Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (96)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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  1. Short update on Russia’s domestic woes, and divisions;
  2. Turkmenistan, Belarus;
  3. Iran – tanker release by Gibraltar, reports Russia gains naval basing rights in Gulf, Israel, Syria, Kashmir updates;
  4. DPRK, RoK, China, Japan, SWPA updates;
  5. UK-US and Brexit updates, Germany, miscellaneous Europe reports,  Russia signs naval basing deal in Venezuela;
  6. Miscellaneous program and capability updates, plus some nice history essays;
  7. Unmasking fakes, cyber;
  8. US domestic media;

Russia / Russophone Reports


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Republics, Not Moscow, Can Decide Whether to Allow Circassians from Syria to Come to Russia, Foreign Ministry Disingenuously Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 7 – After an article sharply criticized Moscow for not admitting more Circassians from Syria (, the Regnum news agency asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for its reaction. The MFA said decisions about such admissions are the province of the republics, not Moscow. In yet another example of Moscow’s proclivity to shift responsibility but not resources to the regions and republics, the foreign ministry in a 600 word statement says that the republics and regions of Russia have the right to decide which applicants for admission to the country will be accepted under the compatriots program ( This statement is disingenuous in at least three ways. First, the Russian embassy in Syria decides who gets the necessary travel documents for admission to the Russian Federation. Consequently, a federal agency is the first obstacle to the return of the thousands of Circassians who want to leave war-torn Syria for their ancestral homeland. Second, the republics and regions may have the right to allow Circassians from Syria to become part of the compatriots program; but it is an unfunded liability. The Circassian republics – Adygeya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia – are dependent on subsidies from the center because they do not retain the taxes they collect. And third, as the Russian foreign ministry acknowledges, decisions on who gets residence status are made not by the republic government as a whole but by the interior ministry which is far more subordinate to the Russian Federation government than it is to any of the republics. Moscow does not want the Circassians to return because it fears that their presence in the North Caucasus could upset the ethnic balance there and power more demands for the restoration of a single Circassia and more generally because it does not want more Muslims in Russia ( And to that end, it has made it ever more difficult for the Circassian republics to take Circassians in, forcing them for financial reasons to be Moscow’s agents in this effort rather than allowing them to act as they would like to if they had the funds (
Window on Eurasia — New Series: The Ten Numerically Smallest Peoples of Russia On Brink of Extinction
Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Today is the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. In Russia, Moscow recognizes 47 such peoples within its borders, each of which numbers fewer than 50,000 people and continues to practice a traditional way of life. Despite claims of some, the very smallest of these nations are in many cases on their way to extinction. In part, this is the inevitable result of their very small size and the arrival of representatives of larger nations in the areas where these groups live; but in part it reflects Moscow policies, both those intended to force these peoples to accept development and paradoxically those ostensibly intended to protect these communities. To mark this international holiday, the Nazaccent portal provides a brief description of the ten numerically smallest peoples of Russia, their locations, their numbers, and the state of their languages ( They include, from largest to the very smallest the following peoples: 10. The 513 Negidaltsy of Khabarovsk Kray, only 74 of whom speak the national language. It is divided into two dialects but already the second is dead. None of its speakers remains alive. 9. The 482 Aleuts of Kamchatka Kray, only 45 of whom speak their own language. Aleut has four dialects, but the last is already dead. 8. The 355 Chulyms of Tomsk Oblast and Krasnoyarsk Kray. Russian officials say 44 of them speak their own language but linguists put the number at 12. Chulym is not a literary language although this year a translation of the Gospels was made into it. Experts predict this group will disappear over the next 25 years. 7. The 295 Uylta or Oroki of Sakhalin. Fewer than 50 now speak their native language which is only partially a literary one: a gramma was published in 2008. 6. The 274 Taz of Primorsky Kray, a metis people which arose only in the 19th century as a result of the mixing of Chinese and Manchurians with Udygeys and Nanais. They now all speak Russian. 5. The 266 Izhors of Leningrad Oblast, a Finno-Ugric people fewer than half of which speak their historical language. That language is divided into four dialects, two of which now have no living speakers. 4. The 227 Entsy of Krasnoyarsk Kray who still lack an agreed-upon literary language and most of whose number now speak languages other than their own. 3. The 214 Seto of Pskov Oblast. Most Seto live in Estonia, and most scholars consider the Seto language a branch of Estonian. But Seto in Russia insist that it is a language all its own even though it does not have a literary form. 2. The 64 Vods of Leningrad Oblast, another disappearing Finno-Ugric people. In 2002, they acquired their own coat of arms and flag, but now only six to ten of them speak the Vod language. 1.The 4 Kereks of Chukotka who are currently being assimilated by the Chukchi. The Kereks have a separate language, however, and intriguingly more people speak it – ten – than identify as Kereks at present. Nations as small as these when intermixed with others as all of these groups are would find it difficult if not impossible to survive, but unfortunately, the Russian government is accelerating their demise not only by promoting the use of the Russian language among them but in other ways as well, including some that look like measures taken to keep them alive. Like many other governments, Moscow has set up programs giving special rights and preferences to members of such indigenous peoples; but in contrast to most, the Russian authorities appear to be working hard to limit the number of people who can identify as such and get these benefits. A particularly sad example of this is currently taking place in Arkhangelsk where officials are demanding that individuals who claim to be Saami who number just under 2,000 in the Russian Federation prove that they are in court before getting any special benefits ( In one recent case, regional courts turned down someone they felt could not offer sufficient “proof.” He plans an appeal to the Russian Supreme Court and, anticipating failure there as well, to the European Court for Human Rights.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Karelia in 1990 Wanted Autonomy Not Independence But Now has Neither, Potashov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 9 – Twenty-nine years ago today, the Supreme Soviet of the Karelian ASSR adopted a Declaration of State Sovereignty, an event that should be celebrated as a major holiday just as the anniversary of the analogous RSFSR declaration adopted two months earlier is in the Russian Federation, Valery Potashov says. But the leaders of Karelia in the era of Vladimir Putin prefer not to mention it at all and instead mark June 8th as the birthday of the republic. On that date in 1920, the Soviet government issued a decree creating the Karelian Labor Commune in “areas of Olonets and Arkhangelsk gubernias populated by Karels” ( This raises the question, the Karelian activist now living in Finland as an émigré says, as to “why the day of the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation became a major state holiday and the very same historical date in Karelia in fact has been forgotten?” According to Potashov, the reason for this is that “any recollection of the sovereignty of republics included in the Russian federation is today viewed by the federal center as a manifestation of separatism” even though there is no mention of any intention to withdraw from the RSFSR or the USSR in the original Karelian declaration. Instead, he points out, the declaration said that Karelia was to be “a legal democractic and sovereign state within the RSFSR and the USSR, one which voluntarily delegated part of its authority to the RSFSR and the USSR on the basis of federal and union agreements.” But it did contain two provisions the Putin regime won’t accept. On the one hand, it specified that all the natural resources of the republic were the property of the people of Karelia and the basis of its economic sovereignty. And on the other, it said that any laws of the RSFSR or the USSR which contradicted those of the Karelian ASSR were invalid on its territory. Potashov notes that in 2015, he interviewed Viktor Stepanov who had been the head of the Supreme Soviet of the Karelian ASSR when the declaration was adopted. (For a discussion of that interview, see “No one raised the issue of the republic receiving state independence,” Stepanov said then. Karelians simply needed more autonomy. They couldn’t build a house without clearance from Moscow. When they were able to after 1991, they achieved wonders, constructing more housing units between 1994 and 1998 than in the previous 30 years combined. And in the 1990s, the former parliamentary leader said, Karelia developed close ties with Finland, not only in cultural terms but in economic ones as well. Unfortunately, this “short period of relative freedom,” he acknowledges didn’t last. And now republic officials no longer even mention “sovereignty” of the declaration. The only Karelians who do mention either the concept or the date, Potashov concedes are “the few supporters of regionalism” who like their predecessors aren’t pursuing independence but do want democracy and autonomy. They hope that at some point in the future, they and their fellow Karelians will get both.
The woman who brought contemporary Russian literature to the masses Celebrated literary critic Elena Makeenko dies at 32 — Meduza
On August 11, the celebrated literary critic Elena Makeenko passed away in Israel after fighting cancer for two years. Makeenko, 32, was central to two major literary projects: the online journal Gorky and the educational resource Polka. She also curated the Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair. Meduza literary critic Galina Yuzefovich remembers Makeenko’s exceptional life and work.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: In the Depths of Siberia, an Island of Estonian Culture Survives
Paul Goble Staunton, August 11 – Six hundred kilometers from Krasnoyarsk is the village of Verkhny Suetuk, where to this day some 200 Estonians continue to speak their language, maintain their culture, and keep alive the memory of all those in their community who suffered under Soviet rule. Founded 150 years ago by political exiles from among Estonians, Finns, Russians and Latvians, the village has maintained its identity residents say because of its Lutheran faith, Sibreal journalist Svetlana Khustik reports after a visit to what is now an unexpected island of Estonian culture ( The name of the village combines a Russian word and an Estonian word, and residents have kept their culture alive by adapting, combining Estonian elements with Russian ones. Thus, they celebrate St. John’s eve not on June 23 as Estonian Estonians do but on July 7 when Russians mark Ivan Kupala’s day. Jan Kenzap, one of the oldest Estonian residents of the village and the keeper of its history, says that at the end of the 19th century, the village had some 2,000 residents; now, there are only “about 200.” Some have moved back to Estonia, others have died, but those remaining have not given up their nationhood. During most of the history of the village, there were conflicts among ethnic groups, mostly over women, of whom there were never enough. And until after World War II, few Estonians intermarried with Russians; and many of the older generation remain proud that they are not of “mixed” blood. Kenzap himself is the product of one of the earliest mixed marriages. His mother married a Russian in the difficult year of 1947 even though she knew not a word of Russian. She took her husband’s name, Zolotukhin, but she kept the family name for her children – and consequently, Jan remains a Kenzap. He says that the primary reason that Estonian culture has survived in his village is the Lutheran church. “We are all Lutherans,” he says, and attended church from 1888 when the first church was built until 1939 when the Soviets closed it. It was reopened only in 2003 with services in Finnish in the morning and Estonian in the evening. As for himself, Kenzap says, he was baptized in secret because his father was a communist but has remained faithful to the church and has learned from its pastors, mostly women, the history and traditions of his people. That transmission belt continues to work to this day, he suggests. The older generation speaks Estonian still but the Estonian of the 19th century; and when its members travel to Tallinn, many Estonians there do not understand everything they say. The younger generation speaks mostly Russian but understands Estonian as well, Kenzap continues. After 1954, Estonians were allowed to return to Estonia from Siberia. Kenzap says he went there in 1973 and lived there for 20 years, making a good career. But he wasn’t fully comfortable with live there and returned to Siberia. Many others in the village, he suggests, have had similar experiences. Kenzap took the SibReal journalist to the cemetery, a very Estonian thing to do. He showed her the monument to Estonians repressed under Stalin that was erected in 1987. Some 30 people from the village were among those shot in 1937. The monument was built with money not only from the villagers but from Estonia as well. When it was dedicated, a delegation led by Edgar Savisaar came from the Estonian SSR. Since that time, it has been looked after by the villagers and kept in perfect condition because the Estonians of Siberia believe that they have an obligation to remember their history and respect the memory of their ancestors.
Uzbek Citizen Dies After July Mass Poisoning In Russia
Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry says one of the tens of Uzbek labor migrants who were poisoned with an unspecified substance in Russia a month ago has died.
Siberian Wildfires Set To Break Land Area Record
Russia is on track to have a record year in terms of the area covered by wildfires, the local branch of environmental group Greenpeace said on August 12.
Five People Killed In Car Accident In Russia’s Far East
Five people were killed in Russia’s Sakha-Yakutia region when two vehicles collided on August 13 at the 379th kilometer marker along the Lena Federal Highway, Interfax news agency reports.
Five Russian Weightlifters Suspended Over Alleged Doping
Weightlifting’s world governing body says it has provisionally suspended five Russian weightlifters, citing “compelling evidence” that they had violated anti-doping rules.

