Fdd's overnight brief

November 29, 2022

In The News


French lawmakers on Monday condemned Iran’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrators and called on European governments to put more pressure on Iran to investigate the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody in Tehran. – Associated Press

An Iranian general on Monday acknowledged that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest surrounding nationwide protests, giving the first official word on casualties in two months.- Associated Press 

Accusations by the United States that Iran was behind an attack on a tanker in the Gulf of Oman are baseless, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday. – Reuters 

A member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was assassinated in Isfahan on Monday, according to local officials. – Jerusalem Post 

The Iranian Jamaran-class frigate Sahand (74) has been upgraded with a new air-defence system, it was revealed when President Ebrahim Raisi boarded the ship during a visit to Jask on 27 November. – Janes 

The families of Iran’s World Cup soccer team have been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to “behave” ahead of the match against the USA on Tuesday, a source involved in the security of the games said. – CNN 

A judge has ruled that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is a “terrorist entity” under Canadian law, adding fuel to the debate over how to deal with the branch of Tehran’s armed forces. – Global News

Russia & Ukraine

Fierce fighting rumbled on in east Ukraine, as Moscow denied Kyiv’s claims that Russia was preparing to abandon a nuclear-power plant in the country’s south that it has occupied since March. – Wall Street Journal

Pope Francis defended his practice of not naming Russia as the aggressor in Ukraine, saying that his condemnation of Moscow has been clear even though not explicit. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia has postponed arms-control talks scheduled for this week, U.S. officials said, a fresh setback to efforts to shore up the last major nuclear-weapons treaty between Washington and Moscow. – Wall Street Journal 

Russian forces are digging trenches and erecting barriers to strengthen their defenses against the possibility of a new Ukrainian offensive in the south following Moscow’s loss of a key city there, a research group said in a report published on Sunday. – New York Times 

With everything happening, it is completely insane,” said Nino Rosebashvili, an anchor at a YouTube channel run by the movement founded by Mr. Navalny. Mr. Putin, the anchor suggested, has taken to presiding over the most humdrum of events to avoid linking himself with Russia’s stumbling war against Ukraine. – New York Times 

Even though scenes like this have been repeated across Ukraine wherever the Russians have retreated, the clump of villagers and police officers seemed stunned on Monday as they stood at the lip of a common grave in Pravdyne, a village near the city of Kherson. – New York Times 

A communications line created between the militaries of the United States and Russia at the start of Moscow’s war against Ukraine has been used only once so far, a U.S. official told Reuters. – Reuters

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

The United States will announce new aid on Tuesday to help Ukraine restore electricity as its people faced another week of brutal cold and darkness after Russian missile strikes on its power grid caused rolling blackouts. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Monday that it welcomed a Vatican offer to provide a negotiating platform to resolve the Ukraine conflict, but that Kyiv’s position made this impossible. – Reuters

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba told a gathering of seven Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers on Monday that his country needed transformers and improved air defences to stave off Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure. – Reuters  

The pace of global shipping activity is set to lose steam next year as economic turmoil, conflict in Ukraine and the impact of the pandemic weaken the outlook for trade, U.N. agency UNCTAD said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s military said on Monday Moscow had banned Ukrainian technicians who have refused to sign contracts with Russia’s atomic energy firm from entering the vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant that Russian forces seized in March. – Reuters 

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will call on allies to pledge more winter aid for Kyiv at a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Ukraine’s president told residents to brace for another week of cold and darkness due to Russian attacks on infrastructure. – Reuters    

The United States is still talking to Russia about a deal to free jailed Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan but Moscow has not provided a “serious response” to any of its proposals, a senior U.S. diplomat said in comments published on Monday. – Reuters

Ukraine’s NATO partners are set to discuss more air-defense systems for the fight against Russia this week, but there won’t be any meaningful progress on a 14-year-old pledge to let Kyiv join their alliance. – Bloomberg

Canada’s foreign minister said she’s hopeful national police and courts can soon move to seize Russian assets and sell them off to support Ukraine, despite the lack of action under a new law so far. – Bloomberg  

US officials said Russia had postponed crucial nuclear weapons talks that were due to begin on Tuesday, marking a setback for the last remaining arms treaty between the powers and providing further evidence of fraying diplomatic ties since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Financial Times 

Russian forces may be preparing to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which Russia has occupied since the early months of the war this year, according to Ukrainian authorities. – The Daily Beast 

Editorial: There’s another parallel that Mr. Putin doesn’t speak about. Despite his modest salary, some claim that Mr. Putin controls wealth that makes him the richest man in the world. One of Castro’s former, longtime bodyguards wrote a scathing expose—“The Double Life of Fidel Castro”—that detailed Castro’s private life of luxury and fortune. The Fidel fete in Moscow is a reminder that the world’s axis of dictators works together to harm U.S. interests and global freedom. – Wall Street Journal 

James Stavridis writes: With a land war favoring Ukraine and a brutal air war favoring Russia, the West’s best option will be to significantly increase its assistance to Ukraine on the air war side of the conflict. Giving the Ukrainians more tools to close their own skies may be the key to forcing the Russians to ultimately negotiate, perhaps as soon as early spring, given the success Zelenskiy and his military have achieved on the ground. – Bloomberg 

Dan Hannan writes: If you think that Putin would fight to the death to avoid such terms, you are not using your imagination. A defeated country is in no position to bargain, and the bill could rise much higher. War crimes trials, reparations, disarmament, and, yes, territorial awards. The conversation will eventually move into whether Japan should have the Kuril Islands, Finland Karelia, Germany Konigsberg. Separatist movements within the Russian Federation might receive recognition. – Washington Examiner 

Bryan Clark and Timothy A. Walton write: Hundreds of MQ-9s are getting ready to be retired alongside expiring AIM-9 and AIM-120 missiles. Dozens of MQ-1Cs, four of which were proposed for transfer to Ukraine, are also available, as are numerous airborne jamming pods. The United States should send some of these excess defense articles to Ukraine. The transfers would help defend the Ukrainian people from Russia’s illicit drone warfare and aid U.S. and allied militaries in developing sustainable air defense schemes that guard against drone and missile salvoes in the Pacific and beyond. – The Hill

Harlan Ullman writes: As the USSR imploded, at some stage, Putin’s regime will become unstable. Of many contingencies, not only is the West least prepared for this one, so is Russia. And therein rests the danger. – The Hill  

Zhanna L. Malekos Smith writes: More optimistically, the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Activities and Operations — which is poised to become the “definitive document” in 2023 on military and security law in space — could provide additional guidance on targeting commercial space systems in armed conflict. On the one hand, analyzing how to best minimize harm to civilians using dual-use technology during armed conflict is context-driven; however, as a guiding principle of jurisprudence, simply because an action may be lawful, does not necessarily mean it should be done. – The Hill 

Sascha Brodsky writes: The U.S. needs to learn from lapses in Ukraine, said Stuart Kaufman, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware. The U.S. needs to rely less on technology to improve its intelligence assessments. “We’ve got great signals intelligence, and we’ve got great photo-reconnaissance,” he said. “What we need is more human intelligence to get at that the human side of military performance. That’s our weak spot.” – The Daily Beast 

Andrew Beck writes: The diplomatic tidepools that pit Russia against certain geopolitical foils and pair her with confederates are inevitable. Every brand eventually establishes a position in the public’s mind, and no amount of censure or promotion can forestall this inevitably. It is the law of perception. Russia’s brand draws crude lines in the international marketplace, a perception that Putin has not only exacerbated, but given the Russian people a cause to glory in: fighting against the perennial enemy of American global influence. The Western elite polarizing their institutions and media organs against Russia will not influence Putin or Russians to change their brand trajectory, but steel their resolve to triumph with it intact. – The National Interest


Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces early Tuesday morning in two separate incidents in the Israeli occuppied West Bank, Palestinian officials said. – Reuters 

The Israel Air Force this week will hold one of its largest drills in years with the United States Air Force simulating offensive strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. – Jerusalem Post 

There has been a significant rise in attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians and IDF troops in the West Bank over the past year, more than double the amount from the previous year. – Jerusalem Post 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Monday threatened the life of far-right Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, who responded by promising to “crush” the Gaza-based terror group. – Times of Israel 

Citing Military Intelligence assessments, the Israel Defense Forces on Monday said it had foiled some 500 terror attacks in the past year, during a months-long operation in the West Bank. – Times of Israel 

Under the guise of reporting on reports by Beirut-based Al Mayadeen, a pan-Arabist satellite news channel, media outlets close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have published a list of “sensitive” sites that could be targeted in a future war. The reports listed a number of buildings and sites in Israel in what was clearly intended as a threat. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey’s army needs just a few days to be ready for a ground incursion into northern Syria and such a decision may come at a cabinet meeting on Monday, Turkish officials said, as Turkish forces bombarded a Kurdish militia across the border. – Reuters 

After years of tension, a handshake between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last week opened the door to a flurry of back-door diplomacy between intelligence officials, two sources told Reuters. – Reuters 

Neville Teller writes: If he does carry out his plan, Erdogan will undoubtedly enhance his political standing at home, ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2023. So it is more likely than not that Erdogan’s new ground offensive will take place and that in addition to widespread disruption and loss of life in northern Syria, vast numbers of reluctant Syrian refugees will be relocated to his safe zone. – Jerusalem Post 

Gulf States

The first World Cup in the Middle East has become a showcase for the political tensions crisscrossing one of the world’s most volatile regions and the ambiguous role often played by host nation Qatar in its crises. – Reuters 

U.S. special envoy Tim Lenderking is traveling to Oman and Saudi Arabia this week to support Yemen peace efforts, the U.S. State Department said on Monday in a statement that also urged an immediate end to attacks on Yemeni ports. – Reuters 

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may cut crude prices for Asia in January following a bearish trading cycle in the Middle East spot market, on concerns over sluggish demand in China and an increase of Russian crude in Asia after Dec. 5. – Reuters 

Middle East & North Africa

The chief of Russian forces in Syria has met with a Kurdish commander over threats by Turkey to launch a new incursion into northern Syria, a Kurdish spokesman and an Arab TV station said Monday. – Associated Press 

Tara D. Sonenshine writes: Lastly, we need good public messaging strategies to rebuild American support for Syria, and for extending our democratic values even when we continue to debate our own. By now we should all know that wars are rarely limited to the regions in which they occur. – The Hill 

Ronnie Chatah writes: Recreating the circumstances that led to the STL to enable an international port blast investigation would be a daunting challenge, requiring U.N. Security Council approval of a request by a local majority coalition and adherence to its implementation. That opportunity may be tenuous. But standing against political violence and picking up from a journey that began in 2005 should not be negotiable. A majority worth embracing would work to reclaim a battered state with “Change” and “Opposition” in alliance. – Middle East Institute   

Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol warned of an unprecedented joint response with allies if North Korea goes ahead with a nuclear test, and urged China to help dissuade the North from pursuing banned development of nuclear weapons and missiles. – Reuters   

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is vowing to build “the world’s most powerful” nuclear arsenal mere weeks after conducting tests of multiple short-range ballistic missiles and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). – Newsweek 

Alexander Ward, Matt Berg, and Lawrence Ukenye write: The only thing we know for sure is that Kim didn’t have the same experience during the Thanksgiving season as many in the NatSec Daily family. “I took my boys to a Georgetown basketball game for Thanksgiving,” Cha told us. “Not as memorable as taking them to a ballistic missile launch, but more entertaining.” – Politico


Small protests against China’s strict “zero covid” policy occurred in several cities Monday evening, as citizens defied a police crackdown and threats of reprisal, with Beijing blaming “foreign forces” even as authorities moved to vaccinate more seniors and relax some distancing measures. – Washington Post 

President Xi Jinping faces a difficult choice between loosening China’s zero-tolerance Covid-19 policy or doubling down on restrictions that have locked down neighborhoods and stifled the country’s economy over the past three years. – Wall Street Journal

On China’s heavily censored social media, a new target has emerged for internet police: blank sheets of white paper. – Wall Street Journal

The White House voiced careful support for protesters demonstrating against restrictive Covid-19 policies in China, saying people around the world should have the right to protest peacefully. – Wall Street Journal

Protests are erupting in major cities in China over President Xi Jinping’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, an unusual show of defiance in the country as the economic and social costs from snap lockdowns and other strict restrictions escalate. – Wall Street Journal

Chief executive John Lee said he would seek Beijing’s intervention after Hong Kong’s top court ruled against the government in a national security case involving pro-democracy newspaper tycoon Jimmy Lai, a rare move that heightened concern over the role of the city’s independent judiciary. – Wall Street Journal

The surprise eruption of protests in China over Covid lockdowns presents President Biden with his latest challenge in balancing an embrace of democracy with the need to prevent a fast-decaying relationship with an autocratic nation from rupturing. – New York Times 

Chinese authorities have begun inquiries into some of the people who gathered at weekend protests against COVID-19 curbs, three people who were at the Beijing demonstrations told Reuters, as police remained out in numbers on the city’s streets. – Reuters

China’s military said on Tuesday it drove away a U.S. guided-missile cruiser that “illegally intruded” into waters near the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands. – Reuters 

The rare street protests that erupted in cities across China over the weekend were a referendum against President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy and the strongest public defiance during his political career, China analysts said. – 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 

Chinese universities are sending students home as the ruling Communist Party tightens anti-virus controls and tries to prevent more protests after crowds angered by its severe “zero COVID” restrictions called for President Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades. – Associated Press 

Hong Kong’s leader said he’ll ask Beijing to determine whether foreign lawyers can work on national security cases in the city, a move with repercussions for the upcoming trial of jailed pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai. – CNN

The US is pushing European allies to take a harder stance towards Beijing as it tries to leverage its leadership on Ukraine to gain more support from Nato countries for its efforts to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. – Financial Times  

China’s development of military air platforms continues to show strong links to designs and concepts originating from the West. – Janes

Editorial: But after so many months of insisting that the Communist Party and Mr. Xi know best — that rigid “zero covid” is the only correct approach — changing course would imply they erred. China’s economy and its people’s health depend on whether this authoritarian system can respond to the voices of protest, ditch its own propaganda and show flexibility. – Washington Post 

Editorial: President Joe Biden’s weakness is not what the international community and oppressed people around the world expect from the U.S. — or at least not what they should expect. The Biden administration should be speaking plainly. It should observe that these protests reflect genuine, deep, and popular concerns on the part of the Chinese people. The administration should demand that Chinese authorities respect the basic human rights of their citizens as well as foreign citizens in China, such as the BBC journalist who was attacked and temporarily detained by Chinese police in Shanghai. – Washington Examiner 

Jianli Yang writes: Watching the treads of tanks in Tiananmen Square crush young lives made me realize that China must change. These protests have yielded a make-or-break moment for the people of China. We must maintain our faith that the Chinese people are prepared to join all those around the world who now live in free countries. An opening for significant change could come in the next few weeks or months — or it may take a few more years. Of course, it will never come without collective effort — and that includes the international community. Accordingly, those outside China must be ready to help bring about political change in the country. – Washington Post 

William McGurn writes: By insisting on his innocence, Jimmy Lai knows he has surrendered any hope for leniency. But he is showing that a man can live as a free person, even in a Chinese prison, as long as he refuses to lie. Hong Kong’s Communist-backed authorities have yet to realize that he’s no longer really on trial. They are. – Wall Street Journal

Vivian Wang writes: The streets emptied, and what was left was, again, uncertainty — about what, if anything, would come next. On Monday, the streets were quiet, as lockdowns and Covid closures continued, though police officers guarded some subway stops and intersections. Online, some discussed plans for another gathering that night, proposing potential demands for attendees to coalesce around, such as a government apology to Urumqi. But others worried that police officers had already infiltrated the group; some said that they had received phone calls from the local police asking where they had been the night before. By early evening, police cars lined the area where people had chosen to gather that evening. Attendees were sparse. – New York Times 

Paul Krugman writes: In short, what we can learn from China is broader than the failure of specific policies; it is that we should beware of would-be autocrats who insist, regardless of the evidence, that they’re always right. – New York Times  

Edward White and Tom Mitchell write: China’s success in preventing uncontrolled Covid outbreaks for the first two years of the pandemic means the population has not developed natural immunity to the virus — a problem exacerbated by the patchy vaccination coverage among the elderly. Chinese and US scientists recently predicted that an uncontrolled Omicron outbreak would cause demand for critical care units to outstrip supply by 15.6 times and result in almost 1.6mn deaths. “ – Financial Times 

Gordon G. Chang writes: Washington, through its timidity, paved the way for Beijing to take ever more provocative actions and led American allies to question Washington’s leadership and trustworthiness as an ally. This, even though the United States and the Philippines are parties to a 1951 mutual defense treaty. – The Hill 

Michael Rubin writes: Burns should leave the embassy compound and visit Beijing University, other campuses, and those who escape from lockdown centers and prison camps. He should do so without the permission of Chinese Foreign Ministry minders. The Senate confirmed Burns to be ambassador to China, not to the Chinese Communist Party. Now more than ever, Washington needs someone who can reach beyond the ruling cabal. – 19FortyFive 

Chels Michta writes: The deepening of the Sino-Russian alliance in the wake of the war in Ukraine should serve as a warning that once again our prewar assumptions and planning may not survive contact with reality. As with previous bids for hegemonic control of Eurasia in the 20th century, Europe may become the principal battleground should China throws its weight fully behind its Russian ally. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

John Lee writes: The US and its allies continue to enjoy considerable and even decisive leverage and advantages in the region vis-à-vis China. Getting others in the region to adopt a mindset concomitant with this assessment is a necessary step for the US and its allies to ensure that Chinese insistence on the inevitability of its success is unfounded. – Hudson Institute

South Asia

Nepal’s main ruling party was leading in last week’s parliamentary elections with most of the votes counted by Monday. – Associated Press 

Simon Henderson writes: Regarding the move’s implications for U.S. policy, the challenges are multiple, especially because China is Islamabad’s closest ally. Yet Washington can still help calm the brinkmanship in domestic politics, steer the military away from confrontation with India, and urge leaders not to do anything provocative on the lawless borders with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and Iranian Baluchistan. At the same time, it must help Pakistan keep its nuclear arsenal secure and block any residual temptation to proliferate nuclear secrets, either on enrichment or warhead design. – Washington Institute 

Atul Kumar writes: This has invigorated diplomats on both sides to look for peaceful options. The Xi-Modi icebreaker at the G-20 summit indicated that hectic behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts were ongoing. Nevertheless, a quick standoff resolution cannot be expected. China-India border negotiations work as a multi-round boxing match. Both countries are engaged simultaneously in confrontation and negotiations. The SCO and G-20 summits in India next year, which Xi is expected to attend, could work as a tentative deadline. – The National Interest


A brutal defeat for Taiwan’s ruling party in local elections over the weekend could reduce chances of military conflict with China, according to political analysts, though some warned it could expose the island to subtler forms of pressure from its giant neighbor. – Wall Street Journal    

Australia’s shift to nuclear-powered submarines will assure its South Pacific neighbors of its commitment to regional security, Britain’s Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific said Monday. – Associated Press 

John Bolton writes: Now, however, is the time for diplomatic rock ’n’ roll. Let’s prevent whining from isolationists that America didn’t realize what it was undertaking if, sooner rather than later, China provokes a crisis in Taiwan. Taipei is the epicenter of what for Washington could be another “present at the creation” moment—as Harry Truman’s secretary of state, Dean Acheson, described the beginning of the postwar world. The U.S. and all its allies must be ready to perform. – Wall Street Jounal   

Walter Russell Mead writes: America’s unique ability to attract powerful allies around the world remains critical to our national security and the values we cherish. The Japanese strategic awakening is historic, and Americans should do everything we can to support it. – Wall Street Journal


French President Emmanuel Macron is headed to Washington for the first state visit of Joe Biden’s presidency — a revival of diplomatic pageantry that had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. – Associated Press 

Germany’s government on Monday defended a plan to make it easier for people to apply for citizenship, countering complaints from within the ruling coalition and the opposition that it might encourage illegal immigration. – Reuters 

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that the so-called “golden era” of relations with China was over, saying Beijing’s systemic challenge to Britain’s interests and values was growing more acute. – Reuters 

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of AIM 9X Block II tactical missiles, AGM-154 Joint Stand Off weapons and related equipment to Finland for an estimated cost of $323.3 million, the Defense Department said on Monday. – Reuters

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday it had summoned the Norwegian ambassador over what it said was the politically-motivated arrest of Russian citizens for using drones illegally, while Norway said the arrests were legal. – Reuters 

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is ready to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to help the two countries get past a diplomatic spat over rescue ships carrying migrants across the Mediterranean, Corriere della Sera reported. – Bloomberg  

Luca Bertuzzi writes: Yet subsidy races could undermine this project. Both the EU and US are preparing to spend billions of public funds to bolster semiconductor manufacturing. Both also are keen to reduce their dependence on Chinese solar supplies. European fear, as with the US plans to privilege domestic electric car production, that they will be outspent. The US aims to keep Europe united over Ukraine. But commercial issues could thwart that goal. At the TTC, the two sides will need not only to produce concrete outputs. They will need to avoid an open trade war. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The third round of Congo peace talks facilitated by the East Africa regional bloc opened in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Monday with a plan to discuss reforms that will facilitate disarmament of rebel groups. – Associated Press 

South Sudan should investigate officials accused of overseeing systematic gang rapes, some of whose victims were girls as young as nine, UN rights experts said on Monday in a statement the government dismissed as a fabrication. – Reuters 

A ceasefire between government troops and M23 rebels appeared to be holding for a third day on Monday in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), despite clashes between rival militias, local residents told AFP. – Agence France-Presse 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will host Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on a state visit on Dec. 6. – Bloomberg 

The Central African Republic threatened Monday to take reprisals after an aircraft flew in from a neighbouring country in the middle of the night and bombed CAR troops and their Russian paramilitary allies. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

The international community should send a strike force to Haiti to confront gangs even though police have ended a blockade of a fuel terminal that caused a humanitarian crisis, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States said on Monday. – Reuters 

Honduras will soon complete negotiations with the United Nations that aim to create an international mission to fight corruption in the country, President Xiomara Castro said on Monday. – Reuters

The Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate urged lawmakers on Monday to back his proposal to bar the U.S. government from doing business with companies that use semiconductors made by producers the Pentagon considers Chinese military contractors. – Reuters

Editorial: The deal welcomes Mr. Maduro back to the world community as a respectable ruler rather than a rogue who has impoverished his country and unleashed millions of refugees on his neighbors. The U.S. says the six-month lease with Chevron won’t be renewed if Mr. Maduro doesn’t negotiate in good faith with his opponents. Maybe if Texas declared itself to be a dictatorship, President Biden would negotiate and allow more U.S. oil production. – Wall Street Journal

