Fdd's overnight brief

November 7, 2022

In The News


Iran acknowledged publicly Saturday for the first time that it has supplied drones to Russia, but said the transfer took place before Moscow invaded Ukraine, a claim U.S. officials swiftly disputed. – Wall Street Journal

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday criticized President Biden for backing a monthslong rights movement that has engulfed the country, as he addressed a pro-regime rally to mark the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. – 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  

President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran’s cities were “safe and sound” after what he called a failed attempt by the United States to repeat the 2011 Arab uprisings in the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported on Saturday as protests continued for a 50th day. – Reuters

Hardline Iranian lawmakers urged the judiciary on Sunday to “deal decisively” with perpetrators of unrest, as the Islamic Republic struggles to suppress the biggest show of dissent in years. – Reuters

Germany and eight other EU member states are planning to expand sanctions on Iran to include individuals and organisations linked to violence against protesters in the Islamic Republic, magazine Der Spiegel reported, without disclosing its sources. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Iran to be punished for its weapons sales to Russia in a speech on Sunday, following his meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. – Jerusalem Post 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Iran is still downplaying its supplying of drones to Russia following its “confession” that it was sending them. – The Hill

New protests erupted in Iran on Sunday at universities and in the largely Kurdish northwest, keeping a seven-week anti-regime movement going even in the face of a fierce crackdown. – Agence France-Presse 

Iran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Saturday launched a new satellite-carrying rocket, state TV reported, seeking to demonstrate the hard-line force’s prowess even as anti-government protests rage across the country. – Associated Press

A soldier shot to death three policemen and a fellow soldier at a roadside police station in southern Iran on Sunday, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported. The violence took place near the town of Bampour, about 1,260 kilometers, (780 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran in the restive Sistan and Baluchistan province. – Associated Press

Young Iranians are filming themselves knocking turbans off clerics’ heads to protest the country’s draconian hijab mandate. In one clip that has gone viral, a young woman is seen running up to a man in a traditional robe from behind and delivering a powerful blow to the back of his white turban, causing it to fall on the ground. – New York Post 

Iran claims to have unveiled a new air defense missile for its Bavar 373 air defense system. This is an upgraded missile that it calls the Sayad 4B, a long-range air defense missile. – Jerusalem Post

Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, US intelligence officials believe, as Tehran looks for a backup plan should a lasting nuclear deal with world powers fail to materialize.

The intelligence suggests that Iran has been asking Russia for help acquiring additional nuclear materials and with nuclear fuel fabrication, sources briefed on the matter said. – CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Wednesday that the United States would attempt to remove Iran from its seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)—a commitment made as Tehran has continued to violently suppress women-led anti-government protests following the death of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini. – The National Interest

The Iranian government has reportedly launched an investigation after video footage circulated on social media depicting a group of Iranian policemen beating and then shooting a demonstrator involved in the country’s ongoing anti-clerical protest movement. – The National Interest

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s open claims about how it sees the world order shifting dovetail with the threats to the Gulf and also its work with Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, also believes the world order is shifting. The invasion of Ukraine was linked to his belief that time is on Russia’s side; Iran may up its threats because of the same. – Jerusalem Post 

Nicholas Carl, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The regime continued linking the ongoing protests with terrorism on November 6 as part of an information operation to delegitimize protesters and their grievances. […]The regime will likely use this framing of protesters as terrorists to justify brutal crackdowns and harsh judicial sentences in the days and weeks ahead. – Institute for the Study of War

Alexander Nachman writes: Iran’s conflicts in the northwest are hardly recent. However, its increased security measures in the region are directly related to domestic events, which, in turn, have consequences for regional politics for the Caucasus and Kurdistan and global commerce regarding North-South and East-West trade. The human toll of these policies is, of course, the actual cost of security, trade, and stability—a price which has only increased in recent weeks. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

The Biden administration’s efforts to check on the billions of dollars of weapons sent to Ukraine, though limited in scope, haven’t found any evidence of large-scale malfeasance, U.S. officials say. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine said it has evidence of Iranian instructors training Russians to operate drones used to hit civilian targets across the country in attacks so damaging that the capital’s mayor urged residents to consider temporarily leaving the city. – Wall Street Journal 

Svetlana Timofeeva built a career photographing abandoned sites around the former Soviet Union. She has published two books under her professional name, Lana Sator, stuffed with haunting images of derelict missile silos, forgotten submarines and rusting lines of armored tanks. Her Instagram account has 250,000 followers. Then she was arrested for spying. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden’s top national-security adviser has engaged in recent months in confidential conversations with top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to reduce the risk of a broader conflict over Ukraine and warn Moscow against using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, U.S. and allied officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

