Fdd's overnight brief

February 24, 2023

In The News


Iranian state television on Friday offered an extended defense against an accusation attributed to international inspectors that it enriched uranium to 84% purity, with an official calling it part of a “conspiracy” against Tehran amid tensions over its nuclear program. – Associated Press

The Canadian government on Thursday announced support for Iranian temporary residents in Canada looking to extend their stay, citing the Iranian government’s crackdown on recent protests. – Reuters

Iran on Thursday directly acknowledged an accusation attributed to international inspectors that it enriched uranium to 84% purity for the first time, which would put the Islamic Republic closer than ever to weapons-grade material. – Associated Press 

Explosions were heard in Karaj near Tehran in central Iran on Thursday night, with initial reports indicating that air defenses in the area were activated. – Jerusalem Post 

The female engineer whose video protesting the mandatory hijab at the Tehran Engineers Forum went viral on social media last week has expressed her ”regret” in a video many of her supporters allege was made under duress. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: But if there is a new nuclear arms race over the horizon now that Moscow suspended the last major arms control measure between it and the US, any other nuclear violator, including Iran, does not look all that bad or rogue. Whatever the exact impact may be on Iran’s nuclear program from Putin pulling out of New START, nothing good will come of it and it could make things much worse. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Salami praised Iran’s armed forces and claimed the US is doomed to defeat in whatever countries it operates. Overall, the comments by the IRGC and other Iranian pro-regime media paint a picture of increased tensions with Europe, the US and the West in general. – Jerusalem Post 

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Annika Ganzeveld, Johanna Moore, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Senior regime officials are increasingly acknowledging that the Islamic Republic risks permanently alienating itself from its people and that the problem is urgent, but have seemingly drawn different conclusions about how to mitigate this risk. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

The men were two of three Russian fighters with the Wagner mercenary group who had been captured a few hours earlier in a northern section of the embattled city of Bakhmut, according to a Ukrainian officer with a sidearm on his hip, who was the only other person present. – Washington Post

Shortly after 4 a.m. local time on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. This oral history describes the first day of the war as recalled by Ukrainian, American and European leaders and senior political, military and intelligence officials. – Washington Post

Ben Stewart arrived outside the Russian Embassy early on Thursday morning with a throng of volunteers, four wheelbarrows and 70 gallons of blue and yellow paint, ready to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post

The training at a German military base near Munster is part of an effort across Europe to get Ukrainian forces acquainted with the tanks and infantry fighting vehicles they have been promised. But while Berlin had hoped to pull together two Leopard 2 battalions — totaling about 70 tanks — for Ukraine ahead of an anticipated Russian offensive this spring, the West is still short on contributions. – Washington Post

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday, the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion, in favor of a resolution calling for an end to the war and demanding that Russia leave Ukrainian territory. The nonbinding resolution advocates for peace, reaffirms support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and highlights the need for accountability for war crimes. – Washington Post

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a year ago today, set off a cascade of global repercussions for energy, economics, geopolitics and the role of American leadership. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed or wounded. Millions more have fled their homes. The war also united the West, recast global energy trade and exposed the limits of U.S. military manufacturing. – Wall Street Journal

A year ago, the United States did something extraordinary — it released previously classified intelligence that exposed Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine. […] In a previous era, the warning might have remained private, at least for some time. But a new intelligence playbook honed just before and during the war in Ukraine has redefined how the United States uses its classified knowledge to undercut Russia and its partners. – New York Times

Ukrainians know that the risk is real. Near the front lines on Thursday, Russian forces pounded residential areas, killing at least three people and leaving two buried in the rubble of a building, Ukrainian officials said Thursday. – New York Times

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the West formed what looked like an overwhelming global coalition: 141 countries supported a United Nations measure demanding that Russia unconditionally withdraw. – New York Times

On Tuesday, Yevgeny Prigozhin went further than he ever had in his public standoff with Russia’s military leaders, claiming the defense minister and the country’s most senior general were starving his private army of ammunition. – New York Times

The Ukrainian military on Thursday said the southern port city of Mariupol was now within reach of its weapons, suggesting without providing details that Kyiv has longer range weapons at its disposal than it did even a month ago. – New York Times

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Thursday that the United States would redouble its efforts to marshal global support to help Ukraine and warned that China would face repercussions if it helped Russia evade American sanctions. – New York Times    

Ukraine’s president pledged to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians on Friday marked the somber first anniversary of the Russian invasion that he called “the longest day of our lives.” – Associated Press 

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska gave a video tour of human rights violations in the country following Russia’s invasion almost a year ago, telling a U.N. meeting Wednesday: “We have the right to live free, not to be killed or tortured.” – Associated Press 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday countries like India and South Africa, which have not joined the West in denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, were likely on a trajectory away from alignment with Moscow but that process would not happen “in one fell swoop.” – Reuters

The Australian government said on Friday it would send more drones to Ukraine to aid its fight against Russia on the anniversary of the invasion, and imposed new targeted financial sanctions against 90 Russian individuals and 40 entities. – Reuters

Germany will support Ukraine “as strongly and as long as necessary”, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of the country by Russia. – Reuters

Russia is in talks with a Chinese manufacturer about buying 100 drones, with a delivery date of April, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, without citing specific sources. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday he had not yet seen a Chinese plan for ending Russia’s war on Ukraine but that he would welcome talks with Beijing. – Reuters

Britain marked the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by issuing more sanctions against Russia, including export bans on every item it has used on the battlefield.’ – Reuters

Moldova dismissed an accusation by Russia’s defence ministry on Thursday that Ukraine planned to invade the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria after staging a false flag operation, and called for calm. – Reuters

Russia’s Wagner group of mercenaries has taken full control of the Ukrainian village of Berkhivka, a village on the outskirts of Bakhmut, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Friday. – Reuters

The United States will provide Ukraine an additional $2 billion in security assistance, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet virtually on Friday with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and announce new sanctions against those aiding Russia’s war effort, the White House said. – Reuters

Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the last remaining arms control agreement with the US has increased fears over uncontrolled nuclear proliferation and a potential new arms race. – Financial Times

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reached hit the one-year mark with no clear end in sight. As the United Nations General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution calling on Moscow to end its war, China and Brazil offered dueling peace plans, neither of which is likely to gain traction. – Bloomberg

An uncrewed Russian spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan early Friday local time, serving as a lifeboat for three astronauts currently on board the International Space Station that will allow them to return to Earth safely after a delayed homecoming. – Bloomberg

The US had been warning of a looming invasion for weeks. Sullivan’s team had a plan, one they’d kept closely held out of fear it would be discovered by Russian intelligence. It involved freezing some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets held abroad. That would generate enough shock and awe, the authors figured, to bring President Vladimir Putin’s war to a halt — or at the very least, severely hamper his ability to fight it. – Bloomberg

Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is intensifying a campaign to mediate an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine as he seeks to reinsert Brazil in the global political stage. – Bloomberg

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky knows he has only one sure path to lasting victory over Vladimir Putin’s invasion force — and it doesn’t involve trading land for peace. – Washington Examiner

A top Biden administration official affirmed that no evidence exists that Ukraine is misusing the financial assistance it is receiving from the United States. – The Hill

A year later, there appears to be no end in sight. The cost of the conflict continues to mount, peace talks have stalled and both sides have suffered staggering losses, with tens of thousands of soldiers killed. – Newsweek

Russian troops have been left “mauled” nearly one year into its invasion of Ukraine, says Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. – Newsweek  

A Ukrainian political analyst argued in an article Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suspension of his country’s participation in the New START treaty is a negotiating tactic that “is likely to fail.” – Newsweek

The Russian troops who poured into Ukraine a year ago had a seemingly powerful weapon to keep Kyiv’s would-be allies cowed — Moscow’s dominance of Europe’s oil and gas supplies. – Politico

The U.S. Army is weighing how to get M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, but they may not even arrive until next year, the service’s secretary said Thursday. – Defense News

Editorial: The Administration can get tanks, drones and long-range missiles into Kyiv’s hands if it summons the political will. President Biden promised this week in Poland that “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia,” but ensuring that result will require tanks, not words. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: In discussing the need to defend national sovereignty and democracy, it should be noted that President Joe Biden cares far more about Ukraine’s than he does about America’s. He abandoned our southern border on his first day in office. The two issues are linked only by principle, not by finances. We have the resources to aid Ukraine and secure our own sovereign democracy. Biden just needs the political will to do so. Congress should do all it can to make sure Biden does both. – Washington Examiner

Iuliia Mendel writes: They’ve already shown that they can innovate on the battlefield — in areas ranging from drones to communications. Engineers are using 3D printers to produce spare parts close to the front lines. The war has given a huge boost to Ukraine’s tech sector.[…]All this gives me hope for the future. Today’s war heroes, organizers and businesspeople will be the leaders of tomorrow. The energies unleashed by this war will enrich the country that comes after it. Accuse me of optimism if you wish. But I feel it in my bones. – Washington Post

Josh Rogin writes: The first thing you will hear from any Ukrainian is “Thank you.” Ukrainians are not ungrateful or greedy — they are trying to survive. But their desperation is increasing. “As long as it takes” must not become an excuse for a lack of urgency. By next year’s anniversary, there might not be a Ukraine to save. – Washington Post

Christian Caryl writes: A scenario in which a devastating Russian loss — like Milosevic’s catastrophic failure to impose his will on the Balkans — prompts Putin’s downfall and subsequent prosecution remains a long shot. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start putting together the case against him. – Washington Post

Sergey Radchenko writes: The Ukrainians, though perhaps not fully recovering their territories, will have fended off an aggressive foe. The Russians, for their part, can disguise their strategic defeat as a tactical victory. The conflict will be frozen, a far from ideal result. Yet if we have learned anything from the Korean War, it is that a frozen conflict is better than either an outright defeat or an exhausting war of attrition. – New York Times

Paul Krugman writes: None of this means that Russia can’t eventually conquer Ukraine. If it does, however, it will, in part, be because America’s Putin fans force a cutoff of crucial aid. And if this happens, it will be because the U.S. right can’t stand the idea of a world in which woke doesn’t mean weak and men who pose as tough guys are actually losers. – New York Times

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: The Ukrainian government has called on its Western supporters to send more military drones, which fly farther, carry heavier payloads, and are better protected against countermeasures. “If you look at the military aid of the United States to Ukraine, you will see that the amount of drones is very limited,” says Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s internal-affairs minister. “We really need more drones.” – Wall Street Journal

Felicia Schwartz writes: But the nuances in outlook between Washington and Ukraine will only be more obvious over time. While Ukrainian officials talk of military victory restoring the nation’s territorial integrity, American officials are less committal. They assess that neither Russia nor Ukraine can achieve their goals on the battlefield this year. For Kyiv to prevail, in their view, will take years, short of a dramatic escalation of military support. – Financial Times 

John Garamendi writes: With no end in sight, we do not know how much longer the war in Ukraine will rage on. However, as Russia and China look to wreak havoc on the world stage, we do know that continuing our support for Ukraine and our strategic partners is both the correct moral decision and the right strategic move for the United States. We must continue to hold the line and push back against extreme Russian sympathizers in the U.S. Congress who seek to undermine America and its allies. – Newsweek 

Joshua C.Huminski writes: The longer the war progresses and the more painful the economic and political situation becomes, the greater the opportunity for Western intelligence success. Maintaining pressure on Russia’s security and intelligence services is as important as supplying arms to Kyiv, not just for the war in Ukraine, but for the longer-term Euro-Atlantic security architecture. – The Hill

Nataliya Gumenyuk writes: But Ukraine didn’t fall, and now its citizens have much higher expectations for the state and what needs to be done to rebuild the country. It will be up to both the Ukrainian people and their leaders not to squander the opportunity when the war is over. – Foreign Affairs

John Herbst, David J. Kramer, and William Taylor write: Ukraine, then, must win completely. The stakes are enormous, and failure would prove costly to the entire world. Such a victory will not be easy; Putin remains dug in, committed to throwing Russian troops at his objectives no matter the human cost. But the Ukrainians can prevail—as long as NATO continues to support their struggle for freedom, democracy, and security. – Foreign Affairs

Nina Tannenwald writes: Responsible U.S. leaders will err on the side of caution to avoid such a catastrophic outcome. The past year saw the continuation of the 77-year tradition of nuclear weapons not being used. Western leaders must do as much as they can to ensure that this streak continues, even as the horrific war in Ukraine rages on. – Foreign Affairs

Joshua Yaffa writes: As Russia’s war enters its second year, and as Russia is unlikely to muster the military force necessary to produce an outright victory, the brick wall is only getting closer. But that doesn’t mean one should expect many more people to jump out before the crash. – Foreign Affairs

Pavel Luzin writes: But its key need is for a ceasefire. The Russian leadership seeks an opportunity to reorganize and refresh its military machine before renewing its assault on Ukraine in the coming years, a victory which it hopes would also destroy Transatlantic unity and Western global leadership. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Oleksandr Moskalenko writes: But what really matters is that this new security arrangement provides Ukraine with clear and practical guarantees which can be implemented in times of crisis. Ukraine remembers the Budapest memorandum of 1994, which deprived it of the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal in return for empty promises. The failure to make good on that document got us where we are today; with Ukraine fighting for its national existence. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Andrew R. Novo writes: This war is fundamentally altering the international landscape in which we live, shaping our lives in ways that will endure for decades to come. Those contours have yet to take shape because Ukrainians and Russians are fighting to establish this new topography. Since they are shaping our future world, the people of Europe and the United States cannot lose focus, even after a long and brutal year of war. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Lera Burlakova writes: And yet so far, the Ukrainian armed forces have grown and have not buckled under the weight of a relentless Russian assault. There is a sense, underlying its performance, of a nation that understands that its freedom and even existence are under threat, and must be defended. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Graham Allison writes: Students of the U.S. War of Independence will remember the Battle of Bunker Hill. There, British soldiers occupying Boston succeeded in seizing the high ground. But their victory came at the cost of so many of their soldiers killed and severely wounded that they never undertook an initiative like that again. Let us hope that the West’s fortitude and Putin’s failure in this case reduces Russia’s appetite for subsequent attacks on its neighbors. – Foreign Policy

