Today's Headlines and Commentary

Clara Spera
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 9:36 AM
The Gaza-Israel ceasefire enters into its second day today.

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The Gaza-Israel ceasefire enters into its second day today. The Guardian reports that formal negotiations to secure a permanent ceasefire are scheduled to begin today, in Cairo. The New York Times explains that, as the bloody conflict appears to draw to close, the “battle over casualty statistics rages on.” Israel, Palestine, and the U.N. all present different numbers for the number of people killed on both sides and, importantly, how many among those were considered to be militants. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reveals a haunting truth: as this conflict appears to draw to a close, most people wonder when the next one will begin. If neither side gets what it wants during this week’s negotiations, many fear that another escalation in violence is all but certain. Yesterday, Cody noted that President Obama signed a bill appropriating $225 million to support Israel’s Iron Dome defense program. The Guardian asks, does the Iron Dome program actually make the world safer? Iraqis from the minority Yazidi sect remain trapped on Mount Sinjar, and many of them are beginning to die of starvation. The Post explains that thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountaintop after being driven out of their towns by Islamic State militants, who consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers, and are now trapped without any means of survival. The Times remembers Major General Harold J. Greene, who was killed in an attack of a U.S. army base in Afghanistan yesterday. Five Egyptian policemen will killed by militants yesterday, reports the AP. The attack happened in the country’s north, in the coastal province of Matrouh. Egypt’s Interior Ministry hasn’t released many details of the attack, but reported that security forces killed four “terrorists” once they arrived on the scene. Rumor has it that unofficial talks on Iran’s nuclear program will go down “on the sidelines” of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in SeptemberReuters explains that a senior Iranian negotiator suggested as much earlier this week. India is beginning to embrace drones, mainly for surveillance purposes.  According to Time, India’s “diverse topography, chaotic overpopulation and vast, unplanned cities” make it very difficult for more traditional security operations to control civil unrest, so its government is increasingly relying on drones to capture important and time-sensitive information. Reuters reports that the U.S. plans to sell 12 Black Hawks to Tunisia to help in the increasing threat from Islamist militants in the country. A pre-trial hearing for Guantanamo Bay detainee Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the deadly bombing of the USS Cole, is underway today. The AP informs us that al-Nashiri’s defense counsel will ask for a dismissal of six of the 11 counts against him because of what they call “U.S. hypocrisy.” The lawyers will argue that “the ruse of disguising an enemy watercraft as a friendly vessel is an acceptable form of naval warfare that even the United States employed during World War I.” Russ Feingold, President Obama’s special envoy to central Africa, issued some harsh words to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the group formed by the leaders of the Rwandan genocide which now controls parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Guardian tells us that Feingold urged the FDLR to surrender power, or be prepared to face military action. Former NSA chief Keith Alexander is launching a new, private cybersecurity business. Alexander assured the AP that the “game-changing cybersecurity model” he’s working on does not rely on classified information that he would have been privy to in his past role at the NSA. Wells noted Senator Dianne Feinsten’s (D-Ca.) statement on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program yesterday. Politico covers the statement, in which Chairman Feinstein argues that redactions obscure key facts. Feinstein indicated that she will be sending a letter to President Obama to outline the changes that the committee feels are necessary. Antonio Taguba, retired Major General in the United States Army, has penned an Op-Ed piece for the Times in which he urges the CIA to take the Senate Intelligence torture report seriously, as opposed to trying to undermine its credibility. But the Hill tells us that President Obama and CIA chief John Brennan’s “close and personal relationship” provides Brennan with all the cover he needs while he and his agency come under fire by the Senate.

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Clara Spera is a 3L at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a national security research intern at the Brookings Institution. She graduated with an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2012.

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