Fdd's overnight brief

October 21, 2020

In The News


Iran says that it is conducting a massive air defense drill that will cover half of Iran’s airspace this week. It will begin on Wednesday and comes in the wake of a joint Israel F-35 drill with the US. It comes in the context of increased focus on air defense in the region after Azerbaijan has used drones successfully against Armenian forces for the last three weeks of fighting. An arms embargo on Iran recently expired and the country is looking to improve its military and defense technology. – Jerusalem Post 

Russia’s foreign minister called for collective efforts Tuesday to prevent a large-scale war in the Persian Gulf and got strong support from all Security Council members except the United States, which called Iran the major culprit and urged that it be held accountable for supporting terrorists and destabilizing the region. – Associated Press

In its latest report released on Monday, the International Monetary Fund estimates that the Iranian government’s net debt will reach about $260 billion by 2020, which is equivalent to 44 percent of Iran’s gross domestic product. – Radio Farda 

Berkshire Hathaway Inc will pay $4.1 million to settle allegations that the company and one of its Turkish subsidiaries violated sanctions against Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

In a poor neighbourhood of the historic city of Isfahan, workers toil day and night to build a new hospital as Iran’s overwhelmed health system struggles to cope with the soaring number of Covid cases.[…]The work on the 1,000-bed seven-storey Isfahan Eram Center Hospital has been expedited by the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted years of underinvestment and decades of inertia in a health system that has also been hobbled by US sanctions. – Financial Times

Even if Joe Biden triumphs at the polls, Iran’s weakened government may only have a few months to negotiate a revived nuclear deal before facing its own electoral challenge by hardliners who oppose any engagement with the west. […Iran’s reformists and centrists remain severely damaged by the failure of the original agreement to deliver economic benefits to ordinary Iranians. – The Guardian 

A widespread protest is underway on Persian social media against the shortage of insulin in Iran. […]The lack of response from government officials prompted social media users to circulate the hashtag “no insulin” on Sunday to express their concern about the condition of diabetic patients, demanding the government address the crucial problem immediately. – Radio Farda 

A young woman has been arrested in central Iran for “insulting the Islamic hijab”, state media said on Tuesday, after a video appeared to show her cycling without a veil. – The Guardian

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper addressed the recent agreements to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, saying that they could help deter Iran. – Jerusalem Post 

Judiciary officials in Iran have transferred the prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate, Nasrin Sotoudeh, to a prison outside the capital city, Tehran, her husband, disclosed in a tweet on Tuesday, October 20. – Radio Farda 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at the idea of Muslim nations compromising with Israel, calling it a “humiliation,” and issued an ominous warning to nations seeking to normalize ties with the Jewish state. – Times of Israel 

While the Iranian leadership continues its long-standing pattern of hostile declarations regarding the U.S. and Israel, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, daughter of senior regime official Hashemi Rafsanjan, who died under unclear circumstances in January 2017, called on the regime to change its policy vis-à-vis Israel. She said that it should prioritize the national interest over stubborn adherence to an ideology that in any case is not being uniformly implemented with the rest of the world’s countries. – Middle East Media Research Institute


Syrian state media said Israel fired a missile early Wednesday at a site in the Quneitra province in southern Syria, near the border with Israel’s Golan Heights. – Times of Israel

Defense Minister Benny Gantz seemed to hint that Israeli was behind a strike on a Syrian position near the Golan Heights border in the predawn hours of Wednesday morning, indicating it was a move against Iranian entrenchment in the area. – Times of Israel

A year after a Turkish military operation drove out Kurdish forces, a sense of normality and stability is slowly returning to parts of northern Syria. – Politico


Greece has begun extending a border wall along its frontier with Turkey to deter migrants from trying to enter the European Union, the Greek government has said, after a border standoff earlier this year which has helped drive Greek-Turkish relations to a dangerously low ebb. – The Guardian

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Turkey has tried to cement its military role and occupation of northern Cyprus by calling itself a “guarantor” of northern Cyprus. While Turkey claims to oppose other occupations, such as Israel’s annexation of the Golan or Armenia’s control of Nagorna-Karabakh, Ankara exploits agreements to claim it has a right to occupy illegally northern Syria and Iraq. Its narrative now appears to be shifting on northern Cyprus to push for international recognition of the Turkish part of the island. – Jerusalem Post 

Zvi Bar’el writes: The question that should really concern Israel and its Arab allies, however, is whether they ought to let Turkey and/or Qatar fill the PA’s empty coffers, thereby granting them influence over the PA’s actions. This is also a dilemma for Abbas, who must make a strategic decision that will have significant implications for the PA’s future and the future of any diplomatic solution. – Haaretz


Multiple ex-IDF intelligence officials put out a report through INSS (Institute for National Securities Studies) on Tuesday flagging multiple historic and unique opportunities Israel has at this moment to alter how Hezbollah is perceived in Lebanon and worldwide. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli pipeline company EAPC said on Tuesday it had signed a preliminary deal to help transport oil from the United Arab Emirates to Europe via a pipeline that connects the Red Sea city of Eilat and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon. – Reuters 

Israel’s army found a newly built tunnel that crossed the border from the Gaza Strip, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters on Tuesday. – Bloomberg

Even as the Knesset voted to approve historic normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night, an unofficial economic delegation of citizens from the Gulf nation was quietly visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. […]Some Palestinians at the scene called out insults at the Emiratis. – Times of Israel 

Israeli officials believe relations with Qatar are warming, a report said Tuesday, after a deal was reportedly made to increase aid to the Gaza Strip. An Israeli delegation visited the Gulf sheikhdom in recent days and managed to guarantee $60 million will be given to Gaza by Doha before the end of 2020 to assist the Palestinian enclave, Channel 13 news reported. – Times of Israel 

On a dusty plain in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a golden-lettered sign with Israeli and American flags stands before a rusty wire fence as the gateway to “Trump Heights”. […]For residents, it is the most visible legacy Trump has had here. – Agence France-Presse

In his October 18, 2020 column in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Muwaffaq Matar, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, vehemently attacked an Al-Aqsa visit by a UAE delegation on October 15, accusing them of betraying the spirit of Islam and calling their false prayers pagan worship of Zionist idols aimed at pleasing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not Allah. – Middle East Media Research Institute

The IDF sealed the room of Nizmi Abu Bakar on Wednesday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Abu Bakar allegedly killed soldier Amit Ben Yigal by throwing a rock at his head during a military operation in May. – Jerusalem Post

Mordechai Kedar writes: The Arab world of 2020 differs from that of 2000 in many ways. It is not the delusional “new Middle East” envisaged by Shimon Peres but its complete opposite: a region that is violent, fractured, rife with failed states, and afflicted with mass killing.[…] True, there is still hatred among Arabs for Jews and the Jewish state that must be acknowledged and contended with, and there are still hundreds of thousands of rockets surrounding and threatening Israel. Nevertheless, the trend is clear. – Algemeiner

Adam Milstein and James Jay Carafano write: The American-brokered Abraham Accords pave the way to full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab nations of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This has raised the prospects of peace and stability in the region to the highest point in decades, making it all the more stunning to see forces lining up against the U.S. initiative. Criticizing the administration and condemning Israel will not help Palestinians. In fact, it will do the opposite, abandoning the Palestinian people to a corrupt and oppressive governance that thrives only by ensuring that peace fails. – Washington Examiner

Gulf States

The fiancée of slain Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi has filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in a U.S. court charging that the kingdom’s de facto ruler ordered the killing. – Wall Street Journal

The United Arab Emirates officially requested to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, during its first-ever government delegation’s visit to Israel on Tuesday. Members of the delegation gave Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi a letter from his UAE counterpart Abdullah Bin Zayed. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel’s Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement of cooperation with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), marking the opening of trade ties between the two countries following the establishment of formal ties on Sunday, according to a government press release. – Jerusalem Post

