Fdd's overnight brief

June 11, 2021

In The News


The Biden administration lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and several energy companies amid stalled nuclear negotiations, signaling Washington’s willingness to further ease economic pressure on Iran if the country changes course. – Wall Street Journal

Russia is preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite system that will give Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets across the Middle East and beyond, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials briefed on details of the arrangement. – Washington Post

The European Union and U.S. said they’re deeply concerned about Iran’s failure to clarify the source of nuclear material found at several undeclared facilities, and urged Tehran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. – Bloomberg 

Iran’s presidential vote next week will likely replace a moderate with an ultraconservative, but this shouldn’t derail ongoing nuclear talks because there is a broad political consensus in Tehran that they should succeed, analysts say. – Agence France-Presse 

Iran on Thursday accused the UN nuclear agency of having taken “a counterproductive approach” after its head said Tehran had not clarified queries over possible undeclared nuclear activity, AFP reports. – Agence France-Presse

Thursday’s edition of the hardliner Javan newspaper affiliated with the revolutionary Guard carried two articles responding to President Hassan Rouhani’s criticism of presidential election candidates for their attacks on his administration’s performance. – Iran International 

Daniel Byman writes: Throughout the greater Middle East, Iran’s proxies offer it a network of forward-deployed military assets, giving it greater influence and more deterrence capability than Tehran enjoyed in 1996, when it relied more on traditional terrorism. […]Proxy forces also give Iran influence over regional governments. – Wall Street Journal 

Fariba Parsa writes: The record of the Rouhani government over the past eight years is the reason a majority of Iranian women and men, including those from a wide range of social, cultural, and religious backgrounds, have decided not to vote in this year’s presidential election, set to be held on June 18. Going forward, we can expect to see more violations of women’s and civil rights, more poverty, more people arrested and sent to prison, as well as more civil disobedience and more popular protests. The trajectory is clear. The only question is how long it will continue and how it will end. – Middle East Institute


At least 10 people were killed in Syrian army artillery attacks and Russian air raids this week in a spike in bombardments in the last major area of the country still in rebel hands, witnesses and civil defence officials said. – Reuters

Two Iranian oil tankers carrying about 1.4 million barrels of Iranian crude oil are set to arrive in Baniyas, Syria on Friday, Tanker Trackers reported on Thursday. Another about 300,000 barrels of oil are on a third tanker waiting in the Suez Canal, according to the report. – Jerusalem Post 

Josh Rogin writes: When Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin meet for the first time as presidents in Geneva next week, Syria will be on the agenda. If the two leaders make progress on humanitarian aid there, that could send a positive signal regarding cooperation between the two countries and raise hope for millions of suffering people. But if Putin insists on starving the Syrian people, Biden must step in to help them. – Washington Post


Turkey is forging ahead with ambitious plans to field a fourth-generation main battle tank (MBT). Ankara’s interest in designing a next-generation MBT stems back to the 1990s. The project, spearheaded by Turkish automotive giant Otokar, sought to domestically produce a cutting-edge tank with extensive participation from local Turkish defense manufacturers. – The National Interest 

The rapprochement between Turkey and Egypt in the recent months has also been evident in the Egyptian media, which gradually stopped publishing the anti-Turkish content that had been prevalent on it for years. Turkey, for its part, also restrained the anti-Egyptian rhetoric in the Turkish and Turkey-based media. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Aaron Stein writes: The story of the TB2 remains politically powerful in Turkey. As the story is told, Ankara overcame a U.S. refusal to provide it with weapons with an indigenous solution, and this indigenous solution is now on the cutting edge of warfare. This is a politically useful narrative and is likely to be used to frame Turkey’s pursuit of an indigenous jet fighter, now that Ankara has lost out on the F-35. However, the story of the TB2 is incomplete and for all the hype online, it is critical to note that analysts still have little understanding of how this platform would perform or be used against a modern adversary. – War on the Rocks


Yossi Cohen, who retired as head of the Mossad last week, provided highly specific details of recent Mossad activity against Iran, his interactions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his role in Israel’s normalization with the UAE, and his own undercover career in an extraordinary interview on Israeli television broadcast on Thursday night – Times of Israel

Israel has reportedly asked Egypt to prevent the entry to Gaza of cement and other building materials that could be diverted by Palestinian terror groups for military use. – Times of Israel

Hamas is closely following what is happening in Jerusalem and warns Israel against continuing its “provocations” against the Palestinians in the city, Abu Obeida, spokesperson for the terrorist group’s military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam Brigades, warned on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

Opposition leader Yair Lapid signed a historic agreement with the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party Friday morning. Ra’am will be the first Arab party in the governing coalition since the Arab List for Bedouin and Villagers in Yitzhak Rabin’s first term as prime minister in 1974-1977. – Jerusalem Post

Hamas Political Bureau head Ismail Haniyeh will continue on to Lebanon and Iran after his diplomatic visit to Cairo ends, Lebanese daily Al Akhbar reported on Friday morning, citing sources familiar with the matter. – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: Remarks by the Likud and its allies reflect a dangerous belief that the country’s leadership belongs to a certain group of people, and that there is only one person who is able to lead the country and without him, the nation will not survive. It is time for a restart. – Jerusalem Post

Joseph Krauss writes: If all goes according to plan, Israel will swear in a new government on Sunday, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule and a political crisis that inflicted four elections on the country in less than two years. – Associated Press


Lebanon is grappling with an unprecedented economic and financial crisis that has seen the local currency collapse and banks clamp down on withdrawals and money transfers. As the Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves dry up, the country has been witnessing shortages in medicines, fuel and other basic goods, with long lines forming outside petrol stations. – Associated Press 

The International Monetary Fund said the Lebanese central bank’s decision allowing dollar depositors to withdraw funds partly in the U.S. currency risks fanning prices. – Bloomberg 

Matthew Levitt writes: There is no doubt that Lebanese Hezbollah fulfills the statutory requirements under the Australian Criminal Code for continued designation as a terrorist organization. However, it is my expert recommendation to the Parliamentary Joint Committee that renewal of this partial designation—to include only the group’s External Security Organization—is insufficient. – Washington Institute

Gulf States

The United States on Thursday announced sanctions on what it called members of a smuggling network that generates tens millions of dollars for Yemen’s Houthis, pressuring the Iran-aligned movement to accept a ceasefire and peace talks. – Reuters 

At least eight people were killed in explosions that shook the Yemeni city of Marib in what the information minister said were missile and drone strikes launched by Houthi forces trying to seize the gas-rich region. – Reuters 

South Africa’s government criticized the United Arab Emirates for failing to cooperate with its requests for assistance in bringing to justice people suspected of being involved in corruption. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

The Biden administration is laying the groundwork for a renewed push to encourage more Arab countries to sign accords with Israel and working to strengthen existing deals after last month’s devastating war in the Gaza Strip interrupted those diplomatic efforts. – Ynet

Spain is looking into ending a deal that allows visa-free crossing from Moroccan towns into Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, a government official said on Friday. The move comes amid a row between the two countries over issues linked to Western Sahara, a region Morocco claims sovereignty over. – Reuters 

Michael Knights writes: Iraq’s demonstrated trend of judicial intimidation is perhaps unsurprising in a country that has suffered a constant state of insurgency and intense terrorist penetration for nearly twenty years. In the past, the U.S.-led coalition invested significant resources in protecting Iraqi judges, courts, and witnesses so that prosecutions could be brought to conclusion against members of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State. Today, the same kind of protection is needed so that judges can do their job when attempting to prosecute militia criminals. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

Kim Jong-un called it a “vicious cancer” corrupting young North Koreans’ “attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors.” His state media has warned that if left unchecked, it would make North Korea “crumble like a damp wall.” – New York Times 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to depart Friday for the Group of Seven summit in Britain where talk of countering China could overshadow Seoul’s efforts to be seen as a bigger player on issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. – Reuters 

