Fdd's overnight brief

June 22, 2020

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


A fugitive Iranian judge wanted by Iran on corruption charges and by right groups for jailing and torturing journalists was found dead of apparent suicide Friday at a hotel in Romania where he had been staying, according to Iranian officials. – New York Times

Iran is drawing up plans to offer discounts to some foreign airlines using its airspace, state news agency IRNA quoted a senior aviation official as saying on Saturday, after a slump in flights due to the coronavirus pandemic and regional tensions. – Reuters

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Friday blasted a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA, saying Tehran has cooperated with the body, in a statement by state media. – Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday accused France, Germany and Britain of serving Iran’s arch-foes the United States and Israel by drafting a nuclear resolution against Tehran. – Reuters 

Britain, France and Germany said on Friday they would not back U.S. efforts to unilaterally trigger the reimposition of United Nations sanctions on Iran, but said they wanted talks with Tehran over its ongoing violations of a 2015 nuclear accord. – Reuters    

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it’s “concerned” about France’s testing of a new ballistic missile and that it is inconsistent with the country’s international commitments, state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday. – Associated Press

Despite its distance from Israel, Iran is the most dangerous country in the Middle East, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Sunday evening. – Jerusalem Post

IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami has appointed Brigadier General Hossein Nejat as his deputy commander in charge of Sarallah, the most important security command in Tehran. – Radio Farda 

The Revolutionary Guard on Friday unveiled a new video of a naval missile defense system that downed an American military drone in southern Iranian airspace a year ago amid rising tensions between the two countries. – Radio Farda

Iran has been rocked by a third honor killing in under a month, prompting widespread demand throughout the country for the perpetrators of such killings to be held to account. – Jerusalem Post

The nuclear material which Iran was trying to conceal, but the Mossad discovered during its 2018 operation seizing Tehran’s nuclear secrets, was probably “yellowcake,” former US National Security Adviser reveals in his new book. – Jerusalem Post 

US President Donald Trump expressed willingness to support Israeli strikes on Iran, according to his former national security advisor John Bolton. – Jerusalem Post 

In an interview to the Al-Monitor media site, the spiritual leader of Iran’s Jewish community, Rabbi Yehuda Gerami, praised Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, whose home he visited after he was killed in a US airstrike a few months ago, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Rabbi Gerami said that Soleimani “demonstrated extraordinary bravery” and attacked Zionism: “The government in Israel doesn’t care about Judaism.” – Jerusalem Post 

Marjan Keypour Greenblatt writes: Even as it tries to understand the forces reshaping America, the calcified, corrupt leadership in Tehran that crushes dissent and murders its own citizens, has only one tool left in its depleted arsenal: hypocrisy. – Radio Farda 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran is at a unique time in history. Harmed by COVID-19 and economic sanctions, it is reaching out to China and Russia. It also must decide what to do with its weapons programs, as well as its role in Iraq and Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. For the speaker of parliament that will be important. Qalibaf will seek to distance Iran from the EU and the US. – Jerusalem Post 


Social media posts sought to link the strike to a series of other US attacks on al-Qaeda affiliates in northern Syria in which US drones have used a secretive “ninja” weapon. – Jerusalem Post

Kurdish-led authorities in northeastern Syria are in talks with their military allies in a U.S.-led coalition over a promised exemption from U.S. sanctions targeting the Syrian government, a senior Kurdish official said. – Reuters 

Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told John Bolton that the sudden decision by US President Donald Trump in December 2018 to withdraw from Syria was the “worst day he had experienced thus far in the Trump administration.” Threatened and enticed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan into leaving Syria, the Trump administration ignored concerns by allies in the Middle East and Europe, according to the former National Security Advisor’s account. – Jerusalem Post 


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going all out to rally domestic support for his plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, according to an internal party note, saying the move would secure Israeli settlements amid divisions within his coalition over how to proceed. – Wall Street Journal 

The United Nations Human Rights Council, long noted for its hostility to Israel, was formally presented with a “blacklist” of various companies doing business in Israel’s West Bank settlements and eastern Jerusalem, prompting criticism from a major watchdog group. – Algemeiner 

Israeli security officials will finally be shown maps next week of West Bank territories Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing to annex, according to a television report Friday. – Times of Israel  

Israel will likely take the concerns of the United Arab Emirates and other Arab nations into consideration when weighing plans to annex portions of the West Bank, assistant secretary for Near East Affairs David Schenker told Kan Radio on Monday morning. – Jerusalem Post 

US President Donald Trump’s peace plan is the first time since the 1993 Oslo Accords that the paradigm of the peace process has been changed and that shift is in Israel’s favor, Major General (Res.) Yitzhak “Jerry” Gershon told The Jerusalem Post. – Jerusalem Post 

Jordan’s king has been warning congressional leaders that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank would strengthen Hamas and damage Israel’s ability to normalize relations with the rest of the region, according to a source familiar with the discussions. – Times of Israel 

Ron Dermer writes: Israel hopes the decision to extend sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria will have the opposite effect. We hope it will convince the Palestinians that another century of rejectionism is a losing strategy and that the Jewish state is here to stay. And by shattering the two-state illusion and advancing a two-state solution, Israel hopes it will open up a realistic path to peace. – Washington Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: There are added reasons to make more formalized relationships with the US through means like this. It creates more layers to the alliance with Israel, especially at a time when support for Israel may be eroding in some sectors of the US. Bipartisan support for Israel was a hallmark of the relationship and this is symbolic. – Jerusalem Post 


Three Islamic State (ISIS) camps have been destroyed in northern Iraq by coalition aircraft in coordination with the Iraqi government, military officials announced Saturday. – Fox News

Civilians have been killed and villagers threatened by Turkey’s widespread airstrikes in northern Iraq. Ankara claims to be fighting “terrorists” but has used disproportionate force. Activists fear that Christian minorities, already threatened by Turkey’s invasions of northern Syria, will have to flee again. – Jerusalem Post 

Brandon Wallace and Katherine Lawlor write: Recent Iranian proxy attacks represent a major test for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s commitments to preserving Iraqi sovereignty and protecting US anti-ISIS forces. The attacks occurred at the start of the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, which aims to determine the future of US forces in Iraq. Iran’s Iraqi proxies intensified both their kinetic and political lines of effort to advance Iran’s key objective in the Dialogue: the rapid and complete expulsion of US forces from Iraq. […]Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) likely took advantage of the Turkish air campaign to also target Iranian Kurdish dissidents based in Iraq in what may have been a coordinated Turkish-Iranian operation. – Institute for the Study of War


The last of three large shipments of medical supplies landed in Yemen on Friday, organizers of the cargo flights said, following a joint initiative by the world organization and multinational corporations to boost the war-devastated country’s health care system as it battles the coronavirus. – Associated Press

An aide to Yemen President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi says the intervention of a Saudi Arabia-led coalition in his country’s civil war has been a failure, the first time a senior Yemeni official has asserted that publicly. – Bloomberg 

Southern separatists have seized control of Yemen’s island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, deposing its governor and driving out forces of the Saudi-backed government which condemned the action as coup. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: More likely, the Yemen conflict is about narratives and intrigue when it comes to Turkey and Qatar. The accusation is that there are plots afoot to divide Yemen permanently between “separatists” and the Houthis and the government. But Yemen has been divided for years. It has been infiltrated in the past by Al-Qaeda and then fell apart in 2015 as the Houthis almost took Aden. The Saudi intervention has been a grueling conflict. Iran uses the Houthis as proxies, sending them weapons, drones and air defense. The US tries to interdict Iran’s shipments. The UAE allegedly was involved in recruiting contractors to fight in Yemen. – Jerusalem Post


Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi warned that his country could intervene in Libya if regional rival Turkey and its allied forces followed through on threats to forcibly seize the strategic city of Sirte. Sisi proposed negotiations instead. – Bloomberg 

Turkey is ready to rapidly start rebuilding conflict-torn Libya, a senior Turkish official said on Friday, after President Tayyip Erdogan’s senior deputies visited Tripoli this week to discuss cooperation on energy, construction and banking. – Reuters  

Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord on Sunday denounced Egypt’s warning of military intervention in Libya, labeling it a “declaration of war.” – Agence France-Presse

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The US and Iran might find themselves on the same side in Libya via Turkey. It all hinges on Cairo now. If Cairo has a military footprint in Libya it can do what Turkey has successfully done and leverage it for concessions. For now Egypt must watch and contemplate the next step. Everyone is also looking to Washington to do more than just hint that it supports both Egypt’s ceasefire proposal and Ankara’s approach. What happens next will also affect Washington’s other allies, in Jerusalem and Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s printing shops have been working overtime to revive a favorite weapon of Cold War-era psychological warfare: sending millions of propaganda leaflets across the world’s most heavily armed border and scattering them over South Korea. – New York Times

South Korea on Monday urged North Korea to scrap a plan to launch propaganda leaflets across the border, after the North said it’s ready to float 12 million leaflets in what would be the largest such psychological campaign against its southern rival. – Associated Press 

South Korea’s presidential office said John Bolton painted a distorted picture of diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, joining the Trump administration in criticizing a memoir from the U.S. former national security adviser. – Bloomberg 

Blowing up a building meant to symbolize friendship may have been North Korea’s forceful way of demanding help for an economy straining under international sanctions and borders shut by the coronavirus. – Bloomberg  

Former US national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “gets a huge laugh” over US counterpart Donald Trump’s perception of their relationship. – Agence France-Presse

Rocketman better watch out. His kid sister, nicknamed “Princess” in North Korea and sometimes referred to as the “Twisted Sister,” is now acting more like the Terminator. – New York Post

Robert A. Manning writes: North Korea’s antics could easily spin out of control in different directions. A South Korean over-reaction, either in the direction of concessions to Pyongyang or a military response to North Korea’s bellicosity, could result in new instability on the peninsula. A North Korean escalation, perhaps an “October Surprise” for Trump in the form of an ICBM test, could bring back his threats of “fire and fury.” – The Hill

Elliot Waldman writes: Looking ahead, much will depend on how Moon responds to the North’s saber-rattling. The Defense Ministry in Seoul promised the North will “certainly pay the price” should it follow through on threats of military action. But Moon has invested tremendous amounts of political capital into a policy of inter-Korean détente and peacebuilding. He could still try to find ways to reconcile with the North, even as his dreams of a durable peace seem to be collapsing — literally and figuratively — before his eyes. – World Politics Review


President Trump said he resisted punishing China for its mass internment of ethnic Uighurs last year for fear of jeopardizing trade talks with Beijing, a blunt admission of his transactional approach to human rights and willingness to subordinate other U.S. policy priorities to a potential trade deal he considers vital to his re-election. – New York Times

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday said he was in the room with President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met, but never heard the U.S. president ask for China’s help in winning re-election. – Reuters

The United States on Friday rejected a request by Chinese airlines for additional weekly flights between the two countries, but said the decision was not meant to escalate tensions over travel restrictions. – Reuters

In an Oval Office interview on Friday afternoon, President Trump told me that he held off on imposing Treasury sanctions against Chinese officials involved with the Xinjiang mass detention camps because doing so would have interfered with his trade deal with Beijing. – Axios

President Trump’s inconsistent efforts to get tough on China are raising fears of a geopolitical crisis with the world’s second largest economy just ahead of November’s election. – The Hill

Editorial: Two Canadian men face lengthy prison sentences or worse after Chinese prosecutors indicted them Friday as spies. The scandal here isn’t espionage but Beijing’s hostage diplomacy. – Wall Street Journal

Bradley A. Thayer writes: All of this is deeply dangerous for international stability. The growth of China’s power threatens its neighbors and the world order. That is bad enough for the prospects of world peace and suggests the 21st century will be as dangerous as its predecessor. But the insecurity of the regime causes a domestic motivation for China’s hostility and aggression. […]The implications for the U.S. are significant. In the new long struggle with China, the U.S. must not underestimate the challenge it confronts. China possesses the greatest latent power of any of America’s competitors over the past century. – The Hill

Christine McDaniel writes: Washington and Beijing hold different views on the role of the WTO. Either one economic superpower stays and the other one leaves, or the organization embraces the crisis in front of them and undergoes reform. All members must dig deep and ask themselves what they want. The leader who can get them there could very well be an American with the values that brought the world together in the first place. – The Hill


The United Nations on Sunday released a special report expressing concerns over what it called recent “deliberate attacks” against health care workers and facilities in Afghanistan during the coronavirus pandemic. – Associated Press

The U.S. State Department says COVID-19 infections have been reported at its embassy in the Afghan capital and affected staff include diplomats, contractors and locals. – Associated Press

Taliban militants kidnapped about 60 civilians in central Afghanistan over the past week, officials said on Sunday, with more than half still being held amid efforts by the United States and other foreign powers to start peace talks. – Reuters

