Fdd's overnight brief

November 17, 2022

In The News


Iran sentenced three more protesters to death Wednesday, heightening fears that the government will resort to executions to intimidate Iranians from rallying against the country’s clerical leadership, as state media accused shooters of killing several civilians in the southern part of the country. – Wall Street Journal

Iran’s intelligence services are increasingly targeting Iranians abroad, ramping up threats against journalists and dissidents as they struggle to contain a popular uprising at home, analysts and Western officials say. – Washington Post

Iran has tried to kill or kidnap at least 10 critics based in Britain since the start of the year, the head of the British security service said on Wednesday as he underscored perceived threats from a diverse range of sources, including Russia, China and Islamist and far-right terrorists at home. – New York Times 

Gunmen opened fire in a bazaar in the southwestern Iranian city of Izeh on Wednesday, killing at least five people, including a young girl, and wounding civilians and security forces, state TV reported. – Associated Press

Canada has imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals involved in alleged human rights abuses and companies it accused of supplying Russia with drones for use in Ukraine, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters 

The United States on Wednesday sanctioned senior employees of an Iranian state-run media corporation it accused of being a “critical tool” in Iran’s suppression and censorship of its people, stepping up pressure on Tehran over its crackdown on protests. – Reuters

France and Britain accused Iran of threatening their nationals on Wednesday after the Islamic Republic said French intelligence agents had been arrested during anti-government protests. – Reuters

Iran has released two Greek-flagged tankers that it seized in the Gulf in May, the Greek shipping ministry said on Wednesday, ending a months-long diplomatic impasse which has strained relations between Athens and Tehran. – Reuters

A false claim that Iran plans to execute thousands of people has gone viral in the wake of the first death sentence for a protester tied to the demonstrations against the country’s clerical rulers over women’s rights. – NBC

UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said Wednesday that he hoped a planned visit to Tehran as part of a probe into uranium traces found in Iran would still take place. – Agence France-Presse

Iranian protesters set up loudspeakers in locations across the country broadcasting an air raid siren and a “red alert” message calling on people to join the protests, as demonstrations commemorating the 2019 “Bloody November” protests continued on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Top Israeli sources confirmed to The Jerusalem Post what has only been hinted at until now, that Jerusalem is banking on a mix of global pressure and a two-year breakout time it believes Iran would need to master nuclear weapon detonation and delivery, which means that a large-scale attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is not likely in the cards, even to prevent Tehran from crossing the threshold of 90% weaponized uranium enrichment. – Jerusalem Post

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned lawmakers on Tuesday of increasing threats to Americans from Iran, suggesting that “the Iranian regime across multiple vectors has become more aggressive, more brazen and more dangerous” over the last 18 months. – Jewish Insider

Benny Avni writes: Israel has long understood that threat to the Gulf’s Iranian enemies, to Central Europe, as well as to America, via Venezuela. It took the Ukraine war to get America fully involved in reducing that menace. Washington now needs to go beyond targeted sanctions against Ukraine war-related Iranian assets. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Critics of the protests have pointed out that they are leaderless and don’t have a real program in place; and that regimes like the one in Tehran won’t likely be toppled by protests. That is where the crux of the problem lies. Iran can’t defeat the protests. But the protests don’t seem like they can defeat the regime either. – Jerusalem Post

David Albright and Henrik F. Rasmussen writes: Vladimir Putin reminds the world every day about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the hands of irresponsible and immoral regimes. The West must draw a firm line in the sand and get serious about preventing Putin’s Iranian henchmen from ever possessing nuclear weapons. – The Hill 

David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Spencer Faragasso, and Andrea Stricker write: Combined with Iran’s refusal to resolve outstanding safeguards violations, the IAEA has a significantly reduced ability to monitor Iran’s complex and growing nuclear program, which notably has unresolved nuclear weapons dimensions. The IAEA’s ability to detect diversion of nuclear materials, equipment, and other capabilities to undeclared facilities remains greatly diminished. – Institute for Science and International Security

Nicholas Carl, Zachary Coles, Johanna Moore, Amin Soltani, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Protests will likely continue throughout Iran on November 17—the final day of the three-day commemoration of the Bloody Aban protest wave in November 2019—and concentrate in Sistan and Baluchistan on Friday, November 18. […]The regime continues to seem like it does not have a coherent theory about how to address the protests, likely due to disagreements within the political and security establishment. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

The Pentagon’s top general on Wednesday doubled down on his assessment that the likelihood of Ukraine fully vanquishing Russia on the battlefield is “not high,” as he sought to contextualize his recent suggestion that the government in Kyiv should consider the coming winter an opportunity to negotiate an end to the conflict. – Washington Post

To reach the dank, eerie basement where the Russian police detained Ukrainian civilians required navigating a crumbling concrete stairway into a dark abyss below […]A darker side emerged Wednesday: torture chambers. Ukrainian prosecutors fanned out in seven teams for a first day of investigating war crimes in the city, and by afternoon said they had found 11 detention centers, including four sites they believed the Russians used to hold and torture civilians. – New York Times 

Russia is turning winter into a weapon, even as its soldiers flail on the battlefield. In a relentless and intensifying barrage of missiles fired from ships at sea, batteries on land and planes in the sky, Moscow is destroying Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, depriving millions of heat, light and clean water. – New York Times

World leaders at the Group of 20 summit meeting struggled to find common ground on the war in Ukraine in their closing statement on Wednesday, underscoring the gulf between the West and other countries on Russia’s actions. – New York Times

Moscow agreed to renew an arrangement with Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations that allows for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products through the war-torn Black Sea region, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and its Western allies clashed with Russia at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday over responsibility for a deadly missile strike in Poland near the Ukrainian border, an event the U.N. political chief called “a frightening reminder of the absolute need to prevent any further escalation” of the nine-month war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Russian strikes hit Ukraine’s southern Odesa region and the city of Dnipro for the first time in weeks on Thursday morning, and air raid sirens sounded all across the country amid fears that Moscow unleashed another large-scale missile attack. – Associated Press 

The expulsion of more than 400 suspected Russian spies from across Europe this year has struck the “most significant strategic blow” against Moscow in recent history and taken Vladimir Putin by surprise, Britain’s domestic spy chief said. – Reuters

Kyiv on Wednesday requested access to the site of a deadly blast in a Polish village after Western officials said the explosion there was likely caused by Ukrainian air defences. – Agence France-Presse  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday asked prime minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu for air defense systems, according to multiple Ukrainian media outlets. – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: That would be a message to Russia to keep its war far from NATO’s borders. “Don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory,” President Biden has repeatedly warned Mr. Putin. Mr. Stoltenberg has also promised to “protect every inch of NATO territory.” Mr. Putin will be watching to see if they meant it. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The incident on Tuesday in Poland reminds us that it is always important to try to reduce tensions and work for peace. Russia and Ukraine should be able to come to an agreement, hopefully, one that enables Ukrainians to return to their homes and lands and have the security they need in the future. The administration of US President Joe Biden has been careful not to escalate rhetoric in the wake of the missile falling in Poland. – Jerusalem Post

Thomas Kent writes: Amid the debate over what kind of information activity the U.S. government should run directly, we should not lose sight of the potential of these committed activists. – Washington Post

Andreas Kluth writes: But when millions of Russians indulge the diabolical fictions of a regime that is committing mass atrocities and threatening nuclear escalation, they become complicit in the crimes. So if you’re Russian and writhing in cognitive dissonance, find the courage to admit the obvious: Putin’s war of aggression has no justification at all. It is pure evil, and must stop. – Bloomberg