South Korea’s main opposition party picked a 36-year-old who has never served in parliament as its leader, turning to a reform advocate as it tries to reclaim the presidency next year. – Bloomberg


China enacted a new law aimed at countering foreign sanctions, in response to U.S. and European efforts to pressure Beijing on issues spanning human rights, trade and technology. – Wall Street Journal

The police in the Chinese region of Xinjiang are still buying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of American DNA equipment despite warnings from the U.S. government that the sale of such technologies could be used to enable human rights abuses in the region. – New York Times 

Beijing has broken its legal obligations by undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and used a national security law to “drastically curtail freedoms” in the global financial hub, according to a report by Britain on its former colony. – Reuters 

Chinese forces tested their ability to deploy ballistic missiles designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers, as Beijing raises the specter of an invasion of neighboring Taiwan in response to a recent visit to the island by three U.S. senators. – Washington Examiner

Hong Kong is instructing censors to ban any movie that could be seen as endorsing activities that would contravene the national security law imposed by China last year, the latest curb on freedom of expression in the Asian financial hub. – Bloomberg 

Commerce ministers from China and the U.S. agreed to push forward trade and investment links in their first call since the start of the Biden administration, with Washington seeking a more level playing field. – Bloomberg 

Michael Beckley writes: To change course, the Biden administration must explicitly and repeatedly order the military to focus on deterring China and downsize its other missions. These orders need to be fleshed out and codified in the administration’s defense budget requests and in its National Defense Strategy. In addition, the administration should support the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a program that would plug holes in the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia. If the United States does not seize this chance to secure its military advantage over China, it may not get another. – Foreign Affairs 

Ted R. Bromund and James Roberts write: The Biden Administration should continue the leadership demonstrated by the previous Administration to rally the G-7 to confront and push back against the threat to Western nations and their values from China. To deal with the China that has emerged on the global stage, G-7 allies must demonstrate the determination to protect their vital interests for the long term and sustain this determination through multiple generations of Chinese leadership. – Heritage Foundation

Tim Culpan writes: By laying out national security objectives, as Biden does in this executive order, the White House makes it easier for allied leaders to convince constituents that siding with America is a sound move. Providing them with facts and analysis instead of blunt rhetoric allows policy makers in Europe and elsewhere to push back against China’s lobbying efforts. – Bloomberg


Hundreds of Afghans are killed or injured every month in violence connected to the country’s constant war. […]Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, despised by Sunni Muslim radicals like the Islamic State group, and discriminated against by many in the Sunni majority country. – Associated Press

The U.S. military has already started conducting so-called over-the-horizon operations as it withdraws from Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday. – The Hill

Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 deal for the pullout of U.S. forces, a Taliban spokesman said on Thursday, effectively rejecting Ankara’s proposal to guard and run Kabul’s airport after U.S.-led NATO forces depart. – Reuters 

South Asia

Authorities in Myanmar have charged Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption, the latest in a raft of criminal cases brought against her since the country’s military overthrew her government in a coup and returned the Southeast Asian nation to authoritarian rule. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: The brazenness of Myanmar’s military in seeking to suppress opposition to its seizure of power crosses international boundaries. Among the approximately 50 journalists it is currently detaining are two U.S. citizens, who have been jailed in the notorious Insein Prison. Demands by senior Biden administration officials for their release have been ignored; at least one of the Americans reportedly has been tortured, while the other has been denied consular access. These gross abuses must be met by a specific and tangible U.S. response. – Washington Post

Sadanand Dhume writes: Should New Delhi ban Twitter—or effectively do so by inducing it to exit with unreasonable demands—India will be the ultimate loser. In global perceptions, this would place India in the dubious company of Iran, China and North Korea. – Wall Street Journal 

Thant Myint-U writes: Myanmar’s future need not be bleak. Successful change must come from within, and there is absolutely no doubt, given what has happened since February, that Myanmar’s young people are determined to alter the course of their country’s history. It is they who must chart a path forward. But global action now could alleviate some of the suffering in the country and help it more swiftly escape impending disaster. – Foreign Affairs 


The U.S. and Taiwan’s trade chiefs held discussions Thursday, with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai emphasizing the importance of Washington’s trade and investment relationship with Taipei. – Bloomberg

Editorial: As President Biden announced the administration’s vaccine distribution plans, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was in the middle of the administration’s first high-level trip to Southeast Asia. From June 1 to 3, she visited Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia before stopping in Honolulu for discussions with Indo-Pacific Command. Vaccine distribution and pandemic response was a major focus in all three countries. But the chosen stops also highlighted some of the administration’s other top regional priorities. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

David Fickling writes: In the U.S., the institutions of civil society were if anything invigorated by the challenge of the Trump presidency — although it’s probably too soon to say that danger has passed. From Ghana, to Chile, to South Korea, there are plenty of examples of nations where democracy has over time seemed to grow more, not less, secure. That prospect is still open to Mongolia. – Bloomberg  

Sophie Lemière writes: While the Muhyiddin government could certainly be blamed for a lack of coherence due to inter-ministerial rivalries, it has also had to grapple with the Kafkaesque bureaucracy inherited from previous administrations. No prime minister in recent memory has successfully attempted bureaucratic reform; the few who tried have been beaten down by the strength and resistance of Malaysia’s old-fashioned political machinery. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


A legal ban on Russia’s leading opposition group. The attempted assassination of a Kremlin critic followed by his imprisonment. Near-blanket prohibitions on street protests. A tightening crackdown on independent media. – New York Times 

Russia has fined social media platform Facebook and messaging app Telegram for not taking down content the government deems unlawful. – The Hill

Russian fighter jet has intercepted a U.S. spy plane over the Pacific Ocean as the Russian military conducted a massive set of drills in the region. – Newsweek

Members of the political network built by Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny in Russia have pledged to continue their efforts to campaign for change and expose corruption in the upper echelons of power after a Moscow court declared their movement “extremist.” – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Editorial: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government can bring down its fist — when he wants it to. Dissidents and business executives who run afoul of the Kremlin are swiftly prosecuted and dispatched to Siberian prison camps. Yet cybercriminal gangs based in Russia seem to face nary a consequence when they wreak havoc on U.S. and other Western companies. President Biden should make sure to point out the disconnect at the upcoming summit between the two leaders. – Washington Post

Heather A. Conley and Roksana Gabidullina write: Misunderstanding and miscalculation grow, making it difficult for the Biden administration to achieve a more “stable and predictable” bilateral relationship with Russia. Russia must bear full responsibilities for its actions, but as diplomatic expulsions grow, the United States loses the ability to communicate with and understand Russia. This may be one of the outcomes the Kremlin seeks, but it risks further destabilizing relations between the West and Russia. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Matthew Rojansky writes: Biden’s approach should eschew grand gestures and put national interests ahead of personalities and politics, which were major stumbling blocks in the recent past. The Biden-Putin summit will be an important early step in the U.S. administration’s Russia strategy, the point of which is to set the direction for hard work ahead, not to tie everything up with a handshake and a signing ceremony. – War on the Rocks 

Francis Shin and Sarah Martin write: Though these sanctions are a promising first step in addressing Russian aggression, the Biden administration must do more than just this. It can do so by leading a proactive multilateral campaign to tackle Russian-sponsored dark-money networks and other illicit activities. The aim of this multilateral sanctions campaign would be to restrict and deter further Russian-led election interference and cyberattacks against U.S. and allied governmental infrastructures. – The National Interest 

Ilan I. Berman writes: The United States today knows what it doesn’t like about Russia, but doesn’t have a clear idea of how to nudge Moscow’s behavior in a more constructive direction. Reversing that trend begins by telling Putin precisely what issues the United States sees as critical to its core national interests—and then making it clear that we are both willing and able to fight for them. Whether Biden does so will go a long way toward determining whether the Geneva meeting can be classified as a success. – Newsweek 


