Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (166)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting..

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Without a doubt, this is another propaganda “epic fail” week, making it a full month of crash and burn for Russia in the propaganda game. The outlook for next week is no better. SECDEF Mattis comments on Russia’s violation of the INF treaty. US indicts seven GRU officers over multiple hacking incidents, globally. Russia’s Deputy Attorney General, a key defender of Russia’s position in the Skripal case and claimed handler of Veselnitskaya, dies in a helo crash, with some speculating he knew too much.  The Insider and Bellingcat discover the identity of 305 GRU personnel via an automotive registration database (COCW). Head of RT in the US discovered to have a plagiarised Ph.D. thesis – what is not fake in Russia these days? Second Salisbury covert operator expected to be identified in the UK parliament next week. Multiple followup reports on Salisbury.

US gives France a “we told you so” on Iran, while the French deal with Iran’s duplicity and perfidy. NATSEC Adviser Bolton releases new National Strategy for Counterterrorism, with also targets Iran. Multiple opeds on Syria and Iran.

U.S. Defense Chief Calls Alleged Russian Violation Of Missile Treaty ‘Untenable’

The U.S. defense secretary has again accused Russia of violating a key Cold War arms control treaty, calling the unresolved and increasingly tense dispute with Moscow “untenable.”

Mattis: Russia violation of missile treaty ‘untenable’ | Fox News

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday said Russia’s deployment of nuclear-capable missiles in violation of an arms treaty is “untenable” and unless Moscow changes, the U.S. will have to match that military capability.

Mattis: Russia’s violation of arms control treaty ‘untenable’ | TheHill

Russia’s “blatant violation” of a landmark arms control treaty is “untenable,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday, adding that the Trump administration is considering diplomatic and military responses.

U.S. Defense Secretary says Russian violation of arms control treaty ‘untenable’ | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that Russia’s violation of an arms control treaty was “untenable” and unless it changed course the United States would respond.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO just threatened to ‘take out’ a new Russian missile. It’s a bad idea. – The Washington Post

The Trump Administration’s tactics are playing into Russia’s hands.

Anticipating Putin’s Next Gamble – To Inform is to Influence

What a great ending: But as students of the great strategist George Kennan know, Russia’s real strategic culture has never been one of greatness but rather one marked by fear. This has been reinforced repeatedly, of this there is no doubt. A unified U.S.–NATO alliance holds a winning hand at the geostrategic card table, but only if it plays together and prepares for its competitor. No matter how good a card player Putin is, the full house held by the U.S. and NATO can beat his low pair. Russia is taking the cheapest approach to every problem. Russia’s faltering economy contributes to this. This probably mostly accounts for Russia’s lack of success in Donbass. Russia’s loss rate compared with Ukraine is now 8:1 and that is the definition of bad leadership. Whatever Putin’s next gamble, the West much recognize it before it happens and slap Russia silly before they cause any real harm. Russia understands to back off when they face a steel wall. Soviet cold-war doctrine held that they could only attack if they held a 7:1 advantage. In Ukraine, they never will, especially when they are telegraphing their intentions so clearly. But that does not account for their hybridized approach to warfare. Russia is not nearly as stealthy as they believe, so we should see their intentions clearly well in advance. </end editorial>

Kremlin derides ‘hysteria’ over hacking of chemical weapons watchdog | News | The Times

The Kremlin hit back at Western allegations of cyberattacks today, insisting the accusations were rooted in anti-Russian prejudice and “spy mania.”Moscow has furiously denied that officers from its GRU military intelligence service attempted to hack into the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical

Russia Says U.S. Hacking Allegations ‘Inciting Tensions,’ Warns Of ‘Dangerous Path’

A top Russian diplomat is warning that the United States is on a “dangerous path” and “deliberately inciting tensions in relations between the nuclear powers” by accusing Russian military intelligence of waging a global hacking campaign against Western institutions.

