Fdd's overnight brief

July 25, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

The Kremlin’s top diplomat on Sunday sought to blame global food shortages and an escalating hunger crisis on the United States and its European allies, looking to deflect responsibility for the consequences of the Russian-launched war in Ukraine and trying to rally support for Moscow during a tour across Africa. – Washington Post

If only they had more, and more sophisticated, weapons from the West, Ukrainian officials often tell their American counterparts and anyone else who will listen, they could make short work of Russian invaders. Last month’s arrival of the first of what are now a dozen U.S. multiple-launch precision rocket systems, known as HIMARS, has already been a game changer, soldiers here said this week. – Washington Post

Russian missiles hit the Black Sea port of Odessa on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, imperiling a deal Moscow and Kyiv reached a day earlier to allow shipment of millions of tons of trapped grain and ease a global food crisis. – Washington Post

Russia and Ukraine agreed Friday to restart grain exports from Ukraine after a months-long blockade that fueled a growing global food crisis — but an attack on the port of Odessa on Saturday immediately cast doubt on Moscow’s commitment to the deal. – Washington Post

U.S. officials said Friday that they will send additional sophisticated artillery systems and ammunition to Ukraine, bolstering the country’s forces again as they carry out a coordinated campaign of strikes on Russian military targets. – Washington Post

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a four-day tour to try to shore up African support for the war in Ukraine. While in Egypt, the Kremlin’s top diplomat cast Russia as an ally of the continent and blamed Western sanctions on Russia for the turmoil in international food markets. Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe. – Washington Post

At the start of the year, Russia dispatched more than 2,000 troops to its longtime ally Kazakhstan to help put down violent antigovernment unrest. Six weeks later, when Russian troops stormed into Ukraine, Kazakhstan had an opportunity to repay the favor by supporting the invasion. – Wall Street Journal

After Russian troops pulled out of Yahidne at the end of March, Ukrainian investigators of suspected war crimes found a golden clue: a logbook with photos and personal details of members of one of the Russian military units that had occupied the town. – Wall Street Journal

Exactly five months into the war, artillery and missile strikes have become a daily part of life in much of Ukraine. Though ground combat has been limited in recent weeks, shells continued to pummel the area around the city of Bakhmut, as Russia pushes to take control of the eastern Donetsk region. And many areas are facing longer-range attacks as Ukrainian forces gear up for a counteroffensive against Russian positions in the south of the country. – Wall Street Journal

In a devastated village near Ukraine’s southern front line, the thud of incoming Russian artillery is a constant reminder of the hard battle ahead for Kyiv’s troops in a planned major counter-offensive. – Agence France-Presse

Russia’s top diplomat was in Cairo for talks Sunday with Egyptian officials as his country seeks to break the diplomatic isolation and sanctions by the West over its invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press

The White House announced Friday that the U.S. is sending an additional $270 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a package that will include additional medium range rocket systems and tactical drones. – Associated Press

Two Americans have died in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the US State Department said Saturday, as fighting rages there after Russia focused its firepower on the area months after invading the country. – Agence France-Presse

After initially believing Russia’s moves against the Jewish Agency to be a relatively minor spat, Israeli officials now view them as the makings of a potentially major diplomatic rift, and the Jewish Agency is preparing accordingly, a senior official in the organization said Sunday. – Times of Israel

Since March, Ukraine has been pleading for Western fighter jets that could eventually replace the aging, worn-down MiG-29s and Su-27s that have been lost in combat. Now, it finally appears that the US Air Force may be willing to transfer some of its unused jets and begin training Ukrainian pilots. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: If Mr. Putin destroys the deal before it gets started — despite the advantages it offers his agricultural exports — he must take the blame. Meanwhile, Turkey and the United Nations must fulfill their roles as guarantors by holding him accountable, and the United States must send weapons Ukraine needs to protect its ports. – Washington Post

Editorial: The West is so far providing Ukraine with enough weapons not to lose but not enough to take back its territory from Russia. The fastest way to a settlement is to convince Russia that the costs of war will keep growing and that it can’t outlast the West. That means Russian military defeats on the ground. – Wall Street Journal

Asli Aydintasbas writes: But if this grain deal goes through, somehow this peculiar relationship will end up benefiting Ukraine, Ukrainian farmers and millions facing food shortages. It will help Erdogan and Putin, both domestically and in terms of their global image. And it will also demonstrate that Western influence in Ukraine and beyond still has very real limits. – Washington Post

Stephen Blank writes: Therefore, it makes greater sense to deploy the entire corps rather than just its headquarters. Since we cannot presume Russian rationality as what we understand it to be, we must make our conventional and nuclear deterrence so credible that nobody, including Putin, can fail to understand that we mean business. – The Hill

Salem Alketbi writes: It can now be assumed that Russia has completely misjudged the Atlantic response to Ukraine. Differences among NATO members appear to have contributed to Russian planners’ anticipation of a divided NATO and that its members would have difficulty agreeing on a unified position on the war in Ukraine. On balance, this is a gross misjudgment and misinterpretation of the facts. – Jerusalem Post

Mark Episkopos writes: Though Russia has been increasingly isolated from the West and certain Western-led institutions, Putin’s meetings in Tehran point to a different and altogether more unsettling phenomenon: despite ongoing attempts by European and U.S. policymakers to marshal a united global front against the Kremlin, a substantial part of the non-Western world has maintained neutrality or, as in the case of China and Iran, explicitly endorsed Russia’s framing of the conflict. – The National Interest


French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday told his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi that reviving the landmark 2015 deal on Tehran’s nuclear capabilities was “still possible” but must happen “as soon as possible”. – Agence France-Presse

Iran claimed on Saturday that its intelligence agents dismantled a group linked to the Israeli spy agency Mossad, which had allegedly planned terror operations inside Iran. – Associated Press

Iranian dissidents in Albania on Friday said they had canceled a summit following warnings from local authorities of a possible terrorist threat. – Associated Press

Iran and Saudi Arabia are ready to move reconciliation talks to a higher level, more than a year after they began and six years after the two rivals severed relations, Iran’s foreign minister says. – Agence France-Presse

A whistle-blower has been sentenced to two years in prison and banned from media-related activities after he revealed details of a controversial shopping trip by the family of Iranian parliamentary Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

An Iranian senior missile engineer died in southern Iran several days ago, according to a report by an Iranian dissident group published on Saturday night. – Jerusalem Post

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi warned on Friday that Iran’s nuclear program is “galloping ahead” and his agency has very limited visibility on what is happening. – Arutz Sheva

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said his country is seeking economic guarantees from the US to revive a 2015 nuclear deal so as not to be “stung twice” the same way. – Arutz Sheva

Masih Alinejad and Darya Safai write: Iran has retaliated by taking random Europeans hostage. The regime has held a Belgian aid worker in isolation for five months, accusing him of spying. […]In May, after Mr. Nouri’s indictment, Tehran said it would execute Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-Swedish scientist accused of spying for Israel. Let’s hope Sweden and other countries don’t follow Belgium’s lead in giving Iranian criminals a get-out-of-jail-free card. – Wall Street Journal

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iranian officials say they have several satellites on hand for launching into orbit and that this will make the country an exporter of space services. Iran’s president is reportedly interested in developing the space industry and investing in new SLVs as well as the existing Zuljanah SLV. – Jerusalem Post

Micah Halpern writes: Iran is not only listening, Iran is responding. Tehran has announced that they are capable of making a nuclear bomb. According to Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who spoke to Al Jazeera’s Arabic station: “In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium… Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one.” – Jerusalem Post


When Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on Friday to unblock Ukrainian grain exports, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, played the role of benevolent statesman […]But privately, Mr. Erdogan has remained a source of substantial irritation for Biden administration officials. – New York Times

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday criticized Greece for allegedly violating a settlement that has governed relations between the rivals for nearly a century. – Associated Press

Turkish foreign ministry summoned the Swedish charges d’affaires in Ankara to convey its “strong reaction” to what it called “terrorist propaganda” during a Kurdish group’s protest in Stockholm, diplomatic sources said. – Reuters

Turkish media has reported additional details regarding the Iranian agents who targeted Israeli tourists in Istanbul. Turkish authorities arrested two additional Iranians earlier this week, Sabah reported Friday. – Arutz Sheva


Two Palestinians were killed overnight in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday, in what the Israeli army said was a shootout with gunmen. – Agence France-Presse

Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Nasser al-Din al-Shaer was shot on Friday by Palestinian Arab gunmen near Shechem (Nablus), JPost’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported. – Arutz Sheva

The Biden administration will not open a new investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a senior US official told The Times of Israel on Thursday, despite efforts by some Democratic lawmakers to reopen the issue. – Times of Israel

US President Joe Biden asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his cooperation as he looks to leverage the Abraham Accords normalization agreements between Israel and several Arab states to advance measures that benefit the Palestinians, a senior administration official told The Times of Israel. – Times of Israel

Katya Kupchik writes: The Russian-speaking voters are expecting to hear not only what Israel thinks, but also what it is willing to do in support of Ukraine along with others in the West. Avoiding the matter will result in a loss of the “Russian” vote. No matter where those voters originated from and how long ago they arrived.  Unlike politicians, the immigrants will not ignore this terrible war. – Ynet


Iraq has filed a complaint to the U.N. Security Council, requesting an urgent session to discuss a deadly artillery attack this week that Baghdad blames on Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. – Associated Press

Iraq said Saturday it was preparing to host a “public” meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia as the two rivals seek to mend ties. Since April last year, Iraq has hosted five rounds of talks between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran, which support opposing sides in various conflicts around the region. – Agence France-Presse

Munqith Dagher writes: As the confrontation between Sadr and Maliki unfolds, it is likely to further weaken popular support for the transnational current of Islamist thought in Iraq, which already only a minority view overall. With regard to political leadership, the current power struggle will clearly impact which camp will hold sway over Iraqi decision-making. If Sadr is successful, transnational Shia Islamism will have been dealt a major blow, and the proponents of the Vilayet-e-Faqih model will have lost one of its main footholds in Iraq. – Washington Institute

Michael Knights and Hamdi Malik write: The trend here is a murky kind of claim process whereby an attack is foreshadowed with a poem or Quranic verse, publicized by Sabereen, and then attributed by Sabereen to a facade group. These incidents are also notable as only the second known association of AK with anti-Turkish attacks, and the first for LTM. This may indicate that additional real-world kinetic cells associated with the militias Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba are being drawn north to get in on the anti-Turkish-themed attacks. – Washington Institute

Arabian Peninsula

Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, the eldest son of Kuwait’s ruler, has been appointed as the new prime minister, paving the way for parliament to be dissolved ahead of new elections in a country plagued by political wrangling. – Bloomberg

The U.N. envoy for Yemen on Sunday condemned suspected rebel shelling of a residential neighborhood in the southwestern city of Taiz the previous day that killed at least one child and wounded 10. – Associated Press

A top Bahraini official and member of the ruling family was dismissed from her position by the Bahraini king after she refused to shake hands with the Israeli ambassador to the Gulf state, Arab media outlet Rai al-Youm reported on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Greece on July 26 to meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek foreign ministry said on Friday, in his first visit to an EU country since the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. – Reuters

With U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East in the rearview mirror, what will be the next steps in the effort to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia? – Haaretz

The Biden administration was not surprised or concerned by Saudi Arabia’s assertion last week that its decision to open its airspace to all civilian planes was not a precursor to normalization with Israel, a senior US official told The Times of Israel. – Times of Israel

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Some in Israel speculate that once Mohammed bin Salman succeeds to the throne he will feel less reluctant than his father to move toward open relations with Israel. Whether he actually would do so, given the very real constraints that would confront any Saudi ruler, remains an open question. Moreover, Mohammed bin Salman has made many important enemies during his rise to power. While he likely will succeed his father, that is not a foregone conclusion. And a different ruler of the desert kingdom might prove as reluctant, or even more so, than King Salman to make peace with the Jewish state. – The Hill

Avi Perry writes: They missed the fact that the contributor to global warming is energy consumption, regardless of where the energy is sourced from. It matters not whether the oil originates in Texas, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Russia, it only counts toward global warming if it is consumed anywhere on the planet, so even if the US reduces its consumption of fossil fuels while China increases its consumption, it becomes a zero-sum game, and the objective of halting the global warming trend loses steam. Logical thinking is a trait missing in this administration. My only hope is that things will start changing, coming November. – Arutz Sheva

Middle East & North Africa

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will begin an African tour in Egypt on Sunday, seeking to draw on demand for non-Western alliances as Moscow pushes back against international censure over the war in Ukraine. – Reuters

President Biden vowed to expand cyber cooperation with Israel and Saudi Arabia on his trip to the Middle East last week, a move experts see as a direct response to the rising digital threat from Iran.  – The Hill

King Abdullah II blamed a series of recent deadly clashes with drug smugglers along Jordan’s border with Syria on “militias linked to Iran.” – Agence France-Presse

Andrew England and Laura Pitel write:  They add that Assad would be likely to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops, raising the risk that border regions could again become a haven for Kurdish militias. Either way, many Syrians believe Turkey is in for the long haul as they see no endgame to their country’s crisis. “The situation will stay like this,” says Abdulghani Shobak, a Syrian opposition official. “The Syrians don’t have the decisions any more. The US has its say, and there is Russia, Iran and Turkey.”  – Financial Times

Jonathan Spyer writes: To add a further layer of absurdity, this is set to take place even as the Hezbollah leadership threatens Israel with war if it extracts gas from the neighboring Karish field. The Middle East never fails to recall Dostoevsky’s “underground man,” who defined a human being as a “creature that walks on two legs and has no sense of gratitude.” – Jerusalem Post

Mahmoud Javadi writes: The looming existential threats the GCC, and the wider Middle East, would face come largely from non-military threats, which China and Russia cannot tackle. Under a rejuvenated transatlantic partnership with credible long-term agenda and sufficient resources, the EU essentially can. – The National Interest

Korean Peninsula

The case triggered outrage back then, because it was the first time South Korea rejected a North Korean request to defect and forced someone back across the border unwillingly. In releasing new material, the conservative government of President Yoon Suk-yeol has revived the issue, accusing his predecessor’s government of violating human rights. – New York Times 

South Korea plans to lift its decadeslong ban on public access to North Korean television, newspapers and other publications as part of its efforts to promote mutual understanding between the rivals, officials said Friday, despite animosities over the North’s recent missile tests. – Associated Press

North Korea on Saturday condemned remarks by a senior White House official about Pyongyang’s cyberattack capabilities and said it would continue to stand against what it called U.S. aggression towards it. – Reuters

Donald Kirk writes: Yoon, however, was elected president in March by a narrow margin — so narrow that his foes, who command a majority in the National Assembly, are planning their resurgence. If they succeed, some fear they will again try to compromise with the North, yielding in disputes involving the lives of Koreans and the rights of defectors. It is necessary for the Yoon government to fortify the South against such tactics. The case of the two North Korean fishermen is about much more than their awful fate. It’s also about a regime that was willing to bow before North Korea, betraying not only those two men but all South Koreans in their struggle against the North Korean dictatorship. – The Hill

Seung-Whan Choi writes: Due to his misconduct, Yoon has too quickly become a liability to Washington. Biden should have a serious talk with Yoon and nudge him into not acting like a president who won a landslide victory. If Yoon refuses to listen, Biden must consider an alternate plan of how to minimize America’s security risks on the Korean Peninsula before the Korean government is toppled by its people or soldiers. Otherwise, South Korea will be out of control. – The National Interest


The Chinese military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous over the past five years, the top U.S. military officer said during a trip to the Indo-Pacific that included a stop Sunday in Indonesia. – Associated Press

China’s securities regulator on Monday denied a media report that said Beijing planned to sort U.S.-listed Chinese companies based on the sensitivity of the data they hold in an attempt to stop U.S. regulators from delisting hundreds of firms. – Reuters

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday that the South China Sea is not a “safari park” for countries outside the region or a “fighting arena” for major powers to compete in. – Reuters

Senior US officials have kept their focus on China and Ukraine at a key annual security conference in Colorado this week, but officials from Africa and Southeast Asia said they need to see greater American engagement if they really want to push back on Beijing and Moscow.  – Bloomberg

China’s new Belt and Road Initiative investments in Russia have fallen to zero for the first time, signalling Beijing’s reluctance to incur sanctions in the wake of the Ukraine war. – Financial Times

China has issued stark private warnings to the Biden administration about the upcoming trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, triggering alarm bells among White House officials who oppose her visit. – Financial Times

From Slovakia to Japan, top Hong Kong officials have fired off at least 500 letters blasting critical foreign media coverage, as the city wages a global battle to safeguard its reputation as a liberal financial hub. – Bloomberg

On paper, it looked like a fantastic deal. In 2017, the Chinese government was offering to spend $100 million to build an ornate Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. Complete with temples, pavilions and a 70-foot white pagoda, the project thrilled local officials, who hoped it would attract thousands of tourists every year. But when US counterintelligence officials began digging into the details, they found numerous red flags. – CNN

Ever since Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban returned to power in 2010, Budapest has built a closer relationship with Beijing and opened the door for increased Chinese investment and influence inside the Central European country. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Editorial: China isn’t likely to interdict Mrs. Pelosi’s aircraft, which would amount to an act of war with risks of escalation. But the public babbling about the possibility raises the chance that her visit becomes a matter of saving face for China. This increases the risk that China could take some other action against the U.S. or Taiwan in response. – Wall Street Journal

Peter Coy writes: The worse debt problems get, the more pressure there will be for China to participate fully in workouts. On July 13 Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the I.M.F., wrote a blog post that didn’t directly call out China’s loan practice but was most likely aimed at China, among others: “Large lenders — both sovereign and private — need to step up and play their part. Time is not on our side.” – New York Times

Melissa Shambach and Alex Gallo write: NATO’s ability to publicly, under consensus, identify the systemic challenges posed by a rising China opens up countless opportunities for NATO to integrate its security activities across its global strategic partners to keep China in check. The new Strategic Concept holds the promise of a strategic alliance between Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific nations. For the United States, the ability to operate in diplomatic spaces that have a shared understanding of the scope of political, economic and technological threats posed by China will enable a common strategic view of the challenge posed by China and can serve as the foundation for collective action. – The Hill

John Bolton writes: Whether or not Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) travels to Taiwan in August is a major foreign policy issue. Indeed, the answer will tell us a great deal about who actually controls American foreign policy: Washington or Beijing. We will see whether Xi Jinping’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy, which caught the Biden administration off guard at its inception, will work for Beijing regarding Pelosi. – Washington Examiner

Koichiro Takagi writes: Given these lessons, China, while focusing on cognitive warfare, will continue to invest in existing physical domains and enhance the coordination between them. In countering China, the United States and its allies need to analyze China’s concept of cognitive warfare while also studying the coordination of operations in the cognitive, informational, and physical domains. – War on the Rocks

Joseph Bosco writes: Whatever one might think of Pelosi’s domestic politics — I am not a fan — her long-standing defiance of the genocidal communist regime in Beijing and her visit to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskiy indisputably make her a US democracy and human rights hero for Republicans and Democrats alike. – Taipei Times

South Asia

Just over three months ago, Imran Khan, the charismatic Pakistani prime minister, was abruptly forced to step down. As he struggled to prop up the collapsing economy and cling to power, risking a constitutional crisis, his rivals formed a hodgepodge coalition in parliament and allegedly lured a handful of Khan loyalists to defect. Shortly after midnight on April 10, he was gone in a 30-minute vote. – Washington Post

Just over three months ago, Imran Khan, the charismatic Pakistani prime minister, was abruptly forced to step down. As he struggled to prop up the collapsing economy and cling to power, risking a constitutional crisis, his rivals formed a hodgepodge coalition in parliament and allegedly lured a handful of Khan loyalists to defect. Shortly after midnight on April 10, he was gone in a 30-minute vote. – Washington Post

A human rights group said Sunday it had filed a criminal complaint with Singapore’s attorney general to seek the arrest of Sri Lanka’s former president for alleged war crimes during his country’s civil war. – Associated Press

Sri Lanka’s besieged presidential office will reopen on Monday (Jul 25), police said, days after anti-government demonstrators were flushed out in a military crackdown that triggered international condemnation. – Agence France-Presse

Meenakshi Ganguly writes: here is little reason to believe the next administration — led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was backed by the now-deposed Rajapaksa family — will be better in this regard, considering Wickremesinghe’s prompt crackdown on the protesters. It’s therefore critical for foreign governments to pick up the slack where possible. Rajapaksa’s departure from Sri Lanka might have opened new possibilities for justice. – Washington Post


Judges at the United Nations’ highest court on Friday dismissed preliminary objections by Myanmar to a case alleging the Southeast Asian nation is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority. – Associated Press

Myanmar’s government announced Monday it had carried out its first executions in nearly 50 years, hanging a former National League for Democracy lawmaker, a democracy activist and two men accused of violence after the country’s takeover by the military last year. – Associated Press

Taiwan has been left “hurt” and confused by contradictory signals coming out of Washington over a possible visit to Taipei by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. – Bloomberg

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Japan and Korea are threatening to shatter hopes of getting along. The rock is a pair of towering crags in the seas between them. The hard place is Japan’s claim to both of them. – New York Sun

Henry Olsen writes: It’s better for the United States to decide which it values more now and build the capacity to accomplish that goal, rather than continue to put our head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. Defending Taiwan is in our national interest. Pelosi’s quiet presence in Taipei would put us one step closer to finally acknowledging that — and taking that commitment seriously. – Washington Post


The German government agreed on Friday to take an approximately 30 percent stake in Uniper, one of the country’s largest suppliers of natural gas that was on the brink of financial ruin, to keep energy supplies flowing and fend off potential chaos in Europe’s energy market. – New York Times

Mr. Draghi’s downfall already amounts to the toppling of the establishment that populist forces across Europe dream of. It has now raised concerns, far transcending Italy, of just how much resilience the movements retain on the continent, and of what damage an Italian government more sympathetic to Russia and less committed to the European Union could do to the cohesion of the West as it faces perhaps its greatest combination of security and economic challenges since the Cold War. – New York Times

Officials at the English Channel port of Dover on Sunday said operations had returned to normal, after two days of lengthy delays blamed on post-Brexit border checks. Frustrated holidaymakers were forced to wait for hours to reach the port and board ferries to France on Friday and Saturday, at the start of the busy summer getaway. The UK government blamed France for failing to adequately staff their border posts at the port, prompting a swift denial from Paris. – Agence France-Presse

Rishi Sunak on Sunday promised to get tough on China if he becomes Britain’s next prime minister, calling the Asian superpower the “number one threat” to domestic and global security. – Agence France-Presse

European governments are attempting to water down Brussels’ plans to push the bloc into cutting gas demand to better weather a shortage of Russian supplies this winter. – Financial Times

The EU’s trade chief has vowed to accelerate efforts to boost the union’s network of trade deals, as Brussels responded to member state calls to strengthen global supply chains, wean itself off Russia and deepen links with key allies. – Financial Times

The European Commission on Friday launched four new legal proceedings against Britain over London’s failure to implement Brexit divorce terms to govern trade with Northern Ireland. – Agence France-Presse

Moldova’s prime minister on Sunday said she is “very worried” about Russia invading her country next, as it makes advances in Ukraine’s east and south, near the Moldova-Ukraine border. – The Hill

The European Union’s latest sanctions on Russia, formally adopted on 21 July, are probably the weakest package so far from Brussels. To understand why, look no further than the bloc’s other activities in recent weeks to prepare for what could be a long, cold winter. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has called for a peace settlement in Ukraine and blamed the West’s delivery of long-range artillery weapons to the  war-torn country for driving Russia’s quest to annex additional Ukrainian territory. – New York Sun

The United States will continue to “support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” expediting military aid in the country’s battle against invading Russian military forces, says the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Editorial: The new report hints at the courage of the air traffic controller who made the smartphone recording and was interviewed by investigators in June. The report also throws into high relief the dangers of a dictator such as Mr. Lukashenko, who respects no rules but his own, using trickery and lies to divert a civilian plane in flight to nab a dissident. – Washington Post

Maria Tadeo writes: With political turbulence, comes market jitters, some of which are already playing out on the Italian bond market — and investors are right to be concerned about the implications for the country’s long-term debt management. But they shouldn’t fret about the prospects of Italexit creeping back. – Bloomberg

Justin Logan writes: For those reasons, advocates of NATO as a permanent alliance should probably start thinking about Plan B, not advertising the alliance as a cure-all for problems including climate change, piracy, and disinformation. Europe is rich and strong enough to defend itself. But the Europeans won’t do so unless the United States stops doing it for them. – Foreign Policy


President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia likes to cast himself as the leader of a global movement rising up against domination by the United States and its allies. On Sunday, his top diplomat brought that message directly to Africa, hoping to turn the hunger and social strife across the continent to Russia’s advantage. He is likely to find a receptive audience. – New York Times

Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Mali claimed responsibility on Saturday for an attack on the country’s main military base, which it said was a response to governmental collaboration with Russian mercenaries. – Reuters

Islamic State affiliates are getting financial backing from supporters in South Africa, according to a United Nations Security Council report. – Bloomberg

Michael Rubin writes: Frankly, Liberians deserve better than Weah and Putin. The United States has not only a strategic interest but a historical duty to Liberia. Both Democrats and Republicans should think proactively about how to make Liberia a model of clean government, commerce, and greater equity. The best way to counter Russia and China’s influence on the continent is to show that friendship with the United States offers a better future. – The National Interest

The Americas

Two terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires in the 1990s that killed scores of people were carried out by a secret Hezbollah unit whose operatives, contrary to widespread claims, were not abetted knowingly by Argentine citizens or aided by Iran on the ground, according to an investigation by the Mossad, Israel’s secret service. – New York Times

The U.S. has blacklisted former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes for his role in “significant corruption,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday, as Washington singled out the former powerful leader of the landlocked South American country. – Wall Street Journal

Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro on Friday met with representatives of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration in Bogota, the Colombian capital, where they discussed topics including drug trafficking, the environment and economic development. – Reuters

When heads of state visit the U.S., the top item on their itinerary is usually a White House visit. For Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban next month, it will be addressing a conference of conservative activists in Dallas. – Associated Press

Some of the world’s top national security officials — from spy chiefs to ambassadors to defense ministers — gathered here this week to offer prognoses and prescriptions for an array of existing and potential global challenges. – Politico

Edward Wong writes: Ultimately the biggest contrast between the presidents, and perhaps the aspect most closely watched by America’s allies and adversaries, lies in their views on democracy. Mr. Trump complimented autocrats and broke with democratic traditions well before the insurrection in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, that congressional investigators argue he organized. Mr. Biden has placed promotion of democracy at the ideological center of his foreign policy, and in December he welcomed officials from more than 100 countries to a “summit for democracy.” – New York Times


China is leading the world in building new chip factories, a step toward achieving more self-sufficiency in semiconductors that could eventually make some buyers reliant on China for many of the basic chips now in short supply. – Wall Street Journal

Cyber-attacks on one of the world’s busiest ports have nearly doubled since the start of the Covid pandemic. The number of monthly attacks targeting the Port of Los Angeles is now around 40 million, the port’s executive director Gene Seroka told the BBC. – BBC

A zero-day vulnerability in Google Chrome was discovered when attackers exploited it to target users in the Middle East, including journalists, cybersecurity firm Avast said Thursday. – The Record


The Pentagon is pushing for the passage of legislation aimed at boosting the US’s domestic semiconductor industry, telling lawmakers the components, which go into everything from vacuum cleaners to fighter jets, are needed for the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The Army’s network research team and science and technology community just wrapped up nine weeks of experiments, involving communications tech that could be used on the service’s high-profile next-gen helicopters and will help inform its ongoing Joint All Domain Command and Control efforts. – Breaking Defense

Ian Williams and Masao Dahlgren write: The feasibility of early intercept concepts is among the oldest debates within the strategic defense community. But people’s perceptions of an issue can stagnate, laden with old baggage and citations. Technological capability, in the meantime, has advanced. As such, there are assumptions to reexamine and possible solutions in sight. – Defense News