Fdd's overnight brief

June 30, 2021

In The News


The United States told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that it targeted Iran-backed militia in Syria and Iraq with airstrikes to deter the militants and Tehran from conducting or supporting further attacks on U.S. personnel or facilities. – Reuters

The U.N. investigator on human rights in Iran has called for an independent inquiry into allegations of state-ordered executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 and the role played by President-elect Ebrahim Raisi as Tehran deputy prosecutor. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to lift or waive all sanctions on Iran as agreed under a 2015 deal aimed at stopping Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden’s latest strikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria and Iraq were not the first nor likely the last of his young presidency. – Reuters

In their own ways, each represents an act of defiance against the austere Islamic system that they, and more than half of Iran’s 85m population, were born into. It is a trend rippling through Iranian society that reached a new peak on June 18, when more than half the republic’s voters ignored the pleas of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and boycotted presidential elections. – Financial times

US President Joe Biden, in a meeting on Monday with President Reuven Rivlin, said Iran will never get a nuclear weapon as long as he is in office. – Jerusalem Post

Three Christians from the Church of Iran denomination have each been sentenced to five years in prison and fined four million Rials ($95) on June 26. They were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, northern Iran after being convicted of “engaging in propoganda against the Islamic regime.” – Jerusalem Post

President Joe Biden’s Iran strategy is faltering, and he’s facing growing accusations from fellow Democrats of waging what effectively amounts to an undeclared war.  – Business Insider

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: None of this means Iran is not a threat. If the IAEA were blind for a longer period, say, several weeks, there would be much greater concern from Israel and globally. But it does mean that if Iran needs a bit more time to sulk before offering a face-saving formula for continuing IAEA cooperation, Jerusalem does not yet need to lose any sleep. – Jerusalem Post

Hamdi Malik writes: In response, Washington and its partners need to establish a dedicated team of experts and analysts capable of monitoring the activities of each resistance media network, assessing their internal developments, identifying the personalities who run them, and detecting trends in their programming and intentions. Only with thorough knowledge at this scale can Washington implement an effective counter to Iran’s foreign propaganda machine. – Washington Institute

James Jeffrey and Dennis Ross write: To succeed, the Biden administration will need to work with Arab, Israeli, and Turkish partners on Iranian regional issues, and maintain pressure on both Tehran and those governments tempted to yield to Iran. […]Ultimately, if regional discussions with Tehran are to have any chance of reducing tensions and minimizing the potential for conflict and escalation, they must generate the kind of pushback from the region that gives Iran a reason to temper its behavior. – The Atlantic

Ally Bolour writes: As a gay Iranian American, I implore my fellow queer and progressive community not to compartmentalize human rights based on fictional distinctions of borders and national origin.  There is nothing “woke” about justifying persecution based on culture.  Please join me in demanding that our respective governments seek justice and dignity for our community in Iran, because the LGBT community is not free anywhere until we are free everywhere. – National Union for Democracy in Iran


Palestinians and advocacy groups continued Tuesday to protest the recent death of a local anti-corruption activist in the custody of Palestinian security forces, following days in which marchers braved beatings and intimidation to rally in cities across the West Bank. – Washington Post

Israel demolished a Palestinian shop in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan on Tuesday, triggering scuffles between police and protesters who accused authorities of discriminatory enforcement of building permits in the holy city. – Reuters

In three high-level meetings this week, Israel has insisted on linking the rehabilitation of Gaza with the return by Hamas of the remains of two soldiers and the release of two captives. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic activity in the international arena appears to have declined significantly over the past month. This downward trend stands in sharp contrast with a flurry of diplomatic activity by Israel and Hamas, especially in the past few weeks. – Jerusalem Post

Arab partners like the United Arab Emirates cannot play a meaningful role in improving conditions in the West Bank and Gaza if the Palestinians do not seek to work toward that goal, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Tuesday evening in Abu Dhabi. – Times of Israel

The Biden administration opposes Israel’s desire to condition post-war reconstruction projects in Gaza on the return of the bodies of the fallen IDF soldiers held by Hamas, two Western diplomats told The Times of Israel Monday. – Times of Israel

President Reuven Rivlin used a luncheon at the United Nations on Tuesday to tell the Palestinians it’s necessary to forget the past, so the two peoples can live together. – Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority must stop its crackdown on journalists and political opponents, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Eric R. Mandel writes: Bringing the Saudis and Israelis together with American help would be greatly appreciated by Israel, and could be part of the “half a loaf” that Israel accepts on Iran. Biden and Blinken’s strategy is to find some way to get Israel on board with the Iran nuclear talks. With all of the stumbling blocks, is there some understanding the new Israeli government can negotiate when Bennett and Biden meet in July that would satisfy both countries, knowing a return to the JCPOA is probably a given? – The Hill    


Iran halted its crucial supply of power to Iraq, fueling fears of protests Tuesday amid instability following the resignation of Iraq’s electricity minister. – Associated Press

Over the past two years, Sadr’s political organisation, the Sadrist Movement, has quietly come to dominate the apparatus of the Iraqi state. Its members have taken senior jobs within the interior, defence and communications ministries. They have had their picks appointed to state oil, electricity and transport bodies, to state-owned banks and even to Iraq’s central bank, according to more than a dozen government officials and lawmakers. – Reuters

Yesar Al-Maleki writes: With China ramping up its involvement globally through the multi trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which is steadily encroaching on the Middle East, the U.S. and fellow members of the G7 are calling for a rival contender named the “Build Back Better World” (B3W). If the political benefits of the Neo-Mashreq to the West outweigh the financial burden, then and only then would infusing billions of dollars make this project economically sensible. But for that to happen, the three countries need to improve their records of transparency, combating corruption, and wise economic spending. – Middle East Institute


Once among the best in the region, Lebanon’s hospitals are struggling amid the country’s economic and financial crisis that has led to daily power outages that last for hours, shortages of diesel fuel for backup generators, and a lack of medical equipment and drugs. – Associated Press

The top leaders of the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas held talks in Beirut on Tuesday about last month’s 11-day war with Israel in the Gaza Strip. – Associated Press

In a renewed effort to blunt Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon, Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) are set to introduce a bill today that pushes the State Department to exert new pressure to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating that the disarmament of the terrorist group. – Jewish Insider

Arabian Peninsula

Israel’s top diplomat inaugurated Tuesday the country’s embassy in the United Arab Emirates and expressed hope for a new era of closer ties, as the two nations struggle to bridge differences over the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict and deliver on the promise of a historic diplomatic accord. – Wall Street Journal

A Yemeni government official said Tuesday that Houthi rebels fired two missiles in the latest attack in the government-held city of Marib, killing at least three people, including a child. – Associated Press

The US State Department released a statement praising the opening of the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates Tuesday. – Arutz Sheva

Bahrain on Tuesday officially appointed Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah as the Gulf state’s first-ever ambassador to Israel, i24NEWS reports. – Arutz Sheva

Lahav Harkov writes: Face-to-face meetings, like the one between Lapid and Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, are key at this time to coordinate their position on this matter. So behind the ribbon-cuttings, red carpets and the photogenic smiles is a trip that is not only truly historic, in that it is a first, but is also consequential in strengthening the relationship between Israel and the UAE and meeting their shared strategic goals. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

In the late afternoon, around dusk, reports emerged that pro-Iranian groups had shelled areas in eastern Syria across from Deir Ezzor, ostensibly targeting US forces near the Omar oil fields. This is an important and strategic area and US forces who support the Syrian Democratic Forces, have been reported to have a facility or base in this area. The attack was linked to airstrikes the US had carried out in Syria targeting pro-Iranian groups on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Turkey’s Karpowership will resume electricity supply to Lebanon from its two power ships from Tuesday in a decision it said was a goodwill gesture against a backdrop of talks over payment arrears and a legal threat to its vessels. – Reuters

Ksenia Svetlova writes: Bennett and Lapid cannot wait any longer to revive communication with their Jordanian counterparts. The kingdom is a crucial partner for achieving stability in the Middle East. Obviously we cannot return to the halcyon days of 1994, but we can improve the relations between both countries and make good on the agreements that have been signed. – Ynet

