Fdd's overnight brief

April 27, 2020

In The News


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country. – New York Times

The message, and the brief discussion that followed, touched on an explosive issue for the company. Huawei had just begun fighting allegations by the U.S. government that it had committed fraud to bypass sanctions against Iran. The company’s chief financial officer, a daughter of its founder, had been arrested less than two weeks earlier as part of the case. – New York Times

Even before President Donald Trump’s vow to “shoot down” Iranian speedboats if they harass American ships in international waters, the U.S. Navy was bolstering its ability to call in AC-130 gunships and Apache attack helicopters to defend its presence in the Persian Gulf. – Bloomberg 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Tehran was closely following U.S. activities, but would never initiate a conflict in the region. – Reuters

President Hassan Rouhani called on Iran’s armed forces on Friday to seek regional stability while maintaining vigilance against “provocations”, state TV reported, as a war of words with arch-enemy the United States escalated. – Reuters

Iran should draw up economic plans based on a worst-case scenario of nearly a year of disruptions due to the coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, as the death toll from the disease rose by 76 to 5,650. – Reuters

Britain said on Friday Iran’s launch of a military satellite using ballistic missile technology this week was “of significant concern” and inconsistent with a United Nations Security Council resolution. – Reuters 

Iran and its regional allies are intentionally under-reporting cases of Covid-19 as the global pandemic continues, the head of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency reportedly told fellow government officials at a briefing on Thursday. – Algemeiner

In an open letter to Donald Trump on Wednesday, 51 former U.S. officials and Iran experts called on the President of the United States to increase pressure on Iran. – Radio Farda 

Lahav Harkov writes: Will the fact that Iran has been hit so hard in the coronavirus crisis, and the economic aftershocks that go with it, change the nature of its threat to Israel? Last week’s successful missile launch, which made the Islamic Republic one of only about a dozen countries to carry out orbital launches, indicates what many experts have been saying: Not really. – Jerusalem Post 

Shayan Arya and Nir Boms write: As the Iranian regime’s “Annus Horribilis” comes to an end, the Iranian people are left abandoned under a system that continues to strive for a revolution that no longer serves in the interests of the younger generation, which now make up a majority of the population. […]As many struggle to imagine the global changes that will unfold post-coronavirus, this eventuality should be understood as a unique opportunity for the Iranian people, who have already returned to the streets to express their outrage, to demand change. – Washington Institute

Farzin Nadimi writes: The study, which includes maps, tables, and other graphics, covers everything from submarines to sea mines, while also distinguishing between the roles of the revolutionary navy (IRGCN) and the conventional one (IRIN). Most important, it offers a sober take on Iran’s capabilities and intentions during a perilously unstable time. – Washington Institute


Syrian air defences early on Monday intercepted “hostile targets” over the capital of Damascus, the state news agency SANA reported. – Reuters  

Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near Damascus early Monday, the Syrian military said, claiming the country’s air defenses shot most of them down. The strike killed three civilians and wounded four, according to state media. – Associated Press

Turkish troops fired tear gas and live bullets at protesters blocking a major highway in northwest Syria early Sunday, killing two people and wounding others, opposition activists said. – Associated Press


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced confidence on Sunday that Washington would give Israel the nod within two months to move ahead with de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. – Reuters

The New York City chapter of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) hosted on online call earlier this week with a woman who served 14 years in jail for her role in a 1983 bombing at the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. In a tweet promoting the event, JVP referred to Laura Whitehorn, now 75, as an “activist and former political prisoner.” – Algemeiner

The Mossad delivered more coronavirus-related medical equipment to Israel, including PCR kits that will allow for an additional 1,000 coronavirus tests to preformed daily, Channel 12 reported. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Authority (PA), and the PLO’s largest party, Fatah, on Thursday marked the anniversary of the “deaths as martyrs” of three terrorists who participated in the planning, kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, according to a report released by the watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch. – Jerusalem Post 

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is on the brink of bankruptcy after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cut funds to the organization, which was founded in 1967 by George Habash. – Jerusalem Post

