Fdd's overnight brief

August 17, 2022

In The News


For the first time in many months, European officials expressed increasing optimism on Tuesday that a revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal may actually be agreed upon by Iran and the United States. – New York Times

The European Union and United States said Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to a “final” draft agreement on reviving a 2015 nuclear accord with major powers the EU presented at talks in Vienna. – Agence France-Presse

A Swedish citizen detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage might face other charges, Iranian judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi said on Tuesday in a televised news conference. – Reuters

In a sign of the rising anger, physical attacks against clerics appear to be increasing in Iran, where some of the religious officials have said they don’t wear their robes or turbans in public to avoid being targeted, while others have warned about the public wrath against them and the decline in their stature and influence. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Dozens of female civil activists have called on Iranian authorities to release a woman who was arrested for protesting mandatory head-scarf rules after she appeared on television and gave a “confession” they allege was made under duress. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Oil prices fell Monday on the prospects of a return of Iranian oil to the market and data showing China’s economic recovery stuttering under Covid-19 restrictions. – Agence France-Presse

A deal to revive a nuclear agreement between Iran, the EU and the US is unlikely to be struck in the near term, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which said that even if a pact were agreed, additional oil wouldn’t flow until next year. – Bloomberg

Israeli officials are beginning to think that Iran is changing course and seriously considering signing a nuclear agreement with West. But they remain divided over whether this actually testifies to the ability of talks to trudge forward and lead to a signed agreement. – Haaretz 

Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, responded to Saturday’s stabbing of acclaimed author Salman Rushdie with a Twitter video posted on Monday, saying “Don’t let it (Iran’s regime) intimidate you.” – Jerusalem Post

Iran made a counteroffer to the European Union’s “final” draft to renew the 2015 nuclear deal at midnight on Monday, the deadline set by Brussels. Mohammad Marandi, a spokesperson for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, tweeted on Tuesday that Tehran “wants to make sure that if the current or future US president withdraws from a deal, the US will ‘have to pay a price.’” – Jerusalem Post

Iran, Russia, Belarus and Armenia launched a military drone competition in Kashan in central Iran on Monday, just days after the US confirmed that Russian officials were being trained to use Iranian drones. – Jerusalem Post

A recently announced bipartisan Senate bill seeks to make permanent the sanctions on Iran’s energy industry first imposed in 1996. – Jewish Insider 

In recent weeks, Iran and the Russia have increasingly found common ground, with officials from both nations expressing a willingness to deepen their political and economic ties. Israeli officials have been mum on the record about the new cooperation, but the strike, members of the defense community here privately say, seems crafted to send a message that Iran cannot count on Russia to protect its assets in Syria moving forward. – Breaking Defense

Matthew Levitt writes: The one thing that could really impact Iran’s decision-making calculus—diplomatic isolation—has been nearly impossible to achieve given parallel efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal and concerns that Iran could retaliate with even more bellicose militant activities in the region and beyond. – Washington Institute

Russia & Ukraine

As he absorbed the briefing, Biden, who had taken office promising to keep the country out of new wars, was determined that Putin must either be deterred or confronted, and that the United States must not act alone. Yet NATO was far from unified on how to deal with Moscow, and U.S. credibility was weak. After a disastrous occupation of Iraq, the chaos that followed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and four years of President Donald Trump seeking to undermine the alliance, it was far from certain that Biden could effectively lead a Western response to an expansionist Russia. – Washington Post

Russian warships patrol Crimea’s coasts and Russian warplanes fly from its territory, transformed by eight years of occupation into a fortress. President Vladimir V. Putin has called Crimea a “sacred place,” Russia’s “holy land,” and one of his top advisers has warned that if the peninsula were attacked, Ukraine would face “Judgment Day.” – New York Times

Crimea, in turn, offers key logistical support for Russia to maintain its occupation army, including two main rail links that Russia relies on for moving heavy military equipment. Crimean air bases have been used to stage sorties against Ukrainian positions, and the peninsula has provided a launching ground for long-range Russian missiles. – New York Times

