Fdd's overnight brief

April 12, 2023

In The News


A new spate of suspected poisonous-gas attacks has hit Iranian girls schools in several towns and cities this week, after authorities said they had arrested scores of people over earlier incidents. –  Bloomberg

Russia started fuel exports to Iran by rail this year for the first time after traditional buyers shunned trade with Moscow, according to three industry sources and exports data. – Reuters

Iran has used earthquake relief flights to bring weapons and military equipment into its strategic ally Syria, nine Syrian, Iranian, Israeli and Western sources said. – Reuters

Russia’s largest air carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), whose aircraft maintenance capabilities are crippled by Western sanctions, sent one of its Airbus (AIR.PA) planes to Iran for repair, the company said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Iran President Ebrahaim Raisi on Tuesday announced a Cabinet reshuffle, replacing the minister of agriculture and the head of planning and budget, Iranian media reported. The moves come amid widespread dissatisfaction with the government. – Associated Press

China and Russia are in advanced secret talks with Iran to replenish the Islamic Republic’s supply of a key chemical compound used to propel ballistic missiles, diplomats familiar with the matter say, a move that would mark a clear violation of United Nations sanctions and possibly help Moscow replenish its depleted stock of rockets. – Politico

Sahar Soleimany writes: Iran and Saudi Arabia have deep-seated ideological differences and there are no guarantees that either side will live up to its end of the bargain. Nevertheless, striking a peace deal has positioned China as a formidable challenge to U.S.-led regional order. And if we don’t take seriously the threat to democratic interests and values that Chinese dominance in the Middle East poses, we risk losing the whole game. –  American Enterprise Institute 

Seth  J. Frantzman writes: Israel and Iran faced off in ten days of conflict this month. This is a conflict that was driven by Iranian-backed groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others in Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank. These ten days of clashes followed Syrian and Iranian media reports of Israeli airstrikes in Syria and also were bookended by Iranian threats to US forces in Syria. – Jerusalem Post

Sam Mundy and Mick Mulroy write: Restraint in and of itself is not a policy. Nor is it an effective regional strategy when it fails to limit violence and passively encourages escalating Iranian attacks that might terminate in the very war we seek to avoid. Using more of the “Big Stick” approach will not guarantee a change to the status quo with Iran, but it will help ensure that Iran stops wounding and killing American citizens and conducting its own escalatory attacks. Credible, consistent, and decisive action now may preclude the need for more costly violence later. – Middle East Institute

Umud Shokri writes: The competition between Iran and Iraq in regional maritime and overland transit corridors is indicative of the broader economic and political rivalry between the two countries. Iraq’s al-Faw Port mega-project represents a significant challenge to Iran’s efforts to develop Chabahar Port and establish itself as a regional transit hub. However, the competition between the two countries does not have to be zero sum, and both have much to gain from increased economic cooperation and integration. – Middle East Institute

Russia & Ukraine

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a mobilization in the fall to commandeer reinforcements for the war against Ukraine, thousands of men fled the country or went into hiding. But tough new measures approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday will make it almost impossible for Russians to dodge conscription in the future. – Washington Post 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukraine remains confident in its ability to launch its counteroffensive against Russia amid the fallout from apparently leaked U.S. intelligence documents. – Wall Street Journal 

Nearly two weeks after Russian security agents picked up Evan Gershkovich at a restaurant during a reporting trip, Moscow still hasn’t granted U.S. Embassy officials permission to visit The Wall Street Journal reporter in detention—a pattern that follows other cases of American citizens jailed in Russia. – Wall Street Journal 

A secret intelligence document obtained by The New York Times that was among those leaked on the internet this year provides insight into planning for contingencies one year into the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Top economic officials from the world’s advanced economies are planning to gather in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the global economy and their efforts to pressure Russia to end its war in Ukraine. – New York Times

An online community of a few thousand subscribers that followed a YouTube celebrity named wow_mao had for years occupied a small, very male-centric corner of the internet. It was hosted on Discord, a social media app, where young people who were fans of wow_mao swapped humorous digital images and told edgy, sometimes tasteless, jokes. Over the weekend, wow_mao’s niche community became a focus of international attention after it was learned that a volunteer moderator in his Discord group had posted images of leaked documents detailing secret Pentagon intelligence. – New York Times

