Fdd's overnight brief

October 27, 2022

In The News


The gathering in Saqez, in Iran’s western Kurdistan region, marked the 40th day since Amini’s death in the custody of Iran’s “morality police,” a traditional moment of remembrance in Islam. As the night wore on, demonstrators came out in other cities, as they have every day since mid-September. But with Iran’s uprising now in its sixth week, the country’s powerful security state and the protesters calling for its downfall have reached an uncertain stalemate. – Washington Post

Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned President Joe Biden on Wednesday of a mounting Iranian “challenge” as Tehran continues its brutal crackdown over widespread protests led by young Iranians and U.S. efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal flounder. – Associated Press

A prominent Sunni cleric who directed unprecedented criticism at Iran’s supreme leader over a bloody crackdown in his hometown appeared unbowed this week by warnings from security forces, pressing his demands for more rights for his minority and voicing support for other groups in country-wide unrest. – Reuters

The British government on Wednesday called on Iran to release environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American who also holds British citizenship, after his family said he had been returned to prison. – Reuters

Germany is tightening entry restrictions on Iran beyond an already announced EU sanctions package in response to the human rights situation in the country, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

One member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was shot dead “by rioters” in the western city of Malayer, according to the official IRNA news agency, on the fortieth day after the death of Mahsa Amini. – Reuters

The United States on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on members of Iran’s intelligence agency, leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, prison wardens and others, acting 40 days since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while being held by the morality police. – Associated Press

Women foreign ministers from a dozen nations led by Canada’s Melanie Joly on Wednesday jointly condemned Iran’s violent crackdown on women’s rights, as protesters in the Islamic republic marked 40 days of unrest. – Agence France-Presse

Two senior Iranian commanders who were shot dead by unknown gunmen in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Monday may have been responsible for the supply of drones to the Russian armed forces, Ukrainian media outlets claimed on Tuesday. – Algemeiner

The US still believes in dialogue with Iran, but the atmosphere in Washington toward Tehran has turned “very negative,” according to the official, who is familiar with the Americans’ thinking on the issue. The US has come to believe there is no one to talk to or trust on the Iranian side, the official said, putting Washington more in line with Jerusalem’s position. – Times of Israel

Seth J. Frantzman writes: So far on the nuclear front, Tehran appears to know that it is in a difficult position. The US and the West no longer feel they need a deal at any cost and Iran’s work with Russia on drone threats has angered the West. Iran can no longer sell the West anti-Israel talking points via its extensive network of regime lobbyists and appeasers in the West either, because now many countries are listening to Israel and are keen to learn from Israel about air defenses. – Jerusalem Post

Nicholas Carl, Zachary Coles, Johanna Moore, Amin Soltani, Brian Carter, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Moscow has extensive experience in protest crackdowns domestically and abroad. The Kremlin advised and supported the suppression of protests in Belarus in late 2020 and Kazakhstan in early 2022. Russian security personnel participated directly in both of those crackdowns, but CTP has not yet observed indications that Russians are in Iran actively helping the regime crack down at the moment. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

The head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog said he hopes to “cool off” the nuclear saber rattling between Russia and the West by dispatching inspectors to the Ukrainian nuclear sites that Moscow claims are being used to divert radioactive materials for use in a “dirty bomb.” – Washington Post

Ukraine called for more air-defense systems from the West to defend itself against Russian missile-and-drone attacks that have targeted its energy infrastructure in recent weeks, a senior Ukrainian official said Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

The shelling of Mykolaiv, a Black Sea port, is part of a larger campaign across the country targeting electrical, heating and water infrastructure with missiles and drones. The strikes accelerated this month, causing blackouts in Kyiv, the capital, and destruction in Chernihiv, in the north, and Zaporizhzhia in the south […] Some Ukrainians see the strikes, which have no bearing on the fighting on the battlefield, as irrational lashing out by Russia, intended only to terrify civilians and appease domestic critics of Mr. Putin’s floundering war.  – New York Times

