Belarus · Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (78)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia’s internal meltdown continues. Chaos in Belarus. Genuine turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa – Algieria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Iran. IRGC now deemed, as it should have been 40 years ago, a terrorist organisation. Netanyahu wins another term. Erdogan’s AKP crashes and burns in municipal elections. Indo-Pak disagreement continues. DPRK shuffles top positions. Much on the PRC.

In the UK, Brexit mayhem continues. Protests across the Balkans. Update on racial intolerance movements. Venezuela – Sen Scott warns of Venezuela as a FOB for Russian and Chinese forces. Assange cast out and arrested, after alienating people he could not afford to alienate.

Cyber and Facebook again.

In the US a vigorous debate over the new Space Force. Strategy / policy update. More mayhem in Congressional politics.


Russia / Russophone Reports


Kremlin Critic Khodorkovsky Says Putin’s Circle Wants Him To Remain In Power Beyond 2024

Former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky says political and business circles close to President Vladimir Putin want him to remain in power after his fourth term ends in 2024.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Can Ordinary People Save the Non-Russian Languages? Some Activists Think So
Paul Goble Staunton, April 11 – Vasily Kharitonov and Fyodor Alekseyev, two of the founders of the Country of Languages project, argue that ordinary citizens can in fact do a lot to help save non-Russian languages at a time when Moscow is reducing state spending on them by dropping the requirement that they be required courses in the non-Russian republics. But in an extensive interview with the Nazaccent portal, the two point to three problems that need to be overcome, all of which arise from the fact that “language activists” almost always come from urban areas while most of the speakers of non-Russian languages are rural (nazaccent.ru/content/29636-v-boj-idet-hipstota.html). First, the activists focus on the Internet, something almost everyone in the cities is connected to but that many in rural areas are not. Second, their portals focus on issues of the day that may be of interest to urbanites but aren’t to many in rural areas. And third, there is a huge disconnect between the size of the problem and support for it. If the non-Russian languages are to be saved, they suggest, activists must build on the remaining speakers and extend their practice into other groups by talking about issues of the widest possible concern. As the two put it, a Buryat site on beauty salons or one on Vietnamese cookery is more useful than one on politics. That requires looking beyond the urban milieu from which the activists spring. Otherwise, however much they appear to be doing, they are speaking only to each other and not doing much to promote the spread of the languages they hope to keep alive, Kharitonov and Alekseyev say. And they need to find new ways to “monetarize” their Internet efforts, attracting sponsors from the business community. That is the only way forward given the size of the task and the lack of money and support from the government, but it is not something that appears to guide the work of many activists at present, the two say. On the one hand, this interview reflects the combined interests of activists in maintaining these languages and of Russian officials in suggesting to the Russian-speaking community – and this interview was not surprisingly in Russian – that private efforts can be sufficient to do the job, thus letting Moscow off the hook. And on the other, it is a clear indication of the defensive position language activists have now assumed given the size of the task and the difficulties of overcoming both their own visions which are limited by their urban backgrounds and the end of the requirement for the study of these languages in public schools. To be sure, there is much language activists can do to popularize the non-Russian languages; but the task is both larger and more difficult than many of them imagine – and the steps they are taking, the two activists suggest, often look far more impressive than they are, exactly what the Russianizers and Russifiers hope.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian System Seeks to Cut Cost of Labor as Much as Possible to Have Money for State and Elites, Prokofyev Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 11 – All talk about raising the standard of living notwithstanding, Dmitry Prokofyev says, Russian bosses and the Russian state behind them “have no motivation for a growth in consumption” because their business “doesn’t depend on the domestic market” and because the lower consumption is, the more money is left for the bosses and the state. There is a limiting factor to this drive to suppress consumption, the Moscow economist continues. It is the danger that those below will ultimately revolt. But finding the minimum level of consumption possible that will avoid that is something that can be established only by trial and error (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/04/11/80173-zarplaty-stali-nedostoynymi). Naturally, Prokofyev continues in his Novaya gazeta article, “this policy of the bosses is justified by the best of intensions, the desire to ensure industrial growth … but the medicine which the bosses are using to cure that and the low productivity of labor turn out to be almost worse than the disease itself.” Like their Soviet predecessors, Russian managers and the state try to keep consumption as low as possible so as to have as much money for their own purposes which sometimes include state goals like military buildups but now also are dominated by the desire of managers to enrich themselves and to send money abroad for safekeeping. The Russian leaders know it is important not to push too far: After all, the Soviet Union collapsed less because of the decline in oil prices than because people could no longer purchase what they had money for. Thus, ensuring that their incomes do not go up is a way to limit social unhappiness because then people can’t buy and the shelves stay full. Keeping wages or at least what they can purchase as low as possible allows the bosses to take in more money in part for their own purposes and because of the nature of the Russian system for the state to do so for its purposes since it controls no less than two-thirds of the economy, Prokofyev continues. Statistics bear out that this is what bosses and the state behind them are doing. Over the last year, profit for the economy as a whole rose by a third. That money was supposed to go for investments, but instead, investment fell to the lowest level in the last six years and capital was shipped abroad at an unprecedented rate. This is all happening, Prokofyev says, because “inspire of the fantasies of the bosses, Russia is not an industrial but a trading country. It was that under the Rurikides and Tsar Ivan. And the percentage of trade in GDP in Soviet times was twice as high as the similar figure for the United States.” “Of course, the bosses would like to see industrial complexes instead of trade malls,” because that would make it even easier to extract resources from the population. “But the problem is that investment in trade or services requires confidence in the growth in the role of the potential customers. If there is no such growth, there won’t be any investment.” That is where Russia is today, the economist says. Consequently, the bosses and the state will continue to seek ways to extract ever more money from the population by holding down wages, boosting the pension age, or increasing direct or hidden taxes because the bosses believe that spending by individuals is wasteful while spending by them or the state is important. In Soviet times, the state boosted its income and kept consumer demand low for most goods by selling vodka. Now, the Russian authorities are using mortgages in much the same way – and that is why housing costs in Russia are so much higher than they are in other countries similarly situated. If people have to pay a lot for housing, they have less money for other things. All this reflects the fact, Prokofyev says, that “the Russian bosses objectively do not have any motivation for an increase in popular consumption;” and consequently, “to hope for pay increases is quite senseless” whatever officials declare. To change that will require a wholesale change of the system.
FSB adds allegedly tortured activists’ left-wing community to Russia’s list of terrorist organizations — Meduza
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has added the “Set” (Network) community to its list of terrorist organizations, citing a decision by the Moscow District Military Court on January 17, 2019, which entered force on March 14.
Terrorists or terrorized? What you should know about Russia’s counter-terrorism case against leftist activists — Meduza
A court in St. Petersburg has begun reviewing the merits of a felony case that involves 11 left-wing activists from St. Petersburg and Penza, who are accused of plotting to overthrow the government by staging multiple terrorist attacks. One of the two antifascist suspects on trial in St. Petersburg has confessed to the charges, though his relatives say he only did so after repeated beatings in jail. The second defendant, meanwhile, maintains his innocence. Meduza reviews what we know about the hearings.
‘No reactive measures were taken’: Russian prosecutors blame mass cancellations of pop and rap concerts on concert organizers themselves — Meduza
At the end of 2018, official pressure led to the cancellation of more than 40 concerts throughout Russia. A handful of acts appeared to be targeted disproportionately, especially the pop groups IC3PEAK and Friendzone along with the rappers Husky and Eldzhey. Although government involvement played a key role in that wave of suppression, Russia’s youth parliament, which is tied to the State Duma, took the administrative initiative to ask regional prosecutors for reports explaining the causes of the cancellations.
A republic unites ‘Meduza’ reports from the ground on Ingushetia’s remarkable months-long protest movement — Meduza
Since the fall of 2018, residents of Ingushetia have held ongoing protests against a newly proposed border with Chechnya. On paper, there has been no formal border since the Chechen-Ingush ASSR split into two Russian federal subjects in 1991. On an objective level, a legal demarcation is necessary, but the border bill that the governments of both republics approved in the fall gave Chechnya more than seven percent of Ingushetia’s territory. As Ingush citizens protested, first against the deal itself and then against the government’s attempt to eliminate the need for a popular vote on it, both the region’s intelligentsia and Islamic fundamentalists took part. By April, that struggle against municipal, regional, and federal government forces had become a war of entrenchment: law enforcement agencies began searching and arresting opposition activists en masse. Meduza asked journalist Vladimir Sevrinovsky to speak with members of the Ingush protest movement in Magas and Nazran.
‘It’s very difficult to make a decision for the entire nation’ ‘Meduza’ interviews a high-ranking legislator in Ingushetia, where unusually persistent protests have broken new ground in Russian civil dissent — Meduza
Mass protests have been ongoing in the North Caucasian republic of Ingushetia since the fall of 2018. At first, residents of the Russian federal subject were protesting a land trade that would shift some Ingush territories to the neighboring republic of Chechnya. When the Ingush parliament began considering a law that would repeal the region’s current referendum requirement for territorial changes, protesters shifted their attention to that amendment. In April, authorities began searching and arresting opposition leaders in Ingushetia, the local Internal Affairs Ministry leader resigned, and government officials stopped speaking with journalists. However, Meduza was able to speak with a vice speaker of the People’s Assembly of Ingushetia, Vasily Svetlichny. He told us that avoiding bloodshed and pursuing diplomacy are both very important but that he believes the protests were provoked externally, not that they emerged from a grassroots effort.
European Court: Russia Violated Navalny’s Rights With House Arrest
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russian authorities violated the rights of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny by placing him under house arrest in 2014.
UAWire – Putin’s chef’s company sues Navalny for $23 million
The company Moskovsky Shkolnik (“Moscow School Student”), owned by Yevgeny “Putin’s Chef” Prigozhin, is suing Russian opposition leader Alexei …
Russian Woman Killed After Water Pipe Bursts In St. Peterburg
A Russian woman has been killed after an underground water pipe burst near a residential building in the city of St. Petersburg.
Russian Director Serebrennikov Freed From House Arrest
A Moscow court has ordered the release of theater director Kirill Serebrennikov and two associates from house arrest.
Two Men Detained For Allegedly Installing Mock Putin Gravestone In His Hometown
Two activists from the Agit Russia group who allegedly installed a mock gravestone with the name Vladimir Putin on it have been detained by police in Russia’s second-biggest city, St. Petersburg.
U.S. Embassy Visits Whelan In Jail, Complains Russia Still Not Providing Evidence
The U.S. Embassy says officials have visited Paul Whelan at a notorious Moscow jail, and complained that Russia has yet to offer evidence to back up espionage charges filed against the former U.S. …
EU, Ex-Soviet Republics To Extend Partnership Beyond 2020
The foreign ministers of the European Union and six former Soviet republics will meet next month to endorse an extension of the Eastern Partnership Program.
Moscow Court To Hear Appeal For Bail From Former Khabarovsk Governor
A Moscow court is due to hear an appeal on April 8 in the case of Viktor Ishayev, the former governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region who faces embezzlement charges.
Former Russian Deputy Culture Minister Charged In Hermitage Fraud Case
A former deputy culture minister of Russia has been charged with organizing a criminal network in the embezzlement of money designated for St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum.
Lawyer: Crime figure charged in Russian lawmaker’s killing – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
Activists Detained In Russia’s Arkhangelsk After Landfill Protest
Russian police have detained several activists who took part in a protest against the construction of a new landfill near the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk.
Ford Workers in Russia Protest Planned Closure
Ford said last month that it’s leaving the Russian car market and closing two assembly plants and an engine plant, after years of lackluster sales
Theatergoers Greet Russian Director After Release From House Arrest
Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov, who spent nearly 20 months under house arrest, showed up at a theater performance of a play he directed on April 9 in Moscow after he was released the previous day. Serebrennikov and two associates are on trial in an embezzlement case they say is politically motivated.
Another Mock Putin Gravestone Reported In St. Petersburg
Another mock gravestone with the name Vladimir Putin on it has reportedly appeared in Russia’s second-biggest city, St. Petersburg, which is the hometown of the Russian president.
Anonymous Bomb Threat Disrupts Trial Of Russian Soccer Stars
The high-profile trial of Russian soccer players Pavel Mamayev and Aleksandr Kokorin who have been charged with battery and hooliganism was disrupted in Moscow on April 11 after an anonymous bomb t…
Accountant Testifies Against Russian Director Serebrennnikov In Embezzlement Case
An accountant implicated in a high-profile embezzlement case involving a famous Russian theater director has told a court in Moscow that he and his co-defendants had masterminded the scheme.
Russian Prisons Reportedly Suspend Yoga After Claims It Makes Inmates Gay
Yoga “provokes uncontrollable sexual arousal that can lead to homosexuality,” warned a letter sent to the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office.
‘Very Important Precedent:’ Russian Court Rules Transgender Woman Was Fired Illegally
In a decision hailed as the first of its kind in Russia, a St. Petersburg court has ruled that a printing house illegally fired a transgender woman who had worked there for years as a man.
Saving Mansur The Air Bear
Russian pilots rescue and adopt an abandoned bear cub that they find near a runway.
Russian ‘Whale Jail’: Cousteau Says Freeing Them Will Take Time
French oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau has arrived in Russia to help free dozens of whales captured for a failed business venture.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: 30 Years Ago Today, Soviet Forces Thought They’d Crushed Georgia but Two Years Later It was Free