South Asia

Faced with an increasingly assertive and well-armed China, Indian policy makers are likely considering whether to further expand military cooperation with the U.S. and American allies who share their concerns about Beijing’s rising power, according to analysts. – Wall Street Journal

The high-altitude clash on Monday killed at least 20 Indian soldiers and caused an unspecified number of Chinese casualties. China released on Thursday 10 Indian soldiers captured during the fight, having held them for days while negotiating with India through diplomatic and military channels, according to senior Indian security officials. – Wall Street Journal

China said the Galwan Valley high up in the Himalayan border region where Chinese and Indian troops engaged in a deadly brawl this week falls entirely within China, boldly renewing claims on the disputed area as the Asian giants continued using military and diplomatic channels to try to reduce tensions on Saturday. – Associated Press 

China and India have ordered more troops to their borders following a clash earlier this week that killed 20 Indian troops and wounded scores more, according to a report Friday. – New York Post

Ajai Shukla writes: If China withdraws from the Indian-claimed territory it has occupied, the two sides could negotiate new border agreements and operating procedures. But if China holds on to what it has gained, India would most certainly shift more overtly toward Washington. – New York Times

Michèle Flournoy and Josh Hochman write: It is a cherished legacy of sacrifices by the US, its allies and its partners that can only be preserved if the region’s democracies recognise and take steps to protect their common interests and values. Without such a strategy, China will continue pushing boundaries, posing unacceptable risks to international order. – Financial Times  


For nearly four decades, he provoked Beijing by crusading for civil liberties, yet remained a respected part of Hong Kong’s political elite. But for Martin Lee, the 82-year-old founder of Hong Kong’s first pro-democracy party, the unlikely balance that has defined his career has recently begun to collapse. – New York Times

Beijing plans to vest itself with key powers to enforce national security in Hong Kong, proposing a law that would allow the central government to supervise the policing of subversive activities in the protest-racked city and, in some cases, intervene directly. State media on Saturday disclosed details of the proposed national-security law for Hong Kong, which opposition groups and foreign governments including the U.S. have criticized as gravely undercutting the city’s promised autonomy from Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

Offering protection to “rioters” from Hong Kong will only harm Taiwan’s people and is an interference in the Chinese-ruled city’s affairs, China’s government said, denouncing plans by Taiwan to help Hong Kongers who decide to flee to the island. – Reuters

The European Union should take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposes a new security law on Hong Kong, the European Parliament voted on Friday, also calling on the bloc to use economic leverage to dissuade China. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the United States would in future treat Hong Kong as a Chinese city rather than an autonomous one to the extent that China treats the territory as a Chinese city. – Reuters

China said on Monday it reserves the right to respond to a Japanese city’s decision to rename the administrative area that includes remote islands claimed by both China and Japan and have long been a source of friction between the neighbours. – Reuters

France’s Army needs to toughen up, according to its chief of staff, and he has the strategic plan to do it by 2030. […]One of France’s concerns is that China’s expansion in the Pacific will endanger the European country’s territories there, such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia. French armed forces in the area must be able to riposte vigorously if necessary, Burkhard said. – Defense News 

A bill that changes the status of an island chain claimed by both Japan and China was approved by a city council in Okinawa on Monday, in a move that threatens to inflame tensions between the two Asian powers. – CNN 

Michael Schuman writes: At its heart, the battle on the streets of Hong Kong is between conflicting perceptions of history and the identities they’ve created. China probably possesses the force to impose its own version of history. But doing so will only ensure that Hong Kong will never truly feel part of China. – Bloomberg


This account suggests that Putin was stationed there precisely because it was a backwater, far from the spying eyes in East Berlin, where the French, the Americans and the West Germans all kept a close watch. According to a former member of the Red Army Faction[…]Putin had worked in support of members of the group, which sowed terror across West Germany in the seventies and eighties – Politico

Vladimir Putin is considering running for a new term as Russia’s president if voters approve constitutional changes that would enable him to do so, Russian news agencies quoted him as saying in an interview on Sunday. – Reuters

Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on Saturday to protest against the government and Russia one year after the brutal dispersal of an anti-Kremlin demonstration. – Reuters

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Marshall Billingslea will travel to Austria on Monday and Tuesday to discuss “mutually agreed topics related to the future of arms control” with Russian Deputy Foreign Sergei Ryabkov, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

