Fdd's overnight brief

October 3, 2022

In The News


Iran granted a furlough Saturday to an Iranian-American held prisoner for nearly seven years and will allow his ailing father to depart the country, according to a United Nations spokesman and a lawyer for the family. – Wall Street Journal

Protesters in Iran are finding new ways to challenge the Islamic Republic after the government imposed sweeping disruptions to the internet that have affected the movement’s ability to use social media to spread its message. – Wall Street Journal

At least 19 people were killed in Iran on Friday during antigovernment protests in a southeastern province that is home to a restive ethnic minority, as unrest spread to remote regions of the country in a new challenge to the ruling Islamic establishment. – Wall Street Journal

Iranian security forces have arrested nine people from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries for their role in the protests against the death of a young woman in police custody, the Intelligence Ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

Iranian security forces clashed with students at a prominent university in Tehran on Sunday, social and state media reported, in the latest sign of a deadly clampdown on nationwide protests that were ignited by the death in custody of a young woman. – Reuters

The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on a group of firms it says have played a critical role in shipping sanctioned Iranian oil. The State Department designated two Chinese companies, and Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control hit a network of companies based in Hong Kong, Iran, India and the United Arab Emirates. – Associated Press

An 85-year-old Iranian-American who formerly worked for the U.N. children’s agency and was detained in Iran in 2016 has been permitted to leave the country for medical treatment abroad, the United Nations said Saturday. – Associated Press

Swiss police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bern after two men climbed over the embassy’s fence and pulled down the Iranian flag from a flagpole in the yard. – Associated Press

Thousands of people marched in Paris on Sunday to show their support for Iranian protesters standing up to their leadership over the death of a young woman in police custody. Several female demonstrators chopped off chunks of their hair and tossed them into the air as a gesture of liberation. – Associated Press

Iran has made “considerable progress” in recent weeks to secure the release of billions of dollars of funds trapped by sanctions in foreign accounts, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported. – Bloomberg

​​Ukraine’s Air Force shot down five out of seven Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones that Russia has been using to attack the Mykolaiv region recently. – Jerusalem Post

Mahsa Alimardani, Kendra Albert and Afsaneh Rigot write: A successful movement or, dare we hope, revolution, is more than just tweets and technology. And the history of the Arab Spring may rightly make experts reluctant to buy into a narrative of Western technology companies as saviors. But information flows matter for safety, for accountability, for documentation and for solidarity. With lifted sanctions, companies have no more excuses. They can finally do what they’ve always said they wanted to — support the Iranian people, not the regime. – New York Times

Goli Ameri and Jay Wang write: The above strategies can all be employed without feeding baseless conspiracy theories, bolstered by the government in Iran about foreign puppeteers. It is high time for public diplomacy to take its rightful place in all global diplomatic efforts. This is the time for its unequivocal integration in Iran-related foreign policy. – The Hill

Mehdi Khalaji writes: Alternatively, the IRGC may be counting on the currently leaderless and unorganized protest movement to fade away through a combination of internal exhaustion and intense regime intimidation. Yet if the movement expands drastically and shows signs of becoming more well-organized, then the IRGC may decide that waiting it out is not an option, and that unlimited violence is required to end the protests definitively. – Washington Institute

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: President Ebrahim Raisi has played a minor role thus far in communicating to the protesters or the Iranian population.  His low profile is remarkable given his legal responsibilities for maintaining public order in Iran.  He may seek to avoid becoming the face of the crackdown to preserve his chances to be accepted as the next supreme leader, but it is hard to see his relative silence as anything other than weakness. – Institute for the Study of War

Benny Avni writes: Indeed, even as the administration yesterday announced the tightening of sanctions against Chinese and other global violators of the American embargo on Iranian oil exports, renewing the JCPOA remains its top goal. Washington failed to forcefully respond to an Iranian attack on Iraqi Kurdistan Wednesday. Fourteen people, including an American citizen, Omar Mamoudzadeh, were killed. Diplomacy with Tehran — and the prospect of showering its leaders with cash under a renewal of the JCPOA — confers legitimacy on a regime that, for the sake of America, the Mideast, and the Iranian people, needs to be gone – New York Sun

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the full recovery of a strategic town in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as a public brawl intensified in Russia over responsibility for the latest setback to the Kremlin’s goal of conquering wide swaths of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

The prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine in late September was approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin over the objections of his top security service, the FSB, which had concerns about a public backlash in Russia, according to senior Ukrainian and U.S. officials familiar with the matter. – Washington Post 

The day after Russian President Vladimir Putin proudly proclaimed the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, thousands of his troops withdrew from a strategic town there under Ukrainian fire. – Washington Post 

In an angry, conspiratorial address Friday, amid grand fanfare, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the Kremlin’s justification for Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian territories, presenting an anti-Western worldview that accused “Anglo-Saxons” of neocolonialism and sabotage. – Washington Post 

Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday, in an apparent answer to Russia’s move to illegally annex four of the country’s partially occupied regions. – Washington Post 

When there’s a Russian corpse that needs collecting, Capt. Anton gets the call. Sometimes, he’ll receive a text with coordinates of where the body is located. Other times, people offer to lead him to the site. – Washington Post 

For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, top Russian officials are making explicit nuclear threats and officials in Washington are gaming out scenarios should President Vladimir V. Putin decide to use a tactical nuclear weapon to make up for the failings of Russian troops in Ukraine. – New York Times

A large blaze broke out at a Russian military airfield on the occupied Crimean Peninsula after a landing plane skidded off the runway and caught fire, a Russian official and state media reported on Saturday. – New York Times

Russia failed to win enough votes for re-election to the United Nation’s aviation agency’s governing council on Saturday, in a rebuke of Moscow for aviation-related actions taken after its invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

The Russian Consulate in New York City was vandalized overnight with red spray paint, New York Police Department officials confirmed Friday. – Washington Examiner

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Ukraine’s request for rapid ascension into NATO should occur at a later date. – Washington Examiner

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she is in favor of Ukraine having a “security guarantee” but feels the country should win its war with Russia first. – Washington Examiner

The Biden administration unleashed a new wave of sanctions against top Russian officials Friday and warned that it would target international suppliers that aid Moscow’s war effort. – Washington Examiner

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the twin Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, charges that are likely to escalate tensions further with Russia as the European Union continues its investigations into the blasts. – Washington Examiner

The presidents of nine NATO countries in central and eastern Europe declared on Sunday that they would never recognize the annexation by Russia of several Ukrainian regions. Hungary and Bulgaria were conspicuously absent from the signatories. – Politico

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday condemned Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions, warning there is no one to stop the Russian president from following through on his recent threats of using nuclear weapons. – The Hill

Former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petraeus said the war in Ukraine “looks very dire indeed for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin” in that Ukraine has outmaneuvered Russia throughout the conflict. – The Hill

Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions, announced by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, will not affect Kyiv’s resolve to free them with military force, said an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. – Politico

The military commissar of Russia’s Khabarovsk region was removed from his post after half of the newly mobilized personnel were sent home as they did not meet the draft criteria, the region’s governor said early on Monday. – Reuters

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization on September 21 to bolster flagging Russian forces invading neighboring Ukraine, protests erupted in towns and cities around the country. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The director of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian military patrol, Enerhoatom, the state firm that runs the plant, has said. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has monitors at the plant, told Reuters it had contacted the Russian side and was “requesting clarification.” – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The House on Friday passed 230-201 an additional $12.35 billion Ukraine aid package, including money to help Kyiv respond to a potential nuclear security incident, as part of its stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown. – Defense News

Editorial: Also on the agenda should be diplomatic outreach to — or pressure on — India, China and Turkey, all of which seem increasingly weary of Mr. Putin’s war and might help persuade him to abandon it. Mr. Putin’s latest escalations, dangerous as they are, show that he senses the endgame approaching — and fears losing it. – Washington Post 

Editorial: Western countries should make all efforts to send a message to Russia’s people, as more of them question the war, that the sanctions target the Kremlin, not them. But Ukraine and the west cannot accept the terms Putin is now trying to impose — even if further turning the tables and regaining ground will be a longer and more onerous task than Kyiv’s recent advances had briefly allowed them to hope. – Financial Times

Iuliia Mendel writes: Now Putin declares his willingness to discuss peace even as he declares mobilization, annexes Ukrainian territory and threatens the use of nuclear weapons against those who would resist his seizure of Ukrainian land. And Ukrainians are still prepared to negotiate. If the Kremlin wants talks, it should start by withdrawing its troops. Nothing is preventing it from doing that. – Washington Post 

David Von Drehle writes: Vast in resources, deep in culture, Russia is perpetually poor when it comes to government. Nothing better than Putin appears to be waiting in the wings. So I reluctantly support a negotiated settlement, with lines limited to the pre-February status quo, if we can get that deal, to give time for the next step to emerge. It is the safest way out: for Ukrainians, for Russians and for the rest of us. – Washington Post 

Alexei Navalny writes: Therefore, while I commend European leaders for their ongoing success in supporting Ukraine, I urge them not to lose sight of the fundamental causes of war. The threat to peace and stability in Europe is aggressive imperial authoritarianism, endlessly inflicted by Russia upon itself. Postwar Russia, like post-Putin Russia, will be doomed to become belligerent and Putinist again. This is inevitable as long as the current form of the country’s development is maintained. Only a parliamentary republic can prevent this. It is the first step toward transforming Russia into a good neighbor that helps to solve problems rather than create them. – Washington Post 

Carl Schramm writes: If the U.S. commits to helping Mr. Zelensky rebuild his war-torn country, it must not repeat the mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan. Expeditionary economics offers a guide to helping Ukraine emerge better off from a terrible destruction. – Wall Street Journal

Jakub Grygiel writes: The alternatives to arming Ukraine are grim: Either the U.S. risks a nuclear war with Russia or Moscow’s nuclear intimidation succeeds, motivating brinkmanship and even nuclear proliferation in front-line states threatened by their nuclear neighbors. – Wall Street Journal

