Fdd's overnight brief

January 18, 2023

In The News


As a young prosecutor in Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi sat on a “death committee” overseeing the execution of hundreds of political prisoners in the Iranian capital, rights groups say. – Reuters

Iran has detained a German national for taking photos of “sensitive oil centres” in its southern province of Khuzestan, Iranian daily Jam-e Jam reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

Photos of an Iranian man put to death in 2007 for killing a judge are circulating in social media posts falsely linking his execution to anti-government protests that have rocked Iran since September 2022. – Agence France-Presse

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said the kingdom was trying to find a path to dialogue with Iran as the best way to resolve differences. – Reuters

Four months after the funeral of Mahsa “Jina” Amini, the Iranian government continues its bloody battle with mass protests ignited in the wake of her death. The 22-year-old woman fell into a coma and died in September 2022 after she was apprehended by members of Iran’s notorious Gasht-e Ershad—more colloquially know as the “morality police”—for not wearing her headscarf in accordance with the country’s strict Islamic code. Protests were swift and protesters incensed. – Newsweek

Iran says it launched a new drill in the Persian Gulf using cruise missiles, drones and other weapons. This is the latest military drill for Iran, which has continued to conduct these kinds of exercises designed to show off an array of powers. This drill included the IRGC’s naval units, which exist alongside Tehran’s conventional navy. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It also shows that Iran has a message to the region. It wants its adversaries to know that any conflict with Iran would be a tough one and that Tehran would quickly move to destabilize the Gulf and launch raids and attacks. – Jerusalem Post

Zubir R. Ahmed and Nawzad Shukri write: Furthermore, Iran has now woven the United States into the narrative, accusing them of violating their sovereignty and endangering regional stability and thus conveniently pitting Iran against the U.S. presence in the KRI and Iraq. As a result, it seems as though the Kurdistan Region will once again become an arena of Iran’s conflict with the United States. – Washington Institute

Sajjad Safaei writes: Finally, at a moment when the Islamic Republic is facing an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy and effective management, it should not come as a surprise that there are growing indications that military leaders are assuming influence over foreign-policy decision-making. If anything, Iranians and those around the world following their plight would do well to prepare themselves not for a revolution but for the country’s further militarization. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine’s interior minister and other senior officials were among at least 18 people killed when a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten on the edge of Kyiv on Wednesday morning, Ukrainian officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Russia detailed its plans to boost the size of its military as Ukraine warned that Moscow may be preparing an offensive and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western allies to accelerate the provision of arms to the country. – Wall Street Journal 

The Pentagon’s top general met on Tuesday for the first time in person with his Ukrainian counterpart, traveling by vehicle from a base here in Poland to an undisclosed location near the countries’ border in what appeared to be a symbolic show of support as Washington intensifies its military assistance to Ukraine. – Washington Post 

Fatalities from a weekend strike on a Dnipro apartment have risen to at least 45 Ukrainians — including an 11-month-old boy — and the number of injured people is now 79, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday in his nightly address. – Washington Post 

The Pentagon is tapping into a vast but little-known stockpile of American ammunition in Israel to help meet Ukraine’s dire need for artillery shells in the war with Russia, American and Israeli officials say. – New York Times

President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the British announcement of a new military aid package and urged other allies to move faster to match that support as Ukraine warns that Russia could be preparing a renewed push to capture more territory. – New York Times 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said on Tuesday that his country was considering sending a Patriot missile system to Ukraine, a move that would bolster Kyiv’s air defenses and help repel Russian strikes. – New York Times  

Ukraine is a step closer to winning approval for German-made modern battle tanks to confront invading Russian forces and has secured a pledge of more Patriot defence missiles as its allies appear ready to rally for the next phase of the war. – Reuters

Ukraine’s first lady told the World Economic Forum on Tuesday she would deliver a letter to China’s delegation setting out President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s proposals for ending Russia’s war against his country. – Reuters

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych tendered his resignation on Tuesday after causing a public outcry by suggesting a Russian missile that killed at least 44 people in the city of Dnipro had been shot down by Ukraine. – Reuters

Russia told Azerbaijan on Tuesday that a key road leading into the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh must be quickly cleared of protesters but Baku remained unmoved, according to differing accounts from the two sides. – Reuters

Russia should halt its efforts to recruit Serbs to fight alongside its Wagner paramilitary group in Ukraine, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said. Vucic criticised Russia’s websites and social media groups for publishing advertisements in the Serbian language in which the Wagner group calls volunteers to join its ranks. – Reuters

