Fdd's overnight brief

August 29, 2022

In The News


Iran and Russia are forging tighter ties than ever, as their international isolation drives the two staunch American foes toward more trade and military cooperation, alarming Washington. – Wall Street Journal

The United States and Iran have found a way to address the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s investigations of Tehran’s atomic program that allows both to claim victory for now but delays a final resolution, according to three sources familiar with the matter. – Reuters

A German tourist has been detained in Iran, the German foreign ministry said on Saturday, declining to give further details beyond saying the man was receiving consular assistance. – Reuters

Iran’s president warned Monday that any roadmap to restore Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers must see international inspectors end their probe on man-made uranium particles found at undeclared sites in the country. – Associated Press

Iran said back-and-forth exchanges with the US over a European Union proposal to revive the nuclear deal will drag on into next month. – Bloomberg

The US and Iran remain at loggerheads over key details of an emerging deal to revive a landmark nuclear agreement and may need several weeks to resolve their differences, according to officials familiar with the talks. – Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that the fate of a revived nuclear deal is up to Iran, and that an agreement would be “useful” even if it doesn’t settle everything. – Agence France-Presse

Despite being a Sunni Muslim, Kalim admired what had happened in 1979 in Iran – a predominantly Shia Muslim country. He viewed the revolution as having freed Islam from Western domination by overthrowing the Western-backed Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. – BBC

Prime Minister Yair Lapid was surprised by Mossad chief David Barnea’s harsh warnings about an emerging Iran nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers, according to Friday reports. – Times of Israel

Iran Army Ground Forces Commander General Kioumars Heydari was quoted as having said that this drone is capable of carrying out strikes with either the Almas missile or the Ghaem bomb. Iran often boasts of its military accomplishments, though it is not always possible to say with certainty that it is telling the truth about those accomplishments. – Arutz Sheva

The Iranian Greco-Roman wrestling champion Mohammad Ali Geraei praised Adolf Hitler as an inspirational leader. – Jerusalem Post

The draft agreement for a revived nuclear deal with Iran outlines a timeframe of 165 days from the date of signing before the treaty goes into full effect. According to the understandings that appear in the European Union’s draft proposal presented last month, the treaty will be completed only after four rounds designed to establish trust between the parties. – Haaretz 

If no last-minute problems crop up, Iran is expected to deliver its response to American reservations about Tehran’s latest demands by the end of the week. Several Iranian lawmakers estimated that the expected American response may leave no other choice than to engage in a further round of talks to “polish” and “explicate” the final version of the accord. The working hypothesis is that the remaining controversies will not be an obstacle to signing the agreement. – Haaretz 

On “day zero,” the day on which the deal would be signed, the Joint Commission founded when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the Iran nuclear deal is known, was formed in 2015, would convene without the US, which would only be able to join the commission 165 days later. – Jerusalem Post

Russia has significantly ramped up gold exports to China as Western governments closed their markets to the precious metal over the war in Ukraine, media outlet RBC reported Friday citing Chinese customs data. – The Moscow Times

Dov S. Zakheim writes: The White House should act quickly to brief Congress and should proceed with extreme caution before it enters into any undertakings with Iran that could result in even more instability in the Eastern Mediterranean than already is the case. – The Hill 

Michael Rubin writes: Wars in the Middle East erupt not because of oil or water but rather because of overconfidence. This is the real danger. Biden may believe he is furthering diplomacy, but by convincing Tehran that it can act without consequence, he is setting the stage for a real “forever war” across the region. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: With Russia distracted by the Ukraine war and angered by close ties between the US, Israel and the West; Russia could try to let Iran conduct more operations in Syria which threaten Israel. In addition there could be more Russia-Iran defense cooperation which could impact drone sales and also Central Asia. This could enable Iran to increase its defense abilities in missile, space and drones. All of this could lead to more Iranian threats either from Syria, Lebanon, Yemen or other places. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s success with the Mohajer 6 and other larger drones, and putting missiles on them, is still a major hurdle for Tehran, especially if it wants to export them in the future. Iran has learned from Turkey’s success exporting the Bayraktar that it needs a consistent platform that can be armed. For that reason, it wants its capabilities to be publicized in foreign reports. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: It will be interesting to see if Lapid stays in office past the November election, and whether at some point he will strike a more independent tone from Barnea. Some of this may come assuming Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz follow through soon on appointing a new IDF chief of their choosing. At this critical juncture in the Iran nuclear standoff, Barnea will have an almost free hand regardless of what the piece of paper says on which representatives from Washington and Tehran sign their names. – Jerusalem Post

Salem Alketbi writes: Iran has not hesitated to make bad use of it, which undermines regional and global security, since the beginning of its ascent up the nuclear ladder. The threat will not recede or be pushed aside. It will run its course, and the next one will be even worse, especially given the new international balance of power, international polarization, Europe’s need for Iranian oil, and the need of all competing international powers to engage Iran, which plays well in this tense environment to achieve its strategic objectives. – Jerusalem Post

