Fdd's overnight brief

March 10, 2021

In The News


The U.S. State Department on Tuesday blacklisted two Iranian government interrogators, accusing them of torture and other human rights violations, in what appeared to be the first such action against Tehran under the Biden administration. – Reuters 

A bipartisan group of 140 House lawmakers is urging the Biden administration to take a “comprehensive” approach to threats posed by Iran beyond just reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. – The Hill 

The United States is calling on the Iranian government to provide “credible answers” to what happened to a former FBI agent who was “abducted” while traveling in Iran in 2007. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran has rejected what it says are Israel’s unfounded allegations that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard attacked an Israeli-owned cargo ship near the Gulf of Oman last month. – Associated Press 

Prominent members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are lining up for this summer’s presidential election, which marks the end of moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s term and likely a pivot to a more combative and inflexible regime in Tehran. – Newsweek 

A Republican lawmaker on the House Financial Services Committee is pressing the Biden administration to come clean about its suspected role in facilitating a $1 billion ransom payment to Iran as part of an effort to secure the release of a South Korean oil tanker that Tehran has been holding hostage. – The Washington Free Beacon

Kylie Moore-Gilbert believes she never would have been sentenced to 10 years jail on spying charges in Iran if the Australian government had gone public with her case earlier to pressure Tehran. – The Guardian

Jay Solomon writes: Also, the failure to reckon with the truth about Iran’s weaponization history will cripple efforts to improve the JCPOA. The initial deal allowed Iran to eventually have an industrial-scale enrichment program and stockpiles of nuclear materials. Not knowing the true state of Iran’s capabilities, and the location of all its nuclear fuel and equipment, would lead many in the Mideast to assume Tehran is just a turn-of-the-screw away from having an atomic bomb. They’ll act accordingly. – The National Interest  

Wang Xiyue writes: By underscoring political freedom and human rights in Iran, the US can strengthen the agency of the Iranian people, at the expense of the regime, in determining the fate of their country. More political freedom would help prevent the regime from exercising its dictatorial malice inside and outside Iran. This is the only way in which the US can push Iran towards a more responsible role in the international community. Appeasing the regime by giving in to its extortion, nuclear or otherwise, is a road to failure. – American Enterprise Institute 

Samuel Ramani writes: Despite Biden’s cessation of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen and removal of the Houthis from the U.S. terrorism list, U.S.-Iran dialogue over Yemen has not materialized. The U.S. decision on March 2 to sanction two Houthi officials over missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and the intensification of the Marib offensive dashes faint hopes that cooperation on Yemen could help revive the JCPOA negotiations. As this stalemate persists, Iran will continue synthesizing hard and soft power in Yemen, as it seeks to outmuscle Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for long-term influence in the war-torn country. – Middle East Institute


Sweeping U.S. sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad undermine regional rapprochement efforts that could help settle the Syrian conflict, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Ten years of war in Syria have upended the lives of millions of Syrians, pummelled the economy, and ravaged key infrastructure. Here are some numbers: Human Cost 387,000: people killed since the start of the war in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. – Agence France-Presse 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Tuesday evening that searches for the remains of executed Israeli spy Eli Cohen are underway in Syria. – Ynet

Eva Kahan writes: Assad’s Russian and Iranian backers have attempted to contain ISIS’s insurgency but are unwilling to commit force at the scale necessary to succeed. ISIS is already using its territorial base to destabilize other parts of Syria. ISIS could attempt to seize new territory or financial assets in central Syria during its Ramadan campaign beginning in April 2021. – Institute for the Study of War


A Turkish court on Tuesday slapped life terms on five men over the 2016 murder of Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara, state news agency Anadolu reported. – Agence France-Presse

Liz Cookman writes: Erdogan recently announced plans to again change the country’s constitution after previously winning a 2017 referendum to move the country to a presidential system. Now he is calling for an entirely new constitution, which could include changes to the political framework and the electoral system. – Foreign Policy 

