Fdd's overnight brief

December 2, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi touted development projects in the restive Kurdish region where Tehran has carried out its harshest crackdown since antigovernment protests erupted in September.- Wall Street Journal 

Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on international vessels in the Gulf and Red Sea in the past five years and can reach a significant quantity of enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb (SQ1) at 90% in only two weeks, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

A special bulletin prepared by media experts for IRGC commander-in-chief Hossein Salami noted concerns by Iranian officials that the Basij paramilitary organization is too weak to stop the protests and that too strict indictments were being issued against protesters, according to a document leaked by the Black Reward hacktivist group on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday that if a decision in made in Tehran, Iran can be in possession of a nuclear bomb within two weeks. – Ynet

Benny Avni writes: Mr. Macron could teach his American host a thing or two about sympathy with the Iranian revolution. Mr. Biden could lean on his “close friend,” as he calls his French guest, to become more assertive. Both, and the EU, could do much more to push back against Tehran’s campaign of terrorism. – New York Sun

Gabriel Gavin writes: With Iran’s regime facing increasingly fierce resistance at home, its actions overseas could become more belligerent—with potentially dangerous consequences given the fragility of peace in the South Caucasus. “The tragedy of this situation is that while we have this great power competition going on, Armenia really has no choice but to get what it can out of this odious alliance because it is being forced into a corner,” Banai added. But what Armenia might see as a regrettable necessity, Iran seems intent on treating as a major opportunity. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

With hundreds of reconnaissance and attack drones flying over Ukraine each day, the fight set off by a land grab befitting an 18th-century emperor has transformed into a digital-age competition for technological superiority in the skies — one military annals will mark as a turning point. – Washington Post

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other top Pentagon officials are weighing a major expansion in training for the Ukrainian military, a move that could significantly enhance its ability to evict Russian forces from occupied areas even as it deepens U.S. involvement in the war. – Washington Post

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with his security ministers on Thursday, days after the sudden death of the country’s longtime foreign minister, and he warned of attacks from external enemies: NATO, Ukraine and even exiled Belarusians fighting in Ukraine against Russia. – Washington Post

Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned an otherwise routine tableau into a diplomatic battleground between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, an important American ally that has established itself as a safe haven for Russian money and assets out of the reach of U.S. sanctions. – New York Times

World Bank President David Malpass on Thursday said the expected cost for rebuilding Ukraine will go up “quite a bit” from the roughly $350 billion estimated earlier this year, given Russia’s targeting of Ukraine’s electricity grid and other infrastructure. – Reuters

Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden said he has no immediate plans to contact Vladimir Putin but is prepared to speak with the Russian president if he shows an interest in ending the war in Ukraine, and only in consultation with NATO allies. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emanuel Macron pledged to hold Russia accountable for “widely documented atrocities and war crimes” in Ukraine, the two leaders said in a statement issued after their White House meeting. – Reuters

Kyiv’s mayor told residents on Thursday to stock up on water, food and warm clothes in case of a total blackout caused by Russian air strikes, and said residents should consider staying with friends in the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital if they could. – Reuters

Russia’s Defence Ministry and the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration said the two countries had swapped 50 service personnel on Thursday in the latest prisoner exchange between the two sides. – Reuters

Ukraine’s military said on Thursday it had found fragments of Russian-fired nuclear-capable missiles with dud warheads in west Ukraine, and that their apparent purpose was to distract air defences. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow was willing to play a responsible part in nuclear arms control but it was impossible to discuss nuclear stability while ignoring Western involvement in the war in Ukraine. – Reuters

The Kremlin on Thursday condemned a call by a top European Union official to create a special court to prosecute possible war crimes by top Russian officials in Ukraine, saying any such body would be illegitimate and unacceptable to Moscow. – Reuters

The U.S. is working with Middle Eastern countries to move a handful of their air defense systems to Ukraine, according to the CEO of Raytheon Technologies. – Politico 

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on December 2 offered a “brutally honest” assessment of Europe’s capabilities in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, stating that “we’re not strong enough” to stand up to Moscow alone. – Agence France-Presse

With Ukraine scrambling to keep communication lines open during the war, an army of engineers from the country’s phone companies has mobilized to help the public and policymakers stay in touch during repeated Russian missile and drone strikes. – Associated Press

