Fdd's overnight brief

October 6, 2021

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


It has been six years since an Iranian American business consultant, and later his father, were arrested in Iran and they remain there despite efforts by three White House administrations to secure their release. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser told his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday that diplomacy is the best way to rein in Iran’s nuclear program even as he reaffirmed Biden’s warning to Tehran that Washington could turn to other options if negotiations fail. – Reuters  

Iran’s media has begun to up the rhetoric against Azerbaijan, with a headline claiming that Baku has “denied the presence of the Zionist regime near the border with Iran,” a claim that appears to contrast with its insinuation that Israel’s close relationship with Azerbaijan is a threat to Tehran. – Jerusalem Post 

The Mossad abducted an Iranian general in Syria during its operation last month to uncover new information about missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, according to a report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Rai al-Youm. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran on Tuesday urged the UN atomic agency to clearly condemn a “sabotage” attack on a nuclear facility west of Tehran that it has accused Israel of carrying out. – Agence France-Presse 

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi vowed on Tuesday to continue military operations to counter Iran’s military capabilities, including its nuclear program. – Times of Israel 

Azerbaijan has closed a mosque linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader, AFP reported on Tuesday, citing Iran’s Tasnim news agency. – Arutz Sheva 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran has informed the Republic of Azerbaijan that it would never tolerate the presence of the “artificial” Zionist regime near its border or in neighboring countries. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

The U.S. will not offer Iran concessions just to get nuclear talks restarted, a senior U.S. official told reporters, rejecting an Iranian demand for “a goodwill gesture,” such as the release of $10 billion in frozen Iranian funds. – Axios 

Western powers have been trying for weeks to get Tehran’s answer to one question – when will the Islamic Republic return to nuclear talks that have been on hold since June. Iran’s response has been vague and simple: “soon”. – Reuters  

Lahav Harkov writes: Netanyahu is not the only one from whom Bennett may have been trying to wrest a narrative; the prime minister may have wanted to make sure Iran was not the first to tell the story of the general’s capture, presenting it as an act of aggression. But with Bennett and the Prime Minister’s Office still hiding more than they are revealing, Iran may end up filling in the blanks in this story. – Jerusalem Post 

Efraim Inbar and Omer Dostri write: The bottom line is that by forgoing Israeli opposition to US return to the nuclear agreement – even if only as a matter of appearance, recognizing that Israel cannot truly influence US decision-making on this issue – is detrimental to Israel’s security. But it is not too late to return to a policy that defiantly objects to US return to the nuclear deal. – Times of Israel 

Ilan I. Berman writes: The advent of the Biden administration brought with it a rollback of “maximum pressure” and a relaxation of enforcement of secondary U.S. sanctions against Iran’s trading partners. […]The resulting message from Israel’s top leadership could not be any clearer: It is prepared to act to prevent a nuclear Iran. If it ends up doing so, it will be because the United States and its international partners did not take Iran’s nuclear program, or Israel’s concerns, seriously enough. – National Review  

Alex Vatanka writes: Tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan are high right now but both sides will very likely soon step down. Neither Tehran nor Baku can afford to let recent events lead to a full-fledged crisis or a military showdown between the two Shi’a Muslim-majority countries. On the surface, this latest spat is about Azerbaijan’s resentment toward Iran for providing an economic lifeline through trade and transit options to its landlocked arch nemesis, Armenia. In reality, the split that underpins the ongoing Iranian-Azerbaijani tensions is more about fundamental foreign policy choices that Tehran and Baku have each made and are unlikely to reverse. – Middle East Institute  


In Kabul and other Afghan cities, the United States will be remembered for enabling two decades of progress in women’s rights, an independent media and other freedoms. But in the nation’s hinterlands, the main battlegrounds of America’s longest war, many Afghans view the United States primarily through the prism of conflict, brutality and death. – Washington Post 

Hundreds of Afghans gathered outside a passport office in Kabul on Wednesday, a day after Taliban officials said that the country would resume issuing travel documents, ending a months-long suspension that had further diminished the already limited ability of Afghans to leave their war-torn country. – Washington Post 

In the chaos of the American military withdrawal and the Taliban takeover this summer, thousands of American-made weapons and tons of military equipment were seized by the militants as government military bases surrendered or were overrun. – New York Times 

After spending 13 years as a Taliban fighter waging an insurgency, Rahimullah is now slowly adjusting to the relatively ordinary role of a policeman in Afghanistan’s capital. Like the rest of the Taliban, he is grappling with an awkward transition from rebel fighter to civilian patrolman, as the hardliners vow security and build a new police force. – Agence France-Presse 

A senior British envoy held talks with top Taliban officials in Kabul on Tuesday — the first since foreign forces evacuated from Afghanistan — as the country’s new masters seek a path out of international isolation. – Agence France-Presse 

Throughout September 2021, in numerous meetings with Chinese officials as well as media interviews, Taliban continued to emphasize the Taliban’s desire for closer Taliban-China relations, and China has been responding in kind, including with a shipment of humanitarian aid. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Hamid Mir writes: Taliban leaders could earn considerable goodwill from the international community by taking action against opium cultivation. If they don’t, I believe that the Afghan drug trade could become the scourge of the world. Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai once said that either Afghanistan destroys opium or opium will destroy Afghanistan. He is now living in Kabul under the protection of the Taliban. The Taliban would be well-advised to heed his warnings. – Washington Post 

Michael O’Hanlon writes: Perhaps there was no real choice in Afghanistan, after the 9/11 attacks, but the lesson needs to be kept in mind for the long-term future. A final and more hopeful note: for all their hard-line governance to date, the Taliban seem not to want to provoke us militarily. Perhaps, despite our failure at one level, they realize that the United States is a formidable foe that will fight hard to defend its security interests and allies. Perhaps, in a broader sense, the mission did not fail so comprehensively after all. – The National Interest  


Facebook Inc.’s massive outage on Monday spurred calls for a new digital “order” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man with little tolerance for political criticism on social media. – Bloomberg 

Turkey and Azerbaijan have launched joint military drills as the two nations expand defense ties in the wake of last year’s war against Armenian forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Aaron Stein writes: The United States may have little leverage to stop Turkish action, but the split policy means that Washington is riven by division and cannot agree on pushing for de-escalation between the two groups. […]The ideal off-ramp, of course, is a return to peace talks, but Washington has few good options to pressure Turkey to return to a peace process. More importantly, the politics in Turkey do not support such a move. Until this political reality changes, Turkish drone strikes will be a constant irritant to U.S. interests that have to be managed. – War on the Rocks  


A Hamas delegation headed by the movement’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, continued efforts to reach an agreement of calm and prisoner swap, while warning against “violations” of Jerusalem and Palestinian prisoners, during a visit to Egypt on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel’s public posture on Iran’s nuclear advancement last week was a tale of two messages. […]But then another message – starkly different – came out in several analysis pieces in the Israeli media that appeared a few days later on Friday (including in The Jerusalem Post), all saying essentially the same thing: Israel does not have an up-to-date and effective military plan for hitting Iran’s nuclear installations. – Jerusalem Post 

American officials have continued to press their Israeli counterparts about espionage concerns related to a Chinese-built port in Haifa, suggesting that the Israelis conduct regular inspections of heavy machinery there to ensure nothing nefarious is afoot, Israeli defense sources told Breaking Defense. – Breaking Defense 

In a historical first, a delegation composed exclusively of Bahraini citizens visited Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center on Tuesday. – Haaretz 

Cade Spivey writes: Defunding Iron Dome is not a pro-Palestinian position or a pro-peace position; it is solely an anti-Israel position. The throw-away contrarian votes of the Squad were nothing more than a political statement — the kind of statement they have made before and will always make again when they have the microphone. But when symbolic gestures threaten the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians, it leaves one to question if the Squad merely misunderstands its own rhetoric, or if they are saying the quiet part out loud. – Algemeiner  


The scene last month underscored the difficulties faced by the candidates: They are telling Iraq’s disillusioned youth, the country’s largest demographic, to trust an electoral process that in the past has tainted by tampering and fraud. But apathy and distrust are widespread, and some of the same pro-reform activists whose protests in 2019 led to the vote now are calling for a boycott at the polls after a series of targeted killings. – Associated Press 

Among the candidates running in Iraq’s general elections this week is a leader in one of the country’s most hard-line and powerful militias with close ties to Iran who once battled U.S. troops. – Associated Press 

Despite the risk of getting stranded in Europe or perishing on the way there, scores of people from a single town in Iraq’s Kurdish region have opted to be smuggled into European Union countries via Belarus, local smugglers and officials say. – Reuters  

Ziad Daoud writes: Wouldn’t Iraq struggle to fund universal income if oil prices fall? Yes, but it has also struggled to pay public-sector salaries when petroleum fell in 2014 — it went to the International Monetary Fund, hat in hand, seeking help. […]Universal income reduces corruption, has a better chance of being implemented than other solutions that require the elites to reform themselves against their interests, is fairer and develops a healthier economy. It’s not perfect. But it’s far superior to the current arrangement and deserves at least to be tested when a new government is formed after the elections. – Bloomberg  

Munqith Dagher writes: In conclusion, it seems that the Marja’iyya of Najaf has decided to throw its spiritual, moral, and financial weight towards rescuing the state and preventing another Iranian or Lebanese-style revolution from occurring in Iraq. […]Regardless of one’s opinion on the extent to which religious intervention in matters of the Iraqi state should be accepted or rejected, it is likely that these recent developments will alter the rules of the game in Iraq. – Washington Institute 


A trove of leaked documents confirmed that for years, Lebanon’s politicians and bankers have stowed wealth in offshore tax havens and used it to buy expensive properties—a galling revelation for masses of newly impoverished Lebanese caught in one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns in decades. – Associated Press 

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s family wealth comes from a communications business that has been audited in the past and is legal, a statement from his office said on Tuesday in response to a giant leak of financial documents. – Reuters 

Israel is ready to renew efforts to solve its dispute with Lebanon over the delineation of their territorial waters in the Mediterranean, but it will not accept that Beirut dictates the terms of the negotiation, its energy minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

A third tanker containing a shipment of Iranian oil destined for Lebanon docked in Syria’s Baniyas port on Wednesday, an online oil shipment tracking service said. – Associated Press 

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Arabian textbooks showed significant improvement in 2021 in their treatment of non-Muslims and of violence in the name of Islam, according to a study by an Israel-based research organization. – Times of Israel 

Abraham Accords countries are helping Israel forge diplomatic relations with more states in the region, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

The U.N. special envoy for Yemen met Tuesday with the prime minister of the country’s internationally recognized government in the port city of Aden, officials said. Hans Grundberg landed in Aden in his first visit to the war-scarred country since taking up his post last month, according to the U.N. mission in Yemen. – Associated Press 

Middle East & North Africa

U.N. investigators say they have found evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated in Libya in recent years, including violence against civilians on the part of foreign mercenaries and human rights violations in prisons. – Washington Post 

For years, Western governments and human rights groups have urged Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to ease his crackdown on dissent, which has seen the arrests of thousands of people, including activists and journalists. – Washington Post 

David Ignatius writes: For the Middle East, which has been buffeted by the United States’ 20 years of war in the region, the withdrawal from Afghanistan marked an inflection point. The United States’ traditional partners are still in the game with us, but the deck has been reshuffled. – Washington Post 

Osama Al Sharif writes: It is clear that the Biden administration has provided King Abdullah with the necessary political cover to carry on with his efforts to rehabilitate the Syrian regime. But it is a transactional relationship. […]The big question is whether Putin will put real pressure on Assad to distance himself from the Iranians despite the risks for the regime. A positive gesture from Damascus will certainly boost King Abdullah’s efforts while providing a rare window for a political settlement to the decade-old conflict. – Middle East Institute  

Korean Peninsula

Josh Rogin writes: But in the end, there’s no solution to the North Korean nuclear issue that can avoid dealing directly with Kim, who continues to amass new and dangerous weapons. Sooner or later, hopefully from a position of strength, Washington and Seoul will have to try again to start substantive negotiations with Pyongyang. – Washington Post 

Robert E. Kelly writes: Moon will try again. He has no other play. But the optics will be uncomfortable. Moon has already been criticized in the press here for cloying supineness before Kim in his desperation for a deal, especially now that the new team of U.S. president Joe Biden has pretty clearly signaled that they are just waiting Moon out. Given all this, I doubt Kim will agree to another summit. – The National Interest 

Caleb Larson writes: Could the Republic of Korea Marine Corps succeed where the United States Marines Corps failed? Hopes were high for the USMC’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. On paper, the vehicle would have excelled both on land and at sea, combining the swimming abilities of a speedboat with the off-road tenacity of a tank. Unfortunately, the EFV was plagued by engine troubles and proved to be prone to breakdown. Ballooning program costs and the United States laser-focus on land campaigns axed the program. – The National Interest 


U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan and they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”, as tensions have ratcheted up between Taipei and Beijing. – Reuters  

U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser will hold talks with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland on Wednesday, upholding a pledge by both countries to boost communication amid a deepening strategic rivalry. – Reuters 

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Tuesday it is seeking public comments on plans to revive a targeted tariff exclusion process for imports from China, specifically whether to reinstate previously extended exclusions on 549 import product categories. – Reuters  

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board will interview Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday as it reviews claims she pressured World Bank staff to alter data to favor China in her previous role, sources familiar with the plans said. – Reuters  

Editorial: What could have created a truly impactful U.S.-led counterweight to Beijing was the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Barack Obama negotiated toward the end of his presidency. Mr. Trump spurned it and Mr. Biden, bowing to protectionist sentiment in his party, shows no signs of reviving it. The president should change that, or else he’ll be retaining not only what his predecessor got right about China — but also his mistakes. – Washington Post 

Editorial: Beijing’s application may be vetoed initially by one of CPTPP’s existing members. US partners in Asia are keen for America to join — pointing out that without an economic dimension alongside the defence and security efforts, Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy is a two-legged stool. But the longer the US stands aside from the group, the more its members may conclude it is in their best interests to have Beijing inside the tent: for most of them China is a dominant trading partner. For a White House determined to counter China’s growing influence, that would be a sizeable geopolitical setback. – Financial Times 

Joseph Bosco writes: If the president and his subordinates fail to recognize the comprehensive existential threat that China poses, the underlying ideological basis for resistance that the Trump team built will be eroded. That relapse may be under way already. – The Hill 


Record numbers of Chinese air force fighter jets and bombers conducting drills near Taiwan in recent days have escalated fears that Beijing is willing to use military brinkmanship to express displeasure with U.S. support of Taiwan, the self-governed island it claims as its own. – Washington Post 

Military tensions with China are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan’s defence minister said on Wednesday, days after record numbers of Chinese aircraft flew into the island’s air defence zone. – Reuters  

Southeast Asian countries are discussing not inviting the head of Myanmar’s junta to a summit later this month, due to a lack of progress on an agreed roadmap to restore peace in the strife-torn country, a regional envoy said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Australia will stop detaining asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the end of December, the two countries said on Wednesday, as Canberra shuts one of two remote Pacific detention centres that have been criticised by the United Nations. – Reuters  

A group of French senators arrived in Taiwan for a five-day visit Wednesday following a large Chinese show of force with fighter jets amid the highest tensions in decades between China and Taiwan. – Associated Press 

Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held his first talks since taking office with President Joe Biden and confirmed they will work to strengthen their alliance and cooperate in regional security in the face of growing challenges from China and North Korea. – Associated Press 

Taiwan’s defence minister has warned that China will be fully capable of invading the island by 2025, in the government’s first clear message to the public that the country faces a threat of war. – Financial Times 

Japan’s view that its security is “inextricable tied” to Taiwan’s has gone from words to actions, as Tokyo for the first time is participating in exercises to deter Chinese aggression, an expert in Asia-Pacific affairs said Monday. – USNI News 

Kari Soo Lindberg, Natalie Lung, and Pablo Robles write: In little more than a year, China’s expansive crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong has transformed the Asian financial hub and raised big questions for individuals and companies alike. Imposed by Beijing without public debate last year after historic mass protests calling for greater democracy, the national security law carries harsh sentences: Individual offenders face as long as life in prison, while businesses could be shut down. […]As Hong Kong’s leaders have ramped up their focus on law and order, expenditure on the city’s growing national security apparatus has also increased. – Bloomberg  

Hal Brands writes: The era of Japanese quiescence is ending, however, and the primary reason is China’s bellicosity. Beijing is challenging Tokyo’s control of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, and it is menacing Taiwan, which shields Japan’s southern flank. […]Beijing’s belligerence is making it more likely that Japan will experience another foreign policy revolution — which would, once again, come at China’s expense. – Bloomberg  

Mirna Galic writes: However, in the case of Japan’s legal authorities for addressing a Taiwan contingency, the key question relates to Japan’s options rather than its intentions. By creating a space for confusion by U.S. military planners and Japan’s own decision-makers, the ambiguities and conditionalities related to the application of these designations to Taiwan undermine deterrence and give China an advantage that these allies need not concede. Remedying this confusion will help strengthen deterrence and ensure that a Taiwan contingency remains purely hypothetical. – War on the Rocks  

Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem write: The PLA’s actions have two clear purposes. First, the PLA Air Force seeks to wear down its Taiwanese counterpart by maintaining a high operational tempo, much as the China coast guard has done to the Vietnamese, Philippine, and Japanese navies and coast guards in the South and East China Seas. […]Is the current administration, the U.S., and its Navy on the war footing needed to defend against the attacks China is evidently preparing for? – RealClear Defense  


Among the first Russians to arrive in Kabul after the Taliban takeover in August was Maxim Shugaley, a shadowy figure working for Kremlin ally Yevgeniy Prigozhin, whom the U.S. holds responsible for interfering in the 2016 election. […]From Libya to Madagascar and now Afghanistan, the unusual career path of Mr. Shugaley provides an insight into how Moscow seeks to make friends and influence governments in places where America’s sway is fading. – Wall Street Journal 

A group of 45 Western countries demanded at the global toxic arms watchdog on Tuesday that Russia provide urgent answers about the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. – Agence France-Presse 

Poland hopes that a bolstered cooperation between the European Union and NATO, combined with the alliance’s further enlargement, could spur a more robust approach to Moscow, according to senior Polish defense officials. – Defense News 

Leonid Bershidsky writes: You would expect the biggest leak of offshore data in history to contain lots of damaging information about Russian President Vladimir Putin, or at least his close circle of friends. But the Russia-related portion of the Pandora Papers, an almost-3-terabyte cache of information about offshore companies and their end beneficiaries that took 600 journalists more than a year to research, appears to be disappointing. The findings are dated, relatively insignificant or both. – Bloomberg  


Secretary of State Antony Blinken held last-minute talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday, suggesting the two countries are seeking to repair relations following an angry feud over a U.S. submarine deal with Australia. – Washington Post 

The group, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the Claims Conference, announced on Wednesday that it had secured an additional $767 million in benefits for Holocaust survivors. During the past 70 years, the group estimated, the German government has set aside more than $90 billion for Holocaust survivors. – New York Times 

As European Union leaders gather for a summit on how to keep engaging with their Western Balkans neighbors, the bloc’s once-successful enlargement policy faces an impasse. – Associated Press 

The U.K. hit back at France over its threat to Britain’s electricity supplies in a dispute over fishing, escalating post-Brexit tensions between the two countries. – Bloomberg  

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, presented on Tuesday its first-ever comprehensive strategy for combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life on the continent. – Jerusalem Post 

Lionel Laurent writes: It’s time for Paris to look beyond Berlin. Even if Macron’s Mitterrandian ideals mean the Franco-German relationship will always be critical, his administration hasn’t invested enough energy in cultivating other partnerships. Merkel’s support was obviously crucial in getting the EU to cross the Rubicon of joint borrowing after Covid, but it’s doubtful her successor will be fully aligned with France on both economics and geopolitics. – Bloomberg  

Alp Sevimlisoy and Peter Woodard write: Regional cooperation in the Mediterranean is rapidly accelerating. A Mediterranean Union would build on existing structures, pushing at an open door. With so much change in the pipeline, America would be seriously remiss in its duties if it failed to act. The prize for action is a strengthened region, a stronger America and the removal from the geopolitical chessboard of potential prizes for Russia and China thus the catalyst to commence the redux of Pax Americana both in the Mediterranean and across the globe. – The Hill 


Mali’s foreign ministry has summoned the country’s French ambassador after France’s President Emmanuel Macron questioned the legitimacy of the African nation’s interim leadership. – Bloomberg  

The troops were part of the Takuba Task Force, a group of elite soldiers from across Europe charged with turning the tide in a decade-long Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians in the Sahel, the band of arid terrain south of the Sahara Desert. – Reuters  

Distant machine gun fire interrupted a speech by Cameroonian Prime Minister Dion Ngute on Tuesday during a visit to the capital of the restive North West region that Anglophone separatists had vowed to disrupt. – Reuters  

The Americas

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA said Monday it had completed overhauls to its compliance program, bringing to a close a settlement agreement with U.S. authorities over a vast bribery and kickback scheme in Brazil. – Wall Street Journal 

The Venezuela-Colombia border reopened on Tuesday after years of closure. The main border crossing between the countries was opened after Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez announced the decision on Monday, EFE reported. – The Hill 

Mexico will work during high-level security talks this week to ensure “reciprocity” from the United States on matters such as arms trafficking and extraditions, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Tuesday. – Reuters  

United States

Top American counterintelligence officials warned every C.I.A. station and base around the world last week about troubling numbers of informants recruited from other countries to spy for the United States being captured or killed, people familiar with the matter said. – New York Times 

