Fdd's overnight brief

September 21, 2020

In The News


Iran also now believes that any strike beyond covert cyberattacks would benefit Mr. Trump, allowing him to rally his base and give the United States an opportunity for a military response, according to American, allied and Iranian officials. – New York Times

President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will square off this week at the United Nations General Assembly, as Washington threatens still more sanctions to escalate its already formidable pressure on Tehran. – Wall Street Journal

The United States faces defeat in its move to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, as Washington declared all U.N. sanctions on Iran had been restored. – Reuters

The world community should oppose the United States’ use of sanctions to impose its will as a “bully,” or expect to face sanctions itself, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday. – Reuters

European governments that aren’t backing the U.S. re-imposition of United Nations sanctions on Iran are wedded to the “silly” 2015 nuclear deal and haven’t proposed an alternative for preventing new conventional arms sales to Iran, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said. – Bloomberg

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations will not support reimposing sanctions on Iran as the United States is demanding until he gets a green light from the Security Council. – Associated Press

The chief of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard threatened Saturday to go after everyone who had a role in a top general’s January killing during a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. – Associated Press

Iranian currency hit a record low on the unofficial market on Sunday after President Trump’s administration said all United Nations sanctions have been reimposed on Tehran. – The Hill 

Iranian media believes that Iran has defeated the US on the issue of new sanctions at the UN and that therefore Iran will soon have more abilities to import and export weapons. – Jerusalem Post

Seventy percent of Iranians oppose the compulsory hijab laws, which force women to cover their hair, an article at the pro-government Fars News appeared to admit over the weekend. – Jerusalem Post

Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been hospitalized after being “severely weakened” following an over 40-day hunger strike, her husband said on Saturday. – Agence France-Presse

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: So while Iran is very much a nuclear threat and has surprised even the best intelligence agencies before, the surprises it has been dealt this summer – along with its hesitancy to move closer than the four- to six-month timeline with uranium enrichment – mean that the anonymous source on Iran this weekend was playing politics. […]There are plenty of reasons one could support the arms embargo push relating to the Islamic Republic causing chaos in the Middle East. But an immediate rush to a nuclear weapon is not one of them. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s missiles are potentially linked to its nuclear program because even if Iran can build a nuclear device and test it, the regime faces a problem in how to deliver the bomb. It has no long-range bombers, so Iran would have to potentially put it on a missile. There are many questions about how Iran would do that and how safe it would be. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran hopes that the US gamble on the snapback will be the final throw, the denouement that ends the US role in the Middle East. While this may be too optimistic from Tehran’s view, Iran thinks it has the US in a unique place historically, when almost no major countries agree with Washington’s view. – Jerusalem Post

Lev Tsitrin writes: Our current choice is diplomacy, sanctions and an occasional use of force, all used with very variable degrees of success. While all those may be necessary, they only contain, but do not defeat them. They only treat the symptom, which is jihadi aggressiveness, but not the disease, which is jihadi idolatry. Idolatry is not treatable with the sword but only with a much mightier weapon: a pen. – Jerusalem Post


France’s foreign ministry on Friday said there was no evidence to suggest the armed wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah was storing chemicals to make explosives in France after a senior U.S. official said the group had set up caches in Europe since 2012. – Reuters

An Israeli court on Friday charged a Palestinian woman from east Jerusalem with membership in a terrorist organization after Israel’s internal security service said the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah had recruited her five years ago. – Associated Press

Two Hezbollah operatives were sentenced in absentia to life in prison on Monday by a Bulgarian court for blowing up a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012 killing five Israeli and their Bulgarian-Muslim bus driver. – Jerusalem Post


The military has sent mechanized infantry and other new assets into Syria after a confrontation with Russian forces last month injured several U.S. troops – The Hill

The Dutch government announced Friday it is holding Syria responsible under international law for “gross human rights violations,” in a process that could ultimately trigger a case at the United Nations’ highest court. – Associated Press

Syrian opposition sources said Russian jets bombed rebel-held northwestern Syria on Sunday in the most extensive strikes since a Turkish-Russian deal halted major fighting with a ceasefire nearly six months ago. – Reuters