Paul Goble Staunton, April 9 – Thirty years ago today, Soviet forces used poison gas and entrenching tools to disperse a demonstration in Tbilisi, apparently believing that force alone would be enough to stop a people committed to their own dignity and independence. But a little over two years later, Georgia and the other former Soviet republics were free. Georgians will never forget or forgive what Moscow did to them, especially now when 30 years later, “the Russian army occupies a significant part of the territory of Georgia,” Mikhail Kaluzhky says (graniru.org/Politics/World/Europe/Georgia/m.275890.html). But the events of 1989 are a reminder of how powerful a people enraged can be relative to a repressive state. Today, Georgians have paused to remember what the Soviet military did and is doing and even more the price Georgians paid not just for their freedom but for the freedom of everyone. It is entirely right and proper that all people of good will should do so as well because the Tbilisi events were far more important than is often assumed. Boris Vishnevsky, a Yabloko deputy in St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly, provides an especially valuable recounting of what happened. On April 9, 1989, he writes, “military forces dispersed an opposition meeting at Government House” in the Georgian capital (echo.msk.ru/blog/boris_vis/2404189-echo/). The Soviet military used gas and entrenching tools against the unarmed demonstrators. Sixteen of them were killed on the spot and another three died later in hospital. Some 200 participants were hospitalized and “about 4,000 had to seek medical care,” Vishnevsky continues. The Sobchak Commission, formed by the First Congress of Peoples’ Deputies of the USSR, spoke about “’the excessive use of military force’” but it didn’t name any specific individual or hold them accountable. But despite this, Vishnevsky argues, “this was one of the first applications of the army against the people in perestroika times – and I think that from that moment on, the independence of Georgia was pre-determined. In the republic, they haven’t forgotten or forgive this.” Vishnevsky recalls that he visited Tbilisi four months later to take part in a conference and he asked people he met “who can tell me what occurred in April?” His interlocutors immediately told him all they knew and took him on a tour of all the places where the tragedy happened. The following day, his Georgian friends showed him a many-hours-long film about the events of April 9, a film that Vishnevsky says, he doesn’t think anyone in Petersburg ever saw. But returning to the northern capital, he told people what he had seen. People were transfixed, but soon other actions overshadowed what had happened in Tbilisi. None of the military was held accountable, and today many Russian nationalists view the commanders in Tbilisi in April 1989 as heroes who defeated in their view the first “color revolution” organized by the West and directed against the USSR. But any victory they achieved was Pyrrhic: it didn’t last long and it came at a higher price than they expected. Tragically, for many non-Georgians, those events are remembered only on “round” dates, five years from the tragedy, tend, twenty, thirty …” But two things must be recalled at all times. On the one hand, those with guns always look more powerful but typically prove far less so even more rapidly than anyone expected. And on the other, Vishnevsky concludes, had those responsible for the Tbilisi massacre been held accountable at the time, “much that occurred later possibly would have been avoided.” They weren’t and on the shoulders of those who didn’t do that weighs a guilt almost equal to that of those who attacked peaceful demonstrators in Tbilisi a generation ago.
Putin Offers Russian Help To Build Kazakh Nuclear Plant
Russia’s president has offered his country’s help to construct a long-debated nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan, lending new traction to a long-contested plan.

Belarus Reports


UAWire – Belarus decides to raise tariff for Russian oil transit by a quarter

Belarus has notified the Russian company Transneft about its plans to raise oil transit tariffs by 23%, reports the RBC news agency with …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka has Lost Any Credit He had in Belarus or the West by Vandalizing Kuropaty
Paul Goble Staunton, April 5 – Many in Belarus and the West recently had developed a more positive attitude toward Alyaksandr Lukashenka because of his opposition to Vladimir Putin’s obvious push to absorb Belarus into Russia; but whatever credit he had gained in Belarus or the West, he lost yesterday when he ordered his goons to destroy the crosses at Kuropaty. The Belarusian powers that be – and it has never been more appropriate to call them that than to label them “the authorities” – destroyed dozens of crosses at Kuropaty, the site of mass graves from Stalin’s time whose discovery by Zenon Paznyak in the late 1980s played a key role in the rise of the modern Belarusian national movement. The goons claimed the crosses had been erected illegally and they then proceeded to arrest more than a dozen of 200 Belarusians who staged a march through the memorial to the victimization of the Belarusian people by the Soviet system, a memorial Lukashenka has never visited (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/4/329408/) and sought to close down but had never taken such thuggish actions against (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/5/329456/). The destruction of the crosses, the arrests of peaceful demonstrators and the transparency of Lukashenka’s desire to wipe out any memory of what Moscow did to his people in pursuit of some improve relationship with Putin outraged Belarusians, Western diplomats and democratic governments around the world (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/4/329415/,charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/4/329394/charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/5/329427/ and charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/4/329383/). As one Belarusian writer put it, “the path to a free Belarus lies through the condemnation of the crimes which were committed by communism and through repentance to our fathers and grandfathers. All such criminals must be condemned because they committed a genocide against the Belarusian people” (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/5/329456/). But instead of honoring the memory of the dead and condemning those who killed them, Lukashenka has now tried to white out the memory and thus let the mass murderers off the hook, a crime that Belarusian Nobelist Svetlana Alexievich says she did not think even Lukashenka was capable of (news.tut.by/economics/632646.html). According to Paznyak, who first called attention to the mass graves at Kuropaty, Lukashenka’s actions are “the beginning of a war,” one in which the Belarusian people are entering the final battle with the Belarusian dictator in the name of their past and their rights (belaruspartisan.by/politic/459588/). That divide between the people and the power in Belarus is all the deeper because on the same day that Lukashenka destroyed the crosses over the mass graves of Belarusian victims of Stalin, his regime ordered the renaming of a street in a Belarusian city: It will no longer bear the name of a Belarusian writer; instead, it will feature a Soviet chekist (reform.by/ulicu-adama-mickevicha-v-rechice-pereimenovali-v-chest-chekista/). The Putin regime couldn’t be more pleased. Not only has Lukashenka behaved in ways exactly equivalent to the ones it has used, but he is now so isolated at home and abroad that he will have little choice but to do what the Kremlin wants. Some in the West can be counted on to say that he must be given support because he may be a bastard but he could be ours. But there are some actions that put even members of that category beyond the pale, and this is one of them. Lukashenka will now be remembered not as someone who played the Russians and the West to save his country but as someone who sought to destroy his nation’s memory in the name of whitewashing its murderers.
Two Activists Detained As Protests Continue At Minsk Memorial Honoring Soviet Victims
Two activists in Belarus have been detained as protests continued over the fate of a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk where at least 30,000 people killed by Soviet authorities were buried duri…
Independent Television Channel’s Offices Searched in Belarus
Belarusian police have searched headquarters of the popular Belsat TV, a subsidiary of Poland’s Telewizja Polska.
Computers Returned To Raided Independent Belarusian TV Channel
An independent TV channel based in Poland and broadcasting into Belarus says all computers seized by Belarusian police during a recent raid of their Minsk office have been returned.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Commentator Says Wood from Crosses Torn Down at Kuropaty Can Now Be Put to Good Use
Paul Goble Staunton, April 6 – Andrey Mukovozchik, a pro-Lukashenka commentator for Minsk’s Sovetskaya Belorussiya, says that all the wood from the crosses that were demolished by government agents this week can now be used to build something useful for the people of the republic (sb.by/articles/posledniy-khayp.html). This tone-deaf response to outrage by Belarusians and governments and organizations around the world, outrage that echoes the horror many felt when the Soviets vandalized churches and used the wood for other buildings and when the Nazis paved roads with Jewish grave stones is intended to show that Alyaksandr Lukashenka is confident he can weather this storm. But he and his regime may have miscalculated this time. Belarusians view his destruction of the crosses at Kuropaty as a direct attack on their nation, and they too are not inclined to forget, forgive or back down this time, however willing they have been in the past given Lukashenka’s willingness to suppress opposition by force. On the one hand, both the Belarusian National Congress is calling for a public prayer service tomorrow at Minsk’s Freedom Square about this government outrage, and the Belarusian Christian Democrats are also calling for prayers outside the city’s main cathedral (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/5/329430/ and charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/5/329460/). And on the other, there is evidence that at least some Belarusians are now thinking about or even are prepared to take more radical actions against the authors of the Kuropaty outrage: Posters have appeared in the city of Brest showing Lukashenka hosted on a pitchfork and bearing the simple legend “It’s Time!” (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/4/6/329601/). Lukashenka probably has enough force on which he can rely to hold on to power. But if the challenges grow – and doing something as outrageous and absurd as cutting down crosses put up by religious people who only want to commemorate their ancestors is the kind of thing that can lead to that – he could have to turn to Moscow for assistance. That may be what the Kremlin wants: it may even engage in provocations intended to produce that outcome. As a result, the coming days may be the most fateful in Belarus’ post-Soviet history.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Lukashenka Suffers Three Self-Inflicted Wounds from Kuropaty Fiasco
Paul Goble Staunton, April 10 – Alyaksandr Lukashenka has suffered three self-inflicted wounds his decision to demolish the crosses at the site of the Kuropaty mass graves: he has lost whatever sympathy he had among the population, he has likely made it impossible for any Western leader to receive him, and he has called attention to splits within his own regime. That Lukashenka lost whatever sympathy and support he had among Belarusians is no surprise: Not only did he by his actions at Kuropaty dishonor their history but insulted their intense national commitment to honoring the dead and especially those who died for the cause of Belarus. Today, a group of Belarusians took to Lukashenka’s office to hand over a petition protesting what he did. It declared that by his actions at Kuropaty, the Belarusian president had effectively “gone to war against the Belarusian people” (belsat.eu/ru/news/zashhitniki-kuropat-trebuyut-ot-lukashenko-vernut-kresty-na-mesto/). The Belarusian leader may not care about that: his track record of abusing and ignoring his own population is legendary. But he will care very much about the second consequence of his actions. It is almost inconceivable in the wake of what he did at Kuropaty that any Western leader will now be willing to host him in his or her capital. Belarusian commentator put it both classically and bluntly: By his tearing down of the crosses at Kuropaty, “a cross has been put on possible Lukashenka visits to NATO neighbors.” That deprives him of one of his major cards in dealing with Russia and thus leaves him in a significantly weakened position internationally. But it is the third self-inflicted “wound” that probably disturbs Lukashenka the most because it points to more troubles ahead for his regime and his personal survival in office. According to analysts at Belarus in Focus, the decision to destroy the crosses at Kuropaty highlights not only the failure of Lukashenka to think about the consequences of his actions but also about something else. And that is this: it highlights the internal disagreements within his regime, disagreements that may now emerge more publicly and more consequentially given Lukashenka’s rash action at Kuropaty (belarusinfocus.info/by/security-issues/konflikt-vokrug-kuropat-prodemonstriroval-vnutrennie-raskoly-vo-vlasti reposted at thinktanks.by/publication/2019/04/10/konflikt-vokrug-kuropat-prodemonstriroval-vnutrennie-raskoly-vo-vlasti.html). The negative reaction of Belarusian civil society to the Kuropaty outrage was completely predictable, but the equally negative reaction of “a number of political officials, including those who had been considered close to Lukashenka as well as representatives of businesses affiliated with the government” shows that the country has entered an entire new political era. How much these will matter remains to be seen, but at the very least, as the journal’s analysts observe, they already show that “the Belarusian regime is far from as monolithic as it is customary to think.” And that is something Belarusians in the government and out as well as Russia and the West are now going to factor into their calculations.
Lukashenka’s ‘Auschwitz’ Rant Invites Backlash Over Farm Policies, Lessons Of History
The man in charge of the cows that led Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to compare their treatment to conditions at a Nazi concentration camp isn’t the only one questioning the president’…
Belarusian Man Busted For ‘Pornography’ Over Rammstein Video Post
Posting a video on the Internet years ago of the German industrial metal band Rammstein has landed a man in Belarus in hot water with authorities who have charged him with producing and distributin…
Belarus: Europe’s Last Executioner
Belarus is the last country in Europe to have the death penalty. Since 1991, about 300 death sentences have been carried out in the country. The condemned prisoners are shot in the head. The body is not given to the family and the place of burial remains a state secret.
‘A Hidden Extradition’: Iranian Murder Suspect Fights Deportation From Belarus
Nearly seven years ago, an Iranian man based in Belarus was accused of brutally killing his mother and brother in Tehran. His family and rights watchdogs say he will face torture and execution if B…

