Fdd's overnight brief

August 7, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Iran on Monday began registering candidates for parliamentary elections in March, which will be the first since nationwide protests rocked the country last year. – Associated Press 

A wildfire on the outskirts of Iran’s capital triggered an explosion Friday of mines that had been planted around a high-security prison that houses political prisoners, but there were no injuries, state media reported. – Associated Press 

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled a new range of enhanced missiles on Saturday in its latest display of military hardware, the country’s state-run TV reported. – Bloomberg 

A Kurdish woman jailed in Iran has sewn her lips together at the start of a hunger strike to protest not being allowed leave from jail, a rights group said on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

Iran on Sunday appointed Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, who is under US and British sanctions, to head the Islamic Republic’s top court. – Agence France-Presse 

Tom Rogan writes: Namely, that the White House sees this as a public relations savvy way to rebuild confidence with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudis have been particularly aggravated by the ill-judged U.S. obsession over Jamal Khashoggi and by the White House’s weakness in face of Iranian aggression. This has led them to increasingly abandon their decades long and, until now, mutually beneficial security and economic alliance with the U.S. Putting Marines on commercial vessels might appear a relatively easy way for Biden to pretend he’s getting tough on Iran without actually challenging Iranian aggression. Regardless, this proposal is a misguided one. – Washington Examiner 

Russia & Ukraine

Like any good boss, Oleksandr Kamyshin keeps on top of production numbers for the factories he oversees. But for Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, it is a matter of life and death: The figures that land on his desk every morning show ammunition output at dozens of Ukrainian factories. – Wall Street Journal 

Over a year ago the West launched a new foreign-policy weapon to pressure the Kremlin to halt its war in Ukraine: It sanctioned more than a hundred leading Russian businessmen and their families, hoping that they would prod Russian President Vladimir Putin to give up his expansionist plans. So far the strategy hasn’t worked. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian sea drones attacked an oil tanker sanctioned by the U.S. for working for the Russian military, potentially bringing the war into a new phase that threatens Russia’s vital shipping lanes in the Black Sea. – Wall Street Journal 

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was convicted of “extremism” charges on Friday following closed prison court proceedings and sentenced to 19 years in a “special regime” prison colony, on top of existing sentences of more than 11 years, all in cases widely viewed as trumped up for political retribution. – Washington Post 

A Kyiv monument traded a 42-year-old Soviet coat of arms for a modern trident Sunday, a swap that exemplifies the war-torn country’s fight against the 21st-century Russian army and the vestiges of Ukraine’s Soviet past. – Washington Post 

Some of Ukraine’s most elite special forces are now operating slightly back from the front line — with virtual-reality glasses that give a drone’s-eye view. – Washington Post 

Russia’s air defence system destroyed an aircraft-type drone over the Ferzikovskyi district in the Kaluga region, Vladislav Shapsha, governor of the region, said on the Telegram messaging app on Monday. – 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 President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing for foreign investors from “unfriendly” countries to be barred from holding stakes in major Russian companies and banks, state news agency RIA said on Friday. – Reuters 

Seth Cropsy writes: The Biden administration has supported Ukraine thus far by delivering piecemeal capabilities weeks to months after its need became apparent. Ukraine has survived thanks to ingenuity and technological adaptation, particularly by using UAS to improve its artillery. If Ukraine doesn’t get the UAS support it needs, Russia will gain the upper hand, likely by year end. If the U.S. doesn’t act, it risks handing a decisive victory to Russia—and a geopolitical gain to China. – Wall Street Journal 

Yulia Bychkovska, Ana Mikadze, and Jacob Saionz write: Sanctions damaged but did not devastate Russia’s economy and war machine. After the initial shock, Russia has learned to circumvent sanctions through its partners and various loopholes. But sanctions did succeed in decreasing the value of the ruble, curbing Russian oil revenues, and preventing some weapons from flowing into Russia that could be used against Ukraine. The effect of sanctions can be enhanced to help inflict economic pain on Russia and bring this war to a favorable end. However, international actors need to improve sanctions and see them as a part of a comprehensive, holistic approach that includes military assistance, humanitarian aid and political support. – The Hill 

Michael Rubin writes: There are certain difficulties: Arsenals are limited. Willpower matters. The United States might have industrial might on paper but for too long, the government has allowed competitors to outpace its military production. Absent a display of willpower, though, Russia’s allies will fill the gaps in its power and enable it to freeze and extend a conflict that today keeps Putin in power and risks broader regional security and the rules-based order. If the goal is to allow the Russian patient to bleed out, it is time to end the transfusions. – 19FortyFive


A Palestinian gunman shot and killed an Israeli security guard in central Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, in what the Israeli police described as a terrorist attack. – New York Times 

Arthur Dantchik, the American multibillionaire who provided millions to the think tank behind Israel’s highly polarizing judicial overhaul plan, announced on Friday that he would no longer donate to the organization. – New York Times 

Washington has condemned as terrorism the killing of a Palestinian by suspected Jewish settlers, in sharpened language that appeared to reflect U.S. frustration with surging violence in the occupied West Bank under Israel’s hard-right government. – Reuters 

Two dozen Democrats of the U.S. House of Representatives will visit Israel and the occupied West Bank this week to discuss prospects for a two-state solution and Israel’s judicial reforms, among other issues. – Reuters 

Israel’s top court on Sunday scheduled a new hearing next month on appeals filed against an amended law that would limit conditions under which a prime minister can be designated unfit for office. – Reuters 

Israeli troops on Sunday killed three alleged Palestinian militants in the northern West Bank, further escalating a wave of violence in which two other people, including a young Palestinian man believed to have been gunned down by extremist Jewish settlers, were killed over the weekend. – Associated Press 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he won’t pursue the entire judicial overhaul originally planned by his government, working only to change the makeup of the judge selection committee while abandoning any other steps. – Bloomberg 

A military court in the Gaza Strip on Sunday sentenced seven people to death by hanging for “collaboration” with Israel, the coastal enclave’s Hamas-run interior ministry said. – Agence France-Presse 

The “Palestinian issue” will “not be an obstacle” to peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said during a rare interview with the Arabic-language online newspaper Elaph. – Jerusalem Post 

Shai Cohen, 39, was indicted on Friday for leading a visa fraud scheme with the aim of facilitating the illegal entry and employment of noncitizens in the United States, the US Department of Justice said on Saturday (DoJ). – Jerusalem Post 

Israel this week quietly established diplomatic relations with the country of Niue, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific closely tied to New Zealand. – Times of Israel 

Micah Halpern writes: There is no doubt that Israel would like a deal with Saudi Arabia, any deal with Saudi Arabia. But the coalition partners will not permit compromise – and deals require compromise. I do not see a Saudi/Israeli deal in the near future. I do see tiny steps, secret exchanges of defense and intelligence information. I see secret technical and medical exchanges of information. All these may lead to a deal – but down the road. Not now. – Jerusalem Post


For residents of this small Alawite village straddling Israel’s border with Lebanon, where recent tensions with Hezbollah have centered, there has been a prevailing sense of calm the past few months despite escalatory provocations by the Iran-backed terror group that have drawn little response. – Times of Israel 

In the shadow of Israel’s internal dispute surrounding the government’s judicial reform plan, unusual cross-border incidents between Israel and Hezbollah in recent weeks and months show a noticeable rise in the probability of a war on the Israel-Lebanon border. – Arutz Sheva 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: The radical expanding capabilities of IDF intelligence, especially as compared to the 1973 Yom Kippur War era, are very good news for Israel in the event of a conflict with Lebanon, and will likely make Hezbollah think twice, despite its bombastic public statements. – Jerusalem Post


In mid-May, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi issued a warning to the Taliban: honor Afghanistan’s water-supply agreement or face the consequences. A well-known Taliban figure offered a mocking gift of a 20-liter water container in response and told him to stop making terrifying ultimatums. About a week later, a skirmish erupted on the border, leaving two Iranian guards and one Taliban member dead. The Taliban sent thousands of troops and hundreds of suicide bombers to the area, according to a person familiar with the matter, who says the group is prepared for war. – Bloomberg 

A key border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed on August 5 after a verbal confrontation between Pakistani and Taliban border forces at Torkham. Pakistani official Irshad Mohmand told RFE/RL that Pakistani border guards had stopped a number of Afghan children carrying goods from Pakistan to Afghanistan, a move that angered Taliban fighters. Taliban officials in Afghanistan did not immediately comment on the border incident, and it wasn’t clear how long the closure would last. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Devon Cone and Salma Niazi write: But for those with P-2 resettlement cases, there is a path to an even more secure future. The U.S. government must work with their Pakistani counterparts to get these women to the United States: a country that prides itself on valuing a free press. It is time to support brave Afghan women journalists who have nowhere else to turn. – The Hill


The surveillance footage was alarming. Though grainy and inconclusive, it captured the nighttime movements of someone creeping into the ammunition storage area at a remote U.S. outpost in Syria. An hour later, twin explosions there wounded four Americans and ignited a fire that burned until daylight. – Washington Post 

The Kurdish-led authorities in northeastern Syria on Friday called on the U.S.-led coalition to make clear where it stands regarding Turkish drone strikes that have killed and wounded dozens of Syrian Kurdish fighters over the past months. – Associated Press 

A baby girl who was born under the rubble of her family home destroyed by the deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria six months ago is in good health, loves her adopted family and likes to smile even to strangers. – Associated Press 

Israeli airstrikes hit areas around Damascus early Monday, killing at least four Syrian soldiers, Syrian state media reported. – Associated Press


Iraq’s telecoms ministry said it has blocked the Telegram messaging app over national security concerns and in order to preserve the integrity of users’ personal data, which it said the app had mishandled. – Reuters 

Iraq plans to ask Interpol to issue international alerts seeking the arrest of former senior officials including an ex-finance minister and an ex-intelligence chief over the suspected theft of more than $2.5 billion from the country’s Tax Commission. – Reuters 

Turkish drone strikes on Sunday killed two Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants and wounded two in Iraq’s northern provinces of Sulaimaniya and Dahuk, Iraqi Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism service and a security source said. – Reuters 

Iraqi Christians have struggled since the Nineveh plains, their historic homeland of rolling hills dotted with wheat and barley fields, were wrested back from Islamic State extremists six years ago. – Associated Press


Every summer, the Lebanese brace for war. Border skirmishes and rocket exchanges with Israel have become almost commonplace throughout the year. But since the 2006 July War, fears of a serious escalation intensify as the months grow hotter. – Washington Post 

Lebanon’s caretaker premier Najib Mikati said on Saturday there was no cause for “concern or panic” about his country’s security situation, after Germany and Gulf countries issued new travel warnings following outbreaks of violence. – Reuters 

Thousands of mourners and protesters marched in the Lebanese capital on Friday to remember those killed in a huge port blast three years ago, as religious leaders and rights groups decried the lack of accountability amid a stalled investigation. – Reuters 

Bahrain called on its citizens Saturday to leave Lebanon “for their own safety” hours after Saudi Arabia did the same without giving a reason. – Associated Press 

Damage to the school complex in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp from recent clashes between factions could delay the start of the school year for some 6,000 children, a United Nations official said Friday. – Associated Press 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is increasingly driving an oil-production strategy to boost prices that is at odds with other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, in a push to fund the kingdom’s ambitious development projects. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukraine made a renewed push this weekend at a gathering in Saudi Arabia to win the support of dozens of countries that have remained on the sidelines of the war — the start of a broader campaign in the months ahead to build the diplomatic muscle to isolate and weaken Russia. – New York Times 

Saudi Arabia signed a strategic agreement with Turkish defence firm Baykar Tech to localise the manufacturing of drones in the kingdom, state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI)posted on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday. – Reuters 

Chinese Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui will visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for international talks on the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday. – Reuters 

State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines has launched new direct flights connecting Riyadh and Jeddah with the Chinese capital Beijing, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Sunday. – Reuters 

