Fdd's overnight brief

January 19, 2022

In The News


An Iranian ethnic Arab separatist leader went on trial in Iran on Tuesday on charges of involvement in an attack on a 2018 military parade that killed 25 people and several other bombings, state media reported. – Reuters 

An Iran deal acceptable to Israel would not allow the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium at high levels, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday in a video conference with the World Economic Forum in Davos. – Jerusalem Post 

The Gulf state said Monday’s events were the result of drone strikes by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, who claimed to have conducted an attack “deep” in the UAE. The attack exposed the vulnerability of the nation, which champions itself as an oasis of stability in a volatile region, to assault by militants despite its state-of-the-art, multibillion-dollar defence systems. The timing of the attack by an Iran-backed group will also test Abu Dhabi’s recent efforts to reach out to Tehran in a bid to de-escalate regional tensions, boost trade relations and reduce the perceived threat from the Islamic republic and its proxies. – Financial Times 


Afghanistan’s acting prime minister, Mullah Hasan Akhund, on Wednesday called for international governments to officially recognise the country’s Taliban administration, saying at a news conference in Kabul that all conditions had been met. – Reuters 

Afghanistan lost more than half a million jobs after the Taliban seized power, and the economic crisis that followed is expected to push that number above 900,000 by the middle of this year, according to the International Labour Organization. – Bloomberg 

The Department of Defense inspector general warned that the Afghan air force would not be sustainable without U.S. support months before President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal, which occurred in August. – Washington Examiner 

Over two dozen Republican lawmakers are pressing the Biden administration on its efforts to recover U.S. weapons and supplies left behind after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. – The Hill 

David Ignatius writes: Afghanistan has little cash to conduct transactions. To help fix that, the Biden administration is encouraging a cash infusion program that, so far, has shipped about $150 million to ease the liquidity crunch, mainly through a financial services company based in Europe. The aim is to provide about $120 million to $150 million a month, through private aid donors, to ease the liquidity squeeze and to enable relief groups to expand, pay their staffs and, hopefully, relieve suffering. – Washington Post 


Turkey’s first dedicated intelligence-gathering ship, TCG Ufuk (A-591), was officially commissioned into service at Istanbul Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, on 14 January, İsmail Demir, head of Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), has announced. – Janes 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was pleased with the lower volatility of the lira and that the government was working on steps to increase interest in the currency, state media reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was cited on Tuesday as saying the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was not realistic and that he needed to discuss the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Reuters 

An explosion has shut down a pipeline in southeastern Turkey that carries oil from Iraq to world markets, officials and news reports said. – Associated Press 

Turkey reopened a key crude pipeline running from Iraq after it was knocked out by an explosion on Tuesday. Oil prices pared gains on Wednesday after news the restart was imminent. The shutdown risked tightening energy markets even more at time when supply disruptions and strong demand have sent crude surging to almost $89 a barrel. – Bloomberg 

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled an emerging thaw with Israel after more than a decade of tensions, throwing his support behind a major energy project involving the once-close allies and floating the idea of a visit by Israel’s figurehead president, Isaac Herzog. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: This week’s monetary policy committee meeting would be a good place to start. The longer the central bank waits to raise rates, the more painful the medicine that will ultimately be required. Failure to act will plunge the country deeper into crisis — and Erdogan will have only himself to blame. – Bloomberg 


Israeli police forcibly evicted a Palestinian family from their home in a flashpoint East Jerusalem neighbourhood on Wednesday before a digger tore down the property, ending a standoff that has drawn international attention. – Reuters 

Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday called for a parliamentary inquiry into the police’s alleged use of sophisticated spyware on Israeli citizens, including protesters opposed to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following a newspaper report on the surveillance. – Associated Press 

The US no longer supports the proposed EastMed natural-gas pipeline from Israel to Europe, the Biden administration has informed Israel, Greece and Cyprus in recent weeks. – Jerusalem Post 

The European Union has spent half-a-billion dollars over the last seven years to support a Palestinian Authority plan to control Area C of the West Bank, an Intelligence Ministry report publicly released Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Negotiations for a plea deal between former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the state prosecution have stalled, according to Tuesday reports. – Times of Israel 

The United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote this Thursday on an Israeli resolution that seeks to define and counteract Holocaust denial on social media. – Algemeiner 

Israel has offered security and intelligence support to the United Arab Emirates against further drone attacks after a deadly strike by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, according to a letter released on Tuesday by Israel’s leader. – Reuters 

In an article in the daily Al-Ayyam, Ashraf Al-‘Ajrami, a former minister of prisoners affairs in the Palestinian Authority (PA), warned that the West Bank is in chaos, manifested in violent clan and tribal conflicts that are threatening public security. This situation, he said, results from the failure of all the Palestinian institutions – the education system, the executive and judicial bodies, the political parties and even civil society organizations – which have not managed to build a national civil infrastructure divorced from clan and tribal loyalties. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Editorial: The prime minister, by virtue of his lofty position, was treated differently, and though he was also investigated with thoroughness and intensity probably not deployed for the average citizen. But the entire saga – that Netanyahu was investigated, indicted, put on trial and, if the deal is accepted with the moral turpitude clause, forced out of politics – shows once again that in this country no one is above the law, and that everyone, even the prime minister, will be held accountable. – Jerusalem Post 

Nadav Eyal writes: Firstly, is that there is a chance Netanyahu will be acquitted and found completely innocent. Secondly, there is a chance Netanyahu could find his way back to the premier’s chair during his trial, which would mean he would run the country all while focusing on his legal future. All in all, the public, and even Netanyahu are entitled to receive from the court a clear decision on the actions of the prime minister during his tenure. It’s not the most effective thing, but it’s the right thing to do. – Ynet 

Arabian Peninsula

The United Arab Emirates called for a meeting of UN security council to condemn a recent attack by Yemen’s Houthi on Abu Dhabi, capital of the region’s commercial and tourism hub, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Editorial: Something keeps happening in President Biden’s foreign policy: The White House announces that it wants to emphasize diplomacy on a particular issue, and American adversaries respond by advancing their interests with force. Consider the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. […]Russian and Chinese revanchism may be the greatest current threats to U.S. interests, but instability on the Arabian Peninsula helps Iran and jihadists. Beijing and Moscow also notice when the U.S. doesn’t stand with allies in a fight. – Wall Street Journal 

Lazar Berman writes: Monday’s fatal drone attack on oil facilities in Abu Dhabi and the Gulf state’s reticence to directly blame Tehran lays bare Emirati vulnerabilities in the face of Iran and its proxies. – Times of Israel 


By attacking the United Arab Emirates the Houthis sought to warn the Gulf state to stay out of a battle for prized energy regions in Yemen, where the Iran-aligned group has been angered by losses to forces backed by the powerful U.S. ally. – Reuters 

Houthi Yemeni military expert Brigadier-General Abdul Ghani Al-Zubaidi said in a January 17, 2022 interview on Russia Today TV that the same-day drone attack that killed three and injured six in Abu Dhabi is a message that the UAE should “take seriously.” […]In addition, Al-Zubaidi said that the Houthis hope to have Iranian support since their enemies have the supports of “vagabonds” like the Zionists, the Americans, and the French. […]Al-Zubaidi also said that if it turns out that the Americans carried out any attacks in Yemen, the Houthis will target American interests “wherever they may be.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Elana DeLozier writes: The attack on the UAE will also resurrect past questions about whether the United States should protect its Gulf allies from Houthi projectiles, and how it can do so while opposing their offensive operations in Yemen. The Biden administration has been carefully threading this needle with Saudi Arabia for some time, and it may now have to do the same with the UAE. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Florida State University and an academic center at the University of Arizona have declined to renew membership in the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), amid questions over whether the group’s movement toward an academic boycott of Israel could violate state or university policies. – Algemeiner 

Germany’s arms exports reached record levels in 2021, largely due to significant sales of maritime and air defense weapons to Egypt, officials said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

A Lebanese American man’s survivors, who filed an ambitious lawsuit last year alleging Lebanon’s security agency kidnapped and tortured him before he died in the U.S., hope to find an opening after the agency recently responded in an American court. – Associated Press 

Lawrence J. Haas writes: Washington should exploit that reality. In its negotiations with Tehran over nuclear weaponry (and, hopefully, over Iran’s ballistic missiles, terror sponsorship, and regional destabilization efforts), Washington should make clear that it will actively seek to expand the accords to include other Arab nations, which will strengthen the region’s anti-Iran contingent. That, alone, will not force a U.S.-Iranian agreement, but it may give Tehran one more reason to see the potential benefits of a deal. – American Foreign Policy Council 


Activist Edward Leung rose to prominence on the now-banned slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times,” but he didn’t get to see it become a rallying cry during the city’s mass protests in 2019. – Wall Street Journal 

A member of China’s Olympics organizing committee warned that foreign athletes may face punishment for speech that violates Chinese law at the 2022 Winter Games, spotlighting concerns about the country’s restrictions on political expression. – Washington Post 

The FBI and a U.S. investment-screening panel are investigating a Chinese investment in an aircraft startup following allegations of improper technology transfer to China, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday urged the United Nations’ human rights office to release its assessment of China’s policies in Xinjiang before next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, which the U.S. government is boycotting on a diplomatic level over what it says is ongoing genocide in the region. – Reuters 

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait intensified in 2021. China’s military flights into Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone more than doubled last year, and in the final days of December, Taipei and Beijing warned each other against crossing any red lines. – Business Insider 

Beijing has forced nearly 10,000 Chinese overseas nationals to return since 2014 using coercive means outside the justice system, according to a new report. – Agence France-Presse 

Shuli Ren writes: Two years of border closure have left a mark. Many of us in Hong Kong who have not been back to the mainland now feel anxious when we look at the long list of travel requirements. China begins to feel distant and foreign, even for those who grew up there, which can’t possibly be good for the integration of Hong Kong. – Bloomberg 

South Asia

After decades of mulling the matter, Indonesia’s government has passed a law marking its most tangible step yet toward moving the capital from Jakarta to an undeveloped jungle tract in East Kalimantan, Borneo. – Washington Post 

Yet the Taliban’s victory has unleashed a wave of hardline forces that Khan’s government is struggling to control, on and within Pakistan’s borders. Apart from the border tensions, these range from surging violence by emboldened domestic extremists to a growing political challenge from Pakistani Islamist parties who identify with the Taliban’s views. – Financial Times 

As the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations grapples with its biggest rift in years over how to treat Myanmar’s military regime, one thing is clear: Nobody actually wants the bloc to expel the generals. – Bloomberg 


Kazakhstan’s powerful former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has emerged for the first time since the violent unrest that roiled the energy-rich nation this month, denying any power struggle among the country’s elite. – Washington Post 

Well over 90 percent of Taiwan’s people trace their roots to mainland China, but more than ever, they are embracing an identity that is distinct from that of their Communist-ruled neighbor. Beijing’s strident authoritarianism — and its claim over Taiwan — has only solidified the island’s identity, now central to a dispute that has turned the Taiwan Strait into one of Asia’s biggest potential flash points. – New York Times 

Smooth seas and an ebbing tide greeted Japanese and Marine Corps amphibious vehicle crews that zipped in and out of the Pacific last week, marking the first week of the annual exercise Iron Fist and a resumption of Marines’ waterborne operations. – USNI News 

Security forces blocked several downtown streets and cordoned off one of the squares in Kazakhstan’s biggest city Almaty on Wednesday as an opposition group planned to stage protests, a Reuters correspondent reported from the scene. – Reuters 


The U.S. is preparing financial sanctions on pro-Russian agents in Ukraine as Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Europe to meet the Ukrainian leadership and his Russian counterpart, part of a show of diplomacy and pressure that Washington hopes will dissuade Russia from invading its neighbor, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday as the Biden administration intensifies its attempt to head off what officials warn could be an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

Russia is a sending an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to Belarus for major war games, officials said Tuesday, a deployment that will further beef up Russian military presence near Ukraine amid Western fears of a planned invasion. – Associated Press 

As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Ukraine, the Biden administration said Wednesday it’s providing an additional $200 million in defensive military aid to the country amid soaring fears of a Russian invasion. – Associated Press  