Catherine Perez-Shakdam writes: Like its Iranian master, IHRC declares its struggle to be one of liberation in the face of injustice – on the basis, of course, that such justice is seen through the lens of its fundamentalism. For an organization that proffers its dedication to fairness and equality, sectarianism remains a recurrent theme, so does its call to restrict freedom of the press and free speech. But that is not what should worry us… if only! – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

For weeks, Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for firing artillery at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine, the largest power station in Europe, in a series of attacks that imperil not just the region, but also the whole world. – New York Times

As renewed shelling intensified fears about a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the Ukrainian authorities stepped up emergency drills on Saturday and rushed to hand out potassium iodide, a drug that can protect people from radiation-induced thyroid cancer, to tens of thousands of people living near the facility. – New York Times

Russia blocked the adoption of a joint statement to close out a United Nations conference on an ongoing nuclear arms treaty, Western officials said, a diplomatic broadside that underscored the global ramifications of the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

It was pure performance art, pointedly aimed at irking the Kremlin: a mock parade staged by Ukraine featuring dozens of captured Russian tanks in Kyiv’s central avenue. More substantively, Ukraine has delivered strikes into the heart of Russian strongholds once considered untouchable, including an explosion at a base in Crimea that destroyed eight warplanes. – New York Times

Russia is moving to significantly bolster its forces in Ukraine as its campaign to secure territory in the country’s east and south stalls ahead of planned plebiscites on annexation by Russia. – Wall Street Journal

The Pentagon has expanded its use of maritime shipping to deliver weapons for the war in Ukraine, U.S. defense officials said, after relying heavily on aircraft early in Russia’s invasion to get arms to Kyiv as quickly as possible. – Washington Post

The U.N. nuclear watchdog will inspect the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine this week, it said on Twitter on Monday. – Reuters

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, occupied by Moscow’s troops, came back online Friday, the state operator said after Kyiv claimed it was cut from the national power grid by Russian shelling. – Agence France-Presse

Merchant sailors will be allowed to leave Ukraine if they receive approval from their local military administrative body, the Ukrainian prime minister said on Saturday, a move that could ease the process of shipping grain from the country’s ports. – Reuters

French energy firm TotalEnergies said Friday it was divesting its stake in a Russian gas field that was reported this week to be providing fuel that ends up in Russian fighter jets. – Agence France-Presse

Ukrainian rocket fire hit an important bridge used by Russian occupying forces in southern Kherson region on Friday and put it out of action, Ukraine’s southern military command said. – Reuters

The war in Ukraine could last for years, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, assuring the country’s continued support from Europe’s biggest economy. – Politico

A 24-year-old man from Memphis, Tenn., was the latest American killed in the conflict in Ukraine, according to reports that he died fighting Russian forces in the contested Donbas region. – The Hill 

Serge Schmemann writes: But these are differences that can be resolved, ‌through quiet negotiations, ‌if both sides agree on the larger imperative of avoiding a nuclear disaster, which be as disastrous for Russia as for Ukraine or any other territory the radiation might reach. – New York Times

Kateryna Stepanenko, Layne Philipson, Angela Howard, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russia has further begun to implement strategies similar to those used by Iran in attempt to manipulate and possibly delay an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to the plant in the near future. – Institute for the Study of War

Mark F. Cancian writes: The administration may need to ask Congress for more money soon. Although the bipartisan consensus for supporting Ukraine remains strong, there may be a fight with the progressive left and isolationist right about the wisdom of sending money abroad when there are pressing needs at home. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Dmitri Alperovitch and Sergey Radchenko write: Ironically, Russia could have secured a future in which it peacefully coexisted with the West if not for Putin’s most recent imperial designs. Instead, his aggression in Ukraine has made Russia’s—and the United States’—task much more difficult. But there is still an opportunity for correcting Putin’s senseless and criminal mistakes, even if Russia must first be punished. – Foreign Affairs

Jason W. Davidson writes: Despite these reasons for optimism, the stakes require continued vigilance. The Biden administration must continue to pay close attention to the signals Russia sends in reaction to Ukraine’s battlefield successes or any new Western military aid to Ukraine. Relatedly, American officials should not assume that they can keep any weapons they supply to Ukraine secret. Finally, the United States also needs to continue to pressure Ukraine to not use Western military aid in ways that are likely to trigger an escalation from Moscow. – The National Interest


Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen while operating in the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya on Monday morning, the military said. Palestinian media reports said soldiers surrounded a building in the town near Jenin where several suspects were holed up and called on them to surrender. – Times of Israel

In a rare joint TV interview, five former chiefs of staff of the Israel Defense Forces discussed their decades-long efforts to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, with several saying that they believe that a breakdown in internal social cohesion presents a greater threat to Israel than Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state. – Times of Israel