The White House said on Wednesday that it sees no current prospects for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, even as President Biden faces new challenges keeping together the bipartisan, multinational coalition supporting the effort to drive out Russian invaders. – New York Times

With the city of Kherson shaping up to be the site of the next major battle in Ukraine, occupying forces there raised the pressure on residents Wednesday to abandon their homes and leave for Russia, warning that if they stayed they would be considered hostile and treated accordingly. – New York Times

The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on more than 20 Moldovan and Russian individuals and entities for assisting Russian efforts to manipulate Moldova’s political system. – New York Times

Since before the war, Russia has spread disinformation about its need to stamp out Nazism in Ukraine. But in recent days, Moscow’s propaganda has shifted, arguing that it is battling terrorism and falsely accusing Ukraine of planning a dirty bomb attack as part of that narrative. – New York Times

U.S. and Western officials are finalizing plans to impose a cap on Russian oil prices amid a warning from the World Bank that any plan will need active participation of emerging market economies to be effective. – Reuters

Delegations from Russia and Ukraine are among those meeting in Australia this week to decide the future of Antarctica’s pristine waters. – Associated Press

NATO and Russia’s military alike staged planned annual nuclear exercises Wednesday as the Russian president repeated the unfounded claim that Ukraine plans to set off a radioactive “dirty bomb.” On the battlefront, Russian forces pounded more than 40 Ukrainian villages over the past day. – Associated Press

A senior U.N. official said Wednesday he is “relatively optimistic” the deal for returning Ukrainian grain and Russian grain and fertilizer to world markets will be extended beyond mid-November, but Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Moscow needs to see movement on its own exports first. – Associated Press

The U.S. and its Western allies on the Security Council insisted Wednesday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has the right to investigate if Russia has used Iranian drones to attack civilians and power plants in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The United Nations is using before-and-after satellite imagery to monitor the cultural destruction inflicted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, announcing Wednesday it will launch its tracking platform publicly within weeks. The UN’s culture agency UNESCO said it had verified damage to 207 cultural sites in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. – Agence France-Presse

US officials have been forced to scale back a plan to impose a cap on Russian oil prices, following skepticism by investors and growing risk in financial markets brought on by crude volatility and central bank efforts to tame inflation. – Bloomberg

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to make a major appearance at the annual Valdai discussion club Thursday, a day after overseeing scheduled nuclear exercises that tested a “massive” retaliatory strike. – Bloomberg

Russia’s strategic forces carried out drills Wednesday, including a test launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine, further stoking concerns that a nuclear weapon could be deployed in the Ukraine war. – Agence France-Presse

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of the consequences his country would face for using a nuclear weapon in the Ukraine war. – Bloomberg

Brittney Griner will enter a system of isolation, grueling labor and psychological torment when she is transferred to a penal colony, the successor to the infamous Russian gulag, to fulfill a nine-year sentence handed down Tuesday in Moscow, former prisoners and advocates said.  – NBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin was dubbed a “fighter of the Antichrist” by a top religious figure as rhetoric referring to the war in Ukraine as a “de-Satanization” operation escalates. – Washington Examiner

Russia’s various nuclear threats are having the opposite effect than intended, according to Western officials who feel additional pressure to ensure that the Kremlin can’t use nuclear weapons to gain a victory that the Russian military has not achieved with conventional weapons. – Washington Examiner

The White House on Wednesday warned that deepening ties between Russia and Iran are moving beyond weapons sales toward collaboration on violently suppressing dissent, signaling that the U.S. is watching the new phase of relations between Tehran and Moscow. – The Hill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday said there would soon be “good news” for Ukraine as heavy fighting with Russia continues in the southern and eastern regions of the country. – The Hill 

Fears are rising that a major event on Ukrainian soil in the near future will be a Russian “false flag” operation as Moscow looks to regain momentum amid a successful counteroffensive from Kyiv. – The Hill

Russia is now taking its claim that Kyiv is preparing to use a dirty bomb in Ukraine as an act of provocation to some of Moscow’s closest partners in India and China, in an apparent attempt to shore up support. But the presentation has fallen flat. – The Daily Beast

Charles Lane writes: There is no moral equivalence between democratic Ukraine’s resistance to Putin and the fight by theocratic Iran against Saddam. Still, a lesson from the Iraq-Iran War is that a dictator can keep pursuing military aggression long after it is obvious he miscalculated. No one can say how long that period might be in Putin’s case, but displays of irresolution from members of Congress probably won’t help shorten it. – Washington Post

Robert B. Zoellick writes: The U.S. needs to reset the strategic chessboard. Washington can change the terms of battle by using its strongest economic weapon. By relying on international law, the U.S. would also reinforce the rules-based order that Russia wants to destroy. That would achieve justice as well as peace. – Wall Street Journal

Gulnaz Sharafutdinova writes: Awakening from this illusion will be nothing if not painful and prolonged. As of now, like their leader, many Russian citizens are invested in victory in Ukraine — whatever that is deemed to mean. Yet this fall, though it may take some time for Russians to admit it, has been similarly revelatory. It marks the point at which Mr. Putin started to slide, slowly but surely, from Russia’s national pedestal. – New York Times

Sarah Krajewski writes: Discussing the “business as usual” attitude with the friend from Kyiv, she explains her rationale for ignoring the sirens. It is part of maintaining your mental resilience, she says. Sleeping in your own bed, drinking hot tea, and maintaining a façade of normality helps preserve your mental strength. Because as the days get even shorter, darker, and colder, they are going to need every single bit of it.  – Center for European Policy Analysis

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write: Since the invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has enlisted private telecom companies and government agencies, which are not officially part of the intelligence and law enforcement community, to become part of the state’s repressive apparatus. This development was inevitable, with or without war in Ukraine. In a country set on a totalitarian path, the public administration is doomed to carry out the state’s repression. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Israeli President Isaac Herzog said he and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed Iran supplying weapons to Russia that are killing Ukrainians, during a White House meeting on Wednesday. – Reuters

Israel has started working with Ukraine on intelligence, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday. Zelensky said that the cooperation between the countries was on a positive trajectory, in a press gaggle in Kyiv. – Jerusalem Post

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Israeli businessman Ilan Shor, who is now a lawmaker in Moldova, for allegedly working with Russia to influence the elections in the former Soviet country. – Times of Israel

Herzog left the meeting with the impression that the administration is disappointed with the Iranian approach and that negotiating the return to the 2015 nuclear agreement is not on the table right now […] Shortly after the meeting, NSC spokesperson John Kirby spoke about the prospects of renewing the negotiations in Iran and said that the two sides are too far apart to have a meaningful dialogue right now. – Jerusalem Post

President Isaac Herzog spoke to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday and was pressed about the aid that Israel provides to Ukraine. – Arutz Sheva 

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV last week lauded a Palestinian Arab terrorist who was eliminated by Israel days after murdering IDF soldier Noa Lazar in an attack at the Shu’afat checkpoint. – Arutz Sheva

US officials said on Wednesday that the United States believes Russia may be advising Iran on how to conduct its crackdown against mass protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by morality police. – Arutz Sheva 

Editorial: Considering the fact that Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian backed groups targeted Israel for years – sometimes with rockets that have origins in Russian technology – should remind the world that the threats against Israel don’t stop here but grow to threaten the region and the world. The Russian war on Ukraine is an example of how the world should have taken Iran’s threats more seriously. Now Russia and Iran are working together and leveraging the nefarious deeds each country excels in. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Israel cannot afford to look weak and it cannot afford to have Iran get more customers for its drones. Israel also cannot allow Iran to improve the drones and import new technology or get new investment and technology transfer from countries like Russia, which could enable the drones to improve their range, guidance and communications and enable them to evade detection better, or even swarm targets. – Jerusalem Post


Israeli airstrikes targeted sites in the vicinity of Damascus early Thursday, marking the third such strikes in a week, Syrian state media reported. The Syrian military said that Israeli missiles were fired at posts near Damascus around 12:30 a.m. and that its air defenses had “confronted the missile aggression and downed most of them.” There were no casualties reported. – Associated Press

Syrian and Russian troops conducted joint military drills in Syria involving ground and air forces, Syrian state media reported Wednesday. Russian and Syrian troops simulated attacking enemy positions under the cover of artillery shelling and airstrikes by warplanes and helicopters, according to a video released by Syria’s Defense Ministry. Paratroopers also took part in the war games, taking over positions on overlooking hills. – Associated Press

Orwa Ajjoub writes: The remaining challenge for Turkey, however, is how to instill lasting stability in a region full of unaddressed grievances among the different SNA factions. While HTS could provide security and governance in these areas in the long term, its local legitimacy will remain questionable. So too will Ankara’s ability to sell the new reality, in which a terrorist-designated group will rule over areas under its influence, to its allies in the West. – Middle East Institute


Turkish police detained the head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Sebnem Korur Fincanci, on Wednesday for allegedly “spreading terrorist group propaganda”, the TTB and state media said. – Reuters

Turkey’s competition authority has fined Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) 346.72 million lira ($18.63 million) for breaking competition law, it said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential residence in Ankara, his office said Thursday. Gantz landed in the Turkish capital Wednesday evening for the first official trip to Turkey by an Israeli defense chief in over a decade, a sign of re-blossoming ties between the countries. – Times of Israel


Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday threw out four legal challenges to a landmark maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon, clearing a major hurdle for the deal that could mark a major breakthrough in relations between the two countries. – Associated Press

Lebanese politician Michel Moawad on Wednesday urged lawmakers to back his bid for the presidency, denouncing Hezbollah’s “stranglehold” on the crisis-hit country. – Agence France-Presse

Biden spoke at the top of the meeting about the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon. “I think it is a historic breakthrough, it took a lot of courage for you to step up and step into it,” Biden told Herzog. – Jerusalem Post 

Hanin Ghaddar writes: These are not only internal Lebanese issues. They can make or break a very fragile country, whose instability will spill over to its neighbors and affect American interests in the region. The maritime deal shows what U.S. diplomacy can do. Now is the time to do more. – War on the Rocks

Saudi Arabia

As the West looks to Saudi Arabia for higher oil production amid elevated prices, the kingdom’s officials used an international investment conference here to send a message: Do more to solve energy problems on your own. – Wall Street Journal

The American secretary of state said on Wednesday that the United States would re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s decision to support Russia by agreeing to cut oil production next month, a move that the White House has asserted helps Moscow’s war effort against Ukraine. – New York Times

Saudi Arabia’s recent moves to provide aid to Ukraine and its vote at the United Nations condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory are positive developments, but do not compensate for the “wrong” decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has established five regional investment companies in Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Iraq and Oman, the sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday, following a similar move to set up an investment subsidiary in Egypt. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

The German non-governmental organization Sea-Watch on Wednesday accused the Libyan coast guard of threatening to shoot down their monitoring plane that helps the group document the interception of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. – Associated Press

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed warned opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu against including far-right lawmakers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich in his government if the Likud leader is tasked with forming a coalition after next week’s election, a senior official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Mohamed Maher writes: Nevertheless, it remains a glimmer of hope for coming generations and poses an alternate trajectory for the future of a region that has historically suffered conflict, instability, and economic hardship. If more Arab countries in the region were to join this path, the Accords could have a lasting impact on the political, economic, and social order throughout the Middle East. – Washington Institute

Ashleigh Whelan writes:  It is fascinating to observe that these malign groups assumed they could only organize a protest, which they initially sought to suppress, when in reality, the DFC sought something far more significant and better organized than the militia-aligned political parties could likely stage. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

A 2018 military agreement between North Korea and South Korea designed to prevent inadvertent clashes along their shared border may be at risk after the South accused the North of violating the deal by firing artillery into buffer zones. – Reuters

Officials from the United States and its Asian allies Japan and South Korea suspect North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test, and vice foreign ministers from the three countries said Wednesday their joint response would be “decisive.” – Associated Press

The Israeli Embassy in South Korea launched what it is calling the first diplomatic mission in the metaverse. – Jerusalem Post

Christian Davies writes: But there is a difference. As members of a democratic society, South Koreans are free to decide which aspects of their past they wish to address or to leave undisturbed. North Koreans do not have this luxury. Their right to justice at some future date can only be preserved if South Korea’s civil society groups are free to collect evidence unhindered by their own government. – Financial Times


President Xi Jinping said China is willing to work with the United States to find ways to get along to the benefit of both, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Thursday. – Reuters

Xi Jinping emerged from the 20th Communist Party Congress with a precedent-breaking third leadership term and a Politburo Standing Committee made up entirely of loyalists, cementing his place as China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong. – Reuters

President Joe Biden, meeting his top military advisers, said on Wednesday that the United States does not seek conflict with China and that Chinese President Xi Jinping knows this. – Reuters

President Xi Jinping has put himself in position to rule China for at least another decade, and possibly for life. The question now is what he’ll do with all that power. – Bloomberg

Retired Chinese leaders were omitted from an official account of how Xi Jinping chose his new leadership team, in another indication the president is consulting with a smaller circle on major decisions. – Bloomberg

China denied accusations that it runs “illegal” overseas police stations that a human rights group says are used to track down criminal suspects, saying it is only helping nationals with issues like renewing drivers’ licenses. – Bloomberg

Mickey D. Levy writes: Nevertheless, Mr. Xi’s tightening grip and rejection of free enterprise raise the probability that China will become mired in the middle-income trap that has captured many emerging nations. Its oppressed citizens will pay the price. China’s trading partners are already feeling the effects. Looking forward, this economic environment makes China’s international maneuvering prone to risks and a potential source of global instability. – Wall Street Journal

Yuen Yuen Ang writes: China’s great capitalist revolution under Deng and his successors is now history. So is Mr. Xi’s first 10 years in office, when there was at least a minimal layer of checks on his power from moderate, non-loyalist officials. China under Mao and the former Soviet Union proved that absolute dictatorships fail miserably at making nations prosperous and strong. They bring only impoverishment and false security. Mr. Xi is likely to relearn those lessons in the coming years. – New York Times

Daniel Moss writes: Kuroda has spent much of the past decade railing against the deflation mindset that he said constrained decisions in many aspects of Japanese life. Dare China’s coming lineup contemplate a regime shift? Much depends on the answer. Here’s hoping China’s one-man mindset doesn’t triumph over sound policy or gloss over the economic consequences of inattention. – Bloomberg

Matthew Brooker writes: A minority stake in a single container terminal hardly compares with the Nord Stream pipeline as a point of potential economic vulnerability. But every little bit helps in advancing Beijing’s agenda. Scholz’s detractors are right to be wary. – Bloomberg

Walter G. Copan writes: For Western companies in high-tech industries, it was reassuring to know that two leading law enforcement agencies are focused on protecting their intellectual property. But unfortunately, as the FBI works to counter this threat, it’s up against not just China, but the U.S. government itself. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Julia Pallanch and Bonnie S. Glaser write: Public support for working diplomatically to defuse a conflict over Taiwan or joining other countries in imposing sanctions on China signals the potential for a shared trans-Atlantic approach to strengthening deterrence in the Taiwan Strait. With many politicians highlighting the need to bolster the rules-based order both in Europe and the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan is no longer seen as geographically distant and marginal to Europe’s security. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday that nuclear weapons should not be used by any side in the Ukraine war, according to an Indian government statement. – Reuters

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China at Premier Li Keqiang’s invitation on Nov. 1, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Dozens of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel have completed training to operate Baykar Tech’s Bayraktar Akinci (Flying Fish) armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This suggests that the Pakistan Air Force is on schedule to induct the UAV. – Janes

Mihir Sharma writes: So if, next year, Sunak cheerfully puts Diwali candles outside the house that once was Churchill’s, you’re not Indian if you don’t smile a little. That’s the only gatekeeping of identity I’ll allow. – Bloomberg


Myanmar has been cut off from the West and shunned by its neighbors after its military seized power last year and imposed a brutal crackdown. Even China, its closest ally, has signaled it is not thrilled about the instability. With few friends left in the world, the junta, desperate for legitimacy, is embracing deeper ties with Russia. It is a relationship of unequals where each side has something to gain. – New York Times

Southeast Asian foreign ministers began meeting in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss how to kick-start a stalled peace process in military-ruled Myanmar, where dozens have been killed in recent weeks as violence escalated. – Reuters

China has decided the status quo of Taiwan’s situation is no longer acceptable and has begun to ratchet up pressure on the self-governing island, including holding out the possibility of using force, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United States condemns the verdict against Hong Kong democracy advocate Jimmy Lai on “spurious fraud charges,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China’s introduction of trade sanctions on some Australian products in 2020 has resulted in unexpected benefits, with the latest economic statistics showing exports booming for the resource-rich country as it has been forced to shift its focus to other markets. – Financial Times

Michael Rubin writes: Australia may still be an ally, but the world does not need another Germany, willing to appease Russia for commercial or ideological gain. It is time Biden has a long talk with Albanese. The U.S.-Australia relationship and the trust born of decades of consultation are too important to lose. Albanese and Wong may believe they are simply playing domestic politics but creating precedents that empower Putin is a price they should not pay. – National interest

Vasif Huseynov writes: Amirabdollahian’s visit to Armenia coincided with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the liberated Karabakh territories of Azerbaijan, where he joined Aliyev in the inauguration ceremony of the Zangilan airport, the second international airport that Azerbaijan has opened in the liberated territories, and in ceremonies for other projects in the region bordering Iran. Azerbaijan sees its close cooperation with Turkey as a guarantee against the security threats posed by the alliance of Iran and Armenia, which the two sides hope to develop into a trilateral bloc with India. – National Interest


Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is promising to fix the mistakes of his predecessors. His allies cast his government, which convened Wednesday for the first time, as a steady hand that brings “stability” and even a “more boring” cabinet after the tumult buffeting the Conservative Party and the economy. – Washington Post

Geopolitical tensions, from Europe’s energy crisis to relations with China, are driving a wedge between Germany and France, straining ties between countries that have anchored the European Union’s economy and security for decades. – Wall Street Journal

The Dutch government said on Wednesday that it was investigating reports that Chinese law enforcement agencies illegally operate offices in the Netherlands — without Dutch knowledge or approval — to police Chinese citizens overseas. – New York Times

The Serbian parliament appointed a new government on Wednesday whose main priorities will be investment in energy infrastructure and membership in the European Union. – Reuters

The Canadian government said Wednesday that France has denied an extradition request for Johannes Rivoire, a former priest accused of crimes against children in the northern territory of Nunavut. – Associated Press

Alex Vatanka writes: So far, Iran has apparently limited its actions against Albania to cyber operations. But those Iranian actions could eventually become more kinetic, and perhaps even involve violence on Albanian soil against the MEK and its foreign backers in the West. – Middle East Institute


Burkina Faso’s interim President Ibrahim Traore has assured U.S. diplomats that he has no intention of inviting Russian Wagner forces to fight militants in the country, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan will visit China from Nov. 2-4, Chinese state television reported on Thursday. – Reuters

Witnesses tell The Associated Press that drone strikes in Ethiopia’s Oromia region killed several dozen civilians last week. The attacks in strongholds of the rebel Oromo Liberation Army came amid intensified fighting between federal forces and the outlawed group. – Associated Press

Cape Town port is ideally suited to host a $500 million superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov, a South African official said Wednesday, after the country announced its intention to let the vessel dock there despite a bid by the city’s mayor to block its entry. – Associated Press

One of South Africa’s richest suburbs may be the target of a terrorist attack this weekend, according to an alert posted on the website of the US Embassy. – Bloomberg

Bobby Ghosh writes: The time for such consideration has ended. Having sanctioned the top Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin, the Biden administration should make clear that no Ethiopian official is exempt — not even a Nobel laureate. Abiy, too, should prepare for the worst. – Bloomberg

The Americas

Colombia’s Congress on Wednesday approved a law to allow President Gustavo Petro to seek peace deals with leftist rebels and criminal groups tied to drug trafficking via negotiations and processes of surrender. – Reuters

With dashed dreams and empty hands, hundreds of Venezuelan migrants are stranded in Panama’s capital looking for a way home after surviving the crossing of the Darien Gap only to find that a United States policy change had closed the border to them. – Associated Press

The top U.S. and Canadian generals discussed Haiti’s security situation during a call on Wednesday, the U.S. military said in a statement. – Reuters

The president of Guatemala has accused the Biden administration of declining his country’s solution to end the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the chaos in his Central American country, according to a new report. – Washington Examiner 


Elon Musk looks set to meet a Friday deadline to seal his on-again, off-again deal to buy Twitter, avoiding a trial over the $44 billion contract that he admits is overpriced. After he sought to terminate the sale, Twitter filed a lawsuit to hold Musk to the agreement he inked in April to purchase the social media giant. – Agence France-Presse

Facebook-parent Meta reported Wednesday that its profit more than halved to $4.4 billion in the third quarter from $9.2 billion a year earlier, and said it plans “significant changes” to bolster efficiency in a tough economic environment. – Agence France-Presse

An disinformation campaign that aligns with Beijing’s interests alleged the US was behind the recent explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines and that the US is backing a prolific hacking group, according to a report published Wednesday by the cybersecurity firm Mandiant. – Bloomberg

One of Australia’s largest pathology providers said hackers stole medical data of thousands of patients, the country’s second such breach in two weeks, deepening fears about how companies collect sensitive customer information. – Reuters

A group of Kremlin-affiliated Russian hackers recently targeted the website of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, according to a Wednesday report. The website was brought down overnight between Sunday and Monday by a Russian group of hackers called Xaknet, briefly rendering the site unavailable for users in Israel and abroad, Channel 12 reported. – Times of Israel

A new report from cybersecurity firm Mandiant says researchers recently observed a pro-China influence campaign targeting the U.S. midterm elections. – The Record

A British national whose hacker handles include “Spdrman” and “Popopret” was arraigned on charges related to operating a dark web marketplace that sold login credentials for U.S. government networks, stolen bank account credentials, malware and other illicit materials, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. – CyberScoop


The U.S. Navy and Army blasted off a rocket from a seaside launch pad in Virginia to test nearly a dozen hypersonic weapon experiments on Wednesday to help develop the new class of weapon, the Pentagon said, calling the test successful. – Reuters

The failure of Congress to pass a full fiscal 2023 budget on time is hampering the migration of portions of the Project Maven artificial intelligence effort to the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and AI Office, a senior official said. – Defense News

Winter is coming early this year in the Arctic. Last month, a Chinese and Russian joint surface action group came within 75 nautical miles of Kiska Island, Alaska. In response, the Coast Guard mobilized a patrol to monitor the ships as they approached American home waters. A year prior, several Chinese warships had entered the U.S. exclusive economic zone off Alaska. – Defense News

Following a 38% increase in its fiscal 2023 budget request, the U.S. Space Force expects the upward funding trajectory to continue next year, according to a senior official. – Defense News

Long War

The militant group Islamic State said it carried out an attack on a Shi’ite Muslim shrine in Iran on Wednesday which killed 15 people, escalating tensions in a country reeling from a wave of protests and prompting warnings of a response from Tehran. – Reuters

Canadian police said on Wednesday they had arrested a woman on her return to Canada after 5 years in detention by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for allegedly working for the Islamic State. – Reuters

Four operatives of the “Lions Den” terrorist organization, including Mahmoud al-Bana, a top commander within the group, turned themselves over to Palestinian security forces in Nablus on Wednesday night. – Jerusalem Post