Fdd's overnight brief

February 1, 2023

In The News


Four months after a nationwide uprising erupted in Iran, a lethal crackdown and an ailing economy have quieted antigovernment street demonstrations. – Wall Street Journal

An Iranian couple have been jailed for more than 10 years each after a video of them dancing romantically near a Tehran monument was posted on social media, according to the activist news agency HRANA. – Washington Post 

The United States on Tuesday put new trade restrictions on seven Iranian entities for producing drones that Russia has used to attack Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Commerce said. – Reuters 

Iran blamed a foreign security service and Kurdish groups in Iraq for a drone attack on an ammunition depot near the central city of Isfahan over the weekend, state-run Nour News reported. – Bloomberg

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview on Tuesday that Israel has acted against Iranian threats but would not go into details. – Arutz Sheva 

Australia should designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation and be prepared to expel diplomats from the country, according to a new Senate inquiry report. – The Guardian 

Ahmad Hashemi writes: To succeed, a movement needs to promise credibly a just, inclusive, free, and equitable future. It is unlikely that a protest movement divided along ethnic, sectarian, and gender lines can succeed in overthrowing a regime entrenched for more than four decades now. Until the privileged class revises its supremacist ideology and embraces this egalitarian and feminine movement in Iran, pro-democracy Iranians will not overcome the inertia of the status quo. – Washington Examiner

Amos Harel writes: All of these moves signal to Iran that the United States and Israel are largely coordinated. They do not herald an imminent U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. (There is no agreement on this, and in any event Israel is not yet operationally ready). […]In any event, it is clear that Iran intends to respond to the latest incidents. This war will continue, on various fronts and with various means, but for now at fairly low intensity. – Haaretz

Ofir Barel writes: For the senior population, the American MediaWise program can serve as a model for an effective online digital literacy program. Launched during the 2020 presidential election, the program helps the elderly to exercise critical thinking about types of online information through videos, texts and quizzes. Recently, researchers from Stanford University demonstrated that MediaWise significantly improved the resilience of older adults to misinformation. – Jerusalem Post 

Nicholas Carl, Annika Ganzeveld, Johanna Moore, Dana Alexandar Gray, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Iranian officials are securitizing their disaster response to the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that occurred in Khoy, West Azerbaijan Province.[…]Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia will include Iran in future rapprochement discussions between Syria and Turkey. Parliamentarian Mohammad Sargazi described plans to expel Afghan nationals from Sistan and Baluchistan Province if the Afghan Taliban does not provide Iran water rights to the Helmand River. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Russia has violated the New START treaty cutting long-range nuclear arms by refusing to allow on-site inspections and rebuffing Washington’s requests to meet to discuss its compliance concerns, the U.S. State Department said in a report sent to Congress on Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal

A U.S. weapons maker is offering to sell the Ukraine government two Reaper MQ-9 drones for a dollar to help the country defend itself as it prepares for an expected Russian offensive. – Wall Street Journal

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that it had uncovered evidence that Ukrainian forces fired “thousands” of antipersonnel land mines into Russian-occupied territory in eastern Ukraine, in an apparent violation of Kyiv’s commitments not to use the weapons, injuring and maiming dozens of civilians. – Washington Post

The United States is readying more than $2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time as well as other munitions and weapons, two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday said it had no indication that U.S. funds had been misused in Ukraine, but would continue to work closely with Ukrainian authorities to ensure appropriate safeguards were in place to avert corruption. – Reuters 

Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine partly to assert Russia’s regional dominance once and for all. Nearly a year on, the Russian president has achieved the opposite — and not just in Kyiv. – Bloomberg

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that his country is willing to offer more assistance to close ally Russia in its war against Ukraine. – Associated Press

The three lead officials carrying out oversight of American military and economic assistance to Ukraine concluded a joint trip to Kyiv last week as part of their investigative duties, according to a joint statement. – The Hill

Editorial: Governments will balk at feather-bedding already profitable defence companies whose performance often leaves much to be desired. But defence industrial capacity is a vital component of security underpinning the international order and global trading system. Maintaining it is also a way of deterring aggression. It is a message to Moscow — and to Beijing — that Ukraine’s allies are in it for the long haul. – Financial Times 

Hal Brands writes: Biden is betting that there is a sweet spot at which the Russians will be reeling badly enough to negotiate but not to escalate, and at which the Ukrainians — having won a stronger position — will agree to stop short of what they desire and deserve.[…]Biden’s updated strategy is an intelligent effort to grapple with a shifting battlefield and to figure out how military progress can facilitate a settlement that sticks. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will work. – Bloomberg

Victor Rud writes: Today we’re apoplectic about Russia’s nuclear bombast as it pulverizes Ukraine with those very same missiles (sans nuclear warhead). We then veto the victim’s ability to prevent that by targeting launch sites in Russia. Result? We grant the criminal immunity and sanctuary on its territory and confine the apocalyptic destruction to the victim’s territory. Not to worry. If Russia adds the warheads, we promised to refer the matter to the Security Council. – The Hill

Andrei Kolesnikov writes: Sometimes it seems as though Russia really has disappeared from the map, or has been illegally annexed by its own government. In less than a year, Putin and his team have managed to discredit everything Russian, even Russian culture. Russia’s image has not taken such a battering since the days of Stalin. The Soviet Union in its later years had a lot more global respect than Russia does now. – Foreign Affairs 

Jorge L. Rivero writes: Even though questions regarding proper training and officer billets in this new structure still loom, the manning portion of the proposal seems attainable, given that Russia’s twice-a-year draft, which calls up about 263,000 conscripts a year and allowing new conscripts to sign contracts from day one, can provide forces to man these new formations and reconstitute the existing force.[…]Even though some of these brigades have been reconstituted multiple times after being destroyed in Ukraine, manning the divisions from the existing brigade personnel will ease the burden. – The National Interest 

Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Angela Howard, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick W. Kagan write: It is extraordinarily unlikely that Russian forces will be able to conduct a surprise encirclement of Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut. Yaroslavskyi noted that the Ukrainian military command would conduct a controlled withdrawal of forces from Bakhmut to save Ukrainian soldiers’ lives, likely if the Ukrainian command assesses that the risk of an encirclement of the city is imminent. – Institute for the Study of War


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Tuesday for improvements to the Palestinian Authority’s governance while also stressing during a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank that Palestinians deserved the same freedoms and opportunities as Israelis. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would be willing to consider serving as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine if asked by both warring countries and the United States. – Reuters 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken brushed off an Israeli minister who protested his “lesson in democracy” as he visited Jerusalem amid an intense debate about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reform. –  Washington Examiner

Israel should do more to support Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia in light of Moscow’s deepening ties with Iran, US Secretary of State said as he wrapped up his two-day visit to the Jewish state. – Jerusalem Post 

A bill calling to end a United Nations probe against Israel has been reintroduced to the US Congress after similar legislation failed to advance last year. – Times of Israel 

At least two Israelis were hurt on Wednesday, in a suspected ramming attack at a major West Bank intersection. – Ynet

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said in a January 26, 2023 interview on France 24 TV that the Palestinians rejoiced when U.S. President Joe Biden was elected to replace Trump, but that the only promise the U.S. has honored is to start funding UNRWA again. He said that the two-state solution is still on the table, that the Palestinians and the world have faith in it, and that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank can be removed. He warned, however, that the two-state solution may not be viable because of demographic reasons. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Israeli Arab terrorists Karim Yunis and his cousin Maher Yunis were recently released after serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 1980 kidnapping and murder of Avraham Bromberg, an Israeli soldier who was on his way from his army base to his home in Zichron Ya’akov. Upon their release, senior officials from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling party Fatah, including President Mahmoud ‘Abbas, congratulated them, showered them with praise and presented them as “role models” and “sources of inspiration” for the Palestinians. ‘Abbas personally phoned to congratulate the two men and described them as Palestinian “dignitaries” and “icons” and as “a source of pride and inspiration” for the Palestinian people. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Editorial: What Strock, and others on the far Right, don’t seem to understand, is that the US indeed does have a right to offer its concern and reservations about a plan with such far-reaching implications as the proposed judicial overhaul. the proposed judicial overhaul. – Jerusalem Post 

