Fdd's overnight brief

November 4, 2022

In The News


The threat of an Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia or other Middle East neighbors has eased but not passed, Persian Gulf and U.S. officials said, days after Riyadh and Washington shared intelligence indicating an imminent strike. – Wall Street Journal

Several mourning ceremonies for Iranians who died in recent protests snowballed into large demonstrations on Thursday, adding fresh momentum to a monthslong antigovernment movement that has swept across the Islamic Republic. – Wall Street Journal

In Iran, sharing a meal can be a revolutionary act. University dining halls, which for decades have been gender-segregated spaces, have become a new front line in the country’s uprising. Students chanting “woman, life, freedom” are risking expulsion, assault and arrest in a struggle to eat lunch together. When authorities have closed campus cafeterias in retaliation, students have congregated outside for protest picnics. – Washington Post

A cleric at a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in the restive, mostly Sunni Muslim Iranian city of Zahedan has been shot dead, the official news agency IRNA said, threatening a spike in sectarian tensions complicating government efforts to contain widespread unrest. – Reuters

As a child in Iran, Shideh heard her parents warn her older siblings against taking part in anti-government demonstrations because of the bloody crackdown that would follow. But today, with protests raging across Iran, things have changed. – Reuters

The United States on Thursday issued sanctions against an international oil smuggling network it said supports Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force, targeting dozens of people, companies and tankers as Washington sought to mount pressure on Tehran. – Reuters

President Joe Biden on Thursday told supporters “we’re gonna free Iran” after audience members appeared to call on him to address the ongoing protests that have spread through that country in the aftermath of the death of a young woman in the custody of its security forces. – Associated Press

Iranian security forces have opened fire on crowds near Tehran marking the 40th day of mourning for a woman shot dead while protesting, witnesses say. Videos showed thousands walking along roads to reach the grave in Karaj of Hadis Najafi, who has become a symbol of the anti-government unrest in Iran. – BBC

Bill Saporito writes: Assuming FIFA doesn’t find the spine to disqualify the Iranians because of their murderous government, you can expect the members of Team Melli to put up a good fight in the group stage, even if they are eventually eliminated. When they return to their bloodied, combustible nation, a much more important fight will still be unfolding. – Washington Post

Bobby Ghosh writes: The determination of the protesters as well as the despotism of their rulers should allow the US to rally international support behind efforts to get more Starlink receivers into Iran, allowing Iranians to circumvent the regime’s communications blackouts. The more images they can share of their heroic resistance and the horrific repression they endure, the stronger the international response will be, and the more power Biden can harness. – Bloomberg

Michael Rubin writes: Today, European officials increasingly recognize the evil reality underpinning the Islamic Republic. But the new European awareness should not end there. European leaders wanted to show that their approach to diplomacy could win success better than America’s penchant for coercive measures. They failed. In order to ensure that no other rogue regime ever gets a 30-year, multibillion-dollar free pass, it is essential Europeans confront how unrealistic were their assumptions and how counterproductive was their philosophy. – Washington Examiner

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Large-scale and violent protests have become particularly common in Zahedan on Fridays as well and will likely occur again on November 4. The regime has planned countrywide demonstrations for November 4 as well to condemn the US and commemorate the shah’s brutal crackdown on student protesters in 1978. The IRGC has described the planned demonstrations as signifying Iran defeating the Western-Israeli hybrid war against the Islamic Republic. – Institute for the Study of War

Kourosh Ziabari writes: The bottom line is clear: people living within the boundaries of Iran are those who should determine their future. Giving them a voice means to have the courage to pulverize the narcissisms and judgmental dispositions that characterize the online and offline behavior of a large number of Iranian expats who are apparently fighting for their own egos and footprint rather than the aspirations of the Iranian people. If the basics of democratic participation, namely the toleration of discordant voices, cannot be practiced at this moment, let’s face it and admit democracy will not triumph in Iran. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

The United Nations atomic agency said this week’s inspections in Ukraine found no evidence of activities or nuclear material that hadn’t been declared by Kyiv, rebuffing Russian allegations that the country was working on a dirty bomb. – Wall Street Journal

