Fdd's overnight brief

October 11, 2022

In The News


Workers at a petrochemical complex in southern Iran went on strike Monday, the latest sign that antigovernment protests now in the fourth week are broadening to critical sectors of the economy. – Wall Street Journal

Protests flared anew across Iran and shops closed in a broadening strike on Saturday, as President Ebrahim Raisi repeated unfounded accusations that the Islamic Republic’s foreign enemies were behind the antigovernment demonstrations entering a fourth week. – Wall Street Journal

Iranian censorship and reporting restrictions make casualty counts difficult to verify, but rights groups have identified more than two dozen children who have been killed in demonstrations. Many of the minors lived in long-marginalized areas of Iran, including Kurdistan and Baluchistan provinces, where the state’s crackdown has been most severe. – Washington Post

The security agents came for Hossein Ronaghi while he was in the middle of a live television interview in Tehran. The Iranian blogger and human rights activist was talking to the host about the protests sweeping the nation when, suddenly, he heard a noise behind him and turned around. “They’re here, they’re here,” Ronaghi said with a jittery laugh, footage from the London-based Iran International channel shows. – Washington Post

Iran is rapidly expanding its ability to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz and now intends to go further than previously planned, a confidential U.N. nuclear watchdog report seen by Reuters showed on Monday. – Reuters

Female students in Tehran chanted “get lost” as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited their university campus on Saturday and condemned protesters enraged by the death of a young woman in custody, videos on social media showed. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department said on Friday that it would continue to coordinate with its allies and partners on how to respond to Iran’s “bloody crackdown” on protesters and its “state-sponsored violence” against women. – Reuters

An Iranian coroner’s report denied Mahsa Amini had died due to blows to the head and limbs while in the custody of Iran’s morality police and linked her death to pre-existing medical conditions, state media said on Friday. – Reuters

Foreign visitors to Iran should respect the Islamic Republic’s laws, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, as protests continue over a woman’s death in police custody that Tehran has blamed on “foreign enemies”. – Reuters

Iranian authorities have denied reports security forces killed a 16-year-old girl during protests ignited by the death of a woman in police custody, Iranian media reported on Friday, saying she committed suicide by falling off a roof. – Reuters

An Iranian human rights group said on Saturday that Iranian security forces were shooting at protesters in two Kurdish cities. – Reuters 

In Iran no-one who expresses dissent from the ruling theocratic system, including the famous, is safe from being caught in the dragnet of a crackdown that has seen hundreds arrested in more than three weeks of protests. – Agence France-Presse 

Protesters in Iran remained defiant in the fourth week of a movement against the Islamic republic despite a crackdown including the use of tear gas in Tehran and reports Monday of heavy weaponry used in the Kurdish-populated northwest. – Agence France-Presse 

Mass protests across Iran following a 22-year-old woman’s death while being held by the country’s morality police have killed at least 185 people, according to a human rights group. – The Hill

Barry Rosen writes: The U.S. and Europe need to prepare for the coming days and weeks to be bloodier than the run-up to the Iranian Revolution — and to last longer, too. But we can win the moral high ground and move closer to our twin strategic aims by refusing to be taken in by token gestures, increasing the pressure at a moment of weakness and instability, and standing with the protesters who are on the right side of history by fighting for equality, human rights and the future of a nation that has tired of being brutalized from within. – The Hill

Heather J. Williams writes: Americans tend to see much of the nuclear deal’s collapse as about us. But if Iran is not able to come to terms with the U.S. to revive it (which seems increasingly likely) this time it may be more about them. – The Hill

Sharon S. Nazarian writes: The people of Iran realize that those authentic values are not anti-Americanism or antisemitism, but rather a government dedicated to serve its people, to uplift its citizens, to respect basic human rights and to preserve the dignity of all its citizens. Woman, life, freedom — that’s the mantra of this generation of Iranians. – NBC

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It also knows that the Iran deal which it was able to get in 2015 may not be on the table and that its allies in Moscow and Beijing may not be able to come to its aid because they face hurdles of their own at home. Iran’s regime understands today that it doesn’t have the wind in its sails it had back in 2009-2015 when a new US administration was working to secure the deal and Iran was on the winning side; today it faces real hurdles at home. – Jerusalem Post 

Ziryan Rojhelati writes: Indeed, previous experience has shown that even if a massive suppression of protesters takes place—reminiscent of Bloody November when as many as 1,500 people were killed in less than two weeks—the protests will reemerge. Even the presence of large security apparatuses are no longer enough of a threat to prevent demonstrations against Tehran. Either the government will be obliged to create reforms in a controlled way, or the catalysts of public dissatisfaction will remain alive and unaddressed. Protests will be able to emerge in greater size at any moment and resentment will build, eventually leading to a full-scale uprising. – Washington Institute

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Dana Alexander Gray and Frederick W. Kagan write: Protestor organizations are understandably cautious about leaving observable traces in the open source, making it impossible to gauge their extent, capabilities, or intentions at this time. But the appearance of nascent protestor organizations like the Neighborhood Youth of Tehran suggesting that they can do more than simply generate protests—specifically preventing regime security forces from entering certain areas of Tehran and other cities—could indicate an inflection in their capabilities or intentions. – Institute for the Study of War

Luke Coffey writes: Regrettably, there is no precedent in modern American political history for an incumbent president to abruptly change their ways and adopt a predecessor’s policies — especially on major foreign policy issues. However, with midterm elections looming in the US, and with the Republicans posed to make gains in the Congress, it may be that Biden has no choice but to take a tougher line on Iran. The sooner this happens, the better. Now is not the time for naivety, but for realism. – Arab News

Ahmed Charai writes: American leadership is only possible when its allies broadly agree with its aims and methods. And Washington’s diverse allies in the Middle East are now speaking with one voice about the dangers of Iran. America should listen. If it does not, the Biden administration may suffer a sudden loss of trust in America. It is not too late to change course and avoid a repeat of history. – The National Interest

Javad Heiran-Nia writes: According to Iranian theorist Maghsoud Farasatkhah, today’s youth have been denied the freedom to choose their lifestyle, find suitable employment, and live in favorable economic conditions. Instead, they exist in a state of rampant inflation, gender and religious inequality, and repressive social and information control. The politics of young people’s lives have become the politics of resistance. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin’s missile strikes on cities throughout Ukraine Monday drew condemnation from the West but praise from a growing chorus in Russia—critics who say that Moscow, despite the brutality of its invasion, hasn’t shown enough toughness. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s assault Monday with dozens of missile strikes on Ukrainian cities and their electricity infrastructure showed Moscow’s ability to hit targets across the entire country. But it also made clear the limits of such tactics in advancing Russia’s war aims. – Wall Street Journal

Waves of Russian strikes across Ukraine brought the war back to downtown Kyiv, a significant escalation that raises pressure on the United States and other European countries to provide Kyiv with the most advanced weapons systems. – Washington Post

In little more than a month, the war in Ukraine has turned abruptly from a grueling, largely static artillery battle expected to last into the winter, to a rapidly escalating, multilevel conflict that has challenged the strategies of the United States, Ukraine and Russia. – Washington Post

The string of strikes against Ukrainian cities and key infrastructure on Monday galvanized long-standing calls from the government to its allies for more sophisticated air defense systems and longer-range weapons. – Washington Post

The first blasts of the day hit at a central intersection during the downtown morning rush hour, killing a police officer driving to work, and leaving several cars mangled and in flames near a historic university complex and the country’s Education Ministry. – Washington Post

Kyiv and Moscow traded accusations of “terrorism” and vowed retribution after a weekend that began with an explosion damaging a bridge to Russian-controlled Crimea and ended with a search for bodies after an airstrike on buildings and homes in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia. Russia has illegally laid claim to both regions — Crimea since 2014 and Zaporizhzhia since last month. – Washington Post

