Fdd's overnight brief

July 6, 2023

In The News


An Iraqi militia linked to Iran has taken hostage a Princeton University researcher who is an Israeli citizen, the Israeli government said Wednesday, creating another potential flashpoint between Israel and Tehran. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Navy said Wednesday that it had thwarted efforts by Iran’s military to commandeer two commercial oil tankers off Oman, and that one of the attempted seizures involved intense gunfire. – Washington Post

Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and Britain have asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to open proceedings against Iran over the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in 2020 that killed all 176 people on board, legal filings showed on Wednesday. – Reuters

Iran said on Thursday it had a court order to seize a tanker in Gulf waters a day earlier after it collided with an Iranian vessel, one of two tankers the U.S. Navy said it prevented Iran from commandeering. – Reuters

A fact-finding mission mandated by the U.N. urged Iranian authorities on Wednesday to stop executing people who were sentenced to death for taking part in anti-government protests that rocked the country last year. – Reuters

Russia & Ukraine

Behind the deadly front lines where Ukrainian and Russian soldiers are locked in combat, a less-noticed life-or-death battle is raging to keep troops supplied with arms and ammunition. The side that loses that fight is the one that will lose the war. It is a lesson Washington is relearning. – Wall Street Journal

Russian forces are badly depleted but Ukraine’s counteroffensive is off to a slow, grinding start, Western allies said, as stiffer-than-expected Russian resistance, including minefields and defensive fortifications, and a lack of aircover have dashed any hopes of a swift breakthrough. – Wall Street Journal

The Kremlin said Wednesday that Ukraine is preparing an attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied territory, raising fears of a disaster as each side accuses the other of potential sabotage at the facility, which Moscow’s forces control. – Washington Post 

The rebellion in Russia by Wagner mercenaries confronted Western officials with one of their gravest fears: the possibility of political chaos and instability in the country with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s military launched an overnight strike on the Russian-occupied city of Makiivka, showing that it could still attack targets deep behind Russian lines as its troops fight in grueling trench warfare in a counteroffensive to reclaim land. – New York Times 

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said he had warned the United States and other Western nations that the counteroffensive would go slowly the longer it took allies to deliver the promised weapons and ammunition needed for the mission. – New York Times 

Russian state TV on Wednesday launched a fierce attack on Yevgeny Prigozhin, the exiled mercenary leader of an aborted armed mutiny last month, and said an investigation into what had happened was still being vigorously pursued. – Reuters

Multiple people were killed or wounded Thursday in the largest attack on Lviv’s civilian infrastructure since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, destroying entire floors of a residential building that was struck and leaving the streets below covered in rubble. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Russia was planning “dangerous provocations” at the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. – Agence France-Presse

The Biden administration has so far been reluctant to send long-range missiles and advanced drones to Ukraine, fearing that these assets could be used to hit targets within Russia’s internationally recognized borders and spark a dangerous escalation from Moscow. – Business Insider

The Kremlin is seeking to strengthen national guard units in a sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin fears the threat of another armed mutiny, according to The Institute for the Study of War (ISW). – Business Insider

A top British defense official says Russia’s combat abilities have been slashed in half since last year’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. – Business Insider

Russia’s covert drone partnership with Iran has included close co-operation on a new factory in the Russian province of Tatarstan, where Moscow has converted an agricultural UAV maker to supply its war effort in Ukraine. – Financial Times 

Europe’s largest nuclear-fueled power plant, situated in Russian-occupied east Ukraine, is emerging as a focal point of the war as President Zelensky accuses the Kremlin of risking a continent-wide radioactive catastrophe by rigging the facility with explosives. – New York Sun 

Ronald H. Linden writes: Most observers see Putin as deeply wounded by this uprising. Scenarios sketch an insider coup d’état or, at the very least, a weakened and divided elite. While such may be the case, our search for an explanation for Putin’s uncharacteristic rush to settlement might well consider the fact that Russia’s history-obsessed leader knows well the consequences of bezporyadok. – The Hill

Anthony H. Cordesman writes: Some of Putin’s goals are almost certainly unrealistic, but they do make it likely that the confrontation between Russia and the West will continue to grow at a global level even if some kind of ceasefire or settlement is reached between Ukraine and Russia. This will be particularly apparent in the case of China. The new Cold War and arms race between Russia and the West will increasingly be linked to the political tensions, economic confrontation, and arms race between China and the United States and its strategic allies. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Nico Lange writes: The one thing we can influence is Ukraine’s successful fight for national survival. It’s also possible that Putin’s clear defeat may open opportunities for positive change and the abandonment of imperial ambitions. Any non-Putin Russian leader would immediately have the chance to end the war and withdraw Russian troops. That may not seem likely, but then nor did an uprising of a convict militia armed by the Russian state. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Elisabeth Braw writes: As Wagner fighters begin to arrive in Belarus, ordinary Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles might give some thought to what they’d do if they encountered one of these battle-hardened criminals. Condemnation on social media, as is the Western won’t, won’t go very far. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Ilan I. Berman writes: These, moreover, could be just a taste of the changes likely to result from Russia’s recent internal tumult. While the particulars of Wagner’s recent challenge to the Kremlin might still be shrouded in mystery, it’s already clear that Prigozhin’s power play — whether an insurrection, a mutiny, or something else — will likely have long-term consequences for the Kremlin. – The Messenger

James M. Dorsey writes: Nevertheless, Wagner, acting independently, could be a concern for Chinese private military companies on the African continent. In contrast to Wagner, which effectively operates as a mercenary and combat force, Chinese companies, like Beijing DeWe Security Service, Huaxin Zhong An Security Group, and China Security Technology Group, serve primarily as protectors of Chinese investments, assets, and personnel. As a result, they have little contact with Wagner. – Algemeiner


Palestinian families returned Wednesday to a partly destroyed refugee camp in the occupied West Bank after Israel ended a large-scale two-day military operation, with relatives organizing funerals for those killed in the Israeli assault. – Wall Street Journal

A new phase of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unfolding in the West Bank, where disaffected, mainly young Palestinians from refugee camps are rising up against the Israeli occupation and Western-backed Palestinian leadership. – Washington Post 

Israel on Wednesday ended a two-day operation in the Jenin refugee camp that left 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead, forced thousands from their homes, and sparked new tensions between locals and the Palestinian Authority meant to be governing them. – Washington Post

Israel’s largest military operation in the West Bank in two decades ended Wednesday in the city of Jenin, a hub of militant activity that Israeli forces have targeted repeatedly this year. The incursion marked another bout of violence in an already deadly year in the West Bank. – Washington Post 

Before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had finished its incursion into the West Bank city of Jenin, aimed at curbing attacks on Israelis by armed Palestinians. Barely five hours later, about 25 miles away, shots fired from a car with Palestinian plates hit an Israeli police vehicle, causing damage but no casualties. – New York Times 

Palestinian militant fighters paraded in Jenin on Wednesday and angry crowds confronted senior Palestinian Authority officials, accusing them of weakness, after one of the largest Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank in years. – Reuters

Thousands of protesters on Wednesday blocked Tel Aviv’s main highway and major roads and intersections across Israel in a spontaneous outburst of anger following the forced resignation of the city’s popular police chief. – Associated Press 

The families of four Israelis missing in Gaza since 2014 and 2015 came together in Geneva on Wednesday to seek the Red Cross and the UN’s help in advancing their cases. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s Quds Force commander, Esmael Qaani, said that the battle in Jenin this week shows that Palestinian young men are able to confront Israel’s army, even when Israel deploys its best units. He made the comments in a statement that was posted on pro-regime Tasnim News online on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

The Israeli use of armed drones during its two-day military campaign against the Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin this week may amount to “willful killing,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk charged. – Jerusalem Post

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 

“Israeli forces are happy to kill children,” a BBC anchor told Naftali Bennett in an interview where the former prime minister defended the Israeli operation in Jenin. – Jerusalem Post 

The BBC issued an apology on Wednesday following a contentious interview in which a presenter made controversial remarks suggesting that “Israeli forces are happy to kill children,” according to the Jewish Chronicle. – Jerusalem Post 

A man driving a grey BMW on the Ayalon highway drove through a group of protesters on Wednesday evening as spontaneous demonstrations erupted across the country after Tel Aviv police district commander Ami Eshed announced his resignation, according to police. – Jerusalem Post 

The Biden administration is in touch with Israeli officials over the IDF’s military campaign in Jenin, the White House said Wednesday, while urging its ally to protect civilians and restore utilities in that West Bank city. – Jerusalem Post 

Organizers of the anti-government protests have announced that on Thursday night, protests will be held near the homes of coalition MKs. – Arutz Sheva

Following criticism regarding the lack of Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meetings, the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday night scheduled meetings of the Cabinet until the end of December. – Arutz Sheva 

Bobby Ghosh writes: The result is that, for all the IDF’s claims that the latest assault on Jenin diminished Islamic Jihad’s capabilities, it will not have damaged Iran’s reputation — quite the contrary — or reduced Tehran’s resolve to deepen its influence. Until there is a change in the conditions that have allowed Iran to thrive in Palestinian territory, Israel can expect more attacks from the West Bank. It will not be two decades before the next Battle of Jenin breaks out. – Bloomberg

Sean Durns writes: The U.S. has failed to stave off the PA’s growing unpopularity and weakness, declining to pressure the authority to uphold the rule of law. Fixated on a “two-state solution” that Palestinian leaders like Abbas have repeatedly rejected, U.S. policymakers have infantilized Fatah’s leadership, failing to push for healthy institutions and a stop to the authority’s policy of rewarding terrorism. – Washington Examiner

Lawrence J. Haas writes: That will do nothing but complicate U.S.-Israeli relations, thrill Israel’s adversaries and tempt Jerusalem to seek questionable alliances elsewhere — as we already see with Netanyahu’s planned visit to China. On this one, Biden should get off his diplomatic high horse. If he can meet with Xi, Putin, MBS and Modi, he can meet with Netanyahu, the leader of America’s closest and most reliable Middle East ally. – The Hill

Stephen M. Flatow writes: Every time a terrorist strikes and then runs into that Jenin, the Israelis would be confronted with the same dilemma: if they violate the border of the State of Palestine, they would face relentless condemnations from around the world, political and diplomatic pressure, and the likelihood of sanctions. So yes, Israel’s current situation is messy. Rooting out the Jenin terrorists will take time. There will be some unkind headlines, and some rude criticism from obnoxious talking heads. But things would be worse, much worse, if Jenin was in “Palestine.” – Jerusalem Post 

Nadav Tamir writes: A strong and confident voice must rise up in the face of thugs such as MK Almog Cohen who threatens to “blow up” camps of the Bereaved Families Forum and in the face of Education Minister Yoav Kisch who seeks to get rid of partnership and coexistence content while promoting hateful anti-LGBTQ content and content delegitimizing members of the government and even encouraging pogroms perpetrated by fascist Jews. […]It must be a voice that is not afraid of labels or of smear campaigns and delegitimization from the Right and that fights for the right to see the other side as human beings – for the sake of ending the occupation and for the sake of strengthening Israeli democracy that the occupation has seeped into, and that could lead to its loss. – Jerusalem Post

Moshe Dann writes: As long as terrorism exists there will be “occupation,” checkpoints, and interventions by the IDF and police. “Ending the occupation” begins with ending incitement, Jew-hatred, and terrorism. The slogan, “End the occupation” is not a call to protect Palestinian rights, but to end Israel’s existence. It’s not a plea for humanity, but a paean to commit mayhem and genocide. – Jerusalem Post 

David Horovitz writes: The prime minister is apparently again now ready to risk a repeat of those heightened internal Israeli divisions, in the cause of what he knows full well is the manifestly anti-democratic neutering of the judicial system. What he ought to be doing, it should hardly need saying, is minimizing internal divides, and focusing on Israel’s true priorities — most definitely including a strategy to prevent anarchy and worse in the West Bank. – Times of Israel


The Ministry of Defence has confirmed for the first time that UK Special Forces are at the centre of a war crimes inquiry. The MoD on Wednesday abandoned an effort to restrict any mention of Special Forces’ involvement in alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. – BBC

The Biden administration seemingly tried to bury an Afghanistan after-action report detailing how it didn’t plan well enough for the military withdrawal and failed to foresee the ensuing chaos. The State Department released the largely redacted document late on the Friday before the long July 4 weekend, perhaps in hopes that it would garner minimal attention — but we still spent some time between burgers and fireworks going through it. – Politico

Lynne O’Donnell writes: Thanks to both American largesse and Taliban smuggling networks, those arms are going everywhere. Experts say the same routes that proffer drugs, gems, and assorted other contraband get weapons to Islamist terrorists like al-Shabab in sub-Saharan Africa and Islamic State affiliates in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the same Persian Gulf countries that produced Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in the first place. Apart from Afghanistan, where the insurgency ended in victory in August 2021, the number of people killed in terrorist attacks is rising, according to the Global Terrorism Index. The Taliban, who funded their war with drugs and other contraband, continue to reap the profits of death. – Foreign Policy


Russian fighter jets flew dangerously close to several U.S. drone aircraft over Syria on Wednesday, setting off flares and forcing the MQ-9 Reapers to take evasive maneuvers, the Air Force said. – Associated Press 

Eliot L. Engel and Dr. Muhammad Bakr Ghbeis write: Leaders from the United States and other democracies around the world have a chance to shun Assad if they see him wandering the aisles of COP28. Do it! It’s time to show the world that the Syrian dictator should not be allowed to stand alongside the international community. – The Hill

Jeremy Hodge writes: However, Russia’s current weak position may delay any brash steps to rein in Prigozhin’s position in Syria. Russia’s occupation is not driven by profit-seeking, and allowing Prigozhin to continue reaping a modest fortune is a small price to pay to ensure Moscow’s presence on the Mediterranean is kept intact. Should it do the opposite, the Kremlin risks creating a gap that Iran’s proxies would soon step in to exploit. – Foreign Policy

Anchal Vohra writes: Wagner wove a web of contacts in the Middle East and North Africa and propped up shell companies to loot the resources not just for itself but also for the sanctions-hit Russian regime. It worked as a transnational criminal syndicate but also a state proxy. Experts believe the Kremlin is keen to consolidate its undertakings under a different leadership. – Foreign Policy

Middle East & North Africa

Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel on Thursday, one of them landing in Lebanese territory and the second near a disputed area at the border, three security sources in Lebanon said. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia has said it enjoys “full rights” along with Kuwait to a disputed gas field in the resource-rich Gulf, pushing back against claims by Iran, state media reported late Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Russia-Saudi oil cooperation is still going strong as part of the OPEC+ alliance, which will do “whatever necessary” to support the market, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told a conference on Wednesday. – Reuters

Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji and Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman met on the sidelines of the Vienna OPEC conference on Wednesday, the Iranian oil ministry’s SHANA news agency reported on Thursday. – Reuters


The Hong Kong police arrested four men accused of violating the city’s national-security law as authorities intensified an effort to clamp down on dissent, including targeting activists abroad. – Wall Street Journal

China hosted two Russian warships that had earlier sailed past Taiwan and Japan, and the vessels are expected to hold a joint drill with the Chinese navy during their visit, demonstrating the enduring military cooperation between the two countries. – Reuters

China resolutely opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and has lodged stern representations to Washington, China’s defence ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China said on Monday it will impose export restrictions on gallium and germanium products used in computer chips and other components to protect national security interests. – Reuters

A German official said on Wednesday the country has been working to secure long-term supplies of critical and strategic raw materials as it assesses the possible effects of Chinese export controls on some metals used in semiconductors. – Reuters

The United States “firmly” opposes export controls announced by China on gallium and germanium, metals needed to produce semiconductors and other electronics, a U.S. Commerce Department spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that Washington will consult its partners and allies to address the issue. – Reuters

Editorial: Talking with China is necessary, but the Biden Administration has been so eager for talks, and to set up another meeting between Mr. Xi and President Biden, that it looks unseemly. Fine with us if Mr. Biden eases the Trump tariffs on Chinese consumer goods, since those haven’t changed Chinese behavior while they have hurt U.S. consumers. But any other economic concessions deserve to wait until China stops behaving like a military aggressor. – Wall Street Journal

Joseph Bosco writes: Most recently, it agreed with its Russian “no-limits” strategic partner that the West, not Russia, triggered the war on Ukraine, that governments can decide for themselves if they are democratic regardless of universal standards, and that the Western-created, rules-based order must be scrapped. Communist China’s attitude toward domestic and international law is identical to its view of democracy — the purposes of the communist state prevail over all else. – The Hill

Mike Gallagher and Joni Ernst write: But even after our legislation passes and if the Pentagon responds by producing a coherent strategy for fielding these precision fires, making rings of fire a reality will require sustained oversight. Restoring deterrence in the Indo-Pacific demands dedicated attention from the highest levels of the Pentagon, State Department and – of course – Congress. Given the growing risks of great power conflict in the Indo-Pacific, we cannot waste any more time. – Fox News

Alan Beattie writes: Some sectors will always come under more government influence than others, but companies operating in an increasingly politicised environment need sharper awareness of the potential for official interference. Taking EVs as an example, the extent of interference remains uncertain, while companies’ own reactions to technological and market developments have been dilatory and reactive. De-risking trade with China has to proceed from a realistic appraisal of what governments can and should be doing, not promulgating the illusion that they have no role to play at all. – Financial Times


The Philippines on Wednesday accused China’s coast guard of harassment, obstruction and “dangerous manoeuvres” against its vessels, after another incident near a strategic feature of the South China Sea that has become a flashpoint between them. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will attend a NATO summit in Lithuania next week, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday. Authorities in South Korea and Japan were also arranging a meeting between Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the NATO event, the news agency said, citing Yoon’s office. – Reuters

President Putin, in a bid to project confidence in the wake of a short-lived revolt, said in a meeting of a new international organization Tuesday that the Russian people are “united as never before,” though offered little evidence of such unity. – New York Sun 

The European Union’s biggest China hawk isn’t backing down. As Lithuania prepares to host the NATO leaders’ summit in less than a week, a new government strategy on the Indo-Pacific region published on Wednesday reinforces the Baltic country’s decision to build strong economic ties with Taiwan, in defiance of intense pressure from China to change course. – Politico

India revised its position on the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration last week in a meeting between Indian and Filipino diplomats that supports Manila’s territorial claims over China. The revised stance on the arbitration, which countered China’s South China Sea claims, including the Nine-Dash Line and favored the Philippines in a territorial dispute, comes as India increases security engagement with countries in Southeast Asia. – USNI News


President Biden met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Wednesday in a show of support for Sweden to be allowed to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ahead of next week’s high-profile summit of NATO leaders in Lithuania. – Washington Post

Germany plans to slash social benefits and rein in government debt but increase the amount spent on the military in 2024, according to a federal budget approved Wednesday by the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. – New York Times 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden has taken steps in the right direction for its NATO bid with anti-terrorism legislation but continued protests there by Kurdish militant sympathisers undermined its moves, Erdogan’s office said. – Reuters

