June

Yemen by Lewis McKinnon

The United Nations (UN) backed peace talks were adjourned until 15 July in Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) declared that the war was almost over for its troops in Yemen. Saudi Arabia handed over 54 child prisoners to the Yemeni government, captured while fighting against the Houthi. A decision by the United Nations to remove Saudi Arabia from a blacklist of countries and groups alleged to have violated children’s rights prompted widespread dissatisfaction amongst human rights groups. The Saudi-led coalition declared it has intercepted a missile fired from Yemen. United States (US) air strikes killed 15 al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition killed 25 people in Taiz province. A triple bomb attack let by the Islamic State (IS) killed over 35 people and injured 24 in Mukalla. A Saudi-led coalition air strike killed 10 Yemeni civilians in the southern Lahj province. Houthi rebels killed seven people while searching for the leader of pro-government militia in Nadara, Ibb Province. The UN stressed the urgent need of support for the Yemeni central bank. Persistent power cuts in Aden caused the city’s inhabitants to take the streets in protest, feeding into southern separatist sentiment. 

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UAE by Lewis McKinnon

The Emirati government announced details of the value added tax system that it intends to introduce by 2018. The European Commission was granted permission by European Union (EU) member states to arrange air traffic agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and other Asian states. Fourteen Emiratis formed the first youth parliament in Fujairah region. The President of the UAE granted the release of 1010 inmates before the start of Ramadan. The American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) signed an agreement to cooperate with the UAE on space exploration projects. The UAE announced that its involvement in the Yemen war is almost over. The UAE’s largest utility companies announced plans to move into the solar power industry. 

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Turkey by Lewis McKinnon

June was characterised by the ongoing security struggle between the Turkish state, The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Daesh. Two attacks in Istanbul, one against a police bus on 7 June and the attack against Ataturk international airport on 28 June killed a total of 11 and 36 respectively, and injured over 200 others. Turkey continued their aerial operations against both PKK and Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq. A new bill was introduced to provide security forces with immunity during terror operations. European Union (EU)-Turkey relations were strained as a result of Turkey failing to meet EU’s criteria on June 15, but German MPs’ approval of a resolution calling the Ottoman actions in Armenia during the First World War as ‘genocide’ caused significant tension in both Turkey and Germany, home to 3.5 million Turks. Russo-Turkish relations are becoming more amicable following an official apology for the downing of a Russian jet in November 2015. In economic affairs, Turkey banned the sale of fertilisers containing ammonium nitrate in a bid to decrease the amount of explosives used in attacks against the state and civilians. 

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Sierra Leone by Lewis McKinnon

The Peace Building Commission travelled to Sierra Leone to discuss peace building opportunities and goals in the region. The United Nations Security Council urged states to create a solution to the political crisis in Sierra Leone and for a presidential mission including heads of state of Guinea, Senegal, and Sierra Leone to meet to discuss the crisis. President Koroma travelled to Cairo, Egypt to meet with Egyptian officials and discuss issues like cooperation, health concerns, maritime resources, and security. A security breach was reported at Lungi International Airport when a man attempted to board a plane with petrol, a matchbox, and a cigarette lighter. Victor Bockarie Foh, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, urged all Sierra Leoneans to join in the fight against cyber terrorism and cyber theft. The governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone announced he would begin efforts to curb the use of United States dollars instead of the Sierra Leonean Leone in business transactions. The leone depreciated and inflation has risen over the past few months. Electricity was brought to the city of Magburaka, which is part of President Koroma’s plan to expand electricity throughout the country. Members of parliament ratified two new loan agreements to continue the Bo-Bandajuma Road Project and to continue expanding electricity throughout the country. AMR Gold, a mine development company in Sierra Leone, joined the Forestry Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Security to provide training for local farmers in villages to begin reforestation. 

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Russia by Lewis McKinnon

Russian Government Hackers break into United States Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) database and stole the DNC’s research on Republican Party's presumptive nominee Donald Trump. Following the incessant harassment by Russian officials on US diplomats throughout Europe, United States Secretary of State John Kerry made a formal request to President Vladimir Putin for these actions to stop. President Vladimir Putin hinted that Russia would react in a hostile manner if Finland were to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Following an apology from President Erdogan of Turkey, Russia and Turkey have started a coordinated campaign in Syria. According to the Polish defence minister, Russia is the biggest threat to global security since the height of the Soviet Union. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended Russia’s efforts in Syria ahead of a formal visit to Moscow in an attempt to further develop the Russian-Israeli economic and security relationship. The European Union (EU) extended its previous economic sanctions on Russia as of 30 June 2016 due to the failure to implement the Minsk agreements projected to be finished on 31 December 2015. Russia’s manufacturing sector returned to growth in June due to a recovery in Russian based goods demand. As oil prices dropped and sanctions continued, President Putin turned to Chinese president Xi Jinping in an attempt to broker an energy and trade deal to support his country in their economic downturn. 

