Today's D Brief: Cyber attack hits Iran; Lockheed forecasts decline; Biden's Euro trip; Canada's new military chief; And a bit more.
A cyberattack Tuesday hit every gas station in Iran, and “rendered useless the government-issued electronic cards that many Iranians use to buy subsidized fuel,” the Associated Press reports. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was very displeased with the developments, and called for “serious readiness in the field of cyberwar.”
Many gas stations now seem to be up and running, though one in Tehran on Wednesday “had a line of 90 cars waiting” and “those buying ended up having to pay at higher, unsubsidized prices,” AP writes.
FWIW: A message reading “cyberattack 64411” met drivers trying to purchase petrol at the pumps Tuesday. That same number popped up in a July cyberattack that hit Iran’s railroad system, and NBC News reported those numbers “also appear to be the number for a phone line connected to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office.” In addition, digital billboards across Tehran and Isfahan on Tuesday reportedly displayed a message that read, “Khamenei, where is our fuel?” And while some cyber analysts expected hackers known as Indra to be behind Tuesday’s attack, “A previously unheard-of group claimed responsibility...late Tuesday, in a message on the messaging app Telegram,” according to AP, which did not name the group.
Related reading: “Iranian hackers leak IDF soldiers' private info,” via Israel’s Ynet News, reporting Wednesday.
One last Iran thing: Its leaders are very concerned about the direction of ISIS in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports now that the U.S. has left their neighbor to the east. And that’s partly because “The Taliban, despite their promises to provide security and stability, have so far proven unwilling or unable to prevent ISIS attacks on Shiites in Afghanistan.” Story, here.
From Defense One
Lockheed Expects Revenue Decline Amid F-35 Cuts, Afghanistan Pullout // Marcus Weisgerber: CEO Jim Taiclet also said the company's purchase of Aerojet Rocketdyne is delayed.
Terror Groups in Afghanistan Could Attack US Next Year, Pentagon Policy Chief Says // Patrick Tucker and Jacqueline Feldscher: Kahl says ISIS-K might be able to strike in less than 12 months; AQ in one to two years.
Our Nation Needs Leaders. Veterans Must Rise and Serve Again // Marjorie K. Eastman: I am a soldier and now I’m running for the U.S. Senate because that is where the battle is.
Welcome to this Wednesday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1981, the Soviet navy’s so-called “Whiskey on the rocks” incident occurred when a Whiskey-class submarine of Moscow’s Baltic Fleet ran aground about six miles from one of Sweden’s largest naval bases. It remained there for 10 days until Swedish tugs helped extract it and send it back to the Soviets’ Baltic Fleet.
Biden’s VTC diplomacy, continued. Today, U.S. President Joe Biden wraps up the annual East Asia Summit, which began Tuesday and is happening virtually this year. Biden pledged $102 million in U.S. investment that’ll go toward pandemic recovery, climate change, and “promot[ing] economic growth.” (Read over how those funds are broken down in a White House fact sheet, here.)
“The United States is committed to ASEAN’s centrality,” Biden told delegates Tuesday, calling the group “a linchpin for maintaining the resilience, the prosperity, and security of our shared region.”
Australian officials today promised $154 million in future investment for regional “health and energy security, counter-terrorism, fighting and transnational crime,” Reuters reported Wednesday from Brunei. That followed the announcement of a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” between Australia and ASEAN. Reuters has a tiny bit more on all that, here.
Next up for POTUS46: Face-to-face diplomacy, plus a trip to the Vatican. After Wednesday’s ASEAN meeting, Biden and his team will finalize preparations for his big in-person meeting of G20 leaders in Rome beginning on Saturday.
Biden and the First Lady fly to Italy on Thursday, with a planned stop Friday to meet with Pope Francis in Vatican City. According to the White House, the two will “discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor.” The Wall Street Journal previews that trip, here.
The family members of 26 American hostages held abroad have written to the president begging the White House to try to bring them home, AP reported Tuesday.
Behind the headline: “The letter reflects growing concerns within the hostage community that the Biden administration’s foreign policy agenda does not prioritize the release of hostages, and that legal and political actions have complicated rather than advanced efforts to get captives released,” AP writes. Read on, here.
And lastly today: Canada has a new defense minister. Her name is Anita Anand, and she’s “a former law professor and expert in corporate governance” who will take over as the military is undergoing its own cultural transformation, Politico reported Tuesday evening. Anand turns to the military after notable success leading Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts as a procurement minister—but she has no military experience.
“Like you saw with vaccines, I am determined,” she told reporters in a briefing Tuesday. “I work very hard and I am results-oriented.”
Some areas where she’s expected to turn her attention include allegations of sexual assault within Canada’s military, and also “an abuse-of-power crisis, of which sexual misconduct is one consequence,” Professor Stephen Saideman of Carleton University told the Toronto Star. Indeed, Anand told reporters Tuesday, “My top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and that they have the support that they need when they need it and the structures in places to ensure that justice is served.” Read more at CTV News, here.