Fdd's overnight brief

September 3, 2020

In The News


Amnesty International accused Iran’s clerical establishment on Wednesday of presiding over widespread abuses of human rights in a security crackdown on nationwide protests last year touched off by fuel price rises. – Reuters

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of encouraging violence on Twitter, as Tehran continues its campaign against the Israel-United Arab Emirates normalization deal. – Newsweek

The international community must rally behind the United States in its battle to reinstate an arms embargo against Iran, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu, who is in Israel for a two-day visit. – Jerusalem Post

A U.K. citizen has pleaded guilty in Florida to federal charges related to violating an embargo and attempting to smuggle industrial equipment to Iran. – Associated Press

Representatives of Iran and the world powers working to save the nuclear deal with Tehran agreed Tuesday in Vienna to do everything possible to preserve the landmark 2015 agreement in their first meeting since the United States announced a bid to restore United Nations sanctions against the Islamic Republic. – Associated Press

The head of the Council and Internal Affairs Commission of the Iranian Parliament, Mohammad Saleh Jokar, says that launching an Iranian national intranet is included in the new partnership being planned between Iran and China. – Radio Farda

Iranian authorities are not taking the measures needed to limit the spread of coronavirus in its overcrowded prisons, including institutions where foreigners such as Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert are held, a rights group charged Wednesday. – Daily Star

The hashtag created to urge Iranian authorities to drop the death sentence Navid Afkari, an Iranian protester and wrestler, topped all Persian language hashtags on Twitter Wednesday and ranked among the ten top English language hashtags. The online campaign to stop the execution of Afkari follows an earlier campaign in July to put an end to executions in Iran. – Radio Farda

We strongly condemn yesterday’s vile antisemitic tweet by the Ayatollah Khamenei, in which he refers to Jews as ‘filthy Zionist agents’ while demonizing the United Arab Emirates for normalizing ties with the State of Israel. – Conference of Presidents

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Radar can help Iran monitor aircraft over the Persian Gulf or further away. Iran shot down a US drone last year over the Gulf of Oman. Iran’s discussion of its new radar capabilities comes days after Iranian media also reported Israeli airstrikes on Syria. This could mean Iran is sending a message about deploying radar to Syria. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s state-controlled missile maker, Roketsan, has set out to an ambitious program to produce the country’s first surface-to-surface, laser-guided missile. – Defense News

Ukraine and its Black Sea neighbor Turkey are striving to deepen their emerging defense and aerospace industry cooperation, with high-level visits and talks on joint programs. – Defense News

Russia will hold two naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean beginning next week, according to Turkey’s navy, a move that could fuel escalating tensions in the energy-rich region. – Bloomberg

James Stavridis writes: An incident at sea in which NATO warships end up actually shooting at each other seems an unimaginably bad outcome, but unfortunately isn’t out of the realm of possibility. The eastern Mediterranean, which has seen more than its share of combat over the centuries, is replacing the South China Sea and the Arabian Gulf as the world’s preeminent maritime hot spot. – Bloomberg


A difference between English and Arabic versions of a trilateral statement after an historic flight from Israel to the UAE has been seized upon by Palestinians to suggest the Gulf state has overstated Israeli readiness to drop West Bank annexation plans. – Reuters

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed four seizure orders for Hamas funds and property in Gaza around the world on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s security cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal by Defense Minister Benny Gantz that the bodies of all Palestinian attackers be withheld and not returned to their families as a deterrent against terror attacks. – Jerusalem Post

IDF combat soldiers this evening, Wednesday, arrested a suspect who crossed from the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, near the perimeter fence. – Arutz Sheva

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday that with a forceful response to waves of incendiary balloons launched at Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip over recent weeks, the military had altered the balance in exchanges of fire with Palestinian territory. – Times of Israel

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The Hamas meetings in Lebanon appear to be part of a wider move, backed by Turkey, to increase Hamas relevance in the region by making it seem like Haniyeh is the head of a government travelling from country to country. Back in December 2019 Hamas made a similar tour of countries, travelling to Turkey, Qatar and others. – Jerusalem Post

Meir Kraus writes: The initiative for this mutual recognition should be American. […]In his remarks, Trump expressed hope the three religions would be able to make peace. This hope forms the basis of a declaration of mutual recognition, which is the key to the next steps toward peace between the Arab states, the Palestinians and Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Alex Fishman writes: All exits from the Strip have been closed, except for the goods transferred from Israel into the Strip on Tuesday that were thoroughly disinfected by the Palestinians upon their entrance into the enclave. Even if Israel wanted to throw Gaza an economic lifeline – the coronavirus has made it all but impossible. So what will Sinwar do now? – Ynet


French President Emmanuel Macron, on his first official visit to Iraq, pledged support to the country’s new government in its fight against Islamic State, amid concerns over the militant group’s resurgence as the U.S. cuts its troops there. – Wall Street Journal

Indeed, the response to Kadhimi’s political endeavours within the armed forces will be critical in determining whether the reforms are successful: acquiescence or support could lead to genuine political change; resistance, on the other hand, could in fact destabilise the country to the point of civil conflict. – Jane’s 360

Iraq said on Wednesday it remained fully committed to the OPEC+ oil supply cut agreement, denying earlier media report that it was seeking an exemption from the reduction pact during the first quarter of 2021, Iraq’s oil ministry spokesman said. – Reuters


Lebanon’s prime minister designate was to kick off talks Wednesday on forming a crisis government within two weeks to begin enacting desperately needed reforms in the disaster-hit country. – Agence France-Presse

A French roadmap for Lebanon’s next government calls for the immediate resumption of talks with the International Monetary Fund to fix the shattered economy and swift moves to fight graft and introduce other reforms that have been delayed for years. – Reuters

The devastating explosion that rocked Beirut last month, killing more than 190 people and injuring thousands, has highlighted endemic corruption in Lebanon. It has also revived calls for investigations into mega-infrastructure projects proposed by politicians whose corruption and negligence the public blames for the disaster. – Associated Press

Tom Rogan writes: So, yes, serious reform remains a challenge, but Macron’s investment of so much political capital is to his credit. If his efforts fail and Lebanon implodes, it will be a major foreign policy weight around the French president’s neck as he enters his 2022 reelection fight. But if Macron succeeds, a long suffering people may finally find cause for optimism. And a most unstable part of the world might finally find a new democratic peace and prosperity — a prize worth the risk. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: While US Central Command has acknowledged Hezbollah’s existence in Lebanon the US views the group as a terrorist threat. A UN-backed investigation recently gave a verdict that found one Hezbollah member guilty of involvement in killing Hariri. The sheer number of problems therefore appears insurmountable. It is in this context that Macron became heated in his exchange with Malbrunot. – Jerusalem Post

Arabian Peninsula

Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani told White House adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday that Doha supports a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, to end the conflict with Israel, his cabinet said. – Reuters

In less than 24 hours on the ground, Israel’s first-of-its-kind delegation to the United Arab Emirates received a warm welcome that would have been nearly unthinkable just a few weeks ago. – Associated Press

Emirati media outlets have reacted positively to the recent normalization deal much like their Israeli counterparts are, as evidenced by the front page of Tuesday’s Khaleej Times, the United Arab Emirates’ longest-running English daily newspaper, which featured a photo of Monday’s historic meeting in Abu Dhabi under the headline “Salam, Shalom.” – Jerusalem Post

The United Arab Emirate’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed wants to visit Jerusalem in person as he seeks a “comprehensive peace” with Israel, a senior UAE official has told All Arab News. – Jerusalem Post

In his June 25, 2020 column in the Qatari daily Al-Arab, journalist ‘Abdallah Al-‘Abd Al-Rahman railed against applying secularism in the Arab and Muslim world, stating that the effects of secularism are to blame for the “horrific state” of today’s Arab and Muslim societies. He wrote that, in the colonialist era, the West tried to inject secularism into the Muslim world, and when these efforts failed, it invented a new kind of secularism “with an Arab-Islamic aroma.” – Middle East Media Research Institute

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), which for more than 25 years has advanced understanding and fostered cooperation between Arab states and the Jewish people, on Wednesday announced its plans to open an office in the United Arab Emirates. – Arutz Sheva

Shortly after the historic announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates were normalizing relations, a high-ranking official in the Emirati Foreign Ministry said he believed one of the main issues for Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem would be the opening of embassies in each other’s nations. – Israel Hayom

Elie Podeh writes: Is the green light for the F-35s sale worth peace with the Emirates? The question requires in-depth consideration and cannot be left solely to the prime minister. The Emirates will presumably not accept a violation of Israel’s (tacit) promise, once again. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that it would allow any flights going to and from the United Arab Emirates to fly over its territory, a move that would give Israel access to some of the kingdom’s airspace for the first time. – New York Times

From Pakistan to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is scaling back its famed chequebook diplomacy, a longstanding policy of splashing petro-dollars in exchange for influence, which observers say has yielded few tangible gains. – Agence France-Presse

Saudi Arabia is continuing to divert its oil away from America’s shores. The kingdom last month loaded about 5.6 million barrels a day on to tankers, a small increase from July, vessel-tracking information compiled by Bloomberg show. Within that, an ever-smaller share went to the U.S., and import data show that deliveries in August were likely the lowest in decades. – Bloomberg

Chuck Freilich writes: The Saudis are a crucial link in both American and Israeli policy towards Iran, but not if this means that they pursue a military nuclear program of their own. A Saudi Arabia whose strategic interests align with those of the US and Israel today, may be a very different country down the line. It is already undergoing dramatic domestic change. – Haaretz


As war raged in Libya last winter, a dozen world leaders gathered in Berlin to talk peace. The contradictions surrounding the conference were no secret: Many of the global leaders who pledged to end foreign meddling in Libya’s conflict were themselves fueling it. – New York Times

Less than three months after pro-government forces pushed a renegade warlord out of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, infighting within the government now threatens to unravel it and plunge the country into the next chapter of chaos. – Washington Post

Russia has stepped up its logistic support for private military contractor Wagner Group in Libya with some 338 military cargo flights from Syria in the nine months to July 31 to aid Wagner fighters backing eastern-based Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, according to a U.N. report seen by Reuters on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United Nations acting Libya envoy said on Wednesday that foreign supporters of both sides in the civil war were helping them stockpile weapons in breach of an arms embargo and as coronavirus “spirals out of control” in the country. – Reuters

Turkey would “love it” if a ceasefire declared in Libya last month is successful but there are many doubts after eastern-based forces under Khalifa Haftar dismissed the move, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threw his support behind the burgeoning Israeli normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates and spoke against any efforts to annex portions of the West Bank, during a phone call Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. – Jerusalem Post

Presumed Israeli air strikes on eastern Syria killed 16 Iran-backed fighters Thursday, a war monitor said, hours after Damascus said it intercepted Israeli missiles fired at a central air base. – Arutz Sheva

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Many Kurdish and minority families have said that Syrian rebel extremists backed by Ankara have kidnapped women, stolen property and committed widespread abuses. Reports to the UN and human rights groups have had the same allegations. It now appears that Ankara has exported these abuses to Libya under the guise of helping the GNA, but primarily so Ankara can use the mercenary support as leverage for energy deals and conflict with Greece and Egypt. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

There are no signs that North Korea has been reprocessing fuel from its main nuclear reactor into plutonium over the past year, but Pyongyang appears to still be enriching uranium, which could potentially be used in a nuclear weapon, the U.N.’s atomic watchdog said Wednesday. – Associated Press

The former bodyguard of then–North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il, says he fears for his life if he is deported to South Korea, after being denied asylum in Canada. – Newsweek

North Korean troops and military vehicles are rehearsing for a massive military parade scheduled for next month — despite the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, according to satellite imagery reviewed by a US thinktank. – New York Post

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s grip on power inside the hermit kingdom is stronger than ever despite reports he is in ill health, a defector with contacts inside Pyongyang told The Post. – New York Post


The Trump administration plans to impose new restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the U.S., citing Beijing’s use of similar measures on U.S. envoys. – Wall Street Journal

China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday rejected a U.S. report that Beijing was expected to double the number of its nuclear warheads. – Reuters

China’s cabinet approved two nuclear power projects, according to state radio on Wednesday evening, quoting the country’s cabinet meeting. – Reuters

China’s new tech export rules do not target any specific company, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, when asked if the new rules mean ByteDance’s sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations could require Beijing’s approval. – Reuters

China is planning a sweeping set of new government policies to develop its domestic semiconductor industry and counter Trump administration restrictions, conferring the same kind of priority on the effort it accorded to building its atomic capability, according to people with knowledge of the matter. – Bloomberg

China is moving away from its “informationized” approach to warfare and adopting new technologies that will support an “intelligentized” approach, the Pentagon said in a new report. – C4ISRNET

Editorial: In the latest example of bullying, China has detained with no public explanation Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen and television anchor for a Beijing media outlet. Yet the Communist Party’s demands of obeisance are awakening the world to the risks of letting China become the Pacific’s dominant power. China’s rulers have convinced their people that the world wants to keep them down, but they are threatening their country’s international gains by abusing countries like Australia. – Wall Street Journal

Jessica Chen Weiss and Ali Wyne write: American nationalism will only beget more Chinese nationalism, and that would hurt the United States, especially in the short term. Better to let China’s strategy run its course, or run aground, on its own. – New York Times

Josh Rogin writes: Trump can’t campaign on building a 350-ship Navy, at least not honestly. Chinese President Xi Jinping could, but he doesn’t have to campaign, because he is ruler-for-life in a dictatorship that now boasts the largest navy in the world. – Washington Post

Tom Rogan writes: New nuclear arms treaties should be seen as fulfilling a long term service of that oath. But those treaties cannot come at the expense of America’s eroded nuclear deterrence. The best way to avoid nuclear war is the sustained U.S. assurance that it alone can win any such war. That is the best and only foundation from which to pursue nuclear arms control talks. – Washington Examiner

Kevin Mooney writes: By unleashing America’s energy potential, Trump has put the U.S. in a stronger position to recover from the coronavirus and to resist Chinese aggression overseas. As president, Biden would only do Beijing’s bidding. – Washington Examiner

Jamie Tarabay and Zheping Huang write: To the Trump administration, the national security concerns surrounding WeChat go beyond Communist Party surveillance, censorship, and the silencing of activists. […]Cybersecurity experts agree that a ban on WeChat and even TikTok for its mass collection of personal user data should be on the table when it comes to national security. – Bloomberg


The victory, even if symbolic, is seen as a small boost for women’s rights at a time when the future of women’s role in Afghan society hangs in the balance amid imminent government negotiations over a power-sharing deal with the Taliban. – New York Times

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions against two senior officials of the International Criminal Court for prosecuting U.S. military and intelligence personnel in Afghanistan. – Wall Street Journal

Officials on both sides of Afghanistan’s protracted conflict say efforts are ramping up for a start to intra-Afghan negotiations, a critical next step to a U.S.-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban. – Associated Press

Afghanistan will transfer to Qatar seven prisoners whose release has been demanded by the Taliban ahead of peace talks set to start this week, officials of both warring sides, as well as Western diplomats, said on Thursday. – Reuters

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Wednesday that the government had met all of its commitments for peace talks with the Taliban, as a team left for Qatar to prepare for negotiations. – Agence France-Presse

South Asia

India banned more Chinese phone apps on Wednesday as tensions continue to escalate along its disputed border with China, with one Indian soldier reportedly killed earlier this week by a Chinese land mine. – New York Times

India has moved troops to its eastern stretch of border with China since clashes erupted between the nuclear-armed rivals on the western part of their border in the Himalayas in June, a government official said. – Reuters

China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday no Indian troops had died along the countries’ shared border, as fresh tensions flared up on the frontier. – Reuters

The United States hopes for a peaceful resolution to the clashes between India and China on the disputed Himalayan mountain border, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. – Reuters

While Beijing and New Delhi condemn each other, China is also seeking to frame the conflict as part of its wider confrontation with the U.S., which has been supercharged by the coronavirus pandemic. – Newsweek

Barkha Dutt writes: India’s battle with China is also brewing on the economic and technology frontiers. For years, Indians barely noticed as the Chinese systematically infiltrated our markets and grew tentacles around the economy. […]Chinese impunity on all fronts must be called out. As the world has learned from the coronavirus crisis, allowing China to be the global bully has consequences for everyone. – Washington Post


A United States Marine who was convicted in 2015 of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines has been ordered released, drawing protests from activists. – New York Times

From the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor Wednesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made oblique references to China as the new threat to international order exactly 75 years after World War II in the Pacific ended with the Japanese signing of unconditional surrender aboard the battleship. – Washington Examiner

In an international security environment described as one of renewed great power competition, the South China Sea (SCS) has emerged as an arena of U.S.-China strategic competition. – USNI News

Taiwan is developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare to counter the growing capabilities of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the US Department of Defense (DoD) said in its 2020 report to Congress on military and security developments involving China. – Jane’s 360

Japan’s next prime minister is expected to follow Shinzo Abe’s path in tightening Tokyo’s military ties with the United States and expanding the nation’s definition of “self-defense” to counter China’s and North Korea’s threats, four Indo-Pacific security experts said Tuesday. – USNI News

China’s “vulgar threats” over a visit by the Czech Republic’s senate speaker to Taiwan are like a cold, unwelcome winter wind and contrast with the courteous words the speaker offered while in Taiwan, a senior Taiwanese politician said on Thursday. – Reuters


Few people had heard of the nerve agent Novichok until 2018, when Western officials accused Russia of having used it in the attempted assassination of a former spy in Britain. It returned abruptly to the headlines on Wednesday, when Germany said the poison had sickened the Russian dissident Alexei A. Navalny. – New York Times

On Wednesday, the German government confirmed the doctors’ fears: Mr. Navalny, 44, had been poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok family, a potent class of chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union that was used at least once before in recent years in an attack on a Kremlin enemy.  – New York Times

The European Union condemned “in the strongest possible terms” on Wednesday the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and called on Russia to thoroughly investigate the assassination attempt and bring those responsible to justice. – Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanded Russia explain what happened to Alexei Navalny, a leading critic of President Vladimir Putin said by Germany to have been poisoned with a nerve agent, and pledged to work to ensure justice is done. – Reuters

A European response that involves the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is needed against Russia after the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent, some politicians and diplomats in Germany said on Thursday. – Reuters

Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, has thanked Russian state-backed television channel RT for providing journalists to help prop up Belarusian state media after hundreds of staff went on strike in protest against his rule. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine on Wednesday of fomenting trouble in neighboring Belarus, and said Moscow saw no point in engaging with a Belarusian opposition council that has emerged amid nationwide anti-government protests. – Reuters

The chiefs of staff of the Russian and Belarusian armies discussed preparations for a joint military drill in Belarus this year by telephone on Wednesday, the RIA news agency cited the Belarusian Defence Ministry as saying. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin will face “substantial consequences” if he deploys forces into Belarus to help beleaguered autocrat Alexander Lukashenko control the mass protests against his rule, a top American diplomat warned. – Washington Examiner

In Moscow, President Donald Trump’s potential re-election is still considered the sole beneficial outcome, and the expectations are high. – The Daily Beast

Russia’s JSC Kronshtadt unveiled its new range of small air-launched munitions for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the Army 2020 defence exhibition held in Kubinka near Moscow on 23-29 August. These weapons have been developed by a wide range of companies, including the Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV) and the Central Research and Scientific Institute of Chemical Machine-building (TsNIIKhM). – Jane’s 360

The United States and Russia have shown a willingness to extend the New START nuclear pact before it expires next year, but the ball is now in Russia’s court, a Pentagon official said Wednesday. – Defense News

Editorial: The U.S. has a few options to support Mr. Navalny. It could invoke the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act or the Magnitsky Act to impose financial sanctions on those responsible. The U.S. and its allies can also expel Russian diplomats as they did after the Skripal poisoning. – Wall Street Journal

Tom Rogan writes: At a minimum, the U.S. should join other international allies to engage in a collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. New sanctions on the Russian financial and energy sectors should then follow. Putin’s undaunted use of chemical weapons is a threat to us all. It must not stand. – Washington Examiner

Diana Magnay writes: As has become depressingly clear too, a tough international response – whatever that may end up being – does not result in a shift in the Kremlin’s thinking. If anything, as Mr Putin has aged, it has hardened. And as Putinism has aged, it has emboldened those who feel they can act in its name. – Sky News (UK)

Alistair Bunkall writes: Alexei Navalny isn’t universally popular amongst anti-Putin groups – some believe he’s too much of a nationalist and question his links with the US – he spent a year at Yale University in 2010.But he is the face of Russian opposition and as long as he remains a thorn in Putin’s side, Navalny can expect to be targeted by a state that doesn’t take well to criticism. – Sky News (UK)


Cyprus has welcomed the lifting of a US arms embargo as proof it is a “reliable partner” in the Eastern Mediterranean, as Washington’s ambassador stressed the move was not aimed at Turkey. – Agence France-Presse

Hindered by frayed ties with Europe, limited leverage and doubts about President Donald Trump’s devotion to democracy in Belarus, the United States is gingerly trying to nudge the former Soviet state toward new elections without provoking Russia. – Reuters

Lithuania and Estonia have asked fellow EU nations to blacklist Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko when the bloc imposes sanctions on the former Soviet republic over a disputed election and a crackdown on protests, diplomatic sources said. – Reuters

Belarus will impose travel bans on senior officials in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in retaliation for measures targeting its own officials, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, as Russia stepped up support for the Belarusian government. – Reuters

Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic has accused neighbouring Serbia of waging “media and political aggression” ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary vote in which his pro-Western party suffered a major setback. – Reuters

Serbian officials have denied that Serbia and its president have interfered in Montenegro’s parliamentary election that was narrowly won by pro-Belgrade and pro-Russian political groupings. – Associated Press

A prominent British human rights lawyer is convening an independent tribunal in London to investigate whether the Chinese government’s alleged rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the far western Xinjiang region constitute genocide or crimes against humanity. – Associated Press

Pressure on a Czech politician over plans to visit Taiwan grew so great that it contributed to his death, according to his family. Now his replacement has gone ahead with the trip — widening a rift between China and what was once one of its biggest cheerleaders in the European Union. – Bloomberg

British musician and activist Roger Waters said in an August 29, 2020 interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) that the Palestinians had not invited European Jews to come to Palestine, and that the “antisemitic story” spread against him and against the British Labour Party was a well-orchestrated conspiracy that successfully destroyed Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of being elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. – Middle East Media Research Institute


At least seven people were killed and 14 others wounded in suicide bomb attack in a village hosting internally displaced people in Cameroon’s Far North region, the second of such attack in a month, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday. – Reuters

On the guidance of President Donald Trump, the State Department said Wednesday the U.S. is suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a massive, disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River. – Associated Press

South Africa is ready to help insurgency-hit Mozambique with support from its intelligence services or military, but its neighbour would first need to request that help, South Africa’s foreign minister said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Latin America

A prominent Venezuelan opposition figure on Wednesday said he is supporting congressional elections in December that Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader backed by the U.S., has pledged to boycott. – Wall Street Journal

Police in Colombia have arrested three Venezuelans who were part of a failed plot organized by a former U.S. Green Beret to sneak across the border and oust President Nicolás Maduro, The Associated Press has learned – Associated Press

A Venezuelan businessman charged in Miami with laundering millions of dollars from oil contracts was gunned down Tuesday by a motorcycle assassin in Venezuela, according to authorities. – Agence France-Presse


Twitter confirmed on Thursday that an account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal website was hacked with a series of tweets asking its followers to donate to a relief fund through cryptocurrency. – Reuters

Microsoft has unveiled software that can help spot “deepfake” photos or videos, adding to the list of programs designed to fight the hard-to-detect images ahead of the US presidential election. – Agence France-Presse

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday demanded answers around a report that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withheld information on Russian interference in the presidential election. – The Hill

A top EU official said Tuesday he understands U.S. President Donald Trump’s concerns about TikTok and called for European data to be stored locally. – Politico

Cyber Shield 20, a defensive exercise that seeks to train guardsmen in network defense and incident response, will take place Sept. 12-26. It’s expected to feature more than 800 members of the Army and Air National Guard. – Defense News

Speaking at the Department of the Navy’s Gold Coast Small Business Procurement event today, Navy CIO Aaron Weis said the service saw a jump in malicious activity as employees began teleworking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. – USNI News

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Wednesday issued a final directive requiring all federal agencies to develop and publish cyber vulnerability disclosure policies. – The Hill


The U.S. Army is pursuing a new mid-range missile prototype capable of going after moving targets at land and at sea, an Army spokesperson has confirmed to Defense News. The effort is meant to fill a gap in the service’s long-range precision fires portfolio that includes the future Precision Strike Missile and hypersonic weapons capabilities. – Defense News

The US Air Force (USAF) is likely to make major aircraft platform cuts in the next couple of years as it reorganises for near-peer competition against nations such as China or Russia, according to a report from the service’s new chief of staff. – Jane’s 360

BAE Systems has delivered its first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) to the US Army after working through a six-month delay as it overhauled the way it produces vehicles at a key facility. – Jane’s 360

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded a contract to the aviation firm Exosonic to begin developing a presidential aircraft that can travel at supersonic speeds. – Washington Times

Long War

The alleged accomplices of the terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store went on trial Wednesday, a day after the satirical magazine republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered the attackers five years ago. – Wall Street Journal

A Saudi court has sentenced seven Islamic State militants to death over a 2014 shooting attack that killed eight Shi’ite Muslims near the eastern city of al-Ahsa, state television reported on Wednesday. – Reuters

Tom Rogan writes: Just as the murder of innocent people is anathema to most of us, so also should be the silencing of individual opinion. That is what the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo aimed to achieve. And why it is so important that Charlie Hebdo has reminded us that it will always win. – Washington Examiner