Atlantic Council: Western Nations Go On the Offensive Against Russian Cyberattacks – To Inform is to Influence

OCTOBER 4, 2018 Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo warns: polarization is America’s Achilles’ heel BY ASHISH KUMAR SEN Western governments on October 4 unleashed a torrent of accusations against Russia saying its intelligence agency was responsible for cyberattacks on inquiries into Olympic doping, a former spy’s poisoning, and the downing of a commercial aircraft in 2014.…

Cyber Criminals in the Kremlin – WSJ

Putin’s spies are exposed in cases around the world.

U.S. Indicts Seven Russian Military Intelligence Officers For Allegedly Hacking Anti-Doping Agencies

The United States has charged seven Russian military intelligence officers for what officials said was their role in a hacking conspiracy targeting anti-doping agencies and the international chemical weapons watchdog.

U.S. indicts Russians in hacking of nuclear company Westinghouse | Reuters

The United States on Thursday charged seven Russian intelligence officers with conspiring to hack computers and steal data from the nuclear energy company Westinghouse Electric Co as well as anti-doping watchdogs, sporting federations and an international agency probing the use of chemical weapons.

Justice Dept. indicts 7 Russian intelligence officers in international hacking scheme – CNNPolitics

The Justice Department on Thursday announced criminal charges against seven Russian intelligence officers, accusing them in a sprawling indictment of hacking, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering as part of an effort to distract from Russia’s state-sponsored doping program.

Justice Department announces indictments of 7 Russian spies

Justice Department officials announced charges Thursday against seven Russian GRU intelligence officers

In a nutshell, here are America’s new hacking charges against seven Russian intelligence operatives — Meduza

Behold the seven Russian hackers outed by Western officials on Thursday: Alexey Morenets, Evgeny Serebryakov, Ivan Ermakov, Artem Malyshev, Dmitry Badin, Oleg Sotnikov, and Alexey Minin. These men allegedly work for Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate and either hacked or tried to hack various antidoping agencies, the International Association of Athletics Federations, FIFA, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a Pennsylvania-based nuclear energy company, as well as a whole lot more in a whole series of hacker attacks. The agents then leaked intentionally misleading fragments of some athletes’ personal data under the guise of the “Fancy Bear” hacktivist group, hoping to boost international sympathy for Russia in a doping scandal that has cost the country several medals and got it banned from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Canada joins allies in condemning ‘malicious’ Russian cyberattacks | CBC News

Canada joined NATO allies on Thursday in blaming the Russian military for new cyberattacks that targeted the international chemical weapons agency and the investigation into the mysterious 2014 crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.

CBC: Canada joins allies in condemning ‘malicious’ Russian cyberattacks | UNIAN

Canada joined NATO allies on Thursday in blaming the Russian military for new cyberattacks that targeted the international chemical weapons agency and the investigation into the mysterious 2014 crash of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Canada and it allies accused Russia’s secret military intelligence unit, the GRU, of a brazen attempt to hack the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in April.

Russia cyber-plots: US, UK and Netherlands allege hacking – BBC News

Seven Russians are charged by the US, while the Netherlands says it has expelled four hackers.

Dutch, U.S. Authorities Target Russian Military Intelligence, Alleging Wide Hacking Campaign

Dutch and U.S. authorities have accused Russia’s military intelligence agency of involvement in a multifaceted, multinational hacking campaign that targeted global anti-doping agencies, the interna…

Russian hackers accused of targeting UN chemical weapons watchdog, MH17 files – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Netherlands says it disrupted an attempt by Russian intelligence agents to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, when it was verifying the substance used in the Salisbury attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Australia, UK accuse Russia of cyber attacks aimed at undermining Western democracies – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Britain and Australia jointly accuse Russian military intelligence of using cyber attacks to sow confusion in everything from sport to transport and the 2016 US presidential election in an effort to undermine Western democracies.

U.S. and its allies target Russian cyber spies with indictments, public shaming – To Inform is to Influence

By Ellen Nakashima, Michael Birnbaum and William Booth October 4 at 6:24 PM The United States and major Western allies on Thursday forcefully condemned Russia’s hacking and disinformation operations, announcing indictments and describing in striking detail Moscow’s targeting of top Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors. In the morning, Justice Department officials unveiled charges against seven officers with Russia’s…

How Russian spies allegedly hacked organizations across the world

How seven Russian intelligence officials allegedly nestled into the servers of targeted organizations is an insight into the advanced hacking efforts that foreign governments are undertaking.

