Fdd's overnight brief

October 21, 2022

In The News


Iranian personnel have been working in Crimea to train Russian pilots to use Iranian-made drones, the U.S. said Thursday, as Moscow attempts to maintain its hold on the territory in southern Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

The Iranian government’s crackdown on the weekslong protest movement is taking a growing toll on the country’s sanctions-pummeled economy, hitting a broad swath of ordinary citizens, as authorities’ slowdown of the internet has choked vital payment channels for businesses. – Wall Street Journal

For five weeks, Iranian protesters have braved a brutal crackdown to challenge the country’s authoritarian clerical rulers, drawing the world’s attention — and the efforts of commentators in the West to explain what the demonstrators want. – Washington Post

Canada’s foreign minister vowed to support “the incredibly brave women of Iran” as she hosted a virtual meeting with her female counterparts around the world to discuss the crackdown against protesters in Iran. – Reuters

The president of Iran’s national Olympic committee claimed Thursday that competitive climber Elnaz Rekabi will not be punished or suspended after competing in South Korea over the weekend without wearing her nation’s mandatory headscarf. – Associated Press

As protests rage at home, Iran’s theocratic government is flexing its military muscle abroad: Tehran has supplied drones to Russia that killed Ukrainian civilians, run drills in a border region with Azerbaijan and bombed Kurdish positions in Iraq. –  Associated Press

European Union members have agreed on new measures against Iran over its supply of drones to Russia, the Czech presidency of the EU said on Thursday. – Reuters

Western actors and officials have cut their hair on camera to dramatize their support for Iranian women whose protests have rocked the Islamic Republic since a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of Iran’s morality police over a month ago […] The performances hint at a deeper reality: beyond voicing support, criticizing abuses and giving protesters digital tools to communicate, Western governments have few policy levers to influence events in Iran, officials and analysts said. – Reuters

Britain on Thursday slapped sanctions on three Iranian military figures and a defence manufacturer for supplying Russia with drones to attack civilian and infrastructure targets in Ukraine. – Reuters

Anti-government protests in Iran continued throughout the country on Thursday night and Friday, with videos showing large crowds chanting and blocking roads in Tehran and initial reports indicating that Starlink satellite internet service terminals have been smuggled into the country. – Jerusalem Post

State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated on Thursday that a nuclear deal with Iran is not expected anytime soon. – Jerusalem Post

The Iranian military is “now directly engaged on the ground” in Ukraine to support Russian drone attacks as President Vladimir Putin’s regime struggles to repel a months-long Ukrainian offensive, John Kirby, the US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, confirmed on Thursday. – Algeimeiner

Though the Islamic Republic regularly tries to discredit protesters by accusing them of being Western pawns, it does raise the question of what — if anything — the US, Europe, and even Israel could do to support the demonstrators. – Times of Israel

Sara Rahnama writes: The way images of unveiled Iranian women are being consumed risks reproducing the same misogynistic assumptions that the veil is a universal marker for oppression — or potentially even legitimizing foreign intervention, from increased sanctions to warfare. Iranian women, like all Muslim women, deserve to live without their agency constricted, either by an Islamic regime or by foreign intervention. – Washington Post

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, Johanna Moore, Nicholas Carl, and Frederick W. Kagan writes: The IRGC military exercises that occurred in the vicinity of Tabriz may have facilitated the regime’s ability to restrict protest organizers’ internet and telecommunication access and establish a security presence in the city. The main IRGC combat elements in the area are the 2nd Imam Zaman Mechanized Brigade and the 31st Ashoura Mechanized Division, which likely participated in the exercise. – Institute for the Study of War

Jason Brodsky writes: Barring a policy change in the United States and Europe, these dynamics make continued inconclusive nuclear negotiations probable. While the Islamic Republic may be capable of offering concessions on tactical matters to momentarily deflect international scrutiny—it did so in December 2019 with the release of U.S. hostage Xiyue Wang in the wake of the gas protests—that doesn’t necessarily hold for more significant decisions like reviving the nuclear deal. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

As Ukraine braced for severe power shortages following an extensive bombing campaign by Russia of civilian infrastructure, the governor of Kyiv on Thursday urged residents of the capital region to shut electrical appliances between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., including electric heaters, washing machines, boilers and other devices, like refrigerators and WiFi routers, considered essential to modern life. – Washington Post

Dmytro Shumskyi stood in the middle of the field in northern Ukraine with the Stinger air defense missile perched on his shoulder. “It’s coming!” his comrades yelled from behind him. Through the clear-blue sky, a small black streak flew past, followed by a loud whoosh — part of a barrage of missiles earlier this month that Russia said was retaliation for an attack on the Crimean Bridge. – Washington Post

“The key is the cash,” the oil broker wrote in a text message, offering a deep discount on Venezuelan crude shipments to an associate who claimed to be fronting for the owner of Russia’s biggest aluminum company. “As soon as you are ready with cash we can work.” The communication was included in a 49-page indictment unsealed Wednesday in New York federal court charging seven individuals with conspiring to purchase sensitive U.S. military technology, smuggle oil and launder tens of millions of dollars on behalf of wealthy Russian businessmen. – Associated Press

Russia can access enough tankers to ship most of its oil beyond the reach of a new G7 price cap, industry players and a U.S. official told Reuters, underscoring the limits of the most ambitious plan yet to curb Moscow’s wartime revenue. – Reuters

Russian and Ukrainian troops appeared Thursday to be girding for a major battle over the strategic southern industrial port city of Kherson, in a region which Russian President Vladimir Putin has illegally annexed and subjected to martial law. – Associated Press

A series of blasts rocked the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia on Friday, authorities said, after Russian forces stepped up missile strikes on Ukraine in the past few weeks, targeting electric power facilities. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told European leaders that Russian forces have mined a dam in the occupied south, threatening “hundreds of thousands” with flooding and endangering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. – Bloomberg

Jailed Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny said on Thursday that authorities had opened a new criminal case against him for promoting terrorism and extremism, potentially more than doubling his sentence. – Reuters

Russia’s main investigative arm continues to use the tools of Israeli digital intelligence company Cellebrite to break into the cellphones of people arrested, according to documents from the agency accessible online. – Haaretz 

Michael Khodarkovsky writes: By sending poorly trained non-Russian men to Ukraine, Moscow may soon meet a similar fate. Centuries of pent-up bitterness and frustration over rule by Moscow may spill into a military confrontation and civil war. Given Russia’s current military defeats, this isn’t a distant prospect. If and when that happens, Russia will fall apart as the empire of the czars and Soviet Union did. It would be ironic if the man who wanted to revive the U.S.S.R. instead ushers in the twilight of Russia’s last empire. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: Contrast this creative Russian diplomacy with Putin’s response in Ukraine. At each decision point, he has pulled the knot tighter — mobilizing the Russian military, annexing occupied Ukrainian territories and launching Iranian drones against Ukrainian cities. As Putin tightens the knot, to use Khrushchev’s metaphor, he also threatens to cut it — by using nuclear weapons if defeat should loom. – Washington Post

Josh Rogin writes: Putin’s international crimes have no statute of limitations. As long as he breathes air, he must understand that his victims and their families will never stop seeking justice. The least the rest of us can do is to support that effort — so that hopefully, one day, his victims can see Putin and all who carried out his atrocities tried and jailed, just as they deserve. – Washington Post

Andriy Yermak writes: Security guarantees should come from a core group of allied states with significant military capabilities. Both political and legal commitments are required. Along with military support, a broader set of nonmilitary, sanctions-based safeguards should be maintained by a wider group of international partners. We must ensure that the price of aggression will be too high for Russia. This should become the starting point for a new “great deal” on the part of the West. – Washington Post

Andreas Kluth writes: If Putin is seen to succeed with his attempts at nuclear blackmail, the world is pretty much doomed. If he’s made to fail, humanity may be able to erect new taboos against waging war with atomic fission. In case anybody was still in doubt, the stakes in Ukraine really are global. – Bloomberg

Kurt Volker writes: Russia’s defeat, its change of leadership, and its acceptance of responsibility for war crimes and of living within its own borders, is a necessary precondition to establishing the normal relations so many in the West desire. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and discussed in detail Kyiv’s request for air and missile defence systems and technology. – Reuters

UN experts are pushing for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague to issue an advisory opinion declaring that the “Israeli occupation” of territory over the pre-1967 lines is illegal. – Jerusalem Post

Israel intends to allow the Palestinian Authority to acquire helicopters for flights for its senior officials for the first time since 2001, according to a Thursday report. – Times of Israel

The commander of the IDF’s 202nd Paratrooper’s Battalion and a soldier were wounded by settlers who pepper-sprayed them in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus early Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: The army is also put in an impossible situation. It is not the job of IDF soldiers job to act as police and arrest people, but to secure the State of Israel and citizens against enemies. They don’t have the tools to deal with Jewish extremists or riots or attacks on Palestinians other than to try and separate the groups. – Jerusalem Post

Tovah Lazaroff writes: Israeli Jews like to speak of how they are once again a sovereign nation in their ancestral homeland. Being a sovereign carries with it the responsibility to protect minorities and other groups. As a sovereign country, Israel has a sovereign army to protect it so there is no need for vigilante action. The only acceptable time to draw a gun or throw a stone is in absolute self-defense. – Jerusalem Post

Avi Issacharoff writes: It’s hard to say. When it comes down to it, one Israeli success in thwarting a terror attack, or one failure, could set the tone for how things play out in the near future in the West Bank. The same could be said about the settler violence against Palestinians. – Ynet

Michael Milshtein and Ilham Shahbari writes: Jews and Arabs must both recognize the historic crossroads at which Israel finds itself. They can either choose a path of descent into past mistakes and dangerous alienation, or they can opt to collectively stride a new route—one which is not free of its own pitfalls, but can still lead to a more stable, mutually beneficial future. – Washington Institute


Turkey asked Russia to build its second nuclear power plant, in the latest sign of closer economic ties even as the US and its allies try to isolate the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Friday he will meet with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to discuss the Nordic country’s bid to join NATO, as well as the extradition of people Ankara considers terrorists. – Reuters

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will visit Turkey next week, the first visit by an Israeli defense minister in a decade. Gantz will meet with his counterpart Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and will be welcomed by an honor guard in Ankara. – Jerusalem Post

Tuğba Tanyeri-Erdemir writes: This, in turn, would make it even more challenging for a future opposition government to contemplate, articulate, and implement a decentralization policy. Ultimately, such decentralization is the most effective way to tackle Turkey’s deepening malaise in educational and cultural affairs. – Middle East Institute

Sinan Ciddi writes: An Erdogan victory in 2023 will solidify his hold on Turkey and will further institutionalize Turkey’s illiberal trajectory. It will result in the country becoming further cut off from democratic norms and its Western partners and aspirations. Erdogan knows and wants this; he has done very little to hide it. Turkey’s political opposition has a public responsibility to challenge Erdogan and provide voters with an alternate vision, but it has refused to do so. The opposition’s failure does not appear likely to change going forward. I am not holding my breath for 2023. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Iran on Thursday said the leaders of regional foe Saudi Arabia should end their reliance on Israel, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, in an apparent reference to growing ties between Israel and Gulf Arab states. – Reuters

A pair of giant pandas arrived in Qatar on Wednesday as a gift ahead of the World Cup, marking the first time China has extended its “panda diplomacy” to the Middle East […] China has sent pandas to about 20 countries, including the United States, as a diplomatic tool to improve ties with foreign nations, but Qatar is the first country to receive them in the Middle East. – NBC

Hamas warned the Palestinian Authority against handling the issue of natural gas fields located off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, just days after PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced that a team would be formed to conclude an agreement with Egypt concerning the gas. – Jerusalem Post

