Fdd's overnight brief

November 6, 2020

In The News


Iran believes the U.S. government no longer can “control what’s happening in the world” or show other countries how to protect citizens’ rights, the Iranian foreign minister said on Thursday during a visit to ally Venezuela. – Reuters

Iran unveiled a new ballistic-missile facility this week. Key military officials, including Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps head Hossein Salami, showed off the new site and its apparently unique train-mounted ballistic-missile launcher. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has mocked the aftermath of election day in the United States, saying that the vote has exposed the reality of US democracy, AFP reports. – Arutz Sheva

Iranians have been watching the U.S. presidential race carefully due to the possible impact the results could have on their lives, particularly the economy being crushed by U.S. sanctions. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, announced a new “headquarters” on Wednesday to combat soaring prices in Iran. – Radio Farda


Turkey began drilling at a second borehole in a Black Sea natural gas field where it made its largest ever discovery earlier this year, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Thursday. – Reuters

Jonathan Spyer writes: It should go without saying that Erdogan and Khan’s calls for religious tolerance have no reflection in their own policies at home. […]This approach makes policy sense for the Turkish leader and his allies. Through it, Ankara seeks to acquire a ready-made instrument to impose pressure on Western countries. France is an emergent strategic rival to Turkey, above all in the Eastern Mediterranean. Having an ability to foment public disorder within it is a useful weapon. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This leaves other actors out there that might try to exploit the US domestic chaos to achieve their goals. […]Nevertheless, as the US outcome becomes more certain, Iran and Turkey may begin to make their moves, or Turkey may demand one more last minute favor from the Trump administration. – Jerusalem Post


Israel has demolished most of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, displacing 73 Palestinians – including 41 children – in the largest such demolition in years, residents and a United Nations official said. – Reuters

The European Union and the United Nations have condemned the Israeli demolition of a Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley on Tuesday, which rendered around 73 Palestinians — including 41 children — homeless. – Times of Israel 

Gazan cyber-hackers are growing in ambition and scope of operations, Israeli cyber-security company Check Point claimed in a Wednesday report that takes readers into the online forums and chats of those “in the life.” – Jerusalem Post

The first of the new missile ships set to defend Israel’s shores and strategic sites will arrive in early December, after it was handed over to the Navy from the Thyssenkrup Marine shipyards in Germany. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli government entities are hacked and invaded with ransomware just like in the US, but “defense agencies in Israel conceal this from the citizenry,” cybersecurity firm Monstercloud CEO Zohar Pinhasi has told The Jerusalem Post in an interview. – Jerusalem Post

During Trump’s four years in office, U.S. Mideast policy underwent a radical transformation. His predecessors, both Republicans and Democrats going back decades, strongly believed that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be key to peace and stability in the entire region. – Haaretz

Ahmad Abu Holi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of the “Refugee Department”, said on Thursday that the UN’s failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict stems from the denial of Israeli governments of the “right of return”. – Arutz Sheva

We are confident that our country’s leadership will continue to stand against antisemitism and maintain the strong US-Israel relationship, building on decades of close ties between America and the Jewish State. Support for Israel is not a Democratic cause or a Republican cause; it is an American cause. Our unity will assure the strengthening of the historic bipartisan US support for Israel.​ – Conference of Presidents

Editorial: On the other hand, the Trump administration deserves credit for the amazing measures it took to promote peace and security for the State of Israel. But it cannot be a relationship based on personalities. Rather, it is about people and their shared values. Israel and the Democratic Party should remember that in the months to come. – Jerusalem Post

Yaakov Katz writes: Traditionally, a president does not speak out publicly about policy, politics or party when he steps down. That was the case with Bill Clinton, with George W. Bush, and until recently, also with Obama. […]This could be tricky for Israel, which will need to navigate between making inroads with a Biden administration and the Democratic Party, but also at not upsetting an influential former president. We will know soon enough. – Jerusalem Post

