World roundup: October 27 2023
Stories from Syria, Myanmar, Ukraine, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
October 27, 1942: A Japanese fleet defeats a smaller US fleet in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, part of World War II’s Guadalcanal campaign. Although the US took heavier losses in this engagement, with two ships sunk including the fleet carrier USS Hornet, Japan’s losses in aircraft and trained pilots proved to be more strategically significant in the long term and so this battle is regarded as a Pyrrhic victory.
October 27, 2019: During an overnight US special forces raid in the town of Barisha, in Syria’s Idlib province, Islamic State leader and would-be caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is killed. According to US officials Baghdadi attempted to flee, but upon being surrounded he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children.
The Financial Action Task Force on Friday removed Albania, the Cayman Islands, Jordan, and Panama from its watch list or “gray list,” indicating that those jurisdictions have satisfied FATF concerns over their efforts to prevent money laundering and/or terrorism financing. Bulgaria wound up being added to the gray list, indicating the opposite. The FATF also suggested that a number of jurisdictions, including the UAE, could make their way off of the list as soon as February. Being placed on the gray list doesn’t carry any automatic penalty, unlike the FATF’s blacklist, but it can have a chilling effect on investment so there are economic benefits to getting off of it.
It’s hard to know for sure at the moment but it sounds like the Israeli military (IDF) has begun, or effectively begun, its ground operation in Gaza. It announced on Friday that it is “extending” its raids into Gaza after conducting fairly substantial incursions into northern and central Gaza the previous two nights and after what sounds like an especially intense overnight bombardment. I’m uncertain as to what exactly is going on mostly because of the vagueness of the term “extending,” which could mean they’re shifting to longer/deeper raids or could mean they’re going right to a full scale incursion. Nevertheless, as I wrote above I think it’s safe to say the ground operation has “effectively” begun even if we can’t be sure that it’s “technically” begun. For what it’s worth, Hamas said Friday evening that its fighters were engaged with Israeli forces, but that could still mean another raid. The death toll in Gaza on the eve of whatever this is had risen above 7300, according to Gazan health officials.
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