Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (70)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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NATO / EU / Russia Reports



🇺🇸 Jon B. “Globalist” Wolfsthal on Twitter: “so @NATO Secretary General @jensstoltenberg kicks off NATO Defense Ministerial by stating Russia violating INF, calls on return to compliance, but makes clear NATO members are not on board with Trump/Bolton arms race and don’t want US ground based missiles. #awkward…”
U.S. Senators To Try Again With Tougher Russia Sanctions Bill
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced a bill that would impose drastic new sanctions on Russia over its meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine.
Russian Tor-family air defense system trains to defend the Arctic – Defence Blog
The Tor-M2DT anti-aircraft missile system crews have started practicing in order to prepare for potential battles in the Arctic, according to a Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Russia is setting up a special unit armed with an advanced version of Tor-family autonomous short-range anti-aircraft missile system, called the Tor-M2DT, ready to fight in the Arctic as tensions over the region’s allegedly vast oil and gas wealth reserves grow. At the technical, special and tactical training sessions, the Tor-M2DT crews master the capabilities of the new air defense systems, after which they will have to carry out combat shooting at high-speed air targets. They will be held at one of the specialized training grounds in the Astrakhan region in early June. The Tor-M2DT autonomous short-range anti-aircraft missile system adapted to severe climatic conditions is intended to operate at extremely low temperature and difficult terrain. The weapon defends important administrative facilities, the first echelons of ground forces from air strikes by antiradar and cruise missiles, gliding air bombs, aircraft, helicopters and drones. It can operate automatically and in a manual regime. Tor controls the airspace and downs all air targets unidentified by friend-or-foe system. The new Arctic configuration of the Tor-family system stays operational at air temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing and would hit the target within seconds after identification.
Russia to fix Ka-52’s issues found during testing in Syria – Defence Blog
The holding company Russian Helicopters is planning hardware and software upgrades of its Ka-52 attack helicopter to fix found deficiencies during testing in Syria, CEO Andrey Boginsky said Monday. The Ka-52 Alligator helicopters will be upgraded based on the experience from the combat use in Syria, confirmed Andrey Boginsky in an interview with Russian media on Monday. He added: “an upgrade will affect, in particular, power generators and electro-optical vision system.” “They [the upgraded requirements] are formed on the basis of the results of Syria. We are already working on replacing power generators to provide more energy. The complex work on the Ka-52 and Mi-28 includes the modernization of electro-optical vision system,” he said adding that the Russian Helicopters already have the Ka-52 modernization plan approved by the Ministry of Defense. The Ka-52, known as Alligator, is a next-generation reconnaissance and combat helicopter designed to destroy tanks, armored and non-armored ground targets, and enemy troops and helicopters both on the front line and in tactical reserves. According to the company, the helicopter can provide target acquisition and designation for helicopter teams and ground troop command and control centres. It can also provide fire support for troop landings, fly routine patrols and escort military convoys. Meanwhile, in 2018, some sources have reported that modern Russian Ka-52 helicopter has engine installations, avionics, navigation systems, and night vision systems deficiencies discovered in real action in Syria and Egypt. At hot-climate conditions engine of Ka-52 significantly loses its power in different flight regimes. Also, avionics and navigation systems are untrustworthy which can give rise to an accident situation. A source familiar with the Ka-52’s program explained that always technical issues when you take a new weapons system like heavy combat helicopter. Russian Helicopters had previously been working on technical issues and software fix of new Ka-52, but world sanctions and nation’s economic crisis slow down progress for upgrading.
Russian army to get newest Proryv-3 tanks by 2020 – Defence Blog
The Russian Armed Forces expected to get a modernized version of the modern T-90 main battle tanks by 2020. Russian military expert Alexey Khlopotov reported that the first batch of T-90M main battle tanks, known popularly as “Proryv-3” will take delivery to Russian Army by the end of 2019 and will be ready for warfare by 2020. “The T-90M – a modernized version of the T-90A tank, also known as the “Object 188M”, created during the research and development (R&D) “Proryv-3,” a military expert explained, adding that production of upgraded tanks will be started by the end of the year. The Russian military will receive T-90M tanks which now has a new turret with a longer 125mm gun and advanced fire control system. Compared with T-90A, the improved version will feature a new all-welded turret design protected by the Relikt ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) armor fitted at the front and on each side of the turret. Additionally, turret equipped with add-on armor kit to counter the threat of rocket-propelled grenades. The new main battle tank is powered by a V-92S2 engine developing 1,000 hp, producing a top road speed of 60 km/h and a cruising range of 550 km. The main armament is complemented by a one 125 mm 2A46M-4 smoothbore gun able to fire standard ammunition but also Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) Refleks NATO Code AT-11 Sniper-B.

