Fdd's overnight brief

April 20, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


The U.S. Navy sailed its first drone boat through the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, a crucial waterway for global energy supplies where American sailors often faces tense encounters with Iranian forces. – Associated Press

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a procurement network it accused of supporting Iran’s drone and military programs, targeting companies and suppliers in China, Iran and elsewhere in the fresh action aimed at increasing pressure on Tehran. – Reuters

China and Iran are becoming increasingly brazen in their attempts to silence dissidents on American soil and influence U.S. policy, the FBI warned on Wednesday. – Reuters

Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s last shah, called Wednesday during a visit to Israel for “maximum” international backing for the protest movement that rocked the Islamic republic following Mahsa Amini’s death. – Agence France-Presse 

Reza Pahlavi, prominent Iranian opposition leader and son of Iran’s deposed monarch, expressed the hope on Wednesday that Israel and Iran will return to being “strategic partners” as they were under his father’s rule — predicated on regime change that the exiled crown prince has long advocated for the Islamic Republic. – Times of Israel 

Bobby Ghosh writes: There is no prospect of Pahlavi going over to the theocrats. But they will welcome the distraction provided by his visit to Israel and the opportunity to discredit their opponents at home. The Biden administration should keep its eye on the protesters, not the pretender. – Bloomberg

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Over the last year, there have been increased clashes between the IDF and Palestinian gunmen, primarily in Jenin and Nablus. Iran is hinting that it is aiding the “unseen hand” of weapons smuggling. […]The reference to the Euphrates refers to the US base at Green Village, Omar and Conoco in Syria, the areas that Iran frequently threatens with rockets and drones. It is believed that pro-Iranian proxies have carried out almost 80 attacks on US forces over the last two years. – Jerusalem Post 

Nigel Goodrich writes: Progress is being made. Berlin just recently banned a Samidoun rally; Cologne cut one short following the usual inciting chants against Israel. Yet, this did not stop Samidoun’s Mohammad Khatib from urging people at a booster rally in Brussels this past weekend to join the ‘Palestinian resistance’ as exemplified by Hamas, the PFLP, Lion’s Den, and Hezbollah terrorist groups. All aim to murder Jews and destroy Israel. All despise our values. All are linked to Iran. – Jerusalem Post  

Erfan Fard writes: Now, what forgiveness with such policiies? The current rulers love the Israeli internal riots and wish for aggressive approaches, not peace and stability. The mullah’s mafia regime has numerous puppets of that ile who fuel antisemitism and anti- Israel propaganda. The Islamic Republic has brought Iranians 44 years of war, conflict, violence and misery. Reza Pahlavi is showing Iranians there is another way. Peaceful coexistence with the world. – Arutz Sheva 

Annika Ganzeveld, Amin Soltani, Johanna Moore, and Nicholas Carl write: President Ebrahim Raisi is continuing to use the recent Israeli raids on Al Aqsa Mosque to try to unite Muslim countries against Israel, likely to prevent the further expansion of the Abraham Accords. – Institute for the Study of War

Grant Rumley writes: Beyond that immediate threat, the arms flowing to Iran are liable to only exacerbate tensions in the Middle East and raise the potential for future conflict in the region. The reverberations of the emerging Russia-Iran military pipeline are bound to stretch far beyond the battlefield. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

A year into the war, despite suffering months of artillery and rocket strikes at the hands of the Russian military, some residents of towns along the front line in eastern Ukraine still confound officials and the police with their support for Russia. – New York Times

A bright flash and a streak of burning debris in the sky illuminated streets in the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday night, alarming residents and prompting authorities to activate the city’s air raid alarms. – New York Times 

Russian drones hit infrastructure in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa overnight, as the battle for control of Ukraine’s skies continued. – Wall Street Journal

American-made Patriot missiles have arrived in Ukraine, the country’s defense minister said Wednesday, providing Kyiv with a long-sought new shield against the Russian airstrikes that have devastated cities and civilian infrastructure. – Associated Press 

Russia’s invading forces are deliberately using rape, torture and kidnapping to try to sow terror among civilians in Ukraine, the top prosecutor in Ukraine told U.S. lawmakers in graphic testimony Wednesday. – Associated Press 

The European Union moved Wednesday to contain an internal quarrel over some member nations temporarily banning imports of Ukrainian farm produce, trade embargoes that threatened to highlight divisions within a bloc that desperately wants to show unity with Ukraine as it confronts Russia. – Associated Press 

The Ukrainian Embassy in Israel condemned the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the European Sambo Championships, which began in Haifa on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Jason Rezaian writes: This is precisely why the Biden administration must do everything in its power to free Gershkovich. And also Paul Whelan, who has been held hostage in Russia for nearly five years. And Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Sharghi and Shahab Dalili in Iran. And the dozens of other Americans currently being held by foreign governments around the world. – Washington Post 

Tom Rogan writes: His likely intent is for the West to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into a concessionary ceasefire that allows Russia to reconstitute its forces for a successful full-scale offensive years down the road. Ultimately, however, a Russian troop surge might only create more problems for Putin. – Washington Examiner

Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Nicole Wolkov, Layne Philipson, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) appears to be conducting a large-scale overhaul of domestic security organs. – Institute for the Study of War

Victor Rud writes: Ever-forgiving and hopeful, the US championed post-Soviet Russia’s membership of the World Bank, IMF, the G7, and — disastrously — the UN Security Council (sidestepping its obligatory admission procedures.) The agreements were for naught. Russia remains implacable, aggressive, and undeterred. Let’s make a deal? Never again. – Center for European Policy Analysis


With each attack, this Palestinian family in the Israeli-occupied West Bank town of Huwara fortified their home — adding the cameras, metal barricades and a higher wall — while putting off family vacations and saving for their children’s college funds to pay for it all. – New York Times 

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Wednesday held out the prospect of a visit in the future to Saudi Arabia, and said at least one more Arab country would normalise ties with Israel this year. – Reuters

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant last week following the leak of dozens of U.S. classified documents, Axios reported Wednesday. – The Hill

The largest arms deal in Lithuania’s history, involving Israeli defense contractor Rafael, created a crisis between Jerusalem and Vilnius that was solved only after senior Israeli officials got involved as a result of complaints from the Baltic nation. – Haaretz

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrived in Turkmenistan on Wednesday evening and  was received by Turkmen Deputy Foreign Minister Matiev Berdenaaz, according to a statement from the Israel Foreign Ministry. This if the first visit to Turkmenistan in 29 year by an Israeli foreign minister since the two countries established relations in the 1990s. – Jerusalem Post

There will be no replacement for the “People’s Army” IDF conscription model, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi said on Thursday morning following outrage over a new conscription model outline that was reported to be in the works earlier this week. – Jerusalem Post  

Charges against Homesh yeshiva rabbis and students for illegally staying in the outpost were dropped on Wednesday due to the repeal of the Disengagement Law, right-wing legal aid organization Honenu announced. – Jerusalem Post 

Israeli professor Gal Luft, who is wanted by US authorities for arms dealing, has gone missing in Cyprus after a Larnaca court had released him on bail, Cypriot website Philenews reported on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shrugged off concerns over a recent diplomatic thaw between arch-nemesis Iran and hoped-for-ally Saudi Arabia, telling US media Wednesday that Riyadh has no illusions about whom it can trust. – Times of Israel 

An Israeli bus driver reported coming under fire near the Tapuah Junction in the northern West Bank on Wednesday night, with medics clarifying that no one was injured in the incident. – Times of Israel 

The terrorist responsible for a shooting attack in eastern Jerusalem Tuesday was apprehended by Israeli security forces early Wednesday morning. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: It is said that the enemy of one’s enemy is one’s friend. But Israel’s flourishing ties with a slew of Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries demonstrate that these relationships are underpinned by far more than shared threats. What we see in these growing ties is a sense of shared opportunity and the potential for cooperation that would benefit all parties. We hope to see them expand to additional countries in the near future. – Jerusalem Post

Micah Halpern writes: Israel can, and does, protect itself and all Jews around the world. The dream of Jewish nationalism is 75 years strong. It is 75 years young – may it live on and on forever. – Jerusalem Post

Shoshana Bryen writes: Terrorist groups can’t afford to have their supporters lose their hatred. They have manipulated the situation in Israel to prevent Palestinians from ascending to Al Aqsa, to ensure Palestinians are killed, and to force the Israeli military to enter Palestinian villages to root out terrorists and their weapons. – Algemeiner 


The top inspector general for Afghanistan accused the Biden administration on Wednesday of stonewalling his efforts to procure records about assistance to the country since the U.S. military evacuation, warning that American taxpayer dollars were probably ending up in the hands of the Taliban. – New York Times 

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene envoys on Afghanistan from various countries next month to work on a unified approach to dealing with the Taliban authorities, the United Nations said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The White House on Wednesday called a hearing by the House Oversight Committee on the administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal “political stunts,” slamming Republicans for what it sees as a lack of support for aid to the country and its U.S. allies in the war. – The Hill

Quin Hillyer writes: And Biden’s actual execution of the bug-out and its aftermath provides an example of tragic bungling that history may never forget. Today’s Inspector General report shows the catastrophic repercussions of that incompetence continue to reverberate. – Washington Examiner



The Israel Defense Forces dropped threatening pamphlets in southern Syria on Wednesday, warning Syrian soldiers to stop cooperating with Hezbollah, an opposition journalist reported, hours after Israel reportedly conducted artillery strikes on sites belonging to the Iran-backed group. – Times of Israel

Neville Teller writes: Whether Assad can be prized away from Iran is an open question. There must certainly be a considerable attraction in the prospect of being accepted again within the Arab family – Iran, of course, is not an Arab nation. The question is how close to the conditions of UN Resolution 2254 does Assad feel able to move while not forfeiting his grasp on power. – Jerusalem Post  

Joshua Levkowitz writes: Whether these Syrians like it or not, they are on the moving train that Turkey finds itself in. The highly fraught May 14 elections inch closer day by day. Most polls show the two leading presidential candidates divided by a thin margin. Many recognize that the elections will be only the beginning of changes for the Syrian diaspora that currently calls Turkey home. – Middle East Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, use threats, physical surveillance, hostage-taking and prosecutions to try to silence dissidents and rights activists on U.S. soil, according to evidence presented in a report released this week. – Washington Post 

Dozens of people have been killed and many injured during a stampede in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, where they had gathered Wednesday night to receive donations from local merchants ahead of an Islamic holiday, according to officials from the Houthi rebel movement. – Washington Post 

The United Nations expressed concern Wednesday over the Iraqi authorities’ swift closure this week of a displacement camp that had housed more than 300 families with alleged ties to the militant Islamic State group. – Associated Press 

Iraq needs to resolve billions of dollars in financial claims with Turkey before resuming oil exports via a Mediterranean port, threatening more delays in bringing almost half a million barrels a day back to the market. – Bloomberg

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It also comes as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince received Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and as members of Hamas traveled on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca. This is evidence of Riyadh positioning itself as a center of diplomatic activity. The Bahrain-Qatar deal, backed by Saudi Arabia is part of the recent surge in diplomatic activity. – Jerusalem Post 

Korean Peninsula

More than 100 executives from South Korea’s top firms plan to join President Yoon Suk Yeol on a visit to the US this month that will focus on economic cooperation and securing supply chains less dependent on China for items such semiconductors. – Bloomberg

The United States will continue to coordinate closely with South Korea on more support for Ukraine, calling its key Asian ally “a stalwart partner” in defending Ukraine’s sovereignty, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said. – Reuters

Add Communist China’s expanding nuclear force and North Korea’s plans to launch its first military spy satellite to the fast-rising threats America is facing in Asia. Expect both to be on the agenda when the hawkish president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, goes to Washington next week for a summit with President Biden and an address before Congress. – New York Sun 


A woman who had attended a Beijing rally last year and recorded a video saying she was about to be detained was released after nearly four months in jail along with some of her friends, according to people close to the women. – Wall Street Journal

On the Chinese coast, just 135 miles from Taiwan, Beijing is preparing to start a new reactor the Pentagon sees as delivering fuel for a vast expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal, potentially making it an atomic peer of the United States and Russia. The reactor, known as a fast breeder, excels at making plutonium, a top fuel of atom bombs. – New York Times 

But even as Mr. Xi has offered a glad hand to those and other world leaders in recent weeks, it has been only the cold shoulder for the United States. China has rebuffed attempts by the Biden administration to restart high-level talks and lower tensions over Taiwan. And Mr. Xi’s government has intensified a campaign of ridicule and criticism of the United States and Western democracy. – New York Times

Editorial: But the indictments are still important as a signal to Chinese-Americans that they needn’t live in fear of Beijing’s threats. Those who live in free societies and criticize the Chinese government shouldn’t have to look over their shoulders, no matter where they were born. We hope Monday’s charges have a deterrent effect—and that more Communist police gangs are rolled up across the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

Greg Ip writes: China is determined to make decoupling as difficult as possible for multinationals. It is approving mergers of American semiconductor companies only if they make available in China products they sell in other countries, to counter U.S. export controls. – Wall Street Journal

