Situation Report

FP's Situation Report: Alexander cashes in post-NSA; U.S. accuses Russia of violating arms-control treaty; The Islamic State gets rich off oil; Duncan Hunter on Fallujah and Gaza; and a bit more.

By Kate Brannen with Nathaniel Sobel

FP Exclusive: A look at Keith Alexander's post-NSA career and why he thinks he's worth millions a month. FP's Shane Harris: "Keith Alexander, the recently retired director of the National Security Agency, left many in Washington slack-jawed when it was reported that he might charge companies up to $1 million a month to help them protect their computer networks from hackers. What insights or expertise about cybersecurity could possibly justify such a sky-high fee, some wondered, even for a man as well-connected in the military-industrial complex as the former head of the nation's largest intelligence agency?

"The answer, Alexander said in an interview Monday, is a new technology, based on a patented and ‘unique' approach to detecting malicious hackers and cyber-intruders that the retired Army general said he has invented, along with his business partners at IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., the company he co-founded after leaving the government and retiring from military service in March. But the technology is also directly informed by the years of experience Alexander has had tracking hackers, and the insights he gained from classified operations as the director of the NSA, which give him a rare competitive advantage over the many firms competing for a share of the cybersecurity market."

How many patents does Alexander have up his sleeve? Find that out and more here.

Breaking overnight -- The United States has accused Russia of violating a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a new ground-launched cruise missile. But, it's worth noting, Russia's actions are not part of its latest aggressive behavior in Ukraine. It first began testing these missiles as early as 2008, the NYT's Michael R. Gordon reports: "...the Obama administration concluded by the end of 2011 that they were a compliance concern. In May 2013, Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department's senior arms control official, first raised the possibility of a violation with Russian officials."

Ukraine's role: "Administration officials said the upheaval in Ukraine pushed the issue to the back burner and that the downturn in American-Russian relations has led to an interruption of regular arms-control meetings."

While the White House knew of the violation, it wasn't ready to go public with it until now. The next step will be high-level talks with Moscow over ways to bring Russia back into compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Getting Russia to agree it violated the treaty was never going to be easy, but the task now appears near impossible given what's going on in Ukraine and Russia's refusal to take responsibility for its actions on the international stage.

EU leaders could announce new sanctions against Russia as early as today, after yesterday's phone call with the White House got everyone on the same page. FP's Jamila Trindle: "Western leaders say they've cobbled together a united front against Russia, a week and a half after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killed nearly 300 people. U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday afternoon spoke to the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, and Italy in a joint call, during which they agreed on tougher sanctions against Moscow. The United States says Russia provided the training and weaponry to the militants in eastern Ukraine who shot down the passenger plane on July 17."

But how tough will this new round really be? "Although the European Union agreed last week to consider sanctions against Russia's energy, defense, and financial industries, it was unclear how far they would go. It's still uncertain how broad the sanctions will be, but the call on Monday indicated a change of tone from last week, when EU politicians were trading barbs over whether Britain or France was more reliant on Moscow's money." More here.

Turning our attention to Iraq ... The Islamic State is growing rich off the oil business while many inside and outside of the country hope Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's days are numbered.

FP's Keith Johnson writes that even with its oil money, the Islamic State might not have enough cash to govern the territory it's seized: "The money it can earn from illicit oil sales further bolsters the group's status as one of the richest self-funded terrorist outfits in the world, dependent not on foreign governments for financial support but on the money its reaped from kidnappings and bank robberies ... But even the millions of dollars a day that the Islamic State seems to be raking in by trucking stolen oil across porous borders is not enough to meet the hefty obligations created by the group's own headlong expansion. Taking over big chunks of territory, as in eastern Syria and in northern Iraq, could also leave it forced to take on the sorts of expensive obligations -- such as paying salaries, collecting the trash, and keeping the lights on -- usually reserved for governments."

Michael Knights, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells FP: "They've gone from being the world's richest terrorist organization to the world's poorest state." Read more here.

Meanwhile, Maliki's critics are closing in. While Maliki handily won the most seats in April's general election, it was still only a quarter of parliament's seats, so Maliki was forced to form a new ruling coalition, something that could take months to do. In the meantime, the door has been left open for replacing him with someone else.

