Fdd's overnight brief

April 2, 2021

In The News


World powers will hold a virtual meeting with Iran on Friday to discuss “the prospect of a possible return of the United States” to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union said. – Washington Post

Iran has begun enriching uranium with a fourth cascade, or cluster, of advanced IR-2m machines at its underground Natanz plant, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed, in a further breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. – Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to the new Clubhouse social media app on March 31 to defend Tehran’s controversial recent strategic cooperation pact with China — a deal criticized for lacking transparency and “selling out to China” amid crushing U.S. sanctions. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Iran has established a foothold on America’s doorstep and is expanding in South America, experts say, especially by cultivating close ties with the Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela. – Fox News

US Senator Chris Murphy and Rep. Ro Khanna, both Democrats, addressed the stalemate between the US and Iran regarding the return to the 2015 nuclear agreement and urged the administration “to be open and willing to take early steps back into the deal.” – Jerusalem Post

Wang Xiyue writes: The Biden administration should understand the real strategic framework: fundamental interests of the United States and Iran are at odds. America’s primary goal in the Middle East is to contain Iran, whereas Iran wants to expand its influence and oppose the United States. The Iranian regime needs to restore the expiring JCPOA only to lift sanctions. Tehran interprets America’s “constructive engagement” as a weakness that the regime can exploit, or as a disguised attempt for regime change that it must vehemently resist. There is no way for the U.S. to engage the Iranian regime without exerting heavy pressure. – The National Interest 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Jerusalem needs to be careful not to become overconfident about Tehran caving first. All of this is still only about the framework for negotiations and the Islamic Republic is at its best playing this late diplomacy game, pulling out new demands when the other side is too committed to simply walk away. The Biden administration can take some credit for maintaining its sanctions leverage over Iran up until this point, and Iran’s “blinking” is a good beginning. – Jerusalem Post

Morgan Ortagus writes: The Iranian regime only understands and responds to strength. As such, instead of capitulation, the Biden team should show Khamenei a glimpse of what four more years of pressure would look like. That’s far more likely to do the trick. – The Federalist


A key Israeli Arab politician offered the country’s majority Jews an olive branch on Thursday, in what appeared to be a bid to offset ultranationalist misgivings at accommodating him as part of a new coalition under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. – Reuters

The Biden administration is ramping up its support for Palestinians as part of efforts to restore ties severed during former President Trump’s tenure, which saw U.S. policy tilt heavily in favor of Israel. – The Hill

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party has placed convicted terrorists and relatives of terrorists in high positions on its list for the upcoming PA elections, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported Thursday. – Algemeiner 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said Wednesday that Israel’s control of the West Bank is indeed “occupation,” clarifying its stance after the release of a report that seemed to downplay the term, adopting language used by Donald Trump’s government. – Agence France-Presse

Palestinian Authority “foreign minister” Riyad Al-Maliki on Thursday accused the “Israeli occupation authorities” of exploiting the way countries deal with the coronavirus pandemic in order to pressure them politically by offering vaccine doses in exchange for political support or the opening of diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. – Arutz Sheva

Israel’s outgoing military liaison to the Palestinians said Thursday that Jerusalem should halt all of its security coordination with the Palestinians if the Hamas terror group prevails in next month’s Palestinian legislative election, as looks increasingly likely. – Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly refused to accept a phone call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken a month and a half ago, demanding that the new administration’s first call come directly from the Oval Office. However, more than two months into the new presidency, a call between US President Joe Biden and Abbas has not taken place. – Times of Israel


Egypt’s Suez Canal must move quickly to upgrade its technical infrastructure if it is to avoid future shipping disruption, shipping industry sources said, as the major trade route tries to bounce back from a costly six-day closure. – Reuters

Egypt said it may seek around $1 billion in compensation after a giant container vessel blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week and roiled shipping markets. – Bloomberg

Ezzedine C. Fishere writes: The current climate of mistrust and provocative rhetoric will drive Egypt and Ethiopia to a conflict with devastating consequences for them, Sudan and East Africa as a whole. It is the last thing this region can afford and the last thing the international community needs. – Washington Post

Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem write: Of course, dealing such intentional, ruinous damage to another nation’s economy likely would be a pretext for war. And Russia and China’s political-military elite remain unsure of their military capabilities, untested as they are. But the United States and its allies must recognize that the goals of its adversaries point toward aggressive action, that international chokepoints like the Suez are prime targets and that, absent effective deterrence, these adversaries will decide the benefits of local maritime primacy far outweigh the risks of warfare. – The Hill


The Ansar Allah Houthis, an Iranian proxy movement, have penetrated the mainstream Yemeni education system and are spreading anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish rhetoric, a study published this week by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) said. – Ynet

Michael Knights writes: Such attacks are becoming a weekly occurrence, underlining the presence of a mature missile/drone assembly industry in Houthi-held areas of Yemen and foreshadowing further range increases that could allow the Iran-backed rebels to reach new targets if they so desire—perhaps Israel given their known enmity toward that country, or even Egypt and Jordan as part of a wider effort to exert themselves in the Red Sea (e.g., hindering international shipping, targeting Suez Canal infrastructure). Accordingly, U.S. diplomats and military planners will need to factor this threat complex into their future calculations beyond the current Yemen war. – Washington Institute 

Faisal Abbas writes: There should be no doubt that delisting the militant group sent the wrong signal to the Houthis and their Iranian backers. The Houthis, after all, are an ideologically driven non-state actor that deliberately targets civilians—meeting all the criteria of a terrorist group, just like ISIS or Hezbollah. – Newsweek

Saudi Arabia

The agreement Thursday between the two groups, together called OPEC+, was a compromise between Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, and Russia. Saudi Arabia had sought to maintain cuts, skeptical of a quick return in oil demand during the pandemic. Russia, meanwhile, has said the world already needs more oil to feed resurgent economies in many regions. – Wall Street Journal

The Saudi-led coalition said on Thursday it intercepted and destroyed two explosives-laden drones launched by Yemen’s Houthis towards the southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait, state TV reported. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday discussed prospects for working together on climate change, protecting the environment and green energy, the Kremlin said. – Reuters

Yemen’s Houthi forces said they attacked important targets in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh using four drones on Thursday, though there was no confirmation from the Saudi authorities or independent reports of any such strikes. – Reuters

Gulf States

President Biden has directed the Pentagon to begin removing some military capabilities and forces from the Gulf region in the first steps of an effort to realign the U.S. global military footprint away from the Mideast, changes that come as Saudi Arabia endures rocket and drone attacks from inside Yemen and Iraq. – Wall Street Journal

David M. Weinberg writes: One would think that the United States of America – Israel’s best friend and the godfather of the “Abraham Accords” that launched Israel’s new peace agreements with Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and Morocco – would celebrate these moments. But not the new Biden administration. It has been doing everything it can to downplay the salience of Israel-Gulf ties. It responded laconically to appointment of the Bahraini and Emirati ambassadors: “Normalization between Arab capitals and Israel will open new horizons across the region. The United States will continue to help support these important arrangements.” – Jerusalem Post

Safwan Al-Amin and Bilal Wahab write: In general terms, Washington’s goal should be for Iraq and its judiciary to respect their own constitution. And as crucial elections near, the Biden administration (via the Justice Department’s office inside the Baghdad embassy) should work with international partners on engaging with the FSC. This includes offering technical and legal assistance as well as inviting the new judges to Washington in the near future (albeit after the coronavirus pandemic). U.S. officials should also stand ready to call out any bogus election results and the governments they produce. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Lebanon’s top Christian cleric has made unusually direct comments criticizing the Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, accusing it of harming the country by dragging it into regional conflicts. – Reuters