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports


Lindsey Graham on Twitter: “I completely support Secretary Pompeo and the Trump Administration’s decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization. https://t.co/ch31eQv5Ml” 

Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter: “Today @POTUS designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Our Administration is standing FIRM against the Iranian threat & we’ll continue to apply MAXIMUM pressure to stop Iran from exporting terrorism around the globe.”
 
Rand Paul to Pompeo: You do not have ‘permission’ for war with Iran – POLITICO
Pompeo was testifying before the Republican-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Pompeo Is Warned Against Sidestepping Congress for Conflict With Iran – The New York Times
Against escalating tensions with Tehran, a Republican senator says the Trump administration must understand it is not authorized to attack Iran.
Speaking truth to evil: Trump hits Iranian terrorists
The Trump administration has served the Iranian people and the cause of truth by dubbing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group. The Revolutionary Guard uses violence and economic leverage to achieve authoritarian ends. Calling them terrorists is salutary candor. The designation also serves the cause of peace. The Revolutionary Guard controls vast swathes of Iran’s economy from the energy industry to telecommunications. This gives them control over a feudal system with which to distribute resources to its supporters and fund its aggression. But it’s worse than that. Because the Revolutionary Guard manages its business interests poorly and with disregard for the public interest, its feudalism has turned Iran’s economy into an inefficient behemoth. Preventing market entry and competition, the Revolutionary Guard ensures that it is the necessary one-stop shop for individuals and businesses alike. President Trump’s action on Monday changes that for the better. When the terrorist designation goes into effect next week, the Iranian government knows that foreign corporations will be reluctant to sign new business deals. They’ll fear U.S. sanctions. The economic pressure constrains the Revolutionary Guard’s ability to cause harm around the world. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard currently uses operations officers, contract agents, and sympathizers to plan and conduct terrorist activities across our planet. Whether it is attempting to blow up restaurants in D.C., or politicians in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, or Israeli diplomats in India and Thailand, or starving civilians in Syria and Yemen, the Revolutionary Guard proves it means what it says. The Revolutionary Guard absurdly claims to serve the 82 million strong Iranian nation. Instead, it exists to force obedience to Khomeinism and absolute clerical authority. That makes Iranians prisoners in their own land. The guard knows this, which is why it formalizes vast structures of repression. These include the Basij militia which involves roving gangs of armed men driving around Iranian cities attacking any who do not bend in deference. Fortunately, Iranians have a new cause for hope. Listing the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity, foreign businesses will have to proceed far more cautiously in assessing whether they wish to do business with the Revolutionary Guard’s front companies. As the Revolutionary Guard loses business, other Iranian business interests will have an opportunity to fill the gap. We also hope that Revolutionary Guard officers will fight among themselves as they are forced to fight over an ever shrinking pie. In short, we salute this decision and encourage Trump to press America’s allies to follow suit.
Iranians rally against US move against paramilitary force | Fox News
Iranians have rallied against the U.S.’s decision to designate the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization.
Iran threatens retaliation over potential Revolutionary Guard terrorism designation – Washington Times
Lawmakers in Tehran over the weekend vowed retaliation if the Trump administration moves ahead with a plan to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
World War 3: Donald Trump receives threat from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani | World | News | Express.co.uk
IRAN’s president has issued a bold threat to the US as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
Iran hits back at US by designating CENTCOM ‘terrorist’ group: report | Fox News
The U.S. Central Command — or CENTCOM — was labeled a terroristic group on Monday by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, according to state television.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are terrorists — I’ve seen evidence with my own eyes | The Independent
My childhood was spent learning about the exploits of “Shahid Bakeri” and “Shahid Hemmat”, Revolutionary Guard martyrs in the eight-year war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Every year, from primary school onwards, I cried for their heroic and selfless sacrifices. Looking back, I now realise that I, and millions of children like me, were brainwashed to admire the Sepah — as the
The Revolutionary Guards Are Ready to Strike Back – Foreign Policy
The Trump administration has labeled Iran’s most powerful military branch a terrorist organization—and put Americans around the world in danger.
Rising oil prices make it hard for Trump to crack down on Iran
The oil market is tightening just weeks before President Donald Trump’s deadline to extend sanctions waivers for Iran’s oil buyers.
IRGC’s ‘Terrorist’ Designation Raises U.S. Stakes Over Iran
The unprecedented U.S. decision to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a “terrorist organization” could make interactions in the immediate region, and beyond, more dangerous. Its…
IRGC Terrorist Designation: Trump Offers Clarity on Iran’s Aims – Bloomberg
Finally a U.S. president is willing to ratchet up the pressure on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Revolutionary Guard Corps: Iran hits back at US terrorist claim – BBC News
Tehran responds to the elite unit’s terrorist designation, saying the US itself leads world terrorism.
Iran retaliates after revolutionary guard terror designation – Washington Times
President Trump on Monday officially designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, saying its sponsorship of terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere is unacceptable and that he needed to send an “unprecedented” message that it won’t be tolerated.
Iranian lawmakers wear IRGC uniforms, chant ‘Death to America’ | The Times of Israel
Parliament Speaker denounces US decision to label Iran Guards terror group as the ‘climax of stupidity and ignorance’
Iran’s Khamenei calls U.S. blacklisting of Guards a ‘vicious move’ – Reuters
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States had made “a vicious move” in designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which he controls, as a foreign terrorist organization, state TV reported on Tuesday.
Iran’s Qassem Soleimani will be viewed same as ISIS leader, says Pompeo – The National
US move puts Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief on same level as ISIS fugitive Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Joins Hezbollah, IS, al-Qaida On US Terror List – YouTube
VOA News Published on Apr 9, 2019 The Trump administration announced Monday that it is designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force as a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran’s military is joining the list of terrorist groups it has been sponsoring. Labeling the IRGC a terrorist organization will allow the United States to impose further sanctions on Iran and cripple the businesses that finance the military. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports.
Syria denounces US labeling Iran Guards a terror group as ‘blatant attack’ | The Times of Israel
Damascus calls Washington decision to designate IRGC a foreign terrorist organization a ‘badge of honor’ for Iranian military force
Pres. Rouhani orders installation of 20 IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz site – Mehr News Agency
TEHRAN, Apr. 09 (MNA) – President Hassan Rouhani, via a video conference on Tuesday, ordered the installation of a cascade of 20 IR-6 centrifuges at Natanz nuclear site.
Iran’s Rouhani defends IRGC, says US ‘terror’ label a ‘mistake’ | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Tehran declares the US ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ in tit-for-tat move, while Rouhani vows to defend the elite forces.
US naming Iran IRGC terrorists creates tangle of legislation: analyst
U.S. President Donald Trump’s designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group will make future negotiations with Tehran “more difficult,” according to Emily Hawthorne from geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor.
Iran slams US sanctions by Donald Trump admin on “terrorist” Revolutionary Guard amid chants of “Death to America” – CBS News
Newspapers linked to Revolutionary Guard, declared terrorist entity by U.S., say Trump admin’s move is &quot;permission&quot; to kill American troops
Iranian lawmakers convene with chants of ‘Death to America’ | Fox News
Iranian lawmakers have convened an open session of parliament with chants of “Death to America” following the White House’s decision to designate Iran’s elite paramilitary Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization.
The US Escalates Even Further Against Iran—To What End? – Defense One
Declaring the country’s most powerful security services a terrorist organization is just the Trump administration’s latest move in a long pressure …
Trump designates Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump announced Monday the US will formally designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, a move some in the administration had opposed over concerns about potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.
Trump labels Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terror group – To Inform is to Influence
BY REBECCA KHEEL – 04/08/19 10:20 AM EDT The Trump administration announced Monday it is labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a “foreign terrorist organization,” the first time the United States has applied the label to an entire government entity in a move designed to significantly ramp up the pressure on Tehran. “This action sends a clear message to…
Trump again overrules top brass – POLITICO
Pentagon muzzled in decision to designate Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as terror group.
Saudi welcomes US blacklisting of Iran Revolutionary Guards – Khaleej Times
The ministry hailed the move as a practical and serious step in countering terrorism.
Iran Limply Responds To Possible US Designating IRGC Terrorist Organization – To Inform is to Influence
Whenever I read a response from Iran to anything the US is doing, is contemplating, or planning, I realize Iranian leaders must put on a hyper-macho face. When Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s commander, calls the US government “stupid”, he appears to be flailing about. “If reports prove to be true that the stupid US administration intends to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, then the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] will also specify the US army as a group like ISIL in all parts of the world, specially the Middle-East,” Jafari said. Secondly, when Iran says such a designation could “destabilise the region and draw a tit-for-tat response”, I wonder how Iran could become less stable and how designating the US army as a terrorist organization by Iran could possibly make an impact. Over the last 40 years since hardliners overtook Iran, there have been repeated threats made that small groups of terrorists would be infiltrated into the US. 40 years of threats with nothing accomplished. Perhaps it is this overwhelming sense of non-accomplishment that motivates the Iranian leadership. The IRGC and most notably the Quds force are clearly a terrorist organization. They are not a coherent military force and do not have the capabilities of a conventional military force. Their actions are terroristic, they deserve the designation. </end editorial>
Iran Warns U.S. Over Plan to Brand Guards as a Terrorist Group – WSJ
Top Iranian officials have threatened retaliation against American forces in the Middle East in response to the U.S. plan to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
Iran rebukes US over rumoured IRGC ‘terrorist’ designation | News | Al Jazeera
Move by Washington to blacklist elite security organisation would draw reciprocal action, officials in Tehran say.
Iran threatens to retaliate if US designates Revolutionary Guards as terrorists | Fox News
Iran will take retaliatory action against the United States if the country designates its elite Revolutionary Guards as terrorists, Iranian parliamentarians said Sunday.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to be designated a terrorist group by the U.S. — an unprecedented move – CBS News
Unprecedented move, controversial even within the Trump administration, would significantly increase pressure on Tehran and tensions in the region
Trump administration taking new steps to pressure Iran | Fox News
In an unprecedented step to ramp up pressure on Tehran, the Trump administration is planning to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Iran leader says Iraq should demand US withdraw troops
Iran leader says Iraq should demand US withdraw troops
US poised to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization – To Inform is to Influence
Surprisingly, this isn’t being picked up by the Mainstream Media. Perhaps that is because #44 should have done this? </end editorial> by Jerry Dunleavy April 06, 2019 03:58 PM The Trump administration could designate an element of Iran’s military as a foreign terrorist organization as soon as Monday in an unusual move, according to multiple reports. Though…
US poised to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization
The Trump administration could designate an element of Iran’s military as a foreign terrorist organization as soon as Monday in an unusual move, according to multiple reports.
U.S. to Designate Iranian Guard Corps a Foreign Terror Group – WSJ
The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. officials said, a step that would vastly escalate the American pressure campaign against Tehran but which has divided U.S. officials.
US to designate elite Iranian force as terrorist organization
The move marks the first time Washington formally labels another country’s military a terrorist group.
U.S. to designate elite Iranian force as terrorist organization – Reuters
The United States is expected to designate Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist organization, three U.S. officials told Reuters, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a terrorist group.
Constraining Iran’s missile capabilities
Despite the efforts of the United States and others, Iran has managed to acquire the largest and most diverse missile force in the Middle East.
Iran’s Khamenei urges Iraq to force out U.S. troops ‘as soon as possible’ – Reuters
Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iraq on Saturday to demand U.S. troops leave “as soon as possible”, during a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that showed off Tehran’s strong influence in Baghdad despite U.S. pressure.
In Tehran, Rouhani and Abdul Mahdi back deeper Iran-Iraq ties | Iran News | Al Jazeera
In a joint press conference, the two leaders agree on the need for stability and peace in the region.
Flooding In Iran Kills At Least 70, Forces Evacuation Of Thousands : NPR
Record rainfalls over the past two weeks have killed people across 13 provinces. Forecasters expect heavy rain to continue over the next few days, forcing the evacuation of regions bordering Iraq.
Iran floods: Mass evacuations amid warnings of heavy showers | News | Al Jazeera
Fresh flooding may affect 400,000 people in southern Iran, officials say, after 70 people were killed by rising waters.
Lebanese defense minister says US policy on Hezbollah will not pay off
Speaking in Jordan at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, the minister said Lebanon was a “mosaic country” that had to be dealt with in a different way.
US Penalizes British Bank $1B in Iranian Trade Sanctions Case   
US prosecutors: Standard Charter Bank processed 9,500 transactions worth $240 million from 2007 to 2011
Global Executions Fall 31 Percent, Driven by Iran, Report Finds – The New York Times
At least 690 people were executed last year, Amnesty International said. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq were the world’s death penalty leaders.
Love In The Time Of Travel Bans
An American-Iranian couple says they’re not ready to give up on their dream of spending their lives together, U.S. travel ban or not.


