Fdd's overnight brief

October 13, 2021

In The News


Iran has asked Saudi Arabia to reopen consulates and re-establish diplomatic ties as a prelude to ending the war in Yemen, with timing emerging as the key sticking point in Iraqi-brokered talks between the regional rivals, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. – Bloomberg  

Iran has arrested 10 people in a southern province it says are linked to foreign intelligence services, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Tuesday that Iran is “becoming a nuclear threshold state.” – Times of Israel 

Israel and the US are working to prevent members of an extremist ultra-Orthodox sect from moving to Iran, amid fears they could be used as a bargaining chip by Tehran, it was reported Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

An Israeli last-resort military action against Iran is a risk of American appeasement and emboldens the Islamic Republic, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Tuesday at the Jerusalem Post Conference. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan delivered a speech in the UN General Assembly criticizing Syria’s use of weapons of mass destruction and the Iranian regime’s consistent violations of its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Additionally Ambassador Erdan pointed out that Iran prevents the IAEA from obtaining reliable information from its nuclear sites and that the Iranian nuclear program is at a critical stage. – Arutz Sheva 

“In an unprecedented speech, Mohsen Rezaee, [President] Ebrahim Raisi’s deputy for economic affairs, took Iran’s Jews hostage, warning that they would be punished by the [Iranian] regime if Israel makes a mistake! – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Against the backdrop of Iran-Israel tensions and accusations by the Iranian regime that Israel has a military presence aimed at Iran in Iranian Azerbaijan, the “Iranian Regime Countdown” group, which is opposed to the regime, wrote in an October 11, 2021 post on its Telegram channel that Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezaee had warned that if Israel “makes a mistake” vis-à-vis Iran, the Iranian regime would take action against “the 10,000 Jews living in Iran.” – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Hossein Ronaghi writes: We the people are the opposition. What we ask of you is simple: to learn about Iran, listen to us, share our stories. You have been told that your solidarity would hurt us, that talking about our struggle would put us at risk. That is a lie. It is your silence and indifference that threaten us. – Wall Street Journal  


World leaders met virtually on Tuesday to discuss ways of preventing an economic and humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, but the Biden administration maintained a cautious stance toward providing more support to the Taliban-ruled country. – New York Times  

A Marine officer whose viral videos criticizing senior officials for how they withdrew from Afghanistan created a political uproar will plead guilty to several charges and seek a discharge that allows him to keep some military benefits, one of his lawyers said Tuesday. – Washington Post 

The Afghan interpreter who in 2008 was part of a team that rescued then-Sen. Joe Biden when his helicopter got caught in a blinding snowstorm in Afghanistan safely left the country with his family last week. – Washington Post 

The Taliban have allowed middle- and high-school girls to resume studies in several provinces of northern Afghanistan, in an indication of how the Islamist group’s policies on key issues are being influenced by cultural differences within the country. – Wall Street Journal  

The Taliban promised the United States to keep the extremist group in check during successive rounds of peace talks. Under the 2020 U.S.-Taliban accord, the Taliban guaranteed that Afghanistan would not become a haven for terrorist groups threatening the U.S. or its allies. But it is unclear if they can keep their pledge, with a sudden uptick in IS attacks since the Taliban takeover on Aug. 15. – Associated Press 

The State Department on Tuesday announced that veteran senior State Department official Elizabeth Jones will oversee Afghan relocation efforts. – The Hill  

Before the Taliban conquest of Kabul, the 27-year-old intelligence officer in the Islamist movement went about his duties in the Afghan capital covertly, clean-shaven and clad in jeans and T-shirt or a jacket and tie. His mission — to conduct undercover surveillance operations against assassination targets. – Financial Times 

Sylvan Adams, co-owner of the Israeli national cycling team, revealed new details Tuesday of a mission that helped Afghan women cyclists and others to escape Taliban rule in an operation likened to a “spy novel.” – Algemeiner 

Jan Egeland writes: Trillions of dollars were spent over the past two decades on the war in Afghanistan that ended so monumentally when the United States evacuated, leaving some 40 million people to fend for themselves. While many were caught off guard by the rapid change of power, the international community cannot continue to stand idly by and watch the country’s free fall. We must avert Afghanistan’s full economic meltdown, regardless of who controls its territory. Otherwise, millions of Afghan children, women and men will pay the heaviest price. – New York Times 

Nilofar Sakhi writes: The Taliban’s highly authoritarian government institutions are based on traditional and tribal political culture. This preponderance of religious control and authority can generate an understanding and set of beliefs among individuals in society that prohibit them from acting and producing creatively, and can cause the disempowerment of people. The government institutions in Afghanistan are neither helping individuals in society develop and protect their human security, nor providing them with a framework to build their capacities to generate the power to control their environment. – Middle East Institute 

Eliza Campbell writes: The tragic and urgent case of Afghanistan, and the decisions made by international actors that consistently deprioritized or disregarded the security and well-being of everyday Afghans, have brought this lesson home. Addressing this should start with a more open conversation about the role of digital rights in Afghanistan’s political and economic future, regardless of who is governing, as well as the direct role played by the U.S. and its private sector. – Middle East Institute  

Saad Khan writes: Although, with the Afghan Taliban seeking control of the country, US have now raised concerns regarding the threats of global Narcotics trade being resumed from Afghanistan, while the ICC is now probing into the alleged war crimes by Afghan Taliban and the IS-K. – Times of Israel 

Jason M. Blazakis writes: The threat posed to U.S. interests by ISIS-K outside of the Af/Pak region has been discounted long enough. Most recently, event Trump administration officials dismissed ISIS-K as a threat. While I agree that al-Qaeda represents a more significant threat to U.S. interests, I disagree with experts who disregard ISIS-K as a threat beyond the contours of Central and South Asia. Theirs is a failure of imagination. – Defense One 


Best-selling Irish author Sally Rooney won’t release her latest novel “Beautiful World, Where Are You” in Israel, the Hebrew-language publisher of her past works said, in a step that has reignited controversy over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. – Washington Post 

No way would Israel agree to have the United States reopen its consulate dedicated to Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem, said Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar. His comment comes ahead of a meeting between the two countries’ top diplomats in Washington, D.C. this week, where such a discussion is likely to be on the agenda. – Washington Post 

The United States is working to expand normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab nations, known as the Abraham Accords, and hopes restoring such ties can be leveraged to advance progress on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, senior State Department officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will for the first time as premier meet Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, with Iran at the top of the agenda. – Associated Press 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the international community to “take a stand on Iran,” at Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post Conference. – Jerusalem Post 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to warn Israel against continued Chinese investments in the country’s infrastructure and high-tech industry when he meets with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Washington on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post 

There is a lot to cooperate on with Gulf countries, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ariel Karo, Rafael executive vice president of business development and marketing told The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Bipartisan support for Israel is a source of pride in Congress, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

The former head of Mossad on Tuesday poured cold water on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s claim that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than ever, saying that the claim is “not true.” – Algemeiner 

Stephen M. Flatow writes: That’s because “two-state solution” in practice means that Israel will be pushed back to the indefensible nine-miles-wide lines at its mid-section. That would enable an Arab tank column to cut the country in two in a matter of minutes. If leftwing groups were honest and called this “solution” by its real name, “the nine-miles-wide solution,” nobody would support it. – Arutz Sheva 

Abba Yitzchak writes: Israel would be a great client state/ally to any superpower. Israel has a lot to offer: She has a powerful army, a good economy, an educated and intelligent populace, is a high-tech superpower and a very loyal friend. These are attractive traits for a client state. America thinks Israel won’t leave her no matter how poorly she is treated. And because of that, Israel needs to think about moving under the protective umbrella of another empire. – Arutz Sheva 


Supporters of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrated into the night Monday after initial results from Iraq’s parliamentary elections revealed his party as the biggest winner amid losses for Iranian-backed groups. – Washington Post 

A political bloc representing Iranian-backed militias has rejected preliminary results in Iraq’s parliamentary elections after it lost more than half of its seats in a result that underlined Iraqis’ frustration with armed factions that have stoked fear and instability across the country. – Financial Times 

The main winner of the election was Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist who has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of both Iran and the United States. […]Yet there are still signs that Tehran’s grip on the country remains formidable. Most notably, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a friend of Iran who campaigned as a champion of law and order, also won big surprise gains, emerging in third place with 37 seats. – Reuters  

