Fdd's overnight brief

June 20, 2023

In The News


The Canadian government on Monday said it sanctioned Iranian judges over alleged human rights abuses, adding that the step would prohibit dealings with them and freeze any assets they may have held in Canada. – Reuters

The United States is holding talks with Iran to sketch out steps that could limit the Iranian nuclear programme, release some detained U.S. citizens and unfreeze some Iranian assets abroad, according to Iranian and Western officials. – Reuters

A free trade zone agreement between Iran, Russia and several countries that cover the vast Eurasian region spreading from the borders of Eastern Europe to Western China is possible by the end of the year, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Monday. – Reuters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel on Thursday, wrapping up a Latin America trip that also included visits to Iran’s two other allies in the region — Venezuela and Nicaragua. – Associated Press

An Iranian intelligence officer has claimed that the United States and France are among some 20 countries involved in nationwide protests last year sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s foreign minister said he discussed regional security and ways to boost trade in a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Tehran on Saturday. – Bloomberg

Iran is shipping the most crude in almost five years, fortifying its re-emergence on the geopolitical stage while posing risks for a fragile global crude market. – Bloomberg

Editorial: But Iran isn’t putting its antipathy to the U.S. and its allies on hold. The country is sending drones to Russia to use against Ukraine, and its proxies in Iraq and Syria have killed Americans with Tehran’s approval as recently as March. This latest effort at nuclear appeasement won’t work any better than the last one. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: In Israel, despite the polarized political situation, this is one topic on which both the coalition and opposition agree. There is a blame game over whose fault it is that Iran is now so close to a nuclear breakout, but no one is under any illusion regarding the dangers from Iran. Israel might be the primary target, but nowhere would be safe if Iran reaches the nuclear threshold. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Today it may be drones; tomorrow, it will be crewed aircraft. The only question now, as the Biden administration seeks to rush through a secret sanctions relief deal, is whether President Joe Biden and national security adviser Jake Sullivan care that they set the stage for sparking and prolonging conflicts far beyond the Middle East. – Washington Examiner

Joseph D’Souza writes: Ultimately, we must take hope in the human spirit. Human dignity can never be suppressed indefinitely. One way or another, the Iranian regime as it is currently constituted will fail unless there is reform. When it does, it will be women who played a crucial role in their liberation. Those women should not feel alone. To the extent they wish to be consistent with their own values, and the judgment of history, women in the West must stand by their Iranian peers in their quest for justice. – Washington Examiner

Daniel DePetris writes: A diplomatic accord, however, comes with stringent inspection protocols, meticulous monitoring mechanisms, and measurable restrictions on what Iranian scientists can (and can’t) produce and the type of equipment they can (and can’t) operate. And you can bet that all of those terms would last longer than one or two years. What we have between Washington and Tehran isn’t negotiations, at least not yet. But if the confidence-building steps are actually implemented, the room for real negotiations may just get wider. – Washington Examiner

Arturo McFields Yescas writes: Iran has just finalized a tour across Latin America’s authoritarian regimes, with a lot of anti-American rhetoric and several cooperation agreements. Its secret agenda does not presage anything good. This is not a good time for “cooling down” tensions or increasing “understanding.” Iran is increasing support to Russia’s war in Ukraine, promoting repression at home and strengthening ties with U.S. enemies in Latin America. Hemispheric security is at stake. There is an urgent need for stronger leadership and pressure to stop Iran’s high-voltage geopolitical games. – The Hill

Anthony Grant writes: What gives Mr. Biden cause to trust Iran? A de facto nuclear deal with the real mullahs of Tehran — who have likely not forgotten America’s ignominious retreat from Kabul — kicks the single most vital security issue in the Middle East today down the road and out of the way ahead of the next presidential election in 2024. Yet history shows that is a long time in the Middle East. A blinkered view from the Biden administration belies the reality that in that space of time, truly anything can happen. – New York Sun

Lahav Harkov writes: INARA was passed in 2015 to force the Obama administration to admit the details of the deal it was reaching to Congress. That agreement was unpopular once the American people knew what was in it. It’s hard to see how this will be any different, unless the Biden administration does not get away with hiding it as a “deal that must not be named.” – Jerusalem Post

Jonathan Spyer writes: It remains to be seen how long the Islamist regime in Tehran will hold power. But the revolutionaries, Kurds and others, organizing against them, in European cities, on Iran’s borders and within Iran itself, have advanced a considerable way since the movement galvanized by the murder of a single Iranian Kurdish woman was launched in September last year. They intend to continue moving forward. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran believes that Israel is losing out on the Iran-Saudi deal. It also is happy to see the Syrian regime reintegrated into the Arab League. It also believes that it has defeated the protests and can now strike at PJAK as it works with Turkey and Russia. For Iran, many things are now coming together. It also likely believes China has got the upper hand in relations with the US. This may affect how Iran looks at the prospect of any kind of new deal with Washington. With exports on the rise and a new hypersonic missile, Tehran likely believes it doesn’t need a new deal with DC. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran recently hosted Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi traveled to Latin America. Tehran believes it is on a winning streak in the region and views Israel as the main adversary and obstacle to that winning streak. For this reason, it will seek to benefit and profit from any instability or fallout from Jenin, using proxies such as PIJ to achieve this. – Jerusalem Post

Matthew Continetti writes: Appeasing Iran does nothing to further the cause of democracy. Nor does attempting détente with a China that has grown in belligerence since the spy balloon incident earlier this year. Nor does slow-walking weapons deliveries to Ukraine while hemming and hawing over Ukraine’s future in NATO. If Joe Biden wanted to preserve and promote democracy abroad, he would do more than give the occasional speech on the subject. He would mobilize hard power to confront authoritarians and deter them from hostile acts. Biden has made a career out of misjudgment. This sure-to-fail bargain with Iran is another entry in a depressing catalogue. – Washington Free Beacon

Russia & Ukraine

Military orthodoxy says that an army on the offensive that is hitting entrenched enemies should start with airborne barrages, followed by an overwhelming ground assault advancing beneath flying gunships blasting open a path. Ukraine hasn’t had that option. – Wall Street Journal

The first battles in Ukraine’s big offensive, aimed at retaking land in the country’s south and east occupied by Russia, are yielding a steady flow of Russian prisoners. Many will likely be exchanged, eventually, for Ukrainian soldiers taken prisoner by Russian forces. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine said its forces were advancing on several axes in their counteroffensive but were struggling to counter Russian air and artillery superiority hobbling its assaults in the east and south. – Wall Street Journal

Guards and inmates refer to IK-17 as a “fashion colony,” mainly for its brightly painted exteriors meant to impress occasional visitors. But accounts from current American inmates paint a much darker picture of the remote penitentiary, 300 miles east of Moscow, where Russia houses many of its foreign prisoners accused of crimes ranging from spying to drug trafficking. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was put on trial Monday on extremism charges that could result in his existing prison sentences extended by decades. The proceedings swiftly turned Kafkaesque. – Washington Post

As a delegation of African leaders visited the Ukrainian capital Friday morning, bringing a proposal for “confidence-building measures” aimed at halting the war, Moscow launched a daytime barrage of airstrikes, bombarding Kyiv with a “massive combined attack” of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones. – Washington Post

Last month, anti-corruption investigators said they caught Knyazyev “red-handed” receiving a payment of about $450,000 — a “second tranche of illegal benefits” in a corruption scheme potentially involving other members of Ukraine’s Supreme Court and judiciary. The cash in the photos was found at his home and office, officials said. Knyazyev was arrested and dismissed from his position, and a criminal investigation is ongoing. – Washington Post

As Ukraine readied its counteroffensive by gathering Western weapons and sending its troops for NATO training, Russia spent at least seven months preparing for this potentially definitive stage of the war — by readying reserves, artillery and aviation support, stockpiling ammunition and fuel, and procuring more drones. – Washington Post