The High Court of Justice on Thursday heard multiple petitions seeking to block the government’s proposed maritime deal with Lebanon […] In one of the most dramatic points of the hearing, Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben Gvir alleged that negotiations between Israel and Lebanon had blown up and were frozen, restarting only because of election season. – Jerusalem Post

The Lebanese parliament failed again to elect a new president during a vote on Thursday after a series of failed attempts in recent weeks. – Jerusalem Post

A new report examining China’s security presence in the Middle East suggests that as competition between the United States and China ramps up, the region will again be a key arena. – Jerusalem Post

As Negev Forum countries prepare for their next gatherings in the coming months, an effort to bring Jordan into the fold has intensified, US and Mideast diplomats told The Times of Israel. – Times of Israel

Khaled Dawoud writes: It will also be a rare chance for opposition parties to present alternative policies to those of the president, who has been the sole decision maker in Egypt over the past eight years. However, whether the dialogue itself will mark a genuine change in the regime’s authoritarian policies remains to be seen. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will discuss North Korea’s recent missile launches, China and tensions over Taiwan, in meetings with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Tokyo next week, a senior State Department official said on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers landed in Guam this week in the long-range aircraft’s second deployment to the island this year amid regional tension over Taiwan and the looming prospect of a new North Korean nuclear test. – Reuters

The headlines blare out the fears that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un might fire a “tactical nuclear warhead” on targets in South Korea or maybe Japan. It’s not at all clear how much death and destruction a “tacnuke” would inflict. Like any other weapon, they come in different sizes and ranges, but any of them could probably wipe out a few thousand troops. – The Daily Beast


The most-watched film in China this week, about daring officials who save Chinese citizens trapped overseas by war, neatly matches a central theme of leader Xi Jinping’s agenda at the twice-a-decade Communist Party meeting in Beijing — that the world is a dangerous place and China needs to protect itself. – Washington Post

The treatment of a Hong Kong protester in Britain who was seen being dragged into the Chinese consulate in Manchester and beaten on Sunday has raised concerns about the quashing of dissent outside of Chinese borders. – Washington Post

Xi Jinping, poised to clinch a third five-year term as China’s leader, will on Sunday preside over the most dramatic moment of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress and reveal the members of its elite Politburo Standing Committee. – Reuters

The United States unsealed criminal charges on Thursday against seven Chinese nationals accused of waging a surveillance and harassment campaign against a U.S. resident and his family, in a bid by the Chinese government to repatriate one of them back to China. – Reuters

Britain expects China to waive diplomatic immunity for any official facing police charges over an attack on a protester who was dragged inside the grounds of a Chinese consulate, a junior British foreign office minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

As China’s ruling Communist Party holds a congress this week, many Beijing residents are focused on an issue not on the formal agenda: Will the end of the meeting bring an easing of the at times draconian “zero-COVID” policies that are disrupting lives and the economy? – Associated Press

A superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov left Hong Kong for South Africa on Thursday, nearly two weeks after the U.S. accused the city of operating as a safe haven for sanctioned individuals. – Associated Press

Investigative journalist Wang Zhi’an once exposed corruption, land seizures, and medical malpractice in China, with millions of viewers and a powerful platform: state broadcaster CCTV. Wang now lives alone in central Tokyo after being blacklisted in his homeland. – Associated Press

A senior Chinese diplomat in the UK defended his actions during a protest, saying he pulled a man’s hair because he offended the Asian nation and its leader Xi Jinping. – Bloomberg

Four months into a sweeping ban on imports from China’s Xinjiang region, the top US customs official is signaling confidence that companies are observing the embargo. – Bloomberg

Alastair Gale writes: The true test of PLA personnel will be when they’re called on to fight. Some American military strategists and analysts say China might be a generation away from having the ability and training in its military that could effectively match those of the U.S. “Our staffs have been doing extended combined operations for decades. Theirs haven’t,” Mr. Blasko said. – Wall Street Journal

