Fdd's overnight brief

June 6, 2022

In The News


Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened a wider campaign of bombing and shelling Sunday should the United States send longer-range rockets to Ukraine, at the same time dismissing the advanced shorter-range missiles President Biden has already promised as “nothing new.” – Washington Post 

Ukrainian forces managed to retake parts of the city of Severodonetsk in a counterattack, as they try to hold off the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine while Kyiv waits for new long-range rocket systems from the U.S. – Wall Street Journal  

Before Russia’s invasion, around 98% of Ukraine’s prodigious grain exports would flow from ports on the Black Sea. But those ports have been shut by a Russian naval blockade, and warehouses, rail yards and other key export infrastructure have been targeted and damaged by Russian attacks. – Wall Street Journal  

Three special-forces platoons from the Azov Regiment, a Ukrainian volunteer militia, fanned out in the woods outside this southern city to practice shooting and ambush tactics they plan to use against invading Russian forces. – Wall Street Journal  

Russia has bombed, blockaded and plundered the grain production capacity of Ukraine, which accounts for one-tenth of global wheat exports, resulting in dire forecasts of increased hunger and of spiking food prices around the world. – New York Times 

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called out several American cities for having sister cities in Russia during a video address to the United States Conference of Mayors meeting on Friday. – New York Times 

Vladimir Efimov, a local politician on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East, was charged with “discrediting the army” and ordered to pay a $500 fine three times in recent months over antiwar images that he displayed on social media. – New York Times 

The United Nations is trying to broker a deal with Russia to allow Ukraine to restart grain exports via the Black Sea. Biden administration officials and lawmakers, however, are highly skeptical Russia is operating in good faith. – Politico 

Mark Holtsyev knew the window to rescue desperate residents of Lyman before Russian forces razed the town was closing fast. – Politico 

A Russian general was killed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian state media journalist said on Sunday, adding to the string of high-ranking military casualties sustained by Moscow. – Reuters 

Russia hit Kyiv with cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea on Sunday, striking a rail car repair facility in the Ukrainian capital, in the first such attack for weeks, Ukraine’s army and the country’s railway chief said. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power operator Energoatom said a Russian cruise missile few “critically low” on Sunday morning over a major nuclear power plant. – Reuters 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was summoning the heads of U.S. media outlets in Moscow to a meeting next Monday to notify them of tough measures in response to U.S. restrictions against Russian media. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a major rewrite of the Biden administration’s National Security Strategy, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg 

Ukrainian troops have beaten back Russian forces to control half of a flashpoint eastern city, local officials said, as President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the front lines to support his country’s “true heroes”. – Agence France-Presse 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “awakened a dark nationalism” within Russia that he has become increasingly dependent on, said a Russian political scholar and analyst. – Business Insider

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired five generals from the military’s top brass this week amid Moscow’s stumbling invasion of Ukraine. – Business Insider 

Since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine in late February, a heavily outnumbered and outgunned adversary has handed the Russian navy several high-profile losses. – Business Insider 

Russia appreciates the balanced attitude of the Arab countries to the situation in Ukraine, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said in an interview with Al Jazeera TV. – Jerusalem Post 

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not a war but rather a “special military operation,” according to Russian state media outlet TASS. – Jerusalem Post 

Russia is using separatist forces from a contested Ukrainian territory for urban ground assaults in an effort to minimize the impact of the war on its armed forces, according to new information released by British intelligence. – The Hill       

After 100 days of war, Ukraine is fighting for time, trying to hold out against overwhelming Russian fire on its eastern front long enough for Western weapons to arrive and give it a badly needed edge. – Reuters 

Editorial: The US, its allies, and Ukraine itself are, after all, battling to defend the global rules-based system, as the foundation of peace and security, in the face of Moscow’s aggression. That should include holding the Putin Kremlin to account, legally and financially, for the human and economic toll of its war — but not at the cost of compromising the values the west claims to uphold. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Crimea is of almost sanctified value to Putin. Not only does the Crimean peninsula offer Russia its centering Black Sea fleet headquarters at Sevastopol, it offers Russia a physical vindication of defining mythology. […]The Russian leader probably could not surrender Crimea to Ukraine without losing power. And that means Putin’s risk tolerance for retaining Crimea would likely be far greater than his risk tolerance in pursuit of the war he has waged since February. As he ponders his future strategy, Zelensky deserves U.S. commitment to his defensive campaign. But he also deserves American clarity as to where heavier arms supplies might meet their limit. – Washington Examiner  

Max Boot writes: Biden would do well to remember the Powell Doctrine, formulated by the late secretary of state Colin L. Powell. He counseled against getting involved in “halfhearted half-wars” and argued that when the United States uses force, it should do so with overwhelming might to win. The same doctrine should apply to military assistance: Instead of offering Ukraine just enough aid to avoid being defeated, we should be providing such overwhelming support that it can win the war (meaning, liberate most of the territory lost since Feb. 24). Ukraine shows no sign of tiring of the struggle. Neither should we. – Washington Post  

Ross Douthat writes: So if Kyiv and Moscow are headed for a multiyear or even multidecade frozen conflict, we will need to push Ukraine toward its most realistic rather than its most ambitious military strategy. And just as urgently, we will need to shift some of the burden of supporting Kyiv from our own budget to our European allies. – New York Times 

Harry First and Darren Bush write: This history leads us to believe that fears of OPEC retaliation are misplaced: Many OPEC members see the benefits of diversifying their economies and participating in international commerce beyond the production of oil. Economic retaliation would only set back those efforts. Even so, a White House spokeswoman recently expressed concerns about the “potential implications and unintended consequences” of the legislation. – New York Times 

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: Moms and wives can’t topple Putin or end the fight, just as their distress didn’t force troops out of Afghanistan or end the Soviet Union. But their grief and growing numbers of casualties — which state media cannot airbrush away with laudatory coverage alone — tarnishes the military and the state with unpredictable consequences. – Bloomberg 

Lionel Laurent writes: Yet he has also called for a common response to rising energy costs and urged the U.S. to think “carefully” about what a ceasefire might look like. With sanctions fatigue threatening to set in, it’s Draghi’s approach, not Orban’s, that should inform the West’s next steps. – Bloomberg 

Pankaj Mishra writes: Faced with such resentful and implacable challengers, they have naturally sought shelter in the easy certainties and slogans of their youth. But peace and stability in the world will depend on whether today’s fragmented West can find less treacherous ways of dealing with the rest. – Bloomberg 

Iulia Sabina-Joja writes: To tackle this — and to sever the strategically important land bridge — Ukrainians need long-range rockets and far greater air power supplied by drones and fighter jets. Either MiG-29s and Su-24s or old American F-14s and F-16s will do. Of course, this involves risk. No one wants a wider war. However, the West’s hesitancy has the unintended consequence of prolonging a conflict that is already more than costly and dangerous enough. – New York Post 

Anthony Grant writes: Although it may be cliche, it bears repeating that hindsight is 20/20. […]There is simply no other way.” Moscow has not shown itself to be very keen on taking notes, but — cliche alert — better late than never. – New York Sun 

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write: The goal of Ukrainian and Western strategy must be sustainable security for Ukraine. Kyiv’s partners have rightly refused to compromise on Ukrainian sovereignty and independence. But they also must think through “the day after” Ukraine wins. […]When the U.S. diplomat George Kennan, pondering the sources of Soviet conduct, stared into the future in 1947, he did not think in years. He thought in decades. To persevere and prevail in Ukraine, today’s Western leaders must do so, as well. As Tolstoy put it, “the strongest of all warriors are these two—time and patience.” – Foreign Affairs 


Iranian authorities on Friday launched an investigation into what they called the suspicious death of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander at his home near Tehran, Iranian officials said, two weeks after another guards member was fatally shot on the street. – Wall Street Journal  

The death of a senior Iranian military officer at his home in a Tehran suburb a week ago has fueled conflicting reports that he fell from a balcony, committed suicide or was killed. – New York Times 

Iran’s supreme leader said his country’s seizure of two Greek oil tankers in Persian Gulf waters last month was a direct response to the US and Greece’s “robbery” of Iranian crude. – Bloomberg 

Iranian security forces on Friday arrested a young man following an assault on a top provincial cleric in the central city of Isfahan, Iranian media reported. The cleric appeared unharmed in a video broadcast after the attack. – Associated Press 