President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain signed a new version of the 80-year old “Atlantic Charter” on Thursday, using their first meeting to redefine the Western alliance and accentuate what they said was a growing divide between battered democracies and their autocratic rivals, led by Russia and China. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden’s first full day of his eight-day overseas tour got off to a wobbly start as a diplomatic row between the U.S. and U.K. over trade inspections in Northern Ireland erupted into public view—just as Biden was preparing to sit down with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. – Time

A new bipartisan bill seeks to enhance cooperation between the US and Greece, and to expand the “3+1” forum that includes the US, Greece, Israel and Cyprus “to include other areas of common concern to the members.” – Jerusalem Post

Joe Biden’s first international trip as U.S. president includes a summit with leaders from 29 fellow NATO allies who are cautiously welcoming a new era of U.S. leadership—but still recovering from the political battles of former U.S. President Donald Trump and wary of the United States’ long-term trajectory. – Foreign Policy 

The European Parliament has called for sweeping economic sanctions and a raft of other measures against Belarus in response to growing repression and the forced landing of a plane flying between two EU capitals to arrest opposition activist Raman Pratasevich. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis write: The economic, security, and political importance of the Black Sea and the broader region is becoming more important. The security of the Black Sea is important not only for NATO’s southern flank, but also for keeping the door open for future NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. With Russia using the Black Sea as a springboard for operations in Syria and Libya, and with continued Russian aggression against Ukraine and Georgia, the U.S. and the Alliance cannot ignore the region. – Heritage Foundation 

Michael Rubin writes: Put aside the fact that the United States should be able to address two problems simultaneously, especially as both Russia and China represent a similar challenge: a fundamental challenge to the post-World War II liberal order. The reality, however, is even if Biden and Blinken’s logic were sound, Germany is the wrong country to trust to man the ramparts in the defense against threats to freedom. – The National Interest 

Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis write: NATO has done more than any other organization, including the European Union, to promote democracy, stability, and security in the Euro-Atlantic region. This was accomplished by enticing countries to become a part of the club. While it may be tempting to view Montenegro’s accession to NATO as a closing ceremony for enlargement, that would be a substantial mistake. It is in America’s interest that NATO’s door remain open to deserving European countries. – Heritage Foundation 

Luke Coffey and Daniel Kochis write: Furthermore, because of the deep interconnectivity of the Black Sea region, U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine indirectly supports Georgia, which is under constant pressure and threat of aggression from Russia. The U.S. should use the Brussels Summit as an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to, and support for, the people of Ukraine. This, in turn, will make both America and its allies safer. – Heritage Foundation 

Iulia-Sabina Joja writes: Over a decade after the Union’s last Eastern enlargement, and amidst Russian aggression against European values, the Union’s Eastern policy remains out of sync with the realities on the ground. It is high time the Union’s foreign policy priorities reflected Eastern voices on both sides of the Union’s border, while reassessing the bloc’s Eastern enlargement policy to give Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine a clear path towards membership. – Middle East Institute 

Tom Rogan writes: On Biden’s side, this charter is about reinforcing Britain’s commitment to the U.S.-led liberal international order. Of particular concern to the U.S. is Britain’s increased support for America’s effort to constrain China’s global imperialism. As did the Trump administration, the Biden administration wants to see more British restrictions on Chinese investments and greater British skepticism of Chinese technology companies, which Johnson only grudgingly accepted in relation to Huawei and 5G. – Washington Examiner


President Emmanuel Macron said he was ending France’s yearslong counterterrorism operation in the Sahel region of Africa as part of a plan to replace it with a broader international force. – Wall Street Journal

Humanitarian agencies have developed ways of operating in conflict zones – but they require the cooperation of the warring parties. There is no sign of that, with the Ethiopian government insisting that the rebels are “terrorists” and there should be no cooperation with them, even on life-saving operations. – BBC 

Nigeria unveiled $195 million worth of boats, vehicles and aircraft to spearhead the government’s fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The equipment will enable security forces to patrol the waters off the country’s coast more effectively and restore confidence to vessels operating in the area. – Bloomberg 

Ivory Coast and France inaugurated a new counter-terrorism academy in the West African country on Thursday, intended to boost regional capacity to combat a growing Islamist threat. – Reuters