Korean Peninsula

Kim Jong Un said North Korea’s Covid-19 situation has become grave and admonished senior officials for lapses in the fight against the disease. – Wall Street Journal

All they had was TV footage — and a wristwatch. When North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, re-emerged this month after a four-week hiatus from public view, outside analysts and news outlets began studying state news media for clues to explain his latest absence. – New York Times

Bruce W. Bennett writes: As always, North Korea is denying to the outside world much of the information that would be required to confirm the severity of any of these instabilities. Still, while it has been anticipated that a North Korean collapse could occur as the result of “sudden change,” it may be more of a “trickling change” in the coming months and years. And, of course, any trickle could at some point lead to a larger collapse. – The National Interest

Olivia Enos writes: Severe food insecurity and economic hardship are no doubt destabilizing, and while we don’t know exactly how destabilizing they might be, the United States and its ally South Korea should always be prepared for a humanitarian crisis. Both countries should shore up humanitarian contingency plans and ensure that as they craft these plans, protection of the North Korean people’s human rights lies at the center of the strategy. – The National Interest


A former Chinese Communist Party academic, now a critic of the regime, is urging the U.S. to abandon “naive” hopes to engage with Beijing, while warning that the country’s leadership is more fragile than it appears. – Wall Street Journal

China’s leadership is straining to dial back its country’s chest-thumping “Wolf Warrior” approach to foreign policy, afraid it has begun to undermine the country’s interests, according to people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal

Explaining that the decline of U.S. hegemony and the decline of the U.S. are two separate concepts, Huang assessed that the decline of the hegemony has been “obvious” since the Obama era, “after the 2008-2011 financial crisis.” He added that Washington’s fear regarding this decline is combined with “worry and anxiety” about “China’s rise.” According to Huang, the biggest challenge China faces is that it has become the U.S.’s No. 1 strategic rival, and that “when this kind of competition goes to its extreme, it will lead to the threat of a new cold or hot war.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Editorial: If even the writing of the literati cannot be tolerated, it will be difficult for Hong Kong to be regarded as an international city.” Chinese leader Xi Jinping has destroyed Hong Kong’s freedoms with greater speed and force than anyone thought possible. Apple Daily ceased publishing June 24 after 26 years. But Mr. Xi may find it easier to lock people away than to stifle their words and ideas. – Washington Post

Vance Serchuk writes: With the Senate’s passage this month of a $250 billion bill to bolster U.S. industrial and scientific competitiveness against China, Washington celebrated a rare feat of political unity. Even as the legislation faces an uncertain fate in the House, the 68-to-32 Senate vote signals growing bipartisan support for rivalry with Beijing. Unfortunately, the embrace of great-power competition comes with a critical caveat. Both parties’ enthusiasm for the concept abruptly ends when it requires doing something politically hard. – Washington Post

Janan Ganesh writes: No, the grim distinction of the past 20 years is the collapse of the national cohesion after 9/11. For all its heinous violence, terrorism was too diffuse a threat to give Americans that sense of besieged togetherness that past eras conferred. A conventional superpower, with four times their population, just might. A nation that has often defined its identity against an Other was never going to find it in Afghanistan. – Financial Times


The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said security across the country is deteriorating just weeks before the last American forces withdraw. Gen. Scott Miller, in a rare briefing on Tuesday, said that recent gains by the Taliban are highly concerning, even if not unexpected. – Wall Street Journal

Rushing to help Afghans who face retribution for working alongside American troops in their home country, the House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to speed up the process that would allow them to immigrate to the United States. – New York Times

For years, Hamid Karzai International Airport has been a main gateway to Afghanistan, an aspirational symbol of civilian life and normalcy amid military bases, warplanes and the scars of decades of fighting in the surrounding countryside. But now the airport, known to all as Kabul International, has become the last stand in America’s 20-year campaign in Afghanistan. – New York Times