The Biden administration is privately encouraging Ukraine’s leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless President Vladimir Putin is removed from power, according to people familiar with the discussions. – Washington Post 

Top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies agreed on Friday to combine efforts to help Ukraine repair and defend its energy and water infrastructure, which has come under relentless attack by Russian cruise missiles and self-detonating drones. – Washington Post 

The senior Russian military commander who was publicly bashed by a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin over his performance in Ukraine is no longer in his post, according to Russian state media, in what appeared to be the latest in a string of personnel shake-ups as Moscow grapples with open criticism of its setbacks on the battlefield. – New York Times 

As they struggle to maintain an electricity grid heavily damaged by Russian missiles, officials in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, say they have begun planning for a once unthinkable possibility: a complete blackout that would require the evacuation of the city’s approximately three million remaining residents. – New York Times

Fighters affiliated with the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region arrived in the town of Amvrosiivka on Sunday after being freed in a prisoner swap with the Ukrainian military. – Reuters

Russian state media on Sunday claimed Ukraine struck a dam near the strategic city of Kherson with U.S.-made missiles, citing officials in the region. – The Hill

The Department of Defense announced a new $400 million military aid package designated to Ukraine through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. – Washington Examiner

Germany and China are opposed to the use of any nuclear weapon in the Ukraine war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on a visit to Beijing on Friday. – Agence France-Presse

The Biden administration is quietly encouraging Ukraine to publicly show a willingness for negotiations with Russia in order to calm fears in some countries over the broader fallout of the grinding war, the Washington Post reported Saturday, citing officials familiar with the developments. – Times of Israel 

Ukraine is counting on more Western technological support as its war against Russia drags on, with Microsoft pledging Thursday to extend its backing for Kyiv’s “extraordinary” wartime innovation through the end of next year. – C4ISRNet

Thomas Emanuel Dans writes: Roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, Wrangel is no barren Arctic wasteland. Aside from its Russian military base, the island features the world’s highest density of polar bear dens and Pacific walruses, more than 400 species of plants and 100 species of migratory birds, many endangered. It was home to the world’s last woolly mammoths, prehistoric creatures that survived there until a few thousand years ago. Indications are that what lies underground at Wrangel could be no less valuable, including potentially large quantities of oil, gas and other minerals. – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: For now, the U.S. approach seems straightforward. Provide weapons to help Ukraine reclaim territory and defend its airspace. Make it clear to Ukraine’s leadership where our risk limits lie while keeping Mr. Putin in the dark about the same. A last thought: If the war is still ongoing by the 2024 election, whether or not Donald Trump is the GOP candidate, expect the U.S. intelligence establishment for the third time in a row to play an oversized role in our presidential election, mostly for ill. – Wall Street Journal

Edward Stringer writes: Russia’s flotilla of quasi-military vessels includes specialist survey and support ships for unmanned submersibles and advanced bathyscaphes that can descend to even lower depths. […] China too is exploiting network vulnerability by muscling into the undersea cable market and offering to lay cables at preferential rates. This has become the nautical arm of the Belt and Road Initiative. Australia and New Zealand have both passed legislation to prevent interfering with or loitering around undersea cable infrastructure. – Financial Times

Marc Polymeropoulos writes: Moreover, Iranians on the ground in Ukraine should be considered valid military targets — and don’t think Ukrainians don’t know this. Of note, Iran’s entry into the war should have been the one move that triggered overt Israeli military assistance. But it doesn’t appear likely that Israel will supply weapons to Ukraine. For a country whose foundation is ethics and morality to help the downtrodden, this is wrong. I truly hope that Mossad is quietly providing assistance to Ukraine under the table. – The Hill

Kateryna Stepanenko and Mason Clark write: The Kremlin may conduct future rhetorical nuclear brinksmanship in an effort to prompt the United States and its allies to pressure Ukraine to negotiate; the Kremlin will be unable to directly force Kyiv to negotiate through nuclear threats. ISW continues to assess that Russian nuclear use in Ukraine remains unlikely and that the Kremlin is currently taking steps to deescalate its nuclear rhetoric. – Institute for the Study of War

Edward Lucas writes: The friction with the West is not — as some once argued — a mere misunderstanding that can be eased through diplomacy and dialog. Russia’s size and nuclear arsenal give it the right to override smaller countries’ interests. Countries like Britain should stay clear of these matters, not meddle in them. […]“Anti-war” (in fact, anti-Ukraine) arguments may mushroom as the economic stresses of the conflict bite deeper in the West. Don’t ignore them: demolish them. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Sorin Adam Matei writes:  In this context, although at another scale, Russia would lose even as it hoped to win. Thus, before giving the order to launch, Putin would need to think hard and deeply if using the most powerful card, the atomic ace, makes any sense at all, even if it sounds somewhat practical. – The National Interest


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, the official WAFA news agency reported, in a first call after Israel’s veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu led a far-right alliance to a general election victory. – Reuters

Veteran hawk Benjamin Netanyahu launched negotiations Friday with his ultra-Orthodox and far-right allies on forming what could be the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, raising concerns at home and abroad. – Agence France-Presse 

Jordanian officials have reportedly warned that bilateral ties with Israel will suffer if Jerusalem’s new government tries to change the status quo arrangement on the flashpoint Temple Mount. – Times of Israel 

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday morning it had begun a two-day-long military drill along Israel’s northern border, stimulating a potential outbreak of fighting. – Times of Israel 

If Iran succeeds in hacking either the US or Israel’s water sector, then the writing was on the wall, an ex-IDF intelligence official warned in an interview. – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: Biden and members of Congress from both parties must thus implore Israel to take a far more cautious stance toward its tech-trade engagement with China. Failing that, the U.S. should be prepared to introduce restrictions on Israeli entities whose activities plainly undermine U.S. national security. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: We are struck that in recent years not a single world leader — including Presidents Biden and Macron, say, or Prime Minister Johnson or Chancellor Merkel — has given a major strategic speech or call to global action. Who better to do that than Mr. Netanyahu, a combat veteran, a son of one of the West’s greatest historians and, by time in grade, a senior statesman? What an opportunity for the 118th Congress to get off on a historic footing. – New York Sun

Editorial: All of this sets up a grudge match between Washington and Jerusalem. On one hand, the Biden administration may try to take steps to make the Israeli coalition’s functioning difficult, while trying to wrangle political change. On the other hand: The U.S. is in great power competition with China and Russia. That gives Benjamin Netanyahu leverage. Setting up a kind of ultimate contest: Whether the U.S. has the leverage to rein in—or even topple—an Israeli government. Or whether Israel has the leverage to deter the U.S. – i24news

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Whether he can do so while presiding over the most right-wing anti-Arab government in Israeli history is quite another matter, however. The prospect that Netanyahu can insulate his country  from the bitter reactions it is sure to encounter remains very much an open question. – The Hill

Lahav Harkov writes: Netanyahu, meanwhile, portrayed Biden as a friend of Israel in his autobiography published last month. In any confrontations with the Obama administration in which Biden was involved, the now-president was described as trying to de-escalate and showing understanding of Israel’s side. […]Netanyahu is more confrontational than that – in fact, he criticized the departing government for what he saw as insufficiently taking its objections to the Iran deal public – but recent interviews with the US media show that he wants to get along with Biden. It won’t all be smooth sailing for Netanyahu and Biden, but the doomsday predictions are premature. There’s a good chance that things will be fine. – Jerusalem Post 

Clara Keuss writes: Israel’s failure to stand with another democracy under attack—a problem with which Jerusalem should empathize—casts an unpleasant light on its government. And as Russia shifts troops out of Syria to help fight its losing war in Ukraine, Israeli excuses for rejecting Kyiv’s pleas seem increasingly hollow. – American Enterprise Institute


After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last year, nearly a third of the resident doctors in Omeida Momand’s class at a Kabul women’s hospital fled the country, she said, leaving the staff stretched thin. – Washington Post 

The Taliban on Sunday revealed the final resting place of the movement’s founder, Mullah Omar, whose death and burial they kept secret for years. – Agence France-Presse 

The U.N. human rights chief on Friday called on Afghanistan’s Taliban government to release five people the U.N. says were detained during a news conference organised by a women’s civil society organisation. – Reuters

President Biden repeatedly disparaged Afghanistan as a “God-forsaken place” Friday and jokingly threatened to use “my shotgun” to protect the US economy against a recession during a rambling speech in San Diego. – New York Post

Masom Jan Masomy writes: Accordingly, proactive engagements through efficient diplomatic channels and other interactions with the Taliban are critical to compelling the Taliban to abide by the pledges made to the international community for the prosperity and development of Afghans. Otherwise, there is a possibility of a further downward spiral reaching more instability, emerging threats, the spread of extremism under religious beliefs and ideology, and opium poppy cultivation that can spill over throughout the world. – The National Interest


Syrian regime rocket fire on Sunday killed 10 people including three children at makeshift camps for displaced people in the country’s last major rebel-held bastion, a war monitor said. – Agence France-Presse 

Russian jets bombed camps near Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib on Sunday, killing at least nine civilians in a flare-up of attacks on the last opposition-held bastion, witnesses and rescuers said. – Reuters

Scores of Syrian refugees headed home Saturday from eastern Lebanon in the second convoy in less than two weeks as Beirut attempts to organize a mass refugee return to the war-torn country. Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the “voluntary return” Saturday included 330 Syrians who left from the eastern Bekaa Valley to Syria’s western Qalamoun region. – Associated Press


