Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (74)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Another tumultuous week in almost every theatre. POTUS chooses new SACEUR. Russia’s continues its descent. Much distress in Kazakhstan as details of Soviet era genocides become public knowledge. Belarus backflips continue.

The screws are tightening on Tehran, while the Caliphate collapses (some very ugly reports on ISIS followers). More on Turkey’s woes. Israel update. Upheavals in Algeria. Afghanistan and Pakistan updates.

Much on the DPRK, clearly the regime is playing its usual extortion game, and likely colluding with Beijing. Two good analyses by Dr Pry. One of the clueless assassins released, the other to stand trial on exactly the same charges. SCS and trade war. Much on China’s mass detention of Muslim Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities. 60th anniversary of Tibet uprising. Pac/Indian updates.

EU, UK, France, Visegrad updates. Much on the neo-Nazi massacre in NZ – evidence suggests they may have been feeding on Russian neo-Nazi propaganda.

Capabilities update, especially RPVs, programs, and Boeing’s self-inflicted woes.

W3 30th, trolls, influence and cyber updates.

US domestic reports dominated by defense budget request, SECAF quits, Cost-plus-50 debate. Another Manafort sentencing, and Åslund asks whether Manafort was party to the decisions leading to the Maidan massacres. Debate on anti-Semitism continues.


 

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

 


 

Trump Picks New Top NATO Commander – Defense One
Top US Air Force general in Europe will lead alliance as Trump officials continue to berate members for more money.
Germany’s Merkel welcomes idea of European aircraft carrier | Fox News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is endorsing the idea of developing a joint European aircraft carrier, as suggested by her party’s leader.
Truck turns over in Russia’s Vladivostok while carrying AA missile system
KamAZ truck carries Pantsir AA missile system, turns over on bad road in Vladivostok, Russia
Rostec exec on how Russia’s top defense firm is adapting to a ‘rapidly changing world’
Defense News sat down with Victor Kladov, Rostec’s director for international cooperation and regional policy, to discuss cooperation with China, U.S. sanctions and how the company plans to compete in the years ahead.

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Glasnost Gone on Twitter: “I’ll say goodnight #Ukraine and leave you with an old Russian man trying desperately to ride a horse. Reports just in say the horse has suddenly died from #Novichok poisoning.… https://t.co/GCdRrkoSGh”
 
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Zhirinovsky Another Irreplaceable Leader Who Must Soon Be Replaced, Shaburov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – What will happen to the LDPR and the Russian political system when Vladimir Zhirinovsky exits the scene has become the focus of much discussion in Russia this year because it is not clear who can replace this irreplaceable leader of this irreplaceable political party, Aleksey Shaburov says. And this discussion is especially intriguing because it can provide some important clues about how another irreplaceable leader who must at least in principle soon be replaced might exit the scene as well, according to the editor of the Yekaterinburg portal Politsovet.ru (politsovet.ru/62072-sudba-zhirinovskogo-i-problema-2024-goda.html). In the course of the last several months, several scandals have emerged around Zhirinovsky and his alleged diversion of government subsidies to his party for personal use. How true these charges turn out to be remains to be seen, but the fact that such charges are being made suggests that his future and that of his party is now becoming an issue. The main problem concerning is replacement is that “there is no one to replace him.” His political strength rests in his personality, and his party rests in him. Moreover, he doesn’t want to leave the scene because his party represents for him and others “an enormous resource, including financial.” But it isn’t only Zhirinovsky and the LDPR who need each other. His party “in its current form is needed by and is useful for the Kremlin. A specific segment of the electorate votes for the LDPR,” a protest electorate but a protest one “not for liberal democratic (despite the name of the party) but by right wing conservative” elements. In 2016, it received seven million votes in the Duma elections and was the only party of the parliamentary opposition which improved its position; and last year, two LDPR candidates defeated United Russia ones for governors. But despite this, Zhirinovsky and his are loyal to the Kremlin and have not tried to build on their success to challenge the regime. The powers that be “need such a party.” To create a new one might be possible but would be difficult: “It is easier to work with one which already exists,” Shaburov says. But the clock is ticking: in 2021, Zhirinovsky will be 75 and he will have to be replaced in the not too distant future. The first question is who will lead the LDPR in the Duma elections in 2021? There isn’t much time, and there is no obvious candidate to replace Zhirinovsky. Will he lead the party and if he doesn’t will the party survive? And if it doesn’t, where will his protest voters go? All those are questions the Kremlin is concerned about. If he is pushed aside and a new man installed, that could fail altogether; and so the powers that be may want to try a “soft” variant in which Zhirinovsky will run as coleader with someone else in 2021 and then exit the scene afterwards, the Yekaterinburg political commentator suggests. But if the problem of 2021 is solved, that of 2024 is much more difficult: who would run as the LDPR candidate then if there are real elections and not just ones conducted for show. If an LDPR candidate runs but with the intention of winning more votes, what will the Kremlin do? And if he doesn’t, who will pick up the support that would otherwise go to him? Consequently, Shaburov argues, “Zhirnovsky’s fate is much more tightly connected to the problem of 2024 than might appear. The leader of the LDPR certainly understands this and will attempt to use the existing situation in ways that benefit him.” And that leads to another and more important conclusion: In what happens to him and his party, Russians may be able to glean “how will be solved the problem of the transfer of power in 2024.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Iron Curtain ‘Saved’ Russia, Neo-Scythian Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 10 – If there is one thing that one might have expected all Russians to agree with, it is the proposition that the fall of the Iron Curtain was a positive development, opening up all kinds of opportunities for Russians as well as others in the former evil empire. But in fact, some Russians don’t agree and now argue the Iron Curtain was the salvation of Russia. That some of them are prepared to make that argument proudly and in public is one more measure of just how far things have changed in the wrong direction in Putin’s Russia and how much support there is in the population of that country for obscurantism, oppression, and self-imposed isolation. In a post on the Newsland portal, Mikhail Afonsin of the ‘We are Scythians’ group says that agajn and again Russians have been told that when the iron curtain existed, “e lived in full isolation, knew nothing, and we didn’t eat anything sweeter than carrots, never went anywhere, and everyone was afraid of us” (newsland.com/community/4489/content/zheleznyi-zanaves-ili-spasitelnyi-shchit/6665859). Then the iron curtain came down and “a deafening freedom” spread across Russia. “We found out a lot – for example that homosexuality is not bad and that half the world lives in unisex passions, that a guy can become a girl and conversely and that this could happen not figuratively but surgically.” There were even worse things, Afonsin continues, which he cannot even bear to mention; and in addition, Russians learned that food can be “absolutely tasteless or even plastic.” Russians travelled everywhere but “somehow came back for they came to understood that there is no ideal life anywhere.” “We became acquainted with nice people from the West who taught us that there won’t be any speculation but that to buy cheap and sell high is completely normal and that prices for goods can instantly jump; but that’s ok, because we are approaching the status of great Western civilization.” “We found out about paid medicine, where enormous sums are taken from us” without our being cured, and other delights of the West. “We now have a great deal of knowledge.” But we have lost a lot too. And what we have lost is more than we have gained, the blogger suggests. “Perhaps,” he concludes, “’the iron curtain’ was not a closed gate to the world and not a bulletproof vest but a shield?”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Unspoken Hierarchy of Nations Behind Many Soviet Decisions, ‘Russkaya Semerka’ Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 7 – Many Soviet citizens noticed and commented upon that there were no cosmonauts from Armenia, Georgia or certain other non-Russian republics, only incompletely recognizing that this was a reflection of Moscow’s “unspoken” but nonetheless very real hierarchy of nations and republics of the USSR, Russkaya Semerka says. This hierarchy governed everything from the order in which the coats of arms of the union republics were shown on official documents and posters to the selection of cosmonauts and other high profile professions, the history portal reports (russian7.ru/post/takikh-ne-berut-v-kosmonavty-k-zhitelyam/). “In first place,” not unexpectedly, was the Russian Federation. It was followed by Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan “and so on.” The order, Russkaya Semerka says “did not correspond to the population size as the populations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were greater than that of Belarus. With respect to the selection of cosmonauts, the portal continues, Moscow made no distinction among Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians considering them “as under the tsars, all Russians.” In evaluating someone’s nationality, the family name was key: if someone russified it, then he or she became a Russian in the eyes of the powers that be. This happened sometimes with Kazakhs but more often with Jews. And when the latter changed their family name, Russkaya Semerka says, “the mass of people also consider [those who did] as Russian.” Unlike some non-Russians, it continues, Jews could become part of the cosmonaut corps only if they had Russian names. As a result of this selection principles, only five union republics – the RSFSR, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan — were represented among cosmonauts who went into space and only six nationalities – Russians, Ukrainians, two Belarusians, a Jew, an Azerbaijani and a Kazakh. The range of republics and nationalities was somewhat larger among those cosmonauts who were included in the training program but never were sent into space. Nonetheless, even including this group, there were no representatives of the titular nationalities of the Moldovan, Georgian, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Latvian and Estonian union republics. Russkaya Semerka suggests that professionalism triumphed over nationality in some of these cases, but its own write up of this case shows that ethnicity and the ranking of ethnicities Moscow maintained implicitly had an enormous impact on personnel outcomes and decisions about who got to succeed in public and who did not.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Public Squabbling by Members of Russian Elites Ushering in New Kind of Politics, Davydov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 8 – For most of Vladimir Putin’s reign, members of his power elite have presented themselves in public as the united supporters of his regime, Ivan Davydov says; but now “the situation has changed,” with some of these people sharply criticizing others among this category, a development that opens the door to a new kind of political system. In a commentary for the Open Media portal yesterday, the editor of Novaya etika, points to the clash between Economic Development Minister Maksim Oreshkin and Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin as exhibit A of a much broader phenomenon (openmedia.io/exclusive/pochemu-vysshie-chinovniki-rossii-nachali-ssoritsya-publichno/). Their public clash, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky noted, has no precedent in the last 20 years. Such things simply didn’t happen. Obviously Oreshkin is in a weak position and has made numerous mistakes, and Volodin is “a most experienced master of political intrigue.” But having this all play out in public is something new, Davydov suggests. According to the commentator, what happened in the Duma where Volodin cut off Oreshkin during his report is indicative of more than Oreshkin’s weakness and the Duma speaker’s skill as a political infighter. It shows that a basic feature of the Putin regime is becoming frayed around the edges or even breaking down. That feature is this: “a complete opacity” as to how power is organized at the top of the system. All public institutions are simply a cover for ones that really matter, but about the latter, none of the participants is supposed to speak, Davydov says. All descriptions of how things are done in Moscow, such as talk about “’a new Politburo,’” are based on rumors or leaks. In the time of the USSR, he continues, “Sovietologists had at least one eternal criterion – the order in which ‘the Kremlin elders’ were standing on the Mausoleum. Those who try to analyze the Putin system do not have even that.” There are of course two obvious axioms as to how the Putin system functions behind the scenes. “The first and chief among them is that the president is always beyond criticism.” Neither people in the party of power or the leaders of the systemic opposition are ever allowed to say otherwise. And the second axiom is that “public conflicts among representatives of the powers that be are impossible. All dog fights take place only under the cover, for the public, the powers are a collective united around the president and together they are leading the country to its inevitable flourishing.” The Oreshkin-Volodin is hardly the only case recntly where there has been public disagreement among the Putin powers that be. The removal of Ulyukayev and the arrest of the head of Baring East also provoked controversy with senior people saying that they did not agree with what had been done. Such dissent happened on occasion before 2014, but “the country now is in a ring of enemies; and all representatives of the authorities are engaged in a common task,” one in which the people must be reassured of the regime’s correctness by having them be a united front at leas tin public, Davydov says. Obviously, “not everything is in order even in the party of power,” he continues. After the pension age increase, numerous more junior members of United Russia came out against the government’s plan. But “order then was quickly restored,” although the fact that it had to be was a signal. Up to now, took, no one has violated the taboo of criticizing Putin; but the criticism of specific policies opens the door to that. Indeed, Davydov says, as officials who thought they were “eternal” become more “nervous” about keeping their jobs, some of them are beginning to “fight for their positions” and in doing so, “forgetting sometimes the main rules of the game.” As this goes on, Davydov says, sooner or later, someone will “decide to take note of the fact that the president is not right in everything and even on rare occasionally is capable of making mistakes.” Ordinary Russians may not care much about these differences – they have their own concerns – but this change in behavior points to future changes in the system itself.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: There is No Political Russian Nation and Won’t Be Until Moscow Looks Forward Not Backward, Basmanov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – Moscow keeps talking about wanting to create a non-ethnic Russian political nation, but it hasn’t done so and won’t be able to until it focuses on some future ideal which has been the basis for all other polyethnic political nations rather than on the past which in the nature of things highlights ethnicity, Vladimir Basmanov says. Russians “too well remember” communist efforts to create ‘some kind of super identity” in the shape of the Soviet people and they understand how that led to “thousands of tragedies of specific peoples and destroyed the fates of millions of individuals,” the émigré head of the Nation and Freedom Community says (afterempire.info/2019/03/12/polit-naciya/). They have no interest in going down that route again, one that combines a proclaimed interest in the future with the kind of repressive state the in fact celebrates the past whatever it declares, a past in which ethnic identities mattered and an approach which if anything makes them matter more, Basmanov continues. What the peoples of Russia need, he says, is for a situation to arise in which “millions of people feel responsible for the future of the country and the people and are prepared to expend their energy for the construction of civic and state institutions which will promote the internal development of the country.” For that they need both an image of the future they want to pursue and the possibility of pursuing it on their own without the tutelage of the state, Basmanov argues. Among the values they need are “respect for the individual, human rights, the supremacy of law, social justice, [and] economical concern … all directed at the improvement of the lives of the citizens.” Those things require an openness and tolerance that is found in Europe but not yet in Russia, he says. The big issue now for Russians is whether they can develop civic institutions in a repressive milieu of the kind found in the Russian Federation today. According to Basmanov, they can. Individuals and groups can do many things like restore a free media after the authorities destroy that and organize strikes and demonstrations in behalf of one or another cause. “All this is very important, but on the other hand, it is senseless and incorrect to impose … certain labels [like a civic Russian nation] which force it to compete with ethnic identity.” “With us, there is a Russian nation, there is a Tatar nation, there is a Chechen nation, and none of the representatives of these ethnoses must give up its national identity in order to acquire another national identity,” Basmanov argues. Any polyethnic state that tries to do so will inevitably appear to its citizens as “a prison house of peoples,” promoting one identity above all. According to the activist, “the utopian desire to make all individuals the same by reducing as much as possible the number of identities which each of them has is an echo of extreme leftist ideas of the past century,” but that is exactly what Moscow hopes to do with its notion of a non-ethnic civic Russian nation. Fortunately, “the majority of people who lived in the USSR or who are acquainted with live in the USSR directly from the stories of their parents have formed a specific immunity against this,” and the project will fail unless the Kremlin is able to break the back of all the nations within its borders, an unlikely prospect. What the regime wants is a homogenous population of Spartans who will serve the state without reference to their values and identities and who will be able to turn their back on the future by focusing only on the past. But “people do not want to be like that,” like the ones they would be if the Kremlin’s “Russian civic nation” were to be created at their expense. “I am not a supporter of ‘nation building,’” Basmanov says. “I am a national idealist and am convinced that happiness will come if the offices of officials are taken over by people who cannot sleep a t night because they are constantly thinking about how they can more quickly and better feed our people and guarantee its well-being and flourishing.” According to him, “our nation and our civic community doesn’t need leaders anymore who try to tell us how we should be instead of fulfilling their professional obligations” to improve the lives of the people. Not long ago, Basmanov relates, he saw a picture of a Russian girl with a placard reading “We may have conquered the entire cosmos but they put us in jail for reposting something on the Internet.” That he says, is the entire problem in a nutshell. “The Russian people is suffocating in a GULAG and therefore cannot make the desired contribution to the development of civilization.” If the GULAG is dismantled, then “already on the next day, we will see a strong civil society, penetrated by a spirit of solidarity and respect for the individual which as I hope will not be opposed to the national (ethnic) identity of people.” That is because, he argues, “we are too tired of regime dedicated to grinding down the human personality into something pathetic and farcical [and] it is because Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars and Koryaks deserve better.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: To Achieve Rule of Law, Russia Needs Older Judges Who’ve Worked as Lawyers, Filippov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 12 – Most Russians, the Levada Center finds, “prefer to have at the head of the country a ruler ‘from God’ …. who isn’t subordinate to parliament or the results of elections, Petr Filippov says; but if Russia is to make progress, it must have effective property rights and that requires the establishment of a rule of law especially via the courts. In Yezhednevny zhurnal, the Russian commentator says that the need to make the transition from a rule based on force to one based on law is increasingly being discussed in Russia because people can see that it is the foundation of property rights and they require an effective court system (ej.ru/?a=note&id=33530). Filippov lists some of the proposals Russian analysts and academics have made to move in that direction. Most of them are familiar because they focus on the need to decrease or even eliminate the power of the presidency and officials to control judges and thus the outcome of cases. But one idea seems particularly important even if it seldom attracts much attention. Russia desperately needs its judges to be older and to have experience in the legal profession. That is the case in most countries, and Russia needs to emulate what they do, the commentator says. Unfortunately, at present, Russia’s judges are extremely young and lack the authority that experience as lawyers can provide. In the United States, the average age of judges when they are elected or appointed is 40 to 45 and almost all of them have extensive legal experience prior to that time. The situation in Russia is different: the average age when Russian judges are first selected is 31, and 57 percent of all judges are enrobed before 30. That means they do not have the experience or gravitas that might allow them to do a good job. Instead, in many cases, they have never worked as lawyers, have no reputation in the legal fraternity, and thus behave more like minor bureaucrats who can be ordered about than like independent judges. Before appointment as judges, 30 percent have been aides to other judges or as court officials, 17 percent have come from the ranks of prosecutors, and 16 percent are former policemen. Most are anything but well-trained. Sixty percent of Russian judges receive their legal training on external basis after they’ve gone to work. Those concerned about promoting rule of law in Russia argue that the country must raise the minimum age for judges from 25 to 35, that nominees must have “no less than five years” experience as lawyers, and that they show they have had some experience working in non-governmental structures. Those steps by themselves will not guarantee an independent judiciary, but without them, Filippov suggests, an independent judiciary will probably remain beyond Russia’s reach.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Stupidities Russian Bosses Utter are No Accident, Verkhoturov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 11 – Every few days a Russian official surpasses his colleagues by making an arrogant and ignorant comment about Russians, Dmitry Verkhoturov says. Sometimes these officials are punished, often they are not, but it is profoundly wrong to view these remarks as individual failings. Instead, they are part of a now well-established social trend. On the Irkutsk portal Babr, the Siberian commentator says that such incidents – and they number in the hundreds – occur because those who make them assume that they have the right to tell Russians “’how to live,’” an assumption that is deeply offensive to the Russian people individually and collectively (babr24.com/msk/?IDE=186771). That conviction on the part of the bosses in Russia today has its roots in Soviet times when officials and heads of major industrial centers were told that part of their responsibility was transforming illiterate and semi-literate peasants into modern workers, a broader task than just ensuring that they were able to perform their new jobs. That was one of the tasks of industrialization and Soviet leaders accepted it as such, as did most of the population. But most Russians today view this as something that was true then but can’t be true now: Russians have changed. They are more educated, and they know how to behave at least in their own terms. But their bosses remain closer to that Soviet past than many want to believe. Many senior officials now started their careers in Soviet times or were mentored by Soviet managers. Not surprisingly, they picked up many of the assumptions and values of their superiors, even if those assumptions and values are no longer appropriate or necessary. This is the source of “the extremely widespread self-confidence among the bosses.” They continue to believe as their predecessors did that they are to train their workers to be modern; and they see their comments, however offensive they appear to the workers themselves, as an appropriate strategy to achieve that end. Only when that generation passes from the scene will such offensive comments become less, but the process by which that will occur and the means by which the values of the current generation of bosses inherited from the past will be put aside is something that is going to require greater efforts than almost anyone can imagine, Verkhoturov concludes. But unless the bosses change and soon, they are going to anger and alienate the population even more; and that trend carries with it the risk of a social explosion that could bring down the entire system.
Police Raids Target Central Asian Migrants In Russia
Hundreds were detained as three raids in two days targeted migrant workers from Central Asia in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg.
Russia Says Two IS Fighters Killed In Stavropol Region
Russian authorities say two militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) extremist group have been killed in the country’s southern Stavropol region that borders the mainly Muslim-populated Nort…
Some Russians fight back as Putin cracks down on freedoms – CNN
Russian President Vladimir Putin is no slouch when it comes to geopolitics: This week, he signed a decree suspending implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and boasted that his security agencies had thwarted nearly 600 foreign intelligence operators last year.
Local official in Krasnodar is charged with breaking the law because he shared a picture created by Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s news outlet — Meduza
State prosecutors in the Krasnodar region have opened an administrative case against a district council member in Yeysk over an image he shared on Facebook. Alexander Korovainy is accused of “carrying out the activities of an outlawed undesirable organization” because he reposted an image created by the website MBKh Media, a news project launched by former oil tycoon, now self-styled dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
UAWire – Artist who created a mock grave of Putin detained in Russia
In Naberezhnye Chelny City in Russia, activist Karim Yamadayev has been detained for creating a mock gravestone of Russian President Vladimir …
Putin’s spokesman called a question about this stolen gas pipeline ‘slander.’ Two months later, the police are investigating. — Meduza
The website Fontanka publishes an investigative report about Gazprom’s construction of a 100-kilometer-long (62-mile-long) gas pipeline in Priozersk, outside St. Petersburg. According to financial records, the project’s contractor, “Omega,” completed the work back in 2014 and received 1.7 billion rubles ($25.8 million, according to the current exchange rate). Journalists later discovered, however, that only the first of four sections was ever finished: just 40 kilometers (25 miles) of pipeline. In September 2017, Omega declared bankruptcy.
The men who killed a Russian police detective last year were reportedly hired on the Darknet for 1 million rubles — Meduza
Sources tell the BBC Russian Service that someone paid 1 million rubles ($15,215) to arrange the murder of Interior Ministry detective Evgeniya Shishkina last October, hiring the gunman through the Darknet. Shishkina was shot twice outside her home in the town of Arkhangelskoye on October 10, 2018, as she was leaving her apartment building and walking toward the parking lot, on her way to work. She was a lieutenant colonel in the police, rising from inspector in the Moscow Railway Special Transport Department to senior detective in the Major Cases Division.
Moscow Charges U.S. Embassy Staffer Had Mortar Shell In His Luggage
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that “an object similar to an unarmed mortar shell” was confiscated from the baggage of a U.S. Embassy employee at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on March 9, the R…
UAWire – Russia accuses US embassy employee of an attempt to smuggle a land mine through Sheremetyevo airport
Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport officials discovered a land mine with a fuse, but without an explosive when inspecting the luggage of the United …
Russia’s FSB sues independent newspaper for reporting torture allegations, demands retraction — Meduza
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has filed a defamation lawsuit against the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and correspondent Ivan Zhilin, demanding the retraction of two articles published in January about the alleged torture of a man detained in Magnitogorsk after an explosion killed 39 people last December.
New Videos Reveal More Evidence Of Torture At Russian Prison
Grim videos posted online by the independent newspaper Novaya gazeta appear to provide fresh evidence of inmates being tortured and abused by guards at a prison in the city of Yaroslavl that has be…
Russia Urged To Release Chechen Activist As Prosecutor Seeks Four-Year Sentence
Amnesty International has reiterated its call on Russian authorities to release Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev, calling his trial on “fabricated” drug-possession charges “an affro…
Activist Titiyev Resigned To Guilty Verdict In ‘Sham’ Trial As Chechnya Court Sets Date
Human rights activist Oyub Titiyev says he is certain he will be convicted by a court in Russia’ Chechnya region Chechnya next week after a drug-possession trial he described as “spitting at justic…
Chechen Blogger Says He’s Taking ‘Blood Feud’ Threat Seriously
A Chechen blogger says he fears for his life after a close ally of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov declared a blood feud against him.
Alice In Russialand: Theater Gets Political In Moscow
A Moscow theater has put a political twist on the story of Alice in Wonderland. The play titled Run, Alice, Run parodies life in today’s Russia and was inspired by the arrest of Russian film and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov.
Under House Arrest, Russia’s Serebrennikov Directs Opera From Afar
Despite being under house arrest in Moscow, famed Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov has staged an opera 2,000 kilometers away in Hamburg, Germany.
Russia’s Serebrennikov Directs Hamburg Opera – From House Arrest In Moscow
Kirill Serebrennikov’s version of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco opera successfully premiered in the German city of Hamburg — despite the fact the production’s famed Russian director is under house ar…
Russian Opposition Politician Says Authorities Put Pressure On His Grandmother
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin says authorities in Krasnogorsk, a city near Moscow, have been harassing his grandmother and the private retirement home she is living in.
Suspects In Fatal Beating Of 93-Year-Old Russian Veteran Arrested Trying To Pawn Stolen Medal
Russian police say a 93-year-old World War II veteran was beaten to death by assailants who are suspected of stealing cash and combat medals from the victim.
Russian Upper House Rejects Bill Banning Hospitality Services In Residential Buildings
The Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, has rejected a bill that would prohibit the establishment of hotels, hostels, and home-sharing activities in residential buildings.
Athletics’ World Body Upholds Russia Ban Imposed Over Doping Scandal
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has decided to maintain a ban imposed on Russia’s athletics federation more than three years ago over doping.
Russia’s ‘Happy’ Prison Faces Abuse Allegations
Russian prison authorities posted video of people happily dancing in the snow at a facility in Krasnoturinsk, 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow, four days after former inmates held a news conference alleging abuse there.
Public backlash prompts officials in Irkutsk to audit construction of bottling plant that would have exported Lake Baikal water to China — Meduza
This Tuesday, March 12, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered National Resources and Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin to verify that the construction of a bottling facility in the Lake Baikal area complies with “the strictest environmental standards.”
‘You could say I was selling him my emotions’ An inside look at Russia’s rental friendship industry — Meduza
In the early 2010s, posts advertising so-called “friends for hire” began appearing on Russian-language websites. They allowed Internet users to pay an hourly fee for an apparently ordinary person to listen to them, give them emotional support, or simply chat for a while as though they really were an understanding longtime friend. This service, at least in its online iteration, was apparently invented in Japan, where even a husband or a daughter can be rented online. There are similar services available in Western countries as well. Journalist Anna Chesova explored Russia’s paid friendship industry from every possible angle exclusively for Meduza.
Russia Grapples With ‘Whale Jail’ Problem As Celebrities Appeal To Putin For Help
A government commission will decide whether to release dozens of beluga and killer whales whose captivity in tiny pens in the Russian Far East drew outrage from Moscow to Hollywood. Even animal rights activists are divided over the best way to return the animals to the wild.
Western Russian province celebrates spring by burning the Night King from ‘Game of Thrones’ in effigy — Meduza
On the traditional East Slavic holiday of Maslenitsa, revelers celebrate the coming of spring by eating blintzes and burning a large straw doll to symbolize the resurrection of the world through the destruction of winter.
Real-life ‘Mowgli girl’, five, found living up to her neck in cockroach-infested rubbish in Russia  | Daily Mail Online
The neglected half-naked child called Lyubov – or Love – was dehydrated and sickly after her mother named Irina Garashchenko, 47, had been ‘absent for days’ from her noxious Moscow flat.
Why Are Russian Drivers In Love With Dashcams?
Horror smashes, road rage, village drunks. Legions of dashcams show life on the roads in Russia. And there’s a very good reason why so many people have them.
First modern textbook on rare Jewish language Juhuri published in Russian-Israeli partnership — Meduza
On March 11, the STMEGI Foundation announced that the first ever Russian-language textbook for learners of the Judeo-Persian language Juhuri has been published by the Sholumi Center for the preservation of Mountain Jewish culture. The textbook’s publication was much anticipated in the Juhuro community and reflects a growing international interest in Russia’s minority languages.
U.S.-Russian Crew Arrives At International Space Station After Six-Hour Flight
A Russian-American crew of three has arrived at the International Space Station (ISS), marking success in the second attempt to reach the craft after an aborted launch in October.
U.S.-Russian Crew Blasts Off To International Space Station
A Russian-American crew of three has lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, making a second attempt to reach the International Space Station (ISS) after an aborted launch in October.
MH370 BOMBSHELL: Investigator’s SHOCK claim after NEW theory emerges – ‘It was Russia’ | World | News | Express.co.uk
AN MH370 investigator sensationally pointed the finger at Russia for the loss of MH370, claiming the world’s largest nation hijacked the plane and sent experts on a wild goose chase using a “false trail of breadcrumbs” during a bombshell documentary.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: New Film Shows Kazakhs They Suffered a Holodomor Too, Infuriating Moscow
Paul Goble Staunton, March 9 – Ever more Kazakhs are revising their views about the early Soviet period when several million of their ancestors died from famine, hundreds of thousands fled to China and some took up arms to fight first the Bolsheviks and then Soviet collectivization, the Central Asian Analytic Network says. Now as a result of a new film called “Sulmat,” the Kazakh word for holomodor or terror famine, they increasingly recognize that the famine was not an accident of nature but rather the result of Moscow’s policies and thus constitute an act of genocide, a view that necessarily changes their view of Russia (caa-network.org/archives/15320). Not surprisingly, the Russian foreign ministry has lashed out at the film’s suggestion that what occurred was “a Holodomor” or “a genocide” and insisted that Moscow did not target the Kazakhs or any other nation and that all Soviet peoples, including the Russians, suffered (mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3540615). The man behind the film, “Zulmat. Mass Hunger in Kazakhstan,” Zhanbolat Mamay, made this film because in 2017 he was banned from working as a journalist for three years. He made an earlier documentary about Kazakhstan’s national movement after 1917, “If the Republic of Alash had Won,” and plans to do a third about repressions in the 1930s. In an interview with CAAN, Mamay says he is sure the Russian foreign ministry released its statement because his film has proved so popular. It was first shown in a theater in Almaty but not permitted to be run elsewhere and then put up on YouTube where it has already been viewed more than 400,000 times, he continues. Mamay says he decided to make the film because despite the fact that many parts of the story have been told, they are not been put together in one place in a way accessible to the population and no one has given them a political and historical assessment. That is what “we have done in our film.” One issue that had to be decided was what to call the film. There are two words in Kazakh for the terror famine or Holodomor in that country, Asharshylyk and Zulmat. The first refers to famine arising from conflicts among various peoples; the second refers to that and also to the greater tragedy of organized mass murder. It is thus more appropriate. Stalin and the Soviet leadership knew what they were doing and what was happening because of what they had done. They thus were engaged in a conscious policy of genocide, Mamay says; and they must be held accountable by history for their actions. Trying to muddy the waters is a betrayal of the nation’s memory. The film focuses on five issues: the massive famine of 1921-22, the impact of collectivization and sedentarization, mass risings against Soviet power, the horrors of death by hunger, and finally the assessment of these events which must be called “by their own names: this was a policy of genocide!” Figures are much in dispute, but the closest to the truth is contained in the famous “letter of the six,” published in the 1930s. It spoke about the demise of 49 percent of the Kazakh population as a result of Soviet policies. But those were only direct losses. In addition, more than a million fled to other countries, including China and Afghanistan. As to the ethnic composition of the victims, it was overwhelmingly Kazakh. But of the 2.2 million who died in Kazakhstan during the terror famine, 250,000 consisted of others, including Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars and others. But of the one million who died in the 1920s, almost all were Kazakhs, as were the million who fled the republic. Kazakhs resisted and formed armed groups, but in 1929-1931, it is not correct to say that they were seeking independence: they only wanted collectivization as Stalin was imposing it to be stopped. There were no longer any national leaders who could have organized a broader form of resistance: they had all be killed before then. Another indication of how alienated these events left the Kazakhs was that the Red Army was not allowed to take in ethnic Kazakhs as soldiers and officers at that time, not because the commanders did not want them, but because the political leadership in Moscow refused to allow this to happen.
Turkmenistan’s Route To The European Union
Turkmenistan is teaming up with Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Romania on a new trade project called the Black Sea-Caspian Sea International Transport Corridor. Unlike some of its other efforts, this one…

Belarus Reports

 


 

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Dictatorship is Our Brand’ Lukashenka’s Press Aide Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 9 – Most dictatorships go out of their way to deny that fact, calling themselves democracies, often hyphenated, to underscore their view that they are democracies in their own way. But now in a sign of changing times, one dictatorship is on the verge of breaking ranks and calling itself what it really is. That exception is Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s Belarus. Long notorious as “the last dictatorship in Europe,” a term favored both by Moscow and by Westerners who don’t want to face up the much more insidious and horrific dictatorship Vladimir Putin has erected, Belarusian officials have insisted in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary that in fact Belarus is a democracy, with elections, a parliament and so on. Natalya Eismont, Lukashenka’s press secretary, said on ONT television that she has been thinking a lot about the word “dictatorship” and its many meanings, has concluded it has positive ones and is now “the national brand” of Belarus, and that a demand for dictatorship as a guarantor of stability may spread about the world (news.tut.by/economics/629086.html). People often use the word in a negative way, she continued, but as far as she is concerned, “’dictatorship’ already at times is acquiring a positive shade of meaning, shorthand for “the order, discipline and absolutely normal and peaceful life” she suggested Belarusians and other nations want. To be sure, this off-the-cuff remark does not mean that the Lukashenka regime is about to declare itself a dictatorship on any and all occasions. But it does mean something else that is even more worrisome: the normalization of the term “dictatorship” in the minds of many people as a system of governance that has the right to exist alongside others. And to the extent that is happening not only in Belarus but beyond its borders in Russia and the West, this represents yet another step away from those hopeful times of a generation ago when peoples and governments believed that democracy was the only kind of regime anyone should have. That drive failed not only because it did not get the continuing support it needed but also because Western governments and populations eager to declare victory in the Cold War and then get a peace “dividend” were more than ready to declare countries democracies if they said they were and worry only about economics rather than democratic procedures and laws. Belarusians at least understand what is happening and why it isn’t good. Pavel Usov, a political analyst, tells Gleb Yurin of Belaruskaya prauda Eismont’s words are an attempt to give a “sympathetic” face to dictatorship but reflect her fundamental ignorance of what a dictatorship is (belprauda.org/diktatura-s-simpatichnym-litsom-ejsmont-respubliku-pora-menyat-na-diktaturu/). Indeed, Usov argues, Eismont’s words represent “an unconscious manifestation of ignorance as to what a dictatorship is. Only someone insane or stupid could praise a dictatorship” as she has done. Eismont, of course, who is 35 has spent her “entire conscious life” under Lukashenka’s dictatorship. “She is a child of this dictatorship. She was able to find her place in t his system, agreed to serve it, has made a career and owes everything to the dictatorship. Her celebration of this system is thus entirely natural because “in other words,” Usov says, “she belongs to the dictatorship. Without it, she is nothing. Dictatorship corrupts people, perverts their consciousness and ideas, and transforms them into slaves who serve without understanding anything.” “If Eismont thought otherwise,” he continues, “she wouldn’t be in Lukashenka’s entourage. Therefore, she did not exaggerate anything; for her, Luakshenka is a great man and dictatorship is the greatest of achievements. Is this absurd? Alas, this is the reality of someone who grows up unfree.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Regime Says Belarusian Language ‘Guarantor’ of Security of State
Paul Goble Staunton, March 13 – In another indication that the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka is working to defend itself against the possible absorption of Belarus by Vladimir Putin, Lukashenka’s pocket Council on National Security has declared that the Belarusian language is “a guarantor of the humanitarian security of the state.” A copy of its resolution on this point was leaked to a telegram channel (t.me/pacaby/715) and has been confirmed by sources as genuine although problems with page numeration and typos suggest that this is a draft and that the final version, likely to be published next week, may be different at least in words if not in direction (news.tut.by/economics/629573.html). Given that the Belarusian language is one of the key signifiers of the Belarusian nation and that promotion of Belarusian by Minsk recently, after many years in which the Lukashenka regime allowed Russian to gain ground, has been attacked by Moscow as an unfriendly act, this decision makes clear that Minsk is now doing what it can to oppose Moscow. The Belarusian Security Council document specifies that “the broadening of the social functions and communication possibilities of he Belarusian language, its full and all-sided development together with other elements of national culture are a guarantor of the humanitarian security of the state.” It also calls for “the further and thoroughgoing realization of the state’s historical policy in order to strengthen in Belarus and beyond the borders of the country the Belarusian national conception of the historical past of the country and the Belarusian model of development.” That too will do nothing to make Moscow happy. And finally, the document stresses that in order to ensure the stability of Belarusian society, it is necessary to block “destructive information influence” so as to ensure “the traditional fundamental values of the people which are one of the basic elements of ‘securing its and one of the conditions of the development of the state.”

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

Moldova’s Constitutional Court Confirms February 24 Vote Result
Moldova’s Constitutional Court has confirmed the outcome of the country’s February 24 parliamentary election, rejecting an appeal by some opposition parties to invalidate the results in several…

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

America’s torch song for Tehran – AEI
An Arab foreign minister once asked me: “Why are you Americans so infatuated with Iran? She is like your insane ex-girlfriend whom you endlessly pine for even though she only wants to hurt you and your life is so much better without her. Meanwhile, we Arabs are like your long-suffering wife, who only wants a better relationship with you, only to have you abandon us whenever that Persian hussy bats an eye at you.” Sometimes others see us more clearly than we see ourselves. For a great many Americans, the legacy of the Iranian revolution is the enduring enmity of the Islamic Republic toward the United States. Iranians are increasingly at pains to rationalize their regular, if ritualized, chants of “Death to America,” but for Americans, the words still bite. It is hard for Americans to reflect on the 40 years since the revolution and understand why Tehran’s antagonism has persisted for so long. So many Americans see it as irrational, wasteful, foolish, even childish. It is. But what we must realize, hard as it may be, is that it is not accidental. It is not the product of misunderstandings or missed opportunities. It is purposeful. It is deliberate. While American leaders have run hot and cold on Iran, most of the presidents who have served during that 40-year span have sought genuine reconciliation with Iran. That they have failed time and again has little to do with their own mistakes and everything to do with the fact that Iran’s leadership has never wanted the same.
US thinks it can be more aggressive in taking Iran oil exports to zero
A top State Department official on Iran says the oil market supply forecast for 2019 will exceed demand globally this year by 400,000 barrels, giving the U.S. more room to be aggressive on sanctions and try to take Iranian crude supply to zero.
Exclusive: U.S. aims to cut Iran oil exports to under 1 million bpd from May – sources | Reuters
The United States aims to cut Iran’s crude exports by about 20 percent to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from May by requiring importing countries to reduce purchases to avoid U.S. sanctions, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
U.S. Charges Russia, Iran With Serious Rights Abuses In Annual Report
The United States has charged Russia and Iran with committing a range of serious human rights abuses both domestically and abroad in an annual State Department report.
Iran’s Rouhani in Iraq for ‘historic’ visit to offset U.S. sanctions – The Washington Post
The high-profile trip is Rouhani’s first to the neighboring nation since he was elected president in 2013.
Iran Tries to Expand Business in Iraq to Blunt U.S. Sanctions – The New York Times
Tehran has worked hard to deepen its political influence. Now, a visit by the Iranian president highlights efforts to strengthen economic ties.
Iran’s Rouhani urges Pakistan to act against group behind border attack | Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for “decisive” action by Pakistan against a militant group behind a deadly suicide attack in a border area, saying failure to act could jeopardize relations.
Iranian hackers stole terabytes of data from software giant Citrix
Citrix is best-known for software that runs behind the scenes, but a massive data breach is putting the company front and center. The FBI has warned Citrix tha…
Iran says Michael White case on “security-related” charges has verdict from court, but Mashhad prosecutor won’t say what it is – CBS News
Prosecutor says verdict issued in case of former Navy cook Michael White, but it’s unclear what the court’s ruling, and even the charges, actually were
Prison Sentence For Iran Rights Lawyer ‘Beyond Barbaric,’ U.S. Says
The United States has condemned the new prison sentences reportedly imposed on Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh “in the strongest possible terms.”
Videos Shed Light On ‘Violent Assaults’ On Iranian Women Over Dress Code
Videos shared on social media recently have demonstrated the “shocking levels of abuse” women in Iran face from morality police and pro-government “thugs” seeking to enforce the country’s strict dr…
Iranian couple arrested after marriage proposal in public | Fox News
A young Iranian couple have been arrested after a marriage proposal in public, captured on a video clip that went viral on social media.
Germany rules out designating Iran-backed Hezbollah as terror group, snubbing US efforts to isolate Iranian regime | Fox News
Germany has ruled out designating Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group, as a terrorist organization, a move likely to cause friction with the U.S. government urged European countries to put pressure on the Iranian regime.


‘Tomorrow we’ll be in paradise’: Islamic State followers speak from besieged enclave | Reuters
Even as it faced imminent defeat in its last populated territory in eastern Syria, Islamic State made a new propaganda film calling on the few remaining residents of its cold, besieged encampment to maintain their prayers and seek refuge in God.
US-backed SDF says fight against ISIL enters ‘final moments’ | ISIS/ISIL News | Al Jazeera
Kurdish-led SDF says battle is as good as over with ISIL facing imminent defeat in Baghouz.
No IS Kids Left Behind: Tajikistan To Repatriate Dozens Of Islamic State Children From Iraq
Tajikistan says it soon plans to repatriate more than 70 children born under the banner of Islamic State in hopes of preventing their future radicalization.
Syria: Heavy fighting reported as US-backed forces attack last ISIS stronghold – CNN
CNN witnessed explosions and gunfire Sunday as US-backed forces attacked the last ISIS stronghold in Syria amid a final push to clear the jihadist group from the war-torn country.
SDF attack Islamic State group’s Syria enclave Baghuz – BBC News
US-backed forces launch another attack on Baghuz, the Islamic State group’s last enclave in Syria.
GOP rep: ISIS ‘absolutely not’ defeated as a movement | TheHill
Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) on Monday said that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is “absolutely” not defeated as a movement.
Last Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria pounded in U.S.-backed assault | Reuters
Islamic State’s final enclave in eastern Syria was pounded with air strikes and artillery on Monday in a U.S.-backed assault aimed at wiping out the last shred of its territorial rule that once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.
ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert Speaks in Exclusive Interview
A prisoner now in Baghdad, the young scientist is still proud of what he did developing chemical weapons for ISIS. When will they be used? He doesn’t know, doesn’t seem to care.
Unrepentant to the end: Jihadi brides attack a woman for showing her hair, throw water at reporters and shout ISIS slogans as they are evacuated from terror group’s enclave | Daily Mail Online
The video shows defiant women dressed head to toe in black, holding their young children, on the back of a truck taking them from ISIS’s final frontier in Baghouz to a refugee camp.
As the ‘caliphate crumbles,’ the Islamic State is seeding a new insurgency – The Washington Post
U.S.-allied forces fighting the extremist group are increasingly anxious about sleeper cells.
As caliphate crumbles, ISIS fighters rage over absent leader al-Baghdadi | Fox News
ISIS militants who have surrendered to coalition forces believe that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has abandoned the struggle when his leadership was needed most.
In Syria, thousands fleeing ISIS stronghold flood into Al-Hol camp – The Washington Post
At least 12,000 have arrived at the overwhelmed al-Hol displacement camp since Wednesday
Guards forced to isolate foreign ISIS women at Syrian camp after they attacked other occupants | Daily Mail Online
As ISIS nears defeat women and children have fled to al-Hol displacement camp but foreign female jihadis have been fenced off from Syrians and Iraqis by camp guards after attacking other occupants.
Exclusive: Islamic State fighter wants to return to Italy, warns of ‘sleeper cells’ | Reuters
An Islamic State fighter detained in Syria urged Italy on Saturday to let him come home to start a new life, saying he had abandoned the self-styled jihadist “caliphate” after growing disillusioned with its rulers.


Iraq’s failed uprising after the 1979 Iranian revolution
When the 1979 Iranian revolution unfolded, Iraq’s Shiite movement was in no position to emulate their co-religionists across the border. The failed uprising resulted in brutal repression for the Shiite community but it also shaped the state’s relationship with its Shiite community for decades.
The New Kurdish Nationalism | Foreign Affairs
The United States’ actions in the Middle East have helped promote a new Kurdish nationalism. Details about the U.S. withdrawal from Syria remain sketchy. But whatever Washington ultimately decides to do, Trump’s announcement marked a cruel turn for Kurds across the Middle East.


Turkish Forces Begin Syria Patrols As Part Of Deal With Russia
Turkish forces have begun patrolling in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib as part of a deal struck with Russia and Iran in the war-torn country.
Turkey, Russia starting patrols around Idlib, Syria – Turkey News
Under a deal reached last fall, on March 8 Turkey and Russia will started patrols in and around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib.
The Rise of Tribal Politics: A Key to Understanding Turkish Politics | The German Marshall Fund of the United States
As Turkey heads for municipal elections on March 31, there is an effort to understand how different factors, first and foremost the ongoing economic crisis, will impact voter behavior. A crucial, but the often neglected factor is political tribalization. While sociological cleavages or class-based alignments are still accepted as the most useful analytical tools for many political analysts, the current zeitgeist opens up avenues for more unorthodox approaches, such as taking tribes as the primary political units.[1]
Turkey Enters Recession, a Blow for Erdogan as Elections Near – The New York Times
Turkish government figures show two consecutive quarters of declining growth amid falling investor confidence, shrinking investment and rising prices.
Turkey falls into recession for first time in a decade | News | Al Jazeera
The release of new figures, which show worst economic performance since 2009, comes just weeks before local polls.
Turkey Enters First Recession in a Decade as Elections Loom – Bloomberg
Turkey fell into its first recession in a decade, dealing a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the country heads toward bellwether municipal elections this month.
Istanbul police use tear gas to disperse Women’s Day marchers | News | Al Jazeera
Crowd protesting against domestic violence, demanding change on International Women’s Day takes to streets despite ban.


UAWire – Damascus: Syria is ready for war with Israel
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad sent an official warning to Christine Lund, the Head of the UNTSO, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization between Israel on one side and Syria and Lebanon on the other. In his statement, Mekdad accused Israel of using violence and harming the regional stability, as well as expressed his outrage at the intention of the United States to pass a law recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Last week, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, together with Democratic Party Representative Mike Gallagher, sent such a bill to the Senate. The authors of the bill argue that it is time to recognize political realities and abandon the expectations of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria, which could lead to the withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Heights. The bill received the preliminary support of the leader of the majority in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Democrat Congressman Steny Hoyer. The statement of the deputy head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, which was addressed to the head of the UNTSO, contains a direct threat to Israel. ” We are also not scared away by its [Israel’s] supporters who are helping to perpetuate the occupation of the Golan,” the World Israel News quoted Mekdan as saying.
Will Hezbollah’s Rise Lead To War With Israel?
Hezbollah has emerged from the Syrian Civil war a battle-hardened Shiite army. Through its coalition with the Lebanese FPM, it is at peak political strength at home. But its newfound power, including its control over the Syrian side of the Golan heights, may precipitate a conflict with Israel.
Graham to push for US to recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel | TheHill
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Monday told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he will push for the United States to formally recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
Senator Graham says he will lobby Trump to recognize Golan as part of Israel | Reuters
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Monday he would lobby the Trump administration to recognize the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel.
US drops ‘Israeli-occupied’ designation from Golan Heights | News | Al Jazeera
Senior US official says the change in description does not mean a change in their policy regarding the Golan Heights.
Israel says it struck 100 Hamas targets after rocket attack
The late-night attack on Tel Aviv, Israel’s densely populated commercial and cultural capital, marked a dramatic escalation in hostilities.
Israel launches airstrikes on ‘terror sites in Gaza’ after attack on Tel Aviv, military says | Fox News
The Israeli military said early Friday the country has launched airstrikes on “terror sites in Gaza,” hours after rockets were fired on Tel Aviv.