Maria Snegovaya, Tina Dolbaia , Nick Fenton and Max Bergmann writes: In both cases, the authorities attempted to stifle social protests through a combination of repression and social spending, yet those solutions only exacerbated the existing pressures on the regime. This analysis, therefore, leads the authors to conclude that the international sanctions regime will eventually make it much more arduous for Putin to sustain his war in Ukraine. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


The luminaries of Start-Up Nation, as Israel has been known for decades, are eyeing the exits. Several have already announced that they are relocating or moving money out of the country, including the chief executive of Papaya Group, a payroll company valued at more than $1 billion. – New York Times

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clashing with the country’s powerful technology industry over a plan to overhaul the judiciary that companies fear will lead to a rollback of civil rights and an unchecked rightward political turn that will scare away investment and talent. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s far-right government has granted approval for over 7,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, settlement backers and opponents said Thursday. The move defies growing international opposition to construction in the occupied territory. – Associated Press

An Israeli parliamentary committee on Thursday approved new funding for Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, giving the prime minister a boost in personal spending at a time when he is facing mass protests over his policies and as the economy is on shaky ground. – Associated Press  

An array of U.S. Jewish leaders are sounding alarms about what they see as a threat to Israel’s democracy posed by its new government, fearing it will erode the independence of its judiciary and legal protections for minority groups. – Associated Press

In a grave breach of protocol, the Israeli delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa was expelled from the session hall despite Israel having observer status at the African Union and having proper credentials. – Ynet

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said terrorism must be “exterminated” during a tour of the Nablus Sector and the IDF’s Samaria Regional Division on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote at its Sunday meeting on a law to block the attorney-general’s ability to announce that a prime minister is “incapacitated” from fulfilling his role, as well as on a law to introduce the death penalty for terrorists, according to the committee’s agenda that was published on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

Protesters against the government’s judicial reform will hold a “day of struggle” next Wednesday, which will include disruptions of public order, a coalition of protest leaders said on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post  

A member of the European Parliament was turned around at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and sent back to her native Spain after attempting to enter Israel on a diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority. – Jerusalem Post

State Department spokesperson Ned Price restated the United States’ concerns on Friday about the loss of civilian lives in an IDF raid in Nablus on Wednesday and emphasized that “Only the Israelis and Palestinians themselves” can take steps to decrease regional tensions. – Jerusalem Post  

Thousands of Palestinians furious over the Israeli military’s latest deadly incursion into Nablus held midnight marches throughout The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in the pre-dawn hours Friday, calling for revenge and setting off low-level clashes with security forces in some places. – Times of Israel

An Israeli-Palestinian regional security summit organized by the White House is facing possible cancellation following the military’s deadly raid in Nablus, a Palestinian source familiar with the matter said Thursday. – Times of Israel

The top Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and several other US lawmakers taking part in a series of visiting congressional delegations met with Israel’s leadership this week to discuss judicial overhaul plans, Iran and ties between Jerusalem and Washington. – Times of Israel   

Concern that the secrets of Israel’s military technology could be captured by Russian forces in Ukraine, rather than fear of a Russian military reprisal, is what is driving the country’s reluctance to supply the democratic government in Kyiv with an air defense system, Israel’s honorary consul for western Ukraine said on Thursday, as the world prepared to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion. – Algemeiner 

The police detained three Arabs in central Israel on Tuesday for 24 hours after being heard saying the Arabic word “amaliya,” which means an action, operation, or terrorist attack. – Haaretz 

Editorial: An uncompromising Israel lacking institutional oversight is in no one’s long-term interests. One reason the west has supported Israel is because of shared values. That includes an independent judiciary as a key pillar of democracy and scrutiny.[…]Israel may follow other democracies such as Poland, Hungary or Turkey down the dark path of illiberalism. But here, the stakes are even higher. Israel has held itself out as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. That light, if not yet extinguished, is unsettlingly dimmed. – Financial Times 

Yuval Noah Harari writes: Add these four factors together, and it is clear that an undemocratic Israel is likely to pose a very different challenge than Hungary. If the antidemocratic coup in Israel succeeds, it would force Israel’s friends around the world, Jewish communities everywhere, and above all Israel’s own citizens, to make difficult choices. – Washington Post   

Amos Harel writes: In those circumstances, we will be headed for a constitutional crisis on an unprecedented scale in the spring or summer. It is perfectly obvious that the High Court will want to overturn some of the laws. And then one of the ranking public servants – the police commissioner? the director of the Shin Bet? the IDF chief of staff? – is liable to find himself in a position of getting contradictory orders from the court and from the government. Israel has known many crises. But not one like this. – Haaretz 

Anshel Pfeffer writes: Ukraine, whose national heroes were once the worst instigators of the bloodiest pogroms, is being led in this war by a Jewish president and defense minister, has countless Jews at every level of government and commerce, as well as thousands of Ukrainian Jews serving proudly on the battlefield. None of this expunges the dark chapters in its history, but it is proof of the transformative power of democracy. – Haaretz 


A German court on Thursday convicted a Palestinian man from Syria of a war crime and murder for launching a grenade into a crowd of civilians waiting for food in Damascus in 2014. He was sentenced to life in prison. – Associated Press

As president of Syria, Bashar Assad has presided over a decade-long war that has killed 600,000 of his own countrymen. With regional and world leaders now rushing to Syria’s aid in the wake of an earthquake in which some 5,000 people died, will the Butcher of Damascus be rehabilitated? – New York Sun 

Syrian President Bashar Assad visited Oman on Monday for an important trip to the Gulf region, where the Syrian regime has been making new inroads. – Jerusalem Post 


Antakya has become a city of ghosts. A thriving modern metropolis of nearly 400,000 people — and a cradle of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman history — belongs now to the birds and earth-moving machines. – Washington Post

In the weeks since, the Turkish authorities have arrested three men connected to the hotel on unspecified charges as part of a wide-ranging dragnet targeting hundreds of building contractors and owners among others suspected of criminal negligence that contributed to deadly building collapses. – New York Times

Turkey has imposed regulations for earthquake rebuilding work in its region hit by this month’s devastating tremors, according to a presidential decree published in the country’s Official Gazette on Friday. – Reuters

Turkish forces have killed the alleged mastermind behind a deadly Istanbul street bombing in an operation in northern Syria, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. – Associated Press

There are millions of Syrians in Turkey, most of whom fled from Syria during a decade of civil war in their home country. The massive earthquakes that struck Turkey in early February have now caused thousands of Syrians to lose their lives, and many remain missing. – Jerusalem Post 

Arabian Peninsula

Oman cleared the way on Thursday for Israeli planes to fly over its airspace, ending a decades long ban that indicates a further thawing of ties between Israel and Arab nations that have long refused to openly embrace the Jewish nation. – Wall Street Journal

The Vatican and Oman established diplomatic ties on Thursday, marking a further widening of the Holy See’s official relations with the Arab Muslim World. – Reuters

Fatima Abo Alasrar writes: A mechanism will need to be put in place to ensure that revenues are not captured by militias or improperly disbursed by any party in Yemen’s conflict. Finally, the Yemeni government must take control of the country’s main revenue sources and ensure their fair distribution — this applies to financial resources from the oil sector and revenues generated by the port of Hodeida and areas under Houthi control. Failure to do so to date has effectively helped to finance the conflict. – Middle East Institute

Middle East & North Africa

As the humanitarian response continues into a third week after earthquakes rocked Turkey and Syria, another kind of recovery effort is circling the region’s millennia-old cultural landmarks. – Washington Post

Tunisian police on Thursday arrested Ezzedine Hazgui, a fierce critic of President Kais Saied, but he later said on Facebook that he had been released after his house was searched. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the Middle East is in the region for meetings with Egypt, Jordan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the White House said on Thursday. – Reuters

A British court has ruled a London-based company that delivered the explosive ammonium nitrate to Beirut’s port is liable towards the victims of a devastating blast in 2020, Lebanon’s Beirut Bar Association said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Lebanese authorities charged longtime central bank governor Riad Salameh, his brother Raja and one of his assistants on Thursday with money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after months of delay in the high-profile case. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: As the US shifts priorities and confronts near-peer adversaries, India, Israel and the UAE remain key US partners and allies. These are countries that have a lot to gain together and are more than the sum of their parts. Defense ties, and issues like green tech are only part of the multiple layers that make the I2US combo so important going forward. – Jerusalem Post 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea launched four cruise missiles, flying in figure-eight patterns and landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan as military exercises raise tensions in the region. – Wall Street Journal

The United States will likely limit the level of advanced semiconductors made by South Korean companies in China, a senior U.S. official said. – Reuters

