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Which Military Has the Edge in the A.I. Arms Race?


Think of artificial intelligence, and the mind often goes to industrial robots and benign surveillance systems. Increasingly, though, these are steppingstones for Big Brother to enhance capabilities in domestic security and international military warfare. China has co-opted a controversial big data policing program into law enforcement, both for racial profiling of its Uighur minority population and for broader citizen surveillance through facial recognition. Wuhan has an entirely AI-staffed police station. But experts say China's artificial intelligence research is also being adapted for unconventional military warfare in the country's bid to dominate the field over the next decade.

'Doesn't really matter' if there was an imminent threat from Qassem Soleimani: Trump

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday morning defended his decision to kill Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, contending Soleimani posed an impending threat to the United States but also saying that was not important, given the military leader's history. "The Fake News Media and their Democrat Partners are working hard to determine whether or not the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was'imminent' or not, & was my team in agreement." "The answer to both is a strong YES., but it doesn't really matter because of his horrible past!" Since confirming that Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani had been killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, administration officials have claimed they acted because of an imminent risk of attacks on American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. Democrats and a few Republicans in Congress have questioned the justification of the attacks and said they have not been given adequate, detailed briefings. Last week Trump posited in an interview that Iran had been poised to attack four American embassies before Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3.

White House looks to draw attention to Iran protests despite lingering questions over drone strike

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other administration officials joined President Donald Trump in trying to draw attention to dissent in Iran instead of lingering questions about the scale of the threat used to justify a drone strike on Iran's top military leader. Esper added to the uncertainty over the intelligence behind the recent killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani when he said Sunday that he had seen no hard evidence that four American embassies had been under possible threat. Trump said last Friday that Soleimani had been planning such an attack. In appearances Sunday on news shows, both Esper and national security adviser Robert O'Brien said they agreed that Iran might have hit more than just the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital. "It is certainly consistent with the intelligence to assume that they would have hit embassies in at least four countries," O'Brien said.

Pentagon chief says he's seen no hard evidence four U.S. embassies were under threat

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Mark Esper explicitly said Sunday that he had seen no hard evidence that four American embassies had been under possible threat when President Donald Trump authorized the targeting of Iran's top commander, raising questions about the scale of the threat described by Trump last week. As the administration struggled with its justification for the drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Esper and other officials tried to refocus attention on voices of dissent in Iran. Esper said street protests in Tehran show the Iranian people are hungry for a more accountable government after leaders denied, then admitted shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane. The plane was downed shortly after Iran launched strikes against U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for Soleimani's killing. "You can see the Iranian people are standing up and asserting their rights, their aspirations for a better government -- a different regime," Esper said.

Trump ups Iran accusations, says four U.S. embassies targeted

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Confronted by persistent questions about his military action in the Middle East, President Donald Trump and his top officials offered a string of fresh explanations Friday, with Trump now contending Iranian militants had planned major attacks on four U.S. embassies. Just hours earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the U.S. didn't know when or where attacks might occur. Trump and other officials insisted anew that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani had posed an imminent threat to the U.S., but they rebuffed repeated attempts to explain what they meant by "imminent." Trump, meanwhile, announced additional sanctions against Iran, which he had promised after a barrage of missiles fired by the Islamic State against American bases in Iraq earlier this week. Those Iranian missiles, which caused no casualties, were prompted by the U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week in Baghdad.

U.S. Says It Won't Discuss Withdrawing Troops From Iraq, as Iraq's Leader Requested

NYT > Middle East

"But as times change and we get to a place where we can deliver up on what I believe and the president believes is our right structure, with fewer resources dedicated to that mission, we will do so," he added. Mr. Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin also announced new sanctions on Iranian officials and on a few companies, including two in China, involved in the production and export of Iranian steel and other metals. The Trump administration had already imposed major sanctions on Iran's metals industry after Mr. Trump's withdrawal in 2018 from a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, so analysts said the new sanctions would have little additional impact. Iraqi lawmakers voted on Sunday to expel United States forces after the American drone strike that killed 10 people in a two-car convoy -- Maj. The prime minister has not signed the bill yet, but had been criticizing the American troop presence in Iraq since a series of recent actions by the United States military.

'Highly likely' Iran downed Ukrainian jetliner: U.S. officials

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – U.S. officials said Thursday it was "highly likely" that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board. They suggested it could well have been a mistake. The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week. Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said they had no certain knowledge of Iranian intent. But they said the airliner could have been mistaken for a threat.

Iranian cyberattacks could cause 'real damage,' warns cybersecurity expert

FOX News

NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor Justin Cappos talks about Iran's cyberwar capabilities following the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a US strike and what we should do to protect ourselves. Cybersecurity expert Justin Cappos warns that Iran has already "proven it's both adept at launching cyberattacks and that those attacks can cause real damage" in the wake of the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike. In an interview with Fox News, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor pointed to previous cyberattacks launched by Iran that he says illustrate the country has both the means and the willingness to go on the attack and damage American interests. In 2016, the Justice Department charged seven hackers linked to the Iranian government with executing large-scale coordinated cyberattacks on dozens of banks as well as a small dam outside New York City -- intrusions that law enforcement officials said reached into America's infrastructure, disrupted the nation's financial system and cost tens of millions of dollars. Professor Cappos said that because of the previous attacks and current turmoil, it is vital that people take measures to protect their systems.

Associated Press mocked over report of Ayatollah Khamenei's mental state after Soleimani killed: 'Propaganda'

FOX News

Fox News media analyst Howie Kurtz, host of'Media Buzz,' breaks down the coverage of the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani. The Associated Press was ridiculed on Monday for reporting on the feelings of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who openly cried during the funeral of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. "Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wept openly at the funeral for Gen. Qassem Soleimani. His tears give insight into how the death of the commander killed in a U.S. strike is being felt personally by the supreme leader," the AP sent from its verified Twitter account. The tweet accompanied a link to a story headlined, "Iranian leader's tears a sign of respect for slain general."

Daniel Turner: US can withstand Iranian attack on global oil supplies, thanks to Trump energy policies

FOX News

Fox Business reporter Jackie DeAngelis on how the U.S. strike will impact oil prices and the economy. The threat Friday by a top Iranian military leader to attack "vital American targets" in or near the Strait of Hormuz – the waterway through which about 20 percent of the world's oil is transported – illustrates why President Trump's pro-American energy policies are critical to our national security. Iranian leaders have promised military action to retaliate for the killing of terrorist Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike this week that was ordered by President Trump. Soleimani commanded the elite Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and was killed because he was planning deadly new attacks against Americans and others, President Trump and other U.S. officials have said. Senior Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh said Friday that "the Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there."