Fdd's overnight brief

September 13, 2021

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Remembering 9/11

From large, official ceremonies to a moment of silence in a Starbucks, Americans marked the moments hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field 20 years ago on Sept. 11. – Wall Street Journal 

The loved ones gathered again in Lower Manhattan for moments of silence and the peals of the bells. They paid tribute to those they lost 20 years earlier and listened as Bruce Springsteen sang about memory and loss. – New York Times 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday made public a long-secret memo detailing evidence agents compiled in 2016 as they examined allegations of official Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. – Wall Street Journal 

As they traveled the country laying wreaths, strolling through crash sites in pastoral meadows and comforting families whose wounds are ripped open anew each year, two living presidents used the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks to urge Americans to come together in an effort to weather deep political and cultural divisions. – New York Times 

U.S. Marine Sergeant Johanny Rosario returned to her hometown in Massachusetts in a casket on Saturday, one of the last American service members killed in Afghanistan during a war set in motion exactly two decades ago by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. – Reuters 

The United State’s top defense officials urged Americans to remain vigilant in defending American ideals and honored the current and fallen service members who died while protecting the U.S. against terrorism threats during the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. – The Hill 

Former US president Donald Trump on Saturday used the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks to slam the “horrible” withdrawal from Afghanistan and the “incompetence” of Joe Biden’s administration during the frenzied end to America’s longest war. – Agence France-Presse 

World leaders sent messages of solidarity Saturday on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, saying the attackers had failed to destroy Western values. – Agence France-Presse 

President Joe Biden said the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks could “come back” now that the United States has fully withdrawn from Afghanistan. Biden, who visited each of the three crash sites on the attacks’ 20th anniversary, said a surge in militancy from al Qaeda is possible after asserting previously that the group is “gone” from Afghanistan. – Washington Examiner 

Like everyone else on Sept. 11, 2001, Joe Biden found himself in a state of confusion when word trickled in that a plane had struck one of the iconic Twin Towers in New York City. He was on his way from Wilmington to Washington, D.C., anticipating a rather mundane commute and a rather mundane Senate confirmation hearing for John Walters, President George W. Bush’s pick for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. – Politico 

Lawmakers this week will hold their first public hearings on the Afghanistan withdrawal and evacuation missions since all military forces departed from the country late last month. – Military Times 

Twenty years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks set off the global war on terrorism, the war is evolving. […]As a result, the so-called forever wars may not be ending any time soon, but the way they are being fought is changing as the United States shifts to a greater reliance on “over the horizon” forces and individual strikes over broader military conflict. – The Hill 

Editorial: Above all, policy makers and the public should be realistic. A strategy that purports to stop every act of terror is bound to fail and will inevitably produce overreaction when it does. Over the past 20 years, the specter of terrorism has consumed government resources and attention voraciously, and cost too many American lives. The risks posed by terrorism are real and urgent. They can’t be eliminated, but over the next 20 years, they can and should be better managed. – Bloomberg 

Sandra E. Garcia writes: The city doesn’t quite fit back together like it used to either. Too much was lost for it to feel like it did before. But I recognize that what we have now can be even better. To look back at what we’ve been through since Sept 11. is to see a city full of survivors, full of warriors. It’s what binds New Yorkers together. It’s our armor and our glue. – New York Times 

Hamid Mir writes: Bin Laden understood that the power of the United States would force its enemies to make common cause. He understood that America’s strength was also its weakness. […] It is undeniably true that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will strengthen Islamist militants everywhere. But if the Taliban fails to bring peace and security to Afghanistan, then the results might be even worse. Failed states are the most attractive bases for people such as Osama bin Laden. He moved from a weak Sudan to a failed Afghanistan in 1996, and then proceeded to plan 9/11. – Washington Post  

Barry Hatton writes: And in recent years, amid the growing influence of the Islamic State group propaganda and promises, the soldiers returning from Syria and Iraq have felt inspired to target their home countries in Europe, sowing alarm among European governments. […]But once the United States toughened its security after 9/11, he says, al-Qaida went hunting for easier targets. In Europe, it took an opportunistic approach, recruiting networks of supporters in Muslim communities to stage spectacular attacks. – Associated Press 

