Fdd's overnight brief

January 28, 2022

In The News


Qatar’s top diplomat visited Iran on Thursday, Iranian state media reported, days before Qatar’s ruling emir holds talks in Washington at a crucial time for efforts by Tehran and major powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact. – Reuters  

A senior White House official said Thursday that the United States and Iran are “in the ballpark of a possible [nuclear] deal” in Vienna, while also clarifying that Washington is “very prepared” for the “pretty likely” scenario that there won’t be an agreement. – Times of Israel 

Multiple channels of Iran’s state television broadcast images on Thursday showing the leaders of an exiled dissident group and a graphic calling for the death of the country’s supreme leader, an incident that authorities later described as a hack. – Associated Press 

Prominent former U.N. judges and investigators have called on U.N. human rights boss Michelle Bachelet to investigate the 1988 “massacre” of political prisoners in Iran, including the alleged role of its current president, Ebrahim Raisi, at that time. – Reuters 

Iran’s navy has historically been starved for resources and continues to suffer mishaps, but its commander said this week that it is an important force in the region. Rear Admiral Shahram Irani was speaking at a National Navy Music Festival in Mashad. – Jerusalem Post  

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned any direct talks with the United States in 2018, soon after then-U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed crippling sanctions against Tehran. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

The firings have raised fears of a new purge of dissenting academics in Iran, where the clerical establishment has dismissed and even imprisoned prominent university professors on political grounds. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Bryan Clark and Michael Doran write: In sum, China and Russia are building up Iran. Both need a partner in the Middle East devoted to “Resistance”—to undermining U.S. power. Why is the Biden team going along for the ride? Washington’s approach should be more strategic. Among the members of the global alliance dedicated to destroying the American-led order, Iran is the most vulnerable. The job of the U.S. is to defang it. – Wall Street Journal 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: As the nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers hit a critical stage during the next few weeks (US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the situation “urgent” last week), Grossi and his IAEA are technically not one of the parties making the decisions. But behind the scenes, and sometimes out front, he has often either dominated or co-starred in the Iran nuclear storyline for the last two years as much as any of the world powers, Israel and Iran itself. – Jerusalem Post  


Journalists from The New York Times spent 12 days with the small Taliban unit this fall, going on several patrols with them in their zone, Police District 3, and traveling to their homes in Wardak Province, a neighboring mountainous area. – New York Times  

In the bone-splitting chill of the Afghan mountains, Mohammad Israr Muradi digs through coarse earth spilling from the open mouth of an emerald mine. With an improvised sieve and a few splashes of water, the former police officer scours a slag heap for fragments of the green gemstone, swarmed by dozens of others vying for the same prize. – Agence France-Presse 

After a nearly two-month pause, evacuation flights from Afghanistan to Qatar are set to resume, Shawn Van Driver, founder of #AfghanEvac, told Military Times. Additionally, Van Driver said that measures to shorten the visa process are being implemented, potentially trimming a years-long process down to months. – Military Times 

Editorial: Western countries made clear that their meeting with the Taliban did not imply diplomatic recognition, and that future relations will hinge in part on whether the Taliban ends “conditions and obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid” and permits girls to return to secondary schools, as promised, when classrooms reopen in March. The people of Afghanistan desperately need food and medicine; they are also entitled to their human rights. U.S. policy should pursue both. – Washington Post  

Danielle Pletka writes: It’s been a rough year, not just for refugees, but for so many Americans. We’re angry, we’re tired. We’re sick of being sick; of arguing about masks, politics, vaccines; of worrying about the future, the present and our kids. We are, as the papers keep telling us, more divided than ever before. But guess what? Americans are wonderful, and it’s not just my neighbors and colleagues. They’re generous, they’re kind, they’re selfless. Are we, here near the nation’s capital, better off than many? Yep. But I know from the relief agencies I’m talking to that it’s not wealth that’s a factor in so much generosity. It’s character. – Washington Post  


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late on Wednesday that he would be hosting President Issac Herzog for an official visit to Turkey as early as next month. – Ynet 

Emergency measures announced by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month have helped the Turkish lira to post a relatively calm start to 2022 after a chaotic December even as analysts remain deeply uncertain over its outlook. – Financial Times  

Dore Gold writes: With the weakening of western resolve to confront Iran, Turkey remains an important potential ally in at least one major Middle Eastern challenge. The normalization of Turkish-Israeli relations is important, but it will not be smooth. […]These are the tough considerations which Israel will have to apply with respect to Turkey, as Iran moves forward in completing a nuclear weapons capability and seeks to implement its program of expansionism across the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post  


Israel Police on Thursday arrested 45 suspects who took part in a slew of clashes between law enforcement and Palestinian and Jewish rioters across East Jerusalem. – Ynet 

Two Israeli Border Police officers were lightly wounded by IDF fire on Thursday morning during an attempt to thwart smuggling along the Egyptian border. – Jerusalem Post  

A bipartisan group of 42 US lawmakers has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to lead an effort to end an ongoing United Nations commission into Israel. – Times of Israel  

With tensions in Europe continuing to rise, Russia’s ambassador to Israel told the Times of Israel on Wednesday that conversations with Israeli officials have not focused on Ukraine. – Times of Israel  

Among the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations on the January 27th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in which he is participating, President Isaac Herzog is addressing a virtual multi-faith event co-hosted by the Hammad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence in Bahrain and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. – Jerusalem Post  

Rachel O’Donoghue writes: Moreover, the US State Department might want to follow the EU’s lead by, at the very least, providing an update on its investigation into the activities of these Palestinian NGOs. This is especially true given that Washington has pledged millions of dollars in aid to groups in the West Bank. – Algemeiner  


At least five people were killed and 34 injured in what Yemeni-government media said was a Houthi missile strike on Marib city on Wednesday night, state news agency SABA said on Friday. – Reuters 

A leading environmental group warned Thursday of a potential major oil leak or explosion on an aging oil tanker moored off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast. The neglected vessel is loaded with more than a million barrels of crude oil. – Associated Press 

The Saud Arabia-led coalition at war in Yemen announced Thursday it is investigating an airstrike on a detention facility there that killed dozens of people. – Associated Press 

Gulf States

Several rockets landed in the Baghdad International Airport compound and near an adjacent U.S. air base, damaging at least one disused civilian aeroplane, Iraqi police sources said. – Reuters 

China’s interests in Iraq, anchored in energy to quench its growing needs, are expanding. Beijing is building power plants, factories, water treatment facilities, as well as badly needed schools across the country. – Associated Press 

 The U.S. was dealt a fresh blow last month when the United Arab Emirates suspended talks to buy the American-made F-35, and it appears Abu Dhabi is leaning further eastward as it continues working with Chinese 5G vendor Huawei. – Defense News  

The Biden administration’s top Middle East official on Thursday defended Saudi Arabia, saying that many in Congress don’t realize that Riyadh is working to end the conflict in Yemen. – Defense One  

Following reports about heavy loss of life in January 21, 2022 airstrikes by the Saudi-led Arab coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen,[1] the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) held a mass rally in the Gaza Strip. […]An official PIJ statement harshly condemned the “aggression” of the Arab coalition and of the Arab regimes “that have tied their fate to the American-Zionist policy in the region.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Qatar plays a kind of double game, pretending that its interest is merely de-escalation, while also trying to be friends with all sides. […]The question for countries in the region and the US is whether Qatar’s double-game can also actually bring real results or if the talk of de-escalation is also a way to position Qatar as the key to every conflict so as to increase its power and profit. – Jerusalem Post  

Middle East & North Africa

A U.S.-backed force battling Islamic State militants for control of a Syrian prison said Thursday that the fight continued, despite having claimed victory a day earlier. – Washington Post  

When the Syrian military opened offices in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour last month to enlist former rebels and repentant army defectors, almost no one showed up. So few in fact that, according to a local news site, Syrian security officers had to pull able-bodied passersby inside in hopes of registering them. – Washington Post 

The attack by Islamic State militants on a Syrian prison holding around 3,000 of its fighters and about 700 children is a predictable tragedy spotlighting the need for urgent international action to deal with those allegedly linked to the extremist group in prisons and camps in the country’s northeast, the U.N. counter-terrorism chief said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath has denounced Egypt as “a big cell” weeks after his release from jail and departure for France, saying he was determined to keep fighting for the Palestinian cause despite threats against his family. – Times of Israel  

Israel and Lebanon expressed willingness to continue negotiations over their maritime border on Wednesday, after a hiatus of over seven months. – Jerusalem Post  

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It may be only a matter of time before Iran puts in place drones for use with its multi-layered terror-narco militia mafia state it is building in southern Syria, a mafia-narco-terror state that is linked to Hezbollah-occupied southern Lebanon and also to Iraq, via Basra and then on to the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Drugs such as Captagon. – Jerusalem Post  

Korean Peninsula

A North Korean defector has been indicted on charges of breaking a South Korean law banning the spread of propaganda leaflets along the inter-Korean border, prosecutors and lawyers said Friday. – New York Times 

North Korea conducted tests of an upgraded long-range cruise missile and a warhead of a tactical guided missile this week, as leader Kim Jong Un visited a munitions factory producing a “major weapon system,” state media KCNA said on Friday. – Reuters  

The top security adviser of South Korea’s ruling party presidential candidate said his team aims to overcome previous failures in bridging North Korea and the United States, and present a more “persuasive” strategy to jumpstart nuclear talks. – Reuters  

On January 5 and 11, 2022, Pyongyang test-launched its second hypersonic missile capable of evasive flight maneuvers. The missile event was yet another step in North Korea’s relentless development in recent years of a more extensive and improved arsenal of land-based and sea-based missiles to threaten the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan. Every North Korean missile development is worrisome, particularly missiles that could have the ability to evade allied missile defenses. – Heritage Foundation 

Edward Wong writes: Mr. Kim’s provocations could accelerate as presidential elections in South Korea approach in March, and as he prepares the nation for the April 15 birthday celebrations of his grandfather and the first leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung. Officials are carrying out campaigns to burnish the family legacy and to emphasize the country’s antagonistic relations with the United States. – New York Times  


Imbalances in the Chinese economy have worsened and delayed China’s transition to consumption-led growth, the International Monetary Fund said in an annual review on Friday, slashing its outlook for the country this year. – Wall Street Journal 

The Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday that a state-owned Chinese telecom operator can no longer operate in the United States for national security reasons, as officials in Washington go further to limit the influence of Chinese companies over American consumers, businesses and communications networks. – New York Times  

China wants the United States to yield to Russia’s demands for a NATO rollback, a senior diplomat told Secretary of State Antony Blinken just as trans-Atlantic officials offered a written proposal to avert a wider war in Ukraine without complying with Moscow’s ultimatum. – Washington Examiner 

China’s foreign ministry said the United Nations human rights chief is welcome to visit Xinjiang but not for the purpose of an investigation, when asked about a report the commissioner was invited to come in the first half of 2022. – Reuters 

China said it will strengthen its governance in space over the next five years to better protect its assets and interests, including the study of plans to build a near-earth object defence system and cooperation with other nations. – Reuters 

China will jail forty-seven steel company officials for faking air pollution data, in a sign that Beijing’s crackdown on firms that are flouting environmental rules is intensifying. – Bloomberg 

China has offered support for Russia in the face of its stand-off with the US and Nato over Ukraine, saying Moscow had “reasonable security concerns” that Washington and its allies should take “seriously”. – Financial Times  


Fighting between the border guards services of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has wounded at least six people, local news reports said Thursday. – Associated Press 

An aircraft from a company specializing in recoveries from oil spills arrived Thursday from Malaysia to join an urgent effort to clean up an oil slick before it could hit beaches in eastern Thailand, officials said. – Associated Press 

India and five central Asian countries on Thursday decided to set up a joint working group for providing aid to Afghanistan to tackle the humanitarian crisis and the issue of recognition of the Taliban, an Indian official said. – Associated Press 

The Pakistani military says 10 of its soldiers were killed earlier this week in an attack claimed by separatists in the restive southern province of Balochistan. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty   

The U.S. and Taiwanese vice presidents had a brief conversation on Thursday at the inauguration of the new Honduran president, a rare encounter that is highly symbolic and provoking anger in Beijing at a time of simmering tension with Washington. – Reuters 

Josh Rogin writes: Asia is waiting for Biden to make good on his promises on a range of fronts. The Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific economic strategy has yet to be revealed. Several Asian countries don’t even have U.S. ambassadors. The overwhelming majority of U.S. economic assistance and military aid still goes to governments in the Middle East. The Biden team should mount a diplomatic and economic surge in Asia to restore confidence in the U.S. commitment to the region as soon as possible. […]If war in Europe does come, the U.S. government and Congress must resist the urge to delay or divert current plans to shift our focus to Asia. We must not once again sacrifice the future for the sake of the present. – Washington Post 

Kharis Templeman writes: In reality, it is American prioritization, rather than reputation, that matters most for Taiwan’s security. Diverting resources and attention away from the Indo-Pacific to meet a lesser threat will not help reassure allies and partners in the region where the United States will face its greatest security challenges over the next decade. – War on the Rocks 


The U.S. called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the standoff over Ukraine, seeking to apply international pressure on Russia to negotiate its concerns about European security among diplomats rather than on the battlefield. – Wall Street Journal 

Moscow has put what appear to be final preparations for an invasion of Ukraine by sending medical units to the front, moving to a level of readiness that it hadn’t reached in past buildups, according to Western defense officials. – Wall Street Journal 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would “retaliate” if its demands for a halt to NATO expansion were not met, shortly before French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin were set to discuss the Ukraine crisis by phone Friday. – Washington Post 

Now, after a long freeze, senior Ukrainian and Russian officials are talking about implementing the Minsk-2 accords once again, with France and Germany seeing this process as a possible off-ramp that would allow Russian President Vladimir Putin a face-saving way to de-escalate. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia said on Thursday it was clear the United States was not willing to address its main security concerns in their standoff over Ukraine, but both sides kept the door open to further dialogue. – Reuters 

As Russia escalates tensions with Ukraine with its buildup of troops at the border, President Biden must balance projecting strength in the global power struggle with a U.S. wary of engaging in foreign military conflicts. – The Hill 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been talking to all the usual suspects as the United States rallies other countries to stare down a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Britains, Frances and Germanys of the world are, of course, on that list. – Politico 

Fareed Zakaria writes: And yet, the United States cannot — and should not — forswear the possibility that Ukraine could join NATO at some point in the future. Between those two realities lies a narrow corridor, a space for creative diplomacy to avert a war that could consume the energies of both sides for years. – Washington Post  

Anton Troianovski, Michael Schwirtz and Andrew E. Kramer write: But as the Kremlin’s rhetoric increasingly cast Russia as locked in an existential conflict with the West, little expense was spared. The investment in the military was accompanied by a militarization of Russian society under Mr. Putin, entrenching the concept of a motherland surrounded by enemies and the possibility of a coming war. – New York Times 

Yulia Latynina writes: His options are limited. He can demand the West stop its military supplies. He might vent his frustrations on the opposition, all the while seeking to portray Russia as victim of the nefarious West. Or he could test the waters with a deniable provocation undertaken by supposedly private Russian citizens, those Mr. Putin once called “coal miners and tractor drivers.” That may be a small way to save face, but it could easily spill out of control. The risk of outright war is enormous. – New York Times  

Leonid Bershidsky writes: I’m not saying the military experts are wrong. Putin can launch the strike they expect, and he has strategic reasons to do it at some point. Ukraine has been living on a powder keg since 2014. It’s strange, however, that Western observers of the crisis aren’t paying more attention to the calm behavior of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his closest aides. […]I’m not a betting man, but I hope so too. – Bloomberg 

Anthony J. Colangelo writes: A military intervention in Ukraine would be a horrific development, invariably leading to large scale loss of life and suffering. But should the United States be forced down that path, it is incumbent on us to articulate our justification and execute our campaign in line with the laws of war, not because of some abstract fidelity to humanitarian law, but because it gives us a major hand in the perpetuation and development of that law. – The Hill 

Angela Stent writes: As the United States and its allies await Russia’s next move and try to deter an invasion with diplomacy and the threat of heavy sanctions, they need to understand Putin’s motives and what they portend. The current crisis is ultimately about Russia redrawing the post–Cold War map and seeking to reassert its influence over half of Europe, based on the claim that it is guaranteeing its own security. It may be possible to avert a military conflict this time. But as long as Putin remains in power, so will his doctrine. – Foreign Affairs 

Frederick W. Kagan, Mason Clark, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: The United States and its other NATO partners must nevertheless accept the risk of serious strain and even damage to the US-German and NATO-German relationship to respond decisively to this more-limited form of Russian aggression. […]Repairing strains with Germany and other allies, especially those caused by bad decisions the German government has already made, is a more manageable problem in the long run. – Institute for the Study of War 

Dennis Ross and Anna Borshchevskaya write: Ultimately, if we want Putin to act differently, we, too, must demonstrate less risk aversion. Putin watches our behavior everywhere, not just in Europe. Yes, we should initiate discussions on having Sweden and Finland join NATO and rotate more forces into Poland and Lithuania. But maybe also it is time to respond more forcefully to threats against our forces in Syria and Iraq. […]Some will argue that these actions could increase the risk of conflict—and they would be right. With Putin, regrettably, that is the point. – The National Interest 

Tom McTague writes: Whatever happens next, this feels like a pivotal moment in the 21st century. The countries that make up NATO remain some of the wealthiest and most advanced societies on earth. So far, the West has united in a fairly impressive manner in the face of Russia’s aggression. Yet the fact remains that one half of the empire is overextended and the other is underextended. The pigeon and the child might not like the brutal geopolitical chess game that Putin (or, for that matter, Xi) is playing, but it’s time they sat down and relearned the rules before they are placed in checkmate. – The Atlantic 

Matthew Karnitschnig writes: While some worry another Russian invasion of Ukraine would vault Europe back to the Cold War, that may only be half right. For much of the Cold War, relations between East and West were stable, governed by an array of arms-control agreements and other treaties. What may lie ahead promises to be much more unpredictable. And unlike during the Cold War, the U.S. has to split its attention between Asia and Europe. – Politico 


The Pentagon is defending its preparations in response to the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a top spokesman on Thursday highlighting that the United States has provided millions of dollars in weapons to Kyiv and providing new details about U.S. military forces that could deploy to Eastern Europe to bolster security there. – Washington Post  

European officials are scrambling to lock down energy supplies they would need to keep their economies churning if hostilities around Ukraine imperil natural gas piped from Russia, and have turned to the U.S. for help finding backup sources beyond Moscow’s control. – Wall Street Journal 

The European Union hit back against China’s targeting of one of the bloc’s smallest members over its ties to Taiwan, opening a new front in the global battle over Beijing’s use of economic pressure to advance political objectives. – Wall Street Journal 

After weeks of scrutiny for its less-than-firm diplomatic stance against Russia, the German government announced that it would send 5,000 combat helmets to help Ukraine defend itself in case of an attack by Moscow. – New York Times  

A member of the Ukrainian National Guard opened fire at an aerospace and rocket factory on Thursday, killing five people, the authorities said, and raising anxiety in a region already on tenterhooks as tensions with Russia grow. – New York Times  

NATO is right back in its element. As tensions mount with Russia, the world’s biggest military organization is focused on security: defending the territory of its 30 member countries. That involves deterring any attempt to destabilize countries on its eastern flank like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. – Associated Press 

In a break from the past, the U.S. and its allies are increasingly revealing their intelligence findings as they confront Russian preparations for invading Ukraine, looking to undercut Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans by exposing them and deflecting his efforts to shape world opinion. – Associated Press 

The United States and Germany on Thursday warned Russia that a major gas pipeline was at stake if it invades Ukraine, as Washington voiced hope for a diplomatic way out despite frigid statements from Moscow. – Agence France-Presse  

“How much explosives do you think can fit in this one?” asked a Ukrainian bomb disposal expert, holding up a blue-and-yellow owl mascot in front of astonished pupils attending emergency drills at their school in Kyiv on Thursday. – Reuters 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit the White House on Feb. 7 amid rising tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border and within NATO. – Washington Examiner 

Mark Landler, Steven Erlanger and David E. Sanger Mr. Putin’s string of provocations — moving large numbers of troops into Belarus, and holding large military exercises on Ukraine’s borders, naval exercises in the Baltic Sea and even a planned exercise off the coast of Ireland — have drawn Europeans and Americans together in a way that no European or American leader could. – New York Times 

Peggy Noonan writes: I thought my friend Safire right then. Now I think we were mostly wrong. The Soviet republics did break off and forge their own paths, and with Western help the nukes were deactivated and sent back to Russia, where they were dismantled. It was one of the great and still not sufficiently heralded moments of the Cold War, and it was done by a political class that was serious, and even took a chance on speaking seriously. – Wall Street Journal 

Anthony Faiola writes: Should peace not prevail, western-gazing Ukrainians would pay the highest price. But in a worst-case scenario, the cost of a major Russian invasion of Ukraine — one of the world’s largest grain exporters — could ripple across the globe, driving up already surging food prices and increasing the risk of social unrest well beyond Eastern Europe. […]The impact on global consumers could be far worse should the Russians seek to take steps — including higher export tariffs — to corral their own wheat production to ensure food security during any prospective war. – Washington Post 

Tom Rogin writes: Put simply, some ideas for supporting Ukraine are better than others. The Biden administration has been far too slow to provide Ukraine with the anti-tank and man-portable anti-air capabilities that it has long sought. Alongside threats to unilaterally sanction Nord Stream 2 and Putin’s oligarch allies in London, the U.S. focus should fall on supporting Ukraine in this area. – Washington Examiner 

Martin Ivens writes: It is true that the U.K. is now taking a firmer stand in the latest iteration of the Ukrainian crisis. But it could and should still do more — especially as its allies appear disunited. – Bloomberg  


Burkina Faso’s new military leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba said on Thursday that the West African country return to constitutional order when conditions are right. – Reuters 

France’s foreign minister said on Friday that a standoff with an “out of control” junta in Mali was untenable, and that Paris was discussing with partners how to adapt its operations to continue the fight against Islamist militants there. – Reuters 

Rwandan authorities said early Friday they would reopen the border with Uganda, ending nearly three years of a standoff that appeared to hurt both countries’ economies and raised fears of armed hostilities. – Associated Press 

Denmark will pull its small military force out of northern Mali after the West African country’s transitional government said no permission had been given for them to deploy there, the Danish foreign minister said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Bobby Ghosh writes: Quite apart from democratic principles and promises to promote them, Biden should make the Sahel a priority for national security and foreign policy reasons. It is in this stretch of territory where Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorist groups are putting down roots. Left unchecked, they will undoubtedly use the Sahel as a staging ground for attacks against the U.S. and its allies. – Bloomberg 


Rights activists and journalists targeted by Pegasus spyware in Hungary are mounting a legal campaign to challenge the government’s alleged use of the Israeli-made technology. – Washington Post  

An Air Force cyber squadron recently lent its expertise in cloud defense to improve the skills of international partners and the other services, conducting a cyber exercise in a cloud-based simulation where operators had to protect the medical data of fictional citizens from malicious attacks. – Defense News 

Britain warned big business on Friday to bolster defences against possible Russian cyber attacks as Western fears deepened that President Vladimir Putin would order his troops to annex another part of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Michael Levenson writes: The recent American blacklisting of NSO could suffocate the company by denying it access to the American technology it needs to run its operations, including Dell computers and Amazon cloud servers. The rebuke has infuriated Israeli officials who have denounced the move as an attack not only on a crown jewel of the country’s defense industry but on the country itself. – New York Times  

Dmitri Alperovitch writes: What can Ukraine do to shield itself from a possible Russian cyberoffensive? Unfortunately, not very much this late in the game. […]If Russia has already laid the groundwork for a campaign of cyberattacks against Ukraine, it is probably too late for Ukraine to completely defend itself. Even with the best defenses in place, Ukraine would likely suffer at least some damage to its Internet-connected infrastructure, although it is impossible to know in advance how extensive that damage could be. – Foreign Affairs 


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday directed the Pentagon to devise plans for reducing civilian casualties that result from the actions of U.S. and partner forces, after an independent examination found widespread inconsistencies in how the military investigates and responds to such incidents. – Washington Post  

The U.S. Air Force risks repeating its previous mistakes on the KC-46A Pegasus program by planning to accept a redesign of its troubled Remote Vision System without taking the right precautions, the Government Accountability Office said. – Defense News 

Tom Donilon writes: Drones have the potential to revolutionize life for the better, offering everything from faster deliveries to more efficient farming to smarter weather forecasts. To preserve those benefits while mitigating the costs, Washington needs to take a fundamentally different approach: anticipating the many dangers from drones, rather than responding to them as they arise. Otherwise, as with the Internet, it risks losing control. – Foreign Affairs  

Dustin Walker writes: For too long, the Pentagon has moved too slowly to achieve its ambitions of a distributed and resilient force posture in the Indo-Pacific, with dangerous consequences for American security. Urgent change at a significant scale is required, and that starts with the secretary of defense declaring, “I am Spike.” – War on the Rocks