Against the backdrop of the normalization agreements between Israel and several Arab states, Prof. Safouq Al-Shammari, a Saudi physician, researcher and journalist, published a two-part article in the government daily Al-Watan, in which he called to stop the wars between the Arabs and Jews, strengthen the ties between them and cooperate with them in improving the state of the Middle East. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Shortly after the China-U.S. talks in Alaska and the China-Russia talks in Guilin, on March 24 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi set out on a tour of the Middle East with the aim of strengthening China’s role in the region.[1] After his first stop in Saudi Arabia,[2] he arrived in Turkey on March 25, where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoğanTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.  – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Amotz Asa-El writes: Turkey’s construction industry would spearhead East Syria’s buildup, an opportunity that can make Ankara tolerate a Kurdish autonomy within East Syria. Russia, rather than be recalled as the country that helped subdue Syria’s Sunnis, will be recalled as the country that green-lighted their liberation. The US will get a north-south Sunni axis that will undo the east-west Shi’ite belt that Iran is laboring to stretch between Beirut and Tehran. And Europe will get fewer refugees flocking to its shores. – Jerusalem Post

Joseph Braude and Dennis Ross write: A new reality stands before us: With the Abraham Accords, half the Arab population of the Middle East and North Africa now live in countries with formal diplomatic relations with Israel. But top-down diplomatic achievements will remain thin and fragile without real, bottom-up substance: people-to-people cooperation in populous Arab states that brings tangible benefit to the society, not just to elites. Several existing U.S. programs to promote Arab development, civil society, political pluralism, and labor rights need now to be integrated with the principle of Arab-Israeli civil partnership. – The Hill

Elana DeLozier writes: In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

It was always more a question of when, not if, North Korea would return to weapons provocations. Now that it has, the Kim Jong Un regime is poised to unsheathe new weaponry that it has quietly developed in recent years. – Wall Street Journal

Denuclearization will remain at the center of U.S. policy toward North Korea and any approach to Pyongyang will have to be done in “lockstep” with close allies, including Japan and South Korea, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday. – Reuters

Russia’s diplomatic mission to North Korea complained on Thursday of acute shortages of essential goods such as medicine, problems getting healthcare and pandemic restrictions that it said were unprecedented in their severity. – Reuters

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he “regrets” that the Trump administration did not succeed in having North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. – The Hill


For years, complaints about China’s treatment of its ethnic minorities were considered the purview of Japan’s hawkish right wing. Centrists and those on the left often saw them as pretexts for replacing Japan’s postwar pacifism with the pursuit of regional hegemony. But China’s behavior in Xinjiang has forced a reassessment among many liberals. Even Japan’s Communist Party is calling it “a serious violation of human rights.” – New York Times

A China correspondent for the BBC has left Beijing after coming under intense pressure and being threatened over the British public broadcaster’s coverage of subjects like the origins of Covid-19 and the government’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the far western region of Xinjiang. – New York Times

To defend against accusations by Washington and others that it doesn’t play fair on trade, Beijing could point to the banks. Chinese leaders have been steadily lowering the barriers they had erected around the country’s vast financial system, giving Wall Street and European lenders a greater shot at winning business in the world’s second-largest economy. – New York Times

China is unlikely to pare its purchases of U.S. Treasuries significantly anytime soon as its foreign exchange reserves grow, even as trade and geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing remain high, analysts and investors said. – Reuters

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is meeting with counterparts from four Southeast Asian countries this week as Beijing seeks to expand its influence in the region amid a sharp downturn in relations with Washington. – Associated Press

Western companies are being forced to choose between supporting human rights and profits from China, caught up in a battle the US and its allies are waging with Beijing over its persecution of Uyghur Muslims. – Financial Times

A Hong Kong court has convicted some of the city’s most senior pro-democracy figures, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, of unauthorised assembly during protests in 2019, in the latest indication of the government’s efforts to crush dissident voices in the territory. – Financial Times

What President Joe Biden touted as a historic U.S. federal investment program that will position the country to win the global innovation race still leaves it well behind China’s continuing, giant infrastructure upgrading campaign. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Their endorsement of the Games is effectively an endorsement of China as a global leader, entitled to a worldwide celebration of its achievements and worth — even as it runs concentration camps, crushes dissent at home and abroad and terrorizes journalists, lawyers and anyone else with an independent spirit. […]A simple question must be put to any Western firm affiliating itself with these Games: Why are you sponsoring the Olympics in a country sponsoring a genocide? There is only one good answer: We’ve decided we won’t. – Washington Post

