The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2016
REPUBLICAN SENATORS SEEK TO SEND ISIS DETAINEES TO GUANTANAMO

On Thursday, 15 Republican senators including presidential candidates Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) introduced a resolution to send ISIS detainees to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Rubio said in a statement that “there should be no confusion in the minds of our enemies that, if captured, they will be sent to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay to be interrogated.” Later in the day, the Pentagon announced it had transferred ISIS captive and chemical weapons expert Sleiman Daoud al-Afari into Iraqi custody. Guardian, Reuters, The Hill

Related:
Miami Herald: Some Guantánamo housing ‘deteriorating rapidly’
Washington Post: Captured ISIS chemical weapons manufacturer transferred to Iraqi custody
OBAMA CRITICIZES U.S. ALLIES IN FOREIGN POLICY PROFILE
President Obama criticized American allies for not sharing responsibility in resolving international security issues in a series of interviews published on Thursday by The Atlantic. Obama referred to the problem of “free riders” in dealing with international crises and mentioned that Saudi Arabia among other partners should “find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace” in the Middle East. The interviews touched on a variety of foreign policy topics including the President’s decision not to enforce a “red line” against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over using chemical weapons in Syria in 2013. New York Times, Guardian, Reuters

Related:
Newsweek: The Most Interesting Parts of The Atlantic's Cover Story About Obama
The Hill: Obama likens ISIS to the Joker
BBC News: How did Obama and Cameron fall out?
CNN: Obama gives his take on Putin, Netanyahu, ISIS

Apple vs. FBI: On Thursday, the Obama administration issued increasingly harsh statements against Apple in the case of unlocking an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. In a court brief the Justice Department said that Apple’s stance is “not only false...but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights” and accused the company of making a “deliberate marketing decision” to make their devices “warrant-proof.” Guardian, New York Times

Related:
The Verge: The tone between Apple and the FBI is now openly hostile
Fortune: Could FBI Turn On Cameras and Microphones Next?
CNBC: Apple: DOJ 'desperate,' brief reads like indictment

Army: The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Eric Fanning as the next Secretary of the Army on Thursday. Fanning would be the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch if confirmed. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is holding up a vote on Fanning’s confirmation by the entire Senate until he receives assurances that the Obama administration will not relocate Guantanamo detainees to a facility in his home state. The Hill, Huffington Post


CLASHES BETWEEN TALIBAN FACTIONS KILL DOZENS IN AFGHANISTAN
As many as 100 Taliban fighters were reportedly killed in clashes between rival Taliban factions in the western district of Herat on Thursday. Supporters of Mullah Mohammad Rasool clashed with forces loyal to Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. Infighting and violence within the Taliban’s ranks has risen since the announcement of former leader Mullah Omar’s death last year. The U.S. military also reported on Thursday the “emergence of three separate Taliban groups” in northern Helmand province, none of which are loyal to Mansour. Guardian, Voice of America

Related:
TomDispatch: Been There, Done That: The American Way of War as a Do-Over

Syria: Major powers involved in the UN-sponsored peace talks on Syria are considering the possibility of federal division of the country, according to a UN Security Council diplomat close to the negotiations. The diplomat said on Thursday that while leaders were “insisting on retaining the territorial integrity of Syria” they have been discussing “all sorts of different models of a federal structure that would, in some models, have a very, very loose center and a lot of autonomy for different regions.” The Syrian opposition has repeatedly stated its objection to any kind of federal structure for the country. Reuters

Related:
Deutsche Welle: Fifth year of Syria's war the worst yet, aid groups say

Libya: A UN report has found a wide range of companies, individuals, and countries in violation of an international arms embargo on Libya, for providing supplies and weapons to warring factions in the country. The report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council in January and will soon be made public, is expected to accuse the UAE, Egypt, and Turkey, among other countries, of breaking UN sanctions by shipping military equipment to Libya in 2014 and 2015. Wall Street Journal


Denmark: The trial of four men accused of assisting a shooter in a terror attack in Copenhagen began on Thursday. The defendants, Bhostan Khan Hossein, Liban Ahmed Saleban Elmi, Ibrahim Khalil Abbas and Mahmoud Rabea, pleaded not guilty to charges of abetting terrorism. The men allegedly assisted Omar El-Hussein in carrying out an attack against a free-speech seminar and a synagogue in Copenhagen last month which killed two people. New York Times, Deutsche Welle

Kenya: A man responsible for an attack on a Mombassa nightclub was sentenced to death by a Kenyan court on Thursday. The court found that Thabit Yahya Jamaldin was responsible for setting off a grenade in a club that killed one person and wounded five others. Kenyan authorities reportedly received assistance from the FBI in evaluating DNA evidence in the case. Associated Press

Related:
Voice of America: Can Kenya De-radicalize Militant Muslim Youth?
TOP OP-EDS
Obama’s last chance to close Gitmo and end indefinite detention: “With less than a year remaining in Obama's term, we might be facing the last best chance to close the camp. The calculus is not ideal; a Republican-controlled Congress remains steadfast in opposing the president's proposals,” writes Waqar Vick Rehman on Newsworks.org. “But conditions are as favorable as they might ever be. At the very least, we have a president right now who believes that the prison should close.”

Killing from the Conference Room: “The administration’s belated plan to release its general guidelines for targeted killing and aggregate estimates of civilian deaths is a step in the right direction,” writes David Cole in The New York Review of Books. “But it has yet to subject any of its individual decisions to take a human life to independent oversight or review, and to that extent it continues to engage in unaccountable killing.”

The Daoud Affair: “I think that Daoud, who is a friend of mine, was mistaken to link the Cologne attacks to the ‘fantasies’ of a ‘sick’ Muslim world,” writes Adam Shatz in The London Review of Books. “I also found it disturbing that Daoud could be dismissed as an ‘intellectual who is part of a secular minority in his country, where he struggles against a sometimes violent puritanism’ Daoud is not a typical secularist; he has read deeply in classical Islam...What he rejects is the intrusion of Islamist doctrine into politics.”
EDITOR'S PICK

WEEKLY PODCAST
Slate: Is Torture Ever Worthwhile?

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Islamic State’s Foreign Fighters Exposed

ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Center on National Security at Fordham Law will host a panel discussion “Hindsight: Reflections on 16 years of The War On Terror” on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. To RSVP, click here.

The Center on National Security at Fordham Law is seeking an intern to start immediately and work until July 2016. To apply, click here.




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