Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Thursday, July 8, 2021, 3:52 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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In an address on Thursday, President Biden promised to evacuate Afghan interpreters and their families, reports the Washington Post. Though the Taliban has begun making territorial gains in Afghanistan as U.S. troops make their exit, Biden announced that the military operation in the nation will end on August 31. Biden also repeated his support for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban. When asked about the success of the war, the president said, “There’s no mission accomplished.

Haiti police killed four alleged conspirators and arrested two others involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, according to the Washington Post. At least one suspect, James Solages, is a U.S. citizen, and other detainees have been described byHaiti’s communications minister as “foreigners.” The motivation of the killers is still unknown. The current leadership vacuum comes as the country continues to struggle with inflation, rising gang violence and food scarcity. The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack and encouraged all parties to “remain calm, exercise restraint and to avoid any act that could contribute to further instability.”

Parts of Northern Syria will face a fatal humanitarian crisis if the U.N. Security Council does not extend its deadline to provide aid to the area, according to the Washington Post. The holdup to the extension is Russia, which has promised to veto any resolution that allows cross-border aid to continue, claiming the aid is a violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The current aid resolution is set to expire July 10. President Biden raised the issue at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin last month, but the Russian president made no commitment.

Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma turned himself over to the police to begin a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, reports the BBC. He was sentenced last week after he failed to attend a corruption inquiry into his nine years in office. Zuma has repeatedly been accused of corruption, including siphoning off state assets and illegally dealing with businessmen, but he maintains that the charges are part of a political conspiracy against him. He was forced out of his own party in 2018 but retains a group of loyal supporters.

Moscow has again offered North Korea vaccines, according to the BBC. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated that Russia had offered North Korea vaccines on multiple occasions and reiterated his country’s willingness to supply vaccines to Pyongyang. The latest offer comes amid reports of food shortages in North Korea and the United Nations warning of an impending “harsh lean period.” Though Kim Jong-un himself has acknowledged the food shortage, North Korea’s borders have remained sealed off to foreign aid for the duration of the pandemic, with the exception of food and other essential items from China.

The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 forced Japan to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, writes Reuters. Because the state of emergency is expected to last for the duration of the Olympics that begin later this month, spectators will not be permitted at the games. The announcement is a sudden departure from statements made last week by officials insisting that spectators would be present at the games, which will last from July 23 to August 8.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Washington Post journalist Carol Leonnig discussed her new book, "Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service" with Lawfare COO David Priess.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security which covers the Director of National Intelligence’s UFO report, the Trump Organization tax fraud indictments and more.

Christiana Wayne announced this week’s Lawfare Live in which Gabe Rottman will sit down with Lawfare Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes to take questions on his and Bruce Brown’s recent article, “Everything We Know about the Trump-Era Records Demands From the Press.”

Alex Vivona discussed increased militarization from China in the South China Sea and calls for calm at the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations summit in a new installment of Water Wars.

Matthew Murray, Alexander Vindman and Dominic Cruz Bustillos, explained the threat of weaponized corruption in Russia and how the Biden administration can confront it.

Ajay Sarma is a junior at Harvard College studying Social Studies. He is an intern at Lawfare.
Christiana Wayne is a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying history and English. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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