Fdd's overnight brief

July 26, 2023

In The News


A cargo of sanctioned Iranian crude oil that was confiscated by the U.S. has sat off the Texas coast for eight weeks, unable to unload because commercial agents fear any vessel that takes it will be shunned by customers, people familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Members of the Iranian regime’s intelligence service in the northern Gilan province had announced the discovery of a “Baháʼí spy network” arrested in the province, Iranian pro-regime media claimed. – Jerusalem Post

US intelligence officials have warned that Russia is building a drone-manufacturing facility in country with Iran’s help that could have a significant impact on the war in Ukraine once it is completed. – CNN

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Pro-Iran media in the region highlighted the new naval missile. Al-Mayadeen, for instance, posted a story on it and Iran has also received social media coverage of its missile, even if the missile is not actually new and its capabilities are not proven. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran imprisoned in Russia for three years before the Biden administration secured his release through extensive negotiations with Moscow had quietly joined the war effort in Ukraine and recently suffered serious battlefield wounds, the State Department said Tuesday. – Washington Post

In an open test field in rural Ukraine, a drone equipped with a bomb lost connection with its human operator after coming under attack by electronic jamming equipment — but instead of crashing to the ground, the drone accelerated toward its target and destroyed it. – Washington Post

The Pentagon announced $400 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine on Tuesday, a package set to include Stryker combat vehicles and small Hornet drones, along with a restock of artillery ammunition. The United States has given Ukraine more than $100 billion in aid during the war. – Washington Post

Three Russian attack helicopters swooped in low over the city of Kreminna, strafing Ukrainian frontline positions just outside the city. Russian drones circled overhead while Moscow’s ground forces fired heavy machine guns to flush out Ukrainians from foxholes hidden in the dappled light of the pine forest. – New York Times

As part of Russia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Asian allies, President Vladimir V. Putin will travel to a conference in China in October, while the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, will join a Chinese delegation at a celebration in North Korea this week, according to Russian state news media. – New York Times

Early in the morning they were at their frontline positions, firing artillery at Russian forces. Hours later, wearing the same uniforms and body armor, they passed their final test — an obstacle course — to officially become Ukrainian marines. – New York Times

For shipping companies looking for a way to bring Ukrainian grain to global markets, the options keep dwindling, escalating a trade crisis that is expected to add pressure on global food prices. – New York Times

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted on Tuesday to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30 years from 27, increasing the number of young men liable for a year of compulsory military service at any one time. – Reuters

The European Union will look at helping fund the costly transportation of grain out of Ukraine after Russia halted a deal that allowed Black Sea exports vital to global food security, a top agriculture official said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Britain has “underplayed and underestimated” the threat posed by the Russian Wagner mercenary group and should ban it as a terrorist organization, a powerful committee of U.K. lawmakers said Wednesday. – Associated Press

The U.N. atomic watchdog says its monitors at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant reported seeing anti-personnel mines around the site as Ukraine’s military pursues a counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s entrenched forces after 17 months of war. – Associated Press

The Kremlin has complained about western pressure to stop African leaders attending an important summit in Russia this week, with less than half as many making the trip as when the Kremlin previously staged the event. – Financial Times

The U.S. national security adviser said the administration will move “as fast as possible” to get F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. A top White House spokesperson said the aircraft would be in Ukrainian skies “towards the end of the year.” But so far, Western partners have yet to even agree on a plan to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the promised jets, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the discussions. – Politico

Russia is prepping its elite airborne forces, the VDV, to be deployed to Donbas hot spots in eastern Ukraine amid fears its troops could start a coup, an alleged leak of a secret memo obtained by Russian dissident in exile, Vladimir Osechkin, appears to show. – Newsweek

The new legislation to allow the heads of Russian federal regions to create their own military groups is likely an attempt to fill the “security vacuum” left since the Wagner Group moved out of Russia, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said. – Newsweek

The U.S. does not plan to send any assets to the Black Sea amidst tensions over the Russian withdrawal from the U.N.-Turkey brokered grain deal, the Pentagon said Tuesday. – USNI News