Russia / Russophone Reports



American Investment Manager Reportedly Detained In Moscow Fraud Case
The American founder of the Baring Vostok investment company has been detained in Moscow and could face charges of large-scale fraud.
Moscow Rail Stations, Other Buildings Evacuated Following Hoax Bomb Threats
A spate of anonymous bomb threats to institutions in Moscow has led to several evacuations, although no explosives have been found, Russian authorities say.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Nearly 40 Percent of Russians Subsist on Less than 10 US Dollars a Day, Official Figures Show
Paul Goble Staunton, February 10 – Thirty-seven percent of Russians life on 19,000 rubles or less a month, Rosstat says, a figure that works out to a subsistence of ten US dollars or a less a day, 23.2 percent live on less than 15,000 rubles a month (under seven dollars a day); and 12 percent have incomes under 10,000 rubles a month (five dollars a day). Only 11 percent, have incomes of 60,000 rubles or more a month (30 dollars plus a day) ( and discussed at Given that Rosstat has a reputation for spinning its data to make the situation look better than it, in fact, is, the real situation may be even more dire. But as Novyye Izvestiya says, even these figures cannot be interpreted as other than a clear indication that a very large swath of the population lives in abject poverty. According to surveys conducted by The Conference Board and Nielsen consulting companies at the end of last year, “23 percent of Russians do not have money even for clothes. All of their income goes for the most necessary expenditures like food and payments for communal services,” the Moscow paper says. And that figure is up by four percent from a year earlier, when only 19 percent of Russians were in that position. It is thus no surprise, Novyye izvestiya continues, that Russians “do not believe they can cope with inflation which in January alone was one percent” over all and as much as 20 percent for some basic products. There is no sign that things are about to change, the paper says, noting that whatever Kremlin propagandists say, officials in the now see things continuing as they are or getting even worse: the Central Bank, for example, this past week kept a key interest rate on loans at 7.75 percent, something it would not have done if the future looked brighter.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: 70 Percent of Deaths among Working Age Russian Men Alcohol Related, Health Minister Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 8 – Russian health minister Veronika Skvortsova, says 70 percent of deaths among working-age men are alcohol-related, even though consumption of alcohol and alcohol surrogates has fallen in recent years. Her words have sparked controversy with some doubting the overall figure, others her claims about declining consumption, and some about both. Skvortsova made her declaration in an interview carried on Vesti FM, but it immediately attracted attention from the mass media, health care experts, and political figures because the issue of super-high adult male mortality is one of the most important and most sensitive issues in Russia today ( Super-high male mortality has long been a feature of Russian life, and bringing it down is critical for the country’s economic future and for boosting life expectancies. Russia has made great strides in reducing infant and child mortality – which have the biggest effect on life expectancy figures — but it has had much less success in dealing with adult male mortality rates. Some deny her overall figure, and others insist that the same pattern holds in other countries. But some health care specialists say the real figure may be even higher than Skvortsova says; while other say that statistics do not provide any foundation for suggestions that the situation is similar to most other countries ( and What has been striking and welcome this week is that discussions of alcohol-related deaths have led to a broader discussion of the reasons for adult male mortality rates, including economic uncertainty, poverty, and high levels of stress ( Those factors of course affect levels of alcohol consumption and are affected by it, but all too often they are lost in the fog because addressing them would both cost more money than the Putin regime is prepared to give to the needs of the Russian people and would involve a fundamental re-ordering of the Russian social and political systems. That the discussion has moved beyond fighting over the figures and debates about whether prohibition of the sale of alcohol or advertising on television will solve the problem is a hopeful start. It will be worth watching whether Skvortsova’s observation has legs and helps to redefine public discourse on these larger issues as well.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ever More Non-Russian Groups from Russia Forming Diaspora Communities Abroad
Paul Goble Staunton, February 9 – The combination of relatively open borders, increasing repression, and the loss of hope in Russia itself is leading to the rise of a phenomenon so far little noted in the West: the appearance of significant non-Russian diaspora communities in Europe, Asia and North America. Among the largest of these are the Chechens, the Circassians, Finno-Ugric nations, the Siberians and Ingrians. In a few cases, such as the Circassians and the Cossacks, the new emigres are linking up with pre-existing communities; but in most, they are creating their own new ones, closely linked via the Internet with their national base at home. This represents at least the third wave of such groups coming out of Russia. The first, following the Bolshevik revolution and Russian Civil War, resulted in the formation not only of vibrant non-Russian communities in Europe and elsewhere but the formation, under the aegis of the Promethean League, of cooperation among many of them. The second wave, which arose as a result of World War II and the displaced populations that resulted, became the basis for the formation of new émigré groups, some of which cooperated to help launch projects like Radio Svoboda and the Captive Nations Week in the United States. Now a third has begun. The Chechens and new Circassian diasporas have received some attention, but the others have not. Given that they seem certain to continue to grow as long as repression and stagnation dominate Putin’s Russia, they deserve to be tracked both in their own right and as important sources of information about their co-ethnics still within Russia. In many cases, these new emigres are operating “below the radar” of the governments of the countries in which they are living and of the international organizations of their nations that have existed up to now. That makes any report about them especially valuable. One such, about the Chuvash of Berlin, is offered by IdelReal’s Ersubay Yangarov ( The journalist describes a meeting of 15 people in the German capital at which Viktor Chugarov, a Chuvash filmmaker, talked about his work and his hopes to use it to promote the Chuvash language. “If only school child who sees my film decides to learn Chuvash,” he says, he will consider that a victory. The Chuvash community in the West is still relatively small and almost completely without organization. Perhaps more seriously, its members lack ties with other Middle Volga diaspora groups such as the Tatars, the Maris, the Mordvins, and the Udmurts, all of whom exist and some of whom have an active Internet presence. Nonetheless, meetings like the one Chugarov hosted are how such organizations begin; and this one, held at the end of January, won’t be the last, he and others at it suggested. Consequently, one can say that yet another non-Russian diaspora is taking shape, will soon have its own webpage, and thus will make a contribution both to its nation at home and to the understanding of others abroad.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Ready to Use 2020 Census to Split Non-Russian Nations But Not Ethnic Russians
Paul Goble Staunton, February 12 – Moscow appears ready to use the 2020 census to emphasize divisions within non-Russian nations even as it plays up the unity of the ethnic Russian nation and even more the civic Russian nation, if one takes the words of Academician Valery Tishkov as an indication of the intentions of the authorities. Tishkov, the former director of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and a former nationalities minister who serves to this day as a close advisor to Vladimir Putin on ethnic and language issues, suggests as much in an interview with Natalya Rybakova of het Tatar-Inform news agency ( The academician says that the upcoming census will report various subgroups within non-Russian nations such as the Kryashens within the Kazan Tatars but goes out of his way to suggest that groups within the Russian nation who view themselves as separate are not only “rambunctious” but ultimately do not believe that they are distinct. Thus, he says, Pomors and Cossacks identify themselves as distinct even though they are really Russians. “We call them ‘subgroups,’ that is, they exist independently but at the same time are part of a large people.” The Cossacks and Pomors declare they are separate but “when their wives ask: ‘do you want to be apart from the Russians?’ they say ‘no.’” Non-Russians will see Moscow’s support for “subgroups” within them as a threat to their own numbers and even existence; and they will be especially outraged by the implications of Tishkov’s words that groups within the Russian nation aren’t as real and may not even be coded as separate as a result. Some of Tishkov’s other comments and his discussion about how censuses in Russia are now conducted may only add to this anger. For example, he says that linguistic assimilation, which he admits is occurring is “voluntary,” and that it is “in favor of the Russian language “not only [because it] is the state language but also [because it is] more prestigious.” But not all linguistic assimilation in the direction of Russia is “voluntary,” Tishkov’s words notwithstanding. Much of it reflects Kremlin policies that he has advocated that make it more difficult for non-Russians to retain their language and even their national identities. Suggesting otherwise is to distort reality beyond recognition. Tishkov says that many in Russia are now talking about using the Internet to conduct the census in order to achieve efficiencies and to save money. But he admits that this may introduce new problems as no one knows how people will respond to questions about nationality if no census taker is there to guide the discussion. In the past censuses, millions of people were undercounted, Tishkov acknowledges, and many of the numbers offered in the reports came not from the declarations of citizens but from official documents that census takers used to save time when they could not make contact with all those on their lists. And many thousands had problems coming up with a nationality. The 2020 census may be even more inaccurate than its predecessors in 2002 and 2010, Tishkov implies. “The state commission on the preparation of the census has already been confirmed. This time around, we do not see in it any representatives of the Russian Academy of Sciences.” Tishkov and his institute were represented earlier; they aren’t for 2020. That means that the census is far more likely to reflect official views uncontested by academic expertise, and those official views may tilt further against the non-Russians and toward the Russians than even Tishkov does. And he goes very far indeed in stressing just how much in common all the peoples of Russia have, rather than taking note of their enormous differences. “We have more in common than we differ,” he says. “We speak one language, we sing the same songs, we watch one and the same films and TV broadcasts, we root for one and the same Olympic team. There is much in common in our behavior and our views of the world, common experiences, common history of victories, achievements and dramas.” “Therefore,” Tishkov says, “the non-Russian Russian people is of course a historically evolved and very powerful people” with “an all-Russian culture.” “Therefore, we speak about the multi-national non-ethnic Russian people as about a polyethnic civic nation,” terminology recalls notions about “a new Soviet people” Moscow tried and failed to impose in the past.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: With Border Changes, Moscow is Opening a Pandora’s Box in Which Not Even Hope Remains, Cherkasov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 9 – In the Greek myth, Pandora opened her box, allowing all sorts of evils to escape into the world; but at least hope remained. But in the North Caucasus today, Moscow by allowing border changes has opened a box that has not only released a variety of evils but does not contain any hope for the future. One might have expected Russian officials to learn from what happened in Ingushetia when Ramzan Kadyrov secured 26,000 hectares of Ingush land for Chechnya, but apparently it hasn’t, Aleksandr Cherkasov says; and these same officials are calling for more border changes ahead in the name of justice and stability ( If officials proceed, the Radio Svoboda commentator suggests, they will see little of either. Instead, as talks about the Chechen-Daghestan border show, they will face more protests in more places. Such protests have already broken out ( and But still worse, the changes so far are leading to expectations that there will be more, something that is mobilizing people both to make additional demands and to defend against additional demands being made on them. (On that danger, emanating from Grozny, see “Chechnya without Borders” at These problems, Cherkasov argues, arise “above all from problems in the relationship between the powers that be and civil society” in these republics, between officials who look to Moscow rather than to their own people and consequently make deals that serve Moscow’s interests and thus their own but not the interests of their people. As a result, the border changes are having the additional and more serious consequence of undermining what authority officials in the North Caucasus have, making them an easier and more tempting target for radicals and likely requiring sooner rather than later the introduction of more repressive Russian forces. After reviewing the long history of the border dispute between Ingushetia and Chechnya, Cherkasov points to three main causes of the problem: the weakness of the authorities in Ingushetia and their inability to speak with society, the desire of the Chechen government to show itself to be strong, and Moscow’s obvious deference to Grozny. “No agreements on territorial transfers among Caucasian republics would be possible with Moscow’s sanction,” the commentator continues. That means Moscow could and should have said “’stop.’” That it didn’t and hasn’t means that for the peoples of the North Caucasus, their problems come not just from the republic heads but from Moscow itself. And recognition of that is really dangerous, Cherkasov suggests, a situation in which there is no hope remaining.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Only the Russian Powers that Be Aren’t Reacting to Their Falling Ratings, Shelin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, February 9 – In what Sergey Shelin describes as “the main surprise of the first months of 2019,” almost everyone in Russia is talking about and responding to what they see as a new situation arising as a result of the declining ratings of Vladimir Putin and the entire Russian government except the regime itself which appears largely indifferent. Most regimes, the Rosbalt commentator points out, respond at least rhetorically to indications that they do not have as much support as they had earlier. But the Putin regime has “its own agenda and lives according to it without considering whether it is close to the day-to-day concerns of the people” ( That approach appears to be based on the idea that ultimately if something matters to the powers that be, it will matter to the population. But new polls suggest that is not the case: the Kremlin is focused on Venezuela just now, but the population is almost entirely indifferent to what is going on there, focusing instead on its own concerns. In short, Shelin says, the world of those in power and the world of the Russian population are increasingly separate and do not intersect. And those in each of these worlds go about their business largely indifferent to what those in the other world think and do. And that means something potentially very dangerous: “The ability of the powers that be to impose on the subjects their intellectual and living priorities is declining … This is dictated by the natural course of events … But live divided by agendas in this way cannot continue for too long. The bosses and the people need to remember about each other.” Otherwise the situation will spin out of control in unpredictable ways.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Baker’s Dozen of Russian Stories Too Strange Not to Be True
Paul Goble Staunton, February 10 – Every day brings new stories from Russia that are too strange not to be true and that nonetheless reveal important aspects of reality there that more normal and mainstream stories fail to capture. Below is a very incomplete listing of 13 such stories from the past week alone: 1. Jehovah’s Witnesses Want Brutal Punishments to Make Russia Look Bad. Russia’s leading “sect fighters” say that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are delighted with the tough sentences Russian courts are handing down because that allows them to make Russia look bad ( and 2. In Russia, Bears Really are Coming Out of the Woods. The authorities on Novaya Zemlya have had to declare a state of emergency because bears are coming into populated areas spreading havoc and fears among Russians living there ( 3. Officials Want to Kill Economics Textbook Because Its Examples are ‘Insufficiently Patriotic.’ Russian officials say that a school economics text must be withdrawn because the examples it uses to make its points are “insufficiently patriotic,” perhaps the best indication of just how far Putin’s hurrah patriotism has spread ( 4. One Russian in Five at Risk from Unsafe Elevators. In Soviet times, elevators frequently did not work; now, more of them may operate but in ways that put as many as 20 percent of their users at risk of life and limb ( 5. Russians Registered Abroad Said at Risk of Losing Patronymics. Russian nationalists are upset that Moscow is issuing passports to Russians living abroad in countries where official documents do not include patronymics are not putting patronymics in their Russian passports. The foreign ministry has promised to look into the matter ( 6. It Must be Something in the Water. Journalists have discovered that a large number of prominent Russian officials and businessmen come from a single village in Karacheyvo-Cherkessia, likely the result not of the water but of the importance of family ties ( 7. Female Prisoners Stripped of Underwear as Punishment in Mordvinian Camps. Ever more information about the inhuman conditions in some Russian prison facilities continues to surface. Among the worst comes from special camps for women where inmates are sometimes deprived of their underwear when put in punishment blocks ( 8. Russian Mint Shows Solovetsky Not as Church but as GULAG Prison on 500 Ruble Notes. Many Russians were pleased when the Russian mint put a picture of the Solovetsky monastery on the obverse of the 500 ruble bank note, but their happiness turned to anger when they realized that the churches were shown without crosses, an indication that what is pictured right on the money is not a religious center but a notorious GULAG camp from Soviet times ( 9. Last Chechen Abrek Fought for 40 Years. Russians who think the Chechens will lay down their arms at a show of force should be disturbed by a new report that a Chechen abrek, as some Robin Hood-type fighters were known there in late imperial and early Soviet times, continued to fight for 40 years before he was finally caught in the 1970s ( 10. Is Nothing Sacred? Three reports this week suggest that perhaps nothing in Russia is: first, to hide price rises, distillers are now bottling vodka in smaller bottles, 0.4 liters rather than 0.5 (; someone stole a picture of Vladimir Putin at an exhibition (; and a report has surfaced that Patriarch Kirill’s election as head of the Russian Orthodox Church was rigged in advance ( 11. Russian Roads Getting Ever More Violent. In an indication that there are more problems on Russian roads besides potholes, some long-haul drivers east of the Urals say that they are arming themselves to protect against attacks by those who may want to steal the cargoes they are carrying ( 12. Nearly a Third of Last Year’s University Graduates Couldn’t Find Jobs. According to the Russian government, 28 percent of those who received degrees at Russian universities last year have been unable to find employment, yet another sign of the economic difficulties in that country ( 13. ‘I am not rude: I am Russian.’ Many Londoners find the Russians who have moved there do not live according to English manners. The response of some Russians is simple, one Moscow outlet suggests. They must say “I am not rude: I am Russian” (
Kremlin Loyalists Assault Human Rights Rally In Moscow
Participants in a February 10 march held in Moscow in solidarity with a prosecuted activist were attacked by supporters of the South East Radical Block (SERB), a radical pro-Kremlin group. The video shows a female participant in the rally as SERB supporters snatch a picket from her, grab a hat from her head, and drag her to the ground. Police arrested two march participants and the SERB leader. Rallies were held in Moscow and other Russian cities in support of activist Anastasia Shevchenko, who faced obstacles to be released from house arrest in time to see her critically ill daughter in a hospital. Her request was only granted on January 31, shortly before her daughter died.
At Least Nine Russian Protesters Detained During ‘Marches Of Maternal Anger’
Protesters have taken to the streets of several Russian cities in solidarity with an activist who had been refused permission to visit her disabled daughter in the hospital until the girl was in a …
Moscow Protesters Decry Activist Daughter’s Death
An unsanctioned march was organized in Moscow on February 10 in solidarity with an activist who faced numerous obstacles when trying to see her dying daughter in a hospital. Police arrested two march participants and later also the leader of the South East Radical Block (SERB), a radical pro-Kremlin group whose supporters assaulted march participants. Similar rallies were held in other Russian cities to show support for Anastasia Shevchenko, who has been placed under house arrest while awaiting trial for working for the NGO Open Russia. On January 30, her daughter was taken to a hospital, and Shevchenko was only allowed to see her hours before she died.

Russian Human Rights Group Labeled ‘Foreign Agent’ AgainRussia’s Justice Ministry has labeled a well-known human rights group a “foreign agent” for the second time.Russian Court Rules HIV-Positive Woman Can Adopt ChildIn a reported first for Russia, a court outside Moscow has allowed an HIV-positive woman to adopt a child.

