China · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (76)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s descent continues, as does its self-inflicted destabilization along ethnic and class boundaries. Curiously, China does not agree to support Russian games with the Yuan. Kazakhstan renames capital to Nur-Sultan honoring Nazarbayev. Russia seeks a second airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Much on Belarus – Lukashenko praising the EU, Russia accusing Belarusian bloggers of being Western funded Russophobes, protests on the 101st anniversary of the First Independent Republic of Belarus.

More sanctions on Iran, especially against nuke research entities and IRGC support. Israel claimed to have hit Iranian targets in Allepo. The fall of the Caliphate and ensuing argument. Golan Heights and reactions. Israeli election. Gaza. Turkey, Lebanon, Algeria, Afghanistan updates.

DPRK – politics, sanctions. and Cheollima Civil Defense group embassy raid. Taiwan, trade negotiations, Meng charged, update on Muslim detentions, Xi seduces Italy and pitches France, Japan update – Ryukyu reinforcement, India’s ASAT test.

Bayer on the governability problem. Brexit pandemonium in the UK, Gilets Jaunes mayhem continues. Mexico demands an apology from Spain for Cortez campaign. Venezuela – Chavistas continue provocation campaign. ISIS in Western Europe. NZ mass murder fallout.

Facebook, cyber and related updates.

POTUS EO on EMP. DoD update. VP Pence calls for a manned moon landing in 5 years. Anti-semitism debate, and Mueller report debate.


 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

UAWire – China refuses to lend yuans to Russian government
The Russian government’s decision to turn to the East in its economic and foreign policy in response to western sanctions continues to face difficulties, reports finanz.ru. The project to issue sovereign bonds denominated in Chinese yuans, which the Russian government has been discussing since 2014, has once again been delayed. There are still none of the platforms needed for Chinese investors to use yuans to buy specially issued government bonds on the Russian market, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak told TASS on Wednesday. Russia has been planning to sell yuan-denominated bonds on the Moscow Exchange under Russian law, so that the borrowed funds remain within the country. However, this goes against Beijing’s own policy, which allows only Panda bonds for borrowers. These bonds are sold on China’s internal market, and the proceeds can only be withdrawn from China with special authorization. Negotiations with the Chinese authorities have been underway for several years, but have not yet been met with any success. An issuance of roughly 6 billion yuans was initially planned for 2016, but was later postponed by a year. In December 2017, the Russian Finance Ministry hired Gazprombank, the Bank of China and ICBC to organize the first yuan issuance of federal loan bonds in 2018, but no such placement took place. “We are constantly receiving contradictory information that the preconditions for borrowing in yuans have been established, or that they have not been established,” Storchak lamented in October last year. “These prerequisites still have not been met,” he said on Wednesday. “There are none of the necessary platforms for Chinese continental investors with yuans to come to our stock exchange.” He added that consultation with the Chinese authorities is still underway. From an economic perspective, issuing yuan-denominated bonds is in the same series of exotic financial and political strategies as trading oil with Iran or trying to sell oil for rubles, commented Peter Trust investment director Mikhail Altynov previously. The problem is that the Russian government has no revenue in yuans: trade with China is still done primarily with dollars, and Beijing refused to sign an intergovernmental agreement to transition to national currencies. According to the Bank of Russia, 84.6% of all trade between Russia and China was done using US dollars between January and September 2018. Compared to 2017, use of the American currency has even increased by 5.6 percentage points. According to Altynov, the yuans needed to repay such yuan-denominated bonds would most likely still have to be bought using dollars. In other words, they would effectively still be dollar bonds, only more expensive.
Russia Threatens VPN Services To Prevent Access To Telegram, Banned Websites
Russia’s communications watchdog has threatened to block access to popular VPN (virtual private network) services that give Russian Internet users access to websites outlawed by Moscow.
The Week In Russia: Do Kremlin Bosses Dream In Kazakh?
In resigning as president but keeping key roles, did long-ruling Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbaev just hand Vladimir Putin a cheat sheet for the 2024 Question?
Tatiana Stanovaya explains why Putin won’t go like Nazarbayev — Meduza
In an article for the Carnegie Moscow Center, political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya says Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s resignation won’t likely affect Vladimir Putin’s transition-of-power calculus in the way that many observers have speculated. She argues that Kazakhstan’s unique political traditions, elite structure, and society, not to mention the country’s fundamentally different geopolitical conditions, mean that Nazarbayev’s exit doesn’t work as a model for Putin, though the Kremlin will pay close attention to the response from local elites. Meduza summarizes Stanovaya’s text below.
UAWire – Protesters rally across Russia against pension reform and ‘prohibitive laws’
In a large number of Russian cities, citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the pension reform and “prohibitive laws”. The rallies were held on 23 March as part of an all-Russian protest to protect citizens’ socio-economic rights that was organized by the Communist Party. One of the first cities to see a series of protests was Vladivostok. Locals rallied against the pension reform, the “garbage issue”, and more localized problems such as coal dust pollution, deforestation, and problems with developments and shareholders being scammed. Protesters also took to the streets in the Transbaikal, complaining that “the country’s economy is at a standstill, natural resources are being plundered,” and that the forests are disappearing and the agro-industrial complex is dying. The rally participants adopted a resolution which they intend to deliver to the local authorities and the national government and president. There was a protest on the same topics in Krasnoyarsk, which culminated in a resolution demanding the resignation of President Putin and the entire Russian government. Around 500 people took part in a similar protest in Novosibirsk. Activists protested against the pension reform and the “garbage tariff”. Local police drew up a report on one of the participants for a questionable poster. Protesters also rallied in Noyabrsk, calling for the abolition of the pension reform and a solution to the garbage issue. The activists pointed out that the state is responsible for ecological problems, “but it transfers this to citizens, introducing a fee ‘for garbage’ or another tax”. Similarly, they concluded the rally by passing a resolution. The city of Samara also saw a protest against the garbage reform, the increase in prices and the cuts in business, which was attended by around 70 people. They demanded the abolition of the garbage tax, and criticized the new route network planned for the city of Perm and the laws on fake news. Protesters adopted a resolution demanding the abolition of the garbage tax and the preservation of the current transport network in Perm. Social activists in Yaroslavl brought up several topics – school catering, medicine for social benefit recipients, and the activity of the regional garbage operator. They accused officials of acting “brazenly”, and called for the reinstatement of the prior system of rebates for school lunches. In Kazan, defrauded shareholders, emergency workers, investors in the TFB and opponents of the new general city plan took to the streets. There were around 150 protesters, most of them pensioners. Between 350 and 400 people protested in Pskov, primarily about ecological issues. A rally was also held in Sevastopol, and was attended by communists, city residents, members of the communist youth league, members of the women’s organization “Hope of Russia”, and representatives of the “Russian Way” movement.
Moscow Enlists Youth Agency In Campaign To Censor Online Content
Russia’s Agency for Youth Affairs has been recruited to help enforce Internet censorship as the country builds its comprehensive system to monitor online content.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: A Democratic Revolution will Prevent Not Promote Russia’s Disintegration, Ikhlov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 27 – One of Vladimir Putin’s primary justifications for his authoritarian approach is that it is the only way to prevent the further disintegration of the country centered on Moscow, a view that is accepted by many Russians and by many commentators because of the role democracy played in the demise of the USSR. What is especially unfortunate is that many of those who identify themselves as opponents of the Putin regime either accept or at least do not challenge this proposition directly, despite the fact that many countries around the world have become more integrated rather than less as a result of democratization. Fortunately, ever more members of the opposition camp in Russia are beginning to make the argument that, as Yevgeny Ikhlov says, there is no reason to expect that Russia will fall into pieces in the event of a democratic revolution despite the scare tactics of the Kremlin. Only by making that argument can the opposition hope to gain more support among Russians. Writing on the Kasparov portal, the Moscow commentator makes a five-part argument in support of this argument (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C98DFB9C5A49): First, “political nations do not fall apart.” Russia does not yet have one because it has not undergone the kind of revolutions that could produce one. The falling away of “peripheral provinces with ethnic minorities who consider their provinces ‘countries’ cannot be considered a disintegration of the state.” Second, “a democratic revolution which creates a political nation is a ‘bourgeois’ revolution (in the Marxist tradition), that is, one anti-feudal and anti-absolute in its social-historical essence.” Third, an anti-feudal revolution is one in which “a ‘vertical’ identity (we are included in a single social order) to a ‘horizontal’ one (e are together because we are part of a cultural-historical unity).” Fourth, “even a rightwing nationalist revolution (in other words, ‘fascism’) in a post-Putin Russia ill be anti-feudal and anti-absolutists because it will create a political nation.” And fifth, “in the manner of agrarian reforms, the construction of a political nation can occur in to ways, ‘the American’ or ‘the Prussian,” that is, at the outset e ill have either a non-ethnic Russian political nation or an ethnic Russian political nation.” In either case, disintegration is unlikely. Consequently, Ikhlov argues, “after a successful democratic revolution, Russia will not be able to fall into pieces (in the general understanding of this scenario, into several Russian states included or not in some kind of confederation); and even a hypothetical civil war” would ultimately unify rather than divide the nation.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Government ‘Near Collapse’ Because of Low Quality of Administrators, Sadulayev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, May 25 – Despite the desire of upper level managers to find intelligent and capable people to fill administrative positions, German Sadulayev says, “the Russian system is near collapse because of the poor quality” of those being named to them, the result of the regime’s overriding preference for the loyal rather than the capable. Increasingly, the Russian essayist and KPRF activist says, the choice never even reaches that between the talented and the loyal. Instead, the regime chooses among the loyal, often among the sons and daughters of its current leaders or among accidental people like guards, sportsmen and the like (publizist.ru/blogs/110167/30159/-). This “negative selection” has the effect of filling the regime with those who don’t know how to carry out the regime’s own intentions, a particularly sad development because “in Russia, there is an unbelievable quantity of smart, talented and even brilliant administrators” as can be seen if one looks beyond “the bordello” out of which government officials are being chosen. Talented Russians are especially to be found in small and mid-sized businesses where their skills have allowed those companies to survive despite the Putin regime’s hostility to them as a dangerous independent force, one that the regime has been doing everything it can to destroy. In the cultural realm in particular, Sadulayev says, those outside the culture ministry regularly display remarkable skills while those inside its ranks show the lack of such skills. The existence of the former helps keep Russian culture alive, while the dead hand of the latter is doing everything it can, even if it does not intend to, to kill Unfortunately, this problem cannot be solved “within the framework of the current paradigm.” The powers that be know this is the case but those on top simply cannot allow any other outcome except the one they have now. For them, the system must simply serve them even if it serves them poorly and serves Russia worse. And therefore, Sadulayev argues, the solution to the administrative problem lies in the political realm: Russians must vote out those who are now in and thus destroy what is hidden “behind the false façade of ‘sovereign democracy,” a collection of incompetents whose only skill is thinking up new ways to steal and new “enemies of the people” to repress. Posted by paul goble at 3:09 AM
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow is ‘Losing the CIS’ Because of Foreign Trade ‘Separatism,’ Russian Economists Say
Paul Goble Staunton, March 27 – At a time when many are focusing on Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand Russian dominance over the former Soviet space, Igor Nikolayev argues that in fact, Russia is “losing the CIS” because of what another writer calls foreign trade “separatism,” the increasing tendency of its members to trade outside even of the Eurasian Economic Community. In a commentary for Ekho Moskvy, the economist says that one might have expected a leader like Vladimir Putin who has called the demise of the USSR a greater geopolitical catastrophe than the world wars or the Russian revolution to have sought to reverse things; but in face, he hasn’t done so, at least in economics (echo.msk.ru/blog/nikolaev_i/2395589-echo/). In 2000, the year Putin came to office, Russian exports to CIS countries represented 13.4 percent of all Russian sales abroad. Last year, they formed 12.1 percent. CIS member country exports to Russia fell by a factor of three, from 34.3 percent in 2000 to only 11 percent last year. Thus, the importance of CIS countries as far as trade is concerned fell sharply. To be sure, Russia still has a positive trade balance with the other CIS countries, 54.6 billion US dollars in earnings from sales to them as opposed to26.2 billion US dollars in purchases from them. Russia is happy about this disparity, Nikolayev continues, but other CIS countries are not. Between 2000 and 2018, the decline in the importance of trade with Russia has been especially great with Moscow’s largest trading partners: with Belarus here the Russian share of exports fell from 84.3 percent to 38.5 percent, with Kazakhstan where it declined from 19.5 percent to 8.5 percent, and with Ukraine here it fell from 34.5 percent to 7.7 percent. Equivalent falloffs occurred over this period for these countries as far as imports from Russia were concerned: for Belarus, from 92.3 percent to 59.2 percent; for Kazakhstan, from 48.7 percent to 38.1 percent; and for Ukraine, from 26.2 percent to 14.2 percent, Nikolayev continues. These trends cast doubt on any effort to make the CIS something more than it currently is, a place for leaders of an ever-decreasing number of heads of former Soviet republics to meet and talk. More immediately, they show that the CIS “is not a priority for Russia” or for any of the other member countries: we are ever more distancing ourselves from one another.” Clearly, the CIS is not going to lead to the restoration of the USSR “in its former form,” Nikolayev says. But more than that, these figures suggest that any union based on that territory isn’t going to occur. “We are losing [the CIS]” economically, however much some in the Kremlin ant to think otherwise. A second commentator, Aleksey Chichkin, goes further: even in the narrow Eurasian Economic Community, any possibility for tighter economic union is currently threatened by” foreign trade separatism” as member states increasingly look to others beyond this union for trade (ritmeurasia.org/news–2019-03-26–sojuz-pod-pressingom-vneshnetorgovogo-separatizma-41785).
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Five Ways Non-Russian Republics Can Resist Moscow’s Plans to Abolish Them
Paul Goble Staunton, March 22 – The non-Russian republics are not in a strong position to resist Moscow’s plans to rewrite the constitution and eliminate them, Shamil Sabirov says. Their objections in 1993 to the current constitution’s equation of them with oblasts and krays were ignored and any open resistance almost certainly would be crushed. But that doesn’t mean, the commentator says, that they should fatalistically accept the destruction of the republics which would lead to the destruction of the nations on which they are based because in fact, they do have some resources at their disposal with which to resist the new wave of Muscovite imperialism (idelreal.org/a/29834350.html). According to Sabirov, there are at least five: First, the non-Russian republics can appeal to international law and to bodies like the United Nations which exist to promote it. The UN Charter requires its members to support the right of nations to self-determination. Destroying the republics would violate this principle, and the UN could be an important ally in preventing Moscow from doing so. The experience of non-Russian republics shows how this can work. When the Komi-Permyak national autonomous district was liquidated as part of Vladimir Putin’s regional amalgamation plan, “practically all the ethno-cultural and educational infrastructure there was eliminated, the number of Komi-Permyaks fell catastrophically and their language was put at the edge of disappearance.” A counter example also makes the necessary point, Shabirov says. Moscow’s efforts to fold in Adygeya into Krasnoyarsk kray failed because the Circassians appealed to international bodies. And in 2008, similar appeals blocked the final inclusion of the Khanty-Mansiisk and Yamalo-Nenets districts from being absorbed by Tyumen oblast. “Unfortunately, at present, almost no republic of the Russian federation has authoritative experts and international lawyers who are involved with the UN organs, except for links with UNESCO.” That needs to change and quickly if the non-Russian republics are to make use of this means of defense. Second, the republics need to cooperate with one another and develop a common position on key issues so that they can stand together against Moscow rather than be picked off one by one. They can work together in the Federal Assembly, via political parties, and through the expert communities to promote this common front. Third, the republics need to overcome what Shabirov calls “the crisis” in legal scholarship in the republics, given that the number of specialists in federalism in the republics is if anything smaller now than it was two decades ago. Moscow has its own specialists; the non-Russian republics need to take immediate steps to ensure that they have their own to counter. Fourth, the non-Russian republics need to face up to the fact that many Russians will support their liquidation unless there is resistance and unless the non-Russians make it clear that Russians and Russia will suffer if the destruction of the non-Russian republics goes ahead as it appears Moscow now wants. The creation of the non-Russian republics was a key means of keeping the USSR together; their destruction will constitute a threat to the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, exactly the reverse of the argument that many in Moscow are making and that many Russians have come to believe. And fifth, the republics need to dramatically increase their use of media, blogs and Telegram channels “both within the republics and at the federal level.” Now, they are a marginal presence. Changing that will ensure that both non-Russians and Russians recognize the dangers ahead of Moscow does try to suppress the republics. Of course, if Moscow wants to ignore international law and its own interests, it can suppress the republics by force. But the first will further isolate Russia internationally; and the second will mean that the Russian Federation itself will be increasingly at risk, with the nationality question becoming ever more important and open. At the end of his article in which he discusses each of these five in detail, Shabirov says that “the main thing is that all of this counter-movement cannot occur without the involvement of the ordinary people of the republics.” They will not want to sit still while their ships sink, even if Moscow-installed captains seem inclined to allow that to happen.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Another Way Moscow Undermines Non-Russian Languages While Hiding What It’s Doing
Paul Goble Staunton, March 23 – Vladimir Putin’s direct attack on the non-Russian languages by eliminating the requirement that all students in the non-Russian republics study them in school even while insisting that all of them study Russian was easily seen for what it is – a move toward the Russianization and ultimate Russification of these nations. But other steps the Kremlin is taking toward that end are less so precisely because they are packaged in a way that allows defenders of the Putin regime to hide what they are doing or even suggest that they are promoting non-Russian languages. One of those is now on public view in Mari El, a Finno-Ugric republic in the Middle Volga. There, its backers say, Mari El Radio has launched “a bilingual program,” one in which Mari and Russian are used at one and the same time “without supplemental translation and explanation (facebook.com/100000938572146/posts/2621388634569063/ and nazaccent.ru/content/29501-pervaya-bilingvalnaya-programma-vyshla-na-marij.html). One can be certain that Russian officials will count the program as a non-Russian language broadcast; but in fact, it is anything but. Its only slightly implicit message is that Mari speakers can use Russian without any problem and should shift to the language of the country rather than the language of their republic. Over time, such broadcasts will further corrode a language already losing speakers and the nation of those who speak it – and it will all happen in the best “hybrid” fashion, in a way that will allow those who are carrying it out to deny to the naïve in both the Russian Federation and the West what they are doing.
Ford To Close Three Factories In Russia, Resulting In ‘Significant’ Job Losses
Ford has announced that its joint venture in Russia, Ford Sollers, is closing two assembly plants and an engine plant — a move that it said would lead to “significant” job losses in St. Petersburg…
Russian Museums Alarmed By Order For ‘Patriotic Education’
The Russian Culture Ministry has ordered regional governments to ensure that exhibitions in museums correspond with “the state’s priorities.” They have until April 30 to come up with a plan.
HRW Blasts Russia’s First Use Of ‘Ridiculous’ Law On Minors In Protests
Human Rights Watch has urged Russia to quash the convictions and sentences against an 18-year-old activist who became this week the first person in the country punished under a 2018 law that prohib…
Russian Activist Charged Over Facebook Post Amid ‘Crackdown’ On Social Media
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Russian authorities to drop the case against an opposition activist who is facing administrative charges for posting an infographic from a news outlet bac…
Russian Region Bans Employment Of Foreigners In Dozens Of Sectors
The head of Russia’s Sakha-Yakutia region has signed a decree banning the employment of foreigners in dozens of economic sectors and other activities, amid tensions following the arrest of a Central Asian migrant suspected of raping a local woman.
Activist, 18, Is First Russian Punished Under Law Against Encouraging Minors To Protest
An 18-year-old Russian activist has become the first person punished under a new law that prohibits adults from encouraging minors to take part in unauthorized protests.
Rights Group Says Moscow Math Student A Political Prisoner
A prominent Russian human rights organization says a math student who may have been tortured in custody is a political prisoner.
Activist Asks If Russia Is Living In The ‘Stone Age’ After ‘Body Positive’ Images Called Pornographic
An activist in Russia’s Far East has been questioned by police who accuse her of distributing pornography over a series of hand-drawn posters promoting positive body images of women. It wasn’t her first run-in with the law this month.
Thousands Protest Chechen-Ingush Border Deal
Thousands of people in Russia’s Ingushetia region protested against a controversial border deal with neighboring Chechnya, calling for Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov to step down. Police kept a close watch on the March 26 rally in Magas, the regional capital, which was held with the permission of the authorities.
Several Protesters In Ingushetia Injured In Clashes With Police
Police on March 27 forcibly dispersed hundreds of demonstrators in Magas, the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Ingushetia, where they staged an unsanctioned protest against a controvers…
Former Russian Cabinet Minister Detained, Charged With Large-Scale Fraud
Russia’s Investigative Committee says it has launched a criminal case against a former minister, Mikhail Abyzov, on suspicion of embezzling $62 million from an energy distribution company in Siberia.
Grenade Thrown At Russian Consulate In Greece; No Injuries Reported
Attackers on a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the Russian consulate in Athens on March 22, causing minor damage but no injuries.
Early Soviet-Era Cosmonaut Bykovsky Dies Aged 84
Soviet-era cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who was one of the first group of military pilots chosen to join his country’s space program, has died at the age of 84, Russia’s space agency has announced. …
Court Orders Russian Ex-Minister Abyzov Kept In Jail On Fraud Charges
A Russian court has ordered a former Russian cabinet minister seen as an ally of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held in pretrial detention until May 25 on embezzlement charges after his arrest on March 26.
A Letter To Putin Leads To Strangers’ Gifts, Neighbors’ Anger
Twelve-year-old Tasya wrote to Vladimir Putin in December, asking the president to help her overworked mother. After RFE/RL reported on her story, strangers sent money and gifts to the family. And that is when Tasya’s mother says their real problems began.
Russian City Remembers Mall Fire Victims
Residents of the Russian city of Kemerovo laid flowers and stuffed toys at a memorial to the victims of a massive shopping mall fire on this date in 2018. A blaze engulfed the Zimnyaya Vishnya mall on March 25 last year, killing 60 people, including 37 children. The disaster in the Siberian city was one of the deadliest in Russia since the Soviet collapse of 1991.
Russian Teacher Says Hounded Out Of School, Called ‘Prostitute’ Over Online Photograph
A Russian schoolteacher who says she was hounded from her job and likened to a prostitute after posting a photograph of herself in a thigh-high dress is getting some support from local officials.
Belgorod, I Am Your Mayor: Russian City Introduces New Leader With Star Wars Theme
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … Oh, wait, no. Actually, it was yesterday in the Russian city of Belgorod.
Ex-Governor Of Russia’s Khabarovsk Region ‘Detained’ On Embezzlement Charges
Russian authorities have detained a former governor of the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Krai region on embezzlement charges, according to media reports.
Elderly Postal Worker Waits In Vain For Dead Brother’s Letter
Eighty-two-year-old Yekaterina Dzalayeva has been delivering the mail for half a century in Russia’s North Ossetia region. But there is one letter that she’s still waiting for — one from her long-lost brother.
Kemerovo Mall Fire Victims Remembered A Year After Deadly Blaze In Siberia
The Russian city of Kemerovo is remembering the victims of a fire that swept through a busy mall on a Sunday afternoon one year ago and killed 60 people, including 37 children.
Russian Official Offers $16 Million To Help Keep Boxing In Tokyo Olympics
A Russian boxing official has offered to pay the $16 million debt of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) if Olympic organizers keep the sport in the 2020 Tokyo games.
Russian Tourist Detained In Bali For Trying To Smuggle Orangutan
Authorities in Indonesia say they have detained a Russian tourist who was attempting to smuggle a drugged orangutan out of the resort island of Bali. Ketut Catur Marbawa from Bali Province’s cons…
Lake Baikal Faces New Crisis As Russia Lowers Eco Standards
Russian ecologists have condemned a plan by authorities to allow a higher amount of toxic waste material to be dumped into Lake Baikal, which is already facing an environmental crisis.
South Florida Sees a Boom in Russian ‘Birth Tourism’
Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the United States to give birth so that their child can acquire all the privileges of American citizenship.
South Florida’s Russian ‘birth tourism’ boom
Pregnant Russian women pay anywhere from $20,000 to sometimes more than $50,000 to brokers who arrange their travel documents, accommodations and hospital stays, often in Florida.
Thousands Rally In Ingushetia To Protest Chechnya Land Swaps
Thousands of people in Russia’s Ingushetia region have protested against a controversial border deal with neighboring Chechnya, denouncing land swaps under the agreement and calling for Ingushetia …

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

Kazakh capital changes name to honor longtime leader | Fox News
Kazakhstan has renamed its capital to Nur-Sultan, in honor of the country’s longtime leader who resigned this week.
Kazakhstan renames capital Nur-Sultan | World news | The Guardian
Interim president orders name change from Astana to honour resigned leader Nazarbayev
UAWire – Kremlin: Nazarbayev called Putin before resignation
The press secretary of Russian President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, in an interview with the program “Moscow. Kremlin.Putin” on the channel Russia 1  …
On His Watch: The Dark Events Of Nazarbaev’s Long Reign
While longtime Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is being widely credited for economic achievements since resigning on March 19, the dark side of his nearly 30-year rule is receiving far less at…
Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank Files New Lawsuit Targeting Ex-Trump Associate
The Kazakh bank immersed in a multinational fight to recoup assets allegedly stolen more than a decade ago has filed a new U.S. lawsuit, alleging that a former associate of President Donald Trump c…
Putin Visits Kyrgyzstan To Discuss Russian Military Presence
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for a one-day visit to Kyrgyzstan where he was expected to discuss Moscow’s military presence in the Central Asian country. Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov welcomed Putin at the presidential residence in Bishkek where they greeted troops on March 28. The leaders said they would seek to develop bilateral relations as “reliable allies” and “strategic partners.” Russia established an air base in the northern Kyrgyz town of Kant in 2003. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month that Moscow was amenable to the idea of opening a second military base in Kyrgyzstan.
Russian Military Base In Kyrgyzstan Under Focus At Putin-Jeenbekov Talks
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov are meeting in Bishkek to discuss possible changes to their countries’ agreement on a Russian military base in the Centr…

