Egypt. After the bombings of the churches, security forces have killed seven suspected Islamic State group members hiding in the southern province of the country. On 20th US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledging support. The brief visit came after Sisi met President Trump in the White House earlier this month. Sisi’s visit marked a shift in relations after Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama had given the Egyptian leader the cold shoulder for leading the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Libya. Forces aligned with the UN-backed government said that three of their men have been killed in air raids against the air base of Tamanhent by rivals allied with eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar. Clashes in the south have continued for days souring the relationships between government in Tripoli and Haftar. As a result it seems that the war in Libya is festering; however, the partitioning of Libya is not the best possible solution.
Turkey. Turkish citizens voted on 16th in a referendum that deeply changes how Turkey is governed by significantly expanding the powers of the country’s presidential office. The “Yes” won with 51.4 percent of the vote; however, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) demanded a recount, citing voting irregularities. The new constitutional changes transform Turkey’s governance from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency, significantly expanding the powers of the top office. The result gives the president to be elected in 2019 new powers to appoint vice-presidents, ministers, high-level officials, and senior judges. It will also allow the president to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees, and impose states of emergency. The constitutional changes are backed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP).
Morocco. After six months Morocco has a new Cabinet and prime minister. Moreover, Morocco’s security forces dismantled a suspected terrorist cell linked to the Islamic State. The members of this cell intensified their recruitment and the sending of Moroccan volunteers to both Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, Moroccan and US forces are among nearly 1,300 troops from across the world taking part in a major military exercise in southern Morocco known as African Lion 2017. It includes land, air and naval elements. They are led by the Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and sponsored by the US Africa Command.
Syria. On 17th a large blast has killed at least 126 people in an attack near buses carrying Syrians evacuated from two besieged government-held towns in Idlib province.
Iraq. Islamic State militants fired a rocket loaded with chlorine in a newly-liberated al-Abar neighborhood in western Mosul on 14th. Iraqi forces launched a new attack on the ISIS in Mosul on 17th with federal police advancing 200 meters in house-to-house fighting in the Old City.