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The Pentagon is seen from the air in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022, more than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

What We’re Watching: Suspected US intel leaks, peace talks for Yemen, Lula talks trade with Xi

A murky document mystery

Some months ago, mysterious documents began showing up on websites used mainly by online gamers that appear to reveal top-secret US government information on the war in Ukraine and other sensitive topics. In particular, they include what seem to be maps of Ukrainian air defenses and an analysis of a secret plan by US ally South Korea to covertly deliver 330,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine to boost its widely expected spring counteroffensive.

Once noticed, copies of the documents made their way into mainstream media and triggered investigations by the Pentagon and the US Justice Department over possible leaks. Ukrainian officials say the documents may have come from Russian spies. Others say someone inside the US intel community must have leaked them. Some experts warn the documents may be fakes.

Given the stakes for Ukraine and for US relations with allies, this isn’t a story anyone should ignore. But the most important questions – Who did this? Why? Are the documents real? Will they change the war? If so, how? – can’t yet be answered. And like the mystery surrounding the explosion that damaged the Nord Stream pipeline last September, they may never be answered. We’ll keep watching.

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People search for survivors following an earthquake in Iskenderun, Turkey.

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The politics of recovery in Syria and Turkey

As the death toll mounts from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake, rescue efforts are intensifying in southern Turkey and northern Syria, with thousands of international aid workers flying in to assist.

The rescue effort, however, is anything but smooth sailing, not least because of frigid weather conditions. (Aid workers say that snow makes debris heavier and increases the risk of more building collapses.) But there are also political factors obstructing the recovery work.

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US Afghanistan withdrawal: a “digital Dunkirk”
US Afghanistan Withdrawal: a “Digital Dunkirk” | GZERO World

US Afghanistan withdrawal: a “digital Dunkirk”

Could the US have done a better job at getting out of Afghanistan?

Certainly, says former US marine and CIA officer Elliot Ackerman, who recalls how calls for an evacuation plan fell on deaf ears in the Pentagon and the White House. Expediting the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Afghan allies could have been handled better as well.

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China is considering cutting off the export of rare earths to the US. What are they, and why does this matter for everything from fighter jets to the device you're reading on right now?

Gabriella Turrisi

China takes a “rare” swipe at the US

China now controls more than 80 percent of the world's supply of something that surrounds you all day, every day. And, according to the Financial Times [paywall], Beijing is threatening to cut the supply of that thing to the US. What are we talking about? Rare earths metals.

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Pentagon criticizes Chinese military drills in disputed South China Sea

July 03, 2020 7:53 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Defence Department expressed concern on Thursday (July 2) about China holding military exercises in the South China Sea, saying the move will further destabilise the situation in the disputed waters.

What We're Watching: French anti-racism protests, Sudan-Ethiopia border dispute, Pentagon checks Trump

French protests over racial injustice: The George Floyd protests in the United States have sparked solidarity demonstrations around the world, with people flocking to US embassies in Berlin, London and elsewhere to express their outrage. But they have also inspired other countries to reexamine racial justice within their own societies. In France, where street demonstrations are practically a national pastime, thousands of people have gathered in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who died in police custody back in 2016. At least 20,000 Parisians demonstrated Wednesday, despite coronavirus bans on public gatherings. Protesters adopted similar language to the Floyd protests, demanding accountability for the officers who violently pinned down Traoré during a dispute over an identity check, leading to his death. Renewed focus on this case, which has become a potent symbol of police brutality in France, comes as coronavirus lockdowns have recently stoked tensions between the police and the mostly-minority residents of Paris' banlieues (low-income suburbs).

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China working on third aircraft carrier

May 08, 2019 5:00 AM

HONG KONG/BEIJING • Construction of China's first full-sized aircraft carrier is well under way, according to satellite images obtained and analysed by a US think-tank.
All the President's Generals
All the President's Generals

All the President's Generals

President Trump used to love a man in uniform but these days he's soured on his generals. This week, Ian looks at how the President's cooling relationship with his top brass has affected U.S. foreign policy and then he'll talk to Michèle Flournoy, who was the highest-ranking woman at the Pentagon. And on Puppet Regime we find out what keeps Trump up at night.

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