Alexander Baunov writes: This conflict is increasingly presented as existential for Russia. Mr. Putin and many Russian commentators want to convince the outside world that they are serious. […]This is Mr. Putin’s message, and the mood in the Russian elite is noticeably gloomy and fatalistic. There is, however, one significant difference between the Russian invasion of Ukraine and threats to resort to nuclear weapons. Before the invasion, Russia fiercely denied having any intention of invading. Now it’s doing the opposite. – New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman writes: I celebrate none of this. This is a time for Western leaders to be both tough and smart. They need to know when to swerve and when to make the other guy swerve, and when to leave some dignity out there for the other driver, even if he is behaving with utter disregard for anyone else. It may be that Putin has left us no choice but to learn to live with a Russian North Korea — at least as long as he is in charge. If that is the case, we’ll just have to make the best of it, but the best of it will be a much more unstable world. – New York Times

Daniel DePetris writes: President Vladimir Putin’s weaponization of energy is a risky game for Russia, which is now compelled to rely on markets in Asia to offset Gazprom’s revenue loss in Europe. But for now, at least, Putin is getting a little comic relief as he watches European governments throw money at the problem he has made. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: This may be a significant moment in Russia’s strategy toward the U.S. and the West more broadly. Putin appears to have decided that he has no other option but to escalate. Considering Zelensky senses his own victory, the next few weeks could be very interesting. – Washington Examiner

Stephen Young writes: Seventy-seven years ago, just two nuclear bombs ended World War II. Yet today nuclear-armed countries have more than 12,000 weapons, most of them far more destructive that the ones dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s now clear the risk of continued reliance on nuclear weapons for security is even more dangerous than anyone imagined. It is time to move beyond nuclear deterrence. That is the best hope for the future of humanity. – Politico

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Putin’s decision to move to phase three is important because of this global shift. He has thought about it and gambled. Moscow continues to hint at the use of nuclear weapons. If that happens, it would be phase four of the war, representing Russia’s decision to abandon all of the world’s norms since the Second World War. Such a scenario would be a gamble: that the global South and China would still not side with the West when presented with nuclear threats. – Jerusalem Post

Dave Anderson writes: So laugh today at the absurdity of the US and the UK, and the West in general, finally giving Russia the gratitude it deserves for defeating the Nazis – and using 21st-century information technology to broadcast this message. Then watch Russia wreak havoc with nuclear weapons on the global system. […]Moreover, we launch an era of peace and cooperation among Russia, Ukraine, the US, and our NATO allies which involve a resolution to the Russia/Ukraine war that asks Ukraine to give up a minimal amount of territory. – Jerusalem Post

Avigdor Haselkorn writes:  If Russia’s expansionism was actually motivated by Putin’s concern over an evolving NATO threat, he must be terrified in the wake of the Ukraine war. Beijing can be expected to assume a more assertive foreign policy posture and redouble its efforts to contain and eventually expel America’s presence and influence from the Asia-Pacific region.[…]Still an Upper Volta armed with nuclear tipped missiles is a pretty scary proposition if its leader is obsessed with imperial ambitions or is simply seeking revenge. – Ynet

William Moloney writes: In light of continuing economic deterioration as Europe faces a grim winter and volatility on the battlefields of Ukraine, public protestations of NATO unity must be viewed as an increasingly uncertain trumpet. – The Hill

Kateryna Stepanenko and Frederick W. Kagan write: The Russian defeat in Kharkiv Oblast and Lyman, combined with the Kremlin’s failure to conduct partial mobilization effectively and fairly are fundamentally changing the Russian information space. Kremlin-sponsored media and Russian milbloggers – a prominent Telegram community composed of Russian war correspondents, former proxy officials, and nationalists – are grieving the loss of Lyman while simultaneously criticizing the bureaucratic failures of the partial mobilization. – Institute for the Study of War

Michael Rubin writes: The Kremlin and its like-minded friends may respond with bluster about Alaska, California, or Texas, but there is no equivalent threat of such separatism in America, nor are U.S. states equivalent to centuries-old entities forcibly subjugated in the last century. It is time to play hardball. – 19FortyFive

David T. Pyne writes: While Ukraine stands the most to gain from an armistice agreement, every nation involved in the conflict could legitimately claim victory. Western leaders and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy could assert that they expelled Russian forces from four Ukrainian oblasts. Putin could claim “mission accomplished” for Russia’s special military operation. Ending the war as quickly as possible will save the lives of tens of thousands of Ukrainians and prevent the country from being overrun by Russian forces. – The National Interest


Chilean President Gabriel Boric received the credentials of Israel’s new ambassador on Friday afternoon, two weeks after a diplomatic dispute after the ceremony was postponed due to the death of a young Palestinian. – Reuters

An Israeli intelligence firm has detected an “irregular presence” of nuclear-capable Russian strategic bombers near Finland. – Washington Examiner

Israel does not plan to boycott Italy’s likely prime minister Giorgia Meloni or her far-right Brothers of Italy party, which has fascist roots. The Foreign Ministry congratulated Italy on its election on Monday, without mentioning Brothers of Italy or Meloni, who won last week’s election. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel will have an ambassador to Turkey for the first time since 2018, after the cabinet on Sunday authorized Irit Lilian to fill the position. The move comes as Israel and Turkey have been moving toward full normalization. – Jerusalem Post 

IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Border Police forces operated in several locations in the West Bank throughout Sunday night, including the villages of Sa’ir and Shuyukh, arresting a total of 16 suspects. – Jerusalem Post

Yoel Guzansky writes: Israel must examine whether the drop in support for the Abraham Accords in the Arab world could have wider ramifications which would make the Accords irrelevant. Maybe, utilizing alternative solutions is not a bad idea. The bottom line is the Arab Peace Initiative is still relevant. Israel can’t agree to its terms as they are now, but the Saudis have made it clear that the initiative is only the first draft to open the door for negotiations. – Ynet

Gil Murciano writes: The challenge facing Israel in rethinking and adapting its Iran policy to the new reality is one of the most complexes it has ever faced. The nation that demonstrated creativity in penetrating dozens of meters below ground into the centrifuge facilities at Natanz will now be required to demonstrate similar creativity in the political and conceptual spheres. The starting point is to admit to ourselves that the existing conception, the Begin Doctrine, is no longer relevant. – Jerusalem Post


The new government was quick with assurances that this time would be different, that the Taliban of the 2020s was not the Taliban of the 1990s, and that there would be no brutal campaign of repression against the women of Afghanistan. Maybe they were telling the truth, Nilaab thought. She hoped so. She had returned to her homeland as a teenager after a decade in exile, and she was not eager to repeat the experience. – New York Times

A group of Afghan women Saturday protested a suicide bombing that killed or wounded dozens of students in a Shiite education center in the capital Kabul a day earlier, demanding better security from the Taliban-run government. – Associated Press

Beth Bailey writes: It remains impossible to gain accurate information from the Taliban’s mendacious leaders and media apparatus. But despite these difficulties, the international community must respond to rising evidence of the Taliban’s ethnic genocide. – Washington Examiner

Michael Rubin writes: The Biden administration as well as the many Republicans who support U.S. retrenchment might believe Afghanistan and Central Asia are not U.S. concerns but as the Islamic State demonstrated in 2014, forces of altruism seldom fill vacuums. It would be a mistake to confuse absence of press attention in Afghanistan with quiet. All indications are that the period of calm before the storm is fast ending. – 19FortyFive

Stefano Pontecorvo writes: Was it supposed to end like this? Not necessarily. The epilogue of the Afghan intervention constitutes the final stage of a series of other Western misadventures that ended in almost the same way, starting from Vietnam onward, in which the common threads are always the same. – Foreign Policy


Sweden’s Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) said on Friday reversed a ban against exporting military equipment to Turkey, following the Nordic country’s decision to join the NATO military alliance and agreement to overcome Turkish objections. – Reuters

Greece wants to have a constructive dialogue with Turkey based on international law but its Aegean neighbour must halt its unprecedented escalation of provocations, the Greek foreign minister said on Sunday. – Reuters

Turkey’s interior minister on Saturday described a gun attack that killed a police officer in the country’s south as an “America-based” operation. Two suspected Kurdish militants opened fire on security force lodgings in the Mediterranean province of Mersin late Monday, killing one officer and wounding a second officer and a civilian. – Associated Press

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it rejects Russia’s annexation of four regions in Ukraine, adding the decision is a “grave violation” of international law. – Reuters

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday met in Istanbul with the Turkish president’s chief adviser to discuss ongoing efforts to add Finland and Sweden to NATO, according to a White House statement. – The Hill

Batu Coskun and Gokhan Cinkara write: Given the situation, Erdoğan will now make a final play with Assad, hoping that the return of migrants will make meaningful impacts in the polls if an accord can be made before summer. Regardless of whether Erdoğan’s strategy will work to ensure him another electoral victory, the politicization of foreign policy makes for a risky game of myriad uncertainties. – Washington Institute

Michael Rubin writes: The simple fact is that any new or enhanced TurkStream is as bad an idea as Nord Stream. It encourages both Turkey and Azerbaijan, regimes not content to live within their borders, and makes European democracies prone to hostile regimes’ blackmail. The first consideration for the Mediterranean’s new energy projects should be that they do no harm to the United States and its allies. Biden should give trans-Turkish energy corridors the same treatment he ultimately gave Nord Stream 2, and for the same reasons. – The National Interest


Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades on Saturday to disperse stone-throwing protesters in clashes that wounded scores off Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where hundreds marked the anniversary of anti-government unrest in 2019. – Reuters

Turkish warplanes “neutralized” 23 Kurdish militants in a raid 140 kilometers (90 miles) inside Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday. The ministry usually refers to killed militants as “neutralized.” It said the number of casualties in the mission in the Asos region of northern Iraq, which is controlled by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, was expected to rise. – Associated Press

Iran has threatened retaliation against the United States if it targets drones that Tehran has been using to attack Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. Since September 23, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been using drones in deadly attacks targeting the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, Irbil, and the eastern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


Lebanon’s parliament speaker said a draft, U.S.-brokered deal demarcating a disputed maritime border with Israel was “positive” but must be studied before a final reply is given, according to comments distributed by his office. – Reuters

Israel’s prime minister on Sunday welcomed a U.S. proposal for setting the maritime border with Lebanon, saying the American plan for resolving a long-running dispute between the neighboring countries would lift Israel’s economy and boost regional security. – Associated Press

When the bulk cargo ship Laodicea docked in Lebanon last summer, Ukrainian diplomats said the vessel was carrying grain stolen by Russia and urged Lebanese officials to impound the ship. Moscow called the allegation “false and baseless,” and Lebanon’s prosecutor general sided with the Kremlin and declared that the 10,000 tons of barley and wheat flour wasn’t stolen and allowed the ship to unload. – Associated Press

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech on Saturday in which he responded to the Lebanese government negotiating a maritime demarcation line with Israel. – Jerusalem Post

The impending agreement on Israel’s maritime border with Lebanon is a victory for Israel’s security, a senior Israeli official argued Sunday evening. – Times of Israel

Riad Kahwaji writes: Right now, the border situation is trending in the direction of a compromise. But the threats by Nasrallah have prompted some to wonder whether Israel’s long-standing deterrence strategy, based on the idea of “campaigns between wars” or “war between wars,” remains viable against a bold adversary armed with tens of thousands of artillery rockets and possibly some ballistic missiles and surface-to-surface missiles and many drones. – Breaking Defense


The U.N. chief is strongly urging Yemen’s warring parties to not only renew but expand a truce that expires Sunday, saying it has brought the longest period of relative calm since the conflict began in 2014. – Associated Press

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Saturday with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud to discuss the imminent expiration of the U.N.-mediated truce in Yemen on Sunday, the State Department said. – Reuters

Yemen could return to civil war due to the inability of various sides of the conflict to renew a truce, the UN had backed a truce since April as it was supposed to be renewed. – Jerusalem Post

Gulf States

Kuwait’s crown prince accepted the government’s resignation on Sunday following a parliamentary election in the Gulf Arab country in which opposition candidates made considerable gains, state news agency KUNA reported. – Reuters

Kuwait has again called on the global community to step up the pressure on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). – Algemeiner

Salem Alketbi writes: A military confrontation of any kind between Iran and Israel, whether limited or large-scale, would have negative consequences for our region’s security and stability. That is one thing no one wants. Nevertheless, it is unavoidable to consider different scenarios. Mutual misjudgments and miscalculations can lead to such a scenario. What is certain is that both the GCC and Israel share a common view of the Iranian nuclear threat. But this shared sense does not mean that these countries support any plan by Israel to launch a military strike against Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Six members of Israel’s triathlon team were supposed to take part in the Asian Cup competition in Jordan this weekend, but were denied entry to the country, i24NEWS reported on Friday. – Arutz Sheva

The US embassy in Israel has ordered armoured vehicles from Jordan Light Vehicle Manufacturing (JLVM) on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, according to a notice published on the US System of Award Management website on 21 September. – Janes

Saud Al-Sharafat writes: It is also necessary to increase cooperation and coordination between Jordan and the United States on the issue of border protection. Jordan should encourage the Biden administration to put pressure on Iran regarding Iranian-backed militias’ continued cross-border targeting of Jordan to allow forces there to refocus on smuggling. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has unleashed a dizzying number of missile tests this year, largely in an effort to hone its weapons capability. But the latest spree of launches appeared to be aimed more directly at getting Washington’s attention, security experts said. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. military is aware of two North Korean ballistic missile launches and has assessed that the incidents do not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or to its allies, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said on Friday. – Reuters

Britain urged North Korea to return to dialogue with the United States on Friday, expressing concerns over the Asian country’s latest launch of ballistic missile tests. – Reuters

The United States and South Korea agreed on Saturday to implement liquidity facilities to stabilise financial markets if needed, Korea’s finance ministry said after a teleconference between finance chiefs of the two countries. – Reuters

South Korean activists say they clashed with police while launching balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda materials across the North Korean border, ignoring their government’s plea to stop such activities since the North has threatened to respond with “deadly” retaliation. – Associated Press

Eunjung Irene Oh writes: In sum, focusing on the denial strategy alone, as South Korea has done, is ineffective in halting North Korea’s cyber aggression, while U.S. cyber strategy lacks a clear and credible signaling mechanism for how it will act collectively with allies and partners in response to cyber operations. To address this gap, the alliance should develop a joint cyber deterrence strategy—including appropriate punishment measures—which clearly states the threshold of activities it seeks to deter and its proportional responses. At the same time, the two countries should continue to strengthen their cyber resilience in partnership with other global and regional partners. – The National Interest


Western countries are leading a rare two-pronged push at the U.N.’s main human rights body to better scrutinize the human rights records of two big world powers: China, over allegations of abuses during an anti-extremism campaign in western Xinjiang, and Russia, over its government’s crackdown on dissent and protest against the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

President Xi Jinping hailed the development of China’s first medium-haul passenger jet as the embodiment of the country’s drive towards self-sufficiency, with safety approval awarded to a plane that aims to challenge Western plane giants for high-tech jetliner sales. – Reuters

Russia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, with Russia’s strategic partner China abstaining from the vote. – Reuters

Japan needs to do more than make an “empty promise” to stop human rights abuses in China, the leader of the largest ethnic Uyghur group in exile said in Tokyo on Friday. – Reuters

