Fdd's overnight brief

August 26, 2019

In The News


Iran’s top diplomat made a surprise visit Sunday to the city hosting the Group of Seven summit, meeting with a delegation including President Emmanuel Macron as leaders grappled with how to defuse tensions and salvage a multination landmark nuclear deal after a U.S. pullout. – Wall Street Journal

Aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Linkcon, in the North Arabian Sea — Out here, deterring Iran means avoiding Iran. […]In short, the Navy has carried out the order of its commander in chief to counter Iran in the Middle East, but in the least provocative way. – New York Times

They worked with the government, secured the right permits and received funding and equipment from abroad. But the researchers, all Iranian, soon drew the suspicion of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful branch of Iran’s armed forces, and were arrested last year for alleged espionage. Now, four members of the team charged with “spreading corruption on earth” could face the death penalty, and four others could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. – Washington Post

The US is warning Iran it’s taking Tehran’s threats seriously and will hold it accountable if it compromises the safety of any American. The comments came in a tweet from US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Saturday, after Iran announced sanctions against American Mark Dubowitz and his foundation for what it called “US economic terrorism.” – CNN

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said talks between the Iranian and French foreign ministers on Sunday were a side event to the G7 summit and every opportunity should be seized to resolve tensions between the United States and Iran. – Reuters

Iran wants to export a minimum of 700,000 barrels per day of its oil and ideally up to 1.5 million bpd if the West wants to negotiate with Tehran to save a 2015 nuclear deal, two Iranian officials and one diplomat told Reuters on Sunday. – Reuters

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is in talks with his French counterpart on the sidelines of a G7 leaders’ summit to discuss what conditions would de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran, a French presidency official said. – Reuters

An Iranian tanker at the center of a confrontation between Washington and Tehran has switched destination and is now heading to Turkey instead of southern Greece, data from real-time ship tracking website MarineTraffic showed on Saturday. – Reuters

Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Saturday, according to the Tasnim news agency. – Reuters

Iran has deployed a naval destroyer with long-range cruise missile systems to the Gulf of Aden to provide security for Iranian ships travelling through the region, state-run Press TV reported on Monday. – Reuters

Iran’s president struck a muscular tone on dealings with the U.S., saying Thursday that “talks are useless” as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further. – Associated Press

As head of Iran’s judiciary for a decade, Sadegh Amoli Larijani held significant power to use the country’s legal system to crack down on dissenters, political opponents, and others. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran has produced highly accurate missiles which it has not publicized, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister General Qassem Taqizadeh said on Friday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.  – Reuters

Alan Goldsmith writes: To date, however, the EU has given in to Tehran’s extortion by attempting to establish a special mechanism to evade U.S. sanctions and facilitate lucrative business deals for European companies with Iran — commerce that would enrich the very regime holding Europeans hostage and seizing European ships. – The Hill

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall picture illustrates an Iranian attempt to transfer and use drone and missile technology to its allies in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, either through direct IRGC Quds Force control or via Shi’ite paramilitaries and groups such as Hezbollah or Kata’ib Hezbollah. Iran’s allies and proxies have become proficient with these technologies, attacking Saudi Arabia, and using them against Kurdish dissidents and against ISIS. Combined with its sophisticated ballistic missile technology, Iran seeks to leverage its influence to threaten its adversaries. The recent week’s events linking tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon illustrate Tehran’s footprint and corridor of influence. – Jerusalem Post


Two drones crashed in the southern suburbs of Beirut early Sunday, an area that is home to many supporters of the Iran-backed militia Hezbollah, which said the aircraft came from neighboring Israel. – New York Times

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday warned the Israeli army stationed along the border with Lebanon that his movement was preparing an imminent response to two Israeli drones which crashed overnight in a suburb of Beirut. – Reuters

The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah vowed to down any Israeli drones in Lebanese airspace and warned Israel’s military to be ready for a response after what he said was an Israeli drone attack in Beirut on Sunday. – Reuters

War monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said two members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and one Iranian were killed in Israeli strikes around the Syrian capital Damascus overnight. – Reuters

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: In his speech Sunday Nasrallah, in fact confirmed the forces in Syria were poised to attack Israel in response to Israeli raids in Iraq. Still he offered no explanation for the drones that crashed in Beirut. His claims made in his speech, that one of the drones was on an intelligence gathering mission is unfounded especially because any such mission would be carried out at a much higher altitude and could certainly not be taken down by children throwing stones. A drone flying that low is meant to be seen by the public and convey a certain message. – Ynet


A joint Turkish-U.S. operation center to establish and manage a safe zone in northeast Syria is fully operational, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Saturday by the state-owned Anadolu news agency. – Reuters

A car bomb exploded in the rebel-held Syrian city of Idlib on Saturday, a war monitor and opposition news channel said, as air strikes hit its outskirts in a government offensive on the last major opposition bastion. – Reuters

Syrian troops on Friday reclaimed a cluster of towns they had lost early in the eight-year-old war, pressing their offensive in the northwest, the country’s last big rebel stronghold. – Reuters

A senior Revolutionary Guards commander denied on Sunday that Iranian targets had been hit in Israeli air strikes in Syria, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported. – Reuters

The US airstrikes failed to deter President Bashar al-Assad from continuing his campaign of brutality of course. And now, for the first time in five years, the Syrian army has entered the northwestern town, strategically located on a highway connecting the capital Damascus to Aleppo, as Assad bombs with impunity in an attempt to end the brutal eight-year civil war. – CNN


Yet there are mounting fears among Turkey’s 30,000-strong Uighur community that this commitment is weakening, and that Ankara is willing to put aside its differences with China to expand economic ties. – Financial Times

Turkey’s official news agency is reporting that three Turkish soldiers were killed in northern Iraq in clashes with Kurdish militants. – Associated Press

Öztürk refers to this matter alongside diplomatic disputes between the U.S. and Turkey, including those related to the Patriot missile system and the F-35 fighter jet, and in doing so seeks to blame the actions of this one individual on NATO. – Middle East Media Research Institute


Israel said it struck a military site in Syria to prevent planned attacks from Iranian forces, raising the risk of a clash with Tehran amid a broader Israeli campaign to counter the military activities of the Islamic Republic. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said on Sunday an air strike against an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria that it accused of planning “killer drone attacks” showed Tehran that its forces were vulnerable anywhere. – Reuters

Israeli air strikes hit a military position belonging to a Palestinian group in Lebanon, near the Syrian border, early on Monday, a security source and Lebanon’s An-Nahar news said. – Reuters

Israeli aircraft carried out multiple strikes on Hamas military positions early Monday in the Gaza Strip after three rockets were launched from the territory into southern Israel. – Associated Press

Israel and the Islamist group Hamas have no desire to go to war despite an uptick in violence, the Qatari envoy who helped mediate a truce between the sides along the volatile Gaza border, said on Saturday. – Reuters

Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday said Israeli security forces has apprehended the the terrorists behind Friday’s deadly bombing attack in the central West Bank, in which a 17-year-old girl was killed and her father and brother were seriously wounded. – Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration might release its Middle East peace plan before Israel’s elections in September, reversing earlier statements that it would wait until after the election re-do to unveil the long-delayed proposal. – Times of Israel

The Ministry of Social Development in the Gaza Strip on Saturday published on its website the names of Palestinian beneficiaries of Qatari cash grants. – Jerusalem Post

Israel reduced by fifty percent the amount of fuel which it will allow into Gaza as a response to Sunday night’s rocket fire against Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, threatened Israel on Sunday after the Jewish state thwarted a planned Iranian drone attack. – Arutz Sheva

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday spoke with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself from threats from Iran. – Arutz Sheva

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister has denied reports that the government has suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine [UNRWA]. It was initially reported by NGO Israel Institute for New Zealand [IINZ] that following a report that found “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses, the Foreign Ministry of New Zealand had suspended payments.  – Jerusalem Post

Amos Yadlin writes: All options require the Hamas military wing to be weakened substantially but also require Israel to adopt an entirely new military and political approach that is different from the one it used five years ago the last major conflict in Gaza. – Ynet


Israel recently struck a weapons depot in Iraq it believed Iran was using to move weapons to Syria, expanding its campaign to target Tehran’s military presence in the Middle East, a U.S. official said. – Wall Street Journal

Two unidentified drones killed two Iraqi members of an Iran-backed paramilitary force on Sunday, the group said in a statement, saying the attack took place in Iraq near the border with Syria. – Associated Press

Police in Iraq say Islamic State militants have fired mortar rounds at a soccer field near a Shiite shrine, killing six civilians and wounding nine others. – Associated Press

