Fdd's overnight brief

June 29, 2020

In The News


An expiring United Nations weapons embargo on Iran must remain in place to prevent it from “becoming the arms dealer of choice for rogue regimes and terrorist organizations around the world,” the U.S. special representative to Iran said Sunday. – Associated Press

An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday. – Associated Press

Iran’s U.N. ambassador said Thursday that he believes a U.S. resolution to extend an arms embargo against his country will be defeated and warned it would be “a very, very big mistake” if the Trump administration then tries to re-impose U.N. sanctions. – Associated Press

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his country is experiencing its toughest year because of U.S. sanctions coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic. – Reuters

France said on Friday it would download the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner shot down by an Iranian missile in January, easing a stand-off over where they should be read. – Reuters

An explosion at an Iranian gas storage facility close to a sensitive military site near the capital Tehran was caused by a tank leak, a defence ministry spokesman told state TV on Friday. – Reuters

Zeinab Soleimani, the 28-year-old daughter of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, has reportedly married a close relative of  Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, N12 reported on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

The ongoing war of words between the United States and Iran continued on Twitter on Saturday night when the Iranian Foreign Ministry tweeted a message to commemorate 33 years since the chemical bombing of Sardasht during the Iran-Iraq War. – Jerusalem Post

Iran may have been up to more than it claims after mysterious explosions ripped apart an area near secretive missile factories in the hills east of Tehran. – Jerusalem Post

In recent months, the Iranian regime has suffered several grave geostrategic setbacks: […]Despite these blows, the Iranian regime is demonstrating its activity and progress in three  strategic areas: ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines, and intensification of its uranium enrichment, alongside its refusal to allow intrusive inspection of its facilities. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Editorial: Yet Russia and China oppose an embargo extension, as they also opposed the IAEA on inspections. […]The revanchist powers are assisting each other in their expansionist aims while exposing the failure of the U.N. as an enforcer of global norms. As the world anticipates Mr. Trump’s election defeat, look for more of this behavior. – Wall Street Journal


On June 10, the U.S.-backed Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria said that it had begun registering the foreign inhabitants of what it called “the most dangerous camp in the world,” almost a year and a half after they first arrived. – Washington Post

At least nine pro-Iranian militia members were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting military positions in Syria’s al-Bukamal on Saturday night, just hours after the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani had reportedly been at the site. – Jerusalem Post

Syria faces an unprecedented hunger crisis with over 9.3 million people lacking adequate food while the country’s coronavirus outbreak, though apparently controlled for now, could still accelerate, U.N. aid agencies said on Friday. – Reuters


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long used religious and nationalist symbolism to shore up support. Now he is reviving plans to convert Hagia Sophia, once one of Christendom’s most revered cathedrals, back into a mosque as he attempts to parry growing political and economic pressures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. – Wall Street Journal

The leaders of Greece and Turkey spoke by phone Friday, the prime minister’s office says, after months of increasing tension between the two countries. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The bombings in Iraq have created tensions with Arab states, including the Gulf which opposes Turkey’s actions. This is linked to the wider regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ankara says it expects Iraq’s cooperation. Iraq has internal troubles with ISIS insurgents and disputes between the US and Iran, as well as Iranian-backed militias mobilized across the country. – Jerusalem Post

Lela Gilbert writes: Erdogan’s reckless, ruthless intrusion into country after country is believed by some to reflect his vision of a glorious, neo-Ottoman Empire. Other scholars are more inclined toward viewing his motivation as strictly religious, demanding pan-Islamist conquest. Certainly the two dreams are not mutually exclusive. – Jerusalem Post

George N. Tzogopoulos writes: To sum up, 30 years after the establishment of full diplomatic relations, Israel and Greece can open new pages in their friendship and expand their partnership. By thinking out of the box, they will take the initiative of offering Turkey an opportunity to look beyond polarization and provocative or illegal policies. If there is political will, the dialogue will have a spillover effect. – Jerusalem Post


At the heart of tensions that threaten to trigger a new war between Israel and Lebanon are lines of trees planted along their blurred border. – Wall Street Journal

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into southern Israel late Friday, shattering months of near-total calm. – Associated Press

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz met on Monday with President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy Avi Berkowitz and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to discuss the Trump administration’s peace plan. – Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to enter negotiations based on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, saying he and his government were prepared for talks, days before he is expected to annex parts of the West Bank with Washington’s approval. – Times of Israel

Former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday morning, accusing him of ‘caving’ to pressure from his coalition partners and Arab states, reducing the scope of his plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria. – Arutz Sheva

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed a virtual conference of the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) organization Sunday evening, accusing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement of bringing anti-Semitism ‘into polite society’. – Arutz Sheva


Iraqi forces raided an Iranian-backed militia suspected of carrying out a spate of rocket attacks against American forces, making good on the new prime minister’s promise to crack down on armed groups that have strained relations with the United States. – New York Times

Iraq is reviewing oil contracts with some companies operating fields where costs are high, in order to reduce expenses while cutting production, Al-Sabah newspaper quoted the country’s oil minister as saying. – Reuters

Michael Knights writes: The most effective security reform measures in Iraq are those conceived, executed, and explained by Iraqis, without any overt international involvement. In this case, the government fired a warning shot at KH, one that did not work entirely as hoped but still represents progress of a faltering variety. To help Baghdad continue making brave, sovereign decisions, Washington should undertake several reinforcing measures. – Washington Institute

Maya Carlin writes: As Iraq and the US discuss the future of bilateral ties over the course of the strategic dialogue, Iran will attempt to influence the outcome. Regardless, the aftermath of these talks will impact not only Iraq, but the entirety of the Middle East for years to come. – Jerusalem Post

Brandon Wallace and Katherine Lawlor write: Converging challenges to the Iraqi state threaten to deny Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi the political support he needs to improve Iraq’s security and economy. […]Kadhimi is facing increasing anti-US attacks by Iran’s Iraqi proxies, a surge of COVID-19 cases, and increasing opposition to the financial reforms necessary to keep the Iraqi economy afloat. Iranian officials are pressuring Kadhimi in high level meetings to accept key Iranian demands that support Iran’s objectives in Iraq, such as purchasing essential goods inside Iraq with foreign currency to circumvent the US-imposed maximum pressure sanctions. – Institute for the Study of War


Lebanon’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beirut over comments she made recently in which she criticized the militant Hezbollah group, state-run National News Agency reported Sunday. – Associated Press

A missile exploded earlier this month near the convoy of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri while he visited a mountainous area in the eastern Bekaa Valley, a Saudi-owned TV station reported Sunday. – Associated Press

Lebanese media broadcast interviews with the U.S. ambassador on Sunday, ignoring a ruling by a judge who banned the diplomat from television for a year over remarks that criticised the powerful Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. – Reuters

A senior member of Lebanon’s negotiating team with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has quit his post as finance ministry director general, telling al-Jadeed TV he had resigned over the way leaders are handling a financial crisis. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

The United Nations said an abandoned oil tanker moored off the coast of Yemen loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil is at risk of rupture or exploding, causing massive environmental damage to Red Sea marine life, desalination factories and international shipping routes. – Associated Press

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than 3 million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population reliant on food assistance for survival. The situation in Yemen is only expected to get worse as donor countries recently cut back on aid amid the coronavirus pandemic and also due to concerns that the aid might not be reaching its intended recipients in territories controlled by the Houthis. – Associated Press

The UN has warned that millions of Yemeni children are at risk of starvation because of “huge” shortfalls in humanitarian funding at a time that the coronavirus pandemic has caused the near total collapse of the war-ravaged Arab state’s health system. – Financial Times

Saudi Arabia forced three Iranian boats to retreat from its waters on Thursday after firing warning shots, a spokesman for Saudi boarder guards said on Saturday. – Reuters


Mercenaries connected to the Russian government have joined forces with a rebel militia to hold Libya’s largest oil field, European and Libyan officials said, prompting U.S. protests over foreign interference in the country’s most strategic industry. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called on Friday for a ceasefire in Libya and a return to dialogue, the Kremlin said in a statement following a phone call between the two leaders. – Reuters

Egypt on Saturday executed a Libyan militant convicted of plotting an attack that killed at least 16 police officers in 2017, the military said. Abdel-Rahim al-Mosmari was hanged in a Cairo prison after a military appeals court upheld his death sentence last week, the military said. The deadly attack southwest of the Egyptian capital took place in October 2017. – Associated Press

Judah Waxelbaum writes: Egypt is hellbent on ensuring any remnants of the Arab Spring come nowhere near their borders. […]The international community is growing tired of this conflict. Both the US and Russia have echoed the UN’s calls for a political solution to the fighting. It is unclear if a political solution is viable in a civil war where both sides believe the other has no claim. No one wants Libya to become the next Syria, but that ship appears to have already set sail. Even if one side manages to become victorious, it is hard to imagine stability in Libya’s future. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The toll has forced the Egyptian government to turn once again to the International Monetary Fund, which on Friday agreed to the country’s request for a $5.2 billion loan. The IMF approved a separate request from Cairo for a $2.77 billion loan in May. – Wall Street Journal

