DIPLOMATIC SHIFT OVER SYRIA. The United States and Russia are making moves that suggest they are working in closer coordination on Syria, the New York Times reports. The two countries have held a first-ever joint meeting with the Saudis, and in other diplomacy, Russia is taking the lead – which suggests that the U.S. may be softening its hard line against removing Assad behind closed doors, in favor of a securing a multilateral approach to routing the formidable terrorist forces wreaking havoc in the country.
ANOTHER BEHEADING. A picture going around the Internet today suggests that the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has beheaded a Croatian national, the Associated Press reports. The apparent victim, Tomislav Salopek, was known to be held by the group, which had recently set this past Friday as a deadline for the Egyptian government to free the Muslim women held in prison since government crackdowns following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. If the picture is deemed authentic, it would be the latest in a string of beheadings the Islamic State and its associated factions have carried out against foreigners, including American journalists and aid workers.
MORE SUPPORT FOR IRAN. A new crop of retired generals and admirals have released a letter calling the Iran deal “the most effective means currently available” to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, the Washington Post reports, in yet the latest testimony to come from the security community as lawmakers, now on their summer break, try to decide how they’ll vote on the deal in September. There have lately been some high-profile decisions to oppose the deal, like Sen. Chuck Schumer’s. But beneath the flurry of activity, is there really cause for deal supporters to panic? The only on-the-fence Republican, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, told the Arizona Republic over the weekend that he thinks Obama will keep enough senators in his camp to override a veto.