Fdd's overnight brief

July 1, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured after a Russian strike on a residential building in the Odessa area, Kyiv said early Friday. Regional officials said that two nearby buildings were also hit, resulting in three additional fatalities. The Kremlin more than doubled the rate of its missile strikes in the second half of June, according to a Ukrainian general, who said more than half of the Russian munitions date back to the Soviet era and are inaccurate, resulting in significant civilian casualties. – Washington Post

The United States plans to announce another $800 million in weapons aid for Ukraine in the coming days, President Biden said Thursday at the close of a NATO summit in Madrid. He also warned U.S. consumers that gas prices would remain high as a result of the war. – Washington Post

At the end of six days of international summitry, President Biden pledged to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” as Russia’s war drags on and Western countries pour billions of dollars in arms and humanitarian aid into the conflict. – Wall Street Journal  

Russian troops have withdrawn from Snake Island in the Black Sea after repeated assaults by Ukrainian forces, a move that is a setback for Moscow’s forces and possibly undermines their control over vital shipping lanes for grain in the Black Sea. – New York Times

A leading economic expert in Russia was detained Thursday on embezzlement charges as part of a high-profile case that some observers saw as linked to purges targeting members of the country’s liberal elite. – Associated Press

International Criminal Court judges have issued arrest warrants for three men wanted on suspicion of committing war crimes during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the court announced Thursday. The Hague-based court opened an investigation in 2016 into the conflict, which killed hundreds and left thousands of civilians displaced. Russia invaded Georgia after violence broke out between separatist groups and Georgian forces. – Associated Press

A senior Russian official warned Thursday that Moscow could see Western sanctions as a cause for war. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, denounced the Western restrictions as “boorish and cynical” and noted that they border on “economic war.” – Associated Press

It has not been an easy week for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He took his first foreign trip since the invasion of Ukraine to shore up relations with troublesome Central Asian allies. He watched as NATO declared Moscow its main enemy and invited Russia’s neighbors Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. And he was forced to deny that his troops had yet again attacked a civilian target in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on Thursday it had issued an order to Russia to ensure that two Britons captured after fighting for Ukraine do not face the death penalty. Earlier this month, a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine sentenced British citizens Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death, accusing them of “mercenary activities”. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow was open to dialogue on strategic stability and nuclear non-proliferation, but the Kremlin said no such talks with Washington were on the cards for now. Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Moscow and Washington have stressed the importance of maintaining communication on the issue of nuclear arms. – Reuters

Some captured members of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment will face trial, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament said on Thursday, a day after Russia’s top court postponed a decision on whether to brand the unit as a terrorist entity. – Reuters

A billion-dollar fund belonging to a Russian government official and invested in U.S. public companies has been frozen by the Treasury Department after an investigation going back more than a year. – The Hill 

The war in Ukraine is no stranger to drones, but the kamikaze drone strike on the Russian city of Rostov last week marked the beginning of a whole chapter in drone warfare. […] Given how cheap it is to make a drone, and its successful evasion of Russian air defenses, Russian officials might soon have to worry about defending oil facilities, supply depots, and military installations deep in Russian territory. – The Daily Beast

Editorial: The greatest imponderable for NATO is the ultimate outcome of the war in Ukraine. Experience so far shows that Russia’s designs can at least be blunted, and possibly thwarted, given sufficient allied resolve under U.S. leadership. Mr. Biden should act on that lesson as long as he is president — and his successors should, too. – Washington Post

Editorial: The Russian Defense Ministry claimed Thursday that its withdrawal from Snake Island was “a goodwill gesture.” That’s hard to believe given Russia’s bloody-mindedness in this war. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry credited weapons and “equipment from our international partners.” When the West provides sufficient firepower, Ukraine’s military has shown it knows how to use it. – Wall Street Journal 

Karolina Hird, Kateryna Stepanenko, Frederick W. Kagan, and Grace Mappes writes: Russian authorities continued measures to facilitate the economic and financial integration of occupied territories on June 29. (…)Khusnullin reported that Russian authorities are continuing to prepare to re-open the Port of Mariupol and that Russian authorities have already exported 7,000 tons of Ukrainian grain through the Port of Berdyansk.[36] Mayor of Enerhodar Dmytro Orlov additionally stated that Russian authorities in Enerhodar are spreading fake information that non-cash payment systems will no longer be making hryvnia payments in order to prompt residents to withdraw large quantities of hryvnias – Institute for the Study of War


The spectre of an emerging Arab-Israeli bloc that could tilt the Middle East balance of power further away from Iran is driving the Islamic Republic to pursue nuclear talks with world powers with renewed determination, officials and analysts said. – Reuters

Iran said Thursday it is ready for new indirect talks with the United States to overcome the last hurdles to revive its tattered 2015 nuclear deal with major powers amid a growing crisis over the country’s atomic program. – Associated Press

The chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are worse after indirect U.S.-Iranian talks in Doha that ended without progress, a senior U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. “The prospects for a deal after Doha are worse than they were before Doha and they will be getting worse by the day,” said the official on condition of anonymity. – Reuters

An Iranian plot to attack Israelis centered on targeting former Israel’s consul general to Istanbul Yossi Levi-Sfari, according to the Turkish Sabah news outlet. According to the report, the Iranian attackers were staying in the same hotel as Levi-Sfari and his partner, Ronny Goldberg, and planned to kidnap and then execute the two men. – Times of Israel

The Norway-based watchdog Iran Human Rights says it has found evidence that 10 people convicted of various charges had their punishments meted out in a mass execution on June 29 at the Rajai-Shahr prison in the city of Karaj. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

An Argentine prosecutor is investigating the circumstances behind an aircraft flown by Iranian pilot that is being held in Buenos Aires, the site of multiple terror attacks on Jewish sites believed to be coordinated by Iran in recent decades. – Arutz Sheva

After repeated incidents showing widespread infiltration in its intelligence and security networks reportedly by Israel, Iran’s IRGC admitted its counter-intelligence was targeted. During a ceremony to introduce the new IRGC counter-intelligence chief on Thursday, Revolutionary Guard’s commander Hossein Salami acknowledged the experience and expertise of Israeli and Western intelligence agencies, saying that “the enemy seeks to strip us of our self-confidence and make us feel empty inside.” – Iran International

The discussion of Iran’s nuclear dossier has reverted to square [one] of the pre-2015 [JCPOA nuclear agreement], with considerable differences – all of which serve Iran’s interest. The first of these differences is Iran’s exploitation of the nuclear agreement that it signed with the 5+1 group, which served it as a cover and provided international legitimacy for its nuclear activity in the years [since the agreement] – to the point where it is approaching the level of uranium enrichment required for a nuclear bomb. – Middle East Media Research Institute

James Phillips and Peter Brookes write: The United States must hold Iran accountable for its accelerating nuclear program and multiple proxy attacks against U.S. forces and interests. It must compel Iran’s regime to pay a much higher price for those actions, or Tehran will continue to act with impunity. And, the U.S. must develop policies that will prevent Iran from becoming the world’s tenth nuclear-armed state. – Heritage Foundation


The Taliban’s reclusive supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada is attending a major gathering of clerics in the Afghan capital, a government spokesman said Friday. Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August, had “entered the assembly hall”, Bilal Karimi tweeted. – Agence France-Presse

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey had offered to operate Kabul airport in Afghanistan with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and was awaiting the Taliban’s response to the proposal. – Reuters

Thousands of influential Afghans have gathered in Kabul to discuss pressing national issues, but the Taliban organizers of the meeting have shown that women and beleaguered minorities are not welcome in shaping Afghanistan’s future. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan says girls’ access to secondary education has been on the agenda in recent talks he’s had with members of the Taliban-led government, but they have not explained why girls have been excluded or indicated when schools might reopen for girls. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Editorial: But the Taliban’s appalling record and erosion of women’s fundamental liberties must, for now, not impede relief. In the long term, Afghanistan must be weaned off its dependence on development funding, which disappeared as hastily as allied troops when the Taliban regained power in August. Conditions can be rightly imposed on such funds. But saving ordinary Afghans from starvation or natural disasters should not come with strings attached. – Financial Times


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland on Thursday to meet their obligations to Turkey under an agreement signed at the NATO summit in Madrid, raising concerns that an 11th-hour deal to allow the two Nordic countries to join the alliance might already be under threat. – Washington Post

Turkey’s RTUK media watchdog has blocked access to U.S.-based Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle for not applying for the licenses it requests, a member of the watchdog said on Thursday. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that efforts must be intensified for a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine. He was speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a NATO summit. – Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he did not discuss U.S. sanctions imposed on Turkey in his meeting with President Joe Biden this week, but there have been positive developments on the issue in talks between their foreign ministers. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Greece has violated Turkish airspace 147 times and it needs to be held accountable for this. – Reuters

Josh Rogin writes: The Biden administration would be better off holding its nose and moving forward on improving relations with Turkey, rather than spending its limited diplomatic time and energy focusing on partners that have less ability or will to help, such as Saudi Arabia. Bringing Ankara on board could be the key to helping Ukraine break the stalemate and win the war. – Washington Post


As Israel heads to its fifth election in less than four years, the role of Arab parties in government has emerged as a lightning rod in the coming vote, possibly driving a further rightward shift in the electorate and giving a boost to the fortunes of former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. – Wall Street Journal 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday ordered his ministry’s security department to conduct an investigation into recent media leaks that harmed Israel’s “ambiguity policy,” shortly after Hebrew-language television strongly hinted that a Military Intelligence unit was responsible for a cyberattack in Iran. – Times of Israel

US President Joe Biden said Thursday that one of the purposes of his upcoming trip to the Middle East is to “deepen Israel’s integration in the region.” “I think we’re going to be able to do [that], which is good — good for peace and good for Israeli security,” he said during a press conference on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Spain. – Times of Israel

A prominent financial services firm promotes divestment from companies that help the Israeli government combat Palestinian suicide bombers, according to an independent investigation conducted by a Washington, D.C. think tank. – The Washington Free Beacon

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar has donated $60 million to the Lebanese army, hard hit by the Mediterranean nation’s unprecedented economic meltdown, Qatar News Agency reported Thursday. The announcement came shortly after Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Beirut, where he is expected to meet senior Lebanese officials. – Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he would not directly press Saudi Arabia to increase oil output to curb soaring crude prices when he sees the Saudi king and crown prince during a visit next month. – Reuters

While EU sanctions on Syria do not explicitly prohibit phosphate imports, they do ban deals with the Syrian minister of oil and mineral resources, who is in charge of phosphates. European companies also risk running afoul of the global reach of US sanctions on the Syrian government. Meanwhile, Timchenko was one the first oligarchs added to UK and EU sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. – The Guardian

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has raised the case of jailed engineer Robert Pether with the Iraqi leader, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, as the Australian’s family warns he has become “gravely ill” and is rapidly deteriorating in his Baghdadi jail cell. – The Guardian

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall question, as we look at the recent reports about US-Israel talks, Israeli strikes in Syria and regional security talks suggests a much more healthy relationship between the US and Israel, as well as between the US and other Middle East allies. If once the US had to follow two tracks, one for the Middle East and another for US-Israel relations, now there is cross pollination and the relationship may grow beyond the sum of its parts. – Jerusalem Post

Sen. Lindsey Graham writes: While this is a complicated problem to solve, it is imperative that Congress and the Biden administration work together to find a solution before it’s too late. When ISIS is thriving in the Middle East, our way of life is threatened here at home. The gains we’ve made to destroy the caliphate are in jeopardy. The brewing conflict between Turkey, our NATO ally, and forces within northeastern Syria is growing by the day. Now is time to act. The process of solving this problem will be difficult, but working toward a solution is far better than to ignore the problem and have to deal with ISIS all over again. – Fox News

Korean Peninsula

North Korea on Friday identified the supposed source of its coronavirus outbreak for the first time, claiming people contracted the virus after coming into contact with “alien things” along its border with South Korea. – Washington Post

North Korea said the United States is taking advantage of its COVID-19 outbreak by offering humanitarian aid with political purposes. The ministry criticized the United States’ offer of humanitarian aid to be insincere amid its recent military exercises and moves to impose more sanctions. – Reuters

South Korea’s president warned a NATO summit of the threat to universal values at a time of new conflict and competition, a reference to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and China’s engagement with Russia, a South Korean official said. – Reuters


On the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British rule, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that renewed order will deliver a bright future in the city, even as Beijing’s security clampdown and increasing control have thrown into doubt its international position. – Washington Post

The U.S. and key allies across Europe and Asia are closing ranks against China, which is seen as a shared security challenge, more troubling for its support for Russia amid the Ukraine war. – Wall Street Journal  

In the 25 years since the handover, the only constant has been change, both defined and defied by the people of Queen’s Road, Hong Kong’s most storied avenue. All around them, a city has been transformed: by the dizzying economic expansion of mainland China threatening to make this international entrepôt unnecessary, but also by the crushing of freedoms by Hong Kong’s current rulers, who have filled jails with young political prisoners. – New York Times

China’s embassy in New Zealand rebuked New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for comments she made at the NATO summit about Chinese assertiveness, calling them “misguided” and “wrong”. Ardern said on Wednesday in Madrid that China has “in recent times also become more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms.” – Reuters

Freedom in Hong Kong has “vanished” and China has failed to live up to its promises of 50 years without change, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Friday, the 25th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule – Reuters

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would do all it could to hold Beijing to its commitments on democratic rights made 25 years ago when Hong Kong was handed back to China. Johnson said China had failed to comply with its commitment to respect a “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement agreed under the deal that ended British colonial rule in 1997. – Reuters

The alliance said, however, that it remained “open to constructive engagement” with Beijing. China shot back that NATO was a source of instability and vowed to defend its interests. “Since NATO positions China as a ‘systemic challenge,’ we have to pay close attention and respond in a coordinated way. When it comes to acts that undermine China’s interests, we will make firm and strong responses,” its statement said. – Associated Press

Gordon G. Chang writes: Protest movements in Hong Kong follow Yon’s pattern. Without warning, more than a half-million people came out to demonstrate in 2003 over a Hong Kong government attempt to enact national-security legislation. (…) So why did Xi Jinping not feel safe enough to stay one night in Hong Kong? I suspect he knows that despite the coercive power of the world’s largest communist state, Hong Kong remains hostile territory for him, populated by freedom-loving insurgents. – New York Post

South Asia

Thousands of Hindu devotees began an annual pilgrimage Thursday through mountain passes and meadows to an icy Himalayan cave in Indian-controlled Kashmir amid heavy security in the Muslim-majority region. Officials say pilgrims face heightened threat of attacks from rebels fighting against Indian rule and have for the first time tagged devotees with a wireless tracking system. They also have deployed drones for surveillance. – Associated Press

The International Monetary Fund said its talks with crisis-hit Sri Lanka had been “constructive” on Thursday, raising hopes it would soon grant preliminary approval for a desperately needed financial support package. – Reuters

India’s top court has rebuked a former spokesperson of the ruling party for her controversial remarks on the Prophet Muhammad. The court told Nupur Sharma that “her loose tongue has set the entire country on fire”. – BBC

Boris Johnson has for the first time said that the Indian government is arbitrarily detaining Jagtar Singh Johal, the British Sikh activist held in an Indian jail for four and a half years. […] The degree of high-level cross-party interest in the case is now likely to put pressure on the wider British relationship with India. The UK has been pursuing a relationship based on closer trade, and trying to woo a reluctant India towards a defence alliance more hostile to China. – The Guardian

Dustin Carmack, Akshay Mathur, Harsh V Pant, Trisha Ray, Jeff M. Smith, Kabir Taneja write: Both India and the US will look to the next decade to expand cooperation in the defence sector, as the challenges at the regional and global levels require an enhanced momentum. India-US cooperation in these areas will also provide a framework for the application of combined strategies in the Indo-Pacific region. In the event of a changing threat perception and strategic recalibration of the US in the Eurasian heartland, a heightened, coordinated and cooperative approach will be key to stronger India-US ties through the next decade and beyond. – Heritage Foundation


Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow a day after he held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Wednesday—meetings in which Mr. Widodo said he appealed for peace and sought solutions to the global food-supply disruptions caused by war. – Wall Street Journal  

Thailand said Friday that neighboring Myanmar has apologized after one of its fighter jets crossed into Thai airspace on a bombing run along the border, forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of schoolchildren and scramble air force jets to the area. – Associated Press

Cambodia’s foreign minister is making his second visit to Myanmar as a special envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the country that has been mired in violence and civil unrest since the military seized power last year. State-run television MRTV reported that Prak Sokhonn and his party were welcomed by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after their arrival in Yangon on Wednesday. – Associated Press

The West must learn from its mistakes in failing to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and apply those lessons to “protect peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”, British foreign minister Liz Truss said on Thursday, as Beijing protested. – Reuters

Robbie Gramer writes: Much of the tension stems from disputes on whether Japan has done enough to make amends for its brutal treatment of forced laborers from Korea and its practice of forcing Korean women into sexual slavery up until World War II ended and the Japanese empire dissolved. Japan insists that it resolved all compensation issues related to the survivors and victims in Korea under a 1965 treaty and a 2015 deal aimed at settling the issue of so-called comfort women. – Foreign Policy

Emil Avdaliani writes: Along with the increased commerce with Turkey and a new route to European markets, reconciliation with their eastern neighbor would restore railway ties, effectively transforming Armenia from a traditionally isolated actor into an active player in the South Caucasus. […] Thus the thaw in ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closely related to the nascent rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey. It is still far from clear how long it will take to see a meaningful improvement in ties between Armenia and its neighbors, but the progress so far is significant enough to argue that continuity is likely. – Middle East Institute 

Lisa Curtis, Jacob Stokes, Joshua Fitt and CDR Andrew J. Adams writes: The Quad also has a role to play in helping to set standards and norms for the use of emerging and critical technologies to ensure that they are developed and deployed in a manner consistent with a free, open, transparent, and rules-based Indo-Pacific. By combining resources and expertise and bringing to bear shared democratic values, these four powerful nations can shape the environment in which new technologies will emerge and protect global access to critical technologies. – Center for a New American Security


A patched-up dispute between the European Union and Poland over judicial independence revived Thursday when a top EU official said new Polish regulations did not meet expectations, threatening the flow of billions of euros in recovery funds to Warsaw. – Associated Press

The European Union and New Zealand said Thursday they have concluded a free trade deal after four years of negotiations and sealed a partnership to reinforce their cooperation against organized crime and terror groups. – Associated Press

Hundreds of Ukrainian troops have completed military training in Britain, including on the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) the British government is supplying to help counter Russian artillery tactics. – Reuters

Henry Olsen writes: Europe’s rapid rearmament will also help reduce the strain on U.S. resources. President Biden’s announcement on Wednesday that the United States would increase its military presence in Europe is good for the alliance. But it also shows how much the region depends on the United States in the short-term. China’s rapid rise means the United States will increasingly have to deploy its forces to Asia, even as our allies in that region rearm, too. – Washington Post

Katja Hoyer writes: It will take more than an infusion of cash and a few PR events to heal the troubled relationship between Germany and its military. Someone once observed that Prussia was not a country with an army but an army with a country. Modern Germany has become a country that would rather not have an army at all. It’s time that changed. One of the most powerful democracies in the world, Germany can become a force for good. It just needs to believe it. – Washington Post

Rebecca Grant writes: The next step is for NATO’s parliaments to ratify the treaty update. NATO will then have 32 members, making this North Atlantic Treaty Organization founded in 1949 the most successful alliance in world history.  NATO and its friends are the best hope of the world.  Welcome, Finland and Sweden. – Fox News

Andrew Lohsen writes: The United States has emerged a critical partner, but there are political forces that will look for reasons to question the wisdom of continued assistance for Ukraine. Some of this is driven by genuine concern around oversight and accountability. It is in the best interest of Ukraine to be transparent and work to mitigate these concerns, relegating the opposition to the usual anti-foreign assistance suspects. – Center for Strategic and International Studies



But unlike previous hunger calamities, this one is exacerbated by a conflict 3,000 miles away. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is fueling starvation in Somalia and other nations, abetting death, sickness, the disintegration of families and the loss of livelihoods far from the war’s front lines. – Washington Post

About 340 people were killed in an attack in the western part of Ethiopia’s Oromiya region earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said on Thursday, blaming a militia formerly allied to an opposition party. – Reuters 

Britain said on Thursday that it has agreed a new deal with Nigeria that would see them work together to tackle illegal migration and speed up the removal of foreign criminals. The government, which has faced criticism for its recently-announced partnership with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to the East African country, said that the agreement with Nigeria would also promote “shared bilateral economic interests”. – Reuters 

At least eight protesters were shot dead in Sudan on Thursday, medics said, as large crowds took to the streets despite heavy security and a communications blackout to rally against the military leadership that seized power eight months ago. – Reuters 

The head of the United Nations mission in South Sudan urged the East African country’s transitional government Thursday to set a date for elections as time passes. Nicholas Haysom told journalists in the capital, Juba that with barely eight months remaining in the transitional period agreed by political parties, “I am urging south Sudanese leaders to do everything necessary to move the country out of transition and conduct free, fair, creditable and peaceful elections.”  – Associated Press

Gunmen attacked a local mining site in northcentral Nigeria, killing “many security personnel” and abducting some workers including four Chinese nationals, authorities said on Thursday. The attackers on Wednesday evening “invaded” the mining site in Shiroro council area of Niger state which is prone to such attacks and opened fire on those present before fleeing with some staffers including the Chinese, according to Emmanuel Umar, the state commissioner for security. – Associated Press

Latin America

Authorities announced Thursday they have suspended the operations of Puerto Rico-based Euro Pacific International Bank, which officials previously said was under suspicion of facilitating money laundering and offshore tax evasion. – Associated Press

A U.S. delegation led by President Joe Biden’s chief hostage negotiator ended a visit to Venezuela on Thursday after failing to secure the release of any of the Americans detained there, U.S. officials said. – Reuters

Venezuela has taken some steps to strengthen the rule of law but the lack of independence of its legal system remains concerning, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a new report on Wednesday. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday its management had approved a staff-monitored program for Haiti to establish a track record of policy implementation that could lead to an IMF-supported loan program. – Reuters

Colombia’s armed conflict will only end when the 2016 peace deal with the now-demobilized FARC guerrillas is properly implemented and peace talks with other armed groups and gangs make progress, the president of the Andean country’s peace commission said. – Reuters

North America

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled for the Biden administration on a controversial immigration policy, saying it had the authority to reverse a Trump-era initiative that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are reviewed in U.S. courts. – Washington Post

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will increase Canada’s troop presence in Latvia as part of NATO’s commitment to strengthen its deterrence measures along Russia’s border. – Associated Press

Some of the youngest migrants thought to have died in a suffocating trailer in Texas this week set off from poor towns in Guatemala and Mexico, following in the footsteps of relatives seeking a better life in the United States. – Reuters


Europe prepared to lead the world in regulating the freewheeling cryptocurrency industry at a time when prices have plunged, wiping out fortunes, fueling skepticism and sparking calls for tighter scrutiny. The European Union took a first step late Wednesday by agreeing on new rules subjecting cryptocurrency transfers to the same money-laundering rules as traditional banking transfers. – Associated Press

The Belarusian government-linked GhostWriter disinformation campaign tried in mid-June to push a rumor that Ukrainian male refugees in Poland would be identified and deported back to Ukraine for military service using fabricated government correspondence, researchers with cybersecurity firm Mandiant said Thursday. – CyberScoop

California’s Justice Department admitted this week that personal information was leaked after it debuted a new version of its Firearms Dashboard Portal. The state’s Department of Justice on Monday relaunched the portal, which allows the public to see some information about the firearms owned in the state. But it was taken down the following day because it exposed the personal information of anyone who was granted or denied a concealed and carry weapons permit between 2011-2021, said Attorney General Rob Bonta. – The Record


The U.S. Coast Guard selected Austal USA to take over its Offshore Patrol Cutter program, opting not to stick with Eastern Shipbuilding Group, which is building the program’s first four ships. – Defense News

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against information technology consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton to block a planned acquisition, citing fears the purchase could harm the National Security Agency. – Defense News

The Navy is canceling early separation programs and encouraging delayed separation as it aims to retain more sailors, especially in sea billets. […] Under the policy, service commitments, which include enlistment contracts and permanent changes of station, will be fulfilled. Anyone who has trouble completing their service requirements should work with their chain of command and/or detailers to figure out alternatives. – USNI News

Sixteen immigrant veterans and service members’ relatives who were deported have been allowed back into the United States over the last year under a temporary status known as humanitarian parole, the Department of Homeland Security said this week. – Military.com

Long War

A Belgian court on Thursday found 10 people guilty of providing assistance to the Islamist terrorist group that killed 130 people in and around Paris in 2015.  Sentences for some of those convicted ranged from 100 hours of community service to a three-year suspended prison sentence. – New York Times

New Zealand’s government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations. The two groups join 18 others including Islamic State that have been given an official terrorist designation, making it illegal in New Zealand to fund, recruit or participate in the groups, and obligating authorities to take action against them. – Associated Press

Gunmen in Burkina Faso have blown up a bridge on a main road connecting the capital to the north of the country, a security source said Thursday. The incident in the night of Wednesday to Thursday comes as Burkina Faso battles a deadly jihadist insurgency that has seen extremists block access to several thoroughfares and towns in the north and east of the country. – Agence-France Presse