MM Stock

Mail Magazine to RSS

Syrians Flee Amid Double Offensives


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 16, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Syrians Flee Amid Double Offensives The mass departures driven by separate offensives by Syrian government forces in the south and Turkish forces in the country's north marked what appeared to be the largest single-day exodus of civilians (Al Jazeera) during the seven-year war, which has driven an estimated twelve million Syrians from their homes. Some twenty thousand people are believed to have fled the opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta (BBC) for Damascus in recent days, including an estimated thirteen thousand overnight on Thursday, while some thirty thousand fled an ongoing Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in the north's Afrin. U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster condemned governments in Syria, Russia, and Iran, saying they should not have "impunity" from crimes (VOA). ANALYSIS "The United Nations Security Council endorsed a 30-day cease-fire for the region nearly a month ago, but attacks have continued unabated. While government warplanes drop bombs, rebel snipers on the ground have shot civilians trying to reach the government side," Nada Homsi and Nick Cumming-Bruce write for the New York Times. "One cannot separate the battle for Ghouta from the Iranian agenda in Syria, and Damascus in particular, where Iranian influence has become clear," Ahmad Abazeid writes for Chatham House. "France, Britain, and the United States are on the same policy page, but none of them have the appetite to intervene and change the balance of power in Syria," says the Atlantic Council's Faysal Itani. PACIFIC RIM North Korean Minister Visits Sweden North Korean state media reported that the foreign minister is scheduled to meet his Swedish counterpart (Korea Times) on Friday to discuss the country's "consular responsibilities as a protecting power for the United States, Canada, and Australia." The European nation has frequently acted as an intermediary between Washington and Pyongyang. MYANMAR: A network of civil society groups reported violent clashes in southeastern Kayin State, where an armed political organization representing the Karen ethnic minority signed a cease-fire with the government in 2012 (VOA) after more than sixty years of fighting. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Central Asia Summit First of Its Kind in Decade Leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, along with Turkmenistan's parliament chief, met in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Thursday to discuss water resources and trade (RFE/RL).  SRI LANKA: President Maithripala Sirisena ordered Facebook restrictions to be lifted (Daily Mirror) after a top official met with representatives from the social media network. Sri Lanka had blamed the company for not sufficiently combating incitements to violence posted by users. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Saudi Prince Warns Iran Over Nuclear Arms Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the first interview of a Saudi leader by a U.S. television network since 2005, said the kingdom does not seek nuclear weapons (CBS) but will "follow suit" if Iran obtains them. In Foreign Affairs, Ilan Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg discuss how to save the Iran nuclear deal. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Mugabe Gives First Interview After Ouster Deposed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was in office for thirty-seven years, condemned his former protégé and current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying he never believed a person he "nurtured and brought into government" (SABC) would turn on him. MALI: A Tuareg militia group in Mali claimed it has recovered a U.S. vehicle and weapons lost during an ambush on U.S. Special Forces in southwest Niger last year and offered to return them to the United States (BBC). In this CFR interview, West Point's Jason Warner discusses the potential impact of the Niger attack on U.S. policy in West Africa. EUROPE Caucasus Officials Talk New Rail Line Foreign ministers from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey held their first-ever meeting to discuss a 110-mile rail line (VOA) to connect Iran's Rasht and the Azeri city of Astara within three years. The new track would expand on an already completed line running from eastern Turkey through Georgia and Azerbaijan. FRANCE: France issued an arrest warrant for Princess Hassa bint Salman, sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, late last year for allegedly ordering a bodyguard to beat a worker (France24) at her Paris apartment in 2016. AMERICAS Brazil's Petrobras Posts Fourth Year in the Red The state oil firm Petrobras reported a net loss of about $136 million (LAHT) in 2017. The company said it would have posted a net profit if not for some extraordinary costs, including a $3.4 billion payment in a class-action lawsuit (WSJ) in the United States. PERU: Congress opened a new round of impeachment proceedings (FT) for graft charges against President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who narrowly survived such a vote in December. The move comes a month before Kuczynski is set to host a summit for leaders from the Americas. UNITED STATES U.S. Sanctions Nineteen Russians, Five Firms The Trump administration announced sanctions on Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Thursday, the same day it joined the United Kingdom in condemning suspected use by Russia of a nerve agent in an attack on a former spy. Russia's deputy foreign minister said Moscow is preparing sanctions against a new group of Americans (VOA) in response. Robert D. Blackwill and Philip H. Gordon discuss how the United States should respond to Russian election interference in this Council Special Report. Azerbaijan objected to a visit to Washington by the leader of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, calling it a "serious blow" (Eurasianet) to U.S.-Azeri relations.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 16, 2018 at 10:02PM

UK Accuses Russia at Security Council of Attack on Former Spy


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 15, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA UK Accuses Russia at Security Council of Attack on Former Spy Moscow vowed to respond “very soon” (WaPo) to a UK announcement that it would expel twenty-three Russian diplomats from London after investigators identified that a Russian-made nerve agent was used to maim a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury. At an emergency session of the UN Security Council (NYT), the United Kingdom formally accused Russia of attacking the former Russian spy, Sergei V. Skripal, as well as his daughter, on British soil with a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. U.S. envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley backed her UK counterpart, saying the “credibility of this council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable” (Guardian). ANALYSIS “A clean-out of spies from the Russian embassy in London is overdue. So too are financial and travel restrictions on Mr Putin’s allies in the business community. For too long, London has been happy to launder dirty money and even dirtier reputations,” Philip Stevens writes for the Financial Times. "Britain wants the support of its allies in taking action against Russia, but relations with those allies are shakier than they have been in generations, given Britain’s pending divorce from the European Union and frictions with Mr. Trump," Richard Perez Pena and Stephen Castle write for the New York Times. "An international spat can also whip up patriotic fervour in President Vladimir Putin’s domestic audience, since he is seeking re-election this weekend," writes the Guardian in an editorial. PACIFIC RIM South Africa Condemns Australian Refugee Remarks South Africa’s foreign ministry called comments by Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that white South African farmers should receive special refugee status “sad” and “regrettable” (Mail & Guardian). Dutton said white farmers there are subject to persecution (SMH). JAPAN: Amazon Japan had its headquarters raided by investigators from the Fair Trade Commission (Japan Times) on suspected violation of antitrust rules, the company said. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Sri Lanka Assails Facebook for ‘Hate Speech’ Following anti-Muslim riots that left at least three people dead last week, Sri Lankan telecommunications minister Harin Fernando accused Facebook of being slow to address posts flagged by the government for inciting violence (Guardian). AFGHANISTAN: The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said protecting Kabul, once a relatively secure city, “is our main effort” this year (TOLO). A CFR panel debates U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Syrian Civil War Enters Eighth Year Some 465,000 Syrians have been killed and half of the country’s pre-war population has been forced to flee their homes as Syria marks the seventh anniversary of the start of peaceful protests (Al Jazeera) that were part of the Arab Spring uprisings. CFR’s Jamille Bigio and Rachel Vogelstein write for CNN that women have been underrepresented in Syrian peace talks. MOROCCO: Some two hundred protesters were injured in the northeastern town of Jerada in clashes with security forces. Locals there have held anti-government protests since the deaths of two miners in December (Reuters). SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA U.S. Acknowledges Niger Firefight in December U.S. Green Berets and Nigerien forces killed eleven suspected Islamic State militants in December, two months after U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush (NYT) in the country and after the military announced stricter limits on operations there. A former commander of U.S. Special Operations in Africa said there had been about ten attacks on U.S. troops in West Africa between 2015 and 2017. DRC: A landmark UN-funded program to fight deforestation has instead harmed local communities and is fueling land conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Mai-Ndombe Province, according to a new report from U.S. advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative. EUROPE Putin Touts Crimea Annexation Ahead of Vote Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Crimean residents for voting in favor of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. The annexation, widely condemned abroad, boosted the domestic popularity of Putin, who is expected to win a fourth term in an election on Sunday (AFP). AMERICAS Firm at Center of Panama Papers to Close Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, at the center of leaked documents that detailed how offshore tax firms facilitate tax evasion (Guardian), announced it will shut down, maintaining only a skeleton staff to handle requests from authorities. BRAZIL: A prominent Rio de Janeiro city council member (AP), Marielle Franco, was shot dead along with her driver late Wednesday. The assassination comes a month after Brazil’s armed forces were sent to the city to take charge of police forces amid a surge in violence. UNITED STATES Senate Passes Banking Regulations Rollback The Senate passed the most significant loosening of banking regulations since the 2008 financial crisis, which the White House hailed as “much-needed relief from the Dodd-Frank Act” (WaPo), by a vote of 67–31. The bill has not yet been approved by the House of Representatives. Turkey’s foreign ministry said that a U.S.-Turkish meeting on Syria (Hurriyet) scheduled for March 19 has been postponed due to the departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. CFR's Stephen Sestanovich and Paul Stares discuss Tillerson’s firing on the President's Inbox podcast.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 15, 2018 at 10:07PM