Editorial: On Thursday, a kangaroo Hong Kong court convicted seven pro-democracy activists for their roles in an “unauthorized” 2019 protest. It’s just the latest proof that the mainland government is committed to tyranny — and that the West was mistaken in thinking that welcoming China into the world economy would mellow the regime. – New York Post

Sadanand Dhume writes: In the end, America has no choice but to grapple with the threat of an authoritarian and increasingly belligerent China. But the best way to strengthen the country domestically is to reject both white supremacy and “wokeism” by striving toward a society that is race-blind, not race-obsessed. – Wall Street Journal

Josh Rogin writes: These are all very unpleasant facts. But facts are stubborn things. And we have no choice but to pursue all possible theories and accept whatever truth the facts lead to. This must be done in a nonpolitical way, to show Beijing and the world that we still have the ability to place public health and truth above the narratives to which we have become beholden. – Washington Post

South Asia

Pakistan’s cabinet on Thursday put off allowing imports of cotton and sugar from neighbouring India until Delhi reviews its 2019 move to revoke the Kashmir region’s special status, the foreign minister said. – Reuters

Unknown gunmen killed a female police officer in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Thursday, officials said, the second deadly attack against women in the city in a week as a spate of targeted killings spreads fear in urban centres. – Reuters

Michael Kugelman writes: For India, Pakistan has long posed the greatest challenge among its neighbors and with good reason: The two are bitter rivals and have fought multiple wars. But India now grapples with headaches across its neighborhood, from Myanmar to Nepal. Ironically, the recent border cease-fire with Pakistan means that New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad may not be its chief regional concern, at least for now. – Foreign Policy


Myanmar’s military government ordered broadband Internet shutdowns Thursday amid ongoing violent suppression of opposition to its ouster of the country’s democratically elected government. – Washington Post

Ten days after seizing power in Myanmar, the generals issued their first command to journalists: Stop using the words “coup,” “regime” and “junta” to describe the military’s takeover of the government. Few reporters heeded the Orwellian directive, and the junta embraced a new goal — crushing all free expression. Since then, the regime has arrested at least 56 journalists, outlawed online news outlets known for hard-edge reporting and crippled communications by cutting off mobile data service. – New York Times

Britain sanctioned a Myanmar conglomerate on Thursday for its close links to the military leadership which Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said was wantonly killing innocent people including children. – Reuters

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit Washington for talks with President Joe Biden on April 16, the government said Friday. The trip had previously been announced, but not the exact date. – Associated Press

The Line of Control, a highly militarized de facto border that divides the disputed region between the two nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, and a site of hundreds of deaths, is unusually quiet after the two South Asian neighbors last month agreed to reaffirm their 2003 cease-fire accord. – Associated Press

Australia called on Friday for Myanmar’s ruling military to immediately release an Australian economic adviser to the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained for two months. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a U.S. ambassador to visit Taiwan for the first time since 1979, defying China’s “red line” regarding such contacts. State Department engagement with the government in Taipei has been constrained since 1979, when the United States established diplomatic relations with the Chinese Communist regime in Beijing. The mainland government claims sovereignty over the island, which it has never controlled, and demands countries with diplomatic ties with Beijing sever their official contacts with the island democracy. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: For China that’s a feature, not a bug. The real crime of those convicted this week is that they took seriously China’s promise of autonomy for Hong Kong in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. They are being punished today simply for trying to make the governments in Beijing and Hong Kong honor that promise. – Wall Street Journal

Christopher K. Colley writes: While China will never establish full sea control in the Indian Ocean, it will likely possess the ability to provide a credible deterrent to other states that may threaten Chinese sea lines of communication or entities. […]However, the political dilemma of what to do about bases and, of greater strategic importance, what to do about the growing security relationship between India and the United States, which is driven by Chinese activities, may prove to be the biggest obstacle to China’s long-term Indian Ocean ambitions. – War on the Rocks


