Fdd's overnight brief

February 3, 2020

In The News


A month after the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s military is no longer on a heightened war footing, but the United States continues to brace for further retaliation, a senior military official said Sunday. – Washington Post

A leaked recording of an exchange between an Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iranian pilot purports to show that authorities immediately knew a missile had downed a Ukrainian jetliner after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, despite days of denials by the Islamic Republic. – Washington Post

The Iranian chess official said she began seeing the messages of support from American government officials soon after she said she was afraid of returning to her country. – New York Times

Pressuring Iran over two detained French citizens will not achieve results, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has urged Iran to free the French nationals, held in prison since last June, noting that they were both unwell. – Reuters

The new commander of Iran’s Qods Force has told HAMAS and Islamic Jihad leaders that “The Islamic Republic is prepared to defeat President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Iranian agencies reported on Sunday February 2. – Radio Farda

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Kiev was not satisfied with a size of compensation Iran had offered to families of Ukrainians killed in the downing of a plane near Tehran last month and would seek larger payments. – Reuters

The Trump administration has trained its eye on the new leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds force, but may have a hard time targeting a commander expert in delegating behind the scenes and operating below the surface. – The Hill

Iran is no longer sharing evidence from the investigation into the Ukraine airliner crash with Ukraine after audio from the investigation was leaked by Ukrainian media, the director in charge of accident investigations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization was quoted as saying on Monday. – Reuters

Iran is preparing to launch a new scientific observation satellite in the “coming days,” according to AFP. Development of the “Zafar” (Victory) satellite began three years ago, said Morteza Barari, head of the country’s national space agency, on Saturday. The 113-kilogram satellite will be launched by a Simorgh rocket. – Jerusalem Post

The new leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Forces phoned Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s Ziad Nakhaleh to stress Iran’s support for opposition to the US “deal of the century” plan. The plan was announced on January 28 and Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani is now moving to bolster Palestinian resistance against it. – Jerusalem Post

There has been an increase in Iranian activity in Afghanistan that poses a risk to American and coalition troops there, a senior U..S. commander said, as the threat from Tehran continues to churn across the Middle East. – Associated Press

A military advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said Iranians should fast Ramadan style to show “the enemy” they can resist its sanctions. – Radio Farda

The head of the European Union’s foreign service, Josep Borrell, will travel to Iran next week to meet the country’s leaders in a bid to reduce tensions in the Middle East, the EU said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters

A decision by the United States to lift sanctions on one of two units of the Chinese tanker company COSCO was not a sign that the Trump administration was letting up on its “maximum pressure” against Iran, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday. – Reuters

Iran will not have bilateral talks with America, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday. – Reuters

Eric R. Mandel writes: No serious security or political analyst believes Iran’s half-hearted attack against American assets in Iraq after the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani will be the end of the story. […]This spy and terrorist network throughout Latin America could be used for Iranian terror  theatrics. Even if it is only initiated in South America, it could surface and explode anywhere in the Western or Eastern hemisphere. – The Hill

Alex Vatanka writes: Whether or not it will be the regime’s “Chernobyl moment” remains to be seen but some realities are irrefutable. Khamenei’s instinct so far has not been to engage in any discernible introspection. Instead, he has simply overseen the regime’s effort to do whatever is necessary to escape blame. Khamenei is no Gorbachev and is not yet ready or able to accept the inevitability of political reform. – Middle East Institute


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has all but won a devastating nine-year war, but he faces a challenge to revive an economy devastated by war, shunned by foreign investors and strangled by Western sanctions. Now, the battered economy is suffering a fresh blow. A plunging currency has sent inflation soaring and kindled rare and risky demonstrations against the regime, with Syrians protesting sharp increases in the cost of food, medicine and transportation. – Wall Street Journal

Turkey deployed F-16 fighter jets against government forces in northwestern Syria on Monday, a sharp escalation of the conflict there after six Turkish soldiers were killed by artillery strikes. – New York Times

