By Sophia Simeone
1. President Obama kicked off his final presidential trip to Europe on Tuesday with a visit to Athens, Greece, where he advised the international community “to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism.” This advice comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to appoint notorious right-wing nationalist Stephen Brannon as his chief strategist.
2. Meanwhile, 3,000 left-wing and anarchist protestors marched through the streets of Athens in protest to Mr. Obama’s visit. Violence broke out as Greek riot police used tear gas and stun grenades to drive protestors out of an “off-limits” area. “[The U.S.] is a state that causes military coups, interventions and imperialist wars from Ukraine to the eastern Mediterranean,” said Communist party leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas. His perspective aligns with a long tradition of anti-American sentiment among left-wing Greeks.
3. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced on Monday that she has a “reasonable basis” to conclude that American soldiers committed war crimes, particularly torture, in Afghanistan. The United States is not a member of the court, but Afghanistan is, so crimes committed within its borders fall under the jurisdiction of the court.
4. A leaked memo claiming withdrawal from the European Union is “beyond the capacity and capability” of the British Government was leaked on Tuesday. Downing Street denies any association with the memo, stating that the document had “nothing to do with the government at all.” The British press seized the memo as an opportunity to express a lack of faith in the Government’s plans to follow through with “Brexit.”
5. After a brief pause in the fighting, Russian and Syrian government forces resumed their brutal assault on targets in Syria, including rebel-held areas of Aleppo. The blitz came hours after a conference call between President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which they discussed their mutual desire to fight “international terrorism and extremism.” After months of negotiation between the U.S. and Russia, neither state is willing to budge on terms for a cease-fire.
6. Iraqi special forces are locked in brutal urban conflict as they continue to push into the city of Mosul. Humanitarian concerns persist as access to supplies runs low in neighborhoods retaken by the Iraqi government. Mosul is home to 10 million civilians, and has been under the control of ISIS for two years.
7. One of Russia’s most senior cabinet members has been arrested, detained, and dismissed from his post for allegedly accepting a $2 million bribe. Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev’s arrest is seen by many as a transparent attempt by Putin to manipulate the balance of power among Russia’s political elite.
8. Kenya’s government is pushing for the closure of the world’s largest refugee camp, citing security problems. The camp, Dadaab, has over 280,000 residents. Human rights experts express concerns about pushing refugees back into Somalia, where many will face hunger, violence, or forced enlistment in the terrorist organization, al-Shabab.