Fdd's overnight brief

November 1, 2021

In The News


President Biden suggested on Saturday that talks to restart a nuclear accord with Iran, a delicate diplomatic deal struck in 2015 and unraveled by the Trump administration, may move forward. – New York Times 

The Biden administration levied sanctions against several Iranian companies and their executives whom the U.S. has linked to Tehran’s effort to develop armed drones for attacks on U.S. forces and allies. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States was “absolutely in lock step” with Britain, Germany and France on getting Iran back into a nuclear deal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday, but he added it was unclear if Tehran was willing to rejoin the talks in a “meaningful way.” – Reuters 

Iran’s civil defense chief on Saturday accused Israel and the United States of being the likely culprits behind a cyberattack which disrupted gasoline sales across the Islamic Republic, but said a technical investigation was yet to be completed. – Reuters 

The United States, Germany, France and Britain urged Iran on Saturday to resume compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal in order to “avoid a dangerous escalation”. – Reuters 

Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday that if the United States was serious about rejoining Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, President Joe Biden could just issue an “executive order”, the state-owned Iran newspaper reported. – Reuters 

The Iranian navy thwarted a pirate attack against an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Monday, Iranian state TV said. – Reuters 

Joe Biden has given a pledge that if the US returns to the Iran nuclear agreement, it will only subsequently leave if Tehran clearly breaks the terms of the deal. – The Guardian 

The U.S. Air Force said Sunday it flew a B-1B strategic bomber over key maritime chokepoints in the Mideast with allies including Israel amid ongoing tensions with Iran as its nuclear deal with world powers remains in tatters. – Associated Press 

On the eve of the resumption of negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to rule out a potential military option should talks falter. – Haaretz  

Iran had admitted that it has been under cyber-attack recently, laying the blame at the feet of the US and the “Zionist regime.” Iran may also be looking to Russia and other countries to improve its cyber capabilities. An article at Tasnim News noted that Iran believes Russia is one of the countries that has taken the “correct” path in understanding the need for “cyber sovereignty.” – Jerusalem Post 

Some Iranian officials from the previous Iranian administration of Hassan Rouhani moved to Europe under the pretext of “air pollution” being bad in Tehran. The accusation, printed at Fars News in Iran likely with the backing of the new government, aims to showcase the feeble and bourgeois mentality of the previous administration. – Jerusalem Post 


Some former members of Afghanistan’s U.S.-trained intelligence service and elite military units—now abandoned by their American patrons and hunted by the Taliban—have enlisted in the only force currently challenging the country’s new rulers: Islamic State. – Wall Street Journal  

A group of LGBTQ Afghans who fled their home country have arrived in Britain, the first in a wave that London says it will evacuate, as advocates warn they have received calls from hundreds more people who fear Taliban persecution. – Washington Post  

Since the Taliban’s return to power, hundreds of artists — actors, comedians, singers, musicians and painters — have fled Afghanistan, according to estimates provided to The New York Times by several of them. Some have resettled in the United States, France or Germany, while others are waiting in third countries, unsure where they will be allowed to live long-term. – New York Times 

Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, made a rare public appearance in the southern city of Kandahar, Taliban sources said on Sunday, belying widespread rumours of his death. – Reuters 

Gunmen on a motorcycle brandished small arms and fired on a broadcast journalist in his car in the Afghan capital of Kabul, lightly wounding him. – Associated Press 

Editorial: Mr. Sasse is right, and the danger is that ISIS or al Qaeda or the Taliban will kill these Americans while they’re waiting to get out. The U.S. press corps may have lost interest in Afghanistan, but the risk to American lives is real now and will grow as the country again becomes a jihadist sanctuary. – Wall Street Journal 

Bobby Ghosh writes: Unanimity among foreign groups would be ideal, but it isn’t essential. It will suffice if the most visible Western governments and multilateral organizations like the U.N. insist on having women literally at the table when talking to the Taliban. Any nation or organization that breaks ranks should then be called out — and obliged to explain why its rhetoric about women’s rights isn’t matched by its actions. – Bloomberg 


U.S. President Joe Biden told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday that their countries must better manage disagreements after the partnership between NATO allies was tested by Turkey’s threat to no longer recognize the American envoy and its purchase of a Russian missile defense system. – Associated Press 

US President Joe Biden told Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan his request for F-16 fighter jets had to go through a process in the United States and expressed a desire to handle disagreements between the two countries effectively. – Reuters 

