Fdd's overnight brief

October 31, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


The two female Iranian journalists who helped break the story of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman whose death in the custody of the so-called morality police last month sparked a nationwide uprising, were formally accused late Friday of being CIA spies and the “primary sources of news for foreign media” — the former a crime punishable by the death penalty in Iran. – Washington Post

Today’s protests are rooted in 40 years of tension over the mandatory hijab, which is seen by both authorities and citizens as a proxy for authoritarian control, particularly over the more secular factions of society. – Wall Street Journal

Protests in Iran entered a more violent phase on Sunday as students, who defied an ultimatum by the Revolutionary Guards and a warning from the president, were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces, social media videos showed. – Reuters

Germany and the European Union are examining whether to classify Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Sunday. – Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a foreign vessel carrying 11 million litres of smuggled fuel in the Gulf on Monday, according to the Student News Network’s Telegram channel. – Reuters

More than 300 Iranian journalists have demanded the release of two colleagues jailed for their coverage of Mahsa Amini, whose death in custody triggered protests posing one of the biggest challenges to ruling clerics in decades. – Reuters

The New Zealand government said on Monday it has suspended its official bilateral human rights dialogue with Iran, saying bilateral approaches were “no longer tenable” with basic human rights being denied in the country. – Reuters

The United States will next week put the United Nations spotlight on protests in Iran sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody and look for ways to promote credible, independent investigations into Iranian human rights abuses. – Reuters

Iran is a problem that is ever more “relevant”, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief, Rafael Grossi, said on Friday, in an apparent reference to the growing number of advanced centrifuges the Islamic Republic is using to enrich uranium. – Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday that its intelligence unit had foiled a bomb attack in the southern city of Shiraz, scene of a deadly shooting at a shrine on Wednesday. – Reuters

Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador for talks on Thursday in a reciprocal move, Germany’s foreign ministry spokesperson told a briefing on Friday. – Reuters

Authorities reported that the gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week died in a hospital from injuries sustained during his arrest. Tehran has not disclosed details about the man who carried out Wednesday’s attack on Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran’s second-holiest Shiite shrine. – Associated Press

The U.S. is imposing financial penalties on an Iranian-based organization that raised money to target British-American author Salman Rushdie, who was violently attacked in August at a literary event. – Associated Press

A bipartisan group of 13 lawmakers, including both senators and House members, wrote to the leaders of major technology companies on Thursday, urging them to provide more services to dissident Iranians protesting against the regime in Tehran. – Jewish Insider

Elliott Abrams and David J. Kramer write: And we cannot forget the lesson of Iran: support for a people demanding freedom is not a luxury. The goals of U.S. foreign policy in Iran will only be achieved when that hated regime is replaced by a government that reflects the Iranian people’s desire for peace, freedom and prosperity. – The Hill

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s regime disputes this and has been consistent in its attempts to disprove the claims. It’s clear that the regime is worried that every incident where its security forces kill young women could lead to greater protests. That is why it is so keen to deny what happened. This is a shift in tactics from the past, where the regime would simply suppress protesters or not comment on allegations regarding its brutality. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The decision to counter the reports is not for foreign consumption, so Iran’s regime isn’t actually interested in contesting the reports abroad; this is Farsi media responding to these reports at home. For Iranians who didn’t even see the reports, they are now being made aware. This shows that the regime believes these widespread rumors are having a major effect inside the country. – Jerusalem Post

Zoe Marks, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, and Erica Chenoweth write: Going forward, the movement will have to weather organizational obstacles and transcend the information blackout imposed by the Iranian government. International actors could help protesters by providing alternative means of accessing the Internet, enabling them to circumvent government shutdowns to communicate with one another and with the rest of the world. But even without such assistance, the videos and photographs that have made it through Iran’s media blackout demonstrate how women can act as powerful agents of change even—perhaps, particularly—under patriarchal authoritarian politics. – Foreign Affairs

Frida Ghitis writes: The relentless bravery of the Iranian women, of the Iranian people, is a timely moral test for the rest of the world. They deserve more than they have received. – CNN

Erfan Fard writes: In the interests of the people of Iran and in the national security interests of the US. We have the opportunity to empower the wonderful young generation of Iran yearning for the freedoms we take for granted here. This is unachievable in Iran without a regime change. It’s time unabashedly to support regime change in Iran. Allow the good people of Iran to join in the Circle of Peace with US allies, including Israel, and share in the benefits of peace, security, freedom, and prosperity. – Arutz Sheva

Russia & Ukraine

Russia suspended its participation in the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to export its grain and other agricultural products from Black Sea ports after claiming that Kyiv used the corridor to attack Kremlin ships, reigniting concerns about global food insecurity. – Washington Post

While many men of fighting age have fled Russia to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine — creating a new, reverse migration of Russians to Central Asian countries, including Tajikistan — some migrants in Russia have been swept into the ranks of the Russian military despite having no obligation to serve. – Washington Post

The public denials by Russia and Iran, despite overwhelming evidence, highlight the expanding common ground between two nations bound closer than ever by their leaders’ anti-Western worldview and embrace of conspiracy theories, their willingness to use violence to achieve regional goals, their economic isolation under sanctions, brutal repression of their own citizens and their predilection for official lies. – Washington Post

Russia’s controversial mobilization to send reinforcements to fight in Ukraine is now complete, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting Friday, with 300,000 summoned for duty — the precise number Putin had requested. – Washington Post

The launches come as tensions between the United States and Russia are high amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and just days after Russia threatened to target the commercial satellites, which have proved a boon to Ukraine and its allies during the war. – Washington Post

World leaders on Sunday urged Russia to reconsider its suspension of an agreement that allowed the export of grain trapped by the war in Ukrainian ports, warning that Moscow’s decision could unleash dire consequences on a hungry planet. – New York Times

Ukrainian forces advanced on the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in the south on Friday, and the two sides battled over smaller cities in the east, as the armies fought not only each other but also a thick clay muck that can swallow vehicles’ wheels and soldiers’ boots whole. – New York Times

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemned Russia’s commissioner for human rights, saying that her actions facilitating the movement of Ukrainian children to Russia to be placed into Russian families constitute a criminal offense. – New York Times

On the screen of a thermal imaging camera, the Russian armored personnel carrier disappeared in a silent puff of smoke. – New York Times

The United Nations and Turkey on Sunday scrambled to rescue an agreement that allowed Ukraine to ship grain via the Black Sea, a day after Russia suspended the deal in a move that threatens global food prices and puts pressure on Ukraine’s allies. – Wall Street Journal

Russia blamed the U.K. and Ukraine for the collapse of the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports Sunday, as Russia said it recovered wreckage from a drone strike on the occupied Black Sea port of Sevastopol. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian officials on Monday morning reported a massive barrage of Russian strikes on critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities. – Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister on Sunday needled Joe Biden over Ukraine, saying that he hoped the U.S. president had the wisdom to deal with a global confrontation similar to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. – Reuters

Becoming one of the heads of Russia’s massive grain-looting operation in occupied south-east Ukraine may seem an unusual career move for Nikita Busel, the founder of two boutique hotels and a hipster coffee shop chain in central Russia. But by the summer, the businessman was in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, which had been partially seized by Russian troops in March. – Financial Times

The Pentagon will send Ukraine another $275 million in weapons and military equipment as part of a new package meant to help shore up Kyiv’s forces ahead of winter fighting, the Defense Department announced Friday. – The Hill

Editorial: It is vital to keep all eyes and ears on Mr. Putin’s deeds and not be distracted by his words. He launched a war of aggression to destroy Ukraine as a democracy and as a nation-state. He has sent tens of thousands of people — both Ukrainians and Russians — to their graves for no reason, none at all. He seeks to force those still alive in Ukraine into shivering misery. There can be no compromise with this depravity. – Washington Post

Editorial: The West could also begin the legal process to confiscate the more than $300 billion in Russian reserves that were frozen by sanctions when the war began. Robert Zoellick explained that option in these pages last week. Mr. Putin’s strategy to save his misbegotten war is to pressure Ukraine and the world with the misery of energy and food shortages. The $300 billion could be transferred to help Ukraine get through the winter and then rebuild. – Wall Street Journal

Katherine Zimmerman writes: Iran’s drone threat is rising, and it’s only a matter of time until the U.S. military, not the Ukrainians, will need to defend against it. – The Hill

Kseniya Kirillova writes: Yet these initiatives in which Russia reaches out to others, showing that it values at least some ties to the outside world, lead to the conclusion — and let us hope this is right — that as long as Putin values some foreign opinion, he is unlikely to use nuclear weapons. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Cliff Kupchan writes: On the international system, we should expect more wars now, under bipolarity, when compared to the twenty-five years of unipolarity. The continuing challenge will be to assess where war is likely, and then take all possible steps to prevent it. A U.S.-China war over Taiwan is the most prominent case. But risk around Russia will remain very high. […]And the new “Putin doctrine” demanding loyalty from neighbors will likely lead to conflict in Eurasia. – The National Interest


As Israel heads to its fifth election in four years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been relentlessly campaigning across the country from the back of a delivery truck outfitted as a mobile campaign stage, imploring voters to come out on election day. Some call it the Bibi-bus, using Mr. Netanyahu’s famous nickname. – Wall Street Journal

Looming over a main square in this Arab city in northern Israel hangs a massive sign in Arabic that implores: “Either we vote or we’ll regret it.” Such messaging comes as many Arab Israelis in places like Tamra say they are planning to stay home on Israel’s election day on Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal

On the eve of the election, disillusionment reigns among Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who say discrimination and violence still punctuate their daily lives — even with an Arab party in the government. – Washington Post

The U.N. Mideast envoy said 2022 is on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the U.N. started tracking fatalities in 2005, and he called for immediate action to calm “an explosive situation” and move toward renewing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. – Associated Press

Ukrainian officials say Iran’s wartime aid to Russia should convince Israel to abandon its position of withholding military assistance to Kyiv. – The Hill

Natan Sharansky, former cabinet minister and the chairman of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center board, said he was “embarrassed” after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky chastised the Israeli government for its policies on Ukraine. – Times of Israel

Israel must dispose of all its nuclear weapons and place its nuclear sites under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s purview, the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee stated in an initial 152-5 vote. – Jerusalem Post

The United Nations should stop rubber-stamping anti-Israel resolutions and work instead to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the United States Ambassador to the UN in New York Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. – Jerusalem Post

Italian senator Tino Magni did not attend a Hamas-linked conference in Milan on Saturday over “health problems,” Italian NGO Alliance for Israel told The Jerusalem Post. – Jerusalem Post

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi on Sunday toured the scene of the deadly terrorist attack that took place in Kiryat Arba late Saturday night and ordered forces to increase security in the area. Ronen Hanania, a 50-year-old resident of the Jewish community, was shot dead by the Palestinian terrorist outside a convenience store on Saturday vening. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Israelis famously come together during disasters and wars. It is time to make sure that now, more than ever, we keep that sense of solidarity in good times too. In fact, it’s vital to maintaining the good times. We are all in the same boat whether we like each other or not. No matter who is at the helm, we need to ensure we can move ahead together. – Jerusalem Post

Bobby Ghosh writes: Netanyahu will also be hoping that Arab-Israelis, disillusioned by the failure of the United Arab List to improve their lives despite its participation in the outgoing coalition government, will simply not turn up on Tuesday. Either way, all eyes will be on Arab-Israelis this election day — and on every election day to come. – Bloomberg

Efraim Inbar writes: We should not forget that moderate Arab states are watching Israeli behavior, especially in the Gulf. Without determined and effective action, Israel’s allies in the region, wary of American withdrawal and fearful of Iran, will be reluctant to rely on Israel and could later move closer to Tehran. The impression that Israel feared a confrontation with Hezbollah does not bode well for the Abraham Accords. – Jerusalem Post

