Fdd's overnight brief

February 23, 2023

In The News


Germany said Wednesday that it is expelling two Iranian diplomats over the death sentence imposed in Iran against one of its citizens. Authorities in Iran announced Tuesday that Jamshid Sharmahd, a 67-year-old Iranian-German national and U.S. resident, was sentenced to death after being convicted of terrorist activities. – Associated Press

Germany and other European countries must do everything they can to save a German citizen sentenced to death by Iran after he was abducted in the Gulf, his daughter said on Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held five secret discussions on the Iranian issue, in which it was decided to significantly raise the level of Israeli preparation and readiness for an attack on the nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic, Channel 12 News reported on Tuesday. – Arutz Sheva 

A credible military threat is the best way to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it becomes harder to do so the longer one waits, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Hertog National Security Conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. – Jerusalem Post

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami praised reports that Iran International TV, a media organization, had moved operations from London to the US. – Jerusalem Post

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials will visit Tehran in the coming days, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Joe Biden’s diplomats are pressing the UK Government not to formally declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group, despite the Home Office backing the move, The Telegraph has been told. – Telegraph

Len Khodorkovsky and Lawdan Bazargan write: The Islamic Republic of Iran has carried out terrorism worldwide since its founding in 1979, frequently using its “diplomats” and embassy personnel to commit, then cover up, these attacks. Just a few weeks ago, the FBI charged three assassins with ties to Tehran who targeted Masih Alinejad, an American citizen and critic of the Islamic Republic, in her own neighborhood in Brooklyn. – Washington Examiner 

Neville Teller writes: Meanwhile, it seems that hardliners are intent on a confrontation with Britain over the issue. Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayan, the newspaper closest to the IRCG, urged the government to exact revenge on Britain by revealing the true names of the British intelligence agents who supposedly worked with Alireza Akbari. Shariatmadari wrote: “it would be a terrible blow to the body of the British spy system and its foreign intelligence and espionage department, MI6”. – Jerusalem Post

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Annika Ganzeveld, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Such statements underscore that some hardline officials are cognizant of Iran’s dire economic conditions, but are reluctant to take responsibility for alleviating them. The regime can—and did not—make meaningful concessions on the core political and sociocultural issues that sparked the Mahsa Amini movement, which will likely exacerbate public grievances with the regime if it fails to resolve ongoing economic issues. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Chinese leader Xi Jinping will visit Moscow, as both sides touted the resilience of the Chinese-Russian partnership in the face of growing antagonism with the West. – Wall Street Journal 

As the conflict in Ukraine approaches a one-year mark, Russian President Vladimir Putin has lashed his future ever more tightly to the war, deploying anti-West propaganda, government repression and state handouts to maintain domestic support. – Wall Street Journal 

The conflict has exposed a deep global divide, and the limits of U.S. influence over a rapidly shifting world order. Evidence abounds that the effort to isolate Putin has failed, and not just among Russian allies that could be expected to back Moscow, such as China and Iran. – Washington Post 

 President Vladimir Putin said Russia will maintain increased attention on boosting its nuclear forces in an address to mark Thursday’s Defender of the Fatherland public holiday and a day before the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Marking one year of war, Ukraine and Russia lobbied countries at the United Nations on Wednesday for backing ahead of a vote by the 193-member General Assembly that the United States declared will “go down in history.” – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden dramatically emphasized U.S. backing for Ukraine this week with a trip to the wartorn country, but back home public support for sending weapons to Ukraine is softening as the conflict enters its second year with no end in sight. – Reuters 

One year after Russia’s invasion halted Ukraine’s export of grains through the Black Sea, the future of a U.N.-brokered deal that allowed shipments to resume hangs in the balance as the warring parties fight a proxy battle — at a time of deepening global hunger — over which of them can rightly claim to be feeding the world. – Politico

NATO’s chief said Wednesday that the military alliance has seen “some signs” that China may be planning to support Russia in its war in Ukraine, and strongly urged Beijing to desist from what would be a violation of international law. – Associated Press  

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Wednesday as the General Assembly met in a special session two days before the anniversary of Moscow’s attack. – Agence France-Presse

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hit back at the U.S. on Wednesday, warning that his country reserved the right to use its nuclear arsenal to defend itself after a speech in Poland by President Biden following his surprise visit to Ukraine. – The Hill

With Russia and Ukraine locked in an attritional battle in the Donbas, the news less reported is that nearly a year after the Russian invasion, Moscow is also now essentially locked out of the capital region and much of western Ukraine. Ukrainian valor and Western weapons have much to do with that, as does an old Russian bugbear that dare not speak its name: fear. – New York Sun

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told visiting Israeli officials that he would like to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit Kyiv, an Israeli diplomatic told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: One year on, the democratic world is still showing impressive resolve in pushing back against Putin’s assault on Ukraine. Patient, unflinching use of its greatest strategic advantage — economic power — remains necessary to defeat him. – Bloomberg 

Boris Johnson and Lindsey Graham write: The Ukrainians are fighting for more than their own freedom. They are fighting for the cause of freedom around the world. We should give them what they need. Not next month or next year, but now. – Wall Street Journal 

Farah Stockman writes: Acknowledging the real cost of war — and the benefits of peace — doesn’t mean that we’ll lose our will to fight. To the contrary, an honest accounting of what war is and what it costs is essential to victory over the long run. – New York Times

Dara Massicot writes: Yet for now, Mr. Putin shows no signs of abandoning this war. He seems willing to sacrifice the lives of Russian men and mortgage Russia’s future to achieve what he can. For Ukraine, in need of urgent and sustained support, it is a deadly commitment. – New York Times

Bobby Ghosh writes: As he looks back on the year since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy can draw satisfaction from his country’s performance on two fronts. In the battlefields of the east, his soldiers and generals have held out against a larger, better-armed enemy; in the west, he has routed his opposite number, Vladimir Putin, in the war of narratives. – Bloomberg 

Leon Aron writes: In such a scenario, ending the verification regime (and later perhaps shutting down the ballistic missiles early warning system as well) would add significantly to the West’s perception of vulnerability, making it—or so Putin might hope—more pliable to his ultimatum. – American Enterprise Institute

Jeff Jager writes: As these two examples illustrate, and as the assessments by Kahl and Milley above suggest, dislodging Russia from its prepared defensive positions in Ukraine will be a daunting task for the Ukrainian military. – Middle East Institute 

Anchal Vohra writes:  An uprising against Ukrainian rule in Crimea cannot be ruled out, and there is an imminent fear of pro-Russia civilians being killed in the chaos of war. If that happens, “Ukrainians may begin to lose the moral high ground,” Melvin of RUSI added. Crimea’s unique history and demographics make many observers wonder if its status should ultimately be resolved through diplomacy rather than military fighting. What’s not in dispute is that it must be made far more costly for Russia to hold Crimea. – Foreign Policy


At least 11 Palestinians were killed during a shootout between Israeli forces and militants in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, according to Palestinian health officials, as violence escalated in the territory despite international efforts to ease tensions. – Wall Street Journal 

In the occupied West Bank, daily Israeli incursions have become the norm, some leading to deadly gun battles. – Washington Post

The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired six rockets from the Gaza Strip toward the country’s south early Thursday, hours after an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank triggered a fierce gunbattle in which 11 Palestinians were killed. – Associated Press

Ahmed Qureia, a former Palestinian prime minister and one of the architects of interim peace deals with Israel, has died at age 85. – Associated Press 

Israel, facing an internal rebellion and increased pressure from outside detractors, finds itself at war against terrorists and powerful militaries seeking its annihilation. Will its deadly operation at the heart of a major West Bank city intensify these pressures and embolden enemies? – New York Sun 

A Palestinian woman attempted to stab security guards near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim on Thursday morning and was shot, police said. – Times of Israel

The Biden administration expressed its “deep concern” Wednesday over the number of Palestinians injured and killed during an Israeli military raid in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, joining the growing number of governments abroad speaking out against what the IDF has characterized as a necessary counter-terrorism operation. – Times of Israel

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday warned against “provocations” at Jerusalem holy sites and escalating violence in the West Bank at a pro-Palestinian event at United Nations headquarters in New York. – Times of Israel