David M. Weinberg writes: The lending of religious legitimacy to Arab peace with Israel, by referencing the Abrahamic common heritage of Arabs and Jews, implicitly acknowledges that Jews are indigenous to the Land of Israel. This is a mammoth transformation in the Arab approach to Israel, and the bluntest-ever rejection of the ongoing Palestinian campaign to deny and even criminalize the Jewish people’s historic rights in Israel. This hopeful, dazzling new discourse must be driven onward and upward by the American president and Israeli prime minister. – Jerusalem Post

Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden writes: But, some countries are the evil opposite. Their leaders sweet-talk us, but their populations are highly antisemitic. I’ll spare you the list. There are dozens. I would like, tens of thousands of German and Austrian democrats to infiltrate these lands and teach love and solidarity with the Jews. Not for our sake. For theirs. The Holocaust and its denial are meant to hurt us, but they’re debacles of the perpetrators, not our defeat. The leadership of the Palestinian Arabs meanwhile maintains its stance. – Times of Israel

Limor Livnat writes: Biden, we can already be sure, will bring the Palestinian issue back on the agenda, and will likely suspend any further peace agreements with moderate Arab nations in the region. We would fair far better with a friend in the White House, even if his character is not beyond reproach. – Ynet

Joshua Muravchik writes: These forms of resistance in the Soviet bloc and within the “socialist motherland” itself, combined with the rediscovered confidence of the West (both of them factors to which Israel contributed more than most), weakened Communism until it began to crumble. Israel is a country that in many ways punches above its weight. The blows it landed on Soviet Communism, fighting at America’s side, helped to save the world. – Commentary Magazine

Arabian Peninsula

The U.S. State Department gave Congress notification it plans to sell 18 sophisticated armed MQ-9B aerial drones to the United Arab Emirates in a deal worth as much as $2.9 billion, people briefed on the notification said. – Reuters

The US military has admitted responsibility for two more civilian casualties in Yemen following a report that claimed there were dozens of incidents where innocent lives may have been lost. – Business Insider

Spencer Kaplan writes: The new Israel-UAE partnership increases the likelihood that the United States will achieve its vision for a stable and accessible Moon because collaboration between the two states could lead to more like-minded nations joining the small group of lunar spacefaring countries. As a result, when Emirati, Israeli and American astronauts freely roam the lunar surface in the future, policymakers will fondly recall the Abraham Accords as the seed of cooperation that sprouted a fruitful partnership. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The Trump administration is expected on Friday to impose sanctions on one of Lebanon’s most powerful Christian politicians in an effort to chip away at Hezbollah’s grip on power, according to people briefed on the move. – Wall Street Journal

The killing of three people at a church in France has focused attention on extremism in the suspected attacker’s native Tunisia, where political instability has hobbled efforts to tackle radicalisation. – Agence France-Presse

Egyptian authorities have reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for the first time since September, which has been closed due to coronavirus restrictions, according to a Daily Sabah report Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Protesters in the disputed region of Western Sahara blocked Morocco’s main trade route to West Africa, prompting a warning that a conflict suspended for three decades could reignite. – Bloomberg

Iraq’s president ratified on Thursday a new election law aimed at giving political independents a better chance of winning seats in parliament, paving the way for early elections next year. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In the Middle East we don’t see ourselves as “disconnected” or not “integrated,” but the reality is that for decades there have been extremist threats from the region due to ungoverned spaces and non-state actors eating away at states. […]The US can’t do all this alone, and Europe increasingly is inward looking, but the US needs to do something on this issue or it will get worse. – Jerusalem Post

Fasil Legesse writes: The countries that share the Nile bear the burden of creating the legal framework for sharing it equitably. It is my understanding that now it is vital to start considering the Nile issue as a source common cooperation to address the challenge in the allocation and management of a shared resource by distributing water equitably. In light of the complex history of the basin, a sustainable resolution can only be found in a sincere collective effort that recognizes the shared destiny of the riparian countries. – Jerusalem Post

