Fdd's overnight brief

October 4, 2021

In The News


Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday that U.S. officials tried to discuss restarting nuclear talks last month, but he insisted Washington must first release $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of good will. – Reuters 

Iran started military exercises near its border with Azerbaijan on Friday as tensions between the two neighbours rose over issues including Baku’s relations with Tehran’s arch-enemy Israel. – Reuters 

Iran said on Friday that a visit by Israel’s foreign minister to Bahrain this week to mark the establishment of relations left a stain on the Gulf Arab state’s rulers that “will not be erased”. – Reuters 

The Iranian Air Defense unveiled an indigenous tactical radar and a simulator on Saturday, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing Iranian media. – Arutz Sheva 

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, warned Iran’s neighbors against “foreign influence” in a tweet published in Persian, Arabic, English and Hebrew on Saturday, amid heightened tensions with Azerbaijan. – Jerusalem Post 

Despite enriching uranium at a level not seen before, Iran still has a long way to go before acquiring a nuclear bomb, according to Israel’s Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman. – Jerusalem Post 

Saudi Arabia confirmed on Sunday it had held its first round of direct talks with Iran’s new government last month, part of a process begun earlier this year to reduce tension between the Gulf’s rival Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim powers. – Reuters 

A “large-scale” attack by Iran on U.S partners or allies “appears remote” as Iran has shown a “clear reluctance” to commit “conventional” forces in direct combat, a new report from the Rand corporation states. As a result, any threat posed is “unlikely” to extend outside of the Central Command region. – Military Times 


But the moments just before the man’s death have become the subject of an intense legal dispute involving Australia’s most decorated living soldier, rekindling hard questions about the costs of the country’s 20-year mission in Afghanistan and the conduct of its most highly trained soldiers. – New York Times 

An explosion outside a mosque in the center of Kabul killed at least three people on Sunday, a Taliban spokesman said, underscoring the challenge of maintaining security for the country’s new rulers after decades of waging war. – New York Times 

In a matter of weeks, several cascading events — the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, the mass surrender of Afghan forces, the collapse of the national government and takeover by Taliban militants, and a chaotic mass evacuation punctuated by a deadly airport bombing — have brought the Afghan economy to an abrupt and perilous standstill. – Washington Post 

Taliban forces raided an Islamic State affiliate’s hideout in the Afghan capital and killed several insurgents, hours after a deadly bombing outside a mosque in Kabul, the Taliban said Monday. – Associated Press 

Many Afghans fear the harsh ways of the Taliban, their hard-line ideology or their severe restrictions of women’s freedoms. But the movement does bring a reputation for not being corrupt, a stark contrast to the government it ousted, which was notoriously rife with bribery, embezzlement and graft. – Associated Press 

Afghanistan is facing a breakdown of its economic and social systems that risks turning into a humanitarian catastrophe, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Sunday. – Reuters 

As the weeks pass in Afghanistan, the new Taliban administration has yet to announce when it will re-open secondary schools for girls, leaving them stuck at home while their brothers return to class. – Reuters 

Thousands of internally displaced Afghans living at a temporary camp in Kabul have started their journey home to northern provinces, after an end in fighting that forced them to flee. – Agence France-Presse 

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S. said she does not believe Afghans will trust another American president anytime soon, more than one month after the U.S. evacuated troops from Afghanistan and the country fell to the Taliban. – The Hill 

An official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education said men and women will be segregated when university classes resume on Oct. 9, after the Taliban and Kabul University disputed reports that female students will be temporarily barred. – Bloomberg 

The Taliban’s claims of a new and improved ruling class is just a myth as terrorized residents find themselves living out scenes akin to Nazi Germany. – Washington Examiner 

In conversations with Insider over the past month, Ghulam, a 21-year-old Afghan man, has described his increasingly deteriorating mental health ever since the Taliban took control of the country in a sweeping offensive. – Business Insider 

Dara Horn writes: These stories are used as comic relief, like a Mel Brooks skit injected into the relentless thrum of bad news. But when I read about the Last Jew of Afghanistan, a country where Jewish communities thrived for well over a thousand years, it occurred to me that there have been many “Last Jews” stories like this, in many, many places — and that the way we tell these stories is itself part of the problem. – New York Times 

Ken Calvert writes: The president would like to stop talking about Afghanistan or boast about the “logistical success” of an evacuation that was necessary only because of the crisis he created. For the families of the 13 fallen heroes, there is no moving on. We owe it to them to understand why a dangerous terrorist was allowed to run free to commit this attack and what other threats exist. Afghanistan won’t be a memory washed away, and Congress has a duty to hold President Biden accountable for the irreversible damage he has done. – Wall Street Journal 

Amy Dowling writes: If you told me two months ago that I’d be moving a family of seven into my home, I wouldn’t have believed you. But meeting Anahita made it impossible for me to do anything else. She and Shafo and thousands of others like them aren’t nameless faces on the runway at the Kabul airport. They are real people, who will need our help in big and small ways for the long haul. I hope we welcome them with kindness. – Wall Street Journal 

William Lloyd Stearman writes: Mr. Kissinger had invested time and energy in negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which had some major flaws. For example, the accords left all enemy forces in South Vietnam after the cease-fire. In any event, Hanoi immediately violated the agreement. Only the U.S. observed it. That’s something to keep in mind when negotiating with the Taliban, who are as unreliable as Hanoi. – Wall Street Journal 

Robbie Gramer, Jack Detsch, and Amy Mackinnon write: And in Afghanistan, the situation is getting more complicated as the country nears a cold season that will make it more difficult for flights to leave the mountainous country and could make overland routes more treacherous, spike the price of fuel, and raise the cost of keeping vulnerable Afghans in safe houses. Although the Taliban cooperated to allow a Project Dynamo’s private flight out of Afghanistan over the weekend, people involved with evacuation efforts don’t think the fragile truce with the newly empowered militant group will last. – Foreign Policy 


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan this week flagged potential further cooperation with Russia on defence industry projects including fighter jets and submarines even as the United States warned it could respond with more sanctions. – Reuters 

Turkey plans to hold joint military exercises with Azerbaijan this week in a region bordering Iran after the government in Baku criticized Tehran for staging army drills near its border. – Bloomberg 

Turkey warned Greece that acts of “provocation” in the Aegean Sea between the two nations won’t go unanswered. – Bloomberg 


The shooting last week was just one of at least 16 homicides in Israel’s Arab communities last month, and one of nearly 100 so far this year. – New York Times 

Six Palestinian prisoners who made a daring escaping from an Israeli prison in September were formally indicted Sunday, Israel’s justice ministry said. – Agence France-Presse 

The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted yesterday to advance the Israel Relations Normalization Act to the full House, as Republicans and Democrats offered divergent reasons for why they are backing the legislation. – Jewish Insider 

The Israeli government on Sunday said it was enlisting the military and the Shin Bet internal security agency as it tries to rein in a wave of violence in the country’s Arab sector. – Associated Press 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday night with Israeli ministers Nitzan Horowitz and Isawi Frej from the left-wing Meretz party in Ramallah, in the second such high profile meeting in recent months. – Times of Israel 

An Israeli billionaire was saved at the last minute from an assassination plot in Cyprus several days ago, after being warned about the attempt, Channel 12 news reported on Sunday. The man was later named as Teddy Sagi, a well-known Israeli-Cypriot businessman who founded the gambling software company Playtech and owns Camden Market in London. – Times of Israel 

Police reportedly covered up overnight Saturday-Sunday a mural in the city of Umm al-Fahm that honored residents of the town who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City in 2017 that killed two police officers. – Times of Israel 

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) will bring the $1 billion Iron Dome replenishment bill to the Senate floor on Monday, the senator said Thursday night. – Jewish Insider 

Andrew Lawler writes: Had the Ottoman governor’s wall remained sealed, Israel might have conceded the Temple Mount in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Jewish control of the plaza facing the ancient stones. But the opening of a tunnel, begun as a Christian dig to expose the remains of biblical times, has become an entrenched religious barrier to any future resolution. As writer Colin Thubron once said of the city of Jerusalem, it has become “a rock in the path of peace.” – Politico 

Gregg Roman writes: By taking a strong hand against Abbas and his stalwarts in the Palestinian Authority, Israel can ensure that rejectionism comes to an end and the cycle of seemingly never-ending conflict and violence is ended. This will have obvious benefits for Israel, but it will be even better for the Palestinians. It will bring about the badly needed peace and prosperity, and allow them to build up their polity without the distraction of the conflict and for the betterment of the people. – Jerusalem Post 

Amos Harel writes: The activity that begun during the government of Ariel Sharon against crime organizations in the Jewish sector was never replicated against similar organizations in the Arab sector. […]The United Arab List party, for the first time ever a member of the coalition, has failed thus far to bring about change. Its leaders’ assessments are not very different from those of the police. They too view the Arab crime organizations as one of the main threats facing the country. – Haaretz 

David Horovitz writes: And therefore Israel is ramping up both its rhetoric and its concrete practical preparations. It is avowedly preparing to strike, with the added credibility of a track record of recent successful actions against the Iranian program. And it is doing so, genuinely readying for action, in the profound hope that the very candid sincerity of that planning will deter the rapacious extremists in Tehran, rendering such a strike unnecessary. – Times of Israel 


As Iraq heads to the polls on October 10, a spotlight has fallen on the outsized influence neighbouring Iran wields — but also on the growing popular backlash against it. – Agence France-Presse 

Iraq’s oil minister said on Sunday that oil prices reaching $100 a barrel will not be sustainable and that OPEC wants stable markets. – Reuters 

Joseph Braude writes: As part of that effort, we would like to call public attention to one of the ways international media can help: Don’t allow Iran or its violent proxies to manipulate your coverage. Don’t let their intimidation and threats shape the story. And, when courageous people stand up for peace at clear risk to themselves, take note of this and ask why it is happening and why the Iranians feel so threatened by it. – Wall Street Journal 


While billions of dollars in American aid poured into Jordan over the past decade, a secret stream of money was flowing in the opposite direction as the country’s ruler, King Abdullah II, spent millions on extravagant homes in the United States. – Washington Post 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II received a call on Sunday from Syrian President Bashar Assad, the first conversation between the two leaders after a decade of strain over Syria’s civil war. – Associated Press 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday denied any impropriety in his purchase of luxury homes abroad, citing security needs for keeping quiet about the transactions that are reportedly worth more than $100 million. He said no public funds were used. – Associated Press 


Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the government should put an end to any meddling in the judiciary after the probe into last year’s vast Beirut port blast was halted by the latest of a series of complaints against the lead investigator. – Reuters 

The US State Department energy envoy, Israel-born Amos Hochstein, will take over as mediator in US-sponsored talks between Israel and Lebanon to resolve a maritime border dispute over natural gas exploration, the Axios website reported Sunday. – Times of Israel 

Lebanon resumed interaction with the International Monetary Fund with a view to agreeing an “appropriate recovery program”, the country’s finance ministry said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters 

The lead judge investigating the disastrous Beirut port blast will be kept on the case after Lebanon’s court of cassation rejected a legal complaint filed against him, local media reported on Monday. – Reuters 


In harsh desert terrain on the outskirts of Marib, Iran-backed Houthi rebels are fighting the internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, for control of its strategic stronghold in the country’s north. – Washington Post 

Yemen’s rebels fired three ballistic missiles Sunday at a government-held central city, killing two children and wounding more than 30 people, officials said. – Associated Press 

Clashes between Yemeni separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates and a rival splinter group in the southern port city of Aden killed at least 10 people including four civilians Saturday, security officials said. – Associated Press 

Gulf States

Qatar has announced the results of its first legislative elections, marking a limited broadening of political participation as the gas-rich Gulf state prepares to host the Fifa World Cup next year. – Financial Times 

The United Arab Emirates is trying to manage long-running rivalries with Iran and Turkey through dialogue to avoid any new confrontations in the region as the Gulf state hones in on its economy post COVID-19, a senior official said. – Reuters 

Anti-Israel protests broke out in Bahrain on Friday, a day after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to open the Jewish state’s first embassy in the country. – Agence France-Presse 

A top official in the United Arab Emirates has sounded the alarm about escalating tensions between China and the U.S., delivering one of the starkest regional warnings yet about competition between the two powers. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: This grim outlook will confront Mr. Biden when he convenes a summit for democracy in December. He has often vowed to put human rights and liberty at the center of his foreign policy. But it is going to take more than speeches and sanctions to turn this tide. A serious attempt to defend and rejuvenate democracy is going to require new tools and fresh thinking. […]Jamal Khashoggi was acutely aware of the difficulty of this battle, and of its singular importance. The best way to honor his memory is to relentlessly pursue the freedom he sought for Saudi Arabia — and build it everywhere. – Washington Post 

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria has closed its airspace to French military planes, France’s military said on Sunday, escalating the biggest row between the countries in years. – Reuters 

Libya’s foreign minister said on Sunday that some foreign fighters have left the country as the unity government seeks to marshal international help to withdraw the many who remain. – Reuters 

Thousands of Tunisians attended demonstrations in Tunis and other cities this weekend in a show of support for President Kais Saied’s recent consolidation of power — a move that his critics have dubbed a coup. – Associated Press 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will be heading to Morocco in the coming months, as ties continue to increase with the North African kingdom after the two countries normalized relations last December. – Jerusalem Post 

David Makovsky and Josh Kram write: With talk of American retrenchment abroad and the inroads China is making in the Mideast with its Belt and Road Initiative, the US has a growing interest in drawing our friends in the region closer in order to maintain our influence. Historically, leaders who have routinely thought of regional economic links as the means to create prosperity and curb conflict have usually believed the Mideast was the exception that proved the rule. Now, however, many in the Mideast no longer want to be the exception. – Times of Israel 

John Dizard writes: Europeans would be mistaken to think that Algeria and Morocco frame this dispute around economic and technical factors. There are profound sentiments about sovereignty, military balance, and culture at work here. It will not be easy for the EU to navigate such an environment to secure supplies. – Financial Times 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea restored dormant communication hotlines with South Korea in a small, fragile reconciliation step Monday in an apparent hard push to win outside concessions with a mix of conciliatory gestures and missile tests. – Associated Press 

North Korea has warned the U.N. Security Council against criticizing the isolated country’s missile program, in a statement Sunday that included unspecified threats against the international body. – Associated Press 

The U.S. State Department is concerned that United Nations member states lack the ability to fully implement sanctions on North Korea, according to a report obtained by Foreign Policy. – Foreign Policy 

Choe Sang-Hun writes: All of this leaves the Biden administration in a difficult bargaining position. […]North Korea was wooing South Korea while shunning talks with Washington, said Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. Other analysts said North Korea was leaning on South Korea to help bring Washington to dialogue. – New York Times 

Sanghoon Kim writes: In sum, North Korea perfectly understands its position of weakness in the maritime domain and is emulating China’s revisionist strategy of gray zone operations to gradually overturn the status quo. As such, South Korea must first understand North Korean strategy and respond with tailored measures that prevent the achievement of adversarial aims. – The National Interest 


Beijing flew 93 military sorties near Taiwan over three days as China celebrated its National Day holiday, its largest such prodding in the past year, prompting the U.S. to warn against what it called provocative military activity. – Wall Street Journal 

The Biden administration will begin unveiling its China trade policy next week following what it has called a top-to-bottom review of import tariffs and other measures imposed by the Trump administration. – Wall Street Journal 

China is struggling with widespread power shortfalls, dealing a blow to the recovery of the second-largest economy and risking disruption to global supply chains and heightened inflationary pressure around the world. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. securities regulators have started a countdown that will force many Chinese companies to leave American stock exchanges, after a long impasse between Washington and Beijing over access to the companies’ audit records. – Wall Street Journal 

The Biden administration offered its strongest signal yet that the United States’ combative economic approach toward China would continue, with senior administration officials saying that President Biden would not immediately lift tariffs on Chinese goods and that he would hold Beijing accountable for trade commitments agreed to during the Trump administration. – New York Times 

A war of words over the future of IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva is likely to come to a head in the next few days as the fund’s board meets to examine allegations that she manipulated data to favour China in a previous role. – Financial Times 

Peace in the Taiwan Strait is key to the island’s ability to ensure continuous supply of the chips needed to power a wide range of products from cars to smartphones, a senior Taiwanese official said. – Bloomberg 

George F. Will writes: Given today’s incontinent domestic spending and trillion-dollar structural deficits, the defense budget is under constant downward pressure. Luria wishes U.S. military leaders, instead of “working backward” from the funding they think possible to the missions they therefore think feasible, would forthrightly tell Congress “this is what we need, and this is the risk if we don’t get it.” Some dismiss those risks as hypothetical. There is one certain way to learn that they are actual: the hard way. – Washington Post 

Jianli Yang writes: Therefore, considering that the U.S. has no other realistic choice but to cooperate with China, the Biden administration would be wise to observe these caveats: Insist on compartmentalization of issues; Do not place too much emphasis on changing the CCP’s behavior through cooperation alone (confront, contest and compete to change); Use dialogue and cooperation as necessary, but do not pursue them as ends in themselves; Have a robust enforcement mechanism for any deal the U.S. makes with China; and do not be held hostage for concessions on other core issues. – The Hill 

Joyce Ho writes: The Chinese government is turning religious and ethnic identities from a powerful unifier of minorities into a marketable and profitable commodity. […]The situation in Tibet and Xinjiang may forewarn of a future in which Tibetans, Uyghurs and China’s other 53 ethnic minorities will stand only as a hollow cultural vanguard with no purpose except as props for the regime. – The Hill 

Tom Rogan writes: Beijing’s best solution would be to use already extracted Australian coal that is sitting at Chinese ports, undelivered, a hostage of China’s trade coercion campaign against Australia. But Xi won’t do that. He cannot afford to back down against Australia and risk being seen as weak. AUKUS has arrived , after all. Xi was sitting pretty a few years ago, enjoying a supplicant international community and seemingly unstoppable growth. Now lost in a geopolitical maze of his own making, Xi’s world is looking less rosy. – Washington Examiner 