​​North Korean state media marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by blaming the crisis on NATO and calling America’s involvement a “trail to self-destruction.” – Reuters

The US and South Korea held discussions over ways they would respond to possible nuclear attacks by North Korea, which has been steadily building up its capability to deliver a credible atomic strike against the two. – Bloomberg


China on Friday called for an end to unilateral sanctions and other economic “weapons” targeting Russia, as part of a new diplomatic push to defend Beijing’s position on the war in Ukraine. – Washington Post

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the committee’s top Republican urged the Biden administration to halt Chinese airlines and other non-American carriers from flying over Russia on U.S. routes. – Reuters

China’s government probably approved of Chinese firms providing Russia non-lethal, “dual-use” support for its war in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday, in remarks that underscore growing US concern that Beijing may go further and help arm President Vladimir Putin’s forces. – Bloomberg

Beijing has laid down three “red lines” for the top US diplomat in Hong Kong, saying recent comments by the consul general constituted interference. – Bloomberg

Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping has yet to decide whether to grant Russia’s request for weapons to use against Ukraine, according to U.S. officials. – Washington Examiner

David Ignatius writes: The Chips experiment is absolutely worthwhile. But the measure of its success will be Raimondo’s moonshot test — whether it helps draw millions of American kids into science and engineering. When we think about the Chinese challenge, it’s about investing in freethinking brainpower far more than fabrication plants. – Washington Post

Jonathan Wheatley writes: With US-China relations at their worst in decades, there is little reason to expect this to change. China watchers think whatever Yellen says in India over the next two days may prove futile. – Financial Times 

James “Spider” Marks writes: But both the Georgia law and the ALEC legislation retain a loophole that allows third-party vendors to continue selling Chinese gear to the states. That flaw must be remedied, and legislators in other states must be careful not to repeat that mistake as they draft their own new bills. When it comes to defending America from the Chinese Communist Party, Sacramento and Bismarck are no less a locus of competition than Shanghai and Beijing. – Newsweek 

Beth Sanner and Pete Fesler write: That prioritization must guide investment and should be based on the intersection of what is most critical to the nation and what the intelligence community assesses adversaries intend to and are able to attack. In a sense, Beijing gave the United States a gift in the form of a balloon. That balloon, although likely harmless, should be a wake-up call, one that policymakers cannot ignore. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

The U.S. military released two brothers on Thursday who had been held as detainees in the war against terrorism for helping to operate safe houses where suspected operatives of Al Qaeda holed up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. – New York Times

Pakistan shut down a key border crossing with Afghanistan just hours after it was reopened on Thursday, officials said, the latest twist in the controversial closure of the Torkham junction that started earlier this week. – Associated Press 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged global financial leaders to focus on the world’s “most vulnerable citizens” as he inaugurated a G20 meeting on Friday, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters


The U.S. is markedly increasing the number of troops deployed to Taiwan, more than quadrupling the current number to bolster a training program for the island’s military amid a rising threat from China. – Wall Street Journal

Australia has quietly expelled a large Russian spy ring whose members were posing as diplomats, a newspaper reported Friday after Australia’s main security agency revealed a major counterespionage success. – Associated Press

China’s military is learning from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that any attack on Taiwan would have to be swift to succeed, but the Taiwan Strait would make that challenging, the island’s defence minister said on Friday. – Reuters

Indonesian security forces tightened security in the town of Wamena in the easternmost region of Papua, after nine people were killed during a riot triggered by rumours a child had been kidnapped, an official said on Friday. – Reuters

The United States on Thursday condemned the Myanmar military authorities’ arrest and detention of a Christian religious leader and called for his immediate release and for all charges against him to be dropped. – Reuters

Denny Roy writes: Taiwan’s current conflict with Beijing is typical of the historical relationship, not an anomaly as claimed by PRC propaganda. In any case, Beijing’s argument that the past is determinative is unpersuasive, even setting aside the issue of Beijing describing a fake past. This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth. The wishes of the people who inhabit a de facto state should matter more than another state’s indirect claim to ownership of the land. – The National Interest  


The European Commission banned staffers Thursday from using the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on their work devices over security concerns, following similar moves in the United States and a growing standoff between China and the West. – Washington Post

Small towns in Bulgaria, with its large pro-Russian population, might seem unlikely linchpins of Ukraine’s military effort. But one year into the war, despite an influx of sophisticated Western arms, the Ukrainian military still relies primarily on weapons that fire Soviet-standard munitions. The United States and its NATO allies don’t produce those munitions, and the few countries outside Russia that do are mostly in the former Soviet orbit. – New York Times

The European Union’s judicial cooperation agency, Eurojust, said Thursday that it is setting up a new center to support efforts to gather evidence of the crime of aggression in Ukraine. – Associated Press

But Germany’s chief utility regulator is not ready to sound the all clear on an energy crisis spawned by the war in Ukraine, even with natural gas reserves abundant and prices well down from their peak. – Associated Press

A dissident Irish Republican Army splinter group is suspected of shooting the detective Wednesday night after a kids’ soccer session at a sports complex in Omagh, about 60 miles (nearly 100 kilometers) west of Belfast. Three men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of attempted murder. – Associated Press

Hungary plans to send a delegation to Sweden and Finland to resolve “political disputes” that have raised doubts among some Hungarian lawmakers of whether to support the two Nordic nations’ applications to join NATO, a senior Hungarian lawmaker said Thursday. – Associated Press  

Senior U.K. and European Union officials met Thursday as part of what Britain called “intensive negotiations” to resolve a thorny post-Brexit trade dispute that has spawned a political crisis in Northern Ireland. – Associated Press 

A meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s parliamentary assembly got underway Thursday without the Ukrainian delegation, which described the presence of Russian lawmakers as “an affront.” – Associated Press

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters before his meetings with Bulgarian officials that the country wouldn’t become a eurozone member before the beginning of 2025. – Associated Press

The incoming Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides on Thursday held his first meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar to try and break the ice on frozen reunification talks. – Agence France-Presse

French President Emmanuel Macron will next week undertake a four-nation tour of central African countries, the presidency said Thursday, as Paris seeks to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence in the region. – Agence France-Presse

Moldova has urged citizens to remain calm after the Russian ministry of defence claimed Ukraine was preparing to take over a Moldovan breakaway region that is home to a large ammunition depot. – Financial Times

Germany’s deputy chancellor said Berlin will crack down on companies that dodge western sanctions imposed on Moscow, including the threat of criminal prosecution for false export declarations. – Financial Times  

The head of the International Energy Agency has warned that Europe has not yet won its energy war with Russia despite a big drop in gas prices, as he urged governments to remain focused on conserving and boosting supplies. – Financial Times 

Does Vladimir Putin really want a piece of Moldova? In a sense he already does — it’s called Transnistria — but one year after the Russian strongman ordered an invasion of Ukraine war drums are sounding again as Moscow makes a play for the poor Eastern European country sandwiched between NATO-member Romania and Ukraine. – New York Sun

There are stranger paradoxes, but it took an 86-year-old Italian billionaire politician to make Italy the poster child of Europe’s weariness with the year-old war in Ukraine. The visit of the energetic Italian premier, Giorgia Meloni, to Kyiv this week was largely symbolic and devoid of drama, but the elephant in the room was a former four-time Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. – New York Sun  

The Black Sea, which borders Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, was a key naval area for both Russia, which has a fleet dedicated to the area, and to Ukraine, in addition to a path for grain exports from Ukraine. – USNI News 

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: From the Ukraine war’s earliest days one suspected Europe’s problem wouldn’t be ignorance of the dangers facing it, but rather a refusal to address them. The surprise of the past year has been that this refusal persists even as Europe—and not just Ukraine—pays the price for the Continent’s perverse willingness to go dark before it gets smart. – Wall Street Journal

Denis Cenusa writes: While Russian-coordinated subversion cannot be ruled out, Moldovan authorities must also be vigilant about the risks emanating from Transnistria and Gagauzia, an autonomous territorial unit of Moldova, from where provocateurs, with or without military training, can easily travel by land to Chisinau. The most potent threats to Moldova that Russia can most quickly activate come from within. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Nicholas Lokker, Jim Townsend, Heli Hautala and Andrea Kendall-Taylor write: Failure to address this evolving threat could result in a paradoxical situation in which Europe—particularly along its northeastern edges—becomes even more insecure despite NATO’s expanded role in the region. Managing both the short- and long-term consequences of this evolution are therefore critical tasks for NATO, Sweden, and Finland going forward. – Center for a New American Security


Nigerians are readying to head to the polls this Saturday in what promises to be a historic presidential election in Africa’s most populous country. The race is the most open — and most closely contested — since democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999, with a third-party candidate running neck-and-neck in the polls with the candidates from Nigeria’s two main political parties. – Washington Post

US, European and other governments on Thursday urged Nigerian leaders to ensure a fair and calm election this weekend when the country votes to choose a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari. – Agence France-Presse 

The Tunisian president on Thursday repeated his assertion that an increase of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa was part of a conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demographics and denied criticism by rights groups that his views were racist. – Reuters

Editorial: Nigeria needs to have a credible election this year to begin restoring the people’s faith in democracy. Africa needs a stable, democratic Nigeria that might act as a bellwether and a model to autocratic countries on the continent. And the world needs a Nigeria that can finally live up to its potential on the global stage. – Washington Post

