Fdd's overnight brief

March 21, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Intense fighting spread Sunday into all neighborhoods in the southern port city of Mariupol, officials said, thrusting Russian and Ukrainian forces into pitched battles as Russia tries to claim its first strategic victory since invading even as its advance remains stalled in most of the country. – Washington Post 

Russia’s attempt to conquer Ukraine could be headed toward a stalemate as heavy casualties and equipment losses take a toll on unprepared Russian forces that have failed so far to achieve any of their initial objectives, Western officials and military experts say. – Washington Post 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, thousands of Americans and other foreign nationals have signed up to fight for Ukraine, answering a call to action by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Now, with the conflict in its fourth week, a growing number of foreign volunteers are flowing into the capital, signing contracts and receiving weapons and combat training before getting deployed to one of the numerous front lines of the war. – Washington Post 

The former diplomats and defense officials who visited the U.S. Naval Observatory in early 2015 were seeking a receptive audience — and they found one in Vice President Joe Biden. Russia had taken over the Ukrainian territory of Crimea the previous year and fueled a bloody separatist uprising in the country’s east, and the officials urgently wanted President Barack Obama to send Ukraine advanced antitank missiles, called Javelins. – Washington Post 

After Russian forces failed to secure a quick victory over Ukraine, senior U.S. officials see signs the Kremlin is shifting to a new strategy to secure key territorial objectives while seeking leverage to compel the Ukrainian government to accept neutrality between Russia and the West. – Wall Street Journal 

Manufacturers with Russian ties are working to figure out how to survive, after sanctions leveled on Russia over recent weeks curb the flow of goods and money between the country and Western markets. – Wall Street Journal  

Russia’s assault on Ukraine has forced more than 10 million people to abandon their homes, the United Nations said, with the scale of the humanitarian disaster showing little sign of easing as Moscow presses its attack with missile strikes and artillery fire. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia spent years trying to wean itself off imported goods to fortify its economy against Western sanctions. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia has fired scores of guided missiles into Ukraine, but on Saturday it claimed for the first time that it had launched one capable of hypersonic speed in an attack on an ammunition depot in western Ukraine. The report could not be independently verified, but if true could be the first use of a hypersonic weapon in combat. – New York Times 

In the first weeks of the first major European land war of the 21st century, the United States has sent tank-killing weapons to Ukrainian forces, but not fighter jets. It is equipping embattled Ukrainian troops with lightweight “kamikaze” attack drones, but not, at least in an obvious way, conducting an aggressive cyberwar to degrade Russia’s technological advantage. – New York Times 

In the tense weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russian officials denied that it planned anything of the sort, denouncing the United States and its NATO allies for stoking panic and anti-Russian hatred. When it did invade, the officials denied it was at war. – New York Times 

Russian forces made significant gains in Ukraine on Saturday, advancing into the besieged port of Mariupol, destroying an underground weapons depot in the west and leaving a marine barracks in ruins following one of the deadliest rocket strikes on Ukraine’s military in the nearly month-old war. – New York Times 

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called publicly on Saturday for direct negotiations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but a senior Turkish official said that Mr. Putin was not ready for such talks. – New York Times 

Russian forces extended their bombardments into a relatively unscathed part of western Ukraine on Friday, striking a warplane repair plant about 50 miles from the Polish border, as President Biden warned President Xi Jinping of China not to provide military aid to Russia amid a scramble of diplomatic efforts to end the violence engulfing Ukraine. – New York Times 

Just days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began last month, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, announced he would open an investigation into possible crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ukraine. Nearly three weeks later, the humanitarian crisis is growing, with thousands of civilians without food, water or a safe way to escape the fighting. – Washington Post 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated an historic expansion in the use of export controls, well beyond their traditional focus on stopping the spread of nuclear and conventional weapons. – Politico 

Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian television producer who defiantly condemned Russia’s war on Ukraine during state evening news, said Sunday that she doesn’t intend to leave the country because she is “a patriot.” – Politico 

Russian forces advancing on Kyiv from the north-east have stalled and the bulk of its forces remain more than 25 kilometres from the centre of the city, British military intelligence said on Monday – Reuters 

The city council of Ukraine’s Mariupol said Russian forces forcefully deported several thousand people from the besieged city last week, after Russia had spoken of “refugees” arriving from the strategic port. – Reuters 

European Union governments will consider whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine as they gather this week with U.S. President Joe Biden for a series of summits designed to harden the West’s response to Moscow.- Reuters 

