Fdd's overnight brief

November 14, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


An Iranian protester was sentenced to death for setting fire to a government building, the country’s judiciary said Sunday, the first known use of capital punishment by authorities seeking to suppress nearly two-month-old antigovernment demonstrations. – Wall Street Journal 

Demonstrators in southeastern Iran clashed with security forces as they gathered to mourn the deaths of dozens of people during the antigovernment protests that have swept across the country, in one of the most serious challenges to the clerical establishment in decades. – Wall Street Journal 

This is what justice looks like in Iran, where the trials of protesters, bystanders and chroniclers of the current uprising have begun. There is little expectation of due process in a judicial system dominated by the security services and stacked against the accused. – Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with both leaders placing emphasis on deepening political, trade and economic cooperation, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday. – Reuters

Iran has agreed to a visit by the U.N. nuclear watchdog this month to start giving answers the agency and its 35-nation board have long called for on the origin of uranium particles found at three sites, an IAEA report on Thursday seen by Reuters said. – Reuters

Two more French citizens are being held in Iran, taking the total of its nationals detained there to seven, France’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Saturday, a further sign of deteriorating ties between the two countries. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with both leaders placing emphasis on deepening political, trade and economic cooperation, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday. – Reuters

An Italian woman travel blogger arrested in Iran in late September has been released and is on the way home, the office of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Thursday. – Reuters

A German-Iranian woman held for rights activism in Iran has been sent back to prison after being granted medical leave four months ago, her daughter said on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards targeted on Monday what the semi-official Fars news agency reported as “terrorist groups” in Iraq’s Kurdistan region with missile and drone strikes. The Revolutionary Guards have launched attacks on Iranian Kurdish militant opposition bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq since the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16. – Reuters

The protests sweeping Iran have sounded the death knell for a once vibrant reform movement, revealing a big divide with Iranians in the streets demanding an end to theocratic rule. The reformists, who emerged as an influential force in the 1990s urging more political and social freedoms, have distanced themselves from the main demand of Iranians protesting since a young woman died in morality police custody on Sept. 16. – Reuters

Thousands of Iranians protested in the restive southeast on Friday to mark a Sept. 30 crackdown by security forces known as “Bloody Friday” as the country’s clerical rulers battled persistent nationwide unrest. – Reuters

The United States, Britain, France and Germany want the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board to pass a resolution calling it “essential and urgent” for Iran to explain uranium traces found at three undeclared sites, their text seen by Reuters showed. – Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz strongly criticized the Iranian government Saturday for its bloody crackdown on protests in the country said Germany stands “shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people.” – Associated Press

The U.N.’s top human rights body is poised to hold a special session on Iran in the wake of the government’s deadly crackdowns on protesters, threats against journalists and other alleged human rights violations in the Islamic republic. – Associated Press

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday ratified a prisoner exchange treaty with Belgium, official media said, after criticism in the European country that it could free a bomb-plot mastermind. – Agence France-Presse

Iran on Sunday criticised a recent meeting between the French president and opponents of the Islamic republic, calling Emmanuel Macron’s comments after the encounter “regrettable and shameful”. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s judiciary has charged more than 750 people in three provinces for participating in “recent riots”, local media reported, amid nationwide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini. – Agence France-Presse

The brother of hunger-striking Iranian dissident Hossein Ronaghi says his brother’s condition has “worsened” and he has been transferred to the hospital of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where his detention “on false pretenses” continues. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

“The Iran deal is dead” is a Washington meme, but just how dead is the zombie? Once considered the top diplomatic aspiration of President Biden’s national security team, is the deal again showing faint signs of life? – New York Sun

The European Union Council is set to consider further sanctions against Iran due to the regime’s ongoing crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini. – Jerusalem Post

An Iranian archer denied on Saturday that she had shown solidarity with  nationwide anti-regime protests when her hijab fell from her head at an awards ceremony in Tehran, claiming the covering had slipped due to “wind and a lot of stress.” – Times of Israel

Kian Tajbakhsh writes: The protesters have thrown down a moral as well as a civic challenge that calls on all Iranians to start a new conversation about what, collectively, they can and should envision for their future—a future in which all Iranians can feel at home. – Wall Street Journal

Ian Buruma writes: After the Islamic revolution, there was no more excuse to bar religious women from universities. And now, headscarf or no headscarf, believers or unbelievers, women are demanding political rights, for themselves and for everyone else. The clerics may temporarily stifle the demands of this new generation of Iranians with violence and terror. But this can only be a recipe for many more revolts to come. – Bloomberg

Eli Lake writes: Mr. Netanyahu has already made clear that he wants Israel’s most important ally to develop a plan to deter militarily Iran from inching toward a nuclear weapon. Absent such assurance, well, Israel has already proven it has the means to hack Iran’s enrichment facilities, kill its scientists, and steal its atomic blueprints — without American assistance. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: From Tehran’s perspective, the high-level visits of Israeli officials to Bahrain and Azerbaijan represent a major regional shift. Iran knew that these two countries had warm ties with Israel, but recent months have brought more rhetoric from Iran against Baku, Manama and Riyadh. – Jerusalem Post

Zvi Bar’el writes: The “feminine” protest in Iran is being pegged as a sectoral or gender-based phenomenon, which, despite the support it gets around the world, is still perceived in Iran as a nuisance that can be handled with a bit more force – and a lot more oppression. Accusing demonstrators of treason and connections to foreign “colonial” powers is meant to undermine the legitimacy of the protesters and their demands. – Haaretz

Abolghasem Bayyenat writes: While mitigating Iran’s concerns, such a formula would also shield Washington and its European allies from criticism that they have prematurely closed the investigations or infringed on the IAEA’s autonomy in dealing with this issue. Regardless of what form a compromise solution takes, no efforts should be spared toward achieving it given the stakes involved. By removing one of the main obstacles to resurrecting the Iran nuclear deal, Washington and Tehran will defuse a simmering military conflict in the Middle East. – The National Interest 

Russia & Ukraine

A senior U.S. official said China is uncomfortable with Russia’s rhetoric and invasion of Ukraine, as President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping prepared for a meeting aimed at dialing down tensions between Washington and Beijing. – Wall Street Journal 

With the electricity out, the Frankly coffee shop in central Kyiv had to cook syrnyky—Ukrainian cheese pancakes—on a small propane camping stove. Baristas made drip coffee and tea using a large vat of hot water, boiled before the power cut. […] Rolling power cuts are upending life in Ukraine’s capital and threatening to cripple the local economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a triumphant visit to Kherson on Monday morning, saying that the city’s liberation marked “the beginning of the end of the war” and pledging to drive Russia entirely out of his country. – Washington Post

Ukrainian forces raising their flag in central Kherson city on Friday cemented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most consequential political and military defeat in his ill-fated, 8½-month-old war. – Washington Post

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin and his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, proclaimed the completion of their mobilization of 300,000 new soldiers, many fighting-age Russian men remain in hiding — still fearful of being seized by military recruiters and sent to fight, and die, in a failing war. – Washington Post

Scores of people flooded to Kherson’s central square on Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the last Russian soldiers fled, surrendering this regional capital in a stunning setback to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war goals. A boombox blared techno music. Couples kissed and strangers hugged. Young men stood on top of cars, waving Ukrainian flags. – Washington Post

Russia’s military has gained a reputation for looting its way across Ukraine, taking washing machines, electronics, cultural artifacts and even the bones of the lover of Empress Catherine II. But the latest theft — including seven raccoons, two female wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey from Kherson Zoo — entered the realm of farce. – Washington Post

The hunt for Ukrainians helping the Russians led the intelligence investigators to an idyllic village with a house on a hill, where the father of an accused traitor lives. – Washington Post

As many as 200,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded on both sides in the nearly nine months since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the Pentagon’s top general — a staggering number that highlights the immense suffering of a war with no end in sight. – Washington Post

Russia’s pro-war activists delivered over the weekend their most cutting criticism of the military’s performance in Ukraine to date, following the humiliating withdrawal of Russian troops from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. By Sunday, the drumbeat of denunciations broke the taboo against singling out President Vladimir V. Putin himself and Russia’s very system of government. – New York Times

Russia on Sunday called for the G20 to stop talking about security and focus on the world’s most pressing socio-economic problems, ahead of a summit set to be dominated by Western criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

Ukraine’s foreign minister on Saturday urged Southeast Asian countries to take all measures possible to stop Russia from playing “hunger games” over a Ukrainian Black Sea grain deal, which could expire next week. – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States will impose new sanctions on a transnational network of individuals and companies that have been working to procure military technologies for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has accused Russian soldiers of committing war crimes and killing civilians in Kherson, parts of which were retaken by Ukraine’s army last week after Russia pulled out. – Reuters

Russia’s Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Sunday that a former mercenary who was filmed being executed by a sledgehammer blow to the head after changing sides in the Ukraine war was a traitor. – Reuters

Russia said on Saturday there was no agreement yet to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, repeating its insistence on unhindered access to world markets for its own food and fertiliser exports. – Reuters

Britain said Russia’s withdrawal from the only regional capital in Ukraine that it had captured since its invasion began in February was another humiliation for its army but Moscow continued to pose a threat. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday said the West was “militarising” southeast Asia in a bid to contain Russian and Chinese interests, setting the stage for a confrontation between Russia and Western leaders at the G20 summit in Bali. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday backed a fundraising campaign to help Ukraine build a fleet of naval drones to protect its cities against Russian missile strikes from the Black Sea – Reuters

The German government has earmarked an extra 1 billion euros ($1.03 billion)from its 2023 budget to support Ukraine, with money allocated to defending against Russian cyberattacks and collecting evidence of war crimes, a document showed. – Reuters

Ukrainian armed forces were in the final stage of reclaiming the west bank of the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region from Russian troops on Friday, a regional lawmaker said Friday. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund said it was starting “policy discussions” with Ukraine on Friday, building on meetings held in Vienna last month as Kyiv grapples with the economic fallout of the war with Russia. – Reuters

Ukraine plans to build up a powerful military and defence industry including an “army of drones”, and this week’s state takeovers of privately-held stakes in strategic companies are part of that drive, Ukraine’s defence minister said. – Reuters

Ukraine will ask its foreign partners for help in funding Starlink satellite internet systems currently being provided for free by SpaceX if the company begins to demand payment, Ukraine’s defence minister told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

Ukraine has the momentum in its war with Russia but Moscow is a long way from giving up, British defense minister Ben Wallace said on Sunday. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Kherson and addressed troops there on Monday, days after Russian forces were forced to retreat from the southern city after months of occupation. – Reuters

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pressed Southeast Asian countries for political and material support in his county’s fight against Russia, while accusing Moscow on Saturday of playing “hunger games” with the world by holding up shipments of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products. – Associated Press

