Fdd's overnight brief

July 14, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

When Russian President Vladimir Putin held the final meeting of his Security Council before launching the invasion of Ukraine, one Kremlin hawk seemed to dominate the room. Nikolai Patrushev, the powerful Security Council secretary and close Putin ally from their days together at the KGB in St. Petersburg, told the Russian president that the United States was behind tensions in eastern Ukraine and seeking to orchestrate Russia’s collapse. – Washington Post

Russia has deported 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens from Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine in a systemic “filtration” operation, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday, in a loud condemnation of Moscow and affirmation of claims that Ukrainian officials have levied for weeks. – Washington Post

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations agreed on key aspects of a plan to resume exports of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, senior Turkish and U.N. leaders said. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian forces struck an air-defense system in Russian-occupied territory in the east of the country late Tuesday, in the latest sign of how long-range artillery sent by the West is shifting the war’s calculus. – Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Russia on Wednesday to cease its “filtration” system that has forcibly deported thousands of Ukrainians in Russian-occupied territory, which he called a war crime. – The Hill

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top economic adviser claimed that Ukraine now requires $9 billion per month from its Western backers. Oleg Ustenko says the new figure is needed to plug the Ukrainian government’s budget shortfall, as well as provide emergency shelter for refugees and housing repairs and a basic minimum income for those who have lost their jobs, according to the Financial Times. – Washington Examiner

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s younger daughter has been handed a new role with the country’s most powerful business lobby to help beat the impact of international sanctions over his war in Ukraine, the RBC newspaper reported. – Bloomberg

An impasse on how to characterize the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is hanging over prospects for agreement on it and related issues as finance chiefs gather for the Group of 20 meetings in Bali.- Bloomberg

The European Union told member states that sanctioned goods transiting from Russia are not prohibited if they’re moving by rail, in a move that may calm tensions with Moscow over its Kaliningrad exclave. – Bloomberg

The European Union is preparing a seventh package of sanctions against Moscow but it is already clear that it will not curb imports of Russian gas as too many member states can’t adjust quickly enough.- Reuters

Oil’s recent dip is temporary, and prices could shoot up past $150 per barrel if Russian crude can’t be replaced, a Truist analyst said. The European Union is phasing in an embargo on Russian oil that will take full effect later this year, while G7 leaders have discussed a proposal to impose a price cap. Some industry experts have warned that such moves could result in millions of barrels coming out of the market as Russia looks to retaliate by triggering a price spike. – Business Insider

Russian state-run energy company Gazprom signaled uncertainty Wednesday about whether gas supplies to Germany could resume as normal via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing a technical problem and safety issues. – Business Insider

Mario Tadeo writes: Is Europe willing to deploy more resources? We need the equivalent of Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” moment — when the then European Central Bank president helped stabilize the euro crisis in 2012. This time, it would cushion the impact of the war but also rally public support and instill a willingness to sacrifice. It will be a difficult task for any politician. But downplaying the problem won’t make it go away. – Bloomberg

Leonid Bershidsky writes: As the world’s attention inevitably drifts away from what has become a protracted, slow-moving conflict, Ukraine cannot afford to backslide and become indistinguishable from its enemy. Much to their credit, Zelenskiy and his team appear to be aware of the danger. Holding the moral high ground that Ukraine has gained at huge cost is as important as battlefield heroism if it is to win a better future for its people, not just the fight over territory. – Bloomberg

Dalibor Rohac writes: President Biden came to office with the promise of bringing America “back” and restoring its fraying alliances. Yet as Germany and France are slowly peeling off the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine, the administration is just a passive observer. Worse yet, some within the White House are likely awaiting the end of hostilities, regardless of its effect on Ukraine and the rules-based international system, with as much eagerness as French and German political elites. The West needs to do better — not just for Ukraine’s sake but also for the sake of its own security. – New York Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: But the bottom line is that until now, the US, the West and Israel have fallen behind in some aspects of the space war race, and failure to start taking the issue seriously – as opposed to viewing it as a distant future funky sci-fi issue – may have significant costs much sooner than expected. – Jerusalem Post

Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan writes: Russian forces prioritized defensive operations on the Southern Axis as Ukrainian forces continued targeting ammunition depots.Russian occupation authorities are increasing financial incentives for civilians working in occupied Ukraine. Russian occupation authorities may be setting conditions to forcibly relocate Ukrainian children in occupied territories to Crimea. – Institute for the Study of War

Sasha Stone writes: A Russian candidate leads in the race for a seat in the UN’s Economic and Social Council. The brutal war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of the free flow of information across borders and open communications networks. If Russia’s candidate wins this race, the future of a democratic bottom-up internet will be in clear danger. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Jack Detsch writes: Even with the HIMARs screaming and more Russian ammunition depots going boom in the night, experts believe that the new American weapons are likely to simply reinforce the status quo on the ground: a protracted stalemate. “By hitting command and control, by hitting ammo depots, you make it much more likely that a Russian offensive will stall,” Lee said. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that HIMARs is going to give the Ukrainians the ability to retake terrain.” – Foreign Policy


President Biden sought to calm Israeli fears of a potential nuclear deal with Iran as he began a Middle East tour on Wednesday, promising not to give in to a key demand by Tehran and assuring Israelis that he would use force if needed to stop Iran from developing a bomb. – New York Times

Iran’s foreign minister insists that his country opposes Russia’s war against Ukraine but stayed vague Wednesday about whether Tehran’s military cooperation with Moscow would include sales of drones that could carry missiles. Earlier in the war, Iran was criticized in the West for not condemning Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of neighboring Ukraine. – Associated Press

Backed into a corner by the West, Iran is ramping up uranium enrichment, clamping down on dissent and deepening ties with Russia in a challenge to the U.S. and Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to Tehran next week to meet with Iran’s leader — his second trip abroad since sending troops into Ukraine. The surprise announcement came a day after the White House said Tehran is preparing to send armed drones to Russia for use in Ukraine and before U.S. President Joe Biden headed to Israel and Saudi Arabia. – Associated Press

A Swedish court on Thursday will deliver its verdict in the high-profile trial of a former Iranian official accused of taking part in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in the 1980s. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden said he would use force as a last resort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as he began a trip to the Middle East. Speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 TV that was recorded before he left Washington on Tuesday but aired on Wednesday, Biden said he would keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list even if that killed off the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. – Reuters

The U.S. government believes that Iran may try to assassinate current or former senior American officials to avenge the death more than two years ago of its top military and intelligence commander, according to an intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News. – Yahoo News

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: In contrast, the US views the ayatollahs as a distant threat. They are not Iran’s direct target and in any case, even if Tehran developed a nuclear weapon that could reach Israel, it could take the Islamic Republic another couple of years to develop missiles that could hit the US – which is much farther away. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Instead, it appears that Washington is months if not more away from making any concrete deadlines or threats. Its real strategy right now seems to be to tolerate Iran continuing to enrich uranium to 60% for more potential bombs – as well as tolerate the IAEA’s partial blindness – with the hope that Khamenei refrains from publicly jumping to 90% weaponized enrichment and kicking the IAEA from the country entirely. – Jerusalem Post


British lawmakers have called for an urgent investigation into “deeply disturbing” claims that UK special forces killed unarmed detainees in Afghanistan and planted weapons near the bodies to justify their actions. A report by the BBC identified 54 suspicious killings made by a unit, or squadron, of the Special Air Service during a six-month tour of duty in 2010 and 2011 after analysing hundreds of pages of operational accounts. – Financial Times

U.S. allies across Afghanistan have been left to fend for themselves under the terror-fueled regime of the Taliban ever since the U.S. withdrew from the country nearly a year ago. During the chaotic efforts to evacuate American partners from Afghanistan after it fell to the Taliban, The Daily Beast covered efforts to help evacuate two sisters, 20-year-old Meena and 27-year-old Nadia, both journalists who were on the Taliban’s infamous “kill list.” – The Daily Beast

Human rights groups have accused the Taliban of carrying out widespread revenge killings, enforced disappearances, and torture of former Afghan officials, security officers, and individuals who cooperated with the departed U.S.-led military presence in Afghanistan. That is despite the Taliban announcing a blanket amnesty when it took Kabul on August 15. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


Joe Biden and Israel go way back. As he began his 10th trip to the Holy Land, he can look back on visits — as a senator and vice president — spanning almost five decades and nearly a dozen prime ministers. – Washington Post

A Secret Service employee working in Israel before President Biden’s visit there this week was sent home late Monday after being briefly arrested by the Israeli police in what the U.S. agency called “a physical encounter,” a spokesman for the Secret Service said on Wednesday. – New York Times

