Fdd's overnight brief

June 8, 2020

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


The United Nations atomic agency expressed “serious concern” Friday about Iran’s failure to cooperate with its probe into undeclared nuclear material in the country, adding to calls from opponents of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran to kill off that agreement. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump on Friday celebrated the return of an American imprisoned in Iran by urging Tehran to “make the Big deal” on its nuclear program, and dangled the possibility that they would get better terms if they negotiated before the presidential election, seeming to invite Tehran to help return him to office. – New York Times

An Iranian doctor based in Florida returned to his homeland Monday after being part of a swap that saw a U.S. Navy veteran held by Iran return to America. – Associated Press

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said Friday she has shared a draft U.N. Security Council resolution with Russia that would extend the arms embargo against Iran indefinitely. – Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron has made a fresh call for Iran to immediately release a French-Iranian researcher. – Associated Press

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has called on France to stop meddling in the country’s internal affairs, especially regarding the judiciary, the semi-official ISNA news agency has reported. – Jerusalem Post 

The Mossad’s operation to appropriate Iranian nuclear secrets in 2018 is still paying dividends deep into 2020 by bringing the IAEA into a standoff with Tehran, sources with knowledge have told The Jerusalem Post. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran is ready for further prisoner exchanges with the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday, according to the official IRNA news agency. – Reuters 

The door remains open for a wider negotiation with Iran about its nuclear program and other issues, but so far talks have been limited to prisoner releases, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Friday. – Reuters

Afghans have taken to social media to denounce Iranian police after a video of a car carrying refugees being set ablaze in Iran went viral, arousing new anger weeks after Afghan officials accused Iranian border guards of drowning migrants. – Reuters 

Iran has completed its probe into the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet and is ready to hand over the plane’s black box for further investigation, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. – Bloomberg 

In a rare move, federal prosecutors are seeking to withdraw a criminal case against an Iranian banker who was convicted of violating U.S. sanctions. – Bloomberg 

Scott Modell writes: Maximum pressure has failed to achieve it, paving the way for a new approach nestled between Biden’s promise of “aggressive diplomacy” and the unthinkable notion of all-out war. Broader U.S. government participation in a reformed version of covert action could be an open, cost-effective and humane way of helping Iranians usher out the ruling theocracy in favor of democracy. The alternatives—waiting for Iran to capitulate and commit to real change or spontaneous combustion in the form of a Persian Spring—are just wishful thinking. – Newsweek 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The drone industry in Iran is one of the military industries often in the news for new deliveries to units. The sheer number of drones, increasing ranges and recent tests with various types of munitions, including the drones that are basically kamikaze weapons, or what is called a “loitering munition,” show that Iran intends to use these for massed attacks in the future. – Jerusalem Post 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: The assumption has been that Khamenei will not make any other major moves in any direction before the November US presidential election. The only question now is whether the tension between the IAEA and Iran will boil over before then. And if so, will that tension frame the nuclear standoff post-election – or will Moscow’s support of Tehran blunt the impact of this new pressure? – Jerusalem Post 


The Golani Brigade officer who entered Syria without permission and ended up killing Syrians is likely to be discharged from the army in the wake of an investigation by Haaretz. – Haaretz   

A report in the English-language UAE daily The National provides information about the Glass House, a building near the Damascus international airport that serves as the command and control headquarters of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria. This is the hub from which the IRGC’s Quds Force has orchestrated Iran’s military efforts in the country. – Middle East Media Research Institute

A total of 12 members of a pro-Iranian militia in Syria were killed and Iranian targets were destroyed overnight in an airstrike by unidentified aircraft in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zur, according to the Syrian Human Rights Survey Center. – Jerusalem Post 

Zvi Bar’el writes: From Israel’s standpoint, that is not only a wise American policy, which gives Israel a free hand. Israel also has Russian approval to act as it wishes as long as those actions don’t harm Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and focus on Iranian targets. – Haaretz  

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Hezbollah believes it has a deterrent and “new rules of engagement” that protect its men in Syria. Nevertheless, wars can start by mistake, the article concludes. – Jerusalem Post

Nick Grinstead writes: It now seems clear that Iran is repositioning within Syria, rather than withdrawing, and that this is a result of a combination of factors, including the coronavirus. The repositioning should be viewed as a shift in priorities away from the east of Syria to the southwest, closer to Israel. It is likely that Iran felt that it had achieved its main objective of securing al-Mayadin and Abu Kamal and that paying for troops to stay there and get routinely hit by Israeli air strikes was no longer worth it. Further, the fact that NDF units in southern Raqqa did not receive their salaries for several months indicates that they were not a priority for Iran in the wake of the pandemic and that it was best to cut its losses in that area. – Middle East Institute


Several thousand Israelis demonstrated on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend sovereignty over parts of the occupied West Bank, de-facto annexation of land that the Palestinians seek for a state. – Reuters

More than a week after Israeli police shot dead an unarmed and autistic Palestinian in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called the killing a tragedy and offered his condolences to the family. – Reuters

A former leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group Ramadan Shallah has died after battling illness, al-Manar TV reported on Saturday. – Reuters 

Details of a phone conversation between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and a Palestinian mother whose son was killed in a recent confrontation with the IDF revealed a mood of near celebration over the boy’s death. – Algemeiner 

According to the officials, a Palestinian terror cell planted dozens of pipe bombs in an open area on the outskirts of Jenin, along the route usually taken by IDF troops when they arrive in the city to arrest terror suspects. – Ynet

An open letter by a group of retired Canadian diplomats calling on their government to oppose an Israeli plan to annex the West Bank met with a sharp response on Friday from a leading Jewish organization. – Algemeiner

The Shin Bet cleared for publication Sunday that they arrested a Palestinian man from the West Bank who is suspected of killing a soldier by throwing a rock at him in May. – Haaretz

The U.N. Mideast envoy is trying to arrange a meeting of key global mediators to discuss prospects and threats to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the United Nations said Friday. – Associated Press 

The Palestinian Authority is planning to get the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, Jerusalem’s mission to the UN in New York said Saturday. – Times of Israel 

The Palestinian Authority told the International Criminal Court on Thursday that am Israeli annexation of the parts of the West Bank would annul the Oslo Accords and all other bilateral agreements between Ramallah and Jerusalem. – Times of Israel 

June 4 was the deadline for companies to submit their bids for the deployment of 5G wireless networks in Israel. And while the Communications Ministry has not yet revealed the names of all the telecommunication groups participating in the tender for the next-generation cellular network, it seems that China was left out. – Al-Monitor 

Fear that US President Donald Trump’s peace plan endangers at least 15 West Bank settlements and could lead to their destruction, is one of the driving reasons settler leaders have objected to the US initiative. – Jerusalem Post

Avishai Levi writes: With Egypt firmly on the back foot, the IAF crippled the Syrian Air Force, and destroyed targets in Iraq after the Iraqis entered the fray. Those same attitudes and principles remain essential for victory in the modern era, and will play a crucial role in combating enemies that threaten Israel today. – Algemeiner


Iraq’s parliament on Saturday approved the remainder of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s cabinet, making Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail oil minister and passing the candidates for six other government posts, lawmakers said. – Reuters

The head of Iran’s maritime and ports association said Friday an Iranian cargo ship sank in Iraqi waters, and at least one crew member was dead and two others missing, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported. – Associated Press 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall trend in Iraq is difficult for the US. Abu Ali al-Askari, spokesman of Kataib Hezbollah slammed  the US in quotes to Iran’s Tasnim making it seem that the PMU was sidelined in discussions. As the US and Iraq move towards these discussions Tehran will be there to undermine them. That much is clear. – Jerusalem Post

Katherine Lawlor and Brandon Wallace write: Economic and diplomatic competition between the United States and Iran is ramping up as both sides attempt to control the conditions leading up to the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue in mid-June. Iran seeks to ensure that Iraq continues to import Iranian energy, a key economic driver for Iran’s sanctions-battered economy. Iraq relies on those imports to bolster its under-funded, often-strained electrical grid. The United States is aiming to reduce Iraqi reliance on Iranian imports by encouraging investments by US and allied companies and leveraging its sanctions waivers. – Institute for the Study of War


Hundreds of Lebanese protesters took to the streets on Saturday to voice outrage over the government’s handling of a deep economic crisis, with security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse rock-throwing demonstrators. – Reuters

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called for national unity on Sunday after violence erupted in parts of Beirut between supporters of rival sectarian political parties. – Reuters 

Lebanon is gearing up for the biggest gathering of protesters in months after the coronavirus outbreak stifled the popular movement that kicked off late last year. – An-Nahar