Josh Rogin writes: Confronting CCP influence operations is crucial to guarding U.S. sovereignty and protecting vulnerable people from persecution. At the same time, the United States must preserve its own character as an open and tolerant society. – Washington Post 

Peter Coy writes: The rescue lending system is new because it’s the first time China has had to worry about foreign loans going bad. It’s learning lessons that the United States absorbed decades ago. […]The authors seemed torn over how things will play out. “Over time,” they wrote optimistically in the conclusion, “these ad hoc activities by the U.S. developed into a tested system of global crisis management, a path that China may possibly pursue as well.” But the last sentence hit a minor chord. – New York Times 

James Palmer writes: Chinese Buddhism, Daoism, and other forms of traditional religion have genuine global appeal, as do practices such as qigong—but any promotion of traditional Chinese culture under the CCP is stripped of the beliefs once at its core. The Chinese government is going to throw a lot of money at “Xivilization,” but foreigners are not the real audience. As ever, the push is intended for Xi himself. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

India’s leaders rarely miss a chance to cheer the nation’s many distinctions, from its status as the world’s largest democracy to its new rank as the world’s fifth-largest economy, after recently surpassing Britain, its former colonial overlord. Even its turn this year as host of the Group of 20 summit is being celebrated as announcing India’s arrival on the global stage. – New York Times 

Pakistan has placed its first order for discounted Russian crude oil under a new deal struck between Islamabad and Moscow, the country’s petroleum minister said, with one cargo to dock at Karachi port in May. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: India would be a natural partner, with not only a captive market but with access to other advanced Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members. By all means, the U.S. should continue its outreach and defense cooperation with Taiwan and Australia, but any strategy that does not put India first and foremost is bound to fail. – Washington Examiner


U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) trade negotiations are progressing “at a very quick pace” and she expects results from the talks as early as by the end of the year. – Reuters

Australia’s foreign minister urged Pacific island countries on Thursday to stay united in the face of great power competition as she visited New Caledonia, where the president raised concerns about Australia’s AUKUS nuclear submarine programme. – Reuters

Myanmar’s Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to hear appeals of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s convictions and requests for reduced sentences in several cases in which she was charged with corruption, election fraud and violating the official secrets act, a legal official said. – Associated Press

Indonesian security forces recovered the bodies of four government soldiers who were killed in a separatist attack while searching for a New Zealand pilot taken hostage by the rebels in Indonesia’s restive Papua region, officials said Thursday. – Associated Press

A 24-year-old man who allegedly threw an explosive at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wanted to be a politician and believed that he was unfairly blocked from running for Japan’s parliament by an age requirement, according to media reports and social media posts that appeared to be his. – Associated Press   

Yet, as his Liberal Democratic party prepares for a big electoral test this weekend, the 65-year-old premier, who narrowly escaped a recent bomb attack, has received a welcome bounce from two unlikely sources: Ukraine and baseball. – Financial Times

America wants to stop China “dead in its tracks” from a Taiwan invasion by ensuring Taipei has the right weapons and command and control systems, a senior defense official testified this week before the House Armed Service Committee. – USNI News 


With Finland now officially in the fold of NATO, the Biden administration turned its attention on Wednesday to neighboring Sweden, another long-neutral nation that now wants to join the military alliance. – New York Times 

After Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III’s meeting with officials in Sweden on Wednesday, he will move on to lead an international meeting in Germany on Friday to coordinate aid for Ukraine, as Kyiv presses for more weapons to fight Russia’s invading forces ahead of an offensive that Ukrainian and Western officials say is in the offing. – New York Times 

Italian officials hinted in private talks with Taiwan that they may be willing to pull out of a controversial pact with China as they sought to secure help with semiconductors, according to people familiar with the issue. – Bloomberg

Braving hecklers who shouted for him to resign, the French leader threw himself into the uphill task of repairing damage done to his presidency by forcing through unpopular pension reforms, taking his first such “crowd bath” since he enacted the law last week. – Associated Press 

Russia is suspected of spying in the waters of the Baltic Sea and North Sea using civilian fishing trawlers, cargo ships and yachts, the public broadcasters of four Nordic countries said in a joint investigation published Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Cyprus says it is seeking information from the United States and Britain on whether 13 Cypriot nationals included in a new round of sanctions targeting the financial networks of two Russian oligarchs have breached domestic and European Union laws. – Associated Press 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday described parts of her recent trip to China as “more than shocking” and said Beijing was increasingly becoming a systemic rival more than a trade partner and competitor. – Reuters

