Fdd's overnight brief

August 8, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a cease-fire after more than two days of airstrikes and rocket attacks that killed 43 people and injured more than 300 in Gaza and forced thousands of Israelis to shelter in bunkers. – Washington Post 

Israeli forces and militants in Gaza continued to exchange air and rocket attacks Saturday, with Israeli airstrikes killing at least 24 inside the enclave since Friday, including the leader of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad brigade, and injuring more than 200 others, according to Palestinian officials. – Washington Post 

The most violent conflagration in more than a year between Israel and Gaza militants extended into a second day on Saturday, with exchanges of rocket fire and airstrikes that destroyed residential buildings, and pushed the death toll to at least 24, according to Palestinian health officials. – New York Times

Khaled Mansour, the Islamic Jihad militant commander who was killed in an Israeli missile strike in southern Gaza on Saturday night, was responsible for rocket and mortar attacks against Israel stretching back years, according to the Israeli military. – New York Times 

Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor has shot down 97% of Palestinian rockets it has engaged during the weekend surge of Gaza fighting, the military said, an improvement in the performance of the U.S.-backed system. – Reuters

The United States fully supported Israel’s right to defend itself, the State Department said on Saturday, and it urged all sides to avoid further escalation as Israeli air strikes pounded Gaza while the militant Islamic Jihad group fired rockets into Israel. – Reuters 

As Israel’s campaign against the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza moved into its second day on Saturday, residents of houses targeted for destruction said they were given 15 minutes warning to evacuate. – Reuters

One of the hundreds of rockets Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched toward Israelis backfired, falling and exploding in Gaza itself. This time it was fired from a mosque, compounding the war crime of acting from civilian populations onto the war crime of attacking them. – Jerusalem Post 

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Saturday that the Palestinians are “not alone” in their fight against Israel as they faced a second day of air strikes in Gaza. – Agence France-Presse

Sirens blared in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening as Operation Breaking Dawn continued against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip as more than 350 rockets were launched toward Israel in the first full day of fighting between the two groups. – Jerusalem Post 

The mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi, on Sunday praised the government and the IDF over Operation Breaking Dawn and its results. – Arutz Sheva

A copy of the “statement regarding the ceasefire” between Israel and the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, which was reached through Egyptian mediation, was published on Palestinian Arab Telegram channels on Sunday night. – Arutz Sheva 

The IDF bombed 11 sites used to launch rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, an army spokesperson said Sunday afternoon. – Arutz Sheva

Overnight, IDF, ISA (Shabak) and Israel Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in order to apprehend Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria. – Arutz Sheva 

Terrorists from Gaza fired a barrage of dozens of rockets towards Israel on Friday evening, including a barrage towards central Israel. – Arutz Sheva 

Jordan’s foreign ministry joins Qatar in condemning Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which commenced nearly three hours ago. – Times of Israel 

The IDF of Monday said that more than 1,000 projectiles were launched from Gaza in the 55-hour offensive against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and 170 military targets were attacked. – Ynet 

Anyone who tries to harm Israel knows that Israel will stop them, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Friday after the IDF launched Operation Breaking Dawn with the targeted killing of a top Islamic Jihad terrorist leader. – Jerusalem Post 

Hundreds of Palestinian political activists and academics are preparing a petition to demand that the Palestinian Authority leadership hold general elections without delay. – Jerusalem Post 

US President Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group, which went into place Sunday night after over three days of fighting. – Times of Israel 

Russia has condemned Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip after the IDF struck multiple Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets throughout Friday afternoon and Saturday, releasing a statement by the spokesperson for the minister of foreign affairs on Saturday afternoon. – Jerusalem Post

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency closed-door meeting on Monday to discuss the latest escalation between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said in a statement. – Times of Israel 

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu met with Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday to receive a security briefing on the IDF’s Operation Breaking Dawn against Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, marking the end of the former premier’s boycott of the standard procedure, which is mandated by law. – Times of Israel 

With empty streets and drawn curtains, Gaza now feels like a ghost town. Its residents — tested by repeated wars — feel like they are living the same scenes again and again. Before Israel launched what it says were pre-emptive strikes targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip, the territory was enjoying a summer unlike any other in recent years. – Times of Israel 

The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror organization, Hassan Nasrallah, fiercely condemned Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip Saturday and issued a warning to the Jewish state during a televised address. – Times of Israel 

IDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Ran Kochav on Monday morning said that if the quiet continues, Gaza’s border crossings with Israel will be opened at 9:00a.m. Monday. – Arutz Sheva 

