Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (171)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The mischief and clusterf….s of the GRU remain the dominant Russia theme in the media, and the Russian firehose has been unable to douse this conflagration. Davydov blames this on a general trend toward dumbing down in Russia, a point made by others previously – like the Soviets, the neo-Soviet Chekist regime values loyalty far more than competencies, and the incompetent are in turn immensely confident about their competencies, producing guaranteed blunders. Somebody tossed a Molotov cocktail into a window of the Troll Factory in St Petersburg, exactly who and why is yet to be explained – there is no shortage of disaffected former trolls in circulation. MBKh Media published a more detailed discussion of the Saturday MoD gathering, repeating the previous comments on “deep incompetence,” “infinite carelessness,” “morons,” and “would still wear the budenovka”. GRU Colonel Konstantin Bakhtin was labeled the “culprit” for what is clearly a combination of systemic problems, overconfidence, and arrogance typical of contemporary Russian operations, loss of professional competencies, and politically driven tasking with no thought being given to the longer term consequences of failures, or successes. Many of the botched operations seen previously in Ukraine followed the patterns now observed in the West, and Ukraine was in 2014 – 2015 a far more permissive threat environment than Western nations with well-developed capabilities to deal with domestic terrorists, who employ similar infiltration techniques to Russian covert operators.

Adm Foggo comments on Russia’s efforts to effect A2/AD in the Black Sea region. Clear Sky 2018 EX kicks off – something that would be simply inconceivable were it not for Russia’s invasion in 2014.

In the UK, former SECSTATE Sir William Hague comments on the failure to stop the “sinister Russification of Europe” – a reality that most European politicians and bureaucrats appear to be quite blind to, as evidenced by Nordstream 2. Far too many European politicians are very cheaply bought with Russian cash – a replay of the 1930s infatuation with Hitler. Media publish much more on Mishkin, also visiting the village he grew up in near Arkhangelsk.

Professor Sergey Sudakov of the Russian Academy of Military Science tells RIA Novosti that the US would destroy the S-300PM2 / SA-20B systems in Syria using F-22 Raptors, supported by EA-18G SOJ aircraft (article was mistranslated by jargon illiterates). TASS report the freebie systems were three batteries of S-300PM / SA-20B GARGOYLE, each with four TELs, and 100 rounds of 48N6E2. TV footage proves they are S-300PM2 systems.

Updates on MidEast, including Syria, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Bellingcat Claims Alleged Salisbury Suspect Bestowed Hero of Russia in 2014 – Sputnik International

LONDON (Sputnik) – UK-based investigative blogger group Bellingcat presented on Tuesday a report claiming that “trained military doctor” Alexander Mishkin, the alleged true identity of Skripal poisoning suspect Alexander Petrov, received the Hero of the Russian Federation Award in 2014.

UAWire – Kremlin claims Russians accused of hacker attack in Netherlands were testing embassy’s computer systems