The US, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced the establishment of a joint regional development fund based in Jerusalem during the first-ever visit of a government delegation from Abu Dhabi to Israel on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Kuwait’s parliament unanimously approved a law giving the government a year to set in motion plans to redress the lopsided ratio between foreign residents and citizens. – Bloomberg

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah called on Tuesday for national unity to meet challenges facing the Gulf state, in a speech to lawmakers ahead of elections on Dec. 5. – Reuters

A pair of Democratic senators has introduced a bill aimed at constraining the Trump administration’s effort to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. – The Hill

A British royal navy vessel seized 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of methamphetamine in the northern Arabian Sea in the largest-ever bust by a joint maritime operation in the region, officials said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Middle East & North Africa

Hasanain Alminshid had received death threats for his human rights activism for years, but ignored most of them. After his mentor was gunned down outside a police station, he finally made the difficult choice to flee Iraq. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron and Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi both highlighted the importance of the fight against terrorism following a meeting in Paris, a statement from Macron’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The grand imam of Al-Azhar condemned the beheading of a French teacher but said insulting religions in the name of free speech was an “invitation to hatred,” in a speech read out on Tuesday. – Times of Israel

A Jordanian national of Palestinian origin allegedly conducted espionage activities for the United Arab Emirates for 11 years in both the UAE and Turkey, Turkish government broadcaster TRT reported on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

The United Nations’ acting Libya envoy said on Wednesday she was “quite optimistic” that ongoing talks between the warring sides would lead to a lasting ceasefire, after they agreed to reopen land and air routes across front lines. – Reuters

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday he would shoulder his responsibility in designating a prime minister to form a new government that must enact reforms to help the country out of financial crisis. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

An explosive new report alleges that, contrary to widespread expert consensus, North Korea has failed to acquire multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology in its pursuit of a nuclear deterrent. – The National Interest 

Kim Jong Un promised this week to improve relations with China, North Korea’s most critical trade partner. Kim said Monday he’d make efforts to “further consolidate and develop the traditional DPRK-China friendly relations,” according to North Korea’s Central News Agency, Yonhap News Agency reported. – New York Post

As coronavirus safety measures increase in North Korea, some households in that country have begun cutting back on their consumption, according to a new report. – The National Interest 

S. Nathan Park writes: Fundamentally, South Korean pop culture found global resonance because Korea’s artists created cultural products that the world found compelling. But the Korean government did play a role: It wanted to gain soft power through pop culture, devised an overarching strategy to boost its own artists’ reach, and implemented specific policies conducive to the flowering of pop culture. – Foreign Policy 


Yang Bin was at home when two dozen Chinese police surrounded her house and entered, searching for the man she had recently taken in as a houseguest. Filing in quickly, the officers found their suspect upstairs and arrested him, ending a weekslong manhunt. – New York Times

The Western world’s premiere spy alliance is finding its mission expanding as nations from the U.S. to Australia clash with China and seek better intelligence on everything from Covid-19 to child trafficking. The Five Eyes network, made up of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is also facing renewed requests to take on additional member nations as divisions between China and the West deepen. – Bloomberg

Defense Secretary Mark Esper wants U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific to increase defense spending in order to contribute to a coalition of democratic allies that can counter threats from the Chinese Communist Party. – Washington Examiner

Yang Hengjun, an Australian writer detained in Beijing and facing trial for espionage on behalf of a country China hasn’t publicly named was a former Chinese spy, according to a confidential letter he wrote to a supporter in 2011. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Monday that as the United States and Brazil reinforce their business partnership, they need to reduce their dependence on imports from China for their own security. – Reuters

China’s foreign ministry said the United States should immediately stop interfering in its internal affairs, after the leader of the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile met a U.S. State Department official in Washington. – Reuters

China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday some U.S. politicians were “smearing” normal economic and trade cooperation, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Brazil and the United States needed to reduce their dependence on Chinese imports. – Reuters