Eitan Fischberger writes: The Biden administration should not ignore the Palestinians’ decision to double down on ties with Russia, Iran, and Syria. Although its options regarding the terror groups are limited, the United States should reiterate to the PA that it cannot allow Iranian influence to continue penetrating its territory, nor can it plead for aid and overtures on the one hand, then violate U.S. law and embrace America’s enemies on the other. With President Abbas’ tenure nearing its inevitable conclusion and new leadership preparing to take the reins, this may be the Biden administration’s best shot at resetting its dynamic with the PA. – The National Interest


The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine agreed on Sunday on an Oct. 31 movement plan for 16 vessels that are in Turkish waters, a day after Russia suspended its participation to the Black Sea grain initiative that allowed food exports from Ukrainian ports. – Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday laid out his vision for Turkey in the next century, promising a new constitution that would guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens. – Associated Press

Turkish defense companies STM and Roketsan unveiled a new loitering munition, dubbed “Alpagut,” at the SAHA defense expo here this week. – Defense News


Michel Aoun is vacating Lebanon’s presidential palace amid acclaim from his supporters, a day before his mandate expires without a designated successor, threatening a new power vacuum in the crisis-torn country. – Agence France-Presse

Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger writes: The 2022 maritime/gas Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) accord suggests that US and Israeli policy-makers are determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past critical mistakes, undermining their own interests. – Arutz Sheva

US President Joe Biden has drafted a letter to Prime Minister Yair Lapid guaranteeing America’s commitment to the full implementation of the new maritime boundary deal with Lebanon and to Israel’s security and economic rights contained in the agreement, a senior US official said on Saturday evening. – Times of Israel

The alert level on Israel’s northern border has been lowered after Israel and Lebanon’s landmark maritime border deal went into effect, it was reported Friday. – Times of Israel

Arabian Peninsula

The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Monday that the UAE and OPEC+ are keen on providing the world with the oil supplies it needs. – Reuters

Satellite images and reports in foreign media reveal that the United Arab Emirates has deployed the Israeli made Barak aerial defense system against Iranian ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones. The missile battery is deployed near Al-Dhafra airbase, south of Abu-Dhabi. – Haaretz

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates defended on Monday a decision by OPEC and its allies to cut oil production, even as an American envoy warned of “economic uncertainty” ahead for the world. – Associated Press

Oliver B. John writes: Balanced against this optimism is the fact that the National Assembly is better at blocking government action than it is at adopting reform legislation, and government reform efforts have been halting. As one recent editorial noted, Kuwait is betting on the government continuing a reform agenda that has barely begun and experience suggests that the government’s focus on reform is often short-lived. The same economic cushion that facilitates reform efforts might reduce the incentive to undertake them. – Middle East Institute

Marco Mossad writes: Additionally, the decision-making process is ineffective because there are no tools to compel members to abide by resolutions. The League approves decisions only on a majority basis, which does not exist among Arabs as they are not aligned. Thus, Arab leaders must act quickly to become a unified regional bloc capable of protecting their interests, resources, and people. – The National Interest

Saudi Arabia

Since Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to slash oil production this month, President Biden and other U.S. officials have been in an uproar. But among the American business leaders attending the kingdom’s annual investment conference this week, there was plenty of sympathy for the Saudi point of view. – New York Times

Triathlete Shachar Sagiv has become the first Israeli athlete to compete in Saudi Arabia, the Israeli Olympic Committee said Sunday, in the latest sign of growing informal ties between the former enemies. – Agence France-Presse

Miriam Pemberton writes: For too long our foreign policy has been under the thumb of the Saudis’ oil and their wars. Getting out from under will require putting inflated claims about jobs and arms sales in their place. – The Hill

Hussein Ibish writes: Forewarned is forearmed. These three significant hurdles need careful handling, and that means dialogue and coordination to avoid any further major misunderstandings between Riyadh and Washington. Otherwise, what thus far has been an avoidable argument could begin to turn into a mutually. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

The economies of Middle Eastern and North African countries were resilient this year, but double-digit inflation is expected to slow growth in 2023, the International Monetary Fund said Monday. – Associated Press

The Security Council voted unanimously Friday to extend the U.N. political mission in Libya for a year and urged key institutions and parties in the divided north African country to agree on a road map to deliver presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible. – Associated Press

