Fdd's overnight brief

March 30, 2022

In The News


Ukraine and Russia said they made progress in talks to end the war, with Kyiv presenting its proposal for a neutral status and international security guarantees as Moscow continued deadly strikes across Ukraine despite promises to focus its campaign on the eastern Donbas region. – Wall Street Journal 

An important aspect of the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine is that the latter adopt a “neutral state” status in exchange for a potential halt in Russian aggression. – Washington Post 

Russia is armed to teeth with nuclear weapons, which some analysts fear it would consider using to escalate the conflict if it felt it was losing, and Ukraine’s Western backers are also armed with nukes, which means that the conflict — if it were to spiral beyond Ukraine — would pit nuclear powers against each other. – Washington Post 

Weeks after Russia invaded, Ukraine’s youngest cabinet minister launched a complaint to the Chinese drone company DJI, claiming that Russia’s military was using its popular technology to target missile attacks. – Washington Post  

But retreat is hardly surrender, and others cautioned that the progress made Tuesday doesn’t mean that Russia is ready for serious discussions on ending the war. That would require a better outcome for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to sell at home as a victory. – New York Times 

Thousands of people have been fleeing the northern outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, escaping towns and villages under attack by Russian troops across the region. Many of them are from the city of Chernihiv, with bleak faces and crushing stories. – New York Times 

The oligarch, Roman Abramovich, the 55-year-old owner of Britain’s storied Chelsea Football Club soccer team, is not a member of the Russian side of the talks. He has been sanctioned by the British government — but, curiously, not the United States — for ties with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who started the war. – New York Times 

The head of the United Nations World Food Program warned on Tuesday that the war in Ukraine was creating a catastrophe affecting local agriculture and global food and grain supplies “beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II.” – New York Times 

Western sanctions have disrupted nearly every part of Russia’s financial system, but there is one big exception. The domestic-payments system continued to work smoothly after Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. pulled out earlier this month. While the card giants’ exit from Russia was viewed as a significant move by many in the West, the reality on the ground was anything but. Most Russian consumers never lost the ability to use their Mastercard- and Visa-branded cards to pay for things within the country. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States and its allies plan new sanctions on more sectors of Russia’s economy that are critical to sustaining its invasion of Ukraine, including military supply chains, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia promised on Tuesday to scale down military operations around Kyiv and another city but the United States warned the threat was not over as Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status in a sign of progress at face-to-face negotiations. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday said it remains to be seen whether Russia follows through with any actions to scale down its military operations in Ukraine, saying Washington and its allies will continue with strong sanctions and aid for Ukraine. – Reuters 

The US will track down and hold to account crypto exchanges and anyone else who helps Russia sidestep sanctions, a top Treasury official has warned. – Business Insider 

The Russian-backed self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine may consider joining Russia once it controls all of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, its news outlet cited separatist leader Denis Pushilin as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Mike Gallagher writes: Unfortunately, integrated deterrence didn’t sway Mr. Putin. It failed, at great cost to the Ukrainian people and at great risk to the world. That is nothing to brag about, even anonymously. – Wall Street Journal 

William A. Galston writes: It is possible that over time Western sanctions will interact with the costs of occupation (including a guerrilla war against the invaders) to force Russia to withdraw, as the Soviets did from Afghanistan. But having paid such a heavy price for his invasion, Mr. Putin will not readily reverse it. Besides, a reversal would violate the pan-Russian ideology that—as much as any cost-benefit calculation—shapes his stance toward Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: The Chinese are assumed to be carefully husbanding the lessons of Mr. Putin’s Ukraine debacle as they get ready to anoint Xi Jinping with president-for-life status, but they are missing the most important lesson. Western societies insist on changing their leaders every few years, and it makes them strong and resilient in a way no authoritarian society is. This points to the true unpatriotism of a Putin or a Xi. Their central job, as they see it, is to deny their societies the blessing of regular, orderly and lawful succession of power from one set of hands to another. – Wall Street Journal 

Anthony Faiola writes: That suggests an acknowledgment by Ukraine that it may not remain entirely whole. Yet any outcome that restricts Russian gains to Crimea and parts of Donbas would still be seen as a Ukrainian victory — giving Putin a little more than he had before the invasion. The high price for Moscow, meanwhile, will have been a Russian economy crippled by sanctions, diplomatic isolation by the West and the countless lives of Russians soldiers. – Washington Post 

Bret Stephens writes: Within Russia, the war has already served Putin’s political purposes. […]To the extent that Russia’s military has embarrassed itself, it is more likely to lead to a well-aimed purge from above than a broad revolution from below. Russia’s new energy riches could eventually help it shake loose the grip of sanctions. This alternative analysis of Putin’s performance could be wrong. Then again, in war, politics and life, it’s always wiser to treat your adversary as a canny fox, not a crazy fool. – New York Times 

Abbie Tingstad, Stephanie Pezard, Benjamin Sacks, and Scott Stephenson write: Increased civilian or military activities in the region could increase the chance of a collision, nuclear accident or misunderstanding that could rapidly escalate tensions between Russia, Western Arctic states and even China. Escalation is made more likely by the fact that the Arctic is deeply important to Russia. Russia might see any intrusion (real or perceived) into the Northern Sea Route and the Barents Sea — effectively its vast northern border — as a grave threat. – The Hill 

James M. Dubik writes: American political and military leaders face multiple security challenges; they cannot develop security-myopia. But within these limits, the U.S., NATO and other Allies must continue humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the pressure-increasing sanctions on Putin’s Russia. And they must assist Ukraine in pushing back Russian forces at least to where they were before the February 2022 phase of the war began — or else the Allies will have set conditions for Ukraine’s permanent partitioning. – The Hill 

Margaret MacMillan writes: What happens next will depend on many different things, from the resolution of the Ukrainians themselves to the volume and type of weapons each side will acquire. But it will also depend on the decisions and leadership of the key players. Will Biden manage to keep the Western alliance together and continue to provide firm support to Ukraine in a carefully calibrated response to Russian actions? […]The answers can only be guessed at—and, given Putin’s record, the West may have to prepare for a long and costly effort to contain Putin’s aggression as it did in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. – Foreign Affairs 

Timothy Naftali writes: Two decades of experience with Putin suggest he could be frustrated into cutting his losses, as he did in Georgia in 2008. […]In 2014, Putin boasted that Russian forces could take Kyiv in a mere two weeks. He probably made the same boast to his confidants this year. But the war is about to enter its sixth week, and there is no end in sight. This is the time to be even more creative in finding ways to increase the pressure on Putin while decreasing the pressure on the heroic Ukrainians. – Foreign Affairs 

Colin Dueck writes: Biden is an inept foreign policy president, and most Americans know it. He seems confused and out of his depth. If you want to understand the all-too-valid reasons for widespread concern over the current Ukraine crisis, that’s a pretty good place to start. – National Interest 

Tom Hill writes: The war’s course, and how it ends, will have substantial consequences for many states other than Ukraine and Russia, including strategic interests related to national security and nuclear deterrence. The stability of any deal to end the war will also be shaped by external support, pressures, and guarantees — or lack thereof. One way or another, external states will be involved, and in significant ways, in attempts to negotiate an end to this war. – War on the Rocks 


As Israelis and Arab partners bolster defenses against Iran, the State Department team charged with appeasing the mullahs is falling apart. […]Mr. Shapiro is the fourth official to depart the group led by President Biden’s Iran envoy, Robert Malley, who is attempting to salvage a deal to renew the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Negotiations have been conducted since last fall at a Vienna hotel, where Iranian and American envoys sit in separate rooms while European and, notably, Russian envoys relay messages between the two teams. – New York Sun 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi approved on Tuesday the public budget for the Persian year which started on March 20, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported without elaborating. – Reuters 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested that an Israeli strike on Iran could be the most likely way to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in an interview with Jewish Insider on Monday from Jerusalem. – Jewish Insider 

In response to reports that the Biden administration is considering removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations as part of its efforts to renew the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA), articles in the Saudi press attacked the administration, calling this an absurd move and a crime that will threaten global security. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Tehran University Professor and retired IRGC General Hossein Alaei said in an interview that was posted to the Iranian website ecoiran.com on March 22, 2022 that Russia should not serve as a mediator between the U.S. and Iran in the nuclear talks. […]Rather, he said that Iran should talk directly with the United States and sign a deal without Russian, Chinese, or European mediation. Middle East Media Research Institute  

Salem Alketbi writes: The recent Iranian missile attack is a clear indication of the importance of considering Tehran’s allies in shaping Iraq’s political landscape. […]But, the most important and dangerous message, in my view, is directed at Israel and its new friends in the Gulf. It is to remind them of the capabilities, accuracy and effectiveness of their missiles, to underscore Tehran’s clinging to its regional influence in the post-Vienna talks phase and that it is prepared to respond to any coalition or military attacks. – Jerusalem Post 


The World Bank has put four projects in Afghanistan worth $600 million on hold amid concerns over a decision by the country’s ruling Islamist leaders to ban girls from returning to public high schools, the bank said. – Reuters 

The head of the United Nations’ development agency said on Tuesday that the Taliban administration’s U-turn last week on allowing girls to attend high school had created consternation among funders ahead of a key donor conference this week. – Reuters 

A top U.S. diplomat will meet this week in China to discuss issues in Afghanistan with his Chinese, Russian and Pakistani counterparts, the Chinese foreign ministry and the State Department said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Rupert Stone writes: At some point, if the Taliban manage to stabilize the country, decisively control terrorist activity, and enact reforms that pave the way for the removal of sanctions and integration into the global economy, China might increase its involvement in the country. But that day is many years off, and may never come. – The National Interest 


Talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators in Istanbul on Tuesday marked the most significant progress in discussions to date, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after the negotiations concluded. – Reuters 

Russian oligarch wealth is on the hunt for a new home, and Turkey is quickly establishing itself as a welcome host. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNBC Saturday that he’d welcome sanctioned Russian oligarchs into the country as both tourists and investors, as long as their business dealings adhered to international law. – CNBC 

Turkey is negotiating the purchase of up to 100 South Korean-made engines and transmissions to power its first indigenous tank in the making, the Altay. – Defense News 


A Palestinian gunman wielding an M16 assault rifle shot and killed five Israelis in a suburb of Tel Aviv before he was gunned down by police Tuesday night, officials said, the latest in a string of deadly attacks inside Israel in recent days. – Washington Post 

Israel security forces bolstered their presence across the country and the occupied territories early Wednesday, the morning after a Palestinian gunman killed five people in the fifth attack in less than two weeks. – New York Times 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that Israel was facing a wave of terrorism, after the third deadly assault in an Israeli city in eight days. – Times of Israel 

Two people, including an Israeli police officer and an armed suspect, were wounded during an incident in Jerusalem Wednesday morning, in the vicinity of the Mahane Yehuda market. – Arutz Sheva 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has stopped his involvement in the mediation between Ukraine and Russia due to the recent wave of terror attacks, according to a senior diplomatic source. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel and its regional allies are working on developing a joint defense system to protect against the threat of Iranian drones and missiles, according to Tuesday reports. – Times of Israel 

Israel on Tuesday has raised its level of threat from terrorism to highest possible after yet another deadly terror attack took place earlier, the third within a week. – Ynet 

Israeli security forces raided several towns in northern Israel early Tuesday and arrested 12 people suspected of having ties with the Islamic State terror group. – Ynet 

Israeli security forces are continuing their efforts to break up Islamic State terror cells in the Israeli-Arab community that committed two deadly terror attacks over the past week. – Algemeiner 

The Israel Defense Forces have quietly begun to cooperate with the militaries of moderate Arab states to a significant extent in recent months, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Tuesday. – Algemeiner 

Facing multiple enemies on multiple fronts, the Israel Air Force has carried out more than a thousand airstrikes over the past five years, hitting targets near and far from Israel’s borders in order to protect the country. – Jerusalem Post 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office passed along a “stern message” to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to condemn Tuesday night’s deadly terror attack in Bnei Brak, two officials familiar with the matter confirmed. – Times of Israel 

The foreign ministers who attended the Negev Summit in Israel this week came to understandings to deepen their security coordination in defending their airspace from Iranian threats in the Middle East, Israeli defense officials said. – Haaretz 

The U.N. Human Rights Council is planning to violate its own impartiality rules by appointing a new investigator on Palestinian human rights who exults in calling Israel an “apartheid” state and repeatedly compares the Palestinian situation to the Nazi Holocaust, according to a new report by the independent non-governmental monitoring group UN Watch. – UN Watch 

Amos Harel writes: But it already seems clear that the Bnei Brak attack was a copycat attack. Almost predictably, the new terrorist bonfire has spread into the territories. This series of terror attacks necessitates exceptional effort and attention from the government and all the security services, both inside Israel and in the territories. – Haaretz 

Gulf States

Two influential OPEC members, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, rebuffed calls to expel Russia from a larger oil-production alliance with almost two dozen countries, saying the group had a long history of working together through armed conflicts. – Wall Street Journal 

The development of oil and gas in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region may not be in the interest of major regional energy producer Iran, Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Tuesday it will halt military operations in Yemen starting Wednesday to help create a positive atmosphere during the holy month of Ramadan in order for negotiations between Yemeni parties to succeed, the Saudi state news agency (SPA) reported. – Reuters 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels holding Yemen’s capital planned a unilateral cease-fire to begin early Wednesday ahead of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The Houthis rejected the proposal as “meaningless” without the coalition fully reopening the country’s ports. – Associated Press 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to assure Gulf monarchies on Tuesday that Washington is determined to help them fend off attacks from the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen. – Reuters 

The energy ministers of Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key members of OPEC+, said on Tuesday the producers’ group should not engage in politics as pressure mounted on them to take action against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said markets are going through a “jittery period” and reiterated Tuesday that the kingdom’s ability to ensure energy security is no longer guaranteed. – Associated Press 

Middle East & North Africa

President Isaac Herzog will make the first official visit by an Israeli head of state to Jordan on Wednesday, officials said, in the latest thaw in ties between two countries formally at peace for nearly three decades. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s Najib Mikati said on Tuesday he would stay put as prime minister to avoid giving anyone an excuse to delay parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15. – Reuters 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Tuesday for the expansion of new, major diplomatic shifts in the Middle East and North Africa that have upended the conventional wisdom about some of the region’s longest-standing disputes. – Associated Press 

An alleged member of a group of Islamic State militants that beheaded American hostages in Iraq and Syria, nicknamed “The Beatles” for their British accents, faces a U.S. criminal trial beginning on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Ghaith al-Omari writes: Jordan is already coordinating closely on such issues with Egypt and the UAE. And although its relations with Saudi Arabia have been frosty for some time, there have been recent signs of a thaw, including King Abdullah’s March 21 phone call with Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman, their first in nearly a year. […]In the nearer term, existing efforts could culminate in a meeting of senior U.S. and Arab officials in Ramallah—both to show the PA that its concerns have not been marginalized and to pressure it to engage positively with Washington’s current approach. – Washington Institute 

Hanna Notte writes: Assuming that Russia and the West have entered a new era of protracted and heightened confrontation, their appetite for taking that contest to the Middle East, insulating cooperation on urgent matters there, and freeing up resources to stay engaged in the region will impact stability for better or worse. […]Whether the Middle East can move forward on these issues will also depend on Moscow’s disposition and Washington’s bandwidth to pay attention. – War on the Rocks 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s military said it had successfully test-fired a solid-fuel space rocket for the first time on Wednesday, a step it says will help eventually launch a constellation of satellites to better monitor threats such as North Korea. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after talks at the White House, urged North Korea on Tuesday to halt its ballistic missile launches and return to negotiations over its weapons programs. – Reuters 

North Korea faked the launch of what analysts have dubbed its “monster missile” last week, Seoul’s military said Wednesday, adding that the test was, in reality, likely the same intercontinental ballistic missile Pyongyang fired in 2017. – Agence France-Presse 


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, state broadcaster CGTN reported. – Reuters 

The European Union wants to put pressure on China to be neutral with its stance over Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, sources with knowledge of the matter told CNBC ahead of a virtual meeting between Brussels and Beijing on Friday. – CNBC 

The Chinese military’s increasing size and improving capabilities have worried military leaders and policymakers in the US and around the world. – Business Insider 

Marco Rubio writes: The CCP has spent decades preparing to displace America as the world’s greatest power. We have ignored it for far too long, almost until it was too late. But if we can stand united and remain focused on Beijing, in spite of all the competing distractions, I am confident that America will prevail, and that the lust for domination will be kept at bay just a while longer. – Washington Examiner 

Desmond Lachman writes: From a purely economic perspective, we must hope for both our and China’s sake that President Xi has the good sense to stay out of the Russian–Ukraine war so as not to invite U.S.-led trade sanctions. At a time when we are struggling with our own decades-long high inflation rate, we can ill afford to have a stuttering of the world’s second-largest economy or to have further supply-chain interruptions that a China–U.S. trade war would bring in its wake. – National Review 

Martin Wolf writes: Today, the overwhelming dominance of the US and its allies in global finance, a product of their aggregate economic size and open financial markets, gives their currencies a dominant position. Today, there is no credible alternative for most global monetary functions. […]What might emerge are two monetary systems — a western and a Chinese one — operating in different ways and overlapping uncomfortably. – Financial Times 

Bryan Clark writes: To prevent a replay of Ukraine in the Western Pacific, the United States and its allies will need to take a new approach to deterrence that prioritizes engagement and confrontation against hybrid aggression, rather than a goal-line defense that adversaries don’t find credible. The new defense strategy may be a good step in that direction. – New York Post 


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is leading Taiwan to rethink how it would defend itself in the event of an invasion by China, stirring new debates over weapons, military tactics and even whether to extend military conscription. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy will address Australia’s parliament on Thursday evening by video, the parliament was told. – Reuters  

President Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser for economics, Daleep Singh, will travel to New Delhi and meet government officials to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine and develop an economic framework for the Indo-Pacific, the White House said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the backlash to his country’s security negotiations with China was “very insulting”, in his first comments on a security treaty he said was ready to sign. – Reuters 

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest over a Chinese Coast Guard vessel engaging in “close distance maneuvering” that heightened a risk of collision in the disputed South China Sea, Manila’s national security adviser said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Australia is on the brink of finalizing a free-trade agreement with India with an announcement possible in “coming days,” as the government works to strike a deal less than two months before an expected May election. – Bloomberg 

Militants attacked a headquarters of paramilitary security forces in northwest Pakistan early Wednesday, triggering an intense shootout in which at least four troops and three insurgents were killed, police said. – Associated Press 

Joseph Bosco writes: If Ukraine acts on what might seem a gentle hint from Biden, it will reinforce Russia’s success in occupying Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, and set an unfortunate example for China’s aggressive intentions toward Taiwan. Beijing would be tempted to conclude that its seizure of Quemoy and/or some other Taiwanese island would be similarly accepted by Washington as preferable to the dreaded prospect of a third world war. – The Hill 

Tim Culpan writes: Morrison, and his defense minister, Peter Dutton, are not averse to rattling China’s cage. But both nations rely on each other. Australia has the agricultural and natural resources the world’s second-largest economy needs, and China has the cash to buy them. So Canberra is looking for ways to be tough on Beijing without pushing too far. – Bloomberg 


Four European countries said Tuesday they were kicking out more than 40 Russian officials over national-security threats, citing spying and influence operations as reasons. – Wall Street Journal 

Poland announced steps Wednesday to end all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022, as Germany issued a warning over natural gas supplies and called on consumers to conserve energy in a sign of escalating economic tensions in Europe over Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Germany’s economy minister said Wednesday he was triggering the early warning level for gas supplies amid Russia’s continued demand to be paid in rubles. – Associated Press 

Russia announced on Tuesday the expulsion of 10 diplomats from the three Baltic states in a tit-for-tat response, including three diplomats each from Estonia and Latvia, and four from Lithuania. – Reuters 

The Pentagon on Tuesday clarified that U.S. troops in Poland were “liaising” with Ukrainian forces as they hand over weapons to them, but were not training “in the classic sense” following remarks from President Joe Biden on the matter. – Reuters 

Germany will build up its military quicker than planned by bringing a division to combat-readiness two years ahead of schedule, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday, detailing Berlin’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Spain has approved a €16bn “shock plan” to address the fallout from the war in Ukraine, as prime minister Pedro Sánchez seeks to prevent the conflict from blowing the pandemic-battered economy further off course. – Financial Times 

Britain is urging the NATO alliance to be more proactive in the Arctic region, where Moscow is raising its game militarily. – Defense News 

The Pentagon is repositioning 200 Marines from Norway to Lithuania as part of the ongoing U.S. response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. – USNI News 

Tom Rogan writes: So, although it’s in the U.S. and Western alliance’s interest that Orban loses, it would be a grave error to disregard why Orban finds an enduring base of support. Albeit with an autocratic bent, he has exploited real and legitimate fears over national sovereignty, Christian values, and immigration. The West can reject these policies, but it should not pretend they represent fictions of Orban’s making. Put simply, Orban might be a friend of American foes, but his power is a product of broader democratic concerns. – Washington Examiner 

Daniela Schwarzer writes: Both Germany and the United States must therefore ensure that their revived and solidified relationship can outlast not just Biden but also a Trump-like populist American leader. To do so, they will need to strengthen U.S.-German ties beyond those that link Berlin with the U.S. executive branch, investing in relationships among members of both countries’ legislatures, civil societies, and business sectors as well as the international institutions that bind Germany to the United States. – Foreign Affairs 

Pierre Andurand writes: In any scenario, it would be prudent for Europe to put its economy in war mode to accelerate its energy transition, boost its defence industry, become more self-reliant and work closely with North America for its energy security. – Financial Times 

Pierre Morcos and Sean Monaghan write: Last week’s summits demonstrated once again the unity and resolve shown by the nations of NATO and the European Union in the face of Russia’s challenge to Ukrainian sovereignty and European security. As a new phase of the war begins, NATO and the European Union will need to keep this momentum while addressing the many long-term aftershocks of the conflict on the humanitarian, energy, food, and defense fronts. With this in mind, the road to NATO’s summit in Madrid at the end of June will be critically important. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


An Ethiopian court has ordered Ethiopian journalist Amir Aman Kiyaro to be released on bail after being imprisoned for four months without charges. – Associated Press 

Gunmen attacked a train near Nigeria’s capital on Monday night with explosives and gunfire, killing an unspecified number of the nearly 1,000 passengers on board, authorities and survivors told The Associated Press on Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Ethiopia has released several former government officials from prison, a lawyer working with them said. The group of ethnic Tigrayans included former members of the government-appointed administration and a member of the ruling party. – Reuters 

The Americas

Haitians took to the streets Tuesday to protest rising insecurity, with demonstrations turning violent in the southern city of Les Cayes where people stormed the airport and attacked and burned a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. – Associated Press 

Security forces intensified operations against El Salvador’s street gangs Tuesday with mass arrests, the cordoning off of neighborhoods and house-by-house searches under a state of emergency that has raised concerns among some organizations it could open the door to human rights abuses. – Associated Press 

Pedro Castillo, Peru’s embattled president, avoided joining the South American nation’s list of impeached leaders as opposition lawmakers Monday night failed to get enough votes to remove him from office eight months into his term. – Associated Press 


In a brazen attack on popular video game Axie Infinity, hackers swiped $625 million in cryptocurrency, the game company’s executives said Tuesday, marking one of the largest crypto-thefts to date amid rising rates of such crime. – Washington Post 

Russian hackers have been scanning the systems of energy companies and other critical infrastructure in the United States, and state-sponsored hacking by Russia presents a “current” threat to American national security, a top FBI official told lawmakers on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of leading a massive campaign of “cyber aggression” behind hundreds of thousands of malicious attacks a day while Russia has troops in Ukraine. – Reuters 

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine accelerates European Union defense cooperation, a watchdog said Tuesday that EU institutions face vulnerabilities on another front: cybersecurity. – Associated Press 

An invoice-themed phishing campaign targeted elections officials in at least nine states in October 2021, according to a warning the FBI issued Tuesday. – CyberScoop 


Hundreds of Marines have been deployed to Lithuania, adding to the strength of forces gathered in the Eastern European country while Russia wages war in Ukraine. – Washington Examiner 

A hefty workload and other procurement factors have delayed awards for the Pentagon’s latest enterprise cloud effort, known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. – Defense News 

The Missile Defense Agency’s $9.6 billion fiscal 2023 request seeks to expand regional and homeland defenses against increasingly complex and capable missile threats, according to budget documents released by the agency March 28. – Defense News 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is dominating the news, but the Biden administration’s new defense strategy makes clear China is still the Pentagon’s top focus. – Defense News 

In its third year, the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence demonstration will focus on both the Indo-Pacific and European theaters while tackling how to fight with future capability at a larger scale, according to Col. Tobin Magsig, special assistant to the commander of Army Futures Command. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army will soon decide what’s next for its two Iron Dome batteries, procured as an interim cruise missile defense capability while the service builds its Indirect Fires Protection Capability system, according to officials in charge of missile defense modernization and fielding. – Defense News 

Hammered by several years of losses within its commercial plane-making business, Boeing now stands to gain billions of dollars in defense work if Congress green-lights the Biden administration’s 2023 budget request. – Defense One 

The Navy is spending more money to develop its sixth-generation fighter program but is keeping the costs classified for the third year in a row, the service said on Monday. – USNI News 

The Defense Department will decide whether to go forward with a program to develop and field new space-based sensors capable of tracking hypersonic weapons sometime late next year, with the Missile Defense Agency asking for $89 million in fiscal 2023 funds to launch two prototypes, said MDA head Vice Adm. Jon Hill. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: A decades-long decline in American military power is an under-appreciated reason the world’s authoritarians are on the march. We never thought we’d write this given its penchant for military pork, but Congress can do a lot to improve the Pentagon request, which should be a baseline. […]Congress should set a goal of returning the U.S. to its deterrent strength of the Cold War years, when defense spending was 5% or more of the economy. If lawmakers don’t intervene, the U.S. might not be ready for the next war until a decade after we lose it. – Wall Street Journal 

Paul Waldman writes: To some, it’s just the cost of being the global hegemon; you never know when we’ll have to invade another country or two to add to our long list. Which is a reminder that only a tiny percent of the defense budget goes toward actually defending the United States from attack. The overwhelming majority of what we spend in time, effort and dollars is about projecting American power outward to every corner of the globe. – Washington Post 

Maiya Clark writes: U.S. national defense depends on secure supply chains for defense end items. Policymakers are right to be concerned about defense supply chain vulnerabilities, from dependence on foreign suppliers (particularly China) to a lack of competition in the industrial base. However, they should avoid the temptation of sweeping regulations like new domestic content requirements and should instead use targeted restrictions to ensure that the U.S. is not dependent on its chief competitors for key defense components. – Heritage Foundation