Fdd's overnight brief

October 21, 2019

In The News


Iran’s foreign ministry says it has sent a list of names it is demanding in a prisoner swap Tehran is proposing with the United States and other Western nations. – Associated Press

Russian hackers piggy-backed on an Iranian cyber-espionage operation to attack government and industry organizations in dozens of countries while masquerading as attackers from the Islamic Republic, British and U.S. officials said on Monday. – Reuters

The secondary circuit of the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor will be operational within two weeks, Ali Asghar Zarean, a special assistant to the chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted as saying on Sunday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency. – Reuters

Iran rejects Turkey’s establishing of military posts inside Syria, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday, adding that the integrity of Tehran’s key regional ally should be respected. – Reuters

A Russian journalist who was detained for a week during a private visit to Iran this month says she believes her detention was intended to punish her for her Iran-related journalism. – Voice of America

The United Nations Security Council must renew its arms embargo against Iran when it expires next year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said while in Israel, as he warned of a new Middle East arms race. – Jerusalem Post

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored U.S.-Israeli efforts to counter Iran in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in an apparent attempt to ease Israeli concerns that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria. – Reuters

Amid improving relations between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf state has released $700 million of frozen funds to Tehran in recent days, an Iranian MP said Sunday. – Times of Israel

Ray Takeyh writes: With the U.S. gone, Iran’s attempts at persuasion will do little to restrain Turkey. In Syria, Ankara is bound to be more powerful, Mr. Assad more reckless, the Kurds substantially weakened, and Islamic State reconstituted. None of this is good news for Iran, which hoped to make incremental gains in the Levant by keeping the Syrian conflict simmering at a low burn. […]There are many sound arguments about why the U.S. should not have withdrawn its modest presence. But the notion that the pullout empowers Tehran is belied by its leaders’ expressions of anxiety. The Middle East rarely offers a respite to ambitious nations, even Iran. – Wall Street Journal


As United States troops continued their withdrawal from Syria on Sunday, a line of cars carried their routed former allies, terrified civilians and dead bodies out of a pulverized border town that had been besieged by Turkish forces for more than a week. – New York Times

President Trump is considering whether to keep a few hundred U.S. troops in northeast Syria after the bulk of the American force leaves, a move that would be another twist in years of policy gyrations over the country, U.S. officials said Sunday. – Wall Street Journal

Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria withdrew from a flash-point city as part of a cease-fire agreement with Turkey, a spokesman said Sunday, a move that could ease tensions amid U.S.-led efforts to quell a spiraling conflict. – Washington Post

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday warned that Turkey’s military offensive would resume within days if Kurdish fighters do not fully withdraw from a buffer zone, even as ongoing violence in at least one Syrian border town imperiled a cease-fire brokered by the United States. – Washington Post

A cascade of criticism by current and former military officials of President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from Syria has thrust into plain sight internal debates over the military’s role in foreign policy and whether uniformed officials have a responsibility to publicly appraise decisions affecting American security. – Washington Post

President Trump has had lots of contradictory things to say about the Kurds, who until just two weeks ago were allied with the United States in northeastern Syria. – Washington Post

Dozens of American civilians and other Westerners who fought alongside Syrian Kurdish militias against the Islamic State are probably still in northern Syria following a Turkish military incursion, raising concerns about their safety and questions about their legal status if they attempt to return to their home countries. – Washington Post

The fate of tens of thousands of women and children in Kurdish-run detainee camps in Syria has posed a challenge for governments around the world since the Islamic State lost its last territory there earlier this year. – New York Times

The United States’ abrupt withdrawal from northeastern Syria is forcing the Pentagon to accept a dangerous reality — the rebirth of an Islamic State sanctuary that could allow terrorists to launch attacks on the West. – Politico

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo led the defenders of President Donald Trump’s handling of Turkey’s incursion into Syria, saying Sunday that a cease-fire is holding and that U.S. goals in the Middle East are being met despite criticism allies are being betrayed. – Bloomberg

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been one of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump’s decision to move U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria, said on Sunday he now believed “historic solutions” were possible. – Reuters

The rapid withdrawal of American troops from Syria is stoking the concerns of Congress and former U.S. defense officials who warn the limited American presence and abandonment of an ally will stymie intelligence collection efforts. – Military Times

The United States will continue to fly drones over northeast Syria to monitor the state of play on the ground and keep watch over prisons holding thousands of Islamic State prisoners and their families, a senior defense official said today. – Breaking Defense

Mitch McConnell writes: Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake. It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances. Sadly, the recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place. – Washington Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The ceasefire that the US claimed it had helped bring in on Thursday did not seem to hold the next day. Turkey viewed it as a “pause” in military operations and Turkish-backed groups on the ground didn’t seem to have to adhere to it. This leaves Syrian civilians, including many Kurds, in the crossfire in towns such as Sere Kaniye. The unraveling of US policy on Syria is continuing almost two weeks after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw US troops from the border with Turkey and enable a Turkish invasion that targeted US partners on the ground. – Jerusalem Post

Matthew Continetti writes: Not wanting to commit the resources necessary to build functioning states, we left Iraq, abandoned Libya, and turned a blind eye to Syria. Not willing to sacrifice Americans on additional fields of battle in the Long War against Islamic terrorism and the religious-political cultures that breed it, we withdrew that presence which guarantees the security of our partners. Pete Buttigieg is right to say that what is happening in Syria is a consequence of American withdrawal. But if what’s happening is a betrayal of American values, it’s one Americans voted for. – Washington Free Beacon

Nidal Betare writes: Now, the U.S. government has a moral obligation to protect the lives of dozens of civil society actors and activists who were so instrumental in facilitating their entry into Syria. U.S. troops should not withdraw without evacuating these helpers to safe countries, as it is the least that the U.S. government can do in thanks for their years of help. Within Syria, there is no safe place anymore for Syrians, especially Kurdish Syrians and those who actively aided the United States. – Washington Institute

Michael Makovsky writes: The White House must find new ways of salvaging four vital national interests at stake: preventing the resurgence of ISIS; checking Turkey in the region; rolling back Iran, which has notched another victory in this Syria fiasco; and bolstering close regional allies threatened by ­recent events. […]Wednesday’s 354-to-60 vote in the House of Representatives in ­favor of a resolution rebuking Trump’s abrupt Syrian withdrawal showed it can entail serious political costs. He can’t undo it, but he needs to mitigate the consequences and salvage what he can of US interests, as well as his own and America’s credibility. – New York Post

Aaron Y. Zelin writes: Even before the United States precipitously withdrew its troops from northern Syria in October 2019, observers fretted over the situation at al-Hawl refugee camp. The camp is populated predominantly by women and children and has drawn attention for its unsanitary conditions, inadequate medical care, lack of education for children, and overcrowding. Added to this is a strong, although hard-to-quantify, strain of jihadism. Many inhabitants still profess loyalty to the Islamic State and have sought to impose a fundamentalist lifestyle on their fellow residents. In one especially grim incident, a woman is said to have killed her own granddaughter for removing her veil. – Washington Institute


Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants more than control over a wide swath of Syria along his country’s border. He says he wants the Bomb. – New York Times

Turkey expects the United States to keep its promises and not use stalling tactics in a deal between the NATO allies for Ankara to pause its offensive into northeastern Syria while the Kurdish fighters it is targeting withdraw, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. – Reuters

Nothing will come of a case against Turkey’s state-owned lender Halkbank “if the law in the United States works”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday, adding that the case was politically motivated. – Reuters

Turkey and Russia will discuss the removal of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the northern Syrian towns of Manbij and Kobani during talks in Sochi next week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday. – Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and “crush the heads of terrorists” if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area was not fully implemented. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would discuss the deployment of Syrian government forces in a planned “safe zone” in northern Syria during talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next week, but warned Ankara would “implement its own plans” if a solution was not reached. – Reuters

