Eye on the World: 11/11/19

US to leave residual force in Syria after withdrawal

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley announced this week that the United States would leave 500 to 600 troops in Syria following the withdrawal of a majority of its forces from the region. That withdrawal, a surprise once announced by President Trump over two weeks ago, will drastically reduce the United States’ presence in a region it has found difficulty working in since the Obama administration.

That remaining force would be tasked with securing some of the oil fields in eastern Syria. Though this announcement contradicts the president’s commitment to bringing all American troops in Syria home, it is directly concurrent to other moves he has made. The same week of the Syria withdrawal announcement, Trump directed 1,800 troops to defend a group of oilfields in Saudi Arabia.

30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Saturday Nov. 9 marked 30 years since the wall dividing West and East Berlin fell as a result of both a thawing in the Cold War and increased pressure from East Berliners. In the cold and damp weather, over 100,000 people showed up to celebrate the anniversary at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate late into Saturday. German reunification marked an economic reinvigoration for the country as well as the conquering of the authoritarian Soviet regime that had divided the nation.

The fall of the wall and the massive protests preceding it are perhaps the most famous event symbolizing the end of the Cold War, and they also marked the end of many months of tension between East German officials and those living in Berlin. Though no significant protests are currently occurring in Berlin, its most famous was a model for many of the major protest movements since.

First official casualty of Hong Kong protests

A 22-year-old university student protester from Hong Kong has died, marking the first confirmed death related to the protests since they began six months ago. Chow Tsz-lok, a second-year computer science student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, suffered a severe brain injury after falling from the third floor of a parking garage on Nov. 4. Chow died of his injuries on the morning of Nov. 8.
Chow had been in a coma after being rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong early Monday morning. The circumstances of the fall are somewhat unclear, although several early news reports claimed that Chow was running from tear gas that police had fired into the parking garage while trying to disperse protestors. This event has led has contributed to already-strained tensions between the protestors and Hong Kong police, as the details of the events that caused to Chow’s life-threatening injuries remain murky at best.