Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Vishnu Kannan
Friday, July 19, 2019, 2:41 PM

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, alleging that the tanker violated international laws and regulations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, alleging that the tanker violated international laws and regulations, the Wall Street Journal reports. The government of Gibraltar announced that it had received authorization from the territory’s Supreme Court to continue to detain an Iranian tanker seized by British marines on July 4th, according to Reuters. The one-month extension follows a meeting between representatives of the two governments, which the Gibraltar government described as “constructive and positive.”

U.S. navy downed an unmanned Iranian drone which flew “within threatening range” of a U.S. vessel in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon announced. The New York Times reports that President Trump described the drone’s proximity as “the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran.” However, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he had “no information about losing a drone.” The incident is the most recent in a series of clashes between the U.S. and Iran and immediately follows Zarif’s proposal of a roadmap to ease tensions with the U.S..

The Chinese government called on the U.S. to “correct” its “unilateral” sanctions on Iran and “earnestly respect the legitimate rights and interests of all parties,” the Associated Press writes. Yesterday the U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on a range of front companies and agents based in Iran, China, and Belgium, which the U.S. says facilitated the Iranian government’s purchase of materials that can be used to develop nuclear weapons in violation of U.N. restrictions.

Sudanese opposition leaders are seeking to postpone signing the second, more contentious part of their agreement with the current military government, which would define how much power the civilian and military representatives will have in the transitional government, the Associated Press reports. The first portion of the deal was signed earlier this week.

The U.S. government took custody of an unidentified U.S.-Russian dual citizen who fought for the Islamic State before being captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces. The individual will be transported back to the United States to stand trial, the Wall Street Journal writes that, though U.S. officials have not indicated which charges will be filed or where the trial will be held.

The Trump administration will review Amazon’s bid on a $10 billion cloud contract with the Defense Department, after receiving complaints from other companies, Reuters writes. Amazon and Microsoft are currently competing for the contract after they were selected over Oracle and IBM.

The Kazakhstan government now requires local internet service providers to install government-issued certificates in order to regain access to internet services, the Hacker News reports. This “national security certificate” allows the government to intercept and monitor encrypted connections.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Dustin Lewis, Naz Modirzadeh and Gabriella Blum examined the actual and potential roles of silence in the identification and the development of international law.

Mikhaila Fogel shared the unredacted status report and series of investigative materials relating to the Michael Cohen case released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, July 19.

Preston Lim and Rachel Brown shared the most recent installation of SinoTech, in which they cover developments in U.S.-China trade talks following the G20 summit, the effects of trade tensions in Silicon Valley and more.

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Vishnu Kannan is special assistant to the president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Previously he was a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow in Carnegie’s Technology and International Affairs Program, a researcher at Lawfare and the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and an intern at the Brookings Institution. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University where he studied International Relations, Political Theory and Economics.

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