Elai Rettig, Semion Polinov and Shaul Chorevl write: Despite the modest signs for actual gas finds, Russia’s involvement in the Lebanese energy market spans much wider interests than natural gas – some of which directly concern Israel. […]Russian interest in the gas reserves of Israel and its neighbors is driven by both economic and military interests. – Jerusalem Post

Gulf States

OPEC and its allies finalized on Saturday an extension of their record oil-production curbs through July, delegates said, after Iraq and Nigeria agreed to slightly deeper cuts to compensate for their failure to adhere to recent agreements. – Wall Street Journal

Qatar wants to resolve a diplomatic rift with its Arab Gulf neighbors, now in its fourth year, through dialogue, officials said. – Bloomberg  

Former Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, who currently serves as the force’s deputy chief, called for the normalization of his country’s ties with Israel. – Arutz Sheva

Saudi Arabia’s vast appetite for western weaponry and defence equipment appears undiminished despite sweeping austerity measures unveiled by the government last month, buoying its US and British suppliers. – Financial Times

A deal to extend record OPEC+ output cuts was going smoothly — until Saudi Arabia and Russia discovered just how much some of their allies had been cheating. – Bloomberg


Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar proposed a cease fire and an Egyptian-backed process to end the war in a bid to retain areas still under his control as the warlord loses swaths of territory gained in a 14-month offensive on the internationally-recognized government capital of Tripoli. – Wall Street Journal

When the U.S. military said that more than a dozen Russian military planes had arrived in Libya last month — with identifying emblems painted over for apparent deniability — the Pentagon accused President Vladimir Putin of trying to tip the balance in a civil war, as he did in Syria. And, as in Syria, Russia’s interests in Libya include expanding its military and political reach in the Middle East and Mediterranean — while also waging a proxy battle with rivals such as Turkey. – Washington Post

Forces of Libya’s U.N.-backed government seized control of the last remaining western stronghold of militia commander Khalifa Hifter on Friday, dealing a major setback to his ambitions to wrest control of the country. – Washington Post 

Libyan forces will retake territory from Kremlin-backed eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar and prevent Russia from establishing a base before accepting negotiations, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha told Bloomberg on Sunday, a day after Haftar declared a cease-fire. – Bloomberg 

A Russian drive to recruit Syrians to fight in Libya for militia leader Khalifa Haftar accelerated in May when hundreds of mercenaries were signed up, five Syrian opposition sources and a regional source familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Turkish police on Monday detained two journalists for questioning as part of an investigation into alleged “political and military espionage,” the state-run Anadolu Agency said. – Associated Press

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Israel and Jordan next week and caution Israeli officials against the government’s intent to annex West Bank lands. – Haaretz 

James A. Warren writes: The dream of re-establishing that caliphate remains strong in the hearts of the believers, while the fecklessness of the government in Iraq, and its failure to address the grievances of Sunni Muslims, who constitute about 20 percent of its population, only lend credence to predictions that ISIS will rise again in the very heart of the Middle East. – The Daily Beast 

Korean Peninsula

In the latest blow for inter-Korean cooperation, North Korea threatened to permanently shut a liaison office with South Korea as it continued to condemn its rival for failing to prevent activists from sending anti-North Korean leaflets across the border. – Associated Press 

Shigeru Yokota, a Japanese campaigner for the return of his daughter and more than a dozen others who were abducted to North Korea in the 1970s, has died. He was 87. – Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un focused on domestic economic issues at a meeting of the politburo of the country’s ruling Workers Party, state media said on Monday, as the North ramped up pressure on South Korea over defector activities. – Reuters 


China and India have stepped back from a tense confrontation along their shared border high in the Himalayas, pledging to resolve disputes over territory through diplomatic and military channels, India’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. – New York Times

China has warned its citizens not to travel to Australia due to what it says is a rise in racial discrimination and violence toward Chinese and Asian people there during the coronavirus pandemic. – Wall Street Journal

China could stand to lose almost all of its ballistic and cruise missiles if it were to sign a new strategic arms control treaty, according to a new regional security assessment. – Defense News

Senior Chinese officials released a lengthy report Sunday on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, defending their government’s actions and saying that China had provided information in a timely and transparent manner. – Associated Press  

Mike Gallagher writes: A new cold war is heating up between the U.S. and China, but America’s public intellectuals are more interested in fighting about whether to call this confrontation a “new cold war.” […]Like it or not, the new cold war is a reality. Better to acknowledge it than to hope for an elusive, cooperative relationship. – Wall Street Journal