The West is putting pressure on Turkey to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO as Turkish officials signal they still want the two Nordic countries to do more to clamp down on alleged Kurdish militants. – Wall Street Journal

Greece has strongly protested a decision by Turkey to deny entry to and detain a Greek regional governor who arrived by boat in Izmir to preside over a regional body’s plenary session. – Associated Press

Vladimir Putin’s decision to abruptly pull out of a deal to facilitate Ukraine’s grain exports through the Black Sea last weekend risked restarting a global food crisis as Russia’s military threatened to block further shipments. Days later, however, Putin rejoined the accord after receiving only nominal concessions, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey boasting that his personal relationship with the Russian leader had been key to restoring an agreement that has allowed more than 9mn tonnes of agricultural products to reach international markets. – Financial Times

Turkey’s main opposition party has said its leader is the first target of a media “disinformation” law after police asked prosecutors to open an investigation into comments he made blaming authorities for a drug “epidemic”. – Reuters

Turkey should tighten monetary policy and give its central bank more independence, a mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he had agreed with counterpart Vladimir Putin that Russian grains sent under the Black Sea export deal should go to poor African countries for free. – Reuters

Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of NATO until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg Friday. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Mark Episkopos writes: A swift and decisive Russian victory would have obviated the need for a neutral broker such as Turkey, as would a readiness on the part of Western policymakers to engage in direct negotiations with Moscow. The drawn-out nature of the conflict, its multilayered political subtext, and far-reaching economic repercussions have cultivated unique opportunities for Turkish diplomacy, and Erdogan has shown he intends to make the most of them. – The National Interest


More than two dozen people were injured, including the head of Iraq’s civil defense directorate, when a commercial building in the capital caught fire and then collapsed Sunday, authorities and the state news agency reported. – Associated Press 

Patricia Karam writes: While this new government may have ended months of paralyzing deadlock, it is unclear how enduring the new stability it brings can be. Al-Sudani will need to break free from the institutional limitations he faces and take on the Herculean task of reforming the dysfunctional political system and its oil-dependent economy: a kleptocratic state engineered to launder oil revenues through a bloated public sector into clientelist political parties while eschewing any genuine form of accountability. – The Hill

Zvi Bar’el writes: It should be noted, however, that the failures of the Iraqi government are of interest not only when they bring people out into the street, spark violent clashes and undermine what some refer to as “state stability.” The most disturbing question, especially in the West, is whether the Iraqi government will be more pro-Iranian than its predecessor, whether it will strengthen its ties with the United States, and how it will become part of the regional strategic fabric. The answer is that Iraq, under any government, is dependent on Iran economically and close to it in religious terms – but it’s not its prisoner of war. – Haaretz


The German government on Friday warned that escalating protests by activists ahead of the UN climate conference in Egypt must not break the law. – Agence France-Presse 

When Egypt hosts the COP27 climate summit this week it will be hoping for an injection of international legitimacy as well as green financing at a time when its economy has been struggling and it has faced rising criticism over human rights. – Reuters

Israeli President Isaac Herzog departed Monday morning for Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he will head the Israeli delegation to the 2022 U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP27). – Arutz Sheva 

Overnight, IDF soldiers spotted several suspects attempting to smuggle drugs from Egypt into Israeli territory. According to the IDF, soldiers were dispatched to the scene and thwarted the smuggling attempt. – Arutz Sheva

Arabian Peninsula

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement has committed war crimes since the expiry of a peace agreement last month, the United Nations’ human rights chief said on Friday, citing incidents of sniper attacks and shelling. – Reuters

Bahrain will continue to build its relationship with Israel after former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies triumphed in Israel’s general election, the diplomatic adviser to Bahrain’s king said on Saturday. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran seems to be hinting that not only could it empower attacks on Saudi Arabia but that it will consider stirring up anti-Saudi voices, whether via Qatar or through other methods. Clearly, Iran’s regime is worried or it wouldn’t be trying to suppress foreign media coverage. The regime shows how much it cares about reports abroad and it is now messaging that the regime will begin to retaliate. – Jerusalem Post 

Alon Ben-Meir writes: In spite of the ups and downs in US-Saudi relations, the alliance has lasted seven decades and has proven its resiliency and far-reaching geo-strategic importance for both countries. Now is the time to revisit their relationship and renew the commitment to an alliance and friendship that is pivotal for regional peace and stability, at a historic juncture of global turmoil. – Algemeiner

Karen DeYoung writes: The Saudis, Abdulaziz said, had “decided to be the maturer guys,” as opposed to those who were “depleting their emergency stocks … as a mechanism to manipulate markets.” Biden has withdrawn about a third of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve this year, in an effort to keep gas prices within reach for Americans already struggling with high inflation and interest rates. – Washington Post 

