Fdd's overnight brief

September 4, 2020

In The News


Mehdi Rajabian, a composer and musician, received an urgent message last month from Iran’s domestic security agency: Turn yourself in as quickly as possible. […]His trial comes amid a broader push by Iran’s ultraconservatives to silence voices calling for an end to rules limiting the behavior and expression of women in the country ahead of next year’s presidential election. – Washington Post 

The Treasury Department on Thursday announced sanctions against six companies for their support of a petrochemical firm that does business with Iran. – The Hill 

A new report by Amnesty International has revealed the gruesome reality of torture in Iranian jails, but survivors of the country’s prison system have told Arab News that this is not a new phenomenon — the authorities have been abusing inmates for decades. – Arab News 

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Wednesday that her country supports Amnesty International’s call for a full investigation of alleged human rights violations following the 2019 protests in Iran. – Radio Farda 

In a statement on Wednesday the U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has in a phone thanked Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis as the U.S. protecting power in Iran and assistance in repatriating imprisoned U.S. citizens from Iran. – Radio Farda 

U.S. President Donald Trump has called on Iran to reverse an execution sentence against a wrestler convicted of murder during anti-government protests in 2018. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

The National Iranian Oil Company has appointed a new arbitrator in proceedings it is pursuing against Israel, seeking billions of dollars in revenue generated by its investment in the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company, based on an agreement dating back to the regime of the Shah. – Haaretz 

Wang Xiyue writes: Anti-Americanism lies at the core of the Islamic Republic’s state ideology, which casts Iran as the defender of Muslims against an expansionist, imperial United States. Iran has no interest in reconciling or normalizing relations with the United States, because doing so would invalidate the revolutionary regime’s raison d’être. At a more practical and opportunistic level, the rhetoric about the threat and menace of an unrelenting foreign foe justifies the regime’s domestic repression and its efforts to expand its influence throughout the Middle East and beyond. – Foreign Affairs


A growing number of incidents involving U.S. and Russian forces in Syria has highlighted yet another strategic blindspot in the Middle East for Washington, as its shifting politics leave U.S. troops essentially stranded to guard oil and gas resources while Moscow presses on with a five-year effort to stabilize the war-torn nation. – Newsweek 

A private Israeli intelligence firm has released satellite photographs of the aftermath of reported Israeli airstrikes on Iran-linked sites in Syria earlier in the week, saying the photos indicate the attacks targeted Tehran’s ability to bring in and store weapons in the country. – Times of Israel 

Isabel Ivanescu writes: The Assad regime and Russia are deliberately exacerbating the mounting humanitarian crisis in Idlib and applying renewed military pressure as COVID-19 cases surge in the province. Rising tensions between jihadist groups in Idlib are driving further instability. These circumstances could enable pro-regime advances in the coming months by weakening anti-Assad forces. – Institute for the Study of War


Greece and Turkey have agreed to talks to avoid accidental clashes in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, part of efforts to defuse the worsening dispute over energy resources in the region. – Reuters

Turkey said it would continue to turn to other providers of air-defense weapons if traditional western allies fail to deliver, suggesting the rancor prompted by Ankara’s decision to buy Russian missiles may be repeated. – Bloomberg 

Turkey can match any U.S. military shipments to the Greek-speaking side of Cyprus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, calling Washington’s decision to ease its arms embargo on the divided island a disincentive to resolving its status. – Bloomberg 


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel privately went along with a plan for the Trump administration to sell advanced weapons to the United Arab Emirates, despite publicly saying later that he opposed the arms deal, according to officials familiar with the negotiations. – New York Times 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a rare meeting with rival factions on Thursday as they sought to present a united front over Israel and the United Arab Emirates’ deal to normalize ties. The meeting was held through video-conference between Ramallah in the West Bank and Beirut, where Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah attended. – Reuters 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on the Arab countries to abide by the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and refrain from normalizing their relations with Israel. – Jerusalem Post

