Fdd's overnight brief

July 6, 2021

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


The deputy head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA is to visit Iran for “routine” matters and no talks are planned, Iran’s envoy said on Saturday according to state media, as the agency awaits a reply from Tehran on an expired monitoring deal. – Reuters 

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed there is “a window of opportunity” now for talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the French presidency said. – Associated Press 

Iran denied on Saturday U.S. accusations that Tehran supported attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, and condemned U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed militants there, state media reported. – Reuters 

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has resumed operations after being shut down two weeks ago for an overhaul, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported on Saturday. – Reuters 

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Friday he told an OPEC+ meeting that Iran would return to the markets swiftly if U.S. sanctions are lifted, regardless of decisions made by the producer group. – Reuters 

There was limited damage from a sabotage attempt at a building of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization in June, the Iranian government said on Tuesday, despite satellite images appearing to show that part of a roof was missing. – Reuters 

A large fire was reported at a warehouse or factory next to a highway near Tehran on Monday afternoon, with the purpose of the warehouse and the background of the incident as of yet unclear. – Jerusalem Post 

The United States has removed sanctions on three Iranians but said the move had nothing to do with talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Mostafa Nili, the lawyer of Tortured Sharif University students Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, provided more details about the hearing of the charges against the two, which was held in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on Saturday, July 3. – Iran Human Rights Monitor 

Prominent Iran-based dissidents are urging the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to do more to hold Iranian officials accountable for wide-ranging rights abuses, in order to show Iranians the United States cares about their plight. – Voice of America 

Eli Lake writes: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was one of the hardliners who foiled the reforms of Khatami when he authorized a crackdown on student protesters in 1999. […] The organization she helped lead, Defenders of Human Rights Center, was closed. For the last six years, the state has barred her from seeing her children. Last October, after serving more than eight years of a 10-year sentence, she was released from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. – Bloomberg  

Salem AlKetbi writes: All of these elements are putting pressure on the Vienna negotiations. They are putting pressure to get Iran the concessions it is demanding quickly. President Joe Biden wants to speed up the resolution of the Iran nuclear deal and focus on China’s defiance of US influence. In addition, there are signs of growing tension in Russia’s relations with the West. – Arutz Sheva 

Alon Pinkas writes: If Iran believes China can mitigate the harsh economic costs of U.S.-imposed sanctions, it will be reluctant to proceed. In this scenario, an unsupervised and unmonitored Iran conceivably makes further progress with its nuclear program. How Israel, and the United States, respond to that is too speculative to seriously answer at this point. – Haaretz 

Gabriel Noronha writes: Negotiators in Vienna would be wise to realize that President Joe Biden and Envoy Rob Malley are not the only Americans they must satisfy to reach a lasting deal – they must consider and address the concerns of Republicans in Congress as well, and they ignore them at their peril. – Iran International  



Turkey will carry on exploring for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday in comments that may revive tensions with the European Union and Greece amid attempts to repair their frayed ties. – Reuters 

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he would discuss with his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday a plan for Turkey to operate and guard Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, adding there was no final decision yet. – Reuters 

After four decades of fighting, nearly 40,000 casualties and billions of dollars, Turkey has failed to contain the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey has employed a new strategy: conducting military operations that create anti-PKK narratives that in turn lead to military victory. An insurgency thrives on popularity. Its strength and success depend on it. Turkey’s new strategy is designed to reduce the popularity of the PKK. – Jerusalem Post 

Turkish defense company Roketsan is to develop a vertical launching system for the country’s first locally made frigate, after American sanctions disrupted original procurement plans, said naval platforms acquisition official Alper Kose. – Defense News 

Alaeddin Salen writes: Turkey’s attempts to gain a foothold in North Africa may undermine the political process and lead to undesirable results, given the fact that the withdrawal of a foreign contingent was the main condition for the truce. In this regard, Turkish actions should be dealt with in an adequate manner by the European powers and the UN, whose efforts are currently aimed at establishing lasting peace and holding national elections. – Jerusalem Post 

Manish Rai writes: No one should be allowed to destabilise it and the Kurdish parties ought to prioritise resolving differences through dialogue and talks rather than by force. Otherwise, if these growing tensions are not checked in time — we may well witness a fully-fledged civil war like the one in the mid-1990s that took place between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). And no one wants that. – Times of Israel 


Israel’s parliament remained deadlocked late Monday over a temporary law that bars citizenship for Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza who are married to Israelis, the latest issue to challenge the new fragile coalition government. – Wall Street Journal 

A commercial ship that was previously owned by an Israeli-led company was attacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday in what appeared to be the latest tit-for-tat in a shadowy regional conflict between Israel and Iran. – New York Times 

The United Nations has agreed to take responsibility for the disbursement of Qatari funds in the Gaza Strip, according to a Palestinian newspaper report Sunday. – Times of Israel 

Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators called for an end to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s 16-year reign on Saturday in the latest demonstration sparked by the death of PA critic Nizar Banat. – Times of Israel 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have dismissed the head of the Palestinian National Library, Ihab Bseiso, for criticising the security services’ extrajudicial killing of political opponent, Nizar Banat. – Middle East Monitor  

Andrew Lövy writes: Finally, the bilateral agreements between the Israelis and PLO that were signed during the 1990s, such as the 1993 Declaration of Principles and the 1995 Interim Agreement, contain no prohibition on the construction of Israeli settlements. In summation, Israeli settlements are legitimate and Israel has the legal right under international law to build them. – Jerusalem Post 

Elliot Green writes: However, this historical recounting should prove that Shimon HaTzadik and Sheikh Jarrah are not the same. Failure to explain the historical and religious background allows anti-Israel demagogues – Arab and Western – to justify the recent war and future wars and Hamas attacks against Israel, and to incite assaults on Diaspora Jews. Knowledge of that background might lead outside observers to acknowledge that justice, not just real estate deeds, is on the Jewish side of the dispute. –  Jerusalem Post 

Sean Durns writes: Still, Hamas is probably not capable of displacing Fatah without a fight. But in 2007 in Gaza, Hamas handily beat Fatah in armed conflict. Today, thanks to its chief benefactor, Iran, Hamas is well armed.[…]In the eyes of a growing number of Palestinians, Hamas is looking to be a good bet. Policymakers and the press had better take note. – Washington Examiner 

Andy Blumenthal writes: Until the Palestinians recognize and support Israel’s right to exist and take responsibility for their fate as a nation, no amount of territorial negotiation is going to make a difference. On July 4th in the United States, we celebrate the Declaration of Independence precisely for that reason. – Times of Israel 

David E. Bernstein writes: I think the answer is obvious, though rarely provided: many people—including many Jewish and Christian Zionists, are captivated by Jews having a sovereign state and exercising military power. Many more people, however, are repulsed by Israel’s sovereignty and strength. – Times of Israel  



The leader of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia has vowed to retaliate against America for the deaths of four of his men in a U.S. airstrike along the Iraq-Syria border last month, saying it will be a military operation everyone will talk about. – Associated Press 

US forces shot down an armed drone above their embassy in Baghdad on Monday night, Iraqi security officials said, hours after a rocket attack on a base housing US soldiers in the west of the country. – Agence France-Presse 

Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said in a video posted on Saturday on the ministry’s Facebook page that BP (BP.L) was considering withdrawing from Iraq, and that Russia’s Lukoil (LKOH.MM) had sent a formal notification saying it wanted to sell its stake in the West Qurna-2 field to Chinese companies. – Reuters 

Farzin Nadimi and Michael Knights write: The drone segment of the Ashraf parade made the desired splash due to the Mohajer-6 and ground Control Station reveal. […]It remains hard to ascertain how many of the displayed drones were complete and operational and which (notably the Mojaher) were fully under the control of PMF forces, as opposed to being on-loan from Iran or allocated for use in Syria. – Washington Institute 


The Lebanese armed forces have lately stepped up their border patrols amid rising public fury over the smuggling of fuel to Syria in the middle of what is Lebanon’s most severe fuel crisis in its history. – Washington Post 

A judge investigating last year’s devastating port explosion in Lebanon’s capital said Friday he had summoned the outgoing premier and taken steps toward indicting several former ministers and security officials. – Agence France-Presse 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Lebanon also has an armed state-within-a-state called Hezbollah, which siphons off cash, plays a role in security, carries out extrajudicial assassinations and increasingly operates a parallel network of health, banking, construction and even supermarket services. These factors have hollowed out Lebanon, leaving it an empty shell. – Jerusalem Post 

Neville Teller writes: One failing economy is attempting to support another while simultaneously trying to maintain the political status quo. That is scarcely a sustainable situation. If Iran’s deteriorating economic position results in Hezbollah losing power in Lebanon, this might provide the opportunity for Hariri to assemble his technocrat cabinet and institute the economic reforms necessary to pull the country back from the brink of disaster. – Jerusalem Post 

Arabian Peninsula

OPEC failed in its third attempt to resolve a deadlock over oil production after divisions between allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates spilled into public and into global financial markets. – Wall Street Journal 

Heavy fighting raged between forces of Yemen’s internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels in central Bayda province, officials said Monday. Government forces and allied tribesmen, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, reclaimed large swaths of territory in the province, according Information Minister Moammar al-Iryani. – Associated Press 

Yemen’s Houthi movement on Sunday carried out a rare missile strike on a southern region that has seen renewed infighting between forces allied to a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, three government sources said. – Reuters 

A few years ago, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia went as far as secretly drawing a plan for a political union. […]In the past few days, however, cracks in this unity have become apparent as the interests of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi diverge again on issues ranging from oil production, Yemen, normalisation with Israel, and the way to handle the pandemic. – Financial Times 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister is scheduled to visit Washington next week, making him the highest member of Saudi Arabia’s government to visit since President Biden took office, according to several U.S. and foreign officials. – Wall Street Journal 

As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches, victims’ relatives are pressing the courts to answer what they see as lingering questions about the Saudi government’s role. – Associated Press 

Saudi Arabia has amended its rules on imports from other Gulf Cooperation Council countries to exclude goods made in free zones or using Israeli input from preferential tariff concessions, in a bid to challenge the United Arab Emirates’ status as the region’s trade and business hub. – Reuters 

Iran reported “good progress” on Tuesday in talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia but said some of their disputes are complex and may take time to resolve. – Reuters 

Middle East & North Africa

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated a large naval base on Saturday 135 km from the border with Libya, flanked by close ally Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Libya’s unity president. – Reuters 

Egypt said Monday that Ethiopia has reported it is starting to fill the reservoir of a controversial dam on the Nile River’s main tributary, a move likely to increase tensions ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on the dispute, which also includes Sudan. – Associated Press 

U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at paving the way for elections in Libya in late December failed to find common ground, the deputy of the United Nations mission in Libya said on Friday night after weeklong talks near Geneva. – Reuters 

A Moroccan air force plane touched down in Israel’s Hatzor Air Base on Sunday morning, reportedly to take part in a multinational Israeli Air Force exercise later this month. – Times of Israel 

Korean Peninsula

Israel is sending 700,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to South Korea in exchange for a future shipment of vaccines from South Korea to Israel. Under the deal, Israel will transfer the Pfizer vaccines to South Korea in an effort to inoculate more of the Asian nation’s citizens this month. – Associated Press 

A U.S. judge on Friday said a South Korean man wanted on embezzlement charges related to a 2014 ferry sinking that killed 304 people, mainly high school students, is subject to extradition to his home country. – Associated Press 

The ultimate challenge for spies and analysts studying North Korea is accurately assessing the health of Kim Jong Un, the 37-year-old dictator of the secretive state. […]The episode exposed the ramifications of a leadership contest in Pyongyang and the deterioration of intelligence agencies’ understanding of North Korea during the coronavirus pandemic, which has added to the secrecy that envelops the country. – Financial Times 


As Mr. Xi has taken an increasingly authoritarian grip on China, the party schools have followed. The Central Party School once tolerated, even supported, reformist scholars who have been dismayed by Mr. Xi’s centralization of power, hard-line policies and abolition of term limits. Younger officials are now emerging from the schools stamped by this pugnacious spirit. – New York Times 

China is widening a crackdown on tech companies, as Beijing grows wary of the sprawling reach and power of the country’s Internet giants and signals it is prepared to rein them in despite the financial disruption. – Washington Post 

China’s regulatory probes into three technology companies shortly after their U.S. listings have caught global investors off guard, showing the risks of owning shares in fast-growing businesses that have come under Beijing’s microscope. – Wall Street Journal 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel he hoped China and Europe would expand cooperation to better respond to global challenges, state broadcaster CCTV reported. – Reuters 

Editorial: None of this means the United States should seek confrontation with China. But Mr. Xi’s words ought to underline that, at least under its present ruler, China will likely pose a growing menace to its neighbors, to the democratic world and to human freedom more generally. – Washington Post 

