Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (81)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The sorry tale of Russia’s descent continues, four especially interesting digests by Prof Goble, and a fascinating report on Chinese immigration to the Lake Baikal region. Has Ukraine also destabilized its friend Kazakhstan?

Two most interesting reports on Iran – the reported defection of a senior IRGC general to the West, and IMF assessments of a collapsing economy. Russia resume airstrikes on hospitals in Syria. Updates on ISIS in Syria, and global and its progenitor, the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey update – more purges. Libya and Saudi Arabia.

The Vozhd’s summit with Kim. State Dept framing competition with the PRC as “a fight with a really different civilization” – mirroring different cultures indeed seldom works. Annual China report. PLA fleet review. Espionage and Huawei. Domestic policy and Belt and Road summit. Much on Japan.

Global problems, UK, France and Visegrad updates.

Facebook bans a number of hate speech purveyors, finally. Cyber updates.

Interesting US reports on defense, Russia, Steele report, and domestic politics.


 

Russia / Russophone Reports

 


 

Kremlin says no foreign leaders expected to attend Victory Day events in Moscow – news world | UNIAN
The Kremlin has announced that no foreign leaders are expected to attend Victory Day events in Moscow, Russia. This will be 74th anniversary of victory in World War II.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Power Vertical Beginning to Show Cracks from Protests about Trash
Paul Goble Staunton, April 25 – Vladimir Putin’s power vertical is based on the idea that those in it invariably care more about those above them than about those below them and do what those above want even if those below object. Centralizing appointments and doing away with genuine elections are intended to ensure it continues without problems. In almost all cases, this arrangement is holding. But two developments in Arkhangelsk suggest that the power vertical there is not nearly as strong as it was and that officials caught between the orders from above and demands from below are beginning to pay far more attention to the latter than they did. In response to the spreading protests about Moscow’s plans to dispose of the capital’s trash in the northern parts of the country, a court in Arkhangelsk has given approval to a group of citizens who have been seeking to hold a referendum on this plan, thus overruling official objections (activatica.org/blogs/view/id/6782/title/arhangelskiy-sud-dal-dobro-na-referendum). And in what may be an even more important response, officials at the local level have joined the population in protesting the center’s plans to dump trash in their home areas without the approval of the locals (vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2019/04/23/800002-vivoza-musora-moskvi). These are relatively small cracks. The center can impede the referendum and ignore local officials, and it still has unchallenged control over the police in the northern oblast, something it demonstrated by deploying them against those demonstrating against the construction of dumps in the north (mbk-news.appspot.com/region/siloviki-nachali-razgonyat-aktivistov-na-shiese/). But even these small cracks are worth noting because they represent something new and unexpected and may sooner or later spread or become the occasion for emulation elsewhere in the Russian Federation, thus presenting a challenge to the center against which it will have ever fewer levers to use.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Always Responds to Problems Not by Changing Course but by Increasing Control, Shelin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, April 30 – In small ways and large, Sergey Shelin says, Vladimir Putin responds to unexpected problems not by changing the policies that produced them but by increasing his control by requiring more reporting or by tightening the screws. His new decree on “assessing the effectiveness” of federal subject heads is a classic example of this. But that approach, the Rosbalt commentator says, has the effect in this case as well as in others of exacerbating the tensions between the Kremlin leader, his officials, and the population rather than resolving anything, however much he and the Presidential Administration believe otherwise (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2019/04/29/1778845.html). The new decree requires more reports about gubernatorial effectiveness, but two things about it show that it is about anything but that. On the one hand, it rates the regional heads on things that are not under the constitution and the law their responsibilities. And on the other, it relies on statistical measures that can at best give a spurious sense of accuracy. The key part of this decree is its first point, the one calling for evaluating governors in terms of “the level of trust to the powers that be (the president of the Russian Federation and higher officials of the subjects of the Russian Federation).” There is no reference to the Duma or local assemblies, let alone to the people who are supposed to be the source of all power. This highlights “one of the most interesting paradoxes” of the Putin system: “The bosses of the regions are formally elected by the people. That is, theoretically, they are responsible to the voters. But in fact, their selection, promotion and subsequent removal is the business of the will of the most high.” Russians have long been accustomed to the situation in which those whom they supposedly elect look first and often exclusively to those who really appointed them rather than to the people. But lately, many of them are demanding that their governors pay attention to their needs. The new decree won’t end that trend; it will only make the contradiction more obvious. Moreover, the decree’s requirement that there be reporting on “the level of trust to the powers that” has nothing to do with “the real attitudes of people.” It is simply a line in a report, like all the other lines in the additional paperwork this decree requires. “Real conflicts and difficulties won’t be included.” Indeed, this is a way for further ignoring them. Perhaps the only good thing one can say about this new decree, Shelin implies, is that it makes clear what many have long assumed to be the case: Putin doesn’t trust the people and doesn’t want his governors to do so either. And because it makes that clear, the decree will cause ever more people to draw the necessary conclusions about his system.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Why Tuva Lost Its Ethnic Russians
Paul Goble Staunton, April 25 – Between 1989 and 2010, the number of ethnic Russians living in Tuva fell from 98,900 to 49,400, with nine of 16 districts of the republic having no Russians at all or five more having only a handful in district capitals, a trend typically explained by Western observers as being the result of Tuvan violence against Russians in 1989-1990. That such violence played a role is beyond question, but that it explains everything as many in Moscow and those who rely on Moscow coverage of the regions and republics beyond the ring road assume is wrong, overstating as this does Tuvan responsibility for what happened and understating the role that Russian policies past and present has played. Roman Tas-ool, a Tuvan commentator provides a useful discussion of why the latter played a far greater role than many assume. His article originally appeared in Tuvinskaya pravda but that source is now inaccessible. Fortunately, his article, “How Tuva Lost the Russians,” has been reposted on the AsiaRussia portal (asiarussia.ru/blogs/21768/). “The impetus for the departure from Tuva of law-abiding ethnic Russian citizens was given by perestroika,” he says. “But not the events in Sumgait, Osh, or the Fergana valley – they occurred later – but rather the quiet death of the system of assignments of graduates of [Soviet universities].” Already in 1986, there were no longer enough being sent to Tuva to fill critical jobs. As a result, by 1988, a third of the rural schools had vacancies among foreign language instructors. That led Russians to decide they needed to leave because they had come to see that studying a foreign language would be critical for their children’s future. Also driving them out was the collapse of major industries like asbestos and cobalt. These social and economic trends were compounded by the new election law. Given that elections began to matter, Russians, already a distinct minority in Tuva, could not hope to retain the top jobs in the republic; and they didn’t. They even lost out in most of the lower-level positions as well. As a result, Tuva looked less welcoming to them than it had. And when CPSU structures were disbanded in 1991, that “in practice” put an end to the Russian presence “in the key positions in the organs of power of the districts and the republic.” The government became Tuvan in fact as well as in name, Tas-ool continues. Adding to all this, he says, is the upsurge in crime, personal crime like that which hit the USSR as a whole after 1953 rather than the economic kind which was predominant in most parts of the Russian Federation in the 1990s. There simply wasn’t the kind of economic infrastructure which could be criminally privatized in the republic.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Media Focus on Foreign Problems Not Domestic Ones Means Russians Give More to the Former and Less to the Latter
Paul Goble Staunton, May 1 – Many people have pointed to and complained about the Russian media’s obsessive focus on the problems in other countries and its sparse coverage of problems at home, a pattern the Kremlin has promoted to distract attention from the domestic situation. But it is having another consequence as well. Because some disasters abroad such as the fire at Notre Dame in Paris receive so much coverage, Russians are quite prepared to send what they can to rebuild it; but because disasters inside Russia like the horrific fires in the Transbaikal get only sporadic notice, Russians don’t try to help the Russian victims of that disaster. This problem has been thrown into high relief by music producer Maksim Fadeyev who wrote on Instagram that “Russians are insufficiently attentive to their fellow citizens. People are trying to help restore Notre Dame de Paris but are ignoring the tragedy of Transbaikal kray which suffered from fires at the very same time” (ura.news/news/1052382894). The URA news agency spoke with various people about this pattern. The reactions of three are especially noteworthy (ura.news/articles/1036278003): Iosif Prigozhin, another produce, said that he feels guilty that he didn’t know about the tragedy in the Transbaikal. One couldn’t watch television or read the news without knowing about the fire at Notre Dame, but there was very little reporting about the fires in Russia’s far east. As a result, he and other Russians responded based on what the media reported. He suggested that this pattern was more than just the result of state policy: “Excessive attention to the problems of others and ignoring one’s own is a characteristic of Russians which probably is fixed in their mentality.” Anton Bakov, a politician and entrepreneur, noted that “the majority of Russians never were in the Transbaikal and know nothing about it. About ten percent have been to Notre Dame, and half have read about it or seen it in films.” It is thus closer to them than the Transbaikal even though it isn’t within the borders of their country. And psychologist Svetlana Filatova says that there is something even deeper at work: Russians tend to ignore human tragedies as a psychological defense mechanism. It is easier for them to react on an emotional level to the Paris fire than to the sufferings of their fellow citizens.” Reacting otherwise will produce feelings of guilt out of a sense of responsibility.