Pentagon Backs Iran Deal Amid State Dept. Shuffle


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 14, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Pentagon Backs Iran Deal Amid State Dept. Shuffle The Pentagon has voiced its support for maintaining the 2015 international accord that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief as the pact's future faces increased uncertainty following a change of leadership at the State Department. U.S. Central Command chief Joseph Votel told lawmakers that the agreement, known as the JCPOA, addresses the "principal threats" (RFE/RL) the United States faces from Iran. President Donald J. Trump cited disagreements with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the deal when he announced Tillerson's ouster in favor of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a vocal opponent of the accord (Bloomberg). Tehran, which says it has complied with the JCPOA's terms, warned this week that it could resume more rapid uranium enrichment (Reuters) if the deal collapses. ANALYSIS "[Tillerson] considered the costs of withdrawing from a U.S. commitment made along with France, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Russia, and China to be unacceptable, and worked hard to find ways of appeasing Trump's loathing for the signature Obama achievement," Michael Crowley writes for Politico. "The North Korean model becomes more attractive for Iranian officials, whereby you negotiate from a position of strength, you don't give anything to the U.S., and you only talk to them with the language of force," Fouad Izadi said in an interview with Bloomberg. "An obvious long-term solution is to draft a new agreement that extends some of the sunset provisions in the JCPOA, while providing Iran with new incentives, such as further sanctions relief or cooperation on a civil nuclear energy program," Ilan Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg write for Foreign Affairs. PACIFIC RIM Philippines to Withdraw From ICC President Rodrigo Duterte said his administration will immediately withdraw its ratification (Phil Star) of the International Criminal Court's establishing treaty. The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced a preliminary investigation into allegations of extrajudicial executions in the Philippines last month. CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick writes in World Politics Review that Duterte is failing to deliver where it matters. SOUTH KOREA: Former President Lee Myung-bak, under investigation for corruption during his 2008–2013 term, apologized to the nation on Wednesday (Korea Times), saying he hopes to be the "last former president to be brought to the prosecution." SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA China Surpasses U.S. in Arms Sales to Pakistan Arms sales to Pakistan by the United States, once the largest weapons exporter to the country, have decreased by 76 percent (VOA) in the past five years, according to a Stockholm-based research institute. China has become Pakistan's biggest supplier in that period. AFGHANISTAN: Uzbekistan said it has not yet received a request from the Taliban to participate in an Afghan peace conference in Tashkent (UzDaily) later this month. CFR's Courtney Cooper discusses U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA White House Hosts Meeting on Gaza Nineteen nations including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and several Gulf states participated in talks in the U.S. capital on Tuesday to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza (Reuters). The Palestinian Authority boycotted the meeting. IRAQ: Baghdad ordered airports to reopen in Iraqi Kurdistan (Rudaw) after the regional administration agreed to hand over control of them to the central government. The region has been without international flights for close to six months. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Opposition Ahead in Sierra Leone Vote The opposition Sierra Leone People's Party took 43 percent of votes in a first round of a presidential election, putting it just ahead of the ruling All People's Congress as candidates prepare for a runoff vote (VOA) at the end of the month. DRC: At least forty people have been killed in recent clashes (Africa News) between farmers and cattle herders from two ethnic groups in the country's northeastern Ituri Province. EUROPE UK's May to Announce Russia Reprisals Prime Minister Theresa May will brief parliament on retaliatory measures against Russia after Moscow ignored a deadline to offer London (Guardian) an explanation for the suspected use of a Russian-made nerve agent in a recent attack on a former spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury. AUSTRIA: Two Afghan sisters and their children were deported from Austria to Croatia after losing a landmark case in the European Court of Justice (BBC), which upheld the so-called Dublin regulations by ruling the migrants' asylum request must be reviewed by the point-of-entry country. AMERICAS Google Public Wi-Fi Comes to Mexico Google launched dozens of free Wi-Fi hotspots (VOA) in cities across Mexico, the third emerging market singled out by the tech giant following similar initiatives in India and Indonesia. ARGENTINA: The Argentine Navy rescued four U.S. scientists and a contractor (BBC) from a research camp on Joinville Island after thick ice prevented a U.S. vessel from reaching them. UNITED STATES Students to Push Gun Reform in Mass Walkout Walkouts at some three thousand schools across the country are planned for Wednesday morning, one of several mass demonstrations expected this spring in protest of gun violence (VOA) after seventeen people were killed at a Florida high school last month. This CFR Backgrounder compares U.S. gun policy with that of other developed nations.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 14, 2018 at 10:02PM

