Monday, 27th July 2015

GREECE – Negotiators from Greece’s bailout monitors will fly to Athens on Monday to formally begin talks on a €86bn rescue after days of delays over whether the Greek government would allow creditors to have full access to staff and facilities. Despite an agreement that gives teams from the EU and the International Monetary Fund access to some ministries and data, officials said only middle-ranking technical teams — and not mission chiefs — would participate for now. (Financial Times)

SYRIA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has pledged to win his country’s long-running civil war while acknowledging his troops are struggling to maintain control over territory amid lack of manpower. In a televised speech on Sunday before local dignitaries in Damascus, Assad tried to justify why the Syrian army has given up some areas of Syria, including the northwestern city of Idlib. (Al-Jazeera)

TUNISIA – Tunisia’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly late Friday to pass an antiterrorism law after a pair of devastating attacks against tourists, but critics fear that the new legislation may endanger the country’s hard-won freedoms. (The New York Times)

YEMEN – Saudi Arabia announced a surprise five-day pause to its bombing campaign in Yemen on Sunday to allow aid to flow into the war-torn state on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, two weeks after ignoring a similar UN initiative. (Financial Times)

Tuesday, 28th July 2015

ISLAMIC STATE – The head of one of Iraq’s fiercest Shi’ite militias called the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign against Islamic State ineffective and accused Washington of lacking the will to uproot radical Sunni jihadis controlling large swathes of Iraq and Syria. (Reuters)

TURKEY – Turkey and the U.S. have agreed on the outlines of a plan to drive Islamic State out of a strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border, according to reports, in a landmark deal that will draw Turkey further into Syria’s civil war and looks likely to increase the intensity of the U.S. air war against Isis. (The Guardian)

UNITED KINGDOM – Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he was ready to order air strikes on Islamist militant targets in Libya and Syria to prevent attacks on the streets of Britain as he stepped up his rhetoric against Islamic State insurgents. (Reuters)

Wednesday, 29th July 2015

AFGHANISTAN – Afghanistan said on Wednesday that Mullah Omar, the elusive leader of the Taliban movement fighting to topple the government, died more than two years ago. The announcement came a day or so before a second round of peace talks had been tentatively scheduled, and news of the fate of the one-eyed Omar could deepen Taliban divisions over whether to pursue negotiations with Kabul and who should replace him. (Reuters)

ISRAEL – Israel gave final approval on Wednesday for plans to build 300 new homes in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, announcing the move as it carried out a court demolition order against two vacant apartment blocks in the same enclave. (Reuters)

LIBYA – A court in Libya has sentenced Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of deposed leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, and eight others to death over war crimes linked to the 2011 revolution. (BBC)

MIGRANTS CRISIS – Three thousand migrants stormed the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais in a single night, with a record number making their way to Britain yesterday. As the crisis at the French port deepened amid the biggest security breach to date, Britain struck a deal with France to repatriate migrants from sprawling Calais camps to their home countries. (The Times)

Thursday, 30th July 2015

AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban have chosen late supreme leader Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy to replace him, two militant commanders said on Thursday, as Pakistan announced that peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government had been postponed. Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was appointed leader at a meeting of the Taliban’s top representatives, many of whom are based in the Pakistani city of Quetta, according to the sources who were present at the shura. (Reuters)

GREECE – Alexis Tsipras will on Thursday face an unprecedented challenge to his authority, as the central committee of his governing SYRIZA party meets to discuss the prime minister’s plan to hold a snap election as soon as Greece signs up to a €86bn third bailout. (Financial Times)

TURKEY – A pipeline carrying crude from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Mediterranean was blown up in southeast Turkey on Wednesday in an attack that Ankara has blamed on terrorists. (Financial Times)

Friday, 31st July 2015

GREECE – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged on Friday that his government had made covert contingency plans in case Greece was forced out of the euro, but rejected accusations that he had plotted a return to the drachma. Tsipras was forced to respond to the issue in parliament after former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis this week revealed efforts to hack into citizens’ tax codes to create a parallel payment system, prompting shock and outrage in Greece. (Reuters)

PALESTINE – Suspected Jewish attackers torched a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank on Friday, killing an 18-month-old child and seriously injuring his parents and older brother, an act that Israel’s prime minister described as terrorism. (Reuters)