FPI Overnight Brief: May 11, 2017

The Must-Reads

Middle East/North Africa

Iran
 
Iran’s highest leader said on Wednesday that any disrupters of national elections, which are less than two weeks away, would receive a “slap in the face,” underscoring the political tensions lurking behind the vote. – New York Times
 
Syria
 
Turkey’s president and his top aides sharply criticized the Trump administration on Wednesday over its decision to arm a Syrian Kurdish militant group in the battle against the Islamic State, and they urged the White House to reverse it. – New York Times
 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey lost his first major political battle with the Trump administration, which is arming the Syrian Kurds who the Turks consider enemies. The question now is what Mr. Erdogan, a headstrong leader, will do next. – New York Times
 
U.S. special operations advisers are moving quickly to get new arms and ammunition into the hands of the Kurdish YPG in Syria despite renewed demands from NATO ally Turkey to break the deal approved by President Donald Trump, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday. – Military.com
 
Anti-Islamic State fighters, backed by U.S. forces, have seized a strategic town in northern Syria and will soon move “within striking distance” of Raqqa, the terrorist group’s self-proclaimed capital, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday. – Stars and Stripes
 
U.S.-backed Syrian militias said they fully seized the town of Tabqa and Syria's largest dam from Islamic State on Wednesday, a major objective as they prepare to launch an assault on Raqqa, the jihadists' biggest urban stronghold. - Reuters
 
With the Trump administration's decision to supply Syria's Kurdish fighters with heavier weapons, U.S. troops inside Syria are in the crossfire between Turkey, a powerful NATO ally, and the Kurdish fighters that Ankara deems as terrorists. – Associated Press
 
Josh Rogin reports: President Trump’s Wednesday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House was not primarily about sanctions or Crimea or even Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to Trump, the U.S. government now looks favorably on the Russian-Iranian-Turkish plan for Syria. – Washington Post
 
Frederic Hof writes: Ideally the good luck for which America was once known will return in the liberation of Raqqa. Ideally ISIS fighters will vanish before the SDF enters the city. If they do not, ideally the SDF militiamen––accompanied by American advisors––will mimic the performance of trained professionals. Tens of thousands of civilian lives hang in the balance. Had the Turkish-American alliance kicked-in with full force sometime over the past two-plus years, the defeat of ISIS could have been accomplished in a rapid, professionally satisfactory, and life-saving manner. Now one prays for good fortune – Atlantic Council
 
Hof also writes: This de-escalation initiative may indeed save lives and enable the real Syrian opposition to confront al-Qaeda and ISIS. But it will not succeed because of Russian, Iranian, or regime decency and good will. If the Trump administration perpetuates the AWOL in Syria policy of its predecessor, this initiative will fail and extremists––notably the Assad regime and its al-Qaeda and ISIS partners in crime––will be the winners. – Atlantic Council
 
Saudi Arabia
 
The future course of Saudi Arabia hinges on whether last month’s sudden decision to reverse unpopular austerity measures will come to be seen by its people as a sign of weakness or a sign of wisdom. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
North Africa
 
American military hardware is being used to undermine official U.S. policy in Libya, TIME has learned, as the United Arab Emirates has deployed warplanes manufactured in the U.S. in Libya in violation of a United Nations arms embargo. - Time
 
David Schenker writes: At his White House meeting earlier this month, Sisi told Trump, “You will find me and Egypt next to you [as you] implement the strategy to confront and eradicate terrorism.” Sisi is no doubt sincere in his support for the United States in the war against ISIS. For that matter, he is also supportive of Israel’s military efforts. The real question, though, is how committed Egypt is to its own fight against terrorism – Foreign Affairs
 
Levant
 
Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked encouraged U.S. efforts to pressure the Palestinian Authority to end the longtime practice of paying terrorists and their families for carrying out attacks against Israelis and Americans. – Washington Free Beacon
 
The Trump administration is disputing Israeli media reports claiming that the president is no longer committed to moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which candidate Donald Trump vowed to do while campaigning for the presidency, according to U.S. officials familiar with the situation. – Washington Free Beacon
 