Leonid Bershidsky writes: Barring a divine intervention, there appears to be no realistic way to end the conflict soon. And this means it will drag out until divine intervention is no longer the only solution. As it drags out, more incidents like the Polish one will threaten to upend all the wargaming and editorializing. And Ukrainians and Russians will keep dying by the thousands. – Bloomberg

Henry Foy writes: Who fired what, when and at whom will probably become clearer as Poland, Ukraine and Russia conduct their investigations. But one thing is already stark: war between nuclear-armed Russia and Nato could only be one miscalculation away. – Financial Times

Kathleen Mcinnis and Daniel Fata write: Looking forward, the best response to Putin’s continued military’s aggression is to demonstrate resolve by strengthening NATO’s posture in Eastern Europe, remaining unified in its stance against Russia’s war against a sovereign nation, and ensuring Ukraine has the tools and platforms it needs to defend itself and end this war of aggression against its own nation. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Defense Minister Benny Gantz will conduct an official visit to Greece on Friday, during which he will meet with his counterpart, Minister for National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. – Jerusalem Post 

Hosting a top US general, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said Wednesday that the two countries were developing “joint” capabilities to counter Iran. – Times of Israel

A concerted effort is underway to turn Israel into the hub of a potential regional US medical supply chain that reduces American dependence on China. – Times of Israel

An Israeli citizen who was recently targeted by Iran’s Quds Force in Georgia said Wednesday that the idea of him becoming the target of assassination had occurred to him before. – Times of Israel 

The White House informed Israeli counterparts that it was not involved in the decision to open an FBI investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Wednesday. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: Although it is understandable that the FBI investigates the tragic killing of an American citizen abroad, such investigations are not the norm when it comes to a close US ally such as Israel, which Washington knows respects the rule of law and has an independent, reliable judicial system. This is not how friends treat friends, and we strongly urge our American allies to reconsider their decision. – Jerusalem Post

Lahav Harkov writes: IT’s NOT CLEAR what the FBI will accomplish in its investigation, considering that the agency does not appear to have access to new evidence nor will it be able to question Israeli soldiers. One can’t say the IDF is above reproach, because no one is, but the US was involved in Israel’s inquiry and the State Department released a statement saying they “welcome” it. Yet they’re insisting on going forward with their own probe. – Jerusalem Post  

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: It is also clear that Israel doesn’t have any interest in starting a maritime campaign with Iran, as it was from 2019 to 2021, but security officials made it clear that if Iran continues to attempt to execute attacks on the international scene, Israel will also recruit international parties and act on its own, in order to end a naval conflict that may develop. – Ynet


Two years ago, Syrian authorities began allowing former Yarmouk residents who could prove home ownership and pass a security check to come back. But so far, few have returned. Many others have been deterred by fear they could be arrested or conscripted by force. Others no longer have houses to come back to. Still, with the fighting having subsided in much of Syria, some want to see what’s left of their homes. – Associated Press 

The Israeli security system is worried about the cooperation mechanism between Israel and Russia regarding airstrikes in Syria being harmed as a result of the strengthening cooperation between Russia and Iran in the war in Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post

Fadi Adleh, Emma Beals, Tom Rollins, Nada Ismael write: With many now accepting that Bashar al-Assad will remain in power, calculations are being made about the level and breadth of political and behavioral reforms that might be deemed acceptable or feasible. This research suggests that while any reforms would still be welcome, if achievable, at a small scale they will have little meaningful impact on the ability to reintegrate Syria’s three territories into a single state, or to allow Syrians to safely return to their home country. – Middle East Institute


Turkish security forces have detained a suspect wanted in connection with the deadly bombing in Istanbul in an operation in a Turkish-controlled area in northwestern Syria, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. – Associated Press

Turkey plans to pursue targets in northern Syria after it completes a cross-border operation against outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in Iraq, a senior official said on Tuesday, after a deadly weekend bomb in Istanbul. – Reuters

