Good morning. Here’s your Daily SITREP for Wednesday, 25 October 2023.
- READ TIME: 5 Minutes, 13 Seconds
- Inside the Beltway
- (1) Israel-Gaza Fallout Now Splitting White House Staffers
- (2) Trump Flexes Influence on House Gop
- (3) Biden to Announce Critical Mineral Deals with Australia
- Domestic INTSUM
- (4) IRS Preps to Increase Crypto Data Collection
- (5) No Labels Shifts Gears to Kingmaker Strategy
- Global SITREP
- (6) Geopolitical Concerns Dominate “Davos In The Desert”
- (7) German Recession Weighs on EU, May Send Capital Fleeing Europe
- (8) DOD Says 24 American Servicemen Wounded by Iranian Attack Drones
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
- (1) ISRAEL-GAZA FALLOUT NOW SPLITTING WHITE HOUSE STAFFERS: The White House has held “listening sessions” and meetings, including ones hosted by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, to address tensions among Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, and Jewish staff and Biden administration support of Israel.
- Jeff Zients hosted a call with cabinet secretaries to ensure they were reaching out to staff members over any concerns they may have with the administration’s policy toward the Israel-Gaza conflict.
- Why It Matters: The left-liberal coalition split between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel is now spreading to the White House, and possibly other cabinet agencies. The Biden White House is attempting to tread carefully on the topic, which explains Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s nonsensical answer to a reporter’s question on antisemitism that the White House is concerned about Islamophobic attacks. Expect to see more talk about this split in other government agencies. – R.C.
- (2) TRUMP FLEXES INFLUENCE ON HOUSE GOP: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) dropped out of the race for House Speaker after former President Donald Trump said Emmer was a “globalist RINO” and began calling Republicans to whip up opposition to his bid.
- Trump ally Mike Johnson (R-LA) was voted to be the speaker candidate yesterday after Emmer dropped out.
- Why It Matters: The chaos of the Speaker fight appears to be a civil war in the Republican party between establishment Republicans on one side and Trump allies and Freedom Caucus Republicans on the other. There may be more pressure to rally around Johnson as some establishment Republicans said if his bid fails, they will cross the aisle to make a deal with Democrats and expand Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry’s (R-NC) powers. – R.C.
- (3) BIDEN TO ANNOUNCE CRITICAL MINERAL DEALS WITH AUSTRALIA: President Biden is expected to announce a slate of critical mineral initiatives and a new task force with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during a joint press conference at an official state dinner for Albanese.
- The task force will leverage Australia’s rich deposits of lithium, copper, and nickel to strengthen critical mineral supply chains to lessen reliance on Chinese minerals.
- Why It Matters: China still dominates the global critical mineral market, and increasing tensions between China and the U.S. over Taiwan could see China turn the spigot off to the west, decreasing supply and increasing prices. – R.C.
- (4) IRS PREPS TO INCREASE CRYPTO DATA COLLECTION: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed new data collection requirements on cryptocurrency service providers in late August, which gave citizens and companies a 30 October deadline to comment before implementing the new rules.
- The IRS proposal states that some platforms “have a policy of not requesting customer information or requesting only limited information [but] have the ability to obtain information about their customers by updating their protocols.”
- Why It Matters: Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges may soon be forced to report their customers’ private information if this proposal passes as-is. This pending IRS regulation follows the Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act in attacking Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, unless Congress can pass legislation that protects crypto users’ privacy. – H.B.
- (5) NO LABELS SHIFTS GEARS TO KINGMAKER STRATEGY: According to research by Democratic group Third Way, the bipartisan No Labels group is planning to run a Republican figure at the head of a presidential ticket in eight key swing states to block both former President Trump and President Biden from a clear path to 270 electoral votes.
- No Labels said their polling showed Pennsylvania as the only swing state with a clear path to victory for President Biden.
