Fdd's overnight brief

November 21, 2022

In The News


The protester was speeding toward a demonstration in Tehran on his motorbike when an Iranian security officer standing 10 feet away raised his gun and fired a rubber bullet. The protester said the bullet hit his left eye. “We locked eyes and then everything went dark,” said the protester, who goes by the nickname Saman. – New York Times

Three months into a nationwide uprising, Iranian protesters have turned their fury against the founder of the Islamic revolution and of the country’s theocracy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Protesters set ablaze the museum of childhood home of Mr. Khomeini, who died in 1989, in his hometown, Khomein, on Thursday night, videos showed. – New York Times

Iranian security forces swept through the country’s Kurdish region with helicopters and armored vehicles, firing live ammunition and raiding homes in search of opponents, a show of force that demonstrates how the government’s response to a two-month-old protest movement is taking a more violent turn. – Wall Street Journal

Mourners gathered Friday for the funeral of a 9-year-old Iranian boy shot during one of the protests that have shaken the country, chanting for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as anger grows over the deaths of dozens of children involved in the demonstrations. – Wall Street Journal

After weeks of savaging Ukrainian cities with Iranian-made drones, Moscow has quietly reached an agreement with Tehran to begin manufacturing hundreds of unmanned weaponized aircraft on Russian soil, according to new intelligence seen by U.S. and other Western security agencies. – Washington Post

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted the headquarters of “dissident groups” in Iraqi Kurdistan in the early hours of Monday with drones and missiles, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. – Reuters

Protests raged on at Iranian universities and in some cities on Saturday as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the country’s “enemies” may try to mobilise workers after failing to topple the Islamic government in more than two months of unrest. – Reuters

At least 58 children, some reportedly as young as eight, have been killed in Iran since anti-regime protests broke out in the country two months ago. According to Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), 46 boys and 12 girls under 18 have been killed since the protests began on 16 September, sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody. – The Guardian

Iran has arrested two prominent actors who expressed solidarity with the protest movement and removed their headscarves in public in an apparent act of defiance against the regime, state media reported Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

Canada’s spy agency said Friday it is investigating credible death threats against people in Canada by Iran, days after Britain levelled similar accusations against the Islamic regime. “CSIS is actively investigating several threats to life emanating from the Islamic Republic of Iran based on credible intelligence,” Eric Balsam, spokesman for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told AFP. – Agence France-Presse

Iran has accused foreign foes of trying to spark “civil war” by stoking the protests over Mahsa Amini’s death — harsh language that, analysts warn, could presage an even bloodier crackdown. Fears that Iran is sliding into deeper violence have grown since Wednesday, when assailants on motorcycles gunned down nine people — including a woman and two boys aged nine and 13 — in two mysterious attacks. – Agence France-Presse

Two recent incidents, an Iranian drone attack on a ship in the Gulf of Oman, and a rocket attack on US forces in Syria, have received quick responses from US Central Command (CENTCOM). – Jerusalem Post

Strikes were instrumental in the overthrow of the monarchy during the 1979 Islamic revolution. This time around protesters have urged all groups — including merchants in the bazaars, teachers and workers in the oil sector — to stage strikes in the hope that this would turn the latest unrest into a revolution and lead to the replacement of the theocracy with a modern, secular government. But workers have responded cautiously. – Financial Times

Iranian diaspora leaders clashed over how best to support the protest movement in Iran during a high-profile public forum on Saturday, with some leveling accusations that others were essentially lobbyists for the Islamist regime in Tehran. – Politico 

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has warned that the threat from Iran’s nuclear programme is “more advanced than ever before”. Addressing an international security conference in Bahrain on Saturday, Mr Cleverly accused the Tehran regime of spreading “bloodshed and destruction” around the world. – Bloomberg

When videos posted on Friday appeared to show the ancestral home of the late founder of the Iranian Islamic Republic on fire, state media derided the news as “a lie”. But footage posted by the activist network 1500tasvir told a different story. – Telegraph

Bernard-Henri Lévy writes: Mr. Macron had nothing to gain by getting involved, by breaking with a regime that shames the Persian spirit, and by closing the dark page of history that was opened nearly a half-century ago when the French village of Neauphle-le-Château served as the rear base for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. So go the politics of reparation—and honor. – Wall Street Journal

