Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (122)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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An almost tedious repeat of Russia/Iran/Turkey threaten/bluster/bluff as economy/currency/stocks nosedive/crash/tank. Russia repeats the previous denials on CW. Russia promoting the curious idea of not using USD in foreign trade and claiming they are happy to let the Ruble crash. Open Skies funding nixed.

Salisbury pub may be reopened soon after months of CW decontamination. CQ publish a summary essay on the CW attack.

Tehran makes some remarkable claims about their new TBM. Much written and said about Turkey, the consensus of analysts is that Erdoğan spent other peoples’ money until it ran out (what a familiar story). It now appears he wants to trade remaining in NATO for concessions over multiple past sins – simple blackmail, trading Turkey’s future for personal gain.


Russia Claims It Has Already Eliminated Its Chemical Weapons

Russia has claimed that the country finished eliminating its chemical arsenal last year, in response to a new U.S. demand that Moscow allow chemical weapons inspectors into the country after the po…

NATO’s East Is Rearming, But It’s Because of Putin, Not Trump – Bloomberg

Donald Trump has taken credit for a rise in military spending by NATO states, but in the alliance’s eastern reaches, it’s his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who’s driving the rearming effort.

Amid Kremlin Victories, Putin Fails to Persuade West on Russian Sanctions – The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin has nimbly exploited differences between Washington and its allies, but he has yet to translate that into fewer sanctions against Russia.

UAWire – Kremlin refuses to save Russian ruble

The ruble’s latest collapse will not force the Russian government to stop buying foreign currency on the Moscow Exchange, the Central Bank of Russia warned. The dollar’s 3.6 and the euro’s 2.8 ruble spike are “the market’s natural reaction” to the threat of new sanctions, and currency interventions, during which the Finance Ministry has already bought more than $30 billion and plans to buy another $6 billion in August, will continue, the regulator said in a statement released on Friday. The volume of operations may only be “corrected”, i.e. instead of using 16.7 billion rubles to buy foreign currency, the Central Bank allocated 8.4 billion rubles yesterday. However, the reduction is only temporary, and will later be compensated for through additional interventions. “In the longer term, operations as part of the budget rule will be fully realized,” the Central Bank warned. Earnings from an oil price above $40 per barrel, which are stockpiled in the National Wealth Fund, are used by the Russian government to take currency out the economy, to be invested in foreign bank deposits and securities. Last year, the budget spent 974 billion rubles on currency interventions; 2.74 trillion rubles are planned for the current year, and 3.42 trillion rubles for 2019, according to the Finance Ministry’s “Fundamental directions of budget, tax and customs tariffs policy”. Buying currency has already become the government’s second largest expense item, exceeding the expenditure on defense (2 trillion rubles), police (2.8 trillion rubles), only falling short of the allocation to social policy (4.6 trillion rubles).

Kremlin to wait for details on US sanctions before retaliating: report | TheHill

Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to order retaliatory sanctions against the U.S.,

Washington’s war on Russia has potential to backfire | Arab News [Propaganda]

The US last week announced new sanctions against Russia as a result of Moscow’s alleged plot to assassinate Sergei Skripal using a chemical weapon in the UK. The new sanctions included the banning of exports of some high-tech equipment to Russia. Maria Dubovikova is a prominent political commentator, researcher and expert on Middle East affairs. She is president of the Moscow-based International Middle Eastern Studies Club (IMESClub). Twitter: @politblogme

Kremlin “pleased” with Helsinki summit, US and Western intelligence assesses – CNNPolitics

Russian officials were “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, US and Western intelligence agencies have found, according to two intelligence sources with knowledge of the assessments.

TASS: World – US intelligence agencies say Putin-Trump meeting exceeded Russia’s expectations — media

According to the intelligence sources, the Russians were particularly satisfied with the press conference the two leaders gave in Helsinki

What do US sanctions for Novichok agent mean? – Is the US preparing Russia for the Syrian-Korean scenario? – 112.international

Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili | Four months have passed since the Russian special services poisoned Skrypal, and the Republicans started talking about new sanctions only on the eve of the midterm elections to the US Congress. Information has appeared that the US is going to introduce new sanctions against Russia after August 22 in response to a chemical attack in Salisbury, UK. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has signed a decree that the Russian Federation violated international law by attempting to poison Salisbury’s former Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in March of this year. Sanctions will be introduced in accordance with the current US law: the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Abatement Act. The document provides for the possibility of imposing restrictive measures against states that use chemical and biological weapons against their citizens, as well as firms involved in their distribution. According to the act of sanctions are introduced in two stages, after written notification to the US Congress within 15 days. At the first stage of the sanctions, there are restrictions in the sphere of export and financing. American companies will not be able to obtain licenses to export products to Russia, which is important for the US national security, including gas turbines, integrated circuits, various electronics, including test equipment used in aviation electronic equipment. At the second stage, sanctions will affect the decline in the level of diplomatic relations. It is planned to prohibit Aeroflot Russian airline from flying to the United States. Russia can be cut off from export-import operations with the American counterparts. The second package of sanctions will be introduced if Russia does not prove the absence of chemical weapons on its territory within three months. Act on the Elimination of Chemical and Biological Weapons of 1991 is one of two dozen legislative acts of the US Congress that deal with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and is an aid to restrictive measures against individual states. Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is one of the successive priorities of the US foreign policy. Washington has repeatedly used the act as a basis for imposing sanctions against other states. The States introduced a new package of sanctions against North Korea in March 2018 in response to poisoning with VX nerve agent Kim Jong-Nama (cousin of North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un) at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The United States imposed sanctions against Syria in response to the use by the troops of President Bashar Assad of the nerve agent sarin against the Syrian opposition in Guta (in August 2013). Then, from 281 to 1429 people died. After this incident, a special UN group worked in Syria, which investigated the circumstances of the chemical attack and confirmed the use of chemical weapons. Through its actions, Russia has created the basis for introducing new sanctions on the Syrian-Korean scenario. Citizens of the Russian Federation: Sergei Skripal, who has dual citizenship, and his daughter Julia became victims of the Novichok agent. Russia has also violated the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by using a poisonous substance as a tool to kill its former spy in the UK. Russia has violated the sovereignty of the country, which is a NATO member. Russian officials made false claims of non-involvement in the chemical attack in Salisbury, which only increased the suspicions of the Americans and Europeans. In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that the Skripals were poisoned with BZ nerve agent, which was in service of the US and UK. However, according to the director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumju, no traces of BZ were found in the samples taken by the experts at the site of the poisoning. Director of the Department of Information and Press of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova claimed that Novichok was developed by Great Britain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Sweden or the USA. Czech President Miloš Zeman said his country had actually developed a small amount of A-230 substance (one of the Novichok species) for the exercises of the anti-chemical defense unit last year and quickly destroyed the samples. Instead of providing strong evidence of the lack of chemical weapons, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the US intention to tighten sanctions is equivalent to declaring an economic war, which will have to be reacted with political, economic, and other methods. The Russian embassy in the United States said that the State Department had announced new “draconian sanctions” under a far-fetched pretext. Russia’s rhetoric is convenient for America since the Salisbury incident will now be used as an excuse for further tightening of anti-Russian sanctions. In early August, a group of Republican Senators and Democrats introduced a bill on tightening anti-Russian sanctions. New restrictive measures are envisaged for Russian entrepreneurs and state enterprises, persons who operate in cyberspace, and a ban on granting licenses to US residents to participate in projects of the oil industry in Russia. This arrangement is beneficial for Ukraine. The US is not going to curtail the policy of anti-Russian sanctions and are looking for new arguments for their toughening and prolongation. Russia’s violation of the regime of non-proliferation of chemical weapons is a reinforced argument in favor of maintaining existing sanctions, which will be reinforced with new restrictive measures. Against the background of reports of new sanctions, the ruble collapsed. According to The Guardian, new sanctions will affect 70% of the Russian economy. Despite the fact that the US share in the total volume of Russian imports is only 5.6%, about half of the American-supplied products contain high-tech components, which will be subject to new restrictions. Last year, the share of machinery, equipment, and vehicles in Russia’s imports from the United States amounted to over 43%. Even in the face of tension in US-Russian relations, Russians continue to rely on certain types of American equipment. The Russian airline Aeroflot operates 41 American Boeing 737-800s (there are 243 aircraft in the fleet). In 2013-18 years. Aeroflot purchased 17 Boeing 777-300ER airliners. More than 100 Russian firms work with the American company General Electrics and buy equipment for the oil and gas industry, aviation, transport and healthcare systems. Within the framework of a joint venture with the company “RAO UES”, General Electrics produces gas turbines for the Russian market. The division of GE Aviation works with 25 Russian airlines and serves 115 aircraft, and GE Transportation participates in the modernization of the railway in Yakutia. General Electrics cooperates with MTL company, the Russian manufacturer of medical equipment. In 2017, Russian enterprises purchased agricultural machinery in the US for $ 1.39 million. According to the EkoNiva dealer, 5 thousand John Deer equipment is serviced in Russia. Last year, sales in Russia of cars from the American Ford plant grew by 29%. Naturally, all this equipment periodically requires repair, replacement of components and renovation, and some Russian companies simply cannot survive without trade with the United States. The US and France are the largest suppliers of classified products to Russia. Last year, about 30% ($ 2.7 billion) of all imported products from the US went through the SS secret code. In Russia, classified products are weapons, military equipment, dual-use products (used for military and civil purposes), if disclosure of their supply could damage the security of the state. Most likely, we are talking about technologies that can be used in the aircraft building, aerospace, nuclear industry. The reverse side of the new sanctions will be losses for US equipment manufacturers who work in Russia and will lose their licenses to export their products to this country. Four months have passed since the Russian special services poisoned Skrypal, and the Republicans started talking about new sanctions only now, on the eve of the midterm elections to the US Congress. Most likely, Trump’s administration proceeds purely out of political interests, not security considerations and the protection of the regime of non-proliferation of chemical weapons. Oppositional Democrats are trying to earn ratings on the criticism of the foreign policy of the current administration. According to the Rasmussen Reports, 52% of respondents do not support Trump’s policy. According to a Reuters / Ipsos poll, 41% of Americans support the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party is supported by 39%. Republicans expect to iron some of the arguments of the Democrats with the help of new sanctions against Russia in response to the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury. Democratic Party leader Hillary Clinton called President Donald Trump the puppet of Putin, claimed that he was seeking the NATO split. The former head of the CIA under the Democrats John Brennan called Trump’s rhetoric at a recent meeting with Putin in Helsinki a treason. The US president denied Russia’s intervention in the presidential elections in the US in 2016. Trump’s opponents criticize him for tightening the migration regime, withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate protection, a nuclear deal with Iran and an agreement on a trans-Pacific partnership, and for imposing high duties on Europe. The Republicans specifically announced new sanctions against Russia before the elections to make it clear to American society and the world that they are sensitive to the security of NATO allies, for example, the UK, whose subjects became victims of Russian provocation. The Trump administration has confirmed its intention to adhere to a tough policy toward Russia, regardless of what the president says. The Republicans talked in advance about sanctions against the Russian Federation in order to make it clear to the Russian authorities that the interference in the midterm congressional elections was hopeless since the slightest trace of the provocation by the Kremlin would be the reason for new restrictive measures. Read the original text at 112.ua.

