Fdd's overnight brief

May 10, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to justify his contentious war against Ukraine during a huge Victory Day parade on Monday, again falsely calling Ukrainians “Nazis” and insisting without evidence that Kyiv was planning to build nuclear weapons. – Washington Post 

Russians using smart TVs reported seeing something atypical: A message appeared instead of the usual listing of channels. “The blood of thousands of Ukrainians and hundreds of murdered children is on your hands,” read the message that took over their screens. “TV and the authorities are lying. No to war.” – Washington Post  

On Monday morning, as columns of armored vehicles and soldiers paraded through Moscow in celebration of Russia’s 1945 victory over Germany in World War II, one element of Russian military power was conspicuously missing: its warplanes. And though officials blamed their grounding on bad weather, Russian planes, pilots and air-to-ground weapons have all grossly underperformed in the war against Ukraine. – New York Times 

He made no claim of victory or “mission accomplished” and no promise that the fight in Ukraine could end soon. But as President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia spoke in Moscow’s Red Square on Monday, he also made no call for new sacrifice or mobilization, no threat of a nuclear strike, no stark pronouncement about an existential war with the West. – New York Times 

President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion has killed hundreds of Ukrainian children, orphaned many more and displaced millions, and wrecked homes and schools. But it has also crept into the lives of Russian-speaking children across Europe, who have found themselves paying for Mr. Putin’s aggression in humiliation, harassment and bullying — another perverse effect of a war that is overwhelmingly affecting the innocent. – New York Times 

When President Biden signed a modern-day Lend-Lease Act on Monday, 81 years after the original version helped lead the way into World War II, he effectively thrust the United States even deeper into another war in Europe that has increasingly become an epic struggle with Russia despite his efforts to define its limits. – New York Times  

Firefighters battled blazes in Odesa until early hours on Tuesday after Russian missiles pounded the Ukrainian port on the day President Vladimir Putin led celebrations in Moscow marking Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the creation of a working group on international payments whose tasks will include figuring out terms for transactions with “unfriendly” states. – Reuters 

Russia is not planning to proactively close its embassies in Europe in response to unfriendly measures by the West and expansion of sanctions against Moscow, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a deputy foreign minister. – Reuters 

Japan announced on Tuesday new sanctions on Russia to freeze the assets of more individuals and ban exports of cutting-edge goods to some Russian groups including scientific research institutions. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he is worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a way out of the Ukraine war, and Biden said he was trying to figure out what to do about that. – Reuters  

Lithuania’s top diplomat said Monday that removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from power is the only way to protect the West and its allies from future threats from Moscow, urging an even tougher stance than the U.S. and many NATO allies have been willing to pursue since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press  

Western sanctions on Russia were designed to isolate the country from the international financial system but the economic offensive has also left international traders who hold shares in Russian companies cut off from their assets. – Financial Times 

The US sought to tighten sanctions on Russia on Sunday by blacklisting a swath of financial executives and restricting the provision of professional services even as the EU struggled to finalise its latest package of penalties. – Financial Times 

Brussels has shelved its plans to ban the EU shipping industry from carrying Russian crude as it struggles to push through its latest sanctions package because of anxiety among some member states about the economic impact of the measures. – Financial Times 

EU capitals should consider seizing frozen Russian foreign exchange reserves to cover the costs of rebuilding Ukraine after the war, the bloc’s top diplomat has said, as the west debates how to force Moscow to pay for some of the damage the conflict has caused. – Financial Times 

Ukraine has upgraded its war aims and is now looking to push Russian forces out of the country as long as western allies rapidly deliver promised heavy weaponry, its foreign minister has said. – Financial Times 

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Monday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “mirroring fascism”, as the country held an annual Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square – Agence France-Presse 

European Council President Charles Michel said Russia would fail to “execute” Ukraine’s “freedom” on a surprise trip to Odessa Monday during which he was forced to take cover when missiles again truck the Black Sea city. – Agence France-Presse 

The UN Human Rights Council announced it will convene a special session on Thursday to address alleged worsening Russian violations in its war in Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

Russians are slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin for his bizarre speech at Russia’s Victory Day parade, the day Russia celebrates victory in World War II, as Russian forces continue their attacks in Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU). – The Daily Beast 

President Biden’s commitment to support Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia is suddenly colliding with his push to avoid a direct confrontation with Moscow. – The Hill 

