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Tillerson Meets Erdogan as Tensions Flare Over Kurds


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. February 16, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Tillerson Meets Erdogan as Tensions Flare Over Kurds Editor's note: There will be no Daily Brief on Monday, February 19, for President's Day. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday as already fractured relations between the countries have worsened over continued U.S. support for Kurdish forces near Turkey's border. No U.S. aides nor an official translator were present at the meeting, which lasted more than three hours. Turkey's foreign minister attended the discussion (CNN), aimed at easing tensions amid a Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Tillerson said the "endpoint objectives" in Syria for the two NATO allies are aligned but that they have tactical differences (Bloomberg). U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his Turkish counterpart in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the conflict, which Mattis said is "probably the most complex security situation" he has seen in four decades (WSJ). ANALYSIS "The level of distrust between the two countries over this issue of northern Syria and the implied threats that Turkish leaders had made against U.S. military forces in the area make [a resolution] extremely difficult," CFR's Steven A. Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg. "Turkey will not accept defeat in this battle [with Kurdish militias in Syria] no matter what the cost of victory. This is because a defeat would reflect negatively on the ruling party's image and reputation domestically and internationally," Asaad Hanna writes for Chatham House. "There is a genuine conflict of interest and this is something unprecedented in the U.S.-Turkey relationship," Lisel Hintz said in an interview with Kurdistan 24.  PACIFIC RIM U.S. Blocks Chinese Deal for Chicago Stock Exchange The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has blocked a bid by a subsidiary of the Chinese-owned Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group to acquire the Chicago Stock Exchange (NYT) for $20 million over concerns about lack of transparency in the deal. THAILAND: Myanmar's army chief received a royal decoration in Thailand (AFP) on Friday despite international outcry over military operations in his country's Rakhine State that the United Nations has condemned as ethnic cleansing. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA ICC Gathers More Than a Million Statements for Afghan Probe The Hague-based International Criminal Court has received 1.17 million victim statements from Afghans since it announced three months ago that it would probe war crimes in the country (AP). More than ten thousand civilians were killed or injured in the Afghan war (Guardian) last year, according to new UN data. PAKISTAN: The Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani for failing to appear in court over an alleged memo in which he sought help from the United States (VOA) to curb the Pakistani military.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Pakistan to Deploy Troops to Saudi Arabia Pakistan's military announced that it will send troops to Saudi Arabia (Reuters) for a "training and advise mission" that it says will not go beyond the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has called for Pakistan to deploy troops there since it began its intervention in Yemen in 2015 (Dawn), but Islamabad declared itself neutral in the conflict. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Kenyan Court Rejects Deportation of Opposition Figure Kenya's top court has ruled the recent deportation to Canada of lawyer and opposition activist Miguna Miguna illegal. Miguna's citizenship was rescinded after he took part in a mock swearing-in (VOA) of opposition leader Raila Odinga late last month. NIGER: The city of Agadez has seen a surge in the number of migrants (DW) congregating there as rumors spread that international authorities would transport them from Niger to refuge in Europe. EUROPE Oxfam Announces Reforms to Address Sex Abuse The head of the UK-based charity Oxfam has set out reforms, including the creation of an investigatory commission (FT) and more stringent reference checks for prospective staff, amid reports of sexual abuse by Oxfam workers in several countries. She said reports of Oxfam staff hiring prostitutes in Haiti "will shame us for years." RUSSIA: Russia is expected to export 36.6 million metric tons of wheat (Bloomberg) during its 2017–2018 season, the highest volume of any country in a quarter century. Chris Miller discusses Russia's Putinomics in Foreign Affairs. AMERICAS Head of Honduras Anticorruption Mission Resigns The head of an anticorruption commission for the Organization of American States who was sent to Honduras (AP) following 2016 popular protests there has resigned, citing a lack of support from the regional bloc. VENEZUELA: President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that he will attend the Summit of the Americas (Al Jazeera) in Lima in April after Peru's government told Maduro earlier this week that he will not be welcome (Reuters). CFR's Shannon K. O'Neil discusses how the United States can respond to Venezuela's humanitarian crisis. UNITED STATES Former Trump Aide Bannon Questioned by Special Counsel Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was reportedly interviewed for twenty hours (AP) over two days this week as part of the U.S. investigation led by Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election. CFR's Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon discuss how to respond to Moscow's interference in U.S. democracy. A research team studying pollution in Los Angeles found that industrial and household chemical products are as significant a contributor to urban air pollution (Guardian) as vehicle exhaust.         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: February 16, 2018 at 11:03PM