Fdd's overnight brief

December 8, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


A sister of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said she had cut ties with her brother, calling him a despotic caliph who ignored the voice of Iranians, a sign that people near the top echelons of the system are growing bolder in expressing opposition to the clerical leadership. – Wall Street Journal 

Iran said Thursday it executed a prisoner convicted for a crime allegedly committed during the country’s ongoing nationwide protests, the first such death penalty carried out by Tehran. – Associated Press

False earthquake alerts went off Wednesday on Android smartphones in Iran as the country continues to grapple with nationwide protests. Authorities offered conflicting accounts as to why the incident happened. – Associated Press

Many Iranian workers went on strike and students boycotted classes Wednesday, rights groups said, as a former president publicly supported protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death. – Agence France-Presse

A series of dramatic interviews with Iranians from within Iran amid the massive protests unfolding against the highly repressive Islamic Republic of Iran reveal their burning desire for President Biden to recognize their revolution. – Fox News 

Dead worried about their fate in case of a revolution in Iran, the Islamic Republic’s officials have started looking for safe havens, especially Venezuela, their close ally. – Iran International

The Al-Arabiya news network is reporting that Meraj Airline, associated with the Revolutionary Guards, is currently operating flights to Beirut airport. – Arutz Sheva

Roya Hakakian writes: The tragedy in 1979 was that the U.S. didn’t see the change coming that made life in Iran, and across the region, much worse. The tragedy in 2022 will be if the U.S. doesn’t see the change coming that can make life in Iran, and across the region, much better. – The Atlantic 

Omar Alradad writes: Ukraine must obtain better military aid to deal more effectively with Iranian drones. Since these drones are technically simplistic and poor quality, defense technologies would do wonders in Ukraine’s fight against new threats. And looking further afield, the United States, NATO, and regional militaries must also work to strengthen their own capacity to combat Iranian drones and disrupt Iran’s drone program. – Washington Institute

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Johanna Moore, Amin Soltani and Frederick W. Kagan write: An anti-regime outlet claimed that some Iranian officials are arranging for asylum in Venezuela in the event of regime change […] The center’s warning may presage prolonged internet restrictions as the regime seeks to prevent further unrest and preempt greater coordination among protest organization groups. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

The news clip showed a towering blaze in a residential neighborhood in Germany, followed by a weeping homeowner giving an interview from the rubble of her burned-down house. A chyron at the bottom of the screen explained that Ukrainian refugees had set the fire, accidentally ravaging the home of their German hosts. – Washington Post

Over two days in October, eight Russian cruise missiles screamed out of the sky and obliterated tens of millions of dollars’ worth of critical machinery at this city’s hulking coal-fired power plant. – Washington Post

The battle for Bakhmut has become a bloodbath for both sides as Russia steps up its attempts to take what used to be a quaint, tree-lined city. Ukrainian defense officials said Moscow is losing around 50 soldiers a day to maintain a slow, bruising advance to reach the city’s easternmost gates. – Wall Street Journal

Russian forces killed extrajudicially at least 441 civilians outside of Kyiv, in what likely amounted to war crimes, in the first weeks of the invasion of Ukraine, according to a U.N. report released Thursday. The actual number of civilians summarily killed is likely to be “considerably higher,” the report found. – Washington Post

Russia took steps to strengthen its defenses following a string of strikes deep within its borders that it blamed on Kyiv, while Moscow’s forces launched drones and missiles at southern Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States has not seen evidence that Iran has transferred ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, the White House said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Canada and the Netherlands have filed a joint declaration of intervention in Ukraine’s genocide case against Russia at International Court Of Justice (ICJ), the countries said in a joint statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Wednesday that his “special military operation” in Ukraine is taking longer than expected but said it has succeeded in seizing new territory and added that his country’s nuclear weapons are deterring escalation of the conflict. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that his army could be fighting in Ukraine for a long time, but he saw “no sense” in mobilising additional soldiers at this point. – Reuters

Russia said on Thursday its troops were taking part in tactical exercises in Belarus, amid fears that Moscow is pressing its ally to get more involved in the Ukraine war. – Reuters

A Ukrainian lawmaker accused of helping Russia interfere in the U.S. presidential election in 2020 was charged on Wednesday with money laundering and sanctions violations by buying two Beverly Hills, California, properties and concealing his involvement. – Reuters

