Pentagon rose by 50% the past year, attributed to a reform push to increase willingness to report the crimes. 
World War One in photos.
Photo: Baghdad, Iraq. An explosion from a car bomb attack on a Shi’ite political rally. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Baghdad, Iraq. An explosion from a car bomb attack on a Shi’ite political rally. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters.

9:54am
  
Filed under: War News Reblogs 
April 11, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
The UN unanimously approved a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic.
It’s now been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda — here, Tutsi survivors pose with Hutus who victimized them, and with whom they’ve since reconciled.
Colum Lynch reports a three-part series on the UN peacekeeping failure in Darfur: 1, 2, 3.
Doctors Without Borders accused the UN of ignoring horrible living conditions of 21,000 South Sudanese using part of the peacekeeping base in Juba as a refugee camp.
Clashes in Nigeria between Fulani cattle rustlers and Hausa vigilantes left 72 dead last Monday.
Two anti-piracy consultants for the UN were shot and killed in Galkayo, Somalia.  
Abdel-Rahman Shaheen is the latest Al Jazeera journalist to be arrested in Egypt. 
Infighting among Islamic rebel groups in Syria leaves 51 dead.
Drought looms in Syria.
American anti-tank weaponry shows up in Syrian rebel hands.
Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt, who refused to evacuate Syria, where he lived for decades, was assassinated by a gunman outside his home in Homs. 
Netanyahu ordered his cabinet to cut communications with their Palestinian counterparts after Palestine requested to sign on to 15 international conventions. 
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard say they have captured a number of foreign agents entering from Iraq with intentions to carry out bombings and assassinations. 
Iran named Hamid Aboutalebi as its UN envoy — a provocative choice because Aboutalebi was a member of the student group who held Americans hostage in 1979 (although he was not himself directly involved in the event).
As last weekend’s votes in Afghanistan continue to be tallied, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah appear to be competing for the lead. A record number — 7 million people — turned out to vote. 
The Afghan government has begun an investigation into why a security officer, now in custody, killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounded reporter Kathy Gannon.
A bomb on a stationary train in western Pakistan killed 14 on Tuesday.
22 were killed in a blast in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Pakistan plans to release 13 Taliban prisoners as part of peace negotiations. 
A new art project in Pakistan gives a face to civilian drone strike victims.
The Pakistani Taliban launched a website (link is to a news report, not to the actual website).
A Marine shot and killed another Marine at Camp Lejeune on Tuesday afternoon at the base’s main gate. 
Mexican self-defense groups refuse to disarm.
Pro-Russian violence leaks into Eastern Ukraine. 
An infographic on Eastern Ukrainian separatist movements.
The Washington Post on the special relationship between special operations and the FBI. 
Britain is increasing exercising its power to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists without prior court involvement — and then, of course, some of them end up getting killed in drone strikes.
The US is three years behind in the reports it is by law supposed to issue on potential sanctions violators. 
FBI investigation shows that Russia failed to provide some critical intelligence to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Lawyers for Guantánamo prisoner Shaker Aamer are seeking his release on the grounds of failing health.
Alan Gross, the US contractor imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, has gone on hunger strike.
According to further Snowden leaks, the US spied on groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (not particularly surprising, given historical record here).
Popular Mechanics rounds up a couple of military escalations you haven’t been hearing about. 
Roughly 5% ($500m) of the US defense budget will be spent developing electronic warfare systems. 
A Microsoft researcher makes the case that increased use of encryption inside intelligence agencies could rein in surveillance.
What you need to know about Heartbleed.
Hayden, the former CIA director, gets a bit sexist in his/the agency’s feud with Sen. Feinstein. 
A really awesome new invention for plugging battlefield wounds extra effectively gets FDA approval.
The Secret Service implements some internal clean-up efforts. 
Any NYC veterans reading the round-up: here are some events for free legal assistance at the end of April/beginning of May.
Some of things you shouldn’t say to returning veterans — and some of the things you should. 
Alex Horton eloquently rejects the post-traumatic stress narrative in the second Fort Hood shooting.
Photo: Zawa, Central African Republic. Anti-balaka military patrol. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.

thepoliticalnotebook:


This Week in War
. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Zawa, Central African Republic. Anti-balaka military patrol. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.

