Fdd's overnight brief

June 1, 2023

In The News


Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium grew by over a quarter in the three months to May, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported, adding to concerns over the speed with which Tehran is accumulating 60% highly enriched uranium that can be quickly converted into weapons-grade material for nuclear weapons. – Wall Street Journal

Iran is arming militants in Syria for a new phase of lethal attacks against U.S. troops in the country, while also working with Russia on a broader strategy to drive Americans from the region, intelligence officials and leaked classified documents say. – Washington Post

Two female Iranian journalists went on trial behind closed doors this week for their reporting on the death of Mahsa Amini, which sparked a popular uprising. – Washington Post

Iran has resolved two outstanding inquiries from the International Atomic Energy Agency over highly enriched uranium particles and a site where man-made uranium was found, according to confidential reports seen Wednesday by The Associated Press. – Associated Press

It’s rare these days for a turbaned cleric in Iran to attract a large following of adoring young fans on Instagram, but Sayed Mahdi Tabatabaei has done it by rescuing street dogs in defiance of a local taboo. – Associated Press

Ideologically and factually, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is one of the most central Palestinian Arab terrorist factions grown in the Gaza Strip. From its origin in the early 1980’s to today, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is part of the IRGC’s terrorist network. Factually, it is established and developed based on Islamic terrorism and depends on the destructive ideology of Khomeinism. It is heavily influenced by the 1979 revolt of terrorists in Iran. – Arutz Sheva

A trove of documents, images and videos from the offices of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi posted online Monday appear to be authentic, cybersecurity experts familiar with the matter told CyberScoop on Wednesday. – CyberScoop

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In the past, Iran was ham-handed in its Africa approach. Iran once was a major investor in the Gambia, and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad visited the country in 2006 and 2009. But then Nigeria intercepted an Iranian arms shipment and Nigeria reported the incident to the UN Security Council and Iran was accused of hiding heroin in engine parts, according to a Radio Free Europe article in 2010. Today it appears Iran is having more success in Africa and this will have major ramifications for the role of the West and also could threaten Europe and Israel. – Jerusalem Post 

Ilan Pomeranc writes: In such an Israel-Iran war, an additional element would not only be required but central, as mentioned earlier: the destruction of Iran’s military nuclear program and the removal of the existential threat to Israel, as has been done twice before. Israel will do whatever is necessary whenever it is necessary to ensure its existence. – Jerusalem Post

Andie Parry, Amin Soltani, Annika Ganzeveld, Johanna Moore, Ashka Jhaveri, Peter Mills, and Kitaneh Fitzpatrick write: Iran has bolstered its defensive position in eastern Syria since the end of the escalation cycle that occurred in March, likely to facilitate the transfer of advanced conventional weapons into Syria. The escalation cycle between Iran, Israel and the United States may have prompted Iran to halt transferring advanced conventional weapons through Deir ez Zor. – Institute for the Study of War

Nicholas Carl writes: The US must develop its Iran policy past just nuclear negotiations. The US needs a comprehensive strategy that contains the growing threat from the Axis of Resistance while maintaining deterrence and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. – American Enterprise Institute

David Pollock writes: Nevertheless, these heavily negative opinions of Iran do not mean a widespread popular desire to confront it militarily, either by outside powers or by Arab states themselves. On the contrary; Emiratis overwhelmingly agree–including nearly half who “strongly agree”–with this judgment: “A major American or Israeli military strike against Iran would be too dangerous, and so a bad idea for our country.” – Washington Institute

Russia & Ukraine

A day after a drone strike on Moscow, Kremlin officials jumped on the refusal of Ukrainian allies to denounce the attack as proof that Russia’s real war was with the West. – New York Times

Several hours after dozens of enemy drones infiltrated the Russian capital, damaging two residential buildings, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared unfazed before reporters, acting as if nothing unusual had happened. – Washington Post

As polar ice melts, Russia, already a major Arctic power, wants to make the region its own. China has ambitions for a “Polar Silk Road.” And NATO is embracing Finland — and Sweden too, Washington hopes — giving the alliance new reach in the Far North. – New York Times

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced $300 million in military aid for Ukraine, the latest package of weapons and other military equipment that the United States has been sending to Kyiv since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. – New York Times

A Moscow court on Wednesday set a new date for a hearing paving the way for another trial of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny that could keep him in prison for decades. – Associated Press

At least three people were killed, including two children, in the latest Russian missile assault on Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram early Thursday. The attack, the 19th in the past month, injured at least another 14 people, and missile debris hit a hospital and private cars on the left bank of the Dnipro River, officials added. – Bloomberg

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed on Wednesday that the United Kingdom was “leading an undeclared war against Russia.” – Jerusalem Post

Leonid Bershidsky writes: With the Russian military in Ukraine on the defensive and a majority of Russians at most wishing “that all this ends soon,” the risks of a “counteroffensive lite” on Russian territory are, at least for now, paying off for Ukraine. If there is a red line Zelenskiy could cross as he “pokes the bear,” it’s either invisible or still too distant. – Bloomberg

Stephen Blank writes: These are compelling reasons for NATO to offer Ukraine membership, which simultaneously strengthens deterrence and security until such time as a reformed Russia can recover its true European vocation. Other alternatives will neither achieve these goals nor ensure victory sooner rather than later. On the other hand, sparing Russia’s supposed sensitivities has never made Europe secure, and it will not do so now. – The Hill

Grace Mappes, Kateryna Stepanenko, Nicole Wolkov, Layne Philipson, and Fredrick W. Kagan write: The Russian military command has likely ordered Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov’s forces to begin offensive operations in Ukraine following the withdrawal of Wagner Group forces from Bakhmut. – Institute for the Study of War

Walter Clemens writes: An immediate ceasefire would permit Russia to retain the fruits of conquest and avoid any reckoning for its actions. It is unthinkable that Putin not be tried for war crimes and that Russia not be compelled to pay very significant reparations for lives and property destroyed. For peace now and in the future, Putin must be defeated. He cannot be appeased. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday blasted a Palestinian columnist for the Qatar daily paper Al-Watan who authored a commentary in May calling on Palestinians to carry out terror attacks on Israelis, including calls for Arab countries to go on war footing against the Jewish state. The Middle East Media Research Institute first located and translated the column from Palestinian journalist Samir al-Barghouti. – Jerusalem Post

A position of the Popular Front Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) terrorist organization was struck by an explosion on Wednesday, on the Lebanon-Syria border. Five terrorists were killed and the group claimed the explosion was an attack. – Jerusalem Post

Hungary will be the first EU member state to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced during a visit to Budapest on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and Head of the National Security Council Tzachi Hanegbi, flew to the United States this week to meet with administration officials. – Arutz Sheva

The legal representatives of several Canadian, Canadian-Palestinian, and Jewish organizations have filed a legal brief to bar former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett from Canada. – Arutz Sheva

Chana Nachenberg died on Wednesday, almost 22 years after a Palestinian suicide bomber bombed the Sbarro pizza place, putting her in a vegetative state. – Jerusalem Post


The Kremlin said on Wednesday President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan would hold a meeting in the foreseeable future, although it was not yet agreed when and where the meeting would take place. – Reuters

New anti-terrorism legislation which comes into force this week should pave the way for Sweden to join NATO in coming weeks and overcome a Turkish veto, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Turkish annual inflation is seen dropping below 40% in May, to its lowest since late-2021, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, as the government’s decision to provide natural gas free of charge offset price rises in other goods. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is viewed as almost certain to include former economy chief Mehmet Simsek in his new cabinet, either as finance minister or as a vice president responsible for the economy, four senior officials said. – Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan played up his plans to repatriate a million Syrian refugees as he rode a wave of nationalism to his third decade in power, but he could struggle to make good on the promise as conflict lingers on in neighbouring Syria. – Reuters

Turkey’s lira was trading slightly weaker early on Thursday, after a sharp drop overnight to a record low of 22.95 against the dollar during low liquidity hours, as markets await President Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement of the new cabinet. – Reuters

A prominent Kurdish politician who’s spent the past half decade in prison said he’s quitting Turkish politics after trying to rally opposition in a failed bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – Bloomberg

Editorial: As Erdogan prepares to spend at least five more years in power, Washington should act quickly to avoid a repeat or even worse version of the last five years in U.S.-Turkey relations. – Washington Examiner

Mark T. Esper and Evelyn N. Farkas write: The most senior Finnish government officials told us that their security isn’t maximized without Sweden as a NATO ally. That is certainly Moscow’s belief as well. The last thing NATO should do is give Mr. Putin an opportunity to regain his footing. We have come too far, and the Ukrainians have sacrificed too much, to let that happen. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Rubin writes: Just as with Iran today, the United States and NATO should differentiate between the repressive regime and the people whom it represses. Turkey one day will have its color revolution. Repression does not last forever. Sometimes countries must fail before they can rebuild. – Washington Examiner

Desmond Lachman writes: The real question is whether Mr. Erdogan will have the good sense to make this economic U-turn soon and voluntarily or whether he would like to have this U-turn foisted upon him by the financial markets. Judging by his pigheaded interest rate announcements after the election and judging by the Turkish lira’s plunge to a record low of more than 20 Turkish lira to the dollar, I fear that the latter scenario is more likely. – American Enterprise Institute

Gonul Tol writes: Erdogan capitalized on all of these anxieties. His resilience is the product of his ability to convince popular majorities in Turkey that he—and he alone—can fix the problems that he has created. The question is how long he can ride that tide of fear. The next five years under Erdogan will tell us the answer. – Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia

Italy has lifted an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the government said in a statement following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. – Reuters

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may further slash the official selling prices (OSPs) for all crude grades to Asia in July, a Reuters poll showed, despite the looming OPEC+ meeting that could leave the door open to further output reduction. – Reuters

Opec has barred several media groups from attending its crucial production meeting in Vienna this weekend, in a move officials said was driven by Saudi Arabia as it struggles to support oil prices. – Financial Times

Omer Dostri writes: Additionally, Saudi Arabia may prefer to see Israel first sign political agreements with other Arab and Muslim countries before joining the Abraham Accords. This would allow Saudi Arabia to give its approval or blessing to those countries, serving as a political achievement for the US, even if it does not constitute a direct agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia at present. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The future king of Jordan and an architect from Saudi Arabia linked to her country’s own monarchy are getting married on Thursday in a palace celebration that introduces him to the world and emphasizes continuity in an Arab state prized for its longstanding stability. – Associated Press

An Iraqi citizen fighting with Russia’s Wagner mercenary force was killed in Ukraine in early April, the first confirmed case of a Middle East native dying in the conflict, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin told Reuters on Wednesday. – Reuters

Oman plans to launch a $5 billion public investment fund to support plans to overhaul the economy in the Gulf Arab nation over the next two decades, state media reported Wednesday. – Associated Press

One of Australia’s most decorated living soldiers on Thursday lost a defamation lawsuit against three newspapers which accused him of involvement in the murder of six Afghans during deployment to Afghanistan. – Reuters

About two weeks after the Taliban retook Afghanistan in 2021, the then head of Pakistan’s spy agency arrived at one of Kabul’s plushest hotels, smiling, sipping tea and appearing at ease with the militants’ return to power. […] Almost two years later, relations between the Taliban and Pakistan have soured, terrorist attacks by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have jumped and some Taliban leaders are even seeking to establish ties with Pakistan’s archrival, India. – Bloomberg

Neville Teller writes: For two weeks, the authorities denied that racist violence against Black Africans had occurred. When the extent of international opposition became clear, the authorities announced new measures, on 5 March, to facilitate the legal residency of migrants, as well as a process of repatriation for those wishing to voluntarily leave the country. – Jerusalem Post

Aaron Rock-Singer writes: Each approach has political and economic costs, but given the situation’s growing urgency, the simplest response—sending cash to Cairo—may be the only way to avoid an explosion. In the longer term, however, the next bread crisis will be waiting just around the corner unless Egypt implements significant economic reforms. – Washington Institute


Korean Peninsula

The powerful sister of North Korean Kim Jong Un on Thursday accused the United States of “gangster-like” hypocrisy for criticizing her country’s failed launch of a military spy satellite and insisted a successful launch will be made soon. – Associated Press

The South Korean government will overhaul the country’s emergency alert system, news agency Yonahp reported on Thursday, after an erroneous message tied to North Korea’s satellite launch this week led to confusion and complaints. – Reuters

North Korea’s latest space launcher appears to be a new design and most likely uses engines developed for the nuclear-armed country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), analysts said on Thursday. – Reuters

South Korean nuclear safety experts who visited Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Wednesday that detailed analysis was needed to verify Japan’s plan to release tonnes of contaminated water from it into the sea. – Reuters

South Korean companies are relying on the US showing greater flexibility over China’s role in electric vehicle supply chains, as they invest heavily — often with Chinese partners — in battery materials production in Indonesia. – Financial Times

South Korea’s spy agency says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be suffering from a sleep disorder and they’re monitoring him for a potentially worsening alcohol and nicotine dependency. – Bloomberg



Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday denounced China’s apparent refusal to meet with senior Pentagon leaders after an incident U.S. officials have described as an “unnecessarily aggressive” encounter between military aircraft over the South China Sea last week. – Washington Post

China’s intelligence agencies are investing deeply in open-source intelligence to learn more about the capabilities of the American military in the Pacific and beyond, according to a new report. – New York Times

China and Singapore laid the groundwork Friday for a hotline between the two countries that would establish a high-level communications link between Beijing and a close American partner in Asia at a time when Chinese tensions with Washington are high and dialogue has stalled. – Associated Press

An American sleuth and two Chinese men faced jurors Wednesday in the first trial to come out of U.S. claims that China’s government has tried to harass, intimidate and arm-twist dissidents and others abroad into returning home. – Associated Press

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday it was “unfortunate” his Chinese counterpart had declined to meet him at an upcoming security forum because they needed to communicate to stop dangerous encounters between military aircraft. – Reuters

For the ambitious Chinese tech entrepreneur, expanding into the U.S. just keeps getting harder. Before 2019, there were few major impediments to having a Chinese company that did business in the U.S. from China. But amid escalating U.S.-Sino trade tensions, particularly after Washington slapped sanctions on telecom giant Huawei (HWT.UL), some Chinese firms began setting up headquarters overseas – moves that could help them draw less U.S. government attention. – Reuters

Editorial: Taking even just these measures should help Beijing put its economy on track for more sustainable growth. Failure to do so could smother China’s economic renaissance under the weight of growing state control. – Financial Times

Alicia Garcia-Herrero writes: China’s hesitant recovery, its push for lower interest rates and its poor corporate profits are all deterring foreign investors. The gloomy outlook in terms of portfolio inflows is surely another important reason for it to guard its large trade surplus, even while the US and European economies head towards recession. This also means China will continue to push exports while exerting restraint on imports to protect its foreign reserves from what are, by now, pretty unavoidable portfolio outflows. – Financial Times

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: Some communication is critical, and high-level communication is preferable. But this is not a situation in which U.S. concessions in return simply for communication will bear strategic fruit. – Washington Examiner

Daniel J. Kurtenbach writes: The PDI represents an essential part of America’s response to the challenge posed by China. However, it must be backed by robust financial commitment and strategic forethought to ensure its success. A dedicated PDI fund would represent a more tangible U.S. commitment to Indo-Pacific security, ultimately contributing to a safer and more peaceful world. The future of peace may depend on it. – The Hill

South Asia

For most of Pakistan’s eight-decade history, its courts were largely aligned with the country’s powerful military. They gave three coups a legal stamp of approval, disqualified dozens of politicians who had fallen out of favor with the generals, and turned a blind eye to the disappearances of political dissidents. – New York Times

Several prominent public figures in Britain have urged Pakistan to release the brother of a human rights lawyer who served as an adviser to ousted former Prime Minister Imran Khan. – Associated Press

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka reduced its interest rates Thursday for the first time since the island nation declared bankruptcy, after stern fiscal controls, improved foreign currency income and help from an International Monetary Fund program resulted in inflation slowing faster than expected. – Associated Press

The Biden administration is poised to sign off on a deal that would allow General Electric Co (GE.N) to produce jet engines powering Indian military aircraft in that country, according to three people briefed on the decision. – Reuters

The bail for Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been extended until June 19 in the Al Qadir Trust graft case, his lawyer said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Bangladesh is expected to propose raising taxes and boosting spending in its annual budget Thursday that will serve as a test of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s prudent policymaking over populism ahead of elections due next year. – Bloomberg

A lopsided trade relationship with India is forcing Russia to accumulate up to $1 billion each month in rupee assets that remain stranded outside the country, swelling the stockpile of capital it’s amassed abroad since the invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Akhil Ramesh writes: As Biden prepares to host Modi for a State dinner later in June, he should actively work toward laying the foundation for the bridge to the Global South. The leader of the free world and the leader of the Global South can work together for global prosperity. – The Hill


Australia’s most decorated living soldier lost a high-profile defamation complaint against three of the country’s top newspapers Thursday, capping a case that spanned more than 100 days of often startling testimony, cost more than $15 million and raised fresh allegations of atrocities committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. – Washington Post

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implicitly criticized Cambodia’s upcoming elections Wednesday for failing to be inclusive, after the top opposition party was not allowed to register. – Associated Press

Taiwan and the United States will sign the first deal under a new trade talks framework on Thursday, both governments said, boosting ties between the two at a time of heightened tensions with China over the democratically-governed island. – Reuters

The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar will step down in June, a spokesman for the UN chief told AFP Wednesday, after an 18-month tenure in which she was criticised by the junta and its opponents. – Agence France-Presse

Australia will encourage businesses diversify their trade into new and emerging markets, Trade Minister Don Farrell will say in a speech on Thursday, even as ties heal with China, its largest trading partner. – Reuters

China will send warships to a multilateral naval exercise hosted this month by Indonesia, which has also invited countries such as North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States, amid rising tension in the Asia-Pacific region. – Reuters

Raffaello Pantucci and Alessandro Arduino write: Entirely surrounded by powers in some level of conflict with the West, Central Asia finds its options are increasingly limited. […] But as the ties that bind China and Russia thicken, Central Asia will struggle to really balance against them. – Foreign Policy

Kelly A. Grieco and Jennifer Kavanagh write: Rather than trying to rewrite the rules to fit its old strategy, or overreacting to minor diplomatic hiccups, the United States will be far more successful if it accepts that the task is to work with, rather than against, a multi-aligned reality. – Foreign Policy


Berlin is ordering four of the five Russian consulates in Germany to close after Moscow limited the number of German diplomatic staff allowed in Russia, the latest in an escalating tit-for-tat diplomatic dispute between the two countries. – New York Times

International efforts to defuse a crisis in Kosovo intensified Wednesday as ethnic Serbs held more protests in a northern town where recent clashes with NATO-led peacekeepers sparked fears of renewed conflict in the troubled region. – Associated Press

U.N. appeals judges on Wednesday significantly expanded the convictions of two allies of late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, holding them responsible for involvement in crimes across Bosnia and in one town in Croatia as members of a joint criminal plan to drive out non-Serbs from the areas during the Balkan wars. – Associated Press

Latvian lawmakers on Wednesday picked the country’s long-serving and popular foreign minister, a strong backer of Ukraine, as its new head of state in a tight vote. – Associated Press

Stressing that Ukraine “is today protecting Europe”, Macron said in Bratislava that it is in the West’s interest that Kyiv have security assurances from NATO. – Agence France-Presse

Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili said Wednesday she was “confident” that Brussels would grant her country EU candidate status before the end of this year. – Agence France-Presse

Spain could follow the U.S. and Brazil in lurching to the far-right in a parliamentary election on July 23, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday, urging Spaniards to give him a “strong, resounding backing for the next four years”. – Reuters

Kosovo’s prime minister said his police will stay in the northern parts of the country where their presence has sparked violent protests, snubbing a demand from the US to defuse the situation. – Bloomberg

Poland’s president hit back at criticism from the US and the European Union over a law that would potentially put the country’s opposition leader under investigation ahead of a crucial election, saying the objections are unjustified. – Bloomberg

Editorial: On Wednesday Mr. Sánchez framed the general election as a choice between “a Prime Minister on the side of Biden or Trump, on the side of Lula or Bolsonaro.” But if last weekend’s vote is an indication, voters are rightly more worried about extremism from the ruling Spanish left. – Wall Street Journal


Sudan’s army has withdrawn from talks aimed at achieving a full cease-fire and delivering humanitarian aid across the country, it said on Wednesday, raising the specter of escalating clashes as a war between rival generals rages for a second month in Africa’s third-largest nation. – New York Times

Foreign ministers from the BRICS countries are meeting in South Africa from Thursday as the five-nation bloc seeks to forge itself into a counterweight to Western geopolitical dominance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

Zimbabwe’s national elections will take place on Aug. 23, the country’s president announced Wednesday. The vote is expected to be another closely watched affair in a country with a history of violent and disputed elections. – Associated Press

A regional force set up to tackle militia violence in east Democratic Republic of Congo has been extended to September, a minister and a spokesperson for the force said on Wednesday. – Reuters

South Africa is mulling its options over an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin should he accept an invitation to a BRICS summit in August, a government official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

South Africa’s president will send four of his cabinet ministers to Group of Seven nations to explain the country’s non-aligned position on Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Islamic state on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an attack on a security post in northern Cameroon, the group said in a statement on telegram. – Reuters

Samuel Ramani writes: Zelenskyy’s December 2022 plan to open 10 new Ukrainian embassies in Africa and establish trade representative offices in strategic locations reveals a growing attention to the continent. Given these trends, the African leaders’ peace mission might serve as a gateway to a sharpened war of Russia-Ukraine narratives in Africa, rather than as an enabler of a potential ceasefire. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Latin America

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has suffered a major defeat over important legislation protecting the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous people who live in it, and he has had to cut his losses in a conservative Congress. – Reuters

The current Colombia head of coal miner Drummond Co Inc (DRMND.UL) and his predecessor will be tried for allegedly funding right-wing paramilitaries, the country’s attorney general’s office said on Wednesday, as the U.S.-based company denied any wrongdoing by the executives. – Reuters

Brazil’s supreme court voted on Wednesday to sentence former President Fernando Collor de Mello to 8 years and 10 months in prison on corruption and money laundering charges. – Reuters

North America

A top Canadian pension fund has put the brakes on its investment in China, making it the latest western investor to pull back from the country amid rising geopolitical tensions. – Financial Times

Editorial: Nuclear dangers have seemed remote since the Cold War ended. But with international tensions rising along with nuclear arsenals, the corresponding risk that mistakes or misunderstandings lead to disaster are increasing. The United States needs to continue trying to minimize the likelihood of such outcomes. The West should plan now for a renewed negotiation push with Russia, if possible, after the Ukraine war and to find ways to entice China to the table. And it is essential that everyone, including Russia and the United States, avoid complacency and carelessness. – Washington Post

Editorial: The biggest obstacle to restructuring nowadays is China, which would benefit most from the New York legislation. China has more loans outstanding to low-income countries than all other developed countries combined as it has financed foreign development with its Belt and Road initiative. Beijing has been loath to write down debt, instead preferring to refinance it, often with more onerous terms. The Albany bills would apply to U.S. creditors but not to China. – Wall Street Journal


The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence, a top European Union official said Wednesday, as the developing technology triggers warnings about the risks it poses to humanity and growing calls for regulation. – Associated Press

The Israeli start-up had watched local rival NSO Group, makers of the controversial Pegasus spyware, fall foul of the Biden administration and be blacklisted in the US. So Paragon sought guidance from top American advisers, secured funding from US venture capital groups and eventually scored a marquee client that eludes its competition: the US government. – Financial Times

Canada will work with the United States to draft a cyber security certification framework for defence contractors that will be identical for both countries as incidents of malicious hacking increase, the defence minister said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Big companies including a Foxconn joint venture that bid for India’s $10 billion semiconductor incentives are struggling due to the lack of a technology partner, a major setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chipmaking ambitions. – Reuters

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking to forge deeper cybersecurity ties between the U.S., Israel, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. – The Record

The Dark Pink hacker group has been tied to five new attacks on governments, militaries and organizations based in Belgium, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam and Indonesia. – The Record

Ukrainian hackers have breached the systems of Skolkovo Foundation, the agency which oversees the high-tech business area located on the outskirts of Moscow. The Foundation was founded and charged by Russian former President Dmitry Medvedev to rival Silicon Valley in the U.S. – The Record

Brian J. Cavanaugh writes: Volt Typhoon, a Peoples Republic of China-sponsored hacking group, has been stealthily targeting various critical infrastructure sectors[…] DHS must become forward-leaning and take meaningful steps toward addressing the risk and mitigating cyber threats to our critical infrastructure. – Heritage Foundation


The U.S. Air Force has decided to base new U.S. Space Force units in Colorado, not Alabama. Four new units will be based on bases in Colorado, which is notable given that’s where Space Command is temporarily headquartered, despite growing questions as to whether it will ultimately move to Huntsville, Alabama, where the previous administration selected for its permanent location. – Washington Examiner

Equipment drawn from the U.S. Army’s Kuwait-based pre-positioned stock bound for Ukraine was not ready for combat operations, the Pentagon’s inspector general has found. – Defense News

Air Force Maj. Gen. Heath Collins will pin on a third star and become the Missile Defense Agency’s next director, according to the Pentagon’s general officer announcement on May 31. – Defense News

Spanish officials have confirmed that missile maker Kongsberg will begin deliveries of its fifth-generation Naval Strike Missiles, set to equip the Spanish Navy’s F-100 and F-110 frigates, in 2027, three years prior to the planned retirement of the fleet’s Harpoon anti-ship missiles. – Defense News

Elaine McCusker writes: Even though the defense caps are too low and will need to be reconsidered, the agreement to raise the debt limit and set spending caps is positive in that it mitigates further damage to the economy. It frees defense spending from attachment to domestic budgets and sets the stage for a return to long-awaited regular order on annual appropriations bills. – Breaking Defense