Fdd's overnight brief

September 29, 2021

In The News


Iran must return to talks with world powers over its 2015 nuclear deal to avoid a diplomatic escalation that could jeopardize the negotiations, a French presidency official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Iran on Tuesday rejected a U.S. call to grant U.N. inspectors access to a nuclear site, saying Washington was not qualified to demand inspections without condemning a sabotage attack on the facility, Iranian state media reported. – Reuters 

Iran’s vice president and head of the country’s atomic energy organization, Mohammad Eslami, has arrived in Moscow for talks with the chief executive of Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom, the RIA news agency cited Iran’s embassy as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Tehran on Tuesday invoked its “sovereignty” to dismiss Azerbaijan’s concerns over Iranian military exercises near their shared border. – Agence France-Presse 

Nazila Fathi writes: Iran’s strategy of using ties with China and Russia as leverage against Western capitals worked to some extent over the years. Yet, Iran never deviated completely from its slogan, “Neither East, Nor West,” which has been a pillar of its foreign policy since the 1979 revolution. But different times require different policies. The SCO summit was the first foreign trip for Raisi. Perhaps the Islamic Republic is changing course by replacing symbolic acts with concrete measures. However, analysts in Iran were skeptical if joining the SCO would create any real opportunities for Iran. – Middle East Institute 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Either way, the latest US move to seek help from China after letting Iran spend several months with increasingly dangerous violations of the JCPOA’s nuclear limits and inspections is about as weak a move as Washington could make. It continues to signal to Tehran that it can stonewall for at least several more weeks, and maybe months before Biden will take stronger action economically, let alone militarily. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran wants to use its navy to build stronger relations with countries like China and Russia. Although Iran’s navy is no match for the US, Iran has frequently used it to show that it can threaten its enemies. Recent tensions with Israel, for instance, led Iran to carry out attacks on commercial shipping. These attacks are often led by the IRGC, as opposed to Iran’s regular naval units. – Jerusalem Post 


The Pentagon leaders who presided over the Afghanistan war’s conclusion said Tuesday that they had predicted Kabul’s government and its military would “collapse” after the United States’ departure but refused to fault President Biden for withdrawing U.S. forces, even as they agreed the haphazard exit was a “strategic failure.” – Washington Post 

Pentagon leaders publicly acknowledged on Tuesday that they advised President Biden not to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan ahead of a chaotic evacuation in which 13 U.S. service members died in a suicide bombing and 10 Afghan civilians were killed in an American drone strike. – New York Times 

The top U.S. military commander in the Middle East expressed reservations about whether the United States could deny Al Qaeda and the Islamic State the ability to use Afghanistan as a launchpad for terrorist attacks now that American troops have left the country. – New York Times 

The Taliban on Wednesday warned of consequences if the United States did not stop flying drones over Afghan airspace. – Reuters 

The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday denied U.S. landing rights for a charter plane carrying more than 100 Americans and U.S. green card holders evacuated from Afghanistan, organizers of the flight said. – Reuters 

Female Afghan health workers, teachers and rights defenders Tuesday urged the international community to resume financial aid to Afghanistan, saying non-payment has disproportionally impacted women. – Associated Press 

The Taliban have broken their promises to the West, violating their pledge for “amnesty” for all in a more inclusive Afghanistan following the group’s August takeover of the government. – Washington Examiner 

The Defense leaders admitted to faults in the Trump and Biden administrations’ process for pulling troops from the country beginning last year, with Milley calling the evacuation a “logistical success, but a strategic failure,” but maintained that the Pentagon had prepared for the messy withdrawal. Here are five takeaways from the hearing. – The Hill 

At least 14 of the 33 ministers whose names were announced on September 7 are on the United Nations Security Council’s terrorism blacklist, including acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund and both of his deputies – Mullah Baradar Akhund and Mawlavi Hanafi. Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob, Foreign Minister Mullah Ameer Khan Muttaqi, and Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai are also designated terrorists under the UN Security Council’s 1988 Sanctions Committee. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Two top US military officials said they believed that a few thousand troops should have remained in Afghanistan and acknowledged other tactical and intelligence failings during the chaotic withdrawal of armed forces from the country. – Financial Times 

As the international community wrestles over whether to recognise the new Taliban regime in Kabul, one country has quickly made clear where it stands. Neighbouring Tajikistan has emerged as a vocal critic of the government and a hub for Afghan resistance. – Financial Times