Ava Batrawy writes: For countless numbers of people in the United States, Saudi Arabia will forever be associated with 9/11, the collapse of the World Trade Towers and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. […]Yet even as Saudi Arabia battled al-Qaida and later attacks by the IS group, the Al Saud rulers continued to give ultraconservative clerics monopoly over preaching and influence over society in exchange for their staunch backing of the monarchy. – Associated Press 

James Antle III writes: Somber ceremonies marking the 9/11 attacks are a hallowed annual tradition, but as the 20th anniversary arrives with the Taliban suddenly back in control of Afghanistan, America’s enduring sense of loss is compounded by the realization that, in many ways, we’re back where we started. –Washington Examiner

Amy Zegart writes: For 20 years the CIA’s attention to its primary mission has been eroding. The reasons are understandable. Perhaps they’re unavoidable. But the consequences of this tactical tilt are real: a diminished ability to understand, anticipate and counter longer-term threats — like China’s rise and Russia’s information warfare — that could threaten American lives and interests far more than today’s terrorist plots. […] But as Hayden presciently warned, a CIA that focuses too much on the here and now “will appear to be successful, but we’ll be endlessly surprised.” – Politico 

Kenneth M Pollack writes: There is no question that the 9/11 attacks enabled the invasion of Iraq. Absent them, it is hard to imagine that the US would have invaded. But the rationale for the invasion was already in place well before the first plane hit the north tower. – The National 

Michael Rubin writes: Could another 9/11 happen? It is a certainty. When vacuums exist, forces of altruism do not fill them. Potential safe-haven now grow. From which group might the next attack come? Here, there are no shortage of suspects. Bin Laden created a bar that every new group strives to surpass. Unfortunately, America’s own domestic distractions and the shredding of any national consensus only makes the jobs of tomorrow’s terrorists easier. – 19FortyFive 

Michael Rubin writes: The thought question moving forward then becomes where and under what circumstances might a future commander in chief send troops to draw a new red line for America’s enemies? To Cuba against the backdrop of a popular anti-Communist uprising? To Guyana, to defend against Venezuelan encroachments and threats to Guyana’s oil finds? To the Panama Canal Zone to reverse the threat Chinese interests pose to freedom of navigation? To Jamaica, should organized crime threaten the country with state failure? – Washington Examiner 

Dan Perry writes: The Iraq War affected more than Afghanistan, in the way that all events impact all events to follow. No Iraq war — no Barack Obama to stand out among the few to vote against it, and possibly no Obama presidency. No Obama presidency — no white backlash to yield a Donald Trump. No Trump — well, a different world today. There are other factors too, but these are all pieces of the terrible puzzle of bad karma that now afflicts the United States. – Times of Israel 

Howie Beigelman writes: They understood that the planes that flew into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the one that crashed into a field in Western Pennsylvania, could have been pointed anywhere in this country, and at any one of us. They felt, in their guts, that we’re all in this together. […]We, as Americans, are truly all in this together. It’s time we rekindle the unity we felt on September 11, 2001. – Times of Israel 


An initial group of Afghan pilots who flew themselves and their family members to safety in Uzbekistan aboard Afghan Air Force aircraft were transferred to a U.S. military base in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, according to the office of Representative August Pfluger, which has been in contact with one of the pilots and his wife. – New York Times 

Hundreds of women, many wearing full-length robes, their faces obscured by black veils, filled the auditorium of a Kabul university on Saturday holding signs — many of them in English — in support of the Taliban and its strict interpretation of Islam, including separate education for men and women. – New York Times 

The health care system in Afghanistan is teetering on the edge of collapse, endangering the lives of millions and compounding a deepening humanitarian crisis, public health experts warn. – New York Times 

Afghanistan’s vibrant free press and media industry, once celebrated as a success story and labeled one of the country’s most important achievements of the past two decades, has abruptly been transformed after the Taliban takeover of the country. Now, its survival is threatened by physical assaults, self-censorship and a dwindling journalist population less than a month after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the capital, and began enforcing their hard-line Islamist policies. – New York Times 

