Fdd's overnight brief

August 25, 2023

In The News


Seventy years after a CIA-orchestrated coup toppled Iran’s prime minister, its legacy remains both contentious and complicated for the Islamic Republic as tensions stay high with the United States. – Associated Press

Two people have been killed and five injured after a gas leak caused a blast at Iran’s Hashemi-Nezhad refinery, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday. – Reuters

Afshin Javan has been appointed as Iran’s OPEC acting governor replacing Amir Hossein Zamaninia, the Oil Ministry’s SHANA news agency reported on Thursday. – Reuters

While Iran and the US make wary diplomatic overtures, a return to their lapsed nuclear agreement remains a distant prospect. But for world oil markets, a pact is already taking effect. – Bloomberg

Iran’s judiciary has once again warned government opponents not to take to the streets to mark the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini next month as tensions rise a year after the 22-year-old died while in police custody for an alleged violation of the country’s head scarf law. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

As Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presses on with an ambitious set of reforms aimed at establishing the Kingdom as a leading international player, the powerful aspiring monarch is also revamping his foreign policy to engage diplomatically with top rival Iran in a bid to achieve the regional stability necessary to fulfill his “Vision 2030” plan. – Newsweek

Gallant, in his comments, added, “It is important to understand the significant change that is taking place on the ground – it is related to Iranian funding, and to the proliferation of weapons under the Iranian directive. Iran seeks every means to harm the citizens of Israel.” – Jerusalem Post

Iranian-made attack drones recovered in neighboring Iraq and far-flung Ukraine are symptomatic of a regime hungry for international influence, according to U.S. intelligence officials involved in the stateside review of the weapons. – Defense News

Russia & Ukraine

The apparent deaths of Wagner chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin and two top lieutenants in a plane crash Wednesday have brought the mercenary group that for a decade fought to advance the Kremlin’s goals in Ukraine and beyond closer to an end — the main question left being which remnants of its once-sprawling empire will Russian President Vladimir Putin take over. – Washington Post

The United States will begin instructing Ukrainian pilots in flying F-16 aircraft in Arizona this fall, the Pentagon said Thursday, as the Biden administration moves to expand the U.S. role in the fighter jet training program amid intensified pleas from Kyiv. – Washington Post

Aviation experts broadly agreed Thursday that the business jet reportedly carrying Wagner Group leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin and other top members of the mercenary outfit experienced a catastrophic structural failure when it crashed Wednesday and evidence points away from a simple mechanical problem or human error. – Washington Post

When the jet believed to be carrying Yevgeniy Prigozhin and several top commanders of the Wagner paramilitary group fell from the sky west of Moscow on Wednesday, its destruction sent a terrifying message to Russia’s elite, even though the cause of the crash may never be conclusively known. – Washington Post

Some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foes, among them journalists and opposition politicians, have died or fallen ill in suspicious circumstances after opposing the Russian leader. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claimed on Thursday that its special forces had staged a brief raid inside the occupied Crimean Peninsula overnight and clashed with Russian forces. If confirmed, the incursion, though apparently small, would suggest the Ukrainian military’s growing ability to strike far behind Russian lines even if such attacks are unlikely to have a significant effect on the direction of the war. – New York Times

When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia let the mercenary tycoon Yevgeny V. Prigozhin escape seemingly unscathed after launching a mutiny in June, critics around the world seized on the Russian leader’s apparent show of wartime weakness. Some even said the brief rebellion presaged the start of the post-Putin era. – New York Times

The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against 11 Russians and two re-education facilities reportedly involved in the forced transfer of thousands of Ukrainian children, accusing Moscow of war crimes and crimes against humanity. – Associated Press

Ukraine on Thursday marked its second Independence Day since Russia’s full-scale invasion, with officials vowing to keep up their fight to drive out the Kremlin’s forces and local people remembering their fallen loved ones. – Associated Press

A group of Russian militants who fight on the Ukrainian side called on the Wagner Group of mercenaries to switch sides and join their ranks to revenge the deaths of Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and their commander Dmitry Utkin. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to the family of Yevgeny Prigozhin on Thursday, breaking his silence after the mercenary leader’s plane crashed with no survivors two months after he led a mutiny against army chiefs. – Reuters 