Editorial: Our point is simple. China has a clear game plan as to how it will subjugate America in the 21st century. Xi just laid it out. If we’re not so keen on seeing Xi reign supreme, Americans better start asking some hard questions. – Washington Examiner 

Elaine Luria writes: The defense budget tells the American people and allies that although we say China is a threat, we are not taking action to respond. […]Congress has a duty to close the “say-do” gap, whether through increased funding or redirecting other Pentagon dollars, and to provide the resources needed to deter China. If you believe Adm. Aquilino—and I do—we may not have another year to waste. – Wall Street Journal 

Bret Stephens writes: You don’t have to subscribe to the lab-leak theory of the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to acknowledge this: Had it not been for the cover-up that Chinese officials tried to orchestrate in the critical early days of the crisis, there might have been a chance for the virus to be contained. Instead, China’s government began with lies and has kept lying ever since, at the expense of public health everywhere. They’ve also sold the world’s poorer countries on a vaccine that doesn’t work too well. – New York Times 

Ilan Berman and Joshua Eisenman write: By supporting the plight of the Palestinians, China is cynically stoking the most emotional issue in Middle Eastern politics in order to distract Muslim nations from its own domestic campaign to “break the lineage and roots” of Chinese Muslims via an extensive system of gulags. – Jerusalem Post 

Gu Bin writes: At a time of ever-increasing uncertainty and destabilisation, it is best to view BRI as a new corridor for China-west co-operation. Ending BRI’s use of coal makes this possible. – Financial Times 

Dean Cheng writes: On the same grounds, expecting China to moderate its behavior towards Hong Kong or Taiwan is a forlorn hope. […]Xi’s speech, while fiery, did not indicate personal weakness or fear. It needs to be seen as part of an ongoing messaging campaign that China will no longer play a subordinate role. Xi’s China will not submit to foreign lectures and pressure. Insofar as the West wants China to conform to the rules of a rules-based international order, Xi and the CCP are indicating that those rules must be ones that China has forged. – The Hill 

Robert A. Manning and James Przystup write: The “Quad+” could then take such initiatives to the East Asian Summit for regional endorsement or perhaps assign issues to the ARF or other regional bodies to negotiate details and report back to the EAS. […]But the Quad is well-positioned to catalyze a more cogent and effective approach to regional cooperation and a means to counter-balance and perhaps even cooperate with China. In short, it adds a new dimension to Indo-Pacific diplomacy. – The National Interest 



Afghan soldiers returned to their barracks to prepare for dinner last Friday when all the generators suddenly fell silent and the lights on this massive base, the centerpiece of America’s war effort in Afghanistan, shut off. – Wall Street Journal 

The letters from his American military superiors glowed with superlatives. Abdul Rashid Shirzad, they wrote, was a “true hero” and a man of “great character and integrity” who had acted courageously under fire to save American lives during more than two years as a battlefield interpreter. – Washington Post 

The U.S. military has vacated its most important airfield in Afghanistan, defense officials said Friday, a strategic and emotional milestone in a 20-year U.S. war that the Pentagon is preparing to end. – Washington Post 

More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled into neighboring Tajikistan early Monday to escape clashes with Taliban insurgents who have mounted an aggressive offensive as NATO forces withdraw, according to Tajik border officials. – Washington Post 

The Taliban plan to present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government side as soon as next month, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgents said even as they make major territorial gains in the breach left by departing foreign forces. – Reuters 

Russia’s military base in Tajikistan is fully equipped to help secure its border with Afghanistan, and Moscow will take extra measures to protect it if needed, Interfax quoted Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters 

As the end to America’s “forever war” rapidly approaches, the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions in Kabul are watching a worsening security situation and looking at how to respond. – Associated Press 

 But after each imperial retreat, a new tournament of shadows begins. With the US pulling out of Afghanistan, China is casting an anxious gaze towards its western frontier and pursuing talks with an ascendant Taliban, the Islamist movement that was removed from power in 2001. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Mr. Biden has long been a skeptic of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, and he has stuck to that position even as the number of troops and expenditure dedicated to it have drastically shrunk. His view has been that the war against the Taliban is unnecessary and unwinnable. But the descent from stalemate to defeat could be steep and grim. We wonder whether he has fully considered the consequences. – Washington Post 

