Fdd's overnight brief

February 5, 2020

In The News


President Trump said war with Iran was “closer than you thought” and that he plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, in remarks made during a nearly two-hour lunch with television anchors at the White House on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the conversation. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump on Tuesday questioned whether Iranian leaders are “too proud or too foolish” to negotiate with the United States for sanctions relief, saying it is up to them to come to the table. – The Hill

Iran wants to resolve differences with its Gulf foes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “as quickly as possible”, Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq said in remarks published on Tuesday. – Reuters

The White House in December hosted a secret meeting last December with officials from Israel, the US and the United Arab Emirates to discuss countering Iranian influence in the Middle East. – Times of Israel

Iran announced Monday that it will cease cooperating with Ukraine on the investigation surrounding a Ukraine International Airlines plan which crashed last month near Tehran, Israel Hayom reported. – Arutz Sheva

Iran’s Minister of Roads and Transportation on Tuesday questioned the relevance of a leaked air traffic control audio, which proves Iranian authorities knew a Ukrainian plane which crashed near Tehran on January 8 had been targeted by Revolutionary Guard missiles. – Radio Farda

As far as Iranian media are concerned, he does not exist. Avid Iran watchers who scan every picture of Supreme Leader Ali Khameneni and his military commanders have never seen him in any picture. Yet, he is the only IRGC commander the United States has put a price tag on his head: $15 million for any information about him and the network he runs in Yemen. He is Brigadier General Abdolreza Shahlai (Shahlaei), but it could be a fake name for a real man. – Radio Farda


Turkey’s president warned Tuesday that his government would not allow Syria’s military to advance farther across a rebel-held northern Syrian province, a day after tensions between the two countries escalated into some of their deadliest clashes in years. – Washington Post

A regime offensive in Syria’s last rebel enclave has caused one of the biggest waves of displacement in the nine-year war, with tensions spiking between Ankara and Damascus following a deadly exchange of fire. – Agence France-Presse

Zvi Bar’el writes: So far, Russia is relating to Erdogan’s statements with cold politeness while continuing to talk about combating terror. Turkey is still an important ally, particularly in the diplomatic battle Russia is waging against the United States, but Russia is keen on ending the war in Syria quickly, so it can cut its outlays and transfer full control to Assad. If Turkey is perceived as an obstacle in Russia’s way, their alliance may be enveloped by a dangerous winter frost. – Haaretz


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday condemned the Syrian government’s attacks on Idlib province, and stated his country’s support for Turkey in light of Syria’s mortar attacks on a Turkish observation post on Monday. – Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey and Russia should resolve differences over the conflict in Syria’s Idlib without anger, after a deadly flare-up in violence challenged the fragile cooperation between Moscow and Ankara. – Reuters

Gonul Tol writes: While Turkey dials up its criticism of Moscow, Erdogan, who is desperate to attract European investment in the country’s troubled economy, has welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel.[…]  Despite the long list of problems in Turkey-U.S. relations, the worst that many expected in the form of U.S. sanctions has not materialized yet. And Ankara is threading cautiously to make sure it stays that way. – Middle East Institute


Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are blaming presidential adviser Jared Kushner for a delay in plans to immediately annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as envisioned in President Trump’s peace plan. – Washington Post

A draft United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday condemned an Israeli plan to annex its settlements in the West Bank in a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel peace proposal. – Reuters

A former Obama administration official who has faced criticism from press freedom groups for her role as a senior adviser at NSO Group has stepped down from the Israeli spyware company. – The Guardian

The Palestinian Authority has no intention of halting security coordination with Israel and the US or moving closer to Hamas in protest against US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for Mideast peace, according to European Union officials and Western diplomats who talked to senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah in the past few days. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli government officials have denied Turkish media reports that a mayor in the Istanbul area and his family were detained at Ben-Gurion Airport last week. – Jerusalem Post

The Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on several Hamas targets late on Tuesday night following three rockets that were launched towards Israel earlier in the night. – Jerusalem Post

An uptick in cross-border rocket fire and launch of explosive devices from the Gaza Strip this week has been approved by Hamas, Israeli defense officials believe, in an attempt to pressure Israel before its March 2 election. – Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he would only ask the government to approve the proposed annexation of the Jordan Valley after Israel’s March 2 election, effectively reversing earlier statements made by Likud officials who vowed to pass such a resolution as early as this week. – Haaretz

Israeli steps toward annexation of the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank, should they be implemented, “could not pass unchallenged,” The European Union’s foreign policy chief said in a statement on Tuesday. – Haaretz

The European Union foreign policy chief’s unusually strident warning Tuesday that an Israeli annexation in the West Bank won’t pass “unchallenged” reportedly came after he failed to convince Europe’s foreign ministers to issue a similar criticism as a unified bloc. – Times of Israel

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It hasn’t become welcomed into the halls of the Mukata in Ramallah either. It can’t decide if it is a terrorist organization or a political one. It can’t put down the gun, or it will feel betrayed and outflanked. It can’t put down the politics, or it will lose Gaza. Instead it ossifies. Its leaders grow older, and its young men don’t remember the days when they could travel to Israel or have rallies in the West Bank. The greatest symbol of that ongoing failure may be the small boat intercepted three months ago. – Jerusalem Post

Sander Gerber writes: Faced with reality, the Palestinians actually may prove wiser than we imagined, and a new leadership may emerge to replace the aging Mahmoud Abbas that is capable of compromising with Israel. If not, the United States and Israel will proceed, and the Palestinians will have missed yet another opportunity to improve their situation. – The Hill

Anna Ahronheim writes: And that is exactly what is going to happen if and when an agreement is signed between Israel and Hamas. The agreement will not bring peace to the two sides, but rather an extended interval of quiet. But until the ink is dry, southern Israel will continue to explode. – Jerusalem Post

Daniel Pipes writes: So, while transferring the Galilee Triangle from Israeli to Palestinian control looks like an elegant and simple win-win solution, it is sadly infeasible. The Israeli government has apparently rejected it. Of course, this topic drips with irony. The same Israeli Arabs who bluster contempt for the Jewish state and praise the murderers of Jewish children (note the extremists who serve as their parliamentary representatives) also desperately hope to stay in it rather than become part of Palestine. – Jerusalem Post

Amir Tibon writes: The U.S. administration’s response to this pressure will determine how its plan is framed in the Israel discourse. Giving in to Netanyahu’s annexation demand will strengthen suspicions that the entire plan is simply an attempt to help a prime minister fighting for his political life. It will also end any possibility that the plan could be seen as a point of reference for negotiations. This could change how the plan is viewed in Israel, the United States and across the Middle East. – Haaretz

David Horovitz writes: It is the question of whether the US is going to allow one side and one side only, Israel, to quickly implement its intended benefits under the proposed deal that overshadows all other aspects of the deal’s credibility. In short, is Trump genuinely seeking to broker the Deal of the Century, or are we, rather, witnessing the Art of No Deal? For what it’s worth, I happen to believe the former. If so, the US president and those who support that admirable goal should be asking: Who is working to subvert it? – Times of Israel

David Makovsky writes: The Trump plan’s parameters on borders and Jerusalem suggest that the administration has moved the U.S. position sharply in the direction of Israel’s current government. In the most hopeful scenario, the combination of a tough new U.S. approach and the initial openness of Arab states to consider the plan as a point of departure could jolt the Palestinians to decide that time is not on their side, perhaps leading the parties to resume talks and find suitable compromises. In a less hopeful scenario, Palestinian anger toward the plan proves too strong to dispel, and unilateral Israeli annexations in the West Bank produce broad international opposition to the plan, essentially ending any near-term prospects of negotiations or a two-state solution. – Washington Institute

Ghaith al-Omari writes: All previous U.S. plans envisioned a solution for the Palestinian refugee issue consistent with the idea of two states for two peoples. […]By radically departing from certain key tenets seen in previous initiatives, the Trump administration may have undermined its ability to build an international coalition in support of its plan. This was on clear display at the aforementioned Arab League and OIC meetings, and will probably continue to shape the diplomatic discourse in days to come. – Washington Institute


Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, met with officials in Baghdad on Tuesday, the highest-level visit to Iraq by a U.S. military leader since an American airstrike there killed an Iranian general and plunged U.S.-Iraqi relations into crisis. – Washington Post

A U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would “likely” lead to an ISIS resurgence, according to an intelligence assessment revealed in an inspector general report Tuesday. – The Hill

Michael Knights writes: U.S. officials do not need to trumpet Tehran’s malign influence in Iraq anymore: everyone in the country now understands this, which is why protestors have tried to burn down Iran’s embassy and consulate rather than America’s. The Iraqi people are America’s best ally in the areas under Baghdad’s control, so Washington should help to protect their slow-burning revolt against Iran’s proxy occupation forces. The best way to do so is by refocusing U.S. policy on human rights and anti-corruption efforts. – Washington Institute

Bobby Ghosh writes: Iraq’s senior-most cleric has no militia, but his huge Shiite following makes his blessing essential for any prime minister. Sistani has expressed sympathy with the protests, opposes Iranian and American influences alike, and has called for a cleansing of country’s politics. Like the protesters, he believes the country needs fresh elections. – Bloomberg


Syrian militants affiliated with groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are currently being sent by Turkey to fight on behalf of the U.N.-supported government in Libya, according to two Libyan militia leaders and a Syrian war monitor. – Associated Press

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called the situation in Libya a “scandal” even as his envoy cited a “genuine will” by rival military factions as they planned their first meeting to secure a lasting ceasefire. – Reuters

High-ranking military officers from both sides in the Libyan civil war have held UN-sponsored talks in Geneva for the first time in an attempt to build a lasting ceasefire, the UN special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, has said. – The Guardian

Libya’s warring rivals have shown a “genuine willingness” to transform the current truce into a more lasting one, a United Nations envoy said as a new round of talks got underway, in a distinct shift of tone from just five days ago. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen released dozens of Egyptian fishermen on Tuesday after detaining them for weeks on charges of trespassing into territorial waters. – Associated Press

The fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi has said the world has failed to hold Saudi Arabia to account over the journalist’s murder and the kingdom is being “encouraged to do whatever it wants”. – The Guardian

A military investigative judge charged a Lebanese-American man with murder and torture of Lebanese citizens Tuesday, crimes he allegedly committed during Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon, judicial officials said. The accusations could carry a death sentence. – Associated Press

Ibrahim Jalal writes: While the GPC works to resolve intra-party divisions and the Sanaa-based branch struggles to oppose Houthi orders as per Saleh’s last statement, the Gulf countries have made their bet, viewing the GPC as useful even in post-war Yemen. […]Looking ahead to Yemen’s post-war political landscape, another party must emerge from the ashes of war, to heal the grievances of the Yemeni people that have accumulated over the last decade. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

For the first time in 10 years, Kong Ji-ye’s chocolate-making machines sit idle in Paju city, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas[…] The extreme response by Seoul is because South Korea suspects the fever spread from the North: The South’s first confirmed case in September was at a pig farm in Paju, less than four months after North Korea’s own outbreak. – Reuters

Recent North Korean reports touting a new submarine and its test of a ballistic missile designed to be launched from one have fueled speculation that a sub may be the “new strategic weapon” Kim promised to unveil this year. While such a vessel would probably be noisy and unable to stray far from the coast without being tracked, it may be enough to serve Kim’s needs. – Bloomberg

Past, present and future leaders from around the globe gathered at a summit here in the South Korean capital this week to call for world peace and the reunification of the Korean peninsula. – Washington Times


China has built a formidable digital-surveillance system in recent years, linking facial recognition, security cameras and social-media monitoring with regular human surveillance. The aim is to keep tabs on its 1.4 billion citizens, chiefly to identify and prevent threats to social order and Communist Party control. – Wall Street Journal

Companies around the world have warned that a coronavirus outbreak in China could disrupt supply chains or hurt their bottomlines as factories and shops shut and airlines suspend flights. – Reuters

The White House’s top economic adviser said on Tuesday that China’s coronavirus would delay a surge in U.S. exports to China expected from the Phase 1 trade deal set to take effect later this month. – Reuters

John Pomfret writes: In the minds of many Westerners, many dangerous stereotypes about China, its people and culture — which could actually hinder the response to a serious crisis — endure. Just look at the Instagram feed of another school in my neighborhood, the University of California, Berkeley. In a since-deleted post, the university’s health services center listed xenophobia toward Asians as a “normal reaction” to the spread of the coronavirus. That might have been “normal” in the 19th century, but not today. – Washington Post

South Asia

Investigators from the International Criminal Court have begun collecting evidence for a case involving alleged crimes against humanity by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims causing them to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, a court official said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Myanmar has reimposed an internet shutdown in two conflict-torn western states, after partially lifting the blackout five months ago, a leading telecoms operator said late on Monday. – Reuters

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrapped up his latest overseas trip, he issued a demand to the Taliban to show they are really serious about reaching a deal that would bring peace to Afghanistan and pave the way for the withdrawal of U.S. troops after more than 18 years of war. – Washington Examiner

Mohammed Sinan Siyech writes: Two lessons can be derived from the comparative study of Salafists in India and Pakistan. First, no religious ideology can be considered a harbinger of violence. If this were true, then Salafists who are normally decried as conveyor belts to violence would have turned violent in India. Second, political externalities play a more potent role in radicalizing and militarizing movements than do ideologies. It is for this reason that, broadly speaking, the very same dynamics that radicalize small segments of the Muslim population in Pakistan do the same for some Hindus in India. – Middle East Institute


U.S. lawmakers are pushing legislation that would work toward granting Taiwan recognition in the World Health Organization (WHO) in light of the coronavirus outbreak that has left Taiwan subject to flight bans and limited information. – The Hill

Taiwan’s government said on Wednesday it would suspend entry for all Chinese citizens who live in mainland China from Thursday to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus. – Reuters

Editorial: The novel coronavirus has killed at least 425 people and sickened some 20,000. No vaccine exists. Yet amid this public-health emergency, China is playing power politics at the world’s peril in its treatment of Taiwan. […]China’s bullying ought to be intolerable amid the coronavirus outbreak. As the single largest contributor to the WHO, the United States should make that clear to Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

Eli Lake writes: In the case of Georgia though, it helps reinforce the illusion that Gakharia is really in control, as opposed to Ivanishvili. Today, Ivanishvili gets a free ride. He is able to pull strings from behind the scenes without facing accountability from Georgian voters or the country’s important western allies. As I wrote last year, the U.S. ought to consider raising the prospect that Ivanishvili himself could find his estimated $5 billion fortune, some of which is invested in the U.S., scrutinized if his party continues the slide into authoritarianism. – Bloomberg


Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that a nationwide vote on constitutional changes he proposed wouldn’t be used to extend his current term in office, but remained tight-lipped about his future political plans. – Associated Press

Russia will begin delivering S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India by the end of 2021, agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday quoted a Russian official as saying. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Venezuela on Friday in a show of support for President Nicolas Maduro, a socialist who Washington wants out of power. – Reuters

A Russian court on Tuesday upheld a decision to keep former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in custody until March 29 pending trial on charges of espionage. – Reuters

It was after midnight in a windowless basement room at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and Russian diplomats were holding the organization’s $3 billion budget hostage. […]The moves are part of President Vladimir Putin’s broader efforts to shape events in the Middle East as the U.S. seeks to scale back. – Bloomberg


That calm is no longer as certain after the EU’s member states in October declined to open accession talks with North Macedonia and nearby Albania, largely because of objections from France. Paris demanded a halt even though the European Commission—the bloc’s executive—concluded that both countries have carried out sufficient reforms to begin the process, which usually lasts a decade or more before actual membership. – Wall Street Journal

Ireland has avoided its Brexit nightmare of a U.K. border dotted with customs posts, but Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union threatens to aggravate problems that could cost Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar his job this weekend. – Wall Street Journal

Russia on Tuesday accused Norway of restricting its activities on a remote chain of islands in the Arctic and said it wanted talks with Oslo to have the issue resolved. – Reuters

The European Union on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposal for securing peace in the Middle East and expressed concern about Israel’s plans to annex more Palestinian land. – Associated Press

Surveys in recent years, including one released this year, show young people in France and elsewhere in Europe increasingly question the scale of the Holocaust, although outright denial is rare. – Associated Press

European and American nationalists attending a conference Tuesday in Rome cheered Brexit, warned of left-wing “totalitarianism” and waxed nostalgic about St. John Paul II’s papacy and the “glorious revolution” that brought down communism. – Associated Press

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is wielding an unusual weapon in his struggle with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin to remain independent from Russia while securing oil supplies from his giant neighbor. He’s threatening to become friends with Donald Trump. – Bloomberg

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed into law much-criticized legislation that gives politicians the power to fine and fire judges whose actions and decisions they consider harmful. The legislation has drawn condemnation from the European Union and international human rights organizations as well as from Poland’s opposition and some judges. – Associated Press

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said on Tuesday it would set up manufacturing hubs in Europe, as it tries to fight off US pressure on EU nations to stop it from operating. – Agence France-Presse

Greece has rushed in extra squads of riot police to Lesbos amid warnings of potentially explosive tensions on the island following clashes between security forces and thousands of migrants and refugees. – The Guardian

A German court on Tuesday ruled a 700-year-old anti-Semitic sculpture could stay on the exterior of a church in the city of Wittenberg, dismissing a claim by a member of the local Jewish community that it was defamatory and should be removed. – Reuters

A Lebanese Shi’ite cleric who participated in a delegation of Muslim leaders to Auschwitz ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation last month is seeking asylum in France due to deaths threats against him. – Jerusalem Post

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who an overwhelming majority of British Jews consider to be an antisemite, has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding he clarify his position on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace initiative and denouncing a “process of annexation” he claimed was being carried out by Israel. – Algemeiner

Stephanie Driscoll writes: But it would be a mistake for British politicians to underestimate the depths of U.S. concerns over China’s technological penetration abroad, and the PRC’s foreign policy more broadly. At a time of acrimonious domestic politics in the U.S., these issues are a rare bipartisan topic of agreement — one that could end up negatively impacting Britain’s most durable strategic bond. – The Hill


The head of Sudan’s ruling council on Tuesday cast doubt on any rapid normalization of ties with Israel a day after meeting the Israeli prime minister in Uganda, saying that his country’s position on the Palestinian issue remains unchanged. – Reuters

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel stressed to Haaretz on Monday that even if there’s a change in the relations between the countries, it would not allow for forced deportations to Sudan, but only for voluntary return. – Haaretz

Malawi’s presidency said on Wednesday it would appeal against a court ruling that overturned Peter Mutharika’s narrow election victory, calling the order “a great miscarriage of justice”. – Reuters

Qatar Airways will purchase a stake in Rwanda’s national carrier, weeks after taking a majority holding in the country’s new airport. The Gulf airline is investing in Rwandair after identifying Africa as a market with significant potential, Akbar Al Baker, its chief executive officer, said in a briefing at the CAPA Qatar Aviation conference on Wednesday. The holding being negotiated will be its first in the continent after a string of deals elsewhere. – Bloomberg

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he’s optimistic that Nigeria will take the steps needed to remove itself from U.S. visa restrictions that were imposed last week. – Associated Press

Nigeria eased visa rules under a new policy that seeks to attract investors and boost trade before a continent-wide trade deal comes into effect later this year. – Bloomberg

Itamar Eichner writes: The renewal of relations between Israel and Sudan’s western neighbor Chad last year already cleared the way for Israeli flights in some parts of the continent.  […]Netanyahu’s camp also claims that there are multiple Muslim, Arab and African countries now seeking to advance relations with Israel. Whether the prime minister has enough sway in the White House to swing that too remains to be seen. – Ynet

Lela Gilbert writes: France seems to be the only other nation demonstrating interest and willingness to defend West Africans. But with local terrorist organizations being embraced by seasoned ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters, what will stem the tide? Will France face this burgeoning challenge without U.S. cooperation? And if the West defaults, will Russia and China step in?[…] Christians are certainly a primary target for radicals in West Africa, but U.S. military advisors and the local soldiers they train are also at risk. – Hudson Institute

The Americas

At least 138 Salvadorans have been killed in the past seven years after being deported by U.S. authorities, a rights group said Wednesday in a report that highlighted the risk of returning migrants to the Central American nation. – Washington Post

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó received a bipartisan, minute-long standing ovation from attendees at the State of the Union on Tuesday night after President Trump introduced him as the “true and legitimate” leader of his country. – The Hill

President Trump on Tuesday criticized his predecessor’s policy on Cuba, touting his own accomplishments in the region as part of his third State of the Union address. – The Hill

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said its officials were blocked on Tuesday from boarding a plane from Panama to Venezuela, where the government had already closed the door to the visit last week. – Reuters

Neil Narang writes: The point is not to vindicate the president by chronicling how foreign aid has been used for political and strategic aims, nor is the point to make a judgment on the influence that the political and strategic interests of the donors should play in its provision. […]The point is to call more attention to the fact that foreign aid, even humanitarian assistance, has always been treated as a form of soft power rather than simply as a charitable act. For this reason, the exact calculus behind any strategy of foreign aid should be the subject of more popular debate and oversight. – The Hill


Twitter unveiled a plan Tuesday to curb the spread of manipulated content including “deepfake” videos as part of a move to fight misinformation which could result in violence or other harm. – Agence France-Presse

Ohio is moving to implement a string of election security measures with new funding from Washington as the state races against the clock to guard against foreign hacking and disinformation campaigns. – The Hill

A bipartisan group of 42 U.S. lawmakers has urged their British counterparts to reverse U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei to have a role in its next-generation data network. – C4ISRNET

A new vote counting app used Monday night by the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) that significantly delayed results from the state’s caucuses is raising red flags about their use going forward. – The Hill

The Pentagon’s weapons tester has bolstered its focus on cyber capabilities pursued by the department through U.S. Cyber Command and its service acquisition executives, according to its annual report. – Fifth Domain


The U.S. Army has an overarching concept for how it wants to use 3D printing and subtractive manufacturing, but now it must develop a process for using the capabilities across the service from arsenals, depots and plants, and then down to the tactical level, said Gen. Gus Perna, the head of Army Materiel Command. – Defense News

Russia and China have the ability to attack U.S. Navy equipment when it’s docked in American ports, a top admiral warned while discussing Washington’s intensifying rivalries with Moscow and Beijing. – Washington Examiner

The head of U.S. counterintelligence said the government would unveil a new strategy to combat insider threats that have afflicted the spy world. – Washington Examiner

The U.S. Navy and Boeing demonstrated the ability to control unmanned aircraft with a manned jet, a capability that is critical for concepts intended to keep naval aviation relevant into the 21st century. – C4ISRNET

President Donald Trump hailed the U.S. military as “unmatched anywhere in the world” and vowed to use it to pursue terrorists worldwide in his annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night, but also vowed to end America’s wars in the Middle East because of the strain they have put on military families. – Defense News

The U.S. Army wants to expand its pre-positioned equipment in the Indo-Pacific region, Gen. Gus Perna, the head of Army Materiel Command, told reporters during a Feb. 4 Defense Writers Group event in Washington. – Defense News

U.S. 2nd Fleet is having deploying units test out new complex tactics on their way across the Atlantic, with each of these so-called Fleet Battle Problems contributing to an overall maturation of the concepts the Navy would use in a peer adversary fight, the commander said on Tuesday. – USNI News