Russian Military Spy Software is on Hundreds of Thousands of Home Routers – Defense One

In May, the Justice Department told Americans to reboot their routers. But there\’s more to do — and NSA says it\’s up to device makers and the public.

Russia wants universities to design robots for war

To familiarize the next generation of Russian officers with the particulars of war robots, Russia announced standards for training cadets to design drones.

Trump bans Russian military air forces flying over US – 112.international

The US President Donald Trump froze cooperation with Russia within the Treaty on Open Skies which allowed Russian and American combat aircraft to conduct observation flights on the territory of both states, as the 1242 article of the US defence budget says, adopted by the Congress and signed by the American leader. The US does not intend to fund this program until the President provides the Congress with the evidence that Russia started fulfilling the conditions of the agreement. Washington assigned responsibility for the freezing of the program on Moscow.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Polls Showing More Positive Russian Attitude toward West Less Meaningful than Many Think, Novoprudsky Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Many commentators have been struck by recent polls showing that two-thirds of Russians now favor a rapprochement with the West, Semen Novoprudsky says; but they shouldn’t be: the polls were taken right after the Helsinki Summit when Russian television dramatically cut back on its attacks on the US in particular and the West in genreal. According to the Russian journalist, “as soon as ‘the box’ in Russia ceases to lie about Ukraine, the US, and the EU, the majority of Russians cease to consider them enemies. The danger lies elsewhere: Russians in principle do not have a clear idea about the place of Russia in the world” (nv.ua/opinion/novoprudskiy/russkaja-utopija-2488071.html). Instead, a large share of them simply follow the line the regime puts out, being anti-Western when the Kremlin points in that direction and less anti-Western when the regime shifts its position, Novoprudsky says. That is clear in this case and means that those who are taking hope from these polls are doing so far too soon. First of all, he continues, “the poll was conducted immediately after the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki, that is, after an event which, according to Russian propaganda, was at a minimum an equal dialogue of two ‘masters of the world,’ Russia and the West” but one that most Russians reacted to with indifference. Second, despite playing up this new Kremlin achievement in some of its propaganda, the Kremlin has continued to act as an enemy of the West. And third, “in reality, Russians and not only the elite … have never been enemies of the West at the level of their everyday life.” At least those in the cities “were and remain completely European.” There has not been a shift. “But there is a deeper reason for not being overly pleased by the notion that a majority of Russians suddenly want a rapprochement with the West, Novoprudsky says. “Russians in general do not have stable ideas about their friends and enemies.” Instead, polls show, they change the countries in each according to what they are shown on Moscow television. That means that the current Russian regime or its successor could radically change directions on Crimea, Ukraine or the West, he says; but it also means that there is no certainty that any such change won’t be quickly followed by a reversal when the Kremlin decides to change again. The only limiting factor within Russia on such radical shifts, Novoprudsky continues, is that “a majority of Russians judging from polls feel resentment” to the West, subscribe to the notion of “Russia’s special path,’” and are attached to “great power chauvinism, that is, to banal imperialism.” But beyond those general notions, he suggests, “neither the elite nor the ordinary people have any clear understanding about the place of Russia in the contemporary world or about its ideal position in history. In the most liberal sense, Russia has not found itself a place” in that world but continues to shift about, invading others, ignoring international law and changing friends and enemies almost at will. “As long as the country doesn’t know its own borders, physical and metaphysical, it will not recognize those of others. And this danger of Russia ‘without a place’ in the world obviously overwhelms any optimism about the idea that two-thirds of Russians say they want a rapprochement with the West,” the commentator concludes.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Should Be Worrying More about What Kremlin Will Do Next if It Gets Its Way on Pensions

Paul Goble Staunton, August 13 – More than 80 percent of Russians are opposed to the government’s plan to raise pension ages, something that many say will land them in poverty or worse; but the regime seems committed to pushing the reform through because it obviously believes that it can ignore the will of the people. Russians should be angry about the pension crisis, commentator Valery Mironenko says; and they should be protesting with all their might but not only because of this measure alone. Clearly, he says, if the regime can do this against the will of the population, think what horrific step it might take then (publizist.ru/blogs/108984/26439/-). If Russians do not take that likelihood seriously and engage in mass protests and put pressure on their representatives and other officials, he suggests, they will discover that the regime will conclude that it can do whatever it wants with impunity – and then the future for Russians will be truly dire indeed.

Pub at centre of Novichok incident to re-open later this year – Evening Express

A pub which had been visited by a Russian ex-double agent and his daughter shortly before they fell ill with Novichok poisoning could re-open later this year. The Mill public house in Salisbury city centre has been shut since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed having been poisoned by the military-grade nerve agent in March. On the afternoon they fell ill, the pair had visited the riverside pub for a drink before having a meal at the nearby Zizi’s restaurant. The pub, which is owned by brewery Greene King, has been undergoing decontamination by staff from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Inside the Poisoning of a Russian Double Agent | GQ

How a hit on a retired spy named Sergei Skripal became the latest—and most terrifying—front in Vladimir Putin’s war with the West.

