FROM Kate Brannen
The US and Russia: Frenemies in the Middle East The US and Russia both claim to be fighting ISIS militants in Syria, but their ultimate goals are not the same. Russia supports the Assad regime, while the US is backing rebels in Syria's civil war. The US views Iran as a hostile power, while Russia calls it a partner. As they try to avoid major conflict, tensions grow hot and cold — heating up recently with airstrikes against controversial targets. Meantime, the Trump White House is divided over what the Pentagon should do. We update politics, diplomacy and the military options.
U.S airstrikes in Syria: What happened, where we go from here The U.S. fired Tomahawk missiles against Syria in response to this week’s sarin gas attack. Russia condemned the U.S. attack. What does this mean for U.S.-Russia relations? What does it mean for Donald Trump’s foreign policy, which previously had a hands-off approach to Syria and removing Bashar al-Assad?
Obama Administration Seeks War Authorization against ISIS Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and General Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today that President Obama needs a clear mandate to defeat the so-called Islamic State. Kerry also expressed outraged at the letter by 47 Republicans telling Iran’s Supreme Leader any nuclear deal might only be temporary. Kate Brannen, senior reporter for Foreign Policy magazine, has more on the story.
Iraqi Military Attempts to Retake Tikrit from the Islamic State Some 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and volunteer militia began an offensive today designed to expel ISIS, the so-called Islamic State from the city of Tikrit. It's seen as a key test in advance of a much larger campaign to re-take the city of Mosul. The Pentagon has talked about the upcoming offensive in Mosul, but says it has nothing to do with today's assault on Tikrit.
Defense Secretary Nominee Says Military Spending is a Mess Ashton Carter is likely to be confirmed as President Obama’s fourth Defense Secretary, but Republicans today began what’s expected to be a marathon confirmation hearing, chaired by Arizona’s John McCain. One subject was waste at the Pentagon. Kate Brannen is senior reporter at the Pentaton for Foreign Policy magazine.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.