Fdd's overnight brief

April 25, 2023

In The News


Russian ships are ferrying large quantities of Iranian artillery shells and other ammunition across the Caspian Sea to resupply troops fighting in Ukraine, Middle East officials said, posing a growing challenge for the U.S. and its allies as they try to disrupt cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday imposed sanctions on four senior Iranian law enforcement and military officials involved in crushing protests that erupted last year after an Iranian woman died in the custody of the morality police who enforce strict dress codes. – Reuters

The European Union imposed sanctions on Monday on eight Iranians and a mobile telecommunications provider in its latest effort to target individuals and organisations it holds responsible for human rights abuses in Iran. – Reuters

Britain, in coordination with the United States and European Union, on Monday announced further sanctions on Iranian officials, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, it said were responsible for human rights violations. – Reuters

Countries including China and Iran are deploying digital repression more frequently to target dissent both at home and beyond their borders, the top US intelligence official said, raising the alarm about the erosion of democratic norms worldwide. – Bloomberg

Nineteen countries expressed an interest in joining the BRICS group of nations as it prepares to hold an annual summit in South Africa. […]Since its formation as the BRIC in 2006, the group has only admitted one new member — South Africa in 2010. Saudi Arabia and Iran are among the countries who’ve formally asked to join, Sooklal said in February. – Bloomberg

Eric R. Mandel writes: Israel’s window of opportunity to delay the Iranian nuclear program may still be open. If that is the case, it is incumbent on the Israeli leadership to do the most crucial thing a nation can do and protect its citizens from a genocidal enemy. That is what I expect of my government. And if it makes the anti-Israel Left feel better, preemptive action would save millions of Palestinian lives that would be lost in an Iranian nuclear attack. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

A senior U.S. diplomat demanded Moscow free Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and another detained American at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council led by her Russian counterpart. – Wall Street Journal

Yevgeny Nuzhin, an ex-cop and convicted killer, had carved out as good a life as a penniless inmate could expect inside a high-security Russian prison. During his two decades behind bars, Mr. Nuzhin had ingratiated himself with inmates and prison authorities, affording him a contraband phone, an exemption from prison work and three nights with a woman he had married in the prison chapel. – Wall Street Journal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov squared off against the United States and its allies at the U.N. Security Council on Monday, warning that their aggression and bullying have brought the world to a “dangerous threshold.” – Washington Post

Ukraine is preparing to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces as early as next month, American officials say, in the face of immense risks: Without a decisive victory, Western support for Ukraine could weaken, and Kyiv could come under increasing pressure to enter serious negotiations to end or freeze the conflict. – New York Times

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said on Monday that his son had fought in Ukraine, highlighting the Moscow elite’s uneven participation in a war effort that has so far cost the lives of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers. – New York Times

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin a “way forward aimed at the improvement, extension and expansion” of a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain, a U.N. spokesperson said on Monday. – Reuters

Russia needs an estimated 500 billion roubles ($6.1 billion) for the development of a drone project announced by President Vladimir Putin in February, the Russian RBC news outlet reported late on Monday. – Reuters

Russia has begun using its new T-14 Armata battle tanks to fire on Ukrainian positions “but they have not yet participated in direct assault operations,” the RIA state news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting a source close the matter. – Reuters

Progressive Democrats and the MAGA wing of the Republican party don’t often align on policy matters, but a letter from 19 GOP lawmakers this week underscored areas of agreement on one key issue: United States strategy on the war in Ukraine. – The Hill

The sister of former Marine Paul Whelan detained in Russia traveled to United Nations headquarters in New York Monday to condemn Russia’s “less-than-sophisticated take on diplomacy” as Moscow called on the Security Council to debate international peace and security. – Fox News

Ukraine’s foreign ministry made a tweet accusing Russia of ecocide, highlighting the damage that the invasion has had on the environment. – Jerusalem Post


As Israelis gather at military cemeteries and memorial sites across the country Tuesday to recite prayers and lay wreaths for the fallen, many bereaved families will be missing. – Washington Post

Israel on Monday proposed hosting rival Sudanese leaders for ceasefire talks after “very promising” progress in mediation efforts led by a senior Israeli official over the past few days. – Reuters

Israel’s foreign minister called on Monday for the prosecution of a Jordanian lawmaker held on suspicion of trying to smuggle weapons into the occupied West Bank. – Reuters

It’s become an unmistakable hallmark of the anti-government protests roiling Israel for the last few months: the country’s blue and white national flag adorned with the Star of David. – Associated Press

A car ramming attack Monday near a popular Jerusalem market wounded five people and the Palestinian driver was shot and killed, Israeli police said, as the country memorialized its fallen soldiers. – Associated Press

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir cannot use police officer appointments to influence law enforcement operations, the Attorney-General’s Office told the High Court of Justice on Sunday but rejected a petition calling for interim orders to freeze the Otzma Yehudit MK’s appointments. – Jerusalem Post

Leaders of Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Lebanon are concerned that Israel may resume its policy of targeted killings in response to the recent spate of terror attacks. – Jerusalem Post

A terrorist opened fire on Israelis at a traffic junction on Route 60 in Samaria Tuesday morning.

The attack occurred at the British Police Junction just north of the Israeli town of Ofra in the Binyamin district of Samaria, north of Jerusalem. – Arutz Sheva

Israel Aerospace Industries has been chosen to supply Azerbaijan with two satellites for $120 million, Haaretz has learned. – Haaretz

Benny Avni writes: One of Hemedti’s top allies is the Russia-based private army known as the Wagner Group. According to a Washington Post report, based on recent intelligence leaks, Wagner is surging in various spots in Africa where America’s influence is fading. General Dagolo, who controls Darfur’s gold mines, is closely allied with the Wagner Group, which supplies him arms in return for gold that helps finance the Ukraine war. […]Israel and other regional players may have more sway than Washington, but they too are unlikely to help end the fighting before one side completely defeats the other. Meanwhile, the Wagner group and other nefarious players are aiming to prolong the war. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Lastly, the number of smuggling incidents in which rifles and pistols are discovered is another aspect of the issue of illegal weapons moving into the West Bank. The smuggling attempts may represent a large percentage of the illegal rifles being interdicted, or it may be only a tip of the iceberg. What the videos posted online show is that modern rifles, such as M-4s and M-16 variants, are common. These tend to be much more common than AR-15s in the videos that Palestinians themselves post on social media to brag about the weapons they have. – Jerusalem Post

Zina Rakhamilova writes: I am a proud Canadian, but I have made Israel my home for nearly five years. This means that terrorism, unfortunately, is now part of my life and has deeply affected me. My family, friends and I could easily become victims of terrorism; we are at risk every time we leave our door. […]Israelis are human, too, and we are suffering and dying, as well. Our lives matter. The lives of innocent Palestinians matter. Even if the CBC doesn’t care enough to highlight it. – Jerusalem Post


A Jerusalem dentist was convicted of spying for Hezbollah and sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, the Justice Ministry said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: But Hezbollah didn’t stop there, it continued to build up a Golan file according to the Alma Research and Education Center’s 2020 report. The recent threats may be a new manifestation of that. During the Syrian civil war there were often threats to the Golan. Relative quiet appeared to increase after 2018. Now in 2023 the tensions appear to be building again.  – Jerusalem Post

Salem Alketbi writes: Achieving the desired goal of ending the funding and supplies from Iran to Hezbollah remains tricky under current conditions, even though it could potentially be a means to end the party’s influence. The continued presence and support of Nasrallah, his allies, and their bankrollers mean that Lebanon and the broader region will remain vulnerable to potential threats. – Jerusalem Post


The European Union on Monday placed sanctions on people and groups linked to what it described as the Syrian government’s “large-scale drug trafficking operations,” and the EU also included one Russian company. – Reuters

Turkey’s defence minister said he planned to meet his Syrian, Russian and Iranian counterparts in Moscow on Tuesday, state-owned Anadolu news agency said, amid efforts to rebuild Ankara-Damascus ties after years of animosity during the Syrian war. – Reuters

The efforts of some key members of the Arab League this month to restore membership to the Syrian regime after its 2011 suspension over its mass killing of civilians has shined a new spotlight on the Biden administration’s Middle East policy, according to regional experts. – Fox News


The question of how to dispose of it all safely is a complex task, one of many critical dilemmas facing Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquakes — a national trauma that left grieving cities across the country’s south, and more than a million people homeless. In Samandag, the dump sites are another blow to a wounded town, sparking protests by residents and environmental activists, and adding to longtime complaints of discrimination in a district with a large population of Arab Alawites, members of a heterodox, historically marginalized Muslim sect. – Washington Post

Turkish police detained 110 people over alleged militant ties, security sources said on Tuesday, with a pro-Kurdish lawmaker saying politicians, lawyers and journalists were among those arrested in raids that he linked to elections on May 14. – Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered by a beach near the former World War I battlefields on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula on Tuesday to pay homage to soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who lost their lives in a disastrous campaign 108 years ago. – Associated Press


Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the assistant administrative attache at its embassy in Khartoum has been killed amid fighting between rival military factions in the Sudanese capital. – Reuters

Chevron (CVX.N) is preparing to issue a tender to lease a drilling ship to explore for natural gas off Cyprus, Egypt and Israel, it said on Monday. – Reuters

Egyptian textbooks that have been replaced as part of a reform of the country’s curriculum promote coexistence, equality and democracy, although there is still work to be done to remove prejudiced and antisemitic content from the education system, according to a report by IMPACT-se published on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

A private yacht with three Russians and two Egyptians on board has been reported missing in the Red Sea near the coast of Yemen for several days by its owner and the Russian embassy in Saudi Arabia. – Reuters

Iraq’s northern oil exports showed few concrete signs of an imminent restart after a month of standstill, as aspects of an agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have yet to be resolved, according to four sources. – Reuters

Barham Salih writes: Iraqis have learned a lot from the past 20 years, but the next 20 are more important. Our goal should be a stable, fully sovereign Iraq that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, a hub for regional economic growth, and a force for stability. Iraqis need to debate this vision in Baghdad—not in Ankara, Tehran, or Washington. Iraq can achieve renewal and hope if we dare to take the chance. – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

NASA and South Korea’s science agency will sign a pact on Tuesday intended to boost the two countries’ cooperation in outer space, a White House official said, as the two allies meet this week to expand high-tech partnerships and security ties to deter North Korea. – Reuters

The US sanctioned two people in a new bid to constrict the Lazarus Group hacking collective, with recent data suggesting the North Korea-linked cryptocurrency thieves are more active than ever. – Bloomberg

Those are two of the ways that South Korea is aiding the Ukrainians against the Russians. South Korea’s president, Yoon Suk-yeol, when he meets President Biden for their summit at the White House on Wednesday, will be able to look him in the eye and say he’s doing what he can, even though he would rather not declare South Korea as that much on Ukraine’s side. – New York Sun


China plans to launch an uncrewed probe around 2025 to collect samples from a near-Earth asteroid and explore a comet, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday, citing a senior space expert. – Reuters

Hong Kong is planning to overhaul its last major political representative body that is mostly comprised of popularly elected seats, its leader said Tuesday. The move ensures the municipal-level organization will be run by Beijing loyalists, quashing any future challenges. – Associated Press

China cannot be trusted to mediate peace between Russia and Ukraine, Czech President Petr Pavel is warning, telling POLITICO that Beijing benefits from prolonging the war. – Politico 

William McGurn writes: In prison Jimmy is at peace with himself because he knows being there means he hasn’t betrayed his principles. A Nobel wouldn’t change that. But it would highlight the Communist Party’s insecurity about the lies it must tell to sustain its rule. For Mr. Sharansky, the case for giving Jimmy Lai a Nobel Peace Prize is straightforward: “Because Jimmy is a very important leader in the struggle for freedom of the people of Hong Kong and in general in the world.” – Wall Street Journal

Louisa Lim writes: But Hong Kongers don’t easily forget. When the bloody suppression of the Tiananmen movement could not be publicly commemorated in China, people in Hong Kong took it upon themselves to hold annual vigils for those killed and imprisoned in Beijing and elsewhere. Now it falls to a new Hong Kong diaspora to keep alive the memory of what happened to their own city. – New York Times

Andreas Kluth writes: The US, Europe and the wider West would do well to take these older grievances in the Global South to heart. But people in those countries would be foolish to follow the pied pipers of Beijing out of sheer spite. World order is fragile these days, and wars — including nuclear ones — are becoming more likely. The main cause is neo-imperialist aggression such as Putin’s, abetted by cynicism such as Xi’s. Thank you to Ambassador Lu and Minister Li for making that clear. – Bloomberg

Gideon Rachman writes: That is dangerous in itself. It also makes it increasingly unlikely that Beijing and Washington will co-operate on the global challenges that confront all countries — from preventing the next pandemic, to climate change, to the management of artificial intelligence. The potential military uses of this technology are so dramatic that both Washington and Beijing will be very wary of pooling their knowledge, even if both sides can see the possible risks to humanity from the development of “God-like” AI. The people guiding US policy insist that their long-term goal is the achievement of “strategic stability” with China. It still seems a long way off. – Financial Times

Jeremy Hurewitz writes: But China’s recent actions show that the notion of a “peaceful rise” was always a ruse meant to placate the world until China was powerful enough to disregard concerns about its power. The indictments in New York and the broader policy pivot the U.S. government is undertaking toward China are important steps in standing up to the new bully on the block. – Washington Examiner

Anthony Grant writes: Crimea is heavily fortified. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, though diminished after more than a year of war with Ukraine, is still headquartered at Sevastopol. If and when the brunt of fighting shifts to Crimea from the Donbas region, there is little doubt it will get very nasty very fast. At least the world now knows, more or less officially, how Communist China feels about this, in advance. – New York Sun

Dalibor Rohac writes: China doves across the EU – from Germany’s political class to Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and France’s Emmanuel Macron – must be confronted with Lu’s attack on the sovereignty of the three Baltic states. If they fail to recognise it for what it is – a brazen rhetorical attack on the foundational principle of the post-war order in Europe by China, while the same order is under attack by Russia in Ukraine – Europeans can kiss goodbye to their dreams of a ‘sovereign’ EU, defending its own interests on the global stage. – The Spectator

Lynne O’Donnell writes: For now, the Taliban are flattered by China’s flirtation, but they’ll be quickly overwhelmed when Beijing gets serious, said Noorani, the mining expert. “The Taliban will not be in a position to negotiate a great contract as they have no knowledge of how complicated contract negotiations can be, especially in the absence of clear legal frameworks and sound institutional arrangements,” he said. “Afghanistan may be a bit player for now: poor, hungry, exhausted by almost half a century of war. But its future is more likely to be defined by China’s ambitions than the retrogressive mullahs currently in charge.” – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Indian and Chinese military commanders met along their disputed Himalayan border over the weekend ahead of a planned meeting of their defense ministers at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization session later this week. – Bloomberg

Pakistani police said Tuesday the twin blasts that struck a counterterrorism facility in the country’s northwest and killed 13 people the previous day were caused by electrical shorts and not a terror attack, as initially suggested. – Associated Press

Pankaj Mishra writes: Rather than catching up with China, India seems to be replicating China’s past, when ideological fervor and indoctrination of the masses disastrously took priority over social stability, political cohesion, and economic growth. The world’s new largest country may need fresh leaders before it can realize its immense intellectual as well as demographic dividend. – Bloomberg


On a rocky, windswept island just over 100 miles south of Taiwan, U.S. troops from the Marines and Army ran out of MV-22 Osprey aircraft with weapons, including Javelin and Stinger missile launchers, before setting up camp next to a field of watermelons. – Wall Street Journal

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Myanmar’s military ruler on Monday, media reported, part of a trip aimed at promoting peace in a country racked by conflict since a coup two years ago. – Reuters

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Monday said he will press U.S. counterpart Joe Biden to make clear the extent of Washington’s commitment to protect his country under a 1951 security pact, citing growing regional tension. – Reuters

Australia’s government will prioritise long-range precision strike capability, domestic production of guided weapons, and diplomacy – key points of a review released Monday recommending the country’s biggest defence shake-up since World War Two. – Reuters