At least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 injured in Ukraine as of midnight local time on March 19, the U.N. human rights office (OHCHR) said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday said the use of more devastating weapons in Ukraine is a sign of Russian President Vladimir Putin attempting to “reestablish some momentum” amid reports that Moscow’s invasion has stalled. – The Hill 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he thinks Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine have “essentially stalled.” – Business Insider 

Turkey and Iran are both watching not only the outcome of the Ukraine conflict but also the talks aimed at securing some kind of peace and ceasefire. For Turkey this is important because it trades with both Ukraine and Russia and Turkish drones are playing a role in Ukraine’s war. Turkey is also buying Russian S-400s, and its media has even claimed “terrorists” are aiding Russia. Ankara is in a tough spot but it also could get the best of both worlds. – Jerusalem Post 

Five ships loaded with “tens of thousands of tons” of grain have vanished from a port in Ukraine, and reports indicate that the vessels and their haul were stolen by Russians. – Washington Examiner 

Yaroslav Hrytsak writes: Mr. Putin seems to have learned nothing from his failures in 2014. He has launched a full-scale invasion, seemingly intended to remove the Ukrainian government from power and pacify the country. But again, Russian aggression has been met with heroic Ukrainian resistance and united the West. Though Mr. Putin may escalate further, he is far from the military victory he sought. A master tactician but inept strategist, he has made his most profound miscalculation. – New York Times 

Varia Bortsova writes: We will remake Russia, of course, slowly and patiently, just like the generation before us. But not before this one crumbles first. – New York Times 

Tom Z. Collina writes: We should all want to end this senseless war, protect Ukraine and avoid nuclear catastrophe. The hard part is striking the right balance. To reduce Russia’s leverage in the future, we must face the fact that nuclear weapons are more useful to Mr. Putin than they are to the West. The bomb is a weapon of terror, pure and simple, and we must do all we can to keep it in check. – New York Times 

David Von Drehle writes: Despite nearly 25 years of Putin propaganda about the taming of Chechnya, the stories of Leningrad and Stalingrad are still well known to every Russian. In this dark hour, the world can hope that, day by day, more of them recognize that Kyiv and Kharkiv, Odessa and Mariupol, Lviv and Dnipro might be equally unbreakable. Until some way is found to shake Putin from his mad miscalculation, this horrible man will steer a path to hell. – Washington Post 

Nadia Schadlow writes: The Russians, with their vivid history of resisting better-equipped armies from imperial Sweden, France and Germany, understand the importance of will. It is a key component of their military doctrine and is expressed in their concept of “escalate to de-escalate.” That means that the Russian military has stated its willingness to increase the intensity of violence to end a war on favorable terms. Few observers doubt either Mr. Putin’s ability or willingness to do so. – Wall Street Journal 

Bing West writes: President Biden has called Mr. Putin a “war criminal.” From Ukrainian sources and communications intercepts, it is highly likely that the Biden administration and NATO know the identities of all Russian generals in Ukraine and the commanders of the units accused of war crimes. Yet the administration hasn’t named them publicly or banned them from the West. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, President George H.W. Bush declared, “This will not stand.” Such a robust declaration from Mr. Biden is noticeable by its absence. – Wall Street Journal 

Thomas D. Grant writes: However, after Russia invaded Finland in 1939 the League had the fortitude to throw Russia out. If it fails even to match the League when faced with Russia’s aggression, the UN will have proved itself another failed experiment, and one which no freedom-loving nation should continue to support. – Bloomberg 

Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca write: As financial sanctions become the West’s weapon of choice in facing down aggressive autocracies, the United States and its allies need to better integrate cross-border “follow the money” strategies into their diplomatic and military arsenal to ensure success. […]Sanctions programs that do not root out large-scale evasive money flows, however, will prove too porous to deter or reverse targeted behavior. – Foreign Affairs 

Joshua C. Huminski writes: When it comes to escalation, we must not fear it — fearing escalation cedes psychological terrain to the adversary — something Putin will undoubtedly use to his advantage. Rather, the West must be both aware of the risks of, and cautious about, escalation. – The Hill 

Ethan Sheinker writes: Why Putin decided to invade will be debated in the media today and by historians tomorrow. However, the details around the invasion will only muddy the waters of Putin’s personal motivation, since the justification was flimsy, the military was ill-prepared, and logistics broke down to an embarrassing scale. – Jerusalem Post 


Iran established a clandestine banking and finance system to handle tens of billions of dollars in annual trade banned under U.S.-led sanctions, enabling Tehran to endure the economic siege and giving it leverage in multilateral nuclear talks, according to Western diplomats, intelligence officials and documents. – Wall Street Journal 

The exchange of missile strikes by Iran and Israel in Iraq and Syria puts U.S. forces at risk, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Friday, just days after an Iranian missile barrage struck near the U.S. consulate complex in northern Iraq. – Associated Press 

A dual British-U.S. national released from prison last week as part of a deal between Iran and the United Kingdom was returned to custody and on Sunday was transferred to a hotel, the British government said. – Associated Press 

Two UAVs shot down by a US fighter plane over Iraq had been intended for detonation in Israel, Kan News reported Monday morning. The two UAVs had been launched from Iran and were supposed to have exploded in Israeli territory, the report said. – Arutz Sheva 

International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Grossi has a very busy schedule these days. As world powers gear up to sign a new nuclear deal with Iran and with Russia targeting nuclear facilities in Ukraine, Grossi struggles to maintain the global nuclear balance. – Israel Hayom 

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie on Friday told reporters that “the number one objective of the United States with regard to Iran is that Iran not possess a nuclear weapon”. – Arutz Sheva 

US conservatives and Israel stepped up pressure this week against the possibility that an agreement to restore the Iran nuclear deal could see Washington drop its “terrorist group” designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. – Agence France-Presse 

The family of a UK/Iranian man freed this week after spending five years in a Tehran jail were forced to pay Iran £27,000 ($36,500, 33,000 euros) in order to secure his return home, they said Saturday. – Agence France-Presse 

Israel believes that a new nuclear agreement between Iran and the powers is a done deal that will be signed within a few weeks, if not days. The impression in the political and defense establishment is that the Biden administration is anxious to sign the deal and end the nuclear saga, at least as far as America is concerned, both to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment activities and in order to focus on more important and urgent issues, chiefly competition with China and the war in Ukraine. – Haaretz 

Iran was due on Sunday to provide new answers to the International Atomic Energy Agency to try to talk its way out of evidence the Mossad had obtained in 2018 of the nuclear dimensions of its program. – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: After all, no one really believes that Iran will forfeit its desire to obtain nuclear capability or will suddenly cease its support for violent terrorist proxies in the Middle East. It’s just about kicking the can down the road – and if the world can do that now and not have to think about Iran for some time, then so be it. – Jerusalem Post 

Hugh Hewitt writes: Ukraine can persevere with our help. China can be deterred with commitments to military preparedness and especially expansion of our Navy. Iran should remain a pariah until it ceases its outsourcing of terrorism to the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas. The United States and its allies can invest in the weapons of war so as to deter it. Appeasement did not work for Chamberlain. And it will not work for Biden. – Washington Post 

Ben-Dror Yemini writes: So, what can be done? Some voices within the U.S. Congress have already vehemently torched both the nuclear deal in general and the Biden administration’s surrender vis-à-vis the IRGC in particular. It remains to be seen if pressure from within would be of any help. To paraphrase the great late Winston Churchill, the U.S. was given the choice between war and dishonor. It might choose dishonor and it will have war. – Ynet


Afghanistan’s Taliban administration said there would be no public holiday for the Persian New Year this week, but said they would not stop people from celebrating the festival. – Reuters 

The Taliban arrested three journalists from TOLO TV Thursday night, according to the Afghan television station. – The Hill 

Carter Malkasian writes: As the United States and others think through how to engage with the new Taliban regime, any good strategy will require policymakers to practice patience, not assume the worst, and above all to try to learn more about their interlocutors. One does not have to like the Taliban to see that Dam offers sound policy counsel. – Foreign Affairs 


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Emirati leaders Friday on a surprise visit to the United Arab Emirates, his first trip to an Arab country since launching a brutal crackdown on opponents that plunged the country into civil war 11 years ago. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.N.’s special envoy for Syria said Sunday he hopes the Syrian government and the opposition will work with “a sense of seriousness and purpose” during the seventh round of talks this week over draft constitutional reforms. – Associated Press 

Some Syrian paramilitary fighters say they are ready to deploy to Ukraine to fight in support of their ally Russia but have not yet received instructions to go, two of their commanders told Reuters. – Reuters 

Russia does not appear to be looking to escalate the conflict in Syria, the leading U.S. general in the Middle East said on Friday, even as Moscow pursues its invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

The U.S. State Department said it was “profoundly disappointed and troubled” by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). – The Hill 


Turkey’s foreign minister said in an interview published on Sunday that Russia and Ukraine were nearing agreement on “critical” issues and he was hopeful for a ceasefire if the two sides did not backtrack from progress achieved so far. – Reuters 

The United States has informally raised with Turkey the unlikely possibility of sending its Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems to Ukraine to help it fight invading Russian forces, according to three sources familiar with the matter. – Reuters 

Turkish Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said on Saturday the global rise in energy prices was accelerating inflation in the country, but Ankara would continue working to lower it, adding that the lira’s recent decline was within “acceptable” levels. – Reuters 

Russians newly arrived in Turkey are struggling to make deposits and transfers at banks that are taking a careful and sceptical approach for fear of contravening Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the war in Ukraine, according to several sources. – Reuters 

The president of Turkey, South Korea’s prime minister and other officials inaugurated a massive suspension bridge Friday over the Dardanelles Strait that connects the European and Asian shores of the key waterway. – Associated Press 


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in an address to members of Israel’s Knesset and a large crowd of supporters in a central Tel Aviv square, equated the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the Nazi campaign to subjugate Europe and beseeched Israel to do more to prevent ongoing carnage in his country. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Israel was undertaking many efforts to arrange top-level peace talks between his country and Russia and suggested they might take place in Jerusalem. – Reuters 

Colorado’s state pension fund will divest a $42 million investment in Unilever PLC after the company’s Ben and Jerry’s subsidiary took economic action against Israel by halting ice cream sales in West Bank settlements, The Denver Post reported Friday. – Bloomberg 

Knesset Member Nir Barkat, who has aspirations of succeeding former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the leader of Israel’s Likud party, said on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. that he believes Israel should be taking a more defined stance in support of Ukraine and decried the current coalition government’s efforts to act as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv. – Jewish Insider 

Israeli security forces said on Sunday that they busted a major drug and weapons-smuggling ring run by Hezbollah and Iran on the Lebanese border, and arrested two Israeli operatives involved. – Algemeiner 

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Sunday denounced a new report from a body at Harvard University Law School, written in collaboration with a Palestinian activist group that has been accused of ties with a terrorist organization, which charged Israel with engaging in “apartheid” in the West Bank. – Algemeiner 

Removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ designation as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is too high a price to pay for a nuclear deal with Iran, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. – Jerusalem Post 

Tourists traveling between Tel Aviv and Dubai have ended up stranded in the United Arab Emirates, scrambling to make last-minute contingency plans, as flights continue to be suddenly canceled with little warning amid a seemingly continuing security dispute between Israeli and Emirati authorities. – Jerusalem Post 

Despite Israel’s reluctance to take a definite position in the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the Israeli navy is currently participating in a joint exercise with NATO members in Mediterranean waters, Israel Hayom reports. – Arutz Sheva 

The Hamas terrorist organization issued a statement on Sunday evening following the stabbing attack in Jerusalem in which two policemen were injured, one moderately and the other lightly. – Arutz Sheva 

Israel is expected to continue exerting pressure on members of Congress to turn down the Biden administration’s attempts to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the national list of terrorist organizations, according to a report in Israel Hayom. – Arutz Sheva 

Israeli authorities arrested four Israeli Arabs from north who are said to have been recruited by the Hezbollah terror group under the auspices of Iranian intelligence, it was revealed Sunday. – Ynet 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday released a video statement congratulating Iranians on Nowruz, the Persian new year, and wishing them freedom from their “cruel and brutal regime.” – Times of Israel 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday sounded the alarm over the potential US decision to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of terrorist groups as part of a revived nuclear deal with Tehran. – Times of Israel 

The Israeli Air Force is slated to participate in a major international aerial exercise hosted by Greece later this month, simulating operations against air defense systems, large airstrikes, and rescue operations. – Times of Israel 

Arabian Peninsula

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has opened up diplomatic and commercial opportunities for gas exporter Qatar to expand energy sales to the West and bolster its alliance with Washington amid U.S. tensions with other Gulf Arab states. – Reuters 

The United Nations welcomes an initiative to hold consultations in Saudi Arabia to support U.N. efforts to reach a political settlement in Yemen, the Office of the U.N. Special Envoy for the country, Hans Grundberg, said on Twitter on Sunday. – Reuters 

The United Arab Emirates is ready to support all efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a phone call, Emirati state news agency (WAM) reported on Friday. – Reuters 

Qatar said it agreed to work on supplying Germany with liquefied natural gas as Europe’s biggest economy seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. – Bloomberg 

In the 18 months since the Abraham Accords were signed, people-to-people cultural exchanges and business ties have flourished between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Now, new defense cooperation appears to be emerging between Israel and Bahrain. – Jewish Insider 

Daphne Richemond-Barak writes: The UAE can be expected to figure out how to balance opposing pressures, whether at the regional or global levels, while promoting its interests. This could make for an interesting two years at the Security Council and the General Assembly. – Jerusalem Post 

Saudi Arabia

The Biden administration has transferred a significant number of Patriot antimissile interceptors to Saudi Arabia within the past month, fulfilling Riyadh’s urgent request for a resupply amid sharp tensions in the relationship, senior U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group fired missiles and drones at Saudi energy and water desalination facilities, causing a temporary drop in output at a refinery but no casualties, the Saudi energy ministry and state media said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia regained the spot as China’s top crude supplier in the first two months of 2022, having been leapfrogged by Russia in December, while Russian shipments dropped 9% as a cut in import quotas led independent refiners to scale back purchases. – Reuters 

Oil giant Saudi Aramco reported Sunday a 124 percent net profit surge for last year, hours after Yemeni rebels attacked its facilities causing a “temporary” drop in production. – Agence France-Presse 

Strained relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States are complicating efforts by the Biden administration to convince Riyadh to step up its oil production — which could provide some relief to consumers amid high prices exacerbated by the Russian war in Ukraine. – The Hill 

Middle East & North Africa

In a bid to ease tensions with Morocco, Spain has recognized for the first time a plan drawn up by the African country for governing Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that has been torn by a separatist conflict for five decades. – New York Times 

Algeria has summoned its ambassador to Spain back for consultations over Madrid’s recent comments on Western Sahara, the foreign affairs ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Morocco’s ambassador to Spain will return to Madrid after Spain clarified that it supported Rabat’s autonomy proposal for Western Sahara, a Spanish government source said on Sunday. – Reuters 

More than 2,000 Tunisians rallied on Sunday, the country’s independence day, against President Kais Saied and a project he launched to gauge public opinion on proposed constitutional reforms. – Agence France-Presse 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired suspected artillery pieces into the sea on Sunday, South Korea’s military said, days after the North’s latest missile launch ended in failure amid the country’s recent burst of weapons testing activity. – Associated Press 

South Korea convened a National Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea’s launch on Sunday of a short-range projectile, according to the presidential office. – Bloomberg 

German and South Korean officials held talks in gas-rich Qatar on Sunday, underlining efforts by major energy importers to find alternatives to Russian supplies amid disruptions to oil and gas markets caused by the Ukraine war. – Reuters 

Bruce Klinger writes: Pyongyang could use the fear of nuclear weapons to coerce South Korea to accommodate North Korean demands that it, for example, end bilateral military exercises and reduce U.S. force levels. The regime could use threats of nuclear attack to intimidate Tokyo to preclude U.S. forces from using Japanese bases, ports, and airfields during a Korean conflict. – Heritage Foundation 


China’s Communist Party has authorized a corruption inquiry into a senior official who was previously an influential advocate of Muslim culture, according to people familiar with the matter, in a signal of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s resolve to push ahead with the country’s aggressive ethnic assimilation efforts. – Wall Street Journal 

President Biden warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping that China and its relations with the U.S. would suffer consequences if Beijing provides substantive assistance to Russia in its military assault on Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

The criticism at home comes as Beijing faces increasing pressure abroad from the United States and European governments to use its influence over Russia to help stop the war. On Friday, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, spoke with President Biden, a call in which the American leader warned Mr. Xi that supporting Russia’s aggression would have unspecified “implications and consequences.” – New York Times 

Elon Musk’s ties to China are causing unease in Washington, including among some Republican lawmakers who have been among the billionaire entrepreneur’s ardent supporters. – Wall Street Journal 

China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets in an increasingly aggressive move that threatens all nations operating nearby, a top U.S. military commander said Sunday. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden’s two-hour video call with China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday exposed a deepening divide between the leaders’ positions on both the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s claims to Taiwan. – Politico 

China’s top envoy to Washington pledged his country “will do everything” to de-escalate the war in Ukraine, but refused to condemn Russia’s attack and branded such requests “naive.” – Bloomberg 

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden on Friday that the Taiwan issue needs to be handled properly to avoid a negative impact on Sino-U.S. relations, according to Chinese media. – Reuters 

Ukraine on Saturday called on China to join the West in condemning “Russian barbarism”, after the US warned Beijing of consequences if it backed Moscow’s attack on the country. – Agence France-Presse 

Keith B. Richburg writes: Russia’s problems trying to subdue Ukraine may have also thrown a wrench into any Chinese planning to take military action against Taiwan. The West coming together swiftly to impose powerful sanctions is likely a warning to China of what it might face should it decide to invade Taiwan, and the Ukrainian resistance has shown that a powerful, better-equipped military cannot always easily defeat a smaller adversary determined to defend its turf. – Washington Post 

Marco Rubio writes: That begins with a willingness to punish Chinese support for Putin’s invasion. Xi hopes to reap the benefits of a “no limits” partnership with a dictator whose military bombs hospitals and slaughters civilians. To protect our national and economic security, we must ensure that Xi and the CCP pay a price for that partnership. – Washington Post 

Adam O’Neal writes: In recent decades American policy makers tried and failed to convert Beijing into a responsible contributor to the U.S.-led international order. Today there is a bipartisan consensus that the Chinese Communist Party is the greatest external threat to American security, but much of Washington was slow to accept it. As President Trump’s senior director for Asia, then deputy national security adviser, Mr. Pottinger urged them along. – Wall Street Journal 

South Asia

But lynchings over offenses to Islam, real or imagined, are far from new in Pakistan, where blasphemy is punishable by death. Rights activists say lynch mobs exploit anti-blasphemy laws to take matters into their own hands. – New York Times 

The International Money Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to explain how it would fund a $1.5 billion subsidy package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said on Sunday. – Reuters 

The state-run Indian Oil Corp. bought 3 million barrels of crude oil from Russia earlier this week to secure its energy needs, resisting Western pressure to avoid such purchases, an Indian government official said Friday. – Associated Press 

Iran is ready to meet India’s energy security needs, its ambassador to India was quoted as saying on Friday, as negotiations continue between the world powers and Tehran on the lifting of sanctions against the OPEC-member. – Reuters 


Five years after Myanmar’s military began a killing spree against ethnic Rohingya, driving nearly one million people from their country, the United States has concluded that the widespread campaign of rape, crucifixions, and drownings and burnings of families and children amounted to genocide. – New York Times 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had shaken the “foundation of international order” and required a clear response, he said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday announced a 5 trillion yen ($42 billion) investment in India over the next five years during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. – Reuters 

Australia announced Friday it is suing Facebook owner Meta over scam adverts for cryptocurrency schemes that falsely claimed to be endorsed by prominent figures. – Agence France-Presse 


Late last month, Estonia’s foreign minister, Eva-Maria Liimets, flew into Kyiv to join her counterparts from fellow Baltic nations in an expression of solidarity with Ukraine as tensions mounted with Russia. – Washington Post 

The war in Ukraine has delivered a shock to global energy markets. Now the planet is facing a deeper crisis: a shortage of food. – New York Times 

The appearance by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine before the Canadian Parliament this week may have been virtual, but the emotions it generated were very much real. Even before Mr. Zelensky began to speak, members of the House of Commons and the Senate gave him two sustained standing ovations. When he finished speaking, he received yet another standing ovation, this one lasting for three minutes. – New York Times 

While President Emmanuel Macron of France has tried over the past year to address the painful memories of his country’s colonial history in Algeria, the long shadows of that past — provoked by such messages — have increasingly pervaded the campaigns of right-wing candidates in next month’s presidential elections. – New York Times 

After years of cozying up to Kremlin-friendly anti-immigrant firebrands and fulminating against the European Union, the leader of Poland’s populist governing party has taken on an unlikely new role: a standard-bearer of European solidarity in defense of Ukraine and democratic values. – New York Times 

President Joe Biden has added a stop in Poland to his trip this week to Europe for urgent talks with NATO and European allies, as Russian forces concentrate their fire upon cities and trapped civilians in a nearly month-old invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared the invasion of Ukraine by Russia to the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016. – Politico 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said on Sunday he was ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin but not willing to yield on his nation’s territorial integrity. – Politico 

Rep. Liz Cheney on Sunday agreed with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the use of chemical weapons should be a “red line” for NATO to intervene in Ukraine. – Politico 

New Zealand said on Monday it will provide Ukraine with a further NZ$5 million ($3.46 million) in funds and non-lethal military assistance including some surplus equipment. – Reuters 

The Patriot air defence system has started arriving in Slovakia from NATO partner countries and the deployment will continue in the coming days, Slovakia’s defence minister said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Germany’s finance minister has called for fresh talks over a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, a newspaper reported on Sunday, aiming to revive discussions halted by former U.S. President Donald Trump. – Reuters 

The European Union is considering creating a solidarity fund for Ukraine to help provide basic services in the country and meet citizens’ immediate needs, European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is healthy, sane and “in better shape than ever”, his close ally Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has said in an interview with the Japanese television channel TBS. – Reuters 

Finland’s president has warned that applying for Nato membership would carry a “major risk” of escalation in Europe as the Nordic country explores ways to improve its security set-up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Financial Times 

European Union leaders may hold off on endorsing intervention in the bloc’s wholesale energy market as member states are divided on the most effective emergency options to curb soaring power and gas prices, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson found himself under fire on Sunday, including from his own MPs, after saying that Brexit showed that Britons shared the same “instinct” for freedom as Ukrainians. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday blasted firms including Nestle for carrying on business as usual with Russia “even though our children are dying”, in a live address to a Swiss rally. – Agence France-Presse 

The West must not try to “normalise relations” with Russian President Vladimir Putin after his invasion of Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday, calling the crisis a “turning point for the world”. – Agence France-Presse 

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss suggested it was “extremely difficult” to envisage these sanctions being lifted – Agence France-Presse 

Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Friday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats over the invasion of Ukraine, prompting Moscow to say it would respond in kind. – Agence France-Presse 

The International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other top global lenders Friday warned of “extensive” economic fallout from the Ukraine war and expressed their horror at the “devastating human catastrophe”. – Agence France-Presse 

UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom on Friday revoked the licence of Russia’s state-funded television channel RT, in the latest international repercussion for Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that 11 political parties in his nation that are linked to Russia will be banned, The Washington Post reported. – The Hill 

Editorial: One lesson of Russia’s assault on Ukraine is that NATO continues to be vital to European security. Would Ukraine be under siege today if it were a member of the alliance? This is something to keep in mind as discussions about Sweden and Finland pursuing membership advance. – Wall Street Journal 

Ann Bluntzer and Manochehr Dorraj write: As sanctions against Russia have made its oil and gas toxic, to compensate for the shortfall in the market, such previously sanctioned producers like Venezuela and Iran are now being cultivated as the possible new sources of supply. In the United States, shale oil producers have pledged to increase their production by 1 million barrels a day by the end of the year. – The Hill 


That means suppliers such as the underdeveloped frontier energy markets of Africa may find new energy sector investors in Europe who can no longer rely on Russian natural gas, which has long been their dominant source. – Washington Post 

The atrocities in Darfur once drew international attention. Celebrities organized marches and fund-raisers and even went on hunger strike, the United Nations repeatedly denounced the violence and sent in peacekeepers, and the International Criminal Court opened investigations into accusations of genocide and war crimes. But this time, few people are paying attention. – New York Times 

Amid a worldwide chorus of condemnation, much of Africa has either pushed back or remained noticeably quiet. Twenty-five of Africa’s 54 nations abstained or didn’t record a vote in the U.N. General Assembly resolution earlier this month condemning Russia. – Associated Press 

Latin America

A Supreme Court justice Sunday withdrew an order to suspend Telegram in the country after the company complied with directives to block accounts used by President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters to spread false information. – Wall Street Journal 

Argentina’s Senate on Thursday gave final approval to an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that restructures a $45 billion debt, clearing the country’s short-term financial horizon but leaving a serious inflationary challenge. – Agence France-Presse 

Britain´s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have cancelled a visit to a Belize village at the start of their Caribbean tour over “sensitive issues” involving the local community, Kensington Palace said Saturday. – Agence France-Presse 

Richard M. Sanders writes: While the Russian invasion left him on the wrong side of both international and domestic opinion, Bolsonaro has shown that once he takes a position, whether it is right or wrong, he tends to stick with it, often with increasing vehemence and hostility to those who challenge him. – The National Interest 

United States

Pentagon prosecutors have struggled for more than a dozen years to hold the death-penalty trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and his four co-defendants at Guantánamo Bay. – New York Times 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Sunday ruled out the possibility of the U.S. taking part in peacekeeping operations inside Ukraine, reiterating that the Biden administration will not be sending American troops to the besieged country. – The Hill 

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Sunday called for President Biden to travel to NATO’s most eastern front and to make further commitments to the military alliance when he travels to Europe later this week. – The Hill 

Editorial: This is an ideal time for Biden to articulate not only the strength of US military and economic networks, but the strength of western values — the rule of law, democracy, respect for the individual, property rights, pluralism and open markets. As the war in Ukraine has shown us, these are worth fighting for today, just as they were in Truman’s time. – Financial Times 

Bill Drexil writes: Abandon Libya to civil war, ISIS infiltration and crimes against humanity after helping depose Moammar Gadhafi ? President Obama may consider this his worst mistake, but young Americans don’t see it quite the same way. Routinely ignore red lines in Syria and fail to establish promised humanitarian safe zones? The millennial view is that it was a good thing we didn’t get too involved. Rush to leave to the Taliban tens of thousands of American allies in Afghanistan? At least we’re out. – Wall Street Journal 

Benjamin Jensen writes: These maneuvers reflect that while Americans agree in principle on doing something to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, there is still a tendency to make every issue partisan. – The Hill 


The Knesset’s cyber unit and the National Cyber Directorate fought off a number of cyberattacks aimed at intercepting the live-streamed speech of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the Knesset said on Sunday evening. – Jerusalem Post 

Cybersecurity experts have weighed in on the Iran-attributed cyberattack that temporarily crippled government websites last Monday night. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed responsibility for the attack, which was said to be in retaliation for the death of two Iranian officers in Syria following a presumed Israeli airstrike. – Jerusalem Post 

While the Russian military inflicts devastating destruction in Ukraine three weeks into the invasion of its neighbor, Russia and Western countries are engaged in a cyber “cold war” that has yet to escalate, according to a top Israeli cyber specialist. – Times of Israel 

CISA and the FBI issued a joint cybersecurity advisory Thursday evening calling for U.S. and international satellite communication (SATCOM) network providers and customers to stay alert of possible threats and begin implementing a new set of mitigations. – The Record 

One of the top credit bureaus in South Africa has suffered a data breach, and the hackers are demanding about $15 million in ransom, according to news reports. – Cyberscoop 

Editorial: But just as important, all nations need to figure out what they will and won’t tolerate as below the threshold of acts of cyberwarfare, and to draw rules of the road that discourage reckless behavior by creating consequences — eliminating, or at least carving away, the gray area in which so many bad actors operate. The cyberwar that still hasn’t come is an opportunity to rethink, and to plan for, the role that information technology has the potential to play as a weapon in 21st century global conflict. – Washington Post 

Thomas Rid writes: The contours of digital conflict are slowly emerging from the shadows, as digitally upgraded intelligence operations at the edge of war: espionage, sabotage, covert action and counterintelligence, full of deception and disinformation. – New York Times 

Chris Krebs writes: Mitigating this risk means we need decisive action. Government offensive cyber teams must continue to disrupt Russian attacks, while rapidly sharing information with industry on Moscow’s intent and capabilities. We must accept, however, that stopping all attacks is not realistic. Industry executives should recognise they have an obligation to make themselves harder targets so the government can focus on supporting Ukraine, rather than putting out fires back home. – Financial Times 

Paul Brian writes: The bottom line is that the conflict in Ukraine has shown the world a stunning example of just what digital dominance and competence can do in war. To be sure, a country still can’t win a land war from behind a keyboard. But technology can certainly help the military gain the support of foreign powers and win the war. – The National Interest 

Julia Voo writes: While it is more difficult for American and European governments to plan long-term strategies to stay ahead technologically, it is imperative they do so with regard to China or else they may inadvertently leave the door wide open for China to become not only a but the cyber superpower. – The National Interest 


President Joe Biden will release his 2023 budget request on March 28, according to a senior administration official, outlining how he’d enact some of his top priorities and his administration’s spending requests across the government. – Bloomberg 

About six months after the U.S. ended its longest war, the outgoing head of U.S. Central Command hinted that U.S. involvement in Iraq is probably going to go on even longer. – Military Times 

The Air Force’s next budget proposal, expected to be released by the end of March, will provide more clues on how it hopes to mix manned fighters and bombers with autonomous combat drones. – Defense News 

The Department of Defense this week released a public version of its Joint All-Domain Command and Control strategy, offering a fresh peek at the Pentagon’s plans to revolutionize battlefield communications and data digestion. – Defense News 

For the longest stretch in decades, the Mediterranean Sea has played host to the deafening roar of U.S. carrier aircraft launching into Europe. – USNI News 

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency described the sharing of information and intelligence between the United States and the Ukrainians as “revolutionary in terms of what we can do” at a Thursday congressional hearing. – USNI News