Links for the Middle of Your Week 3/18/15

My bad, guys. It’s late. Also, though, links posts are a great time to let me know if you are interested in reading a longer/more in-depth post about any of the topics I mention here.

Human Rights

This week I learned that Australia mandates detention of all asylum seekers until their claims are processed. This includes children. The legal limbo and extended detention asylum seekers experience has been compared to that experienced by Guantanamo Bay prisoners. The UN Committee Against Torture and Amnesty International have both sharply criticized this practice.

National Security

Two professors from the U.S. Army War College have published a study alleging that dishonesty has become so widespread within the military, and the army in particular, that it is considered commonplace. Some of the things they lie about: who they have trained and to what standard. Some Army officers do not accurately report about military engagements and do not request permission for indirect fire.

War on the Rocks has an analysis of the use of the kind of extreme, borderline theatrical violence that ISIS and other similar organizations specialize in.

The Afghan government used money it had received from the CIA to pay Al Qaeda for the return of a hostage.


Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, and Chad have joined together to ask the UN to establish a trust fund to finance a force to fight Boko Haram. The group’s attacks have expanded from Nigeria into the neighboring countries seeking UN funding. Chad is currently the state besides Nigeria most involved in efforts against Boko Haram.

Also on the subject of Boko Haram: Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is bringing in South African mercenaries to take on a leading role in fighting the militant group. At least some of the fighters are reportedly linked to Executive Outcomes, a now-defunct company from South Africa. The company at one point was mostly composed of former soldiers from the apartheid regime that suppressed black liberation movements. Sources are saying that the mercenaries are “doing the heavy lifting” of fighting Boko Haram.

Middle East

Speaking of foreign fighters in conflict: the U.S. might officially be trying to avoid putting “boots on the ground” in the fight against ISIS, but individual U.S. veterans are joining Kurdish units and other local militias to do just that. This could get complicated if/when those soldiers try to come back, because some of those Kurdish units have ties to organizations that the State Department classified as terrorist. An American has also formed an organization called Sons of Liberty International, which is training Assyrian Christians in Iraq to fight ISIS.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was trailing the opposition in a poll last week, but made a comeback and was reelected as prime minister. This will be his fourth term, and it doesn’t bode well for the peace process.


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