Editorial: A top U.S. Treasury Department official is planning to use a trip to Kenya and Somalia to offer some counterprogramming in response to Mr. Putin’s blame-the-West summit with African officials. This is smart. African countries, which would suffer the brunt of Putin-generated food shortages, have real diplomatic leverage. Having alienated itself from the rest of Europe and much of the rest of the world, Russia needs all the friends it can get. African decision-makers should bear that in mind — and make it clear to Moscow that friends don’t let friends threaten the world food supply. – Washington Post

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write: The war is still widely supported in Russian military circles, and one might expect some protests in support of these well-known officers, respected by their subordinates, and veterans who enjoyed massive following on Telegram. But there was no sign of thousands of angry servicemen and veterans taking to the streets in support of Girkin and Popov. Instead of mass marches, just a hundred dared to appear outside the Moscow court where Girkin’s hearing was taking place. They were easily dispersed by police. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Months of internal turmoil surrounding a judicial overhaul pushed through Parliament by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have left Israel facing a challenging security environment, with questions about its military readiness, a growing threat from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group along its northern border and strained ties with Washington, its biggest ally. – Wall Street Journal

Israelis girded for a new period of political and economic tumult after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began overhauling the judicial system, as doctors went on strike, the stock market and currency sank, and protesters vowed to keep up mass demonstrations. – Wall Street Journal

The crisis sweeping Israel has become a focal point for its enemies across the Middle East who have convened top-level meetings to weigh the turmoil and how they might capitalise on it, sources familiar with the discussions say. Foes including Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah have been crowing at the sight of Israel fractured by the crisis ignited by government moves to overhaul the judiciary, especially threats by reservists to stop showing up for military service. – Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called for political consensus in Israel on Tuesday in a call with his Israeli counterpart, in the latest sign of strain between the allies over an Israeli judicial overhaul triggering major protests. – Reuters

Vietnam and Israel signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday, predicting it would quickly boost annual bilateral trade by nearly 50%. – Reuters

The United States will not cut military aid to Israel in the wake of the Knesset’s final approval of the first law of the judicial overhaul, which will limit the Supreme Court’s oversight ability. The passage of legislation to cancel the reasonableness standard also will not harm the special relationship between the United States and Israel, Deputy Spokesman for the US State Department Vedant Patel told reporters on Tuesday. – Ynet

In an interview with British news outlet Channel 4 News, former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declared that Israel is going into a civil war following Monday’s vote to pass a bill severely restricting the use of the reasonableness standard. – Jerusalem Post

Members of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group were filmed carrying out a patrol on Israel’s border while fitted with military gear, in what appeared to be a violation of a United Nations resolution, the Israeli military said Tuesday. – Times of Israel

The Palestinian Authority expressed outrage on Tuesday at the elimination of three terrorists during and IDF operation in the Shechem (Nablus) area. – Arutz Sheva

David Makovsky writes: In the longer term, Washington is no doubt wondering whether the Knesset’s decision is an aberration tied to the current political environment or a turning point in Israeli democracy. The vibrancy of the decades-long bilateral relationship is substantially based on the fact that Americans and Israelis share core values, not just military and economic interests. Any perceived erosion in these values could gradually affect the broad political base that supports the close relationship. Hence, supporters of U.S.-Israeli relations need to maintain focus on shared values as much as shared interests. – Washington Institute

Alexander Langlois writes: It should be noted that Tel Aviv also opted to avoid escalation at that time, assessing Hezbollah was not interested in a broader war. For these reasons, while this round of border insecurity is notable and exceptional, neither major actor appears willing to escalate their actions beyond a point of no control. The time is not ripe for a repeat of 2006—a reality that hopefully sustains itself to prevent such bloodshed. – The National Interest


Egypt summoned Sweden’s chargé d’affaires to condemn incidents where copies of the Koran have been burned, the foreign ministry’s spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Michael Tanchum writes: As the ending of the Black Sea Grain Initiative indicates, the next 500 days of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely see a profound worsening of the global food crisis. Cairo has little time to lose in adopting agritech solutions to avert an immediate and disastrous downturn in its own food security. To feed itself, Egypt also needs to counteract the impact of accelerating water scarcity due to climate change. The water-use efficiency achieved through agritech is crucial for Egypt’s ability to expand its agrifood production in the immediate term, making agritech diplomacy a unique opportunity for the United States to engage Cairo in a strategic partnership of vital consequence. – Middle East Institute