Russia was looking to stall the fighting in Ukraine over the winter in order to build up its forces for a renewed assault next year, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

The Group of Seven’s price ceiling on Russian oil exports isn’t low enough to take a big bite out of the Kremlin’s revenues next year and economists say even if it does lead to a drop in crude production, Vladimir Putin still has plenty of cash for his war effort, at least for now. – Bloomberg

Tadeusz Giczan writes: Has Putin pressed Lukashenka to take part in the war, and did Shoigu come to settle the details? We don’t know for sure, but at this point, the answer is more likely no than yes. So far, it can only be said with certainty that the sides have agreed to increase Belarusian efforts to equip the Russian army. And even if the answer is yes, this doesn’t make Belarusian involvement imminent. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Sam Greene writes: Dozhd and its journalists desperately want Russians to see the world as it really is, both for Ukraine’s sake, and for Russia’s. If Dozhd is forced to close for a second time, that would be a very high price to pay. Western governments and societies should not pretend that Dozhd alone will pay for it. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The United Nations General Assembly affirmed that Israel must give up its nuclear weapons in a 149-6 vote taken on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan has told a conference of the court’s Assembly of State Parties that he has a “goal” to make “a visit to Palestine” in 2023, it was publicly revealed on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Three Palestinian gunmen were killed during intense clashes with Israeli troops in the northern West Bank city of Jenin before dawn on Thursday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Or as Prime Minister Yair Lapid correctly put it following Al Jazeera’s filing of its complaint to the ICC: “No one will investigate IDF soldiers, and no one will lecture us about morals in wartime, especially not Al Jazeera.” – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: As Israel looks to the future, including working with partner countries and also overcoming threats in the region, the air defense issue will be a key to Israel’s success. At the same time, the Ukraine war is showing how dangerous weapons like Iran’s Shahed drones can be when used against infrastructure. Iran’s use of drones to threaten ships in the Gulf of Oman is also a growing threat. In each case, better detection systems and air defenses are necessary. – Jerusalem Post

David Horovitz writes: After all, he would note, as his deal with Smotrich provides, he as prime minister of Israel will have the means to constrain the ambitions of the de facto prime minister of the West Bank. But that will be an enormous task, even for the remarkable Netanyahu. With nothing less than the destiny of Israel at stake. – Times of Israel


The Taliban administration on Wednesday put to death a man accused of murder in western Afghanistan, its spokesperson said, the first officially confirmed public execution since the hardline Islamist group seized power last year. – Reuters

The United States on Wednesday said the Taliban’s “despicable” public execution in Afghanistan showed a return to the Islamist group’s dark past as it pressed on rights during a fresh meeting. – Agence France-Presse

The Afghan Adjustment Act awaiting movement in Congress could provide stability for over 88,000 evacuees who fled to the U.S. after the Taliban swiftly seized control of Afghanistan. – Fox News


U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal in a call on Wednesday that the price cap on Russian oil does not necessitate additional checks on ships passing through Turkish territorial waters, the U.S. Treasury Department said. – Reuters

The United States does not want Turkey to pursue military attacks in northwest Syria, even if it recognizes Turkey’s right to defend itself, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday. – Reuters

US lawmakers are set to remove hurdles to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in a move that may improve frayed ties between the two allies. – Bloomberg

Western officials have blamed Turkey for the disruption to crude shipments from the Black Sea, stressing there was no reason to block traffic through the Turkish Straits. – Financial Times

A new investigation has focused on Turkey’s use of missiles as part of its operations in Syria. These are missiles fired from Turkish drones. Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a European Union-funded organization that helps trace munitions and other items in conflict, has done important work over the years documenting weapons in other countries of the region. – Jerusalem Post


Lebanon’s once burgeoning banking sector has been hard hit by the country’s historic economic meltdown. It has suffered staggering losses worth tens of billions of dollars and many of the small nation’s lenders now face possible closures or mergers. – Associated Press

Lebanon has arrested 185 people suspected of collaborating with enemy state Israel since its economic collapse three years ago left many Lebanese desperate for cash, two security sources told AFP Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

Antoun Issa writes: Aoun, with no powerful family name and a military pedigree, sought to market himself as the modern reformer after the civil war. But it’s clear now, as it always has been to those who paid attention, that Aoun’s ultimate desire was never to do away with the corrupt state, but to take a slice of it. His legacy? Exactly as he prophesied: a people drowning in poverty, and a country robbed of its future. – Middle East Institute

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government posted a $27 billion budget surplus Wednesday, as this year’s high oil prices accelerate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman‘s ambitious plans and boost resource-rich economies across the Persian Gulf. – Wall Street Journal 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping landed in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday evening for a visit that could deepen the relationship between the world’s top oil importer and top oil exporter amid strained U.S.-Saudi ties and a global reshuffling of power accelerated by the Ukraine war. – Wall Street Journal 

Saudi Arabia will place a $5 billion deposit at Turkey’s central bank “within days,” the kingdom’s finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Karen Elliott House writes: Mr. Xi appears increasingly confident that China will one day displace the U.S. as the pre-eminent global leader, and MBS is riding high after a wave of wins. Yet both leaders face serious economic challenges, including high rates of youth unemployment in both countries. And public swagger on the red carpet is one thing. Private choices tell a more nuanced story: China’s president sent his only daughter to Harvard, and the Saudi crown prince’s five children study Chinese and English. – Wall Street Journal 

Benny Avni writes: For now, the Saudis insist on getting paid for oil with American dollars. The turning point in the 21st century’s version of the Cold War will arrive when Riyadh starts taking Chinese currency instead. By then, Mr. Xi could replace his Boeing aircraft with a Chinese-made jet. – New York Sun

Aaron David Miller writes: The United States is still very important to, but perhaps not as central in, Mohammed bin Salman’s calculations. On his July trip to the Middle East, Biden told the Saudis and other Gulf Arab leaders that the United States wasn’t “going anywhere” and was in the region to stay. But if Mohammed bin Salman has his way, China—and perhaps Russia, too—will be as well. – Foreign Policy

Gulf States

An activist group erected protest billboards in FIFA boss Gianni Infantino’s Swiss home town of Brig on Wednesday to demand the world soccer body compensate migrant workers for alleged human rights abuses in Qatar, host of the football World Cup. – Reuters

A Qatari whistleblower who was jailed after raising concerns about the mistreatment of migrant workers at World Cup stadium sites was tortured on the eve of the tournament, his family has claimed. – The Guardian 

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja met Wednesday with Bezalel Smotrich, the far-right lawmaker slated to become finance minister, less than a week after he was photographed warmly greeting Otzma Yehudit chairman Itamar Ben Gvir, another far-right lawmaker who was tapped to become national security minister. – Times of Israel

U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry on Wednesday hailed the decision to hold next year’s COP28 climate summit in OPEC member the United Arab Emirates, saying fossil fuel economies should be encouraged to lead the transition to clean energy. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

At least two protesters were killed Wednesday in southern Iraq after security forces opened fire on a crowd demonstrating against a harsh prison sentence handed down against a young Iraqi activist over a Twitter post, local officials said. – Associated Press

Leaders of the congressional Abraham Accords caucuses in the House and Senate joined lawmakers and diplomats from 16 other countries on Tuesday for an international, interparliamentary forum focused on promoting projects related to the normalization agreements, Jewish Insider has learned. – Jewish Insider 

Three years into the Abraham Accords, ties could not be better between Israel and Morocco, but “to sustain an airline route, the plane must be full of tourists, businessmen [and] passengers in both directions,” Israel Association of Travel Agencies and Consultants (ITTAA) chairman Kobi Karni said Tuesday at the organization’s annual conference. – Jerusalem Post

Megan A. Stewart writes: The Syrian civil war has moved into its second decade, and the violence and brutality that has transpired are hard to overstate. The U.N. estimates that over 300,000 civilians have been killed in 10 years. Another Turkish invasion against U.S. partners in the theater will do little but exacerbate an already devastating conflict and crisis. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

North Korean government-backed hackers referenced the deadly Halloween crush in Seoul to distribute malware to users in South Korea, Google’s (GOOGL.O) Threat Analysis group said in a report. – Reuters

The protests targeting Moon highlight how social media is transforming political action in South Korea, by both amplifying demonstrators’ voices and allowing them to generate funds to sustain their activities. – Agence France-Presse

