MENA Daily Update as at 16th March 2015
Iraq: Kurdistan Region Security Council releases video reportedly showing ISIS chemical weapon attack
The Kurdistan Region Security Council released new video footage and laboratory results reportedly proving that the Islamic State (IS) militant group carried out a at least one suicide truck bombing attack, targeting Peshmerga troops, that included chlorine gas on a road between Mosul and the Syrian border on January 23, 2015. The newly reported evidence follows previous Kurdish claims that IS cadres used chlorine gas in at least two other attacks in the Sinjar area during December 2014 as well as another attack one month later in an area west of Mosul in January.
One day after the attack on January 23, a United States-led coalition airstrike targeted and killed IS chemical weapon engineer Abu Malik near Mosul. While Kurdish claims have yet to be corroborated by an outside source, they underscore the threat of chlorine gas becoming a prominent feature of attacks in Iraq – as they’ve become in neighbouring Syria where Bashar al-Assad’s regime has continuously carried out chlorine gas assaults.
Syria: US signals that Assad must be negotiated with while France rejects such claims
Signalling a shift in official policy, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that President Obama’s administration would ultimately be forced to negotiate with Bashar al-Assad’s regime to bring an end to the bloody, four-year long conflict in Syria. In what was a direct rejection of this claim, French officials reiterated that the only solution they would take part in would see a “political negotiation between different Syrian parties” stating that Assad would not be included in this, whatsoever.
The shift in US policy is unlikely to change anything on the ground in the near term but it does underscore – as Iranian forces back Iraqi troops to retake the strategic city of Tikrit in Iraq – the administration’s general lack of strategy regarding the Assad regime.
The information in this brief is provided by Global Risk Awareness – a world leading Cyber Intelligence company.