Fdd's overnight brief

July 6, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Russian artillery pounded Sloviansk, one of Ukraine’s last lines of defense to protect the remaining Kyiv-held strongholds in eastern Ukraine, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday advanced plans to add Sweden and Finland to the alliance. – Wall Street Journal

The Russian army is transforming Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a military base overlooking an active front, intensifying a monthslong safety crisis for the vast facility and its thousands of staff. – Wall Street Journal

The Russian Army is now on the outskirts of the town, Bakhmut, and ramping up its shelling. The attack is part of an inch-by-inch offensive into the province of Donetsk now that Luhansk, another province that Moscow has sought to capture in eastern Ukraine, fell over the weekend into Russia’s grasp. – New York Times

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called on all parties in the world to make efforts to protect international laws as “the world is evolving in a complicated manner.” – Reuters

Food and energy security will figure prominently in a meeting of G20 foreign minister in Bali this week and the group’s members should insist Russia support U.N. efforts to reopen sea lanes blocked by Moscow’s war in Ukraine, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Arbitrary detention of civilians has become widespread in parts of Ukraine held by Russia’s military and affiliated armed groups, with 270 cases documented, the U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday, announcing plans to boost monitoring in the country. – Reuters

Russian parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Tuesday that Ukraine was doing “everything” to ensure that Moscow’s troops would not stop their “special military operation” at the borders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine, the RIA Novosti agency reported. – Reuters

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that conscripts were not being sent to Ukraine to fight in Russia’s “special military operation”, the Russian state news agency TASS reported. – Reuters

Russian-installed authorities in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, partly under Russian control, said on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to sell grain abroad, mainly to the Middle East, Russian state news agency TASS said. – Reuters

Forces of the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics are moving towards the Donetsk region after Russian forces took full control of Luhansk region last week, the Russian state news agency TASS cited Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Russian government will be able to compel businesses to supply the military with goods and make their employees work overtime under two laws to support Moscow’s war in Ukraine that were approved in an initial vote in parliament on Tuesday. – Reuters

Russian forces struck a market and a residential area in the city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing at least two people and injuring seven, according to officials. – Reuters

Switzerland has given a cool response to calls from Ukraine’s prime minister to use frozen assets of ultra-wealthy Russians to help fund his country’s $750 billion reconstruction project. – Reuters

Lysychansk was once a city of a 100,000 people in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, but it now lies in ruins after its fall to Russian forces with many residents still living in bomb shelters and basements. – Reuters

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday he does not expect any meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov at this week’s meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bali. – Reuters

Russian troops are engaged in heavy fighting supported by widespread artillery fire as they launch a major offensive for Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials said, a day after Moscow declared victory in the neighbouring province of Luhansk. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with leaders in Mongolia on Tuesday during a trip to Asia to seek support amid his country’s diplomatic isolation by the West and punishing sanctions leveled over its invasion of Ukraine. Lavrov met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh and paid a courtesy call on President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, Mongolian state media reported. – Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to reveal private telephone exchanges in a documentary about his failed efforts to convince Vladimir Putin not to start a war in Ukraine has drawn strongly-worded rebuke from Russia. – Bloomberg

The Russian military launched an increased number of missile strikes in Ukraine toward the end of June, with some of them striking heavily populated civilian structures. – Washington Examiner

A Russian colonel was accused of selling information on the whereabouts of his own men to foreign intelligence agencies by concerned Russians, according to Ukrainian authorities. – The Daily Beast

The United States has contributed the most by far to help Ukraine defend itself since the beginning of the year, according to a Kiel Institute for the World Economy analysis. But as reality settles in for policymakers and lawmakers that this war is not going away anytime soon, a sense of unease at just how much the United States is bankrolling the aid is emerging. – The Daily Beast

A Ukrainian lawmaker’s aide was accused by the nation’s security service of being a Russian spy and passing on intelligence for monthly payments of up to $4,000. The unnamed man was recruited during a recent trip to Moscow and reported to the Federal Security Service of Russia, according to a press release published by the Security Services of Ukraine (SBU) on Tuesday. – Business Insider

Editorial: The work of defending Ukraine’s freedom, let alone countering Russian influence in Europe, is far from over. But NATO has so far shown impressive unity and determination in meeting the challenge. For that, Biden and his fellow leaders deserve credit and support. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The Biden administration has handled this crisis as incompetently as it’s handled our domestic difficulties. That does not, however, forestall taking smart, decisive action now. Putin’s Ukraine war is a war against the West as much as it is against Ukraine. There’s still time to stop him. But the clock’s ticking. – New York Post

William A. Galston writes: In addition, we should send the Ukrainian army advanced drones to bolster its intelligence gathering and its ability to attack Russian command centers. America should intensify its efforts to refill Ukraine’s stocks of ammunition and artillery shells that have been depleted by months of intense fighting. Working with our allies, the U.S. should give Mr. Zelensky’s government the estimated $5 billion a month that his government will need to maintain basic services during the economic collapse the invasion has created. – Wall Street Journal

Brahma Chellaney writes: The risk now is that, instead of the wished-for economic collapse and regime change in Russia, the Western sanctions campaign could transform global geopolitics by provoking a Russian nationalist backlash and cementing the Sino-Russian axis. – The Hill

Alexander J. Motyl writes: First, the simplistic view of the world propagated by some is dangerously wrong and should be set aside. Second, the Russians are not children but coolly calculating adults with a deep commitment to territorial expansion, political dictatorship and societal control. And third, if Russia succeeds in occupying Ukraine, it will continue to expand, because its imperialist program, fascist political system and imperialist political culture necessitate and facilitate expansion. As the director of the Hermitage Museum succinctly put it, “We are all militarists and empire builders.” Or, if Ukraine falls, Europe is next. – The Hill

Rebekah Koffler writes: As long as Russia keeps this conflict alive, even if it turns into a grinding protracted battle of attrition, Russia’s strategic goal of keeping Ukraine out of NATO is met by virtue of Ukraine not meeting one of the key requirements for the membership – absence of territorial disputes and ongoing conflict. This trajectory of this war, with its changing battlefield landscape, has proven difficult to predict. But one thing is certain. Putin will not make it stop. – Fox News

Conor M. Savoy and Janina Staguhn write: The U.S. government must utilize existing mechanisms to demonstrate transparency and provide accountability to Congress on this important money. Political dynamics in Congress demand that the administration do so. Otherwise, the flow of aid may stop, or additional oversight mechanisms will be created that disincentivize the necessary risk-taking critical for Ukraine’s success both during the war and throughout subsequent reconstruction efforts. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Natalia Antonova writes: There’s just one problem with this theory. At an event in June, leaning back casually in his chair, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that in Ukraine, he is fighting a war of imperialist conquest – not defending himself against NATO, as his apologists have repeatedly claimed – Foreign Policy

Nathalie Loiseau writes: As a result, trans-Atlantic cooperation has been unexpectedly strong in imposing sanctions, resulting in the halving of Russian imports and Russia defaulting on its debt for the first time in over a century. That’s a stark contrast to the awkward and very public disunity on display between the United States and Europe during the 2014 Russian attack on Crimea. – Foreign Policy


The head of the United Nations nuclear agency gave a sharp warning Tuesday about growing nuclear risks, saying that Iran’s activities risked a regional nuclear arms race and that Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian nuclear sites threatened to imperil the agency’s ability to ensure nuclear material wasn’t being misused. – Wall Street Journal

Sanctions imposed on Tehran by Washington have stopped most U.S. and European brands from selling their goods in Iran. That has fueled a growing gray market in which Iranian consumers order goods online and have them shipped by intermediaries in the United Arab Emirates. – Wall Street Journal

The oil and gas industry is “under siege” due to years of under-investment, the OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Tuesday, adding the resulting supply shortage could be eased if extra supplies from Iran and Venezuela were allowed to flow. – Reuters

Iran added demands unrelated to discussions on its nuclear program during the latest talks and has made alarming progress on enriching uranium, the U.S. envoy for talks on reinstating a nuclear deal said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday that Iran has been entrenching itself militarily in the Red Sea, calling it a threat to regional stability and trade. – Reuters

Belgian lawmakers on Tuesday debated a prisoner exchange treaty with Tehran that an exiled Iranian group opposes and says will release the mastermind behind a plan to bomb one of its rallies. – Reuters

The political space to revive the Iran nuclear deal may narrow soon, EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday, after he spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. – Reuters

As Tehran’s negotiators master the art of manipulating Washington’s diplomacy, the current mood swing of President Biden’s Iran team is markedly dour. – New York Sun

Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, who is in the running for IDF Chief of Staff, has called for the assassination of leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a new policy paper for The Washington Institute. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: His strategy has backfired. Iran has replenished its foreign reserves. Its hijacking of ships and hostage-taking have resumed. Its proxies struck ever deeper at critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and its nuclear program is at risk of a breakout. Iranian diplomats avoid meeting their American counterparts directly. At the most recent talks in Qatar, Iranian diplomats showed zero interest in reaching an agreement. – Washington Examiner


China’s ambassador touted trade and investment plans for Afghanistan on Tuesday, a public endorsement for doing business in the Taliban-controlled country after an earthquake drew attention to the humanitarian consequences of Western sanctions. – Reuters

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry has said that five missiles fired on July 5 from Afghanistan at a city in southeastern Uzbekistan caused no injuries but slightly damaged four homes. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Fighting has been ongoing in the remote Balkhab district of Afghanistan’s northern Sar-e-Pol province over the past several weeks, part of a showdown between a cash-strapped central government run by the Taliban and locals who are trying to keep their own cut of the district’s riches. At the heart of the dispute is a battle over coal mines, and who gets to profit from them, trapping local residents in the middle. – Foreign Policy


Greece is open to engagement with Turkey, but Ankara should start ‘playing by the rules’, Greece’s defence minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Turkey’s exporters are experiencing serious problems in accessing financing due to new regulations by the central bank and the BDDK banking watchdog, the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel said on Tuesday it will reopen its economic and trade office in Turkey, as the countries work to restore diplomatic ties that have been strained for more than a decade. Both governments expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though they are now looking to restore representation to ambassador level. – Reuters

Italian Premier Mario Draghi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they are both working to achieve peace in Ukraine, putting behind them a diplomatic incident that had strained relations between their countries. – Bloomberg

Energy Minister Karine Elharrar paid a visit on Tuesday to the Karish gas field, days after the IDF intercepted several Hezbollah drones heading for the disputed offshore site. – Times of Israel

James Sweet writes: NATO may be protecting Finland and Sweden from Russia, but the alliance treated our partners in the Middle East as pawns without their own legitimate security concerns. Critiques of Turkey are commonly brushed aside in the name of preventing close relations with Russia and China. If appeasement worked, Turkey would not be moving forward with plans to buy more Russian air defense systems. The foreign policy establishment needs to have a reckoning with Turkey. Kurdish civilians and Turkish dissidents will continue to face oppression from Erdogan’s authoritarian government until the West decides to take its “shared values” seriously. – Washington Examiner


Threats from Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah could stall Israel’s plan to deliver natural gas to Europe, Israeli officials said, as Israel’s caretaker prime minister pursued help from France to defuse a crisis over its maritime border with Lebanon. – Wall Street Journal

France urged Israel’s new prime minister, Yair Lapid, on Tuesday to restart peace talks with the Palestinians, but Lapid played down such prospects, citing rightist elements in his caretaker government ahead of a November election. – Reuters

Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to sell its ice cream in the occupied West Bank. – Reuters

Russia has ordered the agency in charge of organizing the emigration of Jews to Israel to halt activities immediately, the Israeli government said on Tuesday, though the group said it’s continuing to operate. – Bloomberg

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) thwarted 172 substantial terrorist attacks in the last year, while failing to stop seven, agency chief Ronen Bar said on Tuesday at an intelligence community awards ceremony. According to Bar, the attacks the domestic spy agency prevented ranged from shootings to bombings and suicide attacks, each of which could have led to several civilian deaths. – Jerusalem Post

IDF soldiers located and confiscated approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine worth three million shekels along the Egyptian border. The soldiers operating in the area thwarted the smuggling attempt and transferred the drugs to security forces for further processing. – Arutz Sheva

Eugene Kontorovich writes: Efforts to push companies to boycott Israel won’t fade away soon. The primary goal isn’t economic harm, but making it culturally and politically acceptable to shun the Jewish state. What is most important about both the vindication of the state anti-BDS laws and the repudiation of the ice-cream embargo is their underlying message: The moralistic rhetoric of Israel boycotts can’t disguise their bigotry. – Wall Street Journal

Gil Troy writes: At the same time, start leveraging the Abraham and Sarah accords – using Emirati, Bahraini and Saudi investors for certain initiatives Palestinians might otherwise reject from Jewish investors. For example, rather than viewing current Israeli plans to develop Givat Hamatos in south Jerusalem and E1 to Jerusalem’s east as obstacles to peace, turn them into opportunities to boost quality of life. Speak to Palestinians and Israelis on the ground in Jerusalem, not the Israeli, American and Palestinian Perennial Peace Processors addicted to yesterday’s Oslo-addled thinking, who can’t think new thoughts, because they’ve built their careers around their stale ideas facilitating stalemate. – Jerusalem Post

Efraim Inbar writes: Implementing this agenda is a national security imperative for the alignment and the US should actively promote it. Moreover, it could provide a modicum of stability in a bad neighborhood. Athens and Jerusalem, the founding blocks of Western civilization, should show the way for the rest of the world. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Joe Biden turns his attention this month to a sensitive trip to the Middle East that will test his ability to reset relations with Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince after Biden denounced him as a pariah. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia increased next month’s oil prices for its biggest market of Asia amid signs that underlying demand remains robust despite growing recessionary concerns. – Bloomberg

After years of a regional blockade and the pandemic, this hajj will be “completely different” for Masoud al-Ali as he and other Qataris are finally able to rejoin the hallowed Muslim pilgrimage. […] Qataris have been unable to take part in the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city of Mecca since 2017, when Saudi Arabia led a diplomatic, trade and transport shut-out of their small, wealthy Gulf archipelago. – Agence France-Presse

Avi Gill writes: Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia raises the gloomy truth about the place of moral considerations in foreign policy, an issue that was recently discussed at a conference held by the Jewish People Policy Institute. The various speakers debated the proper conduct the tragic history of our people obliges us to. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The U.S. Navy will for the first time reward individuals for providing information that leads to the seizure of illicit cargos such as illegal weapons or narcotics in waters across the Middle East, it said on Tuesday. – Reuters

An explosion at an arms depot in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan on Tuesday killed six people and wounded 32, medical officials said. The cause of the early morning blast that ripped through a warehouse located at a popular market in the town of Lawdar, was not immediately known. The town is controlled by forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government. – Associated Press

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was photographed shaking hands with rival Ismail Haniyeh at Algeria’s Independence Day celebrations on Tuesday in what is their first documented meeting since 2016. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the military on Wednesday to “promptly and sternly” retaliate in case of any North Korean provocation amid concerns the North could conduct its first nuclear test in five years. – Reuters

Vietnam and South Korea aim to raise the value of bilateral trade between the countries to $100 billion next year and to $150 billion by 2030, up from $78 billion last year, the Vietnamese government said. – Reuters

U.S. Air Force F-35A stealth fighters arrived in South Korea on Tuesday on their first publicly announced visit since 2017 as the allies and nuclear-armed North Korean engage in an escalating cycle of displays of weapons. – Reuters

South Korean steelmaker Posco will by 2030 invest $136 million in a plant in the Mexican town of Ramos Arizpe in the northern border state of Coahuila, Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters


Now, the U.S. government is using the lessons it learned from those actions to expand restrictions on exports to China and other countries in cases where companies or groups might threaten U.S. national security or violate human rights, current and former American officials say. President Biden and his aides call China the greatest long-term rival of the United States, surpassing Russia. – New York Times

Chinese authorities refused to let Canadian diplomats attend the trial of a Chinese-born Canadian tycoon who disappeared from Hong Kong five years ago, Canada’s government said Tuesday. – Associated Press

China is willing to deepen cooperation with Russia within multilateral frameworks including the G20, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told the Russian Ambassador to China, Andrey Denisov. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden’s team is still looking at options on whether to cut tariffs on Chinese imports to ease inflation, the White House said on Tuesday as industry requests to maintain the duties mounted. – Reuters

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a “constructive” virtual dialogue with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday, with both sides agreeing to better coordinate macro policies, according to China’s commerce ministry. – Reuters

A move by President Joe Biden to remove tariffs on Chinese consumer goods will do little to dent inflation, economists say, and risks further hamstringing Democratic candidates in political battlegrounds. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Free-trade agreements and better digital-trade rules are in the U.S. economic and strategic interest. Joining CPTPP and striking a U.K. deal would grow the world economy and strengthen alliances. A U.S.-led pact on data exchange would increase digital trade and security before China sets the terms of that trade. Mr. Biden’s trade abdication is all the more puzzling given inflation and the risks of recession as interest rates rise. It’s another example of this White House putting politics above policies that spur economic growth. – Wall Street Journal

South Asia

Twitter took the Indian government to court Tuesday over content-removal orders, the first time the company has mounted a legal challenge against authorities here amid a widening internet crackdown. – Washington Post

Pakistan on Tuesday said it had arrested a militant who provided technical support for a deadly suicide bomb attack on Chinese teachers at Karachi University in April. – Reuters

Two decades of fighting left Kashmir and its people scarred with tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces dead before the armed struggle withered, paving the way for unarmed mass demonstrations that shook the region in 2008 and 2010. Around that time Kashmir also saw the rise of protest music in English-language hip-hop and rap, a new anthem of resistance. – Associated Press

Sri Lanka is desperate for help with weathering its worst crisis in recent memory. Its schools are closed for lack of fuel to get kids and teachers to classrooms. Its effort to arrange a bailout from the International Monetary Fund has been hindered by the severity of its financial crisis, its prime minister says. – Associated Press


A land mine set by suspected communist guerrillas wounded seven soldiers in the central Philippines on Tuesday, in one of the insurgents’ first known attacks since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office last week. – Associated Press

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he’s open to military exchanges with China, as he sought ways to expand ties between the two nations beyond the South China Sea territorial dispute. – Bloomberg

A controversial Singapore law that aims to prevent foreign entities or individuals from influencing politics in the country will come into effect from Thursday. – Bloomberg

The United Nations’ food agency said it had received $17 million from Japan to address grain storage problems in Ukraine and increase its exports as global food prices remain near record levels amid war in the country. – Reuters

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

The United States on Tuesday urged authorities to pursue a credible investigation into deadly violence in Uzbekistan’s autonomous province of Karakalpakstan last week. – Reuters

Hisao Terasawa’s fellow voters might be fretting over rising fuel prices, stagnant wages and even shrinking chocolate bars, but the 73-year-old is focused solely on Japan’s security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggression towards Taiwan. […] In Sunday’s upper house election, he plans to back Kazuhiro Kobayashi, a candidate from the ruling Liberal Democratic party, solely because of its commitment to boost defence spending and consideration of first-strike capabilities against enemy bases. – Financial Times

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, Bryan Clark, Matthew Costlow, Timothy A. Walton, Patty-Jane Geller, Peppi DeBiaso and Oriana Skyler Mastro write: Guam’s defense is there- fore imperative. Fighting from and for Guam is challenging but eminently achievable, and its defenses must be strengthened now to dissuade the PRC from initiating aggressions against it in pursuit of one of its national priorities, the conquest of a democratic Taiwan. However, time is not on our side, and we must therefore move quickly. – Hudson Institute



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a potentially fatal political blow Tuesday as his treasury chief and health secretary resigned from his cabinet, saying they no longer had confidence in his leadership. – Wall Street Journal

Germany paved the way Tuesday for injecting billions of taxpayer money into embattled energy suppliers, as the country braces for a stop to Russian natural-gas imports—a scenario many economists think would trigger a severe recession. – Wall Street Journal

A long-submerged problem is complicating Germany’s attempts to wean itself off the vast pipelines pumping gas from Russia: Over a million tons of weapons and explosives rusting at the bottom of the sea. – Wall Street Journal

NATO members took a major step Tuesday to welcome Sweden and Finland into the transatlantic military alliance, as delegations gathered in Brussels to sign “accession protocols” for the two states to join. The protocols must next be ratified by the 30 member states in their national parliaments, a process that could take months. – Washington Post

Britain’s parliamentary trade committee on Wednesday warned the government against overselling its post-Brexit trade deals, citing shortcomings in its agreement with Australia and calling for more time for lawmakers to scrutinise it. – Reuters

Belarus said on Tuesday it was freezing foreign shareholdings in 190 Belarusian companies, including EPAM Systems’ Belarusian entity and Lukoil Belarus, in response to Western sanctions for its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and human rights violations. – Reuters

Greece’s prime minister said Tuesday that Russia’s war in Ukraine is a “turning point” in the course of Europe, stressing that any type of outcome that could embolden aggression by other nations on the continent must be avoided. – Associated Press

Scott Miller, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, added a dose of urgency to the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, at which the Ukrainian prime minister a day earlier presented a $750 billion plan to help his country both recover now — where possible — as well as in the immediate aftermath of the war and over the long term. – Associated Press

Tom McTague writes: Boris Johnson will not change. As he said recently—his one honest utterance in weeks—following demands from colleagues that he change his behavior to stay in office, ​​“If you’re saying you want me to undergo some sort of psychological transformation, I think that our listeners would know that is not going to happen.” This is the great paradox about Johnson: He is both the most self-aware political leader I’ve come across, a leader who seems to genuinely reflect on his character flaws, and the one who seems most determined to do absolutely nothing about them. And so Britain bounces from scandal to scandal, instinct to instinct, without direction or purpose, unmoored and ungoverned. – The Atlantic


Gambia and the World Bank signed a $68 million grant on Tuesday to revive the ocean-facing West African country’s tourism sector, representatives of both parties announced at a ceremony. – Reuters

A temporary administrator appointed by a Congolese court to run the world’s second-largest cobalt mine ordered majority Chinese owner CMOC (603993.SS) to suspend marketing and export of its production, letters seen by Reuters showed. – Reuters

At least two United Nations peacekeepers were killed and five severely wounded in northern Mali when a logistics convoy hit an improvised explosive device on Tuesday, the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA said. – Reuters

An Ethiopian rebel group on Tuesday denied accusations it was responsible for a massacre of civilians in the restive far west of the country, and pointed the finger of blame instead at government-allied militias. – Agence France-Presse

The president of Congo has warned that war could break out with Rwanda unless its neighbour stops backing rebel groups fighting in the east of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation. […] Tshisekedi’s comments follow a strong offensive in eastern Congo by the M23 armed group, which he said was backed by Rwanda. In recent weeks, the militants have stepped up attacks in a conflict that has displaced 170,000 people since the M23 resurfaced late last year, almost a decade after a peace deal was agreed. The US has voiced alarm about the cross-border attacks. – Financial Times

The Americas

Two U.S. investment funds on Tuesday said they formed a joint venture with a Venezuelan firm to pursue oil and gas exploration and production projects in the U.S.-sanctioned South American country. – Reuters

Venezuelan authorities “frequently” bill Colombian oil companies over contamination caused by crude leaking from a pipeline that runs adjacent to the border shared by the two countries, a German non-profit organization said in a report this week. – Reuters

The first Venezuelan crude cargoes sent to Europe in two years helped lift the OPEC nation’s oil exports by 61% last month after a series of setbacks earlier in the year, tanker tracking data and documents from state-run PDVSA showed. – Reuters

Canada became the first country to formally ratify Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO in an accelerated process completed shortly after member nations signed off on the nuclear-armed alliance’s expansion on Tuesday. – Reuters

Four months before scheduled municipal elections, Nicaraguan riot police have taken over the city halls of five municipalities that had been in the hands of an opposition party. Kitty Monterrey, president of Citizens for Freedom, a political party disallowed by the Nicaraguan government before presidential elections last year, confirmed the police occupations in San Sebastian de Yali, El Cua, Murra and El Almendro. – Associated Press


The government’s bitcoin holdings have lost about 60 percent of their presumed value during the recent market plunge. The use of bitcoin among Salvadorans has collapsed and the country is running out of cash after Mr. Bukele failed to raise fresh funds from cryptocurrency investors. – New York Times

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chair and top Republican have called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate social media app TikTok and Chinese parent ByteDance due to “repeated misrepresentations” over its handling of U.S. data. – Reuters

Government-ordered internet disruptions not only have human rights impacts — they come with economic costs, too. An updated report from Top10VPN released Tuesday found that there have already been more major internet shutdowns in 2022 so far compared to all of 2021 — and the economic fallout has been nearly twice as severe. – The Record

Marriott International confirmed Tuesday that unknown criminal hackers broke into its computer networks and then attempted to extort the company, marking the latest in a string of successful cyberattacks against one of the world’s biggest hotel chains. – CyberScoop

Military leaders around the world are closely watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which just entered its fifth month, but perhaps none more than those in China are tracking the intricacies of Russia’s cyberattacks designed to further cripple Kyiv. – CyberScoop


To remain effective in an era of near-peer warfare and to counter China’s growing military, US Special Operations Command and the Navy SEALs are working on two new and improved mini-submarines that are expected to enter service soon. – Business Insider

 The initial response to the July 2020 fire that destroyed the multibillion-dollar amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard was uncoordinated and hampered by confusion as to which admiral should cobble together Navy and civilian firefighters, according to new information from the then-head of Naval Surface Forces. – Defense News

More than two dozen companies including a division of AT&T Inc. are entering the competition to make real the Pentagon’s vision of seamless communications as part of a deal worth up to $950 million. The U.S. Air Force on July 1 selected an additional 27 vendors, both large and small, to compete for work tied to Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, which aims to better connect sensors and shooters and enable rapid responses on the battlefield. – Defense News

Bryan Clark writes: A naval force with greater adaptability, sustainability, and scalability would allow U.S. leaders to surprise Beijing and calibrate responses to Chinese hybrid or gray zone offensives. This would enable an approach to naval operations like that used by U.S. Cyber Command in its strategy of forward defense. By persistently engaging opposing operators and hackers inside their networks, U.S. cyber forces keep adversaries on the defensive, learn enemy tactics and capabilities, and create uncertainty for opposing leaders. – U.S. Naval Institute

Long War

In Iraq, the Islamic State’s rise and fall have left deep scars, and memories of the bloodshed are fresh. The question looming across the militants’ former territories is how, or indeed if, the communities that were ripped apart can be stitched back together again — and whether they will accept their former neighbors returning from the camp. – Washington Post

France brought home 16 wives of jihadists from sprawling detention camps in northeastern Syria on Tuesday, breaking with a policy that for years had ruled out repatriating and trying adult women who had left to join the Islamic State. – New York Times

Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the East African country should negotiate with al-Shabaab instead of pursuing a military-only strategy against the extremist group. – Bloomberg