Lawrence J. Haas writes: Iran’s spreading protests in the face of brutal reprisals not only beg the question of whether — after waves of uprisings in recent years — this uprising will threaten the regime’s hold on power, but also come amid signs of democratic renewal around the world: from mounting protests in China to battlefield victories in Ukraine to a renewal of democratic norms in the United States and Brazil. – The Hill

Omer Carmi writes: On paper, the Qatar World Cup should be an occasion for much celebration and opportunity in Iran. After qualifying for three tournaments in a row, the talented squad representing this football-obsessed nation is looking to pass the initial group stage for the first time ever. The fact that the matches will be held in Iran’s backyard likely convinced the regime that it could simultaneously attract tourists and boost the economy via joint projects with Doha. Yet weeks of mass protests have drastically changed Tehran’s plans on this front. – Washington Institute

Farhad Rezaei writes: However, the regime is still not without other powerful tools to subdue the revolutionary forces. It has a wide array of forces, intelligence, and monitoring systems at its disposal, but as I have written elsewhere, there are ways to weaken them. Given the fact that the economy is already in shambles from sanctions, monumental corruption, and mismanagement, intensifying sanctions on Tehran would make it even more difficult for the regime to continue funding its local coercive apparatus as well as its proxy forces. – The National Interest

Catherine Perez-Shakdam and Stepan Stepanenko write: It is very clear, therefore, that the West does not value the lives of outsiders. This begs the question: who is on the inside and who is on the outside? Where does Hungary stand, for example? Considering the challenges which Hungary presents to the EU and NATO, the answer is unclear.Has the network of terror reached so far into the mechanisms of power, that a real threat of a Russo-Iranian alliance does not merit an appropriate response? Should it not be a priority to quash the shoots before they develop into a large oak tree? – Jerusalem Post 

Salem Alketbi writes: Russia itself, with all its diplomatic and strategic powers, is not in a position to transfer influential nuclear expertise to Iran.Converging interests tactically does not necessarily mean continuing them strategically. Russia realizes that by doing so, it will infuriate not only Israel but also the Gulf states and many other parties such as Pakistan and Turkey, as well as Afghanistan, a front that Moscow wants to keep cool. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine’s retaking of Kherson is rippling across battle fronts far afield, as Moscow redeploys troops to regain the initiative and Kyiv seeks to expand its recent advantage over invading Russian forces. – Wall Street Journal

As temperatures drop into the 30s Fahrenheit and winter closes in, Ukraine is grappling with energy supply problems caused by Moscow’s relentless bombardment of the country’s infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine says. Nearly half of Ukraine’s energy grid has been knocked out by recent Russian missile strikes. – New York Times

Ukrainian efforts to stabilize some of the country’s battered electricity supply and make a dent in the seemingly endless task of demining swaths of the country offered a glimpse into the Herculean task that lies ahead off the battlefield. – New York Times

At least 437 children are among more than 8,300 civilians who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February, the country’s prosecutor general said on Saturday in a grim new accounting of the war’s toll. – New York Times

At least a dozen shells exploded at a large nuclear plant in southern Ukraine on Sunday, Ukrainian and Russian authorities said, damaging equipment in attacks that the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency called “extremely disturbing.” – New York Times

The Ukrainians, like the Russians, are contending with strained ammunition supplies and exhausted soldiers. Russia also managed to withdraw its best fighting units from Kherson, meaning they probably will appear as worthy foes elsewhere. – Washington Post

So many missiles were fired by Russia and Ukraine during the Russian attack on Ukrainian infrastructure Tuesday that the missile fragments that struck Poland could have been of either Russian or Ukrainian origin, Ukraine air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said. – Washington Post

Ukraine says it will investigate video footage circulated on Russian social media which Moscow alleged shows that Ukrainian forces killed Russian troops who may have been trying to surrender, after one of the men seemingly refused to lay down his weapon and opened fire. – Associated Press

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Saturday Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers a preview of a world where nuclear-armed countries could threaten other nations and said Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world where might makes right. – Associated Press

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised 125 anti-aircraft guns and other air-defense technology as he made an unannounced visit Saturday — his first — to Ukraine’s snow-blanketed capital for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. – Associated Press

A week since the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson was liberated, residents can’t escape reminders of the terrifying eight months they spent under Russian occupation. People are missing. There are mines everywhere, closed shops and restaurants, a scarcity of electricity and water, and explosions day and night as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle just across the Dnieper River. – Associated Press

Russian forces are pounding Ukrainian positions with artillery fire and in the eastern region alone launched almost 400 strikes on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address. – Reuters

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could entice autocrats around the world to race to develop nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday, potentially sparking a dangerous era of nuclear proliferation. – Politico

The way to protect global democracy right now is with weapons and support for Ukraine’s battle against Russia, not talks. That was the message from U.S. and Western diplomats, officials and military leaders at the Halifax International Security Forum, a major annual national security conference that brings together democracy advocates from around the world. – Politico

Attempts by Western countries to convince Ukraine to negotiate with Moscow after a series of major military victories over invading Russian forces are “bizarre” and effectively ask that Kyiv capitulate to the losing side, according to a key adviser to the Ukrainian president. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A top advisor of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was too early to conclusively say whether a missile that exploded in Poland, killing two civilians, was fired by Russia or Ukraine. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: The free world’s great mistake regarding Russia was doing nothing despite the many signs of Mr. Putin’s marauding ambitions. Ukraine and the world are now paying the price for sleeping amid the gathering storm. – Wall Street Journal

Joy Neumeyer writes: For now, with most of Russia’s population forced into quiescence while others lose their jobs or freedom for expressing dissent, the possibility of the country’s transformation appears remote. Change, however, can come when it’s least expected. In early 1917, a pessimistic Lenin lamented that he probably wouldn’t live to see the revolution; a few weeks later, the czar was overthrown. Russia is no more doomed to repeat the past than any other country. The time to reimagine its future is now. – New York Times

Timothy Ash writes: In conclusion, on so many levels, continued US support for Ukraine is a no-brainer from a bang for buck perspective. Ukraine is no Vietnam or Afghanistan for the US, but it is exactly that for Russia. A Russia continually mired in a war it cannot win is a huge strategic win for the US. Why would anyone object to that? – Center for European Policy Analysis

James Brooke writes: The next morning, Gazprom sharply reduced gas shipments to Ukraine and Eastern Europe. During the three-week shutdown, hundreds of people froze to death, largely in retirement homes in the Balkans. This winter, experts warn that thousands of Ukrainians are at risk of dying of cold. – New York Sun

Olga Oliker writes: But to build a truly modern army, Ukraine needs not just the newest weaponry but also state-of-the art approaches to recruiting and retaining the best personnel. A sensitive approach to gender is not merely the right thing to do; it is crucial to the country’s future. The Ukrainian women who, in and out of uniform, form a cornerstone of Ukraine’s resistance today will be at the center of the effort to rebuild tomorrow. If Kyiv matches its rhetoric with action, its military can reflect its society, give back to its heroes, and serve as a shining model for the world. – Foreign Affairs

Tatiana Stanovaya writes: And unlike many of Russia’s elites, Putin believes that Ukraine is still doomed. His present personal goal is tactical—stopping Kyiv’s attacks, holding the line, and then waiting until the Ukrainian state collapses, which he believes is just a matter of time. Putin could even escalate, turning to nuclear weapons. Signaling to the realists that peace with Ukraine will not inevitably cause Russia to collapse is a dramatically challenging task. But it may be the only way to get the Kremlin to end its catastrophic invasion. – Foreign Affairs


A riot by Jewish pilgrims in the West Bank city of Hebron over the weekend drew widespread condemnation, with Palestinian leaders warning that the incoming right-wing Israeli government could cause further instability in the West Bank. – Wall Street Journal

Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Brooklyn had always cherished Israel as a haven where Jews could aspire to their highest ideals. But after Benjamin Netanyahu won a sixth term as prime minister with the help of two far-right parties this month, she was shaken. – New York Times

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha on Saturday to attend the World Cup opening ceremony, Qatar’s news agency reported, in a visit unannounced by the Palestinians. – Associated Press

The Israeli army carried out an arrest raid on a flashpoint town in the occupied West Bank on Monday, touching off confrontations in which medics said its troops shot dead a Palestinian high-schooler. – Reuters

Israel protested to Russia following its use of UAVs it purchased from Iran in its war against Ukraine, Kan 11 News reported on Sunday. According to the report, the protest call was held in recent days in a conversation between the Israeli ambassador and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. – Arutz Sheva

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, criticized Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu who said at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) conference on Saturday night, “The Palestinians do not want peace, they do not want a state alongside Israel, they want a state instead of Israel.” – Arutz Sheva

The leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Sunday issued a statement in which they welcomed Azerbaijan’s decision to open an embassy in Israel. – Arutz Sheva

International parties are pressuring Israeli authorities to reopen the Quneitra border crossing with Syria for students from villages in the Golan Heights, allowing them to study in Syrian universities, media reports said Sunday. – Ynet

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday that he offered to mediate between Benjamin Netanyahu and the Democratic Party in the United States. – Ynet

Oded Eran and Mel Levine write: Israel has not viewed its interests and security being threatened by China and Russia but it may nevertheless be affected by the fallout of the developing “war of the semiconductors” as well as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The revised MOU could provide the answer for the US concerns of maintaining cooperation with allies and partners and will reflect not just the US commitment to Israel’s security but the sharing of political values, global and regional interests and their readiness to cooperate in their pursuit. – Jerusalem Post


More Afghans will be struggling for survival as living conditions deteriorate in the year ahead, a top official of the International Committee of the Red Cross said in an interview, as the country braces for its second winter under Taliban rule. – Associated Press

Pakistan on Monday reopened its key Chaman border crossing with landlocked Afghanistan for trade and pedestrian movement after shutting it down a week earlier after an Afghan gunman shot and killed a Pakistani soldier and wounded two others, a Pakistani official said. – Associated Press

Nineteen people in northeastern Afghanistan were lashed for adultery, theft and running away from home, a Supreme Court official said Sunday. The announcement underscored the Taliban’s intention of sticking to their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. – Associated Press


Turkey said it carried out a broad series of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq early on Sunday, intensifying a military campaign against Kurdish militants, whom the Turkish government blames for a deadly bombing in Istanbul a week ago. – Wall Street Journal

Kurds in northern Syria who woke to deadly Turkish air strikes overnight expressed fear and anger on Sunday, accusing the United States of abandoning them after they spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State group. – Agence France-Presse

Four Syrian soldiers were killed and one wounded in Israeli “air aggression” on some military posts in the coastal and central region of Syria on Saturday morning, Syrian state news agency SANA reported. – Reuters


Sitting under an oak tree on a mountainside in the Kurdish region of Iraq, Mohammad Kurd said he recently fled neighboring Iran after two friends were killed by security forces and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps started going door to door to arrest antigovernment protesters. – New York Times

Iranian missiles and drones struck an Iranian Kurdish opposition group’s bases in northern Iraq late Sunday night. The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, a Kurdish Iranian group exiled in Iraq, said in a statement that Iranian surface-to-surface missiles and drones hit its bases and adjacent refugee camps in Koya and Jejnikan. – Associated Press

Islamic State group militants attacked an Iraqi army position in the northwestern governorate of Kirkuk early Saturday killing four soldiers, security sources and a local government official said. – Associated Press

A senior Iranian military official visiting Baghdad this week threatened Iraq with a ground military operation in the country’s north if the Iraqi army does not fortify the countries’ shared border against Kurdish opposition groups, multiple Iraqi and Kurdish officials said. – Associated Press

Zvi Bar’el writes: Even if a political agreement is miraculously achieved, it’s hard to imagine a situation where the Shi’ite militias that have been integrated into the army, or the Shi’ite militias that answer to Muqtada al-Sadr, agree to relinquish the power, weapons and economic benefits derived from their military status. – Haaretz


Hezbollah is storing hundreds of missiles carrying a toxic chemical payload at a warehouse in Al Qusayr, near the Lebanese-Syrian border, the Saudi Al-Hadath news reported on Sunday. The missiles include 110 Fajr missiles and over 300 Fateh missiles and are all carrying thionyl chloride, a toxic chemical, according to the report. – Jerusalem Post 

A man suspected of being a Mossad spy was arrested in Lebanon, Lebanese news site Al-Akhbar reported on Monday morning. According to the Al-Akbar report, the suspect is named Hussein H. and his father and uncles were leaders in Hezbollah. – Jerusalem Post 

Patricia Karam writes: It is therefore, more than ever, imperative that these actors and their civil society counterparts unite in action and vision to help sow the seeds for the reinvention of Lebanon, one that is sovereign, inclusive and economically viable — and, with it, the possibility of politics of a new order. – The Hill

Saudi Arabia

When former President Donald J. Trump returned briefly last week to his office at Trump Tower in New York, he was joined by his son Eric Trump and the top executive of a Saudi Arabian real estate company to sign a deal that creates new conflict-of-interest questions for his just-launched presidential campaign. – New York Times

The Biden administration has declared that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia should be granted immunity in a U.S. legal case over his role in the murder of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, effectively blocking yet another effort to hold the kingdom’s leader accountable for the grisly crime. – New York Times

But Saudi Arabia has a far different vision for the rest of the world. A major reason it wants to burn less oil at home is to free up even more to sell abroad. It’s just one aspect of the kingdom’s aggressive long-term strategy to keep the world hooked on oil for decades to come and remain the biggest supplier as rivals slip away. – New York Times

Iain MacGillivray and Adnan Nasser write: The ball is in MBS’ court. He will have to choose which is more important. Will he opt for an alliance that recognizes Israel, absent a homeland for the Palestinian people, but offers Saudi Arabia a stronger position to counter Iran while improving ties with the United States? Or will MBS hold onto the old policy of no formal ties with Israel until a country called Palestine is on the map with East Jerusalem as its capital? The world will simply have to wait and see. – The National Interest

Gulf States

Al Qaeda’s regional branch urged Muslims around the world to shun the soccer World Cup in Qatar, though it stopped short of threatening attacks or promoting violence in connection with the event, according to a statement reported by a monitoring group. – Reuters

The White House’s top official responsible for the Middle East told US allies in the Gulf that deepening certain ties with China would hamper their cooperation with their chief strategic ally and security partner. – Bloomberg 

In a keynote speech today in Bahrain, the Pentagon’s top policy official argued that Gulf nations should be cutting ties with Russia over Moscow’s deepening military relationship with Iran. – Breaking Defense

QatarEnergy has signed a 27-year deal to supply China’s Sinopec with liquefied natural gas (LNG), the longest such LNG agreement so far as volatile markets drive buyers to seek long-term deals. – Reuters

Mohammed Hussein writes: Obviously, it is not easy to balance the demands of the ruling elite that back Sudani against the needs of the millions of Iraqis who took to the streets to demand better governance. Sudani’s trade-off is whether to appease the ruling elite or increase infrastructural investment to deliver better services and revitalize the private job market […]. Failure to handle this trade-off would expose his cabinet to the previous governments’ challenges and likely prompt a return of civil unrest that has roiled the country in previous years. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Human rights groups say the unexplained deaths of thousands of migrant workers during Qatar’s nearly 12 years of preparations for the World Cup have tarnished the tournament, exposing lax oversight by soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, and abusive labor conditions in the host country. – Washington Post

Leaders of French-speaking countries gathered Saturday on a Tunisian island to discuss debt relief, migration, food and energy shortages amid a soaring cost-of-living crisis across Africa, Europe and the Middle East due to Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Associated Press

Sources in Jewish organizations told The Jerusalem Post that Qatar broke another promise to allow Jewish prayer services in Doha during the games, claiming it couldn’t secure this type of activity and then banned it completely. – Jerusalem Post

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria and Iraq were not limited to just an air campaign and discussions would be held on the involvement of ground forces, Turkish media reported. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that his handshake with Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Qatar on Sunday was the first step towards further normalisation in ties between the two countries, adding that other actions would follow. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has unveiled the daughter of leader Kim Jong Un for the first time — ending years of speculation about her existence. Photos published by state media Saturday showed Kim holding hands with his young daughter at a missile launch site and inspecting a missile. – Washington Post

South Korea on Monday asked for the “active cooperation” of China and Russia to prevent North Korea from conducting further missile tests, hours ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on the North’s test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. – Reuters

