Fdd's overnight brief

September 23, 2020

In The News


Iran’s president told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the United States could impose “neither negotiations nor war” on the Islamic Republic amid heightened tension between the longtime foes over Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. – Reuters 

After defying U.S. sanctions by shipping its first cargo of oil to Venezuela just last week, Iran is using the same ship to help the Latin American country export crude. – Bloomberg 

The United States’ maximum pressure campaign on Iran has so far failed, France’s president said on Tuesday, and he dismissed U.S. efforts to restore U.N. sanctions against Tehran because Washington had left the 2015 nuclear deal. – Reuters 

European intelligence agencies will partner with the United States to enforce an arms embargo on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted, despite disputes within the alliance about the legal basis for that ban. – Washington Examiner

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used his speech before the United Nations General Assembly to attack the United States, comparing the death of George Floyd to U.S. foreign policy. – Washington Examiner

Josh Chang writes: With Washington hard-pressed to uphold defense commitments throughout the world, an Iranian missile sale to Venezuela would add an unnecessary item to an already-growing list of defense concerns. However, this thought exercise points to an important need for the United States to balance its strategic priorities while minimizing distractions close to home from rogue actors like Venezuela and Iran. – The National Interest 


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that dialogue and diplomacy should resolve issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme under international law, with all parties abiding a 2015 international agreement. – Reuters 

Turkish authorities are investigating the death of an American author and journalist who died while traveling overnight from the Turkish Black Sea coastal city of Samsun to Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Tuesday. – Associated Press

Turkey and Greece will resume talks aimed at resolving territorial disputes in Eastern Mediterranean, after a tense naval standoff over the summer brought the two countries close to the brink of conflict. – Bloomberg

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aggressively censured Israel during his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly, accusing the Jewish state of extending its “dirty hand” over Jerusalem and prompting a walkout from Israel’s UN envoy. – Agence France-Presse


Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal relations with Israel. – Reuters

According to new research made available by NGO Monitor, several Palestinian organizations portraying themselves as independent promoters of human rights are being openly funded by European states, some of which categorize their support as “legal aid” in the full knowledge that this legal aid is being used to fund lawsuits against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. – Arutz Sheva

Prisoner exchange talks between Israel and Hamas will resume after the Jewish High Holidays, the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday. – Algemeiner

Israel and Italy have completed a reciprocal procurement agreement which will see the Israel Defense Ministry purchase five advanced training helicopters and the Italians to purchase Rafael spike missiles and Elbit Systems simulators in exchange. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Authority is again facing pressure from some European Union states to hold long-overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. – Jerusalem Post 

Anna Ahronheim writes: This whirlwind trip by Gantz, which will be followed by five days of self-quarantine instead of the usual 10 days, can be looked at in two ways: irresponsible to be flying away from the problems in Israel, or an opportunity that cannot be missed should President Donald Trump be voted out of office. Either way, the topics Gantz discusses with Esper will ensure that even when Emirati pilots begin to fly F-35s, Israel has the platforms needed to keep its superiority in the skies of the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post

Aaron Boxerman writes: If it makes a serious compromise proposal, it will suffer criticism from nationalists and Islamists, from Palestinian refugees and ordinary citizens in the West Bank and Gaza. But if it leans back and relies on merely cursing out the Gulf, its will continue to bleed support anyway. – Times of Israel


On Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised the eight-year Iran-Iraq war as “one of the most rational events in Iran’s history” and described accepting the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 598, which ended the war, as “the (one of) most rational decisions made.” – Radio Farda

Since Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi traveled to Washington on August 19, 2020 to attend bilateral strategic talks, the number of attacks carried out by Iran-backed groups in Iraq has surged, including rocket attacks targeting Iraqi military bases housing U.S.-led Coalition forces, and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on logistical convoys carrying supplies to U.S. forces. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Omer Carmi writes: Typically, Khamenei’s speeches directly convey his response to recent episodes in Iran’s relations with the United States and the rest of the world. […]Yet the manner in which he spoke of the war with Iraq four decades ago made clear that he wanted to apply its lessons to Iran’s current situation and counter efforts to “distort” the past. – Washington Institute 


A large explosion shook a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, sending a thick plume of smoke over a country still reeling from the deadly Beirut explosion last month that devastated parts of the capital. – Wall Street Journal 

Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in Lebanon where the crisis-ridden state is now considering new lockdown measures, raising the specter of a deepening financial crunch. A combination of high infection rates, a floundering economy and renewed political turmoil could signal a new phase in the country’s slew of crises which began after a popular uprising last October. – CNN 

France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday warned Lebanon’s political forces that the country risked collapse if they did not form a government without delay. – Reuters 

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Arabia said that any nuclear deal with Iran has to preserve non-proliferation and continue efforts aimed at making the Middle East a zone free of mass destruction weapons, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia, the most powerful Arab nation and home to Islam’s holiest sites, has made its official position on the region’s longest-running conflict clear: Full ties between the kingdom and Israel can only happen when peace is reached with the Palestinians. Yet state-backed Saudi media and clerics are signaling change is already underway with Israel — something that can only happen under the directives of the country’s powerful heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia has informally asked Italy to delay the Group of 20 leaders’ summit until December, according to two senior officials with knowledge of the discussions with Riyadh. – Bloomberg

From scrubbing hate-filled school textbooks to a taboo-defying religious sermon, Saudi Arabia is pushing for another kind of normalization after declining to establish formal relations with Israel — co-existence with Jews. – Times of Israel

Gulf States

The top US defense official told his Israeli counterpart that Washington was committed to maintaining Israel’s military edge in the region Tuesday, as the sides sought ways to defray Jerusalem’s worries over the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. – Times of Israel

A senior Israeli delegation today traveled to Bahrain for talks on the drafting of the comprehensive peace treaty between the countries, Israeli officials told Walla News’ Barak Ravid. – Arutz Sheva

In an article published September 13, 2020, two days before the signing of the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace agreements in Washington, Khalid bin Hamad Al-Malik, editor of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote that the Arabs, having failed to defeat Israel militarily and having realized its strength, have no option but to normalize relations with Israel. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Six states signed a charter for an Egypt-based energy forum on Tuesday, giving formal status to a group that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean and that Israel hopes will strengthen ties with Arab neighbours. – Reuters 

This year 9/11 also marked Syrian President Bashar Assad’s 55th birthday. There were glowing testimonials in some Russian media outlets as well as from Russian satellite states such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Ayenat Mersie writes: Tensions escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt unraveled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen during a dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t. – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

A vehicle that may be carrying a ballistic missile has been spotted at a parade training ground in North Korea amid signs it is preparing a big military display for an Oct. 10 holiday, a U.S. think-tank said. – Reuters 

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in urged world leaders to bring the 70-year-old Korean War to a formal end, in his latest attempt to resuscitate stalled talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. – Bloomberg

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in called on Tuesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving China, Japan, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang. – Reuters 

Jim Hoare writes: Whatever might have been said about each side’s advisors or about each side’s position, the two principals did not revert to the name calling and insults of 2017. All the signs are that President Trump wanted, and continues to want, an agreement of some sort with North Korea over the nuclear and other issues between the two countries. – The National Interest


A Beijing court sentenced a prominent tycoon turned social critic to 18 years in prison after his attacks on Chinese leader Xi Jinping made waves, in a case that evoked political purges seven years earlier when Xi came to power. – Washington Post

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted near unanimously to pass legislation to restrict imports of goods made using forced labor from China, as lawmakers look to address the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region. – Reuters 

France’s president on Tuesday called for an international mission under the auspices of the United Nations to visit China’s Xinjiang due to concerns over the Muslim Uighur minority. – Reuters

China is pushing growing numbers of Tibetan rural laborers off the land and into recently built military-style training centers where they are turned into factory workers, mirroring a program in the western Xinjiang region that rights groups have branded coercive labor. – Reuters 

Steven Lee Myers and Javier C. Hernández write: President Trump has brought China’s relations with the United States to their lowest point in years. […]To China’s leadership, he is the candidate more likely to restore strong ties with American allies and mobilize other nations to pressure China more effectively. – New York Times

Joseph Bosco writes: If Trump wins convincingly, Beijing would be back to its assertiveness dilemma — whether to move aggressively now, before Taiwan and the United States further build their defensive posture, or to hope the triumphant reelected president would feel vindicated rather than vindictive toward the Chinese Communist regime that has done so much to undermine him and the country he governs. – The Hill 

Jamil Anderlini writes: Just two days before President Xi Jinping was scheduled to speak to Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, China blocked all pork imports from Germany. The ostensible reason was the death of a single German wild boar from African swine fever, a disease already endemic in China. But some analysts jumped to a different conclusion. To them, this was the latest example of Beijing’s coercive commercial diplomacy — an evolving facet of Chinese statecraft that has come to dominate relations with several countries. – Financial Times

Tom Mitchell writes: The US won that contest when the Soviet Union dissolved in the early 1990s and it would be almost 30 years before the political class in Washington decided they had another geopolitical rival of Soviet proportions — President Xi Jinping’s China. But now proxy wars between the two reigning superpowers are fought over companies, not client states, and it is China that has the early lead. – Financial Times

Tom Rogan writes: Back in July, Xi’s minions were quite honest about the fact that Ren was being punished for his insults against the party leader. Now, however, they’re saying that Ren has been sent to prison for being a corrupt thief. […]Tuesday showed two Xi’s: the Xi who smiles as he lies to the world and the Xi who enforces tyranny at home. – Washington Examiner


While the Taliban made the men’s release an ultimatum before they would go to the table, officials for the United States, France and Australia were quietly urging the Afghan government not to let them go — even as they told the Afghan government to free thousands of other Taliban prisoners with Afghan blood on their hands in order to open the way for the talks. Only a last-minute deal to remand the six to a kind of house arrest in Qatar allowed the opening of peace talks on Sept. 12. – New York Times

The Pentagon has started planning to have zero U.S. troops in Afghanistan by spring, though orders have not yet been issued for a full withdrawal, a Defense Department official said Tuesday. – The Hill 

Afghan woman Laleh Osmany has been campaigning for years for a change to the age-old custom of officially identifying people by the names of their fathers, calling for mothers’ names to be included on identity cards. […]The Taliban, who have just begun power-sharing talks with the Afghan government that could see them return to rule in some capacity, have condemned the reform in one of the first concrete stances they have revealed on women’s rights as they engage in the peace process. – Reuters

The level of violence in Afghanistan is unacceptably high and the United States expects further setbacks during talks, the Special Representative for Afghanistan said on Tuesday, as the Afghan government and Taliban remained far apart on even basic issues 10 days into talks meant to end two decades of war. – Reuters

A number of Taliban prisoners who were released by the Afghan government as a condition for peace talks have taken up arms again, top official Abdullah Abdullah said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Police in Kabul have seized a stash of “pen guns” they say criminals and insurgents are using in a wave of targeted assassinations that has gripped the Afghan capital in recent months. – Agence France-Presse

Lynne O’Donnell and Mirwais Khan write: In recent years, the Taliban have deliberately moved to secure control over regions of Afghanistan rich in mineral deposits, from lapis lazuli mines in northern Badakhshan to gold, lead, and zinc in Helmand and vast talc and marble deposits in southern Nangarhar. The Taliban, who already control most of the country’s mineral wealth, are banking on further developing the sector to make it the bedrock of the country’s postwar economy—or theirs, at least. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

Eight years after Pakistan’s worst industrial fire killed 264 people and injured 60 others at a garment factory in the country’s largest city, a court has sentenced two men to hang for arson. – New York Times

Senior military commanders from India and China have agreed to not add more troops along their fast-militarizing disputed border in the mountainous Ladakh region where the two Asian giants are locked in a bitter months-long standoff, the sides said late Tuesday. – Associated Press

The United Nations human rights investigator to Myanmar said on Tuesday an election set for November would fail to meet international standards because of the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims. – Reuters 

Half a dozen major Pakistani opposition parties have joined forces to denounce the military which they accuse of meddling in politics and rigging the 2018 elections to bring Prime Minister Imran Khan to power. – Reuters


A former rebel military commander has been elected president of Bougainville, the autonomous region in the South Pacific, electoral officials said on Wednesday, and he is set to lead talks for the territory’s independence from Papua New Guinea. – New York Times

Taiwan advised China on Tuesday to “back off,” accusing the nation of threatening peace after a Beijing official rejected an observance of a marine median line. – The Hill 

