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A curated guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
JAN. 6 CAPITOL ATTACK
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has outlined possibilities for the House to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. Options include creating a select committee, having multiple committees continue ongoing investigations or having one committee, such as Homeland Security, take the lead. “Pelosi ruled out the idea of a presidential commission that had been floated by some Democrats because it likely wouldn’t have subpoena authority or funding without a statutory change,” Christina Marcos reports for The Hill.
The Justice Department has made a first request to drop a Capitol attack case. The request to drop the case against defendant Christopher Kelly is “one of the first moves to resolve one of the hundreds of federal cases related to the insurrection,” Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen report for CNN.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has downplayed the Jan. 6 attack at a QAnon event, suggesting that “it wasn’t just right-wing extremists” rioting in the Capitol. At the event in Texas, Gohmert also suggested that the attack shouldn’t be a serious concern because the United States has weathered worse. “Some of us think Pearl Harbor was the worst attack on democracy, some of us think 9/11 was the worst attack,” he said. “Some of us think that those things were worse attacks on democracy.” Katie Shepherd reports for the Washington Post.
President Biden has memorialized the Tulsa victims on the 100th anniversary of the racist massacre at a speech during his visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Biden used stark language and recounted the horrific details of the massacre that devastated Greenwood, describing what happened as “an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today, still.” “This was not a riot. This was a massacre” Biden said. Kate Sullivan and Maegan Vazquez report for CNN.
Biden promised Tulsa massacre survivors that their story “will be known in full view,” during his speech at Tulsa. Biden called on the U.S. to confront its past, “for much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence,” Biden said, “while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.” Katie Rogers and Michael D. Shear report for the New York Times.
During his visit to Tulsa, Biden outlined his administration’s plans to combat racial inequality in the U.S. During the speech, Biden said, “What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with the through-line that exists today still.” The national efforts outlined by Biden include expanding and targeting federal purchasing power to benefit more minority-owned businesses and rules that strengthen anti-discrimination housing measures and bolster Black homeownership, which were rolled back during the Trump administration. Marty Johnson and Brett Samuels report for The Hill.
The initiatives announced by Biden emphasize his commitment to erasing the wealth gap between races, a key campaign promise, according to White House officials. Glenn Thrush reports on the New York Times.
Biden also promised to “fight like heck” against Republican efforts to restrict voting, announcing, at the event in Tulsa, that he was “tapping Vice President Harris to marshal an effort against the increasing array of Republican-led state laws that restrict voting in various ways, a campaign Biden condemned as ‘un-American,’” Annie Linskey reports for the Washington Post.
Just Security is publishing a special series on the Tulsa Race Massacre by a group of interdisciplinary scholars.
Opposition parties in Israel continue to battle to reach a deal and unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before the deadline of one minute before midnight today (4:59pm ET). The push is being led by opposition leader, Yair Lapid, a secular centrist, who won the crucial support of right-ring religions nationalist Naftali Bennett over the weekend. In an announcement this morning, Lapid said his party agreed terms with the Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party. However to reach the necessary majority “Lapid and Bennett’s unlikely alliance would also have to include other left- and right-wing parties – and would probably need the support of parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel,” Al Jazeera reports.
The new governing coalition now poised to take power in Israel is an ideological mix, “but there is one thing they all agree on: It is time for Benjamin Netanyahu to go,” Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin report for the Washington Post.
Allies of Netanyahu are making a last-ditch attempt to convince some right-wing politicians to stay with the long-time leader and abandon the prospective coalition. A spokesperson for Netanyahu’s Likud party said “we are making every effort” to prevent the establishment of the rival coalition’s government. Dov Lieber reports for the Wall Street Journal.
What to know about Naftali Bennett, the fair-right politician and technology millionaire who is an opponent of a Palestinian state and a supporter of Israeli settlements and who looks set to succeed Netanyahu. Miriam Berger reports for the Washington Post.
Israel is expected to ask the U.S. for $1 billion in emergency military aid this week, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Israeli officials. Israeli officials say the aid is needed to replenish the Iron Dome aerial defense system and to purchase munitions for the Israeli air force. However, several congressional Democrats are opposed to providing any further military aid to Israel following last month’s fighting in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will arrive in Washington on Thursday for talks with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has urged Israel and Palestine to end the “cycle of violence and escalation” in the area. Robert Mardini urged all sides to find a political solution, “what is really needed is political leadership on all sides to avoid that people yet again are in the line of fire because of yet again another round of escalation,” Mardini said. Nidal al-Mughrabi reports for Reuters.