Joseph Bosco writes: Neither catastrophic war nor continued futile engagement offer the solution to the world’s ongoing China problem. As with the earlier titanic struggle against Soviet communism, the answer must be democratic change pushed by the Chinese people and supported morally and informationally by the international community. The only cure for the virus of Chinese communism is the vaccine of democracy. – The Hill 

Patrick Jenkins writes: To take the moral high ground, as many corporate interventions in support of George Floyd have, invites criticism of corporate behaviour that is less ethically admirable. The purist conclusion would lead western businesses to exit markets that do not espouse liberal western values and moral standards — regardless of the financial impact. […]That principle could be extended into other areas. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for financial sector bosses to strong-arm Xi Jinping into backtracking on Hong Kong or treating the Uighur any better. Those corporate licences to operate are simply worth too much. – Financial Times 

James Jay Carafano writes: The administration is right to start to crack down on this illicit activity. It sends a powerful warning to China that it could lose access to the American university system if the regime does not curb its worse abuses. This is the kind of prudent policy that strikes the right balance. – Fox News

Eric B. Brown and Charles Horner write: The Party knows that the existence of compelling counter-models to it along the Sinophone periphery are a danger to its hold on power inside the People’s Republic itself. It is an historic gamble: Xi’s ongoing bid to subjugate Sinophone Asia to communist rule is threatening the very Asian peace and economic potential which made China’s emergence since 1978 possible in the first place. – Hudson Institute


In Afghanistan’s halting effort to end two decades of conflict, recent days have brought a sudden shift: A three-day cease-fire to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan held for more than a week. The Afghan government and the Taliban released hundreds of prisoners. And the two sides restarted informal negotiations in the capital. – Washington Post  

Families of American soldiers and personnel wounded or killed in Afghanistan have accused two U.S. contractors of paying protection money to the Taliban, expanding a lawsuit filed earlier. – Wall Street Journal

Two separate militant attacks killed 14 Afghan security personnel on Saturday in the northeastern Badakhshan province and the capital of Kabul, officials said. – Associated Press

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan conducted two airstrikes in 24 hours against the Taliban to disrupt coordinated attacks on ANDSF checkpoint, a spokesman said in a tweet. – Military Times


The U.S. decision to rescind Hong Kong’s status as a largely autonomous Chinese territory opens the way for a range of punitive measures from Washington that may damage Hong Kong’s status as a trading and finance hub. – Wall Street Journal

One of Taiwan’s most prominent China-friendly politicians was recalled as mayor of the self-ruled island’s third-largest city—the second electoral setback in five months for Taiwanese advocates of a more accommodating posture toward Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

Vietnam ratified a free trade agreement with the European Union on Monday that will cut or eliminate 99% of tariffs on goods traded between the Southeast Asian country and the bloc, and provide Vietnam with a much-needed post pandemic boost. – Reuters

Japan has decided not join the United States, Britain and others in issuing a statement scolding China for imposing a new security law, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday, citing officials from countries involved. – Reuters  

As China moves to tighten its control over Hong Kong, the U.K. is offering some residents of its former colony a potential route out: A proposal to allow longer stays in Britain and even a “pathway to future citizenship.” Almost 3 million people could qualify, but not some of the students at the forefront of the past year’s pro-democracy protests. – Bloomberg  

Chinese and Malaysian vessels were locked in a high-stakes standoff for more than one month earlier this year, near the island of Borneo in the South China Sea. – CNN 

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves. – Associated Press

Benjamin Powell writes: President Trump stated that Hong Kong was formerly a “bastion of liberty.” Hong Kongers are still yearning to breathe free. If the Chinese Communist Party makes it impossible for them to breathe free in Hong Kong, the United States should invite them to breathe free here.  – The Hill  


Russia on Friday denounced a decision by the Czech Republic to expel two Russian diplomats over an alleged ricin poison plot that Czech officials now believe was a hoax engineered as part of internal quarrels in Moscow’s embassy in Prague. – New York Times 

Russia and China’s warming relations in the Arctic are the largest threat to security in the region, a British defense official said Thursday, in a break from those who view Moscow and Beijing as separate actors. – Politico  

The Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT has filed a lawsuit against opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny, alleging that he damaged the firm’s business reputation. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Mark R. Whittington writes: Russia knows that the United States is a good space partner because it already has almost 30 years of experience with NASA helping to run the ISS. All things considered, if Russia wants to participate in humankind’s exploration and development of space, NASA is the only option available. What Rogozin is really rejecting when he rejects the Artemis Accords is the rule of law beyond the domain of Earth. Instead of claiming that Russia will not accept “any attempts to privatize the Moon,” Russia should join in negotiations with the United States and other countries to ensure that the expansion of the human race into space will happen in peace and freedom. – The Hill 


The killing of George Floyd has sparked marches and sporadic vandalism in Europe. In France, it has rekindled controversies over institutional racism and police violence in a society divided after the monthslong yellow-vest protests. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. allies in Europe expressed dismay over President Trump’s plan to slash the number of American troops in Germany by more than a quarter, saying it undermined NATO and boosted adversaries such as Russia. – Wall Street Journal

The coronavirus epidemic in Britain has killed more than 40,000 people, sickened hundreds of thousands more, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and paralyzed the economy. Now it may claim another casualty: a trade agreement between Britain and the European Union. – New York Times

A former Swedish ambassador to China went on trial on Friday in Stockholm, charged with overstepping the boundaries of her role by arranging what prosecutors said were secret back-room meetings over the fate of a detained Hong Kong bookseller who is a Swedish citizen. – New York Times

Brussels and London pledged Friday to step up the pace of Brexit trade talks to try to strike a deal by the end of October, after the latest round of negotiations ended with no major breakthrough. – Agence France-Presse

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday he hoped that some of the U.S. troops that are set to be removed from Germany will be reassigned to Poland. – Reuters

A senior EU judge has expressed his “deep concern” about a recent landmark ruling by the German Constitutional Court and warned that it risks dismantling rule of law in the EU and potentially even the bloc itself. – Politico

Editorial: The Chinese threat to democratic values extends far beyond the Pacific, and the U.S. needs allies across the world to resist. That’s one of many reasons President Trump’s partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany would be damaging. […]Much of the world is growing wary of China’s behavior. Mr. Trump should be reinforcing America’s commitment to alliances, not giving adversaries new openings to exploit. – Wall Street Journal


The French military said on Friday that its forces in Mali had killed one of Al Qaeda’s longest-serving commanders in Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdal, who has led an affiliate of the terror network for more than a decade. – New York Times

Armed men dressed in military fatigues attacked a village of Fulani herders in central Mali, killing at least 20 people, a local government official and a Fulani association said on Saturday. – Reuters

The economic calamity of the coronavirus broke South Africa’s resistance to borrowing from the International Monetary Fund. – Bloomberg 

Bulama Bukarti writes: Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest jihadist groups, has long threatened the security of the vast swathes of West and Central Africa. But now the coronavirus pandemic is adding a new dimension of danger. – Telegraph 

Latin America

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido reappeared in the street in videos distributed Saturday by his team and parliamentary allies, after foreign minister Jorge Arreaza claimed he had taken refuge in the French embassy in Caracas. – Agence France-Presse

France on Friday denied that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido had been given refuge at its mission in Caracas, after Venezuela’s foreign minister claimed he was hiding at the embassy. – Agence France-Presse 

Venezuelan authorities have jailed three local DirecTV executives under an arrest warrant issued after the Dallas-based company abruptly cut off services to the South American country last month, citing U.S. sanctions against the socialist government, the men’s lawyer said Friday – Associated Press

Editorial: U.S. officials say they will not tolerate systematic Iranian supplies of gasoline to Venezuela, and it’s not clear Tehran will have the capacity to continue them as its pandemic lockdown eases and Iranians return to their vehicles. But the strengthening alliance between the two states illustrates the downside of Trump policies that aim for regime change, but aren’t able to deliver it — or even to contain the inevitable blowback. – Washington Post 

North America

The New York Police Department and the FBI are investigating the stabbing attack of a police officer last week as a possible terrorist attack, NYPD officials said Saturday. – Wall Street Journal

The Pentagon will be sending back the remaining 900 active-duty troops who were sent to the Washington, D.C., area to potentially respond to civil unrest, and they are expected to start heading back to their home bases, a U.S. official told Reuters. – Reuters 

Intelligence officials among US allies are deeply concerned that the political instability triggered by more than a week of occasionally violent clashes between police and protesters across the United States has opened a new front for hostile foreign intelligence collection. – Business Insider 