After years of shifting the Philippines closer to China, President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be leaning back toward the U.S. The 75-year-old leader on Tuesday gave his most forceful defense yet of a 2016 arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines that said Beijing’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea breached international law. – Bloomberg


President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is most likely continuing to approve and direct interference operations aimed at raising President Trump’s re-election chances, a recent C.I.A. analysis concluded, a signal that intelligence agencies continue to back their assessment of Russian activities despite the president’s attacks. – New York Times 

Aleksei A. Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, has been released from a hospital in Germany and could make a full recovery from poisoning with a highly toxic nerve agent, doctors said on Wednesday, as European leaders wrestled over a response to Moscow. – New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the introduction of “military-political work” in the country’s National Guard, paving the way for Soviet-style ideological political education within its ranks. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Despite repeated warnings from intelligence officials and his own FBI director that Russia is carrying out a blatant attack on American democracy, President Donald Trump summed up his views at a rally on Monday in very simple terms, “I like Putin, he likes me.” – CNN 

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday the World Health Organization should be strengthened to coordinate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and proposed a high-level conference on vaccine cooperation. – Reuters 

Editorial: Whatever the full story, the Russian government’s contemptible posturing as an aggrieved victim of unfair suspicions only intensify the need to demand a reckoning from the Kremlin. Mr. Putin knows what happened, or he can find out, and if he continues to hide behind glaringly phony denials and ridiculous accusations, he only strengthens the suspicion that this was a deliberate, state-sanctioned hit. He had the greatest motive, means and opportunity. – New York Times 

Nikolas K. Gvosdev writes: And if a second-term Trump or first-term Biden administration is less inclined to bargain and compromise with Russia—including the all-important proviso to accept Russia’s own self-definitions of “sovereign democracy”—then Russia can take steps to raise costs for the United States, or be less inclined to do things that serve American interests. – The National Interest 

Teyloure Ring writes: Corruption in Russia’s military cyber units will be difficult to detect. The same cyber tools and infrastructure built by Russia’s military can be manipulated to create a steady cash flow of fraudulent funds to corrupt individuals. […]The U.S. government and its allies should work with private sector partners to create a consistent policy response to cyberattacks. The policy must account for a wide range of cyberattacks and include clear guidelines for action to deter cybercriminals. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Hannah Albert writes: While Russia’s military-patriotic education initiatives clearly serve a number of domestic political purposes, this set of policies also underpins Russia’s military power. By providing a means to instill positive views of the armed forces and military service in its citizens from the earliest ages, these programs, if successful, will bolster Moscow’s ability to generate and sustain a large military force into the future. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Dutch officials demanded answers from Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, on Tuesday in light of reports that the Trump appointee had held a private event for a rising right-wing political party and its donors at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague earlier this month. – Washington Post

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he told the U.S. government during a recent visit to Washington it was the European Union, not the United Kingdom, that was threatening the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland. – Reuters

In a report released Tuesday, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism Berlin, or RIAS, documented 410 incidents — more than two a day — during the first half of 2020. The group’s count of anti-Semitic acts included six physical attacks, 25 cases of property damage, 20 threats, 58 examples of anti-Semitic propaganda and 301 examples of malicious behavior such as giving the stiff-armed Nazi salute. – Associated Press

Authorities in Belarus, that’s seen six weeks of protests against the country’s authoritarian president after a disputed election, have opened more than 250 criminal cases that target political opponents, activists and protesters, a Belarusian human rights group said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Kosovo war veterans said Tuesday an unknown person has again handed them war crime files from a special international court in The Hague, Netherlands, probing alleged crimes during and after the Balkan nation’s 1998-1999 war. – Associated Press

For weeks now, Berlin has been abuzz with speculation that Angela Merkel might be forced into one of the biggest U-turns of her career and drop her support for Nord Stream 2, the contentious Russian gas pipeline. But it is far from clear that Ms Merkel is ready to pull the plug on Nord Stream 2. The chancellor’s messaging on the pipeline has been remarkably consistent and the Navalny affair has, so far, barely impinged on it. Moreover, she is backed by most of the German political establishment. – Financial Times

The European Union stepped up its attack on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to unpick the Brexit divorce deal, warning that the bloc won’t cave into pressure as negotiations over a trade accord reach a critical final few weeks. – Bloomberg

Britain is poised to cut an order for Boeing E-7 Wedgetails, with the airborne early warning and control aircraft possibly becoming the first confirmed victim of the government’s upcoming integrated defense review. – Defense News

The Finnish branch of a neo-Nazi movement that is active in five Scandinavian nations failed on Tuesday in its attempt to have a state prohibition on its activities overturned. – Algemeiner

Editorial: In other words, if Israel does what the EU says – if it creates a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital – then there will be an upgrade of ties. [..]There is a new momentum amid those pragmatic countries in the Middle East interested in stability in the region. The EU has paid some lip service to this; now it should back up its words with actions and realize that since the old paradigms did not work, it’s now worth trying new ones – including not tethering its own ties with Israel to the Palestinian issue. – Jerusalem Post


Ivory Coast’s ruling party said on Tuesday it will push ahead with the October election regardless of whether the opposition participate, comments likely to deepen political tensions in the world’s top cocoa producer. – Reuters 

A project that aims to develop Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine has cleared a significant hurdle, with the African Export-Import Bank completing a due diligence study allowing it to proceed with a $500 million syndicated funding program. – Bloomberg

A dispute between the ruling parties of South Africa and Zimbabwe is threatening the longstanding alliance between two former liberation movements that for decades helped shore up the regime of Robert Mugabe and his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa. – Financial Times

Aubrey Hruby writes: But in the era of U.S.-Chinese competition, U.S. investment in Africa’s burgeoning creative industries has never been more important. As China continues its government-to-government loans for infrastructure and expands its commercial presence in African markets by increasing foreign direct investment as well as private equity and venture capital investments, the United States should actively seek to maintain influence in African markets. – Foreign Policy 

Latin America

The Nicolas Maduro-backed Venezuelan central bank launched a landmark appeal in London on Tuesday over $1 billion (£785.21 billion) of gold reserves held in the Bank of England’s underground vaults. – Reuters

An investigation by the local news weekly Semana found that the Colombian army gathered intelligence on Villamizar and more than 130 of her colleagues – including at least three US reporters. – The Guardian 

Michael Stott writes: Mr Bolsonaro is not the only populist leader reaping a dividend from playing down coronavirus and playing up the need to keep the economy open. Something similar is happening in Mexico where leftwing leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, has also emphasised the economy — sometimes at the expense of health advice. He has seen his popularity hold steady despite the country recording nearly 74,000 deaths from coronavirus. – Financial Times

The Americas

U.S. President Donald Trump told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that China must be held accountable for having “unleashed” COVID-19 on the world, prompting Beijing to accuse him of “lies” and abusing the U.N. platform to provoke confrontation. – Reuters 

But the unilateral U.S. effort to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran appeared to be in tatters, as key U.N. powers redoubled their support for the pact, and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres rebuffed an appeal from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reimpose multilateral sanctions. – Foreign Policy 

Michael Hirsh writes: In other respects, 75 years on, the United Nations has turned into a very different institution than it was supposed to be when it was inaugurated on Oct. 24, 1945 (the leadership decided to commemorate the 75th anniversary at a high-level session on Monday). The General Assembly has been little more than a talking shop for most of its history. The U.N. Security Council—designed by Washington to be a great-power-dominated enforcer of world peace—is all but paralyzed by worsening hostility between the U.S., China and Russia, each of which veto resolution after resolution against each other. – Foreign Policy 


The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned Tuesday that foreign malicious hackers will likely attempt to spread disinformation around election results later this year. – The Hill 

Facebook Inc said Tuesday it had removed a network of inauthentic Chinese accounts that were interfering in Asian and American politics, including some that posted material supporting and opposing U.S. President Donald Trump. – Reuters

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies said on Wednesday its supply chain was under attack from the United States and called on Washington to reconsider its trade restrictions which were hurting suppliers globally. – Reuters

A global police sting has netted 179 vendors involved in selling opioids, methamphetamine and other illegal goods on the internet underground, in what officials of Europol said Tuesday put an end to the “golden age” of dark web markets. – Agence France-Presse

Chinese state media blasted Oracle Corp.’s proposed deal with the hit video app TikTok, calling the agreement hammered out under pressure from the Trump administration a “dirty and underhanded trick.” – Bloomberg

Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding the line against security hawks in Berlin to prevent a formal ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co. as negotiators finalize the rules for keeping Germany’s fifth-generation wireless networks secure. – Bloomberg

Bryan Clark and Dan Patt write: US strategy should include elements of both approaches, competing symmetrically with Huawei on RAN efficiency and integration, while asymmetrically attacking Huawei up the value chain by advancing cloud-based disaggregated 5G architectures. This “high-low” strategy could pin Huawei down in the RAN hardware competition, which it cannot afford to lose, while allowing US providers to exploit their lead in software-based network architectures that are likely the future of 5G.19 If successful, this approach could relegate Huawei to the role of commodity hardware provider. – Hudson Institute


U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday that he said would ban the military, government contractors and federal grantees from some diversity training. […]It says military members will not face any penalty for refusing to support or believe these concepts. – Reuters 

While the Navy is focused on how a potential continuing resolution could affect the new Columbia-class submarine program, the service’s acquisition chief on Tuesday warned it would likely need additional spending waivers if a stopgap measure stretches longer than expected. – USNI News

It has been five years since the attack submarine Boise returned from its last patrol, and this whole time she has been waiting on some loving care and attention in the shipyards. – Defense News 

After a trip around South America, the USS Tripoli has arrived in San Diego and will be used to deploy Marines and their aircraft worldwide. – Military.com

The U.S. Space Force has signed a new memorandum of understanding with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, laying out areas for collaboration between the main military and civilian space organizations within the U.S. government. – C4ISRNET 

According to a notice, the U.S. Marine Corps would like to equip some of their Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) with a 30mm chain gun to give better protection from air attack. The gun, called XM914E1 by the Corps, is chambered in the large 30mm x 113mm cartridge (or rather, shell), and would pack a prodigious punch. The notice states that both proximity rounds— essentially a 30mm high-velocity shotgun shell—and self-destruct rounds would be available. The latter round explodes before falling back to Earth, ensuring that nothing on the ground is damaged. – The National Interest

Long War

The British government has transferred evidence to the United States against two notorious Islamic State detainees from Britain accused of playing a role in the torture and beheadings of Western hostages, apparently clearing the way for putting them on trial. – New York Times 

Mordechai Kedar writes: To this day, Turkey is seen to be under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine which underpins the continued flourishing of ISIS and shows a lack of concern for their damaging actions. […]This will have consequences for the country’s regional and international relations as it becomes less and less of a reliable security partner, especially if it chooses to work increasingly with those who fight against the West. – Jerusalem Post 

Brian Michael Jenkins writes: The failure of the jihadists can be judged a victory — albeit a costly one — over an organized effort to instigate violence in the United States. The country, however, has not exhausted its inventory of disaffected young men (and women) who may, in the future, embrace jihadism or other extremist ideologies on offer to convey their discontent. – The Hill

Missile Defense

Frustration is mounting inside the Trump administration as Russia gives little indication of whether it will agree to an arms control deal before President Trump faces reelection, according to senior U.S. administration officials, who are trying to secure the deal. – Washington Post 

New intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), sixth-generation stealth fighter jets and emerging hypersonic weapons are all benefitting from a vigorous Air Force push toward digital engineering. And that’s a really big deal. – The National Interest 

In a move that would have been unthinkable in Polyakov’s formative years, during the twilight of the Cold War, he’s shifted some of Firefly’s engineering research and development to Ukraine, once the heart of the Soviet Union’s rocket program. This two-step is a big part of his pitch for Firefly—marrying the best of the former Eastern Bloc’s aerospace space talent with the latest American intellectual property, which he promises will be duly protected from foreign interests. – Bloomberg

Trump Administration

The House passed a stopgap spending measure on Tuesday to avoid a government shutdown and keep the Department of Defense and other federal agencies operating through Dec. 11. – Defense News 

The Canadian woman who allegedly mailed the toxic substance ricin to the White House sent a threatening letter to President Trump along with it, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. – The Hill 

Senate Republicans are eyeing a confirmation vote in late October for President Trump’s eventual Supreme Court nominee. – The Hill