Fdd's overnight brief

November 28, 2022

In The News


Iran’s top paramilitary commander on Sunday visited a restive province in eastern Iran, where the military has attempted to violently suppress a two-month-old protest movement, to warn locals against further unrest. – Wall Street Journal

Iran is deploying armored and special units along its western border to prevent the infiltration of Kurdish opposition groups based in Iraq, a top commander of the Revolutionary Guard said Friday, exacerbating the risk of a wider military conflict in the volatile area. – Wall Street Journal

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

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to investigate alleged human-rights abuses by Iranian authorities that have occurred during the two-month-old protest movement that has swept the country. – Wall Street Journal

With the U.S. and Iran set to play a high-stakes match in the World Cup here on Tuesday, the U.S. soccer federation took to social media to make what it said was a statement of support for protesters inside Iran: an altered version of the Iranian flag. – Wall Street Journal

In early October, about a month into Iran’s anti-government protests, a Tehran resident reported seeing at least three protesters being shoved into an ambulance during a student-led demonstration. But the resident said the protesters did not appear to be injured. – New York Times

So she and her colleagues at Persian-language Radio Farda use secure messaging apps to communicate with their network of sources inside Iran, who could be jailed for speaking to the media. They spend hours analyzing videos from Iran to verify their authenticity. And they interview the families of protesters who have been killed. – Washington Post

Iran’s Supreme Leader has praised the country’s Basij paramilitary force for its role in the deadly crackdown on anti-regime protesters. – CNN

Farideh Moradkhani, the niece of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been arrested after calling on foreign governments to cut all ties with the Iranian government. – CNN

Iran is in a “full-fledged human rights crisis” as authorities clamp down on anti-regime dissidents, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Chief Volker Turk. – CNN

An Iranian rapper who expressed support for anti-regime protests is charged with “corruption on earth” and could face the death penalty, judicial authorities confirmed on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse

Hackers have disrupted the work of Iran’s Fars news agency, one of the main sources of news disseminated by the state during protests over Mahsa Amini’s death, the agency said. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that negotiating with the United States would not put an end to the “troubles” that have rocked the Islamic republic over the past two months. – Agence France-Presse

Iranian security forces opened fire on protests after Friday prayers in the restive southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, leaving dozens of people dead or wounded, activists said. – Agence France-Presse

Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned a United Nations Human Rights Council decision to probe the Islamic republic’s response to unrest following the death of Mahsa Amini. – Agence France-Presse

The United States on Wednesday targeted three Iranian security officials under human rights-related sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said, citing Tehran’s ongoing crackdown on protesters in Kurdish-majority areas. – Reuters

A British-Iranian citizen was arrested in Iran’s Isfahan province on Wednesday for allegedly sharing information with foreign-based news channels, Iranian state media reported. – Reuters

China tried but failed to pass an amendment to a motion on Iran before the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday that would have stripped out the main paragraph referring to a new investigative probe into Iran’s suppression of mass protests. – Reuters

Iranian state media is calling for the U.S. to be banned from competing in the 2022 World Cup over a now-deleted social media post in which the U.S. national soccer team altered an image of the Iranian flag. – The Hill

Editorial: In sum, Iran’s ayatollahs are facing an increasingly daring enemy within. Yet their friends in the region are displaying a growing reluctance to come to their aid. The Iranian regime’s struggle to survive may be becoming a lonely affair. – The Economist

Masih Alinejad writes: Macron expressed his admiration for the protesting Iranian women and men who are fighting for freedom from the regime in Tehran. We need more world leaders to recognize the new Iranian revolution. – Washington Post

Golnar Nikpour writes: But try as they might, the authorities have never been able to completely control the game. Following the lead of remarkably brave athletes, some footballers have been showing solidarity with protesters […] Team Melli now has two more chances to show their mettle on the pitch. But in some ways, it doesn’t really matter what happens. By standing in solidarity with protesters at considerable personal risk, they have already won. – New York Times

Maryam Rajavi writes: The Iranian people should not be alone at such a defining moment. It is time for the West to shun the appeasement of the theocracy and support the democratic revolution by recognizing the resistance’s right to defend itself against the brutality of the regime by any means possible. – New York Post

Joseph Frager writes: The Old Guard hardliners in Iran are getting to an advanced age and weak. The protesters are young and vibrant and represent the future of Iran. I am more optimistic today than at any time in 43 years that the Ayatollahs can and will be toppled. I hope the Biden Administration is finally seeing it the same way. – Arutz Sheva

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Salami’s visit and speech show how the regime is trying to shift the narrative on the protests, and that it is increasingly relying on the IRGC to either put down the protests or explain to the people why they should support the regime. The problem for the regime is that its playbook has been the same for decades. It blames the US and Israel. However, it is unclear if the average person on the street still buys this propaganda. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It also notes that trade between Iran and SCO countries surpassed $651 billion last year. But Iran will need to modernize its infrastructure to take advantage of any new opportunities. Also, the new China-Iran partnership will take a while to be realized in terms of benefits for Tehran. – Jerusalem Post

Pat Fallon writes: In conjunction with ending Malley’s tenure and enforcing existing U.S. sanctions, snapping back UN sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and providing tangible support to the people of Iran, there is a path to returning Iran policy to a bipartisan consensus. […]If this administration wishes to reverse their failed Iran policy, Biden can start by firing Malley. Otherwise, I fear that the continuation of the status quo will be disastrous for the people of Iran and for the national security of the American people. – Fox News

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Iranian protest organization groups may be reinforcing their organizational capabilities as protest activity entered a relative lull over the past several days. – Institute for the Study of War

Mark N. Katz writes: Just like many European nations were loath to give up their dependence on Russian gas after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, Israel and the Gulf Arab states might prove unwilling to give up their long-held hopes about how Russia can help restrain Iran. However, Russia’s increased dependence on Iran for military support might eventually force them to. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian officials said Sunday that they had managed to restore most of the electricity to the capital city of Kyiv, even as Russian strikes hit cities across southern Ukraine and intense fighting continued in the country’s eastern Donetsk region. – Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine has been punctuated by frequent Russian threats to escalate the war. Many have been later dialed down or ignored, leaving the U.S. and its allies guessing what the Russian leader’s real red lines are. – Wall Street Journal

Emboldened by their success in the midterm elections, House Republicans, who will hold a slim majority in the next Congress, have warned the Biden administration to expect far tougher oversight of the extensive military assistance it has provided Ukraine. – Washington Post

For months, Putin claimed that the “economic blitzkrieg” against Russia had failed, but Western sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine are digging ever deeper into Russia’s economy, exacerbating equipment shortages for its army and hampering its ability to launch any new ground offensive or build new missiles, economists and Russian business executives said. – Washington Post

Russia on Wednesday pounded Ukraine with another barrage of missiles, striking critical energy infrastructure and residential areas and setting off blackouts across the entire country, including in Kyiv, the capital, and Lviv in the west. – Washington Post

At a highly choreographed event days ahead of Russia’s Mother’s Day, President Vladimir V. Putin met on Friday with mothers of servicemen fighting in Ukraine and said that he shared their pain in an apparent attempt to contain a growing outcry over the Kremlin’s handling of the war. – New York Times

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its 10th month, Russian artillery pounded the strategic southern port city of Kherson two weeks after retreating from it, killing at least 10 civilians and wounding dozens more — and on Friday, triggering a hospital evacuation. – New York Times

In Ukraine, the kind of European war thought inconceivable is chewing up the modest stockpiles of artillery, ammunition and air defenses of what some in NATO call Europe’s “bonsai armies,” after the tiny Japanese trees. […]Now, nine months into the war, the West’s fundamental unpreparedness has set off a mad scramble to supply Ukraine with what it needs while also replenishing NATO stockpiles. – New York Times

For almost an hour, the stream of Ukrainian casualties in the eastern city of Bakhmut seemed unending: Ambulances, an armored personnel carrier and private vehicles all screamed to a halt, one after another, and disgorged the wounded in front of the city’s only military hospital. – New York Times

An American-made missile fired by Ukrainian forces wounded three civilians in eastern Ukraine in September, according to residents and debris recovered from the scene, marking a rare instance where U.S.-supplied weapons were linked to civilian casualties in the nine-month-old conflict. – New York Times

The head of Ukraine’s state-run nuclear energy firm said on Sunday there were signs that Russian forces might be preparing to leave the vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which they seized in March soon after their invasion. – Reuters

Editorial: Above all, Western governments and their partners need to stick together. Russia’s economy is hollowing out, and the war is not going Moscow’s way. Putin still thinks Ukraine’s supporters will crack first. The West must prove him wrong. – Bloomberg

Hal Brands writes: There are countervailing considerations: A long war that exposes how pitifully inadequate the US defense industrial base has become could force the nation to get serious about rearmament. Still, if the situation in the Taiwan Strait is deteriorating as rapidly as American officials say, then the premium on ending the Ukraine  conflict relatively soon may get higher. – Bloomberg

Grace Mappes and Frederick W. Kagan write: The Russian military clearly assesses that Ukrainian forces could cross the Dnipro River and conduct counter-offensive operations in eastern Kherson Oblast, possibly threatening all of the critical ground lines of communications (GLOCs) from Crimea to the mainland. – Institute for the Study of War


Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party signed a coalition deal with Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party that gives the latter control of the police ministry and a seat in the security cabinet. – Wall Street Journal

Palestinian officials said that rapidly advancing negotiations with Egyptian investors could bring a rare glimmer of hope to Palestinians, after plans to develop Gaza’s gas — along with plans for the creation of a Palestinian state — were sidelined by more than two decades of grinding conflict with Israel and equally intractable Palestinian political divisions. – Washington Post

A series of large bomb attacks by the Islamic Jihad was thwarted in the Jenin area, Kan 11 News reported on Sunday. According to the report, a large and unusual number of explosive devices and explosives intended to be used to carry out a series of attacks against Israel was seized this past Thursday in a special operation by the Palestinian Arab security forces. – Arutz Sheva

Israel is preparing for the possibility that Iran will try to avenge the elimination of its senior officer in Syria, which Iran has blamed on Israel. – Arutz Sheva

Israel has provided intelligence to dozens of Western countries and NATO about Iran’s weapons transfers to Moscow to support its war on Ukraine, and has been lobbying allies to put pressure on Tehran, according to a new report. – Associated Press

Israel’s Security Cabinet reached a decision earlier this month that significantly tightens government oversight on foreign investments, two senior Israeli officials say. While the decision doesn’t explicitly mention China, Israeli officials say the new policy is a response to two years of pressure by the Biden administration to limit China’s role in sectors like energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and transportation. – Axios

Editorial: With the leadership of the PA aging and increasingly out of touch with average people, the institutions decaying and lawlessness spreading, it’s imperative for all those who care about peace and stability to focus on reducing the role that lawless gangs, armed men, militants and terrorists are playing in the West Bank. Israeli authorities coordinate with the Palestinians on a variety of issues, as the return of Ferro exemplifies. – Jerusalem Post

Benny Avni writes: The West Bank could descend into chaos once Mr. Abbas is gone. Fears of the incoming right-wing Israeli government — which are intensified by dire predictions around the world — add to Palestinian Arab volatility. A bloody West Bank eruption is highly likely. How all sides would handle it, however, is much less predictable.  – New York Sun

Micah Halpern writes: Abbas is not Arafat. And no one in the PA leadership comes close to resembling Barghouti. Only after Palestinian leadership gains the respect of their youth, only after they appoint a dynamic leader can there ever be another, a third, Intifada. – Jerusalem Post

Ahmed Buhejji writes: If the new four-party coalition government shows signs of returning to the 2020 annexation plan, this would be seen as an exceptionally offensive move. Considering the context of the accords, Israel’s new partners would have no choice but to put the rapprochement on hold. – Jerusalem Post


The Taliban treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan may amount to a crime against humanity and should be investigated and prosecuted under international law, a U.N. team of experts said Friday. – Associated Press

The Taliban lashed three women and nine men in front of hundreds of spectators in a provincial sports stadium Wednesday, signaling the religious extremist group’s resumption of a brutal form of punishment that was a hallmark of their rule in the 1990s. – Associated Press

The Taliban has netted millions from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a Friday report […]The report said Taliban officials stationed in Doha since 2013 for peace talks with the West were paid lucrative allowances to live in the Gulf state, which were then used to purchase the machinery, which they repeatedly rented out to the highest bidder. – Times of Israel

Nafay Choudhury writes: While ideally this would require that Da Afghanistan Bank gain access to its full reserves, at minimum, any commercial banking funds currently frozen abroad should be released. Yet it is exchangers, rather than banks, who will ensure that financial services remain available to laypeople and businesses across the country in the days to come. – Foreign Policy


The commander of the main U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force in Syria said Saturday they have halted operations against the Islamic State group due to Turkish attacks on northern Syria over the past week. – Associated Press

Thousands of Kurds protested on Sunday in the Syrian city of Qamishli against Turkish cross-border strikes targeting Kurdish groups in the country’s northeast, an AFP photojournalist said. – Agence France-Presse

Two rockets targeted a US patrol base in northeastern Syria late Friday, the third such attack in nine days, US Central Command said. – Agence France-Presse

Syria and Iran have been deploying new air defense systems, including jamming and early warning systems, around Damascus in order to prevent Israeli airstrikes in the area, according to the Syrian Capital Voice site. – Jerusalem Post

David Ignatius writes: Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke on Wednesday with his Turkish counterpart and warned the Turks against attacking restricted zones around U.S. troops. But a Pentagon official said there was “no sign that [the Turks] are ready to de-escalate.” As the Turkish military assault in northern Syria begins to destabilize the U.S.-led coalition’s fragile control over the murderous remnants of the Islamic State, a reasonable person begins to wonder: What kind of an ally is this? – Washington Post


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to quadruple bilateral trade with Cuba, blaming sanctions on the communist island for preventing relations from flourishing. – Bloomberg

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will meet with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi after the two leaders exchanged a handshake earlier this month at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. – Bloomberg

Turkey has the right to take care of its own problems in northern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, as his country’s armed forces continued a major air operation targeting a Kurdish militia in the region. – Reuters

Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria threatened the safety of U.S. military personnel and the escalating situation jeopardized years of progress against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

Yemen’s internationally recognized government signed a deal with the Arab Monetary Fund on Sunday, state media said, paving the way for the Saudi-backed administration to receive $1 billion of economic aid. – Associated Press 

The opening week of the Qatar World Cup was overshadowed by political controversy and high-profile gestures of support for human rights. But what in the Gulf has been seen as western hectoring has also turned the football tournament into a rare thing in the Arab world: a source of regional unity. – Financial Times

China and Arab nations will hold a summit in Saudi Arabia early next month, setting up the possibility that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the key energy partner for the first time in nearly seven years. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Although the warring states of Lebanon and Israel have just negotiated a maritime border, the situation remains tense along their land frontier, which is still in dispute and lined with minefields and barbed-wire fencing, and surveilled by drones […]The shepherds say they are repeatedly abducted by Israeli troops, accused of feeding information about the army and its movements in the area to Hezbollah. – New York Times

Iranian authorities worked with Qatar to suppress any anti-regime expressions at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in the Gulf state, according to documents leaked by the Black Reward hacktivist group. – Jerusalem Post

Hamas praised a Lebanese 11-year-old contestant at a table tennis tournament in Portugal on Saturday for refusing to play against the Israeli contestant and pulling out of the tournament so that she wouldn’t have to. – Jerusalem Post

US Citizen and former Air Force captain, Sherif Osman, was detained by UAE police for speaking out against the Egyptian government on YouTube from his home in America, where he thought he was protected by his constitutional right to free speech. – Jerusalem Post

Faris Almaari writes: The Saudi men’s team’s major upset against Argentina in their opening World Cup match has brought together many Saudis and the Arab world writ large in celebration, demonstrating the powerful pull of the game. – Washington Institute

Lahav Harkov writes: The Abraham Accords should give Israelis hope for a better future and greater integration in the Middle East, but they should not be naïve. The sea is the same sea, and public opinion polls show the Arabs are mostly the same Arabs. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Turkey wants to be an energy hub partnering with Moscow, and Iran is selling drones to Moscow. Economic ties Turkey and Iran to Moscow. In this respect, they have a common policy, but not necessarily a policy that is solely anti-Kurdish. The end result is that Kurds are victims and pay the price for the Ankara-Tehran partnership. – Jerusalem Post

Kim Ghattas writes: Looking at events in Iran, the Saudi crown prince may be congratulating himself for defusing the social discontent that had been building inside the kingdom for years. But he will likely continue to do so quietly—notwithstanding Iran International’s coverage—because the ultimate lesson from 1979 is that geopolitical fallout from the coming changes within Iran will wash over the region. And any interregnum will be messy. – The Atlantic

Korean Peninsula

The daughter of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a second public appearance with her father days after her first, suggesting an expansion of the child’s public-facing role and fueling speculation over Kim’s succession plans. – Washington Post

On one side of the border, North Korea is testing new and more powerful missiles, some designed to carry nuclear warheads capable of reaching the continental United States. On the other side, South Korea is again promising economic aid to persuade its neighbor to give up those arms. – Washington Post

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country’s intends to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of a new ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that China would be willing to work together with North Korea for regional and global peace, stability and prosperity, North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Saturday, citing Xi’s letter to Kim. – Reuters

North Korea on Thursday denounced Seoul’s push to impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang after its missile launches, calling South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his administration “idiots” parroting the United States, state media KCNA reported. – Reuters

Editorial: The United Nations is proving to be useless as a defender of world order, and these days it can’t even condemn a rogue regime brandishing nuclear weapons and threatening its neighbors. It’s time the U.S. stopped putting faith in the U.N. and focused on working through alliances of the free and willing. – Wall Street Journal

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Tehran appears to be learning from Russia’s invasion and North Korea’s nuclear and missile methodology. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine tore up basic aspects of the “rules-based” order. This has unleashed, or at least fueled, the kind of activity that Iran and North Korea are engaged in. – Jerusalem Post

Robbie Gramer writes: But so far, U.S. efforts to drive home a unified condemnation at the United Nations have run aground. The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on Monday failed to pass a resolution condemning Pyongyang’s latest ICBM test after Russia and China vetoed the measure. […]The meeting highlighted the diplomatic impasse the United States faces over North Korea’s nuclear program on the world stage. – Foreign Policy


Canada on Sunday called China a “disruptive” global force that must be contained, the latest salvo against Beijing as Ottawa embraces a less friendly approach toward the country after a high-stakes U.S.-China battle over telecommunications. – Wall Street Journal

Protests spread to cities and college campuses around China on Saturday night, reflecting rising public anger at the country’s draconian Covid controls, with some in a crowd in Shanghai directing their fury at the Communist Party and its top leader, Xi Jinping. – New York Times

China’s Covid-19 restrictions on Friday became the focus of protests in Urumqi, the capital of the remote region of Xinjiang, after a deadly fire enraged city residents who have struggled with lockdowns of more than 100 days. – Wall Street Journal

Retired bishop and longtime Hong Kong democracy advocate Cardinal Joseph Zen was convicted of failing to register a fund providing aid to antigovernment protesters, the latest court verdict in a continuing crackdown on dissent in the city. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Cuban counterpart pledged mutual support over their fellow communist states’ “core interests” Friday at a meeting further hailing a return to face-to-face diplomacy by Beijing. – Associated Press

The BBC said on Sunday one of its journalists in China had been arrested and beaten by police while covering protests against the country’s zero-Covid policy. – Agence France-Presse

US authorities announced a ban Friday on the import or sale of communications equipment deemed “an unacceptable risk to national security” ― including gear from Chinese giants Huawei Technologies and ZTE. – Agence France-Presse

Two top US health officials questioned China’s Covid Zero policy, saying it’s unlikely to rein in the virus on its own and makes little sense without an improved vaccination campaign to broaden immunity. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The rest of us should welcome this Chinese uprising against Party control, even if it is mainly aimed at zero-Covid. President Biden ought to find his voice to support popular protests that remain peaceful, though no doubt Beijing will use whatever foreigners say to claim the protests are U.S.-inspired. But the Chinese public knows who is responsible for zero-Covid, and it isn’t a foreign power. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: China’s Covid and economic struggles may explain in part China’s recent less belligerent appearance on the global stage. But the U.S. can’t assume that will continue. The larger lesson of China’s Covid reckoning is that lockdowns don’t work, and authoritarian regimes aren’t models of public health or anything else that too many Americans imagine them to be. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: A month ago, Xi seemed unstoppable, winning his third term as general secretary of China’s Communist Party, setting him up to remain paramount leader for life. But a nation in flames over his trademark policy puts his dominance of the CCP in doubt — with the CCP’s own total control of the country suddenly facing its worst challenge in at least a generation. – New York Post

Matthew Brooker writes: The risk is that a harsh approach generates its own reaction, trapping the country in a loop of escalating repression and resistance. That’s unlikely. The party has long experience of neutering potential challenges, and today’s China is far from the liberal intellectual climate that allowed the Tiananmen movement to flourish. Let’s not forget, though: A single spark can start a prairie fire, as Mao Zedong once wrote, citing an ancient proverb. No one knows that better than the Communist Party. – Bloomberg

Stephen Roach writes: Xi’s team is now made up entirely of loyalists, all of whose appointments were personally vetted by Xi, and there is little or no room for debate, for considering alternatives, or for speaking truth to power. As productivity falls and Chinese growth stagnates, it is unclear who, if anyone, will tell Xi the toughest truth of all: that his obsession with security is undermining China by weakening the economic foundations on which the country’s strength depends. – Foreign Affairs

Edward Lucas writes: The West’s China policy should focus on unity, not concessions. This misbegotten exercise in Realpolitik leaves us no safer. The US, for all its military might, prioritized avoiding escalation in a conflict rather than values or victory. That is excellent news for autocrats, less so for allies. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Michael Cunningham writes: China’s activities steal from American businesses and deprive U.S. residents of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. They are a serious threat to America’s economic, political, and social systems and, indeed, its sovereignty. It’s time for the government to take this threat seriously. – The National Interest

South Asia

Pakistan on Thursday announced the rise of a new army chief, a changing of the guard that many consider as crucial to Pakistani affairs as civilian political cycles and that comes at a moment of fierce debate over the military’s power in politics. – New York Times

Hamid Mir writes: But Pakistan’s state of political uncertainty doesn’t end there. Now that his bid to block the army chief appointment has failed, Khan has shocked everyone with a new move: He has announced that the PTI will pull out of the provincial assemblies it controls. He has played his final card. Pakistanis are bracing for what happens next. – Washington Post

Dhiraj Nayyar writes: But the country’s manufacturers have no time to waste. Right now, firms exiting China are looking for other options. India needs to do everything to ensure it is the first choice. – Washington Post

Abbas Nasir writes: Yet Mr. Khan’s populist messaging is gaining wider traction. Pakistan’s economy is faltering. Inflation is higher than 25 percent. Recent floods have affected more than 30 million people, and caused damage and economic losses of around $30 billion. Pakistan needs stability and improved governance, but Mr. Khan’s ambitions are bound to increase political turmoil. – New York Times

Sadanand Dhume writes: Nobody can blame Imran Khan for seeking self-respect for Pakistan. But the first step toward achieving that is to accept reality instead of looking for convenient scapegoats. Nothing is helped by selling your people delusions. – Wall Street Journal

Harsh V. Pant and Sameer Patil: None of the challenges India faces in its leadership year is insurmountable. At a time of global tumult, the G-20 presidency allows New Delhi to exhibit global leadership. It will certainly need cooperation to succeed, but India has the credentials and the credibility to steer the world toward global consensus and away from polarization. – Foreign Policy


U.S. government and congressional officials fear the conflict in Ukraine is exacerbating a nearly $19 billion backlog of weapons bound for Taiwan, further delaying efforts to arm the island as tensions with China escalate. – Wall Street Journal

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen relinquished her seat as head of the island’s ruling party after it lost several key contests in local elections Saturday, foreshadowing political uncertainty amid heightened tensions with China. – Wall Street Journal

After days of political chaos, Malaysia has a new prime minister, its fifth in less than five years. The country is now relying on a veteran politician to bring back political stability while leading a polarized electorate — split between one faction that sees itself as modern and multicultural, and another that is driven by a conservative Muslim base — into the post-pandemic world. This is the task ahead for Anwar Ibrahim, 75, whom the king appointed prime minister on Thursday. – New York Times

Australia’s terrorism threat level has been downgraded from “probable” to “possible” for the first time since 2014, the head of the main domestic spy agency said Monday. – Associated Press

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Sunday said attempts to break up a Russian-led security alliance had always existed and would continue to do so, but insisted that the alliance remained in high demand following criticism this week from Armenia. – Reuters

Tobin Harshaw writes: That said, there’s much uncertainty around exactly what the British or the French or any other European country would actually do in a Taiwan crisis, in part because their military capabilities in the Western Pacific are fairly limited — not nonexistent, but limited. Some of the other options, like slapping really harsh economic and technological sanctions on China, are plausible, but haven’t been worked out in detail. – Bloomberg

Andrew I. Park and Steven Wills write: The Australian government will announce its choice of model and discuss the operational timeline in the first quarter of 2023. A nuclear submarine force for the RAN is a reachable goal. Loaning the Australians a refueled Los Angeles-class SSN and hosting Australian sailors aboard a Virginia-class SSN for training can speed the process. – The Hill

Robert Gregory writes: Australia is the weak link in Western opposition to Iranian regime brutality. The Australian Jewish Association (AJA) recently made submissions to a Senate inquiry into human rights abuses in Iran. Along with sanctions on Iran’s vicious “Morality Police” and its drone and missile exports, the AJA proposed that Australia should follow the American lead and proscribe the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. But there is another action Australia can and should take. – Jerusalem Post

Marina Yue Zhan writes: Returning to Kim Beazley’s concerns over rare earths, Australia holds the fifth-largest rare-earth reserves in the world and is the fourth-largest exporter of rare earths. It may be wise for Australia to align with the EU to take a global perspective on managing rare earths—joining the global effort in R&D and investment for recycling rare earths and dealing with climate change—rather than being an “out-and-out pawn” of the United States. – The National Interest


Diplomats from the European Union failed to agree Friday on final details of a policy to help limit Russia’s revenue from oil, according to senior E.U. diplomats, the latest setback to an effort led by the United States and Ukraine’s allies to curb the flow of cash financing Russia’s war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Angela Merkel, who led Germany for sixteen years, said that her diminished political power in the run up to her retirement prevented her from setting up diplomatic talks aimed at dissuading President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia from launching Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. – New York Times

The Italian navy mine hunter ITS Numana was sailing recently above a pipeline carrying natural gas from North Africa to Europe when its sonar detected a metal object close to the line. – Wall Street Journal

Denmark’s autonomous Faroe Islands have renewed a fishing quota deal with Russia for one year despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a local minister said on Saturday. – Agence France-Presse

Lithuania has warned Turkey that its delay in approving Sweden and Finland’s applications to join Nato is not just putting their security at risk but that of the entire Baltic region. – Financial Times

Nine months after invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is beginning to fracture the West. Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. – Politico

Rishi Sunak will argue the UK should plan its foreign policy for the long-term to match the strategies of other world powers such as Russia and China, as the prime minister makes his first major foreign policy speech. – Bloomberg

Marie Jourdain and Celia Belin write: Together, France and the United States can do much to reform international institutions to better serve the needs of poor nations on climate finance, food security, debt, and many other issues. This is no small task. But it must be part of the discussion between Macron and Biden this week if France and the United States are to be prepared for what lies ahead. – Foreign Affairs


Gunmen wearing suicide vests and believed to be members of a militant group attacked a hotel popular with government officials in the capital of Somalia on Sunday, according to the police. – New York Times

A roadside bomb killed four troops in northern Burkina Faso, an area wracked by jihadist insurgency, the army said on Saturday, while three civilians died in another strike in the same region. – Agence France-Presse

M23 rebels were still fighting and advancing on one front of their offensive in east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday as a ceasefire came into force, civilian and military sources said. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

The U.S. Treasury on Saturday granted Chevron a license for a limited expansion of energy operations in Venezuela, signaling the possible beginning of the country’s re-entry into the international oil market. Foreign investment in the oil sector is something that Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolás Maduro, desperately needs to improve the economy. – New York Times

A rare meeting between leaders of Venezuela’s bitterly divided government and opposition is expected to result in two major agreements meant to ease the country’s complex political and humanitarian crisis. The meeting partly reflects the economic ripple effects of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, which has reduced global oil supplies and pushed the United States to reconsider its restrictions on energy companies operating in Venezuela. – New York Times

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Friday that he will host meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Mexico City early next year. – Associated Press

There are growing concerns from Iranian-Canadians who say they are being threatened, monitored and even followed at protests and outside their homes by affiliates of the Iranian regime who are here in Canada. – CBC News

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Meantime China, with no such restrictions, is aggressively signing contracts to build infrastructure in Guyana and getting in on the oil boom. And the U.S. is turning to renowned polluter Venezuela to boost crude supplies. What could possibly go wrong? – Wall Street Journal

Dean Karayanis writes: Nobody wishes to kick a nation when it’s down, but the latest horrors of socialism won’t be the last unless the world learns what got Venezuelans into its crisis. Marx’s system of greed and grievance always fails, and if it ever succeeds in destroying capitalism, there will be no Chevrons to bail its victims out when they cry for help. – New York Sun

Mateo Haydar writes: Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America and a democracy of 217 million people, is too important a security and economic partner to the United States to become a client state for malign actors or a source of regional instability. If the Biden administration is serious about countering China and its allies in its own hemisphere, it urgently needs a strategy that makes this threat its number one priority with the incoming Lula government. – Washington Examiner


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned the import and sale of certain Chinese technology equipment that it determined poses “an unacceptable risk to national security.” – The Hill

The European Parliament’s website was hit Wednesday with a “sophisticated” cyberattack claimed by a pro-Kremlin group, according to its president. – The Hill

For years privacy advocates have pushed Twitter to roll out end-to-end encrypted messaging on the platform. Now, Elon Musk appears to be moving toward finally delivering this long-sought feature, but his deep cuts to the company’s workforce and chaotic management style are raising major questions about whether he can do so responsibly. – CyberScoop


The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms. – Reuters

Rapid advancements in China’s military capabilities pose increasing risks to American supremacy in outer space, the head of the United States military’s space wing said on Monday. – Reuters

The Space Force on Tuesday opened a regional command center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to manage military space operations across the Indo-Pacific. – Military Times

NATO returns on Tuesday to the scene of one of its most controversial decisions, intent on repeating its vow that Ukraine — now suffering through the 10th month of a war against Russia — will join the world’s biggest military alliance one day. – Associated Press

Peter A. Newell and Alex Gallo write: We believe the development and adoption of an innovation doctrine is required for the safety and security of Western systems and values. Innovation must become a warfighting function and the development of an innovation doctrine must be a top priority. We can — and we must — accelerate our technological innovation. We cannot wait. The country that continuously innovates at speed and scale will win the next war. – The Hill

Nolan Vihlen writes: Finally, the Marine Corps should continue to develop innovative, unmanned surface and air platforms with the understanding that existing systems must be leveraged until these technologies are fully fielded. Successfully incorporating vertical lift aviation into the commandant’s vision of the Marine Corps will prove challenging, but the negative impact of relying solely on alternative mobility options will prove to be untenable. – War on the Rocks