Fdd's overnight brief

February 22, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered Russian forces onto their territory for “peacekeeping” purposes, a dramatic escalation in a crisis that is threatening a full-scale war. – Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s combative address Monday from the Kremlin was a nearly hourlong recitation of decades worth of historical grievances and an unmistakable challenge by Moscow to the post-Cold War international order dominated by the West. – Wall Street Journal

In his speech to the Russian nation on Monday, President Vladimir V. Putin buoyed his case for codifying the cleavage of two rebel territories from Ukraine by arguing that the very idea of Ukrainian statehood was a fiction. – New York Times

Russia is planning “the biggest war in Europe since 1945,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain told the BBC on Sunday, warning that a conflict would be a “catastrophe” for Russia. – New York Times

Top American officials said on Monday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine remained imminent amid continued troop movements, propaganda and bellicose language from Moscow, suggesting that prospects are dim for a summit between President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin in the days ahead. – New York Times

Global stock indexes and U.S. futures fell, while crude-oil futures climbed after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two breakaway areas of Ukraine that he had earlier recognized as independent. – Wall Street Journal 

Snezhana Makinevskaya put a great effort into repairing the house she fled after Russian-backed militants seized swaths of eastern Ukraine in 2014 and her neighborhood ended up on the front line with Ukrainian forces. – Wall Street Journal 

The world’s attention is on eastern Ukraine, where Moscow’s forces circle. Yet Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions extend far beyond. He wants to renegotiate the end of the Cold War. – Wall Street Journal

The United States government has sent a letter to the United Nations human rights chief in Geneva saying it has “credible information” that Russian forces have compiled a list of Ukrainian citizens to be killed or sent to detention camps in the aftermath of a Russian invasion and occupation of the country, according to a copy of the letter obtained Sunday by The New York Times. – New York Times

Satellite imagery collected this weekend shows an apparent shift in Russia’s military deployment around Ukraine. In contrast to the large-scale deployments visible in imagery over recent weeks, some smaller deployments are now visible. – New York Times

Russian and Belarusian military forces staged a mock battle on Saturday, with warplanes, tanks and rocket launchers pounding a muddy, wind-swept military training ground around 70 miles north of the Ukrainian border. – New York Times

World leaders scrambled Tuesday to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to signal possible sanctions — after he ordered his forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. – Associated Press

The United States and its European allies are poised to announce harsh new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, escalating a security crisis on the continent. – Reuters

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega became one of the first world leaders to back Russia’s stance over Ukraine on Monday, saying President Vladimir Putin was right to recognise two regions controlled by Moscow-backed separatists as independent. – Reuters

The eight-year conflict in Ukraine’s Russian-backed east has been accompanied by a ferocious disinformation battle between Moscow and Kyiv that tries to implicate the other side in grave crimes. – Agence France-Presse

The deployment of what Russia called a peacekeeping operation in eastern Ukraine is “nonsense” and Moscow’s recognition of breakaway regions as independent is part of its pretext for war, the United States told the U.N. Security Council on Monday. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday that the State Department would be relocating its embassy operations to Poland from Ukraine amid a possible invasion by Russia. – The Hill

Editorial: We would have thought that the Europeans, especially the Germans, would understand that historical echo and respond accordingly. If the Ukraine slaughter unfolds, American and European elites should reflect on how they have again made themselves hostages to a dictator. – Wall Street Journal

Walter Russell Mead writes: Mr. Putin is an immensely skilled ruler, the most formidable Russian figure since Stalin, but he has his problems, too. […]If Western leaders can overcome their posthistorical parochialism and develop coherent strategies for the actual world as opposed to the world of their dreams, effectively countering Vladimir Putin is an eminently achievable goal, though in no way a simple or a trivial one. – Wall Street Journal

Robert Kagan writes: The map of Europe has experienced many changes over the centuries. Its current shape reflects the expansion of U.S. power and the collapse of Russian power from the 1980s until now; the next one will likely reflect the revival of Russian military power and the retraction of U.S. influence. If combined with Chinese gains in East Asia and the Western Pacific, it will herald the end of the present order and the beginning of an era of global disorder and conflict as every region in the world shakily adjusts to a new configuration of power. – Washington Post