Russia said on Tuesday that it would make “major changes” to its armed forces from 2023 to 2026, promising to shake up its military structure after months of setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine. – Reuters

Japan is engaged deeply on issues in Ukraine and is expected to roll out plans at the “appropriate time” to support Kyiv against Russia’s invasion, White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday that his country plans to “join” the U.S. and Germany’s efforts to train and arm Ukraine with advanced Patriot defense systems. – Associated Press

A decision on sending Germany’s Leopard battle tank to Ukraine will be easier if the US sends equivalent vehicles to the war zone too, according to Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck. The Green Party politician suggested to Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television that he is in favor of authorizing the supply of such equipment, and also some owned by Poland and Finland. – Bloomberg 

Ukraine can expect a new influx of military aid following a meeting of allies this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken forecast amid a major diplomatic push for Germany to greenlight a major upgrade to Ukrainian tank forces. – Washington Examiner 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ordering Russian forces to seize the Donbas in eastern Ukraine by March, according to Andrei Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense. – The Daily Beast 

Top U.S. officials have said they expect Russia’s ties with Iran to deepen as Moscow searches for a friendly supply of ammunition, missiles, drones, and other weapons needed to continue its war in Ukraine, now almost 11 months old. – Newsweek 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given the new commander of the Russian military forces in Ukraine a March deadline to seize control of the Donbas region, according to a Ukrainian intelligence spokesman. – Newsweek  

A Russian envoy to the United Nations suggested Moscow would deliver a sharp riposte to criticism of its invasion of Ukraine and hold an informal meeting at the body to outline its stance. – Newsweek 

As the Russia-Ukraine war approaches its 11-month mark, Ukrainian lawmaker Yehor Cherniev said that Vladimir Putin has two paths to victory. – Newsweek

Russia’s embassy in Sweden on Tuesday shared a map of Europe that showed Ukraine with its internationally recognized borders, which goes against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unrecognized land claims in the country. – Business Insider

Ukraine boasted that it used a drone to steal a working radio from a dead Russian, allowing it to listen in on the enemy’s plans for several days. The moment was captured on video, which was first posted by the K-2 combat unit of the 54th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Monday. – Business Insider

An unspecified number of casualties have been reported after a helicopter crashed near a kindergarten in a Kyiv suburb on Wednesday, a senior Ukrainian official said. – CNN

Editorial: That amounts to a plea for stepped-up U.S. leadership. The question is whether Mr. Biden, who has vowed not to permit a Russian victory and pledged to stick with Kyiv “as long as it takes,” is prepared to demonstrate even more resolve as the war in Ukraine approaches what is likely to be its decisive moment. – Washington Post 

Adam Taylor writes: But Putin is wrong if he assumes a “positive trend” can easily be continued in the year ahead. The trajectory is more likely headed the other way. It’s very possible that sanctions will bite harder, revenue from oil and gas will decline further, the deficit will go deeper, and Russia’s battlefield resources will be stretched to breaking point. – Washington Post

David Ignatius writes: More mobile armor might be on the way with the possibility that Germany will release scores of Leopard tanks and Washington will provide Stryker combat vehicles. […] Having wisely urged Ukraine to adopt maneuver warfare against Gerasimov’s battered, bunkered forces, the United States and its allies shouldn’t support this effort halfway. The West has a strategy: So, go for it. – Washington Post

William A. Galston writes: Sixty-five years ago, farsighted Republicans led by Sen. Arthur Vandenberg overcame the isolationists in their ranks and, together with President Harry S. Truman, forged a bipartisan front against Soviet expansionism that endured until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. It wasn’t cheap, but it was one of the best investments U.S. taxpayers ever made. Today, faced with resurgent Russian aggression, Kevin McCarthy faces a similar choice. If he yields to the shortsighted forces in his own ranks, he will damage America’s national security, and history will not judge him kindly. – Wall Street Journal 

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: As high-level conversations begin about a future international tribunal over the Putin regime’s war crimes in Ukraine, plans should also be made to bring to account those who incited and enabled them — in the same way Nazi propagandists were tried at Nuremberg, or the operators of Radio Mille Collines at the U.N. criminal tribunal for Rwanda. – Washington Post 

Constanze Stelzenmuller writes: Thirteen Nato member states operate Leopard battle tanks, which are German-made, giving Berlin a veto over their export. Poland and Finland have already announced that they want to send some of theirs to Ukraine. The UK is promising some of its own Challengers. US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin is expected in Berlin on Thursday ahead of a key meeting of Ukraine’s western military suppliers in Ramstein on Friday. A continued German refusal is hard to imagine. – Financial Times 

Ted Lipien writes: Putin, who admires Stalin, called the fall of the Soviet empire a great historical tragedy. That some American conservative Christians still think that Putin is not like Stalin but a defender of peace is proof of his phenomenal ability to deceive those blinded by partisanship and refusing to learn from history. – Washington Examiner 

Peter A. Wilson and William Courtney write: How this war ends remains uncertain. It does seem the West will continue to ensure that Ukrainian forces retain their qualitative lead in arms and access to Western intelligence information. A Russian mobilization of more conscripts, even if ill-trained and poorly equipped, could shore up Russian defenses. The stage might be set for drawn-out attritional warfare. But policymakers ought not overlook contingencies that might seem unlikely but could end the war earlier. – The Hill 

Vladimir Milov writes: As the dissolution of the Soviet Union demonstrates, once long-suppressed public discontent breaks out into the open, change can happen fast. This is why policymakers must give sanctions time to work. Expecting immediate results is unrealistic and even counterproductive. Given time, sanctions may well deter Russia’s aggressive behavior. Western policymakers must conduct a detailed analysis of the impact of sanctions instead of accepting a narrow set of manipulated indicators. And, above all, they must be patient. – Foreign Affairs

Oona A. Hathaway writes: Ukraine responded by waking dormant institutions of international law and, in the process, reviving global resolve to enforce the prohibition on war.[…]. Now the task is to create a genuinely international judicial institution with the power to label Putin’s war not just wrong but also criminal. Only once that is built can the world provide justice to all those who have died and suffered in the war—and reaffirm the prohibition against war as an inviolable rule of the international order. – Foreign Affairs 

Kseniya Kirillova writes: The dream of most Russians for order and stability, rather than the current chaos and uncertainty, gives reason for hope. In the meantime though, the Kremlin will continue to sharpen propaganda to transform Russians into a people with a love of death; a people for whom murder and death are the purposes of life. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Julian G. Waller writes: And the background of the formal party system continuing on means that Russia will be subject to (authoritarian) electoral cycles, which may distract the regime and create electorally driven incentives for these actors to time major offensives. That is, Russian campaigns will have a background condition of a season of public political contestation coming up in September, as well as the future presidential election in 2024. – War on the Rocks 


The Military Advocate General (MAG) is set to oppose the plan of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to advance an immunity law for IDF soldiers and security forces, as part of the coalition agreements that were signed between the Likud and Otzma Yehudit last month, according to an announcement on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

The Defense Ministry cleared a minefield left from the Yom Kippur War in the Golan Heights recently, it announced on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Several Palestinians were reported wounded during clashes with Israeli troops late Tuesday and early Wednesday as Jewish worshipers entered the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus. – Times of Israel

Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan continue to tighten. After Foreign Minister Eli Cohen had a conversation last Friday with his colleague, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhon Biramov and thanked him for Azerbaijan’s decision to open an embassy in Israel, the Azerbaijani minister congratulated his Israeli counterpart for becoming foreign minister and expressed his wish of further tightening relations. – Jerusalem Post

More than 90 United Nations member states on Tuesday rejected Israel’s punitive measures imposed against the Palestinian Authority, which were enacted earlier this month in response to a resolution which requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s occupation. – Haaretz 

Editorial: Israel is scheduled to play host to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Jan. 19 and Secretary of State Antony Blinken later in the month, ahead of Netanyahu’s anticipated visit to Washington in February. Both Sullivan and Blinken should emphasize that the shared interests of the US and Israel require Netanyahu to restrain his coalition members. There’s little incentive for Biden to expend political capital leaning on the Saudis, for instance, if Netanyahu’s own government is making the job harder. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Does Israel need a Diaspora Affairs Ministry when it has a department in the Foreign Ministry in charge of Diaspora affairs, as well as the Jewish Agency, which deals with Jewish communities abroad? Does it need a Regional Cooperation Ministry, when the Foreign Ministry has eminently capable diplomats well-versed in the region? And how exactly is strategic affairs not something that should come under the Foreign Ministry’s umbrella? – Jerusalem Post

Thomas L. Friedman writes: Israel and the U.S. are friends. But today, one party in this friendship — Israel — is changing its fundamental character. President Biden, in the most caring but clear way possible, needs to declare that these changes violate America’s interests and values and that we are not going to be Netanyahu’s useful idiots and just sit in silence. – New York Times 

Lawrence J. Haas writes: Now, signs of creeping authoritarianism in Jerusalem could further drain support for Israel in Washington, across America, and among U.S. Jews who are already split over Israeli behavior. In essence, the U.S.-Israeli partnership could become less enduring and more transactional — akin to the complicated relationships between America and non-democratic nations in the region and beyond. That’s something that Israel, with all its global challenges, should never welcome — and that its new government should try to avoid. – American Foreign Policy Council


The killing of a former lawmaker in her home has shocked Afghans and drawn attention to the lack of protection for women in the country as the Taliban continue to impose strict limitations on their rights, pushing them further out of public life. – Wall Street Journal 

Nine men were lashed in public in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday as punishment for different crimes under the country’s new rulers, a Taliban-appointed official said. – Associated Press

Twitter has removed the verified “blue checkmarks” senior Taliban officials obtained by purchasing the service’s premium subscription, a decision that shows the difficulties and complications that the platform is encountering as it tries to promote account verification. – Washington Examiner 


The Supreme Court faced weighty and seemingly novel questions Tuesday as it considered whether the federal government can pursue criminal charges against Turkey’s state-owned bank, which is accused of helping to launder billions of dollars so Iran could evade U.S. economic sanctions. – Washington Post

Turkey and the United States will aim to smooth out a series of disagreements between the NATO allies when the Turkish foreign minister visits Washington this week. But expectations that outstanding issues can be resolved are low. – Associated Press

A jailed Kurdish leader said an attempt to ban his leftist party was part of Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to foment “chaos” in Turkey’s opposition ahead of elections this year, but said it would not save the president from defeat after two decades in power. – Reuters

Zvi Bar’el writes: Erdogan understands well the pressure the United States is under. He is expected to use it to made further demands, mainly related to his war on the Kurds and to ending American support for them. The question is whether he will be able to identify the breaking point at which the Biden administration will decide that it can do without him. – Haaretz

Middle East & North Africa

Morocco’s army said Tuesday it had agreed with Israel to strengthen military cooperation including in intelligence and cybersecurity, following defense meetings in Rabat. – Agence France-Presse

A former European Parliament member embroiled in the Qatar corruption scandal has agreed to reveal details of the scheme to prosecutors — including who he bribed — in exchange for a reduced jail term. – Bloomberg

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry in Amman summoned Israel’s Ambassador Eitan Surkis after an incident at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, in which the Hashemite Kingdom’s envoy was asked to wait briefly before being allowed to enter al-Aqsa Mosque compound. – Jerusalem Post

The UN’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka on Monday thanked a representative of Hezbollah for giving her a “tour d’horizon” of Lebanese issues, eliciting a strongly-worded rebuke from Israeli officials. – Algemeiner

Forty young, promising executives from the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, ages 28 to 35, gathered here this past weekend through the T3 Leadership Program, which fosters strong personal and professional ties for young leaders in the Middle East, leading to hoped-for future collaboration. – Arutz Sheva

Jon B. Alterman writes: Inflection points in history are often recognized only after they have passed. Small details create patterns, and patterns combine to create trends, but they are hard to see in the moment. Even so, it does feel like an inflection point is upon us. The older revolutionary saw his vision unrealized after having power. The revolutionaries of 2011 saw their visions unrealized after being denied power. But what will they do now, and what world will they give to their children? – Center for Strategic and International Studies


The Biden administration’s recent high-profile prisoner swaps, such as basketball star Brittney Griner’s release from Russia in exchange for a convicted Russian arms dealer, have spurred calls for Washington to do more for U.S. citizens held in China, some of whom have languished for over a decade with little consular contact. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Wednesday that China “is very important for Saudi” and its largest trade partner, “but also the U.S. is a very important and strategic partner”. – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met in Zurich on Wednesday for what they said would be “frank” talks, but both pledged to manage their differences and find ways to work together on global challenges. – Reuters

Blinken revealed recently that he plans “to travel to China in the coming weeks” for meetings with Qin, who was promoted to his current role in December after a stint as the top Chinese diplomat in Washington. U.S. and Chinese officials alike have framed that trip as an extension of President Joe Biden’s November meeting with Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping as the United States and its allies work to mitigate the threat of a clash with Chinese forces. – Washington Examiner 

Editorial: China was able to become the world’s second-largest economy by unleashing the entrepreneurship of its people via economic reform. Mr. Xi’s desire for top-down political control has put that progress in jeopardy at a moment it needs more market reform to cope with a shrinking population. – Wall Street Journal 

Daniel Moss writes: While China’s population deficit doesn’t have to mean the end of its rise, hard choices confront President Xi Jinping and his eventual successors. This will be a slog, given the human shortfall was decades in the making. Solutions, or ways to live with this switch, will have to keep coming. – Bloomberg

Joseph Bosco writes: Allowing “privileged sanctuaries” in North Vietnam contributed to the disastrous outcome of that war. Washington must ensure that Beijing understands a war with Taiwan means war with the U.S. and its allies. It also would mean immediate international recognition of Taiwan’s independence. Public declaration of that U.S. and allied resolve would help avert a “Pyrrhic victory” where losses exceed benefits. As CSIS says, “It is better to deter the war in the first place.” – The Hill 

South Asia

India has informed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) it will support Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plan, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, as the island nation races to secure a $2.9 billion bailout from the global lender. – Reuters

Guyana expects to soon receive a proposal from India for long-term purchases of the South American country’s oil, President Irfaan Ali said on Tuesday, a new attempt to reach a government-to-government deal potentially leading to better sale terms for Guyana. – Reuters

Pakistan’s second provincial legislature was dissolved and its government was sacked on the instructions of former leader Imran Khan as he mounts pressure on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to call snap polls, deepening the South Asian nation’s political and economic crisis. – Bloomberg

Ambuj Sahu writes: Today, India’s outlook is very different from the nonaligned obsession of the Nehruvian era. India is now both confident and capable of playing a positive role in modern-day geopolitics. It is not far-fetched to claim that New Delhi can be to the U.S.-China rivalry what Beijing was to the United States during the Cold War. It is because of this critical role that the U.S.-India relationship must be nurtured across all levels, from national leadership to the last consulate worker. The United States risks both practical inefficiency and creating political misunderstandings in otherwise growing ties by not having an ambassador in New Delhi. – The National Interest


Embattled Philippine journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa was acquitted of tax evasion charges Wednesday, in a decision welcomed by rights activists who have expressed concern over worsening press freedoms in the Southeast Asian country. – Washington Post

Kazakhstan has changed its entry rules for foreigners, in a move that is expected to make entering and staying in the country much harder for Russians fleeing military conscription and other repercussions of President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. – Washington Post 

The new head of Taiwan’s ruling party who described himself as pro-independence vowed to uphold the self-ruled island’s democracy in face of China’s authoritarianism and continue with policies that have defined relations with China and the U.S. – Associated Press

The United States and Taiwan concluded four days of trade negotiations on Monday and reached consensus on several areas related to trade facilitation, anti-corruption, small and medium-sized enterprises and regulatory practices, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said. – Reuters

The first helicopters in Australia’s new fleet of US-designed Black Hawks will arrive by the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said, further strengthening security ties between Canberra and Washington. – Bloomberg

The race to fill one of Vietnam’s top four political positions has begun after Nguyen Xuan Phuc became the biggest name yet to fall in an anti-corruption campaign led by conservative ideologues in the Communist Party. – Bloomberg

Almost as quickly as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol mentioned last week that his nation might need to acquire nuclear weapons, his office clarified that he had no plans to actually do so. – Bloomberg

 Taiwan’s military on Tuesday rolled out plans to allow women to volunteer for reserve force training for the first time, as China continues to ramp up military pressure on the democratic self-ruled island. – CNN

Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has resigned after the ruling Communist Party blamed him for “violations and wrongdoing” by officials under his control, the government said Tuesday, in a major escalation of the country’s anti-graft campaign. – CNN


A key suspect in a corruption case that has rocked the European Parliament has cut a deal with Belgian authorities, agreeing to share details of an alleged cash-for-influence scheme — and potentially exposing more European Union dirt — in return for a lesser sentence.- Washington Post

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has tapped Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of one of Germany’s largest states, to become the country’s next defense minister, a day after the previous minister resigned from the post amid heavy criticism, including over the war in Ukraine. New York Times

Within hours of being sworn into office, Germany’s new defense minister will be expected to hold talks with the U.S. defense secretary. A day later, he will represent Germany’s armed forces at a meeting with European allies awaiting critical decisions on the war in Ukraine. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden said the US and Netherlands were working in “lockstep” over their approach to China and would discuss ways to secure global supply chains during a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the White House. – Bloomberg

Wintershall Dea, one of the main European investors in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, has said it will exit Russia following criticism over its continued exploration and production of gas and oil in the country following the invasion of Ukraine. – Financial Times 

Matthias Matthijs writes: The EU’s aspiring autocrats are weaker because of their non-euro membership and growing dependence on EU financial largesse. And although the United Kingdom continues to tear itself apart over the consequences of leaving the EU, the remaining 27 member states have emerged stronger as a whole. When historians consider the recent past, they may well decide that 2022 was the year the EU got its mojo back. – Foreign Affairs 


Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday said the M23 rebel group had not fully withdrawn from areas it seized in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, accusing the militia of faking an agreed pullback of its forces – Reuters

More than two dozen aid and campaign groups called on Wednesday for international creditors to cancel a large portion of Ghana’s debts as it struggles to contend with an economic crisis. – Reuters

Islamist fighters from al Shabaab on Tuesday stormed a military base in a part of central Somalia they were forced from last year, killing at least seven soldiers, including the base commander, an officer said. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: There is now hope that al-Shabaab may be defeated and that Somalia could emerge from decades of civil conflict. […] This means that countries in the Gulf could increase aid to Somalia. Somalia has received aid in the past from the Gulf and also from Turkey. Many countries have an interest in security in this region of Africa. For instance Somaliland, a de facto sovereign state, is also important for security in this area. – Jerusalem Post

The Americas

Rather than fade, protests in rural Peru that began more than a month ago over the ouster of the former president have only grown in size and in the scope of demonstrators’ demands, paralyzing entire sections of the country and threatening efforts by the new president, Dina Boluarte, to gain control. – New York Times

The arrest of a defeated candidate for the New Mexico legislature on charges that he orchestrated a plot to shoot up the homes of four Democratic officials in Albuquerque prompted widespread condemnation Tuesday as well as accusations that the stolen-election rhetoric among supporters of former president Donald Trump continues to incite violence. – Washington Post

A diplomatic spat between Guatemala and Colombia intensified on Tuesday as Guatemala’s government accused Colombia’s defense chief of crimes related to a high-stakes graft probe he once led as a special prosecutor in Guatemala. – Reuters 

The new head of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has suspended most oil export contracts while his team reviews them in a move to avoid payment defaults, according to an internal document seen by Reuters and people familiar with the matter. – Reuters


A senior Ukrainian official blamed Russia on Tuesday for carrying out the bulk of more than 2,000 cyberattacks on Ukraine in 2022, speaking at a news conference that he said was itself delayed because of a cyberattack.- Reuters

Social media bosses who fail to protect under-18s from harm online could face jail under plans being drawn up by the UK government, after Rishi Sunak conceded to demands from almost 50 Tory backbench MPs over the flagship online safety bill. – Financial Times 

As the UK’s Royal Mail grappled with the fallout of a ransomware attack, a purported member of the LockBit hacking group stepped forward on the weekend to take credit for the mayhem. – Financial Times


A NATO surveillance plane arrived in Romania on Tuesday to bolster the military alliance’s eastern flank and help monitor Russian military activity. The plane, the first to be deployed, landed at an air base near Bucharest and two more are expected to land later in the day and on Wednesday. They are due to stay for several weeks. – Reuters

The business model of the defence industry has been transformed by the war in Ukraine and the growing threat of conflict in the world, according to the head of one of Germany’s big contractors in the sector. – Financial Times 

The U.S. Navy and its closest allies and partners continue their quest to become interchangeable — a step up from previous calls to be interoperable — but they say they can’t do it without international supply chains joining the effort. – Defense News 

Everett Pyatt writes: The American and allied advantage is also clear. We solved a maritime problem, helping to end the Cold War. That approach needs to be reinstated and applied to the current and future Chinese maritime challenge. Ideally, this bipartisan plan will be embraced by all presidential candidates during the decades required to implement it. – Defense News

Long War

The Dutch national prosecutors office on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 37-year old Syrian refugee who is accused of committing war crimes as a security official for Islamic State. – Reuters

The United Nations has designated an anti-India militant being held in Pakistan as a global terrorist, the world body’s second such designation stemming from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. – Associated Press

Jihadist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaida take advantage of the vulnerability of African migrants who enter Europe illegally, to radicalize and recruit them. The organizations profile the targets on social media when they seem detached from society and unhappy – which they frequently do. They are then drawn into the world of terrorism with propaganda and an appealing discourse. – Jerusalem Post