This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

  • The Algerian army killed one of the militants responsible for the execution of French hostage Herve Gourdel back in September.
  • Egypt reopened its Rafah crossing in one direction to allow stranded Palestinians to return to Gaza.
  • Two Boko Haram suicide bombers detonated in a crowded market in Maiduguri, Nigeria, killing dozens. 
  • A bus attack last Saturday in Kenya by the al-Shabaab militant group left 28 dead. The militants executed all the non-Muslims on the bus — one survivor remains to detail how they made their selection.
  • 133 have been killed and many wounded in clashes between two factions of the Sudanese Mesiria tribe in West Kordofan.
  • The UN Security Council voted to extend its mission in South Sudan.
  • Jordan is moving to quell internal support for ISIS.
  • US Special Operations forces and Yemeni soldiers carried out a joint rescue operation to free hostages held by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). They freed eight hostages, but five more — including an American journalist, a Briton and a South African — remain in captivity.
  • Corruption in the Iraqi security forces is a challenge to success in the fight against ISIS.
  • The US shifts attack and surveillance aircraft from Afghanistan to Syria and Iraq. 
  • The US shares Syrian airspace with government planes bombing civilians. This, along with conflicting American policies in the Middle East, damages its position in the region.
  • Activists say that 36 civilians have been killed by Syrian government air strikes in Raqqa.
  • The US plans to arm Sunni tribesman in Iraq with AK-47s, RPGs and mortars.
  • The US has yet to begin recruiting to train Syrian rebels against ISIS.
  • Why is a French truck driver a primary target of US air strikes in Syria?
  • An Iranian nuclear deal could not be reached by the deadline of the 24th — so talks have been extended.
  • A Taliban suicide attack on a British diplomatic convoy traveling between Kabul and Jalalabad killed six, including a British Embassy guard, on Thursday.
  • New Afghan president Ashraf Ghani lifted his predecessor’s ban on night raids.
  • The US will leave more troops in Afghanistan in 2015 than previously planned.
  • Oxfam says women have been excluded from talks with the Taliban.
  • The Afghani has dropped to a 13-year low.
  • An hour outside of Kabul, the Taliban reign in the Tagab district of Kapisa province.
  • The Haqqani Network is responsible for a weekend suicide bombing in Paktika province that killed 61.
  • Pakistan’s nuclear program is the fastest-growing in the world.
  • Attempts to target 41 men in drone strikes have killed 1,147 people, according to data from Reprieve. 
  • Gunmen attacked an Indian Army base in Kashmir on Thursday, killing ten.
  • Seven Ukrainian troops were killed in fighting with separatists over the weekend, despite the September ceasefire.
  • A theater troupe forges onward in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • Putin signed a “strategic partnership” agreement with Abkhazia, the separatist Georgian territory — Tbilisi is angered and concerned that Russia seeks to annex Abkhazia as well. 
  • "When a Russian feels he is right, he is invincible." State-run Tass news agency interviews Putin.
  • Germany hits a “diplomatic dead-end" with Russia.
  • Well-known Irish Republican Army veteran Bobby Storey has been detained in the investigation of the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.
  • Canadian veterans experience delays in accessing psychiatric care — some waiting as long as eight months for approval.
  • A Saudi, Muhammad al-Zahrani, has been released from Guantánamo Bay. He is the seventh such release in the last two weeks and the 13th this year. 
  • A House Republican-led investigation into potential Benghazi wrongdoing came up with … nothing.
  • Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was forced out, resigning on Monday to make way for a different, as-yet-unnamed defense chief. (But it won’t be Michèle Flournoy.)
  • Top UN relief official Valerie Amos will be leaving her post in March — opening up a politicized struggle over who succeeds her.
  • Concerns have been raised over elements of the new British counter-terrorism bill.
  • An interview with Simon Baker, the photography curator of Tate Modern, on war photography and the new exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography.
  • Glenn Greenwald interviews James Risen on his new book.
  • Veteran and author Phil Klay took home a well-deserved National Book Award for his riveting short story collection Redeployment. Here’s a post-award interview with him at The Daily Beast. 

Photo: Zeno Street, Aleppo. A frontline in the Syrian civil war. Sheets hang across the street to allow people to move across out of view of the snipers. Hosam Katan/Reuters. 

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Some of the things the social justice crowd forgot to care about this week.

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At least 1,184 soldiers killed in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

At least 1,184 Ukrainian fighters killed. Moreover, some 4,317 civilians have been killed and almost 10,000 wounded as of Nov. 21, the United Nations estimated. 

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*Some* of the Ukrainians killed in the past few days.

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A 12-year-old boy and a 55-year-old woman were killed by shelling in the eastern Ukrainian separatist stronghold of Donetsk on Nov. 27.

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Despite cease-fire, Ukraine conflict grinds on, with deaths mounting.

Since a cease-fire was declared in eastern Ukraine on Sept. 5, nearly 1,000 soldiers and civilians have died in a grinding conflict with rebel separatists that is being waged largely out of sight. That is almost a quarter of the 4,317 killed since April and an average of 13 a day, the United Nation estimates.

 

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Number of refugees from Donbas, Ukraine exceeds 487,000 people.

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All but one faith persecuted in Russian-occupied Crimea

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A Crimean Tatar crying during a mass rally held on the 60th anniversary of Russia’s deportation of Tatars from Crimea.

Not for the first time I wondered what on Earth would happen to her if this war ever ended. Off to college to study prelaw or whatever? She was the goddess of war, my cousin was. Sixteen years old and a veteran of more battles than a World War II veteran. So was I, but Rachel loved it in a way I didn’t. She needed it.
—  Jake, Book #53: The Answer, pg. 42 (by K.A. Applegate)