Tuesday Internat”l

Iran

The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates. – New York Times

Iran took defiant steps on Monday in response to the intensified Western sanctions aimed at stifling its oil exports, announcing legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and testing missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States. – New York Times

With downgraded nuclear talks with world powers set to begin Tuesday, there are growing signs in Iran that Western sanctions are hurting the nation’s economy and alarming its decision-makers. – Washington Post

The shooting hasn’t started but the United States, fueled by an expanding industry in Washington, already is attacking Iran. As another batch of stiff economic sanctions on Monday formally descend upon Iran, some see Washington and its allies creeping toward economic warfare with Iran. – DOTMIL

A full monty of sanctions has gone into effect against Iran, the toughest regime of punitive measures since the Iranian nuclear crisis began a decade ago. – AOL Defense

Iran wants a “win-win” outcome in its talks with world powers over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, the country’s foreign minister said Monday, warning that the only other choice is confrontation – Associated Press

Josh Rogin reports: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said June 30 that Iran will successfully develop a nuclear weapon in “several years” if the international community doesn’t stop it. – The Cable

Editorial: We’ve never considered sanctions likely to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program, but it’s dangerous to pursue them half-heartedly while claiming progress and keeping the international temperature down as Iran’s centrifuges spin. That’s been the Obama Administration’s consistent approach, and it’ll probably continue at least through Election Day in November. It’s a good way to comfort adversaries in Tehran and Beijing while undermining friends in Jerusalem and beyond. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Syria

As his government’s human rights record came under renewed criticism on Tuesday, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria sought to ease mounting regional tensions, expressing regret for his forces’ shooting down of a Turkish warplane and saying his gunners believed the jet was Israeli. – New York Times

Eighty-five Syrian soldiers, including one general and at least 14 lower-ranking officers, fled into southern Turkey’s Hatay Province on Monday, Turkish news agencies reported. It was one of the largest mass military defections since the Syrian conflict began 16 months ago. – New York Times

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is putting a positive spin on this weekend’s international meeting on the situation in Syria despite reports of a continued rift with Russia over the need for President Bashar Assad to leave office. – The Hill’s Global Affairs

Syrian opposition groups are calling on the Obama administration to force stronger measures against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime despite pressure from Russian and Chinese leaders not to get involved in the country’s civil war. – Washington Examiner

Russian officials will hold talks in Moscow with two key Syrian opposition leaders and United Nations envoy Kofi Annan later this month, amid signs that the Kremlin is ready to throw its weight behind Mr. Annan’s revised plan for a transitional government and might even be starting to think seriously about life after Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad leaves power. – Christian Science Monitor

The Syrian army pressed its offensive against rebels on Tuesday, bombarding the suburban Damascus city of Douma, while President Bashar al-Assad said he wished his forces had not shot down a Turkish warplane two weeks ago. – Reuters

Arab states and Turkey urged Syria’s divided opposition on Monday to unite and form a credible alternative to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but rifts swiftly emerged at talks in Cairo. – Reuters

Syrian intelligence agencies are running torture centers across the country where detainees are beaten with batons and cables, burned with acid, sexually assaulted, and their fingernails torn out, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday. – Reuters

Syrian helicopters flying close to the border are testing Turkey’s resolve to target anything it might consider a military threat from the south. – Reuters

The Syrian government and the rebels are receiving more and more weapons, which is fueling violence in a 16-month conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday. – Reuters

There are few signs diplomacy can stem Syria’s worsening conflict, leaving Western leaders – and even more so their Arab and Turkish allies – pushed ever further towards backing Bashar al-Assad’s ouster by force. – Reuters

Lawless groups of shabbiha now style themselves as above the control of the very security forces that created them to support the brutal crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that began in March 2011. – Reuters

Libya

After popular revolutions drove out secular-minded autocrats last year, voters in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt chose Islamist parties to run their governments. On Saturday, Libyan voters will help determine whether the post-Arab Spring pendulum continues to swing in the direction of political Islam, or whether the outcome in Libya will highlight the limits of its appeal. – Washington Post

Libya’s caretaker government has quietly reactivated some of the interception equipment that fallen dictator Moammar Gadhafi once used to spy on his opponents. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Libya on Monday released four officials from the International Criminal Court who had been detained for a month on charges that one of them had brought letters that could harm national security while visiting Seif el-Qaddafi, the imprisoned son of the former dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. – New York Times

[C]lashes in far-flung corners of [Libya] and attacks on election organizers have raised doubts over the interim government’s ability to police the polls, let alone deal with any gun-toting candidates who might dispute the outcome. – Reuters

North Africa

For Egyptian Americans, the turbulent election 9,000 miles away was far more than a subject of heated but theoretical debate. Highly educated and politicized, their community is deeply involved with homeland politics. – Washington Post

If Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Mursi, needs any reminder of the weight of expectations bearing down as he begins work, he can glance from a window of the presidential palace. Citizens seeking jobs, compensation from the state or clemency for jailed relatives crowded at the palace gates on Sunday, showing how Mursi’s unprecedented popular mandate has raised hopes for a more responsive kind of government. – Reuters

Egypt will approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial institutions to help get its economy back on track once new President Mohamed Mursi appoints a government, a financial adviser who helped draw up his manifesto said. – Reuters

Tunisia’s anti-corruption minister has quit, accusing the government of failing to do enough to overhaul the public sector and root out corruption, in a move that shows deepening cracks in the Islamist-led ruling coalition. – Reuters

Gulf States

Bahrain has charged 15 policemen with “mistreatment” of prisoners, the government said on Tuesday, as part of an investigation into reports of torture of protesters. – Reuters

A U.N. Security Council committee has removed Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih and his Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia from the U.N. al Qaeda sanctions list, Germany’s U.N. envoy confirmed on Monday. – Reuters

Iraq

A car bomb in a busy market in the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniya killed at least 25 people and wounded 50 others on Tuesday, police and a provincial council official said, the latest in a series of sectarian attacks. – Reuters

Israel

The Hamas-run government in Gaza suspended the work of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission on Monday, a day before it was to start registering new voters, abruptly halting one of the few tangible steps toward reconciliation with the rival Fatah party, based in the West Bank. – New York Times

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday disbanded the committee he had charged with devising a plan for universal military or national service, a move that could lead to a coalition crisis and end the national unity government he formed two months ago. – New York Times

Turkey

Flagging hopes of solving Turkey’s so-called Kurdish problem any time soon were given a lift over the weekend when one of Turkey’s most high-profile and polarizing Kurdish lawmakers, Leyla Zana, met Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – WSJ’s Emerging Europe

The Turkish parliament has approved a reform abolishing the special courts used in coup conspiracy cases, without touching on existing prosecutions of hundreds of military officers that have drawn wide criticism. – Reuters

Afghanistan

A key Russian legislator warns that his government could withdraw permission for the United States to supply its troops in Afghanistan through Russia if the two countries can’t resolve their differences over missile defense. – LA Times’ World Now

Officials in the U.S. talking about the need to decrease combat operations in Afghanistan have been much more reticent to highlight one aspect of the drawdown: that plenty of U.S. advisers and mentors are also leaving. – Associated Press

Pakistan

American and Pakistani officials voiced cautious optimism on Monday that a deal to reopen NATO’s supply routes into neighboring Afghanistan was near, a move that would end a seven-month stalemate between the two countries. – New York Times

Islamabad is claiming units of the Afghan National Army are carrying out attacks against targets inside Pakistan, sparking a number of cross-border clashes that could end up deepening the growing rifts between Washington, Pakistan and Afghanistan. – DEFCON Hill

Afghanistan accused Pakistan’s army on Monday of launching months of rocket attacks on its territory and threatened to report Islamabad to the U.N. Security Council, straining already troubled ties between the neighbors. – Reuters

Josh Rogin reports: Former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf told an audience of American officials and experts that he will return to Pakistan next year to help save the failing Pakistani state, as he compared his 2001 military coup to the actions of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. – The Cable

India

It is a moment tailor-made for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Indian economy is a mess, and the ruling Congress party’s fortunes are in even worse shape. Party leaders have finally realized that if they do nothing to reenergize the economy, they will face defeat at the next general election, in 2014. – Washington Post

India is likely to further relax its defense offset guidelines to leverage capital acquisitions and develop the country’s defense industry. – Aviation Week

A cyber attack on India’s naval computer systems has delivered classified information to Chinese IP addresses, the Indian Express reported on Sunday – Global Security Newswire

China

As China’s 500 million Internet users rapidly adopt social media, academics and entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to track online messages and blog posts to better understand what the government censors—and even how to predict its intent. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

China’s battered real-estate market appears to be turning around, strengthening an important pillar of growth and reducing the chances that China’s slowing economy will stall in the second half of the year. – Wall Street Journal

China urged its citizens to report suspected illegal immigrants as it passed a new law with harsher punishments for foreigners living or working illegally in the country, Xinhua news agency reported. The rules reflect growing concerns about foreign labor, a new issue for China as it has opened to the outside world. – LA Times’ World Now

A city in southwest China has temporarily halted work on a copper alloy project and threatened to punish organisers of a two-day protest against it if they do not give themselves up, in the latest example of unrest spurred by the country’s environmental woes. – Reuters

Rebiya Kadeer writes: [I]f we are to move beyond protest to a fair political solution, the world needs to understand that China will continue stirring ethnic and religious hatred in order to persuade outsiders that its continued rule is necessary. How much longer, we Uighurs ask, will the countries whose democratic systems we seek to emulate continue to fall for this line? – Wall Street Journal Asia (subscription required)

Michael Auslin writes: If the U.S. loses its ability to operate at long distances in a timely and persistent manner, China could deny U.S. forces the ability to enter a conflict zone or operate freely once inside. That would give Beijing a far easier road toward achieving its aim of regional hegemony. A paper dragon just might yet best a grounded eagle. – Wall Street Journal Asia (subscription required)

East Asia

The late North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il had reportedly authorized the large-scale production of uranium-based nuclear weapons, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday – Global Security Newswire

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev landed on Tuesday on a remote island chain seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two, Russian news agencies reported, in a trip likely to renew a territorial dispute with Japan. – Reuters

Southeast Asia

China’s top newspaper accused the Philippines of orchestrating a plot to deliberately stir up tensions over the disputed South China Sea, and warned that Beijing’s patience should not be mistaken for weakness. – Reuters

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday proposed joint military disaster exercises with Australia and the United States in a sign of easing concerns in Jakarta over American troop deployments to northern Australia. – Reuters

Russia

In the latest move to rein in dissent, Russian authorities have introduced a draft law that would require nonprofit organizations that receive financing from outside Russia to publicly declare themselves “foreign agents” — a term that, to Russians, evokes cold war-era espionage and is likely to discredit the organizations’ work in the eyes of the public. – New York Times

A senior Russian military official has suggested his country could begin commissioning a new fleet of extended-distance bomber aircraft at the end of this decade, five years sooner than previously stated – Global Security Newswire

An Associated Press-GfK poll released Monday reveals a stark divide between Moscow and the rest of Russia over the man who has ruled the country for the past 12 years. A total of 60 percent of Russians maintain a favorable opinion of the president as he begins his third term. In contrast, only 38 percent in the capital — where tens of thousands have joined anti-Putin protests — have a favorable view of him. – Associated Press

Russia’s defense industry has exported $6.5 billion worth of arms in the first half of 2012, an increase of 14 percent over last year, President Vladimir Putin said July 2. – AFP

Western Europe

The head of Germany’s domestic spy agency resigned after acknowledging that the service had destroyed subpoenaed files connected to a neo-Nazi cell believed responsible for the murders of at least 10 people, most of them immigrants, over several years. – Wall Street Journal

Britain’s decision to change the basic design of its new aircraft carriers, centerpiece of the nation’s biggest arms program, for the second time in as many years is raising doubts about the country’s defense decision-making at the highest level. – Aviation Week

Government officials from Washington to London insist that there are no known specific or credible terror threats tied to next month’s Olympic games in London. Nonetheless, authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are urging vigilance. – CNN’s Security Clearance

Balkans

The International Steering Group for Kosovo has decided to grant full rights of national sovereignty to Kosovo from September. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

United States of America

The drone industry on Monday unveiled its first-ever “code of conduct” policy, designed to protect the privacy of those on the ground and ensure the sector adheres to safety standards as the popularity and usage of unmanned aerial vehicles continue to grow. – Washington Times

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will visit Israel this summer to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders, a senior aide to the prime minister confirmed on Monday evening. – New York Times

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., called the recent slew of national-security leaks “probably the most damaging” in this country’s history, warning that people’s lives are in danger and families have already had to be relocated as a result of the public speculation about highly classified operational activities. – National Journal

Kenneth Lieberthal and Michael O’Hanlon write: When running for president last time, Obama eloquently articulated big foreign policy visions: healing America’s breach with the Muslim world, controlling global climate change, dramatically curbing global poverty through development aid, moving toward a world free of nuclear weapons. These were, and remain, worthy if elusive goals. However, for Obama or his successor, there is now a much more urgent big-picture issue: restoring U.S. economic strength. Nothing else is really possible if that fundamental prerequisite to effective foreign policy is not reestablished. – Los Angeles Times

Mexico

Mexico’s president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, began the transition to power on Monday, declaring that he would begin to name members of his cabinet in the next few days, and pledging to lead an efficient, transparent administration focused on defeating organized crime and improving the economy. – New York Times

Mexico’s new president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, is a mostly unknown figure in Washington, but he is moving aggressively to assure his northern neighbor that he will fight hard against Mexico’s drug lords and continue to pursue warm relations with its top trading partner. – Washington Post

The Obama administration and border-district lawmakers on Monday hailed the election of centrist candidate Enrique Peña Nieto as Mexico’s new president despite earlier concerns that he might curtail his country’s bloody war against the drug cartels.- The Hill’s Global Affairs

The winner of Mexico’s presidential election will pursue a new strategy in the country’s almost six-year war on drugs by creating a 40,000 security force to protect citizens rather than chasing drug traffickers and eradicating illicit crops. – Financial Times

Venezuela

Roger Noriega writes: With Iran’s back against the wall, squeezed by new international economic sanctions, it will scratch and claw to hold on to its economic ties to Venezuela, which it uses to gain illicit access to the international financial system and carry its struggle to the United States’ doorstep. As the United States and the international community square off with Iran in the months ahead, we may pay a dear price for having neglected Chávez’s dangerous liaisons with Tehran until it was too late. – The America

West Africa

Islamists who have taken control of one of Africa’s most historic cities, Timbuktu, smashed the wooden door of an old mosque on Monday, continuing a campaign of destruction of religious monuments that has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. – New York Times

Attackers slit the throats of at least nine construction workers on Monday in Maiduguri, the northeast Nigerian birthplace of an Islamist insurgency, the army said. – Reuters

Kenya

Two Iranians who led authorities to a cache of explosives after their arrest planned to attack Israeli, U.S., British or Saudi targets inside Kenya, officials told The Associated Press on Monday. – Associated Press

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe flew to Singapore on Monday for what a senior aide called a routine medical check-up, reviving speculation about the health of the 88-year-old leader who has denied reports he has cancer. – Reuters

About Courtney Messerschmidt

Is a personae for the contact, co creator, poster girl and correspondent of GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD a collective of diplopolititary junkies. A real girl, she is an annoying, arrogant, audacious, bloodthirsty, conniving, cool, cruel, deceitfully sweet, discombobulated, flirtacious, jealous, hedonistic, lazy, machiavellian, manipulative, militaristic, self absorbed, self aggrandizing, self centered, semi charmed, semi retarded, shallow, spoiled, stuck up, high maintainance ne'er do well pixie with a penchant for immense libraries, depleting strategic cash reserves and wrecking cars every 10 months. Super saavy history and current events. My superior intellect and easy going smartassticness armed with a chaotic emotion meter gave me a formidable ability to be independently dependent. Currently exiled in Hillbillyland, I wield a vocabulary far above my tiny tiny weight class and have traveled widely including Europe, the Middle East and Alabama. I like Am Ex, Carte Blanche, Discover, Mastercard, Ray Bans, Visa and devouring American Dollars in alarming quantities.
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