Fdd's overnight brief

June 21, 2023

In The News


The Biden administration is conducting indirect bilateral talks with Iran that it hopes, at a minimum, will curtail Tehran’s nuclear program short of weapons development, end its proxy attacks on U.S. forces in Syria and bring home three longtime American prisoners in exchange for limited access to some of Iran’s billions of dollars frozen overseas. – Washington Post

Albanian authorities on Tuesday raided a camp for members of the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq to seize 150 computer devices allegedly linked to prohibited political activities, and several people were injured. – Associated Press

A senior Belgian official has resigned after coming under fire for hosting the mayor of Tehran and Russian municipal officials for an all-expenses-paid visit to Brussels. – Times of Israel 

Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution claims the Iranian regime employs “state terrorism” to intimidate and eliminate opposition members. – Iran International

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) received at least $6 billion from the Iranian government and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pushed to provide them with even more amid the protests that swept Iran last year, according to documents leaked by the GhyamSarnegouni (“Rise to Overthrow”) dissident hacker group this week. –  Jerusalem Post

Palestinian resistance is the best way to overthrow Israel, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Akbar Ahmadian told Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Monday, according to Iranian semi-official media outlet Fars. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes:  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

Russia & Ukraine

A map led the team to a gated entrance of a yellow-brick building, a place designated by Ukraine’s capital city as a bunker for residents to take cover from near-nightly Russian airstrikes. – Washington Post

When the familiar siren sounded midmorning Friday, nobody in the penthouse terrace cafe looked up. A few minutes later, the hostess went from table to table, politely asking people to go inside. Laptops were snapped shut, tote bags were shouldered, lattes were poured from china cups into plastic glasses. – Washington Post

Russia launched a wave of drone attacks on several regions of Ukraine early Tuesday, and fighting simmered in key pockets across the long front line as Ukrainian forces continued their push to oust occupying Russian troops. – Washington Post

The European Union is seeking to lock in financing for Ukraine of 50 billion euros, equivalent to $54.62 billion, between 2024 and 2027, to provide sustained external funding for Kyiv regardless of Washington’s decisions after its next presidential election. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukraine has successfully used a domestically produced drone with a range of 1,000 km (620 miles), state arms producer Ukroboronprom said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

At a glance on a clear summer’s afternoon, the U.S.-made Avenger air defence system is barely visible in the shadow of trees at the end of a dirt track outside Kyiv. – Reuters 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an acceleration of Black Sea grain shipments from Ukrainian ports under a deal allowing safe wartime exports, a U.N. spokesperson said on Tuesday as Russia threatens to quit the pact next month. – Reuters 

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Moscow had information that Ukraine was planning to strike Russian-controlled Crimea with longer-range U.S. and British missiles and warned Russia would retaliate if that happened. – Reuters 

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday that Ukraine’s forces were destroying Russian forces in the two main theatres of the conflict, the east and south of the country. – Reuters 

A former deputy commander of a Ukrainian militia unit was sentenced by a Russian court on Tuesday to 16 years in a penal colony for taking part in what Moscow considers an illegal armed group and receiving “terrorist” training, Russian media reported. – Reuters 

The Pentagon found it had overestimated the amount of funding for ammunition, missiles and other equipment it sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion due to an accounting error, a spokesperson said on Tuesday, more than double the amount previously disclosed. – Reuters

Russia is not worried about potential U.S. attempts to influence China’s policy towards Moscow, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, commenting on U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to Beijing where he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s military intelligence chief accused Russia on Tuesday of “mining” the cooling pond used to keep the reactors cool at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine’s south. – Reuters

The destruction of the vast Kakhovka hydro-electric dam has caused 1.2 billion euros of damage, Ukraine’s environment minister said on Tuesday, warning that mines unearthed by flooding could wash onto other European countries’ shores. – Reuters 