Russia’s FSB reportedly purges dozens of officers following arrest of top colonel for bribery — Meduza
Following the arrest of FSB Colonel Kirill Cherkalin, who faces up to 15 years in prison on major bribery charges, Russia’s Federal Security Service has fired 27 officers who worked with him, a source in law enforcement told the website Znak.com. “So far, they’ve established that all together they were pulling down about a billion rubles [$15.5 million] every month. These guys just didn’t know when to stop,” the source said.
Tens Of Thousands Mark May Day In Moscow
Moscow police estimated 100,000 people marched in the Russian capital to mark May Day and celebrate workers’ rights, including many members of the country’s Communist Party. Meanwhile, techno music filled the air in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk as part of a surreal parody of the May Day march called “Monstration.”
Dozens Of People Detained As Russia Marks May Day
Police have detained scores of people across Russia as opposition activists, communists, and union members marked May Day with holiday rallies and antigovernment protests.
Russian Police Break Up Opposition May Day March In St. Petersburg
Police in St. Petersburg broke up a May Day opposition rally and detained dozens of people chanting slogans critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Court Sentences Russian Opposition Figures Over May Day March
A Russian administrative court has issued 10-day jail sentences against two opposition figures in St. Petersburg for organizing what the court ruled was an unauthorized May Day protest.
Nobody is sure who writes one of Russia’s most popular political Telegram channels, but police may have just raided his family’s home in Dagestan — Meduza
With more than 300,000 subscribers and each post averaging an audience of 184,000 views, StalinGulag is one of Telegram’s most popular politics channels in Russia. The author responsible for the content, which is often highly critical of the state authorities, remains a mystery. In July 2018, the magazine RBC reported that the channel belongs to Makhachkala native Alexander Gorbunov. (StalinGulag denied this claim.) There have been other theories about who runs the channel, as well. For instance, Vasily Prozorov, a former official in Ukraine’s National Security Service, said in March 2019 that Ukrainian intelligence officers are the ones behind StalinGulag.
Russia has started enforcing its ban on ‘fake news.’ The first suspect? A woman protesting landfill pollution. — Meduza
Russian officials in Arkhangelsk have filed the country’s first police report against an individual for spreading illegal “fake news.” According to the news website 29.ru, the activist Elena Kalinina used her VKontakte account to promote an unpermitted protest against a local landfill. Police officers reasoned that demonstrations shouldn’t take place without city permits, meaning that Kalinina’s information about the unpermitted protest’s time and location amounts to “fake news.”
How does Russia actually enforce its ban on ‘fake news’? An activist in Arkhangelsk faces double jeopardy over a post on social media — Meduza
On April 25, 2019, police in Arkhangelsk charged an activist with illegally disseminating “fake news,” after she reposted information about a local demonstration against the construction of a new landfill site. Officials say Elena Kalinina spread false information about the rally, knowing that organizers didn’t have the city’s permission to march along the demonstration’s planned route. The authorities had already fined Kalinina for the same post on the grounds that it incited public participation in an unpermitted protest. Russian law prohibits double jeopardy, and though the rally Kalinina promoted did take place, she nevertheless faces another misdemeanor conviction.
In Ruling On 2017 Crackdown, European Court Rules Russia Violated Navalny Ally’s Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found that the Russian state violated the rights of a coordinator for opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s attempted presidential campaign and order…
Journalist In Chechnya Released After Three Years In Prison On Drug Charge He Denies
A journalist in Chechnya, Zhalaudi Geriyev, has been released from prison after serving three-year term for illegal drug possession — a charge he has been denying since his arrest.
Plucked From Home As A Child, Afghan Man Faces Forced Return
Mohammad Nasser was 10-years-old when he was brought from Afghanistan to the Soviet Union under a special program for orphans. Now he’s fighting a court battle to avoid deportation to a homeland he doesn’t know.
Russian Court Extends Detention For Bashkir Activist
A court in Russia’s Bashkortostan region has extended pretrial detention for opposition politician Airat Dilmukhametov.
UAWire – Putin’s daughter joins council on genetics development in Russia
Maria Vorontsova, daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, joined the council for implementation of the Federal scientific and technical …
After daughter of two celebrities wins ‘The Voice Kids,’ Russian state TV channel asks Interpol partner to investigate — Meduza
On April 26, the final vote in Russia’s branch of the international franchise The Voice Kids, a song competition reality show, was announced. Ten-year-old Mikella Abramova won with 56.5 percent of viewers’ votes. Abramova is the daughter of the Russian singer Alsou and the banker Yan Abramov.
Two Pussy Riot Members Given Political Asylum By Sweden
Sweden has granted political asylum to members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.
The Cheburashka Collective New poetry of the post-Soviet diaspora — Meduza
The Cheburashka Collective is a group of women and non-binary writers whose identity has been shaped by immigration from the Soviet Union to the United States. On April 27, 2019, six members of the group, which is named for a beloved Soviet cartoon character, gathered in Philadelphia’s Penn Book Center for a poetry reading. Meduza in English news editor Hilah Kohen sat down with five of those poets before the event. They discussed what shared immigrant experiences can do for collectives, what collectivity can do for poetry, and what poetry can do for our world today. The “Cheburashki” also shared seven of their recent poems, which are reprinted below this interview with the kind permission of their publishers.
Legendary Soviet Aircraft Designer Novozhilov Dies, Aged 93
The former chief designer for the Soviet Ilyushin aircraft-construction firm has died at the age of 93. The April 28 passing of engineer Genrikh Novozhilov was reported by former Ilyushin General Director Aleksei Rogozin in a post on social media the same day. No other details about Novozhilov’s death were immediately reported. Novozhilov played a key role in the development of the Il-18, Il-62, Il-76, and Il-96 Soviet passenger jets. A specially modified version of the Il-96 is the Russian presidential aircraft. Novozhilov was born in Moscow in 1925. He began working for Ilyushin in 1949. In 1986, he was made a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. He was twice awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor award. He was a member of the Soviet and Russian academies of science. The RIA Novosti agency reported that his funeral would be held on May 2 or May 3.
Siberian Regional Leader Demands Military Tests Be Moved After Blast Injures Teen
The head of Russia’s Siberian region of Tyva is demanding the Defense Ministry relocate a military test field away from an area close to a village after a teenager was seriously injured in an explo…
Russian Teen Sent To Psychiatric Clinic For School Attack
A Russian teenager who authorities say attacked his school in the Bashkortostan region a year ago was ordered to be placed in a psychiatric clinic for up to one year, the Investigative Committee says.
Russian Teen Gets Lengthy Prison Term For School Stabbing Attack
A Russian teenager has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted over a knife attack at his school that left 12 people hospitalized with stab wounds.
Russian Sentenced For Vandalizing Iconic Painting Of Ivan The Terrible
A Moscow court has sentenced a man to 2 1/2 years in prison after convicting him of vandalizing a famous 19th-century painting of Tsar Ivan the Terrible at the state-run Tretyakov Gallery last year.
As Chinese Flock to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, Local Russians Growl – The New York Times
A supposed new era of Sino-Russian friendship is exhibiting strains as a Chinese influx around Lake Baikal stirs old Russian fears of a land grab.
Fire Damages Historic Russian School In Abkhazia
Fire has seriously damaged a historic Russian school in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia — the century-old Alyaksandr Pushkin School in the regional capital of Sukhumi.
‘Kiss The Ground That Feeds You’: School Principal Humiliates Child For Offending Russia
In a video published online, a kindergarten principal is shown humiliating a 5-year-old for his lack of patriotism and forcing him to express his love for Russia.
CEO of carpooling service disinvited from interview on Russian state media after producer found out she was a woman – To Inform is to Influence
The channel said their audience had “certain stereotypes” Posted 25 April 2019 21:58 GMT Irina Reyder, the CEO of the Russian affiliate of carpooling service BlaBlaCar, says she was disinvited from an interview with state-owned Channel One when the program’s editor realized she was a woman. Reyder wrote on her Facebook page about the incident. She says she was listening…