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey will continue to retaliate after Syrian government shelling killed four of its troops and wounded nine in Syria’s northwest Idlib region, where Turkish forces have bulked up in recent days. – Reuters

Oula A. Alrifai writes: Since mid-January, shop owners, government employees, students, and even children have been gathering in the streets of various Syrian communities to express their frustration with the Assad regime’s economic policies and untruths. Although the protests remain small for now, the fact that they have persistently carried on in the middle of regime-controlled territory highlights Bashar al-Assad’s potential vulnerability on these issues. – Washington Institute


Turkey’s president received in Istanbul the political chief of Hamas on Saturday. […]Erdogan had held a phone call with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, on Friday, when he reiterated Ankara’s support for Palestine in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called peace plan for the Middle East. – Anadolu Agency

Turkey will view Syrian government forces as “targets” around Turkish observation posts in Syria’s northwest Idlib, a spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party said on Monday after Ankara said four of its soldiers were killed by Syrian shelling. – Reuters

A large Turkish military convoy rumbled into rebel-held areas of northwest Syria on Sunday, witnesses on the ground and activists said. – Associated Press


Shortly after last week’s rollout of the contentious American Middle East plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government made a triumphant promise that the cabinet would vote this weekend to extend Israeli sovereignty over substantial parts of the occupied West Bank. – New York Times

In late December, President Trump’s aides had a decision to make about his long-delayed Middle East peace plan. Israel was headed for an unprecedented third set of elections, leaving an interim government running the country—and no consensus leader to serve as Washington’s partner on its peace plan. – Wall Street Journal

A Middle East peace plan presented by US President Donald Trump contravenes several United Nations resolutions, Russian news agencies cited a Kremlin spokesman as saying on Sunday, questioning the plan’s feasibility. – Reuters

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has decided to remain outside the Gaza Strip for a lengthy period of time, Hamas officials told the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. – Jerusalem Post

The upcoming Sunday cabinet meeting, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed would approve extending Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, has been cancelled with no new date set, Hebrew media reported Friday. – Times of Israel

The Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday. – Reuters

President Trump’s Middle East peace plan unveiled this week has put a spotlight on the shrinking options for the Palestinians, who now face a ticking clock on a new territorial reality unless there is significant political movement in the United States or Israel. – The Hill

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas announced Saturday a cut of all ties with Israel and the United States, including security cooperation, after Washington unveiled a controversial Middle East plan seen as favouring Israel. Abbas has made similar declarations before and it was not immediately clear what it would mean in practice. – Agence France-Presse

The US is actively pursuing normalization between Israel and numerous Arab countries in the Middle East, a senior White House official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday just a day after the Arab League rejected the administration’s new peace plan. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF will reinforce Iron Dome batteries in Israel’s southern region over concerns that terror groups in the Gaza Strip will continue to launch rockets. – Jerusalem Post

Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are reportedly on high alert as tensions rise in Israel’s south after a series of rocket attacks over the weekend, with Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders going into hiding for fear of targeted assassinations. – Algemeiner

President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did more in a day last week to unite feuding Palestinians than the Palestinians have managed to do in more than a decade. […]They say the plan does little to nothing for their beleaguered people. – Washington Times

Danny Danon writes: The criticism of President Trump’s new Middle East peace plan is unsurprising, as it comes from those who cling to outdated assumptions and ignore new realities. Many of the objections have focused on the nontraditional approach of the proposed solution. What these critics fail to consider, however, is that any peace plan must be calibrated to account for regional dynamics. – Washington Post

Douglas Schoen writes: Now that the peace plan is at the center of the conversation, Democrats should make clear that no matter who leads the nation of Israel, they will unconditionally support our strongest ally in the Middle East and prioritize peace negotiations. – The Hill

Mitchell Bard writes: As I wrote before the plan was released, it will fail, but it has reset the baseline for negotiations. Instead of working from the assumption that Israel will withdraw from more than 90% of the West Bank, the starting point for talks will be 70%; and instead of contemplating a mass evacuation of settlers, only those in small, isolated settlements are likely to be in play. Jerusalem is off the table as are the refugees. Most important, the Trump plan introduces a degree of realism missing from prior initiatives that will hopefully carry over into the future.  – Algemeiner

Ilan I. Berman writes: So far, the Palestinian leadership has responded predictably to Trump’s proposal. Chairman Abbas refused to even speak with the U.S. president ahead of the plan’s rollout, and in its aftermath has cursed Trump and rejected his terms outright. That sort of rhetoric once played well in the Arab world. But Abbas and company are liable to find that there is far less appetite for it now. Quite simply, the regional conversation regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace has evolved, and Trump’s plan acknowledges that reality. It also lays out a fresh way forward – if the parties are willing to take it. Israel, at least, seems ready to do so. […]The question is, will the Palestinians? – American Foreign Policy Council


Protesters in Iraq on Sunday denounced the appointment of a former communications minister as the country’s new premier after months of political deadlock, calling him Iran’s choice and saying he is little different from the predecessor they forced to step down. – Wall Street Journal

Populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged his followers on Sunday to help security forces clear roads blocked during months of sit-in protests, calling for a return to normal life after the designation of a new prime minister. – Reuters

Iran on Sunday offered its full support for new Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi and reiterated its backing for the government’s demand for U.S. forces to leave the country. – Reuters

Hafsa Halawa writes: The region is no stranger to social movements, nor is Iraq immune from instability. […]But whether this social change can morph into a coherent political movement that can prove itself ready and able to take on power is a question that remains unanswered. It is a question for the movement, but also for those current leaders that can find the political courage to stand up from within. In supporting the movement to develop a more egalitarian, transparent, and accountable political system, they can avert another conflict in the country and begin building a durable and strong society that governs its people in a fair, just, and equitable manner. – Middle East Institute

Arabian Peninsula

The United States has carried out an airstrike against the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen after months of tracking him by using aerial surveillance and other intelligence, according to three current or former American officials. – New York Times

Yemen’s Houthi Shiite rebels are receiving parts for drones and weapons, some with technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in Iran, in potential violation of a U.N. arms embargo, U.N. experts say. – Associated Press

Yemen’s Houthi military spokesman said on Friday the group had launched 26 rocket attacks in the past week against airports in southern Saudi Arabia, facilities belonging to oil giant Saudi Aramco and “two sensitive targets deep in” the kingdom. – Reuters

Michael De Dora writes: The last time the Trump administration ignored a deadline on the Khashoggi case, lawmakers slammed the administration, but there was little followup. That cannot happen again, or else both the Saudi regime and the Trump administration will see they can continue to get away with this. If lawmakers don’t follow their rhetoric with action, the Saudi leadership will continue to behave with immunity, with the Trump administration’s tacit blessing — and with grave implications for the safety of journalists, democracy, and human rights worldwide. – The Hill

Middle East & North Africa

The main voice on its programs, Abdullah Anas, is little known in the West but a giant in jihadi circles from the 1980s war in Afghanistan against the invading Soviet Army. A lifelong Algerian activist from student days, Mr. Anas, 61, spent 12 years with the Afghan mujahedeen and then served as a close aide to Abdullah Azzam, the Palestinian professor and preacher often called the father of the international resistance to the Soviet occupation. – New York Times

A 13-page report published last week described in stark detail the bombing in July of a detention center in the town of Tajoura, near Tripoli, which killed 53 people, mostly African migrants. The United Nations report featured testimony from survivors, measured the bomb crater and called for an investigation into a possible war crime. – New York Times

A Japanese warship departed Sunday for the Middle East to ensure the safety of the country’s oil tankers in waters where tensions between the U.S. and Iran are high. – Associated Press

More than 200 Lebanese and Palestinians held a protest Sunday near the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon against a White House plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – Associated Press

The governor of Lebanon’s central bank said Thursday that $1 billion had been transferred out of the country, despite tight restrictions on withdrawals as the protest-hit country faces a liquidity crisis. – Agence France-Presse

David Pollock writes: As Cairo prepares to host an urgent Arab League meeting this weekend, called to address the new U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, results from a rare new Egyptian public opinion poll show two-thirds support “incentives for both sides [Israelis and Palestinians] to take more moderate positions.” […]These findings, from an independent and highly credible professional commercial pollster, are sharply at odds with the stereotypes of Egyptian public opinion as overwhelmingly anti-American and anti-Israeli. – Washington Institute

R. David Harden writes: The Middle East will remain a strategic interest for the indefinite future. Yet, there is a growing demand for a foreign policy reset where the U.S. minimizes the blood and treasure of war but projects power through economic diplomacy and statecraft. In this reset, the U.S. will be better positioned to seize the enormous opportunities in energy, water, agriculture, and health technologies that will re-shape society. As a less militarized but more robust economic power, America can support the aspirations of the next generation by leveraging capital and technology to drive enduring hope. – The Hill

Korean Peninsula

South Korea holds the equivalent of its midterm elections in two months, and the outcome could have major consequences for Seoul’s outreach to North Korea and the future of President Trump’s stalled personal diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. – Washington Times

President Donald Trump on Friday canceled an Obama-era prohibition on the use of anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean peninsula. With potential future conflict with China and Russia in mind, the new policy specified no geographic limits on landmine use, declaring that the weapons offer an important war-fighting capability. – Associated Press

Eight North Korean government officials have escaped over the border into China, including a typist who handled important documents for the ruling party and a number of communications experts. – Telegraph


China’s acting ambassador to Israel apologized on Sunday after comparing the closure of several national borders to Chinese citizens amid fears of a new virus from China to the turning away of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. – Associated Press

A top UK Jewish group is demanding China end its persecution of the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority. – Algemeiner

Carisa Nietsche and Sam Dorshimer write: If countering China is, in fact, the top priority for the United States, then a trade war with Europe is at best a distraction and at worst a liability. The escalation with Europe risks distracting the administration from its focus on China and further undermines trust with European allies at the pivotal moment when many European countries are facing critical choices about their future economic relationship with China and whether to ban Huawei from their 5G networks. Countering China will require cooperating with, rather than coercing, European allies. Halting a transatlantic trade war is imperative to ensure China does not win this round in this critical match. – The Hill

Steven W. Mosher writes: That is exactly what the Chinese Communist Party is trying to do today in China to every Christian church, Islamic mosque, Taoist shrine and Buddhist temple in China. The end goal is to one day purge them from the Chinese cultural landscape altogether so that the Communist Party and its now deified leader, Xi Jinping, can reign supreme. – New York Post


Taiwan’s vice-president-elect is visiting Washington and New York in the highest-level visit by a politician from the island to the US capital since the country cut diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979. – Financial Times

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday pressed Kazakhstan to be wary of Chinese investment and influence, urging the Central Asian nation and others to join calls demanding an end to China’s repression of minorities. – Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday demanded “demonstrable evidence” from the Taliban that they can and will reduce violence before signing a deal that would lead to Afghanistan peace talks and a withdrawal of American troops from the country. – Associated Press


The Kremlin said on Friday that Russia was fully compliant with its obligations in Syria’s Idlib region, but that it was deeply concerned about what it said were aggressive militant attacks on Syrian government forces and Russia’s Hmeimim air base. – Reuters

Tom Rogan writes: To deter prospective nuclear adversaries, the United States must retain superiority across the range of nuclear strike capabilities. In turn, we should welcome the new deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads on U.S. ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). – Washington Examiner

Rachel Ellehuus writes: As U.S. and European leaders try to analyze and anticipate information manipulation operations and other malign activities by actors such as Russia and China, a look at the manifestations of recent Russian information manipulation in the United Kingdom provides a helpful case study in understanding Russian objectives, measures countries can take to reduce vulnerabilities that make them more susceptible to influence operations, and ways to deter or diminish the impact of future information manipulation efforts. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Nataliya Bugayova writes: Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a new phase in his campaign to retain power after 2024 when his current term expires. Putin offered Russians a revised social contract. Putin is reconfiguring the balance of power within the Russian government as he seeks to carve out an optimal spot for himself. Putin is in uncharted territory, trying to create a new transition model for Russia. […]His approach is working so far, with the Kremlin’s opposition disarmed and the public unclear on the net implications of the changes. – Institute for the Study of War


Although Britain left the European Union on Friday, more than three years after voters chose to exit from the bloc, the terms of their future economic relationship still have to be thrashed out. That means that, after a spell of uncertainty and political turmoil that hammered investment and slowed growth, executives are still in the dark over essential questions on tariffs and regulations. – Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stood beside Ukraine’s president Friday and promised that the United States would “not waver” in its support for the country as it battles Russian-backed separatists in its eastern region. – Washington Post

Well, that wasn’t easy. But after 1,317 days, three prime ministers, two blown exit dates, dozens of votes in Parliament and years of negotiation, Britain finally left the European Union on Friday. As of 11 p.m. London time, midnight in Brussels, Britain was out of the bloc it helped establish almost five decades ago. – Washington Post

When Rudolph W. Giuliani met with a top aide to Ukraine’s president last summer, he discussed the prospect of a coveted White House meeting for the president while seeking Ukraine’s commitment to certain investigations that could benefit President Trump politically. – New York Times

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday outline a hardline stance in post-Brexit negotiations with the European Union, arguing Britain does not need to follow various EU rules to strike a trade deal. – Agence France-Presse

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is stepping onto very thin ice if she presses ahead with a mini trade deal that she has targeted with the U.S. in the next few weeks. – Politico

Now that the European Union includes one less country, its geographical center has shifted to the southeast — landing in a nondescript field in Bavaria. – Associated Press

Andreas Kluth writes: That leaves only Merkel. She’s already made herself a lame duck by declaring she won’t run again next year. But she remains popular and credible, having governed for more than 14 years and steered through many crises, including Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. She’s now trying to mediate in other conflicts, including the civil war in Libya. And she worries enormously about the U.S. under Trump withdrawing from its role as guarantor of Europe’s peace. She has less than two years left in office. She should use them to open a historic debate, by urging Germans to think differently about their army. – Bloomberg

David Whineray writes: When European foreign ministers discussed Iran this month the Brits were there; in future they won’t be. The UK can still play a leading role in shaping Europe’s foreign policy after Brexit — but it will need to engage with Europe differently. – The Hill

Theodore Bromund writes: The courses that Britain will choose as a result of that return are for it to select. The best that U.S. policymakers can do is to wish Britain well, work as closely with the U.K. as possible, and recognize that the British and American experiments in self-government are now linked in freedom once again. – Heritage Foundation


A year after the Trump administration announced that a major pillar of its new strategy for Africa was to counter the growing influence of China and Russia by expanding economic ties to the continent, it slammed the door shut on Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy. – New York Times

Nigeria’s government pledged Saturday to try to address security issues the Trump administration cited in its decision to stop granting immigration visas to people from Africa’s most populous nation.- Associated Press

The US will this week hold talks with Kenya aimed at clinching a bilateral trade agreement as the Trump administration turns its back on what has been a traditionally multilateral approach to trade with Africa. – Financial Times

France will send an additional 600 troops to the Sahel in west Africa, three times more than it had planned, in an effort to gain the upper hand in its six-year campaign against militant Islamists in the region. – Financial Times

The East African nation of Eritrea on Sunday expressed “dismay at this unfriendly act” after the Trump administration included it in the latest six countries to face U.S. visa restrictions. – Associated Press

The United States has sanctioned a Tanzanian official who sparked fear in the gay community by announcing plans to track and punish homosexuals in the East African nation. – Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to fly to Uganda tomorrow, with speculation rife that during his visit the African country will announce the establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem. – Algemeiner

The Americas

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed on Sunday that it directed a Saudi military officer to carry out the shooting at a United States military base in Florida in December that killed three sailors and wounded eight people. – New York Times

President Trump opted not to attend a Miami rally in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Saturday, although he is spending the weekend nearby at his South Florida resort. – Washington Post

So when Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who has declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, appeared on Saturday in Miami, his supporters hoped to revive public interest in his efforts — and to perhaps once again attract the attention of President Trump. – New York Times

Amid an ongoing surge in hate crimes targeting Jews in the US, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) launched on Thursday an online tracking tool to monitor the troubling trend. – Algemeiner

Anatoly Kurmanaev and Isayen Herrera write: With the country’s economy derailed by years of mismanagement and corruption, then pushed to the brink of collapse by American sanctions, Mr. Maduro was forced to relax the economic restraints that once defined his socialist government and provided the foundation for his political legitimacy. […]For most Venezuelans, Mr. Maduro’s reforms have brought only marginal relief from the economic devastation of recent years.. – New York Times


As the Navy moves forward with unmanned surface and undersea vessels in a range of sizes for myriad missions, some things remain constant among the vehicles: they’ll all need to continue making improvements in autonomy, they’ll all need parts that are reliable enough to go without human intervention for weeks or months at a time, and they’ll all need power sources for their long journeys. – USNI News

The Navy will focus in 2020 on developing hypersonic weapons at breakneck speed, with testing to occur throughout the year, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Friday in a message to the fleet. – USNI News

Defense contractors subcontractors — please don’t panic. As acquisition undersecretary Ellen Lord and other officials rolled out a new cybersecurity scheme for defense contractors this morning, they emphasized over and over they’d worked closely with industry to ensure that achieving Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) won’t be too burdensome for small business. – Breaking Defense

The Pentagon has finalized the long anticipated cybersecurity standards contractors will have to follow before winning contracts from the Department of Defense, a new process called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 1.0. – Fifth Domain

In 2017, the top two officials at the Pentagon — then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford — testified to Congress that the defense budget needs to have 3-5 percent annual growth over inflation each year through 2023 to ensure America’s military success. – Defense News

Richard Matlock writes: Over the past five years, missile threats have evolved far more rapidly than conventional wisdom had predicted. […]The 2019 Missile Defense Review called for a comprehensive approach to countering regional missiles of all kinds and from whatever source, as well as the increasingly complex intercontinental ballistic missiles from rogue states. But programs and budgets have not yet aligned with the policy. The upcoming defense budget submission presents an important opportunity to address these new and complex challenges. – Defense News

Long War

A man wearing a fake explosive device stabbed two people in south London on Sunday before he was shot dead by police officers in what authorities called a terrorist attack. – Washington Post

Nearly two decades after the fall of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon, American troops continue to wage war in Iraq, Afghanistan and lesser-known corners of the globe. President Trump almost opened another front last month when he approved the killing of Iran’s most powerful general. – New York Times

Family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks last week attended the military commissions for the al Qaeda plotters and expressed frustration that justice hasn’t been done more than 18 years after the 2001 strikes. – Washington Examiner

The British government promised sweeping changes to the system for dealing with convicted terrorists released from prison, after police shot dead an Islamist extremist who stabbed two people in a busy south London street on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

A man accused of killing two police officers while acting as the leader of an al Qaeda group in the Iraqi city of Fallujah was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, federal officials said on Friday. – Reuters

A man that federal authorities say was a leader of al-Qaida in Iraq and is suspected in the killing of two in Fallujah 14 years ago ran an Arizona driving school and was described by friends and acquaintances in Phoenix as an outgoing, friendly member of the city’s Iraqi community. – Associated Press

An audio recording purporting to be from the Islamist militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility on Sunday for a fatal shooting in December at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida, but provided no evidence. – Reuters

Trump Administration

President Trump on Friday added six countries to his list of nations facing stringent travel restrictions, a move that will virtually block immigration from Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, and from Myanmar, where the Muslim minority is fleeing genocide. – New York Times

The turbulence of impeachment, a contentious presidential campaign and a global virus health threat confront President Donald Trump as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night. But one thing about the Trump era has remained remarkably steady: public opinion on the president. – Associated Press