Fareed Zakaria writes: Let me be clear: China, with all its limitations, still presents a powerful challenge for the United States, the most serious long-term one by far. But right-sizing this threat and understanding it correctly are crucial to formulating the best strategy to tackle it. Instead, Washington’s conventional wisdom is still filled with exaggerated fears and fantasies of an enemy that is 10 feet tall. – Washington Post

John Burn-Murdoch writes: Aside from the fact that one does not typically hide evidence of good performance, many of the more granular discontinued data series were previously used by analysts to check against China’s headline indicators, frequently finding the GDP figures overstating performance. We are left with increasingly unconventional indicators to gauge China’s current performance. It doesn’t look good. – Financial Times

South Asia

Negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) between India and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will begin next month with hopes to seal a deal by June, India trade ministry joint secretary Srikar K Reddy said on Thursday. – Reuters

Asian Development Bank agreed to lend $1.5 billion to Pakistan that has seen default risks surge after devastating floods crippled the cash-strapped country. – Bloomberg

Sushmita Pathak writes: Panag says India must protect the unique political clout it has in Nepal through the Gurkhas and not impose Agnipath on them, especially since Nepali soldiers make up only a fraction of the entire Indian armed forces. “There should have been no debate on this issue. India should have made an exception,” he said. “If India really thinks like a great power, it should maintain its special relationship with Nepal.” – Foreign Policy

Michael Rubin writes: It is not all about size, though. Himachal Pradesh, a state wedged between Punjab, Jammu, and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh, may have a population of less than seven million, but its geopolitical role amplifies its importance. Its winter capital, Dharamshala, doubles as the home of the Dalai Lama, who fled China following the communist conquest of Tibet and his Central Tibetan Administration. A consulate there would be better situated than any diplomatic post in China to handle Tibetan affairs, without crossing the line into overt support of separatism in China. – The National Interest


Myanmar’s military regime and its rival, the pro-democracy National Unity Government, both said Thursday that they were investigating two explosions and gunfire at Insein Prison that killed eight and injured 18, mostly civilians. – New York Times

To maintain diplomatic ties with Guatemala, Taiwan pays the country’s lobbyists in Washington. With its allies in the Pacific, Taiwan has promised to help preserve indigenous cultures, and to thank Lithuania, Taiwan’s newest unofficial ally, the government and local shoppers have embraced its imports, from lasers to bacon-flavored schnapps. – New York times

Australia will set aside A$46 million ($29 million) to fund police deployments in Solomon Islands in next week’s budget, part of an increase in spending in the Pacific intended to shore up its standing in the region as China seeks greater influence. – Reuters

The decapitated body of a high school teacher was left on grotesque display at a school in central Myanmar after he was detained and killed by the military, witnesses said Thursday, marking the latest of many abuses alleged as the army tries to crush opposition to military rule. – Associated Press

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is traveling to Australia for talks with his counterpart Anthony Albanese, said Friday he wants to bolster military and energy cooperation between the two countries amid their shared concerns about China. – Associated Press

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim has been named as the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s prime minister candidate, as the Southeast Asian nation gears up for a general election next month. – Bloomberg

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday backed a decision by his predecessor to cancel a deal to buy 16 Russian military heavy-lift helicopters and said his administration has “secured an alternative supply from the United States.” – Associated Press


The once-triumphalist Liz Truss resigned on Thursday in humiliation, after 45 days in office, becoming not a modern Conservative icon but the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. Truss was brought down by what is widely perceived as her incompetence, her inability to sell her vision — not just to lawmakers from her Conservative Party and the slim numbers of Tories out in the hinterlands, but to the broader electorate and to currency and bond traders in London. – Washington Post

Former U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak—who lost this summer’s Tory leadership contest to Liz Truss after saying her tax and spending plans were too risky—is leading the field to succeed her as the Conservative Party prepares to choose its fourth new leader in three years. – Wall Street Journal