The Reader: The UK is powerless to impose sanctions for Novichok killing

The Reader: The UK is powerless to impose sanctions for Novichok killing

Iran’s Top Leader Faults Rouhani for Crisis, Saying He Crossed ‘Red Lines’ – The New York Times

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei went further than he had before in blaming President Hassan Rouhani for the failing nuclear deal and Iran’s economic travails.

Iran just unveiled a new ballistic missile called the ‘Bright Conqueror’ | Business Insider

Iran just unveiled a new short-range ballistic missile on Monday, just a few days after test firing a variant of the missile over the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran unveils terrifying new missile as it threatens HUGE weapon programme to face off US | World | News | Express.co.uk

IRAN has revealed its newest generation of short-range ballistic missile with the promise that “nothing can stop” the Fateh-110 missile.

US ambassador urges UK to pull out of Iran nuclear deal | TheHill

The U.S. on Saturday urged Britain to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and instead join the U.S. to “[turn] up the pressure” on Iran.

US ambassador to London encouraged Britain to ditch Iran deal

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to London, encouraged Britain to stick with the United States and ditch a “flawed” 2015 nuclear deal with Iran even as the European Union openly defied sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Stocks rise as Turkish lira rebounds

Stocks rose on Tuesday as a rebound in the Turkish lira lifted investor sentiment.

Shares regain footing as lira pulls out of nosedive

World share markets fought to regain their footing on Tuesday, as Turkey’s lira pulled out of its recent nosedive and reassuring data from Germany helped offset the latest wobbles in China’s giant economy. After three weeks of heavy pounding, Turkey’s lira finally got some respite as signs

Lira crisis: What’s next for Turkey?

Turkish citizens hoping for relief may be left disappointed as tensions between Turkey and the United States continue to escalate.

Stocks Rebound as Turkey Calms; Dollar Declines: Markets Wrap – Bloomberg

European stocks advanced, tracking gains for most Asian equities as global markets steadied in the wake of Monday’s Turkey-induced turmoil. The dollar slipped from its highest in 14 months and Treasuries edged lower.

Kremlin speaks about possibility of providing assistance to Turkey

The Kremlin believes that hypothetical arguments about the possibility of rendering assistance to Turkey from Russia are impossible, the spokesperson for Russian President Dmitry Peskov told reporters. His remark came in response to the answer whether Russia has enough resources to help Turkey if necessary. “You know, this is not a situation where such hypothetical reasoning is possible,” he said. According to him, during their last meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with his Turkish counterpart the question of rendering assistance to Turkey following the worsening of the economic situation. During the meeting in South Africa, Putin and Erdogan discussed joint energy projects, in particular the Turkish Stream, the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and the development of trade and economic relations, Peskov added.

Turkey Crisis Tests Putin’s Power to Tilt Global Game With U.S. – Bloomberg

Turkey’s political conflict with the U.S. and the crisis engulfing its currency offer a golden opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to pry a key geopolitical swing state away from its western allies. It may not be that simple.

Erdogan Makes Some Worrying Friends – Bloomberg

If Turkey is sick of “asymmetric” power relations, Putin is an odd choice of ally.

The reason Turkey’s economic collapse is so scary is that Iran, Russia, and Syria are waiting in the wings | Business Insider

What if Turkey collapses?

Amid spat with Trump, here are Turkey’s other friends – The Washington Post

Turkey is boosting ties with Russia, China, and Qatar.

Opinion: Turkey crisis a threat to Europe′s economy? | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.08.2018

Investors are losing faith in former economic reformer Tayyip Erdogan. It’s not ruled out that the current crisis may end badly for him, but also for economies in Europe, says DW business editor Henrik Böhme.