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

 


 

UAWire – Russia donates $6 million of military equipment to Kyrgyzstan
Russia has given Kyrgyzstan a new shipment of armored vehicles and helicopters worth around $6 million, the Russian Defense Ministry announced, as cited by Interfax. At the handover ceremony held at the Russian air base in Kant, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu clarified that Kyrgyzstan would be receiving two multipurpose Mi-8MT medium helicopters and nine reconnaissance and patrol vehicles. He remarked that the helicopters would help with transport and search-and-rescue operations in the hard-to-access mountainous terrain, and the armored vehicles would “improve the combat capability and mobility of the infantry divisions”.
Karachais In Russia’s North Caucasus Mark ‘Revival Day’
Ethnic Karachais have marked the 62nd anniversary of their return to their North Caucasus homeland after their mass deportation to Central Asia by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during World War II.
Hundreds Detained at Protests Demanding Free Elections Across Kazakhstan
“Nur-Sultan is not my city, Tokayev is not my president,” chanted protesters across Kazakhstan on May 1. Hundreds gathered at rallies in the capital – recently

Belarus Reports

 


 

Ex-head of Lukashenko’s security detained
The Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) has arrested Andrei Vtyurin, a deputy state secretary of the Belarusian Security Committee, who had served as the head of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s security before 2014.
Rights Groups Call For ‘Hotline’ During 2019 European Games In Belarus
Given Minsk’s poor record on media and other rights, a complaints hotline for journalists should be created when Belarus hosts the 2019 European Games, two rights groups have urged.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

 


 

ISW Blog: Russia in Review: Moldova’s Elections
Special Topic Update: Moldova’s Elections Author: Darina Regio Key Takeaway: Moldova will likely require a new parliamentary election to resolve its current political deadlock, leaving it without a functioning legislature for most of 2019. The Kremlin benefits from the continued impasse and fracturing of the political landscape in Moldova. Moldova could lose some of its long-term ability to effectively balance between Russia and the West, granting a stronger foothold for the Kremlin to increase its pressure in the region, specifically on Romania, Poland, and Ukraine. Moldova still lacks a government eight weeks after the 2019 Moldovan Parliamentary Election. The Moldovan Parliament has been in recess since its first session on March 21, as the elected parties are still unable to form a 51-seat majority coalition.[1] The parliament will remain on hiatus until a government is formed or new elections are called. The Moldovan Parliament is deadlocked among the Kremlin-leaning Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) led by Moldovan President Igor Dodon; the pro-Western Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) of oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc; and the pro-EU ACUM Alliance. None holds a clear path to a majority. Moldova will likely require a new election to resolve its political impasse. The ongoing negotiations are unlikely to succeed. Only the PSRM and ACUM are currently negotiating a possible coalition.[2] Their demands are too divergent, however, to lead to a deal.[3] ACUM has demanded the right to nominate the next Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker of Moldova under a de facto informal coalition with the PSRM. It has also called for the abolition of the mixed electoral system as well as a series of anti-oligarchic reforms, previously adopted by the PDM, with which it hopes to restore micro-financial assistance from the EU. The PSRM has rejected these proposals and stressed its own right to name the Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker under a formal coalition with ACUM.[4] Both ACUM and the PSRM have refused to negotiate with Plahotniuc’s PDM – ACUM due to PDM’s oligarchic support and the PSRM due to its perceived opposition to the Kremlin.[5] The fourth-place Sor Party has opted to stay out of the negotiations entirely and instead stated “the negotiations need to happen between the U.S. and Russia to resolve the deadlock in Moldova…since interested parties will be able to speak directly without intermediaries”.[6] Dodon will likely call for new elections to the Moldovan Parliament in late 2019. Dodon holds the constitutional right to dissolve parliament and call new elections if a recess persists after June 21. He has repeatedly promised to exercise this right, most recently on April 24.[7] However, the results of any new election would likely remain deadlocked and require further coalition talks, leaving Moldova without a functional legislature through most of 2019. ISW previously assessed that Moldova would be forced to hold new elections after the 2019 Moldovan Parliamentary Elections.

 


 

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

 


 