Israel’s parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a contentious bill that would assert that only Jews have the right to self-determination in Israel and demote Arabic from its status as an official language. – Financial Times
 
Lebanon is on the brink of crisis again with its politicians at odds over an election law at the heart of the nation's sectarian system, threatening to leave the country without a parliament for the first time. - Reuters
 
Turkey
 
The U.S. is beefing up joint intelligence efforts with Turkey to help that government better target terrorists in the region, according to U.S. officials, in an apparent bid to alleviate Turkish anxieties as the Pentagon implements a plan to arm Kurdish forces operating inside Syria. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Erdogan has counted on conservatives’ support for more than 14 years, but his authoritarian style of governance and his pragmatic foreign policy are pushing a segment of Turkey’s Islamists to turn against him. – Los Angeles Times
 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Washington on May 16, according to the White House. President Trump will meet with the Turkish leader at the White House during his visit. – The Hill
 
The Turkish government is about to finalize its efforts to ink two major naval export deals totaling between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, official sources said on condition of strict anonymity. – Defense News

Asia

South Asia
 
A $1 billion project to build 560 mosques in Bangladesh will be funded by Saudi Arabia. Religious minorities in Bangladesh are worried that a government project announced in late April will have a dangerous effect. The Bangladeshi government’s Islamic Foundation is overseeing the creation of hundreds of mosques that experts and historians say will promote Wahhabism — a literal interpretation of Islam. – Washington Times
 
Pakistan's powerful military on May 10 moved to calm worries about a rift with the civilian government, issuing a statement stressing its commitment to democracy. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
China
 
Organizers of a pro-democracy rally held annually in July on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China said on Wednesday that they had been denied permission to use a downtown park, a move that threatens to raise tensions ahead of an expected visit by President Xi Jinping of China. – New York Times
 
China's Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday that the military successfully test-fired a new type of missile into waters near the Korean Peninsula — an announcement that comes amid Chinese anger over the deployment in South Korea of a sophisticated U.S. missile defense system. – Associated Press
 
Editorial: Mr. Xie’s relatives, including a daughter born in the United States, managed to flee China for Thailand, but were jailed there for entering the country illegally. Chinese agents were lurking at the jail, hoping to repatriate them, when the United States intervened, literally sweeping the family out the back door of the jail to safety. This unusual example of activism by the administration is to be welcomed. President Trump, who has described Mr. Xi as “a very good man,” must also speak up for China’s beleaguered lawyers and others who have been cruelly silenced. – Washington Post
 
Korean Peninsula
 
South Korea’s new president said Wednesday that he would be willing to hold talks in Washington and Pyongyang in efforts to ease the North Korean nuclear crisis, wasting no time in embarking on a new approach to dealing with Kim Jong Un’s regime. – Washington Post
 
North Korea must still overcome “important shortfalls” in developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile before it can field a weapon capable of hitting the U.S., according to the Pentagon’s intelligence agency. - Bloomberg
 
The CIA has opened a mission center focused on curbing North Korea's advancing weapons program, the agency announced on Wednesday. – The Hill
 
Rising tensions between the US and North Korea have pulled in once-peripheral Southeast Asian states and opened an unpredictable new regional dimension in the long-running crisis. – Financial Times
 
South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in has discussed North Korea’s growing nuclear threats with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, as he looks to tackle numerous geopolitical challenges facing the east Asian nation. – Financial Times
 
President Donald Trump on Wednesday invited South Korea's new president to visit the White House after an election victory that could cause friction between the allies over how to deal with North Korea's nuclear threat. – Associated Press
 
The new South Korean president is so eager to distance himself from his disgraced, jailed predecessor that he plans to partially abandon one of the job's major perks: the mountainside presidential palace, the Blue House, from which Park Geun-hye conducted her imperial presidency. – Associated Press
 