Alexander Loengarov writes: In certain areas of international law, the transfer of jurisdictional power to an authority above states has taken place only partially or not at all, as illustrated by the world’s partial adherence to the ICC. This multilevel fuzziness is illustrated perfectly by the “Situation in Palestine,” in which both sides claim that any ruling contrary to their position would indicate that the ICC is politicized. It is now up to the court, and its Pre-Trial Chamber I in particular, to satisfy itself that it can decide the jurisdiction question on the basis of (sufficiently) legal arguments. – Washington Institute

Mohammed S. Dajani writes: Most importantly, the lesson to learn is to convert our collective narratives of demonization, exclusion, and segregation around a shared narrative of belonging and attachment to our shared values. Creating this new world will mean adopting moderate views that would accommodate and tolerate one another. We do not need to be infected with this virus to appreciate the sanctity of life and to realize that we are better off living in peace than in conflict—Israelis and Palestinians now have a golden opportunity to lead the way. – Washington Institute


Iran-backed groups in Lebanon and Iraq have mounted highly publicized campaigns against the new coronavirus as they seek to bolster their reputations and regain their footing after coming under pressure from popular protests. – Wall Street Journal

The United States has renewed a waiver for Iraq to continue importing Iranian electricity, a State Department official said on Sunday, but this time for a shorter period of 30 days, adding that Washington would be reassessing whether to renew again once a ‘credible government’ is formed in Iraq. – Reuters

With just two days remaining to the expiration of a thirty-day U.S. waiver to import Iranian gas and electricity, the Iraqi Minister of Electricity says it will take three to four years for the country to stop importing energy from Iran. – Radio Farda

Katherine Lawlor and Brandon Wallace write: Iraq’s political elites are conditioning their support for Prime Minister (PM)-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi on the composition of his cabinet. The widening rift between Kadhimi and Iran-backed blocs has led Kadhimi to preserve the traditional system of ethno-sectarian quota filling, to marginalize protester demands, and to step up his comments about the “unjustified foreign [US] presence” in an attempt to mend ties. Behind the scenes, the US and Iran have continued their competition to influence Iraq’s future – Institute for the Study of War

Zvi Bar’el writes: At the moment it seems that the political fate of the latest nominee for prime minister, al-Kadhimi, whose list of intended ministers some of the Shi’ite parties have opposed, will be no different than that of his predecessors. When those are the rules of the political game in Iraq, it is unlikely that such leadership will be able to find time to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic ramifications in Iraq. – Haaretz 

Steven A. Cook writes: It is a terrible situation for Iraqis, but there are very few in the United States who want to invest the time and resources into Iraq, especially now with COVID-19 ravaging Americans’ health and Congress spending trillions of dollars just to keep the economy afloat. It may very well be that Kadhimi is as competent as advertised, but he will not save Iraq. The political system is too rotten, Americans are too distracted, and Iran likes Iraq just the way it is. – Foreign Policy

Daniel Hoffman writes: Today, the U.S. needs a reliable partner in Iraq to ensure our hard-earned victory over ISIS endures. Kadhimi was considered an odd choice for prime minister when he was selected earlier this month by Iraqi President Barham Salih. Kadhimi is a lawyer, not a politician and Iraq’s woes – economic, political and national security – have created a quagmire that seemingly only a master politician could navigate. […]No one is better suited to doing all this than Kadhimi, a political independent who has dedicated his life to keeping Iraqis safe from terrorism and promoting human rights. He might be the one person in Iraq who can unify the nation in preparation for the long and arduous journey ahead. – Fox News

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The reduction of the Iraqi army presence and outsourcing of border security and raids to the PMU has the result of enabling sectarian militias to run the borders of Iraq, as opposed to the more unifying aspects of the Iraqi army. Despite years of training the Iraqi army to conduct anti-ISIS operations, it appears the PMU wants to keep the lion’s share of these operations to themselves, controlling rural areas and using the control to further political and economic goals. – Jerusalem Post


