Fdd's overnight brief

November 5, 2021

In The News


Iran will not back down “in any way” in defending its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday, a day after all sides announced the resumption of nuclear talks between Tehran and major powers on Nov 29. – Reuters  

The IRGC has even more power under the new president. But it also wants to prove itself. This is perhaps because Iran has suffered setbacks such as sanctions and sabotage and cyber failures. But the IRGC has successes, using drones to attack US forces. – Jerusalem Post 

Chinese purchases of Iranian oil have steadily increased since President Biden arrived in office, with Beijing‘s blatant flouting of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic republic providing an economic lifeline to hard-liners in Tehran. – Washington Times  

Thousands of Iranians gathered on Tehran streets Thursday for the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and burning American and Israeli flags. The embassy takeover triggered a 444-day hostage crisis and break in diplomatic relations that continues to this day. – Associated Press 

 France said on Thursday it could still act with its partners against Iran at an upcoming meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board after Tehran said it would return to nuclear talks with world powers at the end of November. – Reuters  

Vietnam was seeking more information Thursday about a Vietnamese oil tanker that was seized at gunpoint last month by Iranian soldiers in the Gulf of Oman, while vowing to ensure the safety and humane treatment of the ship’s crew members. – Associated Press  

A new nuclear deal that may emerge between Iran and the world powers in the coming months “will likely be worse” than the 2015 deal, former IDF intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi Farkash told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post  

Twaseef Almogbal writes: Since the Ahd Allah Movement is an Iranian tool for disseminating ideological principles, its narrative against Gulf states should be taken into account by Gulf actors. In a televised speech in June, al-Haidari accused the UAE and Saudi Arabia of collaborating with the United States in supporting and funding ISIS to kill Iraqis and undermine stability in the country. – Washington Institute  


Even now, as the Taliban attempts to transform from an insurgency into a government, its contingent of trained suicide bombers remains central to its military and political strategy, experts say. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

But Afghan women accuse the new, all-male Taliban-led government of breaking its promises. The militants have banned many girls from attending secondary school. The vast majority of women have been ordered not to return to work. And Afghan women protesting their plight have been attacked or detained by Taliban fighters. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

As a wary world watches to see the Taliban’s policies for women, many older girls in Afghanistan already face disrupted dreams, worried for their future, afraid of missing out on big career goals as well as little freedoms and hobbies that helped connect them to far-flung families. – Washington Times 

David Wainer writes: Many countries still question whether the Taliban, infamous for its brutal rule during the 1990s, merits international support. For now, the U.S. and its allies are trying to use recognition as a carrot of sorts, dangling it as a reward for if the Taliban reforms its approach to human rights, women’s and girls’ empowerment, and freedom of movement. They also want to make sure the Taliban is serious about stifling terrorism. – Bloomberg  

Tom Rogan writes: We’re talking about warriors who fought alongside U.S. special operations forces in some of the toughest battles in recent history. These are counterterrorist specialists who chose to take on enemies such as those that attacked us on 9/11. These aren’t just allies, they’re allies of the highest order. Their kinship with America has been forged in shared blood, courage, and absolute trust. Their allies in the U.S. are doing all they can to see their brothers live free. – Washington Examiner  


Syrian rebels say they are standing by to join a new offensive threatened by Turkey against Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria, as Ankara eyes another campaign against a group it views as a threat to national security. – Reuters  

Mark Regev writes: Since the October summit there have been reports of fresh Israeli strikes against enemy targets across the Golan and in the Damascus area. This indicates that the crucial Israeli-Russian understandings reached since 2015 remain operative, and that is without doubt good news for Israel’s pilots flying missions over Syria. – Jerusalem Post  

Danielle Pletka writes: The United States must follow the letter of the law and demand the pipeline through Syria is shut down. Team Biden should recommit US troops to the fight in northern Syria, and reconcile itself to the notion that a) betraying another ally is a bad look; and b) that the battle inside Syria hardly distracts from the larger mission on China. Arab leaders must recognize that Assad will betray them and their interests, much as Iran’s proxies in Lebanon do every single day. – The Dispatch  


Thirty people are facing legal proceedings after Turkish police launched an investigation into the spread of rumours on social media that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had died. […]More than 160,000 investigations have been launched and nearly 13,000 people have been convicted for “insulting” the president in the last seven years, according to justice ministry data. – The Guardian 

Turkish authorities are considering whether to deport a Syrian journalist over a humorous video about claims that local people cannot afford to buy bananas while Syrians in the country can, his lawyer said on Thursday. – Reuters  

Commentators in the West believed that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blinked when he stepped back from his threat to expel 10 Western ambassadors who had called for the release of Osman Kavala, a Turkish philanthropist. Kavala has been jailed since 2017 following the abortive coup against Erdoğan in 2016, and had been previously accused of fomenting the demonstrations in Gezi Park in 2013.  The European Court of Human Rights had called for Kavala’s release in 2019. Turkey considers his detention lawful. – Middle East Media Research Institute 


As the IDF’s large-scale Home Front Command and National Emergency Authority (RAHEL) drill simulating a large-scale conflict with Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group comes to a close, officers warn that both citizens and soldiers need to be ready for any type of emergency to hit the home front. – Jerusalem Post  

Cyprus signed a deal Thursday for Israel’s military to build an electronic surveillance system to monitor activity along the UN-patrolled Green Line across the divided Mediterranean island. – Agence France-Presse  

It’s been 30 years since the IDF began to use a once-secret missile that has now been sold to dozens of countries around the world and, according to foreign reports, used by the Israeli military against Iranian targets in Syria. – Jerusalem Post  

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a private audience with Pope Francis on Thursday and met with top Vatican officials, who emphasized the importance of resuming peace talks with Israel. – Agence France-Presse  


Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati says his country is eager to resolve its diplomatic rift with Gulf countries over the war in Yemen, and urged the minister responsible for the feud to resign. – Bloomberg  

The International Monetary Fund has begun “preparatory” talks with Lebanon on a new aid package after receiving an official request from Beirut, says an IMF spokesman. – Agence France-Presse  

Lebanon’s tourism minister unveiled a new slogan for the crisis-swept country on Thursday that aimed to portray the precarity of life there as a point of pride, roughly translating to “I love you in your madness”. Lebanon is suffering a financial and economic meltdown which the World Bank has labelled as one of the deepest depressions of modern history, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and a massive explosion at Beirut’s port that destroyed large parts of the city and killed more than 215 people. – Reuters  

 France said on Thursday that Lebanon needed to be shielded from regional crises and that it was paramount that core actors across the zone needed to play their part in helping to get Beirut to implement reforms and get it out of its quagmire. – Reuters  

Senior members of the European Parliament viewed a Hezbollah tunnel at the Israel town of Zarit on the Lebanon border on Thursday. The delegation, organized by ELNET-European Leadership Network, flew by helicopter from Jerusalem to the border, where they were briefed by the Israel Defense Forces on the security situation in Lebanon. – Times of Israel  

In a November 2 article on the English-language Kuwaiti daily Arab Times, the daily’s editor, Ahmed Al-Jarallah, states that Lebanon’s problems do not stem from the presence of 19 different sects, each with its own religious laws and authorities. Rather, they stem from the fact that one faction – Hizbullah – has taken over the country with the ultimate goal of establishing the Islamic Republic of Lebanon, modeled on the Islamic Republic of Iran. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Maya Carlin writes: Iran’s exploitation of Lebanon’s dire situation is isolating the country from the foreign aid it needs most. Kordahi’s defense of the Houthis, Riyadh’s sworn enemy, was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back. Unless the new Lebanese government can gain distance from Hezbollah’s control, the Gulf may fail to be the saving grace the country so desperately needs. – The National Interest  

Gulf States

OPEC and a group of Russia-led producers agreed to keep to their gradual, monthly increase in oil output, deciding to boost production by 400,000 barrels a day next month and rebuffing stepped-up pressure from the U.S. to boost output and ease prices. – Wall Street Journal  

The U.S. State Department approved its first major arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under U.S. President Joe Biden with the sale of 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters 

At least 200 fighters were killed in clashes between Yemen’s government forces and Houthi rebels in and around the strategic central province of Marib over the last two days, security officials from both sides said Thursday. – Associated Press  

Liam Denning writes: OPEC+ lacks real flexibility because many of its members’ economies are overwhelmingly dependent on oil. Contrasting oil’s relative serenity compared with gas and coal, AbS at one point implied those markets would be better off with some sort of regulator, a term he also used to describe OPEC+. He must be kidding. OPEC+ exists to further the interests of its members, not to act as neutral arbiter. And at crucial times — not least the 2008 price spike and the early 2020 Saudi-Russian price spat — those interests haven’t aligned too well with stability. Thursday’s gathering didn’t meet the moment either. – Bloomberg  

David Schenker writes: The problem is the Houthis, who have proved consistently recalcitrant and are now playing for time as they make slow but steady progress on the battlefield. Indeed, the Houthis have little incentive to come to the table when the Hadi government and its local allies’ forces are splintered, insufficiently armed, and frequently fighting one other—a series of conditions the Saudis have been unable to rectify. – Washington Institute  

Middle East & North Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Washington on Nov. 8 and 9 for the U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. – Reuters  

Morocco says the immediate impact of Algeria ending gas supplies through a pipeline is “insignificant”, but it has not said how it will make up any shortfall while it adopts long-term plans to boost renewables and import liquefied natural gas (LNG).’ – Reuters  

The Abraham Accords are not only good for Israel and the Arab countries involved, but has also led to an upgrade of Israel’s relations with third countries no longer concerned about how close relations with the Jewish State will play in the Persian Gulf, former ambassador to the United Kingdom Mark Regev said. – Jerusalem Post 

This week, Refaat al-Abbar, Libya’s Oil and Gas Ministry undersecretary, submitted plans to Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to increase the presence of international oil and gas firms in the Libyan market. This comes as Libya’s upstream operations have gained greater attention from international players, prompting Abbar to make this recommendation to enhance the country’s energy industry while demand for oil and gas remains high. – Oil Price  

Tunisia has issued an international arrest notice against former president Moncef Marzouki, state news agency TAP reported on Thursday, a month after he called on France to end support for the current administration. – Reuters   

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s main opposition party selected a former top prosecutor who launched graft probes into the current government to be its presidential nominee, as the conservative group pledges to take a tough line on China and rein in runaway real estate prices. – Bloomberg  

The warnings are stark and coming from inside and outside of North Korea. Defectors based in South Korea have told us that their families in the North are going hungry. There is a concern as winter approaches that the most vulnerable will starve. – BBC  

The leaders of four Central European nations met Thursday in Hungary’s capital, where they urged visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in to consider investing in a rapid train line connecting Budapest and Poland’s capital, Warsaw. – Associated Press  

The battery unit of South Korea’s SK Innovation Co Ltd plans to invest $2.53 billion to build a new electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in China, China’s local government backed Yancheng News reported on Thursday. – Reuters  

Anyone hoping to play a round of golf next year at the Anes Ville Country Club in South Korea’s south-eastern province of North Jeolla will be expected to adhere to a new condition: do not turn up in a Japanese car. […]The two countries remain in a diplomatic stand-off as Japan insists that all wartime issues were resolved under the terms of a bilateral treaty signed in 1965, while the South Korean government insists it cannot intervene with the country’s judiciary. – Financial Times  


As world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, attempted to hash out an agreement to confront the global climate crisis in recent days, Chinese President Xi Jinping was not among them. Instead, his attention was on priorities closer to home, where he intends to make history of a different kind at a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s top leaders in Beijing next week. – Washington Post  

The highest court in Hong Kong ruled against the government Thursday in a landmark rioting case, a decision likely to draw greater scrutiny from Beijing of the Chinese territory’s British-style justice system amid a national-security clampdown. – Wall Street Journal  

President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are likely to announce the reopening of consulates shuttered last year, Politico reported, which would be one of the biggest steps yet to repair ties fractured during the Trump administration. – Bloomberg  

A citizen journalist jailed for her coverage of China’s initial response to Covid in Wuhan is close to death after going on hunger strike, her family said, prompting renewed calls from rights groups for her immediate release. – Agence France-Presse 

At Hong Kong Baptist University, at least one CCTV camera was present in the lecture hall, while an unidentified photographer took pictures, according to two students who attended. The courses represent an attack on academic freedom in Hong Kong’s Western-style university education system, critics said. – Reuters  

A LGBT advocacy group in China that has spearheaded many of the country’s legal cases pushing for greater rights is halting its work for the foreseeable future. – Associated Press 

Nearly half of Hong Kong-based journalists polled, or 46%, said they were considering leaving the city due to a decline in press freedom under a Beijing-drafted security law. – Bloomberg  

A Chinese official has responded to the Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military power in comments shared with Newsweek, saying it is the United States, not China, that is bringing the world closer to nuclear war. – Newsweek  

Editorial: In a free country, no one is above the law, not even the rulers. But in China’s socialist “rule by law,” the bigwigs are put on a high pedestal and the law turned into a tool to keep everyone else in line, including the lawyers. – Washington Post  

David Ignatius writes: For now, this is a war that nobody wants. It would puncture Beijing’s economy and derail Xi’s march toward what he calls his “China dream.” For Taiwan, the wreckage would be worse; Tsai frankly says that she wants no more than “maintaining the status quo.” The United States doesn’t want a war that past Pentagon war games have predicted it would lose. – Washington Post  

Josh Rogin writes: China’s failure on climate change is not the fault of Kerry nor the China hawks in Washington. The blame rests with the decision-makers in Beijing. Now, the job of the United States is to be clear-eyed about the choice China has made and respond accordingly. That’s the best way to address the China challenge and the climate challenge, neither of which is getting better anytime soon. – Washington Post  

Daniel H. Rosen writes: A severe economic slowdown has therefore become a near-term worry, not a distant one. And the most recent responses to mounting threats are not turning a new page: the CCP’s moves in the past few months consisted of political campaigns rather than acknowledgments of the financial and technical reform the country needs to restore economic efficiency. Structural problems make clear what a mistake it is to delay market reforms. The promise of “nonmarket” solutions is ringing hollow, again. – Foreign Affairs 

Ilaria Mazzocco writes: China’s negotiating position within the COP meetings has shifted markedly in recent years. It has moved from refusing responsibility as a developing nation to positioning itself as a champion for climate action, a step it made just as the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement. China’s increased ambition is welcome since as the largest global emitter, its commitments are key to achieving progress on climate mitigation. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  


Conservationists see the expansion of a marine reserve across a wide area of the Pacific from Ecuador to Central America as an important step toward thwarting giant Chinese fishing fleets that are accused of plundering fishing stocks. But enforcement is likely to be a challenge. – Wall Street Journal  

U.S. Republican lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday seeking to provide $2 billion per year and other assistance to bolster’s Taiwan’s defenses as it faces rising pressure from China. – Reuters 

But some four decades later, they are the most vivid visual example of the breakneck speed of Islamization that is taking place in Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous country of some 36 million. Coupled with the real or presumed threat of a resurgent Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, the Islamization has alarmed many and sown panic among Uzbekistan’s ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking community. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

More than 500 civil rights groups have called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to stop escalating violence in Myanmar’s Chin state, a volatile border region that has become a forefront of resistance against military rule. – Reuters 

Chiu Kuo-Cheng writes: Taiwanese military personnel know that peace has to be earned. We will not capitulate to China. We have the resolve and the ability to overcome challenges. With peace and regional security in mind, we are determined to fight for the survival and prosperity of the Republic of China and for the security and well-being of all Taiwanese people. – Wall Street Journal  

Charles Dunst writes: But Covid-19 has exacerbated Southeast Asia’s inequality and social divisions, which risks political instability. Most countries’ fiscal responses, while relatively small, have been crucial to the region’s limited recovery so far. Yet given rising global interest rates, which means increased borrowing costs and pressure on local currencies, smaller countries will have little choice but to limit these expansionary macroeconomic policies. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

James J. Przystup writes: To address the expanding security challenges, not only involving the defense of Japan but consideration of various regional contingencies that may potentially affect Japan’s own security, deeper integration will undoubtedly require revisiting the 2015 Defense Guidelines. The 2015 Defense Guidelines were detailed in terms of bilateral cooperation in the defense of Japan but lacked specifics with respect to regional and global cooperation. – Hudson Institute  

David Alman writes: As the United States pursues domestic designs for amphibious aircraft, it would be wise to consider off-the-shelf solutions as well. Whether it be a platform for search and rescue, a tool for experimentation, or a symbol of America’s commitment to the U.S.-Japanese alliance, there are few downsides to purchasing small numbers of the US-2. Practically, the United States military should take three actions in the near term. First, it should explore the cost of purchasing a relevant number of aircraft from Japan and compare that cost to ongoing development efforts. – War on the Rocks 


Vladimir Putin wanted Russia to join Nato but did not want his country to have to go through the usual application process and stand in line “with a lot of countries that don’t matter”, according to a former secretary general of the transatlantic alliance. – The Guardian  

The Russian and Belarusian leaders have signed off on a series of road maps aimed at deepening the integration of the two neighbors as part of a decades-old plan to create a “Union State,” state media reported on November 4, as Minsk faces growing international pressure following last year’s disputed presidential election. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

For months, critics have accused Russia of withholding additional natural-gas shipments to Europe via Ukraine in order to pressure Brussels to fast-track its new Baltic Sea export pipeline, Nord Stream 2. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked the national Unity Day holiday with a trip to Crimea, declaring the region will always be a part of Russia. – Associated Press  

Senator Tom Cotton: Mr. Biden served in the Senate for much of the Cold War and should have learned that KGB officers like Mr. Putin respect only power and strength, ruthlessly exploiting generosity and weakness. Mr. Putin won’t stop his aggression until he is forced into a defensive posture by united Western pressure. – Wall Street Journal  

Aliide Naylor writes: A signature policy of President Vladimir Putin’s administration, state-affiliated media often describe maternity capital a social success. But it seems relatively easy for the funds to be stolen; mostly through housing; and the more dilapidated the property the better. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Mark Temnycky writes: Putin pays a price for his aggression but calculates that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of continually bleeding Ukraine. By keeping the conflict at a low-hostility level, Russia will continue to deplete Ukraine’s limited resources. As the conflict continues to drag on, more of the West’s anyway-hesitant members will tire of the sanctions regime and will see benefits in seeking an end to their involvement in the conflict. – Center for European Policy Analysis  


A Hungarian senior official acknowledged that the government used powerful spyware to spy on businesspeople, journalists and even an opposition politician, the Associated Press reported. – Newsweek  

Most of the ammunition and nearly all the weapons used by Ukrainian separatist forces was produced in what is today Russia, according to a detailed weapons-tracing study. Kyiv and its Western backers have long accused Moscow of transferring arms to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, fueling a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Ukraine and Romania want Western allies to step up their military presence in the Black Sea as they accuse Russia of militarizing the region, according to letters obtained by Defense News. – Defense News  

