Fdd's overnight brief

June 27, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Russia was poised to default on its foreign debt for the first time since 1918, pushed into delinquency not for lack of money but because of punishing Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.  – Wall Street Journal

Leaders of the Group of 7 nations said Sunday they would stop buying gold from Moscow and discussed a new American proposal to undercut its oil revenues, even as Russian forces rained missiles on Kyiv for the first time in weeks. The dueling escalation underscored how the war in Ukraine has consumed global politics and the world economy. – New York Times

At least four Russian missiles hit the neighborhood on Sunday morning, a day after a barrage of missile strikes across Ukraine. The attacks came as leaders of the Group of 7 of the world’s wealthiest democracies prepared to meet in Germany, and Ukrainian officials said they believed Moscow was trying to send a message to Ukraine and its Western allies. – New York Times

The mayor of this embattled southern port city, under attack from Russian forces since the start of the war, has called for “everyone who wants to survive” to leave, because “it’s not clear when all this will be over.” – New York Times

In the weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, it held joint military drills with its neighbor and ally Belarus, massing tens of thousands of soldiers along the Ukrainian border even as the two countries’ leaders denied reports that the Kremlin was planning to go to war. – New York Times

Four months into the war in Ukraine, the countries aligned against Russia face growing economic pain even as sanctions and energy embargoes are showing little impact on Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s military campaign or his political standing at home. – New York Times

Russia fired nearly 50 missiles at areas in western and northern Ukraine early Saturday and launched airstrikes from Belarus for the first time, Ukrainian officials said, as Moscow’s war entered a fifth month and President Biden headed to Germany for a summit with Group of Seven leaders. – Washington Post

The Russian military will soon exhaust its combat capabilities and be forced to bring its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to a grinding halt, according to Western intelligence predictions and military experts. – Washington Post

Kyiv’s forces in southern Ukraine are fighting to extend one of their most successful counterattacks against Russia and push beyond this small, artillery-scarred village to chip away at Moscow’s presence in a strategically vital area along the Black Sea. – Wall Street Journal

Foreign fighters who have joined Ukrainian forces battling Russia’s invasion have been shocked by the brutality of the war and some say that disillusionment is creeping in. – Agence France-Presse

Ukrainian authorities said they have uncovered a Russian spy network involving Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach, who has previously been accused by Washington of being a Russian agent. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United States is likely to announce this week the purchase of an advanced medium to long range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday. – Reuters

The United States said it would provide 18 patrol boats to help Ukraine protect its riverways as part of the latest $450 million security aid package. – Business Insider

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to fight for two missing Americans in Ukraine, saying he will “get them back.” – Business Insider

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday said that allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to succeed in his invasion of Ukraine would be “absolutely catastrophic.” – Business Insider

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a resolution characterizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as an act of genocide on Friday.  – Foreign Policy

David E. Sanger and Jim Tankersley write: Mr. Biden, aides say, is constantly weighing whether new weapons would escalate the war too quickly and give Mr. Putin another justification for retaliation. But he also wants to make sure that Mr. Putin is losing ground. – New York Times

Michael Crowley and Edward Wong write: And in a stinging twist, the sanctions and related embargoes are allowing America’s top strategic competitor, China, to buy massive amounts of oil at heavily discounted prices, as Russia seeks willing customers to replace lost revenue. – New York Times

Micah Halpern writes: Zelensky is charismatic, appealing and extremely teleogenetic. But when it comes to Israel, this newbie political leader would be more successful if he asked politely as opposed to preaching “musar” and delivering morality sermons. – Jerusalem Post

Vas Shenoy writes: Ukraine just seems to be the first chapter of the death of the old world order. Russia seems confident it will bring the West to its knees by making oil more expensive in a hot summer where heatwaves will make it impossible to keep air conditioning off. If that isn’t enough, it will by pushing Africa to act on its behalf by creating hunger. After all, if the democracies can’t check inflation and enforce border security, governments in southern Europe will collapse. – Jerusalem Post

Karolina Hird, Kateryna Stepanenko, Mason Clark, and Grace Mappes write: Russian forces conducted a massive missile strike against the Schevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv on June 26, likely to coincide with the ongoing summit of G7 leaders.[1] This is the first such major strike on Kyiv since late April and is likely a direct response to Western leaders discussing aid to Ukraine at the ongoing G7 summit, much like the previous strikes on April 29 during UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Kyiv. – Institute for the Study of War

