Fdd's overnight brief

March 8, 2023

In The News


Iran arrested several people it said were linked to a wave of school poisonings and accused some of connections to “foreign-based dissident media” and recent riots, according to an Interior Ministry statement shared by state media on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel and the United States agreed to tighten their security coordination against Iran after a group of top officials from both countries met in Washington on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Reshet Bet reported that King Abdullah II of Jordan asked the Americans for assistance in dealing with Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq. – Arutz Sheva

Neville Teller writes: Kashani’s imprisonment can only have soured even further the atmosphere around the latest US-Iranian negotiations, but the truth, according to VOA sources, is that Iranian officials are not greatly concerned with securing the freedom of these detainees. Their prime objective is to reacquire their desperately needed resources to help relieve Iran’s dire economic situation. – Jerusalem Post

Henry Rome writes: Over the longer term, however, the trajectory of Iran’s economy is worrisome, as growth lags, investment dries up, and inflation continues to erode the standard of living. Such trends will create ample triggers for renewed protests in the future, so Western capitals should refine their suite of responses in preparation. – Washington Institute

Amin Soltani, Annika Ganzeveld, Johanna Moore, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Nicholas Carl, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Having waited this long to start securing possible targets the regime appears to be leaning into securitizing schools just in time for a holiday period that might otherwise have challenged it. The securitization also coincides with an expansion of poisoning-related protests. These connections are too tenuous to prompt CTP to conclude that the regime conducted the attacks for this purpose or any other. CTP continues to withhold judgment on who was responsible. We assess with moderate confidence, however, that the regime will use the poisonings to justify the securitization of the country in the coming days and weeks. – Institute for the Study of War

Eric Lob and Edward Riehle write: It is supported by the full weight of the state and influenced by key defense-sector organizations, such as the IRGC Aerospace Force Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad. Considering the challenges of containing this program, regional actors like Saudi Arabia could contemplate following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates and holding maritime security talks with Iran, as a potential first step to a more comprehensive regional security framework. – Middle East Institute

Russia & Ukraine

Video footage that emerged this week of the shooting of an unarmed Ukrainian soldier, apparently being held prisoner by Russian troops, has stirred uproar in Ukraine and been seized on by Ukrainian officials as evidence that Russian forces are continuing to perpetrate war crimes a year into the invasion. – Wall Street Journal

Intelligence and diplomatic officials in the United States and Europe suspect that pro-Ukraine saboteurs may be responsible for explosions in September that severely damaged the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, an attack that could erode support for Ukraine among the Western nations that have come to its defense against Russia. – Washington Post

While the Kremlin seemed happy to see dissident artists, activists and journalists flee the country, the exodus of IT workers has become a major headache for top managers and officials as they struggle to fill key positions, keep the economy afloat, and prevent security breaches at companies that keep the country functioning despite the bite of Western sanctions. – Washington Post

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has been forced to use more of its professional recruits in Bakhmut to replace its depleted supply of enlisted prisoners, who are perishing by the thousands in the longest battle of the war, a Ukrainian official said on Tuesday. – New York Times

Ukrainian authorities say the condition of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine has deteriorated significantly in the year since Russian forces occupied it, and Moscow’s aim may be to make it unusable by the time it is eventually returned to Ukraine. – New York Times

So desperate is Ukraine for ammunition, it is firing considerably fewer artillery shells than it otherwise would, its defense minister says. […]Hoping to address these problems, the European Union’s defense ministers will gather on Wednesday in Stockholm to consider proposals to use the E.U. budget to order and purchase up to one million shells for Ukraine at an estimated cost of four billion euros. – New York Times

A concert cellist linked to Vladimir Putin moved millions through Swiss bank accounts without any proper checks, prosecutors will allege on Wednesday, in a case that highlights the murky financial dealings of Russia’s ruling elite. – Reuters

At a memorial service on Tuesday for four Ukrainians killed last year while carrying out a raid on Russian territory, ordinary soldiers rubbed shoulders with volunteer fighters of the Brotherhood Battalion to which those killed belonged. – Reuters

Ukraine has brought 307 children out of Russia-occupied territories, the country’s human rights ombudsman said on Monday, including an 8-year-old boy who was recently reunited with his grandmother. – Reuters

Moldova has the Fort Knox of red wine. At Mileștii Mici, the world’s largest wine cellar, 120 miles of passages connect limestone galleries where 2 million bottles age in silence. Yet, with war raging above ground, Ukrainian and Russian military commanders are more interested in Moldova’s role as home to the largest Soviet-era ammunition stocks in Europe — about 20,000 tons. – New York Sun

Former President Donald Trump and his strongest supporters used the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week to rail against U.S. aid to Ukraine, spotlighting how the war is emerging as a wedge issue in the upcoming Republican primary election. – The Hill

David A. Super writes: If the West continues its indecisiveness, however, Xi may try to prop up Putin’s crumbling war machine in exchange for Russia becoming a Chinese client state. That would extend the war, and its collateral damage, considerably, as well as compromising our long-term strategic interests. – The Hill

Joseph Bosco writes: U.S. commitments to both Ukraine and Taiwan are in the finest national security tradition of the Republican Party. It will help the cause of freedom and democracy in both places if Republicans and Democrats stay united, as they largely have been to the present. Communist China and revanchist Russia would like nothing more than to see American unity splinter, even as they become united in their aggressive goals. – The Hill

Leonid Bershidsky writes: What Saddam could achieve is not impossible for Putin, either — the US military marching into Moscow as it did into Baghdad is an image as unlikely as it may be desirable for many Ukrainians. And sadly, if the Iraq-Iran precedent is any indication, there is no imperative for a quick peace, either. – Bloomberg

David H. Rundell writes: The reality is that many ethnic Russians and Russian speakers living in the country do not identify with Ukrainian nationalism and never have. Now viewed as enemies, their political parties, media outlets and churches have been closed. Whether this is a genuine matter of national security or simply an effort to eliminate opposition to the current Ukrainian nationalist government is a matter of opinion, but these divisions existed long before the Russian invasion which has now made them worse. – Newsweek

Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, George Barros, and Mason Clark write: ISW continues to assess, however, that Russian forces lack the capability to exploit the tactical capture of Bakhmut to generate operational effects, and will likely rapidly culminate following the capture of Bakhmut. As ISW has previously assessed, Russian forces would have to choose between two diverging lines of advance after capturing Bakhmut. Russian forces could attempt to push west along the T0504 highway towards Kostiatynivka (about 20km from Bakhmut) or could push northwest along the E40 highway towards the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk area in northwestern Donetsk Oblast (about 40km northwest of Bakhmut). – Institute for the Study of War

Kseniya Kirillova writes: This could be dismissed as the fantasy of one single author, but at the same time, the more mainstream Nezavisimaya Gazeta suggested that “the leaders of Transnistria are afraid of explosions in ammunition depots.” It did not acknowledge that the first victims of such a blast would be the people of its puppet republic. As with Putin’s nuclear threats, Russian blackmail requires enemies to believe it is indifferent to the consequences of its actions. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Timothy Ash writes: At a recent financial conference, a participant made the observation that Putin never plays by the rules, but the West always does. We need to start getting creative to ensure Ukrainian’s victory and our own rule of law. This is perfectly possible. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Six Palestinian men were killed Tuesday in the West Bank city of Jenin during an Israeli military raid pursuing a Hamas operative suspected of fatally shooting two Israeli brothers last week, Israeli and Palestinian authorities said. – Wall Street Journal

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip fell within the territory’s borders, triggering rocket sirens in the southern Israeli kibbutz Nir Am early on Wednesday morning, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. – Jerusalem Post

Dual American-Israeli citizens called for the US government to oppose Israel’s judicial reform in a demonstration in front of the US embassy branch in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning. – Jerusalem Post

The Biden administration backed Israel’s right to conduct West Bank military operations after an IDF raid in Jenin killed six Palestinians, including a Hamas gunman believed to have fatally shot two Israeli brothers in Huwara last week. – Jerusalem Post

Nitsan Joy Gordon writes: Through 28 years of work, I have seen that despite the media narratives, most Israelis and Palestinians are longing to find a way to end the pain and live together. Given the opportunity to meet, connect and listen to one another, there is such willingness and courage in the hearts of so many people to heal this rift. […]The tools exist. What are we waiting for? – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Today Israel has a choice. Thanks to the Abraham Accords and the development of gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean, it need not rely on an increasingly erratic Azerbaijan, which functions as Aliyev’s personal fiefdom and is bent on bloody conquest. Jerusalem need not cut its ties, but there is nothing that Baku provides that Abu Dhabi cannot. The difference is that an embrace of Abu Dhabi will not create diplomatic and strategic precedents that will eventually undermine Israel’s security needs and the protection of Jewish cultural heritage. – 19FortyFive

Muhammad Shehada writes: Even more important is targeting the underlying root causes of the recent surge of Palestinian armed groups: the loss of hope and absence of political representation; the U.S. abandonment of the conflict; the impoverishment and weakening of the Palestinian economy; the deadly IDF raids conducted with disproportionate and excessive force; the home demolitions and settler violence; and the dysfunctionality and division of the Palestinian political system. – Newsweek


The “one-sided” divorces under the previous government were largely granted to women trying to escape abusive or drug-addicted husbands, according to the former judges and lawyers. Since that government’s collapse in 2021, power has shifted in favor of the divorced husbands, especially those with Taliban ties. – Washington Post

Russia and six nations bordering Afghanistan have set up a club to discuss ways to achieve long-term peace in the war-torn nation, with diplomats at the inaugural meeting on Tuesday calling for a freeze on Afghan central bank assets to be lifted. – Reuters

Female employment in Afghanistan has dropped by a quarter after the Taliban took over the country, according to estimates from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which said the fall was exacerbated by restrictions on women working and studying. – Reuters

In a small village circled by velvety white snow-topped mountains in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province, Aziza Rahimi mourns the baby son she lost last year after a harrowing birth with no medical care. – Reuters

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the country has become the most repressive in the world for women and girls, deprived of many of their basic rights, the United Nations said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Special envoys for Afghanistan from several Western governments and the European Union said in a joint statement on March 7 that they had “grave concerns” about the deterioration of the humanitarian and economic situation in the Taliban-led country. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Nearly two years after US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, Mexico is seeing a small but unusual spike in Afghan migrants who are seeking asylum or traversing through the country. – CNN

Afghan universities have begun reopening after a winter break, but the new term is another painful reminder to young women of how their world is shrinking. – BBC

Scott Mann writes: There is deep responsibility on both sides of the Congressional aisle to set politics aside and act responsibly for accountability and change. Testimony by a few veterans won’t be enough. If you care about this issue, please contact the members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and demand action. If Congress doesn’t step up in this hearing, this war will follow us home and haunt our society for decades. Congress, your veterans are watching. Do what’s right. – Fox News


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Tuesday said increased engagement with Syria might pave the way for its return to the Arab League as ties thaw after more than a decade of isolation, but it was currently too early to discuss such a step. – Reuters

The UN’s acknowledged “failure” in northern Syria after last month’s devastating earthquake has highlighted its tangled relations with the Damascus regime, which has included hiring a daughter of Syria’s sanctioned spy chief to work in the office of an aid agency. – Financial Times

An explosion in eastern Syria on Wednesday killed at least three people, according to reports. A war monitoring group said the blast was likely caused by a drone strike that targeted Iran-backed militiamen. – Associated Press

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This is why the visits are important; Austin is showing that the US’ commitment remains strong – Milley’s visit to Syria symbolizes the same. What remains to be seen now is if the US will follow through with actions. It also remains to be seen if Iran will continue threats to US forces in Iraq and Syria. – Jerusalem Post


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan could have relied on strong voter backing from Cigdemtepe and other villages and towns across southeast Turkey in the past, but a huge earthquake and a slow rescue response has made once loyal support more uncertain. – Reuters

Damage caused by a devastating earthquake in Turkey will exceed $100 billion, a U.N. Development Programme official told a press briefing on Tuesday ahead of a major donor conference next week. – Reuters

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s newly anointed rival in May elections pledged Tuesday to “end this madness” and turn Turkey into a peaceful nation in which its various communities get along. – Agence France-Presse

Turkey has tried to strong-arm the US after US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley made a recent trip to eastern Syria. – Jerusalem Post


Iranian missile attacks across the Iraqi border are unacceptable and put both civilians and regional stability at risk, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on a visit to the Iraqi capital nearly 20 years after the U.S.-led invasion. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: It is bad when administrations do not speak with one voice. It is worse when freelancing undermines U.S. interests. The Biden administration needs to get its team under control. Iraqi Kurds, meanwhile, should be very careful as they move forward. Taking the advice of freelancing officials could lead them to a far broader fight with Congress and, down the road, perhaps even sanctions. – Washington Examiner

Janan Ganesh writes: For Iraq itself, the consequences of the war haven’t stopped playing out. For the wider region, the secondary effects include the rise of Isis and a stronger hand for Iran. In the countries that nominally started it, though, the war has left a fainter mark — politically, culturally — than was conceivable at the time. It is an event that now seems at once profound and ethereal. As a reminder that it happened at all, we have these neat, round-number anniversaries, and the graves. – Financial Times


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a “serious investigation” into the disastrous 2020 Beirut port explosion in a call that was echoed by dozens of other countries on Tuesday. – Reuters

Lebanon has regained U.N. voting rights after paying dues for 2022 and 2023, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, after the country, which is in deep financial crisis, lost its rights at the world body for the second time in three years. – Reuters

Hanin Ghaddar writes: Iran and Hezbollah could recover from these challenges, but these four countries will not. To make sure Iran and its proxies are further contained and challenged, and to help the four countries they occupy recover and rebuild their state institutions, the West should do what Iran usually does. The US has the resources and diplomatic strength to fill the gap that Iran left with soft power initiatives, more frequent sanctions against corrupt figures and allies, mechanisms for accountability, and investment in a more sustainable and consistent policy. – Hoover Institution

Arabian Peninsula

U.S. President Joe Biden thanked the sultan of Oman on Tuesday for the country’s support of a UN-mediated truce in Yemen and for its decision to open its airspace to all civilian aircraft, including those flying to and from Israel, the White House said in a statement. – Reuters

Qatar’s ruler appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as prime minister, calling on an experienced diplomat who has helped the gas-rich Gulf state assert its political influence abroad.  – Bloomberg

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi has urged Israeli officials to work towards de-escalating tensions with the Palestinians, especially during the holy month of Ramadan which begins on March 22. – Jerusalem Post

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have not previously been seen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including what appeared to be a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2, were seen in coverage of an exercise the Emirati and Malaysian armed forces held at the end of February. – Janes

Middle East & North Africa

The World Bank said it was temporarily pausing some discussions with Tunisia after an outbreak of violence against Black migrants that African countries say was stoked by President Kais Saied. Tunisian bonds led losses in emerging markets. – Bloomberg

Tunisia’s government is seeking to allay growing international concerns about a surge of discrimination against sub-Saharan Africans, as the EU warned Monday against hate speech targeting people fleeing conflict and poverty. – Associated Press

Three journalists from Egypt’s last remaining independent news outlet have gone on trial in Cairo on charges of misusing social media and offending members of parliament. – The Guardian

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemned the IDF’s activity in Jenin and said it was “a flagrant violation of international law that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the security situation in the Palestinian territories.” – Arutz Sheva

Korean Peninsula

South Korean lawmakers, citing intelligence officials, said on Tuesday that North Korea could hold large-scale military drills and test its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in March or April. – Reuters

South Korea’s government approved export licenses for Poland last year to provide Ukraine with Krab howitzers, which are built with South Korean components, a defence acquisition official in Seoul told Reuters on Wednesday. – Reuters

North Korea said any move to shoot down one of its test missiles would be considered a declaration of war and blamed a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea for growing tensions, state media KCNA said on Tuesday. – Reuters

South Korea’s trade minister will meet with counterparts in Washington this week to express concerns that the U.S. Chips Act could make the U.S. a less attractive investment destination, its trade ministry said. – Reuters

President Biden will host South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol next month for an official state visit in a more formal show of support for a key U.S. ally in Asia as the White House seeks to counter China and deal with North Korea’s missile tests. – The Hill

Last summer, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) held a three-move space war game that focused on North Korea’s potential use of nuclear weapons in low-earth orbit or near-space to knock out low-Earth orbit satellites. Initially, the game’s participants found this possibility a bit fantastic. Mid-way through the game, though, they warmed to the idea. Some even suggested that China might exercise the option. – The National Interest


China is preparing sweeping changes to its vast government bureaucracy, as leader Xi Jinping further strengthens Communist Party control and seeks to boost his country’s technological and financial prowess at a time of heightened competition with the West. – Wall Street Journal

China needs the capability to shoot down low-earth-orbit Starlink satellites and defend tanks and helicopters against shoulder-fired Javelin missiles, according to Chinese military researchers who are studying Russia’s struggles in Ukraine in planning for possible conflict with U.S.-led forces in Asia. – Reuters

The U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk on Tuesday criticised governments, including China and Russia, for restrictions on civil society in a speech that also took some Western states to task for their records on poverty and police violence. – Reuters

China fully respects Middle East countries as masters of their own affairs and has no intention to fill a so called “vacuum”, China’s foreign minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Biden administration’s decision to declassify and publicize intelligence indicating Beijing is contemplating providing lethal aid to Russia for the war in Ukraine could ultimately prevent them from doing so, according to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. – Washington Examiner

The top public school in the United States received hundreds of thousands of dollars from groups tied to China’s military. – Washington Examiner

China has long been seen by the U.S. as a prolific source of anti-American propaganda but less aggressive in its influence operations than Russia, which has used cyberattacks and covert operations to disrupt U.S. elections and denigrate rivals. But many in Washington now think China is increasingly adopting tactics associated with Russia — and there’s growing concern the U.S. isn’t doing enough to respond. – Associated Press

China’s military on Tuesday unveiled a general as the new effective counterpart of Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. – Bloomberg

China granted a key ministry new powers and created a bureau to oversee increasingly valuable data, shaking up oversight of its vast technology arena as Xi Jinping’s administration battles the US in areas from AI to semiconductors. – Bloomberg

President Xi Jinping overhauled China’s bureaucracy as part of a sweeping push to make the economy more self-sufficient and resilient in the face of US efforts to prevent Beijing from obtaining advanced technology. – Bloomberg

Chen Guangcheng writes: The regime is like a wild animal caught in a trap, driven by desperation to gnaw off its own foot. Imagine if people like Gao Zhisheng—the shining stars of a nation with unwavering devotion to ethics and justice—were allowed to flourish. China could be a country to which others look for inspiration rather than with suspicion. Mr. Gao deserves his freedom and his life. But as long as the free world allows this brutal regime to act with impunity, the list of the disappeared will grow. – Wall Street Journal

Benny Avni writes: Mr. Xi no longer hides his goal of replacing America as world leader, aiming to instill China’s communist system as a global governance model. Emerging from two years of strict closures under his “zero-Covid” policy, the communist leader hopes to lead an economic rebound, even as he sticks by a vow to “reunite” with Taiwan, if needed by military force. – New York Sun

Tom Rogan writes: Congressional bipartisanship on China is a good thing for the same reason it’s occurring in the first place. It underlines the increasingly stark nature of Beijing’s threat and America’s interest in confronting it. Portraying bipartisan cooperation against China as the product of short-sighted populism is too simplistic. – Washington Examiner

South Asia

U.S.-led international sanctions on Russia have begun to erode the dollar’s decades-old dominance of international oil trade as most deals with India – Russia’s top outlet for seaborne crude – have been settled in other currencies. – Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be using his first visit to India this week to deepen business and defense ties with Asia’s third-largest economy in the face of rising strategic competition from China. – Bloomberg

Former Pakistan premier Imran Khan’s arrest warrant has been suspended and asked to attend a court hearing on March 13 where he stands accused of failing to disclose money earned from selling state gifts he received when he was in power. – Bloomberg

A majority of Pakistanis blame a coalition government for the soaring inflation in a country that’s struggling to shore up finances and avoid a default while support for former premier Imran Khan soared ahead of elections. – Bloomberg


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen when she visits the U.S., the California Republican told reporters on Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal

For decades, residents of the tiny island of Dongyin, roughly 30 miles off the coast of China, have lived at the edge of tensions between Taipei and Beijing. For the past month, they’ve had a taste of what could come in the event of a conflict between the two sides. – Wall Street Journal

The United Nations called on Tuesday for $876 million in funding for Rohingya Muslims in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh as the crisis entered its sixth year. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is hoping to hold a summit meeting with South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk Yeol next week, the head of Japan’s ruling coalition party Komeito said on Tuesday. – Reuters

For connecting to the outside world, Matsu’s 14,000 residents rely on two submarine internet cables leading to Taiwan’s main island. The first cable was severed by a Chinese fishing vessel some 50 kilometers (31 miles) out at sea. Six days later, on Feb. 8, a Chinese cargo ship cut the second, according to Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest service provider and owner of the cables. – Associated Press 

Soldiers in Myanmar rampaged through several villages, raping, beheading and killing at least 17 people, residents said, in the latest of what critics of the ruling military say are a series of war crimes since the army seized power two years ago. – Associated Press

Georgian police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters Tuesday as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the capital Tbilisi to oppose a controversial “foreign agents” bill. – Agence France-Presse

US President Joe Biden is set to announce the details of a nuclear submarine deal with the leaders of Australia and the United Kingdom in California on Monday, people familiar with the matter said. – Bloomberg

Rebecca Tan writes: Six years after the Myanmar military conducted a genocidal campaign against its Rohingya Muslim minority, a wave of violence is sweeping through the camps in southeast Bangladesh where nearly a million Rohingya have sought refuge. Rohingya militant groups that once targeted the Myanmar military have turned against each other, their disagreements escalating into brutality amid the camp’s isolation and desperation. – Washington Post  

Daniel F. Runde writes: The U.S. could help, but is likely not going to step forward to lead unless Haiti falls apart even further. A multilateral security response would push back against these efforts by demonstrating the soft and hard power appeal of Taiwanese global leadership in contrast to Chinese aggression. – The Hill

Salem Al Ketbi writes: This is not about defending China’s position on Taiwan or accusing the US of pushing the situation toward war. It is about global security and stability. Everyone has seen how most of the world’s economies have suffered from the war in Ukraine and how this war has put the West itself on the spot before any other international party. So how can we imagine the outbreak of a new conflict in Taiwan and what can happen to the world if two major wars are fought at the same time? – Jerusalem Post


The Vatican has signed an agreement to return to Greece three sculpture fragments from the Parthenon that have been part of the Vatican Museums’ permanent collection for 200 years, a move that could put pressure on the U.K. and other countries to return works of art to Athens. – Wall Street Journal

Belarus detained on Tuesday what it said was a “terrorist” and more than 20 accomplices working with Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence services over attempted sabotage at a Belarusian air field, President Alexander Lukashenko was cited as saying. – Reuters

Lawyers for Abraaj Group’s Arif Naqvi, the founder of what was once the Middle East’s largest private equity fund, said there was “fresh evidence” that could overturn the UK’s decision to extradite him to the US to face fraud and racketeering charges. – Bloomberg

Poland is ready to set up a hub to service Leopard battle tanks that are being sent to Ukraine, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Tuesday. – Bloomberg

Hungary’s government and most of parliament are united in support for Sweden’s NATO membership bid after months of foot-dragging from Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling party, a senior lawmaker said. – Bloomberg

A parliamentary delegation from Hungary said Tuesday that it supports Sweden’s NATO membership bid after meeting the speaker of the Swedish parliament to iron out what Hungary’s governing party has called “political disputes.” – Associated Press 

Brussels plans to require EU governments to set electricity reduction targets and provide guarantees for long-term business contracts, as part of reforms to the bloc’s power market after the energy crisis. – Financial Times

Martin Wolf writes: Internal reforms must depend in substantial part on what role the EU wishes to play in this new world. The more active and independent it wishes to be, the more crucial it will be to deepen its federalism. Such a deepening would be risky, no doubt, since it will awaken nationalist reactions. It may also be impossible to agree. But a degree of deepening may be inescapable, given the need for a more robust security posture and the fragility visible in divergence across the eurozone. – Financial Times

Elisabeth Braw writes: Estonia thus illustrates the multiethnic composition of many Western societies today—and to successfully develop a national will to defend, such countries must be able to marshal the potential of all their different groups. That makes a country’s effort to create defense resolve a matter of interest not just for the country itself but for other Western countries too. In Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022, the flesh turned out to be as strong as the spirit. Estonia must now achieve the same goal—before an attack. – Foreign Policy

Michael Peck writes: These are incredibly expensive and difficult projects, where national aims often clash. But Europe has the tech and the money if it can find the willpower. As the BAE chief executive noted when asked if the two big European combat aircraft projects might join together, he said: “I wouldn’t rule out one thing or another. At the end of the day, these are political decisions.” That’s exactly right. To be an arsenal of democracy, Europe must of course have the tools. But it must also accept the need for cooperation, otherwise, the price tag will be too high. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Brent Sadler, James Di Pane, Nicole Robinson, and Janae Diaz write: Supporting maritime security capacities in the wider eastern Mediterranean region can best position the United States to navigate the myriad and often conflicting national interests of its partners in the region. In this strategic environment, a maritime approach can bring lightly aligned nations together for a common cause. – Heritage Foundation


President Joe Biden’s State Department is spending tens of thousands of dollars in order to fight “disinformation” and “misinformation” in Uganda, documents show. – Washington Examiner

The M23 rebel group clashed with Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers, defying a ceasefire that was meant to go into effect Tuesday, according to the United Nations. – Bloomberg

Increasing numbers of wealthy Russians are booking game viewing and hunting safaris in Zimbabwe as sanctions stemming from President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine limit their travel options. – Bloomberg

A powerful paramilitary commander slammed Sudan’s ruling generals Tuesday, saying they oppose stepping down to allow for a democratic transition under a civilian administration. – Associated Press

Latin America

Brazil’s federal police said on Tuesday they were carrying out new raids as part of a probe into the Jan. 8 riots in Brasilia, in which supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings. – Reuters

The human rights ombudsmen of Colombia and Ecuador on Tuesday launched a joint alert system to prevent abuses by illegal armed groups from affecting Awa Indigenous communities that live along the countries’ shared border. – Reuters

Resurgent inflation is devouring the income of Venezuelans – even the relatively privileged ones like Mendoza who have access to U.S. dollars. That is leaving them hungry and struggling to buy food and medicine, they told Reuters. – Reuters

Venezuelan opposition party Popular Will said on Tuesday that Juan Guaido, once the most visible global face of the country’s opposition, will be its candidate in an October presidential primary. – Reuters

Move over, Nobel laureates, striped-pant diplomats, and beauty pageant contestants: President Lula da Silva of Brazil, a Russia-friendly leader attempting to turn himself into a figure on the world stage, wants to end the Russia-Ukraine war. – New York Sun

Dressed in camouflage, Zulma Stefania Perez reflected on her first weeks of training at a military base in the capital — and on her life as one of Colombia’s first female recruits in more than two decades. – Associated Press

As the nation reflects on Chávez’s death a decade ago this month, Venezuelans now recognize that, whether by choice or circumstance, Maduro’s approach to running the oil-rich South American country is unlike his mentor’s, even as he repeatedly professes his reverence for Chávez. – Associated Press

North America

Two Americans were found dead and two were rescued Tuesday in the Mexican city of Matamoros after their planned trip across the border for cosmetic surgery turned deadly following an ambush and kidnapping by armed gunmen. – Wall Street Journal

Canada on Tuesday said it would deploy medical technicians and assistants from the Canadian Armed Forces to Poland to train members of the Ukrainian military in Ottawa’s latest assistance to Kyiv to combat the Russian invasion. – Reuters

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is cautioning U.S. President Joe Biden from intervening in matters of domestic affairs amid the latest developments in last week’s kidnapping of four Americans. – Newsweek

Editorial: The United States cannot ignore the weakening of democracy in Mexico. The interests of the two nations are tightly intertwined, with huge border flows of goods and people. […]Moreover, Mr. López Obrador’s move marks another step backward for democracy around the world. As Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) quite correctly warned in a statement, “Returning Mexico to its dark past of presidentially controlled elections not only sets the clock back on its democracy, but also U.S.-Mexico relations.” – Washington Post

United States

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) defended his decision to release footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, splitting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who blasted the move after the conservative media personality downplayed the severity of the siege. – Washington Examiner

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made an offer to go on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show amid their row over the Jan. 6 security footage. – Washington Examiner

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called Tucker Carlson’s segment on Jan. 6 “a mistake for Fox News,” a sharp contrast from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who supplied Carlson with the exclusive footage from the day of the attack that aired on Monday night. – Washington Examiner

The White House unleashed on Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson for contending security footage from the Capitol, provided to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), undermined claims about the Jan. 6 attack. – Washington Examiner

Elon Musk accused Jan. 6 House committee members of “misleading the public” following the release of new Jan. 6 footage. – Washington Examiner

Three days after federal agents searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida home for classified documents, FBI Director Christopher Wray emailed his workforce urging them to tune out criticism from those who “don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see.” – Associated Press 

Christopher Tremoglie writes: Were they upset the video was released because it distorts and manipulates the truth? Or were they upset because it revealed the committee’s dishonesty and a partisan-driven political agenda? That is just one of the many questions everyone should be asking. If it was the first, then they are justified in their reactions. If it was the latter, then Democrats have a lot of explaining to do. – Washington Examiner


A bipartisan group of senators is introducing a bill on Tuesday to address threats posed by technology based in adversary countries, including the popular TikTok video-sharing app. – Wall Street Journal

The Federal Trade Commission has demanded Twitter Inc. turn over internal communications related to owner Elon Musk, as well as detailed information about layoffs—citing concerns that staff reductions could compromise the company’s ability to protect users, documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal show. – Wall Street Journal

One of Australia’s top government bureaucrats on Wednesday demanded Russia crack down on the large number of cyber criminals operating in the country, saying their actions posed a threat to national security. – Reuters

President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrew her name Tuesday after two years of partisan gridlock delayed her confirmation, the White House confirmed. – The Hill

U.S. Cyber Command Director Gen. Paul Nakasone on Tuesday said that election interference from nation-state threat actors is still an ongoing issue that the U.S. must continue to address. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Nakasone said that election meddling is essentially here to stay, especially as U.S. adversaries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea continue to enhance their cyber capabilities. – The Hill

Germany will likely prohibit some components in the country’s fifth-generation wireless network manufactured by Huawei Technologies Co. once an assessment of potential security risks is completed, according to a person familiar with the plan. – Bloomberg

Companies may feel the sting of new expenses under the White House’s new cybersecurity strategy. But many tech executives agree the new requirements are necessary to reduce the pain of cyber attack. – Defense One

Katherine D. Ledesma writes: Acting National Cyber Director, Kemba Walden remarked at the strategy’s unveiling that the “strategy is only as good as its implementation,” and this document is not in itself the implementation. Rather it is a thesis statement for the coming years. It is detailed, but not prescriptive, with room to innovate and adopt principles and approaches that will only emerge as possibilities as we begin to execute on the current blueprint. Now comes the need for unified, coordinated, whole-of-community action to bring it to life. – The Hill

Minxin Pei writes: As with the Soviet Union, one of the biggest challenges the US faces in its competition with China is striking a balance between protecting its legitimate security interests and upholding key values such as free speech and due process. Starting with TikTok, the US should show the rest of the world that political expediency will not trump cherished American values. – Bloomberg


A progressive veterans group has commissioned a new ad calling for Fox News to be banned on military bases, citing recent revelations made as part of a legal fight the network faces over its coverage of the 2020 election. – The Hill

The spending plan President Joe Biden will propose Thursday includes what officials say is one of the nation’s largest peacetime defense budgets, with $170 billion for weapons procurement and $145 billion for research and development, both recent records. – Bloomberg

The U.S. military is studying whether it’s possible to integrate advanced Western air-to-air missiles with Ukraine’s Soviet-era fighter jets, in the latest attempt to jury-rig old platforms with new capabilities ahead of what’s expected to be a bloody spring. – Politico

The Air Force wants to speed up the retirement of its remaining A-10 Warthogs to fund new weapons it says are better suited to counter China. – Defense One

Destroyer USS John Finn (DDG-113) is now part of the forward-deployed naval forces in Yokosuka, Japan, the Navy announced this week. – USNI News

After years of work to develop a futuristic stealth fighter and drones that can fly and fight alongside it, the Air Force has now reached an estimate for how many of each it initially wants to buy, according to the service’s top civilian. – Breaking Defense

Long War

The Southern Poverty Law Center defended one of its staff attorneys after he was charged with a felony count of domestic terrorism near Atlanta, Georgia, after a violent protest of the development of a police training center. – Washington Examiner

A federal jury is nearing deliberations to determine whether the convicted terrorist who carried out a fatal attack on a New York City bike path in 2017 will get the death penalty. – CNN

Several individuals who were arrested Sunday on domestic terrorism charges in connection with the “Cop City” attack in Georgia have ties to high-profile far-left movements and organizations. – Fox News