The strikes in Crimea have provided a morale boost to Ukrainians battered by nearly six months of war. They also slice into Russian supply lines in the south. Ukraine has used rockets provided by the U.S. to hit Russian ammunition depots, command posts and bridges there. The aim, Ukrainian officials say, is to avoid a head-on collision with Russian forces and instead squeeze them out of territories that they captured in the early days of the war. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. Himars mobile rocket launchers and other systems from North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries have enabled Ukraine to strike Russian bases far behind the front lines, including ammunition depots. That marked a shift from weeks earlier, when Ukraine relied mostly on drones and antitank weapons such as the Javelin, and was outgunned by Russia’s heavy artillery, allowing Russian troops to gain ground in eastern Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of trying to encourage extended hostilities in Ukraine as part of what he described Tuesday as Washington’s alleged efforts to maintain its global hegemony. – Associated Press

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have accepted an invition from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to meet Thursday to review the deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be shipped to world markets to help alleviate the global grain crisis and discuss ways to end the six-month-old war. – Associated Press

Russia’s Defense Ministry warned Britain Tuesday against a planned spy plane flight over Russian territory, saying the country’s air force has been given orders to prevent an intrusion. The ministry said that Britain has sent a notice informing about a planned flight of an RC-135 reconnaissance plane along a route that partly passes over Russian territory. – Associated Press

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the world Tuesday to honor civilians who were killed when Russian ground forces tried to invade Ukraine’s capital and eventually retreated from the area surrounding Kyiv. – Associated Press

On a June night under the chandeliers of Russia’s United Nations mission in New York, dozens of U.N. ambassadors from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia attended a reception to mark the country’s national day – less than four months after its forces invaded neighboring Ukraine. – Reuters

For two months, Ukraine has been signaling its intent to recapture the southern city of Kherson in what has been billed as a major counteroffensive and the moment that Kyiv turns the tide against Russia. What that push will look like is still a mystery, however. – Politico

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was captured by Russia in early March, and it remains on the front lines of the war, especially now that Ukraine is attempting to launch a counteroffensive on the other side of the Dnieper River. – Washington Examiner

Mark Episkopos writes: Russia has launched its ARMY-2022 forum, an annual convention intended to showcase the latest in Russian military technology to foreign buyers and Kremlin officials. Russian president Vladimir Putin, who delivered the exhibition’s opening speech on Tuesday, said that over “28,000 modern samples of military and dual-use products” were presented by roughly 1,500 Russian manufacturers to delegates from seventy-two countries. – The National Interest

Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, Angela Howard, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Attacks on Russian positions in and around Crimea are likely part of a coherent Ukrainian counter-offensive to regain control of the west bank of the Dnipro River. Russian supply lines from Crimea directly support Russian forces in mainland Ukraine including those in western Kherson Oblast. The net effects of this campaign will likely be to disrupt the ability of Russian forces to sustain mechanized forces on the west bank of the Dnipro River and to defend them with air and artillery assets on the east bank from Ukrainian counterattacks. – Institute for the Study of War

Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski write: Using a surrounding population as a human shield to protect a military force operating from a civilian reactor is specifically addressed in the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention. Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, no one had imagined it would be a provision that needed enforcement. – Foreign Policy


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed no regret Tuesday for the deadly attack by Palestinian militants on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a half century ago, countering that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians over the years. – Associated Press

A Palestinian human rights group and an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that an explosion in a cemetery that killed five Palestinian children during the latest flare-up in Gaza was caused by an Israeli airstrike and not an errant Palestinian rocket. – Associated Press

Operation Breaking Dawn was conducted properly on both the military and diplomatic level, but Hamas gained from it on the diplomatic front, according to former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff and CEO of Commanders for Israel’s Security, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Matan Vilnai. – Jerusalem Post

Neither of the two Hamas operatives that were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn last week were targeted by the Israel Defense Forces, The Jerusalem Post learned on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan George Deek on Tuesday urged the international community to take threats by the Iranian regime on Salman Rushdie “seriously,” weeks after the Christian Israeli-Arab diplomat received a death threat from a Tehran official. – Algemeiner

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour is once again seeking full member state status at the UN, but Ramallah faces an uphill battle without support from the US, which has passed laws aimed at thwarting such an effort. – Times of Israel

Eric R. Mandel writes: Earlier this month, Israel successfully neutralized the leadership of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Operation Breaking Dawn, a three-day war. During the war, PIJ sent hundreds of missiles targeting Israeli civilians from Palestinian civilian areas, a double war crime ignored by the United Nations. Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system stopped 97 percent of the incoming projectiles, and the fighting ended quickly. Unfortunately, this may be just a pause before the next round of hostilities. – The Hill

Chuck Freilich writes: Palestinian Arab rejectionism has, unfortunately, not been limited to Hamas. PA presidents, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, both rejected dramatic proposals for peace, which would have given the Palestinian Arabs a state on essentially 100 percent of the territory, a capital in East Jerusalem, and a limited return of refugees, years ago. One cannot ignore the truly wrenching question, whether the Palestinian Arabs are prepared to accept any deal that requires that they live in peace alongside Israel. – Arutz Sheva


A year after America’s tumultuous and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, assessments of its impact are divided — and largely along partisan lines. – Associated Press

Nearly one year after the last US military aircraft departed Kabul, the Pentagon’s top watchdog says approximately $7.1 billion in US-funded planes, trucks and weaponry, all provided to the Afghan military, has been seized by the Taliban. – Breaking Defense

But one person had predicted over a decade before ordering the withdrawal of American forces that the Afghan government was not a reliable partner. His name was Joe Biden. Shortly before being sworn in as vice president in 2009, Biden returned from a trip to meet Hamid Karzai, then Afghanistan’s president, totally disillusioned with the government in Kabul. – Washington Examiner

Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes: The same cannot be said of his successor. A year on from the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden’s doctrine remains nebulous and disjointed, to the extent it doesn’t appear to exist at all. More and more, the Afghanistan disaster epitomizes his entire administration — chaotic, ill-planned, and papered over with high-flown rhetoric that has little to do with the reality on the ground. – New York Post

A.J. Kaufman writes: The president’s decision to retreat led to the reckless terrorism we witness today by Russia toward Ukraine; China’s maneuvers against Taiwan; Iran’s nefarious goals in the Middle East and toward the West; and now Al Qaeda regrouping under the Taliban. Evil has been re-emboldened. – Arutz Sheva

Mohamed Mokhtar Qandil writes: Following the drone strike against al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, many variables are up in the air that could significantly alter the stability of a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as well as the future of the al-Qaeda framework. – Washington Institute

Obaidullah Baheer writes: A failure to engage with the Taliban will only prolong the impasse and worsen the effects of sanctions on the larger Afghan population. Emergency aid and cash being flown into Afghanistan to disburse salaries in the service sectors will not solve Afghanistan’s problems. An aid-dependent Afghanistan has already failed once; the world should be mindful of not repeating the same mistakes again. A failed Afghan state will only benefit ISIS-K and enable them to further destabilize the country, which could have spillover effects in the region. – The National Interest

Nilofar Sakhi writes: The Taliban takeover has emboldened terrorist groups and provided a safe haven for their reorganization. Prominent terrorist groups include Tehrek-Taliban Pakistan, an alliance of militant networks with historically close ties to Al Qaeda; Jamaat Ansarullah, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization in Tajikistan; and the Haqqani Network, which has ties to Al Qaeda and is one of the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent groups. – The National Interest


Ten years after the American journalist Austin Tice disappeared in Syria as the country descended into a brutal civil war, and was believed to have been held captive by the government of President Bashar al-Assad since, his release still remains elusive. – New York Times

Turkish air strikes on Syria border posts run by regime forces killed 17 fighters on Tuesday, according to a war monitor, prompting the Damascus government to threaten retaliation. – Agence France-Presse

The first shipment of grain to leave Ukraine under a wartime deal appears to have ended up in Syria — even as Damascus remains a close ally of Moscow, satellite images analyzed Tuesday by The Associated Press show. – Associated Press

Turkish troops and U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters exchanged heavy shellfire on Tuesday in the northern Syrian border town of Kobane, leaving one civilian dead as the conflict escalated. – Reuters


Sweden will live up to the conditions of a memorandum of understanding agreed with Ankara to overcome Turkey’s objections to Swedish membership of NATO, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Russia said on Tuesday it signed a contract to supply Turkey with additional air-defense missiles, but Ankara quickly rejected the claims that a new purchase agreement was inked. – Bloomberg

Turkey’s exports to Russia grew 46 per cent by value over the past three months compared with the same period last year as Ankara allowed its companies to step into the gap created by an exodus of western businesses. – Financial Times

The Biden administration on Tuesday stopped short of threatening additional penalties following reports Turkey plans to receive the second batch of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. – Defense News

Saudi Arabia

Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon end more than two years of self-imposed in-person diplomatic isolation as he travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a month after President Joe Biden’s strained visit to Jeddah. – Politico