Eric Mandel writes: Recriminations are not the path forward for American or Saudi interests. America should be focused on supporting the Iranian people’s desire for regime change while repairing our essential relationship with the Saudis for our national security interests. – The National Interest

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles off its west coast on Saturday as the U.S. and South Korea wrapped up joint air drills that were extended in response to Pyongyang’s provocations. – Wall Street Journal

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

The United States said this week it has information indicating North Korea is covertly supplying Russia with a “significant” number of artillery shells, in what would be a further sign of deepening ties between the two pariah states. – Reuters

The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy B-1B strategic bombers in U.S.-South Korea military exercises on Saturday, Yonhap News reported, after North Korea fired a barrage of weapons tests in recent days to protest allied military drills. – Reuters

The United States accused Russia and China on Friday of providing “blanket protection” to North Korea from further U.N. Security Council action and said the pair had “bent over backwards” to justify Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches. – Reuters

A train crossed from North Korea into Russia on Friday, two days after the United States said it had information indicating Pyongyang is covertly supplying Russia with artillery shells for its war in Ukraine, a Washington think tank said, citing commercial satellite imagery. – Reuters

The North Korean military said its response to US-South Korean war drills would be “resolute and overwhelming”, state media reported Monday. – Agence France-Presse 

Taesuh Cha writes: The sooner we accept the “inconvenient truth,” the better we will be equipped with realistic policies toward the North. That there is no choice but to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea for the time being, along with all those measured risk management plans, and that the favorable time when the U.S. was a unipole freely shaping the Korean Peninsula’s strategic milieu and imposing liberal norms on others has come to an end are now unhappy but inevitable realities. – The National Interest


Russia and China have again blocked plans supported by the European Union, the United States and 23 other nations to protect three vast stretches of ocean around Antarctica from most fishing. – Associated Press

Switzerland should avoid following the European Union by imposing sanctions on China if it cares about Swiss-Sino relations, the Chinese ambassador to Bern told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday the Group of Seven countries (G7) is clear-eyed about the need to align their approach on China. – Reuters

China on Sunday said it will take the necessary steps to safeguard the rights and interests of its companies after Canada last week ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canadian critical minerals, citing national security. – Reuters

A former U.S. military pilot arrested in Australia and facing likely extradition to the United States on undisclosed charges listed the same Beijing address as a Chinese businessman jailed in the United States for conspiring to hack U.S. defence contractors’ computers, documents show. – Reuters

China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Britain must stop any form of official exchanges with Taiwan, following plans by a British minister to visit the self-governed island, which China claims, for trade talks. – Reuters

Climate change diplomacy between China and the United States cannot be separated from broader political tensions between the two sides, and Washington must take responsibility for the breakdown in talks, China’s foreign ministry said. – Reuters

A Chinese rocket that launched Oct. 25 has re-entered the atmosphere risking collision as it fell. U.S. Space Command confirmed that the Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth in two separate parts into the Pacific Ocean early Friday morning. The center called it an “uncontrolled impact” in advisory tweets. “[The People’s Republic of China] did not share specific trajectory information, which is needed to predict landing zones and reduce risk. – Washington Examiner

Alex Stapleton and Alexandra Hackbarth write: The strategy makes clear that the most pressing strategic challenge we face involves protecting American interests and the rules-based international order in an era of heightened geopolitical competition. Climate and the energy transition are fronts on which that contest is playing out, and strong American leadership on both counts are central to our national security. – The Hill

South Asia

Clashes broke out in cities across Pakistan on Friday, a day after a gunman wounded former Prime Minister Imran Khan at a rally. – New York Times

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday he welcomed the government’s offer to launch a judicial commission to investigate the attack in which he was shot in the leg on Thursday. – Reuters

Jeffrey Gettleman and Mujib Mashal write: India sees an expansionist China, whose troops have clashed with the Indian military high in the Himalayas, as the No. 1 threat. This has shaped how India has reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India doesn’t want to openly antagonize Moscow, a reason often cited for why it has abstained on the United Nations resolutions critical of Russia. Russia and China have become leading members of the critics of the West and say they have a “special relationship,” and India is wary about pushing Russia any closer to China. – New York Times


The alleged Taiwanese ringleader of a big telecommunications 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

Japan hosted its first international fleet review for seven years on Sunday with ships from 12 other nations in a show of unity as North Korea fires record numbers of missiles and China increases its pressure on Taiwan. – Reuters

The United States, Japan and South Korea are finalising arrangements for a trilateral meeting of their leaders in mid-November, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday, citing a Japanese government source. – Reuters

The Japanese and Chinese governments have started planning a meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and China’s President Xi Jinping for mid-November, the Sankei newspaper reported on Friday. – Reuters

Top diplomats from the Group of Seven (G7) countries reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and said they would continue to aim for constructive cooperation with China in a joint statement released on Friday. – Reuters

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at an international fleet review Sunday that his country urgently needs to strengthen its military capabilities as security risks increase including threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile advancement and Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Associated Press

Japan and the UK are set to sign a major defence pact in December that will enable the countries to enhance co-operation with the US in the Indo-Pacific and boost deterrence against the rising threat from China. – Financial Times

A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) survey ship vessel entered Japan’s territorial waters near islands south of Kyushu this week, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense. – USNI News

The State Department cleared more than $6 billion in possible foreign military sales to Australia as tensions mount with China over a plan to station U.S. nuclear-capable bombers in the southern Indo-Pacific country. – Defense News 

Hal Brands writes: That’s not say that the two countries are in lockstep. The volatility of US politics and the legacy of the Trump years have led to lingering concerns about America’s long-term reliability. As I learned in Tokyo, Japanese think-tanks are quietly studying geopolitical “plan B’s” (or “plan A’s”) in case Trump returns to power. Military and diplomatic investments that make Japan a better ally of the US today serve as insurance against a future in which America retreats into isolationism or angry unilateralism. – Bloomberg


The UK government will ban the provision of insurance for ships carrying Russian oil, the Treasury confirmed on Thursday, cutting off access to the vital Lloyd’s of London market for seaborne Russian cargoes. – Financial Times

British steelmakers have called on the government to follow the EU in closing a loophole in the sanctions regime against Moscow that allows indirect imports of Russian steel from third countries. – Financial Times

Kosovo Serb policemen who work in the Jarinje and Brnjak border posts in the north of the country resigned on Sunday in protest over Pristina’s order to use Kosovo vehicle licence plates instead of those issued by Serbia. – Reuters

Sweden’s new government will distance itself from the Kurdish YPG militia as it tries to win Turkey’s approval to join NATO, Sweden’s foreign minister told Swedish Radio on Saturday. – Reuters

The Biden administration has “no objection” to the idea of Germany sending main battle tanks to Ukraine. – Washington Examiner

Tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday calling for a halt to arms shipments to Ukraine and a ceasefire, highlighting the resistance that Giorgia Meloni’s new government could face in providing further military support for Kyiv. – Financial Times

Serbia is considering a move to retake majority control of NIS, its main oil company, from Russia’s Gazpromneft as it rushes to protect itself from the impact of sanctions on Moscow, said the Balkan country’s president. – Financial Times

Marc Ross writes: A good rule of thumb for governing in a democracy is that good economics makes bad politics. Scholz appears committed to the economics, regardless of the politics. […]So, no, Germany ain’t decoupling from China anytime soon. – The Hill

Janusz Bugajski writes: Germany’s failures in Ukraine are mirrored in its shortcomings in the Western Balkans. Berlin’s international high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, recently enacted controversial reforms for seats in the Bosniak-Croat entity parliament that will strengthen the nationalist parties, deepen ethnic divisions, encourage separatism, and are likely to lead to armed conflicts. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: If President Joe Biden won’t do it, the next Republican president should relocate U.S. forces from Germany to Poland or the Baltic States. Restrictions on German companies that provide China with access to privileged technologies should also follow. U.S. consumers should also act. Among other executives, the CEOs of Volkswagen and BMW traveled to Beijing with Scholz. Considering the growing risk of a U.S.-China conflict and the threats that conflict poses to young American lives, it may be time for a silent German car boycott. Let them eat Chinese cake. – Washington Examiner


A group of 21 children who were abducted by gunmen last week from a farm in northwestern Nigeria’s Katsina state were freed and reunited with their families on Saturday, police said. – Reuters

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan confirmed on Sunday that talks on a new political framework for the country were being held, but he warned the former ruling party in harsh words not to interfere with the military or in politics. – Reuters

Thousands of demonstrators thronged Mali’s capital Bamako on Friday to protest the publication of a video on social media deemed blasphemous against Islam. – Agence France-Presse 

The International Monetary Fund welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in Ethiopia following a two-year civil war and said it’s weighing the next steps on a potential funding program. – Bloomberg

The Americas

The United States and Canada on Friday imposed sanctions on two Haitian politicians, including the president of the country’s Senate, as Washington accused them of abusing their positions to traffic drugs and collaborate with gang networks in the country. – Reuters

Canada will impose more sanctions on Haiti’s political elite, its foreign minister said on Friday, accusing the politicians of helping criminal gangs increase their influence in exchange for money. – Reuters

The government of Trinidad and Tobago is asking the United States to authorize Venezuelan gas imports to restart an idled liquefaction train in the Caribbean nation, four sources close to the talks said. – Reuters

