Fdd's overnight brief

November 9, 2020

In The News


Iran reacted cautiously as former U.S. vice president Joe Biden was named America’s president elect, urging the new administration to overturn Trump-era policies that have left Iran isolated on the world stage as its economy crumbles. – Washington Post

The Trump administration, in coordination with Israel and several Gulf states, is pushing a plan to slap a long string of new sanctions on Iran in the 10 weeks left until Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, two Israeli sources briefed on the effort told me. – Axios

A leading Iranian human rights lawyer has been released from prison, Iran’s state-run news agency reported Saturday, after she was earlier hospitalized amid a hunger-strike conducted from her cell. – Associated Press

A governing panel at the United Nations’ aviation agency urged Iran on Friday to accelerate an investigation into the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in January, while an Iranian official said a final report on the crash would be circulated soon. – Reuters

Iran’s Tasnim news, one of several regime media outlets in Tehran that are avenues for the government to boast about its military technology, showed off its weekly drone and weapon threats. […]The latest story involves an air base in Isfahan and the Iranian air force, sometimes called Nahaja as an abbreviation. – Jerusalem Post

“Now there is an opportunity for the future American administration to compensate for its previous mistakes and return to the path of adherence to international commitments,” Rouhani said, in a statement on his official website. – Agence France-Presse

A former senior aide to Joe Biden said rejoining the Iran nuclear deal was “high on his agenda” and that the US president-elect would move to do so shortly after taking office. – Times of Israel

Eli Lake writes: None of this is to say that Biden cannot and will not lift some sanctions in exchange for some Iranian concessions. All of that is likely to happen. The test for the Biden administration will be to use the leverage Trump has created to improve the 2015 nuclear agreement and pressure Iran to end its regional aggression. – Bloomberg

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s friends in Lebanon among Hezbollah and Badr parliament members in Iraq have all joined calls by the IRGC in Iraq to work closely with China. Iran is quite clear now then in messaging that it offers peace and security under its umbrella in the region. Those who don’t accept and bend the knee will face the wrath, appears to be the quiet message behind this entreaty to be nice to Tehran as Trump leaves. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Zarif’s trip to South America is unique and it is an attempt by Iran to show how much it has increased its stature as it emerges from an arms embargo. The US administration of President Donald Trump, and particularly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iran file czar Elliott Abrams, want to push new sanctions before Trump’s term is over. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Very few countries build their own advanced military aircraft, and it is difficult to build modern helicopters and planes. Nevertheless, Iran’s constant bragging and plans to supply other countries shows that it wants to grow its industry now that it is out from under an arms embargo. – Jerusalem Post

Judah Ari Gross writes: Though he said the US may have to make some kind of concession in order to restart negotiations, were Biden to re-enter the JCPOA and remove the economic sanctions that the Trump administration put in place, the US would potentially be giving up a crucial bargaining chip in what would already be extremely difficult negotiations. – Times of Israel


Tensions boiled over in Syria’s southern Dara’a province on Sunday as the Syrian army reportedly sent its 4th division on a sweep of towns and villages after several Syrian soldiers were killed. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Russia, Iran and Turkey want the US to leave. The SDF has created stability but it’s unclear if US-backed talks between Kurdish groups can reconcile them. Discussions about Sinjar and tensions between the KRG and PKK as well as Iran’s threats all seek to destabilize the region as the Trump administration may be handing over power to a new administration. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The Trump administration vowed three times to leave Syria, but the US role has been successful at stabilizing the area and defeating ISIS and this has brought stability to Iraq as well. If America leaves, it is unclear if that stability will be maintained, since Iranian-backed and Turkey-backed groups are today responsible for many violations in Syria. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the governor of Turkey’s central bank, and the country’s finance minister announced his resignation, in a surprise weekend shake-up that fueled uncertainty over the direction of an economy caught in deepening currency crisis. – Wall Street Journal

Turkey gave an impassive first reaction on Sunday to Joe Biden’s presidential win, with Vice President Fuat Oktay saying it would not change relations between the old allies although Ankara will keep pressing Washington on Syria and other policy differences. – Reuters

Jacob Kornbluh writes: Tuesday’s election and its outcome — while it ushers in a new era of American politics and global leadership — is not expected to result in a dramatic shift in the U.S.-Israel relationship, Jewish Democratic leaders and Middle East experts stressed in interviews with JI. Biden’s long-standing relationship with the American Jewish community and mainstream pro-Israel groups will play a factor in his administration’s relations with Israel and in maintaining bipartisan domestic support for Israel’s security.  – Jewish Insider


Israelis began coming to grips Saturday with the defeat of President Trump, who enjoys widespread support here and whose presidency is seen by many as the friendliest to Israel in history. – Washington Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, a staunch ally of President Trump’s who had a chilly relationship with former President Barack Obama, congratulated Joseph R. Biden Jr. early Sunday, despite Mr. Trump’s insistence that the U.S. election was not over. – New York Times

Protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership had three main slogans to recognize at Saturday night’s protests: The 25th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, claims by the Likud Party that the protesters are affiliated with Iran, and the apparent nomination of US President-Elect Joe Biden. – Jerusalem Post

An attempted stabbing attack was thwarted on Sunday morning near Fawwar, southwest of Hebron, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. No injuries were reported in the incident and the suspected terrorist was incapacitated. – Jerusalem Post

Perhaps nowhere outside his own country did President Donald Trump polarise opinion more than in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, where to many he was either hero or villain. – Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday congratulated U.S. President-elect Joe Biden in a statement that indicated he will drop his three-year political boycott of the White House. – Reuters

Joe Biden’s US election win marks a setback for Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump — but it could spur renewed engagement between Washington and the Palestinians, experts said. – Agence France-Presse

Palestinians hailed the defeat of US President Donald Trump in glowing terms on Saturday night, with some calling it the end of “the worst era” for the Palestinian cause. – Times of Israel

A senior minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said Sunday that he believes US President-elect Joe Biden favors changes to the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program, while denying the Islamic Republic is closer to building a nuclear bomb than it was several years ago. – Times of Israel

The United States officially took possession of its first Iron Dome missile defense battery in September, a milestone in the relationship between the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Israel’s Missile Defense Organization. It’s just one example of cooperation between the two organizations, which co-developed the Arrow and David’s Sling systems; while the Iron Dome system was developed by Israel, the U.S. government helped finance production. – Defense News

Israeli humanitarian NGO Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) performed its 5,555th lifesaving procedure last Sunday, with some 50% of those procedures dedicated to treating Palestinian patients. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: While acknowledging with gratitude all that Trump has done for the Jewish state, including moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel cannot afford to ally itself with only one American political party. […]This message of unity and healing would be a good one for Netanyahu and the Israeli public to adopt, too. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Meanwhile, other countries are joining Washington in admitting that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital — a key defiance of the stale conventions exploded by President Trump. That Israel-bashing is no longer an easy appeal to global pieties is progress — slow progress, but steady. – New York Post

Neville Teller writes: Israel’s relations with the UK were particularly close during David Cameron’s premiership, and have remained so. […]The four CANZUK countries could be a new, strong entity on the world scene, and very favorably disposed toward Israel. Prof. Roberts goes so far as to believe that its emergence could bring about the fulfillment of Winston Churchill’s great dream of a Western alliance based on three separate blocs. – Jerusalem Post

Jack Khoury writes: People in both Ramallah and Gaza are waiting to see to what degree the election results will encourage all the Palestinian factions to continue efforts to stop the intra-Palestinian rift. The ultimate demand is to exploit the momentum of Biden’s election to end the feud and perhaps hold Palestinian elections that will garner international sympathy. Only a healing of the rift and a united front can jump-start a diplomatic process that will have popular and international support. Otherwise the Palestinians will continue to merely dream of a just solution to the conflict. – Haaretz


Unidentified gunmen killed at least 11 people and wounded eight others including soldiers in an attack on an Iraqi army post in western Baghdad, police sources and medics said on Monday. – Reuters

Iraqi security forces killed at least one anti-government protester using live gunfire and wounded at least 40 others in the southern city of Basra on Friday, security sources and a rights official said. – Reuters

Iraq’s pro-Tehran factions have welcomed Joe Biden’s election as US president, alarming officials and activists in Baghdad who fear a U.S.-Iran de-escalation could empower hardliners in their own country. – Agence France-Presse

The U.S. condemned a recent attack by the Kurdish PKK group on allied Iraqi Kurdish forces in Iraq as Washington seeks to drive elements of the group out of Syria to ease Turkey’s security concerns. – Bloomberg


The Trump administration’s sanctioning of a leading Lebanese Christian politician was an effort to sideline the U.S.-designated Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, while tackling the corruption widely seen as a root cause of the country’s economic woes, officials and analysts said. – Wall Street Journal

Hezbollah condemned U.S. sanctions imposed on Friday on Gebran Bassil, head of Lebanon’s biggest Christian political bloc and son-in-law of the country’s president, as an attempt to force Washington’s dictates on Lebanon. – Reuters

President Michel Aoun said on Saturday that Lebanon would seek evidence and documents from the United States that led Washington to impose sanctions on his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, a prominent Christian politician. – Reuters

Influential Lebanese Christian politician Gebran Bassil said on Sunday that U.S. sanctions against him were unjust, politically motivated and the result of his refusal to break ties with Hezbollah. – Reuters

Zvi Bar’el writes: The American decision also places Hezbollah’s opponents in a dilemma: whether to support political disengagement from the organization or to take a patriotic stance that considers the U.S. move as intervention in Lebanon’s internal affairs and an intention to dictate the government’s composition. – Haaretz

Arabian Peninsula

For years, Israeli entrepreneurs slipped in and out of the United Arab Emirates incognito, traveling on second passports or doing business through third parties. – New York Times

Saudi Arabia’s king and its powerful crown prince Sunday congratulated Joe Biden on winning the US presidential election, state media said, a day after TV networks declared him the victor. – Agence France-Presse

After Joe Biden was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election, the Saudi press published articles downplaying the implications of his victory for the Arab states in general and for Saudi Arabia in particular. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

The first flight carrying Israeli tourists to the United Arab Emirates landed Sunday in the city-state of Dubai, the latest sign of the normalization deal reached between the two nations. – Associated Press

The U.S. State Department sent Congress an informal notification of plans to sell $10 billion of defense equipment, including precision-guided munitions, non-precision bombs and missiles to the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. congressional aide said on Friday. – Reuters

Andy Kessler writes: As far as big-picture geopolitics, the impact will be enormous. […]Israel has been shut out of selling to the greater Islamic world, like Indonesia, Pakistan and Kazakhstan—Borat too. I suspect future U.S. administrations will want to see the U.A.E. gain control of many ports around the world, as a replacement for China’s Belt and Road initiative. That would require lots of logistics and cloud-computing expertise that Israel can bring to the party. – Wall Street Journal

Adel Dachila writes: Continued Houthi rule over northern Yemen will lead to the division of the tribes into conflicting parties and rival cantons. The social fabric and civil peace will be exposed to an unprecedented threat, not only for the Yemeni people, but for the countries of the region as a whole. This danger will extend to international peace and security. – Washington Institute

Jonathan H. Ferziger writes: The UAE and Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, have a strong footing in Washington and have for decades nimbly managed productive relationships with both Republicans and Democrats in the Oval Office. While ties with Israel may not advance along the trajectory Trump greased with F-35 sales, the Gulf states have broad agendas beyond fighter jets—and will find ample opportunity for warmer ties with the Biden administration after what is likely to be a transition period. – Foreign Policy

Middle East & North Africa

Now, as Mr. Haftar commands troops in eastern Libya and faces a pivotal moment in his efforts to retake the rest of the country, he faces lawsuits in the U.S. that accuse him of war crimes for his role in the North African country’s bloody civil war. The suits target his U.S. assets as compensation for his alleged victims. – Wall Street Journal

Egypt is rolling out ambitious development projects in the peninsula adjoining the Suez Canal, Israel and Gaza, but pockets of instability persist despite an intensified military campaign. – Reuters

Contrary to Donald Trump’s impulsive policies in the Middle East, Joe Biden is expected to shift back to a more conventional US stance and re-engage with Iran, redrawing regional geopolitics. – Agence France-Presse

The French foreign minister asserted his country’s “profound respect for Islam” during a visit to Cairo on Sunday in a dispute with the Muslim world over France’s defence of the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad. – Reuters

Haviv Rettig Gur writes: Biden is an old foreign policy hand, but he inherits a Democratic policy elite that has little to show for its long efforts and embroilments in the region. If he hopes to be more successful here than his former boss, Democrats will need to reconstruct their sense of the region and of America’s interests in it. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

The breach, at the demilitarized zone that separates South Korea from the North, has raised fresh questions about how well Seoul is protecting itself against infiltration from the North, just months after Pyongyang blew up a jointly run liaison office and threatened military action. – Wall Street Journal

President Moon Jae-in said on Monday South Korea will ensure there is no gap in the alliance with the United States and the process of building peace on the Korean peninsula, as he congratulated Joe Biden on his U.S. presidential election win. – Reuters

Headline-grabbing summits between the leaders of North Korea and the United States will be off the agenda for some time, analysts say, after US president-elect Joe Biden characterised Kim Jong Un a “thug”, in contrast to Donald Trump’s declarations of love. – Agence France-Presse


China’s trade surplus with the U.S. and the rest of the world widened in October as the global recovery buoyed demand for made-in-China goods, helping export growth beat market expectations for a seventh straight month. – Wall Street Journal

China responded with anger after the U.S. State Department removed from its list of terrorist organizations a largely defunct Uighur separatist group that Beijing partly blames for ethnic tensions in its remote northwest. – Wall Street Journal

With Joe Biden’s triumph in the presidential election, governments around the world are bracing for a potentially dramatic reversal in the U.S. approach toward allies, foes and issues from trade to climate change. In China? Not so much. – Washington Post

China has offered Jamaica loans and expertise to build miles of new highways. Throughout the Caribbean, it has donated security equipment to military and police forces, and built a network of Chinese cultural centers. And it has dispatched large shipments of test kits, masks and ventilators to help governments respond to the pandemic. – New York Times

The Chinese state news media reacted with cautious optimism to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the United States presidential election, expressing hope that he would stabilize the fast-deteriorating relations between the two countries. – New York Times

U.S. relations with China are the worst since the countries normalized ties four decades ago. America’s allies in Europe are alienated. The most important nuclear anti-proliferation treaty is about to expire with Russia. Iran is amassing enriched nuclear fuel again, and North Korea is brandishing its atomic arsenal. – New York Times

All along China’s leaders publicly professed indifference to the American presidential election, having concluded that no matter who won, the United States would remain irreconcilably opposed to the country’s rise. – New York Times

China’s technology industry, one of President Donald Trump’s main targets in Washington’s tussles with Beijing, hopes Joe Biden can create a more constructive relationship – but few think the rivalry will deescalate, executives and analysts say. – Reuters

TikTok censored videos related to incidents in Xinjiang to avoid promoting conflict, an executive at the short-form video app told UK lawmakers this week. – CNN

China — among a handful of major countries including Russia and Mexico that has not congratulated the President-Elect — said Monday it had “noticed that Mr. Biden declared he is the winner of the election.” – Agence France-Presse

Richard McGregor writes:And here lies the paradox of Mr. Xi’s rule. Now that he is so firmly in charge of the party, with no clear rivals and no known succession plan, he is also setting the stage for a full-blown crisis of leadership in the future. The greatness of Mr. Xi’s power is its greatest weakness. – New York Times

David Fickling writes: Far from succeeding in isolating China over the past four years — and in spite of the autarkic fears raised by President Xi Jinping’s promotion of self-reliance —  the Trump era has seen the country integrated ever more deeply into the global economy. […]For all that the likes of Suga and Trump have been promoting economic disengagement from China — and for all that China’s own more authoritarian turn has made the country a more challenging prospect for foreign investors — that love affair applies to investments as well as trade flows.  – Bloomberg


A famous journalist, the father of an oft-threatened mayor and at least 22 others, many of them university students — all were killed within the span of a week in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, the victims of targeted assassinations and a terrorist attack. – New York Times

A bomb attached to the vehicle of a former presenter on Afghanistan’s TOLO TV exploded early Saturday, killing the journalist and two other civilians, Kabul police said. – Associated Press

The Taliban said Sunday they expect the next US president, Joe Biden to abide by the deal signed with his predecessor Donald Trump’s administration that paved the way for withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan. – Agence France-Presse

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Sunday that ties between Kabul and Washington are expected to deepen in areas of counter-terrorism and building peace as he congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory. – Agence France-Presse


An American citizen facing prosecution related to his participation in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong said he was turned away after seeking protection at the U.S. consulate in the city. – Wall Street Journal

People across Myanmar made their way to the polls Sunday for the country’s first nationwide elections since a historic vote in 2015 transferred power to a civilian government after decades of military rule. […]international optimism that surrounded Myanmar’s shift toward democracy five years ago has since soured into disappointment. – Wall Street Journal

The arrest of the man, Di Sanh Duong, known as Sunny, follows a breakdown in the relationship between China and Australia, which in recent weeks has been marred by signs that Beijing is crimping purchases of an array of goods from Australia’s export-dependent economy. – 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

Harris’s groundbreaking win — she will become the first woman, the first Indian American and the first Black woman to become vice president — sparked jubilation thousands of miles away in her mother’s native country. And, in a reflection of her multiethnic heritage, Jamaicans cheered Harris in the homeland of her father. – Washington Post

As Asia comes to terms with the reality of a Joe Biden administration, relief and hopes of economic and environmental revival jostle with needling anxiety and fears of inattention. – Associated Press

Hong Kong’s securities regulator has privately advised financial institutions they can implement US sanctions without automatically violating a tough national security law imposed on the city by Beijing. – Financial Times

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy politicians said they would quit en masse if Beijing moves to disqualify any individual members of the Legislative Council. – Bloomberg

Australia would welcome President-elect Joe Biden restoring the United States to the Paris climate accord, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, speaking as he faced renewed pressure himself to boost efforts to cut Australia’s carbon emissions. – Reuters

Taiwan is yet to receive an invite to a key World Health Organization (WHO) meeting this week expected to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic due to “obstruction” from China, the island’s foreign ministry said, expressing its displeasure. – Reuters

Tom Rogan writes: China, absurdly, claims that the law is necessary for counter-terrorism and counter-espionage purposes. Of course, the law was actually introduced to crush the very Hong Kong democracy that China is obliged to uphold. Xi knows that where Chinese citizens get a say over their futures, they say bye-bye to the communists, which makes Hong Kong a mortal threat to the glorious party’s continued credibility. And which is why, for example, Beijing has used the law to ban political candidates that oppose its do-whatever-god-prince-Xi-wants mantra. – Washington Examiner

Amjad Ayub Mirza writes: In a nutshell: The Pakistan Army, the civilian government of Imran Khan and non-state terrorist outfits are hand in glove in the deadly trade of terrorism. – Jerusalem Post

South Caucasus

Advances on the battlefield by Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh shattered hopes this week for an end to the fighting and the forging of a diplomatic settlement. – Wall Street Journal

Azerbaijan and Armenia made conflicting claims Sunday over the fate of a strategic city in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, as families fled heavy fighting and hopes for a diplomatic settlement sank. – Wall Street Journal

Sensitive to the threat of wider confrontation, Russia and Turkey are for now limiting involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to providing humanitarian assistance and some military aid. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday that Armenia must be convinced to negotiate in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan and called for a peaceful resolution, the Turkish Presidency said. – Reuters

Video on Sunday showed civilians fleeing the fighting as for almost a month and a half fighting has been taking place between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in the besieged city. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: It may seem counterintuitive to send American diplomats to a city under siege, but opening a consulate in Stepanakert would quiet conflict and perhaps promote peace. – The National Interest

Iulia-Sabina Joja writes: Georgia’s 2020 free and fair elections secure the country’s position as a regional beacon of democracy. Such well-deserved democratic progress shines bright in the context of democratic backsliding across Central and Eastern Europe, and even brighter when considering the regional context of Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. – Middle East Institute


Unlike his Western European counterparts, who quickly posted congratulations on Saturday, Mr. Putin had not issued a statement on the president-elect even as night fell in Moscow on Sunday. Four years earlier, the Kremlin rushed out a message for President Trump within hours of the American television networks calling the race on election night. – New York Times

After a term marked by more US sanctions, torn-up bilateral treaties and spiralling relations, Moscow had little enthusiasm for either more of the same or the harsh anti-Russian rhetoric of his Democratic party challenger. – Financial Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to resign, according to a top aide who rejected media suspicions that his health might be failing. – Washington Examiner

With hundreds of billions of dollars in nuclear modernization efforts in the pipeline already, the February expiration of the New START treaty with Russia could cause the price tag to further balloon, experts told the Washington Examiner. – Washington Examiner

On October 7, 2020, responding to a question from the Rossiya 1 TV channel on the US elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that countering imperialism and capitalism can provide a unifying agent between Moscow and a Biden administration. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Tom Rogan writes: In short, we should expect diplomatic words from Xi at next week’s summit, and a pledge to work with Putin to uphold the rights of nations outside America’s orbit. But don’t expect any pledge to build an alliance. – Washington Examiner


And as Europeans watched the United States elect Joe Biden as its next president, many embraced his promises to respect long-standing alliances and regain the world’s trust in his country. – Washington Post