Xi Jinping’s go hard approach to bringing Taiwan to heel isn’t about to let up, but “it would be highly risky” for China to believe the United States would not intervene if it launched an all-out cross-straits invasion, a former senior Trump administration Pentagon official said. – USNI News

Donald Trump has frustrated and enraged China during a tumultuous first term, but Beijing may welcome his re-election as it scans the horizon for the decline of its superpower rival.[…]But another Trump triumph in November may have its advantages for China as President Xi Jinping seeks to cement his nation’s rise as a global superpower. – Agence France-Presse

The Chinese government accused the United States of sending the wrong signal to proponents of independence for Taiwan last week after a U.S. warship passed through the Taiwan Strait, prompting the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) forces in the region to go on high alert. Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, remains quite sensitive to all U.S. military movements in its periphery. – The National Interest

Joseph Bosco writes: But, it seemed for Kissinger there was never the right time or opportunity to promote change in China — which had been the entire purpose of Nixon’s project until the president linked up with the professor. But, whereas Nixon, out of office, seemed inclined to return to his original thinking about “Red China’s” danger to the world, Kissinger remained insouciant, because political reform in China never had been on his geopolitical agenda. – The Hill

John C. Hulsman writes: For those of us on the right, if you believe — as I do — in Chinese culpability for indifferently allowing the spread of the virus, then we find ourselves in a cold war based on differing first principles of existence. Biden and his supporters are not prepared to go this far, naively hoping a dual-track strategy with Beijing is possible. Our poll makes this seminal division in American public opinion thinking clear, as well as the reasons for it. Indeed, the numbers do not lie. – The Hill

Julianne Smith, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche and Ellison Laskowski write: By working together, the United States and Europe can pool the resources and leverage needed to push back against the CCP in these areas and develop preferred alternatives that advance strategic priorities for both sides of the Atlantic. – Center for a New American Security 

Paul Heer writes: This must be resisted and corrected if Washington is to deal with Beijing on a reasonable basis and to focus on the real, core elements of the strategic competition with China. The United States, in short, needs to make its version of democracy and capitalism internationally competitive again. And Americans need not fear this contest with China unless they have lost faith and confidence in their country’s model. – The National Interest

Kris Osborn writes: Several of these ongoing initiatives will more fully take the shape of deployable, war-ready assets merely a few years from now, creating a current scenario which the Chinese may wish to exploit. At the same time, putting hypersonic missiles in these kinds of strategic positions may simply be geopolitical posturing, in part designed to test the waters and see what kind of rhetoric emerges from the U.S. regarding a possible response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. – The National Interest


The Taliban are advancing while peace talks stall. What are the chances for peace once the last US-led Nato forces leave? Lyse Doucet looks at a critical time for Afghanistan. – BBC 

Now, another report in Roznama Ummat, which is considered close to the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), notes that there is a “Plan B” that will kick in if the intra-Afghan talks fail, under which the U.S. will hand over major military bases to the Taliban. The insinuation is that the same will not be given to the elected democratic government of Afghanistan headed by President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan army. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Mohsin Khan Mohmand and Ali M. Latifi write: With the presidential election fast approaching, and with peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government staggering forward, Helmand has become a dark reminder of the cyclical nature of the Afghan war—and just how delicate the security situation remains. Ten years ago, more than 15,000 Afghan, U.S., British, Canadian, and Estonian troops made one of the biggest pushes of the war to dislodge the Taliban from the town of Marjah, then the Taliban’s last big stronghold in Helmand. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

India on Wednesday released a Chinese soldier its forces had detained along the disputed mountainous border with China last weekend, signaling an easing of months of tensions that at times this summer had threatened to descend into a broader conflict. – New York Times

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives this month, officials of both Indian Ocean nations said on Tuesday, as Washington seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the region. – Reuters

Priti Patel is “duty bound” to deport Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistan prime minister, to serve his jail sentence for corruption, his successor’s government has told the UK home secretary in a letter seen by the Financial Times. – Financial Times

Senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officials headed last week to France to check on the progress of the second batch of DassaultRafales jet fighters, which could soon be deployed to guard the country’s northeastern border with China. India, which has ordered thirty-six of the twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft, received the first batch on Sept. 10 and immediately deployed those to the Ladakh region. – The National Interest


Japan’s economy minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, hopes to meet British trade minister Liz Truss to discuss a trans-Pacific trade pact on a visit to the Asian nation that is being arranged but not yet finalised, he said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Taiwan will not be intimidated by China’s “hooligan” officials and will continue to celebrate its national day around the world, the government said on Tuesday, after Taiwan said Chinese diplomats had tried to charge into a diplomatic event in Fiji. – Reuters

The United States, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Oct. 19, the U.S. Seventh Fleet said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Japan opposes any actions that escalate tension in the East and South China Seas, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday, but added that Tokyo was not aiming at an “Asian NATO” to contain any specific country. – Reuters

Australia will join three-way naval exercises involving the United States, Japan and India, in a move that could provoke concern from China, which has criticised similar joint drills in the past. – Reuters

Two and a half weeks ago, Sadyr Japarov was languishing in prison, serving an 11-year sentence for the kidnapping of a political opponent. Today he is both Kyrgyzstan’s prime minister and acting president, having assumed power after the latest popular revolt to upend the country’s chaotic system of government. – Financial Times

South Caucasus

Armenia and Azerbaijan said on Tuesday their foreign ministers would meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday in efforts to end the heaviest fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1990s. – Reuters

Armenia and Azerbaijan reported more fighting on Tuesday over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where clashes have continued for over three weeks despite two attempts at establishing a cease-fire. – Associated Press

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has left for Brussels to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with NATO and European Union officials, his office said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Stephen Blank writes: The real issue here is the Azeri-Armenian rivalry that both Moscow and Ankara are now exploiting for their own benefits. We must grasp this fact, and quickly, or the next crisis will exact even more costs from the U.S. and Europe, as well as the people on the ground who will pay the costs of this and the next war. – The Hill

Ephraim Sneh writes: Israel gave the entire Sinai Peninsula it had held since 1967 to Egypt when the peace agreement was signed in 1979. In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from the occupied Gaza Strip, evacuating 8,000 Israeli settlers. Even in according to the Trump plan, Israel has to withdraw from parts of the West Bank when an agreement is achieved. After all that, Israel has the moral standing to support the Azeri formula for Nagorno-Karabach: Territories for peace. – Jerusalem Post


The State Department broadened the scope of sanctions targeting an unfinished Russian-backed natural-gas pipeline that has been a source of tension between Germany, Russia and the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

Russia is planning for more conflict with the West as confrontation grows over the poisoning of an opposition leader, the crisis in Belarus and fresh charges of meddling in the American presidential vote. Rejecting U.S. and European accusations that it’s to blame for the mess in relations after years of targeting opponents, pressuring neighbors and hacking foreign governments’ computers, the Kremlin says it’s giving up any pretense of wanting to calm things down. – Bloomberg

Russia has authorised its defence ministry to open an office in Serbia, a government document showed, as Moscow pushes to expand military ties with its traditional Balkan ally even as Belgrade seeks to join the European Union. – Reuters

Russia’s Defence Ministry on Tuesday said it had rejected a string of “unacceptable” austerity measures proposed by the Finance Ministry that would cut some 100,000 troops. – Reuters

Russia on Tuesday denied British and U.S. allegations its military intelligence had orchestrated a litany of cyber attacks, including attempts to disrupt next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. – Reuters

The Kremlin is trying to intimidate opposition politician Alexei Navalny to discourage him from returning to Russia to campaign once he recovers from his poisoning, one of his close allies said. – Reuters

David Von Drehle writes: What impact the indictment might have is difficult to predict. Putin is unlikely (understatement alert!) to arrest and turn over the charged individuals; wide-ranging international sanctions have had minimal effect on a government that is believed to have bombed hospitals in Syria on behalf of kleptocrat Bashar al-Assad. And the hackers are unlikely to fess up, given the high risk of poisoning among honest Russians.[…] The stubborn resilience of the Russians, bred over centuries, is in aweird way the tragedy of the nation. – Washington Post