Moroccan authorities on Friday rejected an Amnesty report saying they have spied on journalist Omar Radi using Israeli-made technology. – Jerusalem Post

David Pollock writes: New data from a rare independent opinion poll show that the Egyptian public is much more concerned about domestic problems, including public health, than any foreign policy issue. And when if comes to foreign affairs and U.S. policy, only a third put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of their priority list. – Washington Institute

Abraham D. Sofaer writes: In sum, for the UAE warning on Israeli annexations to have a constructive outcome, it needs to negotiate directly with Israel on all issues, including normalizing relations. No op-ed can substitute for genuine sovereign engagement. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Turkey has a crescent of control from Libya to Idlib, Tel Abyad and northern Iraq, and troops in Qatar. Turkey and Iran benefit from these conflicts, growing in control over neighboring states. […]The US is seeking to withdraw slowly, but still wants to have influence in eastern Syria, parts of Iraq and with Israel. The last 24 hours show what is happening in response to the long-term withdrawal of US influence and as other powers rise. – Jerusalem Post

Yousef Alhelou writes: Palestinians long ago lost faith in empty pan-Arab slogans, and in the authenticity of Arab, particularly Gulf, solidarity with them. It’s now clear that Palestinians and their cause have become a burden for various Arab regimes, and an obstacle to full public normalization between Israel, Arab states and the wider non-Arab Muslim world. – Haaretz

Korean Peninsula

Yet two years later, despite two more face-to-face meetings and many exchanges of warm words between the leaders, North Korea continues to build up its nuclear program and test missiles. And even if Trump still hopes for an agreement, his administration isn’t betting on it happening before the November election. – Associated Press

New questions have emerged about the condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with the Japanese defense minister suggesting that the latest round of saber-rattling from the rogue regime may be due to his poor health and a spread of COVID-19 in the country, according to reports. – New York Post

In a misty morning on the slopes of White Horse Hill, on a stage before hundreds of old men who were actually here during the battles, actor-soldiers asked: “How far will it go?” “When’s this war going to end?” “You never know when you will die or when the enemy will appear.” Those were imminent questions at the time, and they remain as latent ones to this day. At solemn ceremonies, no one spoke of the latest twists and turns in the North-South drama in which North Korea, having talked real tough just a few days ago, now is saying we’re not attacking you after all. –  The Daily Beast


Beijing has begun quietly delivering a message to Washington: U.S. pressure over matters China considers off limits could jeopardize Chinese purchases of farm goods and other U.S. exports under the “Phase One” trade deal. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is targeting China’s largest maker of security-screening equipment, saying its expanding presence in Europe is a threat to Western security and businesses, according to documents and people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal

China sees its dominance in strategic rare-earth minerals as leverage that can be used against the West—including in trade disputes with the U.S., according to a new report by U.S.-based researchers. – Wall Street Journal

China will impose a visa ban on U.S. citizens who interfere with sweeping national security legislation planned for Hong Kong, a move that comes shortly after the Trump administration imposed them on some officials in Beijing. – Bloomberg

The U.S. and China are moving beyond bellicose trade threats to exchanging regulatory punches that threaten a wide range of industries including technology, energy and air travel. – Bloomberg

China will centralize management of its reserve forces as part of efforts to ensure the Communist Party’s absolute leadership of the military and build a world-class army, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday Washington was imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials responsible for restricting freedoms in Hong Kong, but he did not name any of those targeted. – Reuters

Eli Lake writes: That said, the best deterrence against China may come not from the U.S. or any other government. “The most devastating consequences to China will be the loss of faith international businesses will have in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” Stilwell told me. That could very well be true. But for the time being, the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t seem to care. – Bloomberg

Michael Mazza writes: It was inevitable that, if COVID-19 came to American shores, it would inflame passions, possibly leading to precipitous policy choices. That it hit during a presidential election year has ensured that the China policy debate is veering dangerously toward the irresponsible. It is crucial that, even as Washington grapples with COVID-19 and with China’s failure to contain it, it not lose sight of the long-term challenges that Beijing poses to American interests. Steady, thoughtful, and determined leadership is needed more now than at any time since September 11, 2001. One can’t help but wonder who will provide it. – The American Interest


United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said. – New York Times

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. – New York Times

President Trump said late Sunday that intelligence officials told him they didn’t find information about Russians offering a bounty to Afghan militants who attacked U.S. troops sufficiently credible to brief him or Vice President Mike Pence. – Wall Street Journal

A bomb attached to a vehicle killed two members of Afghanistan’s independent human rights commission in Kabul on Saturday, the group said, as violence in the country rises despite a U.S.-brokered peace process. – Reuters

South Asia

Four gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenades stormed the stock exchange in Pakistan’s commercial capital on Monday but police say the attack was foiled. – Washington Post

Military action held obvious risks, including a dangerous escalation between two nuclear-armed nations. Some called for an economic boycott instead, urging ordinary Indians and companies to shun Chinese goods. Now India is facing an uncomfortable truth familiar to governments around the world: It’s difficult to disentangle from China. – Washington Post

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan was criticized by opposition lawmakers after making a speech to Parliament in which he said Osama bin Laden had been “martyred” by the United States when it killed the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2011. – New York Times


Senior Hong Kong officials lined up in recent days to defend China’s national security law for the territory that Beijing is poised to approve next Tuesday, even though none said they had seen the official legislation that would mark the most significant change to the city’s governance in decades. – Wall Street Journal

China’s legislature on Sunday began reviewing a controversial national security bill for Hong Kong that critics worldwide say will severely compromise human rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. – Associated Press

China’s lawmakers have reviewed a draft of the national security bill for Hong Kong during a meeting held by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), state media Xinhua reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Thousands of villagers have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state after a local administrator warned dozens of village leaders that the army planned “clearance operations” against insurgents, a lawmaker and a humanitarian group said. – Reuters

Bryan Clark and Timothy A. Walton write: Japan’s government should embrace the opportunity created by its suspension of Aegis Ashore to adopt a comprehensive approach that protects Japan from air and missile threats by deterring attacks through a combination of complementary defensive systems, effective command and control, and resilience. Otherwise, the Japanese MoD will continue chasing an elusive ballistic missile shield without substantially improving Japan’s security. – Defense News

John Lee writes: Even so, China’s strongest hand is arguably the economic leverage many believe it has over Taiwan. This brief looks at the importance of Taiwan’s loosening itself from China’s economic grip, the role the US can play, and why an enhanced US-Taiwan economic relationship will serve Washington’s strategic, economic, and domestic objectives. – Hudson Institute


Former national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday said the United States should consider “very severe measures” against Russia if reports are true that a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties for Afghans to kill Americans. – Politico

U.S. fighter jets intercepted four Russian aircraft that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the latest in a series of incidents off the Alaskan coast. – The Hill

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed international crises during a video call Friday and vowed to cooperate more closely to tackle global challenges. – Associated Press

In the interview, Zyuganov criticizes Putin and his record. He also criticizes Russia’s presidential system that confers too much power on the leader and has claimed that Putin has more power than the tsar, the pharaoh and the Communist Party Secretary General in Soviet times combined. The advertised devolution of power is a sham; a greater centralization of power is taking place. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Paul Roderick Gregory writes: No matter what, the referendum will be declared a success. If the people rise up, Putin will use force to put them down — but there are limits to public patience. The poor Russian people cannot get a break. It would be interesting to put demonstrators against the established order in the United States and in Europe in Russian shoes, to see what real political repression is about.  – The Hill

Ambassador Kurt Volker writes: Rather than accepting Russia’s agenda and the provocative behavior that promotes it, the states of the region and their Western partners should focus on building the future that is right in front of them. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The political center is holding in Europe, despite the pandemic and the economic turmoil. In previous crises, Europe’s nationalist and populist forces usually gained support, railing against “Brussels elites” and the supposedly out-of-touch establishment. Now, a different outcome appears to be emerging—at least so far. – Wall Street Journal

European Union member states have drawn up a list of 15 countries whose citizens may be allowed to travel again to the bloc starting July 1 that excludes the U.S. but includes Canada, Japan and possibly China, diplomats said. – Wall Street Journal

When President Trump earlier this month said he would sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops stationed in Germany, he framed it as punishment for Berlin’s low military spending. “Until they pay,” Mr. Trump said, “we’re removing our soldiers.” So far, Germany is unimpressed. – Wall Street Journal

Defense Secretary Mark Esper will on Monday present to the White House options to reduce the U.S. military presence in Germany by nearly 10,000 troops in what would be a dramatic reshaping of the U.S. presence in Europe. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday sought to reassure allies at NATO that Washington will consult them on any future troop movements, after President Donald Trump surprised partners at the military alliance by announcing the withdrawal of thousands of personnel from Germany. – Associated Press

Portugal backs the candidacy of Spanish Economy minister Nadia Calvino to head the Eurogroup, the country’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in an interview on Sunday. – Reuters

