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BLACKWATER USA | DAILY BRIEF


China

  • Democrats in the U.S. Senate presented a bill that allocates $300 billion to American tech research to counter China. It would also require the U.S. to impose sanctions on all involved in repressing Uighurs.

  • Pres. Trump is displeased about Oracle’s potential acquisition of TikTok, which would still leave a majority of the app’s shares under Chinese control. The U.S. government set a new deadline of Nov. 12th for TikTok to resolve national security concerns related to TikTok.

  • In addition, Trump plans to ban downloads of both TikTok and WeChat starting this Sunday. Users who have already downloaded TikTok will still have access to the app, but it will become illegal for service providers to transfer WeChat data starting Sunday.

  • SecState Pompeo visited Suriname and Guyana—the first ever U.S. SecState visits to those countries—and used his visits to advocate for the growing economies to buy American rather than Chinese goods and services: “No state-owned operation can beat the quality of the products and services of American private companies.”

Iran

  • The U.S. DoJ indicted three allegedly state-sponsored Iranian hackers who DoJ says targeted Western satellite and aerospace companies.

Belarus

  • Pres. Dictator Lukashenko closed the western borders of Belarus—i.e., the frontiers with Poland and Lithuania—and put the army on high alert ahead of a sixth weekend of protests. Lukashenko seems to blame external actors for the protests, so he’ll be in for a rude awakening when this Sunday’s demonstrations are just as large as those in prior weeks despite the border closures.

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban continued to attack ANSF checkpoints, this time killing dozens of police in Nangarhar.

  • Former NSA H.R. McMaster criticized Pres. Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan as “unwise,” and accused Trump of “in effect…partnering with the Taliban against, in many ways, the Afghan government” by withdrawing.

Libya

  • Khalifa Haftar pledged to lift an eight-month blockade on Libya oil exports for one month, so we could see production rise from its current lows of ~100,000 bpd. Libya’s pre-blockade capacity was around 1.2 million bpd, but it’s unclear how much production would actually ramp up in a month—especially if producers think the blockade will resume at the end of the month.

  • The National Oil Corporation said it wouldn’t lift force majeure on exports until Haftar’s militias withdrew from oil facilities.

Sahel

  • Islamic State belatedly claimed the killings of six French aid workers and their Nigerien guide at a giraffe reserve outside of Niamey last month.

U.S.

  • A whistleblower in the National Guard contradicted government claims that protesters dispersed from Lafayette Square in June were violent, and alleged that DoD considered using a heat device on them to simulate the feeling of burning skin.

COVID-19

  • Europe is suffering from a second wave of coronavirus infections with more new weekly infections than during the first peak in March. Many countries, including France and the UK, are enacting new restrictions on gatherings.

Other News

  • Papua New Guinea’s Police Minister accused the police force he runs of being “the leading agency in acts of corruption,” with “a rampant culture of police ill-discipline and brutality.” He thinks it will take a generation to root out corruption.

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