George Bovt, a senior journalist and a political scientist is not an America-phobe or someone who follows the government line, but in article for the independent outlet Gazeta.ru, titled “Liberal-McCarthyism”, he spells out the reasons why middle-Russia is gloating over America’s current predicament. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Editorial: It might be possible to link an extension of New START to Russia’s willingness to negotiate an expanded treaty later, and to work with the U.S. to bring in China then. If that fails, though, the U.S. shouldn’t make things worse by letting the pretty good deal it has die in hopes of signing a perfect one. – Bloomberg 

Stanisław Żaryn writes: The military cooperation between Poland and the U.S., the activities of the Polish army, and their military exercises are under constant attack by websites notorious for spreading the Russian disinformation. In recent weeks, the narratives pushed by these media outlets have repeatedly exploited the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim to hit Poland and to further anti-Polish agenda. – Center for European Policy Analysis


President Trump’s attacks on the European Union have materially damaged the trans-Atlantic relationship and strengthened European determination to pursue an independent path on emerging challenges such as China’s growing assertiveness, Europe’s foreign policy chief has said. – Wall Street Journal

Last October, with the Balkans unsettled and the old tethers of American diplomacy coming apart, the Trump administration dispatched a new envoy to try to solve one of Europe’s longest-running territorial disputes: the two-decade standoff between Serbia and Kosovo. – New York Times

The longtime authoritarian leader of Belarus, under threat like never before ahead of what was supposed to be just another rigged election, is taking a surprising new tack that he hopes will win him sympathy in the West: blaming Russian election meddling. – New York Times

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied Sunday that former Vice President Joe Biden ever approached him about Burisma Holdings, a gas company of which Biden’s son Hunter was a board member. – Politico

Members of the European Parliament on Friday backed a resolution calling on the EU to recognize the slave trade as a “crime against humanity” and make December 2 the “European Day commemorating the Abolition of the Slave Trade.”The resolution, backed by 493 MEPs with 104 voting against, is nonbinding but aims at putting pressure on European governments to take action against racism in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in the United States and a wave of worldwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. – Politico

Donald Trump’s plan to pull thousands of U.S. troops out of Germany shows why EU members need to take more responsibility for their own defense, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said. – Politico 

Chinese Communist ambitions pose an existential threat to democratic societies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a warning to European allies drawn to economic bargains with Beijing. – Washington Examiner  

Top European Union officials are holding talks Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at a time of rising tensions between two major trading partners over the fallout from the coronavirus crisis and Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong. – Associated Press

Boris Johnson will hammer out a new plan with senior ministers this week aimed at unblocking talks on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, with hopes rising that a month of “intensified” negotiations starting on June 29 will yield a breakthrough. – Financial Times 

A top US Jewish group praised Serbia on Friday for its recent adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. – Algemeiner 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was denied boarding while trying to fly from the UK to the US on Friday prior to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally — but was allowed entry after the US Department of Homeland Security determined his travel “would be in the national interest.” – Business Insider 

Robert C. O’Brien writes: The Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline isn’t complete; a German decision to stop the project would strengthen Europe’s energy security. Berlin hasn’t yet selected its 5G telecommunications provider. A trusted European company, such as Nokia or Ericsson, would be safer for this role than China’s Huawei. And Germany can accelerate its plan to harden its defenses, which would more than offset U.S. troop redeployment. Under Mr. Trump’s leadership, America continues to lead the free world. The U.S. military’s global posture demonstrates this commitment and provides the maximum security for the American people. – Wall Street Journal 

Wolfgang Münchau writes: My advice for the EU is to pick the right fight — the one on digital tax — and compromise on others. But that would be a triumph of hope over experience. Germany shows no signs of compromising on Nordstream 2, France will not agree to the elimination of car tariffs, and the US has walked out of talks to achieve fair global taxation regime for digital services. – Financial Times 


Egypt wants the United Nations Security Council to “undertake its responsibilities” and prevent Ethiopia from starting to fill its massive, newly built hydroelectric dam on the Nile River next month amid a breakdown in negotiations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry told The Associated Press on Sunday, accusing Ethiopian officials of stoking antagonism between the countries. – Associated Press

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew on Friday declared that his country will go ahead and start filling the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam next month, even without an agreement. – Associated Press

