Fdd's overnight brief

March 8, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials ended without a breakthrough Monday, and safe passage from cities under attack remained elusive, as the 12-day-old war continued to create a humanitarian catastrophe. – Washington Post 

Senior congressional Democrats and Republicans on Monday announced they had reached a deal on a bill that would punish Russia for invading Ukraine, as they seek to ban U.S. imports of Russian oil while further empowering President Biden to impose tariffs on the country’s products. – Washington Post 

From its base at a former Arctic gulag, Russia’s MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC digs up a large portion of two metals that are essential to greener transport and computer chips. So far the U.S. and its allies haven’t sanctioned the company, or its oligarch chief executive, underscoring the dilemma some analysts say governments face in seeking to punish Russia without hurting their own access to key commodities. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is raising questions over whether President Vladimir Putin or his commanders will be charged with war crimes. It’s a complex legal issue, compounded in part by the fact that Russia, along with the U.S. and China, isn’t a party to the International Criminal Court, which usually hears war-crime cases at its headquarters in the Netherlands. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remained defiant on Monday in a pair of videos recorded at the leader’s Kyiv office — the first time he has publicly appeared there since the Russian invasion began — where he declared that his outgunned army “will endure” and said everyone involved in the Kremlin’s assault should be considered a war criminal. – Washington Post 

More than 50 senior military, diplomatic, academic and political figures from across the Asia-Pacific region signed a statement released Monday calling for and end “to Russia’s legally and morally indefensible aggression against Ukraine,” highlighting the risk of nuclear escalation. – Washington Post 

Concerns are rising over the operations of nuclear power plants in Ukraine without concrete agreements between Russia and Ukraine on safety and security, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday, adding that his agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, was working urgently to facilitate a meeting with the two parties. – New York Times 

Canada is announcing new sanctions on 10 individuals close to the Russian leadership over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday. – Reuters 

Russia has vaulted past Iran and North Korea to become the world’s most-sanctioned nation in the span of just 10 days following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

Russia on Monday published an official list of foreign states it considers to be “unfriendly,” as President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine entered day 12. – Newsweek 

Russia has announced the establishment of safe corridors to allow civilians to leave, but there appeared to be few takers. Evacuation routes led mostly to Russia and its ally Belarus, drawing withering criticism from Ukraine and others. And Russia continued to pound some cities with rockets even after the announcement of corridors. Such tactics were common during the Syria war after Moscow entered the war in 2015 to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian intelligence officials claim that yet another high-ranking Russian military officer has been killed, which, if confirmed, would be the second such fatality in a week amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Washington Examiner 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions “pure Nazi behavior” in an impassioned plea to American Jewish leaders on Monday morning. – Jewish Insider 

Editorial: The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has announced that the court will investigate potential war crimes stemming from the Russian invasion. […]Unlikely as it may be that Mr. Putin himself ever stands trial, Russian officers assigned with following his orders may be deterred by the prospect that they will be. Lives may yet be saved if those waging this war fully understand that it is a crime in every sense of the word, moral and legal. – Washington Post 

Leon Aron writes: Compared with Marxism-Leninism, Putin’s national ideology of militarized patriotism lacks coherence and is yet to be tested by adversity. As to the terror, the evolution of the regime from a still “softer” authoritarianism to a traditional brutal dictatorship will be one of the most troubling consequences of this war. […]Every day that Ukraine holds out erodes Putin’s regime. The consequences could be far-reaching. – Washington Post 

Dmytro Kuleba writes: But a lot more can and must be done to stop Russia. There is no time to wait or hesitate. The time to pass this collective test of our humanity is now. “Never again” must become a rallying cry, a call to action, not a solemn but empty promise. The time to prove the 21st century will be different from the 20th century is now. – Washington Post 

Henry Olsen writes: One hopes and prays the Ukrainian war will soon end, but even if it does, the conflict for Ukraine’s and Europe’s freedom will last for years. The United States and NATO need to think deeply and strategically for this new, long twilight struggle. – Washington Post 

Gideon Rachman writes: In other parts of the world, dictators such as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela reduced their countries to poverty and isolation — but still managed to cling on to power for many years. Will that really be possible in modern Russia? Can Putin once again imprison his countrymen behind an iron curtain? The fate of Ukraine, Russia and much of the world will depend on the answer. – Financial Times 

Tom Rogan writes: One of America’s closest allies, Israel, has also adopted a cautious reaction to Russia’s invasion. While Israel’s stance is motivated by its desperation to ensure Russia’s cooperation on matters related to Iran’s nuclear program and Iranian missile activity in Syria, it is nevertheless concerning from a Western security perspective. Still, Russia’s position remains fragile. As Putin escalates his use of force against Ukrainian civilians, it will become increasingly difficult for democratic nations to take a conciliatory diplomatic stance toward him. – Washington Examiner 


Fears mounted Monday that the Iran nuclear deal may become collateral damage in the Ukraine war as Russia pressed its demand to be exempted from U.S. sanctions in any future business dealings with Iran. – Washington Post 

Iran’s chief negotiator at the nuclear talks in Vienna unexpectedly returned home Monday night, prompting European officials to say negotiations were at a standstill. – Wall Street Journal 

Tehran will not allow any foreign party to hurt its interests in the talks underway in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear programme, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Monday, citing Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. – Reuters 

Iran believes a deal on its nuclear programme can be quickly reached if Washington accepts points made by Tehran at talks in Vienna, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, adding that Russia’s contribution to negotiations so far had been constructive. – Reuters 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps has successfully put the Noor 2 satellite into orbit, the semi-official news agency Tasnim said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Iran and the United States must take a political decision within days to prevent the failure of indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal after 11 months of negotiations rocked by a last-minute Russian demand of a sanctions exemption. – Reuters 

Israeli officials are concerned that Iran’s position in Syria and other parts of the Middle East may be strengthened by a strategic partnership with China and the finalization of the United States’ return to a multilateral nuclear deal. – Newsweek 

At least two Iranians belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ covert-action Quds Force have been plotting to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton, according to a Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the investigation. – Washington Examiner 

Iran, Russia, and China aligned in talks over a revamped nuclear deal to force the United States and Western countries to give up significant concessions that resulted in Tehran getting “much more than it could expect,” according to Russia’s lead negotiator. – The Washington Free Beacon 

A revived Iranian nuclear deal must secure “equal rights” for all world powers involved, Russia said Monday, after Iran asked for details of Moscow’s demands for US guarantees on restoring the accord. – Agence France-Presse 

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi on Monday described aspects of a likely new Iran nuclear deal with the world powers while fielding more technical questions about what his agency will do in the event of such an agreement. – Jerusalem Post 

A senior Iranian diplomat said on Sunday the new Iran report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) includes some positive changes, including the removal of a location, alleged to indicate the possible presence in the past of a uranium metal disc, from the agency’s list. – Xinhua 

Editorial: Eliminating Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a worthy goal that should not be abandoned. There are other countries that can act as a third party with Iran, such as France, which is not currently killing civilians in neighboring countries. […]It would have to include restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and allow for International Atomic Energy Agency inspections at all sites, including military bases. But that is nowhere near the deal Biden is currently negotiating with Russia and Iran. With Russia killing Ukrainian civilians and Iran trying to kill Americans on U.S. soil, now is not the time for a deal on anything with these two countries. – Washington Examiner 

Gabriel Noronha writes: Administration officials have tried to make the case to lawyers internally that they are merely going back to the original JCPOA, and therefore do not need to submit the deal to Congress under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) signed into law by the president. That is not true. The Biden administration is not going back to the JCPOA. It has negotiated an entirely different agreement. And I can assure you it is much, much worse than the original. – Tablet 

Alan Dershowitz writes: Let us not allow Iran to become a bullying Russia. Let us learn the lesson that Ukraine is now painfully learning about nuclear-armed bullies. Peace requires that Iran never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons—no matter what it takes. – Newsweek 

Debra Cagan writes: A basic law of economics holds that the more oil on the market, the lower the prices; the Biden administration is wagering that Iranian and Venezuelan oil will lead to less pain at the pump. This is why Team Biden did not move immediately to halt the import of Russian crude: the Iran deal and an economically dubious premise on the effect a US cutoff would have on oil markets. And it’s why it responded with handwringing to every Ukrainian request until the bombs dropped. – New York Post 

Henry Rome writes: Although the Biden administration originally aimed to use the revival of the deal as a platform for future negotiations with Iran, this prospect appears dim, especially if the deal fails to deliver the benefits many Iranians may expect. U.S. and European officials will probably argue that if Iran wants a more sustainable agreement, it needs to negotiate for one. But Tehran will probably draw the opposite conclusion. If the United States and its allies cannot deliver relief in the current circumstances, they are unlikely to do so in the future. Negotiating the deal’s revival was challenging, but keeping the deal afloat promises to be even more difficult. – Foreign Affairs 


Israel accused Iran of trying to use long-range drones to fly small arms to Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an evolution in Tehran’s use of unmanned vehicles against its Middle East rival. – Wall Street Journal 

The Israeli military said Tuesday it has demolished the homes of two Palestinians accused of carrying out a deadly shooting attack in the occupied West Bank last year. – Associated Press 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday thanked Israel for its efforts to end Russia’s war with Ukraine as he and his Israeli counterpart met to discuss the conflict and ongoing nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna. – Associated Press 

Israel’s attempts to mediate do not diminish its condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Monday, following a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Riga, Latvia. – Jerusalem Post 

Russia’s embassy in Tel Aviv has reportedly conveyed Moscow’s “disappointment” with Israel over its condemnation of Russia at the United Nations to the Foreign Ministry. – Times of Israel 

The IDF on Monday released footage showcasing its high-stakes mission to intercept two Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attempting to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. – Ynet 

Lahav Harkov writes: There have already been reports that Putin demanded that Israel not provide weapons to Ukraine during the meeting, and that may have been reason enough for him to agree to meet with Bennett. The best-case scenario is that Putin is keeping the channel with Bennett open in case he needs it for the end of the war in Ukraine. Bennett is smart, but it’s possible that his earnestness and unwavering resolve could be leading him straight into a trap set by a far more cynical Putin. – Jerusalem Post 

Emily Schrader writes: In both cases, the genocidal agenda to wipe out the rights of the other has already proven to be self-sabotaging, yet for both regimes, they’d rather see their victims, Israel and Ukraine, suffer, than accept their right to exist. A meaningful change cannot and will not occur until the mentality of the leaders in both Russia and the Palestinian territories changes. – Jerusalem Post 

Ken Jacobson writes: In a world that has become far more dangerous in recent days, it is time for democracies to support each other. Israel is one of those great democracies — and extreme charges against the Jewish state such as racism and apartheid should be rejected and dismissed as serving the interests of anti-democratic forces in a perilous world. – Algemeiner 


Yemenis are riding on the roof or hanging out the sides of taxi vans as severe fuel shortages in the capital Sanaa and other Houthi-held areas raise demand for public transportation, with people queuing for days to fill the tanks of their cars. – Reuters 

Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched at least one missile into the busy waters of Red Sea over the weekend, a U.S. official said Monday, raising the risk of the rebels striking one of the many commercial vessels using a waterway crucial to global shipping. – Associated Press 

Yemen has long been a deeply conservative society, but the Iran-backed Huthis are enforcing their austere brand of Islam with an iron fist, witnesses say. – Agence France-Presse 

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s president on Monday appointed a temporary replacement for the country’s top judicial council, a body he dissolved last month in what his opponents called a move to consolidate his power. – Reuters 

Such wrangling shows the deep divisions over the Ukraine war in the Middle East, where Moscow has embedded itself as a key player in recent years, making powerful friends among state and non-state actors while America’s influence waned. – Associated Press 

The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia and Turkey will meet in southern Turkey on Thursday, Ankara announced as the war in Ukraine intensified. – Agence France-Presse 

Ezzedine Fishere writes: With nobody to stand against Salafism and with no discourse to fight it with, Sissi cannot afford religious reform. Instead, he has no choice but to show respect for his support base’s version of Islam, which is drenched in Salafism and the xenophobic nationalism he has been feeding them. Like many dictators before him, Sissi is a prisoner of the monster he helped create. – Washington Post 

Simon Henderson writes: An unexpected consequence of the Ukraine crisis has been to reactivate frayed American and European senses of shared interests. The Middle East should and could be part of that as well, but the players need to work on the notion of “shared interests.” – The Hill 

Mohammed Soliman writes: Regional powers are increasingly employing drone technology. […]Drones, however, are here to stay and will continue to affect military dynamics and strategic hierarchies in the Middle East and elsewhere. In many cases, non-state actors have now gained drone capabilities that are strong enough to impose strategic decisions on state actors. The Houthi attacks on the UAE are a prime example of these new dynamics. Nation-states in the region should establish a governance regime that sets standards for the use of drones and the transfer of drone technology to non-state actors that aim to destabilize the region. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s election on Wednesday to pick Mr. Moon’s successor will determine whether much of his foreign policy approach stays or goes. Progressive Lee Jae-myung, a fellow Democratic Party member with Mr. Moon, is running a tight race with the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, who pledges to get tougher on North Korea and closer with the U.S. – Wall Street Journal 

Two North Korean ships crossed into South Korean waters on Tuesday, with one retreating after warning shots were fired and the other seized with six passengers wearing military uniforms on board, Seoul’s military said. – Wall Street Journal 

North Korea’s missile launches could be groundwork for a return to intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests this year for the first time since 2017, the U.S. Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) said in its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment released on Monday. – Reuters 

Satellite imagery shows construction at North Korea’s nuclear testing site for the first time since it was closed in 2018, analysts said on Tuesday, as a U.S. intelligence report warned the country could resume major weapons tests this year. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden has sent a letter of thanks to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for joining financial sanctions and export controls against Russia, Moon’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The United States and 10 other countries on Monday bemoaned the failure of the United Nations Security Council to condemn repeated missile launches this year by North Korea, saying this eroded the credibility both of the council and the global non- proliferation regime. – Reuters 


On a frigid day in Beijing last month as the Winter Olympics were set to open, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, celebrated a diplomatic triumph with a banquet for his honored guest, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. They had just finalized a statement declaring their vision of a new international order with Moscow and Beijing at its core, untethered from American power. – New York Times 

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the military to step up the use of law in military engagement with foreign countries, state television CCTV reported on Monday. – Reuters 

China’s top diplomat on Monday accused Washington of trying to create an Asian version of the U.S.-European NATO military alliance and said it is up to the Biden administration to improve relations with North Korea. – Associated Press 

China is developing one of the greatest nuclear weapons forces in history while Russia will exploit every opportunity to undermine the U.S. and its allies, according to the annual threat assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. – Bloomberg 

Matthew Brooker writes: It may be best not to attach too much weight to the view of the world propounded at the NPC, which contains a certain amount of theater and where the foreign minister is speaking to a domestic as well as an international audience. China’s true position will be revealed more through what it does than what it says, though the overriding message is that there is no intention to move away from the friendship with Russia. Get used to the dissonance. – Bloomberg 

Ben Weingarten writes: China is the greatest winner of all here, not only because the Initiative thwarted its malign efforts, but because the DOJ legitimized claims that the American people and their government are bigoted. Only years from now will we know the extent of the damage done by a president so deeply in hock to the woke, who here have done the CCP’s bidding to devastating effect. – Newsweek 

Thomas Blaubach writes: Chinese investment in digital infrastructure like fiber-optic cables, business, and technical skills in these critical countries will increase Beijing’s influence as they develop into digitally based economies. China’s growing economic and soft-power leverage through infrastructure and digital outreach could eventually push the U.S. out of its traditional commanding role in these countries. A U.S. looking to “pivot” from MENA to the Indo-Pacific will continue to push countries like Pakistan, Djibouti, and Egypt, along with their critical waterways and digital nodes, into China’s orbit. – Middle East Institute 


Japan has frozen the assets of an additional 32 Russian and Belarusian officials and oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Ukrainians fighting against Russian invaders have inspired the people of Taiwan, the island’s foreign minister said on Monday, as he announced millions of dollars in aid for Ukrainian refugees. – Reuters 

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, U.S. officials warned China would seek insights for a potential attack on Taiwan. Nearly two weeks in, Vladimir Putin’s war looks more like a deterrent to Xi Jinping than a road map. – Bloomberg 

Malaysia has no intention of imposing sanctions against Russia, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said, just days after neighboring Singapore in an unprecedented move censured the country over its invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

Nearly 400 civilians have been killed in attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, more than 80% of them by a group affiliated to Islamic State, a U.N. report shows, underscoring the scale of the insurgency faced by the new rulers. – Reuters 

But Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine has thrown Russia’s previously warm relations with the Asian powers into question. Both China and India have refused to condemn Russia’s brutal invasion outright, and both abstained from voting on United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions demanding Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine. – CNN 


Blinken was in the Baltic states Monday as part of a European tour to shore up support among Western allies as Russia’s war in Ukraine intensifies. He reassured Latvia and Lithuania, both of which are NATO members, of continued support and said some 400 additional U.S. troops would soon be arriving in Lithuania. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the British Parliament on Tuesday via video, the first time that a speech from a foreign leader will be broadcast directly into the House of Commons chamber. – Washington Post 

British defence minister Ben Wallace said on Tuesday Britain would support Poland if it decided to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, but warned that doing so might have direct consequences for Poland. – Reuters 

U.K. lawmakers are set to pass a bill on Monday aimed at toughening sanctions on Russia and rooting out ill-gotten money from the British economy. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address British lawmakers via videolink in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the first time a president of another country has addressed the main Westminster chamber. – Reuters 

Leaders of France, Britain, Germany and the United States on Monday held a video call to discuss the war in Ukraine, the Elysee Palace said, adding they agreed to step up the economic, humanitarian and security-related help to the eastern European country. – Reuters 

The European Union’s executive arm is mapping out a path to end the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas that could see import needs cut by almost 80% this year, according to two officials with knowledge of the matter. – Bloomberg 

EU nations agreed Monday to start the lengthy process of examining membership bids submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in the wake of Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, diplomats said. – Agence France-Presse 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over the weekend ordered more U.S. troops and military equipment sent to Europe as Russia presses its attack on Ukraine, a senior defense official said Monday. – The Hill 

The World Bank announced on Monday that it had approved a $723 million emergency financial package for Ukraine as the country wards off a Russian invasion. – Washington Examiner 

Mikhail Kokorich writes: The tragedy of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is sharper and more pressing, and the West is right to give it priority. But we shouldn’t forget about Mr. Putin’s domestic victims. Opportunities to obtain refugee status should be open to them. Many would face danger if they return to Russia. Professionals should have opportunities to obtain work permits. Banks shouldn’t be afraid to open accounts for them. And authorities planning new sanctions should look for ways to soften their impact on the many decent Russians who aren’t with Mr. Putin. – Wall Street Journal 

Dr. Can Kasapoglu writes: Ukrainian defenders have inflicted serious losses on the invaders, but these losses should not be confused with victory. The Russians have the upper hand and are poised to grow even stronger. Their vulnerabilities, however, are very real. A swift exploitation of them can undermine Putin’s legitimacy and Russia’s prestige. There is still much the West can do to avert total defeat—provided it acts quickly and with strategic purpose. – Hudson Institute 


At least two soldiers and two United Nations peacekeepers were killed in separate attacks in Mali on Monday, the army and the U.N. mission said. – Reuters 

Gunmen ambushed and killed at least 62 members of a volunteer vigilante group in Nigeria’s northwestern Kebbi state, the head of the group and a police spokesman said, in the worst violence to hit the state since mid-January. – Reuters 

The U.N. human rights chief said on Monday the situation in northern Ethiopia had deteriorated since November and her office had received reports of wide-spread violations including rapes and lethal air strikes. – Reuters 

The Americas

The Biden White House inched closer Monday to a modest rapprochement with oil-rich Venezuela, a bitter foe due to the oppressive policies of President Nicolás Maduro, as it urgently sought ways to stave off the economic, diplomatic and political impact of soaring gas prices that nudged over $4 a gallon. – Washington Post 

The U.N. human rights chief urged the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Monday to re-establish fair elections and said she was “concerned” about the country’s lack of accountability for repeated human rights violations. – Reuters 

Dan Restrepo writes: As Europe deals with a new mass migration and the Americas continue to seek better ways to mitigate, manage and order record migration, it will be critical to learn from one another. President Duque’s visit to Washington should help shine an important light on some best practices in providing protection to vulnerable migrants and to the communities receiving them — and, crucially, on the need to intensify efforts. – The Hill 

United States

Editorial: Mr. Putin’s invasion means the end of post-Cold War illusions, and it heralds an age of new threats to our allies and the homeland. Americans don’t want to learn through defeat that, as retired Lt. Gen David Deptula has warned, “the only thing more expensive than a first-rate military is a second-rate one.” – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: Clearly Mr. Obama underestimated the Ukrainian people and its leaders, who have shown they are willing and able to defend themselves if they have the weapons. Mr. Obama also failed to understand, throughout his Presidency, that the “nature of power in foreign affairs” still includes military might. Mr. Putin clearly thinks so. Mr. Obama did enormous harm to American power and interests in eight years, and the price is still being paid. – Wall Street Journal 

Glenn Hubbard writes: The U.S. and its NATO allies will face a challenging set of economic trade-offs and political realities in achieving higher defense spending. The challenge will be exacerbated by additional private investment needs in a more dangerous world of investment risks, skepticism about globalization, and cybersecurity threats. In the U.S., the failure of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles Commission’s proposed spending and tax reforms to spark a serious discussion is a warning sign. – Wall Street Journal 

Newt Gingrich, K.T. McFarland, Steve Forbes, and Stephen Moore write: If the right public policy choices are made at the federal, state and local levels, U.S. energy independence can be reestablished in short order. This will require that we and other nations jettison many of the current domestic regulatory and political obstacles that impede our ability to produce and provide critical energy supplies in timely, cost-effective and safe manners. Ultimately, this approach – call it Operation Energy Independence – if embraced will lower energy costs and drive down inflation for all Americans while advancing greater peace and prosperity throughout the world. – Fox News 


Belarus conducted widespread phishing attacks against members of the Polish military as well as Ukrainian officials, security researchers said Monday, providing more evidence that its role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has gone beyond serving as a staging area for Russian troops. – Washington Post 

While a growing number of U.S. companies are breaking business ties with Russia, three major cybersecurity companies are volunteering to protect U.S. utilities and hospitals free amid concerns about retaliatory hacks. – Washington Post 

In mid-February, hackers gained access to computers belonging to current and former employees at nearly two dozen major natural gas suppliers and exporters, including Chevron Corp., Cheniere Energy Inc. and Kinder Morgan Inc., according to research shared exclusively with Bloomberg News. – Bloomberg 

The U.S. is partnering up with fellow NATO member Spain to fight cyberattacks in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – The Hill 

Samsung has confirmed that a hacking group that stole data from microchip giant Nvidia last week has also infiltrated its systems and leaked confidential source code and algorithms of its various technologies. – New York Post 

The hacker group Anonymous hacked Russian streaming services on Sunday, hitting Wink and Ivi, as well as live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One and Moscow 24 to broadcast footage of the war with Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post 

A Twitter account known as ContiLeaks debuted to much fanfare in late February, with people around the globe watching as tens of thousands of leaked chats between members of the Russia-based ransomware gang Conti hit the web. – CyberScoop 

Cloudflare, a major web infrastructure firm that keeps websites online by protecting them from distributed denial-of-service  attacks, said Monday that it will continue to provide some services within Russia despite several calls to pull out, stating that “Russia needs more Internet access, not less.” – CyberScoop 


From his perch as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington, has long lamented what he sees as a Pentagon budget bloated by inefficient spending. When hawkish lawmakers led a successful charge last year to pour nearly $24 billion more into the military’s coffers, he opposed the move. – New York Times 

Thousands of American volunteers willing to defend Ukraine against Russia’s invasion have signed up to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense, according to Military Times. – Newsweek 

The White House and Pentagon on Monday downplayed the likelihood of a three-way deal for Poland to give MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine and for the U.S. to backfill the Polish fleet with American F-16 fighters. – Defense News 

The Marine Corps’ plan to resume waterborne operations with Navy ships takes a big step when assault combat vehicle crews and infantry Marines team up for the next stage of return-to-water training. – USNI News 

Thomas Spoehr writes: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for his citizens to come to their country’s defense, and they have. He and they understand what it means to stand in Putin’s path. It is past time for Americans to acquire a similar seriousness about their security. […]It is past time for Americans to acquire a similar seriousness about their security. – Newsweek 

Long War

The Biden administration on Monday repatriated to Saudi Arabia for mental health care a prisoner who had been tortured so badly by U.S. interrogators that he was ruled ineligible for trial as the suspected would-be 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks. – New York Times 

The U.S. Department of State said on Monday it was designating an al Qaeda-affiliated group which operates primarily in the Idlib, Syria as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.” – Reuters 

Louis Dugit-Gros writes: Alongside revived efforts to implement the 2015 peace agreement, Algiers could be an ally in preserving the role of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which might be threatened by the junta and Wagner. The mission is officially in charge of monitoring implementation of the Algiers agreement; it has a human rights monitoring mandate as well, which may give it latitude to help monitor Wagner’s activities. Preserving a functioning MINUSMA is also important to limit the negative consequences on Algeria and the wider Maghreb. – Washington Institute