Belarus Reports

 


 

Lukashenko describes EU as pillar of global stability
Minsk is ready to broaden cooperation with the European Union but will keep national interests in mind, according to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: All Top Bloggers in Belarus ‘Russophobes’ Financed by the West, Hitherto Unknown Moscow Outlet Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 24 – A shadowy group calling itself the Moscow Social Engineering Agency has put out a 25-page report saying that “all top bloggers of Belarus” are Russophobes financed by the West to promote anti-Russian nationalism in that country (sea.com.ru/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Analiz_raboty_zapada_v_Belorussii.pdf). One of the organizers of this agency is Anton Davidchenko, who told Russia’s Euroradio that he and his colleagues were investigating Belarus now because the situation in that republic resembles the one in Ukraine in 2012-2013 when Western special services were preparing the Maidan (euroradio.fm/ru/rossiyskoe-issledovanie-vse-top-blogery-belarusi-rusofoby-i-grantoedy). Because of the risk that the West will succeed in doing the same thing in Belarus, he continued, it is absolutely necessary to track what is going on, especially in the blogosphere where the West has found it especially easy to establish a beachhead to spread its “toxic” influence on Belarusian society and government. Davidchenko said his group had analyzed 5914 online publications which had attracted “more than 203 million page views” and that had been issued over the names of 244 bloggers over the course of 2018 (thinktanks.by/publication/2019/03/22/rossiyskoe-issledovanie-vse-top-blogery-belarusi-rusofoby-i-grantoedy.html). It ranked them in terms of their “toxicity,” a measure that he said indicated how anti-Russian they were, and a term that he didn’t say but shows just what this latest Russian propaganda move is about: discrediting anyone who questions the supposedly positive role of Russia in Belarus today. According to this report, the four most “toxic” outlets, each of which attracted more than ten-million pageviews were Belarus Partisan, Tut.by news, Charter 97, and Solidarity. Among others named were Nasha Niva, Radio Liberty’s Belarusian Service, Polish Radio to Russia, and Gomel Today. The report also named specific bloggers it suggested were having a negative influence in Belarus. Among the honorees in this category are Igor Losyk, Pavel Belarus, Eduard Palchis, Mikola Statkevich, and Pavel Severyanets. Both these individuals and the outlets they use are likely to be targeted by denial of service attacks at a minimum. What is important here, however, is that Moscow is creating a plethora of institutions, superficially respectable, that are little more than propagandistic outlets. They should not take anyone in, but experience shows that that is what they are designed to do and that often that is exactly the response they obtain.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Minsk Should Withdraw from Union State Project with Russia, Opposition Deputy Says
Paul Goble Staunton, March 25 – Anna Kanopatskaya, one of two opposition deputies in the Belarusian Parliament, says that Minsk should withdraw from the Union State agreement it has with the Russian Federation or at the very least place the issue before the Belarusian people by holding a referendum. She made this argument on Facebook today in the near certain knowledge that the Lukashenka regime would never take such steps. But its appearance underscores just how concerned many Belarusians are about the Russian threat and the need to take steps to distance their country from Moscow (facebook.com/anna.kanopatskaya/posts/2100814459967645). Kanopatskaya’s words thus deserve attention for that reason if for none other. An informal translation of them appears below: “Today, on the anniversary of the declaration of the Belarusian Peoples Republic, the question of the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of Belarus under conditions of the sharp forcing of integration processes within the framework of the uncompleted project of a Union State has arisen again. This situation compels us to think about whether we need such a project. That is even more the case because there already has been established and function the Eurasian Economic Union in which several additional countries besides Russia and Belarus are members. In correspondence with the norms of this union, the legal code of the Republic of Belarus is occurring, a common market of goods and services including in the realm of energy resources is expected. Given this, the project of the Union State over the course of 20 years has remained a stillborn child. At first, the president of Belarus used it for his own political goals. Then, the Union State was recalled on April 2 each year and in a quite narrow circle of peoples. The project existed only on paper and in parts of the formal organs it created. Today, for their political goals, Russian politicians have begun to use it including to threaten our country with economic pressure. The fraternal peoples of Belarus and Russia do not need the Union State as a political project. And as far as economic integration with Russia is concerned, something that 83 percent of Belarusians supported in a referendum there exists the Eurasian Economic Union. It is possible that the time has come to put a period on the history of the Union State in order to forever stop forever the succession of scandals and mutual reproaches on issues of integration between the leadership of Belarus and Russia, which again have been taking place in public since the end of last year. To do this is possible via a referendum which could be set up either by a petition of 450,000 Belarusians or by the National Assembly or by the president. Do you support such an initiative?”
Belarusian TV: 49% of prime-time content is Russian-made |Euromaidan Press |
Programs produced in Russia make up about 49% of prime-time content on Belarusian TV channels, research by the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) found. For the week of 16-25 November 2018, the BAJ monitored prime-time content of the Belarusian TV channels that comprise the government-approved compulsory publicly available TV package.
Belarusians Mark Anniversary Of First Independent Republic
Several thousand people have gathered in the Belarusian city of Hrodno to mark the founding of the short-lived first independent Belarusian republic 101 years ago.
Opposition Rally Marks Freedom Day In Belarus
Some 3,000 people attended an opposition rally in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on the country’s Freedom Day, often used as an occasion for anti-government rallies. Opposition politician Zmitser Dashkevich, was reportedly detained by police after addressing the crowd.
Police In Belarus Block Demonstrators From Opposition Rally, Dozen Detained
Police in the Belarusian capital have prevented several hundred opposition activists from holding a rally and detained at least a dozen of them.
Belarusian Oppositionist Detained For Calling Lukashenka ‘Self-Proclaimed Leader’
Belarusian opposition politician Zmitser Dashkevich, the organizer of a March 24 rally in Minsk and leader of the unregistered Young Front political movement, reportedly has been detained by police…
Memorials Honoring Victims Of Soviet Repressions In Belarus Vandalized
The Investigative Committee of Belarus has launched a probe into the vandalizing of a memorial site at Kurapaty, a wooded area on the outskirts of the capital, Minsk, where at least 30,000 people w…
‘This Is Auschwitz!’ Belarusian President Compares Cattle Farm To Concentration Camp
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has fired a governor and two officials over poor conditions at a cattle farm. The Belarusian leader compared a farm in the Mahilyou region on March 27 to a Nazi death camp and said the officials were “sick” for not noticing the cows were “barely alive.”
The Belarusian Hospital Trying To Break The Country’s Abortion Habit
Amid falling birth rates, a hospital in Belarus has refused to perform abortions since 2015 to fight what doctors say is the country’s dangerous dependency on the procedure.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

US announces new round of sanctions on Iran – CNNPolitics
The US State and Treasury departments on Friday sanctioned 14 individuals and 17 entities linked to SPND, Iran’s organization for defense, innovation and research.
US slaps Iran with fresh sanctions over weapons programmes | Iran News | Al Jazeera
The US charges that SPND oversees nuclear-relevant research for Iran and is active in the training of new scientists.
New sanctions will make Iranian nuke scientists ‘radioactive’ abroad, says U.S. official
The Trump admin says the sanctions are meant to expose the scientists and firms linked to Iran’s former nuclear weapons program and keep them from reviving it.
Germany won’t disclose Iranian attempts to obtain nuclear weapons, rocket technology, foreign ministry letter shows | Fox News
Germany’s government refused to disclose the number of Iranian regime attempts to obtain illicit nuclear weapons and rocket technology as the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader announced on Thursday a new push to boost the country’s ballistic missile program in defiance of U.S warnings.
U.S. accuses Iran of plotting to restart nuclear weapons program – POLITICO
Officials said that the Iranian military unit responsible for nuclear weapons development has maintained ties to its previous nuclear program.
U.S. Targets ‘Vast Network’ Evading Iran Sanctions – WSJ
The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted a “vast network” of more than two dozen companies and individuals operating in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey that U.S. officials said helped Iran’s military finance its operations throughout the region.
US hits Iranian bank, companies with new sanctions | Iran News | Al Jazeera
US imposes fresh sanctions of network of companies and individuals it says are helping fund Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Deadly Floods Across Iran Leave Broad Paths of Destruction – The New York Times
At least 24 people were killed after days of torrential rain caused rivers to overflow in various parts of the country, local news media reported.
Iran flood: More than a dozen killed in flash flooding | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Southern city of Shiraz suffers extensive damage as government urges people to cancel trips amid forecast of more rains.


Iran Moves to Cement Its Influence in Syria – WSJ
On the heels of an Iranian military intervention that has helped bring President Bashar al-Assad to the edge of victory in Syria’s eight-year-long war, Tehran is moving to cement its long-term influence in Syria by cultivating goodwill and winning converts to the Shiite Muslim sect.
Syrian military: Israeli air attack targeted Aleppo | Syria News | Al Jazeera
Syrian opposition sources say ammunition depot belonging to Iranian militias directly hit by Israeli air attack.
Israel attacks Iranian military sites in Aleppo | World | The Times
Israel has launched its largest ever airstrikes around the Syrian city of Aleppo, hitting what appear to be Iranian military sites and ammunition dumps.It is the most concerted attack by Israeli aircraft since Aleppo was fully recaptured by President Assad’s forces from rebels in December 2016
Syria claims Israel struck targets in the country’s north | Fox News
Syrian state media is reporting that the country’s air defenses have responded to an “Israeli air aggression” targeting positions in the northern Aleppo province.
UAWire – Israel carries out airstrike in Syria
The Syrian news agency SANA has reported a series of explosions caused by airstrikes near the Aleppo airport and the adjacent industrial zones. …


Syrian Group Wants International Tribunal for ISIS Detainees | Time
The U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces called for an international tribunal to prosecute hundreds of foreign fighters for the Islamic State
Now What? Congress Quiet after ISIS Territorial Defeat – Defense One
The relative silence in Washington is a testament to the ambiguous nature of Saturday’s victory.
The ‘Day After’ In Syria Finally Came. But What Comes Next? – Defense One
If U.S. military commanders were unsure of their mission four years ago, it’s even muddier today.
With The Collapse Of The ISIS ‘Caliphate,’ A Camera Lens Lingers On Those Left Behind : The Picture Show : NPR
As U.S.-backed forces fought in recent weeks to reclaim the last territory held by ISIS in Syria, photographer Felipe Dana turned his lens on the thousands of civilians rushing to evacuate.
The ‘Caliphate’ Is Dead, but Americans Might Not Be Any Safer – Defense One
Why a terrorist group with land looked so threatening to the United States.
The gruesome and devastating aftermath of ISIS’ last doomed stand
The aftermath of the last stand of ISIS is laid bare in these harrowing pictures showing the remains of its fighters among the destruction.
50 days. How the caliphate fell, and what’s next for ISIS – CNN Video
For 50 days, CNN’s Ben Wedeman waited in Eastern Syria for the ISIS caliphate to fall. In that time, President Trump declared the caliphate defeated several times. What took so long? And what’s next for ISIS?
White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated | TheHill
The White House said Friday the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has lost all of its territory in Syria, an announcement that has long been promised by President Trump.
Battle for Baghouz: White House declares victory over ISIS in Syria, but desperation remains
The siege of the last holdout of the Islamic State in Baghouz had dragged on for more than 10 weeks — far longer than had been predicted.
ISIS Territorial Caliphate ‘Eliminated In Syria,’ White House Says. But Threats Remain : NPR
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Friday that ISIS’ territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria. Even so, its threats remain.
I’ve hunted ISIS, and they are far from done | Fox News
This week marked a significant moment in the War on Terror: the destruction of ISIS last remaining foothold in Syria and the decimation of ISIS proclaimed caliphate
ISIS has lost its final stronghold in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces says – CNN
ISIS has lost its final stronghold in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced Saturday, bringing an end to the so-called caliphate declared by the terrorist group in 2014.
U.S.-Led Coalition Captures Last ISIS Bastion in Syria, Ending Caliphate – WSJ
U.S.-backed forces ousted Islamic State from its last outpost in Syria, marking the end of a nearly five-year campaign that forced the extremist group to morph from a governing authority back into a guerrilla insurgency as swaths of territory were freed from its brutal rule.
UAWire – Media: Dozens killed and wounded by Russian airstrikes in Syrian Idlib
The airstrikes of Russian fighters in areas of Idlib have killed ten and wounded 28 civilians, reported Turkey's TRT news agency with reference …
In Syria, Assad loyalists are turning on their government as living standards deteriorate – The Washington Post
The winding down of the war has brought no respite for the president’s devoted followers.
Three Russian Soldiers Killed In Syria
The Russian military says three of its servicemen have been killed in Syria.
UAWire – Russian Foreign Ministry confirms death of three officers in Syria
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that three officers from the Russian contingent in Syria, who were officially reported missing in …
‘The UAZ was just crushed under a barrage of fire’ New details emerge about the deaths of Russian officers in Syria — Meduza
Three Russian officers and one Syrian military interpreter were killed on February 22 in Syria after being ambushed in the province of Deir ez-Zor. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported today that the soldiers’ UAZ utility vehicle came under fire on a desert road between Palmira and al-Mayadeen. A column of automobiles containing 30 Russian and Syrian fighters was accompanying the officers on their way. However, immediately before the UAZ was attacked about 25 miles away from al-Mayadeen, the officers found themselves without any escort vehicles for unknown reasons. “The Russian officers were obviously caught unawares when armed terrorists opened fire on their car. The UAZ was just crushed under a barrage of fire,” Novaya Gazeta concluded after speaking to sources who were present at the time of the attack. A major in the Russian army and the Syrian interpreter, who were sitting in the front seats of the automobile, were killed on the spot. According to Novaya Gazeta’s sources, two other passengers died a few hours later. The newspaper reported that the ambush targeting the Russian soldiers may have been enabled by former Islamic State fighters who had laid down their arms to join the Syrian military. Novaya Gazeta’s sources said it is possible that those fighters had passed on information about the Russian convoy’s route to its attackers. Another possible source of information about the convoy’s location could be a group of pro-Iranian units stationed in al-Mayadeen.