Before the coronavirus pandemic, most nights the streets in Beirut’s busiest neighborhoods were filled with honking horns, window-rattling bass beats and the shouts of anticorruption activists marching toward Martyrs’ Square. Now, with Covid-related restrictions in place, the city closes up—and quiets down—as the sun sets. The evening silence gave way to a new sound: the nasal hum of a surveillance drone—most likely Israeli—circling off Lebanon’s Mediterranean Coast. – Wall Street Journal

Unknown assailants lobbed an explosive device at a private bank branch in southern Lebanon on Saturday, damaging its facade and roof, the country’s state news agency reported. – Associated Press

Authorities closed all entrances to a Palestinian refugee camp in eastern Lebanon on Friday after four more people tested positive for the coronavirus, heightening concerns the virus could further spread among its overcrowded population. – Associated Press

Arabian Peninsula

The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen on Monday urged a leading separatist group that declared self-rule in the south to rescind its move, saying it was an “escalatory action” at a time all parties should focus on confronting the novel coronavirus. – Reuters

Yemen’s main southern separatist group announced early on Sunday it would establish self-rule in areas under its control, which the Saudi-backed government warned would have “catastrophic consequences”. – Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition on Friday said it was extending a unilateral ceasefire in Yemen by one month to support efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing a coalition spokesman. – Reuters

Abdullah Alaoudh writes: In one of my last conversations with Jamal, he described al-Hamid as the “Saudi Mandela” and lamented the fact that his case did not receive the attention or global outrage that it deserves. Like Nelson Mandela, whose words and movements shattered an apartheid regime, al-Hamid’s democratic legacy will live on in Saudi Arabia. – Washington Post 


The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy and the EU’s top diplomat made a joint call on Saturday for a humanitarian truce in Libya, saying all sides must resume peace talks. – Reuters

Intense shelling of Libya’s capital by the country’s rival, east-based forces killed three civilians on Friday, the city’s health authorities said, the latest victims in a year-long siege of Tripoli. – Associated Press

Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani, who is regarded by the Muslim Brotherhood as the Grand Mufti of Libya, said in a video that aired on Al-Tanasuh TV (Libya) on April 15, 2020, that shari’a permits suicide bombings on the condition that they rattle the enemy, cause great harm and losses to the enemy, and cause a crushing defeat. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Egypt has asked the International Monetary Fund for financial support to help it deal with the coronavirus crisis and will begin talks with it within days, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Sunday. – Reuters

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned a new Egyptian TV drama set in the year 2120 that predicts Israel’s destruction as well as the breakup of the United States. – Associated Press

Zoltan Barany writes: The competition in the world arms markets is fierce as more and more countries realize the great profit potential in weapons production and sales.28 While Abu Dhabi and Riyadh might give some of its defense business to other producers, America is likely to supply the lion’s share of its arms for the foreseeable future. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Korean Peninsula

The rumors illustrate North Korea’s outsize dependence on a single person for its political stability. The answer to the question of his health holds significant implications for the future of high-stakes nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and the stability of a country on China’s border. – Wall Street Journal

North Korea is still sending letters and gifts to foreign leaders and domestic workers in the name of its leader, Kim Jong-un. Its news media brims, as usual, with panegyrical propaganda extolling Mr. Kim’s leadership. South Korea reiterates that it has detected “nothing unusual” in the North. President Trump has called “incorrect” and “fake” a report that Mr. Kim was “in grave danger” after surgery. – New York Times

South Korea is confident that there is no basis to the recent swirl of rumors that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, ​is gravely ill, ​the South’s chief policymaker on the North​ said in comments reported on Monday. – New York Times

Indications that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still alive and in the coastal resort of Wonsan are mounting, as satellite images showed his train apparently traveled there in the past few days, and U.S. and South Korean officials said they did not believe he had died. – Washington Post 

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is either dead, brain dead or just fine, depending on which Asian media report you believe. – New York Post

North Korea has never announced who would follow leader Kim Jong Un in the event he is incapacitated, and with no details known about his young children, analysts say his sister and loyalists could form a regency until a successor is old enough to take over. – Reuters

China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with the situation. – Reuters

