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Lots of news coming out of Syria today. First, we are told by the Human Rights Watch that there is “strong evidence” that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people as recently as April of this year. The Los Angeles Times has more on that development. CNN conducted an interview with the country’s deputy foreign minster, who denied the accusations, with “100% assurance." Next, Ladkhar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, has announced that he will step down from his position as the conflict’s most senior mediator. Reuters explains that Brahimi was not shy about expressing his reasons for leaving the post: he has grown increasingly frustrated with the situation in Syria. Residents are finally returning to the Syrian city of Homs, after a deal brokered last week led to the evacuation of thousands of rebels. It was the first time many had been home, and they were greeted with ruins of a once bustling city. Time has more on how the residents are coping with the shock and difficulties of returning to a city devastated by war. The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia is attempting to improve relations with Iran. A reconciliation would be welcomed by the United States; Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be traveling to Saudi Arabia later this month and hopes to tackle the issue then. There is worry that talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia may crumble given their drastically different policies on the Syrian crisis: Saudi Arabia is committed to seeing the end of the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, while Iran has been assisting Assad’s regime as much as possible. The head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, met with President Obama yesterday. The Washington Post explains that al-Jarba was making his rounds across Washington this past week, imploring Congress, the White House and officials at the departments of State, Defense and Treasury to help his cause. The United States and China are at it again, arguing over the South China Sea. Reuters reports that China was not pleased with Secretary of State John Kerry’s characterization of a recent dispute in the region between China, Vietnam and the Phillippines. Kerry called China’s part in the dispute “provocative." But China rejected this characterization and taunted the U.S. by warning Kerry to act more “cautiously.” The BBC reports that peace talks are slated to commence in Kiev today, in an effort to bring an end to the violence and chaos that has been plaguing Ukraine. The talks may prove to be fruitless, however, as leaders of the pro-Russian separatist movement appear unlikely to attend. Those very separatists, now living in a quasi-independent state that calls itself the Donetsk People’s Republic, have placed travel sanctions on a handful of foreign leaders, including President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. USA Today has the story. The New York Times Editorial Board has a piece on the recent European Court of Justice ruling that requires Google to comply with requests from individuals to take down links that might cause embarrassment. The Times warns that such a ruling could ultimately limit important press freedoms and also cause a serious dearth in accessible and honest news across Europe. The media attention surrounding Glenn Greenwald’s new book continues. Canadian news outlets are abuzz over the volume, in which he reveals that the NSA paid Canada as much as $400,000 to develop its surveillance capabilities. The Huffington Post Canada has more. Politco reports that the Pentagon is transferring Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison. The transfer comes at the request of Manning, who claims that army prisons are ill equipped to provide her with the proper treatment for gender dysphoria. Ben Weiser of the Times is back with more updates on the Mustafa Kamel Mustafa trial in New York federal court. The prosecution cross-examined Mustafa yesterday and, according to Weiser, things got pretty heated. Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
The AALS Section on National Security Law will host an Early Works in National Security Law Workshop on April 26, 2024 via zoom.
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