Is the US legal system an effective cyber deterrent?

Current and former officials know foreign hackers may never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom, but they feel there are strong reasons to pursue them.

Russian cyber attacks: Are we in the midst of a new Cold War? – To Inform is to Influence

In the old days, I would have agreed with the author’s final assessment, we are not in a cold war because “[h]acks still happen every day, true, but digital infrastructure survives and thrives despite them.” Except they don’t. The author does not appear to be familiar with Stuxnet and Shamoon. Both cyber attacks disabled physical systems. In the case of Shamoon, over 30,000 computers were permanently disabled. Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO and Qatar’s RasGas were idled for ten days while they replaced all their hard drives. The cyber community has struggled for many years to determine when the accumulative effects of cyberattacks would be considered an act of war. For the author to dismissively state we are not and will not be in a cyber war refutes months and years of really heavy discussions. It chooses to ignore widespread attacks on our infrastructure, on our way of life, on our quality of life, on our governments, on our critical infrastructure, and on our very lives. There have been stories for years that cyberattacks have caused deaths, and some of these stories are mostly true. The killings have not been counted in mass numbers, so far they have been limited to single-digit numbers of victims. Besides these few contentious points, however, this is an excellent, thought-provoking article, well worth reading. </end editorial>

How Russia and China Undermine Democracy

Both Russia and China view weakening Western democracy as a means of enhancing their own standing.

New Tool Fights Fake News by Exposing the Websites That Create It – Defense One

MIT and Qatari researchers say it’s easier to expose a liar than debunk each of his lies.

Vladimir Putin’s top prosecutor who probed Skripal poisoning and Alexander Litvinenko’s murder is killed in mystery helicopter crash near Moscow

Top Russian prosecutor Saak Karapetyan had been killed in a helicopter crash amid claims he was a channel for damaging leaks to the West

Russia deputy attorney general and another Armenian die in helicopter crash

Saak Karapetyan was the Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia…

Top Russian law official die in crash hours before GRU spies are outed | Daily Mail Online

Deputy prosecutor-general Saak Karapetyan, 58, had been in charge of the Russian criminal investigation into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK, earlier this year.

Russian Lawyer’s Alleged Handler Dies in Crash | Law & Crime

Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash “during an unauthorized flight” on Wednesday. The helicopter went down in a forest; he was 58. It’s been reported that Karapetyan plotted to recruit law enforcement from another country to act as a double-agent for Moscow.

Russian official with ties to lawyer in Trump Tower meeting dies in helicopter crash | TheHill

A Russian deputy attorney general, who is thought to have directed Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in her efforts abroad on behalf of Russia’s government, reportedly died Wednesday night in a helicopter crash.

Russian Official Linked to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Trump Tower Lawyer, Is Dead

Russia’s Deputy Attorney General Saak Karapetyan was exposed this year for running a foreign recruitment operation with Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Russian Official Who Reportedly Helped Plan Trump Tower Meeting Dies In Mysterious Helicopter Crash

A Russian official who reportedly directed foreign operations for Natalia Veselnitskaya died Wednesday in a helicopter crash. According to The Hill, Saak Albertovich Karapetyan crashed outside of …

Russian Official Linked to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Trump Tower Lawyer, Is Dead

Russia’s Deputy Attorney General Saak Karapetyan was exposed this year for running a foreign recruitment operation with Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Russian Prosecutor Linked to Trump Tower Lawyer, Other Kremlin Intrigue, Dies In Chopper Crash

A top Russian official accused of directing Natalya Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met with senior officials of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign in Trump Tower in 2016, has died in a helicopter crash.

Vladimir Putin’s top legal advisor killed in mystery helicopter crash – Mirror Online

Saak Karapetyan, 58, was Russia’s deputy prosecutor general and a harsh critic of the UK in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning

An Aerospatiale AS 350 B3 Ecureuil light helicopter on display at the… News Photo | Getty Images

An Aerospatiale AS 350 B3 Ecureuil light helicopter on display at the 10th International Exhibition of Helicopter Industry, HeliRussia 2017, at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center. Marina… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Investigative reporters find that 305 Russian GRU officers outed themselves in car-registration paperwork — Meduza

The investigative news websites The Insider and Bellingcat reported on Thursday that there are 305 cars registered at the Moscow address of a Russian military intelligence division blamed by Western governments for launching a series of hacker attacks over the past several years. The address, 20 Komsomolsky Prospekt, belongs to Military Unit Number 26165, and one of the cars is registered to Alexey Morinets, whom Western intelligence agencies say is one of the GRU officers responsible for carrying out successful and attempted hacker attacks against targets in the West.

305 Car Registrations May Point to Massive GRU Security Breach – To Inform is to Influence

For a change, this is not a security breach BY the GRU, this is a security breach OF the GRU! </end editorial> October 4, 2018 By Bellingcat Investigation Team In an unprecedented step, the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice on October 4, 2018 disclosed the identities under…

Investigative journalists discover data of 305 Russian GRU officers, incl. those expelled by the Dutch (Screenshots) | UNIAN

Russian investigative journalists have found data of 305 officers of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; among them are those who were expelled by the Dutch authorities in April 2018. A Russian traffic police database lists their names with passport details and mobile phone numbers.

RT top manager plagiarised his dissertation – To Inform is to Influence

RT’s credibility has never been stellar, this is just another nail in their coffin. Most recently, RT’s Margarita Simonyan conducted a fake “interview” with the two Russian GRU agents who attempted to assassinate Sergei Skripal and his daughter using Novichok in a disguised perfume container in Salisbury, UK. Now we have a Ph.D. in charge of RT America, Mikhail Solodovnikov, with a fake dissertation, probably formulating policies and procedures for RT to spread their filth around the world. Perhaps we should urge RT retain Mr. Solodovnikov so the quality of their efforts remains low? </end editorial>

Russian Active Measures Or Disinformation? – To Inform is to Influence

Twice today, a senior official within the Russian Foreign Ministry posted links to articles on Facebook, stating that a number of people in the country of Georgia had been killed in a “secret US laboratory”. Defense Ministry accused the United States in experiments on people in Georgia Russian Defense Ministry announced the death of 73…

A New Cold Front in Russia’s Information War – Foreign Policy

As NATO’s footprint grows in Norway, Moscow may be using an espionage case to inflame the country’s internal divisions.

Danish Bank Says It Faces U.S. Probe Linked To Money Laundering Scandal

Denmark’s largest bank said it was under criminal investigation by U.S. law enforcement over a massive scandal involving its Estonian branch, which may have helped launder millions of dollars fro…

‘Your wife is cheating on you,’ and other military strategies for controlling the information space

Russia and China have shown they understand the importance of controlling information as well as denying adversaries advantages afforded by GPS.

What Clausewitz Can Teach Us About the Weaponization of Social Media

Clausewitz would have understood the weaponization of social media.

Identity of second Skripal hitman ‘is to be revealed in UK Parliament meeting next week’  | Daily Mail Online

One of the two GRU agents who came to Britain to kill Sergei Skripal has been outed as Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, but the true name of the second name ‘Alexander Petrov’ remains a mystery.

Security minister Ben Wallace says lessons will be learned from Skripal nerve agent attack | Salisbury Journal

THE security minister has said lessons must be learned from the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, and warned that the attitude of the Russian…

Salisbury Case ‘Problem’ for UK Intelligence, ‘The Skripal Files’ Author Says – Sputnik International

LONDON (Sputnik) – The BBC editor, Mark Urban, who wrote “The Skripal Files” book about Russian ex-intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, said that the poisoning of the former Russian spy agent in the UK city of Salisbury was bad for the UK security and intelligence services.

Yulia Skripal chose Salisbury as family home, book reveals | UK news | The Guardian

The Skripal Files by Mark Urban sets out intriguing details on ex-spy Sergei’s life

Salisbury church hosts ‘From Russia With Love’ concert months after Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack

Concert organiser says she was ‘not best pleased’ with poster design showing Russian flag

Colonel Chepiga: who really identified the Skripal poisoner and why it matters

Why were the Russians behind the story not properly acknowledged?