Russia’s military intercepted two drones on their approach to military warehouses in the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the area, said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Prosecutors served a notice of suspicion to the head of Kyiv’s municipal department for security on Tuesday after three people died in a Russian air attack when they were unable to get into a bomb shelter, the prosecutor’s office said. – Reuters 

Kyiv repatriated three Ukrainian prisoners of war from Hungary after a group of POWs was transferred there from Russia without coordination with Kyiv, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Two drones were brought down outside Moscow as they approached the warehouses of a local military unit, Moscow region Gov. Andrei Vorobyov said Wednesday, in what could be the latest attempt by Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia during the early stages of Kyiv’s most recent counteroffensive. – Associated Press

Diplomats from dozens of countries are meeting Wednesday in London to drum up funds to rebuild Ukraine, a mammoth task whose cost is estimated by the World Bank at more than $400 billion – a figure rising daily alongside the human toll of the 16-month war. – Associated Press

Russia had the means, motive and opportunity to bring down a Ukrainian dam that collapsed earlier this month while under Russian control, according to exclusive drone photos and information obtained by The Associated Press. – Associated Press

Ukrainian air defenses downed 32 of 35 Shahed exploding drones Russia launched early Tuesday, most of them in the Kyiv region, officials said, in a bombardment that exposed gaps in the country’s air protection after almost 16 months of war. – Associated Press

A senior official close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed frustration on Tuesday over Israel’s continued refusal to provide his country with military assistance, saying he hoped to receive Israeli technology to combat Iranian drones deployed by Russia as part of Moscow’s 16-month-long invasion. – Times of Israel

Russia’s “dragon teeth” tank traps, minefields and multi-layered fortifications are just one set of obstacles in Ukraine’s budding counteroffensive. Another formidable foe turns out to be airborne: the Russian Ka-52 “Alligator” attack helicopter. – Financial Times

The past week has seen an uptick in the number of Russian helicopters claimed destroyed by Ukrainian forces. Kyiv’s units are making the difficult—and reportedly costly—transition from months of defense to offensive operations at multiple points along the 800-mile front line. – Newsweek

African leaders’ peace mission to Ukraine and Russia last week was greeted with firm refusals from both sides when it came to calling a cease-fire.The African delegation—including the presidents of Comoros, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia as well as Egypt’s prime minister and envoys from the Republic of Congo and Uganda—held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in an attempt to mediate an end to the war. – Foreign Policy 

William A. Galston writes: Charles de Gaulle once dreamed of a Europe stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” and for a fleeting moment after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this dream seemed possible. Now it’s clear that Europe must end at Ukraine’s border with Russia. For the peace of the world, the West must establish this border and defend it against future aggression from a nation that will never be European. – Wall Street Journal 

Anthony Burke writes: The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant also remains concerning. The dam breach has removed a crucial water source for its cooling ponds. The plant has lost power seven times in recent months and Russian forces are still stationed there. With the risk of nuclear disaster ever present, the international community must show its resolve to prevent and punish environmental crimes of war. – Washington Post

Kurt Volker writes: One constructive step, which President Biden now supports, is removing the requirement that Ukraine go through a Membership Action Plan before becoming a full member. It is ironic that what was initially designed as a means of helping countries prepare for membership has in fact become an obstacle, which must now be removed. Removing the requirement for a MAP, however, is not sufficient to answer the political question: what about membership? – Center for European Policy Analysis

Aura Sabadus writes: By bringing greater transparency and accountability, such a project would limit the risk that a new ruling elite, including at SOEs, could take advantage of the funds that will likely pour in. However, in addition to supporting and expanding such a project, there is also a pressing need for international institutions to condition the disbursement of cash on better corporate governance, including strict penalties for those found in breach. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Elena Davlikanova writes: If it is true that only a small percentage of people actively support the war, and a small percentage actively oppose it, the rest need to overcome their distorted perception of the past and the present, their weakness, fear, and apathy, otherwise the worst of Russia will prevail. –  Center for European Policy Analysis  

Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Erica Frantz write: Support for Ukraine—in the form of sustained military assistance and efforts to anchor the country in the West through membership in the European Union and NATO—will pave the way for improved relations with a new Russia. Getting there will be hard. But the more decisive Russia’s defeat in Ukraine, the more likely it is that Russia will experience profound political change, one hopes for the better. – Foreign Affairs


Four Israelis were killed by Palestinian militants in the central West Bank on Tuesday, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat attacks that threaten to tip the region into a new, deadlier period of violence. – Washington Post

Cyprus hopes to develop plans for a pipeline linking it to Israel’s east Mediterranean gas fields during talks which start next month, the island’s top energy official told Reuters. – Reuters 

Israeli lawyers held a leadership election on Tuesday with an eye on candidates’ potential influence over the make-up of a panel for selecting judges, which is at the core of a contested bid by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the courts. – Reuters 

Generations of Palestinians have worked the terraced hillsides of this West Bank farming village southwest of Jerusalem, growing olives, fruits, beans and exquisite eggplants renowned across the region in a valley linked to the biblical King David. – Associated Press

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides issued two condemnations of a terror shooting in the West Bank, after some Israelis charged that his initial statement drew a false equivalency between the victims of the attack in Eli and Palestinians killed in intense clashes with IDF troops. – Times of Israel

Morocco has decided to cancel plans to host the second ministerial gathering of the Negev Forum next month in response to a pair of Israeli moves to significantly expand its settlements in the West Bank, a US and an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Direct flights between Israel and Saudi Arabia for Muslim pilgrims will not be available in time for this year’s Hajj, after months of intensive efforts by Israeli, Saudi and American negotiators, National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi confirmed on Monday. The Biden administration has viewed launching the direct line as a step toward reaching a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. – Times of Israel 

The United States, on behalf of 27 countries, condemned on Tuesday the open-ended nature of the UN investigation into alleged human rights violations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – Agence France-Presse

A senior IDF commander said Thursday that Israel is concerned regarding the potential risks associated with weapons supplied by the United States and other Western countries to Ukraine. Israel is particularly worried about the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of adversaries in the Middle East, including Iran. – Ynet

The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit reported on Wednesday that the troops who recorded themselves supporting Palestinian militants following the IDF’s operation in Jenin on Monday were arrested and taken in for questioning by the IDF’s military police. – Ynet 

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides expressed sorrow on Tuesday for the four Israelis killed in the terror attack near Eli settlement, however, in the same tweet, he also stated he is deeply concerned about the Palestinians who were killed during the military operation that took place in Jenin on Monday. – Ynet 

Despite a rare call to settlers, by the IDF, not to take the law into their own hands, in the wake of the deadly terror attack near the settlement of Eli on Tuesday, security forces were faced with riots and violence as some West Bank settlers sought revenge after four people were murdered and four others injured when two Palestinians opened fire at restaurant and gas station at the entrance to the settlement. – Ynet 

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police need to focus on disrupting the production of explosives, finding illegal weapons, and apprehending potential terror suspects. This mission is complex: forces must do so in a targeted manner and according to intelligence data, so that at its end – in a few weeks or days – they will be able to leave the area and put an end to the wave of terror attacks that we’ve seen since March 2022, which continue to become deadlier. – Ynet

Ben Dror Yemini writes: The battle for a Jewish and Democratic Israel is important. Vital. But while Israelis are on the streets fighting against the government’s judicial legislation, Netanyahu’s coalition is advancing toward a bi-national county. We must wake up because if they succeed Israel with be neither Jewish nor democratic. – Ynet 

Yossi Yehushua writes: There are three points that must be noted though. First, despite the results of Monday’s raid, the forces in the West Bank, conduct successful nightly raids on the refugee camps in Nablus and Jenin and despite the threat from IEDs, thus far the operations end without casualty. The second point to note is that other than the refugee camps in Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarem, the rest of the West Bank is relatively calm. And the third point is that the IDF estimates the future may be worse since the Palestinian Authority is losing its control over more and more areas and after Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas is no longer in office, Hamas will execute its plan to take over power there. – Ynet

Gulf States

Iraq’s government has set a date of Dec. 18, 2023 for holding elections for provincial councils, in line with the ministerial agenda adopted by the government and approved by the Parliament last October. – Reuters 

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates’ respective embassies reopened on Monday to resume work after the two Gulf states agreed to restore diplomatic ties, Qatar’s foreign ministry said. – Reuters

Ivan Eland writes: Congratulations to the Saudis for pragmatically diversifying their foreign policy. But Washington should not succumb to MBS’s attempt to play off improved relations with other powers—for example, China and Russia—to get an increased U.S. security commitment. […]America can no longer afford to be everywhere in the world. It ought to emulate Saudi pragmatism, which in the present moment means transferring attention and military resources from the Middle East to the more strategically significant Indo-Pacific region. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that without a new injection of funding, it is “likely or highly likely” that the agency will not be able to deliver some services or pay salaries by the fall. – Associated Press

Kuwait’s former information minister blamed the Palestinian Authority leadership for the suffering of its people. – All Arab News

A Turkish drone attack killed two Kurdish local officials and their driver in northeast Syria on Tuesday in the latest such strike in the war-torn country, officials said, as talks on Syria’s conflict began in Kazakhstan. – Associated Press

A member of a U.N.-mandated independent commission of inquiry said on Tuesday that increasing Jewish settler violence in the occupied West Bank was a “major concern” and announced plans to investigate further. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

A South Korean environmental impact assessment of a U.S. missile defence system found “insignificant” electromagnetic radiation relative to safety standards, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, clearing the way for its permanent deployment. – Reuters 

North Korea on Wednesday criticised U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent visit to Beijing as a “begging trip” to ease tensions in what it called a policy failure to pressure China. – Reuters 

Carter Malkasian writes: Yet if pursuing negotiations is a gamble, it is one with low risks and high potential rewards. Failure would merely yield the same result as doing nothing. Success, however, could preserve Ukraine, allay wider fears for democracy, deter further Russian aggression, and put fears of escalation to rest. The kind of stable, durable peace the Korean armistice produced would be a victory not just for Ukraine and its supporters but for the entire world, as well. – Foreign Affairs


During the Trump administration, U.S. officials reviewed intelligence that tracked workers from the Chinese telecom giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE entering and exiting facilities suspected of housing Chinese eavesdropping operations in Cuba, according to people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal 

The European Union’s executive body released an economic-security strategy Tuesday that included a call for member states to consider new controls for European investment in other countries that might pose security risks. Although the document didn’t name specific countries, officials have said it is aimed largely at reducing the risks in its economic relationships with China and Russia. – Wall Street Journal 

A jury has found that a retired police sergeant and two other men illegally participated in Chinese government efforts to try to pressure a local couple into returning to China. – Washington Post

When Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Beijing on Sunday for two days of talks with top officials, people in China were skeptical. The secretary’s last name when pronounced in Mandarin sounds similar to the painkiller ibuprofen. People joked on Weibo, the domestic equivalent of Twitter, that his visit would cause headaches rather than relieve them. – Washington Post

If U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s weekend trip to China offered only a little in the way of progress toward stabilizing the overall U.S.-China relationship, it likely offered even less on cyber hostilities between the two nations. – Washington Post 

An austere greeting on the airport tarmac in Beijing sans a red carpet. A stone-faced handshake from China’s top foreign policy official. A seat looking up at the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, perched at the head of a long table – New York Times

China’s Premier Li Qiang told Germany’s top CEOs that a lack of cooperation was the biggest risk during a visit to lobby for stronger ties even as Europe seeks to reduce its dependence on Asia’s rising superpower. – Reuters 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that the United States would have deep concerns about Chinese military activities in Cuba, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing was planning a new training facility there. – Reuters 

EU leaders are set to call on China next week to help bring an end to the war in Ukraine, engage in global challenges, such as climate change, and rebalance its economic relations with the European Union, a senior EU official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday called Xi Jinping a dictator, a day after top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken visited Beijing to stabilize bilateral relations that China says are at their lowest point since formal ties were established. – Reuters 

The first trip to China by a U.S. secretary of state in five years may have eased tensions that many saw escalating to dangerous levels, but the lack of progress on core issues means the relief will likely only be temporary. – Reuters 

The United States on Tuesday pressed its call for military communication channels with China and signalled concern over reports that China plans a military training facility in Cuba following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing over the weekend. – Reuters 

Any attempt by China to find its own reincarnation of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama may result in two different successors and a “lifelong headache” for Beijing, the leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile said. – Bloomberg 

Chinese President Xi Jinping was unaware that the alleged spy balloon that floated over the continental US had blown off course until the matter became an international incident, President Joe Biden told donors on Tuesday. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: Mr. Biden’s debt-ceiling deal precludes real budget growth the U.S. military needs to compete with China, Russia and Iran. But the annual defense policy bill is moving through Congress, and leadership from a President can matter. Mr. Biden could ask for supplemental funding from Congress for ships, aircraft and munitions. He could make a national priority out of building more Virginia-class submarines and clearing the weapons backlog for Taiwan. – Wall Street Journal 

Robbie Gramer and Christina Lu write: “At the moment, the core goal isn’t to restore trust,” said Scott Kennedy, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It is to restore a sense of frankness and honesty and credibility on both sides that allows them to still interact despite the very low levels of trust that they have.” – Foreign Policy

South Asia

One of India’s most highly regarded weapons is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from sea, sky and land. Its name, BrahMos, is a portmanteau of the Brahmaputra River in India and the Moskva River in Russia, which began jointly developing the missile after the fall of the Soviet Union. Indian defense officials call it their “Brahmastra” — a Hindu mythological weapon that can destroy the entire universe. – Washington Post

But U.S. President Joe Biden, the son of blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who rose from tea seller’s son to premier, have developed a relationship based on mutual respect of their scrappy backgrounds and a pragmatism about the shared challenges their two countries face. – Associated Press

There will be plenty of time to discuss global tensions during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.S. this week. But he’s starting his day Wednesday by highlighting a pursuit of inner tranquility. – Associated Press

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers Tuesday carried out what is believed to be the second confirmed public execution since the religious group took power in 2021, according to the country’s Supreme Court. – Associated Press

Rehna Sheth writes: Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit is as an opportunity to bolster bilateral collaboration. The potential benefits are legion, including everything from stepped-up military coordination, which would help counter China’s rising regional aggression, to increased intelligence sharing to collaboration on ensuring that the global economy and the world’s supply chains remain secure as China’s BRI expands. But to get there requires trust, and that means Washington needs to be convinced that it and New Delhi see the world more or less the same way — and that India understands that its future prosperity hinges on closer alignment with the United States, and greater distance from Moscow. Modi’s visit is a good time for India’s leader to make that fact clear. – The Hill

Sumit Ganguly and Dinsha Mistree write: Over the last few decades, several U.S. administrations have prioritized the relationship with India despite considerable diffidence on the part of New Delhi. Instead of remaining content with incremental and fitful improvements in the bilateral relationship, New Delhi must trust Washington and move forward in constructing a multifaceted partnership that fosters peace and stability in Asia. – Foreign Affairs


Australians would support responding to a Chinese attack on Taiwan with economic sanctions, arms supplies or using the navy to prevent a blockade, but don’t support sending troops, an opinion poll to be released Wednesday finds. – Reuters 

A Chinese aircraft carrier group led by the vessel Shandong sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, amid heightened military tension over the island Beijing claims as its own territory. – Reuters 

Taiwan’s government says China will try to interfere in key elections in January by illicitly funding Beijing-friendly candidates using communications apps or group tours, according to three internal security reports reviewed by Reuters. – Reuters 

Two prominent Thai activists filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing the government of using the internationally notorious Pegasus spyware to infiltrate their mobile devices during a period of political unrest almost three years ago. – Associated Press

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is moving ahead with plans for joint naval exercises in September, the first held by countries in the bloc on their own, at a time when several are responding more strongly to increasing Chinese assertiveness in the area. – Associated Press

A senator invited the International Criminal Court to investigate what Australian military commanders knew about war crime allegations in Afghanistan in a bid to pressure Australia into launching its own review. – Associated Press

Israel and Taiwan face similar challenges and should learn from each other, Jacob Nagel, a former top Israeli security official and a key architect of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, told Axios in an interview after he spent last week meeting with government officials in Taipei. – AXIOS

Timothy S. Rich writes: While the United States remains Taiwan’s strongest security partner and the only one to provide arms sales, ultimately Taiwan’s defense requires both external assistance as well as broad investment in domestic production and reforms in training and personnel. – The National Interest


NATO is conducting the largest air force exercise in its history in the skies above Europe in wargames that allied commanders say are producing valuable lessons for deterring potential Russian and Chinese aggression. – Wall Street Journal 

The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled a new trade doctrine aimed at curbing China’s ability to squeeze Europe’s economy, and at preventing European companies from exporting sensitive, military-linked technology that could give China an edge. – New York Times

Foreign intelligence services are increasingly targeting Germany, its domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday, warning that espionage, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, particularly from China and Russia, “pose a serious threat” to the country. – New York Times

Britain’s Northern Ireland minister said on Tuesday talks to restore the province’s devolved government were moving slowly because there was a lack of clarity on the right legislative approach to end the impasse. – Reuters 

Britain’s House of Commons on Monday resoundingly endorsed a report that found Boris Johnson lied to lawmakers about lockdown-flouting parties in his office, a humiliating censure that strips the former prime minister of his lifetime access to Parliament. – Associated Press

Police have arrested a Norwegian citizen in Hungary on suspicion that he was planning an extremist attack modeled after a 2011 massacre in Norway that killed 77 people, authorities said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The European Union achieved a small political breakthrough Tuesday when a majority of the 27 member states backed controversial plans for restoring nature across the continent. – Associated Press

A court in Belarus convicted a prominent human rights activist Tuesday of “inciting social hatred” for her work documenting alleged police abuses against political opposition groups. – Associated Press

Germany’s chancellor pressed China to lean harder on Russia over its war in Ukraine on Tuesday, while leaders from both countries pledged to work together to combat climate change as two of the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitters. – Associated Press

Finland, which recently became NATO’s 31st member, swore in a new coalition government Tuesday that is considered the most right-wing one in the Nordic country’s modern history. – Associated Press

Brussels has urged EU member states to back proposals for tougher economic safeguards against rivals including China and Russia after several capitals questioned the need for tighter rules. – Financial Times

Henrik Larsen writes: But change may be coming. A number of European nations are reassessing their dependence on China for critical telecommunications infrastructure. […]The message is clear. Europe experienced the consequences of becoming dependent on Russian gas. It must avoid making the same mistake in telecommunications by giving China a stranglehold. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Radek Sikorski writes: Europe’s post–Cold War illusion of having reached the plateau of eternal peace has sadly been shattered. The continent’s strategic outlook, both in its near abroad and globally, has darkened. Its future security, power, and prosperity now depend on whether, and how quickly, it acts to address its vulnerabilities. The scale of the challenge is certainly beyond the capability of any European country acting alone. It can only be met by acting together and finally getting serious about defense. To survive and prosper in a world of battling giants, Europe must transform itself from a militarily weak confederation into a genuine superpower. – Foreign Affairs


An increasing number of Sudanese civilians fleeing El Geneina, a city in Darfur hit by repeated militia attacks, have been killed or shot at as they tried to escape by foot to Chad since last week, witnesses said. – Reuters 

Clashes broke out in several parts of Sudan’s capital on Wednesday as a 72-hour ceasefire – which saw several reports of violations – between rival military factions expired, witnesses said. – Reuters 

Gambia will make it mandatory for all pharmaceutical products from India to be inspected and tested prior to shipment from July 1, according to Gambian government documents reviewed by Reuters, the first known restrictions on national exports following the deaths of dozens of children linked to Indian-made cough syrups. – Reuters

An Orthodox Christian priest, Tesfa Kiros Meresfa begs door-to-door for food along with countless others recovering from a two-year war in northern Ethiopia that starved his people. To his dismay, urgently needed grain and oil have disappeared again for millions caught in a standoff between Ethiopia’s government, the United States and United Nations over what U.S. officials say may be the biggest theft of food aid on record. – Associated Press

Counter-terrorism experts said Tuesday that Africa is now the world’s terrorism hot spot, with half of the victims killed last year in sub-Saharan Africa, though al-Qaida and Islamic State affiliates remain widespread, persistent and active elsewhere around the globe. – Associated Press

Malian authorities will launch an espionage prosecution against the people behind a U.N. report that accused the country’s military of committing human rights violations alongside Russian mercenaries, Mali’s public prosecutor said. – Associated Press

The US and EU are urging Rwanda to stop support for rebels committing atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a UN report cited “evidence of direct interventions” by Kigali’s armed forces in its mineral-rich neighbour. – Financial Times

The Americas

A delegation of high-level Cuban officials wrapped up an extended visit to Russia, according to state-run media reports on Tuesday, following up on the nearly 30 trade agreements signed between the allies in Havana in May. – Reuters 

Peruvian police arrested an ex-prime minister on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring against the state and joining an attempted “coup” by ousted former President Pedro Castillo, in the latest criminal case targeting a politician in the country. – Reuters 

Mexico’s president said on Tuesday that he had asked Israel for a second time to extradite a former official accused of torture in the Latin American country. – Reuters

United States

A former New York City police sergeant was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of acting as an illegal Chinese agent by intimidating a U.S.-based fugitive to try to get him to return to his homeland to face charges. – Reuters 

Russian agents made an attempt to assassinate a former Russian agent turned CIA informant on American soil in 2020, according to multiple sources. – Jerusalem Post

President Joe Biden missed a key deadline set by a bipartisan law he signed that called for the declassification and release of intelligence on the Wuhan lab and its possible links to the origins of COVID-19. – Washington Examiner


Twitter’s recent decision under new owner Elon Musk to charge more than $500,000 annually for a once-free tool to analyze posts on the platform is hampering disinformation and war crimes research, and could slow rescue efforts during natural disasters, according to experts and nonprofit groups. – Washington Post

European Union consumer protection groups urged regulators on Tuesday to investigate the type of artificial intelligence underpinning systems like ChatGPT, citing risks that leave people vulnerable and the delay before the bloc’s groundbreaking AI regulations take effect. – Associated Press

The Department of Justice established a cyber-focused section within its National Security Division to combat the full range of digital crimes, a top department official said Tuesday. – CyberScoop

Hackers with an infamous Russian military cyber group have targeted the Ukrainian government and a company involved in military aviation since Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor began, Ukraine’s cyber agency reported Tuesday. – The Record


Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show unveiled plans to develop new and advanced defensive capabilities for the KC-46 Pegasus and other future aerial refueling and mobility aircraft. – Defense News

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems recently unveiled what it calls a new 6th generation air-to-air missile dubbed Sky Spear, a weapon the company claims will have “the advanced capabilities that will provide users a qualitative edge over its most capable adversaries.” – Breaking Defense

Open AI’s ChatGPT and its ilk have dominated headlines this year, captivating billionaires, fans, regulators, and doomsayers. But much of the recent coverage has also revealed just why the Pentagon is pursuing quite different approaches to AI: military leaders need tools they can trust. – Defense One

Uncovering when people are lying about their military service could be harder under a proposal in Congress to restrict public access to some military records, researchers of stolen valor and military history say. – Military.com