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Pakistan by Lewis McKinnon

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faced charges of corruption after the leaked Panama Papers. The small group of Islamic clerics Tanzeem Ittehede-i-Ummat ruled in a fatwa that transgender individuals (called hijra) can marry and be buried with other Muslims, making the group the the first Muslim clerical organization to make such a change. The current Pakistan People’s Party leader Hina Rabbani Khar argued that Pakistan and India must enhance diplomatic relations to lessen tensions and enhance trust between the two countries. The Pakistani Supreme Court analysed the cases of 12 individuals who had been tried in military tribunals and convicted, to determine if their constitutional rights had been violated. A government advisor announced that border management mechanisms are the next step for Pakistan to secure its border with Afghanistan. Pakistan is constructing check points which will be connecting points for the future fence. The Torkham crossing was the location of clashes between guards on both sides, which resulted in two deaths, multiple injures, and travel restrictions on those entering Pakistan. Three Islamic State (IS) members were arrested for plans to attack government buildings. The son of Chief Justice Sindh disappeared and was likely abducted on 21 June, but authorities reached a wall in their investigative efforts. A Qawwali singer was murdered as he drove through Karachi on 22 June. Stocks rose slightly by the end of June 2016, after the promise of the first tranche of a $6.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF.) The Oil and Gas Development Company, Ltd., discovered oil and gas reserves in Sindh Province, which resulted in gains for several natural resource company’s stocks. 

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Nigeria by Lewis McKinnon

A group of Nigerian politicians were accused of sexually assaulting a hotel chamber maid and hiring prostitutes during a recent visit to the United States. A deputy high commissioner was abducted on a road near Abuja. A Boko Haram attack on a funeral killed 18 women on 17 June. Experts project that the Nigerian government will be unable to militarily suppress the Niger Delta militant crisis. Three Australians and a New Zealander were kidnapped from their convoy and the driver was killed by gunfire. A foreign civil engineer was kidnapped from the Gboko town in the Benue state. The threat of religious violence is looming after a Christian woman was killed by a Muslim in a religious dispute. In economic affairs, global oil prices hit a year-long high due to a fall in Nigerian output. Nigeria is seeking $40-50 million in investments to bolster its flagging oil industry. The value of the Naira plunged against the dollar after the Nigerian government removed its peg to the dollar. South African telecom company MTN settled its long standing fine with the Nigerian government for a sum of $1.7 billion. 

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Morocco by Lewis McKinnon

The Moroccan House of Representatives voted overwhelming on 21 June to pass a new, more liberal, Press Code. The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, visited Morocco on 27 June to promote the White House’s Let Girls Learn Initiative. Several people were arrested in Morocco over the last several weeks for violating the country’s laws regarding Ramadan. Moroccan authorities dismantled an Islamic State (IS) cell on 2 June. A delegation from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operation (UNDPKO) arrived in Morocco on 15 June to discuss the Western Sahara. Around thirty migrants breached the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on 25 June. A report by the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism reported a rise in tourism to Morocco by nine per cent since 2010. The Moroccan Central Bank raised its inflation forecast to 1.6 per cent on 21 June. Morocco’s economy grew by 1.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 according to the High Commission for Planning. 

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Kuwait by Lewis McKinnon

The Imam Sadiq mosque in Kuwait City reopened on 26 June, a year after the deadly terrorist attack on the mosque that killed 27 people. An amendment to the Kuwaiti election law banning those who have insulted religion or the Amir from contesting parliamentary election passed after approval by the national assembly and the Amir on 28 June. Large-scale reform of Kuwait’s national health care system began as the government sought to cut down on the number of Kuwaitis travelling abroad for medical care. On 29 June the United Nations (UN) announced a two-week suspension of the Yemeni peace talks taking place in Kuwait after fighting intensified across all fronts in the conflict. The Kuwaiti government confirmed a $523 million contract with the global arms firm Raytheon to upgrade its Patriot air missile defence system. Kuwait Airways announced on 26 June that its weekly flight to John F Kennedy Airport in New York will now have a stopover at Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland as part of new security measures. Four men were arrested by the Kuwaiti Security Information Department for possession of unlicensed firearms during a search by weapons inspectors on 29 June. An Emirati investment group confirmed the purchase of the Kuwaiti food company Americana on 18 June. Kuwait’s Finance Minister assured the Kuwaiti cabinet that Kuwait’s investments in the United Kingdom (UK) will not be adversely affected after the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU). The price of Kuwaiti oil rose from $42.87 to $44.12 per barrel on 30 June. 

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Iraqi Kurdistan by Lewis McKinnon

A senior Iraqi official announced on 26 June that the Islamic State (IS) was fully removed from Fallujah in a month-long operation. On 9 June two suicide attacks in and around Baghdad killed at least 31 people and wounded at least 77 more. An Apache attack helicopter was used in a strike against an IS target for the first time since President Barack Obama authorised their use in offensive operations in early 2016. Turkish warplanes targeted Kurdish militant targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Jordan announced that its border regions with Syria and Iraq are now closed military zones following a suicide bomb attack in Jordan on 21 June. A further 250 British troops were sent to Iraq to help local forces in the operation against IS. The troops will consist of 50 soldiers in addition to a squadron of engineers and 90 air base guards. The United Nations (UN) children’s agency, Unicef, released a report stating that 3.6 million children are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, and recruitment into armed groups. On 16 June a UN report, based on interviews with dozens of survivors, was released and stated that IS forces are committing genocide against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq. On 29 June there was an announcement that Iraq has secured a $2.7 billion loan from the United States (US) to fund ammunition and maintenance of fighter jets, tanks, and other military equipment for use in the operation against IS. The UN released $15 million in emergency aid to provide life-saving assistance to civilians fleeing the operation to retake Fallujah

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