Residents of Kherson celebrated the end of Russia’s eight-month occupation for the third straight day Sunday, even as they took stock of the extensive damage left behind in the southern Ukrainian city by the Kremlin’s retreating forces. – Associated Press

Top U.N. officials updated a high-level Russian delegation Friday on progress to facilitate Russia’s exports of food and fertilizer to global markets which have faced obstacles under an expiring wartime deal that has enabled Ukraine to ship over 10 million metric tons of grain from three Black Sea ports. – Associated Press

Across the world, nations paid respect with moments of silence and solemn ceremonies for their fallen soldiers in World War I and ever since on an Armistice Day pierced by the rumblings of Russia’s war in Ukraine that showed again that peace is all too often elusive. – Associated Press

The months-long Ukrainian offensive to recapture the city of Kherson, the only provincial capital that has been under Russian control since the early days of the invasion, is coming to a head. The fall of the city would deal another humiliation to Moscow after a string of battlefield defeats and other setbacks. – Associated Press

Russia’s foreign minister on Sunday accused the United States of driving increased militarisation in Southeast Asia, saying that Washington was trying to contain Beijing and Moscow’s influence in the region. – Agence France-Presse

Russia and the US failed to agree on language for a joint statement following a multilateral summit in Cambodia, making it unlikely the Group of 20 nations will reach a consensus in Indonesia either this week. – Bloomberg

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned it will take time to repair infrastructure damaged by Russia’s retreating troops in Kherson and urged residents to be vigilant as forces continue to de-mine the city and surrounding areas. – Financial Times

Manager Iryna Mykhailuk said a wave of Russian attacks on energy infrastructure that have necessitated rolling blackouts were the latest blow to the business, which reopened recently after shutting down following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. About 20 of its 50 staff have been laid off and Mykhailuk is not sure how long the business can stay afloat. – Financial Times

Russia’s withdrawal from the southeastern city of Kherson marks another victory for Kyiv as the front lines on the battlefield continue to be redrawn. But as the fighting shifts into a new phase with winter looming, what’s next for the nearly nine-month war? – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Israeli-made Gaia Amir MRAP armored vehicles were claimed to have been spotted near Kherson in service of the Ukrainian army, according to unconfirmed reports and photos published on social media on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Despite Russia’s efforts to repair the Kerch Bridge, it is unlikely that the bridge will be fully operational until at least September 2023, according to British Intelligence. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Ukraine’s Kherson victory is especially timely given this week’s leaks that the Biden Administration is leaning on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate with the Russians […] Any settlement now would give the Russians a chance to regroup, reinforce their defensive positions, and prepare for a renewed attack. Every war ends with some kind of negotiation, but Ukraine has earned the chance to restore its Feb. 24 borders, at the very least, before it sits across from Mr. Putin. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: Especially now, as Russia appears to be seriously reconsidering its Ukraine venture. This is not the moment, per Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley, for Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to come to the negotiating table. There’s no proffer, short of total submission, he could make that would satisfy Putin. – New York Post

David Ignatius writes: The Russian military has made some stunning mistakes on the battlefield — in Kyiv, Kharkiv and now Kherson. But Russia’s diplomats may have fared even worse. Russia is in retreat in every major international forum. Putin imagined this war would bring him greater global influence. It has instead been an epic disaster. – Washington Post

Max Hastings writes: It would be naive to suggest that gratitude will suffice to prevent Republicans from turning their backs on us, but it would constitute a start. For Europeans, and indeed for friends of freedom around the world, the US remains the only superpower we’ve got. Even allowing the numerous disasters since 1945, it has served us all pretty well. We shall need to strive harder if we are to sustain the privilege of shelter beneath its might. – Bloomberg

Michael Knights and Alex Almeida write: Using cyber-attacks, the “fire and forget” pre-programming of GPS-guided drones could be an ideal means of sending such enemy systems right back to their owners. Developing and employing a drone would thus not be the only costs an enemy might bear. If the adversaries of Russia and Iran are prepared to go beyond sanctioning, naming and shaming, the costs of undertaking strategic attacks could become unbearably high for the rogue states of the world. – Washington Institute 

James M. Dubik writes: Russia is unlikely to agree to such guarantees unless it is forced to do so. But that’s the price of their aggression. Should there be negotiations between Ukraine and Russia? Yes, but that time has not yet come. Should fighting continue? Yes. To negotiate now risks Putin’s aggression being rewarded, his quest to subjugate Ukraine remaining possible, and the global principle of non-aggression meaning little. – The Hill 

Henry Sokolski writes: On one hand, industry is demanding that U.S. taxpayers foot the bill to ensure their nuclear fuel independence. On the other hand, they are pleading that our government continue to buy cheap Russian uranium even though it funds a criminal Russian nuclear enterprise. – The Hill 

Edward Lucas writes: That is why the third front in this war — the one raging in Moscow — matters most of all. Putin is implicitly blaming his generals for the loss of Kherson. But that belies his claim to be the country’s real boss. The carefully crafted official narrative about the war is in shreds. Talkshow hosts, once reverential, are openly cynical or despairing. Hardliners — the real danger for Putin — are caustic. Blame for the war must land somewhere soon, and it will do so with devastating effects. Western leaders should be preparing for the future that they cannot avoid, rather than the one that they find most convenient. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Ben Ollenrenshaw and Julian Spencer-Churchill write: It may already be too late to substantially alter the outcome of the present crisis, and if NATO will soon have to choose between general war or capitulation, then history will remember that NATO’s voluntary and completely unnecessary weakness helped bring it about. On the other hand, the present stand-off (or the war that may follow it) could last for many months; and regardless of the outcome today, there will be future crises for which these forces will be necessary. Better late than never. – The National Interest 

