Fdd's overnight brief

August 26, 2020

In The News


The United Nations Security Council won’t act on a U.S. bid to reimpose multilateral sanctions against Iran, its president said Tuesday, following a near-unanimous rejection of Washington’s standing to do so. – Wall Street Journal 

Rafael Grossi, the Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Tuesday during his visit to Iran that the agency is working on reaching an agreement on the nuclear watchdog’s oversight capabilities in Iran. – Radio Farda 

Iran vowed to expand its cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors weeks after being rebuked by the body for failing to provide access to two sites suspected of hosting past nuclear activity. – Bloomberg 

Recently, Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), gave two speeches to commanders of the IRGC and its Qods Force, which is responsible for operations outside Iran. In the speeches, he explained the essence of the IRGC and of the Qods Force. In both, Salami, who is known for his flowery rhetoric, fulsomely praised the uniqueness of the IRGC, in an attempt to fill his men’s hearts with pride. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Dozens of lawmakers in Iran have signed a motion to replace foreign messaging apps with domestically produced ones. The proposal titled as the motion for “Organizing Social Media Messaging,” was presented to the parliament’s presidium on Monday, August 24. – Radio Farda 

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has urged Britain and other EU states to end what he described as their “outrageous and absurd” support for the Iran nuclear deal. – The Guardian 

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his Iranian counterpart he was concerned about what he called Iran’s destabilising activities in the region, Le Drian’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The US envoy to the UN on Tuesday told the Security Council that the recently-announced normalization accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates would help contain Iran. – Algemeiner

Former Iranian national soccer team manager and player Mohammad Mayeli-Kohan was interviewed on the Big Campaign, an Iranian online TV show hosted by Karim Bagheri, who also used to be a member of the Iranian national soccer team. Mayeli-Kohan said that Iran cannot live by itself and that as a member of the United Nations, it must respect the other members states and cannot call for the destruction of a “certain country.” The Iranian Athletes’ Basij issued a condemnation of these statements. The show was uploaded to the internet on August 18, 2020. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

A.J. Caschetta writes: Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spent a good portion of the summer propagandizing about racial injustice in the U.S., as part of a decades-old effort to divert attention from Iran’s problems and from his own cruel and incompetent government. […]But he is not interested in truth or constructive dialogue. He is, however, very interested in provoking animosity among Americans. – Newsweek 

Peter Suciu writes: Iran is going down a road other “isolated” nations have been forced to travel—developing a local way to produce weapons. This is because western sanctions and arms embargoes that have been directed against Iran have only served to create a vacuum that the country’s nascent has struggled to fill. Iran has what can be described as an enthusiastic, if not quite cutting-edge military-industrial complex. Now it is beginning to take the first step toward being an arms supplier—something that could be a concern to the stability in the Middle East and beyond. – The National Interest


A Russian armoured vehicle was attacked during a joint Russian-Turkish patrol in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, Russia’s Defence Ministry said, according to the Interfax news agency, adding that two servicemen had been injured. – Reuters 

More than a month after the Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite was launched into space, the Defense Ministry has published the first photos taken by the advanced satellite over the ancient Syrian city of Tadmor close to where Iranian forces are known to operate. – Jerusalem Post 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad designated Hussein Arnous to form a new government, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, following a parliamentary election in July. – Reuters


Turkey’s largest-ever natural gas discovery in the Black Sea could lead to new cooperation with Russia and Iran even as it aims to be a producer and not just a buyer, Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Turkey and Greece were set to hold separate naval drills in the same region of the eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday, escalating tensions over overlapping resource claims ahead of talks in Athens and Ankara by Germany’s top diplomat. – Reuters

Turkey is determined to do whatever is necessary to obtain its rights in the Black Sea, Aegean and Mediterranean, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. – Reuters

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas appealed to NATO allies Greece and Turkey on Tuesday to enter a dialogue and de-escalate military tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, warning of an “abyss” if their dispute is not resolved peacefully. – Associated Press 

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Greece must abandon its “maximalist approach” and pre-conditions for dialogue to begin over disputed offshore Mediterranean resources, adding Ankara expects the EU to act as an “honest and objective” mediator. – Reuters

The United States said on Tuesday it strongly objected to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s recent hosting of two leaders of Hamas in Istanbul, prompting a swift riposte from Ankara. – Reuters

Editorial: Ankara’s work with Tehran goes directly against US sanctions. It’s time for countries to call out this hypocrisy. Turkey claims that the US has worked with Kurdish militant groups in Syria while Ankara hosts Hamas terror masterminds. Regimes like Erdogan’s only respond to strength. Appeasing them will only invite more threats throughout the Mediterranean. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Turkey deserves designation no matter what, but if Trump loses the election, Pompeo can bolster U.S. interests and cement his own legacy by designating Turkey during his lame-duck period in order to allow Biden to escape the direct ramifications. Biden can try soft diplomacy or his own version of “maximum pressure,” but if Turkish diplomats want to remove themselves from the list, there should be only one consideration: an end to Ankara’s relationship with terrorists and terror groups. – Washington Examiner 

Gönül Tol and Rauf Mammadov write: Erdogan’s carefully choreographed announcement, which he dropped a hint about a few days ahead of time, has not produced the expected results. His comment earlier in the week that he had good news to deliver on Friday lifted the Turkish lira from the week’s record low, but it quickly lost the gains against the dollar after the details emerged. Economists warn that the find is not going solve Erdogan and Turkey’s economic woes. – Middle East Institute


The Israeli military said it exchanged fire with Hezbollah fighters along the Lebanese border late Tuesday, a flare-up of recent tensions that led authorities to temporarily close roads and order residents of nearby communities to stay in their homes. There were no casualties among its forces, the military said. – Washington Post 

The Gaza Strip has been under degrees of lockdown since 2007, when Israel and Egypt imposed blockades after the militant group Hamas took control of the impoverished Palestinian territory. The same conditions that make life a daily struggle there, and that have obstructed even the most basic preparations for the looming threat of a coronavirus outbreak, have perhaps made it harder for the virus to find a toehold. That could be about to change. – Washington Post 

Israel may not accept a potential American deal to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, spiking tensions just days after a historic Arab-Israeli agreement. – CNBC 

Israeli warplanes bombed Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday in response to Palestinians in the enclave launching incendiary balloons towards Israel, the military said. – Reuters

Amid reports of progress in negotiations to end tensions between Israel and Hamas, Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi was expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night for talks with leaders of Palestinian factions on ways of preventing a further deterioration of the situation. – Jerusalem Post 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas criticized what he called “the illusion of peace for peace” during a meeting with United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, according to the PA official WAFA news agency. – Times of Israel

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) and Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen on Tuesday morning met British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is currently visiting Israel. – Arutz Sheva

Seth J. Frantzman writes: If Israel and the UAE can quickly surmount the F-35 issue, then they will be able to move towards a wider regional strategic consensus on several issues. But if the issue continues to cause controversy, then the UAE may wonder if it got everything it wanted from this agreement. – The National Interest


A Lebanese man convicted in the 2005 killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri was part of a dedicated hit squad that carried out at least four other assassinations under orders from the militant group Hezbollah, current and former security officials said, citing previously undisclosed intelligence about the case. – Washington Post 

Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s former premier close to Saudi Arabia, said he doesn’t want to be nominated to form a new government and that his party will name someone suitable for the post during consultations with the president. – Bloomberg 

Lebanon’s leaders should not use the explosion that destroyed parts of Beirut earlier this month as an excuse to hide the reality that the country was on the edge of a precipice, France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

This desert kingdom is pushing ahead with multibillion-dollar plans to build a spate of new cities despite the coronavirus pandemic and depressed oil prices, betting that projects closely associated with the crown prince will kick-start its economic recovery. – Wall Street Journal 