The United Nations’ Security Council needs to take “significant measures” in response to the latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea, foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialised nations said on Sunday. – Reuters

North Korea’s foreign minister on Monday accused U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres of siding with the United States and failing to maintain impartiality and objectivity. – Reuters

South Korea’s new president has suspended his unusual morning Q&A sessions with journalists after squabbling with a broadcaster over its coverage of his remarks caught on a hot mic in the United States. – Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un boasted that a recently tested intercontinental ballistic missile is another “reliable and maximum-capacity” weapon to contain U.S. military threats, state media reported Saturday. The United States responded to the North’s weapons launch by flying supersonic bombers in a show of force. – Associated Press

The European Union on Saturday decried the “dangerous” test of North Korea’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile and said Pyongyang’s weapons programme threatens the world.

“The EU strongly condemns the DPRK’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone on 18 November,” the 27-nation bloc said in a statement. – Agence France-Presse

Bruce Klingner writes: Kim Jong-un’s willingness to resume missile flights over Japan and ICBM launches, initiation of extensive military exercises, and increased provocations close to the inter-Korean border all exacerbate regional tensions and risk triggering a military crisis. Washington and Seoul must respond resolutely to North Korean incitements while simultaneously seeking ways to reduce the potential for stumbling into war. – Heritage Foundation


This week’s face-to-face meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping may represent a welcome easing of tensions, but it is unlikely to arrest a slow erosion of financial and economic ties between the United States and China. – Washington Post

China said on Sunday it is open to a meeting with the U.S. defence secretary on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Cambodia this week, in a sign of thawing relations after the countries’ top leaders met earlier this month. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke briefly with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Saturday in another step toward keeping lines of communication open between the two biggest economies. – Associated Press

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s summits with the US and its partners were likely an attempt to paper over the harm it has caused with numerous countries in recent years, a top US envoy said. “President Xi took note of the damage that the wolf warrior and economic coercion has done to China,” US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel told reporters Monday, referring to the pugnacious, nationalistic approach that some of Beijing’s diplomats have used. – Bloomberg 

Donald Kirk writes: Mr. Xi, in the spirit of his dialogue with Mr. Biden, hewed to his own script reflecting his desire to tone down overt confrontation with America. He ignored the North Korean missile launch, seeing no reason to turn the region into “an arena for big power contest”or to do anything “to politicize economic and trade relations,” much less “wage a new cold war” — words that might be seen as a warning against stirring up tensions on Taiwan. – New York Sun

Steven W. Mosher writes: When the topic of defending Taiwan against an attack from China came up, he reverted to “strategic ambiguity.” This is a “maybe we will and maybe we won’t” policy that can only embolden China. The only assurance that he carried away from the meeting was that an attack on Taiwan is not “imminent.”  As in, next week? – New York Post

Minxin Pei writes: As a keen student of history, Xi must be aware of Mao’s failures after achieving dominance in 1969 and Deng’s success despite having to share power with fellow revolutionary luminaries in the 1980s. It is impossible to know what lessons Xi may draw from these two contrasting examples. But he should consider the possibility that political supremacy may be a curse disguised as blessing. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

But for a moment, the nation’s attention is riveted on the outcome of a ritual, closed-door process in a drab military compound to choose and install Pakistan’s next army chief — the most powerful figure in this nuclear-armed state and still-fragile democracy of some 221 million people. – Washington Post

A breakthrough funding deal at the COP27 conference to help poor countries ravaged by climate change was welcomed Sunday by Pakistan, a nation devastated this year by record-breaking monsoon rains. – Associated Press

Mark S. Cogan and Vivek Mishra write: The more immediate challenge for India, however, will be to prevent the G20—fundamentally a geo-economic body—from becoming a geopolitical one. Its leadership comes at an inflection point of the country’s rise, as the fifth-largest economy in the world earlier this year, is poised to become the fourth-largest by 2025-26. These challenges in unison will present India with an array of critical challenges and unique opportunities as it begins its G20 Presidency starting December 1. – The National Interest


When China successfully towed a dead satellite into a “graveyard orbit” this year, it alarmed experts in Japan who have been trying to put their country at the forefront of the world’s expanding market in space-junk removal. – Washington Post