For close to 15 months, the bodies of fallen soldiers have steadily filled up a hillside military cemetery in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Now, the old, unmarked graves of those killed in past wars are being exhumed to make way for the seemingly endless stream of dead since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times

A new trial of Aleksei A. Navalny, Russia’s jailed opposition leader, began on Monday, with several extremism charges potentially adding decades to the prison sentences that he is already serving. – New York Times

As President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has pursued enemies abroad, his intelligence operatives now appear prepared to cross a line that they previously avoided: trying to kill a valuable informant for the U.S. government on American soil. – New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia wrapped up what was for him an extraordinary and sometimes rambling week of upbeat commentary on the Ukraine war by asserting on Friday that Russia was so assured of prevailing against the Ukrainian counteroffensive that he had ruled out using nuclear weapons. – New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday rejected suggestions that Russia had become isolated over its invasion of Ukraine, telling an audience in St. Petersburg that the Russian economy was resilient and that Moscow’s ties with other nations had grown. – New York Times

Britain said on Sunday it would expand its programme to help Ukraine’s cyber defences as it launches a counter-offensive against Russia. – Reuters

The Kremlin’s spokesman said Monday that U.N. aid workers who want to visit areas ravaged by the recent Kakhovka dam collapse in southern Ukraine can’t go there because fighting in the war makes it unsafe. – Associated Press

Andreas Kluth writes: From the atrocities of Bucha to the mass deportations of Ukrainian children and — to all appearances — the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, Putin has brought hell to a neighboring country that didn’t threaten him, along with lies and cynicism to his own people and the world. If there is any way to stop him, it is with iron will — and, if necessary, nuclear resolve. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: What the Russian leader fears most is an undercurrent of anger that propels new political movements. As a figurehead for the dual narratives that political opposition is both difficult to eliminate and supremely necessary, Navalny poses a major threat. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: A timeline for Ukraine’s future membership in NATO deserves consideration when the war in Ukraine ends. But that time has plainly not yet arrived. – Washington Examiner

Alexander J. Motyl writes: Some Western policymakers and analysts believe that Russia isn’t irrational, that its rationality is unlike that found in the West. Whatever the case, just how does one talk to people who completely misunderstand geopolitical realities, truly believe that nuclear weapons are a product of divine intervention, aspire to create a messianic Russia, and believe that destroying Poznan and other European cities isn’t to start World War III but to prevent it? – The Hill

Anthony Grant writes: There can be little doubt that Ukraine and in a sense the West too is waging a two-pronged counteroffensive in Ukraine. As if a grinding battle along a 600-mile long front line in the Donbas weren’t bad enough, a war of attrition in the skies will likely only compound the misery of ordinary Ukrainians caught in the crossfire. In the absence of more concrete steps to tackle the Iranian aerial menace, it will prolong it as well. – New York Sun

Ilan Berman writes: The biggest change, however, is taking place in Russia itself. Russia’s misadventure in Ukraine, Gallup concludes, has “seriously eroded its status and prestige,” leading to a “seismic shift in public opinion [that] may signal the twilight of Europe’s last empire.” In other words, in his efforts to revive a Russian empire, Mr. Putin may have decisively doomed his country’s chances of ever being one again. For that, Russia’s president has no one but himself to blame. – Washington Times


Israeli military helicopters fired in the direction of Palestinian militants engaged in a fierce gunbattle with Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank early Monday, in a violent episode that killed at least five Palestinians and prompted escalatory rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian officials. – Wall Street Journal

The trailer serves as a pop-up religious school, the first concrete sign of a controversial move by Israel’s new right-wing government to allow Jewish settlers back into Homesh — a remote hilltop settlement Israel demolished 18 years ago as part of a limited, U.S.-backed retreat from parts of the occupied Palestinian territories. – Washington Post

Russia’s embassy in Israel will open offices in Jerusalem to serve its consular section as part of an agreement with the city, the embassy and Israel’s foreign ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged Israel to halt and reverse what he described as troubling and alarming decisions on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, a U.N. spokesperson said. – Reuters

The widow of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi says in a lawsuit that surveillance software built by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group was used to spy on her messages in the months leading up to her husband’s death. – Reuters

Israel could find acceptable an understanding between its arch-foe Iran and the United States if it includes rigorous supervision of Tehran’s nuclear programme, a senior lawmaker said in comments aired on Saturday. – Reuters

Israel will build a 254-kilometre (158 mile) fibre-optic cable between the Mediterranean and Red Sea, creating a continuous link between Europe and countries in the Gulf and Asia, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday. – Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he opposes any interim agreement reportedly being negotiated between the U.S. and Iran over its nuclear program. – Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would push ahead with its contentious plan to reshape the judicial system after opposition lawmakers suspended negotiations over a compromise approach. – Bloomberg

Intel Corp. has agreed in principle to build a new manufacturing plant in Israel, part of a push by the US semiconductor giant and its chip peers to diversify their production sources. – Bloomberg

A new agreement with Iran will not prevent it from attaining a nuclear weapon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

The Israel Prison Service seized six smuggled mobile phones from Palestinian Islamic Jihad prisoners at the Ketziot Prison in southern Israel after a prisoner used a smuggled phone to stream his brother’s funeral on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel failed to meet the minimum United States standards to combat human trafficking within its borders despite steps it took to improve enforcement, the US State Department said in an annual report it released on the issue last week. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s cutting-edge technology is the best defense from threats from Iran and its other enemies, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

American and British State Comptrollers will conduct an audit of the Israeli State Comptroller Office’s financial and international comparison auditing methodology, following the signing of an agreement between Israel State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman and UK State Comptroller Gareth Davies at the governing board meeting of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Opposition head MK Yair Lapid attacked the Israeli government on Friday for what he called the “colossal failure” of allowing an expected unwritten nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Amid reports that the US is close to reaching an interim nuclear deal with Iran, a senior White House official is visiting Israel this week and meeting with Israeli officials. – Times of Israel

The White House on Monday said it opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push to advance judicial reforms without support from across the aisle, after leaders in Jerusalem readied to begin passing controversial legislation as compromise talks with the opposition broke down. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Simultaneously, we must work diligently to prevent Hamas and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad from benefiting from the situation. Iran clearly aims to exploit this turmoil to threaten Israel, while Hamas – one of its local proxies – has expressed support for the attacks that took place on Monday. We now have an opportunity to focus on the recent events in Jenin and exert pressure on Abbas to take more decisive action in restoring stability to the region. This approach aligns with a strategy that will benefit those in the neighborhood who desire peace and reject further escalation. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: According to Prosor, the wake-up call for Germany and Europe in was Iran’s recent military support for Russia. “Germany and the whole of Europe will gain from this, as will the Israeli economy,” he said of the German decision to buy Arrow 3, which, he said, represents a significant upgrade in the strategic relationship between Israel and Germany. We agree, and we look forward to seeing that relationship continue to deepen and grow in the years ahead. – Jerusalem Post

Benny Avni writes: In a diplomatic gesture, Israel this week expressed support for Riyadh’s aspiration to host a 2030 expo conference at Paris. Also, Mr. Netanyahu approved, at considerable political cost, a plan for the development of a Palestinian maritime gas field near Gaza. Such gestures are pushed aside as Washington concentrates on the latest West Bank goings on and the bigger goal, one it shares with Riyadh and Jerusalem, gradually fades like a desert mirage. – New York Sun

Benny Avni writes: Mr. Biden, nevertheless, seems intent on presenting a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran on the eve of the 2024 presidential election. Israeli politicians, reflecting a widely held public mood, are unified in opposition to such diplomacy. Their debate is over who in Jerusalem is responsible for a deal — even though the onus is on Washington. – New York Sun

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: But as the PA continues to shake to its foundations and as Jenin’s insurrection and some other Palestinian towns’ get more sophisticated, enough to batter armored vehicles and require attack helicopter interventions, if some new strategy is not used, isn’t that West Bank broader collapse into chaos becoming more likely to happen anyway? The race may be on for the IDF to come up with a better strategy before a larger operation becomes inevitable or before it is too late to prevent a broader West Bank collapse into chaos. – Jerusalem Post