Andrew Jose writes: In conclusion, an Israeli-built Suez alternative will benefit Israel’s economy, the global economy, Israel’s international relations, and security. […]Furthermore, the waterway will tie Israel and its safety tightly with other countries’ self-interests, thus, promoting peace and security. The case for an Israeli-built Suez Canal alternative, therefore, remains strong. – Times of Israel


As the United States tallied votes in a presidential election that appears headed for a court battle and fractious final phase, Chinese commentators and state mouthpieces this week lined up to portray the cross-Pacific superpower — viewed with awe and envy by generations of Chinese — as a politically crumbling edifice in 2020. – Washington Post

U.S. investors apparently don’t mind such an outcome, based on the performance of the stock market. But for America’s foreign trade and investment relations, and its deepening rivalry with China, it is far from ideal. – Wall Street Journal

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said Thursday he hopes the next U.S. administration will take steps to work with the Asian country. – CNBC

Chinese telecommunications group Huawei is fighting back in court against the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year to label the company a national security threat. – The Hill

Tom Rogan writes: There is one positive in all this. Namely, the lesson the world finds in the simultaneous juxtaposition of what Xi says and what he actually does. To be sure, Xi says all the right stuff, offering massive investments and pledges for mutually beneficial cooperation. And yes, Xi has impressive support from his financial prostitutes, such as Tim Geithner, Ray Dalio, and Tony Blair. But in the end, Xi is just a smiling prince of darkness. And a deal with this devil comes with the ultimate choice between hostility and indentured servitude. – Washington Examiner


At least 37 pro-government forces and 76 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan the past week. – New York Times 

An offensive by Afghanistan’s Taliban militants appears to be aimed at reclaiming Afghanistan’s second city, which once served as the capital for the hard-line movement nearly a quarter-century ago. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Ali M. Latifi writes: While Afghans wait to see who will be commander in chief of the U.S. mission in their country, the joke that we may need to send the foreign minister to broker a deal between Biden and Trump—as then-Secretary of State John Kerry did in 2014—may yet come true. Ironic for a country that was a constitutional monarchy from 1963 to 1973 and then a republic thereafter—long before George W. Bush vowed to bring democracy to Afghanistan with the 2001 invasion. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

While the outcome of a hard-fought U.S. presidential race comes down to a handful of states, IIFL Group’s Nirmal Jain said it doesn’t matter if Joe Biden or Donald Trump are elected—as far as India is concerned. – Bloomberg

India’s escalating border tensions with China could lead to a wider conflict, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat said, adding to concerns for a nation that’s been battling another neighbor to its west for decades. – Bloomberg

Jeff M. Smith writes: From India’s vantage point, the strategic partnership with the United States is already an anomaly, a new gold standard pushing the boundaries of alignment. It is already the most expansive strategic partnership India has forged since independence, in all but arms sales surpassing the heights of its relationship with the Soviet Union. For all practical purposes India is already aligned — it has made its choice. It’s just that, as with everything else, New Delhi is pursuing alignment on its own terms. – War on the Rocks


So the adoption of a tough new law this week in North Korea that bans cigarette smoking in public places — with penalties for violators — has created a conundrum. What if Mr. Kim, who is regarded as a faultless deity in North Korea, breaks that law? – New York Times

For many people in Hong Kong, China has caused nothing but alarm. Beijing’s imposition of a national security law this summer to crack down on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement undercut the territory’s autonomy and raised concerns that it could lose its status as Asia’s premier financial center. – New York Times

If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election, settling the long-running U.S.-South Korea burden-sharing talks would send a message to North Korea and China that the two nations are in alignment on major issues concerning the peninsula, regional security experts said Thursday. – Defense News

Australian police said a Melbourne man who appeared in court on Thursday was the first person charged with foreign interference under new legislation introduced in 2018. – Reuters

Myanmar’s citizens go to the polls Sunday in an effort to sustain the fledgling democracy they helped install just five years ago. – Associated Press

The U.N. special investigator on religious freedom urged countries to repeal laws undermining the right of minorities to worship and hold beliefs, pointing as examples to China’s detention of Uighurs, 21 countries that criminalize apostasy, and sweeping surveillance of Christians in North Korea and Muslims in Thailand. – Associated Press

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Friday that whoever wins the U.S. presidential election should end U.S. interference in the internal affairs of her city and China overall. – Associated Press

Canberra has advised Australian businesses to seek new export markets and reduce their reliance on China as a worsening dispute threatens up to A$6bn in annual trade. – Financial Times

Benedict Rogers writes: Whoever wins the election, America’s president must put responding to the erosion of freedom in Hong Kong at the top of his to-do list. Hong Kong has been the front line for the free world.[…]Failure to make it abundantly clear that Beijing’s most recent proposal will carry grave, long-term consequences would expose Taiwan to further threat—and that would move the front line of the fight for freedom even closer to home. – Wall Street Journal

Elisha Maldonado writes: Yet in violation of this pact, and after years of pressure by the Chinese Communist Party to prevent international recognition and support for Hong Kong, this June, the party forced Hong Kong to pass an extradition bill that represents the end of the semiautonomous territory’s independence. […] Now, Taiwan fears it could be next, and it is speaking out in an effort not to go so gently into that good night. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: President Trump has made his mark on the world by finally unleashing American power to counter China’s imperialism. Joe Biden often speaks of the need to restore alliances and America’s global credibility. Witnessing what China is now doing to one of our closest allies, each man has reason to act in Australia’s support. China is banking on Washington’s distraction. Instead, Trump and Biden should pledge to impose immediate new and reciprocal tariffs on China, should Beijing’s D-Day attack go forward. – Washington Examiner

South Caucasus

Nagorno-Karabakh’s largest city came under heavy shelling on Thursday, three sources working there said, as Reporters Without Borders called for the safe evacuation of civilians who it says are trapped in Stepanakert. – Reuters

Azerbaijan will press ahead with plans to feed natural gas into an extended pipeline network to southern Europe, a senior official said, even as conflict rages for a sixth week in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. – Reuters

The reignited war in Nagorno-Karabakh has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis and Armenians who call Russia home. The two ethnic communities are among Russia’s biggest and most organized, though the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has driven them into hostile camps. – NPR

Advisor to the Chief of the Armenian Army General Staff Vladimir Pogosyan on Thursday likened Israel to Nazi Germany and vowed vengeance for its support of Azerbaijan in the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Ynet

After a monthlong Azerbaijani military advance across Nagorno-Karabakh’s southern flank, Shushi/Susa is once again the focus of a crucial battle in the war over the breakaway Azerbaijani region. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


In Russia, the drawn-out aftermath of America’s Election Day has become the focus of a domestic political struggle in its own right, feeding a debate over whether Russia’s tightly scripted political landscape has unique advantages over American democracy. – New York Times

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree ordering the Russian government to try to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change, but stressed that any action must be balanced with the need to ensure strong economic development. – Reuters

Russian police raided the Moscow offices of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation on Thursday and state bailiffs said a criminal investigation had been opened against the group’s director. – Reuters

Russian ex-presidents’ immunity from criminal prosecution could be extended to any offences committed in their lifetimes, not merely while in office, under a bill submitted to parliament on Thursday. – Reuters

A former Marine imprisoned in Russia is being subjected to sleep deprivation tactics as his case languishes through a coronavirus pandemic and election season that has dominated the attention of U.S. leaders, according to his family. – Washington Examiner

The Russian government is playing up the still-unknown result of the U.S. presidential election. “Any uncertainty in the most powerful world economy, in one of the largest countries, has and could potentially have negative consequences for global affairs,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday. – CBS News

