Fdd's overnight brief

August 4, 2023

In The News


The U.S. military is readying plans to embark armed Marines and sailors aboard the commercial ships of interested private companies after a spate of vessel seizures by Iranian forces in the Middle East, officials said Thursday, a remarkable escalation that could put Washington and Tehran in direct confrontation. – Washington Post 

Iran’s foreign minister has invited his Kuwaiti counterpart to Tehran, Kuwait said on Thursday, as tensions simmer over the offshore Durra gas field. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait claim exclusive joint rights to the field while Iran also claims a stake and says a Saudi-Kuwaiti agreement to develop it, signed last year, is illegal. – Reuters 

Iran’s foreign minister Amir Abdollahian will visit Japan on Sunday and meet his Japanese counterpart and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, broadcaster TBS reported on Friday. Japan will tell Iran to stop weapon supplies to Russia at Abdollahian’s Tokyo visit, TBS said, citing multiple unnamed government officials. – Reuters  

Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday urged Pakistan to complete its part of a much-delayed gas pipeline between the two countries, a multi-billion project that has been on hold since 2014. Washington has opposed the pipeline, saying it could violate sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program. – Associated Press 

Holding copies of the Quran above their heads, hundreds of Islamic radicals pledge their allegiance to the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In front of them, a robed imam praises the martyrs who “bled red” for the “axis of resistance” and who are “the greatest threat to the Zionists”. – The Jewish Chronicle  

Canada is publicly acknowledging for the first time that families, including Canadians, who lost loved ones when Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020, have asked the International Criminal Court to take action. – VOA News 

Amin Soltani, Ashka Jhaveri, and Annika Ganzeveld write: Iran and Syria are continuing negotiations over the establishment of a free trade zone. It is unclear whether these negotiations will lead to the establishment of a free trade zone between Iran and Syria in the near future, however. – Institute for the Study of War 

Russia & Ukraine

Russia’s famously outspoken pro-war bloggers have begun turning on one another. Since the onset of the war, the bloggers’ close ties to the military have allowed them to become invaluable sources of information. […] But in recent days, the military blogosphere has erupted into a conflict of its own, with some analysts accusing one another of helping the Ukrainian government. – New York Times  

The United States became the first country to start negotiating a bilateral agreement with Ukraine on security guarantees, Ukraine’s presidential office said. The U.S. State Department confirmed that American and Ukrainian officials met Thursday to begin talks on long-term security commitments. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian pilots are set to begin training to fly F-16 fighter jets this month, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech to heads of Ukrainian diplomatic missions. “The delivery and combat use of F-16s by our pilots should take place as soon as possible,” he said. – Washington Post 

Intense fighting raged in southeastern Ukraine this week as Kyiv continued a major push to reclaim territory with a fresh injection of Western-trained and -equipped troops but no sign yet of a major breakthrough. – Washington Post  

Ukrainian sea drones attacked a Russian navy base near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, a major hub for Russian exports, early on Friday and were destroyed by Russian warships, Russia’s defence ministry said. The attack prompted the Novorossiysk port to temporarily halt all ship movement, according to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium which operates an oil terminal there. – Reuters 

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday decried “revolting” practices exposed during an audit of Ukraine’s military recruitment centres and pledged to fix the system by placing in charge people who understood the meaning of war. Zelenskiy has expressed indignation at corruption uncovered during the audit last month after a high-profile incident of wrongdoing came to light in the Black Sea port of Odesa. – Reuters  

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that Ukraine’s military faced difficulties on front lines in the east and south of the country, but were dominant in their campaign. Senior military officials reported Ukrainian gains in the east — long the focal point of the 17-month-old conflict – around the shattered Russian-held city of Bakhmut. – Reuters  

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny expects a court to extend his prison sentence by nearly two decades on Friday, in a criminal case which he and his supporters say was trumped up to keep him behind bars and out of politics for even longer. – Reuters 

When they found the bodies of Russian troops at an abandoned position, something about the corpses looked wrong. “There were three or four of their dead. Two guys were lying on each other, which made us suspicious, because if there had been an explosion they would have been thrown in different directions, but here, one is lying on the other,” said Volodymyr, a 47-year-old sapper with possibly the most dangerous job in Ukraine: clearing landmines at the front. – Reuters  

Russia has doubled its 2023 defence spending target to more than $100 billion – a third of all public expenditure – a government document reviewed by Reuters showed, as the costs of the war in Ukraine spiral and place growing strain on Moscow’s finances. – Reuters 

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the frontline headquarters of the “Centre” army group involved in the Ukrainian conflict, Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying on Friday. Shoigu was briefed by a group commander and thanked officers and troops for “conducting successful operations” near Lyman, Interfax reported. – Reuters  

Russia regards Ukraine’s grain stockpiles as legitimate military targets under international law, a Russian diplomat declared during a debate on the link between war and famine. – Washington Examiner 

A sobering analysis from the Hudson Institute suggests Russian President Vladimir Putin is hunkering down for a protracted battle of attrition in Ukraine and is making moves that will reinforce trench and minefield defenses with fresh, untrained conscripts. – Washington Examiner 

President Joe Biden is a creature of the Cold War era. During that time, in the often-chaotic post-Cold War period that followed, Biden was broadly in line with Democratic reluctance to commit American troops to battle and support military actions of U.S. allies. Republicans, meanwhile, were generally viewed as more hawkish on foreign policy and willing to have American troops fight and support proxy battles by allies. – Washington Examiner  

Dozens of countries will take part in a Saudi-hosted conference beginning on Friday that aims to sway developing countries to support a Ukrainian peace plan and its demands that Russia withdraw troops from its territory. – Financial Times 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday called for Russia to stop using food as a “weapon” in the war in Ukraine after Moscow suspended a deal to allow for the export of grain from the embattled country. – The Hill 

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 3 and reportedly advanced in some areas. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Berdyansk (Zaporizhia-Donetsk Oblast border area) and Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) directions, and Ukrainian officials stated that Ukrainian forces continued to advance in the Bakhmut direction. – Institute for the Study of War 

Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Yurii Shyvala write: A representative of the national church who now oversees the parish, Mykola Kryhin, said it would not be easy for Mr. Solkan to regain the village’s trust. “If you get rid of your Russian mind-set and accept a Ukrainian reality then the doors of the church are open to you,” Mr. Kryhin said. “But if you don’t, then we will not accept you.” – New York Times  

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Putin is indeed planning Armageddon, but not as we envisioned it. It is probably not a nuclear Armageddon, but an ideological one. His designs and hopes for victory in Ukraine are predicated upon the West caving to his doomsday threats, in the process destroying our own liberty just so we can survive in a totalitarian-controlled world. If that happens, it be our own self-inflicted Armageddon. – The Hill 

Keren Yarhi-Milo and Laura Resnick Samotin writes: Ultimately, experts must remember that when it comes to dealing with autocrats, there are no certainties. Leaders will frequently ignore advice given to them or overestimate their abilities and miscalculate risks. It is a mistake for intelligence analysts and policymakers to assume otherwise. – Foreign Affairs  

Frederick W. Kagan, Karolina Hird, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: The slow pace of the pressure campaign Ukraine had been using before July 26 is designed to minimize Ukrainian losses. […] It is still maneuver warfare rather than attritional warfare, just at a slower pace. It therefore requires patience, but it can succeed. – Institute for the Study of War 

Evan Bibisi and Aura Sabadus write: Lastly, capped energy prices will need to end, and the government will have to gradually bring them closer to those on European markets, effectively sending a strong signal to investors that the country is ready to offer attractive returns, guaranteed by solid institutions and minimal red tape. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write: Unfortunately, totalitarian regimes like Putin’s don’t work that way. Government employees in the Tower of Ministries may be terrified by the attacks, but the plain truth is that retribution delivered by Ukrainian explosive drones remains less likely than retribution from the FSB. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Dominick Sansone writes: The implication of not rectifying this violation would be to implicitly acknowledge that the world is returning to balance of power geopolitics. This is a sin that cannot be forgiven. For that reason, nothing less than a total Russian collapse is an acceptable outcome to the war. – The National Interest 


Israel’s Supreme Court began hearing on Thursday the first in a series of appeals linked to a judicial overhaul undertaken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-right coalition, which has set off an unprecedented domestic crisis. – Reuters 

U.S. passport holders with Palestinian papers and families in Gaza are urging Washington to ensure they are treated equally under a reciprocal deal with Israel intended to insure visa-free travel for American and Israeli citizens. – Reuters 

An 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces during an army raid in the Nur Shams refugee camp, adjacent to the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Friday morning, Palestinian media reported. – Times of Israel 

Likud lawmaker Amit Halevi led a discussion on Israel’s policy toward European far-right parties in the Foreign Ministry three weeks ago, after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen agreed to his request to present his opinion. – Haaretz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to travel to China, which has been encouraging such a visit. Netanyahu was responsible for expanding bilateral relations and helped open the hefty Chinese market for imports from Israel. – Asia Times 

Jason M. Brodsky writes: The Islamic Republic and its allies are likely to view this unsettled landscape as providing space for taking calculated aggressive risks against Israel. By the same token, evidence suggests that Iran’s proxies and partners are wary about going too far: They neither want the protests to end nor do they wish to trigger a war. Therefore, members of the Axis of Resistance will most probably engage in a carefully calibrated escalation. – Middle East Institute  


Syria’s defense ministry said on Thursday night that army forces have destroyed two drones and downed three others launched by militants it said were trying to attack army units in northern and western Aleppo’s countryside. – Reuters 

Andrew J. Tabler writes: Only by showing Moscow that Washington and the West have options in Syria—militarily and politically—will Russia be dissuaded from further horizontal escalation that endangers US forces and partners there, and ultimately come to the peace table in Ukraine. – Washington Institute  

Andie Parry, Ashka Jhaveri, Johanna Moore, and Brian Carter write: The coordinated Iranian, Russian, and Syrian regime coercion campaign very likely would support an Iranian-directed attack campaign to compel US forces to withdraw from Syria. Iranian-backed militias have recruited, armed, and trained militias with the resources and capabilities necessary to conduct a prolonged offensive campaign on US forces in Syria. – Institute for the Study of War 

Middle East & North Africa

Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its little-known top leader had been killed, the third time in less than two years that the extremist group’s senior leader had met that fate. – Wall Street Journal 

In a move to support oil prices, Saudi Arabia said Thursday that it would extend its decision to cut oil production by one million barrels a day for another month, to September. Oil prices have recovered strongly in recent weeks partly because of smaller stockpiles of fuel in the United States, but China’s tepid economic recovery has kept oil prices under pressure for most of the year. – New York Times 

Across the Middle East, LGBTQ communities face a growing crackdown, echoing efforts by prominent American conservatives to restrict the rights of gay and transgender people and erase their influence from society. – Washington Post 

Palestinians want to ensure that any normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel include some guarantee of their right to an independent state, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told journalists on Thursday. – Bloomberg 

American interference is the root of all of the Middle East’s problems, Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah claimed in a statement made on Thursday, the latest in a number of fiery speeches given over the past week. – Jerusalem Post 

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister on Thursday attacked the Biden administration as weak and passive in the Middle East, as violence between Israel and the Palestinians surges to its highest levels in nearly two decades. – Times of Israel  

Eric Mandel writes: The new Middle East realignment is one of the principal challenges for U.S. foreign policy and national security interests in the near-term. Treating these new relationships as tertiary concerns will cost us prestige and influence worldwide for years to come. – The Hill 

Michael Rubin writes: While Turkey sporadically blocks flights into Iraqi Kurdistan’s airports, Barzani’s private jet faces no such obstacles. It was never Masrour who was resilient, but rather those who must live under him. The only question now is for how long their patience will last. The fact that Masrour must make up for his own shortcomings with a propaganda film suggests even he recognizes patience wears thin. – American Enterprise Institute 

Korean Peninsula

Russia is looking to buy more ammunition from North Korea to replenish its dwindling stockpiles amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the U.S. said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal  

North Korea sees its nuclear program as essential to regime survival, serving to deter a U.S.-led invasion. Decades of denuclearization talks, economic sanctions and diplomacy have done little to slow Pyongyang’s advance to becoming a self-declared nuclear state. – Wall Street Journal  

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called a violent Thursday night rampage at a shopping mall outside Seoul a “terror attack on innocent citizens.” – Washington Post 

North Korea on Friday criticised a U.S. weapons aid package to Taiwan, state media reported on Friday, accusing the United States of driving tensions in the region to “another ignition point of war”. – Reuters 


Two U.S. Navy sailors based in California were arrested Wednesday in separate cases and accused of passing sensitive national defense information and military secrets to Chinese agents in exchange for money, the Justice Department announced Thursday. The charges come at a time when the United States and China are struggling to contain mutual suspicion and preserve long-standing economic ties. – Washington Post 

China’s foreign ministry on Friday slammed “some forces” for “hyping up and politicizing” China and Italy’s cultural and economic exchanges via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The moves have “interfered with cooperation and created divisions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement in response to media reports that Italy might exit the initiative. – Reuters  

The chair of a U.S. House committee on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to adopt expansive restrictions on outbound U.S. investment in China especially in key sectors likely to harm U.S. national security. – Reuters 

The United States is yet to receive a response from China for the invitation it has extended to newly reappointed Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday. – Reuters   

The United States and its Western allies are looking to China to help resolve the calamitous domino effect of Russia’s exit from a crucial U.N.-backed agriculture deal. China, one of Moscow’s most strategic allies and the world’s second-largest economy, was the indisputable top recipient of Ukrainian agricultural products under the landmark agreement known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative. – CNBC 

Two days is all President Xi Jinping has spent outside his country this year, as mounting domestic problems from a faltering economy to rare political scandals demand the Chinese leader’s attention at home. – Bloomberg 

Sadanand Dhume writes: As the U.S.-China rivalry deepens, there’s no guarantee Beijing won’t find a way to improve its appeal or to benefit from American mistakes. Washington may have lapped China so far, but it can’t be certain of winning the soft-power race. – Wall Street Journal  

Hal Brands writes: For more than a decade, it has been clear that the US Navy — not just the submarine fleet — is insufficient to meet the Chinese challenge. But budgetary constraints, bureaucratic squabbles and competing priorities have prevented the required investments from materializing. Now, time is running very short, given that it takes six to seven years to build each Virginia-class sub. – Bloomberg 

Kelly Sims Gallagher writes: The United States and China, perhaps alongside other partners, have the chance to pioneer a new approach to financing green development in the global South. They would be setting an example for the world, much as they did back in 2014, when they pioneered a new approach to setting emission targets. A joint financing platform is pragmatic and badly needed, and it would get the two countries working together again. – Foreign Affairs  

Seth G. Jones and Lauren Adler write: In addition, the United States needs to deepen its partnerships with Australia, South Korea, Japan, and other partners, including in areas like pushing back against Chinese economic coercion. And finally, one last area on offense is increasing U.S. private sector competitiveness in emerging technology in the Global South, where the Chinese are making a very specific, aggressive effort in what they call the Digital Silk Road. This would be a much more significant public-private partnership with such companies as Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and others so that they can compete more effectively with Chinese companies. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


The photos and videos, some not previously made public, are also a rare glimpse into the civil war being waged in Sagaing, part of the ethnic Bamar heartland that has been subject to the junta’s most brutal repression in recent years. Authorities have blocked virtually all international aid, and routinely cut internet and broadband access, leaving communities like Pa Zi Gyi out of contact for long stretches of time. – Washington Post 

The National Gallery of Australia will return three millennia-old statues to Cambodia after concluding they were probably stolen from the Southeast Asian nation and illegally sold. – Washington Post 

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to welcome Group of 20 leaders next month, some of the worst religious violence in years threatens to taint his efforts to showcase India as a strategic counterweight and investment alternative to China. – Bloomberg 

New Zealand said Friday it plans to boost its defense capabilities as tensions rise in the Pacific, due in part to a military buildup by China. Defense Minister Andrew Little said current defense spending amounted to about 1% of the nation’s economy, a proportion he expected would need to increase, although not as high as 2%. – Associated Press 

Vanuatu, at the centre of strategic rivalry between China and western countries in the Pacific Islands, has plunged into political crisis, with its prime minister to face a no-confidence vote in parliament next week. – Reuters  

The U.S. State Department wrote in an email to AP earlier this month that it trusted the finding of the Red Cross— “through a family trace and verification process, that the child was Afghan, not ‘stateless.’” So when the government of Afghanistan requested the child be transferred to its custody to be returned to her family, the U.S. complied. – Associated Press 

A parliamentary vote to select Thailand’s new prime minister expected on Friday was delayed again after a court put off a decision in a case involving the progressive party that won May’s election, adding to growing uncertainty about when a new government can take office. – Associated Press 

China is lifting a stifling 3-year-old tariff on Australian barley starting Saturday — a sign of an improving bilateral trade relationship since Australia’s government changed. – Associated Press 

Cambodia’s long-running prime minister, Hun Sen, cut a red ribbon today on a symbol of Communist China’s rising clout here, a 33-mile section of Phnom Penh’s new Ring Road. – New York Sun 

Kazakh Trade and Integration Minister Serik Zhumangharin opened the Kazakh-Afghan Business Forum on August 3, stressing what he called the “importance” of economic ties between the two countries even though Astana considers the Taliban militants running Kabul to be “terrorists.” – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Gearoid Reidy writes: More than 10% of those in Tokyo’s bustling Shinjuku City are now born outside the country; locals flock to the ethnic cuisines in Shin-Okubo, traditionally a Koreatown but with an increasing presence of Southeast Asian and halal food. The weak yen is a worry, but the country has overcome previous concerns thought to put immigrants off, such as the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster or the tight border policies of the pandemic. Japan remains a desirable destination — one that’s more open than you might think. – Bloomberg 

Beth Bailey writes: Bearing in mind the Taliban’s history of neglecting their promises, and noting the regime’s continued horrifying behavior toward their people, U.S. officials must reject repeating the mistakes of our past by working with the Taliban. – Washington Examiner 

Charles Edel writes: Whether AUKUS will deter China from further acts of aggression and provide stability to the Indo-Pacific region is a question that can likely only be answered by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. […] Giving the United States and its allies more capabilities and demonstrating their readiness to run more bureaucratic, political, and ultimately strategic risks is also the surest course for altering Xi Jinping’s calculations. – Foreign Affairs  


The leaders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania warned on Thursday against “provocations” and “sabotage actions” from neighboring Belarus by relocated members of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, a warning that comes just days after two Belarusian helicopters breached Polish airspace and heightened jitters in the region. – New York Times  

Climate activists entered the grounds of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s private 19th-century country home Thursday, using ladders to mount the manor house’s roof and unfurl black fabric down its brick facade. They were protesting Sunak’s decision this week to expand Britain’s extraction of oil and natural gas beneath the North Sea, activists with Greenpeace said. – Washington Post 

Danish police are tightening border controls following recent burnings of the Koran that have affected the security situation, the justice ministry said late on Thursday, following a similar decision by Sweden earlier in the week. – Reuters  

Italy’s justice minister has approved extraditing an Italian priest sought by Argentina on charges of murder and torture during that country’s last military dictatorship, but the priest has an appeal in Italian courts seeking to block extradition, a lawyer and rights groups said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Russia has added Norway to its list of “unfriendly countries” for allegedly targeting Russian diplomats abroad, further worsening its relations with the West. – Associated Press 

The European Union on Thursday imposed sanctions on several Belarus police, justice and prison officials over a crackdown on anti-government activists, and on media personnel and a company accused of supporting Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Jessica Berlin writes: We must strengthen its existing foundations and prepare to open its doors. In the tradition of NATO’s founding logic, but evolved to face a new geopolitical landscape, the New Alliance Treaty Organization would protect the free world by keeping old enemies out, allies both new and old in, and new threats down. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Officers from Niger’s elite presidential guard last week detained the West African country’s elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, and declared themselves the nation’s new leaders. The coup came as a shock to U.S. and European governments that have worked closely with Bazoum and Niger’s military in the fight against Islamist militants in Africa’s Sahel region. – Wall Street Journal  

Niger’s junta revoked a raft of military cooperation agreements with France on Thursday – a decision that could drastically reshape a fight against Islamist insurgents in the region after the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum last week. – Reuters 

The U.S. State Department is in touch with hundreds of Americans in Niger, a senior State Department official said on Thursday, amid growing fears of conflict after military officers seized power last week. – Reuters 

West African defence chiefs were set to wrap up discussions about possible intervention in Niger on Friday, as mediators from the regional bloc push coup leaders in Niamey to restore constitutional order before an approaching deadline. – Reuters    

China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it believes Niger and other regional countries have the wisdom and capability to find a “political resolution” to the current situation, referring to last week’s coup in the West African nation. – Reuters  

Niger’s military junta says it is severing military agreements with France, its former colonial ruler, firing some of the previous government’s key ambassadors and warning citizens of the West African nation to watch for foreign armies and spies. – Associated Press 

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of violating the law and tearing apart independent institutions to cling to power. – Associated Press 

Editorial: It’s far from clear that Ecowas can enforce its ultimatum, and a failure would damage the credibility of an important regional institution. Mali and Burkina Faso said Monday they would consider an Ecowas intervention in Niger to be a “declaration of war,” raising the risk of regional conflict. […] This is another bad development in Africa that will require more Western attention to avoid further human and strategic damage. – Wall Street Journal  

Mohamed Bazoum writes: In our hour of need, I call on the U.S. government and the entire international community to help us restore our constitutional order. Fighting for our shared values, including democratic pluralism and respect for the rule of law, is the only way to make sustainable progress against poverty and terrorism. The Nigerien people will never forget your support at this pivotal moment in our history. – Washington Post 

Emily Milliken writes: Providing security assistance is not enough. Washington must provide broader support to address the root causes of unrest in these countries, or else risk a much more costly outcome: jihadist groups and Russia leveraging the instability for their own purposes. – The National Interest 

The Americas

Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 election to remain in power, appearing in a federal courtroom blocks from the U.S. Capitol that was stormed by his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. – Wall Street Journal 

Nicolás Petro, the oldest son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, has admitted to receiving illicit money that went into his father’s 2022 presidential campaign, prosecutors said in a court hearing on Thursday. – Washington Post 

Colombia’s government is hopeful that an upcoming regional summit in Brazil will represent a turning point in the deterioration of the Amazon, Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Three offices meant to attend Haitian, Cuban and Venezuelan migrants hoping to reach the United States will open in Colombia, the Andean country’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, the initial phase of a plan to reduce migrant flows through the dangerous Darien Gap. – Reuters   

The Mexican government is allowing any immigrant who enters the country from Guatemala to continue traveling to the United States border if they have obtained an appointment on the U.S. government’s CBP One phone app, the Washington Examiner has learned. – Washington Examiner 

At a press briefing Thursday, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador said Texas’ anti-immigration buoy barriers in the Rio Grande are “inhumane.” Mexican officials made complaints against the use of the barriers in an official letter to the U.S. government last month. López Obrador’s comments come after two bodies were found in the Rio Grande Wednesday. – The Hill 

Editorial: In the absence of any homegrown force that can restore stability, let alone organize democratic elections, Haiti’s only realistic hope is outside intervention. For that to work, however, a number of things have to happen first, starting with approval of the mission by the U.N. Security Council. In addition, the 1,000 Kenyan police officers would need to be supplemented by personnel from other nations under U.N. auspices. A few, including Jamaica, have indicated they are willing to send personnel. – Washington Post 

Robert A. Manning writes: The U.S. needs to reconsider its security role. Its allies and partners need to bear more of the burden. Most of Europe is perpetually short of NATO defense spending targets, still freeriding on the United States. U.S.-Asia strategy needs to calibrate how much it can depend on allies and partners. At the end of the day, a strategy without resources is just a hallucination.  – The Hill 


The Chinese government has taken on what may be its most formidable task yet: separating teenagers from their smartphones. China’s internet regulator has proposed rules that would help parents limit the amount of time their children spend online by requiring smartphone makers, apps and app stores to offer a “minor mode” that restricts usage. – Washington Post 

Anjana Ahuja writes: Given superconductivity’s history of false dawns, our trusty pebble, now with its own Wikipedia page, is most likely to be an unremarkable rock with accidentally interesting properties. But what a gripping spectacle — one that tells us less about physics and more about the collective human need, even among scientists and investors, to dream. – Financial Times  

Steven Stalinsky and Yigal Carmon writes: At the same time, Cloudflare’s provision of services to terrorists and extremists without any repercussions proves yet again that there is a need for government supervision, regulation, and ultimately industry standards that would prohibit companies that do not abide by them from working with the U.S. government and other agencies, or face penalties, which is what should happen now. – Middle East Media Research Institute 


The U.S. Marine Corps’ top officer has sent a message to all Marines to clarify the direction the service will take while he awaits Senate confirmation to become commandant. – Defense News 

Artificial intelligence software successfully flew an XQ-58A Valkyrie drone, the Air Force Research Laboratory announced Aug. 2. – Defense News 

A Marine squadron has become the only Marine unit in the Indo-Pacific to reach an early operational milestone with MQ-9 Reaper drones, according to the Corps. – Defense News 

Tom Wester and Joe Mancini write: By now, the U.S. military should have internalized the lesson that continual neglect will lead to a dire situation. […] While the 2022 Navigation Plan is a comprehensive vision that outlines plans and projections to modernize the Navy in the areas of air, surface, subsurface, Naval Special Warfare, unmanned systems, AI, cyber, information, logistics, and expeditionary capabilities, there is no mention of mine warfare. The United States needs to heed past lessons or the country will find itself starting the fight in a corner. – War on the Rocks