Fdd's overnight brief

May 10, 2023

In The News


A large fire was extinguished at a power plant west of the Iranian city Isfahan on Tuesday, state media reported. – Reuters 

Petroleum dealers have flagged a surge in the smuggling of Iranian fuel to Pakistan, saying that up to 35% of diesel sold in the South Asian country has arrived illegally from Iran, the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters

Billboards across Iran’s capital proclaim that women should wear their mandatory headscarves to honor their mothers. But perhaps for the first time since the chaotic days following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, more women — both young and old — choose not to do so. – Associated Press 

Iran hanged two men Monday convicted of blasphemy, authorities said, carrying out rare death sentences for the crime as executions surge across the Islamic Republic following months of unrest. – Associated Press 

Israel is bracing for a possible multi-front, Tehran-backed attack in retaliation for Tuesday morning’s killing at Gaza of three top commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iran’s main proxy terrorist group in the Palestinian territories. – New York Sun 

Israel is ready to fight Iran on multiple fronts if it needs to, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, following the launch of Operation Shield and Arrow. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This means Iran appears to be killing people every day. This looks like a lot more than merely “executions.” […]This comes after last year’s mass protests. Iran feels confident in increasing this repression because it is closely allied with China and Russia, two other countries that crush dissent. It is not clear if Western countries, which value human rights, will sanction Iran more than they already have done. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In each case, Israel has tailor-made operations designed to counter Iran’s octopus-like threats. Last year Israel’s former Prime Minister even mentioned an “octopus doctrine” which was designed to confront Iran’s attempt to unify its fronts. In essence, then the deadly game of chess is afoot between Iran and Israel. Iran has to wonder whether it’s worth responding to the cutting off of several tentacles or whether it will wait. – Jerusalem Post 

Russia & Ukraine

Britain and the United States will continue supporting Ukraine regardless of whether its military can recover territory from Russia in a planned counteroffensive, two senior officials said on Tuesday. – Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that a “real war” is being waged against Russia amid muted Victory Day celebrations on Tuesday, with many mass events canceled over security concerns after last week’s alleged drone attack on the Kremlin and a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive. – Washington Post 

French journalist Arman Soldin was killed by rocket fire near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, said Agence France-Presse, his employer. – Washington Post 

Victory Day, celebrating the Soviet Union’s vanquishing of Nazi Germany in 1945, is Russia’s most important secular holiday, although it is toned down this year as the war in Ukraine drags on. – New York Times 

The United States will provide Ukraine with up to $1.2 billion to purchase additional air defense missiles, artillery ammunition and satellite imagery from commercial companies, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. – New York Times 

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force fighting in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday he had been told he and his men would be regarded as traitors if they abandoned their positions in the city of Bakhmut. – Reuters 

The United Nations said inspections resumed on Tuesday of outbound vessels under a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, which Moscow has threatened to quit on May 18 over obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports. – Reuters 

Ukraine has alternative ways of transporting grain if a deal on safe Black Sea exports is not extended on May 18, and would not see that outcome as an “apocalyptic scenario”, its agriculture minister said. – Reuters

Russia’s air defence forces shot down an “enemy” drone in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, its governor said on Wednesday, adding that falling debris damaged a gas pipeline and a house. – Reuters 

Editorial: We cannot protect every inch of every internet cable, but presence helps to reduce the risks and reduce the possibility for Russian deniability. We’ve seen over the last years that Russia is not seeking a full-fledged confrontation with NATO, triggering Article 5, but they’re trying to operate below the Article 5 threshold. Meaning with hybrid, cyber, covert actions. And, of course, attacks against undersea infrastructure — it’s easy to deny because it’s hard to monitor. – Washington Post 

Editorial: The Kremlin has tried to dismember and erase a sovereign state from the map. It has failed. But the fight to force the further retreat of Russia’s troops continues. Ukraine’s fight is the free world’s fight — for the bedrock right of any country to choose its destiny as part of the family of democratic, pluralistic and tolerant nations. The West should not waver — before or after Ukraine’s offensive — whether it moves the front line miles or mere inches. – Washington Post 