Yemen’s southern separatists have suspended their participation in consultations on a power-sharing deal for the south, known as the “Riyadh agreement”, a Southern Transitional Council (STC) statement said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Al-Qaeda blew up a medical center in war-torn Yemen on Tuesday, 10 days after executing a dentist it accused of guiding US drone strikes against its militants. – Defense Post 

Saudi authorities have severed contact between some of the kingdom’s most prominent detainees and their families, escalating a crackdown on dissent that threatens to strain relations with Western allies. – Bloomberg 

Yemen’s aid response is so poorly funded this year due to competing demands such as the coronavirus pandemic, and longstanding donor concerns about local authorities’ interference in aid distribution. Five years of war have killed more than 100,000 people, and left 80% of the population reliant on aid and millions on the brink of famine. – Reuters

Gulf States

Jared Kushner will be among a delegation of U.S. officials who will travel from Israel to the United Arab Emirates in the first commercial flight between the two Middle Eastern countries. – Washington Examiner 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will hold closed-door meetings Wednesday with Bahrain’s royal family and top officials in the United Arab Emirates amid the Trump administration’s push for Arab nations to recognize Israel. – Associated Press 

Top UAE and Israeli defence officials on Tuesday held their first publicly-acknowledged phone call since their countries’ agreement to normalise ties, officials said, heralding possible security cooperation. – Reuters


Germany and Malta have urged Turkey and rival European and regional powers to de-escalate their dispute over maritime territory and energy resources that risks destabilising the Mediterranean region. – Financial Times

Bobby Ghosh writes: Cease-fire negotiations, once they begin, will be difficult and time-consuming — even assuming Haftar doesn’t sabotage prospects of peace, as he has done before. Saleh will need all the help he can get from the international community, and a large quantity of the commodity Libya has most lacked: luck. – Bloomberg 

Anas El Gomati and Ben Fishman write: Libya’s recent history of failed ceasefires and diminished confidence in peacemaking gives Washington extra incentive to seize this opportunity and reestablish itself as a trusted mediator. That requires persistent diplomatic effort by the White House and State Department, along with targeted support from elements of the Treasury and Defense Departments to maximize the effectiveness of sanctions and expose violations of the arms embargo. – Washington Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

The Trump administration sought on Tuesday to test the waters to determine if it can persuade other Arab and Muslim countries to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel after a breakthrough agreement by the United Arab Emirates to open normal ties. – New York Times

The fanfare and talk of history that surrounded this month’s decision by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to pursue peace quickly gave way to acrimony that’s testing the pact’s limits. And as is often the case in the Middle East, the bone of contention is military superiority. – Bloomberg 

Regional coordination and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were the central topics at a trilateral summit between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq on Tuesday. Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi “reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause,” at the summit, stressing that the conflict must be resolved according to international law, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. – Jerusalem Post

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani on Tuesday appeared to walk back his comments in which he said his country would not normalize relations with Israel, Times of Israel reports. – Arutz Sheva

Alberto M. Fernandez writes: Absent a successful popular and violent uprising in Lebanon or Iraq against the Iranian satrapy – an outcome that seems very unlikely – the key to ending Iranian control of those states lies inside Iran itself, with the fall of that regime. In the meantime, keeping our objectives as hardnosed and tangible as possible seems the best choice. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Madelyn Johnson and Eliza Campbell write: The policies of humanitarian institutions reverberate beyond humanitarian settings and will influence technology practices across the Middle East. By ensuring that responsible policies are in place, aid organizations set an important precedent that will prevent future breaches of privacy and violations of human rights by other humanitarian and government actors. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

In a year that once looked primed for outward provocation through its weapons program, North Korea has instead turned inward in recent months. Pyongyang in recent weeks has reshuffled its leadership and made a rare admission of defeat on its five-year economic policy. – Wall Street Journal 

Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong is effectively running one of the most important political bodies in North Korea, officials in Seoul believe, according to South Korea’s defense minister. – CNN 