Senior Biden administration officials sought on Tuesday to calm anger in foreign capitals over the leak of classified military and intelligence documents, but had little new information about the source of the breach or its motive. – New York Times

Electric trams are running again in Kyiv, and electric scooters dot the sidewalks. With curfew extended to midnight, the streets are bright and buzzing. Portable generators, nearly impossible to find as they flew off the shelves in December, are being sold at half price. – New York Times

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group on Tuesday said his forces controlled more than 80% of the devastated eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after some of war’s heaviest and bloodiest fighting. – Reuters 

The Black Sea grain corridor ground to a halt on Tuesday after no ship inspections were conducted under the safe-passage deal that allows Ukraine to export its crops from three key ports, although activity is now expected to resume on Wednesday. – Bloomberg 

Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured him in a phone call that Washington still backed Kyiv’s effort to win the war with Russia and rejected attempts to cast doubt on its military capacity. – Reuters 

No ships were inspected on Tuesday under the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal “as the parties needed more time to reach an agreement on operational priorities,” the United Nations said, adding that routine inspections were due to resume on Wednesday. – Reuters

The World Bank is ready to do its part in rebuilding Ukraine after the devastation of Russia’s invasion, but international financial institutions cannot shoulder the sums involved alone and Western European countries will have to chip in, World Bank President David Malpass said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday Russia’s detention of Evan Gershkovich and denial of consular access to the Wall Street Journal reporter sends a message that people around the world should “beware of even setting foot” in Russia. – Reuters

The Moscow-appointed leader of Crimea said Tuesday the region is on guard for what may be an impending Ukrainian counteroffensive. Sergei Aksyonov told reporters that Russian forces in Crimea had built “modern, in-depth defenses” and had “more than enough” troops and equipment to repel a possible Ukrainian assault after 13 months of war following Russia’s full-scale invasion. – Associated Press

Ukraine began resuming electricity exports to European countries on Tuesday, its energy minister said, a dramatic turnaround from six months ago when fierce Russian bombardment of power stations plunged much of the country into darkness in a bid to demoralize the population. – Associated Press

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more military aid to support Ukraine in its war with Russia while hosting Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Toronto on Tuesday. – Associated Press

Ukrainian forces have for months been holding at bay a gruelling Russian offensive in battered towns and heavily shelled trenches spanning the eastern front line. But now, with the Kremlin’s forces running out of steam after making only incremental gains over the winter onslaught, Ukraine is preparing to hit back. – Agence France-Presse

The UK is among a number of countries with military special forces operating inside Ukraine, according to one of dozens of documents leaked online. – BBC

Wagner Group mercenaries have again been accused of war crimes in the Russia-Ukraine bloodshed, as videos purportedly show the remains of a Ukrainian soldier’s head on a spike. – Newsweek

Jack Devine writes: Those who are on the fence about Ukraine, or see its struggle with Russia as simply a territorial dispute, aren’t looking at the larger strategic picture and its promising possibilities. If we look only at the implications for Ukraine, we’ll miss an opportunity to make a safer world for all of us. – Wall Street Journal

Tatiana Stanovaya writes: That does not mean Russia’s elites will attempt any kind of coup in the immediate future; for now, Russia’s leader reigns supreme. But the war is remaking Russia, and Putin’s willingness to commit ever-greater resources to avoid defeat has set him on a risky path, tethering his future to that of an unpredictable conflict. Putin may not be likely to lose power, but a historically large reelection victory is by no means guaranteed. – Foreign Affairs

Alexander Gabuev writes: Russia’s size and power may give the Kremlin a false sense of security as it locks itself into an asymmetrical relationship with Beijing. But the durability of this relationship, absent major unforeseeable disruptions, will depend on China’s ability to manage a weakening Russia. In the years to come, Putin’s regime will have to learn the skill that junior partners the world over depend on for survival: how to manage upward. – Foreign Affairs

John Venable writes: While the sentiment behind giving Ukraine U.S. F-16s is noble, sending even the best fourth-generation fighters to face a fifth-generation SAM threat would be a costly mistake and have virtually no impact on the war. U.S. strategy should focus on giving the Ukrainians more air defense systems, such as the Patriot system, to deny Russian airpower, while continuing to supply them with the artillery, rockets, and tanks required to take the fight to that enemy. – Heritage Foundation


Hacking tools sold by a little-known Israeli vendor have been used to break into the iPhones of journalists and political opposition figures by silently exploiting Apple Inc.’s iPhone software, cybersecurity researchers said. – Wall Street Journal 