Gönül Tol writes: Kılıçdaroğlu’s proposed bill, which seeks to safeguard the right of women’s employment in public institutions with or without a headscarf, is an excellent first step in ensuring women’s right to choose and empowering them to reject patriarchal norms that have animated both the secularist regime and its conservative opponents. – Middle East Institute


For almost a year, armoured vehicles carrying hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dinar bills have wound their way through Baghdad’s busy streets on a weekly basis. The trucks, laden with tax funds siphoned off from state-owned bank Rafidain, were allegedly pulling off in broad daylight what has since been dubbed Iraq’s “heist of the century”. – Financial Times

A fire broke out in Baghdad’s international airport Thursday for a second time in 48 hours, prompting Iraqi authorities to open an investigation. – Associated Press

Iraq’s oil ministry is looking to increase oil production rates and raise baseline exports in line with global market demand and OPEC’s decisions, state news agency (INA) cited the head of state oil marketer SOMO, Alaa al-Yasiri as saying. – Reuters

Michael Rubin writes: That Alsammarae not only escaped with American support but then openly laughed about it chafes Iraqis. Sprinkle this with Roth’s attempted blackmail and current efforts to win Shaker’s pretrial release risk lighting a tinderbox. Not only would short-circuiting the process be an affront to justice, but it would be a gift to an Iranian regime that seeks to spread its influence upon the catalyst of anti-Americanism. The U.S. should be Iraq’s ally in the fight against corruption. No man should be above the law. – Washington Examiner

Gulf States

This cosmopolitan city-state in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates has long positioned itself as a nonaligned haven for global wealth and finance. Now, the UAE’s decision not to join Western sanctions against Moscow over its war in Ukraine has made Dubai a new hub for fortune-seeking Russians, who see much of the rest of the world closed off to them. – Washington Post

Kuwait on Wednesday put to death seven prisoners in a rare mass execution in the small, oil-rich nation despite facing international criticism over its plans. – Associated Press 

Israel has asked its citizens attending the World Cup to exercise caution while in Qatar, the Arab host country which does not formally recognise it but admitted a team of its diplomats to Doha to provide assistance. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria and Russia began their first joint military exercises on Algerian soil amid Western concerns over Moscow’s deepening ties with the North African nation that’s a key energy supplier for Europe. – Bloomberg

The new U.N. special envoy for Libya warned Tuesday that the first anniversary of Libya’s postponed elections is quickly approaching and that further delaying a vote could lead the troubled north African nation to even greater instability, putting it “at risk of partition.” – Associated Press

The largest left-wing dark money network across the United States steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to an anti-Israel charity that fiscally sponsors a Palestinian-terror linked group, tax forms reveal. – Washington Examiner 

Alan Baker writes: One must assume and trust that the ICJ, a respected international juridical body, will not permit its respected stature to be politically prejudiced, abused and substantively manipulated by this new, irresponsible Palestinian political ploy in the UN General Assembly. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile toward its eastern waters Thursday, hours after the North threatened to launch “fiercer” military responses to the U.S. bolstering its security commitment to its allies South Korea and Japan. – Associated Press 

With all the big issues dominating this week’s meeting of leaders of the world’s biggest economies — war, famine, poverty, to name just a few — there’s been little public discussion of North Korea and its pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles. That’s been the pattern for much of this year, despite North Korea testing dozens of missiles, including short-range weapons that are likely nuclear-capable and intercontinental ballistic missiles that could target the U.S. mainland. – Associated Press

South Korean and Saudi Arabian leaders pledged stronger ties on Thursday in the fields of energy, defence industry and building projects, as the oil-rich kingdom signed investment agreements worth $30 billion with South Korean companies. – Reuters

As frictions between North and South Korea worsen against the backdrop of new geopolitical realities surrounding their shared East Asian peninsula, a new front has erupted half a world away in Eastern Europe, as U.S. officials reportedly see the two rivals backing opposite sides of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. – Newsweek