The Russians detained in April in the Netherlands were supposed to test the embassy’s computer systems, stated the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Intexfax reports. “The technical equipment confiscated from the Russian representatives were intended for testing the embassy’s information systems for analyzing the security of computer networks in connection with the frequent attempts of cyber-penetration into Russian state institutions,” the statement reads. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it was a completely open and routine business trip. “The daily activities of Russian diplomatic missions abroad are ensured by various state organizations and agencies, including the Russian Defense Ministry. Only specialized and certified bodies are involved in this work,” the office said. The Ministry also confirmed that the Russians deported from the Netherlands had diplomatic passports.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Increasingly Shocked by ‘Wild Parade of Official Incompetence,’ Davydov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 9 – Almost every day brings a new case of official incompetence, Ivan Davydov says, a display of the inability of officials to do their job and of their simultaneous insistence that they are competent and that others to get ahead should follow in their footsteps, a pattern that will produce more failures but ultimately alienate Russians from their leaders. The Moscow commentator says that it is now impossible to know “who began this wild parade of incompetence.” Was it the failure of officials in Vladivostok to carry out their falsification of elections in a way that not everyone would see? Or was it one official challenging Aleksey Navalny to a duel? ( Or was it the story, pushed by government media, that American astronauts had worked to destroy a Russian spacecraft? Or was it the Salisbury poisonings which highlighted the incompetence of Russia’s secret services? The answer doesn’t really matter because all these stories point to “the total and catastrophic incompetence of people related to the powers that be.” And tragically this incompetence is spreading down into the population because the state is organizing things like a cardboard Reichstag for children to storm or teachers who recognize that the only way to prepare their charges for success is to encourage them to be like the incompetents who are in charge. A recent poll of Russian teachers found that they respected among politicians, Putin, Lavrov, Zhirinovsky, Glazyev, and Kadyrov; among cultural figures, Mikhalkov, Kobzon, and Loza. No, seriously, Yury Loza; and among journalists, Pozner, Solovyev and for some reason Gordon. And so on.” One would like to believe that this isn’t typical and that the majority of teachers are in fact “normal people.” It simply can’t be that “good teachers have disappeared completely.” But if there are, their work undoubtedly is “corrected” by the propaganda of the state and by its displays of official incompetence. The entire system, Davydov continues, is now all about producing “failures so that there will be replacements if the current failures aren’t able to destroy everything in their own time.” But what is especially remarkable about all this, he says, is that those who lived through the last years of the Soviet Union know that young people and others will ultimately prefer real life to the mythology the state puts about especially when the state demonstrates at each step that it is incompetent and cannot manage the simplest things. That preference, of course, led them not only to understand the failures of those above them but also to take part in “’the greatest geopolitical catastrophe’” of the 20th century. Given that it is nearly certain that “today’s children are no more stupid than we were then,” they certainly understand too – and they will repeat this drama, getting rid of trash and incompetence in the name of life itself.

Night Arson: The Federal News Agency publishes a video of the attack on the editor

At the beginning of the third morning on October 9, unknown persons attempted to set fire to the St. Petersburg business center Ilyich, where the editorial board of the Federal News Agency is located. We present a video of this attack.The video shows that the attackers first broke a window on the first floor of the business center, throwing a stone at it, then poured a flammable liquid into a hole in the glass and set it on fire. A plastic bottle in which, apparently, was gasoline, was later found at the crime scene.

Infamous St. Petersburg ‘Troll Factory’ Set on Fire

The office of Russia’s infamous troll factory believed to be at the vanguard of Russia’s information war has been set on fire in St. Petersburg overnight. An investigation revealed last year that the secretive troll factory had rebranded itself as a media conglomerate with 16 news websites generating more than 30 million pageviews every month. Its operational hub, a website called FAN (Federal News Agency), is based a stone’s throw from the troll farm’s original location in northern St. Petersburg.

Russian troll farm targeted in arson attack | TheHill

The office of a Russian internet troll farm linked to election interference efforts by Russia’s government during the 2016 presidential election was set on fire in an arson attack early Tuesday morning, according to reports.

Russian ‘troll factory set up by Putin’s “cook”’ set on FIRE | Daily Mail Online

The Federal News Agency (FAN) was targeted at around 3am on Tuesday when a suspect broke into the building’s ground floor in St Petersburg and threw a Molotov cocktail, police said.

Russia Troll Factory’s Office Set on Fire With Molotov Cocktail

The Internet Research Agency is best known for its role interfering in the U.S. 2016 presidential election through social media posts.

Russian Troll Factory Hit by Molotov Cocktail, Goes Up in Flames – The Daily Beast

The suspect has not yet been identified.

