US increases air strikes on Syrian town of Kobani; Hong Kong government and protest leaders to meet; Australian PM Tony Abbott seeks to legislate against 'preachers of hate'; Ebola unavoidable in Europe; Canadian military to head to Iraq; and more
Top of the Agenda
Fight for Syrian Town Intensifies
The United States increased air strikes (Reuters) on the town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday after Kurdish forces said previous strikes were not fighting off ISIS advances. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan also warned of the high risk of Kobani falling to ISIS control. Although Turkey approved military action against ISIS and has moved tanks to its border with Syria, the government said it will not get more involved (NYT) without a U.S. commitment to enhanced support of Syrian rebels against the Assad regime. Meanwhile, violence between Kurdish protesters and Turkish police left twelve dead (BBC); protests also took place across Europe as Kurds called for greater action by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.
"Erdogan's inaction can be explained by the unique dilemmas IS poses for Turkey. Every policy response designed to resolve these dilemmas merely creates new challenges, from domestic politics to the long-simmering question of Kurdish autonomy. There is no exit for Erdogan. Action or inaction against IS both contain security threats and political risks that the Turkish president would prefer to avoid," writes CFR's Steven A. Cook in Foreign Policy.
"[Turkey] is doing nothing to aid the Kurds. This in turn invites the question of whether Turkey sees the Kurds as a greater threat than the jihadists, who stand to grab their third border crossing with Turkey. Turkish President Erdogan appeared to suggest that IS and the PKK were equally dangerous," writes Amberin Zaman in Al-Monitor.
"Kobani is like an island trapped among ISIS-controlled territory. To the west of Kobani is Jarabulus and Southwest is Manbij, to the south is Raqqa, to the east is Tal Abyad, all areas controlled by ISIS. After Mosul, ISIS feels very strong, and this will make them even stronger. It will give them access to a border, which would give ISIS a huge advantage, and allow fighters to flow in and out, to sell oil more easily," says analyst Mutlu Civiroglu in an interview with Syria Deeply.
Hong Kong Negotiations to Start Friday
Government and protest leaders are set to meet Friday (SCMP) to find resolution to some of the protesters' grievances. After a preliminary meeting on Tuesday, some protesters expressed concern over the upcoming meeting's limited agenda. Meanwhile, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying is facing questions over $7 million in payments (Sydney Morning Herald) from an Australian firm seeking support for its Asian business plans.
Pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong feel Beijing has reneged on its guarantees of greater autonomy for the former British colony, says CFR's Barbara Demick in this CFR Video.
AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is looking to introduce legislation that would block "preachers of hate" (Sydney Morning Herald Tribute), individuals and groups that he says "promote terror." The move comes a week before the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which promotes sharia law and is banned in many Arab countries, is scheduled to host a lecture in Sydney.
Ebola unavoidable in Europe, says WHO
Canadian military to head to Iraq
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org