Timothy Kaldas writes: Back, then, to the eastern Mediterranean. It is clear enough that both countries would benefit from a compromise on gas exploration: Turkey’s hard currency reserves have fallen sharply and Egypt was forced last year to return to the IMF for additional bailouts. But, having made a maritime-border deal with Greece, Cairo may require Ankara to mend fences with Athens before any new Turco-Egyptian agreement. Perhaps mutual interests could once again create an opportunity for pragmatism and cooperation. – Bloomberg


The Islamic militant group Hamas on Tuesday was holding a leadership election in its Gaza Strip stronghold, a race with deep implications for its relations with Israel and other regional players, as well as upcoming Palestinian elections. – Associated Press 

The Hungarian and Czech prime ministers will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to discuss policies to fight COVID-19 as a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeps central Europe. – Reuters

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Tuesday that the PA will collaborate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes. – Algemeiner

One teenager was seriously wounded and another was murdered in a shooting on Tuesday night in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulya, raising the toll of murder victims in the Arab community to 23 since January. – Haaretz


It’s an expression of anger but also of helplessness: Anti-government protesters in Lebanon are burning tires to block key roads, releasing dense palls of smoke that rise above the capital Beirut and other parts of the country. – Associated Press 

Discontent is brewing in the ranks of Lebanon’s security forces over a currency crash wiping out most of the value of their salaries as unrest and crime surge. – Reuters

On February 4, 2021, Lebanese journalist and activist Lokman Slim, a vocal critic of Hizbullah, was found shot dead in his car in an area of South Lebanon known as a  Hizbullah stronghold. Some in Lebanon accused Hizbullah of assassinating him in order to silence him and also as a warning to other Hizbullah opponents, especially the Shi’ites among them. – Middle East Media Research Institute  


The escalation of fighting this year which has seen Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launch a long-planned offensive to seize Marib, the only northern province outside their control, and increase attacks on Saudi Arabia underlines the fraught task facing Washington. US president Joe Biden has made ending the war one of his top foreign policy priorities. – Financial Times 

U.S. President Joe Biden wants to end the war in Yemen, but it’s not likely that the conflict can be dialed back anytime soon, according to Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies. – CNBC

Editorial: In February Mr. Biden struck back against Iran-backed Shiite militias, which have been attacking U.S. interests and endangering American lives in Iraq. Yet Pentagon spokesman John Kirby insists on referring to such groups as “Shia-backed militias.” The Defense Department would rather blame an entire religious group than acknowledge that Tehran is trying to kill Americans through its proxies. Appeasement rarely works as a military or diplomatic strategy—especially not in the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal

Middle East & North Africa

The Iran nuclear agreement and ongoing U.S. sanctions against Syria have emerged as leading issues of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s Middle East tour, where he and his counterparts have issued comments regarding the key issues affecting the region. – Newsweek 

David Gardner writes: The Catholic pontiff has proven ability to capture the imagination of people of other faiths or no faith. Whether his public embrace of pluralism in Iraq can staunch the exodus of Arab Christians, and protect those who remain, is a tougher test. – Financial Times

Robert Greenway writes: The Abraham Accords constitute the beginning of a transformation within the region, but they must not be considered the culmination of the opportunity. These new relationships require American leadership to ensure growth and evolution. […]Finally, the Accords bring to fruition a critical advancement of America’s interests, they do so by reducing the burden on our resources, and with the addition of capable partners who are now integrated like never before. – The Hudson Institute

Korean Peninsula

The Biden administration’s review of its policy towards North Korea is expected to be completed “within the next month or so,” a senior official of the administration told Reuters on Tuesday while declining to say what direction it might take. – Reuters 

South Korea has agreed to a 13.9% increase in its contribution to the cost of hosting some 28,500 U.S. troops for 2021, the biggest annual rise in nearly two decades, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters

It appears that South Korea now may be considering joining the Quad Plus, a regional network of countries that it previously shunned, in order to possibly influence U.S. policy on North Korea. – The National Interest 

Last November, it was reported that North Korea’s government had arrested six people in connection with an unusual plot: to smuggle gold from North Korea over the border into China. […]United Nations sanctions passed in 2016, however, forbid North Korea from legally exporting gold. The UN, however, concluded the following year that North Korea was flouting such sanctions, including that the country “also uses bulk cash and gold to entirely circumvent the formal financial sector.” – The National Interest 

Ethen Kim Lieser writes: The military benefits of having drones are clear, but how will North Korea acquire such modern technologies to build its own feared fleet? It appears that all signs point to the Islamic Republic of Iran—a Middle Eastern country that North Korea has provided ballistic missiles to since the early 1980s. Even today, it is believed that a large number of Iranian missiles in service are of North Korean origin. – The National Interest 


Beijing has targeted a high-profile U.S.-based researcher whose work has been critical to exposing human rights abuses in China’s northwest, with state media reporting he is being sued by companies in the Xinjiang region. – Washington Post

The U.S. and China are engaged in a confidence-building exercise that could show whether the world’s two largest economies can work together on shared priorities despite deep disagreements and a badly strained bilateral relationship. – Wall Street Journal

China summoned Britain’s ambassador in Beijing on Tuesday to lodge “stern representations” over an “inappropriate” article she wrote defending recent international media coverage on China, the foreign ministry said. – Reuters

China and Russia said they will build a lunar research station, possibly on the moon’s surface, marking the start of a new era in space cooperation between the two countries. – Associated Press

The U.S. and China are in talks for top diplomats to meet in Alaska, the South China Morning Post reported, as the world’s two largest economies seek to stabilize their strained relationship. – Bloomberg

The State Department won’t directly say whether it believes the Chinese government is currently committing genocide against the Uyghurs, condemning allegations of oppression against the Muslim ethnic group and other religious minorities but insisting upon calling it a genocide only in the past tense. – Washington Examiner

The British ambassador to China has defended her call for greater press freedom in the country as a spat between the countries over media coverage intensified. – Financial Times

China could attempt to take control of Taiwan by the end of the decade, the admiral leading U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said today. – USNI News

The Chinese government has breached every single article of the UN genocide convention in its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, and bears responsibility for committing genocide, according to a landmark legal report. – The Guardian

Editorial: The stakes are high, because the winners will determine the future of tools with immense potential both to help and to hurt. Already, China has given us a glimpse of the techno-authoritarian future: mass surveillance and complete control. There’s a techno-democratic future within reach, too, but only if democracies are prepared to craft it. This one should lead the way. – Washington Post

Editorial: Beijing is guilty of violating every single provision in the UN Genocide Convention in its abuse against the Muslim-minority Uighurs in the far-west region of Xinjiang, report a group of 50 global experts in human rights, war crimes and international law. – New York Post

Josh Rogin writes: The origin of the pandemic is not just about blame. If the source of the outbreak can’t be determined, its true path can’t be traced and crucial scientific information for preventing the next outbreak can’t be learned. The Biden administration is trying to take a neutral stance on the issue, even though the fact-finding process has become entangled in domestic politics, as well as U.S.-China relations. – Washington Post

Joseph Bosco writes: The Biden administration is in a position to correct the mistakes of prior administrations and avert the conflict with China that now portends — but it will only be accomplished by the force-based diplomacy required in confronting an adversarial China. The Interim National Security Strategy Guidance commits Biden to “convene a global Summit for Democracy to ensure broad cooperation among allies and partners.” Presumably, Taiwan will be invited. – The Hill 

Ken Moritsugu writes: The public posturing may give way to diplomacy, but China’s ultimate goals — whether to become a technology leader or extend its naval reach in the South China Sea — are unwavering. As America struggles with recession and the pandemic, China and its leaders grow more confident about its rejuvenation. – Associated Press


A radio and television broadcaster in eastern Afghanistan that has had four of its female employees murdered since December has said it will not hire any more women until security in the country improves. – The Guardian 

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said on Tuesday a May 1 deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan may have to be reconsidered because the Taliban are not meeting their commitments under a 2020 peace deal. – Reuters

Russia plans to hold a conference on Afghanistan in Moscow later this month, the TASS news agency said on Tuesday, but the U.S. State Department did not confirm American attendance. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: Here’s the broader problem: Throughout the peace process, there has not been any violation Khalilzad was unwilling to excuse or that President Donald Trump, at the time, wasn’t willing to ignore. Perhaps the great violation of the letter and spirit of the Feb. 29, 2020, peace deal between the Taliban and the United States was the Taliban’s continued sheltering of al Qaeda. – Washington Examiner 

Nick Wadhams writes: With the country remaining in violent turmoil, plans for the exit of the coalition have been repeatedly put off. When he was U.S. president, Donald Trump agreed to a complete withdrawal by May 1 in a deal with the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalists who once ruled the country and have reclaimed significant patches of it. Now it’s up to his successor, Joe Biden, whether to finally get out. – Bloomberg 

South Asia

India plans to buy 30 armed drones from the U.S. to boost its sea and land defenses as tensions persist with neighbors China and Pakistan, according to officials with knowledge of the matter. – Bloomberg

A first ever leaders’ meeting of the Quad group of countries on Friday plans to announce financing agreements to support an increase in manufacturing capacity for coronavirus vaccines in India, a senior U.S administration official told Reuters. – Reuters 

Around 100 people from Myanmar, mostly policemen and their families, have crossed over a porous border into India since the protests began, according to a senior Indian official. – Reuters

Jeff Stein writes: Of all the open sores in the long, painful relationship between the United States and Pakistan, the dragged-out case of Daniel Pearl’s murder hurts the worst. […]The act exemplified Pakistan’s treacherous double game with the U.S. The Islamic nation claims to practice democratic norms, yet empowers its security agencies to collaborate with the world’s most dangerous militant groups, from Al Qaeda to the Afghan Taliban to terrorist units carrying out bloody attacks in India. – The Daily Beast 


President Biden will meet virtually on Friday with the leaders of Australia, Japan and India, his first joint conversation with the four-nation group known as the Quad that has sought to counter China’s regional influence. – Wall Street Journal

Myanmar security forces surrounded the staff compound of striking railway workers opposed to the military junta on Wednesday as ousted lawmakers appointed an acting vice president to take over the duties of detained politicians. – Reuters 

An Israeli-Canadian lobbyist hired by Myanmar’s junta will be paid $2 million to “assist in explaining the real situation” of the army’s coup to the United States and other countries, documents filed with the U.S. Justice Department show. – Reuters

The Armenian government said the dismissal of a top army general at the centre of a political crisis had come into force on Wednesday almost two weeks after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan fired him as he accused the military of a coup attempt. – Reuters

A former Hong Kong legislator wanted by the Chinese government on criminal charges has arrived in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. – Bloomberg

The US is losing its military edge in the Indo-Pacific as China rapidly expands in ways that suggest it is preparing for aggressive action, the top American commander in the region has warned. – Financial Times

China could invade Taiwan within the next six years as Beijing accelerates its moves to supplant American military power in Asia, a top US commander has warned. – The Guardian

Jim Hartman writes: But the United States needs to appreciate how it still benefits from the complementary nature of Japanese maritime capability, and as that capability changes, Washington needs make adjustments in its own planning. Japan also needs to understand the impacts of its changes. Where Tokyo invests in duplicate capabilities, bilateral consultation is needed to integrate the capabilities into effective strategies. Where Japan divests, the United States needs to recognize and respond. In the competitive Pacific, neither Japan nor the United States can afford parallel campaigns. – War on the Rocks 

Vasuki Shastry writes: Min Aung Hlaing and his minions should face consequences for the coup and the killings of peaceful protesters, a legal process that should be led by the democratic government. At the same time, any international intervention should include a settlement for the return of the estimated 1 million Rohingya refugees and for a fair process to resolve longstanding disputes with other ethnic minorities in the country, many of whom have taken to the jungle in the last few decades. – The Guardian


Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s team has announced plans to open offices in 10 cities where it believes the ruling United Russia party is most vulnerable in elections that must be held by September 19. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

The Russian Navy may finally test-launch its Tsirkon hypersonic missile from a submarine testbed, a key development milestone on the new weapon’s long road to serial production readiness. – The National Interest 

After years of Democratic accusations that former President Donald Trump was too soft on Russia, the Biden administration is facing Republican criticism of its approach to Moscow. – Associated Press 

The Russian medical professional organization Alliance of Doctors will appeal a decision by the Justice Ministry to put it on “foreign agent” list, as the nongovernmental group vows to continue operations. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Russia’s communications watchdog said on Wednesday it had restricted the use of Twitter in the country by moving to slow down the speed of the service after it was accused of failing to remove banned content from its website. – Reuters

Henry Foy writes: Sputnik V has been a soft-power gold mine for the Kremlin. As relations with the EU and US have soured over the past six months due to the persecution of opposition activist Alexei Navalny, it has aggressively marketed the vaccine to non-western countries. It has pitched Sputnik as the alternative to jabs developed by profit-hungry global pharmaceutical companies prioritising richer nations. – Financial Times

Cristina Maza writes: Ultimately, Smirnov was one of the lucky ones. The fact that he was so well known gave him some, limited immunity, and he was released after just a few weeks. Navalny will likewise have some protection from physical abuse — his death or serious injury would have international consequences — but however long his time in captivity, President Putin’s jailers will seek to inflict acute psychological anguish. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The European Parliament has stripped the immunity of Carles Puigdemont, the former separatist leader of Catalonia, clearing the way for Spain to make a fresh attempt to extradite him from Belgium and try him on sedition charges. – New York Times

Renewed trans-Atlantic cooperation on addressing climate change will prompt other countries to take more action and improve prospects for coming global meetings on the issue, said President Biden’s special envoy for climate change, John Kerry, after meeting with allies here. – Wall Street Journal

Germany is the top target of Russian disinformation campaigns in the European Union, a report said on Tuesday, as ties between Moscow and the West hit new lows over the poisoning and jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. – Reuters 

Germany hopes that improved relations with the United States under U.S. President Joe Biden will open the door for possible joint sanctions against China and Russia over human rights and other abuses, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

EU nations have thrown their weight behind Brussels’ plan to launch legal action against the UK over its decision to take unilateral steps to ease the impact of Brexit on Northern Irish businesses. – Financial Times

Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine on Tuesday lambasted the city of Ternopil after its council named a rebuilt soccer stadium after Roman Shukhevych, the leader of a Ukrainian nationalist brigade created by the occupying Germans during World War II. – Algemeiner

 Editorial: Germany’s behavior stands in contrast to America’s two other major allies in Europe, Britain and France. The French have recently and repeatedly deployed attack submarines to the South China Sea to conduct war exercises alongside the U.S. Navy. The British will send their new aircraft carrier to the South China Sea for its inaugural deployment and embark with a U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadron. So, why is Biden so deferential toward an ally that undermines America’s core interests?- Washington Examiner

Ned Rauch-Mannino writes: The further fostering of SME education domestically represents a readily achievable action item, given the U.S. liaison and Commercial Service staff presently in-place. Additional tangible to-dos include pursuing procurement policy reviews, researching SME bidding barriers, and identifying equal access measures (i.e., translation services, etc.). Careful attention should be afforded to key SME opportunities: procurement promotion, subcontracting, and serving consortium leads’ supply chains can be areas of focus with practical application and real business community appeal. – Centre for European Policy Analysis