Members of an internationally renowned orchestra of Afghan women and girls remain stuck in Afghanistan after an attempt to get them out through Kabul’s airport in the last days of the U.S. war failed. – Wall Street Journal 

Women in Afghanistan will be allowed to study in universities and postgraduate programs but only in gender-segregated classrooms and in Islamic dress, a senior Taliban official announced Sunday as the militant group began to articulate its vision for the country after forming an all-male cabinet and raising its flag over the presidential palace. – Washington Post 

On the day the United States and the world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban flew its flag over the presidential palace in Kabul, where until last month the tricolor Afghanistan national flag flew. – Washington Post  

Twenty years after al-Qaeda attacked the United States — a plot hatched in Afghanistan — its loyalists hold senior positions in the Taliban’s new transitional government. There is one name that stands out: Haqqani. – Washington Post 

Taliban fighters have imposed a withering siege in Afghanistan’s rebellious Panjshir province, denying residents food and carrying out some extrajudicial executions of civilians, a tribal elder who recently fled the province said Friday, adding to a growing list of alleged abuses carried out by the militant group. – Washington Post  

But after days of violent Taliban crackdowns, and a ban on demonstrations by the militants, it’s unclear if the protest movement will continue in its current form. Protesters say they are determined to keep fighting, but after a wave of brutal Taliban attacks against demonstrators and journalists last week, activists have gone underground. – Washington Post  

The Taliban have executed the brother of Amrullah Saleh, the former Afghan vice president who became one of the leaders of anti-Taliban opposition forces in the Panjshir valley, his nephew said on Friday. – Reuters 

Nineteen Americans were on a Qatar Airways flight out of Kabul on Friday, the White House said, while an additional two U.S. citizens and 11 permanent residents left Afghanistan overland to a third country with U.S. government help. – Reuters  

Flights of Afghanistan refugees into the U.S. have been temporarily paused because of four cases of measles, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday. – Reuters 

Qatar’s foreign minister held talks with the prime minister of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan on Sunday, in the highest-level foreign visit to Kabul since the militant group seized the capital last month. – Reuters 

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a video marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, attacks, months after rumors spread that he was dead. – Associated Press 

The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has “heartened and emboldened” extremists and could lead to the return of major “al-Qaida-style” attack plots against the West, the head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency said on Friday. – Associated Press  

An international commercial flight touched down in the Afghan capital on Monday, the first since the Taliban retook power last month. – Agence France-Presse 

Afghan police at Kabul airport have returned to work manning checkpoints alongside Taliban security for the first time since the Islamists seized power, officers said Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

The Hazara make up the bulk of the country’s Shiite minority, and it is feared the Taliban — hardliners from the Sunni branch of Islam — may again turn on them, just as they did during their last regime in the late 1990s. – Agence France-Presse 

As the Afghan government was unveiled this week, the responsibility for delivering on the Taliban’s pledge that it would not provide a safe haven to jihadis was handed to a US-designated “global terrorist” with a $10m FBI bounty on his head. – Financial Times  

Editorial: The White House needs to tell—not ask—the Taliban that whoever wants to leave can do so at America’s invitation. […] The Biden Administration wants nothing more than to wash its hands of the debacle in Afghanistan, and it has a political incentive to play down or obfuscate the number of trapped Afghans eligible to come to America. But the world shouldn’t forget that thousands of would-be Americans—men, women and children—face arrest, torture or death because of the White House rush to the Afghan exits. – Wall Street Journal 

Maj. Gen. John Ferrari writes: While we have surrendered our strategic initiative with our decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, and failed the execution of that withdrawal, the Biden administration can try, if it acts fast, to regain the initiative before the Taliban, ISIS, and others move to attack the United States and its allies, and to destroy the remaining years of the Biden administration. – RealClearWorld 

Toby Harnden writes: An Afghan opposition to the Taliban should be supported by the West. Economic sanctions should be applied against the Taliban regime and carefully calibrated military action taken against terrorist groups inside Afghanistan. […] Mullah Fazl was lying, but against all odds, he survived. The return to power two decades later of the mullah and so many other notorious figures is an ominous sign for what’s to come. – New York Times 