Kherson — the only regional capital that Russia has captured since its invasion — may soon be retaken by Ukrainian forces, with Russian troops seemingly poised for a complete withdrawal in what would mark another significant setback for the Kremlin. – Washington Post

U.S. Embassy officials in Russia met with imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner, the White House said Thursday. “We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One after the State Department confirmed the meeting. – Washington Post

A Russian-installed official in southern Ukraine said Moscow will likely pull its troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson and urged civilians to leave, possibly signalling a retreat that would be a setback to Russia’s war. – Reuters

The Group of Seven rich nations and Australia have agreed to set a fixed price when they finalize a price cap on Russian oil later this month, rather than adopting a floating rate, sources said on Thursday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered a one-time payment of 195,000 roubles ($3,200) for contract soldiers and those who have been mobilised to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin said. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine’s energy network has left around 4.5 million people without power. The two sides’ forces continued to battle without significant change on the ground on the eastern and southern Ukraine fronts, with preparations building for a fight over the southern hub of Kherson. – Agence France-Presse

After months of reluctance, Israel is softening its opposition to providing military aid to Ukraine, as Iran’s deepening support for Russia’s invasion evolves into a threat to Israeli security. – Bloomberg

Data released on Wednesday by Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development showed the country’s downturn continued in September, with a deepening contraction evident. – CNBC

The basic food security of tens of millions across the globe hung by a thread this week as the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine desperately worked to preserve a deal that has permitted Ukrainian grain to move through the Black Sea. – CNBC

Russia’s envoy to the U.S. has demanded answers from Washington over Pentagon-funded biological research facilitates located in Ukraine and other countries, claiming the sites did not live up to international commitments. – Newsweek

The US State Department announced last Thursday that it plans to counter what it called the diversion of US weapons sent to Ukraine, which may end up in the hands of pro-Russian or independent non-state actors. – Jerusalem Post

The Defense Ministry of Ukraine (GUR) issued a public notice on its website Wednesday requesting information on logistical routes used to facilitate weapons trade between Russia and Iran. – Jerusalem Post

William Nattrass writes: It’s usual for researchers to claim a correlation between education and support for Ukraine, playing into stereotypes of antiwar demonstrators as unenlightened rural folk motivated by narrow self-interest. This dubious characterization is dangerous for governments keen to keep up their support for Kyiv. Shutting down debate by dismissing opposing voices as stupid, selfish or extremist is the surest path to boosting a groundswell of opposition to support for Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Mónika Palotai and Kristóf György Veres write: The United States, as well as European capitals, needs to pay more attention to the situation of people displaced internally within Ukraine and seek direct partnerships with local municipalities and NGOs. If the resilience of western Ukraine is not supported by a massive influx of international aid, the city of Lviv and the whole region may suffer a humanitarian disaster. – Washington Examiner

Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Michael Kofman write: Even with its capacity and global standing diminished by its war in Ukraine, Russia will continue to be driven by its resentments, a quest for a geopolitical space outside its borders, and a desire for status. Washington cannot afford to write Russia off in an effort to ease its own mind, nor should it imagine that Europe can manage the problem on its own. The threat may evolve, but it will persist. – Foreign Affairs

Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Yekaterina Klepanchuk, and Frederick W. Kagan write: While the relocation of the Kherson Oblast occupation government may suggest that Russian forces are preparing to abandon Kherson City, it may equally indicate that they are setting conditions for urban combat within the city. Similar reports may arise in coming days given the ongoing forced evacuation of civilians from both right and left banks of the Dnipro River but may not indicate an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson City. – Institute for the Study of War

Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov writes: Russia categorically opposes the U.S. desire for a neocolonial re-division of the global economy, such as its attempts to standardize everything and introduce financial and technological monopoly in order to preserve Western dominance and to build a “stick and whip” system when capitals are faced with a choice between unprofitable deals and the threat of sanctions. Whilst in fact becoming slaves in economic, political, and at times socio-cultural terms, this is a path to nowhere. – The National Interest 

Mark N. Katz writes: Many in the West—and especially in Ukraine—will object to these proposals since they do not include sufficient punishment of Russia for its invasion. Similarly, Putin and his cronies will be loath to give up all their territorial gains gained at a huge cost to Russian forces. At present, both may prefer to continue fighting rather than make any concessions to the other. But if this only leads to a stalemate then at some point both sides might come to see a compromise settlement like the one outlined here as expedient, even if distasteful. When they do, American and Western diplomats should help them achieve it. – The National Interest