Ten people were killed and more than 20 wounded in an explosion in east Baghdad on Saturday, according to security and medical sources. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

The United States and South Korea began one of their largest combined military air drills on Monday, with hundreds of warplanes from both sides staging mock attacks 24 hours a day for the better part of a week. – Reuters

South Korea has a sovereign right to send weapons to Ukraine if it should so choose, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol maintained in the face of a new threat from Russia. – Washington Examiner

Tough talk about the punishment that awaits North Korea if Kim Jong-un orders another nuclear test provokes a tough question: What do leaders in Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul have in mind beyond more sanctions and more war games involving American and South Korean troops? – New York Sun


China’s top diplomat signaled that Chinese leader Xi Jinping, fresh from extending his power for a norm-breaking third term, intends to double-down on his tight relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin—driving an even deeper wedge between the two authoritarian rulers and the West. – Wall Street Journal

Standing in the cave from which Mao led his Red Army troops, China’s most powerful leader in decades delivered a warning about the need for loyalty, hard work and sacrifice. The party, Xi told the assembled leaders, must carry forward the Yan’an spirit, which he described as primarily one of “pioneering self-reliance and arduous struggle.” – Washington Post

But this internal system is struggling to give frank assessments as Chinese leader Xi Jinping consolidates his power, making it risky for anyone to question the party line even in confidential reports, a dozen Chinese academics, businesspeople and state journalists said in interviews with The Associated Press. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden’s administration is taking stock of a newly empowered Xi Jinping as the Chinese president begins a third, norm-breaking five-year term as Communist Party leader. With U.S.-Chinese relations already fraught, concerns are growing in Washington that more difficult days may be ahead. – Associated Press

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his U.S. counterpart that the United States should stop the practice of containment and suppression against China and not create new obstacles to the relationship between the two countries, its foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters

The US has raised with European allies the idea of drawing upon lessons from the export control regime they’re using to punish Russia to target China, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized US export curbs in a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, underscoring the tensions between the nations before a possible face-to-face meeting of their leaders. – Bloomberg

House Republicans would set up a committee to investigate how Covid-19 spread from China and focus on military and economic threats posed by Beijing if the GOP wins control in Nov. 8 congressional elections, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. – Bloomberg

One of the most important changes in terms of national security from the Party Congress in Beijing isn’t Xi Jinping’s third term as CCP General Secretary. It’s the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) need to create a “new military strategic guidance.” – Breaking Defense

Rana Foroohar writes: But most Americans (and most Chinese for that matter) tend to prefer plain talk to diplomatic can-kicking. US companies and staff in the chip sector are moving out of China. But many CEOs of American consumer-facing brands that use chips are starting to ask policymakers just how far decoupling will go, and just how quickly. What exactly will US companies be able to sell in China? – Financial Times

John Calabrese writes: Over the past decade, Xi’s vision, ambition, and personal authority have supplied the thrust and the policy direction that have enabled China-Middle East relations to flourish. Looking ahead, Xi will have an even freer hand than in his first two terms to impose his domestic and foreign policy choices. On the one hand, this provides some assurance that China will remain committed to deepening its engagement with MENA countries. On the other, it reveals the risks that MENA countries face if Xi’s policies were to prolong China’s economic slowdown and thereby increase the prospect of a global recession. – Middle East Institute

Michael Goodwin writes: The report added an ominous point: “China’s intelligence targeting of American officials has become a major justification for US tech restrictions.” Nearly all those espionage earmarks converge to support the view the Biden family was targeted — and took the bait. – New York Post

Conrad Black writes: In the West, the division that Jesus Christ commended be made between what is rendered to God and to Caesar gives our secular governments most of our adherence, but even atheists would generally find the Chinese government’s oppression of religious practice to be an offensive assault upon freedom of thought, expression and association. – New York Sun

South Asia

Pakistan’s interior minister alleged on Saturday that the country’s former premier, Imran Khan, who is leading an opposition convoy of thousands of supporters toward Islamabad, plans to use his march to spread “violence and chaos.” – Associated Press

