Fdd's overnight brief

April 18, 2022

In The News


Six people were killed and several injured in Russian missile strikes on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Monday morning, local Ukrainian authorities said, in a sign that Russia’s long-range weapons remain a threat to areas far from the conflict’s eastern front lines. – Wall Street Journal 

The last Ukrainian troops holding out in besieged Mariupol rejected Moscow’s ultimatum on Sunday that they surrender or face destruction by Russian forces, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned an all-out Russian assault on the troops would endanger further peace negotiations. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia’s expanding military deployments in and around eastern Ukraine in recent days are setting the stage for a new phase of Moscow’s offensive—one that is likely to be very different from the kind of fighting that has characterized the past two months. – Wall Street Journal   

Evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukrainian towns such as Bucha, combined with ominous rhetoric in Russian media suggesting “de-Ukrainization,” have fueled discussion about whether Russia is carrying out genocide in Ukraine. – Washington Post 

As Russia renews and refocuses its attacks on eastern and southern Ukraine, and as more evidence of apparent Russian atrocities emerges, Kyiv has asked Washington to deploy one of the most potent tools in its arsenal of sanctions: adding Moscow to the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. – Washington Post 

Nearly two months into Vladimir Putin’s brutal assault on Ukraine, the Biden administration and its European allies have begun planning for a far different world, in which they no longer try to coexist and cooperate with Russia, but actively seek to isolate and weaken it as a matter of long-term strategy. – Washington Post 

The brutality of Moscow’s war on Ukraine takes two distinct forms, familiar to those who have seen Russia’s military in action elsewhere. – New York Times 

Russia pounded military targets throughout Ukraine on Saturday, in apparent retaliation for the sinking of an important naval ship and in preparation for an offensive in the Donbas region of the country’s east. – New York Times 

Russia is ambling toward a major default on its foreign debt, a grim milestone that it has not seen since the Bolshevik Revolution more than a century ago and one that raises the prospect of years of legal wrangling and a global hunt by bondholders for Russian assets. – New York Times 

The battles in the north that Ukraine won over the past seven weeks raged in towns and densely populated suburbs around the capital, Kyiv, but the war is about to take a hard turn to the southeast and into a vast expanse of wide-open flatland, fundamentally changing the nature of the combat, the weapons at play and the strategies that might bring victory. – New York Times 

The Moskva was the pride of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a symbol of the country’s dominance of the region and a powerful war machine that had been used to launch precision cruise missiles deep inside Ukraine. – New York Times 

Stung by war losses and massing troops for a new battle in eastern Ukraine, Russia has warned the Biden administration to stop supplying advanced weapons to Ukrainian forces or face “unpredictable consequences,” American officials said Friday. – New York Times 

And yet, despite the speedy collection of evidence in Ukraine and an outpouring of international cooperation to build criminal case files, the likelihood of any significant war crimes trials, much less convictions, could be years away — if they ever occur — especially for Mr. Putin. – New York Times 

Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit Russia’s flagship Moskva in the Black Sea, a senior Defense official said on Friday, providing the first American confirmation that the sinking of the Russian cruiser was the result of a Ukrainian strike.- New York Times 

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Moscow has ramped up its propaganda and disinformation efforts, crafting a through-the-looking-glass image of the war in which Ukraine and the West — not Russia — are to blame for Russia’s attack. – New York Times 

So far, only a small number appears to have arrived in Russia for military training ahead of deployment on the front lines. Although Kremlin officials boasted early in the war of more than 16,000 applications from the Middle East, U.S. officials and activists monitoring Syria say there have not yet been significant numbers of fighters from the region joining the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

A Ukrainian military factory outside Kyiv that produced missiles allegedly used to hit Russia’s Moskva warship was partly destroyed by overnight Russian strikes, an AFP journalist at the scene saw Friday. – Agence France-Presse 

Billionaire Roman Abramovich has traveled to Kyiv in a bid to restart peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, which stalled after evidence emerged of Russian atrocities against civilians. – Bloomberg 

The European Union and Russia are at risk of triggering a de facto embargo on Russian gas after the bloc’s lawyers drafted a preliminary finding that the mechanism President Vladimir Putin is demanding for payment in rubles would violate EU sanctions – Bloomberg 

As fighting in Ukraine’s south and east intensifies, reports that Russian forces are forcibly relocating Ukrainians citizens to Russia continue to surface. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the world should “prepare” for Russian leader Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in his invasion of Ukraine – and urged air-raid shelters and anti-radiation medicine to be readied for the potential calamity. – New York Post 

The moment Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Russian filmmakers Anna Shishova-Bogolyubova and Dmitry Bogolyubov knew they had to leave Moscow. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s defence ministry said Sunday it struck a military plant outside Kyiv, as Moscow intensifies its attacks on the Ukrainian capital. – Agence France-Presse 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, saying he’s starting to believe it’s “just a waste of time” to engage with his counterpart in Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine. – Business Insider 

Putin critic and Washington Post columnist Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote from jail that hundreds of Russian anti-war protesters are being detained alongside him in a new op-ed published Friday by The Washington Post. – Business Insider 

With President Joe Biden’s poll numbers at all-time lows and the midterm elections just around the corner, it should hardly come as any surprise that the Democratic Party will go back to its playbook and once again make Russian President Vladimir Putin the centerpiece of campaign season. But in order to blame Putin for Biden’s sinking presidency, the party and its media retinue are going to have to bury the fact that Biden and Putin are a team, tied together by the Iran deal. – Tablet 

Paula Dobriansky and Richard Levine write: The West shares with Ukraine a conception of liberty that isn’t based on race or heritage but inalienable rights. No tyrannical force must ever be allowed to destroy this profound link. Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine with the goal of erasing the identity of its people, much as Joseph Stalin hoped to do in 1932-33, when he murdered as many as 10 million Ukrainians through starvation in the atrocity known as the Holodomor. Such horror defined the last century. It can’t be allowed to define this one. – Wall Street Journal 

Anna Myroniuk writes: For Ukrainians, it will be the latest installment of horror. But the country, like my family, is standing strong. East and west, displaced and not, Ukrainians have acted with bravery and resilience. No matter what Russia does to us, we refuse to be beaten. – New York Times 

Conrad Black writes: Despite the thoroughly unprofessional, frequently implausible, American babel, where the right is claiming that Washington is full of neocon warmongers who want to exchange live fire with the Russians, and the left is wailing that a third world war is imminent, it seems that this war will end soon with Russia gaining those in eastern Ukraine who would rather be Russian, but the bulk of Ukraine continuing to be universally recognized and guaranteed as a sovereign state, though deferring NATO membership. – New York Sun 

Dr. Can Kasapoğlu writes: If the war becomes prolonged, and if the Ukrainians continues to bleed the invaders the spiral will intensify. The longer Russian troops operate in urban environments, the more war crimes they will commit. The Russian track record from Chechnya to Syria permits no other prediction. In today’s networked world, covering up atrocities is nearly impossible. When new war crimes to light, the sanctions will tighten, making it even harder for Russian defense industries to purchase needed supplies on the international market. – Hudson Institute 

Mark Episkopos writes: There is no indication that the Kremlin, which is convinced its existential interests are at stake in the ongoing conflict, has any intention of backing off in the face of the West’s maximum pressure campaign. To the contrary, all current signs point to further escalation. CIA director William Burns warned on Thursday that if Russia proves unable to reverse its military setbacks in Ukraine through conventional means, Moscow could eventually make the decision to employ low-yield tactical nuclear weapons. – The National Interest 


Iran’s armed forces will target Israel’s heart if it makes “the slightest move” against the Islamic Republic, President Ebrahim Raisi told a military parade on Monday, amid stalled talks between Tehran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact. – Reuters  

Iran has confirmed it relocated a centrifuge facility to its underground Natanz nuclear site, state media reported, days after the U.N. atomic watchdog said it installed surveillance cameras to monitor the new workshop at Tehran’s request. – Associated Press 

Iran banned the import of Western passenger cars in 2017 to counter the impending reimposition of U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program. The idea was part of Tehran’s efforts to develop a “resistance economy” that could both serve Iranians’ demands for cars, lessen dependence on foreign technology, and potentially boost export revenue. But the idea has not worked as planned. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Editorial: Israeli experts estimate that Iran could go nuclear within four to six months under the deal Biden’s minions are negotiating. Why offer major concessions to a hostile regime for that? Of all the Biden policies that leave us scratching our heads, this one takes the cake. – New York Post 

Farhad Rezaei writes: For all these reasons, the Biden administration should keep the IRGC on the State Department terror list as long as it is engaged in terror activities and wreaking havoc across the region and in the world. Only by Washington increasing the Guard Corps’ cost of doing business and of its brutal methods will the terror organization’s behavior change. If it is delisted, however, there would be few if any costs to the IRGC’s adventures. – Jerusalem Post 

Raphael BenLevi writes: Further research could compare the case of Iran with America’s policy toward additional cases of proliferation, such as North Korea, which played out over much of the same period or with the nonproliferation policies of other great powers. More broadly, I propose that the idea that strategic worldviews are more influential when a state must address an emerging threat that has not yet fully materialized can be extended to other policy realms where similar inherent uncertainties lie. – Texas National Security Review 


The death toll from airstrikes by the Pakistani military in eastern Afghanistan rose to at least 45 people, local officials said on Sunday, exacerbating simmering tensions along the border between the countries. – New York Times 

The Taliban authorities warned Pakistan on Saturday after five children and a woman were killed in Afghanistan in alleged rocket attacks by the Pakistani military in a pre-dawn assault along the border. – Agence France-Presse 

The Taliban prohibition on girls’ education shows the movement’s ultra-conservatives retain tight control of the Islamist group, and exposes a power struggle that puts at risk crucial aid for Afghanistan’s desperate population, experts say. – Agence France-Presse 


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he had told his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas that he condemned Israeli “intervention on worshippers” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and threats to its “status or spirit”. – Reuters 

Ukraine is working with NATO member Turkey as much as possible for more support over Russia’s invasion and understands – even though it is not happy with – the reality of Ankara’s parallel ties to Moscow, a Ukrainian diplomat said. – Reuters 

Hundreds of people demonstrated on Saturday in several Turkish cities including Istanbul and Ankara against a move to close one of the country’s most respected women’s rights groups. – Agence France-Presse 

Bobby Ghosh writes: Since his chances of persuading Putin to make peace are slim to none, Erdogan might welcome his phone calls with Macron. Having once encouraged the French president to have his head examined, the Turkish leader may be grateful to have his sympathetic ear. – Bloomberg 


Tensions are high as clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians around Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site have left many injured. This comes around the overlapping of the Jewish holiday of Passover and Islam’s holy month of Ramadan that bring tens of thousands of worshipers to the city. – Wall Street Journal  

Israeli police clashed with Palestinians in and around Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site on Sunday, as tensions in the city continued amid a rare overlapping of religious holidays. – Wall Street Journal 

For the first time since 1991, Passover, Easter and Ramadan were about to occur all at once — intensifying the religious synergies and tensions that have defined Jerusalem for millenniums. – New York Times 

The United States is deeply concerned by violence in Jerusalem, where at least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police, the State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

The journey of the Palestinian who opened fire at a street-side bar in Tel Aviv last week, killing three young Israeli men and sending the city into lockdown, began a two-hour drive away in an impoverished refugee camp deep inside the occupied West Bank. – Associated Press 

Islamic State on Sunday urged its supporters in Israel to launch additional terror attacks, the first such call since two deadly terror attacks were carried out last month by Arab Israelis thought to have been inspired by the jihadist group. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s Ambassador in Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi on Sunday over Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s condemnations of Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post 

A conglomerate of Israeli and Chinese companies has sued the government in the Tel Aviv District Court for denying their bid for the giant Tel Aviv light rail project, claiming it was based on illegal US pressure. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel’s vote at the United Nations General Assembly on April 7 in favor of removing Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was a “thinly veiled” attempt to divert international intention away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday afternoon. – Jerusalem Post 

The Palestinian Authority has warned against Israeli attempts to “divide” al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) in time and space between Muslims and Jews. – Jerusalem Post 

Ra’am (United Arab List) party froze its participation in the coalition and the Knesset in general on Sunday night to protest police violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem. – Jerusalem Post 

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco on Saturday joined in the condemnation of Israel over the previous day’s violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in scenes akin to those that prefaced last May’s Gaza war. – Times of Israel 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday condemned Israel amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. – Times of Israel 

Nearly a month since the beginning of the current wave of terrorism, the security situation still seems unstable. The focus of the current friction is Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount in particular. The danger of full-scale eruption there, which could hover over the city throughout the week and perhaps throughout the current Muslim holy month of Ramadan, could also cause a larger, regional conflagration. – Haaretz 

Editorial: Israel cannot allow a minority of violent rioters to desecrate the holy site. Anyone who supports freedom of religion and truly cares about the Temple Mount should condemn the Arab rioters, not the police. – Jerusalem Post 

Ben-Dror Yemini writes: For some reason, Israel seems to be lagging behind. It does not condition financial aid to the PA with the end of incitement, just as it does not implement a law that would cut out of the transfer of taxes collected on behalf of the PA, some of which is given as stipends to the terrorists who committed attacks against Israelis and their families. Meanwhile, all the incitement translates into terror. And that is what prompted a 15-year-old girl to become a bloodthirsty terrorist. Not the occupation. – Ynet 

Zvi Bar’el writes: The tensions between Iran and Russia could conceivably extend the understandings between Russia and Israel. Moreover, Iran has no aerial response to Israeli assaults. But the greater the Syrian regime’s reliance on Iranian forces due to the drawing down of Russian forces, the more Israel might face new rules of the game. – Haaretz 

Alan Baker writes: The repeated assaults on religious sites which the PA is supposed to prevent strongly suggests that the responsibility for protecting them must remain with Israel and not be turned over to a Palestinian governmental body, which cannot be relied upon, as has been proven on repeated occasions. – Jerusalem Post 

Bruce Portnoy writes: PRESIDENT JOE Biden may have unintentionally set a precedent through his dealings with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that might carry over to Israel, should Iran, God forbid, attack Israel. If so, is Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s stated commitment to guarantee Israel that Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons, worthless? – Jerusalem Post 

Doron Kornbluth writes: Indeed, tourism from Russia to Israel has plummeted and has little hope of recovering in the near future. – Jerusalem Post 

David Horovitz writes: Nobody looking at what unfolded on Friday can reasonably doubt that, in contrast to the tens of thousands who prayed at the same contested spot later in the day, the Palestinians who had gathered at Al-Aqsa on Friday morning were bent on confrontation. – Times of Israel 


Iraq was pressured to increase its oil production outside the remit of OPEC’s policy on output, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Turkish warplanes, helicopters and drones hit Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq in an air and land operation that targeted facilities ranging from camps to ammunition stores, Turkey’s defence ministry said on Monday. – Reuters 

Munqith Dagher writes: The main conclusion that can be drawn from qualitative interview and polling data is that Iraq will remain a factory generating extremism in every region—south, center, and north. No ethnic or religious group will escape it so long as political deterioration and confusion prevails throughout the country. – Washington Institute 


The deadly airstrikes by a Saudi-led military coalition have stopped, for the moment. So have the cross-border missile barrages, fired by Houthi rebels, that have terrified Yemen’s neighbors and shaken the region. – Washington Post 

When a band of scrappy rebels known as the Houthis stormed out of the mountains of northern Yemen in 2014 and took over the capital, Sana, their friends and foes alike dismissed them as unsophisticated tribal fighters running around in sandals and armed with cheap guns. – New York Times 

Yemen’s Houthis criticized a new U.S.-led task force that will patrol the Red Sea following a series of attacks by the Iran-backed rebels in a waterway that’s essential to global trade. – Associated Press 

Yemen’s new leaders are “ready for war” should the latest push for peace with Huthi rebels fail, but a senior official told AFP they genuinely want the years-long conflict to end soon. – Agence France-Presse 

Asher Orkaby writes: Although the current presidential council appears representative of multiple geographies and political constituencies, there is no clear leadership, at least not on the level of Qadi Abdulrahman al-Iryani. The success or failure of the post-Hadi political entity will ultimately depend on the council’s ability to find a council president who enjoys the respect of all political factions, including the Houthi movement. – The National Interest 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia pushed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to step down earlier this month, and Saudi authorities have largely confined him to his home in Riyadh and restricted communications with him in the days since, according to Saudi and Yemeni officials. – Wall Street Journal 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave a “positive assessment” to their cooperation on the OPEC+ producers group to stabilize the world oil market, the Kremlin said in statement. – Bloomberg 

Greg Priddy writes: The current feeling of vulnerability by the Saudis and Emiratis is understandable, but from the U.S. perspective, it should trigger a review of current policies and military deployments. Efforts to revive the JCPOA are bringing these differences to a head: the United States wants to see Iran resume controls on its nuclear activities while Saudi Arabia and the UAE are much more concerned about Iran’s other regional activities—where the argument for a real link to U.S. interests is more tenuous. – The National Interest 

Middle East & North Africa

Libya’s national oil company said Sunday it was forced to shut down an oil field amid a political impasse that threatened to drag the North African nation back into armed conflict. – Associated Press 

The Son of Egypts’ President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Mahmoud arrived with two other Egyptian officials, as part of a delegation attempting to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian factions amid the increased violence on Temple Mount. – Ynet 

The first flight on a new direct route between Israel and the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh departed from Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday. – Times of Israel 

Sam Heller writes: Lebanon is a major test of the Biden administration’s anticorruption agenda. What the United States does there won’t just affect the odds of a rescue package that could prevent the Lebanese state from failing; it will also demonstrate to corrupt regimes around the world that Washington is serious about fighting corruption. To do that, however, the Biden administration will have to show Lebanese leaders that it will no longer tolerate the kind of grand corruption that cratered Lebanon’s economy. Failing that, Biden’s anticorruption rhetoric will be just words. – Foreign Affairs 

Nir Boms and Ahmed Khuzaie write: Even though the average Israeli may enjoy seeing the Israeli flag waved in Dubai and the ability to find Kosher food there, few seem to have contemplated what a “warm peace” can look like, and what else needs to be done to enhance P2P relations on both sides.  For the Gulf partners, something more than pictures are needed. They would like to see that the new partnership has succeeded in contributing to the lives of people in the region and that their will to engage with Israel has resulted in progress in other areas, including the Palestinian one. – Washington Institute 

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test-firing of what the country’s state media said was a new type of tactical guided weapon aimed at boosting its nuclear capabilities, following a series of provocative missile launches that allow Pyongyang to diversify its arsenal. – Wall Street Journal  

North Korea is preparing for major celebrations tied to its biggest national holiday on Friday, with Kim Jong Un looking to boost morale during a time of economic hardship and project outward strength following a spree of missile tests. – Wall Street Journal 

North Korea has carried out its 12th missile test of the year, launching what appeared to be a pair of short-range projectiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday. – New York Times 

When a brand-new luxury residential district opened in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, this week, the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said it would be reserved for his most elite supporters, those he called “true patriots.” – New York Times 

North Korea has test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon designed to boost its nuclear fighting capability, state media reported Sunday, a day before its chief rivals the United States and South Korea begin annual drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal. – Associated Press 

The U.S. envoy for North Korea arrived in Seoul on Monday for talks with his South Korean counterparts on ways to address Pyongyang’s increased missile launches and concerns over the possible resumption of nuclear testing. – Reuters  

South Korea’s President-Elect Yoon Suk Yeol plans to send a group of delegates to Japan next week, Yonhap News reported, a sign that the two nations could work toward mending relations amid mounting North Korean provocations. – Bloomberg 


When European leaders recently pressed China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, to distance himself from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, he doggedly stuck to prepared remarks for the video summit, shutting down any opening for their demands. – New York Times 

A group of senior U.S. senators delivered a message of support for Taiwan during a visit Friday, a move that China answered with a display of military force. – Bloomberg 

The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper called on the nation to support President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy, showing any shift in policy is unlikely even as lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere threaten to hurt the economy. – Bloomberg 

Communist China said its military staged exercises Friday to reinforce its threat to use force to bring Free China under its control, as American lawmakers visiting Taiwan made a pointed and public declaration of their support for the self-governing island democracy. – Associated Press 

China’s economy grew 4.8 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, warning of “significant challenges” ahead as a resurgence of the coronavirus threatens Beijing’s ambitious annual target. – Agence France-Presse 

Editorial: Biologically, the virus in China — the omicron BA.2 subvariant — isn’t that different from elsewhere. What does make China stand apart is a government that is intent on propagating a narrative that it is doing an exceptional job in managing the pandemic. – Washington Post 

Editorial: China is a much larger economy than Russia, and Western executives might conclude it would be a disservice to shareholders not to compete in that market. Yet precisely because of China’s size, the economic risks associated with a possible conflict would be much greater. Russia write-downs are a warning to Western executives to start preparing now for the possibility that danger is ahead. – Wall Street Journal  