Sam Skove writes: His technocrats’ loyalty may even serve to increase Russia’s edge, for instance by finding more money in the economy to fuel the rearmament and training needed to sustain its war effort. Should the West seek to impose maximum pressure on Russia, it will likely have to consider ways not only to disrupt the country’s war apparatus, but to influence its technocrats as well. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Jan Kallberg writes: Properly used, tanks remain a key system on the frontlines. Advanced armored vehicles (many of which now sit in Western storage facilities) have the power to turn the military tide. The pretense by democratic countries that supplying tanks to Ukraine is escalation, is simply fatuous. It is time to dust them down and send them eastwards. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The U.S. convened a secret meeting of top military officials from Israel and Arab countries in March to explore how they could coordinate against Iran’s growing missile and drone capabilities, according to officials from the U.S. and the region. – Wall Street Journal

Iran has dismissed the longstanding intelligence chief of the Revolutionary Guards force, considered one of the country’s most powerful figures, as concerns mount over Israel’s covert war on Iran’s defense systems and its nuclear program. – New York Times

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will visit Ankara on Monday after Tehran dismissed as “ridiculous” allegations by Israel that the Islamic Republic was planning anti-Israeli attacks in Turkey. – Agence France-Presse

One of Iran’s biggest steel companies said on Monday it was forced to halt production after being hit by a cyberattack, apparently marking one of the biggest such assaults on the country’s strategic industrial sector in recent memory. – Associated Press

Iran’s indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact will resume soon, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday amid a push by the European Union’s top diplomat to break a months-long impasse in the negotiations. – Reuters

Iran will further develop its nuclear programme until the West changes its “illegal behaviour”, said Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani in a meeting with the EU’s top diplomat, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported. – Reuters

Iran has carried out a second test of its Zuljanah satellite launcher, Iranian state TV reported on Sunday, in a move likely to irk Washington amid expectations of a resumption of indirect talks between the arch foes to revive a 2015 nuclear pact. – Reuters

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid lashed out at EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell over a visit to Tehran aimed at reviving negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel has long opposed and sought to undermine in any way possible. – Politico

It has long been a challenge for Iranians to travel to the United States and visa applicants often wait months or years for background checks to clear. But since the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization in 2019, it has become all but impossible for anyone who served in the branch, even as a conscript and in a non-combat role, to obtain a visa to travel to the United States. – Associated Press

Iranian men who served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as part of their compulsory military service will now be allowed entry into the United States, a US Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of State notice published on Thursday said. – Jerusalem Post

Iran dismissed Israeli accusations that it is plotting to harm Israeli citizens in Turkey as “ridiculous” on Friday, a day after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met his Turkish counterpart in Ankara. – Times of Israel

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Ultimately, with or without a deal, the bigger question was always going to be: What happens in 2025 when Raisi can order the building of a massive industrial size fleet of uranium enrichment centrifuges? Will Israel, the US and the EU reach a deal to prevent the Islamic Republic from translating this into nuclear weapons, or will the ayatollahs have already positioned so many pieces that they will have reached checkmate? – Jerusalem Post

Reza Parchizadeh writes: This, of course, is highly contingent on the dynamics of the international stage. For instance, if Russia’s increasingly belligerent stance towards the West, which is also likely to draw in China, eventually sparks a fresh world war or at least provokes more intense and widespread regional conflicts around the world and particularly in the Middle East, this can fundamentally affect the fates of the current and the coming regimes in Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Amos Harel writes: In practice, as the incident in Iraqi airspace shows, there is already sweeping cooperation between the Americans and various Mideast countries, including in intelligence sharing, in linked radar systems and in deployment of interception methods. Nevertheless, officially announcing this alliance would give it a big push and be considered an American achievement. Washington is using the Iranian threat to underscore the need for such an alliance. – Haaretz


Emergency aid has started to arrive in eastern Afghanistan, the area hit worst by an earthquake this week that killed at least 1,000 people, as the Taliban government raced to get the recovery effort under way. – Wall Street Journal

One of the last Afghan detainees held inside the Guantanamo Bay US detention centre in Cuba has been freed after 15 years following negotiations with Washington, his family and Taliban authorities said Friday. – Agence France-Presse

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers pledged on Saturday they would not interfere with international efforts to distribute aid to tens of thousands of people affected by this week’s deadly earthquake. – Agence France-Presse

China will provide humanitarian aid worth 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) to Afghanistan after it was hit by an earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people this week, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region. – Reuters

Lynne O’Donnell writes: An internal United Nations report confirms the worst fears about Taliban excesses, including abuse of women and children, muzzling of media, targeting of civil society activists, shuttering of human rights organizations, and substituting public education with extreme religious indoctrination. – Foreign Policy


Hundreds of Syrian paratroopers took part in a joint drill with their Russian counterparts in the war-torn country in the second joint maneuver this month, state media reported. – Associated Press

Israel may agree to allow Iran to transfer oil to Syria as part of a reported deal under the auspices of the United States, ahead of the resumption of talks to revive the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. – Times of Israel

Jonathan Spyer writes: Whether the Turkish incursion in the end happens or not, the diplomatic positioning around this issue is itself informative. It demonstrates Russian sophistication in understanding that any such Turkish incursion will result mainly in friction in the enemy camp, rather than in Moscow’s own – as long as it doesn’t go too far. It remains to be seen whether Ankara will be willing to defy US wishes and launch the threatened assault. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey arrested a Greek citizen on Sunday on suspicion of espionage activities, a day after seizing him in an operation coordinated with its spy agency, local police said. – Agence France-Presse

NATO leaders will urge Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to lift his veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance when they meet for a three-day summit on Tuesday, as the West strives to send Russia and China a signal of resolve. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will attend a round of talks with the leaders of Sweden and Finland, as well as NATO on Tuesday ahead of the summit in Madrid, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Sunday. – Reuters

U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo traveled to Turkey this week where he discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the enforcement of sanctions imposed on Moscow, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Saturday. – Reuters

Yoav Limor writes: This cooperation exposes the relationship between the Mossad and its Turkish counterpart, MIT. The relationship was maintained even throughout the deep diplomatic crisis between the countries, and has helped foil Islamic State terrorist attacks in Turkey, as well as plans to target Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. – Algemeiner

Shushanik Minasyan writes: Over the few past years, the West has obviously underestimated these changing political dynamics in the Black Sea region. The political debate in the United States and Europe towards the region was primarily focused on Russia’s aggressive narratives. However, the West’s strategy needs a radical rethink and a clear response to the ideological convergence between Russia and Turkey. They have to define their key narratives towards the new geopolitical situation and the impact of the growing cooperation between Moscow and Ankara. – The National Interest


The United Nations office for human rights said its investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh found Israeli forces fired the shots that killed her and injured her colleague last month. – Wall Street Journal

Donors pledged about $160 million for the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, but it still needs over $100 million to support education for more than half a million children and provide primary health care for close to 2 million people and emergency cash assistance to the poorest refugees, the agency’s chief said Friday. – Associated Press

Amnesty International said Friday that the Palestinian Authority has failed to hold its security forces accountable for the death of an activist in police custody a year ago. – Associated Press

Israel’s defence minister on Sunday said policy on the Iranian nuclear talks was set by the government, not the security forces, after a newspaper reported that key Israeli generals favour a deal between Tehran and world powers. – Reuters

President Biden, arriving in Israel in mid-July, will land in a country entering its fifth election process in three and a half years. A much messier situation might arise on the Palestinian side, where a long-awaited leadership succession battle is heating up, though it is unlikely to be decided by an election. – New York Sun

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett touted calm along the Gaza border as one of his major achievements on Sunday as he addressed the weekly government meeting for what is likely to be his last time as the country’s leader. – Jerusalem Post

One of the most important policies which Yair Lapid will be required to formulate for himself when he becomes Prime Minister this week is policy on Iran. Israel Hayom reported Sunday morning that Lapid would be subject to pressure to reverse the policy of the Netanyahu and Bennett governments of opposing the Biden Administration’s intention to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. – Arutz Sheva

Israel may roll back an extraordinary advisory warning its citizens away from Turkey last week, after an Iranian plot to kidnap or kill Israeli in Istanbul was apparently foiled, according to reports Sunday. – Times of Israel

Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine responded on Friday to criticism voiced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a day earlier about Israel’s lack of support in the face of the ongoing Russian offensive in his country. – Times of Israel

The Mossad spy agency and its local counterparts managed to thwart three Iranian attacks targeting Israeli civilians in Istanbul in recent days, a senior security official briefing Hebrew media said Friday, after Iran dismissed Jerusalem’s warnings of a Tehran-directed plot as malarkey. – Times of Israel

US President Joe Biden is slated to meet with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel next month, an official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Saturday. – Times of Israel

When US President Joe Biden visits Jerusalem next month, he will be met with both a new face as prime minister and a request for a special budget to help Israel complete the development of laser weapons that will work in parallel to the operational air defense systems like Iron Dome and David’s Sling. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: Far be it from us to decide from New York what happened. We don’t mind saying, though, that we doubt that any Israeli soldier would deliberately kill a reporter, even one for a hostile outlet like Al Jazeera. Even as so many are eager to condemn the IDF, though, it seems obvious that a just-the-facts-ma’am approach to the incident is in order. Which is why we keep asking: Where is the bullet? – New York Sun

Maya Sion-Tzidkiahu writes: However, Israel is unlikely to apply because joining this political community would expose it to EU pressure on ending or managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given the currently complex political state of affairs, it is unclear whether there is a courageous or significant enough leader in Israel today to lead such a move. – Jerusalem Post

Pnina Shuker writes: Regardless of elections, Israel must take out the observation tower once and for all, without warning or care for those manning it. This is a relatively minor action, but can signal the start of a new strategy that will change the equation and lead Israel towards victory. – Jerusalem Post


Iraq’s caretaker prime minister met with Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, state TV reported, on a visit aimed at reactivating Baghdad-mediated talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. – Associated Press

Iraq’s prime minister met with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the kingdom Sunday as part of Baghdad’s efforts to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran. – Agence France-Presse

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The meetings were thus held in the context of Iraq having tried to broker Iran-Saudi talks. After years in which Riyadh and Iran had very negative relations, Iraq tried to be a place where coexistence might begin. The issue here is that Iraq is not a strong country and its leadership doesn’t project strength. Inevitably, that means even when it hosts the talks, it is likely Iran has its hands on the scales. – Jerusalem Post

Bobby Ghosh writes: And if intra-Shiite conflict interrupts Iraqi oil flows into the world market, that would suit Iran just fine, since a spike in prices would provide a welcome boost to its sanctions-restricted export revenue. For the U.S., there are no good outcomes: Political chaos in Baghdad is as bad as an Iranian proxy government. – Bloomberg


Lebanon’s top Christian cleric urged fractious politicians on Sunday to speed up the formation of a government to allow authorities to prepare for presidential elections due before the end of October. – Reuters

Cabinet ministers on Sunday okayed a bill that would provide some 400 South Lebanon Army veterans living in Israel with a NIS 550,000 ($160,000) grant toward purchasing a home. – Times of Israel

US energy envoy Amos Hochstein spoke with an Israeli negotiating team on Friday to discuss Lebanon’s proposal to resolve the maritime border dispute between the two countries linked to offshore gas exploration and extraction. – Times of Israel

Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group has established over a dozen new observation posts all the way along Israel’s northern border in recent weeks, according to a Saturday television report. – Times of Israel

Saudi Arabia

Discussions are under way on a deal that would allow Palestinians with Israeli citizenship to fly directly to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj and Umrah religious pilgrimages, according to people familiar with the matter. The initiative is one of several being discussed ahead of US president Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia next month, all with the aim of helping the former foes inch toward more normal ties. – Financial Times

When Joe Biden ran for the US presidency, he accused Saudi Arabia of “murdering children” in Yemen, where its forces led a military intervention against Iranian-backed Houthi fighters. But in a striking about-turn, just weeks ahead of a trip to the kingdom, Biden praised Riyadh’s “courageous leadership” in the conflict. – Financial Times

Saudi Arabia has been undertaking a charm offensive in recent months to woo foreign investors and businesses deterred by the kingdom’s poor human rights record. Its investment minister held a road show in the United States, the Kingdom is bankrolling a high-profile international golf tournament, and in October it unveiled plans to lure more than $100 billion of foreign investment a year by 2030. – Haaretz

Bilal Y. Saab writes: But for Saudi Arabia to obtain the United States’ comprehensive help on missile defense, it must commit to missile nonproliferation in the interest of regional and international security. That’s the security bargain Biden should be underscoring in his meeting with Saudi leaders. Riyadh must understand that further cooperation with China on offensive missiles will lead to the loss of full U.S. support on missile defense. This shouldn’t be a difficult choice. – Foreign Policy

Hasan Ismaik writes: Since I hold a middle position between pessimism and optimism, I believe that the visit’s media and diplomatic resonance will outweigh its practical results, which will depend on a radical change in the American administration’s attitude toward Arabs in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Moroccan officials said on Saturday that at least 23 migrants had died and scores more had been injured after what the authorities described as a stampede during an attempted mass crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in North Africa. But human rights organizations accused the security forces of using indiscriminate force at the crossing, and have called for an investigation into the deaths. – New York Times

A man with a knife attacked police officers stationed near a synagogue in Tunisia’s capital, injuring one in the shoulder and another on the hand, authorities said Friday. – Associated Press

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he would support the formation of a Middle East military alliance similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ahead of a visit of US President Joe Biden to the region. – Bloomberg

The director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, travelled to Bahrain Sunday ahead of meetings with representatives from four Arab states and the US, following an historic multilateral gathering held earlier this year in Israel’s Negev desert. – Algemeiner

With an eye to a regional security alliance and in advance of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, Israel is set to meet with Bahraini, Emirati, Moroccan, Egyptian and US officials on Monday in Manama. – Jerusalem Post

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that the Abraham Accords could lead to increased violence and fuel further conflict in the region shortly after the deal was implemented in 2020, according to an official document obtained by The Intercept on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

Clouds of war hang over both Free China and the Korean peninsula in a challenge to democratic regimes backed by America against Communist China and its North Korean protectorate. – New York Sun

North Korea on Saturday condemned “aggression moves” by Washington and Seoul, vowing to take revenge as it marked the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War at a time of rising tension on the Korean Peninsula. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will meet leaders of the United States and Japan on Wednesday during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Madrid, an official at the presidential office said on Sunday. – Reuters

Trevor Filseth writes: The North Korean government’s expansion on tests could be related to the election of Yoon Suk-yeol, a South Korean hardliner who has pledged to take a hard line against Pyongyang, to the South Korean presidency. In marked contrast to his liberal predecessor in office, Moon Jae-in, Yoon has publicly criticized negotiations with the North as a wasted effort and has vowed that South Korea would respond in kind to North Korean provocations, including through reciprocal missile tests. – The National Interest


The more than 1.4 billion people living in China are constantly watched. They are recorded by police cameras that are everywhere, on street corners and subway ceilings, in hotel lobbies and apartment buildings. Their phones are tracked, their purchases are monitored, and their online chats are censored. – New York Times

Two prominent Chinese advocates for citizen rights and the rule of law in China were tried for subversion this week in what family members said was an opaque legal process designed to conceal from people the plight of the country’s human rights defenders. – Washington Post

The U.S. and allies on Sunday laid out plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects in developing countries in an attempt to challenge autocracies and address a similar program by China. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong next week to mark the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from the U.K. and inaugurate a new government, as the city continues a two-year crackdown on dissent. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. is confident that NATO’s new strategy document will include “strong” language on China, a White House official said on Sunday, adding that negotiations on how to refer to Beijing were still underway. – Reuters

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he opposes reconsidering trade relations with China over its policies toward Hong Kong and its Uyghur minority. – Bloomberg

President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong to mark the city’s 25th anniversary of Chinese rule, in his first trip to the former British colony since overseeing a sweeping crackdown on its pro-democracy opposition. – Bloomberg

Nate Sibley writes: Wherever it comes from, dirty money undermines the integrity of America’s financial system, weakens its national security, and is an affront to its values as a nation. It is unconscionable that Communist Party officials who support genocide in Xinjiang, the crackdown in Hong Kong, and threats against Taiwan can bury their stolen wealth in our backyard. – Wall Street Journal


As Ukraine’s allies seek to broaden the coalition of nations against Russia, the United States and Europe are working to persuade India to abandon its neutral stance in the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

The US and Australia along with three other allies will form a new initiative that will assist Pacific Island countries in addressing challenges including climate change and security, as concerns about Chinese influence in the region grow. – Bloomberg

A retired Taiwanese general and another senior officer were indicted on Friday for their involvement in developing a spying network for China, prosecutors said. – Agence France-Presse

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s office said on Saturday it was “exasperated” with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan and his plan to resume an investigation into killings during the government’s crackdown on drugs. – Reuters

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has been tapped to lead a delegation to the Philippines for the inauguration of newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – The Hill

Indonesian President and G20 chairman Joko Widodo set off on Sunday to Europe where he said he plans to visit Russia and Ukraine and meet with the countries’ leaders to urge peace talks. – Agence France-Presse

Taiwan and the United States will hold trade talks on Monday under a newly agreed framework, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. – Reuters

The U.S. Navy’s top commander in the Pacific and the Japanese defense minister on Friday said that close cooperation between their naval forces is more important than ever in the region amid rising tensions over China, North Korea and Russia. – Associated Press

An uptick in Russian and Chinese warship movements near Japan are a part of an ongoing military demonstration toward Tokyo, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobou Kishi said this week. – USNI News

During a visit to Australia, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro commented on the implications of the increasingly tight relationship between the United States and Australia. The visit underscored how important Australia will be to a free Indo-Pacific in the future. – The National Interest

Vladimir Putin will visit two small former Soviet states in central Asia this week, Russian state television reported on Sunday, in what would be the Russian leader’s first known trip abroad since ordering the invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

William Alan Reinsch and Elizabeth Duncan write: Since the launch of IPEF discussions began in October 2021, there has been a running assumption that the United States has little to offer in terms of tariff liberalizations and therefore that negotiating partners would have little to gain from the removal of tariffs on goods traded with the United States. However, a closer analysis of the data reveals that there are myriad tariff peaks that together do provide leverage for the United States as it embarks on the next level of negotiations within the IPEF. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Howard W. French writes: If, by the same token, China were to prevail in a conflict over Taiwan, it would not just be able to cow neighbors such as Japan and South Korea (among others)—with the world’s largest navy already, it would soon control the entire western Pacific. […]But for a democracy like the United States, and indeed for its most deeply implicated allies, this is unacceptable. Smart people may differ about the wisdom of eroding strategic ambiguity around Taiwan, but with stakes this high, the public deserves a clear and open discussion of the high risks and cost and benefits of defending the island. – Foreign Policy

Georgia Leatherdale-Gilholy writes: As it stands, the Taliban is unlikely to back down from its position on the Durand Line and will continue to obstruct any attempt to complete the fence. The ceasefire between the TTP and Islamabad is unlikely to be long-lasting, and a permanent peace agreement is a fairly distant possibility. If the current peace negotiations between the TTP and Pakistan’s official government fail, the TTP could well go after Pakistan’s army with increased vigor, as it once did following the collapse of last year’s talks. As usual, it will be the average civilians on both sides of the border who bear the brunt of the horrors of war. – The National Interest


As the leaders of the Commonwealth wrapped up a week of closed-door meetings, panel discussions and formal dinners on Saturday in Rwanda, this “family of nations” still stood at a crossroads, with questions remaining about its usefulness and whether it can reinvent itself for the 21st century. – New York Times

European leaders meeting in Brussels this week were eager to focus on granting Ukraine E.U. candidate status, but have also had to address a pressing problem linked to the war: Russia has slowly been turning off the gas tap. – New York Times

Nato is to agree an overhaul of its battle plans to offer better protection to the alliance’s eastern flank, tearing up a model that could have meant relinquishing and then attempting to recapture the Baltic states in the event of a Russian invasion. – Financial Times

Croatia, which joined the EU almost a decade ago, is on the verge of joining the Schengen zone — the passport-free area stretching from Norway’s Arctic coast to Spain’s Atlantic seaboard and the Greek isles in the Aegean. It’s hoping to secure approval so it can remove its border crossings to the EU when it also joins the euro area on Jan. 1. – Bloomberg

The head of Italy’s industry lobby, Carlo Bonomi, traveled to Kyiv recently to demonstrate the business community’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. – Bloomberg

The final call between the presidents of France and Russia just four days before Putin issued the order for Moscow to invade Ukraine is filled with tension, occasional expressions of respect and moments of the bizarre. – Agence France-Presse

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday offered to upgrade Belarus’ warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons, amid soaring tensions with the West over Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse

Finland and Sweden joining the NATO alliance would fundamentally alter naval strategy and operations in the Baltic Sea and Arctic Basin, the heads of the French and American navies said today. – USNI News

Editorial: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a tough election next year, and his opposition seems more about stirring up nationalist sentiment at home than legitimate security concerns around Kurdish terrorism. The question is whether Mr. Biden, as the de facto leader of NATO, can help broker an acceptable compromise. […]Big international meetings often end with little beyond photo-ops and feel-good statements. This week’s summit has the potential to produce much more, and it would be a failure if Mr. Biden came home with nothing but symbolic gestures. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for a political community that offers cooperation in areas such as energy and security policy deserves exploring. Moving to such a system would provide a way for non-EU countries to partner with Europe beyond the more rigid and trade-focused EU association agreements (which Ukraine already has). – Bloomberg

Robert B. Zoellick writes: During World War II, lend-lease helped U.S. allies defeat a common enemy. The G-7 needs to build upon that experience by resolving to give Ukraine the means to win both the military and economic campaigns. – Washington Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: As a result, the deployment of missiles by Russia is important because it has ramifications for the Middle East in terms of what kind of deterrence the West might put in play. So far it seems the West has no real answer to countries that are willing to use military force. – Jerusalem Post

Cristina Gallardo and Hans Von Der Burchard write: Quite how much that listening exercise helps Boris Johnson in Bavaria this week, surrounded by unimpressed EU leaders just as his protocol bill returns to Parliament, remains to be seen. – Politico

Max Bergmann and Naz Gocek write: Europe has absorbed tremendous economic costs in seeking to rapidly decouple from Russia, shocking many around the world at the bold steps it has taken. It therefore makes little sense for Europe to accept such tremendous economic pain, but not devote the relatively small amount of resources necessary to support Ukraine maintain its fight for freedom. Moreover, it should not just be on the shoulders of the United States to aid Ukraine militarily. This must be a shared transatlantic responsibility, especially since supporting Ukraine is vital to European security. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


With fears growing of a severe food crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, Kyiv and its Eastern European allies are opening a new front in their battle to build diplomatic alliances against the Kremlin: African nations, many of which depend on grain and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia to feed their citizens. – Washington Post

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is certain to dominate an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid, Spain and other member nations are quietly pushing the Western alliance to consider how mercenaries aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin are spreading Moscow’s influence to Africa. – Associated Press

A peace agreement signed last year between some armed groups and the community in the Bankass area had largely held, even if the gunmen would sometimes enter the town to preach Shariah to the villagers. But on this Sunday in June, everything changed — the jihadis began killing people. – Associated Press

Togo and Gabon officially joined the Commonwealth Saturday, continuing an expansion of the group of nations beyond ex-British colonies as smaller states seek to benefit from an association that could bring $2 trillion in trade by 2030. – Bloomberg

President Paul Kagame on Saturday fiercely defended Rwanda’s record on human rights and political freedoms as the curtains closed on a Commonwealth summit where his country came under intense scrutiny. – Agence France-Presse

Sudan’s military accused Ethiopia’s army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who were captives, the Sudanese armed forces said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters

Two police officers were killed and one wounded in an attack on a police station in northwest Benin on Sunday, police sources said, the latest in a string of deadly assaults in an area affected by a spillover of militant activity in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. – Reuters


China cybersecurity investigators launched a probe of the operator of the country’s biggest academic database, they said Friday, as Beijing heightens scrutiny of technology companies with big troves of data. – Wall Street Journal

Harmony, a California-based crypto firm, announced on Thursday night that hackers have stolen $100 million worth of cryptocurrency from one of its blockchain bridges. – The Hill

An alleged security breach on Strava, the fitness-tracking app for runners and cyclists, allowed unidentified operatives to spy on members of Israel’s military, according to an Israeli watchdog group. – Business Insider

A hacker is selling access to 50 vulnerable networks on a cybercriminal forum after breaking into systems through the recently-discovered Atlassian Confluence zero-day. – The Record

A privacy group launched a campaign Monday aiming to show the human toll that cyberattacks have taken on activists, businesses and institutions. – Axios

Brandon Shopp writes: Communication, collaboration and adaptability will take on new significance with the recent implementation of the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act. As such, IT and security leaders must revisit their job requirements (even for the most technical staffers) and prioritize skills development with strategic training opportunities capable of bringing value to the organization and the workforce—and time is of the essence. – C4ISRNET

Jim Richberg writes: Delivering more effective cybersecurity to protect our nation’s networks is a complex challenge –– one that will require governments and industry to work together effectively to confront. Progress is necessary and it will take an effort of allies. No single government or organization or cybersecurity vendor can take this on alone. – C4ISRNET

Sam Cranny-Evans writes: Cyberattacks are often limited in their ability to be reused, and they take a long time to develop. It follows that Russia may have exhausted a significant amount of its Ukraine-specific cyber capabilities in the war so far. Russia has also demonstrated that cyberattacks can be useful in securing or maintaining an advantage on the battlefield. An important element of Ukraine’s resilience has been the assistance provided by Western companies such as Microsoft and Starlink, which has helped Ukraine continue governing and coordinating its forces. – The National Interest


The U.S. Air Force launched a program it says will sharpen its command and control and battle management abilities as it prepares for potential war against a major adversary. – Defense News

The head of U.S. Army combat vehicle modernization was approved by the Senate this week to become deputy commander of Army Futures Command. – Defense News

The French navy is assessing what it can learn from U.S. advances in “data-centric operations” and cloud technologies, its chief told reporters Friday following a week of travel in the United States. – Defense News

Congress appears poised to save five littoral combat ships from an early retirement, but the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says the effort to ditch the ships is not yet over. – Defense News

Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have each won contracts to continue developing hypersonic weapons interceptors in a Missile Defense Agency-led competition, according to a June 24 Pentagon contract announcement. – Defense News

The Space Force today stood up its new National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC), but its progenitor, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), will confusingly keep space in its name — and continue to be responsible for a good chunk of space-related analysis, according to sources. – Breaking Defense

In an effort to align with the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 objectives, Air Control Group 28 will assume command of three Marine Wing Support Squadrons assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The aim of the move is to enhance capabilities and modernize the force. – The National Interest

The United States has appointed a senior U.S. Navy officer to head up the American leg of the AUKUS triad, choosing a U.S. Navy attack submarine admiral to the post. The officer, Rear Adm. Dave Goggins, will take the title of special assistant and support the Australia-United Kingdom-United States partnership. – The National Interest

Ian Williams, Masao Dahlgren, Thomas G. Roberts, and Tom Karako write: Despite its charter mandate to develop systems for defeating missile threats in all phases of flight, the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) program efforts focus almost exclusively on intercepting ballistic missiles in their midcourse and terminal phases. While the United States has attempted to realize several boost-phase defense systems, none have made it past the developmental stage. […]Boost-Phase Missile Defense: Interrogating the Assumptions provides a fresh assessment of key issues related to boost-phase defense, including the ways missile threats are evolving and broader technological trends. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Emma Salisbury writes: If the U.S. Navy and its civilian masters can challenge their priors about the military-industrial complex and the concept of innovation, they will be able to avoid the pitfalls of entrenched interests and the fetishization of novelty — and America’s naval forces will be able to keep their pre-eminence on the high seas. – War on the Rocks

Long War

At least two people were killed and 10 seriously injured early Saturday in a shooting attack on an LGBTQ nightclub in Oslo. Norwegian authorities raised the country’s terror threat to its highest level Saturday. – Washington Post

The suspect in a mass shooting during an LGBTQ festival in Norway has refused to explain his actions to investigators and will remain in pretrial custody for the next four weeks, police and his defense lawyer said Sunday. – Associated Press 

Overnight, IDF, ISA and Israel Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria, including in the towns of Iskaka, Rashida, Al-Tira and Beit Ur al-Tahta. – Arutz Sheva

US Army Private Ethan Melzer (Also known as Etil Reggard,) in conjunction with the Order of the Nine Angles terrorist group, planned an attack on his unit during a scheduled deployment to Turkey. He pled guilty to it on Friday. – Jerusalem Post