Fdd's overnight brief

July 5, 2023

In The News


Iran has hanged at least 354 people in the first six months of 2023, a rights group said Monday, adding that the pace of executions was much higher than in 2022. Rights groups have accused Tehran of increasing the use of the death penalty to spread fear across society in the wake of the protest movement that erupted last September over the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly violating strict dress rules for women. – Agence France-Presse

As deadly violence flared in the West Bank, Iran has asserted that Palestinians could achieve their goals in the decades-long territorial dispute with Israel only through the use of force, something Tehran would support if asked. – Newsweek

The European parties to the Iran nuclear deal – the UK, France, and Germany – plan to maintain sanctions on Tehran’s missiles, which are set to expire in October. – Jerusalem Post

Kim Ghattas writes: The demise of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been predicted often, but its staying power for 44 years has defied all expectations. Yet something is irremediably broken. Iran feels febrile, every wave of protests building on the previous one. And the first anniversary of Amini’s death is fast approaching. Which elements will align for the next surge of dissent? – Financial Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The Iranian leader spoke in general terms about issues such as climate change and economic cooperation, according to the reports and statements put out by Tehran. This is an important development because Iran is seeking to exploit the SCO for influence on the global stage. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran used that to lead to the 2006 war and Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza then led to the 2008-2009 conflict in Gaza. Iran then tried to put Hamas on steroids as well with rocket technology and other support. Now Iran may think it has a kind of similar recipe for the West Bank. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s goal is to get involved in these kinds of events and work on the sidelines to get more influence in these countries. Iran will also use its influence to increase its energy trade and also to try to work against Israel. This means Iran may exploit ties with Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil in terms of anti-Israel agendas. Iran will not have such success in India because India and Israel have strategic ties. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is demanding that the pro-West former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili — who is in jail for abuse of office charges he denies — be sent to Ukraine for urgent medical care. Zelensky claimed without evidence that Moscow, via the government of Georgia — where Saakashvili served as president until 2013 — was “killing” the former leader after video emerged of him looking emaciated this week. – Washington Post

A prominent Russian investigative journalist and a human rights lawyer were brutally beaten as they headed to a court in Russia’s Chechnya republic to attend the high-profile trial of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of exiled opposition activists who challenged the Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov. – Washington Post

Russia is in contact with the U.S. regarding prisoner swaps, a Kremlin spokesman said in a briefing, after consular visits to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich detained in Russia and a Russian held in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

When Russia marched into Ukraine last year, it sought to rally Russian speakers abroad in its confrontation with the West. Then the Russian speakers pushed back. The struggle for the hearts and minds of the Russian diaspora has centered on Germany, home to 3.5 million Russian speakers, the largest such group outside the former Soviet Union and the biggest migrant community in Germany. – Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is said to work out of identically constructed offices at multiple residences so that photographs don’t reveal his location. […] For decades, people who know him say, Mr. Putin has been remarkably focused on his personal security and on preventing rivals from using the powers of government against him. – New York Times

The leaders represented the three biggest powers bidding to reshape a global order dominated by the United States, convening over video feeds at a virtual summit meeting on Tuesday. But beyond the unity implied by their joint appearance, each seemed focused on his own, different aim. – New York Times

A Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces has been “particularly fruitful” in the past few days and Ukraine’s troops are fulfilling their main tasks, a senior security official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday accused each other of plotting to stage an attack on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, long the subject of mutual recriminations and suspicions. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin said late on Tuesday that the Russian economy was performing better than expected after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to him that gross domestic product growth and inflation have been surprisingly positive. – Reuters

Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine had attacked Moscow with at least five drones that were all either shot down or jammed, though one of the capital’s main airports had to reroute flights for several hours. – Reuters

Russia is preparing to send more Chechen fighters and convicts to Ukraine to fill holes left by Wagner mercenaries that were pulled from the battlefield, European intelligence officials believe. – Bloomberg

At least 43 people, including 12 children, have been injured after a missile struck the carpark of a residential building in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, local officials say. – BBC

Xi Jinping personally warned Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, indicating Beijing harbours concerns about Russia’s war even as it offers tacit backing to Moscow, according to western and Chinese officials. – Financial Times

Colin P. Clarke writes: Amid the murky messaging, this much is clear: For a leader who has worked assiduously to cultivate an image as a master strategist, Mr. Putin does not appear to have a plan for what comes next with Wagner. Instead, he looks increasingly vulnerable, both at home and in his effort to maintain Russia’s influence abroad. He will almost certainly struggle to rein in the beast he helped create. – New York Times

Leonid Bershidsky writes: It’s much harder for the regular military to riot than it was for Prigozhin’s mercenaries. Yet the example can be infectious, especially if Russia suffers more setbacks on the battlefield. – Bloomberg

Alexander J. Motyl writes: And yet, bizarrely, when Russians say they fear Ukrainian membership in NATO and U.S. nuclear weapons on Ukraine’s eastern border, Mearsheimer believes them, when he should be asking himself whether such ostensible fears have any grounding in reality and what the real reasons might be. – The Hill

Eugene Rumer writes: The Prigozhin rebellion was the biggest stress test for the Putin regime since its inception. The Kremlin passed, not with flying colors, but well enough. Those wishing for the demise of Putin’s regime might think about what could have happened had it not passed the test. Would they rather see the man who takes pride in the brutality of his troops in control of Russia’s nuclear codes? Is that better than Putin? – Politico

Luis Fleischman writes: Putin’s stubbornness is not likely to lead to an end of the conflict any time soon. Casualties will multiply, and increasingly authoritarian Latin American regimes might sacrifice their sons to a senseless war and indefinitely prolong it. – The National Interest

Rudy Weisz writes: Today, Ukraine is performing admirably in a tough fight for its very survival, far beyond many commentators’ expectations. To get here, the Ukrainian Armed Forces undertook significant reforms and made tremendous strides in modernization. Though it surely is imperfect, the existing training model with NATO ought to continue as it has demonstrated efficacy, even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces don’t fully resemble a Western-style military. – War on the Rocks


Hundreds of Palestinian families fled a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin as Israel’s largest military operation in the occupied territory in more than two decades stretched into a second day on Tuesday with a deadly assault involving drone strikes and ground troops. – Wall Street Journal 

Israeli fighter jets struck targets in Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday after Palestinian militants in the blockaded coastal enclave launched five rockets towards Israel. – Financial Times

A Palestinian rammed a pickup truck into pedestrians in Tel Aviv and then went on a stabbing rampage, wounding eight people on Tuesday in an attack claimed by the Hamas militant group as retaliation for a major Israeli operation in the West Bank. – Reuters

The Israeli Defense Forces’ largest West Bank operation in more than two decades is part of a shadow war between Israel and its chief regional nemesis, the Islamic Republic of Iran. – New York Sun

Public fury is growing in the Arab world over one of Israel’s biggest military operations in the occupied West Bank in years, yet Arab states which normalised ties with Israel are unlikely to turn their condemnation of the Israeli assault into action. – Reuters

Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday gave an initial nod to a bill that limits Supreme Court power to rule against the government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would press on with contentious changes to the justice system. – Reuters

The UN human rights chief on Tuesday decried the cycle of violence in Israel and the West Bank, insisting that the fighting must come to a halt. – Agence France-Presse

Beijing is willing to play a role in easing flaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to visit the People’s Republic, a Chinese official told Newsweek. – Newsweek

Hundreds of Palestinians, chanting Allahu Akbar! (God is [the] greatest), took to the streets of the city of Jenin and its refugee camp late Tuesday to celebrate after Israeli security forces completed their withdrawal from the area. – Jerusalem Post

Israel police on Tuesday, said it was raising the level of alert around the country after a terror attack in Tel Aviv earlier in the day when nine civilians were hurt, five of them seriously and while troops were still operating in the city of Jenin and its refugee camp. – Ynet