The U.S. military appears just days away from completing its withdrawal from Afghanistan, well ahead of the Sept. 11 deadline set by President Joe Biden to end America’s longest war, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. – Reuters

Intense fighting in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz killed at least 28 civilians and injured 290 this week, according to hospital officials, as conflict surges in the war-torn nation while foreign forces withdraw. – Reuters

For nearly 20 years, Bagram Airfield was the heart of American military power in Afghanistan, a sprawling mini-city behind fences and blast walls just an hour’s drive north of Kabul. Initially, it was a symbol of the U.S. drive to avenge the 9/11 attacks, then of its struggle for a way through the ensuing war with the Taliban. In just a matter of days, the last U.S. soldiers will depart Bagram. – Associated Press

The German military late on Tuesday concluded its withdrawal from Afghanistan after almost two decades, finishing Germany’s deadliest military mission since World War 2. – Reuters

Taliban fighters have launched an attack on Ghazni, clashing with Afghan forces and using explosives in an attempt to seize the central Afghan city, local officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Editorial: It won’t look like much once U.S. and allied forces depart. The Afghans are fighting bravely, but morale is falling as they anticipate the U.S. departure and potential fall of the government in Kabul. […]The Taliban never negotiated seriously once former President Trump set a withdrawal date, and especially since Mr. Biden has confirmed the retreat with the ignominious choice of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 as the deadline. No one should be shocked if the worst happens. – Wall Street Journal

South Asia

Myanmar’s authorities will free around 700 prisoners from Yangon’s Insein jail on Wednesday, prison chief Zaw Zaw told Reuters, in a release that is expected to include some of the thousands of people detained for opposing military rule. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military authorities have dropped charges against 24 celebrities who had been declared wanted under an anti-incitement law after anti-government comments, army run television said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Twitter is facing criminal charges in India after the site published a map that incorrectly showed the turbulent Indian region of Kashmir as a separate country. – The Guardian

Peter Suciu writes: It isn’t known how many troops China may have on its side of the border, but it has been constructing additional runways and buildings to allow for the quick airlifting of men and material, while according to reports, China is also building bomb-proof bunkers to house fighters and has moved in long-range artillery, tanks and rocket regiments. If a fight does come this year, then it will be far worse than the fist-fight and rock-throwing that occurred last year. As both sides continue to build up their forces one dangerous miscalculation could result in a very deadly conflict. – The National Interest

Rupert Stone writes: If Washington had a base in Pakistan after its withdrawal from Afghanistan, that would prolong America’s dependency on Islamabad and preclude the kind of sanctions and isolation that would severely harm China’s interests. […]So, while there are benefits to China from a U.S. military presence in Pakistan, there are also risks. But it is wrong that Beijing would definitely veto an American base in the country. There are strong reasons to support it. – The National Interest


With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster. The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing molds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile. – New York Times

Hong Kong authorities have used a new national security law to target dissent and justify “censorship, harassment, arrests and prosecutions that violate human rights”, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, a year after the law was implemented. – Reuters

Hong Kong authorities have arrested 117 people under a national security law imposed one year ago, charging more than 60, mostly democratic politicians, activists, journalists and students. – Reuters

China’s government and its supporters have monitored, harassed and intimidated pro-democracy Chinese students living in Australia, and Australian universities have failed to protect the students’ academic freedoms, Human Rights Watch said in a report published Wednesday. – Associated Press

Beijing’s weapon of choice has been disinformation. Experts have registered a sharp increase of Chinese information operations targeting Taiwan since the beginning of the pandemic last year, but following the recent start of increasing infections and deaths, those attacks have started to sting. – Financial Times

As Chinese President Xi Jinping oversees nationwide celebrations for this week’s Communist Party of China (CPC) centennial, officials with the ruling party continue to warn others away from its perennial “Taiwan question,” which remains further from Beijing’s ideal solution than any time in recent memory. – Newsweek

The national security law China imposed on Hong Kong a year ago Wednesday was much more than a piece of legislation: It showed Beijing was now running the show in the former British colony. – Bloomberg