Norwegian officials warned Thursday that there could be more arrests after at least seven Russians — including the son of a close associate of President Vladimir Putin — were detained in recent weeks for flying drones or taking pictures near sensitive areas, prompting an investigation by the domestic intelligence service. – Washington Post

European Union leaders pushed discussions on whether to pursue an emergency limit on natural-gas prices to their energy ministers after marathon negotiations over how to tackle the energy crisis brought on by Russia’s squeeze on gas supplies. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin is using energy and hunger as weapons but has failed to break the West’s unity and will not achieve his war aims through scorched earth tactics, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday. – Reuters

Strained relations between France and Germany amid the war in Ukraine and energy crisis need a “reset” to forge a stronger alliance between the two biggest EU countries, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday. – Reuters

Lawmakers from two of Germany’s governing parties on Thursday slammed plans for Chinese shipping giant Cosco to take a major stake in the operator of the country’s biggest container terminal, warning that they pose a national security risk. – Associated Press

More than 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Finland plans to erect a barbed-wire fence on its border with Russia dividing East and West, following the war in Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Britain should be more than an exporter of royal gossip and lurid political news. The United States and Europe should help Britain regain its place in a liberal global order under attack by Russia, China and other adversaries of freedom. – Washington Post

Eugene Robinson writes: When you hear Republicans in this country say “secure the border” or “crack down on crime” or “America first,” keep in mind how easy it is to write a bumper sticker and how hard it is to actually govern in a complex, interconnected world. GOP leaders, pay attention: Britain’s Conservatives have pandered their way into ruin. – Washington Post

Mark Gongloff writes: Conservatives now must find a PM candidate who can unite them and restore faith in their ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re told some bloke calling himself “Joris Bohnson” is interested. But the most sensible choice here is obvious: Give the lettuce a shot. It can’t do any worse. – Bloomberg

James Stavridis writes: It is often said that deterrence is the combination of capability and credibility, i.e., the ability to accomplish something and a demonstrated will to actually do it. “Steadfast Noon” allows the NATO alliance to demonstrate both. While the danger of an overreaction in Moscow is real, the greater danger would be allowing Russian threats, bluster and war crimes to intimidate the democratic alliance. – Bloomberg

Ben Cahill and Allegra Dawes write: Meanwhile, the cumulative damage of high gas and electricity prices will continue. Across Europe, industry is suffering, and the impact on jobs, industrial output, and economic growth will extend beyond the winter. To date, the European Union has showed an impressive degree of solidarity as Russia has ratcheted up the pressure. The question is whether the group can maintain this unified front as it tackles thornier issues related to market design. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the Nigerian state of Benue left at least 23 people dead, a local official said on Thursday, the latest deadly incident fuelled by growing pressure on land resources in Africa’s most populous country. – Reuters

At least five people were injured after security forces fired at anti-government protesters in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Thursday, an opposition coalition said. – Reuters

Chadian security forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the country’s two largest cities Thursday killing at least 60 people, the government spokesman and a morgue official said. Authorities imposed a curfew after the violence, which came amid demonstrations in the central African nation against interim leader Mahamat Idriss Deby’s two-year extension of his power. – Associated Press

Ethiopia’s army stepped up an offensive against rebel fighters in the northern Tigray region, a move that’s set to worsen a humanitarian crisis triggered by a civil war that began almost two years ago. – Bloomberg

Police fired several rounds of tear gas at demonstrators marching at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of peaceful protests against police brutality that ended in a hail of gunfire. – Reuters

Cryptocurrency financial companies in South Africa will need to apply for a licence between June 1 and Nov. 20, 2023, in order to operate legally, the country’s financial conduct regulator said on Thursday. – Reuters

The African Union has scheduled peace talks to resolve Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict for Oct. 24, the Ethiopian prime minister’s national security adviser said Thursday. The statement from Redwan Hussein came as fighting continued between Ethiopia’s federal government troops and the authorities in Tigray. – Associated Press

Tribal clashes in Sudan’s southern province of Blue Nile have killed at least 170 people over the past two days, two Sudanese officials said Thursday, the latest in inter-communal violence across the country’s neglected south. – Associated Press

