NIGERIA: Boko Haram Allegedly Abducts Yobe Girls

On 19 February, Boko Haram militants allegedly kidnapped at least 50 girls from their school in the Yobe district. Witness and parent accounts estimate the insurgents abducted anywhere from 50 to 94. The Nigerian police denied reports of abductions, but school roll-calls on 20 February indicated an unexplained absence of over 90 girls.

[Caitlyn Aaron,]

ISRAEL: Jet Downed in Syria Prompts Israeli Strikes 

On 10 February, the Israeli military shot down an Iranian Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) over the Golan Heights, but Iran’s motives for sending the UAV are unclear. In the course of Israel’s response, Syrian forces shot down an Israeli jet when the Israeli air force targeted the UAV’s base in Syria. The Israelis made another strike against 12 Syrian and Iranian sites in Syria, targeting air defense infrastructure. 

[Alexander Marrone;]

GERMANY: Federal Terrorism Task Force to Expand

Germany will expand their special police task force, GSG 9, which specializes in dealing with terrorist attacks, and build a second GSG 9 base in Berlin to address an ongoing terrorist threat, specifically in Berlin, as it is Germany’s capital city. The goal of the GSG 9 expansion is to improve GSG 9’s ability to react quickly to an attack on Berlin. The government recognizes the challenge of their aim to hire 100 new GSG 9 members, as they raised the physical fitness standards, emphasizing efforts to increase the effectiveness of the GSG 9 task force. 

[Zach Coffee]

IRAQ: Suicide Bombings Kill More Than 40 in Baghdad

On 15 January, two suicide bombers killed 38 and wounded over 100 people when they detonated their suicide vests at a major intersection in Baghdad. This attack follows two other suicide bombings, which took place on 13 and 14 January and killed approximately 8 each. No group has claimed responsibility for these attacks.

[Cassie Hettmansperger,]

UNITED STATES: Canadian Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Iran Missile Technology

On 4 April, federal law enforcement officials announced Canadian citizen Ghobad Ghasempour was charged with conspiracy to send missile technology and equipment to Iran. Ghasempour was born in Iran, a Canadian citizen, and charged in the United States. Ghasempour was also accused of schemes to launder money for and illegally import goods into Iran. 

[Madison Landry,]

SOUTH KOREA: Intel Reports North Korean Missile Launch into Sea

On 4 April, a South Korean military official announced they had intelligence that North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the sea. The missile was launched approximately 60 kilometers. The announcement comes just before US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet to discuss North Korea’s program. 

[Madison Landry,]

UNITED STATES: Requests Urgent Consultations over Iranian Ballistic Missile Test

On 31 January, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) announced the scheduling of urgent consultations regarding the Iranian ballistic missile test. The announcement follows the request from the US Mission to the UN specifically calling for the urgent consultation. The UNSC will discuss the medium-range missile test that occurred on 29 January.

[Madison Landry,]

NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong Un Announced Upcoming ICBM Test

On 18 January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced North Korea will be conducting an ICBM test launch imminently. South Korean media sources claim the test will coincide with the US Presidential Inauguration. The South Korea Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will continue to monitor ICBM developments as intelligence agencies report the transport of ICBM parts.

[Madison Landry]

SYRIA: Truce Expires Without Evacuations

Air strikes and fighting on the ground in Aleppo resumed on 23 October, as the Russian-declared truce ended without any evacuations by the United Nations (UN). The UN had hoped to deliver aid to the city and evacuate wounded civilians out of the rebel held east portion by using eight corridors opened by the Russian Army, but few civilians were able to use the corridors. Russian officials and Syrian state media accused rebel forces of preventing greater evacuation, and UN officials stated that requisite security guarantees were not received. UN Chief Ban Ki-moon stated earlier this week that the city is expected to run out of food rations by the end of the month.

[Jake Delinger,]

CANADA: Opposed Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

On 27 October, Canada voted against a nuclear weapons-ban resolution at the United Nations disarmament and international security committee. The resolution will open negotiations in 2017 to discuss methods of prohibiting nuclear weapons. The resolution’s ultimate goal is to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons. A total of 38 nations opposed the resolution, while 123 approved it. The resolution successfully passed.

[Madison Landry,]

UNITED STATES: DOS Spokesman Responds to Syrian Cease-Fire Termination

On 19 September, U.S. Department of State spokesman John Kirby responded to the Syrian military announcement of the end of the cease-fire. Kirby reiterated the arrangement was between the U.S. and Russia, and- as per the arrangement- Russia was also responsible for compliance from the Syrian regime. Kirby further recommended Russia clarify their position to the Syrian Regime, and announced the U.S.'s willingness to extend the cease-fire.

[Madison Landry,]

SYRIA: Syrian Military Declares End to Cease-Fire

On 19 September, Syrian military officials announced an end to the week-long cease-fire. The announcement followed several violations from all components of the cease-fire, including a recent U.S. airstrike. Syrian military officials claim the cease-fire was undermined by rebel groups. The cease-fire was brokered by the U.S. and Russia and put into effect on 12 September. As part of the agreement, the U.S. and Russia agreed to begin military cooperation against the Islamic State and Nusra Front if the cease-fire lasted seven days.

[Madison Landry,]