South Africa’s last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk, has withdrawn from a U.S. seminar about minority rights because he did not want to embarrass himself or his hosts in the current charged racial climate, his foundation said on Sunday. – Reuters

At least seven people have died in two separate bomb attacks in southern and central Somalia in the last 24 hours, police and military officers said on Sunday. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: The Horn of Africa is important — far more important than many American policymakers realize. Diplomacy is a valuable tool to stabilize, if not resolve, many of the region’s problems. Haphazard diplomacy, however, expends goodwill and breeds cynicism. If the Djibouti talks are to succeed, there is no substitute for professionalism and real State Department investment. Open a U.S. office in Hargeisa now. – Washington Examiner

Joshua Meservey and Brett Schaefer write: Nobody is proposing that the U.S. is perfect or should be immune from criticism—least of all Americans themselves who have spent weeks grieving, protesting, and reflecting on the history of our country following the death of Floyd. A credible council must be able and willing to examine the human rights practices of each nation. But the council routinely fails to hold the world’s worst human rights abusers to account. African nations are complicit in this selective approach to human rights. The outcome of the urgent debate is tainted by the failure of African governments to hold themselves and each other to the standard that they seemingly expect of the U.S. – The Daily Signal

Latin America

A ship from Iran was scheduled to deliver food to Venezuela on Sunday, according to Bloomberg’s vessel-tracking maps. The tanker, called the Golsan, was just off the coast of Caracas on Sunday evening, Golsan left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port a month ago and sailed through the Suez Canal. – Bloomberg 

President Donald Trump said in an interview published on Sunday that he would consider meeting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and played down his earlier decision to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate leader. – Reuters

The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned what it called serious human rights violations in Nicaragua and urged President Daniel Ortega to cease such tactics Friday. – Associated Press

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Mr. Bolton’s tactical maneuvers failed, but probably not for the reasons he gives. The U.S. is in a proxy war with Russia, Iran, China and Cuba in Venezuela, and Washington fails to assess adequately its enemies’ effectiveness in the areas of intelligence, propaganda and strategy. Mr. Bolton’s narrative takes revenge but does nothing to advance U.S. interests. – Wall Street Journal

North America

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision by the U.N.’s top human rights body to commission a report on policing and race amid international protests spurred by George Floyd’s death “marks a new low” and confirmed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council in 2018. – Associated Press

A major Canadian Jewish group expressed deep concern after it was announced that a supporter of terrorism would be the new head of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ political party in Canada. – Algemeiner

Canada’s defeat in its bid for a United Nations Security Council seat, coupled with China‘s decision to charge two arbitrarily detained Canadians with espionagem marks the worst week for Canadian foreign policy in recent memory, says one former ambassador to Beijing. – Global News

China told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to “stop making irresponsible remarks” after he said Beijing’s decision to charge two Canadians with spying was linked to his country’s arrest of a Chinese tech executive. – Associated Press

The Trump administration is warning law enforcement and public safety officials that a far-right extremist movement known as “boogaloo” may be setting its sights on the nation’s capital. – Politico

Eunice G. Pollack writes: It is crucial to Farrakhan that his audience recognize that it is only the “white Jews” — that is, the “imposter Jews” — who adopted the Star of David as a symbol when they began to falsify the original Torah soon after they received it. […]That the rapper Ice Cube places a Black Cube at the center of the Star of David symbolizes his alleged entrapment, along with all blacks, within the clutches of the Satanic “white Jews.” – Algemeiner


Technologists who discovered spyware made by an Israeli company targeting journalists in several authoritarian countries said they found the same spyware used against a Moroccan journalist three days after the company announced a policy against such uses. – Washington Post 

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers introduced legislation June 18 that would direct the Department of Defense to implement several measures to improve 5G security. – C4ISRNET

Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is expected to receive planning permission this week to build a 400-million-pound ($494.24-million) research and development centre in Britain’s Sawston village, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. – Reuters

Alexander Gabuev writes: Huawei’s attraction to Russia is not just about economics; it is also about national security. The Kremlin acknowledges that Russia is unable to produce quality 5G hardware on its own, and therefore needs to buy it from either Huawei or the west. […]A more honest conversation in the west about the collateral damage from US-EU sanctions, and the incentives they create for Sino-Russian co-operation, is overdue. Failure to act will help Beijing embed Russia in a China-centred technological order, a digital Pax Sinica with worrying, global ramifications. – Financial Times