The Americas

But in an unintended consequence of the solidarity, President Nicolás Maduro’s government now finds itself embroiled in guerrilla combat on its own territory. The adversary is a small, but heavily armed and battle-hardened group of Colombian rebels, which since March has been the focus of a Venezuelan army offensive after military analysts say it wore out its welcome in a region crowded with drugs routes. – Wall Street Journal 

Peru has been through a year of profound turmoil: it cycled through three presidents, suffered one of the world’s highest coronavirus death rates and watched its economy shrink more than any in the region under the weight of the pandemic. – New York Times 

El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender may imply a series of risks and regulatory challenges, International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice said Thursday. – Bloomberg

The United States is prepared to review “trade-related activities” with Nicaragua, including Managua’s participation in a Central America free trade agreement, if the country’s coming elections are not free and fair, a senior State Department official said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Cuba said on Thursday it would temporarily stop accepting cash bank deposits in dollars, blaming tighter US sanctions that are restricting its ability to use greenbacks abroad, although it will still accept transfers. – Reuters

Venezuelan officials said on Thursday the country’s government has been unable to complete a payment required to receive coronavirus vaccines because transfers to the global COVAX vaccine program had been blocked. – Reuters 

Cryptocurrencies have a long history of hacks, and Bitcoin can be “lost” by users who misplace the code that identifies them as the owner. Widespread adoption could also turn El Salvador into a tax haven — or a haven for money laundering. And if it does lure Bitcoin “whales,” as large holders of the currency are known, into moving their coins to El Salvador, a repetition of the boom-and-bust price cycles Bitcoin has regularly experienced could have disastrous consequences for the $27 billion economy. – Bloomberg

United States

The House next week will vote on a measure to repeal the 2002 law authorizing the president to use military force in Iraq after years of complaints by lawmakers that the authority is outdated and no longer needed. – Washington Examiner

Army General Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Thursday that China’s military is rapidly expanding its capabilities, saying that the U.S. must take steps to ensure that it maintains a competitive advantage moving forward. – Newsweek

Sen. Mike Crapo writes: Crucially, any waiver should not extend to China and Russia, which have produced their own vaccines and are engaged in widespread technology theft. The U.S. Department of Justice issued indictments last summer against Chinese-backed hackers trying to steal Moderna’s research. The U.S. should not condone this bad behavior and allow China and Russia to profit off Americans’ hard work – Washington Examiner


The Wall Street Journal tracked the most disruptive attacks to one group: a notorious gang of Eastern European cybercriminals once called the “Business Club,” with ties to Russian government security services, according to threat analysts and former law-enforcement officials who closely follow Eastern European cybercrime operations. – Wall Street Journal 

A European Union privacy regulator has proposed a fine of more than $425 million against Amazon.com Inc. part of a process that could yield the biggest-yet penalty under the bloc’s privacy law, people familiar with the matter said. – Wall Street Journal

The head of U.S. Northern Command wants $80 million to continue testing SpaceX’s and OneWeb’s low Earth orbit satellite internet service, which it believes could solve the military’s Arctic communications woes. – C4ISRNET

A bipartisan group of senators Thursday introduced a bill intended to protect small businesses from cyberattacks after hacks crippled some of the country’s largest companies.- The Hill

Editorial: As with many modern extremist movements, QAnon exists on a variety of online platforms, emerging from the “chan” ecosystem onto more mainstream platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Despite a number of bans and restrictions by social media companies, the movement’s spread indicates it may already be too late for piecemeal takedowns to be effective. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Fareed Zakaria writes: Many of cryptocurrency’s most ardent advocates see it as the way of the future, a decentralized and seamless monetary system that offers an alternative to national currencies. But none of that requires that it be anonymous. If those broader goals are what bitcoin is really about, it should stay strong even while its illegal use is reined in. If, on the other hand, the crucial, distinctive and unique property of cryptocurrency is that it can be readily and efficiently used for crime, why exactly should governments around the world allow this? – Washington Post