At least one person was killed and 16 people were wounded in Russian attacks across Ukraine on Thursday, local officials said, as Kyiv marked 32 years of independence from Moscow. – Reuters

Following the presumed death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, members of his mercenary group have started leaving their large base in Belarus, according to reports. – Newsweek

Editorial: Thus, Putin himself will play a key role in determining the outcome of sanctions. Will he keep doubling down on mobilization until the economic consequences lead to some kind of revolt, and potentially put someone even more dangerous in charge of Russia’s nuclear arsenal? Or will he choose a less disruptive path, seeking a peace deal that might allow Russia to pivot back to a more normal economy? Western leaders of course prefer the latter option. To that end, even as they maintain solidarity, toughen sanctions and close loopholes, they should continue to seek opportunities to offer Putin a way out of the disastrous course he has set. Simply bringing Russia to its knees won’t end well for anyone. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: He was a cruel warlord who did Putin’s dirty work, and then sought to redeem himself before caving. His most notable legacy, however, may be in revealing Putin’s vulnerability at a time when the Russian leader needed more than anything to project strength amid the stalled Ukraine offensive. Yevgeny Prigozhin will go down in history as a powerful Russian figure who almost changed the course of history. – Jerusalem Post

Serge Schmemann writes: The need to enforce personal loyalty has become even more critical with the invasion of Ukraine, an operation linked directly to Mr. Putin that is amassing a terrible cost in lives, treasure and international standing. Given Mr. Prigozhin’s sordid history, it remains possible that new and perhaps surprising revelations about this crash still lie ahead. But if it turns out that this was not Mr. Putin’s doing, it may only be because someone beat him to it. – New York Times

Max Hastings writes: War cannot, alas, be ended like a baseball game, to suit the convenience of an impatient throng of spectators wanting their dinners. As Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week, responding to skeptical questioning about his country’s offensive: “It’s easy to say that you want everything faster when you are not there.” – Bloomberg 

Max Abrahms writes: The killing of Prigozhin may reveal that snuffing out potential political rivals is more important to Putin than any geopolitical sacrifices further from home. It also undercuts a prominent argument propagated by Western war enthusiasts in June—that Putin will back down when threatened. Rather than letting Prigozhin off easy, Putin appears to have murdered him in dramatic fashion. – Newsweek

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Kyiv will not be deterred by Washington, nor by the “unnamed officials” who keep criticizing Ukraine’s deep strikes on Crimea. Rather than undermine Zelensky and his generals’ Crimea strategy, Biden needs to get out in front, to ensure Kyiv has everything it requires — engineering equipment, weapons, munitions and intelligence to liberate the entirety of Crimea. – The Hill 

Dov S. Zakheim writes: The leaks seem to reflect an effort to convince Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to come to the negotiating table with Russia, thereby implicitly conceding the loss of some territory to Moscow. Unless the White House is itself behind these leaks — and it has denied that it is — the most meaningful way it can demonstrate its credibility is to continue to stand foursquare behind Zelensky’s refusal to negotiate; to maintain its vocal support for Ukraine’s ongoing fight for its freedom and independence; and to provide Kyiv the wherewithal to continue to do so. – The Hill 

Stephen Blank writes:  As The Economist observed, Putin’s modus operandi is escalation, not cutting his losses. Thus, the West must upgrade its policy to allow Ukraine to decisively win this war. Failure to achieve victory all but ensures further Russian threats to Europe but also to the idea of deterrence. And if those threats are not vital U.S. interests, what threats are? – The Hill 

Alexander Palmer and Delaney Duff write: Declassification is therefore an incomplete solution that carries some political risk, but these facts should not prevent declassification. The corrosive effect of Russian disinformation endangers political support for Ukraine, and it is in the interest of Kyiv and its backers to aggressively combat Russia’s attempts to paint the Ukrainian military as war criminals. – Defense News

Alexander Palmer, Delaney Duff, Jennifer Jun, and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. write: If Ukraine is to continue or expand its strikes against Russian ships in the Black Sea, it should expect Russia to claim that Kyiv’s actions represented illegal targeting of civilian shipping. Ukraine and its supporters should be ready to weather such a disinformation campaign. It is Russia, not Ukraine, that is militarizing the Black Sea. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Elina Beketova writes: Despite Russian propaganda and amid all the destruction, surveillance, and repression, many Mariupol residents believe their ruined city can still be liberated and saved. “If I were to paint an image of Ukraine, I would paint an image of Mariupol. It should become a matter of principle for the whole world to restore the city,” Andriushchenko said. “It should become a symbol of security and the border between civilization and barbarism.” – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Michael Peck writes: To defeat the Russian invasion, Ukraine will need a large and well-equipped air force, and that means Western fighters such as the F-16 and Sweden’s Gripen. […] New arms should be seen as incrementally boosting Ukrainian military power, rather than decisive instruments in themselves. Pinning hopes on miracle weapons only deepens the disappointment when they inevitably fail to deliver miracles. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Clara Broekaert and Colin P. Clarke write: Prigozhin’s presumed assassination could still lead to some blowback for Putin. Following his death, a post on Wagner’s Telegram channel, Grey Zone, declared that “the head of the Wagner Group, Hero of Russia, a true patriot to his Motherland, Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, died as a result of the actions of traitors to Russia.” The only guarantee is that whatever the next iteration of the Wagner Group looks like, extreme violence and the broadcasting thereof will remain integral to its brand. – Foreign Policy 

Audrey Kurth Cronin writes: The role of popular support will remain crucial. High-end military technological innovation in conventional forces will be necessary but not sufficient in any future war. The United States and its democratic allies should take a broader societal approach that prepares the public to be technologically savvy long before war begins. Citizens should be ready, as Ukraine’s population was, to resist psychological manipulation and employ accessible digital technologies in a sophisticated way.  – War on the Rocks 


An explosion ripped through a Hamas militant site in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday, Palestinian authorities said, killing one militant and seriously wounding another. – Associated Press

Mahmoud Issa, Ahmed Issa, and Galal Harsa, residents of Kafr Kassem; and Noach Asam, a resident of Lod, allegedly were part of a smuggling ring that was involved in receiving and distributing illegal drugs from Hezbollah. The terrorist organization manages a global narcotics network as part of its financing operations. – Jerusalem Post

Police uncovered a tunnel in Nazareth used by criminal organizations to hide weapons and members of the organizations, police said on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

Hazem Qassem, an official spokesman for the Hamas terrorist organization, said on Thursday that talks are currently being held with mediators, in particular Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, in an attempt to calm the security tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. – Arutz Sheva

The U.S. government called on Israel on Wednesday to thoroughly and objectively investigate footage taken on Monday in which a Palestinian was seen being shot, allegedly by Israeli Border Police soldiers, while his back was turned to them. – Ynet 

Prosecutors filed an indictment against Rahat resident Hamza Abu Zaila on Friday morning in the Southern District Court in Beersheba after he was accused of being a member of ISIS and trying to recruit others to the organization. – Jerusalem Post

Aaron Jacob writes: Hezbollah has all the attributes of a terrorist organization, foremost among them deliberate attacks against civilians to advance political goals. It threatens peace and security in the region and beyond and is the main obstacle to fulfilling UNIFIL’s mandate. The Security Council must use the powers conferred upon it by the UN Charter, including the authority to impose sanctions on terrorist organizations and their state sponsors, to uphold its resolutions. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Freund writes: But if there is to be any hope of putting an end to Palestinian terror, then its practitioners must be made to understand that for every attack they launch, the number of red-tile roofed Jewish homes filling the horizon outside their windows will only continue to grow. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s central bank raised interest rates to 25 percent from 17.5 percent on Thursday, a big jump that underscored a shift by the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, toward a more orthodox monetary policy to control inflation that exceeded an annual rate of 80 percent last year. – New York Times

A Turkish airstrike in northern Iraq on Thursday killed three members of a Kurdish insurgent group, officials said, as Ankara’s top diplomat visited the seat of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish regional government. – Associated Press

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Hakan Fidan arrived in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq on Thursday. He is meeting with key officials in Erbil. The trip to Erbil comes after Fidan was in Baghdad earlier this week in Baghdad he met with Iraqi counterparts and discussed a new permanent joint committee that will be established to deal with water issues that affect Iraq. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Saudi Arabia is weighing a Chinese bid to build a nuclear-power plant in the kingdom, Saudi officials familiar with the matter said, in a move designed to pressure the Biden administration to compromise on its conditions for U.S. help in the kingdom’s quest for nuclear power. – Wall Street Journal

Some of the US’s top Middle Eastern allies — including the world’s biggest oil exporter — are moving closer into the orbit of China and Russia, further complicating geopolitics upended by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg

A day before mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane crash, a Russian official visited Libya to reassure allies that fighters from the Wagner Group would remain in the country — but under Moscow’s control. – Reuters 

A Turkish drone strike in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled northeast on Wednesday killed the driver of a car and wounded a journalist traveling with him, according to the local media outlet for which they worked, a medical source and a security source. – Reuters 

Air traffic controllers at Lebanon’s only civilian airport announced on Thursday they would go on strike next month over severe staffing shortages, partially closing the Beirut hub. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: BRICS is swinging big with its decision to invite so many Middle East countries to join. This also shows that analysts who believed the Middle East would be less important in the future, and that the US should shift its focus to Russia or China, are ignoring how important the Middle East is to China, Russia, India, and others. The Middle East has become more important in recent years, not less important, and BRICS acknowledges this – while some Western countries have apparently missed the boat in seeing the region as one that is declining in importance. – Jerusalem Post

Yahya Alqahtani writes: The GCC’s shift from oil wells to power cells is more than just an energy transition — it’s a strategic recalibration. By embracing the potential of battery technology, these nations are not just preparing for a post-oil future but are actively shaping it. The new chapter they write could very well determine the future of global energy. With their vast resources, strategic location, as well as commitment to sustainability, the Gulf hydrocarbon-exporting countries are uniquely positioned to become major players in the global battery supply chain. As the era of oil dominance wanes, batteries are quickly becoming the next “black gold,” redefining the political and economic dynamics of the region in ways we are just beginning to understand. – Middle East Institute  

Korean Peninsula

North Korea accused the United States on Thursday of driving the Ukraine crisis toward a global nuclear disaster by supplying F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv’s forces, saying Washington had no right to criticise Pyongyang’s military cooperation with Russia. – Reuters

North Korea said on Thursday Japan should immediately halt the release of wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, state media reported, hours after Japan began releasing treated water into the Pacific Ocean. – Reuters

North Korea appears to have made progress in its space program, despite a second rocket failure on Thursday, but its unusually quick launch pace may be causing problems, analysts said. – Reuters

It turns out that South Korea and Japan now have yet one more insoluble, never-ending issue to upset all attempts at patching up their centuries of hostility — and, strangely, it’s in the water. – New York Sun


Seven years ago he posted a photo of himself on Twitter in a T-shirt that referred to Xi Jinping, China’s authoritarian leader, as “Xitler.” This, and a spate of similarly provocative antigovernment comments from Mr. Kwon, who lived in the northeastern Chinese city of Yanbian, led to a charge of inciting subversion and a stint in prison. – New York Times

The tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began releasing its first batch of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday — a controversial step that prompted China to ban seafood from Japan. – Associated Press

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visits China from Sunday to shore up ties between two global superpowers that are increasingly drifting apart economically and looking to ship and source goods closer to home. – Reuters

Mickey D. Levy writes: The U.S. and other countries are working to limit investment to China and the export of advanced semiconductors and quantum-computing capabilities. This will limit China’s ability to acquire components, technology and other critical elements that fueled its economic growth. Current attempts to achieve GDP growth above 2% to 3% would lead to more undesirable excess. Chinese leaders must deal with the social fallout, and global economies must adjust to the realities of China’s diminished potential. – Wall Street Journal 

Pankaj Mishra writes: Nor can it plausibly claim, while banning rice and sugar exports, to lead the Global South. China’s better credentials in this regard are also fading as it scrambles to contain a mounting economic crisis. Perhaps, we won’t have to wait until the bigger summit of BRICS, hosted by Putin in Russia next year, to notice the gaping void of meaning at the heart of an expanding acronym. – Bloomberg

Karishma Vaswani writes: Next week provides another opportunity for the two superpowers to sit down and talk, when the Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo becomes the fourth high-level US official to visit China since June. The economic slowdown is bringing with it new pressures for Beijing. Chinese officials may well be distracted by trying to stave off that financial malaise, but that shouldn’t put the US off. Cooler heads can and should prevail. Reason and cooperation should replace rhetoric and bluster. – Bloomberg 

Tom Rogan writes: Put simply, Japan’s Fukushima water plan can be trusted as environmentally sound. Considering its own environmental record, China’s complaints should be treated with nothing but disdain. Indeed, the world should consider the opposite of what Beijing says on environmental issues to be more likely the truth. – Washington Examiner

Robert A. Manning writes: Though the results of Biden’s skillful diplomacy may not be everything claimed, deeper trilateral cooperation is shaped by a perilous Asia-Pacific security reality likely to get worse before it gets better. The hope is the divide between the U.S. coalition and the grouping of China-Russia-North Korea tilts toward a more stable balance of power, rather than more fragmentation and conflict. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg and highlighted concerns India has about border issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India’s foreign secretary said. – Reuters

A 38-year-old Burmese hip-hop artist has been found guilty of criticizing Myanmar’s military-controlled government and sentenced to 20 years in prison, a family member said Thursday. – Associated Press

India hopes to convince members of the G20 grouping of nations to find amicable solutions to geopolitical issues, its G20 summit negotiator Amitabh Kant said on Friday, responding to a query on the Russia-Ukraine war. – Reuters


Japan’s defence ministry on Friday said it scrambled jet fighters to monitor two Chinese air force bombers flying between Okinawa and Miyako islands in the morning. – Reuters

China may be Japan’s top seafood export market but marine products make up less than 1% of Tokyo’s global trade, which is dominated by cars, so that Beijing’s seafood ban on its neighbour is more of a political gesture, analysts say. – Reuters

Taiwan’s defence ministry reported renewed Chinese military activity around the island on Friday, including 13 aircraft entering Taiwan’s “response” zone and five ships carrying out combat readiness patrols. – Reuters

The Philippines is stepping up efforts to make sure people around the world can see for themselves what it says are “aggressive” acts by Chinese ships in the South China Sea in a bid to pressure Beijing to change its ways. – Bloomberg 

A member of Thailand’s influential Shinawatra clan and two leading banking executives are among contenders for the finance minister’s job as Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin picks his team to run Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. – Bloomberg

Australian and Filipino forces, backed by U.S. Marines, practiced retaking an island seized by hostile forces in a large military drill Friday on the northwestern Philippine coast facing the disputed South China Sea. – Associated Press


When Giorgia Meloni was running to become Italy’s first far-right head of government of the post-war era, she steeped her winning campaign in the sharply ideological rhetoric of national sovereignty, “traditional families” and fear of migrants. – Associated Press

The Dutch government will nominate outgoing Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra as an EU commissioner, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday, confirming media reports. – Reuters

Serbia on Wednesday joined a Ukraine-led platform on the reintegration of Crimea, signalling a swing away from Russia, a historical ally and its sole supplier of natural gas. – Reuters

Leon Hartwell and Jack Galloway write: Western allies must understand that an assembly will not ameliorate tensions between the two nations, but rather tip the scale of power still further in the direction of Vučić’s autocratic regime. Instead of castigating a fledgling democracy for defending its sovereignty, Western diplomats should stand with Kosovo in its fight for a multiethnic, liberal democracy. The ultimate goal should be to strengthen a pluralistic democracy in the Balkans, not undermine it. – Center for European Policy Analysis  


The West African bloc ECOWAS rejected the proposal by Niger’s mutinous soldiers for a three-year transition to democratic rule, with a commissioner describing the slow timeline as a provocation. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the BRICS summit in South Africa on Thursday that Moscow intends to deepen ties with African countries, and that it would remain a reliable partner for food and fuel supplies. – Reuters 

China’s leader Xi Jinping told African leaders at a meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit on Thursday that China would launch initiatives to support Africa’s industrialisation and agricultural modernisation. – Reuters 

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on six Congolese and Rwandan members of the armed forces or militias over their alleged part in fuelling the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. – Reuters

Niger has authorised Mali and Burkina Faso’s armed forces to intervene on its territory in case of an attack, the countries said in a joint statement on Thursday, a possible sign the junta in Niger plans to keep resisting regional pressure to stand down. – Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will visit Eswatini, the island’s last African ally, early next month, the government said on Friday, looking to shore up ties at a time China is whittling away at the small number of countries still sticking by Taipei. – Reuters 

The New Development Bank created by BRICS countries in 2015 can help finance African countries’ projects to tackle their most urgent challenges, the bank’s president Dilma Rousseff said on Thursday. – Reuters

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said a swift, peaceful restoration of democratic order in neighboring Niger is crucial and that he is pushing back against pressure to apply military force. –  Bloomberg

Latin America

The Organization of American States’ human rights commission asked Thursday that Guatemala provide protection for Bernardo Arévalo, the winner of the country’s Aug. 20 elections, after reports emerged of a possible plot to kill him. – Associated Press

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday said the BRICS countries support the inclusion of the African Union in the Group of 20 nations. – Reuters 

Venezuela’s congress approved a new electoral board Thursday dominated by senior figures from the socialist regime, including two who are sanctioned by the US Treasury. – Bloomberg

Leading presidential candidates at Buenos Aires are pushing back against joining a Beijing-led grouping known as Brics, which on Thursday offered an invitation for Argentina to join in. – New York Sun


North America

The head of Mexico’s commission leading the search for tens of thousands who have disappeared over past decades of violence has stepped down as critics accuse the government of trying to undermine the true numbers of the missing in the run-up to presidential elections. – Associated Press

Canada said on Friday it will participate as a third party in the dispute settlement proceedings between the U.S. and Mexico regarding genetically modified (GM) corn in imported tortillas and dough, citing concerns about Mexico’s stance on the matter. – Reuters

Canadian authorities have updated their sanctions list to include another 29 Russian companies. The restrictions were imposed against several banks and financial institutions, as well as research centers and some other design and construction organizations. The updated sanctions list also targets subsidiaries of Rosatom, including companies that are a part of Russia’s nuclear weapons complex and the export agency that sells atomic technology abroad. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

United States

Donald Trump surrendered at an Atlanta jail on Thursday and was booked on felony charges alleging he participated in a sweeping criminal conspiracy to illegally overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia — an unprecedented moment resulting in the first mug shot of a former American president. – Washington Post

Editorial: Generations of Americans have defended freedom. In our time, Ukraine is the front line. America’s 2024 election is shaping up to be one of the most important battles in Ukraine’s war for national survival. As the campaign proceeds, it is critical for those on the right side of this issue to continue to speak forcefully — and for Republican voters to listen. – Washington Post

Editorial: GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy suggests the U.S. make concessions to Putin to reduce his cooperation with China. This misreads both the rationale for Putin’s deference to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin’s nature. The Russian leader views America as his KGB forefathers did: as Russia’s “main adversary.” Prigozhin’s murder shows how Putin treats adversaries. Washington doesn’t need to suspend dialogue with Russia or push for regime change in Moscow. But it must not look at him through rose-tinted glasses. – Washington Examiner

Mark N. Katz writes: Like its allies, the United States should not refrain from cooperating with its adversaries when Washington deems this to be in American interests. At the same time, the United States should exercise forbearance when its allies do not go along with it even on some important issues so long as there are other important ones where joint cooperation can continue or be achieved. America, in short, needs to pursue a Palmerstonian foreign policy which avoids seeing the world in terms of eternal allies and perpetual enemies, but focuses instead on identifying and reassessing where American interests converge and diverge with those of other governments going forward. – The National Interest


People in the 27-nation European Union can alter some of what shows up when they search, scroll and share on the biggest social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook and other tech giants like Google and Amazon. – Associated Press

A hacking group calling itself “KittenSec” claims it has struck government and private sector computer systems in multiple NATO countries over the past month, justifying its attacks by arguing that it is exposing corruption. – CyberScoop

Researchers at Microsoft said on Thursday that a hacking group with suspected links to the Chinese government is actively targeting dozens of organizations in Taiwan as part of a cyber espionage campaign. – CyberScoop


The U.S. Navy awarded its largest contract yet for the CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter program, with a $2.77 billion contract Thursday for 35 aircraft. – Defense News

The Turkish defense company Havelsan last week demonstrated a key milestone of its Digital Troop project in the country’s capital Ankara — an effort focused on digital technology for troops and drone swarms. – Defense News

Emirati defense conglomerate EDGE Group announced today it will join forces with the Brazilian Air Force’s Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA) to co-develop unmanned and autonomous systems, smart weapons and air and space projects. – Breaking Defense