Fdd's overnight brief

July 26, 2021

In The News


Iran’s Supreme Leader leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday said he understands protesters’ anger over a drought in the country’s southwest, as a fourth death related to ongoing demonstrations there was reported. – Associated Press 

Iran on Saturday dismissed as meddling in its internal affairs criticism by the United Nations’ human rights boss of the shooting deaths of protesters during demonstrations over water shortages. – Reuters 

One person was shot dead in Iran during the eighth consecutive night of protests over severe water shortages, bringing the death toll in the unrest to at least five. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

With a flurry of speculation about why the Iran-US-world powers nuclear talks have been stalled now for several months, one issue that has not received enough attention is the extent to which recent attacks (attributed by many to the Mossad) on Iran’s nuclear program have transformed all sides’ perspectives. – Jerusalem Post  

Israeli authorities have warned US officials in recent days that Iran is closer than ever to attaining nuclear weapons, according to the Kan public broadcaster. – Times of Israel 

An employee of Israel’s Foreign Ministry was arrested earlier this year, after he travelled illegally to Iran, the Shin Bet (Shabak) internal security agency revealed Sunday evening. – Arutz Sheva 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday warned residents of the drought-hit southwest not to give ammunition to the “enemy” after days of protests that have seen at least four killed, AFP reports. – Arutz Sheva 

Four Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force soldiers were killed in clashes with “outlaws” at a base in the city of Khash in southeastern Iran on Friday night, Iranian media reported on Saturday. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran is “water bankrupt” after years of mismanagement under the regime, leading to shortages that have triggered deadly protests across the country and discontent in the wider Middle East, an exiled expert has said. – The Sunday Times 

Editorial: Abandoning negotiations would mean a return to Mr. Trump’s “maximum-pressure” sanctions campaign, which Biden officials criticized. But the single-term Trump Administration never had a chance to fully realize the strategy. As deadly protests rock Iran’s southwest, the Biden Administration should be increasing pressure on the regime—not giving it an escape route. – Wall Street Journal 

Dennis Ross writes: In fact, providing the GBU-57 to Israel may be the best inducement for Iran to negotiate a “longer and stronger” deal. Only then might the regime accept that the U.S. is serious about preventing Iran from acquiring a threshold status — and that Iran risks its entire nuclear infrastructure in the absence of an agreement limiting it. Under such circumstances, Iran’s leaders will have an incentive to get something now for accepting an outcome that the U.S. and Israel might otherwise impose. – Bloomberg 


Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in an attack in northern Syria, Turkey’s defense ministry said Sunday. – Associated Press 

Al-Arabiya reported on Saturday night that a Hezbollah military commander, Imad al-Amin, was killed several days ago in an Israeli air strike in western Syria. Hezbollah confirmed he was killed. – Arutz Sheva 

Pro-Iranian and Iranian-backed militias are recruiting locals, buying up land and homes and even seeking “demographic change” in areas of Syria near the Euphrates River and along the corridor from the city of Deir Ezzor to Albukamal and other areas, according to a report. – Jerusalem Post 


Israeli warplanes struck a target in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli military announced early Monday, saying it was responding to the launches of incendiary balloons that caused at least three blazes in southern Israel. – Associated Press 

Allegations that governments used phone malware supplied by an Israeli firm to spy on journalists, activists and heads of state have “exposed a global human rights crisis,” Amnesty International said, asking for a moratorium on the sale and use of surveillance technology. – Agence France-Presse  

IDF fighter jets attacked a military camp with a number of buildings, infrastructure and means used for the activities of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night. – Arutz Sheva 

Hamas is once again warning of an “explosion in the face of the Israeli occupation” if it continues taking tough measures against the Gaza Strip. – Arutz Sheva 

Palestinian factions and human rights organizations have called on Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups to stop  storing weapons in residential areas following another explosion, which killed one person and injured 14 others on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

A longtime graphic designer for ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced that she is quitting the company after 21 years, saying its decision to halt sales in Israeli settlements was part of a “despicable trend” of anti-Zionism, which she believes to be a new form of antisemitism. – Times of Israel 

Israeli authorities prevented 25 truckloads of Qatari-funded fuel intended for Gaza’s only power plant from entering the Strip, Hamas officials told the terror group’s Voice of Al-Aqsa radio station on Sunday morning. – Times of Israel  

The President of the UN Human Rights Council, Shameem Khan, has announced the appointment of three members of the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, to investigate “alleged violations” in international humanitarian and human rights law since April. – Middle East Monitor 

Al-Sheikh, who rarely gives public statements and has not given a full interview in some years, sat down in his Ramallah office for a wide-ranging conversation that included the current political situation, the next steps in jumpstarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the American role in the conflict and internal security issues. – Ynet 


Iraq’s prime minister is heading to Washington this weekend to demand that President Biden withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq, announcing to Iraqi media that the visit would “put an end to the presence of combat forces.” – New York Times 

Iraq’s prime minister says his country no longer requires American combat troops to fight the Islamic State group, but a formal time frame for their redeployment will depend on the outcome of talks with U.S. officials this week. – Associated Press 

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi announced Saturday the arrest of a “terror cell” behind a Baghdad market bombing that killed dozens and was claimed by the Islamic State group. – Agence France-Presse  

A drone attack has been carried out on a military base in Iraqi Kurdistan that hosts American troops, without causing any casualties, the US-led coalition said Saturday. – Agence France-Presse  

Mohanad Faris writes: What everyone agrees on is that Iraq is facing an energy crisis. The Iraqi government estimates that the country is experiencing a 16% drop in electrical production. Hence, there is a pressing need for new energy solutions, especially with the annual increase in demand for electricity reaching 15%, and possibly increasing to 100% the current rate over the next ten years. Along with this ongoing demand, Iraq must seek cheap energy sources to cover its basic needs due to the country’s budget crisis. – Washington Institute  

Mina Al-Oraibi writes: Al-Kadhimi’s time is tight, and Biden’s time to focus on Iraq is limited. There are good reasons to be skeptical that a breakthrough can be achieved. But the White House summit could provide a rare chance of delivering results that help Iraq, its people, and the entire region. – Foreign Policy


Jordan has been attacked by Iranian-made drones and has been hit by Iranian-made missiles that were aimed towards Israel but missed it, hitting Jordan instead, Jordanian King Abdullah II told CNN in an interview on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II revealed on Sunday in an interview with CNN for the first time that he had indeed secretly met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this month, as was reported in the Israeli media. – Jerusalem Post 

A man was shot by Jordanian Army forces while attempting to cross the border into Israel near Kibbutz Maoz Haim on Saturday, N12 reported. – Jerusalem Post 


Iraq will provide Lebanon with one million tonnes of fuel oil for its power plants in exchange for medical services, under a deal signed on Saturday in Baghdad. – Agence France-Presse  

Lebanon’s wealthy businessman and former premier Najib Mikati is poised to be designated prime minister on Monday after winning the support of most major parties to form a new government facing a crippling financial crisis, political sources said. – Reuters 

Tuesday’s firing of two rockets into the western Galilee from Lebanon  looks more like a one-off, but it might also signal what can be expected with greater frequency in the north. – Haaretz 

Russell A. Berman writes: To solve the Lebanese crisis and to prevent extensive humanitarian suffering in the coming year, the Hezbollah problem has to be addressed. […]If the United States lifts sanctions on Iran, the resulting economic benefits will enable Tehran to increase funding to Hezbollah which in turn will make matters worse in Lebanon. For Washington to sign off on a new agreement with Iran that does not prohibit funding for proxy forces, like Hezbollah, would be tantamount to trading away Lebanese sovereignty in order to appease Iran. American foreign policy ought to be held to higher standards than that. – The National Interest 

Arabian Peninsula

Amir Hayek was appointed as Israel’s first ambassador to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday just as a major agreement about a crude oil pipeline through Israel to Europe was temporarily frozen on environmental grounds. – Jerusalem Post 

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received a phone call from Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, during which they discussed ways of strengthening relations of cooperation between the two countries. – Emirates News Agency 

