On Friday, President Donald Trump will travel to Miami to announce a major shift in U.S. policy. The President will end Obama-era policies that have allowed Americans to liberally travel to the island of Cuba. In an attempt to correct a policy the Obama administration deemed a 55 year failure, President Obama began communicating with the leadership of Cuba through Pope Francis. The result of the back channel has been a rebirth in Cuban commerce as Americans have flocked to the island, filling it’s once empty hotels. Many of those hotels however, are operated under the direction of the Cuban Military which is also benefiting from the boost in tourism. While the primary beneficiaries of new commerce have been the Cuban people, the Trump administration wants to end any commerce that might benefit the military. In Miami, President Trump will announce that the Cuban administration under President Raul Castro has failed to make pivotal reforms in human rights. He will declare that the Obama policy has been a catastrophic failure and he will reinstate travel restrictions that will halt much of the recent tourism to the island-nation. Americans and American businesses will be forbidden from supporting entities affiliated with the military which will effectively end the new tourism. The change in policy is opposed by business leaders and human rights groups. Embassies in both nations will remain open in the hopes that future communications will lead to reform on the island and improve the relationship between both current administrations.
The Russian military is reporting that it may have killed the enigmatic leader of ISIS. The international terrorist group has risen as a world scourge under the captaincy of a religious leader named Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. As the leader of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi declared himself to be the ruler of the global Islamic community. By declaring himself to be the “Caliph” or Pope of all Muslim’s worldwide, Al-Baghdadi was able to attract militant Islamic fighters from all over the world. The Russian Defense Ministry is reporting that on May 28, the Russian Air-force struck a gathering in the Syrian city of Raqqa, potentially killing the Islamic State leader. The Russian statement however, seems tentative suggesting that the Russians themselves may have doubts about the success of the strike. Sources suggest that the Russians may have been acting independently, without the coordination of the U.S. backed Kurdish forces on the ground. The Russians may have only learned about Baghdadi’s presence at the gathering after the strike. Their ability to confirm his death is therefore limited.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that rumors have swirled about the death of Baghdadi. In 2015, the Iraqi Military hit a convoy ushering the Islamic State leader and reports of his demise were circulated. In January (2017), a U.S. led strike in northern Iraq’s Al-Ba’aj injured Baghdadi, leading to more reports of his death. After several brushes with death, coalition forces are once again hoping that the mastermind of the most destructive terrorist organization in history has finally met justice.