Russian Anticorruption Activist Beaten To Death Outside Moscow
A Russian anticorruption activist has died after being attacked by masked assailants wielding bats, colleagues and law enforcement authorities say.
Activists See Press-Freedom Issue In Russia’s Probe Of Pskov Journalist For ‘Justifying Terrorism’
Russian and international rights activists have expressed concern that a criminal investigation against prominent local journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva amounts to an infringement of freedom of the p…
EU Lawmakers Call For Immediate Release Of Chechen Rights Activist Titiyev
The European Parliament has called on authorities in Russia’s Chechnya region to immediately release detained Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev.
St. Petersburg Joins Activist Solidarity Protests
Participants in an unsanctioned march in St. Petersburg demonstrated solidarity with an activist who faced numerous obstacles when trying to see her dying daughter in a hospital. Police called on the protesters to disperse and reportedly detained seven of them. Rallies were held in several Russian cities on February 10 to condemn the conduct of authorities toward activist Anastasia Shevchenko. Shevchenko’s daughter died on January 31, hours after authorities allowed her mother to be temporarily released from house arrest.
HRW Denounces ‘Mockery Of Justice’ In Chechnya As Titiyev’s Trial Nears End
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the refusal of a court in Russia’s Chechnya region to admit the last defense motion in the trial of leading human rights activist Oyub Titiyev.
Moscow Student Sent To Pretrial Detention Following Torture Claims
Azat Miftakhov, a mathematics student at Moscow State University who says he was tortured while being detained on suspicion of being a bomb maker, has been remanded in pretrial custody on hooligani…
First Charge Filed Targeting Protests In Russia Involving Minors, NGO Says
Russian authorities have filed their first formal accusation based on new legislation under which people found to have lured minors into protests can be jailed, an advocacy group says.
Court Extends Inter RAO Top Manager’s Pretrial Detention In Spying Case
Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court on February 12 ruled to extend the pretrial detention of Karina Tsurkan, an executive with energy holding company Inter RAO charged with spying, until at least mid…
Boris Kerimbaev, Commander Of ‘Muslim Battalion’ In Soviet Afghan War, Dies
A commander of the so-called Muslim Battalion of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, retired Colonel Boris Kerimbaev, has died at the age of 71 in Kazakhstan.
Adopted ‘Wolf Cubs’ Bring New Life To Russian Village
The number of children in the village of Shapy, in the Smolensk region of western Russia, was dwindling in the mid-2000s with the local school about to close. That’s when three teachers decided to adopt five children. Then others got involved and now 70 adopted children live in the village.
Prisoner Of His Past: Gulag Child Returns To Barracks As Elderly Ex-Con
Lyu Pen-Sei grew up in a gulag and is now back living among his childhood barracks.
Woman Eaten by Her Pigs After She Collapses While Feeding Them
The 56-year-old farmer received fatal injuries after suffering an epileptic fit and collapsing while feeding her pigs.
Parasite Puzzle: Answers Sought As Tapeworms Strike Russian Cadets
At least 25 cadets in Ulyanovsk have been diagnosed with potentially fatal infections of dog tapeworm. The military academy says they got it from petting a stray dog, but worried parents and others…
Russian Archipelago Bear-ly Able to Maintain Safety
Russian officials have declared a state of emergency in parts of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago after what has been described as a “mass invasion” of polar bears in the islands’ human settlements.
Arctic Russian region declares emergency as polar bears overrun area | TheHill
Local officials in an Arctic region in Russia have reportedly declared a state of emergency after villages have been overrun by packs of polar bears, a phenomenon wildlife experts have said occurs as a result of global warming.
Polar bears unable to reach the ocean have invaded two Russian villages — Meduza
Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago north of the country’s mainland, has been in a state of emergency since February 9 due to a polar bear invasion. Fifty-two bears have been sighted near the village of Belushya Guba; some of them exhibited aggressive behavior and attempted to enter businesses or residential buildings. Local residents have observed that the bears are drawn to landfills and trash cans, where they search for food. Russia’s regulatory agency for natural resources, Rosprirodnadzor, has forbidden residents of Novaya Zemlya to shoot even “the most aggressive specimens.” Special patrols have been organized in the archipelago’s two villages to scare away bears using light and sound effects along with dogs and automobiles. Meduza asked Nadezhda Volf, a resident of Belushya Guba, to describe how her village has coped with the presence of their new neighbors in the past few months.
Invasion of the polar bears – BBC News – YouTube
BBC News Published on Feb 12, 2019 A remote Russian region has declared a state of emergency over the appearance of dozens of polar bears in several towns and villages in the Arctic.
UAWire – Two thirds of Russians have no money for clothes
The income crisis that has lasted for five consecutive years continues to undermine the economic sentiment of Russians. The consumer confidence index, which is calculated by The Conference Board and Nielsen, fell from 67 to 65 in the fourth quarter of 2018, coming close to the bottom that was set in 2016. The percentage of consumers who lack “disposable income” and who are forced to spend all their earnings solely on basic needs grew from 19% to 23% between October and November. The number of Russians who can afford to buy new clothes fell from 36% to 32%, and the percentage who can afford entertainment outside the home dropped from 29% to 24%. 64% of Russians are cutting down on their expenditure on these two articles, with an increase of 10 and 8 percentage points respectively in the fourth quarter.
Those Fishy-Looking Russian Economic Stats Look A Lot Like Those Fishy-Looking Soviet Economic Stats
Bullish Russian economic data has caused eyes to pop among economists, financial analysts, and investment bankers. But some are wondering if numbers are being skewed for politics.
Polar Bears Have Invaded a Russian Outpost, and They’re Hungry – The New York Times
Bears on the Novaya Zemlya island chain halted a seasonal migration to congregate near a military outpost, in a possible omen of climate change.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports



U.S. Frowns On Armenia’s Involvement In Russia-Backed Syria Mission
The United States has indicated it does not support Armenia’s participation in a Russia-backed mission in war-ravaged Syria, where Yerevan has dispatched demining experts and other personnel.
Armenia confirms plans to acquire additional Su-30SM combat aircraft – Defence Blog
Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan has confirmed plans to acquire more Su-30SM (Flanker-H by NATO classification) multirole combat aircraft from Russia. Defense Minister stated during Wednesday’s briefing that Armenia is considering the procurement of the more Su-30SMs in addition to four recently ordered aircraft. “Yes, we do not plan to be limited only by four units of this type of military equipment,” Tonoyan said in response to a question about whether Armenia plans to purchase additional Su-30SM aircraft. The four Su-30SM aircraft will be the first new Russian-made combat air platforms acquired by Armenia in the last 20 years. He added: “the already purchased fighters will be delivered to the country within the deadline stipulated in the agreement.” “Today, Su-30SMs are the best modern multifunctional fighters, and this is why we wish to acquire them,” the minister noted. The multirole Su-30SM Flanker-H is designed to win supremacy in the air and for strikes at ground and surface targets. The aircraft also acts as a command-and-control platform within a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions. The fighter is adapted to the requirements of the Russian Air Force for radar, communication, and IFF systems, as well as weaponry, ejection seat, and a number of supporting systems. Deliveries of Su-30SM aircraft to the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation are underway since 2012, to the Russian Navy – since 2014, to the Defence Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan – since 2015.
Khujand Mon Amour: Tajik City’s Love Monument ‘Vandalized’ With Hearts
Tajik police are looking for the young people who vandalized a popular monument by drawing their names, initials, and hearts on it.
German Tech Firm’s Turkmen Ties Trigger Surveillance Concerns
A German company that produces electronic-surveillance tools has sold equipment to Turkmenistan’s Communications Ministry, according to sources, raising fears that the authoritarian Central Asian s…
Armenia Sends Deminers To Syria As Part Of Russia-Backed Mission
The Armenian Defense Ministry says Yerevan has sent a team of demining experts and other personnel to war-ravaged Syria as part of a Russia-backed mission.

Belarus Reports



We’re Ready to Unite With Russia, Belarus Leader Lukashenko Says
Belarus is ready to merge with Russia, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on the third and last day of his bilateral talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday. Rumors resurfaced this year that Russia could annex Belarus as Putin’s constitutional term limits bar him from running for the presidency in 2024. “The two of us could unite tomorrow, no problem,” Lukashenko said in a video shared by a Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid Kremlin reporter on Twitter Friday. “But are you – Russians and Belarussians – ready for it?” Lukashenko said as quoted by Interfax. “We’re ready to unite and consolidate our efforts, states and peoples as far as we’re ready.” Putin, meanwhile, stressed that “fully independent states simply do not exist in the world,” bringing the European Union as an example of interdependence. The Russian president has voiced support for Russia to unite with Belarus as early as 2011.
Lukashenko facing huge dilemma: Analyst warns of Russian threat to Belarus – news world | UNIAN
The Belarusian armed forces are in fact part of the Russian army while a swarm of Russian agents has been operating in the country, says Mykola Bielieskov, an analyst with Institute of World Politics. The expert stressed that Belarus is more vulnerable to Russia than Ukraine is. The Belarusian armed forces are in fact part of the Russian army while a swarm of Russian agents has been operating in the country, says Mykola Bielieskov, an analyst with Institute of World Politics. He stressed that Belarus is more vulnerable to the Russian Federation than Ukraine is, according to Obozrevatel. “They have smaller population and smaller armed forces. The degree of infiltration of Belarusian army, their security and defense sector by Russian agents is much greater,” said Bielieskov. The expert added that the situation is worse for Belarus due to the country’s isolation. Belarus should not hope to receive support from the West. “Lukashenko is facing a huge dilemma because, on the one hand, he seeks to remain the leader of Belarus as an independent state, and on the other hand, to preserve economic preferences, he must give up on sovereignty, but there is nothing left to give up on,” the expert suggests. “To them, the threat, I’d say, is bigger than it is to Ukraine. On the one side, there’s Russia with relevant interests and aspirations, and on the other side Belarus is isolated. While Ukraine can hope for some support from the West – loans, political assistance – Minsk doesn’t have any of this,” concluded the analyst.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Building a Nation in Belarus Just as He Did in Ukraine
Paul Goble Staunton, February 13 – By his aggression against Ukraine and his illegal annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin has done more than almost anyone else to build a Ukrainian nation. Now, the Kremlin leader albeit not yet by as extreme actions is promoting the consolidation of the Belarusian nation — and that will make his dreams of a renewed Soviet Union impossible. In both cases, Putin has landed in a security trap of his own making: he might have been able to achieve his goals if he had pursued more indirect and accommodating tactics; but by pursuing them so directly and by threats, the Kremlin leader has produced exactly the reverse of what he clearly hoped for. That is the upshot of a 5800-word article by Ilya Azar of Moscow’s Novaya gazeta who interviewed 11 Belarusians across the political spectrum about their reactions to Putin’s pressure and concluded that the national idea in Belarus today is “to become Belarusians,” hardly what Putin wants ( The comments of three of Azar’s interlocutors are especially suggestive: Grigory Kostusyev, the leader of the Belarusian Popular Front, argues that Russians do not understand Belarusians or what they would face if they tried to annex it. “Russian media and politicians say that if a Belarusian speaks Belarusian, he is already a Belarusian nationalist. But I ask: ‘if a Russian speaks Russia, is he a nationalist?’” He points out that he knows “both languages well” and would make “fewer makes in a test” of his knowledge of Russian than Zhirinovsky does. “All Belarusians know Russian better than Russians do! But this doesn’t mean that by developing Russian, we must destroy Belarusian.” If Russia tries to occupy Belarus, Kostusyev says, it will find “not a Crimean scenario but an Afghan one: Belarusians from childhood have imbibed partisan cleverness, and many will be ready to go into the forests.” That is something Moscow needs to know and a far higher cost than it would rationally be prepared to pay. Artem Shraybman, a Belarusian commentator, adds that he doesn’t think Russia will invade and try to occupy Belarus. “Only 20 percent” of the population wants to be part of Russia. But perhaps more important in the short term is this: Lukashenka “loves power a great deal more than he loves money.” Consequently, the Kremlin won’t be able to buy him off as it has others. But an even more compelling reason to think that Moscow won’t move is that it doesn’t need to. It will benefit if it gets concessions from Minsk; and it will benefit by lowering its costs if Belarus doesn’t make them and Moscow in response stops provided subsidized goods and energy. Thus, the current situation is “a win win” for Russia; seeking to annex the country wouldn’t be. And Pavel Belous, a Minsk businessman who is he organizer of this year’s Day of Freedom celebration, suggests that Russians don’t understand the consequences of their actions. Russians think that Belarusians want to be part of Russia so they can benefit in all the ways Russians supposedly do. “But Belarusians are smart and see what is happening with other regions which Russia is trying to control: Crimea, Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not begin to live better” when they fell into Moscow’s orbit. Belarusians know this and don’t want to experience the same things on their own skin. Belous is not a big fan of Lukashenka’s, but he points out that thanks to Russian pressure, the Belarusian leader has been taking steps not only to consolidate the Belarusian nation but even in a certain respect to democratize it by releasing prisoners and allowing opposition figures to win election to parliament. In the past, the world and many Belarusians viewed Belarus as the homeland of “the last dictator of Europe,” he says. But now they can see there is another dictator who is even more of a threat to them and to the world than Lukashenka could ever be. He will not sell them out because he recognizes that to do so would forever mark him as a failure.
Sources Say EU Set To Extend Belarus Arms Embargo
EU officials have agreed to extend for another year the bloc’s arms embargo against Belarus, several sources familiar with the negotiations who are not authorized to speak on the record told RFE/RL…
Belarusian News-Site Editor Goes On Trial
The case against Marina Zolatava, editor in chief of the website, has raised concerns by right advocates, who have warned about growing press restrictions under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
‘Stop Harassing Independent Media,’ CPJ Tells Belarus
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Belarusian authorities to “end their harassment” of the editor in chief of Belarus’s largest independent news site.
Belarusian Teen Suspected Of Stabbing Teacher, Classmate To Death
A teenager in Belarus has stabbed his teacher and a classmate to death with a knife, authorities say.
Alexievich: ‘Atmosphere Of Violence’ Contributed To Deadly School Attack In Belarus
Belarusian writer and Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich says a “atmosphere of violence” must have caused a deadly school attack in her country earlier this week, in which two people were killed and two injured.
Belarus gets 10 000 ha of land in Zimbabwe |
The agro-industrial holding at the Office of Belarus President plans to launch large-scale meat and dairy production in Zimbabwe.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports



Two Moldovan Pilots Freed From Afghan Captivity
Two Moldovan pilots have been freed after spending 3 1/2 years in captivity in Afghanistan, President Igor Dodon has announced.



Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports



Pompeo Calls Iranian Claims Of U.S. Involvement In IRGC Attack ‘Outrageous’
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected as “outrageous” Iranian claims that the United States and its regional allies are to blame for a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iran’s Rouhani vows punishment for Sistan-Baluchestan attack | News | Al Jazeera
Three days of mourning declared to honour 27 dead Revolutionary Guard members as Iran links deadly attack to US action.
Iran’s Rouhani blames U.S., Israel for attack on elite Guards: TV | Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States and its regional allies on Thursday for a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Iranian state TV reported.
27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards killed in suicide bombing
A suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday.
Suicide bombing in Iran kills at least 27 Revolutionary Guards
A suicide bomber killed at least 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Wednesday in a region where security forces are battling militants from the country’s Sunni Muslim minority, Iranian state media reported.
Iran Suicide Bombing Kills 27 Revolutionary Guards – The New York Times
The bombing happened in southeast Iran, a restive part of the country near Pakistan. The Revolutionary Guards quickly blamed the United States.
Suicide attack on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard kills at least 23 – CNN
A suicide bombing hit a bus carrying members of the Iranian military’s elite Revolutionary Guard in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, killing at least 23 and wounding 17, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
Iran suicide bomb attack targeting Revolutionary Guard bus leaves at least 20 dead, reports say | Fox News
A suicide bombing targeting a bus carrying personnel of Iran’s elite paramilitary Revolutionary Guard force killed at least 20 people and wounded 20 in the country’s southeast, state media reported. An Al Qaeda-linked Sunni extremist group operating across the border in Pakistan reportedly claimed the assault.

Mike Pence claims Iran’s mullahs are plotting a ‘new Holocaust’ that would ‘erase Israel from the map’ as he urges European Union nations to withdraw from Obama-era nuclear deal
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watching, Pence said in Warsaw, Poland that Tehran poses ‘the greatest threat to peace and security’ in the region.
Pence meets with Netanyahu at Warsaw Holocaust Museum | TheHill
Vice President Pence met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Holocaust museum in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday where the two leaders laid wreaths in honor of those who died in the Warsaw ghetto uprising against the Nazis.
Trump tweets in Persian to send message to Iran on revolution’s anniversary | TheHill
President Trump on Monday tweeted a message in Persian slamming Iran’s leadership on the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution.
Pompeo meets EU’s top diplomat after Pence’s Iran accusations | Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the EU’s top diplomat in Brussels on Friday, a day after Vice President Mike Pence accused America’s traditional European allies of trying to undermine U.S. sanctions against Iran.
President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s side project: Bashing Iran
President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani talks tough on Iran while in Poland. He’s likely being paid to do it.
Trump admin pushes for tougher action on Iran, swipes at Europe – CNNPolitics
US and Israeli leaders continued to push for confrontation with Iran at the Warsaw ministerial meeting on Middle East security Thursday, strongly criticizing Europe as they did so.
Iran leader: Not worth talking to U.S., be careful with Europeans | Reuters
Iran can only lose by negotiating with the United States and must be careful to limit any dealings with some “untrustworthy” European states, the Islamic Republic’s top leader said on Wednesday.
America Wants to Talk About Iran, But Europe Doesn’t – Bloomberg
A U.S.-sponsored conference in Warsaw is instead about broader regional issues.
Trump’s Iran summit shows just how far he is from the rest of the west | Simon Tisdall | Opinion | The Guardian
Britain, France and Germany may be powerless to stop the tub-thumping, says foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall
U.S. Envoy To Germany Warns Europe Not To Bypass Sanctions On Iran
The U.S. ambassador to Germany says the European mechanism designed to facilitate trade with Iran and avoid U.S. sanctions is counterproductive to Washington’s efforts to force Tehran back to the n…
Iran Says ‘John Bolton Is Suffering from a Chronic Hallucinatory Psychosis’ In Response to Threat from Trump Adviser
White House national security adviser John Bolton had warned Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries left to enjoy.”
Iran tries to run out the clock as Trump bears down – POLITICO
Even as U.S. officials pressured European allies this week to break with Tehran, there was little indication the Islamist regime is worried about survival.
Iran news: ‘Trump is RIGHT’ Europe SAVAGED for soft touch on Tehran after ‘YEAR OF SHAME’ | World | News |
EUROPE must end its ‘soft touch’ approach on Tehran and follow Donald Trump’s hardline stance on Iran, according to demonstrators who flooded the streets of Paris in a dramatic protest.
With INSTEX, Europe Tests the Boundaries on Iran
The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, or INSTEX, is the most substantive move yet to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from collapse.
Iran’s Economy Is Crumbling, but Collapse Is a Long Way Off – Foreign Policy
Things will only get worse under Trump’s sanctions, but China, India, and other countries are still defiantly buying oil.
Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei said his country has no fight with the American people, but with Trump – The Washington Post
The Islamic Republic’s supreme leader said his dispute is with the U.S. president and a couple of his top Cabinet members.
ICJ rules Iran has legal claim to $2bn in assets frozen by US | USA News | Al Jazeera
Tehran says it owns $2bn in frozen assets, but US court ruled cash must be given to victims of attacks blamed on Iran.
UAWire – Russia believes that Iran’s space program is peaceful
Russia stated that they do not share the United States’ position that Iran is preparing delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction under the guise of developing space technologies. As the Director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Vladimir Yermakov stated, there is no evidence that Tehran has taken steps to deploy weapons in space, unlike the United States. “We may ask a counter question about the guarantees of the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian space program: on what basis can we demand such guarantees? Conditions should be the same for every country. All states have the right to peaceful space activities. We have no reason to distrust Tehran’s claims that its space program is pursuing peaceful goals,” said Yermakov.
White House differs with intelligence community on Iran nuclear deal – INSIDER
National security adviser John Bolton has long advocated bombing Iran, and he delivered another address on Monday warning the country’s regime. The White House has again differed with the intelligence community’s findings by saying Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. Trump has publicly berated his top intelligence officials for saying Iran isn’t building a nuclear weapon. Monday marked the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which installed its theocratic government, and national security adviser John Bolton responded to the day in a video address. The White House ended its message to Iran with a veiled threat to Iran’s government. Bolton has long advocated bombing Iran and was one of the architects of the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was based on flawed intelligence that indicated the country was working to produce a nuclear weapon.

Why Venezuela’s struggle for freedom has Iran’s rulers worried
They’re intently watching Venezuela in Iran. The revolutionary regimes in Tehran and Caracas are birds of a feather. True, one is Islamist green, the other…
Shah’s Son Asserts Iranian Regime ‘Close’ To Collapse
The son of the Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, says Iranian society is close to a “flash point” like it was before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and that the government in Tehran is …
Iran opposition group calls for regime change in Paris march | Fox News
Several thousand supporters of an exiled Iranian opposition group marched through Paris on Friday, calling for an end to Iran’s clerical regime 40 years after the Islamic revolution toppled Iran’s monarchy.
40 years later, Iran needs another revolution | TheHill
Iran is expanding its regional footprint even as it continues to finance terrorism.
America should hit Iran where it hurts after 40 years of undeclared war | Fox News
Here’s a strategy for winning our 40-year-old undeclared war against Iran.
After Iranian Revolution, 40 Years of Global Isolation – Bloomberg
It’s time leaders of the Islamic Republic looked for ways to rejoin the world.
Rohani Blasts U.S. ‘Conspiracy’ As Iran Marks 40th Anniversary Of Revolution
President Hassan Rohani blasted a U.S. “conspiracy” against Iran as the country marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ended the monarchy and heralded the start of four decades of clerical rule.
As revolution turns 40, Iran taunts U.S., vaunts military | Reuters
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned U.S. flags on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the triumph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi’ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic Revolution that rattles the West to this day.
The Iran Revolution at 40: From Theocracy to ‘Normality’ – The New York Times
The country has changed enormously, as a growing middle class has quietly and successfully rebelled against the rigid ideology of the early years of the revolution.
40 years later, the many legacies of Iran’s revolution – The Washington Post
The events of 1979 are still being fought over four decades on.
Iran marks 40th anniversary of Islamic revolution | Iran News | Al Jazeera
President Rouhani leads the rain-soaked commemoration in Tehran and vows to continue the country’s missile programme.
Iran celebrates Islamic Revolution with threats to U.S., vows to boost ballistic missiles | Fox News
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians on Monday marched on the streets of Tehran, burning American flags and taunting the West as it celebrated the Islamic Revolution’s 40th anniversary by vowing to boost its ballistic missiles in defiance of U.S. efforts to curb its military. 
Militant Iran taunts U.S. on revolution’s 40th birthday | Reuters
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned U.S. flags to mark the revolution’s 40th anniversary on Monday as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of U.S. efforts to curb its military power.
Iranian Revolution Was Not About Muslim Rage – Bloomberg
It was not about “Muslim rage.” It was a rebellion against a Westernized, undemocratic technocracy.
Iran, 40 years after revolution, still looms large in Middle East | TheHill
Iran is likely to be on the agenda of a US-organized ministerial meeting in Warsaw this week to discuss the Middle East.
Iran’s Other Generation Gap, Forty Years Since the Revolution
Contestation in Iran is not just between the regime and the people, or the old generation and a protesting young generation. Rather, the regime itself is conflicted over its very nature and what its future should look like.
First news bulletin after Iran’s 1979 revolution – BBC News
The first TV news bulletin after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 featured a female presenter without a hijab.
Iran news latest: Chants of ‘Death to Theresa May’ heard in Tehran for Islamic Revolution | World | News |
CHANTS of “Death to Theresa May” could be heard on the streets of Tehran on Sunday as Iranians celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
America’s Effort to Isolate Iran Will Backfire | The National Interest
John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are pushing Trump down a proven path of failure.
Hezbollah: Revolutionary Iran’s most successful export
Hezbollah serves as the most successful, and the most deadly, export of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
What Iran Means to the Arab World – Bloomberg
The Islamic Republic represents a danger, but it’s also a convenient excuse for the region’s rulers.

Report: Russia attacks targets held by Iranian militia in Syria – Breaking News – Jerusalem Post
Russian forces blew up bridges on the Euphrates river held by Iranian militias several days ago, according to a report. This is the first time the Russians attacked Iranian targets in Syria.
Russia Attacks Targets Held by Iranian Militia in Syria | RealClearDefense
Russia Attacks Targets Held by Iranian Militia in Syria | RealClearDefense

Syria: A close call makes clear that ISIS won’t give up easily – CNN
Cornered and outnumbered, ISIS launched a counterattack Monday as Kurdish militias fight to uproot the terrorist group from its last stronghold. CNN witnessed their assault as US-allied fighters pulled back from the front line.
SDF: IS Using Smoke, Suicide Attacks to Slow Advance on Last Syrian Stronghold
IS tactics have hindered progress of U.S.-backed forces into Baghuz, Syrian Democratic Forces officials say
ISIS nearly wiped out in eastern Euphrates region as SDF troops capture Baghouz – map
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their large-scale operation in the eastern region of the Euphrates River
ISIS still fighting in Syria despite Trump’s assurances – CBS News
Ground forces backed by U.S. and coalition airstrikes launched an offensive over the weekend
ISIS fighters accused of atrocities as caliphate teeters on ‘verge of collapse’
END OF ISIS CALIPHATE ‘IS AT HAND’: The last days of ISIS’ physical caliphate are desperate times for the remaining fighters who are being routed by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the Middle Euphrates River valley. “ISIS is on the verge of collapse and the end of the physical caliphate is at hand,” said British Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika in a statement issued this morning, while cautioning the liberation of the last of the territory held by ISIS does not signal the end of this campaign.
As ISIS Fight Winds Down in Syria, Detainee Numbers Are Rising – Defense One
Nearly 1,000 foreign fighters are in custody, U.S. Special Ops commander says — and in legal limbo.
US-led coalition hits mosque in Syria used by Islamic State | Fox News
The U.S.-led coalition says it has hit a mosque used by the Islamic State group as a command and control center in eastern Syria.
US strikes ISIS-held mosque as Syria battle intensifies
The U.S. military said Tuesday it struck a mosque that had allegedly been used as an Islamic State control center, as American-allied Syrian forces battled the extremists in their last stronghold in eastern Syria amid reports of more civilian casualties.
US re-brands mosques as ISIS bases to avoid criticism over civilian casualties, analyst says — RT World News
For several months now, the US-led coalition in Syria has been deliberately targeting mosques – religious objects that have protected status under international law. The trick is to say that they are no longer actually ‘mosques’.
Activists: More than 200 IS fighters surrender in east Syria
AL-OMAR OIL FIELD BASE, Syria (AP) — Islamic State group militants, many of them foreigners, surrendered to U.S.-backed fighters in eastern Syria on Wednesday, bringing the Kurdish-led force closer to taking full control of the last remaining area controlled by the extremists, a Kurdish official and activists said. Çiyager Amed, an official with the Syrian Democratic Forces, confirmed that a number of IS fighters who had been holed up in Baghouz gave themselves up, without giving numbers. He said most of those remaining were Iraqis and foreigners and that few civilians remained in the tiny area still controlled by IS, although women and children continued to trickle out of the enclave.
Hundreds flee US-backed battle for last Islamic State holdout in Syria | The Times of Israel
Refugees from fighting straggle to coalition-held territory as some 600 die-hard jihadis hold out in small pocket
US military bombs mosque amid fighting for ISIS last Syrian stronghold – Business Insider
US-backed Syrian forces are battling the extremist group in its last stronghold in eastern Syria amid reports of more civilian casualties.
In eastern Syria, foreign families flee last Islamic State enclave | Reuters
Dozens of relatives of foreign fighters including Iraqis, Turks, and Russians fled Islamic State’s last bastion in eastern Syria on Tuesday as the jihadists lost ground to U.S.-backed forces.
“Tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq says Jospeh Votel – CNNPolitics
Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel aligned himself Sunday with the US intelligence community incuding Dan Coats in his assessment that there are “tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq.
Hundreds streaming out of last ISIS stronghold as extremists face military defeat – The Washington Post
U.S.-backed forces expect within days to capture the final village still held by the militant group.
Battle to Oust Islamic State Takes Toll on Syrian Civilians – WSJ
Thousands of Syrians fleeing a U.S.-backed battle against Islamic State have faced near-freezing temperature to find safety in a camp with too few tents; at least 35 children and newborns have died, mostly due to hypothermia, according to the United Nations.
‘Civilians killed’ as US-backed forces push to defeat ISIL | ISIS/ISIL News | Al Jazeera
At least 16 dead, including children, in air strikes as Kurdish-led fighters battle last ISIL remnants in eastern Syria.
ISIS fighters fire anti-tank missiles at Syrian forces | Daily Mail Online
The video, believed to have been captured in the terror group’s last holdout in  Baghouz, near the Iraqi border, shows a guided weapon thudding into buildings.
Isis bride: Fighters and families flee remnants of the caliphate | News | The Times
Islamic State fighters are fleeing the remains of their self-proclaimed caliphate with their wives and children in tow as forces backed by the West close in on their last patch of territory.The battle appeared to be drawing to a close last night as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance dom
IS defends last Syria redoubt, as family members flee
Jihadist fighters made a desperate last stand in eastern Syria on Wednesday, while their wives and children fled the final, blood-soaked implosion of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate”. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday launched a final push to expel IS fighters from
Withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria likely to start in ‘weeks’: U.S. general | Reuters
The United States is likely just weeks away from starting the withdrawal of ground troops from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, the top U.S. commander overseeing American forces in the Middle East said on Sunday.
IS resists ‘final push’ by US-backed force in eastern Syria – BBC News
US-backed guerrillas target what they say is the last pocket of IS resistance near the Iraqi border.
Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies | TheHill
The Trump administration’s reported plans to pull out all U.S.
Russia, Turkey agree to ‘take decisive measures’ in Syria’s Idlib | News | Al Jazeera
Defence ministers meet amid calls from Moscow for Ankara to do more to remove hard-line fighters from the province.
Russia, Turkey, Iran Leaders To Meet In Sochi For Talks On Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin will host counterparts from Iran and Turkey on February 14 in Sochi to discuss plans for Syria after the U.S. military pulls its troops out of the war-torn country.
Russia, Iran, Turkey to hold fourth round of Syria talks in Sochi | Syria News | Al Jazeera
Trilateral summit between ‘guarantor countries’ to focus on long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis, the Kremlin says.
Putin, Erdogan and Iran’s Rouhani celebrate Trump’s withdrawal from Syria | Daily Mail Online
Hosting his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in the southern city of Sochi, President Vladimir Putin said the three welcomed the expected US pull-out from northeastern Syria.
U.S. ally Turkey looks to Russia and Iran to protect its interests
Turkey sees Russia and Iran as the key players in Syria, and has clashed with Washington over its support for the Kurds and sanctions on Tehran.
Russia, Turkey, Iran see US pullout from Syria as positive step | News | Al Jazeera
Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran say US withdrawal is good for the country as they meet in the Russian city of Sochi.
The Salafi-Jihadist Movement Is Winning | RealClearWorld
U.S. President Donald Trump crowed victory over the so-called Islamic State in his State of the Union Address. Like so many before it, his claim was premature. The United States and its partners have…
PM says Iraq to repatriate Iraqi IS fighters held in Syria | Fox News
Iraq’s prime minister says Baghdad will repatriate Iraqi members of the Islamic State group held by U.S.-backed fighters in Syria.
Moscow Repatriates 27 Children Of Russian IS Fighters From Iraq
Russia has repatriated 27 children from Iraq where their mothers are imprisoned for being members of Islamic State (IS).
Pentagon Chief Swoops In After Trump Vexes Iraqis – WSJ
The Pentagon’s most senior official met Iraq’s prime minister during a surprise stop in Baghdad, in what appeared to be an effort to smooth ties after remarks by President Trump provoked a backlash amongst Iraqis against the U.S. military presence in their country.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq – The New York Times
Patrick Shanahan is expected to firm up plans for the transfer of troops to Iraq from Syria, a quest complicated by President Trump’s suggestion the soldiers would be asked to monitor Iran.
‘Don’t abandon the Kurds’, British officials tell US over Syria troop withdrawal
The US should not abandon Kurdish and Arab allies who led the fight against Isil, British officials have said, warning a rapid withdrawal of its troops would risk a resurgence of the jihadists.

Turkey orders 1,112 arrested over links to cleric Gulen: state media | Reuters
Turkey launched on Tuesday one of its largest operations against alleged supporters of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of leading an attempted coup in 2016, ordering the arrest of 1,112 people, state media reported.
Turkey orders detention of over 1,100 people linked to failed coup – CNN
Turkey has ordered the detention of 1,112 people over suspected links to a failed coup attempt, a Ministry of Interior source told CNN.
Turkey orders new mass detentions over failed coup – BBC News
Arrest warrants target 1,112 people said to be linked to a cleric blamed for organising a 2016 coup.
UAWire – Media: US will not sell Patriot air defense systems to Turkey if Ankara buys Russian S-400 missile systems
The United States will not supply Turkey with the Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems if Ankara acquires Russian S-400s, Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Şafak reported on Thursday with a reference to a representative of the US administration. It became known in December that the State Department approved the sale of missile systems to Turkey for $ 3.5 billion. In particular, the State Department approved the sale of 80 Patriot missiles and 60 other missiles to Turkey, including related equipment and radar systems. Other Turkish media sources report that if Turkey goes ahead with the purchase of S-400, the United States will not supply US F-35 fighter-bombers to Ankara. According to the Turkish media, the deal may fail because Washington is afraid that the simultaneous presence of Russian C-400 and American F-35 in Turkey will give Russia the opportunity to study in detail the characteristics of the F-35. The US State Department has reported that they are working with Ankara on the issue of supplying Patriot missile systems to Turkey in order to keep Ankara from acquiring Russian S-400.

Israeli prime minister’s office deletes tweet mentioning ‘war with Iran’ | TheHill
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office shared and then deleted a tweet Wednesday saying he was meeting with other Arab leaders to discuss “war with Iran.”
Israel’s Prime Minister appeared to admit his country was trying to advance a ‘war with Iran’ | Business Insider
An initial translation of a video message by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday appeared to show him saying Israel was trying to “advance the common interest of war with Iran.”
Benjamin Netanyahu Finally Faces a Real Challenger in Benny Gantz—If the Opposition Can Unite Behind Him | The New Yorker
Bernard Avishai on the upcoming Israeli national election on April 9th and on the candidacy of Benny Gantz, the former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and the head of a newly formed party called Hosen L’Yisrael, or “Israel Resilience.”
Anyone but Bibi: In Israel, ex-general stirs hope of change | Fox News
Former military chief Benny Gantz has burst onto Israel’s political scene as the great hope of the country’s shrinking “peace camp” with a message that is anything but dovish.
The US has wasted billions of dollars on failed Arab armies – AEI
The United States has spent 70 years and tens of billions of dollars training Arab militaries—with almost nothing to show for all the effort. Time and agai
Top Saudi official asks Congress to withhold judgment on Khashoggi – CBS News
The request by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir comes as the Trump administration declined to meet a congressional deadline to determine who was responsible for Khashoggi's death
Russian anti-material sniper rifle spotted in Yemen – Defence Blog
A modern anti-material sniper rifle that appeared to be a Russain-made OSV-96 has been spotted in North Yemen. Houthi rebels media have released footage shows 12.7mm OSV-96 sniper rifle during attacks on Saudi coalition forces at North Yemen. Some source reported that OSV-96 sniper rifles developed by the Shipunov Instrument-Making Design Bureau would’ve been part of the limited deliveries of modern Russian arms to the Yemeni Army in the mid-2000s. The OSV-96, known popularly as “Vzlomshchik” (cracker), is an advanced sniper rifle system that designed to destroy manpower, wearing means of individual protection, unarmored vehicles, radars, missile and artillery systems, and aircraft on the ground, as well as monitor borders, defend coastlines against small vessels, and destroy sea mines. According to Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, the rifle is capable of engaging infantry at a distance of up to 1800 meters and can combat material targets at ranges up to 2500 meters. For reference, OSV-96 is used by Russia’s Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service.
Spec Ops launches ‘secret surrogate’ missions in new counter-terror strategy
U.S. counter-terrorism missions will soon place more emphasis on a little known Pentagon program designed to embolden “surrogate forces,” rather than allied units that are dependent on U.S. training, advice, and assistance.
Papal theologian never saw final draft of controversial doc with Muslims, contrary to Pope’s claims | News | LifeSite
Pope Francis claimed the papal theologian had ‘officially’ read and ‘approved’ the document.
Flights at Dubai Airport Halted Over ‘Drone Activity’ – The New York Times
Departing flights were suspended for about half an hour on Friday morning at the airport, one of the busiest in the world.