Benjamin Netanyahu won a decisive victory in the country’s fifth election in under four years, vote results showed on Thursday, pulling off a political comeback by successfully uniting his right-wing and religious nationalist bloc. – Wall Street Journal

As Israel’s fifth election in just four years brings Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back to power, one new foreign policy challenge for the country’s longest-ever serving leader will be how to reconcile his strategic relationship with Moscow, given the reported use of of Iranian weapons by Russia in its war in Ukraine. – Newsweek

The IDF launched airstrikes against Hamas underground rocket development and production complex targets in the Gaza Strip in response to earlier rocket fire toward Israel, the IDF announced early on Friday morning. – Jerusalem Post

Rocket alerts sounded off in Kissufim, Ein Hashlosha and Nirim in the Gaza border area of southern Israel on Thursday evening. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed the details and said that they are under investigation. – Jerusalem Post

A Palestinian terrorist injured three Israeli police officers in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday. – Algemeiner

The security forces on Thursday shot dead a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), who according to the military was responsible for the killing of an Israeli commando. Faruk Salama, the commander of the Jenin branch of the the Quds Brigade – Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, was eliminated during a daytime IDF raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. – Ynet

Editorial: No matter how repugnant the rhetoric of Mr. Netanyahu’s new allies, they — and he — should be judged on what they do with the power Israeli voters conferred upon them. Soon enough, the once and future prime minister’s actions will show the priority he places on not only Israel’s democratic traditions but also its decades-long relationship with the United States. – Washington Post

Blaise Malley writes: How the United States responds to these results is an open question. President Joe Biden’s administration has been cautious so far in dealings with Israel, toning down some of the blank-check rhetoric from Donald Trump’s presidency while simultaneously keeping many of their predecessors’ policies in place. Biden likely did not want to see Netanyahu return to power, especially not with the coalition that appears to be forming. – The National Interest


Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday that Sweden and Finland have not yet fulfilled all obligations under a deal clearing their bids to join NATO, and they must still take concrete steps. – Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said the process of the United States approving the sale of F-16 fighter jets to NATO member Turkey was going well and could be completed within a couple of months. – Reuters

Turkish inflation surged past 85 percent in October, its highest level since 1997, official data showed Thursday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sticks to unorthodox policies to combat a cost-of-living crisis. – Agence France-Presse

When Russia backed down earlier this week over its threats to block grain shipments out of Ukraine, it was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who was among the first to break the news. – Business Insider


Bilal Wahab writes: To ensure that it is not once again misled by “nice guys,” Washington needs to keep a keen eye on the game, watching out for any militia or allied efforts to infiltrate the state and prime it for sustained pilferage. Outright antagonism is hardly the answer, but the Biden administration should maintain a healthy distrust of Sudani, communicate its expectations firmly, and coldly assess his performance based on a clear set of metrics. – Washington Institute

Hamdi Malik and Michael Knights write: If the Sudani government is looking to quickly develop a slick communications capability, one might argue that it makes sense to draw on highly effective muqawama propagandists such as Nader, who have long received training from U.S.-designated terrorist organizations such as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hezbollah. Yet Western governments should not be deceived into accepting that content managers at KH and AAH channels are just media technocrats doing their jobs. – Washington Institute

Michael Rubin writes: It is now time for some tough love on the Peshmerga. Congress if not the White House should remind Masrour and Waysi that American assistance to the tune of more than a quarter-billion dollars is no entitlement. Rather than advance the fight against the Islamic State, such funding today greases instability and is a death blow to Kurds’ hope for democracy. It is time to stop funding the Peshmerga. – 19FortyFive

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia lowered the December official selling prices (OSPs) for the flagship Arab light crude it sells to Asia to plus $5.45 a barrel versus the Oman/Dubai average, the country’s state oil producer Aramco (2222.SE) said on Friday. – Reuters

The Biden administration has warned it will “recalibrate” its ties with Saudi Arabia after an OPEC+ decision to cut oil production despite US entreaties. But the reality is that the relationship has been changing for years. – Bloomberg