The Kremlin is turning a deaf ear, despite a 40% rise in the value of Russia’s National Wellbeing Fund this year.[…]. That’s because after more than five years of escalating tensions with the U.S. and Europe, including countless rounds of sanctions, the Kremlin is digging in for more. – Bloomberg

A U.S. appeals court has ordered the immediate release of a Russian woman who was convicted of international parental kidnapping for moving her children from the United States to Russia amid a divorce from her American husband. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Vladimir Putin is planning to step down next year as speculation swirls in Russia that the longtime president may have Parkinson’s disease, a report said Thursday. – New York Post


The president of Kosovo, a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s fight for independence against Serbia, resigned on Thursday to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special international court in the Netherlands. – New York Times

A report from the OSCE election-monitoring organisation published on Thursday condemned “massive” rights abuses and torture in Belarus and called for a re-run of the country’s August presidential polls in which President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory. – Agence France-Presse

The EU’s parliament and its 27 member states agreed Thursday to link the bloc’s long-term budget to a mechanism requiring countries such as Hungary to uphold Europe’s democracy rules, officials said. – Agence France-Presse

The United States and the European Union need to develop a “new transatlantic relationship” after the US election, irrespective of who wins, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

Britain’s foreign minister called for new elections in Belarus following the publication of an independent report into the previous vote in August. – Reuters

Germany called on Donald Trump to play by the rules and accept the result of the U.S. presidential election in a rare diplomatic intervention by a key Western ally. – Bloomberg

The UK is likely to face “widespread disruption” as the result of its failure to prepare adequately for the new border controls that businesses will face next year after Brexit, a report from the public spending watchdog has warned. – Financial Times

European Union officials in Brussels are setting up a labyrinth of rules for non-bloc countries and their companies to join defense-cooperation projects under the PESCO framework. – Defense News

But if Sweden‘s political and military leaders are to be believed, Gotland today marks the first line of defense against a foe whose powerful Baltic fleet anchors just 200 miles across the sea. – Washington Times

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The seven other Arctic states are Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark (by virtue of Greenland), and Russia. – USNI News

Nick Cohen writes: With Biden as president, Washington may not even give Britain the fast-track trade deal that Brexit supporters pretended could compensate for the loss of the vastly more significant trade with the EU. […]Britain will have abandoned its European alliance while failing to secure an American alliance. Its isolation will be painful—and painfully obvious. – Foreign Policy

Manuel Valls writes: Let us move from a traditional diplomacy to a diplomacy of resolutions. Let’s defend our values and interests and strengthen our alliances. Too often, reduced to the weight the Holocaust has left on the European conscience, our relationship with Israel must assert itself in all fields, because it is deeper than that. It is based on sharing the same values and a common vision of the world, about progress, modernity and humanity. A strategic alliance alone is not sufficient: our relationship needs to get translated into practical actions. – Jerusalem Post


Ethiopia edged to the brink of civil war this week after Abiy Ahmed, its Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, ordered a military offensive against the government of the country’s northern Tigray region. – New York Times

Ethiopia’s dispute with the northern Tigray region escalated Thursday with reports of heavy shelling and the army’s deputy chief declaring that the country had entered into “an unexpected war” and was sending more troops to the area. – Washington Post

Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara won a controversial third term in office following an election that was boycotted by the opposition and harshly criticized by Western observers. – Wall Street Journal

Eleven kidnapped teachers have been freed in western Cameroon, where separatist insurgents are battling government forces, the church that runs the schools said on Thursday. – Reuters

The head of the United Nations said he was deeply alarmed by fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where federal troops have been exchanging fire with the powerful ethnic faction that led the ruling coalition for decades. – Reuters

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is putting the support of the U.S. behind the central Ethiopian government amid escalating conflict in the region and threats of an outbreak of civil war, calling for a deescalation of tensions and the restoration of peace. – The Hill

Sudan closed its border with Ethiopia on concern that clashes in a northern region of the neighboring country may spread. – Bloomberg

