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Daily Brief: Kurdish Leader Resigns as Tensions With Baghdad Persist


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. October 30, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Kurdish Leader Resigns as Tensions With Baghdad Persist Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced on Sunday he will step down this week (Rudaw) in the latest fallout from an October 1 independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan opposed by Baghdad and the United States. Barzani's resignation comes as Iraqi forces have retaken over the last two weeks disputed territories that were controlled by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish parliament has voted on a bill on apportioning presidential power that appears to favor Barzani's nephew (WSJ), Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Barzani said Baghdad's recent military offensives were aimed at "breaking the will of the people of Kurdistan" (FT). ANALYSIS "Mr. Barzani's letter [of resignation] marks a rapid fall from grace. Only weeks ago he was the champion of his people’s long-harboured dream of statehood," Erika Solomon writes for the Financial Times. "It is an indictment of U.S. foreign policy that the two major players in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) have come to blows: the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government," Ranj Alaaldin writes for Foreign Affairs. "By holding the referendum despite international opposition, not to mention outright rejection by Iraq's government and at a time when the Kurdish house was in disarray, Barzani was guilty of misjudgment that may set back the Kurdish independence struggle for years," Yezid Sayigh writes for the Carnegie Middle East Center. This episode of The President's Inbox looks at the Kurdish movement for independence. UNITED STATES Report: First Charges in Russia Interference Probe Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald J. Trump, and one of his former business partners have been told to surrender to federal authorities (NYT). The charges against the men, which have not yet been made public, represent the first in a special investigation into Russia's alleged interference in last year's presidential election. Puerto Rico has canceled a $300 million contract (VOA) with a Montana energy firm to restore its electrical grid following damage by Hurricane Maria. The company came under scrutiny for having just two full-time employees before winning the contract.  PACIFIC RIM Thousands Protest in Favor of Myanmar Military Thousands of people demonstrated in support of Myanmar's military (VOA) in Yangon on Sunday. A crackdown by security forces on areas populated by Rohingya Muslim minorities since August has prompted an exodus of more than half a million refugees. Eric P. Schwartz of Refugees International discussed his recent trip to Myanmar at this CFR event. AUSTRALIA: Australia plans to cut water, electricity, and food supplies to a detention center (FT) for asylum seekers on the island of Manus on Tuesday. More than six hundred detainees have refused relocation to Papua New Guinea, where at least three attacks by locals against migrants have been reported. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Taliban Says U.S. Hostage in 'Dangerous' Health A professor from the American University of Afghanistan who was kidnapped by militants in August of last year (RFE/RL) is suffering from heart disease and kidney complications, according to a Taliban spokesman. The militant group has called on the United States to negotiate his release. INDIA: Donald Trump Jr. is expected to launch two residential projects in the South Asian country (WaPo) for the Trump Organization in the coming weeks. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA UN Condemns Mass Grave Found in Benghazi The United Nations and UN-backed government in Tripoli have condemned dozens of killings that resulted in a mass grave discovered east of Benghazi (Al Jazeera). Military strongman Khalifa Haftar, whose forces control eastern Libya, has vowed an investigation; witnesses said the victims had been arrested by Haftar's forces. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Kenya's Odinga Calls for New Election Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for a new presidential election within ninety days (VOA) after boycotting a Thursday rerun of an August presidential election that the Supreme Court annulled over irregularities. Voting last week in four counties that are strongholds for Odinga was indefinitely postponed due to security concerns (Africa News). CFR's John Campbell says there's no end in sight for Kenya's election crisis. TOGO: President Faure Gnassingbe spoke publicly for the first time (Al Jazeera) since demonstrations began in August challenging his family's half-century-long rule. Gnassingbe, who took power in 2005, told his party's congress that Togo must be "courageous and patient to embrace this situation." EUROPE Catalan Leader Rejects Madrid Takeover Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said he does not recognize Madrid's order (BBC) stripping him of control of the semiautonomous region. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for regional elections in December, while Spain's foreign minister said Puigdemont could run for reelection if he is not in prison (Guardian). Sebastian Balfour discusses the history of Catalan nationalism in Foreign Affairs. EUROPE: The United Nations will vote on Monday on a proposal backed by France and Italy to create a five-nation security force (Guardian) to combat human trafficking and terrorism in the Sahel. AMERICAS Canada's Liberals Push Rise in Immigration Levels Canada's immigration minister said regarding a new immigration plan by his Liberal Party that accepting 300,000 immigrants a year (CBC) is Canada's "new normal," with family reunifications and demand from employers driving the increase. The country last year saw its fastest growth in immigrant arrivals (Globe and Mail) in three decades. MEXICO: Thousands of Mexicans paid homage to the nearly five hundred people killed in two earthquakes last month (NYT) during annual Day of the Dead celebrations on Saturday.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: October 30, 2017 at 10:15PM