Russia’s top diplomat said Thursday that the country’s relations with the United States and its allies have “hit the bottom” and no date has been set for sending the Russian ambassador back to Washington. – Associated Press

The Kremlin said on Thursday that recent Russian troop and military hardware movements near Russia’s borders with Ukraine were aimed at ensuring Moscow’s own security and were not a threat to anyone. – Reuters

NATO said on Thursday it was concerned about a Russian military build-up near Ukraine’s borders, as NATO ambassadors met to discuss the recent spike in violence in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. – Reuters

The European Union said on Thursday that Russia had launched a conscription campaign in the Crimea peninsula and that the move broke international law. – Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that an escalation of tensions in Ukraine’s eastern regions showed Russia was seeking to create a threatening atmosphere for ceasefire talks. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that any attempts to start a new military conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east could end up destroying Ukraine, the TASS news agency reported. Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday he had spoken to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) about Russia’s “systemic aggravation” of the security situation in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. – Reuters

The United States and European allies are “discussing concerns” about Russia’s reported military buildup on the border of Ukraine, a senior State Department official said in a warning to Moscow. – Washington Examiner

David Ignatius writes: What makes the Ukraine situation different is that it potentially involves force. Russia has augmented its troops, at least temporarily, near the border of a country to which the United States provides military assistance. Perhaps the best thing about this week’s signaling is that it reduces the likelihood that either side will miscalculate its actions. – Washington Post

Mason Clark writes: The Kremlin’s primary objective against Ukraine is to regain dominant influence over the government in Kyiv and prevent Ukraine from joining NATO or the EU. […]Ukraine, the United States, and its allies must therefore assess Russian actions in the context of Russian objectives and potential courses of action; these actions currently point to an escalation of the ongoing Russian pressure campaign against Ukrainian President Zelensky, not an imminent offensive. – Institute for the Study of War


An officer in London’s main police force was convicted on Thursday of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi group, the police said. The conviction was the first time a British police officer had been convicted of a terrorism offense, the BBC and other British news organizations reported. – New York Times

The Kremlin warned on Thursday that travel to Georgia was dangerous for Russian citizens after angry crowds took to the streets to protest against the arrival of a prominent Russian television presenter. – Reuters

Ireland’s prime minister has called on the UK and EU to “reset” their relationship so they can work together to fine-tune the Northern Ireland protocol that governs post-Brexit trade between Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. – Financial Times

The conservative-nationalist leaders of Hungary and Poland held talks with Italy’s rightwing League in Budapest on Thursday to discuss an alliance they hope could shake up the balance of power in the European parliament. – Financial Times

The Biden administration has lifted sanctions on two Italian companies the former Trump administration blacklisted on its final day in office after incorrectly tying them to Venezuela’s restricted oil sector. – The Hill

A report that Russian-developed navigation technology is installed on German navy submarines has prompted lawmakers to investigate. – C4ISRNET

Twitter has suspended the account, GnasherJew, which was a main source of allegations of anti-Semitism in the U.K. Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn during the 2019 election. – Arutz Sheva


A boat carrying 1,200 survivors of a deadly attack by Islamic State-linked insurgents in northern Mozambique reached safety in the port of Pemba on Thursday, some of them crying on arrival after spending days hiding in the bush. – Reuters

With more than a week of fierce fighting including beheaded bodies in the streets, the battle for the northern Mozambique town of Palma has highlighted the southern Africa country’s insurgency and threats to its multibillion-dollar investments. – Associated Press

France’s defense chief visited Mali on Thursday and defended a French airstrike there earlier this year that U.N. investigators said killed 19 civilians attending a wedding celebration. – Associated Press

Philippe Sands writes: There is, however, a simple and effective solution — if indeed the U.S. government is truly committed to the rule of law and international treaties. Mauritius already has offered the United States a 99-year lease over Diego Garcia, providing a long-term security that is lacking under America’s current arrangement with Britain, which expires in 2036. In return, the Chagossians would be allowed to come back to parts of Chagos. A marine protection area could be established to conserve a pristine maritime environment. The flag would finally be lowered on Britain’s last colony in Africa. – New York Times

