Fdd's overnight brief

July 18, 2023

In The News


Iran’s morality police are resuming their public patrols to enforce the country’s strict Islamic dress code, authorities said, signaling an escalation in the regime’s crackdown against women who refuse to wear the mandatory headscarf, or hijab, in public. – Washington Post

The Gaj educational institute, a provider of supplemental educational materials and university entrance exam books in Iran, has been shut down after reports that one of its exams being used by schools included mentions of protests that have rocked the country and poems critical of the regime. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Protests have erupted in the northern Iranian city of Rasht following an attempt by government officials to arrest three women over violations of mandatory hijab rules amid reports that the country’s leadership has ordered the resumption of so-called “morality police” patrols. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Herb Keinon writes: One of the hopes that some African countries had in forging strong relations with Israel when Netanyahu made his push into Africa seven years ago was that this would open doors for them in Washington. Now, however, they are watching as Netanyahu having trouble even opening a door for himself in Washington, something that only reduces the importance of ties with Israel in their eyes. – Jerusalem Post

Ashka Jhaveri, Andie Parry, Johanna Moore, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Annika Ganzeveld, and Amin Soltani write: Iranian media additionally circulated reports that Lake Ouroumiyeh had reached its lowest level in 60 years and warned of an impending environmental disaster on July 16. CTP assessed on June 30 that Iran’s worsening water crisis is creating a number of internal security and humanitarian issues–such as increased food insecurity and internal migration–which will likely fuel greater popular unrest in the coming years.  – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Six weeks into Ukraine’s counteroffensive, Capt. Anatoliy Kharchenko and his reconnaissance company were supposed to be wreaking havoc miles behind Russian defensive lines pierced by Western-supplied armored vehicles. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukraine’s bid for quick NATO membership faced a setback last week. Its path to membership of the European Union looks equally bumpy, despite encouragement from Brussels. – Wall Street Journal 

A Ukrainian strike disabled the only road bridge connecting Russia with the occupied Crimean Peninsula, hitting once again a major symbol of President Vladimir Putin’s rule and constricting Russian supplies to the front lines in southern Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukraine is making limited advances in its counteroffensive against Russian forces but has yet to employ the kind of larger-scale operations that American officials believe could enable a breakthrough, officials and analysts say, deepening questions among some of Ukraine’s chief backers about whether Kyiv can move fast enough to match a finite supply of munitions and arms. – Washington Post

The officers in tracksuits looked a little nervous as they rapped on the window of the rental car. They wondered what we were doing here, on an island high above the Arctic Circle, some 4,000 miles from Washington and not far from where Russia bases some of its most sophisticated submarines. Was there a reason we were taking pictures of the hulking white radar stations that look out from Norway to Russia’s Kola Peninsula? – Washington Post

A large convoy of vehicles carrying Wagner mercenary troops arrived at a military field camp in Belarus on Monday morning, in what is the private company’s biggest — and most public — showing since its failed rebellion in Russia last month. – New York Times

Russia said on Monday it was withdrawing from a wartime agreement to allow grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea until its demands to loosen sanctions on its own agricultural exports were met, upending a deal that has helped stabilize global food prices and alleviate shortages in parts of Africa and the Middle East. – New York Times

The Kremlin said on Monday that it knew “very well” that NATO and the United States were providing intelligence to Ukraine but this was not a reason to cut off diplomatic ties with them following an attack on the bridge linking Russia and Crimea. – Reuters 

Russia launched overnight air attacks on Ukraine’s south and east using drones and possibly ballistic missiles, Ukraine’s Air Force and officials said early on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Britain rejected accusations by Russia on Monday that British intelligence services might have been involved in an attack on Russia’s bridge to Crimea. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday his defence ministry was preparing proposals for a response to an overnight attack that damaged the road bridge linking Crimea to southern Russia, for which he blamed Ukraine. – Reuters 

The United States will continue to work with other countries to ensure movement of grain out of Ukraine after Russia halted participation on Monday in the year-old U.N.-brokered deal that allows its neighbor to export grain through the Black Sea, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Monday. – Reuters 

A Russian warplane crashed into the sea on Monday during a training mission in southern Russia and its pilot died after bailing out, authorities said. – Associated Press

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Pope Francis’ peace envoy Tuesday as part of the Holy See’s peace and humanitarian initiatives for Ukraine, with the plight of Ukrainian children taken to Russia topping the agenda, the White House and Vatican said Monday. – Associated Press

A row between EU and Latin American countries over how — or even whether — to mention the war in Ukraine risks turning what was meant to be the celebration of a renewed partnership into a diplomatic failure. – Politico

The International Energy Agency has warned Europe could still face a very difficult winter if Russia cuts its remaining gas supplies to the continent and if the region experiences cold weather. – Financial Times

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday accused Russia of “weaponizing food” after Moscow halted its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has kept food supplies flowing out of Ukraine despite the war. – The Hill 

Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t have the stomach to enforce his renewed blockade of Ukraine’s grain exports, Ukrainian officials say. – Washington Examiner 

Andrew E. Kramer writes: After his tank hit a mine, he was given leave from his unit, returned home and began exploring the dry lake bed. Finding the swastika emerging from the water, he said, “didn’t surprise me at all.” The wars are separated by decades, but “the landscape hasn’t changed,” he said. – New York Times

Grace Mappes, Karolina Hird, Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russian authorities continue efforts to consolidate social control over youth in occupied Ukraine through pro-Russian youth programs. The Kherson Oblast occupation administration claimed that personnel of the Kherson “Vasily Margelov” volunteer battalion are teaching Ukrainian children in occupied Kherson Oblast to use weapons as part of the Russian Young Army Cadets National Movement (Yunarmiya) program. Russian occupation officials have continually leveraged the Yunarmiya military-patriotic movement to instill pro-Russian and militarized ideals in youth in occupied Ukraine. – Institute for the Study of War

Harlan Ullman writes: Finally is the missing dimension in analyses. As Sun Tzu argued in “The Art of War,” the second best strategy is to defeat the enemy’s strategy. How then does one go about doing that? Attack and disrupt the command structure. […]No one predicted this. Nor did anyone foresee the political chaos caused by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed mutiny and its aftermath. This should refocus Western thinking, not on regime change but on disruption. Now that is a lesson worth re-learning. – The Hill 

Tom Rogan writes: By damaging the bridge, Ukraine has thus struck a further blow against Putin’s credibility as the leader holding the initiative in the war. Putin has appeared undeniably vulnerable following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted June coup attempt and Putin’s subsequent meeting with Prigozhin. The images of one of his key prestige projects on fire are not comfortable ones for the former KGB lieutenant colonel. – Washington Examiner 

Tom Rogan writes: Put simply, Putin is risking a lot in order to, at best, gain relatively little. The risks of this course of action are significant for Russia. The U.S. and its partners should thus reject Russia’s brinkmanship, instead forcing Putin to contemplate the pressure his policy shift will cause for him. That’s the best way to ensure Russia restores this grain deal in short order. – Washington Examiner 

Grant Rumley and Louis Dugit-Gros write: The war in Ukraine is perhaps the opening gambit in a new world defined by great power competition. Defense spending is up, arms sales are increasing, and new military relationships are being forged. As the effects of Russia’s invasion spread far beyond the battlefield, the United States and other Western countries will have opportunities to take advantage of Russia’s weakened position. Arms and arms-related sales have historically been a key driver of the Russian economy; if Washington and other Western capitals want to exact a heavier strategic cost than Moscow’s poorly planned and ill-executed invasion has already wrought, then they must work together to avoid squandering such an opportunity. – Washington Institute 

Elena Davlikanova writes: Almost immediately after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the Russian Federation questioned the border between the countries. President Boris Yeltsin’s press secretary said Moscow reserved the right to address unresolved border disputes with republics of the former USSR. Its low-intensity campaign against Ukraine continued for years and ultimately became an open effort at national obliteration. The effort at peaceful resolution, pursued by a small country in an effort to establish its existence in the shadow of a huge neighbor, has failed. It is tragic to say so, but war provides the only answer. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Pavel Luzin writes: On the other hand, accounts receivable from the Russian ministries were skyrocketing in 2022: from 6 trillion rubles ($81.4bn) to 9.26 trillion rubles ($135.2bn.) The cause here was budgetary payments in advance, something that will be repeated in 2023, especially in arms manufacturing. But an increase in spending does not necessarily mean a corresponding increase in output because of cost-plus inflation. It is, therefore, difficult for Russia to replace weapons and systems lost and expended. That explains why we see more Soviet-era weaponry taken from long-term storage and sent to the battlefield. (This now includes T-55 tanks, the weapons used by the Kremlin to crush the Hungarian 1956 uprising, and the Prague Spring in 1968.) – Center for European Policy Analysis

Carl Schreck writes: But the West can still hurt Russia’s ability to wage war in Ukraine by reinforcing export controls. […]Europe, in particular, can improve enforcement efforts, experts say. This “will be a year of sanctions enforcement,” says Maria Shagina, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Berlin, says 2023. “National governments’ capacities vary across member states. Leveling the playing field, establishing better cross-border coordination, and harmonizing the legislation is key.” – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Chels Michta writes: If the United States and NATO fail to respond by, for instance, expanding the nuclear sharing program, or at the very least renouncing the failed NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 that Russia has repeatedly violated, Putin will read this as another sign of Western ambivalence and conclude that NATO has little appetite for risk-taking in this confrontation. This will encourage more Russian adventurism along the Eastern Flank, and potentially trigger an even more dangerous confrontation with the West. In short, NATO should carefully weigh the political costs of failing to provide a strong response to this latest Russian attempt at nuclear blackmail. – Center for European Policy Analysis   

Anchal Vohra writes: “Belarus is boiling, and the only way to keep the lid on is by increasing repression,” she said, adding that there are more than 5,000 political prisoners in Belarus, with only a third officially recognized—including her husband. “But at one point, this won’t work anymore, and the lid will blow off.” – Foreign Policy


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set for a second showdown with a cohort of the country’s military reservists as he pushes forward this week with controversial legislation aimed at overhauling the nation’s judicial system. – Wall Street Journal 

President Biden on Monday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a meeting in the United States before the year’s end, marking the first such invitation from the White House since Netanyahu was sworn in for a sixth term in December, and a thawing in the relationship between the two leaders. – Washington Post

The Palestinian Authority has issued a stiff warning to unruly gunmen in the West Bank, saying it will “cut off the hand of anyone who tries to tamper with the security and stability” of the Palestinians. – Jerusalem Post

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Monday that coalition leaders have agreed that the next step in the judicial overhaul will be passing “legislation to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee.” – Haaretz 

For the second time this month, the Israeli protest movement against to the government’s judicial overhaul will hold a day of disruption on Tuesday. – Haaretz

Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Monday announced she would join the boycott of Israel President Isaac Herzog’s address to a joint session of Congress, as House Republicans prepare a floor vote aimed at politicizing Democratic standing for Israel at a time where Israeli and U.S. officials are attempting to stress bipartisan support. – Haaretz 

Former Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview on Monday that Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) recent comments describing Israel as “a racist state” were “a disgrace,” even as he acknowledged that she had since walked back her remarks amid criticism from members of both parties. – Jewish Insider 

Editorial: The picture coming into focus is concerning: There remains a large pro-Israel faction of the Democratic Party, but it is quickly being eaten up by its more radical and younger party members. The status quo cannot last. As campus radicals and more centrist leftists graduate, the Democratic Party will become far more antagonistic toward America’s staunchest ally and only true democracy in the Middle East. This is deeply regrettable and dangerous. The U.S.-Israel relationship has long been among the only areas of bipartisan agreement in Washington. But as Democrats become more extreme, there will be an ever-shrinking number of issues of which that can be said. This will hurt not just Israel, but the United States too. – Washington Examiner 

Editorial: The anti-overhaul protest movement has announced a “national day of disruption” on Tuesday. Its members plan to intensify their protest actions every day, to the point of paralyzing the country when the bill is brought up for its final Knesset votes early next week. This is the necessary minimum when confronting people who are threatening to disrupt the structure of Israel’s system of government and paralyze every mechanism, institution, law and individual with the power to prevent them from corrupting Israel in their own image. They must not be allowed to do so. – Haaretz 

Editorial: And as it continues to push forward the judicial reform legislation – a source of deep concern for those in Israel and elsewhere who fear it will damage Israel’s democracy – and walk between the raindrops of global geopolitics, the government would do well to heed the counsel of kindred democracies and of its most avid supporters if it wishes to fall on the right side of history. – Jerusalem Post

Lazar Berman writes: Herzog could also propose a deal in his closed meetings. In exchange for US concessions on Iran, or gestures that would bring about some kind of Saudi recognition of Israel, Netanyahu would put the judicial reform on ice and assert more control over his right flank. Of course, those pushing the judicial reform – especially Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chair Simcha Rothman – are in no mood to back down. Like Yishai in 2010, proponents of the overhaul have made clear that they will not let Netanyahu ignore domestic political considerations in favor of international diplomacy.  – Times of Israel

Yossi Verter writes: There is no more effective fuel for the protests than these people. On Tuesday, another day of resistance is planned. Roads will be blocked, and this time, instead of Ben-Gurion Airport, trains will be blocked as well. Once again, the protesters are choosing to harm innocent Israelis, who are already suffering and sweating in the terrible heat wave. Each side in this battle has made its own mistakes. – Haaretz 

Anshel Pfeffer writes: A lot of the resentment and frustrations coming to the fore now were bubbling under the surface for a long time. And we haven’t even mentioned the effect on the IDF of having to serve as a police force in service of the settlers in the occupied territories for 56 years. Whatever the future of Israel’s limited and fragile democracy, it is already clear now that the values of the IDF and the notions of service in Israel will never be the same again. – Haaretz

Ehud Barak writes: Dear President Herzog, we all wish you as successful a visit as possible. In another week, you’ll come back home and face weighty challenges. In the past, you said that when the time is right, you’ll take a stand on the dispute that you have been trying to resolve. I urge you to muster your courage and do it now. Tell the people where you stand, because you cannot do otherwise. And you will be blessed. – Haaretz


Britain said on Tuesday it intends to start talks with Turkey over refreshing their bilateral free trade deal, with a view to including services and the digital sector in any future agreement. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia and Turkey signed a number of memorandums of understanding in many fields including energy, direct investments and defence, Saudi state news agency SPA reported early on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Sam Brownback and Michael Rubin write: The U.S. presence at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base should not be a “get out of jail free” card for Mr. Erdogan. Alternatives exist in Romania and Greece. It is time to pull the plug on Incirlik. Most importantly, the United States must focus on the forest and not the trees. Religious freedom and democracy are not chits to negotiate away to win an agreement that will not last a month. Standing on principle is not diplomatic inconvenience; sometimes, it is the wisest diplomacy of all. – The Washington Times

Gulf States

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gathered local journalists in Riyadh for a rare off-the-record briefing in December and delivered a stunning message. The country’s ally of decades, the United Arab Emirates, had “stabbed us in the back,” he said. – Wall Street Journal

Japan and the United Arab Emirates agreed to cooperate on technology and climate change during Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit, his second stop in the region focused on securing energy supplies and promoting green technology. – Reuters 

Noam Raydan writes: The White House believes Baghdad’s recently announced diversification projects will “enhance Iraq’s energy security and the reliability of its electricity network” and help the country meet its climate objectives. At the technical, financial, and political levels, however, the country still has a long way to go before even nearing any of these goals. […]The power sector cannot be made reliable without addressing these larger problems, particularly in the challenging summer season. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

The U.S. is sending F-35 jet fighters and a Navy destroyer to the Middle East to bulk up its forces following a series of challenges by Iranian and Russian forces in the region, U.S. officials said Monday. – Wall Street Journal

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune began a state visit to China on Monday, with both economic and diplomatic priorities as the North African nation looks to become less gas-dependent and raise its global profile – Associated Press

Israel has recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara and is mulling opening a consulate there, a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office said on Monday. – Reuters 

A Russian fighter jet flew very close to a U.S. surveillance aircraft over Syria, forcing it to go through the turbulent wake and putting the lives of the four American crew members in danger, U.S. officials said Monday. – Associated Press

The five-nation group on Lebanon, which comprises the U.S., France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, said on Monday they had discussed several measures against politicians and groups who were obstructing the election of a new president. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday a new nuclear consultative group between South Korea and the United States would be a “starting point” to build a strong and effective deterrence against North Korea. – Reuters 

For the first time since the 1980s a U.S. nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) is in South Korea, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday, as the allies launched talks to coordinate responses in the event of a nuclear war with North Korea. – Reuters

North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Monday that the United States should avoid any “foolish act” that could put its security at risk and rejected offers of talks as a ploy, state news agency KCNA reported. – Reuters


U.S. special climate envoy John F. Kerry praised China’s “incredible job” expanding renewable energy sources Monday, while urging the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter to stop building coal-fired power plants. – Washington Post

After China’s leader, Xi Jinping, catapulted Qin Gang into the post of foreign minister in December, Mr. Qin set a frantic pace, meeting dozens of foreign officials as he pressed Beijing’s agenda in a divided, war-stricken world. Then Mr. Qin went silent. – New York Times

China’s President Xi Jinping told former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to continue to promote cooperation between the two countries, after bilateral relations cooled with Duterte’s successor seeking closer ties with Washington. – Reuters 

China and Russia are deepening their military co-operation with their largest joint naval and air exercise on Japan’s doorstep. – Financial Times

U.S. chip company executives met with top Biden administration officials on Monday to discuss China policy, the State Department and sources said, as the most powerful semiconductor lobby group urged a halt to more curbs under consideration. – Reuters 

Western countries are hoping Beijing can help pressure Moscow into rejoining a key global food security deal after the Kremlin formally pulled out of the agreement Monday. – Politico 

Developed countries are realising they must do more to secure minerals and metals as the west attempts to replicate China’s supply chain for resources, Rio Tinto chief’s executive has said. – Financial Times

Editorial: The risk for U.S. interests is that the Biden Administration will make consequential concessions on technology export controls, arms to Taiwan or something else of strategic importance in exchange for climate promises Beijing has no intention of keeping. – Wall Street Journal 

Liam Denning writes: The grant epitomizes the underlying rationale of Biden’s green industrial policy, which brings to the fore two externalities: climate change and national security. Neither are adequately priced in the market. We know this because, despite an existing and growing need for graphite in the US, market signals forged a supply chain over decades that is wholly outsourced, highly concentrated and carbon-intensive to boot. None of these conditions are now acceptable. – Bloomberg 

Joe Leahy, Sun Yu, and Chan Ho-him write: Inside, a sales person confides that business is so bad, she has had zero customers in the past couple of months. When her boss cut prices, people who had previously bought into the development got angry. “They were threatening to launch a protest,” she says. – Financial Times

Stephen Roach writes: Stuck in the past, diplomats are now celebrating the thaw after a big freeze. While, for the time being, the escalation of tensions is on a tenuous hold, it is urgent that both superpowers seize the moment and push for an entirely new approach to conflict resolution — before it is too late. – Financial Times

Joe Leahy writes: So, while China is some way off from Japan’s situation in the 1990s, policymakers may need to act quickly to give an incentive to the more productive areas of the economy. That means helping the private sector as a whole, including industries that do not necessarily fit Beijing’s strategic objectives such as ecommerce. “China should probably consider giving more room for the private economy to grow — that will reduce its chance of following what happened in Japan in the late 1980s,” Ng says. – Financial Times

Mike Gallagher writes: But it is in Tibet and Xinjiang that we see the CCP’s unsanitized, brutal attitude toward religion. While other faiths are persecuted throughout China, Buddhists and Muslims in the far west of the country are facing, quite simply, the attempted annihilation of their faith and, in some cases, their population. – Fox News

South Asia

In a major blow to Pakistan’s former prime minister and top opposition leader Imran Khan, dozens of his followers quit his party on Monday to launch their own ahead of parliamentary elections expected later this year. – Associated Press

The top military leadership of Pakistan and neighboring Iran agreed to step up cooperation and intelligence sharing and take “effective actions” to prevent attacks by separatist militants along their porous border, Pakistani officials said Monday. – Associated Press

Taliban authorities have further increased restrictions on women and girls in Afghanistan in recent months, including in education and employment, the U.N. said in a report on the human rights situation issued Monday. – Associated Press


France’s President Emmanuel Macron will visit Papua New Guinea next week, the latest world leader to visit the Pacific Islands nation which says it is “neutral ground” amid competition between China and the U.S. for influence in the region. – Reuters

Japan and France will hold their first-ever joint fighter jet drill from July 26-29, Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The United States is concerned about developments in Thailand’s legal system, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday, after two separate complaints against the leader of the party that won the most seats in a May 14 election. – Reuters 

China reacted with anger on Monday to a planned visit next month to the United States by “separatist” Taiwan presidential frontrunner Vice President William Lai, as the government in Taipei said it saw no reason to overreact to mere transit stops. – Reuters 

South Korean Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho met his U.S. and Chinese counterparts on the sidelines of the G20 economic leaders’ meeting held in India, the ministry said. – Reuters 

The leader of Solomon Islands on Monday hit back at criticism of his nation’s deepening security ties with China, saying the United States and Australia had nothing to fear. – Associated Press

Hal Brands writes: Washington, Tokyo and Canberra aren’t close to doing this right now: It’s more of a stretch goal for an emerging trilateral coalition. […]Things are happening quickly in an Indo-Pacific menaced by Chinese power. Australia, Japan and America need to think big and bold about how to deter a war none of them wishes to fight. – Bloomberg  


French lawmakers plan to vote Tuesday on a sweeping justice reform bill that includes a provision for allowing law enforcement agents to remotely tap into the cameras, microphones and location services of phones and other internet-connected devices used by some criminal suspects. – Associated Press

Spain’s general election on Sunday could make the country the latest European Union member swing to the populist right, a shift that would represent a major upheaval after five years under a left-wing government. – Associated Press

The leaders of several Western Balkan countries that want to join the European Union met informally Monday in Albania’s capital, Tirana, to prepare for a summit on their progress in preparing for future membership. – Associated Press

Germany is confident it will have the best equipped army division amongst European NATO allies in 2025, Army Chief Alfons Mais told Reuters, as countries are scrambling to gear up their troops in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: If the Popular Party performs well this weekend, it will be because it has fused a one-nation cultural message and a prosperity-focused, classically liberal economic program into a form of conservatism one used to take for granted in the West. Imagine if that old formula still turns out to be a winner. – Wall Street Journal

Leila Abboud writes: Cambon pointed to the main trade-off: France has to balance military ambition with heavy public debts and need to fund other needs such as hospitals, schools and pensions. “We are not an attacker country, but we must be capable of defending ourselves, in co-operation with Nato and our European allies,” he said. – Financial Times

Ilke Toygür and Max Bergmann write: Ukrainians are fighting for their European future. EU leaders now need to do their part to be ready to bring in Ukraine. If they pursue the long-overdue reforms of EU institutions and processes that will be required to make Ukrainian membership work, they will not just make the EU larger. They will make it stronger as well. – Foreign Policy


Twenty years after the Darfur genocide began, the children of those who survived are fleeing a new wave of violence that increasingly resembles the 2003 mass slaughter. – Washington Post

Dozens of troops from Russia’s Wagner private military company have arrived in Central African Republic to help secure a constitutional referendum on July 30 that could see the president extend his term, the presidency said on Monday. – Reuters 

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board on Monday signed off on nearly $1 billion in new funding for Kenya that could ease pressure on government finances in East Africa’s largest economy, the global lender said in a statement. – Reuters 

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved a $271 million Extended Credit Facility for Burundi, with an immediate disbursement of over $62 million, the IMF said in a statement late on Monday. – Reuters 

Armed separatists wearing military uniforms killed 10 civilians and wounded three in an attack at a crowded intersection in Cameroon’s volatile northwest, the regional governor said on Monday. – Associated Press

The Americas

Salvadoran police arrested more than a hundred Colombians for their alleged involvement in operating a microfinancing scheme that laundered money from drug running and gang activities, security officials said on Monday. – Reuters 

The European Union pledged more investment for Latin America and the Caribbean at a summit on Monday as part of a revamp of its international relationships prompted by Russia’s war on Ukraine and growing wariness of China. – Reuters 

Brett D. Schaefer writes: These are still notional proposals by the secretary-general. The granular details have not been fleshed out. While the Pact will not possess legal force, it will create political pressures on future U.S. presidential administrations. […]As reported by The Federalist, the Biden administration has expressed support for the effort, apparently content to subject the American people to the whims of the secretary-general. This is entirely misguided. The President should instead be defending their sovereignty from this naked power grab. – Heritage Foundation 

Duyeon Kim writes: More fundamentally, the AP4 is not a formal grouping on its own, and NATO so far cooperates only bilaterally with those countries. The AP4 countries have not yet aligned on a common agenda as a group, and the Japan-South Korea relationship is bumpy. For these reasons, it would be understandable if some NATO members are still hesitant about the alliance formalizing initiatives with the AP4. Despite all these challenges, practical first steps should still be taken. The stakes are too high to wait until after a conflict or crisis occurs in the Indo-Pacific. – Foreign Policy


Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. said it had been subject to a cyber attack that resulted in “the disclosure of a small portion of data from our networks.” – Bloomberg 

Audrey Kurth Cronin writes: Failing to put effective domestic AI regulations in place only hurts Americans. Accessible large language models can generate disinformation at enormous scale, code software for nefarious purposes, produce novel biological toxins, rapidly dislocate millions of workers, and destabilize democratic systems. Unless we act to protect Americans from the dangerous effects of untested AI models, then determining who is winning the U.S.-China military competition may be irrelevant. – Fox News 

Paul Rosenzweig writes: American tech companies are chasing profits by working with an oppressive regime that has already used AI to advance state surveillance and conduct grave human rights abuses on an unprecedented scale. At the same time, they’re compromising their own intellectual property, long-term competitiveness and American leadership in a critical new field of technology. – The Hill


A simple typo reportedly directed millions of emails with sensitive information to the African country Mali rather than their intended U.S. military recipients. – Defense News 

China’s rapid technological growth poses a threat to the U.S. defense industrial base, according to a new report from data analytics firm Govini. The report, released Monday, details the U.S. federal government’s nearly $200 billion in fiscal 2022 spending on critical technologies — but warns China is still outpacing the United States. – Defense News

The U.S. Marine Corps wants manufacturers to “go full speed” in developing a new reconnaissance vehicle, despite having no concrete quantity in mind and potentially needing fewer than anticipated. – Defense News