Fdd's overnight brief

January 10, 2023

In The News


Pope Francis on Monday condemned Iran’s executions of protesters in response to the demonstrations in recent months against the clerical regime. – Wall Street Journal

Meta’s (META.O) Oversight Board on Monday overturned the company’s decision to remove a Facebook post that used the slogan “death to Khamenei” to criticize the Iranian leader, saying it did not violate a rule barring violent threats. – Reuters

Britain’s foreign minister James Cleverly summoned Iran’s most senior diplomat on Monday after Iranian authorities executed protestors Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini. – Reuters

The European Union summoned Iran’s ambassador to the bloc on Monday and told him it was appalled by the executions at the weekend of two Iranians arrested in the course of a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters in the country. – Reuters

The activist daughter of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been sentenced to five years in prison, her lawyer said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Iran’s willingness to provide Russia with drones to use against Ukraine could be “contributing to widespread war crimes,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. – Washington Examiner

Iran’s judiciary sentenced three more people to death after arresting them during anti-government protests that have gripped the country since September. – Bloomberg

Walter Russell Mead writes: If Mr. Biden wants to restore American influence in the region, he can still do so. The price, however, is what it has been for the past 15 years. A resolute and effective U.S. policy to disrupt Iran’s ability to threaten its Arab neighbors—if combined with measures to ensure that Israel and its friends can, if all else fails, take military action to block Tehran’s nuclear program—would put the U.S. back at the center of Middle Eastern order. – Wall Street Journal

Eric R. Mandel writes: The Biden administration has said an Iran nuclear agreement is on life support. If Iran wants to return to the negotiating table, President Biden and his advisers must decide whether allowing another flawed nuclear deal would create enough short-term stability to justify the potential impact on Iranian protestors. The possibility of a regime change in Iran remains the most desirable long-term solution — for American interests, regional stability, and the Iranian people. Indeed, 2023 could be a decisive year for the Middle East. – The Hill

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, Dana Alexander Gray, and Johanna Moore write: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei continues to use rhetoric that suggests he is not amenable to any meaningful political or social reform in Iran. Khamenei denied that the regime was responsible for the protests and instead blamed the West exclusively in a speech in Qom on January 9. […]Khamenei likely dismissed Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari as law enforcement commander due to Khamenei’s dissatisfaction with the performance of the Law Enforcement Command in responding to the protests. – Institute for the Study of War

Michael Rubin writes: Labeling Khamenei and Raisi mofsed-e filarz is both deserved and signals to Iranians and the broader international community will hold them accountable for the blood on their hands. It would also be a shot of adrenalin the Iranian people need as they feel the world’s attention begin to move on. It would also benefit Iraqis and Lebanese as they fight corruption perpetrated by parties that cynically seek to hijack religion. Sometimes moral clarity matters. Khamenei is the personification of corruption on earth. It is time to say so. – 19FortyFive

Russia & Ukraine

A Russian merchant ship whose owner has allegedly carried weapons for the Kremlin turned off its transponder last month before surreptitiously docking at South Africa’s largest naval base, where it delivered and loaded unidentified cargoes, according to witnesses and a senior U.S. official. – Wall Street Journal

With upgraded weaponry on the way, Western resolve holding firm, and the Ukrainian army continuing to outmaneuver and outwit Russia’s flailing military, Ukraine’s promised “year of victory” is off to a good start. – Washington Post 

For not the first time, Russian leaders dangled the possibility of a de-escalation of fighting in Ukraine, this time in the form of a 36-hour cease-fire that would have taken place this past weekend. But, in a pattern that is now familiar nearly a year into the war, Western and Ukrainian leaders broadly rejected the proposal, calling it a cynical effort to create space for resupplying Russian forces. – New York Times

The Ukrainian authorities have rejected Russian claims that hundreds of Ukrainian troops were killed in a strike in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, and no evidence has emerged to support Moscow’s assertion. – New York Times

Russia has stepped up a powerful assault on Soledar in eastern Ukraine, officials in Kyiv said, forcing Ukrainian troops to repel waves of attacks led by the Wagner contract militia around the salt mining town and nearby fronts. – Reuters

Ukrainian police said on Monday they were looking for two British voluntary workers who had gone missing in east Ukraine, the scene of heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces. – Reuters

Kyiv expects the European Union to include Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom in its next round of sanctions over the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Monday that new deliveries of Western weapons, including French-made armoured vehicles, to Kyiv would “deepen the suffering of the Ukrainian people” and would not change the course of the conflict. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the city of Bakhmut, in the eastern Donbas region, is holding its own despite widespread Russian destruction in the area. – The Hill

Russian authorities on Monday announced parallel criminal probes against a famous actor critical of the war in Ukraine and a philanthropist who supports the Russian opposition, the latest in a months-long, sweeping crackdown on dissent. – Associated Press  

Russia on Monday opted out of a European convention on fighting corruption, a move that comes in the wake of its withdrawal from the Council of Europe following start of Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The difference between Russia’s and the United States’s judicial systems is a major factor in negotiations to release Americans detained by Moscow, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan believes. – Washington Examiner

Ukraine will join NATO regardless of continued Russian opposition, the country’s top representative in the United Kingdom has predicted, as Kyiv formulates its demands to end Moscow’s 10 month-old invasion. – Newsweek 

Russia intends to start producing Iranian Shahed drones domestically to use in Ukraine, Kyiv claimed. – Newsweek 

Russian propagandists are pushing for a strike on France due to President Emmanuel Macron’s support of Ukraine in its war with Russia, according to a video posted Monday by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs. – Newsweek 

The Pentagon has awarded L3Harris Technologies a $40 million order to send Ukraine “Vampire” counter-drone systems by mid-year, the company announced Monday. – C4ISRNet

Alexander J. Motyl writes: Russia’s aggressive intentions, therefore, will end only when its culture and ideology undergoes a seismic shift and comes to accept Ukrainians as human beings and neighbors. Alas, that kind of shift will take time, unless a major defeat produces a crisis in the Russian mindset and accelerates Russia’s extirpation of Putinism and its ideological and cultural roots in the Soviet Union and Imperial Russia. – The Hill

Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Madison Williams, Layne Philipson, and Mason Clark write: Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin continues to use reports of Wagner Group success in Soledar to bolster the Wagner Group’s reputation as an effective fighting force. Wagner Group forces claimed to capture territory within Soledar over the past few days, and many Russian sources have discussed the gains as indicators that Wagner Group forces may soon encircle Bakhmut. – Institute for the Study of War

Giselle Donnelly writes: But further dramatic Ukrainian advances in any direction may be impossible—and in any case will be more costly in terms of materiel, ammunition, time, and lives—if Ukraine doesn’t receive more advanced weapons fast. As General Omar Bradley, namesake of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, wrote, “Where the objective is lost, the war is prolonged and the cost becomes infinitely worse.” – The Bulwark


The Palestinian prime minister on Monday accused Israel’s new ultra-nationalist government of trying to topple the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, and warned that a series of new Israeli sanctions could further inflame what has been a particularly deadly period of fighting. – Associated Press 

Iran’s nuclear program and threats posed by Tehran will be discussed when U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan travels to Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government. – Reuters

US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday condemned the sanctions approved by the Israeli government against the Palestinian Authority over Ramallah’s successful effort to have the International Court of Justice weigh in on Israel’s conduct in the Palestinian territories. – Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that it was time for Israel and the US to align their positions regarding the threat emanating from Iran, after years of disconnect on the issue. – Times of Israel  

The Biden administration over the weekend appeared to offer criticism of the planned overhaul to Israel’s legal system recently announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. – Times of Israel 

A parliamentary committee voted Monday to expedite legislation to revoke the citizenship of Israeli nationals convicted of terrorism. – Ynet 

Joe Ben Malin writes: There are times when America’s interests are not Israel’s interests. This time this disconnect happened on the Temple Mount and it most likely will not be the last time our Holy Mount is the subject of such a disagreement. After all, the Temple Mount is at the center of all of Jewish thought, Jewish history, Jewish law, and Jewish independence. That is exactly why Muslims reacted the way they have to Ben-Gvir’s visit. – Arutz Sheva