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports



The Dear Leader Is Dead — Long Live The Dear Leader: What’s An Authoritarian Regime To Do When Its Leader Dies?
When a trio of Soviet leaders died in quick succession in the 1980s, the ballet Swan Lake was the cue that something dire was about to be announced on state TV. It’s a different scenario these days for authoritarian governments. But it’s not wholly different.
Russian PM in Turkmenistan Ahead Of Anticipated Meeting With President
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has arrived in Turkmenistan for a working visit as the world waits to see if he meets the Central Asian state’s autocratic leader.

Belarus Reports



Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘For Russia and Russians, Belarus Does Not Exist,’ Goryunov Says
Paul Goble Staunton, August 8 – “For Russia and Russians, Belarus simply doesn’t exist,” Russian thinker Maksim Goryunov says, not so much because they see Russians and Belarusians as identical but rather because “the empire sees only those who resist it.” Those who don’t, like the Belarusians, don’t garner its attention and respect. In an interview with Serhii Ablameiko of Radio Liberty’s Belarusian Service, Goryunov says that he reads Belarusian every day because that is the only way to understand that nation and country and because “the majority of good books on the history of Belarus are written in Belarus (; in Russian at Some of best are printed in pathetically small print runs. The essential study by Elena Markova, Shlyakh da savetskay natsii (“The Path to the Soviet Nation”, Minsk, 2016), for example was published in a tirage of 100 copies. But without reading it, Goryunov says, one cannot understand Soviet policies regarding the Belarusian nation. Ever more people, the Russian scholar says, are interested in Belarus. Recently at Prague’s Charles University, scholars from many countries focused on Belarus for a single reason: “Belarus is the last nationalism. You look at a map of Europe” and see that everywhere nations have developed national myths, ideas and so on. Belarus is the only exception. It is still in the process of doing so, and in the view of some, it is a nationalism which was blocked from development mid-course but shows signs of restarting that process. Indeed, it has a chance to become a nation and country “just like Lithuania or Latvia.” Until he began focusing on Belarus, Goryunov says, he had the sense that “the fate of Belarus was a repetition of the fate of one of the republics of the Russian Federation after the collapse of the Soviet Union” – a larger Udmurtia if you will which would be subject to “complete Russification, forgetting its past, and replacing its own past with a Moscow one.” But that view was wrong as he has since discovered, the Russian scholar says. Belarusians aren’t disappearing; they are reviving and uniting. Unfortunately, Russians do not see this and do not want it: “For Russia, Belarus doesn’t exist; [for Russians] Belarusians do not exist.” “This is a common view of the metropolitan center on the territories around it,” and it leads to absurdities such as the insistence by some Russians that they didn’t conquer anyone in the Middle Volga such as the Chuvash because the Chuvash did not have an organized state or an army. “When you live in Russia, inside this big Russian discourse, then you look at the planet in this way: on it, there is Paris, Berlin, London and so on. In other words, you see only imperial capitals and except for them, nothing else exists,” Goryunov explains, except perhaps folkloric assemblies and the like. “For the Russian point of view, there is no Slovenia or Croatia. Belgrad however exists since it is the capital of Yugoslavia, a kind of small Slavic empire. Belarus is not an empire and that means it doesn’t exist. Tallinn doesn’t exist. Riga doesn’t exist. This is the view of an empire which sees only other empires.” Peoples without empires are to disappear in the Russian conception of the world. “This is a sincere even more than sincere conviction,” one found among any graduate of middle school or university in the Russian Federation, Goryunov continues. For them it is hard to imagine Belarusians, Ukrainians, Finns or anyone else existing. Putin is a cynic but he likely believes exactly this. He certainly knows that Russians think this way and plays to it. For him and them, a territory becomes a subject of history only when it articulates a state and fields an army that shows resistance. That’s why the Finns, the Ukrainians and even the Chechens are viewed as having an existence while the Belarusians are not. Anywhere Russian tanks can pass without losses “or with losses which the Russian army can ignore need not be given any attention. It doesn’t exist,” Goryunov says. In the course of his long interview, the Russian scholar makes many other intriguing and provocative observations. Two of them deserve particular attention, one about Russia’s actual size and a second about the Stalinist sources of Putin’s understanding of the nature of Russia and the world. “Russia in fact is very small. It is impossible to live in those territories which it seized. This is like Denmark. There is Denmark where one can live and there is part of Denmark, Greenland, an enormous block of ice in the Arctic. If the two are put together, this is a gigantic country. But no Dane will ever think that it is possible to live in Greenland.” Similarly, he continues, “if one collected in Russia all the places where it is possible to live and united them with a population density like the Czech Republic or Italy, then we would have a very compact, small country of a size possibly like Belarus or a little more – one and a half Belaruses.” Goryunov says that he has read through Stalin’s writings for the period 1919-1923 when the Soviet leader was forming the country’s nationality policy. In one place, Stalin asks: “What do we have? Bread is the south, forests are Komi and Karelia. Iron ore is the Urals and further east. Trade is the Baltic countries.” “But what do we have? And Stalin answered: officers. In other words, we have a serving stratum which can organize something. But a country consisting of only such managers won’t exist for long.” And that led him to restore the empire so that these officers could establish order in it – and have something to eat while they did so.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports



Gibraltar Supreme Court says Iranian tanker is free to sail | News | Al Jazeera
Ruling to release vessel that was commandeered by UK came despite last-minute US attempt to detain it.
Iranian supertanker released by Gibraltar, despite last-minute US attempt to seize it | Fox News
An Iranian supertanker has been released by Gibraltar Thursday after being held for more than a month on suspicions that it was trying to provide crude oil to Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime.
Iran says Britain might release seized Grace 1 oil tanker soon | News | Al Jazeera
Report by Tehran’s official IRNA news agency dismissed as ‘untrue’ by unnamed senior official in Gibraltar.
Iran, U.K. Inch Closer to Tanker Crisis Resolution – WSJ
Iran and the U.K. are making progress toward the release of an Iranian tanker impounded in Gibraltar, a move that could prompt Tehran to free a British-flagged vessel it subsequently seized.
Iran’s Zarif: ‘We are not seeking war’ | Iran | Al Jazeera
The Iranian foreign minister discusses his country’s nuclear programme and current tensions in the Gulf.
Zarif: US arms sales make Gulf into ‘tinderbox ready to blow up’ | News | Al Jazeera
Iran’s foreign minister warns against arms race after Saudi Arabia and UAE spent more than $100bn on weaponry.
U.S. turning Gulf region into ‘tinderbox’: Iran’s Zarif – Reuters
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite”, according to Al Jazeera television.
Iran says Britain might free oil tanker soon: IRNA – Reuters
Iran said on Tuesday that Britain might free its oil tanker Grace 1 soon in a maritime saga that has exacerbated frictions between Tehran and the West.
Russia, Iran, others debate how to split Caspian oil riches – ABC News
Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.
US military commanders in the Gulf aim to ‘deter’ Iran, not go to war
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is tasked with patrolling an expanse of about 2.5 million square miles of water, and has seen an increase in U.S. forces deployed to the area amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
World War 3 threat: US and Israel risk military strikes against Iran – official admits | World | News |
ISRAEL and US are heading towards an outbreak of war with Iran, according to a leading US official, amid escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Iran claims gunboats chased Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan in Strait of Hormuz as tensions rise in the Gulf
IRAN has claimed gunboats chased Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan in the Strait of Hormuz as tensions continue to rise in the Gulf. Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials released the short video in which it allegedly shows the Type-45 destroyer being pursued by their fast attack boats.
UAWire – Russia to build nuclear submarine base in Iran
Russia is preparing to expand its military presence in the Middle East by collaborating with Iran, which the US imposed a complete oil embargo on in 2019. Two Iranian ports – Bushehr in the south and Chabahar in the south-east – will become forward bases for the Russian Navy that will even be used by nuclear submarines, OilPrice reports, citing high-ranking sources in Tehran. Bushehr will also serve as a base where the Russian Aerospace Forces can station Su-37 and Su-57 fighters. There are also plans to station a contingent of Russian troops there, including special forces, which will be there under the same pretext used in Syria and Lebanon – they will technically be there as “advisers” to the Iranian military. A memorandum on increased military cooperation between the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces and the Russian Defense Ministry will serve as the legal basis for Russia’s establishment of this new permanent outpost in the Middle East, in the immediate vicinity of key US allies in the region. The signing of the document was announced on July 29 by Hossein Khanzadi, commander of the Iranian navy, after visiting St. Petersburg to attend the celebration of the Day of the Russian Navy. “This is a turning point in Tehran and Moscow’s defense relations,” Khanzadi told Mehr in an interview. As a test case, the two navies will hold joint exercises in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, including the Strait of Hormuz, a key “oil artery” for OPEC countries, through which passes one third of the world’s oil supply. The exercises are scheduled to be held at the start of 2020. In addition to military cooperation, Tehran will receive financial assistance from Moscow as part of the deal. The assistance will include investments in the development of oil fields abandoned by western companies in the wake of the sanctions, OilPrice’s sources claim. In 2019, Iran is expecting a $5 billion loan from Russia. The funds are already included in the Islamic republic’s budget for the year 1398 according to the Persian calendar (which begins on March 21, 2019). The funds are expected to be used on infrastructural projects, including nuclear energy, railway transport, and the building of dams, irrigation networks and water pipelines. Although Russia’s previous attempts to collaborate with Iran have been unsuccessful, and Moscow and Tehran are still in a dispute about rights to the gas in the Caspian Sea, the deal has been supported by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. “If you can’t buy food at a supermarket 10 miles from you, you have no choice but to go to the store on the corner, no matter how lousy it is,” a senior Iranian official observed, referring to the nature of the collaboration with Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry is continuing to back Iran on the diplomatic front. On July 29, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov supported Tehran’s decision to resume the enrichment of uranium following the recent US sanctions. “We can understand what motivated the Iranians to adopt this method of influencing the mindset of the remaining deal participants,” he remarked. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused Washington of trying to overthrow the current regime in Iran, and predicted a “catastrophe” for the US in the event of force being used.
Russia Gains Stranglehold Over Persian Gulf |
In a potentially catastrophic escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, Russia plans to use Iran’s ports in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar as forward military bases for warships and nuclear submarines, guarded by hundreds of Special Forces troops under the guise of ‘military advisers’, and an airbase near Bandar-e-Bushehr as a hub for 35 Sukhoi Su-57 fighter planes has exclusively been told by senior sources close to the Iranian regime. The next round of joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz will mark the onset of this in-situ military expansion in Iran, as the Russian ships involved will be allowed by Iran to use the facilities in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar. Depending on the practical strength of domestic and international reaction to this, these ships and Spetsntaz will remain in place and will be expanded in numbers over the next 50 years. This gradual roll-out of Russian capability in a country is the Kremlin’s tried and tested operating procedure for leveraging economic and/or political support for a country into that country allowing itself to be used as, effectively, one large multi-level forward military base for Russia. Exactly the same plan was used, and remains in place, in Syria, with Russia maintaining a massive army presence in and around Latakia, Syria, despite having repeatedly made assurances that it was to withdraw from this military theatre. In the early stages, these troops – again, in reality all Spetsnatz foreign operatives – appeared in the guise of military advisers and to provide ‘security staff’ for the huge Russian Khmeimim Air Base and the S-400 Triumf missile system in place in and around Latakia. This Russian presence was later duly expanded and formalised under an agreement signed with Syria in January 2017, which allowed Russia to continue its operations in Latakia and also to utilise the naval facility at Tartus for the next 49 years. This is precisely the format of agreement that has been agreed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the last few days, despite muted protest from the broadly pro-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal allies of President Hassan Rouhani. Given how poorly Iran has fared in its recent dealings with Russia – most