A shootout with militants in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday killed two soldiers, authorities said as a counterterrorism task force arrested a suspect involved in the recent killing of a former top judge of the country’s restive southwestern Baluchistan province. – Associated Press

Sediq Sediqqi and Jason Criss Howk write: Afghans and their allies have been asking for years why the U.S. government would overlook the deceitful behavior of the Pakistani military and continue to partner with it on counter-terrorism and fund Pakistan military requests. […]On October 21, Pakistan was taken off the grey list for terrorism financing after four years in the wilderness. What are victims of terrorism in South Asia supposed to think of this decision by the United States and global bodies, made just days after yet another suicide bomber murdered and maimed Afghan Hazara girls in an education center in Kabul? – The National Interest


The United States is planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to an air base in northern Australia, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday, amid heightened tensions with Beijing. – Reuters

As the United States and Japan further strengthen their military alliance, they’ve turned to farmers markets to foster friendlier ties between American military bases and their Japanese neighbors. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks in Sochi on Monday between the leaders of arch-foes Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Kremlin said, reasserting Moscow’s role following Western-led efforts to bring peace. – Agence France-Presse

Beijing was targeting its Pacific aid to new diplomatic allies Solomon Islands and Kiribati while Chinese financial support across the region continued to decline, the Lowy Institute reported Monday in its latest annual analysis of regional assistance. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden will make a week-long, three country trip next month for a quartet of summits—including one that could potentially put him in the same room as China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. – Associated Press

Leo Lewis writes: There are measures that Beijing can take, and factors that may significantly delay China’s replication of Japan’s experience. There are, clearly, important differences between the two economies: even as the hissing sound from China’s bubble has become louder, it has sustained higher economic growth rates than Japan did at the equivalent point in its history. – Financial Times

Pedro Allende writes: With the benefit of hindsight, it would seem that the perceived U.S. concerns over the AIIB seem less and less far-fetched. Only time will tell whether China’s use of the AIIB as a tool of its foreign policy will be tightly controlled by Beijing or whether it will only occasionally advance projects that augment China’s global efforts. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Michael Spirtas writes: Some defense analysts and members of the public have been encouraged by the plucky Ukrainian defense of its territory and sovereignty against a seemingly indestructible Russian military, reminding some of the battle between David and Goliath. A similar dynamic could materialize if it becomes necessary to protect Taiwan from China, but the prospect of success in Taiwan could improve with early preparation. – War on the Rocks

S. Frederick Starr writes: The meetings in Issyk-Kul and Tashkent showed clearly that America’s abrupt departure from Afghanistan last summer and its long-term neglect of Central Asia did not mark the end of history. Quite the contrary. A sound path forward requires new thinking about this entire region, a challenge that cannot be met by gazing endlessly at the rear-view mirror. – The National Interest


Germany understood the trap of strategic vulnerability that it had laid for itself in relying so heavily on Russian gas only after Moscow invaded Ukraine and turned off the spigot. But whether that lesson has been fully absorbed may be tested elsewhere: China. – New York Times

The British Navy stands accused by the Russian government, without evidence, of blowing up the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, a claim the U.K. rejected as “false.” – Politico

David Sheppard writes: But the most likely outcome remains that governments are going to still be on the hook for significant support to households over the next 18 months. Tightening of middle class household budgets also is likely to add to economic pressures. So is Europe winning? Long-term, it is demonstrating that market economies can find a way through. But sadly there’s a lot of pain to come. – Financial Times


At least 100 people died when two car bombs tore through a busy Mogadishu intersection on Saturday, Somalia’s president said Sunday after visiting the site of the attack, the same place where the largest terrorist attack in the country’s history killed more than 500 people almost exactly five years ago. – Wall Street Journal

Nigeria on Friday said it had beefed up security and called for the public to be vigilant but calm after the United States and Britain warned of a high “terror” threat in the capital Abuja. – Agence France-Presse

Peace talks between warring sides on Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have been extended into Monday. An official familiar with the arrangements for the talks confirms that discussions continue in South Africa between Ethiopia’s federal government and representatives from the northern Tigray region. – Associated Press