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin met with the president of Taiwan on Monday to discuss mutual trade and investment initiatives and other business matters, his office said, and he signed an executive order establishing an economic development office in Taipei. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden each have failed to stand by American allies, allowing first Russia and then China to pluck them out of the Western camp. It is time to return the favor. As Russia betrays its former allies, it is time for the United States to make its move and stand more firmly behind both the world’s largest democracy and, since Armenia’s 2018 revolution, one of its newest. It is time to show the world beyond India and Armenia that an alliance with the United States means something, as Russia shows its partners that it cannot be trusted. – 19FortyFive

Michael Rubin writes: First, Albanese’s weakness in the face of threats puffs up Erdogan before he faces elections next month; the humiliation of Western leaders is manna to his constituents. Second, the fact that Australia’s avoidance of historical reality encourages those who would today renew the Armenian Genocide against a millennia-old community currently under an illegal siege in Nagorno-Karabakh. Albanese’s omission also convinces Erdogan, whose army bombs Yezidis and Kurds on a regular basis, that his money can buy immunity for genocidal actions. Australia’s strength has long been its moral clarity. By refusing to recognize the genocide, Albanese is hemorrhaging that at a record pace. – Washington Examiner


Vietnam is in talks with the Czech Republic for military supplies, including aircraft, radars, upgrades of armoured vehicles and firearms, a Czech government source told Reuters, as Hanoi aims to diversify its mostly Russian arsenal. – Reuters

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to make a deal with the European Union to make it easier for his citizens to travel to the bloc, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

EU leaders will discuss the bloc’s stance towards China and its future relations with the country during their next summit in June, EU Council President Charles Michel said on Monday. – Reuters

Lithuania will make a decision on whether to withdraw from a treaty governing the common power grid of Russia, Belarus and the three Baltic States by Aug. 6, based on a review of studies into the potential impact, its energy minister said on Monday. – Reuters

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas supported Kyiv’s calls for accession to the NATO military alliance “as soon as conditions allow” during a visit to Ukraine on Monday. – Reuters

British foreign minister James Cleverly will urge China to be more open about the reasons behind what he called the biggest military build-up in peacetime history and said secrecy could lead to a “tragic miscalculation”. – Reuters

The Serbian president on Monday sharply criticized Western officials who are mediating talks on normalizing ties with Kosovo, calling them liars and frauds, and said the Serb minority in the former Serbian province will no longer tolerate foreign “occupation.” – Associated Press

The four biggest groups in the European Union’s legislature added more pressure on Hungary on Monday to counter what they see as steadfast deterioration in rule of law and democratic principles in the central European member state. – Associated Press

The EU and Japan have pushed back against a US proposal for G7 countries to ban all exports to Russia, as part of negotiations ahead of a summit of the world’s most advanced economies. – Financial Times


Foreign governments continued to evacuate their personnel and dependents from Sudan on Monday, but for the millions of Sudanese and thousands of expatriates caught up in a lethal power battle between the country’s top two generals, the options to get to safety were narrowing. – Wall Street Journal

Civilian-led peace committees have brokered temporary cease-fires in much of Sudan’s Darfur region and they have largely held, a glimmer of hope after a week of brutal fighting across the country between the military and a heavily armed paramilitary force. – Washington Post

Kenyan authorities have exhumed dozens of bodies, mostly of children, from a forest in southeast Kenya in what appears to be a religious starvation cult, with Interior Secretary Kithure Kindiki describing it as a “massacre.” – Washington Post

The executive board of the International Monetary Fund on Monday approved the first review of Tanzania’s three-year extended credit facility, allowing immediate disbursement of about $153 million in budgetary support, the IMF said in a statement. – Reuters

The United States is positioning naval assets to assist any Americans leaving Sudan but no major U.S. evacuation is under way as fighting continues, White House spokesman John Kirby said in a round of television interviews on Monday. – Reuters

Canada will introduce new immigration measures to support Sudanese temporary residents who are currently in Canada and may be unable to return home due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Sudan, the government said on Monday. – Reuters