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: It needs to show that Russia can’t hold what it has occupied, that the Kremlin’s army will be pushed back whenever Ukraine and its allies make a concerted effort to push it back. Only then will an aging, passive and increasingly withdrawn Mr. Putin (as keen observers describe him) bestir himself and flail around for another solution. His next-best solution is some kind of cease-fire arrangement that relieves pressure on him domestically to keep finding bodies and materiel to throw into a war that everyone sees is failing. – Wall Street Journal 

Timothy Snyder writes: Russia created not only needless suffering but also needless risk when it invaded Ukraine. We have to work within that world of risk and horror and evaluate it calmly. No option is without hazards; our responsibility is to reduce them. When Russians talk about nuclear war, the safest response is to ensure their very conventional defeat. – New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman writes: It’s impossible to get into Putin’s head and predict his next move, but color me worried. Because what we do know, from Putin’s actions, is that he knows his Plan A has failed. And he will now do anything to produce a Plan B to justify the terrible losses that he has piled up in the name of a country where everybody talks and where defeated leaders don’t retire peacefully. – New York Times 

Andreas Kluth writes: First, the West and all freedom-loving nations of the world must keep supporting Ukraine, no matter how its spring offensive turns out. Second, one day, when both sides are exhausted, there will be peace talks and concessions. Ukraine and the rest of us must simultaneously prepare for both, the fighting and the jaw-jaw. – Bloomberg 

Joseph Bosco writes: The most helpful thing Xi could do to bring a just end to the war in Ukraine would be to set a good example for Putin by abjuring any use of force against Taiwan and recommending that he do the same for Ukraine. While not holding its breath for that to happen or getting distracted by phony peace initiatives, the West should expedite delivery of all needed weapons to both Ukraine and Taiwan. – The Hill 

Michael Kofman and Rob Lee write: It is time, then, for the West to start planning more actively for the future, beyond the coming offensive. History shows that wars are difficult to end and often go on well beyond the decisive phases of fighting, including as negotiations continue. For Ukraine and its Western backers, a working theory of victory must be premised on endurance, addressing Ukraine’s long-term force quality, capability, and sustainment needs. The United States and Europe must make the necessary investments to support the war effort well beyond 2023, develop plans for successive operations —and avoid pinning their hopes on any single offensive effort. – Foreign Affairs 

Marija Golubeva writes: Another potential risk is indicated by a Russian scheme to attract Estonian tech and Latvian industries to Russia. While European Union (EU) sanctions in response to the aggression in Ukraine make economic cooperation, for the most part, impracticable, the very fact that the Kremlin harbors this ambition suggests that the Baltic states must focus on preventing possible technology smuggling by their unfriendly eastern neighbor. Enforcing compliance with sanctions is a never-ending struggle, and at a time when Russia is firmly set on militarizing its economy, it cannot be allowed to score any wins on the tech espionage front. – Center for European Policy Analysis   

Alexey Kovalev writes: This is one of many of Putin’s broken promises to Russians. Gone is the social contract between the Kremlin and Russia’s emerging middle class, which traded political participation for social and economic “stability.” Time and time again, Putin invoked the excesses of the 1990s and promised to lead Russians to a better future; instead, he is dragging them toward an unprecedented decline. His newest promise is to “return” Russia’s “historic lands”—but there are simply fewer and fewer Russians to populate them. And fresh grave lots keep growing by the day. – Foreign Policy 


A year after Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead during an Israeli army raid in the West Bank, likely by an Israeli soldier, no one has been charged, disciplined or otherwise held responsible. – Washington Post

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group based in Gaza, was the target of Israeli airstrikes early Tuesday, and was at the center of a flare-up in violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip last summer. – New York Times 

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides will leave his post this summer after nearly two years in the country, a State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians who opened fire on them in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the army said, and the Islamic Jihad militant group claimed the slain men as members. – Reuters 