Robble Gramer writes: “When it comes to Russia, of course, we are clear-eyed. We’re realistic about what dialogue between the United States and Russia can entail and what it can accomplish,” he told reporters at a press briefing this week. “We’ve been very intentional about seeing to it that the ability of our two countries to pass messages back and forth and to engage in dialogue does not atrophy.” – Foreign Policy


Benjamin Netanyahu was awarded a mandate Sunday to launch his political comeback and begin assembling a government that is predicted to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history and is already eliciting concerns from Washington. – Washington Post

The Israeli military said Thursday that it is considering filing charges against two soldiers over the death earlier this year of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American, Omar Assad, who died after being detained by Israeli soldiers at an impromptu West Bank checkpoint. – Wall Street Journal 

A key U.N. committee approved a draft resolution Friday calling on the International Court of Justice to urgently issue its opinion on the legal consequences of denying the Palestinian people the right to self-determination as a result of Israel’s actions since the 1967 Mideast war. – Associated Press

Turning a huge park in Gaza City into a sea of yellow flags, tens of thousands of Palestinians on Thursday commemorated the anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat — a rare public show of support for the Fatah faction in the heartland of its Islamist rival Hamas. – Associated Press

A man was shot and killed Monday morning at a bus stop near the central Israel city of Ra’anana, after an Israel Defense Forces soldier mistook him for a Palestinian terrorist, in a rare occurrence. – Times of Israel

Israeli tourists in Istanbul were advised Sunday to remain in their hotel rooms and not explore the Turkish city, following a bombing on a popular pedestrian street that left six dead and dozens wounded. – Times of Israel

Two women were arrested Saturday when pro-Palestinian protestors squirted tomato ketchup over a statute of former British prime minister Lord Arthur Balfour in the Houses of Parliament in London. – Times of Israel

Against the background of the hijab riots, the Israeli Foreign Ministry launched a campaign to express support for Iranian women. The videos and content he posted on the networks received 85 million exposures. The ministry’s Instagram page in Persian has more than a million followers, 93% of them from Iran. – Ynet

The Israeli government has tasked its domestic drone providers to develop longer range, higher-speed armed UAVs, as Jerusalem considers its potential options for strikes against Iran in the future, defense sources tell Breaking Defense. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: The well-organized heist of IDF weapons from military bases must be stopped. The IDF, which is responsible for protecting the country’s borders, must prove that it can protect its own bases. – Jerusalem Post

Carol Daniel Kasbari writes: Israel’s supporters in the U.S. will need to watch these and other contentious Israeli government policies particularly closely now. Indeed, the outcome of the Nov. 1 elections will likely have an effect on a variety of issues but none more so than the volatile and violent situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially East Jerusalem, where Ben-Gvir constantly contests the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount and campaigns for the expansion of Jewish rights and the assertion of Israeli sovereignty over the site. – Middle East Institute


Gyms and public baths are now also off limits to Afghan women, the Taliban confirmed Sunday, days after banning them from parks and funfairs. – Agence France-Presse

Turkish police found five dead Afghan nationals with stab wounds in a house in Ankara, government-owned Anadolu Agency and other media reported on Thursday. – Reuters

Five people were killed after the Taliban attacked a suspected hideout of the Islamic State (IS) militant group overnight in the northern part of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban authorities announced on November 13. Residents of Khairkhana, a predominantly ethnic-Tajik populated area in Kabul, reported several explosions and heavy gunfire for hours overnight. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

As residents of Afghanistan’s western Herat Province face high unemployment, skyrocketing inflation, and acute hunger, the Taliban authorities have cut off their access to a local delicacy — lamb testicles. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Marvin L. Chase writes: Cody, the leader of our U.S. Army Aviators over-the-horizon, sent a message to our partners letting them know that we could no longer get anyone into the airport, and that we had to shift to finding other ways out of Afghanistan. The head Afghan coordinator of the Special Mission Wing evacuation effort outside of the gates, and the highest-ranking member now stranded in Afghanistan, responsible for successfully shepherding more than 149 of his people and their families to safety, replied to Cody. He said he understood, and that in Afghanistan there is a saying, “the land is hard and the sky is far away.” – War on the rocks 



Israeli airstrikes killed two Syrian soldiers and wounded three others when they slammed into an airbase in the province of Homs, a Syrian army statement said. – Associated Press

When a Russian plane arrived in Iran with €140m in cash and a booty of captured western weapons, an exchange for Iranian drones, it marked a new phase in a seven-year alliance between two unlikely bedfellows. The delivery of cash and weapons was reportedly made in August, after Russia received its first deliveries of drones to support its war in Ukraine. – The Guardian 

Gregory Waters writes: While these may be difficult policies to pursue, ignoring the true underlying causes of today’s “frozen Syria” and their fragility all but guarantees future escalations. Rather than grow complacent over the general quiet, Western countries should re-examine the breadth of options they now have for creative policymaking to further stabilize the regions outside of regime control and improve the lives of millions of Syrians. – Middle East Institute 


A bomb attack struck a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare in central Istanbul on Sunday, killing at least six people, in what officials said could be a terrorist attack, and shattering a sense of calm as Turkey’s tourist industry works to recover from the pandemic. – New York Times