Tallha Abdulrazaq writes: With such deep systemic and structural problems — and with a continued lack of justice for the victims of those murdered by security forces and militias, who act with total impunity — Iraqi politics is doomed to continue on its current trajectory of rot and ruin. I, for one, will not dye my index finger blue for the sake of Iraq’s faux democracy ever again. I am certain I am not alone in my despair. – Washington Post 

Zeina Karam and Qassim Abdul-Zahra write: The United States and Gulf Arab states will be looking to see whether incumbent Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi can secure a second term. Al-Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief who is supported by Washington, has been successful in balancing between U.S. and Iranian interests in Iraq. He has also hosted several rounds of talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia in a bid to ease tensions. These talks now hang in the balance, while al-Sadr decides whether to opt for Kadhimi again as a compromise candidate. – Associated Press 


A standoff between the judge investigating the disastrous Beirut port blast and top politicians he seeks to question roiled Lebanon’s cabinet on Tuesday after the inquiry was suspended on Tuesday for the second time in less than three weeks. – Reuters  

The judge leading Lebanon’s probe into last year’s massive Beirut port explosion issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for a former Cabinet minister, a show of defiance against an entrenched political class that has closed ranks against him. – Associated Press 

In his September 27, 2021column in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Lebanese journalist and pollical analyst Sam Mansa voiced concern for the fate of democracy in the Middle East, which he said was in decline after the failure of the Arab Spring uprisings and in the wake of the U.S. decision to diminish its involvement in the region. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Gulf States

Qatar’s diplomatic point man on Afghanistan said Tuesday countries should engage the country’s new Taliban rulers, warning that isolation could lead to instability and a wide-reaching security threat, as happened when al-Qaida used the country as a base to plot the 9/11 attacks. – Associated Press 

Iran’s nuclear ambitions and China’s global aspirations will be at the top of the agenda for a trilateral meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from Israel and the United Arab Emirates set to take place on Wednesday. – The Hill 

Kuwaiti women will be allowed to enlist in the military in combat roles for the first time after years of having been restricted to civilian roles, the army said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

The US State Department expects at least one more Arab state will join the Abraham Accords in the near future, normalizing relations with Israel, according to a report by Israel Hayom Wednesday morning. – Arutz Sheva 

Middle East & North Africa

Greece and Egypt will this week ink a preliminary deal to build a large electricity cable connecting the two countries, the first such agreement to be signed between Europe and Africa in the southeastern Mediterranean. – Bloomberg  

The leader of the Western Sahara independence movement says that fighting with Morocco will continue across a long wall cutting through Africa’s vast desert until the international community delivers on an unfulfilled promise of self-determination for the Saharawi people. – Associated Press 

A social media giant suspended and then reinstated a key account that covers Syria. Many reporters and commentators who follow Syrian issues were surprised to wake up and find the Twitter account of “Qalaat Al Mudiq” suspended on Tuesday. A backup account that the person also maintains was suspended as well. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel formally agreed Tuesday to double the amount of freshwater it provides to neighboring Jordan, one of the world’s most water-deficient countries. […]Elharrar traveled to Jordan for a signing ceremony between representatives to the Joint Water Committee that manages bilateral water relations. This capped an arrangement first announced in July. – Agence France-Presse 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea put on one of its largest displays of missiles at an event at which dictator Kim Jong Un said Pyongyang couldn’t trust recent U.S. calls for talks. The show of firepower, including an apparent hypersonic missile tested for the first time last month, highlights a renewed push by Pyongyang to test more advanced and diverse weapons to evade its rivals’ defenses. – Wall Street Journal  

In what analysts said may be a first, a member of an orchestra performing at an official event in North Korea this week was spotted wearing a t-shirt with the face of leader Kim Jong Un, according to video footage from state media. – Reuters  

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un spoke earlier this week on the occasion of the seventy-sixth anniversary of the nation’s Workers’ Party. According to NK News, Kim spoke the same day in front of nuclear missiles at what was described as the “Self-Defense 2021” meeting. – The National Interest  

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday vowed to build an “invincible” military to counter the United States in Asia, The Associated Press reported. – The Hill  

