Aleppo received much-needed popular global attention this week after a photo of a 5-year-old Syrian boy, dazed and blood-soaked, circulated on social media. This follows a report last week by the UN stating that children were at “grave risk” due to low access to water and electricity. The fighting continues with the UN Syria envoy seeking Russian military support to ensure that the 48-hour cease-fire is enforced.
Amnesty International, this week, released a report outlining instances of torture in Syrian jails. Since 2011, over 18,000 have died in jail often experiencing beatings and electric shock.
Following the unsuccessful coup-attempt in Turkey, the U.S. has been scrambling to reaffirm its positive relationship with Turkey. Washington maintains that its relationship is as strong as ever but this is in question since the U.S. is yet to (and most likely will not) extradite the individual that Turkey holds responsible for the failed coup. Russia meanwhile has been getting closer to Turkey. With tensions high between Russia and NATO, a Trump presidency which could destroy NATO and strained U.S.- Turkey relations, this is a story to watch for.
South China Sea
China added to the heavy tension in the South China Sea when it launched its Gaofen 3 high-resolution Earth observation satellite last week. China claims that the satellite will play in integral role in monitoring the country’s maritime interests and rights. However, other states in the region fear of a growing surveillance system in the area.
North Korea’s second highest ranking diplomat defected to the South on Wednesday with his family children. He is the highest-ranking official to defect and was largely tasked with defending the country’s human rights record. This could signal growing weakness of the Kin Jon Un administration.
Last Week Thailand’s military government received an endorsement when 94% of voters approved its proposed new constitution. The new constitution limits the powers of political parties and expands the role of the military.
It seems that the Olympics brings out the worst in Russia. The 2008 Olympics coincided with the war against Georgia and the Sochi Olympics occurred at the same time as the annexation of Crimea. Foreign Policy magazine provides an analysisr of growing tensions with Kiev.
Anti-government Protests in Zambia and Zimbabwe
133 protesters were arrested in Harare following the re-election of President Edgar Lungu. Supporters of his opponent question the legitimacy of the narrowly-won elections claiming that the police were used illegally and the elections were rigged. Here is a snapshot of Zambia to learn more about the politics of the African state.
Police had to break up protests with tear gas and water canons this past week in Harare. Protestors who are unhappy with the deteriorating economic situation were protesting the Central Bank’s move to reintroduce local currency.
Must Read this week
- Migration into Europe (due to unstable political situations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan) have increased by 17% from last year.
- Foreign Policy magazine, this week, published an insider’s account of the formation of the Islamic State. These articles provide an inside into al-Baghdadi’s political astuteness, the organizations relationship with al- Qaeda and the vast arsenal they possess.