Nahal Toosi writes: It’s likely this will be the U.S. modus operandi for a long time: having a diplomatic office dedicated to Afghanistan that isn’t at full strength. If the Taliban retain control for the foreseeable future, it’s unlikely the United States will name an ambassador to Afghanistan anytime soon, because sending an ambassador generally requires consent from a recognized government. – Politico  

Vinay Kaura writes: Given the recent policy measures — the ban on women’s sports and crackdown on public dissent — and public statements regarding education, the new rulers’ plan for how to govern Afghanistan seems to be no different from what it was two decades ago. The Taliban leaders retain an extremist worldview and unless the international community comes to terms with this disturbing reality, the risk of greater regional instability and a potential increase in terrorist threats is only likely to grow. – Middle East Institute 


Iran reached an agreement Sunday with the United Nations atomic agency that will grant international inspectors access to some of the country’s nuclear-related sites, a step likely to avert a crisis in the negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. – Wall Street Journal  

Israel’s defence minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman. – Reuters 

Iranian journalist Masoud Kazemi was exultant when he was released from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison in April 2020. […]”I don’t feel safe,” said Kazemi, who has been in Turkey for the past four months amid reports of the detention and deportation of many Iranian asylum seekers by Turkish police. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

The two-ship Iranian Navy group that stalked the West Coast of Africa and the Baltic Sea this summer has returned home, as leaders in Tehran pledge more international naval operations. – USNI News  

Editorial: What the world should also keep in mind is that this is an issue that crosses partisan lines. It is true that the current government is split between right-wing parties and left-wing parties, but Iran transcends those divisions. Stopping its nuclear arms race is a consensus issue that receives wide parliamentary support. Will that be enough for the West to take the necessary economic and diplomatic steps to rein in Iran? That remains to be seen. The clock is ticking. – Jerusalem Post 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: But the quick willingness of the IAEA and the West to forgive everything and start over from square one sends a clear message to new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi that brinkmanship works. Now there will be a race to see if a real deal – with however many holes – is reached before Israel starts to feel that Tehran is too close to the nuclear threshold, and that it must use force to end the march. – Jerusalem Post 


Hamas, aiming to capitalize on the public euphoria after Palestinian prisoners escaped from an Israeli prison last week, said it would demand the release of the men who have been rearrested as it remained committed to fighting. – Washington Post  

Israeli forces on Saturday captured two more of the six Palestinian militants who escaped from a maximum security jail this week, a police spokesperson said. – Reuters 

Israeli fighter jets struck Hamas sites in Gaza in response to rocket firing towards Israel on Friday evening, an Israeli army spokesman said in a twitter post early on Saturday. – Reuters  

The United Nations will begin on Monday to distribute cash aid to thousands of poor families in Hamas-run Gaza under a programme funded by Qatar, the U.N. Middle East envoy said. – Reuters 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid laid out his detailed plan to defeat Hamas in the Gaza Strip through economic and diplomatic means in an address to the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Conference at Reichman University on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israeli aircraft struck a series of targets in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to a series of rocket launches out of the Hamas-ruled territory. It was the third consecutive night of fighting between the enemies. – Associated Press 

Arabian Peninsula

The U.S. has removed its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, even as the kingdom faced continued air attacks from Yemen’s Houthi rebels, satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press show. – Associated Press 

The new U.N. special envoy for Yemen said Friday that the Arab world’s poorest nation is “stuck in an indefinite state of war” and resuming negotiations to end the more than six-year conflict won’t be easy. – Associated Press 

Yemeni officials said the country’s Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile and explosive-laden drones at a Red Sea port on Saturday, destroying humanitarian aid warehouses. – Associated Press 

Middle East & North Africa

Lebanon’s political factions agreed Friday on a new government led by former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, ending a more than yearlong deadlock as the country struggles with an economic collapse that has pushed millions into poverty. – Wall Street Journal  

A drone attack hit near U.S. forces stationed at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi Kurdish security officials said. – Reuters 

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi became the first foreign leader on Sunday to visit and meet with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi since the hardliner took office in August. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s new prime minister pledged Friday to gain control of one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns, saying lifting subsidies was a critical priority for the small country’s government formed after a year of political stalemate. – Associated Press 

The badly damaged old section of the southern Syrian city of Daraa, which until recently was held by opposition gunmen, appeared to slowly return to some sense of normalcy Sunday. – Associated Press 

The U.N. special envoy for Libya warned Friday that failure to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24 could renew division and conflict and thwart efforts to unite the oil-rich North African nation after a decade of turmoil. – Associated Press  

An attack on Turkish troops in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province Saturday left two soldiers dead and three others wounded, Turkish officials said. – Associated Press 

Turkey is working with the U.N.’s refugee agency to repatriate Syrians to their home country, the Turkish foreign minister said Sunday. – Associated Press 

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has named Aziz Akhanouch of the liberal National Rally of Independents Party, or RNI, as the country’s new prime minister and tasked him with forming a government. – Associated Press 

Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced plans to form a new government and said the constitution should be amended, weeks after he sacked his premier and suspended parliament in moves his critics called a coup. – Agence France-Presse 

A year after the signing of the Abraham Accords on the South Lawn of the White House, the ambassadors from the three signatory nations are slated to appear together next week in Washington, D.C., at an anniversary celebration. – Jewish Insider 

The US will not be able to leave the Middle East even if this is the stated goal of the Biden administration, because Middle East events and crises have a mind of their own, according to former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit. – Jerusalem Post 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully launched newly developed long-range cruise missiles, its first missile test in six months and a new indication that an arms race between North and South Korea was heating up on the Korean Peninsula. – New York Times 

The U.S. special representative for North Korea will travel to Tokyo next week for talks with South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues, the State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

James Jay Carafano and Anthony Kim write: Not all U.S. foreign policy ends in a debacle. The Biden administration’s precipitous, unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan destroyed hopes of freedom and security there and has shaken our allies’ trust in Washington’s commitments to them. […] Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the first U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. In the run-up to that milestone, Washington and Seoul should work together to reinvigorate their proven economic partnership and to move it to the next level by working together to deal proactively with emerging challenges like cyber security. – 19FortyFive 


Beijing has long used its rising clout to challenge governments and multinationals over its claim that Taiwan is part of China. It’s also increasingly pushing around the runts of global diplomacy, like Regis Jesuit, over the issue. – Wall Street Journal  

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the United States and China on Friday to prevent any problems between the superpowers from harming cooperation to combat climate change ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate change conference next month. – Reuters 

China and Vietnam should refrain from unilateral actions regarding the South China Sea that could complicate the situation and magnify disputes, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told a Vietnamese official, China’s foreign ministry said. – Reuters 

Senior US officials are debating whether to open an investigation into China’s use of industrial subsidies, in a move that could spark an escalation in trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. – Financial Times  

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged members of the ruling Communist Party to act more boldly when necessary, in a sign of frustration over the performance of lower-level officials in the country’s top-down political system. – Bloomberg 

China’s top technology regulator warned internet firms on Monday against blocking links to rival services, reaffirming Beijing’s order for online giants from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to ByteDance Ltd. to dismantle walls around their platforms. – Bloomberg 

China should regulate the use of artificial intelligence to curb risks posed by the growing use of the technology, a senior government official said Friday. – Bloomberg 

Ross Douthat writes: Meanwhile, a very different group of post-9/11-era thinkers regards China hawkishness as a dangerously self-fulfilling prophecy — a way to blunder, like the Bush-era neoconservatives Colby once critiqued, into an unnecessary and disastrous war. […] On the other hand, a China that looks at American disarray and its own window of opportunity and decides to move aggressively could leave my old friend in the same place the 9/11 era left his younger self — with his strategic analysis vindicated, unhappily, by an American defeat. – New York Times 

Oriana Skylar Mastro writes: But if China has any hope of winning a war across the Strait, its military would have to move fast, before the United States has time to respond. […]Now they are faced with the fact that the United States might have the will and resources to push back against Chinese aggression, even if it means war. So, while there may be other reasons to oppose the end of the war in Afghanistan, the impact on China’s Taiwan calculus is not — and should not be — one of them. – New York Times 

Hal Brands writes: That Beijing is deploying these instruments on behalf of an authoritarian political system will make its international influence more heavy-handed and threatening to the democratic world. This behavior also gives the lie to China’s assertions that it is a kinder, gentler sort of superpower. […] Empires do what empires do. As much as China may deny it, its behavior looks more imperial all the time. – Bloomberg 

James Jay Carafano writes: There is a debate to be had whether the United States can pretty much denude all its other alliances and security obligations to focus on the Indo-Pacific theater and not create as many problems as it solves. But at least Colby is facing the hard question at hand squarely. China is a country that can be checked only with hard power. Where is the United States going to find the resources and the will to get the job done? – The National Interest 

South Asia

Michael Rubin writes: The best move now as the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 nears would be for the United States to designate ISI chief Faiz Hameed and his living predecessors to be terrorists and recognize that the ISI is a terror entity. Indeed, the track record of the ISI is as bloody and destructive as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force. It is time the U.S. intelligence community sever all ties and instead focus its intelligence assets on the neutralization of the ISI and its leadership as a precondition to Pakistan’s ability to re-emerge as the normal state that its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah imagined. – The National Interest 

Sameer Lalwani writes: India’s capacity to support that strategy means the United States should prioritize allowing India to strengthen its capabilities, regardless of origin, rather than seeking to force India into the framework of an American ally that operates U.S. military equipment. While India’s multi-alignment policy can be frustrating to deal with, and trades off with some depth of U.S.-Indian defense cooperation, it remains one of Washington’s best bets for burden-sharing, balancing, and unique political currency among numerous Indo-Pacific littoral states. – War on the Rocks 

Anchal Vohra writes: Pakistan’s liberals will continue to resist the Talibanization of Pakistan—although they are now in the weakest position they have been in for decades, so this may not overtly matter to Pakistan’s deep state. Nevertheless, the Taliban’s return may yet be a Pyrrhic victory for the deep state, too. The ideas that conceived the Taliban have also been steadily gnawing at the foundations of the state they believe they are securing. – Foreign Policy 


At least 20 people have been killed in fighting between militias and Myanmar’s ruling military, a witness and local media said on Friday, in the worst violence since opponents of the junta called this week for a “people’s defensive war”. – Reuters  

India and Australia vowed on Saturday to deepen their security cooperation, especially following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, as the world marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. – Reuters 

Japan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that a submarine believed to be from China was spotted in waters near its southern islands, as maritime tensions persist in the Pacific. – Reuters 

Japan’s minister in charge of vaccines, Taro Kono, led a public opinion poll on who should succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. – Reuters 

Barely a month in office, Malaysia’s new leader has won opposition support to shore up his fragile government in exchange for a slew of reforms as Parliament reopened Monday. – Associated Press 

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday that China has agreed to provide the Southeast Asian nation with grant aid of 1.75 billion yuan ($272 million), announcing the assistance during a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. – Associated Press 

Japan can now give defense equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed Saturday, as the two countries step up their military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence. – Associated Press  

The U.S. and the Philippines will resume defense projects after the Southeast Asian nation agreed to keep a military pact that President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to scrap, allowing both sides to boost longstanding alliance in the region. – Bloomberg 

The Biden administration is moving towards allowing Taipei to change the name of its representative office in Washington to include the word “Taiwan”, a move likely to trigger an angry response from Beijing. – Financial Times  

Leo Lewis writes: Arguably most critical, though, will be the creation of a role that places responsibility for Japan’s cyber security on a person with both the skills to understand the threat and the authority to co-ordinate multiple arms of government, intelligence and military in response. Japan may not yet have made the political or even the philosophical leap required to envisage such a job, let alone who might fill it. But it does have an example in the UK, which created the effective and widely envied NCSC, whose former cyber defence supremo, Martin, is conveniently on the books of a Tokyo-headquartered consultancy. – Financial Times  


Russia sent Tajikistan 12 armoured vehicles and an array of military equipment, its defence ministry said on Saturday, as Moscow looks to shore up its Central Asian ally that neighbours Afghanistan. – Reuters 