UAWire – Media: Netanyahu pitched Syrian settlement plan to Putin and Trump
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, presented his settlement plan for Syria to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the United States …
With End of Islamic State Caliphate, U.S. Shifts to Long New Fight Ahead – WSJ
The final defeat of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate marked an important battlefield victory, but it also signaled a shift to a more difficult fight to come, U.S. military officials and experts said.
Golan Heights: Trump signs order recognising occupied area as Israeli – BBC News
The US leader signs a presidential declaration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.
Trump was right to recognize Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights
Amid all of the breathless commentary on a report from special counsel Robert Mueller that has yet to see the light of day, the real news today came at the joint press conference between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump may have helped Netanyahu, but did no favors for Israel and US | TheHill
Refocusing international attention on the Golan could detract from the danger of the ongoing Iranian incursions into western Syria.
Trump, With Netanyahu, Formally Recognizes Israel’s Authority Over Golan Heights – The New York Times
The president’s decision was a valuable political gift to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a few weeks before he faces voters in Israel in a closely fought election.
Trump Signs Proclamation Recognizing Israeli Control Of Golan Heights : NPR
President Trump said the move, reversing decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East and drawing sharp international criticism, was “a long time in the making.”
Netanyahu Lands in U.S., but New Scandal Could Mar His Big Moment – The New York Times
With an election weeks away, the Israeli leader’s trip to Washington was supposed to show off his statesmanship. But controversy followed him here.
Trump officially recognized Israel’s annexation of Golan Heights
It makes things awkward for Washington’s Arab allies, whose populations oppose Israeli seizures of Arab lands.
Israeli envoy: Trump will formally recognize Israel’s control of Golan Heights on Monday | TheHill
President Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s control of the Golan Heights will be formalized Monday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House, Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Sunday.
Pompeo says no double standard in Trump’s Golan Heights decision – CBS News
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is recognizing &quot;the reality on the ground&quot; about Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights
Israel’s Netanyahu to play Trump card in tight election | World news | The Guardian
PM gets Washington photo ops after Trump recognises Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights
Pompeo agrees it’s possible God raised Trump to protect Israel from Iranian aggression – CNNPolitics
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed with a suggestion posed in an interview Thursday that it’s possible God raised Donald Trump to be President in order to protect Israel from Iran.
Pompeo says ‘it’s possible’ Trump was sent to save the Jewish people – POLITICO
The comments came after Trump announced the U.S. will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights region.
Trump’s Golan statement draws strong regional condemnation | Fox News
From Syria to Turkey and beyond, President Donald Trump’s abrupt declaration that Washington will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights drew strong condemnation on Friday.
In Trump’s Golan Heights announcement, politics overshadowed security – The Washington Post
The campaign for recognition gained real traction after Bolton arrived at the White House last spring.
A Brief History of the Golan Heights, Claimed by Israel and Syria – The New York Times
On Thursday, President Trump tweeted about a hilly plateau beside the Sea of Galilee that has been one of Israel’s quieter frontiers for 52 years.
Generals Are Back in Israel’s Political Vanguard – The New York Times
The return of the generals to Israeli politics is viewed as an emergency call-up by those hoping to rout right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s Golan Heights – WSJ
U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty sees the Middle East as it is.
Netanyahu Says Golan Heights Move ‘Proves You Can’ Keep Occupied Territory – The New York Times
If Israel takes territory “in a defensive war, then it’s ours,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said, a precedent that could apply to the West Bank. Legal experts disagreed.
Trump recognizes the high-ground reality in the Golan Heights
President Trump has recognized Israeli sovereignty over areas of the Golan Heights it currently controls. In doing so, Trump effectively formalizes something that everyone already knew. Namely, that the Golan Heights, which Israel seized following a 1967 Syrian-Egyptian-Jordanian effort to annihilate it, were unlikely to be Syrian again for a very long time.
US hits Iran with new sanctions while Pompeo visits Lebanon – AOL News
The Treasury Department said the sanctions target 31 scientists, technicians and companies affiliated with Iran
Trumplomacy on Golan Heights: What it all means – BBC News
What are the ramifications of the US endorsing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights?
Trump’s Golan Fiasco – POLITICO Magazine
Recognizing the disputed territory won’t help Israel. But it will reverberate all over the world.
Opinion | Trump Has Liberated Israel – The New York Times
The president’s announcement on the Golan Heights will finally free us from the “land for peace” formula that none of us believe in anyway.
Trump’s Golan Heights tweet was a huge mistake – The Washington Post
His decision on the Golan Heights challenges a fundamental pillar of the post-1945 world order.
Trump’s Golan Heights announcement met with a shrug in the Arab world – CNN
When Mike Pompeo landed in Beirut from Tel Aviv on Friday morning, barely a handful of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the US Secretary of State’s visit.
Trump’s Golan tweet inflames regional tensions as Syria vows to recover the strategic plateau – The Washington Post
Syria, Iran and Russia condemned the U.S. move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Trump to speak to GOP Jewish group amid anti-Semitism spat with Dems | TheHill
President Trump will speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) annual leadership conference next month in Las Vegas, the group announced Friday.
Pompeo Denounces Hezbollah in Lebanon, With an Israeli Audience in Mind – The New York Times
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attack on Hezbollah is expected to give a boost to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.
Rafi Eitan, Israeli Spymaster Who Caught Eichmann, Is Dead at 92 – The New York Times
He led the team that seized the Nazi architect of the Final Solution in Argentina and later handled the American spy Jonathan Jay Pollard.
Rafi Eitan: Mossad spy who captured Adolf Eichmann dies – BBC News
Rafi Eitan was a Mossad spy who led the team that captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960.
Syria requests urgent UN Security Council meeting on Golan | News | Al Jazeera
Syria says the US decision to recognise the Golan Heights as Israeli territory contravenes international law.
Syrians protest as Hezbollah urges resistance over US Golan move | Lebanon News | Al Jazeera
Protesters across war-torn Syrian denounce US decision on Golan Heights as Hezbollah chief calls for ‘resistance’.
Syria Says U.S. Should Give Israel ‘South Carolina’ Instead of Golan Heights, ‘It’s the Land of Senator Lindsey Graham’
“The Syrian Arab Golan is ours and will return to us,” Damascus’s envoy to the United Nations said just hours after Israel reportedly bombed Aleppo.
Gulf states reject U.S. recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli | Reuters
Four Gulf Arab states on Tuesday rejected a U.S. decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with Riyadh warning the move would hurt the peace process and affect regional stability.
Jordan: King Abdullah cancels Romania trip over Jerusalem embassy announcement – CNN
Jordan’s King Abdullah has canceled his trip to Romania following the Romanian prime minister’s comments about moving her country’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency said Monday.
Russia, Iran, Arab States Reject ‘Unlawful’ U.S. Decision On Golan Heights
Russia, Iran, and a number of Arab countries including U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf have blasted President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heigh…
Report: Netanyahu Has Plan to End Syria Crisis, Sans Iran | Newsmax.com
A proposal to resolve the Syria crisis was presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russia and the United States, a trilateral approach which boots Iran out of the country, according to a report in The Times of Israel.
Ahead of Israel’s Election, Gantz’s Meme-Inspiring Missteps Embolden Netanyahu – The New York Times
Nothing played out as expected this past week, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vulnerability seemed to recede a bit as his challenger faltered.
Israel’s elections are 2 weeks away, and it’s edging towards all-out war with Hamas in Gaza | Business Insider
Israel and Gaza are edging toward war this week, with tensions rising to heights perhaps not felt since the days before the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict.
What Hamas really wants from its latest attacks on Israel
A rocket launch from Gaza on Monday destroyed a house north of Tel Aviv, injuring six family members, including three children as young as 18 months old. The…
Gaza militants launch rockets toward Israel after strike on Hamas chief’s office | Fox News
Gaza militants launched at least 10 rockets Monday evening in its latest barrage of fire after Israeli forces struck key targets including the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
In Gaza, Palestinians have paid in blood for protests against Israel but achieved little – The Washington Post
Israeli gunfire has killed 256 Palestinians and wounded more than 6,850 over the past year, health officials say.
Israel, Palestinian militants trade fire as ‘truce’ appears to unravel | Fox News
The Israeli army on Tuesday bombed several targets in the Gaza Strip as Palestinian militants responded with a new barrage of late-night rocket fire, demonstrating that a truce with Hamas rulers showed signs of unraveling.


Erdogan: Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia could be turned into mosque | Fox News
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia — a Byzantine-era cathedral that was turned into a mosque and now serves as a museum — could be reconverted into a mosque.
Erdogan Is Weak. And Invincible. – Foreign Policy
Turkey’s president has rarely been so unpopular. He’s likely to dominate this week’s local elections anyway.
Turkey to Investigate JPMorgan Over Charges It ‘Caused Volatility’ in the Markets – The New York Times
With days until local elections, Turkey’s banking regulator accused JPMorgan Chase and other banks of issuing “misleading and manipulative” investment advice.
Greek PM: Turkish fighter jets harassed helicopter | Fox News
Greece’s prime minister says Turkish fighter jets harassed the helicopter he was traveling on during a visit to a remote Greek island to celebrate independence day.
Greek PM says Turkish jets forced his helicopter to reduce altitude | Reuters
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Turkish jets buzzed his helicopter as he was flying on Monday to a Greek island to mark the anniversary of the 1821 uprising against Ottoman rule, but Turkey said there was no attempt to intercept his flight.
Turkish jets ‘harassed my helicopter’ – Greek PM – BBC News
Alexis Tsipras said Turkish fighter jets entered Greek airspace on independence day


Pompeo tells Lebanon to choose Hezbollah or independence | News | Al Jazeera
US Secretary of State Pompeo says sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah are working, but experts are divided.
Pompeo tours Lebanese historical sites in ancient city | Fox News
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan spent much of the second and last day of their visit to Lebanon touring historical churches and a centuries-old citadel in this coastal city Saturday.
After Golan, Hezbollah says Trump could recognize Israel’s control of West Bank | The Times of Israel
Leader of terror group says plateau will only be returned to Syria by force; says US president showed ‘disrespect’ to Arab world


‘It’s Time to Break the Chains.’ Algerians Seek a Revolution. – The New York Times
The demonstrations in Algeria have grown larger every week and now seem unstoppable. The protesters demand the ouster of not only President Bouteflika, but his entire system.
Algeria Army Chief Opens Path to End of Bouteflika’s Rule – The New York Times
A top power broker expressed support for what he called the “legitimate demands” of protesters who want President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down.
Algeria army urges removal of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika – BBC News
Algeria army chief calls for President Bouteflika to be declared unfit to rule after weeks of unrest.


Saudi mastermind of Khashoggi murder not facing trial
The Saudi royal adviser who allegedly oversaw the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is not among the suspects on trial for his death.
Royal court adviser fired over Khashoggi killing ‘not on trial’ | News | Al Jazeera
Saud al-Qahtani is reportedly not among those indicted by Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


U.S. Officials Walk Out of Meeting at Presidential Palace in Kabul – WSJ
U.S. officials walked out of a meeting that was attended by the top defense aide of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in the latest sign of fraying ties between Washington and Kabul over negotiations with the Taliban to end the 18-year Afghan war.
In U.S. pursuit of peace talks, perilous rift opens with Afghan leader | Reuters
Washington’s relationship with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appears increasingly at risk of permanent damage, the consequence of a U.S. policy shift that has so far excluded his government from talks with the Taliban and of his own determination to retain power and manage peace efforts himself.
U.S. Exchanges Views On Afghanistan With Russia, China, EU
U.S. officials have “exchanged views” with representatives of Russia and China on the current status of the Afghan peace process, the State Department says.
Escalating the US Air War in Afghanistan Isn’t Working – Defense One
The dramatic increase in U.S. airstrikes that began last year has brought the country no closer to peace. In fact, Afghan soldiers, police, and …
2 US troops killed on a mission in Afghanistan – CNNPolitics
Two United States service members were killed in Afghanistan on Friday, according to a statement from the NATO-led international military coalition in Kabul.