Algeria’s unprecedented and growing protests, in 10 photos | | Al Jazeera
Bad weather was not enough to stop protesters from marching in Algiers to demand Bouteflika abandon his reelection bid.
Algeria Tests Path Toward Democracy in an Era of Authoritarianism – The New York Times
Flickers of progress highlight how much the world has changed in recent years, and how uncertain democracy’s global future remains.
Algeria’s president will not run for fifth term after mass protests demanding he step aside – The Washington Post
In a stunning turnaround, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will step down following weeks-long protests.
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika drops bid for fifth term – BBC News
Abdelaziz Bouteflika pulls out of the presidential election race amid nationwide protests.
The Politics of Selling Weapons to Algeria | The National Interest
Algiers looks to shift away from its dependance on Moscow.
Algerian Air Force – Wikipedia


Saudi Human Rights Commission: Suspects In Khashoggi’s Death Brought To Justice : NPR
The kingdom’s leading human rights leader said demands to “internationalize” the probe would be “tantamount to the international community doubting the integrity of our judicial apparatus.”
US Senate passes bill to halt military support to Saudi in Yemen | USA News | Al Jazeera
But President Trump vows to veto the move as pressure intensifies on UAE-Saudi coalition to end the devastating war.


The Last Days of Taliban Head Mullah Omar – WSJ
Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder of the Taliban, lived in hiding near a U.S. base in southern Afghanistan until his death, according to a new research-group report that contradicts long-held theories by U.S. officials about the notorious one-eyed leader.
US forces kill five Afghan soldiers in ‘self-defense’ airstrikes – CNNPolitics
US forces launched two “self-defense” airstrikes near an Afghan National Army check point in the Uruzgan province on Wednesday, according to a coalition spokesman.
The US bombed an Afghan Army base, killing 5 soldiers in a friendly-fire fight that lasted hours | Business Insider
American warplanes destroyed an Afghan National Army base Wednesday after Afghan soldiers there mistakenly targeted a patrol of Afghan and US forces, igniting a tragic firefight that lasted hours and left five Afghan soldiers dead and another nine wounded, according to multiple reports.
Pakistan’s Long Support For Militants Puts The Country In A Bind : NPR
Pakistan has long supported militants fighting to its east in India and to its west in Afghanistan. The country says it’s cracking down on militants, but many critics are skeptical.
India’s and Pakistan’s Lies Thwarted a War—For Now – Defense One
Lying about facts to de-escalate tension in Kashmir is a playbook they’ve both used before.
Enough With The Indian Mig-21 Bison Versus Pakistani F-16 Viper Bullshit – The Drive
The amount of garbage commentary and skewed analysis on the whole shoot down has been unbelievable. Here’s the reality, like it or not.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Joseph Yun, ex-U.S. ambassador: No question now Hanoi summit outcome was ‘bad news’ for Kim Jong-un – Washington Times
President Trump and Kim Jong-un’s failure to reach an agreement in their second summit was “really bad news” for the North Korean leader, according to a former top State Department official who had a instrumental role in opening the current nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang. President Trump and Kim Jong-un’s failure to reach an agreement in their second summit was “really bad news” for the North Korean leader, according to a former top State Department official who had a instrumental role in opening the current nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang. Mr. Trump’s decision at the Hanoi summit to reassert the U.S. position that “we cannot move on sanctions until there is much more progress on denuclearization” has altered the “power dynamics” going forward, says Ambassador Joseph Yun, who was U.S. special envoy on North Korea from 2016 to 2018. “This is really bad news for Kim Jong-un,” Mr. Yun told reporters in a round-table discussion Friday at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he’s an adviser. “The North Korean leader is not associated with failures. There is no failure in their vocabulary for the leader. So, very bad news for Kim Jong-un. It’s almost like he’s in time out, you know?” “He’s stuck, doesn’t have any sanctions relief,” Mr. Yun said. “He doesn’t know where this is going. So, I think this really does change the power dynamics of negotiations.” The comments came as North Korean state media, which refers to the nation by the acronym DPRK — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — admitted for the first time Friday that the Feb. 28-29 summit in Hanoi had ended without an agreement.
Here’s How China Plays North Korea—And Trump
In Kim Jong Un, Beijing has been nurturing a “rabid dog.” Can he be tamed as part of a trade deal with Washington?
North Korea defies UN with arms sales and oil imports, report says – CNN
North Korea has broken UN sanctions with a “massive” increase of oil imports and coal exports, a UN report has found. The 400-page document by the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea said that Pyongyang had also tried to sell weapons in the Middle East.
UN probing North Korea sanctions violations in 20 countries | Fox News
U.N. experts say they are investigating possible violations of sanctions on North Korea in about 20 countries, from alleged clandestine nuclear procurement in China to arms brokering in Syria and military cooperation with Iran, Libya and Sudan.
U.N. investigating suspected North Korean arms dealers in Iran
The United Nations is investigating North Korean arms companies suspected of operating in Iran in possible violation of international sanctions, report says.
Sanctions Violations – UN Panel of Experts on North Korea [PDF]
North Korea mulls renewing tests after ‘gangster-like’ stance by Pompeo and Bolton – Deputy FM — RT World News
Pyongyang may freeze talks with the US and renew missile and nuclear tests after senior US officials torpedoed President Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, a top North Korean diplomat said.
NKorea official: Kim rethinking US talks, launch moratorium | WJLA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon make a decision on whether to continue diplomatic talks and maintain the country’s moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, a senior North Korean official said, noting the U. S. threw away a golden opportunity at the recent summit between their leaders.
North Korea Threatens to Scuttle Talks With the U.S. and Resume Tests – The New York Times
A senior North Korean diplomat said Kim Jong-un would soon decide whether to end its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.
Furious North Korean official says Trump threw away golden opportunity for peace | Daily Mail Online
Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, addressing an urgent meeting Friday of diplomats and foreign media in Pyongyang, said the North was deeply disappointed by the failure in Hanoi.
North Korea is considering suspend nuclear talks with the US: Report
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to make an official announcement soon on his position regarding talks with United States, according to multiple news reports.
North Korea may suspend nuclear talks with ‘gangster-like’ U.S.: diplomat | Reuters
North Korea is considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a ban on missile and nuclear tests unless Washington makes concessions, news reports from the North’s capital on Friday quoted a senior diplomat as saying.
North Korean Official Says U.S. May Have Missed Its Chance | Time
A senior North Korean official says the United States threw away a golden opportunity at the Hanoi summit
UN Looking Into How Kim Jong Un Got His Hands on Luxury Cars for Trump Summit – autoevolution
The cat and mouse game Kim Jong Un is playing with Donald Trump for about a year has exposed previously unknown details about one of the last dictators in the world. Among them, the fact that he likes cars.
Bolton: Trump would be ‘pretty disappointed’ at Kim test
The top national security adviser says President Donald Trump would be “pretty disappointed” if North Korea were to launch a new rocket or missile test, as some experts believe he could be…
Bolton says Trump ‘pretty disappointed’ by reports North Korea is planning new missile test | Fox News
President Trump’s top national security adviser John Bolton reiterated on Sunday that the White House would be “pretty disappointed” if North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un decided to carry out a new missile test despite the progress made by Washington’s overtures to Pyongyang.
A deal for Trump: Take North Korea’s offer and build upon it | TheHill
For the president’s advisers who fear this would appear too much like previous efforts, that would depend on what happens next.
US-North Korea tensions approach boiling point | TheHill
The Trump administration — which canceled two large-scale spring war games between the United States and South Korea in an effort to move along nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea — is now grappling with reports that Pyongyang is
John Bolton: Donald Trump optimistic for more North Korea talks – Washington Times
President Trump and his top advisers expressed optimism through the weekend that diplomatic efforts on denuclearization talks with Pyongyang can be revived, despite reports of North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear activity.
North Korea: Satellite Footage Shows Activity On Rocket Site The Week Before Hanoi Summit Failure
Satellite imagery of a facility near Pyongyang suggest an increase in activity.
North Korea ‘preparing rocket launch’, images suggest – BBC News
Increased activity seen at an assembly area follows reports the main launch site has been rebuilt.
Top Trump official may have just doomed US-North Korea talks – Vox
A top US official said Trump won’t follow a “step-by-step approach” with North Korea to end its nuclear program.
North Korea: top US diplomat’s new nuclear approach is doomed – Vox
Stephen Biegun said Trump wants North Korea to give up its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons before sanctions relief.
The Trump-Kim Hanoi Summit: The Origins of a ‘No Deal’ Outcome | The Diplomat
Was the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, doomed to failure from the start?
Trump’s Hanoi walk-out leaves negotiations with China in doubt – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from nuclear talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without an agreement has led to fresh uncertainty over his proposed trade deal with China, people familiar with the state of negotiations say.
The Hanoi Summit – We Asked 78 Experts What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relations | The National Interest
The world’s top North Korea and national security experts discuss the aftermath of a summit that ended in a way almost no one expected. Are we headed back to the days of “Rocket Man” or is a third summit right around the corner? 
The Hanoi Summit – We Asked Abigail Bard What Happens Next in U.S.-North Korea Relations | The National Interest
“Working-level groups create a critical space for both sides to foster this missing trust.”
How the White House Is Spinning the North Korea Summit Collapse – Defense One
The administration no longer thinks Trump alone can reach a deal with Kim Jong Un.
Don’t let America turn North Korea into another Iraq | William M Arkin | Opinion | The Guardian
The news has taken on a theme: North Korea is only stringing the US along, and the controlled leaks feel very similar to what unfolded with Iraq in 2002
Peter Vincent Pry | When Democrats surrender to Kim Jong-un – Washington Times
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s paranoid megalomania drove him to develop nuclear missiles while his nation ate grass. Almost certainly, he will not denuclearize peacefully.
Peter Vincent Pry | North Korea’s Satellites Could Unleash Electromagnetic Pulse Attack | Newsmax.com
Mr. President, drain the swamp in your intelligence community, help Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., send Kim Jong-un a message by shooting down his satellites. North Korea reportedly is rebuilding its Sohae satellite launch facility, widely interpreted as threatening to resume intercontinental missile development — ignoring the greater immediate threat from North Korea’s satellites and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Dr. William Graham, EMP Commission Chairman, in “North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat,” on Oct. 12, 2017, warned Congress: “While most analysts are fixated on when in the future North Korea will develop highly reliable intercontinental missiles, guidance systems, and reentry vehicles capable of striking a U.S. city, the threat here and now from EMP is largely ignored. EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect, having a radius of hundreds or thousands of kilometers, is so large. “No reentry vehicle is needed because the warhead is detonated at high-altitude, above the atmosphere. Missile reliability matters little because only one missile has to work to make an EMP attack against an entire nation.” Moreover: ” . . . an EMP attack might be made by a North Korean satellite, right now. A Super-EMP weapon could be relatively small and lightweight, and could fit inside North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-3 (KMS-3) and Kwangmyongsong-4 (KMS-4) satellites. These two satellites presently orbit over the United States . . . The south polar trajectory of KMS-3 and KMS-4 evades U.S. Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radars and National Missile Defenses, resembling a Russian secret weapon developed during the Cold War, called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) that would have used a nuclear-armed satellite to make a surprise EMP attack on the United States.”
North Korea vs. a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier (Who Wins?) | The National Interest
You might be suprised. 
South Korea nudges Washington, Pyongyang to step back onto path to peace | TheHill
Seoul’s involvement as mediator between the US and North Korea means helping talks to reach a complete settlement ‘by any means.’
Gov’t in Flap as Moon Appears in UN Sanctions Report – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – National/Politics > Politics
Gov’t in Flap as Moon Appears in UN Sanctions Report


Kim Jong Nam killing: Prosecutors to continue case against Doan Thi Huong – CNN
Malaysian prosecutors rejected an appeal to drop a murder charge against one of the two women accused of using the deadly nerve agent VX to murder the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, just days after allowing her co-defendant to walk free.
Release bid fails for Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong Nam murder | North Korea News | Al Jazeera
Doan Thi Huong is the last person facing charges for the 2017 killing of the North Korean leader’s half-brother.
Indonesian Murder Suspect Of Kim Jong Un’s Half-Brother Freed As Charges Dropped : NPR
Siti Aisyah of Indonesia was freed Monday after Malaysian prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the murder charge against her. Kim Jong Nam was killed after a nerve agent was spread on his face in 2017.
Kim Jong Nam suspected killer freed after 2 years in shock ruling
A woman held for two years after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother’s death was freed after the murder charge was unexpectedly dropped.


2 US B-52s fly over South China Sea, second time in a month: report | Fox News
The U.S. sent two nuclear-capable B-52H bombers over the South China Sea on Wednesday, marking the second time this month that the bombers flew over the region.
Net Assessment: Playing the China Card – War on the Rocks
Join Melanie, Chris, and Bryan for a discussion of how to think about great power competition with China. Using Brookings scholar Tarun Chhabra’s recent
Combating China’s Information Operations | RealClearDefense
‘Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests’, British statesman Lord Palmerston famously observed. Two centuries later, the adage of foreign policy remains…
America’s Undersea Battle With China for Control of the Global Internet Grid – WSJ
Chinese company Huawei is embedding itself into cable systems that ferry nearly all of the world’s internet data.
A Chinese navy fighter jet crashed on a Chinese island in the South China Sea, killing both pilots | Business Insider
A Chinese fighter jet crashed in southern China on Tuesday, killing the two pilots on board, The Associated Press reported, citing the Chinese military’s official news outlet.
Republican Donor Cindy Yang Linked to Chinese Influence Machine – Foreign Policy
A scandal that started with massage parlors may tie into Beijing’s plans.


China, U.S. Said to Push Back Trump-Xi Meeting to at Least April – Bloomberg
A meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade war won’t occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest, three people familiar with the matter said.
Trump: US probably 3 or 4 weeks away from knowing about any China deal
President Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. will probably know in the next three or four weeks about a possible trade deal with China.
Beijing is worried that Trump may walk away from trade talks
“The Chinese saw him walk away from North Korea and they’re concerned he will walk away from the China deal,” an official tells CNBC.
Huawei Lawsuit Argues Congress Violated Constitution By Blacklisting It : NPR
The Chinese telecom manufacturer argues Congress violated the U.S. Constitution when it singled out Huawei without a trial. The U.S. has warned that Huawei gear might spy on Americans for China.
China: ‘All necessary measures’ will be used to defend Chinese companies from US | TheHill
China’s foreign ministry on Friday vowed to expend all legal efforts to defend its citizens and companies from “political suppression” as a major Chinese tech company faces legal battles in the U.S.
Why the US won’t let China’s biggest smartphone maker enter the US market | Business Insider
China industrial output growth falls to 17-year low, more support steps expected | Reuters
Growth in China’s industrial output fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year and the jobless rate rose, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy that is likely to trigger more support measures from Beijing.
China exports: 21% plunge in exports shows weakening global economy – CNN
China’s huge export industry has suffered its worst month in three years, hurt by the trade war with the United States and a slowing global economy.
China Trade Deal: Says Enforcement Must Be ‘Two-Way’ – Bloomberg
The enforcement mechanism for a prospective deal to end the trade war between China and the U.S. must be “two way, fair and equal,” according to Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen.
UAWire – China to invest in construction of tunnel under the Baltic Sea
Helsingin Snomat newspaper reported that Chinese fund Touchstone Capital Partners decided to invest in a large-scale Finnish project, the …
US issues warning to Italy on China economic initiative
The U.S. issued an indirect warning to Italy on Saturday for its coziness with China.
China Laughs as U.S. Tries to Stop Italy From Joining One Belt, One Road Plan
“Italy knows exactly what policies serve its own interests and it can make its decisions independently,” China said, as Rome contemplates joining Beijing’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
After Italy, Malta says it’s looking at China’s Belt and Road plan
Malta, a country in the Mediterranean that’s part of the EU, has indicated there’s a possibility that it could join China’s Belt and Road infrastructure investment initiative.
US ‘warns Germany a Huawei deal could hurt intelligence sharing’ – BBC News
US ambassador tells Germany to shun Huawei or face curbs in intelligence sharing, according to reports.
US warns Germany that using Huawei tech will come at a cost – CNNPolitics
The US has underscored to Germany its threat to limit intelligence sharing with countries that use Chinese tech giant Huawei to build their 5G communications networks.
China becomes world’s biggest importer of rare earths – Business News | The Star Online
BEIJING: China, the world’s top producer of rare earth elements, last year also emerged as the biggest importer of the group of minerals used in everything from ceramics to consumer electronics, analysts said on Wednesday.