On Russian social platform VK, the Christian Orthodox and fascist “Russian Imperial Movement” (RIM), designated by the U.S. as a global terror group, posted (April 27) a video address, titled “News from the Front Line” featuring prominent RIM member Denis Gariev, head of the “Imperial Legion.” In the video, Gariev said he was able to record the video because he had to visit the hospital to be treated for a minor wound from fighting in Ukraine. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Ukraine would not allow Russia to coopt the Allies’ victory in World War II, speaking on the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. – Times of Israel 

Gerald F. Seib writes: As the war in Ukraine enters a dangerous new phase, the damage Russian leader Vladimir Putin is doing isn’t limited to violating a sovereign nation, reducing the city of Mariupol to rubble or shelling civilian apartment complexes. He also is unleashing some dangerous nuclear genies from the bottles in which they had been contained for the past three decades. Those genies include the risk of nuclear war itself, the return of nuclear blackmail as a tool of statecraft and the emergence of new incentives for other nations to acquire nuclear arms. – Wall Street Journal 

Markos Kounalakis writes: It’s worth trying any nonviolent measure that could dissuade Mr. Putin from his imperialistic aims and save lives in Ukraine. Let’s get rid of the $100 bill. – Wall Street Journal  

Natan Sharansky writes: It is impossible to say whether Putin would be in power today if Soviet crimes had been tried, as Bukovsky urged. But the public atmosphere would undoubtedly be different. It is a platitude that, as George Santayana noted, those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Today’s Russia shows that those who do not confront the truths of the past are doomed to remain its victims and to victimize many others along the way. – Washington Post 

Gideon Rachman writes: But openly adopting a “weak Russia” policy also contains substantial risks. It increases the dangers of escalation — including nuclear escalation. And it also risks validating the Kremlin’s narrative that the war is driven by Nato’s animus against Russia, rather than Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. That, in turn, may weaken international support for US efforts to isolate Russia. – Financial Times 

Julian Korab-Karpowicz writes: It is because the greatest value of all is human lives and saving people from unnecessary suffering. Looking from this ethical perspective, it is a pity to watch the everyday loss of life in Ukraine, regardless of whether it is Ukrainian or Russian life. This is why the Russian-Ukrainian conflict must now end, especially since it can be deadly to all of us, if it escalates further. – Jerusalem Post

Dean Karayanis writes: Let’s hope the White House and Pentagon wake up soon, putting distance between Americans and Russian losses. Otherwise, we will squander the chance for diplomacy to maintain peace — and may face war by nuclear means. – New York Sun 

Nina Khrushcheva writes: The last time the Kremlin built such an all-controlling state, under Andropov’s leadership in the early 1980s, it unraveled when the security forces relaxed their grip and allowed reform. Putin knows that story well and is unlikely to risk the same outcome. […]With this bureaucracy holding tight to power, Moscow’s foreign adventurism might abate. But as long as the structure holds steady, Russia will remain oppressed, isolated, and unfree. – Foreign Affairs 

Olga Lautman writes: Russia has always excelled at conducting operations and attacks against the West, where it enjoys plausible deniability. Despite endless, splenetic propaganda and lies about imminent attacks by Ukraine and the West, Putin is showing caution when dealing with actual events. His Western opponents should have a careful think about the implications of this. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Kurt Volker writes: Yet either way, Ukraine and the world have permanently changed thanks to Putin’s war of aggression. Ukraine will not settle for continued Russian occupation of any parts of Eastern Ukraine and its fight to retake Russian-occupied territory will go on. […]And Russia will remain subject to international isolation and crippling sanctions as long as Putin remains in power and Russian forces remain in Ukraine. This is not the victory Putin was looking for, but it is the clear outcome, for which he alone is responsible. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov write: But putting Beseda back in his office doesn’t mean Putin trusts the FSB, or Beseda’s service in particular, on Ukraine, as the Alekseyev appointment makes clear. It is the gung-ho forces within Russia’s spy community that are now charged with plucking victory from the morass of their country’s worst military and intelligence failure since World War II. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Tom McTague writes: Today, Russia clearly feels and remembers its history. But because of what it has done, other countries are starting to remember theirs. For the current British government, whether out of self-interest or ideological conviction, the hope is that the West itself will start believing in an old story again. – The Atlantic 


Iran’s president said Monday the country is exporting twice as much oil as when he took office in August, despite heavy sanctions on oil exports imposed by the U.S. – Associated Press 

The U.S. will have a hard time stopping Middle Eastern nations from pursuing nuclear capabilities should Iran obtain a nuclear weapon, and it must work to repair relations with allies in the region to downplay concerns, experts told Fox News Digital. – Fox News 

Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian disaster medicine researcher arrested by Iran, will be executed without a possibility of exchange with an Iranian national tried in Sweden, Iran’s judiciary spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Venezuela has begun importing Iranian heavy crude to feed its domestic refineries, documents from the state-run oil company PDVSA showed, a deal that widens a swap agreement signed last year by the U.S. sanctioned countries. – Reuters 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Less Russia in Syria could actually backfire on Iran. In the near-term of course, Tehran can benefit because of the shadow of conflict and lack of knowledge about whether the Russians really did move forces out. But if they did or are moving them, then the evidence will come to light – and the Iranians will be seen at these new locations and will then be exposed. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In short, the same voices who believe Russia must not be defeated in Ukraine are the same ones that wanted Iran to be empowered – and some of the same voices that don’t want Ukraine to have all the funding it needs for self-defense are the ones who also opposed Israel-US cooperation. – Jerusalem Post 


The United States will take steps to increase pressure on Afghanistan’s Taliban government to reverse some of its recent decisions restricting the rights of women and girls if the hardline group shows no sign of rescinding the actions on its own. – Reuters 

It’s a reminder that the journey for many of the Afghans who came to the United States in the historic evacuation remains very much a work in progress, filled with uncertainty and anxiety about the future. – Associated Press 

Norway has slammed the latest Afghan Taliban edict demanding women cover up head to toe in public and warned that Afghanistan’s new rulers are “steering the country toward a humanitarian, economic and human rights catastrophe.” – Associated Press 

The head of the Red Cross on Monday said he discussed in Iran the plight of Afghan migrants who fled their country after the Taliban took power last year. – Agence France-Presse 


Israel’s embattled prime minister on Monday vowed to continue to lead the country as his shaky government limped into the opening of parliament’s summer session on the verge of collapse. – Associated Press 

Israeli police arrested on Monday a 65-year-old woman suspected of sending death threats with bullets to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s family last month. – Associated Press 

US President Joe Biden is considering a visit to East Jerusalem during an upcoming visit to Israel, an Israeli official told CNN Monday. – CNN 

Israel doesn’t need permission from the United States to build in West Bank settlements, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told reporters in the Knesset. – Jerusalem Post 

A group of Israelis was arrested by Egyptian authorities for waving the Israeli flag during a vacation in the Sinai peninsula, N12 reported on Monday evening. – Jerusalem Post 

The Prime Minister’s Office denied on Tuesday that Israel has agreed to a demand from Jordan that it be allowed to increase the staff of the Waqf, which is responsible for day-to-day administration of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. – Times of Israel 

The Israeli military arrested three suspects in northern Israel on Monday during an alleged attempt to smuggle weapons over the border from Lebanon. – Times of Israel 

Security forces raided the hometowns of recent Palestinian terrorists in the predawn hours of Monday and arrested several suspects wanted for involvement in a series of deadly attacks, the military said. – Times of Israel 

The terror wave that has engulfed Israel in recent weeks has sparked another round of nationwide debate on whether the de-facto ban on the death penalty should be lifted as a way to deter potential terrorists. – Ynet 

With the Knesset’s summer session opening on Monday afternoon, the opposition appears to be failing to muster a majority for their reported motion to dissolve the Knesset and ouster the coalition government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. – Ynet 

In security meetings late on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior officials discussed the terror wave gripping the country and estimated it would continue for the forceeable future. – Ynet 

The U.S. has “really one true ally” in the Middle East, Republican congressional candidate Wesley Hunt, a combat veteran who served three tours in the region said on Friday. “And it’s Israel.” – Jewish Insider 

On May 5, 2022, Israel’s Independence Day, two Palestinians carried out a deadly terrorist attack in the Israeli town of Elad, murdering three civilians with axe-blows to the head. Following the attack, hosts and reporters of Qatar’s Al-Jazeera channel, as well as other media and public figures in Qatar, tweeted in support of the attack and its perpetrators. They praised their use of axes and celebrated the fact that the attack took place on Israel’s Independence Day. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Stephen M. Flatow writes: I don’t know what it is about the prospect of more Jewish apartments that drives Biden or his advisers to engage in such irrational behavior. All I know is that such behavior has all the classic signs of an obsession – a very unhealthy obsession. – Jerusalem Post 

