Fdd's overnight brief

October 4, 2022

In The News


After Iranian security forces clashed with students at a prominent university in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday defended the police for their crackdown on protests that have swept across the country and blamed the U.S. and Israel for inciting the unrest. – Wall Street Journal

The men were seeking to help an Iranian protest movement struggling under a government crackdown on online communication, said Saeed Souzangar, a network engineer and one of the Iranian men. After three hours of tinkering with the Starlink kit smuggled into the country on a boat from Dubai, they gave up for the day, unable to establish a satellite link. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden on Monday condemned the violence against protesters in Iran and said the U.S. will be imposing further costs on perpetrators of the violence against demonstrators. – The Hill

Canada imposed fresh sanctions on Iran on Monday for alleged human rights violations, including the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan who died while in custody of Iran’s “morality police,” the Canadian government said. – Reuters

It is still possible to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, the foreign ministry said Monday, despite long-stalled talks over the 2015 accord. – Agence France-Presse 

Eli Lake writes: Who else other than Iranians themselves could, when one stops to think about it, persuade a functionary to side with the women burning their hijabs instead of staying loyal to the Ayatollah? What this means is that the Biden administration has no basis on which to predict defeat of this uprising, and success for its negotiating partners at Geneva. – New York Sun

Cam Burks writes: The U.S. administration should assemble, finance and promote a credible, responsible and representative Iranian government-in-exile. It should encourage, not restrain, Israel as it explores options — including force — to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons with which it undoubtedly would threaten not just the Jewish state, but all countries within range of its nuclear-capable missiles. – The Hill

Michael Rubin writes: Today, President Joe Biden repeats his mistakes. Sullivan’s substitution of an occasional photo-op with an Iranian activist or statement supporting human rights with a meaningful policy to cut off the IRGC’s resources is malpractice. The Iranian people need substantive support: strike funds, satellite receivers, media support, as well as a crackdown on those entering Iran to arm or support their tormentors. Time is running out to prevent Iran from becoming Syria 2.0. – Washington Examiner

Ali A. Houshmand and Nawal H. Ammar write: Iran’s problems with social progress and human rights go beyond veiling women and the morality police. The conditions that plague Iran are the result of many factors. Resolving them will require more than protesting and world condemnation of a singular atrocity. These issues cannot be resolved immediately. They require persistent protests, courageous advocates, and strong, dedicated leaders who will build a society that accommodates both the secular and religious needs of contemporary living. – Newsweek 

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Khamenei may have decided to meet the military leadership for his first address on the protests to signal his support for the security establishment and for a hard line on the demonstrations. Khamenei has not typically made public spectacles of meetings with senior military officers in previous major protest waves, although he has held such meetings during non-crisis periods. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian forces broke through Russian lines and made new advances in the southern Kherson region, while expanding their rapid offensive in the eastern part of the country, retaking areas that Moscow now claims to be part of Russia. – Wall Street Journal

On Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, occupied by Russia since 2014, indigenous Crimean Tatars say they are being targeted by Moscow for the military draft, leaving them with a stark choice: flee their homeland or be thrown into the fight against their Ukrainian compatriots. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s rubber-stamp lower house of parliament, the State Duma, unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s bills on Monday, according to Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, formalizing the illegal seizure of four regions of Ukraine in a vote that was never in doubt. – Washington Post

The director general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, whose detention by Russia stoked concerns about the security of Europe’s largest nuclear plant, has been released, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday. – New York Times

The Biden administration’s next security assistance package for Ukraine is expected to include four High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, munitions, mines and mine-resistant vehicles, two sources briefed on the $625 million package told Reuters on Monday. – Reuters

Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, famous for staging an on-air protest against Russia’s war in Ukraine, has been put on Moscow’s wanted list after her ex-husband reported she had escaped from pre-trial house arrest. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board will consider Ukraine’s request for $1.3 billion in additional emergency funding on Friday as Russia’s war against the country continues, two sources familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Environmental damage in Ukraine caused by Russia’s invasion was estimated at around 36 billion euros ($35.3 billion), with millions of hectares of natural reserves under threat, Ukraine’s environment minister said on Monday. – Reuters

Fresh off the heels of prodding the Kremlin to deploy nuclear weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called attack dog is now planning to dispatch weapons of his own to Ukraine: his teenage sons. – Washington Examiner

The Pentagon still has not seen a “large-scale” movement of Russian forces nearly two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin called up roughly 300,000 reservists to join the war in Ukraine. – Washington Examiner

CIA Director William Burns said on Monday that it’s “hard to say” if Russian President Vladimir Putin is “bluffing” when it comes to threatening the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. – The Hill

Ukrainian forces appeared to make gains over the weekend in Kherson Oblast, the latest pushback in areas Russia claimed to annex on Friday. – The Hill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions a “farce” on Sunday. – The Hill