The decision to suspend annexation almost automatically resurrected the pre-1967 line in the West Bank, excluding in Jerusalem. This transition last month was swift and sudden, because the two concepts are opposite sides of the same conceptional coin. – Jerusalem Post

In the wake of the Abraham Accords and the successful visit of the Israeli delegation to the United Arab Emirates, the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Rafi Peretz initiated cooperation between Israel and the UAE in various fields, with an emphasis on the city of Jerusalem. – Jerusalem Post

The Knesset Land of Israel Caucus on Thursday threatened to advance a private parliamentary sovereignty bill if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not end the de-facto freeze on settlement plans. – Jerusalem Post

Soldiers thwarted a possible terrorist attack late Wednesday night after an armed Palestinian infiltrated into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. – Jerusalem Post

Romania supports an Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the basis of the two-state solution and international resolutions pertaining to the Middle East conflict, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

A prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization could be finalized soon, the Arabic news site gaza-press.com reported. – Arutz Sheva

Martin Sherman writes: Accordingly, Israeli policy-makers would do well to heed the dour words of Tzipi Schissel, curator of the Hebron History museum: “…it’s impossible to understand the reality we face today, without knowing the history of Hebron.” Which is precisely why—despite positive developments—Israel needs to “keep its powder dry.” – Arutz Sheva


The Lebanese army found more than four tons of ammonium nitrate near Beirut’s port, where a larger cache of the same highly explosive material caused last month’s deadly explosion that ripped through much of the capital’s central districts. – Wall Street Journal 

Iman will remember The Blast. She will always have the scars to remind her of life in Beirut. There probably won’t be another explosion like that, but Lebanon’s problems are getting worse. The gap keeps growing between the country Lebanon is and the country it wants to be. The Blast inflicted an unthinkable level of violence on Beirut that has altered its DNA. – Wall Street Journal 

France’s intelligence chief has joined efforts to push Lebanon to deliver a new government and reforms, Lebanese sources said on Thursday, buttressing President Emmanuel Macron’s bid to pull the country out of a devastating economic crisis. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab testified Thursday before the lead investigator probing the Beirut port blast, the first cabinet official to do so. – Bloomberg 

Michael Sussman writes: Rather than attempting to tackle Lebanon’s convoluted tribal structure through policies that do not work, the West needs to take the necessary step of putting Hezbollah out of business. – Arutz Sheva

Gulf States

Bahrain will allow “all flights coming to and departing from the United Arab Emirates” to cross through the island kingdom’s airspace — a statement apparently allowing Israeli flights after neighboring Saudi Arabia issued a similar announcement. – Associated Press

US said to seek a Bahrain-Israel normalization announcement in mid-September. Bahrain is expected to become the next Gulf kingdom to formally normalize ties with the Jewish state, an Israeli official told Kan public broadcaster Wednesday. – I24 News 

The United Arab Emirates’ move to pursue normalization with Israel has prompted a backlash from Arab artists and intellectuals, with several boycotting Emirati-backed cultural awards and events to support the Palestinian cause. – Agence France-Presse 

El Al Israel Airlines said on Thursday it would operate the first cargo flight to Dubai by an Israeli carrier on Sept. 16. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Women’s rights activists are facing a renewed threat in Egypt after security forces detained witnesses and people who campaigned for the prosecution of several accused rapists, according to several people close to the situation. – Wall Street Journal 

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) estimates that there are 5,000 Syrians fighting for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) and another 2,000 fighting for the rival Libyan National Army (LNA), according to a US Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released on 28 August. – Jane’s 360 

The findings in a recent US Lead Inspector General report covering Africa illustrate how Ankara has added fuel to the fire in Libya and sent poverty-stricken Syrians, many of them having already lost their homes in a civil war in Syria, to fight and die for Ankara’s energy interests in North Africa. – Jerusalem Post 

Offensive cyber is a big business in Israel, with industry sources saying it generates about $1 billion in sales a year. The biggest and most controversial of the players is NSO, which has been cited repeatedly for selling its equipment to countries like Saudi Arabia and Mexico that have used them to spy and crack down on dissidents. – Haaretz 

