Fdd's overnight brief

November 16, 2022

In The News


Iranian shopkeepers across the country closed their stores and went on a planned three-day strike starting Tuesday in solidarity with a monthslong protest movement demanding the ouster of the clerical leadership. – Wall Street Journal

The Iranian authorities moved aggressively to disperse demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country on Tuesday, as an uprising demanding an end to clerical rule entered its third month, and neither protesters nor the government showed any signs of backing down. – New York Times

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on an Iranian drone maker that officials said supplied Russia with weapons used in Ukraine. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday announced the sanctions against Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center, also called SAIRC, a company linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that designs and produces drones. – Wall Street Journal

Iranians went on strike in several cities on Tuesday to commemorate the 2019 protests over fuel prices, a display of dissent that was crushed by security forces in one of the bloodiest crackdowns in the history of the Islamic Republic. – Reuters

The U.S. Navy said Tuesday it found 70 tons of a missile fuel component hidden among bags of fertilizer aboard a ship bound to Yemen from Iran, the first-such seizure in that country’s yearslong war as a cease-fire there has broken down. – Associated Press

Australia’s ambassador was summoned by Tehran over comments made by the Australian prime minister regarding Iran’s internal developments, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday according to the semi-official Nournews news agency. – Reuters

Iran’s players are free to join in the protests sweeping their country over women’s rights while they are playing at the World Cup in Qatar but must do so within the rules of the tournament, national team coach Carlos Queiroz said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United States, Britain, France and Germany have submitted a motion to the UN nuclear watchdog’s board censuring Iran over its lack of cooperation with the agency, two diplomats said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Georgia foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate an Israeli residing in the country, its State Security Service said Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley is in Paris meeting with French, German and United Kingdom partners, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters at a regular news briefing on Tuesday. – Reuters

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock singled out Iran for using the death penalty to suppress members of the opposition at a conference on Tuesday which aimed to outlaw the punishment around the world. – Reuters

The U.N. human rights office is calling on Iran’s government to immediately release thousands of people who have been detained for participating in peaceful protests, faulting its “increasing harshness” as Western countries seek to ratchet up scrutiny of Tehran’s crackdown against demonstrators. – Associated Press

Iranian security forces shot dead at least three protesters Tuesday, a rights group said, as demonstrations sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death swelled on the anniversary of a bloody 2019 crackdown. – Agence France-Presse 

Julian Lee writes: While Russian troops illegally occupy parts of Ukraine and Iran helps to arm them, it’s hard to see the nuclear talks being reactivated. That’s bad for oil supply and bad for containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. – Bloomberg

Simon Henderson writes: The Vienna meeting may not be decisive on any of these issues, but it is significant. Aside from adding another technical element to the diplomatic pressure on Iran, adopting the access resolution could help preserve and even enhance safeguards agreements reached with other signatories to the NPT, who may be considering how to respond to Iran’s advances via their own nuclear programs. – Washington Institute

Henry Rome and Louis Dugit-Gros write: Even without triggering the snapback of UN sanctions, the EU could escalate pressure on Iran’s energy sector, which provides critical resources to its military. Finally, the EU could strengthen restrictions on—and share more information about—the way Iran utilizes dual-use technology in its drone program. – Washington Institute

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Johanne Moore, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) will likely resume its campaign to expel US military forces from the region in the coming months. […]The perceived role of the US in stoking the protests and supporting anti-regime Kurdish militant groups in Iraqi Kurdistan may increase the urgency Iranian leaders assign to this effort. – Institute for the Study of War

Erfan Fard writes: The brave young protesters did not comply when Salami yelled “Put aside the wickedness. Today is the last day of the riots. Do not come to the streets anymore. What more do you want from the lives of these people? ”. Regardless of the warning, students hit back at him and continued to protest in large numbers at several of Iran’s major universities on Sunday. Sooner or later, the will of change will triumph over the will of suppression. This young generation will succeed on the long road to democracy in Iran. – Arutz Sheva

Russia & Ukraine

Russian forces unleashed a volley of missiles across Ukraine on Tuesday, striking the country’s already beleaguered energy infrastructure and residential buildings in Kyiv days after Moscow suffered a major battlefield setback, government officials said. – Wall Street Journal

The missile that crashed in Poland on Tuesday, killing two people, was from a Ukrainian air-defense system, according to two senior Western officials briefed on preliminary U.S. assessments, but Poland is continuing its own investigation of the explosion. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden pledged support for a full investigation of the explosion that killed two people in Poland on Wednesday, but suggested to reporters that the missile that detonated probably had not been fired from Russia. – New York Times

CIA Director William J. Burns met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday, reaffirming U.S. support for the country on the same day Russian missiles pummeled the capital and sent residents fleeing for cover. – Washington Post

China joined Russia to oppose using “war” to describe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in a joint communique at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, attempting to undercut an effort by the United States and allies to condemn the conflict in the strongest terms possible. – Washington Post 

The White House on Tuesday asked Congress to approve $47.7 billion in new emergency aid to combat the coronavirus and augment Ukraine’s defenses, hoping to overcome the staunch Republican resistance that has scuttled such requests in the past. – Washington Post

Andrzej Kompa, a Polish historian appalled by his government’s past denunciations of migrants as a disease-carrying menace, was pleasantly surprised when Poland opened its arms this year to millions of people fleeing war in neighboring Ukraine. – New York Times

President Joe Biden convened an emergency meeting with G-7 leaders in Bali, Indonesia, after Poland claimed a Russian-made missile killed two people near its eastern border with Ukraine. – Washington Examiner

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled he is open to an extension of an initiative allowing grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea that is due to expire this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. – Wall Street Journal

The European Council president urged global powers Tuesday to intensify pressure on Russia over its war against Ukraine, including Moscow’s biggest supporter, China, saying that this week’s meeting of the world’s largest economies was crucial to stopping Moscow’s push “to use food and energy as weapons.” – Associated Press

US President Joe Biden and key European leaders are urging caution after a rocket struck a Polish village just over the border from Ukraine, as doubts grow over whether Russia was to blame and, if so, whether it had been an accident. – Bloomberg

Russia is expected to agree to extend a United Nations-brokered deal allowing exports of Ukrainian grain and other farm products from the Black Sea, ensuring a vital flow of foodstuffs to the world market. – Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s targeting of Ukrainian civilians “barbaric” on Wednesday at a G20 summit in Bali. – Agence France-Presse

Tom Rogan writes: Certainly, Poland’s status as an extremely close and reliable U.S. ally (Warsaw has met the NATO 2%-of-GDP defense spending target for many years) will lead Washington to view this incident as extremely serious. We’ll have to wait for more from the Polish government. – Washington Examiner

Lawson W. Brigham writes: While the Arctic and the Antarctic remain the most peaceful places on Earth, we are witnessing a reversal of cooperation and trust at the top of the world. The challenge is to find realistic and effective engagement strategies for dealing with Russia as an Arctic state. – The Hill 

Timothy Naftali writes: Unlike Khrushchev, Putin has raised the stakes of confrontation as his gambit began to unravel. It will be harder for him to fall back—and save face. He also doesn’t seem to want an off-ramp, at least for now. Biden and those calling on the White House to pressure Kyiv to negotiate with Moscow ought to keep this difference in mind. The war in Ukraine is not like the Cuban missile crisis, and Putin, as he’ll gladly tell you, is no Khrushchev. – Foreign Affairs

Konstantin Sonin writes: The lesson is grim: even if Putin loses power and a successor ushers in significant reforms, it will take at least a decade for Russia to return to the levels of private-sector production and quality of life the country experienced just a year ago. Such are the consequences of a disastrous, misguided war. – Foreign Affairs