Israel will risk tensions with Biden to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, according to Netanyahu. The U.S. is currently holding indirect talks with Iran on a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, a plan for which Netanyahu is a fierce critic. “An Iranian nuclear bomb is a threat for the continuation of the Zionist project and we must fight it relentlessly. If we have to choose between friction with our great friend the U.S. and the elimination of this existential threat, the elimination of the threat will come first,” Netanyahu said. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
Iran’s navy is reportedly heading into the Atlantic to assist Venezuela. The destination of the vessels is not clear, however an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman has said that “Iran has constant presence in international waters, is entitled to this right on the basis of international law and can be present in international waters.” He added: “I warn that nobody should make a miscalculation. Those who live in glass houses must be cautious.” The move “ought to concentrate minds in the Biden Administration…If it sails into these waters without resistance, a precedent will be set for adversarial navies operating in the region,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Iran’s largest navy ship caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman in unclear circumstances. No explanation has been given for the incident; however the crew were safely rescued according to Iranian media. Reuters reports.
JBS USA, one of the world’s largest meat producers, was hit on Sunday by a cyberattack that impacted operations in North America and Australia. In a statement JBS said it notified authorities, suspended all impacted systems, was working with an “Incident Response firm” to respond to the attack, and that its backup servers were not affected. JBS also confirmed that it was not aware of evidence that “any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused.” Maggie Miller reports for The Hill.
JBS told the U.S. government that the ransomware attack originated from a criminal organization likely based in Russia, the White House has said. The cyberattack followed the attack last month on Colonial Pipeline by DarkSide, a group with ties to Russia. A White House spokesperson has said that the United States contacted Russia’s government and that the FBI was investigating the attack. Tom Polansek and Jeff Mason report for Reuters.
JBS has said that its systems are coming back online after the cyberattack and the “vast majority” of its plants would be operational today. “Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira said in a statement. Hamza Shaban, Ellen Nakashima and Rachel Lerman report for the Washington Post.
The U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is nearing the halfway point, only a month into the effort, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. In a statement U.S. Central Command said that it estimates that it has completed between 30-44% of the entire process. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
Three bombs in the Afghan capital Kabul have killed at least 10 people and wounded a dozen others, with a third bomb heavily damaging an electric grid station in north Kabul. There has not yet been a claim of responsibility for the bombings. Al Jazeera reports.
Mali’s transitional President Col. Assimi Goïta has named Choguel Kokalla Maïga as the country’s new civilian prime minister, following the coup led by Goïta last month. “Maïga is a leader of the M5 RFP movement, the group which led anti-government protests last year over rising insecurity, alleged corruption and a failing economy,” BBC News reports.
The African Union (AU) has suspended Mali’s membership following the military coup. In a statement the AU called for a return to the civilian government, and threatened to impose sanctions and other punitive measures unless troops were urgently ordered to return to barracks. Reuters reports.
Chad and the Central African Republic have called on the U.N. and the AU to investigate an incident at a border post in which at least six Chadian soldiers were killed by Central African troops. Reuters reports.
The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during her visit to Cambodia has expressed concerns about China’s military presence in the country and sought clarification on the demolition of US-funded buildings, according to the State Department. Sherman urged Cambodia’s leadership to “maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy, in the best interests of the Cambodian people.” Reuters reports.
The U.S. Commerce Department is failing to keep sensitive U.S. technology away from China’s military, according to a U.S. congressional advisory report. According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report, the Department, which was entrusted to strengthen U.S. export control laws, had been slow to create a list of sensitive technology that should be scrutinized before export to China, which could exacerbate national security risks. The Commerce Department, “has, to date, failed to carry out its responsibilities,” said the report. Reuters reports.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Pacific countries about “threats to the rules-based international order” and “economic coercion,” in an apparently veiled swipe at China’s growing influence in the region. Blinken, who was addressing leaders and their delegates at the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, reiterated the U.S.’s support for Pacific island nations as they face the “shared challenges that we have to confront together,” including Covid-19 and the climate crisis. Kate Lyons reports for the Guardian.
Two drones made by China’s largest manufacturer have been cleared for government use by the Pentagon, which found “no malicious code or intent” with the drones. The drones used by the Interior Department, had been temporarily grounded in January 20202 over cybersecurity concerns. Chris Mills Rodrigo and Maggie Miller report for The Hill.
China’s top trade negotiator Vice Premier Liu He has spoken with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen via videoconference in an introductory meeting. According to the U.S. Treasury, Yellen discussed the Biden administration’s economic plans and “the importance of cooperating on areas that are in U.S. interests, while at the same time frankly tackling issues of concern.” Linkling Wei reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Malaysia is to summon China’s ambassador to explain “suspicious” Chinese air force activity over the South China Sea. 16 Chinese planes allegedly flew into Malaysian air space, which Malaysia’s foreign ministry described as an “intrusion” and a “breach of airspace and sovereignty.” Reuters reports.
The Group of Seven (G-7) nations plan to launch a green alternative to China’s Belt and Road initiative when the leaders meet at a summit next week. The strategy would provide a framework to support sustainable development and the green transition in developing countries, according to two people familiar with the plan. One of the people “said that it was not clear whether any new money would be put behind the G-7 initiative, explaining that the initial purpose was a pledge toward creating a strategic framework.” Alberto Nardelli reports for Bloomberg.
OTHER US RELATIONS
The U.S. must pass new legislation to limit how its national security agencies access Europeans’ data if the E.U. and the U.S. are to reach a deal on data-transfer, according to European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová. He said that the United States needed to provide E.U. citizens the ability to challenge bulk data collection by federal authorities in U.S. courts, through “legally binding rules…on the U.S. side.” Mark Scott and Vincent Manancourt report for Politico.
At least eight people have been killed and many more injured when U.S. backed Kurdish-led forces fired into Arab tribal protests against the Kurdish rule in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, according to local sources. Suleiman Al-khalidi reports for Reuters.
The Russian military will be closely monitoring upcoming naval drills co-hosted by Ukraine and the U.S. “and if necessary respond appropriately to the situation in the interests of ensuring Russia’s military security,” the Russian defence ministry has said. Reuters reports.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
French Defense Minister Florence Parly is urging the E.U. to continue to strengthen its military powers and defense efforts ahead of the upcoming NATO summit. “The very brutal discourse on burden-sharing that President Trump had, it was brutal in form but it also expressed a reality,” Parly said in an interview with POLITCO. “I’m absolutely sure that the Biden administration also considers that the Europeans must take on more.” Rym Momtaz reports for POLITICO.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry has said that around 40 Armenian military personnel had crossed into Azeri territory on Tuesday evening and were forced to retreat. The announcements come as tensions increase in the border row between the two countries. There was no immediate response from Armenia. Reuters reports.
The chair and secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to travel to Myanmar this week, as the group continues to be divided on how to respond to the military coup in the country. Myanmar is a member of ASEAN, which has a policy of non-interference in the affairs of its member, but it has led the main diplomatic effort to resolve the crisis. The ASEAN chair and secretary-general are set to meet leaders of Myanmar’s military, but it is unclear if they will meet civilian leaders and opponents to military government. Al Jazeera reports.
For recent analysis at Just Security, see Beyond the Coup in Myanmar: The ASEAN Way Must Change by Vanessa Chong and Tanyalak Thongyoojaroen.
Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, along with former president Win Myint, has been moved to an “unknown location” after her court hearing according to her allies. Suu Kyi is facing six charges from the military that include incitement. “After the court hearing, we lawyers have no contact with her at all,” Khin Maung Zaw, the head of Suu Kyi and Myint’s defense team, said. “She’s a much-loved leader of our state so we have been extremely concerned about her safety since Day 1, and such concerns are still there.” Lexi Lonas reports for The Hill.
The leader of the Western Sahara independence movement has left Spanish territory, after a Madrid court refused to place him in detention and ruled he was free to go, widening the diplomatic rift between Spain and Morocco. Brahim Ghali, the head of the Polisario Front, was being treated for Covid-19 in Spain and Morocco had made clear it wanted Ghali, whom it denounces as a terrorist, to be incarcerated. Daniel Dombey and Heba Saleh report for the Financial Times.
A Belarusian activist has stabbed himself in the neck during a court appearance. Stepan Latypov is accused of setting up opposition social media and also resisting police during his arrest. According to Belarus’ rights group Viasna, “Latypov was heard telling his father that the law enforcement authorities had threatened to physically punish him if had not admitted his guilt,” BBC News reports.
Belarus has temporarily banned all its citizens from traveling outside of the country. The move — which comes shortly after opposition reporter Rama Pratasevich was detained by Belarus after the plane he was on was diverted over Belarus — has been attributed by Belarus’s authorities to the Covid-19 pandemic. Joseph Choi reports for The Hill.
The coronavirus has infected over 33.28 million and now killed close to 595,200 people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 171.19 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 3.565 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
The World Health Organization has approved a Covid-19 vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech for emergency-use listing, the second Chinese developed vaccine to get its endorsement. The announcement will allow the vaccine to be included in Covax, the global programme to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries. Stephanie Nebehay reports for Reuters.
A digital Covid-19 certification system intended to ease travel within the E.U. has become operational in seven European countries. The digital document records whether people have been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative within 72 hours. Travelers can move freely if at least one of those three criteria is met. The European Commission said the system would be operating in all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1. Matina Stevis-Gridneff reports for the New York Times.
A map and analysis of the vaccine roll out across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.
Latest updates on the pandemic at the Guardian.