Amid the hardship and destruction, the Russian propaganda billboards have fueled anger and resentment. Not even renewed Russian shelling stopped community workers from removing the much-despised pro-Russian messages. – Associated Press

The European Union was edging closer to setting a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil — a highly anticipated and complex political and economic maneuver designed to keep Russia’s supplies flowing into global markets while clamping down on President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council is suggesting a ban on all Russian-affiliated religious groups in the interest of “spiritual independence,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. – Newsweek

Russian bombers with nuclear capabilities have been reportedly witnessed in range of the Ukrainian border. Oleksiy Hromov, deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said in a briefing Thursday that Tu-95MS strategic bombers were sighted in the airspace of three separate regions. – Newsweek

Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov has rattled off a list of countries which Russia could bomb because of their support for Ukraine. – Newsweek

Russian public support for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has reportedly collapsed, according to a poll commissioned by the Kremlin “for internal use only.” – Newsweek

Editorial: Call it one more consequence of letting the Russians exploit the vacuum in the Middle East created by Barack Obama. Gen. Mark Milley said in October that Western allies need to “chip in” air defenses to help Ukraine cobble together a patchwork system of older equipment. But the U.S. can still start now to train our allies on the Patriot. Meanwhile, America will have to expand its own air-defense arsenal so no adversary questions the U.S. ability to fight a long war. – Wall Street Journal 

Anthony Grant writes: There was no immediate indication of an official Polish government response to the false Russian claims. The worse things go for Moscow as winter in Ukraine sets in, though, the more we can count on the Kremlin’s well-oiled propaganda machine to keep the disinformation flowing. – New York Sun

Riley Bailey, Madison Williams, Yekaterina Klepanchuk, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russian forces are reportedly continuing to exploit Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure to support their war efforts throughout Ukraine. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that occupation officials are demanding money from Crimean teachers to sponsor the Russian war effort. The Ukrainian General Staff and Ukrainian authorities reported that Russian forces continue to use civilian facilities and abandoned homes across the occupied territories, and have set up a field hospital in a school in the Zaporizhia Oblast. – Institute for the Study of War

Michael Horowitz writes: For the sake of Ukrainian civilians, who are now even more likely to bear the consequences of the war, and for the sake of judging those responsible for what amounts to war crimes, Ukraine’s emerging war against the dark and Moscow’s effort to switch off the lights in an entire country should be resisted, even as Ukraine is assisted with urgently needed weapons and technical help by the West. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Jan Kallberg writes: The idea that the world’s democracies should bend their knee to this absurd ideology is preposterous. An early, face-saving peace enabling Putin to claim victory will merely guarantee another European war within the decade. Just as the participants at the Casablanca conference in 1943 did not waste time figuring out how to spare the blushes of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, the democratic world must stay strong in defense of Ukraine. Russia’s supremacist ideology must come to an end.  – Center for European Policy Analysis

Kurt Volker writes: When missiles landed inside Poland, it was wise of NATO not to get drawn into a war with Russia that neither side sought. But with an eye on the future, it will also be important for NATO to warn Russia against reckless behavior that affects its territory, and to be prepared to take more assertive actions should Russia’s aggression against Ukraine again result in additional impacts on the alliance.  – Center for European Policy Analysis

Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Maria Snegovaya write:  Moreover, support for exiled Russians can have knock-on effects benefiting those activists who remain in the country. Many of these in-country activists desire continued engagement with the West, deriving encouragement and tenacity from the feeling of solidarity with partners across the democratic world. The current outlook for U.S. and European relations with Russia is dim, but supporting exiled activists, journalists, and other civil society actors is a necessary investment for a better relationship with a post-Putin Russia. – Center for a New American Security

Don Ritter writes: The United States has the energy reserves and technological capacity to expand production and begin substituting for Russian energy all over the world. The Biden administration is trying to defend Ukraine from Russia, but its climate policies are undermining that support. When will the administration recognize that the Quixotic campaign against climate change is costing thousands of Ukrainian lives and the destruction of a nation? – The National Interest 

Julian Spencer-Churchill and Touraj Riazi write: WiFi balloons have also been deployed during emergency humanitarian missions to provide remote areas with an internet connection that cannot be blocked without the use of mobile jammers or air defense.[…]The United States has broadcast-capable EC-130J aircraft that can facilitate communications over AM, FM, HF, and military communication bands, and could even break into television communications. There have been a number of Western initiatives, such as the Alliance for the Future of the Internet, but there is no overarching organization yet. – The National Interest 

Mark Episkopos writes: The Ukrainian president partially walked back his categorical stance against negotiations on the heels of reports that the Biden administration was privately urging Kyiv to signal its openness to talks with Russia. Nevertheless, Kyiv is holding firm on preconditions for diplomacy that are likely to be nonstarters for Moscow: the return of all Russian-occupied territory, reparations, and the prosecution of accused war criminals. – The National Interest 

Agathe Demarais writes: The United States could also ban Russia from using the U.S. dollar, greatly complicating energy exports. And the most powerful option, U.S. secondary sanctions, would force all companies, whether foreign or domestic, to choose between the Russian and U.S. markets. Buying Russian oil or gas would be outlawed worldwide, seriously harming the Kremlin’s finances. Not only are sanctions on Russia working, but the worst for the Kremlin is probably yet to come. – Foreign Policy


Defense Minister Benny Gantz accused incoming coalition faction Noam of portraying Egypt as an ‘enemy state’ of Israel after MK Avi Maoz’s faction attacked a reported decision to “erect a monument in memory of enemy soldiers,” as it wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Outgoing Public Security Minister Omer Barlev warned Thursday that his successor could spark widescale Palestinian unrest if he tries to change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. – Times of Israel

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, on Thursday condemned the despicable antisemitism espoused during the InfoWars interview of rapper Kanye West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes. – Arutz Sheva

Senior White House officials recently warned Israel that transferring responsibility for the Civil Administration, the governing body in over 60 percent of the West Bank, from the defense minister could hurt bilateral relations. – Haaretz

Louis René Beres writes: When the UN General Assembly recently demanded that Israel do away with its presumptive nuclear forces, these three “friendly states” voted against Israel. In actuality, disingenuous agreements like the Abraham Accords have only exacerbated Israel’s relations with its Palestinian state and sub-state enemies. To really get beyond such narrowly cosmetic “remedies,” Israeli diplomacy will need to be based upon more solid intellectual and legal foundations. – Algemeiner

Irit Tratt writes: Sadly, Ukraine’s dissonance with Israel extends beyond the confines of the UN. In its “2019 Global 100: Index of Antisemitism, “the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that antisemitic trends in Ukraine persist today, with 72 percent of Ukrainians polled responding that Jews have too much power in the business world, and over half stating that Jews wield too much influence over global affairs. – Algemeiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It also is not clear the origins of all these weapons. Some may be stolen from the IDF, but others come from Jordan or from further afield. Last year, Walla News said that 70 percent of shooting incidents in Israel in 2021 were carried out with stolen IDF weapons. However, that data doesn’t fully explain what is going on in the West Bank. – Jerusalem Post

Carolina Landsmann writes: So the temporariness is over, and according to the election results, so are the excuses. A fully right-wing government that says an absolute no to the “Oslo path” and territorial compromise will soon have to begin formulating what it does want. One cannot know how the Palestinians will respond and how the world will respond. The only thing that’s certain is that Erdan will be there to defend it in the United Nations. – Haaretz


The United States on Thursday sanctioned individuals and companies for allegedly providing financial services to and facilitating weapons procurement for Hezbollah, the U.S. Treasury Department said. – Reuters

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, dedicated its front page last week to Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli MK recently appointed to serve as National Security Minister. The article said that “his party, a symbol for racism in its new form, will do as it pleases without pushback from the police.” – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall trajectory of the “war between the wars” campaign and the apparent attempt to prevent an emergence of Hezbollah 2 is unclear. Iran has proxies in Syria and influence and has established bases, enabling it to move weapons to Syria. It also exploits Iraq for the same purpose – it has numerous pro-Iran militias in Iraq, called the Hashd al-Shaabi. – Jerusalem Post


Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar called on the United States on Thursday to show understanding over a possible new Turkish military operation in Syria, after Washington voiced its “strong opposition” to such a move. – Reuters

Turkey’s new ambassador to Israel, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, submitted his credentials to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Thursday after four years after the last ambassador appointed by Ankara left. – Jerusalem Post