Over the past three years, a growing insurgency has plunged Mozambique’s northernmost province into violent chaos. While its tropical beaches were popular with tourists, Cabo Delgado’s residents lived in poverty. The end of Mozambique’s decadeslong civil war in 1992 brought little development, leaving a new generation frustrated and feeling forgotten by the country’s political elite in the south. – Foreign Policy 

The United States called on Sudan Tuesday to build an inclusive and representative government that ensures peace, supports people on the margins and helps “those who have suffered achieve justice.” – Associated Press

A Nigerian court rejected Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s bid to overturn an order restricting access to the company’s bank accounts in the West African country, a spokesman said. – Bloomberg

Ivory Coast’s ruling party retained its parliamentary majority in elections held over the weekend, bolstering President Alassane Ouattara’s hold on power five months after he secured a controversial third term. – Bloomberg

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu questioned President John Magufuli’s whereabouts, as speculation swirled on social media that he’s fallen ill and been admitted to hospital. – Bloomberg

Krista Larson writes: Deadly protests have erupted over the past week in the West African nation of Senegal, long considered a bastion of democracy and a regional leader on diplomacy issues. Anti-government protesters have set supermarkets ablaze and lobbed rocks at riot police in a rare display of violence on the streets of the capital, Dakar. – Associated Press

Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer write: The memo outlines a series of six “immediate actions” to help resolve the crisis in Ethiopia, including a proposal for the federal government to negotiate the withdrawal of Eritrean troops and the “[f]ull scale acceleration of recovery and development programmes in Ethiopia.” It also counsels Ethiopia’s Amhara militia involved in the attack to resolve its differences with the Tigrayans peacefully, through legal, constitutional means. – Foreign Policy 

The Americas

Under the chaotic leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro, Latin America’s largest country long ago succumbed to denialism, disorganization, apathy, hedonism and medical quackery — and buried more than 266,000 people along the way. The question is whether the failure to control the virus poses an international threat that will undermine the hard-won gains other countries have made. – Washington Post

President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing former President Donald Trump’s last-minute decision to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism but a broader Cuba policy shift is not currently among Biden’s top priorities, the White House said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

An accountant witnessed meetings between Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández and a drug trafficker in which they planned the trafficking of cocaine to the U.S., federal prosecutors in New York said Tuesday. – Associated Press

United States

The day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, a voice mail was waiting for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II at his office in Independence, Mo. On the message, authorities say, Kenneth R. Hubert called Cleaver, who is Black, a racial slur and suggested that he hoped the Missouri Democrat would be lynched. – Washington Post

The FBI on Tuesday released new video footage of a person suspected of placing pipe bombs near the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees the night before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, asking for the public’s help in identifying the elusive figure. – Washington Post

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday approved a request from the Capitol Police to extend the deployment of National Guard members to protect Congress into May, defense officials said, keeping a military presence around one of the nation’s major landmarks for two more months. – Washington Post

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. warned on “Hannity” Tuesday that President Biden’s immigration policies could have major national security implications, suggesting that a porous southern border might serve as a “great way for terrorists to come into our country.” – Fox News

David Ignatius writes: When the symbols of patriotism are embraced by one side in a divided country, they become political emblems. Who could have imagined that singing the national anthem or saluting the flag, or, for that matter, wearing a mask, could become a polarizing ideological statement? The military carried a heavy load for the country the past two decades, and perhaps that made some veterans feel they had a special status as protectors of the republic — even to the treacherous point of insurrection. – Washington Post 

Jane Harman writes: The misconception my constituents had around foreign aid came about years ago because it was viewed as unconnected from and unimportant to their lives. However, few would say that is the case on the coronavirus, climate change, or the rise of homegrown terrorism possibly inspired by foreign interests. Indeed, Biden and his team are taking the “foreign” out of foreign policy. All of us now have a stake in this. Bravo. – The Hill 