Frederick W. Kagan, Mason Clark, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: The initiation of a Russian attack in eastern Ukraine would offer Putin many opportunities to expand his narratives to support a full-scale invasion. In the absence of the emergence of a clear narrative justifying the invasion-to-conquer course of action, therefore, we forecast that hostilities will begin in the east and with air and missile attacks throughout Ukraine’s depth, likely with some pause before Putin launches further invasions of unoccupied Ukraine. – Institute for the Study of War

Sergey Radchenko writes: Brinksmanship is an art. Soviet and Russian leaders had all practiced it, with varying degrees of success. In this sense, at least, Putin is well-versed in a tradition established by his predecessors. Like his Soviet predecessors, Putin is willing to use overwhelming brute force in pursuit of clearly imperialistic goals. But he is an incremental imperialist, taking a bite at a time, feeling for weakness in the West’s resolve, ready to back off if he encounters too much resistance. Kennan would have recognized the type. – War on the Rocks

Timothy Snyder writes: Whether or not a war is coming, Americans ought to remember that provocation is already part of it, and that provocations work at many levels. The Biden administration resisted the obvious one, which was to make concessions under psychological pressure. It has also had unprecedented success in pointing to Russian scenarios of provocation in the Donbas, thereby making them harder to carry out. […]Of course, there might be another level to consider: that the mobilization (or even an invasion) is meant to divert our attention from something else. – The Atlantic

Tom McTague writes: Rereading these lines today, in light of the Ukraine crisis, you can conclude that he has partly made good on his promise, despite the debacle in Afghanistan. […]Yet Russia’s challenge to the West today, as it amasses its troops on Ukraine’s borders, is predicated on its belief that American power is retreating, and with it the power of its example. Europe’s response, however, has been to reveal how powerful America remains. The truth is that it’s possible for both sentiments to be true at the same time. – The Atlantic

Aaron Crimmins writes: The United States and NATO’s assistance to Ukraine may put these other countries in the crosshairs as well. The United States and other NATO countries have sent diplomatic entourages to Eastern Europe many times in previous weeks to sue for peace on behalf of Ukraine and greater Europe. Russian kinetic aggression may be limited to Ukraine and eastern Europe, but without clear borders and blockages to limit their scope, the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict may spill over, threatening further escalation with NATO and other powers. – The National Interest

Kelly M. Greenhill and Joshua Shifrinson write: This is not an argument in favor of appeasement, nor is it a call for preemptive concessions. Instead, it is a call for overdue recognition that weak actors won’t necessarily bend to the will of their more powerful counterparts, threats of punishing sanctions and belligerent rhetoric notwithstanding. […]This often includes generating potentially escalatory, dangerous, and deadly crises. As current events remind us, we all forget this inconvenient fact at our own peril. – Foreign Policy 


Iran, the U.S. and other world powers are nearing a deal to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, although negotiators are still wrangling over significant final demands from Tehran, including the scope of sanctions relief. – Wall Street Journal

The chances of reviving the Iran nuclear accord are dwindling and the “moment of truth” has arrived for Tehran’s leadership, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Saturday. – Agence France-Presse

Israel’s prime minister on Sunday criticized an emerging deal over Iran’s nuclear program, saying it would be weaker than a previous agreement and would create a “more violent, more volatile Middle East. – Associated Press 

Iran has returned 820,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by Poland because they were manufactured in the United States, state TV reported Monday. – Associated Press

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said talks in Vienna on reviving Tehran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers have made “significant progress,” although there are still unresolved issues. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Iranian lawmakers have urged President Ebrahim Raisi to obtain guarantees from the United States and three European countries that they won’t exit the nuclear deal being renegotiated in Vienna, Iranian state media reported on February 20. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Former Prime Minister and Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called US policy on Iran “weak” and said that Israel needed to oppose the Biden Administration on the issue. – Arutz Sheva

Attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria by pro-Iranian groups using drones represents an emerging threat in the region. The US acknowledged the attacks in a recent report on the US role in Iraq and Syria, the quarterly Lead Inspector General report to the US Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve. – Jerusalem Post

The world cannot acquiesce to Iran’s demand that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps no longer be designated by the United States as a terrorist organization, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday the pending return of world’s powers to the nuclear deal with Iran will delay its plans to acquire a weapon by no more than 2.5 years. – Ynet

Blaise Misztal and Jonathan Ruhe write: This starts with strengthening sanctions on China-Iran energy ties, which have been a lifeline for Tehran and which the administration under-enforced in a counterproductive conciliatory gesture. It also entails heightening military readiness by both the United States and Israel, which historically has been the most reliable way to coerce Iran’s regime. […]It is well past time for President Biden to live up to his statements and call time out on the Iran nuclear talks. – The Hill 