President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine on Sunday of orchestrating the attack on a key Russian link with occupied Crimea, injecting new, heightened stakes into a calamitous episode that Ukrainian leaders touted as proof of their ability to prevail in the war with Russia. – Washington Post

Russian Ground Forces Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, who over a 44-year military career was best-known for scorched-earth tactics in campaigns he led in Syria and Chechnya, was named overall operational commander of the war in Ukraine in April. He lasted about seven weeks before being dismissed as part of what appeared to be a wider shake-up in response to heavy losses and strategic failures. – Washington Post

It was a Russian artillery battery positioned in a thin slice of tree line. The drone operator, Leonid Slobodian, started counting out loud as he zoomed in and took screenshots of the findings. He saw at least five guns, trucks that probably carried ammunition inside and counterbattery radar. This was what the Ukrainian military calls a “fat” target. – Washington Post

President Biden on Monday condemned the missile strikes across Ukraine launched by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, saying they served no military purpose and again demonstrated “the utter brutality of Mr. Putin’s illegal war on the Ukrainian people.” – New York Times 

President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus announced on Monday that Russian troops would return to his country in large numbers, a replay of the military buildup there that preceded Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Saturday appointed a general with a reputation for ruthlessness and long experience fighting in complex wars to command its forces in Ukraine, where repeated setbacks have provoked highly unusual public criticism of the military as incompetent. – New York Times 

Shelling once again compromised the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, damaging a power line that supplies electricity to one of the plant’s six reactors, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said on Friday. – New York Times 

Ukrainian forces shot down at least 43 of the missiles fired at Ukraine by Russia on Monday morning, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said. – Reuters

A drone has crashed into a military airfield in Russia’s Kaluga region, just over 200 km (130 miles) northeast of Ukraine, the region’s governor said on Friday. – Reuters

A high-rise office building that houses a German consulate in Kyiv was hit during Russian missile strikes on Monday morning, the foreign ministry said, though no officials were present as the consulate has been empty for months since war broke out. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its executive board approved Ukraine’s request for $1.3 billion in additional emergency funding to help sustain its economy as it battles Russia’s invasion. – Reuters

The United States and other G7 powers will hold crisis talks Tuesday on Russia’s recent bombing blitz across Ukraine, with Britain’s Liz Truss expected to insist they “must not waver one iota” in their support for Kyiv. – Agence France-Presse 

Russian troops are pouring into Belarus “by the trainload.” The news comes alongside an announcement from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Russian troops would return to the country, which neighbors both Russia and Ukraine, in large numbers, according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta. – Washington Examiner

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be unable “to preserve his own life” if he uses nuclear weapons against Ukraine, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who insisted that such an attack would not defeat his country. – Washington Examiner

Russia must pursue a “complete dismantling” of Ukraine’s system of governance, according to a top Russian official and longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Washington Examiner

Ukrainian leaders have repeated their calls for Western allies to provide them with additional air defense systems and longer-range weapons following a string of Russian strikes on Monday. – Washington Examiner

President Joe Biden has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s missile strikes on Ukraine, adamant the attacks have only strengthened the United States’s support of Ukraine in the war. – Washington Examiner

Retired Army Gen. George Joulwan suggested Monday that Ukraine needs air defenses similar to Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system after it suffered a barrage of strikes from Russia. – The Hill

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark on Sunday said the explosion that partially collapsed part of the Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to Crimea, is “very significant psychologically” amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine. – The Hill

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday condemned Russia for “horrific & indiscriminate attacks” against Ukraine after Moscow struck civilian infrastructure throughout the country. – The Hill

Ukraine’s energy ministry said Russia’s strikes on Monday marked the largest attack on the country’s power grid since the start of the invasion, asking residents to conserve power use as officials halt electricity exports. – The Hill

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, warned that the Kremlin will launch additional attacks after it pursued mass strikes across Ukrainian cities on Monday. – The Hill

Editorial: Monday’s casualties reflect the delay in getting air defenses to the country. The U.S. agreed in July to supply the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or Nasams, but that won’t reach Ukraine for several months. The U.S. has been reluctant to supply Patriot missile batteries for reasons that seem related to risks of escalation with a NATO weapons system, but that line has already been crossed. Mr. Putin won’t end his war until it becomes clear the cost of continuing it is too high. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Which brings us back to Mr. Biden. If he really does fear a nuclear escalation, he owes more of an explanation to the American people than cocktail-party doomsday chatter. He needs to marshal support in Congress and around the world to do everything possible to deter Mr. Putin. A crucial part of deterrence in a democracy is preparing the public for the challenges it might confront. Instead his comments have needlessly frightened Americans and maybe undermined deterrence. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: In more practical military terms, the Russian attack shows that Ukraine needs more and better air defense systems, in addition to the ones it already has — which it used to shoot down 43 of the missiles Moscow launched. The United States says delivery of its National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, should be complete within “several weeks.” German systems are also en route. France, meanwhile, has hesitated, reportedly because of parts shortages. Whatever the obstacle, Paris needs to overcome it. – Washington Post

Editorial: The top line is quite simple. America has a significant national security interest in Ukraine’s defeat of this egregious Russian invasion. Generous American support, both financial and military, should continue flowing to Kyiv in that pursuit (though Biden should hammer the Western Europeans for doing so little). But Zelensky should not imagine an American blank check. The U.S. signed up for the liberation of Kherson and Kharkiv. It did not sign up to be associated with car bombs and civilian killings in Moscow. – Washington Examiner

Casey Michel writes: That reality is something the Kremlin, wrapped up in its own paranoia and propaganda, doesn’t seem to have recognized. But the logic is inescapable. Moscow’s claim to Crimea has been revealed as an irredentist despot’s attempt to flatten and brutalize a piece of Ukraine. Crimea should be returned to Kyiv’s control and the sooner the better. Happily, the only thing standing in the way is the Russian military, and we all know what that means. – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes: On the other hand, caution has its upside. Mr. Putin and his colleagues have had many months to get used to the idea of defeat. Mr. Putin knows he might order a nuclear attack and get only a knife in his back. As even ordinary Russians and Westerners can see on Russian TV news, the action in Moscow is turning from how to win in Ukraine to who will bear the blame for Mr. Putin’s failed bet. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: Ukraine fought back. Its citizens think they will be victorious. What they want from the West is weapons and money to fight Putin. A visit here left me with the feeling that steady, sustained military assistance to this astonishingly brave nation — despite Russian threats and for as long as it takes — is an investment in a safer and better world. – Washington Post

Iuliia Mendel writes: The mood among civilians is that they want to put a stop to this terror — and the only way to do that is by stopping the war. Everything we have is under attack. Our loved ones have been killed, wounded and terrorized. Parts of our country have been occupied, subjected to lawlessness and state-orchestrated violence. Our very existence has been doubted and attacked. So people have good reason to be angry. – Washington Post

Carl Bildt writes: We are in a situation potentially more dangerous than the Cuban missile crisis. We are faced with a leader in the Kremlin who might actually mean what he says about this being a struggle for “life or death.” We must do our utmost to deter Moscow — and all those there in positions to influence events — from the ultimate insanity. – Washington Post

Tom Rogan writes: Talking of imminence, if the U.S. believed that a Russian nuclear strike was impending, continuity of government plans would take effect. Put simply, it would not be a good sign if Vice President Kamala Harris and senior congressional leaders canceled their public schedules and moved off to a bunker. Biden would likely remain at the White House in order to project calm. Let’s hope Putin or his commanders see sense. – Washington Examiner

Adam Zivo writes: Bridges have routinely been attacked in wars around the world, and, this summer, Russia itself destroyed every bridge leading to the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk. In this light, Putin’s “terrorism” claims are disingenuous and hypocritical. […]If Putin and his Western apologists want an example of terrorism, they can start by looking there. – Washington Examiner

Will Marshall writes: For blowing the whistle on Putin and his corrupt cronies, Navalny is serving a nine-year sentence in a maximum-security penal colony. The tragedy here is that Russia already is a great country— and would be greater still if its rulers trusted the Russian people to govern themselves. – The Hill

Brian Finch writes: Western governments, including the U.S., undoubtedly have moved slowly on Ukrainian military aid over fears of unduly provoking a nuclear armed Vladimir Putin. It cannot be ignored however that when U.S. faced a similar calculus in 1973, it acted decisively and undoubtedly saved Israelis from the same misery now befalling innocent Ukrainian citizens.  Perhaps it is time for the Biden administration to take a page from history and launch its own Operation Nickel Grass. – The Hill

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: It’s not enough for Biden to say the risk is as it was in 1962; he must act to end it. If not, Putin — and undoubtedly, Beijing — will forever use the bluster of nuclear warheads as a means of wagging Washington and NATO by their tails — and in the process making God’s creation forever a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD world. – The Hill

James M. Dubik writes: The allies and the Ukrainian government must begin threading multiple needles, trying to achieve their war aims without backing into a larger war that no one wants. The time for negotiation is not today, but that day will come — maybe sooner than many think. Best the allies and Ukraine prepare now. – The Hill

Michael O’Hanlon writes: Heaven forbid that it comes to this. But in the interest of making any Russian nuclear use less likely, we need big ideas for how to respond that stop short of steps likely to lead to World War III. – The Hill

William Courtney writes: Western support for Ukraine’s future security could depend in part on how the war ends and the extent to which Moscow remains threatening. For at least some time Ukraine may have to prepare for the worst. It can better protect its security through robust, tangible security ties with the West. Striving too hard for impractical guarantees could be a distraction. Even if Ukraine were to join NATO, tangible security cooperation could be crucial. – The Hill

Gil Barndollar writes: The United States has done the right thing, tactically and morally, in becoming Ukraine’s arsenal and adviser. American and NATO support has been critical in ensuring Russia’s initial repulse and the ensuing victories that have preserved the Ukrainian nation. But escalatory risk has been managed thus far because Ukraine has remained a bounded conflict, fed but not fought by the West. – The Hill

Andreas Kluth writes: Since 2016, NATO has stated that “hybrid actions against one or more Allies could lead to a decision to invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.” That’s the clause saying that an attack on one is an attack on all. That German general is right: We’re in a liminal place somewhere between peace and war, and that’s a new and uncomfortable experience. But we better get used to it fast — and show Putin that we know his vulnerabilities too. – Bloomberg 

Mark Gongloff writes: In fact, the war Putin chose to bolster his own standing just keeps exposing how weak and cornered he really is, Clara writes. Though a new spasm of random butchery and attacks on vital Ukrainian infrastructure have quieted hawks for now, the pressure will keep rising on Putin the more his military fails. Couldn’t he have just been happy with the gold toilet? Read the whole thing. – Bloomberg 

Dalibor Rohac writes: As a result, while the contingency of a nuclear escalation in Ukraine is horrifying, it also one that would dramatically weaken Russia. Moreover, it is the Ukrainians, not us, who would bear the brunt of the costs and human toll of such an attack. – New York Post

Kateryna Stepanenko, George Barros, Riley Bailey, Angela Howard, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russian and Belarusian forces remain unlikely to attack Ukraine from the north despite Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s October 10 announcement that Belarus and Russia agreed to deploy the Union State’s Regional Grouping of Forces (RGV) —a strategic formation of Russian and Belarusian units tasked with defending the Union State. – Institute for the Study of War

Frederick W. Kagan and Mark Polyak write: But there is reason for hope in a very dark time. Ukrainians have fought the Russian army and are driving it back with Western weapons and cash, but no Western soldiers. They are keeping their economy alive with Western money but their own expertise and ingenuity. Ukraine has shown in this terrible trial by fire its determination to make itself free and functional. That is an effort worth investing in. – TIME

Edward Lucas writes: The promotion of Sergey Surovikin, mastermind of Russia’s massacres and chemical weapons attacks in Syria, to run the Ukraine campaign spells more horror in the coming days and weeks. But defeat in Ukraine and regime change in Moscow look increasingly likely. The big question is which will come first. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Natalia Savelyeva writes: The only thing they cannot do, however much they might want to, is to avoid the choice. Previous studies have demonstrated that state interventions into what is considered private life are the single most effective means to make apolitical people angry. Putin chose to do it anyway. There will be consequences. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Shawn Cochran writes:  Looking at the historical record, many new leaders in comparable circumstances have decided to keep fighting an ongoing war or else push for peace only to have the extrication process drag on for years. It is difficult and probably pointless to predict the outcome of any wartime change of leadership in the case of Russia’s war in Ukraine. At a minimum, however, the West should not assume a change of leadership would result in an end to the war, at least in the short term, as Putin’s war could very well continue without Putin. – War on the Rocks


The deal is part of the expanding ties between Israel and like-minded Middle East countries that view Iran as the region’s biggest threat.  In the two years since breakthrough diplomatic agreements with the U.A.E., Bahrain and Morocco, Israel has embraced its expanding regional acceptance by signing defense deals with once-wary neighbors, welcoming high-profile Arab leaders to Jerusalem, and transforming Dubai into one of the top tourist destinations for Israelis. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli security forces on Sunday said that they were still searching for the gunman who carried out a deadly attack late Saturday at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem and that three Palestinians had been arrested in connection with the shooting. – New York Times 

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian teens on Saturday in clashes in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, and a Palestinian gunman fatally shot an Israeli soldier in Jerusalem, Israeli officials said. – Reuters

It’s a campaign that the IDF believes would force Iran and its proxies out of Syria; a campaign full of operations in which Israel would not take responsibility and would push off wars to the far future. – Jerusalem Post 

Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned Russia’s attacks on civilian targets in Kyiv on Monday night, in the first such statement from an Israeli prime minister. – Jerusalem Post 

Israeli police estimate that the Palestinian gunman who opened fire at an East Jerusalem checkpoint on Saturday, killing one soldier and wounding others, is hiding at the Shoafat refugee camp and plans to flee to the West Bank. – Haaretz

Israel said Tuesday morning that a “historic” deal with Lebanon to resolve a long-running maritime border dispute over gas-rich Mediterranean waters was close, after a US-drafted proposal met Israeli “demands.” – Times of Israel 

Russia on Monday night fired back at Israel for its condemnation of Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian cities, saying Jerusalem had failed to do the same for Kyiv’s “terrorist attacks on civilians of Donbass” and numerous “murderous” actions. – Times of Israel 

Jerusalem church leaders on Monday expressed their “grave concern” about Britain potentially moving their embassy in Israel to the contested and sacred city. – Times of Israel 

The Biden administration will increase penalties for complying with the decades-old Arab League boycott of Israel, at a moment when some longtime participants have opted out and others are doubling down. – Times of Israel 

The music of Israeli singer and actress Liraz Charhi, recorded in collaboration with Iranian artists, has become widely associated with recent protests in the Islamic Republic, according to a Hebrew media report. – Times of Israel

Editorial: They do not have to look far. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco are three Arab countries that decided two years ago to set aside differences, to reconcile and to normalize relations with Israel. While the peace with Jordan and Egypt is not warm, there still is peace, and those treaties are pillars of stability in this volatile region. The Palestinians can have the same. They just have to decide that a better future is what they want. – Jerusalem Post 

Herb Keinon writes: The issues involved in the maritime agreement with Lebanon are weighty – such as how Kana might be used to fill Hezbollah’s coffers, and what will be the ramifications of Hezbollah presenting this to the Arab world as an Israeli capitulation. This matter deserves a serious debate that goes beyond Netanyahu and Lapid trading barbs. The problem is that with just three weeks until the election, the chances of getting such a discussion are slim. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In addition, Israel and the Gulf states are working on air defense cooperation both through potential sales of Israeli systems and also wider cooperation with US Central Command. What should be learned from the attacks on northern Iraq is that Iran is practicing and perfecting its use of drones and missiles and that it will soon launch wider attacks in the region with these systems. – Jerusalem Post


