Fdd's overnight brief

June 13, 2022

In The News


Horiak’s team is focusing on unexploded munitions in lakes. Another team, led by the national police, is tackling rivers where the concern is not about devices but about spies and saboteurs who from hideouts on secluded islands and swampland might be helping the Russians plan a new invasion in this part of the country. – Washington Post 

More than three months of occupation by Russian soldiers has left much of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region isolated, without access to basic medicines and cut off from Ukrainian cellphone and internet service. – Washington Post 

Russia is likely to seize control of the entire Luhansk region of Ukraine within a few weeks, a senior U.S. defense official said, as Ukraine sustains heavy casualties and its supplies of ammunition dwindle. – Washington Post 

As President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine drags on, Russia’s teachers are being turned into front-line soldiers in an information war designed to mold children into loyal militarized nationalists. The nation’s powerful security chiefs, leading propagandists and parliamentary hard-liners are pushing radical changes to the education system, as the Education Ministry takes a back seat. – Washington Post 

Newly promised Western weapons systems are arriving, but too slowly and in insufficient quantities to prevent incremental but inexorable Russian gains in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, which is now the focus of the fight. – Washington Post 

Even before the start of the war in Ukraine, an international alliance to rally the world against a Russian invasion came together so quickly that President Biden later marveled at the “purpose and unity found in months that we’d once taken years to accomplish.” – New York Times 

With Russia about to encircle Sievierodonetsk, a city critical to its goal of seizing Ukraine’s east, and with a neighboring city squarely in Moscow’s sights, the question of how realities on the ground will shape the next phase of the war became still more pressing Sunday for Ukraine’s Western allies. – New York Times 

A war in Ukraine that began with a Russian debacle as its forces tried and failed to take Kyiv has seemingly begun to turn, with Russia now picking off regional targets, Ukraine lacking the weaponry it needs and Western support for the war effort fraying in the face of rising gas prices and galloping inflation. – New York Times 

Ukraine issued fresh calls for urgent supplies of weapons from the West, as officials warned that the war with Russia was rapidly becoming a series of artillery battles that favor Moscow’s better-equipped forces. – Wall Street Journal  

The war in Ukraine has turned into a grinding artillery contest where Russia is steadily gaining ground thanks to its overwhelming advantage in firepower. As the U.S. and allies gather Wednesday to discuss fresh military aid to Kyiv, Ukraine’s fate will largely depend on how fast and in what quantities these heavy weapons arrive. – Wall Street Journal  

Kremlin-installed officials in occupied southern Ukraine celebrated Russia Day on Sunday and began issuing Russian passports to residents in one city who requested them, as Moscow sought to solidify its rule over captured parts of the country. – Associated Press 

India and other Asian nations are becoming an increasingly vital source of oil revenues for Moscow despite strong pressure from the U.S. not to increase their purchases, as the European Union and other allies cut off energy imports from Russia in line with sanctions over its war on Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Southeast Asian nations with long-standing ties with Russia and have hesitated to pick sides over Ukraine are increasingly questioning the value of that relationship as the war drags on, US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet said. – Bloomberg 

The new president of authoritarian Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, on Friday called for stronger ties with “strategic” partner Moscow during a Kremlin meeting with President Vladimir Putin. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia on Friday labeled a non-governmental organization fighting for investigations into allegations of torture as a “foreign agent” in its latest move to silence critics in the country. – Agence France-Presse 

Authorities in the Moscow-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine handed out Russian passports to local residents for the first time on Saturday, news agencies reported. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukrainian and Russian forces were fighting for “literally every metre” in Severodonetsk, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as fighting intensified in an eastern region where the country’s top commander said the land “is covered in blood”. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for preemptive action to “forestall violence” and calm regional tensions, citing Russia’s invasion of his country as an example of what can happen anywhere in the world. – Defense News 

Editorial: The European court’s ruling will probably have only symbolic impact; Russia has been ejected from the council in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, although it remains bound by the European Convention on Human Rights until Sept. 16. The Russian parliament has passed legislation ending the court’s jurisdiction. But the ruling is a testament to what happens when innocent people are stripped of their rights and dignity by a police state. – Washington Post  

Dave Anderson writes: The overall war itself does feel like a tragedy – it is certainly a devastating, miserable, immoral waste of human life, property, and dreams. Putin himself does not rise to the level of a tragic figure, but Zelensky and Biden could become tragic figures if they blindly pursue the defeat of Russia and the value of freedom. – Jerusalem Post  