A team of U.S. orthopaedic surgeons is visiting the Gaza Strip to perform a series of joint replacement operations and provide training to local doctors. – Reuters 

Israel and Saudi Arabia will deepen economic and business relations even if they don’t formally recognize each other, according to Benjamin Netanyahu. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria is categorically against any military intervention in Niger, Ennahar TV said late on Saturday citing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. – Reuters 

One of Libya’s top governing bodies elected a new head on Sunday, in a development that could further fracture the country already split between two rival administrations. – Associated Press 

The biggest oil producer in the United Arab Emirates is buying a stake in a natural gas field in Azerbaijan, marking the company’s first major international purchase of upstream hydrocarbon assets. – Bloomberg 

Hamas security forces and militiamen on Friday foiled an attempt by Palestinian activists to launch large-scale demonstrations throughout the Gaza Strip to protest economic hardship and demand an end to the ongoing shortage of power and gas. – Jerusalem Post 

Security forces arrested five Palestinians overnight Sunday on suspicion they were involved in a violent clash at the end of last week during which an Israeli settler fatally shot a Palestinian. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

A string of random stabbings in South Korea has inspired online threats of copycat attacks and unnerved the country of 52 million, pushing officials to consider adding new criminal punishments such as life imprisonment without parole. – Wall Street Journal 

Three Democratic senators are pressing the Biden administration to disclose more information about its efforts to counteract North Korea’s dependence on stolen cryptocurrency to fund its nuclear program, calling Pyongyang’s growing reliance on digital assets to evade sanctions a severe national security threat. – Wall Street Journal 

A victim from Thursday’s car rampage and stabbing in South Korea was declared dead early Sunday morning, according to officials, the first fatality in the attack, which had injured 14 people and unsettled a nation where mass violence is uncommon. – New York Times 

The Permanent Mission of North Korea to the United Nations has criticized the U.S. for having nuclear weapons and urged it to stop “sharing nuclear” or “beefing up extended deterrence,” state media KCNA reported on Saturday. – Reuters 

The United States has declined so far to classify Army Private Travis King as a prisoner of war, despite his being taken into North Korean custody after he crossed into the country last month, four U.S. officials told Reuters. – Reuters 

A South Korean businessman wanted for nine years by authorities was extradited from the United States on Friday to face charges linked to one of the country’s worst maritime disasters in which over 300 people, mostly children, were killed. – Reuters 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toured the country’s key weapons factories, including those producing artillery systems and launch vehicles for nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, and pledged to speed up efforts to advance his military’s arms and war readiness, state media said Sunday. – Associated Press 

An unusual sighting of a Russian military jet in North Korea is stoking concern that Kim Jong Un is selling Vladimir Putin weapons as ties strengthen between the sanctioned states. – Bloomberg 


A combined Russian and Chinese naval force patrolled near the coast of Alaska last week in what U.S. experts said appeared to be the largest such flotilla to approach American shores. – Wall Street Journal 

Elmer Yuen, the 74-year-old U.S.-based activist who is the focus of the authorities’ ire, is one of eight overseas critics of China who are facing arrest warrants in Hong Kong after being accused of national-security crimes. He appeared at a news briefing in Washington last month and another in London on Tuesday, discussing his plans to form an unofficial government in exile. – Wall Street Journal 

Beijing is preparing to roll out new restrictions on the amount of time that young people spend on mobile devices, putting China further ahead of other countries in controlling how, and how much time, its youth engage in the online world. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. companies are accelerating efforts to reduce their dependence upon Chinese suppliers, even as officials in Washington and Beijing labor to put a floor under their sour relationship. – Washington Post 

China’s embassy in Russia criticised the treatment of five Chinese citizens who were refused entry into Russia, calling the treatment inconsistent with the overall friendly relations between the two countries. – Reuters 