A new mystery submarine has been spotted in satellite photographs taken of a North Korean shipyard amid recent reports that the Hermit Kingdom has been building a submersible that can launch nukes, according to a report. – New York post


When Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell told China’s ambassador that the Houston consulate must close within 72 hours, he delivered a related message: Remove all Chinese military researchers now in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal 

First came the notices that Chinese officials had declared a “wartime” state. Then the authorities started going door to door, sealing off apartments and warning residents to stay inside. – New York Times 

Beijing alleged that a U.S. spy plane entered a no-fly zone it had designated over an area where the Chinese military was conducting live-fire drills, condemning the overflight as a provocative act. – Wall Street Journal 

The Trump administration is considering officially classifying the treatment of China’s Uighur Muslim minority by the Chinese government as a genocide, two administration officials told Politico. – The Hill 

A senior Chinese diplomat on Wednesday likened Australia’s call for an inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic to the betrayal of Roman dictator Julius Caesar in a Shakespearean tragedy for the benefit of the United States. – Associated Press

Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging on its obligations to buy American goods, giving a boost to financial markets on Tuesday. – Reuters

Italy and China need to forge closer ties, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday, potentially putting Rome at odds with Washington, which has raised alarm over Beijing’s economic ambitions. – Reuters

A top Chinese diplomat in Australia warned against a “shadow” over the two nations’ ties on Wednesday, saying that Beijing was disappointed by a Chinese firm’s failure to win Australian regulatory approval for a takeover deal. – Reuters

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday warned that the U.S. is muddying Beijing’s relationship with Europe. Speaking in Rome, where he met Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Wang said “external inference” — a veiled reference to the U.S., which he did not mention by name — was disrupting relations between China and Europe and said it was “in both of our interests to dispel such interferences.” – Politico

An economic decoupling of the U.S. and China is “a long way away,” but moving away from a U.S.-centric system certainly appeals to Beijing, said Eswar Prasad, previously head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. – CNBC

Thomas L. Friedman writes: The great grand strategy chess move of the 1970s was Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger building an alliance between China and America to contain the Soviet Union. The great grand strategy chess move today is building an alliance between the United States and Germany to counterbalance China. – New York Times 

Brahma Chellaney writes: As long as Xi perceives the strategic benefits as outweighing the international costs, he will persist with his campaign of expansionism. But he is already sowing the seeds of an international backlash. Such a pushback will likely constrict China’s choices, making his “Chinese dream” more difficult to realize. – The Hill 

Riley Walters writes: A silver lining from China’s growing need for food imports is the U.S.-China Phase One deal. The increased demand for food may help U.S. farmers who are hoping China can live up to the additional $12.5 billion in agriculture purchases Beijing has promised to make this year.  Although the current crisis is unlikely to get as bad as China’s famine in the 1950s that saw as many as 30 million die under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, the increasing prices and excessive crackdown on food consumption doesn’t bode well for China’s internal political stability. – The Daily Signal


Taliban insurgents set off a truck bomb on Tuesday in an attack on Afghan army commandos, killing three people and wounding 41, the defence ministry said, despite steps towards peace talks with the U.S.-backed government. – Reuters 

A Taliban-claimed suicide attack killed at least three people in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday as neighbouring Pakistan pushed for delayed peace talks to begin. – Agence France-Presse

A prominent female Afghan film director who is also an actress and senior police officer was recovering from bullet wounds on Wednesday after unidentified gunmen shot her as she was being driven through the capital, Kabul, her husband said. – Reuters

South Asia

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) charged 19 people, including 7 Pakistani nationals, on Tuesday over a deadly bomb attack on a security convoy in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir last year. – Reuters

If talks with China fail, General Bipin Rawat believes that India has ‘military options’ at its disposal that it can exercise. However, experts don’t think that it will be along the existing hotspots between India and China in Ladakh. – Business Insider