EXCLUSIVE: IRGC Commander believed to have defected to the West – Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center
Iranian economy collapsing as Trump administration tightens sanctions: report | Fox News
Iran is in a deep recession, with inflation at roughly 40 percent, due largely to U.S. sanctions. That would mark Iran’s highest inflation level since 1980.
Kuwait looks at Iran’s threats to block Strait of Hormuz ‘with concern’ – Reuters
Kuwait is looking at Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz with concern, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Sunday quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah as saying.
UAWire – Russia and Iran prepare for joint military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz
Russia and Iran are getting ready for joint military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s key oil “arteries” through which tankers from Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, carry 20 million barrels of oil each day. Within the next few months, Iran and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the strait, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told IRNA on Monday. He explained that for this reason, Russian ships will be arriving to Iran’s southern ports. A fifth of the world’s oil production and about a third of the world’s “black gold” exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if US sanctions make it impossible for Iran to ship its oil through the strait. The same threats were repeated on Monday by Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Bagheri. “If our oil cannot be transported through the strait, then neither will the oil of other countries,” he said, adding that Tehran “has no intention of blocking the strait,” if the hostilities of other countries do not provoke it to do so. Russian-Iranian relations will continue to evolve regardless of Western pressure on Iran and Russia, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev commented on Monday. Cooperation between the two countries is growing at all levels in an intense and practical way. A “very powerful political dialogue,” is taking place between the presidents and relevant ministers of both countries, Kosachev said at a meeting in Moscow with Head of Iran’s Foreign Policy Strategic Council Kamal Kharrazi. He added that the decision of the US to withdraw from the “nuclear” deal with Tehran and restore the embargo on Iranian oil is “an obvious violation of the UN Security Council resolution.
Iran’s president signs bill labeling US troops in Middle East as terrorists | TheHill
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday signed a bill labeling all U.S.
Iran Sanctions Not Quite Working As Oil Bulls Thought | Investing.com
Commodities Analysis by Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com) covering: Brent Oil Futures, Crude Oil WTI Futures. Read Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com)’s latest article on Investing.com
Trump is taking a risky bet that oil prices will remain stable | Financial Times
Singular supply offsets do not guarantee stable prices in a market with many moving parts
Arrogance, fanaticism and the prospect of a US-Iranian war | Middle East | Al Jazeera
Can a fourth Gulf War be prevented?
Iran’s recession is driving growth slowdown in oil exporters: IMF
The impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s economy is spilling over into the broader region, according to the latest IMF report.
IMF Sees Risk of 50% Iran Inflation on More U.S. Sanctions – Bloomberg
Tighter U.S. sanctions against Iran could fuel inflation to the highest level since 1980, according to the International Monetary Fund, as the Islamic Republic’s economy grapples with a weakening currency and tighter U.S. sanctions on oil exports.
Iranian Foreign Minister: John Bolton, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE Want to ‘Lure President Trump Into Confrontation’ With Iran
“They have all shown an interest in dragging the United States into a conflict,” Javad Zarif told Fox News Sunday. “I do not believe that President Trump wants to do that. I believe that President
Iran Accuses Israel, Saudi Arabia And UAE Of Dragging Reluctant U.S. Into Regime Change
Iran’s Foreign Minister accuses Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE of dragging President Trump – against his will – into regime change and of seeking to bring Iran to its knees. It is an approach, he says, that is ‘doomed to failure’.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif accuses Trump officials, Mideast allies of ‘dragging’ US into conflict with Iran | Fox News
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that members of the Trump administration as well as other countries in the Middle East are “dragging the United States into a conflict” with Iran during an interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace set to air on Sunday.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran foreign minister, to visit North Korea – Washington Times
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says he will visit North Korea as both countries struggle under U.S. sanctions.
IRGC HD Video Shows US Aircraft Carrier in Persian Gulf – To Inform is to Influence
If you cannot access the video footage from the source at the bottom, the original Iranian News Agency, the video is also available from LiveLeak. It is fairly high-resolution. This video appears to have been shot from an Ababil-III drone operated by the IRGC’s Navy As the former collection manager for the XVIII Abn Corps, I participated in writing the requirements, assessing prototype performance, assessing collection capabilities, and coordinating and synchronizing their use, all while simultaneously assessing future capabilities and limitations. Drones or UAVs, have grown in many significant ways, mostly in quantity on hand. Drones are now nearly ubiquitous on the battlefield. Countering them, however, is still in its infancy. To deny an enemy the information obtained through a drone is yet another essential element of Information Operations. Now I see a need for strong counter-drone capabilities. This video was taken from just overhead this carrier, as well as from a close-in angle. The defense, or the carrier, in this case, has the advantage since the drone is far from shore. All that needs to be done is to use simple physics to remove that advantage. </end editorial>
Iran Guard used drone to monitor US carrier Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf, report says
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard successfully managed a surveillance flight over a U.S. aircraft carrier, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported Saturday.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard ‘shoots drone footage’ of US warships | News | Al Jazeera
Video released by Tasnim news agency shows fighter jets parked on American carrier deck in the Gulf.
Iran Revolutionary Guard reportedly monitors USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with drone – CBS News
Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard successfully managed a surveillance flight over a U.S. aircraft carrier, the Tasnim news agency reports
Tighter Iranian Oil Sanctions Set Stage for U.S.-Saudi Showdown – WSJ
Riyadh and Washington face a potentially weekslong showdown over the number of extra barrels the kingdom would supply to global markets to keep crude prices stable.
Trump’s Iran Policy is Emboldening Hawkish Democrats | The National Interest
Some influential Democratic foreign-policy experts are recommending that Trump’s Iran policy be refined, rather than discarded.
UAWire – Senior representative of Hezbollah discusses ‘Israeli aggression’ in Moscow
Hezbollah’s Deputy in the Lebanese Parliament Ali Fayyad took part in the Moscow Conference on International Security. During his visit to the …


U.S. State Department demanding from Russia to stop air strikes on Syria
U.S. is worried because of the escalation of violence in Idlib and northern Hama
Why Russia is destroying hospitals in Syria (again)
Preparing for a ground offensive into the rebel-controlled Idlib governate, Russia is once again launching air strikes on hospitals in eastern Syria.
Russian, Syrian forces escalate attacks on rebel-held areas | News | Al Jazeera
‘Safe-zone’ in northwestern Syria has come under intense aerial attacks and shelling since Tuesday.
Russian ‘siege’ chokes Syrian camp in shadow of U.S. base – Reuters
It was only when his children began to starve that Abdullah al-Amour decided time had come to leave the sanctuary of Rukban camp with his family to face an uncertain fate back under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Access for What? Elevating Civilian Protection and Quality Access for Humanitarian Action in Syria | Center for Strategic and International Studies
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Why Baghdadi Risked a Video Appearance – Defense One
ISIS faces dangers as an organization that are more significant than the ones Baghdadi does as an individual.
ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi is hiding in one of just FOUR locations, Iraq’s Prime Minister says | Daily Mail Online
Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said the purported appearance by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi showed him in what appeared to be a ‘very simple and isolated’ location.
ISIS Leader Baghdadi, Who Was Rumored to be Dead, Appears in Video and Admits Defeat in Syria
“The battle of Baghouz is finished, but it demonstrated the barbarity and savagery of the crusader community towards the Muslim community,” ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared to say on tape.
ISW Blog: ISIS Resurgence Update – April 2019
Though Isis leader al-Baghdadi is alive, this poor strategist may not be a huge threat | The Independent
The reappearance of the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the same shock effect as that of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of 9/11. It has all the greater impact because of claims that, with the elimination of the last territory held by Isis in March this year, that group was close to being out of business as a serious threat.
ISIS leader al-Baghdadi pictured for first time since 2014, intel group says | Fox News
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was pictured in a new video for the first time since July 2014, SITE Intelligence Group said Monday.
Trump wants to designate Muslim Brotherhood a terror group: report | Fox News
The White House is eyeing on designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, an influential Islamist political movement operating throughout the Arab world that has been dogged by allegations of supporting terrorist activities.
Trump Pushes to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group – The New York Times
In a private White House meeting this month, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt urged President Trump to deem his opposition terrorists, officials said.
Experts warn against Trump designating Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization
After Donald Trump met with Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the White House confirmed it is weighing whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization.
If Trump brands Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, he’d worsen Middle East’s woes (Opinion) – CNN
David Andelman writes that if the Trump administration decides to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, the move would threaten to plunge the US and much of the world, which may still aspire to have a peaceful and democratic Middle East, into another spiral of hatred and division.


Turkey’s democracy wakes up
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s losses in Ankara and Istanbul in local elections prove that Turkey is not a dictatorship, writes Ömer Taşpınar, but he argues it is still an autocracy.
Divisions Deepen in Erdogan’s Party Over Istanbul Loss
Turkey’s president faces growing fallout after the political loss of Istanbul in local elections and efforts to repeat Istanbul’s vote
Turkey indicts third U.S. Consulate worker in Istanbul on terrorism charges – Reuters
Turkey has indicted a third U.S. Consulate employee and his wife and daughter on charges of membership of a terrorist group, according to a copy of the indictment seen by Reuters, a move likely to further strain ties between Ankara and Washington.
Turkey Targets Media, Army, Police With Latest Coup Purges – Bloomberg
Turkey launched a new round of its three-year crackdown on purported followers of a U.S.-based cleric it blames for an attempted coup, ordering the arrest of former employees of an opposition newspaper, active-duty military officers and police.
6 Employees of Turkish Newspaper Return to Jail in Terrorism Case – The New York Times
Journalists and other employees of Cumhuriyet were convicted of aiding terrorism last year in a case seen as having grave implications for press freedom.
Alleged spy tied to Jamal Khashoggi killing found dead in prison
An alleged spy from the United Arab Emirates under investigation for the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, identified as Zaki Y.M. Hassan, was found dead in his Turkish prison cell, according to a report on Monday.
Suspected UAE spy ‘kills himself in Turkish prison’ – BBC News
Turkish police were investigating whether the dead man might be linked to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
🇹🇷 Suspected UAE spy detained in Turkey commits suicide: State media | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Apr 29, 2019 A suspected United Arab Emirates spy who was detained in Turkey 10 days ago is reported to have taken his own life in prison. According to the Turkish government the suspect was found dead in Silivri prison, on the outskirts of Istanbul. Two men were arrested earlier this month and reportedly confessed to spying on Arab nationals. Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu reports from Istanbul.