Weeks after signing a formal arrangement to co-operate on air-to-air refuelling, Australia and South Korea have conducted the first aerial refuel exercise involving military aircraft from both countries. – Janes


The first Chinese intelligence officer ever extradited to the United States to face trial was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison for trying to steal secrets about aircraft engines from General Electric, among other crimes. – Washington Post

A brief scolding that the Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave to Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, at the end of a summit in Indonesia has offered a glimpse into Mr. Xi’s muscular style of personal diplomacy. – New York Times

When Chinese authorities detained a Taiwanese citizen in China in August for an alleged violation of security laws, officials in Taipei sent messages of concern to Beijing seeking details. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping left on Thursday for the Thai capital of Bangkok, where he will attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping of nations, the official news agency Xinhua said. – Reuters

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to make cooperation with China dependent on the human rights situation there, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Wednesday, citing a draft of a new government China strategy. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Wednesday at the G20 summit in Indonesia that he hoped Italy would play an important role in helping the European Union’s policy towards China remain “positive” and “independent.” – Reuters

Chinese president Xi Jinping has invited Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to visit Beijing next year, following a bilateral meeting at the G20 conference in Bali in which Xi urged the Netherlands not to politicise trade. – Reuters

Turns out Chinese President Xi Jinping’s partnership with Vladimir Putin has limits after all: He doesn’t want to follow the Russian leader into diplomatic isolation. – Bloomberg

Republicans will use their new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to intensify Washington’s focus on China, and more closely monitor aid going to Ukraine, but they insist they have no plans to stop support for Kyiv in its fight with Russia. – Reuters

A planned meeting between Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Wednesday has been cancelled, Downing Street said. – Agence France-Presse

Josh Rogin writes: As for handling Xi, it makes complete sense to keep the lines of communication open, in the hope that Beijing will someday be ready to really negotiate in a way that responds to the international community’s concerns about its actions. Talking is great, but only if we are clear-eyed about the character and intentions of the dictator across the table. – Washington Post 

Hal Brands writes: Even this, though, is more of an aspiration than a plan, because the members of the transatlantic community are only starting to talk to each other about what they would do — and what they would ask of each other — in a conflict. None of these measures will be easy. Yet the message that US diplomats are carrying to Europe is the right one: The cost of failing to deter a war may be having to fight it, at an exorbitant price. – Bloomberg

Maxwell Bessler writes: So, some historical consensus among analysts is required. Relying on the same types of scalpels, restrictionists will choose ones that cut deeper to carve up more U.S-China business.  After a slew of sweeping tech decoupling policies this summer and the most recent October controls, restrictionism appears to be supplanting centrism in Washington. That article is coming. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

Pakistan’s nuclear armed military is set to get a new supremo later this month when General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure as Chief of Army Staff comes to an end. – Reuters

Armed militants on Wednesday ambushed a routine police patrol in northwestern Pakistan, killing all six policemen in the vehicle, while a shootout with gunmen elsewhere in the volatile region killed two soldiers, officials said. – Associated Press

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday officially handed over the G20 presidency to India at the end of a summit of the bloc’s leaders in Bali. – Reuters


Myanmar’s junta released four foreign prisoners including an Australian aide to Aung San Suu Kyi and a former British ambassador to the Southeast Asian country, according to state media, in what authorities described as an amnesty to mark a national holiday on Thursday. – Washington Post 

As Washington tries to crimp China’s capacity to make advanced chips, Taiwan, the world’s biggest producer of high-end semiconductors, finds itself at the center of what some are calling the 21st century’s version of the arms race. While President Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, adopted a warmer tone at their first face-to-face presidential meeting this week, it was clear that Taiwan remained a serious point of contention between the two countries. – New York Times

Leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will meet formally in closed-door sessions Friday and Saturday. For some, it will be at least the third such opportunity for face-to-face talks in the past two weeks. However, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is attending instead of President Joe Biden, who will be hosting his granddaughter’s wedding at the White House. – Associated Press

Taiwan’s envoy to a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders is the 91-year-old billionaire founder of a computer chip manufacturing giant that operated behind the scenes for decades before being thrust into the center of U.S.-Chinese tension over technology and security. – Associated Press 

U.S., Japanese, Australian and Canadian warships are currently staging extensive joint drills in Japanese and international waters, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Tensions over Taiwan are expected to be on the agenda when U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris meets Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr next week, Manila’s ambassador to Washington said on Thursday. – Reuters

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expects to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday on the sidelines of the meeting of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, a New Zealand government spokesperson said on Thursday. – Reuters

Nic Fildes and Demetri Sevastopulo writes: This was made clear in a speech this week by Richard Marles, Australia’s defence minister, who said that competition between China and the US in the Indo-Pacific is driving the biggest military build-up anywhere in the world over the past 70 years. – Financial Times


As the investigation into a deadly explosion  in Polish territory continues, Poland’s government has reserved the right to invoke Article 4 of NATO’s treaty, a provision that enables members to start a formal discussion within the alliance about threats to their security. – New York Times

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France was advancing cooperation with Indonesia on the provision of warplanes and submarines. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that an agreement to build submarines for Australia, which has since been scrapped, was not about confrontation with China. – Reuters

The Czech government plans to provide training to as many as 4,000 Ukrainian troops over the next year, Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Brexit is hurting the UK economy, Bank of England officials said Wednesday, even as government leaders downplay the impact of the seismic EU withdrawal. – Agence France-Presse 

France and Germany are ready to move to the next phase of their flagship fighter jet project, rekindling Europe’s largest weapons programme and removing a key irritant in their bilateral relationship. – Financial Times 

Britain plans to boost its undersea capabilities in the face of growing threats from Russia, with the Ministry of Defence preparing to release tender documents in the next few weeks aimed at purchasing a deep-water remotely operated vehicle. – Defense News

Matthew Brooker writes: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was among those who met Xi in Bali. “We will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest,” Albanese commented afterwards. That might make a good guidance note for Sunak. – Bloomberg

Elisabeth Braw writes: Bergling was given a long prison sentence but escaped during a conjugal visit and made his way to Moscow, a well-trodden path by moles in the West. Judging from the Kias’ Canada plans, they had planned to flee Sweden, but not for Russia. Now they’re most likely headed to prison. – Foreign Policy


Gunmen have killed at least 12 people in an attack on a village in the northern Nigerian state of Plateau, residents and the state governor said on Wednesday, the latest deadly incident fuelled by growing pressure on land resources in the country. – Reuters

Sudan’s Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition said on Wednesday it was seeking to sign a framework agreement with the military as a first step to ending the political deadlock that has gripped the country since an October 2021 coup. – Reuters

Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta called on Wednesday for urgent intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting between the army and M23 rebels has flared again in the last week causing hundreds to flee their homes. – Reuters

Zimbabwe has made “very impressive” progress in meeting conditions to rejoin the Commonwealth, a top official of the group of 56 mainly former British colonies said after an assessment mission, even as the opposition and other groups warned that the human rights situation is fast deteriorating. – Associated Press 

Tribal clashes in Sudan’s restive Darfur region killed at least 48 people last week, a refugee official said Wednesday, the latest round of inter-communal violence to hit Sudan’s neglected peripheries. – Associated Press

More aid arrived in Ethiopia’s Tigray Wednesday following the signing of a truce earlier this month calling for unhindered humanitarian access to the war-torn northern region. – Associated Press

Latin America

Prosecutors in Guatemala said Thursday they have found more possible pre-Hispanic artifacts during a search of the home of an American couple facing charges of smuggling historical relics. – Associated Press 

Following a series of talks on migration with the Biden administration, Cuba said Tuesday that it will receive deportation flights from the United States that had been stalled in the pandemic — and said it was open to continuing dialogue with Washington. – Associated Press