Acting Pentagon chief makes unannounced Afghanistan trip | News | Al Jazeera
Patrick Shanahan to meet President Ashraf Ghani whose government was not part of talks between US and Taliban officials.
Acting defense secretary says no orders to reduce forces in Afghanistan – ABC News
U.S. Acting Defense Chief Backs Kabul Role In Peace Talks
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has said that it is important for the Afghan government to be included in talks to end the country’s 17-year war.
Patrick Shanahan in Afghanistan looking like a Bond villain – Business Insider
The state purpose of Shanahan’s visit was to “discuss a broad range of defense issue,” but he dressed like it was for something more secretive.
Have Taliban Turned Tables on Ashraf Ghani?    
Recent conference in Russia included Taliban and influential Afghan politicians, former jihadi leaders, civil society activist, former president Karzai – but no representative of the Afghan government
NATO Strongly Supports Afghan Government’s Full Involvement In Peace Talks, Alliance Chief Tells RFE/RL
NATO is backing the full participation of the Afghan government in peace talks involving U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives to end the 17-year conflict, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg told RFE/RL on February 14 in Brussels.
U.S. Heightens Attacks on Taliban in Push Toward Peace in Afghanistan – The New York Times
The number of deadly strikes by American forces has tripled since 2014, including an increase as negotiations with the Taliban began last fall.
How a Forever War Ends – Defense One
Trump might well wrap up the war in Afghanistan, but only by giving up on America’s original goals.
Great nations don’t quit wars before they prevail – The Washington Post
Don’t despair over ‘endless war.’
NATO Allies Discuss Afghan Mission’s Future After Proposed U.S. Withdrawal
NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the alliance’s military operations in Afghanistan amid indications the United States could withdraw at least some of its troops from the co…
Soviets Succumbed To Afghan Quagmire 30 Years Ago
Thirty years ago on February 15, the last Soviet soldiers left Afghanistan after a disastrous operation to prop up a Marxist regime. It set off a chain of events still being felt today in Moscow, Kabul, and Washington.

Kashmir car bombing: Death toll climbs to 41
The attack is ratcheting up already hostile tensions between India and Pakistan, who both administer parts of the disputed territory but each claim it entirely.
Kashmir attack: India says Pakistan had ‘direct hand’ in deadly convoy strike – CNN
India said there was “incontrovertible evidence” that Pakistan had a “direct hand” in an attack on a convoy that killed 37 paramilitary soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Kashmir Terror Attack Blame Falls on Pakistan, But India Too – Bloomberg
While Pakistan and China must carry the lion’s share of blame for shielding terrorists, India has some introspection to do as well. 
Everything will change after the Kashmir attack – The Washington Post
Leading international powers must take their share of blame for their unwillingness or inability to draw a red line around Pakistan’s patronage of terror.





Opinion | A Nuclear Incubation – The New York Times

Eight months after their first meeting, President Trump and the leader of North Korea plan to reunite.
North Korea may have made more nuclear bombs, but threat reduced: study | Reuters
North Korea has continued to produce bomb fuel while in denuclearization talks with the United States and may have produced enough in the past year to add as many as seven nuclear weapons to its arsenal, according to a study released just weeks before a planned second summit between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump announces Kim Jong Un summit to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam – POLITICO
Trump later complemented Kim, saying that North Korea will “become a great Economic Powerhouse.”
Trump confirms details of second summit with North Korea, touting its potential as ‘economic powerhouse’ | Fox News
Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un is partly hot air. It could also make the world safer. – The Washington Post
There’s something real and fundamental in the negotiations.
US commander warns of ‘little to no verifiable change’ in North Korea’s military capabilities – CNNPolitics
The top US commander on the Korean Peninsula told Senate lawmakers Tuesday that “despite a reduction” in tensions with North Korea, there has been “little to no verifiable change” in the country’s military capabilities since President Donald Trump’s first summit with Kim Jong Un last summer.
North Korea keeps amassing nuclear material despite promising to denuclearize, report finds | Fox News
A report recently released by the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University said in just the past year, Pyongyang has produced enough highly-enriched uranium and plutonium to make five to seven nuclear bombs. That adds to what the center says is an arsenal of 30 warheads.
UAWire – North Korea asks Russia for 50 tons of free wheat
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has asked Russia for humanitarian aid in the form of 50,000 tons of wheat, claiming that it was …
Biological warfare threat: Kim Jong-un may have BIOLOGICAL weapons – WW3 WARNING | World | News |
THE risk of North Korea developing biological weapons cannot be ignored, and needs to be investigated by the international community, analysts have said, highlighting an issue which has frequently been overlooked in favour of the threat posed by PyongYang’s nuclear ambitions.
North Korea and America’s Second Summit: Here’s What Hugh White Thinks Will Happen | The National Interest
“Washington’s main contribution to events on the peninsula recently has been to get out of the way.”
South Korea, US sign new cost-sharing deal for US troops | Fox News
South Korea says it has signed a new deal with the United States on how much Seoul should pay for the U.S. military presence on its soil.
South Korean officials agree to increase payment for presence of US troops after Trump push | TheHill
South Korean officials on Sunday signed off on an agreement that would increase the nation’s contribution to cover the cost of keeping U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula.

US Navy warships just challenged China with a South China Sea sail-by operation, and Beijing is furious | Business Insider
The US Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers to challenge China in the South China Sea, and Beijing is outraged.
US sails 2 warships past disputed island chain in South China Sea – ABC News
Two U.S. Navy ships sailed through a disputed island chain in the South China Sea claimed by China early Monday, a move once again likely to draw criticism from China.
US warships again challenge Beijing’s claims in South China Sea – CNNPolitics
The United States sailed two warships close to disputed islands in the South China Sea on Monday (Sunday night, ET), a move that is bound to draw the ire of Beijing.
US angers China after sailing two warships close to disputed South China Sea islands
China’s foreign ministry expressed anger on Monday after two US warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea.
Britain to send new aircraft carrier to Pacific on maiden mission – CNN
Britain’s new aircraft carrier will go to the Pacific on its first operational mission, Defense Minister Gavin Williamson has revealed.
UK to send new aircraft carrier with F35 jets into South China Sea
The joint mission with U.S. forces is being described as a display of “lethality.”
The Future of Arms Control is Global: Reconsidering Nuclear Issues in the Indo-Pacific
On Feb. 1, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was as much
Revolution or evolution? Xi Jinping and the future of China’s foreign policy
China About to Drop ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Weapons Policy? | RealClearDefense
China About to Drop ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Weapons Policy? | RealClearDefense
Is China about to abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy? | South China Morning Post
The growing US-China naval arms race is putting pressure on Beijing to reconsider its long-standing nuclear policy, analysts say
China’s Space Debris Cleanup May Be Cover Story, Pentagon Says – Bloomberg
China is developing sophisticated space capabilities such as “satellite inspection and repair” and debris cleanup — “at least some of which could also function” as weapons against U.S. satellites, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

U.S.-China Trade Talks End With Little Visible Progress – The New York Times
Two weeks remain until President Trump’s deadline for a resolution to the trade conflict, but many of the issues on the table have been festering for a long time.
U.S.-China trade deal may mean demanding the unthinkable – The Washington Post
Trump is demanding structural reforms as part of the trade talks. That may be beyond Xi’s reach.
China, U.S. Seek Broad Outline of a Trade Pact This Week – WSJ
Chinese and U.S. negotiators are focusing on producing a broad outline of a trade deal for their presidents to clinch at a possible summit.
China upbeat on U.S. trade talks, but South China Sea tensions weigh | Reuters
China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.
Trump has lost the plot on China | TheHill
Little will change without action on currency.
Administration Readies Order to Keep China Out of Wireless Networks – The New York Times
A long-awaited executive order would block technology from adversarial powers, including China, from superfast next-generation networks.
Swedish ambassador to China reportedly set up a bizarre, threatening meeting with a detained activist’s daughter | Business Insider
Sweden is reportedly investigating its ambassador to China after Angela Gui, the daughter of detained Hong Kong author Gui Minhai, had a bizarre and at times threatening meeting with unnamed Chinese businessmen promising access to her father.
Sweden Investigates Its Ambassador to China After Report of Secret Talks to Free Publisher – The New York Times
The daughter of Gui Minhai, a Swedish bookseller detained in China, said the ambassador arranged a meeting with men who first offered to help, then cajoled and pressured her.
Sweden Recalls Ambassador to China in Twist in Bookseller’s Detention – WSJ
Sweden has recalled its ambassador to China and opened an internal investigation into her role in arranging a meeting where Chinese businessmen allegedly threatened the daughter of a detained Swedish bookseller, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Anna Lindstedt recalled to Sweden over meeting with Chinese businessmen to free Gui Minhai – The Washington Post
Angela Gui, the detained bookseller’s daughter, was called to a meeting in Stockholm with the ambassador and two men — and told to keep quiet.
US ambassador: Arrests of Canadians in China unacceptable | Fox News
The U.S. ambassador to Canada says her country is deeply concerned about China’s “unlawful” detention of two Canadians.

‘Shame for humanity’: Turkey urges China to close Uighur camps | Turkey News | Al Jazeera
Turkey calls China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uighur minority ‘a great cause of shame for humanity’.
Turkey urges China to close camps after reports of Uyghur musician’s death — Quartz
Abdurehim Heyit reportedly died while in the camps, though Chinese officials deny the news reports and Turkey’s statement.
China retaliates after Turkey’s claims about Abdurehim Heyit – BBC News
Abdurehim Heyit, a Uighur musician, has been in a detention camp after a crackdown on the minority.
Abdurehim Heyit Chinese video ‘disproves Uighur musician’s death’ – BBC News
Abdurehim Heyit, a Uighur musician, has been in a detention camp after a crackdown on the minority.
Uighur Muslims demand videos from China proving relatives are alive – Vox
How a “proof of life” video backfired on Beijing.
Uighurs to China: Post a video of my missing relatives, too – ABC News
🇨🇳 17 Australian residents believed detained in China’s Uighur crackdown | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Feb 11, 2019 Seventeen Australian residents are believed to have been detained in China, sources have told Al Jazeera.

Why Did Australia Push Out a Chinese Communist Party-Linked Billionaire? | The Diplomat
Alex Joske explains the context of the Australian government’s actions against Huang Xiangmo.
Major WWII shipwreck discovered: Japanese battleship sunk by US found | Fox News
One of the first Japanese battleship to be sunk by U.S. forces during World War II has been discovered in the Solomon Islands by a research organization set up by the late billionaire Paul Allen.

Foreign Policy Reports



Stacey Abrams Debates Francis Fukuyama on Identity Politics
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic State of the Union response speaker, and other authors respond to Francis Fukuyama’s Foreign Affairs essay “Against Identity Politics” and discuss the meaning and value of identity politics in the United States and beyond.
Against Identity Politics by Francis Fukuyama | Foreign Affairs
Democratic societies are fracturing into segments based on ever-narrower identities, threatening the possibility of deliberation and collective action by society as a whole. Unless liberal democracies can work their way back to more universal understandings of human dignity, they will doom themselves—and the world—to continuing conflict.
Don’t Believe the Hype About a Nationalist Resurgence
Many of the self-described “nationalist” leaders who have recently risen to power in societies around the world are actually populist poseurs who have won support by drawing on the rhetoric and imagery of nationalism. 

Why EU leaders are not ready to budge on Brexit – BBC News
Brexit frustration is widespread in Brussels as other challenges loom, the BBC’s Katya Adler writes.
Brexit: blow to May’s authority as MPs reject her motion by 303 votes to 258 – as it happened | Politics | The Guardian
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the latest Commons debate and votes on what should happen next with Brexit
Brexit news: Theresa May asks Parliament for more time – Vox
The British PM says she’s still trying to work out her deal with the EU as the deadline looms next month.

Shocking footage shows rival Yellow Vest activists fighting each other in Lyon | Daily Mail Online
Rival groups faced off in Lyon on a day when they were meant to be united in protest against President Macron’s government. It is the 13th weekend in a row the demonstrations have taken place.
‘Far Left and far Right’ yellow vest protesters fight in streets of Lyon
A vicious street brawl between rival &ldquo;yellow vest&rdquo; factions has highlighted bitter divisions among the anti-government protesters as the speaker of the National Assembly warned of a culture of violence engulfing French politics.
Yellow Vest Anti-Government Protests In France Turn Violent : NPR
Violence broke out Saturday as yellow vest protesters kept the pressure on French President Emmanuel Macron’s government, for the 13th straight weekend of demonstrations.
Chilling echoes of France’s Nazi past as ‘Juden’ graffiti is sprayed on Jewish bakery in Paris
A Jewish bagel shop in central Paris has been daubed with anti-Semitic graffiti and members of the Yellow Vests are suspected
Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Acts in France Stokes Old Fears – The New York Times
A spate of high-profile cases has illustrated the surge. Jewish groups remain skeptical of official promises of action.
Anti-Semitic acts hit France amid anti-government protests – ABC News
French minister warns Italian populist over diplomat recall | Fox News
France’s Europe minister says she hopes the “message was understood” by Italy after this week’s stunning recall of France’s ambassador to Italy in the two EU countries’ biggest diplomatic dispute since World War II.