Dozens of member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have invoked the so-called Vienna Mechanism to request answers from Belarus on “serious human rights violations and abuses” taking place in the country following a disputed presidential election in August 2020. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet next week with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, the State Department said. Spokesman Ned Price said on November 4 that the meeting will take place on November 10 as Blinken hosts the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Raluca Csernatoni writes: Although European technological sovereignty might convince member states about the merits of ‘more-EU’ in coordinating tech innovation, going-it-alone is not always feasible, be it in semiconductors or other emerging tech areas. Key strategic partnerships are required. This explains Commissioner Breton’s recent visits to the US, Japan, and South Korea in an effort to onshore production and attract high-end fabs to Europe. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Ivan Sascha Sheehan writes: More worrisome still, European influence has filled the power vacuum resulting from America’s general disinterest in the region. EU oversight has proven an unmitigated mess for the rule of law in Kosovo. And a prevailing European bias that favors Serbia—which increasingly resembles a one-party authoritarian state—can be expected to further erode trust and therein damage Kosovo’s independent, multi-party democracy in the years ahead. – The National Interest  


A wave of fear spread across the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday as the authorities accelerated their campaign against members of a once-powerful ethnic group accused of sympathizing with rebels now pressing toward the city. The sweeping measures targeting Tigrayans, from the same ethnic group as fighters who have been locked in civil war with Ethiopian government forces for the past year, raised concerns that the stage has been set for bursts of ethnically motivated violence. – New York Times  

On the day before launching the coup that halted Sudan’s democratic transition last month, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan made a string of daring geopolitical moves. He reassured Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. envoy to Sudan, that he didn’t intend to seize power. Then he boarded a jet to Egypt for secret talks to ensure his plot would have regional support. – Wall Street Journal  

Tanzania, a country famous for Serengeti safaris and a turquoise coastline, has engaged in a grim experiment with implications beyond its borders: denying the existence of Covid-19. How that is playing out offers clues on the hidden toll of the pandemic across the developing world. – Wall Street Journal  

The African National Congress, South Africa’s once-vaunted liberation movement, suffered its worst election showing since coming to power in 1994, according to the results of municipal elections released Thursday. – New York Times  

Ethiopia’s Tigray forces are joining with other armed and opposition groups in an alliance against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek a political transition after a year of devastating war, organizers said Thursday evening. – Associated Press  

Ethiopia’s government has forged an alliance with Turkey amid reports that it wants to deploy armed Turkish drones in its bitter war against forces from the Tigray region. – The Guardian  

Talks between Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the leaders of an Oct. 25 military coup are making progress, a source close to Hamdok said on Thursday as the United States and United Nations pressed for a solution. – Reuters  

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday the fighting in Ethiopia had to end and peace negotiations should start immediately without any preconditions. – Reuters  

Michael Rubin writes: When President Joe Biden explained his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, he cited the growth of the Islamic State and other terrorist affiliates in Africa. For the United States and the international community to allow Turkey to manage the Mogadishu airport is to undermine the fight against terrorism given that Erdoğan for both profit and ideology appears intent on empowering the most radical forces in the region against those seeking security and human rights. – 19fortyfive  

The Americas

The International Criminal Court on Wednesday announced the opening of a formal probe into claims that President Nicolás Maduro’s security forces participated in the torture and extrajudicial killings of political opponents, years after the international community began looking into alleged rights abuses in the socialist police state. – Washington Post  

Most of the world’s developing countries have backed a demand for wealthy nations to channel at least $1.3 trillion in climate finance to them annually starting in 2030, the opening salvo in one of the most contentious negotiating topics at the COP26 climate summit. – Wall Street Journal  

Groups representing Nicaraguans in exile on Thursday urged their compatriots to abstain from voting in Sunday’s elections to avoid legitimizing what they consider a ploy by President Daniel Ortega to remain in power. – Reuters  