The WaPo's Loveday Morris reported over the weekend that Shiite politicians were discussing other candidates who could lead the country. There have even "been hints from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that it is time for him to step aside," Morris reported.

This would be good news for the United States, which blames Maliki for much of Iraq's problems today.

CSIS's Anthony Cordesman: "To put it bluntly, Maliki is as much of a threat to Iraqi unity, stability in the Gulf, and U.S. strategic interests as is ISIS. Ever since the power struggles that began as a result of indecisive outcome of Iraq's March 2010 election, Maliki has driven the country toward civil war. He has alienated Iraq's Kurds and steadily become more authoritarian and ruthless in dealing with its Arab Sunnis."

Don't want to wait around for the Pentagon to publicly disclose its assessment of Iraq and the options it's now considering? Then read Cordesman's analysis, which lays out what U.S. options are if Maliki is removed from power.

He writes, "The United States should not try to force a leader on Iraq. It can, however, make it clear that the kind of aid that Iraq now desperately needs is conditional. It means Iraq must not give Maliki a third term or consider horrible alternatives like Ahmed Chalibi." More from Cordesman here.

"Reviving the Caliphate: Fad, or the Future?," a new report from CNA Corporation, examines the concept of restoring the caliphate in modern times, a notion that some extremist groups have supported in recent years. It focuses on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria in June 2014 and discusses the potential ramifications of this action on the region, the global jihadi movement, and U.S. interests in the broader Muslim world. Full report here.

After more than five years blocking U.N. Security Council action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. backed the U.N. cease-fire call yesterday, providing further evidence of the deepening tension between Israel and the U.S. FP's Colum Lynch: "Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert at New York University's Center on International Cooperation, said the United States is trying to walk a diplomatic tightrope by telegraphing displeasure with Israel while heading off a fiercer battle in the council with the Arabs, who favor the passage of a much tougher Security Council resolution on the conflict. ‘In backing the council's statements, the United States is signaling its frustration with Israel,' he said. ‘But it is also warding off a fight over a tougher resolution on the crisis it would probably have to veto.'" More here.

Trying to change the subject, the White House and Israel highlight the two countries' solidarity. FP's John Hudson: "White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer sought to downplay tensions between their respective governments on Monday after the Israeli press reported that senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were sharply dismissive over American efforts to quell the rising violence in Gaza."

Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer: "I speak directly for my prime minister here. The criticism of Secretary Kerry for his good faith efforts to advance a sustainable ceasefire is unwarranted... There is broad understanding between Israel and the United States about the principles for a sustainable cease fire."

National Security Advisor Amb. Susan Rice: "I must tell you, we've been dismayed by some press reports in Israel mischaracterizing [Kerry's] efforts last week to achieve a ceasefire... The reality is that John Kerry on behalf of the United States has been working every step of the way with Israel in support of our shared interests." More here.

Duncan Hunter tells FP that Israel should take a lesson from the U.S. Marines' experience in Fallujah, which is considered the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War. "The biggest holdup for Israel right now is the civilian casualties in Gaza. That's what's keeping them from doing any major operations. So what you do is you tell the good people who don't want to fight, ‘Hey, leave. We'll take care of you outside the city,' and then you cordon off the city. And then the only people left in the city are folks who want to fight you and civilians they trap there," the Republican congressman told Situation Report yesterday.

Hunter notes that Fallujah had about 300,000 people, where Gaza has closer to 2 million. "Fallujah's a great model, even though it's a lot smaller. You'd do Gaza in sections, but you could still do it."

The United Nations has tried to offer shelter to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, but even these safe zones have come under fire. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has said there is no safe place within Gaza for civilians. In Fallujah, it was estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the civilian population fled before the U.S. began its main assault in November, 2004.

And some scenes from Gaza sound an awful like what was left behind in Fallujah. The Daily Beast's Jesse Rosenfeld: "Apartment blocks are fields of rubble, and as I move through this hostile landscape the phrase that keeps ringing in my head is ‘scorched earth.' ... It's not like Israel didn't plan this. It told tens of thousands of Palestinians to flee so its air force, artillery and tanks could create this uninhabitable no-man's land of half standing, burned-out buildings, broken concrete and twisted metal." More here.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it's time to prepare for a prolonged military campaign. Reuters: "Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, flattened the home of its Islamist Hamas political leader and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets in the enclave on Tuesday, with no end in sight to more than three weeks of conflict." More here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to be one of our subscribers, we'd love to have you. Sign up for Situation Report by sending us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Tell a friend.  And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, you, send it to us early for maximum tease: kate.brannen@foreignpolicy.com And the more shovel-ready, the better. And hey! Follow us: @k8brannen, @glubold and @njsobe4.

Who's Where When: Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, hosts a press briefing on "U.S. Operations in the Pacific" at 12:30 p.m. at the Pentagon...

The House Armed Services Committee has a hearing on the "Security Situation in Iraq and Syria: U.S. Policy Options and Implications for the Region" at 10:00 a.m. in the Rayburn building...

At the State Department, Kerry is meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin at 9:45 a.m., followed by a press availability at 10:15 a.m. Then, Kerry heads to the White House for a meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Security Adviser Susan Rice at noon.

And Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Iran.

BREAKING --  Karzai's cousin is killed by a suicide bomber. The AP: A cousin and close associate of outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated on Tuesday by a suicide bomber who hid his explosives under his turban, a provincial official said. The bomber walked up to the home of Hashmat Khalil Karzai to greet him after morning prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, and detonated the explosives after shaking hands with the president's cousin, said the official." More here.

Released yesterday, a SIGAR audit found problems with the accountability of weapons the U.S. supplied to the Afghan National Security Forces. Full report here.

Libya warns of a disaster as Tripoli fuel tank fire spreads. The WSJ's Beniot Faucon: "Libya warned Monday of the risk of a humanitarian and environmental disaster after a second fuel tank caught fire amid heavy fighting at Tripoli airport between rival militias ... A missile late Saturday ignited a storage tank containing petroleum fuel at a complex near the airport. The igniting of a second tank has increased the risk of an explosion at the site, which contains 90 million liters (almost 24 million gallons) of fuel and cooking gas." More here.

Everyone's evacuating ... err, ‘temporarily relocating' from Libya: BuzzFeed's Nicolás Medina Mora: "Several European governments ordered their citizens to leave Libya on Monday after intense fighting resulted in an uncontrollable oil fire near the Tripoli airport." More here.

And China is urging the 1,000 Chinese nationals still in the country to leave too, the Xinhua News Agency is reporting.

The news is bad enough ... and then you add Ebola to the mix. Clair MacDougall reporting for FP from Liberia: "Liberia, along with its neighbors, Guinea and Sierra Leone, were once wracked by war. Today, they are all facing a new and deadly crisis: Ebola, a virus that attacks organs and leads to fever, diarrhea, bleeding, and in most cases death, has swept across the countries and threatens to extend its reach. The virus, which cannot be cured but can be treated, can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it. The overall death rate in the three West African countries is currently around 60 percent. Roughly 1,200 cases have been identified, the most ever in an outbreak, and some 670 people have already died." More here.  

The editors at Bloomberg View argue more should be done. "This Ebola epidemic is different. Unless resources are mustered to bring it under control, it's going to kill many more people in Africa, and perhaps beyond." More here.

For Military Times, Jeff Schogol's interview with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about his decision to send 1,000 National Guardsmen to the Mexico border, here.

Military personnel costs need a hard look. The WaPo's Walter Pincus: "In our troubled world, would you prefer that the United States had six more F-16 squadrons over the next year or pay the 1 percent annual ­cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees under age 62?" More here.

Northrop's drone for the Navy has increased 25 percent in cost. Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio, here.

The U.S. Army plans to select a new standard-issue handgun. If history is a guide, similar pistols will soon start appearing at gun stores and crime scenes near you. Matt Valentine for the Atlantic, here.

The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs committees achieved something very rare on Capitol Hill these days: a bipartisan compromise on a $17 billion VA reform bill. Military Times' Leo Shane III: "The deal, if approved later this week, gives lawmakers a surprising success story to take back to their home districts as Congress begins its extended, pre-election legislative break. The comprehensive veterans measure is one of only a few significant bills to become law this year, and comes after weeks of promises that leaders from both parties would move quickly to address recent VA scandals." More here.

And the Senate is scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Robert McDonald to be Veterans Affairs Secretary at 2:45 p.m. today.

Speaking of vets, IAVA and Defense One are hosting a big event at the National Press Club tomorrow. Scheduled speakers include Montel Williams, Rep Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Get the full lineup and more info here.

