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Daily Brief: Military Operations in Syria Coming to End, Says Putin


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 21, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Military Operations in Syria Coming to End, Says Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin said that joint military operations by Russian and Syrian government forces to fight terrorism in the Middle Eastern country (Guardian) are "wrapping up" and that a political solution will be the next step. Putin made the comments on Monday while hosting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi (RFE/RL) ahead of a gathering with Turkish and Iranian leaders set for Wednesday. Assad's last visit to Russia was in 2015, when it began its military intervention (BBC) to back the Assad regime in Syria's civil war. The trip is believed to be only the second time Assad has left his country (Al Jazeera) since the war broke out in 2011.  ANALYSIS "The Russians are attempting to transform their role from that of an aggressor, threatening the opposition's existence, to the main party capable of ensuring calm," Asaad Hanna writes for Chatham House. "Assad's ally Russia now dominates the negotiating process, meaning there is little pressure on him to accept real elections—or any election before his term ends in 2021. A political solution under his terms would be to incorporate opposition members into a national unity government under his leadership," Zeina Karam writes for the Associated Press. "Because Assad's government is deeply corrupt, the United States should also rule out providing the regime with aid for reconstruction. There is, however, one way in which the United States can still do good: easing the suffering of the millions of Syrian refugees outside the country," former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford writes for Foreign Affairs. PACIFIC RIM U.S. Declares North Korea Terrorism Sponsor The United States designated North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism (Korea Times) on Monday for its nuclear weapons program and assassinations abroad. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the designation "largely symbolic" (WSJ). This CFR Backgrounder looks at North Korea's military capabilities. CHINA: Jiang Tianyong, a prominent human rights lawyer who has defended dissidents and activists, received a two-year jail sentence on Tuesday for inciting subversion of state power (AP). Human Rights Watch called Jiang's trial "pure political persecution" (Guardian). SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA ICC Orders Probe of Afghan War The chief prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court is seeking to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan, including ones allegedly committed by the United States and Afghan security forces. The move would mark the first time the court could target the United States (RFE/RL) in an investigation. Kip Hales writes in Foreign Affairs that the United States cannot ignore the ICC. PAKISTAN: An American mother held captive by militants in Pakistan for five years (ABC) and rescued last month said that she was raped and beaten by her captors, and forced by them to have an abortion. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Iran Supreme Leader Criticizes Response to Quake Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei visited the western city of Kermanshah (Tehran Times), where a 7.3-magnitude earthquake killed at least 437 people last week. The leader said he is "not satisfied" with relief efforts and that authorities in some areas hit by the quake should "double their efforts" (BBC). SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Zimbabwean Parliament Moves to Impeach Mugabe Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party introduced a motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe (Al Jazeera), in power since 1980, on charges of fomenting instability and allowing his wife to usurp constitutional power. The motion, to be heard by parliament on Tuesday, requires two-thirds support in both houses of the legislature. CFR's John Campbell discusses what could happen after the impeachment vote. NIGERIA: A suicide bomber killed at least fifty people gathered for morning prayers (Guardian) at a mosque in the country's northeast on Tuesday, according to police.  EUROPE UK Loses Spot on UN Court's Bench The International Court of Justice, the main judicial branch of the United Nations, will for the first time since its creation in 1945 not have a British judge on its bench (BBC). Sir Christopher Greenwood withdrew his candidacy (Guardian) on Monday, paving the way for Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari to fill a vacancy. POLAND: Prosecutors have opened a probe into the use of hate speech and public propagation of fascism (DW) during a far-right march attended by tens of thousands of people in Warsaw earlier this month. AMERICAS Haitians to Lose U.S. Protected Status U.S. Homeland Security officials announced on Monday that some fifty-nine thousand Haitians who have been allowed to live and work in the United States since a 2010 earthquake in Haiti will lose their immigration status (Miami Herald) in July 2019. The Trump administration ended similar protections for Nicaraguans (NYT) last month. COLOMBIA: The disarmed Marxist rebel group FARC has requested a meeting with the ICC's head prosecutor (Colombia Reports), saying a transitional justice system that is part of a peace deal signed with the government last year "opens the door for impunity" by allowing politicians and businessmen accused of war crimes to appear before the tribunal on a voluntary basis.  UNITED STATES Energy Firm to Halt Work in Puerto Rico The Montana-based company initially contracted to restore Puerto Rico's electrical grid after Hurricane Maria said the U.S. territory owes it $83 million (AP) for work it did in October and that it would halt work on the island until it receives payment. The United States has arrested two former government officials (VOA), one African and the other Asian, for their alleged involvement in a bribery scheme to secure business advantages for a Chinese firm.         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: November 21, 2017 at 10:58PM