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has published an announcement claiming that his terror organization “defeated Israel.” – Arutz Sheva

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said security coordination with Israel would remain suspended and other ties would be cut as well, in protest of a large-scale raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. The announcement came as the US State Department urged the PA and Israel to increase security cooperation and a UN envoy said he was in touch with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to restore calm. – Times of Israel

As Israel attacks in the Palestinian city of Jenin to root out the central command of the terror cells that have launched dozens of terror attacks murdering over 50 Israelis in the last year, Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah has announced that they have joined the terrorists to counter the Israeli offensive. – Palestinian Media Watch

David Ignatius writes: When Israel assaults Jenin or launches one of its periodic wars on Gaza, officials seem to believe they can compel Palestinians to behave responsibly. If force could have worked to suppress the militants, it would have succeeded long ago. But people who feel they have nothing left but their dignity won’t give it up, even against overwhelming military power. – Washington Post

Jack Elbaum writes: It is equal parts scandalous and unsurprising that so much of the media have decided simply to repeat the rhetoric of Palestinian terrorists during this operation. This is not to say critical reporting of Israel’s actions in the West Bank or its quite right-wing government is not acceptable or warranted. Of course it is. And it is needed when the government does not take sufficient action to stop Jewish terrorists from hurting Palestinians or uses unjustified force, for example. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The Palestinian Authority also lost control in Jenin. The tactical challenge of finding weapons is difficult because it takes time to find them and usually M-4 rifles can be hidden easily. Iran likely understands this. It wants to slowly build the terror infrastructure, as it did with its proxies and partners in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. The challenge for the region, during an era of increased regional integration and diplomacy, is to check this rise in threats. – Jerusalem Post

Avi Issacharoff writes: So why did Nasrallah approve the operation, to begin with? The answer is his likely capitulation to Iranian pressure to join the efforts in the fight against Israel. […] Now, the Palestinian arena around us has become Iran’s favored playground. As long as the PA remains absent in Jenin, Nablus, and the like and while Israel avoids taking control of those areas permanently, there may be no long-term solution to the security challenges there. – Ynet

Einav Schiff writes: Moreover, if a country such as the United States, with infinite expanses and a completely different law enforcement system, can reach where it has, what’s to protect a much smaller, densely populated, and politically concentrated place? This is why the unique Americanization of Israel is much more troubling. – Ynet

Neville Teller writes: Although the future of the Negev Forum is currently hanging in the balance, a US State Department spokesperson recently sounded a note of confidence. […] Perhaps the announcement of its indefinite postponement will turn out to be less final than appears. – Jerusalem Post

Lazar Berman writes: The fact that Israel’s Arab partners are not democratic themselves also renders it harder for them to grasp the demands of coalition politics that drive many of Netanyahu’s decisions. Ultimately, said Shavit, “it depends on the kind of operation, how long it goes on, and how much it affects Palestinian civilians.” – Times of Israel


In a report shared with Reuters, the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) published seven documents its investigators said showed that the highest levels of Syria’s government “planned, organised, instigated and deployed” the shabbiha from the start of the war in 2011. – Reuters

The global chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday it found no evidence to support a claim by Syria that its forces were attacked using toxic gas in 2017. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that its fact-finding mission concluded that “there are no reasonable grounds to determine that chemicals were used as a weapon” in two incidents in July and August 2017 in Massasneh, a village in the central province of Hama. – Associated Press

France has returned 35 people — 10 women and 25 minors — from a sprawling camp in northeast Syria housing thousands of people linked to Islamic State extremists. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It remains to be seen if the fighting around Tafas will increase. Because of the sensitive nature of this region, near the Jordanian border and not far from the Golan, any kind of instability can result in tensions with Jordan and also tensions with Israel. In the past groups like Hezbollah have sought to exploit this area to threaten Israel. – Jerusalem Post


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled Monday that his country is not ready to ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO, saying Stockholm had to work harder on the “homework” it needs to complete. – Associated Press

Greece is ready to start talks with Turkey to resolve a long-standing dispute over maritime borders that has repeatedly brought the two neighbors to the brink of armed conflict, Greece’s newly appointed foreign minister said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The U.N. secretary general is hoping that the Security Council will vote later this month to keep a key border crossing from Turkey to Syria’s rebel-held northwest open for critical aid deliveries for a period of one year instead of six months, a U.N. official said Tuesday. – Associated Press

On the eve of a planned summit meeting between the Israeli and Turkish leaders, reportedly scheduled for later this month, Ankara is claiming to have exposed a network of Israeli spies in the country. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: On the same plane, Israel-Saudi ties have often been mentioned in media lately, while the US tapped former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to come to the State Department to advance regional integration. It is in this context that Turkey’s move sits. – Jerusalem Post

Gulf States

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait exclusively own natural wealth, including Durra gas field, in the Gulf’s maritime “Divided Area”, Saudi state news agency SPA said on Tuesday citing the foreign ministry. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia has summoned Sweden’s ambassador to denounce a Quran burning outside a Stockholm mosque that sparked a diplomatic backlash across the Muslim world, state media reported early Monday. – Agence France-Presse

Isaiah Wilson III writes: But my experiences have also shown that when the U.S. military must fight, it needs to campaign with more than just its forthcoming battles in mind. It needs to have the Phase IV plan it never had in Iraq. It needs to learn how to translate small wins into big ones. – Foreign Affairs

Middle East & North Africa

Egypt and Turkey took a further step toward restoring full diplomatic ties on Tuesday by dispatching ambassadors for the first time in years, the latest step in the reconciliation between the two regional powers. – Associated Press

Jordan’s foreign minister Monday called for international investment into conflict-ravaged Syria’s crippled infrastructure to speed up refugee returns. – Associated Press

Jordan’s Attarat power plant was envisioned as a landmark project promising to provide the desert kingdom with a major source of energy while solidifying its relations with China. – Associated Press

The U.N. peacekeeping force on the Lebanon-Israel border said Monday its commander is in contact with officials in both countries over tensions regarding two tents set up by the militant Hezbollah group last month. – Associated Press

Jordan has rejected any notion that it was given advance notice of Israel’s large-scale raid against Palestinian factions in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin and has called on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to immediately cease operations amid worsening violence. – Newsweek

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This is important because while Israel is operating in Jenin against Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran is also fueling militias in Syria. This means Iran fuels militias in Iraq, Syria as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and also PIJ in Jenin and Gaza. Therefore Jordan’s meeting, while it is not directly linked to Jenin, is in the context of Iran’s backing for destabilization in the region. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

South Korea will issue its own response as soon as possible after the U.N. nuclear watchdog approved Japan’s plan to release treated radioactive water from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima plant into the ocean, a government official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

South Korea salvaged a failed North Korean spy satellite from the sea, giving it a rare direct look at Pyongyang’s capabilities even as it concluded that the technology had little military value. – Bloomberg

South Korea will allow new domestic players to enter its banking industry for the first time in 30 years, a move meant to boost competition in a sector dominated by five major lenders. – Bloomberg


U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s first trip to China will focus on recalibrating ties between the world’s two largest economies, as military communications remain frozen and Beijing’s new restrictions on exports of some metals spark fresh tensions. – Reuters

China has cancelled a trip by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell scheduled for next week, an EU spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters

China’s move to restrict the exports of two metals crucial for making some types of semiconductors and electric vehicles is a warning that China will not be passively squeezed out of the global chips supply chain, the Global Times said. – Reuters

The European Commission expressed concern on Tuesday over China’s planned curbs on exports of strategic metals widely used in the semiconductor industry and doubt that the move was related to security. – Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry accused the United States of turning Taiwan into a powder keg Wednesday with its latest sales of military equipment to the self-governing island democracy worth a total of $440.2 million. – Associated Press

