Fdd's overnight brief

August 2, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Russia is repositioning troops to strengthen its hand in southern Ukraine, shifting forces from the front line in northern Donbas, according to the Ukrainian and British militaries, ahead of a planned Ukrainian offensive in the south. – Wall Street Journal

Along most of the front line in Russia’s war in Ukraine, when one side lets loose with an artillery attack, the other shoots back. But not in Nikopol, a city deep in southern farm country where the Ukrainian military faces a new and vexing obstacle as it prepares for a major counteroffensive: a nuclear power station that the Russian Army has turned into a fortress. – New York Times

The activity in Lviv is being played out in towns and cities across Ukraine, part of a nationwide effort to amass emergency arsenals of backup fuel and critical provisions as Russia tightens its chokehold on energy supplies across Europe. – New York Times

Even as Moscow’s war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing full control over the country’s industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. – Associated Press

The United States has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield” by stationing troops there, preventing Ukrainian forces from returning fire and risking a terrible nuclear accident. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that a nuclear war “should never” be launched — as the head of the United Nations warned that the strongman’s Ukraine war is “one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away” from putting the world in danger of nuclear annihilation. – New York Post

US officials announced another $550 million in military aid will be sent to Ukraine, including 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). – Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling amid the war in Ukraine has made the return of nuclear warfare “a real possibility,” according to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. – Washington Examiner

The Russian trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner will continue Tuesday as US officials attempt to negotiate a prisoner swap for her release. – CNN

Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Kremlin confidante better known as “Putin’s chef” or as the founder of the mercenary outfit called the Wagner Group —  saw his defamation case thrown out in May by a London court because his lawyers no longer wanted to represent him. – Bloomberg

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister has warned it will take months before grain exports from Odesa and neighbouring ports reach prewar levels and alleviate the global food crisis despite the relaxation of a Russian blockade in the Black Sea. – Financial Times

An exiled Russian oligarch said he believes Russian leader Vladimir Putin has gone beyond trying to annex Ukraine and now wants to “destroy” the country. – Business Insider

The Philippines has scrapped a multimillion-dollar deal with Russia to acquire Mil Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters. – Janes

Melik Kaylan writes: Yet it seems to have been entirely missed by the Western killjoys who see the Zelenskys as violating a wartime moral imperative to drape everything in a relentless gray. They shouldn’t be helping Mr. Putin wipe away Ukrainian cultural traits simply because they don’t conform to their own. – Wall Street Journal

Eli Lake writes: Russia’s deepening relationship with Iran can be seen as an analog to the Abraham Accords, the series of agreements brokered by America under President Trump to normalize ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors. That diplomacy was driven by mutual interest of the parties to oppose Iran’s aggression in the region. – New York Sun

Judith Miller writes: But if the political will to support him erodes in Washington after the November election and among Western allies as winter descends, Ukraine will be unable to continue defending itself and the post-World War II order. President Biden must do more to support Zelenskyy’s counteroffensive while there is still time. – Fox News

Dmytro Kuleba writes: We cannot and will not forget. This is our duty not only before the victims but before all future generations. All perpetrators of this genocide must be held accountable. Only then will we all be able to utter the sacred words “never again” sincerely. I call on the Biden administration, as well as the U.S. Congress and the wider American public, to stand with the Ukrainian people in our quest for truth and justice. – The Hill

Benjamin Miller writes: The United States and Europe, along with a coalition of democratic nations, showed they can help Ukraine fight. Now it is time to help Ukraine start planning its long walk along the road to reconstruction. To coordinate those activities, the Biden administration needs to work with Congress and appoint a new special representative. – The Hill

Maria Tadeo writes: Brussels may have its own set of problems but that does not mean it should drop the ball on Ukraine. Its credibility on the world stage depends on following through. If Europe means business, it must contribute financially to the war effort. If Ukraine loses the economic war, it will lose militarily too. Wars can rarely, if ever, be won on the cheap. The battle for Ukraine is no exception. – Bloomberg

Hal Brands writes: A failed offensive that ends in a retreat would be disaster for Ukraine, leaving it militarily weaker and more diplomatically isolated come spring. And if Ukraine throws too many of its resilient but battered forces into an advance in the south, it could make itself vulnerable to a renewed Russian offensive in the east. – Bloomberg

Jason Fields writes: No, it’s not time to send in Western troops, but it’s time to make sure they are ready. It’s also time for Americans to be made aware of the ripple effects of this war on their daily lives. Some have tried to argue that Russia’s war is the result of Western military expansion in the Baltics and eastern Europe. But now, it’s time for those who would apologize to Putin for his own aggression to slither away. No matter how we got here, we are all in this war. – Newsweek


A return to the 2015 nuclear deal remains the best outcome for the United States, Iran and the world, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at global nonproliferation discussions at the United Nations on Monday. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday it remains to be seen whether Tehran is willing to move forward on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and he sidestepped a question on whether Washington was prepared to return to talks on the issue. – Reuters

The Biden administration on Monday slapped sanctions on companies based in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong that the U.S. says are helping ship Iranian oil to East Asia. – The Hill

Iran’s intelligence ministry arrested several members of the Baha’i faith on spying charges, state TV reported Monday. – Associated Press

The Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Saturday said that it can develop a nuclear weapon within a rapid-fire amount of time and obliterate New York with ballistic missiles. – Fox News

The video describes “Project Emad”, which is Iran’s plan to transform its “peaceful” nuclear program into an “atomic military program” in the event of an Israeli or Western attack, and it describes how Iran would make Israel and the West’s “nightmare” come true in the blink of an eye. – Middle East Media Research Institute

On July 27, 2022, a video was posted to the IslamicTV YouTube channel of Shiite children in Houston, TX performing a song titled “Salute, Commander”, which is an Iranian children’s anthem pledging allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Editorial: This morning the State Department announced the imposition of a new set of sanctions against Iran. Yet, that action had nothing to do with the Brooklyn terror plot. It seemed designed, instead, to coax Tehran into re-signing the 2015 nuclear deal. “Until Iran is ready to return to full implementation” of that deal, “we will continue to use our sanctions authorities,” Mr. Blinken blustered. – New York Sun

Tom Rogan writes: As the investigation continues, we should demand answers over what links exist between this apparent wannabe terrorist and Iranian government officials. If links are established, Iran should face serious consequences. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: However, for those worried about Iran’s nuclear program, the real concern is that once it has enough material, it can blackmail the region, and any attempt to neutralize the material could be dangerous. This is why the time frame may not change over the months – because Tehran is also on the verge of producing enough material. Iran’s narrative is that it can build an actual weapon, but it keeps holding the region hostage by claiming that it needs to be blackmailed not to. – Jerusalem Post

Farzin Nadimi writes: If Iranian drone deliveries to Russia are carried out, they will likely sound the starting gun for further bilateral military cooperation in Ukraine. Whether such cooperation will eventually lead the IRGC Qods Force to deploy proxy forces to Ukrainian battlefronts is unclear, but in the meantime it could open the way for delivery of more controversial weapons such as short-range Iranian ballistic missiles. – Washington Institute

Nima Khorrami writes: However, Ayatollah Khamenei’s warm embrace of the Russian leader two weeks ago points to Tehran’s readiness to sign the deal; thus, it is seemingly the Kremlin that is holding back. This apparent hesitation may have several explanations, but a likely one is that Moscow seeks to use the strategic partnership document signing as a bargaining chip to extract more concessions from Tehran in the coming months. – Middle East Institute


Millions of Afghans are expected to experience “extreme levels of hunger” in the coming months, while foreign aid agencies here face a significant decrease in food and emergency provisions because of shortfalls in funding, according to a report released Monday night by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. – Washington Post

The Taliban “grossly” violated the Doha Agreement by hosting and sheltering al Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday. – Reuters

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the attack took place on Sunday and the ruling Islamist extremists strongly condemned it as a violation of “international principles” and the 2020 agreement on a U.S. troop withdrawal. – Reuters

A delegation of Islamic scholars from across the Muslim world recently flew to Afghanistan to meet the country’s Taliban rulers. Their mission: to influence the Kabul regime’s policy platform. – Financial Times

The Taliban have launched construction work on a tourism complex just metres from the cliff that held the Bamiyan Buddha statues, which archeologists and experts warn could cause permanent damage to the sensitive world heritage site. – The Guardian

Nearly a year since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis and human rights record under the Taliban remains dire. Despite the demands of the U.S. and many in the international community, the rights of women in Afghanistan have deteriorated to a level unseen since the Taliban first imposed its repressive policies in the 1990s. – CBS News

Beth Bailey writes: Zaki’s case acquainted me with the data that demonstrate the SIV program’s failures. For the past year, hundreds of stranded SIV applicants have shown me the unquantifiable human anguish the program has created. – Washington Examiner


Israel signalled it would not change policy around its assumed nuclear arsenal on Monday as Washington affirmed a global treaty designed to roll back the spread of such weaponry. – Reuters

The IDF has increased its alert level and closed off roads next to the Gaza Strip after it arrested the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad overnight during a raid in Jenin. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Authority increased its monthly payments to the terrorists responsible for the deadly attack at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2002, Palestinian Media Watch has reported. – Jerusalem Post

Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said her nation sees Israel as a source of inspiration for resilience given its history of facing attacks from its neighbors. – Times of Israel

Palestinian media reports said Israeli troops surrounded the home of Bassem Saadi, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the West Bank, before arresting him and his son-in-law and aide, Ashraf al-Jada. – Times of Israel

Israel’s government closed and then re-opened a re-branded, state-owned company that was supposed to combat the BDS movement as a semi-governmental arm outside of abroad. – Jerusalem Post

An in-depth Justice Ministry report published Monday largely rejected explosive allegations that the Israel Police had used spyware to illegally hack the phones of dozens of private citizens, finding that police acted largely in accordance with the law and did not use such spyware without legal oversight. – Times of Israel

The US Department of Defense still plans to downgrade the rank of the military post tasked with bolstering security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a Pentagon spokesman told The Times of Israel Monday, bucking bipartisan calls from lawmakers to rethink the decision. – Times of Israel

The Israeli Navy on Monday kicked off a four-day joint maritime exercise with American forces in the Red Sea, a month after Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned of Iran’s heightened military presence there. – Algemeiner​​

Matan Tzuri writes: Security authorities do not believe the new law alone will bring about an end to the dispute with Hamas, the deadly terror organization ruling the Gaza Strip. But in order to maintain calm, this is an important first step. A viable economy and an acceptable standard of living are as good a deterrent against terror as the barrel of a gun. – Ynet


Thousands gathered in Baghdad on Monday for a counter-rally called by Iran-backed groups against their rival, an influential cleric whose followers are staging a sit-in inside the Iraqi parliament — only to withdraw hours later. – Associated Press

Iraq is in the midst of its worst and longest political crisis in years. At the center of this overheating conflict stands Iraqi political kingmaker Moqtada al-Sadr and a rival bloc of parties with strong ties to neighboring Iran. – CNN

Seth J. Frantzman writes: All of this means Iraq’s overall trajectory is not toward a coup, but rather toward more weakening of the center, and there is no recipe to strengthen and stabilize the country. Large powers, such as neighbors Turkey and Iran, will therefore continue to use their vulnerable neighbor, which could cause more extremists to emerge or lead to more civil conflict. – Jerusalem Post

Bilal Wahab writes: Accordingly, Washington must not be bashful in voicing support for the Iraqi people. A more activist approach starts with pushing politicians to form a clean, capable government that is accountable to its citizens and focused on ending the country’s isolation. In particular, efforts to connect Iraq with the Gulf Cooperation Council states should be expedited, from electricity grid links to banking relationships that help reduce money laundering and capital flight. – Washington Institute

Gulf States

A fundraiser for former U.S. President Donald Trump said prosecutors were wrong to imply that his firm sought investment from United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth funds as a “quid pro quo” for lobbying for the Gulf country. – Reuters

Kuwait on Monday announced the formation of a new government to defuse a protracted political feud blocking economic reforms in the oil-rich state. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia hit a two-year high for its oil exports last month, as pressure mounted on OPEC for its member nations to increase production. – Business Insider

Saudi Arabia on Monday night welcomed US President Joe Biden’s announcement on the targeting and killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a foreign ministry statement. – Arutz Sheva

Middle East & North Africa

Lebanon and Israel are getting closer to reaching a deal in a more than a decade-old maritime border dispute between the two neighbors, a U.S. envoy and Lebanese officials said Monday. – Associated Press

While Israeli officials have expressed optimism that with American help Jerusalem could soon wrap up an agreement with Lebanon over the border between the two countries’ maritime economic zones, the final disposition of the dispute remains in the hands of the Shi’ite militia movement Hezbollah, according to one of Israel’s top security experts. – Haaretz

Editorial: Nothing could be further from the truth. If it were up to Hezbollah, the Lebanese officials in their talks with Hochstein would insist on the maximalist position, even at the expense of keeping Lebanon in a dire electricity crisis and without a source of vital income. We fervently hope that this is not up to Hezbollah and that Beirut uses Hochstein’s good offices to seal a deal that is of critical importance to Lebanon, as well as being good for Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Dennis Ross and David Makovsky write: Put simply, in an environment of political gridlock between Israelis and Palestinians, a new factor is needed to unlock possibilities. Arab state outreach to Israelis is going to happen anyway, so why not take advantage of it? It can help Palestinians and make Israeli political moves more acceptable to the Israeli public. Biden was right to recognize the region is changing and to promote the new paradigm. – The Hill

Korean Peninsula

On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to use nuclear weapons, in the event of any confrontation with the U.S. “Our armed forces are completely prepared to respond to any crisis, and our country’s nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilize its absolute power dutifully, exactly, and swiftly in accordance with its mission,” Kim said, per NPR, which cited the state-run Korean Central News Agency. – The National Interest

Rebecca Grant writes: You can see why Trump tried his combo of threats, diplomacy and visions of successful real estate development to jumpstart nuclear talks. Waving riches in front of the young dictator to tempt him to rapprochement was worth a shot. Unfortunately, Kim Jong Un and his backers in China appear all set for ratcheting up nuclear confrontation. For Team Biden, the clock is ticking. – Fox News

Uri Friedman writes: North Korea could also deliberately turn to tactical nuclear weapons during an intensifying or stalemated conflict in an effort to spook its enemies and compel them to back down—an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy that the Russian military is thought to embrace. – The Atlantic


China’s military posted ominous video of missile strikes, troops hurriedly grabbing their weapons and jet fighters taking off from airfields Monday, one day ahead of an expected visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. – New York Post

China seeks to exploit the substantial transition toward the use of nuclear energy that a leading international watchdog says Western economies need to make. – Washington Examiner

China is testing the performance of its new Feihong 95 (Flying Swan or FH-95) electronic warfare (EW), reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). – Janes

Editorial: And then the famous words: “If this happens, it will be well to remember that the claim has little justification in history and that the concept of One China has invariably spelled trouble for Taiwan.” So here we are, 50 years later, with Xi Jinping and Joe Biden as corks on the currents of history. The thing to remember is that Mr. Xi is no nationalist. He doesn’t care about One China. He cares about one communism. – New York Sun

Valerie Shen writes: China constantly uses threats, economic coercion or bluster to quash any additional legitimacy Taiwan may receive exactly because it directly undermines their own. They cite issues of sovereignty and a three-quarters of a century historical grudge, but this is mostly misdirection. China sees the danger in a free Taiwan and so vows to end it. – The Hill

Lianchao Han and Bradley A. Thayer write: Far from playing with fire, the Biden administration’s approach to China is as accommodating as Xi can expect. The future of stability in global politics does not rest with Xi’s placation, but instead depends upon confrontation to cause his defeat. Biden must learn from Mao, “Cast away illusions [and] prepare for struggle.” – The Hill

Brahma Chellaney writes: Make no mistake: Xi perceives an advantageous window of opportunity to accomplish what he has called a “historic mission” to incorporate Taiwan. And, in the style recommended by ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, Xi’s aggression will likely begin with stealth, deception, surprise and innovative methods. – The Hill

South Asia

Singapore’s foreign minister said on Monday former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was not being accorded any privileges or immunity in Singapore. – Reuters

Nepal sees no need to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a fresh loan as pressure on foreign exchange reserves is easing after a pick up in tourism, its central bank governor said on Monday. – Reuters

INS Vikrant is expected to play a major part in boosting the Indian Navy’s capabilities in the face of a rising Chinese threat in the waters around India. – Business Insider

Hussain Haqqani and Javid Ahmad write: The United States has so far resisted the temptation to out-invest China in Pakistan. That restraint, combined with a thorough reappraisal of U.S. policy towards Pakistan, may be a better strategy for the United States and Pakistan in the long run, forcing Pakistan’s leaders into much-needed reappraisal of their own mistakes. – Foreign Affairs


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Taiwan and meet with government officials this week, defying warnings from Beijing not to do so and setting up the potential for increased tensions between the U.S. and China. – Wall Street Journal

Politicians from Taiwan’s two main political parties have offered support for the trip, a sentiment echoed by many in the self-ruled democracy of more than 23 million people, which China claims as its own. While China released videos of planes and missiles flying to menacing music, one popular meme in Taiwan remade Ms. Pelosi as a powerful Taoist goddess. A Taiwanese politician wagered a chicken cutlet giveaway over her visit. – New York Times

The head of Myanmar’s junta on Monday blamed instability for stalling efforts to implement a peace plan agreed with other Southeast Asian countries as he extended emergency rule for another six months. – Reuters

Myanmar will not be represented at an international gathering of foreign ministers in Cambodia this week, a spokesperson for the ASEAN chair said on Monday, after its military rulers declined a proposal to send a non-junta representative instead. – Reuters

Several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Tuesday morning, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters, as tensions mounted on news U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set to visit Taiwan during the day. – Reuters

Taiwan is preparing its air-raid shelters as rising tension with China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raise new fears about the possibility of a Chinese attack on the democratic island. – Reuters

Taiwanese defense officials have canceled the leave of some soldiers and officers “to immediately prepare” for the chance of war in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Asia this week, according to local reports. – Washington Examiner

The recently appointed American ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, will this weekend make an official visit to the Solomon Islands — site of World War II’s pivotal Battle of Guadalcanal — in what is seen in part as a bid to counter the growing threat of Chinese dominance in the South Pacific. – New York Sun

Newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday the Philippines has no plan to rejoin the International Criminal Court, a decision that supports his predecessor’s stance but rejects the wishes of human rights activists. – Associated Press

A Chinese state-owned company is negotiating to buy a forestry planation with a deep-water port and World War II airstrip in Solomon Islands amid persistent concerns that China wants to establish a naval foothold in the South Pacific country. – Associated Press

Editorial: Even if the Pelosi trip ends in anticlimax, China’s military threats show that the status of Taiwan and its protection are fast becoming emergencies. U.S. officials say Mr. Xi has advanced his timetable for reunification from later this decade to perhaps as little as 18 months. Taiwan, the U.S., and our allies can’t wait if they want to deter a war. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The US should in future focus on carefully-co-ordinated actions that have genuine value in shoring up Taiwan’s security. Washington should step up supplies of weapons, as provided for under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, and expand training. Such moves, undertaken without fanfare, are likely to be much more effective than high-profile but ultimately empty visits. – Financial Times

Jake Auchincloss and Stephanie Murphy write: Finally, the president and Congress must understand that expanding trade relations, including by reconsideration of our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is crucial to outcompeting China. American policy makers can’t claim to be tough on China if they aren’t willing to promote a muscular trade policy. – Wall Street Journal

Chris Buckley writes: At an extreme, China could also fire missiles near Taiwan, as in 1996. Back then, though, China’s military was too weak to seriously threaten American forces across the region. If Mr. Xi did the same now, the global shock waves could be much bigger. – New York Times

Donald Kirk writes: For all these reasons, Japan and Korea see the contest between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan as a test case of American power and intentions in the region. It’s a struggle from which Biden cannot back down — even if he really hates the idea of having to act strongly, decisively, if Pelosi goes there. – The Hill

Dean P. Chen writes: Regardless of whether Pelosi visits Taiwan, Beijing should act more pragmatically and flexibly, especially after Washington’s leaders have repeatedly pledged their adherence to the One-China policy. Meeting each other halfway on this contentious issue is important. – The National Interest

James Holmes writes: The parallel is inexact, like all historical parallels. But in all likelihood CCP general secretary Xi Jinping will exercise the same sensible restraint today that the Soviet strongman exercised in 1948. After all, ties between the U.S. Congress and the Republic of China are nothing new. If it goes ahead, Pelosi’s Taiwan visit will not mark some radical departure from past practice. […]So is the Chinese Communist Party really spoiling for a fight over a Pelosi Taiwan visit? I hope not, but we may soon find out. Over to you, Xi. – 19FortyFive


Authorities in Bulgaria are investigating an explosion at an ammunition depot owned by an arms dealer who Bulgarian officials say is a middleman for exports of munitions to Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

NATO and the European Union scrambled to calm tensions between Kosovo and Serbia after a weekend flare-up that some politicians and experts fear could be used by Russia to spark more instability in Europe. – Wall Street Journal

Russia on Monday announced sanctions against 39 British politicians, officials, business people and journalists, barring them from entering Russia for supporting the “demonisation” of the country. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department approved the possible foreign military sale to the United Kingdom of Javelin Lightweight Command Launch units for an estimated cost of $300 million, the Pentagon said on Monday. – Reuters

Britain’s House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a visit to Taiwan probably in November or early December this year, The Guardian reported on Monday. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale to Greece of follow-on support for S-70 helicopters for an estimated cost of $162.07 million, the Pentagon said on Monday. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It remains unclear whether Serbia wants to risk going all-out against Kosovo again. Vucic’s decision on Monday night and those he will make in the coming days will be a major test of how Russia’s drive for a new world order is reshaping the globe. – Jerusalem Post


