Fdd's overnight brief

January 22, 2021

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Iran is among Iraq’s largest trading partners and this cooperation has deepened since 2018 amid the Trump administration’s maximalist policy on Iran that has seen the U.S. pull out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and levy punishing sanctions on the country. – Associated Press 

The Twitter account of Iran’s Supreme Leader on Friday carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone, vowing revenge over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack. – Reuters 

Iran has achieved record high exports of petroleum products despite U.S. sanctions, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said in televised remarks on Friday. – Reuters 

With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Soon, fingers pointed at an unlikely culprit: Bitcoin. – Associated Press

Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday hailed the White House departure of former US president Donald Trump, saying that he and his administration were “relegated to the dustbin of history.” – Times of Israel 

Masih Alinejad writes: It is time to start restricting social media access for those authoritarian leaders and high-ranking officials who advocate violence against dissidents. It’s time for Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and the other tech titans to stop giving Khamenei the means to preach hatred. We must hold all dictators to account. – Washington Post 

Eli Lake writes: Biden himself during the campaign has said he would support targeted sanctions to punish Iran for human rights abuses, developing ballistic missiles and support for terrorism. And Blinken and Sullivan have committed to working with regional allies to press Iran to change its ways. What message would it send if the administration’s envoy to Iran believes no Iranian leader could ever agree to stop making war on its neighbors? – Bloomberg 

Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi write: Reviving the JCPOA will endanger that vision, ensuring the emergence of a nuclear Iran or a desperate war to stop it. Biden is a proven friend who has shared Israel’s hopes and fears. He must prevent that nightmare. – The Atlantic


Syrian air defenses confronted early on Friday “an Israeli aggression” in the governorate of Hama, state media said, after reporting that explosions were heard there. – Reuters

The U.N. special envoy for Syria announced Wednesday that the next round of talks toward revising the war-battered country’s constitution will start in Geneva on Jan. 25 and urged the parties to move to actual drafting. – Associated Press 

The Israeli government and military feared during the early days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that without a decisive victory on at least one front, the world would no longer believe the Jewish state could defend itself, according to transcripts of previously classified cabinet meetings and top-level security discussions that were released by the Defense Ministry on Thursday. – Times of Israel


Israel’s new ambassador to the U.S., Gilad Erdan, began his tenure in Washington, D.C., on Thursday with his appointment coinciding with the inauguration of President Biden. – The Hill

Team Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) announce on Thursday its return to the UAE Tour only a few months after the two countries signed a historic peace agreement under the Abraham Accords. – Jerusalem Post

Senator Ted Cruz has warned that President Joe Biden’s administration’s position regarding Iran could be a danger to Israel, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: The IDF’s ability to hit almost anywhere and anytime, with precision and without losing IDF troops is unprecedented. Based on that, it may continue to deter the increasing number of actors whose missile capabilities could beat Jerusalem’s missile defense. That could mean that in the final analysis Israel is more threatened, but also more secure in 2021 than it was in 1991. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: With Joe Biden sitting behind the president’s desk in the White House, the national security and intelligence relationship between the US and Israel is about to undergo a significant change. – Jerusalem Post

Lazar Berman writes: In a 22-minute, 2,411-word inaugural address Wednesday, US President Joseph Biden gave scant mention to his foreign policy aims […]. Behind those two sentences, though, lies much of the concern for Israeli decision-makers over what the coming years may hold: A break from predecessor Donald Trump’s Israel-friendly policies, and a return to an approach in which the US was “engage[d] with the world.” – Times of Israel

Ron Ben Yishai writes: The prime minister’s actions during the Obama years have caused resentment and distrust towards the Netanyahu government among defense and political officials in Washington. One can only hope that their professionalism will overcome their personal animosity – for the sake of Israel’s security. – Ynet


The bombing provides US President Joe Biden with an early opportunity to show US support for Iraq. Biden has said that the US is “back” and the world can expect the US to care again about foreign policy and work multilaterally to solve problems. Iraq is a very complex problem. – Jerusalem Post

Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Iraq in March, on Thursday condemned a twin suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in a Baghdad market as a “senseless act of brutality”. – Reuters

Iraq has reduced annual supplies of Basra crude oil to several Indian refiners by up to 20% for 2021, industry sources said, in a rare move by OPEC’s second-largest producer which is trying to meet its obligations under the group’s production deal. – Reuters

Mina Al-Oraibi writes: The attack also serves as a reminder that Iraq needs to be on the Biden administration’s agenda, even though it does not appear to be a priority at all. Because of its strategic impact on Middle East politics and the implications Iraq’s success or failure has on the United States’ standing in the world, how Biden and his team handle Iraq will be watched closely in the Middle East and beyond. – Foreign Policy 

Matthew Zais, Barozh Aziz and Rob Waller write: Iraq’s gas situation is unique. Although the country possesses vast natural gas resources, it flares significant amounts of this potential supply and therefore remains dependent on neighboring countries for its energy needs. Gas resources in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) will be critical in developing a solution to this challenge. – Washington Institute

Saudi Arabia

Troll campaigns pose a challenge for movie-review sites in a similar way that extremist political voices can vex social media companies: The platforms don’t want to become a hotbed of misleading speech. But they are also reluctant to appear like they are muzzling users. – Washington Post 

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be wary as President Joe Biden begins his term, aware that the days of near-unquestioning support and preferential treatment from President Donald Trump’s administration are over. – Newsweek 

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has voiced optimism that relations between Riyadh and Washington will be “excellent” under new U.S. President Joe Biden, Al-Arabiya TV channel cited him as saying on Thursday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia has delayed the release of closely watched data on citizen unemployment four times amid political sensitivity over a jobless rate that rose to the highest level on record last year. – Bloomberg 

Akshat Rathi, Matthew Martin and Anthony Di Paola write: Such missing data is a red flag for investors, who “need to be able to put a price on the climate risks that they are running in their portfolios,” said Nick Stansbury, head of commodity research at Legal and General Investment Management, which owns Aramco shares as of the end of 2020. “Those disclosures need to be comprehensive, true and accurate.” – Bloomberg

Gulf States

Oman’s government named Haifa Al Khaifi as head of a new company that controls the country’s biggest oil block, a rare appointment for a woman in a male-dominated sector in the Middle East. – Bloomberg 

Qatar has not taken any initiative to solve the problems with Bahrain, despite an agreement to end a rift of more than three years, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Qatar will reopen “in days”, Al Arabiya TV channel said on Thursday, citing Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan. – Reuters 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi movement said had it thwarted two attacks by the Houthis on Friday morning, including destroying an explosive-laden boat in the southern Red Sea, Saudi state TV said on Twitter. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara’s human rights record. – Reuters

The United Nations Libya mission said on Thursday that nominations for leadership of a new unified transitional government must be made within a week and voting on candidates would take place in early February. – Reuters

In an article in the Iraqi daily Al-Zaman, writer Shamel Bardan commended U.S. President-elect Joe Biden for appointing two women of Arab origin to prominent positions on the White House staff. Bardan praised the pluralistic U.S. culture, which judges its members according to their skills, not according to their culture or race, and does not fear their otherness. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Mick Mulroy, Eric Oehlerich and Amanda Blair write: COVID-19 is now an additional factor on top of the violence and monumental international support tasks, all of which require a sustained commitment. The effects of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for more robust international stabilization efforts to achieve long-term peace and self-sufficiency in the Middle East. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

While Kim has vowed to strengthen his nuclear weapons program in recent political speeches, he also tried to give Biden an opening by saying that the fate of their relations depends on whether Washington discards what he calls hostile U.S. policies. It’s unclear how patient Kim will be. North Korea has a history of testing new U.S. administrations with missile launches and other provocations aimed at forcing the Americans back to the negotiating table. – Associated Press 

The World Trade Organization recommended on Thursday that the United States revise a series of duties imposed in the pre-Trump era on South Korea, presenting new U.S. President Joe Biden with a dilemma. – Reuters