President Joe Biden, facing his own set of challenges back in Washington, will spend Thursday navigating Israel’s chaotic politics as he meets with the country’s leaders to bolster cooperation with the United States and other nations. Biden begins the day by sitting down with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who became head of an interim government earlier this month after the previous coalition collapsed. The country is holding its fifth election in less than four years in November. – Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday will sign a joint agreement pledging to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon on the second day of Biden’s Middle East trip. – Reuters

The niece of slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed “outrage” Wednesday as US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel, condemning Washington for inaction over her killing. – Agence France-Presse

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is partnering with Israel on a tech initiative focused on studying artificial intelligence and addressing climate change. – The Hill

Ronald S. Lauder writes: President Biden’s upcoming visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah presents a unique opportunity. So does the emergence of an American-Arab-Israeli security alliance. Lapid must seek a creative way to confront the Palestinian challenge, working hand-in-hand with the United States, the Sunni world and moderate Palestinians. Even if it appears impossible to arrive at a two-state solution, the prime minister must do everything in his power to avert a one-state catastrophe. No other mission is as important — or as urgent. – Washington Post

David Horovitz writes: A “stopover” to reconnect with old friends, before getting down to the really important work in Saudi? I don’t believe that’s how the Biden administration regards the Israeli leg of the president’s trip. Rather, I profoundly hope the rare opportunity for top-level face-to-face interaction will represent the culmination of years of serious work on that Plan B — stopping Iran’s march to the bomb if and when all efforts to deter it are deemed to have failed; stopping Iran when, as the late Mossad chief Meir Dagan put it, the sword is at our throat. – Times of Israel

Jacob Miller writes: Biden’s trip to the region occurs against the backdrop of Israeli political turmoil, weeks after the governing coalition fractured, triggering a new round of elections, which will be held in November. “I think it’s fairly clear that the Biden administration would prefer a non-Likud government to win, and so this will likely make Biden look for all the ways he can support that side in the campaign,” Mead said. “[He will try] to make it a good trip, reducing and eliminating any sense of pressure.” – Jewish Insider

David Makovsky writes: This type of burden-sharing within the Mideast is something that gives hope it will be sustainable over time since it is rooted in Arab and Israeli self-interest. This fact is one of the best hopes that Biden’s trip is not a one-time experience, but may lead him to believe that something is actually moving in the Mideast. This could only be helpful for a Biden administration weighing the scope of its future commitment to the Mideast. – Washington Institute


Iraq’s bid to boost oil export capacity at its Gulf ports has suffered a setback due to delays in pumping station upgrades, an Iraqi oil source said. – Reuters

An Iraqi Christian leader has told the BBC it is hard to convince members of his community to stay in Iraq, but that he is working to keep them there. […] Archbishop Warda said he “hated” the calls for “tolerance“ of religious minorities from the wider community in predominantly Muslim Iraq, where Christians have been targeted by Islamist militants and numbers have dwindled from about 1.4 million in 2003 to as few as 250,000. – BBC

Mustafa al Kadhimi writes: This will require a sustainable Iraqi solution, which will take strategic patience in Iraq and among our partners. We ask that the United States and our other international partners recognize the progress we have made and the difficulties we face as we develop and protect our pluralistic democracy in a complex region. History is long in the Middle East, and we already have come so far in such a short time. – Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia

For public consumption, the White House has argued that President Biden’s decision to go to Saudi Arabia was driven by a whole range of national security issues, not just oil. But oil is in fact the most urgent reason for the trip at a time of high gas prices. – New York Times

The widow of Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S.-based writer killed by Saudi government agents four years ago, said Wednesday that she received a commitment that President Joe Biden will bring up the murder when he meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. – Associated Press

The hard-charging heir drew international revulsion after Saudi agents killed and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, but US President Joe Biden’s visit to the kingdom this week looks set to restore his position on the international stage, forcing world leaders to deal with him whether they want to or not. – Agence France-Presse

Saudi Arabia is said to be preparing to okay the use of its airspace for all commercial flights to and from Israel, and to allow direct travel for Muslims participating in the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. – Times of Israel

Colbert I. King writes: In laying out his vision for the region, Biden should use that platform to call for a Saudi kingdom and Middle East that promote and protect — not trample and destroy — the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He should announce for all the world to hear that a strategic partnership with the United States also rests upon recognition of fundamental human rights, including respect and dignity for all people to live without fear no matter who they are, where they live or whom they love. – Washington Post

Karen Eliot House writes: Ironically, Saudi Arabia is both a more essential and more worthy security partner now than it was nearly eight decades ago when Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the partnership. It isn’t a democracy, nor do most Saudis wish it to be. But it is a wealthy, powerful country with a leader determined—with or without Mr. Biden’s blessing—to place his kingdom at the forefront of the developed world. And at his age he has at least 50 years to get the job done. – Wall Street Journal

Ben Cahill writes: It is possible that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the group will simply operate without a new agreement for some time, effectively producing at will and allowing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ramp up output. There are risks to this free-range approach, but it could allow the Saudis to help meet an immediate U.S. demand, while testing the strength of the market. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Middle East & North Africa

President Biden spent Tuesday afternoon hugging and backslapping members of Congress at a White House picnic. So it was unexpected when Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday that the White House was “seeking to reduce contact and to increase masking” on Biden’s trip to the Middle East. – Washington Post

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group threatened Israel with military escalation Wednesday if a future deal over the disputed maritime border between the two countries is not in Lebanon’s favor. Sayyed Hassan Narallah said in a televised speech that Lebanon should be able to extract oil and gas in Lebanese waters. He warned that sending unarmed drones over the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean earlier this month was “a modest beginning to where the situation could be heading.” – Associated Press

The head of Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) on Wednesday rejected the prime minister’s authority to sack him, raising the prospect of an open struggle for control of the state energy producer. – Reuters

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the mandate of the U.N. mission helping to implement a December 2018 cease-fire agreement between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels. The deal calls for the withdrawal of fighters from the key port of Hodeida, two smaller ports in the province and Hodeida city. – Associated Press

A new highway and railway system throughout Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia could facilitate tens of billions of dollars in trade, according to a special paper prepared by the Finance Ministry ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel. – Jerusalem Post

In an article he published recently in the Saudi daily Independent Arabia, titled “If a Palestinian State Had Been Established,” Sa’ad Bin Tefla Al-‘Ajmi, Kuwait’s former information minister, wrote that the Palestinian leadership bears no little responsibility for the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people and for the fact that no solution to their problem is in sight. He listed several reasons for this, including the endless schism and division within the leadership, and the corrupt and tyrannical character of the Palestinian authorities, both the PA authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas authorities in Gaza. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The key is to note that this visit is unprecedented because of how positive ties have become, how it cements the Abraham Accords; how it is not self-centered on one Israeli leader but rather the strong group of leaders Israel now has; and also how it showcases the possibility of an Israel-US-Saudi bloc emerging in the region. The recognition now in the US that Iran poses a major threat using drones and missiles is also clear. Add that to the unique aspect of the visit. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has become one of the few nations in the world to recognize the independence of two Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine in support of Russia’s war against its neighbor. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry cut off diplomatic ties with North Korea in response and condemned Pyongyang’s decision as undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. – Associated Press

South Korean prosecutors raided the country’s main spy agency Wednesday in an investigation into two past North Korea-related incidents that drew criticism that the previous liberal government ignored basic human rights to improve ties with the North. – Associated Press

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin will meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to Japan from July 18 for talks, public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday. – Reuters


China is set to report a grim second-quarter economic performance on Friday, adding to concerns about the prospect of a global recession, after coronavirus lockdowns in major cities hobbled trade and daily life. The world’s second-largest economy may have contracted in the three months ending in June, experts say, though Beijing is likely to report modest growth. – Washington Post

President Xi Jinping hasn’t made a reported public appearance for 13 days since returning from a landmark trip to Hong Kong that was his first outside mainland China since the pandemic’s outset. – Bloomberg

Chen Guangcheng writes:. Ten years on, it is poised to bury the evidence of its crimes. But it isn’t too late. The U.S. should still insist that the Chinese Communist Party follow through with its international agreement. In the process, these village communities—and the truth—could be saved. – Wall Street Journal

Matthew Brooker writes: At the same time, the success of the Zhengzhou protesters may embolden others. They showed considerable courage and daring, holding banners — some in English — that referenced human rights and accused the local government of colluding with organized crime. If the Covid-battered economy continues to go south, the chance of more financial blowups is likely. “We are going to see a more unstable China in the near future,” Ong said. – Bloomberg

Michael Schuman writes: The world that Beijing and the GSI envision is one where there is, in effect, no international community—where repressive regimes such as China’s can abuse their citizens as harshly as they choose and coldly pursue national goals, as Putin does in Ukraine, while other countries look the other way. The U.S.-led order certainly has its problems. The Chinese substitute would be the problem. – The Atlantic

South Asia

Late-night clashes near Sri Lanka’s Parliament between protesters and security forces following President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s flight from the country threatened to pull the island nation deeper into a political abyss, risking further delay to a much-needed International Monetary Fund bailout package. – Washington Post

The International Monetary Fund agreed to a bailout of Pakistan, providing a financial lifeline as emerging markets strain under pressure from a global price shock rippling out from the war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

As Sri Lanka’s foreign-exchange reserves began to dwindle under a mountain of debt early in the Covid-19 pandemic, some officials argued it was time to ask for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, a politically fraught move that traditionally comes with painful austerity measures. – Wall Street Journal

About 24 hours before the president of Sri Lanka fled to the Maldives on Wednesday, his younger brother, the finance minister, made his own attempt to leave the country. But officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo stopped Basil Rajapaksa from boarding a plane out of the country. Reports in local media suggested that he was headed to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and have now fueled speculation that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will also try to make his way to the oil-rich state. – New York Times

Sri Lanka’s anti-government demonstrators said Thursday they were ending their occupation of official buildings, as they vowed to press on with their bid to bring down the president and prime minister in the face of a dire economic crisis. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: The IMF says Sri Lanka’s debts are unsustainable. IMF support will be conditional on creditors first agreeing to provide assurances to restore them to sustainability. Reconciling the competing interests of China and India will be daunting enough. Securing other creditors’ agreement, including that of Sri Lanka’s commercial lenders, often with differing motivations, will be a further giant leap. It will take months, at least. – Financial Times

Mihir Sharma writes: The West Asian Quad doesn’t have the glue of shared concerns over China the way the Indo-Pacific Quad does. But it has the potential to be as transformative, particularly for India’s role in the region as the US tries to scale down its involvement. And the glue in the West Asian Quad isn’t the US. India’s partnership with both Israel and the United Arab Emirates — the latter country being the closest thing that New Delhi has to an ally — will grow stronger over time regardless of who else is involved. – Bloomberg

Husain Haqani and Aparna Pande write:. But, by and large, Western hopes of a modern, fast-growing, prosperous and free market-oriented India have not been realized at the pace predicted by some in the first few years of the 21st century. India’s current rate of economic growth is woefully inadequate for India’s domestic goals as well as the objective of becoming a serious rival to global economic juggernaut, China. The latter makes India’s economic policies a strategic concern for U.S. policymakers. – The Hill


Vulnerable Pacific islands demanded “urgent, immediate” global action on climate change Thursday, while stressing a commitment to democracy and the “rules-based” international order in the face of growing Chinese regional influence. – Agence France-Presse

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he is “very confident” there won’t be a Chinese military base built in the Solomon Islands, after meeting with Solomons’ leader Manasseh Sogavare. – Bloomberg

Ukraine’s countermoves against Russia’s larger military shows Taiwan that possessing advanced “asymmetric” weapons and a determination to resist invasion by a larger neighbor can be a successful combination, according to a senior US State Department official. – Bloomberg

Sheila S. Coronel writes: The Philippines doesn’t need his brand of selective amnesia. More than ever, it needs a strong commitment to democracy founded on accountability, respect for opposition and the will to confront painful truths. Those elements were sorely lacking under the first Marcos presidency. Don’t expect the second one to be much different. – New York Times


In the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, and thereafter the next British prime minister, there is a Rishi, Suella and Kemi — running against a Tom, Penny and Liz — to replace a Boris. The Tory contestants for leadership are the most ethnically diverse in British history — though not so much in ideology. – Washington Post

The European Union told Hungary and Poland on Wednesday to improve judicial and media independence, as well as anti-graft safeguards, saying conditions to unlock billions in aid for the two have not been met and serious concerns persist. – Reuters

European Union member Lithuania will allow sanctioned Russian goods to transit its territory on their way to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, its Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, reversing its policy after new European Commission guidelines. – Reuters

Therese Raphael writes: The next UK leader (and chancellor of the exchequer) makes fiscal policy against this uncertain backdrop. Doing so sensibly will require clear communication of strategy to parliament and the public. As Putin piles on the pressure — testing Europe, the US and Britain — the right response will be to double down on Ukraine’s defense and reconstruction needs; the alternative is some form of appeasement that will serve to embolden Putin. The Tories are busy focusing inward, but this is, in Margaret Thatcher’s memorable phrase, no time to go wobbly. – Bloomberg

Allide Naylor writes: The Baltic states had been planning to link their grid fully to the European Union grid by 2025, having reached a €720m deal along with Poland and the EU for the second phase of synchronization in 2020. Should Russia sever the Baltic electricity supply, it might also further isolate its Kaliningrad exclave. Kaliningrad was recently scheduled to test whether it could independently run its grid, but Russia cancelled the test, according to a Reuters report. However, Kaliningrad has successfully managed to test full electricity independence in the past.- Center for European Policy Analysis


South African police are patrolling the streets of Johannesburg’s Soweto township, following a spate of bar shootings that have rocked the nation. The country’s abundance of guns held illegally is partially to blame for the shootings in which 22 people were killed at three different taverns this past weekend, community activists said. – Associated Press

Morocco’s state-affiliated human rights council released a report Wednesday depicting last month’s attempt by hundreds of migrants to storm the border between the North African kingdom and the Spanish enclave of Melilla as “unprecedented in nature, tactics used and scope.” – Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he wanted a “rethink of all our (military) postures on the African continent” and had asked his ministers and army chiefs to work on it. – Reuters

Latin America

The U.N. Security Council postponed Wednesday’s vote on extending the U.N. political mission in Haiti after China called for closed consultations on the proposed resolution. China has no diplomatic relations with Haiti, which is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country and is being wracked by an increase in gang-related violence, with kidnappings and killings on the rise. – Associated Press

U.S. officials on Wednesday approved a request by American Airlines to resume flights to five destinations in Cuba that were stopped in 2019 when the Trump administration sharply curtailed air service between the two countries. – Associated Press

Peru wants to secure a deal with the United States as soon as possible to help it tackle the use of planes to smuggle cocaine at a time when coca cultivation has been growing, the Andean nation’s anti-drug chief said on Wednesday. – Reuters

United States

When a former White House national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says he was involved in planning coups abroad, the world takes notice. John Bolton, speaking to Jake Tapper live on CNN’s “The Lead” on Tuesday afternoon, said that the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was not a “carefully planned coup d’etat” — and that he would know. – Washington Post

A former CIA software engineer was convicted on Wednesday of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks from the spy agency, in one of the biggest such thefts in CIA history. – Reuters

A member of the US Secret Service Counter Assault Team was detained by the Israeli national police in Jerusalem this week after he allegedly assaulted a woman outside of a bar, a source tells CNN, and the Secret Service says the agent is on his way back to the US. – CNN


Responding to pressure from Western governments, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube banned or throttled Russian state media accounts, beefed up their fact-checking operations, curtailed ad sales in Russia and opened direct lines to Ukrainian officials, inviting them to flag Russian disinformation and propaganda to be taken down. – Washington Post

Twitter shares have jumped 8 per cent after Hindenburg Research — best known as a short seller — said it had built “a significant” stake in the social media company that is in a legal battle with Elon Musk. – Financial Times

Cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the latest casualty of a $2 trillion crash that has wiped out some of the industry’s biggest names and exposed hundreds of thousands of individual investors to steep losses. – Bloomberg

Sen. Mark Warner, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is leading a series of conversations with the nation’s spymaster to allay concerns in the intelligence community about cybersecurity elements of pending tech antitrust legislation, according to two sources with knowledge of the outreach. – CyberScoop


The US Air Force’s top hypersonic weapon completed the second consecutive successful test of its booster motor in less than two months, the service said, a turnround after three failures. – Bloomberg

The House added an amendment to the annual defense authorization legislation on Wednesday intended to combat white supremacy and neo-Nazi activity in the military. – Washington Examiner

Several new unmanned aerial vehicles are under development as part of the Navy’s air wing of the future concept in addition to the unmanned aerial tanker set to deploy in 2026, Navy officials said on Wednesday. The new aircraft are being designed to meet growing requirements for range for carrier air wings, Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, the Navy’s air warfare director (OPNAV N98) ,said during a naval aviation panel at the Naval Institute, co-hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. – USNI News

Long War

Suspected Islamist militants killed seven people in an attack on the city of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday night, an army spokesman said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Britain’s parliamentary intelligence committee said on Wednesday that the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism was on the rise, with individuals often seeking to join the military and groups looking to recruit from within the military. – Reuters

U.S. officials warned that the Islamic State group will continue to attempt prison breaks for recruitment and retention purposes, raising the importance of repatriating inmates. – Washington Examiner