Fdd's overnight brief

July 15, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

More than 20 people were killed, including three children, and at least 71 were hospitalized Thursday after Russian cruise missiles struck a crowded business center in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, far from the front lines, Ukrainian officials said. President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack “an open act of terrorism” against a target with no military value. – Washington Post

A priest doused in green dye during a Sunday liturgy. Another yanked out of his western Ukrainian church as the police stood by watching. A church attacked by vandals, who filled it with foam, plastered the walls with portraits of Stalin and later set it on fire. For centuries, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been a dominant spiritual force in the country. Now the church is increasingly an object of distrust, largely because its spiritual leadership — at least until May — was in Moscow, rather than Kyiv. – New York Times

There is the war on the ground in Ukraine and the war over weapons supplies, on which the first war depends. In the weapons war, there is a significant disparity between the flood of arms supplied by Britain, Poland and the United States, and what the rest of Europe is providing, which has raised the persistent question of whether some countries are slow-walking supplies to bring about a shorter war and quicker negotiations. – New York Times

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday told Russian officials at a meeting of G20 finance officials that she held them personally responsible for “war crimes” committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, a Western official told Reuters. – Reuters

Drone camera footage defines much of the public’s view of the war in Ukraine: grenades quietly dropped on unwitting soldiers, eerie flights over silent, bombed-out cities, armor and outposts exploding in fireballs – Associated Press

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the first meeting in weeks between Russia and Ukraine took “a critical step” forward Wednesday to ensuring the export of desperately needed grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to help ease the global food crisis. – Associated Press

Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges says Russian President Vladimir Putin has overextended his military in Ukraine and that the invasion could come to an end next year if Western powers continue their military backing of Kyiv. – Newsweek

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called out Russian officials attending the G20 meeting in Indonesia, telling them that they were contributing to the human and economic misery caused by the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine – Newsweek

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak has warned that Russia wants to bring Belarus into the war in Ukraine to make up for dwindling military personnel. For months, Ukraine’s Armed Forces have warned of an increase in military activity and troop levels near the border with Belarus, whose strongman leader, Alexander Lukashenko, has thrown his wholehearted support for the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin – Newsweek

Ukraine’s government has pushed back against western concerns that the country could become a source of smuggled weapons, but acknowledged it needed to expand its arms tracking systems. Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview that Ukrainians had every interest in retaining all of the $10bn worth of kit provided by western allies. – Financial Times

The American Embassy in Kyiv is urging all U.S. citizens in Ukraine to “depart immediately,” citing the threat of Russian missile attacks, and also warned against entering the country. The security alert was posted on the embassy’s website on July 14, a day that saw Moscow step up its rocket attacks on various locations throughout Ukraine. In the most lethal, Russian forces launched missiles from a submarine in the Black Sea that killed 22 people in the central city of Vinnytsia. – New York Sun

The EU has drastically scaled back its imports of Russian thermal coal ahead of a full ban next month, compounding fears over an intensifying energy crisis in the bloc. Just 1.7mn tonnes of Russian coal, used for power generation, were shipped by sea to the EU in June, a decline of 48 per cent compared with May as western powers extended their punitive measures against Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine. – Financial Times

Russia on Friday banned investigative news outlet Bellingcat and its main local partner from operating inside the country, branding them security threats. Netherlands-based Bellingcat exposed the Russian-backed soldiers behind the downing of Malaysian Airlines jet MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 and unmasked FSB agents sent to poison Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in 2020 – Reuters

David Ignatius writes: Let’s imagine that somehow, despite the sanctions, Russia staggers on with its bloody assault of Ukraine. What then? To think about Putin’s potential problems, just look at a map. Russia is the largest country in the world, by far. To support his reckless, illegal war in Ukraine, Putin has stripped forces from the Far East, the Baltic, the vast underbelly that borders South Asia. He has a country that’s in slow-motion collapse, and too few people to protect it. – Washington Post 

Andrei Kolesnikov writes: Naturally, Russians are preoccupied with Ukraine and NATO, which has led to an emotional stupor: what is a multimillion-dollar theft compared with the threat of nuclear war? Apart from fatigue, many also feel helpless to change anything and are glad to have Putin not only make decisions for them but also think for them. Sure, the Miller investigation revealed irregularities worth billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. But now that same money is being spent on the war. People do not care; they just want to be left alone. – Foreign Affairs