David Klion writes: Just in the past week, Duss has publicly taken multiple positions at odds with the Biden administration on Twitter: on Israel’s failure to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in the West Bank, on holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and on calling for a more conciliatory US approach to Iran. […]Many progressives are now realizing that they may have to assume a more critical posture with regard to the administration in order to advance their priorities. – Jewish Currents

Susie Dym writes: The new guidance provided by US President Biden’s Interim National Security Strategic document is de-stabilizing, unethical and unwise. It enables a violent few to de-stabilize the peaceful many. – Israel National News

Jonathan E. Hillman writes: The Executive branch, and the U.S. State Department in particular, should play a more active role in removing obstacles and addressing challenges that cables face abroad. This could include, for example, working with U.S. partners and allies to expedite cable licenses and repairs as well as collaborating on related issues that extend beyond cables, such as addressing data privacy concerns. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


A group of hackers said it was able to break into a California-based security company and gain access to more than 150,000 surveillance cameras in prisons, police stations, and international Tesla facilities. – Washington Examiner

A House Judiciary panel focused on antitrust will hear from three witnesses on Friday who represent a range of news organizations with concerns about how big tech platforms like Facebook and Alphabet’s Google increasingly dominate their industry. The antitrust subcommittee leading the charge against tech platforms, and in this instance focusing on their relations with news organizations, will also hear from Microsoft President Brad Smith. – Reuters

Civil liberties activists are suing a company that provides facial recognition services to law enforcement agencies and private companies around the world, contending that Clearview AI illegally stockpiled data on 3 billion people without their knowledge or permission. – Associated Press


Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday to discuss the Biden administration’s priorities for U.S. foreign policy, his first hearing in front of lawmakers more than a month after he was confirmed as America’s top diplomat. – The Hill 

The United States military needs more long-range weaponry in the western Pacific, including ground-based arms, the top U.S. admiral for the Asia-Pacific said on Tuesday, underscoring U.S. concerns about China’s growing military strength, particularly among its missile forces. – Reuters

A new report from the Center for American Progress calls for a radical overhaul of the U.S. security assistance program, including shifting roughly $7 billion in funding streams from the Pentagon to the State Department to ensure stronger, more cohesive oversight. – Defense News

The Navy is merging three ratings for senior enlisted Seabees into one, giving enlisted leaders in that field a better shot of picking up E-9, the service announced. – Military.com

As it prepares to begin launching its first satellites in 2022, the Space Development Agency is utilizing a war fighter council to stay connected with other Department of Defense organizations and ensure it is delivering needed capabilities. – C4ISRNET

While some work on the Strategic Long-Range Cannon science and technology effort is ongoing, the Army is primarily waiting for the National Academy of Sciences to issue a report on the cannon’s technical feasibility, Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the service’s long-range precision fires development, told Defense News. – Defense News

After years of schedule slips, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) delivered to the Navy on Monday, the service announced. – USNI News

The Marine Corps should reduce the number of new heavy-lift helicopters it buys until initial operational testing is complete, a new government watchdog report finds. That recommendation is based on a track record of technical problems with the CH-53K King Stallion program that have led to schedule delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns. – Military.com

Tom Rogan writes: Considering the distance from the South China Sea to U.S. air bases on Guam and Okinawa and the Philippines’s new deference to China, in war, the U.S. would likely have to rely on aircraft carriers and amphibious strike groups to get the F-35s in persistent range of Chinese warships and aircraft. […]President Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin need to light a very hot fire under the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin. America’s victory in the next war may well depend upon it. – Washington Examiner

Elisabeth Braw writes: Deterrence by punishment can likewise be adapted to gray-zone aggression, featuring imposition of costs in areas that are valuable to adversaries’ key decision makers. […]Should the West, however, manage to establish deterrence against existing forms of gray-zone aggression, it would raise another aspect of the defender’s dilemma: how to avoid inadvertently creating a situation in which precisely that deterrence causes adversaries to innovate even more. – American Enterprise Institute