UK Gives Russia Ultimatum on Nerve Agent Attack


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 13, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA UK Gives Russia Ultimatum on Nerve Agent Attack The United Kingdom gave Russia a midnight deadline (Guardian) to explain the use of a Russian-made nerve agent in an attack on a Russian double agent and his daughter in the city of Salisbury last week. Leaders from NATO and the United States expressed support for the UK position, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying there should be consequences for what he called an "egregious act [that] clearly came from Russia" (BBC). UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Moscow of "indiscriminate and reckless" use of a nerve agent that could constitute an "unlawful use of force" (FT) against Britain. A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson dismissed the accusations as a provocative "information and political campaign." ANALYSIS "It was widely assumed, not least in Moscow, that Brexit Britain would be eager to reassert its status as the major offshore centre for Russian business. But that is an honour that Britain may now be willing to forgo," Gideon Rachman writes for the Financial Times. "The other alternative outlined—that Russia had manufactured a large volume of nerve agents now turning up abroad without the knowledge or control of the Kremlin—would be a different kind of problem, and plenty horrible in its own way," Kathy Gilsinan and Yasmeen Serhan write for the Atlantic. "This was Theresa May at her most impressive. Tough, but the right side of hawkish," John Crace writes for the Guardian. UNITED STATES Rex Tillerson to Step Down President Donald J. Trump announced on Tuesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state (Guardian). Tillerson had returned to Washington on Monday after cutting a week-long trip to African countries short (VOA). The Trump administration blocked a $142 billion bid by the Singapore-based chip company Broadcom to buy rival Qualcomm (FT), saying the move carried national security risks. PACIFIC RIM China Sets Out to Revamp Administration Beijing announced its most significant reorganization of ministries in recent years, including a merger of two major financial regulatory bodies (Nikkei) and the creation of a new anticorruption commission. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the proposal on Saturday. Andrew Gilholm discusses China's new tool to fight corruption in Foreign Affairs. NEW ZEALAND: The ruling Labor Party is under fire following revelations that three children were molested (NZ Herald) by a man at a party retreat last month and party officials did not report the incident to police (NYT). SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Mattis, in Kabul, Backs Taliban Reconciliation On an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed support for President Ashraf Ghani's call for the Taliban to become a political organization (RFE/RL) and join peace talks, stating that "victory will be a political reconciliation" (Tolo). CFR's Courtney Cooper writes that now is the time to talk to the Taliban. NEPAL: At least forty-nine people were killed and twenty-two were hospitalized after a Bangladeshi airliner crash-landed in Kathmandu (Guardian). MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Russia Responds to U.S. Threat on Syria The chief of staff for Russia's armed forces said Moscow will "take retaliatory measures" if any Russian soldiers in Syria (FT) are threatened by the United States. The comment comes after U.S. envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington is "prepared to act" unilaterally (RFE/RL) to stop attacks by the Syrian regime on its own people. PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Five people were injured when an explosive went off as a convoy carrying Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah entered the Gaza Strip (Al Jazeera) through an Israeli checkpoint. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Thousands in Ethiopia Flee to Kenya The Red Cross in Kenya said some two thousand asylum seekers (Addis Standard) from the Ethiopian town of Moyale arrived in the country after the military killed at least nine civilians during an anti-rebel operation on Saturday. Several soldiers were suspended following the incident (BBC). NIGERIA: A senator from the ruling All Progressives Congress party said that he and his fellow lawmakers receive about $37,500 monthly for personal expenses (BBC). He said he was revealing the information because he considers it "a moral issue." EUROPE Pressure Mounts on Slovak Government The interior minister announced his resignation on Monday following weeks of anti-government protests sparked by the death of an investigative journalist (DW). AMERICAS Colombia to Resume ELN Peace Talks President Juan Manuel Santos and representatives from the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's last major guerrilla group, announced envoys from both sides will return to the capital for peace talks (Colombia Reports) that were suspended in January following rebel attacks on police. CHILE: Emilia Nuyado and Aracely Leuquen, the first women from the indigenous Mapuche community (BBC) to be elected to Congress, cast their first votes as lawmakers on Sunday.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 13, 2018 at 10:11PM

Trump to Meet Kim Jong-un by May


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 9, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Trump to Meet Kim Jong-un by May U.S. President Donald J. Trump has accepted an invitation by the North Korean leader to meet within the next two months (VOA), South Korea's national security advisor said in an announcement outside the White House yesterday. The South Korean envoy, Chung Eui-yong, said that Kim has told Seoul he is "committed" to denuclearization, will refrain from further weapons tests, and accepts U.S.-South Korea military drills (Korea Times). Beijing welcomed the move toward direct dialogue (Yonhap) between Washington and Pyongyang, calling it a "positive message." On Twitter, Trump called the announcement "great progress." ANALYSIS "Past denuclearization efforts have foundered on a combination of failures to secure verification and North Korean subterfuge, but have never gone so far in giving the Kim family the prestige or treating North Korea with the strategic weight that it has sought for decades," writes CFR's Scott A. Snyder. "In a head-snapping display of incoherence, Trump has agreed to meet Kim, giving the worst human-rights abuser on the planet what he most wants: international legitimacy," CFR's Max Boot writes for the Washington Post. "The Kim dynasty in Pyongyang also has a history of coming to the bargaining table dangling the prospect of concessions, only to walk away after extracting economic concessions," Jiyeun Lee and Hooyeon Kim write for Bloomberg. PACIFIC RIM UN Rights Chief Requests ICC Case in Myanmar The body's top human rights official called for the UN General Assembly to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court to probe suspected "acts of genocide" (Reuters) against the Rohingya ethnic minority.  The CFR Backgrounder looks at the Rohingya refugee crisis. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Uzbek, Tajik Leaders Meet After Years of Tension Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev met with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, in a landmark visit to mend ties between the neighbors long at odds over Tashkent's role in the Tajik civil war and the presence of Uzbek militants in Tajikistan. Nine border crossings reopened on Thursday (RFE/RL). PAKISTAN: The foreign minister told lawmakers that Pakistani troops in Saudi Arabia are aiding with "internal security" in the kingdom and not participating in a Saudi-led campaign (Dawn) in Yemen. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Some Aid Enters Syrian Enclave, Strikes Ongoing A UN aid convoy delivered food and medical supplies (BBC) to the besieged opposition-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta on Friday amid a brief pause in government air strikes overnight. It is the first to reach the area since a partial delivery on Monday. IRAQ: Members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of militias with ties to Iran, will be integrated into Iraq's security forces (Middle East Eye) and given monthly stipends following an order by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Washington and Baghdad have been at odds over collaborating with the militias. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Alleged Trump Remark in Past, AU Chief Says The chair of the African Union called an alleged profane comment (CBS) by U.S. President Trump in January to describe African countries "an incident of the past" as he met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Addis Ababa on Thursday. MAURITIUS: Ministers agreed to begin impeachment proceedings (BBC) against Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Africa's only sitting female president, over her alleged use of public funds for personal use.  EUROPE Millions Strike for Workplace Equality in Spain Labor groups estimated that 5.3 million workers participated in a two-hour walkout (Guardian) in Spain on International Women's Day to protest gender discrimination, wage gaps, and sexual violence. CFR's Rachel Vogelstein and Anne Connell discuss women's economic participation around the globe. GEORGIA: The parliamentary chair endorsed a fast-track NATO membership proposal by a conservative U.S. think tank that would exclude the country's Russia-occupied regions (VOA) from the alliance's common defense guarantee. AMERICAS FARC Candidate Quits Colombian Presidential Race Rodrigo Londono, former commander of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), dropped out of the election, citing health reasons. Londono represented the FARC's new political party, which suspended campaigning last month (NYT) following attacks on several of its candidates. VENEZUELA: Henri Falcon, expelled by a major opposition coalition for running in an election it is boycotting, defended his decision to challenge President Nicolas Maduro (Miami Herald) by saying abstention "legitimizes and prolongs the life of dictators and bad governments." UNITED STATES Asia, Europe Condemn U.S. Tariffs The European Union said it should be exempted from new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, given that the bloc is a close U.S. ally, while South Korea threatened to file a dispute (BBC) at the World Trade Organization. CFR's Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca look at U.S. auto jobs that could be lost due to the tariffs. Andrew Veprek, a Foreign Service officer working in the White House and considered a hard-liner on immigration, has reportedly been selected to assume the top State Department position overseeing refugee admissions (Politico).         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 09, 2018 at 11:06PM

TPP Trade Deal Resuscitated in Santiago


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 8, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA TPP Trade Deal Resuscitated in Santiago Eleven countries are expected to sign a transpacific trade pact in Chile today, resuscitating an earlier proposed accord that U.S. President Donald J. Trump abandoned shortly after taking office. The new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which would have covered 40 percent of the global economy with U.S. participation, will now comprise about 13 percent (Reuters). Japan's chief negotiator said that discussions on additional members entering the pact (FT), potentially including the Philippines, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, could begin once the agreement takes effect. After the signing, countries will still need national legislatures to ratify the deal (WSJ), now called CPTPP. ANALYSIS "Japan took up the torch for promoting a retooled TPP after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew last year," Jun Yamazaki writes for the Nikkei Asian Review. "While there's always a chance the U.S. will return to the fold, the TPP—with a new tongue-twister of a name—will prove an economic and political force regardless, not to mention a rival to a proposed new trade agreement including China," Isabel Reynolds and David Tweed write for Bloomberg. "Being outside the TPP deprives U.S. negotiators of meaningful leverage to address, curtail, and reverse China's objectionable practices in the realm of forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, discrimination, and state intervention," Daniel J. Ikenson writes for the Cato Institute. PACIFIC RIM Japan's Abe Warns Over North Korea Talks Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned that past offers by North Korea to engage in talks "earned" the country time to develop its weapons capabilities (Japan Times) and said that international sanctions should not be eased until the regime takes "concrete" steps. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Germany Proposes Troop Increase in Afghanistan The government agreed on a proposal to raise its number of service personnel in Afghanistan (DW) from 980 to 1,300, a plan which must still be approved by lawmakers. This CFR Timeline looks at the sixteen-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. INDIA/PAKISTAN: Islamabad agreed to a humanitarian prisoner swap offer (Dawn) from New Delhi that will include the exchange of inmates who are women, older than seventy, or have special needs.  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Far-Right German MPs Visit With Assad Regime A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized a visit to Syria by lawmakers from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to meet with officials close to President Bashar al-Assad. One of the AfD delegates said the group sought to determine if Syria is safe enough (FT) to return asylum seekers because German media coverage is "not trustworthy." ISRAEL: The Knesset passed legislation allowing the interior minister to revoke the permanent residency of Palestinians in East Jerusalem (Middle East Eye) who engage in acts deemed a "breach of allegiance" to Israel. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Cape Town Day Zero Pushed to August The region's governing party said seasonal rains have helped to avert an expected "Day Zero" (BBC) in April, when taps in the city would run dry. The city said that if residents maintain current water-saving habits, a Day Zero could be avoided for the rest of 2018 ( RWANDA: Human Rights Watch's regional director disputed a complaint by the Rwandan government (BBC) that the organization did not consult Rwandan officials before publishing reports on the country. The statement comes after the government said it will cease cooperation with the rights group (New Times). EUROPE UK to Build $973,000 Prison Wing in Nigeria The government announced it will build a new wing at Kirikiri Prison in Lagos to facilitate the transfer of Nigerian prisoners from the United Kingdom (Reuters) so inmates can complete their sentences in their home country. EUROPE: The UN refugee agency said it has temporarily suspended a resettlement program in Europe (VOA) for African asylum seekers in Niger because too few countries have agreed to take them.  AMERICAS Former Petrobras Boss Gets Eleven-Year Sentence A former chief executive for the Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras was found guilty of taking nearly $1 million in bribes (FT) from the construction giant Odebrecht, which is at the center of a hemisphere-wide corruption probe.  This CFR Backgrounder looks at Brazil's corruption fallout.  MEXICO: The government said a potential meeting between President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. President Trump will "depend on the level of progress achieved" (LA Times) in talks between White House Advisor Jared Kushner and top Mexican officials this week. UNITED STATES Trump to Announce Tariffs Despite GOP Opposition President Trump is expected to announce in a Thursday meeting with steel union workers new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that would go into effect within the next month (WaPo). A hundred Republican lawmakers wrote to Trump urging him against the move (WSJ). This CFR Backgrounder looks at the potential impact of the tariffs on the U.S. economy. Turkish and U.S. envoys will begin meetings in Washington today to address ongoing disputes between the NATO allies (Hurriyet), including U.S. support for Kurdish militias in Syria and Turkish efforts to extradite a U.S.-based cleric.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 08, 2018 at 11:03PM

