Fdd's overnight brief

September 3, 2021

In The News


The Taliban is moving to announce a new government for Afghanistan, even as it faces a number of challenges to its power, including restive pockets in the country’s north and public demonstrations against the likely return to its extreme interpretation of Islamic law. – Washington Post 

 Despite the dangers, dozens of Afghan women took to the streets in western Afghanistan on Thursday in a rare public demonstration against Taliban restrictions on their right to work and seek education. – Washington Post 

The top U.S. military official said it is “possible” the United States will coordinate with the Taliban in the fight against the Islamic State, although he declined to make predictions about potential collaboration with Afghanistan’s new rulers, who could announce a new government as early as Thursday. – Washington Post  

Karzai’s reemergence is the latest twist in a remarkably durable political career, especially for a man widely considered a puppet of the Americans when he was spirited into Afghanistan by U.S. forces and installed in a frigid presidential palace in the winter of 2001. – Washington Post  

Afghanistan’s neighbors have closed their land borders to people trying to flee its new Taliban rulers, trapping tens of thousands of people who are eligible to resettle in the U.S. and other countries but were unable to enter the airport in Kabul before the international airlift ended. – Wall Street Journal 

It’s already one of the poorest countries in the world. With Afghanistan under Taliban control, aid groups are warning of worsening humanitarian crises as the country faces economic hardship and increased international isolation. – Washington Post 

Afghanistan’s plunge into chaos, isolation and near-destitution under its newly ascendant Taliban rulers appeared to slow on Thursday, with the first significant moves to salvage Kabul’s inoperable airport, an increased flow of U.N. aid and word that international money transfers had resumed to the country, where many banks are shuttered. – New York Times 

Lawmakers and media organizations are calling on the Biden administration to help get more than 100 government-funded media employees out of Afghanistan, where they risk retribution from the Taliban for their affiliation with the U.S. government. – Wall Street Journal 

As the Taliban try to unite all Afghans behind them, one of the biggest obstacles the Sunni Islamist movement faces is how to persuade the Shiite Hazara community, roughly one-fifth of the nation’s population, that it has a place under the new regime. – Wall Street Journal 

Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government set to be announced shortly, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday, as it battled rebel fighters in the Panjshir Valley and strived to ward off economic collapse. – Reuters 

Britain said on Friday it would release 30 million pounds ($41 million) of aid to support nations neighbouring Afghanistan dealing with refugees fleeing the country since the Taliban took control. – Reuters 

The Biden administration has no plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves parked in the United States that it froze after the Taliban’s takeover, despite pressure from humanitarian groups and others who say the cost may be the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy. – Reuters 

Qatar’s top diplomat said Thursday that experts are racing to reopen Kabul’s airport but warned it was not clear when flights would resume, with many still desperate to flee Afghanistan’s new Taliban leaders amid concerns over what their rule will hold. – Associated Press 

A group of journalists working for United States-backed media outlets lost access to Kabul’s airport due to the Islamic State terrorist attack last week, according to a prominent State Department official. – Bloomberg 

It doesn’t appear the EU will be moving quickly to boost its own military capabilities in the wake of a hectic Afghanistan withdrawal that left some insisting Europe needs to better stand on its own. In a meeting of EU defense ministers on Thursday, the first since western forces fully exited Afghanistan, there was not enough political will to make any promises on dramatically changing the bloc’s military posture — despite several countries insisting Europe cannot continue to rely on the U.S. – Politico 

MPs and anti-arms trade campaigners fear millions of pounds worth of U.K. munitions in Afghanistan will end up in the hands of Islamist extremists. – Politico 

The Dutch government wants to support Turkey and Qatar in attempts to re-open Kabul airport to resume evacuations from Afghanistan, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Editorial: Biden has promised to remove these troops “by the end of the year.” One hopes he manages that withdrawal, or a decision to stay, better than he handled Afghanistan. The way to make that more likely is to determine the right path forward not by reference to shallow considerations of headline-catching dates, not by calculating purely partisan political advantages, and not to create the illusion of a proper conclusion by the declaration of a Potemkin victory. Instead, he must make the decision based on a hard-headed and clear-eyed assessment of what is in the American national interest. – Bloomberg 