notably over its Caspian Sea oil and gas rights– Iran’s decision to go ahead with this latest deal may seem surprising to many but is the product of two key reasons. First, Iran has no other choice of a potential geopolitical ally in its current fight against sanction-induced economic austerity and political marginalisation. There are only five Permanent Members on the United Nations Security Council: the U.S. (the prime mover against Iran), the U.K. and France (both toeing the U.S. line), China (whose support ebbs and flows according to its own agenda), and Russia. “If you have no means of getting food from the supermarket ten miles away then you have no choice but to shop at the store around the corner, no matter how crappy it is,” one senior Iran source told last week. Related: A Surprising Innovation In Energy’s Hottest Market The second reason is that President Rouhani and his broadly moderate pro-West, pro-JCPOA supporters have lost the confidence of many who voted for him due to his inability to deliver the economic prosperity that he promised would result from the nuclear deal agreed in 2015 and implemented on 16 January 2016. “This includes [Supreme Leader, Ali] Khamenei, who supported Rouhani for the first few years but now has no choice but to go along with the IRGC’s recommendations, and this Russia deal is at the forefront of these,” said a senior Iran source. Why is the IRGC backing this deal with Russia, given that its senior personnel are extremely capable people and hardened military officers, well aware of the trouble that the deal could create on a global scale? “Firstly, they [the IRGC] honestly believe that a corollary financial deal agreed with Russia last year is the only economic lifeline that Iran has that will stop it from falling into a popular revolutionary scenario, and the second reason is that some of the most senior figures in the IRGC also stand to gain monetarily by co-operating with Russia,” an Iran source told last week. The cornerstone deal in question was part of a wide-ranging 22-point memorandum of understanding signed by Iran’s deputy petroleum minister, Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, and Russia’s deputy energy minister, Kirill Molodtsov, at the time covering closer co-operation between the two countries across the board. For the oil and gas sector, specifically, it involved Russia giving US$50 billion per year every year for at least five years so it could complete its top priority oil and gas projects to Western standards, which was estimated to cost around US$250 billion. Another US$250 billion would then be available for the following five years for Iran to build-out the remainder of its economy. In exchange for this, Iran would give Russian companies preference in all future oil and gas field exploration and development deals, to add to the seven already agreed at that time. These included: Zarubezhneft for Aban and Paydar-e Gharb, Lukoil for Ab Teymour and Mansouri, GazpromNeft for Changouleh and Cheshmeh-Khosh, and Tatneft for Dehloran. In addition – and crucial for what is now in view militarily – Iran also agreed to buy Russia’s S-400 missile defence system, to allow Russia to expand its number of listening posts in Iran, and to double the number of senior ranking IRGC officers that are seconded in Moscow for ongoing training, to between 120 and 130. The deal also ensured that there was a clause not allowing Iran to impose any penalties on any Russian development firm for slow progress on any field for 10 years, including not being able to re-offer these fields in new bidding rounds even if no progress at all was being made. Over the 10-year period the Russians would have the right to dictate exactly how much oil was produced from each field (to the barrel), when it was sold (to the day), to whom it was sold (by company), and for how much it was sold (to the cent). “Added to this is the fact that within the contracts there was another killer clause: Russia had the right to be able to buy all of the oil – or gas – being produced from fields that their companies were supposedly developing at 55 to 72 per cent of its open market value, for the next 10 years,” said one of the Iran sources. In just the last week as well, Russia – despite it swindling Iran out of its arguably rightful share of Caspian Sea resources – has offered to extract oil and gas from Iran’s sector in the Caspian and sell supplies on in the international markets. Related: The Bakken Oil Boom Is Facing A New Bottleneck The other reason that has prompted the IRGC into allowing Russia to use Iran as a forward operating military base is that at least two of the most senior commanders have been given monetary inducements to champion Russia’s cause. This was also the reason why Iran ended up buying the inferior capability 28-year old S-300 missile system from Russia rather than the cutting edge new S-400 system. “Russia told Iran that it didn’t actually need the S-400 system and that the S-300 system would be adequate for its needs, despite the S-300 system still costing in total US$7 billion – US$4 billion up front and US$3 billion when it was actually delivered – which was three times the cost that Russia charged Egypt for the better S-400 system,” said one of the Iran sources. “At the same time, two of the key IRGC commanders who had allowed this deal to go ahead pocketed US$105 million each just from that one deal, and they and others get another cut of the US$50 billion per year deal if that fully re-emerges and of the newly-agreed Caspian deal,” he added. As it stands, then, Russia not only has unfettered access to all of Iran’s onshore, offshore and Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves to sell on as it wishes, however it wishes, but also is set to secure two of the most strategically well-placed ports and surrounding areas in the world’s most sensitive oil and gas hotspot, giving it effective control over the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait, of course, remains the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint – and the key route from the Arabian Gulf to the Far East via the Indian Ocean – with roughly 35% of all seaborne oil and about a third of global liquefied natural gas supplies passing through it. “Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar will give Russia a potential stranglehold over the entire Persian Gulf area and into the Indian Ocean, which will allow it as well to conduct joint naval operations with China with more ease in the U.S. sphere of influence in the East, including around Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines,” a London-based intelligence analyst told last week. “The fact that Russia also intends to use these two ports not just for warships but for nuclear submarines as well when the waters in its more northern ports are frozen is significantly upping the Russian ante on the West in general and on the U.S. in particular,” he concluded. By Simon Watkins for
Iran warns Israel against aiding US mission in Strait of Hormuz | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Tehran says it will have the right to take action if Israel becomes involved in the US-led naval mission
After Trump rebuke, France says it speaks for itself on Iran – Reuters
France does not need the permission of other states to try to defuse tensions with Iran, its foreign minister said on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump accused President Emmanuel Macron of sending “mixed signals” to Tehran.
Iranian woman pleads guilty in Minnesota in tech smuggling case | Fox News
An Iranian woman pleaded guilty in Minnesota on Friday to charges that she stole technology from U.S.-based companies which was then exported to Iran through a fake company in violation of U.S. law and international sanctions.
Iranian woman arrested in Australia pleads guilty to conspiracy in US | US news | The Guardian
Plea agreement means Negar Ghodskani, whom Iran offered to swap for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, faces five years’ jail and $369,000 fine
No Accountability for Iran’s Nuclear Violators | The National Interest
That Tehran believed it was necessary to preserve information in an extensive warehouse reinforces concerns that it has never abandoned its ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran oil tanker Grace 1 free to leave Gibraltar but captain doesn’t want the job anymore and it may stay put today – CBS News
Grace 1 is free to go after official release by Gibraltar, but without a willing captain the ship may stay put, and give U.S. room to maneuver