Russia used new combat robots and tactical vehicles on the second day of the active main phase of large military drills with its ex-Soviet ally Belarus, the defence ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters 

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan, to complain about alleged interference by American “digital giants” in Russia’s upcoming parliamentary election. – Associated Press 

In the run-up to the September 17-19 national legislative elections, Russia has purged the field of almost all genuine opposition politicians and implemented multiple legal amendments that critics say could facilitate fraud. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Elisabeth Braw writes: This means it’s no longer enough to keep an alert eye on what Russia’s military and its friends are up to this month. On the contrary, a massive military exercise can be used to amplify grey zone aggression. Consider how China may use upcoming military exercises to also try out non-military tricks. “Unpredictable and opportunistic actions could potentially lead to undesired escalation,” Pabriks points out. Those who simply look for movement of Russian armoured vehicles this month may miss the real action. – Reaction 


Russia and Belarus began a massive, week-long military exercise on NATO’s borders Friday after President Vladimir Putin and Belarus’s leader agreed on a new effort toward integrating the nations, including creating a “single defense space.” – Washington Post  

A Swiss criminal court convicted Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a power broker in international sports, of forgery on Friday in a trial over whether he used a bogus Kuwaiti coup plot to gain advantage over political rivals. – Reuters 

A senior U.S. envoy said on Saturday he had delivered reassurances to Ukraine and Poland on mitigating any threat posed by Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but that the project was now a “reality”. – Reuters 

Pope Francis called on Sunday for vigilance against a rise in anti-Semitism, saying during a brief trip to Hungary this was a “fuse that must not be allowed to burn.” – Reuters 

North Sea oil and gas has helped make Norway one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But as Norwegians head to the polls on Monday, fears about climate change have put the future of the industry at the top of the campaign agenda. – Associated Press 

Italian police on Sunday were investigating a Somali asylum-seeker for attempted murder after he allegedly slashed two ticket controllers aboard a bus in the beach resort town of Rimini, then wounded three other people, including a boy, as he fled. – Associated Press 

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday said Minsk planned to buy $1 billion worth of Russian arms as he oversaw massive Moscow-led military drills that rattled some EU countries. – Agence France-Presse 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Belarus to help migrants instead of trying to send them across the border into the European Union, branding these attempts “hybrid attacks”. – Agence France-Presse 

Michael Feuz writes: Good government is predictable government. We failed to secure these basic foundations of freedom in Afghanistan, but Ukraine can secure a prosperous, independent future if its leaders and people work to build a just system that is built on the rule of law and oriented toward the people, not the wealthy and powerful. – Washington Examiner 

Ruchir Sharma writes: Today eastern Europe shares with East Asia the one proven key to long-term growth: manufacturing prowess. Because it can generate regular export income, which can be reinvested in new factories and roads, manufacturing can become a self-sustaining growth engine. […]Today’s criticism of eastern Europe focuses on backsliding in the courts and media, but misses a lot of progress. Like other ex-Soviet satellites, Poland pushed institutional reforms as the price of joining the EU and continues to reap benefits in stability and subsidies. – Financial Times   

Barry Hatton writes: Even so, Guitta of GlobalStrat says that counterterrorism cooperation among EU countries has improved considerably since the 2015 Paris attacks.That may prove precious in coming times. […] The continent, Reinares says, lies closer to the jihadist bases and is more permeable, whether internally through the absence of border checks across 26 countries or through migrant routes used by tens of thousands of people each year. – Times of Israel 


American Green Berets were training local forces in the West African nation of Guinea last weekend when their charges peeled away for a mission not listed in any military training manual: They mounted a coup. – New York Times 

The United States is gravely concerned about fighting in parts of Ethiopia, the U.S. State Department said on Friday, urging the Ethiopian government and rebellious forces from the Tigray region to start immediate negotiations to address the conflict. – Reuters 

A Sudanese military plane crashed in the White Nile south of the capital, Khartoum, killing all onboard, authorities said on Friday. – Associated Press 

Even as African regional leaders press Guinea’s new military government to restore civilian rule as soon as possible, people fed up of decades under Alpha Conde are inclined to support the junta — for now. – Agence France-Presse 