The [Saudi] kingdom’s relations with the U.S. are based on [mutual] interests and on [each country’s right] to adopt independent positions according to its outlook. As far as the kingdom is concerned, they are [also] based on the principle that differences in opinion do not detract from the friendship between the countries. This [is true] even if Washington is offended by certain Saudi positions that do not correspond to [its own positions]. It is natural for international relations to know occasional ups and downs. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Jordan and Russia have agreed to step up coordination in tackling instability in southern Syria, which Amman blames on Iran-linked militias and multi-billion dollar drug smuggling across its border, Jordan’s foreign minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

When world leaders arrive in Egypt for the U.N. Climate Change Conference next week, they will have to dance around a subject that the government here would prefer not to discuss: human rights. Egyptian officials face mounting scrutiny over how the country can host the prestigious conference while thousands of people rights groups say were unjustly imprisoned remain behind bars. – Washington Post

Najat AlSaied writes: At present, the region can be understood as divided into two axes. The ‘Axis of Moderation’ is characterized by a more pragmatic, moderate approach to the region—the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia—compared to the ideologically driven approach of Iran, Shia groups loyal to the concept of Khomeini’s wilayet al-Faqih, and Sunni Islamist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korea is ready to carry out its first underground nuclear test in years, South Korea’s defense chief said Thursday, as he and the Pentagon’s top official delivered a stark warning to Pyongyang that a strike would result in “the end of the Kim Jong Un regime.” – Washington Post

The U.S. and South Korea responded defiantly after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile and two short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, saying they would extend their military exercises this week and return next year to large-scale field exercises. – Wall Street Journal

North Korea unsuccessfully fired an intercontinental ballistic missile during a new salvo of launches Thursday, the South Korean military said, with Washington urging all nations to enforce sanctions on Pyongyang. – Agence France-Presse

The United States believes China and Russia have leverage they can use to persuade North Korea not to resume nuclear bomb testing, a senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday. – Reuters

South Korea’s military said it scrambled fighter jets after detecting about 180 North Korean warplanes flying north of the military border over four hours on Friday. – Reuters

As Russia’s isolation over its war in Ukraine has grown, it has seen increasing value in North Korea. For North Korea’s part, relations with Russia haven’t always been as warm as they were during the heady days of the Soviet Union, but now the country is reaping clear benefits from Moscow’s need for friends. – Reuters

North Korea’s barrage of missiles this week was a vivid illustration of how tracking and intercepting waves of missiles at different altitudes and trajectories is a complex task – even in peacetime. – Reuters

Pak Jong-chon, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, warned against joint efforts by the United States and South Korea to extend the Vigilant Storm air drill. – Newsweek

Gearoid Reidy writes: Home to more than 50,000 US military personnel, Japan has long been in North Korean firing lines. In some ways, the threat has become another of the unpredictable and potentially devastating disasters the country has simply learned to endure — and spend on avoiding or mitigating. Thursday’s ICBM might not have overflown the country. But Japan now knows real and greater threats are not far away. – Bloomberg

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: As long as Kim is free to wreak the fear of nuclear havoc on those who oppose him and Russian President Vladimir Putin feels comfortable issuing nuclear threats to the West, the chances of Tehran agreeing to a new deal drop considerably – and the possibility of them someday using a nuclear weapon jumps correspondingly. – Jerusalem Post


Increasingly adversarial U.S.-China relations are in for their next test, as the two governments try to arrange a summit between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this month. – Wall Street Journal

The alleged Taiwanese ringleader of a big telecoms fraud syndicate was all set to be extradited from Poland to China last month — a coup for Beijing’s international policing operations and its extensive efforts to hunt down fugitives. – Washington Post

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz traveled to Beijing on Friday, becoming the first Group of Seven leader to visit since the start of the pandemic, even as allies in Germany, Europe and the United States raised concerns about his ability to deliver a clear, coherent message on where his country and the broader West stand. – Washington Post

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo doubled down on the Biden administration’s controversial plan to ban U.S. companies, and citizens, from helping China manufacture advanced semiconductor chips, saying: “We have to protect the American people against China. Period. Full stop.” – CNBC

