* ISIS militants posted pictures to back up their claim they had executed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers near Tikrit. The pictures leave a lot of room for interpretation about what actually happened, but they seem to be working to escalate the situation into a full-blown sectarian confrontation.
* The military depot and jail in Taji are probably high on ISIS’ list of goals, but rumors that the depot has been taken by the insurgents have not been confirmed.
* Meanwhile Iraqi Kurds maneuver between Maliki and Mosul.
* A senior Iranian government adviser told the Financial Times:
“The US has no choice but to clear up this mess in Iraq, otherwise its achievements and credibility in the region would be gone. The US should help remove this infection [Sunni extremists] from the region.”
* There will be talks between the US and Iran this week. Cooperation seems unlikely, but there may be some amount of coordination so that both countries can look like they’re doing something to help Iraq.
* The US is pondering the use of air strikes, having already ruled out the deployment of ground troops. Secretary of State John Kerry hasn’t yet reassured Congress that such attacks would be unbelievably small, but so far the US Administration has downplayed expectations in Iraq.
* Britain’s Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is “not anticipating sending in military support” to Iraq, though the UK is offering the usual technical assistance and advice.
* Newly-elected President Petro Poroshenko called for a truce in eastern Ukraine while Russia stopped supplying gas to its western neighbor. The death of 49 people last week in an IL-76 transport aircraft shot down by pro-Russian separatists was a serious setback for Ukraine’s government.
US Acquisition’s Self Assessment
* US Defense Acquisition Undersecretary Frank Kendall introduced his second annual performance report [PDF], a document mainly authored by Deputy Director Philip S. Antón that contains a boatload of data on major programs. Kendall also discussed the Superior Supplier Incentive Program, a list of contractors deemed by the US Navy to have performed well.
Pondering the Impact of Eric Cantor’s Loss
* The initial reaction to the loss of US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor to a primary challenger was initially pretty strong in the defense and aerospace sector. Dustin Walker, a former House Armed Services Committee staffer, argues this is overstated: “In the final analysis, Cantor’s exit from the stage amounts to change in the cast, not in the plot.”
* IHS Jane’s has a round-up of contractor booths and product announcements as the French land trade show gets started. Russia’s state-owned Rosoboronexport is among the exhibitors. France’s Ministry of Defense provides today’s video [in French], which among other things shows a stage done to bring to mind the Malian theater where French troops have been fighting for more than a year: