Fdd's overnight brief

July 7, 2020

In The News


A massive explosion and fire at a highly sensitive Iranian nuclear facility last week was likely an act of sabotage, intelligence officials and weapons experts said Monday, but analysts were divided over the severity of the damage to Iran’s nuclear program. – Washington Post

The cause of Hosseini’s misery was a sharp drop in the Iranian rial to its weakest against the U.S. dollar. The currency’s fall has not only made life more expensive, it may also test Iran’s ability to prop up an economy battered by crippling U.S. sanctions and the new coronavirus. – Reuters

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday. – Reuters

In a video that went viral, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif can be seen speaking in the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, as lawmakers shouted at him on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

The main harm to Iran from damage to its advanced centrifuges near the Natanz nuclear facility is connected to its future capabilities and options for breaking out to a nuclear weapon, former Mossad chief of analysis Sima Shine said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It seems that everyday people are being assassinated and killed in various forms of extrajudicial assassinations. Most of these occur in the shadows and states are never held accountable. This is because the world today is becoming untethered from the concepts of the international order that underpinned it in the 1990s. The UN focus on the Soleimani assassination is a byproduct of this because it seems easier to concentrate on the US, a major power, than to set a standard that might apply to all states and groups. – Jerusalem Post

Simon Henderson writes: Phlegmatically (I am, after all, originally from Britain), I could point out that Saudi Arabia preferred to directly avoid blaming Iran for its attacks on oil installations last September, and President Trump evaded the need to respond to Iranian missile attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq after the U.S. assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January, even though the attacks thoroughly shook up the brains of multiple U.S. personnel. Will Tehran be as restrained in its response? We are about to find out. – The Hill

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It calculated correctly that Riyadh won’t bomb Iran in response. Iran’s drones and cruise missiles harmed Abqaiq’s facility but caused no casualties. That is the way Iran weighs its attacks today. When Iran decides that it must retaliate, either for perceived sabotage inside Iran, or after it collects evidence and present its, then the system of the IRGC will choose carefully its methods, from mines to missiles and drones, to strike at Iran’s enemies across the region. – Jerusalem Post

Herb Keinon writes: Now, after five mysterious explosions in Iran over the last two weeks, including one at a missile factory and another – the most significant – at the Natanz nuclear facility, it will be telling to see whether there will be any major shake-ups inside Iran as a result. […]And while that type of setback will not be enough to stop the nuclear march, it does have a chilling effect and sows insecurity in the hearts of the Iranian leadership, as well as the citizenry. – Jerusalem Post

Yossi Melman writes: Whether or not Israel is responsible for these events, the fact the Iranians are accusing Israel only enhances the prestige of Israeli intelligence, while simultaneously damaging Iran’s own morale and its self-image. The major question is, if Iran retaliates, whom would it retaliate against, and how? A cyberattack on Israeli installations, as occurred earlier this year, is just one option. – Haaretz

Alex Vatanka writes: Outside of clerical circles in Iran, the name of Alireza Arafi is hardly well known, but he deserves more attention. His entire career has been shaped by appointments given to him by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In fact, Arafi may even be a candidate to succeed Khamenei when the day comes. – Middle East Institute


President Trump’s close ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may not be happy about this one. After decades of the United States government declining to acknowledge the Armenian genocide because it would alienate Turkey, the White House on Monday invoked the term — albeit indirectly. – Washington Post

The Turkish foreign minister on Monday called on the European Union to be an “honest broker” in disputes between Ankara and EU member states France, Greece and Cyprus. – Associated Press

Ankara will retaliate if the EU moves to impose further sanctions on Turkey, the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned Monday. – Politico


A new survey shows a sharp divide among Israelis on the issue of annexing parts of the West Bank, with proponents and opponents almost evenly divided, along with a large number of undecided. – Algemeiner

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to “unite ranks” in efforts to thwart Israel’s expected annexation of areas in the West Bank, Arab media reported Monday evening. – Jerusalem Post

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) announced on Monday that it opposes the Chris Van Hollen amendment, saying that it politicizes US support for Israel’s security. – Jerusalem Post

The US State Department has published false statistics regarding harm perpetrated by “Palestinian” Arabs against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, Israel Hayom reported. – Arutz Sheva

Israeli leaders paint Jerusalem as a model of coexistence, the “unified, eternal” capital of the Jewish people, where minorities have equal rights. But Palestinian residents face widespread discrimination, most lack citizenship and many live in fear of being forced out. – Associated Press

On July 2, 2020, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), backed by Qatar and Turkey, and other Islamic organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement calling on Muslims to wage jihad and self-sacrifice in order to foil the plan of the Israeli government to annex parts of the West Bank. The statement, issued following a Zoom conference on this topic, includes many quotes from the Quran and the Hadith calling on Muslims to perform jihad for the sake of Allah by sacrificing their lives, giving of their wealth, holding demonstrations or in any other way. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Gulf States

A leading Iraqi researcher, Hisham al-Hashimi, was fatally shot late Monday outside his house in Baghdad, officials said.[…]The researcher was among the world’s leading experts on the Islamic State group, providing details of its inner workings to the international media and advising the Iraqi government on its response. More recently, he had spoken out about the impunity with which Iran-backed militias now operate in Iraq. – Washington Post

The murder of Iraqi writer, scholar and commentator Husham al-Hashimi was greeted with disbelief on Monday evening. An active user of social media he had been tweeting up until the time of his death, warning about sectarianism in Iraq. He was much respected and admired by different communities in the country and globally. His death marks a major uptick in the use of assassinations in Iraq to silence critics or intellectuals. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: China’s growing military assertiveness has various ramifications. Too often, the State Department has assumed that where it leads, Gulf Cooperation Council members would follow. […]It is becoming increasingly urgent, however, that it does so; Washington can no longer take the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, let alone Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, for granted. Likewise, China’s growing military ambitions in the region make it more crucial that Israel stops its flirtation with Beijing. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Libyan officials in the capital of Tripoli said Sunday that overnight airstrikes hit a key military base on the city’s outskirts that was recently retaken by Turkey-backed forces. – Associated Press

An American medical student detained without trial in an Egyptian prison for nearly 500 days has been freed and returned to the United States, the U.S. State Department said on Monday. – Associated Press

Jacob Kurtzer and Will Todman write: The centralization of UN humanitarian operations in Damascus would further degrade the principle of unimpeded humanitarian access. This precedent could also carry implications for humanitarian operations in other conflict areas. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Korean Peninsula

North Korea on Tuesday repeated it has no immediate intent to resume dialogue with the United States hours before U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun was to arrive in South Korea for discussions on the stalled nuclear diplomacy. – Associated Press

A U.S. envoy arrived in South Korea on Tuesday in an effort to renew stalled nuclear talks with North Korea, hours after it issued a statement saying it has no intention of sitting down with the United States and told South Korea to “stop meddling”. – Reuters

The episode has thrust North Korean defectors — and Moon’s uneasy relationship with them — back into the spotlight. While Moon entered politics seeking both stronger human rights protections and a better relationship with North Korea, he has often found himself as president prioritizing ties with Pyongyang over the abuses highlighted by defectors. – Bloomberg


Overseas representatives of China’s Uighur ethnic group said Monday they filed evidence to the International Criminal Court in a novel effort to spark a formal investigation of China and its top leaders for alleged human-rights violations. – Wall Street Journal

As senior U.S. and Chinese economic officials plan to discuss China’s compliance with a trade deal signed early this year, more than 40 American business groups called on Beijing to step up purchases of U.S. manufactured goods as well as energy and other products as part of the agreement. – Wall Street Journal

China has launched a special taskforce to ramp up political policing to maintain social stability, said the official Procuratorial Daily, the latest move to rein in dissent over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus and protests in Hong Kong. – Reuters

Shuli Ren writes: As a diplomatic tit-for-tat escalates between Washington and Beijing, millions of Chinese investors — defiant and patriotic — are once again engineering a fast and furious bull market on their home turf. The theme? Self-reliance. – Bloomberg

Rep. Rick Crawford writes: China’s influence might be strong, but ours is stronger. We must play to our strengths and use tools such as agriculture to undermine the Chinese Communists Party’s efforts both at home and globally. Over 130,000 people in the U.S. have lost their lives due to COVID-19, but the greater threat posed by China’s expanding global power could result in even more loss. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: China is taking great risks here, putting its untried Navy and Air Force into a position where they may have to fight a vastly more experienced American counterforce. […]Necessary U.S. efforts to establish a NATO-esque deterrent alliance in the Indo-Pacific also remain at formative stages (although Australia and Britain are playing increasingly important roles here). In short, tensions are growing for reasons both political and emotional. This, history teaches us, is a good recipe for slipping into war. – Washington Examiner

Philip H. Gordon writes: Americans are right to be concerned about the geopolitical implications of a rising China and to be angry about Chinese trade practices, shocking violations of human rights, lack of transparency, and regional expansionism. But concern and anger are not policies. The Trump administration has been good at identifying the problems posed by China’s approach to the world but far less effective in dealing with them. It is time for a new approach, based not only on what the United States would like to achieve with China, but on realistic plans and more effective tools to achieve it. – War on the Rocks

Dean Cheng writes: As the world emerges from the lockdowns and disruptions caused by COVID-19, it will be a new world in many ways. The economic and political impacts have yet to be fully assessed. What is clear is that the Chinese leadership intends to play a major role in shaping that post-COVID-19 world—and its diplomatic corps will aggressively assert China’s interests to that end. The United States should not expect to face a relatively low-profile Chinese effort that plies nations with economic aid in the background, but will instead likely confront a feisty cadre of diplomats equipped with a robust set of tools ranging from economic aid to social media accounts that will challenge them at every turn. – Heritage Foundation

Ilan Berman and Michael Sobolik write: The international community, by contrast, has done far less. In Europe, China’s pressure on the Uyghurs has generated its fair share of outrage in recent years. But this scrutiny has produced precious little tangible action aimed at penalizing the PRC, despite recent calls from the European Parliament to do precisely that. The silence from the Muslim world has been even more deafening. With practically no exceptions, Muslim leaders have stayed mum about the plight of their co-religionists in Xinjiang, preferring continued commerce with Beijing over the potential economic disruption that could be caused by broaching the issue. – Newsweek

South Asia

China and India began pulling back troops from the site of a deadly border clash, as Beijing opened another front in the region’s territorial disputes with a new claim in nearby Bhutan. – Wall Street Journal

India has accelerated the domestic and foreign purchase of weapons in the wake of a border clash between Indian and Chinese troops. – Defense News

Pakistan’s leading Islamist Urdu daily Roznama Ummat, which is considered close to the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), alleged in a report that the U.S., siding with the Taliban against the democratically elected government of Afghanistan, has concluded a secret deal with the jihadi group.[1] However, there is no independent proof that a secret deal has indeed been reached between the U.S. and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban organization). – Middle East Media Research Institute

Beena Sarwar writes: The muscular nationalism in established democracies such as the United States and India finds echo in Pakistan, with Khan’s complaints about the “traitorous” media finding a sympathetic ear in President Trump. […]But even if he is released on bail, this will be a minor victory achieved at a huge cost — not only for Rahman, but also for the dwindling state of media freedom and democracy in Pakistan. – Washington Post


The Chinese ambassador to Britain accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday of meddling in China’s affairs by offering citizenship to 3 million people from Hong Kong following the imposition of a national security law. – Associated Press

The U.S. and Chinese navies are holding competing naval exercises in the South China Sea, as the Beijing accuses Washington of militarizing the region. – USNI News

New Zealand police and security services were warned of a threat against another mosque for the same day that a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch in 2019, an Islamic women’s group told an inquiry into the shooting massacre. – Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party watered down a proposed demand to cancel a visit to Japan by Chinese President Xi Jinping following his clampdown on Hong Kong, as some Japanese lawmakers sought to allay tensions with the country’s biggest trading partner. – Bloomberg

Foreign journalists working in Hong Kong could be expelled if they “cross the line” while reporting on demands for independence for the territory, a member of the Chinese government’s top advisory body has said. – Financial Times

Pope Francis reportedly skipped planned remarks on China’s new Hong Kong “national security” law that severely restricts the freedoms of its people during his Sunday address. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: One mainland Chinese official described the new national security law imposed on Hong Kong last week as a “birthday present” for the former British colony, 23 years to the day after its handover to China. This bitterly resented gift breaks China’s promise to allow Hong Kong to maintain its distinctive freedoms for 50 years after the handover. It’s also an act of self-harm. – Bloomberg

John Pomfret writes: But perhaps the most worrisome element in the law is what is left unsaid. And that is that the legislation could serve as a blueprint for dealing with Taiwan. In fact, with the passage of the national security law on Hong Kong, China has arguably moved a step closer to preparing for war with the island democracy that sits 90 miles off its coast. – Washington Post

Zack Cooper, Jennifer Lind, Toshihiro Nakayama, and Ryo Sahashi write: The U.S.-Japan alliance’s greatest challenge is managing China’s rise. […]This memorandum identifies three critical questions about alliance policies in the geostrategic, economic, and ideological arenas. First, can the allies shape China or must they confront Beijing? Second, should the allies actively decouple their economies from China? And third, should the allies put more or less emphasis on the emerging ideological competition? For the allies to meet this challenge together, they must develop greater consensus on these questions. – Sasakawa Peace Foundation

Edward Lucas writes: The abandonment of Tibet in recent years by countries that once suffered a similar fate is shameful. Efforts made now for Hong Kong will need, probably, to be done again in future on a still greater scale, as the communist vice tightens on Taiwan. But that is no reason for not doing it now. Action by the countries that understand freedom might even prompt a more robust stance from the lazy and complacent countries of the “old West.” – Center for European Policy Analysis

Jeff Smith writes: What binds the Quad’s members and separates them from other groupings is their cumulative power, their shared threat assessments, their shared vision for the region, and their willingness to defy Beijing when necessary. In short, they have maintained their sovereignty and independence in the shadow of China’s rise and, if they stick together, chances are good that it will stay that way. – Heritage Foundation


Further tightening the screws on free speech in Russia just days after a national plebiscite effectively entrenched Vladimir V. Putin as president for life, a Russian military court on Monday convicted a freelance journalist on charges of “justifying terrorism” in a 2018 text critical of the security services. – New York Times

As the United States boils with anger over police brutality and racism, the experience of Russia since the collapse of Communism offers a cautionary lesson in the perils and disappointments of toppling monuments. Russia never engaged in a deep reckoning with its Soviet past, airing injustices and holding people accountable. Instead, atrocities were glossed over and some of the old elite, particularly in the security services, has reconstituted itself in power. – New York Times

A spokesman for the head of the Russian space agency has been arrested for treason, the agency says. […]Russian security service the FSB said he was suspected of espionage for a Nato country, Ria news agency said. – BBC

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: With his constitutional coup of 2020, Vladimir Putin has left the West no other choice. No other choice, that is, that wouldn’t betray its fundamental principles. – Washington Post

Alan Cullison writes: For years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants in the countryside. But that common purpose crumbled in recent years amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today, amid a furor in Washington over intelligence assessments that Russia allegedly paid bounties to the Taliban to attack U.S. soldiers, it may have seen an epitaph. – Wall Street Journal

Justin Sherman writes: The Kremlin may have said the preinstalled software law isn’t isolationist and only revolves around antitrust enforcement — what a Kremlin spokesman called “practiced widely throughout the world.” But it’s clear that for Europe and other parts of the West from which Russian leadership sees cybersecurity and digital competitiveness risks, these kinds of policies are only going to keep coming — and this law is just one way to track this saga’s evolution. – C4ISRNET


The U.K. government issued sanctions against dozens of Russian and Saudi nationals for alleged human-rights abuses, extending British legislation along the lines of the U.S.’s Global Magnitsky program targeting corrupt actors and human-rights offenders. – Wall Street Journal

German prosecutors say the trial of a 93-year-old former guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp proved he was an accessory to murder, and they called Monday for him to be given a three-year sentence. – Associated Press

The State Department approved a possible sale of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to France, in a deal that would bring the U.S. and French carrier air wings even closer together. – USNI News

EU-sponsored talks aimed at normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo will resume this Sunday — a year and a half after they ground to a halt as tension rose between the former wartime enemies. – Politico

EU lawmakers overwhelmingly backed a proposal on Monday to allow the European Union to retaliate more quickly in trade disputes, with a clear eye on the tariffs imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. – Reuters

The U.K.’s trade deal with the European Union isn’t the only massive project that British negotiators must contend with before they quit the bloc at the end of the year. – Bloomberg

Britain imposed sanctions on 25 Russians, including the top state investigator, and 20 Saudis on Monday, as part of post-Brexit measures foreign minister Dominic Raab said were aimed at stopping the laundering of “blood money in this country”. […]Following are some of the more notable names on the sanctions list, who will be subject to asset freezes and visa bans: – Reuters

Britain will “bear the consequences” if it treats China as a “hostile” country in deciding whether to allow telecoms equipment maker Huawei a role in UK 5G phone networks, China’s ambassador in London has warned. – Financial Times

Austrian counter-terrorism authorities are investigating whether the shooting of a Chechen man outside Vienna on Saturday was an assassination. – Financial Times

Angela Merkel is facing criticism in Germany for failing to take a tough line on China over the new national security law it has imposed on Hong Kong, with politicians from both opposition and government parties accusing the chancellor of being too soft on Beijing. – Financial Times


Egypt is attempting to raise international pressure on Ethiopia to strike a deal on the use of water from the Nile, which sustains life for tens of millions of people, as Addis Ababa prepares to begin filling a massive hydroelectric dam on a branch of the river this month. – Wall Street Journal

An Islamist terror group in Mozambique is staging increasingly sophisticated and destructive attacks on oil facilities and government targets this year. Its connections with Islamic State may be growing tighter, according to a report published Monday by data analytics company Babel Street. – Defense One

Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has dispatched former warlords, including two who were tried for war crimes in The Hague, to try to convince militiamen in their home region to surrender, the governor of Ituri province said on Monday. – Reuters

Systematic and brutal attacks by Islamist militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the last 18 months may amount to war crimes, the United Nations said on Monday. – Reuters

The Americas

In the 19 months since he took office, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hasn’t left the country once. This week, he’s traveling to Washington, to greet the world leader who has perhaps been the most demeaning to Mexico. In the midst of a pandemic. And a U.S. election campaign. – Washington Post

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Monday he won’t attend a meeting in Washington this week with President Donald Trump and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. The meeting was meant to celebrate the official start of the new trade deal between the three countries — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (U.S.M.C.A.). – New York Times

The great power threats that exist in the Western Hemisphere look different than those in other parts of the globe, U.S. Southern Command’s Adm. Craig Faller told the Washington Examiner, with China seeking port rights and technological penetration and Russia increasing disinformation and intelligence-gathering. – Washington Examiner

The White House dinner that President Donald Trump is hosting for his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will have business executives from both countries on the guest list, according to three people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Documents show Hunter Biden still controls a stake in a Chinese investment firm despite his promise to resign from the company’s board and a pledge from his father Joe Biden that no one in the family will have foreign business entanglements if he is elected in November. – Washington Examiner

H.R. McMaster and Pablo Tortolero write: The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement took effect last week, and U.S. business and political leaders should be racing to take advantage of its benefits. The deal will hasten economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Even more important, it will counteract the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression. – Wall Street Journal


Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday signaled that his government may be shifting its stance on Huawei and moving to further limit the Chinese telecom giant’s role in building Britain’s fifth generation mobile phone network. – Washington Post

