Fdd's overnight brief

October 5, 2023

In The News


The U.S. sent Ukraine more than a million rounds of seized small-arms ammunition that Iran had sought to ship to fighters it supports in Yemen, the U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

Exactly what happened to Armita on Sunday is not clear, and the government has not released footage from inside the train that would reveal what made the teenager collapse. But the news of another young woman in a coma under murky circumstances — another girl, another metro station, another hospital, another grief-stricken family — was enough to stir outrage in Iran and fuel accusations that the government’s hijab agents must have harmed her. – New York Times

The United States, Britain and Germany express “insincere concern” over Iranian women and girls, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on the X social media platform on Thursday. – Reuters

Iran said Wednesday it has agreed with Saudi Arabia to reschedule an Asian Champions League match after the Saudi team walked out at the last minute, apparently over the presence of a statue of a slain Iranian general. – Associated Press

A conflict between the United States and Iran would be detrimental to the U.S.’s long-term focus on competition with the Chinese Communist Party. This view, which Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central, shared with reporters on Wednesday underscored the military’s willingness to deploy more forces to the Middle East in an attempt to prevent a larger conflict from emerging. He acknowledged that a recent deployment of additional force to the region has curbed a string of commercial vessel seizures in the region by Iran’s navy. – Washington Examiner

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army unveiled a new drone they developed in a Tuesday drill, Brigadier General Alireza Sheikh announced via state media on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Russia wants closer ties with Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated this week, according to Russian state media and Iranian media. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: The question for investigators now is whether Sieg’s alleged pro-Iran tilt was spontaneous or part of a broader effort by Iran to skew analysis in Washington. Given all the data points, it is clear that the Tabatabai case may only be the tip of the iceberg in an Iranian influence campaign that transcends departments, agencies, and decades. – Washington Examiner

Russia & Ukraine

During the early days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, droves of Ukrainian men rushed to their country’s defense. Thousands abroad uprooted their lives to join the fight at home. Others watched the conflict from afar, war-shy or with lives already established abroad. Now, with the front line in need of fresh troops and Kyiv looking to rebuild, a rift is widening between those who remained in Ukraine and those who fled or stayed away. It threatens to jeopardize the country’s long-term recovery. – Wall Street Journal

Russia has withdrawn the bulk of its Black Sea Fleet from its main base in occupied Crimea, a potent acknowledgment of how Ukrainian missile and drone strikes are challenging Moscow’s hold on the peninsula. – Wall Street Journal

A Russian court sentenced a television journalist who staged an audacious protest against the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine and later fled the country to 8½ years in prison, a fresh signal of how little Moscow is willing to tolerate criticism of its war effort. – Wall Street Journal

Victoria Roshchyna, a Ukrainian freelance journalist, has been missing since she went on a reporting trip to Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine two months ago, raising concerns among family, colleagues and advocates that Russia could be holding her captive. – Washington Post

It might seem like a huge distraction at the height of a full-scale war, not to mention a logistical nightmare: holding a presidential election as Russian missiles fly into the Ukrainian capital and artillery assaults reduce whole towns to ruins. – New York Times

Ukraine’s air defences downed 24 of 29 Russian drones launched in attacks on its territory overnight, the Ukrainian general staff said on Thursday. – Reuters

Officials from the International Monetary Fund say they expect the United States will continue playing its key role in amassing multinational support that has helped keep Ukraine’s economy afloat during Russia’s invasion. – Associated Press

The Pentagon’s ambitious plan to accelerate production of the most widely used artillery shell in Ukraine depends on a series of near-simultaneous actions across the US unlike anything seen since World War II. – Bloomberg

US funding for Ukraine faces a new hurdle in Congress after Representative Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as House speaker gave Republican hardliners an opening to stall the next round of aid to Kyiv. – Bloomberg

More than 50 progressive activists marched across Capitol Hill on Wednesday to protest the war in Ukraine and call on lawmakers to push the Biden administration to negotiate an end to the war. – The Hill

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to appoint a successor to lead the Wagner Group is reigniting public tensions over the future of the mercenary company. – The Hill

Editorial: Arms production isn’t an American jobs program or economic stimulus, a fallacy that Republicans should reject. But it is nonetheless puzzling to see conservatives who complain about “hollowed out” U.S. manufacturing oppose money for producing missiles in Alabama or tanks in Ohio. In less polarized times, Republicans would be capitalizing on Mr. Biden’s Ukraine request to expand U.S. military power, not holding equipment and ammo as a partisan hostage. – Wall Street Journal

Frederick W. Kagan writes: It’s an unpleasant reality that if the U.S. continues to drag its feet, Ukraine won’t be able to hit Russian positions and break through Russian defensive lines. The war will go on, and the U.S. will be partly to blame. If the U.S. suspends or cuts off military aid entirely, Russia will eventually win—which would be devastating for American national security as well as for Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Hal Brands writes: Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell understand this, which is why they will make another push for aid in the weeks ahead. Pro-Ukraine Republicans in the Senate, aware that hard votes won’t get any easier in the coming year, are even talking about seeking a mega-appropriation meant to last Kyiv through November 2024. Their prospects for success, in a deteriorating political environment, are uncertain. The consequences of failure, in Ukraine and around the world, are all too easily foreseen. – Bloomberg


Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian rioters and IDF forces overnight on Wednesday and into Thursday morning in Nablus, Hebrew media reported that same night. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli forces arrested 17 suspects and seized weapons in raids across the West Bank on Tuesday night, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said on Wednesday morning. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Thursday morning, with security forces reporting five border guards were hurt in the fighting including three with serious wounds. – Times of Israel

The leader of the opposition National Unity party, Benny Gantz, arrived in Washington on Wednesday to hold quiet meetings with White House officials, as the US works to broker a historic normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. – Times of Israel

The head of the Shin Bet security agency spoke on the phone this week with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to convince him to postpone an apparently planned visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to avoid exacerbating tensions with the Palestinians, a report said Wednesday. – Times of Israel

Israel has quietly helped fuel Azerbaijan’s campaign to recapture Nagorno-Karabakh, supplying powerful weapons to Azerbaijan ahead of its lightening offensive last month that brought the ethnic Armenian enclave back under its control, officials and experts say. – Associated Press


After Pakistan’s caretaker government last week abruptly agreed to deport the 1.7 million Afghans who are estimated to live in the country illegally, the Interior Ministry on Tuesday announced a 28-day deadline for them to leave voluntarily, promising a “reward” to anyone who shares information on their whereabouts starting in November. While undocumented refugees from other countries could also be affected, the decision appeared to be primarily linked to growing Pakistani frustration with the Taliban and with the economic burden of hosting millions of Afghans. – Washington Post

Pakistan’s threat to forcibly expel illegal Afghan immigrants is “unacceptable”, a spokesman for the Taliban administration in Kabul said on Wednesday, adding that Afghans were not to blame for Pakistan’s security problems. – Reuters

A Taliban guard opened fire at civilians at a border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two people, including a 12-year-old boy, the Pakistani military said. – Associated Press


Iraqi Defence Minister Thabet al-Abbasi arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, Iraqi state news agency (INA) said, and Turkish media said he would meet his Turkish counterpart, Yasar Guler. – Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani will travel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a two-day visit on Oct. 10 and 11, a government source and another person familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

Turkish warplanes launched a new round of airstrikes against Kurdish militant targets in Iraq on Wednesday hours after the foreign minister warned that Turkey would hit the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Ankara earlier this week. – Associated Press


Turkey may target energy facilities and other sites run by US-backed Kurdish militant groups in Syria following a suicide-bomb attack in the Turkish capital over the weekend, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Wednesday. – Bloomberg

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled a day trip to Spain, where leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to hold peace talks after Baku successfully took control of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Bloomberg

Turkey is preparing to host the third international gathering of national security advisers working to build support for a peace summit Ukraine wants to hold later this year, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ and Turkey are in talks to build a railway over Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait as part of a planned trade corridor linking Europe to the Middle East and Asia, according to Turkish officials familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia

Democratic senators told President Biden on Wednesday that any diplomatic pact between Saudi Arabia and Israel would need to include a commitment from Israel to halt settlements in Palestinian territories and preserve “the option of a two-state solution.” – New York Times

Saudi Arabia and Russia on Wednesday said they were continuing voluntary oil cuts to year end as tightening supply and rising demand support oil prices. – Reuters

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s planned visit to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the UK is unlikely to occur for the next few months, later than initially expected, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi praised the warming relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at a conference in Riyadh, calling them “blossoming ties.” – Agence France-Presse

Prominent pro-Israel Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud has disappeared this week ahead of a planned meeting with a visiting Israeli minister and ahead of a scheduled appearance on Israeli television, leading to speculation that he might have been arrested by authorities in Riyadh. – Times of Israel

A pair of US President Joe Biden’s top advisers paid another visit to Riyadh last week to advance negotiations toward a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to limit the scope of the Palestinian component of the deal. – Times of Israel