The leader of nuclear-armed North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has blamed the United States for tensions on the peninsula, state media reported Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced on Tuesday its participation in the Seoul ADEX 2021 International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in South Korea, slated to take place on October 19-23. – Jerusalem Post 


China’s Communist Party is ratcheting up its control over news media and online commentary, warning away private investors and cracking down on what it describes as misinformation, as it continues a campaign to assert itself more forcefully across the economy and Chinese society. – Wall Street Journal  

For 24 years, a sculpture has stood at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) memorializing the victims of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square massacre. Now, the artwork, known as the Pillar of Shame, faces removal as authorities erase public acknowledgment of the 1989 crackdown just as they have in mainland China. – Washington Post 

Harvard University will move a popular Chinese-language program to Taipei from Beijing amid a broad chill in academic and cultural exchanges between the United States and China. – New York Times 

China’s recent increase in military exercises and warplane missions near Taiwan — which have raised concerns around the region — were necessary to defend the nation’s sovereignty and territory, a Chinese official said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

China said it set up a group with the U.S. to discuss disputes, ahead of a video summit between President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping planned for later this year. – Bloomberg 

Chinese president Xi Jinping appears to be sailing into an economic storm of his own making, as one of China’s largest developers teeters on the edge of bankruptcy and manufacturers grapple with power shortages across the country. – Financial Times 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday denied a Chinese accusation that the U.S. is seeking to cover up a submarine collision in the South China Sea. – USNI News 

Editorial: Construction continues at Ream Naval Base amid concerns that the new facilities are being built to facilitate a Chinese military presence in Cambodia. Over the course of August and September, three new buildings have gone up and a new road has been cleared, among other changes. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

Brent Sadler writes: In short, no matter the explicit declaratory policy regarding the defense of Taiwan, it is the military balance that matters most to Xi and the PLA. Helpful in this regard is keeping our allies close like Japan and Australia while building our partnership with India–but is only a part of the equation. Deterring Beijing requires U.S. forward presence with sufficient modern capability; that, more than anything else, will determine whether the 2020s remain peaceful. – 19fortyfive   

Joseph Bosco writes: If, however, China expands its targeting to ships or bases from which U.S. defensive actions originate, or to other U.S. or allied assets or territory, Washington will consider such actions a major escalation tantamount to a declaration of war against the United States and will respond accordingly. Hopefully, Beijing will decide that tamping down rather than ramping up is the prudent way to close the matter. – The Hill  

South Asia

Myanmar’s former President Win Myint, forced out of office eight months ago when the army seized power, testified Tuesday that he defied a demand from the military to resign, saying he would “rather die,” his lawyers said. – Associated Press 

Government forces killed five suspected militants in two clashes in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, police said, a day after rebels killed five army soldiers in a gunfight in the disputed region. – Associated Press 

Jasmin Lorch writes: This article examines Myanmar’s “triple crisis” and its domestic political implications. First, it sketches the outlines of the political, health, and economic crises facing the country. Next, it highlights the ways in which these crises are interrelated. Finally, it considers how Myanmar’s triple crisis might affect the country’s prospects for democracy and the development of democratic practices within its pro-democracy movement. – Middle East Institute  


Discord between the world’s two superpowers increasingly revolves around Taiwan, a self-ruled island of 24 million people roughly 100 miles off China’s southeastern coast. Communist Party leaders in Beijing see Taiwan as a part of China and have vowed to take control of it, by force if necessary. The U.S. views Taiwan as a bulwark of democracy and strategic buffer against China’s ambitions in the region. – Wall Street Journal  

The son of a dictator, a top cop and a world-famous boxer with a hip-hop style campaign video are among the candidates officially running to replace Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, best known for his rough-guy rhetoric and a deadly drug war that has drawn international condemnation. – Washington Post 

While the Taliban has expressed its desire to maintain peace and promised not to allow terror groups to operate on its soil, Russian media has warned that the Tajik militants might launch cross-border attacks into Tajikistan. The country’s ruler, Emomali Rahmon, was the leader of Tajikistan during the initial civil war. He has consistently displayed hostility to the Taliban resurgence. – The National Interest  

When Gen. Charles Flynn scans about half the globe to keep his Army forces ready in the Pacific, there are three key areas that pull his attention. Those are the southeast, western and northern areas surrounding Singapore. – Defense News 

Editorial: The urgent question, for Taipei and for Washington, is not how to verbalize opposition to Beijing’s ambitions, but how to back it up in terms of military deterrence. China has spent hundreds of billions of dollars acquiring the capability to attack across the Taiwan Strait; Taiwan’s defense minister recently warned that the People’s Liberation Army will be fully ready to mount an invasion by 2025. Countering this, by raising the potential costs to China, looms as the greatest strategic challenge facing the Biden administration and, probably, its successors. – Washington Post 

Richard Katz writes: Japan’s struggles are rooted in decades-old formal and informal hurdles placed in the way of foreign enterprises’ efforts to acquire domestic firms. Fortunately, there are some signs that the country is opening up to the benefits of FDI—though it will likely take determined efforts by political and business leaders for Japan to start climbing in UNCTAD’s rankings. – Foreign Affairs  

James Stavridis writes: Ultimately, the question is whether any of this will deter Beijing, which has established the brightest of “red lines” on the subject of Taiwan independence. While an explosion is not imminent (and certainly not before the coming winter Olympics in Beijing), tensions will rise steadily. Let’s hope Biden and Xi hold their summit; and while there might be hesitancy to bring up such an inflammatory subject, a candid conversation about Taiwan needs to be part of the discussion. – Bloomberg  

Tim Kelly and Ju-min Park writes: Experts don’t expect new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to double spending anytime soon, given Japan’s debt-saddled public finances and a pandemic-stricken economy. But it is a sign that the pacifist nation could over time abandon a commitment to keep military budgets within 1% of GDP – a number that for decades has eased concern at home and abroad about any revival of the militarism that led Japan into World War Two. – Reuters  

Kathrin Hille writes: China has cemented several South China Sea reefs into artificial islands and built runways and other military installations. Security experts believe that these bastions, equipped with modern communications gear, have drastically expanded the PLA’s ability to track enemy ships and aircraft in the region and provide targeting data for missiles. […]External powers are investing big to empower China’s neighbours to push back. The US, Japan and South Korea have all given coast guard ships to Vietnam. India has helped train Vietnamese sailors and offered financing for defence purchases. – Financial Times 

Brent Sadler writes: Having a close ally, such as Australia, that contributes nuclear submarines to the maritime competition with China is invaluable. Success will depend on the three AUKUS allies quickly establishing an irreversible pathway to an Australian nuclear submarine. If the project falls into the cost-and-delay trap that characterized the French program, it will meet the same end and risk further eroding the ability of the United States and its allies to deter China. – Heritage Foundation 


Russia offered the U.S. on Tuesday to roll back several rounds of sanctions that have hampered the activities of their diplomatic missions, and they agreed to hold another round of talks to discuss a resolution to their diplomatic tug-of-war. – Associated Press 

A Russia-led security bloc that includes some countries adjacent or close to Afghanistan will hold military drills near the Afghan border in Tajikistan from Oct. 22-23, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Fresh from crowing over Europe’s gas crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin now sees a chance to capitalize on it. Putin wants to press the European Union to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. – Bloomberg  

The 35-year-old co-founder of Group-IB, which specialises in investigating cyber crimes such as hacking and online fraud, poured scorn on the Kremlin for turning a blind eye to the epidemic of ransomware attacks emanating from Russia. – Financial Times 

Toomas Hendrik Ilves writes: The United Kingdom’s unexplained wealth orders, which unfortunately are not widely or strictly applied, should be copied and rigorously enforced across our rule-of-law-based West. We should honor Navalny not only because he exposes the grotesque thievery and destruction of human rights in Russia. – Washington Post 


Britain set itself on course for a new confrontation  with the European Union on Tuesday by demanding the replacement of one of the most complex and vexing components of Brexit: the status of Northern Ireland. – New York Times 

German authorities said Wednesday that the number of migrants arriving in the country via Poland and Belarus has gone up in recent months. – Associated Press 

The EU on Wednesday will present a “toolbox” of measures to mitigate an energy crunch that threatens to send Europeans’ power bills soaring. – Agence France-Presse 

A Ukrainian court on Tuesday ordered pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk to remain under house arrest until December after prosecutors widened their investigation into his activities and accused him of financing separatist fighters. – Reuters  