Idayat Hassan writes: However, the style of its emergence and the nature of the Nigerian state presents the third force as not just a solution but also an outcome that complicates the political space in the face of heightened ethnic division and increased insecurity. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Americas

Three men accused of being high-ranking leaders of the transnational criminal gang MS-13 were arrested in Mexico on Wednesday and will be sent to New York to face charges, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. – New York Times

Trinidad and Tobago next month expects to formally begin negotiations with Venezuela on a promising offshore natural gas project, the Caribbean nation’s energy minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

Marc A. Thiessen writes: DeSantis is right that Biden’s failure to secure our southern border is a disgrace, as was his weak response to China’s brazen incursion into U.S. airspace. But it does not follow from Biden’s failure to secure our border and skies that we should not support the Ukrainian people in their courageous fight for freedom. We need a president with the focus and energy to do both. – Washington Post

Amanda Rothschild writes: This year, Mr. Biden missed an opportunity to garner support among both parties in Congress and among the American people for his foreign policy agenda. House gallery guests are often the best communicators on an issue. Future presidents should let them be heard. – New York Sun 


A trio of regulators including the Federal Reserve warned banks to be mindful of liquidity risks related to cryptocurrencies, the latest move by U.S. officials to limit the economy’s vulnerability to the tumultuous market. – Wall Street Journal

The United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural agency chief on Wednesday called for a global dialogue to find ways to regulate social media companies and limit their role in the spreading of misinformation around the world. – Associated Press 

Google is blocking some Canadian users from viewing news content in what the company said Wednesday is a test run of a potential response to a Canadian government’s online news bill. – Associated Press 

Facebook and Instagram began a week-long rollout of their first paid verification service on Friday, testing users’ willingness to pay for social media features that until now have been free. – Agence France-Presse 

Facebook parent company Meta said Thursday it had taken down two fake account networks with links to the governments of Cuba and Bolivia that were used to spread official propaganda and discredit the opposition. – Agence France-Presse 

A Russian national accused of developing and licensing the “NLBrute” malware and selling at least 35,000 compromised logins appeared in a Florida federal court on Tuesday facing charges of conspiracy, access device fraud and computer fraud. – CyberScoop

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russia’s covert influence operations on Facebook and Instagram have shied away from building convincing brands or personas, Meta announced on Thursday. – The Record  

Frank Cullen writes: In fact, nearly 40 percent of China’s national policy-making body is now composed of technocrats determined to accelerate their nation’s economic progress — by hook or by crook.For decades, China has sought to surpass the United States in high-tech fields by stealing Americans’ best ideas. It’s up to Congress to put a stop to this theft.. – The Hill

Bruce Schneier and Barath Raghavan write: Like water, it finds every crack and flows to every low place. TikTok won’t be the last app or service from abroad that becomes popular, and it is distressingly ordinary in terms of how much it spies on us. Personal privacy is now a matter of national security. That needs to be part of any debate about banning TikTok. – Foreign Policy


Pentagon military planners constantly plan and war game to anticipate various forms of enemy incursions or attacks on U.S. airspace. Even so, the arrival last month of a Chinese high-altitude balloon called for a measure of creativity, putting weapons to an unfamiliar test. – Washington Post 

The Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International said it created a program to evaluate the security of commercial drones, modeled on a similar process developed by the Defense Innovation Unit for the military. – Defense News 

After embedding information warfare sailors and officers aboard two subs, there are now talks “to invest full-time, probably, in at least two cryptologic technicians to be onboard” and perform electronic warfare and related tasks, according to Navy Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, the commander of Naval Information Forces. – Defense News  

The Marines have a plan for a fight spread out across wide swaths of the Pacific with small units moving from island to island. Now, the service is working through how it will get bullets, beans and bandages to units spread across thousands of miles. – USNI News 

In recent years, the United States has focused such efforts on developing hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a rocket before gliding to a target, and hypersonic cruise missiles, which are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines during flight. – USNI News

Boeing today announced it will finish production of new-build F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in late 2025, closing out a line of aircraft that has been a staple of the US Navy’s fleet for four decades. – Breaking Defense  

One year ago Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking a conflict that’s resulted in, by one US estimate, over 200,000 casualties. It also has provided key lessons about modern warfare that, until the last year, were largely academic in nature. – Breaking Defense 

Natalia Antonova writes: That Americans are tired of war is understandable. In fact, Russians gambled on that in the beginning. Americans proved them wrong. We can, and should, continue to prove them wrong. As a nation, we are greater than our fears. – Foreign Policy