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday evening at a special session marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war against Ukraine. In his address, Erdan laid out the extensive humanitarian aid that Israel provided for Ukraine over the past year and emphasized that Israel recognizes Ukraine’s territorial integrity and supports it in UN votes. – Arutz Sheva  

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that, in response to the rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF attacked a weapons production site and a military compound belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization. – Arutz Sheva 

The Israeli military attacked targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning in response to six rockets that were fired from the Hamas-controlled enclave. – Haaretz 

Ana Miranda, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Spain, was turned back upon attempting to enter Israel on Tuesday, in what she said was an official visit to occupied Palestinian territories. – Ynet

The defense establishment is preparing for possible revenge attacks and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip after 10 Palestinians were killed and over 100 others were injured in armed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Nablus on Wednesday. Leaders in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Lion’s Den movements were among those killed. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s judicial overhaul program won’t harm Israel’s relationship with the United States, Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) told The Jerusalem Post as he visited Jerusalem during a tumultuous political week in which the Knesset advanced phases of that reform. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan on Wednesday sent a letter to The New York Times’ executive editor in which he sharply condemned the newspaper’s “overt anti-Israel bias.” – Jerusalem Post

Crippling sanctions are the only way to stop Iran from killing protesters and from developing nuclear weapons, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel said Wednesday at The Jerusalem Post’s Women Leaders Summit in Tel Aviv. – Jerusalem Post

Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, which would prohibit US aid expenditures intended for Gaza so long as that aid continues to benefit Hamas and other terrorist groups. – Algemeiner

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly held a series of secret high-level meetings with top military officials aimed at upping preparations for a possible confrontation with Iran. – Times of Israel

Khaled Abu Toameh writes: The silence of the Palestinian leadership has reinforced the belief among many Palestinians that Abbas and his top aides are being deceitful in dealing with their people. In the eyes of a growing number of Palestinians, the PA leadership is working in collusion with Israel and the US against the interests of its own people. – Jerusalem Post

Karma Feinstein Cohen writes: People regularly ask how we can win this war against our enemies. History has the answer: You pressure them militarily, economically, diplomatically and politically until they give up. Then they admit defeat and accept the terms of their loss. Only then is it possible to talk about what peace might look like; a peace that might actually benefit the defeated. Israel has tried multiple ways to end the wars waged against it, but the words of Nasrallah and others demonstrate that Israel has not succeeded. There appears to be no alternative to an Israeli victory. – Arutz Sheva


Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration has set up a consortium of companies, including some in Russia, Iran and Pakistan, to create a investment plan focusing on power, mining and infrastructure, the acting commerce minister said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Western countries have risked causing further harm to Afghan women by withdrawing funding and suspending operations in protest against Taliban policies that adversely affect women, the International Crisis Group said in a report today. – The Guardian

Michael Rubin writes: By formalizing ties, the Iranian government is signaling itself to be more interested in a new Axis of Evil than in helping Afghans resist their Taliban oppressors. Anti-Americanism blinds Khamenei, but he should not celebrate. Every other country that has sought to channel extremist Islamist groups for narrow policy interests has seen the attempt backfire — Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and Turkey have all paid the price. It will be no different for Iran and its new Taliban ties. Ultimately, Iranians themselves will suffer. – 19FortyFive

Arabian Peninsula

An inaugural I2U2 Business Forum convened to “accelerate joint investment in key sectors” in the UAE this week. The forum brings together Israel, India, the UAE and the US. This is an essential and important partnership that has come about in the wake of the Abraham Accords. In terms of shared interests, these countries are keys to regional stability and the way they can work together is enhanced by business ties. – Jerusalem Post

Blaise Misztal and John Hannah write: Though all this week’s senatorial contingent is Republican, one can only hope that upon returning to Washington, their firsthand accounts will help convince many of their colleagues that salvaging the U.S.-Saudi strategic partnership should be a bipartisan concern, one that requires both the Biden administration and Congress to do their part. It’s long past time for the adults in Washington to take charge of this troubled but still-vital relationship. Kudos to these senators for doing just that. – Washington Examiner

James M. Dorsey writes: Moreover, a crisis in US-Israeli relations provoked by Netanyahu’s judicial reform and/or his potential inability to keep his coalition’s far-right and ultra-conservative religious members in check would narrow the UAE’s ability to project itself as a shining knight. – Algemeiner

Middle East & North Africa

Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan, on Wednesday, condemned the Israeli raid in Nablus killing at least 10 Palestinians. – Ynet 

A rocket attack in Damascus on Sunday that Syria blamed on Israel hit an installation where Iranian officials were meeting to advance programmes to develop drone or missile capabilities of Tehran’s allies in Syria, sources told Reuters. – Reuters

 The Islamic State group has carried out its deadliest attacks in more than a year, killing dozens of civilians and security officers in the deserts of central Syria, even as people of northern Syria have been digging out of the wreckage from the region’s devastating earthquake. – Associated Press

Simon Henderson writes: Yet if the LNG idea gathers pace, there will be disappointment from Greece and Cyprus, which have been backing a proposal for an undersea pipeline from Israel to Crete and then on to the European mainland. But this idea has already been discarded on cost and practicality grounds by Washington. Nevertheless, Greek, Cypriot and therefore perhaps also European Union diplomatic pressures will likely be added to the engineering and commercial challenges for the LNG plans. – Washington Institute


The Biden administration is considering releasing intelligence it believes shows that China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Russia’s war in Ukraine, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

Ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has launched a public diplomacy offensive to wrest control of the narrative about its role in the conflict, trying to clear itself of accusations that it has sided with Russia while accusing the United States of turning the conflict into a “proxy” war. – Washington Post

Russia’s suspension of its last remaining nuclear weapons treaty with the United States may have dashed any hopes of dragging China to the table to start talking about its own rapidly accelerating nuclear arms programmes. – Reuters 

No matter what the Ukrainians decide about Crimea in terms of where they choose to fight… Ukraine is not going to be safe unless Crimea is at a minimum, at a minimum, demilitarized,” undersecretary of state Victoria Nuland recently said. Or as Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh announced last month, the U.S. will back Ukraine’s efforts to reclaim the peninsula it first lost nearly a decade ago. – Politico 

The US has warned China about providing Russia with weapons and other lethal aid for the invasion of Ukraine and is watching closely to ensure Beijing’s diplomatic and economic support to Moscow doesn’t go any further, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: China has been using developing nations as pawns in its bid for influence against the United States — a strategy that critics call “debt-trap diplomacy.” In claiming to aid the world’s poor, China is exploiting them. But now, the bill is coming due, and the question is who is going to have to pay it. – Washington Post

Peter Hoekstra and  Joseph Cella write: The biggest winner may not be Michigan, but the Chinese Communist Party, the entity that controls China. FBI Director Christopher Wray has forcefully voiced the FBI’s concern about the growing threat of the CCP, pointing out its significant economic theft of intellectual property — $225 billion to $600 billion annually. It is in that context that Michigan is funding a new gateway for economic espionage. And this is only one facet of the threat that the CCP poses to the U.S. and our allies. – Washington Examiner 

Salem Al Ketbi writes: In conclusion, the crash of the Chinese balloon will slide politically and diplomatically but will not be the last in the infowar between the two countries. The trust gap and mutual mistrust will widen. But we must not forget that the huge volume of trade exchange (NIS 2.5 trillion in 2022) will always remain one of the guiding principles of relations between the two strategic adversaries. – Jerusalem Post

South Asia

Indian officials hosting the Group of 20 finance chiefs this week are seeking to avoid using the word “war” in any joint statement when referring to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a person familiar with the matter said. – Bloomberg 

Pakistan’s defence minister and spy chief held talks with Taliban government officials in Kabul Wednesday on ways to counter the “threat of terrorism,” days after Islamabad blamed Afghanistan-based militants for deadly recent attacks. – Agence France-Presse

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration had long been keen to offset China’s sway on the nearby island. While Sri Lanka rejected an earlier proposal amid protests about a key asset falling into foreign hands, Adani eventually secured the majority stake in a $700mn deal to build and operate the terminal. Sri Lanka said at the time that the project was “approved” by the Indian government, something New Delhi denied. – Financial Times


The war in Ukraine has impressed on Taiwan’s leaders the need to acquire and stockpile more weapons — a lesson that’s become increasingly urgent in recent months as China’s provocations accelerate, said the chairman of the new House select committee on China following a stealth trip to Taipei. – Washington Post

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s biggest maker of advanced computer chips, is upgrading and expanding a new factory in Arizona that promises to help move the United States toward a more self-reliant technological future. – New York Times

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) claimed that Russia’s war with Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call for Taiwan to begin stockpiling weapons and increased pressure on the United States to supply weapons to the country ahead of a possible Chinese invasion. – Washington Examiner 

North Korea’s latest missile launches are a demonstration of the country’s avowed ability to use nuclear force against South Korea and the mainland U.S. How immediate is that threat? – Associated Press

Look for the American Navy to return soon to what once was its largest overseas  base. The secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, offered that assurance in a brief conversation with me after a lengthy speech at the National Press Club at Washington. No, he made clear, it would not be like the old days, when thousands of American sailors and dozens of Navy vessels were stationed at Subic Bay, about 54 miles northwest of Manila on the South China Sea. – New York Sun 

The U.S., Japan and South Korea carried out a trilateral Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) drill in the Sea of Japan Wednesday in response to North Korean missile launches Saturday and Monday. – USNI News

Anthony B. Kim writes: It’s in the clear interest of Washington to welcome Paraguay’s continued, recommitted diplomatic engagement with Taiwan and further encourage more practical interaction of an elevated, forward-looking partnership amongst the three nations. – Heritage Foundation

Stacie Pettyjohn and Hannah Dennis writes: Consider whether the United States needs more conventional weapons or graduated nuclear options that can be employed against Chinese forces to provide it with more options for manipulating risk. It is not clear that different weapons will offset the fundamental distinction between the target sets, but the United States needs to develop creative concepts or additional conventional or nuclear weapons to be able to manipulate risk and manage escalation. – Center for a New American Security

Bruce Klingner writes: If not handled well by both sides, the nuclear dispute risks causing tension in the alliance at a time when the two countries, along with other allies and partners in the Indo–Pacific region, need to be working closely together to address the growing North Korean and Chinese threats. – Heritage Foundation


President Biden met with the leaders on Europe’s eastern flank Wednesday, demonstrating his administration’s renewed focus on allies on the front lines of Washington’s great power competition with both Russia and China. – Wall Street Journal 

This jittery country, caught between Russia and the West, fears Moscow is trying to smuggle mercenaries in from elsewhere in Eastern Europe. So far they have banned even soccer fans and a boxing team from entering. – Wall Street Journal 

This time last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the idea Russia would invade. His approval rating was falling. His government was pursuing a political rival on treason charges, to the dismay of Western allies. – Wall Street Journal 

Shamima Begum, a British-born woman who left the country as a teenager to join the Islamic State terrorist group, lost her appeal Wednesday against a decision to revoke her citizenship on national security grounds. – Washington Post 

At Poland’s Rzeszow airport, where President Biden’s plane touched down this week on his way to Kyiv, U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries point toward the skies. The first American M1A2 Abrams battle tanks are expected to arrive by train this spring, with hundreds of U.S.-manufactured rocket artillery systems to follow. – Washington Post

President Vladimir Putin revoked on Tuesday a 2012 decree that in part underpinned Moldova’s sovereignty in resolving the future of the Transdniestria region – a Moscow-backed separatist region which borders Ukraine and where Russia keeps troops. – Reuters 

A Russian citizen who has been living and conducting business activities in Poland for many years has been charged with spying for Russia between 2015 and April 2022, Polish authorities said on Thursday. – Reuters

The EU and its allies are investigating a surge in exports to economies in Russia’s vicinity as they seek to prevent companies from evading western sanctions imposed on Moscow. – Financial Times