Shots were fired Sunday night at two Israel Defense Forces positions near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and the Palestinian town of Silwad, the military said. – Times of Israel

Mossad chief David Barnea will travel to Washington next week as part of Israel’s intensifying efforts to shape the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, which in its current form both Barnea and senior government figures have lambasted as a bad deal. – Times of Israel

Israel and the US are looking to set up a meeting between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden next month, as Washington appears nearer to signing onto a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, according to a Saturday report. – Times of Israel

As Tehran and Washington review the European Union’s latest nuclear deal proposal, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid denounced the draft on Sunday as a “bad agreement,” claiming it does not reflect what he had talked about with U.S. President Joe Biden during his visit to Jerusalem last month. – Haaretz

Editorial: Far from transforming Palestinian refugees into self-sufficient individuals, UNRWA has fostered dependency and a culture of entitlement; given the Palestinians no motivation to return to the negotiating table in good faith; and furthered false dreams of a “right of return,” to destroy Israel, instead of building lives based on peace and economic security alongside the Jewish state. – Jerusalem Post

Barry Shaw writes: Even when Israel treats Palestinian Arabs with respect, we are portrayed as doing something devious. Instead, Israel should be applauded because this new service offers non-Israeli Arabs a far more convenient and cheaper way of flying to foreign destinations. Instead, one Jordanian parliamentarian, Khalil Attieh, threatened that any Palestinian Arab using Ramon Airport should be banned from entering Jordan. – Arutz Sheva

Gideon Levy writes: Iran certainly didn’t intend this, and neither did Israel, but in recent years nothing has served the Israeli occupation so much and so efficiently as the Iranian threat. Now all that’s left is only to hope that the agreement with Iran doesn’t take the matter off the agenda, perish the thought. Israel needs it like air to breathe. – Haaretz

Sajjad Safaei writes: This might further erode Israeli deterrence vis-à-vis Iran and its allies, thus unsettling a longstanding tenet of Israeli strategic thinking: that Israel must at all times be able and willing to eradicate even the most embryonic challenge to its military superiority deep inside enemy territory. But this is a far cry from constituting a serious and immediate threat to Israel’s existence. – Middle East Institute


That protest and those that followed grabbed global attention. A year on, Afghan women continue to take to the streets, but in ever-smaller numbers. Faced with an increasingly brutal Taliban crackdown, the movement has withered. Women have been forced into hiding; others have fled the country. Many groups have disbanded. – Washington Post

A U.S. judge on Friday recommended that victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks not be allowed to seize billions of dollars of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank to satisfy court judgments they obtained against the Taliban. – Reuters

In the 76 countries in which the US is currently fighting terrorism, at least three have been incredibly deadly: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. – Business Insider

The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan have shown no signs of moderation since taking over the country a year ago and the situation for people in the country remains “dire,” the EU’s top diplomat said in an analysis on the European Commission website. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Bulgarian authorities said police detained 141 migrants attempting to enter the country without permission, all of them believed to be men originating in Afghanistan. –  Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

When the United States pulled its troops from Afghanistan in a chaotic dash, the Biden administration and its critics traded fire over whether America could keep its borders safe from terrorist threats without boots on the ground. A year later, that debate is still raging. – The Hill 

There is a $10 million reward for information related to the terrorist who detonated a suicide vest and killed 13 U.S. service members and roughly 170 Afghan civilians, which the State Department announced earlier this year. – Washington Examiner

Ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Sunday that America is more likely to face another 9/11-type attack thanks to President Biden’s disastrous exit from Afghanistan last year. Pompeo, who served under former President Donald Trump, blasted Biden over how the US withdrew from the war-torn country, arguing the “debacle” has put the Taliban in “full control” there and made Americans less safe as a result. – New York Post


Militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards force attacked a U.S. military base in southern Syria with drones recently and on the same day, a different base used by the U.S.-led coalition near Syria’s eastern border with Iraq came under rocket fire. – New York Times

U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish security forces have launched a new operation targeting Islamic State sleeper cells in a large northeastern detention camp where violence has reached record levels. – Reuters

Russia forces based in Syria on Friday said four Israeli jets had launched a total of four cruise missiles and 16 guided aerial bombs against a research facility in the city of Masyaf on Thursday, Russian agencies reported. – Reuters

Deadly skirmishes have been on the rise in recent days between U.S. forces and Iran-aligned militias in Syria’s oil-rich east, where both have carved out strategic footholds […] The United States says its presence there aims to ensure the lasting defeat of IS, but skirmishes with Iran-backed groups have sporadically broken out over the last five years. – Reuters

Satellite imagery showed widespread destruction at a giant military facility in western Syria targeted in a recent Israeli airstrike, and the head of a Syrian opposition war monitor said Sunday the strike targeted a depot housing hundreds of middle-range missiles for Iran-backed fighters. – Associated Press