Turkey is committed to seeking a peace dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, Turkish media cited President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Saturday, as he accused the United States and other Western countries of provoking Moscow. – Reuters

Thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in the German city of Düsseldorf against Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the Kurdish region and the international community’s apparent apathy about the issue. – Associated Press 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes to the Group of 20 summit in Bali this week with an unexpected boost from the role he’s played securing global grain supplies during Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Turkey said Kurdish militant group PKK and its US-backed affiliates in Syria were behind a Sunday bomb attack in Istanbul’s popular tourist district that left at least six people dead and 81 wounded. – Bloomberg

Zvi Bar’el writes: This isn’t just a security issue; it also threatens Erdogan’s political position and popularity, which has plunged over the last two years despite the fact that the opposition currently lacks a serious candidate to run against him in next June’s election. The last thing he needs now, on top of an economic crisis that has caused the collapse of the Turkish lira and an inflation rate of over 85 percent, is to be viewed as having lost control of the country’s security situation as well. – Haaretz


Lebanon extradited a man said to be a grandnephew of Saddam Hussein to Iraq, where he is accused of involvement in a massacre by the ISIS extremist group, a security source said Saturday. – Agence France-Presse

Gabriel Mitchell writes: The Israel-Lebanon agreement suggests that the right balance of timing, compatible interests, and an invested mediator can yield a breakthrough. Resolving maritime disputes is not only about extracting resources, but also about removing sources of conflict and gradually developing trust between aggrieved parties […] The blueprint provided by Israel and Lebanon is as good a starting point as it gets. – War on the Rocks

Arthur Koll writes: The increased role of the United States and France in the Lebanese arena is also a positive development and is preferable to leaving Lebanon under the sole grip of Hezbollah and Iran, which led that country to misery. And who knows, now that the precedent of a maritime border agreement has been set and the ice has been broken, perhaps there is increased potential for a future agreement on the land border between Israel and Lebanon. That, however, still seems far away. – The National Interest 


Saudi Arabia

A US citizen has been detained in Saudi Arabia after getting into a dispute with security officials while performing the umrah pilgrimage, a family spokesman told AFP Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

Saudi Arabia defended its decision to lower oil production and said its relationship with the US was strong enough to survive the fallout. – Bloomberg

Anjani Trivedi and Paul J. Davies write: Saudi also faces growing local competition in finance. The financially savvier United Arab Emirates has gone big on drawing in banks, global asset managers and talent to build a center of expertise. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are creating investment bases and showing that they can – potentially – diversify and pivot their economies to be more than just dependent on oil and trade. And, that they know how to use their own money well. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

U.S. intelligence officials have compiled a classified report detailing extensive efforts to manipulate the American political system by the United Arab Emirates, an influential, oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf long considered a close and trusted partner. – Washington Post

President Biden’s brief stopover at the U.N. climate conference known as COP27 on Friday included “intensive consultations” on the case of Alaa Abdel Fattah, the British Egyptian political prisoner on a hunger and water strike in an Egyptian prison. – Washington Post

The late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s great-nephew has no links with the Islamic State group but was sent back to Iraq as part of a political deal with Lebanese authorities, his lawyer said Sunday. – Associated Press

Yemen’s Houthi group is piling on pressure to extract economic gains in U.N.-led talks for an extended truce deal with attacks on oil ports in government-held areas, which officials say have disrupted crude exports, choking state revenues. – Reuters

Bahrainis headed to the polls Saturday but a ban on opposition candidates meant the election will bring no meaningful change despite a record number of people vying for seats, rights groups said. – Agence France-Presse

Korean Peninsula

Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on. China has doubled down on its promise to take Taiwan. In the United States, clashes between Democrats and Republicans have hardened political divisions. With the Biden administration occupied on multiple fronts, North Korea, a tiny, isolated nation of ​25 million people, has seemed determined to make Washington pay attention, its leader, Kim Jong-un, warning that the United States should no longer consider itself a “unipolar” superpower in a new “cold war.” – New York Times

Washington wants to buy South Korean artillery shells to send to Ukraine, a U.S. official said on Friday, even as Seoul insisted that the United States must be the ammunition’s end user and that its policy against lethal aid for Ukraine is unchanged. – Reuters

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday that unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the Asian region by force can never be accepted amid tension over the South China Sea, Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

The recovery of a Soviet-era anti-aircraft missile after a recent North Korean launch shows the age of the nuclear-armed country’s air defences – systems and aircraft Pyongyang has been working to modernize alongside the rest of its arsenal. Although North Korea’s ballistic missiles get most of the attention, the country has been quietly pouring resources into trying to find ways to counter stealth fighters, analysts say. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Sunday that North Korea is conducting more “aggressive” provocations based on confidence over its nuclear and missile programmes, calling for strong cooperation with the United States and Japan. – Reuters

The United States, Japan and South Korea are “more aligned than ever” on North Korea’s “provocative behaviour,” U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sunday, as his national security adviser promised a joint response if Pyongyang carries out a seventh nuclear test. – Reuters

The successful crypto heists illustrate North Korea’s growing sophistication as a malign cyber actor. Western security agencies and cyber security companies treat it is as one of the world’s four principal nation state-based cyber threats, alongside China, Russia, and Iran. – Financial Times

Avigdor Haselkorn writes: These must have convinced Kim and the mullahs that they do have the capacity to divert, or tie down, American military resources. Lastly, given the deepening relations between these two countries and Russia in the wake of the protracted Ukraine conflict, it can be expected that new tests of the US military’s multi-front war posture will emerge shortly, as it is all but certain that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking intensely to punish Washington for its continued support for Kyiv. – Jerusalem Post