Britain will be ready to quit its transitional arrangements with the European Union “on Australia terms” if no deal on their future relationship is reached, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday. – Reuters

The head of U.S. naval forces in Europe would like to see more coordination and more dialogue in the Arctic, where military and commercial traffic are increasing, and so is the risk of miscalculations. – USNI News

Editorial: Nerves are jumpier farther east. A drawdown from Germany could weaken nato’s ability to send reinforcements to “tripwire” battle groups stationed in Poland and the Baltic states to deter Russia. Worse still, America seems to be playing allies off against one another, undermining nato cohesion. – The Economist


Islamic State fighters, after a year killing soldiers and villagers along the desert frontier between Mali and Burkina Faso, recently detonated a truck bomb aimed at a new target: al Qaeda. […]The border clashes in West Africa mark a new hot war between the world’s most-deadly jihadist groups. – Wall Street Journal

Sudan on Sunday said security forces arrested at least 122 people, including eight children, in the western Darfur region who intended to go and fight as mercenaries in neighboring Libya’s civil war. – Associated Press

Leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt said they were hopeful that the African Union (AU) could help them broker a deal to end a decade-long dispute over water supplies within two or three weeks. – Reuters

More than 90% of issues in the tripartite negotiations on the giant Nile dam between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been resolved, the African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement on Saturday. – Reuters

The Americas

President Trump in a tweet Sunday morning pushed back on criticism from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden over reported Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Russia “ate his and Obama’s lunch during their time in office.” – The Hill

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: The confrontation with the White House that resulted in moving that meeting to Washington has led to pressure for reform. Many Latin American democracies recognize the creeping political influence and economic power of Beijing and it worries them. […]In a time of great instability, there is a huge opportunity cost in allowing the bank to continue operating as little more than a jobs program for mediocre but well-connected Latin Americans and a shill for China. – Wall Street Journal

Mary Robinson writes: In recent years, the United States — the world’s leading superpower and the country hitherto regarded as a key guarantor of this global rules-based system — has deliberately weakened it across several fronts: from climate change and nuclear non-proliferation to respect for human rights, free trade and health security. […]An effective, rules-based multilateral system is the world’s insurance policy against existential threats from pandemics to climate change and nuclear weapons, and we now know the awful cost of failing to provide comprehensive cover. – The Hill


The U.S. is making it tougher for American companies to help China roll out superfast cellular networks. But companies in Japan, a U.S. ally, are fueling China’s leap ahead and making money doing it. – Wall Street Journal

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing to create a new White House czar to lead cybersecurity decision-making throughout the government. – Washington Post

Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) on Friday urged federal agencies to take action in rooting out coronavirus-related scams. – The Hill

Jonathon Hauenschild writes: Unfortunately, the EARN IT Act places everyone in a lose-lose situation. The Senate will claim national security and privacy advocates are not sympathetic to the victims of online predators, while the Chinese can now claim Americans are proposing the same backdoors found in Huawei devices, even if the Act is defeated. – The Hill


Following an Army-led assessment, the Defense Department will be narrowing the number of different counter-small unmanned aircraft system solutions deployed by the joint force from about 40 to eight. – C4ISRNET

The Army program executive office responsible for network modernization awarded Leonardo DRS a $206 million contract to provide vehicle installation kits for network systems, the company announced June 25. – C4ISRNET

With Blackjack, DARPA wants to demonstrate the military utility of a large constellation of small satellites operating in low earth orbit. These satellites will connect with each other on orbit over optical intersatellite links, forming a mesh network in space. That network will be able to deliver sensor data collected on orbit to terrestrial war fighters in near-real time. – C4ISRNET

Mary Lynne Dittmar writes: As a result, the role played by national assets in deep space cannot be fulfilled solely by privately owned systems. Bringing someone else’s rocket and crew vehicle to the geopolitical table does not convey the same intent. A national presence, backed by the full faith and measure of Congress, focuses international attention and creates incentives for partnerships around the globe.  – The Hill

Long War

A court here sentenced a Norwegian-Iranian man to seven years in prison for espionage and plotting the assassination of an Iranian dissident with suspected links to Saudi Arabia, as the contest between two Middle East rivals spilled over into Europe. – Wall Street Journal

India is seeking the extradition of a top Pakistan militant suspected to have planned the 2008 Mumbai attacks after the United States said last week he was living freely in Pakistan, government officials said on Sunday. – Reuters

A suspect has been charged with three counts of murder over a knife attack in the English town of Reading described by police as a terrorist incident, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Saturday. – Reuters

Bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate on Friday issued a call for the European Union to designate all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization and ban its activities on the continent.  – The Hill