Jonathan Frenkel writes: In improving its presence on social media, there are tangible actions that the IDF could take — such as creating better content and creating it more often; working with experts in the social media space to help tell Israel’s story; and telling personal stories that use facts and individual citizens to  help correct the lies spread about Israel, such as that it practices “apartheid” or is a “white colonial enterprise.” – Algemeiner 

Mark Episkopos writes: The Russia-Israel anti-Semitism spat has ended as abruptly as it began. The reasons behind Moscow’s sudden change of heart, culminating in Putin’s call to Bennett, remain unclear. The Kremlin may very well have concluded that it cannot afford to alienate a neutral state that can potentially play a key role in future peace talks between Russia and Ukraine over minute differences of historical interpretation. – The National Interest 


The World Bank approved a $150 million soft loan for food security in crisis-hit Lebanon to stabilize bread prices during the coming months, the economy minister said Monday. – Associated Press 

More than 100,000 Lebanese living abroad cast ballots for parliamentary elections on Friday and Sunday, many backing political newcomers after the worst crisis since Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war led to widespread poverty and a wave of emigration. – Reuters 

Lauren Fredericks writes: The U.S. government should communicate its interest in seeing Daqou’s trial reach a verdict. Directing international attention toward the case could help upset his efforts to quietly bribe his way to freedom. In addition, U.S. officials should investigate the ties between him and Safa, who was designated by the Treasury Department in 2019 for supporting terrorism […]Given Daqou’s connections to international narcotics trafficking, the Assad regime, and one of the world’s foremost terrorist organizations, the opportunity is ripe to end his reign. – Washington Institute 

Arabian Peninsula

The United Nations warned Monday that it would cost $20 billion to clean up an oil spill in the event of the “imminent” break-up of an oil tanker abandoned off Yemen. – Agence France-Presse  

Senior British defence ministry officials agreed to pay members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and military millions of pounds in order to secure lucrative contracts, a trial of a top executive at an Airbus subsidiary and one of his associates has heard. – Financial Times 

Cinzia Bianco and Matteo Moretti write: Finally, the European reference the North-Western Indian Ocean indicates they might soon go beyond the existing operational areas of Atalanta and EMASOH. […]By protecting these waterways, E.U. countries could reap three benefits in the short, medium, and long term. First, they would consolidate a European presence in the Red Sea, where Russia has been seeking to make inroads. Second, keeping an eye on Bab el-Mandab and Yemen’s Red Sea coast might give Europeans more of a voice in the context of the Yemen conflict. Third and finally, it could also potentially reduce the Houthis’ ability to use threats against international shipping as leverage against the diplomatic process to end the war. – Middle East Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to meet later this week with Jordan’s King Abdullah, a source familiar with the meeting said on Monday. – Reuters 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed hopes for deeper U.S. counter-terrorism ties during talks with a top American general on Monday, following a deadly weekend attack by militants in the Sinai peninsula, a U.S. military official said on Monday. – Reuters  

A Libyan military commander who lived for decades in northern Virginia failed to show up for a deposition Monday in a federal lawsuit in which he is accused of war crimes. – Associated Press 

Jordan has emphasized that it doesn’t accept “participation or dictation from any party,” including the Israeli government, regarding the appointment of security guards at the Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. – Jerusalem Post 

Walter Russell Mead writes: The war in Ukraine has reminded the administration that the Middle East is vital to American security and to the health of the global system Americans hope to defend. The question is whether the administration can break from the failed Obama and early Biden policies and construct a realistic framework for renewed American primacy in the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal  

Shadi Hamid and Sharan Grewal write: Of course, using U.S. leverage in this way is as risky as it is bold. But, as we have seen over the past year, not using U.S. leverage is also risky. In fact, it risks condemning Tunisians to a full return to the old days of dictatorship. If Americans believe democracy is good, then they should believe that it is good for Tunisians, too. Otherwise Biden’s commendable rhetoric will remain just that — an ideal that we speak about but ignore even in the very cases where it matters most. – Washington Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The regime has too many problems, so it has cut a devil’s bargain with Iran. But how can it balance this with outreach to the Gulf and Egypt? How can it balance this with investment it wants from China and other countries? It faces challenges, and being mortgaged to Iran’s “resistance axis” is a huge problem. But it has fewer choices because Russia’s focus is elsewhere. – Jerusalem Post 