President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping launched into a high-stakes meeting here on Monday, the first in-person exchange between them as their nations’ leaders and at a time of extreme tensions between the global powers. – Washington Post

Security concerns related to Chinese investments in overseas ports are mounting as the country’s firms acquire more stakes at shipping hubs around the world and geopolitical tensions rise. – Wall Street Journal 

It has been nearly five years since police here told Henry Cai, a U.S. citizen from California, that he couldn’t leave China. Just before Christmas 2017, he was stopped at the airport at the end of a business trip. Mr. Cai later learned somebody was trying to force him to pay an outstanding debt of several million dollars owed by a Beijing company where he was a director and shareholder. – Wall Street Journal 

President Biden was triumphant on Sunday after Democrats cemented control of the Senate and said the result meant he was going into his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday “stronger.” – Washington Post

President Biden intends to use his Monday meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Bali to establish a “floor” for the relationship. China, too, has signaled it wants to put ties back on track after several years of fierce disagreements over trade, technology and human rights. But for Beijing, doing so is not about agreeing to disagree or working out how to avoid the worst-case scenario of outright conflict. – Washington Post

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sunday his country will maintain open communication lines and seek no conflict with China, ahead of what are expected to be tense talks on a range of geopolitical issues at the G20 summit in Indonesia this week. – Reuters

Strengthening trade ties and regional security will be priorities in an upcoming visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden will warn Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting on Monday that North Korea’s continued pursuit of weapons development will lead to an enhanced U.S. military presence in the region, the White House said. – Reuters

The head of the International Monetary Fund warned of risks to the global economy from the rivalry between China and the United States, while describing tariffs put on Chinese imports under then-President Donald Trump as counterproductive. – Reuters

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasised the “irresponsibility” of nuclear threats during a summit in Cambodia, suggesting Beijing is uncomfortable with strategic partner Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, a senior U.S. official said on Monday. – Reuters

US President Joe Biden meets China’s Xi Jinping in Bali on Monday hoping to set “guardrails” for relations between the countries, as the world’s 20 largest economies hold their first major post-pandemic summit. – Agence France-Presse

Hong Kong’s government reacted with fury on Monday after a popular democracy protest song was played instead of the Chinese national anthem for the city’s team at a rugby sevens tournament in South Korea. – Agence France-Presse

China issued sweeping directives to rescue its property sector, adding to a major recalibration of its pandemic response in the strongest signs yet that President Xi Jinping is turning his attention toward shoring up the world’s second-largest economy. – Bloomberg 

China has named former SARS firefighter Yin Li the new Communist Party leader of Beijing, as President Xi Jinping begins recalibrating the Covid Zero policy that’s slowed the world’s second largest economy. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Biden should tell Xi that if China doesn’t like something the U.S. is doing, it should tell the U.S. that. And that the U.S. will listen in respect for the value of dialogue and diplomacy. But Biden should inform Xi that even in areas where cooperation is preferable and possible, listening is not the same as following Beijing’s orders. He should make clear that the U.S. has the resolve and means to act in the defense of its national interests. – Washington Examiner

Phelim Kine and Jonathan Lemire write: At this point, the fact the meeting is happening at all is being sold as a win. But the face-to-face is just as likely to highlight the growing gulf between two countries that used to believe they could cooperate at least on global crises and trade. Despite four phone calls and one virtual meeting over the past two years, Biden and Xi seem further apart than ever. – Politico

Minxin Pei writes: As Xi sits down with US President Joe Biden in Indonesia on Monday, he should seize this opportunity to build a floor beneath US-China relations. Diplomacy, not muscle-flexing, will make China more secure without the immense economic costs that decoupling would impose. – Bloomberg

Daniel F. Runde writes:  With U.S. leadership and a handful of lenders, the “Heavily Indebted Poor Country” (HIPC) process was pulled together to allow for debt forgiveness. There was an explicit assumption that these same countries would not borrow monies again in the same way. In less than 25 years, we find ourselves in a similar but more complex place. As then, only a political solution is possible. – The Hill

Christopher K. Johnson writes: Xi is not looking for a rapprochement, but he might like some breathing room. Early rumblings that Biden and Xi could hold a lengthy meeting with the trappings of traditional modern summits, where both sides use the gathering to announce commercial deals and other deliverable results, certainly suggested as much. The real question is whether Biden wants to—or can—seize Beijing’s apparent interest in a détente to pump the brakes on the relationship’s downward spiral. – Foreign Affairs

Michael Cunningham writes: Washington should recognize that other countries are more susceptible to Chinese economic coercion than the United States and take greater risks when publicly opposing Beijing. Other nations’ willingness to go along will depend in part on their perception of how firmly the United States is standing behind them. – The National Interest 

South Asia

Supply chains, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the impact of COVID-19 were top issues for U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as she met with Indian government and business leaders Friday in New Delhi. – Associated Press

Gunfire and a deadly shooting have led to the closing of a main border crossing between Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, officials from both countries said on Sunday. – Associated Press

Hal Brands writes: New Delhi has a real stake in the survival of a free Taiwan. China has a punishing strategic geography, in that it faces security challenges on land and at sea. If taking Taiwan gave China preeminence in maritime Asia, though, Beijing could then pivot to settle affairs with India on land. – Bloomberg