Editorial: But unchecked hostility serves neither the U.S. nor China. Both should therefore look for ways to use any improvement in mood to stabilize the relationship further; lowering tariffs that are hurting both their economies would be a start. There may also be room to improve military-to-military dialogue and coordinate humanitarian aid for Ukraine and Afghanistan. – Bloomberg 

Hasan Ismaik writes: Look east, America. The Chinese tiger, Russian bear and Iranian lion are escaping their cages and may devour you. Or you may just do it yourself if the Republican and Democratic parties do not return their focus to what’s in the best interests of America and the world rather than the best interests of their own party and the next election. – Jerusalem Post 

South Asia

Sri Lanka is mired in an unprecedented economic crisis brought on by mostly domestic factors: Years of foreign-debt-fueled government spending, badly timed tax cuts, policies that hurt crop yields and a precipitous drop in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic have hollowed out its foreign reserves. But Sri Lanka’s teetering finances were dealt another blow this year when war in Europe sent global fuel and food prices surging, turning the small country’s uphill economic struggle into something insurmountable. – Washington Post 

Tens of thousands flooded the streets across the country. Protesters brawled in a small mosque. And, at the upscale Islamabad Marriott Hotel, a fist fight broke out at an Iftar dinner between a lawmaker in Pakistan’s new government and a supporter of the recently ousted prime minister, Imran Khan. – New York Times 

After being held in jail for close to four years awaiting trial on charges of aiding militants, the Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan was granted bail by the courts last week, and he thought he could finally return home to his wife and his daughter, who was just 6 months old when he was arrested. – New York Times 

Pakistan fired off a sharp warning Sunday to Afghanistan’s hard-line religious rulers to stop sheltering homegrown Pakistani Taliban militants who have staged increasingly deadly attacks against the country’s military. – Associated Press 

Sri Lankans protesting for days near the president’s office criticized a lack of progress in finding those responsible for the deaths of more than 260 people in Islamic State-inspired bombings on Easter Sunday three years ago, piling pressure on the government already embroiled in a deep economic crisis. – Associated Press 

Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis has triggered an unprecedented wave of spontaneous protests as the island nation of 22 million people struggles with prolonged power cuts and a shortage of essentials, including fuel and medicines. – Reuters 

At least 88 people have been arrested in India in connection with violence against police after a comment insulting Muslims went viral on social media, police said on Monday. – Reuters 

UK prime minister Boris Johnson will later this week meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, where he will reiterate the need for democracies to “stick together” and aim to bolster economic and defence co-operation between the two countries. – Financial Times 

The U.S. and India have agreed to engage in new talks about artificial intelligence and its use in matters of national security, an outgrowth of the nations’ deepening relationship at a time of sharpened Indo-Pacific focus. – Defense News 

Mihir Sharma writes: But the fact is that two cherished heterodox theories from fringe activists became official policy in Sri Lanka and, within two years, they brought the country to the brink of default and ruin. There’s a reason only cranks promote such ideas. – Bloomberg 

David Fickling writes: Such ambition could ultimately turn energy from an eternal liability for Pakistan, to an asset. Politicians who don’t want to see their careers ended by one of the country’s perennial economic crises should take heed. – Bloomberg 


Washington wants to know how much China-made material is used in solar panels shipped from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia—countries that accounted for 85% of American imports last year. It is investigating whether producers do small-time processing in these countries to skirt tariffs while reaching back into China-based supply chains for critical components. – Wall Street Journal  

Six U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwan’s leader on Friday in a show of support for the island democracy, in a surprise trip that signals more tension between Washington and Beijing. – Wall Street Journal  

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and visiting U.S. lawmakers reaffirmed their commitment to working together under a longstanding bilateral alliance on Saturday at a time of heightened global tensions including threats from China and North Korea. – Associated Press 

Ramadan bombings in Thailand’s Muslim-majority deep south will not derail peace talks with separatist rebels, the government said on Sunday after a sidelined insurgent group claimed responsibility for the attacks. – Reuters 

China’s military threats against Taiwan will only increase support for the island from the United States and other democracies, the foreign ministry said after China conducted drills nearby as U.S. lawmakers visited Taipei. – Reuters 

China will welcome a prolonged war in Ukraine as a “rolling strategic diversion” from its own assertiveness, according to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, and exploit a distracted west to focus on its competition with the US. – Financial Times 

Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force conducted 1,004 scrambles of its aircraft against foreign planes in the year to March, the second-highest on record, amid simmering tensions with neighboring China and Russia. – Bloomberg 

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said there are concerns about a “lack of transparency” in relation to the draft security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China. – Bloomberg 

Australia’s foreign minister said Sunday that a controversial security deal between the Solomon Islands and China would not spell the end of her country’s defence cooperation with the Pacific nation. – Agence France-Presse 

Families of detained Myanmar protesters had their hopes dashed on Sunday (Apr 17) after political prisoners were not included in about 1,600 people released by the junta to mark the Buddhist new year. – Agence France-Presse 

Japan is monitoring the increased Russian and Chinese military activity around its country, the Japanese defense minister said Friday. – USNI News 

Daniel Moss writes: As heir apparent, everything Wong now does — from profound to mundane — will be closely scrutinized. He would be the first Singaporean premier to have been born since the island became a sovereign nation. Wong entered adulthood in a thriving economy, not one struggling for existence. His primary task will be to maintain that prosperity. The rest, his team will write for itself. – Bloomberg 

Gearoid Reidy writes: A glacial pace of change and desire to please all parties is a familiar refrain to followers of Japanese reform. But like so many of the issues the country faces, the luxury of time is no longer on Tokyo’s side as rivals in other countries move faster. – Bloomberg 


Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior British politicians have been banned from entering Russia in response to what the Russian government said was Britain’s “unprecedented hostile actions” over the war in Ukraine. – Washington Post  

The British government has announced a plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, a move that prompted an immediate backlash from opposition politicians, international legal experts and human rights defenders. – New York Times 

A Muslim woman in a blue and white hijab confronted Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate, as she made her way through a crowd in the southern town of Pertuis last week. “What is the head scarf doing in politics?” the woman demanded. – New York Times 

Finland and Sweden appear to be edging closer to joining NATO, a move that leaders and experts see as the best way to confront Russia as it escalates its rhetoric on nuclear weapons. – The Hill 

Russia ramped up its diplomatic expulsions on Friday, announcing that 18 European Union diplomats would be considered “persona non grata” in the country. – The Hill 

The world’s largest yacht was nabbed by German authorities for its connections to a Russian billionaire, the latest superyacht seizure amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Examiner 

Finland and Sweden joining Nato would boost the security of the Baltic states and reinforce the western military alliance, said Lithuania’s president, urging the two Nordic countries not to waste time in applying. – Financial Times 

Thousands of faithful attended the “Way of the Cross” prayer service, presided over by Pope Francis at Rome’s Colosseum on Friday, a ceremony overtaken by the war in Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

A Finnish cabinet minister said Friday it was “highly likely” that Finland would apply for NATO membership, just hours after Russia warned of unspecified “consequences” should Helsinki and Stockholm join the military alliance. – Agence France-Presse 

“The elimination of our troops, of our men (in Mariupol) will put an end to any negotiations” between Ukraine and Russia, Zelensky said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda news website. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukraine said on Sunday that it was pausing the evacuation of civilians from the war-scarred east of the country for a day after failing to agree terms with Russian forces. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday warned of unspecified “consequences” should Finland and Sweden join the US-led NATO defence alliance, after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

A group of Democratic lawmakers including four senators and a House member will travel to Poland, India, Germany and the United Arab Emirates on a nine-day trip to rally support for Ukraine. – Reuters 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday says he wants President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine as the country continues to fight back against Russia. – Business Insider 

Finland and Sweden have chosen to pursue separate tracks and speeds to advance their interests in joining NATO. – Defense News 

The Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva rests deep beneath the Black Sea this morning. Ukraine claims that it hit Moskva with missiles, causing it to sink. Russia has insisted the reason for the sinking was a fire. On Friday, the United States supported Ukraine’s account, with a senior defense official saying that it believes that two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Russian warship in the Black Sea. – CNN 

Dalibor Rohac writes: Germany’s power and importance in Europe and NATO are undisputed. But power and importance come with responsibilities, which Ms. Merkel and Mr. Scholz seem to prefer to avoid. Hungary’s withering democracy and Mr. Orbán’s destabilizing role in Eastern Europe are part of the collateral damage from that neglect. – Wall Street Journal  


