This week, Turkey allowed roughly 150 Iraqi Kurds to transit Turkish territory in order to reinforce Kurdish forces defending the city of Kobani, Syria, which has been under siege by the Islamic State. President of Burkina Faso Blaise Campaore decided to step down following violent protests against efforts to amend the constitution to allow for his reelection. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto met with the families of dozens of students who went missing near the town of Iguala last month. The U.S.-appointed Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published a series of major reports this week showing that U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts are currently hampered by a variety of issues.
The Egyptian government denies carrying out airstrikes against militants in Libya, Mali has reportedly become the most dangerous country in the world for U.N. Peacekeepers, Mexican activists have threatened to bring the country to a standstll over the unsolved disappearance of dozens of students and the U.S. State Department urged the government of Azerbaijan to release human rights defenders held in pretrial detention. Read about these stories and more from this past week.
A still-unfolding scandal in Colombia is revealing American Commission on Human Rights,” establishing that the government’s intelligence agency not only spied upon major players in Colombia’s democracy—from Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges to presidential candidates, from journalists and publishers to human rights defenders, from international organizations to U.S. and European human rights groups—but also carried out dirty tricks, and even death threats, to undermine their legitimate, democratic activities.
On July 13, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law a $1.3 billion package of mostly military aid, known as “Plan Colombia,” that made Colombia by far the biggest U.S. aid recipient outside the Middle East. Now, ten years later, Colombia often gets described as a “success” in Washington. Officials and analysts point to improvements in several measures of security in the conflict-torn South American country. They give the credit to U.S. assistance and to President Álvaro Uribe, who took over in 2002 and implemented a hard-line security policy.