Gerald F. Seib writes: The American urge is to “win” any contest, military or otherwise, not to keep playing at it. A military win in Afghanistan didn’t merely prove elusive; most analysts concluded long ago it wasn’t even possible. Any “win” in Afghanistan was going to be political, not military. In any case, America is in an America-first mood right now. So, having learned the cost of going into Afghanistan, Americans now will learn the cost of leaving. And there will be one. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael Wendt writes: These interpreters did not just “do a job” for the U.S. They joined us in everything we did. They were ready to lay down their lives with us. Making a priority of evacuating all of the 18,000 SIV applicants out of their hostile home country into a safe place while they wait is imperative. We cannot allow our allies to be left in Afghanistan while the Taliban takes back control. Helping these people get to the United States where they will be safe isn’t conservative, it isn’t progressive — it is simply the right thing to do. – The Hill 

Akhil Ramesh writes: To address the trust deficit, the U.S. and Western nations should not leave countries in limbo. In the case of Afghanistan, a political solution addressing Pakistan’s cross-border export of terror could have significantly saved lives and solved a never-ending war. After 20 years in the region, Biden should finally wake up and smell the coffee and take decisive political and economic action on Pakistan — not necessarily as a parting gift to Afghanistan, but as the last arrow in the U.S. quiver. – The Hill 


South Asia

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan offered on Thursday remarks rare for the leader of a large, Muslim majority country, reaffirming his support for Beijing’s policies toward Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region. – Washington Post 

A new task force was launched on Monday to investigate evidence of human rights violations in Myanmar more than five months after the military army ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and plunged the Southeast Asian country into turmoil. – Reuters 

Russia strongly supports the Southeast Asian diplomatic effort to end the crisis in Myanmar and has conveyed similar messages to the country’s military leadership, its foreign minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Myanmar security forces killed at least 25 people on Friday in a confrontation with opponents of the military junta at a town in the centre of the Southeast Asian nation, two residents and Myanmar media said on Sunday. – Reuters 


An American corporate lawyer was sentenced to prison in Hong Kong on Tuesday for assaulting a plainclothes police officer in 2019, during the pro-democracy protests in the city. – Washington Post 

Hong Kong police on Tuesday said they arrested nine people on suspicion of engaging in terrorist activity, after uncovering an attempt to make explosives and plant bombs across the city. – Associated Press 

Japan’s deputy prime minister said the country needed to defend Taiwan with the United States if the island was invaded, Kyodo news agency reported late Monday, a comment likely to upset Beijing which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province. – Reuters 

The 50-year-old man who stabbed a Hong Kong policeman on the anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule on Thursday was a “lone wolf” who committed a terrorist act, Secretary for Security Chris Tang said. – Reuters 

Hong Kong police said on Tuesday they had arrested nine people, including six secondary students, on suspicion of terrorist activities, the latest to be targeted under a sweeping national security law Beijing imposed on the financial hub last year. – Reuters 

George F. Will writes: No administration welcomes such specific congressional intrusions in the formulation of foreign policy, so the Reschenthaler-Scott measure will not become law. Nevertheless, it can be an instrument by which congressional supporters say: After 50 years, U.S. “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan is no longer prudent. This principle is: A nation should know its own mind, and should make sure an adversary knows it, too. – Washington Post  

Eric Chu writes: While people are now divided into the vaccinated and the not, we still stand united together. Because there is no Taiwanese problem. There is no American problem. There is only a world’s problem facing the pandemic. Taiwan is eager to be a solution to that problem. Given the opportunity, Taiwan has the power to help the United States. Together we shall overcome this pandemic by supporting a new global effort to manufacture and distribute vaccines. – The National Interest 


A British warship’s entry into what Moscow considers Russian territorial waters near Crimea last month is the kind of provocation that demands a tough response, the Kremlin said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin banned comparisons of the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany, the Sunday Times reported Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

Berthold Kohler writes: The West should not tolerate Russia’s current approach, which Putin interprets as weakness and which simply encourages him to continue his ugly litany of invasion, interference, assassination, sabotage, and anti-democratic conspiracy. […]Germany’s new leadership should not only think of the year 1941 when it ponders the relations to Moscow, but of another city also beginning with an M, and of the year 1938. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


President Biden plans to nominate University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany, turning to an ally who helped him establish a foreign-policy center after the Obama administration. – Wall Street Journal 

