SCOTUS: Sudan liable for terrorism damages

The US Supreme Court ruled in Opati v. Republic of Sudan that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act permits a punitive damages award against Sudan for the role it played in the 1998 bombings at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Plaintiffs in the case argued that Sudan had harbored al-Qaeda leaders who plotted the attacks, including Osama bin Laden. Officials in Khartoum have been seeking a settlement with the victims outside the court. Sudan is in a precarious economic situation following the ouster of long-ruling strongman Omer Hassan al-Bashir, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration made it clear that Sudan must settle all terrorism-related claims to get off the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism”—a precondition for Washington’s support for debt relief for the African country. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection)

Greater Middle East

Saudi regime pressured over missing journalist

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Saudi Arabia to immediately account for the whereabouts of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this week. Multiple news outlets report that Turkish authorities, who have been investigating his disappearance, believe that Khashoggi is dead and was killed inside the consulate. "CPJ is alarmed by media reports that Jamal Khashoggi may have been killed inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul," said CPJ Deputy executive director Robert Mahoney. "The Saudi authorities must immediately give a full and credible accounting of what happened to Khashoggi inside its diplomatic mission. The country has stepped up its repression of critical journalists in the past year at home. We hope this has not now spread abroad." (Photo via CPJ)

Watching the Shadows

Families of 9-11 victims sue Saudi Arabia

More than 850 family members of 9-11 victims filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, alleging that the kingdom provided support to al-Qaeda in multiple ways.


US bombs post-Nusra militants fighting Assad

A US drone strike killed a supposed al-Qaeda leader in Syria fighting in an ex-Nusra Front cell that had just carried out a deadly suicide attack on a regime intelligence complex.

Watching the Shadows

Conviction of bin Laden assistant upheld

A US appeals court upheld the conviction of Ali Hamza Bahlul, former personal assistant to Osama bin Laden, finding that conspiracy cases can be tried by military tribunals.

Watching the Shadows

Last Kuwaiti Guantánamo detainee repatriated

The last Kuwaiti held at Guantánamo, supposed Osama bin Laden advisor Faiz Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari, was repatriated after years of pressure from Kuwait's government. 

Watching the Shadows

German torture case against CIA official

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a criminal complaint against a high-ranking CIA official for the torture of German citizen Khaled el-Masri.

Watching the Shadows

DoD transfers Gitmo detainee to Saudi Arabia

The US Department of Defense  announced the transfer of Guantánamo Bay detainee Abdul Shalabi to Saudi Arabia, brining the population of the prison camp to 114.

Watching the Shadows

Guantánamo prisoner released to Morocco

Moroccan-born Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri, who spent 13 years in the Guantánamo Bay prison, was released to his home country—where authorities prompty detained him.

Watching the Shadows

Six Gitmo detainees transferred to Oman

Six Guantánamo detainees were transferred to Oman—the first such transfers in five months. Republicans meanwhile prepare legislation to bar further transfers.

Watching the Shadows

Bin Laden aide guilty in embassy bombings

Khalid al-Fawwaz, former aide of Osama bin Laden, was found guilty  of plotting the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.