The Israeli military launched a strike against members of the Islamic Jihad armed group at a rocket launch site in Gaza, the army said on Wednesday, as witnesses reported explosions in the Khan Younis area in the southern part of the enclave. – Reuters 

Israel readied for violent escalation on all fronts after killing three militant Palestinian leaders and members of their families in the Gaza Strip and bombing weapons sites there overnight. – Bloomberg 

On the face of it, six months of anti-government rhetorical carpet-bombing in Israel have been highly effective. The latest polls suggest that, were elections to be held now, the conservative-religious coalition led by Prime Minister Netanyahu would fall to about 52 seats out of 120 at the Knesset. – New York Sun 

Several Palestinian armed groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas warned that Israel will pay a heavy price for the targeted killing of three senior PIJ officials in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF and Shin Bet has been ready for an operation with Gaza since Tuesday last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the IDF launched Operation Shield and Arrow. – Jerusalem Post

The United Nations Security Council is set to hold a closed-door emergency council session on Gaza late Wednesday afternoon in New York, in what will be its ninth meeting this year on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – Jerusalem Post

The Defense Ministry on Tuesday announced that it is making significant progress in an operation to install defensive walls at key junctions in the Gaza corridor to protect against Hamas anti-tank missiles. – Jerusalem Post 

Many residents of communities close to the Gaza Strip left the area Tuesday in anticipation of rocket barrages from the Palestinian enclave after Israel targeted several terror commanders in deadly airstrikes. – Times of Israel

Jordan and Egypt issued stark condemnations of Israel’s deadly strikes in Gaza Tuesday, hours after the IDF launched Operation Shield and Arrow. – Times of Israel  

Editorial: Until there is a fundamental change in the Hamas-controlled territory, we have no choice but to resign ourselves to that cycle and thank Israel Defense Forces and other security agencies that have the ability to target our enemies before they carry out their heinous acts against the Israeli people. – Jerusalem Post 

Herb Keinon writes: This time is no different. There are those who said Netanyahu acted forcefully to shore up his sagging poll numbers, and others who argued that he acted to appease Ben-Gvir. […]Israel’s deterrence was fraying, its will to fight was being questioned by its enemies. On Tuesday, Netanyahu decided to deal with it in his own way. In the process, he also put his recalcitrant coalition partners on notice that he viewed himself as still very much in charge. – Jerusalem Post 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Regarding the exact timing, it seems that Netanyahu wanted to wait until after Ramadan and until the IDF located all of the key Islamic Jihad leaders, who might have been underground for some period of days after the ceasefire last week. But once again, at the end of the day, whether the surprise of not only Gaza, but also many on the Israeli side, will be seen as a brilliant (the initial public framing) or an out-of-control move, will, like many things, depend on the final outcome. – Jerusalem Post 

Neville Teller writes: Despite the differences between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Israel has always understood the political importance of maintaining close relations with both. As regional peace and stability are increasingly threatened by Iran, it becomes more important than ever for Israel to improve and develop existing ties with the two states. Ideas to do so are already afloat. – Jerusalem Post 

Zvi Bar’el writes: Given all this, it now seems the price of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia will have to be adjusted to take into account America’s interests and what it is willing to pay the Saudis in return, beginning with the approval for construction of American-built nuclear reactors, the sale of advanced warplanes – and no less important, reliance on Crown Prince Mohammed as the “trustee” for American policy in the region, as he was during Donald Trump’s presidency, and that of his predecessors. – Haaretz 


Having brought President Bashar al-Assad in from the cold, Arab states want him to rein in Syria’s flourishing drugs trade in exchange for even closer ties. But as Damascus makes its own demands, the way ahead appears far from simple. – Reuters 

The U.S. military is investigating reports that it killed a civilian in a recent strike in northwest Syria that meant to target a senior al-Qaida leader, a military official said in a statement Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Hussein Ibish writes: Washington clearly isn’t happy, but it didn’t provide the Arab League with any practical alternatives to ensure its interests. Hence the rather attenuated US protests. Assad leads a regime soaked in blood. Sadly, the balance of power on the ground in Syria, combined with always-heated regional politics, made this distasteful reintegration inescapable. – Bloomberg