United Nations peacekeepers opened fire at a border crossing in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, U.N. and Congolese authorities said, killing two people and injuring 15 others in a spasm of violence that punctuated weeks of tensions over the agency’s role in Africa’s second-largest nation. – New York Times

Senegalese President Macky Sall’s ruling party and the opposition both claimed victory after legislative elections on Sunday, while awaiting the release of official results. – Reuters

Leaders of African countries are likely to use the next UN climate summit in November to push for massive new investment in fossil fuels in Africa, according to documents seen by the Guardian. – The Guardian

The Americas

A potentially costly US-led complaint against Mexico’s energy policy has stirred considerable concern inside the Mexican government in spite of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s defiant attitude, officials and people close to the matter say. – Fox News

Iran has been seeking to increase its influence in South America and undermine American interests and security, drawing little response from the Biden administration as it tries to salvage the Obama-era nuclear agreement with the country. – Fox News

Walter Russell Mead writes: President Biden can still put his administration, the country and the world on a more hopeful course. But you can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge you have one. Until and unless Team Biden can shake off the failed assumptions and habits of the Obama years, American foreign policy seems fated to flounder as geopolitical and economic storm winds continue to rise. – Wall Street Journal


Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP.O) beat estimates with a 2% gain in second-quarter profit, boosted by double-digit growth in revenue from products and subscriptions to protect cloud and other networks from escalating cyber attacks. – Reuters

North Koreans are plagiarizing online resumes and pretending to be from other countries to get remote work at cryptocurrency firms to aid illicit money-raising efforts for the government, cybersecurity researchers say following a US warning on a similar scheme in May. – Bloomberg

The Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL) warned on Monday that hackers have found a security breach on Facebook to target Israeli business pages. – Ynet


A military training exercise recently prepared troops to aid in the aftermath of potential hypersonic missile attacks on U.S. cities. – Newsweek

The testing of four unmanned surface vessels at the Rim of the Pacific 2022 exercise will help the U.S. Navy kick off a program of record for a large USV in 2025 and help determine if there’s a need for a medium USV in the future hybrid manned-unmanned fleet, program officials said. – Defense News

U.S. Special Operations Command on Monday announced it has selected the AT-802U Sky Warden, made by L3Harris Technologies and Air Tractor, for its Armed Overwatch program. – Defense News

Senate lawmakers want to boost the Space Force’s budget by more than $2 billion to support missile warning satellite development, responsive launch capabilities and improved testing and training infrastructure. – Defense News

Amid pressure from U.S. lawmakers, the White House is weighing a September rollout for its long-delayed National Security Strategy, now being rewritten to emphasize Russia alongside China following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Defense News has learned. – Defense News

The Missile Defense Agency awarded Northrop Grumman a contract potentially worth more than $3 billion to integrate and manage weapon systems within the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system designed to defend the U.S. homeland from intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran. – Defense News

The U.S. is closer to conflict in the Pacific than it is to peace, the head of U.S. 3rd Fleet said, and the command structure must change to reflect that. – Defense News

Long War

The White House said Monday that a U.S. missile launched from a drone in Afghanistan killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, a founding member of the jihadist movement and one of the key strategists behind an international campaign of terror that culminated in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

Al Qaeda’s next leader will likely be more brutal than his predecessors to attract a younger generation of terrorists, an Army special operations veteran and drone expert told Fox News. – Fox News

Editorial: The strike should be a warning to the Taliban that abetting al Qaeda is a bad survival strategy. If terrorists based in Afghanistan plot and kill Americans, the Taliban should understand that their leaders will also be targets. – Wall Street Journal

Marc A. Thiessen writes: Yes, it is good that we killed Zawahiri — and Biden deserves credit for the strike. But he also deserves blame for creating the conditions that allowed the world’s most-wanted terrorist to move to downtown Kabul and set up operations in a city that had been liberated from al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies with the blood of courageous American service members. […]The fact that al-Qaeda’s leader was in Kabul is Biden’s greatest foreign policy disgrace. – Washington Post

Fred Fleitz writes: History shows that whenever terrorist groups like al Qaeda or ISIS establish strongholds, they will eventually use them as launching pads to spread their insurgency to other areas, often with major acts of terrorism. There is a high probability of this happening again. Hopefully, President Biden’s decision to take out Ayman al-Zawahri is an indication that he and his senior officials recognize this and that the drone strike that killed him was not done principally to score political points. – Fox News