A Saudi student at Leeds University who had returned home to the kingdom for a holiday has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for having a Twitter account and for following and retweeting dissidents and activists. – The Guardian

Editorial: At the very least, Mr. Biden must now speak out forcefully and demand that Ms. Shehab be released and allowed to return to her sons, 4 and 6 years old, in the United Kingdom, and to resume her studies there. Golf fans and hosts of the upcoming Saudi-backed LIV golf events in Boston, Chicago and Miami should protest Ms. Shehab’s cruel treatment. In the Saudi kingdom, the crown prince commands fear and silence. But in open societies, his ruthless behavior must be denounced at every opportunity. – Washington Post

Middle East & North Africa

Iraqi political leaders spent the last 10 months struggling unsuccessfully to form a government, their country sinking deeper and deeper into political paralysis in the face of growing drought, crippling corruption and crumbling infrastructure. – New York Times

Coalition forces at Al-Tanf Garrison on the Iraq-Syria border faced a rocket attack Monday night and shot down a one-way aerial drone earlier that same day, according to Operation Inherent Resolve, which did not name the attackers. – Military Times

Ronit Marzan writes: France has a major role in taking this source of power away from Islamic Jihad. France must pressure the Lebanese government to remove Islamic Jihad’s foreign leadership from Lebanon, and to promote a radical intervention and immediate treatment in the refugee camps on its soil. – Haaretz 

Fatima Abo Alasrar writes: Opening the roads in Taiz is first and foremost a humanitarian issue that will drastically improve people’s lives. The Houthi militia has a unique opportunity to prove its good faith by opening existing roads and guaranteeing the safety and security of the travelers using them. If there is any potential for broader future talks, all of the parties to the conflict will first have to prove that this is possible in Taiz. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

The United States and South Korea will begin their biggest combined military training in years next week in the face of an increasingly aggressive North Korea, which has been ramping up weapons tests and threats of nuclear conflict against Seoul and Washington, the South Korean military said Tuesday. – Associated Press

North Korea fired two cruise missiles from the west coast town of Onchon early on Wednesday, a South Korean military source said. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday his government has no plans to pursue its own nuclear deterrent in the face of growing North Korean nuclear threats, as he urged the North to return to dialogue aimed at exchanging denuclearization steps for economic benefits. – Associated Press

In late July, allegations surfaced that some North Koreans were plagiarizing online resumes and tricking companies, including crypto companies, into hiring them. It’s part of a broader effort to raise money for North Korea’s government weapons program. It could also help the authoritarian nation evade global sanctions. – Bloomberg

Talks with North Korea should not be for political show but contribute to establishing peace, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Wednesday, speaking at a wide-ranging press conference to mark his first 100 days in office. – Reuters

The head of Russian proxy forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region has sent a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calling for cooperation amid signs the North is considering sending laborers for restoration projects in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. – Associated Press

Trevor Filseth writes: During his tenure in office, Yoon’s predecessor, President Moon Jae-in, repeatedly sought to improve relations with Pyongyang. The former leader found an unlikely ally in President Donald Trump, who established a curious but enduring rapport with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and attended a series of bilateral summits in Singapore, Hanoi, and at the “Demilitarized Zone” separating the two Koreas. By contrast, Yoon has indicated that he would take a more hawkish position on North Korea and vowed to strengthen security cooperation with the United States—a position that Pyongyang has vocally opposed. – The National Interest 


On Monday, China’s central bank cut two key interest rates, as fresh economic data showed a range of economic activity slowing in July. Unlike in the U.S., interest rates in China have a limited effect, and economists said the move would likely do little to encourage further borrowing by households and businesses. – Wall Street Journal

A Hong Kong court on Wednesday lifted a reporting restriction on a landmark national security case involving a now disbanded group that used to organise candlelight vigils on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. – Reuters

China’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., Qin Gang, came out swinging this morning in a near-90-minute press briefing in which he signaled that Beijing is nowhere near ready to tone down its public rancor at the Biden administration. – Politico

Hong Kong has denied a jury trial to dozens of democracy advocates facing life in prison under a China-imposed national security law, according to local media, raising concerns over the rule of law in the former British colony. – Bloomberg

Caleb Larson writes: Pushed together by mutual concerns about China, India and the United States are preparing high-altitude contingencies, whereas previous iterations of the exercise have focused on medical evacuation, mountaineering, and cold-weather resiliency and survival. – The National Interest

Eric A. Miller writes: The lack of visible, publicly available evidence of Chinese basing progress in Africa has fueled skepticism, with some commentators suggesting that concern about such basing efforts is overblown. This is understandable, but it overlooks the secretive nature and substantial timelines associated with these diplomatic and military negotiations. One just has to look closely enough and understand that China has a patient, long-term approach to achieving its global military ambitions. – Foreign Policy

Bonny Lin and Joel Wuthnow write: China’s military response might have failed to drive a wedge between the United States and Taiwan, but it carries real risks. It could normalize aggressive Chinese military operations closer to Taiwan, create greater expectations within China for a stronger response in the future, provide experience for the People’s Liberation Army, and make understanding China’s intentions more difficult. All of these consequences could undermine Taiwan’s security. – War on the Rocks

Gerard DiPippo writes: Could economic indicators help clarify Chinese leaders’ intentions regarding Taiwan? China would make economic preparations—especially to protect its economy from external vulnerabilities—if Beijing thought conflict over Taiwan was likely, but such preparations would vary with Chinese leaders’ expected timeframe. Therefore, analysts should separate the question between medium- or long-term indicators (years) and short-term or immediate indicators (months, weeks, or days). – Centre for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

A Chinese navy ship at the center of a diplomatic spat docked in a southern port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, marking a small triumph for Beijing over India and the United States. […] Indian and U.S. officials had raised concerns about the political optics of a Chinese navy vessel docking at Hambantota International Port, which the Sri Lankan government leased to state-owned China Merchants Port Holdings in 2017 after Sri Lanka failed to repay debts to China. – Washington Post

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Tuesday implored the United Nations rights chief for protection after recent murders that have again left members of the stateless minority fearful for their safety. – Agence France-Presse

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed via telephone on Tuesday the crisis in Ukraine with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the two agreed to work together to try to end the conflict, said the French presidency. – Reuters


Being the political leader of any country is a big job. But it has emerged that the former prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, took up five other ministerial positions while he was in power, unbeknown to the Australian public and many of his colleagues — prompting outrage in the country and online. – Washington Post

Thailand’s southernmost provinces, which for almost two decades have been the scene of an active Muslim separatist insurgency, were hit Tuesday night by a wave of arson and bombing attacks, officials said. – Associated Press

China’s recent decision to fire missiles over Taiwan is a “gorilla in the room” that has to be contested, a top US military commander said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

A group of German air force fighter jets landed in Singapore on Tuesday as part of a marathon bid to fly them some 12,800 kilometers (8,000 miles) from their home base to Southeast Asia in just 24 hours. The exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the U.S. and its allies over Taiwan and demonstrates the ability for a European nation to move air power quickly to the region. – Associated Press

Arrangements are being made for Japanese national security adviser Takeo Akiba to visit China soon for talks with its top diplomat Yang Jiechi, the Jiji news agency said on Wednesday, citing unidentified government sources. – Reuters

Taiwan accused China of exaggeration on Tuesday after the Chinese military published footage of the strategically located Penghu islands, where there is a major Taiwanese air base, saying it was not true Chinese forces had come near the islands. – Reuters

China’s military drills after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan sparked alarm around the region, although its trade retaliation barely made a dent — mostly because Beijing doesn’t want to hurt itself. – Bloomberg

Switzerland agreed on Tuesday to send back to Uzbekistan over $100 million which it seized during a long-running investigation in connection with the daughter of former president Islam Karimov. – Reuters

The French government condemned on Tuesday this week’s decision by a Myanmar court to sentence deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to six years in prison, adding that France also reiterated its calls for an end to violence in the country. – Reuters

Ye Myo Hein writes: Ever since the Myanmar junta seized power in February 2021, there have been calls to engage with the regime to negotiate a path to peace. But facing a widespread resistance, the desperate junta will stop at nothing—including mass killings and large-scale village arson attacks—to remain in power. So far, the military regime has shown no signs of backing down and has continued to intensify violent repression. – Foreign Policy


Germany plans to postpone the closure of the country’s last three nuclear power plants as it braces for a possible shortage of energy this winter after Russia throttled gas supplies to the country, said German government officials. – Wall Street Journal

