The Soufan Group Morning Brief


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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2016
SUICIDE ATTACK AT ISTANBUL AIRPORT KILLS 41

Three suicide attackers killed at least 41 people and wounded over 200 others at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on Tuesday. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that early indications pointed to ISIS, although the group has not claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack began when two of the suicide bombers opened fire with automatic weapons at a security checkpoint in the departure hall before detonating their explosives. The third attacker set off his explosives in the airport parking lot. New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters

Related:
Guardian: Istanbul airport attack: Isis behind deaths of at least 36, PM says – latest updates
CNN: Who is behind Istanbul attack?
CBS: Istanbul airport attack: Signs point to ISIS

ORLANDO RELEASES POLICE LOGS AND EMERGENCY CALL TRANSCRIPTS
The City of Orlando released hundreds of pages of documents about the Pulse nightclub shooting on Tuesday, including police logs and emergency call transcripts. The documents offer the most detailed accounts yet of the incidents of the early morning June 12 attack. Some of the logs raise questions about whether one of the nightclubs exits was blocked during the attack. New York Times

Benghazi report: House Republicans issued their final report of a committee investigation into the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday. The report sharply criticized the Obama administration’s response to the attacks, yet did not provide any specific evidence of wrongdoing by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The 800-page document includes extensive details about the timeline of the attacks, but does not significantly differ from previous investigations or earlier accounts of the incident. Washington Post, New York Times

Related:
The Hill: Seven key findings in the Benghazi report

Brexit: U.S. military relations with Britain will be sheltered from the potential upheaval following the recent U.K. referendum to leave the European Union, according to American and British defense officials. One British official said “we still intend to be the strongest nation in NATO that we possibly can be. The nature of our relationship with the U.S. has not changed one iota.” An American defense official said that widespread concerns about Brexit were overblown. Washington Post



KERRY SAYS IRAN ‘HELPFUL’ IN FIGHTING ISIS
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Iran’s presence in Iraq was “helpful” in the fight against ISIS and that the United States shares a “common interest” in the group’s defeat. Iran-backed Shiite militias have been supporting operations to retake ISIS-held territory in Iraq, although some have been accused of carrying out retributive attacks against Sunnis in liberated areas. CNN

Yemen: A Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed 10 Yemeni civilians and wounded at least 15 others on Tuesday in the southern province of Lahj, according to residents. The airstrike came a day after ISIS bombings killed 45 people in Yemen. Reuters

Afghanistan: Afghan security forces intercepted two trucks filled with over three tons of explosives on Tuesday on a highway leading to Kabul. Four Taliban members were captured transporting the materials planned for an attack on the capital. NBC


Iran: In an unexpected move, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced the head of the Iranian armed forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, with his deputy, General Mohammad Bagheri, on Tuesday. Bagheri previously served as the deputy of intelligence and operations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite, powerful military organization separate from the regular armed forces. New York Times

Israel: The Israeli military has cancelled its policy known as the Hannibal procedure, which allows for the use of maximum force to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers, even at the risk of harming them. The procedure was last used during the war in Gaza in 2014. New York Times

Germany: Germany has approved new measures to limit the activities of its foreign intelligence agency, the BND. The new reforms include additional oversight of the agency, with an external watchdog panel of jurists. Intelligence-gathering from EU institutions or partner states will also be limited to “information to recognise and confront threats to internal or external security.” Guardian

Related:
Reuters: Germany girds for potential spike in Islamic State attacks in Europe
TOP OP-EDS
I help innocent people get off terrorism watch lists. As a gun control tool, they’re useless“a proposal to close the so-called ‘terror gap...’ may sound, on the surface, like a reasonable solution. Actually, it’s terribly misguided,” writes Ramzi Kassem in the Washington Post. “Not only does this plan overstate the reliability and fairness of federal watch lists, but it also scapegoats an already unpopular minority group and misses the true nature of the gun problem in the United States.”

Out of the Brexit Turmoil: Opportunity: “The cascade of commentary on Britain’s decision to leave institutional Europe has described the epochal event primarily in the vocabulary of calamity,” writes Henry Kissinger in the Wall Street Journal. “However, the coin of the realm for statesmen is not anguish or recrimination; it should be to transform setback into opportunity.”

Brexit: What does it mean for the rest of the world?: “The success of the referendum in Britain will not just inspire more countries to use referendums to leave the European Union, but also motivate ethnic and minority groups around the world to possibly demand a referendum to seek independence and statehood, thereby causing chaos in the states system that has existed since 1945,” writes Ahmed Rashid on Al Jazeera. “So quite apart from the social and economic consequences of the referendum for Britain and Europe, the idea of a referendum will have a global spill-over effect, encouraging extremist populism and Islamism and thereby potentially further fragmenting already vulnerable states and societies.”
EDITOR'S PICK

Out Now: Karen Greenberg's newest book, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, is the definitive account of how America's War on Terror sparked a decade-long assault on the rule of law, weakening our courts and our Constitution in the name of national security.

SOUFAN GROUP
For cutting-edge analysis of the geopolitical events shaping global affairs, read today’s TSG IntelBrief: Israel and Turkey Restore Relations




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