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EU ministers meet over Russia sanctions; UK to reopen Litvinenko investigation
Europe/Russia/United Kingdom - Jul 22
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Israeli, Palestinian death toll increases; Israeli soldier missing
Israel/Palestinian National Authority - Jul 22
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Latest Special Reports
ISIS' Advance in Iraq
- Jul 11, 2014
Over the course of the month of June 2014, Islamist militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), assisted by numerous other disenchanted Sunni groups, seized vast portions of territory in northern and western Iraq, a stunning blow to the current government in Baghdad. ISIS likewise captured all border crossings between Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. These gains in turn expanded upon ISIS' earlier achievements in gaining control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi earlier in 2014. After having seized Tikrit and Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, ISIS claimed at the end of the month to have established a caliphate on lands it controls in Iraq and Syria, stretching from Aleppo in the west to Diyala province in eastern Iraq. In a related worrying development, the group further claimed to have seized the Bayji refinery complex in Tikrit in late June, leading to concerns about the Islamists' capability of disrupting energy production in the country. By early July, the group had established control of most of Anbar province, had seized the city of Tal Afar and its airport, and was involved in clashes on the outskirts of Baghdad.
In light of ISIS' achievements in June, one of the West's worst fears of the Syrian Civil War came true: the uncontrollable and popularly-supported spread of Islamist radicalism in Iraq and the threat it poses to both regional stability and oil production. Aside from these strategic concerns, ISIS' advance created a humanitarian catastrophe. The UN stated that 3,000 Iraqis, including roughly 2,000 civilians, were killed in "acts of violence and terrorism" in Iraq in June 2014 on account of the ISIS offensive. In addition, nearly one million people have been displaced in Iraq thus far in 2014. Numerous analysts long predicted that unless the international community responded to the war in Syria more forcefully, ISIS would establish an Islamic state in eastern Syria and western Iraq, exactly what the world witnessed in June. Yet, despite the fateful events of this disastrous month, the threat posed by ISIS needs to be understood in its proper context and concern should be measured.
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics - Security Report
- Feb 05, 2014
Over 100,000 spectators are expected to descend on the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from February 7th to the 23rd and the associated Paralympic Games from March 7th to the 16th. The Sochi Games will be the most expensive Olympic Games in history with the Russian government spending some US$51 billion on the infrastructure and services necessary to hold 98 events, welcome athletes and spectators alike, and protect the Games. The 2014 Winter Olympics, however, present some serious security challenges. Sochi is located on the periphery of the restive North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, where Islamist and nationalist rebels have fought government forces for over 20 years. Sochi is located some 400km (250 miles) from Dagestan, 320km (200 miles) from Chechnya, and 16km (10 miles) from the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia. The Games come at a time of heightened homophobia in Russia, where the government has made "homosexual propaganda" illegal and attacks on homosexuals are frequently reported. Far-right extremists have also been known to attack ethnic minorities. The games are furthermore occurring amidst greater political unrest in the country with the Russian state responding by cracking down on political opponents and establishing a wide-ranging surveillance mechanism.
Typhoon Haiyan: the Perils of Geography and Corruption
- Dec 04, 2013
On November 8th, 2013, the most powerful typhoon in the recorded history of the Philippines struck the Southeast Asian country, killing at least 5,680 people and devastating entire communities. Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was the strongest storm recorded at landfall and the fourth-strongest typhoon in terms of recorded wind speed; Haiyan clocked in winds at up to 379 km/h (235 mph). The storm highlighted the environmental risks facing the Philippines and was exacerbated by two critical factors: geography and corruption. As an island archipelago of over 7,100 islands, the Philippines face serious problems in developing an integrated infrastructure and responding to natural disasters. Corruption, meanwhile, undermines infrastructural developments and erodes emergency services. Typhoon Haiyan struck at a time when the Philippines benefited from an influx of foreign investment keen to invest in a country with a large English-speaking population, well-educated workforce, and low wages. The storm, however, will likely dampen investment as it highlights the perils facing investors in the Philippines.
The 2013 Turkish Spring
- Jul 31, 2013
In late May 2013, protesters rallied in Gezi Park to denounce plans to replace one of Istanbul's last green spaces with a shopping mall and cultural complex. Harsh police tactics helped transform a small environmentalist protest into a nationwide movement that gained global attention in June 2013 as it denounced the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As of late June 2013, the unrest killed seven people, injured over 7,800 others, and led to nearly 5,000 arrests. The unrest highlighted troubling questions about the state of Turkish democracy, as well as undermined Turkish standing in the European Union (EU).
Boston Marathon Bombings: Lone Wolf and the Future of Jihad
- May 08, 2013
At 2:50 pm, on Monday April 15th, two bombs were detonated in quick succession by suspected homegrown terrorists near the finish line of the annual marathon held in Boston, Massachusetts, killing three and injuring some 200. Occurring four hours after the start of the race, the bombs exploded as the highest volume of participants typically finish the race. Streets and transportation networks were closed across Boston following the attack and security measures were increased citywide. New York and Washington, D.C. implemented similar security measures as a precaution. By the week's end, 26-year-old Tamerlan and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, two ethnic Chechen brothers who had been living in the US for the past decade, were identified as the suspects, based on footage from closed circuit video cameras at the bomb site. In the weeks following the attack, officials gathered a trove of evidence on the background and motivation of the suspected terrorists. While much still remains unknown, the attack indicates the potential for similar homegrown terrorists to carry out operations and signals the potential future pattern of jihadist activity in the West.
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France - Jun 18
Two women, two men arrested in terrorism investigation
Indonesia - Jul 22
Widodo appears to win election
Vietnam / Taiwan - Jul 22
At least 11 killed in Typhoon Rammasun; Typhoon Matmo threatens Taiwan
Afghanistan - Jul 22
Suicide bombing kills four near Kabul airport
Iraq - Jul 22
Government airstrike kills ten; ISIS expels Christian monks from Mosul
Russia / Ukraine - Jul 22
MH17 bodies leave rebel area, arrive in government-controlled area
South Africa - Jul 22
Boy killed in carjacking near Johannesburg
Nigeria - Jul 22
Boko Haram seizes Damboa, raises flag
India - Jul 22
At least 60 killed in West Bengal encephalitis outbreak
France / Germany / Italy - Jul 22
France, Germany, Italy condemn antisemitic violent unrest
Afghanistan - Jul 22
Taliban attack kills five
Mexico - Jul 22
Five bodies found in Sinaloa
Honduras - Jul 22
Journalist found shot to death
Turkey - Jul 22
Police, judiciary purge continues
South Africa - Jul 22
Union accepts government proposel to end strike
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