India bans top pro-independence group in Kashmir | India News | Al Jazeera
The JKLF is the second separatist group to be banned by India this month in the disputed region.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in to meet with Trump in Washington
The meeting will be the first between the U.S. and South Korean leaders since President Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un collapsed last month.
North Koreans prepare for ‘hardship’ as Trump administration struggles to explain sanctions – ThinkProgress
China and Russia claim thousands of North Korean workers sent home – CNN
China and Russia have sent home more than half of their North Korean workers, likely tens of thousands of people, according to reports submitted to the UN North Korean Security Council sanctions committee.
Top general Robert Abrams warns US may not see a North Korean attack coming – CNNPolitics
The commander of US forces in South Korea warned lawmakers Wednesday that the US might not have sufficient intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities on the Korean peninsula to see an attack coming if denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang fall apart, causing hostilities to flare up again.
Top US general: North Korean activities ‘inconsistent’ with denuclearization | TheHill
North Korea’s activities with nuclear warheads and missiles have been “inconsistent” with denuclearization, the general in charge of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula said Wednesday.
Trump’s Strange Tweet May Have Kept Nuclear Talks Alive – Defense One
The president is finally reckoning with the role of sanctions in North Korean diplomacy.
Trump’s North Korea tweet still unclear 4 days later – Vox
Trump tweeted he would cancel sanctions on North Korea. A Bloomberg report shows we don’t know what he meant.
Trump did not reverse North Korea sanctions on Chinese shipping companies: source | Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday did not reverse North Korea-related sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies, a U.S. administration source familiar with the matter said.
Trump Overrules Own Experts on Sanctions, in Favor to North Korea – The New York Times
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.
Trump wastes his hard work on North Korea with foolish sanctions waiver
Trump has again shown weakness to a dictator who revels in it, and his action will have consequences.
Trump surprises his own aides by reversing North Korea sanctions – POLITICO
&quot;President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,&quot; a White House statement said.
Trump surprises by revoking North Korea sanctions immediately after Treasury imposes them | Fox News
President Trump abruptly announced Friday that he was withdrawing sanctions on North Korea, immediately after his own Treasury Department imposed them.
Kirby: Trump’s North Korea tweet a dangerous way to do diplomacy – YouTube
CNN Published on Mar 22, 2019 Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby reacts to President Donald Trump’s tweet announcing that he is withdrawing new sanctions aimed at North Korea that were just issued by his own administration. #CNN #News
Rubio on Trump’s North Korea tweet: ‘It shouldn’t have happened that way’ – POLITICO
“I’ve never seen that before from this or any administration, so something happened here,” he said.
North Korean officials return to DMZ joint liaison office, days after withdrawing – CNN
North Korean officials have returned to a joint liaison office near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) with South Korea, days after they informed Seoul they would be withdrawing from the project, a key symbol of the rapprochement and ongoing peace process between the two countries.
Shadowy North Korean dissident group says it raided embassy, contacted FBI – CNNPolitics
A shadowy North Korean dissident group claimed responsibility for last month’s raid on Pyongyang’s embassy in the Spanish capital, Madrid on Tuesday but disputed allegations that what occurred at the diplomatic compound was an “attack” involving armed intruders.
Kim Jong Un fancies caviar, foie gras, lobster, had staff taste food for safety at Vietnam summit, chef says | Fox News
Kim Jong Un loves luxury cuisine but would have his North Korean staff taste dishes as a safety precaution during the Vietnam summit with President Trump, the executive chef at Metropole Hotel in Hanoi said.
Cheollima Civil Defense: What is known about North Korean embassy group – BBC News
Despite a website and YouTube channel, little is known about the Cheollima Civil Defense group.
Spain says American, Mexican, South Korean citizens carried out attack on North Korea embassy | Fox News
Spain has accused an American, Mexican and South Korean of carrying out an attack in broad daylight on North Korean Embassy in February, claiming the leader of a “criminal organization” offered the stolen data to the FBI.
North Korean embassy raid: Free Joseon and Andrew Hong Chang accused of involvement – The Washington Post
“Bigger things are ahead,” the group said.
Trump discussed using nuclear football on North Korea during Puerto Rico trip: CNN | TheHill
President Trump discussed using the “nuclear football,” a briefcase that can be used to authorize a nuclear attack, on North Korea during a 2017 visit to Puerto Rico, CNN


US sends 2 warships through Taiwan Strait ahead of China trade talks | Fox News
Two American warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday to send a message to the Chinese government ahead of high-level trade talks between the two nations. 
China lodges complaint after US ships sail through Taiwan Strait – YouTube
Daily Mail Published on Mar 25, 2019 The United States sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait, Sunday, in an operation that comes as top officials from the Trump administration prepare to travel to Beijing for high-level trade talks. The Trump administration has sought to make the Taiwan Strait transits more routine, with the operations now taking place on a monthly basis. Prior to July, the transits occurred only about once a year. The 110-mile-wide strait separates China and Taiwan – it is seen as a potential geopolitical flashpoint should Beijing seek to take Taiwan by force. Beijing continues to lay claim to Taiwan, a self-governed, democratic island that China views as a breakaway province. The two have been separated since the end of a bloody civil war in 1949. While the strait constitutes international waters, China is thought to be very sensitive about the presence of US military forces there.
China outraged as Trump expected to sell new fighters to Taiwan – INSIDER
The Trump administration is reportedly ready to sell Taiwan 60 new, more capable F-16 fighter jets, and China is really not happy about it.
The Man Who Took China to Space – Foreign Policy


China makes unprecedented offers to US on tech transfer, trade
The United States and China have made progress in all areas under discussion in trade talks, with unprecedented movement on the touchy issue of forced technology transfers, but sticking points remain, U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
China, U.S. Pore Over Details of Trade War Text Agreement – Bloomberg
Chinese and U.S. negotiators have been working line-by-line through the text of an agreement that can be put before President Donald Trump and counterpart Xi Jinping to defuse a nearly year-long trade war, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Trump’s ‘economic illiteracy’ caused US-China trade war: Columbia prof
U.S. President Donald Trump has on many occasions said the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China is a sign that America is being “ripped off.”


Meng Hongwei: China to prosecute former Interpol chief – BBC News
Meng Hongwei, who was arrested while visiting China last year, is accused of taking bribes
The Interpol president who disappeared 6 months ago has been abruptly expelled from the Chinese Communist Party | Business Insider
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) abruptly expelled Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president who disappeared without a trace six months ago.
Wife of Ex-Interpol Chief Says Arrest in China was Politically Motivated – The New York Times
The wife of the missing former Interpol leader, Meng Hongwei, dismissed Chinese authorities’ allegations that he had spent lavishly and abused his power, She called his arrest politically motivated.
Chinese rescuers pull survivor from factory blast rubble, death toll reaches 64 | Reuters
Rescuers in eastern China pulled a survivor from rubble early on Saturday, two days after a massive explosion at a pesticide plant killed at least 64 people, flattening nearby buildings and shattering windows more than a mile away.


When China Convinced the US That Uighurs Were Waging Jihad – Defense One
In the chaos surrounding America’s War on Terror, Washington fell for Beijing’s ruse that the embattled Muslim minority posed a threat to the West.
State Dept. believes US legal residents are being held in Chinese detention camps – CNNPolitics
State Department sources say they know American residents — either US citizens or people with legal status in the United States — are being held in detention camps in Xinjiang, China.
Imran Khan dodges questions on mass Chinese detention of Muslims – CNN
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has dodged a question on the reported detention of as many as two million Muslims in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, saying he “didn’t know much” about the issue.


Countries should not be ‘duped’ into borrowing from China, expert says
Countries should not be “duped” into borrowing from China through the Belt and Road Initiative, and should be looking for opportunities in India instead, says one firm critic of Beijing’s flagship infrastructure project.
China tries to bribe France to break with America
Beware of Chinese leader Xi Jinping bearing gifts. When Xi opens his wallet, it’s never with a simple economic agenda.
Here’s What Italy Signed Up to When Xi Jinping Came to Rome – Bloomberg
The landmark accord that Italy signed to join China’s global Belt and Road infrastructure project embraces strategic sectors from telecommunications to energy and ports, despite the unease of U.S. and European allies at the Asian power’s reach.
Italy joining China’s Belt and Road project is unwise: Former PM
Italy’s government provoked fresh controversy as it officially agreed to join China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, becoming the first EU and Group of 7 country to do so.
What’s Going On Between Canada and China? Our Experts Share Their Thoughts. – The New York Times
The Times gathered four correspondents and an editor to discuss the currently fraught relations between the two nations.


Japan deploys missile batteries, troops close to Senkaku Islands:The Asahi Shimbun
Japan deployed hundreds of troops and missile batteries on March 26 in regions near disputed East Ch
Japan deploys missile units on islands amid China’s rise
Japan deploys ground force units including missile squads in two southwestern islands near waters where Chinese naval vessels are actively sailing.
Japan causes backlash by claiming disputed is… | Taiwan News
Japan causes backlash by claiming disputed islands as inherent territories in textbook
Japan discloses further details of next-generation fighter aircraft – Defence Blog
Japan continues to work on creating domestic fifth-generation stealth fighter as seen in footage aired on national TV. The footage posted on 26 March shows that Mitsubishi Electronics-led team proceeded to test their active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar based on the F-2 fighter aircraft. According to several media reports, the new Japanese AESA radar similar to US-made AN/APG-81, which is installed on Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Also showcased for the first time footage of test prototype of a low-bypass turbofan (in some sources called the XF9-1) equipped with afterburners, developed by IHI Corporation as part of a power plant program for an advanced F-3 fighter. The new engine is about 4.8 meters in length, about 1 meter in diameter and more than 15 tons of thrust with afterburner, and more than 11 tons of intermediate thrust without. The developers said that the new fighter’s engine has basically met the performance requirements of the design. With the adoption of Japan’s material technology, the engine prototype core ensures a reliable operation at a 1800 degree temperature in front of the turbine, which has reached the level of the fourth generation of large aero turbofan engines. According to the current information, Japan started up the program of development of the domestic stealth fighter in response to the United States’ refusal to sell Japan the Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor in 2007. Japanese media also reported that purchasing of newest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is an interim solution until Tokyo can develop and produce its own 5th generation fighter. Last month, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has confirmed to Jane’s its plans to pursue a “Japan-led” program to develop a next-generation fighter aircraft that will replace its Mitsubishi F-2 multirole combat platform in the 2030s.


Mission Shakti: India shoots down live satellite in space, says PM Narendra Modi | The Independent
India has shot down a live satellite in low-Earth orbit as part of a successful test of new missile technology, prime minister Narendra Modi has announced. The operation, dubbed Mission Shakti, makes India part of a “super league” of nations to have achieved such a feat, Mr Modi said, alongside the US, Russia and China.
Indian PM Modi boasts success of anti-satellite missile launch ahead of election
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the successful test-fire of an anti-satellite weapon just weeks before a general election.
India becomes 4th country to use anti-satellite weapon in demonstration of its ‘space power’ | Fox News
India says it has successfully test-fired an anti-satellite weapon in an unexpected announcement juIndia became the fourth country to successfully use an anti-satellite weapon after it shot down one of its low earth orbit satellites Wednesday – an act which Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed as the country’s first demonstration of its “space power.”st weeks before a general election.
India Shot Down a Satellite, Modi Says, Shifting Balance of Power in Asia – The New York Times
If confirmed, a successful test could destabilize the balance of power between India and Pakistan and escalate the rivalry with China. With elections near, Mr. Modi played the news for maximum effect.
India joined exclusive club with anti-satellite missile test: Here’s what it means for the world
India joined an exclusive group of world powers with military space capabilities on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a successful anti-satellite missile test.
India space: Has the country become a superpower in the stars? – BBC News
Why is India in space and what is it doing there? BBC Reality Check takes a look.
India says space debris from anti-satellite test to ‘vanish’ in 45 days | Reuters
India expects space debris from its anti-satellite weapons launch to burn out in less than 45 days, its top defense scientist said on Thursday, seeking to allay global concern about fragments hitting objects

 


 