Anna Borshchevskaya and Catherine Cleveland write: Understanding and addressing this perspective is important, especially since other state actors are happy to bolster these narratives in order to erode Western credibility. […]Moscow and Beijing can incorporate prevalent narratives from the Middle East into their own worldviews. The West cannot afford to  leave these narratives unchallenged, but it has yet to effectively express its own perspective. The West needs to highlight its rivals’ own hypocrisy to Arab audiences. – 19fortyfive 

Jon Hoffman writes: The fallout between the United States and its “partners” in the Middle East following the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted decades of failed American policies in the region. It is imperative for the United States to fundamentally rethink these relationships, recognizing how these actors seek to manipulate the return of great power competition to advance their own strategic imperatives which are not in harmony with America’s own. – The National Interest 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s new president took office Tuesday, calling on North Korea to “genuinely” move toward denuclearization even as Pyongyang shows signs of preparing for a new nuclear test and is rapidly pursuing an ambitious weapons program. – Washington Post 

The United States scheduled an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday following North Korea’s latest test of a ballistic missile that was likely fired from a submarine as it presses for new sanctions on the reclusive northeast Asian nation. – Associated Press 

South Korea’s departing liberal president defended his policy of engaging North Korea, saying in his farewell speech Monday that he hopes efforts to restore peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula will continue. – Associated Press 

Ahead of his inauguration as South Korea’s president on Tuesday, Yoon Suk-yeol promised he would “dramatically strengthen” his nation’s defences against the rapidly developing nuclear forces of North Korea. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Biden should work with Yoon and other allies to strengthen the sanctions regime against Kim, particularly in the area of illicit coal and mineral smuggling (which is enabled by China and Russia). […]Biden should also do something else: Let Kim know that diplomacy and related sanctions relief remain a real prospect, but only if Kim stops firing ICBMs and takes steps toward nuclear disarmament. Regardless, it should be clear that Biden’s do-nothing policy is no longer tenable. – Washington Examiner 


The selection process for a new chief executive in Hong Kong is a source of grave concern and underscores wider worries about fundamental freedoms there, a Group of Seven statement said on Monday, prompting a rebuke from China. – Reuters 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promoted the role of the ruling Communist Party’s youth wing ahead of a key party congress later this year that comes amid rising economic and social pressures. – Associated Press 

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Monday that Chinese patriots are now firmly in charge of the city following the election of its new leader, who ran unopposed in a process controlled by Beijing. – Associated Press 

Australia’s prime minister said on Monday he was aware of China’s ambitions in the southwest Pacific after a newspaper reported plans by Beijing to build wharves, shipyards and underwater cables in the Solomon Islands. – Associated Press  

Western multinationals and local tycoons published newspaper adverts on Monday congratulating John Lee on becoming Hong Kong’s next leader, following a rubber-stamp selection process condemned by critics as anti-democratic. – Agence France-Presse 

As night fell, chaos erupted when crowds of protesters outside Hong Kong’s legislative building hurled bottles at police, who fired pepper spray and swung batons, dragging some people to the ground. – CNN 

Editorial: In a letter he released publicly, he claimed our coverage was “a grossly biased misrepresentation of facts which seriously misleads readers about the situation in Hong Kong.” The facts are accurate and clear enough to those he has imprisoned, so he can enjoy life as Beijing’s factotum in the once free territory. – Wall Street Journal 

Steve Milloy writes: Shareholders have the right to know the extent to which their investments depend on U.S.-China relations. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, along with the growing closeness between Moscow and Beijing, has increased the possibility of a dangerous U.S.-China confrontation. The 3M and Verizon shareholder proposals will be voted on May 10 and 12, respectively. But the time for all companies to prepare and to make adequate disclosures of material information regarding China is now. – Wall Street Journal 

Salih Hudayah writes: To date, the Chinese government has refused to allow international bodies to conduct an unfettered investigation into its crimes in East Turkistan. The plight of East Turkistan and its people is in many ways synonymous to the plight of Jews and their struggle to restore their rightful independence in Israel. – Jerusalem Post 