Amr Salah Mohamed writes: Ultimately, Egypt’s regional realignment can be seen as a response to internal and regional dynamics. Nevertheless, Cairo continues to face multiple challenges. Although funding from external sources may contribute to mitigating Egypt’s economic crisis, it cannot substitute for necessary domestic reforms. Furthermore, Egypt’s success in achieving its regional goals will depend on several factors. These include the durability of the newly formed ties in a dynamic region and what Egypt can offer to the three countries in return. – Middle East Institute

Arabian Peninsula

France and Qatar have a common will to develop a defence partnership that builds on the existing cooperation with Rafale fighter jets, a French defence ministry source said on Tuesday, days after the minister visited Doha to cement military ties. – Reuters

An international team began siphoning oil out of a decrepit oil tanker off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, the United Nations chief said, a crucial step in a complex salvage operation aiming to prevent a potential environmental disaster. – Associated Press

Greg Priddy writes: In sum, it simply does not make sense for the United States to make huge concessions to Saudi Arabia in the form of a formal security guarantee in response to concerns about China or the desire for Saudi-Israeli normalization. The United States should continue to play a leading role in regional security, but on its own terms, not theirs. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

The U.S. military said a Russian fighter jet hit a U.S. drone with a flare and “severely” damaged its propeller over Syria, the latest in a series of closer interactions by Russian military aircraft in the region. – Reuters

Most stock markets in the Gulf rose on Wednesday as strong corporate earnings and pledges by Chinese authorities to shore up the economy lifted investor sentiment. – Reuters

Yaqoub Beth-Addai and Michael Knights writes: A U.S.-sanctioned, Iran-backed militia leader aims to sideline the country’s Chaldean Patriarch and take over billions of dollars’ worth of Christian property. […]This issue has broader implications for U.S. security interests in Iraq beyond the important goal of protecting Christian leaders. Accordingly, Washington needs to act—and urge Baghdad to act as well. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

A coalition of self-styled peace groups are planning a “National Mobilization to End the Korean War” in Washington this week—a conference, a rally and lobbying meetings with my counterparts in the U.S. House and Senate. Some lawmakers are already on board: Rep. Brad Sherman’s Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act has drawn 33 co-sponsors. The effort is a deception. Both the mobilization and the legislation promote the North’s demand that the U.S. sign an unconditional peace agreement. – Wall Street Journal

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a cemetery for Chinese soldiers who fought in the Korean War, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday. His visit, accompanied by his powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, comes ahead of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War truce on Thursday, which is celebrated as “Victory Day” in North Korea, often with a grandiose military parade. – Reuters

After years of pandemic isolation, North Korea has invited its friends back this week, hosting senior Chinese and Russian delegations for 70th anniversary commemorations of the Korean War and the struggle against the United States and its allies. – Reuters

Reports of new types of sugar in the local markets. Satellite imagery of trains crossing borders. Cargo ships with their transponders off. When assessing North Korea’s opaque economy, rather than hard statistics, it’s these sorts of indicators experts pore over. And all are pointing to one conclusion: Kim Jong Un has found fresh ways to fill his depleted coffers. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: Yet China and Russia play a dangerous game in fueling Kim’s tolerance for escalation. Both nations share borders with North Korea, with the Vladivostok home of Russia’s Pacific Fleet just 80 miles from North Korea. In the worst-case scenario, a U.S. nuclear exchange with North Korea would very likely cause fallout concerns for both China and Russia. It would also mean a new, pro-Western authority in North Korea. In that scenario, neither Beijing nor Moscow would have much to celebrate. – Washington Examiner


At a hastily convened session Tuesday, the Chinese legislature’s standing committee decided that Wang Yi, the former foreign minister and currently China’s top diplomat, would retake his old post, which he had relinquished late last year. – Wall Street Journal