Israel puts a major effort into bolstering ties with African countries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a meeting with Malawi Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: A ceasefire should be implemented in Tigray and the two sides must drop their reluctance to talk. This is an internal matter that no external arbiter can solve. Still, the African Union should offer to mediate, if only to provide a face-saving mechanism for the combatants to climb down from entrenched positions. Mr Abiy must also set a definite timetable for the free and fair elections he has promised, however high-risk those may be. If he wins, he will have gained legitimacy. If he loses, he should leave centre stage. – Financial Times

Eusebius Mckaiser writes: If a still young democracy like South Africa can keep deep bitter divisions at bay, then so can a much older democracy like the United States. But success will require that Americans abandon the toxic habit of seeing their political opponents as wartime enemies. – Foreign Policy

Michael Cohen, Samuel Gebre, and Simon Marks write: And there’s a risk a showdown between the regional and national governments could further undermine the already shaky detente or even spill across the border. There could also be repercussions for other Horn of Africa nations. Ethiopia is a major power broker in the region, with peacekeepers in Sudan and South Sudan and troops in neighboring Somalia fighting militants linked to al-Qaeda, and it could redirect military resources to quell internal dissent. – Bloomberg

Latin America

Criminal organizations in Bolivia and other Latin American countries are bribing police and circumventing customs restrictions to smuggle parts of jaguars to mainland China, an investigation by environmental groups showed on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S. Southern Command kicked off the longest-standing naval exercise in the world this week off the coast of Ecuador, until recently a far-left government that banished American forces from a naval base paid for with American tax dollars. – Washington Examiner

Teo Babún writes: Cuba’s leaders should see the current work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief as an opportunity to engage constructively and make progress on this issue. For one, Cuba can take such steps, such as announcing that it will allow the Special Rapporteur to visit, as a kind of good-faith response to its recent election to the UN Human Rights Council, although it does not deserve a seat on this body. Of course, taking steps to guarantee religious freedom is the right thing to do for its own sake; but at least for the sake of improving its image on the world stage, the Cuban government can do a lot worse than to follow the example of Uzbekistan. – Washington Examiner

North America

As the U.S. presidential election went down to the wire early Friday, people abroad remained transfixed by the race as they lamented the polarization and dysfunction in the world’s oldest democracy. – Washington Post

The world watched with a mixture of apprehension, dismay and fear on Wednesday as the United States struggled to extricate itself from a divisive presidential election and appeared to face a protracted legal battle. – Washington Post

A year after the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family in northern Mexico, a suspect was arrested on homicide charges in connection with the case, Mexican officials said. – New York Times

The head of an international observer mission to the US elections accused Donald Trump on Thursday of a “gross abuse of office” after the president alleged he was being cheated and demanded that vote counting be halted. – Agence France-Presse

The head of an international delegation monitoring the U.S. election says his team has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims about alleged fraud involving mail-in absentee ballots. – Associated Press

Former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos pleaded not guilty to drug charges on Thursday in a case that has put U.S.-Mexican cooperation in the fight against powerful cartels to the test. – Reuters

The Philadelphia Police Department is investigating an alleged plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center where ballots are currently being counted. – The Hill

Four people affiliated with the far-right militia group the Proud Boys, including their leader Enrique Tarrio were stabbed in Washington, DC on Wednesday, according to local ABC-affiliate WJLA and other followup reports. – Jerusalem Post

Josh Rogin writes: A Biden administration could be the last chance to return to a bipartisan, internationalist foreign policy that moderate Republicans and Democrats have long championed and that has provided 75 years of relative international peace and prosperity. But first, Biden has to win, and some Republicans have to put country over party. – Washington Post


Facebook Inc. FB 2.54% is tightening its grip on speech across its platforms, invoking some of the emergency measures that executives previously described as their “break glass” options to respond to postelection unrest. – Wall Street Journal