Pavel Luzin writes: Nevertheless, the problem here is not only a lack of imported components, technology, and industrial equipment, but also a lack of human capital. The Russian authorities estimate the total current workforce deficit in the defense sector at 400,000 people. As a result, the losses of Russia’s military during its invasion of Ukraine are irreversible. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Justin Bronk writes: However, this will not only require sustained support for the ground war, but also urgent Western air defense support to keep the Russian air force as ineffective as it has been up to now, and to repel the ongoing assault on the critical infrastructure that Ukrainian civilians rely on for warmth, light, and clean water this winter. – War on the Rocks


An Israeli-owned oil tanker was hit by a suspected Iranian drone Tuesday night in the Gulf of Oman, according to people familiar with the incident, creating a hole in the ship but causing no injuries or deaths. – Wall Street Journal

A Palestinian man killed three Israelis and severely injured three more in a stabbing and car-ramming attack in the West Bank on Tuesday, according to Israeli military and medical officials, the latest in a spate of violent incidents in the occupied territory this year. – Wall Street Journal

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing political allies aim to make sweeping changes to Israel’s judicial system, which could allow lawmakers to pass laws previously struck down as unconstitutional, including bills aimed at expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said it had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for a dressing down on Tuesday, after Kyiv voted in favour of a resolution to open an international probe into Israel’s prolonged occupation of the West Bank. – Reuters

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party canceled all meetings planned Wednesday with Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich, as coalition negotiations aimed at establishing Israel’s 37th government remain at an impasse. The move comes after the incoming premier reportedly told the far-right lawmaker that he opposes his appointment as defense minister in the next government, citing concerns over the continued cooperation with US President Joe Biden’s administration. – Times of Israel

The FBI’s decision to open a criminal investigation into the killing of a Palestinian-American journalist is a watershed moment in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. – Haaretz

A new report based on surveys commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation over the last two years demonstrates the prevailing challenges and opportunities that the American Jewish community faces in regard to its institutions, safety, unity, and more. – Arutz Sheva

While Israeli intelligence is trying to confirm Iran’s recent declaration that it has successfully developed a hypersonic ballistic missile, the Israeli Defense Forces have already been anticipating such an announcement — and in the last two months have begun accelerating efforts to develop measures to counter the potential new threat, sources say. – Breaking Defense

In two volatile spots in the occupied West Bank, Israel has installed robotic weapons that can fire tear gas, stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets at Palestinian protesters. – Associated Press

Amos Harel writes: First, they will have to solve the clash with the United States. Second, the possibility that a soldier will be at risk of an investigation by a foreign country on suspicion of a crime in the territories completely contradicts all the promises by Benjamin Netanyahu, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir regarding increased support for combat soldiers. – Haaretz


A bomb attack in Istanbul evoked memories of violence ahead of tense 2015 elections, and could tee up another security-focused campaign for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and even a Syria military intervention ahead of next year’s likely tight vote. – Reuters

President Joe Biden had a brief, unannounced meeting Tuesday with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two men met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. – Bloomberg

Turkish police have apprehended more suspects in connection with the bombing of a bustling pedestrian avenue in Istanbul that killed six people and wounded several dozen others, bringing the number of people in custody to 50, Turkey’s justice minister said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Middle East & North Africa

Alaa Abd El Fattah, the imprisoned British-Egyptian dissident who has been on hunger strike for more than seven months in a bid to win his freedom, has broken his strike even though he remains behind bars, his family said on Tuesday. – New York Times

A Tunisian journalist said on Tuesday that police had started investigating him over a critical report about on the prime minister, raising fears among journalists and politicians that the authorities are targeting the press freedom and trying to silence free voices. – Reuters

Hosting the World Cup marks a pinnacle in Qatar’s efforts to rise out of the shadow of its larger neighbors in the wider Middle East, where its politics and its upstart ambitions have brought both international attention and regional ire. – Associated Press

The beheaded bodies of two Egyptian girls were found Tuesday in a sprawling camp in northeastern Syria housing tens of thousands of women and children linked to the Islamic State group, an opposition war monitor and local officials said. – Associated Press

Hezbollah has been exploiting a diplomatic loophole to freely funnel money from around the world into its coffers in Lebanon, a joint report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and ProPublica found. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Yet Sisi has stubbornly refused to release Abdel Fattah, who was granted UK citizenship last year, and many more have been arrested this year. In a letter to Abdel Fattah’s sister on the eve of COP27, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, who attended the summit last week, said his government was “totally committed” to resolving the activist’s case. US President Joe Biden, who also attended, promised to put human rights at the top of his foreign policy agenda. It is time to deliver on those promises. – Financial Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: An article published in Iranian media, quoting Lebanese media, appears to indicate a larger Iranian regime view regarding the recent Israel-Lebanon maritime agreement. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

Up to 7 million North Koreans use cell phones daily, and WiFi networks have sharply expanded in recent years as the mobile devices increasingly became a key tool for market activity in the isolated country, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China will speed up bilateral free trade agreement negotiations with South Korea, state television CCTV reported. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called on Tuesday for China to play a “more active, constructive role” in reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations, his office said, after talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. – Reuters

South Korea and Saudi Arabia are arranging a possible meeting between President Yoon Suk-yeol and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is due to visit Seoul this week, the Newsis news agency said on Wednesday. – Reuters

With all the big issues dominating this week’s meeting of leaders of the world’s biggest economies — war, famine, poverty, to name just a few — there’s been little public discussion of North Korea and its pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles. – Associated Press


A few weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s August visit to Taiwan, advisers to President Biden quietly opened back-channel talks with a senior Chinese diplomat. Beijing had largely severed lines of communication with the U.S. government, and the two sides were looking for a way forward. – Wall Street Journal

While President Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have eased tensions between their countries, they are vying for influence in Asia and beyond, offering competing stances on how to address poverty and the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

The prominent position of the photo on the front page of China’s main official newspaper spoke volumes: In it, the nation’s leader, Xi Jinping, smiled and shook hands with President Biden against a backdrop of Chinese and American flags. – New York Times

China on Tuesday criticised calls made by some COP27 delegations for Taiwan to be included in the annual climate talks process. Using a ‘right of reply’ statement at the end of a day of speeches at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, China urged the summit to stick to the ‘One China Principle’ under which it regards Taiwan as part of China. – Reuters

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised “serious concerns” over suspected domestic interference by China in his first talks with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday in more than three years, a Canadian government source said. – Reuters

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday that China posed a threat to Britain but it was also right to have dialogue with Beijing over global challenges such as climate change and the war in Ukraine. – Reuters

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday at a House committee hearing that China has stolen more American data “than every other nation combined.” – The Hill 

Editorial: Biden insisted in Bali the US would “continue to compete vigorously” with Beijing. But, as former Australian premier and China expert Kevin Rudd notes, competition between the two has been perilously “unmanaged”. To avert a disastrous deterioration, the time has come for some careful management. – Financial Times 

David Ignatius writes: U.S. officials say their goal in the increasingly contentious relationship is to create “guardrails” and “rules of the road.” The Bali summit helped that process. But the fact remains that the U.S.-China relationship is like two cars careening down a narrow road, at ever higher speed. At least the drivers are talking. – Washington Post 

James Stavridis writes: If Washington and Beijing can cooperate to bring peace, and if Putin’s recklessness brings the subject of arms limits back into the global discussion, perhaps something good will come out of his horrific war. – Bloomberg

Shuli Ren writes: After almost three years of border controls, it is getting harder for global investors — even those based in Hong Kong — to understand the true state of the Chinese economy or decision-making in Beijing. While it’s difficult to figure out what Xi will do, they also don’t want to be caught wrong-footed. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: The West needs to get real about this. China is very much determined to replace the U.S.-led international order with one that is incompatible with the interests of free peoples everywhere. Compromise may be possible and preferential at the margins, but pretending the U.S. and China can forge a durable compromise is a very dangerous folly. – Washington Examiner