Situation Report

FP's Situation Report: Flynn says eradicating Hamas could lead to something worse; Brokering a cease-fire is proving difficult; What does DoD know about SAMs in Ukraine?; The Taliban is gaining ground; and a bit more.

Last night, the U.N. Security Council called for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. In a rare showing of agreement, "the Palestinians and the Israelis both criticized the statement adopted by the council," reports The AP's Edith M. Lederer. Neither side thought it went far enough in condemning the other side.

After the fighting in Gaza stopped for 12 hours on Saturday, it resumed on Sunday. So far, the war has killed 1,030 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and Israel has lost 43 soldiers and three civilians. Meanwhile, the fight to achieve a temporary ceasefire shows just how difficult it will be to reach any lasting truce. And with each person killed or injured, new seeds of anger and distrust are planted on each side. This is leading to a growing sense of pessimism ... on the ground and at the highest levels of power.

Peace in the Middle East? Not in my lifetime, a top Pentagon intel official says. FP's Yochi Dreazen: "Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will be stepping down from his post as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency later this year, told an audience at the Aspen Security Forum that Israel needed to carefully calibrate its current military offensive in Gaza so that it punished Hamas without fully eradicating it. If it did, Flynn warned that Gaza could fall under the sway of the extremist group that now control broad swaths of Syria and Iraq." More here.

David Remnick's not feeling optimistic either: The New Yorker editor writing for the Aug. 4 issue of the magazine: "... the most malign and extremist elements within this conflict--Israeli and Palestinian-grow in strength and deepen their conviction that there is no chance of accommodation. Childhood memories of terror and death accumulate, and cripple the moral and political imagination." You can read more of his essay here.

Why is getting even a short-term deal proving so difficult for Secretary of State John Kerry? The NYT's Michael R. Gordon: Part of the reason the diplomatic effort has faced such an uphill struggle is far-reaching changes on both sides since the last Gaza cease-fire in 2012. Israel and Hamas seem to be dug in this time, with Israeli officials appearing dismissive of Mr. Kerry's push for a weeklong cease-fire in a way that few American secretaries of state have faced."

And finding a good peace broker isn't easy. "The challenge of reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable is all the more difficult because there is no party that is in a position to mediate directly between Hamas and Israel. The United States does not deal directly with Hamas. And the countries with the closest ties, Qatar and Turkey, have fraught relations with Egypt, whose cease-fire plan has provided the broad framework for Mr. Kerry's efforts." More here.

Obama calls Netanyahu Sunday and pushes for an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire." From the White House's readout: "The President underscored the United States' strong condemnation of Hamas' rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel and reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself.  The President also reiterated the United States' serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, as well as the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza."

In Gaza, the 12-hour ceasefire on Saturday allowed residents to survey the damage. Sharif Abdel Kouddous reporting from Gaza for FP: "The devastation is so complete that some residents who returned during the temporary cease-fire on Saturday could not locate where their homes once stood." More here.

Israelis don't want a ceasefire, a new poll shows. The Jerusalem Post's Gil Hoffman: "When asking about a potential cease-fire, the poll gave two choices. The first endorsed a cease-fire because ‘Israel had enough achievements, soldiers have died, and it is time to stop.' The second said Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because ‘Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered.'... Only 9.7 percent chose option one, 86.5% option two, and 3.8% said they did not know. Men were more likely to want the operation to continue than women." More here.

Thew New York Times broke a story over the weekend about a Pentagon plan to share targeting information with the Ukrainians. The NYT's David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt reported that "The Pentagon and American intelligence agencies are developing plans that would enable the Obama administration to provide specific locations of surface-to-air missiles controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine so the Ukrainian government could target them for destruction."

The story renews questions about what intelligence the United States had on the location of surface-to-air missiles prior to the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. As recently as Friday, the Pentagon told reporters that it had no specific information on the transfer of surface-to-air missiles to the Pro-Russian rebels, even though it's tracking the movement of other weapons systems, like tanks and rocket launchers. But if The NYT story is right, the Pentagon may have more intelligence on these systems than it's admitting to publicly, which raises the question: Did it have this information before July 17 too?

