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inFOCUS Quarterly

Summer 2014

America's Global Withdrawal


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IS Cleanses Mosul of Christians

Following a 2,000 year history in the city, the last Christians left Mosul this week according to reports from local observers. The exodus comes as Islamic State (IS) militants, who captured Mosul last month, announced they would impose Sharia law in the city

The group began painting the letter N, for Nassarah, on the homes of Christians in area so they could be easily identified. Those who failed to convert to Islam or leave were threatened with the death penalty, their remanding property would be seized by IS. The extremists also blew up a sacred tomb that was believed to be the biblical prophet Jonah's burial place last week.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 30, 2014 at 11:13 am  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Wave of Violence Hits Sinai

Egypt's chief prosecutor charged 20 men belonging to the Ajnad Misr jihadist group on Saturday in connection with seven attacks that killed or wounded over 100 people. The move comes amid new clashes between Egyptian security and radical Islamists in Sinai.

Egyptian army soldiers stand guard on the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 5, 2013. (Photo: AP)

Anjad Misr, meaning "Soldiers of Egypt, is a terrorist organization that formed following the 2013 ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, targeting officials it deemed responsible for his overthrow. The group has claimed responsibility over 15 attacks in the Cairo area since November, including several bomb attacks that around the Egyptian presidential palace. Currently, 14 of the indicted members are in custody while the six others are still at large.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

CAR Signs Tenuous Ceasefire

Central African Republic's predominantly Muslim Selka militants signed a ceasefire with the Christian anti-Balaka militia in Brazzaville, Congo on Wednesday. However, the agreement may be short lived because soon thereafter two ex-Selka soldiers were shot and one killed by suspected anti-Balaka fighters in the rural city of Bambari.

After three days of talks moderated by Congolese President Denis Saddou N'Guesso, Selka abandoned their demand for the country to be officially divided into a Muslim north and a Christian south. The demand risked stalling the cease-fire talks, leading to a continuation of the religious violence that has killed thousands of people and displaced over a million.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Washington and Tehran Extend Nuclear Talks, Again

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) came to another interim agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran on Friday. Over the next few months the U.S. will give Iran additional access to $2.8 billion in previously frozen oil export revenue in return for concessions on its nuclear capabilities. The conference also agreed on a four-month extension to negotiate a final agreement.

As part of the framework deal, Iran agreed to accelerate the conversion of its 20 percent enriched uranium into 5 percent fuel for its research reactor. Iran also agreed to dilute its stock of 2 percent enriched uranium back to natural levels. In theory, this would slow Iran's ability to reach the most advanced stages of its program and achieve nuclear weapons capability.

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By Elliot Miller  |  July 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Islamic State Seizes Gas Field

Clashes between pro-Syrian government forces and the Islamic State (IS) over the past few days killed over 700 people, the deadliest weekend since the Syrian civil war began. On Sunday, government forces launched a new offensive, attempting to retake infrastructure recently lost to the jihadists.

IS seized the Shaar natural gas field east of Homs from pro-Asad forces on Thursday, leaving at least 90 people dead from the fighting, including 40 ISIS fighters. The fates of engineers and other operating in the fields remain unknown. After taking control of the area, the terrorist group then enforced its own version of Sharia law on the local population. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors violence in Syria, IS "killed or executed" more than 270 people in the area.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Attack Near Tunisian Border Kills 14 Troops

Gunmen attacked several military checkpoints near the Algerian border on Thursday killing at least 14 Tunisian soldiers. The Tunisian army had been carrying out an operation to wipe out Islamist radicals in the area.

Armed with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, the militants ambushed a government checkpoint in the Mount Chaambi area on Wednesday night, killing the Tunisian soldiers while they were breaking the Ramadan fast. The Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade claimed responsibility for the assault on a social media site, but the claim could not be verified. Tunisia's government stated that the brigade does operate in the Mount Chaambi region and is linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist organization's North African franchise.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 17, 2014 at 3:52 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Militias Fight at Tripoli Airport

A militia attack on the Tripoli airport destroyed around 90 percent of parked planes on Monday evening. At least 15 people have been killed since the Tripoli militia clashes between Islamists Islamist Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) and the liberal Zintan militia.

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By Yael Rein  |  July 16, 2014 at 2:49 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

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