11:13am
  
Filed under: War News Reblogs 
April 4, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
This morning, veteran Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed in Khost, Afghanistan. She was killed instantly when an Afghan policeman opened fire on her car. Reporter Kathy Gannon, who was also in the car, was wounded.
Chad is withdrawing from African Union peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic over criticism of its conduct.
The EU launched its military mission in CAR.
According to the UN, over a million have been displaced by violence in South Sudan.
The death toll in Syria is 150,000, with a third of those deaths civilians, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Spanish journalist and photographer Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova returned home after six months imprisonment by an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.
Lebanon registered its millionth refugee from Syria.
President Abbas took steps to join 15 international agencies, seeking increased statelike legitimacy for Palestine outside of the negotiating table. Peace talks between Israel and Palestine are faltering and the blame game is beginning.
The US is considering the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard as part of negotiations. 
Egypt denied three Al Jazeera journalists bail.
Thirteen Bahrainis were sentenced to life in prison on charges of illegal protest and reportedly trying to kill a police officer. 
Iranian border guards held captive by an Al Qaeda-linked group on the Iran-Pakistan border have been freed.
The Washington Post interviews Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko on future challenges for oversight in Afghanistan.
March was the first month in over seven years where there were no US combat casualties in Afghanistan.
The situation in Afghanistan currently is highly tense, with elections being held on Saturday. Security forces said earlier this week that they had seized 22 tons of explosives and officials have shut down popular hangouts among foreigners in an attempt to decrease pre-election attacks on non-Afghans. Televised debates among the candidates were cancelled over security concerns. 
15 Taliban commanders were killed in Ghazni province when a suicide bomber detonated to block their plans to disrupt elections.
A suicide bombing at the Ministry of the Interior left six policemen dead. 
Pakistan’s PM released 16 Taliban prisoners as part of an attempt to strengthen peace talks. 
Talks are set to continue but the Pakistani Taliban’s ceasefire is over. 
Former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf, recently officially indicted on treason charges, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. 
Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi also survived an attempted assassination when gunmen opened fire on his car. His driver was killed.
Pakistan will not be getting excess US military equipment from Afghanistan.
After India refused to declassify a controversial 1963 report on India’s defeat against China the year before, Australian journalist Neville Maxwell, who had obtained the report in 1970, released it on his blog.
An inquiry has concluded that Ukraine’s special Berkut police were the ones responsible for the shooting deaths of anti-government protesters. Ex-president Viktor Yanukovich is also receiving blame. 
General Breedlove, the top NATO commander, expressed concern that massed Russian troops were capable of mobilizing on Ukraine with 12 hours’ notice. 
An Iraq veteran opened fire at Fort Hood killing three and wounding sixteen before taking his own life. The soldier was being treated for post-traumatic stress, but many have urged caution over the impulse to connect post-traumatic stress to the shooting as the obvious explanation.
Author Cara Hoffman writes that women veterans’ experiences with homecoming, post-traumatic stress and acknowledgment for service are under-represented in literature and media: ”I can’t help but think women soldiers would be afforded the respect they deserve if their experiences were reflected in literature, film and art, if people could see their struggles, their resilience, their grief represented. “
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to declassify the CIA report on interrogation that concludes the agency’s extreme interrogation measures yielded little results and that the CIA actively misled government officials about the program.
ProPublica breaks down the three main legislative proposals regarding NSA reforms and what each would and wouldn’t do. 
New York Times reporter David Sanger talks to NPR Fresh Air about cyber war. 
Popular Mechanics tells the story of California state Senator Leland Yee’s corruption and arms dealing scandal by walking readers through the particular weapons involved. 
Photo: Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan policemen atop their armored car rush to the scene of militant attacks on the Afghan election commission’s headquarters. Anja Niedringhaus/AP.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan policemen atop their armored car rush to the scene of militant attacks on the Afghan election commission’s headquarters. Anja Niedringhaus/AP.