State Dept. Accuses China of Rights Abuses Not Seen ‘Since the 1930s’ – The New York Times
This year’s State Department report on human rights abuses also never directly confronts intelligence that the Saudi crown prince was responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
China accuses US of prejudice over human rights issues | Fox News
China has responded to new U.S. allegations of widespread human rights abuses with its own accusations of prejudice and interference, saying the situation of rights in the country has “never been better.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kazakh Organization Promotes Unity of Turkic World to Counter Chinese Expansion
Paul Goble Staunton, March 9 – On a visit to Chuvashia and Tatarstan this week, Academician Ermentai Sultanmurat, the Kazakh president of the World Assembly of Turkic Peoples (VATN), says that his group seeks to promote unity among the world’s Turkic peoples by promoting a common worldview, a common language, and a common economic space. Moscow has been focused on and worried about Turkey’s promotion of such ideas (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/is-pan-turkism-again-on-march-in-north.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/fsb-reportedly-setting-turkish.html), but Sultanmurat’s visit suggests Kazakhstan may be playing an even bigger role in their spread. The Kazakh scholar tells Ella Kondratyeva of the Idelreal portal that one of the reasons that his organization’s goals are becoming ever more important is the expansion of China and the desire of Turkic peoples and others to limit it, as a group of Chuvash deputies has just demanded (idelreal.org/a/29808655.html). If Beijing is not limited in some ways, Sultanmurat says, “by the end of this century, the entire planet will have a Chinese face,” something totally unacceptable for the peoples of other countries, including Turkic ones. “We are for international cooperation but not in this form,” one that results in Chinese domination over everything. Moscow has talked about Eurasian projects that supposedly would contain the Chinese, but these projects have few prospects, he says. They are based on the acculturation and assimilation of the Turks into Russians. But such “’newly-minted Russians’ will not fight for the interests of Russians or the Russian sate as was the case under the Soviets.” “The consciousness of people now is different,” Sultanmurat says. Things would be different if the Russians and the Turks could be “equal partners,” but Moscow isn’t willing to allow that, although it could be forced to accept that by demographic change: later this century, the Turkic peoples of the former Soviet space will outnumber the Russians. Turks are “a world nation,” he argues, an ancient people divided by time and geography but one whose parties retain many common elements especially with regard to language and culture. Those should be emphasized, perhaps by having all Turkic peoples celebrate an annual Day of Turkic Culture and Language analogous to the existing Russian one. VATN has representatives throughout the world, including in the Middle Volga, Sultanmurat continues. All of them are working to promote Turkic cooperation and to encourage Turks to think about the future, a future in which the world will change far more than anyone can now imagine. “We Turks must think about how to preserve our national face,” he concludes.
Critic Who Exposed China’s Muslim Camps is Detained, Even Across the Border – The New York Times
Serikzhan Bilash, who was instrumental in documenting China’s vast detentions of Muslim minorities, now faces charges in Kazakhstan
Xinjiang human rights activist arrested in Kazakhstan – CNN
A prominent human rights activist and China critic based in Kazakhstan, has been arrested by Kazakh police and charged with inciting ethnic strife, according to his lawyer.
1.5 million Muslims could be detained in China’s Xinjiang: academic | Reuters
A leading researcher on China’s ethnic policies said on Wednesday that an estimated 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims could be held in so-called re-education centers in Xinjiang region, up from his earlier figure of 1 million.
China says Xinjiang has ‘boarding schools’, not ‘concentration camps’ | Reuters
China is running boarding schools not concentration camps in the far western region of Xinjiang, its governor said on Tuesday, as the United States called conditions there “completely unacceptable”.
Muslim detention camps are like ‘boarding schools,’ Chinese official says | World News, The Indian Express
“Some voices internationally have said Xinjiang has concentration camps or re-education camps. These claims are pure lies,” Shohrat Zakir said.
US mulls measures against human rights violators in China’s Xinjiang
The United States is considering measures against those responsible for human rights violations against Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, a U.S. State Department spokesman said on Thursday, calling it a “great shame for humanity.”
The State of Religion in China
As religious observance in China grows, the Chinese Communist Party continues to toughen oversight, increase religious persecution, and attempt to coopt state-sanctioned religious organizations.
The China debate is here to stay
It has become conventional wisdom inside the Beltway to declare that a new bipartisan consensus has emerged around a tougher, less restrained approach for challenging China’s rise. This so-called conventional wisdom does not accurately explain the debate inside the United States on China, though.


China defends Tibet policies 60 years after Dalai Lama fled
China is defending its often-criticized rule in Tibet 60 years after the Dalai Lama fled into exile amid an uprising against Chinese control.
🇨🇳 China closes Tibet to visitors over 60th anniversary of uprising | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Mar 10, 2019 It has been 60 years since Tibetans rose up against the Chinese rule. Tibetans world over are expected to observe it through demonstrations and protests on Sunday, but not in Tibet. China has put restrictions on tourists and journalists who want to visit the region.
Rallies in India mark 60 years of Tibet uprising | India News | Al Jazeera
Dalai Lama supporters gather at Dharamsala temple and in New Delhi to commemorate 1959 rebellion against Chinese rule.
Pictures: the Tibetan uprising and the Dalai Lama’s exile — Quartz
A look at his journey from young Tibetan leader to octogenarian leader who cannot return home on the 60th anniversary of the unsuccessful rebellion against Chinese rule.
60 years after Dalai Lama fled, China defends Tibet policies – ABC News


India signs $3 billion contract with Russia for lease of a nuclear submarine
Under the pact, Russia will have to deliver the Akula-1 class submarine, to be known as Chakra III, to the Indian Navy by 2025.
Taiwan requests fighter jets from the US, but with an unusual twist
MELBOURNE, Australia — Taiwan has requested a fleet of new fighters from the United States, but it didn’t specify a type, leaving it up to the U.S. to recommend an option, according to defense officials. Taiwanese Deputy Minister of National Defense Shen Yi-ming told reporters that the request for new fighters had been submitted, with the U.S to advise on the type and number of fighter jets that would be required to meet the country’s operational needs. Speaking at a separate event, the head of the Taiwanese Air Force Command Headquarter’s Planning Division, Maj. Gen. Tang Hung-an, confirmed this, citing for reporters the recently submitted letter of request to the U.S. to buy a batch of fighter jets. He was quoted by news outlet Focus Taiwan as saying that “the F-15, F-18, F-16 and even the F-35 are all among our options, as long as the jets help to strengthen our air defense capabilities.” The defense officials were responding to an article in the Chinese language newspaper Apple Daily, which claimed that the request was to purchase a fleet of 66 Lockheed Martin F-16V fighter jets at a cost of $13 billion, as part of a package that would include missiles and related logistics, as well as the training of pilots and maintenance personnel.
The message to China behind Singapore’s US F-35 jet plan – CNN
They are at the cutting-edge of America’s elite stealth jet technology, capable of seamlessly connecting pilots for co-ordinated missions.
Japan criticizes the Russian military drill on disputed islands – Defence Blog
The Japanese government notified Russia via diplomatic channels that Russia’s military exercises that began on Tuesday in the south of the Kuril Archipelago were inadmissible, a Japanese Foreign Ministry source told on Wednesday. “The diplomatic representation was made at the level of a counselor of our country’s embassy in Moscow and was addressed to the Russian Foreign Ministry,” the official said. “The drills, as was already stated, will help to strengthen the Russian military contingent on the Northern Territories. This contradicts our country’s stance regarding those islands and is inadmissible.” The Russian military on Tuesday launched an exercise on Etorofu and Kunashiri, two of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan, according to the Interfax news agency. Col. Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District, said that the district’s motorized rifle units began an opposing force exercise on disputed islands. According to The Japan Times, Some 500 troops from the machine gun and artillery units participated in the drill, including practicing the prevention of enemy landings, the Russian news agency said. The exercise involved some 70 types of military equipment, including T-72 main battle tanks and mortars. Moscow is strengthening its military capabilities on the four disputed islands, treating them as a major military foothold in Russia’s Far East. Last week, the eastern district said it conducted a drill involving more than 350 troops on the Kuril Islands, which comprise an island chain called Chishima in Japan, and the four disputed islands.
Managing the US-Philippines Alliance: The Limits of Commitment Clarity | The Diplomat
While Washington’s new commitment clarity may be significant, the broader and longer-term challenges of alliance management remain.
Michael Pezzullo’s seven gathering storms: national security in the 2020s | The Mandarin
Top Home Affairs official, Michael Pezzullo, says he has seen “a dark kaleidoscope of future stormy possibilities” which threaten a great cost on the nation, but Australia has seen and dealt with these types of challenges before.

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Responding to Macron, Merkel protege warns against centralized EU | Reuters
The leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) has responded to French President Emmanuel Macron’s ideas for a “European renaissance” by offering some overlap with his vision, while also warning against too much centralization.
Germany: Merkel successor backs Macron’s EU call | Fox News
The leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is backing French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a stronger European Union.
Europe Doesn’t Even Agree on Assad Anymore – Foreign Policy
The latest issue to divide the EU is whether to recognize the legitimacy of Syria’s dictator and help him rebuild his country.
EU will require travel registration for Americans starting in 2021 – POLITICO
Americans who want to visit parts of Europe will have to register no matter how long they plan to stay.
United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021 | CNN Travel
US citizens traveling to Europe without a visa will be a thing of the past come 2021.
‘I’m Not a Fascist’: E.U. Leader Apologizes for Comments on Mussolini’s Legacy – The New York Times
Antonio Tajani, the leader of the European Parliament, said “Mussolini built roads, bridges, buildings, sports facilities, he has developed many parts of our Italy.”
Furore over European parliament president’s Mussolini comments | World news | The Guardian
Antonio Tajani widely rebuked for saying fascist dictator had done positive things for Italy


What happens next now Article 50 extended and Brexit to be delayed? All the remaining options explained
Renegotiate or resign?
John M. Roberts | Brexit: End This Torment
Britain’s government is falling apart. The problem is that there is no sign that the country is coming together. March 13 turned into another tumultuous day in Britain’s Brexit saga: members of Parliament voted to take a “no-deal” departure off the agenda—but were immediately told that Britain might still crash out of the European Union without a deal; they heard the chancellor of the exchequer call for a cross-party consensus to get a Brexit deal across the line—and offer a £26 billion incentive (some called it a bribe) to secure that goal—and they watched the prime minister and the leader of the opposition engage in the most fruitless exchange in years. All eyes were on the House of Commons as it voted in the evening to rule out a “no-deal” exit. First the House of Commons voted narrowly—312 to 308—on an amendment that said Britain should not leave the EU without a deal at any time, a considerable change from the original government motion which simply sought to rule out a “no-deal” Brexit on March 29, the currently scheduled date for Britain to quit the EU. Then it voted by a much bigger margin—321 to 278—for the amended motion, making it clear that most MPs really do oppose any suggestion that Britain should terminate its 46-year membership of the world’s biggest trading block without an agreement. But Prime Minister Theresa May, still smarting from the massive 391-to-242 vote on March 12 against her own planned deal, warned that this was far from being the end of the story. She acknowledged there was a “clear majority” opposed to a “no-deal” Brexit, but stressed that what she called the “legal default” was that Britain would still leave the EU on March 29 if Parliament failed to approve a deal by then. This is perhaps the clearest indication that she has not given up the fight for the agreement that she negotiated with the European Commission in November and that she will bring it back to the House of Commons for yet another vote, possibly this week. However, her own position was undermined by the fact that some government ministers abstained or absented themselves in the final vote, previously grounds for sacking. But with May’s authority shredded by this long series of major parliamentary defeats on the most important policy of her government, it is resignations, not sackings, that are now expected. Nor have the arch Brexiteers surrendered. Their leader, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, said that the motion passed by Parliament was only advisory and, like May, stressed that the legal position remained unchanged: if there was no agreement by March 29, the default position was that Britain would leave the EU without a deal. In fact the idea that March 29 is Britain’s date with destiny no longer seems quite so certain. On March 14 the House is due to vote in a motion requesting the other twenty-seven member states of the EU to approve an extension to the March 29 deadline, a process known as delaying Article 50. There is an assumption that the twenty-seven states will each give their approval to the Article 50 extension, but this cannot be guaranteed and how long the extension would be is also unclear. Perhaps the day’s most important contribution to any potential solution to the Brexit impasse was that of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. Amidst reports of major Cabinet divisions, with ministers who backed the Remain campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum urging the prime minister to cut a deal with the Opposition Labour Party, Hammond used the occasion of his annual financial statement to call for consensus, and to warn of economic disaster if Britain left the EU without an agreed deal. Referring to the Article 50 extension vote, Hammond declared: “Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to start to map out a way forward… towards building a consensus across this House.” He spoke of working for “a deal we can—collectively—support, to exit the EU in an orderly way,” and of seeking to develop “a future relationship [with the EU] that will allow Britain to flourish… protecting jobs and businesses.” He also spoke of a “deal dividend—an economic boost from recovery in business confidence and investment.” And his own contribution to this dividend? A whopping £26 billion in tax cuts and departmental spending increases in his next autumn budget—so long as MPs backed a Brexit deal. On the other hand, Hammond added: “Leaving with ‘no deal’ would mean significant disruption in the short and medium term… and a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long term, than if we leave with a deal. Higher unemployment; lower wages; higher prices in the shops. That is not what the British people voted for in June 2016.” Calling for cross-party consensus? That runs directly counter to the policy pursued by the prime minister to date, which was solely focused on securing the support of her own Conservative Party, of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, and of a handful of Labour MPs in constituencies that voted heavily to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. May’s 149-vote defeat in the March 12 vote in the House of Commons on the deal she negotiated with the European Commission last November illustrated the failure of that particular strategy. Hammond did not outline a solution, but he may just have done enough to open up a path to a solution that could eventually secure an orderly Brexit. That’s because he is known to favor Britain staying in a customs union with the EU, and that happens to be a key part of Labour’s policy. It is now highly likely that at some stage, possibly as early as next week, the House of Commons will hold a series of further votes—dubbed “indicative votes”—to see whether there might be a cross-party majority for various potential outcomes, notably a customs union, membership of a single market or a second Brexit referendum. But an awful lot of political antagonism and personal animosity would have to be overcome. Labour’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, slammed Hammond in his response to the chancellor’s statement. “Brexit looms large on everything we discuss. Even today the chancellor is trying to use the bribe of a double deal dividend or threat of postponing the spending review to cajole MPs into voting for the government’s deal. What we’re seeing is not a double dividend. We’re seeing Brexit bankruptcies as a result of the delay in negotiations.” And one of Britain’s most acerbic commentators, the Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, tweeted simply that the chancellor’s £26 billion offer constituted “the biggest political bribe of all time.” The Hammond-McDonnell exchange followed a surprisingly muted Prime Minister’s Questions. And while that was partly because May was quite literally losing her voice—indeed she had to stand down in the key debate preceding the “no-deal” vote—it was also because Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn also had nothing new to say. Corbyn did make some telling points, notably that Britain’s leading business group, the Confederation of British Industry, had a few hours earlier described a no-deal Brexit as “a sledgehammer to the economy” and that it was time for May to change her policies, or, as he put it, to move on from her red lines. May’s response was noted not for its substance, that Corbyn’s proposals for a solution had been previously rejected by Parliament, but for her emotional finale: “I may not have my own voice but I do understand the voice of the country. They want to leave the EU, they want to end free movement, they want to make sure laws are made in our country and judged by our courts.” A more substantive exchange was that with the Scottish National Party’s parliamentary leader, Ian Blackford, who called on May to insist her MPs vote to take no deal off the table. The prime minister responded by saying the only way to achieve this was to revoke the mechanism that the House of Commons had used two years ago to start the Brexit process and set the March 29 departure date, the famous—or notorious—Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (2007), which has to be invoked if a member state wants to leave the EU. The problem that all Britain’s politicians face is that their divisions have contributed considerably to divisions in the country at large. While politicians, one hopes, may now start working for a parliamentary consensus, the only consensus in the country seems to be: get on with it, and end this torment. John M. Roberts is a UK-based senior fellow at Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center. New Atlanticist European Union United Kingdom
Brexit vote latest: British Parliament rejects Theresa May’s plan, diminishing chance of withdrawal on March 29 – The Washington Post
Three years after Britain voted to leave the European Union, lawmakers failed to agree on how to do it.
Brexit may spawn a full-blown UK Balkanization | TheHill
The two greatest risks to the U.K.’s territorial integrity are the potential separation of Northern Ireland and a second referendum in Scotland.
Brexit Has Failed. Bring On the Second Referendum. – Bloomberg
Theresa May’s deal is a dud. Parliament should vote it down and move on.
Brexit: Britain’s Parliament to vote on delaying EU departure
British lawmakers will decide Thursday whether to seek a Brexit delay, a move that follows months of political deadlock.
Theresa May faces heavy defeat in parliament as Brexit crisis grips Britain | Reuters
Prime Minster Theresa May’s Brexit deal faces a heavy defeat in parliament on Tuesday because she has so far secured no major changes from the European Union, the leaders of two major eurosceptic factions in parliament said on Sunday.
Here’s what happens if MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week | Business Insider
LONDON – Theresa May will bring her Brexit deal back to parliament on Tuesday next week to give MPs a chance to accept or reject it for a second time.
Theresa May’s future hangs in the balance as Brexit enters decisive week – CNN
British politics has been increasingly fixated on the Brexit countdown clock as the departure day — now scheduled in just 18 days’ time — draws nearer. As such, Theresa May is preparing for one of the most momentous weeks of her premiership — and of the country’s recent past — as lawmakers get a chance to decide whether Brexit goes ahead in its current form.
Why Brexit Was Based on a Political Fantasy
The United Kingdom embraced a political fantasy in June 2016, when a slight majority of Brexit referendum participants voted for the country to leave the European Union
Battered and Bereft, May Loses Again on Brexit – Foreign Policy
With the EU losing patience, no one in the House of Commons seems to know what to do next.
What do Americans think about Brexit?
Brexit may be changing the course of British and European history, but that hasn’t stopped Americans from taking an interest — and having a say — on the what’s going on in the U.K.
Britain is rethinking all of its foreign ties, not simply with Europe | Salon.com
Why is England moving away from the US and toward China? Is the relationship still Special?
Bloody Sunday: Former British paratrooper to be charged over killings – CNN
A former British soldier will stand trial for firing on civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland in 1972, an event that came to be known as Bloody Sunday, prosecutors said. But 16 other ex-paratroopers and and two former members of the Official IRA will face no action.
Bloody Sunday: Soldier F faces murder charges – BBC News
A former British soldier faces murder charges over the killing of two people in Londonderry in 1972.


