Fdd's overnight brief

July 7, 2021

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Iran has begun the process of producing enriched uranium metal, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Tuesday, a move that could help it develop a nuclear weapon and that three European powers said threatened talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. – Reuters 

President Hassan Rouhani apologised to Iranians on Tuesday over massive power outages during a heatwave that have drawn widespread criticism and triggered street protests. – 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 

Germany, France and Britain are voicing “grave concern” over a further move by Iran that they say is a serious violation of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, warning that it threatens the outcome of talks aimed at bringing the United States back into the agreement. – Associated Press 

An explosion ripped through oil and gas pipelines at a pump house in Iran’s southwest Tuesday, killing three oil workers and injuring four others, local media reported. – Associated Press 

Iran is doing its best to bring down the number of executions of child offenders to zero, a senior Iranian official told AFP amid recurrent criticism from the UN and rights groups. – Agence France-Presse

Media reports in April revealed that Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad that month, their first high-level meeting since Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2016. A second round was held in May, also in Baghdad. – Times of Israel 

Paul Miller writes: Given Armenia’s role in empowering Iran to circumvent sanctions, the Biden administration needs to understand how Yerevan undermines Washington’s nuclear diplomacy, and then do everything in its power to amplify the voices of Iranians who are asking their country to be more sympathetic toward Azerbaijan. Without such a mindset shift in the White House, hopes for successful diplomacy and enduring peace in Eurasia will likely fall by the wayside, along with President Biden’s promise on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. – Arutz Sheva


After 15 hours of parliamentary debate that dragged into the early hours of Tuesday, Israel’s diverse new ruling coalition was unable to agree on extending a law preventing the reunification of Palestinian families divided by the Israeli separation barrier. – Washington Post 

Norway’s largest pension fund said it has divested itself of 16 companies that operate in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. – Associated Press 

There is still an ongoing debate over whether it was wise to publicly reveal to the world the Mossad’s seizing of Iran’s secret nuclear archive or whether the disclosures should have been limited to allied intelligence services, former Mossad official Sima Shine said on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

El Al and Israir are preparing to launch direct flights to Morocco as early as July 25, as Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz is in Rabat this week to discuss bilateral issues including air travel. – Jerusalem Post 

A UN report released Tuesday found that it will cost an initial $485 million to repair the damage caused in the Gaza Strip during eleven days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in May. – Times of Israel 

Former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad has been shuttling between Gaza and the West Bank in recent days to promote a political initiative that could see him return to his previous position, a knowledgeable Palestinian source said on Monday. – Times of Israel 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed on Tuesday to prevent Israel from being used as a political football in the United States, as the new Israeli government works to restore ties with the Democratic Party, which have become frayed in recent years. – Times of Israel 

Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood portrayed the Biden administration’s approach to latest conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group as one of “quiet diplomacy” intended to first “stop the dying,” and emphasized the need to avert another flareup of violence. – Algemeiner 

Israel’s Foreign Minister Director-General Alon Ushpiz has embarked on a visit to Morocco to hold political dialogue talks and discuss ways to advance the bilateral relations between the two countries. – Algemeiner 

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday evening called President Reuven Rivlin ahead of his departure from office, the PA’s official Wafa news agency reported. – Arutz Sheva 

The Palestinian Authority’s “foreign ministry” is calling on the international community to bear its legal and moral responsibility for the “suffering” of the Palestinian people “over the ongoing crimes of occupation and settlement in Israel.” – Arutz Sheva 

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freige is working to establish an Israeli-Palestinian committee to promote economic progress and remove obstacles to the Palestinian Authority’s economic activity. – Haaretz 


A drone attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq with explosives on Tuesday, aimed at the U.S. base on the airport grounds, Kurdish security sources said. – Reuters 

The U.S. military has told Newsweek that it was aware of reports that a drone attack had hit near Erbil International Airport, but said early information suggested no human or material loss. – Newsweek 

Iraqi security forces have a new problem to deal with, as ISIS terrorists have been attacking electric power lines, usually the kind that travel long distances on large pylons. The worldwide jihadist group has attacked dozens in recent weeks. – Jerusalem Post 

A day after rumors of an attack on US forces in Syria by pro-Iran militias, they made good on their threats with two rounds of attacks on the US in Iraq. During the afternoon, rockets targeted Al-Asad base; by the evening, drones were reported to have targeted an area near the US embassy. – Jerusalem Post 

Crispin Smith and Hamdi Malik write: In the aftermath of the U.S. strike on targets in Iraq and Syria, a series of threats against air assets were posted on Twitter and Telegram. […]Threatening coalition aircraft is a great way for militias to have their cake and eat it. It is a serious threat, sure to impress supporters, but it does not have to be backed by action for militias to claim it had an effect, hence SAD’s second statement, which stressed the (alleged) financial and logistical strain placed on the coalition, while playing up the muqawama’s respect for Iraq’s interests and international law (another favored info op topic for the muqawama). – Washington Institute 

Mera Jasm Bakr writes: The forces and agencies of Kurdistan’s Ministry of Interior and the Kurdistan Region Security Council, collectively referred to the Kurdistan Region Interior Forces, are now the region’s main security actors, but their role as instruments of partisan rivalry and enforcers of public loyalty to the political bureaus threatens the Kurdistan Region’s stability. This report makes the case that coalition security sector reform efforts should be refocused on them. Although Peshmerga reform is necessary to improve the Kurdistan Region’s ability to combat external threats, it is equally, if not more important to start the same reform within these internal forces and agencies to achieve durable stability. – Middle East Institute 


Qatar will provide the Lebanese armed forces with 70 tonnes of food a month, the Qatari state news agency QNA reported, as Lebanon seeks assistance amid its worst economic and political crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister warned Tuesday that the country is hurtling toward a “social explosion” and appealed to the international community for assistance to prevent the demise of the nation facing multiple crises. – Associated Press 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has sent a proposal for humanitarian aid to Lebanon through UNIFIL, his ministry announced on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

“There are no people in the Israeli entity, they are all occupiers and settlers,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said. – Jerusalem Post 


An Egyptian court on Tuesday lifted a three-month long judicial seizure of a hulking shipping vessel that had blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year, paving the way for it to leave Egypt. – Associated Press 

Despite this, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made clear that they want to reset the relations between their countries after Israel signed additional peace agreements with four Muslim countries, three of them in the Middle East. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the first time spoke over the phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who congratulated him on assuming office. – Arutz Sheva 

Lazar Berman writes: Egypt is still not ready to accept Turkey’s overtures, and is instead countering with displays of military force. Israel, too, has been cold to Turkish attempts to rekindle ties. With new diplomatic and security relationships with Arab states, Israel likely won’t engage with Turkey until Ankara shuts down Hamas activity in the country, is transparent about its activities in East Jerusalem, and ends its harsh anti-Israel rhetoric. – Times of Israel 

Arabian Peninsula

The fighting between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that emerged in recent days over oil production had been brewing for months, if not years. – New York Times 

Biden administration officials are “encouraged” by ongoing OPEC talks and have spoken with officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in hopes of reaching an agreement to stem the rise in crude prices, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. – Bloomberg 

Like many relationships, the one between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had long rested on two simple principles for when disputes arose: deal with them behind closed doors or bite your tongue. After the neighbors’ very public spat over future OPEC+ oil output, that’s now looking hopelessly old-fashioned and the consequences are rippling out from the Persian Gulf. – Bloomberg 

Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Tuesday received the Gulf state’s new ambassador to Israel, Khalid Yusuf Al-Jalahma, i24NEWS reported, citing the state-run Bahrain News Agency. – Arutz Sheva 

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Tuesday became the highest-ranking Saudi envoy to visit Washington since Joe Biden became president in January, and held talks with senior officials on the Yemen war and threats from Iran. – Reuters 

Editorial: This means more pricing leverage for OPEC and Russia—and for Iran if Mr. Biden lets Tehran escape sanctions on its oil exports as part of a renewed nuclear deal. So Russia and Iran will benefit from Mr. Biden’s fossil-fuel disarmament while Americans pay more for energy. The way out of such contradictions would be to let U.S. producers respond to higher prices without new political obstacles. He can tell the climate lobby it beats political defeat. – Wall Street Journal 

Liam Denning writes: As for the club itself, consider that of the original five OPEC founders, only Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could now be thought of as relatively stable, dependable oil producers. The other three — Iran, Iraq and Venezuela — are in various stages of advanced economic degradation. […]The bigger reason is that the old certainties that underwrote OPEC — ever rising demand, long price cycles, U.S. security for trade and the Arabian peninsula — are slipping. That is why OPEC+ exists in the first place. Whatever force pulls the UAE toward what comes next is getting stronger than the one holding it in place. That’s a dynamic with consequences for the entire group. – Bloomberg 

Simon Henderson writes: Riyadh’s principal concern is probably Iran and the likelihood of a revived nuclear agreement. The Saudis are likely also upset that Washington has agreed to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates rather than the kingdom as its first regional customer. Other developments in Saudi-Emirati relations could affect the atmosphere of this week’s talks as well. […]In short, although Prince Khalid’s visit represents a significant step in reopening the Saudi-U.S. relationship, it is also a reminder of the differences confronting both governments and their regional partners. – Washington Institute 


Hassan Saleh and his younger brother Saeed, both in their early 20s, have been fighting alongside other government fighters and tribesman outside the oil-rich city of Marib, against the months-long offensive by the Iranian-backed rebels. […]This is the most active frontline in Yemen’s nearly 7-year-old civil war, where a steady stream of fighters on both sides are killed or wounded every day, even as international pressure to end the war intensifies. – Associated Press 

The Biden administration is extending a program that allows people from Yemen to stay in the U.S. temporarily because of the turmoil from the civil war there. – Associated Press

Elham Manea writes: To assure a sustainable peace, Yemen must move beyond a pattern of simple conflict resolution, which has so far failed to address the historical roots of  the country’s recurrent crises, along with its intergroup grievances, and elites’ manipulation of ethnic identities. Positive and sustainable peace requires serious reconciliation with the past — an indispensable step for an enduring and meaningful transitional justice. – Middle East Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

Jordan’s security court will hand down its verdict in the trial of a former royal confidant accused of destabilizing the monarchy on Monday, an official source said. – Reuters 

China said Tuesday it wants the U.N. Security Council to not only extend humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria from neighboring countries but to tackle the impact of Western sanctions and the need to expand deliveries across conflict lines. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden’s effort to reverse a free fall in U.S.-Russia relations encounters an early test in Syria as an agreement over international aid corridors into the country is set to expire this week. – Bloomberg 

Dmitry Plotnikov, an expert on “soft power” and the post-Soviet space authored an analysis titled “Turkey Is Building a New Ottoman Empire”, where he analyzed the growing ties between Ankara and Baku and concluded that Russia has lost its formerly dominant position in Azerbaijan. This is most evident in military relations where officers trained in Turkey are displacing the graduates of Russian military academies. Azerbaijan may serve as a springboard for further Turkish penetration of the Middle East. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Korean Peninsula

The United States’ top envoy for North Korea spoke with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday, a State Department spokesman said, after Pyongyang’s repeated rejection of the Biden administration’s attempts to establish dialogue. – Reuters 

North Korea is facing a food shortage of around 860,000 tonnes this year, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation forecast, warning the country could experience a “harsh lean period” as early as next month. – Agence France-Presse 

China has advised the United States to listen to North Korea and its grievances at a time when the leaders of the two allied Asian neighbors are emphasizing the growing ties between their nations. – Newsweek 

James Hoare writes: But the fear that North Korea might be pushed further into a corner and then lash out, has tended to make the Chinese cautious in the pressure they put on the North. They believe that engagement and encouragement are more effective than threats and that consistency is vital. They wish to be involved but are also aware that it is only the United States that can offer North Korea the security and recognition it seeks. It should also be obvious that if China is facing criticism over issues such as trade, security and human rights, then it may not feel very inclined to work with the United States. – The National Interest


China said it would tighten rules for companies listed overseas or seeking to sell shares abroad, moves that could hinder attempts by homegrown firms to raise money in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal 

Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of the tech company Lenovo and a towering figure in China’s private sector, has long held the view that businesspeople should steer clear of politics. Yet he recently found out firsthand that in President Xi Jinping’s China, which is engaged in a tech cold war with the United States, business cannot just be business. – New York Times 