Defense Minister Benny Gantz threatened to destroy Lebanon if Hezbollah attacks Israel, but struck an optimistic note about the pending maritime gas deal between Israel and Lebanon, saying it was still on the table and could be concluded “within days.” – Jerusalem Post 

Lebanon’s Iran-backed group Hezbollah is using all its propaganda tools to show support for the Islamic Republic and misrepresent the current nationwide protests in Iran. – Iran International

Amos Harel writes: Nevertheless, officials are also aware of the fact that over the past two decades, a large portion of the wars and military operations – the Second Lebanon War and the string of Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip – erupted without being planned in advance. Instead, they followed more limited escalations that spiraled out of control. With this knowledge, in recent months, defenses have been reinforced on the northern border and around Mediterranean natural gas sites. Operational plans have also been completed for an Israeli counterattack in Lebanon in response to possible military action from Hezbollah. – Haaretz


More than 17,400 Afghan evacuees brought to the U.S. under a temporary legal authority have filed applications for asylum or special visa status amid Congress’ failure to pass a law that would allow them to request permanent residency directly, according to unpublished government statistics shared with CBS News. – CBS News 

When the U.S. announced the release of American hostage Mark Frerichs—a navy veteran who has been held by the Taliban since 2020—it failed to mention that he was released in exchange for a convicted Afghan drug trafficker and prominent Taliban ally, Bashir Noorzai. – Daily Beast 

Two top Biden Administration officials met face-to-face with Taliban leaders Saturday for the first time since July, when al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in an American strike in Kabul, according to a report. – New York Post 

Time was running out. Shabana, who was living with her in-laws in Kabul, had until the end of September to be interviewed for a visa at a U.S. embassy. However, there no longer was an embassy in Afghanistan. – Military.com

Beth Bailey writes: For U.S. government agencies to block the flow of information that would help volunteers assist struggling Afghans is an unconscionable affront to our national honor. And it is a betrayal of our allies. – Washington Examiner

James A. Warren writes: Sadly, strategic decisions such as pulling out of lost wars cannot be made on a strictly moral basis. By the time Biden reached the presidency, the strategic logic for staying put in Afghanistan had evaporated. Biden had the courage to recognize this reality, and to act on it. The rise of China and Russia as rivals and possible adversaries, and the decline of America’s conventional deterrence against China, made it necessary to detach from Afghanistan, and indeed, from the Middle East proper. – Daily Beast 

Bushra Seddique writes: Afghanistan is not far from becoming the country we were in the Taliban’s first regime. But some things are different now. Few in rural communities have access to the internet, but those who do can organize and resist in new ways. In secret, behind closed doors, Afghanistan is still breathing. – The Atlantic


The U.S. military said late on Saturday that unidentified forces fired a rocket at a compound in Syria hosting U.S. troops and partnered local forces, but failed to cause any injuries or damage. – Reuters

US and Russian troops exchanged friendly greetings and posed for pictures together over the weekend on a northeast Syria highway in a rare display of congeniality between the rival forces. – Times of Israel

Christopher Alkhoury writes: Fortunately, the Israelis have proved that securing access to Syrian airspace is indeed possible through a combination of diplomacy with Russia, which controls the most advanced air defense systems in Syria, and brute force against the Assad regime if Israeli aircraft are threatened. A loosely coordinated U.S. departure would significantly improve the likelihood of reaching a diplomatic agreement on access to Syrian airspace, and the United States would retain an inherent right to self-defense if threatened by regime forces while conducting strikes against ISIS. – Foreign Affairs


Turkey’s proposed “disinformation” bill threatens free speech and could further harm journalism ahead of next year’s elections, a European rights watchdog’s legal body said, calling for Turkey’s parliament to reject it. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about improving bilateral ties and he repeated Ankara’s willingness to do its part to peacefully resolve the war in Ukraine, Erdogan’s office said on Friday. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin may meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan this week to discuss a Turkish proposal to host talks between Russia and the West on Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Monday. – Reuters

Asli Aydintasbas writes: Erdogan and Pashinyan must recognize the symbolism of the moment — but also the strategic importance of this handshake for their nations. They must forge ahead and open the border between the two countries, allowing others to build cultural bridges. Over the long run, that could turn out to be an important move in the global chess game on Europe’s borders. – Washington Post


Iraq can’t afford to reduce its oil production as part of a move by OPEC+ to slash output, according to the top candidate for the Iraqi prime minister’s post, who said the country needs the money to bolster its floundering economy. – Wall Street Journal

An Iranian gas pipeline supplying Baghdad with energy has failed, causing a temporary halt in energy supplies to Iraq’s capital city, the Iraqi news agency said on Friday, citing the ministry of electricity. – Reuters

One of the some 10,200 Iranian Kurds registered as refugees or asylum seekers in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region, Hassan said they were all gripped by the “revolution” that started in Iran’s northwestern region, where most of the country’s estimated 10 million Kurds live, before spreading nationwide. – Reuters

One person was killed and four were injured when a vehicle exploded in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil on Friday, the Kurdistan region’s counter-terrorism service said. – Reuters

A year after Iraq’s last general lection, the UN mission there urged political factions to end the deadlock paralysing the oil-rich country, warning that “Iraq is running out of time”. – Agence France Presse


Lebanon and Israel have received a final draft of a U.S.-mediated maritime border deal that satisfies all of their requirements and could imminently lead to a “historic deal,” negotiators from the two countries said on Tuesday. – Reuters

After putting the IDF on alert due to the falter in the maritime negotiations with Lebanon, Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke with the heads of regional authorities in Israel’s north on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Lebanon seemed to be sticking firm to its stance on the proposed maritime deal with Israel despite reported pressure from the Biden administration to drop some of its demands. – Times of Israel 

In the midst of tensions with Lebanon, and after a long period of preparations, the Karish gas rig is expected to start drilling today (Sunday). – Arutz Sheva 

Eldad Ben Aharon and Michael Harari write: Despite the proximity to another round of elections, despite the politically charged climate, the deal between Israel and Lebanon meets the legal criteria of a “vital need” for Israel’s national security and a successful conclusion to the negotiations would be clearly line with Israel’s national interests. And for a deal of that strategic value, a caretaker prime minister is more than justified and legally empowered to close it. – Haaretz


But as Egypt limps through a dire economic downturn, its finances dangerously strained, increasingly loud doubts are emerging about whether the country can afford Mr. el-Sisi’s grandiose dreams. ‌In the past six years alone, the International Monetary Fund has given Egypt three loans totaling about $20 billion, even as American aid kept flowing in. Even so, the country is once again in trouble. – New York Times

Egypt’s and Greece’s foreign ministers met Sunday in Cairo following controversial maritime and gas deals that their shared rival Turkey signed with a Libyan leader, officials said. Cairo and Athens have strengthened ties in recent years, including cooperation in developing energy resources, combating terrorism, and signing new maritime border agreements with Cyprus. – Associated Press 

Hany Ghoraba writes: The silence from the Muslim Brotherhood’s known commentators is an indication that most of the bashing and criticism against the Egyptian state on the past decade was done with the blessings of the Qatari ruling regime. Priorities and policies, however, can change. Qatar’s main goal at the moment is not the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, but attempting to cut its losses created by past support for the group. – Investigative Project on Terrorism


After a rare six months of relative calm, Yemen’s warring sides last week failed to renew a truce deal, with calls from the United Nations for an extension falling on deaf ears. – CNN

