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Daily Brief: NATO Summit Begins With Russia, Brexit, Terrorism on Agenda

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July 8, 2016

Daily News Brief

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NATO Summit Begins With Russia, Brexit, Terrorism on Agenda

Leaders from North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations gathered in Warsaw for a summit to address concerns, such as a resurgent Russia, terrorism by Islamic extremists, Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and the global refugee crisis (RFE/RL). The alliance is expected to formally agree to the deployment of four battalions of up to four thousand troops in the Baltic states and Poland as a deterrent measure against Russian moves in the region (Reuters). A Kremlin spokesman said Russia was open to dialogue with NATO and that it hoped "common sense" would prevail at the meeting. In an op-ed published in the Financial Times U.S. President Barack Obama said that the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom would endure after the UK's referendum on leaving the European Union. Obama added that his announcement on maintaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his term "should encourage more allies and partners" to affirm their commitment to training Afghan security forces (FT).


"This may be the most important moment for our transatlantic alliance since the end of the cold war. Terrorist attacks inspired or directed by Isis have slaughtered innocents in NATO countries, from Orlando to Paris to Brussels to Istanbul. Conflicts from Africa to Syria to Afghanistan have sent waves of migrants seeking refuge in Europe. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. The vote in the UK to leave the EU raises significant questions about the future of European integration," U.S. President Barack Obama writes in the Financial Times.

"Tensions between the Atlantic alliance and Moscow are growing again. Russia's seizure of the Crimea and the involvement of its troops in the fighting in eastern Ukraine has in Nato's view 'torn up the rule-book' for the way security matters are dealt with in the post-Cold War world. Poland - now an active Nato member - finds itself very much on the front line. And it is the perceived threat from Russia to the east that is going to dominate much of this summit," Jonathan Marcus writes for the BBC.

"If anything, the EU’s travails reinforce the [NATO] alliance’s centrality as the foundation of Western liberal order. The Brexit calamity—like the eurozone and refugee crises before it—is not fundamentally about Western solidarity, security, or even cooperation. It is about the degree to which Europe’s market democracies are willing to pool sovereignty, including by accepting common regulatory standards and supranational oversight in spheres (like migration) that have traditionally been left to competent national authorities," writes CFR's Stewart M. Patrick.


U.S., South Korea Agree to Missile Defense Deployment Over Chinese Objections

The United States and South Korea agreed to deploy the Thermal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system whose location and command are unclear (BBC). China's foreign ministry expressed "resolute objection" to the move.

This CFR Global Conflict tracker follows recent developments in the North Korea crisis.

AUSTRALIA: Former Prime Minister John Howard defended (FT) his country's decision to enter the Iraq War with the United States and United Kingdom, saying the war was not "based on a lie." His comments followed the release of an inquiry in the United Kingdom that said the country entered the war when there was no imminent threat from then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.


UK Business Secretary in Trade Talks With India

UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid is holding preliminary trade talks with India (WSJ) in New Delhi as the United Kingdom makes its first steps toward securing new trade agreements after the June referendum on leaving the European Union.

This CFR Backgrounder examines the debate in the UK around Brexit.

KYRGYZSTAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Kyrgyzstan next week to discuss bilateral ties; the trip will be her first visit to Central Asia (RFE/RL).


Saudi Arabia Arrests Nineteen Over Attacks

Saudi Arabia arrested nineteen people, including twelve Pakistani nationals and seven Saudis, in investigations (Al Jazeera) over three attacks this week, including one at the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. Authorities also said they had identified four suicide bombers involved in the attacks, one of whom was a Saudi national and three whose nationality were unclear (Middle East Eye).  

IRAQ: At least thirty people were killed in an attack on a Shia mosque outside Baghdad in an attack claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (WaPo). The incident follows a Baghdad attack also claimed by the Islamic State that killed 292 people (Al Jazeera), the militant group's deadliest in the country.


Ethiopia Backs Israel for African Union Observer Status

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed support for Israel's bid for observer status at the African Union, a move also supported (Al Jazeera) by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. The statements come at the end of a four-country East Africa tour by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

MOZAMBIQUE: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a four-country tour in Africa meant to promote cooperation in energy, trade, and investment in Mozambique (VOA). Modi will also visit South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya.


Germany Approves New Funding, Law on Refugee Integration

The federal government agreed to give German states an additional $7.7 billion over the next three years to assist with refugee integration (DW) and extra funds for building public housing. Germany's parliament on Thursday also passed legislation on refugee integration, including measures that determine where migrants are allowed to live.


Obama Calls Sniper Attack on Dallas Police at Protest 'Despicable'

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned (Dallas Morning News) the sniper attacks on law enforcement in Dallas as "vicious, calculated and despicable." Five police officers were killed and seven others wounded as police accompanied a protest against police killings of black men. Obama's remarks on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw were the second time he addressed the issue on Friday; in an earlier statement (NYT) he called the killings of two African-American men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota that have led to widespread protest "an American issue."

ARGENTINA: President Mauricio Macri said his government is negotiating with the European Union to receive three thousand Syrian refugees, which would make Argentina the first country to cooperate with the EU on refugee resettlement (PanAm Post).

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