World News Brief, Thursday October 30

Iraqi Kurdish forces enter Syria; Hong Kong Liberal Party leader loses seat on political advisory board; India and Vietnam sign defense and oil deals; Afghan president visits China; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Syria

One hundred and fifty Iraqi Kurdish forces (Al Arabiya) entered Syria to defend the besieged town of Kobani on Wednesday. In addition to added manpower, the fighters bring much-needed heavy weaponry. Free Syrian Army rebels (AP) also traveled to Kobani to fight against ISIS; they and the Kurds are the only ground forces in the town. It is yet to be seen whether these forces will shift momentum in what has become a symbolic battle in the fight against ISIS.


"Western governments should increase their pressure on Turkey to open a corridor for Syrian Kurdish forces and their heavy weapons to reach the defenders of Kobani through the border. We believe that such a corridor, and not only the limited transport of other fighters that Turkey has proposed, should be opened under the supervision of the United Nations," writes Meysa Adbo, a commander of the Kobani resistance, in the New York Times.

"The arrival of Kurdish Peshmerga forces from Iraq, and of Arab rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), reflects a determination by the US-led anti-IS coalition not to let Kobani fall. […] Their impact may take some time to be felt, but the arrival of the heavier weaponry brought by the Iraqi Kurds may have an effect greater than the numbers of fighters involved, who will play a support role rather than front-line combat," writes Jim Muir for the BBC.

"The central role Kurds are now playing in the international fight against Islamic State, may make it harder to ignore Kurdish pleas for greater autonomy, if not independence. Yet many obstacles remain. […] Peace talks with the PKK that started in 2012 have been strained of late because Turkey has refused to assist the Kurds in the fight for Kobani. But the more the Kurds participate in bashing Islamic State, the more they will ask for in return," writes the Economist.



Hong Kong Party Leader Removed From Advisory Body

Liberal Party leader James Tien was stripped of his seat (SCMP) in Hong Kong's top political advisory body on Wednesday after calling for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's resignation. After failed negotiation talks, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue after more than a month of demonstrations.

This CFR Issue Guide provides background and analysis on the protests in Hong Kong.

VIETNAM: India and Vietnam signed defense and oil deals during the Vietnamese prime minister's two-day visit in India. India will supply Vietnam with naval vessels and has pledged to expand cooperation in energy exploration.


Afghan president visits China

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