The latest round of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad, which has killed more than 40 Gazans so far, drew condemnations from Middle Eastern countries. – Haaretz

Khaled Abu Toameh writes: Paradoxically, Israel’s military strikes against Islamic Jihad serve the interests of Hamas by undermining the organization that poses a threat to its rule over the Gaza Strip. But Hamas’s failure to assist Islamic Jihad could also prove to be counterproductive, especially in wake of increased voices criticizing the rulers of the Gaza Strip for their neutral stance. – Jerusalem Post 

Tom Rogan writes: Finally, there’s his ridiculous concluding commitment that “the UN is fully engaged with all concerned in an attempt to avoid a further conflict.” See the hypocrisy? Having spent the near entirety of his note underlining his utter bias on the conflict, Wennesland now assumes that he can positively influence a resolution to it. He appears to have no awareness as to why, just maybe, Israel might not care much for what he has to say. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: We should expect this new conflict to continue for at least for a few days until Israel believes it has effectively restored deterrence. That said, Iran’s influence on the PIJ may mean that the group decides to continue fighting even as the costs on its capabilities and Palestinian civilian infrastructure escalate. – Washington Examiner

Ofer Shelah writes: To present a far-reaching plan, which includes developing the economy in Gaza with partners like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. To show the people of Gaza they could have a different life, with independence and freedom, and the ones holding them back from it are Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. – Ynet 

Ron Ben Yishai writes: Israel is also signaling that the demand for the release of the organizing’s chief, Bassem Saadi, arrested a few days ago in Janine will not be met. The central message Israel wants to convey to the terrorist organization is “You wanted to connect the West Bank to Gaza and pride yourself that you’re fighting on two fronts – so you got what you wanted – only the other way around.” – Ynet 

David Horovitz writes: Hamas frequently initiates conflict with Israel. It did so, indeed, just 15 months ago, and managed to stir violence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel’s mixed Arab-Jewish cities, too. But, this time, in our routinely surreal reality, it is to Hamas that Israel is now looking to help secure a ceasefire. – Times of Israel 

David Horovitz writes: Hamas’s ties with Iran have been relatively warm of late, although it is emphatically not a classic proxy of Tehran. And it is always interested in principle in confronting Israel. But does Hamas want to be dragged into a fresh round, by its much smaller local ally-rival and by Iran, at a time and in a context not of its choosing? We’ll know soon enough. – Times of Israel 

David Horovitz writes: The Trump “vision” it is now definitively clear, was an effort to meet just about all of Netanyahu’s demands with respect to the Palestinian conflict but ostensibly do so within the parameters of the framework he no longer endorses: the two-state solution on which Israel’s 1947 international re-legitimacy was founded; the only solution that enables Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic. – Times of Israel 

Tia Goldenberg and Fares Akram write: Lapid, a centrist former TV host and author, lacks the security background many Israelis see as essential for their leadership. His political fortunes could rest on the current fighting, either gaining a boost if he can portray himself as a capable leader or take a hit from a lengthy operation as Israelis try to enjoy the last weeks of summer. – Times of Israel


Negotiations between Iran and the U.S. on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal are close to completion, the European Union’s senior negotiator at the talks said Sunday evening, but it remained unclear whether Tehran will accept the final deal. – Wall Street Journal

Iran has begun a sweeping crackdown on its Baha’i community, a long-persecuted religious minority, arresting dozens of people and destroying property belonging to members of the group, according to accounts this week from the government, residents and rights groups – New York Times 

Top negotiators in renewed talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal indicated Sunday that they are optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement to impose limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment. – Associated Press 

Iran on Sunday demanded that the UN nuclear watchdog “completely” resolve outstanding issues related to questions over nuclear material at undeclared sites, amid resumed talks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s foreign minister has said the outcome of the ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at reviving a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers depends on Washington’s flexibility. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Tehran says Iranian experts will control “from day one” an Iranian satellite due to be launched by Russia next week, rejecting reports that it will be first used by Moscow to “enhance its surveillance of military targets” in Ukraine. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russia’s envoy to talks on reviving Iran‘s 2015 nuclear deal said on Friday they had resumed in a “serious” atmosphere even as few expect a breakthrough compromise while Tehran’s disputed uranium enrichment program surges forward. – Reuters

Masih Alinejad writes: Tehran is unlikely to stop. Regime officials are humiliated that this latest foiled plot makes the regime look like a bumbling failure. Perhaps they will be emboldened to finish what they started. I am grateful for the protection of law-enforcement agencies, and I hope the U.S. government takes this seriously and makes clear to the mullahs that an American citizen like me should feel safe exercising her constitutional freedoms inside U.S. borders. – Wall Street Journal