Karolina Hird, Frederick W. Kagan, George Barros, and Grace Mappes write: Russian forces should, in principle, be seeking to seize the bridges rather than destroy them, since Russian troops have struggled to cross the Siverskyi Donetsk River. They could hope to trap Ukrainian defenders in Severodonetsk by cutting off their retreat, but it seems unlikely that the benefit of catching a relatively small number of defenders would be worth the cost of imposing a contested river crossing on Russian troops. The Russians likely expect instead to be able to break out of their positions either around Toshkivka or from Popasna to the north and then encircle Lysychansk or attack it from the west bank of the Siverskyi Donets, thereby obviating the need to seize the bridges or conduct an opposed crossing. – Institute for the Study of War 

Jeremy Grunert writes: As Russia is increasingly sidelined from the outer-space launch and commercial technologies markets, commercial space entities in Europe and the United States, as well as developing space industries around the world, stand to reap the benefits of these growing markets. The increasing risk of attack or interference, however, will impose additional costs on an already expensive and inherently risky industry. – War on the Rocks 


Iran and Venezuela, oil producers grappling with crippling U.S. sanctions, signed a 20-year cooperation plan in Tehran on Saturday, with the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader saying the allies would continue to resist pressure from Washington. – Reuters  

The founder of one of the first Iranian ad agencies to focus on social media has some advice for Russian businesses, now their country too is under international sanctions: You’ll adapt and survive, but it’ll be brutal. – Bloomberg  

Iran’s state-run shipping company said it started its first transfer of Russian goods to India, using a new trade corridor that transits the Islamic Republic, an Iranian port official said. – Bloomberg 

Iran’s currency Sunday dropped to its lowest value ever as talks to revive the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers remained deadlocked. – Associated Press 

A flare-up in tensions between the UN nuclear monitor and Iran this week has left US President Joe Biden in an increasingly tight jam. – Agence France-Presse 

The International Atomic Energy Agency on Sunday urged Iran to resume talks “now” to avoid a crisis that could make it “extremely more difficult” to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord. – Agence France-Presse 

Three rights groups have urged Facebook and Instagram owner Meta to overhaul its policies for Persian-language content on Iran, complaining restrictions have impeded the ability of Iranians to share information during ongoing protests. – Agence France-Presse 

A showdown over Iran’s lack of transparency with United Nations watchdogs could soon doom President Joe Biden’s hope of restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. – Washington Examiner 

Iranian attempts to attack Israeli targets last month in Turkey were foiled by Israeli and Turkish security agencies. – Jerusalem Post 

The cumulative efforts of German intelligence gathering led to the release on Tuesday of another damning indictment of the Iranian regime’s efforts to secure illicit technology for its nuclear program in the federal republic. – Jerusalem Post 

Two Iranian aerospace scientists died under mysterious circumstances just hours apart, according to reports by the state-controlled Fars outlet Monday. – Arutz Sheva 

Editorial: Israel believes the time has come for the international community to support the IAEA’s integrity and professionalism and to act against Iran with all the means at its disposal, as the Foreign Ministry has said. This is indeed the best course of action. However, Iran has shown that it will break every international norm in its behavior. It fires missiles and drones at other countries and has recently illegally seized Greek ships. All of this illustrates that it is a most dangerous and unreliable country and that it must never be equipped with nuclear weapons or its danger will increase exponentially. – Jerusalem Post 

Bobby Ghosh writes: Finally, Biden should resume full implementation of the economic sanctions against Iran, cutting off the regime’s access to international markets. This may be easier to do now that China is already reducing its imports of Iranian oil and instead taking more from Russia. […]The IAEA’s censure of Iran has given Biden as strong a hand as an American president can hope to have: He should play it. – Bloomberg 

David M. Weinberg writes: Unless the Biden administration is prepared to give tangible substance to its vow to confront Iran’s malign designs in the region, including operational planning for crushing strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities and other hard moves to hem in Iran, Biden should do himself (and Israel) a favor and really, really stay home. – Jerusalem Post 

Neville Teller writes: So, the political equation turns out to be: Russian failure in Ukraine equals a strengthened Iran in Syria, and a more powerful Iran probably equals increased anti-Iranian military activity by Israel. Democratic interests in the Middle East find themselves condemning Putin’s Ukrainian adventure but fearing lack of success in that operation would boost the Iranian regime’s power base in the Middle East. This is the unexpected and uncomfortable by-product of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: With one article singling out Hezbollah’s threats, a second one expressing concern about the nuclear program and a third republished in the Gulf expressing concern about Iran’s role in Syria, the theme is clear: Iran is on the cusp of a new destabilization campaign. – Jerusalem Post 