Russia has shipped its advanced S-300 air defense system in Syria back home amid its invasion of Ukraine, an Israeli satellite intelligence firm said Friday. – Times of Israel

New details of the 2012 massacre in the Syrian town of Daraya, during the early stages of the country’s civil war, have emerged in a comprehensive report issued on Thursday. – Times of Israel


The Turkish government played down a warning from the Biden administration that domestic companies here could face sanctions for doing business with Russian institutions. Turkey’s Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati on Friday said it would be “senseless” for the warning to cause concern in the Turkish business community. – Wall Street Journal

Greek air defense missile locked onto Turkish F-16 fighter jets flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement. – Bloomberg

Turkey on Friday said Sweden and Finland renewed their commitment to fight “terror” at the first meeting aimed at addressing Ankara’s conditions for accepting their NATO membership bids. – Agence France-Presse

Turkish pop star Gulsen has been arrested on charges of “inciting hatred and enmity” with a joke she made about Turkey’s religious schools, the country’s state-run news agency reported. – Associated Press

Under US sanctions for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich has reportedly found a safe haven for his super-yachts in Turkey, which has maintained diplomatic ties with Moscow throughout the war in Ukraine. – Times of Israel

Asli Aydintasbas writes: Erdogan’s diplomatic charm offensive is tactically smart — but it doesn’t change the reality that it is driven by an awareness of his dire domestic position. Despite Turkey’s authoritarian lurch, the electoral system remains competitive. Voters are unhappy about rampant inflation, chaotic economic mismanagement and the direction of the country overall. Injections of foreign cash might help to ward off an economic catastrophe, but in the end, Putin, Assad, and Mohammed bin Salman cannot determine the outcome of Turkey’s elections. Its citizens will. – Washington Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Although trade is important, beyond that it’s not clear how ties will work well. In the past Turkey wanted to help work on peace deals between Israel and the Palestinians, and even Israel and Syria. However, Ankara’s goals have shifted in that regard. Today, any kind of peace deal Ankara backs will involve moving Hamas closer to Ramallah and Jerusalem. Israel doesn’t want Hamas on its doorstep. That sets in motion an inevitable clash. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s military and intelligence unit “neutralised” nine members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in operations in northern Iraq, the Defence Ministry and state-run media said on Saturday. – Reuters

A small homemade explosive detonated on Friday near Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone as an Australian diplomatic convoy made its way into the area, two security officials told The Associated Press. – Associated Press

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi warned Saturday that the political crisis in the country is threatening security achievements made in past years. Al-Kadhimi’s warning is a clear indication of the dangers of one of Iraq’s worst political crises since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It is the result of disagreements between followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and rival Iran-backed groups since last year’s parliamentary elections. – Associated Press

Baghdad has threatened legal action against international buyers of crude oil from Iraq’s Kurdistan region, the latest move in an escalating row over oil exports. – Financial Times

Munqith Dagher writes: It is evident that the Iraqi political regime is on the verge of collapse, but the bigger question remains as to whether Sadr and his followers will be able to topple the regime with their broad popular coalition in the short term, or whether this be pushed further into the future—and perhaps into the hands of another popular force—if the Sadrists fail to take advantage of their present opportunity. – Washington Institute


A Lebanese submarine has found the remains of at least 10 migrants who drowned when their boat sank earlier this year off the coast of Lebanon with about 30 people on board, the navy announced Friday. – Associated Press

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah met with a delegation of senior Hamas officials in Beirut Sunday, according to the Lebanese-based Akhbar Al Yawm news agency. – Times of Israel

Hezbollah capped off the 40th anniversary of its founding on Monday with large-scale celebrations on a stage in southern Beirut that featured holograms of fighters killed in battle, and videos showing off the group’s historic confrontation with Israel. An interpretive dance, depicting how the group freed prisoners from ISIS in Syria, was a notable addition. – CNN

IDF soldiers acted to disperse a second gathering on the Lebanese border a short while ago, after firing to prevent intrusion along the same border earlier today. – Arutz Sheva


An economic crisis spurred by the Ukraine war is casting darkness upon Egypt’s streets, as the government dims lights to free up energy for export and bolster hard currency reserves. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had an immediate impact on Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer which has relied on the ex-Soviet states for over 80 percent of its grain. – Agence France-Presse

The IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav said on Sunday that the military has increased its success rates in thwarting drug and weapon smuggling attempts across the Jordanian and Egyptian borders. – Ynet

Women wearing hijabs (Muslim headscarves) are being discriminated against by businesses in Egypt, a BBC Arabic investigation has discovered. The evidence appears to violate Egypt’s constitution, which bans discrimination based on religion, sex, race or social class. Since 2015, some Egyptian women wearing a hijab have taken to social media to complain about such treatment. – BBC

Saudi Arabia

As Israeli politicians quarrel over how much influence they have, if any, when it comes to Washington’s efforts to renew the nuclear deal with Tehran, Saudi Arabia is launching a power play to prevent President Biden from easing Iran’s re-entry into global oil markets. – New York Sun

Saudi Arabia’s recent warning that OPEC+ could cut production sparked a rally in oil prices that analysts say was the intended purpose as threats to the kingdom’s revenue loom. – Business Insider

David Pollock writes: The Saudi public gave mixed reviews on issues such as normalization and ties with the United States, but remained mostly united regarding Russia’s actions in Ukraine and relations with Iran. – Washington Institute

Gulf States

When the United Arab Emirates forged diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, it redrew the geopolitical contours of a region in which Israel had previously been shunned. On a practical level, it allowed Israeli citizens to live and work in Dubai. – New York Times

The United Arab Emirates tried in 2017 to get a former Republican congressman appointed as US ambassador, but the plan was scuttled after he was arrested on fraud charges, prosecutors said in a separate case against a onetime fundraiser for Donald Trump. – Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates is aligned with Saudi Arabia’s thinking on crude oil markets, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

Kuwait will hold a parliamentary election on Sept. 29, state news agency KUNA reported, after the Gulf state’s crown prince moved to dissolve parliament in a bid to resolve a political standoff between the government and the elected legislature. – Reuters


Clashes in Libya’s capital killed more than two dozen people over the weekend, the deadliest fighting the war-torn country has experienced in more than two years as rival political factions vie for control of the oil-rich nation. – Wall Street Journal

A military convoy affiliated with the parliament-backed administration of Fathi Bashagha was heading towards Tripoli on Saturday from Zlitan near Misrata, an eyewitness said. – Reuters

Libya’s worst fighting for two years suddenly hit the capital, Tripoli, on Saturday. This explains what led to the violence, why it matters, and how things may play out. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

The leaders of France and Algeria took an important step Saturday toward mending relations scarred by disputes over migration and the legacy of colonial crimes, agreeing to cooperate on energy, security and reassessing their joint history. – Associated Press

Tunisia said Saturday it would recall its ambassador from Morocco for consultations, a day after the kingdom did the same in response to Tunisia’s president hosting the Polisario movement’s head. – Agence France-Presse

Israeli security forces busted a gun-smuggling network along the Jordanian border last weekend, arresting its leader and several members and seizing 10 handguns, law enforcement officials said Sunday. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created an opportunity for North Korea, which has strengthened its ties with Moscow and become one of its most outspoken backers. – Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s main opposition picked a high-profile rival of the president as its new leader, adding to the government’s challenges as it struggles to build support after three months in office. – Bloomberg

Two South Korean companies have signed a $5.76 billion contract with Poland to export tanks and howitzers, Seoul’s arms procurement agency said on Saturday, after Warsaw agreed to ramp up arms imports amid tensions with Russia. – Reuters

Pope Francis has asked for an invitation from North Korea to visit the isolated country, South Korean broadcaster KBS reported. – Reuters


Wearing a laboratory coat, China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, inspected a subsidiary of Yangtze Memory Technologies Company, a national semiconductor company based in Wuhan. It was April 2018, shortly after the U.S. government had barred the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE from doing business with American suppliers. – New York Times

The U.S. and China have reached a tentative agreement to allow U.S. regulators to inspect the audits of Chinese companies whose stocks are traded on U.S. exchanges. In a long-festering dispute, U.S. regulators have threatened to boot a number of Chinese companies off the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq if China doesn’t permit inspections. – Associated Press

Chinese state media outlet the Global Times on Saturday praised an agreement reached between Beijing and Washington over the auditing of U.S.-listed Chinese companies as a “symbolic case” and a “useful lesson” for both nations. – Reuters

Russia and China will embark on a series of military exercises this week, a sign of Moscow’s deepening ties with Beijing and of the Kremlin’s desire to project a “business as usual” image despite the mounting costs of its war in Ukraine. – Financial Times

China is attempting to increase its naval warship capabilities by restarting its mass production of guided-missile destroyers, according to multiple reports. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: It isn’t enough for the US simply to reaffirm that its one-China policy hasn’t changed. Biden needs to find a way to agree with Xi on a set of basic principles and commit to observing them. The aim should be a mutual understanding that Taiwan is a long-term issue to be managed, rather than a near-term problem to be solved. – Bloomberg

Mordechai Chaziza writes: Maintaining a technological edge is critical for the United States to manage the rivalry with China successfully. Thus, U.S.-China competition will become increasingly entwined with rivalries between China and U.S. allies and partners in the Middle East. When managing relations with China, the Biden administration must consider the independent dynamics of those separate rivalries. – The National Interest

South Asia

Devastating floods have surged across Pakistan, overflowing riverbanks and bridges, inundating houses and fields and killing more than 100 people this weekend, officials said late Saturday. – New York Times

Pakistan’s government in recent weeks has tied up at least $37 billion in international loans and investments, officials said, pulling the country away from the kind of financial collapse seen in Sri Lanka. – Wall Street Journal

India and China traded insults over their diverging interests in Sri Lanka, after a controversial Chinese scientific research ship called at the island nation despite New Delhi’s security concerns. – Bloomberg

The Taliban’s acting defence minister said on Sunday that Pakistan had allowed U.S. drones to use its airspace to access Afghanistan, which Pakistan’s foreign minister denied. Pakistani authorities have previously denied involvement in or advanced knowledge of a drone strike the United States said it carried out in Kabul in July that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. – Reuters


Ridge Alkonis is serving a three-year prison term in Japan for a car crash that left a Japanese man and woman dead. As the United States’ efforts to free Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan from Russia make headlines amid the heightened tensions of the war in Ukraine, the Alkonis family hopes their fight will draw attention to detained Americans around the world — those held not just by adversaries but also allies. – Washington Post

The death of a Harvard transgender student in Indonesian custody has caused uproar in his native Peru and the United States, with authorities in Lima pressing for an investigation into the circumstances of his detention and death after the public backlash. – Washington Post

The U.S. Navy said that two of its warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the first such passage by American ships since China began large-scale military exercises in response to a visit to Taiwan by Speaker Nancy Pelosi early this month. – New York Times

The passage of two U.S. warships on Sunday through international waters in the Taiwan Strait is “very consistent” with the U.S. “one China policy” and seeking a free and open Indo-Pacific, a White House official said. – Reuters

China’s military said on Sunday it was monitoring U.S. Navy vessels sailing through the Taiwan Strait, maintaining a high alert and ready to defeat any provocations. – Reuters

Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had detected 21 Chinese aircraft and five Chinese ships operating around Taiwan on Saturday, as Beijing continues its military drills near the island. – Reuters

The head of Taiwan’s main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) defended its “brave” outreach to Beijing on Sunday after a senior official visited China on a trip condemned by Taipei’s government and which upset even some party members. – Reuters

The head of Taiwan’s China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council will visit the United States to meet officials and speak at think-tank events to help garner international support for the island, his department said on Friday. – Reuters

For nearly 70 years an imagined line running down the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China has helped keep the peace but the so-called median line is looking increasingly meaningless as China’s modernised navy asserts its strength. – Reuters

A U.S. coast guard cutter conducting patrols as part of an international mission to prevent illegal fishing was recently unable to get clearance for a scheduled port call in Solomon Islands, an incident that comes amid growing concerns of Chinese influence on the Pacific nation. – Associated Press

Sending a murder suspect to face trial in China could end up costing New Zealand taxpayers millions of dollars because officials would need to post an extra diplomat to Shanghai to monitor his treatment, documents exclusively obtained by The Associated Press show. – Associated Press

The State Department this week approved a $1.95 billion sale to Australia of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which will replace the Australian Defence Force’s troubled MRH90 Taipan utility helicopters. – Defense News

Editorial: The point isn’t to be provocative. It’s to underscore freedom of navigation and the U.S. willingness to defend it. As it builds its own blue-water navy, China has designs on a network of global bases and on turning the South China Sea and the entire Western Pacific into a region of Chinese dominance. Sooner or later China is likely to declare the Taiwan Strait off-limits without its permission, and the U.S. urgently needs a bigger Navy to counter that threat. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: On this issue, symbolism is substance, especially to China; the question, as always, is to maximize deterrence for Taiwan while minimizing unnecessary provocation of China. The bill’s authors are right that recent history — especially the Russian invasion of Ukraine — shows appeasement doesn’t work and “provocation” is the aggressor’s all-purpose excuse to lash out. – Washington Post

Gearoid Reidy writes: Japan will eventually resume full-scale tourism, with the country soon to scrap a pre-departure PCR test requirement and politicians suggesting visa waivers will return next. But even when it does, there’s little hope that Chinese tourists, who made up a third of annual visitors, will be among those returning. Miniso’s about-face might only be the first sign that Asia’s two largest economies risk drifting further apart. – Bloomberg

Mohammed Soliman, Pierre Morcos, And C. Raja Mohan write: This can then grow into a format capable of engaging on a more global level by coordinating with other issue-based transregional groups, such as Israel-India-United Arab Emirates-United States and the Quad. By doing so, France, Egypt, and India would contribute to an emerging and promising trend of greater integration among the littoral states of Eurasia. – War on the Rocks


The nearly 260-foot-tall obelisk, erected during the Soviet rule of Latvia, had towered in a park in the Baltic nation’s capital for nearly four decades. This week, it came tumbling down as part of a broader government effort to show solidarity with Ukraine and to remove symbols of what many Latvians consider to be a traumatic chapter of the country’s history. – New York Times

The West has begun to muster the money and political support to keep decades-old nuclear reactors from shutting down, aiming to maintain a crucial source of low-carbon electricity as many economies face an energy crunch. – Wall Street Journal

Serbia and Kosovo agreed to end a dispute over identity cards that had sparked border tensions and threatened to spark a new conflict between the Balkan neighbors and wartime foes, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Saturday. – Bloomberg

Germany is looking at restricting the companies able to benefit from a new gas levy just to those that really need the assistance, with the scrutiny following an outcry over soaring profits at some energy firms. – Bloomberg

The Czech prime minister said Friday the EU presidency held by his country would convene urgent talks to deal with the current energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse

European Union foreign ministers meeting later this week, are unlikely to unanimously back a visa ban on all Russians, as would be needed to put in place such a ban, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Austria’s ORF TV on Sunday. – Reuters

Russia is wasting large volumes of natural gas by burning it in a huge orange flare near the Finnish border at a time when it has sharply cut deliveries to the European Union, scientists and analysts said on Friday. – Reuters

Editorial: Britain’s inane innovation is a price cap that causes disastrous price increases to happen twice a year rather than continuously. To adapt Hemingway, net zero drives you bankrupt gradually, then suddenly. Britain’s sudden energy agony is a five-alarm warning if the climate progressives continue to have their way. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Further sanctions may still be needed to squeeze the Kremlin’s ability to prosecute its vicious war. But the guiding principle should remain that these are directed at the war machine and the economy, not at shutting ordinary Russians out of Europe. – Financial Times

Martin Sandbu writes: Between EU countries, intriguing political reconfigurations are under way. Hungary’s friendliness with Russia has alienated it from Poland. This has neutered the Visegrad group, joining both with Czechs and Slovaks, often in opposition to western Europe. Countries on the EU’s northern flank are awkwardly finding they cannot be defence hawks and fiscal hawks at the same time: if they want greater investment in Europe’s security, they must be open to more joint spending or laxer restrictions on national budgets. – Financial Times

Peter Rough and Henri Vanhanen write: This round of enlargement will be the most consequential since its enlargement in Eastern Europe two decades ago. Among the countries who joined then: the Baltic States. With Sweden and Finland in NATO, they and the alliance will be more secure than ever. Six months into the war in Ukraine, that’s a strategic win for the West. – Washington Examiner


So when Joana Gomes, now a lawmaker in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, heard about the war between Russia and Ukraine, her allegiance was clear from the start: It would be with Russia, although she sometimes slips and still calls it the Soviet Union. – New York Times

An Ethiopian government airstrike ripped through a kindergarten in the northern Tigray region on Friday, killing at least seven people including several children, medics said, as the hunger-stricken region plunged into a new round of fighting. – New York Times

African heads of state, representatives of international organizations and private business leaders gathered in Tunisia on Saturday for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a triennial event launched by Japan to promote growth and security in Africa. – Associated Press

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Saturday pledged $30 billion over three years for Africa in a virtual address to a development conference in Tunis aiming to counter China’s growing continental influence. – Agence France-Presse

Sudanese journalists have formed the country’s first independent professional union for decades, in what campaigners said was an important step towards re-establishing freedoms after a military coup. – Reuters

Unidentified gunmen killed six people and wounded two others in an attack on a convoy from the Boungou gold mine in eastern Burkina Faso, the army said on Saturday. – Reuters

Nigeria’s state oil company has hired a company owned by former militant Tompolo, whose movement’s attacks on facilities in the early 2000s crippled oil production, to protect installations and tackle rampant theft, his spokesman said. – Reuters

K. Riva Levinson writes: And no U.S. emergency humanitarian assistance program, however generous, will fill the void of a bold U.S. trade agenda and its potential to drive private sector-led growth in Africa and at home. As for me, I’m not discouraged — at least not yet. The Africa Leaders’ Summit is four months away. There’s still time. – The Hill

Latin America

When Mexico imposed a visa requirement on Venezuelans in January, it briefly had the desired effect: The number of Venezuelans detained at the U.S.-Mexico border plunged. But it’s now clear that it only pushed the migrants onto more dangerous clandestine routes. – Associated Press

Supporters of Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner — on trial for alleged corruption — gathered across the country on Saturday, with police using tear gas and water cannon in the capital Buenos Aires. – Agence France-Presse

Venezuela and Colombia have restored full diplomatic relations after a three-year break as a new leftist government in Bogota takes shape. – Agence France-Presse

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who took office earlier this month, on Saturday proposed a multilateral ceasefire to all illegal armed groups operating in the country as part of an effort to promote peace and end decades of internal conflict. – Reuters

The European Union should sign off on its updated trade agreement with Mexico later this year, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday. – Reuters

Hundreds of miners blocked a stretch of Peru’s Interoceanic Highway near the border with Brazil on Friday, after a clash between police and protesters the day before left at least one dead and more than a dozen injured. – Reuters

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Thanks to the survival of institutions like free speech and debate in the public square, there is a chance to defeat this proposal. Less certain is Mr. Boric’s commitment to modern liberal democracy and to stamping out the terrorism that spawned this disastrous constitutional experiment. – Wall Street Journal

United States

Intelligence officers will scour sensitive documents seized from Donald Trump’s Florida resort this month for potential compromises of national security. Avril Haines, US director of national intelligence, has told members of Congress that her office will lead a review into what FBI agents took from Mar-a-Lago as part of their investigation into whether the former president broke the law in his handling of those documents. – Financial Times

The United States plans to name an ambassador at large for the Arctic, reflecting the region’s growing strategic and commercial importance as its shrinking opens up new sea lanes and vast oil and mineral resources. – Reuters

Stephen Collinson writes: Given the sensitive nature of the material under discussion, it appears unlikely that the review will do much to add to the public’s understanding of the extraordinary circumstances of a search of a former president’s home. That means that the political fallout from the operation is only likely to take on a more extreme cast as the midterm elections approach and is likely to further deepen the nation’s divides over Trump, which he is managing to further widen even while out of office. – CNN


A recent bombshell whistleblower report from Twitter’s former head of security alleges that the social media company has been negligently lax on cybersecurity and privacy protections for its users for years. While worrisome for anyone on Twitter, the revelations could be especially concerning for those who use it to reach constituencies, get news out about emergencies and for political dissidents and activists in the crosshairs of hackers or their own governments. – Associated Press

Three former U.S. intelligence operatives who worked as cyber spies for the United Arab Emirates and admitted to hacking American networks will be temporarily barred from arms export activities under a deal announced by the State Department on Friday. – Reuters

Cyber crooks steal medical information of tens of millions of people in the U.S. every year, a number that is rising fast as health care undergoes its digital transformation. – Politico

Congress has never been closer to passing a federal data privacy law — and the brokers that profit from information on billions of people are spending big to nudge the legislation in their favor. – Politico

Yet the faceless hackers who broke into and published Prins’ personal emails revealed not only harmless discussions of his day-to-day life […]The hackers’ real target, it seems, was Prins’ retired friend and supposed co-conspirator, Richard Dearlove, with whom he frequently exchanged encrypted emails. Dearlove, an ardent Brexiteer, is a former boss of MI6, the top British spy agency made famous by the James Bond movie franchise. – Politico

Nato is assessing the impact of a data breach of classified military documents being sold by a hacker group online. The data includes blueprints of weapons being used by Nato allies in the Ukraine war. – BBC

Ten of the top 15 mobile carriers collect geolocation data and provide no way for consumers to opt-out, according to information from the telecom companies the Federal Communications Commission published Thursday. – CyberScoop


The Western military alliance NATO must boost its role in the region around the North Pole given Russia’s recent military activities there, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. – Politico

The US Navy christened its latest Ghost Fleet Overlord unmanned surface vehicle, Mariner, during a small ceremony on Tuesday, putting the service on a path to ramp up autonomy experimentation with its fleet of USVs. – Jerusalem Post

The future makeup of the Marine Corps was at the center of discussion during an online event hosted by the Brookings Institution Friday morning. – Defense News

David Ignatius writes: America’s wars in the Middle East took a terrible toll. It’s good that one result is a new code that says, in the words of Austin’s directive last week: “The protection of civilians is a strategic priority as well as a moral imperative.” War changes countries, usually for the worse. But here’s one change that’s for the better. – Washington Post

Michael D. Lumpkin and Peter L. Levin write: Unless and until we unravel this queer policy imbalance — near defenselessness against hardware zero-days, reliance on offensive capabilities as defensive deterrence, and the incessant intrusions we already endure because we know less about our exposure than our enemies do — we could find ourselves in a hot war we could have avoided with better imagination and real alternatives for our leaders. – The Hill

Douglas Ligor writes: International and multinational institutions, diplomatic processes, and binding international agreements are effective tools that can be employed to both reduce the existing dangers in space and preserve a sustainable space in the future for the entire global community. – War on the Rocks

Long War

A man and woman will appear in court on Saturday charged with terrorist offences following an investigation into right-wing extremism, police said. – Bloomberg

An Indonesian militant has expressed regret for his role in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, media reported on Monday, as news of his impending release sparks outrage in Australia. – Reuters

Last weekend’s siege could be a turning point for the Horn of Africa nation and its quest for more security. In the days before the attack, new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had vowed an offensive against al-Shabab to dislodge it from the large sections of Somalia it has controlled for years. – Associated Press

A New Mexico man was arrested on Friday after he allegedly tried to create an ISIS training center in the state, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). – The Hill