A Russian court on Monday set Oct. 25 as the date for American basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession. – Associated Press

The US Supreme Court turned away an appeal by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to get US sanctions against him lifted.  – Bloomberg

Former United Nations (UN) Ambassador Nikki Haley is imploring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to continue to arm Ukraine as part of a unified sign of strength against Russia and China. – Newsweek 

Russia acknowledged on Monday it doesn’t know exactly where the borders are for the occupied Ukrainian regions that it annexed following referendums widely condemned as sham votes. – Business Insider

Editorial: In 1962, the world stood at the brink when the Soviet Union deployed nuclear warheads on missiles in Cuba, then stood down and took them home. Mr. Putin is getting closer to the peril of those momentous days. He flirts with a dance of death. The only sane thing to do is stand down and end this needless war. – Washington Post

Walter Russell Mead writes: Mr. Putin’s armies are in headlong retreat across much of Ukraine. His support at home looks threatened. But the threat he poses to vital American interests must not be underestimated, and the threat that he will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine is real. – Wall Street Journal

David E. Sanger and William J. Broad write: Last week, the Institute for the Study of War concluded that “Russian nuclear use would therefore be a massive gamble for limited gains that would not achieve Putin’s stated war aims. At best, Russian nuclear use would freeze the front lines in their current position and enable the Kremlin to preserve its currently occupied territory in Ukraine.” Even that, it concluded, would take “multiple tactical nuclear weapons.” But it would not, the institute concluded, “enable Russian offensives to capture the entirety of Ukraine.” Which was, of course, Mr. Putin’s original goal. – New York Times

Harlan Ullman writes: Second, for the Ukraine October crisis, does the White House fully understand what is driving Russian President Vladimir Putin and how that might contribute to a strategy for ending the war? Probably not. – The Hill

Elisabeth Braw writes: As demonstrated by the haphazard way in which men are currently being mobilized, however, it is clear that Russia has no such continuity-of-society plan. And no, there aren’t enough women who can quickly step in and take on the jobs of the men who have been mobilized and have fled the country. – Politico

Karolina Hird, Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, Katherine Lawlor, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Ukrainian forces continued to make substantial gains around Lyman and in Kherson Oblast in the last 48 hours. […]Russian President Vladimir Putin may be continuing efforts to redirect blame for recent Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast. […]Russian officials released Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) director Ihor Murashov from detention and are likely continuing to undermine Ukrainian control of the plant. – Institute for the Study of War

Walter Clemens writes: Russia could compensate Ukraine as Iraq has done to pay for the $352bn material and human losses caused by its invasion of Kuwait in 1990-1991 — by a tax of at least 5% on its fossil fuel sales. As happened with Iraq, these revenues would be directed to a UN agency set up to receive and distribute these sums. For this to happen, however, the Kremlin would have to be managed by a government that recognized Russia’s obligations to compensate those it has harmed. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Herman Pirchner Jr. writes: Yet if a critical mass of Russia’s elite comes to believe that Putin’s multiple mistakes will only be compounded if he remains in power, they can be counted on to try and remove him, by force if necessary. History shows us that, over the past seven decades, nearly two thirds of dictators fell as a result of internal coup or assassination. That may become the fate of Russia’s strongman president as well. All of this makes Putin’s gamble a high-stakes one indeed. – 19FortyFive


The Israeli military shot and killed two Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank early Monday, Palestinian officials said, deepening what has become the deadliest round of fighting in the territory in years. – Associated Press

The European Union and Israel on Monday held high-level talks for the first time in a decade, with the Europeans pressing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid about how to put a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians into place. – Associated Press

A senior Israeli official was in Paris on Monday for talks with TotalEnergies SE (TTEF.PA) about potential future profit-sharing from exploration by the company in a natural gas field off Israel and Lebanon, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh voiced concern on Monday at Britain’s decision to review the location of its embassy in Israel, fearing it could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. – Reuters

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has returned from an official visit to Azerbaijan where he met with President Ilham Aliyev to foster defense cooperation between the two countries. – Jerusalem Post 

Efraim Inbar writes: Such a strategy aims to minimize the cost of armed conflict and preserve freedom of political maneuvering. Its goal is also to buy time, hoping the future may bring better alternatives. The lack of a clear end goal is not inspiring, yet this may be the best way to deal with a complex situation. – Jerusalem Post 

Lahav Harov writes: It’s understandable that politicians don’t want to present the weaknesses of their policies, especially less than a month before an election. But the fact that Israel is giving up its piece of the pizza pie is too obvious to obfuscate with political spin. – Jerusalem Post 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Given all these realities Israel not only wants the ties with Baku to flourish but to cement them publicly. That is partly why Gantz’s trip matters so much. It’s about the public aspect, not just quiet arms trade or energy trade. The government of Lapid and Bennett, along with Gantz’s transformative role as a Defense Minister diplomat, has put emphasis on public meetings and trips; unlike Netanyahu’s administration which preferred fewer public events. Ties with Azerbaijan may be controversial for some, but for Israel’s leadership, these are strategic relations that will be invested in. – Jerusalem Post 


Last week’s suicide bombing at a Kabul education center killed as many as 52 people, more than twice the death toll acknowledged by Taliban officials, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press on Monday. – Associated Press

Last year, President Biden vowed that Afghans who helped the U.S. military “are not going to be left behind.” But since the U.S. left Afghanistan in August 2021, Sanaullah says he has been living on nothing but “broken promises.” – NPR

A year after Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, Greece continues to be the first port of call for thousands of people fleeing the country’s worsening humanitarian crisis. After Ukrainians, Afghans account for the second-largest group of asylum applicants in the EU and by far the biggest in Greece, where more than 37,000 – more than a third of the total number registered nationwide – have filed asylum claims. – The Guardian


Greece said on Monday it would welcome any Turkish request for a meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a European summit in Prague this week. – Reuters

Turkey on Monday condemned the US’s decision to add Cyprus to a security cooperation program, saying that Washington is losing its impartiality in the dispute surrounding the divided island. – Bloomberg

Turkish shipbuilder RMK Marine launched the first MilGem (Ada)-class corvette on order for Ukraine, Hetman Ivan Mazepa (F 211), at its shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, on 2 October. – Janes


The High Court of Justice ruled on Monday that the government must respond to a petition demanding that any maritime border deal with Lebanon come to a full vote in the Knesset. – Times of Israel 

Lebanon on Monday denied a US-brokered maritime deal with Israel would see Beirut pay royalties to the Jewish state in exchange for access to disputed gas fields. – Times of Israel 

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Prime Minister Yair Lapid of bargaining away Israel’s “sovereign territory” in a potential agreement to resolve Israel’s long-running maritime border dispute with Lebanon. – Times of Israel 

Prime Minister Yair Lapid accused opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday of aiding Hezbollah terror group propaganda efforts with his criticism of an emerging agreement to demarcate the maritime border with Lebanon — a step that could allow both countries to explore offshore resources. – Times of Israel 

Lebanon will send its comments on a U.S. proposal to delineate its maritime border with longtime foe Israel to the American official mediating talks by Tuesday, a top Lebanese official said on Monday. – Reuters 

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday expressed reservations about the agreement being formed between Israel and Lebanon on the maritime border between the countries. – Arutz Sheva 

The Lebanese-based Hezbollah organization has rejected the assertions of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu that he would not be bound by the pending Israeli-Lebanese maritime border agreement, according to a report in a paper affiliated with the terror group on Monday. – Ynet 

David Rosenberg writes: Lebanon could theoretically ship the gas “eastward” to Syria, except that Western energy companies face sanctions barriers, Mitchell says. No pipeline from the Middle East to Europe exists and it might not be technically feasible anyway, but in any case building one would require Lebanon to team up with Israel, which is politically problematic. The same applies to pipelines running from the Middle East to Turkey or to Egypt, for shipment onward to Europe. – Haaretz 

Amos Harel writes: The bottom line is that Israel is deep in the corrals and it is seemingly too late to make a U-turn. Israel does have something to gain from signing the agreement, whereas avoiding signing at the last moment (or reneging on it after elections) could increase the danger of conflict with Hezbollah – which is already, like Israel, too invested. This does not mean the government deserves an award for its conduct in negotiations, or that it has reached the end of the corrals just a moment before elections. It also does not offer any guarantee of the end of conflict with Hezbollah. We can assume the organization will find new excuses in the future to maintain the eternal fire of conflict with Israel. – Haaretz

Nahum Barnea writes: What the Israeli government can learn from all this is that Nasrallah’s threatening and instigating remarks are not much different from those of Netanyahu. Therefore, Israel shall continue to move forth with the deal. – Ynet


The World Bank has agreed to provide Egypt with $400 million to develop the logistics and transportation sectors and support the shift towards lower carbon emissions, the group said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters

About 90 heads of state have confirmed attendance at November’s COP27 climate negotiations in Egypt where they will address issues including energy transition and food security at opening sessions, a senior Egyptian official said on Monday. – Reuters

The Egyptian government, host of the next UN climate summit, has warned the UK against “backtracking from the global climate agenda”, in a significant intervention prompted by fears over Liz Truss’s commitment to net zero. – The Guardian


Yemen’s warring sides have failed to reach an agreement to extend a nationwide cease-fire, the U.N. said Sunday, endangering the longest lull in fighting since the country’s bloody civil war began. – Associated Press 

The conflict in Yemen between the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and pro-government troops escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the loyalists. – Agence France-Presse