The US has praised the UAE’s strong support for Yemen’s truce and called for greater international backing after attempts to extend the ceasefire failed. – The National News 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: This sounds like a mafia-style threat, asserting basically that “it would be a shame if something happens; you better pay protection.” In this sense “protection” is the Houthi demand for concessions in the wake of the ceasefire expiring. Many groups have warned that millions in Yemen are at risk if fighting resumes, but the Houthis have recently displayed numerous drones and other weapons and appear prepared to start a new offensive. The Houthi threats come as Israel-Lebanon tensions are also increasings and as Iran has launched missiles at the Kurdistan region of Iraq. – Jerusalem Post

Saudi Arabia

The OPEC+ organization’s decision this week to cut oil production despite stiff U.S. opposition has further strained already tense relations between President Joe Biden’s White House and Saudi Arabia’s royal family, once one of Washington’s staunchest Middle East allies, according to interviews with about a dozen government officials and experts in Washington and the Gulf. – Reuters

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called for the United States to freeze its relationship with Saudi Arabia after the kingdom backed OPEC+’s decision to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels of oil a day. – Washington Examiner

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted Saudi Arabia for backing oil suppy cuts, saying that Congress is looking at its options on how to best handle the “appalling and deeply cynical action.” – Washington Examiner

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, held undisclosed meetings with senior executives of Saudi Arabian firms when he was the business secretary, documents acquired by the Guardian show. – The Guardian

Walter Russell Mead writes: The Biden administration’s embrace of a rapid shift from fossil fuels changes calculations in Riyadh. If the oil market is going to dry up by 2050, the Saudis turn into price hawks, wanting the highest possible price for the limited amount of oil they will be able to sell. And if the American president is leading the charge to kill the world oil market, there is not much reason for the Saudis to help him out of a political jam. – Wall Street Journal

Marc A. Thiessen writes: Why is Biden begging foreign dictators to increase production? The United States is sitting on 264 billion barrels of untapped oil — more than any other country on the planet. We should be unleashing our own domestic production, not asking Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to do so. – Washington Post

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Ultimately, the OPEC move could prove counterproductive. While the price spike will help the producing states in the short run, the economic downturn that it is certain to generate is likely to reduce demand for oil. Nevertheless, the Biden team should not be surprised by OPEC’s decision. It will take far more than a president offering fist bumps to assuage the Saudis and the Emiratis. Paying increased and more consistent attention to the fears and concerns of the two Gulf states that for years have been America’s close allies would represent a good start. – The Hill

Colby Connelly writes: Looking ahead, the “technical” aspects of OPEC+ performance, such as its loss of spare capacity over the years, will become increasingly important when deciphering the alliance’s production policy in the months ahead. That OPEC+ dynamics have a profound impact on U.S.-Saudi relations is undeniable. However, viewing the group’s decisions entirely through the lens of bilateral ties will give policymakers a faulty understanding of OPEC+, and could have potentially dire consequences as energy security becomes increasingly linked to geopolitical alignment. – Middle East Institute

Alexander Langlois writes: Consistently balancing values and realism in foreign policy across all international partnerships, starting with Riyadh, must become the norm in Washington. This begins by understanding that the United States, and not Saudi Arabia, is the superpower—especially if that stance supports energy policy outcomes that are good for societies around the world and not brutal monarchies and their oil executive allies. – The National Interest

Gulf States

The UAE’s president is to meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow as the Russian leader steps up his attacks on Ukraine with a series of missile strikes. The visit of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, known as MBZ, follows last week’s decision by the Opec cartel and allied producers including Russia to cut the group’s daily production target by 2mn barrels. – Financial Times

The head of QatarEnergy, who is also Qatar’s energy minister, said on Monday the company wants to speed up the development of two oil wells it discovered off the Namibian coast with joint venture partners earlier this year. – Reuters

Qatar’s tightly-controlled media on Monday stepped up an offensive against European criticism of the Gulf state’s human rights record ahead of the World Cup. – Agence France-Presse 

A British engineer is in jail in Iraq and facing extradition to Qatar over missed repayments on a small bank loan, in a case said to highlight the perils facing those travelling to the Gulf state for the World Cup. – The Guardian

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s recent barrage of missile launches was designed to test its capability to strike the South with tactical nuclear weapons as a warning after the United States’ and South Korea’s joint military drills, state media reported Monday. – Washington Post

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it was imposing sanctions on several businessmen and companies in Asia that officials said help support the development of North Korea’s weapons and its military. – New York Times 

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Tuesday that North Korea has nothing to gain from nuclear weapons, as the isolated country threatened to beef up its capability to attack its southern neighbour. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a birthday greeting to Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, congratulating him for “crushing the challenges and threats of the United States”, the latest sign of deepening ties between the two pariah states. – Reuters

A small earthquake that occurred early on Saturday near North Korea’s known nuclear test site was likely a natural quake, South Korea’s weather agency said, amid heightened concern about a possible nuclear test by Pyongyang. – Reuters

The United States and South Korea held joint maritime exercises involving a U.S. aircraft carrier on Friday, a day after Seoul scrambled fighter jets in reaction to an apparent North Korean bombing drill. – Reuters

South Korea said Tuesday it’s capable of detecting and intercepting the variety of missiles North Korea launched in a barrage of recent simulated nuclear attacks on its rivals, though it maintains the North’s advancing nuclear program poses a grave security threat. – Associated Press 

The Treasury Department imposed new sanctions following a rash of North Korean missile tests and targeted the network the administration says is helping supply the country’s weapons program. – Washington Examiner

Ira Stoll writes: In any event, deterrence is fine as far as it goes. The threats from Mr. Putin and from North Korea are reminders, however, of the urgency of moving full speed ahead with developing, testing, and deploying technology that would shield New York and other American and allied cities from enemy attacks. As Reagan foresaw, peace based on protection rather than retaliation would be a step forward. – New York Sun


All eyes are on Xi Jinping at the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress that begins in Beijing on Sunday. Barring a major upset, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades will extend his rule, undoing the previous convention of top leaders serving two five-year terms before stepping aside. – Washington Post

A top British intelligence official will warn in a speech on Tuesday that while Russia’s aggression has created an urgent threat, China’s expanding use of technology to control dissent and its growing ability to attack satellite systems, control digital currencies and track individuals pose far deeper challenges for the West. – New York Times 

China’s central bank extended its bilateral currency swaps with European Central Bank, worth 350 billion yuan or 45 billion euros, according to a statement published on the Chinese central bank’s website on Monday. – Reuters

Five teenagers with a Hong Kong group advocating independence from Chinese rule were ordered by a judge on Saturday to serve up to three years in detention at a correctional facility, for urging an “armed revolution” in a national security case. – Reuters

New U.S. export controls targeting Chinese chip manufacturers are an abuse of trade measures and designed to maintain the country’s “technological hegemony”, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Saturday. – Reuters

Hong Kong’s leader John Lee said Tuesday he will only implement United Nations sanctions, after the U.S. warned the territory’s status as a financial center could be affected if it acts as a safe haven for sanctioned individuals. Lee’s statement Tuesday came days after a luxury yacht connected to Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov docked in the city. – Associated Press

China condemned the United States’s decision to restrict the sale of semiconductor components, the latest escalation in the two countries’ rivalry in economic power and technological capabilities. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: Pragmatists might be pleased that the motion Thursday failed by only two votes, after a fierce lobbying campaign by Beijing to defeat it. But what a disgrace. Everyone knows the U.N. Human Rights Council is a sinkhole of moral equivalence. But if it can’t pass a motion merely to open discussion on China’s abuses in Xinjiang, there is no reason for it to exist, or for the United States to continue to be a member. – Wall Street Journal

Sophie Richardson writes: Xi has had a decade to show his true human rights colors. From crimes against humanity to the abusive “zero-covid” policies to an unwillingness to condemn Russia for war crimes in Ukraine, the outcome is far bleaker than most predicted. The costs of allowing these trends to go unchecked into the future should motivate action now. Democracies should move swiftly to defend human rights inside and outside China. – Washington Post