A Chinese coast guard ship on Sunday “forcefully retrieved” a floating object being towed by a Philippine vessel in the South China Sea by cutting a line attaching it to the boat, a Philippine military commander said. – Reuters

Taiwan told its representative there was no need to avoid Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Thailand, the envoy said on Monday, leading to a rare encounter at a time when China has been stepping up military pressure. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will reaffirm American commitments to the defence of the Philippines when she meets with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Manila on Monday, a senior U.S. administration official said. – Reuters

Taiwan told its representative there was no need to avoid Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC summit in Thailand, the envoy said on Monday, leading to a rare encounter at a time when China has been stepping up military pressure. – Reuters

Leaders from around the Asia-Pacific called for an end to Russia’s war on Ukraine and pledged to steer the region’s economies toward sustainable growth as they wrapped up summit meetings Saturday. – Associated Press

The recent release of thousands of prisoners in Myanmar is likely an attempt by its military-controlled government to “create a veneer of progress” in the country to sway international opinion, a U.N. expert said Monday. – Associated Press

A former British envoy, an Australian economic adviser and a Japanese journalist arrived in Thailand late Thursday after being freed by Myanmar’s junta in an amnesty releasing almost 6,000 prisoners. – Agence France-Presse

The project’s fortunes reflect a fall in Chinese development aid to the Pacific region over the past six years, a decline that contrasts with Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the area. – Financial Times

French President Emmanuel Macron warned Indo-Pacific leaders against a strict alignment with the United States in “confrontation” with China, while airing his grievance over Australia’s decision last year to purchase American nuclear submarines rather than French boats. – Washington Examiner

Lyle J. Morris writes: But the United States and other like-minded countries should not interpret this as a sign that time is on their side. For peace to prevail — and for the risks of military conflict with Taiwan to continue to outweigh the benefits for Xi — countries must continue to send unambiguous signals to Xi and his government that any military aggression to compel unification of Taiwan will be met with a forceful military, economic, and diplomatic response. – War on the Rocks


The global economic map is rapidly transforming, with trade and investment between the U.S. and Europe booming as Russia’s war in Ukraine and fraying ties between the West and China draw the trans-Atlantic allies closer. – Wall Street Journal

The mysterious blasts in September that made the largest-capacity natural gas pipelines from Russia to Europe inoperable were caused by “gross sabotage,” Swedish authorities confirmed Friday, noting that traces of explosives have been found as part of the ongoing investigation. – Washington Post

Germany has offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defence system to help it to secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed in Poland last week, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told a newspaper on Sunday. – Reuters

European traders are rushing to fill tanks in the region with Russian diesel before an EU ban begins in February, as alternative sources remain limited. – Reuters

A Turkey-United Nations brokered deal to allow for Ukraine grain exportation was extended by 120 days, the U.N. announced Thursday. The deal, which was signed in July — automatically extended — with the extension beginning on Saturday, which is when the original deal was set to expire, according to a U.N. news release. – USNI News

The British government on Sunday denied a report that it is seeking a “Swiss-style” relationship with the European Union that would remove many of the economic barriers erected by Brexit — even as it tries to improve ties with the bloc after years of acrimony. – Associated Press

An article shared thousands of times on social media claims FTX, a now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, funneled US aid meant for Ukraine to Democratic candidates running in the midterm elections instead. This is unproven; public records show no evidence supporting the allegation, which Kyiv, the Pentagon, FTX partners and experts have said is inaccurate. – Agence France-Presse

Northvolt, Europe’s great hope in the global battery wars, began life as a start-up focused on the continent. Now the Swedish group, backed by Volkswagen, BMW and Goldman Sachs, is looking to the US to expand production. – Financial Times

With only six weeks to avoid a transatlantic trade showdown over green industries, the Germans are frustrated that Washington isn’t offering a peace deal and are increasingly considering a taboo-breaking response: European subsidies. – Politico

Last week’s terrorist attack in Istanbul will reinforce Turkey’s concerns over Kurdish terrorism, with consequences for the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO, according to Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. – Bloomberg 

Finland has refuted any possibility that the currently unaligned Nordic state will consider hosting nuclear weapons on its territory once a member nation of NATO. – Defense News