An effort to quickly slap new sanctions on Turkey or formally oppose President Trump’s Syria strategy is hitting a wall in the Senate. – The Hill

Can Dundar writes: Trump’s letter could easily foment anti-American feeling in Turkey just as Johnson’s letter did more than half a century ago. And just like Inonu, Erdogan may respond by tilting further towards Moscow. – Washington Post

Bobby Ghosh writes: The U.S. military withdrawal from northeastern Syria represents a victory for the Russian leader, but he now faces a quandary. As much as Putin wants Assad to succeed, he is also keen to wean Erdogan away from the Western alliance. He must now decide which one to disappoint.  […]In the space of two weeks, Trump has already performed two U-turns on Erdogan’s invasion — first enabling it, then sanctioning it, then effectively endorsing it. Now, as impeachment hearings draw near, Trump faces clamor in Congress for stronger action against Erdogan. – Bloomberg

Delil Souleiman writes: We gave thousands of our sons to eliminate terrorism. And our partners, the Americans, left us to face Turkey alone. The Kurds see US President Donald Trump as a trader who will sell them out in the blink of an eye for money. They think he is an insane and capricious man whose mood changes from day to night. He was not sincere in his promise to protect his partners in war. Trump betrayed us, as has happened with us throughout our history. – Agence France-Presse


The branches of Israel’s security forces will work together to counter extremist settlers who attack Israeli troops, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday after an overnight incident in the West Bank that left one soldier wounded. – Ynet

A senior official is confirmed to attend a security conference in Bahrain on Monday, a source in the Gulf country told The Times of Israel, in the latest significant sign of warming ties between parts of the Arab world and Israel. – Times of Israel

An official in the Syrian Democratic Forces called on Israel on Monday to take action against Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also expressed confidence that the Jewish people would not neglect the plight of Kurds in northern Syria, invoking its history of persecution. – Times of Israel

Amos Harel writes: This field of combat is not without risk. Israeli infrastructure sites and other important sites for the Israeli economy are vulnerable to attack, especially with Iran expanding the arsenal of weapons being stocked up by its proxies in neighboring countries and working to improve their precision. It’s hard to escape the impression that the “campaign between wars” has moved up a notch – in the pace and magnitude of events, and how much notice they are receiving. It’s doubtful that things can continue at this rate for long. – Haaretz


All of the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops ordered to leave northeastern Syria will move to western Iraq and will conduct U.S. operations against the Islamic State extremist group from there, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. – Wall Street Journal

United States troops have crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk, Reuters witnesses said on Monday. – Reuters

Influential Iraqi Shi’ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has given his supporters the green light to resume anti-government protests, after the movement was interrupted following a deadly crackdown. – Agence France-Presse

Middle East & North Africa

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Lebanon on Saturday for a third day of anti-government protests, directing growing rage at a political elite they blame for entrenched cronyism and driving the country to the economic brink. – Reuters

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that the group was not demanding the government’s resignation amid widespread national protests. – Reuters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a bipartisan high-level congressional delegation to Jordan this weekend where they discussed Middle East peace and Syria with members of the country’s royal family, her office announced late Saturday. – CNN

Korean Peninsula

At least 19 South Korean university students were arrested Friday after climbing the walls of the official residential compound of the U.S. ambassador to Korea, Harry Harris. Students were reportedly protesting the presence — and cost — of American military forces in the country. – Washington Post

Since the regime in Pyongyang doesn’t see any reason to rein in its nuclear weapons program or to put the brakes on its ballistic missile technology efforts, North Korea possibly poses “the most pressing national security issue we face,” a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Thursday. – USNI News

The United States and South Korea must produce new solutions for the current standoff on the Korean Peninsula, a senior North Korean military official said on Monday, warning that hostile policies towards Pyongyang would lead to serious consequences. – Reuters

U.S. officials proposed a long-term plan to help North Korea construct a tourist area in return for denuclearization during recent working-level talks in Stockholm, Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported. – Bloomberg


Christine Lagarde, the departing head of the International Monetary Fund who is set to take over as president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview that the U.S. risks diminishing its role as a global leader and warned of dire consequences of its trade war with China. – Wall Street Journal

China’s defense minister is issuing a stinging rebuke of the U.S. at a defense forum in Beijing, saying China wasn’t fazed by sanctions, pressure and a “big stick policy.” – Associated Press

China’s defence minister, Wei Fenghe, said on Monday that resolving the “Taiwan question” is his country’s “greatest national interest”, and that no force could prevent China’s “reunification”. – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he thinks a trade deal between the United States and China will be signed by the time the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings take place in Chile on Nov. 16 and 17. – Reuters

The U.S. ambassador to China defended plans to require Beijing’s diplomats to report contacts with some Americans and said Monday that Washington is considering additional rules for employees of entities controlled by the ruling Communist Party. – Associated Press

The Chinese telecoms company, which is in the middle of a global technology war between Washington and Beijing, is being hurt by the US export ban, its executives told the Financial Times. Senior executives from Huawei US said they had been able to find replacements for much of the equipment they used to buy from the US, but not the computing services sold by Google. – Financial Times

The Chinese and Australian armies have concluded a joint military training exercise in China’s southern island province of Hainan, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday. – Reuters

China will launch test flights for the next two space rockets in its Smart Dragon series meant for commercial use in 2020 and 2021, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, as an expected boom in satellite deployment gathers pace. – Reuters

John Burtka writes: No matter how the trade talks turn out, the sun is setting on the United States’ trade relationship with China. It’s time we take significant economic measures to repatriate manufacturing supply chains to the Americas and establish a trading block that spans from Alaska to Argentina. In doing so, we’ll create an economic boom in Latin America, ameliorate tensions at the border with Mexico, and restore dignity to the United States’ middle and working classes. – Washington Post

John Pomfret writes: Could an unscripted phone call between Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping greenlight a Chinese invasion of Taiwan? Given Trump’s impulsive nature, that chilling scenario — and its baleful ramifications — can’t be ruled out. […]Sources inside the Trump administration have observed that by invoking Reagan, Bolton appeared to be trying to make it more difficult for Trump to abandon Taiwan. But whether the president got the memo is anybody’s guess. – Washington Post

Claude Barfield writes: As suggested recently by Richard Aboulafia, an expert in aerospace companies and trends, despite obstacles, China could team up with Russia to accelerate China’s aircraft program development by combining Russian tech know-how with Chinese financial resources. This adds to the urgent need for the U.S. and the EU to put aside their feud and join forces against predatory Chinese state capitalism. Over the next year, both Boeing and Airbus need to face up to a common threat from a well-financed competitor backed by China Inc. – Market Watch

Douglas J. Feith and Admiral Gary Roughead write: China is actively erasing the line between commercial and military activities. And President Xi has killed the longstanding theory that China would have to liberalize as it grows its economy. The good news, however, is that the Chinese challenge is recognized by Americans on both the left and the right — rare common ground in a generally polarized community. Meeting the challenge requires effort at home and abroad. – National Review


A suspected militant attack on a mosque in eastern Afghanistan killed dozens of worshipers attending Friday prayers, adding to record-high numbers of civilian casualties in the grinding 18-year war. – Wall Street Journal

Weeks after President Trump threw out a deal with Taliban insurgents to pull American forces from Afghanistan, his top defense official and his main political nemesis made unannounced visits to the Afghan capital to reassure the government that the U.S. wouldn’t abandon the country. – Wall Street Journal

Afghanistan’s election commission said it will miss the Saturday deadline for announcing initial results from the country’s presidential election last month. – Washington Post 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday Washington remained committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan as police searched for bodies in the rubble of a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province where bomb blasts killed at least 69 people. – Reuters

South Asia

India and Pakistan exchanged fire across the line dividing the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Saturday and Sunday, killing nine civilians and soldiers, according to authorities in both countries. – Washington Post

India and Pakistan blamed one another for cross-border shelling in the disputed Kashmir region which killed and injured soldiers and civilians on both sides and made it one of the deadliest days since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status in August. – Reuters

A communications blackout in India’s powderkeg Kashmir region is fuelling a fake news war with Pakistan, as both sides unleash a deluge of disinformation to fill the vacuum and shape opinion. – Agence-France Presse


Protesters set fires and police deployed tear gas and a water cannon as tens of thousands of demonstrators took part in an illegal march in Hong Kong, showing that a raft of recent government measures hasn’t quelled months of unrest in the city. […]Demonstrators who attended Sunday’s march said they weren’t satisfied with Mrs. Lam’s response to the protests, which were sparked by a proposed extradition law that would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be tried in mainland China’s more opaque legal system.  – Wall Street Journal

The man at the center of a Taiwan murder case that sparked months of violent protests in Hong Kong wants to turn himself in. But first Hong Kong and Taiwan must stop feuding over how that happens. – Bloomberg

Japan should do more to alert its public of the growing military threat from China and rethink its rejection of offensive weapons, a senior U.S. military officer said in Tokyo. – Bloomberg

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday his exports-reliant country could be hit with trade sanctions amid rising protectionism highlighted by the U.S.-China tariff war. – Reuters

Cambodian police have arrested the Turkish-Mexican former director of a school run by the movement of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup, his wife said on Friday. – Reuters


Russia does not rule out reaching a new contract to supply its air defense missile systems to Turkey, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov as saying on Saturday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Ukraine, Syria and Libya during a phone call, the Interfax news agency quoted the Kremlin as saying on Saturday. – Reuters

George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sam Nunn write: Today, Republicans and Democrats agree that Vladimir Putin’s Russia poses serious international-security challenges. Rather than walk away from security agreements that help the U.S. and its allies manage the risks posed by Moscow, Washington needs to redouble its longstanding commitment to proven risk-reduction strategies and arms-control treaties advanced by successive presidential administrations. Unilateral withdrawal from Open Skies would damage the security of the U.S. and its allies. – Wall Street Journal

Dmitri Trenin writes: Mr Putin recently said that the Russian military intervention in Syria had exceeded his expectations. […]To continue its successful run, Russia must stay open to all partners and perfect its skills as a middleman. It also needs to be aware of its financial and economic limitations. Finally, Russia should never seek to step into America’s shoes as the solver of the world’s problems. Moscow is learning that the reward for success is a whole new set of problems. – Financial Times

David M. Crane writes: Putin’s decision is a troublesome addition to the movement away from various international legal regimes that promote peace and security, a hallmark of the tenets of the United Nations. […]Sadly, the United States no longer projects that sense of belief in an international community bound together to promote free trade, the sharing of ideas, and world order under the law. This could be fatal. – The Hill


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to bring his Brexit deal back to Parliament this week for a critical vote after lawmakers forced him to ask the European Union for another delay to Britain’s withdrawal. – Wall Street Journal

Yet, while this litany of failures should be spectacularly good news for opponents of Brexit, who came out in huge crowds onto the streets of London on Saturday, Mr. Johnson still has a surprisingly good chance of leading Britain out of the bloc. – New York Times

Lawmakers voted to withhold support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal, scuppering his hope of finalizing Britain’s exit plan at an extraordinary “Super Saturday” session in Parliament. – Washington Post

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has made it clear that Ireland would not accept any deal that led to the implementation of a hard border. In addition to concerns that such a change would create major inconveniences for trade and movement, there are serious fears that reinstating a militarized border could reignite old tensions. – Washington Post

From blocking airports to using encrypted messaging apps, Catalan separatists demonstrating against the jailing of nine of their leaders are openly copying tactics devised by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. – Agence France-Presse

German and French officials emerged from a meeting in Toulouse, France, this week with fresh promises that a next-generation aircraft program and new European battle tank spearheaded by the two countries would advance soon. – Defense News