French Ambassador Philippe Etienne said there’s still “a lot of work to do” to patch up ties with the U.S., even after a series of high-level visits between officials of the two countries, as the allies try to move past a rift that opened over an American defense agreement with Australia and the U.K. – Bloomberg  

EU leaders meet Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has fiercely opposed a new gas pipeline that bypasses his country and increases Europe’s energy reliance on Russia. – Agence France-Presse 

The struggle between the European Union and members Poland and Hungary over the rule of law erupted into full-blown legal conflict. The rebel nations are challenging new powers the bloc is using to punish them for undermining democratic values, both on the EU level and through their own judicial systems. – Bloomberg  

Edward Lucas writes: A bigger question is whether the new government can deal with the country’s problems. False dawns in Czech politics are too numerous to count. Again and again, since 1989, grassroots anti-corruption campaigns have tried to challenge the patronage networks that infest its politics. Although inspiring politicians have been elected, they have failed to deliver the hoped-for results. Maybe this time? – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Victor Rud writes: Strategic sagacity has not been a hallmark of America’s dealings with Russia or China. The U.S. must now stand, unbending, with Ukraine to reassert the rules-based international order that resulted from two world wars. It would be undeniable proof that Afghanistan was not America’s Waterloo, and that the country lives to fight another day. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Mitchell Orenstein writes: Poland now faces the prospect of the EU bringing down its full force on its sovereigntist project, imposing budget cuts, sanctions, and even downgrading Poland’s status in EU institutions. Perhaps Morawiecki and his PiS believe that these actions will undermine EU support within Poland by showing the EU to be too dictatorial, helping his party to win parliamentary elections in 2023. They could also backfire, by persuading Poles that his extremism is too costly to sustain. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Chels Michta writes: Tough EU action could galvanize domestic support for the party, which has framed the bloc’s actions as attacks on Polish sovereignty. But it could also damage it, as voters see vital funds threatened by politicized reforms. The public may sour on a government whose actions are perceived to jeopardize Poland’s membership in the EU for the sake of policies few Poles believe are working. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Nikolas K. Gvosdev writes: This despite the assertions that difficulties within the alliance could be attributed to the presidency of Donald Trump, and that with the arrival of Joe Biden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the process of trans-Atlantic rejuvenation would begin. In fact, this suggests that what ails NATO is less about personalities and is rooted instead in the structures of the alliance. – The National Interest  

Ben Hall writes: On Poland, commission president Ursula von der Leyen faces a difficult dilemma: stand firm and protect principles of judicial independence or compromise to avoid an escalating and debilitating confrontation that could snarl up EU decision-making. Warsaw’s publication of the tribunal ruling on Tuesday, making it official, narrows the scope for a deal. A reckoning over the rule of law may be hard to avoid. – Financial Times 


The United Nations’ highest court ruled Tuesday in favor of Somalia in a years-long dispute with Kenya about their maritime border, a decision that could worsen the fragile relationship between the neighboring countries. – Washington Post 

President Biden will host President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya at the White House on Thursday in his first in-person meeting with an African leader as president. – The Hill  

One by one, South Africa’s former president listed African countries Tuesday where the failure to deal with diversity was a root cause of conflict, from the Biafran war in Nigeria in the late 1960s to the current clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. – Associated Press 

A key pre-trial hearing opened Tuesday at the International Criminal Court for an alleged Central African Republic rebel leader, with the court’s chief prosecutor urging judges to confirm that evidence against the suspect is strong enough to merit putting him on trial on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. – Associated Press 

Rowan Polovin writes: Israel richly deserves its observer status in Africa. It is hopeful that Africa will continue to invest in its own future through this important friendship. Israel is no mere observer to happenings on the African continent, but a long-time partner in Africa’s success. It is in the African Union’s interest to recognize and ensure this. – Jerusalem Post 

Latin America

At least five American families connected to the bustling U.S. Embassy in Colombia have been afflicted with the mysterious neurological ailment known as Havana Syndrome, in the latest attack against American diplomatic installations, people familiar with the matter said. – Wall Street Journal  

The EU’s top diplomat ignored the advice of his own staff in deciding to send observers to elections in Venezuela next month, over-ruling warnings that the mission will legitimise president Nicolás Maduro’s regime and tarnish the reputation of the bloc’s election observation missions. – Financial Times 