Internet Explorer users in South Korea were targeted by a group of North Korean government hackers using a zero-day vulnerability in late October, according to a new report. – The Record

Patty-Jane Geller writes: Multiple administrations have worked for years to achieve denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, with little to show for it. Until North Korea finally ends its nuclear program, the United States must continue to make the investments necessary to negate Pyongyang’s Korean nuclear coercion and protect the American people should deterrence ever fail. – Heritage Foundation


Chinese exports fell at the steepest pace in more than two years in November, the latest indication of how the country’s pandemic restrictions and waning global demand for goods is throttling China’s economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Two senior Republican lawmakers on Wednesday were highly critical of the decision by the U.S. Energy Department to award $200 million to Microvast Holdings (MVST.O) over the lithium battery company’s ties to the Chinese government. – Reuters

The abrupt U-Turn amounts to a de facto admission of failure by Xi, who spent his first decade in office consolidating power and moving to stop Chinese people from organizing even for seemingly innocuous activities, like picking up trash. Now they suddenly have a new template for pushing back against the party that could potentially be applied to a wider range of grievances, including their ability to have a say in a political system now dominated by Xi alone.  – Bloomberg

While the telecom and defense industries fight to keep buying Chinese-manufactured chips, a host of companies like Boeing, General Dynamics, Cox Communications, and AT&T have doled out more than $123 million in lobbying and contributions to Congress this year. – Washington Examiner

China has opened a police station in Israel to spy on Chinese nationals abroad, according to the NGO Safeguard Defenders. – Jerusalem Post

Nicholas Kristof writes: Those brave protesters have changed China’s national policy, and their broader yearning for rights can no more be extinguished than a virus; someday the Chinese Communist leadership will have to respond to that very human aspiration. Xi may remain in charge, but a legacy of this year’s protests may be the reminder that this yearning still flickers, just beneath the surface, in the most populous nation on earth. – New York Times

Michael J. Pappas writes: Thankfully, some members of Congress have already begun to lay the groundwork for a China reset by introducing legislation and calling for hearings designed to further decouple the U.S. from the CCP and better prepare America to proactively combat the country’s aggression. Hopefully, this reform coalition will continue to grow so that, in the next congressional session, true America First reforms can finally materialize. The fate of our republic may depend on it. – Washington Examiner

John Bolton writes: Continuing to invite Chinese participation in future nuclear weapons negotiations serves one important purpose. If Beijing still declines to participate, it will demonstrate its clear hypocrisy. And if China joins the negotiations, it will almost certainly gridlock them, thus forcing U.S. policymakers to realize that protecting the United States is a matter of strategy and hardware, not ephemeral arms control agreements. – Washington Examiner

Min-Hua Chiang writes: Banning the imports of Taiwanese agricultural products shows China’s limited capability to impact Taiwan’s economy. At the same time, China cannot afford to lose economic ties with Taiwan by going beyond agricultural products and sanctioning Taiwan’s manufacturing industries. – Heritage Foundation

James Jay Carafano writes: In just the last few years, China has triggered a global pandemic, greenlit Russia’s unconscionable invasion of Ukraine, threatened the people of Taiwan, conducted a malicious global campaign of espionage, and compiled the world’s worst record on human rights and environmental protections. China must be held accountable for its atrocious behavior. It should be treated like a global pariah, not courted by governments. – Heritage Foundation

South Asia

The ruling Nepali Congress party has emerged as Nepal’s single largest party after winning 89 seats in the 275-member parliament in a general election last month, and its leader, Sher Bahadur Deuba, looks set to stay on as prime minister. – Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was headed for a landslide victory in his home state of Gujarat on Thursday, a big boost to the Hindu nationalist party ahead of general elections due in 2024. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia will help Pakistan’s finances, according to Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan, as it looks to help shore up alliances with countries struggling with the impact of rising inflation. – Bloomberg

The leading hospital in India’s capital limped back to normalcy on Wednesday after a cyberattack crippled its operations for nearly two weeks. – Associated Press

A rival to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has won municipal elections in the Indian capital, solidifying its hold over Delhi that may see an improvement in the city’s amenities ahead of the Group of 20 meetings next year. – Bloomberg


The Cook Islands had given up on its dream of United Nations membership and, with it, greater autonomy and influence on the world stage. New Zealand, the country that once governed the small Pacific nation and still exercises power there, had rejected its repeated entreaties. – New York Times

U.S. and Russian defence firms on Thursday displayed weapons and promoted models of aircraft at Vietnam’s first large-scale arms fair, as the two powers vie for influence and arms sales in the strategic Southeast Asian country that borders China. – Reuters

The U.S. Congress is expected to start voting as soon as Wednesday on a massive military policy bill including authorization of up to $10 billion in security assistance and fast-tracked weapons procurement for Taiwan. – Reuters

Indonesia’s release of convicted Bali bomb maker Umar Patek will be a “difficult day” for Australians who lost loved ones and relatives in the attacks, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday. – Reuters

Australia’s Foreign Minister on Wednesday praised Washington’s commitment to Indo-Pacific security but said its departure from a regional trade pact was still being felt and that enhanced U.S. economic engagement with the region should be a priority. – Reuters

A Russian military officer who illegally crossed into Kazakhstan because he objected to the invasion of Ukraine has been detained there, his family said, leaving Kazakh authorities with a diplomatic dilemma over whether to hand him over to Moscow. – Reuters

Japan’s government will not rule out any measures to fund increases in defence spending, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s policy chief Koichi Hagiuda said on Wednesday, when asked about possible additional debt issuance. – Reuters

Foreigners in Indonesia should not worry about getting prosecuted for potentially breaching the country’s new criminal code that penalizes sex outside of marriage, a minister said. – Bloomberg

Mongolia’s prime minister met with protesters in sub-zero temperatures to try and calm public anger about an estimated $120 million worth worth of missing coal. – Bloomberg


Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined NATO ministers gathered in Romania last week, hailing the unity of the alliance in its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has seen member states scramble to provide weapons and funding to aid Kyiv’s fight. – Washington Post

German authorities on Wednesday arrested 25 people suspected of plotting to use armed force to storm parliament and violently overthrow the state, marking one of the country’s largest-ever raids targeting right-wing extremists. – Washington Post

Germany is set to increase its state guarantees for business investments in African countries, a move aimed at diversifying trade relations and to make it more independent from China. – Bloomberg

Britain is rebuilding its tank-killing missile stocks with an order replacing thousands of NLAW next generation light anti-tank weapons donated to the defense of the Ukraine. – Defense News


Violence in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state has killed an unknown number of people and displaced just over 9,000, some of whom are hiding in swamps, United Nations agencies said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United States is expanding its current visa restriction policy to hold to account military or political actors who undermine or delay the democratic process in Sudan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Ghana’s economic recovery efforts could be delayed and complicated if a visiting team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) leaves without a staff-level agreement next week, a finance ministry official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

M23 rebels accused a government coalition in Congo on Wednesday of targeted killings and breaching a cease-fire agreed to last month, jeopardizing prospects for peace in the country’s conflict-riddled east. – Associated Press

Nigeria will soon begin restricting ATM withdrawals to just $45 per day as part of a push to move the country toward a cashless economy. – Fox News

Bobby Ghosh writes: An important litmus test will come in March, when parliament takes up a new procurement law for state companies and government departments, a pillar of the anticorruption reforms agenda. Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said last month it was his “prayer and expectation” that the law would be approved. – Bloomberg

Adele M. Hayutin writes: If the goal of the G20 is to address coming challenges, it makes sense to revise the G20 membership to include more countries that will be directly affected by the coming demographic upheaval. In the words attributed to hockey great Wayne Gretzky, it makes sense to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. – The Hill

The Americas

A Guatemalan court on Wednesday sentenced both former President Otto Perez and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, to 16 years in prison each in a graft case years after explosive corruption revelations forced the two out of office early and into prison. – Reuters

Seven suspected cartel gunmen and one soldier were killed in a shootout Wednesday between the army and gang members in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo, authorities said. – Associated Press

Foreign affairs officials from Canada began a three-day diplomatic mission to Haiti on Wednesday in a bid to address a gang-related humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Caribbean country, the office of Global Affairs Canada said. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday said it will appeal a federal court’s decision that invalidated a pandemic-era order that blocks migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as other related legal challenges move forward. – Reuters