Kateryna Stepanenko, Layne Philipson, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russia’s operational pause largely continued, with limited Russian ground assaults along the Slovyansk-Siversk-Bakhmut salient. Russian forces continued heavy shelling, missile attacks, and airstrikes all along the front line. The Russians will likely launch a larger-scale and more determined offensive along the Slovyansk-Siversk-Bakhmut line soon, but there are no indications yet of how soon that attack will begin or exactly where it will focus. – Institute for the Study of War


President Biden warned that the U.S. wouldn’t “wait forever” for Iran to agree to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, and didn’t commit to raising the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a coming visit to Saudi Arabia. – Wall Street Journal

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday that the Islamic Republic will have a “harsh and regrettable response” to any “mistake” committed by Washington or its allies. – Reuters

Iran said on Thursday that as long as Washington’s main goal was to maintain “the fake state of Israel’s security,” the Middle East will not achieve stability and peace, Iranian state TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying. – Reuters

Iran has supplied unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to its proxies in the Middle East and employed them during reconnaissance, sabotage, and attack missions in the region. Now, Iranian-made drones could end up in the hands of Russia, which is facing Western sanctions and international isolation, for use in its war in Ukraine. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

James Sweet writes: Biden drew a red line in his visit to Israel, similar to Trump. If push comes to shove, it is necessary that the U.S. follows through with its declarations. Should Iran push for a nuclear conflict with Israel, it is up to the U.S. to ensure that Iran’s facilities are neutralized before something far more devastating can occur. – Washington Examiner

Michael Rubin writes: To ease Iran’s financial recovery is to enable the Russo-Iranian alliance and undermine Ukraine. Partisanship amplifies congressional battles, but it is important not to lose focus. Partisan rejection of commonsense Republican efforts to fix diplomacy will be no victory for the United States. It is time for a bipartisan understanding that strategies that empower Russia are contrary to the interests of the U.S. To celebrate partisan victories at the expense of either the Ukrainian or Iranian peoples is nothing about which to feel proud. – Washington Examiner

David Albright and Sarah Burkhard write: A revived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would not prevent Iran from further developing the IR-6 centrifuge and its existing conditions would allow Iran to better prepare this centrifuge for subsequent mass production and deployment, measured in up to a few thousand per year, when key nuclear limitations on centrifuge deployment end in 2028-2030. This is another sign that Iran’s advances have made the JCPOA archaic. With Iran’s nuclear advances future-oriented, a nuclear deal should be, too. Iran’s nuclear capabilities continue to become stronger, broader, and longer-lasting, and a nuclear deal should aim for the same. – Institute for Science and International Security

Sarah Burkhard and David Albright write: The 2021 announcement and the English book, based on its table of contents, do not discuss the manufacturing of maraging steel, a difficult technical process that eludes many countries particularly with regard to the production of high quality, high grade maraging steel suitable for use in Iran’s advanced centrifuges. It remains a public mystery if Iran can make high grade maraging steel or if it has found a new international supplier willing to defy sanctions and trade controls. However, recent indications suggest one or both of these possibilities are occurring or are planned. – Institute for Science and International Security

Nancy Ezzeddine and HamidReza Azizi write: Paradoxically, decentralization reduces the direct utility of the axis as a tool of Iranian foreign policy but improves its resilience and capabilities. Partners may take actions that run counter to Iranian interests, such as attacks that threaten the future of the nuclear deal or rapprochement with the United Arab Emirates. But Iran also gains a denser defensive network with more plausible deniability to respond to threats from opponents. – War on the Rocks


Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, pushed President Biden on Thursday to go beyond his public commitment to stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon, declaring that all democratic nations must vow to act if the Iranians continue “to develop their nuclear program.” – New York Times

From the moment an agreement was reached in 2015, the Israeli government has been implacably opposed to the nuclear deal with Iran. Increasingly, though, high-ranking members of the Israeli defense and intelligence establishments are saying that a new agreement along the lines of that pact would be in Jerusalem’s best interest – New York Times