For nearly eight years Pan Gongsheng has overseen one of the world’s biggest pots of money: China’s $3 trillion in foreign currency reserves. Now he will run the country’s central bank, playing an even more powerful role in the Chinese economy. – New York Times

The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to block businesses based in China from purchasing farmland in the United States and place new mandates on Americans investing in the country’s national security industries, taking the first legislative steps of the new Congress to counter Beijing’s espionage activities and curtail its economic power. – New York Times

Japan hopes to communicate closely with China, including with its newly named foreign minister and veteran diplomat Wang Yi, the top government spokesperson said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China’s leadership pledged at a key Communist Party meeting this week to support the economy through a “tortuous” post-pandemic recovery, but offered very little detail on specific measures, causing mixed feelings among investors and economists. – Reuters

A former United States military pilot’s Sydney extradition hearing on U.S. charges, including that he illegally trained Chinese aviators, was postponed Tuesday while authorities investigate the role of an Australian spy agency in his arrest. – Associated Press

The Senate attached a measure to the annual defense policy bill that would subject some US investments in China to new requirements, complementing restrictions being weighed by the Biden administration amid increased concern in Washington over China’s development of advanced technology. – Bloomberg

China is stepping up efforts to establish a regional presence in the “red zone” on the threshold of the United States, U.S. Southern Command chief Army General Laura Richardson told Newsweek in an exclusive interview. – Newsweek

Joseph Bosco writes: Such a revelation, though very late, will be good for cross-Strait stability, threatened by four decades of Kissingerian engagement/accommodation policies. It will be good for the cause of change in China that Nixon set out to accomplish and tasked Kissinger to prepare for. And, given the teaching of Kissinger’s Harvard mentor, the late William Yandell Elliott, that all international relations is fundamentally a struggle between good and evil, it will be good for Kissinger’s soul. His road to Damascus goes through Taipei. – The Hill

Daniel Moss writes: Whatever happened to the cottage industry that was regularly updating us on when China’s economy would surpass the US? Pretty quiet on that front lately. Perhaps we need to stop thinking of China as the would-be savior of the global economy. That requires an adjustment that goes beyond moving a few forecasts up or down a touch. – Bloomberg

Andreas Kluth writes: This isn’t kowtowing but mature diplomacy, not weakness but wisdom. At a time when the world frets about a new Cold War and Ukrainians and others are dying in a hot one, Beijing’s repeated ghosting of its archrival is irresponsible. Let both sides resume talking again, and more importantly listening — agreeing isn’t necessary for the time being. With luck, Biden and Xi, when they meet later this year, can then discuss how to avoid shooting down each other’s balloons, let alone anything else. – Bloomberg

Michelle Steel  writes: Let me be perfectly clear — the CCP is the greatest threat to democracy across the globe. That is why I am so proud to see this year’s NDAA take the steps needed to protect our national security. Together, we will do whatever it takes to preserve the liberty we hold dear. – The Hill

Tom Rogan writes: Beijing’s challenge in this regard? It is slowly learning that economic influence is no longer always sufficient to secure political support. Beijing needs to be able to persuade foreign governments to align with its interests. It needs to earn favor. That requires diplomats with charisma like China’s new ambassador to the U.S., Xie Feng. While a forceful defender of CCP orthodoxy, Xie showed at the Aspen Security Forum last week that he at least knows how to smile, laugh and make a joke. Wang? Not so much. Time will tell if Xi’s appointment is the safe looking but ultimately self-defeating bet. – Washington Examiner

Jacob Stokes, Alexander Sullivan, and Noah Greene write: Two tectonic trends in the international security environment appear to be on a collision course. The first trend is the intensifying geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China). The second trend is the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including for military applications. This report explores how the United States can manage strategic risks—defined as increased risks of armed conflict or the threat of nuclear war—that could be created or exacerbated by military AI in its relationship with China. – Center for a New American Security