Mercy A. Kuo writes: DoD’s blacklisting of DJI reflects its broader strategy to counter military-civil fusion by bolstering the connection between PRC civilian and military companies. Since the technology is consistent across sectors, and recognizing the PRC’s intentions to achieve technological superiority, this action calls for increased measures to protect information and infrastructure, which extends to the broader industrial base. – The Diplomat

Paul Heer writes: Just as Shirk assesses that American perceptions of China as an existential threat will prompt U.S. leaders to “enact ever tougher policies to contain the threat,” we should expect that Chinese perceptions of a U.S. strategy to “contain” China will prompt CCP leaders to move toward their own ever tougher policies. Breaking this interactive cycle would require both sides to recognize it and work together to escape it. Biden’s meeting with Xi this week could be the beginning of that process. – The National Interest

Dean P. Chen writes: What really came out of this in-person Biden-Xi summit, aside from platitudes and aspirational promises, was that neither president caved to the other on their country’s vital interests. Their political standings at home have certainly reinforced their resolve and credibility but what set this meeting apart from the previous five remote Biden-Xi summits remains to be seen. – The National Interest

Joseph Rozen and Gedaliah Afterman write: Moving away from the zero-sum game of superpower competition offers the United States an opportunity to champion a more creative approach that would advance a positive international agenda and bring Asia and the Middle East closer together. – The National Interest


Building on his summit on Monday with President Biden, President Xi Jinping of China held talks on Tuesday with Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, ending Beijing’s yearslong freeze on top-level talks between the two trade partners. – New York Times

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Tuesday he had a positive discussion with China President Xi Jinping on trade embargoes levelled by Beijing. “I put forward Australia’s position when it comes to the blockages in our trading relationship,” Albanese told a news conference following the meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali. – Reuters

A meeting between Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping is a step towards normalising ties after years of diplomatic freeze but would not bring a shift in Canberra’s defence policy, Australian diplomats said. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the Philippine islands of Palawan on the edge of the disputed South China Sea, a senior administration official said on Tuesday, in a move that may be interpreted by Beijing as a rebuke. – Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has decried what she called “rumours” about the risk of investing in the island’s semiconductor industry and said the government was working hard to ensure investments continued. – Reuters

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday officially handed over the G20 presidency to India at the end of a summit of the bloc’s leaders in Bali. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told French President Emmanual Macron on Tuesday that Tokyo hopes to strengthen cooperation with France toward achieving a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” – Reuters

China and Japan will properly handle differences and build a bilateral relationship in accordance with the new era, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The Taliban likely gained access to tens of millions of dollars the US transferred to the Afghan government before it collapsed, a US government watchdog found. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which monitored US projects and spending during America’s longest war, said in its latest report that the Taliban likely accessed approximately $57.6 million in funds from the State Department, Department of Defense and USAID. – CNN

Chinese and Russian surface action groups have transited past Japan on their voyage home, while Chinese aircraft have transited in an out of the Pacific Ocean through the Miyako Strait, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. – USNI News

Sajjan M. Gohel And Marcus Andreopoulos write:  Therefore, the United States should be cautious and hesitant in delivering more military support to Pakistan, such as the F-16s, where there is no guarantee that they will be used competently and where trigger-happy generals seek to polarize the region by foreclosing on what they have done for generations: encouraging and inciting its neighbors into full confrontation. Therefore, the F-16 squabbles between the United States and Pakistan are far from over. – War on the Rocks

Christopher B. Johnstone writes: Japanese officials occasionally describe Japan’s relationship with China as a mix of competition, confrontation, and cooperation. For the last several years, and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the emphasis has been on the first two. Kishida’s meeting with Xi will test the prospects of restoring greater balance and rebuilding the third. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Eugene Chausovsky writes: The war in Ukraine and challenges related to the BRI have exposed the drawbacks of relying heavily on Russia and China. A more nuanced and targeted approach by Washington could help Central Asian countries better address the challenges facing them while putting the United States in a better strategic position in its broader competition with Russia and China. – The National Interest