Louisa Lim writes: Beijing, so used to enforcing its will by fiat, appears to be accelerating its moves to turn Hong Kong into another mainland city. But it should note the words of Apple Daily’s farewell letter: “When an apple is buried beneath the soil, its seed will become a tree filled with bigger and more beautiful apples.” – New York Times

Joseph Bosco writes: Of course, they could also do the opposite, as Kissinger and others have done, by pleasing a small group in China’s leadership, and urge the people of Taiwan to accept the kind of fate that has befallen the population of Hong Kong. But the Gateses have indicated they will continue to work together at their Foundation and presumably still share its declared ideals in pursuit of a better world. Mutually agreed divorce is the right thing for Bill and Melinda and, as Nixon said, it is the right thing for China and Taiwan. – The National Interest

Matthew Brooker writes: While the bespectacled, softly spoken mother has never been to a demonstration, her attitudes are representative of the pro-democracy majority, who supported the aims of the 2019 protest movement, if not all of its methods. As is common across Hong Kong, the issue has led to breaches within her family. Her mother, who escaped to the city from mainland China after witnessing killings during the Cultural Revolution, has urged her to remain silent out of fear of the Communist Party, she said. – Bloomberg


The United States hopes for more stable and predictable relations with Russia but if the latter continues to “be aggressive”, then Washington will respond, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has vowed a U.S. response would follow if Moscow targeted the U.S. with a cyber attack, as he reiterated his administration’s concern about hacker threats as a major issue of national security. – Newsweek

The Netherlands’ defence minister said on Tuesday that Russian fighter jets armed with air-to-surface missiles had harassed a Dutch navy frigate in the Black Sea earlier this month, conducting mock attacks and jamming communication systems. – Reuters


The United States on Tuesday banned ticket sales for air travel to and from Belarus, acting after Minsk forced a Ryanair flight to land and arrested a dissident journalist aboard. – Reuters

French European Affairs junior minister Clement Beaune said on Wednesday he expected a form of sanctions against Hungary over Hungary’s anti-LGBT law. – Reuters

The EU’s justice commissioner has vowed to fight back against a proliferation of legal challenges and rulings by member states that have attacked the supremacy of EU law, warning that they could destroy the union itself. – Financial Times

President Joe Biden will nominate academic Amy Gutmann as U.S. ambassador to Germany, two sources familiar with the issue told Reuters on Wednesday, as the two countries move closer after relations deteriorated under former President Donald Trump. – Reuters

Editorial: The Polish legislation must be stopped in its tracks, whether through international pressure or by the Polish leadership realizing its passage will add another dimension to the immeasurable suffering endured by the Jews during the Holocaust. – Jerusalem Post


Eight months after claiming victory over the rebellious region of Tigray, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmedhas been beaten into a shock retreat, his forces ejected from the regional capital after a lightning rebel offensive that could change the shape of geopolitics across the strategically vital Horn of Africa. – Wall Street Journal

A day after retaking the capital of the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, rebel forces have indicated they have little appetite for a truce — threatening to drag out the brutal eight-month-long civil war that has embroiled the Horn of Africa nation. – New York Times

Ethiopia and Eritrea should anticipate further actions from the United States if the announced cessation of hostilities does not lead to improvements in the Tigray region, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

United States

The United States led calls at a G20 meeting Tuesday for greater global cooperation in light of the coronavirus crisis as China insisted that multilateralism should not just be a slogan. – Agence France-Presse

Rep. Ilhan Omar defended her statements comparing Israel and the United States to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Taliban in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

The Department of Homeland Security has warned its law enforcement partners about concerns about violent attacks in the lead-up to the anniversaries of two domestic terror attacks, according to a recent intelligence bulletin reviewed by POLITICO. The department sent out the bulletin Monday. – Politico

United Nations member states agreed on Tuesday to a budget of some $6 billion for the world body’s 12 peacekeeping missions for the next year, diplomats said, narrowly averting a possible shutdown of the operations. – Reuters