On the morning of Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison was working from his official residence when an aide alerted him to a tweet by a Chinese foreign-ministry spokesman. – New York Times 

Hong Kong apparel giant Esquel Group said it is suing the U.S. government for what it called the “erroneous” blacklisting of a subsidiary, saying it had been “falsely implicated” in the use of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. – Bloomberg 

The State Department placed China on a small list of countries whose governments engage in a “policy or pattern” of human trafficking, specifically noting the treatment of Uyghurs and other minorities. – Washington Examiner 

An invasion of Taiwan by China would likely trigger a major conflict that would drag Japan and the United States into war with the Asian power, according to a senior Japanese official who suggested that Beijing’s ambitions could pose an existential threat to Tokyo. – Washington Examiner 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among 2021’s most effective “press freedom predators,” a watchdog says. – Washington Examiner 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met virtually on Tuesday with Uyghur Muslims who were detained at camps in China’s northwest Xinjiang region to hear about their experiences and seek advice on how best to pressure China to halt repression there. – Associated Press 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday attacked calls from some in the U.S. and its allies to limit their dependency on Chinese suppliers and block the sharing of technologies. – Associated Press 

China’s state newspaper has said that visas for hundreds of Chinese postgraduate students to study at top U.S. universities have been rejected in a move of “discrimination and repression.” – Newsweek 

China has said it “will never allow” any country to intervene militarily in a Taiwan Strait conflict, one day after Japan’s deputy prime minister posited a collective defense of the self-ruled island by Japanese and U.S. forces. – Newsweek 

Editorial: President Xi Jinping is consolidating state control over the economy, so American investors in Chinese firms can expect more regulatory disruption. Those capital gains will come with capital political risks. – Wall Street Journal 

Joseph Bosco writes: It is understandable that the executive branch under Biden, just as was true under Trump and all of their predecessors, would prefer not to have its hands tied by a clear security commitment to Taiwan. But anything less than strategic clarity keeps the door open for Beijing to believe it can get away with a quick strike on some piece of Taiwanese territory or on Taipei itself. – The Hill 

Scott W. Harold writes: In short, Xi’s speech was likely aimed at forging unity domestically, ensuring the ruling status of “the party forever,” and advancing China’s power abroad. Xi’s emphasis on nationalism, recovering “lost” territories and remolding international order suggest that tensions with the United States will continue, as will threats to Taiwan, Japan, India and other countries whose territories China covets. It also suggests that U.S. policymakers may need to understand how to develop influence in strategic competition with an increasingly assertive China. – The Hill 


Taliban representatives and Afghan government delegates meet every few days at a beachfront Ritz-Carlton resort and spa here, the unhurried pace of their peace talks sharply contrasting with the raging war back home. – Wall Street Journal 

Earlier this year, the Biden administration committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. But the process has been faster than anticipated, and nearly all troops are now expected to depart in the coming days. Here are key questions about the conflict and the efforts to resolve it, answered. – Washington Post 

Imam Sahib is one of dozens of districts caught up in a Taliban military offensive that has swiftly captured more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s districts, many in the north, since the U.S. withdrawal began in May. It is all part of the Taliban’s broader strategy of trying to rebrand themselves as capable governors while they press a ruthless, land-grabbing offensive across the country. – New York Times 

The U.S. military said on Tuesday that it completed approximately more than 90 percent of its withdrawal from Afghanistan. – Reuters 

Russian military helicopters based in Tajikistan fired air-to-surface missiles during a training exercise on Tuesday as Moscow said its forces in the Central Asian nation were fully equipped to help secure the border with Afghanistan. – Reuters

Afghan security personnel who fled into Tajikistan are being brought back to rejoin the fight against Taliban insurgents, Afghanistan’s national security adviser said, and some 2,300 who abandoned positions across the country had returned to service. – Reuters 

Tajikistan’s president on Monday ordered the mobilisation of 20,000 military reservists to bolster the border with Afghanistan after more than 1,000 Afghan security personnel fled across the frontier in response to Taliban militant advances. – Reuters 

A surge of Taliban wins in northern Afghanistan has caused some countries to close their consulates in the region, while across the border in Tajikistan, reservists are being called up to reinforce the southern border, according to officials and reports Tuesday. – Associated Press 

The U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said. – Associated Press 

The US government calls its Afghan exit a “drawdown,” not a retreat. And it insists it will continue to support the increasingly vulnerable Afghan government from a distance. – Agence France-Presse 

Lara Seligman writes: This would not be the first time the United States has stationed troops in Central Asia to support the Afghan war. […]But the prospect of such an agreement with one of the Central Asian states now is unlikely given the sour state of the relationship between Washington and Moscow, which is at one of its lowest points since the Cold War. Many of these countries are dependent on Russia — and to some extent China — for exports as well as military equipment and training. The former Soviet republic states need tacit approval from Moscow to base U.S. troops on their soil, experts say. – Politico 

Jeff Schogol writes: “If the Taliban can deny Afghanistan’s government and its backers their base of power, Afghanistan is effectively lost,” Roggio wrote. “The government could not possibly keep its tenuous footholds in the south, east, west, and even in central Afghanistan if the north is lost. If the Afghan government loses the north, the Taliban could take the population centers in the south, east, and west without a fight, and begin its siege of Kabul.” – Task and Purpose 

South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi let the world know on Tuesday that he had personally wished Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a happy 86th birthday in a phone call, disregarding any potential disapproval from China. – Reuters 

The United Nations said Tuesday it was deeply disturbed by the death in pre-trial detention of Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Indian rights activist and Jesuit priest. – Agence France-Presse 

The U.N. human rights chief on Tuesday praised the “incredible resilience” of Myanmar’s people in helping each other in the wake of a military takeover and violent crackdown, while calling on the international community to keep up pressure on the junta to halt violence and restore democracy. – Associated Press 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was working to expedite the implementation of a five-point consensus reached by their leaders to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, Singapore’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters 


In a city besieged by political turmoil, the authorities cast the incidents as terrorism and proof of the threat posed by some parts of the opposition. They said the episodes underscored the necessity of a national security law Beijing imposed last year,  and they have suggested that even stricter measures may be required. – New York Times 

Hong Kong’s chief executive tried to ease U.S. tech titans’ concerns about proposed changes to data-protection laws, saying new rules are needed to stop the malicious posting of people’s personal information online but that the government would listen to the companies. – Wall Street Journal 

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday “ideologies” posed risks to national security and urged parents, teachers and religious leaders to observe the behaviour of teenagers and report those who break the law to the authorities. – Reuters 

The U.S. appointed a new top representative to Taiwan, in the Biden administration’s latest move to strengthen ties with Taipei amid increasing pressure from Beijing. – Bloomberg 

Chinese warplanes streaking through the skies around Taiwan, once a rare sight, are showing up much more frequently. The exercises signal China’s displeasure with the island’s democratically elected government and its efforts to deepen ties with the U.S. In response to the People’s Liberation Army’s moves, the Pentagon has stepped up surveillance flights in the region, raising the risk of a confrontation between two of the world’s most powerful militaries. – Bloomberg 

A university professor in New Zealand claims her Twitter account was temporarily restricted after she criticized the Chinese government and its president, Xi Jinping. – Washington Examiner

Jason Rezaian writes: Not only does it point to China’s already outsize regional influence, it also underscores America’s own waning ability to do much in the face heavy-handed tactics aimed at civil society. The United States has lost so much of its moral authority in recent years, and our defense of press freedom as a global ideal has been an obvious casualty in this struggle. For media freedom to flourish in Asia again, though, it will require regional powers with democratic traditions, such as India and the Philippines, to return to the values that their current leaderships have abandoned. – Washington Post 

William Alan Reinsch writes: There are legitimate trade issues between the United States and Taiwan that a trade agreement could resolve to the benefit of both parties, but a decision to go forward will not be based on a burning desire to sell Taiwan more pork. It will depend on how the United States wants to position itself with respect to China, and that is a policy, like so many others, that remains “under review.” – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Gregory B. Poling, Simon Tran Hudes, and Andreyka Natalegawa write: The U.S.-Vietnam relationship has been on an upward trajectory defined by common interests since diplomatic relations between the two countries normalized a quarter-century ago. Vietnam was one of two Southeast Asian countries specifically referenced in the Biden administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, demonstrating the extent to which it has become an increasingly critical part of U.S. defense planning for the region. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