Peter Suciu writes: The issue however is that Washington and Moscow may not be on the same page for what they expect from such a treaty.[…]There are factors for the United States to consider, however, notably that Washington must deal with not only Moscow but also Beijing—as China continues to increase the size of its military, notably its navy, which has now become the largest in the world. – The National Interest


A Spanish judge has released a fugitive Italian organized-crime suspect just days after his arrest, and a court spokesman said on Tuesday that the judge was unaware the man had been identified as a leading figure in a powerful criminal operation. – New York Times

Cyprus and Malta will face European Union penalties if they do not abandon lucrative programs that sell “golden passports” to foreigners, the bloc says, a long-anticipated crackdown on a practice that in certain cases furnished foreigners — some accused of crimes in their home countries — with travel documents. – New York Times

A prominent European Jewish organization slammed a Munich auction house’s decision to sell several of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s handwritten speech notes, saying Tuesday it “defies logic, decency and humanity” to put them on the market. – Associated Press

Britain’s upper house of Parliament delivered a resounding condemnation of the government’s contentious new Brexit legislation on Tuesday, as a standoff continued between the U.K. and the European Union over future trade relations. – Associated Press

French regional newspaper La Nouvelle Republique has received threats on social media after it published a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad on its front page, one of its journalists said on Wednesday. – Reuters

France ordered the temporary closure of a mosque outside Paris on Tuesday, part of a crackdown on Muslims who incite hatred after the decapitation of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. – Reuters

Prosecutors have charged two Germans suspected of selling machinery to a Russian state-owned armaments group that manufactures missile systems for the Russian army. – Reuters

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the Panama Papers data leak, German media reported. – Agence France-Presse

The executive branch of the European Union on Tuesday announced its first-ever strategy on combating antisemitism, to be launched in 2021. – Algemeiner


At least 1,300 prisoners escaped from a jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo early on Tuesday, the United Nations said, after an armed assault for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. – New York Times

Sudanese people and their government officials are celebrating the news that after 27 years the United States plans to remove the country from its list of state sponsors of terrorism — a move that could help Sudan revive its ailing economy and bolster its transition to democratic rule. – New York Times

Nigerian security forces opened fire Tuesday night at a demonstration in Lagos against police brutality, hitting several people according to witnesses, in a major escalation of the unrest that has gripped the country for two weeks. – New York Times

Ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur must face justice without further delay, the court’s chief prosecutor said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Burundi’s top court has sentenced a former president to life in prison for the 1993 murder of another president who had defeated him in elections, an attack that triggered a 10-year civil war in which about 300,000 people were killed. – Reuters

Mali’s military said on Tuesday it had air dropped food into a village in the centre of the country where more than 2,000 residents have been besieged by suspected Islamist militants for the past two weeks. – Reuters

U.S. pressure on Sudan to normalise ties with former adversary Israel has stirred public debate on a topic that was long taboo, exposing splits that could complicate any swift settlement of a deal. – Reuters

International donors agreed Tuesday to give $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid to the central Sahel, after the United Nations said the northern African region plagued by violence and climate change was at “breaking point”. – Agence France-Presse

Kenya has seen a setback in its progress to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) after an open parade in defiance of the government clampdown on the practice took place this week. – The Guardian

The Americas

In the 11 months since President Evo Morales resigned and fled Bolivia, the right-wing interim government, seeking to undo his policies while dealing with scandal and pandemic, failed to get voters on its side—paving the way for his left-wing party to retake power. – Wall Street Journal

Lawmakers from four parties in Peru’s congress presented a motion to impeach President Martin Vizcarra over bribery allegations, barely a month after an initial attempt to oust him over a separate graft case. – Bloomberg

Mexico’s former defense minister, Salvador Cienfuegos, was ordered held in U.S. custody without bail on Tuesday, pending his trial on drug trafficking charges in a case that could have far-reaching implications for U.S. and Mexican anti-cartel strategy. – Reuters