Mexico has submitted proposals aimed at resolving a sizeable part of an energy dispute with the United States, and wants to give companies confidence they can invest in the country, the economy ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Andrew Latham writes: China’s rise ought to result in a carefully calibrated balancing dynamic that blunts China’s more dangerous power plays and nothing more. And that may well be the outcome of the balancing efforts of Canada and other Indo-Pacific countries — a stable international order in which China’s bid for dominance is blunted. But there is a danger inherent in this dynamic, the danger that restrained balancing will spiral into something far less restrained and far less balanced. – The Hill

Latin America

Peru’s Congress overwhelmingly voted to remove President Pedro Castillo from office on Wednesday, shortly after the Peruvian leader plunged this country into turmoil by announcing he would dissolve the legislature to avoid impeachment. – Wall Street Journal 

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez has asked the European Union to renegotiate a landmark trade deal with South America, saying the agreement is unbalanced and a threat to the car industry in Brazil and Argentina, the Financial Times reported. – Reuters

Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández was convicted and sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from holding public office for a fraud scheme that embezzled $1 billion through public works projects during her presidency. – Associated Press

Venezuelan opposition parties are seeking to protect billions of dollars in UN administered humanitarian funds from foreign creditors by keeping the details of their release confidential, according to five people with knowledge of the efforts. – Reuters

United States

The Biden administration on Wednesday added 24 companies and other entities to an export control list for supporting Russia’s military or defense industrial base, Pakistan’s nuclear activities or for supplying an Iranian electronics company. – Reuters

President Joe Biden pleaded for US lawmakers to again enact a ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles, outlining measures he believes would combat a scourge of gun violence in remarks at a vigil for shooting victims. – Bloomberg

Tim Culpan writes: It may indeed be the case that TSMC’s $40 billion spending bill is the largest foreign direct investment, but that’s still not enough to ensure the US builds itself a self-sufficient semiconductor industry. It just buys bragging rights. – Bloomberg


Pressure is mounting on the Securities and Exchange Commission to step up enforcement of key hubs of the crypto industry after the collapse of FTX last month. – Wall Street Journal

Indiana sued Chinese-owned short-video sharing app TikTok on Wednesday over allegations that it is deceiving users about China’s access to their data and exposing children to mature content. – Reuters

The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed as inadmissible an action brought by WhatsApp against a decision of the European Data Protection Board, it said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

In an email sent to staff on Wednesday, Elon Musk mandated that employees start coming into the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, advising employees that other Bay Area offices won’t be used “for now.” – Business Insider 

Hackers allegedly connected to the Iranian government have been accused of targeting diamond companies in South Africa, Israel and Hong Kong with a wiper malware built to destroy data. – The Record

Congress is poised to vote in coming days on an $858 billion annual defense policy bill that contains significant spending increases for U.S. Cyber Command and other efforts to bolster national cybersecurity defenses. – CyberScoop


The military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate would be repealed under a compromise must-pass annual defense bill unveiled Tuesday night, ending the requirement that all active-duty and part-time troops get the shot. – Military.com

The U.S. may no longer enjoy a numerical advantage against China in certain elements of its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program, according to Strategic Command, which oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal. – Defense News

Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine is validating some of the underlying ideas of the U.S. Marine Corps’ new littoral regiment, meant to operate against China, according to the service’s top officer. – Defense News

The Pentagon has a problem. The Defense Department report last month on the Chinese military makes clear that Beijing is sprinting to develop the means it would need to conquer Taiwan. – Defense News

The compromise National Defense Authorization Act released by lawmakers Tuesday would grant the Air Force’s long-awaited wish to start retiring the A-10 Warthog. – Defense News

U.S. officials plan to shrink the National Media Exploitation Center, a hub coordinating FBI, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency efforts to parse documents, video, audio and other information sources for defense and intelligence distribution, to better position it for a future competition with China. – Defense News

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: Nor did the legislative branch focus solely on weapons and equipment. Congress maxed out funds for facilities maintenance for every service and component. Like munitions in previous years, this account is often a preferred bill payer when money is tight. But the troops notice mold-infested bases and aging infrastructure falling apart all around them and are voting with their feet. – American Enterprise Institute