The university, which is open about its Christian affiliation, says its sole mission is to help North Korea's future elite learn the skills to modernize the isolated country and engage with the outside world. Former teachers say the faculty is careful to avoid anything that looks like missionary work. The university attracts a steady stream of devout American Christians, despite North Korea's history of handing down long sentences with hard labor to missionaries accused of various transgressions. - Reuters
 
Bill Gertz reports: The State Department issued reports this week warning Americans not to travel to North Korea, where the regime in Pyongyang is stepping up detentions and military provocations. – Washington Times
 
East Asia
 
Leaders across Asia are looking to Washington for guidance on a variety of pressing diplomatic issues. But President Trump’s erratic approach to policy making and his focus on one issue — North Korea’s nuclear weapons program — are creating anxiety and confusion in the region. – New York Times
 
Southeast Asia
 
Senators from both sides of the aisle wrote to President Donald Trump on Wednesday urging him to take a tougher line with Beijing in the South China Sea, calling for more U.S. naval patrols to uphold navigation rights in the disputed waterway. – Foreign Policy’s The Cable
 
People smuggling across the border from Myanmar to Thailand is on the rise despite a crackdown by authorities in both countries that has made it more expensive and dangerous, Thai immigration police say. - Reuters

Security

Defense
 
Various directorates within the Pentagon and service branches responsible for doling out billions in taxpayer dollars have failed to address instances of improper payments across the U.S. military, said a new review by the Defense Department’s inspector general. – Washington Times
 
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) commiserated Tuesday with three nominees who are about to enter, if confirmed, the boundless morass that is the Defense Department’s budgeting and acquisition system. – DOD Buzz
 
While Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets deal death from the sky on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, the EA-18 Growler is jamming enemy communications — and potentially enemy drones too. – Defense Tech
 
BAE Systems is working to address an Army need by testing an emerging helicopter protection technology able to detect, distinguish and destroy approaching enemy fire in a more effective and integrated fashion than existing systems can, industry developers explained. – Scout Warrior
 
Analysis: When veterans, historians and analysts commemorated the 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War in the early 90s, many were likely to regard the military effort as a substantial turning point in the trajectory or evolution of modern warfare. – Scout Warrior
 
Missile Defense
 
Steven Bucci writes: North Korea is rapidly approaching a delivery capability that can hit vital U.S. targets. They are likely to get to their end state before we could develop a revolutionary new defense like the MKOV. America can achieve the goal of a redesigned kill vehicle before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could strike. That is the direction we must go, and there should be no further delay or debate. Build on the proven capability and protect American lives. – Defense News
 
Cybersecurity
 
The Trump administration is hard at work on a governmentwide strategy to deter adversary cyberattacks despite missing a self-imposed deadline to draft that policy, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers told lawmakers Tuesday. – Defense One

Russia/Europe

Ukraine
 
Vice President Mike Pence expressed the Trump administration's "unwavering support" for Ukraine's sovereignty in a meeting with the country's foreign minister on May 10. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
 
A top aide to Vladimir Putin decides how the pro-Moscow administration of eastern Ukraine is run and who gets what jobs there, three former rebel leaders said, challenging Kremlin denials that it calls the shots in the region. - Reuters
 
The Associated Press has found that Ukrainian soldiers are being bombarded by text messages likely dispatched by cell site simulators. Some are crude threats, while others play on allegations that Ukraine’s billionaire president, Petro Poroshenko, sometimes nicknamed Parasha, is lining his pockets as soldiers fight in the field. – Associated Press
 
Diane Francis writes: Three years after trying to change the system from inside, Leshchenko and others now believe that only the IMF and international pressure can reform Ukraine. The single biggest obstacle to growth is the country’s unscrupulous judiciary which legitimizes the capture of the state by a few. – Atlantic Council
 
Russia
 
Only hours after dismissing James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I., amid an investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials, the president met with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at the White House. It is the only item on the president’s public schedule for Wednesday. – New York Times
 