The Libyan National Army has launched airstrikes on Tripoli – BBC News – YouTube
BBC News Published on Apr 29, 2019 National Army forces led by General Khalifa Haftar have launched air strikes on Tripoli in a bid to gain control of Libya’s capital. This comes as the government agreed to agree to negotiate with General Haftar on a ceasefire and insist on the withdrawal of troops to the east of the country. BBC Arabic correspondent Feras Kilani monitored the situation on the ground in the capital and southern fronts, and prepared this exclusive report from there. Video Journalist: Ed Ram Producer: Mohamed Ibrahim
House-to-house battles as Libyan forces push back against Haftar | News | Al Jazeera
Tripoli-allied forces appear to gain ground against Haftar’s LNA as officials say four civilians killed in LNA raids.
Air raids trap civilians in Libyan capital Tripoli | News | Al Jazeera
Haftar’s eastern forces make aerial and ground push against militias allied with UN-recognised government.
Who is Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are attacking Tripoli, Libya?
Libya has been divided and lawless ever since NATO forces helped topple dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
‘No coherent policy’: Trump’s scattergun approach plunges Libya deeper into peril | World news | The Guardian
The US president has gone from urging a ceasefire in Tripoli to threatening to veto such calls in the UN


Saudi Arabia’s Medieval executions including for ‘sorcerers’, homosexuals and the mentally ill DOUBLE in the last ten years totalling 1,100
THE number of barbaric executions in Saudi Arabia has DOUBLED in recent years  – with people beheaded for bizarre reasons including “sorcery” and for simply being gay.
Why MBS Should Be Worried About the New Saudi Diaspora
University students, disgruntled princes, and runaway girls are fleeing Saudi Arabia and applying for asylum in the United States and Europe. This new diaspora could become a political nightmare for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
UN: Rockets hit civilian areas in Libya’s capital Tripoli | Fox News
The U.N. says rockets and mortar shells have reportedly been fired on residential neighborhoods of Libya’s capital Tripoli, where heavy fighting has led to a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
U.S., Russia, China Call For ‘Inclusive Afghan-Led’ Peace Process
The United States, Russia, and China have agreed on the goal of withdrawing foreign forces from Afghanistan and to seek an “inclusive Afghan-led” peace process, the three countries declared in a jo…
U.S. military stops tracking key metric on Afghan war as situation deteriorates – Reuters
The U.S. military has stopped tracking the amount of territory controlled or influenced by the Afghan government and militants, a U.S. watchdog said on Tuesday, one of the last remaining public metrics that tracked the worsening security situation in the war-torn country.


Counterterrorism in the Era of Great-Power Competition – Defense One
A former Trump administration counterterrorism leader explains what’s changed since Obama, and what ought to come next.
ISIS Relaunches as a Global Platform – Defense One
The Sri Lanka bombings were a preview of the Islamic State’s future.
Destroyed on the battlefield, ISIS begins new chapter of terror – CNN
There is much yet to be learned about the organization behind the Sri Lankan attacks, but counterterrorism experts are united on one point: the small Islamist groups on the island could not have carried out such a complex attack without outside help.
Terrorists may be plotting Sri Lanka-style attacks at tourist destinations: report
Islamic terrorists are feared to be plotting Sri Lanka-style massacres at other popular tourist destinations, intelligence officials have warned.
Sri Lanka Bomber Trained in Syria With Islamic State – WSJ
At least one suicide bomber in the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka trained with Islamic State in Syria, reflecting the extremist group’s continued reach even after the collapse of its self-declared caliphate.
Sri Lanka bans all face coverings for ‘public protection’ after bomb attacks – CNN
Any face covering that “hinders the identification of individuals in a way that threatens national security” is now banned in Sri Lanka, according to a statement from the country’s President.
Sri Lanka’s headscarf ban has nothing to do with protecting citizens – its only goal is to punish Muslim women | The Independent
One week after the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka is still in turmoil. As law enforcement and security forces proceed with investigations, and searches throughout the island have uncovered more weapons, fear, confusion and misinformation are rife.
Sri Lanka attacks: Face coverings banned after Easter bloodshed – BBC News
President Sirisena says the emergency measure is to ensure people can be easily identified.
Sri Lanka: At least 15 killed in raid on suspected terrorist hideout – The Washington Post
At least 15 people were killed, including six children, at a hideout for a group with suspected links to the Easter Sunday bombers.
Father, brothers of alleged Sri Lanka bombing mastermind killed
Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim, who were seen in a video circulating on social media calling for all-out war against nonbelievers, were among 15 killed in a fierce gun battle with the military on the east coast on the Friday after Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings.
Sri Lanka bomb suspect’s sister fears 18 relatives dead after attacks – CNN
The sister of the suspected ringleader of Sri Lanka’s deadly Easter Sunday bombings has told CNN up to 18 of her family members are missing and feared dead since the attacks and subsequent raids.
Kattankudy, the remote Sri Lankan enclave that produced the Easter bombing mastermind – The Washington Post
Like the rest of the country, Kattankudy is grappling with anger and grief in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks.
The Latest: Sri Lanka troops find 15 bodies in raid on house | Fox News
The Latest on Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka (all times local): 8:50 a.m.
Sri Lanka bombings leave ministers, police and public in confusion – CNN
More than 200 people have been reported dead in the attacks, with hundreds more injured. As the death toll threatens to rise even further, Sri Lankan officials have veered from promising to pull the nation together, to tearing each other down.
Man guilty of trying to blow up Etihad flight with bomb hidden in meat grinder, Australian court rules | Fox News
A man faces life in prison after an Australian court convicted him Wednesday of plotting to blow up a flight out of Sydney on behalf of the Islamic State using a bomb hidden inside a meat grinder.

 


 

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Reports

 


 

Russia Has ‘Best Relations’ with China, ‘Lowest’ with U.S. and Now North Korea Is Getting Involved
Russian’s Vladimir Putin raised his glass with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un before flying to China to shore up relations with another Pacific neighbor as U.S. ties flounder.
Harry Kazianis: Putin and Kim Jong Un seek improved relations in summit | Fox News
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin – whose nations are both hurting as a result of U.S. economic sanctions – will hold a summit Thursday in the Russian port city of Vladivostok that may strengthen their trade and cooperation.
UAWire – Kremlin praises Kim Jong-un’s negotiation skills
Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov commented on the talks between the Russian and DPRK leaders. In particular, he emphasized the …
At Kim-Putin Summit, Hearty Handshakes and Manspreading
With so little else to go on, it’s a common practice for North Korea watchers to pay extremely close attention to Kim’s every word and gesture when he makes public appearances.
Vladimir Putin refused a salute from a North Korean general, which Trump controversially accepted | Business Insider
Vladimir Putin refused to return a salute from one of North Korea’s top generals on Friday, taking the opposite approach to President Donald Trump when faced with the same situation.
Kim Jong Un’s ‘long yet necessary road’ toward reaffirming alliances | TheHill
Pyongyang’s current goal is to strengthen its position and challenge Washington’s stance on nuclear disarmament and sanctions relief.
Kim Jong-un Meets Putin in Russia With U.S. Talks Faltering – The New York Times
Mr. Kim, the North Korean leader, met the Russian president as he tries to build support for his approach to sanctions relief and nuclear disarmament.
Putin: Kim Jong Un needs international security guarantees to give up nuclear arsenal – The Washington Post
At a summit with Kim in Russia’s Far East, Vladimir Putin raised the prospect of reviving six-party talks with Moscow’s participation.
North Korea warns of ‘undesired’ outcome if US fails to change position in nuclear talks
North Korea’s vice foreign minister said on Tuesday that the United States will face undesired consequences if it fails to present a new position in denuclearization talks, state media reported.
Dissidents battling North Korea’s Kim regime find they are at odds with Trump admin
A defense lawyer for an anti-Kim regime activist accuses the U.S. of indirectly cooperating with North Korea by agreeing to extradite an activist to Spain.
U.S. warrant issued for accused ringleader of North Korean embassy raid in Madrid – Reuters
U.S. authorities are focused on Southern California in their manhunt for a one-time human rights activist accused of leading a violent takeover of North Korea’s embassy in Spain, according to a federal arrest warrant unsealed on Friday.
US issues warrant for accused ringleader of North Korean embassy raid in Spain | US news | The Guardian
Adrian Hong Chang sought by Spain in connection with alleged raid, but lawyer says this is based on ‘unreliable’ North Korean account