Three months after Belarus’s widely disputed presidential vote sent waves of protesters into the streets to contest the re-election of longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko, the demonstrations have continued unabated but Mr. Lukashenko has managed to repel the attempts to unseat him. […]“Strength is in truth, power is in the hands of the people, Soviet occupiers and a crazy dictator are in the dustbin of history,” the message said. – Wall Street Journal

Current global uncertainty and anxiety amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic could risk another world war, the head of Britain’s armed forces has warned. – Reuters

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Monday that not everything would change under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden but much would get better. – Reuters

The European Union is poised to move next week to impose tariffs on $4 billion of U.S. imports in retaliation for U.S. subsidies for planemaker Boeing, EU diplomats said, teeing up an eleventh-hour showdown with U.S. President Donald Trump. – Reuters

Britain is at risk of losing the benefits of EU trade deals with more than a dozen countries on January 1 as time runs out for it to replace agreements that Brussels has with governments around the world. – Financial Times

EU trade ministers will meet on Monday to plan a “reboot” of transatlantic relations in the post Trump-era, mapping out a co-operative agenda even as the bloc prepares to hit American products with fresh tariffs. – Financial Times

From his “racist comments” to populist image, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is viewed with disdain by some in Joe Biden’s camp. But Britain hopes climate action could be a trump card to salvage its “special relationship” with the United States. – Agence France-Presse

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose 2019 call with President Trump sparked impeachment investigations, took to Twitter to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and his running-mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) after news outlets projected their win Saturday. – The Hill

Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that even with Donald Trump no longer president, Europe’s relationship with the U.S had changed and that the continent had to take on more collective responsibility. – Bloomberg

George Barros writes: The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will conduct a rapid response exercise in Medvezhi Ozera, Moscow Oblast, November 11-12. An unspecified number of  Russian, Belarusian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik personnel will participate in the exercise.[1] Armenian forces will not participate, likely due to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. […]This CSTO exercise emphasizes logistics and command and control—elements necessary to support future Russian conventional military deployments to Belarus. – Institute for the Study of War


First the president expressed shock. Then he refused to accept the results of the election. It was late 2016, and Gambia’s ruler of 22 years — Yahya Jammeh — triggered global outrage when he rejected an unexpected loss to his political rival. […]Some in Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa, thought of that tense December night this week after President Trump falsely declared victory even as Democratic nominee Joe Biden pulled ahead. – Washington Post

Ethiopia’s prime minister reshuffled his country’s security services on Sunday, days after he ordered a military offensive in the northern Tigray region, edging the country toward a potential all-out civil war. – New York Times

Suddenly Ethiopia appears on the brink of civil war, threatening the stability of one of the world’s most strategic regions, the Horn of Africa, and the fracturing of one of Africa’s most powerful and populous countries. – Associated Press

A Kenyan lawyer appeared before the International Criminal Court as a defendant on Friday and denied allegations that he corruptly influenced prosecution witnesses in investigations into deadly violence that erupted after his country’s 2007 elections. – Associated Press

Opposition candidates in Ivory Coast’s election face charges of terrorism and up to life in prison for denouncing the vote and creating a rival government after President Alassane Ouattara’s victory, a public prosecutor said on Friday. – Reuters

Sudan partially closed its border with Ethiopia, state news agency SUNA reported on Saturday, in the wake of escalating violence in the region. – Reuters

The U.S. Agency for International Development said it will grant $20 million to the World Food Programme to purchase wheat for Sudan to alleviate shortages in the east African country. – Reuters

Latin America

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, sometimes dubbed “the Trump of the Tropics” for his populist, off-the-cuff style, has kept silent on Trump’s loss. And Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused to congratulate Biden at this point, saying he would wait until the legal challenges over the vote were resolved. – Associated Press

Most Cubans don’t know Joe Biden, or what policies he will pursue toward the Communist island, but they are crystal clear on one thing: any US president will be better than Donald Trump. – Agence France-Presse

US President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is a loss for the man known as the “Tropical Trump,” Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose fervent endorsement of the Republican incumbent leaves him isolated abroad and vulnerable at home, analysts say. – Agence France-Presse

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Saturday he would not congratulate a winner of the U.S. presidential election until legal challenges are concluded, in an apparent bid to avoid friction with Washington during the transition. – Reuters