From the Sanger and Schmitt story:... "It is unclear whether President Obama, who has already approved limited intelligence sharing with Ukraine, will agree to give more precise information about potential military targets, a step that would involve the United States more deeply in the conflict."

Kerry's on board: "And a senior State Department official said Saturday that Secretary of State John Kerry supported sharing intelligence on the locations of surface-to-air missiles that Russia has supplied the separatists." More here.

So is Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio): Defense News's John T. Bennett reports on a letter Turner sent the president. It reads, "The United States should immediately seek to provide the Ukrainian armed forces with the military capabilities required to eliminate all anti-aircraft systems currently being used in the Russian-backed separatist territory in eastern Ukraine." Read more here.

Ukrainians say the black boxes confirm that a missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The WSJ's Lukas I. Alpert with the story here.

And the Obama administration released photos yesterday to prove Russia is firing into Ukraine. The WaPo's Karen DeYoung with the story here.

What would Obama do if Russia invades Ukraine? What should he do? War on the Rocks is asking its readers these two questions. Find out the results and vote yourself here.

The Taliban is quietly making some gains this summer. The NYT's Azam Ahmed reporting from Mahmud Raqi, Afghanistan: "The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

"Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it. The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year." More here.

Weapons falling into the wrongs hands seems to be a theme these days. Now you can extend that fear to Afghanistan, if you haven't already. U.S. News and World Report's Tom Risen: "The Afghan National Security Forces, or ANSF, have a glut of supplied weapons far above their agreed-upon needs, according to a new report from the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR.

"‘Without confidence in the Afghan government's ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, SIGAR is concerned that they could be obtained by insurgents and pose additional risks to Afghan civilians and the ANSF,' says the report, released Monday." More here.

Welcome to Monday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to be one of our subscribers, we'd love to have you. Sign up for Situation Report by sending us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. Like what you see? Tell a friend.  And if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, you, send it to us early for maximum tease: kate.brannen@foreignpolicy.com And the more shovel-ready, the better. And hey! Follow us: @k8brannen, @glubold and @njsobe4.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey surveys today's worrying security landscape for FP: "In each region of the world, we face serious -- but very different -- security challenges, from rising state-to-state tensions in Asia and Europe to escalating sub-state violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, technologies and capabilities once confined to states are moving beyond their control. The result is an international order under duress with as many things working to pull the world apart as to pull it together."

How should we confront these problems? "First, wherever possible, we should view problems through a regional lens -- not one country, one group, and one crisis at a time. Second, we should carefully integrate all our instruments of power, making sure that our policies leverage each instrument to its best use."

But what do we really need? Strategy, Dempsey argues. "Despite cynics' arguments that grand strategy is a thing of the past, it is critical today -- when calls for U.S. leadership and military power shift from crisis to crisis."

The bottom-line: "Most problems around the world today do not have quick military fixes." You can Dempsey's full essay here.

Now for the countries "struggling for their souls" ...

Is Iraq on a path to separation? Sunni fighters have seized large swaths of territory in the northern part of Iraq. Kurdish forces have taken Kirkuk and nearby oil fields. Reuters' Dominic Evans: "The government is trying to reverse this de facto, three-way split of the country, but its reliance on Shi'ite militia and volunteers rather than the ineffectual national army has deepened sectarian mistrust without pushing the rebels back."

A Sunni living in a Shi'ite area of Baghdad to Evans: "The Sunnis all want separation now ... Facts on the ground tell you this will be the final result. On both sides now you have extremists who don't want to get along." More here.

What's next for Iraq's Kurds. Slobodan Lekic for Stars and Stripes: "Despite strong support for independence among most Kurds, significant obstacles remain to a final break with Iraq. For that reason, many analysts argue the most realistic scenario would be greater autonomy for the Kurds, who already enjoy significant self-rule. This would mean transforming Iraq into a confederation with three constituent regions - a Kurdish state in the north, a Sunni entity in the west and center, and a Shiite region in the center and oil-rich south of the country." More here.

Iraqi tribes are preparing to take on ISIS in northern Iraq. Asharq Al-Awsat: "Tribal leaders in northern Iraq said they were forming militias to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Sunday, as reports emerged of the jihadist group seizing more territory southwest of Baghdad.

The Al-Obeidi tribe, which spans the two provinces of Salah Al-Din and Kirkuk, will put together an armed group to "repel the terrorists," Wasfi Al-Asi, the leader of the tribe, said in a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday." More here.