A passenger plane with 28 people aboard crashed in far eastern Russia on Tuesday, the authorities said, in the latest blow to the country’s sprawling but aging domestic aviation industry. – New York Times

Russia hopes to hold the opening round of nuclear strategic stability talks with the United States this month, RIA news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russian security forces said Tuesday they had detained Estonia’s consul to Saint Petersburg for allegedly receiving classified documents, the latest in a series of espionage cases between Moscow and the West. – Agence France-Presse 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that the situation in Afghanistan had a tendency to swiftly deteriorate and said Moscow was ready to defend its regional allies if necessary. – Reuters 


German police on Wednesday raided the living quarters of two possible accomplices of the jihadists who went on a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna last November, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said. – Reuters 

Authorities at a British military base on Cyprus have hired 50% more customs officers and procured detection equipment to better thwart illegal immigration from the breakaway north of the ethnically split island. – Associated Press 

The U.S. Transportation Department finalized an order on Tuesday banning ticket sales for air travel between the United States and Belarus, acting after Minsk forced a Ryanair flight to land and arrested a dissident journalist who was aboard.  – 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 

The European Union promised Tuesday to help bloc member Lithuania handle an influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, which the Baltic nation says is encouraged by authorities in neighboring Belarus as part of their standoff with the West. – Associated Press 

A German man who ran a think tank has been arrested on suspicion of being an informant for Chinese intelligence for years, German prosecutors said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko warned the European Union on Tuesday that Belarus would not “become a camp” for migrants fleeing from the Middle East and Africa as part of Belarus’s “hybrid war” with Europe. – Newsweek 

Poland’s ruling party leader on Tuesday condemned comments from Israel regarding a new law that could have an impact on the restitution of Jewish property after World War II and said the country did not owe anything to anyone. – Reuters 

Viktor Orban’s government is failing to ensure the transparent use of EU funds and their independent oversight, according to a report that will embolden calls to withhold payments of EU money to Budapest. – Financial Times 

Andrew A. Michta writes: European NATO allies and America are unlikely to reach a consensus on the severity of the threat China poses in the near future. Nor is it probable that Russia’s continued pressure on NATO’s eastern flank will galvanize Europe to rebuild its armed forces. Unless NATO members agree on geostrategic objectives and rearm their militaries, the alliance will remain hollow, and it will eventually devolve into yet another talking shop. – Wall Street Journal 

Stephen Blank writes: The U.S and EU can do much to advance improved Serbian government, and foster closer ties. […]Such gestures would strengthen the benefits of ties with NATO to the Serbian public, which currently values cooperation with NATO, while strongly opposing membership. These gestures would also rally supporters of integration with the West, who could then offer tangible proof of the benefits of this integration to the public. In turn, that could encourage the appointment of new people in the Ministry of Defense and elsewhere, and promote a virtuous cycle of improved governance, and sympathy for the EU and NATO. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, stressing the need for all parties to commit to an immediate and indefinite ceasefire in the northern Tigray region, the State Department said. – Reuters 

The United Nations called on Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Tuesday to recommit to talks on the operation of a giant hydropower dam, urging them to avoid any unilateral action, a day after Ethiopia began filling the dam’s reservoir. – Reuters 

Zeinab Badawi writes: As the international community considers how to respond to the tragedy in Tigray, it should also apply pressure to each of Ethiopia’s warring parties in order to get them to come to the table. It must be made clear that there can be no military solution to the country’s challenges. […]I wonder what my great-grandmother would think if she could see that the conflict raging in her country today is not between Ethiopians and their would-be European subjugators but between her own compatriots. – Financial Times 

The Americas

Nicaraguan police arrested a half dozen more opposition figures, including the sixth presidential hopeful to have been arrested in a crackdown that started last month. […]On Tuesday, the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said Tuesday that “more restrictive” measures may be needed against Ortega’s Sandinista regime. – Associated Press

A Colombian businessman close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is appealing a U.S. court decision to disregard his diplomatic immunity in a last-ditch effort to block his extradition to American soil over corruption charges. – Bloomberg 

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomes efforts by Venezuela’s government to improve human rights standards in the country but says they do not go far enough. Bachelet gave her assessment in a report she submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council. – VOA News  