Germany Arrests Syrian Intelligence Officers Accused of Crimes Against Humanity – The New York Times
In a joint investigation, German and French authorities arrested three former Syrian intelligence officers accused of torturing thousands of victims in detention centers in Damascus.
Germany arrests two former Syrian intelligence members accused of crimes against humanity | Fox News
German authorities arrested on Tuesday two alleged former Syrian intelligence service members accused of crimes against humanity.
No One Wanted To Buy These ‘Hitler Paintings’ At Controversial Nuremberg Auction | HuffPost Australia
The sale flopped amid concerns about the artworks’ authenticity, hefty price tags and accusations of “bad taste.”
5 Hitler watercolors go unsold at German auction | Fox News
Five watercolors attributed to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler failed to sell at auction this weekend, possibly over fears they could be fakes.
Israeli historian lauds Finland for report on WWII killings | Fox News
A senior Israeli Holocaust historian is praising Finnish authorities for publishing a report concluding that Finnish troops likely participated in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.
Finland helped Nazis murder Jews during WWII: report
Finnish military volunteers helped the Nazis carry out the mass killing of Jews during World War II, according to a new report.

Hungary to give women with 4 or more kids life tax exemption | Fox News
Hungary’s anti-immigration prime minister says the government is greatly increasing financial aid and subsidies for families with several children.
Have four or more babies in Hungary and you’ll pay no income tax for life
Hungarian women that have four or more children are to be exempted from paying income tax for life, the prime minister has said.
Hungary is so desperate for kids that mothers of four won’t need to pay income tax – The Washington Post
The prime minister’s proposal attempts to solve a demographic crisis without immigration.
Serbs protest populist President Vucic for 10th week | Fox News
Several thousand people have marched in Serbia’s capital of Belgrade to protest populist President Aleksandar Vucic, who is showing signs of nervousness after 10 consecutive weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
U.S. Cancels National Guard Commander’s Kosovo Visit Over Serbia Tariff
Major General Timothy Orr, the National Guard commander of the U.S. state of Iowa, has canceled a visit to Kosovo over Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s refusal to cancel 100 percent tariffs on goo…

Capability / Strategy / History Publications



China’s Rapid AI Development Has Its Limits: Report – Defense One
Chinese artificial-intelligence researchers are aware of ways their work lags the United States’ — and Beijing is working to fix those.
Trump To Feds: Prioritize Artificial Intelligence Work – Defense One
A sweeping executive order to be signed Monday will push agencies to boost funding, improve training, and propose regulations for AI-related efforts.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places
A look at how automation and AI will affect the American economy and its people, places, and jobs over the next few decades.
SOSA open-systems standards for military embedded computing could double or triple the market
An emerging open-architecture standard called Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) may be the best thing in long time to enable the U.S. military to specify embedded computing systems that are economical, powerful, upgradable, and competitive
US Army Aims to Put Cloud Data In Troops’ Hands – Defense One
The Army Research Lab is funding tech that could put the computing power of the cloud in the hands of individual soldiers—and ultimately bring more …

Sweden says it built Russian fighter jet killer – news world | UNIAN
The commander of Sweden’s air force, Mats Helgesson, recently made the bold statement that his country’s Saab Gripen E fighter could beat Russia’s formidable fleet of Sukhoi jets with none of the expensive stealth technology the US relies on. The Gripen can’t carry the most weapons, has no real stealth, isn’t the longest-range, fastest, or even cheapest jet, but it has a singular focus that makes it a nightmare for Russia’s fighter jets.
Sweden says it built a Russian fighter jet killer – and stealth is totally irrelevant | Business Insider India
Sweden’s Air Force says its Gripen E fighter jets are designed to kill Russia’s fearsome Sukhoi fighter jets, and that they have a “black belt” in that type
Hungary is selling off all its MiG-29 fighters
The Ministry of Defense of Hungary has put up for sale all the withdrawn from the combat personnel MiG-29 Soviet / Russian fighters. This was announced on Monday by the British military edition Janes, Interfax writes. In the single lot includes 19 fighters, some of which require overhaul or disassembled, 20 engines and 293 units of other property and armament to them. The initial price is only $ 10 million. At the same time, any deal for the sale of fighters must be approved by the Russian authorities.
First KC-46A Pegasus arrives for combat training – Defence Blog
The U.S. Aur Force has announced that the first KC‐46A Pegasus aerial refueling aircraft arrived at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma for combat training. Accordint to statement, the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron and Air Force leaders accepted the newest aerial refueling aircraft, the KC‐46A Pegasus, during a historic arrival celebration Feb. 8. Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, spoke at the unveiling ceremony about the future of the force. “As the 21st Chief of Staff, I believe I have one obligation that I consider a sacred duty,” Goldfein said. “We must ensure that every Airman we send into harm’s way is properly organized, trained, equipped and well-led. Today is about fulfilling a part of this obligation. Today we equip our Airmen at Altus, and put in their hands the finest tanker on the planet.” AETC Commander, Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, highlighted the importance and impact of training future aviators. “We have taught these Airmen to be competitors,” Kwast said. “If they do what I know they are capable of doing, you might find that this machine, coupled with the team of Airmen who know how to use it, becomes one of the most powerful tools of air superiority in the 21st century.” Total force Airmen at Altus AFB will put the KC-46 through its paces in the Combat Mobility and Expeditionary Training Center of Excellence, where more than 2,000 airlift and aerial refueling aircrew members train annually.
U.S. Air Force returns military equivalent of a pit stop for A-10 Thunderbolt II – Defence Blog
The U.S. Air Force decided to return a military equivalent of a pit stop in auto racing, known as an Integrated Combat Turn (ICT), for A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. During an ICT, the pilot stops the jet, the service crew refueled, rearmed aircraft, and sent it back into combat. ICTs have been utilized by the Air Force in the past, but are making a comeback and Davis-Monthan is leading the way in that effort. Now, after aircraft touch down, the A-10s taxi to their respective sun shades where the crews, with tools in hand, prepare to begin maintenance. They immediately get to work loading the aircraft with armaments, checking fuel levels and refueling it in order to get the jet back in the air as quickly as possible while the engines are still running. Once all processes are complete, the A-10s are ready to take off and fly another sortie. “We’ve decided to bring these ICTs back because rapidly turning these aircraft will give us a competitive edge on our near-to-peer adversaries,” said Col. Barton Kenerson, 355th Maintenance Group commander. “We realized over the years we’ve been fighting in the [air and space expeditionary force] construct that having this capability is something we need.” ICTs are comprised of a highly trained and proficient workforce that have spent an extensive amount of time perfecting their craft. This experience allows the crews to load and maintain an aircraft in a fraction of the time it usually takes. “During a normal combat turn, all of the servicing we do is performed at different times,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Terasas, 355th Maintenance Group load standardization crew member. “During an ICT, we tackle all of these processes at the same time. We constantly practice to ensure that we don’t get in each other’s way and can get the job done safely.” Because of the speed at which the aircraft are armed and refueled, ICTs can increase the amount of combat sorties that are flown. This increase can be very advantageous for the Air Force in future operations.

Warship rejected by DND years ago will now be the backbone of Canada’s future navy | National Post
The defence department noted that the Type 26 design could be modified for Canadian needs but concluded the ‘technical and programme risk would be high’
Army Up-Gunned, Drone-Killing Strykers to Europe | RealClearDefense
Army Up-Gunned, Drone-Killing Strykers to Europe | RealClearDefense
Belarus developed new special chassis for missile systems – Defence Blog
Belarus’s Minsk Wheel Tractors Plant (MZKT Volat) has developed a new special wheeled chassis to carry missile weapon systems. During the meeting of the State Military Industrial Committee of Belarus was unveiled a new generation of hull chassis is designed to carry short-range and medium-range surface-to-air missile systems. As company representatives note the new 8×8 chassis is alternative for tracked chassis for mounting and transporting of modern and future air-defense systems on all kinds of roads and terrains. The main advantages of new MZKT family of chassis are independent hydropneumatic suspension with adjustable clearance, onboard information-management system, possibility to locate all mobile components of complex on one basic chassis (launching-charging vehicle, self-propelled firing vehicle, target detection station, command post). Common base chassis allows to considerably simplify operation, maintenance, repair, reduces range of spare parts and number of maintenance staff. The technical details of the new special chassis are kept secret. It is expected that the new special chassis will be showcased during the MILEX (International Defense and Military Equipment Exhibition) that will take place in 15 – 18 May at the Minsk-Arena in Minsk, Belarus.
U.S. Army’s newest electronic warfare vehicle was tested in Fort Irwin – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army has announced that its newest electronic warfare vehicle was tested at the Army’s toughest training ground, the National Training Center in Fort Irwin California. According to a statement, Electronic Warfare Soldiers from 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf,” 1st Cavalry Division conducted electronic attack and electronic support operations during the month-long exercise using the Electronic Warfare Tactical Vehicle or EWTV. “Our main purpose was to provide support by denying communications to the enemy, jamming comms,” said Sgt. First Class Cristian Holguin, the EWTV team leader. “In addition we were able to listen in on FM communications from the enemy and detect enemy electronic signatures to use for call for fire missions.” The brigade received the Army’s first dedicated electronic warfare vehicle in September of 2018 in time to test it out during the Brigade’s external evaluation, Pegasus Forge III, at Fort Hood, Texas. The team then provided feedback to the team at the Rapid Equipping Force, which had developed the vehicle. “It’s like version one of the system. And for being version one it is a very good system,” said Holguin. “The folks at REF listened to our feedback following Pegasus Forge and actually were making upgrades to the vehicle as we were on ground at NTC.” According to Staff Sgt. Darron McCracken, a EWTV operator, the shortened timetable between Pegasus Forge and NTC presented a challenge to the team, but they were able to overcome them and help integrate the system fully at the brigade and battalion-levels. “Initially the battalions were a little skeptical of the system. Not only was it an asset they had to provide forces to help protect, but it’s a pretty big vehicle as well,” he said. “But once they saw what it could do and they benefited from its effects, they recognized the benefits of the system.” The near-peer enemy along with the terrain and elements that the Brigade faced at NTC made it an ideal environment to test the EWTV. Once the force-on-force fight was completed, the team conducted situational training that helped further test the capabilities of the vehicle. “We worked on finding ways to better improve our jamming and detection capabilities,” said Staff Sgt. Francisco Becerra, a EWTV Operator. “For instance, we learned by raising the antenna two more inches we were able to getter better lines of bearing. These are things that you can’t necessarily test out in the middle of a fight.”
Russia develops new system of protecting the armor from precision weapons – Defence Blog
Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency has confirmed that specialists of Russia’s Central Research Institute for Precision Machine-Building (TsNIItochmash) are developing a new protective system to shield the armor from smart precision-guided munitions. The news agency quoted a TsNIItochmash press office on 8 February as saying that he latest Lotos self-propelled artillery guns will be the first to get the new protection system enables the effective concealing from enemy reconnaissance and fire. “Engineers of the artillery section at TsNIItochmash are developing a new system of protecting the armor from precision weapons. The technology is based on the optoelectronic suppression of the systems of guiding attacking smart munitions towards the target,” the press office said. The new protection system will be organically mounted on the 2S42 Lotos air-droppable self-propelled 120mm mortar gun that is being prepared for preliminary trials, the press office specified. The system comprises the equipment that registers a shot and the fire sector and the technology of optoelectronic jamming with the help of aerosol munitions that disrupt an attacking missile’s control. Upon detecting an attack, the protective system launches aerosol munitions in the required direction, taking into account the wind. After that, the munition fires a block of cartridges with the aerosol filling. “During the flight, cartridges sequentially come into action and form an aerosol cloud of interferences in the visible, infrared and radio-frequency wavelength bands providing protection for an armored vehicle,” the TsNIItochmash press office explained. The aerosol munitions’ preliminary trials have proven their high efficiency, TsNIItochmash said. The system’s munition generates optoelectronic interference in an expanded wavelength band compered to its analogues, it added. Today anti-tank missile systems are viewed among the most effective precision weapons to strike the armor. As to Lotos artilerry system, the image of the new self-propelled artillery system is placed on the pages of the calendar of the TsNIITochMash enterprise for 2019, have been ‘leaked’ on Instagram. The 2S42 Lotos is equipped with a highly automated turret fighting compartment with a 120-mm mortar. It is compatible with rifled rounds, specially developed for this artillery system, and any 120-mm mortar mines.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson says MoD will convert ferries into warships | News | The Times
The Ministry of Defence is to procure two civilian passenger ferries or cargo vessels and convert them into warships, the defence secretary has announced.Gavin Williamson also revealed today that he would buy off-the-shelf drones to create swarm fleets that can interact with the military’s highly so
Airbus’s A380 failure ripples through its rivalry with Boeing in complex ways | The Seattle Times
Airbus’s decision to terminate its A380 superjumbo jet program as of early 2021 may amount to good news for the company’s future. For rival Boeing, while there is a silver…
Wreck of WWII aircraft carrier USS Hornet discovered in the South Pacific | Fox News
The wreck of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) has been discovered off the Solomon Islands by a research organization set up by the late billionaire Paul Allen.
USS Hornet found: World War II aircraft carrier discovered 77 years after it was sunk by Japanese – CBS News
The USS Hornet is best known for launching the important Doolittle Raid in April of 1942 and its role in winning the Battle of Midway