The battle that unfolded on Monday was a training exercise, led by a British commander who was flanked by a Ukrainian translator as he directed recruits through a mock village in southeast England. It was designed to resemble the scenes of destruction unfolding on the front lines of Ukraine more than a thousand miles away. – New York Times

The two Conservative candidates vying to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister Tuesday reiterated their opposition to another referendum on Scottish independence, as they held their only campaign hustings event there. – Agence France-Presse

German troops spotted several dozen presumably Russian security forces at Gao airport in northern Mali on Monday, the day the last French soldiers wrapped up their operations and left the town, according to a German military document dated Tuesday. – Reuters

Estonia’s government started removing a Soviet World War II monument Tuesday from near a city on the Russian border as part of a wider effort, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to dismantle remaining Soviet-era symbols. – Associated Press

Finland will slash the number of visas issued to Russians from Sept. 1, the Finnish foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, amid a rush of Russian tourists bound for Europe. – Reuters

Estonia this week will close its border to more than 50,000 Russians with previously issued visas, the first country in the European Union to do so, making it harder for ordinary Russians to enter EU. – Reuters

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that Britain has requested permission for its RC-135 spy plane to fly over Russia, a move it termed “a deliberate provocation”. – Reuters

Editorial: Above all, European leaders must urge patience. The moral outrage and solidarity of Western publics has bolstered Ukraine’s morale and helped its forces withstand Russia’s onslaught. But the fight to preserve the country’s freedom won’t end soon. – Bloomberg

Elizabeth Braw writes: Less than two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italy’s financial police, the Guardia di Finanza, seized the yacht, which features wave runners, a Jacuzzi, a gym, and a helipad. And lots of Russian oligarchs have encountered a similar fate at the hands of the efficient Guardia di Finanza. Other countries could learn from the unusual police force, which has a military structure but operates under the Ministry of Economy and Finance and investigates all manner of financial ill-doing. – Foreign Policy


Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the results of the election “null and void” and promised to challenge them in court, ignoring calls for him to concede to declared winner William Ruto. – Washington Post

The ship Brave Commander has left the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi carrying the first cargo of humanitarian food aid bound for Africa from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Tuesday. – Reuters

Liberia President George Weah on Tuesday suspended three government officials who were sanctioned by the United States for what it said was their ongoing involvement in public corruption. – Reuters

The Americas

It was the dead of night when homemade explosives detonated Sunday in a populous neighborhood in Guayaquil, one of Ecuador’s largest cities and the country’s commercial hub. The explosion left five people dead and 17 injured — the latest casualties in a gang-fueled wave of bloodshed. – Washington Post

Brazil’s presidential election campaign officially began Tuesday with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leading all polls against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro amid growing concern of political violence and threats to democracy. – Associated Press

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela would support Cuba in the reconstruction of its only supertanker port in Matanzas, which was partially destroyed by a fire after lightning struck one of the its crude tanks. – Reuters


Ukrainian state nuclear operator Energoatom said on August 16 that Russian-based hackers unleashed an hours-long attack on its website but said major problems had been avoided. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Army Cyber Center of Excellence is already incorporating lessons learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine into its schoolhouse curriculum, specifically when it comes to the electromagnetic spectrum, the center’s commander said today. – Breaking Defense

The Pentagon will deploy local, self-contained electric grids, or microgrids, to 134 Army bases, beginning in May. But first they tested the technology at DEF CON, looking for hackers’ help finding potentially crippling vulnerabilities so they can better preempt cyberattacks. – ​​CyberScoop

Daniel Kroese and Thomas Maclellan write: The seriousness of today’s threat landscape should encourage information sharing and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Efforts like CISA’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), DHS’s Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force and NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence projects highlight the power of partnership between government and industry. – The Hill


The U.S. Air Force successfully conducted a test of an unarmed nuclear-capable long-range missile Tuesday, Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement. – Washington Examiner

The United States successfully tested a long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile Tuesday after twice postponing the launch to avoid stoking tensions over Ukraine and Taiwan, the US Air Force announced. – Agence France-Presse

U.S. lawmakers have started a review into the military’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs following reports last month alleging that dozens of teenage girls were abused by their instructors. – The Hill

Jeong Soo Kim writes: How Japan accomplished this military-industrial feat is far beyond the scope of this article. However, naval leaders should understand and seek to learn from the incredibly sound engineering decision-making that built and deployed the JMSDF’s fleet of DDs. – The National Interest