U.S. Justice Dept. Sues California for 'Sanctuary' Laws


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 7, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA U.S. Justice Dept. Sues California for 'Sanctuary' Laws The department filed a lawsuit in a Sacramento federal court against the state and two of its top officials, accusing them of impeding federal immigration enforcement (NPR) through local laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to tell a law enforcement association in the state capital that the Trump administration is fighting to help officers "reduce crime in America" (LA Times). Federal officials say three laws passed in California last year are aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants. President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office that moved to restrict federal funds to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. ANALYSIS "California began battling the Trump administration even before Mr. Trump took office, standing in opposition on a number of issues, including marijuana, environmental regulations and taxes. But immigration has proved to be the most contentious fight," Katie Benner and Jennifer Medina write for the New York Times. "To make its case, the DOJ is in part pointing to a ruling on a very different state-level immigration law: Arizona's SB 1070, which was meant to expand local police efforts to find and arrest undocumented immigrants. The Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration by striking down major provisions of that law in 2012," Elise Foley writes for the Huffington Post. "Restrictionists want the public to believe that undocumented immigrants are criminals in order to justify harsh enforcement policies and crackdowns. But before America goes down this draconian path, it is vital that it gets the facts straight," Alex Nowrasteh writes for Reason. UNITED STATES Wall Street Jittery After Trump Economic Advisor Resigns U.S. stock futures dropped as traders feared volatility (Bloomberg) after President Trump's top economic advisor, former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, announced his resignation. Cohn reportedly sparred with Trump over new tariffs (NYT) on steel and aluminum imports proposed last week.   In Foreign Affairs, Douglas A. Irwin writes that an America First trade policy will not create new manufacturing jobs. PACIFIC RIM U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea The U.S. State Department said Pyongyang used chemical agents in violation of international law, imposing sanctions that appear to be a symbolic addition to ones the regime already faces. The regime is suspected of ordering the use of a nerve agent to kill the half brother (Korea Times) of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last year. This CFR Backgrounder lays out the international sanctions on North Korea. EAST TIMOR: East Timor and Australia signed a maritime border deal (FT) seen as favoring the Southeast Asian nation, which will receive up to 80 percent of revenues from an oil and gas field estimated to have reserves worth $40 billion. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Mob Attacks Against Muslims Continue in Sri Lanka Following a nationwide state of emergency declaration on Tuesday over communal violence, mob attacks targeting mosques and Muslim-owned shops (AP) were reported in at least two towns in central Sri Lanka. KAZAKHSTAN: President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power since 1990, countered speculation that he may be preparing for a political transition (RFE/RL) by telling lawmakers he "will continue to work" and suggesting he will lead the creation of new social programs. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Dozens Dead in Russian Plane Crash in Syria All thirty-nine people aboard a Russian transport plane, including military personnel, died when the aircraft crashed during landing (TASS) at the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria. Neil Hauer discusses Russia's use of mercenaries in Syria (Foreign Affairs).  SAUDI ARABIA: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called on the government to resolve an ongoing dispute with major banks (Reuters) that were ordered to pay years of back taxes. The banks have complained the additional taxes were calculated opaquely.  SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Tillerson Rebukes China's Economic Approach in Africa In a speech ahead of a five-country tour in Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned Chinese "predatory loan practices" (State Dept) and "corrupt deals" that he said leave African nations mired in debt. Tillerson also announced an additional $533 million in famine aid to conflict regions.  SOUTH SUDAN: A new investigation by a UK-based advocacy group alleges that the state oil and gas company has come under the direct control of President Salva Kiir and his associates, who use it to channel funds to abusive security forces and militias (Global Witness). EUROPE Saudi Prince to Meet UK's May, Royal Family The Saudi crown prince began his first foreign tour as heir to the throne (Guardian) with stops in Cairo and London. He is expected to sign commercial agreements in the United Kingdom that would bring in $100 million over a decade.  EU: The European Union is expected to remove Bahrain, the Marshall Islands, and Saint Lucia (Reuters) from a blacklist of tax havens, a move criticized by a Belgium-based transparency watchdog. AMERICAS Kushner to Meet Pena Nieto in Mexico White House advisor Jared Kushner begins a visit to the neighboring country (WSJ) today. A planned meeting between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and President Trump was canceled last week following a call over funding for construction of a U.S. border wall. ARGENTINA: Dozens of lawmakers from several political parties put forth a bill to legalize elective abortion (AP) in the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: March 07, 2018 at 11:02PM