Editorial: Yet Gen. Milley didn’t take responsibility for that entirely predictable outcome any more than Mr. Biden has the consequences of his Afghanistan retreat. The Afghan withdrawal is the greatest U.S. foreign-policy humiliation in decades. The damage is made worse by the failure of accountability, starting with the Commander in Chief. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: So there you have it — Biden lied, and 13 U.S. service members died soon after. This issue is not in the rearview window. Al Qaeda is now empowered to use Afghanistan as a base to target the United States again. There are also still 2,500 troops in Iraq assisting its government in fighting against the Islamic State. – Washington Examiner 

Shabana Basij-Rasikh writes: They know that the permanent threat to their legitimacy is the way they choose to control women and girls. We are the ones they must talk to, and we always have been. We are the ones who must be shown proof that it is possible to continue to educate girls in their new Afghanistan. A nation cannot be built upon a foundation of empty classrooms and ashes. The Taliban — and more crucially Afghanistan — needs us now. – Washington Post 

Hal Brands writes: Yet the overall U.S. record in nation-building isn’t nearly as bad as some might believe — and the fact that America never really succeeds in quitting the endeavor shows the strength of its intellectual underpinnings. The U.S. may indeed be done with Afghanistan, but it’s only done with nation-building until the next time. – Bloomberg 

Tom Rogan writes: Unless you have a presence with which to recruit and run agents and conduct other intelligence-gathering activities, the ability to identify, locate, and strike the enemy is inherently limited. Pretending this isn’t true, Biden has endangered U.S. and allied national security. – Washington Examiner 

Christopher Tremoglie writes: Biden is a liar, and he has been his entire political career. And yes, politicians lie, but Biden was championed as the “honest” candidate in last year’s election. Democrats were virtue-signaling for four years over a president’s alleged lies, but these very same people remain tight-lipped over Biden’s. Democrats don’t really care about a president lying. They just cared about getting Trump. – Washington Examiner 

Trevor Filseth writes: ISIS-K views the Taliban as having compromised on its obligation to create a caliphate and try to expand its borders—two measures in which Taliban leaders have displayed no interest. The groups clashed during the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and ISIS-K was also the target of American military strikes—including President Donald Trump’s decision to drop a Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb on an ISIS-K stronghold in 2017. – The National Interest 


The presidents of Russia and Turkey will hold talks on Wednesday on curbing renewed violence in northwest Syria and possibly expanding Moscow’s sales of military defence systems to Ankara, Turkish officials said. – Reuters 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on the margins of the G20 summit in Rome, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

U.S. Senators warned NATO ally Turkey that they would trigger new sanctions if it goes ahead with plans to purchase additional Russian missile defense systems. – Bloomberg 


The United States Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accepted an invitation by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to visit Israel. – Jerusalem Post 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett used a Monday meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York to tear into the international institution over its “discrimination” against Israel. – Times of Israel 

The European Parliament, one of three legislative branches of the European Union, advanced an amendment on Tuesday that would condition more than $23 million in European funding for the United Nation agency for Palestinian refugees on changes to Palestinian Authority textbooks, which have often been accused of incitement to violence. – Times of Israel 

Zev Chafets writes: For Israelis, it was a bizarrely endearing moment for a young prime minister who, while determined to cut a more conciliatory figure both in Israeli politics and on the world stage than Netanyahu, has the same steady eye on security that no Israeli leader can afford to neglect. – Bloomberg 

Emily Schrader writes: While it’s a relief that the US Congress unequivocally stood up for human rights by supporting the Iron Dome bill, the longer the intentional efforts to obscure the truth and emotionalize issues by representatives from The Squad, the more we will see a rise in antisemitism. – Jerusalem Post 


Iraq’s new government must have a clear plan for systemic reforms if violence and suppression against critics and activists is to stop, experts have said. – The National 

Abdullah F. Alrebh writes: Regardless of his worldwide recognition, if the new grand marj’a doesn’t enjoy enough popularity within Iraq, he is going to find it very hard to run the marj’aiyyah. […]That is to say, the position of new grand marj’a may continue to exist, but its stability may face a serious challenge, which might result in a series of short-term grand marj’as in the following decades until a strong figure — of course, someone in his 60s or younger30 — can once again impose himself as the uncontested leader of the Shi’a community. – Middle East Institute 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iraqis can’t discuss Israel today without fear of prosecution. These same legal means have been used by Hezbollah in Lebanon to also silence any discussion that might appear open to Israel. Quietly people in Lebanon, Iraq and other countries are more open to looking positively upon the Abraham Accords and other trends in the region. The constraints placed on Iraqis come not only with the legacy of Saddam’s anti-Israel rule, but also the new Iranian attempt to use Iraq against Israel. For many in the region that attempt to hijack Iraq is not in anyone’s interests. The conference became a symbol of this wider controversy. – Jerusalem Post 

Arabian Peninsula

Two days of fierce clashes between Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels over a crucial central city have killed more than 130 fighters, mostly rebels, officials said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, had a detailed discussion about the war in Yemen on Tuesday in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a senior administration official said. – Reuters 

The first-ever direct commercial flight to Israel from Bahrain is set to land Thursday afternoon at Ben Gurion Airport. – Jerusalem Post 

Middle East & North Africa

France will slash the number of visas available to nationals from Maghreb countries because of their governments’ refusal to take back illegal migrants sent home by the French authorities, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Jordan will fully reopen its main border crossing with Syria from Wednesday, government and industry officials said, as a high-level Syrian team arrived in Amman to discuss how to ease the flow of goods hit by the pandemic and a decade of conflict. – Reuters 

The U.N. special envoy for Syria announced Tuesday that invitations have been issued for a sixth meeting of the committee charged with producing a new constitution for war-torn Syria in October.  – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan is heading to Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian government officials about rising tensions between Israel and Hamas. – Associated Press 

David Gardner writes: The chain of Arab upheavals that began there in 2011 may have failed to banish tyranny, but certainly revealed the hollowness of some Arab dictatorships and the brittleness of others. It was briefly axiomatic, moreover, that Arab despotism, far from being an effective barrier to Islamism, is an assembly line for manufacturing jihadi extremists. That is unlikely to change. – Financial Times 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea said Wednesday that it launched a “hypersonic” missile for the first time, in what marks the latest advance in its expanding weapons program and a milestone in a project officials had identified as a top military priority. – Washington Post 

North Korea fired a missile towards the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, as Pyongyang called on the United States and South Korea to scrap their “double standards” on weapons programmes to restart talks. – Reuters 

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has launched the third KSS-III (also known as Dosan Ahn Chang-ho)-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) on order for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN). – Janes


Hidden debt and problematic projects are emerging as features of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with several research reports pointing to headwinds facing President Xi Jinping’s international infrastructure-development program. – Wall Street Journal 

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional hearing Tuesday that he called his Chinese counterpart twice to inform him that there were no plans by the Trump administration to launch an attack on China. – Washington Post 

China’s U.N. ambassador expressed hope Tuesday that President Joe Biden will translate his statement that the United States has no intention of starting a “new Cold War” with China into actions, saying he should avoid “a confrontational approach” and “provocative attacks against China.” – Associated Press 

The European Union and China must continue engaging on a number of issues despite differences, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in a video call on Tuesday, according to an EU statement. – Reuters 

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday the Chinese government was preventing its domestic airlines from buying “tens of billions of dollars” of U.S.-manufactured Boeing Co (BA.N) airplanes. – Reuters 

The United States has reached out to China diplomatically about reducing its purchases of Iranian crude oil, U.S. and European officials said on Tuesday, as Washington seeks to persuade Tehran to resume talks about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. – Reuters 

Foreign attempts to contain or besiege China will always fail so major powers should avoid colonial thinking that could lead to a confrontation with the world’s second largest economy, China’s ambassador to London said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that he expected all countries, including China, to collaborate in the second phase of a probe into the origins of the coronavirus after an initial mission to China. – Reuters 

A military drone whose manufacturer says it can cruise for 20 hours at 15,000 meters (50,000 feet) was among Chinese warplanes, missiles and other weapons technology shown in public for the first time Tuesday at the opening of the country’s biggest air show. – Associated Press 

China’s envoy to the United States urged Beijing and Washington to find common ground and avoid going down a hostile path as the still-heightened tensions between the world’s top two powers showed early signs of easing. – Newsweek 

China’s ambitious foreign infrastructure push has saddled poor nations with “hidden debt” worth $385 billion, and more than a third of the projects have been hit by alleged corruption scandals and protests, a study said Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse 

A senior Chinese envoy used an unprecedented conversation with the head of NATO to warn the trans-Atlantic alliance to stay out of the Indo-Pacific. – Washington Examiner 

US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said the Biden administration would push for American companies to trade with China even as Washington takes an increasingly tough posture on Beijing over human rights and national security. – Financial Times 

