Fdd's overnight brief

July 5, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Western governments are bracing for a protracted conflict with Russia over Ukraine, and military leaders are racing to distill lessons from the opening months of Europe’s largest land war in almost eight decades. – Wall Street Journal

When Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky called in February for foreign volunteers to help repulse invading Russian forces, Chuang Yu-wei, a Taiwanese tour guide, signed up the next day. For many in Taiwan, the Russian assault on Ukraine hits close to home because of parallels with their own situation. The island’s people live under constant threat from a powerful authoritarian neighbor, China, which claims sovereignty over democratic Taiwan and vows to seize it by force if necessary. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s version of borscht — the Eastern European beetroot soup produced in various forms in countries throughout the region — was added Friday to a United Nations’ protection list, fast-tracked because of the Russian invasion. – Washington Post

The premier weapon in Ukraine’s arsenal drove down a dirt road not marked on any maps, along a sunflower field, before its military minders parked it between trees — the branches shielding it from the Russian drones that are no doubt hunting for it.The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, commonly known as HIMARS, is one of four that Ukrainians received last month from the United States as part of a $700 million military aid package.  – Washington Post

At least 21 were killed and 38 injured in a Russian missile attack on an apartment block and recreation center in a resort town southwest of Odessa, local authorities said on Friday, the largest such toll in a single attack on the region since the war began. – Washington Post

The Ukrainian national guard disputed a Russian politician’s claim Saturday that Moscow’s forces had “completely surrounded” Lysychansk, a bombarded Ukrainian city that is key to Russia’s efforts to capture the Donbas region. – Washington Post

The shifting nature of the war in Ukraine has prompted a split among analysts and U.S. lawmakers, with some questioning whether American officials have portrayed the crisis in overly rosy terms while others say the government in Kyiv can win with more help from the West. – Washington Post 

Ukraine on Monday urged the international community to support a $750 billion plan to rebuild the country, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling his nation’s reconstruction “the greatest contribution to the maintenance of global peace.” – Washington Post

The new prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, promised more military aid and more sanctions against Russia during a visit to Ukraine on Sunday that signaled continued resolve by liberal democracies to support Ukraine’s effort to rebut the Russian invasion. – New York Times

Russia’s capture of the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, a significant victory for Moscow’s campaign to conquer eastern Ukraine, demonstrates the success of the Russian military’s grinding strategy based on superior firepower and incremental advances. – New York Times

The flurry of arrests across the country in recent days has signaled that the Kremlin is intent on tightening the noose around Russian society even further. It appears to be a manifestation of President Putin’s declaration in the early weeks of his war in Ukraine that Russia needed to cleanse itself of pro-Western “scum and traitors,” and it is creating an unmistakable chill. – New York Times

A democracy came under attack. The United States saw a threat to an ally and also to the entire world order, but it feared that sending troops could spark a nuclear war. So, instead, it supplied weapons. And a small number of American Special Operations trainers started quietly working with the local military. – New York Times

Explosions hit the center of a Russian city just north of Ukraine early Sunday, killing four, officials said, in the deadliest known episode affecting civilians in Russia since the start of the war. – New York Times

In the months since President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called the invasion of Ukraine a “denazification” mission, the lie that the government and culture of Ukraine are filled with dangerous “Nazis” has become a central theme of Kremlin propaganda about the war. – New York Times

Russian forces set their sights on their next objectives in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, after President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in neighbouring Luhansk province as the five-month long war entered a new phase. – Reuters

Russia needs to help pay for the damage it has inflicted on Ukraine during its “appalling war” while Kyiv also needed help to revive its battered economy, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Reuters on Monday. – Reuters

A strip of land outside the British Embassy in Moscow will be named after the self-proclaimed separatist Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine following an online poll, the city administration said in a statement on its website. – Reuters

The cost of rebuilding Ukraine following Russia’s invasion could reach $750 billion and rich Russians should help pay the bill, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Monday. – Reuters

British citizen Aiden Aslin, sentenced to death by a court in the Russian-backed breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, submitted an appeal on Monday, the Russian Interfax agency reported on Monday. – Reuters

Russia has begun round-the-clock monitoring to detect nuclear explosions at a newly opened facility, Interfax news agency reported on Monday, citing the defence ministry. – Reuters

Phan Thị Kim Phuc, the girl in the famous 1972 Vietnam napalm attack photo, on Monday escorted 236 refugees from Russia’s war in Ukraine on a flight from Warsaw to Canada. Phuc’s iconic Associated Press photo in which she runs with her napalm-scalded body exposed, was etched on the private nongovernmental organization plane that is flying the refugees to the city of Regina, the capital of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. – Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the IOC for supporting a ban on Russian teams and athletes competing in most Olympics sports, ahead of a court hearing Tuesday to challenge the ruling in international soccer. – Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed on with his campaign to obtain support from Latin America with calls Friday to the leaders of Argentina and Chile. “I continue to establish relations with an important region — Latin America,” Zelenskyy wrote on social media. – Associated Press

Torched forests and cities burned to the ground. Colleagues with severed limbs. Bombardments so relentless the only option is to lie in a trench, wait and pray. Ukrainian soldiers returning from the front lines in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region — where Russia is waging a fierce offensive — describe life during what has turned into a grueling war of attrition as apocalyptic. – Associated Press

Moscow’s ambassador to Bulgaria has threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Sofia by closing its embassy amid an escalating row over the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats on espionage concerns. – Financial Times

It’s not the United States’ role to push Ukraine to negotiate a settlement with Russia, even if the Biden administration thought that it was the right thing to do, John Kirby said Sunday. – Politico

The United Kingdom’s foreign secretary told attendees at a forum on NATO’s future it was crucial that Russia loses its invasion into Ukraine. – USNI News

Ukrainian forces used a Harpoon missile to sink a Russian resupply ship headed to Snake Island, a senior defense official told reporters Friday afternoon. – USNI News

Walter Russell Mead writes: To your couches, Americans! Those who do not understand their enemies must brace for defeat. As long as G-7 leaders allow cheap gender stereotypes to fog their brains, Vladimir Putin can still hope to grind out a victory in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Claire Parker writes: When the alternative is a global reality in which wars of conquest can be waged with impunity, though, supporting Ukraine’s fight may offer the best chance of securing a more lasting global peace, Greene suggests. But that will also require a more even application of justice. As Moyn put it: “I think a lot of people are wondering, what steps can we take to make the concern with aggression applicable to more states more of the time, rather than once in a lifetime?” – Washington Post

Ronald Marks writes: In the final analysis — as I tell my now disillusioned, but I hope wiser students — intelligence is the spice in the policy soup: necessary and important, but not the soup itself. It can gather excellent sources, but it cannot be expected to reach into the minds of dictators like Putin. Intelligence analysis is predictive and estimative; it succeeds sometime and fails others. And covert action is meant to inflict pain and influence the outcome, but not win the war. – The Hill

Melinda Haring writes: This is no time to flinch. Moscow has played the frozen conflict game to its advantage in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. No more. We can’t let Putin get away with it in Ukraine, where the stakes are vastly higher. In the real spirit of Reagan and the defense of free peoples against tyranny, the West must act now. As former General Phil Breedlove never tires of saying: “Right place, right time, right equipment.” This should be Washington’s mantra until Kyiv prevails. – The National Interest

James Jay Carafano writes: The administration could have deterred Russia’s war against Ukraine. It didn’t, and now we must face the consequences. Modern war is costly in both treasure and lives, but so, too, is a policy of leaving naked aggression unaddressed. Nothing is more important than an honest debate about what is the right thing to do. – The National Interest

Charles A. Kupchan writes: Putin has just sent history into reverse. In response, the United States and its partners should temper their idealist ambitions and prepare themselves for a new and demanding era of great power rivalry. At the same time, their efforts to balance against an autocratic bloc will have to be complemented by the strategic pragmatism needed to navigate a world that, even if more unruly, is also irreversibly interdependent. – The National Interest

Joseph S. Nye Jr. writes: In short, the circumstances for a successful foreign policy after the Ukraine War ends seem promising, but history always has its surprises. A number of events could quickly destroy these favorable circumstances: for example, Putin’s desperate breach of the nuclear threshold with a tactical strike; an invasion of Taiwan that would produce massive decoupling of the world economy; or American internal divisions that undercut our soft power and prevent us from successfully playing the cards that have been dealt to us by Putin’s colossal miscalculation. The future is always uncertain, but the time to plan ahead is now. – The National Interest


Executions in Iran have more than doubled in the first half of 2022, an NGO said Friday, warning that the surge in hangings was aimed at spreading fear at a time of protests. – Agence France-Presse

​​Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will press French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday for a tougher and time-limited tack on the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and warn that the Tehran-backed Hezbollah group is “playing with fire”, an official said. – Reuters

At least five people were killed by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in southern Iran early Saturday, state media reported. Two other strong quakes later hit the area. – Reuters

Iran is working towards a political solution to keep Turkey from invading northern Syria, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday during a visit to Damascus. – Reuters

Iran insisted Thursday that a revived nuclear agreement with major powers remains achievable even as European powers backed Washington in urging Tehran to budge following talks in Qatar. – Agence France-Presse

The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet is starting to offer rewards for information that could help sailors intercept weapons, drugs and other illicit shipments across the region amid tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s arming of Yemen’s Houthi rebels. – Times of Israel

Brig.-Gen. Fereydoun Mohammadi Saghaei has been identified as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official in charge of deploying advanced Iranian air-defense systems in Syria and Lebanon, according to an independent Israeli intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon, who runs the Intelli Times blog. – Jerusalem Post

Iranian media falsely claimed that a fire had broken out in an Israeli military base on Saturday, just hours after two explosions were heard at the Malek Ashtar base of the IRGC’s Basij militia in Tehran. – Jerusalem Post

Iran could be slightly increasing its naval threats to the region by building a new missile boat. The new vessel, which appears to be under construction, was detailed in an article by H.I. Sutton at USNI News. Sutton also writes at the website Covert Shores where he is an expert on naval issues. – Jerusalem Post

Iran has claimed that the talks with Qatari counterparts regarding a potential agreement with the United States went as planned, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian assessing that the talks were positive. – Jerusalem Post

The daughter of Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was charged with carrying out propaganda activity against the country and blasphemy in social media comments, the judiciary said Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

Lawrence J. Haas writes: All in all, Biden’s commitment to reviving the nuclear deal is not only problematic in terms of curbing Iranian nuclear activity, but it also threatens to undercut his effort to restore relations with Riyadh that have become increasingly important to U.S. strategic interests. – The Hill

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran is also interested in working with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Iran believes these states can benefit from the Chabahar Port project in Iran’s South, saying that “Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have seen a place where they can make stations for themselves, where their cargo will be transited. Not only Tajikistan, but others too, and Kyrgyzstan’s road minister visited Chabahar twice.” Iran wants to be a transit hub for Central Asia. It believes it can help these countries access the Indian Ocean. Rail lines will become operations, Iran has said. This will also link to Turkey. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The point that the article, and Iran and Hezbollah, in general, are making is that the Lebanese terrorist group has a serious threat targeting Israel that it can unveil at sea. This may be mostly bragging, but the messaging is important. Hezbollah wants to show it can “deter” Israel, and the goal here is, in a sense, to prevent war, rather than start a conflict. At least for now, Hezbollah and Iran prefer these bragging rights to actually doing anything that causes major damage and could result in an Israeli response. – Jerusalem Post

Zohar Palti writes: But one thing the advocates of a pressure policy have in their favor is that staying the course – letting Iran proceed on its current path — is bound to be worse for US interests. If America doesn’t get its hands dirty now with restoring deterrence to its relationship with Iran, the Tehran leadership may decide to move forward to 90 percent enrichment, at which point Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state. […]All Israelis, regardless of their politics, hope America leads the world in preventing the Iran nuclear problem from crossing that dangerous line. – Times of Israel


Thousands of Afghan clerics pledged loyalty to the Taliban Saturday, but ended a three-day meeting without recommendations on how the hardline Islamist group should govern the crisis-hit country. – Agence France-Presse

Even as bodies are still being pulled from the rubble, Communist China is using a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan’s southeast as a tool in its war of words over the fate of some $7 billion in Afghan funds frozen at the U.S. Federal Reserve. – New York Sun 

Michael O’Hanlon and Lise Howard write: The Taliban needs help, as they have again affirmed in requesting assistance after the recent earthquake. They also do not seem eager to pick a military fight with the United States again, as their imperfect but still considerable collaboration with us in permitting a massive evacuation effort from the country in August attests. This suggests a basis for a certain détente. – The Hill


In a camp for displaced people in northern Syria on Friday, aid workers handed out cash, one-time payments of $120, to sustain people living on the edge of ruin. Prices of basic goods are soaring, and some families have been surviving on bread alone – Washington Post