Korean Peninsula

This week, the United States warned companies that North Korean procurement entities are employing “deceptive techniques” to subvert international sanctions aimed at curbing the North’s ballistic missile program. – Washington Examiner

North Korea is likely waiting until after the U.S. elections to reopen negotiations with Washington over its nuclear arsenal, the South Korean ambassador to the U.S. said Thursday. – Defense News 

Thursday’s broadcasts were the latest example of a national propaganda machine that is slowly evolving in the face of more competition from international media that seep into the isolated country, analysts said. – Reuters 

Russian energy giant Rosneft said on Thursday it does not supply fuel to North Korea and does not conduct any commercial activity in that country, in response to a media report. – Reuters


Chinese authorities are searching for protesters in Inner Mongolia after a new policy aimed at pushing Mandarin-language education across the region sparked widespread unrest among the country’s ethnic Mongols, with many angered by what they saw as a move to erase their culture. – Wall Street Journal 

The Department of Defense’ annual report on China (Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020) is out, and the conclusions are grim. The People’s Liberation Army Navy is bigger than the United States Navy. – The National Interest 

An American newspaper says one of its journalists was detained and then expelled from China’s Inner Mongolia region while covering tensions over a new policy that reduces the use of the Mongolian language in education. – 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

Editorial: The new investigation suggests that protests and sanctions from the United States and others have not slowed China’s repression. More must be done. The United States should block the import of goods tainted by forced labor in Xinjiang, as several human rights and labor organizations recently suggested. – Washington Post

Douglas Bulloch writes: Beijing will likely continue to be shut out of key industrial and technological sectors, walled in by distrust, and ever more expected to fulfill its international commitments to a level playing field. This alone will place a significant and continuing burden on the Chinese economy, with the disastrous threat of a cold war looming as an alternative, should they fail to comply. – The National Interest 

Ken Moritsugu writes: “There was just no way that Japan could match the United States, even in the Pacific,” Heydarian said. “Where China is quite different is that its sheer size gives it increasing parity with the United States in ways that Japan never enjoyed.” That makes China, military conflict or not, a potentially more formidable challenger in the years to come. – Associated Press


President Trump is expected to nominate William Ruger, a foreign-policy expert who has called for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, as ambassador to the country, according to people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal 

The Afghan government said that a repeatedly stalled prisoner swap with the Taliban had largely been completed on Thursday, potentially removing the final hurdle for direct negotiations with the insurgents to end the country’s long war. – New York Times

Taliban prisoners released by the Afghan government as part of a deal brokered by the United States aimed at ending almost 20 years of war are returning to the battlefield as commanders and fighters, in direct contravention of pledges made by the insurgents to the White House. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

India has ordered tougher scrutiny of visa requests by a Chinese non-profit headed by a senior official of the ruling communist party, designating it as an entity of concern in a broader security sweep, sources involved in the matter say. – Reuters 

India’s army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Friday he was confident that the ongoing border stand-off with China in the western Himalayas could be resolved through talks. – Reuters 

India’s crackdown on Chinese apps could help the country’s homegrown technology firms grow, analysts told CNBC. This also presents an opportunity for U.S. giants which have long seen the world’s fifth-largest economy as critical to their future growth prospects, they said. – CNBC 

Chinese state media slammed India’s ban of more than 100 Chinese apps, calling it a move to build nationalist sentiment and decouple economically from China. – CNBC 

Mark Episkopos writes: Though it is unlikely to be a long-term source of strain in Russo-Indian relations, India’s untimely withdrawal undermines the Kremlin’s image as a Eurasian security linchpin around which all other regional actors must orbit. It also speaks to the practical limits of Russia’s geopolitical pull outside of the post-Soviet sphere, particularly when dealing with similarly powerful actors engaged in faraway conflicts that Moscow is ill-equipped to moderate. – The National Interest


Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is now the most preferred candidate among the public to become the next prime minister, surging in popularity after he entered his party’s leadership race, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed on Friday. – Reuters 

A picture of U.S. President Donald Trump beams down from the wall of Yoshihide Suga’s office. The two men are standing side by side in the photo, a token of the long-time Japanese chief cabinet secretary’s global stature. – Bloomberg 

Financial firms in Hong Kong are scrambling to fortify their compliance operations following U.S. sanctions and China’s new national security law, even as the sector pushes to cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic. – Reuters 

Chinese economic overtures to Southeast Asian countries mask a desire to steamroll the interests of neighboring countries, a senior U.S. diplomat warned in a preview of a high-profile dialogue with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. – Washington Examiner

David Sauer writes: U.S. policy helped to create today’s Taiwan. If the United States does not stand with a democratic nation under threat from its larger, authoritarian neighbor, then what really does the United States stand for in international relations? Taiwan’s future is a crucial national security issue that deserves increased U.S. policymaker attention and action. – The Hill


The White House on Thursday denounced the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and suggested that the United States might retaliate if the Kremlin is to blame, but President Trump has failed to repudiate the attack himself, prompting criticism that he is once again being soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Washington Post

The poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny by what German authorities say was Novichok, a Soviet-era chemical nerve agent, provides the strongest indication yet that the attack was likely carried out by Russian state actors. – Wall Street Journal 

Mr. Rink, identified as one of the developers of the Novichok group of nerve agents, ventured that Mr. Navalny had poisoned himself — though the poison is believed to be closely held by the Russian security services and almost impossible for a civilian to obtain. – New York Times

President Trump on Thursday reiterated his desire to “get along” with Moscow despite an international uproar over the poisoning of the Russian dissident Aleksei A. Navalny with a deadly nerve agent, saying that when the subject of Russia appears on the news, he turns it off. – New York Times

Russia said on Thursday the West should not rush to judge it over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and that there were no grounds to accuse it of the crime, as talk in the West of punishing Moscow intensified. – Reuters 

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s apparent poisoning by a chemical weapon amounts to “an act of domestic terrorism against citizens of Russia,” according to a senior U.S. ambassador in Vienna. – Washington Examiner 

All the attempts over the years to stop the work of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny have failed — so far.[…]The Kremlin has denied involvement, and questioned whether he was poisoned at all. – Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman brushed off allegations Thursday that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning the Russian leader’s most determined critic, accusing Germany of not providing Moscow with any evidence about the condition of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. – Associated Press

A court in Russia’s Siberian city of Kemerovo has sentenced two Jehovah’s Witnesses to four years in prison each. Sergei Britvin and Vadim Levchuk were found guilty on September 2 of being members of an extremist organization and sentenced the same day. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

“There’s no doubt whatsoever” that an operation to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was approved at the highest levels of Russia’s government and intelligence services, according to Steven Hall, the former CIA chief of Russia operations. – NPR


On Thursday, Norbert Röttgen, a senior member of the chancellor’s conservative party and the head of the foreign affairs committee in Parliament, who has long been critical of Nord Stream 2, called for Germany to respond to the poisoning with tough measures that could include the pipeline and Russia’s sales of natural gas. – New York Times

Stepan Svetlov’s computer sits on a desk in Warsaw, nearly 300 miles from Minsk, the capital of Belarus. But when Belarusians poured into the streets in the hours and days after President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko fraudulently claimed a re-election victory on Aug. 9, it was thanks in no small part to Mr. Svetlov, 22, and his computer. – New York Times

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko promoted hardline loyalists to top posts in his security apparatus on Thursday in an effort to strengthen his grip on the former Soviet republic after weeks of mass protests and strikes. – Reuters 

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin held talks in Belarus on September 3 as authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka pivots to Moscow to overcome weeks of protests and international isolation over an election widely viewed as rigged. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

The European Union’s chief diplomat on Thursday said U.S. moves to sanction top officials with the International Criminal Court (ICC) are “unacceptable” and “unprecedented measures” meant to obstruct the court’s official duties. – The Hill 

