World News Brief, Tuesday October 21

US Army drops weapons to Kurdish forces; new president for Indonesia; two female cabinet ministers in Japan resign; Nigeria declared ebola-free; and more

Top of the Agenda

U.S. Army Drops Weapons to Kurdish Forces

U.S. military aircraft dropped (NYT) ammunition, arms, and medical supplies to Kurdish forces fighting ISIS near Kobani on Sunday. Turkey's foreign minister said that it has been facilitating the passage (Hurriyet) of Iraqi Kurds into Kobani to join the fight for control of the city. In Iraq, Baghdad suffered another deadly attack on a Shia mosque, while Australia will deploy two hundred special forces to Iraq for training.


"Defeating ISIS will require attacking it on many fronts—ideology, resources, communication and recruitment. But the sine qua non is beating them on the battlefield. Moreover, ground troops are indispensable to winning on the battlefield, irrespective of air superiority, especially in unconventional warfare. […] The president's strategy, other than repeated pledges to arm and train the moderate Syrian opposition, is silent," writes Gary A. Grappo in Global Post.

"Obama now finds himself pressured to escalate military action in Syria. This is a path destined for failure. In fact, the administration should abandon its lofty rhetoric and make clear that it is focused on a strategy against ISIS that is actually achievable—containment," writes Fareed Zakaria in the Washingon Post.

"But before we go half-cocked into another Middle East war based on half-baked notions about the people we will be fighting, we need to know a great deal more about the challenges involved. We need to understand the nature of ISIS. What is its appeal; what are the social and political characteristics of its base? […] This may be a war worth waging. But before we do more, we need to know more," writes James Zogby in the Huffington Post.


What Threats and Conflicts Will Emerge or Escalate in 2015?
CFR's annual Preventive Priorities Survey aims to assist policymakers in anticipating and planning for international crises that threaten U.S. national interests. What threats and conflicts will emerge or escalate in 2015? Tell us what you think.


Indonesia Inaugurates New President

Joko Widodo was sworn in (Jakarta Post) as Indonesia's seventh president on Monday. His former rival, Prabowo Subianto, who alleged voter fraud following his electoral loss in July, voiced his support for Widodo in a meeting on Friday. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attended Widodo's inauguration; he has been meeting with various heads of state in the region to boost Southeast Asian support in the fight against ISIS (AP).

In Joko Widodo's first months as president, he will likely focus on pressing domestic issues, like infrastructure and corruption, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

JAPAN: Two of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's female cabinet ministers resigned (Asahi Shimbun) on Monday. The trade and industry minister stepped down over allegations of the misuse of political funds, and the justice minister resigned due to allegations that she violated the country's election law.


Nigeria declared ebola-free

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