Fdd's overnight brief

May 3, 2023

In The News


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Wednesday met Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus in a bid to boost cooperation between the two allies, state media reported. – Associated Press

An explosion on Tuesday evening struck a base in Iran belonging to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, killing two workers, local media reported. There was no word on any damages in the blast. – Associated Press

Wary of re-igniting Iran’s worst political turmoil in years, the country’s rulers are resorting to new, less obtrusive tactics to punish women who refuse to wear the obligatory Islamic hijab. – Reuters

Iranian oil production has surpassed 3 million barrels per day, Iran’s Oil Minister said on Tuesday according to the Oil Ministry’s website SHANA. – Reuters 

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, recently gave a speech in which he discussed the importance of Iran’s investment in local industries. This has long been an Iranian focus because of sanctions. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has warned that should Israel launch a direct military strike on his country, it would be overwhelmed by the immediate response and destroyed. – Times of Israel

Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a firm grip on the country’s economy through companies it operates, making the powerful military outfit a key decision-maker on foreign policy, according to secret documents obtained by Britain’s The Times newspaper. – Times of Israel

Twenty-five Israeli lawmakers signed on an open letter in support of Iran’s Azerbaijani minority but later backtracked following criticism not only from supporters of the Islamic Republic’s clerical regime but also from opposition figures, including the son of Iran’s deposed monarch who recently visited Israel. – Ynet 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It may also be recalled as an example of how some see Israel as a monolith that can be easily encouraged to back one cause or another; they may lack the subtle understanding that Israel cannot be all things to all people. In essence, whereas it is in Israel’s interest that the Tehran regime stop its threats, Israel isn’t a magic wand for the opposition. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Pro-Iranian media also mentioned the attack. Al-Mayadeen highlighted the incident. The overall context is that there is increased focus on this airstrike in contrast to some of the previous ones. The regional moves in which Syria seeks to normalize ties is likely part of this context. – Jerusalem Post

Erfan Fard writes: In a future secular and democratic Iran, after regime change and the end of the ruling theocracy, the rule of law will be established. Therefore, Iran can revert its way to its historical roots as a nation in history. Surely, there is no room for reactionary reformists, terrorists of MEK, pro-regime puppets of Rafsanjani, Moussavi, Montazeri or Khatami in the future of Iran. The game is over! – Arutz Sheva

Emil Avdaliani writes: For Iran, the South Caucasus have been low on the traditional list of priorities. It has few pro-Iranian proxies to employ and nor has it possessed the soft power or economic muscle to influence the region in the way that Turkey and Russia could. […]This will require a new approach, less dependent on sugared words about democracy and peace, and more reliant on economic realities and the military balance of power. It is in these last two areas that the West is lagging far behind its opponents. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Alex Vatanka writes: The two countries may compete on oil and gas, but Russia is winning, at least for now. And, given the anticipated win-win boost to trade provided by the INSTC, Moscow’s overall scorecard on Russia-Iran economic relations is higher than Tehran’s. Russians—with not much more left to fear from the United States given the all-time low in relations—are effectively gaining a free hand to integrate Iran into the Russian sphere of economic influence whatever way they see fit. – Foreign Policy 

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said further steps were being taken to shield the country’s skies after Russia killed scores of people in two deadly missile barrages, seeking to weaken Ukraine ahead of a planned offensive to retake territories occupied by Moscow. – Wall Street Journal

Lawyers representing Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, asked a United Nations free-speech advocate to make an urgent appeal to Russia for the immediate release of Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not had any conversations with the White House about a massive leak of top-secret U.S. intelligence documents, he said in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post on Monday, calling the disclosures damaging to both Washington and Kyiv. – Washington Post

Local authorities reported on Tuesday that an explosion derailed a freight train in the Russian region of Bryansk, on the border with Ukraine, the second such incident there in two days. – New York Times

Russia launched a third nightly round of attacks on Kyiv in six days, authorities in the Ukrainian capital said on Wednesday, with a drone hitting a building in the Dnipropetrovsk region as Moscow steps up attacks on its neighbour. – Reuters 

The United States plans to announce as soon as Wednesday a new $300 million military aid package for Ukraine that will for the first time include a short-range air-launched rocket, two U.S. officials said. – Reuters 

A fuel depot was on fire early on Wednesday near a crucial bridge linking Russia’s mainland with Crimea, a Russian official said, days after Moscow blamed Ukraine for an attack that set fire to an oil depot in Sevastopol. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s military vowed on Tuesday not to give up the pulverised eastern city of Bakhmut as it prepares to launch a long-promised counteroffensive against Russian forces. – Reuters 

The European Union’s executive wants to set aside more than 500 million euros ($550 million) to increase ammunition production to help Ukraine and replenish the stocks of EU member countries. – Reuters 

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Germany’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict was growing by the day, and that Berlin had no way of ensuring that weapons it had provided to Ukraine would not be used against Russian territory. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the window to extend the Black Sea grain deal was shrinking, and that talks between the parties were continuing, but without any results. – Reuters  

NATO fighter jets scrambled on Sunday to track a Russian maritime patrol aircraft that violated air safety rules over the North Atlantic, the alliance said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The US, Europe and other key allies of Ukraine are preparing fresh penalties against Russia to try and tighten the net on President Vladimir Putin’s economy more than 14 months into his war, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg 

A U.S. Marine veteran was killed late last month on the outskirts of the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, where much of the war has been concentrated. – Washington Examiner

Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t use nuclear weapons to retain control of Crimea, according to a senior Ukrainian official who rejected contrary Western warnings as a product of Russian “propaganda.” – Washington Examiner  

Moscow on Tuesday rejected U.S. estimates for the number of Russian casualties in the Ukraine war, including that more than 20,000 Russians have died since December, claiming the numbers were “plucked from thin air.” – The Hill  

Almar Latour writes: One day that spirit will come back to Russia. While the wrongful arrest of Evan is a punch in the face of a free press, it actually appears to be strengthening the global resolve to support it. If you want to join that wave, please be loud about it, starting with a demand to Free Evan and the many journalists like him incarcerated around the world. The fight for their freedom ultimately is a fight for yours. – Wall Street Journal 

Bret Stephens writes: It’s worth reminding them what George Orwell wrote in 1942 about the position of Western pacifists vis-à-vis Nazi Germany: “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help that of the other.” – New York Times

Tom Rogan writes: A Russian intelligence service penchant dating back to the Czarist era, these efforts are designed to boost popular resolve against an external enemy. There is heavy circumstantial evidence, for example, that the Russian security services blew up four Russian apartment buildings in 1999 in order to justify escalation in Chechnya. Hundreds died in those explosions. Regardless, Ukraine’s recent actions indicate that its counteroffensive is growing close. – Washington Examiner 

Alexander Baunov writes: The ICC warrant closes the door to any way back for Putin on the world stage. Closer to home, signs of the damage are already showing. In April, during a Kremlin credentials presentation ceremony for new ambassadors to Russia—most of them non-Western—a speech by Putin, to his evident surprise and for perhaps the first time ever, received no applause. It was an ominous sign. – Foreign Affairs 

Chels Michta writes: Ukraine is approaching a critical moment in its history. The endurance and fortitude shown by the Ukrainian nation have been nothing short of inspiring, but now comes the difficult bit. The coming weeks and months will test the country’s military to the limits, and similarly, a political leadership that knows just how high the stakes are. Ukraine is likely to fight on regardless. Nonetheless, the offensive may reshape the conflict, and go a long way toward determining what the West will do next. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Anchal Vohra writes: Ukrainians believe Russia is not serious about giving up control of the plant while it is still trying to connect it to the Russian grid under the wholesale control of Rosatom. “This is the same as stealing Ukrainian grain, coal mines, factories. This is the Russian stealing policy more than anything else,” Frolova said. “Like they are stealing toilets from people’s homes.” – Foreign Policy 


Israeli President Isaac Herzog and British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will walk to the coronation of King Charles in London on Saturday to abide by a religious prohibition on travel by car during the Jewish Sabbath, Herzog’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza agreed to a ceasefire early on Wednesday, two Palestinian officials said, after the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in Israeli custody a day earlier sparked cross-border exchanges of fire. – Reuters 

At least one person was killed and five others injured in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian health officials said Wednesday, after hours of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave following the death of a prominent hunger-striking prisoner. – Associated Press

Three people were killed and another two were injured to varying degrees in three separate violent incidents overnight, according to police and MDA reports on Wednesday morning. – Jerusalem Post

A total of 104 rockets were fired into Israel between Tuesday and Wednesday, most by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad with some minor participation from Hamas, the IDF confirmed on Wednesday morning. – Jerusalem Post

An EU-Israel summit will likely be held in Jerusalem this year after Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell defused past tensions in a long meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF has completed a series of security measures that were implemented to reduce terror and tensions in the Palestinian village of Huwara in the West Bank, they announced on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli officials on Wednesday said emergency measures in the south were lifted and the residents were given the all-clear to return to routine, including schools, agricultural fields and all other aspects. – Ynet

An ultra-Orthodox coalition lawmaker launched a scathing rebuke on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday for failing to pass two key bills that were part of the coalition agreement between their respective parties and were put on hold. – Ynet  

Two brothers from Haifa are suspected of brutally abusing a Palestinian worker who was employed in their family business, Ynet learned on Monday – Ynet 


Twenty months after the Taliban returned to power, the United Nations is struggling to plot a course that, in part, would address Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis without running afoul of Western countries seeking to pressure the government in Kabul to moderate its policies. – Washington Post

A closed-door summit on Afghanistan ended Tuesday in Qatar without any formal acknowledgment of the Taliban-run government there, though the United Nations’ chief said they would hold another meeting in the future. – Associated Press

President Biden’s administration ignored a congressional subpoena for documents relating to the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan for the third time on Tuesday. – Fox News


The United States worked together to impose terrorism-related sanctions on two individuals linked to funding two Syria-based groups already sanctioned by the United States and United Nations, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

More than 66,000 Syrians ended up in Sudan after their homeland was torn apart by the conflict since 2011, according to U.N. figures, drawn by easy entry requirements. Many now seek to join the flood of foreigners who have left Sudan in past days, including in evacuations organised by their governments. Fearing a return to their shattered homeland, some Syrians are now stranded between two conflicts. – Reuters 

Fares Halabi writes: As the Turkish election draws near, the future of Ankara’s relationship with NW Syria hangs in the balance. The possibility of a total policy shift toward normalization with the Assad regime raises concerns for those who have suffered under his rule. Meanwhile, the residents of NW Syria continue to be forgotten, caught in the middle of a conflict that has left them without even basic necessities. These individuals are anxiously waiting and watching to see how the Turkish elections play out, apprehensive about a potential turning point after May 14, 2023. – Middle East Institute  


The main challenger trying to unseat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in this month’s presidential election cuts a starkly different figure than the incumbent who has ruled the country for two decades. – Associated Press

From markets in Bursa to universities near Ankara and the streets of Berlin, the mood among many Turkish voters is tilting against Recep Tayyip Erdogan and could thwart the powerful president’s reelection bid.  – Bloomberg 

Bobby Ghosh writes: Kilicdaroglu has pledged to reset relations with the West, and there’s no reason to doubt his sincerity. But even if there is a change in government in Ankara after May 14, its priorities will be very different than those of Washington or Brussels. The West would be wise to manage its own expectations. – Bloomberg 

Middle East & North Africa

Economies across the Middle East and Central Asia will likely slow this year as persistently high inflation and rising interest rates bite into their post-pandemic gains, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday. – Associated Press

OPEC oil output fell in April due to a halt in some of Iraq’s exports and delays to Nigerian shipments, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday, adding to the impact of strong adherence by top producers to a supply cut deal by the wider OPEC+ alliance. – Reuters

Government-led reforms and the growth of private investment in new sectors will help support non-oil economic growth in Saudi Arabia amid an expected sharp slowdown in overall growth this year, a senior IMF official said. – Reuters 

Herb Keinon writes: Netanyahu speaks continuously of expanding the Abraham Accords and looping Saudi Arabia into the process. That task will be much more challenging — if not impossible — if the Arab world perceives him as an unwanted guest in the Oval Office. An invitation by McCarthy is nice, but it does not provide nearly the same diplomatic benefits as an invitation to the White House. – Jerusalem Post

Rachel Kyte and Laurence Tubiana write: The world is waiting to see how it will shape the agenda and drive the world toward an agreement—playing the role of rotating president and not that of the UAE. We can look to soccer, where the UAE has made a significant impression in the last decade and is a sport close to Jaber’s heart. It is, as they say, a game of two halves as we approach halftime with no goals on the score sheet; the UAE must offer bold strategic initiatives, because the planet needs a win, not a draw or a loss. – Foreign Policy 

Korean Peninsula

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday he is arranging a trip to South Korea for talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol in return for his March visit to Tokyo, aiming to further strengthen their ties before the upcoming summit of the Group of Seven industrialized natioins. – Associated Press

More than 10,000 South Korean community doctors and certified nursing assistants went on strike on Wednesday, protesting a nursing bill they fear would hurt their jobs even as it improves nurses’ pay and working conditions. – Reuters 

South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol urged China to reduce the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, responding directly to Beijing’s displeasure over the US ally’s new security agreement with Washington. – Bloomberg


U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said on Tuesday Washington was very concerned about China’s recent “punitive” action toward some U.S. companies, and that foreign firms are delaying investments in the country due to uncertainty about the openness of its economy. – Reuters  

Hong Kong’s leader on Tuesday stepped up a campaign to shut down further democratic challenges by unveiling plans to eliminate most directly elected seats on local district councils, the last major political representative bodies chosen by the public. – Associated Press

U.S. House lawmakers are requesting information from Nike Inc., Adidas AG and at least two other companies on whether they are importing products derived from forced labor in China. – Bloomberg 

American semiconductor companies want access to the China market despite US government national security concerns and need clear rules from the Biden administration, according to a major industry group. – Bloomberg 

The United States and European powers should treat China’s aggression toward Taiwan as “threats against us all,” according to the Czech Republic’s top diplomat. – Washington Examiner 

The Chinese embassy in Israel slammed US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, accusing him of seeking “to sow discord” between Jerusalem and Beijing by criticizing China over its trade practices and human rights record in a speech to the Knesset. – Times of Israel

Jianli Yang writes: China’s seemingly reckless new stance on the sovereignty of Crimea and of former Soviet republics represented by Ambassador Lu’s statements is thus not a call for the restoration of the Soviet Union as Putin desires but a supporting statement for Putin’s invasion war narrative to serve China’s strategic goals regarding the Russian-Ukrainian War, as well as the global order. – The Hill  

South Asia

The Biden administration has decided to remain publicly quiet on India’s democratic backsliding, according to senior US officials, as the US intensifies efforts to keep New Delhi on its side in the rivalry with China. – Bloomberg 

Pakistan inflation rose to a record 36.4% in the year to April driven mainly by food prices, the highest rate in South Asia and up from March’s 35.4%, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The U.S. State Department has allocated $500,000 to teachers who provide English-language instruction to transgender students in Pakistan. – Washington Examiner 


China supports Myanmar in finding its own path to development and urges the international community to respect its sovereignty and help it achieve peace and reconciliation, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The United States stands with treaty ally the Philippines in the face of harassment by China’s coast guard in the South China Sea and remains deeply concerned about “intimidation” by Beijing, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Japan’s defence ministry said on Tuesday it scrambled a jet fighter after spotting a suspected Chinese drone between the Japanese island of Yonaguni and Taiwan. – Reuters 

The United States is on track to open a new embassy in Tonga this month, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Tuesday, part of efforts to step up its diplomatic presence in the Pacific region to counter China. – Reuters 

NATO is planning to open a liaison office in Japan, its first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region, the Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday, citing Japanese and NATO officials. – Reuters 

When two Philippine coast guard vessels set out to patrol the volatile South China Sea recently, they had to face more than China’s growing territorial ambitions. The patrols are a constant battle against sun, sea, stress and gnawing isolation. The Associated Press joined a recent voyage, which provided a glimpse of what it’s like for members of the Philippine coast guard to work on the front lines of multiple geopolitical conflicts in one of the world’s most fiercely contested seas. – Associated Press

A delegation of United States defense contractors and a former senior leader of the U.S. Marine Corps pledged the beginning of deeper cooperation with Taiwan on Wednesday. – Associated Press

Taiwan intends to fight for itself in any armed conflict with China and is unclear as to what countries might stand beside it, the self-governing island’s foreign minister said. – Associated Press

China’s military sent a drone circling around Taiwan for the second time in a week, the island’s defense ministry said Wednesday, signaling a new surveillance tactic as cross-strait tensions remain high. – Bloomberg 


Every day as he settles in at his desk, Erhard Grundl, a German lawmaker, looks outside his office window into the embassy he knows may be spying on him.“I come into the office, and on a windy day, I see the Russian flag waving. It feels a bit like Psalm 23: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,’” he said, chuckling. “I’m not religious, but I always think of that.” – New York Times

Sweden should seek more exemptions from EU laws as part of a reset in relations with the 27-member bloc, the head of the Sweden Democrats, the country’s second largest party and an informal part of the government, said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Leaders of Kosovo and Serbia failed to agree on how to lower tensions in Serb-majority areas in north Kosovo, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday, warning that any further escalation could undermine the EU-backed deal on normalising ties. – Reuters

A group of 19 European Union member states are pushing for measures to reduce the bloc’s dependency on Chinese imports of pharmaceutical ingredients, a paper dated May 2 showed. – Reuters  

German police arrested dozens of people across the country on Wednesday in an investigation of the Italian ‘Ndrangheta organised crime group, German public prosecutors and state police said. – Reuters 

Britain has not issued invitations to King Charles’ coronation ceremony to the leaders of Russia, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela, a British source said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

A Russian spy network has acquired sensitive technology from EU companies to fuel Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine even after a US-led crackdown on the covert smuggling ring. – Financial Times

Matthew d’Ancona writes: The sight of the gilded coach drawn by horses through the center of London will give them permission to feel good about themselves and believe, somehow, in the greatness of their country. And, for one brief shining moment, as the rest of the world watches this extraordinary spectacle on their screens, it will all be true. – Washington Post

Peter Trubowitz and Brian Burgoon write: At a time when trade liberalization and other traditional foreign policies have fallen into disfavor, and the domestic coalitions associated with them have splintered, leaders must find new arguments about the necessity of international openness and cooperation. […]Yet given the depth of the antiglobalist backlash, far more action and vision are needed if Western democracies can hope to revive the political center while still competing geopolitically. It is urgent that they begin. – Foreign Affairs 

Bart M. J. Szewczyk writes: It is time for Macron to pivot. Despite the deep roots of his convictions in Gaullism and other French traditions, a shift is possible. French foreign policy can change quickly given its internal centralization, as the recent withdrawal from the Sahel has demonstrated. As Macron reflects on the legacy he will bestow and the endgame he wants to pursue in Ukraine, reorienting his strategy along the lines supported by the rest of Europe can achieve French goals while serving the wider interests of Europe and the West. – Foreign Policy 


Sudan’s warring military factions agreed to a new and longer seven-day ceasefire from Thursday, neighbour and mediator South Sudan said, even as more air strikes and shooting in the Khartoum capital region undercut their latest supposed truce. – Reuters 