Taliban hard-liners are consolidating their control over Afghanistan with the recent bans on women’s education and work, overriding the wishes of some Taliban officials in the capital, Kabul, and at the provincial level, according to government and aid officials. – Washington Post 

Pentagon officials have held multiple high-level meetings in recent months in preparation for a barrage of Republican-led House investigations into issues varying from the US withdrawal from Afghanistan to what conservative lawmakers have deemed “woke” military policies, according to a senior defense official. – CNN

More than 600 Afghans have been deported from Pakistan in the past three days, and hundreds more face expulsion in a renewed crackdown on migrants. – The Guardian


The Russian and Ukrainian human rights commissioners will meet in Turkey this week, news agencies from both countries reported on Monday, for talks likely to include the possibility of further exchanges of prisoners of war. – Reuters

It’s time for Sweden to join NATO because it has done what’s necessary to secure Turkey’s approval for membership, the military alliance’s secretary-general said Monday. – Associated Press

Bobby Ghosh writes: For good measure, he and his party have been invoking the old bogeymen of Kurdish terrorism and Western perfidy, as well as culture-war tropes about the dangers of homosexuality to family and Islamic values. The threats to Greece are directed at cranking up nationalistic fervor. These tactics have helped Erdogan win elections before. They might again. Until the Turks cast their votes, Western leaders will remain on tenterhooks. – Bloomberg

Robert Ellis writes: Facing an election in June—although there is talk of advancing the date—Erdogan is in desperate need of a boost. He has already played the national security card with the threat of a missile strike on Athens and a planned cross-border operation into Syria to target America’s Kurdish allies. Washington should resist the temptation to offer Turkey any encouragement. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Despite Egypt’s condemnation of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount last week, relations between the neighboring countries are continuing without “major tension,” an unnamed Egyptian official was quoted as saying Monday. – Times of Israel

The steering committee of the Negev Forum — bringing together Israel, its Abraham Accords partners, Egypt and the US — met Monday in Abu Dhabi to prepare for its second multilateral summit, scheduled for the spring in Morocco. – Times of Israel  

Saudi Arabia said it could increase its investments in the cash-strapped Pakistan economy to $10 billion, the Saudi state news agency reported on Tuesday, as well as increase the ceiling on deposits into the Pakistan central bank to $5 billion. – Reuters

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously approved the delivery of humanitarian aid to some four million people in northwestern Syria for another six months, avoiding a traditional fight with Russia over the issue. – Reuters

David Litman, media and education research analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), criticized television host Christiane Amanpour after she implied on her television program there is a comparison between the actions of Israel and those of the Syrian regime. – Arutz Sheva

Neville Teller writes: As a first step the foreign ministers decided to form six working groups, each with a specific remit. They were charged with promoting projects in the fields of security, energy, tourism, health, education, and food and water security. The Morocco-based summit will receive progress reports from these groups – the groundwork for developments with the potential to bring enormous benefits across the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post

Sohail Mahmood writes: Qatar successfully used the World Cup to advance its political goals, markedly advancing its soft power and epitomizing how the small state has become an influential player in global affairs. Undoubtedly, the world’s attention will be more focused on Qatar from here on out. – The National Interest


A top Chinese official said authorities have wrapped up investigations into the financial businesses of several internet companies, a strong signal that a two-year regulatory crackdown on China’s homegrown technology giants is winding down. – Wall Street Journal

For most of the past two years, foreign officials and business executives grappled with Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping’s unflinching insistence on a zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19. Now they are struggling to make sense of Beijing’s decision to scrap those pandemic controls virtually without warning. – Wall Street Journal

Beijing suspended issuing several types of short-term visas to South Korean citizens in the first of threatened retaliation measures over travel restrictions many countries have imposed on flights from China to curb the spread of Covid-19. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will travel to Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

Most people would agree that the space race ended in 1969 when U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the lunar surface, but more than 50 years later, the moon is still the focal point as humanity gears up for what could be a new space race. And China could be at the center of it, warns NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. – The Hill

Chinese companies must decide whether to resume imports of Australian coal, China’s ambassador to Australia said, continuing to deny any embargo on the country’s exports, even as he touted a recent thaw in ties. – Bloomberg

China has transferred a senior diplomat closely associated with the Foreign Ministry’s more confrontational shift in recent years to a new role, in the latest sign that Beijing is rethinking its so-called Wolf Warrior approach. – Bloomberg

Lithuanian lawmakers on a visit to Taiwan took aim at China Tuesday, saying the world’s second largest economy tried to use all sorts of measures to change Lithuania’s decision to break diplomatic norms in warming up relations with the self-ruled island democracy. – Associated Press

Editorial: Foreign businesses, take note. Beijing is wooing investment with promises that the Chinese economy remains fundamentally on track. But that track now involves more state control and less business freedom despite the successful 30 years of reform before Mr. Xi took power. The main targets for now are Chinese companies such as Ant. Don’t assume it will stay that way. – Wall Street Journal

Christopher R. O’Dea writes: Adm. Raymond Spruance, who helped devise the island-hopping strategy the U.S. used in the Pacific Theater during World War II—and then carried out the plan as commander of Fifth Fleet—wrote that a sound logistics plan determines the success or failure of military operations. The Chinese have such a plan for their economic campaign against America and the West. At the moment, the U.S. has nothing. – Wall Street Journal

Andrea Ghiselli writes: To summarize, the most likely reaction by Beijing to a possible American attempt to curb China’s influence in the Middle East is a non-reaction. Especially if Washington continues to pursue its current approach, Chinese policymakers will have little need to do something radically different from what they are already doing. At the same time, the just-mentioned problems that prevent the development of an alternative and more muscular approach are unlikely to disappear any time soon. – Middle East Institute

South Asia

Pakistan held talks Monday with the International Monetary Fund in an effort to restart a stalled bailout program, as economists warn that the country is in danger of defaulting on its foreign debt. – Wall Street Journal

Pakistan received over $9 billion in pledges Monday to help it recover from last year’s catastrophic floods, vowing to become a model for how countries can build climate change resilience. – Agence France-Presse

French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris was ready to support Pakistan in its talks with financial institutions, as the country faces huge losses from recent floods. – Reuters

A senior official from the U.S. development agency USAID said on Monday that Washington would provide an additional $100 million in funding for Pakistan’s recovery from devastating floods last year. – Reuters

Advanced surveillance equipment, developed by a company controlled by the former commander of Israeli intelligence’s technology unit, was sold last year to the government of Bangladesh, official government documents and international export records show, despite Bangladesh not being on Israel’s list of countries that such technology may be sold to – and despite its consistently poor human rights record. – Haaretz 

Simon Henderson writes: More broadly, Munir’s trip is a reminder of the nonbinary nature of most relationships in the region. Pakistan regards its relations with the Gulf Arab states as very important and is pleased with their closeness, but its stance toward neighboring Iran remains friendly as well. Nuclear rival India remains its predominant foreign policy concern, so Islamabad is no doubt keeping a close eye on the Gulf’s growing warmth and expanding ties with New Delhi. – Washington Institute


A war games simulation of a full-scale Chinese invasion of the self-governing island nation of Taiwan predicts “heavy losses” for all parties likely to be involved, including the U.S. and Japan. – The Hill

The United States wants to disperse U.S. Marine units throughout Japan’s Okinawa islands by 2026, arming them with missiles and lighter gear to deter China’s military, and will discuss the plan with Tokyo in Washington, D.C., the Yomiuri newspaper said. – Reuters

Taiwan condemned China on Monday for holding its second military combat drills around the island in less than a month, with the defence ministry saying it had detected 57 Chinese aircraft. – Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on Germany on Tuesday to help maintain “regional order” during a meeting with senior German lawmakers who are visiting the island on a trip that Beijing has condemned. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron will take Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to visit the construction site of the Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday as he looks to boost bilateral relations ahead of Tokyo taking over the G7 presidency. – Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday pitched the need to jointly defend democracy against authoritarianism as she sought to shore up shaky ties with Paraguay, and said they were good friends. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida begins a weeklong trip Monday to strengthen military ties with Europe and Britain and bring into focus the Japan-U.S. alliance at a summit in Washington, as Japan breaks from its postwar restraint to take on more offensive roles with an eye toward China. – Associated Press  

Irina Arabidze writes: As the Georgian authorities prepare to re-launch the Anaklia deep-sea port project, the danger that it could eventually end up in the Russian or Chinese hands remains. The US can reap significant benefits if the port is established and operated with investments friendly to Western interests. Any developments in the construction deal need to be followed with a close eye. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Germany and France on Monday summoned Iran’s envoys to Berlin and Paris in protest against Tehran’s deadly crackdown on demonstrations and the latest executions of anti-government protesters. – Agence France-Presse 

French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region amid shared concerns over China and North Korea. – Bloomberg

Sweden and the US have started negotiations on a defense cooperation agreement as the Nordic nation prepares to become a fully fledged member of NATO along with its neighbor Finland. – Bloomberg

Estonia plans to introduce a legal blueprint for seizing Russian assets this month as the Baltic nation moves ahead with a bid to deliver funds frozen under European Union sanctions to Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The European Union has agreed to use the UK’s live database tracking goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the first sign of progress in a long-running dispute on post-Brexit trading rules. – Bloomberg

The UK is considering sending Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the discussions, underscoring the intensifying efforts of Kyiv’s allies to provide it with heavier offensive weapons. – Bloomberg


China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang is starting his term with a weeklong trip to five African countries, the Foreign Ministry announced Monday. – Associated Press

Sudanese political parties began talks on Monday to try to reach a final deal to form a civilian government and resolve other outstanding issues more than a year after a military coup. – Reuters

South Africa will use its role as the 2023 chair of the BRICS grouping of nations to advance the interest of Africa as a whole, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. – Bloomberg

Latin America

Brazilian authorities detained about 1,500 supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro who had participated in riots that targeted the Congress and other buildings, as the government expanded an investigation into the mob and who might have financed it. – Wall Street Journal

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva laid much of the blame for the rioting that ransacked government buildings on his predecessor: a right-wing populist who has recently been seen thousands of miles away in Florida munching on fried chicken. – Wall Street Journal

At least five days before a horde of right-wing rioters stormed government buildings at the heart of Brazil’s democracy, the call went out via Telegram and WhatsApp. The message, shared in groups of fervent backers of the country’s Trumpian ex-president Jair Bolsonaro, urged truck drivers, farmers, cattle ranchers, gun owners, business leaders and the “Brazilian people” to act. – Washington Post 

At least 17 people died in Peru in the Andean city of Juliaca on Monday during clashes with law enforcement, the Ombudsman’s office said. – Bloomberg

Peru barred Bolivia’s socialist former president, Evo Morales, from entering its territory on Monday, Peru’s government announced in a statement, a decision Morales later derided as an attack meant to distract from rights violations. – Reuters

The president of Venezuela’s opposition national assembly, Dinorah Figuera, said on Monday a new committee meant to manage the country’s assets abroad will pay off debts to law firms in the United States. – Reuters

Venezuela’s attorney general said on Monday that a court in the country has issued arrest warrants for the new leadership of the opposition national assembly – who all live abroad – for crimes including treason. – Reuters

President Biden on Monday spoke with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva following the riot that broke out in Brazil the day before. – The Hill

A slew of U.S. lawmakers have condemned the recent Jan. 6-style riots in Brazil as far-right supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed and vandalized government buildings. – The Hill

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joined other lawmakers in calling for former Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, whose supporters stormed Brazilian governmental offices Sunday, to not be allowed to stay in Florida. – The Hill

President Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly condemned the riots that broke out in Brazil on Sunday. – The Hill

Venezuela issued a “red alert” to Interpol Monday asking it to arrest three members of the new leadership of a parallel, opposition legislature. – Agence France-Presse

Brazilian security forces cleared protest camps Monday and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned “acts of terrorism” after a far-right mob stormed the seat of power in the capital, in chaotic scenes that triggered global shock. – Agence France-Presse  

A Brazilian lawmaker implored the U.S. government to initiate extradition proceedings for former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro from the United States on Monday in the wake of his supporters’ attack on government buildings. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: The riots will discredit the radical right, but some in Lula’s Workers’ Party will want to use the event to indict the entire opposition. The Supreme Court, which tried to control political speech during the election, also bears watching for politicized rulings. Defending against violence is one test of democratic institutions but another is not abusing the law to stifle or punish legitimate debate. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Sunday’s events show that Brazil is deeply divided politically and that a far-right minority is willing to use violence. Mr. Lula had his hands full already with a Congress dominated by opposition parties. […]It is still too soon to tell whether Sunday’s attack marked the opening of a budding insurrection — or the final spasm of a failed one. The United States should support Mr. Lula’s efforts to ensure it is the latter. – Washington Post 

Jack Nicas writes: In a televised speech on Monday night, Mr. Lula said that his government would prosecute anyone who had attacked Brazil’s democracy on Sunday. “What they want is a coup, and they won’t have one,” he said. “They have to learn that democracy is the most complicated thing we do.” He and many of Brazil’s top government officials then walked together from the presidential offices to the Supreme Court, crossing the same plaza that a day before was thronged with mobs calling for the overthrow of his government. – New York Times 

Harold Emert writes: Getting back to January 8: The tumult did not surprise this observer, because a few blocks from where I reside in Copacabana, peaceful Sundays have been disrupted by crowds of pro-Bolsonaro supporters waving the Brazilian flag as if it belonged to them only, and screaming for the military to intervene since his election loss. – New York Sun

Benny Avni writes: With a reluctant Mr. Biden and a non-cooperative Mr. Lopez Obrador in power, a renewed war on drugs will be fought with half measures, if at all. As a result, expect an eruption of unprecedented violence in Mexico and record levels of deaths from narcotics in America. – New York Sun

Carlos Gustavo Poggio Teixeira writes: One crucial difference in contrast to the previous military coup in 1964 is that the army would not have the support of the United States but would instead face strong opposition from the White House. In any case, now Brazil’s democracy faces its most crucial test of the last three decades. – The Hill

Eduardo Porter writes: The United States was directly involved in fueling Brazil’s anti-democratic flame. It has a responsibility to help extinguish the fire before it does more damage to Brazil’s democracy. – Bloomberg

North America

Canada said Monday it would purchase 88 F-35 combat jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., ending a protracted, politically-charged process to refurbish the country’s aging air force. – Wall Street Journal

Canada is imposing sanctions on two Iranian individuals and three entities over human right violations, the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden will talk with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about whether Canada or a third country is prepared to lead a mission to address the humanitarian and security crisis in Haiti. – Bloomberg

Eduardo Porter writes: This week’s meetings, however, will be mostly about treading carefully. Everybody will be satisfied if they are over and nobody sustained political damage. And–good news–AMLO can brag that both Biden and Trudeau will land at his new airport. – Bloomberg

United States

The White House on Monday disclosed that lawyers for President Biden discovered what they called a “small number” of classified documents in November in an office Biden had used between his time serving as vice president and president. – The Hill

Former President Trump responded Monday to the breaking news that the Justice Department is reviewing classified documents from President Biden’s tenure as vice president that were found last fall in a private office Biden had previously used. – The Hill

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow came to President Joe Biden’s defense Monday. She juxtaposed his handling of classified material with that of former President Donald Trump. – Washington Examiner

Republican detractors were quick to put President Joe Biden on blast over revelations that classified documents from his vice president days surfaced at a Biden-aligned think tank late last year. – Washington Examiner

Rudy Giuliani, a close ally of Donald Trump involved in efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election, received a subpoena to testify and provide documents to a federal grand jury in Washington, according to a person familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg


New Jersey and Ohio said on Monday they were joining other states in banning use of the popular video app TikTok on government-owned and managed devices. – Reuters

Chinese social media company TikTok must remember to respect European Union rules, including transparency requirements regarding its algorithms, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said on Monday. – Reuters