Jack Detsch and Robble Gramer write: The only difference, with strikes already wounding guards at the embattled Islamic State prison camp at al-Hol and knocking out power stations, is that it could be even more devastating, experts said. “The stakes are a little bit higher,” Lord said. “Already, we’ve seen Turkish strikes target in and around al-Hol and killing guards. A breakout from al-Hol would be incredibly problematic. The strikes, by displacing people, by destabilizing the area, create problems on their own.” – Foreign Policy

Arabian Peninsula

The US State Department recently approved a potential $1 billion sale of counter-drone technology to Qatar, the latest evidence of keen interest in c-UAS systems in the Gulf. – Breaking Defense

Far-right Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben Gvir attended a United Arab Emirates reception in Tel Aviv on Thursday, despite a previous warning from the UAE against his inclusion in the government. – Times of Israel

Stephen Pomper and Michael Wahid Hanna write: Bills that would put into force such requirements have stalled in both the House and the Senate. But policymakers would be wise to move them forward. No road map will take Washington where it undoubtedly wishes it could go: back to early 2015, before the United States started helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen. That world no longer exists. Now, the best Washington can do is help Yemen’s antagonists find peace while stopping itself from repeating the same errors in the future. – Foreign Affairs

Middle East & North Africa

President Isaac Herzog is set to take off on Sunday for an official visit to Bahrain at the invitation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, awakening concerns amongst Israeli security officials. – Ynet

The hostility displayed towards Israeli journalists covering the World Cup in Qatar is highlighting Israel’s extremely negative image in the eyes of the peoples of the region, a reality that we often refuse to acknowledge. – Ynet

Heidi Blake writes: For Qatar’s emir at the time, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, winning the rights to host the tournament was a huge coup, advancing his plan to diversify the country’s gas-rich economy, wash away criticisms of its human-rights record, and position Qatar as a serious global power. But, for many international onlookers, it was hard to imagine any legitimate basis on which the country could have been selected as the strongest bidder. Suspicions abounded that the right to host the 2022 World Cup had been bought. It wasn’t until three years later that the receipts surfaced. – The New Yorker

Intissar Fakir writes: Morocco and Israel have clear aims for the relationship. The key challenge is its impact on regional stability, largely how it contributes to Algerian suspicion of and animosity toward Morocco. This animosity is based history and conflict that far predates Israel-Moroccan partnership. But the moment highlights the need for broader efforts to, if not address the animosity and suspicion, at least to lower the tensions around it. – Middle East Institute

Hamdi Malik writes: Qais al-Khazali’s comments reflect the high confidence of the muqawama at this time. His commentary about “political, economic and security decisions” being under SCF control are a demonstration that the Sudani government has limited latitude to resist militia directives on non-trivial policy choices and appointments. – Washington Institute

Simon Henderson writes: Is all this a new reality or just unreal? A possible ingredient to arguing the balance is that the world has been distracted by the soccer World Cup being played in Qatar. While soccer is hardly an American sport, the U.S. team is still in the competition after finishing second to England in its group. The final itself is not until Dec.18. OK, no-one expects the U.S. team to get that far but watching the games is somehow obsessive for many people. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

The United States, South Korea, and Japan have imposed sanctions on North Korean officials connected to the country’s weapons programs after Pyongyang’s latest and largest intercontinental ballistic missile test last month. – Reuters

Nato allies are concerned about China’s rapid and opaque military buildup and its cooperation with Russia, and discussed concrete ways to address the challenges posed by Beijing, US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said. […]Blinken’s remarks came after Moscow said Russian and Chinese strategic warplanes, including Tupolev-95 long-range “Bear” bombers, conducted joint patrols over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea and US ally South Korea said it had scrambled fighter jets as two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its air defence zone. – The Guardian

South Korea on Friday sanctioned eight people and seven companies suspected of engaging in illicit activities to finance North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile programs. The move, which prohibits South Koreans from conducting any type of business with them without authorization, was largely symbolic as there are little financial dealings between the rival Koreas. – Associated Press


Researchers worry that China may struggle to reopen the country and relieve the strain on its economy without risking a tide of deaths. Such a catastrophic surge could pose a significant threat to the political leadership. – New York Times

The protests of hundreds or thousands over the weekend against Mr. Xi’s stringent “zero-Covid” policies sometimes flared into audacious demands for democratic goals that Mr. Xi went to war against soon after taking office in 2012. – New York Times

As the authorities seek to track, intimidate and detain those who marched in defiance of the government’s strict Covid policies last weekend, they are turning to powerful tools of surveillance the state has spent the past decade building for moments like this, when parts of the population turn out and question the authority of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. – New York Times

A bipartisan group of more than 40 U.S. senators warned China on Thursday against any violent crackdown on protests there, saying it would do “extraordinary damage” to the U.S.-China relationship. – Reuters

European Council President Charles Michel once again urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use the country’s “influence” on Russia over its war in Ukraine during a visit to Beijing on Thursday. – Reuters

The government has been preparing for such challenges for decades, installing the machinery needed to quash large-scale upheavals. After an initially muted response, with security personnel using pepper spray and tear gas, police and paramilitary troops flooded city streets with jeeps, vans and armored cars in a massive show of force. – Associated Press

Collective action is common in China, but rarely is it about the central government. More often than not, isolated groups rally for labor rights, dispute land use or publicly out corrupt local officials. However, the recent political unrest, which included slogans calling for Xi’s resignation, would have concerned Beijing, for whom state security—that is to say, regime safety—comes first. – Newsweek

Chinese and Russian long-range bombers made reciprocal visits to each other’s bases following a joint patrol over regional waters, marking the first such visit following a bomber patrol involving the two countries. – Defense News

Ehud Eilam writes: Bilateral trade and investment have slowed, as has the Chinese economy, perhaps indicating that the peak years of Israel-China economic cooperation have passed. Israelis’ opinions are not nearly as favorable as they were even a few years ago. Meanwhile, Israel is facing increasing pressure by the United States to limit Chinese involvement in the Israeli economy. Together, these are clear signs that the ‘bloom is off the rose.’ – Middle East Institute

Lawrence J. Haas writes: To be sure, some U.S. officials would hesitate to do so, fearful of ruffling feathers in Beijing. Around the world, however, Xi is promoting the notion that China is on the rise while the United States is in decline. If we want to live in a freer world, we should not sidestep the challenge—or ignore the opportunity that China’s COVID missteps has presented. – American Foreign Policy Council


China on Thursday accused a committee of British lawmakers visiting Taiwan of “gross interference” in China’s internal affairs and threatened a forceful response to anything that undermines Chinese interests. – Reuters

Japan will use its turn next year in leadership roles at the Group of Seven and the United Nations to pressure Russia to halt its war in Ukraine, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi said at the Reuters NEXT conference. – Reuters

The Philippines must find a way to explore for oil and gas in the South China Sea even without a deal with China, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Thursday, emphasising his country’s right to exploit energy reserves in the contested waterway. – Reuters

Russia is ready to provide increased gas supplies to Uzbekistan, Russian news agencies cited Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Friday. – Reuters

Japan has told China and Russia it has “severe concerns” over their frequent joint air force activities around Japan’s territory, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Thursday. – Reuters

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin warned an Australian audience Friday that a Russian victory over Ukraine would empower other aggressors and urged democracies against forming “critical dependencies” on authoritarian states such as China. – Associated Press

Lawmakers eager to boost security aid to Taiwan may soon authorize as much as $10 billion in new State Department financing for Taipei to buy U.S. weaponry. But it’s an open question whether appropriators will approve the actual dollars. – Defense News

Japan’s prime minister has asked his Cabinet to secure enough funds to raise defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in five years, continuing a recent trend of increasing the defense budget, according to the country’s defense minister. – Defense News

Japan needs to commit to increasing its defense spending for the long-term due to its proximity to an aggressive Russia, an ambitious China and an unpredictable North Korea armed with nuclear missiles, a senior observer of Tokyo’s security policy said this week. – USNI News


Officials in Spain have increased security measures at consulates and public administrative buildings in the country after at least six letter bombs were mailed to several offices, including those of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the American and Ukrainian Embassies. – New York Times

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday big problems had accumulated in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, accusing the West of spurning the chance to make the OSCE a real bridge with Russia after the Cold War. – Reuters

The European Union needs patience as it sanctions Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, as most measures will only have an impact in the medium and long term, Lithuania’s prime minister said in an interview at  the  Reuters NEXT conference on Thursday. – Reuters

A meeting of Europe’s largest security organization opened Thursday with foreign ministers and other representatives strongly denouncing Russia’s war against Ukraine, a conflict that is among the greatest challenges the body has faced in its nearly half-century of existence. – Associated Press

Police in Germany believe that the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was behind a series of attacks on Jewish targets during November under the direction of a former leader of the Hell’s Angels biker gang. – Algemeiner

Matthew Karnitschnig writes: Yet even as the regime in Tehran snuffs out enemies and races to fulfil its goal of building both nuclear weapons and missiles that can reach any point on the Continent, some EU leaders appear blind to the wider context as they pursue the elusive renewal of the nuclear accord. “It is still there,” Borrell said recently of the deal he has taken a leading role in trying to resurrect. “It has nothing to do with other issues, which certainly concern us.” In other words, let the killing continue. – Politico


Somali forces killed about 40 al Shabaab fighters in the Middle Shabelle region, the government said on Thursday, the latest clashes in a months-long offensive that aims to weaken the grip of the Islamist militant group. – Reuters

Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan early next year, the Vatican said on Thursday, after having to cancel a scheduled trip to the two countries in July because of health problems. – Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces on Thursday said M23 rebels and their allies killed 50 civilians in a massacre in the eastern town of Kishishe this week, which the M23 denied. – Reuters

Latin America

The International Court of Justice on Thursday found little to rule on in a long-running dispute over a small river which flows from Bolivia to Chile as the Latin American neighbors had mostly resolved their conflict during the proceedings. – Associated Press

Mexico’s economy secretary on Thursday proposed yet another round of talks with the United States on a dispute over Mexico’s energy sector. Mexico hopes to stave off a full-fledged trade complaint under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. – Associated Press

Maria Zuppello writes: Saab’s freedom would transform him into an even more powerful agent for Tehran, a Trojan horse in Latin America. Negotiations have stalled over Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States and other nations to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief. If the deal fails and US sanctions are not lifted, Saab and his network might give Iran more ways to evade them in Latin America. – Algemeiner


Police forces across England and Wales are “unable to keep pace with technology when it comes to digital forensics,” reported His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on Thursday. – The Record

The Cuba ransomware group has launched attacks against 100 organizations around the world and brought in $60 million between December 2021 and August 2022, according to a new advisory from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and FBI. – The Record

A cybercrime group based in Nigeria is targeting businesses in the United States and Western Europe with a plethora of scam emails as part of a larger campaign of business email compromise (BEC) attacks. – The Record

Hundreds of predatory loan apps targeting people across Africa, Asia and Latin America have been available on Google Play and Apple App Store, garnering over 15 million collective downloads – The Record


Airmen at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana have figured out how to attach the service’s new hypersonic missile to an aircraft, a major hurdle in getting the weapon produced. – Military.com

The Pentagon will get its first permanent watchdog in nearly seven years after the Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick for the job more than a year after his nomination. – Military.com

The Pentagon on Thursday established an office focused on driving private sector capital toward technology development to help the military services field innovative capabilities at a faster pace. – Defense News

Julia Gledhill writes: After all, neither Congress nor the Pentagon can address the security threats of tomorrow without accountability and oversight today. Increasing the amount of money the Pentagon handles, much less the weapon systems it develops, only exacerbates its management challenges. The United States Congress should not be the Pentagon’s Santa Claus. But even if it were, who writes a second letter to ask for more when they’re already on the naughty list? – Breaking Defense

Long War

When Syrian rebels attacked a hideout in mid-October in the southern Syrian village of Jassem, they had no idea that a militant commander who was killed in the operation was the leader of the Islamic State group. – Associated Press

Evidence collected in Iraq strengthens preliminary findings that Islamic State extremists committed crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Christian community after it seized about a third of the country in 2014, a U.N. investigative team said in a report circulated Thursday. – Associated Press

Pakistan will discuss recent terrorist attacks orchestrated in Afghanistan with the Taliban-run government, after an offshoot group ended a cease-fire and resumed violence. – Bloomberg 

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed group that helped defeat Islamic State jihadists in Syria, has stopped all joint counter-terrorism operations as a result of Turkish bombardment on its area of control, a spokesman said Friday. – Reuters