Stories We’re Watching
Acting Secretary of Defense in Iraq to Discuss Syria, Iran, & US Troops
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan made his first visit to Iraq today. Secretary Shanahan is expected to discuss President Trump’s surprise announcement that some US troops would shift from Syria to Iraq to watch Iran. Iraqi President Salih’s public rejection of President Trump’s announcement underscores the growing unpopularity of the US troops’ presence in Iraq. Defense analysts caution that US troops are still needed to protect the US-allied Kurdish forces that President Erdogan has repeatedly threatened. Shanahan is expected to meet with European officials later this week to coordinate efforts amidst a US troop drawdown.
- Reuters: Acting Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to support Iraq, discuss Syria
- Foreign Affairs: The Kurdish Awakening
- Foreign Policy: Pentagon Seeks Massive Increase for ‘Slush Fund’ War Account
Turkey Issues 1,100+ Arrest Warrants, Erdogan Accuses Vendors of ‘Food Terrorism’ Ahead of Elections
Turkish prosecutors have issued an additional 1,112 arrest warrants for individuals suspected of following Pennsylvania-based Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has pinned 2016’s failed military coup on ‘Gulenists’ and has ordered the arrest of more than 300,000 (10% of Turkey’s public sector) since 2016. An additional 160,000+ have been economically-blacklisted: dismissed and barred from leaving the country and from holding employment. This latest round of arrests come as the Erdogan administration prepares for elections next month. Meanwhile, Erdogan has blamed Turkey’s soaring food prices on acts of ‘food terrorism’ committed by Turkish vendors. Economists point to soaring inflation and Erdogan’s recent rejection of an IMF loan.
- The Guardian: Turkey issues 1100 arrest warrants for Gülenist coup suspects
- Haaretz: Turkey Orders 1112 Arrested Over Links to Cleric Gulen
- Bloomberg: Turkey May Have to Face Its Protesters in US Court
- Voice of America: Turkey Opens Government Vegetable Stalls in Battle with Inflation
Trial Starts for 12 Catalan Separatist Leaders Involved In 2017 Independence Bid
Twelve Catalan separatist leaders appeared before a panel of seven Supreme Court justices in Madrid earlier today. The defendants were ministers in the Catalan regional government and are being tried for holding an unapproved referendum on Catalan independence in 2017. Prosecutors allege that the referendum sparked a constitutional crisis and have charged the defendants with rebellion, sedition, and misuse of funds. Catalans separatists have dismissed the case as ‘vaudeville’. In response, the Spanish government has published documents illustrating judicial processes and will broadcast the trial live. If found guilty, some of the defendants face sentences of 25 years in prison.
- NPR: Trial Starts For Catalan Leaders Involved In 2017 Independence Bid
- Deutsche Welle: Spain: Catalan separatists’ trial begins amid tensions
- CNN: Long-awaited trial of Catalan separatist leaders begins in Spain
- VICE: 12 Catalan separatist leaders have gone on trial in Spain. Here’s what you need to know.
OPEC Production Falls on Output Cuts, Officials Insist the Group Isn’t a Cartel
Global oil prices have stabilized after OPEC further cut oil production. Saudi Arabia led the effort, and OPEC’s secretary-general is now urging other members to follow through with their promised cuts. Analysts caution that OPEC’s market power has diminished significantly. However, US lawmakers are considering legislation to weaken OPEC’s power by making it subject to antitrust laws. In response to the proposed US legislation, OPEC’s secretary-general insisted that the organization wasn’t a cartel.
- MarketWatch: OPEC is neither an oil ‘cartel’ nor a price fixer, insists top official
- WSJ: OPEC Production Falls Significantly on Saudi Output Cuts
- Reuters: OPEC cuts oil supply steeply but sees growing 2019 headwinds
US Lawmakers Reach Tentative Deal to Avert Shutdown
Top congressional negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a deal to fully reopen the US government and avoid another shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline. Negotiations have stalled on and centered around border security. The deal will have to pass through both chambers of congress as well as the President. Although the agreement partially finances construction of new barriers along the US-Mexico border, President Trump has insisted on $5.7bn to construct a wall. The proposed wall has met tough criticism from US border states—California has withdrawn their national guard troops, calling the situation a “manufactured crisis.”
- Vox: Congress’s deal on immigration detention, explained
- Associated Press : Global stocks rise as US averts government shutdown
- CNN: This is the daily cost in unpaid federal wages during a shutdown
- VICE: California governor will pull back National Guard from the “manufactured crisis”
PODCAST: What If We Were President?
What if Rosa Brooks was president? What if Kori Schake were? What about Evelyn Farkas? We live in an era of strong women candidates…what about strong women from the Deep State? Tune in and you will discover that’s the answer to all our problems…in what will probably be your favorite Deep State Radio episode effort. Featuring: Pepin the Short!
EARLY ACCESS PODCAST: What Do Virginia’s Confederate Monuments Have to Do with Foreign Policy?
Virginia’s leadership mess obscures deeper problems within the state…and the country. How do our flaws–from racism to anti-semitism to our corrupt current leadership–impact America’s standing and create opportunities for our enemies? Join Rosa Brooks, Evelyn Farkas and host, David Rothkopf for an introspective journey into our moment and what to do about it. Tune in!