R. David Harden writes: At the height of the Second Intifada, Jenin was dangerous and deadly. We carefully, laboriously, and diplomatically tested a sustainable model of economic integration, reasonably effective governance, and shared security from the ground up. With a nod to Abba Eban, the Iraelis missed a rare opportunity to reshape their neighborhood and the broader Middle East. – The Hill

Omer Dostri writes: Israel must simultaneously increase its intelligence efforts on social media through advanced AI systems to identify and prevent terrorist activities. It must also demand social media companies and platforms take stricter measures against incitement. If necessary, legislation should be enacted to support this action. – Jerusalem Post


Just weeks before its collapse, the Western-backed Afghan government sent dozens of army officers for training to India, a close ally. Among them was Captain Obaidullah Zahir, a rising star in the Afghan National Army, which was battling the Taliban insurgency. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Three-month old Amrullah was one of at least 171 people who have died due to the cold weather in Afghanistan in recent weeks, in a bitter freezing snap that has hit just as the country is experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis. – Reuters

Former commando Heston Russell was defamed by the ABC in a series of articles that linked him to war crimes and alleged he left “fire and bodies” in his wake during his service in Afghanistan, the federal court has ruled. – The Guardian 

Richard Fontaine and Lisa Curtis write: All these measures, even taken together, will neither dislodge the Taliban nor dramatically empower the political opposition. The opportunity to exert more direct leverage was lost in the chaos of America’s withdrawal. But Washington should seek even modest steps to deny the Taliban international legitimacy, strengthen Afghanistan’s political opposition, and make clear that a better future is possible. With its Kandahar-based, hardest-line elements in the ascendancy, the Taliban today hurriedly wrings from Afghanistan the basic rights of its people and the essential functions of its society. Yet if history is any guide, this faction will not rule forever. The effort to help Afghans shape a better alternative should begin now. – Foreign Policy


Sweden’s government should “act differently” if it wants to clinch Turkish support for its bid to join NATO, Hungary’s foreign minister said Tuesday, adding that a recent Quran-burning protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm was “unacceptable.” – Associated Press 

The U.S. embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Koran-burning incidents in Europe. – Haaretz

Quin Hillyer writes: Instead, Biden not only remains silent on Freedom’s plight, but continues to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Turkey even as Turkey bombs Kurds, blocks NATO expansion, and otherwise makes itself an opponent of peace and liberty. Biden’s silence has continued even after more than 40 Republican lawmakers wrote him asking him to stand up for Freedom. – Washington Examiner


Unidentified attackers fired eight rockets at a Turkish military base in northern Iraq on Wednesday, two of which landed inside the facility, said the Counter-Terrorism Group, a security organisation in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. – Reuters 

Iran International has obtained information that unravels some details about the inner workings of a Revolutionary Guard’s Quds force unit tasked with smuggling money from Iraq to Iran. – Iran International

Omar Al-Nidawi writes: The international community should exercise caution in dealing with Baghdad and adopt a clear and balanced approach. In its time in office so far, this government has failed to prove that its mission is aligned with Iraq’s best interest. – Middle East Institute


Three alleged Al-Qaeda militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike in northeastern Yemen on Monday, local government officials said. – Agence France-Presse

Britain is unlawfully allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the war in Yemen despite evidence of repeated violations of international humanitarian law, campaigners told London’s High Court on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Eleonora Ardemagni writes: In this framework, recently established pro-Saudi armed groups in Yemen could provide fresh forces to be deployed against new Houthi military offensives, in case the Saudi-Houthi talks collapse. Otherwise, this choice suggests the Saudis consider the northern regions to be lost territory at this point, and thus have started to rethink their strategy and forces in the south to maximize gains, where possible, vis-à-vis Emirati-backed groups. Amid all of these shifting dynamics, the political-military balance around Aden seems increasingly on the brink. – Middle East Institute

