Tensions in Kashmir. Landline and mobile internet services have been restored in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, according to the local police chief. But restrictions still appear to be in force in Srinagar, where protests continue. Reports indicate that drones are being used to monitor the protests and that protesters clashed with security forces this week. Along the Line of Control, skirmishes left four Pakistani soldiers and one Indian soldier dead. Pakistan’s efforts to solicit external mediation have stalled; powers such as the United States and Russia are calling for resolution at a bilateral level. India has its hands full as manages domestic opposition to bringing Kashmir into the fold, and Pakistan hasn’t shown a willingness to strike India first. However, this is Kashmir, and the possibility of escalation persists.
Rockets in Israel. On Friday night, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system shot down a single rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, according to Israel Defense Forces. The Israeli Air Force responded with airstrikes against Hamas infrastructure. Exchanges such as this are nothing new, of course – Hamas last fired rockets at Israel in June – but the current one comes at a time when Israel is facing increased security threats from Hezbollah and other Iran-backed forces in the north. Hezbollah’s chief in Lebanon expressed support and solidarity for the most recent attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, calling them important developments in resistance efforts against Israel. In dealing with so many security threats, Israel risks fighting on multiple security fronts – which is exactly what it wants to avoid.
- Seoul informed Tokyo that as of Aug. 19 Japan will no longer be on South Korea’s list of trusted trading partners.
- An Iranian energy delegation arrived in Kabul for discussions with Afghan officials on cooperation in water and electricity sectors, and in particular on electricity trade and supply.
- The U.S. said its anti-Islamic State coalition in Iraq will adhere to the Iraqi government’s decision to restrict use of Iraqi airspace.
- A Thai Muslim insurgent group, Barisan Revolusi Nasional, announced it had met with government officials to present the group’s preconditions for starting formal peace talks.
- Latvian President Egils Levits called on Berlin to assume more responsibility in global affairs.