Fdd's overnight brief

June 27, 2023

In The News


The European Council on Monday said it would add seven individuals in Iran to the EU’s sanctions over human rights violations. – Reuters

More than half of the House — 249 lawmakers, including 110 Democrats and 139 Republicans — joined a letter urging President Joe Biden to take additional steps to prevent Iran’s nuclear program and prepare to seek the reimposition of United Nations sanctions on Iran. – Jewish Insider

Following their recent visit to Iran, leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, the second largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, on Monday called for stepping up armed attacks against Israel. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Lion’s Den terrorist group has been heavily influenced by Iran, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar said on Tuesday, adding that they represent a new kind of organization, functioning as much on social media as in the physical world. – Jerusalem Post

The group claimed to have stolen “tens of thousands of classified, top secret and secret documents,” according to the post from the MEK, which has not officially claimed any connection to the GhyamSarnegouni. Likewise, the hackers have not claimed to have ties to MEK or any other political group or organization. – CyberScoop

Editorial: The bloodstained fingerprints of Iran’s IRGC have been found in terror attacks around the globe. Any deal that grants the Iranian regime an influx of money to further expand its global terrorist operations will only make the world more dangerous. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

The leader of an abortive military mutiny, Yevgeny Prigozhin, defended the short-lived insurrection and claimed on Monday he wasn’t trying to oust President Vladimir Putin of Russia, while Putin blasted the organizers of a revolt that presented the most serious challenge to his 23 years in power. – Wall Street Journal

The abortive military revolt in Russia over the weekend exposed vulnerabilities in Russia’s political system and pushed the Kremlin elite to tighten ranks around President Vladimir Putin. Observers inside Russia and across the West will be watching for signs of infighting as members of the elite—many lifelong friends of Putin—rally to support the Russian president or position themselves for a transfer of power. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed his nation Monday for the first time since the weekend mutiny by Wagner mercenaries, saying he would keep his promise and allow the group’s fighters to move to neighboring Belarus. – Washington Post

A weekend of chaos in Russia yielded few winners. Russian President Vladimir Putin is politically wounded, mercenary chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin is in serious trouble and the rest of the world has been left shaken by the sight of a nuclear power appearing to teeter haplessly on the brink. But if there is one person who seems to have had a good rebellion, it is Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, a Putin ally who suddenly took center stage, claiming credit for brokering a truce and saving Russia from an even bigger mess. – Washington Post

Three weeks into a counteroffensive critical to Ukraine’s prospects against Russia, its army is encountering an array of vexing challenges that complicate its plans, even as it wields sophisticated new Western-provided weapons. Not least is a vast swath of minefields protecting Russia’s defensive line, forming a killing field for Ukrainian troops advancing on the open steppe of the south. – New York Times

Russian authorities said Tuesday they have closed a criminal investigation into the armed rebellion led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, with no charges against him or any of the other participants. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to pilots killed fighting an aborted mutiny, confirming their deaths for the first time while thanking Russians for showing patriotic solidarity in the face of the Wagner militia group’s march on Moscow. – Reuters

A senior Russian lawmaker who has been involved in a number of negotiations related to Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine called late on Monday for a professional army seven-million strong to ensure that no mercenary groups are needed for the country’s security. – Reuters

Russia’s defense ministry said Monday it had scrambled two fighter jets, as British warplanes approached its border above the Black Sea. – Agence France-Presse

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he let Saturday’s aborted mutiny go on as long as it did to avoid bloodshed, while the Wagner mercenary group boss who led the uprising said he never intended to overthrow the government. – Reuters

Ukraine’s work with allies to build broad international support for a peace blueprint has made progress but any summit to endorse a document is at least months away, officials said. – Reuters

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has accused president Alexander Lukashenko of brokering a truce in Russia that increases the security risks for its European neighbours. – Financial Times

Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin still faces prosecution for his armed insurrection despite the Kremlin promising the charges against him would be dropped, according to state media. – Financial Times

President Joe Biden sought to preempt any talk from President Vladimir Putin that the West provoked the mercenary rebellion that shook Russia over the weekend, saying the US and NATO had played no role and were still weighing its consequences. – Bloomberg

Gerard Baker writes: Why would we stop inflicting that damage on China’s biggest ally now? And now that the Putin regime’s enfeebled rottenness has been laid bare, why wouldn’t we intensify our efforts to help Ukraine pursue its justified defense to a logical conclusion? – Wall Street Journal

Walter Russell Mead writes: The West very much wants Mr. Putin to fail, and if the weekend’s events signal the decline of the Putinocracy, your Global View columnist will gladly participate in the celebrations. But if Russia’s defenses hold in Ukraine, Wagner continues to prosper globally and the Russian public stays passive, Mr. Putin may be in less trouble than many of us hope. – Wall Street Journal

Serge Schmemann writes: Whatever his fate, Mr. Prigozhin is unlikely to be forgotten. His outbursts have served to publicly reveal the true and enormous Russian casualties in the war and the many setbacks Russia has suffered through bad leadership and bad information. These questions may persist as the war enters its second summer. When the mercenaries pulled back from Rostov-on-Don, people cheered, “Wagner! Wagner!” The history of Russian rebellions tends to treat rebels as heroes, however they fared. Centuries earlier, False Dmitri, the pretender celebrated in the opera “Boris Godunov,” actually became czar of Russia in the “time of troubles” — although, admittedly, not for long. – New York Times

Nic Robertson writes: Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin over-reached and lost. His hubris-fuelled insurrection failed through a combination of hot-headed ambition and his inability to read Putin’s inner circle, of which he was a member, properly. As one informed Moscow resident told me, the “system wasn’t ready for the radical change” he wanted. – CNN

Alexander Baunov writes: Putin will have to either continue to act in the precarious role of protector of the “corrupted elite” or, under pressure from the events of last weekend, embark on a purge of that elite. In this sense Prigozhin’s adventure may spell the end not only of the current form of Putin’s regime, but with it, the entire legacy of post-Soviet Russia. – Financial Times

Chris Donnelly writes: Meanwhile, the army faces more problems in Ukraine. Prigozhin in Belarus may not remain passive. Putin may cling to power at all costs, perhaps resorting to more extreme atrocities in Ukraine. Russia now faces a period of considerable uncertainty. Prigozhin’s insurrection may be over, but the drama is just beginning. – Financial Times

Jessica Karl writes: The showdown — which ended in an abrupt agreement, with Prigozhin seeking exile in Belarus — “is the biggest public failure in Putin’s entire political career,” Ekaterina Schulmann, a Russian political scientist currently based in Berlin, told Bloomberg News. – Bloomberg

Ariel Cohen writes: Moreover, Putin appears to be losing the war in Ukraine that he promised to win in a week. With Wagner demoralized, and Russia’s regular troops poorly trained and exhausted, it is unclear why the Russians would keep fighting. The country is bleeding and is at a political dead end. After the March 2024 presidential elections, if Putin is still alive, another coup may arise from the ranks of the power-hungry younger generation of the military, special forces and the security services — and this time it may be a coup that the aging Putin cannot stop. – The Hill

Alon Pinkas writes: Biden knew this all along. Even a character like Prigozhin, organically part-and-parcel of Putin’s dark world, seemingly figured it out as well. There are bound to be more, from China and India to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. – Haaretz

Irad Malkin writes: The historical role of mercenary forces points to a delicate balance between hiring such soldiers to gain a military advantage and the potential risks they pose to the stability and sovereignty of a state. Ultimately, it’s personal interests that drive a mercenary. When there is no one to block their ambitions, mercenaries can bring about an unexpected change in the balance of forces, completely altering the course of history. – Haaretz

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write: A better analogy places Prigozhin in the role of Stenka Razin, a rebel against tsarist power who mustered an army of peasants and attempted to march on Moscow from southern Russia in 1670-71. Razin was eventually apprehended and quartered on Red Square. But he became a fixture of Russian political folklore. He had revealed weakness in the tsarist government of his time, and in the centuries to come, others took inspiration from his story. For Russia’s autocrats, it holds a clear lesson: even an unsuccessful rebellion plants the seed for future attempts. – Foreign Affairs

Luke Coffey writes: Now is not the time to avoid asking difficult questions about Russia’s future. It is high time to prepare for the possibility that Putin will lose his grip on power, a transition might not be peaceful, and that Russia’s borders could look very different on a map in 10 or 20 years. The West needs to recognize the historical magnitude of the political dynamic set off by Putin’s war in Russia and start planning accordingly. – Foreign Policy

