Fdd's overnight brief

July 13, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Early last month, an employee of Sri Lanka’s court system walked into the nation’s biggest airport brandishing a judicial order grounding an Aeroflot flight that was about to take off for Moscow. – Washington Post 

As Russia pushes to find new buyers for its oil to skirt ever tougher Western sanctions, it is cutting into the market share of two of its allies — Iran and Venezuela — and setting off a price war that could hurt them all. – New York Times

It was as if Ukraine’s ambassador in Germany was vying for the title of most undiplomatic diplomat: Determined to spur Berlin into more urgent support for his embattled nation, he mocked the chancellor, told a former lawmaker to “shut your trap,” and posted memes on Twitter likening Germany’s lagging weapons deliveries to a snail with a bullet taped to its back. – New York Times 

In his first trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin, having recently compared himself to Peter the Great, held court among his close allies in Central Asia and insisted that the war was going according to plan. – New York Times 

The European Space Agency is formally ending its partnership with Russia on a rover mission to explore the surface of Mars, the agency’s chief said on Tuesday, citing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

The Ukrainians say they need faster shipments of long-range artillery and other sophisticated weapons to blunt Russia’s steady advance. The United States and the Europeans insist more are on the way but are wary of sending too much equipment before Ukrainian soldiers can be trained. The Pentagon is concerned about potentially depleting its stockpiles in the coming months. – New York Times 

With thousands of sanctions already imposed on Russia to flatten its economy, the U.S. and its allies are working on new measures to starve the Russian war machine while also stopping the price of oil and gasoline from soaring to levels that could crush the global economy. – Associated Press 

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday reported destroying a Russian ammunition depot in southern Ukraine, resulting in a massive explosion captured on social media, while rescuers said the death toll from a weekend Russian strike in the country’s east grew to 45. – Associated Press 

Russian prosecutors on Tuesday brought criminal charges against another opposition figure who has criticized Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, his lawyer said. – Associated Press 

The self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Tuesday opened an embassy in Russia, one of only two countries to recognise the breakaway statelet in eastern Ukraine, and defended its right to impose capital punishment. – Reuters

The U.N. human rights office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday that more than 5,000 civilians had been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, adding that the real toll was likely much higher. – Reuters

Russian exporters will start shipping supplies of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Bulgaria via Georgia’s Black Sea port of Poti in July as traditional export routes remain closed, according to traders and Refinitiv Eikon statistics. – Reuters

Russian authorities have launched a criminal case against Ilya Yashin, one of the last opposition figures remaining in the country, for allegedly spreading false information about the army, his lawyer said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Russia might resort to “recruiting” incarcerated people to fight for an infamous Kremlin-tied mercenary group as a way to make up for troop shortages in Ukraine, according to British intelligence. – Business Insider

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia’s military is too cowardly to concede defeat, and touted his own country’s military prowess as a counter-offensive is launched in southern Ukraine. – Newsweek

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is “likely” trying to show support for his top ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, without directly entering the war in Ukraine, according to a U.S. think tank. – Newsweek 

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: The West has been too slow, and the need to even out the artillery disparity is urgent. Long-range artillery in particular has the potential to “change the war’s direction,” Mr. Mamulashvili says. “We are still standing and waiting when the United States and other countries will help defend democracy. . . . We are still waiting and going through bureaucracy. We could put one camera on the front line and let politicians see how many people will die during their hesitation.” – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins Jr writes: Vladimir Putin, the coldblooded ex-KGB agent, has reasons of his own for occasionally touting Russian superweapons that don’t exist or exist only on the drawing board. His nuclear threats don’t emerge in a vacuum. When the archives are opened, we may find he’s been seeking to counter what he fears are U.S. mind games to put Russia’s government in doubt about the possible existence of unrevealed Pentagon super-capabilities. – Wall Street Journal

Alexander J. Motyl writes: None of these impossible scenarios may come to pass — or all of them may become reality. It makes no sense to pretend that we are living in ordinary times and that the present is a foretaste of the future. Impossibilities may become the norm for several years, and policymakers would be wise to start exercising their imaginations more imaginatively — lest they be caught, again, utterly unprepared for the impossible. – The Hill

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Still, Putin is unlikely to stop. Ukraine was merely the first steppingstone in retaking the heart of Kievan Rus’ — and beyond. His calculated plot has long been underfoot and nothing will dissuade Putin from doggedly pursuing his would-be Peter the Great empire version of the Russian Federation. – The Hill

Elisabeth Braw writes: But they do have more power to change Russia’s disastrous course of action than virtually anyone else. Many also have solid professional reputations. Or rather, they’ve had such reputations. Today Sergey Lavrov is such a persona non grata in the world of diplomacy that the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting on Bali had to take place without a so-called family photo. Russian ambassadors, until relatively recently part of the international tribe that prides itself on fairness and problem-solving expertise, have to debase themselves from repeating Moscow’s lies. – Center for European Policy Analysis

David Reiff writes: It is all very well to talk in welcoming tones about the new age of multipolarity, but for now, at least, that age seems more likely to usher in a period of anarchy and war than stability, balancing, and peace. U.S. foreign policy will be forced to confront this post-Ukraine, and forced to do so at a time in U.S. history where the country is as profoundly divided about how to interpret its past, how to govern itself in the present, and how to imagine a decent future for itself, as it has been at any time since the 1930s. Unenviable does not even begin to describe it. – The National Interest

William Lamping writes: If every step forward furthers Russian national restoration and strength, territorial exchange or return is unacceptable. So long as Russia has the military means to achieve its goals, Moscow will continue “to restore and to strengthen” its hold in Ukraine. For Putin, Russia’s sovereignty requires it. – The National Interest


In a new crackdown on dissidents and artists, Iran has arrested three renowned filmmakers within the past week, as well as a prominent reformist politician and the family members of protesters killed in anti-government uprisings in 2019. –  New York Times 

A luxury-building collapse, a grain-import swindle, an incompetent minister accused of nepotism — a string of cases linked to government corruption has cast a grim light on the year-old presidency of Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line judge who came to power promising to clean up the system. – New York Times 

France‘s new foreign minister said on Tuesday there were only a few weeks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, although a senior U.S. official made clear Washington had set no such deadline. – Reuters

The Biden administration is urging Arab nations to team up with Israel to counter Iranian missiles, but continued mistrust and technological differences mean any kind of alliance could be years away. – Politico

Protesters in Washington, D.C., are hoping to sway the Belgian government into rejecting a bill that, if passed, would facilitate the transfer of a former Iranian diplomat serving a 20-year sentence for plotting a bombing back to Iran. – Washington Examiner

Joe Biden starts the first visit to the Middle East of his presidency with a monumental task: assuring uneasy Israeli and Saudi Arabian officials that he is committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. – Associated Press 

Tehran hit out Tuesday at what it called Washington’s “contradictory” policies, after US President Joe Biden vowed to pile pressure on Iran ahead of a visit to US allies in the Middle East. – Agence France-Presse

Iran has responded to U.S. allegations that Tehran was poised to send armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia amid Moscow’s war in Ukraine, saying that although no recent arrangements had been worked out, longstanding cooperation between the two countries remains intact. – Newsweek

Ukraine International Airlines has sued Iran for $1 billion in reparations for the deliberate shooting down of Flight PS-752 in January of 2020. – Arutz Sheva 

Benny Avni writes: Israel and Saudi Arabia may not immediately leap to overtly arm or finance Ukraine, but when it comes to understanding the global threat of Iran’s drone industry, neither country needs lectures from the White House. – New York Sun 

Eric R. Mandel writes: Israel’s Arab allies in the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East are counting on Israel to stop a nuclear Iran. The Biden administration should understand that Israel doesn’t expect the U.S. to join it in any attack on Iran’s nuclear arms facilities; it only wants the U.S. to not stand in the way if and when Israel finds it necessary to strike. – The Hill

Bobby Ghosh writes: In the meantime, the Biden administration should rigidly enforce US sanctions, starting with a crackdown on all who enable Iran’s illicit oil trade — including some Gulf Arab individuals and companies. And it should provide the Israelis and Arabs the weapons they need to defend against Iran and its proxies. – Bloomberg

James Phillips writes: The geopolitical map of the Middle East is changing fast. Iran’s looming threats have prompted Israel and Sunni Arab states to cooperate against a common adversary, and U.S. policy changes are needed to support a regional realignment. President Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran’s two chief regional rivals, is an excellent opportunity to lay the foundations for expanded U.S.-led regional cooperation to defeat Iranian aggression. – Heritage Foundation

Seth  J. Frantzman writes: That means Iran may be weighing whether it wants to use drones and missiles to attack or threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia, or US troops in Iraq and Syria. Iran has used its proxies to carry out some 29 attacks since last October against US forces in Iraq and Syria. Of course, the lack of Iranian messaging does not mean that such attacks will not happen. But Iran appears concerned about driving Israel and the Arab states into any kind of alliance. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: If the Iran-Russia drone connection grows, the ramifications are massive. Not just for the region, the US, Russia and Ukraine, but also because Iran and Russia could leverage each other’s technical know-how to build more dangerous ones. – Jerusalem Post


Israel is working more closely than ever with Arab countries on a joint effort to contain an increasingly assertive Iran. On a visit to the Mideast this week, President Biden intends to push for deeper, and more public, security partnerships among the onetime adversaries, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal

When President Biden visits Bethlehem on Friday for a short meeting with the Palestinian Authority president, he will arrive in a region that since his last visit six years ago has descended deeper into autocracy, leaving an entire generation politically numb. – Washington Post 

Nine European Union states said on Tuesday they would continue working with the six Palestinian civil society groups that Israel designated terrorist associations last year, citing a lack of evidence for that claim. – Reuters

The Jerusalem Declaration of the US-Israel Strategic Partnership will be a centerpiece of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel on Wednesday through Friday. – Jerusalem Post 

Hezbollah is working with Hamas to develop military ties and deepen Hamas’s control of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned during a state ceremony Tuesday commemorating Israeli soldiers who fell in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. – Jerusalem Post 

Hamas officials said Tuesday that Israel warned the Gaza-based terror group that any escalation of violence during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel this week will come with a heavy price, according to a report by the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al Akhbar. – Times of Israel 

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid  and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Tuesday signed a “comprehensive” strategic partnership to boost cooperation in areas including security, cyber and counter-terrorism, and green tech. – Algemeiner 

Arriving Wednesday to meet with Israeli leaders, President Joe Biden will confront a Middle East dramatically changed since his last visit to the region. Israel’s ties to several Arab states under the Abraham Accords have reshaped security dynamics, agreements that were not in place when Biden was in office as vice president during the Obama administration. – Washington Examiner

The Israel Air Force held a joint training exercise in Israel with the Hellenic Air Force Tuesday. As part of the exercise, the two air forces simulated a wide range of aerial scenarios, including advanced air-to-air combat and airborne refueling. – Arutz Sheva 

Sander Gerber and Michael Koplow write: If the Palestinian leadership wants the PLO mission in Washington reopened, they must take seriously the U.S. bipartisan message on terrorism payments. And if the Palestinians genuinely want to reset relations with the U.S. and begin to regain what they have lost, this week they should seize what may be their only opportunity to speak with Mr. Biden on their own turf. – Wall Street Journal

Gil Hoffman writes: Lapid spoke with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend, the first call between an Israeli prime minister and a Palestinian leader in five years. Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas in person. For those positive relations to continue and deepen — and for there to be any chance of restarting peace talks — Biden’s visit must be successful and cannot be marred by inaccurate reporting, as it was 12 years ago. – Algemeiner

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has emerged unbowed from the international outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi four years ago, as Western leaders who once tried to isolate him now seek his support. – Reuters

David Ignatius writes: A key issue is whether MBS will drop his grudges and focus on common interests, too. His diversion of Saudi security services to attack political enemies, such as Khashoggi and Aljabri, has been a costly distraction. […]Biden can’t bring back Khashoggi. But he can ask MBS to release Saudis who are unjustly detained in the kingdom, such as Aljabri’s family. If it’s time for a Saudi-American restart, as Biden believes, then it should be a two-way process. – Washington Post 

Yasmine Farouk writes: For the United States, Saudi business is crucial if it wants to outcompete China in the Middle East. It also gives the U.S. leverage in the success of Vision 2030. None of these paths are easy to take. They require both Saudi and American leaders to plan strategically and not according to election dates and oil prices. They also require Mr. Biden to deliver a clear message: For a long time, Saudi leaders counted on U.S. values always coming second to U.S. interests. But they should also realize that having a minimum of shared values builds more consequential relationships than oil and arms. – New York Times 

Harley Lippman writes: Disproportionate attention, public scolding and the unnecessary prolonging of outrage for past mistakes is a failed strategy, especially when it harms America’s national interests and damages the possibility of curtailing atrocities on a global scale. It is also no way to treat a friend and historical ally. While we should not forget, we must find a way to forgive and to re-engage Saudi Arabia as a key ally in advancing America’s economic and national security goals. – Jerusalem Post

James M. Dorsey writes: Middle Eastern rulers will have noted that the chances of Biden’s Democratic Party retaining a Congressional majority in this year’s mid-term elections are bleak. They will also consider when dealing with Biden that former President Donald J. Trump or a Trump-like Republican could well win the 2024 presidential election. Ultimately, the implicit lesson is that for the United States to adopt a values-driven foreign policy successfully, it would have to first get its own house in order — something its Middle Eastern partners may not believe with good reason to be imminent. – Algemeiner 

Abdullah Alaoudh and Sam Ratner write: Pursuing that tradeoff only strengthens the leverage of oil-rich autocrats over the United States and does real harm to Biden’s credibility as an advocate for democracy. Freeing ourselves from that leverage, through a green energy transition and a real commitment to human rights, would be a foreign policy worth celebrating. – Business Insider

John Hannah writes: During his trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week, U.S. President Joe Biden will seek to reassure long-time partners that the United States remains committed to the region’s stability and security. But the elephant in the room is the fact that almost no one will believe him. – Foreign Policy

Middle East & North Africa

Under the threat of a Russian veto, the U.S. and its allies on the United Nations Security Council yielded to Moscow’s demand that cross-border aid to rebel-held areas in northern Syria be continued for six months rather than the 12 months the West had been seeking. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden left Washington for a four-day trip to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to slow down an accelerating Iranian nuclear program, speed up the flow of oil to American pumps and reshape the relationship with Saudi Arabia without seeming to embrace a crown prince the C.I.A. believes was behind the killing of a prominent dissident who lived in the United States. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden will try to reaffirm and recalibrate U.S. relationships in the Middle East during his first trip to the region since taking office, but it won’t be easy in a corner of the world that’s asking fresh questions about the future of American influence. – Associated Press 

As US President Joe Biden prepares to visit the Persian Gulf to get more oil onto global markets, political turmoil in another part of OPEC threatens to further undermine the cartel’s production. Libya’s output has collapsed since mid-April after protesters forced the closure of several oil fields and ports – Bloomberg

Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) moved to replace the National Oil Corp (NOC) chairman and board on Tuesday as control over the state energy producer was drawn further into a complex political standoff between rival factions. – Reuters

The establishment of a joint aerial defense system for Israel and Gulf states against Iranian missiles and drones is on Biden’s agenda visiting the region this week. This is how it will work. – Haaretz

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s presidential office denounced on Wednesday the repatriation of two North Korean fishermen in 2019 as a potential “crime against humanity” by the previous government, pledging to reveal the truth. – Reuters

North Korea has long confronted an array of fearsome weaponry across its southern border, but the device that appears to unnerve the totalitarian regime is the humble balloon. – Financial Times

Sueng-Whan Choi writes: To contend with these threats, the United States should stop thwarting the independent nuclear weapons programs of its two key allies in East Asia. Buck-passing to a wealthy Asian country is an effective strategy to defend the westernmost front line of the Pacific. In an era of relative decline, the United States would do well to think about this approach on a global basis. – The National Interest


When the secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, pressed China this weekend to ditch its support of Russia’s war in Ukraine, he was pushing up against a red line now firmly entrenched in Beijing. – New York Times 

A U.S. destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Wednesday, drawing an angry reaction from Beijing, which said its military had “driven away” the ship after it illegally entering territorial waters. – Reuters

Recent reports that the United States sent oil from its emergency stockpile to China have touched off a wave of sharp Republican-led criticism in recent days, though experts contended that the sales were legally required. – Washington Examiner

A pro-China group with ties to the Biden White House partners with a Chinese organization that has been identified as being part of Beijing’s influence operations. – Washington Examiner

Alarmed by Japan’s move to shed constitutional prohibitions on the use of military force, China is upping its threats against Tokyo. – Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the United States would defend the Philippines if its forces came under attack in the South China Sea, in a message directed at Beijing on the anniversary of a landmark ruling about Manila’s rights in the waters. – Newsweek 

Joseph Bosco writes: The Biden administration, to Beijing’s unpleasant surprise, has retained and even expanded the core of the Trump team’s China and Taiwan policies. The business and policy communities likewise should shed their fears about defending America’s values and interests. – The Hill

South Asia

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country on a military aircraft in the early hours of Wednesday morning, an immigration official said, the same day he was due to formally resign following mass protests over the country’s economic crisis that led to a storming and occupation of his residence in the country’s capital, Colombo. – Wall Street Journal

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ousting, after months of protest against him and the powerful ruling dynasty, does not necessarily open an easy path for Sri Lanka out of its economic and political crisis. – New York Times 

Sri Lanka’s president fled the country early Wednesday, slipping away only hours before he promised to step down under pressure from protesters angry over economic chaos that has triggered severe shortages of food and fuel. – Associated Press 

A BBC investigation alleged Tuesday that British special forces killed dozens of detainees in suspicious circumstances during counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan a decade ago. – Associated Press 

Japan plans to provide support to India to drive the transition to clean energy, expanding a programme it launched last year for Southeast Asian nations, Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said on Wednesday. – Reuters


The United States said Tuesday it would expand its diplomatic presence in the Pacific, as it seeks to counter the growing influence of China in a region of intensifying great-power rivalry. – Washington Post 

Pacific island leaders welcomed a pledge by the United States to triple aid to the region to combat illegal fishing, enhance maritime security and tackle climate change, after decades of stagnant U.S. funding. – Reuters

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday its embassy in Japan had lodged “stern representations” with the government there about Taiwan Vice President William Lai attending the funeral of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will participate in the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting on Tuesday, a senior administration official said, as Washington steps up its engagement to counter China in the region. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military government and Rosatom State Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation during junta chief Min Aung Hlaing’s private visit to Russia, according to the Ministry of Information. – Bloomberg

Assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was perhaps the most divisive leader in recent Japanese history, infuriating liberals with his revisionist views of history and his dreams of military expansion. He was also the longest serving and, by many estimations, the most influential. – Associated Press 

Australia is developing long-range strike weapons, remains intent on building a nuclear-powered submarine force and is ramping up its area access denial capabilities in cooperation with the United States as it watches China “trying to shape the world around us,” its deputy prime minister said. – USNI News 

Akhil Ramesh writes: Successive U.S. governments since Obama have prioritized the Asia Pacific for both security and economic reasons. President Obama introduced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Biden has followed suit with his own version of an “Asia pivot.” Time will tell if the leaders of the Western world and Asia walk in the footsteps of Abe. That will in turn determine the success of the pivot to Asia. – The Hill

Gearoid Reidy writes: Fundamentally, he wanted Japan to move on, and to have rights that most other countries take for granted — a military with which to defend itself, a country that can be proud of itself despite its brutal and violent past. In any other country, he would likely be an average center-right politician. […]The world’s dangers have only increased since Abe first came to power. Right now, it could use an Abe-like figure, wise to its threats and skilled in diplomacy. – Bloomberg

Jennifer Lind writes: Inside and outside Japan, liberals wanted Abe to confront and atone for the darker aspects of Japan’s past—and many wanted him to preserve Japan’s longtime military restraint. Japanese conservatives, on the other hand, applauded Abe’s national pride as well as his effort to increase his country’s military capabilities and participation. But all sides recognize a visionary leader, and a tragic loss to Japan. – Foreign Affairs


Eight candidates are on the ballot Wednesday in the first round of voting for Boris Johnson’s successor as Conservative Party leader and prime minister of Britain. – Washington Post 

European Union nations on Tuesday approved fresh aid for Ukraine as the country faces growing economic damage from Russia’s invasion. – Associated Press 

French President Emmanuel Macron will host the ruler of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates in Paris next week, according to several people familiar with the matter, as European countries seek alternatives to Russian energy amid the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The leaders of Greece and Bulgaria on Friday marked the completion of a new pipeline that will supply natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria, whose vital supply of Russian gas was cut off in April amid the fallout over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press 

The killing of a woman at an annual political event in Sweden earlier this month is now being investigated as an act of terror, authorities said. – Associated Press 

The tables have turned for regional rivals Greece and Turkey in the realm of fighter jet acquisition plans, with Greece headed for a buy of the Lockheed Martin F-35 just three years after Turkey was kicked out of the Joint Strike Fighter program. – Breaking Defense 

Bret Stephens writes: The West — Washington especially — could use a leader who thinks in these terms, particularly in the face of a protracted war in which Moscow may use its energy leverage over Europe to pressure Kyiv to negotiate an end to the war from a position of weakness. Doing what it takes to help Ukraine win may exhaust NATO, but falling short will kill both Ukraine and the alliance. Tugendhat is probably the only leader in Britain who understands the stakes viscerally. – New York Times


Ivory Coast officials called on Mali to immediately release 49 of its soldiers who were arrested Sunday at the international airport in Bamako, refuting accusations they were mercenaries. – Associated Press 

Somalia’s president held a secret meeting in early 2020 with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a former diplomat with knowledge of the trips told The Times of Israel. – Times of Israel

A French court on Tuesday jailed a former senior Rwandan official for 20 years after finding him guilty of complicity in the African nation’s genocide. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador needled President Biden over high gas prices in the United States during a White House visit Tuesday intended to serve as a make-up meeting between the two leaders. – Washington Post

Former national security adviser John Bolton hinted at recent U.S. involvement in planning foreign coups in a shocking interview moment. – Washington Examiner

Venezuela has arrested Americans this year even as that country’s government has made gestures toward improving relations with the US to help ease a humanitarian and political crisis. – Bloomberg

Ukraine is furious at Canada for waiving sanctions on a crucial pipeline part that Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to sell gas to Europe. – Business Insider

Andrew I. Rudman writes: Though President Biden should not go so far as to reciprocate the fake handshake in public, he should make abundantly clear to his counterpart that U.S. security and commercial interests and our long-held democratic values are not only non-negotiable, they are as important as addressing the current migration crisis and other shared interests. Even among friends, fake handshakes are not always a joke. – The Hill


Cybersecurity experts argued on Tuesday that the U.S. is falling behind the European Union when it comes to being a leader in the realm of cyber security. Experts called the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation, a law governing data privacy and security rules, the global standard. – The Hill

The European Central Bank said President Christine Lagarde was the target of a recent cyber attack that was identified before any data were compromised. – Bloomberg

The Federal Trade Commission said it intends to crack down on companies that lie about anonymizing data collected from users. – Washington Examiner

Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the state-sponsored RT television network was one of Moscow’s main tools for spreading propaganda beyond its borders. But after the war started, most global tech companies either cut off RT’s programs from their streaming platforms or took steps to severely limit the network’s reach over the internet. – CyberScoop

The U.S. must ditch its long-running efforts to establish norms of good behavior for nation-states in cyberspace and adopt a new foreign policy to confront a fragmented and potentially dangerous digital realm, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report released Tuesday. – The Record  

Tim Culpan writes: The rollout won’t come all at once, and could take decades. Those organizations with more money and a greater need for secrecy will start first — likely the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency — before trickling down to banks and communications providers. Within 20 years even email services and webcams will have post-quantum algorithms built in to ensure security. – Bloomberg


President Joe Biden won dismissal of a lawsuit by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer over his firing from a board of the US Naval Academy that advises the commander-in-chief. – Bloomberg

One concept being tested is a high-energy laser weapon, and SOCOM intends to put it on one of its deadliest platforms: the AC-130 gunship. – Business Insider

Just before leaving that post, Raymond co-authored a paper with retired Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski titled “Operationally Responsive Space: A New Business Model.” In the paper, they argued that the Air Force, which was then the service primarily responsible for the DoD space portfolio, needed to develop a way to meet the operational demand for space capabilities on faster timelines. – Defense News 

President Joe Biden is poised to sign two directives that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to invest in its hypersonic weapons industrial base as adversaries demonstrate advanced capabilities. – Defense News 

Two new satellites set to be blasted into space by Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket were developed by the US National Reconnaissance Office with the Australian government — and represent the spy agency’s push to expand cooperation with close allies. – Breaking Defense 

The Space Force’s acquisition arm is considering asking commercial operators of large satellite constellations to host payloads designed to provide battlefield commanders with rapid-turn-around intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data, according to a senior official. – Breaking Defense 

Scott Cuomo writes: It’s time to end the internecine war over Force Design 2030. The commandant has the Marine Corps on the right trajectory. […]And fortunately, because this trajectory paces against the most challenging threat, the Marine Corps is now even better postured to respond to crises throughout the world, as Task Force 61/2 has recently demonstrated. – War on the Rocks

Long War

A top leader of the Islamic State terrorist organization was killed in a U.S. drone strike Tuesday in northwest Syria, the White House and U.S. military announced, an operation officials said would undercut the group’s ability to plan and carry out attacks globally. – Washington Post

Salah Abdeslam, the lone survivor of an Islamist militant squad that killed 130 people in attacks in Paris in 2015, has not appealed his life sentence or guilty verdict – closing the door to a second trial, a Paris appeals court said Tuesday. – Reuters

Joseph Votel writes: Al-Hol represents a job unfinished and a future national security problem if left in its current state. […]It is time to move forward and address this future threat now. This conference is a great start. – Middle East Institute