Dozens are killed as Libyan forces battle militias. The AP's story: "Heavy clashes between Libyan soldiers loyal to a renegade general and Islamist-led militias killed 38 people-including civilians-in the country's restive east, health officials said Sunday, as fighting between rival militias around the capital's international airport raged on." More here.

Over the weekend, Marines evacuated U.S. embassy staff out of Libya. Military Times' Jeff Andrew deGrandpre and Jeff Schogol with the details: "Embassy staff members were driven in vehicles from their compound in Tripoli to Tunisia, according to the Pentagon's top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby. They were escorted by the embassy's Marine security guard detachment, which for the last several months has been reinforced by conventional infantry Marines assigned to Task Force Tripoli.

"Military officials have not disclosed the precise number of Marines assigned to the embassy in Libya, but NBC News reported Saturday that 80 ‘heavily armed' Marines were among the 158 Americans who vacated the compound." And at least seven military aircraft were involved in the operation, including three F-16 fighters and two MV-22 Ospreys . More here.

And the British Foreign Office says: leave now. The BBC with the story here.

Boko Haram's attacks grow even more bold. Reuters: "Nigerian Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people on Sunday in a cross-border attack involving more than 200 assailants in the northern town of Kolofata, Cameroon officials said." More here.

What's happened in Nigeria since the girls were kidnapped? Andrew Walker reporting for FP: In the more than 100 days since the girls of Chibok were kidnapped, the world's attention has moved on to other stories -- but Nigeria's situation has deteriorated at a dizzying pace. This year has been the most violent period in the five-year insurgency of the militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram."

The population is losing faith in the government's ability to respond. "The perception among a growing number of Nigerians is that the government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, is unable to handle Boko Haram." More on Nigeria here.

Famine looms in South Sudan. Al Jazeera reports: "Nearly a million children aged under five face acute malnutrition, the World Food Programme (WFP) and UN children's agency UNICEF said in a joint statement released late on Friday, after their top directors visited the nation ... Without swift action, 50,000 children could die from malnutrition this year, they added." More here.

... And in Somalia. AFP reports: "More than 350,000 people here in Somalia's capital are in acute need of food aid as the government and charities struggle to cope with the situation, the United Nations warned Saturday, and other Somali cities are also facing a similar crisis." More here.

A bright spot in an otherwise gloomy Situation Report ... Norwegian Police say that the terror threat has declined. The WSJ's Kjetil Malkenes Hovland in Oslo: "The risk of a terror attack in Norway has fallen slightly, the Police Security Service said Sunday, but authorities will maintain a high level of national security for another day, following a July 24 warning that an extreme Syrian Islamist group could be planning an attack. More here.

On the F-35, the NYT editorial page wrote yesterday: "common sense evaporates when it comes to big-ticket weapons," here.

Germany's first female defense minister has launched a "charm offensive" to revamp the military. The NYT's Alison Smale, here.

George Tenet is trying to keep the Senate Intelligence Committee's report of the CIA's detention and interrogation program under wraps.  The NYT's Mark Mazzetti: "Over the past several months, Mr. Tenet has quietly engineered a counterattack against the Senate committee's voluminous report, which could become public next month. The effort to discredit the report has set up a three-way showdown among former C.I.A. officials who believe history has been distorted, a White House carefully managing the process and politics of declassifying the document, and Senate Democrats convinced that the Obama administration is trying to protect the C.I.A. at all costs." More here.

DoD's industrial policy chief Elana Broitman is stepping down next month after only five months on the job. Defense News's Marcus Weisgerber with the story here.

House and Senate negotiators reach a deal on a VA bill. The AP's Matthew Daly: "The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to fix a veterans' health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scheduled a news conference Monday to talk about a compromise plan to improve veterans' care." More here.

2 USAF missileers will work with the Navy in a morale-improvement effort. Military Times' Brian Everstine: "They're Air Force missileers, but their next assignments are with the Navy. Capt. Patrick McAfee, from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, is headed to Submarine Force Pacific at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Capt. John Mayer, from 20th Air Force headquarters at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, is headed to Submarine Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia.

"They are the first to be selected for the new Striker Trident program - one of the Air Force's efforts to improve morale in the nuclear force. More here.