For years, Hussein al-Sheikh has overseen the fraught day-to-day relations between Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Israeli military — a role that has made him unpopular with the public but has drawn him close to the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Then in May, Mr. Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, appointed Mr. al-Sheikh to one of the highest posts in his political movement. – New York Times

Palestinians protested on Friday over President Biden during his meetings with Palestinian health workers and officials, amid widespread frustration with U.S. support for Israel and the Biden administration’s policies toward Palestinians. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden raised U.S. concerns over settlement expansion in the West Bank with Israeli leaders ahead of his visit to the Palestinian territories on Friday, a step that may begin to appease  some Democrats who have been sharply critical of his stance toward the Jewish state. – Washington Examiner

When President Joe Biden heads to the occupied West Bank on Friday for talks with Palestinian leaders, he will have little to offer beyond U.S. money aimed at buying calm. He’s expected to announce $316 million in financial assistance — about a third of which will require congressional approval — and a commitment from Israel to modernize wireless access for Palestinians – Associated Press

US President Joe Biden will announce plans to ease access at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, along with a series of other initiatives meant to boost the Palestinians during his visits to East Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Friday. – Times of Israel

The Hamas terrorist organization on Thursday dismissed the significance of the “Jerusalem Declaration” that was signed by US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid, saying it views the document as a continuation of “aggression against the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.” – Arutz Sheva

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: Therefore, the disagreements between the U.S. and Israel regarding a potential course of action against the Iranian issue have not been solved. But there is one substantial promise, the Jerusalem Proclamation – the U.S. promised to make every effort to allow Israel to protect itself autonomously. This promise was made in full awareness of the preparations Israel is currently building, including militarily, meaning that the U.S. grants the IDF and Mossad legitimacy to act as they see fit. – Ynet

Seth J. Frantzman writes: That’s what the US wanted as it sought to dial back its role in wars like Afghanistan and Iraq. Some said: “Stop the endless wars.” Others said: “Stop the waste of blood and treasure.” What the new partnerships and groupings show is that the US can focus on its own domestic issues and the economy, and rely on friends, such as I2U2, to do the heavy lifting. Washington can work by, with and through its partners in other places in the region as well, and through that, can keep an eye on the hinges of strategic importance to maintain a global role, with regional friends at the helm. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announced new rules on Friday that will allow commercial planes from Israel to fly over the kingdom in increasing numbers, a conciliatory step sought by the U.S. that came hours before President Biden was expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a pivotal meeting to discuss regional security, oil prices and Iran. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden declined to say Thursday whether he would press Saudi leaders on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when he meets with them on Friday, injecting a tense and uncertain twist into Biden’s high-stakes first encounter with officials from a country he vowed to isolate for its human rights abuses. – Washington Post

President Joe Biden will discuss energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation in Saudi Arabia on Friday on a trip designed to reset the U.S. relationship with a country he once pledged to make a “pariah” on the world stage. – Reuters

In an article he published in advance of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2022, Faisal ‘Abbas, editor of the English-language Saudi daily Arab News, writes that Biden’s visit does not represent a “reorientation” of U.S.-Saudi relations, but rather a return to the norm. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Josh Rogin writes: U.S. officials say Biden must engage with Saudi Arabia because of the continuing war in Yemen and the threat from Iran. Sure. But that doesn’t mean Biden has to give the regime a pass on human rights or its mistreatment of our people. The administration also touts the fact that Biden will become the first American president to fly directly from Israel to Jiddah in Saudi Arabia. Fine. But that’s a symbolic move that can’t be seen as a substitute for real accomplishments. – Washington Post

Simon Henderson writes: Helpfully, oil prices weakened this week below the headline figure of $100 per barrel. And whatever else is on President Biden’s agenda during his Saudi visit, this issue will probably generate the greatest interest. Yet any further progress on price and supply questions will necessarily go hand in hand with diplomatic progress between the president and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman—the one Saudi whom Biden has been reluctant to meet. – Washington Institute

Douglas London writes: MbS’s rule is founded on a similar concept of total control at the very top, in contrast to the broader consensus across the House of Saud and Saudi society with which his more recent predecessors had ruled. Going it alone certainly frees him from internal debate, but it also deprives him of input concerning not only alternative perspectives, but rumblings beneath the surface beyond the scope or control of his lieutenants. – Middle East Institute 