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: This latest incident shows the war on Iran’s attempt to establish a military presence in Iraq isn’t over. It also shows that the Revolutionary Guard – which is no doubt enraged by its vulnerability to Israeli intelligence-gathering methods – will no doubt keeping trying to carry out revenge attacks on Israeli targets, but using different techniques. – Ynet

Arabian Peninsula

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen moved on Monday to work out a ceasefire as nominal allies in the south of the country turned on each other in a power struggle that has fractured the military alliance. – Reuters

Yemen’s southern separatists declared a ceasefire in their clashes with government forces in the oil-producing province of Shabwa after two days of fighting. – Reuters

Yemeni officials say clashes between government forces and separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates have killed at least nine people. – Associated Press

Saudi-led coalition forces intercepted and downed two Houthi drones launched toward the kingdom from Yemen, state TV and state news agency quoted coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki as saying early on Monday. – Reuters

A Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthis intercepted and destroyed six ballistic missiles fired by the Iran-aligned group targeting civilians in Jizan, southwest of the kingdom, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Sunday. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged Monday to keep their floundering coalition war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels together after an Emirati troop pullout and the rise of the southern separatists they supported. – Associated Press

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis attacked Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport with drones on Sunday, the group’s Al Masirah TV said citing the group’s military spokesman. – Jerusalem Post

Charles “Sam” Faddis writes: It is often said in the Middle East that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Viewing the alliance now taking form, perhaps we are seeing just how true that adage is as Riyadh, Tel Aviv, and Washington align to oppose Tehran — and maybe, just maybe, to save the Middle East. – The Hill

Middle East & North Africa

From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. – Associated Press

The UK’s Ministry of Defense announced that the HMS Defender would be deployed to the Gulf of Oman to join two other British warships. It will join the Royal Navy’s efforts to support the safe passage of shipping in the Middle East, the Royal Navy said Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

A missile hit the car park of Libya’s only functioning airport in Tripoli on Saturday, forcing flights to be grounded for almost three hours before operations resumed, the airport and a witness said. – Reuters

Neither side officially acknowledged the worst-kept secret of the North African state’s civil war: as the opponents face a stalemate on the ground, their backers in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are engaged in an aerial campaign that’s seen them target each other’s unmanned planes in a bid to determine Libya’s future in their favor. – Bloomberg

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off the country’s east coast, Seoul officials said, as the Kim regime continues testing weapons despite telling President Trump the provocations would stop. – Wall Street Journal

South Korea on Sunday kicked off its biannual military exercises aimed at demonstrating control over a set of islets that are the source of a territorial dispute with Japan, a move that was likely to heighten tensions between Washington’s two key Asian allies. – New York Times

The specter of radioactive sushi on menus at the Tokyo Olympics is a new front in an increasingly vindictive spat between South Korea and Japan, two U.S. allies that can’t seem to get along. – Washington Post

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a high-tech rocket system, state media reported Sunday, prompting criticism from US President Donald Trump, who said he was “not happy” with the latest launch. – Agence FrancePresse

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed their differences over the seriousness of North Korea’s series of short-range missile launches on Sunday, while maintaining that they would remain in synch on the issue. – Reuters

The head of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific has suggested that a recent Russian-Chinese air patrol may be an attempt to divide regional partners. The event resulted in warning shots fired by intercepting South Korean jets. […]The patrol saw a pair of Russian Tupolev Tu-95 long-range bombers and a similar number of Chinese Xi’an H-6K bombers fly over international airspace between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, triggering interceptions by South Korean and Japanese fighter jets as they entered the air defense identification zone of both U.S. allies. – Defense News

President Trump struck an upbeat, yet cautious tone about Kim Jong Un after North Korea’s latest missile launch early Saturday morning local time. – Washington Examiner

The U.S. said that South Korea’s decision to pull out of an intelligence-sharing deal with Japan endangers American troops — an usually blunt criticism of one of Washington’s closest allies. – Bloomberg


Aides to President Trump said Sunday he has no plans to invoke emergency powers and force companies to relocate operations from China, two days after his Friday tweet that they were “hereby ordered” to look for alternative locations. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump said China called U.S. officials on Sunday evening and said “let’s get back to the table,” a day after the White House said the president regretted not escalating tariffs further on Chinese goods. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and China raised tariffs on one another Friday, exchanging salvos in the growing trade war between the world’s two largest economies. – Wall Street Journal