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi invited the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and his delegation for a visit in the fall after Beijing postponed an earlier trip. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: A spokesman for U.S. Northern Command said the Sino-Russian patrol wasn’t perceived as a threat, but one day soon it could be. In the new era of great power competition, Russia, China and Iran are building an axis to challenge U.S. power. The naval patrol is best understood as a warning that U.S. territory isn’t safe, as well as a test of how the U.S. will respond. The world is getting more dangerous, and a complacent U.S. political class isn’t educating the public about the growing threats. – Wall Street Journal 

Tom Rogan writes: The top line, however, is a familiar one. From the Netherlands to Taiwan to the United Kingdom to even China’s “no limits partner,” Russia, Beijing’s intelligence apparatus poses an extraordinary threat — one that is truly unparalleled in terms of its human and cyber intelligence efforts. China has the data and the ambition to detect vulnerable targets and then exploit them ruthlessly. Within 20 years, this unparalleled descriptor may also apply to China’s space-based intelligence capabilities. Put simply, the arrest of these two sailors is the tip of a very large iceberg. – Washington Examiner 

John R. Schindler writes: We have yet to find the next John Walker, the notorious Navy warrant officer who for nearly two decades during the late Cold War compromised nearly all Navy communications to Moscow. If Walker’s successor is out there, selling such vital secrets to Beijing, the U.S. Navy may lose the looming Pacific War in its first week. – Washington Examiner 

Keith Krach writes: Further, investment firms should be barred from holding securities of Chinese corporations that support human rights violations, ally with U.S. adversaries, answer to the Chinese military or neglect corporate governance practices including material risk disclosure and minority shareholder rights. Also, a prohibition on issuing dollar-denominated Chinese sovereign bonds should also be enforced, preventing the CCP from accumulating billions in annual discretionary cash. – The Hill 

South Asia

Pakistan’s halting democratic journey suffered a setback Saturday after a court sentenced former Prime Minister Imran Khan to prison, and the government indicated that elections due this year would be postponed. – Wall Street Journal 

India’s top court on Friday suspended the conviction of opposition leader Rahul Gandhi in a criminal defamation case linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname, paving the way for him to be reinstated as a lawmaker. – Wall Street Journal 

India is making it harder to import laptops, tablets and other consumer-electronics devices in a move intended to boost local manufacturing and curb imports from China, government and industry officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

A suicide bomber apparently detonated his explosives-laden vehicle prematurely in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban on Monday, killing a married couple in a nearby car, officials said. – Associated Press 

Three Indian soldiers were killed in a gun battle with rebels fighting against New Delhi’s rule in Kashmir, officials said Saturday, as authorities stepped up security on the fourth anniversary since India revoked the disputed region’s special status. – Associated Press 

Kashmir’s top pro-India politician had a stark message Friday — the eve of the fourth anniversary since India revoked the disputed region’s special status, throwing the Himalayan territory into political chaos: “Democracy stops where the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir begin.” – Associated Press 

Global prices for food commodities like rice and vegetable oil have risen for the first time in months after Russia pulled out of a wartime agreement allowing Ukraine to ship grain to the world, and India restricted some of its rice exports, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday. – Associated Press 

Mihir Sharma writes: Populism is a disease of democracy and needs to be defeated democratically. The US, with its centuries-old institutions, may be able to see off Trump in 2024; Pakistan, with a much shallower democratic tradition, may find moving beyond Khan much harder. But the defense of democracy permits no shortcuts. – Bloomberg 


In the 78 years since, Japan’s government, as well as the United Nations and others, have promoted the goal of a nuclear-free world. But that goal has become “more difficult,” in part because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Sunday at a memorial ceremony in Hiroshima. – Washington Post 

At least 157 people were killed, according to two local groups that have verified the toll over several months. It was the single deadliest attack by the Myanmar military since it seized control from a civilian government in 2021, and a stunning demonstration, analysts said, of how far the junta is willing to go to crush the resistance movement that has pushed it out of large swaths of the country. – Washington Post 

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which is manufacturing the world’s most advanced microchips, conducts business on the island of Taiwan, dead center in one of the most geopolitically volatile places on the planet. That makes people in Washington very nervous. TSMC dominates the semiconductor industry; it’s a company that the United States can’t do without, 80 miles off the coast of China. – New York Times 