Salem Alketbi writes: The ongoing UAE-Israel relations show the vision of our leaders that true peace and a culture of coexistence require serious action linking societies to what is happening on the ground to reap the benefits of policies, to motivate the Israeli side to engage strongly in efforts to find a true settlement of the Palestinian issue, and to end the conflict and restore peace. – Jerusalem Post 

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the country’s prime minister and froze parliament for 30 days on Sunday, posing a major test to the young democracy and escalating a political crisis that has built for months. Opponents condemned the move as an attempted coup. – Washington Post 

Record heat waves and crippling energy shortages across much of the Middle East are plunging homes and businesses from Lebanon to Iran into darkness and stirring unrest as poor families swelter while many of the rich stay cool with backup generators. – Washington Post 

Police and protesters clashed in several Tunisian cities on Sunday as demonstrators demanding the government step down attacked offices of Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that is the biggest in parliament. – Reuters 

The first direct commercial flights between Israel and Morocco landed in Marrakesh on Sunday, more than seven months after the countries normalised diplomatic relations in a US-brokered deal. – Agence France-Presse 

Even before allegations that Morocco may have tried to bug phones belonging to French president Emmanuel Macron, the north African kingdom was having a tense time with European powers. Rabat had allowed migrants into Spain because it was annoyed with Madrid. It had squabbled with Germany over its position on the disputed territory of Western Sahara. – Financial Times 

Steven A. Cook writes: Turkey’s political trajectory is not at all clear. Despite all the challenges it confronts, the Justice and Development Party remains the single most popular political organization in the country and Erdogan the most powerful person. The economy could recover, and Erdogan could very easily win another election. That’s why when people ask me if Turkey is stable, I often say: “yes and no.” – Foreign Policy 


China called relations with the United States in a “stalemate” on Monday during a meeting in Tianjin with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the highest-level visit so far by a member of the Biden administration. – Washington Post 

The Justice Department moved this week to drop cases that it brought last year against five visiting researchers accused of hiding their ties to China’s military, prompting questions about the department’s efforts to combat Chinese national security threats. – New York Times  

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tibet this week to mark the 70th anniversary of what Chinese officials describe as the region’s “peaceful liberation.” Though Xi visited twice before assuming the presidency, it is thought to be the first time a top Chinese leader has visited the region in some three decades. – Washington Post 

China has asked the United States to remove visa restriction on Chinese students and Communist Party members, among other requests, reported state media The Paper. – Reuters 

China has imposed sanctions on former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and six Americans involved with human rights institutions in retaliation for a similar move by Washington against Chinese officials in Hong Kong. – Financial Times 

Rep. Ken Buck writes: Biden does not believe China’s attacks on our nation merit a punitive response. These acts of aggression must be called what they are, and the U.S. must hold the Chinese government accountable. Unless American leadership abandons its toothless foreign policy, the Chinese Communist Party is going to continue doing whatever it wants, knowing there will be no retaliation. – Washington Examiner 

Benjamin Ho writes: This would be a feather in Xi’s cap and would mark a remarkable milestone in his vision of national rejuvenation. Similarly, for the CCP, it will further validate its claim to ruling China and improve the lives of Chinese citizens. With so much at stake, China will want to do things on its own terms, and to forge its own path—with or without the West. – The National Interest 


The U.S. has stepped up airstrikes in southern Afghanistan amid growing apprehension over a Taliban offensive threatening Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city and spiritual capital of the Taliban movement. – Wall Street Journal 

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan have hit record highs as U.S. forces are withdrawing from the country, a U.N. mission reported Monday. The mission warned the conflict is likely to become more deadly as fighting draws closer to urban areas. – Washington Post 

The top American general overseeing operations in Afghanistan declined to say Sunday night whether U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban would end Aug. 31, the date previously given by officials as a cutoff for such attacks. – New York Times 

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since the United Nations began systematically keeping count in 2009, a U.N. report said Monday. – Associated Press 

The Taliban say they don’t want to monopolize power, but they insist there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until there is a new negotiated government in Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani is removed. – Associated Press 

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that the Afghan security forces’ first job was to make sure they could slow the Taliban’s momentum before attempting to retake territory, as Afghan forces plan to consolidate forces around strategically important parts of the country. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday authorized up to $100 million from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” refugee needs stemming from the situation in Afghanistan, including for Afghan special immigration visa applicants, the White House said. – Reuters 

