Monday, 7th December 2015

GREECE – Greece’s parliament has approved a 2016 budget that assumes an economic recession next year will be milder than forecast despite another round of spending cuts and tax increases. The budget passed early on Sunday by 153 votes for to 145 against after a rancorous debate that highlighted the reluctance of pro-European opposition parties to back the leftwing SYRIZA-led coalition over implementing unpopular structural reforms. (Financial Times)

TURKEY – The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has summoned the Turkish ambassador to demand that Turkey withdraw troops it sent to an area near the northern city of Mosul. It said the troops had entered Iraq without Baghdad’s consent and that Iraq considered it “a hostile act”. (BBC)

PALESTINE – John Kerry warned on Saturday of the potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, which he said could leave Israelis facing “chaos, lawlessness and desperation”. In a strongly worded speech that represented a rebuke to the leaders of both Israel and the Palestinians, the U.S. Secretary of State said current trends were moving towards a “one-state solution” where Israel would become responsible for governing the entire West Bank. (Financial Times)

Tuesday, 8th December 2015

DAESH – Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russia had for the first time struck Islamic State targets in Syria with missiles fired from a submarine in the Mediterranean. (Reuters)

ALBANIA – Opposition protesters in Albania threw eggs and cobblestones ripped from the street at the office of Prime Minister Edi Rama on Tuesday, using the 25th anniversary of an historic student protest against communism to denounce his government. (Reuters)

SYRIA – The United Nations urged Jordan on Tuesday to allow in 12,000 Syrian refugees stranded at the border in deteriorating humanitarian conditions and offered to help reinforce security at registration points. (Reuters)

Wednesday, 9th December 2015

ISRAEL – Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, says he will send a special envoy to Egypt with the aim of resolving a dispute over natural gas that has threatened the two countries’ ambitions to export billions of dollars’ worth of the resource from the eastern Mediterranean. (Financial Times)

IRAN – The U.S. is helping Iran with an arrangement to send part of its nuclear fuel stockpile to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a step that would ease swift sanctions relief for Tehran, according to people involved in the discussions. However, U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday that Iran last month conducted its second ballistic missile launch since it reached a nuclear agreement with six world powers in July. The test was an apparent violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution and State Department officials raised the possibility of fresh sanctions to deter Iran from developing a missile arsenal. (The Wall Street Journal)

TURKEY – Turkey’s Prime Minister accused Russia on Wednesday of attempted “ethnic cleansing” in northern Syria, saying Moscow was trying to drive out the local Turkmen and Sunni Muslim populations to protect its military interests in the region. (Reuters)

Thursday, 10th December 2015

SYRIA – A joint team of Syria’s political and armed opposition will meet the government next month for talks seeking a political solution to nearly five years of conflict, the chairman of a Saudi-hosted opposition conference said. (Al Arabiya)

TURKEY – The United States wants Turkey to do more to stem the flow of cash and money, which is crossing the border from militants in Syria and Iraq, senior U.S. Treasury official Adam Szubin said. (Reuters)

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region said on Thursday it would halt cooperation with the national court, prosecutor and police in protest at a war crimes raid, further threatening the integrity of the country 20 years after it emerged from war. The step was announced by the Serb Republic government but required the approval of the local parliament, which was sitting in emergency session. (Reuters)

Friday, 11th December 2015

ISRAEL – Israeli troops have killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip in separate incidents. (Al Jazeera)

SYRIA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared on Friday that he would not negotiate with armed groups, appearing to scupper peace talks that Russia and the United States hope to bring about next month. (Reuters)

LYBIA – Libya’s rival factions on Friday agreed to December 16 as a target date for signing a United Nations-backed national unity government agreement meant to end their conflict. (Reuters)