The Irish and British prime ministers said on Wednesday that they were open to considering reforming Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace accord, but that any debate could only happen when the powersharing government underpinning it was restored. – Reuters

Britain said on Wednesday that any intimidation on British soil of foreign nationals by China or other states was unacceptable and that it was investigating the matter, responding to a media report about a so-called secret Chinese police station. – Reuters

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday demanded that unionists end their boycott of the devolved government in Northern Ireland, in a speech marking 25 years of peace in the divided territory. – Agence France-Presse 

As anyone who has ever lived on an island will attest, they are not the best places for keeping secrets. In case President Biden never got that memo in Delaware, one is about to come his way, if for the time being unofficially, from Cyprus. – New York Sun 

Tom Rogan writes: But what’s also true is that, as with German Foreign Minister Annalena Bearbock, von der Leyen gives the EU and America a cause for hope. The hope that there remain some in Europe who want to defend freedom and security rather than sacrifice those values in order to salivate at Xi’s poisoned trough. – Washington Examiner

Morgan Ortagus writes: The foundation of the American-French relationship is etched in our nation’s founding and the strength of the NATO-ally relationship. Yet, by arming China’s budding invasion force, Macron undermines the fabric of one of the most important military alliances in history. What a disgrace and betrayal if American service members end up on the receiving end of French military technology. – Washington Examiner

Alexandra Sharp writes: Both the United States and Sweden are also staunch Ukraine supporters. Sweden has provided more than $2 billion to Kyiv since the war began, and on Wednesday, Ukraine received Washington’s U.S.-made Patriot missile system it requested last year. Now, the two nations hope cementing a NATO alliance will further that outreach as well as European security at large. – Foreign Policy


A powerful Libyan militia leader and the Egyptian military have sent military support to rival generals battling for control of neighboring Sudan, people familiar with the matter say, an illustration of how the fighting threatens to draw in regional powers. – Wall Street Journal

A patchy cease-fire between Sudan’s two rival generals held in parts of the capital on Wednesday night, as desperate residents looked for ways to escape the city after five days trapped by the chaotic fighting with dwindling stocks of water and food. – New York Times 

The Russian private military Wagner Group on Wednesday denied it was operating in Sudan and said it had nothing to do with battles rocking the giant impoverished African state. – Reuters

At least 17 people were killed in southern Chad on Tuesday when armed assailants attacked nomadic herders and were then driven back by Chadian forces, the government said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Kenya’s president, who is among mediators tasked with brokering peace in Sudan, on Wednesday called for an end to the fighting in the country, warning it could destabilize the region. – Associated Press 

Thousands of residents fled from Sudan’s capital where witnesses reported bodies in the streets and embassies said more than 270 civilians had been killed in battles between the army and paramilitaries by Thursday, with no end in sight. – Agence France-Presse 

A leading rebel group was behind the murder of nine Chinese gold miners in the Central African Republic last month, the justice minister said Wednesday, citing an investigation. – Agence France-Presse 

The Biden administration is readying plans to roll out new sanctions on members of rival military factions in Sudan, according to four current and former officials familiar with the matter, as a power struggle between two rival generals erupted into a full-scale conflict across the capital of Khartoum in recent days. – Foreign Policy

The Americas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told NATO officials privately that Canada will never meet the military alliance’s defense-spending target, according to a leaked secret Pentagon assessment obtained by The Washington Post. The document’s anonymous authors say Canada’s “widespread” military deficiencies are harming ties with security partners and allies. – Washington Post 

Mexico’s navy has suspended a search for three Americans who went missing along with their sailboat off Mexico’s northern Pacific coast, the U.S Coast Guard said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Caribbean Community leaders have agreed on plans to introduce bans in their countries on assault-style weapons mostly manufactured in the U.S. to curb spikes in gun violence and weapons smuggling in the 15-nation Caricom bloc. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden will discuss Venezuela in wide-ranging talks with Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Thursday, including U.S. willingness to further ease sanctions on the OPEC nation only in return for concrete steps toward free elections there, a senior administration official said. – Reuters

A US judge on Wednesday ordered former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo to surrender this week ahead of an expected extradition to his home country on bribery charges. – Agence France-Presse

Latin America

Taiwan said on Thursday it was perplexed by Paraguay’s main opposition presidential candidate questioning the benefits of keeping relations with Taipei, just a month after Beijing prised away its ties with another Latin American country. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and the two commiserated about U.S. sanctions. – Associated Press 

Mexico’s president vowed Wednesday to try again to give control of the National Guard to the Army, despite a Supreme Court ruling against such a move. – Associated Press