Logan Wright writes: This year’s events in China’s economy, from the crackdown on technology and education firms to the turmoil in the property sector, is likely to mark an inflection point in how the rest of the world thinks about China’s economic trajectory and policy credibility. Lower growth expectations over the next decade will naturally reset expectations of China’s international influence and perceived inevitability. And credibility lost is difficult to restore. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Paul Heer writes: This has all the earmarks of Orwell’s “peace that is no peace.” A cold war between the United States and China is obviously not desirable, nor is it necessarily inevitable. […]Neither side appears ready or able to overcome its fundamental misunderstanding and mistrust of the other, or to overcome the internal dilemmas that are helping to fuel that misunderstanding and mistrust. Do leaders on either side have the wisdom, courage, and political will to redirect history toward a different path? – The National Interest 

Christopher Vassallo writes: No other leader of note would integrate the ancient Chinese past, ancient Chinese proverbs, and ancient Chinese poetry so thoroughly in the everyday policy work of crisis management. Xi’s method as an applied historian has been his relentless effort to make history an actionable, emergency management technique. – The National Interest 

Mark Episkopos writes: Not only has Lithuania not budged in the face of relentless CCP sanctions and démarches, but the Baltic country has seemingly managed to impose some small costs on Beijing in return.  The China-Lithuania feud highlights the extent—and surprising limits—of Beijing’s ability to wield economic power as a tool of foreign compulsion. – The National Interest 

South Asia

Pakistan is holding talks with factions of the Pakistani Taliban, a banned militant group responsible for some of the country’s worst terrorist attacks, and would forgive members who lay down their weapons, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday. – New York Times 

After U.S.-based researchers announced an online conference to discuss the rise of Hindu nationalism, a right-wing political movement with roots in India, the backlash was swift and staggering. – Washington Post 

Bangladesh’s foreign minister vowed “stern action” on Saturday against the killers of Rohingya refugee leader Mohib Ullah as calls grew to investigate his shooting. – Reuters 

India’s army chief has said China is sending troops to their disputed border in “considerable numbers”, prompting a matching deployment by New Delhi in a development he called a “concern”. – Agence France-Presse 

Sumit Ganguly writes: India’s abrupt departure from its civic values is distressing on many levels. These unwelcoming policies are hardly likely to promote New Delhi’s goals of winning friends in South Asia and warding off growing Chinese influence. Worse still, this parochial stance toward refugees undermines a long-standing commitment to humanitarian action—something that justly once made India proud. – Foreign Policy 


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose brash and authoritarian style has upended governance in the country, said Saturday that he intends to retire from politics, indicating he won’t attempt to extend his time in power by seeking the vice presidency. – Wall Street Journal 

Fumio Kishida was elected prime minister by Japan’s Parliament on Monday and plans to tackle revival of the world’s third-largest economy as one of his first tasks. – Wall Street Journal 

Singapore’s parliament began discussion on Monday of a proposed law to counter foreign interference that has sparked concern from opposition parties, rights groups and experts about its broad scope and limits on judicial review. – Reuters 

Hong Kong’s largest independent trade union disbanded on Sunday, stoking concerns over the space for civil society groups as a national security law stifles dissent in the global financial centre. – Reuters 

Malaysia’s foreign minister warned Monday that Myanmar may be excluded from a summit of Southeast Asian leaders this month if it refuses to cooperate with the bloc’s special envoy in resolving the military-ruled country’s deepening crisis. – Associated Press  

Dov S. Zakheim writes: There have been reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would like the United Kingdom to join the Quad. […]Having Britain and France, both of which deploy strategic nuclear-powered submarines, join the grouping would signal that, despite the flap over the Barracuda cancellation, Franco-American and Franco-Australian ties have not seriously frayed — and that the coalition of forces that refuses to back down in the face of Chinese adventurism continues to grow. – The Hill 

Arthur Herman writes: But perhaps in the end the real value of the Quad isn’t as a security alliance but as a forum for facilitating the sharing of advanced defense-related technologies that will give us all a future advantage over China. […]Either way, the Quad will be only as strong as its strongest member. The future of the Indo-Pacific may depend on how soon Washington wakes up to this truth. – National Review 

Jagannath Panda writes: Ultimately, the Indian and American leaderships must treat the region as a theatre of opportunity for both states. […]While the United States faces an intense power competition with China in the global sphere, India faces a similar contest for primacy in its neighborhood. Therefore, it is more important than ever that both states support each other and garner support from their like-minded partners. They should build the Quad into a force and expand the bloc of countries over time to ensure the longevity of its plans and implemented actions. – The National Interest 

South Caucasus

Georgia’s ruling party won a commanding lead in a municipal election held a day after the arrest of former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who had returned from exile to support the opposition. – Reuters 

Carl Bildt writes: The E.U., acting in close coordination with the United States, must not only continue its mediation efforts but also be clear in the messages it is sending to Tbilisi. Georgia has much work ahead if it wishes to realize the full potential of its far-reaching E.U. agreement and membership in the E.U. Eastern Partnership, as well as its further integration with NATO. Brussels and Washington must make clear that these goals can be achieved only by respecting democratic principles and the rule of law, and by moving away from the politics of revenge and polarization of justice. – Washington Post 

Luke Coffey writes: Globally, Azerbaijan is trying to maintain a balance between its relations with the West and Russia. Regionally, Azerbaijan has sought to keep a balance between Russia and Iran while striving to preserve its autonomy or independence as much as possible. With great-power competition heating up around the globe, the U.S. needs to increase its engagement with Azerbaijan. – Heritage Foundation 

Emil Avdaliani writes: But the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement is far from guaranteed because of ingrained distrust between the two sides and the potential spoiling influence of Azerbaijan and Russia. Recently Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the country would coordinate with Azerbaijan to reestablish relations with Armenia. In everyday reality, this means the potential normalization process is fraught with problems, which could continuously undermine the improvement of regional relations. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Russia said on Friday it was concerned that the AUKUS defence agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States would allow Australia to enter the select group of nations that operate nuclear-powered submarines. – Reuters 

Billionaire Oleg Tinkov, whose online bank is Russia’s second biggest credit card issuer, pleaded guilty on Friday to filing a false U.S. tax return and agreed to pay $507 million in taxes, interest and penalties, the U.S. Department of Justice said. – Reuters 

Russia’s main domestic security service has published a 60-point list of non-secret topics that could result in people or organizations being designated as “foreign agents” if they cover or write about them. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Russia has urged Tajikistan and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to take “mutually acceptable measures” to resolve tensions along the Tajik-Afghan border amid reports of an increased military buildup on both sides. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is no longer interested in a joint freeze of nuclear weapons production with the United States, according to a senior Russian envoy who protested American inspections requests and a recent agreement to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. – Washington Examiner 


A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world. – Washington Post 

The United States and the European Union took a step this week toward a closer alliance by announcing a new partnership for trade and technology, but tensions over a variety of strategic and economic issues are still simmering in the background. – New York Times 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Paris next week, as the Biden administration continues with its efforts to heal a rift with the nation’s oldest ally. – Wall Street Journal 

The European Union foreign policy chief said on Sunday the Taliban government’s behaviour up to now was “not very encouraging”, and any economic collapse in Afghanistan would raise the risk of terrorism and other threats. – Reuters 

Britain will threaten on Monday to dispense with some of the terms of its agreement overseeing post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland, saying they have become too damaging to retain. – Reuters 

A deal with the United States is not the “be all and end all” of trade agreements, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Kosovo’s border crossing with Serbia was reopened on Saturday as Serbs removed trucks and cars and NATO troops moved in under a European Union-mediated deal to end a dispute between the neighbouring countries over car licence plates. – Reuters 

Carles Puigdemont, who has been a fugitive from Spain since his role in 2017’s failed push for Catalan independence, faces an extradition hearing on the Italian island of Sardinia on Monday. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: In response, the E.U. announced measures that would make it harder for Belarusian officials to get E.U. visas. But this was hardly strong enough. The bloc’s last round of economic sanctions included numerous loopholes that must be closed. Mr. Lukashenko lacks legitimacy and behaves reprehensibly. The only acceptable course now is his departure. – Washington Post  

Dr. Tsilla Hershco writes: The historic Bataclan trial, while hopefully bringing some justice to the victims, does not necessarily indicate that France has fully internalized the ominous threats emanating from radical Islamism inside the country. […]France has not yet grasped that its double standard toward Israel’s fight against terrorism emboldens not only Israel’s Islamist enemies, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but also France’s own radical Islamist enemies, who pose a very real danger to secular French republican values and way of life. – Besa Center 

Dalibor Rohac writes: However, a global superpower must be always ready to juggle more than one ball at a time. Following the mishandled withdrawal from Afghanistan, the transatlantic fallout from the AUKUS deal, and the thoughtless EU travel ban that Biden only last week announced would be eased starting in November, it is reasonable to ask whether the United States is still up for the job. Unless Biden steps up, events might give us an answer sooner than we think. – The Dispatch 