Isabel Ivanescu and Andrew Greco write: Turkey may have agreed to cede control of territory in southern Idlib to pro-Assad forces in a meeting with Russia on September 16.  If the reports of a deal are true, a pro-Assad offensive is likely imminent. Turkish-backed opposition forces and al Qaeda linked elements may fight back against advancing Russian-backed regime forces even without Turkish support. – Institute for the Study of War

Kenneth R. Rosen writes: And now, amidst rising concerns of complete American withdrawal among local Syrian Kurds, the United States has offered a glimmer of hope by establishing its continued interest in the region through a recent deal signed by Kurdish officials to oversee the local operations of Delta Crescent Energy, LLC., a new American oil company. Looking forward, however, the deal is fraught with challenges, and the firmness of U.S. commitment to Syrian affairs remains unclear, particularly in the eyes of local people. – Washington Institute 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: As Washington indicates that it won’t do anything – and as NATO appears to give a blank check to Turkey and the EU wrestles internally with its own problems – there may be little hope for Afrin and its civilians. That means more shocking stories of women being kidnapped and armed gangs backed by NATO-member Turkey being allowed to do as they want. Those like Hevrin Khalaf, who believed the US and its values of democracy and human rights would enable her to be a peaceful activist, found out how thin those protections really were. – Jerusalem Post


Halkbank on Friday urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the state-owned Turkish lender of helping Iran evade American sanctions, even as it seeks the judge’s recusal for alleged bias. – Reuters

Turkey pulled back its Oruc Reis seismic survey vessel from the eastern Mediterranean to allow for diplomacy with Greece, but this not mean Turkish operations in the region are finished, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. – Reuters

Jonathan Spyer writes: In this regard, I would suggest in particular special attention be paid to the set of ideas, convictions and practices which currently characterize Turkish policy. The latter is not today a pro-US or pro-western state in any but the most nominal terms. As such, its attitudes and practices toward those it perceives to be its enemies should not be assumed to be in line with the norms favored by the US or prevalent among western and NATO member countries. – Times of Israel


The Israel-Lebanon dispute on Mediterranean gas fields was reignited this week as the Trump administration renewed pushes for talks between the countries, according to Axios. – Jerusalem Post

In the wake of the US activation of the ‘snapback’ mechanism of sanctions against Iran due to Iranian noncompliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, addressed an official letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, demanding the UN the re-establishment of the Sanctions Committee and the Panel of Experts, which oversees the enforcement of the sanctions against Iran. – Jerusalem Post

A watchdog group has slammed members of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for “hijacking” the body to push an anti-Israel agenda. – Algemeiner

A senior Palestinian official has said the Palestinian people protect Arab nations from “the Zionist territorial designs from the Nile to the Euphrates.” – Times of Israel

Michael Milshtein writes: While Israel must offer aid to the Strip, which is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, the level of assistance could be leveraged against the terror group, whose growing fears of civil unrest may force it to soften its rigid ideology. – Ynet

Moshe Phillips writes: In these complicated and quarrelsome times, there needs to be room for open discussion about these issues. We may never reach a consensus in the Jewish community on the Israel-UAE/Bahrain deal or anything else, but we need to talk about it frankly, without calling each other names or accusing each other of enabling our enemies. Celebrations and accusations are no substitute for meaningful and civil debate. – Algemeiner

Arabian Peninsula

An argument is raging behind palace doors in Saudi Arabia: Now that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have forged ties with Israel, should the kingdom follow suit? – Wall Street Journal

The newly formed U.S. Space Force is deploying troops to a vast new frontier: the Arabian Peninsula. – Associated Press

Five civilians were injured when a military projectile launched by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis hit a village in Saudi Arabia’s southern Jazan region, state media reported on Saturday. – Reuters

Gulf States

Bahrain’s interior ministry said on Sunday it had foiled a “terrorist attack” early this year that was backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. – Reuters

Palestinian officials expressed concern that Qatar may be headed toward normalizing its relations with Israel and said such a move would facilitate the implementation of US President Donald Trump’s vision for Middle East peace, Peace to Prosperity, also known as the Deal of the Century. – Jerusalem Post

US President Donald Trump said Friday, after meeting with the son of Kuwait’s ruling emir, that the country will likely normalize relations with Israel in the near future, following the diplomatic move made by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Dozens protested Friday in Bahrain against the government’s normalization of ties with Israel, in a rare display of dissent in the small oil-rich kingdom, according to footage that has surfaced online. – Agence France-Presse

President Donald Trump has bestowed a top U.S. honor on Kuwait’s ruling emir, who has played a central role in resolving a yearslong four-nation boycott of Qatar and is now ill and receiving treatment in the U.S., the White House said Friday. – Associated Press

Andrew England and Katrina Manson write: Mr Trump could yet win re-election: few analysts in Washington have written him off. But with the president trailing badly in the polls, the region’s leaders are being forced to contemplate the prospect of Democratic nominee Joe Biden entering the White House, upending the president’s policies and setting a new course for relations with the Gulf. – Financial Times

Jonathan Campbell-James writes: As for the longstanding and recently refreshed American defense agreement with Oman, the United States and Britain have separately forged bilateral accords with most of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. On the ground, these agreements have worked in a complementary, noncompetitive fashion. London evidently feels a particular affinity for Muscat and its Ibadi strand of religious tolerance, but Washington has special affinities of its own with other governments—what matters in Oman is that current arrangements seem to suit all parties equally well. – Washington Institute 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In 2011 a series of protests in the Kingdom linked to the Arab Spring resulted in intervention by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Since then protest and dissent have been kept closely controlled. While speculation online linked the plot to the recent announcement of ties to Israel, such a sophisticated plot would not likely be put in place in a week. Whether Tehran might have tried to operationalize elements of it, using sleeper cells, in such a short time is less clear. – Jerusalem Post

Martin Kramer writes: Israel reached this landmark because it’s strong. The Gulf Arabs have reached it because they’re vulnerable. Israel seeks to translate its strength into recognition. The Gulf Arabs seek to translate their recognition into strength. Just how the two sides will negotiate this unequal partnership isn’t in their formal agreements. It’s in the politics ahead. – Times of Israel

Middle East & North Africa

Hundreds of Moroccans demonstrated Friday against the “Arab normalization” of ties with Israel, following US-backed agreements signed on Tuesday between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. – Agence France-Presse

Turkey’s agreements and cooperation with Libya’s internationally recognised government will continue despite Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s desire to quit, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin was quoted as saying on Monday. – Reuters

Maged Atef writes: Sisi’s logic is that if he merely starts to offer concessions, his opponents will begin to feel powerful and will greedily seek bigger gains, ultimately leading to a situation similar to the 2011 Revolution which, as Sisi put it, nearly destroyed the Egyptian state. It is fundamentally a security-based rationale; while it has its merits, the one problem is that this path means simultaneously waging all battles at home and abroad. This is a highly dangerous venture; it may build a legacy or lead to oblivion. – Washington Institute

Lewis Libby and Hillel Fradkin write: It remains to be seen whether the U.S. will accept these lessons and build on the progress won, expanding and strengthening a reinforced alliance structure, or revert, once again, to hopes so often betrayed. A strong dose of reality fueled today’s diplomatic revolution. For American policy to reach the full promise, both for itself and its allies, of the new regional framework so hard won, it will have to keep its lessons and new realities close at hand. – Hudson Institute

Dominic Green writes: Our institutionalized cadres of failed peace-processors will not take kindly to their superannuation. So be it. It’s time to ditch the failed strategists and ignorant experts of our professional analyst class. Times change, and even the Middle East can change, too. – New York Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korea carried out an elaborate money laundering scheme for years using a string of shell companies and help from Chinese companies, moving money through prominent banks in New York, according to confidential bank documents reviewed by NBC News. – NBC News 

North Korea is preparing for a massive military parade in its capital to mark the 75th anniversary of its ruling party next month, satellite images indicated Friday, even as the country strengthens its anti-coronavirus measures. – Associated Press

South Korean police said on Sunday they had arrested a defector who tried to return to North Korea after a similar, successful crossing in July escalated tensions on the peninsula. – Reuters

Patrick M. Cronin writes: While the past few years have demonstrated Kim’s desire to retain nuclear weapons but avoid military conflict in the process, we should not allow our governments to become so conditioned that they assume Kim’s only options are peaceful ones. If recent dealings with Kim have taught us anything, it should be to mind the gap between the familiar and the certain. – The Diplomat


A White House-approved plan to transform TikTok into a U.S.-based company would keep the operation of the viral short-video app, and likely the algorithm that has powered its rise, in Chinese hands. This structure improves the deal’s chances of finding favor in Beijing, which had threatened to veto a sale. – Wall Street Journal