Raúl Isaías Baduel, a former Venezuelan defense minister and ally-turned-critic of the late President Hugo Chávez, died from COVID-19 while in prison, where he had been awaiting trial since 2017 for alleged links to a purported plot to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, the government said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

A group of climate lawyers is calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged attacks on the Amazon, which they argue amount to “crimes against humanity,” as reported by CNN. – The Hill  

Protesters in Guatemala tried to topple a Christopher Columbus statue on Tuesday amid protests against the treatment of indigenous people by European conquerors, the latest effort in a global movement to re-examine symbols of the colonial era. – Reuters  

Amnesty International in a report released Monday said that Curacao is denying protection to Venezuelan immigrants. The human rights group says Venezuelan immigrants have been denied international protection by Curaçaoan and Dutch authorities. – The Hill  

Cuba’s government on Tuesday rejected a request from the opposition to stage a protest on November 15, claiming the organizers are backed by the United States and want to overthrow the regime. – Agence France-Presse 

Ryan C. Berg writes: If the United States does not back private-sector investment in PDVSA, state-owned oil companies in China and Russia are all too eager to pick up the slack, without guaranteeing any concern over the industry’s environmental impact.46 Thus, under a scenario wherein the sanctions regime is relaxed, the critical question is not whether Venezuela’s oil sector will receive outside investment, but who the dominant partners with the new PDVSA will be. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

United States

A Maryland husband and wife accused of trying to sell U.S. nuclear submarine secrets to a foreign country were ordered to remain in jail Tuesday, pending a hearing later this week. – Washington Post 

President Biden discussed counterterrorism and rescue efforts in Afghanistan in a virtual meeting with Group of 20 (G-20) leaders on Tuesday. – The Hill  

Aaron Blake writes: Today, though, the desire to defend allies against such big-name adversaries as China and Russia is even higher — and is growing — despite the misadventures of the past 20 years and despite the lack of such an all-consuming foreign policy initiative (you don’t hear many talking about the “war on terror” today). Perhaps it’s less that people are tired of war, writ large, and more that they were tired of those wars. But even that doesn’t really account for the increasing appetite to defend allies from the likes of Russia, China and North Korea. – Washington Post 

Michael McFaul writes: Of course, the United States should not get back into the Cold War propaganda business. We do not want to mimic the disinformation elements of Russia’s RT or China’s CGTN. But if we want to compete in the battle of ideas against populist demagogues and aggressive authoritarians, we must do a better job of explaining our actions and our ideas. – Washington Post 

Wang Xiyue writes: If the administration continues to signal an eagerness for reengagement with Iran, as well as an aversion to competition and a willingness to retreat in the key areas of Chinese interest, then it will find itself losing influence in multiple theaters of conflict to a growing Chinese-Iranian entente. – Washington Examiner 


The controversy over what Facebook Inc. has said about social and emotional hazards stemming from its products could become a test of regulators’ growing interest in policing corporate risks that hurt reputations more than profits. – Wall Street Journal  

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on Tuesday pressed video-sharing app TikTok for information about its efforts to curb violent extremist content before and after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, expanding the panel’s probe into how social media may have contributed to the violence. – Washington Post 

Once a glimmer in the eyes of executives from Shenzhen to Silicon Valley, 5G now dominates a broad swath of the global supply chain—and the competition to control different parts of it is heating up. – Wall Street Journal  

Google on Tuesday announced the creation of a new cybersecurity team to help respond to attacks against governments and other critical groups, along with a new program to help strengthen the cybersecurity of businesses. – The Hill  

Congress is working to funnel resources to beef up state and local government cybersecurity infrastructure after the COVID-19 pandemic forced municipalities to move many essential operations to aging and vulnerable online sources. – The Hill  

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell on Tuesday called on Facebook (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to preserve all documents related to a testimony last week from company whistleblower Frances Haugen. – Reuters 

Mark Pomerleau writes: Operators must know what media the target audience follows, what social media they use, whether the can Army deliver a pinpoint message using cyber capabilities or whether the service should use a broader message deployed via public affairs. […] Understanding the effectiveness of messaging will allow commanders to tweak and adjust their information operations campaigns and strategies to be more effective. – C4ISRNET 