President Donald Trump didn’t substantively raise the issue of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election during an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who dismissed the hacking charges as “not serious.” – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
A judge in Russia’s fourth-largest city has convicted a blogger who played “Pokémon Go” in a renowned Orthodox cathedral of inciting religious hatred and insulting the feelings of believers, the state RIA-Novosti news agency reported Thursday. – Washington Post
 
The images and upbeat statements from the two sides were in jarring contrast to the rising alarm in Washington among Democrats and some Republicans that Trump might be concealing Russian influence over his actions. Trump has repeatedly pledged warmer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite bipartisan condemnation of Putin’s foreign aggression and efforts to influence the 2016 election. - Politico
 
Moscow has accused the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of becoming a “tool of [western] foreign policy”, after governors of the lender to former communist Europe backed a three-year-old freeze on new lending to Russia. – Financial Times
 
Oleg Kashin writes: The toughest and riskiest radicalism today originates not among Mr. Putin’s opponents, but among his supporters. They are the ones who are creating, at a minimum, the visual image of a new revolutionary Russia. If at some point he is overthrown as Mr. Yanukovych was, make no mistake: His face will be splashed with zelyonka. – New York Times
 
Damir Marusic writes: While it’s possible that the compromising material on Medvedev included in Navalny’s documentary came from Anikeyev’s group as the WSJ article implies, it’s also clear that it’s not a matter of shadowy anarchists trying to “rattle” the Kremlin. Rather, it’s almost certainly an inside job, as our own Karina Orlova has been reporting for months now. To think the Kremlin is a “victim” in this situation is akin to believing that the Kremlin was “victimized” by the executions of Stalin’s notorious hangmen Yezhov and Beria. – The American Interest
 
Semen Kabakaev writes: Make no mistake about it: these weapons pose a direct threat to world peace and stability. While the civilized world addresses political and security issues through diplomacy and compromise, the Russian government continues to understand only the language of force. – Atlantic Council
 
Europe
 
Germany worked to patch up a violation of United Nations sanctions against North Korea in the heart of its own capital. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for years has been leasing an annex of its embassy in downtown Berlin to a hostel, a deal that became a violation of U.N. sanctions passed in November to forbid North Korea from using diplomatic property for commercial purposes. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Saddled with an uncharismatic leader, a divided party base and a platform badly in need of updating for post-Brexit Britain, the Labor Party, the country’s traditional leftist party, is facing an uphill battle even here in Wales, which for decades has been a critical bastion of strength. – Washington Times
 
U.S. defense officials said a long-range Patriot missile battery may be deployed to the Baltic region later this year as part of a military exercise. The move, if finalized, would be temporary but signal staunch U.S. backing for Baltic nations concerned about the threat from Russia. – Associated Press
 
Editorial: Bernie Sanders’s success in America and the near miss by radical left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of France’s presidential election show that honest socialism has some political appeal, especially among younger voters in search of “sincerity.” The challenge to the Tories is to embrace their own best instincts on reform and deregulation with the same enthusiasm—dare we say, authenticity—with which Mr. Corbyn embraces Labour’s worst impulses on taxing and spending. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Gary Schmitt and Jeffrey Gedmin write: In the past, a stable, liberal and America-friendly Europe has been central to American interests. Today, a Germany that brought so much darkness to the continent in the first half of the 20th century must take the lead in protecting the very liberal order that arose in its destructive wake. – Washington Post

Americas

United States of America
 
A photographer for a Russian state-owned news agency was allowed into the Oval Office on Wednesday during President Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomats, a level of access that was criticized by former U.S. intelligence officials as a potential security breach. – Washington Post
 
President Donald Trump is facing the first open dissent from Republican lawmakers over his attempt to scrap the party’s longstanding free-trade policy, with two GOP senators announcing Wednesday they will vote against the confirmation of Mr. Trump’s trade representative. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
The Marine Corps took a new step Tuesday to stop sexual harassment in the service, requiring commanders to submit anyone involved in a substantiated case to be reviewed for possible separation from the service the first time they are caught. – Washington Post’s Checkpoint
 