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 

The U.S. Army will initiate on Friday the deployment of about 500 troops to Lithuania as part of a military operation, though government officials have said the strategy has nothing to do with recent political tensions in the region. – Fox News

The Kremlin is leveraging the Belarusian President’s weakening position to coerce Lukashenko to advance the Union State. Lukashenko met with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Minsk on September 3. – Institute for the Study of War 

France on Thursday led criticism of US sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying Washington had launched a “serious attack” on the global body. – Arutz Sheva

Eli Lake writes: More broadly, Putin’s offensive in Belarus is yet more evidence that Russia considers the media landscape a battlefield for its own brand of hybrid warfare. Sometimes, the war requires actual troops, as in 2014 in Ukraine. Other times, the goal is to sow chaos and mistrust in democracy. This time, in Belarus, it appears that Russia is trying to quell a democratic uprising without firing a single shot. – Bloomberg 

Dalibor Rohac writes: The Czech Republic proves that the costs of a principled, values-based posture toward China are much smaller than the proponents of Europe’s current waffling between talk of “partnership” and “systemic” rivalry. E.U.-wide, Chinese investment accounts for less than 1 percent of total foreign direct investment, trailing Hong Kong and Singapore. Czechs are waking up. How long will it take the rest of Europe to do the same? – Washington Post 

The Americas

Moves this week by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to recast his authoritarian image are succeeding in what might be their principal aim: dividing the U.S.-backed opposition that has been the greatest threat to his leadership. – Washington Post

Seven members of Congress on Thursday wrote a letter to President Trump asking that the United States stop deporting Nicaraguan political dissidents who come to the country to seek asylum. – Washington Post

Russian media and other groups are intentionally “amplifying” concerns around mail-in voting in order to undermine the 2020 U.S. elections, a report compiled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made public Thursday found. – The Hill 

Troops surveyed in the latest Military Times Poll identified white nationalism as a national security threat on par with al-Qaida and the Islamic State Group, and more worrisome than the danger posed by North Korea, Afghanistan or Iraq. – Military Times 

A senior U.S. official quietly told El Salvador’s government that anti-poverty assistance from Washington is at risk over President Nayib Bukele’s defiance of his country’s supreme court and congress, The Associated Press has learned. – Associated Press

Cynthia Miller-Idriss writes: We should not abandon efforts to monitor and ban extremist groups, or to address cognitive vulnerabilities that make people more susceptible to extremist recruitment. But if we are going to address the problem of rising far-right violence, we have to think differently. Changing the questions we ask is one place to start. – The Hill 


Facebook Inc. will prohibit new political advertisements in the week before the U.S. presidential election in November and seek to flag any candidates’ premature claims of victory, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said. The steps are meant to head off last-minute misinformation campaigns and limit the potential for civil unrest, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a statement Thursday. – Wall Street Journal 

The Justice Department plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month, after Attorney General William P. Barr overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case against one of the world’s wealthiest, most formidable technology companies, according to five people briefed on internal department conversations. – New York Times 

A 16-year-old student at South Miami Senior High School has been arrested in connection with some of the cyberattacks that have throttled Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ first week of online learning. – Washington Post

Facebook and Twitter on Thursday moved to limit the visibility of President Donald Trump’s recent remarks encouraging supporters to try to cast two ballots for the November election, which the social media companies said violated their election integrity rules. – Politico

President Donald Trump’s administration is looking into banning more Chinese apps that could pose a national security threat, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said late Thursday. – CNBC 

The Army command dedicated to defending against hackers and other online threats celebrated its move into a new $366 million headquarters in Georgia on Thursday. – Associated Press


The following is the Sept. 2, 2020 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress. – USNI News 

One of the companies recently hired by the U.S. Air Force to support an adversarial role during training was also approached by Singapore to perform the same role its Idaho-based fighter training detachment, an industry source told Defense News. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army’s tactical network modernization team is considering using satellite communications as a service capability for the next iteration of new network tools set for delivery in fiscal 2023. – C4ISRNET 