Netanyahu can thank populist leaders around the world for his victory, including Trump – ThinkProgress
Israeli election a decisive win for Netanyahu and right wing
Fears rise that Netanyahu could now attempt to annex the disputed territory of the West Bank.
Israel’s Netanyahu wins reelection with parliamentary majority: tally – Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to reelection on Wednesday, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a parliamentary majority despite a close contest against his main centrist challenger, a vote tally showed.
Netanyahu says Trump named Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group at his request – Los Angeles Times
In Israel, the Trump administration designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group is seen by some as an election eve gift to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israelis prepare for elections as experts cite cyber threats
Despite Israel’s thriving tech sector and vaunted security capabilities, experts say its laws are outdated and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government hasn’t made cyber threats a priority.
Israel election: Binyamin Netanyahu on course for fifth term | World | The Times
Israelis went to the polls this morning in an election widely regarded as a referendum on the controversial, decade-long rule of Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister.Mr Netanyahu, who is close to President Trump but has alienated other western allies over his hardline Palestinian policies, is runn
Israel election: PM Netanyahu seeks record fifth term – BBC News
PM Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term but faces a strong challenge from a retired general.
Israelis go to polls to decide on Netanyahu’s record reign – Reuters
Israelis began voting on Tuesday in an election that could hand right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a record fifth term or see him dethroned by an ex-general who has pledged clean government and social cohesion.
As Israelis Head to Polls, It’s All about Netanyahu | Newsmax.com
As Israelis Head to Polls, It’s All about Netanyahu
Israel PM vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected – BBC News
Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments come three days before the country’s general election.
Netanyahu says he will annex West Bank settlements if re-elected – CBS News
On Israeli television, Netanyahu said &quot;yes we will move to the next stage&quot; on Israeli settlements, which the United Nations has deemed illegal
Netanyahu falls behind in Israel polls but still holds path to stay in power – Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen behind his main challenger in opinion polls ahead of next week’s Israeli election but still has an easier path to form a government that would keep him in power for a record fifth term.
Red Sea rivalries: The Gulf, the Horn, and the new geopolitics of the Red Sea
On April 18, the Brookings Institution will host an event on unpacking the changing geopolitics of the Red Sea and consider the role of the United States and other foreign actors in this emerging theater.
The Golan Heights: What’s at Stake With Trump’s Recognition | Council on Foreign Relations
President Trump’s reversal of half-century-old U.S. policy will in practice change little in the strategic territory occupied by Israel, but it could have far-reaching diplomatic reverberations.


UAWire – Russian Foreign Minister comments on attacks in Syria without mentioning Israel
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was extremely evasive in his comments to Arab journalists about the Israeli operations in Syria. In an …
UAWire – Russian military leave key positions in northern Syria
The Russian military left Tel Rifaat, a key city in the Aleppo province in northern Syria, reports Al-Masdar News. The Russian military left the city after a week of joint maneuvers with the armed forces of Turkey. Despite the withdrawal of the Russian military, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) refused to leave the village and strengthened its defense positions in the Tel Rifaat area. It is also reported that Turkey could not agree with Iran on the withdrawal of troops from the suburbs of Aleppo. The Iranian armed forces rejected the demand of the Turkish side to leave the cities of Nubbol and Al-Zahra, where the members of the Hezbollah Islamist movement are stationed. On April 10, it became known that the SAA forces launched a large-scale offensive in northwestern Syria in response to the ISIS attack the day before. During a night raid of the militants at least six Syrian soldiers were killed. In December 2018, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced the withdrawal of the main group of Russian troops from Syria.
🇷🇺 🇹🇷 Syria joint patrols: Russia and Turkey announce Idlib deal | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Apr 9, 2019 Russia and Turkey are ready to start joint patrols to secure the last rebel stronghold in Syria. The deal for Idlib province was announced in Moscow during a visit by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both countries also reiterated their determination to go ahead with a missile defense deal, which is angering the United States. Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from Moscow.