Thomas Warrick writes: Neither security nor American values need to be compromised. Those in Congress who criticized the Biden administration for slowness to respond need to step up immediately to vote money for overtime and for bringing back retired homeland security, intelligence, and military personnel to clear this backlog. […]But most urgently, the United States needs to honor its debt to those Afghans who risked their lives by marshaling the resources that it will take to review their claims, thoroughly and fairly, before the end of this year. – Washington Post 

Peggy Noonan writes: Concentrate on the new reality of the new Afghanistan, the immediate and larger diplomatic demands, the security needs. Get the Americans out, our friends out, figure out—plan—what you would do and say if, say, next November there is a terror event on U.S. soil, and a group calling itself al Qaeda 2.0 claims responsibility, and within a few days it turns out they launched their adventure from a haven in Afghanistan. Don’t fix on “perception.” Focus on that ignored thing, reality. – Wall Street Journal 

Sadanand Dhume writes: The jury is still out on how rough Taliban 2.0 will be with working women, Shiite Muslims and pro-West Afghans. The portents for the world aren’t good. “It’s like giving Islamism steroids,” says Mr. Hashmi of the Taliban’s triumph. “This shows them that perseverance in the way of Allah, jihad in the way of Allah, bears fruit. The route to success is not by aping the West.” – Wall Street Journal 

James Stavridis writes: Measured against all that the U.S. got wrong, perhaps these achievements provide small comfort. In retrospect, it’s clear we built the wrong kind of Afghan army, underestimated the Taliban and overestimated Afghan leadership. We overshot the goal on attempting to build a new Afghan nation, failed to prevent cross-border sanctuaries for the enemies of that effort, and staged a messy and humiliating final exit. Even so, the U.S. military has learned some things that will prepare it to face the next foreign crisis. – Bloomberg 

Adam Laxalt writes: The families of slain heroes, our fellow countrymen still stranded, and the scores of Afghanistan veterans who represent the best of the U.S. have waited long enough for accountability and for answers as to how the withdrawal was botched so badly. It’s time for investigations, resignations, and real change. It’s time to fire Democratic leadership in Congress so we can hold this administration accountable for its failure. The men and women of the U.S. military did their job by keeping Americans safe. They should be proud of their service. It is the politicians in Washington who have failed us. – Washington Examiner 

Yigal Carmon writes: The U.S. must open its eyes and detach itself from the fetters of its own folly to reassume the status befitting a superpower in Afghanistan, confronting, as it claims, Russia and China. To do so, it will have to distinguish between its true friends and foes, and directly pressure Pakistan and Qatar, holding them responsible for the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. […It must be present in strategic locations, at least via proxy representation, otherwise it too will descend to the status of a regional power. The withdrawal from Afghanistan in favor of the Taliban is the first step in this slippery slope. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

David Pollock writes: To avoid the worst outcomes, Washington needs to assiduously enforce any deals with the new Afghan leadership, cooperate effectively with other world powers, and explain to a domestic audience how the withdrawal will facilitate a focus on different priorities. – Washington Institute 

Michael Rubin writes: Simply put, as the White House seeks to turn a new page, it is likely that the Taliban will flip an old one: The Taliban will negotiate for as much of the $9.4 billion as they can get but will keep the pressure on Biden’s White House by selling American prisoners sporadically to groups that might make a spectacle of their execution. In that scenario, Washington spin will be irrelevant, as will Biden’s angry rhetoric and blame-shifting. The withdrawal was strategic malpractice. Leaving Americans behind was unforgivable, but what comes next could be even worse. – Washington Examiner 

Yoav J. Tenembaum writes: The United States and its allies defeated al-Qaeda and toppled the Taliban regime. The victory was swift. International support for the military operation was widespread. The war was a clear-cut success, but the intention to establish a stable, democratic regime, ultimately failed, leading to the takeover by the Taliban, 20 years after it had been toppled. […] To be sure, Japan unlike Afghanistan was an ethnically homogeneous society, heeding the emperor’s words. Once fully defeated, it was easier to lead it to a stable political order. Thus, the post-war reality in Afghanistan could be expected to be different, but the reasons leading to war were not. – Jerusalem Post 


Iran’s state TV is reporting that the country’s Interior Ministry has approved a new hard-line mayor for the capital, Tehran, after a city council election. – Associated Press 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release a financial reporter who was reportedly arrested this week on security charges, saying that the jailing of journalists for doing their jobs is “an outrageous form of censorship that must end.” – Agence France-Presse 

U.S. and European efforts to coax Iran back into nuclear negotiations as soon as this month are being blunted by support the Islamic Republic’s already emboldened leaders are receiving from China and Russia. – Bloomberg 

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army’s Air Defence Force unveiled a new surveillance radar and command-and-control (C2) system on 1 September and also announced that it has tested a new version of its Mesad-16 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. – Jane’s 360  

Havard Haugstvedt writes: Looking forward, maritime security experts should be alert to the risk that technologies currently deployed by the Houthis will spread to other seas. Iran may be deliberately using the Red Sea as a testing area for new naval technologies, or the Houthis may be pioneering these technologies on their own. But either way, Iran will be eager to learn from the Houthis’ experiences and tactics. It will be important to develop effective countermeasures before maritime drones potentially appear in the Strait of Hormuz as well. – War on the Rocks 


A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire on Thursday night, Gaza health officials said, during a violent protest along the Israeli border. – Associated Press 

Three Palestinians died on Thursday as the Egyptian military pumped toxic gas into a smuggling tunnel, Palestinian media reported. – Jerusalem Post 

An Israel Defense Forces probe blamed the killing of a Border Police sniper during a Gaza border riot last month on poor deployment of troops, not overly restrictive open-fire regulations, the military said Friday. – Times of Israel 

The Biden administration has officially moved Israel to the US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, enabling greater cooperation with increasingly friendly Arab states in the region facing a common threat in Iran. – Algemeiner 

The website of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala newspaper is presenting the recent relief measures for Gaza that were implemented by Israel as a move imposed on it under pressure from the Palestinian “resistance”. – Arutz Sheva 

In mid-2002, as the US was still shaking from the trauma of the Twin Towers’ fall, the US intelligence community working with Israeli and European intelligence agencies, foiled an Al Qaeda terror attack against several youth clubs in Tel Aviv, Ynet reported. – Ynet 

Editorial: The US has been the main broker for past Israeli-Palestinian talks, the last round of which came in 2014. But so far Biden has not shown any interest in kick-starting a new process. […] Unfortunately, Shtayyeh is right. We urge the prime minister to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting with Abbas at his earliest convenience. A strong PA is in Israel’s interest. Bennett needs to keep that in mind. – Jerusalem Post 

Gil Murciano writes: Skillful Israeli integration in the international and regional campaign to ensure freedom of navigation would not only help protect its interests, but also serve as a tool for intensifying multilateral partnership with the region and the global system. As in the case of the Abraham Accords, Iran’s offensive actions provide Israel with an opportunity to improve its regional integration. Israel should ride this wave. – Jerusalem Post 

Ehud Olmert writes: At the end of the day, the US will reach a trade agreement with China that suits its interests, and I’m not at all sure that the economic benefits for Israel that are expected to result from such an agreement will be first and foremost in the minds of the Americans. […]The US is our ally. China is not our enemy, and could be our partner in matters that benefit us and do no harm to others. – Jerusalem Post 

Blaise Misztal, Jonathan Ruhe, Ari Cicurel, and Andrew Ghalili write: On September 1, the U.S. Department of Defense officially reorganized Israel within the area of responsibility (AOR) of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) alongside the other Middle Eastern nations. Amid U.S. retrenchment, the move could facilitate enhancement of Israeli capabilities and enhance coordination among American forces in the region, its Arab partners and Israel as they focus on combatting an increasingly aggressive Iran. – JINSA 

Middle East & North Africa

After the chaotic withdrawal of the last U.S. forces from Afghanistan, leaders in this corner of Syria say they fear a departure of the roughly 900 American soldiers, backed by U.S. air power, who patrol areas held by an American-allied militia and, they say, are essential to protecting them from hostile forces. – Wall Street Journal 

Egypt’s president held talks in Cairo on Thursday with the King of Jordan and the president of the Palestinian Authority aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process and strengthening a ceasefire that halted the Israel-Hamas war. – Associated Press 

Israel has named its first ambassador to Bahrain, after normalising relations with the Gulf Arab state a year ago, an Israeli government Arabic-language Twitter account said on Thursday. – Reuters 