Meng Wanzhou was detained by immigration officials in Vancouver shortly after stepping off a Cathay Pacific plane with a companion last Dec. 1 and questioned for three hours before being told she was being arrested. […]They also asked her about her role as chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., including its business in Iran. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump on Friday lashed out personally at Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him an “enemy” in a dramatic escalation of rhetoric that could signal a deeper shift in his administration’s increasingly confrontational strategy toward China. – Washington Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday offered rare face-to-face criticism about the U.S. trade war with China to President Trump, but it was presented so gently that Trump may barely have registered it. – Washington Post

President Donald Trump signaled Sunday that he may be having regrets over his trade war with China, but the White House backtracked a few hours later and said he had been misunderstood. – USA Today

Recent photos reveal the construction of China’s largest amphibious assault ship is progressing at a shipyard in the metropolis of Shanghai, as the country strives to plug gaps in its military’s amphibious capabilities. – Defense News

China is “seriously making” preparations for relations with the U.S. to deteriorate, according to Global Times’ editor-in-chief Hu Xijin. – Bloomberg

Josh Rogin writes: The bottom line is that Trump and Europe must make up and find a way to get along, at least for the next year and maybe for four more years after that. There will be no joint statement at this year’s G-7 because there’s no consensus on what the G-7 stands for. But China’s economic aggression is exactly the kind of generational challenge the G-7 was designed to confront. – Washington Post

Mark Penn writes: Trump is right to take on the Chinese. He is wrong to allow it to become a reality show on Twitter. That’s the art of being a president and not a verbal bomb-throwing candidate. We are all wrong in taking Twitter as seriously as we do, but that has been fueled by a president and members of the media who react to every tweet as though it is actual policy in the absence of a clear definition of policy and a full explanation of that policy. – The Hill


Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday publicly warned President Trump against a full or precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, days ahead of an unofficial Sept. 1 deadline for a deal. – Washington Post

As 10 months of U.S.-Taliban peace talks enter their final stage, President Ashraf Ghani is doubling down on his determination to hold a presidential election in five weeks, as scheduled, while aides are hurriedly prepping negotiators to meet with Taliban leaders even sooner if a deal is reached with U.S. officials. – Washington Post

For the young women at Zan TV they are relics, a reminder of a Taliban-ruled past that few of them can recall. Their generation is the most vulnerable, and perhaps the most defiant, as the United States and the Taliban near a deal on ending America’s longest war. Worried about losing what they’ve gained over nearly two decades, they are demanding a voice in high-level talks to determine their country’s future. – Associated Press

James Jay Carafano writes: Whatever deal the peace negotiations may produce, the U.S. must assure that it retains the capacity and capability to continue to support the Afghan military, to promote a fair and transparent political process, and to hunt and kill global terrorists. – Fox News

Robin Simcox writes: ISIS-K presents an ongoing regional threat. It has grown in recent years, carried out a series of attacks in Afghanistan, been linked to attacks in Europe, and caused some in the U.S. government and military to worry that it wants to do the same in America. These are legitimate concerns. The best way to prevent them from coming to pass is to ensure that, even as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, it can continue to conduct counterterrorism operations there. – Heritage Foundation

South Asia

At least 100,000 Rohingya refugees rallied in camps in Bangladesh on Sunday, marking two years since the start of a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar that forced more than 730,000 to flee across the border. – Reuters

Through sanctions and other pressure, Myanmar’s powerful military leaders are feeling the sting of U.S. anger over the atrocities that began in 2017, the officials argue. – Politico

Editorial: The United Nations has set a clear road map for how to move forward. The United States has already imposed sanctions on several top generals, including Min Aung Hlain. But the U.N. reports show that more could be done, including penalties and a boycott of the Tatmadaw’s economic base, especially the firms that operate outside the country. Two years after a wave of fire and violence consumed the Rohingya, there has been too much impunity and too little accountability. – Washington Post

Sadanand Dhume writes: China’s rise as an economic and technological superpower – a near peer competitor to the long-dominant United States – will stress test India’s democratic experiment like never before. […]In 1947, few pundits favoured India’s odds of surviving as a vibrant, multi-lingual and multi-religious democracy. It may well continue to beat the odds, but only if democrats acknowledge the insidious appeal of authoritarianism instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist. – Times of India


Inspired by an effort 30 years ago in the Baltic states that called for the end of Soviet rule, tens of thousands in Hong Kong on Friday held hands under the night sky to form a human chain snaking 27 miles across the territory, in a vigil against an increasingly authoritarian China intent on clamping down against their protest movement. – Washington Post

An employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has been freed after being detained in China for 15 days. – Wall Street Journal

Scan the pro-democracy demonstrations roiling Hong Kong this summer, and you will likely spot a few American flags flapping in the teargas-laden air. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump said Sunday the U.S. and Japan had reached a trade deal “in principle” that would pave the way for more U.S. farm exports to Japan, while dropping the threat of increased U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese state media gave one of its strongest warnings yet of a possible military intervention in Hong Kong, even though analysts said such a move remained a last resort. – Bloomberg

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves. – Associated Press

San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20) transited the Taiwan Strait Friday morning at a time of increased trade tensions between the U.S. and China. – USNI News

Tom Rogan writes: In contrast to the Beijing-offered-story of ample room for mutual compromise, events in Hong Kong suggest that China will seek maximal control in minimal time. The Taiwanese, accustomed to living in freedom, aren’t terribly keen on becoming puppets to Xi Jinping’s empire. As president, Tsai is also aware of the inherent security challenge that China poses to Taiwan and those that attempt to assist it. She has good reason to be skeptical of Xi’s pledges of friendship. – Washington Examiner

Ben Bland writes:  It furthers the central government’s political objectives in Hong Kong and sets an example for other companies to follow. If China pursues this approach, however, it will be highly damaging not just for foreign investors but for the mainland’s own economy. […]While Chinese leaders love to talk about win-win cooperation, a campaign to demand loyalty from foreign companies is likely to be a lose-lose enterprise. – Bloomberg

Nicholas Szechenyi writes: The distaste Trump has for multilateral institutions and disagreements with other leaders on global issues could make for a contentious G-7 summit. Some observers expect a repeat of the “six plus one” dynamic last year with Trump on the defensive. But for Japan, the “one plus one” bilateral meeting on the sidelines presents an important opportunity to discuss issues related to global norms. The optics in France might not prove favorable, but the summit could still serve as a venue for Japan to demonstrate a sustained commitment to engaging the United States on ways to shape the principles that should underpin the international order. – The Hill


President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian government agencies Friday to prepare a “symmetric response” to a recent U.S. missile test. – Washington Post

Paul Whelan, the 49-year-old American who was arrested here eight months ago on suspicion of being a spy, was told by a judge Friday that he will have to spend another two months in jail while prosecutors continue their pretrial investigation. – Washington Post

The president of the European Council on Saturday rebuffed Donald Trump’s suggestion that Russia be readmitted to the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies, saying there were even more reasons than before for keeping Moscow out. – Reuters

Russia test-fired Sineva and Bulava ballistic missiles from two submarines from the polar region of the Arctic Ocean and from the Barents Sea on Saturday as part of combat training, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. – Reuters

Luke Coffey and Alexis Mrachek write: The G7 is an organization that allows like-minded democracies to work together to tackle many of the world’s major problems. Putin has not demonstrated that he can be a trusted partner, and President Trump is wrong to say that Russia should be allowed back in the club at this time. […]But it can only re-enter the G7 once it demonstrates that it is a responsible and collegiate actor on the international stage. This is unlikely to occur while Putin is in power. – Heritage Foundation


President Trump clashed with world leaders over the U.S. trade war with China and a host of foreign-policy issues at a Group of Seven summit that showed his isolation on the world stage. – Wall Street Journal

The Group of Seven summit got off to a turbulent start Saturday as U.S. officials privately criticized President Emmanuel Macron for his handling of the meeting after the French leader invited President Trump to an impromptu lunch to press him on issues ranging from Iran to the fires in the Amazon. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump might not get to buy Greenland for the United States. But under his watch, the State Department may try to expand its diplomatic presence there, by opening a U.S. consulate on the island for the first time in decades. – Washington Post

Donald Trump wants to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain “within a year”, Boris Johnson has said. – Telegraph

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to tell European Union leaders he will withhold 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) from the Brexit divorce bill unless they agree to changes to the deal, the Mail on Sunday reported. – Reuters

Boris Johnson on Sunday played down expectations of concluding a quick UK-US trade deal after his first meeting as British prime minister with Donald Trump, saying any agreement would require America to make compromises. – Financial Times

Lawrence Kudlow writes: G-7 leaders should again take a hard look at the U.S. economy and ask why we succeed while they stagnate. The formula isn’t a secret: G-7 leaders should lift up their citizens by adopting economic policies that deliver jobs, prosperity and growth by reducing high tax rates and crippling regulation. At the same time, we all must confront the unprecedented structural challenges to the global economy posed by China’s unfair trade practices, forced technology transfer, intellectual-property theft, and state-directed economic activities, which continue to destabilize the industrialized world. – Wall Street Journal