Turkey rages at Trump with Erdogan blaming country’s economic collapse on a US ‘plot’ – as lira hits ALL TIME low

The lira was only saved from falling further on Monday morning by the central bank freeing up cash and removing mandatory reserve requirements

Bolton, Turkish ambassador huddle at White House as lira continues dive – POLITICO

The meeting followed a weekend that saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey declare the country to be in an “economic war.&quot;

Trump aide Bolton met Turkish envoy to discuss U.S. pastor: White House | Reuters

White House national security adviser John Bolton met on Monday with Turkey’s ambassador to the United States to discuss Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, the White House said.

U.S. Warns Turkey Over Detained Pastor as Market Meltdown Drags On – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s top national security aide warned Turkey’s ambassador on Monday that the U.S. has nothing further to negotiate until a detained American pastor is freed, according to two people familiar with the matter, signaling a standoff between the countries will continue as Turkey’s financial meltdown spreads to emerging markets.

Erdogan says Turkey will boycott U.S. electronics, lira steadies | Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey will boycott electronic products from the United States, retaliating in a dispute with Washington that has helped drive the lira to record lows.

Turkey’s currency crisis and its impact on global markets – YouTube

Financial Post Published on Aug 13, 2018

Turkey must ensure independence of central bank: Merkel | Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey on Monday to ensure the independence of its central bank as other senior officials said that Turkey’s economic woes were causing great concern.

Turkey lira crash sees Germany’s Merkel suffer tirade over Erdogan visit | World | News | Express.co.uk

TURKEY President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s looming state visit to Germany has sparked outrage, with chancellor Angela Merkel being accused of using the leader of the troubled nation as a “bouncer” in order to protect her own policies as the lira crumbles.

The Guardian view on Turkey’s currency crisis: it was made at home | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

Editorial: President Erdoğan won elections on the back of an economy that was boosted by cheap credit. Now the bills are coming due and no provision has been made to pay them

Trump Uses Sanctions to Spark Painful Market Moves for Adversaries – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump has pounced on weakness, using a mix of tariffs and sanctions in recent weeks to pressure economically vulnerable adversaries from Turkey to Russia.

🇹🇷 Turkey’s central bank launches economic-stability plan | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Aug 13, 2018 Turkey’s central bank on Monday announced it was taking all necessary measures to ensure financial stability after the collapse of the lira, promising to provide “all the liquidity the banks need”. The Turkish currency reached a new record low of 7.24 against the US dollar in Asia Pacific trade when markets opened on Monday morning. The lira pared some of its losses after the central bank’s announcement, but it was still down more than seven percent on the day. The currency has lost more than 45 percent of its value this year. Worries about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over the economy, including his repeated calls for low interest rates in the face of high inflation, and Turkey’s worsening ties with the United States have contributed to the steep decline. “The central bank will closely monitor the market depth and price formations, and take all necessary measures to maintain financial stability, if deemed necessary,” the bank said in a statement. Investors fear the lira’s sell-off could have a ripple effect in global financial markets with the euro, the South African rand, and Mexico’s peso already dented by Turkey’s crisis. Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu reports from Istanbul.

How Tariffs on Turkey Might Backfire – YouTube

On Friday, Aug. 10, President Donald Trump announced he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey. The WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains how this political move could backfire. Photo: Getty

Trump Turkey issue has Mueller probe connections

One of Trump’s lawyers is involved with pastor Andrew Brunson’s defense, and ex-advisor Michael Flynn has reportedly caught Mueller’s attention over potentially illegal activity related to the case.

UAWire – Turkey preparing new military operation in Syria

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the country is in the final stages of preparation of a new military operation in Syria, reported Anadolu news agency. “With God’s help, in the near future, we will free new territories and secure peace there,” said Erdogan. He noted that Ankara is in the final stage of preparing for an operation in new Syrian regions. So, just like before, with the military operations “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch,” stability could be achieved. Erdogan also said that a quarter of a million people from Turkey returned to regions where these military operations took place. On January 20th, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Turkey announced the launch of the ground operation “Olive Branch,” in the Syrian region of Afrin. The goal of the operation was to create a 30-kilometer buffer zone along the border.

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