Gulf States

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dropped a criminal investigation into retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen, who was accused of lobbying on behalf of the Middle Eastern nation Qatar. – The Hill

The U.S. Coast Guard seized $33 million worth of drugs from a fishing vessel that was smuggling narcotics in the Gulf of Oman on Tuesday, according to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. – Fox News

Simon Henderson writes: Whether Putin will be around to see that is questionable. But MbS may well be. BP studiously and correctly avoids price scenarios, but the Saudis need the revenues for many years yet. First, though, let’s get through 2023. – The Hill

Souhayb Jawhar writes: Ultimately, the success of any Qatari role in Lebanon is dependent on the desire of the Lebanese parties to consider the proposed solutions, beyond their own political calculations. It also hinges on relations between the actual actors in the region, specifically Washington, Riyadh, and Tehran. – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Middle East & North Africa

Egypt is still seeking assurances that U.S. sanctions will be waived in order to start exporting gas to Lebanon through Syria under a plan first announced in 2021 to help ease Lebanon’s power crisis, a senior French official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

US President Biden will host King Abdullah II of Jordan for a private lunch on Thursday, the White House confirmed. – Jerusalem Post

Qatar’s state-run energy company has entered a consortium to explore for gas offshore of Lebanon, according to reports. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said the United States will increase its deployment of advanced weapons such as fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula as it strengthens joint training and operational planning with South Korea in response to a growing North Korean nuclear threat. – Associated Press 

A Chinese oil broker whose activities were exposed by a Financial Times investigation has been arrested in South Korea on suspicion of organising illegal transfers of diesel to North Korea. – Financial Times 

Chinese technical support for Russian mercenaries in Ukraine, North Korean nukes and the prospect of a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan could all be on the table when Secretary of State Antony Blinken touches down in Beijing for a high-stakes diplomatic visit this weekend. – Washington Times


A plan by China to restrict exports of key solar manufacturing technology could delay attempts to build up a domestic solar supply chain in the U.S., industry experts say. – Wall Street Journal

After more than a year of debate about whether a Chinese company’s plan to build a corn mill in North Dakota was an economic boon or a geopolitical risk, an assistant secretary of the Air Force has weighed in with a warning that the “project presents a significant threat to national security.” – New York Times

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine with Chinese officials during a Feb. 5-6 trip to China, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. – Reuters

China and the US must find common ground for the sake of the global economic recovery, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper said, signaling Beijing’s continued desire to mend ties ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. – Bloomberg

The US military commitment to the Pacific was underlined in a White House meeting between the leaders of the US and Japan. But behind the scenes, this renewed focus on Asia has sparked a fierce debate within one of its most fabled military forces, writes defence analyst Jonathan Marcus. – BBC

Anjani Trivedi writes: While the US’s concerns center around national security, its policy focus on holding China back — as opposed to boosting domestic capabilities — is likely to do more harm than good.[…]Coming out of the pandemic that hobbled supply chains and companies, measures to foster competition and innovation are likely to be far more productive and profitable than shutting out a key player in the market. As the economic cycle turns, that is even more important. – Bloomberg

Benny Avni writes: Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwan trip raised Mr. Xi’s ire, and Beijing is warning Speaker McCarthy against a repeat, even as the Pentagon is said to prepare for him to travel there. As more Europeans realize the stakes involved, Communist China’s threats are bound to lose some of their effectiveness. – New York Sun 

Sam Howell writes: U.S. officials say export restrictions on chips are necessary because China can use semiconductors to advance their military systems, including weapons of mass destruction, and commit human rights abuses.[…]Earlier in January, Congress set up the House Select Committee on China, tasked with dealing with legislation to combat the dangers of a rising China. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting his Chinese counterparts next week in Beijing, his first visit since 2018, to maintain open lines of communication amid rising U.S.-China tensions. – Voice of America

South Asia

The Biden administration is turning to India for help as the U.S. works to shift critical technology supply chains away from China and other countries that it says use that technology to destabilize global security. – Wall Street Journal

The death toll in a suicide bombing in northwestern Pakistan climbed to at least 100 on Tuesday as rescuers pulled bodies out of the rubble of a mosque hit by one of the country’s deadliest terrorist attacks. – Wall Street Journal

Indian magnate Gautam Adani said on Tuesday he would keep investing in Israel after his group took over one of the country’s main ports. – Reuters 

The White House on Tuesday condemned this week’s terrorist attack on a mosque in Pakistan, noting that reports say the death toll is up to 100 people. – The Hill


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday stressed the importance of NATO’s working closely with partners in the Indo-Pacific, saying Europe could not ignore what happens in East Asia because the global security is interconnected. – Reuters 

China condemned on Tuesday a phone call between Czech President-elect Petr Pavel and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, saying he ignored Beijing’s repeated attempts at dissuasion. – Reuters 

Britain on Tuesday sanctioned two companies and two individuals it said had supplied Myanmar’s air force with aviation fuel used to carry out bombing campaigns against the Asian country’s own citizens. – Reuters

The trade ministers of Australia and China will hold a virtual meeting next week, Australia’s trade minister, Don Farrell, told broadcaster ABC in an interview on Tuesday. – Reuters

The US and India plan to share advanced defense and computing technology, including the potential joint production of General Electric Co. jet engines, as the Biden administration seeks to shift New Delhi away from Russia and counter China. – Bloomberg

The US and its allies Canada, the UK and Australia have imposed fresh sanctions on Myanmar, adding to pressure on the military regime, two years since it overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup. – Bloomberg

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has warned about the risk of conflict in the Indo-Pacific as she prepares to meet her British counterpart for defense talks that will likely focus on regional issues including China’s military expansion. – Bloomberg

Taiwan scrambled fighter jets, put its navy on alert and activated missile systems in response to nearby operations of 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships that are part Beijing’s strategy to unsettle and intimidate the self-governing island democracy. – Associated Press

Australia on Wednesday announced targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against “individuals responsible for egregious human rights abuses” in Myanmar two years after a military junta seized power in the Southeast Asian country. – Associated Press

The independent U.N. special investigator on Myanmar warned Tuesday that the country’s military rulers plan to seek legitimacy by orchestrating a “sham” election this year and urged all countries to reject the illegal and “farcical” vote. – Associated Press

Myanmar’s military is increasingly turning to airstrikes with deadly results to try to crush stiff armed resistance two years after it seized power and plunged the country into a prolonged civil war, a human rights monitoring group said in a report Tuesday. – Associated Press    

Azerbaijan appealed Tuesday to the United Nations’ highest court to urgently order Armenia to stop the laying of land mines and booby traps on Azerbaijani territory and disclose the location of those already planted, in the latest legal battle focused on the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Associated Press 

Eric Heginbotham writes: Finally, the United States should ensure that the political relationship with China remains positive in those areas that do not directly compromise America’s position and — consistent with U.S. policy for half a century—that avoid promoting de jure independence for Taiwan. We should, in other words, not blink in our competition with China, but nor should we back Beijing into a corner. – Newsweek


Ukraine protested to Hungary’s ambassador on Tuesday over “disparaging” comments made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and urged Budapest to stop what it called anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. – Reuters 

Italian embassies all over the world are at risk of anarchist attacks linked to the case of the hunger-striking Alfredo Cospito, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Britain and the European Union have struck a customs deal that could help end post-Brexit wrangling over Northern Ireland, The Times newspaper said on Tuesday, and Brussels has also made a key concession on the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) role. – Reuters 

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday denounced activists who burned the Quran and hanged an effigy of Turkey’s president in Stockholm as “useful idiots” for foreign powers who want to inflict harm on the Scandinavian country as it seeks to join NATO. – Associated Press

A knife-wielding man who wounded three people at a major underground railway station in the Belgian capital Brussels has been charged with attempted murder in an attack that wasn’t considered to be terrorism, prosecutors said Tuesday. – Associated Press   