A bipartisan group of 15 senators is seeking to create a commission tasked with formulating a “grand strategy” on China that avoids conflict with the world’s most populous nation while allowing the U.S. to pursue its interests. – Defense News

Michael Roberts writes: Countering China’s maritime dominance will take time, money and commitment. But if we fail to diversify American import sources and re-establish some control over the global maritime supply chain, the United States may find itself in a confrontation with China, and with one arm tied behind its back. – New York Times

Charles Parton writes: “The party leads everything”, as Xi says. It claims credit for all good things. The corollary is that it cannot avoid blame when things go wrong. Protests and riots would be aimed at the CCP. These are not uncommon, but hitherto the party has been able to corral them at the local level. Economic collapse would bring suffering on an unprecedented scale. The likelihood is that protests would coalesce, crossing county, city and even provincial borders. This would present the CCP with challenges of a different order. The party has been here before, in 1989. That look into the abyss was scarring. Xi knows all this — but there is no harm in reminding him. – Financial Times

Brent D. Sadler writes: The United States needs a larger commercial fleet to remain globally competitive. The nation also needs more shipbuilding and ship repair facilities to ensure access to foreign markets and support the nation and the Navy in times of war. As empty shelves attest, what we have now is woefully inadequate. – The National Interest

Sheena Chestnut Greitens writes: Whether or not China resorts to military might to achieve these goals, the approach outlined under the GSI thus far should give the United States pause. The fact that the initiative is founded on the comprehensive national security concept and seeks to project that concept’s focus on regime security abroad should be a warning. The CCP aims to revise global and regional security governance to more closely align with its regime security interests and to use Chinese foreign policy as a tool to secure its hold on power at home. The United States should not underestimate the risks of this new Chinese approach to foreign policy. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

Pakistan government ordered an inquiry against former prime minister Imran Khan for allegedly politicizing a conversation between a US official and Islamabad’s envoy in Washington for his personal political gain, damaging relations between the two countries. – Bloomberg

Under a 100-trillion-rupee ($1.2 trillion) mega project called PM Gati Shakti — Hindi for strength of speed — Modi’s administration is creating a digital platform that combines 16 ministries. The portal will offer investors and companies a one-stop solution for design of projects, seamless approvals and easier estimation of costs. – Bloomberg

India’s air force (IAF) said on Monday it had scrambled fighter jets after receiving information of a bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration transiting through Indian airspace. – Reuters

Washington on Friday rolled over an agreement to suspend service payments on $132 million of Pakistan’s debt, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad said, after devastating floods exacerbated the South Asian nation’s economic crisis. – Reuters


Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, will remain in office after the country’s constitutional court ruled that he hadn’t exceeded his term limit, a victory for the leader ahead of elections next year. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday he sees no imminent invasion of Taiwan by China but said China was trying to establish a “new normal” with its military activities around the island. – Reuters

Australia on Sunday imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on 28 Russian-appointed separatists, ministers and senior officials after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four regions of Ukraine. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. – Associated Press

More than 2,500 U.S. and Philippine marines joined combat exercises Monday to be able to respond to any sudden crisis in a region long on tenterhooks over South China Sea territorial disputes and increasing tensions over Taiwan. – Associated Press

David Ignatius writes: Whether the expanding U.S.-Armenian relationship will extend to military cooperation remains unclear. Armenia’s defense minister visited the Pentagon in September. Armenia needs better training and equipment for its military, which was badly outmatched in the last war with Azerbaijan. But there’s no visible sign of U.S. military assistance.. – Washington Post

Nurlan Mustafayev writes: The UN minority rights framework provides another platform for the protection of national minorities, which provides extensive minority rights, reporting, and compliance mechanisms. The ethnic Armenian minority in Karabakh will be able to use such extensive minority rights granted by international law and Azerbaijan’s commitments. There is no reasonable basis to claim that Azerbaijan will not be able to fulfill its minority protection obligations under international law with regard to its ethnic Armenian citizens. The international community should give it a try. – The National Interest


Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC said it suspended its natural-gas deliveries to Italy over the weekend after it didn’t receive authorization for the pipeline flows via Austria. – Wall Street Journal

European Union energy ministers agreed Friday on several emergency measures to tackle soaring prices, including a windfall levy on some energy producers and mandatory demand-reduction targets, but they remained split on calls to cap the price of natural gas. – Washington Post 

Leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines have finally stopped after three separate ruptures were discovered in the natural gas lines last week, the Danish Energy Agency said on Sunday. – New York Times

Greece and Bulgaria started commercial operation of a long-delayed gas pipeline on Saturday which will help decrease southeast Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and boost energy security. – Reuters

The prospects for the Northern Ireland protocol seem to be improving as the United Kingdom tries to renegotiate part of the Brexit deal with the European Union and re-establish the province’s devolved assembly, a British minister said on Sunday. – Reuters

Dozens of protesters marched on October 1 in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, in support of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed agreements to formally seize four Ukrainian territories partially occupied by Moscow. The protest was organized by a Belgrade-based group called Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Serbs Together Against War. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