Erdogan’s setback in Turkey’s local elections may not hurt him that much. This is why. – The Washington Post
Erdogan’s party might have suffered defeat in cities, but data shows nationwide results are not that unusual.
Erdogan’s Party Demands New Vote in Istanbul After Losing Election – The New York Times
The Justice and Development Party apparently lost control of Turkey’s largest city, a blow to the power and prestige of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan’s Worst Enemy Is His Only Ally – Foreign Policy
The real winner of Turkey’s local elections is the ultranationalist MHP party.
Opinion | The Rise and Rise of the Turkish Right – The New York Times
The opposition parties challenging President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offer another version of the right-wing nationalism of his party and its nationalist partner.
Turkish Election Board Rejects Recount Call in 31 Istanbul Districts
Erdogan’s comments, his strongest challenge yet to the election process in Turkey’s largest city, briefly drove the lira down and also weighed on Turkish stocks
Turkey: Erdogan Blames ‘Organized Crime’ for Islamist Party Election Loss
Erdogan claimed that his ruling Islamist party lost the March 31 mayoral elections in Istanbul and Ankara because of “organized crime.”
Erdogan Weighs Efforts to Overturn Istanbul Vote Defeat
Erdogan raises tensions over contested Istanbul vote, suggesting a repeat of the vote as the opposition vows to defend vote
Turkey’s ruling party seeks vote recount after setback for Erdogan – Los Angeles Times
Turkey’s ruling party said Sunday it will appeal for a full recount of all votes cast in Istanbul’s mayoral election, which the opposition narrowly won in a major setback for President Recep Erdogan.
Erdogan’s AKP Calls for Recount of Mayoral Election in Istanbul
In what could be a huge political setback, the ruling party lost races in both Istanbul and Ankara last week
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Circassian Election Successes in Turkey Echo in North Caucasus Homeland
Paul Goble Staunton, April 6 – Ethnic Circassians won election to numerous city councils in Turkey, with at least one becoming mayor, a set of victories that Circassians in the North Caucasus homeland very much hope will allow Circassians there to lobby effectively on behalf of their co-nationals in both places. Circassians in the North Caucasus have always looked to the Circassian community in Turkey not only because it is larger, at least four times as big as the various Circassian nations have been divided into by Moscow in the North Caucasus, but also because it is freer to operate and express its views than those living in Russia. But they have always been skeptical about Turkey’s Circassians because Moscow has worked hard to keep them divided and isolated from the North Caucasus and because the Circassians of Turkey because they are so well integrated into Turkish political parties and the Turkish community often behave more as Turks of one strand or another rather than Circassians. The Kavkaz-Uzel news agency interviewed six people involved with the Circassians in the North Caucasus. They expressed some hopes but acknowledged that the victories the Circassians had won were individual, that the Circassian community is not politically organized, and that its immediate prospects for influence are small (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/333947/). Asker Sokht, the vice president of Adyge Khase in Krasnodar kray, pointed out that the Circassian national minority has long been represented in government bodies in Turkey and that to a certain extent, it has been able to promote the development of ties between Turkey and the Circassian homeland. The latest victories may accelerate that trend. Aslan Beshto, president of the Kabardin Congress, in contrast was more skeptical. “Politically,” he said, “the Circassians as a people in Turkey are very passive. This must be accepted as a fact of life.” Circassians in Turkey vote along party lines but not along ethnic ones – and that is changing only very slowly. Georgy Chochiyev of the North Ossetian Institute for Humanitarian and Social Research says that the Circassians of Turkey have numerous organizations but collectively they have only two “strategic goals.” First, they want to gain the rights of an ethnic minority in Turkey; and second, they want to develop as much as possible links with the North Caucasus. Aleka Kvakhadze of Tbilisi’s Rondeli Foundation said that the situation in Turkey is best understood in the following way: “there are influential Circassians but no influential Circassian lobby.” The recent elections don’t change that. He doesn’t expect any new projects designed to expand ties between Turkey and the Circassians of the North Caucasus. Anzhelika Tokhtamysheva, a Circassian in Turkey, said that in her experience, Circassians there do not stress their identity beyond the families and the diaspora. “In society,, they are Turks.” And Denis Sokolov, a specialist on the North Caucasus now working at Washington’s CSIS, said that “the Circassians of Turkey are not a political factor there.” The only time they have acted like a political community, he said, was when they tried to provide help to Circassians seeking to flee Syria.
Reason to hope for freedom in Turkey
A week after the opposition shocked Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan by winning key local elections, it looks like the tyrant isn’t going to try to steal victory back.
The Latest: Turkey’s leader defends demanding vote recount | Fox News
The Latest on Turkey’s local election (all times local): 4:20 p.m. Turkey’s president says his party’s demands for vote recounts to challenge the unofficial results of Sunday’s municipal elections are only natural.
Losing its luster – how Erdogan party’s campaign put off Istanbul voters – Reuters
It was midnight on election night when Turkey’s main opposition party finally believed it had overturned a decade and a half of failure at the polls and delivered a stinging defeat to the country’s master campaigner, President Tayyip Erdogan.
Istanbul mayoral candidate confident of win after recount | Fox News
The opposition party’s mayoral candidate in Istanbul says he’s confident that the result of a recount of votes in the city will confirm his victory, and renewed an appeal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to help end the standoff.
Turkey expands Istanbul vote recount after ruling party challenges losses – Reuters
Election officials expanded a vote recount in Istanbul late on Thursday, CNN Turk said, as the ruling party of President Tayyip Erdogan pushed its appeal against its shock defeat there in local elections.
Turkey’s Ruling Party Hopeful of Overturning Istanbul Election – Bloomberg
Binali Yildirim, the ruling AK Party’s candidate for Istanbul mayor, said he was confident his defeat in March 31 elections would be overturned as votes declared invalid are recounted this weekend.
Turkey’s opposition worries as Istanbul votes go to recount | Fox News
The mood among opposition supporters in Turkey’s biggest city is one of jubilation but also worry — fear that their win in Istanbul’s mayoral race could be overturned in a recount taking place after the ruling party challenged the election results.
Erdogan’s AK Party appeals for annulment of Istanbul local elections: Haberturk – Reuters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) has appealed to annul local elections in Istanbul, broadcaster Haberturk said on its website on Friday, after initial results showed the opposition won a narrow victory in the city.
Erdogan should seize the chance for change in Turkey – The Washington Post
The Turkish president’s electoral defeat should serve as reason for a rethink.
One of Europe’s Largest Airlines Is Changing Gates for Erdogan – Bloomberg
Turkish Airlines is packing up and moving its base to the new $11 billion Istanbul airport in a key test of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s splurge on infrastructure.
Last flight leaves Ataturk as Istanbul switches airports – Reuters
The last commercial passenger flight took off from Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on Saturday and convoys of trucks ferried thousands of tonnes of equipment across the city to a giant new airport which Turkey plans to make the biggest in the world.
Photos: Inside $12 billion Istanbul New Airport, biggest in the world
Istanbul New Airport, which is now opened for business, will be able to handle 200 million passengers a year and has a massive duty free area as well as on onsite Yotel.
This airport will cost $12 billion to make
The massive growth of Turkish Airlines is one of the major reasons for Istanbul New Airport, which officially opened in October of 2018.
Putin, Erdogan Meet In Moscow For Talks On Syria, Economic Ties
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met in Moscow for talks expected to focus on the conflict in Syria and the countries’ booming economic ties.
Vanguard Outshines Bond Peers as Bearish Turkey Bet Pays Off – Bloomberg
By betting against the lira in the run-up to Turkish elections last month, Vanguard Asset Management netted one of the top returns among emerging-market bond funds. Money-manager Nick Eisinger sees no reason to switch from his bearish view.
What if Turkey squeezed the London lira market to death? – Reuters
Turkey’s authorities have shown over the past month they are capable of squeezing the life out of the $35 billion (26.75 billion pounds)-a-day London lira market – but the cost of killing it off completely would be high for country itself.
HSBC Turkey chief acquitted of insulting Erdogan | Fox News
Turkey’s state-run news agency says a court has acquitted HSBC bank’s Turkey chief of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan through Twitter.


Alexander Yakovenko on Twitter: “FM #Lavrov: Long-lasting crisis in #Libya is a direct result of @NATO illegitimate intervention. The consequences: chaos in the country, instability in the #MiddleEast & terrorism spread. #NATO70… https://t.co/6HFBOD5efZ”
Interview: Russia Seeks To ‘Capitalize On Opportunities’ In Libya
RFE/RL spoke with Tim Eaton, a research fellow with Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa program, about Russia’s role in the present crisis in Libya, where forces loyal to strongman Khalifa…
Khalifa Haftar’s Miscalculated Attack on Tripoli Will Cost Him Dearly – Foreign Policy
The Libyan general was poised to rise to power. Now his unnecessary assault on the capital is alienating key international backers and potential local allies.
Saudi Arabia Promised Support to Libyan Warlord in Push to Seize Tripoli – WSJ
Days before Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize the capital and attempt to unite the divided country under his rule, Saudi Arabia promised tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the operation, according to senior Saudi advisers.
For Libyan Warlord Haftar, Tripoli Campaign Is a Life’s Work – Bloomberg
For a man who this time last year was lying in a French hospital gravely ill, Khalifa Haftar has made a startling comeback.
Thousands displaced as Haftar’s forces advance on Libya capital | News | Al Jazeera
Over 500,000 children deemed to be at ‘immediate threat’ as General Khalifa Haftar’s forces continue push on Tripoli.
Libya Is On The Brink Of Civil War And A U.S. Citizen Is Responsible: Here’s What To Know | TIME – YouTube
TIME Published on Apr 9, 2019 Dozens of people have been reported killed and scores more injured in clashes on the edge of Libya’s coastal capital Tripoli after warlord Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops to take the city from the U.N.-backed government April 4.
Libya’s GNA forces announce ‘counteroffensive’ to defend Tripoli | News | Al Jazeera
Army of Tripoli-based government vows to reclaim all areas seized by forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar.
How Libya’s Haftar blindsided world powers with advance on Tripoli – Reuters
Western diplomats sat down for three hours with Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in his eastern stronghold last month to try to dissuade him from launching an offensive against the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
Battle Intensifies For Libyan Capital As West Calls For Truce
The United States says it is “deeply concerned” about a battle near Libya’s capital, Tripoli. and is seeking an “immediate halt” to an offensive against the city by commander Khalifa Haft…
U.S. Military Pulls Out of Libyan Capital as Rival Militias Battle – The New York Times
Forces under the command of an aspiring strongman, Gen. Khalifa Hifter, advanced on Tripoli as rival factions attacked from the air for control of the capital, the repository of Libya’s oil revenue.
US withdraws troops from Libya amid rival militias fighting near capital
The United States said Sunday it has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” as a Libyan military commander’s forces advanced toward the capital, Tripoli, clashing with rival militias.
US calls for ‘immediate halt’ to Libya fighting | News | Al Jazeera
US says all sides have ‘responsibility to urgently de-escalate situation’ after 11 more people killed in Tripoli.
Libyan death toll rises as battle for Tripoli intensifies – Reuters
Eastern Libyan forces sought to reach the center of Tripoli on Monday after their easy advance through desert hit a trickier urban phase, with deaths and displacements mounting and the West aghast at the threat to its peace plan.
Libya crisis: Fighting near Tripoli leaves 21 dead – BBC News
Forces led by Gen Khalifa Haftar have ignored all calls to stop their offensive.
A US citizen wants to overthrow a US-backed government in Libya. Here’s why – CNN
Several days of aggressive military advances have suddenly turned the spotlight on Libya once again.
Libyan Warlord Launches Assault to Capture Nation’s Capital – WSJ
A renegade Libyan military commander launched an assault on the capital Tripoli, risking returning the North African country to a full-blown civil war.
Libya crisis: Fighting flares on outskirts of Tripoli – BBC News
The UN’s Libya envoy has insisted that a planned conference on possible new elections will go ahead.
Libya could descend (back) into civil war as UN-backed government in Tripoli challenged by Khalifa Hifter’s LNA – CBS News
An assault on United Nations-backed government by rival force has sparked concerns the tinderbox North African nation could blow up
Libya crisis: Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj vows to defend Tripoli – BBC News
Fayez al-Serraj vows to defend Tripoli as rebel forces advance from the east.
GNA head accuses Haftar of ‘betrayal’, vows to end Tripoli push | News | Al Jazeera
Amid eruption of violent clashes, Fayez al-Sarraj says the self-styled Libyan National Army will meet firm resistance.
UN To Press Ahead With Libya Election Conference Amid Uptick In Fighting
The United Nations says it will press ahead with a national conference next week on possible Libyan elections even as the country teeters on the brink of civil war.
UN Security Council, G7 Demand Haftar Forces Halt Military Advance In Libya
The United Nations Security Council has called on Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar to halt his forces’ advance toward Tripoli, which is under the control of a UN-backed government.
The Latest: Italian minister concerned over Libya escalation | Fox News
The Latest on developments in Libya (all times local): 2 p.m. Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, says an escalation in Libya puts at risk the stability along the southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea.
Libya: Haftar’s ‘ultimate goal’ and the fear of a full-blown war | News | Al Jazeera
As clashes break out near Tripoli, alarm grows over danger of major escalation in Libya’s years-long power struggle.
Libya’s Most Powerful General, a U.S. Citizen, Is Taking Over With or Without the World’s Support
Troops of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army have reportedly secured parts of Tripoli, run by a U.N.-backed government in danger of collapse.
With Haftar’s Forces Outside Tripoli, UN Urges Calm in Libya
International concerns are growing that Libya could see a new cycle of violence as an eastern commander’s forces have their sights on Tripoli