Two transgender cadets — one each at the Air Force and Army military academies — will be allowed to graduate this month after passing exams but will not be permitted to join the ranks of the military’s newest officers, USA TODAY has learned. – USA Today
 
As the White House prepares to ask Congress for steep cuts to the U.S. State Department and United States Agency for International Development, the military’s top commanders are telling lawmakers that slashing diplomacy would undercut the military. – Defense News
 
Comey/FBI
 
The countdown to President Trump’s dismissal of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, began last weekend with an enraged president stewing over Mr. Comey’s testimony to Congress last week, when he admitted to being “slightly nauseous” about doing anything to get Mr. Trump elected.  – New York Times
 
Every time FBI Director James B. Comey appeared in public, an ever-watchful President Trump grew increasingly agitated that the topic was the one that he was most desperate to avoid: Russia. Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment, and was infuriated by what he viewed as the director’s lack of action in recent weeks on leaks from within the federal government. By last weekend, he had made up his mind: Comey had to go. – Washington Post
 
Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin. – New York Times
 
President Trump had been considering firing James B. Comey from his position as director of the F.B.I. since he became president, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday. But even though Mr. Trump had lost confidence in Mr. Comey, the recommendation from the deputy attorney general to fire Mr. Comey was not made at the president’s direction, said the spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. – New York Times
 
Agents said they were stunned that Mr. Trump would fire Mr. Comey in the midst of an F.B.I. investigation into whether any of the president’s associates had conspired with Russia to swing the election in favor of Mr. Trump. Some said in interviews that news of the firing felt like a gut punch. Others wondered whether they would be able to continue the inquiry. – New York Times
 
The Justice Department on Wednesday called in four veteran law enforcement and intelligence officials for interviews to lead the FBI at least temporarily, as the administration tries to restore a sense of normalcy to an agency reeling from the sudden firing of its director. – Washington Post
 
President Donald Trump’s sacking of FBI Director James Comey has set up a crucial test of the United States’ democratic institutions, and the response will determine whether the country’s system of checks and balances can operate effectively in a moment of constitutional crisis. – Foreign Policy
 
James Comey’s replacement at the FBI may be even more controversial than Comey himself. He takes the reins at the FBI during one of its most tumultuous moments in recent memory—and his temporary leadership there may not be enough to calm a bureau that’s reeling. – The Daily Beast
 
Josh Rogin reports: President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James B. Comey is bad for the country and will not be the end of the Trump-Russia affair, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a group of foreign diplomats and experts Tuesday night. – Washington Post
 
Interview: The Cipher Brief Managing Editor Pam Benson asked network expert and former National Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen for his views and his thoughts on Comey, a man he worked with, knows well, and for whom he has the highest respect. – The Cipher Brief
 
Editorial: Modern Washington wants to distill every dispute into a binary fight for power, every decision as a calculation about political gain. But sometimes there are other principles at stake, and not everyone is a partisan hack. It’s always possible Mr. Rosenstein believes he was acting in the best interests of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the country. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Editorial: It’s now obvious that Congress should empanel an independent commission to fully investigate Moscow’s hacking attacks and any Russian links to Mr. Trump and his campaign. The goal should be not merely to determine if anyone should be charged with a crime, but also to develop a complete picture of Russian capabilities and intentions, as well as recommendations for mounting a defense of U.S. democracy. – Washington Post
 
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) writes: By firing Comey, Trump again has caused the public to wonder whether there is more here than meets the eye. To the long list of questions about his former national security adviser, his attorney general’s flawed testimony before the Senate and his campaign’s contacts with Russia, we must now add one more: Why, really, did the president fire James Comey? – Washington Post
 
Peter Feaver writes: This may not have been what President Trump thought he was doing when he took this fateful step, but it is hard to see how else this story ends more favorably from the administration’s point of view. At this stage, an independent investigation may be the best way Trump has available to him to contain the fire. – Foreign Policy’s Elephants in the Room
 