US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ailing, criticizing his frequent nemesis CNN for running the story. – Agence France-Presse

Sue Mi Terry writes: Odds are that the North Korean regime will stagger along no matter what is happening with Kim, just as it survived the death of Kim’s grandfather and father, but you never know. Few predicted the collapse of East Germany in 1989. Winter could be coming sooner than anyone expected in North Korea’s game of thrones. We had better be ready. – Washington Post

Kevin Williamson writes: But we should be plain and forthright about our own interests in North Korea: nuclear disarmament and giving the boot to the Kim cult, two intertwined projects. If that can be had at the price of nothing more precious than money, then we would be wise to write the check and consider ourselves to have enjoyed a bargain. – New York Post


China offered a new route for producers of medical goods to obtain export approval, a move that could help ease recent shipment delays of face masks, test kits and other critical medical equipment to fight coronavirus to the U.S. and other countries. – Wall Street Journal

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged Thursday that China may have known of the new coronavirus as early as November, renewing accusations that Beijing has not been transparent. – Agence France-Presse

China complained to the EU at least three times and warned bilateral relations would be hit should the bloc publicly accuse it of spreading coronavirus crisis propaganda, according to European officials. – Financial Times

Editorial: Demagoguery about China is hardly new to presidential campaigns, but the latest rhetoric is particularly irresponsible, coming as it does in the midst of the pandemic. It portrays China, and Chinese people, as enemies at a time when Asian Americans are already being subjected to unconscionable attacks, and it could complicate cooperation with China that will be necessary to defeat the novel coronavirus. […]Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden ought to have a serious debate about how to manage the challenge the Xi regime poses. The sort of smears in which they are now trafficking will only make it harder for either of them to find support for responsible policies. – Washington Post

Editorial: Beijing is pushing the propaganda line that the Communist Party was able to do far better than free Western governments at stopping the virus. It’s simply one more Big Lie from a regime that simply doesn’t care about the truth or human life. – New York Post

Mihir Sharma writes: But, in diplomacy as elsewhere, radically democratizing a previously closed space hasn’t necessarily improved matters. Like politicians and journalists, diplomats are now encouraged to react to the angriest and loudest voices they hear. […]The “wolf warriors” may well tell us something about today’s China. But what they tell us about the future of diplomacy is just as disturbing. – Bloomberg

Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han write: The virus has given the U.S. a chance to save itself from the CCP’s objectives and the perverse ideas advanced by its courtiers on Wall Street and K Street, in Silicon Valley, and at some Western think tanks, universities and media organizations. It is up to the U.S. to “seize the day” to establish a better, more secure global economy, but also to defeat the CCP. – The Hill


The Taliban have returned to an all-out offensive on the battlefield, killing dozens of Afghan security forces each day, officials say, even as American officials try to keep alive a scuttled peace deal to end the long war in Afghanistan. – New York Times

Afghan authorities are struggling to implement lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in a province bordering Iran where the outbreak is widening due to an influx of Afghan returnees and men refusing to adhere to social distancing. – Reuters

The U.S.-led NATO alliance called on Friday for Afghanistan’s Taliban militants to cut violence levels and join peace talks, saying prisoner releases should also be speeded up. – Reuters 


The opening of a hole-in-the-wall bookstore in Taipei doesn’t usually attract much hullabaloo. Saturday’s reemergence of a Hong Kong bookseller who has for years proved a thorn to China’s rulers in Beijing was a different story. – Wall Street Journal

The arrests buttressed a week of coordinated actions by Beijing that experts say have redefined the status of Hong Kong. The effect was to demolish the “one country, two systems” framework that prohibits Beijing’s involvement in local affairs and is supposed to afford the financial center a high level of autonomy. – Washington Post

Yi-Zheng Lian writes: The idea of a full-blown military crackdown, which struck others as alarmist, far-fetched or misleading then, seems like a more plausible prospect now that the coronavirus pandemic has undermined China’s standing in the world. Even short of a replay of Tiananmen 1989 or Taiwan 1947, there can be no doubt anymore that Beijing is determined to dismantle what remains of Hong Kong’s freedoms — and, much as it has done with Tibet and Xinjiang, to ensure that Hong Kong is autonomous only in name. – New York Times  