The culprit in the failures was found in the GRU: it turned out to be a close friend of Chepiga-Boshirov – Colonel Konstantin Bakhtin – МБХ медиа

Last Saturday, a secret meeting was held at the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation following the traces of high-profile failures of Russian military intelligence in the United States, England, Holland and Montenegro. Among other unflattering assessments, “deep incompetence,” “infinite carelessness,” “morons,” and “would still wear the budenovka” sounded. Apparently, soon there will be a big sweep at the General Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation (earlier GRU), and some generals will be asked to leave. Among others responsible for the failure of intelligence, they named Colonel of the GRU Konstantin Bakhtin, working under the “cover” of the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands, who turned out to be a close friend of the Skripal “poisoner” Anatoly Chepiga (Ruslan Boshirov). According to the source of the Dossier Center, at the headquarters of the GRU (military unit 45 807, in reconnaissance slang – Aquarium), they analyzed in detail the actions of all groups sent to conduct sabotage and special activities abroad. The result turned out to be disappointing: the intelligence officers themselves and their immediate commanders did not observe the elementary foundations of illegal and undercover work abroad, communicated among themselves by telephone numbers registered in the Moscow region, and the conversations themselves with details were conducted in almost clear text. Cyber-saboteurs who tried to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) computer network in The Hague received particular scolding. As is known, in April of this year, near the headquarters of the OPCW, the Dutch police detained four Russian citizens in their possession who had diplomatic passports in the name of Oleg Sotnikov, Alexey Morents, Yevgeny Serebryakov and Alexei Minin. During the arrest, Morenets tried to break his phone, and during a search he was found a receipt for a taxi ride to Sheremetyevo Airport from Nesvizhsky Lane, where the complex of buildings of the Russian Defense Ministry is located, including military unit No. 26 165, in which he officially serves. Morenets kept the receipt for the report in the accounting department of the military unit. According to the Dossier Center, he was led by a group of hackers in shoulder straps, a GRU personnel officer, Alexei Minin, who graduated from the 1st faculty of the Military Diplomatic Academy (ACA), located on ul. Militia, house 50 (military unit 22 177, in the language of grushnikov – “Conservatory”). Graduates of the 1st Department of the Airborne Academy (strategic intelligence service, on the slang of pears “jackets”) continue to work under the “cover” of the Russian embassies, Aeroflot and foreign economic organizations. Another detainee, Yevgeny Serebryakov, served in military unit 26 165, which is located at Komsomolsky Prospect, 20, and Oleg Sotnikov entered military intelligence after studying at MADI.

Russian military reportedly unhappy with a series of embarrassing blunders by its spies abroad | Business Insider

Russia’s military leaders are reportedly unhappy with a series of blunders that its intelligence service suffered through in the past two weeks. Over the past two weeks, Western investigators said that the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, was behind the nerve agent poisoning in England and an attempted hack into the global chemical weapons watchdog earlier this year. Both missions ultimately failed and GRU agents were found responsible for them. The country’s defence ministry held a secret meeting over the weekend and called the GRU “deeply incompetent,” “infinitely careless,” “morons,” Russia’s MBK news site reported.

Russian military embarrassed as spies continue to blunder – We Are The Mighty

Russia’s military leaders are reportedly unhappy with a series of blunders that its intelligence service suffered through.

A purge is coming for Putin’s hapless spies | Comment | The Times

The Russian intelligence services have always taken good care of their in-house doctors. Some even have experience with toxins. When suspicion fell on Oleg Penkovsky, the biggest double agent in the GRU military spy service, goons from the rival KGB scattered skin-irritating powder around his Moscow apartment. The family broke out in rashes and a GRU doctor immediately prescribed them a detox in a secure army sanatorium. In their absence, the apartment was turned upside down and the searchers found three Minox cameras and a cipher table. That was in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Penkovsky was executed, the KGB burglars promoted, the GRU doctor became the head of a clinic. Now another spy-doctor is doing his duty, carrying and presumably…

Espionage scandals show Russian army’s growing clout | Reuters

Russia’s military spies are being mocked abroad as bunglers but the army’s influence over Kremlin foreign policy is growing and there is little likelihood it will halt its “black operations”.

