President Trump’s on-again, off-again angry rhetoric toward Iran is back on. “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” the president tweeted on a warm and pleasant Sunday afternoon in Washington.
From Iran’s POV, Trump has been “goaded” into “genocidal taunts,” according to Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who tweeted that message as the sun was rising over the White House today. “Iranians have stood tall for a millennia while aggressors all gone,” he continued.
Zarif’s advice at this stage of U.S.-Iran tensions: “Try respect — it works!”
Also on Sunday, someone fired a rocket into Baghdad’s “green zone” on Sunday, Reuters reports, spawning concerns of rising U.S.-Iran tensions since the green zone is where America’s Baghdad embassy is located.
CENTCOM fired out a statement shortly afterward, explaining the rocket hit “outside of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad” resulting in “no U.S. or coalition casualties.”
What’s really on Trump’s mind in all this back-and-forth: “I just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons and they can’t be threatening us,” he told Fox on Sunday.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Iran: “The intelligence committee has been getting regular daily updates for at least a week now about the multiple and credible sources of increased threats in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf from Iran.” Via The Hill.
Sen. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., on Cotton and Iran: “I get the same intel as Cotton. He is greatly exaggerating the situation to spur us to war. Don’t fall for it.”
Said one key British official: “We want the situation to de-escalate because this is a part of the world where things can get triggered accidentally,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Geneva, according to AP.
New in the region: “enhanced security patrols” by the Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet “in international waters with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” AP reports.
Want more U.S. Navy messaging? Here’s a reminder of the carrier strike group that arrived to the region, via the 5th Fleet’s Twitter account this morning. Meantime, “the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and others are in the Arabian Sea, waters close to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which passes one-third of all oil transported by sea,” AP writes. And here’s another 5th Fleet release on those two ships drilling together late last week.
From Defense One
Great Power Rivalry Is Also a War For Talent // Elsa B. Kania and Emma Moore: China’s military is working harder to find and keep good people. The U.S. must step up its own efforts.
The Partisan Divide on How to Read the Intelligence on Iran // Kathy Gilsinan and Mike Giglio, The Atlantic: Adam Schiff lays out his worries on the intelligence, but the Trump administration is pushing back.
Time to Pull US Nuclear Weapons Out of Turkey // Harvey M. Sapolsky: Storing nuclear weapons close to trouble is a bad idea, and giving Ankara a shared finger on the nuclear trigger is rapidly losing its charm.
After Executive Order, Trump Administration Puts More Pressure On Huawei // Aaron Boyd, Nextgov: The Chinese telecom company can no longer buy U.S. tech without a waiver, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday.
Take It From an Iraq War Supporter—War With Iran Would Be a Disaster // David Frum, The Atlantic: It would mean repeating a mistake, only on a much bigger scale: without allies, without justification, and without any plan at all.
Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson. Thanks for reading! Subscribe here. On this day in 1570, Antwerp-born cartographer Abraham Ortelius published the world’s first modern atlas.
Got an Android phone? If it’s made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, you could be in for some changes. “Google is halting some services for smartphones made by Huawei, a sign that the U.S. decision to deny the Chinese tech giant access to technology will bite into its booming consumer-device business,” the Wall Street Journal reports this morning after Reuters broke the story Sunday evening.
What will be different now: “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect” will continue working, Reuters writes. However, “Proprietary apps and services such as some artificial-intelligence capabilities that connect to Google infrastructure may cease to function,” a “person familiar with the matter” told the Journal. Otherwise, “Details of the specific services affected by the suspension were still being discussed internally at Google,” Reuters writes.
BTW: Who makes the most smart phones these days? Apple just got bumped to the #3 spot — behind Huawei, WSJ writes. And Samsung retains the #1 ranking.
And for the record: “Huawei has been stockpiling inventory and has developed its own operating system to protect against a supply disruption. However, it isn’t clear when or if Huawei can easily switch operating systems on existing smartphones.” Read on, here.
Other manufacturers affected by the U.S. actions versus Huawei: “Chipmakers including Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc., Xilinx Inc. and Broadcom Inc. have told their employees they will not supply Huawei till further notice,” Bloomberg reported Sunday.
But that’s not all: “The impact of the ban also began to be felt outside the U.S. and Asia,” Bloomberg writes. As a result, “Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG fell in early trading Monday after the Nikkei reported it halted shipments to the Chinese company in the wake of the U.S. ban. Shares of STMicroelectronics NV and Austrian-based AMS AG were also hit…The ban’s commencement also walloped shares of Asian tech supply chain companies Monday. Sunny Optical Technology Group Co. was again the worst performer on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, while Luxshare Precision Industry Co. dived as much as 9.8% in Shenzhen.” Read on, here.
Related: “Forced Tech Transfers Are on the Rise in China, European Firms Say,” WSJ reports separately this morning, citing data from “an annual survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.”
The quick numbers: “20% of the survey’s 585 participants saying they have felt compelled to transfer technology to maintain market access, up from 10% in 2017.”
What’s more, “Companies that are in high-value, cutting-edge industries have felt compelled to transfer technology at higher-than-average rates,” including “Some 30% of chemicals and petroleum companies, 28% of medical-device companies, 27% of pharmaceutical companies and 21% of automotive companies reported such transfers.” A bit more, here. Or read the EUCCC report for yourself, here.
Homeland Security’s border surge. As the 2020 elections approach, DHS employees are being encouraged to set aside their infrastructure-and-cybersecurity work to go to the border, The Daily Beast reported Friday.
Also this weekend: The Trump administration identified at least 1,712 additional migrant children it may have separated from their parents or guardians — and that’s “on top of the nearly 3,000 kids we already know about,” NBC’s Jacob Soboroff reported Saturday.
France and New Zealand pioneered an international agreement to combat online extremism. But the White House isn’t interested in participating right now due to “U.S. concerns that the pact clashes with constitutional protections for free speech,” the Washington Post reported this weekend.
ICYMI: A NATO airstrike killed 18 Afghan police officers in southern Helmand province late last week, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Here’s one way to “incentivize the commission of war crimes” and put “US servicemembers at greater risk” while working abroad: Pardon U.S. troops alleged to have committed war crimes, as White House aides told the New York Times POTUS45 is considering.
Said one nameless vet to CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Pardoning convicted war criminals is a slap in the face to everyone who fought honorably. To everyone who didn’t commit war crimes. To everyone who chose the harder right over the easier wrong…”
Ukraine’s new president just started his job, taking the oath of office in today in Kiev. His very next move: “call[ing] for the dismissal of top officials including controversial Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, and head of the State Security Service Vasyl Hrytsak,” Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported this morning.
And finally today: Here one ordinary, yet extraordinary way a U.S. officer in the Korean DMZ is working to defuse tensions.
Involved: A pink phone, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel McShane, and countless conversations about the Los Angeles Dodgers, girlfriends, and a whole host of curious minutiae swept up into this weekend feature from the Wall Street Journal’s Timothy W. Martin.