U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin issued a rare joint statement on Saturday commemorating a 1945 World War Two link-up of U.S. and Soviet troops on their way to defeat Nazi Germany as an example of how their countries can cooperate. – Reuters

Journalists at Vedomosti, a prominent Russian business publication, on Thursday accused their editor of imposing pro-Kremlin censorship upon them and suggested the board of directors appoint someone else. – Reuters

Eli Lake writes: Tyrants always need conflict with an external enemy to distract from their own misrule, and America has long played that role. […]This ability to adjust and change direction short of dramatic upheaval is one of the enduring strengths of liberal democracies. As bleak as things look now, it’s a lesson worth remembering: Dictators look invincible — right up to the moment they’re ousted. – Bloomberg 

Dominik P. Jankowski and Julian Wieczorkiewicz write: Despite the financial squeeze, Moscow will continue to prioritize defense spending.  […]The West should keep its guard in the upcoming months. More than ever, transatlantic unity will need to be preserved to keep a strong front against any attempts to exploit the current crisis to end sanctions or “normalize” — on Russia’s terms — the situation in Ukraine, Syria, or elsewhere. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews. – New York Times

Hundreds of people who live in Poland and work in Germany protested on Friday evening in the southwestern Polish border town of Zgorzelec against a mandatory coronavirus quarantine for those who cross the border. – Reuters

Britain and the European Union showed little sign of progress towards a deal on their post-Brexit relationship this week, failing to bridge differences over future competition and EU fishing access to British waters. – Reuters


The head of U.S. forces in East Africa declared a public health emergency for American troops and contractors based in Djibouti on Friday, a move he said would give him greater authority to manage the risk of coronavirus following a sharp spike in cases in the strategically located nation on the Horn of Africa. – Wall Street Journal

Twelve rangers were among 17 people killed in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said, in one of the worst massacres in the park’s recent history. The park blamed members of a Rwandan rebel group for the attack. – New York Times

Cuba sent 216 healthcare workers to South Africa on Saturday, the latest of more than 20 medical brigades it has sent worldwide to combat the coronavirus pandemic, in what some call socialist solidarity and others medical diplomacy. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday it has approved a disbursement of $309 million to help Mozambique meet urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. – Reuters

South Africa’s finance minister said on Friday more than $4 billion was available from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for the country to help it fight COVID-19, playing down worries that the money would come with onerous conditions. – Reuters 

The staff of the International Monetary Fund will recommend the approval of $3.4 billion in emergency funding to Nigeria when the lender’s executive board meets next week, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plan. – Bloomberg 

North America

President Trump and his top aides are working behind the scenes to sideline the World Health Organization on several fronts as they seek to shift blame for the novel coronavirus pandemic to the world body, according to U.S. and foreign officials involved in the discussions. – Washington Post

Leading Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Friday asked the United Nations to conduct an independent review of the World Health Organization response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the body appeared to have shown “remarkable deference” to China.-  Reuters

World leaders pledged on Friday to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share them around the globe, but the United States did not take part in the video conference launch of the World Health Organization (WHO) initiative. – Reuters 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s apparent lack of enthusiasm to combat Russian interference in the 2016 election changed spy chief James Clapper’s opinion of the top Republican. – Washington Examiner 

Daniel F. Runde writes: The United States needs to be better at defending its leading role in these institutions and improve its ability to present strong leadership candidates that can manage these com- plex institutions and respond to the changing times. The United States and its European and Japanese allies should use their influence to guarantee that the leaders of major international institutions are qualified with a steadfast commitment to liberal democratic values. This will ensure the continued relevance of these storied institutions and the values they promote. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Latin America

Brazilian Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, who shepherded the sprawling corruption probe that imprisoned some of Latin America’s most influential people, resigned in protest Friday after President Jair Bolsonaro fired his police chief. – Washington Post