UAWire – Kremlin: Israel and Saudi Arabia want to join ‘Russian NATO’
The Russian Foreign Ministry says that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries would like to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SOC), which was founded by Russia and China, among others. “In our portfolio today we have applications from Israel, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and masses of other countries that want to join the SOC’s activity in one way or another, in one capacity or another,” said Russian special presidential representative Bakhtier Khakimov, as cited by RIA Novosti. Founded in 2011 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, one of the organization’s primary goals is to establish favorable conditions for trade and investment. India and Pakistan have also become members of the organization. The SOC also has a list of “observer states” and “dialog partners”. Russian experts see the SOC as a counterweight to the NATO military and political bloc, which has led several to call the organization the “eastern” or “Russian NATO”. Interestingly, the SOC’s Russian-language page on Wikipedia states that Israel has requested to participate in the organization as an observer state. However, neither the English nor the Hebrew versions of the page confirm this. The Israeli media is also silent on the topic.
The Syrian Civil War is Changing the Turkish-Israeli Relationship | The National Interest
This is an opportunity for Israel and Turkey to recognize a new alignment of interests.
UAWire – Russia to open naval shipyard in Syria
By the end of August, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will have an operational shipyard at the Russian naval logistics point in Tartus, Syria,  TASS …
America Has Overplayed Its Hand in the Middle East | The National Interest
If the political science definition of “power” is the ability of a state to coerce another state to change that state’s policies, then the United States is increasingly losing its ability to do so and looking weak in the process.
UAWire – Media: Syrian air defense repelled a missile attack on military facilities in Hama province
On the night from Thursday to Friday, Syrian air defenses repelled a missile attack on military facilities in the city of Masyaf in the Hama …
UAWire – Syrian army captures strategically important city in Idlib
The Syrian government forces  have captured the strategically important city of al Habeit in the province of Idlib, which is controlled by the …
Turkey Aims to End a Backlash by Sending Syrian Refugees Home – WSJ
Turkey is taking steps to stem a backlash against the nearly four million displaced people from war-ravaged Syria, whose presence and a badly faltering economy have stoked anger at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey will not let Syria safe zone agreement be delayed: foreign minister – Reuters
Turkey will not let plans for safe zone in northeast Syria to stall over negotiations with the United States, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, a day after Washington and Ankara announced plans for a joint headquarters but offered few details.
Kurdish-Syrian ‘feminists’ form giant human shield to resist Turkish incursion | Fox News
When the threat of an attack looms, scores of Kurdish women in every major township in their carved out canton of Rojava in northeastern Syria, routinely stand shoulder-to-shoulder with defiant faces. Amid a region ravaged by years of conflict and ISIS incursions, their formation is what they call their own human shield – a shield comprised of self-declared feminists belonging to their group called “Kongra Star” with the tagline “Woman, Life, Freedom.”

Kashmir war fears grow as Pakistan cleric close to Osama bin Laden tells followers to wage jihad against India – The Sun
Kashmiris cut off from loved ones as government enforced blackout continues – CNN
For Kashmiri students living in India, Monday’s announcement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was stripping their home — Jammu and Kashmir — of its special status came as a shock.
Pakistan prepares to fight India for Kashmir
The situation in Kashmir is going from bad to worse and much of the blame lies with Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
India Pakistan news: Tensions erupt as India prepares for possible Pakistan-based attack | World | News |
TENSIONS between Pakistan and India have escalated resulting in Indian warships being on high alert over a possible terror attack by militants based in Pakistan.
Israel kills 4 Palestinian militants carrying RPG launchers and assault rifles, Hamas denies involvement | Fox News
Israel’s military said Saturday its troops killed four armed Palestinian militants who tried to cross the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence.
Pakistan army says Indian firing across LoC kills another soldier | Pakistan News | Al Jazeera
Casualties rise to six in last 24 hours, says Pakistan army, adding that five Indian soldiers were killed on Thursday.






North Korea tests ‘short-range ballistic missiles’ – BBC News
What appear to be two short-range ballistic missiles were fired early on Saturday, says South Korea.
North Korea slams Seoul over military drills with US, says Kim oversaw latest weapons tests | Fox News
North Korea said Saturday that dictator Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a new weapons system, the latest in a series of launches widely seen as an effort to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea amid ongoing joint military exercises between the two countries.
Trump gushes about letter from pen pal Kim, and shares his dislike of joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises – New York Daily News
President Trump on Saturday brushed off North Korea’s latest short-range ballistic missile tests, and appeared to endorse the rogue regime’s disdain for joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
Trump says he received ‘small apology’ from Kim Jong Un for missile tests | Fox News
President Trump said Saturday that he had received a “small apology” from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for testing short-range missiles — while appearing to side with him on what he called “ridiculous and expensive” joint exercises conducted by the U.S. and South Korea.
Hours after Trump boast, North Korea provokes region – AOL News
North Korea on Saturday extended a recent streak of weapons displays by firing what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
Trump: Kim Says Ready to Restart Talks When U.S.-S.Korea Joint Drills End |
Trump: Kim Says Ready to Restart Talks When U.S.-S.Korea Joint Drills End
North Korea says Kim oversaw rocket launch despite apology to Trump
The Hermit Kingdom’s official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, published photos of Kim watching with other military officials from what appeared to be an observation post.
North Korea threatens to freeze South Korea out of future talks – CNN
A senior North Korean official has railed against ongoing US-South Korea joint military drills and threatened to freeze out Seoul by only holding future talks with Washington.
Kim Jong-un, Smiling | National Review
President Trump says that no one can make Kim smile like he does. What does it mean?
North Korea Appears To Have Built Its First Real Ballistic Missile Submarine
Hidden behind the distraction of the recent spate of tactical missile tests is a greater development with strategic implications: the Hermit Kingdom appears to have modified an older sub to launch ballistic missiles, improving the lethality and survivability of its nuclear arsenal.
North Korea Calls Off Further Talks With South, Launches More Projectiles : NPR
Following a speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowing to reunify the Koreas, Pyongyang said it would no longer pursue peace with Seoul.