France’s antiterrorism prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into four leading fashion retailers over suspicions that they benefited from and concealed “crimes against humanity” by using forced labor by Uyghurs in China. – New York Times 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she sees the six Western Balkan states as future members of the European Union for strategic reasons. – Reuters 

The European Union “speaks with one voice” in condemning a decision by Belarus to allow illegal migrants to cross into Lithuania in response to EU sanctions, European Council President Charles Michel said on Monday. – Reuters 

Twitter said on Friday it had reinstated access to the accounts of a group of exile opposition groups that call themselves the “Belarusian People’s Embassies”, which it suspended after they were accused of identity theft, apparently by Belarusian authorities. – Reuters 

A court in Belarus jailed former presidential contender Viktor Babariko for 14 years on Tuesday after convicting him on corruption charges he denied, sparking condemnation from the West and the embattled opposition-in-exile. – Reuters 

Lithuania has granted the Belarusian pro-democratic opposition led by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya official status in the EU country. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Stefano Graziosi and James Jay Carafano write: Washington won’t see Western allies stem Beijing’s influence and fight to hold Moscow accountable. Looking ahead, Washington cannot rely on Berlin for much. As a result, rather than disengaging from Europeans, the Biden administration will find itself spending more time across the Atlantic or risk losing ground to Beijing, Moscow and Tehran at the same time. – The National Interest 



A week of nationwide protests has left dozens of people dead in the tiny nation of Eswatini, raising the prospect that Africa’s last absolute monarchy could fall. – Wall Street Journal 

At least 140 Nigerian schoolchildren are missing after gunmen stormed a school Monday in Nigeria’s northwest Kaduna state, where an epidemic of kidnappings for ransom has increasingly ensnared students in Africa’s most populous nation. – Washington Post 

Interpol has issued “red notices” urging the arrest of the businessman brothers Atul and Rajesh Gupta – friends of former president Jacob Zuma – and some of their associates for alleged fraud, South African prosecutors said on Monday. – Reuters 

Top U.N. officials warned the Security Council on Friday that more than 400,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray were now in famine and that there was a risk of more clashes in the region despite a unilateral ceasefire by the federal government. – Reuters 

Ethiopia’s Tigray region wants a full withdrawal of troops from Eritrea and the neighbouring state of Amhara before it can engage in any talks with the federal government about a ceasefire, it said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters  

Thousands took to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday to call for a tougher government response to a wave of jihadist attacks that has destabilised the West African country in recent years. – Reuters 

J. Brian Atwood writes: Africans today are still struggling to rationalize inherited borders that too frequently encourage ethnic conflict. Democratic institutions and a growing sense of national pride have ameliorated many of these problems, but not all. Tigray represents a complex of internal Ethiopian factors, but it is also to a large degree a symptom of the colonial legacy. –The Hill

The Americas

Brazil’s Supreme Court authorized prosecutors to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro over accusations he ignored alleged irregularities in his government’s procurement process to buy India’s Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine. – Wall Street Journal  

Restrictions on civic space in Venezuela remain a cause for concern, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Monday. – Reuters  

Peru’s government on Friday evening rejected a request by presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori to seek an international audit of its June 6 election, leaving her with few recourses to overturn the apparent lead over her rival candidate Pedro Castillo. – Reuters  

A Venezuelan court indicted Javier Tarazona, director of NGO FundaRedes, and two other activists for terrorism and other crimes, three days after the group held a news conference in Caracas alleging links between members of the government and illegal armed groups from Colombia, their lawyer said. – Reuters 

United States

The administration has nearly completed an extensive review of U.S. sanctions policy, which is expected out near the end of summer, according to one official. While details are still being ironed out, Biden administration officials have foreshadowed elements of the new strategy in a series of actions, including the planned easing of economywide sanctions against Iran. – Wall Street Journal 

Eleven heavily armed, self-professed militia members were arrested near Boston Saturday, ending an overnight stand off that shut down a major U.S. Interstate at the start of the Independence holiday. – Reuters  

Micah D. Halpern writes: It is essential for the American Jewish community to build strong alliances with those other Americans who are willing and unafraid to publicly condemn the vile and heinous physical and verbal attacks against Jews. People with standing, people with a conscience, people with a moral barometer. People whose voices are loud enough to be heard. – Jerusalem Post 


A hacking group that experts said was behind the sprawling ransomware attack that hit hours before the beginning of the July Fourth holiday weekend is demanding $70 million to unlock the thousands of businesses affected by the hack. – Washington Post  