Morten Soendergaard Larsen writes: Kim has made big strides in his missile program in recent years, with the latest design capable of carrying multiple warheads as far as the continental United States. But the liquid-fuel missiles have two big drawbacks: They take a long time to prepare, and the huge launchers are easily spotted from the air. That means the North’s missiles are hardly mobile and could be neutralized before becoming a threat. – Foreign Policy


But China’s aggressive promotion of its narratives is muddying the waters precisely when a World Health Organization team in Wuhan is seeking to investigate the virus’s origins. The drumbeat of Chinese skepticism toward Western vaccines — one a joint production between U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, another from U.S. biotech company Moderna — ramped up in recent weeks as clinical data showed vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firms potentially lagging U.S. rivals. – Washington Post 

China on Thursday fired a parting shot at the Trump administration by announcing unprecedented sanctions against outgoing Cabinet officials and advisers, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, as it extended a rhetorical olive branch to newly installed President Biden. – Washington Post

It may be the oil market’s worst-kept secret: Millions of barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude, embargoed by the U.S., have been surreptitiously going to China. – Bloomberg

China struck an optimistic tone toward President Joe Biden’s new administration on Thursday, saying “kind angels can triumph over evil forces” and playing down early irritants as the result of an atmosphere poisoned by Donald Trump’s term in office. – Reuters

China is concerned over news that social network Twitter has locked the account of its embassy in the United States, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters

The Biden administration faced pressure from Republican lawmakers on its second day in office for a more forceful response to Beijing’s announcement of sanctions against the architects of former President Donald Trump’s tough China policy. – Reuters

China has purchased less than three-fifths of the US goods projected under the “phase one” trade deal that paused a tariff dispute between the two countries a year ago, posing another challenge for the administration of Joe Biden in its relations with Beijing. – Financial Times

Transatlantic tensions over how to handle China will come into the open next week when MEPs condemn the European commission for rushing to sign a controversial investment agreement with China that they say undermines the EU’s credibility on human rights. – The Guardian

Josh Rogin writes: China’s opening salvo leaves no room for doubt: Contentious competition will be the focus of the U.S.-China relationship for the next four years. Beijing’s greatest fear is that the Biden team will be better at it than Trump. – Washington Post 

Sarah Ladislaw writes: It is unclear which issues will take top priority for the Biden administration regarding U.S.-China relations, but there will be many areas where U.S. and Chinese interests will conflict, and even more where the two will regard each other as competitors. Still, some degree of compartmentalization will likely be necessary to manage a contentious but essential relationship. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Daniel Moss writes: The Trump era didn’t invent D.C. antagonism toward Beijing. The relationship between the world’s economic powers was growing strained by the end of the Obama administration […]. This doesn’t suggest that investors should expect continuity at Treasury on all things. There are important differences on fiscal policy, the minimum wage and climate. Expect programs to be developed more professionally, presented with less bluster, and packaged in a way that American allies can support. – Bloomberg

Travis Weber and Arielle Del Turco write: The U.S. has been a world leader in advancing human rights, and this is an important milestone in that calling. The governments of all free countries should be encouraged to follow suit in calling China’s actions genocide and crimes against humanity. Yet, international law does not enforce itself. It will require a coalition of countries to hold China accountable for its actions on the world stage. – Washington Examiner 

South Asia

India started vaccinating its own population against the coronavirus only a few days ago, but it is already using its manufacturing heft to generate goodwill with its neighbors. India’s government has made the calculation that it has enough vaccine doses to share. The result is a form of vaccine diplomacy that appears to be unlike any other in the world. – Washington Post 

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul will soon resume processing thousands of stalled special visa applications for Afghans who aided U.S. forces after halting visa interviews in March because of the pandemic. – Washington Post 

Facebook executives on Thursday fielded questions from an Indian parliamentary panel about changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy, days after the country’s technology ministry asked the messaging platform to withdraw them. – Reuters

Pakistan has ordered a U.S.-based website propagating the faith of Pakistan’s minority Ahmadis shut down over allegedly blasphemous content, one of the site’s managers said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Richard M. Rossow writes: It is overly simple to say that trade problems have been ever-present. While technically true, the nature of these issues has evolved over time. Our bilateral trade agenda today is largely dominated by newly created frictions, instead of the incomplete elements of reform. Anti-reforms are particularly dangerous to business sentiments. They can damage the commercial environment faced by U.S. firms with established trade and investment links with India. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Syed Mohammad Ali and Marvin G. Weinbaum write: Improved relations with Pakistan would not only serve American strategic interests within the region at large but go a long way towards helping Pakistan bolster its economy, address its internal challenges, and lessen friction with its neighboring states, all developments in the U.S.’s interest as well. – Middle East Institute


Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S. overcame four decades of precedent when she accepted a formal invitation to attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration, calming fears on the self-ruled island that U.S. support would erode in the post-Trump era. – Wall Street Journal

A Tokyo court rejected on Thursday a lawsuit by Japanese living in Europe who sought to retain their nationality even after taking foreign citizenship, instead of losing it automatically, as happens now. – Reuters

A Japanese court found on Thursday the lawmaker wife of a former justice minister guilty of vote-buying. – Reuters

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party gathers for a congress next week that will help shape the country’s global role for the next five years, selecting new leaders and setting policy as tensions bubble with Beijing and Joe Biden settles in at the White House. – Reuters

Taiwan is under no illusions it can quickly sign a long hoped for free trade deal with the United States but feels when the time is right “success will flow naturally”, the island’s chief trade negotiator said on Friday. – Reuters

In a final swipe at China, the Trump administration’s outgoing U.N. ambassador tweeted that it’s time for the world to oppose China’s efforts to exclude and isolate Taiwan, drawing sharp criticism from Beijing. – Associated Press 

Michael Rubin writes: Instead, Azerbaijan has become a strategic ally of both Iran and Russia, maintaining its pro-Western façade only to avoid accountability in Washington for its strategic turn. Simply put, to arm or support Azerbaijan today is to empower the Kremlin and Khamenei, not to bring security or further American interests in the region. – The National Interest


Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to say his name, in a show of disdain. But there is no doubt that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny weighs heavily on the mind of the Kremlin. – Washington Post 

President Biden ordered a sweeping review on Thursday of American intelligence about Russia’s role in a highly sophisticated hacking of government and corporate computer networks, along with what his spokeswoman called Moscow’s “reckless and adversarial actions” globally and against dissidents inside the country. – New York Times

Russia’s government is threatening Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty with multimillion-dollar fines and possible criminal charges against its employees, raising the possibility of the American-funded news organization being pushed out of Russia just as President Biden seeks to reorient the U.S. relationship with the Kremlin. – New York Times

The Kremlin said on Friday it welcomed the stated intention of U.S. President Joe Biden to extend the New START arms control treaty with Russia, but said that Moscow wanted to see concrete proposals from Washington. – Reuters

Russian police on Thursday detained Lyubov Sobol, an ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, her lawyer said, after she urged Navalny’s supporters to take to the streets on Saturday to call for his release. – Reuters

European Council President Charles Michel called on Moscow on Thursday to immediately release poisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was detained when he returned to Russia from Germany last weekend. – Reuters

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: More modest demonstrations are possible, though, and may well prove no less problematic for Putin, who has long based his rule on the perception of popular support. Any such crowds would show how far Navalny’s anti-corruption message resonates with economically squeezed, coronavirus-hit Russians. It’s a stand-off that could set the tone for the later years of Putin’s fourth — but not necessarily final — term. – Bloomberg


The British government describes any disruption as teething problems. It says leaving the EU will allow it to benefit from striking its own trade deals and give it more control over policies like immigration. Still, some businesses say the trading changes are likely to present permanent challenges. – Wall Street Journal

After four long years of Donald Trump’s attacks on NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the defense alliance had survived the challenge — and that he looked forward to rebuilding the transatlantic relationship with President Biden. – Washington Post 

For all the complications and wounded feelings Brexit has introduced in the relationship between the European Union and its erstwhile member, Britain, this week saw the addition of a diplomatic spat reminiscent of a similar argument initiated by former President Donald J. Trump. – New York Times