The UK has a military team in Sudan doing reconnaissance, Britain’s armed forces minister James Heappey said, as the government held an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss options to help around 4,000 Britons stuck in the North African country. – Reuters

Japan has safely evacuated 45 people from Sudan, including citizens, their spouses and children, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday, adding it has closed its embassy in the country. – Bloomberg

France closed its embassy in Sudan until further notice as fighting continued for a 10th day in the North African nation. – Bloomberg

The two warring forces in Sudan have agreed to a three-day ceasefire, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday afternoon. – Washington Examiner

White House national security spokesman John Kirby on Monday said the tense situation in Sudan is “not conducive” for large-scale military evacuation of U.S. citizens in the region. – The Hill

Walter Russell Mead writes: At press time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the warring military factions had agreed to a 72 hour cease fire beginning at midnight Sudan time. If the cease fire holds, peace could return to Khartoum’s troubled streets as early as this week. Democracy, however, will have a longer wait. As the American-led economic and political order fades, Sudan’s military leaders are more interested in seizing opportunities than in letting power slip out of their hands. – Wall Street Journal

Bobby Ghosh writes: Given that the generals have few other financiers and suppliers of weapons, Arab states have the ability to rein them in. They should also be able to use their deepening ties with Moscow to restrict the role played by Russia’s Wagner group. But the biggest challenge for the Saudis, Egyptians and Emiratis is to break from their historical tendency to favor strongmen and warlords. Now that would be a credible demonstration of the “new Arab diplomacy.” – Bloomberg

Yasir Zaidan writes: The best outcome of the ongoing war would be the Sudanese Armed Forces eliminating the RSF to prevent a second Somali scenario—where militants have long vied with the state for control—in a volatile region. Therefore, the international and regional actors should avoid addressing the fight in Sudan as a fight between two generals. Instead, it is a fight between the remains of national state institutions against a tribal, corrupt militia founded by the Bashir dictatorship. – Foreign Policy

Latin America

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledged his unconditional support on Tuesday for the “Republic of Taiwan” on a trip that comes as China steps up pressure on the handful of countries that still maintain formal ties with the island. – Reuters

The United States on Monday sent its first deportation flight to Cuba since 2020, months after Cuba agreed for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic to accept flights carrying Cubans caught at the U.S.-Mexico border. – Reuters

Colombia’s national police on Monday confiscated a shipment of guns and ammunition, destined for Ecuador, after stopping a vehicle in the south of the country. – Reuters

Paraguay’s leading opposition presidential candidate Efrain Alegre said Monday that his country’s long-standing alliance with Taiwan is costing it opportunities and will be reviewed if he’s elected in general elections April 30. – Bloomberg

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó said he was expelled from Colombia hours after he crossed the border from Venezuela to try to meet with some participants at an international conference Tuesday to discuss his country’s political crisis. – Associated Press

Eduardo Porter writes: Lula clearly has high hopes. But Beijing — which faces a crop of economic challenges of its own — may not want to share much of its industrial bounty. Indeed, its track record of caring for the wellbeing of the places in which it invests is not very good. While it may make sense for Brazil to leverage Uncle Sam’s fear of a growing Chinese footprint in the neighborhood, it may not want China to move in for good. – Bloomberg

Howard W. French writes: As I have written elsewhere, during Lula’s first turn in office, Brazil began to invest in upgrading its economic and diplomatic partnerships across the South Atlantic. Brazil and Africa are deeply bound by the tragic history of transatlantic slave trade. By taking the lead in forging new and strong South-South relations, together, Brazil and Africa may open a door to a better future for both. – Foreign Policy

United States

Members of the Proud Boys were “thirsting for violence” ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and considered themselves “Donald Trump’s army” as the former president clung to power after the 2020 election, a federal prosecutor said Monday. – Wall Street Journal

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT) endorsed former President Donald Trump for president in 2024, providing him one of the most important endorsements from Washington. – Washington Examiner

A former top CIA official who helped organize the October 2020 Hunter Biden laptop letter testified he thought now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken wanted the baseless claims of Russian involvement in the saga made public. – Washington Examiner