Dennis Ross writes: Putting all the pieces together may be a bit like dealing with a Rubric’s Cube to include what the Saudis will ask regarding the Palestinians. Significantly, they are not focused on slogans or mythologies, but on practical steps. Yes, those steps will stress Israel’s government, but what can be achieved is historic in its implications for Israel (and the US). Leadership requires recognizing historic moments and having the courage and wisdom to take advantage of them. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Egyptian opposition parties said on Wednesday that people trying to endorse candidates hoping to stand against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an election in December had been repeatedly obstructed from doing so. – Reuters

The Biden administration will work with the U.S. Congress on military aid and arms sales to Egypt, the State Department said on Wednesday, after the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he would block the aid over human rights concerns. – Reuters

Libya’s parliament speaker Aguila Saleh has issued laws for national presidential and parliamentary elections, the chamber’s spokesperson said on Wednesday, but continued disputes over the process may make a vote difficult to achieve. – Reuters

The Jordanian foreign ministry denounced on Wednesday the “continuing violations and attacks” against Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, while the Biden administration issued its own condemnation of footage from earlier this week showing ultra-Orthodox Jews spitting toward Christian worshipers in the Old City. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has halted the nuclear reactor at its main atomic complex, probably to extract plutonium that could be used for weapons by reprocessing spent fuel rods, a South Korean news report said on Thursday, citing a government source. – Reuters

North Korea is warning Wednesday that its military will deliver “the most overwhelming and sustained response strategy” to the U.S. after the Pentagon last week issued a report on weapons of mass destruction that called the country a “persistent” threat. – Fox News

With Army Pvt. Travis King back in the US after two months in North Korean custody, it’s unclear if he will face disciplinary actions for running across the demarcation line into North Korea. – CNN

Denny Roy writes: The Trump-Kim meetings in 2018 and 2019 suggest negotiations over denuclearization could resume, especially if Trump gets re-elected president. Keep in mind, however, that the last round of talks in 2019 failed spectacularly; bilateral relations remained poor thereafter for the remainder of the Trump presidency; it was never clear that Pyongyang intended to actually denuclearize, as opposed to selling off unimportant parts of its nuclear weapons infrastructure to gain relief from U.S. sanctions. Any denuclearization agreement would face immense implementation hurdles involving transparency and verification.  The chances of the DPRK giving up its nuclear weapons are not zero, but realistically this could only happen in a future world with radically changed conditions. – The National Interest


A large expert-network consulting firm, Capvision, said it had completed a Chinese government-supervised “rectification,” as companies operating in the country face heightened scrutiny from authorities. – Wall Street Journal

A new wave of “everyday feminism” is spreading through China’s cities, evading the crackdowns that snuffed out an earlier swell of women’s rights activism and complicating a Communist Party campaign to revive traditional family values. – Wall Street Journal

A 45-day stopgap measure passed by the U.S. Congress to avert a government shutdown has left potential funding shortfalls for strategic Pacific island states, which analysts and former officials say makes the U.S. allies economically vulnerable and possibly more receptive to Chinese approaches. – Reuters

The U.S. should demand that China support debt restructuring for struggling poor and middle-income countries as a condition of changes to the International Monetary Fund’s shareholding formula, a former senior U.S. Treasury development expert said on Wednesday. – Reuters

For much of the world, China’s Xinjiang region is notorious, a place where ethnic Uyghurs face forced labor and arbitrary detention. But a group of visiting foreign journalists was left with a decidedly different impression. – Associated Press

The US is deepening intelligence cooperation with countries across Asia as it looks to counter Beijing’s sophisticated spying apparatus and blunt Chinese cyber attacks. – Bloomberg

South Asia

India’s external intelligence service is a feared foe in its neighborhood: Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have all accused it of political meddling and involvement with outlawed groups that have perpetrated acts of violence. – Reuters

Foreign military forces cannot stay in the Maldives, president-elect Mohamed Muizzu told a rally celebrating his victory in closely watched weekend presidential elections that are expected to redraw ties with India and China. – Reuters

India’s top investigative agency has arrested a lawmaker from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rival Aam Aadmi Party just a day after local police held two journalists who have been critical of the federal government. – BloombergIndia’s latest media crackdown puts the US in an awkward position as it seeks to balance promotion of human rights with courting New Delhi to counter the influence of China. – Bloomberg


Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday emphasised the importance of military hardware modernisation but warned any spending should be done wisely as the state budget was limited. – Reuters

China has “very diverse” ways of interfering in Taiwan’s elections in January, from military pressure to spreading fake news, including manipulating opinion polls, a senior Taiwanese security official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Prosecutors in Taiwan have indicted two leaders of the island’s tiny Taiwan People’s Communist Party on accusations they colluded with China in an effort to influence next year’s elections for president and members of the legislative assembly. – Associated Press

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has canceled plans to attend peace talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after Baku’s military took control of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, local media reported Wednesday. – Bloomberg

The Philippines said it has successfully shipped fresh supplies to a military outpost in a shoal in the South China Sea despite what it described as attempts by Chinese vessels “to block, harass and interfere” with the mission. – Bloomberg

Japan will start procuring Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States in fiscal 2025, a year earlier than initially planned, in response to the worsening Asian security environment, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said Wednesday. – Kyodo News

Tom Rogan writes: It beggars belief that Tsai’s government was unaware of this activity by prominent Taiwanese industrial interests. Why, then, has the government failed to urgently restrict these companies from providing aid and comfort to the enemy? Why, unless the Taiwanese government does not regard China as its preeminent adversary. It is, of course, Taipei’s absolute democratic right to adopt these stances. But so also do Taiwan’s choices toward China demand closer U.S. scrutiny. After all, if Taiwan is disinterested in defending itself from China, how on Earth could any U.S. president justify sending Americans to do so? – Washington Examiner

Ariel Cohen writes: Money talks. Energy talks louder. Europe has considerable interests in Azerbaijani oil and gas supplies, which partially replace embargoed Russian hydrocarbons. Azerbaijan’s massive off-shore Caspian energy production — including the thousand-mile-long, one-million-barrels-a-day Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to the Mediterranean, and the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline — convincingly demonstrate that realpolitik plays a dominant role in today’s European security. And the fact that secular Azerbaijan provides a small but important countervailing political value against the theocratic dictatorship in Tehran may also have something to do with the muted Western reaction. – The Hill


These training exercises go to the core of Finland’s military strategy, to create a force, based on conscription and reservists, capable of fighting should the country go to war — all the more crucial since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Each year, some 20,000 or so men are subject to universal male conscription in Finland, while another 1,000 or so women volunteer. – New York Times

Moldova’s parliament began moves on Wednesday to prevent members of the banned pro-Russian Shor party running in local elections for other parties or as independent candidates. – Reuters

Hungary’s foreign minister on Wednesday suggested his country would continue blocking military aid to Ukraine despite a recent decision by Kyiv to remove a Hungarian bank from a Ukrainian list of sponsors of Russia’s war. – Associated Press

A court in Serbia on Wednesday released from a brief detention a Kosovo Serb leader who has been linked to a clash with Kosovo security forces in which four people died, sending tensions soaring in the volatile region. – Associated Press

Germany plans to supply additional air defenses for Ukraine to help protect grain shipments from potential Russian attacks, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Over the longer term, the EU needs to invest to help Poland and others upgrade their lagging transportation and storage facilities. That would alleviate some of the capacity problems that have hurt farmers and help prepare for increased future trade flows as the EU expands. For its part, Poland should remember that continued support for Ukraine serves its own economic and security interests. Given Poland’s outsized importance to Ukraine’s defense — and Europe’s own security — a swift, diplomatic resolution of the grain dispute is far preferable to squabbling and threats of litigation. The costs may be high, but the losses will only be greater if allies are pulling in opposite directions. – Bloomberg


France will begin withdrawing its troops from coup-hit Niger this week after President Emmanuel Macron said last month he refused to be “held hostage” by the putchists and was ending military cooperation with the West African country. – Reuters

Gunmen in Nigeria kidnapped five female students from a university in the northwestern Katsina state on Wednesday, the police said, the second such abduction involving students in the region within a month. – Reuters

Mali’s northern Tuareg rebels said on Wednesday that they had seized another military base from the Malian army, bringing to five the number of conquered and pillaged camps in recent weeks. – Reuters

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister was moved to the tourism post Wednesday as part of a Cabinet reshuffle just days after the official said the country’s police in the Kenya-led Haiti peacekeeping mission would be deployed “within a short time.” – Associated Press

Kenyan lawmakers said Wednesday that parliamentary approval is required before the deployment of police to the Kenya-led peacekeeping mission in Haiti to combat gang violence that was approved by the U.N. Security Council this week. – Associated Press

A U.N.-backed probe of human rights abuses in Ethiopia is set to expire after no country stepped forward to seek an extension, despite repeated warnings that serious violations continue almost a year since a cease-fire ended a bloody civil war in the East African country. – Associated Press