European Union defence ministers paved the way on Tuesday for Britain to join an EU project aimed at facilitating the swift movement of troops and military equipment across Europe, as war rages in Ukraine for a ninth month. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak affirmed their strong support for Ukraine on Wednesday as they met for talks that included the blast that took place in Poland and challenges posed by China, the White House said. – Reuters

Europe will engage with China but needs to “rebalance” the relationship to avoid becoming too reliant on the country for areas like innovative technology, European Council President Charles Michel said on Tuesday. – Reuters

With the war in the Ukraine at a critical stage, tensions in the countries under the influence of the former Soviet Union could not be getting much higher. With the Ukrainian Armed Forces putting pressure on Putin’s Generals, the tension can be felt across NATO’s eastern flank. – Arutz Sheva

Nicola Sturgeon writes: We don’t know the detail of what is to be in the chancellor’s statement on Thursday, but one thing is already clear — to build a more prosperous and fairer future, Scottish independence is not only desirable, it is now essential. – Financial Times


A Nigerian court has charged 26 men with conspiracy to commit a maritime offence and attempting to illegally deal in crude oil after authorities accused their supertanker of sailing in Nigerian waters without authority. The captain is an Indian national while the crew members are from Poland, India, Sri-Lanka and Pakistan, court papers showed. – Reuters

Two trucks carrying medical supplies arrived in the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region on Tuesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, in what it called the first aid delivery to the region since fighting resumed in August. – Reuters

Ivory Coast will be gradually withdrawing its military contingent from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali after failing to secure the release of 46 Ivorian soldiers who have been accused of being mercenaries. – Associated Press

The Americas

Canadian authorities have charged a researcher at the country’s largest electric utility with espionage for allegedly trying to obtain trade secrets for China, according to police. – Washington Post  

Cuba and the United States are making progress in talks aimed at curbing a migration crisis that saw a record number of Cubans arrive at the U.S. border last year, but those advances are not enough to stem the tide, Cuba’s top diplomat in the talks said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Bringing a message that “Brazil is back” in the fight against global warming, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with climate envoys from China and the United States on Tuesday in Egypt for the COP27 talks, on his first foreign trip since being elected Brazilian president. – Reuters


Australia’s Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neil vowed this weekend to “hack the hackers” after two monumental, back-to-back cyberattacks against Australian telecommunications giant Optus and insurance titan Medibank affected swaths of people. – Washington Post

The U.S. operations of Chinese-owned TikTok raise national security concerns, FBI Director Chris Wray said on Tuesday, flagging the risk that the Chinese government could harness the video-sharing app to influence users or control their devices. – Reuters

A group allegedly backed by China has attacked a certificate authority in Asia, as well as multiple government agencies within the region since March, according to a new report from Symantec. – The Record


The Air Force has grown far too old, small and fragile when it comes to its combat aircraft inventories. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the field of the long-range strike mission. The B-21′s transition from concept to reality marks a particularly important opportunity for the Air Force to reset this imbalance. – Defense News

A “deterrence triad” that combines special operations, space, and cyber forces has been described as the “next step in terms of deterrence,” to give the U.S. the “ability to protect and the opportunity to disrupt.” But while the concept was announced in August, the actual where, how, and what of the triad remains “a work in progress,” according to special operations thinkers, leaders, and industry-movers who spoke last week at Global Special Operations Foundation’s Modern Warfare Week conference at Fort Bragg, N.C. – Defense One

Fabian E. Villalobos writes: The intelligence community could also take this moment as an opportunity to educate government policymakers, U.S. allies and the public about the extent of Chinese interference in mineral mining and processing. Without that understanding, years could be lost as public misinformation delays projects — prolonging the risk of supply disruption, economic coercion or worse. – The Hill