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Tajik counterpart Sherali Mirzo on Saturday discussed joint measures to counter threats from the Taliban in the Tajik-Afghan border area, the TASS news agency reported. – Reuters 

Afghan Air Force pilots have run out of laser-guided weaponry due to the sudden loss of support from the United States and NATO after President Joe Biden decided to exit Afghanistan, according to a senior Afghan lawmaker. – Washington Examiner 

The United Nations warned Monday that Afghanistan could see the highest number of civilian deaths in more than a decade if the Taliban’s offensives across the country are not halted. – Agence France-Presse  

More than 22,000 Afghan families have fled from their homes to escape fighting in the former Taliban bastion of Kandahar, officials said Sunday, as authorities arrested four suspected insurgents over this week’s rocket attack on Kabul. – Agence France-Presse  

Reports from Gulf media indicate concern that the US signaling a withdrawal from Afghanistan and troop personnel reductions in Iraq, could be part of a larger post-American power vacuum in the Middle East if things continue in this direction. – Jerusalem Post  

Ronald E. Neumann writes: The point is that action needs to be big, visible and meaningful. Afghans must stem the slide or lose the war. And the United States must do all it can to dispel the doubts that could lead to collapse. The window for action is closing rapidly. We need to move now. – Washington Post 

South Asia

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will become the first member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet to visit Southeast Asia this week, seeking to emphasize the importance Washington places on fortifying ties in the region while pushing back against China. – Reuters 

Swati Chaturvedi writes: For the sake of its relations with the democracy camp in India and around the world, Israel needs to shut down NSO and companies like it. – Haaretz 

Alyssa Ayres writes: But more bilateral talk about democracy is precisely what India and the United States need. […]An honest reciprocal discussion that puts democratic values squarely on the agenda would be to the benefit of both. U.S. and Indian officials often talk of belonging to the world’s oldest and largest democracies. With democracy under strain around the world, it is time to go beyond platitudes and inject more values into the U.S.-Indian relationship. – Foreign Affairs 

C. Raja Mohan writes: If Jaishankar andBlinkencan find common ground on Afghanistan, including the question of the Taliban’s legitimacy, they would upturn conventional wisdom on India-U.S. relations. Right now, most pundits and policymakers seem to be convinced the growing convergence between New Delhi and Washington on China and regions to the East is matched by an enduring divergence regarding regions in the West. Next week could prove them wrong. – Foreign Policy 


Thousands of Armenians fled and thousands more died last fall in Azerbaijan’s fierce war against Armenia for the disputed mountain territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and its surroundings. – New York Times 

Joe Bauer writes: Backing Taiwan should not be for the purpose of scoring easy points or demonstrating one’s credentials as a China hawk. As the island finds itself increasingly isolated on the international stage, the United States should act to demonstrate support and to show that it will not look the other way when partners and allies are in need. – The National Interest 

Olivia Enos and Patrick Coe write: While the preference would be for the United States to undertake coordinated action to hold Myanmar’s military accountable for its role in the coup, ASEAN and even specific ASEAN countries have not stepped up. Even when Washington undertook multilateral sanctions efforts with the EU, the UK, and Canada earlier this year, ASEAN member states were nowhere to be found. – Heritage Foundation 


The Russian navy can detect any enemy and launch an “unpreventable strike” if needed, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday, weeks after a UK warship angered Moscow by passing the Crimea peninsula. – Reuters 

Russia marked the 325th anniversary of the founding of its navy with ship parades at major ports on Sunday. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the main parade of more than 50 vessels in St. Petersburg, which included ships from the navies of Iran, Pakistan and India. – Associated Press 

The Russian prime minister on Monday visited the Pacific islands claimed by Japan and said the government is considering setting up a special economic zone there. – Associated Press 

Russia’s claim that its aerial defense systems disrupted an Israeli attack, and that it has discussed its criticisms of Israel’s behavior with Washington, surprised the Israeli defense establishment over the weekend. Some of the Russian reports appear to be inaccurate. But the very fact that Moscow chose to make such statements indicates how unhappy it is with Israel, following a long period of quiet in the bilateral relationship. – Haaretz 

