The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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FRIDAY MAY 20, 2016
U.S. MILITARY PREPARES FOR GREATER ROLE IN LIBYA

On Thursday, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Libyan government is in a “period of intense dialogue” about whether to allow U.S. military advisors to be deployed to the country to assist in the fight against ISIS. Dunford said that “we’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen.” He added that “there will be a long-term mission in Libya.”A small team of U.S. Special Operations Forces has been in the country since late last year to identify potential local partners in the fight against ISIS. Washington Post

STATE DEPARTMENT ADDS ISIS AFFILIATES TO TERROR WATCH LIST
On Thursday, the State Department added ISIS affiliates from Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen to its list of designated terrorist organizations. The Treasury Department also placed the groups on a list of terrorist organizations that allows the Obama administration to sanction any individual who helps or provides material support to the ISIS affiliates. CNN

Defense bill: On Wednesday, the House voted to pass the $610 billion 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill includes a provision that would restrict the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S soil. The House voted down an amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force, used by the Obama administration to justify military operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Hill, Politico

Anti-ISIS military operations: The total cost of U.S. military operations against ISIS has reached $7.2 billion as of April 15, 2016, according to a new Pentagon estimate. U.S. military operations have continued for 617 days, since the air campaign in Iraq began on August 8, 2014. The average daily cost of U.S. military operations is $11.7 million, increasing from an average of $9.1 about a year ago. The Hill


SECOND KIDNAPPED SCHOOLGIRL FOUND IN NIGERIA
Nigerian soldiers and vigilante forces found a second schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram on Thursday during an operation against the militant group. Security forces killed 35 Boko Haram fighters and rescued 97 women and children in the operation, according to a military spokesperson. New York Times

Afghanistan: An Afghan police officer killed eight of his colleagues at a checkpoint in the southern province of Zabul on Thursday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Also, a roadside bomb killed 11 civilians and wounded three others in the northern province of Baghlan. Officials believe the Taliban was also responsible for the attack. Washington Post

Related:
New York Times: Supply Plane for NATO Crashes in Afghanistan, Killing 7


Egypt: The EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday was more likely the result of terrorism than a technical fault, according to Egyptian officials. Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said that “the possibility of having a different action or a terror attack, is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure” in the airliner crash which had 66 people onboard. New York Times, Guardian

France: On Thursday, the French Parliament approved a two-month extension of the state of emergency that was initially put in place after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris. The extension aims to cover two major sporting events in France this summer -- the Euro 2016 soccer tournament and the Tour de France cycling race. New York Times

NATO: NATO formally invited Montenegro to join the alliance as its 29th member on Thursday. Montenegro’s membership must also be approved by all 28 current alliance members’ national governments or parliaments, including the U.S. Senate. Russia had previously expressed opposition to the move back in December. New York Times
TOP OP-EDS
The US’ Failure to Plan for ISIL Detention Operations is a Flawed Approach: “When it comes to detaining ISIL suspects in Iraq and Syria, the US is taking a hands-off approach,” writes Jonathan Horowitz on Just Security. “The problem is that thinking one can avoid detention operations on the battlefield by not wanting to detain, and by not planning for detention, is a recipe for disaster.”

Panama Papers and Beijing bases add to Sharif’s burdens: “For the third time in the past few weeks, Pakistan’s prime minister has addressed the nation to try to explain why his two sons and daughter have offshore accounts,” writes Ahmed Rashid in the Financial Times. “Mr Sharif is banking on the funds from China to improve his own credibility with the army and popularity with the public, but it is an open secret that Beijing is building such projects more in geostrategic consultations with the army than with the civilians.”

The Real Source of Terror in Bangladesh: “The recent string of vicious killings in Bangladesh is less a terrorism issue than a governance issue: It is the ruling Awami League’s onslaught against its political opponents, which began in earnest after the last election in January 2014, that has unleashed extremists in Bangladesh,” writes Willam B. Milam in The New York Times. “A zero-sum mentality has been the rule of Bangladeshi politics since the end of the military dictatorship in 1991.”
EDITOR'S PICK

WEEKLY PODCAST
The Federalist Society: What is the Future of Guantanamo Bay?

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: The Crash of EgyptAir Flight MS804

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