Shane Tews writes: The SolarWinds hack also highlighted the importance of having trusted supply chain partners. After hackers embedded malicious code into what was considered a trustworthy supplier’s software update, the approximately 18,000 customers who downloaded the update were potentially vulnerable to an attack. Corporate boards and oversight committees should thus establish compliance and control mechanisms such as regular vendor and data security audits to manage potential risks and vulnerabilities. – American Enterprise Institute

Elizabeth Hoffman writes: The pipeline industry has long resisted security regulation by the federal government, insisting that the safety regulations imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) serve the dual purpose of ensuring the security as well as the safety of pipeline infrastructure. This argument is credible when it comes to the physical security of pipelines, but the recent Colonial Pipeline cyberattack demonstrated that the threat landscape has shifted. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


As President Biden and his NATO counterparts focus on nuclear-armed Russia at their summit meeting on Monday, they may also face a different sort of challenge: growing support, or at least openness, within their own constituencies for the global treaty that bans nuclear weapons. – New York Times 

Should the U.S. suddenly find itself thrust into a massive, full-scale war with Russia across the European continent, Pentagon leaders would likely seek to immediately leverage NATO’s full arsenal of capabilities. – The National Interest

Top Pentagon leaders defended President Joe Biden’s flat defense budget request to lawmakers on Thursday along with its “hard choices” to slash legacy weapons programs in favor of developing technologies as a hedge against China. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy’s Light Amphibious Warship program is still on track for a fiscal 2022 start of construction, despite the program not appearing in the shipbuilding plan in the recent budget request, service officials told Defense News. – Defense News

U.S. and other NATO allies could have 450 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters stationed in Europe by 2030, the general in charge of U.S. European Command said Wednesday. – Military.com

NATO’s top general in Europe says alliance members developing sixth-generation military aircraft should ensure their plans are in sync to avoid duplication. – Defense News

Pursuing new intelligence-sharing accords with Pakistan and the Central Asian states is a more realistic option for the United States. And although other key regional players—including China, Russia, and Iran—are U.S. rivals, they all have strong reasons to curb transnational terrorist threats in Afghanistan. Washington has an opportunity to spearhead multilateral diplomacy focused around this shared interest. – Foreign Policy 

Blake Herzinger writes: The U.S. Navy is a rusted, emaciated shadow of its former self and will not recover without urgent attention. It is time to reallocate the budget in a way that provides for necessary modernization for all services and recapitalizes the naval forces most likely to be in close contact with the United States’ pacing threat. – War on the Rocks

Long War

A report from the watchdog group NGO Monitor alleged that funds by the United States government’s multi-billion dollar international aid agency have been channeled to programs by Palestinian non-governmental organizations that introduce children in Gaza and the West Bank to convicted terrorists. – Algemeiner

Issues of hate-motivated violence, Islamophobia and domestic terrorism have again been thrust into the centre of Canada’s public discourse. The June 6 incident of a pickup truck driver targeting a Muslim family in London, Ont., is not being considered a motor vehicle accident – it is being treated as an intentional act. – The Conversation 

A former Ukip member and British army employee has been found guilty of a range of terror and explosive charges. Dean Morrice ran a Telegram channel that prosecutors said had “unapologetically, unambiguously pumped out” neo-Nazi propaganda that encouraged the killing of people of colour and Jewish people. – The Guardian 

Adam O’Neal writes: But the U.S. has struggled to persuade allies to follow suit. Thousands of European Union citizens joined ISIS. Many survivors are stuck in al-Hol, rejected by their home countries. After years of lecturing Americans about Guantanamo Bay, European leaders now look away as EU citizens are stuck in a Syrian Gitmo—albeit without the Caribbean prison’s amenities. The Biden administration is also pressing Europe. Its success has been limited. – Wall Street Journal 

Rose Namayanja writes: These nations risk becoming breeding grounds for militant and terrorist groups. And as groups with international affiliates strengthen their footholds on the continent, what were once localized problems become sources of sustenance to global networks of terror. All this will only make bad economic problems worse. – Foreign Policy