TikTok, the buzzy short-video platform owned by Chinese technology giant Bytedance Ltd., said it would pull out of Hong Kong within a week in light of “recent developments” in the city. – Wall Street Journal

Google, Facebook Inc. FB 2.94% and Twitter Inc. TWTR 4.76% are among tech companies that have suspended processing requests for user data from Hong Kong law-enforcement agencies following China’s imposition of a national-security law on the city. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.” – Reuters

The large-scale shift to remote work has contributed to more acute cyber security awareness among employees, but organizations should adopt a more personalized approach since bad habits persist and no two employees are the same, a recently-released survey of thousands of workers in nearly 30 countries has found.  – Jerusalem Post


A spending bill released by House Democrats would ban funding from being used to conduct a nuclear test. – The Hill

A House spending bill for military construction would block funding from going to President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. – The Hill

Thomas Harker, the current U.S. Navy comptroller, has been named the acting comptroller for the Pentagon. – Defense News

The Army is on a path to use space sensors to help its artillery see and shoot well beyond current capability. – C4ISRNET

President Donald Trump nominated four Air Force generals for new appointments on Monday, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper announced in a DoD release. – C4ISRNET

L3Harris has successfully launched a new demonstrator satellite for the U.S. Air Force, the company announced July 6. – C4ISRNET

Zak Kallenborn writes: Of course, all of this requires the DHS Office of Policy to appropriately fund the Department’s counter-drone work. The drone wave that has threatened U.S. forces in the Middle East, might not yet have struck the homeland, but the low-cost nature of drones means the wave is off our shores. The United States should develop a nation-wide network now to reduce the threat and bolster American security. – Defense One

Brad Bannon writes: The United States faces an unprecedented threat to its national security. The biggest existential danger to our nation isn’t the external military menace from the People’s Republic of China or the Russian Federation. The major challenge to our survival as a world power is the internal peril from the pandemic sweeping the nation and the economic devastation that trails in its wake. – The Hill

Brian R. Green writes: A central theme of the 2019 Missile Defense Review is the desirability of integrating offensive forces with active and passive defenses. […]Thorough implementation of offense-defense integration for countering missile threats would touch almost every aspect of the U.S. military, including policy, doctrine, organization, training, materiel, and personnel. While desirable, complete integration down to the tactical level will be technically and operationally difficult to achieve. Even where possible, its realization will be neither rapid nor easy. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Long War

Swiss federal prosecutors said Monday they have indicted two men alleged to have tried to join up with jihadists in territory once held by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. – Associated Press

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic provides new opportunities for the Islamic State extremist group, al-Qaida and their affiliates as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups. – Associated Press

Douglas London writes: Today’s landscape is dramatically different from that to which we awoke on Sept. 11, 2001. It’s a complex mix of foreign and domestic forces influenced by economic and social conditions that breed extremism which ebbs and flows across physical and cyber space often defined by great power competition. While terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS have innovated and adapted, U.S. counterterrorism strategy has remained unchanged, fighting yesterday’s war while neglecting present day threats as well as those over the near horizon. America is long overdue to update its counterterrorism strategy and, perhaps more importantly, how we measure success. – Middle East Institute

Trump Administration

A top Republican tagged President Trump in a tweet encouraging U.S. Attorney John Durham to initiate any planned prosecutions as part of his inquiry into the Russia investigation before the 2020 election. – Washington Examiner

It was a happy Independence Day for American defense companies, with the U.S. State Department announcing Monday it has approved almost $7.5 billion in potential foreign military sales to five different countries. – Defense News

Gerard Baker writes: It won’t be enough to reassert America’s great historic virtues. It will require weakening the power of the totalitarians on campus, ensuring fair access for all voices on tech platforms, holding to account the lawless mobs defacing and defaming the nation’s legacy. But it will also require addressing the rot in American capitalism, reining in the power of bloated monopolies, and ensuring that corporations prioritize Americans over their globalist, progressive agendas. – Wall Street Journal