Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Vishnu Kannan
Monday, July 22, 2019, 4:15 PM

The Chinese military will have exclusive access to a Cambodian naval base on the Gulf of Thailand, per an undisclosed agreement signed by the Chinese and Cambodian governments, according to U.S. and allied officials, the Wall Street Journal reports. The new installation could allow the Chinse military to enforce its territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea; threaten U.S. regional allies; and exert influence over the Malacca Strait, a global shipping chokepoint. Chinese and Cambodian officials have denied the existence of any such agreement.

Protests in Hong Kong turned violent as gangs of masked men attacked protestors, leaving 45 people hospitalized, CNN reports. The incident is raising fears that organized criminal groups are beginning to involve themselves in the protests.

The Government of Iran has said it detained 17 Iranian citizens accused of spying for the CIA, CNN writes. According to documents from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry, the operatives were tasked with collecting information from “substantial centers as well as intelligence/technical operations." In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “"The Iranian regime has a long history of lying ... I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions they've taken."

On Monday, multiple airstrikes targeted a market in a rebel-held region of northwestern Syria, killing at least 27 people, Syrian opposition activists say and the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed. An activist characterized it as “one of the ugliest massacres carried out by Russian warplanes.” The Russian government has denied participation in the strike, saying that their air force did not “carry out any missions in that area in Syria.” The Syrian government has not commented, the Associated Press reports.

The Turkish government threatened an attack on U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters (YPG) if the U.S. and Turkey cannot reach an agreement to establish a safe-zone in Syria and keep the group away from the Turkish border, Reuters reports. The Turkish foreign minister delivered the warning in advance of the U.S. Special Representative to Syria James Jeffrey’s visit to Ankara to continue negotiations.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was targeted by hackers who stole 7.5 terabytes of data, Forbes says. BBC Russia first reported the hack, which occurred on July 13 and allowed for the publication of the agency’s projects, including plans to de-anonymize Tor and scrape social media. No state secrets were exposed.

Huawei secretly worked with the North Korean government to build and maintain its commercial wireless network, according to the Washington Post. This raises the question of whether the company violated U.S. export controls by doing so, given its use of American technology in its components. Huawei stated that it “has no business presence” in North Korea.

Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle investigations into the 2017 data breach that exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans, Reuters informs.

ICYMI: Last Weekend on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the most recent episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Jack Goldsmith interviews former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter about his recent book “Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon.”

Arya Goel, Diego A. Martin and Jacob N. Shapiro shared the results of their study on foreign election interference and drew lessons for managing and mitigating such campaigns in the future.

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