David Ignatius writes: The headline conversation in Bali is likely to be President Biden’s potential encounter with Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. and Chinese officials have been signaling that they want to lower the temperature in the relationship after a period of unusually high tension. A meeting would make sense for both sides: The United States and its allies want a cooling-off opportunity, and China needs better relations as its economy slows to less than 3 percent annual growth, perhaps indefinitely. – Washington Post

Josh Rogin writes: Taiwan’s leaders acknowledge that the free world suffers from fatigue in fighting for democracy. But if Taiwan falls, they say, Xi will feel empowered to go further — and at that point, stopping China’s advance will only be more costly. Already, China is trying to lay claim to much of the South China Sea and East China Sea, while expanding China’s military footprint in both the Pacific and Indian oceans. – Washington Post

Pankaj Mishra writes: The rift between the US and much of the world will become even clearer later this month when Indonesia, another country economically over-dependent on China, hopes to host Vladimir Putin as well as Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Bali. Many in the US have welcomed the broad trends that accelerated after the pandemic and Putin’s wanton attack on Ukraine: decoupling from China and “friend-shoring.” – Bloomberg

Liam Denning writes: The strategic imperative for Western countries like Canada and the US with regards to lithium is to build domestic supply chains quickly enough to make a difference to decarbonization, while mitigating dependence on stuff made in China. So why not — hear me out — let Chinese companies help fund that effort if they want to? – Bloomberg

John Thornhill writes: While Washington’s hard-knuckled approach must surely be rattling Beijing, it is also unsettling some of the US’s own companies that have bet big on China. Several US tech firms, including AMD, Nvidia and Intel, will lose valuable, if relatively small, export markets in China. And Washington’s restrictions may have further knock-on effects: foreign manufacturers may strip US components from their products to skirt Washington’s ban and keep selling to China. – Financial Times

Jeff D. Colgan and Nicholas L. Miller write: Ultimately, as U.S. policymakers compete with China for global influence, they should heed past lessons about the usefulness of competitive shaming and outbidding to rally allies and partners. If they conduct this diplomacy with finesse, officials in Washington could make a crucial difference on climate change while preserving the core components of the American-led international order. – Foreign Affairs

Matthew Reynolds writes: Despite Beijing’s efforts to promote its national SME firms, China’s chipmakers have long shown a clear preference for top-tier equipment from the most advanced foreign firms. But as U.S. regulations increasingly threaten to upend those supplier relationships, Chinese semiconductor manufacturers will have little choice but to rely on domestic suppliers. Stricter U.S. controls may hobble China’s competitiveness in the short to medium term, but, in the long run, more revenues flowing to China’s SME base from domestic semiconductor manufacturers could drive innovation. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

Pakistan’s leading opposition figure, Imran Khan, is accusing top government officials of orchestrating an attack Thursday in which he was shot in the foot during a protest march and lightly injured, party officials said. – Washington Post

Nepal’s main communist opposition party will balance the Himalayan nation’s ties with neighbours China and India for mutual benefit if it is returned to power in a general election this month, its leader said. – Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to India and the Group of 20 Summit in Indonesia next week to bolster U.S.-India economic ties and to try to overcome G20 divisions prompted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Treasury said on Friday. – Reuters

Mihir Sharma writes: The events of this week make Pakistan look anything but “reliable” and “safe.” How can Beijing trust Sharif’s promises? Given how unstable and divided the country’s polity is now, how can any Pakistani government — with or without Imran Khan, with or without the military’s support — make promises it can keep? China’s bet on Pakistan is beginning to look as bad as its bet on Russia. – Bloomberg


Taiwan and the United States will hold in-person trade talks next week in New York under a new joint initiative announced in June, the U.S. and Taiwanese governments said, a programme opposed by China, which views the island as its own territory. – Reuters