11:04am
  
Filed under: Reblogs War News 
March 28, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Egyptian General Abdul-Fatah al-Sisi, leader of last year’s military takeover, has announced his military resignation and presidential bid.
The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others went on trial on a variety of charges, a day after the capital sentencing of 500 plus supporters of former president Morsi.
The Ethiopian government is importing European and Chinese technologies to spy on the electronic communications of the opposition.
William Langewiesche reports for GQ from South Sudan, where he observed G4S (a British “global security” contractor) and their ordnance-disposal teams in action.
A makeshift refugee camp near the airport in the Central African capital of Bangui holds tens of thousands of people in an incredibly precarious situation.
Peacekeepers in CAR have declared war against the anti-balaka, a Christian militant group, after the group’s attacks against their troops.
More than three million Nigerians, a third of the country’s population, are suffering the results of the Islamic militant uprising.
The US is sending 150 USAF Special Operations forces and CV-22 Osprey aircraft to assist the Ugandan government in its efforts against Joseph Kony.
The Arab League summit was held this week despite deep tensions over Syria and Egypt.
Turkey blocked Twitter ahead of an electoral vote.
53.6% of Syria’s chemical weapons have been destroyed or removed. 
Turkey shot down a Syrian warplane.
Islamist rebels in Syria captured a small town on the Turkish border.
Syrian troops overtook the Crusader castle on the Lebanese border, a UNESCO world heritage site with symbolic value to the rebels who had controlled it since 2012.
20 members of Yemen’s security forces were killed in a militant raid on a checkpoint. 
The entire board of Iraq’s electoral commission resigned this week, citing political interference. 
RFE/RL’s Baghdad bureau chief, Mohammed Bdaiwai Owaid Al-Shammari, was shot dead by a member of the presidential guard. 
Reporters Without Borders expresses concern about Iraq’s official treatment of journalists.
A global spike in executions is sourced to those carried out in Iran and Iraq.
Iran says one of its five border guards held hostage by a militant group has been killed. 
Well-known Afghan journalist Sardar Ahmed, his wife and two of his three young children were among those killed by a militant gunman at the Serena Hotel last week.
The chief judge in former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf’s treason trial has quit, recusing himself after repeated accusations of bias against Musharraf. 
Peace talks began between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban.
A mass grave has been discovered in Bosnia, containing the remains of 147 Bosnian Muslims, believed to have been killed in 1992 in the town of Kozarac. 
Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former prime minister, has announced a bid for the presidency.
Russia is re-investing in Afghanistan as the US pulls out. 
Russia calls on its prominent artists to publicly express support for the Crimean annexation, a move that many artists reject as a return to Soviet-era tactics. 
Increased signs of the annexation in Crimean daily life: the currency is now the ruble, and the Russian Investigative Committee has set up its new offices and legal procedures are in limbo.
Russia staged military training exercises in the separatist Moldovan region of Trans-Dniester, considered a possible next target for annexation.
CNN reports that a new US intelligence assessment believes that Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine is more likely than previously thought. 
According to Time, Putin’s aversion to texting presents a challenge to US spies. 
Japan is turning over more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and 450 pounds of highly-enriched uranium to the US.
The death toll in Venezuelan protests rose to 34.
Tens of thousands of Chileans marched for constitutional reform.
On the rise and fall of unusual Army Special Forces Major Jim Gant. 
How British satellite company Inmarsat narrowed the search for flight MH370.
The White House prepares NSA reforms, which Shane Harris points out still contains wins for current NSA practices. 
Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s son-in-law, was convicted of terrorism charges by a federal jury in New York City.
Photo: Raqqa province, Syria. An image from a militant website shows a group of fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has become entrenched in the province. Associated Press.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Raqqa province, Syria. An image from a militant website shows a group of fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has become entrenched in the province. Associated Press.

9:27am
  
Filed under: Reblogs News War 
March 18, 2014

kateoplis:

"Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not. Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.”

This “silent pandemic” of toxins is believed to be “causing not just lower IQs, but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.”