Three Muslim groups refused on Wednesday to back an anti-extremism charter pushed by French officials following a spate of jihadist-inspired attacks, dealing a blow to a flagship initiative of President Emmanuel Macron’s government. – Agence France-Press

Michaël Tanchum and Dimitar Bechev write: And just as other powers had to bow to that empire, because the post-Brexit European Union’s economic engine now consists of Germany, France, and Italy, the extent to which Paris and Berlin accommodate Rome’s wider Mediterranean agenda will determine the EU’s ability to function coherently, with repercussions for the NATO alliance as well. – Foreign Policy 

Mark Temnycky writes: 2020 was a particularly challenging year for Ukraine. From economic and health crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic to the ongoing Donbas conflict and anticorruption setbacks, Ukraine has struggled to address critical issues on multiple fronts. Moreover, Ukrainian citizens have started to wonder if their political leaders are up to addressing these problems. Simply put, things have not gone all that well in the last year. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges writes: Russia uses its new generation (or “hybrid”) warfare to force NATO into an asymmetric contest, thus avoiding many of the Alliance’s greatest strengths. Challenging the Kremlin with military means only, in its perceived sphere of influence, reveals our lack of an effective long-term strategy, potentially leading to an escalation where Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime holds most of the cards. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Joseph de Weck and Eyck Freymann write: But public opinion in Europe is rapidly shifting against China. The European Parliament, which also has to ratify the deal, is on the fence. If the Biden administration wants to scuttle the deal in an attempt to isolate China, it should lobby members of the EU parliament to take a tougher stand on Chinese forced labor practices. This is both sound strategy and the right thing to do. If it does, 2021 may be the year that Beijing starts to pay a price for the treatment of its Uighur minority. – Foreign Policy


Central African Republic declared a state of emergency on Thursday to help it crack down on armed groups, as the United Nations’ envoy to CAR called for the deployment of many more peacekeepers in response to a recent surge in attacks. – Reuters

Calls grew Thursday for Ugandan authorities to free opposition presidential challenger Bobi Wine from house arrest a week after the country’s longtime president won a sixth term in a disputed election. – Associated Press 

A Nigerian court threw out two blasphemy convictions on Thursday that had caused an international outcry, freeing a teenager from a 10-year prison sentence and ordering a new trial for a man sentenced to death. – Reuters

An Ethiopian journalist and his friend have been shot dead by an unidentified person in the northern Tigray region’s capital Mekelle, an aid worker and a resident said on Thursday. – Reuters

Pressure is growing on Somalia’s government amid allegations that Somali soldiers have been sent to fight in neighboring Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict. Mothers have held rare protests in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere, demanding to know the fate of their children who originally were sent to Eritrea for military training. – Associated Press 

Uganda will maintain its shutdown of Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms until the government deems they’re safe from being used to inflame tensions in the East African nation, New Vision reported. – Bloomberg

Ethiopia’s government denied that Somali soldiers fought alongside federal troops in the ongoing conflict in its Tigray region. – Bloomberg

Caitlin Welsh writes: The long-term food security community should, like their humanitarian counterparts, devise solutions to hunger and malnutrition in cities, with city residents as direct beneficiaries. Urban residents’ needs should be met through emergency assistance and long-term interventions—in the Sahel and everywhere food insecurity persists. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Latin America

Cuba is hopeful U.S. President Joe Biden will swiftly reverse his predecessor’s hardline approach toward the Communist-run island and resume the policy of detente begun by the Obama administration, a top official in Havana told Reuters. – Reuters

The European Parliament called on EU governments to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president in a resolution on Thursday, after a downgrade of his status by the bloc earlier this month. – Reuters

Daniel F. Runde and Arianna Kohan write: Brazil and the United States enjoy a strong relationship which includes cooperation in various areas, including trade, security, education, science and technology, and more. However, the current level of exchange in these areas does not accurately reflect the strategic importance of the relationship for the two largest democracies and economies in the Western Hemisphere. The creation of a binational organization would advance and institutionalize the Brazil–U.S. relationship by promoting innovative ways of thinking and inviting a new, collaborative, and transformational approach to partnership development. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