Herb Keinon writes: If PA impotence is now centered in Jenin and the northern West Bank, this impotence will spread through the territories when Abbas leaves the scene. Currently, the IDF is struggling to figure out how to deal with the vacuum left by the PA in Jenin. Lessons learned there will likely be used elsewhere once Abbas departs and the PA vacuum inevitably spreads. – Jerusalem Post

Neville Teller writes: Given that the two-state solution is an article of faith for China, as for much of world opinion, the Chinese and all those holding it will have to face up to an awkward truth. Until Hamas has been disempowered, and those Palestinians within and outside Gaza who adhere to its beliefs outflanked, two states can never become practical politics. But if two states did somehow emerge, all those supporting it would need to remember that, for a large proportion of Palestinians, Israel occupying part of what was mandated Palestine is but a way station on history’s long march. – Jerusalem Post

Omer Dostri writes: In light of this reality, Israel must be prepared for the possibility of acting alone in addressing the Iranian nuclear threat. Moreover, Israel should anticipate a scenario in which the Biden administration refuses to endorse an Israeli attack, potentially leading to the withholding of American aid across various strategic, operational, political, and diplomatic dimensions, including military supplies, intelligence sharing, regional cooperation, UN Security Council vetoes, and international support. – Jerusalem Post


Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the constitution and democratic system had been violated in “cold blood” during a failed attempt to elect a new president last week, and warned that divisions in the nation had widened. – Reuters

Contrary to other areas in southern Lebanon where operations to clear landmines are carried out by UNIFIL forces, the mines near Metula are dealt with by a civil contractor hired by the Lebanese government. Some in the Israeli town argue that the Lebanese government is working under the instruction of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, which conducts military drills to prepare for infiltrating Israel close to the border. – Ynet

Alexander Langlois writes: Regardless, Bassil understands the political game being played. He likely expected Hezbollah to support his nomination upon Aoun’s departure—something that was simply never going to happen given the sanctions issue. Rather than risk a political liability in Bassil, Hezbollah opted for what they believe is a less controversial candidate in Frangieh. This ultimately pushed Bassil away, broadening a rift in the alliance that had been developing since last year—largely over the role of the cabinet and government without a presidency. – The National Interest


He was not alone. In recent months, complaints from Taliban officials, the police and soldiers of their WhatsApp accounts being banned or temporarily deactivated have become widespread, disruptions that have illuminated how the messaging platform has become a backbone of the Taliban’s nascent government. Those interruptions also underscore the far-reaching consequences of international sanctions on a government that has become among the most isolated in the world. – New York Times

A U.N. expert said on Monday that the treatment of Afghan women and girls by the Taliban could amount to “gender apartheid” as their rights continue to be gravely infringed by the country’s de facto authorities. – Reuters

The Taliban’s acting governor of the Afghan central bank met China’s ambassador this week to discuss banking relations and business, the bank’s spokesperson told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

Almost two years since he fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban takeover, Firooz Mashoof is still haunted by the memory of his last day in Kabul — the bus that took him to the airport, getting on a packed plane and taking off as gunfire echoed across the city. – Associated Press

The Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has banned wedding halls in Kabul, Afghanistan from playing music and other activities that they say contradict Islamic rulings. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s special envoy to Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Qomi said over the weekend that the Taliban are willing to be more flexible regarding Iran wanting access to the Kajaki Dam. This agreement would allow Iranian experts access to inspect, Iran’s Tehran Times and Fars News reported. Tasnim News said that the Taliban had given “consent to dam supply check.” – Jerusalem Post

Luke Coffey writes: As the world approaches the two-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul, it should not turn its eyes away from the tragic situation unfolding in Afghanistan. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Iran’s continued belligerency in the Middle East, it is easy to overlook — or even want to forget — about Afghanistan. However, history shows that what happens in Afghanistan can impact the rest of the world. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, policymakers need to wake up to the challenges posed by a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. – Arab News


The Jordanian army shot down a drone carrying weapons from Syria on Friday, the military said, the second time this week Jordan has downed an unmanned aircraft flying into its territory from neighbouring Syria. – Reuters

The UK government has imposed new sanctions on officials accused of perpetrating widespread sexual violence in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A series of asset freezes and travel bans were unveiled on Monday to mark an international day of action to stamp out sexual violence in conflict. – Financial Times

A rocket engine, which seems to be an anti-aircraft missile, was pulled out of the Kinneret on Saturday. […]According to evaluations, it was part of an anti-aircraft missile that was shot by the Syrian military in an attempt to hit an Israeli plane during the Yom Kippur War or the Six Day War. – Jerusalem Post


Further talks will be needed in order to resume Iraq’s northern oil exports, two officials told Reuters today following a meeting between a Turkish energy technical delegation and Iraqi oil officials in Baghdad on Monday. – Reuters

Iraq on Sunday invited foreign companies to bid for contracts to explore and develop natural gas reserves in 11 new blocks as the OPEC member seeks to produce much-needed natural gas for power stations and cut imports that weigh on the country’s budget. – Reuters

Helped by buoyant oil prices and a period of political calm at home and in the region, Iraq appears more stable than any time since the U.S.-led invasion, although the government’s bid to cement gains with a budget splurge may prove a shaky foundation. – Reuters

Three Qatari companies and Iraq’s National Investment Commission have agreed to develop $9.5 billion worth of projects in Iraq, including the construction of a pair of power plants that will generate a total of 2,400 megawatts, according to statements issued on Sunday. – Reuters

Ammar Rashed has a stack of letters from U.S. troops attesting to his work during some of the most dangerous days of the Iraq War. But six years after he applied to immigrate to the United States under a program for interpreters who helped America, he is still waiting. – Associated Press

A last tanker that had been waiting in the Mediterranean Sea for nearly three months to load Kurdish crude has sailed away without a cargo amid a payment dispute between Iraq and Turkey. – Bloomberg

A 2,800-year-old stone tablet has gone on display in Iraq after being returned by Italy following nearly four decades. – BBC

Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) released a video on 14 June showing an Iranian-made Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) taking off and circling an airbase that could be identified as the one popularly known as Camp Speicher in Salah al-Din governorate. – JANES

Yerevan Saeed writes: While a fresh election cannot guarantee national unity, it can provide an opportunity to foster trust, encourage dialogue, and increase citizen participation. The election can also help build a sense of unity and shared purpose provided it is fair and clean. For this to happen, the political field in Kurdistan must be leveled through a new political pact backed by the KRG’s foreign patrons. This demands more American and European diplomatic engagement than ever before, despite their sense of diplomatic fatigue. In the event of a Western diplomatic vacuum, China and other western adversaries could seek to fill in the gap. Washington must not allow Beijing another diplomatic win in the Middle East. – Washington Institute


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he urged Turkey to allow Sweden’s entry into NATO during an introductory meeting on Friday with his new Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler during a gathering of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. – Reuters

Turkey’s central bank is expected to raise its policy rate by a huge 1,150 basis points next week, from 8.5% to 20%, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, in a policy U-turn after rate cuts under President Tayyip Erdogan led to a cost-of-living crisis. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed that the Russian leader will visit Turkey “soon”, Interfax cited a Kremlin aide as saying on Friday. – Reuters

Turkey and Hungary must ratify Sweden’s NATO membership before the alliance meets at a summit in July, France’s foreign minister said on Friday, adding that any further delays were not understandable and risked the 31-members’ security. – Reuters

A Turkish-Kyrgyz educator who was abducted by Turkish agents in Kyrgyzstan in 2021 has been sentenced to 21 years in prison on a charge of “establishing an armed terrorist group,” Turkish media reports said on June 16, adding that Orhan Inandi had been “brought to Turkey via an “operation” carried out by the National Intelligence Organization. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Nimrod Goren writes: Turkey-Israel relations might face renewed challenges in the near future given the deep ideological differences between their leaderships on the Palestinian issue. In the meantime, both countries can benefit from advancing shared bilateral and regional interests, that will broaden Israel-Turkey ties and assist in preventing another crisis if and when political tensions increase. In parallel, Israelis and Turks who hold beliefs and ideologies that differ from their leaders, should utilize the improved official ties to step up their value-based cooperation, and enhance bilateral and international liberal partnerships. – Jerusalem Post

Mohamed Abdelaziz writes: In Egypt, rapprochement is even more fast-paced. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Cairo in March to meet with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry for the first time since bilateral relations were severed about a decade ago. Following the meeting, the two sides announced in a press meeting that ties will be restored to the ambassadorial level. These examples of rapprochement are early indications of the pragmatic policy that Arab states will probably pursue in their future relations with Turkey. – Washington Institute


A Lebanese judge on Monday questioned auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn in Beirut over possible links to a former French Cabinet minister charged two years ago with “passive corruption” for work she did for him, officials familiar with the case said. – Associated Press

Interpol has issued an international warrant for a Lebanese man suspected of trafficking stolen antiquities, weeks after he was questioned in Lebanon, judicial officials said Friday. – Associated Press

President Emmanuel Macron’s new special envoy for Lebanon heads to Beirut in the coming week as France seeks a new push to end a political crisis that has left the country without a president for over half a year, a diplomatic source said Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for a “rapid end to the institutional political vacuum in Lebanon”, the Elysee said on Friday. – Agence France-Presse


What might sound empowering in the United States and thought-provoking in the Netherlands, however, is anathema to Egypt’s government and many of its people, who have flooded the museum’s Facebook and Google pages with complaints — occasionally racist ones — about what they see as Western appropriation of their history. – New York Times

India is weighing a proposal to begin barter trade in goods like fertiliser and gas with Egypt as part of a wider deal that could see New Delhi extending a credit line worth several billion dollars to Cairo, sources told Reuters. – Reuters

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) said on Sunday it would act as the strategic advisor for Egypt’s plans to boost the role of the private sector in the economy. – Reuters

A project to expand roads and bridges to ease congestion in Cairo has put thousands of tombs in a vast and ancient Islamic cemetery under threat, causing outcry among conservationists and family members. […]The UNESCO World Heritage site extends for 10 square kilometres (3.9 square miles) and many of Cairo’s most prominent families maintain a deep bond with the cemeteries, where they continue to bury their dead. – Reuters

Luckily, Sayyed, his wife and three children survived, and they immediately fled the war-torn city. The problem was, their passports were buried under the wreckage of their home. Now they are among tens of thousands of people without travel documents trapped at the border with Egypt, unable to cross into Sudan’s northern neighbor. – Associated Press

The last time Sabah Abd Rabu Hussein heard from her son, Yahia Saleh, he was planning to board a migrant vessel from conflict-ridden Libya to Europe. That was two weeks ago. […]The 18-year-old was on board an old fishing trawler that sailed from the town of Tobruk in eastern Libya on June 9. He was heading to Italy, like many other young men from his village in Egypt’s Nile Delta. – Associated Press

Arabian Peninsula

Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Friday signed a health agreement between the UAE’s largest health player and Israeli’s largest hospital, as the two sides seek to draw economic benefits from their almost three-year relationship. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar announced the reopening of their embassies on Monday following a yearslong rift. – Associated Press

Kuwait formed its fifth government in less than a year, naming new oil and defense ministers, as the OPEC member tries to break out of a protracted political impasse that has stalled fiscal reform and development. – Bloomberg

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the leader of the United Arab Emirates at a flagship business forum on Friday, in an effort by the Kremlin to ease its international isolation over the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg


A commercial flight carrying more than 270 Yemeni Muslim pilgrims left the rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Saturday to Saudi Arabia, an official said, the first such flight in about seven years. – Associated Press

Yemen’s government and Iran-backed Houthi militia are locked in talks in Jordan to set the ground for a possible prisoner exchange, a Red Cross official told AFP on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

Yemen’s Houthi Ansar Allah Movement Promotes Summer Camp Program For Children; Pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Media Outlet Warns Yemenis Against Shi’ite Recruitment Of Children – Middle East Media Research Institute

Saudi Arabia

Shortly after his plane took off earlier this month from Riyadh, where he had held a lengthy meeting with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken called a different Middle East leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. – New York Times

Israel said on Monday that hoped-for direct flights to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage would not happen this year, and played down any prospects of an imminent U.S.-mediated normalisation of relations with Riyadh. – Reuters

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris as part of an official visit, during which he will also participate in a global financing summit aimed at fighting poverty and climate change. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, during a rare visit to bitter rival Iran, stressed the importance of “security cooperation” in the region to ensure the Persian Gulf is free of weapons of mass destruction and to maintain maritime safety in crucial trade routes. – Radio Free Europe / Radio LIberty

Saudi Arabia has invited Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi for an official visit, according to its foreign minister, in the latest sign of a rapprochement between the regional rivals who have agreed to restore diplomatic relations and ease longstanding tensions. – Financial Times

One of golf’s greatest legends is calling out the PGA Tour in the wake of its controversial partnership with the Saudi-backed fund behind LIV Golf. – New York Post

Josh Rogin writes: The very least the Saudi regime could do is to take some of its ill-gotten Ukraine war gains and use them to help Ukraine, above all through rebuilding of its infrastructure and economy. Buying the PGA Tour is a brazen move, but it won’t fix Saudi Arabia’s image or obscure the fact that MBS and his cronies have abused Ukraine’s suffering to line their pockets. – Washington Post

Gulf States

Qatar is set to secure its second large gas supply deal with a Chinese state-controlled company in less than a year, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters

Talal Al Zain, the former chief executive officer of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, has joined an Israeli firm that aims to invest in companies in the Middle East and North Africa and introduce Israeli technologies to the region. – Bloomberg

Fareed Zakaria writes: This surge of wealth has reshaped the Middle East. The once-dominant players in the region — Egypt, Iraq, Syria — are, for various reasons (poverty, division, dysfunction), unable to play leading roles. The gulf is where the action is. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has made a huge strategic shift in its foreign policy. […]Most countries would like to pursue a policy that allows them to freelance, choosing friends in the West and East, as suits their interests. If the crown prince continues down the path he is now on, Saudi Arabia will likely be able to manage this balancing act. – Washington Post


The United Nations envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily said on Monday that proposed electoral laws had not resolved contentious issues and were not enough to allow elections. – Reuters

Spanish charity Open Arms said it rescued 117 migrants on Saturday crowded onto a precarious wooden boat from Libya in the latest such perilous crossing over the Mediterranean sea. – Reuters

Libya’s eastern forces under commander Khalifa Haftar support a proposal to set up a new interim government, they said late on Friday, setting up a challenge to the existing administration in Tripoli. – Reuters

The U.N. special envoy for Libya said Monday he plans to intensify negotiations with the country’s feuding parties to reach “a final settlement” in the coming months on the most contentious issues blocking long postponed elections in the troubled north African nation. – Associated Press

A son of Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi is suffering deteriorating health during the second week of a hunger strike to protest his detention in Beirut without trial, his lawyer said Friday. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This instability is important because it shows how the Mediterranean needs more coordination between states and an investment in the systems and infrastructure that can help prevent more disasters at sea. This means addressing the chaos in Libya, as well as better coordination between rescue vessels and those able to provide assistance. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

President Kais Saied sidelined the North African country’s democratic institutions two years ago, re-establishing one-man rule. More than 20 journalists now face prison time, and other Tunisians have been jailed for antigovernment Facebook posts. – New York Times

The U.N. Palestinian refugee agency said on Friday it had resumed delivering services in the West Bank after a months-long strike that affected thousands. – Reuters

Israel gave preliminary approval for the development of a gas field off the Gaza Strip on Sunday while saying it would require security coordination with the Palestinian Authority and neighbouring Egypt. – Reuters

France will offer Tunisia 25.8 million euros to help it stop boats carrying migrants across the Mediterranean, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said during a visit to Tunis on Monday. – Reuters

Tunisia’s president said Monday that his country doesn’t want to be Europe’s border guard or a land of resettlement for migrants rejected elsewhere. – Associated Press

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wrapped up a trip to China Friday after seeking economic aid and voicing support for Beijing’s repressive policies toward Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. – Associated Press

A police officer guarding the Brazilian Embassy in Tunisia was fatally stabbed Monday in an unexplained attack, the Tunisian Interior Ministry said. The suspected assailant was arrested. – Associated Press

Visitors to Jordan this month noticed a new addition to the royal portraits over highways and hospitals. The 28-year-old Crown Prince Hussein and his glamorous Saudi bride, Rajwa Alseif, now beam down at motorists stuck in Amman traffic. – Associated Press

The leaders of Palestinian terror groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas held talks Monday with top Iranian officials in Tehran as deadly violence flared in the West Bank. – Agence France-Presse

Interior and Health Minister Moshe Arbel visited Morocco over the weekend to visit his counterparts and agree to promote cooperation between the countries on various matters, including easing mutual visa requirements and bringing Moroccans to work in Israel. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s prime minister made an unusual promise this week, saying he would be willing to drink water discharged from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant if it met international standards. – Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s top political leaders “bitterly criticized” officials responsible for a botched attempt to launch a military satellite last month and ordered them to try again, state media reported on Monday. – New York Times

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he supports South Korea’s efforts to develop a “healthy and mature” cooperative relationship with China, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol departed Seoul for Paris on Monday to support his country’s bid to host Expo 2030, part of a foreign trip that will also include meetings with the leaders of France and Vietnam, his office said. – Reuters

South Korea and the United States will hold a high-level meeting on cyber security in Washington on June 20, the presidential office in Seoul said on Friday. – Reuters

With leader Kim Jong Un in attendance, North Korea opened a key political conference to discuss improving its struggling economy and reviewing defense strategies in the face of growing tensions with rivals, according to state media reports on Saturday. – Associated Press

The United States deployed a nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying about 150 Tomahawk missiles to South Korea on Friday, a day after North Korea resumed missile tests in protest of the U.S.-South Korean live-fire drills. – Associated Press


China and Cuba are negotiating to establish a new joint military training facility on the island, sparking alarm in Washington that it could lead to the stationing of Chinese troops and other security and intelligence operations just 100 miles off Florida’s coast, according to current and former U.S. officials. – Wall Street Journal

China and the U.S. took steps to halt the downward spiral in relations, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping, though the two powers might have trouble keeping their global rivalry from swamping the tentative rapprochement. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese banks trimmed benchmark interest rates on loans to households and businesses, a telegraphed move that follows earlier rate cuts aimed at reigniting a fading economic recovery. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese police said they detained a teenager who captured national attention during a soccer game in Beijing by running onto the pitch and hugging superstar Lionel Messi. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese leader Xi Jinping turned 70 on Thursday, a milestone marked publicly in China by next to nothing. Xi has accumulated more power than his recent predecessors, and his image is ubiquitous across state media. But his birthday, in keeping with longstanding Communist Party restrictions against celebrating the birthdays of living leaders, is hardly mentioned, even on such an occasion as significant as his 70th. – Wall Street Journal

While the United States has seen no sign that the Chinese government has decided to send lethal aid to Russia, it is worried that private Chinese companies will provide matériel and technology that Moscow’s military could use in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Monday. – New York Times

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said on Monday that the United States and China – the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters – must create a partnership to tackle climate change without allowing their differences on other issues get in the way. – Reuters

Chinese Premier Li Qiang has started a visit to Germany and France that comes as Europe seeks to balance concerns over economic dependence on China and about its stance toward Ukraine and Taiwan with a desire to engage Beijing on issues such as climate change. – Associated Press

An exhibition by a provocative Chinese artist that criticizes the country’s human rights record opened at a Polish state-run museum on Friday despite pressure from the Chinese Embassy to cancel it. – Associated Press

Chinese leader Xi Jinping said the United States and China can cooperate to “benefit our two countries” in a meeting Friday with Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a time of strained relations. – Associated Press

China’s Foreign Ministry condemned a resolution passed by the European Parliament concerning Hong Kong’s shrinking rights to free speech, even as Beijing seeks to restore economic links with the EU. – Associated Press

The US envoy to Japan slammed Xi Jinping’s handling of China’s economy while calling an upcoming visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken a chance to stabilize relations. – Bloomberg

Editorial: China promised Hong Kong autonomy for 50 years in a treaty with the United Kingdom. But over the past four years the city has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party. The city has done China’s bidding by imposing a repressive national-security law and arresting publisher Jimmy Lai and others who criticize Beijing. Mr. Lee has been Beijing’s chief local enforcer. The State Department’s reversal followed a bipartisan letter last week from GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Chris Smith and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Jim McGovern asking that Mr. Lee not be invited to the conference. Mr. Lee works for Chinese President Xi Jinping, and he doesn’t deserve independent recognition. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: One visit to China by America’s top diplomat will not be enough to get relations back on track, and the State Department is right to downplay expectations. But it’s essential to renew dialogue — especially military-to-military talks. Keeping channels of communication open is essential, among adversaries and competitors. A high-level visit, the kind that used to be routine, is a good place to start. – Washington Post

Thomas J. Duesterberg writes:  It also should create a private right of action in the U.S. to empower civil litigation against individuals or firms involved in illicit opioid businesses. If China refuses to cooperate in shutting down the fentanyl trade, Washington should consider cutting off Chinese banks’ access to the U.S. financial system. That would do enough economic damage to get Mr. Xi’s attention. – Wall Street Journal

Walter Russell Mead writes: These trends are creating a new reality in the Indo-Pacific, and Beijing’s leadership is smart and pragmatic enough to adapt. So far, so good, and Americans in both parties should applaud the Biden administration’s successes across the region. But the alliances and partnerships that give the U.S. the strength to manage its relationship with Beijing depend on military heft and the depth of economic relationships with other leading powers. American military spending remains woefully inadequate, and the Biden administration has no serious trade strategy. Until these critical gaps are addressed, the edifice of American power the administration hopes to erect in the Indo-Pacific rests on a foundation of sand. – Wall Street Journal

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: the U.S. must be willing to exert its own pressure on Beijing if it is to have any chance of breaking Xi from his reflexive belief that “win-win” cooperation always means Beijing winning twice as much as the U.S. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: dialogue is positive, but it cannot come at the expense of U.S. resolve to confront and constrain China’s imperially vested threats. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: The nation may soon be at war with China. Helping China better wage that war is not part of the job description for a member of Congress. At least, it shouldn’t be. Top line: Fink and Dimon cannot be allowed to invest in future American graveyards at the bottom of the East and South China seas. – Washington Examiner

James Rogan writes: The reality that China is allowing its currency to depreciate is galling for Xi as he is pushing the idea that the Chinese yuan replace the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency. The Chinese economy is mired in the mud of state planning. So the omniscient state planners are pushing economic string theory. – Washington Examiner

Derek Hunter writes: To be sure, TikTok’s ties to China are a legitimate concern. But Facebook doesn’t really believe that. If it did, then perhaps the company would reconsider its own financial ties to China, which consist of hefty ad revenue from Chinese companies and lucrative deals in which Facebook has agreed to hand over data to firms there. – Washington Examiner

Joseph L. Votel and Liz Schrayer write: If we don’t show up around the world, we cede the playing field to autocracies. America has the tools to engage, but we’re not using them at the scale required to compete in this century. Now chair of the newly created House China Committee, Gallagher warns, “Our policy over the next 10 years will set the stage for the next hundred.” He’s right. It is a good reminder that when we bring together the full weight of our national security toolkit — especially diplomatic, economic and development approaches — we stand the best chance of preserving our influence and protecting American interests. – The Hill

Silvestre Reyes writes: The Chinese threat to U.S. food security and national security is unmistakable. China’s purchases of American farmland and dumping of subsidized amino acids into the U.S. market cannot continue, and I encourage the Biden administration and Congress to work together in a bipartisan fashion to safeguard our nation. – The Hill

South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ties between New Delhi and Washington are stronger and deeper than ever as India moves to secure what he sees as its rightful place on the world stage at a moment of geopolitical turmoil. – Wall Street Journal

As President Biden welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House this week, the BrahMos missile illustrates how India’s long-standing reliance on Russia for military equipment and technology constrains New Delhi’s ability to line up with the West in confronting Russia over its war in Ukraine. To Washington’s disappointment, India has not condemned the invasion. – Washington Post

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has saidthat India’s stance on Russia in the Ukraine conflict has not faced widespread criticism in the United States. – Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to the leaders of the G20 nations proposing the African Union be given full, permanent membership of the diplomatic group at its upcoming summit in India, an official source said. – Reuters

U.S. rights groups plan protests next week against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington over what they call India’s deteriorating human rights record, even though experts do not expect Washington to be publicly critical of New Delhi. – Reuters

The U.N. human rights chief called on Monday for greater support for his office as he seeks to expand its work by establishing a first-time presence in the world’s two most populous countries India and China, whose rights records are drawing more scrutiny. – Reuters

The World Bank is likely to approve $700 million in budgetary and welfare support for Sri Lanka at its next board meeting on June 28, sources told Reuters, the biggest funding tranche for the crisis-hit island nation since an IMF deal in March. – Reuters

The international rights group Amnesty International called on Pakistan’s government on Tuesday to stop what it described as random arrests of Afghan refugees, including those with Pakistani visas. – Associated Press

Indian soldiers killed five suspected militants in a gunfight along the highly militarized de-facto frontier in disputed Kashmir, police said Friday. – Associated Press

The International Monetary Fund slammed Pakistan’s government on Thursday over its proposal for the new annual budget, saying it failed to implement a more fair tax system in the draft. – Associated Press

Editorial: Also alarming is Mr. Modi’s crackdown on nongovernmental organizations and civil society activists, forcing them to comply with burdensome accounting for foreign funding. […]None of these actions befit the world’s most populous democracy. There will be a strong temptation by the White House to bring up the issue only privately and keep public remarks upbeat. A private conversation is definitely worthwhile. But Mr. Biden should also say something openly, as the leader of one major (imperfect) democracy to another. Friends have an obligation to speak the truth to friends. – Washington Post

Salvatore Babones writes: The many scare stories we hear coming out of India are, for the most part, problems cherry-picked from among a vast population living in a country afflicted by hostile neighbors, international terrorism, and serious poverty. Of course, Indian democracy faces challenges, but they mostly come down to poor resourcing, not malicious intent. If the U.S. is going to embrace any developing country, India should be at the front of the queue. – Washington Examiner


When Facebook took off in Vietnam about a decade ago, it was like a “revolution,” said two of the company’s early employees in Asia. For the first time, people across the country could communicate directly about current affairs. Users posted about police abuse and government waste, poking holes in the propaganda of the ruling Communist Party. “It felt like a liberation,” said one of the Facebook employees, “and we were part of it.” – Washington Post

Japan is considering providing the engines of retired F-15 fighter jets to Indonesia as it weighs up revising its guidelines on the export of defence equipment, Jiji news agency said on Monday. – Reuters

Taiwan’s central bank said on Saturday it has smooth communication channels with the U.S. Treasury Department and will keep talking with them about foreign exchange policies, after the United States kept the island on a monitoring list. – Reuters

There has been no sign of improvement in the political situation in Myanmar since the 2021 coup, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said following a meeting in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said he shared his counterpart’s pessimism. – Reuters

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday he would visit China from June 25 to 30, leading a trade delegation that includes some of the country’s biggest companies. – Reuters

Thailand’s caretaker government was preparing to host talks with the foreign minister of Myanmar’s military junta on Monday, a day later than planned, as key Southeast Asian nations signalled they would stay away from the divisive meeting. – Reuters

The Chinese embassy in London on Sunday condemned a meeting last week between Britain’s security minister, Tom Tugendhat, and Taiwan’s digital minister, saying it violated international relations. – Reuters

Japanese Emperor Naruhito met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday during his first official foreign trip since ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019. – Associated Press

Thailand on Monday will host a meeting of neighboring countries to discuss the violent political deadlock in Myanmar, an initiative that has been criticized for potentially undermining regional peace efforts and for being carried out by a caretaker government. – Associated Press

Russia accused Australia of “Russophobic hysteria” for canceling the lease on the land where Moscow wanted to build its new embassy, which the Australian government judged to be a security risk because it was too close to Parliament House. – Associated Press

The national security advisers of the US, Japan and the Philippines agreed to bolster defense cooperation at the first trilateral meeting of its type, according to a joint press release. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The United States and several European countries have said they will not send observers to monitor this charade of an election. That’s the right first step. The Biden administration should also forcefully call out the erosion of democracy under Mr. Hun Sen. Cambodia is already the target of several U.S. sanctions, including export controls and an arms embargo. Foreign assistance, including support for civil society and independent media, should continue and deepen where possible. Tougher measures might not easily change Mr. Hun Sen’s behavior. But he and hopefully his eventual successor need to know there is a price to be paid for curtailing the Cambodian people’s democratic aspirations. – Washington Post


But on Tuesday, Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and China’s premier, Li Qiang, will relaunch the consultations after a three-year hiatus during the pandemic in a very different world — one with new calculations over political vulnerabilities and economic dependencies. – New York Times

Haunted by its responsibility for World War II and Nazi tyranny, Germany embraced the pursuit of peace with the fervor of a convert. But on Wednesday, its government took an important step toward shedding that legacy as war once again transforms the European continent. – New York Times

Belgian foreign affairs minister Hadja Lahbib is facing calls for resignation after granting visas to delegations from Iranian and Russian cities to attend a mayors convention in Brussels last week. – Reuters

France has banned an upcoming Iranian opposition rally over the risk of an attack, according to a letter sent to the organisers and seen by Reuters, after the release of an Iranian diplomat convicted of masterminding a plot to bomb the group in 2018. – Reuters

Moldova’s Constitutional Court on Monday banned the pro-Russian Shor party that has led months of protests and is headed by an exiled businessman accused by the West and the government of trying to destabilise the country. – Reuters

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters on Saturday staged marches in Belgrade and other Serbian cities against President Aleksandar Vucic, pledging to “radicalize” weeks of peaceful gatherings that have already shaken his populist rule. – Associated Press

The United States ambassador held a U.S. flag high as he marched in the yearly Pride parade in Warsaw on Saturday, a clear message of Washington’s opposition to discrimination in a country where LGBTQ+ people are facing an uphill struggle. – Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin said Russia has delivered its first tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, three months after announcing the plan that threatens to ratchet up tensions with the US and its allies over the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Lithuania plans to unilaterally ban a swathe of dual-use goods that may enter Russia via Belarus and potentially end up on the battlefield in Ukraine, raising pressure on the European Union to tighten restrictions targeting Moscow. – Bloomberg

The European Union is ready to propose a financial aid package of around €50 billion ($55 billion) to support Ukraine as the country embarks on a critical counteroffensive to retake territory lost since Russia’s invasion more than a year ago. – Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron called for Europe to come up with a strategy on air defense before looking at purchasing equipment, in a veiled jab at Germany’s plan to buy an anti-missile system possibly with the help of Israeli and US companies. – Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron will host Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday when they’ll discuss pressing issues such as migration and Europe’s relationship with China. – Bloomberg

The European Union is looking at an array of tools to ensure it punches at its global weight, as countries such as China and Russia show an increasing willingness to use trade and the control of critical supply lines to further political and military goals. – Bloomberg


Suspected members of an Islamic State-affiliated terror group killed at least 37 high-school students and three adults in Uganda’s worst attack in more than a decade, the Ugandan military and local officials said Saturday. – Wall Street Journal

The United States regrets a decision by Mali’s interim military authorities to ask a United Nations peacekeeping force to leave the country, the State Department said on Monday, calling for an “orderly and responsible” drawdown of the mission. – Reuters

Germany said on Sunday a request by Mali’s military junta for the United Nations peacekeeping force to leave the country “without delay” is politically motivated and Berlin still aims for an orderly withdrawal of its troops by May 2024. – Reuters

The U.N. World Food Programme hopes to resume some food aid distribution in Ethiopia as soon as next month once it has received greater control over how beneficiaries are selected, a senior WFP official said on Monday. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he was concerned by the ethnic dimension to violence in Sudan’s West Darfur, warning targeted attacks against civilians based on ethnic identities “could amount to crimes against humanity.” – Reuters

Ugandan authorities said on Monday 20 people had been detained for questioning about their possible role in the massacre of 42 people, mostly students, on Friday by the Islamist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). – Reuters

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu said on Monday the United States should help with more funding to help Africa’s leading oil producer accelerate its energy transition plans as he pledged to meet the country’s climate change goals. – Reuters

International donors promised almost $1.5 billion in additional aid for conflict-stricken Sudan on Monday as the United Nations warned that the African country’s humanitarian crisis is worsening. – Associated Press

The conflict in Sudan has killed over 330 children and left 13 million more in dire need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said Friday, calling on the country’s warring factions to better protect vulnerable young people. – Associated Press

An airstrike in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Saturday killed at least 17 people, including five children, health officials said, as fighting continued between rival generals seeking to control the country. – Associated Press

Washington on Friday announced it is imposing visa restrictions for Ugandans it accuses of “undermining the democratic process” in Uganda after the enactment of an anti-gay law in the East African country. – Associated Press

Mali’s top diplomat demanded Friday that U.N. peacekeepers who have been in this West African country grappling with an Islamic insurgency for more than a decade leave immediately, claiming they had failed in their mission. – Associated Press

Islamic extremist rebels killed at least seven farmers in northeast Nigeria, an attack that further threatens food security in the hard-hit region, local authorities told The Associated Press on Friday. – Associated Press

As gunfire rang out at a protest in Senegal’s capital, a man wearing khaki pants and a T-shirt shot Cheikh’s childhood friend in the chest. The bleeding 21-year-old slumped against a wall, displaying his wound in disbelief. – Associated Press

With mounting frustration due to an ailing economy, rising unemployment and looming deadly protests, Sierra Leoneans are heading to the polls on Saturday, June 24, to select their next president. – Associated Press

Malian voters cast ballots on a new draft constitution Sunday in a referendum that the country’s coup leader says will pave the way toward holding new elections in 2024, but critics have called it a delay tactic to extend his time in power. – Associated Press

President Bola Tinubu has replaced the chiefs of all of Nigeria’s security services in a major shakeup that takes effect immediately, the presidency said Monday. – Associated Press

Countries from around the world pledged $1.5 billion to provide relief to those whose lives have been upended by Sudan’s spiraling conflict between two rival military factions — an estimated 25 million people. – Bloomberg

Today Port Sudan is quite different. It has become a site of refuge for thousands fleeing the war between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces, which grew out of a horseback-riding militia group from the western Darfur region. – Bloomberg

Two recent developments involving sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation showcase how Cold War II is shaping up—with a key difference from Cold War I. The implications for developing nations could be profound. – Bloomberg

The Americas

As Haiti’s police struggle to contain powerful armed gangs, a disagreement between the Dominican Republic and Canada spilled out into the public on Friday, further complicating an international plan to boost Haiti’s outgunned police force. – Reuters

Humanitarian aid to Haiti will need to take into account the influence of heavily armed gangs who control large parts of the country, the president of a regional bloc said ahead of planned talks with the European Union next month. – Reuters

The United States Treasury on Friday announced sanctions on a Mexico-based migrant-trafficking gang that supplied asylum seekers with false papers to game the process. – Associated Press

The US is asking Mexico to review labor rights conditions at a mine owned by Grupo Mexico SAB. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has asked Mexico to review whether employees at Grupo Mexico’s mine in Zacatecas are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining, according to a statement released by the USTR on Friday. – Bloomberg

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Mr. Benedetti says on the audio that he has “excellent” relations with the U.S. State Department. Whether that is true or not, the Biden administration could invite him at any time to Washington to give a first-hand account of what’s going on in Bogotá. – Wall Street Journal

Latin America

The race is under way to succeed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with a raft of senior officials stepping down to seek the nomination of his party for next year’s presidential election. – Wall Street Journal

An approximately 700-pound bronze Nazi eagle that once adorned a German warship and in recent years became the subject of a court case in Uruguay will be melted down and turned into a dove, the South American nation’s president said on Friday, a move that he said would transform a symbol of “violence and war” into one of “peace and unity.” – New York Times

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Friday threatened to use congressional appropriations to block funding for a U.S. visa waiver program for Chile, blaming rising criminal activity in the United States on the program. – Reuters

One of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s closest aides sought legal advice for a military intervention that would have prevented the handover of power following last October’s election, federal police said on Friday. – Reuters

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Monday he expects to discuss the trade deal between Mercosur and the European Union with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron as they meet this week, including “tough” stances by France on it. – Reuters

The director of a Honduran anti-corruption organization has fled the country with her family over threats she received in the month since publishing a report on nepotism inside the administration of President Xiomara Castro. – Associated Press

Argentina and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have a $44 billion dilemma, with the two sides set to meet for crunch talks to revamp the country’s huge, wobbling debt deal, key to avoiding default on billions in looming debt payments. – Reuters

The World Bank approved a new $500 million loan to Costa Rica aimed at strengthening support for the government’s budget, according to a statement from the international lender released on Friday. – Reuters

Honduran economic growth is seen slowing to about 3% in 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated in a statement issued on Friday, pointing to fewer remittances and pressures on the energy and farm sectors stemming from drought conditions. – Reuters

A rush by top members of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government to resign from their posts has marked the beginning of the ruling Morena party’s three-month campaign to pick a successor for the charismatic Mexican leader known as AMLO. – Bloomberg

North America

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its president, Jin Liqun, have spent much of the past decade fighting to convince people the bank isn’t a Chinese tool. The resignation this week of an executive who claimed the bank had been infiltrated by China’s Communist Party has made their job that much harder. Hours after former AIIB communications director Bob Pickard, a Canadian, leveled the accusations via Twitter, Canada ordered a halt to its activity at the infrastructure bank along with an inquiry into the allegations. – Wall Street Journal

Canada’s Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) has invested $400 million in battery producer Northvolt, which will help the Swedish company expand production of lithium-ion batteries ahead of a possible initial public offering. – Reuters

The U.S. Department of Defense began sending real-time satellite and sensor data to Canadian authorities on Friday, technology it said would help more quickly identify new fires as that nation endures one of its most destructive early wildfire seasons. – Reuters

Canada’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld a border pact under which Canada and the United States send back asylum seekers crossing the land border, finding the agreement does not violate asylum seekers’ right to life, liberty and security of the person. – Reuters

Canada will bolster its force in Latvia with the deployment of 15 Leopard 2A4M tanks as part of NATO efforts to build a combat-capable brigade in a country that borders with Russia, the defence minister said on Friday. – Reuters

United States

A Washington Post investigation found that more than a year would pass before prosecutors and FBI agents jointly embarked on a formal probe of actions directed from the White House to try to steal the election. Even then, the FBI stopped short of identifying the former president as a focus of that investigation. – Washington Post

Former attorney general William P. Barr on Sunday compared his former boss, Donald Trump, to a “defiant, 9-year-old kid” and continued his condemnation of the actions described in Trump’s recently unsealed federal indictment. – Washington Post

As former president Donald Trump prepares for trial on charges that he repeatedly violated government rules for handling classified information, his legal team may get a tactical timing advantage from an unlikely source: government rules for handling such secrets. – Washington Post

Former President Donald J. Trump claimed to a Fox News anchor in an interview on Monday that he did not have a classified document with him in a meeting with a book publisher even though he referred during that meeting to “secret” information in his possession. – New York Times

Trump-era national security advisor John Bolton said on Sunday that officials responsible for briefing the president on intelligence matters “failed in many cases” by not getting some classified documents back from former President Trump. – The Hill

Editorial: If Mr. Trump loses in court, on appeal and at the ballot box, it would prove no one is above the law in the U.S. system. Whoever is president might then consider offering clemency to spare the republic the indignity of incarcerating its former commander in chief. Letting Mr. Trump off the hook before that happens would inevitably lead him to falsely claim vindication, even exoneration. A pardon might become warranted if it coincides with the end of Mr. Trump’s political career. But the country is still a long way from that moment. – Washington Post


A federal judge is set to decide whether the Biden administration’s efforts to stamp out disinformation online crossed a line into coerced censorship and, if so, what should be done about it. – Wall Street Journal

The Biden administration is grappling with how to identify artificial intelligence that poses a threat to national security, a central challenge as the U.S. moves to curb investment in advanced technology companies in China. – Wall Street Journal

The threat of a U.S. government crackdown on TikTok is making some content creators nervous. – Wall Street Journal

The revolution in artificial intelligence has sparked an explosion of disturbingly lifelike images showing child sexual exploitation, fueling concerns among child-safety investigators that they will undermine efforts to find victims and combat real-world abuse. – Washington Post

The overnight success of AI-powered ChatGPT has triggered a frenzy among Washington lawmakers to draft new laws addressing the promise and peril of the burgeoning field. When Tudorache visited Washington last month, he witnessed a tumult of activity around AI and attended a bipartisan briefing with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. – Washington Post

The Federal Trade Commission has charged a genetic testing company with failing to protect customers’ genetic data, marking the agency’s first case focused on the privacy and security of genetic information. – Washington Post

U.S. officials announced earlier this week that a “small number” of federal agencies had been breached by a ransomware gang known as Cl0p and that they were working to assess the data stolen and mitigate the impact. – Washington Post

New Zealand-based payments solutions provider Smartpay Holdings (SPY.NZ) said on Friday that it faced a ransomware attack last week, becoming the latest victim in a slew of cyberattacks taking place in the region and in Australia since last year. – Reuters

Southeast Asian countries are drawing up governance and ethics guidelines for artificial intelligence (AI) that will impose “guardrails” on the booming technology, five officials with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

China’s government on Friday rejected as “far-fetched and unprofessional” a report by a U.S. security firm that blamed Chinese-linked hackers for attacks on hundreds of public agencies, schools and other targets around the world. – Associated Press

The European Union will propose new oversight on critical technologies that can be used for military purposes and it will aim to table by the end of the year a proposal to curb outbound investments that could threaten the bloc’s security. – Bloomberg

Dire warnings about TikTok dominated conversations on Capitol Hill earlier this year, with both Republicans and Democrats describing the Chinese-owned app as one of the gravest national security threats to the US. – Bloomberg

The US Department of Energy received a ransom request from Russian-linked hackers known as Clop after two of its entities fell victim to a wide-ranging cyberattack. – Bloomberg

José A. Marquez-Leon writes: Large tech companies are only going to continue exploiting our information for their gain — and never cared much about protecting this data to begin with. Rather than talking tough in hearings, Congress must take real action now by catalyzing the legislation already in motion to protect all American consumers. – The Hill


House Republicans want to stop the Pentagon from releasing the service record summaries of members of the U.S. military to the public. – The Hill

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday afternoon said it would send out more more boats and aircraft to search for a tourist submersible that went missing en route to visit the 1912 wreckage of the Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean. – The Hill

Editorial: By fixating on the idea that prejudice and injustice are ever-present concerns rather than problematic but generally peripheral ones, the military is tolerating a diminishing of its mission at the altar of wokeness. It is bowing to ideologues who despise the institutions of comradeship, self-sacrifice, and patriotism that underpin military service. The political Left might claim our concerns are inventions of feeble conservative minds. But they may come to regret that understanding if the United States goes to war with China or Russia. – Washington Examiner

Bill Smith writes: As a parent of a military service member, I hope the social experiments being conducted in the military will be replaced by a focus on one mission-driven goal: to recruit and build warfighters to protect the U.S., its people, and its values. – Washington Examiner

Rod Bishop writes: Let us hope some find what General George Patton called “the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men”: moral courage. Courage to do the right thing; courage to lead and unify — not divide. – Washington Examiner

Meaghan Mobbs writes: The military, at its finest, is standards-based and a meritocracy. It must remain as such. It’s time to reaffirm the principles that have ensured its prowess and to use evidence-based decision-making as our foundation. Only then can we hope to restore the “big stick” and ensure the continued strength and effectiveness of our military in an increasingly hostile world. – Washington Examiner

Elizabeth Stauffer writes: Retired U.S. Army Captain Jason Church joined Fox News last summer and summed up the military’s woke new direction. Church, who lost his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, said the Biden administration is trying to “change the fundamental ground that is our military service. They’re trying to uproot it and completely change it all in the name of woke idealism. The military doesn’t exist to promote social activism. It exists to protect America from external threats.” Just a little something for Austin to think about as he considers the next pointless policy proposal that lands on his desk. – Washington Examiner

John Bolton writes: If Brown is confirmed as chairman and adheres to that unmistakably “one nation” message, we may be on the road to recovery. If not, our adversaries will simply see a more-distracted and potentially divisible U.S. military. – Washington Examiner

Scott Sturman writes: The foreign threats this nation faces and the values our military has pledged to defend call for leaders to decry racial animus and abide by the motto that myself and many other veterans a part of Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services (STARRS) have pledged: “Ability not appearance, unity not division, service not self.” – Washington Examiner

Forrest L. Marion writes: Recent studies clearly show that more and more Americans are sick of the politicization and accompanying degradation of their once highly-respected military. The Army’s 25% accessioning shortfall last year, and its anticipated shortfall this year, ought to serve as the wake-up call for leadership to ditch its meaningless diversity priority and truly embrace its former — now current — meritocratic motto, “Be all you can be.” – Washington Examiner

Dov S. Zakheim writes: It is time to modernize what McNamara himself told me two decades ago was even then an outdated process. The congressionally mandated Commission on PPBE Reform, which is due to issue its final report in March 2024, is meant to do just that. Perhaps it will find a way to maintain the best of what CAPE has to offer the DoD leadership, while minimizing, if not eliminating, the appearance of biases that have so angered Chairman Rogers, as they did some of his predecessors in years past. – The Hill

Long War

The U.S. Coast Guard has ended its antiterrorism patrols of the waters around Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, shutting down a special security operation that was rushed to the remote outpost after the Sept. 11 attacks. – New York Times

The Islamic extremists drove up to the American missionary’s home in Niger under the cover of evening, gunning down two guards who stood watch. Jeff Woodke recalls seeing the muzzle blasts and hearing the screams before being thrown into a pickup truck that then sped away. […]He spent his captivity traded among extremist groups operating under the umbrella of JNIM, an al-Qaida-aligned insurgent organization. He kept track of time through a sundial during the day and stars at night, though he says he was given a watch near the end of his detention. He initially prayed eight hours a day. That amount dwindled as time passed, when he began praying for death. – Associated Press

A Detroit-area man who was captured on a Syrian battlefield in 2018 fighting for Islamic State was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison. – Associated Press

Austrian authorities said Sunday they had foiled a possible attack on Vienna’s Pride parade by three young men who had allegedly sympathized with the extremist Islamic State group. – Associated Press

A damning new United Nations Security Council report claims that terrorist group ISIS-K, the Afghan ISIS affiliate, is the most serious current terrorist threat operating in Afghanistan, with an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 fighters. Since the country fell, ISIS-K has benefited from increased operational capabilities and freedom of movement inside Afghanistan. – Fox News