The GRU, Putin’s not-so-secret service – France 24

From the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal to interference in the 2016 US presidential election, the spies from Russia’s military intelligence agency the GRU seem to be everywhere.

Begone, ‘outmoded liberal models of democracy’: The chairman of Russia’s Constitutional Court says ‘drastic’ reforms are needed — Meduza

In a long think piece published on October 9 in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia’s official newspaper of record, Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin argued passionately for “drastic reforms” to the country’s constitution. Zorkin’s article is a mixed bag, criticizing Russia’s current constitution for having too few checks and balances and “insufficient clarity” in division of powers between the presidency and government, while also warning against “outmoded liberal models of democracy” and the “risks and costs of globalization.” What follows is a short, paraphrased retelling of Zorkin’s text.

U.S., NATO naval forces pushing back against Russian harassment, – Admiral James Foggo –

“The illegal annexation of Crimea has given the Russian Federation an opportunity to establish more anti-access and area-denial capabilities in the Black Sea, Foggo says

UAWire – Clear Sky 2018 air force exercises have begun in Ukraine

On Monday, October 8, the multinational military exercise Clear Sky 2018 began in Ukraine. The press-service of the Ministry of Defense reports …

Clear Sky 2018 drills start in Ukraine – 10.10.2018 14:33 — Ukrinform News

The multinational air force exercise Clear Sky 2018 has begun in Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko has said on Facebook.

Міжнародні навчання #ClearSky2018

Петро Порошенко. 1.7M likes. П’ятий Президент України

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry to cooperate with California National Guard in countering weapons of mass destruction – 09.10.2018 17:51 — Ukrinform News

The Interior Ministry of Ukraine has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the California National Guard on countering weapons of mass destruction.

UAWire – Latvia accuses Russia of cyber attacks

Latvia’s Constitution Protection Bureau reported that Russian military intelligence service GRU has attempted to gain access to the Latvian …

The Global Financial System Is Dying in a London Courthouse – Foreign Policy

A legal battle between Russia and Ukraine is an unprecedented instance of war by other means—and an example that others will soon follow.

William Hague | We are failing to stop the slow, sinister Russification of Europe

Putin’s regime is determined to undermine borders and sow instability

Former UK foreign secretary warns about Russification of Europe | UNIAN

Russia’s systematic approach of weakening western Europe with these policies – along with support for disruptive nationalist parties across the continent – is reaching into NATO itself, according to former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. The nature and scale of Russia’s interventions in a growing number of southern and eastern European countries are of great concern.

Britain warns: Do not underestimate Russian spies | Reuters

Recent failings by Russian military intelligence (GRU) have made it easy to laugh at its spies but the West should not underestimate the skills of the Kremlin’s once mighty espionage services, Britain’s Security Minister said on Tuesday.

Second Identified GRU Agent In Skripal Attempt Also Worked In Donbas – To Inform is to Influence

The same two GRU operatives that attempted and failed to assassinate the Skripals in the UK are said to have also frequently infiltrated the Donbas in Ukraine – to “instigate conflict” in East Ukraine. These words are deliberately pointed. They are a direct accusation of Russia as actively in attempting to assassinate people inside another sovereign nation. Russia is using the military to incite a revolution in Ukraine and others and is augmenting these forces with conventional Russian Army soldiers and officers. Russia is a rogue nation. Russia is illegally supporting terrorism in Donbas. Russia is illegally invading other countries. Russia is illegally annexing parts of other countries. Russia is illegally interfering in other countries. Russia is illegally inciting revolutions in other countries. Russia is assassinating people within other countries. Russia is a rogue nation. </end editorial>

Second Salisbury suspect revealed to be intelligence officer who took part in Russia’s war against Ukraine | KyivPost