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Pushing Council of Europe toward self-destruction: Diplomat on Russia’s new attempt to return to PACE – news politics | UNIAN
Russia is preparing its fourth attempt to restore membership in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), earlier suspended for the aggression against Ukraine. Russia seeks to have PACE acknowledge responsibility for “mistake” back in 2014.
Alexei Bayer: The looming crisis of governability | KyivPost
Since the start of the 21st century much debate has been centered on various social and political crises, such as the spread of radical Islam, the rise of populism and now, the resurgence of violent white nationalism. All these trends feed into a broader crisis of governability that has been gathering momentum over the past two decades. As Ukraine holds its presidential election with trust in government at a stunningly low of 8 percent, it should be careful lest it too becomes ungovernable. The fragile state of governability first became apparent when George W. Bush invaded Iraq and ousted its brutal dictator Saddam Hussein. Bush’s neocon advisors believed that Iraq was ready for Western-style democracy. They were confident that they would duplicate in the Middle East what had been achieved in Western Europe and Japan after World War II and, to an extent, in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Instead, the collapse of the Hussein regime opened a can of worms. Iraq proved ungovernable and even now, 16 years later, the presence of US troops is needed to keep sectarian violence under wraps. The Arab Spring has similarly led to the failure of government in Libya, Syria and Yemen. There is no guarantee that Algeria will not follow in their footsteps, and even though a kind of status quo has been reestablished in Egypt, this pivotal regional player remains in many ways on edge. It may be argued that the Middle East has always been a cauldron of instability, and that the countries that have become failed states are, for the most part, riven with deep sectarian and ethnic divisions. Not so Central American nations, however. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have become unlivable, as traditional institutions of government have been shattered and effectively replaced by criminal gangs. People have been forced to make a long and perilous trek north, animated by the increasingly uncertain hope of finding asylum in the United States. Venezuela is sliding down along the same path. Apparently, Nicolás Maduro and his entourage, including top military brass, are heavily involved in cocaine trafficking in league with Russian organized crime and government figures. Besides this “official” criminal gang there are other gangs thriving in the country’s economic crisis and extending their reach. It’s highly doubtful that once Maduro is expelled Venezuela will become a democracy or even a military dictatorship. A failed state is more likely. In Brazil, the rise of Jair Bolsonaro, the authoritarian Donald Trump of the Tropics, may be a prelude to troubles in this pivotal South American nation, as well. Russia’s future after Vladimir Putin also looks grim. He’s been in power for twenty years, or more than two thirds of Russia’s post-Soviet history. On the one hand, he has presided over Brezhnev-style stagnation while on the other he has been systematically dismantling institutions of state, replacing them with mafia structures. His entire “vertical of power” is a system of officially sanctioned kleptocracy. Half of the problem is that bureaucrats at all levels have been stealing everything of value: Putin and his entourage in the billions, middle-level bureaucrats in the hundreds of millions – and so on, down to the lowest rungs of officialdom. But the other half is that the country’s governing institutions have been dismantled. People are getting fed-up while a new generation of thugs is growing up, eager for their slice of the pie. Back in the late 1990s many observers predicted that the fall of communism could trigger a nationwide bloodbath. Back then Soviet institutions were still strong and they held, but this may not be the case after the fall of Putinism. If you think that ungovernability plagued only less developed countries or mafia states, take a look at the U.K. Sure, it’s easy to blame the country’s Brexit tragicomedy on the incompetent governing class, but in truth what politicians are doing only reflects the will of the British people: those who voted to leave the EU without either an understanding of what it entails or a plan to address the issues, and also those who stayed at home or decided to cast a protest vote. Regardless of what happens next, a large portion of the electorate will be bitterly disappointed. The U.K. political system will now be deadlocked for years, with all sides hurling recriminations at each other. There is apparently a possibility of domestic unrest, as well, for which the Ministry of Defense is preparing by setting up a command post in a nuclear bunker. The situation in the United States is even more dire. It is realistic to suppose that had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, the United States would have already been in a state of anarchy, with Donald Trump holding daily rallies claiming, without an iota of evidence, that the election was stolen and his fascist mob baying “Lock her up!” Even having won, Trump has encouraged white supremacists with his dog whistling and has riled up his followers with direct calls for violent resistance to his critics. People in his entourage have talked darkly of a civil war against the deep state – treasonous talk which has had no consequences for their wagging tongues. America’s two political parties illustrate two ugly facets of ungovernability. The Republicans present an example of surrender to mob rule: they’re afraid to contradict Trump lest they are defeated at the ballot box by Trump loyalists. The Democrats, meanwhile, have become the laughingstock of the world by fielding dozens of presidential candidates for the 2020 election, revealing a fragmented, leaderless and, ultimately, rudderless nation. For yet another version of a potentially ungovernable advanced democracy take a look at France and the gilets jaunes movement. The government was quick to surrender to the mob, but the mob was merely inspired to engage in more rioting. Why ungovernability is all of a sudden such a threat to society? There is of course the pressure of unsustainable population growth combined with technological advances that reduces the need for human labor. We’re more prosperous than ever without meaningful jobs for many. There is globalization and multiculturalism. Modernity breaks up traditional societies and wages war on traditional religions. This has led to the emergence of various groups and subcultures with which people increasingly identify. And of course there is social media, the perfect tool for creating and organizing splinter groups which also allows them to air their collective grievances around which they rally. Ukraine is one of the very few nations in this century that has been able to overthrow a corrupt and oppressive regime without plunging into anarchy or civil war. In part, it has Vladimir Putin to “thank” for it: by annexing Crimea and invading the east he presented an immediate threat to Ukraine’s survival and helped focus the minds and unite the nation. Now the situation seems different and the threat of an outright Russian invasion seems to have receded (but it has not been eliminated). Ukraine is a divided nation that is holding a presidential election. President Petro Poroshenko has some grudging supporters and many intransigent opponents. His main rivals, if elected, seem intent on negotiating with Putin and, for one reason or another, they may surrender the country’s vital interests. Whatever the outcome of the election, Ukraine may soon be confronted by a different challenge: an internal threat to its governability, which Putin will do his best to stoke.


Britain’s Brexit was meant to happen today. Instead everyone’s confused.
For exactly two years, March 29 has been seared into British minds as the moment their country would finally leave the European Union.
Ditching deal today ‘will put EU in charge of Brexit’ | News | The Times
Britain faces another year in the European Union if MPs refuse to approve a central part of Theresa May’s deal during an emergency sitting of parliament today.On the date the country was due to leave the bloc, the Commons will be asked to vote in favour of a stripped-down version of the deal, consis
Independent Group to call their party Change UK | News | The Times
The 11 MPs who split with their parties to form The Independent Group in parliament are to create their own political party, they announced today.With a view to fielding candidates in European elections should Article 50 be extended, the group said that they had applied to the Electoral Commission f
Brexit in play: parliament tries multiple choice as May’s job on the line | Reuters
The British parliament will try to find an alternative to Theresa May’s twice-defeated Brexit deal on Wednesday as the prime minister readied a last ditch effort to win over rebels in her party, possibly by giving a timetable for quitting.
UK prime minister Theresa May’s promise to resign may be impossible to keep — Quartz
It’s not clear where Britain goes from here—though its prime minister is likely staying put.
The Brexit crisis traces its roots to the 19th century — Quartz
Kevin O’Rourke explains how the UK’s long history of fighting about trade leads to Brexit.
Brexit: May Wasn’t the Loser in U.K. Parliament’s Latest Votes – Bloomberg
Her party’s euroskeptic wing overplayed its hand and is now faced with the prospect of Britain not leaving at all or a softer departure.
Parliament has voted against all Brexit options – which could help Theresa May get her deal through | The Independent
The House of Commons has voted against all eight Brexit options in its X Factor contest. It is a boost to the prime minister’s hopes of getting her deal through – on the same day that Boris Johnson and several other Tory rebels backed it, but the DUP said “no”. 
Alternate Brexit Plans Rejected; Theresa May Offers to Step Down – The New York Times
The British prime minister did not specify when she would step down, but the European Union has said that it would approve an extension in the Brexit process to May 22, if her plan gained approval.
UK legislators seize Brexit agenda in bid to break deadlock | UK News | Al Jazeera
House of Commons votes to give itself control of timetable starting on Wednesday so MPs can vote on alternatives.
May loses Letwin vote as Parliament takes Brexit control
A series of “indicative votes” on what MPs prefer will now take place on Wednesday.
Parliament Grabs Control of Brexit From a Wounded Theresa May – The New York Times
British lawmakers will now hold a series of votes to see if they can come up with a better Brexit plan than has Mrs. May, whose tenure is ever shakier.
Brexit: U.K. Parliament Took Control But Lacks a Plan – Bloomberg
U.K. lawmakers ran out of patience with Theresa May. They will hold their own contest to see which Brexit option prevails.
Brexit goes off the cliff, again
It was supposed to take effect this week, but Brexit continues to be trapped in a political black hole.
Brexit: May loses more ministers and more control – BBC News
The government’s latest defeat could be the start of a journey to a softer Brexit or the beginning of the next stage of a standoff between the executive and Parliament.
Irish and Scottish Nationalists Plotting to Break Up U.K. Over Brexit
Irish nationalists boast of hidden influence on Europe’s hardline negotiating stance. Along with Scottish independence campaigners, they’re ready to pounce amid wreckage of Brexit.
Ministers deny plotting to oust May as Brexit rebels head for Chequers | Politics | The Guardian
Michael Gove and David Lidington deny claims of coup as PM meets with Johnson and Rees-Mogg
People’s Vote march ‘too big to ignore’, organisers warn MPs | Politics | The Guardian
Protest demanding second Brexit referendum was largest in UK since 2003, with estimated crowd of more than 1 million
Petition to cancel Brexit closes in on 5m signatures | Daily Mail Online
The petition is now the most popular on record, reaching 5m signatures by Sunday afternoon. The reported million-strong march in London would be the largest such turnout since the Iraq War in 2003.
Varadkar will ‘work with whoever is PM’ – BBC News
Leo Varadkar’s comments follow claims British cabinet ministers are plotting a coup against Theresa May.
‘It’s s*** or bust now’ – How Tories can get rid of Theresa May next week
Theresa May has survived crisis after crisis and clings to office like a limpet.
British PM May facing plot from minister to oust her: Sunday Times reporter | Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a full-blown cabinet plot to remove her and 11 cabinet ministers have said they want her to resign, The Sunday Times’s political editor said.
‘It’s a f****** coup’: Cabinet war over plot to replace Theresa May with her No 2 leaves Michael Gove favourite to be caretaker Prime Minister | Daily Mail Online
On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May from office.
Theresa May could quit in days as Cabinet plots to oust her – INSIDER
Senior ministers are set to tell Theresa May to resign next week, reports say, with Michael Gove being lined up as a caretaker prime minister.
Tory ‘hit squad’ line up Philip Hammond and David Lidington to tell Theresa May to go
THE party big guns want the Chancellor and the PM’s deputy to deliver a political death warrant to 10 Downing Street. The pair have been asked to carry out the deed as most other ministers want to step into her shoes, but they may have been beaten to it by a delegation of six backbench MPs.
Government whip in TEARS as he tells Theresa May she ‘betrayed Brexit and destroyed the Tory Party’ | Daily Mail Online
Blackpool MP Paul Maynard erupted when he was invited to hear Theresa May’s domestic policy plans she hopes will get Brexit ‘over the line’. He said he ‘began to cry’.
May’s Cabinet in Open Revolt, Plotting Overthrow, Times Says – Bloomberg
Theresa May’s cabinet is in open revolt against the prime minister and wants an interim leader to complete the Brexit process.
Brexit mayday? PM May’s ministers move to oust her, Sunday Times says | Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s top ministers are moving to oust her within days, The Sunday Times reported, as her Brexit strategy lay in tatters just weeks before the United Kingdom was due to leave the European Union.
Abandon Brexit, say London marchers. But will lawmakers listen? – CNN
Those who marched in Saturday’s massive Brexit protest in London say they want to show the rest of the world how many people want to stay in the European Union — even if it doesn’t make a difference in Parliament.
Hundreds of thousands protest in London demanding second Brexit vote | Fox News
Hundreds of thousands of marchers filled London streets Saturday to demand a second Brexit referendum as pressure builds on Prime Minister Elaine May to resign.
Brexit: What just happened? – BBC News
The EU has agreed to delay Brexit but with conditions. What does it mean? And what may happen next?
Brexit Is Postponed, but Chaos Still Reigns | The New Yorker
Amy Davidson Sorkin on the E.U. granting the U.K. a short extension to reach a deal on Brexit.
Brexit Latest: Europe Is Preparing for the End of Theresa May – Bloomberg
EU members think the U.K. parliament will find a way out of the Brexit morass should the prime minister’s deal fail yet again. It’s an optimistic assumption.
The new Brexit deadlines: What happens next? — Quartz
More uncertain weeks are ahead. Here is the latest calendar of decisions and the deadlines.
March for a Second Brexit Vote Is Just the Start for Young People – The New York Times
A mass demonstration planned for Saturday in London will be led by youthful activists who see it as the first step in a battle to reverse Brexit that could last decades.
Brexit petition to revoke Article 50 soars past three million signatures | Daily Mail Online
The petition has been backed by the likes of physicist Brian Cox, actress Jennifer Saunders, singer Annie Lennox, actors Hugh Grant, Eddie Marsan and Andy Serkis and author AC Grayling.
Why bots probably aren’t gaming the ‘Cancel Brexit’ petition – BBC News
Questions have been asked about whether all the 3m signatures on the petition are genuine.
Petition signatures and celeb endorsements are nothing compared to the Will of the People
As March 29 edges closer, the levels of Brexit-related hysteria reach new heights with every passing hour.
Three arrested in Labour Party antisemitism investigation | News | The Times
A leaked dossier of alleged antisemitic activity between Labour Party members has led to three arrests, Scotland Yard announced today.A woman in her seventies and two men in their fifties were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of distributing material likely to stir racial hatred, the Met s
Huawei is still a security risk, warns watchdog | News | The Times
The government will find it “difficult” to manage the security risks posed by Huawei in future after identifying “significant, concerning issues” with the Chinese telecom giant’s current software in the UK, the intelligence-led watchdog that oversees the company’s activities in Britain has said.A da


France’s ‘yellow vest’ protesters march in Paris as troops join police to prevent trouble
Yellow vest demonstrators gathered in Paris and other French cities for a 19th round of demonstrations as authorities sought to avoid a repeat of last week’s riots in the capital.
Yellow Vest CHAOS: Desperate Emmanuel Macron deploys army tanks in terrifying scenes | World | News | Express.co.uk
YELLOW Vest protesters are facing a terrifying military crackdown after Emmanuel Macron deployed huge black tanks to the streets of Toulouse.
Emmanuel Macron wades into row over whether French soldiers can ‘open fire’ on yellow vests 
Emmanuel Macron has been forced to wade into a snowballing row over claims French soldiers have been authorised to &quot;open fire&rdquo; if they come under life-threatening attack during Saturday’s 19th round of weekend &ldquo;yellow vest&rdquo; protests.
French soldiers will be allowed to ‘OPEN FIRE’ if lives are threatened by Yellow Vest rioters | Daily Mail Online
The French Army will support some 5,000 police trying to keep order during the 19th Yellow Vest Saturday demonstration in a row in Paris at the weekend.