Algeria parliament to meet on Tuesday to name interim president | News | Al Jazeera
The country’s constitution stipulates that the speaker of the upper house of parliament should take presidential reins.
‘He’s doing a great job’: Trump embraces Egypt’s autocratic president | World News, The Indian Express
El-Sissi, 64, a former general who took power in a military coup in 2013, is seeking to amend the Egyptian Constitution to allow him to run for two more six-year terms, which would keep him in power until 2034.
Russian Diplomat Says Cairo Court Charges Five Russians As ‘Extremists’
The head of the Russian Embassy’s consular department in Cairo says a group of Russian citizens who were detained in Egypt in August 2018 have been charged with extremism.
Campaigners head to court to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia | World news | The Guardian
Lawyers for Campaign Against Arms Trade will argue in the court of appeal that UK exports breach international law
Omar al-Bashir: Sudan military coup topples ruler after protests – BBC News
The military says it has arrested President Omar al-Bashir, but protest organisers dismiss the move.
Sudan Defense Minister: Longtime Leader Detained, Army Seizes Power
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been ousted and arrested following nearly four months of protests against his 30-year rule, the defense minister says.
US-Led Afghan Peace Effort Gains Momentum
Addressing inaugural meeting of what is named ‘Leadership Council for Reconciliation’ on Sunday, President Ghani said he hopes effort under government ‘umbrella’ would lead to ending bloodshed in Afghanistan


Pakistan accuses India of plotting fresh military attack – BBC News
The claim is dismissed as “war hysteria” by India and comes weeks after a flare-up in tensions.
India’s BJP releases manifesto ahead of upcoming elections | India News | Al Jazeera
The BJP promises to scrap Article 35A, which prevents non-residents from buying property in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The US is dumping cold water on India’s claim it shot down a Pakistani F-16 | Business Insider
India proudly claimed that one of its Russian-designed MiG-21 fighters shot down one of Pakistan’s US-made F-16s before being downed by a Pakistani missile in a dogfight in February, but a US inventory of Pakistan’s fighters found nothing missing, Foreign Policy reported on Thursday, citing two senior US defence officials.
Pakistan accuses India of planning ‘new aggression’ after Kashmir standoff – CNN
Pakistan’s foreign minister says the government has “reliable intelligence” that India was planning an attack next week — claims its nuclear neighbor immediately dismissed as “irresponsible and preposterous.”
India’s Modi makes election vow to remove Kashmir’s special rights – Reuters
India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said on Monday it would remove decades-old special rights for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, making an election promise that could provoke a backlash in the country’s volatile only Muslim majority state.
What does Pakistan need to close its air defense gaps?
The most recent military standoff between India and Pakistan has exposed longstanding gaps in defenses that now appear to be receiving renewed attention.
India Insists It Shot Down a Pakistani F-16 After U.S. Report Shows It Did Not
Pakistan’s military also showed four alleged Indian air force missiles with their seeker heads intact, warning Islamabad had “more truth to share” to refute New Delhi’s claims.
Pakistan accuses India of war hysteria over downed F-16 claim – Business Insider
Pakistan’s prime minister blamed India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for “whipping up war hysteria.”

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Kim Tightens Leadership Over North Korea In Major Government Reshuffle : NPR
The North Korean leader shunted aside a pair of long-serving senior officials and seated a newly elected parliament. The move is thought to be aimed at helping Kim ride out U.S. sanctions.
Kim solidifies power with North Korea leadership shake-up | TheHill
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has solidified his power in his nation after the country’s government named a new head of state and premier, granting Kim the new honorary title of “supreme representative of all the Korean people.”
North Korea’s new nominal head of state guided Kim Jong Un from the beginning – Reuters
North Korea’s new nominal head of state is a long-time loyalist with deep ties to the ruling Kim family and whose fortunes have closely followed the rise of leader Kim Jong Un, analysts said.
North Korea’s Kim says must deliver ‘blow’ to those imposing sanctions: KCNA – Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country needs to deliver a “telling blow” to those imposing sanctions by ensuring its economy is more self-reliant, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Thursday.
Kim Jong Un says North Korea must deliver ‘telling blow’ to those imposing sanctions | Fox News
North Korean leader Kim Jung Un said a telling blow” needs to be dealt to those imposing crippling sanctions through a more self-reliant economy during a Wednesday meeting of the nation’s ruling party, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
North Korean parliament re-elects Kim Jong Un to key panel | News | Al Jazeera
Parliament carried out key reshuffles in its meeting, including appointment of Kim Jae Ryong as premier of the cabinet.
North Korea’s ruling party to meet amid ‘tense situation’: state media – Reuters
North Korea will hold a plenary session of its ruling party’s central committee on Wednesday, a day after leader Kim Jong Un chaired a politburo meeting to discuss ways to make progress under the “prevailing tense situation”, state media reported.
‘Tense situation’: North Korea convenes top-level meeting | News | Al Jazeera
Meeting comes a day ahead of the opening of the country’s parliament and also a US-South Korea summit.
North Korea Crisis: Back in 1968, Pyongyang Captured 82 Americans (But Washington Did Not Attack) | The National Interest
What happened?


U.S. sails massive, F-35-laden warship in disputed South China Sea | The Japan Times
In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef cla
China’s Next Naval Target Is the Internet’s Underwater Cables
(Bloomberg Opinion) — As the West considers the threat posed by China’s naval ambitions, there is a natural tendency to place overarching attention on the South China Sea.
Search Ends for 3 Sailors Missing After C-2A Crash – USNI News
Pompeo suggests woman arrested at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort may have been spying for China | Business Insider
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested Friday that Yujing Zhang, the woman who breached security at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida club, may have been a Chinese spy.


Civilising China? A contentious social credit system moves boldly forward – CNA
A social experiment, in which good behaviour is rewarded and undesirable acts face repercussions, is raising questions about what the future holds …
EU-China summit: Why tensions between Europe and China are rising – CNN
An annual summit between the European Union and China threatens to expose deep cracks in the foundation of one of the world’s most important trading relationships.
Europe Claims Progress in Prodding China to Open Its Market – Bloomberg
Europe claimed a diplomatic win in the push for China to pursue fairer economic policies.
China, EU Hail Breakthrough Investment Agreement
Announcement at this week’s annual summit of EU and China leaders comes amid uncertainty over trade negotiations between US and China and threats by President Donald Trump of more tariffs against European Union
China’s trade with US slumps as tariff war hits demand – business live | Business | The Guardian
Latest Chinese trade data shows that imports from America have tumbled in 2019, as Donald Trump’s tariffs bite
China reports March trade data on exports and imports
China’s exports for the month of March came in much higher than expected, while its imports came in much lower than expected, according to customs data released on Friday.


China is becoming an election issue in Asia. And that’s bad news for Beijing – CNN
Two years ago, Indonesian President Joko Widodo — also known as Jokowi — stood shoulder to shoulder with Xi Jinping for a group photo to celebrate the Chinese leader’s Belt and Road project.
U.S. Will Be Philippines’ Only Military Ally, Foreign Chief Says – Bloomberg
The U.S. will remain the Philippines’ only military ally, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said, amid an increased Chinese presence near a disputed island in the South China Sea.
Russian warships arrive in the Philippines amid rising South China Sea tensions – CNN
Two Russian destroyers and a tanker have docked in the Philippines for a “goodwill visit” amid escalating tensions in the disputed South China Sea.
China is ‘threat to world’ says dissident writer
A dissident writer dubbed the “Chinese Solzhenitsyn” said Friday that his homeland is a “threat for the whole world”. Liao Yiwu, who was jailed for writing a poem called “Massacre” about the Tiananmen Square protests, told AFP that it would be better for mankind if the
Why a U.S. Sale of Fighter Jets to Taiwan Matters | RealClearDefense
Why a U.S. Sale of Fighter Jets to Taiwan Matters | RealClearDefense
Raytheon awarded $9M for support for Taiwan’s Patriot missile system – Defence Blog
The manufacturer of the Patriot missile system, Raytheon has won a contract valued at as much as $9 million for support for air defense missile system of the Republic of China Armed Forces, commonly known as the Taiwanese Armed Forces. According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense, Raytheon Southeast Asia Systems Co., was awarded a $9 million firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales contract for support for Taiwan’s Patriot mobile missile defense interceptor. Work will be performed in Taipei, Taiwan, with an estimated completion date of April 3, 2024. The Patriot missile system is a ground-based air defense missile system designed to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, and short-range and tactical ballistic missiles. Since January of 2015, Patriot has intercepted more than 100 ballistic missiles in combat operations around the world; more than 90 of those intercepts involved the low-cost Raytheon-made Guidance Enhanced Missile family of surface-to-air missiles. Raytheon has built more than 220 Patriot fire units and delivered them to customers in 16 nations. Many of those countries have chosen to take advantage of Patriot’s flexible architecture and upgrade their systems. That translates into global interoperability. Countries with Patriot can – and do – train together. And if need be, they can operate together in combat.
China interrogated Australian residents over ties to Turnbull government adviser – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
In what’s been described as a show of contempt by Beijing, Chinese intelligence officials have targeted two Australian residents over their ties to a former Turnbull government adviser who was working on a top secret report with ASIO.
Australian security adviser told writer not to fly to China | Fox News
A security adviser to an Australian prime minister says he warned a Chinese-Australian writer not to travel to China before the blogger and critic of China’s Communist Party was detained on arrival at a Chinese airport in January.
Ly Tong, ex-fighter pilot known as the ‘Vietnamese James Bond,’ dies at 74 – Los Angeles Times
Ly Tong, a former fighter pilot known as the ‘Vietnamese James Bond’ for his daring stunts including hijacking a plane to drop political leaflets over his homeland, dies at 74.
Ly Tong, San Jose’s “Vietnamese James Bond,” dies
Mandarin is weaving its way into Africa, one classroom at a time | CNN Travel
Inside a brightly-lit classroom, around 20 schoolchildren are enthusiastically singing the Chinese national anthem. But the school is in Kenya.
China’s construction binge spreads to Americas, rattles US – Business Insider
China’s expansion of its Belt and Road initiative to Latin America is stirring alarm over Beijing’s goals in a region the US sees as off-limits.
EU, China Rescue Summit Plan to Present United Front to Trump – Bloomberg
The European Union and China managed to agree on a joint statement for Tuesday’s summit in Brussels, papering over divisions on trade in a bid to present a common front to U.S. President Donald Trump, EU officials said.

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

European millennials don’t know much about the E.U., other than that they like it
Weeks before the European Parliament elections, many young Europeans say they know relatively little about how the E.U. works.
Trade war: US will turn on the EU after China, OECD warns
Once the U.S. and China have reached a trade deal, the world’s largest economy will amplify tensions with the EU, according to the chief economist of the OECD.


