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Situation Report: Tough start to Ramadi op; China’s new war strategy welcome at Pentagon; new faces at the State Dept.; and lots more

By Paul McLeary with Ariel Robinson Grim beginning. Early reports Wednesday say a series of suicide attacks against Iraqi military convoys and the “popular mobilization” ...

Passport

Berlusconi’s New Instagram Feed Is the Most Berlusconi Thing Ever

Former Italian Prime Minister, current billionaire convict, and longtime plastic surgery enthusiast Silvio Berlusconi joined the photo sharing site Instagram last week, in the run-up to regional elections on Sunday that pose a survival test for his center-right Forza Italia party, which has been effectively run into the ground thanks to its leader's various misdeeds.

The Cable

French Ambassador: Risk of Nuclear Arms Race Will Remain After Iran Deal

Gerard Araud, the French ambassador the United States, says an emerging nuclear deal with Iran will impose tough restrictions on the Islamic Republic and improve regional security across the Middle East. But on Tuesday, Araud acknowledged that it could also pose a potential risk: spurring an array Arab countries to develop their own civilian nuclear programs.

The Cable

Read Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails Here

The State Department released a tranche of Hillary Clinton's private e-mails on Friday, which include her correspondences following the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya in her capacity as secretary of state. The first batch of 296 e-mails can be viewed here on the State Department's website.

Passport

Bin Laden’s Odd Religious Library

Osama bin Laden spent the latter years of his life portraying himself as an authority on Islamic law who was qualified to order Muslims around the world to strike Western targets — and then capable of giving them the purported scriptural justifications for their actions.

The Cable

Top U.S. General: Many Iraqis Believe Washington Aiding Islamic State

The general in charge of U.S. special operations forces in Iraq for the past six months says Washington's information campaign in the Middle East is so inadequate that many Iraqi troops believe American forces are secretly supplying the Islamic State — potentially leaving U.S. forces vulnerable to reprisal attacks from their nominal allies in the fight against the militants.

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