Facebook parent Meta (META.O) and Google’s (GOOGL.O) video platform YouTube said on Monday they were removing content supporting or praising the weekend ransacking of Brazilian government buildings by anti-democratic demonstrators. – Reuters

New Jersey is the latest state to ban the use of TikTok, the popular video-based social media platform, on state government devices, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced on Monday. – The Hill

A Seattle school district filed a lawsuit against some of the biggest social media platforms, accusing them of playing a role in damaging the mental health of teenagers across the United States. – Washington Examiner

The Supreme Court allowed Meta to continue pursuing a lawsuit alleging that an Israeli software developer illegally accessed its servers to install spyware. – Washington Examiner

A new in-depth study has concluded that the Russian government’s efforts to deploy troll farms on Twitter to sway the 2016 election did not have any measurable impact on the outcome of that race. – Washington Examiner

A conspiracy theorist urging Americans to burn voting machines, an anti-Muslim activist posting a photo with a gun, a retired general who called for a coup — Elon Musk’s Twitter has reinstated thousands of once-banned accounts. – Agence France-Presse 

Timothy P. Carney writes: But this cope was all bogus. Russian disinformation during the 2016 campaign reached almost no voters and probably changed approximately zero votes, according to a recent study by six scholars hailing from European universities and NYU. […]So there goes the last potential consolation for the journalist or Democrat who cannot accept that voters chose Trump over Hillary. – Washington Examiner


The lawyer for former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan said he was “singled out” for extradition to the United States to face charges of training Chinese military fliers, even though other Australians provided military services to foreign states. – Reuters

The U.S. Air Force’s rollout of its new B-21 Raider stealth bomber in December was just one piece of the puzzle in creating a future two-bomber fleet. The biggest changes are yet to come. – Defense News 

In 2009, the U.S. Navy faced a readiness crisis. The cruiser Chosin and destroyer Stout were both deemed unfit for combat operations by the service’s Board of Inspection and Survey, which at the time checked ships’ material conditions every five years. – Defense News 

The Army’s pre-basic training courses for applicants who come up short on academic or body fat standards will expand this month as service leaders eye that effort as a potentially key tool to combating a crippling recruiting slump. – Military.com

Bryan Clark writes: When US surface force leaders and their industry partners meet this week, they should consider how to make the most of a historic moment. Without the tyranny of the carrier deck or the challenges of undersea communications and endurance, the surface fleet has the greatest potential for rapid adaptation. Improving enemies and tighter budgets may help by making big changes easier to sell. But embracing the opportunity requires investing in the organizations and processes that enable change. Otherwise, the US surface fleet will remain in the 20th Century while its rivals pass it by. – Breaking Defense

Michael C. Howard writes: The Marines would not succeed on this or any similar battlefield today. The assault breaching and bridging needed are gone. The experience and expertise to quickly and effectively employ non-organic bridging and breaching assets are also gone. When the infantry calls out “Engineers Up,” no one will be there to respond. – The National Interest

William R. Hawkins writes: The fleet won’t reach its targeted goal of 355 manned ships until decades later (compared to 300 afloat today). More importantly, the building pace will not keep up with an expanding Chinese fleet. It is not a “just in time” schedule to meet Beijing’s ambitions. What could we do in 1938 that we cannot do in 2023? Are we poorer as a country? Are our international interests less? Is the world security situation better? How we think about these questions will determine what we do in the next few years and whether the U.S. Navy can prevail in a future battle off an island in the Pacific. – The National Interest

Long War

The trial of an Islamic State-affiliated Uzbek immigrant, who is accused of killing eight people with a rented truck, opened on Monday. – Washington Examiner

The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group has denied having contact with the Somali government after the country’s deputy defense minister claimed that the extremists had for the first time asked to negotiate. – Associated Press 

Giulio Meotti writes: It getting to be quite a long list of critics of Islam, journalists, writers and intellectuals across Europe today who are being told to raise their right hand before a judge and swear to tell the truth, nothing but the truth. A disturbing, but very common sight, in which “incitement to hatred” has become a political weapon to be directed against those who disagree with submission. – Arutz Sheva