Four Western countries floated a proposal Wednesday for the United Nations’ top human rights body to appoint a team of experts to monitor and report on abuses and rights violations in war-wracked Sudan. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

The Kenyan force tasked with leading a mission to take back Haiti’s streets from violent gangs that have overtaken much of the country’s capital will be made up of police officers who have a checkered history of their own at home, accused of killing more than 100 people this year and lobbing tear-gas into a school during anti-government demonstrations. – New York Times

“We are obliged to accept it,” said Charles Adison in one of the many schools that have been converted into makeshift refugee camps in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, speaking about a UN resolution this week that will see foreign forces entering the country to help police restore order. – Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday his administration is considering declassifying a list of suspected former Nazi collaborators who immigrated to Canada following the Second World War. – Agence France-Presse

Pierre Espérance writes: If such a transitional government is not realized and the current government carries on and eventually calls for elections, gangs will control the polls. Terrorized people will vote for gang-affiliated politicians and even gang leaders themselves, some of whom are entertaining the idea of running for office. Supporting a credible, new transitional government is a critical opportunity for the United States and the international community to do right by Haiti. They should take it. – New York Times

Latin America

Mexico will cooperate with the incoming administration of Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arevalo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday, after a fraught transition process that has drawn international criticism. – Reuters

Cuba on Wednesday said it had detected “noticeable growth” in the flow of its migrants across irregular routes north through Central America in the past weeks and months, blaming the U.S. trade embargo for stoking economic crisis and a record-breaking exodus. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top American officials are visiting Mexico on Wednesday to discuss shared security issues, foremost among them trafficking of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, but also arms trafficking and increasing migration. – Associated Press


Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s cloud services face an investigation by the UK’s antitrust watchdog over concerns the US firms may be abusing their market power. – Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s securities regulator and police force set up a task force to assist with the detection of suspicious activity at crypto exchanges, intensifying oversight of the industry after the blowup at the JPEX platform. – Bloomberg

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Tuesday demanded answers from TikTok about its ties to ByteDance, the social media platform’s Beijing-based parent company, following a report of high-level executives moving between the two companies. – The Hill

Dave Lee writes: While that analysis was funded by broadband industry trade groups, its warnings are fair. The FCC is heading for a time-consuming legal confrontation. The route to truly enshrining an open internet is through new legislation — only then will net neutrality be protected for good and both sides can stop whipping themselves into a frenzy with each new administration. – Bloomberg

Jennifer Huddleston writes: Rather than focusing on positive, forward-looking policy that could remove barriers to innovation and expand internet access, the FCC is once again poised to have a policy fight over net neutrality, a bad policy it previously vanquished. The last few years have brought positive and bipartisan action from the agency that benefited both consumers and innovation, but this shift brings with it many concerns about the potential for regulatory positioning and intervention into the internet. Hopefully, this will prove to be a short-lived nightmare and not the start of a horror movie for the internet as we know it. – Washington Examiner


More than 80 percent of four-star officers retiring from the U.S. armed forces go on to work in the defense industry, a new study has found, underscoring the close relationship between top U.S. brass and government-contracted companies that has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill. – Washington Post

A leading House lawmaker is downplaying the value of an Air Force and Pentagon proposal that would allow services to start working on new programs before Congress officially passes a budget funding them. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps should reconsider the survivability of their surface connectors, which the Corps is increasingly relying on to operate in contested waters, RAND researchers warn in a new report. – Defense News

It’s been called an “entirely new breed of U.S. Navy warship” and a “lemon.” A “mothership” for unmanned systems and “the wrong ship at the wrong time.” A cornerstone of the Navy’s “transformation” and the “little crappy ship.” – Defense News

The Space Force awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $630 million contract for engineering and integration services for the service’s missile tracking and surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking capabilities, the company announced Oct. 4. – Defense News

Long War

Lawyers for the longest-held prisoner in the U.S. war against terrorism have begun a new legal offensive in multiple courts aimed at securing his release from Guantánamo Bay. – New York Times

Palestinian gunmen marched Wednesday through Gaza City, brandishing weapons and carrying rockets and drones, in a parade marking the 36th anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Jihad movement. – Agence France-Presse

The threat the Islamic State terror group poses to the United States is limited at this point but still very real, according to a top military official. U.S. forces are “in a good spot right now” as it relates to ISIS’s status in Syria but do “not necessarily” have “the touch of everything that’s going on” as it relates to the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), according to Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central. – Washington Examiner