June 14, 2024


 Monday Briefing | February 16, 2015

Stories To Follow


Security issues and mistrust continue to plague the international medical effort to treat polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The image of the immunization program has suffered from the U.S.’s appropriation of the effort to track down Osama bin Laden several years ago. Read more.

Safe Ports in a Winter Storm

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) called for improvements in rescue efforts for refugees of the wars in Libya and Syria-Iraq who take to the sea trying to reaching southern Europe. Over 300 refugees may have drowned just this past week trying to reach asylum abroad. Read more.

Humanitarian Highlight

Doctors Without Borders reports from the frontline in Ukraine. Despite a lack of supplies, and intermittent electricity and water, the team there remains committed to its mission, even as the hospital takes heavier and heavier fire. Read more.

Pulled from the Rubble

Syria’s “White Helmets”, a volunteer outfit of rescuers, face down barrel bombs and a lack of funding for its lifesaving work. Can donors do more to help?

The Cellphone Is a Spy

ITV’s “Exposure” reports on how Special Forces teams in Iraq and Afghanistan used mobile photo data to track their targets – sometimes with less than spectacular results. Read more.

…The Web Café Is Also a Spy

Privacy advice from Open Democracy to Syrian activists spied on at home by their own government, and perhaps abroad as well by other foreign governments. Read more.


Just how many fighters does the Islamic State have among its ranks? War on the Rocks explains the guesstimates that go into the counting. Read more.

Author’s Picks:

U. Mass stops accepting Iranian students for some science programs due to U.S. sanctions; advocacy groups say they will appeal. Read more.

The recent arrests of Ukrainian journalists for allegedly spreading “propaganda” seems to have official support, but at what price for the press?

Obituary for International Solidary Movement (ISM) volunteer Kayla Mueller, whose activism spanned India, Syria, Israel-Palestine, and her home state of Arizona.

This Week’s Events

A fundraiser for the UNHCR and Karam Foundation hosted by NYU on Thursday night, February 19th at 19 University Place. RSVP here.

A lecture on the art looters of the Third Reich, hosted by Columbia University and the Jewish Museum through Saturday, February 21st. RSVP.

Fordham University’s panel on climate change, human rights, and international law on Friday, February 20th. RSVP.

LaGuardia Community College’s “Faces of Islam” series, on display until March 1st. RSVP.

In Your Spare Time

Voice of a Survivor

Monica Sunday tells Channel 4 of her and twenty-three other girls’ ordeal at the hands of their Boko Haram abductors. More here.

What’s in a Name?

Who gets to define the “terrorism” label? A series of arrests in Canada over the weekend underscores the political pregnancy of the word, says The Globe and Mail. Read more.

“Why Image Making Has Become the Flashpoint”

Jeet Heer on the profane, the cartoonist, and terrorism in Europe today following the Copenhagen shootings. Read more.

Fail of the Week

A Russian hotelier was denounced by officials of Donetsk People’s Republic for trying to set up four-day “adventure tours” to the war-ravaged region. Not cool.

This week’s Monday Briefing is authored by Paul Mutter. Paul is a freelance editor and politics blogger. A graduate of Rutgers University (2010), where he majored in history and political science, he is pursuing an MA in International Affairs at NYU on diplomacy among the Persian Gulf states. He writes on foreign affairs for The Arabist, FPA, Souciant, foreignpolicyblogs.com, and War Is Boring.

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