UK parliament very likely to consider new Brexit referendum – Hammond – Reuters
The idea of a second Brexit referendum is very likely to be put before Britain’s parliament again although the government remains opposed to any new plebiscite, the British finance minister said on Friday.
Hammond plays down Brexit delay increasing chance of second vote | Politics | The Guardian
Time likely to be too tight for referendum before end of October, says chancellor
Furious Tory MPs will bid to oust May if UK fights Euro poll | UK news | The Guardian
Prime minister says Brexit could ‘slip through our fingers’ as Tory party fears that taking part in EU election would boost far right
Brexit Delay Gives Britain Respite, Enrages May’s Critics
New October 31, 2019, deadline could mean Britain will take part in EU elections in May; and there are a few signs lawmakers will approve May’s Brexit plan
Brexit delayed but Theresa May’s leadership is out of time
Prime Minister Theresa May managed to convince EU leaders to grant the U.K. more time before it leaves the bloc, but experts say her days in office are now numbered.
Brexit: UK and EU agree delay to 31 October – BBC News
Theresa May accepts many people’s “huge frustration” over the delay, but says there is nothing more vital than delivering Brexit.
Germany said they’d miss Britain after Brexit. Now the love has cooled. – CNN
It wasn’t so long ago that German politicians wrote a love letter to Britain, published in The Times, pining for British humour, ales at the pub and a proper cup of milky tea. Timed just before Valentine’s Day, the letter read:
Theresa May to Ask Merkel and Macron for Brexit Delay
Britain’s departure from EU has already been delayed once but PM asking for yet more time as she courts veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, whose opposition Labour Party wants to keep Britain more closely tied to the bloc after Brexit
Theresa May seeks help from Merkel and Macron ahead of critical Brexit summit
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Berlin and Paris Tuesday for talks with the German and French leaders in a bid to secure backing for a second delay to Brexit.
UK’s May: Long Search for Compromise Puts Brexit at Risk
​​May has a plan to enshrine in law a customs arrangement with the EU to win over the Labour Party, Sunday Times reports
Leadsom: Compromise with Labour Possible to Secure Brexit
Andrea Leadsom, Labour’s leader in the House of Commons, suggests ministers are ready to compromise with opposition leader
The present Brexit road will quite simply tear our party apart
On Friday I flew to Berlin to speak about Brexit to a number of politicians and ministers in the German government.
British voters say – Give us a strong leader and reform the Brexit-fatigued system – Reuters
British voters want a strong leader who is willing to break the rules and force through wide scale reform after three years of Brexit crisis pushed confidence in the political system to a 15-year low.
UK lays groundwork to participate in European Parliament elections – CNN
The British government has laid groundwork that would enable it to participate in the European Parliament elections next month, should the UK still find itself in the EU by the time the vote takes place.
British Army chief condemns ‘unacceptable’ behavior after sex assault claims – CNN
The chief of the British Army has attacked the “downright unacceptable” behavior of soldiers after recent allegations — including claims of sexual assault — raised questions over troops’ conduct.
Four Brit soldiers filmed shooting at a target of Jeremy Corbyn ‘face court martial after being flown home for breaking Army’s strict disciplinary code’
The troops involved have been flown home from Afghanistan to explain their ‘unacceptable’ conduct  to Army bosses


French ‘yellow vest’ protesters hit the streets for the 21st weekend – Los Angeles Times
The Champs-Elysees is off limits to protesters this weekend after it was hit by rioting last month.
France riot police throw tear gas at Yellow Vest protesters demanding referendum | World | News | Express.co.uk
RIOT police threw tear gas and made arrests as thousands of Yellow Vest protestors marched across France for the 21st straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.
Italy, France Spar Over Escalating Conflict in Libya
France has oil assets in eastern Libya and supports Haftar in the east, while former colonial ruler Italy supports the UN-backed government of Serraj
UAWire – Baltic States and Poland begin next stage in synchronizing power transmissions systems
The technical phase of the program of the synchronization of the electricity systems of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia through Poland has begun, …


Anti-government protests spread across the Balkans | Fox News
It all started with a video posted on social media: a secret recording from 2016 that appears to show a well-known local tycoon hand over an envelope containing bundles of cash to a party associate of Montenegro’s long-standing leader.
Anti-government protests in Montenegro, Serbia and Albania inspire hopes of ‘Balkan Spring’ | The Independent
It all started with a video posted on social media: a secret recording from 2016 that appears to show a well-known local tycoon hand over an envelope containing bundles of cash to a party associate of Montenegro’s long-standing leader.
Romania Indicts Former President Iliescu for 1989 Revolution Killings
Prosecutors accuse Iliescu of masterminding a plot after Ceausescu fled the capital in 1989, triggering shootings by troops that killed about 862 people
Romania Ex-President To Stand Trial For ‘Crimes Against Humanity’
Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu is to stand trial for crimes against humanity for his role in the aftermath of Romania’s bloody 1989 revolt that toppled communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s…


Matteo Salvini Announces New European Alliance of Far-Right Populists – The New York Times
Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s League party, and like-minded politicians from other countries hope to take control of the European Parliament in elections in May.
Italy’s Salvini Seeks Nationalist Alliance Within European Parliament
Deputy PM and leader of the far-right League Party meets with nationalist groups ahead of European Parliament elections next month
Orban Presses On With Illiberal Democracy
Hungary’s firebrand populist Viktor Orban will face a serious test of his popularity in May when opposition parties try to coordinate their challenge to his ruling party Fidesz in elections for the European parliament
How Serious Is White Nationalist Terrorism? | Council on Foreign Relations
In the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque attacks, public debate is mounting in Western democracies over the severity of the threat posed by far-right extremists.
Anti-Semitism Is Back, From the Left, Right and Islamist Extremes. Why? – The New York Times
Anti-Semitism is now being harnessed for political ends by ideologies that otherwise would have little overlap. That fusion is new, and dangerous, experts say.
Rome moves Roma families from housing project after protests | Fox News
Rome city authorities have begun moving several Roma families out of a public housing project in a Rome suburb after violent protests by neo-fascist groups threatened their safety.
Roma families moved from Italian housing project after violent neo-fascist protests | The Independent
Several Roma families have been forced out of a social housing project in Rome after violent protests by neo-fascist groups.
Rwanda genocide: Nation marks 25 years since mass slaughter – BBC News
The nation will mourn for 100 days – the time it took in 1994 for the slaughter of 800,000 people.
25 years after genocide, Rwanda has a new light, says leader
Speaking at commemoration services Sunday, President Paul Kagame said that Rwandans would never turn against each other again.


Rick Scott: U.S. military should deliver aid in Venezuela | Bradenton Herald
Florida Sen. Rick Scott is urging the U.S. military to get involved in getting humanitarian aid across the Venezuela border after Nicolas Maduro blocked it, and he compared Venezuela to the Syrian Civil War.
Sen. Rick Scott: Russian and Chinese military could ‘hit Florida’ from Venezuela
Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro is giving Russian and Chinese military forces the ability to better infiltrate the American mainland, a Republican senator warned Thursday.
Military intervention in Venezuela? It should be up to Congress
You’d think that the U.S. would be tired of military interventions by now. But with John Bolton in the White House, there’s still plenty of appetite for sending troops to enact Washington’s will abroad, and the obvious target right now is Venezuela.
Venezuela leadership issue still blocking IMF, World Bank aid – Reuters
International Monetary Fund and World Bank shareholders are still undecided on whether to recognize Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido as the country’s leader, the institutions said on Thursday.
Ana Quintana: Mike Pompeo’s trip to South America underscores US commitment to the region | Fox News
It is critical that the U.S. continue deepening partnerships with like-minded nations in Latin America.


Donald Trump’s past praise for WikiLeaks leaves Republicans at a loss – CNNPolitics
They have been quick to condemn WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange — and vow that justice will be served now that its leader has been arrested.
Hillary Clinton unloads on Assange, calls him ‘only foreigner that this administration would welcome to the US’ | Fox News
Bill and Hillary Clinton spoke at New York City’s Beacon Theater as part of their ongoing tour, hours after the arrest of Julian Assange — and Hillary made it clear while unloading on Assange that her 2016 rival was still very much on her mind.
Corbyn stance on Julian Assange sparks anger — but is consistent with his world view | News | The Times
Jeremy Corbyn’s backing for Julian Assange has stunned Labour colleagues who thought they had seen it all before.One member of the shadow cabinet described it as “incredible” and the silence of Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, grows louder by the hour.And yet the Labour leader can cla
We should block extradition of Assange, claims Diane Abbott | News | The Times
The shadow home secretary defended Julian Assange against allegations he raped a woman in Sweden and called for the UK to oppose his extradition.Diane Abbott said “we all know what this is about” after Mr Assange was hauled from the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, yesterday foll
Trump: ‘I Know Nothing About WikiLeaks’; US Seeks Assange Extradition
The 47-year-old Australian national had been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, but was ejected Thursday because he has broken asylum conventions
Reaction to Arrest of Julian Assange in London
Following are comments and reactions to the news
Assange: From Trump Cheers to US Criminal Charges
WikiLeaks founder has often been seen either as a champion of truth, disclosing secret documents, or a threat to others by releasing confidential information
Swedish Prosecutor Receives Request to Reopen Assange Investigation
The request has been assigned to Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson
An eviction notice for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, and a date with justice – Chicago Tribune
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s sanctuary in Ecuador’s London embassy is over. He is charged with conspiring to hack into a classified Pentagon computer. Assange will have his day in court, something he had evaded for so long.
WikiLeaks’ Assange arrested in London, faces US charge
British police arrested Assange after the South American nation decided to revoke the political asylum that had given Assange sanctuary for almost seven years. In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department accused Assange with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon.
Opinion | Is Assange’s Arrest a Threat to the Free Press? – The New York Times
He deserves his fate, but it sets a dangerous precedent.
Gabbard: Assange arrest is a threat to journalists | TheHill
Democratic presidential hopeful Rep.
Prosecuting Julian Assange Puts a Free Press at Risk – The Atlantic
If the U.S. government can prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for publishing classified material, then every media outlet is at risk.
Mark Steyn: Assange indictment ‘extremely weak,’ Americans should be disturbed | Fox News
Conservative commentator Mark Steyn on Thursday said the indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “extremely weak” and blasted the intelligence community on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Why Ecuador ended asylum for ‘spoiled brat’ Julian Assange
Ecuador, which prides itself on its hospitality and spent almost $1 million a year protecting the WikiLeaks founder, saw his behavior as a national insult.
Ecuador says man ‘close’ to Julian Assange arrested | News | Al Jazeera
Interior Minister Maria Romo did not reveal the name of the man but said he was arrested for ‘investigative purposes’.
WikiLeaks says Julian Assange is being spied on in Ecuadorean embassy – Reuters
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been the subject of a sophisticated spying operation in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012, the group said on Wednesday.
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange at Ecuadorian embassy in London target of ‘extensive’ spying operation: group | Fox News
The founder of WikiLeaks has been the target of a protracted spying operation from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up since 2012, the group claimed Wednesday.
WikiLeaks accuses Ecuador of spying on Assange at embassy
Ecuadorian officials say they will comment later on Assange’s allegation that he has been spied on. Relations between Assange and his Ecuadorian hosts have soured recently
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested after Ecuador withdraws asylum | Fox News
Ecuador announced Thursday that it has withdrawn asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder, Is Arrested in London – The New York Times
Mr. Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in 2012. He faces a British charge of skipping bail and is wanted in the United States over the release of secret documents.
Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London – BBC News
He took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over an alleged sexual assault.
Assange Told Judge He’s an Assassination Risk | Newsmax.com
Assange Told Judge He’s an Assassination Risk