Aaron Stein and Robert Hamilton write: There is a pathway to try and overcome this issue, but it will require creative thinking to verify the non-deployment and highly circumscribed use of the S-400. The Pakistan F-16 model is a realistic option and could provide a way to overcome a problem that can be solved with a mixture of technical cooperation and an onsite presence. – War on the Rocks  


Brenton Tarrant, the gunman who massacred dozens of people at two New Zealand mosques last year, indicated Wednesday that he would not speak personally in his defense after hearing face-to-face testimony from surviving victims and relatives of those killed in his rampage. – Washington Post 

Two Hong Kong opposition politicians known for protesting against the city’s China-backed administration were among 16 people arrested on Wednesday, according to police, in the latest blow to the pro-democracy movement. – Bloomberg 

Four prominent Thai anti-government activists answered summonses at a Bangkok police station on Tuesday, the latest in a series of legal moves by the authorities to clamp down on protests that are the most serious challenge yet to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s administration. – Associated Press 

Taiwan will not allow Chinese companies to “pull a fast one” by using indirect methods to bypass rules and regulations to operate in the island’s market, Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Chinese businesses like Huawei Technologies Co pose a threat to the West, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law said on a visit to Italy on Tuesday, shortly before the Italian foreign minister was due to meet China’s top diplomat. – Reuters

Vietnam on Wednesday accused China of violating its sovereignty by conducting military drills in a disputed part of the South China Sea and said Beijing’s actions were “complicating” negotiations on establishing a code of conduct in the region. – Reuters 

Numerous Chinese and U.S. military exercises, Taiwan missiles tracking Chinese fighters and plummeting China-U.S. ties make for a heady cocktail of tension that is raising fears of conflict touched off by a crisis over Taiwan. – Reuters

Malaysia is moving ahead with its plans to acquire much-needed manned and unmanned aircraft to enhance maritime security, with the Southeast Asian country announcing that it will be issuing separate tenders for each type. – Defense News 

Joseph Bosco writes: But Taiwan wants to avoid a war on its soil even more than America does. For that matter, China does not want war, either — it just wants to threaten it so that Taiwan and the U.S. will surrender the democracy and independence of 24 million free Taiwanese. America’s political leaders must make clear to Beijing that we will do “whatever it takes” to prevent that from happening, and stop tempting it with the ambiguity that only invites strategic miscalculation and calamity. – The Hill


The Kremlin said it had no involvement in the sudden illness of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and questioned the assertion by German doctors that he was poisoned, pushing back against demands from Western leaders for an inquiry into the latest suspected attack against a critic of President Vladimir Putin. – Wall Street Journal 

Alexei Navalny, 44, is Russia’s best-known opposition leader. He has been comatose since last week, when he fell ill after boarding a flight in Siberia. After a standoff with Russian doctors, he was evacuated to Berlin for medical treatment. – Washington Post 

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday ordered one of its committees to probe whether foreign forces were behind the alleged poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a bid to fuel tensions in Russia. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said he was “deeply concerned” by initial findings that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned, and endorsed a European Union-led investigation into the circumstances of his illness. – Reuters

Alexei A. Navalny, the anti-corruption fighter and a leading figure in the opposition to Vladimir Putin was flown to Berlin for treatment on Saturday August 22, 2020. He had fallen into a coma in Siberia two days previously after becoming ill aboard a flight from Siberia to Moscow. […]The timing was in the runup to nationwide local elections where in some regions the hold of the ruling United Russia Party is tenuous. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Mason Clark and George Barros write: President Alexander Lukashenko effectively dispersed limited protests on August 25. Belarusian security forces dispersed protests across Belarus on August 25. Lukashenko resumed dispersing protests on August 24, but Belarusian security forces have not used violence against protesters since August 13. NEXTA’s call for Belarusians to gather at the Investigative Committee to support opposition leader Pavel Latushko only drew a small number of protesters. – Institute for the Study of War  