A Kenyan cult leader accused of ordering his followers to starve themselves to death appeared in court on Tuesday as investigators searched for more bodies in a forest in eastern Kenya where 101 corpses have already been unearthed. – Reuters 

Kenyan police fired tear gas at a small group of protesters in the capital Nairobi on Tuesday as the opposition took to the streets again in anti-government demonstrations following a one-month pause. – Reuters 

Western countries on Tuesday raised concerns over Russian private military contractor Wagner Group’s activities in Mali, including allegations of its role in the killings of civilians, at a U.N. human rights meeting in Geneva. – Reuters 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aims to discuss the conflict in Sudan, signal his support for the peace process in Ethiopia and explore cooperation on green hydrogen with Kenya during his trip to East Africa this week, officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters

British nationals who want to leave Sudan should go to Port Sudan where final evacuation flights will depart on Wednesday, the British government said. – Reuters  

Lydia Polgreen writes: “It’s deathly quiet,” she said. “There’s no sound of traffic. There’s no sound of the usual fruit and vegetable vendors that sort of roam around neighborhoods.” Two things puncture the silence, one irregular and the other like clockwork — the staccato clatter of gunfire and artillery, and the call to prayer. Within a few days Khair had fled the city, first to Port Sudan, then via airlift, eventually to London. – New York Times

Samuel Ramani writes: Although Russia has vested interests in the Burhan-Hemedti conflict, it is unlikely to actively pursue a blanket destabilization strategy in Sudan. Instead, it is likely to balance close ties with both warring parties and continue actively opposing a democratic transition in Sudan. Regardless of whether Burhan or Hemedti ultimately prevails, Russia is well positioned to remain an influential stakeholder in Sudan and a vexing complication for the U.S.’s Red Sea security strategy. – Middle East Institute  

The Americas

President Biden is sending 1,500 active-duty troops to the southern border, while cities across the country are declaring states of emergency and asking for federal support as the country prepares for a surge of migration expected to accompany the lifting of Title 42 border restrictions next week. – Wall Street Journal 

Brazil offered on Tuesday to help cash-strapped Argentina and provide support to Brazilian exporters so that they can continue to sell to the neighboring country, their main exporting market for manufactured goods. – Reuters

Scott B. MacDonald writes: Although Argentina represents a challenging environment for Chinese companies, it maintains an important geoeconomic importance, especially in terms of its natural resources. What is going on in Argentina, including the debate over the lithium production regime, is of considerable interest to Beijing. […] Argentina has a window of opportunity to make good in the lithium sector, but it needs to maintain a pragmatic approach to achieve the greatest value it can for the country and keep foreign investment positively engaged. – The National Interest 

Latin America

A ceasefire between Colombia’s ELN rebel group and the government must be adhered to “100%” if it is to win the confidence of the Colombian people, the head of the ELN delegation said on Monday ahead of fresh talks in Havana. – Reuters 

The first US delegation to visit Brazil since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s high-profile trip China last month is highlighting the different approach that the world’s two largest economies are taking to investment in the South American country.  – Bloomberg

Vanessa Barbara writes: Even so, he continued to advocate a “negotiated political solution” to the war and reiterated his concern “about the global consequences of this conflict.” There’s no reason to think he’s being disingenuous. For food security, peace and sustainable development — in Brazil and the world over — Mr. Lula seems willing to forfeit the good will of his democratic friends in the West. Brazil is a pariah no more. Instead, it’s a pragmatist. – New York Times

Jorge Heine and Thiago Rodrigues write: A stalemated war—which is where Ukraine may be headed—is ultimately about economic resilience. There, Russia has the upper hand. The Brazilian mediation initiative to bring the conflict to an end soon may be an opportunity to save Ukraine—rather than the naive, misguided undertaking many in the West describe it to be. – Foreign Policy 

United States

The man sought in the killing of five people in Texas has been taken into custody, according to law-enforcement officials, ending a dayslong manhunt. – Wall Street Journal

Harlan Ullman writes: As this column has pointed out, a flawed race to judgment got us wrongly engaged in too many wars and uses of force, with Vietnam, the second Iraq War and Afghanistan being the saddest examples. […]The lesson is clear. Before crying wolf, be certain a wolf is present. Before declaring war, at home or abroad, make sure there is a real crisis. Otherwise, we know how this movie will end. – The Hill 

John Bolton writes: Biden’s half-hearted efforts to enhance U.S. national security should be a significant political vulnerability in the 2024 presidential campaign. It remains to be seen whether Republicans have the wit to make it an issue. – The Hill   


Authorities in the U.S. and Europe arrested nearly 300 people, confiscated over $53 million, and seized a dark web marketplace as part of an international crackdown on drug trafficking that officials say was the largest operation of its kind. – Associated Press

The hacker group Anonymous Sudan claimed to have hacked Israeli rocket warning systems, including for the Iron Dome, on Tuesday amid a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, and warned it would do so again should more rockets be launched. – Jerusalem Post

China’s government has revised its conscription laws, allowing retired service people to re-enlist and increasing recruitment focused on expertise in space and cyberwarfare. – The Guardian 

The military services need to figure out how to better integrate and leverage disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence into data-driven decision making, and senior cyber officials said today they need industry’s help to do it. – Breaking Defense

Divyanshu Jindal and Mohammed Soliman write: The successful implementation of this strategy will dictate the security and resilience of U.S. cyberspace and also shape broader dynamics, as allies look to follow suit and adversaries look to use cyber tools to threaten U.S. security. […] Considering the diversity of ways in which private sector entities are relevant to the strategy and its proposed policy approaches, this could be simple in some areas but remain complex in most. – Middle East Institute 

Erica Lonergan and Michael Poznansky write: More realism about cyberspace may help leaders truly integrate cyber capabilities. In most cases, integrating cyber effectively will mean leveraging the insights gleaned from this domain to tailor other, non-digital forms of deterrence and coercion. In the rare cases where leaders believe cyber coercion can work, it is likely to be as part of a broader package involving other policy levers. Figuring out what the right cocktail is will be hard but is a worthy undertaking. – War on the Rocks  


U.S. Army officials stressed the service was clear in laying out its requirements for a modular open systems architecture and what the service wants Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competitors to provide in proposals to prove the capability. – Defense News

By the end of the year, a new and unusual deal for the F-35 fighter′s spare parts could be in place — one that would flip the current supply model on its head. – Defense News

The U.S. military will be unable to fully exploit drones until it can enable fewer people to control more robots, says Anduril’s Chris Brose, who says his company has found a way to do just that. – Defense One

The Navy has given the official green light for its package of capabilities focused on defeating undersea mines to begin operations in the fleet. – Breaking Defense

Tom Rogan writes: This is ridiculous. The war in Ukraine has underlined the profound fragility of U.S. munition supply chains. To risk an even greater spare parts shortage in advance of a major war with China is insane. The Pentagon should reject this gambit in turn. And if it won’t do so, Congress should step in to do the Pentagon’s job for it. The Pentagon’s job, after all, is to maximize the military’s readiness to fight and win the nation’s wars, not to keep Lockheed happy and save short-term funds. – Washington Examiner 

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: Promises hold no sway. Only good old fashioned “consistent upward and adequately funded demand signals” will help better balance capacity and capability to compete and deter now, as well as win the war later. Pentagon leaders have repeatedly shown their bias to pass the problem to the next administration. Congress must now act to bridge the yawning military capability gaps. – 19FortyFive 

Josh Portzer and Jonathan Gosselin write: We have offered several suggestions that might aid in streamlining pursuit of long-range fires across multiple platforms going forward. Though the skirmishes with which we have been concerned reside on the high seas, the force is undoubtedly a joint one — and a combined one at that! Accordingly, the Department of Defense has equity in how the U.S. military collectively pursues long-range fires. And to that end, taking a page out of the Navy’s Navigation Plan might be a sound initial step. – War on the Rocks