Kareem Chehayeb and Abby Sewell write: A statement issued by the Arab League after Sunday’s meeting suggested that Syria’s further reintegration will depend on moving towards a political solution to the conflict, combating drug trafficking and facilitating the return of refugees. Gulf countries have also pushed for Damascus to curb Iranian influence in Syria. – Times of Israel 


Turkey’s top opposition candidate for president, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, resting in a hotel suite after addressing throngs of screaming supporters, said he would steer Turkey closer to NATO and the West if he wins Sunday’s election. – Wall Street Journal 

The presidential and parliamentary elections are shaping up to be Mr. Erdogan’s toughest electoral fight during his two decades as Turkey’s predominate politician. – New York Times 

The trial of 36 people accused over a deadly bombing in central Istanbul last November began Tuesday, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. On Nov. 13, 2022 an explosion tore through Istanbul’s popular Istiklal Avenue – a busy thoroughfare lined with shops and restaurants – killing six people, including two children, and injuring 99 others. – Associated Press 

Ilke Toygür writes: Turkey’s economic reconstruction will be the most important agenda item in the aftermath of the elections. The rest of the process of improving relations needs innovative thinking and patience. Realistic transformation of the relations will take time. But in case of change, Western allies should coordinate the best way to give that message loud and clear. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Gonul Tol and Ali Yaycioglu write: But according to Turkish law, an indictment would have to be approved by two-thirds of parliament, a supermajority that would be very difficult to achieve—not least because the opposition includes former key Erdogan allies who might get sucked into any investigation, an outcome the opposition will likely want to avoid. The fact that a trial and potential jail time are unlikely makes it easier for Erdogan to accept defeat. All of this is to say that not all autocracies are created equal; Turkey is neither Russia nor China. In some, elections matter more than in others, and strongmen are weaker than they seem. – Foreign Policy 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco has told customers in North Asia they will receive full volumes of crude oil that they have requested in June, several sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia will reopen its diplomatic mission in Syria, the Saudi foreign ministry said on Tuesday, nearly a decade after diplomatic ties were cut and two days after Syria was readmitted into the Arab League. – Reuters 

A Saudi Arabia state-backed media group is looking at launching an international English-language news channel that could rival Al Jazeera as the kingdom aims to expand its global media influence. – Financial Times 

Middle East & North Africa

A gunman shot and killed at least three people Tuesday while trying to access the historic Ghriba synagogue on Tunisia’s island of Djerba, the site that day of a two-day Jewish pilgrimage that annually draws hundreds, the Tunisian government said. – Washington Post 

From bloody frontlines to buzzing construction sites and even high-end parties, the amphetamine commonly known as captagon – has entrenched itself in the Middle East. – Reuters 

The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Tuesday that additional voluntary output cuts by the OPEC+ producer group were implemented to balance the oil market. – Reuters

More than 50 people sentenced for plotting to overthrow the United Arab Emirates government are being held months and years after their jail terms have ended, family members and rights activists said on Tuesday. – Reuters  

An updated version of a book on the Abraham Accords being released on Thursday reveals the multifaceted assistance Israel provided to the United Arab Emirates when the Gulf nation faced a series of missile strikes from Houthi rebels in Yemen last year. – Times of Israel 

Nigel Goodrich writes: The possibilities for learning from and building upon the impressive achievements in the UAE should be embraced widely. These pioneering initiatives can and should be replicated elsewhere, both in the Middle East and beyond. We trust that the UPR will agree. – Jerusalem Post 


Chinese authorities have conducted raids on the offices of Capvision, an international consultancy, to investigate alleged national security risks, intensifying fears that China’s foreign business community is being caught up in an espionage crackdown. – Washington Post

China’s top diplomat set out on a three-nation trip Tuesday to persuade European leaders that they can do business with Beijing, even as the Chinese tried to keep faith with their “unlimited partnership” with a Russia that has plunged Europe into war. – New York Times 

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday that Beijing would maintain lines of communication with all parties to the war in Ukraine, including Germany, in seeking a ceasefire. – Reuters 

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai plans to meet China’s commerce minister in Detroit later this month, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the most senior in-person encounter between the nations since the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: Beijing wasted no time retaliating on Tuesday by expelling Canadian diplomat Jennifer Lynn Lalonde. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Canada’s claims about foreign interference were “unfounded” and “politically driven manipulation designed to slander and denigrate China.” […]This overseas coercion is a threat to free speech and democracy, and it merits a unified Western response. – Wall Street Journal 

Tom Rogan writes: Yes, China will continue to attract investment houses such as BlackRock that care only about making a quick buck. And yes, Western governments such as France will continue to prioritize Chinese investments at the expense of once-historic alliances. But the costs for China of Xi’s need for absolute control are apparent. Xi is going the way of a command economy, when what he really needs is a Chinese Perestroika. – Washington Examiner

Brad Wenstrup writes: The U.S. must also be clear in its objectives and address China’s malign activities with a plan of its own to restore U.S. independence and unshackle our economy. The enemy is at the gates — building factories in U.S. towns, buying farms near military installations, and flying over sensitive military sites. It’s high past time that we recognize the Chinese colonization of the U.S. and act accordingly. – Washington Examiner 

Ferial Ara Saeed writes: On the issues that define our age and shape our future, it is crucial to keep options open. Washington’s present course with China leaves less and less room to fight another day at the conference table and closer to a contest on the battlefield. Fundamentally, that is why America’s policy veterans are right. – The Hill 

Daniel F. Runde writes:  Mainland China should face commercial consequences from Ukraine, and its companies should be treated accordingly now and in the future. [..]Ukraine is on its way to becoming a major security ally of the U.S. and the West. It may join NATO, and if it does, it will need access to critical defense technologies and intelligence. But that will be impossible if Ukraine’s digital backbone is run by China. – The Hill 

South Asia

The arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on corruption charges sparked demonstrations Tuesday, in an escalation of the confrontation between the popular opposition politician and the country’s civilian and military leaders. – Wall Street Journal  

Imran Khan, who was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday, was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister in 2018 when he ran as a nationalist promising to fight corruption, revive the country’s struggling economy and maintain an independent foreign policy that distanced Pakistan from the United States. – New York Times 

A low-budget Bollywood film about young women recruited by the Islamic State has stirred up passionate debate, helping to make it an instant box-office hit in India. – Reuters 

Supporters of Imran Khan were planning to march to Islamabad on Wednesday where the former Pakistan prime minister is in custody in a corruption case, raising fears of more clashes with security forces. – Reuters 

Pakistan is planning to blend newly purchased Russian crude with Arabian light crude in order to create a mixture that will be more easily processed by the nation’s oil refineries, Pakistan’s energy minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Some Afghan women employed by the United Nations have been detained, harassed and had restrictions placed on their movements since being banned by the Taliban from working for the world body, the U.N. said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed ways India can contribute to the Abraham Accords, during Cohen’s visit to Delhi on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 


Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Indonesia called on Wednesday for an immediate end to hostilities in military-ruled Myanmar, in an effort to create a window for urgent dialogue and aid delivery as fighting intensifies. – Reuters 

The United States is encouraging the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan as an observer at its annual meeting in Geneva from May 21 to 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has said the prospect of tensions escalating over Taiwan was a “grave concern” to Southeast Asian leaders and discussions about it were inevitable at this week’s summit in Indonesia. – Reuters

Japan is working towards the opening of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. Koji Tomita said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United States has opened a new embassy in Tonga, the State Department said on Tuesday, part of efforts to step up the U.S. diplomatic presence in the Pacific region to counter China. – Reuters  

Myanmar’s military used an “enhanced blast” munition known as a fuel-air explosive in an airstrike that killed more than 160 people, including many children, at a ceremony held last month by opponents of army rule, a human rights monitoring group charged in a report Tuesday. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden left open the possibility he would cancel upcoming travel to Japan for the G-7 summit, Australia, and Papua New Guinea if it was necessary to remain in Washington for talks over raising the debt ceiling. – Bloomberg 

Gearoid Reidy writes: Kishida has denied he’s considering dissolving parliament, though such assurances are worth little. What might be more useful in evaluating his options is the fate of his predecessor, Yoshihide Suga. He, too, had a chance to call an election after replacing Abe, with his popularity high and Covid at the time largely contained. He demurred, and the moment never returned. Despite his accomplishments in office, many didn’t stop to remember Suga’s name. The incumbent can still avoid that fate. – Bloomberg 

Harun Karčić writes: Kazakhstan has pursued a multi-vector foreign policy aimed at maintaining the balance between major powers while advancing its national interests. This pragmatic foreign-policy approach, pioneered by Tokayev as the country’s foreign minister and prime minister in the 1990s and 2000s, has allowed it to thread the needle between Russia and China while deepening its ties to the West as well as to other Asian powers and regional players. This is the policy of an archetypal Eurasian middle power. – The National Interest 

Derek Grossman writes: That said, the reality is that Hanoi continues to be intentionally vague and has not publicly commented on the issue of strategic partnership, probably to allow itself some wiggle room. […]Vietnam seems perfectly fine with things dragging on for years, avoiding a final decision, or even getting cold feet in the end. Avoidance is actually more of a feature than a bug of Vietnam’s decision-making process. The Biden administration should manage expectations by remaining skeptical until the ink is dry on any new agreement. – Foreign Policy 

Lucas Webber, Riccardo Valle, and Colin P. Clarke write: As Russia, China, Iran, and other countries look to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal, they may increasingly find themselves provoking the ire of IS-K and other jihadist groups. […]By instigating jihadists to attack Russia, IS-K is looking to generate momentum, especially at a time when the core Islamic State organization in Syria is reeling from aggressive U.S. counterterrorism efforts. – Foreign Policy


European Union states hold a first discussion on Wednesday on proposed new sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine that would target Chinese and Iranian firms and allow export curbs on third countries for busting existing trade restrictions. – Reuters 

In one of Switzerland’s largest military exercises in more than three decades, soldiers rehearsed repelling a fictional enemy, tossed grenades and fired live munitions as they showcased the self-defence capabilities that define their “armed neutrality”. – Reuters 

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko had to be driven a short distance to an event during Tuesday’s Victory Day celebrations in Moscow and skipped a lunch hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Reuters 

An anti-monarchy group says it plans to take legal action against London’s Metropolitan Police after several of its members were arrested as they prepared to protest the coronation of King Charles III. – Associated Press 

European Union lawmakers decided Tuesday to fast-track legislation to boost ammunition and missile production in the 27-nation bloc to support the war effort in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Elisabeth Braw writes: The Russian Navy’s latest visit to the waters off the Irish coast has highlighted the Defender’s Dilemma to Ireland’s friends. Let’s hope they consider how they would respond to future visits by such uninvited guests. They might even consider inviting a group of Irish fishermen to provide advice. – American Enterprise Institute 

Leonardo Jacopo Maria Mazzucco writes: Against these major systemic challenges, the EU has signaled the will to stand up for itself in the broader maritime region encompassing the NWIO, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea. Admittedly, becoming a reliable maritime security provider far beyond European waters represents an uphill struggle for the EU. Still, the renewed resolve that accompanied the reformulation of its naval policy approach speaks volumes about the desire of Brussels to retain strategic relevance in a rapidly evolving geopolitical order. – Middle East Institute


Residents of Sudan’s capital reported heavy air strikes in central Khartoum on Tuesday amid a surge in looting while Saudi Arabia said negotiators were working toward a short-term ceasefire. – Reuters 

Kenyan investigators have resumed the search for members of a doomsday cult in a forest where more than 100 corpses, mostly of children, have been exhumed, victims of a “highly organised crime”, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Clashes that erupted last month between armed fighters in a city in Sudan’s restive Darfur region killed at least 100 people, according to Sudan’s Doctors Syndicate. – Associated Press 

Salem Alketbi writes: All in all, it can be said that the military conflict in Sudan is likely to continue and deteriorate unless this crisis is quickly contained by regional and international powers, and pressure is exerted on the parties to the conflict to de-escalate the situation before it escalates into a civil war involving other elements, such as tribal, regional and party affiliations, becoming a real threat to the unity of Sudan’s territories as has happened in other internal crises. – Jerusalem Post

Latin America

Unable to get the documentation they needed to legalize their status, Franklin Barrios and Rebeca Herrera joined thousands of other Venezuelans leaving Colombia and trying to make it to the U.S., say migrant advocates and the Venezuelan travelers themselves. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday discussed border security measures as they prepare for a potential migrant wave when a key U.S. border policy ends this week, the White House said. – Reuters 

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a son of former Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Treasury Department said. – Reuters 

North America

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said Canada will not be intimidated by China following tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions by Ottawa and Beijing. – Reuters 

Tom Rogan writes: That’s wishful thinking. Canada has neither earned AUKUS engagement nor provided the confidence that its inclusion would offer more benefits than risks. Until the Canadian government takes its alliance commitments more seriously, it cannot be allowed to participate in this important agreement. – Washington Examiner 

Hussain Ehsani writes: Canada’s foreign policy should prioritize building on the successes of the Abraham Accords, as a means of reviving its historic role as a regional peacekeeper. With Canada’s role added to the mix, alongside the US, the possibilities for future peace agreements and the deepening of existing ones are endless, as are the opportunities for Canadian businesses. But without initiative, other interested states will fill the gap and Canada will have missed a historic opportunity. – Jerusalem Post 


U.S. authorities said they disabled a piece of malware Russia’s intelligence agency has allegedly used for two decades to steal documents from NATO-allied governments and others, in an operation that highlights the FBI’s increasing efforts to go beyond arresting hackers and find new ways to disrupt cyberattacks. – Wall Street Journal 

Australia’s TechnologyOne Ltd (TNE.AX) said on Wednesday it had detected an unauthorised third-party access to its back-office systems, becoming the latest target in a series of cyber attacks that has bogged companies in the country since last year. – Reuters 

The breathtaking development of artificial intelligence has dazzled users by composing music, creating images and writing essays, while also raising fears about its implications. Even European Union officials working on groundbreaking rules to govern the emerging technology were caught off guard by AI’s rapid rise. – Associated Press  

Chinese authorities have detained a man for using ChatGPT to write fake news articles, in what appears to be one of the first instances of an arrest related to misuse of artificial intelligence in the nation. – Bloomberg  


The Pentagon’s newly unveiled science and technology strategy calls for better coordination among the military services, more urgency in fielding the latest technology, and greater investment in the department’s physical and digital test and lab infrastructure. – Defense News

L3Harris Technologies, the 10th largest defense contractor by revenue, and BigBear.ai, an artificial intelligence company, are partnering on products to support autonomous surface vessels, a key component of the U.S. Navy’s playbook for the future. – Defense News

The U.S. Army’s aviation branch is reaching a critical inflection point where it will need to determine how and when to begin retiring its aircraft fleet — while also keeping some of them flying for decades as it adopts new piloted and unmanned vertical lift platforms along with launched effects. – Defense News

The U.S. Space Force said it expects to choose a pool of companies by December for its Space Technology Experimentation Platform 2.0, which it will use to buy commercial satellites to host defense experiments. – Defense News    

Trevor Phillips-Levine and Andrew Tenbusch write: A need to reprioritize for high-end conflict does not supplant the need to maintain the connective tissue between air and ground forces to remain truly joint or combined. The close air support barometer is falling fast, accelerated by aviation leaders’ convictions of the next war’s character. It would be naïve to think that the future will be unlike the past. Every single conflict since the invention of the airplane involving U.S. ground forces required some type of air support. Beware of the gathering storm. – War on the Rocks