Fdd's overnight brief

November 23, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Human rights activists are sounding the alarm about what they say is an intensifying crackdown by security forces in Iran’s Kurdish region, reporting that nearly four dozen people have been killed in recent days amid efforts to suppress weeks of protests against the country’s clerical leaders. – Washington Post

As antigovernment protests swept across Iran last month, its top leaders made a secret appeal to two of the Islamic Republic’s founding families, the moderate Rafsanjani and Khomeini clans that hard-liners had pushed out of power, said people familiar with the talks. – Wall Street Journal

An explosion in Syria has killed an official with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, the force said on its website Wednesday, blaming Israel for the killing. The force identified the officer killed as Col. Davoud Jafari, who it said was working for the Guard. – Associated Press

Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday condemned Iran’s plans to expand its nuclear programme after the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Iran was enriching uranium, with plans to further expand enrichment at two plants. – Reuters

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday that the situation in Iran was “critical”, describing a hardening of the authorities’ response to protests that have resulted in more than 300 deaths in the past two months. – Reuters

Iran, which has blamed “foreign adversaries” for protests sparked by the death of a woman in morality police custody, said on Tuesday 40 foreign nationals had been arrested for their role in the unrest. – Reuters

A Taiwanese technology company has halted its business in Iran while it investigates whether it violated international sanctions, as the US ramps up scrutiny of Iran’s military and weapons production amid the Russia-Ukraine war. – The Hill

Iran’s footballers could face reprisals if they fail to sing the national anthem in their remaining World Cup group games, after a politician said the country “will never allow anyone to insult our anthem”. – The Guardian

The United States on Tuesday expressed “deep concern” over progress Iran is making on its nuclear program and ballistic missile capability, after Tehran announced that it has begun enriching uranium to 60 percent at a second facility. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: FIFA, the corrupt global soccer body, had warned that the armband would bring a yellow card — two of which bring a two-game suspension. A better response would’ve been to send the whole teams out with the armbands. Bigger lesson: It’s beyond time for every national football association to break with FIFA, and create a global body that despots can’t routinely bribe to host the world’s No. 1 pro sporting event. – New York Post

Eric R. Mandel writes: That is not the side of history America should be on, for the sake of our values and long-term interests. As Ronald Reagan said, “We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.” – The Hill

Bobby Ghosh writes: Meanwhile, you can bet that Iranian officials will be putting enormous pressure on players to sing lustily before their game against the Americans — if nothing else, then to push the narrative that Iranians hate the US more than they despise their own rulers. But the World Cup’s propaganda value to the regime will have already been drained. – Bloomberg

Salem Alketbi writes: Now that the nuclear agreement has entered a dark tunnel from which it is unlikely to emerge before the end of President Joe Biden’s term, Iran has decided to refrain from denial and recognize it as a way to demonstrate its growing role as an actor capable of confounding the calculations of the great powers with its meddling in matters that transcend regional borders, despite the severity of the consequences. – Jerusalem Post

Erfan Fard writes: Everybody knows that “the Iranian people should complete the process of regime change independently and replace a democratic regime” , however, there is one way to achieve regime change more easily. Standing on the right side of history cannot be a mistake. The US and Israel intelligence can help Iran’s intelligence figures topple the mullah regime. They would like to see regime change in Iran and open the embassy out there once more. – Arutz Sheva

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Johanna Moore, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Regime officials close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have expressed openness to political reform to placate protesters, although it is unlikely that any such reform would fundamentally change the regime’s behavior or nature. – Institute for the Study of War

Amos Harel writes: Israel’s fear, which Haliva also voiced, is that the relative apathy with which the world has greeted Iran’s progress in enriching uranium will continue even if Tehran crosses the final red line and, despite its denials, begins developing a nuclear warhead. – Haaretz

Russia & Ukraine

The Ukrainian government is setting up thousands of centers across the country to offer basic services — including electricity, internet, heat, water, and first aid — in anticipation of more Russian airstrikes on civilian infrastructure as winter sets in. “By helping each other, we will all be able to get through this winter together,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday, as officials raised the prospect of regular blackouts through March. – Washington Post

The damage from Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities is so severe that President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging residents and businesses to restrict their electricity use, even as temperatures drop. Conditions in the country at the onset of winter are grim, with the head of a major power provider warning of blackouts until at least the end of March. – Washington Post

The collapse of the Antonovsky Bridge earlier this month into the Dnieper River below marked the end of occupation in Kherson, as Russian forces fled the only regional capital they had captured since the start of their full-scale invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post

The Ukrainian security services on Tuesday raided one of the holiest sites for Orthodox Christians, saying they were scouring a 1,000-year-old monastery in the heart of Kyiv for Russian saboteurs among the clerics and weapons amid the relics, even as pilgrims prayed in the caves below. – New York Times

Local authorities in Crimea said Ukraine targeted the port city of Sevastopol with a drone attack on Tuesday. It was unclear if any damage was done to the city or to Moscow’s Black Sea fleet, which is headquartered there. – New York Times

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators urged the Biden administration Tuesday to reconsider its decision not to give Ukraine advanced drones, saying that the technology could help Kyiv to hold its territory and gain battlefield momentum. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and its allies are seeking to agree as soon as Wednesday on a level for a price cap on Russian oil, with officials discussing setting it at around $60 a barrel as the group rushes to complete the plan, according to people familiar with the talks. – Wall Street Journal

The leaders of the central branch of the Orthodox church in Ukraine made a formal break with the hierarchy in Moscow in April, widening a schism in a church that was already divided before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times

Russian missiles struck a hospital and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine’s east and south, killing at least three people including an infant, while Western officials questioned the extent of Moscow’s weapon supplies. – Wall Street Journal

Russia has likely launched a number of Iranian manufactured un-crewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine since September, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Ukraine’s Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula was targeted by a drone attack on Tuesday, Kremlin-installed authorities said, adding that Moscow’s forces there were “on alert”. The strike came as Ukraine claimed another territorial victory and just days after Moscow said it was strengthening its position on the Crimean peninsula. – Agence France-Presse

The Ministry of Defence has announced it will send helicopters to Ukraine for the first time since the war began. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it will be the first time piloted aircraft were sent to the war-torn nation since Russia’s invasion. – Bloomberg

With its invasion of Ukraine stalling, and Ukrainians liberating as much as half their seized territory, Russia is turning to Iran to procure missiles to continue its campaign against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. – Arutz Sheva

The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom posted a caricature of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday that drew accusation of antisemitism. – Haaretz

Mark T. Kimmitt writes: Russian forces likely won’t be driven back to the preinvasion borders by the end of this year. Nor will Crimea be liberated by then. But with the proper reconstitution, planning and training this winter, in addition to the resumption of Ukraine offensives soon after the spring thaw, those aren’t unreasonable goals for 2023. – Wall Street Journal

Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, Karolina Hird, Madison Williams, Yekaterina Klepanchuk, Nicholas Carl, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The Kremlin appears to be setting information conditions for a false-flag attack in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, likely in an effort to regain public support for the war in Ukraine. – Institute for the Study of War

Maryna Venneri writes: Failure to prosecute Russia for the war crimes committed in the largest conventional military attack in Europe since World War II may damage international law and undermine global security for decades to come. – Middle East Institute

Raphael S. Cohen writes: The harshness of these realities, however, does not make current calls for a negotiated settlement intrinsically moral. If diplomacy means ramming through a settlement when the battlefield circumstances dictate otherwise, it is not necessarily the morally more justifiable or strategically wiser approach. Sometimes fighting—not talking—is indeed the better option. – Foreign Policy


Two explosions near bus stops in Jerusalem early Wednesday injured at least 12 Israelis, four seriously, according to Israeli police and paramedics. One of the explosions occurred near a bus stop located at the entrance to the city in Givat Shaul at around 7 a.m. local time, and a half-hour later a second explosion occurred near a bus stop at a separate entrance to the city located at Ramot Junction. – Wall Street Journal

A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Nablus late on Tuesday night, Palestinian officials said. – Reuters

Efforts to recover the body of 18-year-old Israeli citizen Tiran Ferro, who died in a car crash near Jenin on Tuesday and whose body was then abducted by a group of Palestinian gunmen, are ongoing on Wednesday morning. – Jerusalem Post

Following the deadly bombings at two locations in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, Israeli politicians and diplomats have begun issuing statements and responding to the attacks. – Jerusalem Post

Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi told American defense officials in Washington that the two militaries must accelerate joint plans for offensive actions against Iran, the Israeli military said Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Last year set a record for the volume of Israel’s military and security exports, which surged by 30 percent over the prior year, according to the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate. Israeli defense industries reported new contracts worth a cumulative $11.3 billion in 2021 – up from $8.6 billion in 2020. – Haaretz 

Neville Teller writes: The precedent has been set. Any judicial consideration by the ICJ of the Israel-Palestinian boundary dispute requires no less. It is unacceptable for the ICJ to deliver an opinion on this seminal issue reached in private and without the benefit of representations. – Jerusalem Post


Russia has pushed for years for a reconciliation between its ally, the Syrian government, and Turkey, which stood on opposing sides in Syria’s civil war. Recent weeks saw the first small signs of possible progress. But that could be threatened by this weekend’s flare-up in tensions between Turkey and Syrian Kurds who control much of north and eastern Syria. – Associated Press

Turkey’s top court overturned terrorism-related convictions of the former local head of Amnesty International, Taner Kilic, and three other activists, the rights group said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Turkey’s warplanes crossed into Russian and U.S.-controlled airspace for the first time to attack the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, and it has rallied Syrian allies to possibly expand the campaign, several Turkish and Syrian rebel sources said. – Reuters

Turkey will attack militants with tanks and soldiers soon, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, signalling a possible ground offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria after retaliatory strikes escalated along the Syrian border. – Reuters

Soner Cagaptay, Michael Singh, Sude Akgundogdu write: Although Ankara will likely approve the Nordic expansion down the road, hurdles remain for Sweden, and Russia may play the spoiler’s role unless Washington facilitates the process. – Washington Institute

Gulf States

The Middle East capital of bling isn’t hosting the FIFA World Cup, but Dubai is still reaping the benefits of an influx of tourists into the region—its bars are buzzing and its hotels are teeming with soccer fans. – Wall Street Journal

A U.N. human rights office spokesperson said on Tuesday that 17 men had been executed in Saudi Arabia since Nov. 10 for drug and contraband offences, calling the executions “deeply regrettable”. – Reuters

When Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took his seat next to the FIFA president at the World Cup opener in Qatar, it capped a remarkable turnabout in his fortunes – even before the Saudi team put a new feather in his cap by beating Argentina on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia is still under review despite a Biden administration ruling that the Saudi crown prince has immunity from a lawsuit over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Investigators have concluded that an Iranian drone was used to bomb an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire last week, the U.S. Navy said on Tuesday. The drone attack on the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon last Tuesday off the coast of Oman appears to be part of the long-running shadow war between Israel and its archenemy Iran that has included the targeting of Israeli-linked ships in strategic Mideast waterways. – Associated Press

Egypt and Greece signed two bilateral deals on Tuesday, including a pact to improve cooperation in migrant search and rescue missions across the Mediterranean Sea, officials said. – Associated Press

The U.N. special envoy for Yemen said Tuesday he is not only trying to renew and expand the truce that expired last month but to get the warring parties to initiate talks on a path toward a settlement of the eight-year conflict. – Associated Press

For the US, the group was a critical ally in the campaign to defeat Islamic State in Syria and remains an important force keeping the jihadists from rising up again. Turkey, a US ally within NATO, views it as a terrorist threat. The group is the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, a militia in Syria made up mostly of fighters representing the minority Kurdish community. – Bloomberg

Israel authorized a Qatari company to be involved in drilling for natural gas in the Kana-Sidon Reservoir which was the subject of a recently-resolved dispute with Lebanon. – Jerusalem Post

Patrick Clawson writes: Arguably, the most striking change in global population will be the rise of sub-Saharan Africa as a demographic giant. Today, it is home to 1.166 billion people, or 78% as many as China, but by 2100 it is projected to hit 3.442 billion. This would make its population 450% that of China, and more than eight times that of the United States. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council showed a “double standard” over weapons development by holding a gathering on its missile test, calling it a “grave political provocation,” state media KCNA said. – Reuters

Although the unexpected appearance of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s daughter raised speculation that she could be a successor in the making, analysts say it would be an unprecedented uphill struggle in the male-dominated dynasty. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden last week asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, if he could try to talk North Korea out of a new nuclear weapon test but he acknowledged that he did not know if China had the capacity to do so. – Reuters


Workers at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant in China clashed with scores of police officers after protests erupted at the factory, which has been under Covid-19 lockdowns in recent weeks. – Wall Street Journal

Four people have been detained over a fire at an industrial trading company in central China that killed 38 people, reports said Wednesday. The fire Monday was caused by welding sparks that ignited cotton cloth being stored at a facility run by the firm Kaixinda, authorities said. – Associated Press

Shuli Ren writes: In 2023, as Xi’s new cabinet comes to office, fiscal reform will likely be a top policy priority. Let the dance between the rich and the powerful begin. – Bloomberg

Joseph Bosco writes: Nixon himself eventually recognized the failure of his engagement policy, as followed and nurtured by all his successors, except Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden. Yet it was Kissinger, having come to the China engagement portfolio late in his career, who claimed it as his own special mission long after Nixon regretted that “We may have created a Frankenstein” — and Kissinger claims it yet today. – The Hill

Richard Weitz writes: The federal government cannot afford to rely on chip suppliers with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party given the risks that Beijing will exploit this vulnerability for cyber infiltration or attack. And with surging inflation, rising deficits, and escalating Chinese threats, struggling American taxpayers shouldn’t have to support the research, development, and manufacture of Chinese chips. – Fox News

Jack Detsch writes: Meanwhile, the United States has continued to raise frustrations of its own, such as Chinese intercepts of U.S. and allied aircraft in the Indo-Pacific, which Austin called “increasingly dangerous,” according to a Pentagon readout of his meeting with Wei. – Foreign Policy

Jonathan White writes: Could that be at the expanded 2026 tournament in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, where Asia will have more places? “Even then, it’s far from certain,” Dreyer says. He believes China “has a lot to do to course-correct” and be in contention to qualify. There is no excuse for China not being one of the top teams in Asia, but right now they are miles away from that.” – Foreign Policy

South Asia

An estimated 300 militants are operating in Indian Kashmir, an Indian military commander in the disputed region said on Tuesday, as New Delhi seeks to stabilise the restive Himalayan territory that it reorganised three years ago. – Reuters

Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan will make his first appearance at a public rally since he was shot and injured at a garrison town a day after his successor is set to name a new leader for the country’s powerful army. – Bloomberg

Michael Rubin writes: “Diplomacy is back” should be more than a mantra, and Biden’s praise of India’s importance should be more than empty rhetoric. It is time for both the White House and Senate to prioritize the dispatch of a confirmable nominee to New Delhi. India, after all, is fast becoming America’s most important ally in Asia. – 19fortyfive


Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday denounced China for what she called “intimidation and coercion” in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and promised that the United States would stand by the Philippines, at a time when the Biden administration is looking for ways to counter Beijing’s influence in the region. – New York Times

Malaysia’s king met lawmakers Wednesday in a continuing search for a prime minister with majority support after inconclusive general elections that saw the rise of Islamists sparked anxieties in the multiracial nation. – Associated Press

Taiwan is seeing less Chinese interference ahead of its local elections, possibly due to China’s own domestic problems and its efforts to improve its international image, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China said it held a video meeting to discuss police cooperation with several Pacific island nations on Tuesday, with at least two nations telling Reuters their ministers and police commissioners were unavailable to attend. – Reuters

Israel has agreed to open contacts with Japan aimed at reaching a free trade agreement that could lift bilateral trade valued at more than $3.5 billion, the Israeli foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Taiwanese prosecutors said on Tuesday they had charged a senior military officer with corruption and harming state security after they said he took bribes from a Chinese agent to act as a spy and even signed a letter promising to surrender to China. – Reuters

Talks between the leaders of China and the US were good for peace in Asia-Pacific, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said, underscoring how tensions in the region have eased in recent weeks. – Bloomberg

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Tuesday the country will issue a diplomatic note to Beijing following an incident in the South China Sea involving a floating rocket piece. – Reuters

Elaine McCusker writes: The US no longer has forces or presence in Afghanistan. The SIGAR statute and charge have been overcome by events. It is past time to sunset this organization. – American Enterprise Institute


Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom PJSC threatened to further throttle exports to Europe via Ukraine from next week, putting in question one of the last remaining routes for Russian gas to reach Europe. – Wall Street Journal

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Foundation for Climate and Environmental Protection has become an emblem of how Germany’s craving for natural gas led to a dependent, murky relationship with Moscow. The foundation was just one cog in a vast Russian influence network in Germany, one that expanded in tandem with the country’s growing dependency on gas. – Washington Post

When a missile slammed into a Polish village just a few miles from Ukraine last week and killed two local residents, fears surged that Russia had attacked a NATO country and threatened a global conflagration — until it turned out that it was probably a wayward Ukrainian air defense missile that had fallen into Poland by accident. – New York Times

Six and a half years after voting to leave the European Union, three years after the formal departure, two years after signing a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels and one month after installing its fourth prime minister since the 2016 referendum, Britain is caught in — what else? — another debate over Brexit. – New York Times

Britain’s Supreme Court is due to rule Wednesday on whether Scotland can hold a vote on independence without the consent of the U.K. government, a case with huge implications for the future of the United Kingdom. – Associated Press

Kosovo has postponed for another 48 hours its plan to fine drivers who continue using Serbian-issued car license plates, after a U.S. request for a delay due to the West’s fears that fines may trigger ethnic violence. – Reuters

Ukraine will summon the Hungarian ambassador to protest that Prime Minister Viktor Orban went to a football match wearing a scarf depicting some Ukrainian territory as part of Hungary, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Swedish police said on Tuesday they had detained one person on suspicion of espionage and a second individual believed to have aided the suspected crimes. – Reuters

The Polish president spoke to a hoax caller pretending to be France’s Emmanuel Macron on the night that a missile hit a village near the Ukrainian border, his office said on Tuesday, an admission likely to raise questions about its operations. – Reuters

Polish officials have been accused of disinviting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Lodz, Poland, next week, just days after questions arose over whether Russia’s war in Ukraine is spilling over into neighboring Poland. – The Daily Beast

Swedish foreign policy has been unique for many years in Europe. The Scandinavian nation hasn’t joined military alliances since it was a military power in the 17th and 18th centuries, and hasn’t been involved in a war for over 200 years (with the exception of occasional peacekeeping missions far away from its borders). In the second half of the 20th century, its policy of avoiding alliances and maintaining wartime neutrality created a foreign policy that in many ways wasn’t about serving Swedish national interests. Instead, it was about becoming a “humanitarian superpower” and endeavoring to make the world a better place. – Haaretz

Julian Lee writes: At some point Rome is going to have to take direct action, either forcing Lukoil to sell or stepping in itself. The sooner it does so, the better. – Bloomberg


Mali’s government has announced a ban on aid groups that are funded by France, the latest attempt by the coup leader in charge to distance the West African country from its one-time colonizer and former ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. – Associated Press

A senior United Nations official on Tuesday welcomed a substantial decrease in piracy incidents this year in the Gulf of Guinea, the world’s top hot spot for such attacks, but warned that pirate groups may be moving into more lucrative maritime crimes. – Associated Press

At least three travelers were killed and 22 others injured in an ambush on buses traveling on a major highway in South Sudan. Gunmen dressed in military fatigues and armed with AK-47s ambushed two buses and a smaller vehicle along the Juba-Nimule highway on Monday. – Associated Press

Germany will start to pull out its troops from Mali from the middle of next year after a decade-long mission, with the withdrawal to be completed by May 2024, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters

At least 14 people died in two separate attacks by jihadist groups in Burkina Faso’s north, including eight civilian army auxiliaries, security and local sources said Tuesday. One of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina has been struggling with a jihadist offensive since 2015. – Agence France-Presse

West African nations met with European leaders on Tuesday for talks on “homegrown” ways to prevent jihadist conflict in the Sahel from threatening countries on the Gulf of Guinea, but the get-together ended with no major announcement. – Agence France-Presse

Restrictions on weapons sales to Somalia are undermining efforts to thwart al-Shabaab insurgents that are trying to overthrow the government, a cabinet minister has warned. – Bloomberg

South Africa’s parliament passed legislation to combat money laundering and terrorism financing needed to avoid the country being added to a global illicit-finance watchlist. – Bloomberg

Michael Rubin writes: To allow Abiy a platform on the world stage is to empower a leader who models himself after Isaias Afwerki, the continent’s most repressive ruler. Ethiopians of all ethnicities deserve better. Too much is at stake for the international community to repeat the mistakes it made toward Saddam during Iraq’s inter-war years. – 19fortyfive

The Americas

The United States is in talks with Mexico and other countries to facilitate the return of Venezuelans to their homeland, a senior U.S. official said in a call with reporters on Tuesday. “We’re in discussion with Mexico and other countries to see what can be done in that sense,” said Blas Nunez-Neto, the acting assistant secretary for border and immigration policy. – Reuters

Canadian police said on Tuesday they were investigating reports of Chinese “police service stations” operating in the Greater Toronto Area for possible interference in Canadian interests and threats to national security. – Reuters

Canada said on Tuesday it will slap more sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s administration for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Reuters