Carisa Nietsche, Emily Kilcrease, and Laura G. Brent write: We support the continued growth of the U.S.-EU technology, economic and trade relationship and cooperation in addressing global challenges. We intend to collaborate to promote shared economic growth that benefits workers on both sides of the Atlantic, grow the transatlantic trade and investment relationship, fight the climate crisis, protect the environment, promote workers’ rights, combat child and forced labor, expand resilient and sustainable supply chains, and expand cooperation on critical and emerging technologies. – Center for a New American Security 

Myriam François writes: As more details emerge from the case, candidates’ lines on security are sure to be indicative of how the national mood is shifting. In attempting to placate the right, Macron has already been accused of failing to balance security and civil liberties. So far, the trial has instead served as a testament to France’s justice system and its democratic values. But how politicians respond in the midst of an enduring terrorist threat will be a measure of their commitment to those ideals. – Foreign Policy 


The humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region continues to escalate, with only a fraction of needed aid allowed to enter, the United Nations said hours after the government in Addis Ababa expelled seven of the organization’s officials, accusing them of meddling in the country’s internal affairs. – Wall Street Journal 

Guinea junta leader Mamadi Doumbouya was inaugurated as interim president on Friday to oversee what regional powers hope will be a short transition to constitutional rule after the Sept. 5 overthrow of president Alpha Conde. – Reuters 

The United Nations does not accept Ethiopia’s decision to expel seven senior U.N. officials as famine looms in the war-torn region of Tigray, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday. – Reuters 

A former senior official in an interim government for Ethiopia’s Tigray region appeared in court on Saturday over allegations of inciting conflict between the Tigrayan people and the central government, and possessing an illegal gun, his lawyer said. – Reuters 

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he has directed the lifting of the ban on Twitter’s operations in Nigeria but only if certain conditions are met including Twitter’s “positive” use and registration in the West African nation. – Associated Press 

Ethiopia’s new parliament reappointed Abiy Ahmed as prime minister on Monday following his party’s landslide election win, giving him a five-year mandate to tackle the fallout of a civil war that’s triggered an economic and humanitarian crisis. – Bloomberg 

Michael Rubin writes: In 1994, the U.N. and the world largely stood aside as Hutu militants, backed by France , prepared to wage genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsis. So, too, did the United States. In terms of rhetoric and militancy, Abiy and the Amharas with whom he allied appear prepared for a repeat. If the world does not take concrete action against Abiy to compel him to stand down on his plan, the question is not if there will be genocide against the Tigrayans, but when. – Washington Examiner 

North America

More than a month later, the remote base some 170 miles from Milwaukee is home to 12,600 Afghan evacuees, almost half of them children, now bigger than any city in western Wisconsin’s Monroe County. – New York Times 

A U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser met with Panama’s president, Laurentino Cortizo, and other officials to discuss the Central American country’s infrastructure needs and transparency, the White House said on Friday. – Reuters 

Canadian citizen Michael Spavor expressed joy on Friday at being reunited with his family after being released from jail in China last week. – Reuters 

Editorial: Maybe this is more of the Bidenites’ reflexive hostility to everything done by the last administration, from getting tough on border enforcement to the Abraham Accords. Or perhaps they think this unilateral appeasement of Moscow and Beijing will win the goodwill of these tyrannical regimes. Maybe it’s the result of yet more Hunter Biden influence-peddling. Vengeful, foolish or corrupt, it’s disgraceful. – New York Post 

Marc L. Busch writes: There’s a cost to putting trade policy on pause in a global economy. This is an example of how costly it is. If the Biden administration doesn’t soon unblock the AB, canola won’t be the last gift from an ally that the U.S. misses out on. – The Hill 

James Andrew Lewis writes: How the United States creates innovative technologies has changed, and Congress can use its authorizing and appropriations responsibilities to ensure that the national security community changes with it. A mix of new funding priorities, mandates that emphasize acquiring commercial technology, and supportive authorities for nontraditional organization can move the country along the path identified years ago to harness the powerful U.S. private sector innovation engine for national security. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit that represents people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking, was contacted this spring through a mutual connection by a woman who claimed to have worked at Facebook. – New York Times 

The government in July issued emergency rules to strengthen the cybersecurity of the nation’s most important energy pipelines in a bid to prevent a repeat of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown earlier this year that sparked massive fuel shortages and gasoline panic-buying. – Washington Post 

