Fdd's overnight brief

January 17, 2023

In The News


The Iranian prosecutor general’s office has issued new guidance to the police to refrain from arresting women who break the country’s female dress code, but instead impose penalties on them, Iran’s deputy attorney general was quoted as saying by the semiofficial ISNA news agency. – Wall Street Journal

Iran’s ambitions to position itself as a leading power broker in the Middle East have been dealt a fresh blow—this time by its own struggling economy and how it is crimping Tehran’s ability to supply cheap oil to allies such as Syria. – Wall Street Journal

Iran executed Alireza Akbari, a dual British citizen who previously served as a senior defense official in Tehran, in what British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described as “a callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime with no respect for the human rights of their own people.” – Washington Post

Iranian oil exports hit new highs in the last two months of 2022 and are making a strong start to 2023 despite U.S. sanctions, according to companies that track the flows, on higher shipments to China and Venezuela. – Reuters

British foreign minister James Cleverly said on Saturday Britain had imposed sanctions on Iran’s Prosecutor General after the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari. – Reuters

Polish scientist Maciej Walczak has been released from prison in Iran and has returned to Poland, the Polish foreign ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

The French Foreign Ministry summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Paris on Saturday over the execution of a British-Iranian national accused of spying, the ministry said in a statement, expressing its indignation about the case. – Reuters

Iranian chess referee Shohreh Bayat says a gesture of solidarity with female compatriots at a tournament in Iceland has caused a feud with the game’s global body and seen her kicked off a commission. – Reuters

An Iranian American imprisoned in Iran for more than seven years on spying charges that the United States rejects as baseless appealed to U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday to bring him home and said he was starting a seven-day hunger strike. – Reuters

Iran will receive a number of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets by March as part of a military order that includes defense systems, missiles and helicopters, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, citing an interview with a lawmaker. – Bloomberg

While the Department of Defense has outlined China as its “pacing challenge” and Russia as an “acute threat,” the threat from Iran is “increasing” as well, according to one DOD official. – Washington Examiner

The IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force) members responsible for the failed assassination attempt of Israeli businessman Itzik Moshe in Georgia back in November were revealed by Iran International on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Iranian journalist Nasim Soltanbeigi has been arrested at Tehran’s International Airport and transferred to Evin prison without being given details of the charges she faces. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy is sending ships to the Panama Canal, according to an article published in state-run media Friday. The Iranian Navy has yet to operate in two straits in the world, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said Wednesday at a navy ceremony, according to Tehran Times. One of them is the Panama Canal. Irani did not identify the other strait but said the Iran Navy would operate in it this year. – USNI News

Jeb Bush writes: President Biden should also punish all individuals and entities making up the universe of so-called maritime service providers participating in Iran’s sanctions evasion. They have avoided accountability for too long. It is time for the United States to send an unambiguous message that helping fund the Iranian regime is intolerable and will be punished. – Washington Post

Michael Rubin writes: On one thing we agree. Iranians want freedom from the Islamic Republic. They want the revolutionary regime to fall. Where we disagree is that Iranians do not want to replace an authoritarian regime with a totalitarian one. They want democracy, not a cult. – Washington Examiner

Sahar Soleimany writes: What the regime fears most is its own people revealing the truth about the human rights violations taking place inside Iran. And with limited on-the-ground coverage, it is all the more vital that tech companies and policymakers work together to protect the Iranian people’s ability to make their voices heard. As the old adage goes, information is power—and we must use our own power to keep it in the right hands. – Washington Examiner

Benny Avni writes: America can do much more to unite allies to better fight the burgeoning 21st century Cold War. The Iranian-Russian codependency could be utilized in that effort — if Washington indeed is willing to fully engage in that war. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Perhaps Tehran will ask Damascus to “pay” in some other way, like hosting more drones and missiles – which can threaten the Jewish state. It is also entirely plausible that Iran’s overall goals remain hidden and that, if reports are true that it is asking for more money for oil up front, other plans are afoot. – Jerusalem Post

Zina Rakhamilova writes: The Iranian people don’t need you to issue empty statements of support or simple condemnations of the Islamic Republic. They need you to stop their oppressors and murderers from committing these atrocities. – Jerusalem Post

Erfan Fard writes: Now, Khamenei has chosen a notorious figure as police chief. This act means that the regime wants to start massacring, to attack the unarmed protesters in Iran. Will the world remain silent? Why do the regional powers in Middle East hesitate to lend the protesters a hand? – Arutz Sheva 

Sepideh Zamani writes: Now, months after the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, many more Iranians have lost their lives in the fight for gender equality and freedom in Iran. Thousands are arrested and many have died from torture, some have been executed, and many are on death row. Nevertheless, the fight for a return of women’s freedoms has just begun. Iranians are fighting harder than ever to regain their rights. They have learned not to repeat the mistakes of earlier feminists and trade women’s rights for any other promise. May they march on. – Washington Institute

Nicholas Carl and Zachary Coles write: The regime could escalate significantly against protesters in Torbat-e Jam if the demonstrations expand meaningfully. The Artesh Ground Forces 38th Mohammad Rasoul Ollah Armored Brigade is headquartered in the city. The regime is likely particularly sensitive to instability in this location because of this armored division, upon which the regime relies in its efforts to secure the Iran-Afghanistan border. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Russia and its ally Belarus launched a series of air-force exercises Monday along the border with Ukraine in an effort to boost cooperation ahead of what Ukrainian officials and military analysts believe could be a fresh effort by Moscow in the coming months to retake battlefield momentum. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grid are straining the war-torn country’s mobile-telephone network, leading to a global hunt for batteries and other equipment critical for keeping the communications system working. – Wall Street Journal

Two weeks after a missile strike killed dozens of freshly mobilized Russians at a makeshift barracks in eastern Ukraine, many back home in Russia are still seeking an answer to the question: Are their relatives alive or dead? – Wall Street Journal

The Pentagon’s top general on Monday visited two sites in Germany used by the U.S. military to enhance the fighting skills of their Ukrainian counterparts, offering encouragement to those on the training field and directing the American soldiers instructing them to squeeze as much as possible into the newly established program before the Ukrainians return to war. – Washington Post 

Ukraine faces difficult choices about how much deeper its military should get drawn into a protracted fight over the besieged city of Bakhmut, as Kyiv prepares for a new counteroffensive elsewhere on the front that requires conserving weapons, ammunition and experienced fighters. – Washington Post 

Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities in a major attack Saturday, killing at least 12 in a strike on an apartment building in the central city of Dnipro — the latest salvo in a brutal war that has convinced Kyiv’s Western allies to send increasingly advanced military equipment to Ukraine. – Washington Post  

Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed Friday that its forces had seized control of Soledar, a small salt mining city in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, in what would be its first significant territorial gain after a string of retreats in recent months. But Ukrainian officials disputed the assertion. – Washington Post 

A close ally of President Vladimir Putin suggested on Friday confiscating the property of Russians who have left the country and who “insult” the state and its armed forces from abroad. – Reuters

Authorities in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine have accused a Briton who worked as an international conflict monitor of spying for Ukraine, a Russian news agency said on Friday. – Reuters

The Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol in Crimea said on Monday that air defences had downed 10 drones over the city in what he called a “failed Ukrainian attack”. – Reuters

Russia has produced the first set of Poseidon nuclear capable super torpedoes that are being developed for deployment on the Belgorod nuclear submarine, TASS reported on Monday, citing an unidentified defence source. – Reuters

Russia canceled at the last minute on Saturday a scheduled exchange of prisoners of war, the Ukrainian body dealing with prisoners said. – Reuters

An ammunition explosion caused by “careless” handling of a grenade in Russia’s Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine killed three soldiers and injured 16, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Fifteen Ukrainian deminers are being trained by experts in Cambodia who are among the world’s best because of experience from clearing the leftovers of nearly three decades of war. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to visit the United Nations to address a high-level meeting of the 193-member General Assembly on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of his country if the security situation permits, a senior Foreign Ministry official said. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “flailing” decision this week to name a new leader for his invasion of Ukraine reflects a growing sense of desperation for the Kremlin, U.S. experts say. – The Hill

An international nuclear agency will maintain a “continuous presence” at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants in an effort to avoid nuclear accidents as the country’s war with Russia continues, the agency announced Friday. – The Hill

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said it does not have a presence in the contested Ukrainian region known as the Donbas following reports of vehicles with their insignia in the area. – Washington Examiner

Advisers to western banks trying to exit Russia say a law introduced by Vladimir Putin is disrupting sales and allowing deals to be hijacked by businesspeople close to the Kremlin. – Financial Times 

The imminent arrival in Ukraine of Western-made light tanks and armoured vehicles, as well as possibly heavy tanks, means Kyiv will need to quickly train up troops to use and maintain the sometimes complex equipment, analysts say. – Agence France-Presse

North Macedonia’s foreign minister, Bujar Osmani, traveled to Ukraine on January 16 at the start of his one-year term as chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A commander in the notorious Wagner Group, which has been accused of war crimes in Ukraine, is seeking asylum in Norway, and his lawyer said he’s willing to blow the whistle on the actions of the infamous private mercenary army. – Business Insider 

Michael O’Hanlon writes: As for the tanks, I think it’s time we provide them. That’s not because doing so will necessarily help Ukraine win the war decisively. Rather, Kyiv deserves a fair chance to win back as much territory as possible. Until it has that chance, neither Russia nor Ukraine is likely to negotiate with the kind of sober realism needed to end this war on reasonable and sustainable terms. Sending tanks will also show Moscow that American resolve remains firm even with war-skeptical Republicans in charge in the House of Representatives — another factor crucial to productive talks. – Washington Post 

Mitzi Perdue writes: When the members of the Russian Federation invade a country, they prioritize attacking law enforcement, and they do it for good reason. The Ukrainian police, by carrying out their mission “to protect and serve,” are helping thwart the Russians’ efforts to take over their country. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: To be clear, this is the challenge Russia faces today, as it conducts only tentative offensives in close range of its border and rear logistics hubs. The notion that Russia can sustain coordinated offensive operations at scale and at range has been debunked by the events on the ground. Expect Putin to reiterate his nuclear threats as a means of pressuring the West into cutting support for Ukraine. He’s running very short of alternative strategies. – Washington Examiner

Michael Carroll and Daniel F. Runde write: Fortunately, the existing Inspectors General system is equipped to handle the Ukraine challenge, and there is not a need to create a new government entity to handle it. Congress should take some concrete steps now and confirm the nominee for the Inspector General for USAID, and the Biden administration should put forward a strong candidate for the IG role for the State Department. – The Hill

Harlan Ullman writes: If these paradoxes are left to fester and these questions are ignored, the war may remain a quagmire from which Russia and Ukraine cannot or will not be extricated without a forcing function. Under those circumstances is conducting a significant policy review in Washington, Brussels, Kyiv and Moscow even possible before far greater destruction and loss of life compel negotiations? If the answer is no, will that be too late? If yes, what will be different? 2023 could become 1914. That is a risk not worth taking. – The Hill

Albert Torres writes: Seizing Russia’s frozen central bank assets would enforce international laws against crimes of aggression and the systematic violation of human rights. Putin’s despotism has gone unpunished for too long. Moscow’s attack on Ukraine must be where the bloodshed stops. – The Hill

Kateryna Stepanenko, Angela Howard, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Mason Clark write: Putin’s statement was aired live on state-controlled TV and was likely a deliberate effort to undermine Prigozhin’s influence within the Russian information space, given that Putin has previously refrained from commenting on tactical advances in Ukraine. Putin may have also sought to demonstrate he retains control over traditional Russian mass media, while Prigozhin continues to grow an audience on Telegram and other social media networks. The Russian MoD, in turn, also continued to report that Russian Southern Military District (SMD) assault detachments and Russian airborne troops are attacking Ukrainian positions around Bakhmut and likely deliberately excluded mentioning Wagner forces in its January 15 daily briefing. – Institute for the Study of War

Elisabeth Braw writes: As for the oligarchs, whatever sanctions-evaded assets skilled financial investigators find would be a nice addition. But as stomach-churning as it is to see the Russian elite living the good life—and to see their offspring living it up in the United Arab Emirates or the West—while Ukrainians suffer, Western leaders still need to demonstrate that their assets are linked to crime. They must avoid emulating Russian or Chinese leaders, who arbitrarily take what’s not theirs. – Foreign Policy

Michael Rubin writes: It is unfair to Ukrainians who are making tremendous sacrifices not only for their own liberty but for freedom much more broadly for the United States to dither. It is time to train Ukrainians on F-16s that can take out bridges and buildings, provide other aircraft for close air support of infantry in combat, and expedite the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Washington should share Kyiv’s goal: unconditional victory. – 19FortyFive

Edward Lucas writes: This adds a new dimension to the bubbling discussion about Russia’s possible disintegration. Piontkovsky argues that the looming civil war will not be over political (“red” versus “white”) orientations, nor a post-imperial explosion along regional, ethnic or religious fault lines. It will be gangsters fighting over money. Likely or not, the time to start preparing for this, and the danger and disruption it threatens, is now. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov write: Those with technical skills deemed of use for the war effort and the survival of the Russian state at large, are to be lured back with perks and protection. Those in exile who stood against the Kremlin and the war, fall into a special category  — the Kremlin wants them to feel the crosshairs on their backs. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Walter Clemens writes: Departing from Soviet patterns of behavior, in the late 1980s self-organized fitness emerged in the popular fronts of the three Baltic republics and in Ukraine. It has been the source of Ukrainian vitality in the continuing resistance to Russia’s invasions. From all walks of life, Ukrainians have left their former occupations to do whatever they can for the common cause. They have become more resilient, and fitter, under extreme duress. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas released a video on Monday showing what they said was an Israeli citizen being held captive in the Gaza Strip. The unverified images of the man are the first since his capture in 2014. – Reuters

Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in three major cities on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform plans, with organisers accusing him of undermining democratic rule weeks after his reelection. – Reuters

Israel’s Cognyte Software Ltd (CGNT.O) won a tender to sell intercept spyware to a Myanmar state-backed telecommunications firm a month before the Asian nation’s February 2021 military coup, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. – Reuters

Major General Herzi Halevi was appointed Israel’s new military chief of staff Monday, in a ceremony hosted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will prepare the army for war on fronts near and far,” Halevi vowed at the ceremony, at the start of his three-year term. – Agence France-Presse

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to use military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, the head of Israel’s National Security Council said Monday. – Arutz Sheva


A female former legislator in Afghanistan was killed at her home in the capital, Kabul, the police and her family said — a high-profile murder of one of the few women parliamentarians who remained in the country after the Western-backed government collapsed and the Taliban seized power. – New York Times

The United States on Friday pushed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution calling on the Taliban-led authorities in Afghanistan to reverse bans on women working for aid groups or attending universities and high school, diplomats said. – Reuters

The U.N. criticized Afghanistan’s Taliban-controlled central bank for making “misleading and unhelpful” remarks about cash destined for humanitarian work. It comes amid growing tension between the global body and the country’s rulers over bans on female education and employment. – Associated Press 

A Dec. 24 order from the Taliban barring aid groups from employing women is paralyzing deliveries that help keep millions of Afghans alive, and threatening humanitarian services countrywide. As another result of the ban, thousands of women who work for such organizations across the war-battered country are facing the loss of income they desperately need to feed their own families. – Associated Press 

A top House Republican has officially launched a probe into the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting a wide array of information on the matter. – The Hill

Afghan women are finding avenues to pursue their education as the Taliban continues to crack down on women’s rights, recently banning female students from going to university. – The Hill

Beth Bailey writes: The conditions for another heinous attack on the West remain present. Indeed, as another unfortunate result of our failed withdrawal from Afghanistan, former members of the Afghan military are now poised to use the tradecraft they learned from the U.S. to operate against it. Leaders around the world would do well to acknowledge the threats posed to their people as a result of the Taliban’s inability, or lack of desire, to roust terrorists from Afghanistan. – Washington Examiner

Mohammad Mahmodi writes: After the tragic losses of the Kaaj Center attack, protesters took to the streets both inside and outside Afghanistan to demand an end to Afghanistan’s genocide of the Hazaras. Online, millions of people have joined the movement; the hashtag #StopHazaraGenocide has been used on Twitter more than 16 million times. The international community, led by the United States, must heed these calls and take action. The survival of the Hazaras depends on it. – The Hill


Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday his country was glad to see a rapprochement between its ally Syria and Turkey, which has backed the political and armed opposition to Damascus over the last decade. – Reuters

Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad said on Saturday that Turkey would have to end its military presence in his country to achieve a full rapprochement. – Reuters

A new Turkish ground offensive in Syria is “possible any time”, a top aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday, despite a Moscow-brokered rapprochement between Damascus and Ankara. – Agence France-Presse

Angry protesters in Syria’s rebel-held enclave rallied Friday against reconciliation attempts between Turkey and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and scuffled with a local Syrian opposition figure involved in those attempts. – Associated Press 

Syria and key ally Iran agreed Saturday to renew an economic strategic arrangement between the two countries as Damascus prepares to welcome Iran’s president in the near future. – Associated Press


The Turkish government is unlikely to seek parliamentary approval for Ankara to back Sweden and Finland’s entrance to NATO before Turkey’s national election later this year, a top aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday. – Wall Street Journal

The Biden administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve a $20 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, and a separate sale of F-35s to Greece, in a proposal already facing significant scrutiny on Capitol Hill, said congressional aides familiar with the matter. – Washington Post 

Sweden and Finland are unlikely to be able to join NATO before June, a senior Turkish official said Saturday. – Associated Press

Sweden and Finland must deport or extradite up to 130 “terrorists” to Turkey before the Turkish parliament will approve their bids to join NATO, President Tayyip Erdogan said. – Reuters

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Friday Ankara expected firm action from Sweden after an incident in Stockholm in which an effigy of President Tayyip Erdogan was strung up, adding further diplomatic strain to Sweden’s bid to join NATO. – Reuters

Turkey is running out of time to ratify NATO membership bids by Sweden and Finland before it holds elections expected in May, a Turkish presidential spokesman said on Saturday. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone about exchanging men wounded in Ukraine, the creation of a gas hub in Turkey and the export of grain from the Black Sea, the Kremlin said on Monday. – Reuters

Turkey said Saturday it was ready to push for local ceasefires in Ukraine and warned that neither Moscow nor Kyiv had the military means to “win the war”. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Equally, Turkey, which endured a tense standoff with Moscow in 2015 after shooting down a Russian fighter plane in Turkish airspace, would be wise not to further alienate its NATO allies and jeopardize the insurance policy they provide. Mr. Putin is the only winner in the showdown over allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO. The sooner Turkey and its partners come to terms, the better for the alliance. – Washington Post 

John Bolton writes: Seriously considering Turkey’s expulsion or the suspension of its membership is obviously a grave business. But things will only get worse if the alliance fails to confront Mr. Erdoğan’s poisonous behavior. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Rubin writes: As Turkish drones undermine security in Africa’s Great Lakes region to the Caucasus and from Indian Kashmir to Libya, the U.S. Congress should debate not only the flaws of President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s desire to provide upgraded F-16s to Türkiye, but also consider sanctions against Baykar and other Turkish firms complicit in Erdogan’s strategy of using drones to create chaos and then profit off it. – 19FortyFive


Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani defended the presence of U.S. troops in his country and set no timetable for their withdrawal, signaling a less confrontational posture toward Washington early in his term than his Iran-backed political allies have taken. – Wall Street Journal

Germany’s lower house of parliament is expected to recognize the 2014 massacre of Yazidis by Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Iraq as a “genocide,” lawmakers said Friday. – Agence France-Presse 

Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE) plans to boost its cooperation with Iraq in the coming years, the company said on Friday, as its CEO inked a deal with the Iraqi government to develop the country’s power network. – Reuters 

Michael Monsoor deployed to Al Anbar Province in the spring of 2006. He was serving as a Navy SEAL during the Battle of Ramadi, training the Iraqi Army and fighting alongside American soldiers and Marines for control of the city. – Real Clear Defense


Relatives of those killed in the 2020 Beirut port blast say they have become targets of the judiciary instead of senior officials who have still not been held to account for the huge explosion that devastated Lebanon’s capital and killed 220 people. – Reuters

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has extended the mandate of the international tribunal that investigated the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri until the end of the year to complete non-judicial functions so it can cease operation. – Associated Press 

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah on Friday met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who is visiting Beirut. – Arutz Sheva 

The Lebanese army claims to have fired at an Israeli drone that was flying in the area of ​​the village of Khula in southern Lebanon. The official announcement claims that the UAV violated Lebanon’s airspace and flew over Lebanese forces. – Arutz Sheva 

European investigators from Germany, France and Luxembourg have arrived in Beirut to probe Lebanon’s powerful central bank governor and dozens of other people in connection with allegations of state corruption. – Financial Times


The United Nations envoy for Yemen said on Monday he was encouraged by intensified efforts for an expanded truce deal but stressed they should seek an inclusive process for a sustainable political settlement. – Reuters

Amid Yemen’s longest-ever pause in fighting — more than nine months — Saudi Arabia and its rival, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, have revived back-channel talks, hoping to strengthen the informal cease-fire and lay out a path for a negotiated end to the long civil war, according to Yemeni, Saudi and U.N. officials. – Associated Press 

Laila Lutf Al-Thawr writes: Peace will not come about through begging. It will not come about through partial or patchwork solutions. Peace will come about through liberation from the contracts and bonds of slavery that have been imposed upon the people and by improving the economy and daily life for men and women in all parts of the nation. – Washington Institute

Saudi Arabia

Talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia are continuing and could eventually restore diplomatic relations that were severed years ago, Iran’s foreign minister said Friday. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia can help be a conduit between the U.S. and China at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said Monday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. – CNBC 

Former president Donald Trump could face a new legal headache if the Department of Justice decides to investigate his business deals with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). – Newsweek 

John Hannah writes: U.S. President Joe Biden is fond of reminding his critics that they shouldn’t compare him to the Almighty but rather to the alternative. It’s good advice that he should insist on applying to Saudi Arabia as well. There, we already know where the alternative ultimately ends: in the smoking ruins of 9/11. With some luck and sustained U.S. engagement, what’s emerging in Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia today holds out hope for something that could be infinitely better. But don’t take my word for it. Go to Riyadh, and see for yourself. – Foreign Policy

Gulf States

The United States and United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday that the first $20 billion of their $100 billion clean energy partnership would be allocated to fund 15 new gigawatts of renewable energy projects before 2035, state news agency WAM said. – Reuters

The world will need natural gas for a long time and more investment is required to ensure supply security and affordable prices during the global energy transition, the energy ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said on Saturday. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance strategic and technical cooperation in the energy sector. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates wants the COP28 climate conference it is hosting this year to be practical and show solidarity between the global north and south that “leaves no one behind”, the country’s oil chief and designated COP28 president said. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates’ renewable energy company Masdar signed on Friday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with four Dutch companies to explore exporting green hydrogen from Abu Dhabi to Europe, Masdar said in a statement. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol received an honor guard welcome Sunday on a trip to the United Arab Emirates as he hopes to expand his country’s military sales here. – Associated Press

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry backs the United Arab Emirates’ decision to appoint the CEO of a state-run oil company to preside over the upcoming U.N. climate negotiations in Dubai, citing his work on renewable energy projects. – Associated Press

Middle East & North Africa

Thousands of protesters marched against Tunisian President Kais Saied’s seizure of near total power in central Tunis on Saturday, demanding he step down as they marked the anniversary of a key date in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy. – Reuters

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to visit Cairo on Monday at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi over the situation in the West Bank, particularly the recent sanctions imposed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian authority. – Haaretz 

The Saudi-based Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine plan (Saudi Plan) – initially published in Al Arabiya News on 8 June 2022 – has been revised in a later document containing amendments that appear to have been made at the request of and agreed to by Jordan, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas – the three parties most affected if the Saudi Plan is successfully implemented. – Arutz Sheva

Korean Peninsula

For years, most of the fiery rhetoric has been coming from North Korea. Now it’s coming from Seoul. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has grown more confrontational with Pyongyang in recent weeks. On Wednesday, he raised the prospect of the country developing its own nuclear weapons, the first time a South Korean leader has done so in decades. Last week, he threatened to suspend an agreement aimed at preventing clashes between North and South Korea. – Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s president, on a sales mission to the critical United Arab Emirates, is building on his country’s success as a major exporter of arms. – New York Sun

Last November, North Korea conducted a successful test of its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — the Hwasong-17 or what some experts have named the “monster missile.” While the test made clear how far Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program has advanced in recent years, the spectacle was quickly upstaged by a pair of unlikely attendees at the launch: Ri Sol-ju, the 33 year-old wife of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, and their 9-year-old daughter Kim Ju-ae. – New York Post 

Incidents like the one in late December present a national security threat to the South, as the drones flew long enough to potentially collect intelligence and take images. More alarming, however, is the fact that “South Korea has suffered similar drone incursions repeatedly — in 2014 and 2017, for example — and each time the military says it will improve its counter-drone systems,” according to David Hambling, a writer of drone warfare and technology topics. – Defense News

Christian Davies writes: A British businessman who runs a small company in Seoul says that his Korean wife and employees — long inured to the threat of war — would never agree to come with him anyway. “Imagine if I got myself out, there was no war, and I came back with my tail between my legs,” he says. “I couldn’t look them in the eye ever again.” – Financial Times


China signaled its intention to maintain a tough line on Hong Kong by promoting a law enforcer sanctioned by the U.S. for spearheading a national-security crackdown to its top representative post in the city. – Wall Street Journal

After China’s abrupt reversal of “zero Covid” restrictions, the nation’s vast machinery of virus surveillance and testing collapsed, even as infections and deaths surged. Now, the authorities face another problem: Angry pandemic-control workers demanding wages and jobs. – New York Times

China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said China is willing to listen to the opinions of foreign companies including U.S. firms, a ministry statement said on Friday. – Reuters

The World Health Organization’s head has spoken with Chinese authorities and the agency welcomed new information about the situation in the country, WHO said on Saturday after Beijing released new data showing a big jump in COVID-19-related deaths. – ReutersChina’s chief diplomat was in Cairo Sunday for talks with Egyptian and Arab League officials, marking his last stop in a multi-leg trip to Africa that aims to consolidate Beijing’s footprint across the resource-rich continent. – Associated Press

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with China’s finance minister, Vice Premier Liu He, later this week in Switzerland to discuss the U.S. and Chinese economies as tensions between the two world powers grow. – The Hill

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet in Beijing with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, on Feb. 5-6, Washington-based diplomats familiar with Blinken’s travel plans told POLITICO. – Politico

Editorial: The international community should keep the pressure on Chinese officials to come clean about the real scale of the current crisis and allow independent outsiders access to make their own assessments. What China and the world need in a pandemic is truth and transparency all the time, not just when it is no longer possible to lie. The release of the new figures on Saturday was a start, but only just a start. – Washington Post 

Zachary Faria writes: Pressley’s racist worldview assumes the worst of her fellow Americans, but on this topic, it also serves the interest of the Chinese Communist Party. Were we to follow her lead, the U.S. would back down from every threat and adhere to every demand that the CCP makes. Chinese President Xi Jinping couldn’t ask for anything more. – Washington Examiner

Sam Olsen writes: China’s growing influence around the world creates significant risks to America’s national security supply chain. These risks are not limited to direct dealings with China, but indirect exposure too, through both third-party countries heavily influenced by Beijing and the international logistics industry. It is time that Washington and its Western allies include these risks in their national security strategies, before relations with Beijing cool even more. – The Hill

John D.W. Corley and Jon T. Thomas write: Conversely, a failure to conduct a tanker competition signals quite clearly to China — and to our allies and partners — that we remain unserious about the threat. Instead, we will stand idly by, leaving viable alternatives unexamined as our tanker fleet ages and our ability to project air power at range atrophies. Time is not on our side in the Indo-Pacific. China knows this. It is urgent and imperative that we conduct a full competition for a bridge tanker. – The Hill

South Asia

The United States has taken steps to resolve serious challenges to issuing business visas to Indians following the COVID-19 pandemic, Arun Venkataraman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, said at a conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. – Reuters

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are close to a “major agreement” on a renewable energy interconnection between the two countries, India’s Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy said on Sunday. – Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has offered his Indian counterpart talks over all outstanding issues, including disputed Kashmir, which he believes could be facilitated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). – Reuters

Sri Lanka’s debt negotiations with China and India “are successful,” according to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, bringing the bankrupt nation closer to clearing a major hurdle to unlock $2.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund. – Bloomberg

Militants shot and killed three police officers on the outskirts of the Pakistani city of Peshawar, authorities said, the latest violence in the restive northwestern region bordering Afghanistan. – Associated Press 

Walter Russell Mead writes: While Indians work on making their country more attractive for foreign investment, American policy makers need to remember that Indian economic growth is critical to American goals in the Indo-Pacific. As American trade policy adjusts to the new era of great-power competition, we need to ensure that made-in-India products have access to American markets. – Wall Street Journal


Barely two years later, the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is heating up again, and Russia, distracted and weakened by the war in Ukraine, has not stepped in. Defying the Russian presence, Azerbaijanis are testing whether Moscow is still able and determined to impose its will on other, smaller neighbors amid its struggles in Ukraine. – New York Times

President Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House on Friday as the U.S. and Japan increase security cooperation to counter China’s military buildup. – Wall Street Journal

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and a senior security official in President Vladimir Putin’s administration, said Saturday that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida should perform a ritualistic suicide by disembowelment to repent for what Medvedev called servitude to the United States. – Washington Post 

The Biden administration is nearing deals with two Pacific Island nations to extend ties that are considered critical to maintaining balance in the U.S.-China rivalry for influence in a region where the Chinese are rapidly expanding their economic, diplomatic and military clout. – Associated Press 

Taiwan is ready to help Ukraine upgrade its digital infrastructure in fields such as remote learning as part of rebuilding efforts after the war, the island’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang told Reuters. – Reuters

Indonesia has deployed a warship to its North Natuna Sea to monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel that has been active in a resource-rich maritime area, the country’s naval chief said on Saturday of an area that both countries claim as their own. – Reuters

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held wide-ranging talks at the White House on Friday as Japan looks to build security cooperation with allies in a time of provocative Chinese and North Korean military action. – Associated Press 

Kenneth Weinstein writes: The Ukraine crisis and the rise of China has led to a growing awareness in Washington and Tokyo of their unmatched importance to each other. Now comes the alliance’s next test: enhancing trust on shared principles and interests, and deepening coordination at all levels. Messrs. Biden and Kishida have an opportunity to take a big step. They look like they’re ready. – New York Sun

Donald Kirk writes: Mr. Blinken injected the thrill of collaborating with Japan in space. […]How about going for Mars? Mr. Blinken predicted  “incredible discoveries, as we prepare to send a probe to Mars’s moons, explore the South pole of our Moon, and more.” The possibilities seem endless, as do the costs, which are carefully left unmentioned. – New York Sun

Donald Kirk writes: Yet what do such agreements really mean? The answer relies in part on the threat levels from China, which has been staging air and naval exercises close to Taiwan, and North Korea, which has test-fired missiles over Japan that may be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. – New York Sun

Michael Rubin writes: In Egypt, Sadat chose peace only after he realized he could not gain his objectives through war. It is time, through diplomacy or the provision of military assistance to Armenia, to send the same message to Aliyev. Regardless, whether with Armenia or, for that matter, Azerbaijan, the goal should not be to castigate but rather to coax and cajole away from Moscow and toward a more democratic, responsible Western-leaning future. – 19FortyFive

Michael Rubin writes: Now that the National Defense Authorization Act has required the Pentagon and State Department to develop and report upon their relations with Somaliland, perhaps it would behoove the State Partnership Program to provisionally tie Oklahoma and Somaliland together for training. That Somaliland recently discovered oil makes the pairing even more relevant. Should Stitt go to Hargeisa as he did Baku, he might even talk about family, liberty, and freedom and have it be meaningful rather than diplomatic sycophancy. Under no circumstance, however, should Oklahoma partner with a war criminal. – 19FortyFive

Charles Dunst writes: That, however, is a best-case scenario. It is the one that assumes Hun Manet can overcome the historic troubles of patrimonial successions, and that the United States will be able to at least somewhat overlook the nondemocratic nature of his ascension in the name of rebuilding what has long been a poor relationship with Phnom Penh. Neither development seems particularly likely to happen. But U.S. and aligned policymakers should still do what they can to bring such a situation into reality. It is surely better to lay the groundwork for the best in Cambodia than to simply expect and accept the worst. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Danny Teh Zi Yee and Yuxin Hou write: The issues for Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship to address will not be easy and undoubtedly require support from all other member states. Earlier at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits, Widodo called for the bloc’s members to be consistent with the spirit of cooperation and implement the ASEAN Charter completely. As Jakarta tries to maintain the current positive trend to make ASEAN the “epicentrum” of growth and maintain regional stability, it must prepare to weather storms both from outside and within. – The National Interest

Giorgi Lasha Kasradze writes: Ironically, the United States and Georgia are tied together. Even though Georgia does not represent a “vital” security interest for the United States, Washington has made enormous political, financial, and military investments to strengthen Georgia’s legitimacy and sovereignty. If Washington wants to strengthen this tie with Georgia, American policymakers must show strategic flexibility by reducing pressure on the leadership in Tbilisi. No great decisions can be made while Georgian policymakers are constantly squeezed between a rock and a hard place. – The National Interest

Charles K. S. Wu, Fang-Yu Chen, Fang-Yu Chen, and Austin Horng-En Wang write: In sum, both Taipei and Washington should feel confident that the Taiwanese people would stand up for themselves should China invade. The Tsai administration’s recently announced conscription extension—and the public’s support for it—signals that the country is moving in the right direction regarding self-defense. However, other existing concerns persist. Low trust in the Taiwanese military and doubts about U.S. military assistance need to be dealt with urgently, as they might chip away at the hard-earned efforts by the Taiwanese government to strengthen the country’s security against a Chinese invasion. – The National Interest

Jay Ruderman writes: As Indonesia moves into this position of international leadership, there are many aspects of that status that the country must keep in mind. Its harmonizing nature as well as ideals of peace and stability continue to be praised, and its education system will impart these values to the next generation. Its focus on sustainable growth deserves to be emulated, and the preservation of democracy is admirable. With this role, however, also comes the responsibility of applying these values beyond its own borders. By playing a role in important international events, such as hosting the G20 and mediating the Russia-Ukraine War, Indonesia is slowly and surely proving that it is ready for this new challenge. – The National Interest

Richard Protzmann writes: his is where the force must innovate the most and adapt training and preparations. Taiwan is the flashpoint; failing to prepare for its defense and for broader conflict in the region will be catastrophic. There will likely be no second opportunities in this kinetic conflict. Unlike Chromite and Chosin, there is no breakout in the WEZ. – The National Interest


Germany’s embattled defense minister resigned Monday following criticism of her handling of military support to Ukraine, communication mishaps and slow progress in implementing plans to rearm Germany following Russian aggression. – Wall Street Journal

British and European officials are increasingly hopeful they can heal some of the divisions over the U.K.’s split from the trading bloc, including a long-running dispute over Northern Ireland, as the war in Ukraine pushes both sides closer and opinion polls suggest British support for Brexit is waning. – Wall Street Journal

The United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin will meet German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht in Berlin on January 19, a spokesperson for Germany’s defence ministry told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

Poland and Lithuania want to lower the price cap on Russian oil, and target Russia’s nuclear sector under new European Union sanctions against Moscow and Minsk for the war in Ukraine, senior diplomats from the two EU countries said on Friday. – Reuters

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly will seek to bolster support for Ukraine on a trip to the United States and Canada which begins on Tuesday, ahead of the first anniversary of the invasion by Russia. – Reuters

The European Union needs to keep increasing pressure on Russia and supporting Ukraine, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. – Reuters

Poland’s prime minister said Monday that he wants the German government to supply a wide range of weapons to Kyiv and voiced hope that Germany would soon approve a transfer of battle tanks to strengthen Ukraine’s defense against Russian forces in the war. – Associated Press 

Up to 12,000 people marched Monday to the EU Parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg in support of Iran’s anti-government protesters while the Eiffel Tower lit the night with the slogan “Woman. Life. Freedom,” which embodies the protest movement spilling beyond Iran. – Associated Press 

NATO said Friday it plans to deploy three surveillance planes to Romania next week to perform reconnaissance missions and to “monitor Russian military activity ” within the 30-nation military alliance’s territory. – Associated Press

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko would face “massive disobedience” if he decided to send troops to fight in Ukraine alongside Russian forces, according to the exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. – Financial Times 

Serbian Defense Minister Milos Vucevic has told RFE/RL that Serbia’s military and civilian security agencies are monitoring and analyzing information related to published videos and photos on social media of alleged Serbian fighters who have joined Russian units in Ukraine. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

At least six mosques in Britain sympathetic to Iran’s regime mourned the death of the EU and US-sanctioned terrorist Qasem Soleimani, Tehran’s most powerful military commander, when he was assassinated in a targeted killing by a US drone in 2020. – Jerusalem Post

Benny Avni writes: When it comes to the Ukrainian war, Washington is “doing better than the nations around the globe, but we’re not doing enough,” Ms. Strander says. “In order not to be in an endless war, we need to supply all the weapons the Ukrainians need.” Pressuring the German leopard to change its spots could go a long way in that direction. – New York Sun

Martin Sandbu writes: Accordingly, Billström countenances no other solution than “Ukraine winning the war on the battlefield” — and that means all of Ukraine. “Re-establishing Ukraine’s territorial integrity is what this war is ultimately about.” […]He vows more support for Ukraine and hopes for a tenth Russian sanctions package on Stockholm’s watch. The Congress of Vienna, of course, marked the twilight of Sweden as a great European power. The country’s contributions to the standing of fellow small states in a world of rules are a prouder legacy – Financial Times 

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Danish Brigadier General Michael H. Clemmesen put it well in a recent article, in which he offered a Danish perspective on the accession of its two neighbors: “Without a U.S. intent to support the defense of the Baltic States with strong air power deployed to Northern Europe, the game is still open in spite of Russian limitations.” Washington, and the Marines, should take note — and act accordingly. – The Hill

Ladislav Charouz writes: Of course, security is but one issue among many in Babiš’s campaign. While the politician was recently cleared of charges in a long-awaited trial regarding one instance of alleged misappropriation of EU funds, other problems remain. Babiš has allegedly continued to exert significant influence over his large media empire. Furthermore, he faces an investigation in France for alleged money laundering uncovered by the Pandora Papers. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Aura Sabadus writes: Is it not ironic that a country that sits on some of the largest gas reserves in Europe should import the fuel from neighboring countries such as Bulgaria or Hungary, which have very few reserves? Romania’s regional role is being obscured, but as demonstrated by the arrival of NATO units and its role in moving arms to Ukraine, it now matters to Europe more than ever. It’s time for a more visionary elite to help make its voice heard. – Center for European Policy Analysis


U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa during the next two weeks, as the United States aims to strengthen ties with a continent that has been the focus of Chinese trade and investment for years. – Reuters

International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva will visit Rwanda later this month after traveling to Zambia, three sources familiar with the plans said on Friday. – Reuters

Zimbabwean police on Saturday fired teargas at an opposition party gathering in Harare and arrested 25 of its members, including two members of parliament, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said. – Reuters

Ethiopia’s army said forces from the Amhara region, who fought in support of the federal government during the two-year war in neighbouring Tigray, have withdrawn from a major Tigray city in line with an African Union-backed ceasefire. – Reuters

Chad’s official bilateral creditors will make up any shortfall in commitments from its private lenders to a plan to cut the country’s debt servicing costs if those costs become unmanageable, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said. – Reuters

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Sunday confirmed that Ghana has sought debt treatment under the Common Framework platform supported by the Group of 20 major economies. – Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo has awarded licences to three natural gas blocks in Lake Kivu on its eastern border, with some production expected to start as early as next year, the hydrocarbons ministry said on Monday. – Reuters

Ethiopia’s military says members of the Amhara region special forces have started leaving the country’s Tigray region two months after a peace agreement in the Tigray conflict. – Associated Press 

It’s been more than a year since hundreds of fighters from the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian military contractor, began working alongside Mali’s armed forces to try to stem a decade-long insurgency by Islamic extremists in the West African country, Western officials say. – Associated Press 

Michael Rubin writes: The two leaders and their supporters may dismiss all criticism with the mantra of African solutions but this is disingenuous. Africans have agency. To identify problems and treat Africa according to the same standards of the rest of the world is not racist, but mindlessly blaming outsiders is racist. That Africa’s success leaves Isaias and Abiy behind does not make either victims, it just shows them to be poor leaders. – 19FortyFive

Latin America

Brazil’s Supreme Court authorized Friday an investigation into former President Jair Bolsonaro over accusations he incited last weekend’s riots by asserting the election that removed him from office was rigged. – Wall Street Journal

Peru’s government extended a state of emergency in the country’s capital and three other regions Sunday as President Dina Boluarte refused calls to resign amid anti-government protests that have killed at least 47 people, about one-third of whom have died in the last week. – Washington Post 

Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Monday he would not accept any “order for the arrest” of his defense minister after a Guatemalan prosecutor accused the official of illegal acts. – Reuters

Teachers, retirees and workers’ unions marched in at least six Venezuelan cities on Monday to demand better salaries, as the government of President Nicolas Maduro faces renewed challenges in its attempt to fight inflation. – Reuters

Colombia’s national police said on Monday they confiscated an arsenal of weapons, including guns, grenades and a machine gun belonging to dissidents from the now-disbanded FARC rebel group. – Reuters

John Suarez writes: Reading this presidential directive from 2016, it’s clear that the Biden administration is using it as a blueprint for its unfolding Cuba policy, which ignores the nature of the regime in Havana and threatens not only American lives and property, but also the fate of democracy in the Americas. – The Daily Signal

Mat Youkee writes: Given the current warm relations between Petro and Maduro, it seems plausible that future disputes could be settled cordially. However, should a right-wing candidate take over the Colombian presidency in 2026, the problem of Maduro’s hand on the gas spigot could become more acute. – Foreign Policy

North America

Canada on Friday sanctioned a former Haitian lawmaker and an associate of a Haitian ex-president for reputedly protecting armed gangs and enabling illegal activities including drug trafficking, Ottawa’s foreign minister said. – Reuters

An ageing pipeline crossing part of the Great Lakes has led to a standoff between the US state of Michigan and Canada. The outcome of the battle over Line 5, which delivers energy to the US Midwest and central Canada, will be viewed by many as a bellwether of how North America will balance its energy future with its environmental commitments. – BBC

Denise Dresser writes: Mexico holds the key to a more integrated, vibrant and economically competitive region. But if it is allowed to continue on its current trajectory undeterred—slouching toward autocracy and lawlessness—the great hopes for North America will remain mere rhetoric. – Wall Street Journal

United States

The White House is under mounting pressure to explain why the discovery of classified Biden documents was not immediately revealed to the public, with critics openly questioning if there was an intentional effort to keep the first find quiet in the lead up to the midterm elections. – The Hill

Two presidents. Two tranches of classified documents. Two special counsel investigations. But the similarities in the cases between President Biden and President Trump appear to take a sharp divide when it comes to important elements of the law prohibiting the mishandling of state secrets. – The Hill

A Jan. 6 Capitol rioter who stormed the Senate floor was acquitted of obstruction charges Friday, reportedly marking a first such acquittal in the sprawling Justice Department prosecutions of the riot. – Washington Examiner

Additional pages with classified markings were unearthed from President Joe Biden’s Delaware residence this week, the White House announced Saturday. – Washington Examiner