Natalie Kitroeff writes: But the Biden administration has not yet persuaded any other country to lead such a mission.Canada has resisted, in part because it is wary of sending security assistance if it is not supported by the political opposition in Haiti, officials say. Brazil has also demurred, with officials telling Reuters this month that it is unlikely to get involved. The risks of sending armed forces to Haiti are high, with uncertain rewards. Winning battlefield victories would not wipe out the gangs, past experience shows, because it would not touch their true source of strength: longstanding ties with Haiti’s economic and political elite. – New York Times 

Michael Rubin writes: The State Department should plan for regime change in other countries: Azerbaijan, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela, for example. Each country’s population has suffered under decades of dictatorship, and each deserves better. None wants external intervention, but that is a straw man. Opposing intervention does not mandate supporting an authoritarian status quo. To prepare for a post-dictatorial future in these countries is to prevent diplomats from losing sight that freedom is the goal and that liberty will always be an asset to U.S. national security. – Washington Examiner


Cryptocurrency lender BlockFi Inc. filed for chapter 11 on Monday, following FTX into bankruptcy and spotlighting the contagion effects that the failure of the crypto exchange has unleashed. – Wall Street Journal

Twitter owner Elon Musk on Monday opened fire against Apple over its tight control of what is allowed on the App Store, saying the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform. – Agence France-Presse 

Editorial: Those who believe in free expression on Twitter should be fighting for clear and consistent policies along with transparent enforcement. Instead, Mr. Musk has brought chaos. – Washington Post


The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman plan to unveil the latest stealth aircraft called the B-21 Raider at the company’s facility in Palmdale, California, this Friday. – New York Post

The Dec. 2 rollout of the B-21 Raider will mark the world’s first glimpse at a bomber that manufacturer Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force see as a generational leap in aircraft technology and development. – Defense News 

A U.S. Army organization created to guide air- and missile-defense modernization is taking on a new mission to focus on countering drone threats, its new leader said in a recent interview. – Defense News 

The Pentagon’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office approved the “Drone Dome” system, made by a unit of Israel’s Rafael, for C-UAS as a Service contracts, following tests at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. – C4ISRNET

US Navy (USN) aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) returned from its first official deployment in late November as shipbuilder HII acknowledged further work on other Ford-class carriers at its Newport News Shipbuilding yard. – Janes

The Navy wants to upgrade its Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers with a new radar, electronic weapons suite and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, as the service seeks to integrate the platform into the blue water fleet, according to a government request for information issued earlier this month. – USNI News

A top general with the Space Force admitted that China’s military technology could become more advanced than America’s, as the service branch continues to gear up for competition in outer space. – Military.com

Jeffrey Parker writes: Industry’s willingness to commit capital and manpower to AdAir is there. But without a commitment to a strategic road map of funding and capabilities over time, the Air Force will not realize the full value of a program that requires such significant commitment from industry. – Defense News

Long War

A gold mining boom in Burkina Faso over the last decade propelled Boukary Diallo from being a vendor on a market stall to running a meat business supplying a mine near Ouahigouya, his home town in the north of the country. But as the West African country loses territory to Islamist militants and lurches from coup to coup, threatening to turn the boom to bust, Diallo is concerned he will be unable to retain all of his ten employees. – Reuters  

Taliban militants in Pakistan will no longer abide by a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government, a spokesman for the militant group said on Monday. – Reuters

Somali security forces stormed a hotel in the capital on Monday to end a near day-long siege by al Shabaab militants who killed nine people at the building near the president’s residence in the capital, police said. – Reuters  

On November 26, 2022, Tala’i’ Al-Ansar (The Vanguard of the Supporters), a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media foundation released a poster ridiculing the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, suggesting that the real test of a man’s mettle, which shows his true colors, is in joining the ranks of jihad. – Middle East Media Research Institute