Fdd's overnight brief

June 6, 2023

In The News


After a seven-year closure, Iran announced Monday that it would reopen its embassy in Saudi Arabia this week — a major step toward softening a rivalry with major consequences for the region. – Washington Post

Iran unveiled what officials described as its first domestically-made hypersonic ballistic missile on Tuesday, the official IRNA news agency reported, an announcement likely to heighten Western concerns about Tehran’s missile capabilities. – Reuters

The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief denied on Monday that his agency had watered down its standards in an investigation into past Iranian activities after Israel accused it of “capitulation to Iranian pressure”. – Reuters

Iran’s election to two major roles in the U.N.’s top body last week drew immediate objection from the U.S. and Israel, which condemned the moves as “absurd.” – Fox News 

Iran was a topic of discussion for many of the speakers at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday, reflecting deep concerns in Israel about advances in the Iranian nuclear program and negotiations between Washington and Tehran. – Jerusalem Post

The Telegram channel for “Islam World Resistance”—a group affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—announced on Saturday that it seeks to murder Israeli LGBTQ community members in response to the annual LGBTQ parade in Jerusalem. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran is apparently outraged. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that “the one who should scare the people of Azerbaijan is the Zionist regime, not a civilized and Islamic Iran.” Iran claims it still greets Azerbaijan citizens with open arms as “brothers and sisters.” Iran says it wants to continue to engage with Baku. – Jerusalem Post

Alex Vatanka writes: So maybe Khamenei does not think Shamkhani should become a bigger name and political force than he already is, and that is why he agreed to have Shamkhani removed? It is no secret that the 84-year-old Khamenei is busy organizing his succession process. He needed Shamkhani to help defuse some of the toughest regional challenges, such as the costly standoff with the Saudis. But Shamkhani’s potential as a loose cannon in the long run posed a risk to Khamenei’s plans for the political order to come after he dies. And ultimately that’s why Shamkhani had to go. There are many moving parts in this still enigmatic affair, yet the central role played by Khamenei is beyond doubt. If so, the message is clear: Shamkhani’s removal is about an internal power struggle but not an event that heralds a reversal of Iran’s recent foreign policy decisions. – Middle East Institute


Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine’s military made gains against Russian forces in multiple locations along the eastern front, the country’s deputy defense minister said Monday, as an increasing cadence in combat operations raised speculation that the much-anticipated counteroffensive was finally imminent. – Washington Post

A faked declaration of martial law and military mobilization by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia aired Monday on a number of Russian radio and television networks, an incident that the Kremlin described as a “hack.” – New York Times

During the first year of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Biden administration fretted constantly that if Kyiv hit back inside Russian borders, President Vladimir V. Putin would retaliate against not only Ukraine, but also possibly NATO and the West. – New York Times

A video posted by the leader of Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group showed the captured commander of a mechanized infantry brigade confessing to firing on Russian forces and apologizing for his actions. – Wall Street Journal

A torrent of water burst through a gaping hole in a dam on the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, flooding a swathe of the war zone and forcing villagers to flee. – Reuters

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that U.S.-built F-16 fighter jets can ‘accommodate’ nuclear weapons and warned that supplying Kyiv with them will escalate the conflict further. – Reuters

Russia launched a new wave of overnight air strikes on Kyiv, with officials at the Ukrainian capital saying that air defence systems downed more than 20 cruise missiles on their approach. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy praised Ukrainian troops on Monday after his top ground commander said the country’s forces continued to move forward near the long-contested city of Bakhmut in northern Donetsk. – Reuters

Ukraine and Russia face off at the top United Nations court on Tuesday over Moscow’s alleged backing of pro-Russian separatists blamed for the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014. – Reuters

The Serbian president said he is not opposed to his country selling ammunition to intermediaries who ship it to Ukraine, in a sign that Russia’s staunch Balkan ally is pivoting westwards. – Financial Times

Whether this week’s apparent escalation in the Ukraine war is a Churchillian “end of the beginning” or we are far from that point could determine the outcome of the most consequential European war since the 1940s. – New York Sun

Paul Krugman writes: And military affairs aren’t like economics, where, say, the Federal Reserve basically works off the same information available to all those who know their way around the St. Louis Fed’s economic research website. […] Still, you don’t have to be a military expert to know that attacking fortified defenses — which is what Ukraine must do — is very difficult. On the eve of D-Day, Dwight Eisenhower told the expeditionary force, “The eyes of the world are upon you.” Now the eyes of the world are upon the armed forces of Ukraine. Let’s hope they succeed. – New York Times

Walter Russell Mead writes:  Nuclear and biological weapons could fall into even more-dangerous hands. Nuclear scientists could scatter to the winds, taking their skills with them. Criminal syndicates and cyber hackers could operate with impunity across an unstable Russia. Even so, given the cruelties and atrocities that mark Russian imperial history, few will shed tears if Ukraine wins its war and proves Brzezinski right. – Wall Street Journal

Leonid Bershidsky writes: Russia still hasn’t parted with the illusion that it can win this war without a full mobilization backed by a grimly determined population. Vladimir Putin’s political leadership has not worked hard enough to obtain that critical resource, so generals cannot expect to save last year’s ill-starred invasion with the kind of mass heroism that sustained the Soviet Union throughout World War II. The best they can do is hang on by their teeth — and that may turn out to be insufficient for Russia to keep all of the land it has grabbed in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Brahma Chellaney writes: An extended Ukraine war will help formalize a Sino-Russian strategic axis while increasing the likelihood of Chinese aggression against Taiwan. By contrast, a frozen Ukraine conflict arising from a ceasefire will keep Moscow preoccupied while letting America focus less on Russia, the world’s most-sanctioned country, and more on a globally expansionist China. – The Hill

Jamie Dettmer writes: When facing stout resistance, can it continue to push on and not hesitate? And, above all, have Ukrainian forces trained enough with the new Western-supplied tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment they only recently got? In his message, hours before D-Day, Eisenhower noted: “The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!” And this, now, is Ukraine’s D-Day. – Politico

Tom Rogan writes: Put simply, Ukraine retains the strategic initiative and seems set to exploit Russian vulnerabilities in the coming days. Next, probably, look for Ukrainian air and artillery strikes on Russian command and control and air combat centers behind the front lines. – Washington Examiner

Samuel Charap writes: Many commentators will continue to insist that this war must be decided only on the battlefield. But that view discounts how the war’s structural realities are unlikely to change even if the frontline shifts, an outcome that itself is far from guaranteed. The United States and its allies should be capable of helping Ukraine simultaneously on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Now is the time to start. – Foreign Affairs

Dalibor Rohac writes: In those circumstances, it is exceedingly unlikely that the Ukrainians will show much deference to U.S. and European interests either in their execution of the war or in their future alliances. And that would be as much of a loss for the United States as it would be for Ukraine. – Foreign Policy 



U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen called on Monday for declassifying a government report on the death of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who was shot and killed while covering an Israeli army raid last year. – Reuters

Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Israel and the countries have been bolstering ties over the last three decades, Khazar Ibrahim, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, said at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

David Siegel, president of Friends of ELNET, an NGO dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel relations based on shared democratic values and strategic interests, stated that Israel needs to be robust and proactive in its relationships with the world, in light of the strategic challenges that it faces today. – Jerusalem Post

The Biden administration is picking fights with the Jewish state over its opposition to a controversial new Iran nuclear deal, Israel’s efforts to reform its judiciary, and build settlements in the disputed West Bank territory, veteran observers of U.S.-Israel relations told Fox News Digital. – Fox News 

The alleged attack by the Israeli Air Force in Aleppo, Syria in the beginning of May targeted sites belonging to a secret Iranian unit operating in Syria, according to media reports in Saudi Arabia on Monday evening. – Jerusalem Post

Sources in the Likud have clarified that Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) is sending an unambiguous message that if there are no agreements with the opposition before it is time to choose representatives from the Knesset for the Judicial Selection Committee and the Likud does not decide to choose two coalition representatives for the committee, he will resign his position as minister. – Arutz Sheva

Gilad Zwick, who just started a new job as a media adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, no longer believes President Joe Biden is “ruining America” or that Donald Trump should rightfully be in Biden’s place. Jewish Telegraphic Agency 

Zvika Haimovich writes: FURTHERMORE, it is essential to keep in mind that the significant military threat facing Israel is the prospect of a multi-arena conflict involving Iran and its array of ballistic and cruise missiles, and UAVs; Hezbollah, with its mammoth projectile arsenal; Hamas in Gaza, and others. Such a scenario, which would be a completely different challenge to the Israeli home front, compared to the most recent escalation, needs to be placed on the Israeli public agenda now. It is the threat that Israel needs to focus on. – Jerusalem Post

Arie Pellman writes: A reality of a single Jewish-Palestinian state – even if a slim Jewish majority proves sustainable, but certainly should demographic trends make it disappear – is opposed by most Israelis, including many who voted for the current, governing coalition. It is incumbent on the Israeli public to speak out against this development and it is the duty of the government to stop this process before we are condemned to an ever-conflicted reality that jeopardizes the Zionist vision. – Jerusalem Post

Alan Baker writes: In light of his clear predisposition against Israel in contravention of the UN’s own internal rules, it might be appropriate that the organization review the functioning of Tor Wennesland, recall him and send him back to Oslo to engage in divinity and philosophy. – Jerusalem Post

Efraim Inbar writes: Similarly, Israel should reject the irresponsible American position toward Iran. There is no reason in the world to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that will allow it to be closer to the bomb, fuel nuclear proliferation, and receive more money for doing more mischief in the Middle East. It is beyond reason why the US wants to help a radical Islamist rabid anti-American regime intent to take over the Middle East. It is not easy to confront the US, but there are times when strategic clarity must be loudly voiced. – Jerusalem Post


More than 80 Afghan students and teachers — most of them girls — were apparently poisoned over the past two days, local officials said Monday, in incidents that, while causing no critical injuries, mirrored recent attacks on schoolgirls in neighboring Iran. – Washington Post 

The deputy governor of Afghanistan’s northern Badakhshan province was killed by a car bomb on Tuesday, the provincial spokesperson said. – Reuters

An international aid agency in Afghanistan has resumed operations in the southern province of Kandahar – the birthplace of the Taliban and home to its supreme spiritual leader – after its Afghan female staff were allowed to return to work. – Reuters

Neville Teller writes: According to a recent UN report, the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls could amount to a crime against humanity. The US has long urged the Taliban to reverse its ban on girls’ schooling and women working, and to restore their freedom of movement. In support of this, the US has imposed heavy sanctions on the Taliban regime, including commercial restrictions and a freeze on its assets. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Monday that he planned to talk to Saudi leaders and other Gulf state officials this week during a visit to Saudi Arabia about the possibility of the kingdom normalizing ties with Israel. The Biden administration supports such a move, but it should not come at the expense of “progress between Israelis and Palestinians” and a two-state solution, he said. – New York Times

Oil prices jumped Monday by more than 1 percent following Saudi Arabia’s pledge over the weekend to cut crude production — amid a flurry of moves on the world stage that build on the kingdom’s ongoing push to assert its diplomatic influence on the region and beyond. – Washington Post

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, state media reported, as the kingdom continues to expand its diplomatic outreach beyond traditional Western alliances. – Reuters

Israel’s energy minister voiced opposition on Monday to the idea of Saudi Arabia developing a civilian nuclear programme as part of any U.S.-mediated forging of relations between the countries. – Reuters

The US and Saudi Arabia are looking beyond last year’s oil spat to focus on billions of dollars-worth of defense and aviation deals and other areas of diplomacy, to repair a previously strong alliance. – Bloomberg

The US will soon add a senior diplomatic role to help boost integration in the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, an announcement that comes as the Biden administration tries to reduce regional tensions between Israel and nearby Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.  – Bloomberg

Aaron David Miller and Steven Simon write: Thus, either Mohammed bin Salman’s requirements have relaxed, or Biden is willing to do more for him than for transatlantic allies, let alone other Gulf states with which the United States already has defense cooperation agreements. If the former, then there seems little reason not to forge ahead. If not, then it seems imprudent to boldly take on a security commitment with a repressive and problematic partner playing footsies with both China and Russia that could outlive its raison d’être in just a few decades, during which U.S. interests and priorities are sure to change. – Foreign Policy


Middle East & North Africa

Early one recent morning, Lebanese soldiers swept through the Bourj Hammoud neighborhood in Beirut, emptying two buildings of the Syrian refugees living in them. They forced them into trucks and drove them to a no-man’s land between the Lebanese and Syrian borders. – New York Times

Voters in Kuwait were casting ballots on Tuesday for a third time in as many years, with little hope of ending a prolonged gridlock between the ruling family and assertive lawmakers after the judiciary dissolved the legislature earlier this year. – Associated Press

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed his spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin as the head of the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) on Monday, Erdogan’s communications office said. – Reuters

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is likely to step up efforts to build ties with the Middle East and North Africa after taking steps in that direction as head of the national intelligence agency, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Libyan leaders were due to meet in Morocco on Monday to finalise a deal on new electoral laws, but any agreement they announce on voting rules or a new interim government is likely to trigger opposition that may further delay the political process. – Reuters

Egypt faces an increasingly tough task raising cash for foreign debt repayments after external borrowing quadrupled over the past eight years to help fund a new capital, build infrastructure, buy weapons and support an overvalued currency. – Reuters

Alon Pinkas writes: In the last decade the United States has reprioritized its foreign policy and transitioned gradually but clearly away from the Middle East toward the Indo-Pacific and China. But the United States is by no means “out of the Middle East.” The recent developments reflect uncertainty and a degree of confusion for a region accustomed to U.S. dominance, even if the Americans aren’t omnipresent. – Haaretz

Seth J. Frantzman writes: When Yazidis returned home to Sinjar, they found destroyed villages and desolate landscapes that receive very little investment from the authorities. They still suffer from militia checkpoints and neglected security in their areas, as well as a lack of access to proper health care and educational facilities. Further, Turkey claims to be “fighting terror” in Sinjar and has carried out drone strikes and extrajudicial assassinations that have killed Yazidis in recent years. – Jerusalem Post

Mohamed Abdelaziz writes: And when it comes to the issue of Islamic reform—a point of contention between President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the major Islamic center of learning Al-Azhar, which has been resistant—only a quarter of Egyptians agree with this proposition: “We should listen to those among us who are trying to interpret Islam in a more moderate, tolerant, and modern way.” These numbers remained unchanged since the August 2022 poll. The lack of support for such a statement is striking given the role it plays in the Egyptian regime’s discourse against pro-Muslim Brotherhood figures. In this case, the timing of fieldwork mostly during Ramadan may have skewed some responses in that direction. – Washington Institute

Martyn Warr, Austin Doctor, Devorah Margolin write: The current status of detainees in northeast Syria is precarious, and certain factors could make the situation even worse: continued IS threats against camps and prisons; the threat of further natural disasters like the February earthquakes in Syria and Turkey; the lingering possibility of Turkish cross-border intervention; the uncertain future of the SDF; and recent regional efforts to normalize relations with the Assad regime. To mitigate these risks, authorities must continue the conversation about implementing repatriation in a timely manner. – Washington Institute


Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday he has upgraded the country’s alliance with the United States to one that is “nuclear-based” in the face of North Korea’s growing military threat. – Reuters

China and Russia conducted a joint air patrol on Tuesday over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea for a sixth time since 2019, prompting neighbouring South Korea to scramble fighter jets. – Reuters 

Japan and South Korea’s defense ministers have agreed that improving ties will be key to countering nuclear-armed North Korea, during a regional security summit in Singapore. – Defense News


The U.S. military released video showing the moment a Chinese navy ship sailed across the path of USS Chung-Hoon and Canada’s HMCS Montreal in the Taiwan Strait, forcing the American destroyer to slow to avoid collision. – Washington Post

Senior U.S. and Chinese diplomats held “candid and productive” talks in Beijing and agreed to keep open lines of communication to avoid tensions from spiraling into conflict, officials said Tuesday. – Associated Press

A Chinese research ship and its escort, which operated for nearly a month in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, left those waters on Monday night, vessel-tracking experts said, just after high-level U.S.-China talks. – Reuters

The Hong Kong government said on Tuesday that it asked a court to ban a protest song in a bid to prevent people from inciting secession or insulting China’s national anthem. – Reuters

The Chinese military’s unsafe intercepts of U.S. Air Force aircraft and Navy vessels have occurred “more frequently than we’d like,” White House National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said. – Washington Examiner

Shuli Ren writes: Caixin’s cover story is a mere reflection of a hot topic that, in recent weeks, has been widely discussed among academics and investors in the mainland. Xi’s administration has been refraining from large-scale quantitative easing, but perhaps the time has finally arrived. Having scared away investors — foreign and domestic alike — the government itself has to be the buyer of last resort now. – Bloomberg

Derek Scissors writes: At best, US policy is then pushed to the minimal, often token, actions acceptable to the many actors with stakes in China. At worst, the executive is being played by cries of multilateralism from those with no true regard for American national interest. Consensus-building has its place, but an administration that always forgoes American leadership is creating serious military, economic, and political risks. – American Enterprise Institute

Liza Tobin and Michael Auslin write: As human rights advocate Wei Jingsheng wrote: “Democracy in China can only be established by the people in China. … The more the people in China know, the smoother the process of establishing democracy will be.” For now, the choice of path China will take has been co-opted by the CCP. Washington’s China policy must account for this reality, while at the same time contesting its legitimacy and affirming that the choice between democracy and dictatorship ultimately belongs to the Chinese people. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Coverage of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has disappeared from all mainstream news channels in the country after the media regulator asked networks to block out people involved in rioting last month, a Reuters survey showed on Monday. – Reuters

A gun battle between Indian security forces and insurgents in Manipur state killed one security personnel and wounded two others early on Tuesday, the army said, days after many militants were killed there in an operation following deadly ethnic clashes. – Reuters

Pakistan is pursuing efforts to secure the remaining $2 billion in external funding gap out of a $6 billion target to revive a long-delayed bailout program with the International Monetary Fund. – Bloomberg

Lynne O’Donnell writes: “We are witnesses to a process of the dismantling of a party by the same forces that had once propped it up,” prominent commentator Zahid Hussain wrote in Dawn, in a clear reference to the Army. “Imran Khan grossly miscalculated the cost of taking on the powerful establishment. The party may not be over yet, but it will be hard for the former prime minister to regain lost political ground.” – Foreign Policy



In a rare victory for journalism amid a crackdown on the news media in Hong Kong, the city’s top court on Monday overturned the conviction of a prominent reporter who had produced a documentary that was critical of the police. – New York Times

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles met his Indonesian counterpart on Monday to deepen security ties amid China’s increasingly assertive activity in the Indo-Pacific region. – Associated Press 

More than 30 people accused of a coup plot have been arrested in Kyrgyzstan, the national security service said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government on Tuesday unveiled an action plan on his “new capitalism” programme of driving growth and wealth distribution through wage hikes, signalling his commitment to shift the economy into a higher gear. – Reuters

The Pacific Islands nation of Vanuatu said on Tuesday a security treaty with Australia would be put to parliament before the end of 2023, as concerns over China in the region saw neighbouring Papua New Guinea delay signing another such treaty. – Reuters

Daisuke J. Nakajima and Jeffrey D. Korzenik write: U.S. business must first accept that a real labor shortage exists and, like the Japanese, lead the way in incorporating talent that has long been neglected. In the U.S., that means finding ways to employ workers who lack traditional credentials or who have been marginalized by such factors as poverty, substance abuse and criminal records. As in Japan, success for the business community will lie in promoting labor where it can be found today, not where it was in the past. – Wall Street Journal

Fiona Kelliher writes: With opposition members facing physical violence, in jail, or defecting to the ruling party, Hun Sen’s two presented options seem to be less of a threat than a statement of fact. That doesn’t make Meta’s decision less fraught: Its platform remains powerful through its ability to amplify speech, and the Oversight Board’s decision sets an important precedent. But how Hun Sen’s government will treat his political opponents offline—during the upcoming election and beyond—remains up to him alone. – Foreign Policy


Rattled by a protest march through Warsaw on Sunday by up to half a million people, many of them waving Polish and European Union flags, Poland’s nationalist government lashed out angrily on Monday at the latest legal setback in a long-running feud with the European bloc over the rule of law. – New York Times

Reinforcements for NATO’s peacekeeping force have begun to arrive in Kosovo following last week’s unrest in the north of the country, the alliance said on Monday. – Reuters

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised his defence minister Ben Wallace as “fantastic” and admired around the world on Monday, suggesting he was firmly behind a bid for him to become secretary-general of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance. – Reuters

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday she is not vying for NATO’s top job, after an Oval Office sit-down with U.S. President Joe Biden and a separate meeting with CIA Director William Burns. – Reuters

Austria’s Social Democrats celebrated Hans Peter Doskozil as their new leader at a party conference on Saturday after a ballot of delegates – only for faces to turn red two days later when it emerged that his opponent had actually won. – Reuters

French president Emmanuel Macron has objected to a Nato proposal to open an office in Tokyo because he believes the transatlantic security alliance should remain focused on its own north Atlantic region. – Financial Times

German prosecutors charged a prominent member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Monday with using a banned Nazi slogan in an election campaign. – Agence France-Presse

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday that the United States designated seven members of a Russian intelligence-linked group over alleged “destabilization operations” in Moldova. – Fox News 

The defense ministers of Germany and the United Kingdom have pledged to keep up their respective military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, while also outlining their plans for military deployments, at a regional security summit in Singapore. – Defense News 

Jaroslaw Kuisz and Karolina Wigura write: In his 1899 novella “Heart of Darkness,” Joseph Conrad presented the book’s antihero, Kurtz, not as evil incarnate but as a product of the society of his time. “All Europe,” the Polish-born Conrad wrote, “contributed to the making of Kurtz.” The liberal leaders of the West would do well to reflect that they are themselves at risk, in the name of unity, of contributing to the making of a modern villain. – New York Times

Andreas Kluth writes: This Sunday, Walesa, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his valor and later became Poland’s first freely elected president after the Cold War, pressed through the enthusiastic crowds alongside Tusk. And as in the 1980s, Poles again turned out en masse to insist on freedom. That’s an encouraging start to what promises to be a cliffhanger of an election later this year. – Bloomberg

Lionel Laurent writes: Macron is right to try a new approach, and the gospel of a more self-reliant Europe is worth preaching. But even a message as simple and popular as supporting Ukraine may not be enough to truly galvanize Europe or propel Macron’s agenda forward. If Paris fails to back up words with action or real diplomatic investment — which wouldn’t be the first time — this may not be the last mea culpa Macron offers his partners. – Bloomberg

Harlan Ullman writes: Would Article 5 be invoked? Would all members vote to approve it? And could NATO find itself in a war with China? Before 9/11, no one would have believed NATO’s first war would be fought in Afghanistan. Could that happen again vis-a-vis China? Who knows? But do not dismiss that possibility too lightly. – The Hill

Elisabeth Braw writes: We’re all hoping you’ll be able to make your way back to the Norwegian Whale Reserve, the fjord turned into your home by generous Norwegian institutions and citizens, but your apparent excursion to Sweden has served as a useful reminder of the hundreds of animals who toil in obscurity in armed forces around the world without getting so much as a news mention. – Foreign Policy


Senegal experts called on the government on Monday to instill calm after days of the deadliest violence in years and concerns it could have lasting consequences. – Associated Press 

Shelling and heavy clashes hit areas of Sudan’s capital on Monday, residents said, with reports of spreading lawlessness in Khartoum and in the western region of Darfur after more than seven weeks of conflict between rival military factions. – Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo is nearing an agreement with neighbouring Angola over one of the offshore blocks between the countries that have been the subject of a 50-year dispute, Congo’s oil minister told Reuters. – Reuters

Ugandan troops discovered the bodies of 54 Ugandan soldiers who were killed during an al-Shabaab attack on an African Union base in Somalia last week, according to Ugandan officials. – CNN

The Americas

Panama’s former President Ricardo Martinelli was on Sunday chosen as the presidential candidate for his party Realizando Metas (RM) in next year’s elections. – Reuters

A judge in Ecuador on Monday loosened reporting conditions for ex-president Lenin Moreno, who is being investigated on bribery charges over a contract for a Chinese-built hydroelectric plant. – Reuters

Honduran President Xiomara Castro is set to travel this week to China, her foreign minister said on Monday, the leftist leader’s first visit to the Asian giant after establishing formal diplomatic relations with it in March. – Reuters

Mexico’s ruling party comfortably captured a major historic stronghold of the opposition in an election on Sunday, consolidating President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s hold on power ahead of the battle to succeed him next year. – Reuters

United States

President Biden hosted Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark at the White House on Monday to discuss security initiatives, including providing military support to Ukraine, amid reports that Kyiv may be stepping up its long-planned counteroffensive against Russian forces. – New York Times

Robert Hanssen, the former FBI agent turned spy whom the bureau describes as the most damaging in its history, was found dead in his prison cell on Monday, U.S. authorities said. – Reuters

The United States and several other countries have committed human rights violations against a Saudi man held in the Guantanamo prison and accused of organising the bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000, a U.N. report said. – Reuters

Henry Olsen writes: President Biden must make clear that he intends to work with whichever coalition can form a government. That means he must steer clear of endorsing the opposition’s claims that the government is destroying Polish democracy. He must also avoid embracing the current government too strongly, even if it is essential to saving Ukraine. Poland and the United States need each other. But that alliance must be based on shared national interests and rise above partisan politics on both sides of the Atlantic. – Washington Post


A former executive at ByteDance, the parent company of the hit video-sharing app TikTok, alleges in a legal filing that a committee of China’s Communist Party members accessed the data of TikTok users in Hong Kong in 2018—a contention the company denies. – Wall Street Journal 

The Chinese government will seek to initiate artificial intelligence regulations in its country, billionaire Elon Musk said on Monday after meeting with officials during his recent trip to China. – Reuters

The Japanese government revamped its chip strategy with a goal of tripling sales of domestically produced semiconductors to more than 15 trillion yen ($108 billion) by 2030, as the nation centers chips at the heart of its economic security policy. – Bloomberg

NATO member states will next month endorse a greater role for military cyber defenders during peacetime, alongside the permanent integration of private sector capabilities within the alliance’s efforts to battle malicious state-sponsored hacking, a senior official said. – The Record 

Lauren Kahn writes: States willing to take the initiative could build on existing momentum for stricter rules. The private sector appears willing to at least somewhat self-regulate its AI development. And in response to member state requests, the International Civil Aviation Organization is working on a model regulatory framework for uncrewed aircraft systems and has encouraged states to share existing regulations and best practices. – Foreign Affairs


Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz was selected Monday as the next enlisted leader of the Marine Corps, as the services and Joint Chiefs prepare for a new crop of leadership. – Military.com

After three years of modeling and experimentation to overhaul the Marine Corps for an island-hopping campaign in the Indo-Pacific, service officials say they are done divesting of older platforms and capabilities and need more money to continue modernizing the force. – Military.com

The U.S. Marine Corps intends to replace some decades-old Hellfire missiles with a family of long-range loitering munitions, giving its attack helicopters greater range and lethality for a fight in the Pacific region. – Defense News