Togo’s security forces on Thursday carried out a simulated jihadist attack in the capital Lome, training to counter a hostage-taking as the country faces increasing threats. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

The U.N. Security Council planned to vote Friday on a resolution that would demand an immediate end to violence and criminal activity in Haiti and impose sanctions on a powerful gang leader. – Associated Press

Bolivia’s former interior minister pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to launder bribes that a Florida-based company paid him in exchange for helping it secure a contract to provide tear gas to the Bolivian government, said the U.S. Department of Justice. – Associated Press

Venezuela’s opposition parties are discussing a plan to wind up their “interim government” and abandon Juan Guaidó’s claim to be the country’s legitimate leader — belated recognition that the US-sponsored attempt to unseat President Nicolás Maduro has failed after nearly four years. – Financial Times

Along with Iran, Syria and North Korea, Cuba is listed as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the U.S. Department of State. The designation subjects it to sanctions “that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba,” according to the State Department. – NBC


The Pentagon is set to expand its use of Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite capabilities despite a recent dispute between the two sides over the funding of satellite-based internet services for an embattled Ukraine, according to government documents. – Wall Street Journal

Twitter’s workforce is likely to be hit with massive cuts in the coming months, no matter who owns the company, interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post show, a change likely to have major impact on its ability to control harmful content and prevent data security crises. – Washington Post

The Biden administration is exploring the possibility of new export controls that would limit China’s access to some of the most powerful emerging computing technologies, according to people familiar with the situation. – Bloomberg

Global police organization Interpol unveiled the first-ever Metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide at a surprise session of the 90th Interpol General Assembly in New Delhi on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

Cybersecurity is a top national security concern facing America. At this very moment, adversaries are carrying out “store now, decrypt later,” or SNDL, attacks against the U.S., wherein they are exfiltrating and storing sensitive encrypted data critical to national security, critical infrastructure, corporate enterprises and more. The intention is to steal this sensitive data to decrypt it when quantum computers can decrypt this information. – CyberScoop

Arthur Levitt and Ram Ahluwalia writes:  A promising technology, even one that can reduce costs of existing payment and settlement systems, has to satisfy the legitimate expectations of the investing public and regulators. If both sides pass this test, the U.S. can strengthen its standing as the world’s leading capital market and global reserve currency. – Wall Street Journal


The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles and related equipment to Japan for an estimated cost of $450 million, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters

The U.S. military made an unusual disclosure Wednesday, revealing the presence of one of its submerged nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines in the Persian Gulf in a move likely to make waves across the region. – NBC

The Navy’s fleet of T-45C Goshawk training jets has been grounded since last week after one plane suffered an issue at takeoff days earlier. The halt means that pilot training has taken a serious hit as well. – Military.com

The Air Force’s next stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, will be revealed to the public in California on Dec. 2 […] The rollout will take place at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, California. The company said in September that six test bombers were in various stages of final assembly there. – Defense News

Long War

In northern Mozambique, one of the Islamic State’s newest branches is fueling a brutal insurgency that has raged out of sight in small villages and remote forests since late 2017. Women are kidnapped and kept as sex slaves, boys are forced to become child soldiers, beheadings are weapons of terror. The conflict has claimed about 4,000 lives; nearly 1 million people have fled their homes, separating countless families. – Washington Post

After she heard Gondal’s name, she realized that this quiet woman, who spoke perfect English, was the notorious jihadist propagandist credited with encouraging women to leave the West and join ISIS, via frequent, inflammatory posts on social media. – Jerusalem Post

Ido Levy writes: Strong interpersonal relationships make partners more effective by increasing their commitment to the fight, shaping interest alignment, and allowing rapid adaptability by the U.S. support forces provided. This is the formula that any force needs to fight a determined, resilient, patient, and innovative opponent like a jihadist group. Fighting jihadists from afar will simply not cut it. – Washington Institute