Fdd's overnight brief

January 23, 2023

In The News


Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Saturday warned the European Union against making a “mistake” by listing it as a terror group, after the bloc’s parliament called for the measure. – Agence France-Presse

Despite a slackening of street activity in the face of a brutal crackdown, Iranian protesters are still challenging the Islamic regime four months into their movement, observers say. – Agence France-Presse

Thirty women political prisoners in Iran, including a Franco-Iranian academic and the daughter of a former president, on Sunday demanded an end to the executions of protesters in the country. – Agence France-Presse

Thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday to protest against the detention in Iran of Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison on charges including spying. – Reuters

Iran’s troubled currency fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on Saturday amid the country’s increasing isolation and possible Europe Union sanctions against Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards or some of its members. – Reuters

Iran will recognize the armies of the European countries operating in the region as terrorist organizations, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf said Sunday, the semi-official Tasnim News Agency reported. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s officials are now being encouraged in this line of rhetoric. They are also being told to accuse Europe of being controlled by “Zionists.” Iran doesn’t realize that its supply of drones to Russia is what has caused the IRGC to be put in a new spotlight. It remains to be seen how Iran may retaliate. It could try to target and kidnap more Europeans or dual citizens who travel to Iran. It could try to target European forces in the region. – Jerusalem Post

Suzanne Kianpour writes: And whereas some make the argument that the protestors do not make up the majority of the country, they’ve been loud enough to make the regime realize the status quo is not sustainable. This genie cannot and will not go back in the bottle. – Politico

Louis Dugit-Gros, Anna Borshchevskaya, Michael Eisenstadt, Farzin Nadimi, Henry Rome write: In addition, the United States should lean on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to pressure Russia on limiting its transfers to Iran given the risk they would pose to regional security. Washington should also share intelligence on Iran’s requests with Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Jerusalem, which would give them further incentive to discourage Moscow from following through. Finally, the West should use these potential transfers as examples when messaging Saudi and Emirati leaders and their publics about the risks of their hedging strategies in the Ukraine war. – Washington Institute

Kourosh Ziabari writes: As a result of this government-generated insularity, Iran’s young population has become cut off from global cultural developments and often deprived of the latest products and services that are readily available to their peers in the rest of the world. At the same time, these policies have exacerbated the nation’s brain drain. As long as this situation persists, more Iranians with the intellectual skills and capabilities to benefit their fellow citizens will pack up and depart in search of more inclusive, tolerant destinations. – Middle East Institute 

Burcu Ozcelik writes: The regime’s brutal repression delivered a highly effective deterrent to protesters. However, the protests have worked in the sense that Iran’s internal politics will remain unstable for the foreseeable future, with the regime’s legitimacy in decline. The “Mahsa moment” has left an indelible mark on the country’s political landscape, delegitimizing the regime and the core pillars it claims to stand upon, even if it will take more time to fully grasp the long-term ripple effects of the protests. – The National Interest

Alon Ben-Meir writes: Indeed, although the government may well succeed in quelling the current unrest by whatever means, it is only a matter of time before the Iranian people will rise up again against this autocratic and ruthless regime. Khamenei and his criminal gang have lost every claim to legitimacy by terrorizing the people, slaying their children and holding on to power through fear and intimidation. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

The United States will designate Russia’s Wagner mercenary group a “transnational criminal organization,” the White House said Friday, an attempt to disrupt the cash and weapons flow of a private military outfit prosecuting President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine with an army of convicts and contractors. – Washington Post

The Kremlin on Friday declined to comment on the recent installation of air defense systems in multiple locations in and around Moscow, as Russia seeks to close gaps in its defenses, apparently fearful that Ukraine could launch an audacious and humiliating attack on the Russian capital. – Washington Post 

Pressure mounted on Germany to approve the transfer of its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a day after Western allies meeting at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany failed to reach an agreement about sending armored vehicles.  – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR) accused Ukraine on Monday of storing Western-supplied arms at nuclear power stations across the country. It provided no evidence and Reuters was unable to verify the claims. – Reuters

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv on a surprise trip on Sunday, meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and pledging that Britain would “stick by Ukraine as long as it takes”. – Reuters

Russia increased shelling of Ukraine’s eastern regions outside the main front line in the Donbas industrial area, officials from the Zaporizhzhia and Sumy regions said on Saturday. – Reuters

A close ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that deliveries of offensive weapons to Kyiv that threaten Russia’s territories will lead to a global catastrophe and make arguments against using weapons of mass destruction untenable. – Reuters

Group of Seven officials have agreed to review the level of the price cap on exports of Russian oil in March, later than originally planned in order to give time to assess the market after more caps are placed on oil products from Russia, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday. – Reuters

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned of a new anti-American military coalition amid growing tensions over the Ukraine war. – Newsweek

Editorial: Berlin’s tank refusal is a self-inflicted wound. Many Americans think the U.S. has to foot too much of the bill for NATO, and on this episode they have a point. It’s an open question whether Berlin will even follow through on meeting its NATO commitments and spend 2% of its economy on defense. Unlike the Japanese, who are stepping up against a regional threat, Germany still refuses to lead after an invasion in its own neighborhood. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: In the end, the question is whether any of Mr. Putin’s lectures on history really provide a justification for the death and destruction he has ordained. Russians know the horrors of all-out war; they must know that nothing Mr. Putin has concocted remotely validates the leveling of towns and cities, the murder, rape and pillaging, or the deliberate strikes against power and water supplies across Ukraine. Like the last great European war, this one is mostly one man’s madness. – New York Times

Jim Jones writes: Ukraine’s very existence depends on a successful conclusion to Putin’s war. Ukrainian success is also vital to the strategic interests of the United States and its allies. We simply can’t afford to let Putin win by drawing the war out until the West is exhausted. There will not be a second chance and the window of success is narrowing. We are supporting the right side in this life-or-death struggle and must take every action necessary to achieve success. – The Hill 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: However, Moscow wants to shift focus to what the West is doing and seek to draw some red lines so that Moscow has an excuse to escalate if it wants. The latest rhetoric is another attempt by Moscow to lay the ground work to excuse its own escalation. – Jerusalem Post

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write: Russia’s collapse could also be contagious or the start of a chain reaction, in which case neither the United States nor China would profit because both would struggle to contain the fallout. In that case, the West would need to establish strategic priorities. It would be impossible to try to fill the vacuum that a disorderly Russian defeat might leave. In Central Asia and the South Caucasus, the United States and Europe would have little chance of preventing China and Turkey from moving into the void. – Foreign Affairs

Michael Rubin writes: Arms control experts will complain: Too often, they put the theory of deterrence above the reality of the threat that rogue states pose. But, Russia has repeatedly shown it will prey on its neighbors, and the world should never again expect Ukraine to suffer whenever a Russian leader wants to establish a legacy or distract from his own economic mismanagement and corruption. Ukraine needs the ultimate deterrence. – 19FortyFive

Max Bergmann writes: The Green Movement in Iran erupted not when the United States was threatening to bomb the country but after a newly inaugurated President Obama addressed the Iranian people in a Nowruz message, offering a “new beginning” that became impossible when, three months later, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected president under dubious circumstances. Correlation does not equal causation, but there is never one factor that causes revolution. Offering a segment of society hope for a better, more liberal future can have a powerful effect. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

James Jay Carafano and Victoria Coates write: If President Biden refuses to work closely with conservatives on Capitol Hill on Ukraine strategy, he risks undermining a year of concerted U.S. engagement, allowing Putin to regroup for potential future aggression and failing to deter China—all of which would be a sad waste of the $100 billion already committed to Ukraine. – Heritage Foundation


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reluctantly fired a key cabinet ally on Sunday, abiding by a Supreme Court ruling that the man was unfit for office in part because of a “backlog of criminal convictions” against him. – Washington Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan that the government’s controversial judicial overhaul will not be as dramatic as has been presented, according to a TV report Sunday. – Times of Israel

When US Ambassador Tom Nides sat down for an interview with The Times of Israel shortly after arriving in Jerusalem a year ago, he explained that his role would be to “keep things calm” in the face of “irritants” that risk upending the US-Israel relationship. – Times of Israel

An Israeli military commander has revealed to Newsweek how his soldiers were planning to mount a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip should another conflict break out between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian fighters operating out of the Mediterranean territory. – Newsweek

The United States and Israel are working toward a united front when it comes to combating the dangers from Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly government meeting on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Ambassador to Canada Ronen Hoffman resigned on Sunday to protest the policies of the new government, making him the second envoy to do so. – Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday said that the country’s submarines are insurance for Israeli security against Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other security threats. – Jerusalem Post

A 13-year-old boy in possession of a knife was arrested by the police after arousing their suspicion on Saturday evening in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the police’s spokesperson unit. – Jerusalem Post

Eugene Kontorovich writes: The reform proposals wouldn’t undermine judicial independence and would make the Israeli court more like its American counterpart. One measure would abolish the “reasonableness” and limit the court to blocking government action that violates the law, not its policy notions. Another would increase the Knesset’s involvement in judicial appointments but still comes far short of America’s purely political appointment process. The reform package would require expanded panels and a supermajority of the court to strike down legislation. – Wall Street Journal


U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed expressed alarm to Taliban officials in Kandahar over violations of women’s rights in Afghanistan, the United Nations said on Friday after she made a rare visit to the Taliban’s southern heartland. – Reuters

Abdul Wasi Safi kept documents detailing his time as an Afghan soldier who worked with the U.S. military close to him as he made the monthslong, treacherous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border from Brazil. […]Yet after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Eagle Pass, Texas, in September, Mr. Wasi Safi was arrested on a federal immigration charge. He is jailed at a detention center at Eden, Texas, and fears his asylum claim may be denied. – New York Sun

Kelley E. Currie and Amy K. Mitchell write: While the Biden team understandably wants to avoid talking about Afghanistan, ignoring the problem through inaction and stasis will not relieve them of the harsh judgment of history. Rather, it will only make that judgment more severe. – The Hill


Already battered by years of war and deprivation, Syrians are now suffering through a crippling fuel crisis. Extended electricity cuts have sunk most of the country into a near-constant blackout. In the capital, Damascus, some neighborhoods receive as little as 15 minutes of power every 24 hours; in more central areas, closer to the presidential palace, the lights stay on for longer. With gasoline also in short supply, main thoroughfares are often devoid of traffic, and the Syrian-Lebanese border has become a thriving black market for fuel. – Washington Post

Three drones targeted a U.S. base in Syria’s Al-Tanf region on Friday but no American troops were injured, the U.S. military said in a statement. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The international community, focused on the war in Ukraine and other issues, tends to ignore the suffering in Syria. The collapse of a building in Aleppo and the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Afrin are symbols of how Syria continues to suffer while the global powers concentrate elsewhere. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s president has announced May 14 as the date for the country’s next parliamentary and presidential elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who plans to seek reelection, made the announcement during a Saturday youth conference in northwestern Bursa province. A video of the event was released Sunday. – Associated Press

Outrage over a Quran-burning protest in Sweden produced a second day of protests in Turkey, reflecting tensions between the two countries. – Associated Press

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned to nationalist rhetoric against Greece to fire up supporters ahead of this year’s elections, warning Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis not to antagonize him over long-running territorial disputes. – Bloomberg

Turkey canceled next week’s visit by Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson as tension flared over permission given by Stockholm for a public burning of Islam’s holy book Koran. – Bloomberg


Hezbollah is claiming that it has caught a former operative in the organization who spied for Israel, according to a report in the Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is associated with the Lebanese terror organization. – Arutz Sheva

Lebanon vowed to restore its payments to the UN’s operating budget on Friday after losing its right to vote in the 193-member UN General Assembly, according to the country’s state-owned National News Agency (NNA). – CNN

Independent lawmakers in Lebanon are staging a sit-in at parliament to pile pressure on dominant factions to elect a new president nearly three months since the post fell vacant with the country in the throes of an economic crisis. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

The Palestinian Authority has expressed relief over Saudi Arabia’s assertion that the kingdom won’t normalize its ties with Israel without a Palestinian state, which came as Israel has repeatedly spoken of a possible deal with that Gulf State. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This is also a question of how the traditional cultural-economic capitals of the region, such as Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad, will play a role in this century. […]Jordan has expressed concern about the status quo in Jerusalem. It is unclear whether low-level violence in the West Bank will continue to get worse. It is also unclear whether some bureaucratic hurdles in economic trade between Israel and the Gulf will be remedied. There are many issues, and the UAE’s continued attempt to show leadership of various groupings of states will impact developments this year and in the future. – Jerusalem Post

Bobby Ghosh writes: The Houthis have indicated a willingness to allow the planned UN operation, but there has been no actual movement on the water. The Safer has become the perfect parable for Yemen itself: Talk is well and good. But until there’s action, nobody should exhale. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Italy’s chief diplomat held talks Sunday with Egyptian and Arab League officials in Cairo that focused on regional security and the conflict in neighboring Libya, as well as sensitive bilateral issues. – Associated Press

A handful of top Arab diplomats met Sunday in the Libyan capital in a gathering boycotted by powerful foreign ministers who argued that the mandate of the Tripoli-based government has ended. – Associated Press

Egyptian authorities have released the founder of the Arab state’s largest dairy and juice producer more than two years after arresting him over accusations of financing and being a member of a terrorist organisation. – Financial Times

Korean Peninsula

China’s overall exports to North Korea more than tripled in 2022 from a year earlier as freight train operations between the two countries resumed following a suspension to limit the spread of COVID-19. – Reuters

South Korea’s leader is capping off a whirlwind week, after securing tens of billions of dollars in investment from the Middle East and vowing to have his country play a more important role in revitalizing international supply chains. – CNN

They have them, so we need them. That is the fundamental argument for South Koreans who want their country to develop its own nuclear weapons. It’s about the need to protect themselves from an aggressive northern neighbor that is already a nuclear power in all but name and whose leader Kim Jong Un has vowed an “exponential increase” in his arsenal. – CNN

The United States of America have shared proof of North Korea supplying weapons to Wagner Group, which it uses in the war against Ukraine, with the group of experts of the United Nations Security Council Committee on Sanctions Against North Korea. – Ukrayinska Pravda


A Russian warship armed with new-generation hypersonic cruise weapons will participate in joint exercises with the navies of China and South Africa in February, the Russian state agency, TASS, said on Monday. – Reuters

Germany must reduce its dependence on China gradually as decoupling from the Chinese market would costs jobs in Europe’s biggest economy, Finance Minister Christian Lindner was quoted as saying on Sunday. – Reuters

A Uyghur rights group’s legal challenge against the British government for not investigating the import of cotton produced in the Chinese region of Xinjiang was dismissed by a London court on Friday. – Reuters

Pankaj Mishra writes: The former’s unbridled pursuit of personal power can only become a lethal liability during a global crisis caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Despite the damages wrought by Xi’s zero-Covid policy, China might withstand this period of turmoil better than many democratic countries, given its organizational expertise, technical know-how and strong state structures. – Bloomberg

James Rogan writes: The central problem complicating Liu’s olive branch to Davos? There is no rule of law in China and thus no foundation for long-term confidence. Investors know that where it matters, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pursues policies that support one paramount goal: the supremacy of the Communist Party. – Washington Examiner

Bradley A. Thayer writes: Liu’s Davos appearance should define a turning point: The CCP’s abuses of human rights and the environment and its aggression against states and the international order — the order that made the World Economic Forum possible — no longer will be tolerated. We must show the Party that the world will not accept its mendacity. – The Hill 

James Millward writes: But zero COVID also suggests that Xi, and the Chinese party-state, can change course. After protests made it clear that China could not lock down indefinitely, the CCP lifted its controls, implicitly acknowledging that COVID-19 will not go away and that the economic and social cost of trying to contain it was simply too high. The Uyghurs are not going away, either. If the world maintains its sanctions and scrutiny, over time it can make the price of brutalizing China’s minorities unacceptable. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

At least fifteen people were injured when a bomb blast derailed a passenger train in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan on Friday, a provincial government official said. – Reuters

India has blocked the airing of a BBC documentary which questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying that even sharing of any clips via social media is barred. – Reuters

Bobby Ghosh writes: There is no prominent India hand at the Biden White House, and although much was made of Harris’s ancestry during the election campaign, the administration has not capitalized on the enthusiasm she generated among Indians. Putting the vice president front and center of India policy would be a good place to start undoing the damage of long American neglect. – Bloomberg

Gedaliah Afterman writes: In a rapidly changing global landscape, it is essential to build long-lasting relationships. Trust is particularly important when cooperating on cutting-edge technology and innovation. Robust cooperation on cutting-edge technologies will strengthen both Israel’s and India’s position to play a leading role not only in the Middle East, but in shaping the future in an increasingly multipolar world. – Jerusalem Post

Touqir Hussain writes: The U.S.-Pakistan relationship will serve many U.S. interests, but its centerpiece may be an unspoken one. Could the relationship be the missing piece of America’s Indo-Pacific strategy and China policy? Could it allow Washington to exert influence to ensure Pakistan’s regional posture—its strategic partnership with China and conflicted relationship with India—does not undermine this strategy? And could it also be a test case of peaceful competition between the United States and China, an alternative to forcing countries to pick sides? – The National Interest


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that Japan faces the severest security environment in the region since the end of World War II and pledged to push a military buildup under a newly adopted security strategy over the next five years and beyond as well as tackle rapidly declining births so the country can sustain national strength. – Associated Press

Australia said on Monday it would accelerate plans to buy advanced sea mines to protect its maritime routes and ports from “potential aggressors” amid China’s plans to increase its influence in the Pacific region. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering visiting Kyiv in February and holding talks with Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing Japanese government sources. – Reuters

A Philippine bank at the centre of an unsolved $81 million cyber heist has appealed a New York Supreme Court decision to dismiss the bank’s motion to throw out the Bangladesh central bank’s lawsuit against it. – Reuters

Chinese military vessels and aircraft were detected around Taiwanese waters and airspace on Monday morning, according to defense officials, as tensions continue to grow between the two nations. – Fox News


The German government won’t oppose Poland sending German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, if Warsaw makes such a request, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told French TV channel LCI on Sunday. – Washington Post

Pressure grew on Germany on Saturday to authorize the transfer of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, even as Ukrainian officials signaled that they believed it would be only a matter of time before the German-made tanks arrived. – New York Times

American and European officials believe that Russian military intelligence officers directed associates of a white supremacist militant group based in Russia to carry out a recent letter bomb campaign in Spain whose most prominent targets were the prime minister, the defense minister and foreign diplomats, according to U.S. officials. – New York Times

A Ukrainian intelligence official downplayed the threat of Belarus joining the Russia-Ukraine war amid speculation that the Kremlin ally could send troops into the country to fight by the end of the year. – Newsweek

Germany and France warned that European businesses will need to unleash investments on a nearly unparalleled scale to keep from falling behind US and Chinese firms as countries revamp their economies to make them more climate friendly. – Bloomberg


A peace accord meant to end Ethiopia’s civil war is hitting a stumbling block, as troops from neighboring Eritrea who had been fighting on the side of the federal government have failed to withdraw, local and international officials say. – Wall Street Journal 

Islamist fighters set off a bomb then stormed a government building in Somalia’s capital on Sunday, killing at least five civilians, the ministry of information said. – Reuters

The mutilated body of a prominent Cameroonian journalist was found on Sunday near the capital Yaounde five days after he was abducted by unidentified assailants, the press union and a colleague said on Sunday. Media advocates described Martinez Zogo’s disappearance and death as a further sign of the perils of reporting in the African country. – Reuters

Sixty-six women and children kidnapped by armed assailants in northern Burkina Faso last week have been freed, national broadcaster Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina (RTP) said on Friday. – Reuters

Islamist al Shabaab militants on Friday killed at least seven soldiers at a Somali military base in a town re-captured by the government, the information ministry and militant group said. – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is in Zambia on the second leg of her African tour, a stop aimed at promoting American investment and ties while she’s in a capital city that is visibly dominated by Chinese dollars. – Associated Press

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, is the second Cabinet member heading to Africa as part of President Joe Biden’s big push to engage with the world’s second-largest continent. – Associated Press

Burkina Faso’s junta government late Saturday ordered hundreds of French troops to depart the West African country within a month, following in the path of neighboring Mali, whose nation is also headed by a coup leader. – Associated Press

Somalia’s government and al-Qaida-linked fighters both claimed more than 100 people were killed Friday in their deadliest battle since the government launched a major military offensive against the extremists in August. – Associated Press

Latin America

Brazil and Argentina aim for greater economic integration, including the development of a common currency, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez said in a joint article they penned. – Reuters

Peruvian police arrested over 200 people accused of illegally entering the campus of a major Lima university, while authorities in Cusco shut the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail as deadly anti-government protests spread nationwide. – Reuters

Venezuela’s opposition is discussing how it might move frozen funds in foreign bank accounts into a proposed United Nations-administered humanitarian fund, including moving small amounts to protect the money from creditors, four sources said. – Reuters

Venezuela freed the former head of the government’s intelligence agency five years after he was arrested for allegedly instigating a rebellion against President Nicolas Maduro, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Arturo Mcfields Yescas writes: The way forward in Venezuela, as in the dictatorships of Nicaragua and Cuba, must be consistent with a firm and clear policy of zero tolerance for human rights violations. The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and the holding of free, fair and transparent elections comes first. – The Hill

North America

Canada on Friday announced a multi-year plan to support the first privately built rocket launches in the country and develop new launch regulations, as global demand for space-based services soars. – Reuters

Lopez was one of 13 Mexican journalists killed in 2022, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based rights group. It was the deadliest year on record for journalists in Mexico, now the most dangerous country for reporters in the world outside the war in Ukraine, where CPJ says 15 reporters were killed last year. – Reuters

Atlanta police arrested at least six people after a peaceful protest Saturday erupted into a night of chaos and violence that included protesters smashing windows and setting a police vehicle on fire, the mayor said. – Fox News


Insurers have held discussions with the UK government over whether its terrorism reinsurance scheme should cover state-backed cyber attacks, amid growing concern over holes in the safety net provided by the private sector. – Financial Times

Microsoft is betting big on artificial intelligence by integrating the technology into workplace emails, slideshows, and spreadsheets — part of its ongoing partnership with OpenAI, the company behind the popular chatbot ChatGPT. – Business Insider

Angela Morabito writes: State governments have an obligation to ensure that devices purchased with taxpayer dollars are not turned into indoctrination megaphones for whatever China wants our students to see and hear or a data pipeline from our research institutions to the Chinese Communist Party. States that allow TikTok on their devices may soon find the app to be a Trojan horse that not only intrudes on the privacy of students and teachers but also causes great harm to the U.S. – Washington Examiner


The Pentagon will keep several thousand American troops in southeast Romania for at least nine more months, closer to the war in neighboring Ukraine than any other U.S. Army unit, officials said on Saturday. – New York Times

As the Pentagon modernizes its satellite communications enterprise, its first task will be to develop standards to improve data sharing among SATCOM networks, according to an enterprise-level strategy released this week. – Defense News

The United States is facing increased competition in a number of sectors, especially from China in the Western Hemisphere, raising new security concerns, the head of U.S. Southern Command said Thursday. – USNI News

Jason Weiss and Dan Patt write: The Department of Defense must act in a way that recognizes that software, not legacy warfighting platforms, controls the speed and efficacy of the modern kill chain and military dilemma. And finally, the Department of Defense needs to formally recognize the digital triad of software, data, and artificial intelligence/machine learning as equal peers. Doing so will help the Department of Defense find its footing in an era where software defines tactics. – War on the Rocks

Long War

The Canadian government must work to bring home four Canadian men detained in Syria, a judge has ruled, a victory for families who say Canada has violated their relatives’ rights by leaving them in squalid prisons and camps there for years. – Washington Post

None of the crimes New York prosecutors say he committed — which include spreading Islamic State propaganda and helping a woman who said she wanted to marry an ISIS fighter — occurred while Mr. Faisal was anywhere near the city. But in a Manhattan courtroom, Mr. Faisal, 59, has become the first person to go to trial under state laws adopted days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 that made it a felony to give terrorists financial or other material support before an attack. – New York Times

American forces have captured two Islamic State members during an air and ground assault in eastern Syria, the U.S. military’s Central Command said in a statement released on Sunday. – Reuters