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Haitian police call for arrest of President's assassins

Here's today's foreign policy: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is murdered in Port-au-Prince, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi changes his cabinet and US troops are targeted Iraq and Syria.

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Here's today's foreign policy: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is murdered in Port-au-Prince, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi changes his cabinet and US troops are targeted Iraq and Syria.

If you would like to receive the Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please register here.

Haiti's President assassinated

Haitian police say they killed four of the alleged perpetrators in the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and arrested two, who was killed by a group of unknown assailants on Wednesday at his home in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Haitian first lady Martine Moïse survived the attack, albeit with multiple gunshot wounds.

The murder has further agitated an already crumbling state. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has seen years of economic mismanagement, corruption and a surge in gang violence that displaced more than 5,000 people in the first 10 days of June alone.

Few details became known after the attack. Videos recorded by witnesses appear to show an English-speaking member of the kill team who reported the group over a loudspeaker as an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration identified while other witnesses said the attackers spoke Spanish. (Creole and French are Haiti's main languages.)

Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, told reporters in a briefing Wednesday that the attack appeared to have been carried out by "well-trained professional killers" who spoke Spanish and called for US assistance to investigate the attack .

Edmond, shaken by the news of his president's assassination early that day, appealed for calm and an end to the violence in his country. “We have to come together. There is no way we can continue on this path, ”he said. Then he paused and added, "This is something I never thought I'd see in my life."

In a statement, Rep. Andy Levin, Democratic co-chair of the House of Representatives Haiti Caucus, said the assassination was "a devastating, if not shocking, example of how far the security situation in Haiti has deteriorated". Levin criticized the world powers for ignoring the surge in violence. "For months, violent actors have terrorized the Haitian people with impunity, while the international community – including the United States, I fear – has not followed their calls to change course and support a Haiti-led democratic transition," Levin said.

Makes a vacuum. Moïse's death sparked a constitutional crisis, partly due to the Moïse government not holding parliamentary elections in 2019, leaving the country with no elected legislature as a president ruled by decree. According to the Haiti constitution, a national assembly should elect a provisional president in the event of the incumbent president's death – without a parliament, the question of who will ultimately lead Haiti is still in the air.

Storm ahead. Up in HaitiAnother problem is the killing at the start of a hurricane season that could worsen the country's humanitarian situation. "Eleven years after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 and 11 years after the international aid that followed, Haiti is in a downward spiral with potential regional repercussions," said Jason Marczak, Latin America expert at the Atlantic Council. "Political instability requires the commitment of all actors, both those in power and those in the opposition, in order not to contribute to the intensification of political polarization."

What we are following today

EU-China relations. EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell is holding virtual talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today, shortly after the three-way talks on Monday via video conference between Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Beijing's reading of the meeting said both European leaders supported a revival of the EU-China investment pact, which EU lawmakers refused to ratify after China responded to European sanctions against Chinese officials for treating Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Modi's new cabinet. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out his first cabinet reshuffle since his re-election in 2019 as he battled public dissatisfaction with his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already resulted in shock losses in state elections. In the biggest reshuffle since he came to power in 2014, Modi sacked 12 of 15 senior cabinet ministers, including ministers for health, education and information technology. One cabinet member who remains in his post is S. Jaishankar, India's foreign minister, who is in the middle of a three-day visit to Moscow. Jaishankar's trip follows the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to New Delhi in April.

Targeted US personnel in Iraq and Syria US diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were hit by drones and missiles over a 24-hour period, US and Iraqi officials said on Wednesday, leading to a number of recent attacks on bases with US soldiers in the past Weeks led. US officials said two soldiers were injured in an attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, one suffered a concussion and the other sustained minor cuts. The Biden administration has so far shown a low tolerance level for such attacks, bombing Iran-affiliated militias in June after previous rocket attacks targeted US personnel.

Brazil's presidential competition. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made the clearest indication yet that he would not accept the results of a presidential election scheduled for October 2022, claiming the electronic vote counting system was vulnerable to fraud. "If this method continues, they will have problems," Bolsonaro said in a radio interview. "Because a side that is our side may not accept the result." Bolsonaro has lagged behind rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls since the former president's corruption convictions were overturned in March.

Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The longer-term effects of the Israeli bombing of Gaza in May became clearer in a joint report by the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank released on Wednesday. The report estimated total damage at $ 290-380 million, while economic losses were $ 105-190 million – about 6 percent of Gaza's GDP. The authors estimated that the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip would reach 50 percent in 2021 – the highest since the early 1990s – and that the economy would contract by 0.3 percent.

Norwegian social media influencers who seem too good to be true have to prove it under new laws passed by the Norwegian Parliament. In accordance with similar U.S. law, the law requires users to be clearly disclosed when they are showing a product in a paid advertisement – but in a new addition, the law also requires influencers to disclose whether they've used body or face changes Apps or software to improve their image. The latter rule is intended to reduce the pressure on social media users to meet unrealistic standards of beauty, a problem that Norwegians call "head press" or body pressure.

Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy Diplomacy and National Security Reporter, contributed to today's letter.

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