LONDON – The second man accused in the Salisbury novichok attack in March that left one British woman dead is a decorated Russian military intelligence officer who took part in the Kremlin’s military invasion of Ukraine, investigators revealed at the British House of Commons on Oct. 9. Dr. Alexander Mishkin, a military physician who arrived in the United Kingdom on March 2 under the alias of Alexander Petrov, is also an operative with the GRU, the Russian military spy agency. Mishkin was awarded with Hero of the Russian Federation medal – along with alleged accomplice Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga – and spent considerable amounts of time in Ukraine between 2011 and 2018. During their time in Ukraine, the two suspects were likely active in GRU efforts to kick-start Russia’s war, investigators have claimed for the first time. Mishkin was likely decorated by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his role in either extracting former President Viktor Yanukovych from Kyiv on Feb. 22, 2014, amid the EuroMaidan Revolution, or for a later contribution to the Russian military takeover of Crimea, investigators said as they presented evidence at a U.K. parliamentary committee. Robert Seely, a British member of Parliament who is on the foreign affairs committee, told the Kyiv Post that the evidence presented in London shows that GRU operatives in Ukraine at the time were likely acting as “firestarters” and were there to instigate conflict across the country. “We know that the GRU were actively involved in the first takeovers of city councils in Ukraine,” added lead investigator Christo Grozev. “This would later be followed up by Russian Spetznaz special forces… and the creation of fake local defense units.” Eliot Higgins, founder of the Bellingcat investigative agency that uncovered the Salisbury attackers’ identities, said “there’s so much that he could have been doing during these trips to Ukraine. He could have been coordinating, passing money onto people… we know that the GRU has been directly involved with separatists in Ukraine.”

Skripal attack: GRU suspect Mishkin traced to Russian village – BBC News

BBC Russian finds villagers who remember a GRU agent accused over the Salisbury attack.

Skripal attack: Second Salisbury suspect ‘decorated’ by Putin – BBC News

Online and leaked documents unmasked intelligence officer, investigative website says.

Russian spy’s grandmother vanishes after telling friends Putin gave him a hero’s medal

The grandmother of the military doctor outed as a Salisbury assassin has disappeared after disclosing her grandson had been awarded Russia&rsquo;s highest honour by Vladimir Putin.

Grandmother of suspected Skripal poisoner accidentally helped expose him

The grandmother of one of the two suspects in the Sergei Skripal poisoning inadvertently helped expose his identity, proudly showing photographs of him receiving an award from Vladimir Putin.

Suspect in Salisbury poisoning receives hero’s honor in Russia, Bellingcat says – CNN

The Russian agent who a British investigative outlets identifies as a suspect in the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter has reportedly received a hero’s honor from President Vladimir Putin.

Bellingcat: Second Novichok Suspect Also Honored By Putin As ‘Hero Of Russia’

Cybersleuthing group Bellingcat says it has found that both men that Britain suspects of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were awarded Hero of the Russian Federation me…

Salisbury attack – as it happened: Second novichok suspect Dr Alexander Mishkin was ‘awarded hero of the Russian Federation’

Bellingcat investigators say Mishkin was photographed ‘shaking Vladimir Putin’s hand’

Licence to… DRIVE! How bungling spy sold his luxury Mercedes to fellow GRU agent leaving paper trail exposing their true identities and his traffic fines | Daily Mail Online

Spy named Ruslan Boshirov unveiled as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga. Alexander Petrov now revealed as Dr Alexander Mishkin, trained military doctor. He trained as a doctor for the Russian naval armed forces then recruited by GRU. Dr Mishkin assumed undercover identity in 2010 and became Alexander Petrov. His gran is said to have a picture of him with Putin but she has suddenly vanished. One of the novichok poisoners bought a Mercedes from the other in the latest schoolboy error by Putin’s bungling GRU intelligence agency. The pair travelled to Salisbury on false passports during the botched operation to kill double agent Sergei Skripal and later insisted on TV that they were just tourists. But their real identities quickly unravelled and the second agent, previously known as Alexander Petrov, was today unmasked as Dr Alexander Mishkin. It comes after his accomplice – who travelled as ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ – was revealed to be GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga. In yet another example of the pair’s failure to cover their tracks, Russian vehicle records reveal that Chepiga sold a Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 to Mishkin in September last year, according to the Russian investigative website Conflict Intelligence Team. It comes after investigators Bellingcat reported that Mishkin’s grandmother has a picture of her grandson with Putin receiving his ‘Hero of Russia’ award and Gold Star medal in 2014 – but she has now mysteriously disappeared.

Second U.K. Spy-Poisoning Suspect Identified as Russian Military Doctor – WSJ

A London-based investigative journalism group says it has learned the real identity of Alexander Petrov, the second suspect in the near-fatal poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

Report: Suspect in poisoning of ex-spy in England is doctor recruited by Russian military intelligence | PBS NewsHour

The poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian agent who was convicted of spying for Britain, became a major international incident.

Skripal poisoning private investigator: We share open-source info ′with everyone′ | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.10.2018

After extensive research, the Bellingcat investigative network has revealed the reportedly true identity of the second suspect in the poisoning of a Russian double agent in the UK. DW spoke to its founder Eliot Higgins.

Armchair Investigators at Front of British Inquiry Into Spy Poisoning – The New York Times

Bellingcat, an investigative group, briefed reporters on the identity of a second suspect in the Skripal case, challenging the monopoly of state agencies.

UAWire – Russian military expert explains how US could destroy Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria

The S-300 anti-air missile systems sent to Syria by Russia could be taken out by American F-22 Raptors using electronic warfare and strikes targeting the radars specifically, Professor Sergey Sudakov of the Academy of Military Science told RIA Novosti. In the expert’s opinion, a possible scenario of F-22 Raptors being used against anti-air systems in Syria would involve one or more such fighters coming into range of the enemy’s radar installations, accompanied by their own electronic countermeasure systems. The American planes would jam the hostile detection and guidance systems, while simultaneously firing at the radars, launchers and command points. This would be followed by a second wave of attack by fighters and bombers. The Russian professor believes that this is how the US Air Force plans to paralyze the Syrian anti-air defense. “But such operations only look smooth on paper,” Sudakov observes wryly. The expert believes that, even if the radars of the ground-based anti-air defense do not see the F-22, the fighter will be detected once it activates its on-board electronic countermeasure system. According to Sudakov, the ground control systems can locate the source of radiation, and thus the aircraft’s location, and rapidly launch a surface-to-air missile against it. In October, the American news outlet the Drive conjectured that, now that Russia has sent S-300 missile systems to Syria, the US may begin using 5th generation F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and 4th generation F-16CJ Vipers for air operations over Syria. The same month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia had delivered four S-300 launch systems to Syria. The delivery included 49 items of equipment: locators, backlights, basic identification systems, guidance vehicles and four launchers. The shipment of S-300 systems to Syria is Russia’s response to an incident which took place in September, when a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane was accidentally shot down by Syrian anti-air defense systems. The Syrian systems were trying to destroy an attacking Israeli F-16 Fighting Falcon. Russia believes that the S-300s will strengthen Syria’s defense.

UAWire – Media: Syria received S-300 missile systems from Russia for free

Russia provided the advanced S-300PM air defense system to Syria’s military free of charge, transferring three battalions with eight launchers each, TASS reported citing a military-diplomatic source. The source clarified that on October 1st, three S-300PM battalions with eight launchers each were delivered to Syria. He added that previously the equipment was in service of the anti-aircraft missile regiments of the Russian Air Force, now re-equipped with the S-400 Triumf system. “It underwent capital repairs at Russian defense enterprises, is in good condition and is capable of completing military tasks,” said the source. He clarified that the S-300PM “was delivered to the Syrian side free of charge.” Also, based on the source’s information “together with the launchers, mobile ammunition consisting of more than 100 anti-aircraft guided missiles were delivered for each battalion.” The agreement regarding delivery of the S-300PM battalion missile launcher to Syria was signed in 2010, but it was put on hold. On September 24th, 2018, after the incident with the downed Russian surveillance Il-20 aircraft, the Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu stated that Russia is delivering the S-300 with “enhanced military capabilities.” On October 2nd, 2018, Sergey Shoygu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin, that the S-300 was delivered to Syria.

UAWire – Israeli Air Force resumes flights near Syrian borders

On Monday, October 8th, four Israeli F-16 fighter jets flew near the borders of Syria through the airspace of Lebanon, reported by Interfax with …

Syria’s Assad offers amnesty to army deserters | Syria News | Al Jazeera

The amnesty offer however, does not cover those who fought against the government or joined rebels during the civil war.

Syria offers amnesty to military deserters, but exiles are cautious – The Washington Post

Refugees routinely cite conscription as a major reason for not returning home.

Syria’s Assad offers amnesty to military deserters and dodgers to encourage refugee returns

President Bashar al-Assad has made an unprecedented offer of amnesty for military deserters and draft dodgers in the hope of encouraging Syrians to return home.

Turkey Reveals Plans to Tame Inflation – WSJ

The Turkish government unveiled measures aimed at reining in double-digit inflation that has helped erode investor confidence in the country and contributed to a sharp depreciation of the currency this year.

Inflation in Turkey: Police Checking Grocery Store Prices – Bloomberg

Their toolkit is no match for the central bank’s, but after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made repeated calls for a crackdown on price hikes, Turkey’s municipal police are on the frontlines of its war on inflation.

Starvation and Child Soldiers: On the Ground in Yemen – Foreign Policy

International Rescue Committee chief sees the devastation firsthand and calls on the United States to end support for the Saudi-led coalition.

UAWire – Putin prepares for military campaign in Libya

Inspired by the military campaign in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to assist another ally, this time in Libya. Russia has …

Saudi journalist’s disappearance developing into diplomatic mess | TheHill

We can’t be certain what happened, but a diplomatic row is brewing in front of a worldwide audience gripped by gory details from Turkish officials.

Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Is Even Stranger Than It Seems – Foreign Policy

The Saudi journalist is presumed dead, but we may never know what happened to him.

Turkish newspaper names 15 Saudis in Khashoggi case | Reuters

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah said on Wednesday it had identified a 15-member intelligence team it said was involved in the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi government planned Jamal Khashoggi hit: NY Times | USA News | Al Jazeera

Saudi writer was killed and dismembered in Istanbul consulate by hit squad deployed by Saudi leadership, report says.

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey to search Saudi consulate – BBC News

Turkey says missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was not seen leaving the building in Istanbul.

Turkey to search Saudi consulate for Jamal Khashoggi | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

Riyadh open to examination of consulate, Turkey’s foreign ministry says, a week after disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi ‘death’ squad identified from leaked airport footage | News | The Times

The 15 members of the squad the Turkish authorities believe to be implicated in the disappearance and possible killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been identified from immigration surveillance footage.Video stills showing the 15 men as they entered the country and went through passp

🇹🇷 🇸🇦 Scepticism over Turkish probe of Khashoggi disappearance | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Oct 9, 2018 Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and Turkish officials have said he was murdered inside the building. Riyadh denies that, claiming he left the compound on his own, and gave Turkey permission to search the premises of the consulate. But some suspect the investigation will not yield substantial answers. Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports from Istanbul.

The Saudi Monarchy May Have Killed a Free Man | The National Interest

Did journalist Jamal Khashoggi fall prey to the tyrannical regime in Saudi Arabia?

Mohammad bin Salman Is Scared of Saudi Expats – Foreign Policy

The crown prince will stop at nothing to silence his growing number of critics, regardless of where they live.