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The Diplomacy Cable 8/31/2015

With the invention of the telegraph cables in the 19th century, international consulates and embassies began sending shorter encrypted telegrams using Morse Code. While the messages are now sent electronically, the moniker “cable” stuck and the term is still in use today for shorter, encrypted diplomatic messages.

Three Al-Jazeera journalists were convicted for “spreading false news” in Egypt. The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and most recently the United States have condemned the ruling. State Department spokesman John Kirby stated that the Egyptian government should “redress this verdict, which undermines the very freedom of expression necessary for stability and development”. The BBC provides more on this story.

Turkey launched their first wave of airstrikes on Islamic State’s (IS) positions late Friday. IS militants have recently gained control of villages close to the Turkish border. Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO member had not taken action against IS out of fear of retaliation, but recently decided to join the U.S. coalition fighting IS. This is not a clean cut issue though, with Turkey coming under fire for their attacks on a Kurdish insurgency group that has been effective in combating ISIS themselves, according to The New York Times.

Three children, close to death, were rescued from inside of a van filled with refugees in Austria. This is the second incident involving refugees inside of Austria in the last few weeks. Including the discovery of 71 corpses in a van along the highway on Thursday. These incidents are another reminder of the dangers refugees face fleeing from conflicts in the Middle East. The International Organization for Migration estimates more than 300,000 people have crossed into Europe this year, with thousands having died. Al-Jazeera gives details on this story.

For the first time women in Saudi Arabia can register to vote, with local media reporting that women will be allowed to vote and campaign in December elections. CNN reports that according to the State Department, the late King Abdullah issued a royal decree in 2013 that ordering that 20% of the Consultative Council, effectively the King’s cabinet be female. While these are definite steps in the right direction, the changes have been criticized as being “anywhere from modest to inconsequential”, by groups like Human Rights Watch.

The New York Times reported on recent demonstrations in Lebanon protesting the rising trash piles in Beirut and other Lebanese cities. While the demonstrators protested the stench polluting their streets, they also protested the garbage that they believe that their government has become. Lebanon has been without a President for 14 months and has had its parliament extend their own mandate, effectively re-electing themselves.

The Iran Deal has garnered negative response from outside the President’s usual circle of critics. All that the opponents of the Iran Deal need is four of the fourteen remaining undecided Democratic Senators to come out against the Deal. This would force Obama to veto any defeat of the Deal, which could be his crowning foreign policy achievement. Politico provides the analysis of five potential Democratic swing votes.


Dylan Ashdown is a second year graduate student at Seton Hall, where he is a part of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations and College of Communication and the Arts. He is pursuing dual master’s degrees in Diplomacy and International Relations and Strategic Communications. He received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Central Missouri.

Follow Dylan Ashdown on Twitter at @AshdownDylan

Follow the Journal of Diplomacy on Twitter at @JournalofDiplo


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