Shortly before midnight on a spring night last year, Samia Suluhu Hassan, then Tanzania’s first female vice president, appeared on television to announce to a shocked nation that the president was dead. – New York Times 

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would offer temporary protected status to nationals of Cameroon, shielding them from deportation and enabling them to obtain work permits, amid escalating armed conflict that has spawned a humanitarian crisis in the African country. – New York Times 

The United States has approved a nearly $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria after lawmakers had put a hold on the deal over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the Nigerian government. – Reuters 

The Biden administration will grant temporary deportation relief and work permits to Cameroonians living in the United States due to the ongoing conflict between government forces and armed separatists in that country, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Friday. – Reuters 

Europe is looking to Africa for its energy needs as countries seek to cut their reliance on Russian imports amid the war in Ukraine. – Business Insider 


Seeking to meet new challenges in the space and cyber domain, the Marine Corps is pursuing partial solutions to move the ball forward, the service’s senior officer for cyber and space said this week. – USNI News 

In late February, a Ukrainian researcher with longtime access to Conti’s internal chats and files began leaking them online, exposing in intricate detail the ways in which one of the most prolific cybercrime syndicates operated. – CyberScoop 

In many ransomware incidents, Russia-linked actors often play the role of attacker rather than the victim. But in recent weeks, cyberattacks have crippled Russian companies and disrupted government agencies. – The Record 

The State Department announced Friday that it is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information about North Korean digital operations that help keep the regime afloat and fund its weapons programs. – The Record 

James B. Meigs writes: It’s important to protect these systems from attack. But it is just as important to ensure they can bounce back quickly if they are damaged. Even people in seemingly noncritical fields should remember that nothing digital is secure. Virtual assets need redundancy, too: Any information an organization can’t function without should have a paper backup. – Commentary Magazine 

Matthias Schulze writes: As the conventional dimension of war plays such an important role, it stands to reason that if escalation dynamics emerge, they will likely unfold in the conventional domain. Non-cyber measures, such as harsher sanctions or the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine, will likely have a greater impact on policymakers’ decisions regarding escalation. Still, the risk cannot be dismissed, and policymakers must be wary of the possibility of escalation when making decisions in cyberspace. – The National Interest 


But, it turned out, the truth was out there. Last month, the U.S. Space Command released a memo to NASA scientists that stated the data from the missile warning satellites’ sensors “was sufficiently accurate to indicate an interstellar trajectory” for the meteor. The publication of the memo was the culmination of a three-year effort by Mr. Siraj and a well-known Harvard astronomer, Avi Loeb. – New York Times 

In the dusty California desert, U.S. Army trainers are already using lessons learned from Russia’s war against Ukraine as they prepare soldiers for future fights against a major adversary such as Russia or China. – Associated Press 

A classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was launched into space from California on Sunday. – Associated Press 

The expeditionary warfare community is eyeing ways to use all its forces in future operations, with fleet experiments looping special operations forces, mine countermeasures sailors, Seabees and more into traditional naval operations. – Defense News 

Pentagon officials recently announced that the Defense Department will build a nuclear microreactor that can be flown to an austere site by a C-17 cargo plane and set up to power a military base. – Defense News 

After more than a year in which the Pentagon’s top acquisition job sat officially vacant, former Air Force weapons buyer Bill LaPlante officially took over as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment today. – Breaking Defense 

The Air Force’s future fighter is being built with its flight control software completely separated from the software governing its mission systems, a unique feature that the service’s top general said will allow the aircraft to be refreshed with new technologies more quickly. – Breaking Defense 

Long War

A joint military force from Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon said on Sunday it had killed more than 100 Islamist insurgents, including 10 commanders, in the past few weeks, as it intensifies a ground and air offensive in the Lake Chad region. – Reuters 

The sole surviving member of the jihadist team that carried out the November 2015 Paris attacks apologised on Friday to the victims at the end of his trial testimony. – Agence France-Presse 

Editorial: U.S. security strategists are right to focus on the threats from China and Russia, but jihadists are still looking to kill Americans and attack the homeland if they get the chance. Vigilance is the only way to prevent more attacks. – Wall Street Journal