Jeff Moon writes: China’s state press responded to the new export controls by observing that “it can only be said that in its efforts to suppress and contain China, Washington has lost its mind and way.” A more apt description of the current policy environment is not whether Washington has lost its way, but rather whether it is ready to deploy an old Cold War strategy updated to meet the China challenge. – The Hill

Marc L. Busch and Daniel Trefler write: The China tariffs have failed economically, politically and legally. The evidence is clear. The mystery is how anyone expected otherwise. We get that “leverage” is in the eye of the beholder, but there was no way the China tariffs were going to overturn economic theory. – The Hill

Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande write: U.S. foreign policy discourse often focuses too narrowly on current issues, ignoring the long-term. Washington is right now focused primarily on denying Russia influence in Europe and keeping China from dominating the maritime Indo-Pacific. But while doing so, the U.S. should not ignore the likelihood of China stepping into the vacuum on the steppes, mountains and deserts of Central Asia. – The Hill

Chris Miller writes: China’s subsidies and America’s chip choke are forcing change downstream, too. Apple, whose finely tuned supply chains shape how the entire industry sources components, is increasing device assembly in Vietnam and India. The biggest signal is that Apple may use different components for phones intended for Chinese customers than those sold abroad. Apple has told US legislators that it will only use YMTC’s memory chips in phones it sells within China. Operating separate “China” and “non-China” supply chains is the definition of decoupling. – Financial Times

Vasabjit Banerjee and Benjamin Tkach write: China’s growing grip over the value market will allow it to challenge U.S. interests by increasing China’s access to policy elites in the “global South,” widening access for its military via bases and port facilities, and supplementing its defense industry. By deepening industrial cooperation with its allies and encouraging them to join the value arms market, the United States can not only gain a strategic advantage over its main rival but also strengthen bonds with its friends. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Russia’s war on Ukraine “does not serve the interests of anybody,” but declined to say whether his government would support a United Nations General Assembly motion condemning Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territories. – Associated Press

India does not want to say in advance how it will vote at the United Nations General Assembly on a likely draft resolution condemning Russia’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said on Monday. – Reuters

The U.N. rights body on Thursday renewed the mandate of a U.N. office to collect and preserve evidence of alleged wartime human rights crimes in Sri Lanka, despite opposition from the government and allies including China. – Reuters

Sri Lanka’s top court has granted permission for proceedings against former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the rights group which filed the case against him said in a statement on Friday. – Reuters

India said on Friday it had conveyed its objection to the United States about the U.S. ambassador in Pakistan’s recent visit to the Pakistani side of Kashmir that India considers its own. – Reuters

Indian authorities arrested six Pakistani nationals and seized heroin worth tens of millions of dollars from a Pakistani fishing boat in the Arabian Sea near the western state of Gujarat, officials said on Saturday. – Reuters

Ahmed S. Cheema writes: However, it would be precarious to give off any signal that could be mistakenly understood by Delhi as approval to resort to military action—similar to the one the Austrians received from Germany. WWI teaches us that intelligent statecraft necessitates crisis prevention—not duking it out on the battlefield. An Austro-Hungarian-German alliance on one side and a Russo-Serbian pact on the other doomed Central Europe and killed millions. A scenario that sets an Indo-American entente against a Sino-Pakistani alliance is destined to repeat the same mistakes. – The National Interest


Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen portrayed Beijing’s saber-rattling as counterproductive in a defiant speech, saying her government was willing to work with China to reduce tensions but won’t compromise its commitment to freedom and democracy. – Wall Street Journal

India and China, two powers that have offered Russia some relief in the face of Western sanctions, expressed concern after the deadly missile strikes across Ukraine on Monday and renewed calls for de-escalation and dialogue. – New York Times 

The root cause of the problems in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwanese government’s seeking of independence and the island is an inseparable part of Chinese territory, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday. – Reuters

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday he shared thoughts with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the relationship between the two countries should “return to the good old days”, according to media outlet Newsis. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is due to visit Australia this month on a trip that will include the city of Perth, the capital of the mineral and energy export state of Western Australia, the Australian leader said on Monday. – Reuters

Japan and the United States are conducting a joint military drill involving U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in areas around Japan in light of North Korea’s continued missile launches, Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Sunday unilaterally cancelled joint military drills between the six nations comprising the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), less than a day before they were due to start on its territory. – Associated Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the international community to recognize Japanese claims to four disputed islands that Russia has controlled for more than half a century. – The Hill

Vivek Ramaswamy and Mike Pompeo write: BlackRock’s silence demands a market response. While the consequences of China’s annexation of Taiwan would go far beyond stocks or the economy, market actors can make a difference. U.S. semiconductor companies and their investors can protect against Taiwan-related risks now by investing in a silicon shield of their own. – Wall Street Journal

Peter C. Hansen and Michael Rubin write: The simple fact is that China has no more legal right to Taiwan than it has to Korea. The United States, by contrast, has an explicit legal title to Taiwan, even though the United States has eschewed imperial power and instead sought to fulfill its Article 73 duties to Taiwan’s inhabitants. It is past time for the United States to clarify that Taiwan’s fate is for its inhabitants alone to determine. – The National Interest

Claude Barfield writes: From the outset, the Biden administration has found digital trade policy a difficult challenge, underpinned by open internal disagreements and powerful dissent from progressives and labor interests. These unresolved issues have now spilled over into the crucial planning of the president’s top trade initiative, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which 13 Indo-Pacific nations have joined. – American Enterprise Institute

Jeffrey Mankoff writes: The Armenia-Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan conflicts suggest how the erosion of Russian influence could bring further violence and suffering to both the South Caucasus and Central Asia. In the longer run, though, the retreat of Russian power could set the stage for the emergence of stronger, more stable states in these regions, as regional elites will have to take greater responsibility for managing their own problems. – War on the Rocks

Julian Spencer-Churchill writes: To counteract this threat, the United States and its allies need to secure a depth of airbases, which means the defense of Taiwan depends heavily on American access to an extensive network of airbases running from the north coast of Indonesian New Guinea to Luzon in the Philippines. Now is the time to ensure that Washington maintains access to this critical network. – The National Interest

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez writes: The Kazakhstani government has taken a bold position vis-a-vis Ukraine by not recognizing the illegal referenda. This development is highly significant coming from an otherwise close Russian defense and trade partner. Defense and trade are umbilical cords that unite Kazakhstan and Russia. Still, Astana has demonstrated that it will not sacrifice independent decision-making to maintain these close relations. – The National Interest

Mat Whatley writes: Indeed, there is a problem when one combat video raises more international condemnation than a series of mass graves. Instead, the West—from the EU to its partners, the United States, and the United Kingdom—must ensure that both sides come to terms with the horrors committed for generations. Only then can their people move on. – The National Interest


Norway — With natural gas scarce and pipelines in peril, Europe has rarely needed Norway more. Or resented it as much. More than seven months into the war in Ukraine, the Scandinavian country is increasingly central to Europe’s energy security. Norway, not Russia, is now the European Union’s leading natural gas supplier. – Washington Post

Hungary and Serbia have agreed to build a pipeline to supply Serbia with Russian Urals crude via the Druzhba oil pipeline as Belgrade’s shipments via Croatia fall under EU sanctions, the Hungarian government said on Monday. – Reuters

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Vladimir Putin, is in a politically “very fragile” position due to Russia’s military setbacks in Ukraine, Belarus’ exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Friday. – Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet with Hungarian Prime Minster Viktor Orban in Berlin on Monday, a German government spokesperson said. – Reuters

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is confident a second referendum on Scottish independence could take place in October next year, she said on Sunday. – Reuters

Moldova said three cruise missiles fired by Russia at Ukraine had violated Moldovan air space on Monday, and that it was summoning the Russian ambassador to explain. – Reuters

Germany will deliver the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defence systems to Ukraine within days, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Monday. – Reuters