The United States will send ventilators to three countries in Latin America – Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras – as well as to Indonesia, President Donald Trump said on Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic has devastated countries around the world. – Reuters

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Governments that back Mr. Trump’s immigration policy and side with U.S. policy on Venezuela may seem like allies. But when they simultaneously undermine democracy at home, as Mr. Bukele is doing, they are working against U.S. interests. – Wall Street Journal


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Friday urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take steps to boost the security of its comment submission process following a review that revealed dozens of cyber vulnerabilities. – The Hill

In responding to NSO Group’s request to reject the lawsuit out of hand, Facebook attempted on Friday to undermine the Israeli companies’ position with evidence gathered during the investigation. – Haaretz

A security problem in Microsoft Teams meant cyber-attacks could be initiated via funny Gif images, researchers have revealed. – BBC

Israel thwarted a major cyber-attack on its water infrastructure over the weekend. – Algemeiner


At least 18 sailors aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer have tested positive for the new coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, dealing another blow to the military as it faces fallout over its handling of an outbreak on an aircraft carrier last month. – Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will “thoroughly review” the Navy’s preliminary inquiry into a coronavirus outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and then meet with Navy leadership to discuss the next steps, the Pentagon said on Friday. – Reuters

In an extraordinary reversal, the U.S. Navy has recommended reinstating the fired captain of the coronavirus-hit aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, whose crew hailed him as their hero for risking his job to safeguard their lives, officials said on Friday. – Reuters 

The Navy has dispatched an amphibious warship with a specialized medical team to assist with a spreading COVID-19 outbreak on a deployed guided-missile destroyer, the service said on Saturday. – USNI News 

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was delivered to the fleet after completing its combat system activation and subsequent at-sea trials, two sources told USNI News. –  USNI News 

The U.S. Defense Department is slowly but surely whittling down the number of F-35 technical problems, with the fighter jet program’s most serious issues decreasing from 13 to seven over the past year. – Defense News

The fight to build America’s next missile interceptor has officially begun. The Missile Defense Agency on Friday released its request for proposal for its Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI). The RFP aims to downselect to two companies who will then compete for the right to build the interceptor, which will form the core of America’s homeland missile defense going forward. – Defense News

Seven brigades have deployments scheduled in late spring and summer, Army Headquarters announced Thursday. Officials from some of the deploying units pointed Army Times to Europe- and Middle East-based service officials concerning how the deployment process will work during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. – Army Times

James Yeager writes: This year will only get worse as the impacts of COVID-19 will be deep, damaging and long-lasting. We’re all faced with loss and uncertainty as we attempt to recover from the global pandemic. For the defense community, there is no time to recover and regroup. You are already on the clock, as those who wish to do our nation harm are already hard at work. – Fifth Domain

Thomas G. Mahnken writes: We need to learn from the past in developing the next generation of weapons. For example, in recent months, Australian defense analysts have discussed the attractiveness of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber for Australia’s defense needs. Export of the B-21 to a close ally such as Australia, should Canberra so desire, should be given serious consideration. The current situation is challenging, with even more difficult times to come. If we are smart, however, we can both keep Americans at work and get what we need for national defense. – Defense News

Long War

An Iraqi man accused of being an Islamic State terrorist has gone on trial in a high court in Frankfurt accused of genocide, human trafficking, and the torture and murder of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl he had held as a slave in Falluja, Iraq. – New York Times 

On April 21, 2020, Spanish police arrested Abdel Majed Abdel Bary, a British-Egyptian jihadi who had joined the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. […]In 2014, MEMRI JTTM reported on Bary’s activity on social media, where he discussed his support for jihad, the mujahideen, and the ISIS caliphate, his dissatisfaction with his wealthy upbringing in the West, and some of his experiences in Syria. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Rita Katz writes: It is imperative that governments confront the fact that these can happen, and the likelihood they will. What’s required is some big-picture rethinking about terrorism in contexts not typically addressed in the past: public health infrastructure is a fundamental part of domestic security; health-care facilities and food distribution outlets are now plausible targets for terrorists. – The Daily Beast