Kurt Volker writes: Putin can seize the initiative and create a crisis — such as by invading Ukraine — prompting the West to call for “de-escalation” and offer Putin an “off-ramp.” Putin can escalate further, causing even greater anxiety, and he can then step back minimally, to the relief of the West, while still having significantly advanced his agenda. He plays this card again and again. The West always seeks solutions and stability. Putin uses crises and instability to create points of influence. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Ara Papian writes: Washington silence, however, will send the wrong signal to potential allies and undermine America’s ability to advance human rights and its global security agenda. It will also embolden dictators from Vladimir Putin to Aleksandr Lukashenko in their transnational repression and state terrorism. – The National Interest 


The Biden administration is considering a new round of economic sanctions targeting Belarus and its authoritarian leader after a leading dissident appealed to U.S. officials for stronger U.S. action, according to participants in meetings last week in Washington. – Wall Street Journal 

The French Parliament passed a bill on Friday that aims to strengthen government oversight of mosques and other religious organizations and counter the influence of Islamist movements that French President Emmanuel Macron says are undermining the country’s secular values. – Wall Street Journal 

More than 100,000 people protested in Australia, France, Italy and Greece on Saturday, sparking clashes with police as they railed against Covid-19 measures and government sanctions against the unvaccinated aimed at prodding more people into getting jabs. – Agence France-Presse 

Around one-third of Hungarians hold either moderately antisemitic views or strong ones, the country’s largest Jewish group claimed last week, citing a survey conducted on its behalf in late 2019. – Haaretz 

Katia Glod writes: The EU has responded to the illegal immigration by sending Frontex staff to the border, in solidarity. States, like Hungary and Austria, which still want to keep links open to the regime, are keeping quiet. The Lukashenka regime’s behavior has unified the EU’s approach to the country. Lukashenka is burning his boats and removing all strategic options other than ever-closer ties to Russia. If intended to soften the EU’s commitment to sanctions, the tactic has completely failed. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Dominik Istrate writes: Looking beyond security issues, it is imperative that the U.S. also remains active in demanding further systemic reforms from Ukraine, both as a virtuous policy in itself and because corruption serves as a tool for pro-Kremlin entities to increase Russia’s malign influence in the country. […]Ukraine has made considerable steps to curb Russian influence by taking on Viktor Medvedchuk and his Russian-linked business interests. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if the Ukrainian leader delivers on this issue, one of his biggest election promises. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Ethiopia’s Amhara region on Sunday called on “all young people” to take up arms against forces from the neighbouring region of Tigray, who claimed to have taken over a town in Amhara for the first time since the conflict began. – Reuters 

Armed bandits in Nigeria have seized a negotiator who had been sent to pay ransom money to secure the release of 136 students kidnapped two months ago from an Islamic school in the north of the African nation, the school and parents said. – Reuters 

Kidnappers who raided a boarding school in northern Nigeria earlier this month released 28 children on Sunday but another 81 remain in captivity, according to a pastor involved in the negotiations for their release. – Reuters 

Thousands of Eritrean refugees are increasingly caught in the middle of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where witnesses and U.N. officials say forces have attacked their camps, abducted or killed some of the residents, and stolen their food and possessions. – Associated Press 

The U.S. military said it carried out an airstrike on Friday against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, in the second such action this week. – Reuters 

Latin America

The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse remains one of the world’s most gripping whodunits, with his funeral on Friday seen as a touchstone moment for his widow, his followers and government ministers who are now in charge of the nation. – Washington Post 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday that Cuba is an “example of resistance,” and proposed the entire country should be declared a World Heritage site. While much of Cuba seems stuck technologically in the middle of the last century, López Obrador did not appear to be speaking ironically when he proposed the world heritage designation, which is usually used by the United Nations to honor historical sites. – Associated Press 

Anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval fled Guatemala late Friday, arriving in neighboring El Salvador just hours after he was removed from his post. Consuelo Porras, Guatemala’s attorney general, had accused the former head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity of “abuses” without specifying what they were. – Associated Press 