The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia. This implication by the National Defense Strategy Commission stands in contrast to the past several decades during which the U.S. possessed military power without equal. – USNI News

J.J. McCullough writes: Therein lies the paradox of the entire project. Joining the Security Council is a crusade of patriotic self-importance, yet it will only be successful to the degree Trudeau is able to conceal or subordinate the ways Canada is, in fact, a uniquely principled country. National exceptionalism cannot be built from timid conformity. Four years of distracted foreign policy is the price Canada is paying to teach its vain prime minister this obvious lesson. – Washington Post

Lawrence J. Haas writes: To be sure, Trump’s attacks on the WHO have focused much-needed international attention on Beijing’s unsavory tactics toward, and undue influence over, the global health agency. Nevertheless, a U.S. withdrawal creates two obvious problems. […]America’s allies, however, are far more predisposed to multilateral coordination to address global challenges. Thus, Trump’s decision to abandon the WHO — like his recent suggestion that he will invite Russia to the next G-7 meeting — will further complicate America’s efforts if it ever needs to rally its closest friends. – The Hill


Campaign staffs for both President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden have been targeted recently by foreign hackers, Google researchers said Thursday, highlighting persistent data security concerns ahead of the November US election. – Agence France-Presse  

Five years after the Pentagon demanded every weapon system include the requirement that it be able to fight through Russian and Chinese cyber attacks expected on future battlefields, DoD “does not often include cybersecurity” in key performance parameters (KPP) for major programs, says GAO in its annual defense acquisition review. – Breaking Defense

A group of hackers executed a successful attack this week on shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA’s Norwegian unit, an Italy-based representative for the company said, confirming local reports. – Bloomberg  

Huawei is launching a newspaper and internet campaign to mark 20 years of business in the UK. […]It comes amid a new security review that could lead the UK government to ban use of Huawei’s 5G network kit. – BBC 

Huawei will launch a fightback on Monday to try to preserve its role in Britain’s 5G networks, urging Boris Johnson not to “overestimate the risk of security and forget the economic impact” of delaying the rollout of full-fibre broadband. – Financial Times 

Britain is on a collision course with China after Boris Johnson approved plans last week to build up alternatives to Huawei in the 5G network, a move that caused a heated cabinet split in the government’s most secret committee. – The Times  

The Trump administration has fired multiple salvos against Huawei Technologies Co. since the start of a campaign to derail China’s technological ascendancy. The latest blow threatens to cripple the country’s tech champion. – Bloomberg  

Facebook Inc. said it removed two networks of accounts linked to white supremacy groups, but hasn’t seen any attempted foreign interference on its platforms related to the recent Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. targeting police brutality. – Bloomberg 

VT San Antonio Aerospace Inc., which provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services to aircraft, was hit with a ransomware attack affecting its U.S. commercial operations. – Bloomberg

A major Iranian cyber-attack on Israel’s water infrastructure was part of a year-long campaign of similar attacks, Israeli news website Walla revealed on Sunday. – Algemeiner 

Shares in a Japanese tech start-up, whose chief executive correctly bet that Covid-19 would unleash a surge of cyber attacks and entrench a corporate prejudice against unlisted companies, have surged more than 670 per cent after pressing ahead with its listing at the height of the mid-March market turmoil. – Financial Times

Thomas M. Johnson Jr. writes: High-speed, high-capacity wireless networks will be indispensable tools for our social and economic recovery. Under Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC has spent the past three years freeing up airwaves and cutting red tape to ensure that American networks are prepared for this crisis. But if we delay 5G deployment based on irrational fears and unproven theories, it will only hurt the American people as we plot our path forward. – Washington Post

Trump Administration

Another former senior military official, Colin Powell, criticized President Trump for his administration’s response to protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, saying Mr. Trump has “drifted away” from the U.S. Constitution. – Wall Street Journal

John Bolton is forging ahead with plans to publish a scathing memoir about his time in President Trump’s White House and is in negotiations with network television channels to promote the book, according to people familiar with the talks. – Washington Post

Richard Haass writes: Analysts of international affairs rarely focus on how the domestic condition of the United States shapes the country’s influence and role in the world, but today the connection could hardly be more relevant. The United States is currently experiencing three upheavals simultaneously: […]The three crises of this moment will undoubtedly affect the foreign policy of the United States, which for three-quarters of a century has been the preeminent power in the world – Foreign Affairs