American companies including Apple and Google could land in Beijing’s crosshairs after the Chinese government responded to President Trump’s WeChat ban by pointedly announcing details about a restrictive new corporate blacklist. – Washington Post

A California judge has temporarily blocked a US Department of Commerce ban on Chinese social media app WeChat just hours before it was due to be implemented, dealing a blow to Donald Trump’s efforts to curb use of the app because of security concerns. – Financial Times

The outgoing United States Ambassador to China has denounced Beijing’s initial handling of the coronavirus, saying that “what could have been contained in Wuhan ended up becoming a worldwide pandemic.”- CNN

Editorial: The Administration’s straightforward handling of WeChat stands as a striking contrast to the political auction it has conducted over TikTok. Issues of national security should be addressed on the merits, not used as leverage for meddling in business decisions. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: This view is well-advised. Beijing should realise that its extraordinary rise from deep poverty in the late 1970s to its current middle-income status has been enabled by an era of globalisation that China did much to shape. Its turn to strategic aggression is not only alienating neighbours and the US but much of the rest of the world. Such a course undermines the cause of globalisation of which it has been a leading beneficiary. – Financial Times

Editorial: Beijing is accusing Washington of “hegemony and provocation” — for telling the truth about China’s ever-more-aggressive moves toward hegemony and provocation. It’d be laughable, except the Chinese Communist Party’s increasing crackdowns at home and influence-seeking abroad are no joke. […]Indeed, it’s a danger to the entire free world — even if many of our allies pretend otherwise. – New York Post

Tenzin Dorjee writes: Instead of defending China’s technologies of repression in the name of free trade and openness, we should try to save the liberal system by pushing for reciprocity and symmetry in the world’s most important bilateral relationship. The long-term costs of tolerating WeChat are far greater than the temporary costs of banning it. – Washington Post

Kishore Mahbubani writes: The successor to the party could well be far less rational. Keep that in mind, instead of proceeding on autopilot with current policies towards China. The time has come for the west to do a complete reboot and reconsider all its fundamental premises on China. Western governments should learn to live and work with the Chinese leadership, instead of wishing for its transformation or early demise. – Financial Times

Anjani Trivedi writes: Last year, Washington put eight Chinese businesses, including Hikvision and Dahua, on a blacklist that accused them of being implicated in human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Hikvision has denied inappropriate actions. The risk looms of the net widening further, whether Donald Trump remains U.S. president or not. The companies are trying to steer clear. […]Even with some offsetting subsidies, morphing into a high-tech company at scale is expensive. The tech Cold War isn’t leaving it much choice. – Bloomberg

South Asia

While representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban talk peace in Doha, the sides continue to launch deadly attacks in Afghanistan, leaving dozens dead. – Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday said the withdrawal of US troops from places like Afghanistan and Germany are “mistakes” from a long-term national security perspective and called for a sustained commitment to assisting the Afghan government and its security forces. – CNN

Senior Indian and Chinese military commanders are holding talks Monday to find ways to resolve a monthslong tense standoff between the rival soldiers along their disputed mountain border in mountainous Ladakh region. – Associated Press

New Delhi police have arrested a veteran Indian journalist on suspicion of spying for China, as the two countries are locked in a military stand-off over their disputed Himalayan border. – Financial Times


China released details of the raids on its journalists last week after Australia pulled two of its journalists out of China, shedding further light on the mounting tensions between Australia and China that led up to the diplomatic standoff over the two men. – Wall Street Journal

Beijing flew military aircraft close to Taiwan on a day that a senior American diplomat met with Taiwan’s president as part of a series of recent U.S. moves to improve ties with the self-ruled island. – Wall Street Journal

Taiwan said on Monday its armed forces have the right to self-defence and counter attack amid “harassment and threats”, in an apparent warning to China, which last week sent numerous jets across the mid-line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

China will lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. – Reuters

Taiwan bid farewell on Saturday to former president Lee Teng-hui, dubbed “Mr. Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in favour of free elections and championing Taiwan’s separate identity from China, as Beijing again sent jets close to the island. – Reuters

China’s air force has released a video showing nuclear-capable H-6 bombers carrying out a simulated attack on what appears to be Andersen Air Force Base on the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, as regional tensions continue to rise. – Reuters