Matthew Continetti writes: One way to repair the jagged breach in American credibility and American deterrence would be to make good on our longstanding promise that Iran won’t obtain the world’s most terrible weapon.The current path leads to a world where America is ignored, where Israel’s existence is threatened, and where the risk of nuclear war is greater than it is even today. We’ve been telling ourselves for a while that such a world would be unacceptable. Let’s act like it. – The Washington Free Beacon 

Alex Fishman writes: In war, the public needs to be notified, yet the Iranian side is trying to hide information from its people or downplay its significance. The accumulation of reports of this sort, nibbling at the national morale, could severely hinder the Iranian public’s trust in its leadership. […]On the other hand, a regime in distress could do something extreme to demonstrate its power and scale the diplomatic ladder. This is why Tehran has been making a great effort to harm Israeli nationals abroad. Out of despair, the Iranian regime may be capable of going even further. – Ynet 


The last time Fowzia saw her husband, she was suffering an asthma attack in the dusty mayhem outside Kabul’s airport. He had shoved his way through the crowd to reach her, his face caked in grime and fear. Seconds later, an ambulance whisked her inside. – Washington Post 

Taliban security forces in northern Afghanistan have unlawfully detained and tortured residents accused of association with an opposition armed group, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Friday. – Associated Press 

Cathal Ó Gabhann writes: There is still time to engage sincerely with the Taliban but it will mean a complete overhaul of the approach that Western diplomats and intelligence officers have been using to date. New ideas and pragmatism are imperative. The alternative is for the international community to fail the people of Afghanistan once again. The Taliban believe the West is set on vengeance for the outcome of August 2021; it is not too late for the international community to prove them wrong. – The National Interest 


Syria on Friday halted flights to and from Damascus airport, the transport ministry said, after Israeli air strikes damaged a runway, according to sources. – Agence France-Presse 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Southern Syria also has continued problems with former Syrian rebels and a patchwork of competing groups. That means Iran can operate there easily. The regime simply can’t control all these problems at once. A new round of pressure on Iran in Syria will certainly make its mark on the regime and also force it to make tough choices. – Jerusalem Post 

Giran Ozcan writes: Underlining the danger and tragedy of these outcomes is the fact that they are preventable. The instability in northern and eastern Syria today is concentrated on the front lines of the zone that Turkey and its Syrian National Army (SNA) proxies invaded during Operation Peace Spring in 2019. Turkey was only able to take control of this zone in the first place because of a series of US diplomatic failures. – Jerusalem Post 


Turkey, host of world’s largest refugee population, will begin imposing quotas on the number of residence permits for foreigners next month as anti-immigrant sentiment piles pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before next year’s elections. – Bloomberg  

Cracks appeared in a Turkish opposition alliance hoping to take on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in polls next year after members of the bloc had a public spat over who should be their candidate. – Bloomberg  

Security concerns raised by Turkey in its opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications are legitimate, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday during a visit to Finland. – Reuters 

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Whatever shape a deal between Sweden and Finland on the one hand, and Turkey on the other, might take, however, it will come to fruition only if the United States is an active participant and contributor. President Biden has supported Swedish and Finnish accession to NATO enthusiastically. He and his administration, therefore, should leave unturned no stone to ensure that the alliance can expand in the shortest possible time frame. – The Hill 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Hosting the Venezuelan leader shows how Ankara is proud to host rogue regimes and use them to leverage its opposition to the West. This illustrates how Turkey has pivoted away from its claims of reconciliation in 2020 and 2021. – Jerusalem Post 


Some 1,200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank region of Masafer Yatta face the risk of forced removal to make way for an army firing zone after a decades-long legal battle that ended last month in Israel’s highest court. – Reuters 

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas hosted Saturday a US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, ahead of an expected visit of President Joe Biden. – Agence France-Presse 

Israel and Saudi Arabia could be moving toward closer ties, as the two-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords approaches. This is an important development because it shows that the legacy and fruit of the accords are continuing to grow. – Jerusalem Post 

After two and a half years without European Union aid, the Palestinian Authority hopes to see hundreds of millions of euros in funding resume following a visit by EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen to Ramallah, planned for Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

The Israeli government is warning its citizens to avoid Turkey, where an Iranian plot targeting Israelis was foiled last month, Israeli media reported Sunday. – Algemeiner  

Editorial: The friendship and ties between Israel and the US are deep and longstanding, but even friends and allies sometimes need to clarify boundaries. Some things are not up for negotiation, including Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel. – Jerusalem Post 

Eric R. Mandel writes: So the question is, is it worthwhile for Israel to begin the arduous process of bringing together its security, intelligence, and defense experts to come to a consensus on what Israel’s minimum territorial requirements are, if and when a government believes it is time to have what every other nation in the world has – defined borders. – Jerusalem Post 

Eugene Kontorovich writes: If Israel failed to fund or even recognize them, they would appeal to the international community – invoking the Istanbul Convention. This is not conjecture. After Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently classified six Palestinian NGOs as terror groups, two United Nations senior experts on women’s rights last month joined a denunciation of Israel, claiming it was picking on human rights activists. – Jerusalem Post 

Eitan Dangot writes: The PA, too, is increasingly weak and losing power, and is already transitioning to the post-Abbas era. Israel has to strengthen the PA in various ways, as part of a bigger effort to prevent its collapse on the day after Abbas’s departure. – Jerusalem Post 

Olga Deutsch writes: The dichotomy between the policies adopted by EU’s elected officials and the European Commission bureaucrats’ reluctance to implement them continues to grow. Von der Leyen’s visit might be an opportunity for Israel’s Foreign Minister Lapid and Defense Minister Gantz to address this issue, calling on her to unify the message coming out of Brussels. – Jerusalem Post 

Lahav Harkov writes: As the government enters its second year, it seems unlikely that it will last much longer, but all of the challenges stated above will still remain. Whether Israel will return to Netanyahu’s policies or strive for something new remains to be seen. – Jerusalem Post 


The United States will send an envoy to Lebanon next week to discuss the country’s energy crisis and underscore Washington’s hope that Beirut and Israel can reach a decision delimiting their maritime boundary, the State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

Hundreds of people and several lawmakers protested Saturday in southern Lebanon against Israel moving a gas production vessel into an offshore field partly claimed by Beirut. – Agence France-Presse 

The United Nation’s mission in Lebanon called Sunday for the country’s military to guarantee the security of its peacekeepers, alleging personnel were “threatened” by armed men the day before. – Agence France-Presse 

Israeli Air Force aircraft flew in Lebanese airspace at least 22,000 times in the past 15 years, a new Lebanese advocacy website has claimed. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel’s gas-drilling rig, stationed in the Karish gas field west of Haifa last week, is not in the area Lebanon claims is a disputed maritime border, according to an investigation by Haaretz. – Haaretz 


An Egyptian court Saturday sentenced a man to die for the April stabbing death of a Coptic Christian priest in an attack that shocked the Arab world’s most populous nation. […]The attack marked the latest sectarian violence in Egypt. Islamic extremists have repeatedly targeted Christians in recent years, especially after the 2013 military ouster of late Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, an elected but divisive leader, amid mass protests against his rule. – Associated Press 

A senior Ethiopian official says his country is interested in resuming talks with Egypt and Sudan on a huge and controversial Blue Nile dam that will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. – Associated Press  

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Chairman Rashad al-Alimi at Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo over the weekend, Egypt Today reported. – Jerusalem Post 

Saudi Arabia

President Joe Biden said he has “not yet” made a decision about visiting Saudi Arabia, but that if he went it would be to take part in meetings that go beyond energy topics. – Bloomberg 

Saudi Arabia on Sunday pledged $10 million to help prevent an ageing Yemeni oil tanker from unleashing a potentially catastrophic spill in the Red Sea bordering its waters. – Agence France-Presse 

US President Joe Biden’s said Sunday his expected visit to Saudi Arabia will also address Israel’s national security, as an Israeli official told The Times of Israel that stops in Israel and the West Bank on that same trip have been tentatively set for July 14 and 15. – Agence France-Presse 

Middle East & North Africa

Libyan officials returned to the Egyptian capital Sunday for a third round of talks on constitutional amendments for elections. The North African nation once again finds itself at a political impasse with two rival administrations claiming legitimacy. – Associated Press 

Algeria will honour all its gas commitments with Spain, a foreign affairs ministry statement said on Friday, days after Algiers blocked trade over a diplomatic dispute about the status of Western Sahara. – Reuters 

Dozens of lawmakers who make up the biggest bloc in Iraq’s parliament resigned on Sunday amid a prolonged political impasse, plunging the divided nation into political uncertainty. – Associated Press  

The prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masrour Barzani, has been touting the autonomous region’s gas export capabilities as an alternative to Russian supply, but division between the region’s two main parties suggest the plan is, for now, a pipe dream. – Reuters 

Korean Peninsula

The U.S. and South Korea are responding to North Korea’s unprecedented number of missile tests this year with a greater show of force of their own, in an effort to increase pressure on Pyongyang and reset the tone for stalled nuclear negotiations. – Wall Street Journal 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his top deputies have pushed for a crackdown on officials who abuse their power and commit other “unsound and non-revolutionary acts,” state media reported Monday, as Kim seeks greater internal unity to overcome a COVID-19 outbreak and economic difficulties. – Associated Press 

North Korea may have fired several artillery shots Sunday morning, according to South Korea’s military, as tensions over a possible nuclear test run high on the peninsula. – Bloomberg 

South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup said on Sunday that his country would enhance its defence capabilities and work closely with the United States and Japan to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat. – Reuters 

North Korea promoted its key nuclear negotiator to foreign minister, state media said on Saturday, as leader Kim Jong Un vowed to his ruling party that he would use “power for power” to fight threats to the country’s sovereignty. – Reuters 


China’s defense minister called Washington a “bully” and vowed to “fight to the end” to take over Taiwan, ramping up a war of words with his U.S. counterpart. – Washington Post 

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III warned China on Saturday against what he called “provocative and destabilizing” activity near the disputed island of Taiwan, following talks with China’s defense minister, Gen. Wei Fenghe, that focused on preventing regional tensions from escalating into crises. – New York Times 

China’s defense minister said the country is developing its nuclear arsenal—a move he said was appropriate given the state of international security—and warned that Beijing would fight to block Taiwanese independence. – Wall Street Journal  

President Xi Jinping said people in Hong Kong and on the mainland should develop “a closer emotional bond,” comments that come before the Chinese leader’s potential visit to the city. – Bloomberg 

Chinese police have begun training their Solomon Islands counterparts in the South Pacific nation following a security pact between the two countries that riled governments from Canberra to Washington. – Bloomberg 

China’s first AI-operated drone vessel has successfully undergone its initial sea trial, with developers Beikun Intelligence saying some of its technological capabilities are “world-leading.” – Jerusalem Post 

Blake Herzinger writes: Although Washington can and should work to keep countries out of Beijing’s orbit, it is nonsensical to punish states that do elect to partner with China or, more commonly, play both sides of the fence. There are no states in the region that can afford to get along without China, but most still want some level of connection with the United States, whether that is an economic relationship or security partnership or both. By making a scene, Washington appears anxious rather than confident and less like a partner that has something of its own to offer. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

Two young demonstrators were killed on Friday in India’s eastern Jharkhand State amid protests across South Asia by Muslims angered by a comment from an official in India’s governing party that they believe profaned the Prophet Muhammad. – New York Times 

Sri Lanka may be compelled to buy more oil from Russia as the island nation hunts desperately for fuel amid an unprecedented economic crisis, the newly appointed prime minister said. – Associated Press 

Husain Haqqani writes: Both those countries are suffering economically even though they are oil exporters. Pakistan does not even have the economic cushion that comes from being a major producer of a commodity like oil. Instead of letting Khan’s demagoguery cause long-lasting damage to Pakistan’s ties with western countries, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders must explain to Pakistanis that their country cannot afford a showdown with its economic partners and benefactors. – The Hill 


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not shifted, even as he invoked parallels between the East Asian security situation and Ukraine while speaking at a defense summit in Singapore. – Washington Post 

Australia’s new government said it would pay 555 million euros to France’s Naval Group to settle a terminated contract to buy French submarines, as it moves to reset ties with a key ally in the Indo-Pacific region. – Wall Street Journal 

Cambodia’s prime minister urged military-ruled Myanmar to reconsider the death sentences against four political opponents, suggesting that executing them will draw strong international condemnation and complicate efforts to restore peace to the strife-torn nation. – Associated Press 

The US sought to bolster its support in Asia this weekend by reassuring nations they don’t need to join a coalition against China, drawing a stark contrast with Beijing’s threats to defend its interests with military force. – Bloomberg 

Chinese military officials in recent months have repeatedly asserted that the Taiwan Strait isn’t international waters during meetings with US counterparts, according to a person familiar with the situation, generating concern within the Biden administration. – Bloomberg 

Australia Defense Minister Richard Marles said he had a “very frank and full exchange” with his Chinese counterpart on Sunday, marking the highest-level meeting between the countries in more than two years amid a flare-up in tensions. – Bloomberg 

Australia needs to put Pacific islands nations and their development needs first to repair its relations in the region, said Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, amid growing competition from China. – Bloomberg  

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed his country would expand its security role in Asia, and seek to bolster the rules-based order in a speech at an international security forum in Singapore. – Bloomberg 

Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said China is his nation’s “strongest partner” in pandemic recovery, even as the foreign ministry filed fresh protests against Beijing’s presence in the South China Sea. – Bloomberg 

The war in Ukraine and China’s increasingly tense relationship with the United States featured in nearly every session of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, which ended on Sunday after three days of discussions. – Reuters  

Frustrated by endless pros and cons of various fiscal policies presented at a meeting, Harry Truman once famously demanded, “Someone bring me a one-handed economist!” A similar thought arises almost inevitably when speaking of Kazakhstan. – Jerusalem Post  

Cambodia has denied reports that the country is giving China “exclusive” access to a naval base undergoing construction along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. – Defense News 

Australia’s new defense minister has called for “transparent” military buildups to reassure neighboring countries and avoid an arms race, specifically calling out China’s defense investments. – Defense News 

Josh Rogin writes: Despite China’s determined efforts to deny that the Ukraine and Taiwan situations are linked, several Asian leaders at the Singapore conference said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a wake-up call for the region in terms of a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan. As Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said while addressing the conference Friday evening, “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.” – Washington Post 

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: But Japan, which has already broken with precedent by accepting refugees and sending bulletproof vests to Ukraine, can take other steps to protect not just itself but the rules-based order it depends on, with more forceful diplomatic efforts to help widen the alliance of nations condemning Russia’s aggression and pushing to isolate its economy. Southeast Asa is a good place to begin. – Bloomberg 

James R. Holmes writes: Bottom line, the Chinese Communist Party has every incentive to seek out a Cambodian base and makes it standard practice to dissemble about its intentions and deeds. That it has gone back to its proven playbook is the safest assumption. Just ask William of Ockam. – The Hill 

Matthew P. Goodman writes: The high turnout at last month’s IPEF launch shows that there is a strong demand signal for U.S. economic engagement in the region. The key now is for the Biden administration to demonstrate that it is committed to a long-term, strategic economic relationship with partners in the region. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Kris Osborn writes: A Pentagon report on China earlier this year raised that possibility, expressing concern that China may be positioned to quickly annex Taiwan.  However, by looking at the Pacific region’s geography, available forces in the region, and the potential to forward deploy U.S. assets, it seems quite realistic that land and air-launched F-35s could offer the best chance of destroying a Chinese amphibious assault on Taiwan. – The National Interest 


President Biden said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “didn’t want to hear it” when U.S. intelligence officials raised warnings of a looming Russian attack before the Feb. 24 invasion. – Washington Post 

With tensions raised across Europe over a newly belligerent Russia, Sweden’s military and the United States Marines concluded a drill on Sunday on Gotland, a Swedish island with strategic significance for control of the Baltic Sea. – New York Times 

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy plan to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv this week, officials said, as reports showed Russia making gains in the country’s east and Ukrainian officials urgently sought arms from Western nations to hold Russian forces at bay. – Wall Street Journal  

Nine NATO nations on the alliance’s eastern flank held talks Friday in Romania ahead of a key NATO summit later this month, with some leaders urging NATO to step up protections for them in light of Russia’s protracted war against Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Italian right-wing firebrand Matteo Salvini is on the defensive over aborted plans to visit Moscow in late May as part of a trip paid for by the Russian government. – Politico 

Just a week after he saw off a Conservative party revolt against his leadership, the U.K. prime minister’s government will on Monday present a bill in the House of Commons allowing it to waive controversial post-Brexit rules on trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, known as the Northern Ireland protocol. – Politico 

Norway’s foreign minister has defended her country’s announcement on Friday that goods imported from the West Bank, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem must be labeled accordingly, sparking the ire of the Israeli government. – Algemeiner  

The bodies of scores of Ukrainian fighters killed during the siege of the Azovstal steelworks in the southern city of Mariupol are still awaiting retrieval, the former commander of Ukraine‘s Azov National Guard regiment said on Sunday. – Reuters  

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signaled that Serbia should end its balancing act between the European Union and Russia and adopt the bloc’s sanctions if it’s serious about joining the EU. – Bloomberg 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the executive arm’s opinion on Ukraine’s candidate status to join the EU will reflect “carefully” a lot progress made by the country over the past decade, but also that “much still needs to be done.” – Bloomberg 

Britain will propose overriding the rules that govern post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland on Monday in a move that will inflame tensions with the European Union that have simmered since the protocol came into force in 2021. – Reuters 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday called on Bulgaria to lift its veto on EU accession talks for North Macedonia, saying the bloc should avoid dashing the membership hopes of countries in Western Balkans. read more. – Reuters 

The World Trade Organization chief voiced cautious optimism Sunday as global trade ministers gathered to tackle food security threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, overfishing and equitable access to Covid vaccines. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Saturday that his country’s potential membership in the European Union (EU) would strengthen the entirety of Europe as well as Ukraine, noting that officials should soon receive an answer on its candidacy. – The Hill  

Editorial: After western allies chose, for understandable reasons, not to intervene directly in the war, Ukraine is fighting alone. It is defending not only its own sovereignty but, by extension, freedom and security in Europe. How far it thinks it can go in prosecuting its aims will be determined in no small part by the support it can secure from its partners. They should equip it with all means possible without triggering a direct conflict with Russia. It is then for Kyiv to determine the timing and terms of any peace talks with Moscow. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Holding together the Western alliance has never been easy. Amid a worsening war on its doorstep, it has rarely seemed more necessary. The time for populist political games is over. – Bloomberg  

Adam O’Neal writes: Sweden and Finland aren’t the only countries with an interest in resolving the dispute. Mr. Putin has sought an end to NATO’s open-door policy for years, because he knows few Western nations would freely choose Russia over the West. “NATO has a lot to safeguard here,” says Mr. Niinistö. President Biden, who ran on a promise to strengthen alliances, has a unique responsibility to find an acceptable resolution and prevent what could be a generational disaster. – Wall Street Journal 

Andreas Kluth writes: Such a Europe of many — shifting but harmonious — “unions” is the future. The best way to start building this vision is not to prematurely admit Ukraine into the EU. It is to welcome the Ukrainians into the European fraternity right now, and simultaneously make the whole family more flexible and strong. – Bloomberg 

Therese Raphael writes: Rebuilding Ukraine will be slow, expensive and fraught with risks. But the alternative is unthinkable. And the longer the war drags on, the higher the costs will be. While it’s important to prepare for reconstruction, the biggest downpayment the democratic world can make to Ukraine’s future stability is investing in the country’s defense now. – Bloomberg 

Anne-Sylvaine Chassany writes: Why not travel to Odesa, he suggests? The blockaded Black Sea port is at the centre of UN-led talks to allow Ukrainian grain to be shipped out of the country. The French president, who travelled to Kyiv before the war, has been criticised for not returning to Ukraine since. “He needs to deliver a few gestures to regain a central position in Europe,” says Duclos. – Financial Times  

Kathleen J. McInnis and Daniel Fata write: To deter Russia and to defend Europe, NATO needs to have real strategic discussions about how to operate and modernize. Focusing only on levels of dollars and euros spent misses the bigger target. No NATO nation—and particularly not the United States—can afford for that to happen. – Foreign Policy 


Regional authorities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo said Rwandan soldiers and artillery had supported attacks by the M23 rebel group on Sunday, accusing Rwanda of seeking to occupy the Congolese border town of Bunagana. – Reuters 

Prince Charles has privately described the British government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as “appalling”, two media reports said, as the first flight taking refugees to the East African country is due to leave next week. – Reuters  

Suspected Islamist fighters killed 25 people on Thursday in a village in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, two residents and a military source said on Friday. – Reuters 

The UN refugee agency on Friday accused Britain of dishonesty over London’s plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda, as a court heard an emergency bid to block the first deportations next week. – Agence France-Presse 

At least six people were killed in northern Burkina Faso in several attacks attributed to jihadists, local and military sources told AFP on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

Belgium’s King Philippe ended his historic tour of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday in the eastern city of Bukavu, as the Congolese army repulsed a rebel attack further north. – Agence France-Presse 

The Americas

The violent armed gangs that control much of Haiti are using social media to expand their reach and tighten their grip on the beleaguered Caribbean nation. Posts aimed at energizing recruits, intimidating rivals and terrorizing the population are challenging the ability of the platforms to police the problematic content. Some here are calling for tighter controls. – Washington Post  

Canada’s defense minister said China’s behavior in a number of areas is “concerning,” with regards to rising geopolitical tensions. – Bloomberg  

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Two months after the uprising a global update on human rights, issued by Ms. Bachelet’s office, omitted Cuba. Cubalex observed in a tweet that “there was not a single mention of what is happening today on the island: the repression, the health crisis, the food crisis, the constant violations” of human rights. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the high commissioner’s sympathies lie with the oppressors, whether in Cuba or in China. If the U.N. seeks credibility, Michelle Bachelet needs to go. – Wall Street Journal 

William Danvers writes: Cutting tariffs to China and reaching out to the Saudis are not without risks. There is no guarantee that a meeting will result in increased Saudi oil production, or that cutting tariffs on certain Chinese products will make a lasting difference in reducing inflation. But the president has shown a willingness to make tough choices. This is the right path to follow to ensure his foreign policy is favorable to the middle class. – The Hill  

Michael Auslin writes: Many will see any resumption of serious nuclear planning as provocative and will want to continue reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy. They can take solace from the fraught, dangerous, and sometimes terrifying Cold War era. It was the unpleasant task of taking nuclear war seriously that likely prevented it from ever breaking out. In an imperfect world, that is the best that can be hoped for, and a lesson we ignore at our peril. – Foreign Policy 

Latin America

Bolivia’s former interim president, Jeanine Áñez, was convicted late Friday of leading an alleged coup that deposed her left-wing predecessor, and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a closely watched trial. – Washington Post 

Argentine authorities have grounded an Iran-linked Venezuelan Boeing 747 cargo plane, a local opposition lawmaker and Iranian state media said on Sunday, in an unfolding drama that is throwing a spotlight on political undercurrents in Latin America. – Reuters 

Mexican immigration authorities disbanded a migrant caravan of at least 7,000 people, the government said Saturday, cutting short the group’s journey, which coincided with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. – Reuters  

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorized Russian troops, planes and ships to deploy to Nicaragua for purposes of training, law enforcement or emergency response. – Associated Press 

The leader of the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela was physically attacked Saturday during a visit to a rural community, according to members of his parallel government, who accused a group of ruling party associates of carrying out the assault. – Associated Press 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he believes Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government and the opposition will resume talks suspended since last year. – Agence France-Presse 

President Joe Biden made a forceful pitch to reassert US influence in Latin America through a weeklong summit in Los Angeles but the modesty of his promises will test his efforts at a time when China is making rapid inroads. – Agence France-Presse 

Stephen Blank writes: Russia has been able to forge this strategy despite its economic constraints because we have not paid sufficient attention to developments in these countries. The difficulties encountered by the Biden administration in mounting a successful Summit of the Americas, juxtaposed to the Russo-Nicaraguan deal, underscore why that deal should be a fire bell in the night. – The Hill 


French authorities believe the fiber optic cable cuts that disrupted Internet service across large swaths of France in April were likely the work of radical ecologists who oppose the digitalization of society, according to Kave Salamatian, a French academic who specializes in Internet resilience and who said he has been briefed on the investigation by colleagues at the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI). – CyberScoop 

A Russian cybersecurity official warned on Thursday that Western cyberattacks on the country’s critical infrastructure could lead to a “direct military clash.” – The Record 

Muhammad Riaz Shad writes: Pakistan has undertaken some significant initiatives for capacity development in cybersecurity, but much still remains to be done. […]However, the country lacks other collaborative measures, particularly international cybersecurity agreements and public-private partnerships. – The National Interest 


A Maryland Air National Guard unit recently sent a fleet of 10 A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes to participate in multinational combat exercises in eastern Europe, one of its largest training delegations there in the past decade. – Defense News 

House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee lawmakers want the U.S. Army to establish and run a pilot program examining how electric tactical vehicles might operate in the field. – Defense News 

AT&T Inc. said it successfully demonstrated its 5G network at Naval Base Coronado in California as part of a Department of Defense effort to adopt the technology and create so-called smart warehouses. – Defense News 

The nine nuclear-armed states, including the United States and Russia, are likely to grow and modernize their arsenal of warheads and to be more vocal about it in the coming decade in what is seen as a “worrying trend,” an influential think tank says in its latest annual study. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Long War

A disabled Iraqi prisoner at Guantánamo Bay has reached an agreement with military prosecutors to plead guilty to war crimes charges related to his role as a commander of insurgent forces in Afghanistan in the early 2000s, lawyers disclosed in court Friday. – New York Times 

Prosecutors in the Paris attacks trial on Friday demanded a life sentence without parole for the main suspect in the November 2015 jihadist strike that killed 130 in France’s worst-ever terror assault. – Agence France-Presse 

Michael R. Pompeo writes: Terrorism derives a part of its power by encasing itself within a hall of mirrors. This complicates our reactions, which are difficult enough without the Bidenite attempt to remove a core element of our countervailing response ─ the attainment of civil remedies against those who knowingly facilitate terrorism. This will cost precious lives. It is imperative that the high court hear these cases and reverse the lower-court rulings. The deceit that involves the misuse of charities must be crushed. – New York Post