Tamara Picache writes: When Iran held similar exercises on the Azerbaijani border last year, blaming Azerbaijan to be a Zionist base, Azerbaijani President Aliyev visited the Iranian border and took a picture with an Israeli drone. Creating this kind of deterrence against Iran is one of, if not the main purposes of Israel’s arms dealing with Azerbaijan. It is the same purpose behind Israel’s arms dealing with the Arab Gulf countries that are also threatened by Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: As it has now been more than 40 years since the United States switched recognition from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China, even the most junior officers who once trained with their American counterparts are retired. Taiwan’s increasing defense budget reflects that Taipei is now more serious about its defense than in past years, even if its acquisition of ships over missiles is misguided given the nature of the threat the country faces. Still, there is no substitute for training. – 19FortyFive

Caleb Larson writes: Though deep in the Western Pacific and, therefore, a logical location for expanding America’s naval presence, Guam could prove to be hard to defend, especially considering China’s ballistic missile capabilities. One novel solution would be to base the Navy’s old Ticonderoga-class cruisers around the island and leverage their robust air defense capabilities. – The National Interest


France’s Parliament was in an uproar on Thursday after a far-right lawmaker shouted a comment about going “back to Africa” while a Black colleague was speaking, causing immediate outrage as politicians quickly accused him of racism and denounced the French extreme right for failing to shed its xenophobic roots. – New York Times

In Brussels, asylum seekers are forced to shelter in cardboard boxes on the street. Across southern Germany, small-town mayors are opening gyms and auditoriums to house ever more refugees. And in the Netherlands, where a 3-month-old baby died this year, the government is being sued for inhumane camp conditions. – New York Times

Britain on Thursday urged all politicians in Israel to respect minorities as Benjamin Netanyahu appeared set to return to power with the help of the far right […] Sunak’s new government also shot down a suggestion by previous prime minister Liz Truss that the UK embassy in Israel could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. – Agence France-Presse

New far-right Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni used her first visit to European Union headquarters in Brussels Thursday to declare that Italy will be a force to reckon with in EU affairs, leaving it unclear whether that was a promise or a threat from one of the bloc’s powerful founding members. – Associated Press

The BBC has heard evidence that Albanian drug gangs are using the migrant camps of northern France as a recruitment ground, offering to pay the passage of those prepared to work in the UK drugs industry on arrival. – BBC

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: As Germany tussles with itself over China policy, it will have to choose between a hostility to companies’ investment in China and a hostility to those same business activities when conducted in Germany. Commercial independence from Beijing’s whims is a worthy goal. But businesses need a market on which they can depend. We’ll know Berlin is serious about its China strategy if German politicians ever look at their own economy through that lens. – Wall Street Journal

Luca Bertuzzi writes: For Washington, what is ‘necessary’ needs to be defined and clarified. A list of transparent criteria should be applied to avoid subjective and inconsistent decisions across the EU, and the impacted company should be able to appeal the decision. – Center for European Policy Analysis


A British court on Thursday ordered commodities company Glencore to pay more than 280 million pounds ($313 million) for using bribes to bolster its oil profits in five African countries. – Associated Press

Four months of sporadic tribal clashes have killed up to 359 people in Sudan’s troubled south, the United Nations estimated Thursday, a period that has marked a sharp uptick in violence across the chaotic nation’s rural periphery. – Associated Press

Implementing the ceasefire agreed by the Ethiopian government and forces from the northern region of Tigray will be fraught with difficulties, while thorny political and territorial disputes will need to be tackled to achieve lasting peace. – Reuters

The Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank) will lead Beijing’s team to renegotiate nearly $6 billion of loans that Zambia owes to Chinese state-owned creditors, the country’s finance ministry told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

Mali expects Russia to send shipments of fuel, fertiliser and food worth around $100 million to Mali in the coming weeks, the West African country’s economy minister, Alousseini Sanou, said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Raffaello Pantucci writes: Given the failure of many western counter-terrorism efforts, it is hard to see how this battle for influence can be easily resolved. Moscow is acting both to frustrate the west and draw benefits for itself. It is imperative that the US, UK, France and their allies find ways to continue engaging with Sahelian countries and working to alleviate the disenfranchisement that is often a touchpaper for insurgency. Security engagement around specific terrorist groups must continue, with better safeguards to prevent it backfiring. – Financial Times

Latin America

Truckers who were protesting Sunday’s election loss of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro slowly disbanded on Wednesday, a day after the conservative leader’s government said the transition toward a new government was set to begin. – Wall Street Journal