China’s top diplomat began a weeklong tour of Europe seeking to counter growing wariness of Beijing’s increasingly assertive foreign policy amid the coronavirus pandemic and worsening relations between Beijing and Washington. – Wall Street Journal 

Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun met with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the outset of a trip that could see the United States take a significant role in a political eruption that threatens one of Russia’s closest allies. – Washington Examiner 

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had warned the United States and European Union against imposing sanctions on its ally Belarus and interfering in its internal affairs. – Reuters

Lawyers for Ratko Mladic called on U.N. judges Tuesday to overturn his convictions for crimes including genocide committed as commander of Bosnian Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian War. Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 for his role in atrocities including the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo. – Associated Press 

France’s Foreign ministry called on Tuesday for an independent and transparent investigation into the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. – Reuters

France is joining military exercises with Italy, Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean amid a worsening dispute between Turkey and Greece over energy resources in the region, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Lawyers representing Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe — the British-Iranian woman trapped in Iran — have accused Boris Johnson’s UK government of delaying a potential deal to secure her release in order to avoid upsetting the Trump administration. – Business Insider 

While the 1980s pop band The B-52s went on tour in Europe during the summer of 2019, the U.S. Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress bombers will be rocking and rolling in theater and flight training across Europe and Africa in the coming weeks. This weekend six of the aircraft from the Fifth Bomb Wing out of Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, England for the planned training mission. – The National Interest 

Sweden has stepped up its military readiness because of the “heightened security situation” in the Baltic Sea as tensions in the region reached their highest level since the cold war. – Financial Times


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s bid to persuade Sudan to recognize Israel appeared to be rebuffed Tuesday, in a setback to the administration’s efforts to expand the United Arab Emirates-Israel peace deal to other Arab nations. – Wall Street Journal 

It was a picture postcard meant to portray unity in the vast and fragile lands that once were French colonies: President Emmanuel Macron standing with the leaders of five West African countries where France has spearheaded a counter-terrorism war since 2013. – Associated Press 

Ethiopia’s prime minister and Sudan’s leadership said on Tuesday they would make every effort to reach a deal on a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter dispute between Addis Ababa and Cairo over water supplies. – Reuters

A US proposal to remove Sudan from a list of states that sponsor terrorism – in exchange for a $330 million payment compensation to American victims of al-Qaida – has caused anger in the poverty-stricken east African country. – The Guardian

Michael Rubin writes: With the coming American embrace of Sudan, Pompeo also shows all those living under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s rule in Iran that when they free themselves of their leader, they can expect a warm welcome back into the community of nations. Nothing would lay a better foundation for a Pompeo doctrine. – Washington Examiner

The Americas

The Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Chinese national over allegations of trafficking fentanyl into the U.S. The department said in a statement that chemist and chemical supplier Taotao Zhang shipped illegal synthetic opioids into the U.S. The Treasury also blacklisted Hong Kong-based Allyrise Technology Group Co., of which Zhang is director, alleging it was a front for his transactions. – The Hill

President Trump will nominate Chad Wolf, who has overseen the Department of Homeland Security on a temporary basis since November, to lead the federal department. – Washington Examiner 

A Canadian court blocked Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s request for the release of more documents related to her arrest in 2018, court documents released on Tuesday said. – Reuters

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne met his Chinese counterpart, state councillor Wang Yi, in Rome on Tuesday and urged Beijing to release two citizens of Canada it has detained, Ottawa said. – Reuters

Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that has not formally blocked Huawei from 5G networks, but it has effectively done just that, delaying a decision long enough to force telecom companies to exclude the Chinese gear maker. – Reuters


Facebook Inc. said it is preparing to legally challenge Thailand’s government in connection with orders to block access to a group on the website focused on the Thai monarchy, a politically sensitive subject in the country. – Wall Street Journal

The nation’s top cyber defense chief said the U.S. government’s ramped-up efforts in cyberspace were key to disrupting a Russian interference effort during the 2018 midterms and promised it would do even more to protect the 2020 presidential election. – Washington Examiner 

The leader of the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence hub said Tuesday that he wants the office to become the “world’s best software company.” – C4ISRNET 

The U.S. military’s top cyber official is defending the government’s shift toward a more aggressive strategy in cyberspace, saying the mission has evolved over the last decade to become more proactive and offensive in order to keep pace with sophisticated threats. – Associated Press


The following is the recently released Naval Sea Systems Command, Commander’s Intent & Campaign Plan 3.0 Preview from new NAVSEA commander Vice Adm. Bill Galinis. – USNI News 

A federal court has struck down a Pentagon policy requiring immigrant troops to serve for six months to a year before they are eligible for expedited citizenship. – The Hill

By integrating mobile eye-tracking sensors into soldier-worn glasses, Army scientists are developing AI-enabled algorithms able to receive electrical impulses from the brain to instantly identify “a-ha” moments or responses of significance. When the eye catches something of interest, Touryan explained, it generates an electrical response in the brain which can then be measured, calculated, processed and, as he put it, propagated. – The National Interest 

The new head of the Navy’s surface fleet said his predecessor made major improvements in training and readiness, and he wants to use them as a foundation to improve the tactical side: more advanced warfighting training, more self-sufficient ship crews, and more technology being pushed out to ships and unmanned vessels. – USNI News 

The Army is turning to small business innovators to figure out a way to increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzers, according to an Aug. 25 service statement. – Defense News 

A Coast Guard icebreaker is cutting short a research mission to the Arctic after suffering a fire while underway on Aug. 18, the Coast Guard announced on Tuesday. Icebreaker USCGC Healy (WABG-20) is now steaming to Washington state to repair damage to the main propulsion system and all Coast Guard Arctic operations have been cancelled. – USNI News 

A new paper by three officers suggest that low-profile, semi-submersible vessels like those that traffic illicit drugs into the United States could provide an inexpensive, low risk solution to keeping groups of Marines fed and supplied during a war in the Western Pacific. – The National Interest 

The Program Executive Officer for Ships wants any future ship class to maximize the use of mature technologies and to establish land-based testing sites for any new and unproven systems, to buy down risk and allow for “credible” fielding timelines. – USNI News 

Long War

More than 10,000 Islamic State fighters are estimated to remain active in Iraq and Syria two years after the militant group’s defeat, and their attacks have significantly increased this year, the U.N. counter-terrorism chief said Monday. – Associated Press 

The stinging success of Mozambique’s Islamic extremist rebels in seizing and holding a northern port city signals to the government, neighboring countries and the world that Africa has yet another insurgency hotspot. – Associated Press 

Abu Sayyaf militants may have staged suicide bombings that killed 14 people to avenge the death of a Filipino leader of the Islamic State group in the southern Philippines following a clash with troops last month, the army chief said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) asked the Trump administration on Monday to provide more details on the recent seizure of cryptocurrency assets of several major terrorist groups. – The Hill

House Democrats have already opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, amid allegations that America’s top diplomat may have violated the Hatch Act and State Department guidance by appearing. – Newsweek 

A Wisconsin mother of seven accused of hacking Facebook accounts to provide support to the Islamic State was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. – Fox News

Missile Defense

SRC Inc. has won a $90 million contract to support the U.S. Air Force’s counter-small unmanned aerial system efforts, the service announced Aug. 24. – C4ISRNET 

Allowing the last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to expire could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, depending on how the United States responds, according to a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). – The Hill

Defense hawks in Congress are pushing a contentious plan to give the Pentagon a stronger hand in crafting nuclear weapons budgets, but the Trump administration has been sending mixed messaging over recent weeks about whether the change is needed. – Defense News 

Kris Osborn writes: The U.S. Air Force is taking fast new steps to rev up for warfare beyond the Earth’s atmosphere by networking satellites and prototyping innovative new weapons for use in space, due in large measure to rapid Chinese and Russian advances. – The National Interest