France urged its nationals on Friday to leave Iran as soon as possible, saying they were exposed to the risk of arbitrary detentions. – Reuters

Belgium’s foreign minister and two other lawmakers cut their hair in parliament, in solidarity with anti-government demonstrations in Iran triggered by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. – Reuters

Britain said on Monday it had sanctioned senior Iranian security officials and the country’s “so-called Morality Police”, saying the force had used threats of detention and violence to control what Iranian women wear and how they behave in public. – Reuters

Five French citizens are currently being held in Iran, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Tuesday, increasing by one the previous number confirmed by Paris. – Agence France-Presse

A Swedish lawmaker cut her hair during a speech before the European Union in solidarity with Iranians protesting the death of a woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police. – The Hill

Austria said on Monday it was seeking to enlist other European Union countries to support its legal action against Brussels for labelling investment in gas and nuclear power as “green”. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized his American counterpart’s warning about nuclear Armageddon on Friday, stating that “we must speak with prudence” on such important matters. – Washington Examiner

German police were on Sunday probing an act of “sabotage” on the country’s rail infrastructure, with some officials pointing the finger at Russia in the wake of the Nord Stream pipeline explosions. – Agence France-Presse 

Germany’s foreign minister is calling for European Union entry bans and asset freezes against those responsible for what she described as brutal repression against anti-government protesters in Iran. – Associated Press

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said Russia under President Vladimir Putin stands for “terror and brutality” amid a barrage of Russian strikes against Ukraine. – The Hill

An Iranian armed with a knife who tried to enter Iran’s embassy in Copenhagen was arrested on Friday, Danish police said, as Tehran’s mission criticized officers’ slow response. – Agence France-Presse 

Marija Golubeva writes: The results of Latvia’s election this month will not alter the country’s foreign policy or its staunch commitment to NATO. But the defeat of the biggest opposition party, Harmony, previously the first choice for Russian-speaking Latvians, has revealed a widespread sense of political confusion among this minority. – Center for European Policy Analysis


As fighting flared in northern Ethiopia last month, shattering a five-month truce and reigniting a destructive civil war, a small United States military aircraft carrying senior American diplomats crossed the front line on a secret mission to halt the bloodshed. – New York Times 

A Lesotho party led by a diamond magnate won the most seats in last week’s election, but fell short of an overall majority, the election commission said on Monday, raising the prospect of more political gridlock. – Reuters

The Financial Action Task Force plans to put Democratic Republic of Congo on a list of countries subject to increased monitoring, the country’s Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya said on Saturday. – Reuters

A fifth vessel chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has left Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Chornomorsk and will deliver 30,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat to Ethiopia, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund said on Friday that it had reached a staff-level agreement with Rwanda for $310 million of funding to support the country’s economic reforms and help it build resilience against climate change. – Reuters

Seven Djiboutian troops have been killed in clashes between the army and an armed opposition group, a presidential adviser told Reuters on Saturday. – Reuters

Countries voted on Friday to extend a U.N.-mandated monitoring mission for a war in Ethiopia where investigators have found “reasonable grounds to believe” that parties to the conflict have committed serious rights violations, including war crimes. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund said on Friday that talks with Ghana’s government about a potential loan programme had been constructive but that more work was needed on a debt-sustainability analysis. – Reuters

African Union-led peace talks proposed for this weekend to try to end a two-year-old conflict in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been delayed for logistical reasons, Tigray forces and two diplomatic sources said on Friday. – Reuters

An air strike on Friday in a village in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region killed at least five people and injured 37 others, the director of the hospital that received the victims said on Twitter. – Reuters

Burundi’s central bank said on Friday it had lifted a ban it imposed in February 2020 on foreign exchange bureaus with the aim of weeding out operators flouting official exchange rates. – Reuters

Chad junta chief Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on Monday said a “government of national union” would be created in the coming days to steer the course toward elections, following a forum on the country’s future. – Agence France-Presse 

The U.S. Army’s 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade is training militaries throughout Africa to woo countries away from Chinese and Russian influence on the continent. – Defense News 

Amaka Anku writes: In the past, Nigeria’s political stability depended on the ability of its leaders to strategically distribute oil revenues. But as the country’s oil reserves dwindle and its population expands, stability will increasingly depend on something much more difficult: broad-based growth that improves the lives of average Nigerians. To achieve that, Nigeria will need a new and more ambitious political consensus—one that transcends the trauma of a civil war that ended more than 50 years ago and that prepares the country for the next half century. – Foreign Affairs

The Americas

The government of embattled Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry plans to request the intervention of foreign security forces to help shore up basic services as cascading and compounding crises plunge the beleaguered nation deeper into chaos, two Haitian officials told The Washington Post. – Washington Post

Activists on Sunday rallied at the White House to call on the Biden administration to end support for the government of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, as the Caribbean nation faces a humanitarian crisis due to gangs blocking the distribution of fuel. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed that one or several countries send “a rapid action force” to help Haiti’s police remove a threat posed by armed gangs, according to a letter to the U.N. Security Council, seen by Reuters on Sunday. – Reuters

Latin America

Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva slightly broadened his lead over incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro ahead of the Oct. 30 runoff vote, according to a survey by pollster IPEC published on Monday. – Reuters

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is not ruling out bringing forward the country’s 2024 presidential election, his office said on Friday in a message published on Twitter. – Reuters

The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the second review for Argentina’s $44 billion extended fund facility program, the lender said on Friday, noting the country’s efforts to meet the established targets. – Reuters

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday renewed the mandate of its fact-finding human rights mission in Venezuela, an initiative that Caracas considers an aggressive tool for interfering in domestic matters. – Reuters

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in comments published on Friday that the war in Ukraine would not have happened if former U.S. President Donald Trump were still in office, but offered no explanation for how his close ally could have prevented the conflict. – Reuters

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: This is the kind of foreign-policy malpractice produced by national-security advisers who view efforts to promote U.S. values in dictatorships as imperialism. Mr. Maduro and Cuba’s Miguel Diaz-Canel enjoy the “noninterventionism” doctrine. […]Venezuelans and Cubans face extreme want. But propping up the military dictatorships that run those countries is no way to advance their interests—or ours. – Wall Street Journal

North America

Canada on Friday said it would ban the top leadership of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from entering the country and promised more targeted sanctions over the treatment of women in Iran and the downing of a civilian airliner in 2020. – Reuters

The Mexican government filed another U.S. gun lawsuit Monday, this time against five U.S. gun shops and distributors it claims are responsible for the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico. – Associated Press

Lawyers advocating for refugee safety argued before the Canadian Supreme Court on Thursday that the U.S. is unsafe for asylum-seekers, challenging the constitutionality of the Safe Third Country Agreement. – The Hill

Sheryl Saperia writes: The growing crisis of the Iranian regime’s legitimacy may be a true threat to its survival, and Canada and the West should do whatever they can to divest the regime of any vestige of this treasured commodity. It demands a boldness of action that reflects the stunning courage of Iranian protesters. The federal government should delay no further in designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code. – Ottawa Citizen

United States

As American officials pore over maps tracking developments in Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia, their Ukrainian counterparts are monitoring a different kind of contest back in the United States: the upcoming midterm congressional elections. – Washington Post

Former President Donald Trump tried to cut a deal with the National Archives and Records Administration to exchange boxes of material held at Mar-a-Lago for documents related to the FBI’s investigation of his ties to Russia, according to a report. – Washington Examiner

Former President Trump’s battle against the Justice Department investigation into the mishandling of government records at Mar-a-Lago has now reached the highest court, but legal experts say he may not fare as well as his case is pushed before new judges. – The Hill

Christina Bobb, the attorney who signed a letter certifying that all sensitive records in former President Donald Trump’s possession had been returned to the government, spoke to federal investigators Friday and named two other Trump attorneys involved with the case, according to three sources familiar with the matter. – NBC

Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, both considered by the U.S. government to be “wrongfully detained” in Russia, could be home by the end of the calendar year, according to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson. – Washington Examiner

Foreign policy rose to the forefront of the major Sunday talk shows, with lawmakers and White House officials alike expressing economic and national security concerns emanating from adversaries such as Russia and North Korea. – The Hill

The White House on Friday released its 10-year strategy for the Arctic, with a focus on keeping Russia and China at bay in the region. – The Hill

Former President Trump on Sunday said the U.S. is “saying exactly the wrong thing” to Russia after President Biden this week raised the “prospect of Armageddon” amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear war. – The Hill

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned that it was counterproductive for President Joe Biden to invoke “Armageddon” when discussing the possibility of Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. – Washington Examiner


Hackers backing Iran’s wave of women-led protests interrupted a state TV news broadcast with an image of gun-sight crosshairs and flames over the face of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in footage widely shared online on Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

Two Australian regulators said on Tuesday they have opened investigations into Optus, the country’s No. 2 telecoms provider, after a breach of its systems resulted in the theft of personal data from up to 10 million accounts. – Reuters

The head of Germany’s national cybersecurity agency is under scrutiny over reports of ties to Russian intelligence, officials said Monday – Associated Press

Although hot wallets are usually free and offer quick access to crypto, they can be vulnerable to hacks. In August, nearly 8,000 crypto wallets on the Solana blockchain were hit by hackers who made off with more than $5 million in crypto. – Reuters

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (STEL.SI) said on Monday its unit Dialog faced a cyber attack that potentially affected 1,000 current and former employees and fewer than 20 clients, weeks after a massive data breach at another Australian unit – Optus. – Reuters

As cyberattacks continue to rise, the federal government is contemplating whether it should step in to help private insurance companies cover some of the costs related to severe cyber incidents. – The Hill

Searches for “delete PayPal” skyrocketed as controversy reigned this weekend over a policy saying users would be fined $2,500 for promoting “misinformation,” which the payment platform quickly retracted and claimed was posted in error. – Washington Examiner

Russian hackers claimed responsibility for taking down the websites of over a dozen U.S. airports, including some of the nation’s largest. – Washington Examiner

President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect private data transferred between the United States and the European Union that is meant to allow Big Tech companies such as Meta and Google to continue providing data services to European customers. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: The same thinking should apply to cutting-edge technologies. Starlink might not be viable everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not viable anywhere — and it is likely to become easier to use as receivers proliferate and technology advances. The United States and other democracies should continue to invest in the development and spread of censorship-evasion systems, so that the next time people hit the streets to protest a repressive regime, the world will know instantly. – Washington Post

Cristopher Tremoglie writes: PayPal’s attempt at totalitarianism should be a wake-up call to all freedom-loving people. It’s indicative of our culture war and the looming battles ahead. People must know the magnitude of the Left’s thirst for power. Moreover, they must realize the imminent threat liberals, Democrats, and other left-wing activists pose to our cherished American freedoms. The people must resist these abuses and protect our country’s republicanism and liberties. – Washington Examiner

Matthew Eitel writes: The new Executive Order fills in these details. While the new framework is a significant change to US data privacy regulations and intelligence practices, the US is far away from passing nationwide data protection legislation similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. It is now up to Europe to decide whether the new restrictions on US spies will be sufficient to assuage their privacy concerns. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Emily Benson writes: Discussions on data flows and the establishment of privacy standards is also occurring in other multilateral organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is notable that the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) has sought to avoid this issue. The TTC has focused on charting new standards, for example on technology misuse, but has relied on government agency experts to maintain and conclude a deal replacing the Privacy Shield. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Transgender women, who were born male, are still required to sign up for the Selective Service in the event of a military draft. The policy, which has already been in effect for some time, gained new attention after the Selective Service System issued a reminder for men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for the service. – Washington Examiner

Petitt, like many veterans, is struggling and needs support. He wants to move into affordable housing under construction on the Veterans Affairs campus but is being denied because he makes too much money due to his multiple disabilities. – Washington Examiner

The United States will soon be unable to provide Ukraine with certain types of ammunition that are essential to Kyiv’s battle against Russia’s invasion, as supplies are being used up faster than they can be replaced. – Agence France-Presse 

The U.S. Army is looking to air- and ground-launched platforms, such as drones, to more effectively wage electronic warfare, amid a Pentagon push to modernize arsenals and the expectation that long-held technology investments are set to pay off. – Defense News 

The Pentagon has approved a waiver that would allow Lockheed Martin to resume F-35 deliveries that were halted over the discovery of an alloy made using unapproved materials from China. – Defense News 

Coming up in 2023, the U.S. Army in the Pacific will ramp up efforts that examine how to conduct battlefield logistics in contested environments, Gen. Charles Flynn told Defense News in a recent interview. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army will build larger formations outfitted with high-tech capabilities geared toward near-peer adversaries, Secretary Christine Wormuth told an audience Oct. 10 at the Association of the U.S. Army annual conference in Washington, D.C. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army is nearly finished fielding an initial package of communications upgrades and networking enhancements known as Capability Set 21, and officials said they are preparing to dispatch the next iteration, Capability Set 23, beginning this fall. – Defense News 

Lockheed Martin and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems recently completed test flights in Israel to prepare for a shoot-off this fall meant to help the U.S. Army choose a long-range precision weapon for its AH-64E Apache helicopters and its future attack reconnaissance aircraft. – Defense News 

The Pentagon has approved a national security waiver that will allow Lockheed Martin to resume F-35 deliveries, which have been on hold since August due to concerns about Chinese alloys found in a component. – Breaking Defense 

The US Army will have a “couple” of live fire flight tests this fiscal year for its hypersonic weapon  program as it works toward fielding the missile in the coming months, according to the three-star leading the effort. – Breaking Defense 

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: Stemming the hemorrhage of people is not exclusively a military task but a countrywide one given the armed forces enduring mission to fight and win the nation’s wars if needed. Congress must ensure this is top of mind, and action, for every senior Pentagon leader and be prepared to establish a national commission on military service in next year’s defense bills. – RealClear Defense

Jaron S. Wharton writes: The army is sensibly treating Army 2030 as a waypoint, not a final destination. Its leaders have been heavily engaged on the think tank circuit and can expect to hear contrary opinions at the upcoming AUSA conference. The army will benefit most from those engagements if its leaders consider the critiques and adjust its approach as needed. The beauty of MDO may not be in its present form but in the enterprise’s humility and agility to evolve further in later increments. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Long War

A U.S.-led coalition drone strike in northeastern Syria on Monday killed an Islamic State group militant, a Kurdish-Syrian security official said. Speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, the official told The Associated Press that the strike targeted the IS member driving a motorcycle in the village of Hamam al-Turkman. – Associated Press

Human rights activists pressed their call Monday for the immediate release of a former Philippine opposition senator after she was taken hostage in a rampage by three Muslim militants in a failed attempt to escape from a maximum-security jail. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden signed a classified policy to add restrictions on how the United States approves counterterrorism drone strikes. – Washington Examiner

In the days since he seized power in a coup, army captain Ibrahim Traoré has sought to reassure the people of Burkina Faso that he will bring peace to a country wracked by a jihadist insurgency […] But with this year set to have the highest death toll for jihadi violence in Burkina Faso and Mali since the crisis began a decade ago, analysts question what can be done to combat the Isis and Al-Qaeda-linked jihadis who have gained control of almost half of the nation’s territory. – Financial Times

Yazidi refugees who come from the communities that suffered genocide under ISIS have found their way to Cyprus. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The continuing presence of ISIS in Syria is clear. It is also clear that ISIS members often operate from areas close to the Turkish border, either in Idlib or in Afrin, an area Turkey invaded in 2018 and ethnically cleansed of Kurds. Turkey has threatened to attack on the SDF over the years, meaning eastern Syria continues to face the prospect of instability. – Jerusalem Post