Israel halted visits by Jews and tourists to a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site on Tuesday and its military said soldiers shot dead two Palestinian gunmen in the occupied West Bank, as a wave of unrest showed no sign of subsiding. – Reuters 

The Israeli military shot and killed two Palestinians who allegedly opened fire at troops from their car in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, authorities said, the latest incident in a wave of deadly violence gripping the occupied territory. – Associated Press

Israel’s national Holocaust memorial has criticized a new agreement renewing Israeli school trips to Poland, saying it recommends a number of “problematic sites” that distort history. – Associated Press

Israel’s Passover holiday week has been a deadly one filled with rocket barrages, enemy drones, drive-by shootings and a car-ramming, prompting a deeply divided society to agree on one thing: its enemies smell blood. – Bloomberg 

A former high ranking IDF officer who was commander of a reserve battalion that Benjamin Netanyahu served in published a letter Tuesday attacking the prime minister for “berating reserve soldiers” who oppose the government’s judicial overhaul. – Haaretz 

An open letter calling for the dismissal of Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian territories, was sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Dan Perry writes: For now, the rational side of the political scene must remain united against what can only be termed the Netanyahu coup. Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and the others are being forced to adopt an aggressive position of the type that they unwisely misplaced in their last campaign. But in the longer term, it is desirable to reach out to Likud – on the condition that its leaders agree to the necessary steps: separating from the Palestinians and blowing up the whole arrangement with the ultra-Orthodox. – Ynet

Yossi Melman writes: This would be no replacement for the police, and such a force mustn’t be armed, take the law into its own hands, use violence or make provocations. It would have one role: to protect demonstrators and maintain order when violent rightists try to disrupt liberal and democratic protests and hurt people when the police aren’t around. – Haaretz 

Aluf Benn writes: The preservers of the Rabin’s memory wanted to bring him closer to the mainstream. To show him as the builder of settlements and a fan of rabbis, in the spirit of the present right-wing government, and to cast Arafat and Peres out of the story. […]Through this historical distortion, the Rabin Center is trying to follow the herd. When the center is embarrassed by the Oslo Accords and erases them from history, it is hard to complain about Netanyahu and his colleagues on the right who see Oslo as a historic crime. One can only imagine Rabin looking at the exhibit in his memory and responding with his scornful wave of his hand. – Haaretz

Alexander Loengarov writes: Also, realities in the Middle East reinforce a political and societal culture that invests more in immediate reaction and stopgap measures than in in-depth debate and long-term planning. Nevertheless, the latter may be the only way to get to grips with some of the country’s fundamental choices. Interestingly, following the uproar last week on Monday, both a government and an opposition Knesset member claimed that the people are superior to specific points of contention. – The National Interest


A raid on a rebel hideout in northern Afghanistan killed eight fighters from a resistance movement including a commander, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The United Nations said Tuesday it is reviewing its presence in Afghanistan after the Taliban barred Afghan women from working for the world organization — a veiled suggestion the U.N. could move to suspend its mission and operations in the embattled country. – Associated Press

Editorial: Meanwhile, there is no debate about the price Afghanistan’s people have paid, in poverty and repression, since the Taliban takeover. The most recent example is the regime’s April 4 order barring Afghan women from working for U.N. agencies providing humanitarian aid. The United States might no longer have a troop presence in this troubled country — but the United States’ moral obligation remains to use whatever leverage it still has to help the Afghan people. – Washington Post


Saudi and Omani delegations have been holding talks with Houthi officials in the Yemeni capital Sanaa as Riyadh seeks a permanent ceasefire to end its military involvement in the latest chapter of conflict in Yemen’s modern history. – Reuters 

A prisoner exchange involving hundreds of detainees from Yemen’s brutal civil war will start on Thursday, a Yemeni government official said, against a backdrop of rising hopes for peace. – Agence France-Presse

Bobby Ghosh writes: Tellingly, the Saudi negotiators have had to go to Sana’a to plead for terms to end the kingdom’s involvement. What can they hope to get? MBS’s aim of reinstating the internationally recognized Yemeni government seems a nearly forgotten dream. Instead, high on the Saudi list of requests is a buffer zone between the two countries — and even that is no more than a fig leaf, given the Houthis’ growing arsenal of missiles and drones. No matter how they spin it in Riyadh, this is a humiliation for MBS. And the prince has only himself to blame. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Saudi Arabia will host a meeting of regional foreign ministers on Friday to discuss Syria’s return to the Arab League, a Qatari official said on Tuesday, adding that an “Arab consensus” plus a “change on the ground” would shift Qatar’s position. – Reuters

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday and discussed Iran and steps aimed at ending the war in Yemen, the White House said. – Reuters 

A rocket attack Monday targeted a base in eastern Syria where U.S. troops are based causing no injuries or damage, the U.S. military said. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Across the Middle East, the holy month has been used for outreach. This is important and in contrast to some previous years where tensions between countries and groups have underpinned the instability and extremism that has threatened the Middle East. The Saudi-Iran reconciliation and Turkey’s outreach are two cornerstones of how the region is changing and putting diplomacy first. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s presidential office said the contents of leaked U.S. confidential documents, purportedly showing South Korean officials having qualms about supplying weapons to Ukraine, were “altered” and “untrue.” – Washington Post 

South Korea reached an agreement last month to lend the United States 500,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells that could give Washington greater flexibility to supply Ukraine with ammunition, a South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday. – Reuters 

U.S. intelligence analysts believe a recent military parade in North Korea “probably oversells” the threat its inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) pose to the United States, according to a leaked document purportedly from the U.S. government. – Reuters


China’s newest aircraft carrier has for the first time practiced attacking Taiwan from the island’s east coast, demonstrating Beijing’s growing determination to project power beyond the Taiwan Strait and far into the Pacific Ocean, an area traditionally dominated by the United States and its regional allies. – Washington Post

Chinese and Dutch officials held consultations on international and regional security, arms control and non-proliferation in Beijing on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.- Reuters

Recent Chinese air and sea drills simulating an encirclement of Taiwan were intended as a “serious warning” to pro-independence politicians on the self-governing island and their foreign supporters, a Chinese spokesperson said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Elisabeth Braw writes: But China has been able to sow fear of nonmilitary disruption because other countries have few plans to handle the resulting chaos. Together, governments and the shipping industry can blunt China’s inspection threats. And there would be no point sending an “inspection fleet” to the Taiwan Strait if it couldn’t carry out its mission. – Wall Street Journal 

James Stavridis writes: Washington had little faith that Macron would be able to convince Xi to move away from Moscow, but was holding its breath hoping the visit didn’t damage the real center of gravity in the Ukrainian war: Western unity and transatlantic will. While Macron and von der Leyen didn’t move China closer to the European position on Ukraine, their unified front on longer-term geopolitics will serve the West well. – Bloomberg

South Asia

Pakistan on Tuesday condemned India’s decision to hold Group of 20 meetings in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir next month, calling the move “irresponsible”. – Reuters

A firing incident took place at an Indian army base near the border with Pakistan, leaving four soldiers dead, according to a military statement. – Bloomberg

A senior Indian official brushed off diplomatic protests out of Beijing on Monday over his two-day visit to a Himalayan frontier state that China claims as its own. – Newsweek


An airstrike in the Sagaing region of northwestern Myanmar killed dozens of people early Tuesday, according to eyewitnesses and leaders of insurgent groups that have been fighting the country’s military junta. – Washington Post

China said on Wednesday that President Tsai Ing-wen was pushing Taiwan into “stormy seas” after Beijing held military exercises in response to Tsai’s recent meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. – Reuters

French officials were in damage control mode on Tuesday as they tried to contain anger, division and confusion sparked by President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on Europe’s dependence on the United States and its relations with China and Taiwan. – Reuters 

Comments by French President Emmanuel Macron on Taiwan are puzzling, a senior Taiwanese politician said, wondering whether France’s founding ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity are now out of fashion. – Reuters 

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that in the past 24 hours 14 Chinese air force planes crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line, which normally serves as an unofficial barrier between the two sides. – Reuters 

The top defense and diplomatic officials from the United States and Philippines agreed on Tuesday to complete a road map in coming months to cover the delivery of U.S. defense assistance to the Philippines over the next five to 10 years. – Reuters 

China indicated it will maintain pressure on Taiwan following its large-scale military drills, a sign that tensions over the democracy’s status will linger. – Bloomberg 

Military forces from Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed Tuesday along their border and at least seven soldiers were killed, according to the countries’ defense ministries. – Associated Press