Mexico demands Spain apologize for colonial abuse of indigenous people | World news | The Guardian
In letter to Spanish king, President Obrador cites massacres and oppression during conquest of Mexico
Mexico president asks Spain, Pope to apologize for conquest | Fox News
Mexico’s president has asked Spain and the Vatican to apologize for the conquest of the Americas.
Mexico president calls for truth commission on conquest | Fox News
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked Spain on Tuesday to set up a kind of fact-finding commission on the 1519-1521 conquest of Mexico to determine what kind of apology is warranted.
Spain hits back at Mexico in row over colonial rights abuses | World news | The Guardian
Madrid rejects Mexican president’s demand for apology for crimes against indigenous people


Defying Allies, Italy Signs On to New Silk Road With China – The New York Times
The move by Italy to join China’s “One Belt One Road” project crystallized shifting geopolitical balances and the populist Italian government’s willingness to break with its traditional partners.
Italy joins China’s New Silk Road project – BBC News
Italy is the first G7 country to sign up to China’s global investment programme, despite Western concerns.
Italy Gives Xi, and China’s Vast Infrastructure Project, a Royal Welcome – The New York Times
Italy would become the first Group of 7 nation to officially join China’s vast One Belt One Road project on Saturday, a sign of Beijing’s growing influence.
End Of Time Change? EU Lawmakers Nix Clock Shifts From 2021
EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on March 26 to abolish the practice of seasonal time change across the bloc in 2021 — two years later than initially proposed by the EU executive.


UAWire – Russia’s Federation Council: Military base in Venezuela would be ‘inexpedient’
It would be “inexpedient” to establish a Russian military base in Venezuela, commented Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairperson of the Federation …
Russia Says It’s ‘Not A Threat’ After Troops Land In Venezuela
Moscow says the arrival of Russian soldiers in Venezuela does not present a threat to anyone, after U.S. President Donald Trump called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the South American count…
Is Venezuela where Trump finally stands up to Putin? – The Washington Post
The United States and Russia have taken opposing, incompatible stands on this issue.
Venezuela’s Fabiana Rosales, a young activist, emerges into the political spotlight | Reuters
Barely two months after emerging from obscurity in her home country of Venezuela, political activist Fabiana Rosales sat in the Oval Office across from U.S. President Donald Trump in a yellow armchair normally reserved for visiting heads of state.
Juan Guaido has been banned from running for public office – CNN
Juan Guaido has been banned from running for public office in Venezuela by the country’s embattled government.
Juan Guaidó, Venezuelan opposition leader, barred from holding public office for 15 years — live updates – CBS News
Venezuelan government bars opposition leader Juan Guaidó from holding public office for 15 years
American Airlines won’t restart service to Venezuela | Miami Herald
American Airlines planned to begin flying to Venezuela again on April 1 after temporarily halting its three daily flights from Miami on March 15. Instead the airline announced Thursday that it is suspending service to Venezuela indefinitely.


ISIS fanatics busted for trying to derail German high speed trains in shocking new terror plot unearthed after caliphate crushed
The 42-year-old Iraqi, living in Vienna, Austria, is said to have twice stretched steel cables above and across tracks
Police arrest ten ‘ISIS terrorists’ over ‘plots to use car and guns to kill’ in Germany | World | News | Express.co.uk
POLICE have arrested ten suspected terrorists on suspicion of planning to “kill as many people as possible” using a car and guns.
German police arrest 10 people on suspicion of planning Islamist attack – BBC News
Ten men are detained on suspicion of planning to carry out an Islamist attack, police say.
German police arrest 10 people on suspicion of terror plot | World news | The Guardian
Suspects aged between 20 and 42 detained after police raids in Frankfurt region
Utrecht tram shooting suspect confesses, claims he acted alone | News | DW | 22.03.2019
A motive for the attack that killed three people and seriously injured three others is still being investigated. The suspect is being held on charges of murder with terrorist intent.
The Latest: Dutch: Utrecht shooting suspect has confessed | Fox News
The Latest on the deadly tram shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht (all times local): 3:25 p.m. Dutch prosecutors say the suspect in the deadly Utrecht tram shooting has confessed and said that he acted alone.
Fourth victim dies following Utrecht tram attack
Authorities say a fourth victim has died from injuries sustained in the March 18 tram shooting in Utrecht, an incident being investigated as a possible extremist attack.


New Zealand Shootings: Muslim Group Sues Facebook, YouTube Over Christchurch Livestream
The French Council of the Muslim Faith is suing after footage of the shooting was shared online.
Facebook, YouTube sued over New Zealand attack video by French Muslim group | Fox News
A French Muslim group is filing a lawsuit against Facebook and YouTube over the viral spread of the horrific New Zealand mosque attack video. 
New Zealand massacre celebration on 8chan recalls ISIS, al Qaida sites. Should FBI, police treat it the same way? – The Washington Post
To experts in online extremism, the continuing celebration on the Internet message board 8chan of last week’s slaughter in New Zealand echoes another brand of terrorism — that carried out by Islamic militants who’ve long used the Web to mobilize followers and incite violence. The persistence of the talk of violence on 8chan has led some experts to call for tougher actions by the world’s governments.
Never have TV viewers seen such contrast in Muslim images after New Zealand’s attacks – Los Angeles Times
The grace of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose empathy toward Muslims after the terrorism attacks on two Christchurch mosques, is a stark contrast with the vitriol of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and others who indulge in Islamophobic tropes. How the narrative is changing.
Christchurch shootings: New Zealand bans suspect’s manifesto – CNN
The possession and distribution of a manifesto believed to be written by the suspect behind the Christchurch mosque attack is now illegal in New Zealand, officials said.
Facebook’s pathetic excuse on the Christchurch terror video
Under fire for taking so long to remove the Christchurch terrorist’s video of his mosque attacks, Facebook has come up with an utterly lame excuse: namely,…
Austria Confirms Financial Link Between New Zealand Shooting Suspect and Far-Right Group
Chancellor says suspected mass murderer donated to the “identitarian” group.
Austrian far-right activist probed over links to Christchurch attacks – BBC News
Police investigate a donation to Martin Sellner, possibly from the suspect in the Christchurch attacks.
Austria considers disbanding far-right group over donation from NZ suspect – BBC News
Authorities confirm far-right leader Martin Sellner received money from Christchurch mosque attack suspect.
Hanson’s Anti-Muslim Party Caught in Sting Seeking NRA Funding – Bloomberg
Pauline Hanson’s anti-Muslim immigration party has been filmed lobbying the National Rifle Association in the U.S. for millions of dollars in funding, promising to help water down laws restricting gun ownership in Australia.
How to sell a massacre: NRA’s playbook revealed | Australia News | Al Jazeera
Three-year undercover sting reveals how US’ National Rifle Association handles public opinion after deadly gun attacks.
NRA videos show One Nation’s nationalism is up for sale – The Washington Post
Hanson’s voters need to consider whether she is just a pretend patriot — since her staffers seem willing to trade influence for foreign money.
NRA Advised Far-right Politicians to Hype Violent African Gang Stories to Push Pro-gun Agenda in Australia
Undercover investigation recorded Steve Dickson, leader of the One Nation party, saying, “We get the balance of power. Very simply, that means that we have the testicles of the government in our hand
Australian leader accuses politicians of soliciting NRA, Koch donations to undermine gun laws | TheHill
Australia’s prime minister on Tuesday accused an influential political party of soliciting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Koch Industries to undermine gun laws,
‘We’d Had a Few Drinks,’ Australian Party Official Says About Gun Lobby Tape – The New York Times
An official from Australia’s One Nation party was recorded saying a $20 million donation from the American gun lobby would improve his party’s standing in Parliament.
Australia: Scott Morrison Criticizes Far-Right One Nation | Time
One Nation members Steve Dickson and James Ashby said they were drunk when Al Jazeera secretly filmed them asking the NRA for money
Australia’s ‘egg boy’ William Connolly says in his first interview that he ‘united people.’ There’s science to prove him right. – The Washington Post
The 17-year-old acknowledged that the incident triggered powerful responses, but he cautioned that more focus should be put on the victims of the attack.
One Nation says Liberal preference decision hands Bill Shorten keys to the Lodge | Australia news | The Guardian
Pauline Hanson threatens retaliation and warns Scott Morrison’s decision will put Labor into power
JAB Holdings: Reimann family, who own stake in Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread, admits Nazi past – The Washington Post
The Reimann family, believed to be one of Germany’s wealthiest, also owns majority stakes in companies such as Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread and Peet’s Coffee.

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Facebook bans white nationalism from platform after pressure from civil rights groups
Facebook is banning white nationalism and white supremacy from its social network following criticism that the social network had not done enough to eliminate hate speech on its platform.
Facebook and Instagram are banning white nationalist content – Vox
The new ban, which will also apply to content supporting white separatism, comes after months of advocacy from civil rights groups.
EU copyright reforms pit creative industry against internet activists, consumers | Reuters
Europe’s creative industries are urging EU lawmakers to back a proposed overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules, putting them at odds with internet activists who oppose a requirement to install filters to block copyright material.
Article 13: EU copyright bill has been approved – CNN
Article 13: Memes exempt as EU backs controversial copyright law – BBC News
Sharing memes and GIFs is still allowed under the new laws, after tweaks to allow “parody”.
Article 13: Europe’s controversial copyright law unsettles U.S. tech giants – The Washington Post
Google, Facebook and YouTube will be responsible for their users’ content. 
Your memes are safe, but these are the other fiercely opposed changes Europe is making to the internet | Business Insider
The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of highly controversial new digital copyright laws. The directive passed by a majority of 74 votes, prompting dismay from tech firms, academics, and politicians.


We Need a NATO/EU for Cyber Defense – Defense One
The world’s democracies aren’t properly organized to fend off today’s authoritarian attacks, let alone reshape the internet and key industries to stop …
Atlassian says encryption-busting laws threaten jobs – Security – iTnews
Creates confusion around employee obligations.
Hackers Hijacked ASUS Software Updates to Install Backdoors on Thousands of Computers – Motherboard
The Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS is believed to have pushed the malware to hundreds of thousands of customers through its trusted automatic software update tool after attackers compromised the company’s server and used it to push the malware to machines.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Peter Pry | Finally, a presidential EMP order that may save American lives | TheHill
White House leadership on EMP preparedness is imperative since government agencies have a history of underestimating the threat. The Commission to Assess the Threat from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack, also known as the Congressional EMP Commission, has warned for nearly 20 years that a nuclear EMP attack, or natural EMP from a solar superstorm, could destroy our electronic civilization and kill millions. “During the Cold War, the U.S. was primarily concerned about an EMP attack generated by a high-altitude nuclear weapon as a tactic by which the Soviet Union could suppress the U.S. national command authority and the ability to respond to a nuclear attack — and thus negate the deterrence value of assured nuclear retaliation,” the commission wrote in July 2017 in its report, “Assessing the Threat from EMP Attack.” ADVERTISEMENT It continued: “Within the last decade, newly-armed adversaries, including North Korea, have been developing the ability and threatening to carry out an EMP attack against the United States. Such an attack would give countries that have only a small number of nuclear weapons the ability to cause widespread, long-lasting damage to critical national infrastructures, to the United States itself as a viable country, and to the survival of a majority of its population.” The Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Threats, signed on March 26 by President Trump, is an excellent first step toward achieving national preparedness. It seeks to implement core recommendations of the Congressional EMP Commission on an accelerated basis. Among the best and strongest features of the EMP Executive Order is putting the White House in charge of national EMP preparedness, rather than relying on the Department of Energy (DOE) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to lead. The order states that the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), working with the National Security Council and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, “shall coordinate the development and implementation of executive branch actions to assess, prioritize, and manage the risks of EMPs.” White House leadership on EMP preparedness is imperative. Both Energy and Homeland Security have a long history of underestimating and under-prioritizing the EMP threat. ADVERTISEMENT Among its many strong features, President Trump’s executive order combines EMP and cybersecurity. It directs DHS’s secretary to coordinate with the Energy and Defense secretaries, other agencies and the private sector to “develop a plan to mitigate the effects of EMPs on the vulnerable priority-critical infrastructures.” The president’s order recognizes that an EMP attack, in adversary military doctrine and planning, is a dimension of cyber warfare. Worst-case cyber attack scenarios that could kill millions of Americans — by, for example, causing a protracted blackout of electric grids through cyber-induced over-voltages, or by manipulating controls to destroy transformers — can be addressed by many of the protective measures long recommended by the Congressional EMP Commission. One of the most welcome and needed features of the EMP Executive Order is the requirement that the vulnerability of vital critical-infrastructure equipment be established through empirical testing in EMP simulators. DOE, the national labs, and their partners in the electric power industry, such as the Electric Power Research Institute have long — and incorrectly, in my opinion — insisted that the national electric grid would be little damaged and quickly recover from any natural or nuclear EMP. Yet, these studies rely on computer models that are no more trustworthy than “independent laboratory assessments” by the cigarette industry that once suggested no causal linkage between smoking and lung cancer. In effect, they have done nothing to improve or safeguard national security. There is no substitute for EMP testing of equipment, which was last done comprehensively by the Congressional EMP Commission. The EMP Executive Order is a bipartisan victory. Visionary Republicans and Democrats, in Congress and among the states, have provided leadership toward national EMP preparedness — often laboring alone, without help from previous White House administrations since 1995.
Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses | The White House
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Purpose. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems. Human-made or naturally occurring EMPs can affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability. The Federal Government must foster sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the Nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs.