Several Twitter accounts posed as U.S. news organizations on Wednesday to falsely and prematurely declare election victories for Democrat Joe Biden, in what appeared to be a coordinated campaign to inject disinformation into online conversation about the presidential contest. – Wall Street Journal

After that contest was upended by Russian interference, states vastly increased the number of votes that are cast with paper records that can be audited later. More than 90 percent of votes will have a paper record this year compared with about 80 percent in 2016. States have also significantly improved how often and how scrupulously they perform post-election audits. – Washington Post

At least nine popular YouTube channels were promoting on Thursday debunked accusations about voting fraud in the U.S. presidential race, conspiratorial content that could jeopardize advertising and memberships revenue they get from the video service. – Reuters

Social media companies face a global challenge to stop disinformation around elections, including the 2020 U.S. vote. In Myanmar, the stakes for Facebook are particularly high after previous accusations it helped incite genocide. – Reuters

Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are falsely claiming that the number of people who cast ballots in Wisconsin exceeds the number of registered voters in the state. – Associated Press

The European Commission is about to propose a “revolutionary” overhaul of digital regulation that could hurt the business models of Big Tech, industry experts told CNBC. – CNBC

TikTok has invited British lawmakers into its offices to review its algorithm after a parliamentary committee questioned the social media app’s links to China’s ruling Communist Party. – CNBC

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the watchdog group Common Cause issued a joint request Thursday for Twitter to temporarily suspend President Trump’s account over the spread of disinformation about the election. – The Hill

Social media companies are battling a wave of Spanish-language misinformation related to the US presidential election, as groups aimed to sow division and stoke fears of Democratic subterfuge among pivotal Hispanic populations in battleground states. – Financial Times

As U.S. president, Donald Trump receives special treatment from Twitter Inc. when he violates the company’s rules around offensive or misleading content. That exemption will end in January if he loses the presidency. – Bloomberg


The U.S. Navy announced Thursday it had inked a $9.47 billion contract with builder General Dynamics Electric Boat for the full construction cost of the lead boat of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, as well as advanced procurement money for the second boat, the future USS Wisconsin. – Defense News

BAE Systems has secured several US Army research and development pacts that are designed to help create advanced technologies to team manned, unmanned, and autonomous aircraft in future combat operations. – Jane’s 360

Loren Dejonge Schulman and Alex Tippett write: Presidents should be honest with themselves about the sort of policy process they wish to run and transparently organize their National Security Council process and staff accordingly. Though certain models have attractive reputations, the worst outcome would be to select a popular concept and circumvent it with duplicative policy mechanisms or staff. – War on the Rocks

Long War

Austria and France are planning a joint push for tougher European Union-wide measures to stamp out Islamist extremism on the continent after terrorist attacks in both countries in recent weeks, officials in Vienna and Paris said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

All 15 people arrested in connection with a deadly rampage in Vienna on Monday are part of the radical Islamist scene and just under half have criminal convictions, some for terrorism offences, Interior Ministry officials said on Thursday. – Reuters

Following Islamist-inspired outrages in France and Germany, including the brutal killing of three people at a church in Nice, it has heightened fears that a new terror wave could be building across Europe. – Financial Times

President Emmanuel Macron has announced a doubling of the security forces guarding France’s national borders and called for deep reform of Europe’s management of its external frontiers to strengthen the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism. – FInancial Times

German police have raided the homes and businesses of four people linked to the Islamic State sympathizer who carried out a deadly attack in Vienna this week. – Associated Press

A Paris criminal court sentenced a 29-year-old Algerian man Thursday to life in prison for killing a woman and trying to bomb a church near the French capital in a failed 2015 attack that investigators said was plotted by Islamic State group extremists in Syria. – Associated Press

Austria’s leader called Thursday for more legal options to fight extremism and for an overhaul of the country’s domestic intelligence agency in the wake of this week’s deadly attack by an Islamic State sympathizer who authorities knew had tried to buy ammunition in neighboring Slovakia. – Associated Press