Bret Stephens writes: AMLO’s defenders may rejoin that the president remains popular with most Mexicans, thanks to his professed concern for the very poor. That’s often been the case with populists, from Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey to the Kirchner governments in Argentina. But reality has a way of catching up. What Mexicans increasingly face under AMLO is an assault on their economic well-being, personal security and political freedom and the rule of law itself. If Mexicans aren’t careful, this will be their road to Venezuela. – New York Times

Latin America

A part-time Mexican journalist was shot dead in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, home turf for several violent drug gangs, adding to the death toll for the bloodiest year to date for local media workers. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel unveiled a monument in a north Moscow square on Tuesday to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, pledging to deepen their friendship in the face of U.S. sanctions against both countries. – Reuters

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has challenged the election he lost last month to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, arguing votes from some machines should be “invalidated” in a complaint that election authorities met with initial skepticism. – Reuters

United States

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday rejected criticisms that his World Cup appearance in Qatar contributed to indifference about human rights, as some activists denounced the Persian Gulf state’s treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ people. – Washington Post

Soon after claiming control of the House in the upcoming Congress, Republicans announced that they would launch an investigation into business dealings of Hunter Biden, the president’s son, with the aim of proving that the president was involved in some of those deals as well.  – Washington Post

A gunman shot and killed multiple people in a Walmart store late Tuesday in the US state of Virginia, police said, adding that the single shooter suspect is also dead. – Agence France-Presse

David Ignatius writes: For Republicans such as Rogers and a half-dozen others who oppose Trump, the political rationale is simple math. To win in 2024, Trump would likely have to win some combination of six battleground states he lost in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump-backed candidates did poorly in most of those states this month. Republicans who want to regain the White House can count the numbers. – Washington Post


Republican members of Congress, who will set the agenda for the House next year, pressed short video app TikTok on Tuesday over concerns the company may have misled Congress about how much user data it shares with China, where owner ByteDance is headquartered. – Reuters

For days, doctors, scientists and public health experts have been telling their Twitter followers where to find them on other platforms if Elon Musk’s newly-acquired company tanks. – Agence France-Presse

After snapping up Twitter, one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic companies, Elon Musk swiftly introduced his no-holds-barred work ethic, setting up a bitter culture clash with thousands of workers who still believed in the platform’s higher mission. – Agence France-Presse

People “associated with the US military” were likely behind a network of phony Facebook and Instagram accounts that promoted US interests abroad by targeting audiences in Afghanistan and Central Asia, Facebook parent firm Meta said Tuesday. – CNN

Joshua Hendrickson writes: What this history reveals is that what is commonly known as crypto is clearly distinct from both the cypherpunk vision that motivated the creation of Bitcoin and from the developments in and around Bitcoin itself over the last decade. Whereas Bitcoin was created to be a censorship-resistant, trustless digital form of money, crypto has become a space dominated by get-rich-quick-schemes. Whatever this crypto industry is, most Bitcoin and Bitcoiners want no part of it. – NBC


A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is pushing the Biden administration to transfer advanced MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can carry Hellfire missiles to Ukraine. – Defense News

The U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday unveiled its zero-trust strategy and road map, highlighting how the department plans to shield sensitive information from prying eyes. – Defense News

Japan successfully carried out ballistic intercepts near Hawaii using missiles launched from destroyers, validating the ships’ defense capabilities in the process. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Nov. 21 that two live-fire events were conducted over a two-week period involving Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Haguro and JS Maya. – Defense News

Atiim Phillips writes: This solution has passed a rigorous red team assessment from the army’s Threat Systems Management Office. Ultimately, the U.S. Army’s BYOD pilot program is a DOD first and should be the model for redefining the BYOD solution across DOD. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Long War

Boko Haram militants killed at least 10 Chadian soldiers in an attack on a military unit in Lake Chad province near the Nigerian border on Tuesday, Chad’s government said in a statement. – Reuters

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday warned that a rampant Islamist insurgency in West Africa’s Sahel is threatening to engulf the entire region. West African leaders and European ministers are in Ghana’s capital Accra to discuss regional solutions to the insurgency that is spreading as foreign troops pull out of Mali, where militants have seized vast swathes of territory. – Reuters

Of the roughly 54,000 residents in the al-Hol refugee camp, nearly half are children under the age of 12. Most fled here with their mothers and extended family members in late 2018 and early 2019 as the Islamic State terrorist group lost the last of its territory in Syria. The plight of these children is a chief concern among U.S. military and State Department officials. – NBC