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to condemn the American economic embargo of Cuba for the 30th year, with the Biden administration continuing former President Donald Trump’s opposition and refusing to return to the Obama administration’s 2016 abstention. – Associated Press

Karen Hansen-Kuhn writes: The disruptions to food supplies sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and increasing climate chaos demand new approaches. Mexico’s planned transition is one such response. The U.S. should learn from that kind of initiative rather than doubling down on the failed agriculture and trade policies of the past. – The Hill

Nigel Purvis and Natalie Unterstell write: President Biden should work with President-elect Lula to ensure Brazil’s bid to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) creates a lasting framework for protecting the Amazon. OECD members have laid out a roadmap for Brazil to join that requires strengthening environmental and human rights safeguards. The Biden administration can start now to identify and support policies that will provide long-term security for the people and forests of the Amazon. – The Hill

United States

The Canadian man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi with a hammer and trying to kidnap Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been living in the United States with an expired immigration status for years, officials at the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday. – New York Times

The FBI’s Newark office announced on Thursday it has received “credible information of a broad threat to synagogues” in New Jersey […] Last year, antisemitic attacks in the United States reached an all-time high, the Anti-Defamation League said in its annual report released in the spring. – Agence France-Presse 

Eugene Robinson writes: He has brilliantly organized the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; brought the nation out of the covid-19 pandemic; pushed through legislation that dramatically reduced child poverty; signed a much-needed, trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill; and returned the United States to a leadership role in the global effort to address climate change and design a clean-energy future. But this week’s speech showed what is most important to Biden — and what keeps him up at night. – Washington Post

Ethen Kim Lieser writes: Fox Business reported that Chet Thompson, CEO and president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, accused the president of being “more worried about political posturing” ahead of the upcoming midterm elections than “advancing energy policies that will actually deliver for the American people.” – The National Interest


Twitter said it will start laying off employees on Friday, as the new billionaire owner Elon Musk moves quickly after his big takeover to make the messaging platform financially sound. – Agence France-Presse

A French-speaking cybercrime group pulled off a series of heists over the past four years, netting perhaps as much as $30 million from firms in Africa, Asia and Latin America. – CyberScoop

Megan McArdle writes: If the metaverse really is the future, young people are likely to be first to embrace it, so if Meta can create a space it wants to be, it will bolster both its network-enhanced competitive position and its appeal to advertisers. Moreover, because Meta manufactures one of the leading VR headsets, if the metaverse does take off, the company will be a lot less vulnerable to a hardware company making a software change that guts Meta’s business model. – Washington Post

Sherry Hakimi writes: First, add a “death threat” option to the reportable problem categories. For example, Twitter’s reporting process includes a category specifying “threatening me with violence.” In most jurisdictions, a death threat is a criminal offense — especially when delivered in writing. It should be catalogued as such. – Washington Post


A declassified version of the latest U.S. defense-intelligence report on UFOs – rebranded in official government parlance as “unidentified aerial phenomena” – is expected to be made public in the coming days. – Reuters

The U.S. Navy has combined two undersea warfare courses that pit two platforms against each other, according to the commander of Naval Submarine Forces. – Defense News

The U.S. Army is digging deeper to develop robotic breacher vehicles for the force as it heads into a prototyping effort that will help it to define requirements for a future capability. – Defense News

The Commerce and Defense departments are targeting December to initiate their joint pilot program to demonstrate how commercial space monitoring data can be used to keep eyes on satellites, dangerous debris, and potential on-orbit crashes, according to a senior Commerce official. – Breaking Defense 

Sikorsky and DARPA officials at this year’s Project Convergence flew what was most likely the final flight of an autonomous system outfitted on a UH-60 Black Hawk, now leaving it up to the Army to determine if it will officially transition the capability into the service, according to a DARPA official. – Breaking Defense 

Caleb Larson writes: This latest admission of an Ohio-class submarine’s location comes on the heels of a previously publicly-announced operation in the Arabian Sea by the USS West Virginia. Given the submarine’s incredible lethality and difficulty with which they can be detected and tracked, it would appear likely that the messaging surrounding their movement is designed to deter America’s enemies and, in particular, Russia and Iran. – The National Interest