Emmanuel Macron says anti-Semitism at worst levels since WWII – CNN
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a crackdown on the “scourge” of anti-Semitism and criticized a “resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II.”
France’s Yellow Vests hit streets for 17th time, protest at Paris airport as numbers dwindle | Fox News
French Yellow Vest protesters gather at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Saturday, March 9, 2019. It was the 17th straight weekend of protests in Paris and other cities against the government’s economic policies, which are seen as favoring the rich..
Macron-news-France-President-gilet-jaune-Europe-yellow-vests-protests-weekend | World | News | Express.co.uk
THOUSANDS of protesters in France’s yellow vest movement have taken to the streets of France again for a 17th weekend in a row.
U.S. Warns Germany About Possible Repercussions Of Using Huawei For 5G Network : NPR
The U.S. ambassador sent a letter to Germany’s economy minister reportedly saying that if Chinese tech companies such as Huawei help build Germany’s new 5G telecom infrastructure, things might change.


Undiplomatic Quarters: Russia’s Secret Prague Apartment Business
Czech media have discovered that Russia’s state agency for managing property abroad is renting out apartments in Prague that belong to the Czech Republic – but which were supposed to be accommodation for diplomats.
Orban – Weber conflict: How Hungarians prepare for European Parliament elections
The European People’s Party is an association of center-right parties, including Fidezs, from 27 member countries. It takes the most places in the European Parliament. Representatives of political forces from the European People’s Party occupy high-ranking posts in the EU, such as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker or President of the European Council Donald Tusk. The union has a direct impact on the decisions taken in the EU. The dissatisfaction of its participants was caused by the information campaign of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban against the EU on the eve of the European Parliament elections. Posters depicting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the US-Hungarian billionaire George Soros appeared on the streets of Budapest with the text that they allegedly want to introduce mandatory quotas for migrants, weaken the ability to protect the borders of EU member states and facilitate immigration with the introduction of immigration visas.


Russian Rusich Neo-Nazi Links To NZ Mosque Massacre – To Inform is to Influence
At least one of the terrorists that shot 49 Muslim worshippers dead in three New Zealand mosques has ties or at least honored Russian neo-Nazis. “The Nazi, who killed dozens of people in New Zealand, used the same symbolism as the Russian Nazis from the DSHWP “Rusich” Milchakova, who killed Ukrainians in Ukraine. However, the latter in Russia are called “anti-fascists”” This is not direct evidence of a link to Russian neo-Nazis or to Russian operations, but it does clearly demonstrate Russian influence in this anti-Islamic action. There have been Putin’s conferences for neo-Nazis from Europe, showing semi-official ties to Neo-Nazis in Russia. Furthermore, Russia has Oleksiy Milchakov, the former commander of the “Russich” (Russian) Neo-Nazi battalion that fought in Donbas for Russia. Milchakov now works for the Russian Wagner mercenary company. I fully expect the Russian media to both support and condemn the killings of 49 Muslims in the three Mosques in New Zealand. The Russian media must condemn these actions, in order to ‘save face’. The Russian ‘state-sponsored’ church, however, is the Russian Orthodox Church. Islam is barely tolerated, and only openly supported in Chechnya.
The journalist pointed to the connection of the terrorist from New Zealand with the Russian mercenaries in the Donbass: photo
Renowned journalist Denis Kazansky found evidence of the connection arrow, who killed almost 50 people in New Zealand , with militants in the Donbas. Relevant photo blogger posted on Twitter. The Nazi who had killed dozens of people in New Zealand went on the same symbolism as the Russian Nazis from the Rushy Rusch Milchakov who had killed the Ukrainians in Ukraine. True, the latter in Russia are called “anti-fascists,” he writes. Renowned journalist Denis Kazansky found evidence of the connection arrow, who killed almost 50 people in New Zealand , with militants in the Donbas. Relevant photo blogger posted on Twitter. The Nazi who had killed dozens of people in New Zealand went on the same symbolism as the Russian Nazis from the Rushy Rusch Milchakov who had killed the Ukrainians in Ukraine. True, the latter in Russia are called “anti-fascists,” he writes.
Денис Казанський on Twitter: “The Nazi who had killed dozens of people in New Zealand went on the same symbolism as the Russian Nazis from the Rushy Rusch Milchakov who had killed the Ukrainians in Ukraine. True, the latter in Russia are called “anti-fascists”… https://t.co/vz6u9xJNEV”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”ru” dir=”ltr”>Поехавший нацист, убивший десятки человек в Новой Зеландии, пользовался той же символикой, что и поехавшие русские нацисты из ДШРГ &quot;Русич&quot; Мильчакова, убивавшие украинцев в Украине.<br><br>Правда, последние в России называются &quot;антифашистами&quot; <a href=”https://t.co/rY2kbZXgmw“>pic.twitter.com/rY2kbZXgmw</a></p>&mdash; Денис Казанський (@den_kazansky) <a href=”https://twitter.com/den_kazansky/status/1106479565206183936?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>March 15, 2019</a></blockquote> http://a%20href=
NZ manifesto resembles Norway mass murderer’s text – ABC News
The manifesto that the presumed New Zealand shooter published is shorter and “more sloppy” than the one written by a Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in 2011, but expresses similar sentiments, a Swedish terror expert said Friday. Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College says the shooter is against mass immigration and “has to some extent the same themes as (Anders Behring) Breivik,” who posted his 1,500-page manifesto online before carrying out his deadly attacks. Ranstorp told Swedish radio Friday that the New Zealand shooter, who killed at least 49 people in two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, claims to “have been in contact with Breivik’s sympathizers.” On July 22, 2011, Breivik killed eight people with a car bomb in Oslo and then opened fire at an island summer camp run by the left-wing Labor Party’s youth wing, killing 69. He is serving a 21-year prison sentence. Breivik’s lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik, told Norway’s VG newspaper that his client has “very limited contacts with the surrounding world so it seems very unlikely that he has had contact.” Storrvik was not immediately available for comment. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that the shooter’s manifesto “unfortunately gives associations to a situation in Norway” that she described as “one of the worst in our time.”
8chan User Claiming to be New Zealand Shooter Posted ‘See You All in Valhalla’ Before Mosque Massacre
Roughly half an hour after the post, the mass shootings were reported at two mosques in New Zealand.
New Zealand mosques mass shootings: Live updates – CNN
View the latest news and breaking news today for U.S., world, weather, entertainment, politics and health at CNN.com.
49 killed and more than 20 seriously injured in New Zealand mass shooting targeting mosques | Fox News
New Zealand’s Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern confirmed 40 people were killed and more than 20 were seriously injured in what she labeled a well-planned “terrorist attack” that targeted worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Facebook live shooting video has social media companies scrambling – CNN
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are struggling to halt the spread of horrific footage that appears to show a massacre at a mosque in New Zealand as it was taking place.
The Latest: Iranian minister says bigotry led to attack – ABC News
Messages of condolence are coming in from Around the world.
Australian Senator Fraser Anning condemned for ‘contemptible’ comments on Christchurch terror attack | Fox News
A far-right Australian senator has been condemned by the country’s prime minister after blaming immigration and the “growing fear… of the increasing Muslim presence” for the deadly terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
Queensland Senator Fraser blames immigration for Christchurch mosque attacks – The Washington Post
“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” Sen. Fraser Anning said.

 


 

Capability / Strategy / History Publications

 


 

#MultiDomainBattle: Evolution of Combined Arms for the 21st Century – YouTube
US Army TRADOC Published on Oct 7, 2017 Tomorrow’s battlefield is a tangled web of unknown, uncertain, and constantly changing conflict. For more than 15 years, the Army has focused on winning against asymmetrical adversaries; however, the operating environment of the future is complex. Because U.S. enemies threaten the advantage across a multi-domain battlefield, the Army must project power across all domains to ensure joint force freedom of action. Learn how the Army will win in a complex world through the Multi-Domain Battle Concept, a concept that calls for ready ground combat forces capable of outmaneuvering adversaries through combined arms across all domains.
Inside DARPA’s Ambitious ‘AI Next’ Program – Defense One
The defense research agency seeks artificial intelligence tools capable of human-like communication and logical reasoning that far surpass today’s tech.
Forget Project Maven. Here are a couple other DoD projects Google is working on
Both DARPA Director Steve Walker and Vint Cert, Google’s vice president and chief internet evangelist, pointed to projects already underway that bring together the Pentagon’s top innovation hub and Silicon Valley’s tech giant. And yes, some involve artificial intelligence.
The U.S. Navy Wants To Build a “Ghost Fleet” of Drone Warships
The naval service, having kickstarted flying carrier drones, is now turning its attention to ship drones.
A classified Pentagon maritime drone program is about to get its moment in the sun
A project birthed in the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office is getting some serious buy-in from the U.S. Navy.


1 Thing Might Make the Air Force’s New Stealthy ‘Wingman’ XQ-58 Valkyrie Drone Revolutionary | The National Interest
According to California drone-maker Kratos, the XQ-58 Valkyrie’s capability “ranges from the low side of semi-autonomous (operator directed, autopilot stabilized) to the side of semi-autonomous (waypoint nav). The system includes standard interfaces to enable full autonomy capabilities.”
Meet the XQ-58A Valkyrie: The Air Force’s New Stealth Wonder Weapon? | The National Interest
The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, built by California-based Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, flew for the first time over Yuma, Arizona on March 5, 2019, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio announced.
Air Force offers glimpse of new, stealthy combat drone during first flight
The airspace over future battlefields will not be permissive, and so new drones will need to be developed for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat.
XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator completes inaugural flight – GIF on Imgur
Post with 42 votes and 12205 views. Shared by MilitaryTimes. XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator completes inaugural flight
ENEMIES SHOCK : Air Force completes first flight test of XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned fighter jet – YouTube
US Military Today Published on Mar 8, 2019 The XQ-58A Valkyrie, a jet-powered drone designed to fly alongside manned fighter jets and navigate autonomously, completed its first test flight Tuesday at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona, according to an Air Force announcement and video released Wednesday.
More Details On Kratos’ Optionally Expendable Air Combat Drones Emerge – The Drive
The USAF doesn’t seem interested in fielding a high-end unmanned air combat vehicle, but they might be interested in fielding lots of cheaper, lower-end ones that they can even choose to throw away for certain missions.
Exclusive Images Unmask Name Of Scaled Composites’ Mysterious Model 401 ‘Son Of Ares’ Jet – The Drive
The stealthy design appears to draw its lineage from the ARES close air support jet with the prototypes being named after the gods of dread and panic.
THE ‘SON OF ARES’ – SCALED COMPOSITES’ MYSTERIOUS MODEL 401 || WARTHOG 2019 – YouTube


The Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows
Fighters are down, but helicopters are up. 
U.S. Air Force plans to buy eight new F-15EX fighter aircraft in 2020 – Defence Blog
The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $166 billion budget request for fiscal 2020 includes plans to buy eight new F-15EX fighter aircraft to replace ageing F-15C/D fleet. According to the budget request, it will cost $80 million per airframe, but that cost will rise to ~$125 million for each of the eight jets “to set up the line” and account for non-recurring engineering costs in the first year of procurement. Total deal will be worth more than $1.1 billion and covers production of eight brand-new F-15EX fourth-plus generation fighters. The F-15EX, commonly known as Strike Eagle on Steroids, is the latest version of the world famous F-15 Eagle fighter jet. The new fighter would be equipped with better avionics and radars and would carry more than two dozen air-to-air missiles. Is expected that the F-15EX flight hour is also set to be affordable, coming in at “well below” the F-35A. The newest Eagle would cost about $27,000 per hour to fly—again, well below the $45,000 an hour to fly the F-35A. Finally, According to the current information, the F-15EX will have a whopping 20,000-hour service life, enabling it to serve for decades. By comparison, the original F-15 was built to serve only 5,000 hours.
Boeing’s F-15X vs. Lockheed Martin’s Stealth F-35: Let the Showdown Begin | The National Interest
What is the right mix of 4th and 5th generation fighters? 
Key piece of F-35 logistics system unusable by US Air Force students, instructor pilots
The Air Force’s F-35 training squadrons have not used the Lockheed Martin-manufactured training management system, part of the Autonomic Logistics Information System, in about a year.
Stealth Surprise: The F-22 Raptor Has Left the Middle East | The National Interest
After five years of continuous operations, U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors stealth fighters have left the Middle East. Older F-15C fighters have taken their place.
Italy Air Force chief attacks F-35 ‘uncertainty’ in Rome
ROME – The head of the Italian Air Force has launched an unusually forthright attack on the Italian government’s see-sawing commitment to the F-35 program, and has claimed Rome owes Lockheed Martin €389 million ($439 million) for delivered aircraft. Gen. Alberto Rosso told Italy’s parliament on Tuesday that he felt “strongly concerned about the uncertainty” affecting the F-35 program in Italy “and the eventual hypothesis of a drop in numbers” or orders. “Any alternative to the F-35 would certainly be older, outdated, less efficient and more expensive aircraft,” he told a joint session of the Lower House and Senate defence committees. Rosso’s speech followed months of ambivalence about the F-35 from Italy’s populist coalition government which took office last year. One of the parties making up the coalition, Five Star, promised while in opposition to scrap Italy’s plan to order 90 aircraft for its air force and navy, but since taking office the new government’s defense minister — who was nominated by Five Star — has stuck with the program. The minister, Elisabetta Trenta, has spoken of slowing down and reviewing the program, however, while the government has not confirmed the final number of aircraft it wants to buy. On the other hand, a junior defense minister, Angelo Tofalo, who is also a member of Five Star, heaped praise on the program in December.
Watch The Harrowing Way A Osprey Refuels in Midair
It doesn’t look safe, but it’s done every day.
U.S. Navy awards order to upgrade additional MV-22 to Block C configuration – Defence Blog
The U.S. Navy has signed delivery order for Bell-Boeing team to upgrade an additional four MV-22 Osprey aircraft to the Block C configuration. The modification to a previously awarded contract, announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense, is worth more than $85,7 million and provides for the upgrade of four MV-22 aircraft from the Block B to the Block C configuration in support of the Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization Program (CC-RAM). In addition, this modification provides for the planned maintenance interval effort for one of the CC-RAM aircraft. Work is expected to be completed in March 2021. The Block C design upgrade includes a new weather radar system that improves navigation in poor weather conditions, and a redesigned Environmental Conditioning System to enhance aircrew and troop comfort. The new electronic warfare system will enable MV-22 Osprey aircraft to defeat air-to-air and ground-to-air threats while providing greater situational awareness with enhanced cockpit and cabin displays. The V-22 Osprey is a joint service, multirole combat aircraft that uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its nacelles can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. More than 160 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation and the worldwide fleet has amassed more than 130,000 flight hours, with nearly half of those hours logged in the past two years.
U.S. Air Force received first upgraded AC-130J Ghostrider – Defence Blog
The 4th Special Operations Squadron, part of the 1st Special Operations Wing, has received an upgraded version of its Ghostrider gunship. According to a statement released by the U.S. Air Force, the 4th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field has received first Block 30 model of AC-130J Ghostrider gunship for replacing the AC-130U Spooky, that is slowly being retired from active duty after more than 20 years of operation. “The 4th Special Ops Squadron received its first AC-130J Ghostrider! It’s the first Block 30 model for the U.S. Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command, marking major technological improvements over the current fleet of Block 20 Ghostriders,” said in an Air Commandos statement. The Ghostrider fulfilling the same mission sets as the Spooky but with upgraded avionics, navigation systems and a Precision Strike Package that includes trainable 30mm and 105mm weapons. The weapon package of new modification includes dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30-mm and 105mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar and GBU-39 small diameter bomb capabilities. The sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets at any time, even in adverse weather. Pairing weapons with a networked battle management system, enhanced communications and situational awareness upgrade the J-Model’s ability to deliver surgical firepower. According to South Santa Rosa News, the Ghostrider reached its initial operational capability in 2017, and has been operated by the 73rd Special Operations Squadron here since the squadron was reactivated in 2018 as the first-ever AC-130J squadron. This first Block 30 model will be in a testing status for one year before being operationally deployable.
Why Did India Send Old MiG-21s To Take on Pakistan’s F-16s? | The National Interest
New Delhi claims they aren’t that old after all.
Australia continues to pursue coalition refueling trials. What works — and doesn’t — so far?
Australia’s efforts to certify the KC-30A with foreign receivers began in 2015.
Kawasaki P-1 – The Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft – YouTube
Dung Tran Published on Feb 25, 2019 The Kawasaki P-1 is a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft developed and manufactured by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. The P-1 is a purpose-built maritime aircraft with no civil counterpart and was designed from the onset for the role.
Air Force puts $35 million in new budget for light attack experiment
The Air Force wants to look more broadly at what industry could provide, as well as study what international partners would actually commit to buy.
Russian air demonstration team practices launch of air-to-air missiles – Defence Blog
Russian air demonstration team of the country’s Air Force, known as Russian Knights, have practiced hitting aerial targets with air-to-air missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. “Aircrews of the Russian Knights aerobatics team of Russia’s Aerospace Forces practiced live firing of air-to-air missiles, destroying aerial targets at the Ladoga training facility,” the ministry said. According to media reports in recent weeks, the launches took place in the daytime and at night at altitudes of eight kilometers and more. The crews were not informed about the location of targets beforehand and had to search and intercept them on their own. The Russian Knights perform aerial demonstrations in the Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft developed by JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau.
Are these the humble beginnings of an Iron Man suit?
Both American and Russian special operations forces have made it clear they’re seeking game-changing technology to elevate their troops on the battlefield, but reality often tramples expectations.
UAWire – Russia wants to replace imported aircraft engines with domestic ones
The new Russian VK-800 aircraft engine will eliminate the need for domestic manufacturers to continue purchasing foreign engines, Avia Port …
МиГ-31БМ – YouTube
 
Russia claims to have created night vision goggles that ‘outshine’ US analogs – Defence Blog
The Russian Defense Ministry ministry’s representative claims that the country’s industry to have created night vision goggles for the crews of attack and military transport helicopters that ‘outshine’ US analogs. Russian news agency Tass reported the newest helmet-mounted goggles GEO-ONV1 to outshine US analogs by their operational characteristics. As the ministry’s representative at the exhibition explained to TASS, the helmet-mounted goggles of the GEO-ONV1 type are currently used by the crews of Mi and Ka helicopters, including in Syria. “The Russian engineers have managed to boost the characteristics of electro-optical converters and create third-generation devices that are not inferior to and surpass US analogs by some characteristics,” the ministry’s representative said. “Today only two countries, Russia and the United States, have mastered the serial production of third-generation electro-optical converters. This technology has been assimilated by two enterprises in each country, including Geofizika-NV Research and Production Enterprise, which has created on their basis modern night vision goggles GEO-ONV1 that are being effectively used in Syria,” he added.


The Air Force’s struggle to fight subterranean warfare
The emergence of a new era of tunnel warfare will challenge the Air Force to think of new ways to find, and defeat, a hidden enemy.
Aircraft Carriers are the Ultimate Weapon for 1 Reason: They Are Really Hard to Sink | The National Interest
5 reasons why. 
Samson the Carrier and Goliath the Amphib: Twin Giants of a Compromised Fleet Architecture
The aircraft carrier fleet and the amphibious fleet are typically viewed as polar opposites: the fast nuclear carrier projecting strike aircraft from the
U.S. Army battles to keep Humvee fleet – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army plans to seek funding in the fiscal year 2020 to keep ageing Humvee fleet, according to Inside Defense specializes in exclusive, hard-hitting news on Defense Department programs, procurement and policy-making. According to Inside Defense’s report, the Army’s fiscal year 2020 budget request will include $7.5 million in research and development funding to launch a new program that aims to modernize the balance of the service’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet. Army’s officials decide to save fleet of HMMWV, commonly known as Humvee after widespread use in the Gulf War of 1991, about 50,000 vehicles, that will not be replaced by the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The U.S. military is currently pursuing several initiatives to replace it, both in the short and long term, but Army seeks to preserve the huge fleet of their favorite and simple vehicles through the program recapitalize and modernization. The Humvee is a family of light, four-wheel drive, military trucks and utility vehicles produced by AM General. It has largely supplanted the roles previously performed by the original jeep, and others such as the M151 jeep, the M561 Gama Goat, and other light trucks. The HMMWV was designed primarily for personnel and light cargo transport behind front lines, not as a front line fighting vehicle but is now used in tactical roles for which it was not originally intended. Primarily used by the United States military, the Humvee is also used by numerous other countries and organizations and even in civilian adaptations. The Humvee has had widespread use in the Middle East for the Gulf War of 1991, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and other areas. Currently, approximately 230,000 HMMWVs serve as the backbone of U.S. defense tactical vehicle fleets around the world.
Raytheon’s Case For Building Army Radar Grounded In Deep Knowledge Of GaN Technology
Raytheon’s all-new radar for the Patriot air defense system depends on exotic gallium nitride technology.
Fact: South Korea’s Army Is Armed with Russian T-80 Main Battle Tanks | The National Interest
North Korea’s worst nightmare? 
Academy Securities: Geopolitical & Macro Strategy Podcast by Academy Securities on Apple Podcasts
Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of Academy Securities: Geopolitical & Macro Strategy Podcast by Academy Securities for free.


Boeing resumes KC-46 tanker deliveries, but Air Force scrutiny will linger
The problems were due to Boeing not following established processes that keep debris off the production line, says an Air Force official.
US Air Force: Boeing has ‘severe situation’ after flawed inspections on refueling plane – CNNPolitics
In a blistering attack on Boeing, the Air Force’s top acquisition official said the company has a “severe situation” with flawed inspections of its new KC-46 air refueling tanker aircraft, after trash and industrial tools were found in some planes after they were delivered to the Air Force.
Boeing Has ‘Severe Situation’ After Parts Left in Tankers, Says Top USAF Buyer – Defense One
Will Roper’s harsh assessment comes amid the unrelated grounding of company’s popular 737 Max jetliner.
Boeing’s congressional base frays under pressure – POLITICO
The company’s huge lobbying presence isn’t stopping a surge in lawmakers calling for regulators to ground a 737 model involved in two deadly crashes.
Boeing ignored pilots’ warnings about 737 Max 8 jet before Ethiopia crash – The Washington Post
The meeting last fall followed the crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air.
Trump: ‘Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly’ – AOL News
President Trump said airplanes are becoming more automated and that the old way of flying was simpler and that he would rather have a person flying.
Trump: ‘Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly’ | TheHill
President Trump on Tuesday warned about the complexity of modern aircraft after the United Kingdom became the latest country to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in the wake of the latest crash involving the aircraft.
Trump Grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 Fleet
Via an emergency order.
Trump speaks with Boeing CEO after crash raises concerns | TheHill
President Trump on Tuesday spoke with the CEO of Boeing as the company grapples with concerns over the safety of its 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Boeing To Deploy New Software In Wake Of Aircraft Crashes
Several countries have grounded their fleets of 737 Max jets amid alarm over the reliability of the plane.
Opinion | Ground the Boeing Max 8. There Are Too Many Concerns. – The New York Times
Why should the F.A.A. continue to permit a system prone to going haywire aboard an aircraft?
Boeing and the FAA 737 Max Grounding: Damage Is Already – Bloomberg
They had a responsibility to err on the side of safety by grounding the 737 Max sooner.
Don’t ground the 737 Max 8 just yet – Los Angeles Times
The FAA is right not to jump to conclusions on the Boeing 737 Max 8. These two crashes may not be as similar as people think.
Grounding all 737 Max planes could cost Boeing billions of dollars – CNN
The decision to ground all Boeing 737 Max planes could cost the company billions of dollars.
Boeing Faces Questions After Ethiopian Airlines Crash
The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that killed all 157 people on board has raised fresh questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Piece Found at Boeing 737 Crash Site Shows Jet Was Set to Dive – Bloomberg
A screw-like device found in the wreckage of the Boeing Co. 737 Max that crashed last Sunday in Ethiopia indicates the plane was configured to dive, a piece of evidence that helped convince U.S. regulators to ground the model, a person familiar with the investigation said late Thursday night.
Boeing 737 Max Hit Trouble Right Away, Pilot’s Tense Radio Messages Show – The New York Times
“Break break, request back to home,” the captain of the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight radioed air traffic controllers minutes after taking off.
Ethiopian Airlines crash: Boeing 737 Max 8 jet mysteriously sped up
The Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner that crashed in Ethiopia and triggered a global grounding of the vaunted planes had accelerated wildly after takeoff
China and Indonesia Ground All Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets Following Catastrophic Ethiopia Crash
Following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster that killed 149 passengers on Sunday, aviation authorities are grounding Boeing’s 737 Max 8 planes.
Five years later, MH370 still changing how we fly – CNN
Five years after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the aviation industry is on the verge of technology that could prevent a similar tragedy.


YF-23 Walk Around and Design Features by Test Pilot Paul Metz – YouTube
Remastered Archival Video Shows Trinity, the First Nuclear Weapons Test
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Trinity Test Latest HD Restoration – YouTube
atomcentral Published on Mar 6, 2019 Original Trinity Footage restoration includes removing dirt and scratches and minimizing some defects in the processing of the original negative. Three shots include a wide shot, a medium shot and a close up.
Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » The June 1944 Normandy Invasion and the Bane of Technologically Illiterate Military Leaders in the Luftwaffe
Chicago Boyz

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

30 years on, what’s next #ForTheWeb? – World Wide Web Foundation
The World Wide Web is 30 years old — and its inventor has a warning for us
The World Wide Web turned 30 years old on Tuesday, and its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, is warning about the “sources of dysfunction” the web faces.
How to save the World Wide Web…. by the British genius who invented it
Against the backdrop of news stories about how the web is misused, its Brit creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee looks at how we can all help stamp out the likes of state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour and online harassment
Feedback World Wide Web inventor Berners-Lee got from boss on the idea
British scientist Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the idea for what became the World Wide Web in 1989, and his boss’ reaction wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as you might think.
BBC scores first interview with one of 13 ‘Russian trolls’ indicted by Robert Mueller last year — Meduza
It’s been more than a year since the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 “Russian trolls” for interfering in America’s 2016 presidential election. Despite this publicity and the passage of time, the entrepreneurs, translators, analysts, and office managers whom Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation linked to the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) have remained largely out of reach to journalists in Russia. With the publication of Mueller’s long-awaited report now imminent, one of the “trolls” has suddenly agreed to an interview with the BBC Russian Service. Meduza summarizes what he said.


Waging war against the troll farms
The U.S. military has the capability, the willingness and, perhaps for the first time, the official permission to preemptively engage in active cyberwarfare against foreign targets.
The 28 Heroes – VF Film Complet – YouTube


Top Navy Admiral Warns of Cyber Attacks Against Brass – Defense One
CNO says that’s why the service stopped publishing promotion lists in October.
Report: Navy is under ‘cyber siege,’ national secrets leaking from the hull
A 57-page internal Navy review provided to the Wall Street Journal paints a dire picture regarding the cyber war already being waged.
Wi-Fi and LTE poised to transform tactical networking
Today, technology advancements by adversaries demand that war fighters have the same secure communications experience while on the move as they do at-the-halt.
Facebook, Instagram back after outage from server configuration change
The social media giant said it has resolved the issue, which affected millions of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users starting Wednesday.
Facebook’s Daylong Malfunction Is a Reminder of the Internet’s Fragility – The New York Times
The incident, which also affected WhatsApp and Instagram, was caused by a small mistake that led to big problems.
WATCH: Google motivated by politics to stop ‘fake news’ | One America News Network
Breaking News, Latest News and Current News from OANN.com. Breaking news and video. Latest Current News: U.S., World, Entertainment, Health, Business, Technology, Politics, Sports.
Triton is the world’s most murderous malware, and it’s spreading – MIT Technology Review
The rogue code can disable safety systems designed to prevent catastrophic industrial accidents. It was discovered in the Middle East, but the hackers behind it are now targeting companies in North America and other parts of the world, too.