Oman and Iran signed deals to develop two gas pipelines and an oil field along their maritime border, Oman’s energy minister said Saturday, less than two weeks after Iran’s president visited the sultanate. – Agence France-Presse 

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday blamed recent protests in Iran on foreign “enemies” seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic. – Reuters 

Iran vowed on Friday to show an “immediate response” to any move against it by the United States and European countries at the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA, Iranian state media reported. – Reuters  

Israel told the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Friday it would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme but it could take independent action, reiterating a long-standing veiled threat to launch a preemptive war. – Reuters   

Six Chinese banks have been urged to cut ties with the Iranian regime in a bid to prevent Tehran’s leaders from bypassing tough international sanctions. – Algemeiner 

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors is expected to address Iran’s nuclear violations in a meeting in Vienna on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

Iranian scientist Dr. Ayub Ansari was invited to dinner with a relative in Yazd, Iran, shortly before his death, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas revealed, sharing new details on Saturday regarding his death. – Jerusalem Post 

The international community must prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency Secretary-General Rafael Grossi in Jerusalem on Friday. – Jerusalem Post  

A senior Iranian official slammed Zionism in a Hebrew tweet Sunday, following a string of suspicious deaths of Iranian officials. – Arutz Sheva 

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, on Friday urged Israel to stop daydreaming about attacking Iran, the Mehr news agency reported. – Arutz Sheva 

Iran’s foreign minister said Friday that the visit of the UN’s atomic watchdog to Israel violated the organization’s “neutrality,” and warned of an “immediate” response should Western countries move to censure Tehran at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency next week. – Times of Israel 

The US may allow more sanctioned Iranian oil onto global markets even without a revival of the 2015 nuclear accord, according to a Sunday report that quoted a major independent crude trader. – Bloomberg  

The European Union’s top diplomat on Saturday warned of the diminishing prospect of reviving the 2015 accord limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. – Times of Israel 

Major European countries and the United States were expected to seek to censure Iran when the UN atomic watchdog meets this week amid stalled talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. – Times of Israel 

Following today’s rare visit to Israel, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, is expected to deliver a speech Monday at a crucial Vienna meeting of the body’s board of governors. – New York Sun 

John Hannah and Michael Makovsky write: Drowned out by news of the horrific school shooting in Texas and the ongoing war in Ukraine, last week’s congressional testimony by President Biden’s Iran envoy, Robert Malley, passed largely unnoticed. That’s unfortunate. Overflowing with empty talking points bearing little relation to reality, it underscored that the administration’s Iran policy has reached a dangerous dead end — one that Biden’s team either doesn’t recognize or refuses to deal with. – National Review 


The Alaa Aldin family bakery could have been a casualty of Syria’s civil war. Instead, it has become a symbol of what American officials describe as the resilience of refugees trying to survive a conflict that many fear has been forgotten. – New York Times 

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces would coordinate with Syrian government troops to fend off any Turkish invasion of the north, the SDF commander told Reuters on Sunday, saying Damascus should use its air defence systems against Turkish planes. – Reuters 

Vahid Jalalzadeh, the chairman of Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, gave an interview to Al-Alam TV saying that the Islamic Republic would continue to support the Syrian regime but that reports it was replacing Russians in Syria were mistaken. – Jerusalem Post 


Greece’s ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over concerns about the activities of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party in his country, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. – Associated Press 

Turkey’s push to reset its relations with Arab neighbors arrived in Egypt, with the first ministerial-level visit to the pivotal Mideast nation since a military-backed uprising nearly a decade ago ousted an Islamist leader favored by Ankara. – Bloomberg 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to begin a military incursion into northern Syria targeting Kurdish forces backed by the US. – Bloomberg 


After two decades of research and experimentation, Israeli defense officials now say they have a working prototype of a high-powered laser gun that can intercept rockets, mortar shells, drones and anti-tank missiles in flight. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden will delay visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel until next month, NBC reported. – Bloomberg 

It was a drill on a level that the IDF had never carried out before. Thousands of troops, and hundreds of aircraft and navy vessels all trained together in going to war against Israel’s enemies, on all fronts and in all dimensions, including a strike in Iran. – Jerusalem Post 

A bipartisan slate of 25 Congress members, including a number who are close to the pro-Israel community, called on the Biden administration to pressure the Palestinian Authority to release the bullet that killed a Palestinian reporter for an independent investigation. – Jerusalem Post 

Thai police are reportedly on high alert over the potential presence of Iranian spies in the southeastern Asian country, as Israel warns that Tehran could be targeting its citizens abroad as part of a revenge plot. – Times of Israel 

“Israel is back in Africa” was the unmistakable message of a conference here this week on the Jewish state’s ties with the continent in the years ahead. – Times of Israel 

The main Cypriot opposition party has slammed the government for hosting recently concluded Israel Defense Forces military drills, calling it “a dangerous development for Cyprus.” – Times of Israel 

Israel briefly detained four Palestinian fishermen off the Mediterranean coast of Gaza on Saturday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. – Reuters 

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressing his concern over the recent surge in violence in the region and calling to conclude investigations into the death of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. – Times of Israel 


A senior Lebanese security official has said the risk of political paralysis has increased since an election produced a fractured parliament last month, warning of a possible “disaster” because there is no majority to legislate. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s intelligence chief has said he will visit Syria for talks with Syrian leaders about the fate of a U.S. reporter who went missing in Syria a decade ago. – Reuters  

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Sunday warned Israel against drilling in the Karish offshore natural gas field, as a new gas rig arrived at the site to commence operations. – Times of Israel 

The Israeli military is preparing for the possibility that the Hezbollah terror group will attempt to attack the new Karish gas rig off the country’s Mediterranean coast, Kan news reported Sunday. – Times of Israel 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi dissidents expressed anger Friday at reports that President Biden was planning his first presidential visit to Saudi Arabia — without any sign that the United States had demanded improvements in human rights in the kingdom, or accountability for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in return for the visit. – Washington Post 

President Joe Biden said Friday he hasn’t changed his views on human rights despite his administration’s praise of Saudi Arabia for getting key oil producers to step up production. As a presidential candidate, Biden had pledged to make the kingdom a “pariah” over its abuses. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden entered the White House vowing to recalibrate US relations with Saudi Arabia after years of President Donald Trump shielding Riyadh and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from punishment over the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden said Saudi Arabia would be made a “pariah” on the global stage and pledged to pursue a foreign policy centered on human rights — including by ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen conflict. – Business Insider 

Two Saudi government delegations plan to visit the United States this month, officials said on Saturday, as Riyadh and Washington step up efforts to fix strained ties and lay the ground for an eventual visit by U.S. President Joe Biden. – Reuters 

Gulf States

A former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges in connection with a secret lobbying campaign on behalf of Qatar to influence the Trump White House and Congress in 2017, after implicating a retired four-star American general in the effort. – Washington Post 

As unmanned systems technology proliferates worldwide, Gulf-based companies are trying to elbow their way into the market not just with battlefield drones, but with those high-tech enough to use satellite links for longer-range missions. – Breaking Defense 

The judicial council of Iraq’s Kurdistan said the region’s oil law remained in force, rejected a ruling from the federal supreme court that Kurdish authorities should hand over their crude supplies. – Reuters   

Joseph Braude writes: By supporting local advocates of peace, America can thwart the ambitions of Iran, its proxies and others who share their aspiration to isolate Israel. Washington should explicitly affirm that Iraqis favoring peace have the same right to express themselves as those who disagree and underscore that laws to the contrary violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iraq signed. The U.S. should then designate any individuals who wrote, promoted or seek to enforce the anti-normalization law as ineligible for U.S. visas and use Magnitsky Act sanctions to cut them off from the American financial system. This precedent would give lawmakers, prosecutors and judges a serious disincentive to promote or apply such laws. – Wall Street Journal 

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s judges will suspend work in courts for a week and hold a sit-in to protest against a purge of their ranks, amid growing tensions over the president’s attempts to consolidate one-man rule. – Reuters  

Non-oil private sector activity in Egypt contracted for an 18th month in May as the Ukraine crisis, import restrictions and a devalued currency put pressure on prices, a survey showed on Sunday. – Reuters 

Dozens of opposition supporters took to the streets of Tunisia’s capital on Saturday to protest against the start of talks over a new constitution, which they see as an attempt by President Kais Saied to consolidate a grab for power. – Reuters   

Residents hope U.N.-sponsored talks between Yemen’s warring parties to re-open roads in Taiz will allow people in the city and surrounding areas to go to work and school and facilitate the flow of aid and goods. – Reuters  

David Schenker writes: Instead, Washington has been sending terrible signals that suggest it no longer has the interest or ability to maintain the security aspects of the historic peace treaty brokered at Camp David. […]The U.S. contingent is the backbone of the MFO, and a significant downsizing would likely lead to other participating countries reducing their troops as well, or even pulling out. That could bring to an end to the MFO’s crucial role in monitoring, fact-finding, and facilitating communication between the parties in case bilateral channels break down. Robust U.S. involvement is essential—to ensure security provisions are adhered to, keep the MFO functioning smoothly, and protect the peace treaty that forms the bedrock of stability in the region. – Foreign Policy  

Korean Peninsula

The U.S. and South Korean militaries test-fired eight ballistic missiles on Monday, matching North Korea’s weapons tests the day before, in a stern show of force marking the hardening line toward Pyongyang. – Washington Post 

North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles on Sunday, South Korea’s military said, a day after a special U.S. envoy departed from Seoul. – Wall Street Journal   

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Monday North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes have reached a level where they pose a threat to regional and world peace. – Reuters  

The U.S. and South Korean militaries have conducted a live-fire exercise, with one U.S. missile and seven South Korean missiles launched into the Sea of Japan, the U.S. military said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters  

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea expressed concern for Pyongyang’s continued ballistic missile launches and ongoing COVID-19 outbreak following a meeting with South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

Donald Kirk writes: Chun believes Kim would be capable of liquidating up to half of the South’s population as a means for establishing solid control. It’s difficult to believe Kim Jong Un could wreak so much death and destruction, but on the line between North and South, South Korean troops cannot afford to let down their guard. – The Hill  


On the 33rd anniversary of the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, Taiwan has emerged as one of the last places in the Chinese-speaking world remembering the deaths of thousands at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, after authorities banned such demonstrations in Hong Kong. – Washington Post 

The latest struggle between China and the U.S. for influence in the Pacific ended with a setback for Beijing when its top diplomat couldn’t secure a regional agreement to deepen security and trade ties with more than half a dozen Pacific countries. – Wall Street Journal 

Australia on Sunday criticized China for a “dangerous maneuver” by a Chinese fighter plane when it intercepted an Australian aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea late last month. – Politico 

When Chairman Mao Zedong visited Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in the winter of 1949, he was very much the junior supplicant. Stalin packed him off to wait for weeks in his snow-bound No. 2 dacha, 27 kilometers outside Moscow, where the humiliated and constipated Chinese leader grumbled about everything from the quality of the fish to his uncomfortable mattress. – Politico 

A 10-day South Pacific island-hopping tour by China’s top diplomat focused world attention on a usually overlooked region, opened a new front in Beijing’s quest for global influence and challenged decades of Western primacy. – Agence France-Presse 

China’s most advanced aircraft carrier to date appears to be nearing completion, satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press showed Friday, as experts suggested the vessel could be launched soon. – Associated Press 

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that President Joe Biden has asked his team to look at the option of lifting some tariffs on China that were put into place by former President Donald Trump, to combat the current high inflation. – Reuters  

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to meet his Chinese counterpart for the first time during a trip to Singapore for a major defense summit next week, a senior defense official said Friday. – CNN 

Niall Ferguson writes: It is conventional to argue that partisan polarization is the curse of modern American politics. There is only one thing that scares me more, however, and that is bipartisan consensus. Democrats and Republicans agree on almost nothing nowadays. But they do agree that resisting China’s rise should be the foundation of American foreign policy. I, too, would loathe to live in a world where China called the shots. But is Joe Biden’s deeply flawed grand strategy making such a world less likely? Or more? If the choice is between war over Taiwan and a decade of detente, I’ll take the dirty French word. – Bloomberg 

Christopher Johnson writes: Xi’s grip is firm and he is enacting a transformative agenda, even if not to the west’s liking. Governments must deal directly with him and his policies to mount effective responses. The Biden administration says Xi’s techno-authoritarianism, military muscle-flexing and efforts to subvert the rules-based international order require immediate attention. But that urgency is betrayed by a lopsided policy that refuses direct contact with Xi’s China, suggesting it hopes he would just go away. – Financial Times 

Andrei Iancu and David J. Kappos write: The waiver also poses a national-security risk. Russia would directly qualify for access to the mRNA technology. And China has pushed back against a footnote in the agreement designed to block the Communist nation’s access. Even if that footnote is ultimately approved, and China is technically barred from pilfering our technology, it could easily gain access indirectly with the help of its allies. In effect, the United States will unilaterally forfeit one of our few remaining economic advantages. American innovation will go to our biggest overseas competitor nations with zero compensation. – New York Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: China is now apparently vying to gain similar influence in the American-backed Pacific region. – Jerusalem Post 

Aaron Rhodes writes: The underlying problem we must face is that, while attachment to the principle of the universality of human rights leads toward promoting inclusiveness and unity in international organizations, in reality, such organizations tend to corrupt human rights in principle and practice. The failure of Bachelet’s mission should help convince free nations to avoid the UN human rights swamp, and form coalitions that are able and willing to help civil society struggle for freedom wherever it is denied. – The Hill  

Brent Sadler writes: The maritime order that benefits the most players and that can be firmly secured will prevail. This requires making a compelling value proposition to the people and governments of the maritime states that are in dispute with China. Doing so necessitates more than just naval presence, but that presence is a required first step in restoring confidence in the existing maritime rules-based order—an order that best serves U.S. interests in trade, prosperity and security. – Seapower Magazine  

Jake Harrington writes: If, as Secretary Blinken noted, U.S. strategy is focused on “shaping the strategic environment around Beijing,” then Washington must prepare not only to deny Beijing space to advance its techno-authoritarian agenda but also to compete when opportunities arise. The United States has the financial tools to weaken Hikvision, but it will need far more—including money, technology, and a compelling story—to fill the vacuum left behind. – The National Interest

South Asia

Sri Lanka is aiming to attract well over $1 billion in foreign direct investment this year, an official said on Friday, as the country wrestles with its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948. – Reuters 

A US-based non-government organization devoted to promoting Muslim-Jewish relations on Friday urged Pakistan’s state-run television to hire back one of its anchors who was fired for visiting Israel with an interfaith group last month. – Associated Press 

In his small office in the Israel Diamond Exchange near the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Pravin Kukadia proudly presents his collection of precious stones. – Agence France-Presse 


The leaders of Australia and Indonesia discussed stronger Indo-Pacific cooperation, security and climate change during a meeting on Monday, which included the offer by Canberra of a $200 million climate partnership. – Reuters  

U.S. President Joe Biden will issue a proclamation on Monday that will allow solar panels to be imported to the United States from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam without risk of tariffs for a 24-month period. – Reuters  

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering attending a summit of leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in late June to spur coordination with the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said. – Reuters  

Tajikistan on Saturday accused neighboring Kyrgyzstan of provoking a border clash, the latest in a series of armed confrontations between the two small impoverished Central Asian nations – Reuters 

Myanmar’s military government said on Friday that appeals by two prominent democracy activists against their death sentences had been rejected, paving the way for the country’s first executions in decades. – Reuters  

Kazakhstan is changing the name of the oil it exports via Russian sea ports to Kazakhstan Export Blend Crude Oil (KEBCO) to dissociate it from oil originating in Russia in order to avoid sanction risks and issues with financing. – Reuters 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos from June 5 to 14, the State Department said on Friday. – Reuters 

A Chinese surface group sailed past Japanese islands to enter the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday while a PLAN surveillance ship sailed through the Miyako Strait on Thursday to enter the Pacific Ocean according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. – USNI News 

Editorial: China has made a strategic decision to become the dominant power in the Western and South Pacific. Australia should expect more such military harassment unless Mr. Albanese bows to Beijing’s definition of “opportunity.” – Wall Street Journal 

Gearoid Reidy writes: Former Japanese leaders don’t usually get a second shot — and Suga doesn’t seem keen on trying. But there’s talk in local media of him forming a “study group” of like-minded lawmakers that could turn into one of the factions that dominate intra-party politics — and help decide future leaders. Suga declined to discuss the rumors, saying that his next step would come after this summer’s election. But behind the scenes, it seems he may not be done yet. – Bloomberg 

Patrick Mendis and Hon-Min Yau write: Although it is possible to “imagine” a Broken Nest strategy, we must be careful about making assumptions to frame a solution, especially in a volatile geopolitical and geo-economic environment. The application of evolving lessons learned from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unintended consequences that followed—like the human cost, the refugee issue, and the global impact—might be a better way to rethink the gamut of developing a deterrence strategy against a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. – The National Interest  


Under pressure to end reliance on Russian oil and natural gas, the European Union is pushing for far-reaching measures to save energy at a scale once dismissed as impractical. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States prepared Saturday to launch a sprawling naval exercise in the Baltic Sea with Sweden, Finland and 13 NATO allies, a visible sign of an expanding partnership as Stockholm and Helsinki apply to join the military alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

If ever there was a potent symbol of how much Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has altered Europe, the sight of this enormous warship, bristling with 26 warplanes and 2,400 Marines and sailors, moored among the pleasure craft and tour boats that ply this port, would certainly be it. – New York Times 

As Ukrainian troops tried to claw back territory and stave off a blistering Russian assault along the country’s embattled eastern front, the government on Saturday sought also to repel a demand earlier in the day by President Emmanuel Macron of France that Moscow not be humiliated to improve chances of reaching a diplomatic solution. – New York Times 

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, known for her fierce criticism of Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine, is fighting to stay in power after she dismantled her ruling coalition, saying it lacked unity to face the dangers of Russia. – Bloomberg 

Sweden’s prime minister raised the stakes in a row with the domestic opposition, potentially hampering the Nordic nation’s efforts to overcome a Turkish veto to joining the NATO alliance. – Bloomberg 

When the European Union was cobbling together a ban on Russian oil, Hungary was offered replacement supplies that would have ensured energy security for Budapest and shown Moscow a unified front over the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

Hungary’s obstinate approach toward negotiating sanctions against Russia are undermining European Union unity and weakening the bloc’s position on the world stage, a senior Czech official said. – Bloomberg  

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer called on Sunday for an intermediate stage between cooperation and full membership of the European Union for countries like Ukraine and Moldova. – Reuters  

France is in talks with the United Arab Emirates to replace Russian oil purchases, which will stop after the imposition of a European Union ban on Russian crude, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday. – Reuters  

Spain is to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and Leopard battle tanks in a step up of its military support to the country, according to government sources cited by newspaper El Pais on Sunday. – Reuters      

A Ukrainian lawmaker, Yevhen Yakovenko, was detained at the Moldovan border at the request of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, Moldova’s border police said on Sunday. – Reuters 

German lawmakers today passed a €100 billion (U.S. $107 billion) defense budget boost, initiating a major spending spree over several years that is expected to include seven new P-8 Poseidon maritime-surveillance planes in addition to five copies ordered last year. – Defense News 


Gunmen killed dozens of worshipers including children in a shooting at a Sunday church service in southwestern Nigeria, in the latest example of spiraling religious violence in Africa’s most populous nation. – Wall Street Journal  

A meeting on Friday between the head of the African Union and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia highlighted the acute needs each one hopes the other can fill: Africa needs food, and the Kremlin needs allies. – New York Times 

In a scorched, gold-rich area 200 miles north of the Sudanese capital, where fortunes spring from desert-hewn rock, a mysterious foreign operator dominates the business. Locals call it “The Russian Company” — a tightly guarded plant with shining towers, deep in the desert, that processes mounds of dusty ore into bars of semirefined gold. – New York Times 

Two United Nations peacekeepers were killed in Mali on Friday and two more injured when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. – Reuters   

Sudan is pressing ahead with plans to privatize companies owned by the military and is in talks with Middle East nations to help finance its cash-strapped economy, according to Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim. – Bloomberg 

African Union head Macky Sall on Friday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to take into account the suffering in African countries from food shortages caused by the conflict in Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

A UN human rights expert on Sudan called on Saturday for accelerated investigations into killings of protesters and other atrocities, as the death toll since last year’s coup nears 100. – Associated Press 

The Americas

When President Biden and senior members of his administration explore the future of the Americas with other regional leaders this week, the United States will face a somewhat unusual experience: focusing on its neighbors to the south. – Washington Post

The Biden administration has made a final decision to exclude the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the Summit of the Americas, people familiar with the matter said, despite threats from Mexico’s president to skip the gathering unless all countries in the Western Hemisphere were invited. – Reuters  

Heads of state from across the Americas will gather in Los Angeles next week for a summit that has been overshadowed in its build-up by arguments over who should be invited, who might boycott the event and what it can achieve. – Financial Times 

Janet Yellen, worried by the specter of inflation, initially urged Biden administration officials to scale back the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan by a third, according to an advance copy of a biography on the Treasury secretary. – Bloomberg 


Microsoft detected and took down an Iran-linked Lebanese hacking group that targeted more than 20 Israeli organizations and one intergovernmental organization, the tech conglomerate announced Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Todd Young, R-Ind., are introducing legislation that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to keep federal guidance on medical device security up to date with rapidly evolving cyber threats to the health industry. – CyberScoop 

Vulnerabilities within some Dominion voting machines used in roughly a dozen states should be mitigated “as soon as possible,” the U.S. government’s top cybersecurity officials said in advisory issued Friday afternoon. – CyberScoop 

A sweeping federal privacy bill unveiled Friday would give Americans unprecedented control over how companies collect and use their data. – CyberScoop 

The website of Russia’s Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities appeared to have been hacked, with an internet search for the site leading to a “Glory to Ukraine” sign in Ukrainian. – Reuters 


The Army has tapped U.S. Military Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams to become the next commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa. – Defense News 

The U.S. Department of Defense expects to wrap up a review by the end of next month that will inform the Biden Administration’s space policy and guide decisions on the right mix of offensive and defensive capabilities. – Defense News 

Based on what has been observed of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Army in Europe has renewed interest in pursuing active hard-kill protection systems for its Stryker combat vehicle, something the service put on the backburner years ago. – Defense News 

Developers need to build “ethical” artificial intelligence for military use, but that same technology must also explain what it does, according to the chief data officer of U.S. Special Operations Command. – C4ISRNET 

After inspecting the engraved plate with her welded initials, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) declared the keel laid for the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826). – USNI News 

The Government Accountability Office identified “significant shortfalls” in the process the Air Force used to decide where to base Space Command headquarters, according to a review released Thursday. – Breaking Defense 

A Space Force-led interagency team has drafted a first-of-its-kind needs assessment for Defense Department-wide space capabilities, focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), said Lt. Gen. Bill Liquori, who heads up the effort. – Breaking Defense 

The US Army’s forthcoming multi-domain operations doctrine, previously expected to be published in June, will come out later than expected as the Army evaluates it against the unfolding war in Ukraine, according to a top general, including dispatching a team to Europe to glean the latest information. – Breaking Defense 

Tim Gallaudet writes: Mindful of Chinese strategist Sun-Tzu’s acknowledgment that knowing the weather will assure complete victory, we can be certain that China understands this. Conversely, Russia’s failure to consider the impact of weather on air-search radar likely contributed to Ukraine’s successful sinking of the Black Sea Fleet Flagship Moskva. Ukraine also wisely destroyed a dam to release 15 feet of flooding in the Irpin River to stall a Russian advance during the Battle of Kyiv. To prevail in this increasingly unstable global stage, the Navy would be wise to learn from these examples and keep a weather eye in its climate action plan. – The Hill  

Long War

A Uzbekistan citizen who is a resident of New York City who was convicted of conspiring to and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said. – Reuters 

Israeli security forces arrested a terror suspect in the West Bank city of Bethlehem during an overnight raid, the military said on Sunday morning. – Times of Israel 

Overnight, IDF, ISA and Israel Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in a number of locations, including in the towns of Kafr Qallil, Ras Atiya, Kafr Thulth and Azzun. – Arutz Sheva 

James Barnett writes: Attacks in urban areas, and attacks against Christians in particular, will likely attract more attention than rural insurgency and have the potential to exacerbate wider social tensions, hence why the emerging trend (with clear historical precedents) of ISWAP bombing churches and bars in northern cities is cause for concern. It is worth remembering that the danger of extremist movements lies not only in the horrific violence that they can directly inflict on their victims, but also in the messages and sentiments that their violence can propagate, both directly and indirectly, especially in societies where tensions already run high. – Hudson Institute