* A Belgian newspaper reported over the weekend that Belgium’s federal prosecutor had foiled several terrorist attacks in past months that had been planned by jihadists coming back from Syria. Another report, from the Het Laatste Nieuws tabloid, alleged that explosives had been found during a bust in Brussels before they could be used against a European Commission building, but these allegations were denied by the Federal Prosecutor. The Guardian | Deutche Welle | L’Echo [in French].
* General Michael Nagata will head [Daily Beast] the US effort to support rebels fighting against ISIS in Syria.
* The UK’s Telegraph reviews how Qatar is funding the rise of Islamist extremists. They note that Gerd Müller – Germany’s Economic Cooperation minister – had accused Qatar [ZDF, in Bavarian German] of financing ISIL troops last month. But they forget to mention that the Germans then quickly backtracked [Middle East Monitor]. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani assured [WSJ] Chancellor Merkel a few days ago that his country “has never and will never support terror organizations.”
US Defense Market
* Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, told the WSJ that “you have to face reality” and that there may be no fighter jets in the company’s future.
* SAIC CEO Tony Moraco a year after the split, in an interview with Washington Business Journal: “What we ended up with are two very different companies.”
* Süddeutsche Zeitung has seen a document [in German] from the ministry of defense documenting the low state of operational readiness of its Sea Lynx naval helicopters.
The West vs. Russia
* Ukraine’s government announced [Reuters] they would withdraw artillery and armored vehicles from a 30-km buffer zone with the separatists. Popular Mechanics notes that Ukraine failed to always combine maneuver with artillery strikes.
* Deutsche Welle looks at the “Siloviki” hardliners in Vladimir Putin’s entourage, some of them KGB veterans like their boss.
* At IISS’ Global Strategic Review in Olso, Norway’s (young and good looking) defense and foreign affairs ministers called for a strong response to Russia and an increase in European defense spending. Bård Glad Pedersen (Foreign Affairs), Ine Eriksen Søreide (Minister of Defence) in the video below: