Grief and anger after Ankara attacks

Political fallout continues over the weekend’s bombings in Ankara which may have killed as many as 120 people – the worst such attack in Turkey’s history – with the government apparently blaming Islamic State but opponents of President Erdogan holding him responsible. The country is in a three-day period of national mourning, but protests have been widespread.

Robin Wright writes at The New Yorker:

There was no initial claim of responsibility for the Ankara bombs. But ISIS was widely considered to be a top suspect. “What we’re looking at,” Zaman (Amberin Zaman, a columnist for the independent Turkish news site Diken) said, “is a battle between the Kurds and ISIS within Turkey’s borders.” ISIS could have two goals, Barkey (Henri Barkey, the Turkish-born director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, in Washington) said. It might want “revenge, and to punish Kurds” for its losses on the battlefield in the past year. “Goal No. 2 is to deliberately increase polarization between the A.K.P., the ruling party of the President, and the Kurds, the largest minority. It may also have been an attempt to sabotage a P.K.K. ceasefire with the government that everyone knew was coming.” It’s a kind of tactical tit-for-tat on different turf.

The Turkish government said next month’s planned elections would go ahead.

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WORLD

The US government is to pay compensation to the families of those killed in last week’s  attack on the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz.

In Afghanistan on Sunday, meanwhile, two RAF personnel were among five people killed when a helicopter crashed during a landing at a base in the capital, Kabul.

North Korea held a rally to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the ruling party.

(That’s all the torches by the way…)

The GOP’s search for a Speaker goes on. Generally speaking, having the word “chaos” after your party name doesn’t bode well.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are preparing for Tuesday night’s opening debate.

Sadly, not all the left’s best brains will be on stage.

The US Supreme Court could announce by Tuesday whether it will hear a challenge to a local Chicago law banning assault weapons.

Lord Howe, a former ally of Margaret Thatcher widely credited – or blamed, depending on your point of view – for precipitating her downfall, died at the weekend aged 88.

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MEDIA

Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, held in Iran since July 2014 on espionage charges, has apparently been sentenced, according to Iranian officials.

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SPORTS

As the Rugby World Cup’s pool stage came to a close, Ireland defeated France 24-9 to win their group and face will face Argentina in the quarter-finals. As group runners-up, France will play New Zealand.

Japan, meanwhile, exited the tournament despite a win in their last game against the USA.

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