Gordon G. Chang writes: Xi started using “new era” in November, and he has partially defined it in prior statements. “We should not allow this problem to be passed down from one generation to the next,” he said in 2019. In short, Xi, almost 69, believes he will incorporate Taiwan into the People’s Republic of China. China’s ruler now thinks he can get away with war. – Newsweek  

Howard W. French writes: Whatever one thinks of its politics or methods, China seems to have grasped this with far more urgency than the United States has. In Africa, Central Asia, and many other parts of the world, while America sleeps, China has become the leading bilateral foreign provider of public goods, with development project lending that also outstrips that of the World Bank. – Foreign Policy 

Robert A. Manning writes: It may be that China is unshakably on a path to remake the world order on its terms and also, as a result of the Ukraine war, to being tied more tightly to Moscow. But many have bet against China and lost over the past 40 years. I’m skeptical of straight-line projections, particularly in a fluid situation, when China may be approaching an inflection point. A “democracies only” ideological approach to world order could render global problems insoluble and lead to a conflict-prone, fragmented world. It might be unavoidable, but before foreclosing U.S. options, there is a good case for testing China’s intentions. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned after months of mass protests against his government’s handling of an economic crisis that has led to double-digit inflation, rolling blackouts and acute shortages in fuel and medicines. – Wall Street Journal 

Streets were calm on Tuesday in the Sri Lankan commercial capital of Colombo, following a day of clashes that killed five people and injured more than 200, police said, in violence that prompted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign. – Reuters 

The US envoy to Sri Lanka condemned Monday’s violence against anti-government protesters as officials said at least 78 people were wounded in attacks by government supporters. – Agence France-Presse  

Vinay Kaura writes: Given Pakistan’s superior force, Afghanistan will do its best to avoid direct armed conflict with its neighbor. […]Pakistan could, however, be jolted into action if Rawalpindi determines that nothing short of a military operation could secure its objectives on the other side of the Durand Line. Thus, open conflict is improbable but hardly inconceivable. Even if the guns remain silent, military brinkmanship could aggravate diplomatic paralysis. In brief, full conflict resolution through bargaining and compromise seems a distant possibility. The disputed border and terrorist sanctuaries remain Pakistan’s central dilemmas in Afghanistan; neither one lends itself to quick fixes. – Middle East Institute 


The son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos appears to have won the Philippines’s presidential election in a landslide on Monday, garnering more than twice the number of votes as his closest competitor with almost 95 percent of precincts reporting. – Washington Post 

Two of the Philippines’ most powerful political families have joined forces in the May 9 elections as the children of two presidents seek the country’s top offices. – New York Times 

Tim Culpan writes: Understanding the diversity that exists within the Chinese community will go a long way toward redressing largely binary positions of either complete suspicion or total complacency. But it needs to be done unhindered by external interference or by internal racism. Maybe then, Australia’s parliament will start to look a lot more like the nation it represents. – Bloomberg  

Daniel Moss writes: For all the dismay at Marcos Jr.’s ascent — and applause from his admirers — the world Bongbong must contend with is very different from that of his father. The constitution that was drawn up after 1986 has seen largely free and fair elections, and presidents can only serve for a limited time; they can’t run for a second six-year term. […]They would probably need to be closed for at least a while and substantial controls on capital imposed, with predictable outrage and likely financial dislocation. – Bloomberg 

Gregory B. Poling writes: But when it comes to foreign policy, Marcos will not have the same space for maneuver that Duterte did. […]Marcos might well try to revive Duterte’s early outreach to Beijing, but he is unlikely to toss the U.S. alliance overboard as part of the effort. There will be rough patches for the alliance to manage. But they must be managed. In the face of a revisionist China, the United States’ oldest Asian alliance is more vital than ever before, regardless of who Filipinos (or Americans) choose as their president. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Brian Eyler writes: Focusing on growth in areas of mutual interest and general alignment, such as trade and investment, war legacies, and climate, will deepen and widen the U.S.-Vietnam relationship, bringing it steps closer to an official upgrade. This will also pay off in robust economic and geopolitical benefits to both Vietnam and the United States. But for now, let’s avoid unnecessary stresses and make that upgrade when the time is right. – Foreign Policy 


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen failed to reach agreement with Hungary on Monday to secure the country’s backing for an oil embargo on Russia, setting back hopes of a quick deal on Brussels’ energy sanctions proposals. – Wall Street Journal 

The Biden administration announced on Monday that it would lift tariffs on Ukrainian steel for one year, halting a measure that President Donald J. Trump placed on that country and many others in 2018. – New York Times 

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he was in favour of a new type of “political European community” that would allow countries outside the European Union, including Ukraine and Britain, to join the “European core values.” – Reuters 

German officials are quietly preparing for any sudden halt in Russian gas supplies with an emergency package that could include taking control of critical firms, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s president said on Monday that trade at the country’s ports was at a standstill and urged the international community to take immediate steps to end a Russian blockade to allow wheat shipments and prevent a global food crisis. – Reuters 

The Nordic region’s defence capabilities would be strengthened if Sweden and Finland joined NATO, allowing joint defence planning within the framework of the alliance, Sweden’s defence minister told Swedish radio on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Cyprus’ foreign minister pitched to his Greek and Israeli counterparts on Monday the creation of an east Mediterranean firefighting hub aimed at quickly addressing huge summer wildfires that could overwhelm any single country. – Associated Press 

Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party, which lost last week’s local elections, refused Monday to return to a power-sharing government saying it will not do so until its demands over post-Brexit customs arrangements are met. – Associated Press 

Italian Premier Mario Draghi meets with U.S. President Joe Biden this week in Washington as Europe faces another “whatever it takes” moment with Russia’s war in Ukraine raging on its eastern flank. – Associated Press 

Congressional Democrats are preparing a plan that would boost President Joe Biden’s requested $33 billion Ukraine aid package to nearly $40 billion, and a House vote is possible as soon as Tuesday, two people familiar with lawmakers’ thinking said. – Associated Press 

To join or not to join? The NATO question is coming to a head this week in Finland and Sweden where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered the long-held belief that remaining outside the military alliance was the best way to avoid trouble with their giant neighbor. – Associated Press  

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion for a wider European club of countries beyond the EU that could include Ukraine or Britain. – Agence France-Presse 

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz showed Ukraine their “full support” on Monday as they visited Berlin’s symbolically important Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in Ukraine’s national colours, AFP saw. – Agence France-Presse 

Former Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström once described opinions her country should enter Nato as “absurd”. Now the 67-year-old doyenne of the ruling centre-left Social Democrats is not so categorical about the prospects of her country joining the western military alliance. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Similar political courage will be needed for EU leaders to open the bloc’s doors to western Balkan countries — and potentially Ukraine. But they must do so. All the fine talk of European integration and a lasting peace will ring hollow unless these countries become full, equal EU members without needless delays. – Financial Times 

Robert Shrimsley writes: Yet they also can see the risk. If, after a few uncomfortable weeks Starmer emerges in the clear, he will be enhanced in reputation. The Labour leader has struggled for definition with voters: this could deliver it and turn up the pressure on Johnson. It is not a gamble Starmer wanted to take — ultimately he had little choice — but if it pays off there could yet be a silk purse to be made of this political pig’s ear. – Financial Times 

Pierre Morcos and Luis Simón write: Against this backdrop, the alliance should maintain a 360-degree approach to deterrence to ensure that its updated deterrence posture also addresses emerging challenges in the South. Moreover, NATO should invest in the South’s resilience and development, as well as strengthen partnerships with regional and other key actors, starting with the European Union. Finally, allies will need to maintain their readiness to act in the event of a crisis in the southern neighborhood, not least with EU cooperation. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Heljä Ossa and Tommi Koivula write: The current NATO debate in Finland manifests the scale of the geopolitical tremor that Russia’s aggressiveness and unpredictability have unleashed: nobody can make it alone anymore. […]Relying on international cooperation is not a panacea to these challenges, but it will make the hit a little softer. Cooperation is, of course, not a one-way street. It enhances the safety of Finland, but Finns like to see themselves as reliable partners and providers of security and stability too. Once made, the assumed responsibilities are taken seriously, both in national defense and international cooperation. – War on the Rocks 


A former senior Rwandan official went on trial in Paris on Monday accused of complicity in the African nation’s genocide, the most high-ranking figure yet to face justice in France over the 1994 massacres. – Agence France-Presse 