The European Union’s executive on Wednesday chided Poland and Hungary for democratic deficiencies that have been accerbated by measures taken or left unaddressed by the current governments. – Associated Press 

Italy has once again delayed ratifying a reform of the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund, a move which is set to further stir tensions with European Union partners. – Bloomberg

Estonia’s prime minister has warned western countries not to use bilateral security assurances to “blur” the debate over Ukraine’s bid for Nato membership ahead of the military alliance’s summit next week. – Financial Times 

Three new applications to burn religious scriptures have been submitted to the Swedish police, of the Koran, the Torah and the New Testament – raising concerns and sparking condemnation, according to reports in Swedish media. The applications include two in Stockholm and one in Helsingborg. One of the applications pertains to a Koran burning outside a mosque in Stockholm and the organizer intends for it to happen “as soon as possible.” – Jerusalem Post 

British parliamentarians from all parties have voiced unease over new legislation that would impose fines on public bodies, such as local councils, for initiating boycotts of Israel in support of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state for economic, political and cultural isolation. – Algemeiner 

A video of Georgia’s imprisoned former president Mikheil Saakashvili appearing visibly emaciated during a live-streamed court testimony has prompted a diplomatic stand-off between Tbilisi and Kyiv, which has accused its traditional ally of acting at Russia’s behest. – Financial Times 

Max Bergmann writes: The European Union, NATO, and the United States need to realize by overseeing eurozone spending, the European Union does in fact “do defense.” Refocusing on debt reduction when there is a war on is utterly irresponsible. U.S. and NATO leaders need to wake up to the danger and should be calling Berlin, Brussels, and other European capitals to oppose Linder’s efforts. Europe’s security is at stake. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Emil Avdaliani writes: The Kremlin might also order the separatist regimes in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to offer some conciliatory gestures toward Georgia. That might create a semblance of potential conflict resolution. Of course, such gestures would be nothing more than symbolic (Russia has no intention of relinquishing its conquests) but they might give an impression of an alternative to agreements with the West. Georgia’s best future, economically and militarily, lies with EU and NATO membership. It now has more to offer than in the past, and both sides should recognize this. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Michael Sheridan writes: China has two objectives in Switzerland. One is to advance its campaign to get more Chinese nationals into senior positions inside the UN system and multilateral organizations. (The country is home to 40 international bodies, with more than 25,000 staff.) The other is to build influence over Swiss politicians and businesspeople to win economic advantage, to push its messaging on controversial domestic issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and to keep Switzerland neutral in any future strategic conflict over Taiwan or the South China Sea. It has been subtle and effective. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Elisabeth Braw writes: And when it finally becomes a member, it won’t be under the yoke of concessions to Turkey but against the backdrop of months of additional love by all the other members. Most of the world, meanwhile, will have been educated about Sweden’s value for the alliance. It may not look like it at the moment, but Sweden has won the NATO lottery. – Foreign Policy

Giulio Meotti writes: There will be no going back to what France was like in the 1960s. It’s over, water has flowed under the bridge and France itself has changed a lot: it has given up entire sectors of its sovereignty in favor of the EU, a bureaucratic and apolitical organization. […]Two states for two peoples could be the solution with a divided capital in Paris – Arutz Sheva


Kenya will delay re-opening its border with Somalia because of a “wave of attacks” it blames on al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants, interior minister Kithure Kindiki said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United Nations’ World Food Programme on Wednesday said it needed extra funding to help millions of people in West and Central Africa get through the coming months known as the lean season. – Reuters

South Korea is set to sign an agreement next week with eight African nations to help boost rice production and cut their dependence on imports, Agriculture Minister Chung Hwang-keun told Reuters, amid concerns over food security on the continent. – Reuters

Africa has become the second-largest recipient of credit from India as the country tries to catch up with China in expanding its influence in the resource-rich continent. – Bloomberg

The Americas

The Pentagon on Wednesday said it is taking steps to revamp how classified information is accessed and better track potential “insider threats,” after a massive leak of documents revealed some of the U.S. government’s most closely guarded secrets. – Washington Post 

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s meetings with North American trade partners Canada and Mexico this week will not delve deeply into major disputes over Mexico’s biotech corn and energy policies nor Canadian dairy access, a senior USTR official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Leonardo Coutinho writes: Since assuming the presidency, Lula has repeatedly reiterated his refusal to help the Ukrainians. In January, he even received a visit from the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who tried to convince the Brazilian president to supply ammunition for the German anti-aircraft Gepard guns bound for Ukraine. The answer was no. Lula always justifies that Brazil will not enter the war or encourage war as the United States and Europe do. But what Lula paradoxically does not know, or does not want us to know, is that his choices have already placed Brazil on one side of the war. – The National Interest


Japan’s biggest port, the Port of Nagoya, plans to resume cargo operations on Thursday afternoon after a cyberattack caused a system glitch and stalled operations, the port operator said. – Reuters

The confidential documents stolen from schools and dumped online by ransomware gangs are raw, intimate and graphic. They describe student sexual assaults, psychiatric hospitalizations, abusive parents, truancy — even suicide attempts. – Associated Press 

Cybersecurity experts are raising the alarm about a new vulnerability that leaves hundreds of thousands of Fortinet customers vulnerable to attack. Concerns about the issue — tracked as CVE-2023-27997 — grew last month due to how widely used Fortinet’s SSL-VPN product is among government organizations. Fortinet released a patch in June for the bug, which has a “critical” severity score of 9.8 out of 10 and was discovered by Lexfo Security vulnerability researchers. – The Record

A “suspected senior member” of the French-speaking OPERA1ER cybercrime gang is in custody, international police announced Wednesday. – The Record

The Russian state-owned railway company RZD said Wednesday that its website and mobile app were down for several hours due to a “massive” cyberattack, forcing passengers to only buy tickets at railway stations. – The Record

Britain’s cyber and signals intelligence agency GCHQ could monitor logs of domestic internet traffic in the United Kingdom in real-time to identify online fraud and interrupt criminals during the act, under a new law being considered by the government. – The Record

A Tuesday ruling from the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU) held up a German government antitrust authority’s 2019 order directing Facebook to change how it tracks customers’ web surfing and use of browser apps, a decision that is widely seen as a blow to parent company Meta’s business model in Europe. – The Record


Senators want to give the Pentagon’s unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAP, office a major funding boost to scan the skies and near space for threats from China and beyond – part of the fallout from the Chinese spy balloon that U.S. jets shot down after it drifted across the U.S. continent. – Defense News

After years of catching grief for exquisite weapons acquisition programs with creeping requirements leading to lengthy delays and budget overruns, the Pentagon now finds itself with a different sort of headache: how to stop weapons and systems that are dirt cheap. – Defense News

The nomination of U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Samuel Paparo to be the 33rd chief of naval operations could herald a renaissance in the CNO’s staff office not seen since the 1980s in terms of strategic and operational focus for the fleet. – Defense News

Long War

Ziyad al-Nakhala, Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad, said that what is happening today in terms of the resistance and its development in the West Bank corresponds to the directives of what he described as “His Eminence, the leader,” referring to the so-called leader of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Ali Khamenei. – Al Quds

More than 20 U.S. and European pharmaceutical and medical-device makers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to bar claims that the companies helped to fund terrorism that killed or injured hundreds of American service members during the war in Iraq. – Reuters

An Ottawa man is facing terrorism-related charges in Canada after being accused of facilitating propaganda videos for the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division to help recruit new members, the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP) said on Wednesday. – Reuters