Interfor’s Weekly Digest | Global Security and Policy Insights – September 5, 2023
Global Security Matters
- Ahead of Jewish High Holidays, the National Security Council has put out warnings that focus on the threat of kidnapping abroad by Iranian-backed groups and within Israel by Hamas. The NSC’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau stated that Israelis, particularly in countries in Africa or the Mediterranean Basin, may be particularly at risk of kidnapping by Iranian forces and proxies who attempt to make contact with Israelis who are abroad by disguising themselves as businessmen. The NSC also warns of threats from the far-right in the US and in Europe. Israel added that due to recent the Quran-burning incident there is an increased threat in Sweden and Denmark.
- In citing US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese nationals have accessed military bases and other sensitive sites in the US as many as 100 times in recent years. These Chinese nationals use methods such as pretending to be tourists that swim in lakes near military bases to take pictures. US officials have described these incidents as forms of espionage to test security practices at US military installations.
- According to a report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, Iran is slowing the pace at which it is enriching uranium to nearly weapons-grade levels. The last report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAE) put the stockpile at 4,744.5 kilograms (10,459 pounds), while the most recent put the stockpile at 3,795.5 kilograms (8,367pounds). However, the IAE reported problems in monitoring the program, such as restricting surveillance access and denying visas for IAE officials. This comes as the US and Iran are negotiating a prisoner swap.
- Kim Jong-un will reportedly meet Vladimir Putin this month to discuss weapons supplies to Russia for the war in Ukraine. US officials stated the meeting will likely take place in the Russian port city of Vladivostok and that Kim will likely travel by armored train. US national security council spokesperson Adrienne Watson emphasized that the US was urging North Korea to cease its arms negotiations with Russia.
- Japan budgeted over $34 million during the 2024 fiscal year as security aid to “like-minded” countries in the region. The funding is to provide equipment and other military assistance as maritime security threats increase in the Indo-Pacific due to political tensions. The Official Security Assistance (OSA) has so far received $14 million in initial funding in this fiscal year from the Philippines, Fiji, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. The OSA goal is to expand to Vietnam, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Djibouti.
- US Department of State Travel Advisories
- CISA: nation-state cybersecurity threats and other resources for cybersecurity matters.
- Our most recent blog posts discusses the US Cyber Trust Mark’s role in smart device safety.