Alex Vatanka writes: ​​​​All this raises the question: What is Raisi’s plan for staying in the presidential palace and maybe even keeping his name in the race to succeed Khamenei as supreme leader when the day comes? The answer is pretty obvious: He accepts that his presidential mandate is what Khamenei wants it to be. No more and no less. That was Raisi’s modus operandi in his first year in office, and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Sunday of imperiling a captured nuclear power plant, saying that a catastrophic radiation leak was “miraculously avoided” after rockets landed on the complex’s grounds. It was the latest threat to Europe’s largest nuclear facility, where fighting in the southern region has prompted fears of a major accident. – New York Times  

The director of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office resigned on Friday to protest a lengthy statement by the wider organization that accuses Ukrainian soldiers of employing tactics of war that endanger civilians. – New York Times 

The biggest caravan of ships carrying grain and other agricultural products since the beginning of the Russian invasion has sailed from Ukrainian ports on Sunday, heading to Europe, Asia and the Middle East through the mined waters of the Black Sea – New York Times 

The United Nations nuclear chief warned of a potential “nuclear disaster” after shelling of Europe’s largest atomic power plant, once again urging Russia and Ukraine to allow a mission of experts access to the facility to help secure it. – Washington Post 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that his country was ready to discuss a prisoner exchange offer from the United States involving basketball star Brittney Griner, but warned that “loud statements” and public diplomacy from the Biden administration could sink hopes of any deal.Washington Post 

General Antonio Guterres called on August 8 for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of Europe’s largest atomic site over the weekend. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that if Moscow holds referendums on joining Russia in occupied areas of his country, there could be no talks with Ukraine or its international allies. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s war in Ukraine has only made an already “horrific” global food crisis even more dire. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree that bans investors from so-called “unfriendly countries” from selling shares in certain strategic enterprises until the end of the year. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russia says it is expelling 14 Bulgarian consular and embassy staff in response to Sofia’s “unfounded” decision to expel Russian diplomatic personnel as tensions rage over Moscow’s ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

A European Commission says Western sanctions against Moscow are not an impediment to the delivery of a gas turbine from Germany to Russia.Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The scheduled arrival Sunday of the first grain ship to leave Ukraine and cross the Black Sea under a wartime deal has been delayed, a Lebanese Cabinet minister and the Ukraine Embassy said. – Associated Press

North Korea has offered to send 100,000 soldiers to bolster Russia’s invasion attempt in Ukraine, Russian state TV has claimed. – New York Post 

Natalia Yermack writes: Now, as I’m writing this, others are walking those same tracks of remembrance and loss throughout Ukraine — over city alleys and wheat fields, over rubble and broken glass, through eastern steppes, western forests, liberated villages, trenches and bleeding cities at the edge of the front line. Ahead, there will be a sunny afternoon for some of us to stop, take the hand of someone we love and let go of everything and everyone we lost to the war. – New York Times 

George F. Will writes: Putin’s regime encourages the public to show support for the Ukraine war by displaying the “Z” sign, which the Economist calls a “half-swastika.” Fascism might flourish more in this century than it did in the previous one. – Washington Post 

Dalibor Rohac writes: The reluctance of the “Global South” to get on board with the West’s response to Russian aggression is understandable, even if misguided. Unless the West steps up and builds coalitions outside of its usual comfort zones, the current dynamics won’t bode well for its ability to confront and contain malevolent, autocratic, and revanchist regimes over the course of the 21st century. – The UnPopulist

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: Amnesty has blundered before. Last year, it referred to Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny as a prisoner of conscience after his arrest, but then revoked that because of past xenophobic comments —  never mind the context, or the fact that it’s possible to object to both racism and unjustified imprisonment. It then changed its mind again. The rights group might have thought back to that instead of handing Russia another propaganda win. – Bloomberg 

Amanda Little writes: The damage and destruction caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has yielded important insights into the future of agriculture in a world of increasing environmental and geopolitical instability. Absorbing these lessons and acting on them will give us a chance to better prepare for the inevitable disruptions ahead. – Bloomberg


A bombing in the heart of Kabul’s Shiite minority community Saturday killed at least two people and wounded 22. It was the third terrorist attack in the area since Wednesday, and intensified fears of further violence during the final days of Muharram, the Shiite mourning period. – Washington Post 

This is Afghanistan nearly a year after the Taliban seized control of the country in a lightning advance, moving so fast to take Kabul they surprised even their own leadership. The country’s brightest young citizens are harnessing their intelligence to self-sabotage, because in a twisted system the group has created, that gives them more hope than success. – The Guardian

Garrett Exner writes: That needs to change. Our veterans deserve an opportunity for true reconciliation, and the Afghanistan War Commission has the power to grant them that. They deserve candid explanations from military officials involved in the withdrawal and a full accounting of the decisions they made that led to such a disastrous outcome. Just like the encouragement and support veterans receive from the public, the answers and accountability from the government can provide much-needed healing to Afghanistan veterans. It is something they are owed. Congress must not refuse them. – Washington Examiner

Kori Schake writes: “The Catcher in the Rye” is the greatest novel about the Second World War and its long shadow. Holden Caufield’s voice, for which the novel is renowned, is the voice of a war veteran, to whom everyone is “a phony” and who wants to visit the ducks in Central Park, to recover an innocence that will never return and perhaps never was. The novel’s last line — “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody” — is one I’ve often related to. – Bloomberg


Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis heeded the call of an influential Shiite cleric to gather in a show of strength for a mass prayer in the heart of Baghdad’s government zone on Friday. The gathering took place amid an escalating political crisis that has put the country’s capital on edge. – Associated Press

Protesters associated with the Sadrist trend in Iraq this week began an open-ended sit-in at the Iraqi parliament. The immediate cause of the protests is the deadlock that has gripped the political system since the parliamentary elections held last October. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Kadhimi is a patriot, but he enables this dynamic for the wrong reasons. He is in the palace to promote a new Iraq. If he believes himself indispensable and seeks to force a choice between himself and reform, it is essential the United States side with reform. The reverberation of a candidate whose incentive is to delay democracy rather than encourage it could very well push Iraq past the breaking point. – 19FortyFive

Shayan Talabany writes: There is no doubt that Iraq’s politics were already messy and deeply uncertain at times. Yet Sadr’s willingness to worsen Iraq’s political turmoil, delay Iraq’s government formation, and escalate protests further—threatening an all-out war with rival Shiite groups—should surely serve as a warning that he is capable of catapulting the country into something even worse. – Foreign Policy

Middle East & North Africa

Russia and Turkey announced Friday that they will strengthen their economic cooperation, amid Western fears that Moscow is seeking new avenues to circumvent sanctions imposed for its invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday it is “shameful” that politicians have yet to form a new cabinet nearly three months after elections, blaming their chronic feuding for the country’s “decay.” – Reuters

Barbara Leaf, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Thursday that growing Chinese influence in the Middle East has made the region less safe. – Jewish Insider 

Assaf Orion writes: In doing so, they will be disregarding several hard truths: that the UN’s main mechanism for preventing another war (i.e., making the LAF and UNIFIL the only armed forces in the south) has failed to the point of crisis; that the parties’ basic interest in avoiding war may no longer outweigh the growing risk of miscalculation, particularly by Hezbollah; and that Lebanon’s current economic meltdown pales in comparison to the assured devastation of another war. The UN must not let Lebanon’s political and economic crises take precedence over doing what it can to avoid a catastrophic war, and fixing UNIFIL’s mission is still the main option at its disposal. – Washington Institute

Khaled Dawoud writes: Whether President Sisi’s European tour will truly help improve his reputation on the world stage remains to be seen. Yet what is certain is that, today, the Egyptian leader feels more confident than at any other time since he took office in June 2014. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korea on Saturday called U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability,” accusing her of inciting anti-North Korea sentiment and enraging China during her Asian tour earlier this week. – Associated Press 

U.N. experts report that North Korea is testing “nuclear triggering devices” and that its preparations for another nuclear test were at a final stage in June, quoting information from unnamed countries. – Associated Press 

South Korea foreign minister Park Jin is set for his first visit to China on Monday as President Yoon Suk-yeol’s government seeks to reassure Beijing about their relationship despite stronger ties with the United States and tensions over Taiwan. – Reuters

S. Nathan Park writes: Yoon also amply displayed his inexperience and clumsiness during the presidential campaign. Incompetence, unfortunately, negates all commitment. Whatever ideological leanings Yoon may have are irrelevant if he simply has no capacity to deliver on his promises. At this historical moment, Yoon, the man Washington trusted to keep Seoul in the U.S. lane, is asleep at the wheel as South Korea is swerving wildly. – Foreign Policy


China’s 72-hour spectacle of missiles, warships and jet fighters swarming Taiwan was designed to create a firewall — a blazing, made-for-television warning against what Beijing sees as increasingly stubborn defiance, backed by Washington, of its claims to the island. – New York Times 

China’s military continued on Saturday to menace Taiwan with a series of drills, a show of force intended not only to intimidate Taiwan and the United States, but also to appease a domestic audience that had seemed disappointed by what it perceived as an insufficiently bellicose posture. – New York Times  

China has announced additional live-fire drills in the Bohai and Yellow seas, as Beijing broadcasts its fury over a visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with military exercises near the island. – Washington Post 

China’s military said Monday it would continue military exercises around Taiwan, extending an unprecedented show of force in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island last week that has raised the potential for conflict involving Beijing, Taipei and Washington. – Washington Post 

Four days of exercises around Taiwan offered a rare glimpse into China’s progress toward its goal of prevailing in any major conflict, including against the U.S. in a potential war over the island. – Wall Street Journal

China escalated its military and diplomatic warnings over Taiwan on Friday as it registered anger at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. Beijing for the first time sought to demonstrate its ability to militarily blockade Taiwan and it suspended some cooperation with Washington, while sanctioning Mrs. Pelosi. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan drew praise for bolstering an American partner struggling to fend off China, but also set off a response from Beijing that is creating new risks to regional security and is further straining relations between the two powers. – Wall Street Journal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Friday that China would not succeed in isolating Taiwan, as Beijing retaliated by suspending climate talks and canceling military exchanges with the United States amid continued military exercises that have sent fears of conflict in East Asia skyrocketing. – Washington Post

China carried out fresh military drills around Taiwan Monday, Beijing said, defying calls for it to end its largest-ever exercises encircling the democratic island in the wake of a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. – Agence France-Presse

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that China’s military exercises aimed at Taiwan, including missiles fired into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, represent a “significant escalation” and that he has urged Beijing to back down. – Associated Press 

Taiwan pledged it won’t succumb to pressure from China after days of air and sea military drills in areas all around the island, with hostilities set to continue even as world leaders urge an end to the strife – Bloomberg 

China is moving to tighten the enforcement of existing rules on imports from Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter, as tensions rise in the aftermath of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island – Bloomberg

Taiwan’s military said it warned off seven drones flying over restricted waters surrounding its outer islands late Friday, the third consecutive day such incidents occurred. – Bloomberg 

Two senators on Sunday urged the Biden administration to go further in its support for both Ukraine and Taiwan, as U.S. tensions with China bubble up after Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan. – Politico

Top Chinese military officials have not returned multiple calls from their American counterparts this week as a crisis erupted in the Pacific over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, according to three people with knowledge of the attempts. – Politico 

Beijing targeted a limited range of U.S.-China military and diplomatic cooperation initiatives Friday in China’s latest expression of public rage over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 19-hour visit to Taiwan earlier this week. – Politico

The United States summoned China’s ambassador to the White House to lodge a protest against actions it called irresponsible and at odds with maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, national security spokesman John Kirby said on Friday. – Jerusalem Post 

Yu-Jie Chen writes: After Taiwan opened a representative office in Lithuania last year, for example, China used its economic clout to retaliate with a severe boycott of Lithuanian products. China applies “divide and conquer” tactics to isolate countries that oppose it. But when democracies, including Taiwan, band together economically, diplomatically and militarily, they stand a better chance of holding their ground against China’s capricious retribution, which is not cost-free for itself either.Freedom is worth fighting for, and all democracies will be strengthened by standing with Taiwan. – New York Times 

Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers write: Officials cite national security to restrict lawyers and their clients, or to silence public complaints about financial or land disputes. Academics face tighter monitoring of their teaching and research. Beijing’s combative worldview, other Chinese critics have said, has pushed China too close to Russia and deterred debate over its invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

Amy Chang Chien, John Liu, and Paul Mozur write: In response to rising tensions with China, he crafted a meme out of images from the British sitcom, “Mr. Bean,” which showed the titular character checking his watch and falling asleep. Above them, he added his own message: “So is the Party going to attack?” referring to the Chinese Communist Party by a derogatory nickname. – New York Times

Douglas E. Schoen writes: This is not to say that the U.S. should abandon Taiwan. Defending Taiwan against Chinese aggression is vital to safeguarding and preserving democracy globally. However, Pelosi’s visit did nothing to help achieve this end. It was a reckless decision, both politically and practically. – The Hill

Stanley Chao writes: However, China doesn’t need older, often outdated, small mom-and-pop factories, especially ones owned Taiwanese. Just the opposite: Shutting these down would be a blessing for China. It would lower China’s green-house effects, put an end to low-tech industries that no longer serve the interests of the Communist Party, and ease some of China’s power shortages.But China’s true agenda in closing Taiwanese factories will be to devastate Taiwan quietly, one-by-one via the thousands of mom-and-pops doing business with China that — in aggregate — would definitely cripple Taiwan economically. – The Hill

Leo Lewis writes: The third issue is time. In late July, the US Senate proposed a new bill that could in theory create tax incentives that would draw the electric vehicle battery production chain out of China (which dominates in all key areas) and into the US. This is logical stuff, given where electric vehicle markets are heading. The bill would superficially fit the rapid decoupling story. The reality, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, is a rather more sedate process that would involve lead times of between four and seven years for each of the six principal points in the supply chain. Decoupling is happening, and the past week may raise the political volume on decoupling to unprecedented levels. Any real acceleration, however, may be illusory. – Financial Times 

Lara Williams writes: Though Pelosi’s visit has shaken things up, tensions were already bubbling under the surface. To make matters more urgent, China’s economy is looking quite dire. Growth is rapidly decelerating, youth unemployment stands at a shocking 19.3%, and consumer confidence has plummeted. Any economy where widespread mortgage boycotts are happening isn’t a healthy one. Niall warns that this makes conflict all the more likely. Xi Jinping needs a source of legitimacy for his party, and economic growth no longer does the job. – Bloomberg 

Gearoid Reidy writes: Similarly, little by little, China will likely continue to push at the status quo surrounding Taiwan. The challenge for Japan, the US and their allies is to maintain focus when tensions calm down — and not be distracted when China, inevitably, plays nice again. – Bloomberg 

Ya-Ping Lee writes: Peace in the Taiwan Strait is the shared responsibility of everyone. We are doing our utmost to uphold the cross-strait status quo and the stability of the global supply chain. We thank the G7 countries, the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and our many good friends around the world for supporting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region. – Jerusalem Post

Edward Lucas writes: Such moves have another important effect: they show that the United States is not carrying the burden of global security alone. If allies willingly attract mainland Chinese ire in solidarity with the United States, they are showing the benefits of multilateral security and strengthen the case for continued US aid to Ukraine. The Chinese Communist Party’s obsessive desire to control the way the rest of the world behaves may seem intimidating. But in reality, it is one of the regime’s biggest weaknesses. Don’t cower before it. Exploit it. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Lev Nachman writes: There is a real risk of accidental escalation caused by human error. Part of the worry that many of us have had over the years with the increased number and frequency of PLA jets entering Taiwan’s ADIZ is the potential risk that someone will act irrationally or out of order and that it could snowball into an actual military conflict. With drills happening so close to Taiwan, the risk of error or misreading is higher, though reduced by the time-limited and clearly defined scope of the exercises. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Police on Sunday detained dozens of people in Indian-controlled Kashmir as they dispersed Shiite Muslims who attempted to participate in processions marking the Muslim month of Muharram. – Associated Press

Bangladesh on Sunday sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nation. – Associated Press

Sri Lanka has asked China to defer the planned visit of a Chinese survey ship to the island country after an objection from India, a government source told Reuters on Sunday. – Reuters


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Saturday that their nations were committed to strengthening their military alliance, and that their governments would need to deal with rising tensions in Asia, including those involving China and Taiwan. – New York Times  

Just a few hours after five Chinese missiles blasted into Japanese waters near Taiwan, the foreign ministers of China and Japan found themselves uncomfortably close together, in the holding room for a gala dinner on Thursday night at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. – New York Times 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on August 5 to call for dialogue in the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 

Efforts by Myanmar’s neighbors to help restore peace and normalcy to the strife-torn Southeast Asian nation were hindered by the country’s recent executions of four political activists, Cambodia’s foreign minister said Saturday. – Associated Press 

Southeast Asian foreign ministers issued a joint statement Friday after a series of meetings in the Cambodian capital criticizing Myanmar for its lack of progress in ending violence there, but with weaker language than several countries had hoped for. – Associated Press 

U.S. President Joe Biden sees strong ties with Pacific Island countries as a priority, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, underscoring the stakes of her visit as tensions have been mounting in the region. – Reuters

Ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week, there was concern from the White House to Tokyo that the US House Speaker’s trip would spark a crisis at a time when relations with China were already in a dangerous state. – Financial Times 

Editorial: China is Taiwan’s largest trade partner, and Beijing is betting that Taiwanese businesses will push for conciliation with the Mainland if it increases the economic pain. A trade deal with the U.S. would reassure Taiwanese that the U.S. will stay engaged economically. And it would also reassure the rest of Asia, especially Japan and the Asean countries of Southeast Asia, that the U.S. is there to stay. – Wall Street Journal

William Langley, Chan Ho-him, and Thomas Hale write: Further cross-Strait fallout could be devastating for Taiwan’s economy, with 40 per cent of its exports going to China and Hong Kong, according to figures from Capital Economics. China has already announced the suspension of thousands of agricultural imports from the island. – Financial Times 

Graham Allison writes:  But while no rational leader would choose to fight a nuclear war, the history of the Cold War includes a number of confrontations in which leaders chose to take increased risks of war rather than to accept the Soviet seizure of Berlin or the emplacement of nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. If the best the current U.S. and Chinese governments can manage is statecraft as usual—which is what we’ve seen this past week—then we should expect history as usual. Tragically, history as usual would mean a catastrophic war that could destroy both. – The National Interest


When Angela Merkel pulled the plug on nuclear power after the Fukushima meltdown, she set Germany on a course to become the only leading industrial nation to abandon atomic energy in the world. The economic engine of Europe planned instead to fuel itself through a transition to renewable energies with cheap Russian gas. – New York Times

The bucolic region around the Polish-Lithuanian border has long been known for its rolling farmlands, serene lakes and historic cities. To strategists in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it is now also known as a danger spot. – Wall Street Journal

Kosovar Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla has blamed “illegal Serbian groups” allegedly seeking to “disrupt the work of the Kosovo authorities” for an August 6 attack on border police, while also claiming that the arrest of a Russian journalist trying to cross into the country from Serbia was a sign that Russia was supporting alleged Serbian efforts to destabilize Kosovo. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Authorities in Kosovo say a police unit came under fire in the north of the country near the border with Serbia, where tensions have been high between the two neighboring Western Balkan nations. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Greece’s conservative government was rocked Friday by a long-simmering surveillance scandal after its intelligence chief and a close aide to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis resigned in the space of an hour. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: German voters can see the toll of Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine and the cost of Berlin’s failed 20-year green-energy transition, and they are opening to reality. The country’s economic prospects, and Europe’s, depend on whether their leaders will follow that example. – Wall Street Journal

Andrew A. Michta writes: Democracies are today at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the Russian-Chinese totalitarian axis, and it isn’t because the West lacks the money or material resources to confront them and prevail. Rather, much like in the late 1930s, the West doesn’t believe that the threat is real. Historically democracies have been unbeatable when united around a common purpose. Until the West’s disbelief is replaced by a determination to resist, the Russian and Chinese dictators will keep pressing on, planning their major assaults and dreaming of future victories. – Wall Street Journal

Andreas Kluth writes: Even religious wars eventually wear themselves out. My guess is that Germany’s leaders, including those who head the Greens, are secretly yearning to make peace. They’re just agonizing over how to communicate that to the public. Exit number 4 is getting closer. – Bloomberg


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a three-country tour of Africa on Sunday at a time of growing U.S. concern about Russia’s clout on the continent and on the heels of a recent trip by Moscow’s top envoy. – Wall Street Journal

Ahead of a trip to Uganda and Ghana this week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in an interview that it would be a “listening tour” and that she wanted to find solutions, not assign blame, over a food insecurity crisis intensifying on the African continent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

Sudan has accused neighboring Chad of a cross-border attack earlier this week that a top commander says killed at least 18 nomads in Sudan’s western Darfur region. – Associated Press

U.N. experts said in a new report that Malian armed forces allegedly carried out an operation with “white-skinned soldiers” near the border with Mauritania in March, shooting and burning at least 33 civilians in one of several operations where the country’s ruling military appeared to work closely with likely Russian mercenaries. – Associated Press 

Mali’s government will integrate 26,000 fighters of a past northern rebellion into its army under a deal with leaders of the former independence movement, the two parties announced following a meeting Friday. – Associated Press 

Senegal’s government has signed a peace agreement with separatist rebels from the southern Casamance region that aims to end more than four decades of conflict. – Associated Press

Rwanda’s government is rejecting a report by United Nations experts saying they have “solid evidence” that members of Rwanda’s armed forces are conducting operations in eastern Congo in support of the M23 rebel group whose deadly resurgence has led to talk of war as well as protests against the U.N. peacekeeping force. – Associated Press

Congo’s government has requested that the spokesman for the United Nations mission in Congo leave the country, saying he has made inappropriate statements amid demonstrations against the presence of the U.N. peacekeepers. – Associated Press

Chad’s transitional authorities and rebel groups are expected to sign an agreement in Doha on Monday paving the way to a broader national reconciliation dialogue later this month, the Qatari foreign ministry said. – Reuters

Mortar shells struck residential neighbourhoods near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday shortly after parliament convened to approve the country’s recently appointed cabinet, underlining the security challenges confronting the new government – Agence France-Presse

Delina Goxho and Yvan Guichaoua write: Creating effective European policies requires acknowledging some basic realities. Crucially, framing policies based solely on European fears is unlikely to meet Sahelians’ aspirations for meaningful change. The days of hubristic foreign-led state-building are over. Building stable future polities in the Sahel necessitates homegrown negotiations in which illiberal insurgents may have to be involved. – Foreign Policy

The Americas

Gustavo Petro, a former member of a leftist guerrilla group that had fought the Colombian state, was inaugurated Sunday as president, a change in a country with a history of guerrilla wars that have stifled its modernization and polarized its people. – Wall Street Journal

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that the risk of nuclear confrontation had returned after decades, calling on nuclear states to commit to no first use of the weapons. – Reuters

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega’s government has closed seven radio stations owned by the Roman Catholic church this week, as well as two other outlets serving the largely rural northern area with a history of opposition to his Sandinista National Liberation Front party. – Associated Press 

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Mr. Velásquez’s justice was selective. Ideological friends and criminals who cheered for him stayed out of trouble. Ms. Porras says she wants to restore confidence in institutions. But that means more than producing evidence in cases like the one against Mr. Zamora. She also has to show that she’s an equal-opportunity corruption fighter because the problem is rife on both sides of the political aisle. On that matter, the jury is still out. – Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Bernstein writes: But on other domestic and most foreign policy questions, Republicans appear to be mostly resisting him. The areas where they oppose Biden — the Iran deal, for example — are longstanding, pre-Trump policy positions. Beyond that? Outside of a handful of elected officials, Trump’s anti-NATO, anti-internationalist agenda just doesn’t seem to be catching on. At least not yet. – Bloomberg


The email and website of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) – an organization representing millions of businesses – are still down as it tries to recover from a cyberattack that began on Thursday. – The Record

Twitter confirmed Friday that a bad actor used a vulnerability to match private information with potentially anonymous Twitter accounts, posing risks to users privacy. – ​​CyberScoop

On the borderlands of Fort Meade, the U.S. Navy is taking a tandem approach to cyber defense and talent development. Inside an unassuming office building, a few floors up and tucked into a spread of austere rooms, is Operation Cyber Dragon. The brainchild of Chief Warrant Officer Scott Bryson, the hands-on endeavor authorized by U.S. Fleet Cyber Command aims to fix virtual vulnerabilities — shoring up systems bit by bit — while also fostering a new wave of cybersecurity expertise. – C4ISRNet


A below-the-radar American military liaison role between Israel and Palestine is facing a major change, one advocates and experts worry could further set back relations between the two sides. – Breaking Defense

The Navy this week awarded a $91 million contract task order to AECOM Technical Services for infrastructure repairs at Norfolk Naval Shipyard aimed at preparing the facility to service Gerald Ford-class aircraft carriers. – Breaking Defense

USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) left Norfolk, Va., for its new home in Rota, Spain, on Thursday evening, according to a tweet from a ship spotter. Bulkeley will be part of the Forward Deployed Naval Force-Europe ships in Rota that can conduct ballistic missile defense, according to a U.S. Fleet Forces Command news release. – USNI News

Long War

In a recent closed-door meeting with leaders of the agency’s counterterrorism center, the CIA’s No. 2 official made clear that fighting al-Qaida and other extremist groups would remain a priority — but that the agency’s money and resources would be increasingly shifted to focusing on China. – Bloomberg 

Three senior commanders of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – also known as the Pakistani Taliban — have been killed in a blast in southeastern Afghanistan, dealing a heavy blow to the militant group, sources told RFE/RL Radio Mashaal on August 7. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The al-Shabab extremist group has exploited Ethiopia’s internal turmoil to cross the border from neighboring Somalia in unprecedented attacks in recent weeks that a top U.S. military commander has warned could continue. – Associated Press 

Tom Mockaitis writes: Although the killing of al-Zawahiri will have negligible effect on the global jihad, it has other important results. It reminds our enemies that the United States has a long memory and a long reach. It also lets the Taliban know that it will pay a price for harboring terrorists. […]Civilians have always died in conflicts, and conventional aircraft cause more casualties by far than drones. Given the persistence of the Islamist threat, more strikes like the one that killed al-Zawahiri are bound to occur. – The Hill