The Department of State recommended that Americans reconsider traveling to China because of arbitrary law enforcement and exit bans and the risk of wrongful detentions. – New York Sun

Hong Kong national security police have issued arrest warrants for eight self-exiled activists, including former lawmakers Ted Hui and Dennis Kwok. The Force also offered HK$1 million for each of the wanted people. – Hong Kong Free Press

China is increasingly harassing ships and aircraft operating in international waters and airspace as it ups its bully tactics against neighbors, the State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific said last week. – USNI News

Hugh Hewitt writes: Key point: Asking about the Uyghurs is not remotely a “gotcha” question; it would have been just as acceptable to ask a Cold War politician about the Soviet gulag prison system. Now we are in a new Cold War, one that has become as obvious as it is ominous. Any Republican who aspires to become the next president must be ready on Day 1 to deal with the biggest threat to the United States: the Chinese Communist Party. – Washington Post

Taiwan VP Lai Ching-te writes: Despite increased military and economic challenges, my top priorities remain pragmatism and consistency. I will support the cross-strait status quo—which is in the best interests of both the Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known, and the international community. I will never rule out the possibility of dialogue without preconditions, based on the principles of reciprocity and dignity. – Wall Street Journal

Minxin Pei writes: China might demand something in return, such as relief on technology sanctions. But this would be a mistake. Chinese leaders must understand that they are likely to benefit even more than the US would from an easing of tensions. They’re the ones who ought to demonstrate their pragmatism right now.  – Bloomberg

Joseph Bosco writes: The US and the West should stop suggesting that they are indifferent to the nature of Beijing’s communist system and declare it the problem that it is. Rather than the world changing to suit the CCP’s narrow, malign interests, democratic leaders should make a sustained effort to encourage peaceful change in China consistent with the multiple international commitments Beijing has made. – Taipei Times

Elbridge Colby writes: The Israel-US alliance remains crucial. America should remain strongly committed to the security of the Jewish state. But, like any good thing, it must be adapted to new realities. Wishing away America’s need to prioritize Asia is both futile and more likely to undermine our vital alliance than reckoning with it together. Fortunately, there is a way forward. Our two nations should take it. – Times of Israel

Christopher Cytera writes: US chip sanctions are hurting China. They cover not only direct sales from American and European companies. They extend to foreign-made products that use US software and technology.  China is reeling – and striking back. But beware. Democracies – Japan, Europe, and the US – need to ensure that additional moves designed to hurt Beijing do not “boomerang” and end up hurting their own industries. – Center for European Policy Analysis

South Asia

The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has ordered beauty salons to close within a month, the morality ministry said, in the latest shrinking of access to public places for Afghan women. – Reuters

The United States has condemned vandalism against the Indian consulate in the city of San Francisco, a State Department spokesman said, after a report of a protest at the mission by supporters of a separate state for the Sikh community. – Reuters

Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Tuesday sought to forge closer ties and boost cooperation within the expanding Eurasian bloc but stressed the group is not directed against any other states. A joint declaration by the leaders at the end of an online summit hosted by India also said SCO members oppose bloc, ideological and confrontational approaches to address problems and security challenges. – Reuters


People in Taiwan have been following every twist of the war in Ukraine. But, while their sympathy for the Ukrainian cause is near-universal, the conclusions for the island’s own future widely diverge. – Wall Street Journal

When Chinese-flagged vessels severed two undersea cables this year, cutting off part of Taiwan from the internet, it was a stark reminder of a major vulnerability for the democratically ruled island’s communications networks in the event of conflict with China. Now, Taiwan is looking to Ukraine’s playbook as it seeks to fortify its communications systems. – Wall Street Journal

Business travel for Indonesians to Australia will be made easier in a bid to boost the economic partnership between the two countries following a deal struck on Tuesday between their leaders. – Associated Press

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday it was “unacceptable” that Hong Kong has put bounties on two Australian residents who are among eight overseas democracy activists wanted under a national security law. – Reuters

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met his Papua New Guinea counterpart James Marape in Port Moresby on Wednesday, the latest leader to visit the island nation as major powers compete for influence in the strategically-located region. – Reuters

An elder Japanese statesman has begun a series of meetings with senior officials in Beijing in a sign of improving ties between the two neighbors. – Bloomberg

The accelerating shift to countries such as Vietnam is part of a growing “China plus one” strategy to redraw global supply chains. As rivalries grow between China and the US over technology and security, more companies fear curbs on what and where they can manufacture. As a result, many are supplementing production in China, still the world’s biggest manufacturing hub, with expansion to other countries. – Financial Times

Editorial: Anna Kwok is executive director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council in Washington and one of those targeted by Mr. Lee’s government. She tweeted that she is urging President Biden “to give a strong and firm NO” to letting Mr. Lee attend APEC. Good idea. Free societies need to show China and Hong Kong that we take our own laws as seriously as Hong Kong and China so readily abuse theirs. – Wall Street Journal

Matthew Brooker writes: Overall, though, this looks like a strategic own goal for Hong Kong. After the traumas of the past four years, authorities have invested much time and energy in trying to convince the world that it is back to normal and ready to resume its role as an international financial center and tourism magnet. That’s a tough sell when your government policy is made in the editorial department of a state newspaper that appears stuck in a Cultural Revolution time warp. Right now, it looks like an unbridgeable gap. – Bloomberg

Akhil Ramesh writes: This type of awakening to multipolar realities of the world order should inform Washington of the pitfalls and shortsightedness of its foreign policies. America’s sanctions and other tools of economic statecraft should not be used for democratic interventions but to deter its enemies. If not, the United States will have few allies in its strategic competition with China. – The National Interest

Vincenzo Caporale writes: Nevertheless, the primary obstacle hindering any progress in advancing relations lies in Vietnam’s apprehension of provoking China without a clear and tangible benefit. Unless the United States actively pressures the situation, it would require China’s aggressive behavior in the region to escalate to a level where Vietnam deems it imperative to enhance its relations to deter Chinese actions. Nonetheless, we are currently distant from such a scenario, and it would be imprudent to anticipate any immediate official upgrade in relations. – The National Interest


German industry on Tuesday warned that Europe must become more self-reliant in the hunt for raw materials needed for cleaner, more digital economies, after China caused alarm by announcing restrictions on some metals used for semiconductors. – Reuters

Italy has frozen Russian oligarchs’ assets valued at around 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) following the invasion of Ukraine last year, the country’s central bank said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Switzerland plans to take part in a Europe-wide air defense project initiated in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, officials said Tuesday. […] So far 17 other nations, including Germany, Britain and Sweden, have signed up. France has criticized the project because key elements — the Israeli Arrow 3 system and the U.S. Patriot system — originate outside Europe. – Associated Press

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday it was imperative for the European Union to address the issue of its enlargement as soon as possible to include countries such as Ukraine and Moldova to guarantee they do not fall under the influence of Russia or China. – Associated Press

The European Union must respond to new rules introduced by China requiring a license to export two metals widely used in semiconductor manufacturing, the Dutch government said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The leaders of the Netherlands and Luxembourg on Tuesday said that normalizing ties between Kosovo and Serbia would serve not only regional peace and stability but also their prospects of future integration into the European Union. – Associated Press

Romania’s prime minister called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide “as soon as possible” on potentially sending permanent troops to the Black Sea state to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. – Bloomberg

Hungary will back Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance once Turkey, the other holdout, gives a sign that it’s also ready to do so, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said. – Bloomberg

The European Union (EU) recently announced new funding worth €842 million ($920 million) to support 41 defense projects covering next generation fighter jets, tanks, ships and naval, ground, air combat, space-based early warning and cyber systems, including a key electronic warfare program. – Breaking Defense

Yuan Yang writes: Beijing sees France as a prime target for this effort: President Emmanuel Macron caused consternation in European capitals when he remarked, in relation to Taiwan, that Europe must not be caught up in crises that are “not our own”. But what Macron may not realise is that China does not see Ukraine as “of Europe’s own”, and expects solidarity on the defence effort to splinter over time. Whether it does is down to Europeans to decide. – Financial Times


Civilians in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions are being victimized by the army, separatists and militias who are carrying out killings, torture and sexual violence, according to an Amnesty International report released Tuesday. – Associated Press

Senegal, like Nigeria and Angola, is removing costly fossil fuel subsidies – a move once considered politically unthinkable but which has become a necessity due to crushing debt, a spike in borrowing costs and high fuel prices. Global spending on fossil fuel consumption subsidies doubled to a record $1 trillion last year as the war in Ukraine sent oil prices skyrocketing, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). – Reuters

Following a meeting that was held in Jerusalem on Tuesday between Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and his Liberian counterpart, as well as with the President of Liberia, it was announced that Liberia intends to open an embassy in Israel. – Arutz Sheva

United States

The Biden administration is preparing to restrict Chinese companies’ access to U.S. cloud-computing services, according to people familiar with the situation, in a move that could further strain relations between the world’s economic superpowers.  – Wall Street Journal

President Joe Biden released a statement Tuesday morning celebrating a new term for the leader of NATO. Jens Stoltenberg has been secretary-general of NATO since October 2014, leading the military alliance as it responds to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While other names had been floated for the position, Biden said he welcomed the extension. – Washington Examiner

Gideon Rachman writes: America’s allies could not assume that what happened in Washington would stay in Washington. Creeping authoritarianism and the erosion of judicial independence in Hungary, Poland and Turkey are real concerns for those countries’ Nato allies and EU partners. But it would be a much bigger deal if an American president pursued Orbán-style policies. The US remains the bedrock of the western alliance. If that rock began to crumble, America’s allies would be in deep trouble. – Financial Times

Max Mahiler writes: The Biden administration must understand that “woke” leftist ideologies are going to destroy our military from within and erode America’s national security. Our armed forces have a mission to protect our physical and economic security interests against enemies. Post-materialism has no place in our military. – Washington Examiner


A hacking crew with a history of blending politics and criminal activities claimed on Saturday to have “targeted various satellite receivers and industrial control systems around the country, particularly in states banning gender affirming care.” – CyberScoop

When the FBI took down a notorious cybercrime gang known as Hive earlier this year, it did so without arresting a single person. It was a coup that reflects a notable change in the way the agency fights cybercrime — focusing on outwitting hackers and disrupting them from afar rather than detaining them. Most cybercriminals operate in countries that are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. – Politico

Nordic defense firms are buying each other up as they vie for a greater share of potential contracts that could come with increased cybersecurity funding among the region’s armed forces. – Defense News


Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, finally gave in. Having previously announced that he would leave the job this September, he reversed himself on Tuesday and said that he had agreed to extend his mandate another year, until October 2024. […] The Biden administration has been unenthusiastic about other candidates for the job while the war in Ukraine still rages, and France and other members of the European Union had made it clear that they would not accept a non-E.U. figure in the role, such as the British defense secretary, Ben Wallace. – New York Times

The U.S. Navy performed without parallel in World War II, and more than met the challenges of the first Cold War. But both conflicts are firmly in the past. Today, we now face a formidable maritime and industrial power rival in China. The technological and geopolitical challenges we now face demand that the United States act much more urgently and faster. Nowhere is this more clear than in our Navy. – The National Interest

James Stavridis writes: Finally, the growing sense of political division across the nation is diminishing the young person’s faith in America. […] Fewer than half of Americans now say they “trust” the armed forces, down from 70% just five years ago. The Pentagon needs to reverse these trends or there will be grave risk to national security in an era of great-power competition. Fortunately, planning and executing complex campaigns is something the Department of Defense is very good at. – Bloomberg