Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 2:39 PM

Representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban agreed on a nonbinding roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future, following meetings in the Qatari capital of Doha, the New York Times reports. The agreement highlighted the need to reduce “civilian casualties to zero” and ensure women fundamental rights regarding their “political, social, economic, educational, cultural affairs.”

A report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons points to the “alarming likelihood that Syria continues to possess” chemical nerve agents and poison gas in light of “growing evidence of deliberately false declarations” by the Syrian government, writes the Associated Press.

Following a conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which the two set a deadline of July 15 to save the 2015 nuclear deal, a top diplomatic adviser to Macron travelled to Tehran in an attempt to help reduce tensions with the Iranian government, according to the Associated Press.

The United Arab Emirates announced a withdrawal of its forces from the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah and a tactical retreat from other parts of the country in compliance with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire, the Guardian writes.

The U.S. State Department authorized the sale of Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles to Taiwan, which could be worth up to $2.2 billion, according to CNN. The Chinese government called on the U.S. to withdraw the sale, Reuters reports.

Dissatisfied with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s characterization of the proposed extradition bill as “dead,” protestors renewed their calls for Lam to say that the bill has been “withdrawn,” which she has repeatedly declined to do, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In an interview with the Times, Attorney General William Barr said his inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation is focused on answering the question: “How did the bogus narrative begin that Trump was essentially in cahoots with Russia to interfere with the U.S. election?” Barr also commented on former Special Counsel Mueller’s scheduled appearance before Congress, saying “I don’t really feel it’s a useful exercise,” according to the Times.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes offered some advice to members of Congress on how to question Mueller during his scheduled appearance next week.

Kemal Kirisci and Omer Taspinar analyzed the fallout of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s move to redo mayoral elections in Istanbul.

Vishnu Kannan shared the National Security Agency’s unclassified semi-annual report to Congress.

Quinta Jurecic shared Ann Donaldson’s written responses to questions from the House Judiciary Committee.

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