Paraguayan police said on Tuesday that they had seized a record 2.3 tons of cocaine at a private port near Asunción, with a market value of around $500 million, hidden in a charcoal shipment destined for Israel. – Reuters

The U.S. government stepped up an offensive on Tuesday to keep China’s Huawei Technologies out of Brazil’s 5G market, with Washington offering to finance purchases by Brazilian telecom companies of equipment from its competitors. – Reuters

Washington’s decision to impose financial sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is overshadowing the search for her successor, with countries deadlocked over a post that has new visibility as the target of American anger. – Reuters


The Justice Department accused Google on Tuesday of illegally protecting its monopoly over search and search advertising, the government’s most significant challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation and one that could reshape the way consumers use the internet. – New York Times

Voters in Florida and Alaska reported receiving menacing and deceptive emails on Tuesday that used false claims about public voting information to threaten voters: “Vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you.” (There is no way for any group to know for whom individual voters cast their ballots.) – New York Times

By repeating the racist tropes on the radio, Ms. Moncada spread it beyond her 45,000 Twitter followers and into South Florida’s mainstream broadcast media, a worrying circle of misinformation targeting Latino voters in the nation’s biggest presidential battleground state. – New York Times

After years of sometimes contentious discussions, the Army and Air Force have adopted a plan to work together on what they are now calling Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control — the idea that all of the U.S. military’s sensors and shooters must be able to send data to each other seamlessly and instantaneously. – C4ISRNET

The Pentagon’s top artificial intelligence office awarded five blanket purchasing agreements potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars for technical staffing services. – C4ISRNET

Japan said on Tuesday it would take countermeasures to ensure next year’s Tokyo Olympics are not derailed by cyberattacks after Britain and the United States accused Russia of orchestrating efforts to disrupt the Games. – Reuters

Sweden has banned telecoms equipment from Huawei and ZTE 000063.SZ in its 5G network, joining other European nations that have restricted the role of Chinese suppliers on security grounds. – Reuters

Within hours of the assassination of a history teacher by an 18-year-old Islamist in France on Friday, fingers were pointed at social media platforms for having helped motivate the killer before he decapitated Samuel Paty and then for allowing him to gruesomely claim responsibility moments afterwards. – Financial Times

Kara Swisher writes: This one is harder, but some breakup of its units, say a cleaving of Instagram and WhatsApp, might be a step in the right direction, along with figuring out a way to make its controversial editorial decisions more transparent and systemic rather than the more random Whatever Mark Zuckerberg Says This Week they have become.[…] Now it is finally taking action, but the question has to be asked: What does it know about all the others? – New York Times

David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth write: So while President Trump continues to dismiss the idea of Russian intervention, a combination of administration and industry officials are pushing a different narrative: that U.S. intelligence agencies, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others are avoiding the mistakes of four years ago, when they all had their radars off.[…]The question is whether these efforts, so late in the election cycle, will have the intended effect, since the president has already primed his supporters, and others, to distrust the “fake news,” the “deep state” and now, the election. – New York Times

Spencer Bokat-Lindell writes: The anti-democratic influence of tech monopolies is perhaps most obvious in the case of Facebook, where, as one whistle-blower claimed in a memo that leaked last month, individual midlevel workers are endowed with the ability to shape political reality for millions around the globe with little oversight and no public accountability.[…]That finding points to deeper problems than what content moderation policies can solve. – New York Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Those covering war crimes may find they cannot post photos of the crimes or evidence because it is “violent content” and “unsafe.” It is unclear when the next journalist and major media will be told their breaking news is being prevented from being posted, perhaps because a foreign government doesn’t want it posted, but the lack of transparency in how these decisions are made has already had a chilling affect. – Jerusalem Post


Rheinmetall is teaming with Textron Systems to pitch the Lynx KF41 vehicle as a Bradley replacement to the U.S. Army, the company announced Tuesday. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy and British Royal Navy are preparing to more closely align their futures in a whole host of warfare areas, the U.S. chief of naval operations announced Tuesday. – Defense News

