Fdd's overnight brief

August 5, 2021

In The News


For the first time in years, all branches of power in Iran are set to fall under the control of hard-liners when a protégé of the supreme leader is sworn in as president, bolstering their power and adding to growing unease that the Islamic Republic’s relations with the West could worsen. – Wall Street Journal 

But now, the social media platform has come under threat. Iran moved last week toward further government restrictions on Instagram and other apps, as hard-line lawmakers agreed to discuss a bill that many fear will undermine communication, wipe out livelihoods and open the door to the banning of key social media tools. – Associated Press 

An Iranian Revolutionary Court has sentenced two dual nationals, German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raouf, to more than 10 years in prison, each on national security charges, their lawyer said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the United Nations Security Council must respond following a deadly tanker attack last week off the coast of Oman, accusing Iran of destabilising behaviour – Reuters 

Against the backdrop of the current protests in Iran’s Khuzestan province due to power outages and water shortages, Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), clarified on July 26, 2021 that the IRGC would not allow anyone to harm the Islamic Revolution regime, no matter how dire the people’s distress. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Tehran will be able to break out to a nuclear weapon within 10 weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told diplomats from UN Security Council member states on Wednesday as tensions ratcheted up between Iran and the international community over its maritime attacks. – Jerusalem Post 

Saeed Ara Jani, head of Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ UAV Command, was behind the attack on the Israel-linked Mercer Street ship, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed in a briefing with diplomats from UN Security Council member states on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Alireza Zakani, an arch-conservative lawmaker has been picked to run the Middle East’s second-largest metropolis following a vote by Tehran’s city council, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. – Bloomberg 

Michael Hirsh writes: Indeed the greatest concern, perhaps, is that the hawkish Raisi, considered the heir apparent to Khamenei, will take matters back a decade or more to square one, when Iran began dramatically upgrading its nuclear program under Ahmadinejad in the late 2000s. Only now, Tehran has a much faster “breakout” time to build a bomb. – Foreign Policy 

Lahav Harkov writes: For Iran to “face up to the consequences of what they’ve done,” as Johnson put it, in an effective way, those imposing the repercussions cannot continue to talk out of both sides of their mouths. The mixed messages of talking tough while offering sanctions relief allow Iran to continue its malign behavior and rush to a nuclear weapon with impunity. – Jerusalem Post 

Neville Teller writes: The Iranian regime has been severely shaken by a combination of adverse circumstances, including economic breakdown resulting from the US sanctions, mounting popular dissatisfaction with the government’s foreign and domestic policies, the Covid pandemic, and now water shortages exacerbated by severe drought. Popular sentiment in favor of an end to the regime and even a restoration of the monarchy is growing. Where will it all end? – Jerusalem Post 

Yochanan Visser writes: Iran considers the Persian Gulf its own territory and has regularly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz a narrow waterway in the Gulf that is used to transport 21 million barrels of oil per day to the West and other parts of the world. Closure of the Strait of Hormuz will at first surely push the price of oil above $100 a barrel and will then almost certainly cause a dramatic escalation in the conflict between Iran and its multiple enemies. – Arutz Sheva 

Elliott Abrams writes: JCPOA or war — pretty simple formula. If Biden and the Democrats continue to actually believe that, they will make endless concessions to get back to the JCPOA or will declare the negotiations and the entire deal alive long after they are in fact dead. […]Plan A has been on life support since Biden came into office. The president should now explain, to Americans and not least to Iran, what he plans to do when the JCPOA is finally declared dead. – National Review 


As Turkey battles its worst forest fires in decades, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under ferocious attack for his handling of the disaster, as well as his broader management of a country that was already battered by an economic crisis and the pandemic. – New York Times 

Turkey’s foreign ministry has called the United States “irresponsible” after the Biden administration announced it would expand efforts to assist at-risk Afghan citizens with the major caveat that the adjudication process would take months in a third country. – Associated Press 

Richard Ghazal writes: The Senate hearing clearly underscored the need for Congress to continue to hold the Biden administration responsible for establishing and implementing a sober, less ambiguous — and, yes, tougher — approach to addressing the Erdoğan government’s transgressions. If Turkey remains unchecked on its dangerous trajectory, U.S. regional interests will suffer. – The Hill 


Sirens sent residents in northern Israel running for shelter Wednesday after three rockets were launched from southern Lebanon, drawing rounds of cross-border Israeli ­artillery fire and rare overnight strikes, escalating a ­regional security situation seen as a test for Israel’s new government. – Washington Post 

Israel summoned Wednesday ambassadors of U.N. Security Council member states and urged for action against Iran following last week’s drone strike off the coast of Oman on a merchant vessel linked to an Israeli billionaire. – Associated Press 

The Israeli military has opened an investigation into the killing of 12-year-old Mohammed al-Alami who was shot by Israeli soldiers as he rode in the family car. – Associated Press 

The former head of strategic planning for the IDF Michael Herzog is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s leading candidate for ambassador to the US, a senior source in Jerusalem said on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

Western allies must develop an urgent plan to retaliate against Iran following multiple reported attacks on oil tankers near Oman, according to a senior Israeli official who warned Tehran is reaching a major nuclear threshold. – Washington Examiner 

The Foreign Ministry maintains some form of contact with almost all Arab countries, including ones officially designated as “enemy states” like Iraq, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

Israeli officials have asked the Biden administration to put pressure on the Palestinians to have the families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood agree to the compromise suggested Monday by Israel’s Supreme Court in a high-profile eviction case. – Haaretz 

Israel is prepared to attack in Iran, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday. Asked in an interview broadcast on a local media website whether Israel is prepared to assault Iran, Gantz gave a one-word answer: “‘Yes.” – Bloomberg 

Eran Lerman writes: For Israel, the obvious message to send is that with very few exceptions—and Erdoğan’s Turkey is not one of them—the strategic commonality with Egypt is at the very top of our long-term interests and must remain so. Alongside Israel’s partners in the United Arab Emirates, and through the utilization of the growing cooperation between Greek and Jewish diasporic organizations in the United States (and elsewhere), active efforts should be made to uphold the international legitimacy of the Greek-Egyptian EEZ map, and to ensure that U.S. policy on Libya will push back against Turkey’s bid for hegemony. – Arutz Sheva 

Amos Harel writes: The new government in Israel assumes that its neighbors, as well as the Iranians, are testing its responses and hope to see how this government will meet the challenges. […]But we should remember the accumulated experience from the period of escalation in Lebanon – and even more so from the Gaza Strip: A large military operation, and even a war, can occur as a result of the gradual accumulation of incidents, without any of the parties involved intending for it to happen at all. – Haaretz 


Smugglers have looted Iraq of thousands of ancient artifacts, many dating back 4,000 years, in the two decades since the U.S. invasion and fall of Saddam Hussein. Many of Iraq’s stolen antiquities have ended up in museums and personal collections in the United States — a dynamic depriving Iraqis the fruits of their own history. – Washington Post 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation to repeal decades-old authorizations for U.S. military missions in the Middle East, a first-time step in a larger effort in Congress to reclaim lawmakers’ war powers from the executive branch. – Washington Post 

More than three decades may have passed since they were held as human shields by Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but those caught up in the ordeal still want answers. – Agence France-Presse 


Thousands of Lebanese converged Wednesday on central Beirut a year after a deadly explosion rocked the capital, some clashing with security forces, as civil-society groups demanded accountability for the catastrophe they blame on the country’s ruling elite. – Wall Street Journal 

More than 200 people were killed in a massive explosion at the port in Beirut on Aug. 4 last year, ravaging the heart of residential areas and the city’s vibrant commercial district. – Wall Street Journal 

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country still haunted by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990, is in the throes of a financial collapse that the World Bank has said could rank among the world’s worst since the mid-1800s.  – New York Times 

French President Emmanuel Macron criticised a “failing” Lebanese political class he blamed for their country’s economic turmoil at a donors’ conference that raised $370 million on the anniversary of the Beirut port blast. – Reuters 

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the United States will give nearly $100 million in additional humanitarian aid to Lebanon. – Reuters 

Pope Francis, speaking at his first general audience since he underwent intestinal surgery a month ago and on the first anniversary on Wednesday of a fatal blast in Beirut, said he had a “great” desire to visit Lebanon. – Reuters 

Anchal Vohra writes: The battle for Lebanon’s future thus remains stuck between two ideas: a tribal politics of the past where allegiances are sectarian and strongmen call the shots and one where the Lebanese are citizens first and Shiite, Sunni, or Christian second. Mikati, for now, is promising the stars: a technocratic government, free elections, an international investigation into the blast, an end to political immunity for any of the politicians summoned, and talks with the International Monetary Fund. But few believe he will deliver. – Foreign Policy 

Gulf States

The hijackers who captured a vessel off the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman left the ship Wednesday, the British navy reported, as radio traffic appeared to reveal a crew member onboard saying Iranian gunmen had stormed the asphalt tanker. – Associated Press  

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Wednesday the insistence of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group on imposing its will in Lebanon was a major reason for the country’s crisis, according to Saudi state TV and a foreign ministry statement. – Reuters 

The Justice Department has made the extremely rare move of intervening in a court case against a former top Saudi intelligence official who has been targeted by Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince, in order to protect classified intelligence secrets. – CNN 

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda signalled a major shift on the country’s political crisis on Wednesday as its leader said the president’s seizure of governing powers should be turned into “a stage of the democratic transition”. – Reuters 

Tunisian blogger Rachid Barnat wrote in a post on his Facebook page that in Tunisia there are increased calls for Abir Moussi, president of the anti-Islamist Free Destourian Party and Tunisian MP, to head the Tunisian government, after Tunisian President Kais Saied’s firing of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspension of parliamentary activity late last month. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

The international chemical weapons watchdog has demanded more information from Syria about the reported recent destruction of two chlorine cylinders that had been linked to a 2018 deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma — a demand echoed Wednesday by several members of the U.N. Security Council. – Associated Press 

Editorial: Cairo’s lobbyists annually trot out the same tired arguments: that the United States needs Egypt for help in keeping the peace between Israel and the Palestinians, for fighting terrorism, for transit of U.S. warships through the Suez Canal. […]By withholding aid until the regime eases its repression, the United States would be pursuing what Mr. Biden has defined as the crucial American interest of advancing democracy in a fateful global contest with autocracy. The decision on Egypt will show whether his commitment to that cause is more than rhetorical. – Washington Post 


China has lodged a stern representation with Britain’s BBC over its reporting of the floods in Henan and a statement over how foreign journalists were being treated, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

China has converted civilian ferries for use in military amphibious operations, potentially enabling the country to significantly surge its amphibious assault capabilities in a contingency like a Taiwan invasion, according to a new report. – Defense News 

Editorial: In late June, a primary-school teacher was punished after buying 10 copies of the pro-democracy Apple Daily and distributing them to colleagues. The newspaper has since closed. Other teachers have been fired for drawing political cartoons and teaching lessons on free speech and Hong Kong independence, as well as versions of history not sanctioned by Beijing. Hong Kong’s not-so-long march to Communist Party domination continues. – Wall Street Journal 

Austin Lowe writes: In short, U.S.-China competition is not actually the clash of two irreconcilable civilizations that the CCP would have it be. Instead, it is a contest of values — one between liberal democracy and Leninist authoritarianism. And there is nothing inherently Chinese about the latter. Moreover, downplaying genocide is not progressive or woke. Nor is wordsmithing social media posts to appease an authoritarian regime whose sole goal is to maintain power at the expense of its own people and the rest of the world. – The Hill 

Matthew P. Funaiole, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr and Brian Hart write: The Chinese military has long been reluctant to deploy warheads in peacetime, choosing instead to keep them separated from their delivery systems until needed. […]With the establishment of a credible sea-based deterrent, the Type 094 is a crucial element of China’s ongoing nuclear weapons modernization efforts. Nevertheless, more progress is needed before Chinese SSBNs are on par with those of other leading navies. – Center for Strategic and Internation Studies 


The Taliban claimed responsibility for a complex suicide attack targeting the home of Afghanistan’s defense minister that killed eight people and wounded 20, one of the most serious insurgent strikes in the Afghan capital in recent months. – Wall Street Journal 

The Taliban warned Wednesday of more attacks targeting Afghan government leaders, a day after the defence minister escaped an assassination attempt and as the insurgents fought to take control of a string of besieged cities across the country. – Agence France-Presse 

The United Nations is ‘deeply concerned’ about the safety and protection of tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan’s Lashkar Gah who could be trapped by fighting between government forces and the Taliban, a U.N. spokesman said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Stephanie Findlay and Fazelminallah Qazizai write: If Kabul collapses, neighbouring countries fear a protracted civil war that could make Afghanistan fertile ground for extremists. […]As Kabul’s battle with the Taliban reaches a tipping point, there is a swelling exodus of people to safer cities from the rural areas under Taliban control. Habiba in Kabul has been reduced to living in one room with her family. Going back to her home in the south where the Taliban are firmly entrenched is not an option. Yet her future in Kabul is uncertain. – Financial Times 

South Asia

Myanmar is limiting the number of foreign staff allowed to work in domestic banks, a move that industry sources warn could further impede financial development in a country that had seen a boom in foreign investment before the military coup. –  Reuters 

The No.2 U.S. diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, spoke on Wednesday with a representative of Myanmar’s government in exile, the first announced contact between a senior U.S. official and the rival administration to the generals who overthrew a democratically elected government. – Reuters 

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired after the February coup, has alerted the world body to a “reported massacre” by the military junta. – Agence France-Presse 



Taiwan thanked the United States on Thursday for agreeing to sell 40 howitzer artillery systems in a $750 million deal that will help the island better defend itself from a Chinese invasion. – Agence France-Presse 

Australia will adopt a sanctions law similar to the U.S. Magnitsky Act that allows targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against individuals who are “perpetrators of egregious acts of international concern”, foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Britain has been granted “dialogue partner” status by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a step forward in London’s push to build stronger diplomatic ties in Asia following its exit from the European Union. – Reuters 

Bob Nugent writes: A neighborhood watch that fosters both collective and independent capability, and takes advantage of member states’ technical leads in artificial intelligence and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, could be a first step in exploring the mechanics of multilateral security. That promotes U.S. objectives in the region. – The Hill 

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: The West can still use its leverage to press Asean, at a minimum, to do more than belatedly appoint a special envoy and express concern, pushing the Myanmar military to abide by the modest five-point consensus agreed to in April, which among other things calls for a cessation of violence, dialogue and humanitarian aid. Absent that, neighbors could even consider beginning to cut perks for the leadership, like travel. […] Reasons to act have never been stronger. The only question for all sides, at a time of multiple distractions, is the will to do so. – Bloomberg 

Huong Le Thu writes: Interestingly, before Austin concluded his trip, the United States confirmed that Vice President Kamala Harris will make a trip to Singapore and Vietnam later this month. It will be her second international tour since taking office. She will be the first U.S. vice president to ever visit Vietnam, so the trip will carry added symbolic meaning. This further evidences Vietnam’s elevation among the United States’ priority partners and demonstrates that Hanoi, along with Singapore, is becoming one of Washington’s anchors for engagement with the region. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


Russian authorities have blocked two online news outlets critical of the Kremlin, the latest move in the recent government crackdown on critical and independent media ahead of Russia’s September parliamentary elections. – Associated Press 

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will not send observers to Russia’s parliamentary elections in September, it said on Wednesday, the first time since 1993 it will not be present. – Reuters 

Russia will deploy four Tu-22M3 supersonic strategic bombers in drills near the Afghan border in Uzbekistan, Interfax news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying on Thursday. – Reuters 

Leonid Bershidsky writes: If one separates actions from words, Biden’s early meeting with Putin, the easing of pressure on Nord Stream 2 and Biden’s refusal to pin blame directly on the Russian government for big recent cyberattacks on U.S. targets are signs that Biden will accord Putin more respect than Obama did, simply as a matter of caution. […]With Putin, that should be a more effective strategy than dismissal: If he knows he’s being taken seriously as a threat, he’ll be more careful in considering opportunities for aggressive action. – Bloomberg 

Rebekah Koffler writes: Russia is the only country that possesses the capability to devastate the U.S. homeland by destroying numerous targets through nuclear strikes that can be delivered from land, sea and air. There is no question that Russia is preparing for a nuclear conflict with the United States and NATO. The only question is whether this conflict can be deterred or fought. – The Hill 


Belarusian Olympic runner Krystsina Tsimanouskaya arrived Wednesday in Poland to seek asylum after refusing to return to her homeland amid fears of reprisals from the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko as it wages sweeping crackdowns on dissent. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday ordered a review of the risks to Belarusians in Ukraine following the death of an activist. – Reuters 

The Red Cross warned Wednesday that Lithuania’s decision to turn away immigrants attempting to cross in from neighboring Belarus does not comply with international law. – Associated Press 

Lithuania’s interior ministry on Wednesday dismissed Belarusian reports that an Iraqi migrant had been found beaten to death after being turned away at the Lithuanian border, describing it as part of a “hybrid war” being waged by Minsk. – Reuters 

President Joe Biden picked Mark Brzezinski, a Democratic-aligned foreign policy official with ties to Poland, as his ambassador to the European country regarded as a key Western bulwark against Russia. – Reuters 

The editor of a far right “news agency” in Slovenia that promotes what it calls “traditional values” has drawn widespread condemnation for tweeting that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was a “hero.” – Algemeiner 

An opposition leader who ripped up her passport to stop officials expelling her from Belarus went on trial Wednesday as President Alexander Lukashenko steps up his campaign to crush dissent ahead of the first anniversary of disputed elections. – Bloomberg 

Natalia Antonova writes: Considering Lukashenko loves spectacle—and clearly wants revenge for being ostracized by the Western community—dissidents in Western Europe and, perhaps, even the United States should also brace themselves. Democratic governments, meanwhile, might want to begin to get realistic about the threat from Europe’s rogue state. – Foreign Policy 

Nikos Tsafos writes: The final lesson is about geoeconomics. The United States and Europe have quarreled over Europe’s energy relationship with Russia for 60 years. At the center of the dispute are two distinct views on how to deal economically with rivals. A similar disagreement is now evident on how Europe deals with China. There will be many more experiences like Nord Stream 2, absent a more honest conversation between the two sides and more appreciation for the distinct approaches that each side is taking. That would be bad news for the transatlantic alliance and the world. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development expressed concern Wednesday about the “dehumanizing rhetoric” used by Ethiopia’s leaders amid the nine-month conflict in the Tigray region, whose forces last month were described as “weeds” and “cancer” by the country’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. – Associated Press 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Wednesday about the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray and agreed to press for negotiations leading to a ceasefire, the U.S. State Department said. – Reuters 

South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar has been deposed as head of his party and its armed forces, rival military leaders said on Wednesday, a move that could pressure an already fragile peace process. – Reuters 

A senior U.S. government official expressed concern on Wednesday over the arrest and imprisonment of Tanzania’s opposition leader Freeman Mbowe who was charged with terrorism-related crimes in late July. – Reuters 

Ethiopia on Wednesday defended its decision to suspend two humanitarian groups active in its war-hit Tigray region, accusing them of “disseminating misinformation” online. – Agence France-Presse 

Denise Bell and Adotei Akwei write: As with entrenched and horrific crises of this nature, the United States is responding to several things at the same time. As the Biden administration continues to press for unfettered humanitarian access to save lives and end the conflict, it must ensure it also takes two specific steps to ensure accountability for crimes and safe haven for people who have fled the conflict and abuses. […]And right now, here in the United States, designate TPS for Ethiopia as quickly as possible. This will help Ethiopian people in the U.S. by providing them with a safe haven right now. – The Hill 

The Americas

The Mexican government sued several major U.S.-based gun manufacturers Wednesday, alleging that lax controls contribute to the illegal flow of weapons over the border. – Washington Post 

A Miami-based security contractor who hired Colombian mercenaries accused of killing Haitian President Jovenel Moïse last month said he was working with a former Haitian Supreme Court judge to help arrest Mr. Moïse and not assassinate him. – Wall Street Journal 

Nearly a month after Haiti’s 53-year-old head of state, President Jovenel Moïse, was killed on July 7, the circumstances remain just as murky, with no shortage of suspects and speculation—and more new questions than answers. – Wall Street Journal 

Latin America

The United States may deny visas to current or former Guatemalan, Honduran or Salvadoran government officials believed to be responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Talks between Venezuela’s government and the opposition about the country’s political crisis are expected to begin on Aug. 13 in Mexico, two sources with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Nicaragua’s main opposition alliance hit out at authorities on Wednesday after revealing its candidate for the vice presidency has been held under house arrest without any justification. – Agence France-Presse 

Ivana Stradner and Ryan Berg write: Venezuelans have waited far too long for justice from the predatory Maduro regime. When domestic judicial institutions are so obviously biased, responsibility falls to the international judicial systems of the ICC and the ICJ to uphold international norms and seek justice for a beleaguered people. The failure of these courts to do so demonstrates that the international legal system is badly broken. Fixing it must start with taking on the Venezuela case. – Newsweek 

North America

Meng’s fight against extradition to the United States on fraud charges  entered its final stretch Wednesday, with a crucial court hearing beginning in Vancouver, British Columbia. The hearing could run until Aug. 20, and if the judge rules in favor of extradition, the decision on surrender will be made by Canada’s justice minister. – Washington Post 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said President Biden isn’t backing former President Donald Trump’s call for China to pay more than $10 trillion in COVID-19 reparations. – New York Post 

Brian Klaas writes: Until Biden changes that calculation, brave pro-democracy movements from Belarus to Myanmar and Tunisia will languish. Despots across the world will grow bolder. And it won’t always be homegrown dissidents whom they target; American interests will increasingly be at risk as authoritarian adversaries continue to test the waters. Biden should use Belarus as an example to make it abundantly clear that any dictators who test them will now face a strong response from the White House. – Washington Post 


The Senate Intelligence Committee held a rare public hearing Wednesday afternoon to stress increasing threats posed by China to U.S. national security, with one top senator describing the situation as a “horror show.” – The Hill 

The U.S. Coast Guard updated its cyber strategic plans, committing to use best practices to thwart threats and weave cyber planning into its traditional mission preparation. – C4ISRNET 

Tom Kelly writes: We can’t stop ransomware criminal groups from forming and targeting our organizations. But we can make sure we put up a fight when they do. Cybersecurity should be front and center of everyone’s mind these days. Otherwise, we won’t be ready for the next Colonial Pipeline attack. – The Hill 


Investigators have identified the Navy sailor accused of starting a fire that engulfed the warship Bonhomme Richard and burned for days at a Navy base in San Diego last year. – New York Times 

The U.S. State Department has greenlighted a $270 million support package for Greece to keep the country’s F-16 fleet current, according to an Aug. 4 announcement. – Defense News 

The U.S. Air Force is in the process of determining the root cause of last week’s failed hypersonic missile test, but the program still has time to push through flight testing and begin production of the new, cutting-edge weapon by the end of fiscal 2022, a program official said Wednesday. – Defense News 

The U.S. Navy’s acting undersecretary will step down this month and retire from government service, with no replacement immediately announced. – Defense News 

The final four Advanced Weapons Elevators (AWEs) on the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) are going through – or being prepared for – testing and certification, according to Kevin Cormier, US Navy (USN) Ford-class deputy programme manager. – Jane’s 360 

While the Navy and Marine Corps have fixed problems they’ve identified in their business practices, the service’s top official said it still needs to correct some weaknesses to improve readiness. – USNI News 

Long War

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says in a new report that the threat to international peace and security from the Islamic State extremist group is rising, pointing to an “alarming” expansion of its affiliates in Africa and its focus on a comeback in its former self-declared “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. – Associated Press 

A new book offers an in-depth look at the life of Osama bin Laden, the infamous leader of Al Qaeda who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, including details on how he urged his children against joining the terrorist organization he founded in the late 1980s. – Business Insider 

German police have detained a Syrian man in Berlin suspected of firing a grenade into a crowd of civilians at a refugee camp near Damascus in 2014, prosecutors said on Wednesday. – Reuters