W. Robert Pearson writes: Diplomacy now comes with adjectives like climate, space, ocean, health, digital, data and artificial intelligence, water, food and cyber. American diplomacy, as befits its mission, must be anticipatory, catalyzing and consensus building, mitigating future risks before they indeed overwhelm our capacity to react. – The Hill


Nearly half of U.S. voters support banning the Chinese-owned TikTok video app, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll, but there are sharp divisions along partisan, age and even racial lines. – Wall Street Journal

Five months after ChatGPT set off an investment frenzy over artificial intelligence, Beijing is moving to rein in China’s chatbots, a show of the government’s resolve to keep tight regulatory control over technology that could define an era. – New York Times

When the U.S. Supreme Court decides in the coming months whether to weaken a powerful shield protecting internet companies, the ruling also could have implications for rapidly developing technologies like artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT. – Reuters

Apple won an appellate court ruling upholding the company’s ban on third-party sales in apps, a decision with significant implications for the growing antitrust pressure on Big Tech app platforms from the courts, the White House, and Congress. – Washington Examiner

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up two cases that weigh whether public officials on their personal social media accounts can constitutionally block users when they use the account to post about their job. – The Hill

Information sharing between U.S. Cyber Command and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security stopped several potentially disastrous cyberattacks, including a suspected Iranian attack against American elections. – CyberScoop

Two U.S. cybersecurity agencies took actions to protect the 2020 presidential election from Iranian hackers, and thwarted digital criminals who targeted a trio of federal agencies, senior officials revealed on Monday. – The Record

Jason Blessing writes: Biden’s executive order on spyware is a win for national security and American democracy. But it’s only a first step. Existing frameworks for stemming the flow of weapons—like the Cold War-era Wassenaar Arrangement for controlling arms exports—are outdated and toothless against surveillance software proliferation. Tackling the spyware challenge will require utilizing multiple tools of statecraft in creative and persistent ways. – The Dispatch


When there is talk of flat budgets and ship reductions, the U.S. Navy inevitably suggests the retirement of its dedicated command ships — in particular the 6th Fleet flagship Mount Whitney. The Mediterranean-based command platform is again on the chopping block, this time for retirement in 2026, according to the Navy’s latest report on its 30-year shipbuilding plan. While older than nearly all who sail in it, Mount Whitney and its Japan-based sister ship Blue Ridge are unique platforms capable of hosting battle staffs of multiple sizes while freeing combatant ships for operational, direct-action missions. – Defense News

A U.S. Army shop for everything electronic warfare and battlefield situational awareness is getting a new leader. Brig. Gen. Ed Barker was named the new boss of the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, or PEO IEW&S, according to an April 24 announcement from the Pentagon. – Defense News

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) is off the coast of Sudan following the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. Truxtun is operating near Port Sudan, while the U.S. is also sending Expeditionary Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) to the area. – USNI News

Editorial: It’s possible the military could modify exercises and operations to accommodate wind farms, but this shouldn’t be necessary. Power generated by offshore wind isn’t needed to keep U.S. lights on. The only purpose the installations would serve is to help Mr. Biden, states and utilities meet their green energy goals. Offshore wind is three times more expensive than onshore wind or gas power and could make the electric grid less reliable. But the Biden Administration’s climate agenda won’t surrender to energy reality or national defense. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The truth is that U.S. defense spending is flat at 3% of the economy and is failing to keep pace with the world’s threats. Americans may prefer that other countries pick up more of the tab, but some (Saudi Arabia) are increasing their own defense spending because they perceive America is in decline. That is a fast lane to a world in which more nations develop their own nuclear weapons. […]The U.S. victory in the Cold War wasn’t inevitable. It was the result of choices—not least building the dominant military power necessary to prevail. – Wall Street Journal

Harlan Ullman writes: Thermonuclear wars must never be fought. That means the prevent, contain and limit damage criteria fit perfectly with the U.S. military’s superior record of winning battles. Faced with losing the battle, will adversaries be reluctant to start a war? With the 2024 presidential election drawing closer, no White House, absent a calamity, will make sweeping changes to its national security and defense strategies. But that must change after the election. The U.S. may still win most of its battles. But will it win every war? – The Hill