China sent more warplanes toward Taiwan for the second day Saturday as the island’s leader, senior government officials and a high-level U.S. envoy paid tribute to the man who led Taiwan’s transition to democracy, former President Lee Teng-hui. – Associated Press


Russia has struck preliminary agreements to sell its Covid-19 vaccine to more than 10 countries in Asia, South America and the Middle East, a development that could give Moscow valuable economic and political leverage internationally. – Wall Street Journal

Six men await trial in Moscow and Buenos Aires, charged with operating one of the craziest, most ambitious narco-trafficking rings in history. – The Daily Beast

After the UAE-Israel deal was announced in August the Russian perspective was largely ignored in most western media. However, Russia has expressed differing views on the deal as it matured and came to include Bahrain. – Jerusalem Post

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: In Putin’s Russia, authoritarian controls are increasingly counterbalanced by a growing political mobilization of the grass roots — especially in the regions and especially among the young generation, as last weekend’s elections have shown. If Russians are unable to effect change through the ballot box, they will find another way. The ongoing protests in Belarus have prompted predictions of a similar public surge in Russia in 2024. If the Kremlin continues on its current path, this may well come much sooner. – Washington Post

Kimberley A. Strassel writes: Now, they are using it to muddy up straightforward questions about their own nominee for president. Mr. Putin poses real security threats to this country. Unfortunately, Democrats are turning the Russian danger into a joke. – Wall Street Journal

Seth J. Frantzman writes:  This illustrates how the new world order that is being pushed by Russia, a world that is multi-polar, which has more regional powers and less US hegemony, is being remade. India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Japan and other states will play a key role as well. However the importance of the Russia-China challenge to the US has been noted by US national defense strategists who see Russia and China as the greatest challenge. – Jerusalem Post


Longtime Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, clinging to power after claiming victory in an election last month condemned by Western leaders as fraudulent, is trying to sap the will of protesters by neutralizing opposition figures one by one, jailing or exiling them. – Washington Post

Fifty-six former prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers and defense ministers from 20 NATO countries, plus Japan and South Korea, released an open letter Sunday imploring their current leaders to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the pact negotiated in 2017 that is now just six ratifications shy of the 50 needed to take effect. – New York Times

Donald Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland has warned against creating a “hard border by accident”, as Boris Johnson presses ahead with new legislation which threatens his Brexit divorce deal with Brussels. – Financial Times

A former British spy is under investigation by UK and Belgian intelligence agencies over a suspected influence-buying operation by China, in the latest sign of European fears about Beijing’s sway on the continent. – Financial Times

George Barros writes: ISW forecasted the Kremlin might intervene in Belarus to prevent another revolution in the former Soviet Union if Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko loses control over his security services. The Kremlin began its current media and security support to Lukashenko after regional security service elements in Grodno defected from Minsk on August 18. – Institute for the Study of War 

Christian Davies writes: While supporting opposition movements, Warsaw has long been mindful that Mr Lukashenko, jealous of his own sovereignty, served as a check on Russian ambitions to establish a bigger military presence closer to Poland’s eastern border. That calculation changed last month after Mr Lukashenko’s disputed re-election and the violence directed against peaceful protesters by his security services. After a hesitant initial response, Poland has assumed a role as a vocal champion of the Belarusian protesters. – Financial Times


Sudanese officials are holding a “decisive” meeting with counterparts from the US and UAE over signing a normalization deal with Israel, the Walla news site reported Sunday. – Times of Israel

South Africa’s state security agency on Friday said it had found no evidence that Iran was plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to Pretoria, Lana Marks, AFP reports. – Arutz Sheva

Total SE Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné and Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi met to discuss an intensifying Islamic State-linked insurgency in the country’s north, where the French oil giant is building a massive natural-gas project. – Bloomberg

The Americas

President Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden have profound differences in key areas of U.S. foreign policy, but hold similar views about some major goals, including limiting troop deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan. – Wall Street Journal 

Honduras will move its embassy to Jerusalem this year, and Israel will open an embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement released overnight early Sunday. – Times of Israel

Francisco Toro writes: The sanctions should be abandoned, not because abandoning them will hasten the fall of the regime —nothing is likely to do that, at this point— but because they serve no purpose and hurt the people they seek to defend. In a just world, the torturers and murderers who destroyed Venezuela would be tried and convicted. But that is not the world we live in. In this world, the thugs won. – Washington Post

Eli Lake writes: Neither version, however, quite captures the role that Graham plays in Trump’s chaotic presidency. He is neither a Svengali nor a suck-up. Rather, he is an honest friend, willing to do something few others in Trump’s inner circle will do: Tell him when he is wrong. – Bloomberg

Judith Miller writes: Threats to national security and prosperity have risen, both at home and abroad, in the years since 9/11, the deadliest ever terrorist attacks on the United States. Although critics are reluctant to admit it, President Trump has addressed some of these well. Cracking down on China, for instance, was long overdue. So was killing two jihadi leaders who were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the Middle East. – The Hill


Lawyers representing the United States at Julian Assange’s extradition trial in Britain have accepted the claim that the WikiLeaks founder was offered a presidential pardon by a congressman on the condition that he would help cover up Russia’s involvement in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee. – The Daily Beast

U.S. Central Command needs industry’s help in designing a network infrastructure that provides improved secure information sharing with allies and partners, its top IT official said Sept. 17. – C4ISRNET

Greg Bensinger writes: Providing TikTok with an opportunity to emerge as a U.S.-controlled, publicly traded company would not only effectively break whatever bonds it has with China, but would also give it a chance to continue its rise as a serious rival to Facebook. That should be viewed as a good thing. – New York Times

Robert C. O’Brien writes: Election security isn’t a partisan issue. Those who seek to use this threat for domestic political purposes themselves undermine confidence in our electoral process. China, Russia, Iran and other adversaries each pose a threat to our elections, and the Trump administration seeks to counter all of those threats in a serious, professional and apolitical fashion. – Wall Street Journal


After shattering the U.S. Navy’s modern record for consecutive time at sea, the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower is preparing for another deployment early next year just six months after returning. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy, beset by maintenance delays, is making progress on getting its ships out of the shipyards on time, fleet officials say. – Defense News

The Air Force formally changed the focus of some of the teams it provides to U.S. Cyber Command in a ceremony Friday morning in San Antonio, Texas. – C4ISRNET

In what could be the final week of legislative work before the November elections, lawmakers are expected to pass a budget extension in coming days to prevent a partial government shutdown and lock in defense spending levels for months to come. – Military Times

Brig. Gen. Shachar Shohat (ret.) writes: Without close-defense capabilities forming part of a country’s multilayer defense systems, strategic sites are simply not adequately protected. In the context of multilayer defense development and deployment around strategic sites and sensitive targets, Israel has taken on the role of global leader. In 2020, short-range air defenses are making a comeback, and this time they are set to remain as a permanent fixture. – Defense News

Tim Morrison and Franklin C. Miller write: The nuclear deterrent is the ultimate guarantor of U.S. and allied security. The nation’s senior civilian and military leaders have been clear it is the number one priority to protect the homeland. We cannot continue to risk unilateral nuclear disarmament by bureaucratic neglect. The time for change is now. – Real Clear Defense

Long War

While opinion surveys suggest a majority in France still back the project of Charlie Hebdo, among younger generations there is less tolerance for claims of secularism or free expression as a cover for Islamophobia. And, in the meantime, Charlie Hebdo as an institution has undergone something of a transformation in the years after the attack. – Washington Post

Islamic State remains flush with cash despite setbacks in the past year, holding financial reserves and a range of revenue streams that U.S. and Western security officials warn could pay for a dangerous resurgence. – Wall Street Journal 

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Saturday it has arrested nine al Qaeda militants who were planning attacks in several locations including the capital New Delhi. – Reuters

A massive leak of financial intelligence reports reveals that Arab Bank facilitated payments to organizations and bodies suspected to be connected to terrorism, even after the Jordan-based bank had agreed to pay massive amounts in compensation to terror victims. – Times of Israel

Max Klinger writes: Every new attack is followed by a round of self-flagellation and deflection. Hitchens and others rightly called out the nauseating acceptability of this attitude in “liberal” circles back in 2001, and we should continue to do so now. Of course anti-Muslim bigotry must be guarded against, but we can call out such bigotry while also speaking clearly about the need to fight and counter radicalism wherever it rears its ugly head. – Jerusalem Post