With Adam Rawnsley
Gulf hack. The hack of Qatari government Web sites earlier this year was carried out by the United Arab Emirates, and not Russia, as had initially been suspected. The revelation — which will likely only deepen the diplomatic row between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors — comes after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries slapped an economic blockade on the tiny Gulf monarchy.
U.S. officials who described the latest twist to the Washington Post said they’re unsure whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted the job out. The hacks took place on May 24, just after President Trump sat down with Persian Gulf leaders in neighboring Saudi Arabia and declared them unified. The UAE on Monday officially denied responsibility.
Iran won the Iraq war. After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Tehran saw an opportunity to use the chaos that resulted to increase its own influence in the region. And their plan appears to have worked, the New York Times reports. Iran has for years planted friendly ministers inside the Iraqi parliament and government agencies, and is training Iraqi Shiite militias to fight ISIS in Iraq, and for the Syrian government over the border.
Consider this: “At some border posts in the south, Iraqi sovereignty is an afterthought. Busloads of young militia recruits cross into Iran without so much as a document check. They receive military training and are then flown to Syria, where they fight under the command of Iranian officers in defense of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.” Iran is also training thousands of Afghan fighters to battle in Syria.
Secret Service pushes back on Trump lawyer. This is awkward. The U.S. Secret Service on Sunday firmly denied a statement from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that its agents vetted a meeting between the president’s son and Russian nationals during the 2016 campaign, in which the Russians — claiming to represent the Kremlin — promised…