China told the Philippines on Monday to remove its grounded warship from the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea after blocking two Manila supply ships with water cannons over the weekend as both sides asserted their claims of the area. – Reuters 

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has proposed legislation to support establishment of national security councils in strategic Pacific island states that are home to key U.S. military installations and at risk of espionage and coercion by China. – Reuters 

U.S. and Mongolian officials this week discussed “creative ways” to ensure the landlocked country, dependent on goodwill from its neighbors China and Russia, could get critical minerals onto the world market, a U.S. State Department official said on Friday. – Reuters 

The Philippine government summoned the Chinese ambassador on Monday to convey a diplomatic protest over the Chinese coast guard’s use of a water cannon against a Filipino supply boat in the disputed South China Sea, a Philippine official said. – 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 

The Japanese government is preparing to start releasing treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site into the sea as early as late August, local newspapers including the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. – Bloomberg 

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra postponed a plan to return from 15 years of self-imposed exile by about two weeks, as a political party backed by his family faces hurdles in forming a government. – Bloomberg 

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra appeared in Cambodia on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s leader, after delaying a return to his home country amid political turmoil. – Bloomberg 

The Philippines’ military said a Chinese coast guard ship blocked and fired water cannons on a supply vessel in the South China Sea, marking the latest confrontation in the disputed waters. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: Meanwhile, the United States has been pressing Mr. Aliyev to ease the blockade that Azerbaijan has imposed around Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave, leading to a humanitarian crisis there. Azerbaijan is seeking to regain full control of Nagorno-Karabakh, which ethnic Armenian forces have controlled for three decades. Armenia and Azerbaijan have engaged in peace talks. Any contacts with Azerbaijan about the crisis should also include a plea for the immediate release of Mr. Ibadoghlu. – Washington Post 

Editorial: But there should also be a carrot to go along with the stick. With Hun Sen stepping back, there is a chance for a reset in relations. Hun Manet needs to know that if he is ready to mend ties with the West, reduce Cambodia’s overreliance on China, address human rights concerns and allow opposition parties and independent media the space to operate freely, then the United States stands ready to assist. – Washington Post 


Ukraine is seeing “significant results” from U.S. and German air defence systems, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday, despite waves of Russian air strikes that Kyiv says targeted civilians and residential buildings. – Reuters 

Exiled opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko met in Poland on Sunday, on the eve of the third anniversary of their unsuccessful post-election protests, to display unity and plan strategy including the issuance of “New Belarus” passports. – Reuters 

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said both he and China’s Wang Yi want to strengthen EU-China relations, after a call with the Chinese foreign minister. – Reuters 

Alex Massie writes: For the moment at least, Orkney — and the rest of Scotland — will remain in Britain but not altogether of Britain: Scottish but with no urgent need for the accouterments and unknowable complications of an independent state. The settled will of the Scottish people is to remain a profoundly unsettled people. – New York Times 

Dov S. Zakheim writes: After her meeting with Biden, Meloni said that Italy would decide by December whether to remain in the BRI. Europe’s increasing angst over China, its efforts to counter the BRI with a major initiative of its own, and Crosetto’s remarks about the Chinese initiative certainly point to the direction that Meloni’s decision is likely to take. After four frustrating years, Rome finally appears to be suffering from what can only be termed buyer’s remorse. If the EU can keep expanding its own Global Gateway efforts even as the Chinese economy continues to flounder, perhaps other BRI participants will follow Italy’s lead and consider withdrawing from the so-called “flagship project” that Xi Jinping launched with so much fanfare exactly a decade ago. – The Hill 

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff and James H. Sallembien write: If the U.S. and Europe can learn to address the growing suite of modern challenges jointly and accept reasonable, logical, and limited asymmetries — that Europe will do more to help rebuild Ukraine, given the country’s membership aspirations, and that America will do more on defense given its global role — burden sharing can still turn into a transatlantic success story. – The Hill


A deadline set by other West African countries for coup leaders in Niger to back down and liberate the nation’s elected president passed on Sunday without regional militaries launching the armed intervention they had threatened. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. said it has frozen some of its foreign-assistance programs to Niger, as the potential for armed conflict loomed and tensions heightened over the detention of the country’s U.S.-backed President Mohamed Bazoum following a coup. – Wall Street Journal 

Italy’s government said on Sunday it had reduced the number of troops it has in Niger to make room in its military base for civilians who may need protection from a fragile security situation. – Reuters 

A senior Ethiopian official accused militiamen in the Amhara region of seeking to overthrow the regional and federal governments following days of fighting that led the authorities to declare a state of emergency. – Reuters 

A leading human rights group called Friday on the United States and the United Nations to impose further sanctions on those in Sudan “responsible for the atrocities” in the troubled Darfur region, where evidence of scorched-earth attacks is mounting. – Associated Press 

The United Nations’ human rights office in Uganda will close this weekend after the East African country decided not to renew an agreement allowing it to operate, the U.N.’s top human rights official said Friday. – Associated Press 

The conflict in Sudan has left 24 million people — half the country’s population — in need of food and other assistance, but only 2.5 million have received aid because of vicious fighting and a lack of funding, two senior U.N. officials said Friday. – Associated Press 

Niger’s junta partially closed the country’s airspace, warning of an attack by a “foreign power” as a deadline passed on Sunday to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. – Bloomberg 

A popular former mayor of Senegal’s capital regained eligibility to run in the 2024 presidential elections after a tweak to the electoral law. – Bloomberg 

Nigerian lawmakers urged diplomacy to reverse the coup in neighboring Niger after West African defense chiefs agreed to a plan for potential military intervention. – Bloomberg 

Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in the northern Amhara region, where fighting between government forces and a rebel group erupted earlier this week. – Bloomberg 

Benny Avni writes: Forty-three percent of the world’s deaths from terrorism now occur in the Sahel, and Niger is the only spot there where America can still monitor, combat, and prevent the violence from seeping onto our shores. Relying on Ecowas, hedging our bets, and hoping for the best do not add up to an adequate strategy to resolve this crisis. – New York Sun 

Stephen Blank writes: The latest coup clarifies Russia’s instruments of power, tactics and goals for nations in Africa, if not, other developing states in other regions. It also may explain why Putin did not disband Wagner after the June mutiny, because of its centrality to Russia’s global strategy. Clearly the West, despite its superior aggregate power in all dimensions, still lacks any idea of how to coordinate them on behalf of a comprehensive strategy. Nor does it yet fully appreciate the rising importance of African countries to the global contest now underway. While it is not too late to forge such a strategy, if we want to help African states prosper, improve their conditions and reduce the likelihood of new conflicts, the time to begin doing so is now. – The Hill 

The Americas

Canada plans to impose a digital-services tax at the start of 2024, a move that bucks a global consensus on restructuring international taxation and has drawn criticism from U.S. officials. – Wall Street Journal 

Canada will suspend direct development assistance to the government of Niger in response to the attempted coup d’état in the West African nation, the federal government said on Saturday. – Reuters 

The United States is discussing what support it would be prepared to offer a Kenya-led multinational force to help police in Haiti fight armed gangs amid a worsening humanitarian crisis there, a State Department official said on Friday. – Reuters 

Haitians are expressing skepticism over an offer by Kenya to lead an international police force aimed at combatting the gang violence that has wracked the Caribbean nation. – Associated Press 

Latin America

President Gustavo Petro has embarked on a bilateral cease-fire with Colombia’s oldest rebel group as part of a new strategy to negotiate with multiple rebel and drug groups. – Wall Street Journal 

A judge late on Friday granted Nicolas Petro, the eldest son of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, conditional freedom while he faces money laundering and illicit enrichment charges connected to financing for his father’s campaign. – Reuters 

Argentina’s government on Friday agreed with Qatar a $775 million loan to use to make an International Monetary Fund (IMF) repayment due this Friday. – Reuters 

Venezuela’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered a “broad and diverse restructuring” of the Venezuelan Red Cross and the dismissal of the president and members of the board of directors. – Reuters 

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: On Aug. 13 Argentines vote in primaries for presidential candidates, and this issue is front and center. Yet promises of a cure are short on details, probably because it would mean upending the long tradition of Peronist populism that has bankrupted the country. – Wall Street Journal

United States

Mark Meadows was the White House chief of staff when Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election result, but he plays only a bit role in the document laying out the charges against the former president. – Wall Street Journal 

Donald Trump’s lawyer has argued on television that the First Amendment protects the former president’s efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election, but defense attorneys say that argument presents an uphill battle in the courtroom. – Wall Street Journal 

The Justice Department urged in a Friday-evening court filing that a federal judge in Washington impose firm rules on Donald Trump and his attorneys as they review materials during the discovery process for his trial, citing, in part, the former president’s history of revealing details about cases on social media. – Washington Post 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr said he is willing to testify against former President Trump at his Jan. 6 trial. – The Hill 


A federal judge narrowed a major antitrust case against Alphabet’s Google ahead of a trial that is slated to begin next month, rejecting an argument made by a bipartisan group of 38 state attorneys general who sued the tech company in 2020 over its search dominance. – Wall Street Journal 

And earlier this week — in one of the more extreme responses by a government yet — Senegal imposed a temporary ban on TikTok on all wireless phone networks. And it didn’t stop there. It blocked access to the entire Internet on mobile devices. For five days, possibly longer. – Bloomberg 

Hospitals and clinics in several states on Friday began the time-consuming process of recovering from a cyberattack that disrupted their computer systems, forcing some emergency rooms to shut down and ambulances to be diverted. – Associated Press 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) launched a public awareness campaign Friday focusing on the harms of social media for children, his office announced. – The Hill 

David Hickton writes: Capitol Hill should act now to put pen to paper on AI regulation, thereby strengthening the U.S. negotiating position on cyber diplomacy. If the U.S. is to lead in shaping that global ecosystem, we need to back up our talking points with domestic policy — the sooner the better. – The Hill 

Tracy C. Miller writes: While some changes to the legal landscape might be reasonable, parents are in the best position to decide how much autonomy to allow kids as they get closer to adulthood. Any additional government policies will be more effective if our lawmakers remember this. – The Hill


But these days, what is most striking about life at Tyndall — home to roughly 3,500 employees and their families, including the 325th Fighter Wing, a key combat training force — is not what is gone, but rather what is emerging. – Washington Post  

Alabama’s congressional delegation is fuming after President Biden nixed the relocation of U.S. Space Command headquarters to their state and has warned the fight is far from over. – The Hill 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has issued a new memo to all military personnel outlining how to “mitigate the harms” caused by Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) months-long hold on hundreds of military confirmations. – The Hill 

The public’s confidence in the U.S. military is the lowest it’s been in decades, and it’s doing no favors to the armed forces’ current recruitment struggles. – The Hill 

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) conducted its first successful flight of a Valkyrie jet controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) last month, the Air Force announced Thursday. – The Hill

Editorial: Of course, the military’s efforts to avoid answering these important questions raise another one: If the DEI agenda is as vital to the military’s success as Pentagon and military academy leadership claims, then why try to hide it? Why prevent cadets from publicly speaking about their DEI trainings or ignore public requests to access the curricula? We’d love an explanation, but again, the Air Force Academy declined a request for comment. – Washington Examiner 

Long War

Zoufi is the commander of the camp’s branch of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is listed as a terrorist group by Israel and the United States. He founded the armed militant cell just over a year ago as Israeli military raids spiked across the West Bank. – Washington Post

Ten days into a coup in Niger, life has become more challenging for U.S. forces at a counterterrorism base in a region of West Africa known as the world’s epicenter of terrorism. – Associated Press

The trial of radical British preacher Anjem Choudary on a charge of leading a terrorist organization will start in May of next year, a judge said Friday. – Associated Press

Syria’s main insurgent al-Qaida-linked group denied it was behind the killing of the Islamic State group’s leader in the country’s northwest saying it would have otherwise claimed responsibility. – Associated Press