Australia suspended a complaint to the World Trade Organization in a bid to reopen the Chinese market to Australian barley for the first time in three years in the new government’s latest step toward repairing relations with Beijing. – Associated Press

Japan’s Defense Ministry announced Tuesday it has signed contracts worth nearly 380 billion yen ($2.8 billion) with the country’s top defense contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, to develop and mass produce long-range missiles for deployment as early as 2026 amid growing fears of China’s increasing military strength. – Associated Press


President Biden arrived in Northern Ireland on Tuesday to celebrate a quarter-century since the Good Friday Agreement ended the U.K. province’s civil conflict, part of a four-day trip that also will take him to his family’s ancestral homeland, the Republic of Ireland. – Wall Street Journal

French President Emmanuel Macron called on Europe to forge its own sovereignty in an address that risks heightening trans-Atlantic tensions after he said on a trip to China last week that Europe shouldn’t be pulled into tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan. – Wall Street Journal

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban named the U.S. as one of the top three adversaries for his Fidesz Party, according to a purportedly leaked Central Intelligence Agency assessment—underscoring the depth of a longtime rift between Washington and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member that has increasingly defended its ties with Russia and China. – Wall Street Journal 

President Emmanuel Macron landed in China to a red-carpet reception and all the pomp of a state visit, a three-day tour little short of a love-fest that he clearly hoped would further his ambitions for France to sit at the table of the great powers in a world changed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s emergence as an arbiter of global conflict. – New York Times

When President Biden visits his family’s ancestral home in Ireland this week, he will walk a path trod by many American presidents — a joyful, politically uncomplicated journey that mixes shamrock-sprinkled nostalgia with odes to the enduring bond between the Irish and Americans. But first, Mr. Biden must pick his way through Northern Ireland, where the political landscape is rockier and the memories darker. – New York Times

Serbia, the only country in Europe that has refused to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, agreed to supply arms to Kyiv or has sent them already, according to a classified Pentagon document. – Reuters 

Germany’s land forces cannot fulfill their NATO commitments, according to a leaked memo from a top soldier cited in a German media report. – Politico 

French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision of a bold, assertive European future on Tuesday, but not before simmering anger at his domestic pension reforms boiled over once more as he began his speech in the Netherlands. – Associated Press

Hungary signed new agreements Tuesday to ensure its continued access to Russian energy, a sign of the country’s continuing diplomatic and trade ties with Moscow that have confounded some European leaders amid the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

Police in Northern Ireland said on Tuesday they had recovered four suspected pipe bombs from a cemetery near the city of Londonderry following a public safety operation. – Reuters

Romania says it will purchase F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in a bid to boost the country’s air security capabilities and deter “aggression,” according to a statement posted to the website of president Klaus Iohannis. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: President Joe Biden might believe the best way to deal with Macron is to fete him with state visits. But the next U.S. president should accept Macron’s France for what it is, an old friend who, on the most consequential of concerns, does not have America’s back. – Washington Examiner

Jan Kallberg writes: It would be profoundly naïve to dismiss or downgrade the significant insider threat within NATO among voters who have intellectually defected from free market economics and open liberal democratic norms. […]NATO needs to think about this and think hard. The last time I looked at the ongoing work at NATO Science & Technology, not even one collaborative research group out of hundreds addressed insider threats. The topic is uncomfortable and politically sensitive, but that doesn’t remove the fact that NATO has an insider threat problem that warrants attention. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Leon Hadar writes: But instead of working together with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, to project European unity and “balancing power” vis-à-vis Beijing, Macron’s recent visit to China, where he was joined by a contingency of French business executives, only underscored that his policies are driven mainly by French interests. As they should be, and were under the original Gaullism, with its similar pretensions to remake France into a great power like it was during the age of Lafayette. But France wasn’t such under de Gaulle, and it isn’t today. – The National Interest


For years, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has been one of the few institutions that helped bind this war-riven country together, unifying disparate ethnic groups around worship as their bitter differences threatened to tear Ethiopia apart. – Washington Post

Several people in Ethiopia’s Amhara region were shot on Tuesday during a sixth day of demonstrations against federal government plans to integrate local defence forces into the police and national army, a local official and a hospital worker said. – Reuters 

Pirates boarded a Chinese-run oil tanker in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, a risk management company operating in the area told The Associated Press on Tuesday. It was the second such incident in a little more than two weeks. – Associated Press

Berlin has ordered Chad’s ambassador to Germany to leave the country within 48 hours in response to a similar move by the Central African country last week, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Gunmen killed five soldiers and wounded others during a weekend ambush of a military convoy performing escort duties in northern Niger, the army said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The Americas

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva departed Brazil on Tuesday for an official visit to China, where he aims to convince President Xi Jinping to form a group of nations to mediate an end to Russia’s war with Ukraine. – Reuters 

Brazil is analyzing the option of expanding an order for Swedish manufacturer Saab’s (SAABb.ST) Gripen fighter jets, though the number of additional aircraft which could be bought has yet to be determined, Defense Minister Jose Mucio told Reuters Tuesday. – Reuters

Banks in Cuba will again accept cash deposits in US dollars after a ban prohibiting the practice was surprisingly lifted on Monday. – Associated Press

North America

A foundation honoring the father of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada announced Tuesday that its board of directors and chief executive had resigned after being swept into a political storm over leaked intelligence showing that China planned to interfere in Canadian elections. –  New York Times

Canadian and U.S. authorities worked together in a year-long investigation into cross-border firearms trafficking that led to 42 arrests and the seizure of guns and illegal drugs, Toronto police said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Canadian energy infrastructure did not suffer any physical damage from a cyberattack that was mentioned in leaked U.S. intelligence documents, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday. – Reuters

Canada on Tuesday imposed new sanctions over Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and pledged fresh military support for Kyiv after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Toronto. – Reuters

United States

The leak of a trove of classified U.S. military documents, some of which began to spread on chat platforms in recent weeks and more of which have emerged since, has spooked officials around the world — particularly in Washington, as the defense and intelligence establishment scrambles to assess the damage and the Justice Department looks for answers. – Washington Post

Washington’s appetite for intelligence on friends and adversaries alike is well known to foreign governments — and should they ever forget, periodic leaks of classified information serve to remind them. – Washington Post

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said the United States will investigate the recent purported leak of classified documents until the source is found. – Reuters 

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: In such a world, credibility could be an asset of supreme and growing value to any government that bothers to muster it. Maybe ours, in the way it handles the latest intelligence disaster, could try making its words trustable again. – Wall Street Journal 

Quin Hillyer writes: This is prototypical congressional oversight, an absolutely proper and essential exercise of power through which the people’s own elected representatives can try to ensure the people’s interests are safe and the nation’s defenses are secure. For the Biden administration to withhold the documents from the members of Congress with appropriate and special security clearances is highly suspicious. What is Biden hiding? And why? If the intransigence continues, Congress really should get tough by every lawful means available. – Washington Examiner


Ukrainian hackers claim to have broken into the emails of a senior Russian military spy wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for hacking the Hillary Clinton campaign and other senior U.S. Democrats ahead of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016. – Reuters 

An Israeli firm’s hacking tools have been used against journalists, opposition figures and advocacy organizations across at least 10 countries – including people in North America and Europe – according to new research published Tuesday by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and the internet watchdog Citizen Lab. – Reuters

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year sent American tech firms scrambling to shore up their operations, especially those with workers in danger zones. But a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would have even more chaotic consequences for which businesses should start planning today, said the National Security Agency’s director of cybersecurity, Rob Joyce. – Breaking Defense

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency plans to release its secure by design principles this week to encourage the adoption of safe coding practices, which are a core part of the Biden administration’s recently released national cybersecurity strategy. – CyberScoop

Enterprise phone company 3CX said on Tuesday that a recent supply-chain attack on its network — which was used by hackers to attempt to install malware on clients’ desktops — was very likely conducted by a group connected to North Korea. – The Record


The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of HIMARS artillery rocket systems and related equipment to Morocco in a deal valued at up to $524 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

A new batch of Northrop Grumman-made electronic warfare upgrades for the F-16 fighter has passed simulation testing in a U.S. Air Force emulator, the company said Tuesday. – Defense News

The U.S. Army will focus on developing watercraft, power-generation capabilities and a more effective command-and-control network as part of its newly formed modernization team meant to ease the movement of equipment, weapons and people in challenging environments, according to the service’s undersecretary. – Defense News

The Navy is still working through a timeline to meet a congressional mandate to add Standard Missile 6 and the Tomahawk Cruise Missiles to future Constellation-class guided-missile frigates, service officials told USNI News. – USNI News