Laura Pitel writes: Turkey’s opposition has never been so bullish. Even if others accuse them of wishful thinking, they are convinced that the failing economy is going to help them bring Erdogan down. […]Erdogan’s critics say that is nonsense, arguing that the president has run out of energy, ideas and time. Upbeat opposition officials say there are already signs that the winds are changing. Bureaucrats are looking over their shoulder, they say, amid warnings from Kilicdaroglu that they will be held to account for decisions they make now. – Financial Times  

Ezgi Yazici writes: Turkey’s young defense industry will continue to shape the country’s outreach abroad as it refines and expands its defense production at home. […]However, Ankara may face diplomatic consequences for exporting combat drones to a growing number of countries and may face production obstacles and an increasingly competitive market for drones as it pursues this path. Ankara’s unique defense assistance and military outreach will increasingly sharpen and spearhead its foreign relations as it seeks to insert itself into regions already crowded with many external players with greater capital and resources than those of Turkey. – Institute for the Study of War 

Michael Rubin writes: Erdoğan has become the Typhoid Mary of diplomacy. Turkey’s track record belies Erdoğan’s sincerity. Rather than treating Erdoğan’s initiatives as sincere, it is time for the Biden administration to recognize Turkey’s diplomacy for what it is: A self-serving attempt to avoid accountability for policies that Erdoğan remains ideologically committed to continuing. – The National Interest 

Yörük Işık writes: Today, a storm is brewing over the Black Sea, and at this point, the only question is how strong it will be. Instead of trying to play all sides and make a quick buck by allowing illegal shipping, Turkey should lead NATO’s presence in the Black Sea by promoting a permanent naval group and air policing similar to the Baltic States. Turkey has the military capability and capacity to do this if its politicians can manage to align its political and economic interests. – Middle East Institute


To illustrate his disdain for the United Nations’ bias against Israel, Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan dramatically tore up a report by the organization’s UN Human Rights Council during an address at the UN General Assembly on Friday. – Jerusalem Post 

Former US president Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program is Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s model in countering the Iranian nuclear threat, Bennett said ahead of meeting parties to the Iran deal at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow this week. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel reportedly gave Washington officials information about Iran’s military drone industry before the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on companies and related figures. – Agence France-Presse 

An internal IDF investigation carried out following Operation Guardian of the Walls in May found that there were significant intelligence gaps that prevented the military from meeting expectations that it had set prior to the fighting. – Jerusalem Post 

The Israeli army’s Home Front Command together with the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) on Sunday embarked on a five-day training exercise along the country’s northern border, to simulate responses to war scenarios and improve the readiness of emergency bodies. – Algemeiner 


A diplomatic crisis between several wealthy Persian Gulf states and their tiny, cash-strapped Arab neighbor, Lebanon, expanded on Saturday as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait pulled their ambassadors from Beirut, one day after Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did the same. – New York Times 

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai called on the authorities on Sunday to take a “decisive step” to defuse a crisis with Gulf Arab states over critical comments made by Information Minister George Kordahi about the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday the latest crisis with Lebanon has its origins in a Lebanese political setup that reinforces the dominance of the Iran-backed Hezbollah armed group and continues to allow endemic instability. – Reuters 

Some are pushing for the resignation of the Cabinet minister whose comments sparked the crisis, in order to protect economic and political ties with the Gulf. Others are defending him, describing calls for his removal as extortion. – Associated Press 

The Gulf diplomatic crisis with Lebanon deepened Sunday, with Saudi Arabia saying dealing with Beirut was “pointless,” due to Iran-backed Hezbollah’s dominance, and the UAE pressing its citizens to leave the country. – Agence France-Presse 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This means regional tensions are entwined and heating up. Iran used drones to attack a ship in the Gulf of Oman in July. A drone attacked the US garrison at Tanf in late October. Hezbollah has increasingly mentioned Yemen in statements. In January, reports said Iran may have sent drones to Yemen. These had a range that could threaten Israel. – Jerusalem Post 


At least eight people were killed by a car bomb in Yemen’s southern city of Aden Saturday, officials said. The blast was the latest to hit Aden, the seat of the country’s internationally recognized government. – Associated Press 

At least 11 civilians, including women and children, were killed when a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck their house in Yemen’s central province of Marib, security officials said Friday. – Associated Press 

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen said on Sunday that more than 218 Houthi rebels were killed in air strikes around Marib city, the internationally recognised government’s last northern bastion. – Agence France-Presse 

Gulf States

The wealthy and the powerful of the financial world descended on the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh this past week for Saudi Arabia’s annual investment conference, a reminder that even amid shifting politics, diplomatic strains and pandemic constraints, money is a surefire magnet. – New York Times 

The Iraqi government plans to sign energy contracts worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia, the state newspaper Al-Sabaah reported on Monday, citing Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar. – Reuters 

Azhar Al-Rubaie writes: As Iraqis await the formation of the new government, they hope the resulting coalition will not be conditioned on political compromises that ignore citizens’ interests. Iraqis want a government that serves the interests of Iraqis themselves, builds foreign relationships, and promotes domestic stability. Young Iraqis, who comprise key blocs of the next government, hope these aims will come to fruition. – Washington Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

The United Nations Libya mission said on Saturday that the country’s parliament should amend its election law to hold both presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24 as originally envisioned in a peace plan. – Reuters 

Israel allegedly carried out a rare daytime airstrike against Hezbollah weapon caches in Damascus on Saturday, Syrian media reported. The airstrike, which caused explosions around the capital, killed at least one Syrian Armed Forces soldier and wounded three others, Syrian state-run SANA news agency stated. – Jerusalem Post 

Syria’s air defenses responded Saturday to missiles fired from Israel toward suburbs of the capital Damascus, wounding two soldiers, the Syrian military said. – Associated Press 

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered a halt to gas flowing to Spain via Morocco amid a diplomatic spat between the two North African nations. – Bloomberg  

Giselle Donnelly writes: The tragedy and humiliation of the withdrawal from Afghanistan have solidified the bipartisan consensus that, beyond immediate revenge on al-Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden, America’s post-9/11 strategy for the Greater Middle East has been an unmitigated disaster. – American Purpose 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea and the United States kicked off joint aerial drills on Monday, a military official in Seoul said, amid tensions over North Korea’s recent missile tests and calls for a restart of denuclearisation talks. – Reuters 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Pope Francis on Friday, giving him a cross made from barbed wire from the peninsula’s demilitarized zone and again urging him to visit North Korea. – Reuters  

Stephen Silver writes: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been known to disappear from public view for long stretches. During one period in 2020, Kim’s disappearance even led to widespread rumors around the world that he was ill or even dead. Earlier this year, Kim emerged from an extended absence appearing to have lost a great deal of weight, leading to another round of speculation about his personal health and his hold on power. – The National Interest 


As the presidents and prime ministers of the Group of 20 nations met in Rome this weekend, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, was not among them. Nor was he expected at the climate talks next week in Glasgow, where China’s commitment to curbing carbon emissions is seen as crucial to helping blunt the dire consequences of climate change. – New York Times 

China’s growing military muscle and its drive to end America predominance in the Asia-Pacific is rattling the U.S. defense establishment. American officials see trouble quickly accumulating on multiple fronts — Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal, its advances in space, cyber and missile technologies, and threats to Taiwan. – Associated Press 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of the Group of 20 summit on Sunday — an outreach designed to ensure that the intensely competitive relationship between the world’s two largest economies doesn’t veer into open conflicts. – Associated Press 

Christopher Stone writes: China’s recent actions have escalated the space arms race into the nuclear sphere. American leaders cannot ignore this threat. It manifests a level of danger we have not had to consider since the Cold War. The U.S. must prepare its forces to operate in a nuclear combat environment in, from and to the space domain soon. If the U.S. does not, it not only will cede its ability to protect and defend critical satellite infrastructure, but also will open the American homeland to a catastrophic attack. – The Hill 

Sanne Cornelia J. Verschuren write: China’s recent tests with hypersonic weapons systems — and the added layer of fractional orbital bombardment systems — are not a Sputnik moment. The technology is far less dangerous than it is often portrayed. However, these hypersonic tests fit in a broader pattern of the nuclear powers advancing their nuclear arsenals in ways that make the world less safe. Rather than trying to outbid China in a costly arms race, U.S. policymakers should start a conversation around the strategic implications of missile defense and rein in the ever-expanding U.S. missile defense mission. – War on the Rocks 

Rainer Zitelmann writes: The way China deals with its recent real estate crisis will provide an indication of whether China—like Europe and the United States—follows the path of state interventionism or is courageous enough to implement market-based alternatives. Developments in recent years tend to indicate that in China (as everywhere else in the world today) faith in the state is stronger than faith in market forces. In the short term, this may alleviate the latest dramatic crises, but in the long term, it will create even greater problems. – The National Interest 

Paul Haenle and Sam Bresnick write: If the United States is intent upon emphasizing competition with China, which Biden appears to endorse, then it must prove that its system can deliver the greatest good for the greatest number. […]Given the United States’ status as the global leader, it would behoove Washington to expand its engagement with the developing world to improve people’s quality of life and prove that democratic societies can drive global development despite increasing domestic and international challenges. – The National Interest 

South Asia

Three Republican U.S. senators said on Friday they filed legislation to exempt India from sanctions for purchasing a Russian S400 missile defense system, citing the importance of working with allies to stand up against China. – Reuters 

Pakistan’s government and an outlawed radical Islamist party Sunday reached an agreement to end a 10-day long — and at times deadly violent — rally calling for the closure of France’s embassy and the release of the party’s leader. – Associated Press 

French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have agreed to boost ties in the Indo-Pacific region during a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit. – Associated Press 

U.S. Army Alaska’s bilateral exercise with the Indian Army, dubbed Yudh Abhyas, drew to a close Friday after two weeks of cold weather warfare training and a mock United Nations mission centered around a country torn between rival factions. – Military Times 


A trial began Monday for Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and seven other pro-democracy activists charged over their roles in an unauthorized Tiananmen vigil last year, amid a crackdown on political dissent in Hong Kong. – Associated Press 

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared victory on Monday after leading his ruling coalition to a strong majority in national elections. Kishida, a soft-spoken centrist who has been in office for a month, vowed to boost the world’s third-biggest economy with a fresh pandemic spending package which he said he would draft this month. – Agence France-Presse 

The United States said Sunday it is “gravely concerned” about reports that Myanmar’s security forces committed human rights violations and destroyed more than 100 homes as well as Christian churches in western Chin state. – Agence France-Presse 

Australia needs “bigger, better submarines now, not two decades from now” to counter China’s “extreme bullying” of nations across the Indo-Pacific, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday. – USNI News 

Lyle Goldstein writes: Even so, the biggest problems with AUKUS are not confined to its feasibility, time horizon and relevance to various scenarios. Rather, there is the major danger that this submarine partnership will cause China and Russia to double down on their own naval partnership. It is within the realm of possibility the Russian Navy will operate decades in the future with Chinese-made aircraft carriers, even as the Chinese Navy navigates all the world’s oceans in the most cutting-edge Russian-made nuclear submarines, while they collaborate to build lethal drones and vertical-launch fighters. – Defense News 

Adam Stahl and Bradley A. Thayer write: The measures that the USCG may take, based on its global experience and acumen in hazardous environments, will augment Taiwan’s security by strengthening its deterrence and defense against an attack. The Coast Guard offers a unique tool to advance the protection of Taiwan and other U.S. interests in an increasingly volatile region. – The Hill 

John Bradford and Olli Pekka Suorsa write: Despite their power, the Lightning carriers are unlikely to change the anticipated operational outcomes of the combat scenarios envisioned around hotspots like the Korean Peninsula, the Senkaku islands, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea. […]The British carriers will likely be far away, so their value could be understood as assets that augment the U.S. Navy’s global pool of 11 supercarriers and two Lightning carriers. – War on the Rocks 


A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank. – Washington Post 

As world leaders met at the Group of 20 summit this weekend in Rome, Mr. Biden did not even get the chance to hash things out with his Russian counterpart face to face because President Vladimir V. Putin, citing coronavirus concerns, attended the event remotely. – New York Times 

Natural gas, already in short supply in Europe this fall, began moving away from Germany on Saturday and back toward the east in an unusual reversal in a major Russian pipeline, Russian media reported. One Russian news media report even suggested the flow reversal was a short-term problem caused by balmy weather in Germany over the weekend. – New York Times 

James Stavridis writes: As for the NATO-Russia Council and the now-shuttered delegations in Brussels and Moscow, the alliance should be willing to reinstitute them under the right conditions. But that will require a strong and united front, and keeping Moscow at the center of NATO’s strategic focus. – Bloomberg 

Julian Lee writes: Diversify both the sources of natural gas — yes, there’s a role for U.S. “Freedom Gas” — and the energy mix. Gas may be required for years to come to plug the gaps when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. But Russia’s inability, or unwillingness, to supply what’s needed in a timely fashion blows a hole in its claims to be a reliable supplier of it. – Bloomberg 

Anna Borshchevskaya writes: No matter how much U.S. policymakers wish that Russia would just fade into the background so they can focus first on China, this is simply not in the cards. The U.S. must focus on both simultaneously. […]This means crafting a long-term strategy toward Russia, a historically “weak Great Power” that has focused on geopolitics over all else, even at the time when the U.S. pivoted to counter-terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001. – The Hill 

Mykhailo Basarab and Oleksiy Panchenko write: This Russia-West confrontation requires the re-learning of lessons from the Cold War. […]Russia is not a great power; its influence is merely magnified by a too-often supine West willing to tolerate its serial misbehavior and acts of aggression.  The only way to change this is through sanctions so biting that they pacify the Kremlin’s lust for conflict. Not only would this be good for the West, but it would also assist ordinary Russians seeking change and greatly reduce the risk of what should really frighten us: a hot war. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


The global summit convening in Glasgow, Scotland, has been widely described as the most important international climate negotiations since the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. The overarching goal: to put the world on a path to aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow Earth’s warming. – Washington Post 

President Biden said his administration was “clumsy” in handling negotiations on a submarine contract with Australia that led to a diplomatic rupture with France, as he met French President Emmanuel Macron in an attempt to mend relations with the longtime U.S. ally. – Wall Street Journal 

Biden administration announced on Saturday that it had reached a deal to roll back tariffs on European steel and aluminum, an agreement that officials said would lower costs on goods like cars and washing machines, reduce carbon emissions, and help get supply chains moving again. – New York Times 

As world leaders prepare to meet for this weekend’s Group of 20 summit in Rome on some of the greatest challenges facing the global community, a dispute much closer to home for Britain and France is swirling in the background. – New York Times 

The extradition case against Julian Assange, the embattled WikiLeaks founder, resumed in a London court this week as lawyers for the United States argued that concerns about his mental health should not prevent him from standing trial in an American court. – New York Times 

French President Emmanuel Macron said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lied to him over the cancellation of a submarine building contract in September, and indicated more efforts were required to rebuild trust between the two allies. – Reuters 

The European Parliament launched a lawsuit against the bloc’s executive on Friday for failing to apply a new law that allows the freezing of EU payments to countries which do not respect rule-of-law principles. – Reuters 

Brexit was billed as a win-win bonanza for Northern Ireland: access to not one but two single markets — the UK and the EU. – Financial Times  

Europe risks giving into Russia if Germany approves the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a condition for more supplies from Moscow, the head of Ukraine’s state energy company has said. – Financial Times  

The Moldovan government and Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom say they have agreed to extend a contract for Russian natural gas supplies for a period of five years, after disagreements between the sides over the price triggered severe shortages in the former Soviet republic. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has defended the use of a Turkish-supplied armed drone to strike Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, saying the military acted in self-defense and did not violate any agreements. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

U.S. President Joe Biden has stressed the importance of implementing a U.S.-German agreement on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to ensure that Russia “cannot manipulate natural gas flows for harmful political purposes,” the White House said in a statement. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Mohamed El-Erian writes: G-20 policy makers have a good opportunity to come to better grips with these priorities. The hope is for a repeat of the October 2008 “Sputnik moment,” when policy makers who gathered in Washington for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings realized that the global financial crisis threatened to turn into a worldwide depression. […]While today’s global political conditions appear less conducive to the type of 2008-09 policy coordination, the stakes are just as high for billions of people around the world. – Bloomberg 

Dan Hannan writes: Poland’s judges do not deny that EU institutions have primacy in the specific fields ceded to Brussels under the EU’s treaties. Their objection, rather, is to the doctrine that European law is superior to national constitutions. And here, the EU is on much weaker ground than is generally supposed, for that doctrine is not to be found anywhere in the treaties. It was invented, rather, in a series of judicial power grabs in the 1960s. – Washington Examiner 

Michael Rubin writes: Diplomacy requires credibility. […]The Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement was certainly a positive step, but the rejection of Skyros undermines it greater potential. If Biden truly wants diplomacy to succeed, he must prioritize the interests of the United States and its closest allies over concerns about the objections of states who threaten regional order. Unfortunately, both from the north and the south, Biden’s instincts have undermined Europe’s democracies. – 19fortyfive


Amid a near-total communications blackout, tens of thousands of protesters across Sudan took a well-coordinated protest movement back onto city streets Saturday after a military coup earlier this week. – Washington Post 

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday he was alarmed by reports that rebellious Tigrayan forces had taken over two key Ethiopian towns of Dessie and Kombolcha. – Reuters 

A senior UN official discussed mediation options and possible next steps for Sudan with its ousted prime minister on Sunday, a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets to demand an end to military rule. – Reuters 

South Africans started voting on Monday in municipal elections, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) facing discontent over poor services and stark inequality 27 years after ending white minority rule. – Reuters 

Seven Malian soldiers were killed on Saturday in two separate attacks on patrols in the centre-west of the country, the army said, the latest bloodshed to indicate violence is shifting southward into previously peaceful areas. – Reuters 

A convoy carrying Borno state governor Babagana Zulum came under fire from militants this week, forcing him to cut short a trip to the northern town of Malam Fatori, three military sources and a security source told Reuters on Saturday. – Reuters 

Tigray forces said Saturday they have taken control of a key city on the route to Ethiopia’s capital, while Ethiopia’s government denied it and the United States urged the Tigray fighters to halt their advances as the yearlong war intensifies. – Associated Press 

Michael Rubin writes: Dictatorship is not the answer to Somalia; the dictatorship of Farmaajo’s uncle Siad Barre dictatorship was the reason for Somalia’s collapse. Somalis want democracy for simple reasons: it provides a means to hold their government accountable and to ensure that their elected leaders grow their country rather than only offshore bank accounts. – 19fortyfive

The Americas

President Biden capped a long weekend of diplomacy on Sunday with a swaggering proclamation of America’s renewed force on the world stage, claiming credit for what he cast as breakthroughs on climate change, tax avoidance and Iran’s nuclear ambitions at the end of a Group of 20 summit that was missing some of his biggest global adversaries. – New York Times 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s security detail allegedly used violence against Brazilian reporters covering his trip to Rome for the Group of 20 major economies meeting, local media reported on Sunday. – Reuters 

US President Joe Biden has vowed a major push to promote democracy worldwide. But since he took office, democracy has faced repeated setbacks. Among three nations whose democratic transitions had inspired the most hope, Myanmar and Sudan have seen generals roar back, sacking civilian leaders and suppressing street protests, while in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring a decade ago, the president seized wide-ranging powers. – Agence France-Presse 

Editorial: No one with a passing knowledge of Haitian history can doubt that past interventions have left scars, and that the troops who executed them did damage. […]Those who cite the shortcomings of past interventions as the rationale to oppose a new one have no viable answer to that question. It is impossible to accurately predict what comes next in Haiti, but there is virtually no scenario in which the news will get better. Elections are impossible amid such disorder, so there is no prospect of establishing a government with a shred of political legitimacy. – Washington Post  


The hacker group “Black Shadow” has leaked data from various Israeli companies, such as LGBTQ dating app “Atraf”, Dan bus company and tour booking company Pegasus on Saturday night. – Jerusalem Post 

The hacker group Black Shadow demanded on Sunday that $1 million be paid to it within 48 hours, or it would leak or sell the rest of the information it collected from the database of the gay dating app Atraf. – Jerusalem Post 

The London-based high society jewelers Graff have been hit by a hack allegedly carried out by a notorious Russian gang who have begun releasing client details in bid to force Graff to pay a multi-million dollar ransom. – Times of Israel 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Until legislation is passed, as many other countries have done in recent years, some amount of a subjective vacuum about how to respond to even mass cyberattacks will continue. – Jerusalem Post 


US allies are lobbying Joe Biden not to change American policy on the use of nuclear weapons amid concern the president is considering a “no first use” declaration that could undermine long-established deterrence strategies aimed at Russia and China. – Financial Times  

Task Force 59 integrated MANTAS T-12 unmanned surface vessels with manned U.S. patrol craft and Bahrain Defense Force maritime assets during its New Horizon exercise this week. – Defense News 

Mark R. Whittington writes: Clearly, with China going full tilt to augment its nuclear arsenal, it is time for the United States to expand its missile defense system. It should start by tasking the Space Force with developing and deploying a boost phase defense system, taking an old idea that dates back to the 1980s SDI proposal. – The Hill 

Long War

In a stark rebuke of the torture carried out by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks, seven senior military officers who heard graphic descriptions last week of the brutal treatment of a terrorist while in the agency’s custody wrote a letter calling it “a stain on the moral fiber of America.” – New York Times 

Tunisian forces dismantled a cell linked to Islamic State in the southern city of Tataouine that was planning to attack security and military forces, the interior ministry said on Friday. – Reuters 

Philippine troops killed a militant leader and his wife on Friday, in what military officials described as a major blow to an Islamist group suspected of carrying out a series of bombings and attacks in the country’s south. – Reuters