Reema Bandar Alsaud writes: I am sure that great crises will face us, some of which we have no way of predicting. But our two great nations must confront the unknown with confidence. And we should tackle today’s biggest challenges — from deadly epidemics and food insecurity to the responsible transition to renewables — with the same zeal with which we once contained communist aggression and threats to global energy production. By working together we can build the future we all dream of, a future our youth can be proud of, a future we all deserve. – Politico

Middle East & North Africa

President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday to kick off a trip to the Middle East that his administration hopes will bolster U.S. ties in the region, but could yield limited progress on American priorities. – Wall Street Journal

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. – Associated Press

The U.S. Embassy in Libya expressed concern Thursday over the struggle for control of Libya’s oil corporation after its chairman was sacked by one of the country’s two rival governments the day before.The crisis throws into question Libya’s oil revenues, which fund much of the public sector, and also future production amid an international fuel shortage. – Associated Press

On Friday, Joe Biden will become the first U.S. president to travel directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia. The flight’s scheduled route—from the ancient city of Jerusalem to the coastal metropolis of Jeddah—comes amid profound shifts in the Middle East’s diplomatic and defensive landscape, which increasingly align one-time adversaries in Israel and surrounding Arab countries against common threats posed by Iran. – The Dispatch 

Editorial: The fastest way to better relations with the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs is to call an end to the diplomatic dance with Iran and return to Mr. Trump’s maximum pressure campaign. We don’t expect that, but Mr. Biden has two-and-a-half long years left in his Presidency. They’ll go better for him and U.S. interests if he makes more concessions to reality along the way. – Wall Street Journal

Tamar Hermann, Dennis Ross, Ebtesam al-Ketbi, and Robert Satloff write: More broadly, Saudi policy is less adventurous today than in the past, and the crown prince wants to become a regional leader. The goal is to project his country as a consensus-maker in the Middle East rather than a change-maker. At the moment, the biggest developments in the kingdom are its sweeping social, cultural, and economic changes, which are broadly popular and have met little resistance. More reform is coming, but major transformations such as lifting alcohol and prayer restrictions and normalizing with Israel will take place incrementally. It is in America’s interest to encourage these trends. – Washington Institute

Aluf Benn writes: But the person who will determine whether Biden’s trip ends in success or failure doesn’t appear on the president’s schedule. He’s Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He holds the pen with which Iran would sign a renewed nuclear accord, paving the way for a lifting of sanctions on his country. If he signs and signals a rapprochement with the West, the regional constellation of forces would change, and Iran would benefit from economic expansion and international legitimacy that it currently lacks. – Haaretz

Salem Alketbi writes:  The Biden administration has failed to reach out to its Gulf allies to coordinate on this vital Gulf security issue. Exclusive consultations and coordination with Israel had no clear impact on the White House’s strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. This coordination often looked like a kind of reassurance to avoid pressure from the pro-Israel lobby at home, regardless of what actual impact it had on White House strategy.I think the success of Biden’s visit to the Middle East depends on how willing he is to turn the page on the year and a half since he took office and to be pragmatically flexible about the current geopolitical realities in our region. – Arutz Sheva

Anna Borshchevskaya, Louis Dugit-Gros, and Andrew J. Tabler write: Accordingly, until Washington and its partners can formulate a viable alternative plan, they must devote considerable work to keep Russia from expanding the humanitarian loophole into a torrent of electricity and gas transfers for the Assad regime. Although natural gas is not mentioned directly in Resolution 2642, the language about electricity opens the door to such discussions. If plans to move gas across Syria for use in Lebanon are set in motion, these supplies would run a serious risk of becoming feedstock in the Assad regime’s host of dormant or partially operating power stations. – Washington Institute

Joel E. Starr writes: U.S. policy should continue its efforts to improve ways that American security assistance can advance long-term security goals — not least following last year’s surge in military coups.  […]Finally, President Biden’s current visit reinforces the U.S. record of delivering on security guarantees in the Middle East, notably by supporting the Abraham Accords negotiated under its predecessor. –  United States Institute of Peace

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Ukraine has no right to raise sovereignty issues after joining the United States’ “unjust, illegal” actions that breached Pyongyang’s sovereignty. – Reuters

South Korea hopes a high-level visit to Tokyo next week will kickstart talks aimed at a breakthrough in historical disputes despite concerns the death of former Japanese premier Shinzo Abe could disrupt efforts to mend ties, Seoul officials said. – Reuters

Victor Cha and Christopher Johnstone write:  South Korea, in turn, should share information about its “Kill Chain” program—Seoul’s strategy for detecting and preempting a North Korean attack—and its cruise and ballistic missile development. Given China’s increased threats against Taiwan and the impact a conflict in the Taiwan Strait would likely have on Japanese and South Korean security, it is time for the three allies to engage in trilateral discussions regarding Taiwan contingencies. As an initial step, the three countries could consider a tabletop exercise to begin exploring coordinated responses in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait. – Foreign Affairs

Trevor Filseth writes: Although North Korea and Ukraine had nominally maintained diplomatic relations until the announcement, neither nation had consular representation in the other, with North Korea conducting Ukrainian affairs from its embassy in Moscow and Ukraine managing North Korean issues from its embassy in Beijing. The statement observed that ongoing international sanctions against North Korea already severely restricted political and economic contacts between Kyiv and Pyongyang. – The National Interest


China-Australia relations are facing both challenges and opportunities at the present, and China is willing to “recalibrate” ties in the spirit of mutual respect, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. – Reuters

Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited the northwestern Xinjiang region this week amid concerns over China’s detention of a million or more members of primarily Muslim ethnic native minorities. – Associated Press

China’s blacklisted DJI is battling to maintain its dominance of the US drone market by lobbying Congress to block a bill barring the federal government from buying its unmanned aircraft. The Shenzhen-based company has hired two lobbying firms — Squire Patton Boggs and the Vogel Group — to persuade members of Congress not to back the American Security Drone Act, which forbids the government from buying drones from Chinese firms or others viewed as posing a risk to national security. – Financial Times

The Taiwan public’s declining desire for political union with China fell further to a near-record low in the first half of 2022, the island’s leading pollster said on Tuesday. In a biannual update to its surveys on core political attitudes in Taiwan, National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center (ESC) found only 1.3 percent of respondents wanted unification with mainland China “as soon as possible,” while a similarly low 5.1 percent desired formal Taiwanese independence at the earliest possibility. – Newsweek

Minxin Pei writes: How should the US approach this critical struggle instead? It may be enough to justify China policy on grounds of fundamental national interests. Biden can make clear to Americans, allies and China that the US is looking solely to advance its own security and economic interests. Compromise and cooperation with China are possible so long as its conduct does not harm such interests. – Bloomberg

South Asia

The speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament said Friday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned and Parliament will convene to choose a new leader after massive protests over the country’s economic collapse forced him from office. – Associated Press

Militants shot dead a kidnapped Pakistani army officer as his comrades were closing in to try to rescue him in the restive southwest province of Balochistan, the military said on Thursday. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: Sri Lanka’s collapse worries the region, but Pakistan’s collapse should worry the world. For decades, state failure in Pakistan has been a nightmare scenario. Both Pakistan and the broader world have had a taste of that scenario as violence, extremism, and poverty engulf the former capital and commercial hub of Karachi and as Pakistani authorities lose control over many regions alongside the Afghanistan border. The United States, India, and Iran are right to worry about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, as military officers also begin to struggle to get by. Pakistani elite live in a state of denial believing that the status quo in which they live an affluent life insulated from broader society is permanent. – The National Interest


At an election campaign rally outside Tokyo in June, the first dignitary to be introduced was from a sister organization of the Unification Church that advocates strengthening Japan’s military and countering the Chinese Communist Party. Soon after, the audience heard from another man who shared those views: former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Just over a month later, Mr. Abe was shot and killed by a man police say held a grudge against an unspecified “religious group.” – Wall Street Journal

Pacific Island nations on Thursday rebuked China for its heavy-handed push for a regionwide agreement deepening security and trade ties, while committing to sharing information on issues that risk destabilizing the strategically important region. – Wall Street Journal

Top financial officials from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations met on the Indonesian island of Bali on Friday seeking strategies to counter the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine, inflation and other global crises. – Associated Press

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said Thursday that his country’s new security pact with Beijing would not allow China to build a military base on the South Pacific nation and make his citizens “targets for potential military strikes.” – Associated Press

Foreign peacekeepers credited with helping ease years of bloody fighting between government forces and Muslim rebels have left the southern Philippines after officials decided to end their presence, but talks are underway to allow their possible return, officials and the rebels said Friday. – Associated Press

Tobias Harris writes: Perhaps over time, as new challenges emerge Japan’s, leaders will drift away from Abe’s policy frameworks. The consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine may already be forcing the Kishida government to think differently about energy and economic security, and Kishida’s choice of a successor for governor of the Bank of Japan will determine whether the Abe-era easing policies continue under a new governor. – TIME


Italy hit a period of dizzying political turbulence Thursday, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi saying he would resign and make way for a new government, only for the country’s president to reject Draghi’s resignation and ask him to reassess whether he can hold a majority together. – Washington Post

Thousands of people protested in North Macedonia on July 14 as parliament held a raucous first day of debate on a French compromise deal for settling disputes with Bulgaria and opening the way for the Balkan country to begin talks on joining the European Union. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris next week focusing on the “peace process” and elections, the Palestinian foreign ministry said Thursday – Times of Israel 


Mali’s military-led government said on Thursday it was temporarily suspending troop rotations by the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, days after arresting 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast who it said had arrived in the country without permission. – Reuters

Southern African countries agreed on Thursday to extend their troop deployment in Mozambique for another month to help it fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency. – Reuters

W. Gyude Moore writes: Perhaps most of all, COP27 is the time to abandon counterproductive financing bans and instead move to a more cooperative approach that treats every country equally by considering its own available resources, needs, and goals. Africans are understandably angered by the West’s 180-degree turn on fossil fuels for itself while sticking to restrictions on poor countries. The sensible response is not a slight adjustment of hypocritical policies but a new, respectful partnership to tackle the world’s challenges. – Foreign Policy

The Americas

China said on Thursday it wants the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on criminal gangs in Haiti as the 15-member body negotiates a resolution to extend a U.N. political mission in the strife-torn Caribbean country. – Reuters

A Venezuelan government official on Thursday called former White House national security adviser John Bolton “crazy” after his admission this week that he had tried to plot foreign coups, including backing an unsuccessful bid to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro. – Reuters

A man acquitted in a terrorist bombing that killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight in 1985 was slain Thursday in a possible targeted shooting, Canadian authorities said. – Associated Press

The U.N. special envoy for Colombia said Thursday that “there are good reasons for optimism” about the country’s incoming left-leaning administration but he warned that violence targeted at former combatants remains a chief obstacle to consolidating peace. – Associated Press


State-sponsored hackers from China, North Korea, Iran and Turkey have been regularly spying on and impersonating journalists from various media outlets in an effort to infiltrate their networks and gain access to sensitive information, according to a report released on Thursday by cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. – The Hill

A forthcoming White House cybersecurity strategy will likely project a more muscular federal government role to safeguard the nation’s digital infrastructure, taking a more aggressive approach than prior administrations to compel industry to do more to prevent U.S. adversaries from hacking critical networks. – CyberScoop

The Department of Homeland Security’s inaugural Cyber Safety Review board released its first-ever report Thursday, issuing a set of 19 recommendations in response to the widespread Log4j vulnerability that continues to affect networks around the world. – CyberScoop

Use of so-called cryptocurrency “mixers,” which combine various types of assets to mask their origin, peaked at a 30-day average of nearly $52 million worth of digital currency in April, representing an unprecedented volume of funds moving through those services, researchers at cryptocurrency research firm Chainalysis found. – CyberScoop


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday paving the way for the defense budget to exceed $800 billion next year, authorizing $37 billion in spending on top of the record $773 billion proposed by President Joe Biden. – Reuters

Lockheed Martin secured a $58.8 million contract to furnish prototypes for the Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team program, meant to give soldiers a relevant suite of electronic warfare, cyber and signals intelligence capabilities. – C4ISRNET

A new report is warning that amid all the hype surrounding hypersonics, the US homeland remains vulnerable to attack by “garden-variety” cruise missiles, as evidenced by their potency in Ukraine. – Breaking Defense