China’s Army May Miss Some of Its Modernization Goals – Defense One
But the PLA will still have more modern armored brigades than the United States.
Huawei employees reportedly helped African governments spy
Well, the US now has yet another reported case of espionage-related misdeeds it can point to as additional proof of why the Huawei ban should remain in…
Huawei Staff Help Governments to Spy on People: WSJ Investigation – YouTube
Wall Street Journal Published on Aug 14, 2019 On the ground in Uganda, our reporters uncovered how Chinese telecom giant Huawei is providing surveillance tools that African governments use to stifle dissent. Video: Clément Bürge.

China Loses Status as U.S.’s Top Foreign Creditor to Japan – Bloomberg
Japan surpassed China in June as the top holder of U.S. Treasuries as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies intensified.
Japan surpasses China as largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys
Japan surpassed China as the largest foreign holder of Treasury securities in June.
Trump Asks Japan’s Abe About Kamikaze Pilot Dad |
Trump Asks Japan’s Abe About Kamikaze Pilot Dad
South Korea to remove Japan from preferred trade list in sign of growing tension | Fox News
South Korea said Monday that it has decided to remove Japan from a list of nations receiving preferential treatment in trade in what was seen as a countermeasure to Tokyo’s recent decision to downgrade Seoul’s trade status amid a diplomatic row.



Foreign Policy Reports



John Bolton looks to freshen up U.S.-U.K. relationship with London trip
National security adviser John Bolton arrived in the U.K. on Sunday for two days of talks with the new British government.
John Bolton’s charm offensive masks push for foreign policy shift | News | The Times
For a man known as the most hawkish official in the Trump administration, John Bolton verged on the charming.He came bearing gifts, the promise of speedy mini trade deals on a sector-by-sector basis that the Johnson government could hold up as early evidence of success in forging a US trade deal wit
U.S. adviser Bolton to urge tougher UK stance on Iran and China – Reuters
John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, arrived in London on Sunday for talks at which he is expected to urge Britain to toughen its stance on Iran and Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei.
Bolton: US would enthusiastically support a no-deal Brexit
The United States would enthusiastically support a no-deal Brexit if that is what the British government decided to do, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday during a visit to London aimed at reassuring Britain over UK-U.S. ties.
Queen believes Britain’s politicians have an ‘inability to govern’ as monarch launches extraordinary rant against MPs while Remainers plot to drag her into Brexit
HER Majesty the Queen believes Britain’s politicians have an “inability to govern” as the monarch launched an extraordinary rant against MPs while Remainers plot to drag her into Brexit. Queen Elizabeth II’s political views have rarely been exposed in the past, but Her Maj has set the record straight regarding the current state of Brexit.
Queen Elizabeth II laments ‘inability to govern’ of British politicians – INSIDER
‘I’ve heard her talking about her disappointment in the current political class and its inability to govern correctly,’ a royal source claimed.
The World Is Reaping the Chaos the British Empire Sowed – Foreign Policy
Locals are still paying for the mess the British left behind in Hong Kong and Kashmir.

German economy: GDP shrinks in the second quarter as trade slows – CNN
Germany’s economy shrank in the second quarter as global uncertainty and the trade war took a toll on its manufacturers.
German economy slips back into negative growth – BBC News
A decline in exports dampened growth, causing the economy to shrink 0.1%, according to official data.
Shrinking German economy ‘on edge of recession’ as exports stutter – Reuters
Slumping exports sent Germany’s economy into reverse in the second quarter, with prospects of an early recovery slim as its manufacturers struggle at the sharp end of a global slowdown amplified by tariff conflicts and fallout from Brexit.
The myth of the strong German economy – spiked
Trade War Takes Toll on Economic Growth in Germany, China – WSJ
Germany’s economy shrank in the second quarter and China reported a raft of weak data, sharpening fears over how far the spillover from the global trade dispute is damaging the prospects for growth.
Markets slump as recession warning lights start to blink — live updates
​Scroll down for live updates
German nuclear energy: How to demolish a power plant without blowing it up – CNN
German engineers have demolished a former nuclear power plant without an explosion — instead using robots to gently collapse it like a house of cards.

No One’s Going to Be Happy Giving Up Land to Fight Climate Change – Defense One
Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.
Pope Francis cautions against nationalism, says recent political rhetoric has echoed ‘Hitler in 1934’ | TheHill
Pope Francis on Friday said he was “concerned” about recent political rhetoric, cautioning against nationalism and saying that recent political speeches he’s heard “resemble those of Hitler in 1934.”
Denmark’s 3rd Largest Bank Is Now Paying People To Take Out A Mortgage | Zero Hedge
“Yes, I hardly understand it either. In fact, I said it can’t happen. But we have figured out how to have a negative rate mortgage.”
Thailand’s Former Leader, in Exile and Wanted at Home, Gets Serbian Citizenship – The New York Times
Yingluck Shinawatra, a former prime minister, left Thailand in 2017, before being convicted of corruption.
‘We Know What You Did Last Summer’: Romanians Mark Anniversary Of Protest Crackdown
Tens of thousands of people are expected to rally across Romania on August 10 to mark the first anniversary of a massive anti-corruption protest that was violently put down by the government.

Russia Signs Deal to Send Navy to Venezuela After ‘Unacceptable’ U.S. Moves
Russia has backed Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro against U.S. attempts to oust the socialist leader.
Russia, Venezuela sign deal on warship visits to each other’s ports: Ifax – Reuters
Russia and Venezuela signed an agreement on Thursday governing visits by the countries’ warships to each other’s ports, the Interfax news agency reported.
Venezuela pro-Maduro legislature to assess early congress elections – Reuters
Venezuela’s pro-government legislature on Monday agreed to create a commission to evaluate holding 2020 legislative elections early, which would create an opportunity for the government to reclaim control of the opposition-dominated congress.
As Maduro and Guaido Trade Threats, Their Underlings Seek a Deal – Bloomberg
Negotiations over Venezuela’s future look like a game of chicken as each side arrives with maximum demands.
President’s Venezuela embargo needs a good Plan B | Miami Herald
Trump’s embargo on Venezuela needs strong follow-up plan or it will backfire by accelerating the mass migration of Venezuelans, leaving dictator Maduro with fewer mouths to feed, helping him stay in power indefinitely.
Venezuela Grows More Unequal – WSJ
The haves find ways to provide basic services. The have-nots suffer intensely.