State Department preparing for clash of civilizations with China
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team is developing a strategy for China based on the idea of “a fight with a really different civilization” for the first time in American history. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team is developing a strategy for China based on the idea of “a fight with a really different civilization” for the first time in American history. “This is a fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology and the United States hasn’t had that before,” Kiron Skinner, the director of policy planning at the State Department, said Monday evening at a security forum in Washington, D.C. Skinner is leading an effort to develop a concept of U.S.-China relations on the scale of what she called “Letter X” — the unsigned essay by George Kennan, who assessed “the sources of Soviet conduct” in 1947 and outlined the containment strategy that guided American strategists for the rest of the Cold War. China poses a unique challenge, she said, because the regime in Beijing isn’t a child of Western philosophy and history. “The Soviet Union and that competition, in a way it was a fight within the Western family,” Skinner said, noting Karl Marx’s indebtedness to Western political ideas. “It’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.” Skinner credited retired Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, who served as White House national security adviser from March 2017 to March 2018, with recognizing the need for a National Security Strategy organized around the return of great power competition with Russia and China. But those two rivals are not equivalent, she said, identifying Russia as a mere “global survivor” that pales in comparison to China.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team is developing a strategy for China based on the idea of “a fight with a really different civilization” for the first time in American history. “This is a fight with a really different civilization and a different ideology and the United States hasn’t had that before,” Kiron Skinner, the director of policy planning at the State Department, said Monday evening at a security forum in Washington, D.C. Skinner is leading an effort to develop a concept of U.S.-China relations on the scale of what she called “Letter X” — the unsigned essay by George Kennan, who assessed “the sources of Soviet conduct” in 1947 and outlined the containment strategy that guided American strategists for the rest of the Cold War. China poses a unique challenge, she said, because the regime in Beijing isn’t a child of Western philosophy and history. “The Soviet Union and that competition, in a way it was a fight within the Western family,” Skinner said, noting Karl Marx’s indebtedness to Western political ideas. “It’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.” Skinner credited retired Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, who served as White House national security adviser from March 2017 to March 2018, with recognizing the need for a National Security Strategy organized around the return of great power competition with Russia and China. But those two rivals are not equivalent, she said, identifying Russia as a mere “global survivor” that pales in comparison to China. “We see it as a more fundamental long-term threat,” Skinner told New America CEO Anne Marie Slaughter. “In China, we have an economic competitor, we have an ideological competitor, one that really does seek a global reach that many of us didn’t expect a couple of decades ago.” Slaughter, who served as the head of policy planning for the State Department from 2009 to 2011, suggested that Skinner was offering the U.S.-China relationship as the “clash of civilizations” outlined in another landmark essay that discussed how geopolitics would change after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Skinner concurred. “Some of those tenets, but a little bit different,” she answered. “I think we have to take the rose-colored glasses off and get real about the nature of the threat. And, I think we also have to give a kind of respect for, I think, what the Chinese seek to accomplish.”
Pentagon Warns Of China’s Rise in the Arctic, Missile Subs, Influence Operations – Defense One
Annual \”China Military Power\” report notes that Beijing’s deterrence fleet is up to six ballistic missile subs.
Pentagon warns on risk of Chinese submarines in Arctic – Reuters
Deepening Chinese activities in the Arctic region could pave the way for a strengthened military presence, including the deployment of submarines to act as deterrents against nuclear attack, the Pentagon said in a report released on Thursday.
China stealing foreign military technology in race to become world power: Report – ABC News
China continues building up its military by using covert techniques to steal foreign military technologies and
Chinese forces are expanding to ‘contest US military superiority,’ Pentagon says | Fox News
The Pentagon says China’s military remains a growing threat with the goal to “contest” the United States military at greater ranges from mainland China, according to a new report released Thursday afternoon.
South China Sea: World War 3 fears as US Navy make ‘illegal’ move through Taiwan strait | World | News | Express.co.uk
SOUTH China Sea tensions have erupted following the transit of two US Navy destroyers through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday.
Taiwan reports voyage of 2 US warships through Taiwan Strait | Fox News
Taiwan’s defense ministry says two U.S. warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, in a move likely to spark protests from Beijing.
Two U.S. Navy warships sail through strategic Taiwan Strait – Reuters
The U.S. military said it sent two Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday as the Pentagon increases the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.
US Navy tough on China paramilitary fishing fleet, gray-zone tactics – INSIDER
The US Navy warned China that it could treat coast-guard ships and paramilitary fishing vessels the same as Chinese naval vessels — as combatants.
China’s latest class of warship makes its public debut
The guided missile destroyer is only the latest example of the astonishing pace of China’s ongoing naval buildup.
China is building a powerful navy to take on the US in the Pacific — here’s what its arsenal looks like | Business Insider
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is one of the largest naval forces in the world, and it continues to grow. More importantly, though, China is rapidly building and fielding increasingly capable naval vessels, weapons that could tip the scales in the US-dominated Pacific.
China’s vast fleet is tipping the balance in the Pacific | Reuters.com
The Chinese navy, which is growing faster than any other fleet, now controls the seas off its coast. Once dominant, the United States and its allies sail warily in these waters. A former U.S. naval officer says China’s advances have caught…}


China’s Spying Poses Rising Threat to U.S. – WSJ
Chinese spies are increasingly recruiting U.S. intelligence officers as part of a widening, sustained campaign to shake loose government secrets.
Five Eyes Must Lead on 5G – War on the Rocks
5G wireless technology is going to change the world. The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that our nations benefit from 5G’s promise while
Vodafone Found Hidden Backdoors in Huawei Equipment – Bloomberg
While the carrier says the issues found in 2011 and 2012 were resolved at the time, the revelation may further damage the reputation of a Chinese powerhouse.
Ex-CIA officer Jerry Lee expected to plead guilty to spying for China
Lee, a former CIA officer charged with conspiring to give Chinese spies information about the CIA’s covert operations in China, is expected to plead guilty.
Former CIA officer accused of spying for China set to change his plea at hearing tomorrow – CNNPolitics
Jerry Lee, a former CIA officer accused of spying for the Chinese, is set to change his not guilty plea at a hearing in Virginia federal court on Wednesday.
China says criticisms on IP protection lack evidence amid trade spat – Reuters
Criticisms of China’s intellectual property (IP) protection “lack evidence” and IP infringement is a worldwide problem, the head of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration said on Sunday.


China sentences second Canadian to death – BBC News
Fan Wei is the second Canadian to be given the death penalty in China amid a diplomatic row.
Second Canadian sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling – CNN
A Canadian citizen has been sentenced to death in China for producing and trafficking a large amount of methamphetamine, a Chinese court announced Tuesday.
China’s Xi looks to stoke nationalism as Tiananmen anniversary approaches – The Washington Post
The president urged young people to let the “banner of patriotism fly high in their hearts.”
Xi Jinping praises a historic student protest. It could never happen today – CNN
In a country whose leadership has little tolerance for open dissent, it is rare to hear Chinese President Xi Jinping praise a student protest against the government.
HRW: China using mobile app for surveillance of Uighurs | China News | Al Jazeera
App collects personal information and prompts officials to file reports about people and their behaviour, HRW says.