President Biden and many lawmakers in Washington are worried these days about computer chips and China’s ambitions with the foundational technology. But a massive machine sold by a Dutch company has emerged as a key lever for policymakers — and illustrates how any country’s hopes of building a completely self-sufficient supply chain in semiconductor technology are unrealistic. – New York Times 

Israel has vulnerabilities that Iran and others can exploit, but its offensive, defensive and future potential creative cyber capabilities still far outstretch the Islamic Republic’s. – Jerusalem Post 

During last month’s conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group, a number of Malaysian anti-Israel groups carried out a massive campaign on major social media and messaging platforms to aggressively spam pro-Israel content and attempt to suspend or block accounts, according to a report conducted by the Israel-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC). – Algemeiner 

Experts are sounding the alarm about potential cyberattacks on the Tokyo Summer Olympics from those looking to create chaos at the already embattled event. – The Hill  

A new social media platform launched on Sunday was hacked the same day, founder and former Trump spokesman Jason Miller confirmed. A cyber intruder was able to break into at least four GETTR accounts apparently belonging to close Trump allies, including Miller, and changed their names. – Washington Examiner  

Elisabeth Braw: Given the growing occurrence of cyber attacks, many companies will no doubt see the value of having the option of switching to manual operations. The veteran workers exist and may be hiding in plain sight — men and women with skills in running pre-digital manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, financial services and much else. The task for companies is to ensure that these valuable employees are recognised for what they are — and that their skills are passed down to a new generation. – Financial Times   

Emily Schrader writes: Given the documented illegal nature of these cyberattacks, which includes providing leaked private data such as individual phone numbers of Israelis for the purpose of harassment, the social media companies must take action in actively monitoring the targeted harassment from these Malaysian channels and shut them down. Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp must prevent the abuse of their platforms and other users on it. It’s time to shutter the Hamas-Malaysia front. – Jerusalem Post 



The Sea Breeze military exercises, hosted by the United States and Ukraine and including 32 nations from as far away as Australia, are underway in the Black Sea and nearby areas, an increasing friction point between NATO and Russia. – Washington Post  

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., are asking for a formal probe into potential undercounting of civilian casualties by the Defense Department, saying the issue, cuts to the core of military integrity and transparency. – Defense News  

Israeli company Rafael hopes to manufacture a new long-range, sea-based missile, the Sea Breaker, in the US with its American partners for use on two US Navy vessels – the operational littoral combat ships (LCS) and the planned Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV). – Breaking Defense 

Editorial: Maintaining military readiness and preparing for future conflicts can’t be done on the cheap. But that doesn’t mean the Pentagon should get a blank check. Smarter spending focused on the most pressing strategic challenges can preserve the U.S. military’s strength while freeing up resources for other national priorities. – Bloomberg  

Emma Salisbury writes: AI may be good at tactical tasks, but it still needs to be constrained in how it performs them if we are to be confident that the dire predictions of science fiction will not come true. […]Armed forces around the world, including those of the United States and China, have not yet figured out how to deal with these critical issues, which will have serious implications for the future of war. I, Warbot will not reassure its readers about the prospect of using AI in warfare, but it was not intended to ­— and that is a good thing. – War on the Rocks 

Long War

At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured in a suicide explosion in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Friday evening, the authorities said, the second such attack to rock the city in weeks as the country enters a crucial election season. – New York Times 

Four soldiers were killed when their patrol was ambushed by suspected militants in central Mali on Sunday, the army said in a statement. – Reuters  

Militants killed three Pakistani soldiers close to the border with Afghanistan in the North Waziristan tribal region, where Pakistani Taliban fighters have been targeting the Pakistan military, security sources told Reuters. – Reuters 

Italian police said on Monday they had arrested four men accused of sending funds to people across Europe and the Middle East who were collecting on behalf of Islamic State, in an investigation that led to a larger suspected terrorism-funding network. – Reuters 

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury writes: Hamas, Palestinian Jihad and Pakistani spy agency ISI’s latest bids of spreading Hamas activities in the foreign countries is a matter of grave concern particularly for Bangladesh and India. As we know, there are over eight thousand Palestine-repatriated Bangladeshi fighters. Our intelligence agencies and counterterrorism organizations should bring these fighters under strict surveillance, as they may onwards emerge into another threat to national security similar to those of ex-fighters from Afghanistan. – Times of Israel