Monday, 23rd May 2016

GREECE – The International Monetary Fund has called for “upfront” and “unconditional” debt relief for Greece as it warned that without immediate action the financial plight of the recession-ravaged country would deteriorate dramatically over the coming decades. (The Guardian)

MIGRANT CRISIS – Global leaders met in Istanbul on Monday to tackle a “broken” humanitarian system that has left 130 million people in need of aid, a near insurmountable task for a two-day summit that critics say risks achieving little. (The Daily Star)

SYRIA – Two teams of suicide attackers waged coordinated assaults on Monday deep inside Syrian government territory, killing scores of people and piercing a sanctuary for supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. (The New York Times)

TURKEY – Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is participating in “Anatolian Eagle – 4” Military Training hosted by Turkey for about 20 days. This is the fourth representation of Saudi Arabia at one of the largest military exercises of its kind. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

WAR ON TERROR – Iraqi forces have launched an operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah. The military was “approaching a moment of great victory” against IS, said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a TV address late on Sunday night, surrounded by top military commanders from the Ministry of Defence and the country’s elite counter-terrorism forces. (The Independent)

Tuesday, 24th May 2016

CYPRUS – Talks aimed at reunifying ethnically divided Cyprus stumbled when the Greek Cypriot president called off a meeting with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader and cut short a visit to Turkey over a perceived protocol breach at a UN summit. (Al Jazeera)

ISRAEL – Palestinians asked the United States to intervene so that the Paris economic agreement can be re-evaluated at the first high level joint meeting in Ramallah in which economic dialogue between the two parties was re-established after it was stopped a decade ago. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Palestinians on Monday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to hold direct talks in Paris under the auspices of the French government. (The Jerusalem Post)

TURKEY – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the European Union that Turkey would block laws related to the landmark deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe if Ankara was not granted its key demand of visa-free travel within the bloc. (The Guardian)

Wednesday, 25th May 2016

GREECE – Greek authorities have begun an operation to clear the country’s largest informal refugee camp in Idomeni on the Macedonian border, blocking access to the area and sending in more than 700 riot police. (Al Jazeera)

ISRAEL – B’Tselem, a leading Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said on Wednesday it would no longer refer complaints of abuse carried out by Israeli soldiers to Israeli military courts because the system was biased and set up to whitewash cases. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

MIGRANT CRISIS – More than 500 people narrowly escaped drowning on Wednesday after their smugglers’ boat capsized in the southern Mediterranean, a series of dramatic photographs have revealed. (The Guardian)

WAR ON TERROR – Kurdish-led forces have massed thousands of fighters as part of a military offensive to take over Raqqa, the northern Syrian city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group for more than two and a half years. (Al Jazeera)

Terrorist cells in the EU are probably stockpiling explosives for future attacks, a senior Europol security official has said. Europol, the EU’s police agency, said it had foiled 211 terror plots in the last year. (The Independent)

Thursday, 26th May 2016

GREECE – Eurozone Finance Ministers and the International Monetary Fund patched together a deal in the early hours of Wednesday that clears the way for fresh loans for Greece and sets out how the country could get debt relief in the future. (The Wall Street Journal)

LIBYA – Europe’s bold intentions to support Libya’s new UN-backed government are faltering as France and Germany resist a bigger role to rebuild the failed state, scarred by the West’s 2011 air campaign to help topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi. (The Jordan Times)

A British Navy warship could be sent into Libyan waters to stop Islamic State smuggling arms out of the chaotic country. (Daily Mail)

MIGRANT CRISIS – Dozens of people are feared to have drowned in the second shipwreck in as many days in the southern Mediterranean, amid tentative signs that some Syrians may be trying once again to make for Europe from Libya. (The Guardian)

Friday, 27th May 2016

EGYPT – Search teams have detected emergency signals from the wreckage of EgyptAir flight MS804, Egypt’s lead investigator has said. Captain Ayman Al Moqadem said signals coming from the aircraft’s fuselage will narrow down the search radius from 40 miles to three. (The Independent)

GREECE – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Greece on Friday for a two-day visit, aiming to strengthen a close relationship amid continuing diplomatic tensions with the West. (The Wall Street Journal)

ISRAEL – Avi Gabbay, the Minister of Environmental Protection, announced on Friday that he will resign from the government. Gabbay said that his decision to quit stemmed from his dissatisfaction with the recently consummated agreement between Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, elevating Avigdor Liberman to the position of Defense Minister in place of Moshe Ya’alon. (The Jerusalem Post)

TURKEY – Turkey on Friday accused its NATO ally the United States of “unacceptable” behavior after US commandos in Syria were pictured assisting a Kurdish militia that is branded a terror group by Ankara and even wearing their insignia. (Al Monitor)

WAR ON TERROR – A US-led coalition has carried out at least 150 air strikes on the Islamic State group to back an offensive near the jihadists’ northern Syria stronghold, a monitor said Friday. (France 24)