Washington Is Dismissing China’s Belt and Road. That’s a Huge Strategic Mistake. – POLITICO Magazine
The project presents a unique opportunity for the U.S. to ensure Eurasia stays multipolar.
Belt and Road: China expands global ambitions with new program phase
A forum on China’s Belt and Road Initiative that wrapped up this weekend in Beijing made it clear the program now seeks to influence technology and international governance.
China’s Risky Middle East Bet – Defense One
Beijing believes it can focus on economic development and avoid any role in political affairs—but that assumption will likely prove naive.
In Laos, A Chinese-Funded Railway Sparks Hope For Growth — And Fears Of Debt : NPR
The more than 250-mile, $6 billion railway is set to cut through the northern part of Laos and is primarily financed and built by the Chinese. So far, the project has mostly employed Chinese workers.
Time for China to Stop Bankrolling Coal | The Diplomat
China is out of step with the world on coal, at home and abroad.


Get Ready for China to Target the Senkaku Islands | The National Interest
The Senkaku Islands make a tempting target for a country that might be looking to gain control over contested territory and challenge America’s authority.
The Senkaku Paradox: Preparing for conflict with the great powers | TheHill
It’s time to get more creative and more granular about how we prepare for war so as to make deterrence more effective.
Japan to deploy Type 12 anti-ship missiles to Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island by 2023 | Taiwan News
The missiles will counter potential attacks from China. Japan will deploy Type 12 anti-ship missiles on Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island by 2023 to combat China’s encroachment upon its territorial waters, according to daily newspaper the Sankei Shimbun.
Emperor Naruhito Takes the Throne, and a New Era Arrives in Japan – The New York Times
Naruhito is likely to continue to stress the pacifism and war remembrance of his father, Akihito, as well as his efforts to humanize the monarchy.
New emperor, new era in Japan as Naruhito ascends to the Chrysanthemum throne today – CBS News
CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports from Tokyo as a new emperor takes the reins after the first imperial abdication in the country in 200 years.
Naruhito: Japan’s new emperor pledges to be symbol of unity – BBC News
In his first address as emperor, Naruhito also paid tribute to his father who abdicated on Tuesday.
Indonesia to relocate capital from sinking Jakarta | TheHill
Indonesia has announced plans relocate its capital city away from Jakarta, one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities, according to the BBC.
Indonesia Plans To Move Its Capital Because Jakarta Is Sinking : NPR
It’s not clear when this will happen, or where the new capital will be located. The idea has been out there for decades, though previous leaders have been unable to accomplish the ambitious plan.
How Australia became Italy with crocodiles | Helen Dale
Australian Paramedics no longer ask people suffering suspected concussions “who is the Prime Minister?” The country’s depressing prime ministerial carousel…

Foreign Policy Reports

 


 

Explaining institutional amnesia in government – Stark – 2019 – Governance – Wiley Online Library
 
Millionaires Flee Their Homelands as Tensions Rise and Taxes Bite
The world’s wealthy are increasingly on the move.
The Not-So-Secret Ingredients of Military Coups
Naunihal Singh, Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). In “Parkinson Law,” Northcote
World is angry and stressed, Gallup report says – BBC News
A study reveals where levels of anger and worry – and positivity and enjoyment – are highest in the world.


I broke the Huawei 5G story – its huge ramifications must be open to public debate
As the journalist who first reported on Theresa May’s decision to give Huawei the green light to help build Britain’s 5G network, I am acutely aware of the political repercussions.
Huawei 5G equipment sales get UK green light – The Washington Post
Top British officials have decided to let the Chinese technology giant Huawei help develop an ultra-fast 5G wireless network in the United Kingdom, according to reports, in spite of pressure by U.S. officials to freeze out the company on security grounds.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak – BBC News
No 10 says Theresa May had “lost confidence in his ability to serve” in his role.
Theresa May fires Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson after Huawei leak
“The Prime Minister’s decision has been informed by his conduct surrounding an investigation into the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of information from a meeting of the National Security Council,” Downing Street said in a statement.
Jeremy Corbyn declines invitation to state banquet for Donald Trump | Politics | The Guardian
Labour leader says UK ‘should not honour president who uses racist and misogynist rhetoric’
Trump state visit: Corbyn boycotts Buckingham Palace banquet – BBC News
The Labour leader criticises Theresa May for “rolling out the red carpet” for the US president.
Poll: Brexit Pushes Support for Scottish Independence to 49%
SNP is preparing a new independence push after it was defeated in a 2014 referendum by concerns about the economy
Julian Assange jailed for 50 weeks over bail breach | News | The Times
Julian Assange has been jailed for more than 11 months after he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he had spent nearly seven years.The Wikileaks founder was led from the dock with his fist raised in defiance as he received close to the maximum sentence of a year for bre


Macron’s attempt to quell yellow vest protests satisfy few | Fox News
French President Emmanuel Macron is satisfying few of his critics as he tries to quell five months of yellow vest protests with a mix of tax cuts and attempts to bridge the gap between the Paris elite and the rest of the country.
Macron, Chastened by Yellow Vest Protests, Says ‘I Can Do Better’ – The New York Times
President Emmanuel Macron, at the first news conference of his presidency, showed the wear of the economic and social protests that have torn France.
French Police, Protesters Clash in Strasbourg
‘Yellow vests’ return two days after Macron outlined policy proposals including tax cuts worth around 5 billion euros in response to the protests


Austrians are forgetting the Holocaust, like Americans, survey finds
More than half of Austrians surveyed didn’t know six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust, a new survey released on HaShoah found.
Hungary Added a ‘Slave Law’ to Meet Labor Shortages. It’s Not Working So Well. – The New York Times
Businesses are scrambling for workers in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban limits work permits for foreigners and rails against immigrants.

 


 

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports

 


 

Facebook bans extremist leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being ‘dangerous’ – To Inform is to Influence
“Hallelujah!” I, for one, would also include Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, their sole reason for existence is to promote racism.  All the people banned are from the right. What gives? Unfortunately, the source for a comment is the president of Media Matters, which is a fairly biased leftist organization.  There was no counter-balancing comment…
Instagram and Facebook Ban Far-Right Extremists – Defense One
Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan have all been removed from the platforms.
Facebook bans ‘dangerous individuals’ – BBC News
The network accused InfoWars’ Alex Jones and the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan of hate speech.
Number of dead people on Facebook may outnumber the living within 50 years: report | TheHill
The number of dead people on Facebook could outnumber the living within 50 years, according to analysis from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII
Horns of a Dilemma: Seeing Beyond the Horizon – Intelligence Challenges in a Rapidly Changing World – War on the Rocks
This episode of Horns of a Dilemma is part of a special series of live episodes bringing you into the room at the 2019 Intelligence Studies Project
Is there such a concept as ‘cyber deterrence?’
Officials and commentators warn cyber should be a component of a larger deterrence strategy.
The new electronic warfare tool cyber units will need
There has been some discussion regarding the need for electronic warfare enabled cyber capabilities.
Hacker wanted more than $100K to restore city computers
The Kennebec Journal reports that city officials prevented the attack from spreading by literally pulling cables from computers and devices.
Will every Marine a rifleman remain? New cyber unit ‘can have purple hair’ but no Eagle, Globe and Anchor, commandant says
The Corps will create a new Cyber Auxiliary division, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said Monday.