Hungary’s nationalist government ousted hundreds of senior military leaders in the most far-reaching overhaul of the central European nation’s army since it joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. – Bloomberg

EU member states have warned Brussels against giving Ukraine an unrealistic expectation of rapidly joining the bloc, ahead of a summit in Kyiv where Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pressing for progress on accession and reconstruction. – Financial Times 

A UK government plan to review or revoke all EU laws left on the UK statute book by the end of 2023 became tougher on Monday after it announced that another 1,000 pieces of legislation had been added to the pile scheduled for reform. – Financial Times 

Mamuka Tsereteli writes: Yet this time there is a discernible political will to get the infrastructure built. The severance of Russian supplies was a serious shock for Europe and the urgent need to meet climate change objectives with greener energy are both providing significant momentum. The undersea power cable project has a realistic chance for implementation. That would blaze a trail for other projects to help boost connectivity in the Black Sea.  - Center for European Policy Analysis 

Przemysław Osiewicz writes: To sum up, 2023 may force changes in the EU’s policies and approaches toward the above-mentioned problems in the MENA region. If the bloc really wants to play a significant role in the global international system, it must support peace processes and help stabilize the situation in its immediate neighborhood.[…]If there is a breakthrough on any of these three issues, however, Europe will be able to consider this year a success. – Middle East Institute


Mercenaries from the Wagner private military company may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the West African nation of Mali along with the country’s military, United Nations experts said on Tuesday, calling for an independent investigation into multiple instances of human rights abuses. – New York Times 

Angola, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo agreed to establish a new agency that will oversee the development of a trade corridor to and from the Atlantic Ocean port of Lobito that has the potential to transform how the region’s resources are shipped. – Bloomberg

Three nations have agreed with the help of Russian troops to secure a gold-rich region in the Central African Republic rife with armed rebel groups, the latest sign of Moscow’s expanding influence on the continent. – Bloomberg

Sudanese authorities have released a man convicted of the 2008 killing of a U.S. diplomat in a drive-by shooting in the capital, Khartoum, his family said Tuesday. The release followed a 2020 deal between Sudan and the Trump administration that included compensation settlements for killings of Americans. – Associated Press 

The leaders of Zimbabwe and Belarus have signed agriculture and defence agreements. This includes a deal to supply the southern African country with $60m (£49m) worth of tractors. – BBC

Colin P. Clarke writes: Wagner’s actions, especially the reported targeting of civilians and other noncombatants, are destabilizing the Sahel, driving local populations into the arms of extremists and helping affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State recruit new members in droves. […]To head off a similar scenario, it is imperative that the United States, France and other Western nations craft a comprehensive approach to Russia’s use of proxies, which forms part of Moscow’s broader conduct of hybrid or “gray zone” warfare around the world. – New York Times

The Americas

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it has charged four more men in connection with the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse that threw the Caribbean nation into constitutional chaos. – Washington Post 

Jair Bolsonaro, the embattled former president of Brazil, has applied for a six-month tourist visa that would allow him to continue living in the United States as he faces mounting legal peril back in Brazil. – Washington Post 

President Biden will welcome President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil to the White House on Feb. 10, the White House announced on Tuesday. – The Hill

Juan Guaidó was feted like a rock star when he emerged as the fresh-faced leader of Venezuela’s opposition. He met world leaders at Davos, received a standing ovation at Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and led protests in Caracas that drew thousands of supporters screaming his name. – Bloomberg 

Andreas Kluth writes: One day, the tragic war in Ukraine will indeed end in negotiations. But it’s not for Lula, or anybody else, to tell a country fighting for its very survival that the time has come to take a seat at the table with the invaders. If Lula can’t wrap his mind around the moral geometry in Ukraine, Europe and the world, he doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. – Bloomberg


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned on Monday that pro-Russian hacktivist group Killnet is actively targeting the U.S. healthcare industry with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. – The Hill

The U.S. and its allies in the Middle East and North Africa announced on Tuesday that they are broadening the Abraham Accords — a 2020 agreement to normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and some Arab countries — to include cybersecurity. – The Hill