Katie Benner and David E. Sanger write: The seemingly well-orchestrated exchange — the details of which were confirmed by government officials, diplomats and others with knowledge of the legal case — raised a host of questions. Was this a first signal of grudging rapprochement between Washington and Beijing after a downward spiral in their relationship that has no precedent in modern history? Was it a face-saving win for both sides, who got their citizens back, and the end to an irritant in relations that came up as recently as last month in a call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping? – New York Times 

Joseph Bosco writes: But, if it seeks to further assuage Beijing, it could renege on its implied intentions to invite Taiwan to the virtual Summit for Democracy and to rename the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office as the Taiwan Representative Office. As Biden backs off from confronting China, Taiwan and its American and international friends must remain on the alert. – The Hill 

South Asia

Pakistani security forces killed 10 militants, including four insurgent commanders, in a shootout in a former Taliban stronghold in the country’s northwest Tuesday, the military said. – Associated Press 

India has carried out the maiden test firing of its new Akash Prime surface-to-air missile (SAM). – Janes 

Arthur Herman writes: U.S. policy needs to encourage the firefighters to put the arsonists permanently out of business.  So far, our pandering has allowed Pakistan to help set the rest of the region on fire. It’s time to make Pakistan realize we no longer will treat them as a friend or ally, until and unless they stop behaving like an enemy.  – The Hill 


Fumio Kishida, a former foreign minister who has called for Japan’s missile defenses to be beefed up, was elected ruling party leader on Wednesday, assuring him of becoming the nation’s next prime minister. – Wall Street Journal 

Former Nissan Motor Co. executive Greg Kelly should spend two years in prison for his alleged role in helping hide former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn’s pay from the public, Japanese prosecutors told a Tokyo court on Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal 

Britain said on Tuesday it would begin formal negotiations with Japan to deepen their defence relationship, part of a shift in London’s strategic focus towards the Indo-Pacific region that has angered China. – Reuters 

Analysts warn Asia may be sliding into an accelerating arms race as countries react to China’s military growth and tensions around North Korea’s weapons programmes linger. – Reuters 

A trio of U.S. and British aircraft carrier strike groups are operating in disputed waters of the Indo-Pacific region, in a show of maritime strength tailored to needle China following the unveiling of a landmark nuclear submarine deal with Australia. – Washington Examiner 

Lindell Lucy writes: Diplomatically recognizing Taiwan sends an urgently needed message, and it’s also the right thing to do. Let’s not wait until it is too late. – Washington Examiner 

David Shearman writes: Through AUKUS, the U.S. is now in a position to encourage Australia to change its attitudes. In a crucial announcement that brought a response from China to stop funding coal fired power in other countries, President Biden announced the U.S. will become the world’s leading provider of climate finance with $11 billion to “help developing nations tackle the climate crisis.” – The Hill 

Seth Cropsey writes: While the broader logic behind AUKUS is reasonable, its policy components demonstrate a lack of American strategic rationality. We do not have 20 years to prepare for a great-power challenge. That challenge arrived years ago. – The Hill 

Ashley Townshend, Thomas Lonergan, and Toby Warden write: The stakes for Australia and the United States could not be higher. If the alliance can adapt to the challenges of gray-zone competition, it will serve an increasingly valuable function in upholding the Indo-Pacific order and curtailing China’s coercive reach. If not, it will become irrelevant on one of the most important aspects of competition in the region, undermining allied security interests in the process. Strategic creativity and appetite for risk-taking will determine how successfully the U.S.-Australian alliance rises to this challenge. – War on the Rocks 


A convicted Russian hacker was detained at the Moscow airport Tuesday after he was deported by the United States in what appeared to be a rare extradition, Russia’s Tass news agency reported. – Washington Post 

Russia has threatened to block YouTube unless the Google-owned video service restores two German-language channels managed by Russia’s state media company RT that were deleted after they published what YouTube called “misinformation” about covid-19 and coronavirus vaccines. – Washington Post 

Russian authorities have opened a criminal case against imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his closest allies, accusing them Tuesday of forming an extremist group and involvement in one. The investigation is the latest step in a multi-pronged crackdown on the Kremlin’s most ardent foe and his team. – Associated Press 

Democracy is facing an existential threat from autocratic regimes, namely China and Russia; rising digital authoritarianism and a global pandemic. It will take a concerted effort by like-minded peoples, nations and the transatlantic alliance to address this challenge and preserve the international rules-based order. The question, however, is whether the alliance is fit to lead. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany has played an outsize role in determining the economic and political direction of the European Union. Now, the makeup of a new German government will be critical in deciding a series of key issues, from the area’s post-Covid-19 economic policy to its relations with the U.S., Russia and China. – Wall Street Journal 

A high-level trade and technology meeting set for Pittsburgh on Wednesday is aimed at smoothing over squabbles between the U.S. and European Union, even as policy disagreements over China threaten to further strain relations. – Wall Street Journal 

The CIA evacuated an intelligence officer serving in Serbia in recent weeks who suffered serious injuries consistent with the neurological attacks known as Havana Syndrome, according to current and former U.S. officials. – Wall Street Journal

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Europeans to “come out of their naivete” on the world stage and assert their independence from the United States, sending one of the strongest signals to date that the diplomatic crisis prompted by a disrupted submarine deal could have long-lasting repercussions on transatlantic relations. – Washington Post 

A minority stake in a new £20bn nuclear power station on England’s east coast will be sold to institutional investors or floated on the stock market under UK government plans to oust China’s CGN from the project. – Financial Times 

The European Union, fearing a political backlash in member states, can no longer agree to give a guarantee of future membership to the six Balkan countries once promised a place in the club, according to four diplomats and an internal document. – Reuters 

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday he would request the extension of a state of emergency along Poland’s border with Belarus for a further 60 days due to a surge in migration that Warsaw blames on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. – Reuters 

France is preparing itself for a substantial conversation with Australia when the time comes after Canberra ditched a defence accord with Paris for a partnership with Britain and the United States, a French presidential official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

British businessman Mike Lynch has won a reprieve on U.S. fraud charges after Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel postponed a decision on his extradition by two months, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Ukraine and Hungary summoned one another’s ambassadors on Tuesday in a growing row over Budapest’s signing of a new long-term gas deal with Russia, which Kyiv regards as a threat to its national security. – Reuters 

Officials and diplomats across the European Union are getting really frustrated with the French. The scope of what some are calling President Emmanuel Macron’s “Europe First” strategy — which aims to make the EU more independent from Washington for defense and sensitive technologies — is causing concern in many EU member states and hampering western efforts to forge a united response to the rise of China. – Bloomberg 

The UK risked further souring relations with Paris on Tuesday after announcing a decision to allow only a handful of smaller French boats to fish in UK coastal waters under the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. – Financial Times 

The Greek ministry of defense has committed to buying three frigates from France’s Naval Group with weaponry supplied by MBDA in a potential $3.5 billion deal, the companies announced Sept. 28. – Defense News 

A Swedish cabinet minister has compared President Joe Biden’s rhetoric with that of his predecessor Donald Trump as he became the latest European politician to express concerns about ties between the EU and the United States. – Newsweek 

Leon Hartwell writes: The US and EU should not squabble over number plates. Rather, if they are to make any real progress, they should use this crisis as an opportunity to speed up resolution of Serbia-Kosovo issue. There are short- and medium-term policy options available. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Peter Rough writes: The Biden administration’s standing in Europe is anything but sturdy. With attention now focused on the broader TTC as a means of relaunching the relationship, Washington and Brussels must not lose sight of an economic goal in the making. In reality, an agreement on the transatlantic flow of personal data would inject momentum into a broader technology alliance — a partnership that sets the rules of the road for the 21st century. Forging a data pact after the TTC would be a good place to start. – The Hill


France’s Armed Forces minister defended her country’s counterterrorism role in Mali and accused the military junta of hypocrisy, bad faith and wanting to delay a transition to democracy after the African country’s prime minister said Paris was abandoning it. – Reuters 

United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday he assumes famine has taken hold in Ethiopia’s Tigray where a nearly three-month long “de-facto blockade” has restricted aid deliveries to 10% of what is needed in the war-torn region. – Reuters 

Zambia’s debt to Chinese public and private lenders is $6.6 billion, almost double the amount disclosed by the previous Zambian government, the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) has estimated from an analysis of loan data. – Reuters 

More than 80 aid workers including some employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) were involved in sexual abuse and exploitation during an Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an independent commission said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The Nigerian navy on Tuesday disowned allegations made in parliament by one of its senior officers that soldiers from neighbouring Chad were selling their weapons for $20 or $30, contributing to unrest in northern Nigeria. – Reuters 

Guinea’s military junta has released a transitional charter that outlines the missions and duties of the transitional government and bars any members of the junta from running in elections that will eventually return the West African nation to civilian rule. – Associated Press 

Three decades after Somaliland first broke away from Somalia, the self-declared nation state this year successfully held democratic elections and attracted bumper investment from Dubai’s DP World in the port of Berbera. – Financial Times 

Latin America

A U.S. judge on Tuesday cleared the way for former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo to be extradited back to Peru on corruption charges, saying evidence of criminality presented in his case were “sufficient.” – Reuters 

A commander of Colombia’s last active guerilla group, the ELN, died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a bombing carried out by the military two weeks ago, the government said. – Agence France-Presse  

Moises Naim and Francisco Toro write: The wishful hope that the criminals in charge of the Venezuelan regime can somehow be persuaded to accede to their own ruin is just that—a hope—and certainly not a proper basis for diplomatic action. Such hopes have distorted policymaking in the United States and elsewhere for too long. The reality Venezuela faces is dismal, but it must be treated as reality. – Foreign Affairs 

North America

A Sri Lankan couple who briefly sheltered ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden in Hong Kong eight years ago arrived with their two children Tuesday in Canada, where authorities granted them protection. – Washington Post 

On Jan. 6, more than 30 minutes after the first attackers breached barricades erected to protect the Capitol, the Department of Homeland Security sent an incongruous update to the Pentagon. – Politico 

Tim McMillan writes: For those who may have forgotten, Winner is the Air Force veteran, Arabic linguist, and former National Security Agency contractor who, in the summer of 2017, leaked a top-secret intelligence report detailing Russia’s attempts to hack the 2016 presidential election. […]Yet, the media have done the public no favors in failing to accurately portray why Winner did what she did. Reality Winner may be a Pokemon-loving social justice warrior, but she was also an anti-American spy. – Washington Examiner 


Australia’s competition watchdog expressed concerns about the dominance of Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a large part of the online-advertising sector, and said it is considering regulatory action against the tech giant. – Wall Street Journal

Canada’s decision on whether to ban Huawei (HWT.UL) 5G gear, as all the other members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network have done, is likely to be made in “coming weeks,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

CNN said it is preventing Australians from accessing its Facebook Inc (FB.O) pages after a court ruled that publishers can be liable for defamation in public comment sections and the social media firm refused to help it disable comments in the country. – Reuters 

Apple (AAPL.O) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google have been asked to turn in by mid-October compliance plans for a new South Korean law that bans major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, a regulatory official said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday introduced legislation that would give set timelines for cyber incident reporting, including giving certain organizations 24 hours to report if they paid the sum demanded in a ransomware attack. – The Hill 

Bipartisan legislation intended to require certain organizations to report cybersecurity incidents to the federal government could be included as part of the must-pass annual defense legislation, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Tuesday. – The Hill 


The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have agreed to adjust expectations for future deliveries, also known as a production rebaseline, of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). – Janes 

Boeing has delivered the first two of 78 contracted F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets to the US Navy (USN), which took delivery of the first platform on 31 August. – Janes 

The U.S. Space Force has awarded Sev1Tech a $47.5 million contract to demonstrate a prototype data transport capability that will help connect its space operators with war fighters across the globe. – Defense News 

As the U.S. Navy navigates a new era of strategic competition with China in a constrained fiscal environment, the service could turn to one of its pained ship programs to help perform the Marines Corps’ Expeditionary Advanced Based Operations (EABO) island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. – USNI News 

As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budgets, Congress has passed provisions relating to U.S. content requirements for certain components of each FFG-62 class ship, as well as a provision requiring the Navy to conduct a land-based test program for the FFG-62’s engineering plant (i.e., its propulsion plant and associated machinery). – USNI News 

Harlan Ullman writes: The idea that the U.S. could defeat China or Russia in a war in which thermonuclear weapons may be used is madness. On more practical grounds, how does the U.S. intend to contain or deter China and Russia? How will “Belt and Road” military modernization and “wolf warrior” diplomacy be contained or deterred as well as Russian “active measures” and its annexation of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine? Until answers are given, the strategy is at best questionable. – The Hill 

Long War

Five members of the Sudanese General Intelligence Service were killed and a sixth was injured on Tuesday in a raid that targeted a cell linked to the militant Islamic State group in Khartoum, the service said in a statement. – Reuters

It is almost the forgotten attack of Nov. 13, 2015: France’s national stadium was the sole site outside Paris to come under assault that night from Islamic State extremists. – Associated Press 

Kenneth Bandler writes: Hamas leaders may feel buoyed by the Taliban experience, by a bellicose Iran that is extending its influence and reach across the region. They may believe their defiance will eventually lead to a US disengagement from their part of the Middle East, and a weakened Israel. Disabusing Haniyeh, and like-minded terrorist leaders, of this illusion must be a priority for all nations truly committed to achieving durable peace. – Jerusalem Post