The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains | The Atlantic

March 7, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
The US increases focus on training and advising African troops.
Ethiopian and Somali forces took the town of Rabhdure, handing al-Shabab its first defeat since September. 
The state of emergency was lifted in Tunisia after three years. 
Niger extradited Muammar Gaddhafi’s son Saadi to Libya. 
Twenty journalists, mostly from Al Jazeera, continue their trial in Egypt for helping the Muslim Brotherhood and attacking Egypt’s overseas reputation.
Spanish journalist Marc Marginedas has returned home after spending six months in captivity in Syria. 
The passage between east and west (opposition-controlled and government-controlled) Aleppo has become the Corridor of Death, an alley where government snipers target children and pregnant women for sport. 
The weirdest story in this round-up: a video has surfaced showing two Los Angeles gang members claiming to be fighting on Syria’s frontlines alongside Assad’s forces. The authenticity of the video is definitely not verified.
Israel seized an Iranian shipment of weapons to Gaza. 
The US is restricting the movement of Syria’s UN envoy to a 25-mile radius from New York City, similar to rules applied to Iranian and North Korean envoys.
Sergei Ponamarev, a freelance photojournalist on assignment in the Ukraine for the New York Times, talks about what he’s seeing in Crimea. 
Moldova worries that Russian intervention won’t be limited to Crimea. 
Crimea’s pro-Russian parliament has approved a referendum to vote on whether to secede from Ukraine and become part of the Russian Federation. 
Situation maps from the Washington Post on the Russian incursion into Crimea. 
How the situation in the Ukraine might complicate Afghanistan. 
Bombings in markets in central Iraq and clashes in Fallujah killed 42 on Thursday.
Student human rights activist Maryam Shafipour has been sentenced to seven years in prison in Iran for “spreading propaganda” and “colluding” against the ruling system.
13,729 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in the past 13 years, far more than previously estimated. At least 2,176 American troops have died in Afghanistan. 
The Afghan National Army and security forces face a difficult IED problem as US forces leave. 
A NATO airstrike Thursday killed five ANA soldiers. 
The New York Times hosted a Room for Debate discussion on countering terrorism after the withdrawal.
The Taliban organized a prison break from Sarposa prison using a forged letter. 
The Washington Post interviews Karzai.
Gunmen and suicide bombers attack in the heart of Islamabad, killing 11. 
Taliban peace talks resume. 
The Afghan Public Protection Force, which guards US convoys and international aid programs, has been disbanded. 
India is the world’s biggest arms importer, but wants to increase its own production of weapons. 
Two are dead in clashes in Venezuela after motorcyclists attempted to remove a protester barricade. 
The Senate rejected a proposal to take power away from military commanders in the handling of whether or not sexual assault cases are prosecuted. 
The Army’s top sexual assault prosecutor has been suspended after a lawyer working for him accused him of… yes, sexual assault at a sexual assault conference. 
Photo: Kandahar, Afghanistan. On patrol to search caves for weapons caches. Scott Olson/Getty. 

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Kandahar, Afghanistan. On patrol to search caves for weapons caches. Scott Olson/Getty. 