With its economy in free fall, the Taliban is banking on private enterprise to rescue Afghanistan’s people and solidify its regime. – Wall Street Journal

Six months after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the thousands of Afghans left behind in the evacuation or scattered across the globe after the chaotic exit have little hope of reaching the U.S. The Hill

Ezra Klein writes: I make no pretense of knowing how to solve a problem as wicked as Afghanistan. But Joe Biden chose this policy. For his own legacy, and more important, for the tens of millions of human beings suffering in Afghanistan, he needs to figure out how to fix it. – New York Times


A veteran Turkish political leader who has struggled for years to have President Tayyip Erdogan voted out of office says it is “very clear” that his dream is drawing nearer, even as doubts remain about whether he will be the main opposition candidate at presidential elections set for 2023. – Reuters

A Turkish court said on Monday philanthropist Osman Kavala must stay in prison, lengthening his detention of more than four years without conviction in a case that has fuelled tensions in Ankara’s relations with Western allies. – Reuters

Israel’s figurehead president has become an unlikely star on the country’s diplomatic stage, where he’s playing a dominant role in efforts to repair strained ties with once-close ally Turkey. – Bloomberg

George N. Tzogopoulos writes: The regional and international environment is not static. The dramatic deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations since 2008 can be arguably reversed, under circumstances that render a rapprochement mutually desired. Greece and Cyprus monitor developments in the hope that Turkey might display sincerity and behave responsibly in a turbulent neighborhood. In this spirit, Israel’s leverage in fostering inclusivity in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond should not be ignored. – Jerusalem Post 


The Israeli justice ministry announced Monday that its weekslong investigation had found no evidence to suggest the Israeli police had systematically bypassed judicial oversight to hack the phones of civilians. – New York Times

Israel on Monday said it successfully tested a new naval air defense system, intercepting a series of threats in what officials called a key layer of protection against Iran and its proxies in the region. – Associated Press

In the future, Palestinians will have an entity, but not a full-fledged state, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

The infiltration of a drone from Lebanon deep into Israeli territory on Friday has highlighted a problem that Israel’s military and political leadership are well aware of, but have not been discussing openly: the limited achievements of Israel’s policy of waging a “military campaign between the wars” in a theater of operations in which there is a particularly high chance that it will deteriorate into a war. – Haaretz

Israeli officials are worried that the imposition of US sanctions against Russia in response to a possible invasion of Ukraine could harm Israel’s security interests in Syria, according to a report Monday. – Times of Israel

The executive director of Amnesty International Israel has sharply criticized the umbrella international organization over its report earlier this month that accused Israel of practicing apartheid against the Palestinians, saying the document is not helping the situation, and may even be making things worse. – Times of Israel 

Arabian Peninsula

The United Arab Emirates and Israel are expected to boost security cooperation and further joint defense-industrial ventures in the wake of several attacks by Iranian proxy forces, experts have told Defense News. – Defense News 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says he is hoping to bolster trade and political ties with Gulf nations as he attends a conference of gas-exporting nations in Qatar – the first visit to the country in 11 years by an Iranian president. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 

Zineb Riboua writes: President Joe Biden’s Iran policy should actively work on finding a political agreement that can include the protection of Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s territory, in order to decrease the proxy war tensions in Yemen that Houthis cite to justify their actions. As long as Iran’s complicity is not confronted, the Houthis dispute over power will not end. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The king and queen of Jordan had secret Swiss bank accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a major data leak from one of Switzerland’s largest banks. So did the sons of Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president of Egypt, and business tycoons who thrived during his 30-year rule. Other accounts were linked to spy chiefs from Egypt, Jordan and Yemen who cooperated with the United States and have been accused of human rights abuses. – New York Times

Other accounts were linked to spy chiefs from Egypt, Jordan and Yemen who cooperated with the United States and have been accused of human rights abuses. – New York Times  

Eric R. Mandel writes: The Middle East is changing rapidly, and an engaged America can guide it to advance its national security interests. If not, the next decade will be the beginning of nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East in response to an unrestrained Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Peter Hoekstra writes: For the Biden administration, Yemen presents a very complicated challenge but domestically it is not a political issue. […]Iran continues to use Yemen and the Houthis as a force to destabilize the region. It has no regard for the tremendous suffering it is imposing on the people of Yemen. It is who Iran is. It is this fact that the United States should never forget it as the Biden administration continues the dangerous and ill-advised effort to again enter a nuclear deal with Iran. – The National Interest  

Gregory Gause III writes: Although it would be emotionally satisfying to continue to shun Assad and condemn him for his war crimes, that will not change the Syrian reality one bit. It will only further strengthen Assad’s ties to Iran, increasing the likelihood of an Iranian-Israeli crisis played out on Syrian soil. It would be nice to see a democratic, prosperous, and liberal Syria, just as it would be nice to see progress in other Middle Eastern autocracies, but that transition will not happen anytime soon, if ever. For now, a more orderly Middle East is all the United States can hope for. – Foreign Affairs

Korean Peninsula

There has long been a desire among South Koreans for domestic nuclear weapons capability, but a poll shows that in the face of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and an assertive China, that view has ballooned to more than 70 percent of the population — most of whom want to go nuclear even when the potential drawbacks are explained. – Washington Post

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un vowed to strengthen cooperation with China and together “frustrate” threats and hostile policies from the United States and its allies, state media reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

Ramon Pacheco Pardo and Saeme Kim write: Some may believe that Lee will weaken the U.S. alliance to improve relations with China, in the hope that this will support inter-Korean reconciliation. This is simplistic and ignores the fact that liberal administrations traditionally have increased military spending even while supporting dialogue with North Korea. – The Hill


When Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, called on Saturday for talks to resolve the crisis in Europe, he said Ukraine’s sovereignty should be “respected and safeguarded” — but also sided with Russia in saying that NATO enlargement was destabilizing the continent. – New York Times

The Justice Department will soon announce changes to the China Initiative, a Trump-era effort to combat Chinese national security threats, after civil rights proponents, business groups and universities told the Biden administration that the program had fostered suspicion of Asian professors working in the United States, chilled scientific research and contributed to a rising tide of anti-Asian sentiment, according to people briefed on the matter. – New York Times

China’s more explicit warnings in recent days against a Russian invasion of Ukraine show how Beijing is walking a tightrope, trying to build up a partnership with the Kremlin while preventing its relationship with Washington from becoming outright hostile. – Wall Street Journal

The just-concluded Winter Olympics weren’t China’s big event of the year — internally, at least. For the Communist Party, that comes this fall at a major meeting that will likely cement Xi Jinping ’s position as one of the nation’s most powerful leaders in its seven decades of Communist rule. – Associated Press

At the height of the Cold War, U.S. President Richard Nixon flew into communist China’s center of power for a visit that, over time, would transform U.S.-China relations and China’s position in the world in ways that were unimaginable at the time. – Associated Press

Beijing on Monday denied Australian allegations that a Chinese naval vessel shone a laser at one of the country’s surveillance aircraft in an incident that Prime Minister Scott Morrison termed an “act of intimidation”. – Agence France-Presse

China said Monday it will impose new sanctions on U.S. defense contractors Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin due to their arms sales to Taiwan, stepping up a feud with Washington over security and Beijing’s strategic ambitions. – Associated Press 

The Beijing Winter Olympics ended Sunday without a major protest, diplomatic incident, virus debacle or war in Ukraine. For Chinese President Xi Jinping, that’s about as good as could be expected. – Bloomberg

Farah Stockman writes: President Putin and President Xi might not be natural allies, but they have an awful lot in common. Both see the United States as a chaotic hegemon. Both men were profoundly shaken by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which they viewed as a cautionary tale of what not to do. Both have clamped down hard on dissent and dispensed with or circumvented presidential term limits, paving the way for the potential to rule for life. – New York Times

Tobin Harshaw writes: Finally, there is far greater civil-society engagement between China and the U.S., despite Xi’s efforts to limit the role of foreign engagement inside China. More than 300,000 Chinese young people study in the U.S. annually, and in the pre-Covid period, there was a wide array of cultural and scientific exchange. – Bloomberg

Minxin Pei writes: Chinese leaders probably shouldn’t toast their embrace of Russia as a strategic masterstroke on par with Nixon’s gambit. They’d be better off reflecting how their actions have contributed to the end of America’s engagement policy and imperiled China’s dream of a peaceful rise. – Bloomberg

Douglas E. Schoen writes: That being said, especially after the botched withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, if Russia invades Ukraine in any capacity and the U.S. does not retaliate with a forceful and sufficiently decisive response, the CCP will be emboldened to take aggressive action against Taiwan. Further, if Taiwan feels that the United States — their most prominent and steadfast supporter of the island’s independence — is an unreliable international partner, Taiwan may be more willing to accept the terms of mainland China’s rule out of fear. – The Hill

Peter Huessy writes: What then should we make of Congress’ assumption that nuclear modernization and arms control are two sides of the same nuclear deterrent coin, that one must go with the other? Unless China can be persuaded to change its attitude toward transparency in its nuclear forces and deterrent policies, and that Russia and China both agree to seriously put all strategic and regional nuclear forces on the table for verifiable limits, the United States is now entering an era where nuclear modernization is a task bigger than what it had previously planned, and arms control may go away as a major construct of U.S. deterrent policy. – The National Interest

Raphael S. Cohen writes: It’s a question of setting global precedents: If Russia can act with impunity in Europe, then so can China in Asia. There are, of course, plenty of reasons why Taiwan is not Ukraine, and why our Asian allies are different than our European ones. […]The China-first-and-last-school undoubtedly has a certain allure. Unfortunately, the geopolitical reality does not permit such reductionism. America needs a “both/and,” not an “either/or,” strategy. – The Hill

South Asia

Pakistani authorities introduced new legislation on February 20 that they say will help clamp down on “fake news” on social media, in a move that free-media activists and the opposition are calling dangerous overreach. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

China will deliver 25 J-10C fighter jets to Pakistan within weeks in a major boost to the countrys military capabilities to defend its airspace, The News reported. – Business Insider

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday he would like to have a televised debate with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to resolve differences between the two neighbours. – Reuters


Myanmar hit out Monday at a genocide case brought against it by The Gambia for alleged persecution of Rohingya Muslims, urging the UN’s highest court to drop the claim on legal grounds. – Agence France-Presse

Australia will spend just over A$804 million ($578 million) to buy drones and helicopters and set up mobile stations in Antarctica to strengthen Australia’s national interests, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The European Union imposed fresh sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime, focusing on a lucrative state-owned oil and gas company that has been a key source of revenue for the junta more than a year after the coup. – Bloomberg

Peace talks between the Thai government and rebels from southern Thailand will resume in Malaysia on March 7, according to a report in the Star newspaper, citing the facilitator for the negotiations. – Bloomberg

The Philippine government condemned the European Parliament after it released a resolution on human rights violations in the country, calling it an attempt to interfere in the nation’s electoral process. – Bloomberg

Zack Cooper writes: There is a lot of work to do to convince regional players that the United States is truly “back” in the Indo-Pacific. Asian observers know that U.S. leaders often talk a good game on Asia, only to become distracted by events at home or abroad. Asian observers now are looking for concrete actions rather than words. The test of the Biden team’s strategy for this critical region will not be its words, but the actions that follow. – War on the Rocks 


Many of the nearly 5,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who arrived in Poland last week are working with Polish forces to set up processing centers for tens of thousands of people, including Americans, who are expected to flee neighboring Ukraine if Russia launches a full-scale invasion of the country, U.S. military officials say. – New York Times

As Vice President Harris met Friday with the heads of Baltic nations at a high-stakes security conference here centered on Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, she made a vow that was equal parts American might and personal promise. – Washington Post

The U.N. refugee agency on Monday voiced alarm at increasing reports of “horrific incidents” where asylum-seekers and migrants trying to slip into Greece and other European countries are allegedly being forced back. – Associated Press

The European Union is ready to limit financial assistance and possibly impose sanctions in Bosnia to help prevent the possible breakup up of the ethnically divided Balkan country as the peace agreement brokered over 25 years ago unravels, the EU’s top diplomat vowed Monday. – Associated Press

Hungary will use its own budget to temporarily replace European Union aid withheld due to a dispute over democratic standards, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday. – Bloomberg

Gerard Baker writes: Waking up to the challenge from the emerging hegemons, recommitting to a national-security policy that resists them as we did their predecessors in World War II and the Cold War, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reversing this cycle of failure. The damage at home must be repaired. As voters survey the collapsed landscape of post-Cold War America, there’s rising hope for domestic political renewal. But we should remember above all that China and Russia didn’t win the post-Cold War. We lost it. – Wall Street Journal

Natalia Savelyeva writes: The reality on the ground had changed so significantly that there remains only one question: why were the west European leaders who were talking to Russia – particularly France and Germany —hoping for a revival of Minsk? The deal was already dead, and the proposal an illusion. – Center for European Policy Analysis