Ryan C. Berg and Carlos Baena write: Lula’s trip to China kicked off a grand geopolitical balancing act for Brazil, in which everything from the symbolism and scheduling to rhetoric and agreements will be scrutinized by both the United States and China for any hint about which country is up and which is down in long-term, strategic competition. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

United States

Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of posting classified documents about the war in Ukraine on social media, is expected to remain in custody for two weeks to give his court-appointed lawyer time to prepare his defense. – New York Times 

Airmen who served alongside the 21-year-old Air National Guardsman who was arrested and charged with leaking classified documents online are stuck with busy work unrelated to their mission as the service investigates the circumstances of his alleged crimes. – Military.com 

Adam Taylor writes: But the shootings of Yarl and Gillis, among many other recent gun violence incidents, show how little has been resolved in the United States. Indeed, the political debate surrounding guns may be more intractable now than it was three decades ago. […]The Hattoris, now in their mid-70s, announced last year they would be stepping down from running the Yoshi Coalition. Speaking to Kyodo News on the 30th anniversary of their son’s death, they said it was up to young people to keep pushing for change. – Washington Post 

David Wallace-Wells writes: Cross-country comparisons like these aren’t perfect, as anyone admiring the social-welfare states of Northern Europe or lamenting America’s Covid response — or life expectancy crisis — could tell you. But they do say something about the enduring economic clout and status of the United States on the world stage. […]The war in Ukraine has shaken up quite a lot already, not just in Eastern Europe or among the allies of either side, but all around the world as well. That fallout will likely grow, and at the moment it does not appear to be leading quickly to anything as settled as a new status quo. – New York Times 

Douglas Bloomfield writes: To make America prosper, Trump gave wealthy Americans the largest tax cut in history, but they are still paying taxes. He will end that. Trump’s goal is to right the wrongs he suffered for so long. Who needs policies when he has so many grievances that he so generously shares for all the world to see? – Jerusalem Post 


British officials are sounding the alarm over the widespread abuse of surveillance software and hackers-for-hire, saying that thousands of people were being targeted each year by an industry they described as posing an increasingly unpredictable threat. – Reuters

Privacy advocates pressed Congress during a hearing Wednesday to do more to regulate the multibillion-dollar industry of buying and selling Americans’ private data. – CyberScoop

Misconfigured web servers remain a “major problem” with thousands left exposed online waiting for hackers to gain access to valuable information that’s left up for grabs, according to a recent report from the security company Censys. – CyberScoop

The PLAY ransomware group — responsible for a recent attack on the city of Oakland, California, that forced a state of emergency — has developed two new custom data-gathering tools that allow it to more effectively carry out already crippling digital extortion campaigns, researchers said Wednesday. – CyberScoop

Poland’s Ministry of National Defense issued a warning Wednesday about a recent disinformation campaign that has been traced back to the Belarusian hacking group known as Ghostwriter. – The Record

Helen Thomas writes: More stringent rules for critical national infrastructure would be welcome. But each sophisticated operator is only as secure as the mom-and-pop enterprises in its supply chain, or its suppliers’ supply chains. “Businesses large and small sit on the front line of our cyber defences,” said Dowden. Progress to date suggests it will take more than stern words to shore up that battlefront. – Financial Times 


Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on Wednesday defended the Pentagon policy to allow young enlisted service members access to sensitive national security secrets and downplayed whether a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman accused of leaking top secret documents should have been allowed access to them in the first place. – New York Times

The U.S. Army will not be able to put $5.3 billion toward modernization efforts key to competing with China if Congress doesn’t pass a budget this year, the service secretary said in a Wednesday House Armed Services Committee hearing. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force and Navy on Wednesday morning conducted a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile in California using an airborne control center. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force expects to seek a Milestone B decision on the program to put new engines on B-52H Stratofortress bombers in September. – Defense News

Revamped instruction at a schoolhouse at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will help the Marine Corps better train Marines to operate the new Amphibious Combat Vehicle and prevent more rollover incidents, the service announced Wednesday. – USNI News    

Tom Rogan writes: Most important of all, especially in the context of decades of secrecy and stigma on this subject, the interest of officials such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who arranged and chaired Wednesday’s hearing, and others such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) means that this topic is not going away. – Washington Examiner

Elaine McCusker and John G. Ferrari write: The work the DOD has done to develop and present a budget combined with the advice contained in these unfunded lists will not mean much if time and money are again wasted this fall under damaging continuing resolutions – American Enterprise Institute