Every Friday, we bring to 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. The EU and Turkey nearing deal on migrant crisis. Under the deal, Turkey would take back all migrants seeking to leave Turkey for Greece by boat. In exchange, discussions on Turkey joining the EU would be revived, ordinary Turks would receive additional visa privileges within the EU, and Turkey would receive significant funds from the EU for the resettlement of migrants in Turkey today. According to the Economist, "Every element of the arrangement is politically, legally or morally problematic. . . . But Europe is doing the right thing." The UN has raised concerns that the deal, which would involve the transfer of migrants from one country to another, may violate international commitments related to the treatment of refugees. Whether the deal actually comes to fruition is another question, but this is certainly an issue to watch over the next few weeks.
2. Two thousand Islamic State "HR records" leaked to the press and German intelligence. Although the records were just recently leaked to a Syrian newspaper, German intelligence indicated that they had had possession of the documents for some time. The documents contain information about foreign fighters' preferences, blood types, background and experience, and other information useful for learning about the Islamic State's recruiting tactics and operations.
3. Iran conducts two tests of new ballistic missiles despite U.S. sanctions. Despite the fact that these missiles are capable of carrying a nuclear payload, Iran has maintained that the purchase and development of these weapons is legitimate under international law. Just a few hours after US hostages had left Iranian airspace, the US imposed new sanctions on Iran related to its ballistic missile testing. The US has condemned these attacks, but it remains to be seen what further action the US and international community will take.
4. The United States is facing opposition to what would be the first-ever UN Security Council resolution against the ever-growing problem of sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers. In 2015, there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers with only 17 investigations completed by the end of January. More than half of the allegations involve rape or sexual abuse of children. In only one case of sexual exploitation did a country punish their soldier, but the punishment was merely a nine-day suspension. These cases are towering evidence of the failure of the UN to govern itself and the need to bring reform immediately.
5. U.S. airstrikes in Somalia kill 150 Shabab fighters preparing for significant military operation. U.S. military intelligence had been monitoring the Shabab camp, known within the U.S. intelligence community as Camp Raso for some time. About 200 fighters were gathered in formation as a part of a ceremony believed to be the launching point for a major attack against African Union and U.S. training forces.
Matt Mihelic contributed to this article.
Have suggestions for a top 5 article this week or think there’s an issue we should be covering? Email me at [email protected].