The first Iranian fuel oil cargo secured through Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah will be delivered via Syria by truck to avoid complications related to sanctions, two sources with knowledge of the mater said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Fighting broke out in Tripoli early on Friday between rival armed forces, witnesses said, the heaviest clashes in the Libyan capital since the conflict between eastern and western factions paused a year ago. – Reuters 

Syria says it shot down Israeli missiles as they approached the capital Damascus on Friday, saying it had countered an “aggression” from its longtime adversary with its own air defenses. – Associated Press 

Bobby Ghosh writes: The U.S. military presence in Iraq is crucial for the pursuit of American interests in the wider neighborhood, too. The Syrian Kurds, who have been allies in the fight against the Islamic State, are supplied through northern Iraq. Kurds on both sides of the border, having cast their lot with the U.S., have been shaken by the pullout in Afghanistan. – Bloomberg  

Gregory Waters and Charlie Winter write: The central media apparatus of the Islamic State group is mis-reporting on the activities of its cells in central Syria. Rather than exaggerating their capabilities, something that it is conventionally assumed to be doing all the time, its Central Media Diwan appears either to be deliberately under-playing them, or, less likely, to be unaware of their full extent, possibly due to communication issues. Indeed, there is a significant disconnect between what the Islamic State is saying its cells in central Syria are doing versus what its adversaries are saying they are doing. – Middle East Institute  

Salem AlKetbi writes: This is not just about Afghanistan, but about the position and status of the US in the existing world order. The repetition of such situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world is seen by some as an indication of the erosion of US global influence and the decline of its ability to remain the world’s only superpower. Such statements are no longer analytical assumptions. […]That’s going to be the subject of extensive US study in the coming period. But what has happened is the most serious warning of the decline and erosion of American influence in the world. – Arutz Sheva 


Chinese state-backed tabloid the Global Times called U.S. efforts to block cross-border acquisitions of tech companies a “red flag” that impedes China’s tech sector and disrupts the growth of the global tech sector. – Reuters  

Lithuania said on Friday it had recalled its ambassador from Beijing for consultations, in a dispute over Europe’s first representative office for Taiwan to use the island’s name, which China views as a challenge to its claim on the territory. – Reuters 

Australia’s economic resilience in the wake of China’s efforts to punish it for diplomatic slights has some Down Under declaring victory. They might be speaking too soon. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: For the Communist Party, climate change is secondary to China’s immediate strategic interests. Yet it hopes the U.S. is woolly-headed enough to trade away its security priorities for unenforceable climate promises. […]The Biden Administration hasn’t yet yielded to China’s demands that the U.S. abandon its interests and values in Asia. Let’s hope Mr. Kerry’s climate project doesn’t turn out to be the weak link. – Wall Street Journal 

Josh Rogin writes: The intel summary bizarrely concluded that Beijing’s stonewalling is due to the Chinese Communist Party’s “own uncertainty about where an investigation could lead as well as its frustration [that] the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China.” But that’s the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda, not its real concern. China’s actions show that its real fear is that the world might actually discover what it has been covering up — the truth. – Washington Post 


The Federated States of Micronesia will tap a U.S. funding facility to construct a Pacific undersea communications cable, two sources told Reuters, after rejecting a Chinese company-led proposal that was deemed a security threat by U.S. officials. – Reuters  

Britain announced new Myanmar sanctions on Thursday, saying it was targeting a key business associate of the military junta for providing arms and financial support following a coup earlier this year. – Reuters 

Pakistan is urging the international community to adopt a three-pronged approach to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover: quickly deliver aid to 14 million people facing a hunger crisis, promote an inclusive government, and work with the Taliban to attack all terrorist groups in the country. – Associated Press 

U.S. President Joe Biden will this year host the first face-to-face meeting of leaders of the Quad partnership, which is seeking to act as a counter against what those nations see as China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. – Bloomberg 

Aircraft from carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) flew interoperability exercises over the Philippine Sea on Aug. 26 with U.S. Marine Corps and Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the U.K. Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG 21), the Navy announced this week. – USNI News 

Vinay Kaura writes: Washington’s failure to penalize Pakistan would further diminish America’s position as a global power while damaging its credibility among allies. If the U.S. is keen to retain a semblance of credibility on the world stage, there has to be a bipartisan consensus in Washington to act against Pakistan. Now that the evacuation is complete and foreign troops have left Afghanistan, the real test for Pakistan begins. If the Biden administration makes up its mind to take on Pakistan for its deceitful behavior in sustaining the insurgency in Afghanistan, then Pakistan must be ready for unpredictable terms of engagement with Washington. – Middle East Institute 

Bruce Klingner writes: North Korea has conducted cyber guerrilla warfare to steal classified military secrets, absconded with billions of dollars in money and cybercurrency, held computer systems hostage, and inflicted extensive damage on computer networks. […]Without a firm response from the U.S., the North Korean regime will continue to undermine the effectiveness of international sanctions and could inflict even greater damage during a crisis or military conflict. – Heritage Foundation 

Charlie Campbell writes: On Capitol Hill, political support for Taiwan remains strong to this day, especially given the deterioration in relations with China in recent years. Many Americans also see the costs of deserting Taiwan to be incalculably worse than those incurred in the retreat from Kabul, claiming that it could fundamentally reshape global security. […]Those prospects mean that the Taiwan issue is both a potentially huge strategic headache for Washington and one that Beijing must handle with extreme caution. – Time 


Russia’s Internet censor threatened Thursday to fine Google and Apple if they don’t remove an app built by opposition leaders that encourages voters to cast ballots against the party of President Vladimir Putin, saying the companies are interfering in the nation’s electoral processes. – Washington Post 

The Kremlin said on Thursday that U.S. military assistance to Ukraine could make Kyiv behave unpredictably and dangerously in the conflict in its east, and expressed regret at a U.S.-Ukrainian friendship it said was motivated by opposition to Russia. – Reuters 

The defense team of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who is serving a lengthy prison term in Russia on espionage charges he calls trumped up, has requested he be handed over to the United States to finish serving his sentence. – Agence France-Presse 

The Russian government is considering allowing state-owned oil producer Rosneft to ship gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a move that could preempt the imposition of volume restrictions by the European Union. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia has refused to extend the mandate of international observers to monitor two border crossing points with Ukraine, a U.S. official said. – Agence France-Presse 


The European Union will return to Africa millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine that it received from a plant in South Africa, following criticism by health activists that the bloc was taking away shots from a continent that has the lowest immunization rate in the world. – Wall Street Journal  

Germany is ready to resume a diplomatic presence in Kabul if the Taliban meet certain conditions, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday, but his French counterpart said he had yet to see positive signals that the group had changed. – Reuters 

Poland declared a state of emergency in two regions bordering Belarus on Thursday following a surge of illegal migration that Warsaw has blamed on its neighbour. – Reuters 

The United States will give Ukraine more than $45 million in additional humanitarian assistance, U.S. Secretary of state Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday. – Reuters 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling for international solidarity with Belarus’s “persecuted” independent journalists as a crackdown on media and civil society intensifies following last year’s disputed presidential election. – Agence France-Presse 

One person evacuated from Afghanistan to a U.S. military base in Germany is in custody after failing a security screening but is not believed to be a “high threat,” the top U.S. general in Europe said Thursday. – The Hill 


A de facto blockade on aid to the Tigray region in Ethiopia’s north is bringing millions of people to the brink of famine, the United Nations humanitarian agency said on Thursday, warning of “looming catastrophe”. – Reuters 

Tanzanian police said on Thursday that a slain gunman who killed three police officers and a private security guard on a rampage through a diplomatic quarter of Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam last month was a terrorist. – Reuters  

David Pilling writes: France is probably right to scale back its Mali operations. Heavy-handed French presence can be a red rag to a bull. In Mali and elsewhere, militant groups use anti-French sentiment to recruit new fighters. […] Any government that provides basic services to all, regardless of religion or ethnicity or whether they live in the countryside or the cities, stands a fighting chance. If, however, there is a hole where the state should be, militants will rush in to fill it. – Financial Times 

The Americas

Relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks called Thursday for the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the FBI’s handling of evidence from its investigation into the hijackers and their associates, saying certain records are apparently missing or lost. – Associated Press 

A legal reform in El Salvador that seeks to fire all judges over the age of 60 that was approved by allies of President Nayib Bukele came under criticism from a U.S. official on Thursday, in the latest American rebuke of the president’s agenda. – Reuters 

Amid the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden’s approval rating slid to just 43% in the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. – NPR 

The House took a step Thursday toward creating a commission to study the two-decade U.S. war in Afghanistan as lawmakers sparred over how the withdrawal played out. – Military.com 

Marc A. Thiessen writes: The impact of Biden’s Afghan retreat is also being felt in Asia. […] Yet Biden seems oblivious to the damage he is doing. In a news briefing before the evacuation was ended, Biden declared, “I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world” and insisted that in fact the opposite was true — that our allies believe “we’re acting with dispatch.” This is delusional. Our allies are aghast at Biden’s display of weakness and his indifference to their interests. The damage he is doing to our alliances and our credibility in the world is irreparable. – Washington Post 

Helen Raleigh writes: The Afghan debacle was a disaster on the Biden administration’s part. It has ruined America’s credibility, emboldened our adversaries and made us less safe. The only way for the administration to limit further damage is to reverse its course and take a more realistic approach to foreign policy. […] Suppose the Biden administration continues to approach the world with wishful thinking and to reject America as a force for good. In that case, the Afghan debacle will only be the first of many foreign policy blunders to come. – Newsweek 

Frank Hoffman writes: Just as it learned and honed its extensive experience in alliance management and building partnership capacity in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. government can also absorb lessons from recent conflicts. If history can help to illuminate a dark future, the likelihood of facing proxy forces is much greater than the Pentagon is currently planning for. – War on the Rocks 


European Union regulators fined Facebook Inc.’s chat service WhatsApp 225 million euros, equivalent to around $266 million, for failing to tell the bloc’s residents enough about what it does with their data, ramping up privacy enforcement against U.S. tech companies. – Wall Street Journal 

A top White House official on Thursday underlined preparations the Biden administration is taking for any potential cyberattacks over the upcoming Labor Day weekend, urging companies to be on alert against hackers. – The Hill  

The Air Force’s chief software officer Nic Chaillan announced his departure in a blistering online post Thursday that criticized senior leaders for not taking IT modernization seriously and hamstringing senior IT leaders. – Defense News 

Michael Curley writes: During World War II, we had the Army Air Corps. Today, we have a Cyber Command. We needed a U.S. Air Force then; and we need a U.S. Cyber Force now. We must establish a seventh branch of our armed forces today to protect us from cyberattacks. We can’t afford to wait 44 or 58 years this time. We need Congress and our government to create a United States Cyber Force now. – The Hill 

John Yoo writes: American cyber capabilities are still the most powerful in the world. To maintain its advantage, the United States must develop and use its offensive cyberweapons. Most nations will understand that Washington is defending itself by launching preemptive cyberattacks. If Moscow and Beijing dislike a dose of their own medicine, they can always complain to the UN mandarins or, better yet, cease their cyber hostilities. While they plead their case, they can also answer for their cybercrimes. – New York Post 


Last month the US Department of Defense activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, which allows the government to commandeer commercial aircraft and crew, for only the third time since it was established in 1951. Airlines enrol in the programme, which pays them to ferry soldiers and other passengers during national emergencies, in exchange for the chance to bid on the government’s peacetime business. – Financial Times 

House lawmakers upheld language in the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill that would tie the number of F-35s the U.S. military can procure to the cost of sustaining the jet, but an amendment passed Wednesday night could allow the Pentagon to more easily circumvent those cost constraints. – Defense News 

The House Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment into its markup of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill that would make the Pentagon report on its investment strategy for developing power and thermal management systems that enable laser weapons. – Defense News 

The House Armed Services Committee in its annual defense bill appears ready to let the U.S. Navy retire aging cruisers that are consuming more money but providing less warfighting power and instead focus on maintaining the ships the service still has. – Defense News 

Long War

Seven years after the Islamic State horrified people around the world by beheading hostages and using their deaths in propaganda videos, one former member has admitted to his involvement in the killings of four Americans. – Washington Post 

A man wielding a knife injured six people, several of them critically, at an Auckland, New Zealand grocery store on Friday before being shot dead by police, in what authorities are describing as an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack. – Washington Post 

The gunman who killed four people in Tanzania’s financial capital Dar es Salaam last week before being shot dead was “a terrorist” who became radicalised through the internet, police said Thursday. – Agence France-Presse