10:18am
  
Filed under: War News Reblogs 
February 21, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Boko Haram attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Bama on Wednesday, killing 47.
The planned visit of a UN aid official to the Central African Republic was disrupted by more violence. 
Clashes between government and rebel forces in South Sudan on Tuesday are the most significant ceasefire violation yet. 
Egypt put three Al Jazeera journalists on trial.
Leila Fadel looks back on the Libyan uprising on its anniversary.
The UN Security Council will vote on a Syrian aid resolution on Saturday.
The Syrian government has bombed Aleppo heavily over the past weeks, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee. Aid workers say this is one of the largest refugee flows in the entire war, with entire neighborhoods left empty.
Life in Beirut as the Syrian conflict expands.
Twin suicide bombings near an Iranian cultural center and the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut left four dead. 
The murder of Bahraini activist photographer has gone unsolved.
Bahraini pro-democracy activist Zainab Al-Khawaja has been released from prison after nearly a year. She still awaits trial on other charges. 
Iraq is offering $25,000 (USD) bounties for killing or capturing foreign jihadists.
49 people died in a wave of car bombs in the Iraqi cities of Hilla and Baghdad earlier this week.
Iran and Britain resumed diplomatic ties. 
An Iranian court closed a pro-Rouhani newspaper for an activist’s commentary on Islamic law. 
P5+1 talks over the future shape of the Iranian nuclear program have begun in earnest now, and are expected to take six months.
Iran’s interior minister threatened to send forces into Pakistan if no actions are taken to free five Iranian border guards kidnapped by militants.
A think tank report prepared at the behest of the Pentagon says that Taliban insurgency will likely increase in the wake of US and NATO departure from Afghanistan.
A US soldier pleaded guilty to taking $57,000 to divert fuel trucks from FOB Salerno in Afghanistan and recording more fuel than was actually delivered.
The US is seeking out the possibility of a prisoner swap to retrieve Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Former Taliban minister Alhaj Mawlawi Abdul Raqib was assassinated in Peshawar.
40 people were killed on Thursday when Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant hideouts on the Afghan border. 
The Pakistani government suspended peace talks with the Taliban following word that 23 paramilitary soldiers had been killed in militant captivity.
General Pervez Musharraf finally appeared in court. 
Abducted Pakistani drone activist Kareem Khan has been freed. 
Masked gunmen kidnapped a six-member WHO polio vaccination team in northwest Pakistan on Monday.
Violence escalated in the Ukraine this week, with dozens dead in the past couple of days alone as police turned to live ammunition to curb demonstrations. Some counts put yesterday’s dead at around 21. There is even strong evidence of sniper use.
Ukraine’s president says that a tentative deal has been reached.
What do geography and old history have to do with what’s happening now in Ukraine?
Spiegel looks at the global implications of the crisis in Ukraine. 
Members of punk protest group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who recently served prison sentences, were beaten in Sochi.
A UN inquiry calls North Korean human rights abuses similar to those of the Nazis.
Protesters and troops have clashed in Venezuela leaving six dead. 
According to Univision, Colombian intelligence intercepted emails between members of FARC and the media.
British high court has ruled that the Heathrow detention of David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s partner, was lawful.
The lead prosecutor in the upcoming court martial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair on sexual assault charges has abruptly left. 
A controversial fuel factory in South Carolina intended for use in getting rid of Cold War plutonium is expected to cost billions more than the Energy Department’s previous estimates and promises. 
Robert Malley has been tapped to join the National Security Council.
Photo: Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine. February 18. Demonstrators and police clash. Sandro Maddalena/AFP/Getty.

thepoliticalnotebook:


This Week in War
. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine. February 18. Demonstrators and police clash. Sandro Maddalena/AFP/Getty.