Russia’s foreign ministry on Monday called strikes on Syria that have been blamed on Israel unacceptable, and demanded an unconditional cessation of the attacks. – Reuters

Israel carried out a rare daylight airstrike along the southern Syrian coast on Saturday morning, Syria’s state-run broadcaster SANA said, injuring two people. There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces, in line with its policy of not generally commenting on air raids in the country. – Times of Israel 

Now Syria wants to do more outreach to Algeria, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary of independence. Al-Mayadeen also said Hamas will send senior political leader Ismail Haniyeh to the events. The Palestinian WAFA news agency also said that “President Mahmoud Abbas is set to attend the commemorative festivities of the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.” – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s foreign minister warned Saturday on a visit to Damascus that Turkish military action in Syria would destabilise the region, after Ankara threatened to launch a new offensive on Kurds in the country’s north. – Agence France-Presse


Six million first-time voters are set to effectively decide whether to extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule into a third decade or to opt for something they have never known – Turkey under a different leader. – Reuters

A Turkish court rejected on Monday a request to extradite a man wanted by Haiti over his alleged involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. – Reuters

Turkey and Armenia agreed in normalisation talks between special representatives that the neighbours would start direct air cargo trade between each other at the earliest possible date, as they work to mend ties after decades of animosity. – Reuters

Turkey has begun an investigation into the origin of grain aboard a Russian ship anchored off its Black Sea port of Karasu after Ukraine said the cargo was stolen, senior Turkish officials told Bloomberg. – Bloomberg

Bobby Ghosh writes: As for that NATO session on the southern flank, that was not so much a concession to Turkey as an indulgence to Spain, the summit’s host, which wanted a discussion on migration and militant groups in Africa. Erdogan has long gotten away with foreign-policy adventurism at the expense of Turkey’s allies, and he extended that streak in Madrid. But the returns from his maneuvering have dwindled nearly to the point of nothing. – Bloomberg

Neville Teller writes: A new era of bilateral trade, business and government-to-government cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia seems about to dawn. The development is to be welcomed for its own sake. It is also a significant strengthening of the anti-Iran alliance that is building in the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post


Israel on Saturday shot down three drones that it said Iran-allied militant group Hezbollah launched toward an Israeli gas rig located in a disputed drilling area of the Mediterranean Sea, marking an escalation between two of the Middle East’s fiercest foes. – Wall Street Journal

An American-led analysis of forensic and ballistic evidence, as well as the separate Israeli and Palestinian investigations, found that the bullet that killed Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh likely originated from an Israeli soldier, but added that there was “no reason to believe this was intentional,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday. – Washington Post

The Palestinian Authority on Monday rejected the results of the US investigation into the killing of veteran Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, especially the claim that ballistic experts have determined that the bullet that was extracted from her head was “badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.” – Jerusalem Post

Israel and Poland have agreed to improve relations that had deteriorated after Warsaw introduced a law last year limiting the ability of Jews to recover World War Two properties, saying on Monday they would mutually restore ambassadors. – Reuters

Israel is to conduct a ballistics test on the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli army said Sunday, a day after the Palestinian Authority handed the bullet to US experts. – Agence France-Presse

Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip systematically torture critics in detention, a practice that could amount to crimes against humanity, an international rights group said Friday.

Human Rights Watch called in its report for donor countries to cut off funding to Palestinian security forces that commit such crimes and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate. – Associated Press

An Israeli man was seriously hurt in a suspected terror stabbing attack near the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on Tuesday morning. – Times of Israel

Shmuel Rosner writes: The Jewish majority, which wouldn’t dream of giving up on Zionism as the guiding vision for Israel, has an even greater responsibility to ask itself whether it has set the bar for Arab participation in a ruling coalition too high. It must interrogate whether suspicion of Arab participation is reasonable and fact based or a psychological leftover (with racist undertones), from when Israel was still a fragile and insecure place, that should now be dispensed with. […]Whatever happens, a once unthinkable coalition created just over 365 days ago opened the gate to a new and thrilling possibility of cooperation. A dam has broken. – New York Times


Hezbollah says the drone attack it launched on Saturday, in which three of its drones were shot down by Israel, accomplished the mission the organization intended. The statement appeared on Al-Mayadeen media, which is considered pro-Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Tasnim News last week highlighted the increasing Hezbollah threat to Israel, stressing that the terrorist organization has set up 15 observation posts along the Lebanon-Israel border. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s downing of three drones on Saturday illustrates the growing nexus of Iran-Hezbollah threats in the region – and specifically the Lebanese terrorist organization’s escalating attempts to target gas platforms off the coast of Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister on Monday criticized the terror group Hezbollah for sending three unmanned aircraft toward an Israeli gas installation last week, saying it was an unnecessarily risky action. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia

The Biden administration has until Aug. 1 to say whether it believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be immune from a civil lawsuit filed against him in the United States by Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was murdered in 2018. – Washington Post

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Saudi Arabia to ramp up oil production, seeking to cool record fuel prices in an echo of comments last week from President Joe Biden. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia has appointed two women to senior positions in government, the latest sign that the kingdom is looking to diversify a predominantly male workforce. – Bloomberg

As speculation mounts over a possible breakthrough in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia in the near future, an Israeli journalist recently traveled to Riyadh to see how the Saudi people may feel about warming relations with the Jewish state. – Times of Israel

Middle East & North Africa

A burst of Russian and Iranian maneuvers against U.S. interests in the Middle East has forced the region’s new military commander toward an early reckoning over how to reestablish deterrence without sparking a wider conflict, a perennial problem that has taken on new urgency amid the global instability ignited by Moscow’s war in Ukraine. – Washington Post

The situation back in the Syrian camp had been hellish: Frequent killings in the night caused dread to descend with the darkness. Years after the official defeat of the Islamic State, its followers there had turned the camp into a new theater of violence and control. – Washington Post 

Tunisia’s president has taken another major step toward dismantling the country’s young democracy in a newly released draft constitution, giving himself broad powers while diluting those of Parliament and the judiciary. – New York Times

Tunisia has bought eight military training aircrafts from the United States as part of a plan to renew the air force’s training aircraft fleet, the defense ministry said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters

For the first time, IDF officers and officials from Israel’s Defense Ministry took part in the large-scale African Lion, the largest annual military exercise held on the African continent, alongside Morocco and several African nations. – Jerusalem Post

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) said on Tuesday it will begin rewarding individuals for providing information that leads to the seizure of cargo such as illegal weapons or narcotics in the waters across the Middle East. – Reuters

Protesters stormed Libya’s parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk on Friday and set parts of it ablaze, venting their anger at deteriorating living conditions and months of political deadlock. – Agence France-Presse

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Egypt needs huge investments for its large population. It also needs modernization across the country. Sisi’s term in office, now almost a decade, will be looked back upon in terms of how he manages the economy and how he sets the country on a path toward the rest of the century. As such, the current discussion about “national dialogue” and new projects is important. Egypt’s role in Libya and the Gulf, as well as its work with Jordan, Iraq and Syria, is also important as it seeks to shore up the role of the Arab states in the region. And discussions and peace with Israel also matter greatly. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

Mr. Jung exemplifies the young blood entering South Korean politics in droves after lawmakers this year lowered the minimum age limit for political office to 18 from 25. That led to a record number of people under 40 running in local elections in June — 416 candidates, up from 238 in 2018. Among the 4,131 people who won their races, 11 were under 24 years old, including the youngest election winner in the country’s history, a 19-year-old. But even before their terms began on Friday, they encountered problems as old as politics itself. – New York Times

North Korea appears to have released water from a dam near its border with South Korea, prompting vacationers in the neighbouring country to evacuate over rising water levels on the Imjin River, officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters

North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce its military capability. – Associated Press


A Canadian-Chinese billionaire is standing trial in mainland China more than five years after he mysteriously disappeared from Hong Kong, marking progress in a protracted case that has baffled the country’s business community. – Wall Street Journal

Over the past month, President Biden twice publicly stated that the U.S. economy might grow faster this year than China’s for the first time since 1976. The statements, which the White House said were based on independent projections, have struck a nerve in Beijing, according to policy advisers and Chinese economists who consult with the government. – Wall Street Journal

Under swarms of security, beneath clouds threatening rain, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China with a showcase of just how thoroughly he had transformed and subdued this once-freewheeling city. – New York Times

When NATO put forward a new blueprint for the future this week, the alliance did not mince words on China. China, NATO declared, was a systemic “challenge,” calling out the country for the first time in its mission statement. – New York Times

Japan protested to Beijing after spotting Chinese and Russian warships just outside its territorial waters around the disputed East China Sea islands on Monday. Japan’s Defense Ministry said a Chinese frigate sailed inside the “contiguous zone,” just outside Japanese territorial waters around Senkaku Islands, which Beijing also claims and calls the Diaoyu, for several minutes Monday morning. – Associated Press

The competition between the US and China to explore outer space turned prickly after Chinese diplomats blasted the head of NASA and encouraged neighboring countries to support Beijing’s plan for exploring the moon. – Bloomberg

Senior US and Chinese officials discussed US economic sanctions and tariffs Tuesday amid reports the Biden administration is close to rolling back some of the trade levies imposed by former President Donald Trump. – Bloomberg

The US ambassador to China called on the Foreign Ministry in Beijing to stop spreading Russia’s “lies,” in an unusually direct and public rebuke by the top American diplomat in the country. – Bloomberg

Editorial writes: As a financial hub and gateway to China, Hong Kong might yet bounce back from pandemic setbacks and closures. But politically, China has smothered it. There’s a tendency to dismiss warnings that democracy is threatened around the world, to think that it just can’t happen. Take a look at Hong Kong under China’s rule. A once-vibrant freedom vanished in only a few years. That is alarmingly real. – Washington Post

Editorial writes: The biggest mistake Congress could make now is focusing solely on the tens of billions in factory-building subsidies and letting the rest of the America Competes Act fall by the wayside. These grants alone will not on their own catch the United States up to its East Asian peers. Other changes, some of them included in the bill, will prove even more important — from cultivating and retaining STEM talent here to coordinating with allies to keep enough chip-making capacity outside China. But as long as Congress is set on handing money to manufacturers, legislators should also make sure the manufacturers end up giving something back. – Washington Post

David Fickling writes: Still, a more competitive diplomatic space in the Pacific is very much in the interests of the region, even if it annoys neighbors who’ve grown comfortable with the status quo. In entertaining but ultimately rejecting the 10-nation security pact proposed by Wang, island governments have shown that they’re growing  skilled at the traditional statecraft of minor powers — playing larger nations off each other. Major powers will have to pay more attention to the Pacific in their future dealings. For island governments, that’s no bad thing. – Bloomberg


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will fly to Hanoi on Tuesday for a two-day visit to Vietnam before heading to a G20 meeting later this week in Indonesia, the Vietnamese government said. – Reuters

Russia said on Monday that it was closely monitoring the situation in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan province after deadly unrest broke out, and that issues there should be solved through “legal means” rather than rioting. – Reuters

A top Taiwanese official said on Thursday that the biggest benefit from a proposed trade agreement with the United States would be to prop up Taiwan’s economy and democracy in the face of China’s attempts to isolate the country. – The Hill 

Japan’s government warned on July 1 that its “interests must not be undermined” after a Moscow decree ordered a transfer of the operations of a multibillion-dollar joint oil and gas project to a new Russian entity. The decree over control of the Sakhalin-2 project in Russia’s Far East was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier and could mark a dangerous new precedent in Moscow’s relations with foreign investors. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


Senior Hungarian officials say they are working with Republican lawmakers in the United States to defeat a global minimum tax backed by the Biden administration, as European and American leaders struggle to enact a groundbreaking international accord targeting multinational corporations. – Washington Post

“Polizei!” barked the officers who stormed a third-floor apartment in the Austrian capital, moving to intercept a thickset man standing near a kitchen nook. The suspect — a long-serving official in Austria’s security services — sprang toward his cellphone and tried to break it in two, according to Austrian police reports. The phone data from last year’s raid, along with a laptop, USB sticks and a mother lode of documents, is now proving critical to an explosive case that has gained newfound urgency in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it is fueling questions about the extent to which Moscow’s influence came to permeate this European nation. – Washington Post

Danish police said the mass shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen that left three people dead on Sunday wasn’t related to terrorism. – Wall Street Journal

The German government has suspended 120 million euros ($125 million) worth of infrastructure projects in Bosnia’s Serb region over its leaders secessionist policies, international peace envoy Christian Schmidt said on Monday. – Reuters

Germany is discussing security guarantees for Ukraine with its allies in preparation for a time after the war, but these will not be the same as for a member of the transatlantic alliance, German Chancellor Scholz told the broadcaster ARD on Sunday. – Reuters

The European Union sued Britain on Wednesday over its move to rewrite the trade rules agreed to when the country left the EU two years ago, ratcheting up tensions between the major economic partners – Associated Press

Germany and Ireland have condemned the U.K government’s move towards unilaterally rewriting parts of the post-Brexit deal with the European Union. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Irish counterpart Simon Coveney said there was “no legal or political justification” for overriding the agreed trade rules in Northern Ireland – Associated Press

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday made her first visit to the U.K. since both countries signed a free trade agreement, meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to boost bilateral ties and discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

Australia and France opened a “new chapter” in their relations Friday as the new Australian prime minister seeks to heal wounds from a secret submarine contract that infuriated France. – Associated Press

Thousands of people in several Spanish cities protested Friday over the deaths of at least 23 migrants last week at the frontier between the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Africa and Morocco, amid growing calls for an independent, cross-border investigation. – Associated Press

European electricity prices have reached the highest sustained level on record, as Russia’s cuts to the continent’s gas supplies ripple through energy networks and threaten to cause lasting pain for industry and households. – Financial Times

Switzerland is home to majestic mountain peaks, luscious chocolate, and upward of $210 billion in assets that Russian clients have parked in its bank accounts, as estimated by the Swiss Bankers Association. The latter has hardly won Switzerland any plaudits on the global stage, and on Monday the country was called out by a Swiss NGO as a “safe haven” for Russian oligarchs and as a trading hub for Russian oil, grain, and coal – Associated Press

The German government has drafted a law that allows it to take stakes in companies crippled by the soaring cost of imported gas as tensions with Russia threaten to plunge the country’s power sector into crisis. – Financial Times

Sweden and Finland are holding talks with NATO officials in Brussels on starting the formal process to join the Western military alliance — a move that would mark a dramatic departure from the Nordic countries’ long-standing policies of nonalignment on military matters. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The British government says it will introduce a new round of economic, trade, and transport sanctions on Belarus and the regime of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

In a statement on July 4, the British Foreign Office said the package of sanctions “extends some of the significant measures made against Russia to Belarus.” – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

NATO officials at the Madrid summit revived a Cold War-era concept of spelling out which alliance countries are responsible for securing specific, vulnerable European members situated closer to Russia. – Defense News

Mateusz Morawiecki writes: The EU has to acknowledge that if it does not take a step in the right direction, it may compromise its energy policy completely. The green transition cannot come at the cost of basic security. And if the situation forces us to do so, then we must not hesitate to return temporarily to traditional sources of energy. Even if a short-term return to coal means postponing our ambitious climate goals, it may be a necessary condition of maintaining a strong European community capable of resisting Russia and supporting Ukraine. – Financial Times


At its worst point, it was labeled Africa’s World War, a transnational conflict that cost millions of peoples’ lives. At best over the past decades, there has been a fragile peace. But there has never been a definitive end to the conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. – New York Times

Germany returned two of the priceless artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria on Friday, after reaching a political agreement that could soon see hundreds more return to the country from which they were looted over 100 years ago. – New York Times

Armed assailants killed at least 22 civilians in northwest Burkina Faso on Monday, a local official said, the latest deadly attack in an area marred by militant activity. – Reuters

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said on Monday the army would not participate in internationally led dialogue efforts to break its stalemate with the civilian opposition, and urged political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a transitional government. – Reuters

Guinea-Bissau’s top court has overturned the convictions of two alleged drug kingpins in connection with the country’s largest-ever narcotics seizure, a copy of the ruling showed on Monday. – Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame will meet for talks in the Angolan capital Luanda this week, two Congolese officials and one Rwandan official said on Monday. – Reuters

Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said Saturday he had spoken with his Spanish counterpart after a row over comments the Spaniard made about the possibility of a NATO operation in the African country. – Agence France-Presse

West African leaders on Sunday lifted sanctions on Mali’s military regime, accepting a March 2024 return to civilian rule, and agreed on two years for Burkina Faso’s transition back to democracy, delegates at a regional summit said. – Agence France-Presse

South African police are investigating one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisers for allegedly smuggling foreign currency on behalf of the president, the Sunday Independent reports. – Bloomberg

Ethiopia’s leader reported a massacre Monday allegedly by rebels in a restive region where a rebel group opposed to his government is accused of targeting civilians amid fighting with government troops. – Associated Press

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday accused Congo of supporting rebels opposed to his government, escalating tensions with a neighbor who in turn accuses Rwanda of supporting violent rebels who recently captured a town in eastern Congo. – Associated Press

The Americas

The International Monetary Fund plans to improve transparency and fairness in its economic analysis after a rare outcry by hundreds of staff members last year over a Bloomberg News report that officials softened a warning about Brazil’s climate-change risks. – Bloomberg

Chile’s Constitutional Convention presented the final version of the charter that will be put to a referendum as a growing number of voters question the broad changes it would enact from social rights to political rules. – Bloomberg

A jury in Miami on Friday found a former Argentine naval officer responsible for a 1972 massacre of political prisoners in his homeland and ordered him to pay more than $20 million in damages to relatives of four of the victims. – Associated Press

North America

A gunman perched on a rooftop fired dozens of rounds at spectators at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb on Monday, killing at least six people and adding yet another name to the list of American towns caught up in a countrywide wave of mass-casualty shootings. – Washington Post

Mexico’s election czar delivered a message to the American ambassador: The Mexican president was mounting an all-out assault on the national elections authority, sowing doubt about a pillar of the country’s democracy. – New York Times

Driven by the difficulty of meeting clean energy goals and by surging electricity demands, a growing number of political leaders are taking a fresh look at nuclear power — both extending the life of existing reactors and building new ones. – New York Times

American basketball star Brittney Griner asked US President Joe Biden to free her from a Russian prison in a handwritten letter Monday, portions of which were made public by her family. – Agence France-Presse


TikTok gave U.S. lawmakers more details in a letter dated Thursday about how it plans to keep data about its American users separate from ByteDance, its Chinese parent company, aiming to combat concerns that the video app poses a national security risk. – New York Times

Britain is proposing a new law that will require social media companies to proactively tackle disinformation posted by foreign states such as Russia, the government said on Monday. – Reuters

The British Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts have been hacked, according to a statement from an Army spokesperson Sunday. – Bloomberg

Unknown hackers claimed to have stolen data on as many as a billion Chinese residents after breaching a Shanghai police database, in what industry experts are calling the largest cybersecurity breach in the country’s history. – Bloomberg

According to “media sources,” there was a “massive cyberattack against operating systems and servers of the Tel Aviv Metro,” Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Dr. Nadiya Kostyuk and Dr. Erik Gartzke write: It is quite possible that in the future other nations will behave differently than Russia has in Ukraine. Despite this, our systematic analysis of global military and cyber campaigns and descriptive anecdotes from the Russo-Ukrainian war suggest that cyber war cannot replace traditional forms of combat. […]Nations will not use cyber war in the place of more traditional war, but they will rely increasingly on cyberspace as a domain for pursuing these new, informational objectives. – Texas National Security Review


US defense giant Boeing and Israel have signed a deal to cooperate on a wide basis for providing security to the aircraft industry from cyberattacks. – Jerusalem Post

The U.S. Navy and Air Force research laboratories are wrapping up a five-year joint effort to advance high-power microwave technology this summer with two months of testing in California. – Defense News

The Defense Department agency responsible for overseeing foreign arms sales would like to have a presence on the ground to monitor the use of US weapons in Ukraine, but when that will happen is still unclear, its deputy director said Thursday. – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Coast Guard selected Austal USA to take over its Offshore Patrol Cutter program, opting not to stick with Eastern Shipbuilding Group, which is building the program’s first four ships. – Defense News

The Army will no longer rotate tank brigades to South Korea beginning this fall, the service acknowledged in a press release Thursday afternoon. – Military Times

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: The Pentagon and Congress have for three decades delayed modernization critical to the sustainment of credible U.S. combat power. Backs against the wall now, policymakers must not cede American military supremacy to a “dusty death,” but rather revise the pace of productivity by accepting that the armed force cannot survive on “buying time” to gain capability, but rather buying capability to gain time. – RealClear Defense

Long War

New Zealand has declared the Proud Boys, the far-right American group that played a key role in the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to be a terrorist organization, making it illegal for New Zealanders to participate in or support its activities. – New York Times

British police said on Monday that they had charged a 19-year-old man with possession of explosives and terrorism offences, following his arrest on June 27 in northwest England. – Reuters

Belgium’s parliament on Tuesday will debate whether to ratify a proposed treaty with Iran that could allow an Iranian convicted of terrorism in Belgium to be sent back to Tehran. – Politico

The IDF has uncovered and foiled yet another Hamas network posing as young women on social networks in order to honeypot IDF soldiers in order to access as much information and intelligence on the military that they can. – Jerusalem Post