Disorganization and a lack of situational awareness by the on-watch crew of the U.S. Navy destroyer Fitzgerald was the primary cause of the collision off Japan in June 2017 that claimed the lives of seven sailors, according to a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board. – Defense News 

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) shifted its homeport back to San Diego, after spending a year and a half undergoing maintenance in Washington to prepare for its first deployment with the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. – USNI News 

The White House is asking Congress to keep budget chaos from upending the Navy’s plans to begin detailed design and construction work on two Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, according to a document obtained by Defense News. – Defense News 

Federal investigators highlighted an “unexplained course change” by a U.S. guided-missile destroyer as “a critical error” that put the warship on the path to the fatal 2017 collision that would kill seven sailors, according to a new report released Thursday. – USNI News 

Britain’s Royal Air Force is on course to get its own multi-functional active electronically scanned array radar by the middle of the decade to equip Typhoon combat jets as a result of a £317 million (U.S. $420 million) deal between the Ministry of Defence and industry announced Sept 3. – Defense News

Long War

The remnants of ISIS in Iraq claimed 100 attacks across the embattled country over the past month alone, according to an assessment by the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC) released on Thursday – marking a 25% uptick from July. – Fox News 

Convicted terrorists are set to face mandatory lie detector tests when they are released from prison on licence. It is one of more than 40 recommendations from a review commissioned in the wake of last year’s London Bridge attack. – Sky News (UK) 

A 23-year-old North Texas man could face up to 20 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty Wednesday to terror charges for supporting ISIS, federal prosecutors said. – Fox News

Vera Mironova writes: Although these women are currently in prison in Baghdad, they are not just an Iraqi problem. They’ve been sentenced to crimes in Iraq, of course, but holding them there for life or executing them is also not a sustainable policy. It not only leads to an increase in pro-Islamic State sentiment but puts a heavy burden on Iraq, which is finding itself less able to manage the challenge of imprisoning Islamic State affiliates during the COVID-19 pandemic. – Foreign Policy

Missile Defense

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched early Wednesday from California to a target in the Pacific Ocean in a test of the defense system, the Air Force said. – Associated Press 

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s NOC subsidiary, Northrop Grumman System Corp., recently secured a contract for supporting the remanufacturing activities related to the air launch cruise missile inertial navigation element. Valued at $135 million, the contract was awarded by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Tinker Air Force Base, OK. – Yahoo News 

The U.S. Army is planning to “land-fire” several ship-launched Navy weapons as part of a clear effort to improve joint attack possibilities, strengthen multi-domain operations and discover innovative ways to track and destroy enemies from land. – The National Interest 

The Army’s new Precision Strike Missile may be getting even more precise and reliable due to targeting upgrades now being explored by Army weapons developers, a tactical strategy intended to out-range potential adversaries and destroy a wider range of targets from distances as far as 500km. – The National Interest

Trump Administration

Democratic senators asked the Trump administration Thursday to immediately impose sanctions on individuals and agencies acting on behalf of Russia and other countries that seek to interfere with this year’s U.S. election. – Washington Post

A senior Trump administration diplomat slammed a group of experts, including several of his former colleagues, who urged the United States to normalize ties with Russia, calling the open letter they signed a “shameful document” that parrots Russian government talking points. – Foreign Policy

The State Department has a new acting inspector general, marking the third person in the role since President Trump abruptly fired the agency’s internal watchdog in May. – The Hill 

U.S. officials working with the World Health Organization (WHO) will be reassigned as part of President Trump’s directive to withdraw from the global health body, a State Department spokesperson said Thursday. – The Hill 

President Trump’s spy chief claims the Intelligence Community played no role in the creation of a classified appendix compiled by Democrats containing allegations of Russian interference efforts that was partly leaked to the media and used to accuse Senate Republicans of entangling themselves in a foreign disinformation scheme. – Washington Examiner