10:02am
  
Filed under: News War Reblogs 
February 14, 2014
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Amnesty International says that international peacekeeping efforts have failed to prevent an ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Central African Republic. 
A Boko Haram attack killed 51 in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday.
Seven Somalis were killed when a remote-controlled Al-Shabaab bomb detonated, aiming at a UN convoy just outside of Mogadishu’s international airport on Thursday.
30 people were killed on the Mali-Niger border in a clash between villagers and an al-Qaeda linked rebel group.
Peace talks to end the crisis in South Sudan began in Addis Ababa.
Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef is back on the air. 
Turkey deported an Azerbaijani journalist for his tweets critical of high-level officials. 
Israel carried out an airstrike against a Palestinian militant on Sunday, the third such strike in three weeks, marking a clear end to the cessation of targeted killings that began 14 months ago.
In Syria, ISIS has targeted hospitals, doctors and journalists.
Mac McClelland visits a startling well put together refugee camp for displaced Syrians in Kilis, Turkey.
A series of prison breaks in Iraq have released militants fueling Sunni jihad both in Iraq and in neighboring Syria. 
A data visualization of violence in Iraq between 2003 and 2013.
The UN says that 300,000 people have been displaced in the current violence in Iraq’s Anbar province. 
15 soldiers were slaughtered by fighters from an extremist group in northern Iraq on Tuesday, showing that Sunni militants have expanded beyond Anbar.
21 militants were killed when a car bomb they were preparing to target Iraq’s parliament speaker went off prematurely.
On Thursday gunmen seized part of the town of Sulaiman Bek and the surrounding area. A bombing in Baghdad’s historic Al-Shorjah market left seven dead and the market ablaze.
Iran has promised to provide information on detonators as a confidence-building step.
According to the UN, civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose 14% last year. [PDF report]
Afghanistan began the release of 65 prisoners from Bagram Thursday morning, despite heavy objection by the US.
Two US contractors were killed by a car bomb in Kabul. 
Two coalition soldiers were killed in a green-on-blue attack (or at least by men wearing ANA uniforms) in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday.
A cargo plane that crashed in Wardak province has gone unclaimed.
DNI James Clapper has said he believes Karzai is not likely to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement.
The US is planning $300m in new aid programs to Afghanistan over the next five years. 
Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson took the reins of ISAF Joint Command as Afghanistan’s new number 2 commander. 
"Inbetween Worlds," a drama highlighting the work and plight of Afghan interpreters for foreign forces, debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival.
The US is debating whether or not to go ahead with a lethal strike against an American citizen currently living in Pakistan. No other information is publicly available about the identity of or evidence against this suspect.
Pakistani anti-drone activist Kareem Khan has, according to his lawyer, disappeared from Rawalpindi days before his scheduled testimony before German, Dutch and British parliaments. 
Nine members of an anti-Taliban militia were killed by militants in Peshawar on Wednesday. 13 people were killed in Peshawar on Tuesday in a grenade attack on a cinema.
The two Koreas met in Panmunjom this week in the highest level government dialogue since 2007. Some remain deeply skeptical that the North is pushing for these talks with an ulterior motive.
The AP’s investigation into military sex crimes committed by US servicemembers stationed in Japan reveals that offenders frequently were not incarcerated and the punishments were disproportionately light in comparison with the severity of the crimes.
The National Security Staff, per presidential order, is now the National Security Council Staff.
The US drops to #46 on Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom rankings. 
Intelligence officials say Snowden used low-tech Web crawler software to scrape data from NSA servers. 
An unidentified NSA employee has resigned after investigation revealed that he allowed Snowden to use his password to access classified information.
Photo: Upper Nile State, South Sudan. Jikany Nuer White Army fighters pose with weapons. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters. 

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

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Photo: Upper Nile State, South Sudan. Jikany Nuer White Army fighters pose with weapons. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters. 

11:06am
  
Filed under: REblogs news war 
February 12, 2014
The Facebook Effect on the News

Around this time last year, I considered writing a story claiming that Facebook and Twitter were the new “homepages” for news on the Internet. It was going to be about how, if the Web had ripped out the article pages of newspapers and magazines and scattered them to the wind, Facebook and Twitter had pinched them from the air and stacked them in easy, vertical columns that were becoming our new first-look sources for the day’s events.
A year ago, social networks are the new homepage seemed like an (almost) original observation. Today, it’s just a boring fact.
In the last twelve months, traffic from home pages has dropped significantly across many websites while social media’s share of clicks has more than doubled, according to a 2013 review of the BuzzFeed Partner Network, a conglomeration of popular sites including BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Thought Catalog.
Facebook, in particular, has opened the spigot, with its outbound links to publishers growing from 62 million to 161 million in 2013. Two years ago, Facebook and Google were equal powers in sending clicks to the BuzzFeed network’s sites. Today Facebook sends 3.5X more traffic.
Read more. [Image: Facebook]

The Facebook Effect on the News

Around this time last year, I considered writing a story claiming that Facebook and Twitter were the new “homepages” for news on the Internet. It was going to be about how, if the Web had ripped out the article pages of newspapers and magazines and scattered them to the wind, Facebook and Twitter had pinched them from the air and stacked them in easy, vertical columns that were becoming our new first-look sources for the day’s events.

A year ago, social networks are the new homepage seemed like an (almost) original observation. Today, it’s just a boring fact.

In the last twelve months, traffic from home pages has dropped significantly across many websites while social media’s share of clicks has more than doubled, according to a 2013 review of the BuzzFeed Partner Network, a conglomeration of popular sites including BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Thought Catalog.

Facebook, in particular, has opened the spigot, with its outbound links to publishers growing from 62 million to 161 million in 2013. Two years ago, Facebook and Google were equal powers in sending clicks to the BuzzFeed network’s sites. Today Facebook sends 3.5X more traffic.

Read more. [Image: Facebook]

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