An air strike by the Nigerian army targeting ‘bandits’ has left seven children dead and five others wounded “by mistake” in the Maradi region of southern Niger, a local governor told AFP on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

At least 10 people including local government officials died in a suspected suicide bombing at a restaurant in the central Somalia town of Beledweyne on Saturday, police and witnesses said. – Agence France-Presse 

About 60 people were killed and dozens more wounded on Monday in an explosion at an informal gold mining site in southwest Burkina Faso, state television reported, citing local officials. – Reuters

An airstrike on a rebel base “neutralized” 57 “terrorists” in northern Mali, where eight soldiers were also killed in the fighting, the army said on Saturday. – Agence France-Presse

Michael Rubin writes: For Washington, two questions arise. The first is why France ignored warning signs, and whether something similar could happen to the United States’ influence. […]The second is the price of complacency. France should never have allowed China to out-compete it in Djibouti, nor should it have allowed Turkey to cultivate more influence in many Francophone countries than France itself. – The National Interest

Nathaniel Powell writes: Regardless of the size and scope of France’s future military presence in these states, the success or failure of the French strategy depends entirely on those states investing considerable resources into their marginalized northern peripheries. It also requires clear efforts by local governments to end the stigmatization of Peuls or other Muslim communities and rein in potential security force abuses. Unfortunately, in regions where state authority is sometimes perceived as a threat, these may remain pious hopes. – War on the Rocks

North America

Canada’s legislature on Monday approved extending the use of the special emergency powers invoked last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to quell protests against Covid-19 mandates, which had paralyzed the capital and disrupted cross-border trade. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden on Monday barred Americans from doing business in two separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and a US official said more sanctions are coming Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the areas as independent. – New York Post

Michael Taube writes: Trudeau, like his son, was questioned for his commitment to civil liberties and individual rights and freedoms, including by the CCLA. Yet there’s a real difference between invoking the statute against a violent terrorist group and invoking it against a largely peaceful gathering of people tired of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. The younger Mr. Trudeau has escaped his father’s lengthy shadow—for all the wrong reasons. – Wall Street Journal


The U.S. and its allies poured tens of millions of dollars during the past seven years into helping Ukraine shore up its electric grid against a Russian cyberattack, while Ukrainian authorities launched a massive program to harden their cyber defenses. – Politico

The White House blamed Russia on Friday for this week’s cyberattacks targeting Ukraine’s defense ministry and major banks and warned of the potential for more significant disruptions in the days ahead. – Associated Press

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday night that the state is beefing up its cybersecurity defenses in anticipation of possible cyber attacks ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Post

Individual users should be allowed to take U.S. tech giants to court for breaching landmark EU rules aimed at curbing their power, Privacy International, pan-European consumer group BEUC and a number of academics said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Chris Inglis and Harry Krejsa write: By identifying the digital future the United States wants to create and the social contract that could sustain it, Americans can fortify their resilience and establish rewards for good behavior and costs for bad behavior. Misaligned incentives and malicious actors are no match for a clear vision of where the United States wants to go. – Foreign Affairs


The U.S. Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet announced Monday the launch of a new joint fleet of unmanned drones with allied nations to patrol vast swaths of the region’s volatile waters as tensions simmer with Iran. – Associated Press 

The U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and Japanese Self-Defense Force teamed up in the Philippine and East China seas to test the ideas behind the Marines’ Force Design 2030 plan. – USNI News

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the United States will do its due diligence to protect American troops should Russia again invade Ukraine. – Military Times

Long War

France’s planned military withdrawal from Mali has opened the door to talks between the Malian government and al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists, which many hope could stem the violence in the Sahel state. – Agence France-Presse

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Hezbollah has several types of drones and it has been using them for years. Questions remain about what type of drone the Hassan was, but the overall issue is that Hezbollah is increasingly showing it can make drones and use them to harass Israel, potentially using them to test defenses for a future conflict. – Jerusalem Post

Anchal Vohra writes: Lebanon’s officials are coordinating with its Iraqi counterparts and said that although the spike in the number of people who joined the Islamic State has made them more attentive, they are in control of the situation, which is still less worrying than it was in 2014. But a combination of poverty and political disaffection might continue to make the prospect of joining extremist groups alluring for many Lebanese who already come from a religiously conservative milieu and, in some cases, already have well-established links to jihadis. – Foreign Policy