Shane Tews writes: America’s lead in the global technology race is ultimately threatened by its own lack of a national privacy law that encompasses data-collection transparency and clear cybersecurity standards. How US-based companies have changed their data-collection processes to appease European regulators is a fact we must consider as Europe’s regulations shape how the rest of the world uses the internet for both commerce and communications. – American Enterprise Institute  


The Army aviation branch, which has long been seeking a modular open systems architecture for future aircraft, is refocusing its attention on past failures and new processes to ensure these next-generation aircraft are able to seamlessly receive new capability. – Defense News 

As the Army looks to field future aviation programs, it should think more holistically about those efforts, the service’s program executive officer for aviation said Tuesday. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army is working to refine the performance of its new Medium Caliber Weapon System — a 30mm, unmanned turreted auto-cannon on a Stryker combat vehicle — through risk management testing and soldier evaluation ahead of production, according to Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems. – Defense News 

Senior leaders from across the National Guard sounded off on the impact of continuing state missions during an Oct. 12 panel at the Association of the U.S. Army conference and a subsequent media roundtable. – Defense News 

The head of U.S. Army Central Command said indirect competition with China and Russia in the Middle East will shape future conflicts, and the United States must respond. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army is moving quickly to develop an offensive hypersonic missile — and it doesn’t plan to revert back to its slower ways for future weapons development efforts, according to one senior official. – Defense News 

Stacie Pettyjohn and Becca Wasser write: This is not necessarily about how big the force is, but rather getting force design right: having the right force structure, in the right locations, with the right training and preparation to execute new warfighting concepts that enable victory against a great power. The greatest risk is further deferring conventional and nuclear modernization and finding that America has fallen so far behind that it cannot defend itself or its allies, partners, and interests. – War on the Rocks  

Mark F. Cancian writes: CSIS annually produces a series of papers on U.S. military forces, including composition, new initiatives, long-term trends, and challenges. The first white paper in this year’s series analyzes the strategy and budget context for military forces in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, early actions by the Biden administration, and unresolved questions pending publication of the administration’s long-term strategy. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

Sean Monaghan writes: The Joint Protector exercise focused on the challenge of deploying and operating the JEF on a sub-threshold or gray zone mission. Unlike previous JEF deployments, the exercise did not involve any military hardware. Instead, it was focused on testing the ability of the deployed headquarters (about 500 people drawn from all 10 partner nations) to provide command and control to counter destabilizing activity below the threshold of warfighting. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

Francesca Giovannini writes: The current estimated costs for the U.S. nuclear modernization near $1.2 trillion and there are currently no plans to cover such costs. To be credible from this point forward, any Biden administration NPR will have to include some ideas for how to cover these costs, at the very least in general terms. The administration could consider whether a public-private partnership would help the United States achieve its modernization goals. – The National Interest  

Long War

Turkish intelligence helped Iraq capture a senior Islamic State leader who had been hiding out in northwestern Syria, three security sources said on Tuesday, in an operation that points to closer cooperation against remnants of the jihadist group. – Reuters  

The al-Hol camp is chaotic, desperate and dangerous. It is home to the wives and children of the Islamic State group’s foreign fighters – a tented city, with families crammed together, surrounded by armed guards, watch towers and barbed wire fences. The sprawling desert camp is a four-hour drive from al-Malikyah, past the city of Qamishli, and close to the Syria-Turkey border, in north-east Syria. – BBC  

An article in the October 8, 2021 issue of Nabd Al-Muharrar (“Pulse of the Liberated”), the weekly of the HTS-linked Syrian Salvation Government, addresses the implications of the September 29, 2021 summit in Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin  and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

The Islamic State’s “Khorasan Province,” or ISIS-K, has waged a small but highly active insurgency in Afghanistan—first against the internationally-recognized Afghan government, aided by the United States and other coalition forces, and then against the Taliban, following its August 15 capture of Kabul, the nation’s capital. – The National Interest 

Six women and nine children abducted by Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremist rebels in the country’s troubled northeast have escaped after months in captivity, according to a Borno state official. – Associated Press 

The FBI is seeing evidence of Americans being inspired to potential violence by the Taliban’s recent victory, an agency official said Tuesday. – Defense One