Trump Nominates New Uniformed Leaders for Army, Marines – WSJ
President Trump nominated a pair of top generals as the new leaders of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, the first in a series of expected changes in the military leadership.
Space Force nominees coming within ‘weeks,’ Shanahan says
The leaders for Space Command and the Space Development Agency have already been named.
Trump’s Space Corps proposal has the right stuff, Shanahan tells Congress
When it comes to the Space Corps, the head of the House Armed Services Committee and the White House are not on the same page.
Indian anti-satellite test shows importance of Space Force, Shanahan says
India’s test destroyed a government-owned system in low-Earth orbit.
Air Force wish list includes more F-35s, tankers … and some money for advanced tech to confuse Russia and China
The list could give lawmakers an excuse to ramp up quantities of the Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 and Boeing-produced KC-46.
All the Ways the US Military’s Infrastructure Crisis Is Getting Worse – Defense One
The weather damage to Tyndall and Offutt AFBs adds to a multibillion-dollar backlog of deferred maintenance that’s taking a strategic toll.
US Air Force: We Need $5 Billion To Fix Weather-Damaged Bases – Defense One
Without the cash, service says it will cut pilot training, ground planes, stop other base construction projects.
Why the DoD must rethink digital talent
The Department of Defense must create strategies to attract, recruit, develop and promote a “digital talent” workforce that will government compete and dominate the global software arena, according to a draft report released by the Defense Innovation Board.
Retiring old cruisers?
According to budget documents the Navy wants to retire its oldest cruisers. But can the plan survive Congress?
Shanahan Approves $1 Billion in Pentagon Funds for Trump’s Wall – Bloomberg
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan gave the green light for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use as much as $1 billion in military funds to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
William Cohen: Trump’s ‘inconsistency’ undermines his administration
Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen says President Donald Trump is a “disruptive force” in politics, and his inconsistency could undermine his administration.
What’s the state of play for a ‘Defense Secretary Shanahan’?
Asked about an Inspector General’s investigation, Shanahan said: “I welcome it. It’s not an issue to me.”
EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Shanahan Says ‘Of Course’ He Wants to Be Defense Secretary – Defense One
Under increasing scrutiny, the acting secretary — and his allies — make the case for President Trump to nominate him.
Shanahan ethics agreement released in wake of department investigation
New details have been released about the ethics pledge signed by Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – Wikipedia
Andy Marshall, the Pentagon’s ‘Yoda,’ dies at age 97
Marshall led the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for 42 years.


Mike Pence Promises Americans Will Be Back On The Moon By 2024 – AOL News
At the National Space Council the Vice President said that the U.S. was again in a ‘space race’ and promised that American astronauts will go to the moon.
US aims for humans on Moon in five years – BBC News
Vice-President Mike Pence says he wants Nasa to return astronauts to the Moon within five years.


Netanyahu, Ilhan Omar spar over role of AIPAC’s political money: ‘It’s not about the Benjamins’ | Fox News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back Tuesday at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) weeks after her remarks deemed anti-Semitic triggered controversy.
From AIPAC to Netanyahu, 2020 candidates face tough questions over Israel – CBS News
&quot;Face the Nation&quot; moderator Margaret Brennan has an early look at the 2020 candidates, and where they stand, on these issues.
Pompeo Condemns Rise of Anti-Semitism, Blasts Britain’s Labour Party | Newsmax.com
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday condemned the rise of anti-Semitism as a “cancer metastasizing” in the Middle East, Europe and in the United States, where he said the Trump administration would vigorously oppose it. In a speech to a major pro-Israel U.S. lobby group in Washington, Pompeo accused Britain’s opposition Labour Party of tolerating anti-Semitism, calling it a “national disgrace.” He said attacks against Jews were increasing in France and Germany and hate crimes against Jews in the United States were up by one third in 2017. He slammed the “multiple attacks” on the Orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Pompeo said anti-Zionism – opposition to the existence of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people – was a form of anti-Semitism that was on the rise. “The Trump administration opposes it unequivocally and we will fight it relentlessly,” he said, “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Earlier on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights in a boost for Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu, who faces an election on April 9. Some political analysts say that Republicans hope support for Israel will attract Jewish voters and note Republicans in Congress were outspoken in condemning comments by Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar that some viewed as anti-Semitic.
Liz Cheney: Dems Caving in to Anti-Israel Elements of Party | Newsmax.com
Democrats are enabling the anti-Semitism in their party and caving to radical, anti-Israel elements who have seized control, Rep. Liz Cheney, who chairs the House GOP Conference, said Tuesday.
Schumer rails against ‘ancient poison’ of anti-Semitism in AIPAC remarks | Fox News
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer lamented what he called the “ancient poison” of anti-Semitism Monday evening during a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference in Washington, in which he criticized both President Trump and a fellow Democrat, freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, without mentioning either one by name.
Israel Lobby Convenes in Washington Amid Fraying Bipartisanship and Rising Tension – The New York Times
On the surface, the annual Aipac conference looks relatively unchanged. But recent actions by President Trump and rising criticism of Israel on the left are taking a toll.
Mike Pence smears Ilhan Omar in AIPAC speech: Did he just prove her point? | Salon.com
Vice president plays for Jewish votes, attacks Democrats for not supporting pro-Israel, anti-BDS legislation
Ilhan Omar systematically takes apart Netanyahu’s Aipac speech: ‘He wants to silence me, but I am not alone’ | The Independent
Ilhan Omar has responded to Benjamin Netanyahu in an excoriating series of tweets after the Israeli prime minister rebuked her comments about the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) over US politics. 
Rep. Ilhan Omar faces hundreds of protesters outside CAIR fundraiser in California | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar faced hundreds of protesters Saturday outside a Southern California fundraising event for the local chapter of a major advocacy group representing Muslim-Americans.
Ilhan Omar tells Muslim group to ‘raise hell’ over discrimination | TheHill
Rep.
Ilhan Omar at CAIR speech tells Muslims to ‘raise hell’ – Washington Times
Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democrat dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, told Muslims in a speech Saturday to “raise hell” and “make people uncomfortable” in defense of their rights.
As Dems grapple with Omar fallout, GOP plugs more measures on anti-Semitism
Amid growing tensions over how members from both political parties address rising anti-Semitism in the U.S., congressional Republicans are trying to take a more pointed approach legislatively
Tlaib continues call for Trump’s impeachment, says he’s ‘most dangerous threat’ to democracy | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is continuing to push for the impeachment of President Trump — even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded there was no collusion with Russia.
Note Accusing Rashida Tlaib of ‘Jihad Against the Jews’ Posted on Her Office Door
Michigan congresswoman condemns “hateful rhetoric.”
Senate rejects Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal in 57-0 vote blasted as a ‘sham’ by Dems
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the ambitious plan to create jobs and improve the environment to a vote to force Democrats to take a public stand on the measure and try to divide the party’s moderates and progressives.
Trump says he wants to campaign against the Green New Deal | TheHill
President Trump said Wednesday that he wants to campaign against the Green New Deal.
Ocasio-Cortez Says She Receives Death Threats Daily | Newsmax.com
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., reveals she receives death threats “every day.”
Debating Whether Democrats Are Socialists – WSJ
Alan Blinder implores Democrats to stop pretending to be socialists. Judging by their actions, they aren’t pretending.
The Fact Checker’s video guide to socialism – The Washington Post
When President Trump and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez talk about socialism, it doesn’t sound like they are talking about the same thing. Here’s a guide to socialism.


U.S. Lawmakers Rip Trump’s Proposal For Massive State Department Funding Cut
U.S. lawmakers from both parties have ripped President Donald Trump’s plan to drastically cut funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
HarrisX Poll: Majority of Voters Open To Second Trump Term | Newsmax.com
A majority of registered voters say they’re open to giving President Donald Trump a second term — with almost a quarter of them citing the economy as their reason, a new poll showed Monday.A majority of registered voters say they’re open to giving President Donald Trump a second term — with almost a quarter of them citing the economy as their reason, a new poll showed Monday. In the HarrisX survey conducted for The Hill, 54 percent said they’d think about voting for Trump; 46 percent said they wouldn’t even consider casting a ballot for Trump. The economy will figure prominently in voters’ decision, according to the poll; 22 percent of those saying they could vote for Trump cited the economy as their primary reason. “Clearly the economy is always the issue in every presidential election,” GOP pollster Ed Goeas told Hill.TV. “Because that’s what it always is. Jobs, the economy, taxes. Basically, do people feel their lives are doing better economically than when that president went in?” The margin of error in the poll — which was conducted before a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was released — is plus or minus 3.1 percent points.
2020 Dems Are Light on Foreign Policy — But Will It Matter? – Defense One
“None of these guys, with the exception of Biden, have the chops,” said one longtime Democratic strategist.
Former astronaut running for Senate in Arizona returns money from paid speech in UAE | TheHill
A spokesman for Mark Kelly (D), a former astronaut running for Senate in Arizona, said Friday that he has returned tens of thousands of dollars he made last year from a paid speech in the United Arab Emirates.
Report: Pence Talked Dan Coats out of Resigning | Newsmax.com
Report: Pence Talked Dan Coats out of Resigning


Mueller’s Most Lasting Legacy May Be on K Street – Foreign Policy
The special counsel’s investigation has upended Washington’s influence industry.
The Mueller Bitter Enders – WSJ
The special counsel wraps up his work and opens up another Democratic split.
Mueller report is a distraction for Trump, Democrats from policy
From the upcoming 2020 election to never-ending policy concerns, Trump and Congress must put the Mueller report and all its drama on the back burner.
The Mueller report is more than 300 pages long. We’ve seen 101 words – CNNPolitics
When people can’t see things, conspiracy theories fester. That goes double for President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which he’s made clear he’ll be keeping from public view, making many people wonder what he could be hiding.
Republicans on House Intelligence Committee call on Chairman Adam Schiff to resign over Mueller report. They claim he promoted “false narrative” of Trump collusion – CBS News
Several Republicans, including President Trump, have called on Schiff to resign after the release of the attorney general's letter on the Mueller report
Mueller Report Exceeds 300 Pages, Raising Questions About Four-Page Summary – The New York Times
The page count suggests the special counsel detailed his conclusions beyond Justice Department requirements. And it raises questions about what the attorney general might have left out of his summary.
Graham derides Dems’ ‘Oliver Stone approach’ to Mueller report | Fox News
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday said congressional Democrats have taken an “Oliver Stone approach” to the Mueller report. This, after Attorney General William Barr said earlier this week that the special counsel could not establish that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian officials to sway the outcome of the 2016 elections. 
Trump’s Treachery Goes Way Beyond Russia
He’s not working for Putin. He’s working for any dictator who flatters him. By WILLIAM SALETAN
U.S. Lawmakers Urge Quick Release Of Mueller’s Russia Report
U.S. lawmakers have expressed hopes for a quick release of the details contained in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited confidential report into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election — an investigation that has consumed the nation the past 22 months.
Top U.S. Legal Officer To Release Mueller Report Within Weeks
Congressional Democrats have demanded Barr turn over the entire report to them by April 2. That would only leave a week for the Justice Department to complete its review.
America’s Big Advantage Over China and Russia: Demographics | Newsmax.com
America’s Big Advantage Over China and Russia: Demographics

 

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