US Domestic Policy Reports

 


 

It’s time to advance America’s asymmetric advantage by equipping the Air Force
Never has the Air Force aircraft inventory been so small or so old. The time has come to reset the force.
Air Force leaders want airmen to hit the books to be ready against China, Russia and others
In 2025, airmen will need to know more to do their job than ever before in Air Force history.
Trump administration reverses course on decision to decommission carrier Truman
The White House has shelved plans to decommission the carrier Harry S. Truman, a move aimed at saving money for investment in long-range missiles and unmanned technologies.
The Pentagon Is Flubbing Its Pitch to Silicon Valley – Defense One
Appeals to patriotism won’t move America’s tech industry. Other approaches might work better.
Patrick Shanahan says military needs to get back to ‘primary mission’ amid border deployments – CNNPolitics
Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said Wednesday that the Pentagon was trying to determine how long US troops would be required to support security on the southern border, saying, “We really need to get back to our primary missions and continue to generate readiness.”
How Jim Mattis played Trump to restrain him on North Korea
During his time as defense secretary, Jim Mattis sought to deflect President Trump from what he thought were ill-advised decisions in North Korea or Afghanistan by limiting his options, according to the New Yorker.
Mattis ignored orders from Trump, White House on North Korea, Iran: report | TheHill
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis declined to carry out orders from President Trump or otherwise limited his options in various attempts to prevent tensions with North Korea, Iran and Syria from escalating, The Ne
In the Global Power Era, Remember the Bin Laden Raid – Defense One
The Defense Department must make choices, but we cannot become complacent about the fight against terrorism.


EMP Experts Warn ‘9 Out of 10’ Americans Could Die Without Preparations | Newsmax.com
EMP Experts Warn ‘9 Out of 10’ Americans Could Die Without Preparations


Maria Butina: Putin ‘outraged’ at sentencing of Russian spy – BBC News
The Russian president describes Maria Butina’s 18-month prison sentence as a “travesty of justice”.
Putin: US trying to ‘save face’ by imprisoning Russian agent
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that the U.S. giving Maria Butina an 18-month sentence was an attempt to “save face.”
Putin: Maria Butina’s sentence is ‘lawlessness’
An 18-month sentence for Maria Butina, a Russian operative who used her NRA activism to illegally infiltrate conservative political circles, was an effort to “save its face” for the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday.
Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced 18 Months in Prison: ‘I Destroyed My Own Life’
The government says she illegally courted U.S. figures, including conservatives and NRA leaders, on behalf of Moscow.
Putin Calls Jail Sentence In U.S. For Russian Agent Maria Butina ‘Arbitrary’
President Vladimir Putin has criticized a decision by a U.S. court to sentence Russian citizen Maria Butina to 18 months in prison after she pleaded guilty of acting as a Russian agent without regi…
Butina Blasts U.S. Justice System, Calls 18-Month Sentence ‘Disgrace’
Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to not registering as an agent for the Russian government while in the United States, has blasted the U.S. judicial system, calling her 18-month prison sentence “ab…


FBI Chief Warns Of Russian Interference In 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned that Russia is continuing its attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, saying it is a “malign foreign influence” that poses a “significant counterintelli…
Assessing who Putin’s preferred 2020 candidate will be | TheHill
Moscow’s calculations may have changed regarding whom to support in the November 2020 ballot.
Strassel: Mueller Should’ve Looked at Whether Steele Dossier Was Russian ‘Disinformation’ | Fox News Insider
Kimberley Strassel argues that Special Counsel Robert Mueller erred by not investigating whether the Steele dossier was part of the Russians’ effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
David Satter | Collusion or Russian Disinformation? – WSJ
How Moscow manipulated U.S. media, lawmakers and intelligence services into propagating a wild theory. Without intending to, the Mueller report has solved the mystery of the Trump-Russia affair. It shows that Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia but Russian intelligence used disinformation to create the impression that he did. It is hard for Americans to grasp that in the eerie world of Russian intelligence, it would be normal to discredit a U.S. leader by depicting him as a friend and to support his opponent by depicting her as an enemy. But this is the reality.
NSA unmasked more U.S. identities, likely to warn victims of foreign spying, new report suggests – The Washington Post
The unmasking process has been a major source of controversy for President Trump, but new figures show the practice increased under his administration. 


Trump’s pick for UN envoy sent to Senate for confirmation | TheHill
President Trump on Thursday formally nominated Kelly Knight Craft for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a post for which she will require Senate confirmation.
President Donald Trump nominates Kelly Knight Craft as UN ambassador – ABC News
President Donald Trump has formally named Kelly Knight Craft as Nikki Haley’s replacement as U.N. ambassador. She must be confirmed by the Senate.
Twitter Terror: Arrests Prompt Concern Over Online Extremism
Residents of the settlement in Delaware County, New York — mostly African-American Muslims who relocated from Brooklyn in the 1980s — have been harassed for years by right-wing activists
The End of the End of History: Reimagining U.S. Foreign Policy for the 21st Century – Texas National Security Review


French ambassador: US press ‘so anti-Trump that I do understand’ Trump going direct to the people
Gérard Araud, the outgoing French ambassador to the United States, said he sympathizes with President Trump and how he handles the “anti-Trump” press.
Trump pulling U.S. out of U.N. arms treaty, heeding NRA – Reuters
President Donald Trump told the National Rifle Association on Friday he was pulling the United States out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama but opposed by the NRA and other conservative groups.
Trump’s Withdrawal from Arms Trade Treaty Could Reduce US Exports – Defense One
The Arms Trade Treaty has helped keep U.S. companies competitive in the global market by requiring other countries to adopt standards similar to America\’s.
Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » President Trump’s ‘Xanatos Gambit’ Trade Policy
Chicago Boyz
Recession Obsession: America Financial Fears are Unwarranted | The National Interest
There are reasons to be optimistic about the global economy’s potential for the remainder of 2019.
Trump May Like Putin. His Administration Doesn’t. – Foreign Policy
How the U.S. president’s Russia rapprochement never came to pass.
Bolton gets testy when pressed about Trump getting tough on Russia – POLITICO
Bolton accused his interviewer of attempting to steer the discussion about an uprising in Venezuela to Russian collusion.
U.S. Attorney General Defends Conduct As Lawmakers Question Handling Of Mueller Report
The head of the U.S. Justice Department is defending his handling of the final report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated whether President Donald Trump and his associates colluded …
U.S. Attorney General Says He Will Not Appear Before Democratic-Led House Panel
The head of the U.S. Justice Department has informed the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee that he will not attend a hearing on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, potential…
Trump Russia: Attorney General William Barr is in deep trouble over the Mueller report – CNNPolitics
Attorney General William Barr did two strange things between the time he received special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and when he released it to Congress and the public.
House Lawmakers To Ask Justice Department to Investigate Erik Prince – Defense One
‘Very strong evidence’ that Blackwater founder committed perjury, says Intel chairman Schiff.
Schiff refers Blackwater founder Prince to DOJ over alleged false statements to Congress | Fox News
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., formally referred Blackwater founder Erik Prince to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation over whether Prince lied to the panel about a 2016 meeting in the Seychelles islands with a Russian banker tied to Vladimir Putin.
Democrats accuse Trump ally Erik Prince of lying to Congress, refer case to Justice Dept. for possible prosecution – The Washington Post
The Intelligence Committee chairman pointed to testimony about a meeting with a Russian financier in the Seychelles islands.
America Is More Stressed Than Venezuela, Gallup Poll Shows
Despite living in the wealthiest nation on earth, Americans are among the most stressed of all populations in the world.
Suspect accused of plowing car into California crowd thought victims were Muslim, police say | Fox News
The Iraq War veteran with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder who injured eight people by plowing his car through a crosswalk targeted the victims based on their race and his belief they might be Muslim, authorities said Friday.
Suspect in Nazi bomb plot kicked out of Army
An Army veteran who converted to Islam and is accused of plotting terrorist attacks in California in retaliation for killings at New Zealand mosques was demoted and discharged from the military for a serious offense, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday.