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Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China Chinese markets reopened after the extended Chinese New Year holiday, and proceeded to crash because of worries about the Wuhan coronavirus’s effect on the economy: the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 7.7%. Pres. Xi spoke before a special meeting of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee about the outbreak. He tried to make it…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

China The U.S. House passed “the Uighur bill” 407-1. The bill would require the U.S. president to condemn discrimination against Muslims in China, call for the closure of “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, and impose sanctions on a member of China’s politburo for the first time (in this case, Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo). China denounced…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Syria U.S. military officials reportedly watched—and recorded—live drone video feeds that appeared to show Turkish troops targeting civilians during the early stages of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, and are treating the video as evidence of possible war crimes. That’s bound to make Pres. Erdogan’s visit to the White House today awkward. Turkey’s Demiroren News…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Hong Kong Junius Ho, a rambunctious pro-China politician in Hong Kong, was stabbed in the chest by a man who poised as a supporter to get close to him for a picture. Ho survived, and is currently probably in better shape, who was whisked away for questioning. Ho was likely targeted for his outspoken pro-Beijing…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Saudi As expected, Saudi Arabia formally announced its Saudi Aramco IPO today, setting plans in place for a domestic listing in December—followed by other potential listings thereafter. Crown Prince MBS’s $2 trillion valuation target isn’t certain: in fact, analysts now say Aramco is worth no more than $1.5 trillion—Iran’s attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure likely…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Impeachment The White House released an unredacted rough transcript from Pres. Trump’s call with Ukrainian Pres. Zelensky, from which everyone saw what they wanted to see: Pres. Trump says it proves he put “no pressure” on Zelensky, and Fox agrees. The Washington Post says it’s a “devastating indictment of our president.” Zelensky himself told reporters yesterday that “nobody pushed…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

Afghanistan The U.S. cut over $160 million in direct funding to Afghanistan—including $100 million for a major energy project—because of concerns over government corruption. SecState Pompeo specifically called out the Afghan corruption-monitoring agency as “incapable of being a partner.” That’s bound to irk Pres. Ghani, who’s doing his best to fake competence ahead of next…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

Iran A senior U.S. official told CBS that the recent attack on Saudi oil assets was directly approved by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, under the condition that it was done in a way that gave Iran plausible deniability of responsibility (though strong evidence against Iran is making it pretty hard for it to deny involvement). The CBS article…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

Coming Up This Week The U.S. Federal Reserve meets tomorrow and Wednesday, and is widely expected to cut interest rates by a quarter point. The Israeli Knesset election is tomorrow. PM Netanyahu’s Likud party is tied in polling with the centrist Blue and White group. Pres. Trump is expected to name a new NSA this…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

Afghanistan A couple good recaps, timed for the anniversary of 9/11, counted the costs of the Afghan war. Both are pasted below. A Forbes infographic charted out Brown University’s estimate for the $975 billion cost of the U.S. war in Afghanistan by year from 2001 to 2019. The Post had a brief set of stats on the U.S. military…