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: This view is entirely in keeping with the antiscience bias that the AMLO administration is known to harbor. But it’s hard to square with the country’s obligations to keep the market open under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an updated version of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. […]Trade policy is said to produce winners and losers. But if AMLO prevails in this case, almost everyone will be a loser. – Wall Street Journal

Latin America

Members of an Indigenous group on Friday freed more than 100 tourists whom they had abducted in the Peruvian Amazon a day earlier to protest what they called government inaction after an oil spill, officials said. – Agence France-Presse 

Thousands of people took to the streets across Peru on Saturday to demand the resignation of embattled President Pedro Castillo, a leftist whose government is under investigation for corruption. – Reuters

Venezuela’s government rejected on Saturday a decision by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to resume an investigation into alleged human rights violations by the South American country’s officials. – Reuters

The Carter Center said on Friday that Brazil’s presidential election was marked by a proliferation of sophisticated disinformation attacking the voting system and then questioning the impartiality of the national electoral authority. – Reuters

President Maduro’s announced intention to resume negotiations with the country’s opposition later this month at Mexico City may indicate progress in restoring democratic rights to the Venezuelan people. – New York Sun

Lawrence J. Haas writes: Still, Lula’s victory will further complicate Washington’s approach to the region. The longtime leftist firebrand is likely to contribute to efforts by mainstream leftist governments to work more closely with the autocrats in Havana, Managua, and Caracas. And, like them, he is likely to draw closer to U.S. adversaries Russia, China, and Iran. Washington, then, faces a new challenge in the Americas. It must find a way to continue promoting freedom and democracy without losing its influence. – Washington Examiner

Carlos Gustavo Poggio Teixeira writes: The deterioration of civic political culture that formed the basis of their appeal is already a reality no matter who leads the executive. And if Trump recaptures the White House in 2024 — which is far from being an impossibility — his Brazilian pupil, who is a decade younger, will undoubtedly be watching. – The Hill


In Elon Musk’s first week at Twitter Inc., he flouted much of the advice management gurus have dished out for decades. In the days since he closed a $44 billion takeover of Twitter, Mr. Musk has worked to rapidly overhaul the social network. […]The billionaire’s swift actions stand in contrast to those of many new leaders, who often use the first 90 days to meet with employees, listen to concerns and assess how to improve a company’s products before embarking on strategy shifts, executives and corporate advisers say. – Wall Street Journal

Meta Platforms Inc. is planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could be the largest round in a recent spate of tech job cuts after the industry’s rapid growth during the pandemic. – Wall Street Journal

Shortly after Elon Musk took over Twitter last week, Allison Oosterman saw some of her friends announce they were leaving the site. They were flocking to another place she vaguely knew: Mastodon Social. The six-year-old site billed itself as a social media network “not for sale” — a place where people could build community by their own rules with the people they chose. – Washington Post

The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol. – New York Times

Australian firms have suffered a flood of cyberattacks, putting the spotlight on country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry which experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, thus endangering sensitive information of millions of people. – Reuters

Cyber attacks against Australia from criminals and state-sponsored groups jumped last financial year, with a government report released on Friday equating the assault to one attack every seven minutes. – Reuters

Vietnam’s information minister said on Friday authorities had tightened regulations to deal with “false” content on social media platforms so that it must be taken down within 24 hours instead of 48 hours previously. – Reuters

Medibank Private Ltd (MPL.AX), Australia’s biggest health insurer, reported a massive data breach in October that compromised personal and medical information of its current and former customers, and slashed its stock value by almost a fifth. – Reuters

Elon Musk’s decision to pull Twitter off the stock market allows him to make major changes quickly, but it also takes the company more heavily into debt, a risky choice for a money-losing business. – Agence France-Presse

President Joe Biden criticized Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter during a campaign rally in Illinois on Friday, warning the new ownership would lead to the spread of “lies all across the world.” The president lamented Musk’s suggestion that he would roll back Twitter’s content moderation policies, arguing it would lead to a spread of misinformation on the site. – Washington Examiner

Since taking over the company, Elon Musk has repeatedly praised Twitter’s senior director of safety and integrity despite his involvement in suppressing stories on Hunter Biden ahead of the 2020 election. – Washington Examiner

All About Cookies surveyed some 1,250 people, among them 971 Twitter users, this month to get their thoughts on Elon Musk’s proposal to charge for the blue verification check mark that is given to prominent figures or officials on Twitter. A 54% majority surveyed said they “use the verification checkmark to help determine who to trust on the platform.” Another 45% reported that they didn’t believe the change would result in a better social media experience. – Washington Examiner