Over the past year, Israel’s cyber defense authority foiled over a thousand major attacks that had the potential of seriously crippling the country’s economy, its cybersecurity czar said on Tuesday. – Ynet  

Paul M. Barrett writes: To be sure, the Gonzalez suit raises troubling issues surrounding online incitement of terrorism. But this quintessentially legislative assessment is a task for Congress, not the Supreme Court. And that’s why the justices should refrain from imposing a judicially crafted exception onto a law that helped make the internet an engine of free speech. – The Hill 

Jen Easterly and Eric Goldstein write: Even as the cybersecurity community takes steps to build a sustainable approach to cybersecurity through the widespread adoption of safe technology, corporate cyber responsibility, and persistent collaboration, it must continue to help individuals and small businesses protect themselves, recognizing that everyone has a responsibility to maintain a safe cyberspace environment, just as drivers still bear responsibility for driving safely, even with seatbelts and airbags are included as standard features. – Foreign Affairs


US Navy warships have seen fewer days at sea since 2011 because vessels are breaking down more frequently than expected and taking longer to repair, even as the Pentagon struggles to catch up with China’s larger fleet, according to newly disclosed data from congressional analysts. – Bloomberg

Through these training deployments, US Navy SEALs help new special-operations units to become proficient in new missions and skill sets. – Business Insider 

The U.S. Air Force is interested in installing always-on surveillance systems fueled by artificial intelligence and other advanced computing technology at sites overseen by U.S. Central Command. – Defense News

A General Atomics Aeronautical Systems-developed unmanned aerial system flew for the first time, launching from another UAS in a demonstration at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy is close to declaring initial operational capability on its second and final Littoral Combat Ship mission package, the mine countermeasures package, as it awaits a final report from the service’s test and evaluation office. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy and its suppliers have thousands of open jobs at government repair yards and in the private shipbuilding and ship repair industrial base, as hiring and retaining skilled workers has become “our No. 1 strategic challenge across the enterprise,” according to the head of Naval Sea Systems Command. – Defense News

Attacks on ground networks can be “backdoor” assaults on the space-based capabilities that are key to modern warfare, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman told reporters Tuesday. – Defense One

The plan to upgrade the Navy’s fleet of Flight IIA Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers with new radars and electronic warfare suites is estimated to cost about $17 billion and take anywhere from a year and a half to two years to upgrade each warship, USNI News has learned. – USNI News

Creating a digital training environment is a key priority for the Space Force’s new chief officer as he focuses on ensuring the readiness of Guardians to face inevitable attacks on US space systems in future conflict. And Gen. Chance Saltzman made it clear today that there “absolutely” are funds in the fiscal 2024 budget to pay for the new simulators and “digital twins” required. – Breaking Defense

Maiya Clark writes: Congress appropriately responded to depleted U.S. munitions stockpiles with increased funding, streamlined contract authorities, increased oversight into munitions-requirement planning, and investments in the industrial base. Each of these efforts will ensure that the U.S. military is better prepared to meet near-term and long-term challenges. Congress’s efforts cannot, however, be a one-time measure; munition reserves must receive ongoing attention from Congress and the Administration. – Heritage Foundation

Long War

A Michigan man was convicted in Detroit federal court Monday on charges connected to his years-long stint in Syria training and fighting for the terror group ISIS, the Department of Justice said. – CNN

The Palestinian Arab terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad sent a message to Egypt and the United Nations, who are mediating between them and Israel, that “the attacks against the Palestinian prisoners in the prisons of the Israeli occupation will result in an explosion of the situation in the region.” – Arutz Sheva  

Yahya Zubeidi, a member of the general assembly of the Freedom Theater in the Jenin refugee camp, was arrested Sunday by Israeli forces while passing through a temporary military checkpoint on the way back from Jericho to Jenin, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. IDF spokesperson said that Zubeidi was arrested “near Jericho on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity, and was handed over to the security establishment for further investigation.” – Haaretz