At rallies for Bulgaria’s Revival party, there is no shortage of Russian flags. The leader of the ultranationalist party, Kostadin Kostadinov, who is in favor of leaving the EU and NATO, calls the other parties contesting Bulgaria’s elections “projects of the American embassy” that will “throw us into a war against Russia.” Kostadinov doesn’t blame Putin for the war in Ukraine, but the West – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Swiss police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bern after two men climbed over the embassy’s fence and pulled down the Iranian flag from a flagpole in the yard. – Associated Press

Rossitsa Kirova writes: A failure to cooperate will carry a high cost not only for Bulgaria but also for the EU and the NATO alliance. What we need from the U.S. is a clear sign that it staunchly supports all the pro-trans-Atlantic parties that will ensure Bulgaria’s firm anchoring in the West. This will ensure that Bulgaria continues to move forward, not to fall back into Moscow’s orbit and not to backslide on the reform work it has already undertaken. – Washington Examiner

Kyriakos Mitsotakis writes: A cap on prices carries risks, of course. But as we move into winter, the dangers of inertia compound. We cannot afford to sit back and watch as Russia uses our market institutions against us. It is an act of common sense, and of sovereignty, to step in and design rules that respond to the unprecedented challenge we face. Imposing a cap on natural gas prices is an inevitable step in that process. – Bloomberg

Giselle Donnelly writes: Thus, while there has been constant complaint about Germany’s timidity since February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has remained remarkably restrained in his public comments. Perhaps he’s counting on Germany’s ingrained guilt to prod it to step forward during the long and expensive project of postwar reconstruction that Kyiv’s victory would bring. Indeed, there is much to do across the eastern front to realign its flows of energy and commerce while protecting against further Russian revanche. It would be a truly new kind of Ostpolitik, reaching not over the heads of the endangered democracies of Eastern Europe but to clasp their hands and pull them finally into the West. – The Bulwark

Thibault Muzergues and Kenneth M. Pollack write: This, however, requires clear-eyed policy, well-defined political parameters, and constant attention, as the United States’ allies in the Mediterranean do not always share the same interests in any given territory, either with one another or with the NATO states. Thus, despite its likely northward tilt toward Russia, Scandinavia, and the Arctic, NATO cannot ignore or forget the challenges in the Mediterranean. At the very least, NATO must ensure that even if the Mediterranean is never a Western lake, it cannot become hostile waters. – Foreign Affairs


First there were reports of gunfire near the presidential palace. Then state television service was briefly cut. By nightfall, a military officer in camouflage was reading an announcement: For the sake of Burkina Faso’s national security, he said, officers had seized power. – Washington Post 

A Pakistani soldier serving as a U.N. peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo was killed in a militant attack in the country’s volatile east, the military said. A group of six militants reached the United Nations’ permanent operation base in the district of Minembwe, ostensibly to surrender their weapons as part of a U.N. initiative. But the group’s leader started firing indiscriminately, Pakistan’s military said in a statement late Saturday. – Associated Press

Angry protesters attacked the French Embassy in Burkina Faso’s capital Saturday after supporters of the West African nation’s new coup leader accused France of harboring the ousted interim president, a charge French authorities vehemently denied. – Associated Press

Chad has adopted resolutions that push back democratic elections by two years and allow interim leader Mahamat Idriss Deby to stay in power and be eligible to run for president in the eventual vote. – Reuters

A fifth vessel chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), NEW ISLAND, has arrived at Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Chornomorsk and will deliver Ukrainian wheat to Somalia, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Sunday. – Reuters

France’s army has had no involvement in recent events in Burkina Faso, the French embassy in Ouagadougou said on Saturday, a day after President Paul-Henri Damiba was declared ousted in a coup. – Reuters

Equatorial Guinea has started proceedings against France at the International Court of Justice, said the Dutch-based court body on Friday, adding it related to charges that France had not followed up its obligations over fighting corruption. – Reuters

The Economic Community of West African States on Friday condemned the seizure of power by a group of soldiers in Burkina Faso. – Reuters

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, which was the target of deadly protests during the summer, said the United Nations is “ready and willing” to work closely with the government to step up the pace of withdrawal of the U.N. force that has over 14,000 troops and police. – Associated Press

An airstrike in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region killed at least five civilians during a major religious holiday earlier this week as the revived war continues, according to humanitarian workers and an internal document seen by The Associated Press. – Associated Press

King Charles III will welcome South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. for three days of high-level talks next month, celebrating the first state visit of his reign with the leader of a Commonwealth member with close ties to the royal family. – Associated Press

Burkina Faso’s ousted coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba left the country for Togo Sunday two days after he himself was overthrown in a coup, while the new junta urged citizens not to loot or vandalize. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: Releasing his American tax returns to the Liberian press should be a bare minimum for Weah to demonstrate that he has nothing to hide and to recommit himself and Liberia to rule-of-law. He should not resist; it is not only the natural outcome of his New York gaffe, but it is also the right thing to do. – 19FortyFive

Latin America

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took the most votes in Sunday’s first round of Brazil’s presidential elections, but President Jair Bolsonaro’s better-than-expected performance means the two will face each other again in a runoff vote at the end of the month. – Wall Street Journal

A delegation from Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) traveled to Venezuela for what the leftist rebel group said could be a new phase in peace talks with the Colombian government that will also involve other ELN representatives. – Reuters