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Get Ready for the First Wave of AI Malware – To Inform is to Influence
By Gunter Ollmann on April 09, 2019 While viruses and malware have stubbornly stayed as a top-10 “things I lose sleep over as a CISO,” the overall threat has been steadily declining for a decade. Unfortunately, WannaCry, NotPetya, and an entourage of related self-propagating ransomware abruptly propelled malware back up the list and highlighted the…
CIA Considering Cloud Contract Worth ‘Tens of Billions’ – Defense One
The agency is hungry for more commercial cloud.
Dutch Firm ASML Says It Suffered IP Theft, Rejects ‘Chinese’ Link
ASML says the intellectual property theft involved ‘large files’ on memory sticks taken from its Silicone Valley subsidiary, a developer for machine optimization
What companies should do more of to counter hackers
The cybersecurity automation industry is very pro cybersecurity automation.
How agencies can protect legacy IT as they modernize
As the federal space makes the jump to the cloud and focuses on attracting young talent, there’s a real fear that mission-critical systems will become unprotected while the people that understand them become scarce.


UK to tech execs: Clean up your platforms or face fines – CNN
Tech executives could be hit with substantial fines and criminal penalties under new rules proposed by the UK government that aim to make the internet safe for children and other vulnerable groups.
‘Pathological liars’ – Privacy Commissioner lashes out at Facebook over Christchurch live stream | 1 NEWS NOW | TVNZ
Facebook are ‘morally bankrupt liars’ says New Zealand’s privacy commissioner | Technology | The Guardian
John Edwards calls out social media giant after Christchurch attack for refusing to accept responsibility for harm
New Zealand’s privacy commissioner lashes out at Facebook, calling those behind the company ‘morally bankrupt pathological liars’ | Business Insider
New Zealand’s privacy commissioner lashed out at Facebook, calling those behind the company “morally corrupt pathological liars.”
NZ Privacy Commissioner labels Facebook as ‘morally bankrupt pathological liars’ | ZDNet
John Edwards endorses Australia’s new abhorrent broadcasting laws as an interim measure.
Morally bankrupt Facebook ‘don’t give a Zuck’: NZ privacy watchdog | Otago Daily Times Online News

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

Shanahan Touts Unity in Space-Force Pitch, But Disagreements Clearly Remain – Defense One
It’s a key week for proponents of the Trump administration’s space reorganization — and their detractors.
Chinese threats necessitate new space structures, Shanahan warns
The Pentagon chief is specifically calling out Chinese systems by name — including a ground-based laser — that could hold American capabilities at risk.
Yes To A U.S. Space Command But No To A Separate Space Force
The reestablishment of U.S. Space Command is timely and appropriate but the Trump administration’s proposal to create a new armed service could do grievous damage. Here’s why Congress should say no.
Top US Air Force official takes shots at Space Development Agency’s first project
Moving forward with a space architecture dependent on small, low-cost satellites could result in disaster, warns Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
Did the Pentagon do enough to convince Congress it needs a Space Force?
Pentagon officials were on the Hill to address a key pressure point to convince Congress to support its plan for the war-fighting domain of space.
Rep. Mike Turner on why he’s softened on Space Force, and the importance of an East Coast missile defense site
The lawmaker seems more supportive of plans to establish to Space Force, but that doesn’t mean Congress will accept the administration’s proposal as is, he tells Defense News.
Rep. Jim Cooper talks Trump’s Space Force takeover, and what’s next for nukes and missile defense
Should there be a separate service for space? We check in with the head of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
Colorado emerges as front-runner for Space Command HQ. Do other states still have a chance?
Florida fought hard to be named the home of U.S. Space Command, but didn’t make the first shortlist.
National Reconnaissance Office could join Space Force down the road, Shanahan says
The NRO could eventually join the Pentagon.
‘Space Force’ Windfall Unclear for Eager Defense Companies – Defense One
At Space Symposium, satellite makers big and small say they’re seeing the Pentagon awarding contracts faster, but still aren’t sure what to expect.


Here’s who has been nominated as the new vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be another U.S. Air Force general.
Trump picks next chief of naval operations
The nomination has been forwarded to Congress.
The National Defense Strategy Is No Strategy – Defense One
It’s closer to a call for a new Cold War.
Update: Legislator asks Pentagon to restore contract for storied Jason science advisory group | Science | AAAS
Department of Defense says it will end funding by end of the month
The Pentagon thinks it doesn’t need to talk to the press. Here’s why they’re wrong. – Task & Purpose
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get basic information from anyone in the Pentagon because of the example being set from the very top
Making Security Assistance Work: Rethinking U.S. Efforts to Boost Partner Militaries
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Book Review Roundtable: Building Militaries in Fragile States” from our sister publication, the Texas National
Russell’s Century-Old Plea for the Marine Corps, Updated for 2019
In 1916, The Marine Corps Gazette published Maj. John Russell’s “A Plea for a Mission and Doctrine.” In that article, he discussed the lack of a defined
The False Promises of Trump’s Arms Sales – Defense One
U.S. export deals are undermining regional stability and sending jobs abroad.


Trump Removes Top DHS Staff – Defense One
The slew of departures, apparently without plan or precedent, drew bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill.
Opinion | Kirstjen Nielsen Enforced Cruelty at the Border. Her Replacement Could Be Worse. – The New York Times
She will be remembered for the forced separation of thousands of migrant families.
Kirstjen Nielsen resigning: DHS secretary stepping down after meeting with Trump at the White House today — live updates – CBS News
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will serve as acting DHS secretary
Kirstjen Nielsen makes first public comments after resignation as DHS boss | Fox News
Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made her first comments to the media Monday after resigning her post over the weekend, saying she shares President Trump’s goal of securing the border.


Bernie Sanders: Soviet socialism ‘not my thing’ but ‘Denmark and Sweden do very well’
BURLINGTON, Iowa — Sen. Bernie Sanders told an Iowa audience Saturday afternoon that he did not consider himself a Soviet-style socialist after being asked to clarify the difference between his espoused ideology of democratic socialism and the kind of socialism found in Venezuela.
Thiessen: How bad has Trump derangement syndrome gotten in Washington? – The Mercury News
At the last minute, an award was mysteriously rescinded from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and he was disinvited from the award gala.
Student group decries Columbia prof’s ‘disturbing’ Israel-ISIS comparison | Fox News
A pro-Israel student group at Columbia University has called on the university’s leadership to denounce a Facebook post by an Iranian studies and comparative literature professor in which he compared the Jewish state to ISIS.
AOC mocked for ‘accent’ at Sharpton event; compared to Hillary Clinton | Fox News
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., faced backlash Friday after seeming to develop a new accent while speaking to a predominantly black audience in New York City.
Barack Obama worries about progressives’ ‘rigidity’ leading to party infighting – CNNPolitics
Former President Barack Obama said on Saturday he worries about the far-left, progressive wing of the Democratic party being unwilling to compromise and creating a “circular firing squad” against allies over policy and issue differences.
Trump Mocks Muslim Lawmaker Ilhan Omar – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump made a sarcastic reference to Representative Ilhan Omar during a speech in Las Vegas, a day after prosecutors said a New York man was arrested for threatening to murder the freshman Minnesota Democrat.
Trump attacks Omar after man was charged with threatening to kill her – Vox
Speaking before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump reignited allegations of anti-Semitism against Rep. Ilhan Omar — just hours after one of his supporters was charged for threatening to kill her.
Beto twists Trump words on MS-13 in defending comparison to Nazis | Fox News
2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke made headlines in recent days for comparing President Trump’s immigration rhetoric to that of Nazi Germany — but twisted the president’s words in the process. 
Trump Has a Message for the World: My Trade Wars Aren’t Over Yet – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump is sending a clear message to the economic policy makers gathering in Washington for the IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings: My trade wars aren’t finished yet and a weakening global economy will just have to deal with it.
U.S. Strips Visa From World Criminal Court Prosecutor Pursuing War-Crimes Inquiry : NPR
International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office has previously said it found reasonable basis to think that U.S. personnel “committed acts of torture” and other crimes in Afghanistan.


Democrats Furious At Attorney General’s ‘Spying’ Claim About Russia Probe
Democratic lawmakers have questioned U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s independence from President Donald Trump, saying his support for Trump’s remarks about “spying” during the 2016 presidentia…
U.S. Attorney General To Testify Before Congress On Mueller’s Russia Report
U.S. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on April 9 for the first time since he received and summarized the special counsel’s report on Russia’s…
Attorney General Barr puts team in place to investigate FBI probe of Trump
Attorney General William Barr has established an investigative team that he intends to use to look into the origins of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Ex-Obama Counsel Expects to Be Charged Soon in Mueller-Related Case – The New York Times
Gregory B. Craig would become the first top Democrat to be charged in a case developed by the special counsel.


Greg Craig, former Obama WH counsel, indicted in charges connected to Mueller probe – CNNPolitics
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Greg Craig, a prominent Democratic attorney who worked for two presidents, charging him with making false statements and concealing material information in connection with work he performed for Ukraine in a case stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Greg Craig, ex-Obama White House counsel, indicted for alleged false statements | Fox News
Greg Craig, former White House counsel for then-President Barack Obama, was indicted Thursday on two counts of making false and misleading statements to investigators in connection with his work on behalf of Russia-backed former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
Greg Craig, Ex-Obama White House Counsel, Charged In Ukraine Case : NPR
The well-known D.C. lawyer stepped down from a powerful law firm that has been ensnared in the Russia investigation over failure to disclose work for a foreign client as required by an obscure law.
Former Obama Administration Lawyer Greg Craig Charged With Lying About Work For Ukraine
A grand jury indicted Craig on two counts of making false statements in connection with work that linked him to Paul Manafort.
Ex-White House Counsel Accused Of Lying About Ukraine Lobbying Work
Greg Craig, a former White House counsel in President Barack Obama’s administration, has been indicted on charges of making false statements and concealing information about work he performed in 20…
Obama lawyer expects Mueller-related indictment – POLITICO
The potential charges against Gregory Craig would be over work he did for the Ukrainian government, his lawyers said.


Jill Lepore On Why We Need a New American National Story
Jill Lepore argues that historians’ failure to tell a common American national story has ceded the field to charlatans offering their own twisted versions and allowed a dangerous strain of American nationalism to take hold.
Contract Cheating: Colleges Crack Down On Ghostwritten Essays : NPR
What was once limited to small-scale side hustles has mushroomed into so-called essay mills on the Internet, becoming a global industry.

 

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