Somalia’s long-delayed elections will proceed “as planned”, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble told visiting UN diplomats on Sunday, even as a damaging feud between him and the country’s president sparked fresh fears for the troubled Horn of Africa Nation. – Agence France-Presse 

James Stavridis writes: African nations have traditionally been wary of allowing a permanent U.S. military presence, such as providing home ports for Navy ships. This spring, however, the Nigerian government surprisingly urged the Pentagon to move the U.S. Africa Command headquarters from Hamburg, Germany, to a location on the continent. […]The Williams is doing more than fighting the modern-day buccaneers: It is showing that the U.S. has a stake in maintaining stability and security in the world’s fastest-growing continent. – Bloomberg 

Michael Rubin writes: Both Washington and the United Nations must know: The only way to ensure that Somalia finds peace is to ensure that rule-of-law prevails. It is time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chargé d’affaires ad interim Colleen Crenwelge, and UNSOM chief James Swan (himself a former US ambassador) to stand with moral clarity. They should demand the public release of the file on Ikran’s murder rather than be complicit in Farmajo and Yasin’s attempt at a cover-up. Somalis deserve to know what those who govern in their name have done. – 19FortyFive 

The Americas

Abimael Guzmán, the mastermind of the Shining Path terrorist organization in Peru, a brutal Maoist movement that nearly toppled the country’s government in the 1980s and early 1990s, leaving thousands of people dead, died Sept. 11 in a hospital at a military prison outside Lima. He was 86. – Washington Post  

Argentina’s ruling coalition suffered its biggest political defeat in two years in office after a primary election that saw the opposition winning most districts, putting the government of President Alberto Fernandez under pressure. – Bloomberg 

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been asked to appear for questioning in connection with the July slaying of the country’s president, on Saturday slammed what he called “diversionary tactics” used by investigators. – Agence France-Presse 


More than three years ago, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook trumpeted a plan to share data with researchers about how people interacted with posts and links on the social network, so that the academics could study misinformation on the site. Researchers have used the data for the past two years for numerous studies examining the spread of false and misleading information. – New York Times 

A federal judge ordered Apple to dismantle a lucrative part of the competitive barricade guarding its closely run iPhone app store, but rejected allegations that the company has been running an illegal monopoly that stifles competition and innovation. – Associated Press 

Bipartisan antitrust legislation aimed at Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google could hurt U.S. competitiveness and give foreign adversaries access to sensitive information, according to a new report from a tech industry group. – Bloomberg 

After remaking their security procedures following the 9/11 attacks to stop airline hijackings, carriers are now faced with rising threats targeting computers and electronic equipment critical to their operations and safety. – Agence France-Presse 

One U.S. Army acquisitions office helping with the service’s evolving plans to achieve what it calls information advantage expects to contribute in two critical ways: through deep sensing and assessments of vast data collected on future battlefields. – Defense News 


A public-private partnership focused on accelerating technological breakthroughs for energetics has released its first requirements document, focused on hypersonic weapons and other munitions. – Defense News 

The Missile Defense Agency successfully launched a mock-up of a kill vehicle with a new three-stage booster designed to enhance the performance of the interceptors that make up the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System in a Sept. 12 flight test, according to an agency statement. – Defense News 

The Department of Defense is looking to industry for nuclear-powered propulsion technology to drive its spacecraft, freeing them from the low-energy limitations of current electric and solar-based propulsion systems. – C4ISRNET 

So far, 29 Marines and corpsmen attached to Marine units have received Purple Hearts for the wounds sustained while protecting Hamid Karzai International Airport in August as thousands of people fled Afghanistan. – C4ISRNET 

The Departments of Defense and State will meet with groups such as Digital Dunkirk, Pineapple Express, Allied Airlift 21 and others to find a way to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies, several members of those groups told Military Times. – Military Times 

But a new Army tool — the Acute Mountain Sickness-alert — may prove to be the first algorithm to successfully predict AMS risk in real-time. – Military Times 

Across the U.S. Navy, ships and installations are commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. But several Navy ships have special connections to that tragic day. – Navy Times