Russian warships, accompanied by the Mariscal Ustinov cruise ship, bypassed the United Kingdom earlier this month. The group of Russian warships, which were allegedly on their way back to Russia, passed through British waters at a time of heightened British-Russian tensions. British threats against Russia, for its invasion of Ukraine, have increased. The ships’ route is thought to be provocative and, some believe, a message to NATO. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: When soldiers need training on advanced artillery systems or vehicles, it’s a problem if they only have a handful. Nevertheless, Ukrainian forces have proven steadfast and agile in their quick understanding of all these defensive weapons. Countries like France continue to play a key role in support, both in terms of equipment and global leadership, at both the international and regional levels. – Jerusalem Post


The navies of Russia, China and South Africa will conduct exercises including simulating air attacks on ships and liberating hostages from pirates in 10 days of exercises off the African country’s coast. – Bloomberg 

The Russian military denied Wednesday that it was planning to test its new Zircon hypersonic missiles during naval drills off the coast of South Africa this week that will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press

Security forces in Somalia have ended a siege by al-Shabab extremists that killed 10 people and wounded three others at a home in the capital, Mogadishu. – Associated Press

United States

The U.S. military spent at least $1.5 million to shoot down three airborne objects, which it now believes were likely recreational balloons, defense officials said Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal 

The Pentagon on Wednesday released imagery of a U-2 spy plane soaring over the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that transited the mainland United States this month, providing a new glimpse of the information U.S. officials gathered about the craft before shooting it down over the Atlantic Ocean. – Washington Post 

In a day of dueling efforts to shore up allegiances, President Biden wrapped up a three-day trip to Europe Wednesday with a promise of America’s commitment to its allies as President Vladimir V. Putin warmly welcomed China’s top diplomat to Moscow and rallied pro-war Russians. – New York Times

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Wednesday on six members of a Mexican ring accused of supplying massive amounts of precursor chemical used to make deadly fentanyl and methamphetamines. – Associated Press


Many of Russia’s cyber operations against Ukraine and NATO members during the past year have not yet become public knowledge, according to a joint report published this week by two Dutch intelligence services. – The Record

Aslew of new reports about vulnerabilities in operational technology systems are raising fresh concerns about potential weaknesses inside U.S. critical infrastructure organizations. In just the past few weeks, researchers revealed flaws that in some cases could let hackers bypass security systems or give them remote access to equipment that runs manufacturing facilities and energy companies. – CyberScoop

On February 14, 2023, a channel on the Rocket.Chat server run by the Islamic State (ISIS) published a post reporting that according to Israeli news channel i24News, Israel is planning to build shared cyber defense infrastructure with Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain, all of which have been normalizing relations with Israel in the past few years. The post cited the report as saying that representatives of the four countries met to discuss the formation of a cyber “Iron Done” — a reference to Israel’s air defense system. – Middle East Media Research Institute


President Biden sought to bolster the countries along NATO’s eastern flank Wednesday as he concluded a momentous three-day trip to Ukraine and Poland, pledging full support if Russia begins targeting their countries. – Washington Post

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration will unveil on Thursday a long-awaited overhaul of arms export policy with increased emphasis on human rights, three State Department officials familiar with the new Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy told Reuters. – Reuters 

Shares in defence companies have surged in recent months, eclipsing gains for wider stock markets, as investors bet on the promises of increased military spending by western governments to help Ukraine’s war effort against Russia. – Financial Times

Jam-resistant navigation technology that can be mounted to U.S. Army ground vehicles performed well in trials and provided troops the context needed to accomplish tasks and get where they needed to be, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester said. – Defense News

Dave Anderson writes: At a certain point, Zelensky, Biden and the other NATO countries’ leaders must get on the same page. They are either determined to win the war unambiguously and force Russia out of Ukraine or they will recognize that there is a middle ground where Ukraine retains its sovereignty, cedes some land and becomes a part of NATO and therefore secures the future security of its people. – Jerusalem Post

Seth G. Jones writes: The U.S. defense industrial base also lacks adequate surge capacity for a major war. These shortfalls would make it difficult for the United States to sustain a protracted conflict. These problems are particularly concerning since the rate at which China has been acquiring high-end weapons systems and equipment is five to six times faster than the United States, according to some U.S. government estimates. – Center for Strategic and International Studies