Today's D Brief: Guardsmen deployed amid new protests; Taliban claim truck bomb; UAE cancels US-Israel meet; Shipbuilding future; And a bit more.
The Taliban have claimed a truck bomb attack on Afghan army commandos that killed three people and wounded another 41 in the northern Balkh province, Reuters reports from Kabul — where “The government has asked repeatedly for a ceasefire before negotiations [with the Taliban] start in Qatar’s capital of Doha, a request the Taliban have refused.”
Meanwhile, a Taliban delegation is in Islamabad today visiting Pakistani officials for a meeting whose purpose and content “was not immediately clear” to Reuters.
Food for thought: Extricating America from its “9/11 wars” is “understandable” and “laudable,” but it is not “grounded in reality,” warns Tom Jocelyn of the Iran-watchers at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Why? "The jihadis will keep fighting," he warns; and "Al-Qaeda and ISIS won’t be 'defeated' anytime soon," so we had better seriously "think in terms of containment and disruption." Read on, here.
The UAE cancelled a meeting with Israel and the U.S. after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the sale of F-35s to the Emirates, Axios reported Monday. Now what? “The Emiratis plan to hold off on further high-level public meetings with Israel until Netanyahu’s position is cleared up.” Read on, here.
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo is in Sudan today at least in part so he can help remove the country from America’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, AP reports.
Meanwhile, ISIS in Mozambique controls the strategic northeastern port of Mocimboa da Praia. Government forces are expected to launch a counteroffensive to retake the port soon; but, AP reports from Maputo, it’s anyone’s guess when that plan will actually materialize.
Sound familiar? Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reported in early July “Mozambique Is Emerging As The Next Islamic Extremist Hotspot.”
BTW: Despite the coup in Mali, France’s military isn’t leaving the country anytime soon, AP reports from Paris.
From Defense One
Right-Wing Extremism and Islamic Extremism Spreads Online In Similar Ways, New Study Says // Patrick Tucker: Those crazy memes you keep seeing? Hate groups are using them to attract online recruits into small, intense groups — and beat Facebook’s censors.
Add Taiwan to the International Atomic Energy Agency // Andrea Stricker : Once a near-nuclear power, Taipei has since been an exemplary anti-proliferator — in cold contrast to Beijing.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Bradley Peniston. Send us tips from your community right here. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1819, U.S. counterintelligence legend Allan J. Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1850, he formed the North-Western Police Agency; and this later became the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. His pioneering investigative work eventually paved the way for the Secret Service and the FBI.
America’s daily death rate for COVID has slipped back under 1,000, though federal health officials have warned that a fierce second wave is likely as cooler weather arrives. Total U.S. deaths have passed 177,000, according to data from John Hopkins University.
The National Guard has been called out in Wisconsin after protests broke out this weekend following the Kenosha police shooting (New York Times) a black man seven times in the back while his three children were in the SUV beside him. “Gov. Tony Evers said the guard troops would support local law enforcement officials but added it would not be an extended deployment,” NPR reported Monday evening.
The Postal Service chief struggled with basic USPS knowledge as House overseers peppered Louis DeJoy with questions about declining performance ahead of November’s election, reports GovExec’s Eric Katz. The first Postmaster General in 20 years without USPS experience could not say how much a postcard stamp cost, nor why the many changes he is making have slowed mail service. Read on, here.
Here’s a timeline of Trump administration postal-service moves by Just Security, including the president’s Aug. 13 admission that he is withholding funds for the postal service to undermine mail-in voting.
Happening today: Get to better know the state of U.S. shipbuilding thanks to a Navy League of the United States webinar featuring Navy Rear Adm. Tom Anderson and Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage. The two officers will speak at 11 a.m. ET; details and registration here.
Got questions about the Air Force’s cloud-based Advanced Battle Management System? The service’s Chief Architect Preston Dunlop sits down for an “Ask Me Anything” event hosted by the the USAF’s Acquisition Chief, Dr. Will Roper, over on YouTube. That gets started at 2:30 p.m. ET. Watch here.
Russian opposition leader appears to have been poisoned, German doctors said Monday of the still-comatose man after his family sought medical attention for him abroad, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Doctors at Berlin’s Charité hospital said they were treating Mr. [Alexei] Navalny with atropine, an antidote that is used to treat nerve-gas and pesticide poisonings. They said that the outcome of the treatment was uncertain, that Mr. Navalny could suffer long-term side effects and that they were conducting examinations to determine the specific toxin.”
The Kremlin's reax: You can’t be sure of anything because nothing is conclusive yet, Reuters reports from Moscow. AP offers similar coverage, here.
Russian government-backed groups are amplifying QAnon conspiracy theories for U.S. audiences, according to disinformation researchers at Alethea Group and Graphika. Reuters has that story, here.
But U.S. audiences are doing this as well. Noting QAnon’s rapid profile rise this year, disinformation researcher The Grugq said, “Quite honestly I think if the Russians are doing loads of disinfo and bots right now, they’re probably struggling really hard to be heard. The base level of bullshit is much higher now.”
Get ready for two Russia-focused projects airing on premium TV channels in late September. The first is HBO's “Agents of Chaos”, which is a two-part documentary about Russian interference in the 2016 election. That premieres on Sept. 23. Catch the trailer here; or read a review from Variety, here.
The second comes from Showtime, which is bringing James Comey's recent book to the screen under the title, “The Comey Rule.” That’s a two-part series as well. But it’s not a documentary; rather it’s a dramatization that stars Jeff Daniels, Holly Hunter and more. Watch that trailer on YouTube, here; or read a review from the Hollywood Reporter, here.
New report on nativism and the future of Turkish politics: "Generational change and shifting attitudes in conservative Turkey could bring fragmentation of the dominant right-wing bloc and, potentially, a new political alignment—prospects that will continue to shape President Erdoğan’s actions at home and abroad," Max Hoffman of the Center for American Progress writes in a new analysis.
Why this matters: “Political currents on the Turkish right wing may seem academic—far removed from the challenges facing the United States and Europe. In fact, these trends will help shape events across several issues crucial to both U.S. and European interests. Turkey is of critical strategic importance and exercises influence across a range of issues important to the West.” Like NATO, e.g.
By the way, Germany really wants Turkey and Greece to de-escalate tensions over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea before it turns into a military confrontation.
Just now catching up? “Greece and Turkey vehemently disagree about their overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, based on conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend,” Reuters reminds us. “Tensions rose after Turkey deployed its Oruc Reis survey vessel to waters Ankara claims in a move Athens called illegal.” A bit more to all that, here.
One more thing: Greece’s navy and air force just began three days of drills in the Eastern Med, with day one’s activities planned southeast of Crete. More from AP, here.
Lastly today: The Association of the United States Army just published its latest entry in a Medal of Honor graphic novel series, and it features Mary Walker, who was a U.S. Army surgeon during the Civil War.
AUSA’s preview/tease: “Often crossing enemy lines to treat sick civilians, she was captured by Confederate soldiers and held as a prisoner of war for several months before being released in an exchange. Dr. Mary Walker is the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.”
Previous entries in the series included Daniel Inouye and Henry Johnson. Next up will be Tibor Rubin, “the Holocaust survivor who moved to America and later fought in Korea.” More on Mary Walker, here.