Davin O’Regan writes: But while I usually share this vision, I am not surprised if their compatriots and governments raise an eyebrow over their work and motives. U.S. foreign assistance for civil society could be interpreted as a form of political intervention – and U.S. rhetoric on regime change fails to ease such concerns. Consistent with a growing impetus for a more careful U.S. foreign policy, it may be time for more restraint in U.S. engagement with civil society groups in other countries. – War on the Rocks


The UN Security Council on Tuesday held its first formal public meeting on cybersecurity, addressing the growing threat of hacks to countries’ key infrastructure — an issue US President Joe Biden recently raised with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. – Agence France-Presse

The U.N. disarmament chief warned Tuesday that digital technologies are lowering barriers to malicious intrusions and opening potential areas for governments, armed groups, terrorists and criminals to carry out attacks, including across international borders. – Associated Press

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday included almost $400 million more than last year for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its budget proposal for the upcoming year. – The Hill

The Biden administration is working to formally attribute the exploitation of vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server application, which left thousands of organizations vulnerable to attack, “in the coming weeks,” a top official said Tuesday. – The Hill

The Pentagon official who oversees its new cybersecurity initiative for defense contractors was placed on leave after she was suspected of disclosing classified information without permission, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. – Business Insider

The Navy and Marine Corps must be prepared to handle cyber attacks like the recent attack embedded in routine software updates on thousands of government and business networks, said the nation’s top cybersecurity official. – USNI News


House Democrats on Tuesday released a $706 billion Pentagon funding bill, hewing closely to the top-line amount requested by President Biden for fiscal 2022. – The Hill

Tweaking President Joe Biden’s Pentagon spending request for next year, House appropriators have proposed $1.7 billion more for weapons procurement and $1.6 billion less for development and testing of cutting-edge technologies meant to deter China. – Defense News

The House on Tuesday voted to repeal a pair of outdated war authorizations, piling onto an expanding debate on Capitol Hill over reining in broad presidential war powers. – Politico

Sunday’s air strikes in the Middle East have renewed debate on Capitol Hill over the continued need for an old war authorization, and an emerging need for a new one. Pentagon officials said the strikes, which targeted Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria that use drones against American troops, were conducted for self-defense and fell under the president’s authority under Article II of the Constitution. – Defense One

While the Marine Corps is divesting legacy systems to invest in modernization, the Navy has had to make cuts to sustain its current force, the admiral who oversees the Navy budget said today. – USNI News

Bryan Clark, Dan Patt, and Timothy A. Walton write: The vignette and associated analysis highlight specific recommendations for the Department of Defense to fund and explore the concept of mission integration, and to take an evolutionary approach to modernizing its institutional processes to exploit the opportunities afforded by changing technology and the emerging character of warfare. – Hudson Institute

Christopher Dougherty writes: Achieving consensus on this won’t be easy, as there are good reasons why China observers vary in their assessments of the risk of conflict and why U.S. naval and defense strategists differ on their visions of the future fleet. However, without this consensus and a concerted effort to reverse decades of drift, the Navy will continue its gradual slide toward strategic bankruptcy, and the risk of its debts coming due suddenly (and perhaps violently) will increase. – War on the Rocks

Long War

A Dutch court convicted a 32-year-old woman and sentenced her to six years’ imprisonment Tuesday for involvement in war crimes committed by the so-called Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq. – Associated Press

German investigators said Tuesday that an Islamic extremist motivation for last week’s fatal knife attack in Wuerzburg appears likely, but they haven’t so far found any propaganda or other extremist material. They also plan more checks on the suspect’s mental health. – Associated Press

Children caught in conflict are being taught to commit war crimes before they can count, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Monday, pointing to the deadliest attack in Burkina Faso in years, with more than 130 civilians killed by an armed group comprising “mostly 12- to 14-year-olds.” – Associated Press

Ivana Stradner and Eileen Walsh write: The threat of a resurgence incubating in these camps is ongoing and immediate, with U.S. General Frank Mackenzie stating that children in such camps are “being radicalized every day by ISIS.” As the court enters a new era of leadership, Khan has the ability to improve its international standing—and to reassert its legitimacy. Now is the time to prosecute ISIS fighters, and Khan is the ideal Chief Prosecutor to get the job done. – The National Interest