Stories We’re Watching
US Is Investigating if Saudi Arabia Transferred US Weapons to al-Qaeda
The US Department of Defense is investigating if Saudi Arabia and coalition partner UAE transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters in Yemen, possibly violating US export laws. Investigators believe that through third-party transfers, the Saudis and Emiratis supplied weapons to al-Qaeda-linked fighters and Iran-backed rebels, the same groups they are claiming to fight. Defense analysts caution that by transferring the weapons, the Saudis and Emiratis may have also exposed knowledge about sensitive military technology and weapons’ vulnerabilities.
- CNN: Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy
- Haaretz: US Investigating Saudi Arabia Giving US Weapons to al-Qaida
- Defense One: US-made weapons on the loose in Yemen
- Reuters: UN envoy says Yemen prisoner swap would help peace process
Pentagon Warns Daesh Is Regrouping in Iraq, to Study Civilian Casualties
In a report released yesterday, the Pentagon warns that “ISIS is still able to coordinate offensives and counter-offensives, as well as operate as a decentralized insurgency” and that “ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory”. The report directly contradicts claims that President Trump has repeatedly made about US troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. The Pentagon is also conducting an internal review of civilian casualties in military operations following an uptick of unfavorable media coverage. The initiative is the military’s first policy on civilian casualties.
- NBC: ISIS regrouping in Iraq, Pentagon report says
- TIME: Pentagon Warns ISIS Could Resurge in Syria Within Months
- Just Security: What to Make of the Pentagon’s Internal Civilian Casualties
- Department of Defense: Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress official
Trump Inaugural Committee Is Subpoenaed
Yesterday, the Southern District of New York US Attorney’s Office issued a subpoena for documents from President Trump’s inaugural committee. Legal analysts believe investigators are looking into possible misappropriation of campaign funds as well as a pay-for-play scheme wherein donations were exchanged for access to the administration. Rick Gates, the president’s former campaign manager who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, headed the inaugural committee’s fundraising operation. The probe is the latest in a series of investigations against the Trump campaign as well as the President himself.
- NYT: Trump Inaugural Committee Ordered to Hand Over Documents
- Vox: The investigation into Trump’s inauguration money looks quite serious
- WSJ: Trump Inaugural Committee Is Subpoenaed for Documents
- Washington Post: The 7 big investigations of Trump, explained
Trump Nominates Former Oil Lobbyist to Lead Interior Department and World Bank Critic to Head Global Lender
Yesterday, President Trump announced the nomination of David Bernhardt, former oil lobbyist and interim head of the Department of Interior, to Head the Interior Department. Bernhardt will replace former head Ryan Zinke, who faces multiple ethics investigations. President Trump is also expected to nominate David Malpass, a longtime World Bank critic and China hawk, to lead the global lender. Malpass is the current undersecretary for international affairs of the Treasury Department. Hart will have to be confirmed by the Senate, and Malpass’s appointment will have to be approved by the World Bank’s executive directors. Critics point to the growing list of vacancies in the Trump administration.
- The Economist: Donald Trump picks David Malpass to run the World Bank
- The Guardian: Trump selects former oil lobbyist to oversee interior
- Financial Times: Donald Trump’s likely World Bank pick is wary of globalism
- Salon: Republican senators concerned that President Donald Trump has “too many” vacancies in his Cabinet
Russia Plans New Missile Systems to Counter US
Earlier today, Russia announced plans to develop two new land-based missile launch systems over the next two years. The announcement comes as both the US and Russia have officially suspended the INF treaty. Russia and the US accuse each other of violating the INF, and since the US announced plans to withdraw, Russia has ‘unveiled’ a number of new weapons, including ones that reportedly induce hallucinations. Nonproliferation specialists increasingly warn of a renewed arms race.
- Reuters: Russia plans new missile systems to counter US by 2021
- BBC: INF nuclear treaty: Russia plans new missile systems after pullout
- Futurism: Russian Navy Says New Weapon Makes Enemies Hallucinate
- Daily Beast: Two-Thirds of Americans Oppose Trump’s Withdrawal From Nuclear
From Deep State Radio
PODCAST: THE STATE OF OUR UNION IS…YEP, THAT’S THE WORD WE WERE GOING TO USE, TOO
This week our leader will, as the Constitution mandates, let us know the state of our union. We won’t believe a word he says. And we already know the answer. Just look at the week’s other events from political chaos in Virginia to brewing wars overseas to upcoming testimony from the president’s lawyer that probably won’t be good for the occupant of the Oval Office. (Who’s not really orange, he just has “good genes.” Join us for a discussion with attorney Katie Phang, law professor Rosa Brooks and law-abiding columnist, Ed Luce as we prepare you for the week ahead. Don’t miss it!
PODCAST: THE SPAWN: THE HORROR SHOW THAT IS THE PRESIDENT’S INNER CIRCLE
Have a little time on your hands? Why not spend the evening trying to figure out which of the president’s off-spring is the worst? If you want to throw in Jared, go right ahead. Then, once you’ve hashed it out consider that in Trump’s friendless world in which he can’t trust even his closest staff the people whose opinions matter most to him…are those awful, awful kids. We discuss this and how to get your dog to behave on this must-listen edition of Deep State Radio. Tune in!