Return to   |   Subscribe to the Daily News Brief

Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
July 28, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Lull in Gaza as Pressure for Cease-Fire Mounts

Israeli forces and Hamas eased their fire on Monday (Reuters), which marks the end of Ramadan, even as international efforts for a formal truce faltered. The UN Security Council called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, a day after U.S. president Barack Obama called Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express concern over the rising death toll, which has exceeded one thousand (NYT). The informal, unilateral lull comes a day after U.S. secretary of state John Kerry returned to Washington after a week of intensive meetings in the Middle East and Paris failed to yield an greement (WSJ).


"Israeli military officials know there is no simple solution — but that a political solution is always better than a military one. But to achieve that political solution, Israel must first arrive at cease-fire negotiations from a position of strength. For that, a significant price must be extracted from Hamas," writes former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin in the New York Times.

"Israel argues that its occupation of the Gaza Strip ended with the unilateral withdrawal of its settler population in 2005. It then declared the Gaza Strip to be 'hostile territory' and declared war against its population. Neither the argument nor the statement is tenable. Despite removing 8,000 settlers and the military infrastructure that protected their illegal presence, Israel maintained effective control of the Gaza Strip," writes Noura Erekat in the Nation.

"A moderate-minded Palestinian who watches Israel expand its settlements on lands that most of the world believes should fall within the borders of a future Palestinian state might legitimately come to doubt Israel's intentions. Reversing the settlement project, and moving the West Bank toward eventual independence, would not only give Palestinians hope, but it would convince Israel's sometimes-ambivalent friends that it truly seeks peace," writes Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.



Trial in South Korean Ferry Crash Underway

Six high-school survivors of the sunk ferry Sewol testified against the crew on Monday (Korea Times). The trial comes as investigators begin probing the family of the late tycoon Yoo Byung-eun, whose business practices contributed to the April disaster, which killed 304 passengers (NYT).

CAMBODIA: A deal between opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen may end a year of parliamentary deadlock (Reuters).



India Scuttles Agreement on Global Trade

India effectively vetoed an agreement on easing global trade regulations (WSJ) at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, insisting on a parallel agreement that would allow food stockpiling and subsidies for the poor (Economic Times). The WTO has until July 31 to reach consensus on the so-called Bali agreement.

AFGHANISTAN: President Hamid Karzai urged a speedy conclusion to the vote audit that will determine his successor in a speech Monday marking the holiday Eid al-Fitr (AP). Meanwhile, the Taliban are making territorial gains ahead of the international military drawdown (NYT).



Libya Battles Oil Blaze as Diplomats Pull Out

Libyan officials warned of a humanitarian disaster and sought international assistance after an oil tank was set ablaze in the course of firefights Sunday (AFP). Two weeks of fighting have left more than 150 people dead in Tripoli and Benghazi and prompted the United Nations, United States, and Turkey to pull out their diplomats (Reuters).



West Africa Struggles to Contain Ebola

Liberia moved to shut down many border crossings and quarantine communities affected by ebola after a Liberian man died of the virus in the Nigerian city of Lagos last week (BBC). Fear of the disease, which has killed more than 660 people since March, has provoked hostility toward foreign doctors (NYT).

CAMEROON: Cameroon dispatched warplanes and elite troops to stop suspected Boko Haram militants near the Nigerian border after they abducted the wife of a deputy prime minister (Leadership).

CFR's Nigeria Security Tracker provides a graphic overview of trends in politically motivated violence.



International Investigators Blocked from Ukraine Crash Site

Fighting in eastern Ukraine left a Dutch and Australian forensic team unable to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 for the third consecutive day (AP). UN rights chief Navi Pillay said the jetliner''s downing may amount to a war crime (NYT).

CFR's interactive Global Conflict Tracker compiles the latest analysis on the crisis in Ukraine.

RUSSIA: Arbitrators awarded leading shareholders of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky's now-defunct oil company, $50 billion in damages from Russia (FT).



Venezuelan Official Avoids Extradition to U.S.

President Nicolas Maduro welcomed former intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal back to Caracas (BBC) after the ex-general was released from detention in Aruba. Carvajal was wanted by the United States on drug trafficking charges (Miami Herald), but was freed after Dutch authorities deemed he was protected by diplomatic immunity.

UNITED STATES: The death of a twenty-three-year-old Peace Corps volunteer in China raises questions about the program's medical infrastructure, the New York Times found in an investigation.



Connect with CFR

cfr on facebook Facebook
cfr on twitter Twitter
cfr on youtube YouTube
cfr on youtube Mobile
cfr on youtube Join the conversation at»