Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Alexander Zemlianichenko, Evan Vucci, Remy de la Mauviniere / AP

A dizzying series of military moves in the Middle East and other nations in the vicinity over the past few days are ramping up tensions in the region, and between the U.S. and Russia. The key incidents, and why they matter:

Syria
  • The U.S. shot down a Syrian fighter jet Sunday after it bombed U.S.-backed forces. This is the first time the U.S. has engaged in air-to-air combat with Syrian forces since the start of the six-year civil war, signaling an escalation.
  • Russia warned the U.S. after that incident that it would target U.S. aircraft west of the Euphrates. Monday a Russian fighter jet came within five feet of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea in an unsafe maneuver. For weeks Russia has been encouraging pro-regime forces and the U.S. both to not attack one another, so this marks an increased willingness from Russia to publicly back the regime over the coalition.
  • The U.S. shot down a pro-Syrian drone Monday even after the Russian warnings, marking the third such downing this month. The drone was Iranian-made.
  • Iran launched missiles against ISIS Syria's Deir al-Zour region in retaliation for an attack on Tehran last week. Iran said it would launch future strikes against ISIS. Iran hasn't launched missiles into another country for three decades, per CNN. Plus, Deir al-Zour is where the fight in Syria will likely come to a head after Raqqa falls (more on that here).
  • Russia said Friday it may have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month, which the White House could not corroborate. Iraqi leaders were also skeptical of the announcement.
Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Navy detained three Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members over the weekend, claiming their vessel had explosives intended to carry out a terrorist act in Saudi territorial waters. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are at a high since Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar over its support for Iran.
Iran
  • An Iranian navy boat made an unsafe maneuver against a U.S. flotilla in the Straight of Hormuz last week and Sunday Iran and China carried out joint naval exercises near the Straight of Hormuz.
Qatar
  • The U.S. Navy carried out military drills with Qatar over the weekend, amid the tensions between Qatar and its neighbors. (Turkey also participated in military drills in Qatar, although reportedly the drills were planned in advance of the Qatar diplomatic crisis.)
Afghanistan
  • Last week an insider in Afghan forces opened fire on foreign troops in Afghanistan, marking the second such attack in which the Taliban may have infiltrated Afghan forces. This adds a security concern ahead of the upcoming deployment of 4,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

11 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios