Fdd's overnight brief

July 22, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Officials from Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations planned to sign a deal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea on Friday, Turkish and U.N. officials said, in an announcement that raised hopes of freeing food supplies trapped by the Russian invasion. – Wall Street Journal

Western weapons deliveries and Ukrainian strikes on Russian arms depots are forcing Russia to largely halt its advance in eastern parts of Ukraine where Moscow seized swaths of territory but is now facing logistical and resupply issues. – Wall Street Journal

Russian natural gas began flowing again at a reduced volume through a critical pipeline into Europe on Thursday, buying time for governments to decouple from the Kremlin’s exports amid what they expect will be an increasingly unreliable supply of energy from Moscow heading into the winter. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s territorial gains in Ukraine have been minimal and have come at a “very high” cost, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday, illustrating the deadly grind of the conflict while dismissing concerns about President Vladimir Putin’s health. – Washington Post

Just weeks ago, Ukraine’s military was being pummeled relentlessly in the East, taking heavy casualties as it slowly gave ground to the Russian advance. Western support appeared to be softening, amid skepticism that Ukraine could win a war of attrition, or that an influx of sophisticated weapons would turn the tide. – New York Times

Amid the smoke and rubble, Pavlivka might seem like a dubious prize. But for the Ukrainian troops defending it last week, after recapturing it from Russian forces three weeks ago, it counted as a rare success when much of Ukraine, and the rest of the world, was transfixed by the fall of the last two cities in eastern Luhansk Province to overwhelming Russian firepower. – New York Times

The divisions in Ukrainian society are often overstated, but differences among the country’s regions do exist. Ukraine’s west is mostly rural, Ukrainian-speaking and infused with Central European culture. The east and south are largely Russian speaking, with a cultural sense that, at least before the war, also felt more Russian. Many of the country’s largest cities are in the east and south, as was much of its heavy industry before the Russian invasion. – Washington Post

The spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry lashed out Thursday at the United States characterizing basketball star Brittney Griner’s jailing on drug charges as “wrongful detention,” saying it shows disrespect for Russian law. – Associated Press

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko Thursday said Russia, Ukraine and the West must agree to halt the Ukraine conflict to avoid the “abyss of nuclear war” and insisted Kyiv should accept Moscow’s demands. – Associated Press

A group of Democratic and Republican senators on Thursday introduced a resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide, a symbolic yet powerful signal of bipartisan support for the U.S. and international community to put an end to the violence and hold perpetrators responsible. – The Hill 

The Kremlin is in a dash to hold referendums in Ukrainian territories occupied by its troops to give grounds for President Vladimir Putin to absorb them into Russia as early as September, according to people familiar with the strategy. – Bloomberg

“They’re about to run out of steam,” Richard Moore, the head of MI6, said at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday. The head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service says Russia’s war effort in Ukraine is faltering and President Vladimir Putin will be forced to temporarily halt his invasion, potentially allowing Ukrainian troops a greater opportunity to strike back. – Bloomberg

Top Western companies continue to abandon operations in China and Russia, highlighting the obstacles to profitability in the powerful Eurasian countries. On July 18, fast-fashion retailer H&M announced that it would be “winding down” its operations in Russia due to “current operational challenges and an unpredictable future,” becoming the latest business to depart Russia as a result of its attack on neighboring Ukraine. – Washington Examiner

Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Layne Philipson, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The current Russian operational tempo is not markedly different from the pace of Russian offensive operations during the official Russian operational pause, and Russian forces are unlikely to be able to take significant ground in the coming weeks. – Institute for the Study of War

Michael R. Strain writes: But it would allow the price cap to advance three goals, not just two: Keep Russian oil flowing to avoid an oil shock from looming EU sanctions; stop the sale of that oil from financing the war in Ukraine; and use relatively cheap Russian oil to provide partial compensation to Ukraine to address the damage that Putin’s brutal war has caused. – American Enterprise Institute

Andrei Covatariu writes: As the “Climate Change & Security Impact Assessment,” issued by NATO during the June 28-30 Madrid Summit, underlines, the energy transition process needs to take into account the geopolitical dimension of critical minerals and, crucially, ensure that Allies develop “no further dependencies […] On unreliable suppliers, including Russia and China.” Russia’s direct interest in Ukraine’s significant reserves of critical minerals could, thus, endanger the very concepts of energy transition and climate neutrality being pursued by the Western world. – Middle East Institute

Gavin Wilde writes: The issue is less that Western observers might have overestimated Russia’s cyber potential in its war on Ukraine, more that they almost certainly underestimate the complexities and frictions which separate intent from execution, intensity from effect. Particularly in the still murky arena of information warfare, the chasm between theory and practice remains wide. – War on the Rocks 

Richard Gowan writes: In this light, the United Nations is not quite as hopeless as its critics suggest. The organization has indeed acted as a platform for international public criticism of Russia, brought some aid to victims of the conflict, and helped keep a lid on some other crises that would otherwise be consuming the time of Western policymakers. None of these achievements will bring much comfort to Ukrainian civilians who have borne the full brunt of Moscow’s aggression, but the world would be worse off without them. – War on the Rocks

Frederick Starr writes: Whoever emerges from the inevitable turmoil in Russia, he, she, or they will have to address the open wound that Putin’s Ukraine gambit has opened in the Russian polity itself. Far the best solution, for Russia and the world, would be for his successor to follow Charles de Gaulle’s model in Algeria and convince Russians themselves that their country will have a far better future without Ukraine than is possible with it. – The National Interest

Jason Davidson writes: Over time, the costs of the sanctions regime will weigh on the average person more than the emotional reaction to a distant war. Governments can defy public sentiment for a time. The West’s democratic political systems, however, put governments in power that represent the popular will. In Italy, this will most likely lead to policies that put less pressure on Russia and weaken support for Ukraine. – The National Interest

Joergen Oerstroem Moeller writes: President Putin is betting that Europe and the United States will buckle under the weight of skyrocketing oil and gas prices. This is becoming a war of attrition based on will. Only when Russia is convinced that the West will stay the course can the door for a settlement open. The moment of truth will come as war weariness sets in. Ukraine will stay the course, but between Russia, Europe, and the United States, who will blink first? – The National Interest

Vladislav Davidzon writes: A temporary solution to the grain crisis is feasible if the international community gathers coherence, but in the long term only the defeat of Moscow can guarantee the ultimate safety of commercial shipping across the Black Sea. – Foreign Policy

Jack Detsch writes: But Russia has to find a way to balance the task of both replenishing its own forces in an active fight in Ukraine while remaining a viable exporter, experts said. “Obviously, they’re not going to want to stop doing that because not only do they earn hard cash, but arms exports are a significant extension of Russian foreign policy,” Bendett said. – Foreign Policy


After two days of contentious debate, Belgium’s Parliament has approved a much-criticized treaty with Iran that would allow prisoner exchanges between the two countries. Critics of the treaty, which was ratified late Wednesday by a vote of 79 to 41, with 11 abstentions, argue that Belgium is giving in to a form of hostage-taking by Iran. – New York Times

Britain‘s spy chief said on Thursday he was skeptical that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei actually wants to revive a nuclear deal with world powers but said Tehran won’t try to halt talks either. – Reuters

The top U.S. Air Force general in the Middle East warned on Thursday that Iran-backed militias could resume attacks in the region against the United States and its allies as tensions rise — assaults that could lead to a new Mideast escalation. – Associated Press

Pensioners and retired government employees have again taken to the streets in several cities across Iran shouting anti-government slogans and demanding a full 38 percent increase in their pensions, which was promised by the Supreme Labor Council. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Mohammad Ali Dadkhah has been arrested and sent to prison to serve a sentence he received more than a decade ago for allegedly attempting to overthrow the ruling Islamic system. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran is manipulating international nuclear talks to buy time for its weapons research, according to U.S. allies monitoring the need for a military strike against the regime […] The continuing progress of Iran’s nuclear program has forced Israeli and Gulf Arab officials to acknowledge in public the possibility of a clash with Iran if a deal is not reached — and another major U.S. ally is warning that Tehran doesn’t want to come to an agreement. – Washington Examiner

Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan was attacked and threatened on Twitter by Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan after he posted a tweet about a book he was reading. – Arutz Sheva