Santiago Previde writes: Despite the initial plan, Operation Southern Cross became a perfect example of the geopolitical tensions between China and the United States in South America when the Coast Guard had to cancel its visit to Argentina. The official explanation from the U.S. government was that technical problems related to the depth of the water off the coast of the city of Mar del Plata did not allow the vessel to enter the port. – The National Interest  

North America

An indictment returned in federal court on Thursday casts doubt on the sources of a series of salacious and largely discredited reports about former President Donald Trump and Russia that the FBI ultimately used in support of a counterintelligence investigation into his 2016 campaign and associates. – Wall Street Journal  

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was seen visiting the White House on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Powell’s term leading the central bank is set to expire next February. President Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he would announce decisions “fairly quickly” on whether he was offering Mr. Powell another term or tapping someone else to succeed him. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: If, indeed, the administration engineers that geopolitical realignment, it might help counterbalance China. That, in turn, would offset some of the costs, economic and political, of adopting managed trade in place of the free-trade policy for which the United States has stood for seven decades. But those costs and tradeoffs are real. – Washington Post 

Eli Lake writes: It’s been clear for nearly two years that Steele’s dossier was garbage. This is mainly thanks to the work of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who released a report in 2019 skewering the FBI for its use of the dossier in its warrant applications, concluding that the bureau could not confirm any of its original reporting. The main takeaway from the Horowitz investigation was that the FBI cut corners and gamed the surveillance court. – Bloomberg  


Facebook says it has removed a post by Ethiopia’s prime minister that urged citizens to rise up and “bury” the rival Tigray forces who now threaten the capital as the country’s war reaches the one-year mark. – Associated Press 

The United States announced a $10 million reward Thursday for help finding leaders of the high-profile ransomware gang DarkSide, authorities’ latest try at combating spiking cyber-extortion attacks. – Agence France-Presse 

M.A. Thomas writes: Rather than insisting that cyber is an information-related capability in the information environment, it might be better to untether cyber power from the broader conversation about information. This is especially true because the everyday use of the term “information” is narrower than Rona’s and may lead commanders to overlook cyber-physical capabilities. – War on the Rocks  

William Turton writes: Spyware is used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to track criminals and terrorists. In the hands of repressive governments, it can be a tool used against enemies. Human rights groups accuse Israeli software maker NSO Group Ltd. and its Pegasus technology of enabling some governments to snoop on journalists, activists and business executives. – Bloomberg 


The U.S. Army has awarded a Boeing and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems team a contract to develop a 300-kilowatt solid-state laser weapon, according to an Oct. 25 Boeing announcement. – Defense News 

 The leadership team of Navy submarine USS Connecticut has been fired for poor decision making roughly one month after the boat ran into an underwater mountain. – Newsweek 

But life after America’s longest war for special operations is one of opportunity and provides a return to smaller missions that are just as strategic, if not more, than the big, headline-making battles of the past 20 years. SOF will build partnerships with militaries around the world and focus on great power competition — namely countering China and Russia, even as they change how they fight from capture and kill attacks to psychological warfare and influencing local politics. – Military Times  

Long War

At least 69 people, including a local mayor, have been killed in an attack in Niger’s volatile “tri-border” zone with Burkina Faso and Mali, the interior ministry said on Thursday. – Agence France-Presse 

In the 17 years since, Barghouti has become a kind of folk hero to many Palestinians. His popularity is directly proportional to the large number of Jews he killed or maimed, and so he is routinely named in Palestinian polls as their first choice for leader, far outdistancing both the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh or any other Hamas figure. – Jerusalem Post 

Matthew Levitt writes: In this groundbreaking Policy Note, counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt closely analyzes Israel’s NGO designations. In doing so, he validates U.S., European, and international requests for an explanation, but simultaneously cautions that the evidence—if proven even partially true—could reveal a troubling reality wherein Palestinian NGOs publicly defend the human rights of some people while supporting terrorist acts against others. – Washington Institute