Stories by Dave Lawler

Putin might try to swallow up Belarus

Lukashenko (L) and Putin on the ice earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

With Vladimir Putin's presidential mandate expiring in 2024, there's growing speculation he'll try to hold on to power by forming a Russia-Belarus union and placing himself in charge.

Why it matters: It's a distinct possibility given Putin's penchant for using legalistic steps to maintain a semblance of legitimacy. But it's not just about Putin’s job security — the Kremlin is waging a "creeping assault" on its neighbor's sovereignty and will take whatever steps it deems necessary to keep Belarus in its orbit, according to new research discussed today at the German Marshall Fund.

Trump to send 1,000 troops to Middle East as Iran tensions escalate

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. is deploying an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to "hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups" that threaten U.S. "personnel and interests," acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced Monday.

The backdrop: The U.S.-Iran standoff is reaching uncharted waters. As the Trump administration scrambles to rally an international response to Iran’s alleged covert attacks last week, Tehran is taking a long-feared step in broad daylight — announcing it will breach the 2015 nuclear deal’s limits on enriched uranium in 10 day's time.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi dies after collapsing in court

Morsi in court in 2015. Photo: Mohamed Jamil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has died at 67 after collapsing while in court Monday on spying charges, the BBC reports, citing state media.

The big picture: Morsi was democratically elected in 2012 following the Arab Spring uprising but deposed and jailed a year later in a coup led by Egypt's current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He is the only Egyptian leader to have come to power through democratic elections.