Ruthie Blum writes: The revelations about the way in which the Iranian regime has been hoodwinking the West from the get-go were sufficient cause for Trump to rip up the JCPOA. As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported less than three months ago, former Iranian parliament (Majlis) member Ali Motahari said in an April 24 TV interview: “When we began our nuclear activity, our goal was indeed to build a bomb. There is no need to beat around the bush… we wanted to build it as a means of intimidation.” – Jerusalem Post


The Russia and Syrian governments have carried out dozens of “double tap” airstrikes on civilians and humanitarian workers in Syria since 2013, according to findings by a Syria-focused rights group, pointing to a pattern of illegal attacks that appears to have continued into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post

An Israeli attack on Syria’s capital, Damascus, has killed three soldiers and injured seven others, Syrian state media said early on Friday, citing a military statement. – Reuters

Poor rainfall, fuel shortages, soaring fertilizer prices: it’s been a bad year for farmers in northeastern Syria where a disappointing wheat crop looks set to deal another blow to food supplies in a country grappling with climate change and war. – Reuters

Joseph L. Votel writes: Al-Hol is a job unfinished. I can almost guarantee that if we allow conditions there to go on, unresolved, in the coming years we will find ourselves being drawn back to the region, to deal with a next-generation Islamic State that got its start at al-Hol. – Washington Post


Ukraine’s stalled grain exports will soon resume, the Turkish president’s office said Thursday, announcing that a deal between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations will be signed Friday, a significant step toward addressing an increasingly dire global food shortage. – Washington Post

Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday rejected accusations that the country’s military carried out deadly artillery strikes against tourists in northern Iraq, as the Iraqi families of those killed laid their dead to rest. – Associated Press

Officials from Turkey, Finland and Sweden will meet in August to evaluate the progress made in fulfilling Ankara’s counter-terrorism demands from the Nordic countries to lift its veto on their NATO membership bid, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. – Reuters


Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state can revoke the citizenship of people who carry out actions that constitute a breach of trust against the state, including terrorism, espionage or treason. – Reuters

Russian authorities have asked a Moscow court to liquidate a prominent group handling the emigration of Jews to Israel in a move likely to further raise tensions with Tel Aviv fueled by the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of his country’s independence from France, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune brought together Mahmoud Abbas, president of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Ismael Haniyeh, the Hamas politburo chief. In their first meeting in several years, the rivals shook hands for the cameras, encouraging speculation that Hamas and Fatah were prepared to reconcile. But that is doubtful.  – Times of Israel

Yakoov Katz writes: The Abraham Accords showed what is possible between Israel and Arab nations. They showed what can happen when countries put aside their differences and decide to work for the benefit of their people. At the same time, the success has been difficult to replicate not only in the wider region, as no country has joined in the last two years, but also closer to home for Israelis and Palestinians. – Jerusalem Post

David Friedman writes: On May 20, 2017, former president Donald Trump made his first trip to the Middle East. He began in Saudi Arabia and then took the first-ever direct flight from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. A little over five years later, US President Joe Biden took the same trip, this time beginning in Tel Aviv, followed by a less-historic direct flight from Tel Aviv to Saudi Arabia. The trips sound similar. But they couldn’t be more different. – Jerusalem Post


Middle East & North Africa

Remote-controlled cameras will take over responsibility from U.S.-led peacekeepers for ensuring international shipping retains freedom of access to the Gulf of Aqaba, whose coastline is shared by Israel and three Arab nations, officials said. – Reuters

Hundreds of people protested in Baghdad on Thursday after an attack in northern Iraq killed nine people including a newly wed husband and a 1-year-old, a strike that Iraq blamed on Turkish forces but which Ankara denied carrying out. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by phone on Thursday and underlined the importance of further cooperation within the OPEC+ group of oil producers, the Kremlin said. – Reuters

Israeli officials convened on Tuesday as part of a trilateral initiative with the US and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to counter religious extremism and promote interfaith coexistence in the Middle East. – Algemeiner

Liat Collins writes: It was a whirlwind tour and how much was spin is yet to be seen. US President Joe Biden last week came, saw and conquered as many hearts as he could during his quick trip to Israel and the region. There was a lot of pomp in keeping with the circumstances. It was clear that while he was in the Middle East, the president was still keeping voters at home in mind and keeping a close eye on events elsewhere, particularly the Russian war in Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post

Jon B. Alterman writes: There is no U.S. solution to the Middle East’s coming labor transition. At the same time, being able to make a genuine difference in the region’s human capital development makes the United States profoundly important to rulers’ most pressing needs and differentiates the United States from its great power competitors. Cooperation on labor development will not replace the sorts of security cooperation that has been at the core of U.S. relationships in the Middle East, but it should increasingly stand alongside it. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Kevin Donegan, Mick Mulroy, Michael K. Nagata, Bilal Y. Saab, and Joseph Votel write: That is why Biden’s trip to the region was important — it was a first step in what will be a journey meant to persuade our regional partners that we remain the leader of choice and global partner in the Middle East and elsewhere. It might well be Biden’s first and last step if he is not reelected. But what matters most is that this new strategic approach to the region survives political change in Washington, which, if history is any guide, is easier said than done. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea and the United States will resume long-suspended live field training during their joint military drills, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Friday, as they work to curb North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile programmes. – Reuters

North Korea has warned that the United States and South Korea will face “unprecedented” security challenges if they don’t stop their hostile military pressure campaign against the North, including joint military drills. – Associated Press

Stephen Silver writes: “Since May 2021, the FBI has observed and responded to multiple Maui ransomware incidents at HPH Sector organizations,” that alert said. “North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors used Maui ransomware in these incidents to encrypt servers responsible for healthcare services—including electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services. In some cases, these incidents disrupted the services provided by the targeted HPH Sector organizations for prolonged periods. The initial access vector(s) for these incidents is unknown.” – The National Interest


To protect sensitive data, China’s government has built one of the world’s strictest cybersecurity and data-protection regimes. Despite those efforts, a thriving cross-border underground market has grown up around the trade in the data of Chinese citizens. – Wall Street Journal

The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is facing pushback on potential plans to visit Taiwan, with President Joe Biden saying that the military was opposed amid fears of inflaming tensions with China. – Associated Press

The Biden administration is investigating Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei over concerns that U.S. cell towers fitted with its gear could capture sensitive information from military bases and missile silos that the company could then transmit to China, two people familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Britain’s spy chief said on Thursday that China was now the top intelligence priority for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), known as MI6, surpassing counter-terrorism. – Reuters

China will extend anti-dumping duties on grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel imported from Japan, South Korea, and the European Union, the country’s ministry of commerce said on Friday. – Reuters

From frothy rhetoric to fighter jet incursions, China rarely leaves even a low-level exchange between the US and Taiwan unanswered. The question now is how far Beijing will go to signal its displeasure with any Taipei visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. – Bloomberg

Joel Thayer writes: Lawmakers could ban the app outright or at least require Apple and Google to allow more-secure alternatives to their own app stores. TikTok poses a serious danger to national security and Americans’ privacy. If companies won’t quell that threat, Congress needs to do it. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: As in the ancient times of philosopher Sun Tzu, China’s preference is to win wars without fighting them. And as their resistance to strategic stability talks shows, the Chinese don’t like talking about war risks, either. But that communications impasse isn’t the win-win proposition of Chinese imagining. It’s lose-lose. – Washington Post

Josh Rogin writes: From Beijing’s perspective, stifling U.S. diplomacy in China might be a welcome if unexpected byproduct of its draconian health measures. But this worrying trend in China — where the government uses health concerns to exert control over everyone, including Americans — will likely outlast the current crisis. – Washington Post

Tom Mitchell writes: Xi’s change of tack on Didi, however, does not represent a course change away from his larger common prosperity agenda. Last month, China’s finance ministry pledged that it would “improve fiscal and taxation systems to promote common prosperity”. – Financial Times

Zachary Faria writes: These recordings show league executives admitting privately what they are too afraid to admit publicly. While the NBA trots out social justice messaging for its American audience, the league trembles in fear of crossing China, which is why there was so much concern over Freedom’s shoes. It’s worth remembering the next time Silver tries to deflect away from questions about China. – Washington Examiner

Douglas Murray writes: Meaning that Putin is actually becoming even richer because of the sanctions. And he knows that while we are willing to equip Ukraine with relatively light munitions, we will not arm them with anything heavier. That is because of our fear of how he will react if we do. […] China is watching this, and it knows that much of the words coming out of Washington are just that — words. Sure there are consequences to going against America. But they´re not lethal. And they’re not limitless. – New York Post

Jude Blanchette writes: These four fundamental questions reinforce the imperative for policymakers and members of the policy community to interrogate assumptions and build durable, empirically driven models for understanding events inside China and interpreting Chinese activities abroad. The more precise an understanding policymakers and the policy community can develop around these questions, the higher the likelihood that the United States will prove capable of pursuing effective policies for protecting itself and its allies and promoting its interests on the world stage. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Louis Dugit-Gros writes: In the same vein, the ongoing EU-U.S. Dialogue on China should cover the Gulf more thoroughly, as well as the broader Middle East and North Africa. Notably, both the French and EU strategies for the Indo-Pacific include the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and some Gulf countries (e.g., Oman and the UAE). The Biden administration should keep this broadened scope in mind when seeking further ad hoc cooperation with its European partners. – Washington Institute

South Asia

Sri Lankan security forces raided a protest camp outside the presidential office Friday, hours after the country’s new leader was sworn in. At least 50 people were injured, Reuters reported, citing protest organizers. If confirmed, the raid would mark one of the harshest crackdowns since demonstrations engulfed the South Asian country, where the economy has collapsed. – Washington Post

About 5,000 Indian lawmakers on Thursday elected Draupadi Murmu, an Indigenous tribal woman with humble roots, to be the country’s next president, marking a breakthrough for one of India’s marginalized minority groups. – Washington Post

Senior Sri Lankan lawmaker Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in on Friday as the new prime minister, his office said, a day after the swearing-in of a new president as the Indian Ocean nation grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades. – Reuters


Japan warned on Friday of escalating national security threats, including repercussions from Russia’s war with Ukraine, Chinese intimidation of Taiwan, and vulnerable technology supply chains, in its annual defence white paper. – Reuters

New U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy said Friday the United States needs to engage more with the Pacific region at a time when China is asserting its presence. – Associated Press

Oil prices climbed in Asia trading on Friday, rebounding from previous declines on supply tightness and geopolitical tensions even though weakened demand in the United States has cast a shadow on the market this week. – Reuters

A diplomatic spat has erupted between Tbilisi and its Western partners over the criminal trial of a Georgian opposition journalist, further straining relations as U.S. and EU officials press the Caucasus country to depolarize its political scene. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Leaders from five Central Asian nations have ended a summit in the Kyrgyz resort town of Cholpon-Ata with a pledge to increase cooperation to strengthen the region as Russia — the main strategic and trade partner of the region — is being weakened by its war in Ukraine. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A journalist who worked in Afghanistan is sharing about her experience reporting in the country under the Taliban, describing threats of detention and other tactics seeking to put pressure on her. – The Hill 

Lynne O’Donnell writes: “The strategy from the United States appears to be to ensure that this regime survives—not that it lives, but that it does not die, while they come up with an alternative,” he said. “That may take some time, and in the meantime, they need to find a way to help the people who are dying because of the Taliban, and [yet] make sure they don’t help the Taliban.” – Foreign Policy

Anthony B. Kim writes: Yet more can and should be done as Azerbaijan moves forward. Washington can support this important and reliable partner in the Caspian Sea region by widening and deepening the frank, open, and forward-looking dialogue between the two countries on issues of mutual concern. To that constructive end, Azerbaijan deserves strategic and practical attention from U.S. policymakers more than ever. – Heritage Foundation


Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned on Thursday following a collapse in support among his coalition backers, plunging the country into uncertainty as it fights surging inflation and an economic slowdown. – Wall Street Journal

The European Central Bank raised its three interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday as inflation ballooned across the continent, war raged in Ukraine and fears of an economic slowdown grew. The increase, the first in over a decade, was twice as large as expected. – New York Times

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss extended her lead over former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in the race to be the UK’s next prime minister, recording a commanding 24-point polling advantage over her rival. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Mr. Draghi’s departure also means the loss a strong voice for Ukraine. If other leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron or Germany’s Olaf Scholz can’t recognize where Europe’s strategic interests lie, there won’t be much that a mere central bank can do to save the bloc. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: President Joe Biden is still not doing everything he could from this side of the Atlantic, but he at least seems to have come to the realization that one cannot both stop Putin’s aggression and embrace environmental extremism. Biden seems to understand that the emergency in Ukraine is the greater threat to human flourishing and freedom — the continued heating of homes and electrification of Europe in winter probably isn’t going to cause the world to end any time soon. In this, at least, European courts and governments should follow his lead. – Washington Examiner


U.S. senators evaluating President Biden’s nominees for two influential military assignments said Thursday that Russia’s spreading influence in volatile parts of Africa is jeopardizing American interests and implored both to prioritize the burgeoning policy dilemma, if they are confirmed. – Washington Post

Intense clashes erupted between rival factions in Libya early on Friday with reports of several people killed amid growing concern that a political standoff could prompt renewed conflict. – Reuters

Militants from Somali Islamist group al Shabaab attacked two villages near the border with Ethiopia, killing 17 people including three civilians and Ethiopian police officers inside Somali territory while 63 of its fighters were killed, an Ethiopian security commander at the scene said. – Reuters

The UK government says it will stop giving aid to nine state hospitals in South Sudan from 1 August, raising fears that the move will further cripple a health system that barely functions, as the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga reports. – BBC

The Americas

The Biden administration dropped Nicaragua from a list of countries that can ship sugar to the United State at low import tax rates as the U.S. intensifies economic pressure on the authoritarian government of president Daniel Ortega. – Associated Press

When Gustavo Petro takes office on August 7th as the first leftist president of Colombia, he’s expected — as soon as the next day — to open his country’s volatile border with Venezuela, South America’s longest running socialist state. – Bloomberg 

The United States on Thursday filed its fifth labor complaint about alleged violations of union organizing rights in Mexico. The complaint was filed under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade pact, which requires that Mexico enforce a law that says employees are allowed to freely choose the union that represents them. – Associated Press

León Krauze writes: In this troubled environment, will Mexico acquiesce to the drug lord’s extradition? In full knowledge of the fate that awaits him in the United States, Caro Quintero will probably fight it tooth-and-nail. The process could be long. A few hours after the arrest, a Mexican court granted him legal protection from immediate extradition. “In the end, once all the legal proceedings conclude, the decision will come down to the Mexican government,” security expert Alejandro Hope told me. – Washington Post


China’s cybersecurity regulator fined ride-hailing juggernaut Didi Global $1.2 billion after a year-long probe, saying it had violated laws on data security and the protection of personal information. […] The regulator also said there were “severe security risks” in Didi’s data-processing methods, which would not be detailed because they related to national security. – Washington Post

After some five months of war raging in Eastern Europe, feared Russian ranks of hackers have had an underwhelming impact on Ukrainian networks and critical infrastructure in the U.S. and other nations. The question is: why? – Defense News

In the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion, Ukraine suffered a series of breaches that officials blamed on Russia. These attacks helped prepare the country to battle back against Moscow’s arsenal of digital weapons. – CyberScoop


The U.S. Department of State cleared a possible foreign military sale of 96 Raytheon-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles to the Netherlands in a deal estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. – Defense News

The U.S. Army’s floating equipment stockpile in the Indo-Pacific theater was put to the test for the first time in exercises in the Philippines, revealing the changing nature of how the service’s prepositioned stock is used. – Defense News

While the Army continues to analyze how its next-gen Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) did in a recent test, Senate lawmakers plan to direct the service not to ditch its current night vision program and, instead, try “mixed-equipping” soldiers with both systems, just in case. – Breaking Defense

Glenn H. Reynolds writes: It’s one thing to enlist in an organization with a proud tradition and an ethic of protecting the country and looking after its troops. It’s another to enlist in a service with a corrupt and incompetent civilian leadership and a senior military leadership that’s no better. That military leadership, Milley and the entire Biden administration have betrayed their responsibilities, and everyone, especially the pool of likely recruits, knows it. – New York Post

Kris Osborn writes: As a boost-glide weapon, the ARRW skips off the upper boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere before using its speed of descent to propel itself down onto a target. The U.S. Air Force’s decision to buy the weapon in 2022 suggests that the weapon is quickly reaching new levels of maturity as it progresses toward operational service. This successful test would seem to indicate that developers have managed to address certain challenges to achieving successful hypersonic flight. – The National Interest