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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was dealt a historic blow in yesterday’s Turkish parliamentary elections. Erdogan had hoped to solidify his overwhelming parliamentary elections and pass constitutional reforms consolidating his power. Instead, projections have his party falling from its current 327 seats to 258 seats, 18 short of a majority. The major success story is the Kurdish and liberal party HDP which catapulted to an approximate 13% of the vote. The Guardian, as well as most major news sources, has the story.
An Arab coalition airstrike in Sanna, Yemen’s capital, killed dozens (numbers vary from 22 to 44) and injured approximately another hundred, reports Al Jazeera. The strike, which targeted the Yemeni army headquarters, is part of an ongoing Saudi-led effort to dislodge the Iranian-backed Houthi government.
On Sunday, Israeli aircraft bombed locations in the Gaza strip in response to a Saturday rocket salvo from Gaza. The exchange is the latest in a series, as a small but steady stream of rocketfire has been launched from Gaza into Israel over the last few weeks. As the rockets seem to be the work of Salafist splinter groups opposed to Hamas’ rule, Israel is stuck in a dilemma: It must establish deterrence and incentivize Hamas to rein in the Salafists, but wants to avoid escalation with Hamas, which, for the most part, is committed to maintaining a temporary period of quiet. Thus far, Israel has responded with small-scale air strikes and with calls for the international community to intervene before the situation escalates. The Associated Press has more.
Last month’s special forces raid targeting ISIS official Abu Sayyef may have been more productive than many initially thought, explains the Times’ Eric Schmitt. Although Abu Sayyef was killed, information taken from laptops, cellphones and other materials reportedly helps explain some of the methods by which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi operates and has thus far evaded capture. Although the article is packed with optimistic sounding statements from USG officials, it is, as always, difficult to know how much of this is simply spin.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, Nour Malas and Ghassan Adnan report on the current state of affairs in the Iraqi military, including some attempts at reform and retrain the beleaguered force. This quote, from Iraqi electricity minister Qasem al-Fahdawi, is particularly astounding: “The best solution for the Iraqi army is to dissolve it and build it back from the ground up.”
Relatedly, during a news conference yesterday at the close of the G7 conference in Germany, President Obama announced that the United States would accelerate efforts to train and equip Iraqi forces. At the same time, the President also admitted “we don’t have, yet, a complete strategy, because it requires commitments on the part of Iraqis as well.” At the same press conference, President Obama also discussed for the first time the massive cyber theft from the Office of Personnel Management. The Associated Press and the Times have the story.
Much of the focus of this year’s Group of Seven conference, however, remains Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Today, the G7 countries released a joint communique asserting that they “stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require,” but also that sanctions could be “rolled back” if Russia obeys its commitments. Read more from the AFP.
Last night, the New York Times released a six-person bylined investigative look at Seal Team 6. The piece is long, in-depth, and well worth a read, but includes no major surprises.
This morning, the Supreme Court released its opinion in the much awaited separation of powers case, Zivotofsky vs Kerry. A divided court ruled that the President holds exclusive authority over the recognition of foreign sovereigns, including whether to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. The court ruled that a forcing the State Department to permit American citizens born in Jerusalem to have “Jerusalem, Israel” written on their passports infringed on this exclusive executive power. Follow Lawfare’s coverage as it comes in over the next few days.
In an interesting military-legal development, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has filed a motion seeking to have the general who serves as “convening officer” for his case removed.According to the motion, General Mark Milley's Senate confirmation process (Milley was recently nominated to serve as the Army's chief of staff) might politicize and affect his approach to the Bergdahl case. Reuters has the story.
ICYMI: This Weekend, on Lawfare
In Sunday’s foreign policy essay, CNA’s Afshon Ostovar argued that although a nuclear deal is in everyone’s best interests, it will still trigger a severe deterioration in relations between Iran and its Sunni neighbors. A deal will not lead to regional stability, but to an empowered Iran and a more aggressive Sunni attempt to contain it.
In response to the recent OPM hack, Carrie and Paul urged the public and policy-makers to focus more on the privacy breaches that come from foreign hacking than from government surveillance. And they argue that the best way to ensure that government agencies properly secure citizens’ data is to compel them to submit to an independent, comprehensive cybersecurity audit measured against the NIST standards.
Herb Lin commented on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s post from earlier in the week, pointing out an additional reason the public appears more concerned with government data-collection than that done by corporations: The benefits of corporate collection are easily visible; the benefits of government collection are not.
Saturday’s Lawfare podcast, featured an conversation with… Ben, conducted by Shane Harris, about the development and future of the new Lawfare site. And on Sunday, Rational Security podcast hosted the Daily Beast’s Nancy Yousseff (in for Tamara) to discuss the USA Freedom Act, anthrax spores and more.
Finally, Ben introduced Omphalos, a new specialized Lawfare site devoted specifically to the Middle East.