Jamal Khashoggi’s death highlights need for unity on World Press Freedom Day

Jamal Khashoggi’s death highlights need for unity on World Press Freedom Day

It’s been seven months since Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and dissident, was brutally murdered inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul. His dismembered body has still not been found. The Saudi Royal Family remains the chief suspect.

Yet for globetrotting capitalists in search of opportunity in Riyadh, it’s back to business as usual.

BlackRock founder, Larry Fink, recently told The New York Times he wants to engage the Saudis rather than shun them for whatever internal troubles led to the killing of a respected member of the press and columnist for The Washington Post. Other companies, including Google, Softbank, and HSBC, are also planning business ventures with the Saudis, The Times reported. Continue reading Jamal Khashoggi’s death highlights need for unity on World Press Freedom Day

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Ukraine: How the Eastern European country became a test bed for Russia cyberweaponry

Ukraine: How the Eastern European country became a test bed for Russia cyberweaponry

To see the warfare of the future, head to the top floor of a nondescript office tower on a potholed street on the scruffy outskirts of Ukraine’s capital. There, next to a darkened conference room, engineers sit at dark gray monitors, waging war with lines of code.

“Attacks are happening every day,” says Oleh Derevianko, founder of the Ukrainian cybersecurity firm that employs them, Information Systems Security Partners. “We never thought we were going to be the front line of cyber and hybrid war.”

There may be no better place to witness cyber conflict in action than Ukraine today. Open warfare with Russia, a highly skilled, computer-literate pool of talent and a uniquely vulnerable political, economic and IT environment have made the country the perfect sandbox for those looking to test new cyberweapons, tactics and tools.

“Ukraine is live-fire space,” says Kenneth Geers, a veteran cybersecurity expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who advises NATO’s Tallinn cyber center and spent time on the ground in Ukraine to study the country’s cyber conflict. Much like global powers fought proxy wars in the Middle East or Africa during the Cold War, Ukraine has become a battleground in a cyberwar arms race for global influence.

Derevianko’s outfit works closely with the Ukrainian government and its U.S. and European allies to fend off onslaughts against the country’s networks. On the other side of the virtual front line: Not just sophisticated Russian-affiliated hacker groups like Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear and Sandworm — the group behind “NotPetya,” the most devastating cyberattack to date — but also hosts of other governmental, nongovernmental and criminal players testing out their capabilities on the country’s networks. Continue reading Ukraine: How the Eastern European country became a test bed for Russia cyberweaponry

Turkey ready for biggest cross-border op in its history – pro-gov’t daily

Turkey ready for biggest cross-border op in its history – pro-gov’t daily

Turkey has made all necessary preparations for the biggest cross-border operation in the country’s history, into Syria’s Manbij and east of the Euphrates river, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak reported on Monday.

Some 80,000 Turkish soldiers are ready for the new operation in areas controlled by the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), according to the news outlet.

This is double the number of troops required in the 1974 military offensive to take control of northern Cyprus, which still stands as Turkey’s biggest cross-border operation. Continue reading Turkey ready for biggest cross-border op in its history – pro-gov’t daily

US-led coalition against the Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria

US-led coalition against the Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria

President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia in the fight against Islamic State.

The coalition “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements,” Colonel Sean Ryan said.

Washington’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria fear the withdrawal will open the way for Turkey to mount a long-threatened offensive against their area. Turkey views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as a national security threat. Continue reading US-led coalition against the Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria

Pompeo, Netanyahu vow to continue cooperation over Syria and Iran

Pompeo, Netanyahu vow to continue cooperation over Syria and Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States would continue to cooperate with Israel over Syria and in countering Iran in the Middle East, even as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Continue reading Pompeo, Netanyahu vow to continue cooperation over Syria and Iran