Who really identified the Skripal poisoner, and why it matters

Where exactly does our news come from? And are those who unearth it getting fair credit? As media consumers, these are questions we should be asking on a regular basis. Take the case of “Colonel Chepiga”. The BBC reported on September 27 that “Ruslan Boshirov”, one of the suspects accused by the UK government of poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skr…

Russia ‘targeted chemical weapons body’ – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Oct 4, 2018 Dutch security services say they expelled four Russians over a cyber attack plot targeting the global chemical weapons watchdog. The operation by Russia’s GRU military intelligence allegedly targeted the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague in April. The OPCW has been probing the chemical attack on a Russian ex-spy in the UK. The allegations are part of an organised push-back against alleged Russian cyber attacks around the world. A joint statement from British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte said the alleged plot demonstrated “the GRU’s disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe”.

Russian GRU agents ‘caught hacking chemical weapons watchdog’ | News | The Times

Russian GRU agents ‘caught hacking chemical weapons watchdog’ – To Inform is to Influence

Russian GRU agents were caught red-handed trying to break into the OPCW in the Hague.  They were attempting to do close-access operations, which is hands-on the targeted network, server, or computer.  Two of the spies were cyber ‘operators’ and two were HUMINT intelligence officers.  That they were caught indicates a lack of proper preparation, a…

Taxi company confirms authenticity of receipt taken from GRU agent in Netherlands — Meduza

The “Be Taxi” company has verified the authenticity of a receipt seized by the Dutch authorities from an alleged GRU agent. “Yes, that’s one of our receipts. The driver, Tsvetkov, is on shit right now,” a company spokesperson told the magazine RBC.

Russia ‘Hit Chemical-Weapons Watchdog and MH17 Investigation With Cyberattacks’ – The Daily Beast

Four Kremlin agents expelled from Netherlands after plot was uncovered.

Visual guide: how Dutch intelligence thwarted a Russian hacking operation | World news | The Guardian

Four agents were caught trying to hack into the international chemical weapons watchdog’s headquarters in The Hague, according to Dutch authorities

Address of Russian hacking suspect is a spy agency unit – records show | Reuters

One of the Russians accused by U.S. officials of conducting cyber attacks around the world is registered at an address in Moscow that has been identified by the U.S. government as a base of Russian military intelligence.

UAWire – Media: Skripal poisoning suspect involved in assassination of Chechen field commander in Turkey

One of the prime suspects in the Skripal poisoning case, Russian GRU Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, was involved in the assassination of Chechen insurgent field commander Abdulwahid Edelgeriev in Istanbul in 2015, the Turkish news outlet Naber Turk reports. Edelgeriev’s assassination was organized by a group of people which included Chepiga, who went by the name Andrey Sholkhov in this operation. A surveillance camera image is presented as proof. The article’s writers explain away the differences in appearance between Chepiga and Sholkhov by proposing that the Russian operative may have had minor plastic surgery. “After graduating from the diplomatic academy and several trips to Chechnya, together with his diploma Chepiga must have received the primary area where he would be stationed, where his experience would be put to use, and this was the countries of Asia and the East. And for his deployment location he also received a matching appearance through plastic surgery,” the article states. Abdulwahid Edelgeriev was a Chechen fighter and a relative of Movladi Udugov, one of the main proponents of Wahhabism in Chechnya, who was killed in his own house in autumn 2015.

Ukraine has no evidence that Russian Salisbury suspects helped Yanukovych flee to Russia –

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has no evidence that Anatoly Chepiga (Ruslan Boshirov), the officer of Russia’s GRU suspected in the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripals in Salisbury, participated in the organization of the escape of ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych to Russia. Serhiy Gorbatyuk, the Head of Special Investigations Department, claimed this as “Nastoyashchee Vremia” reported. “There is an assumption that the representatives of the Russian Federation helped Yanukovych to leave Ukraine on February 22 from the territory of Donetsk region but at the moment they are not identified. There is no information on Mezhyhiria. We cannot exclude this but there is no information. There are data that they were at the territory of Donetsk region and helped there the ex-president to leave the country,” Gorbatyuk claimed.