Venezuelan authorities said they had recovered eight bodies on Friday after days of intense rains swelled rivers and unleashed flash floods, leaving at least three others missing. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Latin America on Monday to reassert Washington’s commitment to the region and meet with three new leftist leaders, amid concerns that neglect of the hemisphere has let China make economic inroads. – Reuters

European Union Ambassador Bettina Muscheidt left Nicaragua on Saturday, just three days after being declared “persona non grata” by the government of President Daniel Ortega, in a week of tensions with the international community. – Reuters

Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with the Netherlands on Friday, according to a statement published by the Central American country’s foreign ministry. – Reuters

The U.S. Treasury Department has granted licenses allowing transactions with two Venezuelan baseball teams, the local Baseball League and two sources said on Friday. – Reuters

Crews restored power to more neighborhoods across Havana on Saturday after a second day of protests over ongoing blackouts in Cuba’s capital, including some of the largest demonstrations since widespread anti-government rallies in July 2021. – Reuters

A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed Mexico’s $10 billion lawsuit seeking to hold U.S. gun manufacturers responsible for facilitating the trafficking of a deadly flood of weapons across the U.S.-Mexico border to drug cartels. – Reuters

Venezuela released seven imprisoned Americans in exchange for the release of two relatives of President Nicolas Maduro who have been jailed in the United States for years on drug charges. – Washington Examiner

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Brazilians fed up with the burdens of a top-heavy state are delighted with the Bolsonaro government’s regulatory reforms. They want more. Lula may not easily reverse those reforms, but there’s little confidence that he would use his political capital to go further. Add to this Mr. Bolsonaro’s cultural conservatism in a country where many feel oppressed by woke politics. The chattering classes have not caught up with the part of Brazil that wants to compete in the world. But Mr. Bolsonaro’s government has tapped into it. – Wall Street Journal

Thomas Shannon and Javier Solana write: Brazil has so much to offer to its people and to the world. At this inflection point we call upon the international community to show solidarity with the Brazilian people as they exercise their democratic rights. – The Hill


More than a dozen senior Indonesian government and military officials were targeted last year with spy software designed by an Israeli surveillance firm, according to nine people with knowledge of the matter. – Reuters

Suspected Chinese hackers tampered with widely used software distributed by a small Canadian customer service company, another example of a “supply chain compromise” made infamous by the hack on U.S. networking company SolarWinds. – Reuters

The Australian government on Sunday levelled its harshest criticism yet against Optus, the second-biggest telecoms company, for a cybersecurity breach that affected the equivalent of 40% of the country’s population. – Reuters

Phones of at least three human rights investigators in Mexico were infected with Pegasus during the term of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador despite his goverment’s assertions that it would stop using the controversial spyware, a report on Sunday found. – Reuters

The Mexican government said on Friday it had suffered a major cyber hack of data held by the armed forces, including details about President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s heart condition that led to his hospitalization in January. – Reuters

Within hours of this week’s Nord Stream pipeline explosion, Russian officials, Twitter users and Tucker Carlson began circulating disinformation suggesting that the Biden administration was responsible for the apparent act of sabotage. – CyberScoop

The August cyberattacks targeting the government and infrastructure of Taiwan began days before U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first high-ranking U.S. official in 25 years to visit the country, according to a a new report from cybersecurity firm Trellix. – The Record

Russian regulators have reportedly blocked the website of the audio-streaming app SoundCloud, citing “false information” about the war in Ukraine.Russian news agencies TASS and Interfax reported on October 2 that communications watchdog Roskomnadzor had blocked the site at the request of the Prosecutor-General’s Office. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty


The Air Force has grounded most of its older C-130H Hercules cargo planes and variants due to a problem with their propeller barrels. – Defense News

Artificial intelligence and cloud-analytics company BigBear.ai won a $14.8 million, nine-month Army contract to roll out the service’s Global Force Information Management system. The Maryland-based firm will implement the platform, which provides leaders an automated and holistic view of manpower, equipment, training, readiness and more, with the help of Palantir Technologies. – Defense News

Mitre, which operates federally funded centers that assist the U.S. government with science research, development and systems engineering, said it will open a facility in in Hawaii to bolster security and national defense operations in the Indo-Pacific. – C4ISRNET

Long War

Canberra is set to rescue dozens of Australian women and children of Islamic State fighters from refugee camps in Syria, following a secret mission by the country’s security intelligence agency, media reported on Monday. – Reuters

Indonesia’s elite counterterrorism police have killed a militant who was the last remaining member of an organization that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, police said Friday. Police said Al Ikhwarisman, also known as Jaid, was a key member of the East Indonesia Mujahideen network. – Associated Press

Libya’s Missing Persons Authority announced Sunday the discovery of 42 bodies buried in a mass grave in the central coastal city of Sirte, a former stronghold of the ousted Islamic State group. – Associated Press

Somalia’s government said a top leader of an al-Qaeda-linked militant group died in an operation carried out by the national army and international security partners. – Bloomberg

The Shin Bet security agency last month broke up an Islamic State cell in the northern city of Nazareth and arrested six suspects who were planning to carry out terrorist attacks throughout Israel, Ynet learned on Sunday. – Ynet