1. Queen Elizabeth II’s Death
Over the week, Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch died at Balmoral at age 96, after reigning for 70 years. The news of the Queen’s death sparked attention from social media, foreign leaders, businesses, celebrities, and politicians, who praised the monarch for her rule, along with their thoughts and prayers for the British royal family. Upon her death, the Queen’s son, Charles III, was proclaimed King over the weekend, becoming the oldest monarch to succeed the British throne. The new King said that the death of his mother was a moment of “great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” throughout Britain and the world. Buckingham Palace announced that the late monarch’s funeral is on Monday, September 19, at Westminster Abbey in Central London.
2. Iranian Cyberattack Against Albania
Albania has blamed the Islamic Republic of Iran over a cyberattack from Iranian hackers linked to the Revolutionary Guards Corps in July on Albanian government services. In response to the attack, the Albanian government ordered the expulsion of all Iranian embassy staff Wednesday, cutting diplomatic relations with Tehran, and ordering special forces to recover everything in the embassy building. The Biden administration condemned Tehran for its actions, directing the Treasury Department on Friday to sanction Iran’s spy agency for allegedly conducting the hacking attacks in July and this week. In response, the Islamic government condemned Albania’s move, stating that it rejected “baseless accusations.”
3. 21st Anniversary of 9/11 Terror Attacks
On Sunday, Americans remembered the September 11, 2001 terror attacks with tributes 21 years after the deadliest terror attack on the United States by Islamic extremists. President Joe Biden offered his statements during the remembrance of 9/11, vowing that the U.S. would continue to work to root out terrorist plots against America and its allies. First Lady Jill Biden spoke at the third attack site, a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, offering her tribute to the Americans who died that day. Some are concerned, however, that the threat of Islamic terrorism still exists, now more than ever, given the death of Al Qaeda’s top official Ayman al-Zawahiri, proving that Al Qaeda has reemerged in Afghanistan.
4. New U.S. Military Testing Facility Coming to Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday, the U.S. military announced that it was developing a new testing facility in Saudi Arabia to help deter the increasing threat of drone attacks from Iran and its terrorist proxies. The new site, the Red Sands Integrated Experimentation Center, will function as an innovative approach to training readiness between Middle East partners and the U.S., according to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Defense officials explained that Saudi Arabia was chosen for its openness to safely evaluate “various methods of electronic warfare, like signal-jamming and directed energy.” Pentagon officials hope the new testing facility brings in more Persian Gulf Arab states and cooperation with Israel and its military forces. The latest development comes as President Biden visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in July, meeting with the nation’s leaders to discuss ways the countries could work together to deter the Iran regime’s aggression.
5. Russian Pullback from Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region
Ukrainian forces broke through Russia’s front lines in the east, retaking strategic towns and territory in a surprise counteroffensive that began several days ago. According to reports from Ukrainian officials, Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 2,700 square miles and the towns of Izium, Balakliya, and Kupiansak, all of which have been under Russian control ever since the invasion began. The deputy mayor of Izium confirmed on social media that the armed forces of Ukraine are currently in the city but stated that it was too early to say that it faced complete liberation. In Moscow, Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov confirmed that Russian forces withdrew from the city of Izium, a key area for transporting supplies to the Russian military. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Ukraine forces and their counteroffensive against Russian troops, calling for Western backers to keep up their support through what many describe as a tough winter.