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Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Afghanistan The Asia Foundation released results from its annual “Survey of the Afghan People,” which found that Afghans are more optimistic than they were last year about some things: e.g., 36.1% think the country is “going in the right direction,” vs. 32.8% last year. The biggest changes in respondents’ reasons for optimism appeared in questions…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Happy Halloween! IS IS named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qorashi as its new leader—and thus gave Western militaries a new target. Western analysts don’t seem to know who Qorashi is (and his name may actually be an alias to conceal his identity), but the “Hashimi” part suggests that he’s descended from the Prophet Mohammad’s Banu Hashimi…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Coming Up This Week The Swedish Academy will announce this year’s Nobel Prize winners today, and award the prizes on Thursday. Pres. Trump thinks he deserves one “for a lot of things,” but also complained that the system is rigged against him. The U.S. and China resume trade talks on Thursday and Friday in Washington….

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Afghanistan SecDef Esper confirmed that Pres. Trump ordered an escalation in U.S. strikes on the Taliban after talks with them broke down last month: “The president did want us to pick up in response to the heinous attacks that the Taliban and others conducted throughout Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly met with the…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

U.S. The Economist had a good opinion piece that explains why it’s a big deal that Pres. Trump may have pressured a foreign leader to investigate a rival’s son. In short: “In a country as corrupt and vulnerable as Ukraine the link between American support and investigating the Bidens—you give us dirt on Joe and we’ll…

Blackwater USA | Daily Brief

Coming Up This Week Tuesday is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and China has massive celebrations planned. MilitaryTimes is eagerly watching a parade on Tuesday that will show off China’s ever-modernizing arsenal of next-generation weaponry—perhaps including the Dongfeng 41 nuclear-capable missile that can reach the U.S. in under five minutes. Because…

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

Iran Iran finally released the British tanker it seized in July, but analysts say its release is only an attempt to divert attention from the criticism being leveled against Iran at UNGA this week. Iran is struggling to keep friends at UNGA. The UK, France, and Germany issued a joint statement blaming Iran for the…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

U.S. Pres. Trump fired “Mr. Tough Guy” NSA Bolton with a  tweet. Analysts say Bolton’s departure will shift the balance of foreign policy power within the administration towards SecState Pompeo. Pompeo seems pleased: he told reporters “there were many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that’s for sure.” Pres. Maduro is probably also glad that…

Blackwater USA – Daily Brief

China & Hong Kong 135,000 protesters in Hong Kong linked hands to create a giant human chain and call for direct elections. Their inspiration was The Baltic Way: a demonstration 30 years ago (to the day) in which two million Baltic citizens joined hands to protest against the Soviet Union’s rule. Demonstrations continue this weekend: protesters…