Officials say the biggest threat facing U.S. elections isn’t Russian hacking or domestic voter fraud but disinformation and misinformation increasingly undermining the public’s perception of voting security. – The Hill 

President Biden on Friday expressed confidence in measures taken by his administration during his first months in office to secure the nation against mounting cyber threats as Cybersecurity Awareness Month kicks off. – The Hill 

The Air Force has been on a multiyear path to redesignate communications squadrons through efficiencies realized by outsourcing mundane IT efforts to private industry allowing it to reinvest its people to conduct cyber defense. – C4ISRNET 

Daniel F. Runde and Sundar P. Ramanujam write: Given these risks, the United States should recognize the need to institutionalize a digital regulation framework and assume a leadership role that can both serve its strategic interests and harmonize the efforts of various actors across the globe. The United States can use its bilateral relationships and leverage its status as the lead shareholder in various multilateral institutions to galvanize global democracies and create consensus on digital governance principles that would protect a free, open, and interoperable internet. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


Federal agents are investigating a new U.S. Navy corruption case that has strong echoes of the Fat Leonard scandal, with a defense contractor facing accusations that he delivered cash bribes and bilked the Navy out of at least $50 million to service its ships in foreign ports, according to recently unsealed court records. – Washington Post 

The U.S. Navy will prioritize readiness and sustainment in this new fiscal year, the acting Navy acquisition chief told Defense News. – Defense News 

In its wide-ranging fiscal 2022 intelligence policy bill, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) paves the way for the creation of a separate Space Force intelligence center — but with caveats that raise questions about any actual change stemming from the move. – Breaking Defense 

The Air Force this week said it hit its service-wide recruiting and staffing goals for the first time in five years, despite continued worries about declining interest in military service among American youth. – Air Force Times 

Ward Wilson writes: If it is likely that those early Cold War assumptions were wrong, it is time — it is past time, in fact — for a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy. We need one that is based on realism and common sense, rather than assumptions from a long-ago time of fear and paranoia. – The Hill 

Jordan Cohen writes: By taking a first step in evaluating human rights before transfers, policymakers in Washington will avoid becoming entangled in conflicts, supporting corrupt governments, and contributing to an increase in terrorism across the globe. To that end, the House’s FY22 NDAA is a good first step to a more safe and responsible US weapons sales policy. – Breaking Defense 

Peter Hussey writes: U.S. conventional deterrent strategy assumes no use of nuclear force. The United States has to strengthen its nuclear deterrent capability to ensure that threshold is never broken. That way, if the United States is called upon to fight, its forces will prevail and the nuclear peace sustained.  – The National Interest  

Bret Devereaux writes: What the historical precedents speak to is a need to choose: Either trim down American objectives in what are, effectively, occupied countries to those that could be achieved merely by organizing the existing military and political structures, or settle down to the task of building a new military organization from the ground up in a manner that fundamentally severs it from the civil society from which it came. – Foreign Policy 

Long War

But they are agonizingly beyond his reach — just a few of roughly 3,000 Yazidis still missing after being captured by ISIS during its takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria. – New York Times 

A Canadian man who narrated two infamous propaganda videos that the Islamic State used to recruit Westerners and to encourage terrorism attacks was secretly whisked to the United States to face federal prosecution in Virginia. – New York Times 

One U.N. peacekeeper was killed and four more were severely wounded when their convoy hit an improvised explosive device in northern Mali on Saturday, the United Nations’ force in Mali said. – Reuters 

A militia previously allied to the Somali government in its fight against militant group al Shabaab has captured two towns in central Somalia from federal forces, saying it was taking control where the government had failed to end the insurgency. – Reuters 

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for killing a member of Pakistan’s minority Sikh community earlier in the week in the northwestern city of Peshawar. – Associated Press 

David Hersch writes: There is a big however which indicates that Iran will not have it all their own way. As with the religious fanaticism of the rulers of Iran, which is Shi’ite, the fanatical Taliban and the majority of Afghanistan are Sunni, and therein lies the rub and the danger. The Taliban themselves have the ISIS and Al Qaeda to contend with plus a country filled with separate tribes and war lords. The 1,400 years of Islamic rivalry will continue. – Arutz Sheva 

Eileen Walsh writes: In order to successfully eliminate terrorist threats and avoid repeating such a deadly mistake in the future, the United States must figure out where the intelligence, reconnaissance, or decision making went wrong. Those who are found to be responsible must be held accountable. To truly conduct counterterrorism, one must actually counter terrorism; not, as the United States has just done, take the lives of innocent civilians, providing fodder for the propaganda that terrorists use for recruitment against the United States in the first place. – The National Interest