Dov Zakheim writes: Neither Donald Trump nor his administration can afford to have a Watergate-like crisis to overshadow all other matters for the next three years and seven months. There are too many crises internationally, and too many policies to implement domestically, that urgently require the president and his administration's undivided attention. The appearance of a cover-up must be snuffed out immediately. The nation can afford nothing less. – The National Interest
 
Kori Schake writes: America’s hegemony is actually a fantastic bargain for the United States — we seldom have to enforce the rules we set because most countries consider them fair and want us to succeed. While allies may do less than we want, they certainly do more for us than other states. That is why we are uniquely able to rally international cooperation. But President Trump’s domestic behavior has become more than an embarrassment, it is an international liability. – Foreign Policy
 
Bret Stephens writes: Jim Comey’s firing now brings two points into high relief. First, the administration is not being truthful when it claims the director was dismissed for what he did last summer. Second, Donald Trump is afraid. A president who seeks to hide a scandal may be willing to risk an uproar. – New York Times
 
Eli Lake writes: Perhaps there is a lot more. But there is also a good chance there isn't. We know, for example, that Russia began its influence operation long before Trump was even a candidate. And that's why all of this is so strange. The known facts to date do not implicate Trump in anything more than sleazy opportunism during a hard-fought election. Presidents don't get impeached for that. And yet Trump keeps acting like he has something to hide. – Bloomberg View
 
Charles Lane writes: Comey, as it happens, used to be on everyone’s straight-shooter list, respected for his 2004 threat to resign unless President George W. Bush limited some surveillance Comey deemed unlawful. In hindsight, Comey’s 2016 performance looks like an attempt to spend that moral capital on behalf of the FBI’s reputation, and his own — while politicos all about him were losing theirs and blaming it on him. Look where he is now. – Washington Post
 
Flynn
 
The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena Wednesday to force former national security adviser Michael Flynn to turn over documents related to the panel’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, including possible ties between the Kremlin and the presidential campaigns. – Washington Post
 
White House lawyers have had to warn President Donald Trump repeatedly against reaching out to his fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, two people familiar with the matter tell The Daily Beast. – The Daily Beast
 
Targeted in widening investigations of his foreign entanglements, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is at odds with his former Turkish client over two unusual payments totaling $80,000 that Flynn's firm sent back last year to the client. The disagreement points to inconsistencies in Flynn's accounts to the U.S. government about his work for interests outside the United States. – Associated Press
 
Trump-Russia Connections
 
Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and other top U.S. intelligence officials are scheduled to testify before a congressional committee in a public hearing Thursday that has taken on new significance since President Trump suddenly removed James B. Comey as the leader of the FBI.   - Washington Post
 
The Senate Intelligence committee’s leading Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner, said Wednesday that he has asked former FBI Director James B. Comey, who was fired by the White House Tuesday, to testify before the committee next week. – Washington Times
 
Senate Democrats laid out new demands on Wednesday in the aftershock of FBI Director James Comey’s firing that they said would ensure the current federal probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials is not impeded. - Politico
 
Latin America
 
The Mexican government on Wednesday rejected as unfounded and irresponsible a report that portrayed Mexico as the world’s second-deadliest conflict zone in 2016, after the report caught the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
 
Human rights activists say more than 250 detained protesters have been put before military justice over the last week - a sudden upsurge in use of a practice they say violates Venezuela’s constitution, which limits military courts to “offenses of a military nature.” Some lawyers and opposition leaders put the number far higher. – Associated Press

Africa

A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has warned South Africa against copying Harare’s disastrous land reform agenda. – Financial Times
 
The United Nations is seeking a further $900 million this year for Somalia, where more than 6 million people need humanitarian assistance and 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday. - Reuters

Trump Administration

Army Reserve Major General Ricky Waddell has been named deputy national security adviser, taking on a role that will soon be vacated by K.T. McFarland, two National Security Council officials told POLITICO. - Politico
 
President Trump has tapped Mark Green, a former U.S. ambassador and congressman, to lead the United States Agency for International Development. – The Hill

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