Lionel Laurent writes: But the symbolism and rhetoric of a Franco-American meeting in Washington DC — itself designed by a French architect — will be a good start. The Macron administration needs to alleviate Franco-German gridlock and the pain of the energy crisis. And, as former ambassador Pierre Vimont points out, the Biden administration needs allies like Europe to push its global agenda. It’s worth a shot. – Bloomberg


The sea of rag-and-stick tents that spreads in every direction from the hungry, embattled city of Baidoa, in southern Somalia, gives way to sprawling plains controlled by the militants of Al Shabab. – New York Times

President Emmanuel Macron accused Russia of feeding anti-French propaganda in Africa to serve “predatory” ambitions in troubled African nations, where France has suffered military setbacks and a wider loss of influence over recent years. – Reuters

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has joined calls for advancing M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory, Kenya’s former leader Uhuru Kenyatta said. – Agence France-Presse

Germany is considering withdrawing from the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, where its troops are the biggest Western contingent, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a newspaper interview. – Bloomberg 

Natasha Louis writes: Analyst Rashid Abid’s warning regarding Al Shabaab sums up the present and future of African terrorism: “Brace. It will get worse before it gets better.” At some point in the near future, this will pressure the United States to expand its presence in Africa. The United States cannot afford to continue the cycle of losing its focus on COIN, forgetting past lessons, and turning a blind eye to a situation that will eventually pull it in. – The National Interest

The Americas

The Inter-American Development Bank elected Brazil’s Ilan Goldfajn on Sunday as president of Latin America’s largest development bank, the first Brazilian to hold the role in the institution’s 63-year history. – Wall Street Journal

The authorities arrested two men on Saturday at New York’s Pennsylvania Station and seized a large hunting knife and an illegal firearm with a 30-round magazine in what they described as a “developing threat to the Jewish community.” – New York Times

Canada has sanctioned former Haitian President Michel Martelly and two former prime ministers for financing gangs, Canadian authorities said on Sunday, the latest in a series of measures targeting alleged backers of Haitian criminal groups. – Reuters

Blaise Malley writes: American elections, and midterms in particular, rarely influence foreign policy. But as Dan Drezner wrote in a recent Substack post, “these have not been ordinary times.” There was an expectation that a dominant win by Republicans could have altered the Biden administration’s foreign policy calculus. The results in the House mean that the president’s life could be made more difficult, but—at least as far as foreign policy is concerned—continuity appears to have been the big winner. – The National Interest


The Biden administration plans to issue an executive order restricting how federal agencies can use spyware that poses security risks to the U.S., according to a letter sent to House Intelligence Committee leaders. – CyberScoop

When Kaseya, a Miami-based software supplier, was hit by a cyber attack in July last year, it was not just a problem for the company itself. The hackers also managed to gain access to Kaseya’s customers and, after that, those customers’ own clients. Around 1,000 companies were affected in all. One of them — a Swedish grocery chain — had to close hundreds of stores. – Financial Times

Kiron Skinner, Dustin Carmack, and James Jay Carafano write: As this network scales, it will provide a unique global capability for the free world to think and act on present and emerging challenges related to cyberspace. Today there are many instruments of global engagement ranging from crisis response networks to private industry groups, state-to-state cooperation, and international organizations. But if these partnerships were adequate to address the significant challenges we face, the solutions would already be in hand. Unfortunately, they are not. It is precisely for that reason that the think tank community must step into the breach. – The National Interest


The US and Canadian defense chiefs discussed upgrades to North America’s missile-warning system as the Biden administration seeks to slow North Korea’s atomic ambitions, open better communications with China and dial back fears the Kremlin might use nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The U.S. State Department cleared $700 million in a possible foreign military sale to Switzerland, along with other sales to Lithuania and Belgium, as the neutral European country works to modernize its Air Force by 2030. – Defense News

John Ferrari and John Kem write: The basic question is: will the Army continue to just blame “the economy” and “everyone else” for its recruiting plight or is it ready to make truly fundamental changes? The answer to that question should be the latter. The Army should also be putting together a legislative package for Congress that addresses any barriers to implementing these reforms. It’s time that the Army get more introspective and start looking at ways it can accelerate change to fix its recruiting crisis. The above reforms are a good start. – Army Times