Capability / Strategy / History Publications



NIST Lays Out Roadmap for Developing Artificial Intelligence Standards – Nextgov
The plan is meant to help federal leaders roll out standards that reduce the potential risks of AI without stifling innovation.
US Plans Face Recognition on ‘All Passenger Applications’ – Defense One
Customs and Border Protection is pressing ahead despite a recent backlash to federal law enforcement\’s use of such technology.
France wants to arm satellites with guns and lasers by 2030 – To Inform is to Influence
Why is this article highlighted by an IO/IW blog? Because it is all about the information. Presenting it, damaging it, denying it, and in this case, protecting it. Satellites and their links were usually assumed away, because they’re 22,000+ miles up in space. Now we are realizing satellites are vulnerable and France is moving to protect them. </end editorial>

Kratos primes engine pipeline in anticipation of Valkyrie UCAS orders | Jane’s 360
Kratos Defense and Security Solutions has begun placing engine orders in anticipation of receiving first series production contracts for its XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned combat air system (UCAS) before the end of 2019. Developed in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) under the Low Cost Attritable Strike Demonstrator (LCASD) programme, the XQ-58A is a ‘loyal wingman’ designed to function as an armed adjunct to conventional manned fighters. A prototype is being flight tested by the AFRL. The second of five planned demonstration flights was completed on 11 June, achieving 100% of planned test points. Kratos has built a further two Valkyrie air vehicles, which remain under its ownership. Reporting the company’s second quarter 2019 results in a 31 July earnings call, Kratos president and CEO Eric DeMarco said that the company was confident that Valkyrie was “on track for initial production and a programme of record”. In response, the company has begun ordering engines “for expected Valkyrie production to meet anticipated future customer delivery requirements,” DeMarco said. The XQ-58A demonstrator is powered by an off-the-shelf Williams International FJ33 twin-spool turbofan; it has not been confirmed if this engine type is being retained for follow-on production. Kratos believes that it could receive orders for between 20 and 40 Valkyrie vehicles by the end of the year. According to DeMarco, the US Air Force (USAF) has shown interest in acquiring 20–30 air vehicles for operational experimentation, test, and integration. He also alluded to potential new customers, one of which has “recently expressed interest in acquiring up to an initial 10 Valkyries in either the fourth quarter of this year or the first half of 2020”.
The Air Force is all in on software
The service is coming to grips with new norms and the need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable when it comes to digital development.
Boeing accelerates ‘Loyal Wingman’ drone program – Defence Blog
Boeing is advancing efforts to introduce new digital engineering capabilities as it prepares for the first flight of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Loyal Wingman prototype in 2020. The aerospace giant reported a continues work on developing technology for autonomous aircraft that will help Royal Australian Air Force’s Loyal Wingman prototype take to the skies. “Our aircraft and mission system is well advanced in our rigorous design and test program, bolstered by Boeing’s adoption of digital engineering,” said Dr. Shane Arnott, director of Boeing’s Phantom Works International. “As a result, we have a live digital copy of the entire aircraft design that we’ve been able to “fly” thousands of times under different scenarios to test aircraft performance and the mission system.” The Boeing team is using its world-class Systems Analysis Laboratory based in Brisbane, Australia, to simulate and model critical mission capabilities and the aircraft product lifecycle. “That’s making the real difference in ensuring we can maintain an agile schedule, and offer a truly affordable, attritable unmanned teaming solution for global customers,” Arnott said. In fact, the Boeing team has already taken the learnings from the lab and is advancing field testing the mission system with surrogate aircraft.
Air Force Tests Contraption That Can Turn Any Plane Into a Robot Plane – Defense One
Scientists say new ROBOpilot completed a two-hour test flight, essentially turning a manned plane into a drone.
Lockheed Martin awarded $99M for air-launched cruise missiles for U.S. allies – Defence Blog
The U.S. Department of Defense said that Lockheed Martin Corp. has been awarded a $99 million contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) Foreign Military Sales production support. The award, which was announced by the Department of Defense on Aug. 13, will provide for lifecycle support for all efforts related to JASSM and any JASSM variants in the areas of system upgrades, integration, production, sustainment, management and logistical support. This contract involves foreign military sales to Finland, Poland and Australia.
This Interesting Video Shows a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Dropping 500-lb Practice Bombs over Smoky Hill Bombing Range – The Aviationist
Here’s a clip showing a B-2 as it drops inert “dummy” bombs on a range in Kansas recently. The footage below was filmed by Brady Kendrick during the aerial gunnery demonstrations Smoky Hill Bombing Range Open House on Aug. 3, 2019. A B-2 Spirit belonging to the 110th Bomb Squadron belonging to the 131st Bomb Wing – the only Air National Guard unit to operate and maintain B-2s out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, using the radio callsign “Misty-11”, can be seen as it drops five BDU-50 500-lb practice bombs over the range, the largest in the Air National Guard, in central Kansas.
Meet Russia’s Very Own F-15 Strike Eagle (To Help Kill F-15s In Battle) | The National Interest
Meet  the Soviet Air Force’s own ‘aggressor’ unit.
Something Huge May Have Happened Around Area 51 Over The Weekend | Zero Hedge
This weekend’s activity was described as “unusual” and is speculated to be indicative of a “major test event” near Area 51.
What could a military do with this flying saucer?
Uncrewed and jet-powered, the Romanian design hopes to overcome the airframe style’s long history of unsuccessful flight.

Can robots make an Army platoon 10 times as effective?
The Army is specifically looking at proposals for tactical-level robots and systems that will be valuable in a training exercise in September 2020.
U.S. Army develops ‘stealthy’ rifles – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army is planning to use cutting-edge technologies to significantly reduce the noise and visual signature of the next-generation rifles, according to new data from the Joint Service Small Arms Program. The next generation rifles will combine modern firepower with reduced visual and acoustic signatures. The U.S. arms makers working with military researchers on new solutions that help to field a system that will allow troops to gain the advantage of stealth. One of the major challenges is the development of critical component-level technologies that provide lightweight, reduced signature, lower-recoil rifle development to enable increased system performance. To be really ‘stealthy’, it is not enough to remove the noise of firing. Engineers are making efforts to reduce first-shot weapon signature in low light to conduct operations without detection. Currently, first shots produce a brighter flash. The blast and flash are caused by the combustion products of the gunpowder, and any remaining unburned powder, mixing with the ambient air. The size and shape of the muzzle flash are dependent on the type of ammunition being used and the individual characteristics of the firearm and any devices attached to the muzzle (such as a muzzle brake or flash suppressor). According to new data, continues development of a convenient gas purge system to remove oxygen from the barrel to reduce the weapon flash from the first shot, but doing so without losing accuracy and range. The new system designed to reduce or close the gap for gunner position detection. No escaping gas means no loud noise, making a pop rather than a bang. The new weapons system developing especially for use in irregular warfare like the insurgencies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Texas university to build $130M complex to test Army’s combat tech
The complex is to include a kilometer-long tunnel that will make Texas A&M Engineering “the hypersonics research capital of the country,” according to the school’s vice chancellor and dean of engineering.