North America

As one of his first acts as president, Joe Biden Wednesday halted the U.S. departure from the World Health Organization and joined a multilateral vaccine distribution initiative, cementing U.S. involvement in the Geneva-based United Nations agency nine months after former president Donald Trump announced intentions to leave. – Washington Post 

The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday condemning damage and destruction of religious sites and asking the secretary-general to convene a global conference to spearhead public support for safeguarding places of religious heritage. – Associated Press 

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday hailed the agenda set out by his new U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, offering support for his plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, lift the economy and to enact migration reform. – Reuters

The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons entered into force on Friday, hailed as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons but strongly opposed by the world’s nuclear-armed nations. – Associated Press

United States

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday recommitted the United States to the Paris climate agreement, the international accord designed to avert catastrophic global warming, and ordered federal agencies to start reviewing and reinstating more than 100 environmental regulations that were weakened or rolled back by former President Donald J. Trump. – New York Times

The Biden administration will prioritize domestic investments in workers and infrastructure before embarking on any new free trade agreements, Janet Yellen, U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, told lawmakers. – Reuters

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay triggering an impeachment trial for Donald Trump until next month, a timetable that may cool some of the bipartisan outrage that erupted over the former president’s stoking of the mob that stormed the Capitol two weeks ago. – Bloomberg

World leaders welcomed into their ranks the new U.S. President Joe Biden, noting their most pressing problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, require multilateral cooperation, an approach his predecessor Donald Trump ridiculed. – Associated Press 


Google threatened to shut down its search engine in Australia if a proposed law requiring tech giants to pay publishers for news isn’t changed. – Wall Street Journal 

Google and Facebook Inc have granted an Australian local government news provider status, drawing questions about the internet giants’ efforts to curate news media. – Reuters

House Democrats sent a letter to top social media platforms on Thursday urging the them to make permanent changes to algorithms that facilitate the spread of extremist and “conspiratorial” content. – The Hill

The Defense Department will focus on preventing interference to aviation instruments rather than trying to stop the Federal Communications Commission from auctioning C-band spectrum used for 5G communication, officials tell Defense News. – Defense News 

The U.S. Navy will soon have a plan for how to implement the accelerated DevSecOps software development process across the service, the chief information officer announced Thursday. – C4ISRNET


The Army has resumed product verification testing for the latest variant of its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), Wolfgang Petermann, project manager of transportation systems in the Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support, told Defense News. – Defense News 

As the Navy looks to smaller and cheaper manned and unmanned ships to fill out its future fleet, a larger amphibious warship program is positioning itself to remain in shipbuilding plans by highlighting the ability to continue bringing costs down – including through a potential first-ever multi-ship buy – and adding capability. – USNI News 

The Army has delayed a second attempt at an initial operational test for the UH-60 Victor-model Black Hawk until software and reliability fixes are made and the aircraft receives certification to fly in national airspace, said Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, the program executive officer for Army aviation. – Defense News 

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville teased a virtual audience by discussing the recently completed Arctic strategy and emphasizing it would provide the U.S. with capabilities to compete and deter conflict in the region. – Defense News 

The following is the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) 2020 annual report. It was released earlier this month. – USNI News 

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Jan. 21, 2021, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. – USNI News

Long War

Twin suicide bombings ripped through a crowded marketplace in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 32 people and wounding at least 75 others in the first such attack in Iraq’s capital in more than two years. – Wall Street Journal 

The Islamic State has blown up a roadside bomb in the restive northern Sinai peninsula, killing one member of Egypt’s security forces and wounding three others, medical and security officials said late Thursday. – Associated Press 

The Pentagon has announced plans to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at Guantánamo Bay who are suspected of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings. – The Guardian

A roadside bomb exploded near a Pakistani paramilitary vehicle in a remote area of southwestern Baluchistan province Wednesday, wounding at least 11 troops, security officials said. – Associated Press