Week in Review - August 15, 2014

Middle East and North Africa
Central Eurasia
Latin America and the Caribbean

Middle East and North Africa

  • U.S. Department of Defense officials announced that Kurdish fighters and U.S. airstrikes had broken the Islamic State’s siege of Mount Sinjar, allowing for thousands of Yazidis to evacuate. Meanwhile, in response to I.S.’s advances on Erbil, the U.S. and several European nations pledged to supply arms to Kurdish forces. President Obama suggested that U.S. airstrikes will continue over the next few weeks to months, but that the U.S. has ruled out reintroducing forces into ground combat in Iraq.
  • The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a DoD agency, cleared two major potential arms sales with Saudi Arabia and Turkey this week. The $2 billion Saudi deal would include upgrades to its military aircraft systems, while the $320 million Turkish deal would provide medium-range air-to-air missiles for the Turkish Air Force. Both deals must receive congressional approval before moving forward. The U.S. also announced it would deliver emergency military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces to prevent the further spillover of violence from the Syrian conflict.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Israel has been legally securing supplies of ammunition from the Department of Defense, through a DoD storage facility in Israel, without the approval of the White House or State Department. In response, the administration put a hold on a shipment of hellfire missiles, while the State Department confirmed it will take additional care in supplying weapons to Israel over concerns of civilian deaths in Gaza.


Latin America

  • The Defense Department’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) will be setting up a research program in Colombia to shape future propaganda campaigns, USA Today reported. This is the Pentagon’s latest attempt to assess the effectiveness of these programs, which have lost funding in recent years.Training with Colombian Marines
  • United States Southern Command kicked off its ten day Partnership of the Americas 2014 exercise in Chile. The exercise is designedto bolster security cooperation and operational readiness for natural disasters among participating forces, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay.
  • During a press conference, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he would continue to deploy National Guard troops to his state’s border with Mexico until the nationwide threat of “narco-terrorism” is eliminated. The cost of the current deployment is approximately $18 million a month, according to Fox News Latino.  
  • One hundred officers from South Carolina’s Air National Guard arrived in Colombia to complete air operation engagement exercises with the country’s air force. The exercise, which includes information sharing on defensive air operations, is meant to “strengthen military-to-military relationships at all levels of command” and will take place just outside of Medellín.



  • The U.S. announced it will provide $10 million to France to assist in counterterrorism operations in Mali, Niger, and Chad. President Oba

    ma wrote in a memo: “I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France in its efforts to secure Mali, Niger, and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists.”
  • The U.S. threatened sanctions against anyone blocking attempts to reach a peace agreement in South Sudan, as well as anyone responsible for committing human rights violations.


Central Eurasia

  • American-trained-and-equipped troops from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) exercises next week. The SCO includes China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.