World News Brief, Thursday December 4

ISIS significantly weakened by air strikes in Iraq and Syria, says John Kerry; Taiwan's Kuomintang party chairman resigns; Japan launches six-year space mission; 

Top of the Agenda

Kerry Says ISIS Significantly Weakened

In a meeting with members of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the militant group has been significantly weakened (Reuters) by the more than one thousand air strikes carried out in Iraq and Syria. Kerry met with foreign ministers from the coalition in Brussels Wednesday to discuss the campaign against the militants that he said would nonetheless take years. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said that Iran conducted air strikes (Guardian) against ISIS in Iraq, but the Iranian government has denied such claims. 


"With the conflict showing no sign of ending any time soon, some say the U.S. has to get more serious about addressing ISIS in Syria and pushing for a political end to the conflict, one that doesn’t end with Assad still in power. Focusing only on Iraq, they say, is not enough," writes CFR's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in Defense One.

"A key element of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been striking at the oil fields seized by the group to undermine its finances. But ISIS is a diversified criminal business, and oil is only one of its several revenue streams. U.S. officials ignore that fact at their own peril," writes Louise Shelley in Foreign Affairs.    

"Now that the international fight against Islamic State has taken precedence over any notion of halting Assad, the Syrian dictator seems to have succeeded in casting himself as the west’s tacit ally in fighting radical jihadism. Plans to orchestrate a 'political transition' in Damascus are now little more than the empty slogans of international diplomacy," writes the Guardian.


Explore the New CFR Oceans Interactive

To be good stewards of the oceans, nations need to embrace more effective multilateral governance in the economic, security, and environmental realms, says the updated CFR Global Governance Monitor.




Taiwan's Party Chairman Resigns

President Ma Ying-jeou stepped down (SCMP) as chairman of the Kuomintang party (KMT) after the premier and eighty-one cabinet members quit following major losses for the party in local elections over the weekend.

The KMT's losses reflect voter dissatisfaction over not only the government’s performance but also its pro-China policy, writes a guest blogger for CFR's Asia Unbound.

JAPAN: Japan successfully launched a probe (Japan Times) on a six-year mission to collect rock samples from an asteroid 185 million miles from Earth.

Suicide bomber targets UN convoy in Somalia
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