Leaders of major political parties in North Macedonia, including those in the ruling coalition, agreed to hold a snap parliamentary election on April 12 after the European Union failed to give the country a date to start talks on joining the bloc. – Reuters

Lionel Laurent writes: Even if it appears today that some kind of extension is inevitable, no one should underestimate how tense this debate might become among the EU’s leaders. […]Macron’s impatience with London is spreading to his fellow leaders, with Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel talking of Britain as a post-Brexit “competitor.” There’s a point where infinite delays will be deemed costlier than no deal. – Bloomberg 


Egypt will push Ethiopia this week to agree to an external mediator to help resolve a deepening dispute over a giant hydropower dam being built on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile, officials said on Sunday. – Reuters

Four soldiers and one police officer have been killed in two attacks on military outposts in northern Burkina Faso, the Burkinabe army said on Saturday. – Reuters

The Malian army said it had killed around 50 militants during an operation in which it managed to rescue some of the soldiers who were captured during deadly attacks last month on two bases in the center of the country. – Reuters

The Americas

A younger brother of Honduras’s president was found guilty of trafficking more than 200 tons of cocaine in a trial that revealed deep links between drug cartels and top officials in one of Washington’s closest allies in Central America. – Wall Street Journal

In the days following the siege of the city of Culiacán by the Sinaloa cartel, residents were overcome with relief: Relief that the terror is over. That more people did not die. And that government forces, which had captured the son of the former cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo,” handed back their target rather than keep waging a bloody battle. – New York Times

At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly one year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday. – Politico


China wants to start replacing the cash that people carry with a digital currency soon, a long-discussed project that went into overdrive after Libra was unveiled in June. Facebook has been fighting to defend its initiative against skeptical regulators, and key corporate partners have pulled out of the project. But Beijing’s ambitions appear to be moving ahead at full speed. – New York Times

Major European players are joining forces to block Facebook’s proposed digital currency because of the dangers it poses to national sovereignty, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Friday, – Agence France-Presse

Blacklisted Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei is in early-stage talks with some U.S. telecoms companies about licensing its 5G network technology to them, a Huawei executive told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

A “Cold War mentality” and “bully behavior” are hindering mutual trust in cyberspace, China’s propaganda chief said on Sunday at the start of the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen. – Reuters

Officials from the United States and United Kingdom signed a landmark data-sharing agreement earlier this month, culminating American efforts since 2016 to expand legal frameworks for accessing foreign electronic data for certain criminal investigations. Experts say pact paves the way for many other international agreements and a greater flow of data from one nation to another. – U.S. News & World Report


Thousands of Chinese-made surveillance cameras remain in use at U.S. military installations and other government sites after purchases of such devices were banned, highlighting the hurdles in replacing costly equipment to address national-security concerns. – Wall Street Journal

Over the past few years, the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany has seen its Stryker combat vehicles up-gunned and upgraded with better firepower and stronger protection. A recent fielding amid follow-on efforts will give that regiment’s soldiers and their supporting rotational brigade protection from invisible threats. – Army Times

The U.S. Defense Department will not clear the F-35 fighter jet for full-rate production this year, and it may even have to push that milestone as far as January 2021, the Pentagon’s acquisition executive said Friday. – Defense News

Trump Administration

In the past several days, Mr. Trump has been forced to drop plans to host next year’s Group of Seven summit at his Doral golf resort, and a top aide has tried to walk back comments linking Ukraine military aid to an investigation of the president’s political opponents. The fallout of Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria has continued to draw widespread criticism, including from Republicans. – Wall Street Journal

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday continued trying to back away from remarks he made last week that for the first time linked President Trump’s decision to hold up aid to Ukraine to his desire for Kyiv to do investigations related to the 2016 election. – Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s defense Sunday against recent Trump-Ukraine news was two-pronged: Describe reports of the U.S. withholding aid for political purposes as “hypotheticals” and refuse to comment on “internal deliberations.” – Politico

Francis Rooney, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives who expressed concerns about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, said on Saturday he would not run for a third term. – Reuters