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez writes: The EU is faced with serious risks. Its survival depends largely on whether the bloc can pull itself out of the long and frustrating political lethargy into which it has been plunged during the past 10 years. It must begin to take agile, pragmatic and intelligent political and economic decisions. Above all, its future depends on who is the winner of the US elections next year. The most important condition for the EU to survive may not be the outcome of Brexit, but whether Mr Trump leaves the White House next year. – Financial Times

Iain King writes: As President Trump and President Duda of Poland celebrate the heroism of the soldiers who confronted the Nazi menace in 1939, they would do well to remember the sinister strongman diplomacy which unleashed Hitler’s aggression. […]As we encounter examples of disdain for democracy and the rules-based international order today, we can only hope transatlantic leaders will recognize the danger signs and work to prevent a repeat of past mistakes. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

United States

A slate of recent setbacks to some of President Trump’s key foreign policy goals is threatening to muddy his reelection message. – The Hill

The move is the latest example of Trump shattering diplomatic norms by lashing out at traditional allies, a tendency that has stunned foreign policy experts. […]Here’s a look at the allied countries that have incited Trump’s wrath since he took office. – The Hill

Liat Collins writes: Throughout the saga, I wavered between thinking it would be best to let the two US representatives visit and see Israel for themselves, to thinking that advocating the boycott of a country and then requesting to visit it takes a special kind of nerve. Ultimately, as far as Tlaib and Omar were concerned, this was never meant to be a fact-finding trip but an ego trip. Tlaib’s memory lane is a very selective one. – Jerusalem Post


Huawei expects its consumer business revenue to fall by at least $10bn this year due to a US ban that blocks the Chinese technology powerhouse from purchasing critical US components including semiconductors. – Financial Times

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed Huawei and 5G technology at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a G7 summit in France on Sunday, the White House said. – Reuters

The Air Force will create a new organization under Air Combat Command (ACC) charged with information warfare operations, aimed at countering Russian (and to a lesser extent Chinese) hacking and disinformation activities that fall below the threshold of conflict. This marks the second military service to declare a major push on information warfare this week, with the Army stepping out two days ago. – Breaking Defense


During a Thursday ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Adm. John Richardson transferred the highest uniformed office in the sea service to Adm. Michael Gilday, who was deep-selected from the three-star ranks to become the next chief of naval operations. – Defense News

Boeing beat out an unnamed company to win a contract to continue building the replacement wings necessary to keep about 100 A-10 Warthog attack planes flying into the early 2030s. – Defense News

After years of delays, a new, modernized ground system for GPS satellites is on schedule for a June 2021 delivery, Raytheon leaders said. – C4ISRNET

Shooters from Army cooks to snipers will see sweeping changes to their marksmanship training, whether they’re toting the newest handgun, carbine, rifle, sniper rifle or machine gun. – Army Times

The Navy has taken a big step toward pushing all of its data and analytics functions onto the cloud, setting the stage for the transition from disconnected and dispersed networks and databases into a single cloud-based system. – Breaking Defense

A small community of people at the southern tip of Texas just received what some of its residents are calling a “shocking” and “concerning” warning about SpaceX’s upcoming launch attempt of a Mars rocket ship prototype. – Business Insider

Long War

Still, he also has Canadian citizenship, through his Ontario-born father. And now he wants to come “home.” Which is presenting a problem for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Letts, 24, traveled five years ago to Syria, where he is alleged to have joined the Islamic State. He was captured by the Kurds in 2017, dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media, and is among the thousands of suspected foreign fighters being held in Kurdish prisons in northeastern Syria. – Washington Post

Australia will block access to internet domains hosting terrorist material during crisis events and will consider legislation to force digital platforms to improve the safety of their services, officials said on Sunday. – Reuters

Seth Frantzman writes: Eastern Syria sits at the crossroads of critical policy decisions in Washington. The region is at the center of an escalating crisis in U.S.-Turkey relations, while maintaining America’s presence there blocks Iranian and Russian gains in Syria. It also is key to keeping ISIS defeated. Washington should see eastern Syria as one of the most important strategic pieces of “real estate” to emerge out of the last half-decade of conflict in the Middle East. – The Daily Beast