A bevy of House Democrats is renewing calls for the formation of a memorial of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Over a dozen Democrats have backed calls for the establishment of a memorial in the Capitol building under the Capitol Remembrance Act to remember the “defining moment” for America’s democracy and to honor the heroes of the riot. Congress marked the riot’s second anniversary earlier this month. – Washington Examiner

Top secret intelligence was reportedly recovered in the first stash of President Joe Biden’s classified documents that were unearthed at a think tank last fall. – Washington Examiner

Steven Rattner writes: And as we did in the auto rescue, subsidies should be, to the maximum extent feasible, as close to commercial terms as possible, potentially including equity participation in the recipient. I agree that in today’s more globally competitive and insecure world, a more robust industrial policy is called for. I just hope that logic and prudence will prevail in the ongoing debate. – New York Times


Two years into negotiations with U.S. regulators about whether TikTok will be able to remain in the country, the popular video-sharing app is trying a new tack: increased transparency. – Wall Street Journal

Elon Musk’s overhaul of Twitter has been accompanied by an increase in digital harassment of religious and ethnic minorities in some of its largest markets outside the United States — and it’s beginning to wreak havoc in the physical world as well, according to current and former employees and experts studying the issue. – Washington Post

The Justice Department’s top antitrust official recently won approval from the department to oversee investigations involving Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), a person briefed on the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Friday that India’s new antitrust order to change how the company markets its Android platform will drive up costs for app developers, equipment makers, and consequently, consumers. – Reuters

Kentucky is joining more than 20 U.S. states in banning the popular video app TikTok on government devices citing cybersecurity concerns. – Reuters

Online conspiracy theories and false claims about Brazil’s election results fueled riots in the nation’s capital last weekend as extremists followed the digital playbook used in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. – The Hill

Twitter engineers appear to have cut access to the website’s internal code used by third-party apps, leading some to speculate that the company may be attempting to undercut competitors or force users to use only Twitter-approved interfaces. – Washington Examiner

Defense officials are eyeing a new generation of encryption technology to shore up protection against the spillage of sensitive material from cyber intrusions. – Washington Examiner

Twitter was slapped with a lawsuit Friday over an alleged data leak that exposed information from over 200 million users’ account data. – Washington Examiner

A group of Chinese researchers has claimed to be able to break a widely used encryption scheme with a quantum computer that already exists, creating a possible boon for surveillance and a crisis for data protection. – Washington Examiner

Billionaire and current Twitter CEO Elon Musk laid out a time frame for making Twitter’s recommendation code open source and publicly labeling shadowbanning Friday. – Washington Examiner

Ukraine’s top cybersecurity leader is calling for the establishment of a single global organization to help share threat information and prepare for future attacks as Russia pounds Ukraine’s infrastructure and seeks to inflict maximum chaos on the ground. – Politico

The website for ODIN Intelligence, a company that provides technology and tools for law enforcement and police departments, was defaced on Sunday. – TechCrunch

Fortinet published an advisory this week warning that a critical vulnerability is being exploited by an “advanced actor” to target government networks. Fortinet published an advisory about the bug – CVE-2022-42475 – and it quickly garnered widespread attention due to its 9.8 CVSS score, ease of use and the large number of FortiOS versions affected. – The Record

Clare Morell writes: This is a moment we want to flourish. Congress should continue trying to work across the aisle. Legislators must remember the focus is on fixing Big Tech’s problems and not retreat to their political sides. The bottom line is privacy and children’s safety reforms need to happen. These reforms will happen in spite of partisan rhetoric, not because of it. – Washington Examiner

Zachary Faria writes: Perhaps it is fortunate that the college football season is now over, as that will give ESPN more time to find sponsors that aren’t targeting journalists or cheerleading a genocidal regime. We’ll see you again at the halftime of tonight’s NBA game, sponsored by soda, a sportswear store, and the Taliban. – Washington Examiner


Veterans in suicidal crisis will soon be able to go to any Department of Veterans Affairs facility or private facility for free emergency care under a new Biden administration policy aimed at preventing veteran suicide. – Washington Examiner

Raytheon Technologies hopes to follow the successful at-sea testing of one version of its SPY-6 radar last month with wins on other variants later this year. – Defense News

Jamie McIntyre writes: That leaves House Republicans the “nuclear option” of gridlock as leverage to pass any bill that does not enjoy some measure of bipartisan support. The problem with legislative nuclear options is that, as with nuclear weapons, they tend to result in a lot of collateral damage. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: Yes, the U.S. needs significant boosts to its military-industrial capacity. It needs a lot more munitions plants, shipbuilding facilities, technicians and engineers. But it also needs to prioritize better where investments go and how defense contractors are compensated. Where deliveries are on time and of quality, defense contractors should be rewarded with lucrative long-term contracts. But where products are delivered late or are inadequate in quality, Congress must be prepared to impose punitive financial penalties. If that causes short term disruption and harm, so be it. The stakes are too high now to tolerate the status quo. – Washington Examiner

Joshua C. Huminski writes: Failing to do so risks near-term strategic vulnerability in other domains, not the least of which is in the Indo-Pacific. Making the right investments today, or failing to do so, sends signals to Beijing—it is critical that the right signals are sent. – Breaking Defense

Alex Hollings writes: Finally, a new missile that could represent the forthcoming (and quite secretive) AIM-260 long-range radar-guided air-to-air missile is also shown, demonstrating the Raptor’s ever-growing suite of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapon systems. – Sandboxx News

Long War

Armed assailants kidnapped about 50 women in northern Burkina Faso last week, the government said on Monday, the latest security incident in the landlocked West African country, which has been battling a jihadist insurgency since 2015. – New York Times

Somalia’s government-led forces have captured an al Shabaab stronghold on the Indian Ocean coast, the defence minister said on Monday, in one of their most significant victories since launching an offensive against the Islamist group last year. – Reuters

At least five people were killed and 15 wounded in a suspected Islamist militant bomb attack during a Sunday service at a Protestant church in the eastern Congolese city of Kasindi, on the border with Uganda, the military said. – Reuters

One person was killed and at least six others injured in a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint manned by Somali government troops in the central region of Hiran on Saturday, witnesses said, part of a twin suicide car attack. The al Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which went off almost simultaneously according to the witnesses, adding they targeted military bases in Jalalaqsi and Bulobarde towns in Hiran. – Reuters

Al-Qaida and Islamic State extremist groups are driving insecurity in central Mali and continue to clash near populated areas in the northern Gao and Menaka regions, the U.N. chief said in a new report circulated Monday. – Associated Press