Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.


Donald Trump’s foreign policy plans remain “opaque” in the face of a broad array of international challenges, which are among the most “daunting and dangerous” in modern US history, Karen DeYoung writes at the Washington Post.

The inability to predict Donald Trump’s actions or how other states might respond to them creates uncertainty which puts pressure on US allies to position themselves for a world in which they can no longer count on the US-backed order, Max Fisher observes at the New York Times.

Talks on how the US military’s legal and constitutional duties could serve as a check and balance on some of Trump’s potentially troubling national security policies are already underway, Nancy A. Youssef observes at The Daily Beast.

GOP national security leaders who opposed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign must serve in the Trump administration if allowed and give Trump the help he needs, Richard H. Kohn entreaties at the Washington Post.

Surging defense stocks are an indication that investors believe Donald Trump will be significantly more supportive of overseas military engagements and utilizing defense contractors than he let on during his presidential campaign, Zaid Jilani suggests at The Intercept.

Donald Trump’s election victory: the “winners” around the world include Syrian’s President Assad, President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, while the “losers” include Mexico, the International Criminal Court and the UN system in general, Simon Tisdall explains at the Guardian.


Russia will continue to arrange “humanitarian pauses” in Syria, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said today. [Reuters]

The US has killed 119 civilians in Syria and Iraq since it began military operations against the Islamic State in those countries in 2014, military officials disclosed yesterday. Michael S. Schmidt reports at the New York Times

In the last ten months alone, 64 civilians have been killed by US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, a US military statement said yesterday, asserting that in each case the assessment determed that all feasible precautions were taken. [Reuters]


Iraqi troops consolidated gains made in the advance on Mosul today, pausing to regroup as they cleared neighborhoods once occupied by the militants, Qassim Abdul-Zahra reports at the AP.

The “well-drilled, mobile and brutally effective” Islamic State is turning the Iraqi army’s fight to drive them from Mosul into a “nightmare,” an Iraqi colonel told Dominic Evans and Ahmed Rasheed at Reuters.

The operation to retake Mosul marks the beginning of the end of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in Iraq, the UN envoy for Iraq told the Security Council yesterday. [AP’s Michael Astor]

It is essential to “capture the hearts and minds” of all Iraqis across the country for it to be peaceful and united after the Islamic State has been driven out, which involves rebuilding infrastructure to restore confidence in the government, the UN envoy for Iraq also said. [UN News Centre]

Reports of men dressed in Iraqi federal police uniforms torturing and killing residents of villages south of Mosul have been gathered by Amnesty International, the BBC reports.

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out 18 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Nov. 8. Separately, partner forces conducted six strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]


Two Russian navy destroyers chased away a Dutch submarine to prevent it from spying on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, the Russian defense ministry said. [BBC]

A group of Ukrainian saboteurs who were planning to attack military sites and vital infrastructure in Crimea have been detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service, it said today. [Reuters]

While the US has focused on the Kremlin’s attempts to interfere with the US presidential election, Russia’s maneuvering elsewhere in the world – for instance, in Aleppo and the Baltics – has been “downright chilling,” Michael Weiss writes at The Daily Beast.


Israeli government ministers are pushing Donald Trump to fulfil his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, overturning decades of US foreign policy, Peter Beaumont reports at the Guardian.

Donald Trump does not consider that Israeli settlements pose an “obstacle to peace,” one of his top advisers said. [AP]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Trump in the US, the Hill’s Mallory Shelbourne reports, recalling that Trump unveiled an Israel policy expressing skepticism of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine and pushing for the US to exceed its memorandum of understanding with Israel last week.


Kurdish rebels attacked a government building in southeast Turkey with rocket launchers according to Turkey’s state-run news agency, the AP reports.

Turkey and the EU challenged each other to state explicitly whether they want Turkey’s bid to join the EU to continue, Turkish President Erdoğan saying the EU would not be able to reach this “final point” over fears of jeopardizing the deal to curb the flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, Suzan Fraser and Raf Casert report at the Washington Post.


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for Donald Trump to make clear his position on issues such as future relations with NATO allies today, Reuters reports.

A hand grenade attack outside the French Embassy in central Athens wounded a police officer today, days before outgoing President Barack Obama is due to visit the Greek capital, the AP reports.


Chinese state media called on the US to actively work with China to maintain the international status quo, warning president-elect Donald Trump against isolationism and interventionism, Reuters reports.

Donald Trump’s presidential victory has the potential to radically redraw the geopolitical landscape in Asia, where President Obama has been working to try to counterbalance China’s increasing regional influence, Tom Phillips, Justin McCurry, Oliver Holmes and Vidhi Doshi write at the Guardian.

Global police cooperation agency Interpol has chosen a senior Chinese public security official as its president, Reuters reports.


Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka, deported from Iraq, denied allegations by Kurdish officials that he is an Islamic State sympathizer today, telling reporters that he was in Mosul only to report as a journalist on the fighting there, the AP’s Mari Yamaguchi reports.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with Donald Trump next week, the two men having already spoken by telephone to confirm the importance of the Japan-US alliance, including cooperation on insuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, the AP reports.


What will Trump’s policies on tech, including privacy and encryption, be? A report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation looks at what Trump has said and pledged when it comes to technology, the BBC’s Dave Lee reports.

US elections will be hacked, even if this one went smoothly, Bruce Schneier at the New York Times warning that the issue cannot just be ignored until next election.

WikiLeaks appeared to mock the DNC for choosing Hillary Clinton as its candidate in a tweet late Tuesday, Joe Uchill reports at the Hill.

At least some of its staff knew that a state-sponsored hacker had accessed Yahoo’s network shortly after an attack to years ago which affected data belonging to at least 500 million users, Hannah Kuchler reports at the Financial Times.


President-elect Donald Trump is ready to make “tough calls” if it comes to waterboarding terrorism suspects, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Tuesday. [The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel]

Pakistan wants to work with Trump on the common interest of combating terrorism, Pakistani foreign affairs adviser Santaj Aziz said. [AP]

Donald Trump agrees on the importance of the US military alliance with Australia and the importance of the US military presence to the security of the Asia-Pacific region, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after his first phonecall with the US President-elect. Rod McGuirk reports at the AP.

Libya will be a priority next year for the International Criminal Court, Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.