ISIL Leader Appears in Mosul, Calls for Imposition of Islamic Law

Self-declared ‘Caliph’ Baghdadi mosque appearance said to counter claims he was wounded
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaking at the Mosul mosque / AP

The self-declared leader of all Muslims worldwide made a surprise appearance July 4 at a mosque in Mosul—the key trophy of last month’s military incursion into Iraq by his group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Chinese Military Creates High-Level Cyber Intelligence Center

Strategic cyber intelligence group within Communist Party’s all-powerful military organ revealed
Chinese students learn computer skills in a computer room at Lanxiang Vocational School

The Chinese military revealed this week that it has set up a high-level cyberspace intelligence center amid growing concerns around the world over Beijing’s aggressive cyber espionage.

Disclosure of the new military cyber spying center followed unprecedented U.S. charges in May against five Chinese military hackers who prosecutors say engaged in widespread theft of American corporate and trade secrets through cyber espionage.

Iraqi ‘Caliph’ on U.S. Kill List

Shadowy Baghdadi issues first statement since January urging global terror attacks
ISIL fighters marching in Syria / AP

President Barack Obama has authorized targeted killings of the leaders of the al Qaeda offshoot led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi using drone strikes or special operations, as the Iraqi terrorist on Tuesday urged jihadists to conduct worldwide attacks.

CIA Under Fire for Failure in Iraq

Critics say agency did not provide adequate warning of Islamic State attack
People inspect buildings damaged by an Iraqi government airstrike on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant controlled city of Mosul

The CIA failed to provide adequate warning of the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant military incursion into Iraq despite having a significant presence of agency officers in the country, according to U.S. officials and security analysts.

Official Al Qaeda Rebel Unit in Syria Joins ISIL

Merger a sign ultra-violent wing of al Qaeda gaining strength
al Qaeda

In other Iraq developments, the Iraqi government announced that its forces had taken full control over the Bayji oil refinery and that ISIL fighters at the plant had been defeated.

Russia Test Fires Six New Air-Launched Cruise Missiles

Putin orders military exercises amid new Ukraine tensions
Russian Air Force Tu-95 bombers fly in formation over Red Square / AP

Russian strategic air forces fired six new, precision-strike cruise missiles in test launches Friday amid new tensions between Moscow and the West over the crisis in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Rebel Commander Identified As Russian GRU Military Intelligence Colonel

Key figure in covert Russian subversion campaign in eastern Ukraine
Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin

A key figure in covert Russian efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine is working for Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, according to U.S. officials.

Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, who is currently using the nom de guerre Igor Strelkov, has identified himself in press reports as “defense minister” of the self-proclaimed, pro-Russian “Donetsk People’s Republic. This week he called for Russia to send military aid to rebels in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Opposes New Draft Treaty from China and Russia Banning Space Weapons

Arms control pact sought as Beijing, Moscow secretly build anti-satellite, space arms
Wikimedia Commons

The United States is opposing a new draft treaty submitted to the United Nations last week by China and Russia that seeks legally binding curbs on weapons in space amid concerns that both states are secretly building space arms.