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Wednesday embarked on a rare international tour of Algeria, Russia, Turkey and China seeking support for the communist island as its economy has been hard hit by the global pandemic and energy woes. – Bloomberg

President Lopez Obrador of Mexico is inviting Latin American leaders for a parley at his capital city, hoping to take advantage of a recent wave of leftist election winners for the purpose of reducing America’s influence in the region. – New York Sun

A company with an office in Houston and another owned by two American citizens appear to be helping Venezuela bypass U.S. sanctions and quietly transport millions in petroleum products aboard an Iranian-built tanker, The Associated Press has learned. – Associated Press


Meta’s independent Oversight Board announced Wednesday it has overturned the social media giant’s decision earlier this year to remove a Facebook post that likened Russian soldiers who invaded Ukraine to Nazis. – Washington Post

Donald Trump may be running for president, but he still can’t use Facebook. The social media platform has no plans to reinstate Trump’s account following the former president’s announcement that he will seek a second term in the White House, the company confirmed Wednesday. Trump was kicked off Facebook following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. – Associated Press

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are failing to adequately monitor domestic extremists, according to a new Senate report that also faulted social media platforms for encouraging the spread of violent and antigovernment content. – Associated Press

A senior cyber official at the Department of Defense said on Wednesday that Russian forces “underperformed expectations” in both the cyber and military space, as the West fears the Kremlin would unleash destructive cyberattacks against Ukraine as part of its invasion. – The Hill

Elon Musk’s Twitter is on a “collision course” with Brussels, as the social media platform faces new scrutiny under landmark EU laws to police Big Tech that come into force on Wednesday. – Financial Times

MPs have been told their phones are a “potential goldmine” for hostile states who are targeting them to influence democracy in the UK. – The Guardian

A suspected Iranian advanced persistent threat (APT) group accessed the server of a federal agency by exploiting the Log4j vulnerability. The activity is believed to have begun in February 2022 and was first detected by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) two months later. – The Record

Geoffrey Cain writes: Fears of Chinese manipulation of American elections has, curiously, not deterred  candidates in those elections from using the app. More politicians than ever—one-third of Democratic contenders and 12 percent of Republican—are deploying TikTok to reach Gen Z voters. They are transforming the app from its miscellany of aspiring socialites showing off their private jets into an ever-more-perfect algorithm created in China and at the heart of our democracy. – Common Sense


To recapitalize its aging aircraft with new replacements, the U.S. Air Force has embarked on a strategy of retiring legacy aircraft now and “investing” the budget savings for new aircraft in future years. – Defense News

As the Pentagon racked up its fifth comprehensive audit failure, its chief financial officer on Tuesday said Ukraine’s fight against Russia offers a “teachable moment” for the U.S. military to accurately tally its weapons and property. – Defense News

Seth Cropsey writes: The U.S. is at risk of a perfect civil-military storm, in which an empowered Gen. Milley succeeds Secretary Austin or takes another senior role in the Biden administration. Gen. Milley’s strategic instincts are as dim as his political ambition is effulgent. Placing general officers in such critical positions has created the opportunity for a serious civil-military rupture and for partisan inclinations to infect the U.S. military. Decisions about U.S. policy goals in the Ukraine war are—and should be—left to elected officials. – Wall Street Journal

Long War

Two Egyptian girls were found dead in northeastern Syria’s al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Islamic State fighters in northeastern Syria, according to a major children’s charity that works in the camp. – Washington Post

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an indictment against an Arab teen from northern Israel over his alleged affiliation with the Islamic State terror group, the Justice Ministry said. – Times of Israel

Terror organization Islamic State is using fake Tinder profiles in an attempt to catfish and blackmail South Africans into funding the organization’s presence across Africa, British news outlet The Times reported on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Border Police personnel operated in the village of Hares overnight to map the home of Muhammad Murad Sami Souf who murdered three Israeli civilians and wounded an additional three in a terror attack in Ariel on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post