Aaron Friedberg writes: The democracies should mobilize more capital for sound investments that benefit entire societies rather than select elites, open their own educational systems and markets more widely to people and goods from the global south, and work to counter more effectively Beijing’s claims in its “discursive struggle” with the West.  Notwithstanding its allegations of imperialism and ceaseless rhetoric about “win-win cooperation,” it is China that today seeks to penetrate and gain leverage over smaller and weaker states, establishing relationships of dependence and exploiting them for its benefit. – War on the Rocks

South Asia

All women’s beauty salons in Afghanistan were set to close on Tuesday, officials said, as part of a Taliban administration announcement early this month that the women-only spaces were forbidden under Shariah law and caused economic hardship for grooms’ families during wedding celebrations. – New York Times

Pakistan’s election oversight body said on Tuesday it would indict the country’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan next week on charges of publicly insulting its officials last year. – Associated Press

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a roadside mosque when a police officer tried to arrest him after a chase in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing the officer, police said. – Associated Press


China is everywhere in this Pacific island kingdom, from the grand central embassy packed with diplomats, to the young Tongans who have been on student exchanges to Chinese universities, to the government’s balance sheets, burdened with sky-high debts to Beijing. – Washington Post

Fiji’s uneasy relationship with China has hit an unusual roadblock, in the form of an office door. In a video posted to social media on Tuesday, the Pacific island nation’s prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, said he was declining an invitation to visit China this week because he had tripped while looking at his phone, striking his head on a door at the entrance to a government building. – New York Times

Taiwan conducted an anti-aircraft landing drill at its main international airport for the first time on Wednesday, simulating the repulsion of an invading force as China ramps up military pressure to force the island to accept its sovereignty. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of China’s “problematic behaviour” during a visit to the Pacific island nation of Tonga on Wednesday, citing Beijing’s militarisation of the South China Sea and what he called economic coercion. – Reuters

Japan and Italy will hold a joint fighter jet drill between Aug 2-10, Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force (ASDF) said on Tuesday, a week after it announced a similar exercise with the French air force. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military government may move ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi from prison to house arrest in the capital, Naypyitaw, two media outlets reported on Wednesday. – Reuters

A vote expected in Thailand’s Parliament later this week to select a new prime minister will be postponed, the house speaker said Tuesday, adding to growing uncertainty over when a new government can take office, more than two months after the general election. – Associated Press


On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will join the small club of foreign hard-right leaders who have visited the Biden White House. That invitation was never extended to Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and the Biden administration has notably excluded Hungary’s Viktor Orban from its democracy summits. But Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister and the head of its most right-wing government since the end of World War II, is a rare breed of hard-right leader. – Washington Post

A small group of anti-Islam activists set fire to Korans in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Copenhagen on Tuesday after similar protests in Denmark and Sweden over recent weeks that have enraged Muslims. – Reuters

Belarus applied in May to join the BRICS club of five leading developing economies, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

European Union member states gave final approval Tuesday to the bloc’s master plan to expand semiconductor production, clearing the path for its massive effort to slash reliance on Asia for computer chips vital for everything from washing machines to cars. – Associated Press

The EU could provide alternative routes for almost all of Ukraine’s grain exports following Russia’s decision to stop their passage through the Black Sea, the bloc’s agriculture commissioner said. – Financial Times

Annual United Kingdon military spending increased by £6.9 billion ($8.9 billon) over 2022-2023 to reach a total of £52.8 billion ($67.8 billion), according to newly released MoD figures, which also revealed that the cancellation of a key armored vehicle program meant a hefty chunk of British military funds — £473 million ($607 million) — was lost. – Breaking Defense

Spain’s political deadlock has sparked warnings from business about the implications of a “power vacuum” in Madrid and spells trouble for parts of the EU’s agenda. – Financial Times

Moritz Kraemer write: The ECB should make clear that TPI is the ultimate answer only if other layers of European support have failed. By blocking the ESM’s involvement as one such layer, Italy would be excluded from benefiting from TPI. Expect the ratification blockage to be lifted swiftly once the ECB sets these incentives. It would be madness for Italy, arguably the euro area’s weakest link, to go it alone. But whatever Rome chooses to do, it must not stand in the way of everyone else willing to protect European taxpayers and to make eurozone banks safer. – Financial Times