President Joe Biden has rallied European allies to pledge as one that they will take tough measures against Russia if it rolls troops into Ukraine. But when it comes to what exactly the United States and Europe are willing to do, the allies don’t look as ringingly united. – Associated Press 

Russian President Vladimir Putin will brief his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Moscow’s talks with NATO when he travels to Beijing next month, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Max Boot writes: I am increasingly pessimistic that we can avert a Russian offensive. If it does occur, we must not flinch from imposing the most draconian sanctions possible, including kicking Russia out of the SWIFT system of interbank transfers and going after the oligarchs’ ill-gotten billions stashed in the West. […]The Soviet Union died a deserved death. We cannot stand idly by as Putin attempts to resurrect the “evil empire.” – Washington Post 

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: At their recent meeting in Moscow, Vulin and Patrushev reportedly agreed to establish a “working group for combating color revolutions” (a term denoting pro-democracy uprisings in authoritarian states), including by stepping up joint monitoring of civil society organizations, opposition activists, and independent media. The problem for both security chiefs — and for their political masters — is that when enough people in society are willing to stand up to authoritarianism, all the wiretaps, working groups, and monitoring efforts become powerless. Recent history has shown this clearly. Just ask the Serbs. – Washington Post 

Bernard-Henri Lévy writes: Mr. Putin has declared war on Europe, and the West. It is a cold war, a war deferred, with an Iron Curtain falling (for the moment) along the Ukrainian frontline. But it is a war all the same. Its instigator now bears in history’s eyes the immense responsibility of having broken the taboo against war, which has preserved the safety of the European Continent twice devastated by world war. During the 80-odd days leading up to the presidential election in France, there should be no issue more pressing than this programmatic kidnapping, as Milan Kundera might put it, by one of our worst enemies. – Wall Street Journal 

Thomas L. Friedman writes: The last thing that Putin wants is a thriving Ukraine that joins the European Union and develops its people and economy beyond Putin’s underperforming, autocratic Russia. He wants Ukraine to fail, the E.U. to fracture and America to have Donald Trump as president for life so we’ll be in permanent chaos. Putin would rather see our cow die than do what it takes to raise a healthy cow of his own. He’s always looking for dignity in all the wrong places. He’s rather pathetic — but also armed and dangerous. – New York Times 

Tyler Cowen writes: It is probably also wrong to suggest that Putin cannot feel threatened by NATO because NATO would never invade Russia. A stronger NATO with more members, especially in the East, would make Putin look and feel more constrained, so Putin’s anti-NATO demands shouldn’t be seen as a sheer lie or manipulation. Maybe it is too late, but NATO could have signaled earlier that membership for Ukraine was unlikely. – Bloomberg 

Rebekah Koffler writes: Regretfully, U.S. negotiators wasted their breath in Europe, discussing Putin’s security guarantee ultimatum with the hope of de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine. Putin is not interested in stymying the conflict but in stoking it, so he can deploy forces — potentially of the “peacekeeping” sort — to defend the Russian nationals in Ukraine, which he is authorized to do by Russian law that he orchestrated. – The Hill 

Anders Östlund writes: The situation is not entirely dire and rivalry can foster good things. Playing Russian pinball might finally unite Europe and solidify the Transatlantic alliance, as it seems to have done in last week’s summits. And if Ukraine can be protected from a renewed Russian onslaught, it might speed up the necessary reforms and improve living conditions in a country that has been burdened by war for close to eight years. But as things look right now the risk of a large Russian offensive against Ukraine is unfortunately still very real. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Robert Farley writes: US cyber and space assets probably can’t win the war for Ukraine, but they can definitely hurt Russia. […]We don’t know how Russia will view such efforts, but the sophistication and extent of US capabilities in both the space and the cyber domains are well-known to the Russians. Much will depend on what the Biden administration wants the post-war environment to look like. If Washington decides that relations with the Putin government are unsalvageable, it has little incentive to go easy. – Military.com 


A new United Nations report on the forced landing by Belarus of a Ryanair passenger jet in May raises fresh questions about the veracity of statements by its government about the events, in which it arrested a wanted dissident. – Wall Street Journal 

Just a few months ago at an international summit in Rome, President Biden privately told Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy that when it came to showing that democracies can function well, “You are doing it.” For good measure, he added, according to a person in the room, the Italian had a “hell of a political operation.” – New York Times 

Germany signalled on Tuesday that it could halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia if Moscow invades Ukraine, and Western nations rallied behind Kyiv over a Russian troop buildup that has stoked fears of war. – Reuters 

The new premiers of Bulgaria and North Macedonia agreed on Tuesday to try to overcome problems that prompted Sofia to block the start of accession talks between the European Union and Skopje. – Reuters 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he and Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic agreed on Tuesday to broker crisis talks involving all parties in Bosnia after elections in Serbia in April. – Reuters 

Officials at the U.K. Foreign Office have been told to be ready to move into “crisis mode” at very short notice, highlighting the increased concern that Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine could escalate into conflict, according to a person familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg 

Greece will support a strong European Union reaction to any Russian invasion of Ukraine, even as Athens called for improved relations between Moscow and the bloc, government minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said. – Bloomberg 

Belarusian involvement in an expanded Russian war against Ukraine would risk bringing the end of dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, U.S. officials warned the strongman in response to the deployment of Russian forces in Belarus. – Washington Examiner 

Andreas Kluth writes: How Germany’s governing coalition overcomes this rift may determine whether the West will indeed speak as one against Putin’s coming provocations or attacks. Allies should pay close attention. Nobody anywhere is suggesting that “talking” or “dialogue” should ever cease. But the Germans must accept that there are times in history when jaw-jaw alone won’t do — because what’s required is action. – Bloomberg 

Annabelle Chapman writes: Going forward, the Polish government could use the Confederation ban to slow down or change the course of the DSA. Just like some US Republicans, Poland wants to prevent platforms from blocking political content.  “Facebook is a monopolist. Due to its dominant position [it] should be subject to special control as regards possible abuse of its position against other entities,” the government wrote in a statement published on its official website. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Pro-democracy groups began two days of strikes and civil disobedience in Sudan on Tuesday, a day after security forces fired live rounds and used tear gas to disperse protesters in some of the deadliest clashes since a military coup last year. – Wall Street Journal 

Four French soldiers from the Operation Barkhane taskforce were injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) hit their vehicle in Burkina Faso, reported Le Monde, Le Figaro and Agence France Presse. – Reuters 

The European Union’s foreign policy chief on Tuesday said Sudan’s military rulers have shown an unwillingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the country’s ongoing crisis, a day after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters in the capital, Khartoum. At least seven people were killed. – Associated Press 

Authorities in eastern Congo have arrested two men in connection with the killing of the Italian ambassador and two others nearly a year ago, though police said Tuesday that the prime suspect remains at large. – Associated Press 

Neville Teller writes: The normalization deal was concluded between Israel and the military leadership acting perfectly legitimately on behalf of Sudan, but a democratic government, once in power, could doubtless either endorse or renounce it. Which way the chips fall will depend on how successful Israel is in the interim in demonstrating the advantages to Sudan of sticking with the deal. – Jerusalem Post 

The Americas

The British man who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue over the weekend before being killed was known to British intelligence services, British and U.S. officials said Tuesday. – New York Times 

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly condemned Russia massing troops near Ukraine’s borders on Tuesday and said Ottawa would take a decision at the appropriate time on supplying military hardware to Ukraine. – Reuters 

Editorial: Good questions. After 9/11, strict security protocols were put in place to screen out people coming to the United States with the aim of doing harm. What were the circumstances of Mr. Akram’s entry through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Dec. 29; was there a human mistake or a failure in the system that needs to addressed? […]That it was seemingly so easy for him to acquire a gun — reportedly buying it off the street — underscores once again the complete folly of American gun laws. – Washington Post 

Joseph Bosco writes: In the meantime, to deal with the Ukraine crisis that Putin created, Biden should present him with a clear choice: start immediately decreasing the Russian forces at Ukraine’s border or the U.S.and NATO will begin mobilizing their own forces to defend it against Russian aggression. Putin should be made to understand that war with Ukraine would mean war with NATO — the same kind of decision that must be presented to China regarding Taiwan. In both critical places, the world’s democracies must get off their back foot and deter aggression, rather than reacting to it after the fact. North Korea and Iran are watching. – The Hill 

Latin America

Puerto Rico received approval from a federal judge on Tuesday to leave bankruptcy under the largest public-sector debt restructuring deal in the history of the United States, nearly five years after the financially strapped territory declared it could not repay its creditors. – New York Times 

Ingrid Betancourt, a former congresswoman and one-time guerrilla hostage who has come to symbolize both the brutality of Colombia’s long war and the country’s efforts at reconciliation, will run for president, she said Tuesday. – New York Times 

Vice President Harris will lead the Biden administration’s delegation to Honduras later this month for the inauguration of the country’s new president, the White House announced Tuesday. – The Hill 

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele will travel to Turkey this week to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bid to boost mutual cooperation and investment in the Central American country, the government said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Taiwan has paid for a lobbying contract to promote Guatemala with U.S. officials, Guatemala’s government said late on Monday, just as Beijing’s efforts to strengthen its diplomatic foothold in Central America are advancing. – Reuters 

Taiwan Vice President William Lai will attend the inauguration of new Honduran president Xiomara Castro, Taiwan’s presidential office said on Wednesday, seeking to shore up ties as China ramps up diplomatic pressure against the island. – Reuters 


A new academic engagement network will allow U.S. Cyber Command to expand its access to more research on hard cyber problems that will benefit national security. – Defense News 

China’s cyberspace regulator has drafted new guidelines that will require the country’s internet behemoths to obtain its approval before they undertake any investments or fundraisings, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The Biden administration is reviewing e-commerce giant Alibaba’s cloud business to determine whether it poses a risk to U.S. national security, according to three people briefed on the matter, as the government ramps up scrutiny of Chinese technology companies’ dealings with U.S. firms. – Reuters 

Poland on Tuesday raised its nationwide cybersecurity threat level in response to the cyberattack on the Ukrainian government last week. Poland’s Ministry of Digital Affairs said this alert level will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, according to Reuters. – The Hill 


A study on amphibious warship requirements that will help inform upcoming budgets is looking less likely to yield the results the U.S. Marine Corps wants. – Defense News 

Members of the US Space Force’s (USSF) combat requirements office are weighing options for the development of a hybrid, space-based satellite communications (satcom) architecture, as the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) premier research directorate is standing up a similar architecture for extra-terrestrial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. – Janes 

The US Navy’s aircraft carrier strike groups have not only increased South China Sea transits since last year, but their routes and drill patterns are becoming more complicated and unpredictable, according to a recent study. – Business Insider 

David Ignatius writes: Berger has forced the Marine Corps to learn a new vocabulary, and his best commanders speak the language of change with passion. But truly reinventing a combat force won’t be easy, and some of the new “stand-in” concepts sound to me nearly as vulnerable to a high-tech adversary as the old ones. Still, for a Pentagon where inertia has too often been a way of life, the Marines are showing overdue signs of movement. – Washington Post 

Timothy A. Walton writes: Red Hill is the latest in a string of black eyes plaguing the Navy, from collisions to failed shipbuilding programs. It comes at a time when confidence and trust in the military is declining nationally, and faltering even further in Hawaii. Del Toro said the current crisis is “very personal” for him. As he and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin finalize the president’s budget proposal for next year, remediating Red Hill and shifting to a resilient posture in the Indo-Pacific should be atop their priorities. – Defense News 

Long War

A prominent Indonesian militant linked to the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people in the resort island has been sentenced 15 years in prison, a judge at a Jakarta court ruled on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on three businessmen with ties to Hezbollah, saying their activity as financial facilitators for the Iran-backed group was exploiting Lebanon’s economic resources at a time of crisis for that country. – Reuters 

At least four people were killed and 10 others injured on Tuesday in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in a suicide bombing at a tea-shop near a military base, state-run SONNA news agency said, and Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility. – Reuters