Counterintelligence officials at the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va., have dispatched a cable to officers around the world cautioning them to take greater care in handling human sources, who are at risk of being captured or killed by rival intelligence services, according to people familiar with the matter. – Washington Post 

Becket Adams writes: President Joe Biden “literally” had no idea Washington’s secretive nuclear technology pact with the United Kingdom and Australia created a diplomatic row with France, according to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. […]If he’s telling the truth, it means the president of the United States had no idea France, one of America’s oldest allies, was incensed after it learned it was excluded from the U.S.’s nuclear technology deal. And not just a little angry. France was so angry, in fact, it recalled its ambassadors to the U.S., an unprecedented and not-at-all-subtle act clearly expressing outrage and extreme disappointment. – Washington Examiner  


Facebook Inc. FB 2.06% whistleblower Frances Haugen testified to Congress Tuesday on internal documents showing harms from the company’s products—from teenagers’ mental-health problems to poisoned political debate—adding fuel to efforts to pass tougher regulations on Big Tech. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. tech giants such as Apple (AAPL.O), Google, Facebook (FB.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) should be regulated by the EU country where they are based under proposed EU rules, a top lawmaker said on Tuesday, knocking back efforts by some countries to broaden the planned act’s scope. – Reuters  

The CEO of US cybersecurity firm Mandiant said today that he believes the next big advancement in cybersecurity will be the ability of governments and private companies to work together in a “coordinated national and global response” to incidents — not unlike how he said his firm worked with the government in response to the SolarWinds hack. – Breaking Defense 

Editorial: Facebook has become the latest company that everyone loves to hate, and internal documents stolen by an employee have become an opening to blame the social-media giant for America’s ills. The company has made mistakes, but it’s worth sorting the genuine issues from the opportunism of politicians looking to censor opponents. […]But the company has also become a political scapegoat for the deeper-seated cultural problems that its platform can amplify. Congress ought to be examining ways to empower social-media users and parents, rather than bullying Facebook to exercise more control over user speech. – Wall Street Journal  


The Biden administration on Tuesday disclosed the U.S. nuclear stockpile for the first time since 2018, the Trump administration having refused to disclose the information for the past two years. – The Hill 

The Navy secretary will release a strategic guidance document this week outlining how the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps will maintain maritime dominance globally, strengthen strategic partnerships and empower people to succeed against China. – Defense News 

Eastern European defense ministers said they hope the United States would deploy more troops on their soil, fearing the Pentagon could cut its military presence on NATO’s eastern flank. – Defense News 

The Navy has downplayed the effects of the current nine-week stopgap spending measure that freezes its spending levels and the service has not submitted a list of waivers to Congress, USNI News has learned. – USNI News 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants to see member nations “step up and do more” for countries that hope to one day formally join the alliance but which do not currently meet requirements — or whose applications are being de facto blocked by Russian military action. – Breaking Defense 

The Biden administration’s moves to strengthen diplomatic and military ties to Australia by—among other actions—sharing U.K. and U.S. nuclear-powered submarine technology through the creation of the AUKUS defense partnership, has garnered significant attention among national security scholars and practitioners. […]Through cooperative, diplomatic actions, the U.S. will likely enhance its capability to compete strategically in the Indo-Pacific. – Defense One 

John Bradley writes: The current “over the horizon” U.S. plan for attacking the nation’s enemies from afar makes the death of more noncombatants seem inevitable. As the Defense Department investigates how the terrible error in Kabul occurred, a more expansive government review is in order: Should we, as a people, want these unmanned vehicles to continue expending deadly ordnance on our behalf? Maybe they should be used only for reconnaissance. – Washington Post 

Long War

The CIA’s torture of Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah at a black site in Poland two decades ago comes up before the US Supreme Court Wednesday in a case challenging the government’s desire to keep his treatment secret. – Agence France-Presse 

Police carried out large-scale raids in three German states Wednesday in connection with a suspected money-laundering network that reportedly funneled millions in ill-gotten gains to Turkey and Syria. Duesseldorf police said the raids, which began in the early hours, involved over 1,000 officers and took place in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen. – Associated Press 

Danish prosecutors said Tuesday that they have charged three people with attempting to carry out acts of terrorism by acquiring bomb-making chemicals and equipment that were to be used for an attack “in an unknown place either in Denmark or abroad.” – Associated Press