United States

Leaders from around the world continued to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday, though several officials have remained silent. – Wall Street Journal

President-elect Joe Biden forged ahead with his transition to the White House, charting a course for significant policy changes even as President Trump declined to concede the race. – Wall Street Journal

While congratulations have flowed in from around the world for Democrat Joe Biden in his victory over Republican President Donald Trump, some world leaders have been conspicuously quiet. – Bloomberg

World leaders welcomed Joe Biden’s election win with many hoping the Democratic U.S. president-elect will spur a reset in ties, bringing a renewed focus on global issues like climate change and a more collaborative response to the coronavirus pandemic. – Bloomberg

Joe Biden’s election win is being greeted with a sigh of relief by many U.S. allies, whose confidence in Washington was shaken over the four years of President Donald Trump’s combative “America First” approach to the world. – Bloomberg

Yaroslav Trofimov writes: Internal discord overlaps with a growing divide between the West’s key nations. The sense of common values and purpose between Europe and the U.S., the core of what used to be known as the “free world,” is fizzling away. – Wall Street Journal


Brazil’s top four telecom companies have decide not to meet with a visiting senior U.S. official who has advocated excluding China’s Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] from the Brazilian 5G equipment market, an industry source said on Friday. – Reuters

Lora Ries writes: In a politically charged post-election environment, we should be thankful for the cooperation among all levels of government, as well as between government and industry, to remove foreign interference as a factor in our 2020 election. – The Daily Signal

 Facebook says it has taken down several fake accounts based in Iran that had voiced support for protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. – Associated Press


The head of the agency that oversees the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons has resigned, the U.S. Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration said on Friday, without providing a reason. – Reuters

Lockheed Martin has been chosen to build the U.S. Army’s new mid-range missile prototype, landing a nearly $340 million contract to take elements from Navy missiles to forge the new weapon, the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office announced Nov. 6. – Defense News

The U.S. Space Force launched a fourth GPS III satellite Nov. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. – C4ISRNET

Bryan Clark, Timothy A. Walton & Dan Patt write: The United States will enter 2021 facing an array of security, public health, and economic challenges that should shape the next presidential administration’s defense strategy. […]The team that takes office in January should address the evolving strategic environment and the shortfalls of 2018’s defense strategy through three lines of effort – Hudson Institute

Long War

Austria’s interior minister acknowledged Friday that there had been “intolerable mistakes” in tracking the gunman in a deadly shooting Monday in Vienna as he ordered the closure of mosques deemed to be a security risk. – Washington Post

The three young men behind recent terrorist attacks that have shaken France present a difficult challenge to the French authorities — isolated, self-radicalized individuals, rather than Islamist extremist networks — raising tough questions about whether the broad measures the government has taken in response are the right ones. – New York Times

Police in France questioned four 10-year-olds who voiced support for the beheading of a schoolteacher and who said they would kill their own teacher if he lampooned Islam’s prophet, the government reported as the prime minister warned Saturday that Islamic extremists are recruiting in France with “ignorance and hate.” – Associated Press

Yet, after six years of ISIS-inspired mindless murder, last week’s attack, in which four people were killed, perhaps stood out less in its brutality, but instead in the woefully irresponsible noise and video on social media that came with it.- CNN

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday the government would keep “fighting relentlessly” against radical Islam as he paid tribute to the three victims of a knife attack in the southern city of Nice last month. – Reuters

The two men arrested in the Swiss town of Winterthur near Zurich last week over possible links to a jihadist shooting attack in Vienna on Nov. 2 visited the attacker in July and he may have visited the Zurich region, Swiss media reported on Sunday. – Reuters

European Union governments are considering a coordinated crackdown on Islamist radicalization, according to a draft statement that risks stoking tension with Muslim countries. – Bloomberg

Daniel Kochis writes: What’s for certain is that Europe remains in the crosshair for Islamist terrorists, and the sheer scale of the problem has overwhelmed security services and made it likely this horrific recent trend will continue. – The Daily Signal

Dr. Tsilla Hershco writes: The crisis between the French Republic and its Muslim population—especially its growing Islamist community—as well as the dramatic change in France’s traditionally friendly relations with many Arab and Muslim countries illustrates that it was a serious mistake to avoid setting clear boundaries and enforcing restrictions on anti-republican sentiment and violent incitement within the country. Inevitably, the absence of such rules perpetuated the cycle of violence and harsh measures. – BESA Center