Iran’s bitter lesson for France

France just learned that President Trump had a point when he warned that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace and it never…

Alleged Iranian bomb plot in France is a ‘wake-up call’ for Europe, U.S. says

After France accuses Iran’s spy services of planning a bombing at a Paris rally, U.S. officials say it’s time Europe places more economic pressure on Tehran.

France decides to confront Iran – Washington Times

The French government has decided it has no choice but to confront Iran after a blatant terror attempt on French soil during the summer against the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahideen of Iran, which held a massive gathering in Paris in June.

No doubt Iran behind foiled Paris attack: French diplomatic source | Reuters

French intelligence concluded that Iran’s intelligence ministry, which is controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered a foiled attack on an exiled Iranian opposition group’s rally near Paris in June, a French diplomatic source said.

Iran Says Missile Attack Next to U.S. Troops in Syria Was Reply to Trump Security Official’s Threat

An Iranian missile strike targeting jihadis just a few miles from U.S. troops in Syria was a response to warnings from the Trump administration.

National Strategy for Counterterrorism of the United States of America – To Inform is to Influence

The White House hammered Iran in a new counterterrorism strategy released Thursday.  National security adviser John Bolton outlined the new strategy, saying it focuses on targeting “all” terrorist groups—a category the document defines as including “radical Islamic terrorist groups.”  Such groups, Bolton said, “represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United…

White House targets Iran with new counterterrorism strategy – POLITICO

Iran has been ‘the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979,’ national security adviser John Bolton said.

Trump administration unveils new counterterrorism strategy – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump has signed off on a new national counterterrorism strategy, articulating his administration’s vision for how the US should confront terrorist threats at home and abroad.

Terrorist Threat ‘More Fluid and Complex Than Ever,’ White House Says – The New York Times

The Trump administration’s first public counterterrorism strategy cleaves to many of the same principles and plans adopted by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Bolton: Iran made a mockery of the Treaty of Amity – YouTube

Bolton 2.0: Trump’s tough guy on Iran picks his battles | Reuters

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Jonathan Landay

U.S. Terminates 1955 ‘Friendship’ Treaty With Iran After UN Court Ruling

The United States says it is canceling a decades-old friendship treaty with Iran after Tehran cited it in an international court case against Washington’s sanctions policy.

Critical ISIS and IRGC cycle of violence likely to escalate – To Inform is to Influence

IRAN FILE ISIS and IRGC cycle of violence likely to escalate Co-Authors: Mike Saidi, Nicholas Carl Contributors: Jonatan Sameyach, Ulysses Kamrani,Austin Bodetti, Michael Letkewicz Forecast: The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and anti-regime insurgencies will try to capitalize on heightened levels of anti-regime sentiments among socially- and economically-marginalized minority communities in Iran to conduct future attacks on regime…

Staying in Syria is a good way to get into a bad war with Iran | TheHill

An international terrorist organization like ISIS will not be verifiably annihilated and even if it were, some new gang of horrors would arise to take its place.

‘It’s Complete Folly’: Hagel Says Trump Administration Can’t Threaten Iran Out of Syria – Defense One

“I don\’t know what our foreign policy objective is in the Middle East or almost anywhere else,” says former defense secretary at Defense One interview.

Trump’s ‘Maximum-Pressure’ Strategy for North Korea and Iran Will Fail – Defense One

The combined might of punishing sanctions, diplomatic isolation, or even the threat of war won’t compel surrender from North Korea and Iran.

Veil-Safe Plan: Iran’s Khamenei Sees The Hijab As The Answer To #MeToo Woes

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has used the first anniversary of the movement to encourage victims of sexual abuse to speak out to offer his particular notion of Islam as a solution, head scarves and …

Missing Saudi Journalist Puts Kingdom on Collision Course With Turkey – WSJ

Turkey and Saudi Arabia sparred over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist in Istanbul in a case that risks souring relations between the two regional powers.

What Happened to Jamal Khashoggi? Conflicting Reports Deepen a Mystery – The New York Times

The Saudi journalist has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon. Friends fear he has been detained or worse.