Happy New Year, OJ readers! Here’s your first weekly selection of 2016 of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Somalia’s Islamist militant group al Shabaab has released a recruitment film in the form of a documentary about racial injustice in the United States featuring Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, SITE Monitoring reported on Saturday.
- Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is ready to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of more than 200 girls kidnapped in April last year.
- Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have agreed on which firms will carry out studies on the potential impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the flow of the Nile, their foreign and water ministers said.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran on Sunday, responding to the storming of its embassy in Tehran in an escalating row between the rival Middle East powers over Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric.
- An agreement signed last year making the Vatican’s de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.
- The Arab military coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia has announced the end of a repeatedly violated ceasefire agreement with Yemen’s Houthi fighters and their allies.
- South Korea defended on Thursday an agreement with Japan to settle the issue of sexual slavery, known colloquially as “comfort women”, following criticism it was inadequate, saying it was the best any government could do in the lifetimes of the elderly victims of abuse.
- Any foreign counter-terrorism mission for China’s armed forces would need to respect the charter of the United Nations and the sovereignty of the host nation, China’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday, outlining the possible limits to such a deployment.
- Gunfights have raged as Afghan forces battle to flush out fighters holed up near the Indian consulate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, hours after they attempted to storm the diplomatic mission.
- Vietnam has accused China of violating its sovereignty by landing a plane on an airstrip on an artificial island in a contested part of the South China Sea.
- Indonesian police on Thursday arrested three men with suspected links to Islamic State as part of an operation in the province of Central Sulawesi to capture the country’s most-wanted man, state media reported.
- Sweden has begun ID controls as part of the government’s efforts to limit the number of refugees entering the country.
- Belgian investigators released three people on Friday after questioning them over an alleged plot to attack the capital on New Year’s Eve which forced the cancellation of the city’s annual fireworks display.
- Poland could be open to compromise over British demands to limit the rights of European Union migrants if London helps it bolster the NATO presence in central Europe, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told Reuters.
- The head of a special team investigating alleged abuses by British soldiers in Iraq has said he’s confident there will be sufficient evidence for war crimes prosecutions.
- The U.S.-led coalition carried out 24 strikes against Islamic State militants on Wednesday, putting pressure on the group around Ramadi and Mosul in Iraq and along the Mar’a line in Syria, the U.S. military said in a statement on Thursday.
- The New Zealand government has criticised Saudi Arabia’s execution of dissidents, but trade talks aren’t likely to be put on hold.
- At least 980 Iraqis lost their lives in violent attacks during the month of December 2015, around 90 more than November, the UN has announced, amid an offensive by the Iraqi military to retake Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
- A U.N. plan to suspend Syria’s nearly five-year-old civil war calls for listing which militant groups may be fought despite an eventual ceasefire, one of the toughest issues vexing diplomats trying to end the conflict.