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports



AI can write disturbingly believable fake news
AI is getting better and better at writing convincing material, and that’s leading its creators to wonder whether they should release the technology in the firs…
‘Fake news’ in the digital media to become a threat to Australia – Defence Blog
Australian computer science researchers Kopp, Korb and Mills described the problem of “fake news” and potential measures to deal with this pandemic in the digital media. A submission to a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra claims that Australia is not immune to the global pandemic of fake news, deception, cyber-attacks, social media botnet attacks, and other digital platform hosted mischief, that has engulfed most Western democracies. According to recently published research, to date Australia has not been subjected to the kind of focused high intensity multi-pronged state-sponsored information attack campaign that the UK was subjected to during the Brexit referendum, the US was subjected to during the 2016 presidential election, and Ukraine has been subjected to continuously since the covert invasion of Crimea by Russia. However, Australia has been exposed to large volumes of “fake news”, and this appears to be most frequently the result of Australian mass media and social media users redistributing deceptive “fake news” content that was being widely distributed in the global mass and social media.
FACT CHECK: Has Bill Murray Died at 81, Wanting to See ‘Americans United Under Trump’?
Another lame celebrity death hoax from the lamest of junk news sites.
Are Russian Trolls Saving Measles From Extinction?
Scientists are beginning ask whether the European measles epidemic was bolstered by Russian trolls who infiltrated anti-vaccination groups to spread the Kremlin’s agenda.
European Union Agrees to New Copyright Law – WSJ
The bill is aimed at reining in tech giants and throwing a lifeline to news publishers. It is expected to be formally approved by mid-April, after which EU governments will have two years to include it in their national laws.
Google, other tech giants lose out in Europe’s copyright revamp – POLITICO
Google will have to strike licensing agreements to display copyright-protected content on YouTube and Google News.

US Domestic Policy Reports



Tara Copp on Twitter: “Just in from .@DepSecDef Shanahan on Inhofe comments & Trump comments on “acting” role vs full-confirmation to #SecDef, from Brussels: “the Department of Defense is an amazing institution. And whether there’s an acting next to your name or not, it’s the same job.” (More)”
Inhofe: Pentagon Needs Permanent Pentagon Chief |
The Senate’s top defense lawmaker thinks President Donald Trump will nominate a permanent Defense Secretary soon — but that it won’t likely be the man currently leading the Pentagon, Military Times reported Tuesday.
Trump Will Nominate SecDef: SASC Chair Inhofe « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
“We need to have a secretary of defense; we’ve always had one, so I anticipate we will,” Inhofe told the Defense Writers Group, directly contradicting Trump’s predilection for acting officials. “I think he’s going to nominate someone.”
Why is a top GOP senator skeptical of Trump’s acting defense secretary?
Sen. Jim Inhofe said that the current Pentagon leader lacks the
Mattis Was the Best Secretary of Defense Trump Could Have Had – Foreign Policy
In grading him, we must adjust for the difficulty of the assignment.
The US Air Force Has Won Control of the Space Force – Defense One
Six months ago, service leaders said they were being cut out of the planning process. Now they’re being put in charge of it.
U.S. Foreign Policy Finally Returns to Sea: The Trump Maritime Strategy – By Captain James E. Fanell, U.S. Navy (Retired) | U.S. Naval Institute
The Trump Maritime Strategy | RealClearDefense
The Trump Maritime Strategy | RealClearDefense
Tools for Victory against Russia and China | The National Interest
The Trump administration’s foreign policy can be understood as driven by the recognition that choices are limited, and the last one—reforming the existing alliances—is the best bet.
Top U.S. General Joseph Votel: Trump Is Wrong on Syria and ISIS
A GRU official who reportedly traveled to Bulgaria just before prominent arms trader was poisoned.
Her Title: Cryptologic Technician. Her Occupation: Warrior. – The New York Times
Shannon Kent’s death in a suicide bombing in Syria shows how women have been doing military jobs as dangerous, secretive and specialized as anything men do.

U.S. Senate Confirms Barr As Attorney General, Will Oversee Mueller Probe
William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, despite concerns over how he may handle the Russia investigation overseen by Special Coun…
Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America – Defense One
When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values—and lost.
Ex-Trump official says intel community’s testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks | TheHill
Former national security official Fred Fleitz told Hill.TV on Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials interfered with U.S.-North Korea negotiations in their testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month. 
Trump’s wild popularity overseas is one of media’s best kept secrets
The mainstream media pretends that their scorn for President Trump is almost universally shared overseas. While globalists everywhere (along with their media allies) dislike him for standing up for national sovereignty, a rising tide of populist revolt is shaking them to their core. And Trump is a hero – even a superhero – to the growing number of anti-globalist populists around the world. Stark evidence of this popularity of President Trump comes from Italy, where a populist government won power – though the media tend to ignore this. The Carnival of Viareggio, described as “world-famous” by (the website chosen by Jeff Bezos for his j’accuse manifesto against the National Enquirer) dates back to 1873, and has established itself as the venue for featuring amazing giant figures. It takes place in Tuscany, a wealthy area that is a magnet for tourists worldwide.

Document: Indictment of Former Air Force Intelligence Officer Monica Witt – Lawfare
On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed a seven-count indicment charging former Air Force counterintelligence specialist Monica Witt and four Iranian co-defendants under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The indictment is posted in full below.
Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying
A former Air Force counterintelligence specialist, a technical sergeant, who defected to Iran about five years after leaving the Air Force, has been charged with espionage.
U.S. Accuses Former Air Force Officer Of Spying For Iran
The U.S. Justice Department has indicted a former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer for aiding Iran in what Washington says was a cyberespionage operation targeting U.S. intelligence officers.
US charges former US Air Force officer with spying for Iran – Vox
The indictment came on the eve of a US-led summit in Poland that’s focused on Iran.
Monica Witt, former air force specialist, accused of conspiring to share classified information with Iran – The Washington Post
Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, spent more than a decade working in sensitive jobs for the U.S. government. She defected to Iran in 2013.
Ex-Air Force Agent Monica Witt Charged With Giving Iran Defense Secrets : NPR
Monica Witt has been indicted after allegedly providing classified Pentagon information to Tehran. She defected almost six years ago, the Justice Department says.
Monica Witt: from US intelligence officer to alleged Iranian spy | US news | The Guardian
Air force specialist served in Iraq and converted to Islam after attending conference in Iran on amorality of US culture
Iran news: Former US Air Force Officer Monica Witt accused of spying for Iran | World | News |
A FORMER US Air Force Officer, Monica Witt, has been indicted for allegedly spying on American intelligence officers.
Indicted US intelligence analyst once drew media across Iran | Fox News
The former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst, her brown hair now hidden underneath a mandatory hijab, stood before an Iranian ayatollah as a television camera filmed behind her.
Marzieh Hashemi, potentially a witness in Monica Witt’s defection case, went from New Orleans to Iranian propaganda – The Washington Post
Marzieh Hashemi, born Melanie Franklin, studied journalism at Louisiana State University before moving to Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution and becoming a television broadcaster.

Omar wades into anti-Semitic controversy suggesting GOP politicians take pro-Israeli stance for money | Business Insider
Even Chelsea Clinton is going to bed on Sunday night angry with Ilhan Omar.
Rep. Ilhan Omar slammed yet again for ‘anti-Semitic’ tweets
Rep. Ilhan Omar, who once stirred outrage by claiming, “Israel has hypnotized the world,” came under fire again Sunday by claiming that a pro-Israel lobby pays off American politicians.
Jewish advocacy group calls on Omar to apologize after ‘stunningly anti-Semitic’ tweet | TheHill
A major Jewish advocacy organization on Sunday called on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to apologize for suggesting that a pro-Israel lobbying group was buying off lawmakers, calling her tweet “stunningly anti-Semitic.”
Omar, Trump envoy Elliott Abrams clash in fiery exchange | TheHill
Ilhan Omar says Trump ‘trafficking in hate’ over president’s call for her to resign
Freshman Rep. IIhan Omar, D-Minn., on Wednesday pushed back against President Trump’s call for her to resign from Congress due to comments she’s made about support for Israel on Capitol Hill.
Omar fires back after Trump calls for her resignation: ‘You have trafficked in hate your whole life’ | TheHill

Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia
But as Senate Intelligence Committee probe nears end investigators disagree on party lines about the meaning of contacts between Trump associates and Russians.
Acting U.S. Attorney General Has ‘Not Interfered’ In Russia Probe
Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker says he has not taken any action to interfere “in any way” with a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
U.S. Judge Orders Officials To Turn Over Lesin Autopsy Records
The ruling came after a 16-month court fight by RFE/RL seeking previously redacted records, and other key documents, that would explain discrepancies in the official explanation of a former Russian…
Trump Associate Paul Manafort ‘Changed His Story Completely’ to Protect Suspected Member of Russian Intelligence, Prosecutors Say
At the heart of the matter is whether Manafort was helping lobby for a peace plan for Ukraine that would be beneficial to the Kremlin.
Manafort met with Ukrainian business partner in 2018: report | TheHill
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort discussed his business dealings in Ukraine with an associate thought to have ties to Russian intelligence as recently as 2018, according to court documents filed in the ongoing special counsel investigat
Federal judge finds Paul Manafort lied to Mueller probe about contacts with Russian aide – The Washington Post
Prosecutors said ex-Trump campaign chair’s deceptions encompassed meetings at ‘heart’ of investigation
Judge Rules Paul Manafort Lied in Violation of Plea Deal – WSJ
A federal judge ruled that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to investigators about his contact with an associate linked to Russian intelligence, despite agreeing to a plea deal requiring him to tell the truth.
Paul Manafort: bombshell deepens mystery in Russia probe – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort’s latest legal debacle deepened the core intrigue underlying special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe: Why have so many of President Donald Trump’s associates been caught lying about contacts with Russians?
‘Mr. Manafort did not lie’: Attorneys take final stand against Mueller charges – POLITICO
The special counsel has accused Manafort of breaching a plea deal when he lied about interactions with an associate allegedly linked to Russian intelligence.
Paul Manafort plea deal voided after judge says he ‘intentionally’ lied to the FBI, special counsel and grand jury – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort “intentionally” lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, breaking the plea agreement that made him the star cooperator in the Russia probe, a federal judge found on Wednesday.
Judge Rules Manafort Lied To Prosecutors, Grand Jury During Russia Probe
A federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, breached his plea agreement by intentionally lying to prosecutors and the grand jury as part of th…