Trevor Filseth writes: But an effective mercenary is a double-edged sword. “The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not,” Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, advising his sovereign against their employment: “if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness.” Putin would have been wise to listen. – The National Interest

Elisabeth Braw writes: That’s the longer-term consequence of the chaos over this last weekend and the Duma introducing Wagner-like recruitment. Not even the most compliant people will sacrifice themselves for an institution that’s likely to bring them nothing but pain. – Foreign Policy

Robert Service writes: Russians are not living through another 1917, when the powers of state control were negligible and Russia was a free but chaotic country. Putin retains immense capacity to intensify repression. But the ruling elite and its agencies have suddenly displayed an extraordinary divisiveness, which no appeal to the nation by its president can any longer disguise. – Foreign Policy



The United States said Monday it would cut support to scientific and technology research in Israeli institutions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, returning to a long-running US policy that had been reversed under former US president Donald Trump. – Agence France-Presse

Dutch authorities arrested a man and his daughter on suspicion of sending millions of euros to organizations linked to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, prosecutors said on Monday. – Associated Press

The United States will test Palestinian-Americans’ freedom of travel in Israel next month as part of preparations for proposed U.S. visa exemptions for Israelis, an official briefed on the preparations said on Monday. – Reuters

The United States on Monday objected to a decision by Israel’s nationalist-religious government to approve the construction of around 5,700 additional housing units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. – Reuters

The Israeli military said two rockets were launched from the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday and landed within Palestinian territory, causing no reported injuries. – Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to travel to China to meet President Xi Jinping for the first time in six years, according to the Agence France-Presse. – Bloomberg

Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) Chief Gabi Portnoy said on Tuesday that, “anyone who carries out a cyber attack against Israeli citizens needs to take into account the price he will pay.”[…] More specifically, he addressed cyber attacks by the group MuddyWater, which he identified as associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and which attacked the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology a few months ago. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday reiterated his condemnation of settler rampages in Palestinian towns following a deadly terror shooting in the West Bank last week, while again lumping the rioting together with other recent unrest and not issuing a standalone rebuke. – Times of Israel

The State Department confirmed on Monday that the federal budgetary support for UNRWA will reach a record $223 million in 2023, an increase of $16 million on the previous year, i24NEWS reported. – Arutz Sheva

Ori Nir writes: Building one thousand new homes for settlers is unlikely to de-escalate anything. The Biden administration and Israel’s Arab neighbors should not allow the Israeli government to go back on its word to contain violence enacted by its own citizens. Thirty-five years after Ms. Porat’s death, the vigilante justice crudely advocated by the settler at her funeral is becoming dangerously normalized. – New York Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Rocket fire, explosives targeting vehicles and the need to use armed drones and helicopters reflects a serious escalation. Iran is watching. It tried in 2018 to fly munitions from Syria to the West Bank via a drone. It has recently hosted Hamas, and it would like to spread the instability from Jenin to other areas – all while pushing a diplomatic offensive in the Gulf. The PA will have to crack down on the threats in Jenin. The US and the West, which have backed the Palestinian Security Forces, will need to take the emerging threat seriously. – Jerusalem Post

David Singer writes: Why did Nazer ignore mentioning these recent highly-significant developments? The possible answer: Implementing the Saudi Solution could be one of the top agenda items in the current secret negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Keeping everyone in the dark – including President Biden – gives those negotiations the best chance of success. The Saudi Embassy’s perceived burial of the Saudi Solution may be premature. – Arutz Sheva


Anti-corruption authorities in the United States and Sweden are reviewing a complaint alleging that the Swedish affiliate of a U.S. company pledged to pay tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks if a son of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan helped it secure a dominant market position in the country. – Reuters

Turkey’s lira touched a record low of 26.10 against the dollar early on Tuesday during low liquidity hours, after an official and bankers said the central bank had stopped using its reserves to support the currency. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Vilnius next month, Mitsotakis’ office said on Monday, a day after he won a national election. – Reuters

Gulf States

Leaders of Russia and the United Arab Emirates held a phone call, the Kremlin and UAE’s state news agency said on Monday. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia will send one of the biggest official delegations to this week’s “Summer Davos” in China, as Beijing deepens co-operation with the Middle East to reboot the world’s second-largest economy after three years of Covid-19 lockdowns. – Financial Times

Oman’s Foreign Minister, Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, plans to visit Ramallah in the coming weeks, i24NEWS reported on Monday. According to the report, as part of the upcoming trip, Albusaidi expressed his desire to ascend the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry to coordinate his arrival. – Arutz Sheva

Middle East & North Africa

A media channel affiliated with Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Monday the powerful armed group downed an Israeli drone that flew into Lebanon’s southern air space. – Reuters

Devorah Margolin writes: To be sure, repatriation is not risk-free. Yet coalition members have already demonstrated effective ways to mitigate these risks, such as sharing best practices on gathering evidence; holding responsible parties accountable; adapting risk assessments to the needs of each individual and state; operating a clear dual communication strategy for civil society and those being repatriated; and creating a trauma-informed care approach to these individuals. Each country will need to apply these best practices differently based on their unique capacities and legal systems. In the end, even effective repatriation will not solve all of the region’s problems. Yet simply leaving these individuals behind in Syria will create a much greater risk to the international community. – Washington Institute

Paul Salem writes: The rumble in Russia might prove a passing crisis and might be forgotten within a few months; or it could foreshadow a coming collapse. The West, Europe, and China are, of course, watching this closely. Suffice it to say, that many are watching in the Middle East as well, some with more concern and urgency than others. – Middle East Institute

Mary Fitzgerald writes: Despite Bathily’s entreaties, few Libyans believe elections will take place this year, or even next year. In the meantime, Libya’s political parties will continue to press their case. There are indications, including observations from party activists as well as public polling, that attitudes toward parties are shifting and that most Libyans accept they have a role to play in the country’s political life. Which parties might be up to the challenge is another question. Libya’s still-young experiment with democracy remains fragile and its political parties have a long way to go. – Middle East Institute

Sam Fouad writes: U.S. policymakers ought to therefore consider doing so. A generous economic relief package specifically earmarked for the Egyptian people, rather than the military, along with a well-run PR campaign would not only be a major diplomatic win but would also help ensure that Cairo continues to seek assistance from the United States. Multipolarity may open up other options for countries, but it does not preclude remaining with a prior benefactor. – The National Interest

Ross Harrison and Alex Vatanka write: While it is healthy to question the motivations behind Iran and Saudi Arabia’s recent normalization of relations and to test the two countries’ political will toward de-escalation, cynicism could blind us to the possibilities for a better future for this troubled region. – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

Japan will reinstate South Korea to its “white list” for exports with fast-track trade status effective July 21, Japanese trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Tuesday, a crucial step for resolving an economic row between the two nations. – Reuters

In 2006, a Korean engineer called Choi Jin-seok achieved a feat that earned him the nickname “master of semiconductor yield”.[…] But his career stalled in 2010, and after a period in the wilderness he embarked on a quixotic mission to re-emerge as a leading light in the Chinese semiconductor industry. – Financial Times

Representatives from Seoul and Jerusalem signed the Seoul Leadership Summit’s Seoul Manifesto at the inaugural Korea and Israel One Network (KION) conference on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post


Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Tuesday accused Western nations of “sowing division and confrontation,” in thinly veiled criticisms of Washington, as he sought to cast his country as a responsible world power and champion for globalization. – Washington Post

China’s major state-owned banks were seen selling dollars in the offshore spot foreign exchange market on Tuesday, four sources with knowledge of the matter said, suggesting authorities wanted to slow the pace of the yuan’s recent slide. – Reuters

Amid intensifying military deployments across East Asia, high-level defence dialogue between China and the United States remains frozen. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not secure any progress on the issue during his visit to Beijing last week. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin attempted talks with China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu during a defence conference in Singapore this month, but did not get beyond a handshake. – Reuters

China is willing to work with Vietnam to strengthen high-level communication and cooperation between their militaries, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu said on Tuesday as he met his Vietnamese counterpart. – Reuters

China has voiced support for Russia after a short-lived insurrection posed the gravest challenge to the 23-year rule of Vladimir Putin, a close partner of Chinese leader Xi Jinping in his push for a new world order and strategic alignment against the United States. – CNN

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Xi Jinping’s gamble on a “no limits” friendship with Vladimir Putin has looked like it could backfire. This weekend’s brief uprising against Moscow again underscored the risks facing the Chinese leader. – Bloomberg

China banned a prominent finance writer and two of his peers from social media platform Weibo for commenting about the country’s stock market and unemployment rate. – Bloomberg

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) are calling on the Biden administration to give a classified briefing regarding a reported Chinese spy facility in Cuba. – The Hill

Nikki Haley writes: China has spent decades preparing to fight. America is now in a dangerous situation against a powerful enemy. The hour is late, but it isn’t too late to wake up and take charge of our future. If we rally now, the Chinese Communist Party will end up on the ash-heap of history, like the Soviet Communist Party before it. – Wall Street Journal

Howard Chua-Eoan writes: Again, all this doesn’t say anything about what will happen in Russia next. But it provides a popular context for Xi’s China and the policies it’s formulating about Russia’s chaos, as Minxin Pei elaborates in his recent Bloomberg Opinion column. Foreign policy must necessarily have a domestic audience — and China’s democrature (the useful French neologism that combines democratie and dictature, that is dictatorship) pays attention to social media indicators. If the Chinese people see Russia through a template of chaos, then perhaps it’s time for Beijing to realign its relationship with Putin, who may have lost the Mandate of Heaven. – Bloomberg

Dmitry Gorenburg, Elizabeth Wishnick, Paul Schwartz, and Brian Waidelich write: In addition, any indication that either side is willing to grant the other long-term access to its military facilities would be a sign of an appreciable advance in military cooperation and mutual trust. These actions would indicate that the two countries are potentially on the path to a deeper level of military cooperation that might create serious threats to U.S. allies and partners and greatly increase the challenge facing U.S. military planners. Evidence that Russia and China are engaging in this type of cooperation will be more significant than further ritual statements about unlimited friendship made at summit meetings. – War on the Rocks

Michael Schuman writes: Russian President Vladimir Putin survived the rebellion that Yevgeny Prigozhin and his private army unleashed on Saturday. Perhaps Putin’s hold on power was never in great peril. Yet whether the incident is perceived as a mark of Putin’s weakness or of his resilience, it painted a picture of a Russia in deep decline, where a warlord can march on Moscow practically unchallenged, and where political fortunes can be unpredictable and even volatile. – The Atlantic

Gregory W. Meeks writes: It’s been said time and again that the U.S.-China relationship is becoming the new Cold War. If anything, I fear this characterization is an understatement of how perilously close we are to the cliff’s edge. War with China is not inevitable, but it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Blinken’s trip to China did not change the complexities of this relationship, but it was a step in the right direction for maintaining high-level communication with Beijing. That communication—along with robust funding and support for the United States’ most crucial levers of soft power—is essential if we are to prevent an avoidable and devastating great-power war, which is a goal we should all share and work to promote. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

The White House is condemning the harassment of a Wall Street Journal reporter who questioned India’s prime minister about human rights in his country at a press conference last week. – Wall Street Journal

Pakistan’s military on Monday fired three senior army commanders and disciplined 15 top officers over their conduct during recent protests that supported former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in what analysts called the strongest action the military has taken against its own members in decades. – New York Times

Sri Lanka will enter into an agreement with the World Bank for $500 million in budgetary support after the cabinet approved it on Tuesday, the biggest funding tranche for the crisis-hit nation since an International Monetary Fund deal in March. – Reuters

The United Nations said Tuesday it has documented a significant level of civilians killed and wounded in attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover — despite a stark reduction in casualties compared to previous years of war and insurgency. – Associated Press


New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Tuesday she had a “very robust” discussion during an earlier meeting with her Chinese counterpart, as the leaders of the two countries prepare to meet. – Reuters

The Philippines on Monday said it had signed four loan agreements with the World Bank totalling $1.14 billion, including $750 million of budgetary support for policy reforms to boost environmental protection and climate resilience. – Reuters

Japan’s ruling coalition parties are set to issue a statement reaffirming they will cooperate in elections across most of the country, after a damaging fight in Tokyo ended their pact in the capital. – Bloomberg

James Jay Carafano writes: Rather than pretending that Biden can simultaneously manage China, buy-off Iran, and defeat Russia all by himself, Washington should set its sights on working constructively with partner nations, particularly in Eurasia, to support peace and open exchange. Doing so will limit the deleterious effects of great power competition and ensure a brighter future for America and the region. – 19FortyFive

S. Frederick Starr writes: Central Asians have no intention to roll back their ties with their large neighbors, but seek rather to balance them with ties with the West. However, recent polls in the region indicate that the majority of their publics have abandoned hope of enhanced ties with America and Europe and are struggling instead to figure out how to preserve their sovereignty in the face of China and Russia. America now has before it what may be the last, best chance to prevent the region from being dominated by autocratic outsiders. This, no less than the fate of Ukraine and the newly independent states of Europe, will shape the future. – American Foreign Policy Council



Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party who has presided over a period of economic stability and tough anti-migration policies in Greece, was sworn in on Monday for a second term as prime minister after a landslide victory that gave him a clear mandate for the next four years. – New York Times

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Monday with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni about the brief uprising by Russian mercenaries against the Kremlin and also invited her to visit the White House in July, the White House said in a statement. – Reuters

Berlin is ready to station a 4,000-strong army brigade in Lithuania permanently in coordination with NATO defence planning following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the German defence minister said on Monday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden rolled out the red carpet for Rishi Sunak in Washington this month, but behind the scenes senior figures from Britain’s Labour party were also in town, covertly reinforcing links with leading Democrats. – Financial Times

Switzerland’s main intelligence agency says Russia continues to have dozens of spies disguised as diplomats at its embassy in Bern and its mission to the United Nations in Geneva, making the Alpine nation a hotspot for Russian espionage activity in Europe. – Associated Press

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that he will call an urgent meeting in the coming days to try to overcome Turkish objections to Sweden joining the military organization. It’s a last-ditch effort to have the Nordic country standing alongside the allies at a major summit next month. – Associated Press

Germany is willing to send around 4,000 troops to Lithuania on a permanent basis to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a visit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Monday. – Associated Press

Three police officers returned to Kosovo Monday after a Serbian court ordered their release from detention in a move that could help ease tensions between the neighboring countries. – Bloomberg

Can Kasapoğlu writes: Nevertheless, like North Korea, Russia remains dangerous. Worse, a Russian civil war could haunt the European security architecture for decades. As NATO’s Strategic Concept emphasizes, Russia will remain a direct threat to the alliance. Yet the country is not a great power—not anymore. The Wagner mutiny manifested this reality. – Hudson Institute


The aborted rebellion in Russia has brought unease to large swaths of Africa where leaders who have turned to the Wagner mercenary group to bolster their hold on power now face the prospect that the private paramilitary organization could be weakened or even dismantled, according to experts on the region as well as Western officials and analysts. – Washington Post

Sudan’s RSF paramilitary commander announced on Monday a unilateral truce during Muslims’ Eid al Adha. – Reuters

Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio is leading the presidential election count, the West African country’s electoral commission said on Monday after 60% of votes have been counted. – Reuters

Many Sudanese have fled the fighting to neighboring countries like Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia and South Sudan. But some, Mohamed among them, found themselves trapped by a bureaucratic nightmare – and they say the United States is responsible. – CNN

Russia’s Wagner Group has played a central role in a campaign of killings, torture and rape in the Central African Republic and has driven civilians away from areas where its affiliated companies have been awarded mining rights, US nonprofit the Sentry said in a report. – Bloomberg

Audrey Donkor writes: Ghanaians, meanwhile, have grown weary of a governance system that continuously fails to meet their expectations. Politics has divided Ghanaians and widened inequality. And patriotism has declined, as Ghanaians have grown used to looking out for themselves and their families alone, in the absence of a system they can trust and a country that supports and protects them. Ghanaians want their democracy to be about more than just peaceful elections and free speech—the low bar the West has often set for Ghana. Ghanaians also want a democracy that uplifts them economically. – Foreign Policy

Catrina Doxsee writes: Without clear indication of the leadership, structure, or intentions of their Wagner partners, African host states are left vulnerable and with minimal agency regarding the future of their most important security agreements. Although autocratic leaders have preferred Russian partnership over Western aid, the uncertainty could prove particularly disastrous for the military regimes that rely on Wagner chiefly for their own self-preservation, or “coup-proofing.” Amid this chaos, clear and viable alternative partnerships from the United States or its allies may look more appealing than ever to Wagner’s clients—and the chance to disrupt Russia’s growing influence in Africa may not come again. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Latin America

Former first lady Sandra Torres and congressman Bernardo Arévalo will face off in a runoff election for the Guatemalan presidency after obtaining the most votes in a first-round of balloting marked by voter discontent over the exclusion of several top opposition contenders. – Wall Street Journal

Argentina’s presidential election looks increasingly likely to usher in a pro-business government after the ruling Peronist bloc coalesced around centrist Economy Minister Sergio Massa as its candidate. – Bloomberg

Honduras’ military began taking control of the country’s violent prisons on Monday, following a gang dispute that left 46 inmates dead at a women’s detention center last week, officials said. – Reuters

North America

Olivia Chow became the first Chinese-Canadian to be elected as mayor of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, on Monday, pledging to support renters, champion social causes, and reduce the sweeping powers of her office. – Reuters

Mexican opposition parties will pick their candidate for next year’s presidential election by September, after an informal campaign similar to that launched by President Andres Manuel Lopez’s ruling coalition. – Bloomberg

The first U.N. independent investigator to visit the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay said Monday the 30 men held there are subject “to ongoing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law.” – Associated Press


The United States leads China in innovative national security technology and industrial might, but Beijing is rushing ahead in areas like artificial intelligence, where it feels it can be a global leader in the next decade, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment’s latest report concludes. – USNI News

Patrick Murphy writes: This is our Normandy moment, and patriotism demands that we’re all in on the same side together to make sure that these breakthrough technologies reflect democratic and American values. Those of us who’ve seen combat don’t want our children to fight unnecessary wars, especially against an AI-enabled military that could eliminate America’s technological and moral advantage. The billon Chinese people are good, but the totalitarian regime that governs them will do us harm if given the chance. American tech companies can’t continue to allow that to happen. – Fox News

Anu Bradford writes: In the coming years, there will be clear winners and losers not only in the race to develop AI technologies but also in the competition among the regulatory approaches that govern those technologies. These competing models will empower tech companies, governments, or digital citizens in different ways, with far-reaching economic and political consequences. How governments go about those choices will determine whether the unfolding AI revolution will serve democracy and deliver unprecedented prosperity, or lead to grave societal harms—or even unforeseeable catastrophe. – Foreign Affairs

Marina Yue Zhang writes: For Japan, the export control measures could potentially impact bilateral relations and may escalate trade tensions, especially considering the historical conflicts between Japan and China. Japan is a significant trading partner for China, and the Chinese market remains vital for Japanese manufacturers in semiconductors. In retaliation to Japan’s alignment with the United States in curbing China’s chipmaking, Beijing could consider restricting the export of critical minerals to Japan and Chinese consumers could potentially organize boycotts of Japanese products, as they have during previous bilateral conflicts. – The National Interest


The United States plans to announce as soon as Tuesday a new military aid package for Ukraine worth up to $500 million, keeping up U.S. resolve to help Ukraine against Russia as Moscow deals with a mutiny by some of its soldiers. – Reuters

General Dynamics Corp. and American Rheinmetall Vehicles were selected from a field of five companies to proceed into full-scale development and prototyping in the competition to replace the US Army’s aging Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a potential $45 billion project. – Bloomberg

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act draft approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee last week includes a series of priority provisions for pro-Israel advocates, including advancing Middle East naval and cybersecurity cooperation as well as accelerating training for Israeli pilots on the KC-46 refueling aircraft. – Jewish Insider

A new poll on national security issues finds three-quarters of respondents believe it is important for Ukraine to win its war against Russia’s invasion, but not all of them support providing Ukraine military aid. – Defense News

The Marine Corps has announced it’s more than doubling the amount of cash it will offer recruits who qualify to enter its cyber warfare field, according to a message released Monday. – Military.com

Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer write: Ukraine and its allies in Congress have launched another campaign to push Biden to send Kyiv long-range weapons known as Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that can strike targets up to 200 miles away. So far, the administration hasn’t bowed to that pressure, as some officials are wary that such U.S. deliveries could give Ukraine more abilities to strike inside Russian territory, heightening the risk that the war spirals into a military confrontation between Moscow and Washington. – Foreign Policy