Morning Brief

Here Comes Boris

Plus: Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi dies in court, the United States sends more troops to the Middle East, and the other stories we’re following today.

Conservative MP Boris Johnson leaves his home in London on June 13.
Conservative MP Boris Johnson leaves his home in London on June 13. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: The race for Britain’s next prime minister continues, Egypt’s ex-President Mohamed Morsi dies in court, and Iran begins to back away from the nuclear deal while the United States announces more troops in the Middle East.

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Race for Next British PM Continues

British Conservative lawmakers will vote today in the second ballot of the party leadership contest, with votes continuing throughout the week until only two candidates remain. All bets are on Boris Johnson to be one of the last two standing. Johnson had the support of 114 of 313 lawmakers last week, and he won the endorsement of an EU supporter and former challenger, Matt Hancock, on Monday.

The rest of his rivals are left fighting for second place. Party members will then choose between the two finalists by July 22. “There’s a two-horse race and we know one of the horses: Boris,” said Rory Stewart, the candidate backed by the deputy prime minister. Johnson is expected to take part in a BBC debate today, after taking heat for skipping another debate and campaign events earlier this week.

All about Brexit. Johnson hasn’t engaged with the other candidates, but he did make his pitch to Parliament on Monday, though critics said it didn’t include anything new. He has pledged to honor the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31—deal or no deal. Some of the other candidates also favor a no-deal Brexit over not leaving the bloc at all.

The European Union has already made clear that it will not renegotiate the Brexit deal arranged with Prime Minister Theresa May. Meanwhile, the Labour Party remains divided over support for a second referendum.

What We’re Following Today

The world reacts to Mohamed Morsi’s death. Egypt’s deposed former President Mohamed Morsi—the country’s first democratically-elected head of state—died in Cairo on Monday after collapsing in court, where he was on trial for espionage. Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood elected after Egypt’s 2011 uprising, was ousted after just a year in power.

His legacy in Egypt will be mixed, Michele Dunne, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in an email. “To Morsi’s supporters, he will be seen as a martyr who paid with his life in the effort to foster democratic government in Egypt,” she said. “To his opponents, Morsi will be seen as an Islamist who unwittingly paved the way for the military to end the country’s brief and chaotic political opening.”

Morsi’s death could increase international pressure on Egypt over its human rights record, or even prompt an investigation into his death. “[S]uch an investigation could shed light on the extremely poor conditions in which thousands of other political prisoners are being held,” Dunne wrote.

U.S. cuts aid to Central America. On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration slashed aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras over illegal immigration. The plan is likely to face congressional opposition. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will meet with El Salvador’s new leader, Nayib Bukele, later this week as the United States continues to put pressure on Mexico to stem the flow of migrants from Central America.

Iran bets on breaching deal. Iran will surpass the enriched uranium limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal within 10 days. By backing away from certain provisions of the agreement that it had initially respected despite the U.S. withdrawal from the deal last year, Iran is hoping to force Europe to take drastic action to provide Iran with economic relief amid U.S. sanctions. “Iran’s move doesn’t necessarily doom the deal, though it’s in intensive care,” Keith Johnson and Colum Lynch report, and it isn’t likely to bring the United States back to the negotiating table.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday that it will send around 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran continue to rise. The push to boost the U.S. military’s footprint in the region starts with the new commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Lara Seligman and Robbie Gramer report.

For behind-the-scenes analysis on stories like this, subscribe to Security Brief Plus, delivered on Thursdays.

Keep an Eye On

Brazil’s corruption probe. Brazil’s biggest corruption investigation to date, known as Car Wash, has found itself in the spotlight after the Intercept published leaked documents incriminating the former lead judge—and now Justice Minister—Sérgio Moro. Car Wash, already challenged by increasing political polarization, may not survive the allegations, Ciara Long writes for FP.

Drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus says it will veto any vote on EU enlargement over Turkey’s offshore gas reserves in an area that it claims. The European Union is likely to threaten to end negotiations over a customs union with Turkey if the drilling continues, Bloomberg reports. The disagreement over Cyprus is one of many between the European Union and Turkey, which has seen its own process for accession to the bloc frozen.

Southeast Asia’s trash wars. Indonesia has sent back a shipment of paper waste—imported from Canada via the United States—because it was contaminated with other trash. It joins a growing group of countries in the region to do so: The Philippines shipped 69 containers of garbage back to Canada last month. Countries are seeking new places to send their trash since China banned imports last year, disrupting global flows.

Food aid diversion in Yemen. Food assistance to Yemen is likely to be suspended this week, as the World Food Programme grapples with aid diversion in Houthi-controlled areas. The WFP has not reached an agreement with the Houthis over how to register those in need for food aid, which targets 10 million people each month.

Odds and Ends

A Vatican document made public Monday suggests that the Catholic Church consider allowing elderly, married men to become priests to address a shortage of clergy in remote areas of the Amazon. The move would be unprecedented: The Vatican has never directly proposed an exception to its celibacy requirement.

A U.N. forecast of the global population released on Monday predicts that it will peak at 10.9 billion by 2100—a downward trend from previous projections. It attributes the change to declining fertility rates, as well as an aging population. People over the age of 65 are now the world’s fastest-growing demographic.

Ecuador could soon allow U.S. military planes to land on one of the Galápagos Islands as a stopover on anti-drug trafficking flights. Critics say the plan would threaten the distinct biodiversity of the islands, a U.N. world heritage site.

Foreign Policy Recommends

As protesters push for a transition to civilian government, Sudan is under a nationwide internet blackout. Far from Khartoum, Instagram users are rushing to take advantage of the chaos with digital pleas for likes and shares that supposedly translate into meals delivered to those suffering in Sudan. The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz reports on the scam, which only serves to sow confusion about what the Sudanese protesters are fighting for. Nina Goldman, deputy copy editor

That’s it for today. 

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Audrey Wilson is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

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