Fdd's overnight brief

July 14, 2023

In The News


Iran is now replicating parts for deadly drones being used by Russia in Ukraine, helping its military evade international sanctions with domestically made components that it once sourced from overseas, according to a new analysis. – Wall Street Journal 

Iraqi officials on Thursday defended a deal inked this week to barter oil for gas with Iran, saying that the deal does not violate U.S. sanctions on Tehran and that it will help alleviate a worsening electricity crisis in Iraq. The remarks come as the government in Baghdad struggles to maintain a balance between its two key allies, Washington and Tehran. – Associated Press

Zimbabwe and Iran signed 12 memorandums of understanding on Thursday to strengthen bilateral ties, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi wrapped up his three-nation African tour. – Reuters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday launched into a condemnation of Western attitudes on homosexuality during a visit to Uganda, which has just introduced some of the harshest laws in the world. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia & Ukraine

Hours after Russian paramilitary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin began a short-lived march on Moscow, the country’s domestic security service detained several high-ranking military officers, including Gen. Sergei Surovikin, head of aerospace forces, people familiar with the situation said. – Wall Street Journal 

The abrupt dismissal of a top general who commanded one of Russia’s elite military forces in Ukraine has laid bare the continuing divisions in the armed forces, as President Vladimir Putin grapples with the aftermath of a mercenary rebellion that posed the greatest challenge he has faced as Russia’s leader. – Washington Post 

Wagner forces are not believed to be fighting in a major capacity in Ukraine, the Pentagon said on Thursday, adding to questions surrounding the fate of the mercenary group and their leader, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, after they staged a brief uprising against Russia’s military commanders last month. – New York Times 

A top Russian general in Ukraine has lashed out at his bosses after being fired from his command, accusing them of undermining the war effort with dishonesty and politicking, in the latest sign of turmoil within the Kremlin’s military leadership. – New York Times 

President Biden and his national security team have contended since he took office that all the easy, tempting comparisons between this era and the Cold War are misleading, a vast oversimplification of a complex geopolitical moment. – New York Times 

After the role of unmanned aerial vehicles in the Ukraine war expanded dramatically since Russia invaded 16 months ago, attention is turning to ground drones that developers say could be the next frontier in military innovation. – Reuters

Ukraine has received cluster bombs from the United States, munitions banned in more than 100 countries, but has pledged to only use them to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Wagner mercenaries the opportunity to keep fighting at a meeting just days after their failed mutiny but suggested Yevgeny Prigozhin be moved aside in favour of a different commander, the Kommersant newspaper said. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia was set to withdraw from a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea unless its own demands are met, reaffirming Moscow’s tough stance ahead of the deal’s expiry next Monday. – Reuters

The Wagner mercenary group is not participating in military operations in Ukraine in any significant way, the Pentagon said on Thursday, more than two weeks after the group staged a brief armed mutiny in Russia. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Western supplies of weapons to Ukraine would change nothing on the battlefield but only further escalate the conflict, adding that foreign-made tanks were a “priority target” for Moscow’s forces. – Reuters

He wears a pistol to interviews with foreign journalists and discusses wartime intelligence. Weapons and military gear are strewn on the floor of his Kyiv office. He says he has “sources” close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Reuters

A Russian general said he had been dismissed as a commander after telling the military leadership about the dire situation at the front in Ukraine, where he said Russian soldiers had been stabbed in the back by the failings of the top military brass. – Reuters

President Joe Biden on Thursday made his strongest public promise yet that the United States is “serious” about orchestrating a prisoner swap to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia. – Politico

At last year’s NATO summit in Madrid, the alliance formally invited Sweden and Finland to join its ranks. At this year’s summit in Vilnius, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was hoping the alliance would extend his country the same favor. That was not to be. In its final communique, issued Monday evening, NATO claimed that “Ukraine’s future is in NATO” – but did not say when that future could start. – CNN

Russian nationalist military blogger Igor Girkin has said that Vladimir Putin may face a move from within his inner circle to end his invasion of Ukraine which could lead to his removal as president. – Newsweek

Editorial: Mr. Putin is convinced that a frozen war is in his favor — that “Ukraine fatigue” will subvert Western resolve; that time is on his side; and, in his best-case scenario, that Donald Trump will win a second term and end U.S. aid to Kyiv. The West’s way to upend his calculus is to prove its own will is unbending. NATO said the right things in Vilnius about helping protect Ukraine for years to come. Now the alliance’s job is to show that its pledge amounts to more than words. – Washington Post 

Jason Willick writes: The West has calculated that the risk of war with Russia is too great to outline when and how Kyiv can join NATO. The Israel model, broadly defined, is the path of least resistance. But just as the West sometimes tries to restrain Israel — both in its conflict with the Palestinians and in its showdown with Iran — it may also end up trying to restrain an insecure Kyiv amid a volatile security situation that will last for years. If the Israel model is a workable strategy for Ukraine, the West should be clear-eyed about what it means. – Washington Post 

Zolan Kanno-Youngs writes: Moments after President Biden assured Volodymyr Zelensky that he could count on United States support for as long as it took, the Ukrainian leader used the opportunity to speak not only to NATO allies but also to an audience thousands of miles away. – New York Times 

Oz Katerji writes: The signatories of the CCM are not powerless to change the situation facing Ukraine. The first thing they can do is dramatically ramp up the domestic manufacturing of 155 mm artillery shells to finally solve the ammunition shortfall. The next thing they can do is start pledging the billions of dollars and the years of support that will be required to assist Ukraine’s postwar demining programs. The last is to finally start understanding that Ukraine’s fight for its survival is existential and that questions about what a postwar Ukraine will look like are completely irrelevant if there is no postwar Ukraine. – Foreign Policy

Katia Glod writes: But as the Prigozhin mutiny has exposed Putin’s weakness and his incapacity to deal with domestic crises, Moscow’s backing might not be as solid as it appeared. The other pillar relies on violence, but Prigozhin’s presence in Belarus—if he manages to buy off, or sow discord in, Lukashenko’s security services—could undermine that one, too. – Foreign policy


The little village of Ghajar has been a sore point between Israel and Lebanon for years, split in two by the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. But after a long period of calm, the dispute has begun to heat up again. Israel has been building a wall around the half of the village in Lebanese territory, triggering condemnation from the Lebanese militiant force Hezbollah, accusing Israel of moving to annex the site. A recent exchange of fire in the area raised alarm that the dispute could trigger violence. – Associated Press 

Israel and its foreign partners have foiled more than 50 Iranian-orchestrated attacks on Israelis and Jews abroad in recent years, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday during a visit to Azerbaijan. – Reuters

Herzog is to meet US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamal Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and address a joint session of Congress. Back in October, a week before the Israeli elections that returned Netanyahu to power, then-speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer extended the invitation to Herzog with the idea that this would showcase the warmth of the US-Israel relationship. – Jerusalem Post 

The US House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an initial foreign operations bill that provides $3.3 billion for Israeli security and does not fund an Iran deal and the United Nations general budget. “It should come as no surprise that no funds are included in this bill for the UN regular budget,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida) said. – Jerusalem Post 

The American Jewish Committee is for the first time publicly calling on the Justice Department “to exert every effort” to push Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian terrorist convicted in an Israeli court for her role in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in which 16 people, including three Americans, were killed. – Jewish Insider 

Four Palestinians were wounded in an attack by Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian medical officials and an Israeli rights group said. Two Israelis were also reported wounded in the incident. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: This is a startling retreat even from Barack Obama’s position, but with the same ends in mind: staying Israel’s hand and reshaping the region with Iran on board. Alas for the U.S., the enemy gets a say. While Tehran escalates its proxy wars and whittles down U.S. nuclear demands, Mr. Biden carries out diplomatic offensives against Saudi Arabia and Israel. – Wall Street Journal 

Avi Mayer writes: More than shared interests, even more than common values, America and Israel are bound to one another by the mutual love of their respective peoples, and it is that deep and abiding sense of attachment that will enable the two nations – and the bond between them – to weather any storm. – Jerusalem Post 

Stephen M. Flatow writes: Mahmoud Abbas could have used his visit to Jenin as the first step on the road to peace. Instead, he recommitted himself and his people to war against the Jews. And that’s why Israel will have no choice but to send its soldiers into Jenin and other PA cities, again and again, every time terrorists raise their heads. – Arutz Sheva

Caroline B. Glick writes: The prospect that voters would return Netanyahu to power in the November 1 elections made the region’s nations pause in rendering final judgment on Israel’s seriousness as a regional actor. Netanyahu’s possible return meant that there was still a chance that Israel hadn’t accepted the humiliating position of U.S. vassal state. – Arutz Sheva


IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva has struck back verbally at Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, dictating to him that Israel will enforce quiet on the northern border, despite the terror groups’ provocations. Speaking late Wednesday night at the intelligence officers’ graduation ceremony, Haliva said, “Hezbollah and the one who leads it, also during this time period, are manufacturing provocations. The intelligence branch is following this and is attentive to their plots.” – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: Time is of the essence as provocations continue to unfold on Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah must be deterred, and it is crucial for Israel to collaborate closely with the United States and the broader Western community to achieve this objective. Together, we must send a resolute message that further attempts to provoke us along the border will be met with a robust and unwavering response. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The recent moves by Hezbollah therefore have major ramifications for Israel and the region. It shows that the Campaign Between the Wars may have been an important focus for Israel, but that Hezbollah can now move its pawns, in the shape of tents and demands, closer to Israel. This is part of Iran’s overall goal to “unify” fronts against Israel in the region and force Israel to focus on problems closer to the northern border and Jenin.  – Jerusalem Post 

Middle East & North Africa

Syria announced on Thursday that it would give state approval for the United Nations to deliver humanitarian aid into rebel-held northern areas through a contentious border crossing with Turkey, effectively giving President Bashar al-Assad’s government control over all aid deliveries to the northern areas of the country. – New York Times 

Egypt on Thursday embarked on a fresh bid to halt fighting between Sudan’s warring factions and contain the humanitarian crisis it has unleashed, using a summit of neighbouring states to try to revive international efforts to contain the war. – Reuters

The UK government has invited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to London as Britain seeks to deepen its ties with the kingdom and lure investment from the oil-rich Gulf. – Financial Times

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has taken a significant step toward perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile system designed to put the United States within range, analysts said on Thursday, as Kim Jong Un’s regime pushes ahead with its weapons development. – Washington Post 

North Korea’s U.N. ambassador defended his country’s recent long-range missile launch in a rare appearance at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday where he also accused the United States of driving the situation in northeast Asia “to the brink of nuclear war.” – Associated Press 

The presidents of South Korea and Poland on Thursday pledged to strengthen their security, business and trade relations. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and his delegation met with his Polish host, President Andrzej Duda and government members at the Presidential Palace. – Associated Press 


The top diplomats of the world’s two biggest economies, the United States and China, held talks here Thursday in the latest in a series of efforts to manage a burgeoning rivalry that has reached dramatic new heights in recent years. – Washington Post

After crushing dissent at home, Hong Kong is turning its focus to activists who have continued their resistance to the Beijing-led crackdown from overseas. – Wall Street Journal 

Desperate for capital and with their economies struggling, China’s cities are wooing Western businesses with previously unavailable goodies. Beijing has labeled 2023 the “Year of Investing in China” and local officials have embarked on promotional tours overseas to drum up interest from investors. – Wall Street Journal 

Exports are crumbling in China and across Asia, showing the deepening toll that rising interest rates are taking on global trade and economic growth. – Wall Street Journal

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is visiting two of China’s neighbors where she has pushed firms to move their operations—a week after she reassured officials in Beijing that the U.S. wasn’t out to sever trade and investment ties. – Wall Street Journal  

The sale of struggling Silicon Valley startup zGlue’s patents in 2021 was unremarkable except for one detail: The technology it owned, designed to cut the time and cost for making chips, showed up 13 months later in the patent portfolio of Chipuller, a startup in China’s southern tech hub Shenzhen. – Reuters

U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo was among a group of senior U.S. officials whose emails were hacked earlier this year by a group Microsoft (MSFT.O) says is based in China, according to a person briefed on the matter, as fallout from the digital theft continues to spread. – Reuters

Chinese fighter jets monitored a U.S. Navy patrol plane that flew through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Thursday, as China carried out a third day of military exercises to the south of the island Beijing views as China’s sovereign territory. – Reuters

China’s financial regulators have invited some of the world’s biggest investors to a rare symposium next week, three sources said, seeking to encourage foreigners to keep investing in the world’s second-largest economy despite its recent weakness and rising geopolitical tensions. – Reuters

On June 16, the same day Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to fly to Beijing for meetings with senior Chinese officials, the State Department he oversees reported anomalous activity to Microsoft that the tech firm later blamed on China-based hackers. – Bloomberg

China’s top diplomat said Thursday Beijing would strengthen ties with Russia in areas of strategic communication and coordination, as the allies’ contacts grow closer after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. – Agence France-Presse

Solomon Islands says its policing pact with China poses no “threat” to the Pacific, rebuking Western powers who raised fears the deal could inflame regional tensions. Under the pact Beijing will extend its police presence in the Pacific nation, providing training, cybersecurity and equipment. – Agence France-Presse

 China’s military protested a U.S. Navy P-8A flight through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, as the PLA continues operating near the island. China’s Ministry of National Defense said the U.S. “hyped [the aircraft transit] publicly,” according to an English language statement citing a People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command spokesperson. – USNI News

Kai He writes: Chest-beating about democracy can alienate people who have watched U.S. democracy falter at home. Xi’s rhetoric avoids suggesting that other countries must ally themselves ideologically with China in order to cooperate with it, leaving space for them to benefit from and keep the peace with both Beijing and Washington. Tension is a given between the two most powerful countries in the world. But if they can both stick to a strategy of institutional balancing, the rewards of competition should outweigh the risks. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

India is planning to buy jet fighters and submarines from France, according to officials, in the latest sign of New Delhi gravitating further toward the West after the Ukraine war and sanctions on Moscow cut off the flow of Russian-made weapons. –Wall Street Journal 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be given one of France’s most spectacular recognitions on Friday as guest of honour at the Bastille Day military parade, part of a visit that has sealed high-profile defence deals. – Reuters

Pakistan’s central bank has received $1.2 billion from the IMF as the first tranche of a $3 billion bailout to stabilise the economy, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday, a day after the global lender’s board approved the package. – Reuters

Arundhati Roy writes: A bad moon is rising in the South China Sea. But for India, its friends and enemies are all wrapped up together in a tight ball of wax. We should be extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, extraordinarily careful where we place our feet and float our boats. Everybody should. – New York Times 


Thailand’s army-appointed senate blocked a political youth icon whose party won a stunning victory in national elections from taking power as prime minister, effectively preventing the country from returning firmly to the democratic fold after nearly a decade of military-backed rule. – Wall Street Journal 

China and Southeast Asian nations agreed Thursday to try and conclude within three years a long-delayed nonaggression pact aimed at preventing the frequent territorial spats in the busy South China Sea from turning into a major armed conflict. – Associated Press 

The State Department says it plans a massive increase in diplomatic personnel and spending for facilities at new U.S. embassies in the Pacific islands as the Biden administration forges ahead with efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the region. – Associated Press 

The European Union’s top diplomat on Thursday expressed opposition to Myanmar’s upcoming role as the overseer of relations between the 27-nation bloc and Southeast Asian nations and reasserted its non-recognition of the strife-torn country’s military government. – Associated Press 

Solomon Islands has denied suggestions by Australia and others its policing deal with Beijing is “a threat to the Pacific region peace” and says China will enhance the capability of its 1,500 police officers in cyber security and community policing. – Reuters

India will not impose countervailing duty (CVD) on select steel products imported from China despite a recommendation from trade officials and lobbying from local steel manufacturers, a government source told Reuters. – Reuters 

The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands called on Thursday for more U.S. money to deal with the legacy of massive U.S. nuclear testing to enable the renewal of a strategic agreement governing bilateral relations. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to discuss energy markets on a trip to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar later this month, aiming to offer Japanese technologies for net zero transition, a senior official said. – Reuters

Southeast Asian foreign ministers on Thursday reiterated condemnation of ongoing violence in Myanmar, as an intensifying conflict there tests the unity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. – Reuters

China’s military has been flexing its muscles this week around Taiwan practicing joint force operations far out at sea, ahead of Taipei holding its annual war games at the end of the month when Taiwan will simulate breaking a Chinese blockade. – Reuters

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said China and Australia’s relations have “stabilised, improved and developed” under the joint efforts of both countries, a Chinese foreign ministry statement Friday said. – Reuters

Chinese coast guard authorities said it took “necessary control measures” and drove away a Japanese fishing vessel that had entered “territorial waters” around Senkaku Islands, state media reported. – Reuters

Financial leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced countries will hold talks on July 16 on the sidelines of the broader G20 meeting in India, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday. – Reuters

The United States and its allies need to speed up the delivery of weapons to Taiwan in the coming years to help the island defend itself, the top U.S. general said on Friday. – Reuters

Foreign ministers of two dozen countries meet in Indonesia on Friday with U.S.-China rivalry, the war in Ukraine and North Korean missiles set to dominate roundtable talks in Southeast Asia’s annual security gathering. – Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are addressing Southeast Asian counterparts in Jakarta on Friday in a forum where they’ll likely cast their views on regional security amid mounting geopolitical tensions. – Bloomberg

The EU and Japan are working on a cooperation agreement for raw materials to whittle down China’s dominance in the sector, leaders said in Brussels on Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

A separatist official in Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan called on Russia to ensure free movement on the only road linking the breakaway region to Armenia, warning of dire humanitarian consequences – Agence France-Presse


A brawl erupted in the Kosovo parliament on Thursday after an opposition lawmaker threw water on Prime Minister Albin Kurti while he was speaking about government measures to defuse tensions with ethnic Serbs in the country’s north. Kosovo opposition parties have criticized Kurti’s policies in the north that have strained relations with key Western allies. – Associated Press 

The German government on Thursday presented a long-awaited strategy for relations with China that points to a “systemic rivalry” with the Asian power and a need to reduce risks of economic dependency, but highlights Berlin’s desire to work with Beijing on challenges such as climate change and maintain trade ties. – Associated Press

The European Union said on Thursday it wants to ensure the continuity and sustainability of its fisheries partnership with Morocco. – Reuters

Serbian police on Thursday banned Petr Nikitin, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, from entering the country, a Belgrade-based lawyer said. – Reuters

The European Commission is helping the United Nations and Turkey try to extend a deal allowing the Black Sea export of Ukraine grain and is open to “explore all solutions,” a European Union spokesperson said on Thursday, ahead of the deal’s possible expiration on Monday. – Reuters

Sweden’s top court on Thursday blocked the extradition of two Turks that Ankara says are part of a terrorist group, potentially complicating Stockholm’s bid to join NATO just days after Turkey dropped objections to Sweden’s membership. – Reuters

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he has “no doubt” that Ukraine will join NATO after the conflict with Russia ends. – Bloomberg

President Joe Biden wrapped up his visit to Europe on Thursday touting the strength of NATO and the alliance’s ability to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin. But those diplomatic breakthroughs overseas came with lingering uncertainties about the future of the war. – Politico

Hungary may ratify Sweden’s NATO membership bid in the autumn, a ruling Fidesz party lawmaker said, which would clear one of the last bottlenecks remaining for the Nordic nation to become a full-fledged member of the alliance. – Bloomberg

The European Parliament condemned the Palestinian Authority for incitement to violence and antisemitism on the same day that it approved a resolution to have the EU strengthen its ties with the PA. Lawmakers across the political spectrum in Strasbourg supported, for the third time since December, a call to freeze funding to the PA until its curriculum is aligned with UNESCO standards and hate is removed. – Jerusalem Post

Britain’s Ministry of Defence is next week expected to lay out what the military will look like in the future in a new review aimed at reshaping the armed forces. On the long list of things to be addressed in the report, known as a command paper, is a plan to tackle weapon stockpile shortages, according to James Heappey, minister of the armed forces. – Defense News 

Slovenian Defense Minister Marjan Šarec has announced the country’s government is in talks to purchase the German-made IRIS-T medium-range air defense system in the near future. – Defense News 

Raja Menon writes:  America’s European allies have already agreed to play a larger role in Asia-Pacific security to help Washington counter Beijing’s growing power. They should focus instead on defending their own continent. Europe should ditch the decades-long discussions with the United States over better burden sharing and get serious about burden shifting. – New York Times

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: At this point, one side or the other is going to have to win on the European center-left, with the “losing” cohort of voters then making their peace with the policy result or voting for some other party. The SPD and other center-left European parties may not have enough of a base left to survive the latter; Mr. Scholz won barely a quarter of the total vote in 2021 as it is. This environmental culture war on the left threatens to be all the more brutal for being both internecine and existential. And don’t assume it will stay in Europe. – Wall Street Journal 

Ahmed Charai writes: All of this leaves Putin in a quagmire. He cannot exit Ukraine without losing prestige and possibly power itself. Meanwhile, a newly enlarged and unified NATO presents Russia with its most powerful foe since Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century at the same time the Russian economy and population are shrinking. Nor can he hold ground in Ukraine during the warmer months, as demonstrated by the modest gains of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Putin, the purported grand chess player, cannot leave the game and cannot find a winning move. This week’s news of NATO enlargement continues to shrink his options. – The National Interest


The International Criminal Court is investigating a surge in hostilities in Sudan’s Darfur region since mid-April, including reports of killings, rapes and crimes affecting children, the top prosecutor told the United Nations on Thursday. – Reuters

South Africa’s top court on Thursday rejected an attempt to overturn a previous decision that found former president Jacob Zuma should go back to jail after being released early on medical parole. – Reuters

Uganda’s President Yoweri has accused a former leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, of giving sanctuary to Islamist fighters and allowing them to exploit minerals and timber and use the proceeds to build their strength. – Reuters

Wagner is facing its first big test in Africa since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed mutiny, as the Russian mercenary group attempts to shore up the Central African Republic’s ruler during a divisive referendum. President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has called a controversial vote on July 30 to override the CAR’s constitutional bar on running for a third term, raising tensions in a country that has been battling rebel groups for a decade. – Financial Times 

The Americas

Canada has unfrozen talks with Turkey on lifting export controls on drone parts after Ankara gave its nod for Sweden to join NATO, a person familiar with the talks said, a move seen as one of several concessions won in exchange for the Turkish blessing. – Reuters

The World Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit by Nicaragua seeking to define and expand its deep sea economic rights beyond those previously established in a long-running maritime border dispute over a trio of Caribbean islands with Colombia. – Reuters

The United Nations’ top court on Thursday rejected a case brought by Nicaragua in a decades-long dispute with Colombia over maritime borders and entitlements in the Caribbean. The International Court of Justice dismissed Nicaragua’s bid to gain economic rights over an area of the Caribbean Sea that lies more than 200 nautical miles (230 statute miles, 370 kilometers) from its shores. – Associated Press 

The U.S.-based National Foreign Trade Council on Thursday blasted Canada for its refusal to back a global agreement to hold off on implementing digital services taxes for at least another year, and said the move could invite retaliation. – Reuters

The United States has banned former Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez from entering the U.S. for his “involvement in significant corruption,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday. – Reuters

Latin America

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in Portugal for a state visit, his office said on Thursday, and confirmed his attendance at an upcoming summit with the European Union, a day after the EU’s parliament called for sanctions against him. – Reuters

Venezuela’s government will not allow election observers from the European Union to serve during its 2024 presidential elections, a top ruling party lawmaker said on Thursday. – Reuters

The European Court of Human Rights has denied an effort by a former director of Venezuelan military intelligence, wanted on drug trafficking charges by the United States, to avoid extradition from Spain. – Reuters

Guatemala’s constitutional court ruled Thursday that a center-left candidate who came in a surprising second place in the first round of presidential elections could participate in next month’s runoff, dismissing an order from a lower court that had suspended his party. – Wall Street Journal 

As a series of welcoming cannon blasts rang out from a nearby colonial fort, the Russian navy’s training class ship Perekop sailed into Havana on Tuesday. While in Cuba for a four-day visit, the Perekop’s sailors will “carry out a wide range of activities,” according to Cuba’s state-run Prensa Latina news service, and members of the Cuban public will be given the opportunity to tour the ship. – CNN


The hack of email accounts of senior U.S. officials including the commerce secretary is the latest feat from a network of Chinese state-backed hackers whose leap in sophistication has alarmed U.S. cybersecurity officials. – Wall Street Journal 

Researchers have published new information about a malicious campaign targeting government agencies, military organizations and civilian entities in Ukraine and Poland. From at least April 2022 until this month, hackers attempted to infiltrate victims’ devices to steal information and gain permanent remote access, according to a new report released by cybersecurity firm Cisco Talos. – The Record 

A former security chief in Israel’s Defense Ministry was allegedly involved with Israeli-owned spyware company Intellexa in drafting a secret cyber cooperation memorandum between Greece and North Macedonia, according to an investigation published Thursday in the two countries. – Haaretz


President Biden on Thursday authorized the Pentagon to mobilize up to 3,000 military reservists for duty in Europe, signaling the toll that ongoing efforts to deter Russia and reassure NATO allies is taking on a force deployed across the continent since war erupted in Ukraine early last year. – Washington Post 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blocks of Pentagon appointments is a national security concern and he intends to talk to the Republican lawmaker about it. – Reuters 

Three variants of the Marine Corps’ amphibious combat vehicle are rolling down the production line at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, facility, and the company expects to finalize the fourth variant’s design this fall, program leaders said. – Defense News

The Air National Guard Base would receive two additional F-15EX Eagle II fighters under a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2024. The amendment, proposed by Rep. John James, R-Mich., and accepted by voice vote on the floor of the House Wednesday, would increase the Air Force’s advance funding for the F-15EX by $30.6 million. – Defense News