U.S. Navy intends to issue new contract for 1400 Sidewinder missiles – Defence Blog
The U.S. Navy intends to award the production of almost 1400 new AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles in Block II and Block II+ configurations. The Naval Air Systems Command has announced in the last week notice posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website that this will be a new Fixed Price Incentive Firm (FPIF) contract for the United States Navy, United States Air Force, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. According to notice , the Sidewinder production procurement will include a maximum quantity of 1,400 Tactical Missiles, Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs), Special Air Training Missiles (NATMs) and Captive Test Missiles (CTMs) per lot, with associated spares, containers, training and test missiles, tooling and special test equipment, training kits, maintenance kits, and other related supplies and data. NAVAIR intends to award this procurement sole source to Raytheon Missile Systems as the main contactor. The company’s website said the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is the most advanced infrared-tracking, short-range, air-to-air and surface-to-air missile in the world. It is configured for easy installation on a wide range of modern aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, E/A-18G, F-22 and F-35 fighters. The current version, the AIM-9X Block II missile, is in its 16th year of production. It adds a redesigned fuze and a digital ignition safety device that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety. It also features updated electronics that enable significant enhancements, including lock-on-after-launch capability using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements.
The U.S. Navy Wants a ‘Ship of Theseus’
The sea service would prefer to recycle ship designs, adding revolutionary tech as it becomes available.

Iran unveils ‘improved’ radar air defense system – Reuters
Iran unveiled on Saturday what authorities said was a locally upgraded radar system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) that could help defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones.
Iran news: Tehran readies for World War 3 as new missile and drone defence unveiled | World | News |
IRAN has readied itself for war after the rebel Middle Eastern nation unveiled a new missile and drone defence arsenal.
Iran unveils new air defence system ‘capable of detecting missiles and drones at range of 250 miles’ | Daily Mail Online
Iran’s new air defence system, the ‘Falagh’ is an overhauled version of the imported ‘Gamma’ surveillance radar. Officials say it is capable of identifying and finding all types of cruise missiles.
Iran unveils new defence system capable of ‘detecting missiles and drones from 250 MILES AWAY’ – The Sun
Iran’s military is making strides into twenty-first century technology
As the Iranian leadership embraces new technologies, its whole-of-government approach means that its work occurs not only on military bases. 

352 Kills: That’s How Many Wins World War II’s Top Fighter Ace Has | The National Interest
The real ‘Top Gun’?
At Guadalcanal, the US Won Through Cost Imposition. Our Adversaries Do Much the Same Today – Defense One
The WWII battle has plenty to teach us about 21st-century conflict.
See This Picture? The Cockpit Hit the Ground at 35 G’s. | The National Interest
A tragedy with the pictures to match.
How America Lost Faith in Expertise | Foreign Affairs
In many ways, the populist surge that brought Donald Trump to office represents a rejection of experts and all they represent. Americans today see ignorance as a virtue. Here’s why they’re very, very wrong.
Airline pilot flies dad’s remains home from Vietnam 52 years after seeing him off at same Dallas airport
When Air Force Maj. Roy Knight, Jr., left Dallas for Vietnam 52 years ago, his 5-year-old son, Bryan, came to Dallas Love field to see him off. On Thursday, Bryan, now a captain for Southwest Airlines, brought back his father’s remains aboard a flight to the same Dallas airport.

Boeing reports no new orders of 737 Max as grounding enters sixth month
The dearth of Max orders in July marked the fourth-straight month without any new orders for the planes.
New Report Puts Impact Of Boeing 737 MAX Grounding at $4.1 Billion
A new report puts the global airline industry’s full-year 2019 lost revenue due to the Boeing 737 MAX grounding at about $4.1 billion, including $600 million for three U. S. airlines that fly the aircraft.
Boeing 737 Max grounding drives up demand for older models
Airlines are having to pay higher rates on some older Boeing jets as the worldwide grounding of the 737 Max after two fatal crashes enters its sixth month.
The 737 Max crisis could destroy Boeing’s plans for the 797 – CNN
Problems with Boeing’s 737 Max killed 346 people. The plane’s grounding has cost the company billions of dollars and caused problems for airlines around the globe.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber/Social Media Reports



The language gives it away: How an algorithm can help us detect fake news
Using machine learning and natural language processing, researchers are developing an algorithm that can distinguish between real and fake news articles.
DARPA Is Taking On the Deepfake Problem – To Inform is to Influence
The agency wants to teach computers to detect errors in manipulated media using logic and common sense. The Defense Department is looking to build tools that can quickly detect deepfakes and other manipulated media amid the growing threat of “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks.” The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on Tuesday announced it would host a proposers day for an upcoming initiative focused on curbing the spread of malicious deepfakes, shockingly realistic but forged images, audio and videos generated by artificial intelligence. Under the Semantic Forensics program, or SemaFor, researchers aim to help computers use common sense and logical reasoning to detect manipulated media. As global adversaries enhance their technological capabilities, deepfakes and other advanced disinformation tactics are becoming a top concern for the national security community. Russia already showed the potential of fake media to sway public opinion during the 2016 election, and as deepfake tools become more advanced and readily available, experts worry bad actors will use the tech to fuel increasingly powerful influence campaigns.
DSLR cameras could be at risk from ransomware | TechRadar
Check Point researchers show ransomware attacks on digital cameras.

US Domestic Policy Reports



Unleashing the Power of Space: The Case for a Separate U.S. Space Force – War on the Rocks
In June, I publicly echoed President Donald Trump’s call for a U.S. Space Force, and I believe a separate service is the best way to protect the United
Our Efforts to Prevent Nuclear Terror Are Shrinking. The Threat Is Not. – Defense One
Five ideas to help Congress reinvigorate the crucial pursuit of nuclear security.

The End of the Dan Coats Era – Defense One
Whoever takes over from Coats permanently could serve as a needed voice of clarity about America’s biggest challenges—or see the intelligence community …
Trump Considering Amb. Pete Hoekstra for DNI Post |
Working with the Senate to select a candidate that everybody can really come together with, President Donald Trump said former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., is a candidate to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.

Here’s What Foreign Interference Will Look Like in 2020 – Defense One
The incentives for foreign countries to meddle are much greater than in 2016, and the tactics could look dramatically different.
State Dept. updates ‘anti-Semitism’ definition following Omar’s anti-Israel resolution | Fox News
The U.S. State Department recently revised its definition of anti-Semitism, in what some view as at least partially a response to the comments and actions of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
Defining Anti-Semitism – United States Department of State
Stop the Slaughter of Our Children With These Weapons of War – Defense One
Assault weapons are designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time possible. They are for war; they are not for sport.
How a Russian Firm Gave An Economic Lifeline To Appalachia | Time
A TIME investigation found that Rusal used every political and economic tool at its disposal to shed sanctions, prevent them from being re-imposed and establish a foothold in U.S. politics
New York Times chief outlines coverage shift: From Trump-Russia to Trump racism
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, said recently that, after the Mueller report, the paper has to shift the focus of its coverage from the Trump-Russia affair to the president’s alleged racism.
Trump tells advisers Omar and Tlaib shouldn’t be allowed to enter Israel: report | TheHill
President Trump has told advisers that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should prevent Reps.