Former Pentagon analyst Henry Kyle Frese has received more than two years in prison for sharing classified intelligence with two reporters and a consultant. – The Hill

The House Armed Services Committee will forbid the Air Force from retiring KC-135 tankers in fiscal 2021, but will allow the service to divest some B-1 bombers and KC-10 tankers. – Defense News

Unmanned surface vessels are all the rage in the office of the Secretary of Defense, and the U.S. Navy has lined up behind the effort. But Congress remains skeptical until it sees the Navy make progress on the basics. – Defense News

The Space and Missile Systems Center will award ride-share contracts to six small launch providers under the Defense Production Act, providing support to a market the Pentagon has repeatedly said is vulnerable to coronavirus-related financial restraints. – C4ISRNET

A high level delegation from the Pentagon visited the offices of the Federal Communications Commission Friday to make an in-person, classified case for why the Defense Department believes the commission’s approval of Ligado Networks spectrum plan will cause major harm to the Global Positioning System, C4ISRNET has learned. – C4ISRNET

Instead of building ground stations around the world to link to the hundreds of satellites planned for its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) architecture, the Space Development Agency (SDA) plans to rent commercial capacity — a move that likely will both save money and speed operational capability. – Breaking Defense

An investigation into the 2018 death of an Army EOD tech in Helmand province, Afghanistan, found that his unit faced equipping and funding issues prior to deployment, but the company command team went to great lengths to resolve those problems before arriving downrange. – Army Times

Nearly three years after a collision tore a hole in its side and killed 10 of its crew members, the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain is heading back into naval operations. – Navy Times

The Space Force’s next missile warning satellite has successfully completed two months of testing to ensure it will survive in the harsh environment of space, according to the program’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin. – C4ISRNET

The U.S. military considers the development of the Standard Missile 3 Block IIA ballistic missile interceptor to be complete and the weapon ready for production, even as co-developer Japan has changed its mind about using the interceptor as part of a shore-based ballistic missile defense site. – USNI News

Detailed reports first surfaced in 2019 of the existence of a precision warhead equipped with six sword-like blades that allow the missile to cut through buildings or cars with ease. – Military Times

Gov. Mike Dunleavy writes: I believe this Alaskan spirit will complement the Space Force’s unique mission as it advances our nation’s interests in the far reaches of space. After all, we’re no strangers to overcoming challenges through innovation. […]For all these reasons and more, I believe Anchorage would be a prime location to host our nation’s Space Command. – Washington Examiner

Steven P. Bucci writes: We have allowed the shipbuilding capacity of the nation to atrophy; it must be rebuilt. That will take time. This problem must be addressed in the present. Pay the price: The nation’s security requires it. – Defense News

John Wilcox writes: No discussion of technology would be complete without mentioning the impact on the SOF Operator.  Leveraging technology and the power of machine-to-machine interfaces will be critical to the vision of the hyper-enabled SOF Operator.  But, leveraging the technology must also include reducing the complexity and weight of the combined equipment to allow SOF Operators freedom of action within the battlespace. – C4ISRNET

Long War

But that “extreme vetting” did not stop precisely the sort of person Mr. Trump’s policy was supposed to root out: Second Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani of Saudi Arabia, a 21-year-old Qaeda loyalist who was part of a prestigious training program at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla. […]The episode, one in an alarming series of insider attacks on U.S. military bases, forced American officials to acknowledge serious problems in their vetting systems and pledge reforms. – New York Times

Britain’s Thames Valley Police said Sunday that the stabbing rampage that killed three people in a park in the town of Reading is being investigated as a terrorist attack in cooperation with the counterterrorism police. – Washington Post 

A former Chicago businessman imprisoned for aiding terrorist groups has been arrested in Los Angeles to face murder charges in India for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed more than 160 people, US prosecutors said on Friday. – Telegraph

Trump Administration

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s relationship with President Trump is in the spotlight following passages from John Bolton’s new book. – The Hill

Former special counsel Robert Mueller probed whether President Trump misled him in his Russia investigation, according to newly unredacted portions of Mueller’s report that were re-released Friday.  – The Hill

Attorney General William Barr said he expects there will be “developments” later this summer from the ongoing federal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, because it has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. – New York Post