Venezuela’s armed forces said on Friday that a U.S. military plane violated its airspace along the South American country’s border with Colombia in what it said was a “flagrant provocation.” – Reuters 

North America

Canada announced plans Friday to resettle Afghans who aided the Canadian military and the country’s embassy and could face danger because of their work, as the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan nears completion and the Taliban mounts offensives to regain territory. – Washington Post 

At least four states with laws targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are assessing whether the recent decision by Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, to cease selling the ice cream company’s products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” runs afoul of anti-BDS legislation enacted in recent years. – Jewish Insider 

Editorial: Congress should thoroughly investigate the process that led to the approval of money for the WIV and possible gain-of-function research. It should also debate limits on this kind of research in the U.S. and push for international standards. While China is unlikely to budge, its opacity has aroused justifiable suspicion around the world, and the White House should keep the pressure on Beijing and the WHO. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: The bottom line is this: U.S. scientists should have been much more cautious about sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a CCP-controlled lab that could not guarantee its experiments would be conducted safely. In the future, there needs to be much more oversight over where we’re sending our money. And at this point, Fauci shouldn’t get a say. – Washington Examiner 

Dan Spokojny and Thomas Scherer write: The challenges to U.S. influence on the world stage have become so numerous, serious, and complex that some experts see the “unraveling” of American power. Faced with this perilous strategic landscape, some are calling for a reexamination of the way in which U.S. foreign policy is conducted. […]American officials should follow a more scientific approach to decision-making, grounded in more transparent standards of evidence. The nation’s ability to persevere through today’s international problems may depend on it. – War on the Rocks 


Cybersecurity lapses at major companies have led to class-action lawsuits and settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Retailer Target paid $10 million to consumers and $39 million to banks after hackers broke into its systems and stole personal information in 2013. Home Depot brokered a similar settlement with shoppers who had their credit card information stolen from the home improvement store’s computers. – Washington Post  

Joanna Smolinska writes: Ultimately, both the U.S. and EU want an open, global and safe internet rather than a state-controlled internet, as is sought by China, Russia, or Turkey. Both protect freedom of speech and want their users empowered in the online space. […]The U.S. and EU should work together to offer the world a human-centric alternative to autocratic and repressive regimes — and the way they use technology to pursue their agendas — as we enter a new post-pandemic era of digitalization. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Lindsey R. Sheppard, Erol Yayboke, and Caroline G. Ramos write: Data localization puts at risk the global interconnectedness that has been the foundation of post–World War II peace and alliances and has been associated with a related overall decline in internet freedom. […]The resilience of democratic actors to authoritarian targeting is crucial; without it, countries that are increasing controls on their citizens, expanding their reach abroad, and exporting the tools and tactics of digital authoritarianism today could become the U.S. national security concerns of tomorrow. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


The Senate Armed Services Committee would fund the U.S. Army’s entire list of unfunded requirements — also called a wish list — consisting of things the service wanted, but couldn’t pay for within the limitations of its top line fiscal 2022 budget request, according to a July 22 summary of the committee’s markup of the FY22 defense policy bill. – Defense News  

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s fiscal 2022 defense policy bill slapped down some of the U.S. Air Force’s plans to retire legacy aircraft, mandating that the service retain the venerable A-10 Warthog. – Defense News  

It has come to be seen as virtually axiomatic in defense circles that the U.S. Army will serve as a bill payer for air and naval modernization, with even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff predicting a “bloodletting.” […]As a result, budget cuts will likely present the Army with something of an iron triangle among these challenges — at best only able to afford a future force prepared for two, but not all three. – Defense News 

Long War

Africa became the region hardest hit by terrorism in the first half of 2021 as the Islamic State and al-Qaida extremist groups and their affiliates spread their influence, boasting gains in supporters and territory and inflicting the greatest casualties, U.N. experts said in a new report. – Associated Press 

At least six Cameroonian soldiers were killed and four wounded during an attack by Islamist insurgents on an army outpost in the far north of the country, state broadcaster CRTV said on Saturday. – Reuters 

New Zealand on Monday agreed to repatriate an alleged Islamic State militant and her two young children, who have been detained in Turkey since February. – Associated Press