A lawyer for an alleged extremist accused of involvement in crimes including rape and torture in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu a decade ago rejected the allegations and said Monday that he was just a police officer carrying out court orders who could have been killed for disobeying. – Associated Press 

Many political leaders and civilians in South Sudan are “deeply skeptical” a 2018 peace agreement can deliver stability to the world’s newest nation and worry it may be heading back into conflict, U.N. experts said in a report circulated Monday. – Associated Press 

The Americas

The paramilitary group known as the Clan del Golfo unleashed the so-called armed strike in retaliation for the extradition to the United States of its leader. Dairo Antonio Úsuga, known more commonly as Otoniel, was arraigned in federal court last week on drug trafficking charges. – Washington Post 

The United States on Monday charged a former Haitian senator with conspiring to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the third suspect to be charged by the Department of Justice as the Caribbean nation’s own probe into the murder remains stalled. – Reuters 

Dozens of inmates were killed during a riot early on Monday as rival gangs clashed in a jail in the Ecuadorean city of Santo Domingo, the government said, the latest episode of prison violence that has rocked the South American country. – Reuters 

Brazilian environmental and Indigenous organizations, together with some companies, are urging the United States to come through with promised funding for forest protection and deal directly with people who live in the forest, have protected it and, they say, “are directly affected by the escalating deforestation.” – Associated Press 

Michael Scott writes: Many Colombians are hungry for change and this election feels like a turning point. A Petro win would mean Colombia’s first leftwing government. His supporters believe it would seal Colombia’s transformation from a narrow, elite-run fiefdom to a modern social democratic state. His opponents fear Petro’s radical policies would destroy the peace and progress of recent years, trigger fresh conflict and risk an economic and political calamity akin to neighbouring Venezuela. They cannot both be right. – Financial Times 


The Biden administration ramped up a national security probe into Russia’s AO Kaspersky Lab antivirus software earlier this year amid heightened fears of Russian cyberattacks after Moscow invaded Ukraine, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters 

Israeli spyware company NSO Group has stonewalled questions over whether it is operating legally, according to consultants acting on behalf of the controversial company’s owners. – Financial Times 

A technology trade group that represents Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants has come out against a new directive from the Indian government mandating companies report cybersecurity incidents to CERT-IN within six hours of an incident. – The Record 

The newly-inaugurated president of Costa Rica – Rodrigo Chaves – declared a state of emergency due to a devastating ransomware attack launched by the Conti group. – The Record 


The U.S. needs to start thinking more globally if it hopes to limit China’s ambitions as President Xi Jinping sets a timeline that would see his military capable of invading Taiwan by 2027, experts told Fox News Digital. – Fox News 

The U.S. is sending electronic jamming equipment to the front lines in Ukraine. The Defense Department on May 6 said a $150 million security package bound for Eastern Europe includes the jamming gear, as well as 25,000 artillery rounds, radar systems, and other field equipment and spares. – C4ISRNET 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in a bid to mature its scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon program, is seeking $60 million in its fiscal 2023 budget for the next phase of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept. – Defense News 

But in its fiscal 2023 budget released in late March, the U.S. Air Force unveiled a surprise: It wants to scale back its total planned purchases of the Jolly Green II HH-60W by one-third, to 75 in all, citing concerns they could be shot down by an enemy with advanced air defense systems. – Defense News 

As the war in Ukraine drags into its third month, the United States is trying to figure out the best way — and pace — to train troops there on how to use the Western arms flooding into the besieged nation. – Defense News 

Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst and Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery (ret.) write: In short, if properly resourced and supported by the United States and its regional partners, CTF-153 will help counter weapons smuggling and terror attacks in the waters around Yemen, which remain vital to U.S. and international economic and security interests, while advancing Arab-American-Israeli security cooperation and sending a positive deterrent message to Tehran. – Defense News 

Long War

The U.S. announced Monday that it is sanctioning five people accused of fundraising for the Islamic State group and using the funds to help traffic children to serve as fighters for the organization. – Associated Press 

Military analysts believe the Hamas terror group is not behind a recent string of deadly terror attacks, but has rather been “riding the wave” to encourage further violence, defense officials said Monday. – Times of Israel 

Israel has reportedly told foreign allies that it is readying teams to carry out the targeted killing of leaders of the Hamas terrorist group who live abroad in retaliation for a wave of deadly terror attacks. – Times of Israel