World News Brief, Tuesday May 19

Islamic State takes control of Ramadi; diplomats from India, Malaysia and Thailand to address migrant crisis; US threatens new sanctions on North Korea; Nigeria claims troops have killed many Boko Haram militants; Obama bans military assault gear for local police; and more


Ramadi Falls to Islamic State

Ramadi, capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, fell to militants of the self-declared Islamic State as Iraqi military forces retreated on Sunday. Five hundred people were killed (AP) and more than eight thousand others were displaced by the fighting. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called (Guardian) on both Shia and Sunni militias to fight for control of Anbar province on Monday. The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State boosted (Reuters) its support to Iraqi forces in Ramadi, conducting nineteen air strikes in the past seventy-two hours. Meanwhile, Iran's defense minister arrived (AFP) in Baghdad on Monday for talks with senior Iraqi leaders. Separately, U.S. special forces killed (CNN) Abu Sayyaf, a senior leader of the Islamic State, in eastern Syria on Friday, according to the Pentagon.  


"IS’s gains have often been the product of their mistakes. The group's advances across Iraq and Syria have been due not just to its force of arms and terrifying reputation for violence, but also to the lack of a political process in either country," writes the Economist.

"Ramadi’s fall undercuts White House and Pentagon assurances that the war against Islamic State is going well. The reality is that the political limitations that the White House has put on U.S. military planners have allowed ISIS to hold or retake most of its ground. Half-hearted wars rarely end in victory," writes the Wall Street Journal.

"With the Ramadi assault, the ISIS planners have also set up the circumstances for more trouble for the Iraqi government in Iraq’s western Anbar province. Iraq’s Prime Minister is now saying he will deploy Shia militias to the city to mount a fightback—but that is likely to roil more Sunnis in a province that they dominate and undermine efforts get the tribes that are aligned with ISIS to defect," writes Jamie Dettmer in the Daily Beast


Top Diplomats to Discuss Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia

Foreign ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are expected to meet (Star) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to discuss ways to address human trafficking and Southeast Asia's migrant crisis. Migrants rescued from one sinking ship reported deadly fights (BBC) breaking out onboard due to food and water shortages. The Indonesian navy prevented (AFP) a vessel suspected of carrying migrants from entering its waters over the weekend, according to the military.

NORTH KOREA: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened (Bloomberg) to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Monday, stating that the Kim regime has made no effort to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Experts discuss Chinese and Japanese stances on North Korea in this CFR Meeting.


Nigeria claims troops have killed many Boko Haram terrorists

Obama bans military assault gear for local police

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