- Why It Matters: No Labels is switching strategies with the intent to become “the kingmaker” for the 2024 election by taking away a clear path to 270 electoral votes for both Trump and Biden, to wring concessions out of the candidates. There is a hard floor for Trump support, so a third party run may hurt the Biden campaign slightly more. In the low probability case No Labels does stop both Biden and Trump from getting to 270, the Republican controlled House would then vote for president exacerbating Democratic voters’ distrust in the U.S. electoral system. – R.C.
- (6) GEOPOLITICAL CONCERNS DOMINATE “DAVOS IN THE DESERT”: Wall Street CEOs met with Saudi Arabia’s business leaders and other global officials yesterday at the annual Future Investment Initiative – also known as “Davos in the Desert” – in Riyadh, where rising geopolitical tensions overshadowed the event.
- “There is so much going on in the world and geopolitics in the wars that you’re seeing and what just happened recently in Israel and Gaza. At the end of the day, when you put all this together, I think the impact on economic development is even more serious,” World Bank President Ajay Banga said.
- JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon encouraged Saudi Arabia not to abandon official relations with Israel, saying that the Kingdom’s leadership is crucial for the entire Middle East.
- Why It Matters: “Davos in the Desert” is an opportunity for global financial leaders to connect with the Kingdom’s biggest companies and its $778 billion sovereign wealth fund as Saudi leaders seek to diversify their economy. This year’s forum hosted many speakers from Asia, which signals the changing world order. America and other Western countries are losing influence among BRICS and Global South countries. – H.B.
- (7) GERMAN RECESSION WEIGHS ON EU, MAY SEND CAPITAL FLEEING EUROPE: Germany’s business activity is in decline, suggesting that the country is already in a recession that will impact the European Union (EU) and Western financial markets.
- Germany’s composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which accounts for more than two-thirds of the country’s economy, contracted for a fourth straight month in October.
- Why It Matters: Germany is Europe’s largest economy and the continent’s manufacturing hub. The combination of slower economic growth, high energy prices, and energy shortages, and a worsening migrant crisis should deflate investor confidence, sending European capital to U.S. financial markets for safety. – H.B.
- (8) DOD SAYS 24 AMERICAN SERVICEMEN WOUNDED BY IRANIAN ATTACK DRONES: The Department of the Defense announced on Tuesday that 24 American service personnel were wounded by attack drones fired by Iranian-backed forces last week.
- 20 military personnel were wounded in an attack on the al-Tanf base in Syria on Oct 18th. Four additional U.S. military personnel were wounded in an attack on the al-Asad base in western Iraq on the same day.
- U.S. forces were attacked at least ten separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria “via a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets,” according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned yesterday that the U.S. would respond decisively if it were attacked by Iran or Iran-backed militias – it was unclear if he meant from that point on or whether his threat of retaliation included last week’s attacks.
- Why It Matters: The U.S. military’s Central Command reported that the groups conducting the attacks were primarily Iranian-backed proxy forces and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Despite early intelligence community denials of Iranian complicity in the events in Israel and attacks on U.S. forces, it is clear that Iran is directing a multi-front war on both Israel and the U.S. The Biden administration’s apparent delay in addressing the casualties from last week’s Iranian drone attacks signals possible conflicting agendas and messages within the White House, DoD, and the U.S. intelligence community. – M.M.
— END REPORT
M.S. indicates analyst commentary from Mike Shelby
M.M. indicates analyst commentary from Max Morton
J.V. indicates analyst commentary from Jared Vaughn
R.C. indicates analyst commentary from Robert Cook
H.B. indicates analyst commentary from Harrison Burge
The greatest risk is not preparing for the future, but the next greatest risk is preparing for the wrong things.
Join the Forward Observer Intelligence team as they discuss the latest threats and early warning indicators concerning agriculture and the food supply, oil and energy, the power grid, economics and finance, the supply chain, and geostrategic shocks.
Get our Early Warning report every Friday here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe