Fdd's overnight brief

May 18, 2022

In The News


The Biden administration is expected to begin blocking Russia from paying American bondholders next week, increasing the likelihood of the first default of Russia’s foreign debt in more than a century. – New York Times 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that it was impossible for some European countries to quickly ditch Russian oil, as the European Union is proposing. – Reuters 

Even as the Kremlin prepares to take full control of the ruins of Mariupol city, it faces the growing prospect of defeat in its bid to conquer all of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas because its badly mauled forces lack the manpower for significant advances. – Reuters 

Russian investigative committee will question Ukrainian fighters who surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in city of Mariupol, TASS news agency quoted the committee as saying on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Tuesday that the United States and the United Kingdom have been exerting influence over Ukrainian negotiators to prolong the war in Ukraine with the intent of killing off more Russian soldiers. – Newsweek 

Ukrainian troops shelled Russian targets with brand new M777 howitzers donated by the U.S. with the message “From America with Love.” – Newsweek 

Brussels wants to raise €20bn to fund the EU’s exit from Russian energy by selling surplus carbon emissions permits — a move that risks hitting the bloc’s climate goals by making it cheaper to burn fossil fuels. – Financial Times 

US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen is stepping up talks with EU and G7 allies on a potential price cap or tariff on Russian oil, as Brussels struggles to reach a consensus among its member states on a full import ban. – Financial Times 

The State Department launched a program dubbed the “Conflict Observatory” this week to document and analyze alleged war crimes by Russian forces in Ukraine. – Fox News 

The war with Russia is entering “a protracted phase,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Tuesday, with Moscow’s troops now trying to take full control of the east and south of the country. – Agence France-Presse 

Members of the U.S. House intelligence committee sent a letter to Meta (FB.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week asking Facebook to address what it called pro-Russian disinformation on the company’s platforms in Slovakia, the committee said in a statement on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Dara Massicot writes: The country still has conscripts, but if the invasion’s popularity sags as the war drags on, Russian families may return to the old ways of keeping their sons away from the draft, such as through bribes or by hiding them domestically or abroad. The military may then have no choice but to change its personnel culture, but it will be too late to achieve its larger aims in Ukraine. It will also be too late to save the thousands of troops being carelessly sacrificed for Russia’s attempt at conquest. – Foreign Affairs 


Iranian authorities seized a foreign ship attempting to smuggle fuel out of the country and detained its crew, state new agency IRNA said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The U.N. human rights office’s spokesperson on Tuesday urged Iran to halt the imminent execution of Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali and reverse his death sentence. – Reuters 

A U.S. State Department spokesman called on Tuesday for Iran to immediately release two French nationals, after Iranian state television showed what it described as details of the arrest of two French citizens this month, saying they were spies who had sought to stir up unrest. – Reuters 

Iran is working on advanced uranium centrifuges at new underground sites being built near its Natanz nuclear plant, Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday, giving figures that appeared to go beyond those published by a U.N. watchdog. – Reuters 

Iran said Tuesday it inaugurated a production line for manufacturing a new military drone in Tajikistan, a first for both nations. – Associated Press 

Iran’s government has hiked payments for the poor to help offset a sharp increase in food prices that has stirred unrest. Prices of staple goods including cooking oil, chicken, pasta and eggs have almost doubled after the government this month stopped providing importers with foreign currency at fixed, heavily discounted rates. The scheme had been blamed for fueling corruption, smuggling and profiteering. – Bloomberg 

Activists have reported at least six deaths since the protests began last week, blaming security forces for the deaths. The sound of gunfire could be heard in several recent protest videos on social media. – Al Arabiya 

Iran is not likely to cross the nuclear threshold in the near future, former Israel atomic energy chief Gideon Frank said on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

Hossein Ronaghi writes: This is our message from inside Iran: Don’t enrich our torturers, don’t capitulate to our captors. You would be sacrificing your own national security and selling out the Iranian people at the same time. And when the regime shuts down the internet during our protests and tries to murder us under the cover of darkness, don’t stay silent. – Wall Street Journal 

Carl Bildt and Javier Solana write: The West did not make arms control agreements with the Soviet Union because we endorsed the country’s leadership or sought to normalize relations. We did it because it benefited our national security. The same is true with respect to Iran. Biden must seriously consider the costs of his passivity vis-a-vis Iran and find a way forward — or we may find ourselves in another conflict that no one asked for. – Washington Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Can Iran afford to push tensions in the region, perhaps via distraction by using the Houthis or Hezbollah? It’s not clear if it can mobilize its proxies if it is also suffering too much at home. It has already wasted resources on weapons for decades, while harming the average person. Iran’s only way around its failed policies was to try to use proxies because it didn’t want to sacrifice ordinary Iranians. Now, its economic uncertainty could cloud the region in a different way than its proxies. – Jerusalem Post 


Paranoia riddled the most senior levels of the Afghan government, and chaos overwhelmed the country’s security forces in the days and months leading up to their collapse, according to a U.S. government watchdog report released Wednesday, one of the first since the Taliban takeover in August. – Washington Post 

President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan likely empowered Al-Qaeda, the Department of Defense admitted in a new report released Tuesday. – Newsweek 

Hunger and food insecurity have reached catastrophic levels in Afghanistan. The World Food Program reports that almost 20 million people — about half the country’s population — are in desperate need of food. Drought conditions, the pandemic and the shut off of foreign aid after the Taliban took control have thrown the country into dire straits. – CNN 

Taliban deputy leader and Afghanistan’s acting Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani said in a rare interview that aired Monday that the reopening of schools for girls would be dependent on establishing conditions related to dress codes. – The Hill 

Many Afghan women don’t just want to work; they need to as the sole breadwinners in their families. Unemployment is high and decades of war have left Afghanistan with hundreds of thousands of widows. Now, the space for Afghan women to work is disappearing fast. – TIME 


Finland and Sweden voiced optimism on Tuesday that common ground can be found with Turkey over its objections to them joining NATO amid a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at smoothing their path into the 30-nation alliance. – Reuters 

As Turkey threatens to block bids to join NATO by Sweden and Finland in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg spoke to three senior Turkish officials about what their government is looking to achieve with the high-stakes brinkmanship. – Reuters 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to press ahead with his opposition to Sweden and Finland’s bids to join Nato has thrown a spanner in the works of a plan to rapidly admit the Nordic countries to the western military alliance. – Financial Times 

President Isaac Herzog has proposed regional cooperation on climate change to the leaders of Turkey, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, sources said. – Haaretz 

Andreas Kluth writes: It’s not the first time Erdogan has tried to ruin the West’s family dinner. He’s also threatened to steer refugees toward the EU, among other things. Often he plays to a home audience — his supporters apparently like seeing him thumb his nose at Europe and the US. – Bloomberg 


Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday welcomed a recent decision to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal. – Associated Press 

Clashes took place Wednesday morning between IDF soldiers and Palestinians near Jenin, Israeli media reported. – Jerusalem Post 

US President Joe Biden plans to assure Israel of the strategic ties between the two countries during his upcoming trip to Israel, American special energy envoy Amos Hochstein said on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post 

The IDF will simulate striking targets far from Israel’s borders with a large number of planes while simultaneously acquiring new targets on various fronts in real-time during its largest military drill in history. – Jerusalem Post 

The IDF is preparing for twice the amount of violence within Israeli-Arab cities than during last year’s anti-Hamas operation in the Gaza Strip, in the event of a new conflict. – Jerusalem Post 

French President Emmanuel Macron told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that he opposed Israeli settlement activity, on the same day that the Israeli leader made his first visit to a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria since taking office last year. – Jerusalem Post 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will leave for his visit to the United States on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry announced. Gantz is set to meet with the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington. – Jerusalem Post 

A week after his party’s return from a coalition timeout, Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas said Tuesday that his vision is to transform Arab participation in politics from a useful means to prop up governments into a worthy end in and of itself. – Times of Israel 

The International Legal Forum (ILF), together with a global coalition of over 25 organizations, on Monday released a major in-depth report (“Fixed Inquiry: The Biased UN Commission Against Israel”), calling out the ongoing Navi Pillay-led UN Human Rights Council commission against Israel as “singularly unprecedented, unjust and completely lacking in impartiality or any legal basis.” – Arutz Sheva 

To many, the large-scale riots that erupted in east Jerusalem after the funeral of Walid al-Sharif, the young man who died earlier this week of wounds he sustained during clashes with Israeli police officers at the Aqsa Mosque compound, may have come as a surprise. – Jerusalem Post 


Hezbollah, the Iranian-aligned political party and militant group, and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon’s parliament after elections that delivered gains to the group’s rivals, according to results released Tuesday. – Washington Post 

Israeli forces shot down a drone belonging to Hezbollah which crossed over from Lebanon into Israeli territory, Israel’s army said Tuesday. – Haaretz 

Arabian Peninsula

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Yemeni counterpart on Tuesday that it was important to secure freedom of movement in disputed areas of Yemen amid hopes a U.N. brokered truce could produce a lasting peace in the country. – Reuters 

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s commitment to “help Saudi Arabia defend its territory” during a meeting with Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud during a meeting on Tuesday, the White House said. – Reuters 

Saudi Aramco is considering an initial public offering of its trading arm amid a boom in oil prices in what could be one of the world’s biggest listings this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. – Bloomberg 

Qatar is a great supporter of major extremist Islamic organizations and ceaselessly acts against Israel on the regional and international levels. Enlisting its help to achieve a temporary calm in Gaza is a self-inflicted strategic blow, as well as a moral disgrace. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

A Pentagon investigation into a U.S. airstrike in Syria in 2019 that killed dozens of people, including women and children, found that the military’s initial review of the attack was mishandled at multiple levels of command and replete with reporting delays and information gaps. – New York Times 

The son of Egypt’s former president said Tuesday that he and family members were innocent of corruption charges made in international courts after the country’s 2011 popular uprising. – Associated Press 

Iraq’s oil ministry thwarted three prospective deals last year that would have handed Chinese firms more control over its oilfields and led to an exodus of international oil majors that Baghdad wants to invest in its creaking economy. – Reuters 

Libya’s parliament-appointed prime minister Fathi Bashagha left the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, his office said, hours after his attempt to enter the city led to clashes between rival factions. – Reuters 

President Biden is signaling an effort by the White House to reset its relationship with Abu Dhabi after a high-profile list of cabinet officials led by the vice president took a Monday visit to the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich nation in the midst of a critical leadership change. – The Hill 

Korean Peninsula

Measures taken in North Korea to fight the first reported COVID-19 outbreak could have “devastating” consequences for human rights in the country, a spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

North Korea has sent aircraft to China to pick up medical supplies days after it confirmed its first COVID-19 outbreak, media reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

North Korea appears to be preparing for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile test within the next 48 to 96 hours, just as President Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Asia, according to a US official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment. – CNN 

Companies that hire freelance IT teleworkers could inadvertently be employing North Koreans who have been dispatched to generate revenue for the country’s authoritarian regime or gain access to corporate networks, the U.S. government said Monday. – The Record 


Flight data indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed a China Eastern jet earlier this year, according to people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment of what led to the accident. – Wall Street Journal  

Chinese technology exports to Russia plummeted in March after U.S.-led sanctions took effect, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Tuesday, calling it a sign of Beijing’s wariness about violating the trade prohibitions. – Washington Post 

Britain’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday his department would end all overseas aid spending in China. – Reuters 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped up her criticism of China’s economic and trade practices on Tuesday, calling on the United States and its allies in Europe to band together to challenge Beijing and diversify supply chains. – Reuters 

Japan and the United States have started preparing a statement that promises the two countries will cooperate to “deter” and respond to China, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Tuesday. – Reuters 

China’s main bond trading platform for foreign investors has quietly stopped providing data on their transactions, a move that may heighten concerns about transparency in the nation’s $20 trillion debt market after record outflows. – Bloomberg 

Nigeria’s outgoing president promised to leave a legacy fashioned from concrete, stone, and steel. Instead, billions in stalled financing from China is forcing him to temper his aspirations to seed the country with ambitious public works. – Bloomberg 

Raja Mohan writes: For India, the trick is to move slowly to strengthen its regional position. India’s tactics are wrapped in incrementalism, but its strategic imperative lies in deeper cooperation with the United States. The Quad summit in Tokyo next week will give us a better sense of how the geopolitics of Asian realignment will play out. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

As President Biden makes his first presidential trip to South Korea and Japan in the next week, he faces shifting dynamics in Northeast Asia that pose steep challenges to U.S. efforts to shore up alliances to counter China’s rise. A key challenge is North Korea’s thawing relationships with China and Russia, aimed at reducing U.S. influence in the region. – Washington Post 

Hundreds of protesters blocked a highway in Pakistan for second day on Tuesday to protest against the arrest of two women, one of whom security officials described as a would-be suicide bomber who was planning to target Chinese citizens. – Reuters 

India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a local order to ban large Muslim prayer gatherings in a high-profile mosque in north India after a survey team said it found relics of the Hindu god Shiva and other Hindu symbols there. – Reuters 

Russia became the fourth-largest oil supplier to India in April, with volumes set to rise further in coming months as low prices spur demand from the world’s No. 3 oil consumer and importer, tanker tracking data showed. – Reuters 

Security forces killed two local Pakistani Taliban commanders in a shootout Tuesday in a former militant stronghold in the country’s northwest, the military said. – Associated Press 

Sri Lanka’s new prime minister said on Monday the crisis-hit nation was down to its last day of petrol, as the country’s power minister told citizens not to join the lengthy fuel queues that have galvanized weeks of anti-government protests. – Agence France-Presse 

The US is preparing a military aid package for India to deepen security ties and reduce the country’s dependence on Russian weapons, people familiar with the matter said. The package under consideration would include foreign military financing of as much as $500 million, according to one person, which would make India one of the largest recipients of such aid behind Israel and Egypt. It’s unclear when the deal would be announced, or what weapons would be included. – Bloomberg 


The defence chief of Myanmar’s shadow government has called for international help to arm its resistance forces fighting the ruling military, requesting support similar to that being given to Ukrainians battling invading Russian troops. – Reuters 

Australia’s Opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese said if he wins Saturday’s general election he will travel to Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad group of the United States, Japan and India, scheduled just three days later. – Reuters 

Singapore said late on Tuesday border officials in the city-state had denied entry to an Indonesian Muslim cleric, citing what it said were Abdul Somad Batubara’s “extremist and segregationist teachings” – Reuters 

U.S. business groups on Tuesday criticized the Biden administration’s Taiwan arms sales policy, arguing in a public letter that it was too restrictive and failed to address challenges posed by China’s military to the democratic island. – Reuters 

Taiwan should be allowed to attend a World Health Organization assembly next week, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday, arguing the democratically governed island’s exclusion at China’s behest was unwarranted and a concern for global health. – Reuters 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been one of the world’s most outspoken leaders in pushing back against China, and many Australian voters share his concerns. But the tough language could end up hurting more than helping him in key seats that may swing Saturday’s election. – Bloomberg 

Australia’s Labor leader Anthony Albanese has picked Indonesia as one of his first diplomatic visits if he wins Saturday’s election and becomes prime minister, saying Canberra needs to build closer ties with the future “superpower.” – Bloomberg 

Mickey Mikitani writes: For competitive and geopolitical reasons, the U.S. and Japan need to work together to spark a mobile-technology revolution. This revolution will be based on a new cloud-connectivity software layer. Open RAN plays a key role in this architecture, and while much of the hardware comes from Asia, we have extensive experience incorporating American technology. – Wall Street Journal  

Joseph Bosco writes: If China commits the threshold war crime of aggression against Taiwan, on top of its ongoing Uyghur genocide that goes largely unseen, unlike Russian atrocities in Ukraine, Biden could react as dramatically as he has with Putin. He could proclaim that Xi, like Putin, “cannot remain in power.” His “personal” view, along with a robust sanctions program, could encourage the same kind of domestic opposition in China that Putin now reportedly faces. – The Hill 


Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted letters formally expressing interest in joining NATO, a historic moment for two countries that held fast to military nonalignment until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended their thinking about security. – Washington Post 

Days after taking office as Germany’s vice chancellor and economy minister in December, Robert Habeck asked his most senior officials for a detailed assessment of his country’s dependence on Russian energy. The result shocked him. – Wall Street Journal  

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine gave a virtual address to the Cannes Film Festival opening ceremony on Tuesday, referencing Charlie Chaplin’s celebrated satire of fascism to urge some of the world’s highest-profile stars and filmmakers to similarly rise to the occasion in the face of a war “that can set the whole continent ablaze.” – New York Times 

Divisions are opening among NATO members about how to boost military deployments in Eastern Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, amid disagreements about whether the Kremlin’s faltering battlefield effort means it cannot significantly threaten alliance territory. – Washington Post 

Concerns grew on Wednesday for the welfare of more than 250 Ukrainian fighters who surrendered to Russian forces at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol after weeks of desperate resistance. – Reuters 

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that if numbers and reports are true, the Russian army has suffered “impressive losses” while invading Ukraine. – Reuters 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday he had a “long and meaningful” phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron about the war in Ukraine. – Reuters 

The Biden administration is confident NATO can reach consensus about bids by Sweden and Finland to join the organization, White house press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday, amid pushback from NATO member Turkey. – Reuters 

The finance ministers of the Group of Seven economic powers want to put together a 15 billion euro ($15.8 billion) aid package for Ukraine at their meeting in Bonn this week, a senior German government official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

German prosecutors on Tuesday sought a five-year prison sentence for a 101-year-old man who is on trial for his alleged role as a Nazi SS guard at a concentration camp during World War II. – Associated Press 

Ukraine’s application to join the European Union will be a top priority for the Czech Republic when it takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency from July, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said. – Bloomberg 

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the White House and Congress this week to make his country’s case for acquiring the F-35 stealth fighter jet while lobbying against Turkey’s attempts to upgrade its aging fleet of F-16s and acquire additional aircraft. – Defense News  

David Ignatius writes: The Ukraine war has reminded the world of an inescapable fact: America’s military might, intelligence dominance and strategic partnerships are overwhelmingly powerful. The changes in the balance of power are still in process. But the world is different from what it was before Feb. 24, and for now, it’s going America’s way. – Washington Post 

Kurt Bassuener and Toby Vogel write: Ukrainians in their ongoing struggle have compelled the West to devote costly material, political, and moral support to defend its proclaimed values of democracy and human dignity —shifting it away from a more transactional foreign policy. Rather than staying on autopilot in Bosnia and the wider Balkans and risk losing even more credibility, the Biden administration should embrace this opportunity to adopt a policy that will allow its deeds to match its words. – Foreign Affairs 

Heather Grabbe writes: To be a leader on climate, the EU has to avoid starting a new era of extractivism reminiscent of its colonial past, and instead make its own economy more resource and energy efficient. It needs to help other regions to change their economic systems, not only threaten them with measures that they see as protectionism in a green wrapper. The European Green Deal will succeed only if it fosters a global green deal that advances Europe’s trade partners along their own paths to sustainability. – Financial Times 

James Jay Carafano, Max Primorac and Dan Negrea write: Many of the nations that opted to join the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War did so because they were poor, strategically unimportant, and ignored by the Free World. The West had little to offer, or those offers were tainted with the legacy of colonialism. – Heritage Foundation 

Leon Hadar writes: Yet, an American diplomatic win will come only if Washington takes advantage of the evolving military stalemate and the absence of any winner to reach a ceasefire and lay the foundations for a political agreement. As in 1973, an agreement will have to consider not only the interests of the United States’ client—supporting Ukraine’s independence and ties to the West—but also those of the other side, integrating any solution into an agreement that recognizes Russia’s interests in Ukraine and perhaps creates the basis for a permanent strategic deal between Russia and the West. – National Interest 


The EU will leave its military training mission in Mali suspended, but will not terminate it for the time being, the bloc’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Uganda will pull troops from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in two weeks, the military said on Tuesday, after a joint operation against Islamist insurgents since late last year. – Reuters 

An Israeli diplomat presented his credentials to the president of Chad for the first time in 50 years Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: The U.S. doesn’t have the power to drive events in Somalia or micromanage the deeply troubled country, but Washington needs to find a path between abandoning and enabling the central government. One option is for diplomats to look beyond the capital and elevate the country’s federal member states. This requires long-term but manageable commitments like the one Mr. Biden has made. China and Russia pose greater threats to U.S. interests than Islamic terrorism, but that doesn’t mean that the likes of al-Shabaab and Islamic State will go away. Credit to the President for taking action. – Wall Street Journal 

The Americas

The Biden administration has eased restrictions on the main U.S. oil company with assets in Venezuela in a gesture that senior administration officials said was intended to support talks between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the U.S.-backed opposition. – Washington Post 

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas toured the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas on Tuesday as he pushes a tougher message of restoring consequences for people crossing illegally, countering criticism from Republicans and some Democrats of President Joe Biden’s approach. – Reuters 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s opposition were expected to announce a resumption of talks as Washington eases some sanctions to help smooth the way for the negotiations, according to U.S. officials and others familiar with the matter. – Reuters 

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Tuesday he would not attend next month’s Summit of the Americas, a day after the United States criticized the Central American country for appointing its attorney general to serve another term. – Reuters 

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba was “genocidal policy,” raising the stakes in a standoff with Washington over its treatment of the Communist-ruled Caribbean island. – Reuters 

Canada on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Senate that will ban Russian President Vladimir Putin and some 1,000 other members of his government and military from entering the country as it continues to ratchet up sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Prince Charles on Tuesday emphasized the importance of acknowledging Canada’s past abuses of its Indigenous community and described reconciliation as “vital” as he kicked off a three-day visit together with his wife Camilla. – Agence France-Presse 

Editorial: Guatemalans who have profited from the status quo, including influential military, political and business figures, have continued to quash investigations and intimidate those who have pushed them. They seem intent on stalling in the hopes that Donald Trump, or a Republican in his mold, will recapture the White House. That outcome is unacceptable. The Biden administration should redouble its efforts and bring pressure to bear on a country where impunity has too long been the rule, and migration too often the result. – Washington Post 

Michael Stott writes: The row over summit attendance disguises a bigger problem: the lack of an ambitious agenda. Latin American officials complain that the Biden administration has not yet advanced anything comparable to the bold proposal for a Free Trade Area of the Americas floated by Bill Clinton in 1994, the last time the US hosted the summit. – Financial Times 

United States

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Steve Wynn to compel the hotel and casino magnate and Republican megadonor to register as an agent of China. – Washington Post 

Taiwan’s president has condemned the shooting at a Taiwanese church in California by a man reportedly driven by hatred of the island, while a lawmaker from her ruling party questioned whether Chinese propaganda was a motivating factor behind the violence. – Associated Press 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called out what he branded the “poison” of white supremacist ideology behind a deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and said that racism is being stoked for political gain. – Agence France-Presse 

House members led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., introduced a resolution Monday calling for U.S. recognition of the “Nakba,” a term meaning “catastrophe” that is typically used by Palestinians to refer to the establishment of the state of Israel. – FOX News 


After some four years probing Mars’ interior, NASA’s InSight lander will likely retire this summer as accumulated dust on its solar panels saps its power. – Agence France-Presse 

Top senators on Tuesday told Air Force leaders the service’s plans for modernizing key portions of its fleet could hurt its ability to carry out crucial missions — perhaps for years. – Defense News 

The Pacific Fleet has stood up Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One to expedite the integration of unmanned surface vessels. – Navy Times 

The Pentagon has modeled a new high-level team focused on rushing military aid to Ukraine on the group it used to speed supplies to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, according to a memo obtained by Defense News and sources familiar with the matter. – Defense News 

A new WingXpand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is to be unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, WingXpand told Janes on 11 May ahead of the event. – Janes 

Long War

Members of a cohort of suspected extremists arrested in Indonesia at the weekend had made pledges of loyalty to Islamic State via an instant messaging application, the national police said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Tajikistan has launched an “anti-terror operation” in its restive Gorno-Badakhshan province, which borders Afghanistan and China, Russia’s RIA news agency cited the Tajik interior ministry as saying on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Israel’s security forces raided Arab villages throughout the Judea and Samaria including the villages of al-Khader, Tel, Deir Istiya, Zububa and Al-Yamun, rounding up a total of 14 wanted terrorists. – Arutz Sheva 

Seth G. Jones, Jared Thompson, and Grace Hwang writes: Over the past year, a growing number of federal efforts to counter domestic extremism have prioritized better understanding the scope and nature of domestic extremism and developing long-term strategies to respond to and prevent terrorist activity. This indicates a willingness to take a methodical, research-driven approach to domestic counterterrorism efforts. With significant agreement that terrorism is illegal and a threat to the United States, policymakers must now find ways to collaborate to establish longer-term systemic responses that prioritize transparency to protect the security of all Americans. – Center for Strategic and International Studies