Gabriele Carrer and Otto Lanzavecchia write: Arguably, the litmus test for the relationship between Biden’s US and Meloni’s Italy may be the latter’s degree of involvement, at multiple levels, in the Quint format of meetings convened by the White House with other European states (France, Germany, and the UK) – which could cement Rome’s status as an influential interlocutor and an established member of Europe’s big four powers. – Center for European Policy Analysis


At least 34 people, including seven soldiers, were killed in an attack by a gang of armed men in Nigeria’s northwest Zamfara state, the head of a vigilante group and residents said. – Reuters

The European Union is setting up a dedicated sanctions framework for Sudan to eventually target key actors in the ongoing war with travel bans and asset and bank account freezes, diplomatic sources familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Russia is supplying wheat to Mali, bolstering ties with one of its strongest African allies. News of the shipments comes days after Russia ended an agreement to allow Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest wheat producers — to export grain from Black Sea ports. – Bloomberg

The Americas

Bolivia is interested in obtaining Iranian drone technology to protect its borders and combat smuggling and drug trafficking, the Andean country’s defense minister confirmed Tuesday, a day after Argentina demanded information on an agreement reached by Iran and Bolivia that has raised security concerns in the region. – Associated Press

A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday calling on the US to use its influence at a key development bank for Latin America to reduce China’s sway in the region. – Bloomberg

The Canadian government has increased the number of strategic tanker transport aircraft it is ordering from Airbus as it shores up its contribution to the defense of North America. – Defense News


South Korea launched an interagency investigation unit to tackle crypto-currency crimes on Wednesday amid a surge in illegal activities in the market and a lack of legal protections for investors. – Reuters

President Biden on Wednesday nominated Harry Coker, a long-time CIA and National Security Agency official, to serve as the next national cyber director, a choice that elevates a relatively unknown official to take on a high-profile assignment as the president’s leading cybersecurity adviser. – CyberScoop

Australian researchers have found evidence that China is using fake social media accounts linked to transnational criminal groups to spread online propaganda and disinformation. – The Record

Jeffrey Wells writes: With these additions and revisions, the NCS Implementation Plan can become a more powerful and practical tool for safeguarding the nation’s cybersecurity. As we traverse this digital era, an effective, transparent and adaptable cybersecurity strategy is desirable and an absolute necessity. – The Hill


President Joe Biden announced Wednesday his replacement for former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, who led the defense policy shop since April 2021. – Defense News

The Space Force’s draft framework for how commercial satellite services could be called up in times of crisis or conflict to support military missions would allow the Defense Department to deny participating companies the right to sell their wares to any other client in times of “war, major conflict, national or international emergency.” – Breaking Defense

Raytheon-made weapons have often been hailed as difference-makers on the battlefield. Its Stinger heat-seeking missile and Javelin anti-tank missile, which it manufactures jointly with Lockheed Martin, helped Ukraine blunt the initial Russian invasion. More recently, its NASAMS and Patriot air defenses have been credited with shooting down Russian missiles and drones. The weapons’ success in Ukraine has increased global demand from U.S. allies and partners, RTX executives said. – Defense One

Donald W. Shepperd writes: We must invest now in a ready, modern force to deter adversaries’ aggression around the globe. Now is not the time to close highly capable Air Guard fighter units. If we do this right, we won’t have to test America’s tolerance for war. Our adversaries are watching and judging our national will and capability. Now is the time to show them we’re serious by making the difficult decisions required to rebuild the world’s strongest Air Force. – The Hill

Long War

A jury convicted six men of terrorist murder in the 2016 attacks at a Brussels airport and metro station that killed 32 people and injured more than 300, capping Belgium’s largest trial on record and bringing some closure to a years-long search for justice. – Washington Post

West Africa recorded over 1,800 terrorist attacks in the first six months of the year resulting in nearly 4,600 deaths with dire humanitarian consequences, and a top regional official said Tuesday that’s just “a snippet of the horrendous impact of insecurity.” – Associated Press

Treasury’s War author Juan Zarate joins us to discuss how the US wields its financial power against terrorism, rogue states, and global crime syndicates. – The Jordan Harbinger Show