Here’s how other nations measure up in electronic warfare
Other nations are seeking to deny U.S. forces the ability to communicate.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

2020 Budget Request Reveals Slow Shift Toward Great Power War – Defense One
It will take some years before various futuristic weapons even begin to arrive.
Trump’s Budget Harms National Security – Defense One
How the plan would make America less safe.
Pentagon requests most money for net-centric systems since 2012
Leaders laid out a plan to spend $10.2 billion on command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems. That’s up 2 percent from the $10 billion Pentagon leaders asked for last year.
White House ups DoD cyber budget request
The White House is requesting more than last year for Department of Defense cyber initiatives in fiscal 2020.
A lack of urgency is creating a federal cyber problem
Congress’s watchdog agency noted that of the Government Accountability Office’s 35 “priority” recommendations to improve cybersecurity oversight, 26 have “not been fully implemented.”
White House wants to increase naval lethality with robots
Budget request seeks unmanned surface and underwater vessels.
Despite push for future tech, munitions remain major wedge in budget
The U.S. is preparing to bolster its munitions stash.
The US Army Is Trying to Bury the Lessons of the Iraq War – Defense One
By scuttling plans to help its leaders understand what went wrong, the service is turning a blind eye to insights of enduring relevance.
Trump nixes public report on drone-strike deaths | TheHill
President Trump on Wednesday ended an Obama-era requirement that the U.S. government publish an annual report on the number of people killed in drone strikes or other counterterrorism operations outside of war zones.
Senator Martha McSally’s Revelation of Assault May Reopen Debate – The New York Times
Long before the #MeToo movement brought sexual violence and harassment to the fore, women in the military and their advocates had highlighted such misconduct in the armed forces.
Does USS Truman’s Early Retirement Herald a New War on Carriers? – Defense One
Whatever the promise of emerging technologies, combatant commanders still want more floating mobile airfields.
At Trump’s Pentagon, Empty Offices Are the New Normal – Foreign Policy
The problem has worsened since James Mattis left the U.S. Defense Department.
Is the Pentagon Truly Committed to the National Defense Strategy? – Defense One
Various warning signs say \”no.\” The 2020 budget will tell. Congress must scrutinize it carefully.
America’s Polarization Is a Foreign Policy Problem, Too – Foreign Policy
The fact that Democrats and Republicans hate each other is making the United States weaker.
Will John Bolton Bring on Armageddon—Or Stave It Off? – Defense One
The national security adviser could be our best hope for protecting the world from Donald Trump’s impulses.
Jim Mattis’ Resignation Was Just a Beginning. When The Commander in Chief Is ‘Unfit,’ What’s a General to Do?
Now Trump wants alliances to be protection rackets. The Mattis resignation in protest last year reflected disgust among officers trying to defend the U.S. That’s only gotten worse.


Dr. Heather Wilson on Twitter: “Today I informed the President I will resign as Secretary of the Air Force to be President of the University of Texas at El Paso. It has been a privilege to serve with our #Airmen—I am proud of the progress we have made to restore the readiness & lethality of #USAF.”
 
Gen. Dave Goldfein on Twitter: “We hit the lottery with @SecAFOfficial – under her leadership, we became a better #USAF & our Airmen will continue rowing hard, becoming even faster, smarter. As she takes her talent & leadership to my home state of Texas, I wish her the very best.… https://t.co/njlFSJewCp”
 
Air Force Association on Twitter: ““Secretary Wilson has been an outstanding leader for our Air Force, cutting regulations and leading the charge in defining ‘The Air Force We Need’. Her looming departure is a loss, but her vision and the work she began must continue. AFA thanks you for your service. ✈️… https://t.co/i0Hik3fa3d”
 
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigns – John Q. Public
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has resigned, officials said Friday. Wilson was confirmed by the Senate in May 2017. She was responsible for organizing, training and equipping and providing for 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces as well as their families. She was responsible for the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $138 billion. The Texas Tribune reported that the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously chose Wilson as its next president of University of Texas at El Paso. From 1998 to 2009, Wilson was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to the Air Force. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said in a statement that he hopes to see Wilson serve as the first female Secretary of Defense someday.
Air Force Secretary Wilson to resign in May, return to academia
Heather Wilson will be the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso.
Air Force names official to new ‘chief architect’ position
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s first “chief architect” began work at the Pentagon this week, the service confirmed in a statement Friday. Preston Dunlap, formerly the national security analysis executive at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, has been named chief architect for the office of the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. As the Air Force becomes increasingly interested in “systems of systems,” where multiple technologies and platforms are wrapped together to accomplish a single mission, the service wanted to name a single person to oversee those programs. The first program for which Dunlap will be responsible is the Advanced Battle Management System, a series of legacy and new manned and unmanned aircraft, sensors, communications equipment, and other emerging tech that will conduct the ground surveillance mission currently performed by the E-8C JSTARS aircraft.
Pentagon officially stands up Space Development Agency, names first director
The new office will be led by a DARPA expert.
The Air Force and Captain Marvel
Air Force Times’s Stephen Losey breaks down the Air Force’s participation in the superhero flick.


Acting SecDef: ‘We Won’t Do Cost-Plus-50’ – Defense One
In his first testimony to Congress as acting Pentagon chief, Shanahan called “erroneous” the reports of the proposal to make allies pay more.
Trump Said to Seek Huge Premium From Allies Hosting U.S. Troops – Bloomberg
For years, President Donald Trump has complained that countries hosting American troops aren’t paying enough. Now he wants to get even, and then some.
Top House Republican blasts Trump plan to charge allies a premium on U.S. troops – AOL News
Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, criticized President Trump’s plan to force U.S. allies to pay more for hosting American troops.
US looks to get more cash from allies that host its troops | Fox News
The Trump administration is eyeing a plan to seek more money from allied European and other nations where American troops are based.
Critics Blast Trump ‘Protection Racket’ Offer as ‘Pure Idiocy’ – Defense One
The White House\’s \”cost plus 50\” plan would require allies to pay 150% of American troop costs. Former commanders say it only hurts U.S. interests.
Trump administration may seek more money from US allies hosting military forces – CNNPolitics
The Trump administration has been internally discussing how to get countries that host US troops in times of peace to pay more of the cost of keeping those troops stationed there.
Trump invokes new demand for extracting billions of dollars from U.S. allies – The Washington Post
The president’s “cost plus 50” formula has struck fear in the hearts of countries that host American troops.
Diego Garcia: Is the United States about to lose control of its secretive military base? – CNN
In the 1960s, in the middle of the Cold War the US secreted away a slither of land in the Indian Ocean. Today, Diego Garcia is one of its most important and secretive military bases — but a new ruling puts its future in doubt.


Anders Åslund on Twitter: “Why doesn’t anybody discuss Manafort’s possible international crimes? Was he part of the decision to kill 125 protesters in Ukraine in peaceful Ukraine in January-February 2014. That should be an issue if the US cared about human rights.”
 
Manafort could be involved in Maidan killings, – Aslund
14.03.19 16:18 – Manafort can be involved in Maidan killings, – Aslund Atlantic Council analyst Anders Aslund calls for investigation of alleged crimes by Paul Manafort committed during the Revolution of Dignity. View news. Atlantic Council analyst Anders Aslund calls for investigation of alleged crimes by Paul Manafort committed during the Revolution of Dignity. Possible Manafort’s crimes in Ukraine remain unprobed. Censor.NET reports referring to Voice of America. “Why doesn’t anybody discuss Manafort’s possible international crimes? Was he part of the decision to kill 125 protesters in Ukraine in peaceful Ukraine in January-February 2014. That should be an issue if the US cared about human rights,” Aslund said. “I know that Manafort was Yanukovych’s righthand man for nine years. Nobody was closer to Yanukovych than Manafort, apart from his two sons,” he added. Paul John Manafort Jr. is an American lobbyist, political consultant, former lawyer, and convicted felon. A long time Republican Party campaign consultant, he joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team in March 2016, and was campaign chairman from June to August 2016.
Aslund calls for investigation of possible Manafort crimes in Ukraine
On March 7 and 13, two courts in the United States imposed Manaforth a general sentence of 7.5 years in prison, as well as fines and confiscation of property for millions of dollars on charges of bank and tax fraud and work as lobbyists for Ukrainian clients without registration. Sketch from courtroom. Manathora is listening to a judge at a court in Virginia on a trolley and at work See also: In Washington DC, Manaforth was sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison At the same time, the possible crimes that he committed in Ukraine remain unresolved. Anders Aslund, an Atlantic Council analyst, drew attention to this. He in particular calls for an investigation into the role of Manaforth in the murder of the Heavenly Hundred in the Maidan. “Why is no one discussing possible Manaforth crimes abroad? He took part in a decision to kill 125 protesters in Ukraine during peaceful protests in January-February 2014. This should be a question if the United States takes care of human rights,” Aslund wrote on Twitter. . “I know that Manafort was the right hand of Yanukovych for nine years. No one was closer to Yanukovych than Manaforth, except his two sons,” added the analyst, responding to a comment that Manafort was unlikely to have any confidence in such cases.


Paul Manafort to be sentenced to a total of 7.5 years in prison
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman,was sentenced for the second time on Wednesday. He had faced another 10 years in prison.
Manafort gets 7 years in prison, then faces fresh NY charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in prison on federal charges Wednesday, then was hit almost immediately with fresh…
Trump Ex-Campaign Chairman Manafort Sentenced To 43 More Months
Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump, has been sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison, a ruling that will put the once-influential Washington lobbyist…
Manafort’s prison term, new charges highlight perils in Trump probes
The former Trump campaign chairman was sentenced to another 3.5 years in prison, faced new criminal charges in N.Y. and lost his Trump Tower condo.
All eyes on judge as Manafort faces second sentence | TheHill
Paul Manafort faces his second round of sentencing Wednesday, when all eyes will be on Judge Amy Berman Jackson to see if she throws the book at President Trump’s former campaign chairman after he received what many legal experts said was a light
Judge Amy Berman Jackson returns to the spotlight with Manafort, Stone hearings – CNNPolitics
One month ago, lawyers working for special counsel Robert Mueller and for Paul Manafort piled into a sealed courtroom in Washington, DC’s federal courthouse to hear what could have been a one-sentence decision from the judge.
Why Judge T.S. Ellis gave Paul Manafort only 47 months in prison – CNNPolitics
Paul Manafort’s criminal sentence just wasn’t about the Russia investigation. Some answers to key questions about the 47 month sentence.
Government seizures cleared to begin in Manafort case in range of $15 million – The Washington Post
A sharper picture emerges of the value of what ex-Trump campaign chairman can keep and what he must give up in cooperating with Mueller probe.
Paul Manafort lawyer mysterious payment hidden chapter of Trump 2016 campaign
Prosecutors have described what they believed was a “scheme” to help former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort get “cash” for his pro bono work on Trump’s campaign.
Harris on Manafort ruling: ‘The justice system is broken in America’ | TheHill
Sen.
Opinion | The Daintiest Slap on Paul Manafort’s Wrist – The New York Times
Manafort sought judicial compassion. On Thursday, he got it.
Booker slams Manafort sentence: Criminal justice system ‘preys upon the most vulnerable citizens’ | TheHill
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president and advocate for criminal justice reform, slammed Thursday’s 47-month prison sentence for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Woman sentenced to five years for voting illegally calls out ‘disparity’ after Manafort gets four | TheHill
Crystal Mason, the Texas woman who came into prominence last year after she received a five-year prison sentence for voting illegally in the 2016 elections, said there is too much “disparity” in the justice system in the wake of former Trump
I’m a public defender. My clients get none of the sympathy Manafort did. – The Washington Post
Judges sometimes give privileged white-collar criminals the benefit of the doubt. Let’s give other convicted criminals, who have faced greater challenges in their lives, some of the same sympathy.
McCabe says he was ‘shocked’ by Manafort sentencing, but does not think Trump’s comments had influence | Fox News
Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe said that he was “shocked” by the light sentence handed out to President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort last week after he was found guilty of various financial crimes.
Trump Pushes Team to Stick Up for ‘Brave’ Paul Manafort
Manafort is facing a tough judge, and a possible 10-year sentence. But his perils have produced one potential advantage: the increasing sympathies of the man who could pardon him.


Elizabeth Warren Calls to Break Up Amazon, Facebook, and Google
The plan would unwind several of the last decade’s high-profile mergers.
House passes bill to require presidents to disclose their tax returns | TheHill
The House on Friday passed legislation that would require presidents to disclose their tax returns, as Democrats have made obtaining President Trump’s tax returns one of their top priorities.
U.S. Lawmakers Vote In Support Of Resolution Demanding Release Of Mueller Report
U.S. lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for any final report coming from the Russia investigation overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be released to Co…
Top U.S. Democrat Opposed To Impeaching Trump
The top U.S. Democratic lawmaker has said she is opposed to efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, saying he is “just not worth it.”
Impeachment may lead Democrats off the cliff
Have Democrats reduced their chances of denying President Trump a second term by continuing to focus on throwing him out before the end of his first? You can…
Trump fires back at ‘Wacky Nut Job’ Ann Coulter – POLITICO
The president previously said he did not follow the conservative commentator.
Showdown in Congress over Trump’s national emergency declaration; Mystery Mueller case revealed | Fox News
Plus, more suspected evidence of political bias in Clinton email investigation
Pence hosts openly gay Irish prime minister and his partner for breakfast | TheHill
Vice President Pence hosted the openly gay prime minister of Ireland and his partner for breakfast at the Naval Observatory Thursday.
Trump threatens EU with ‘pretty severe’ consequences if trade talks falter
President Trump said Thursday that the European Union would suffer “pretty severe” consequences if it didn’t come to an agreement with the U.S. in their trade talks.


Karl Rove compares Omar’s remarks to ‘white nationalists’ in Charlottesville | TheHill
Karl Rove slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in a new op-ed and compared her rhetoric, which has been criticized as anti-Semitic, with that of “white nationalists” who marched in Charlottesville, Va.
Karl Rove: Democrats downplay Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism and will rue the day they did so | Fox News
Rep. Ilhan Omar apparently didn’t know what she was doing when she issued a statement celebrating the House passage of a resolution Friday condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry.”
No one loses a debate over anti-Semitism. Except Jews. – The Washington Post
The politics of condemning Ilhan Omar.
Ilhan Omar’s words sting at home, threatening to strain ties of Jewish and Somali Minnesotans
Jews and Somalis have been allies in the Twin Cities. Now they fear the freshman representative’s comments will damage their relationship.
Erik Prince acknowledges attending 2016 Trump Tower meeting ‘to talk about Iran policy’ | TheHill
Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has acknowledged that he was present at a key 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Erik Prince acknowledges 2016 Trump Tower meeting for first time | USA News | Al Jazeera
When pressed by Mehdi Hasan on Head to Head, Blackwater founder Erik Prince said the meeting was about ‘Iran policy’.
Czech leader is the latest to bask in Trump’s preference for Eastern and Central European politicians – The Washington Post
Prime Minister Andrej Babis praised the president and said, “I have a similar plan to make the Czech Republic great again.”
Ocasio-Cortez, at SXSW, blasts FDR, Reagan and capitalism, says political moderates are ‘meh’ | Fox News
Freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed political moderates at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, calling their views “misplaced” as she defended her progressive politics in front of a live audience of mostly supporters.
Ilhan Omar’s hijab raises concerns for Fox News host Jeanine Pirro
“Think about it. Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said, questioning if the head covering signals an “adherence to Sharia law.”
Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Capitalism is irredeemable’ | TheHill
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called capitalism “irredeemable.”
Far from Washington, Rep. Omar’s constituents see the Israel controversy in a different light
Rep. Ilhan Omar’s constituents in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District were not nearly as fired up as congressional leaders in Washington.
Judge Jeanine asks whether Omar’s hijab is ‘indicative’ of her loyalty to Sharia law | TheHill
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Saturday questioned whether Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) hijab is a symbol of loyalty to Sharia law, which she warned is “antithetical” to the U.S. Constitution.
Bernie Sanders press aide apologizes after asking about American Jews’ ‘allegiance’ to Israel – CNNPolitics
A new press aide on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has apologized for comments online questioning whether American Jews held a “dual allegiance” with Israel.
Tulsi Gabbard won’t say whether Syria’s Assad is a war criminal – CNNPolitics
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate, would not say Sunday whether she believes Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal.
2020 contender Tulsi Gabbard won’t say if she thinks Assad is a war criminal
Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard refused Sunday to say whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accused by the Department of Defense and the United Nations of gassing his own people, is a war criminal.


College Bribe Scandal Shows Elite-College Obsession – The Atlantic
Too many families are focusing on college “prep,” molding the student to fit a school.
College cheating scandal: Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin among dozens charged in alleged scam – CNN
In what is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted, wealthy parents, Hollywood actresses, coaches and college prep executives have been accused of carrying out a nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious universities, according to a federal indictment.