Rwanda accused neighboring Congo of escalating tensions between the two countries on Sunday, a day after the Rwandan ambassador to Congo was given 48 hours to leave the country following rebel advances in the east. – Associated Press

The Americas

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reclaimed the office Sunday on pledges to defend democracy, save the Amazon rainforest and bring social justice to Latin America’s largest nation, defeating Brazil’s Trumpian incumbent in a remarkable political comeback some three years after he walked out of a prison cell. – Washington Post

President Biden on Sunday congratulated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his victory in Brazil’s presidential election, beating incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who was backed by former President Donald Trump. – The Hill

Some 96,000 people have fled their homes in Haiti’s capital, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration said Friday, as the country faces a crisis that has prompted the government to request the immediate deployment of foreign troops. – Associated Press


Hackers have targeted a communications platform used by Australian military personnel and defence staff with a ransomware attack, authorities said on Monday, as the country battles a recent spike in cyberattacks across businesses. – Reuters

Pivotal elections in Brazil and the United States will present an early test to Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk and his promise to ease up on the platform’s policies on misinformation. – Associated Press

Days ahead of its general election, Israel is on alert for possible cyberattacks or influence campaigns from foreign rivals, notably Iran, aimed at sowing further tensions within its bitterly divided population. – Agence France-Presse

What concerns the organizations tasked with defending Israel’s democratic process is that every other aspect of the electoral, both before and after the vote takes place is figital. This, they fear, could disrupt the election. – Haaretz

Russian cyberattacks may be a global threat, but Ukraine’s allies have been especially at risk. Among them is Latvia, which was one of the first to declare Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” and stopped issuing entry visas to Russian citizens in August. – The Record


Federally-activated National Guard troops are expected to continue to deploy along the U.S. southern border through summer 2023, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Military Times on Friday. – Military Times

A group of A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes are deployed to Guam for training amid tensions between the U.S. and its regional rivals, China and North Korea, the Air Force said Wednesday. – Military Times

The U.S. State Department released plans Thursday to better track weapons supplied to Ukraine, voicing fears Russian forces could capture and use them to fabricate an attack by Ukrainian forces. – Military Times

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and amphibious warship USS New Orleans (LPD-18) this week operated in the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Canadian Navy for a joint exercise, U.S. 7th Fleet announced. – USNI News

The Air Force plans to start withdrawing its two squadrons of F-15C and D Eagle fighters from Kadena Air Base in Japan on Nov. 1. – Defense News

After months of delays, the unclassified version of the National Defense Strategy hit the streets on Thursday, pledging a renewed focus on China and including not much in the way of surprises. – Breaking Defense

Zack Cooper writes: What explains these inconsistencies? The NSS illustrates that while U.S. strategists are increasingly looking to the Pacific, many of their conceptual frameworks remain Atlanticist in nature. But what works in a trans-Atlantic strategic context cannot simply be applied in the Indo-Pacific. If the United States is ever going to truly “pivot” to Asia, it will require not just more attention and resources, but a fundamental change in thinking. – The Fulcrum

Dakota Wood writes: Honestly assessing U.S. military power is not “dangerous.” What is dangerous is to be weak and to not let the American people know it. Even more dangerous: a Pentagon in denial of the threats it faces and its own vulnerabilities. – 19fortyfive

Maiya Clark writes: The key? Going back to basics. The Defense Department’s first responsibility is to keep America safe. This requires resilient defense industrial capabilities. When it comes to promoting competition in the industry, policymakers should not focus on competition as an end in itself, but rather as one tool to achieve the bigger goal: a stronger national defense. – Washington Times

Long War

The United States has released the U.S. military’s oldest prisoner of the war on terror, a 75-year-old businessman who was held for nearly two decades as a suspected sympathizer of Al Qaeda but was never charged with a crime. – New York Times

Seventeen Australian citizens — four women and 13 children — on Thursday began the long journey home from detention camps in northeast Syria, where they have languished since the fall of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, in 2019. – New York Times

India will contribute half a million dollars to the United Nations’ efforts to counter global terrorism as new and emerging technologies used by terror groups pose fresh threats to governments around the world, the foreign minister said Saturday. – Associated Press