A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed near Naval Air Station China Lake, Calif., on Tuesday, Naval Air Forces Cmdr. Zach Harrell told USNI News. The single-seat Super Hornet from NAS Lemoore, Calif., was on a training flight over the Superior Valley when the aircraft went down at around 10:10 local time, according to a spokesman from Naval Air Forces. – USNI News

The Army is pursuing a new plan to train and deploy units at the same time it modernizes, with the goal of preparing units for specific regions worldwide. Army Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, deputy chief of staff for operations, last Thursday outlined the concept, called the “Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM), which would have units use prepositioned stocks when they deploy in emergencies. – Military.com

Long War

Less than a week after French teacher Samuel Paty was murdered and beheaded, Paris is uncovering the extent of the radicalization and hate networks that led to the unprecedented murder. – Jerusalem Post 

The Chechen teenager who beheaded a French teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class had contacted a school parent who prosecutors said used social media to whip up a hateful campaign against the victim, a police source said. – Reuters

Macron announced the Cabinet will on Wednesday dissolve a pro-Hamas organization known as Cheikh Yassine, which he said was “directly involved” in the gruesome assassination of Samuel Paty, the eighth-grade teacher who was killed after he showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed during a class discussion on freedom of speech. – Politico 

The pro-Israel education group StandWithUS has sent a letter to the CEO of Zoom asking the company to deplatform a planned webinar featuring a notorious Palestinian terrorist. – Algemeiner

Husain Haqqani writes: Although Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has assured his countrymen that Pakistan would soon get off the pre-sanctions watchlist of the U.N. money laundering and terror financing watchdog, it is unlikely that the international community will let Pakistan completely off the hook any time soon. – The Diplomat

Ido Levy: For its part, IS seems to be watching and waiting for the United States to relax. In Iraq and Syria, the group has kept a relatively low profile over the past several months, with its propaganda focusing on external affiliates. This tactic could signal that IS has learned how concentrating its efforts in one high-profile theater makes it more vulnerable to U.S. and international intervention. At the same time, recent IS territorial gains in Mozambique have gone largely unnoticed by the international community. Indeed, continuing to cultivate cells in Africa, India, and elsewhere—while maintaining a low-level presence in former territories and inspiring attacks abroad—could be the Islamic State’s next strategic phase. – Washington Institute

Missile Defense

The United States and Russia edged toward an arms control deal Tuesday after Moscow agreed to a freeze on the number of nuclear warheads on each side and to extend the accord known as New START for one year. – Washington Post 

Space emerged as Lockheed Martin’s business area with the highest growth, driven by hypersonic weapons programs and an anticipated next-generation interceptor award, CEO James Taiclet said Tuesday on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. – Defense News 

Zack Brown writes: Taken together, said Perry and Collina, the truth behind these myths reveals that there is neither a strategic need for—nor any real safeguard against—presidential sole authority over the nuclear arsenal. This reality should push the public towards common-sense reform. – The National Interest

George Beebe writes: These factors explain Russia’s caution in considering Trump’s proposal on New START extension. Should he pull off an upset reelection victory, Moscow would remain positioned to move quickly on a formal agreement to extend the treaty and proceed with negotiations on its successor. Should Biden win, the Russians would have done little to alienate the new administration by providing Trump with a pre-election foreign policy win. In an American election in which neither contender wants the taint of Russian support, keeping these options open is no easy task. – The National Interest

Trump Administration

Now, weeks before the election, “Spygate” — a labyrinthine conspiracy theory involving unproven allegations about a clandestine Democratic plot to spy on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign — appears to be losing steam. – New York Times

Elliott Broidy, a former top fund-raiser for President Trump, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a covert campaign to influence the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests. – New York Times

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum lauded the Justice Department for hitting Google with a major antitrust lawsuit on Tuesday, showcasing the broad bipartisan concern in Washington over the power the tech giant wields online. – Politico