USA/ISRAEL – The W&Y is shocked! to hear that America’s National Security Agency has been monitoring the correspondence of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Wall Street Journal says the NSA secretly tracked private correspondence between U.S. members of Congress and Netanyahu’s office with regard to Israeli strategy on the Iran nuclear deal.
YEMEN/ISLAMISTS – Gunmen forced the colleges of science, law, and engineering at the University of Aden to close this week. They said it was to prevent mixed gender classes.
IRAQ/BAKRI – Bilal Omar Bakri, a son of the radical cleric Omar Bakri has been killed in Iraq fighting for Islamic State according to a Shia militia group. Omar Bakri, who fled Britain after praising al-Qaeda is in prison in Lebnaon. Two months ago another of his sons, Mohammad Omar, was killed in Syria according to reports.
IRAQ/ISLAMIC STATE – The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited newly liberated Ramadi and vowed that the Islamic State’s occupation of portions of Iraq will end next year – “We are coming to liberate Mosul and it will be the fatal and final blow to Daesh,” The fight for Mosul will likely be much tougher than that for Ramadi.
IRAN/USA – Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp Navy carried out a live fire rocket test in Strait of Hormuz close to U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Rockets were fired near, but not at, the Truman.
IRAN/SYRIA – At least another 6 Iranians have been killed in the fighting in Syria according to Iranian media reports. Among them was Lt Col. Mohsen Faramazi from the Revolutionary Guard who was previously a bodyguard for the Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader.
SYRIA/TRUCE – The UN has overseen a truce which allowed fighters and civilians to leave two besieged area. More than 120 rebels and wounded people left the border town of Zabadani and crossed into Lebanon. They are expected to make their way to northern Syria via Turkey. About 335 people left two government-controlled villages in northwestern Syria, crossed into Turkey and are expected to make their way to Damascus via Lebanon.
KUWAIT/YEMEN – Reuters reports that Kuwait plans to send troops to Saudi Arabia to defend against cross-border attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels. The Kuwaiti and Saudi governments have not yet confirmed the reports. Two officers from Bahrain’s military have been killed in Saudi Arabia by Houthi forces along the Yemeni border and this is confirmed by the Bahraini government.
USA/TERROR – A CNN/ORC poll suggests that the percentage of Americans who believe terrorists are winning the ‘war on terrorism’ is at its highest point since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. 40% said the terrorists are winning, compared to 18 % who say the U.S. and its allies are winning. 40% say neither side is winning. 64% disapproved of the way President Obama is handling Islamic State.
AFGHANISTAN/DEAL – Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the USA will hold talks next week designed to lead to a road map for a “meaningful peace” in Afghanistan.
S.KOREA/JAPAN – Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologized for the treatment of South Korean ‘comfort women’ during World War II and pledged over $8 million in support services for the women. There are 46 known surviving ‘comfort women’ who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese occupying forces. Japan has apologized several times in the past but pledging government money is designed to placate public opinion in South Korea and thus improve relations.