Tom Switzer writes: Nixon’s predictions about the end of U.S. global pre-eminence proved to be wrong, or so it seemed in the five years before his death in 1994. The Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. enjoyed what Charles Krauthammer called “the unipolar moment.” Late in life, Nixon wrote books arguing that the U.S. would dominate the world scene and its will would shape the new era. […]Today China is rising, Russia is resurgent, and the U.S. is again consumed by division and self-doubt. Will the U.S. disprove the forecasts of decline again, or was Nixon ahead of his time? – Wall Street Journal

Ira Stoll writes: But it is a call for the Times to reckon honestly with its own role in stoking hatred of Jews. Or, if that’s asking too much, at least to stop suppressing the news of such violent attacks from the newspaper’s readers. […]Between the Bronx synagogue attacks non-coverage and the Boston rabbi stabbing non-coverage, it sure looks as though — now that antisemitism is not so readily blamed on Donald Trump — the Times has abandoned interest just as rapidly as it had acquired it. – Algemeiner


A group of Russian hackers calling themselves REvil is demanding $70 million to unlock computers swept up in a widespread ransomware attack that started to unfold July 2. It is the latest of such high-profile incidents that the U.S. government has been trying to stamp out, along with other cybercrimes. – Wall Street Journal 

Between 800 and 1,500 businesses around the world were compromised or affected by a cyberattack on Friday that security experts said could be the largest attack in history using ransomware, in which hackers shut down systems until a ransom is paid. – New York Times 

Pentagon officials on Tuesday terminated the massive JEDI cloud-computing contract and said they would start fresh with a new project, capping a yearslong initiative that had become mired in litigation from Amazon.com Inc. and a barrage of objections from Congress. – Wall Street Journal

Russian cybercriminals’ latest massive ransomware attack is placing new pressure on President Joe Biden to follow through on his promise to make Moscow pay for turning a blind eye to digital assaults emanating from within its borders. – Politico

President Joe Biden, will take on the rapidly growing threat of ransomware against companies and localities by convening key officials to discuss administration strategy in the wake of a high-profile attack by hackers. – Bloomberg 

President Joe Biden sent a thinly veiled threat to Russian leaders Tuesday, saying a ransomware attack allegedly launched from its soil did “minimal” damage in the United States while touting Washington’s ability to strike back. – Washington Examiner 

Huawei Technologies Co. says it was treated unfairly when the U.S. government labeled it a security threat, yet China’s largest technology company is seeking redress from the American jury system in a major patent fight with Verizon Communications Inc. – Bloomberg 

Russian government hackers breached the computer systems of the Republican National Committee last week, around the time a Russia-linked criminal group unleashed a massive ransomware attack, according to two people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg 

The Air Force’s 67th Cyberspace Wing is experimenting with a new method for doling out tasks to defensive cyberspace operators. – C4ISRNET 

Editorial: Pentagon procurements are often roiled by political interference, and the massive JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud-computing contract is another case in point. The Biden Defense Department rightly decided Tuesday to scrap the contract and start afresh. […]The CIA contracted with Amazon in 2013 but is now pursuing a multi-cloud initiative. Using multiple providers could also bolster data security against inevitable cyber-attacks. Defense needs to ensure the new cloud contract suits a tech market that can change as fast as battlefield conditions. – Wall Street Journal 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Taken together, these threats show that the US and other countries are being challenged by complex technologies. While the UFOs have so far not been a threat, or harmed any pilots that we know of, the Havana Syndrome and the cyberattacks are a serious threat. If the US and its partners can’t get to the bottom of these incidents, they might find themselves behind in a global technology race in which hi-tech is not only used for new apps but also for major threats. – Jerusalem Post  


Raytheon Technologies will get up to $2 billion to develop the U.S. Air Force’s Long Range Standoff Weapon system, a new nuclear-capable, air-launched cruise missile that will be carried by B-52 and B-21 bombers. – Defense News 

Shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries is set to buy defense services company Alion Science and Technology for $1.65 billion, HII officials said on Tuesday. – USNI News 

The “Black Knights” of U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314 have taken their next step ahead of deploying on Navy aircraft carriers for the first time. – USNI News 

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is in the Mediterranean Sea, heading home after three months in the Middle East, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News. – USNI News