Elon Musk accused political activists of hurting Twitter’s revenue by pressuring corporations to pause their advertising campaigns and framed their actions as an attack on free speech. – Washington Examiner

Twitter owner Elon Musk on Sunday said Twitter users who impersonate authentic accounts on the platform will be banned. – The Hill

Congress is increasingly sounding the alarm over cyber threats targeting the health care sector. Several congressional lawmakers have stepped up their efforts to protect the industry amid a rise in cyberattacks by introducing policies and recommendations aimed at addressing and mitigating such threats. – The Hill

Former top cybersecurity official Chris Krebs on Sunday said the paid subscription plan for a verification mark on Twitter will “create a very chaotic environment” because it would open the information space to foreign actors, election deniers and other potentially malign influencers. – The Hill

YouTube is facing renewed pressure to crack down on Spanish-language disinformation in a letter sent to the tech giant Friday by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). – The Hill

Microsoft on Friday accused state-backed hackers in China of abusing the country’s vulnerability disclosure requirements in an effort to discover and develop zero-day exploits. – The Record 

Christopher Mims writes: But it’s hard not to conclude that after extensive discussions with leaders at the company, Mr. Musk himself finally woke up to the present and future economics of Twitter—and didn’t like what he saw. – Wall Street Journal

Jeffrey M. McCall writes: The solution to misinformation rests not in government or big corporations, but with individual citizens. People need to fend for themselves and do the hard work to sort out reality from nonsense. If misinformation is a threat to democracy, it is only because citizens collectively failed to demand and identify reasoned arguments. A culture that becomes so gullible and easily duped is the threat to democracy, not any particular batch of misinformation. – The Hill

Evan Nierman writes: A word to the wise who are considering fleeing the platform: give Musk a chance. It is far too soon to say exactly how the takeover will ultimately shake out. The potential reward of a more authentic and less toxic social media town square is worth the risk. – The Hill

Zhanna L. Malekos Smith writes: While it may not be technologically feasible to return the stolen “horses” to the barn, improving our locks with PQC algorithms is essential for defending against SNDL attacks and promoting national cyber resilience. – The Hill


The Defense Logistic Agency has awarded Caterpillar a $1.28 billion contract to supply construction equipment, the Department of Defense announced on Thursday. – Washington Examiner

The U.S. Army is looking to improve its interoperability with the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region as competition with China. – The National Interest

The US Navy’s top submariners gathered this week just minutes away from the Pentagon and with increasing levels of urgency, conveyed a similar and at times ominous message: The need for the silent service to “get real, get better” is both immediate and imperative. – Breaking Defense 

Editorial: Educating the public about U.S. military weaknesses runs the risk of encouraging adversaries to exploit them. But the greater risk today is slouching ahead in blind complacency until China invades Taiwan or takes some other action that damages U.S. interests or allies because Bejiing thinks the U.S. can do nothing about it. – Wall Street Journal

Lauren Kahn writes: A confidence-building measure focused on agreeing to positive human control over nuclear weapons would reduce nuclear danger. By asking for human engagement in early warning, command and control, and on platforms armed with nuclear weapons, the world could ensure that the next generation of nuclear operations does not increase the risk of accidents or miscalculation for technical reasons. Ideally, this would be captured in a multilateral treaty. However, the prospect of such an agreement is low, given the tensions between nuclear-armed powers. – War on the Rocks

Michael P. Marletto writes: FD 2030 will turn back the clock and return the Marine Corps to a pre-World War II force incapable of conducting large-scale operations. The Marine Corps must be able to respond to a wide range of contingencies and always succeed when tasked, if it is to continue its 247-year history of unparalleled service to the nation. What advocates of FD 2030 propose will ultimately result in an increasingly irrelevant Marine Corps, not its transformation into a force that is adequately prepared to act and serve in the twenty-first century. – The National Interest

Long War

Somalia’s army and allied clan militias have killed at least 100 al Shabaab fighters in heavy clashes in the central Hiran region, the defence ministry said on Friday, days after twin bombings killed at least 120 people in the capital. – Reuters

Al Shabaab militants attacked a Somali military base in the central Galgaduud region on Monday, the defence ministry and the Islamist group said, days after the area was captured by government forces. – Reuters

Military officers in Somalia say at least five people were killed and 11 others wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the front gate of a military training camp in Mogadishu on Saturday evening. – Associated Press 

The United States military says it has carried out an airstrike in support of the Somali government’s operations against the al-Shabab extremist group that has killed some of the group’s fighters. – Associated Press 

Hamas’ security forces in the Gaza Strip on Sunday arrested two locals who fired four rockets towards Israeli territory on Thursday, thereby violating the ceasefire and leading to a retaliatory attack by Israel, Palestinian Arab sources in Gaza said, according to Haaretz. – Arutz Sheva