U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday thanked Cambodia’s prime minister and chair of the ASEAN regional bloc for his critical remarks about the war in Ukraine, and said he was looking forward to democracy returning to army-ruled Myanmar. – Reuters

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday her mission in life was to ensure the island continued to belong to its people and that Taiwan’s existence was a provocation to no one, in a fiery pre-election rebuff to China. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, Japan’s top government spokesman said, for talks that come as tensions in Asia have risen over Taiwan and North Korea. – Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Sunday hailed a “positive” meeting with Chinese premier Li Keqiang — the first in-person encounter between leaders of the two countries since 2019. – Agence France-Presse

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday met Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and discussed their security pact and issues surrounding the Taiwan Strait, the White House said. The AUKUS security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia is seen as an effort by the Western allies to push back against China’s growing power and influence, particularly its military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and deployments in the contested South China Sea. – Reuters

China is continuously, and increasingly, taking actions that infringe on Japan’s sovereignty, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said, Jiji Press reported on Sunday. Kishida’s remarks came during a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, the news agency added. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday raised concerns with the leader of Cambodia about Chinese activities at it Ream Naval Base, stressing the importance of full transparency, the White House said. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday he hoped the two countries could strive toward building a “constructive and stable” relationship, Japan’s foreign ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden promised Saturday that the United States would work with a strategically vital coalition of southeast Asian nations, telling leaders that “we’re going to build a better future that we all want to see” in the region where U.S. rival China is also working to expand its influence. – Associated Press

A showdown between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin isn’t happening, but fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions between China and the West will be at the fore when leaders of the world’s biggest economies gather in tropical Bali this week. – Associated Press

Indonesia’s president vowed Sunday not to let Southeast Asia become the front lines of a new Cold War amid increasing tensions between the United States and China, saying as his country took over the chairmanship of the influential Association of Southeast Asian Nations that it would not become “a proxy to any powers.” – Associated Press

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government’s new push to diversify commercial ties in Asia shouldn’t lead to a decoupling from China. – Bloomberg 

Shots were fired between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces along the border between the two countries on Friday and Saturday, according to the countries’ defense ministries. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Much is at stake at Monday’s meeting with Mr. Xi. Mr. Biden can’t afford to show weakness on the U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s defense, which needs to be backed up immediately with U.S. and allied military assets. But Mr. Biden is harming his own policy, and U.S. interests, by lacking a credible economic strategy with Taiwan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael Rubin writes: Some in Washington may say Taiwan is not a core interest, but they are naive to believe that Taiwan would be Xi’s only victim. More people live inside a circle encompassing China and India than live outside it. If the economic ramifications of Russia’s Ukraine invasion were a gust of wind, China’s attack on Taiwan will unleash a hurricane. Richard is right. Wishful thinking is not a substitute for preparation. – Washington Examiner


A former British security guard has pleaded guilty to spying for Russia when he worked at the British Embassy in Berlin, including giving a Russian military attaché details of the identities and phone numbers of British civil servants. – Washington Post

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the European Union should expand its cooperation with Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN), saying it was crucial to deepen ties in the face of the war in Ukraine, addressing a meeting of business leaders in Singapore on Monday. – Reuters

​​Liberal rights advocate Natasa Pirc Musar won a runoff Sunday to become Slovenia’s first female head of state, and said she will seek to bridge the deep left-right divide in the Alpine nation of 2 million. – Associated Press

The two parties making up Spain’s leftist coalition government on Friday presented a proposal to reform the centuries-old crime of sedition, which was one of the main charges against pro-independence Catalan activists and politicians convicted for their roles in a 2017 secession push. – Associated Press

British Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch will address members of Congress and investors in Washington on Monday, signaling the start of the UK government’s latest post-Brexit attempt to boost economic ties with the US.  – Bloomberg

Claude Barfield writes: While the much-touted US-EU Trade and Technology Council is set to meet in early December, the IRA discriminatory provisions are sure to come up, even with the IRA task force in operation. At this point, there is no clear path to a solution, despite all of Tai’s musings about the need for a “real conversation now about where we are and what our goals are.” Alas, so far “conversation” has not led to concrete action. – American Enterprise Institute


As cholera races across Haiti, propelled in part by an escalating security crisis, the United Nations is mulling a request from Haiti’s government for “a specialized armed force” from abroad to quell the gang violence that has hindered the response and brought the nation of 11 million to the precipice of anarchy. – Washington Post

Sudan’s leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Sunday issued another stern warning to Islamists and other political factions against any interference in the military, amid talks with civilian parties to form a non-partisan government. – Reuters

The Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces on Saturday signed an agreement laying out the roadmap for implementation of a peace deal that both sides reached in South Africa this month. – Reuters

South Africa said on Sunday it will push for the African Union to get a seat at the G20, as leaders from the world’s top economies gather in Indonesia next week. – Agence France-Presse

Troops in the DR Congo clashed with M23 rebels north of the key eastern city of Goma on Sunday, officials said, in the latest violence to hit the troubled region. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

In 2015, just weeks after he was made prime minister and had formed his cabinet, Justin Trudeau was at the Group of 20 leaders’ summit meeting in Turkey. His trip was notable for the mutual admiration he and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, expressed for each other. – New York Times

Once a persona non grata in international circles who the US and dozens of other nations tried to unseat by cutting off ties with his government and supporting his opponents, Maduro is using the images to project a sense of legitimacy on the diplomatic stage and normalcy at home. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The US and its partners have an interest in preventing Haiti’s collapse. But under the current conditions, any foreign military intervention would likely do more harm than good. There’s little chance the operation would remain limited and “carefully scoped,” as the US intends; a previous UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti lasted 13 years and was ridden with scandals. Attempts to secure ports, roads and warehouses to enable the flow of humanitarian relief will inevitably produce clashes between foreign troops and heavily armed local gangs. – Bloomberg


United States

Across America, investigators are increasingly being hired by a new kind of client — authoritarian governments like Iran and China attempting to surveil, harass, threaten and even repatriate dissidents living lawfully in the United States, law enforcement officials said. – New York Times

Democrats took a victory lap on Sunday after retaining control of the U.S. Senate, defying Republican hopes for a “red wave” in the midterm elections, and turned their attention to Georgia where a run-off contest could strengthen their hand in Congress. – Reuters

Niall Ferguson writes: If ever there has been a time since the end of Cold War I for American politicians to find common ground in the name of national security, this is surely it. With our mounting national debt and our increasingly anachronistic military capabilities, we are in no way prepared to cope with simultaneous challenges to American primacy in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. – Bloomberg

Eli Lake writes: To begin with, the FBI is the one institution in government that is supposed to investigate leaks of classified information. This gives the Bureau extraordinary power over other parts of the national-security state. This means that every now and again, powerful generals such as David Petraeus or James Cartwright will be pursued by the bureau’s anti-leak team. But FBI leakers are themselves almost never punished. – Commentary Magazine


During a closed-door session with lawmakers last December, Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., was asked whether the bureau had ever purchased and used Pegasus, the hacking tool that penetrates mobile phones and extracts their contents. – New York Times

Russia-based hackers were behind the cyberattack on insurer Medibank Private Ltd (MPL.AX), which compromised the details of just under 10 million current and former customers, Australian Federal Police said on Friday. – Reuters

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil on Sunday said the government would consider making illegal the paying of ransoms to cyber hackers, following recent cyber attacks affecting millions of Australians. – Reuters

French defence and technology group Thales (TCFP.PA) said on Friday data relating to the group has been released on the “publication platform” of the hacker group LockBit 3.0, confirming media reports. – Reuters

The European Commission proposed on Thursday two action plans to address the deteriorating security situation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to bolster cyber defence and to allow armed forces to move faster and better across borders. – Reuters

A fraud network made up of thousands of bogus Twitter accounts has been impersonating legitimate NFT stores to swindle users out of cryptocurrency, according to research published Thursday. – CyberSecurity

Laura Kabelka writes: The privacy group EDRi has proposed 11 conditions before allowing government surveillance including a need to “demonstrate strict necessity and proportionality” and “secure independent judicial authorization.” […] “There is this ongoing legal battle to define the limits of European law,” says privacy advocate Berthélémy. “Some member states would like it to be clear cut, but the data retention jurisprudence proved that this can be shifted.” If she is right, the EU could soon see its powers expanded into uncharted territories. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The Biden administration is ratcheting up air defense for Ukraine with an influx of surface-to-air missile systems and other ammunition designed to give Kyiv what Pentagon officials are calling a “net” of interlacing capabilities to protect against Russian bombardment on civilian areas. – Washington Post

Six people were killed after two historic military planes collided and crashed to the ground Saturday afternoon during a Dallas air show, officials said. – Military.com

The Pentagon has quietly cut procurement of its new AC-130J Ghostrider special operations gunships, downsizing the fleet from 37 to 30. – Defense News

The Air Force Research Laboratory chose Colorado-based Advanced Space to build a spacecraft that will observe, detect and track objects around the moon. – Defense News

Editorial: The House and Senate defense authorization bills both include money for the missile. The White House says it “strongly opposes” such funding, and one reason is that the cruise missile “would not be delivered before the 2030s.” This is an argument for speeding up the program, not killing it. The sea missile illustrates a larger problem: The Biden Administration is talking loudly about the threat from China and Russia, but the rhetoric isn’t backed by investment in military power. As a strategy, that’s dangerous. – Wall Street Journal 

John Bolton writes: Today, rogue state capabilities are more sophisticated, Russian rhetoric is becoming more belligerent, and China’s nuclear arsenal is growing rapidly. In response we must urgently increase our homeland missile defenses across the board, which will also have the collateral benefit of aiding our allies. The technology we develop to protect ourselves can be deployed to defend them too. Today’s threat environment leaves no room for further delay and failure. Homeland missile defense should command top priority in our national security strategy. – Wall Street Journal 

Tom Rogan writes: Unless there are concerns with regard to a specific foreign trip, former U.S. officials should request foreign government security or private security from organizers of a private event hosting them. This would provide a significant and immediate reduction in the strain on the DSS workforce. The top line, however, is clear. The DSS needs relief. Failure to provide that relief risks catastrophic consequences. – Washington Examiner 

Michael Clarke writes: In this context, the NPR’s emphasis on the closer integration of nuclear and conventional capabilities, and the greater synchronization of their “planning, exercises, and operations” could, on the positive side of the ledger, create greater uncertainty in Beijing about its capacity for escalation control—and thus perhaps induce greater caution in its behavior by signaling that the United States may be prepared to escalate from conventional-to-nuclear threats or capabilities to deter any Chinese move on Taiwan. – The National Interest 

Caleb Larson writes: Though China and Taiwan were not mentioned, the statement noted that the “Higgins is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” “U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest numbered fleet in the world, and with the help of 35 other maritime-nation allies and partners, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.” – The National Interest