The Americas

A new campaign by the Venezuelan military near the country’s lawless western border is sparking a surge of refugees, with thousands defying the spiking pandemic to pack into makeshift shelters and tent settlements in this Colombian town. – Washington Post

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández’s government retained a powerhouse Washington law firm to lobby U.S. prosecutors to call off a “state-sponsored drug trafficking” probe of his brother, who was sentenced this week for smuggling 185 tons of cocaine into the United States. – Washington Post

A branch of arguments in Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s bid to stop her extradition to the United States from Canada ended on Thursday with a prosecutor saying her lawyers had an “impoverished” view of the facts over their assertion U.S. authorities violated international law. – Reuters

A British businessman has struck a secret mining deal with the government of Venezuela despite US sanctions designed to choke Nicolás Maduro’s repressive regime. – Financial Times


The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Facebook in a lawsuit over unwanted text notifications it sent, rejecting a claim that the messages violated the federal ban on robocalls. – Associated Press

The U.S. government is working to draw attention to supply chain vulnerabilities, an issue that received particular attention late last year after suspected Russian hackers gained access to federal agencies and private corporations by sneaking malicious code into widely used software. – Associated Press

Pakistan’s media regulatory agency on Thursday reinstated access to the Chinese video service TikTok, after a court banned it weeks ago and urged authorities to ensure that it carried no “vulgar” content. – Associated Press

Facebook is making changes to give users more choice over what posts they see in their news feeds, as the social media company defends itself from accusations that it fuels extremism and political polarization. – NPR

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday night decried big tech “censorship” after an interview he gave to his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, was taken off Facebook. – New York Post

Russia now requires all smart devices — including phones, computers, and TVs — in the country to have Russian software preinstalled, in what some locals have called a “law against Apple.” – Business Insider


Later this month, off the coast of San Diego, California, the U.S. Navy will be test-sailing what it sees as its destiny. A single manned surface ship, the stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Monsoor, will be directing and coordinating a futuristic fleet of unmanned ships and aircraft in a weeklong exercise aimed at demonstrating how naval warfare is evolving. – Washington Examiner

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 15th Marine Expeditionary Group left the Middle East this week and are operating in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. 7th Fleet confirmed to USNI News on Thursday. – USNI News

The Navy is pursuing both manned and unmanned platforms for the aircraft that will replace its rotary-wing fleet, according to a service official. – USNI News

Robert Soofer writes: Ensuring that we remain ahead of rogue adversary missile threats to the homeland has been the shared goal and priority of Republican and Democratic administrations since the end of the Cold War. Moving forward with NGI signals that the Biden administration endorses this goal and seeks common ground with Congress on missile defense policy. – Defense News

Zachary Kallenborn writes: Technology is just one element of national power. The American government must consider how technology best serves its objectives in conjunction with other capabilities. That means the government needs folks to think about the implications of emerging technology, just as it needs folks to think about global changes in trade regimes, international organizations, and military strategy. Creating an artificial divide between emerging technology and everything else is a mistake. – War on the Rocks

Long War

Three suspected militants, including an Asian woman‮ ‬and local leader in Islamic State, were killed in Tunisian mountains near the Algerian border‮ ‬in two police operations, a security official said on Thursday. – Reuters

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, pro-ISIS groups remain a threat two years after the ultra-radicals were defeated in Syria and Iraq, analysts say. – Reuters

Following a multi-year investigation and the help of undercover officers, a husband and wife from New York and Alabama were arrested in New Jersey on Wednesday while allegedly attempting to travel overseas to fight with ISIS, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday. – Fox News

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes: U.S. officials, including then-Ambassador William Roebuck, attended the ceremony marking the end of the Islamic State in 2019 in Omar Oil Field. They talked then about the need to keep ISIS from returning and about their gratitude to those who sacrificed so much to make the world safer. Now is the moment to build on those gains, to keep the pressure on the Islamic State, to use U.S. diplomatic muscle to keep the fight focused on ISIS and to honor the women and the men who risked everything to stop the men who trafficked in terror. – Fox News