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Top 5 international stories of the week

Aug 8, 2016

Every Monday, we bring you the top five international stories of the week, with a particular emphasis on religious liberty, justice issues and geopolitical issues that impact liberty and justice.

1. Turkey’s Erdogan continues purge of those suspected of involvement with coup attempt, consolidating power. Last week 1,400 officers and soldiers were culled from the Turkish army. This follows a dismissal of 1,700 the week prior; nearly 40 percent of Turkey’s generals and admirals have been dismissed. Also this week, in what he described as a “small constitutional package,” President Erdogan announced plans to move the Turkish spy agency and the military chief of staff directly under the President’s control.

Meanwhile, President Erdogan has been increasing pressure on the United States to expedite the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Islamic cleric alleged to have plotted the coup.

2. Airstrikes supporting Assad forces in Aleppo hit six hospitals, including Aleppo’s last children’s hospital. Aleppo, which is held by forces rebelling against the Assad regime, was completely encircled by Assad regime forces in late July; pro-government forces are now planning to regain control of Aleppo. There have been reports that the Russians plan to open exit corridors, but this week marks the worst week for attacks on Syrian hospitals in a year that has seen far too many such attacks.

3. ISIS has developed a trained, global network of jihadis who are citizens of Western democracies.The bombshell report comes from jailhouse interviews with a German man who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. According to The New York Times:

What they describe is a multilevel secret service under the overall command of the Islamic State’s most senior Syrian operative, spokesman and propaganda chief, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Below him is a tier of lieutenants empowered to plan attacks in different regions of the world, including a “secret service for European affairs,” a “secret service for Asian affairs” and a “secret service for Arab affairs,” according to Mr. Sarfo.

4. North Korea tests two more ballistic missiles; both were apparent failures. Although one of the ballistic missiles apparently exploded immediately after launch, the frequency of missile tests is alarming and demonstrates an increase in North Korea’s missile capabilities. The Obama administration, not eager to highlight its failure to contain the North Korean regime, has downplayed the risk.

5. Egypt, with economy flagging, turns to the International Monetary Fund for $12 billion in assistance.The IMF will likely require financial reforms from Egypt’s central bank as well as other measures designed to stimulate job creation. This would be welcome news for Egypt’s educated youth, who face high unemployment rates; 23 percent of college-educated males and 56 percent of college-educated females are unemployed. The IMF is expected to announce the final aid package in the next few weeks.

Have suggestions for a top five article this week or think there’s an issue we should be covering? Email me at twussow@erlc.com.

Travis Wussow

Travis Wussow serves as the Vice President for Public Policy and General Counsel. Travis led the ERLC’s first international office located in the Middle East prior to joining the Washington DC office. He received a B.B.A. in Finance from The... Read More