The US State Department has expressed concern that the ceasefire between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels has not been renewed. – Arutz Sheva

Saudi Arabia

A lawyer for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a judge to dismiss a case accusing him of ordering the killing of columnist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, arguing that his new role as prime minister grants him legal immunity. – Bloomberg

The son of a prominent jailed Saudi cleric has fled the kingdom and applied for asylum in the UK, saying his life was threatened by Saudi authorities. – Bloomberg

US Rep. Ro Khanna is calling for the White House to retaliate against Saudi Arabia if OPEC and its allies slash oil production in a bid to boost prices. – CNN

Iran announced that one of its nationals arrested in Saudi Arabia after the hajj pilgrimage in July was headed home Monday, as the regional powerhouses work to restore diplomatic relations. – Agence France-Presse

Gulf States

Turkey plans to send soldiers and policemen to bolster security at the World Cup being held in Qatar from next month. – Bloomberg

As U.S. officials roundly condemn the ongoing series of Iranian strikes against Kurdish rivals in northern Iraq, Washington has also expressed concern over a separate Turkish campaign against Kurdish forces in the same region. – Newsweek 

Hamdi Malik and Michael Knights write: The AWH threat—and broader warnings of attacks on the Gulf states—should be taken seriously for two reasons. First, Iran is under huge pressure internally and no doubt feels the need to redirect that pressure externally. […]Second, AWH has a very credible track record regarding such threats. On the two past occasions when this facade was activated, drones have been launched from Iraq toward the Gulf states: first against Riyadh in 2021, and then against Abu Dhabi earlier this year. – Washington Institute


Libya’s Tripoli government signed a preliminary deal on energy exploration on Monday, prompting Greece and Egypt to say they would oppose any activity in disputed areas of the eastern Mediterranean. – Reuters

Ethan Chorin writes: The Benghazi attack was a long time in coming. It was attributable, broadly, to an unsupervised 2003 makeup with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi (and his Al-Qaeda-linked opponents), and a wildly inconsistent US policy towards political Islam (which spans ideologies from the Muslim Brotherhood, to Al Qaeda and ISIS). – Forbes

Sghaier Hidri writes: Although the proposal to form an independent government may face opposition from Dabaiba, who has succeeded in establishing the influence of his wealthy family during his year in power, it is likely that the two men will accept this solution if it guarantees their survival in the political arena and offers them a chance to run in the expected presidential elections. However, such elections do not appear to be taking place any time soon! – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Korean Peninsula

North Korea flew a missile over Japan for the first time since 2017, Seoul and Tokyo officials said, a significant escalation that led to Japan issuing warnings for citizens to take shelter. – Wall Street Journal

North Korea supports Russia’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday, accusing the United States of applying “gangster-like double standards” in interfering in other country’s affairs. – Reuters

For families separated after the Korean war halted in a truce rather than a peace treaty, the only chance to reunite with loved ones can come through a lucky draw to participate in rare government-sponsored reunions. – Reuters

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with his counterparts in Japan and South Korea late Monday following reports that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile that prompted Japanese officials to tell citizens to seek shelter. – The Hill

The top attorney at the National Archives emailed former White House lawyers in May 2021 alerting them that the administration had failed to turn over correspondence between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. – Bloomberg

Shares of South Korean and Japanese defense companies rose sharply in Asia’s session after authorities confirmed North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japanese territory for the first time in five years. – CNBC

Choe Sang-Hun and Victoria Kim write: North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world, with more than one million soldiers. But much of its equipment is old and obsolete, and the military lacks fuel and spare parts. It has sought to make up for its shortcomings by building nuclear weapons, which it says are primarily a deterrent. – New York Times

Donald Kirk writes: Pointedly, when she got to Korea, Harris did not raise the defense of Taiwan with President Yoon. Anxious not to offend China, the South’s biggest trading partner and also North Korea’s sole real ally and benefactor, Yoon and his aides have been extremely guarded and sensitive when asked about the danger of Chinese attack on Taiwan, avoiding any pledge to join in the island’s defense. – The Hill


The Biden administration is expected to announce new measures to restrict Chinese companies from getting access to technologies that enable high-performance computing, according to several people familiar with the matter, the latest in a series of moves aimed at hobbling Beijing’s ambitions to craft next-generation weapons and automate large-scale surveillance systems. – New York Times 

Alphabet’s Google on Monday said it shut down the Google Translate service in mainland China, citing low usage. – CNBC 

China has demanded the floor plans of all properties rented by foreign missions in Hong Kong, in a move diplomats believe reflects Beijing’s paranoia about overseas interference in the Asian financial hub’s turbulent politics. – Financial Times 

Josh Kerbel writes: If the above-mentioned military actions and their systemic ripples teach us anything it is that the challenges posed by Russia and China today are about so much more than their military power. […]All these issues are highly interconnected and interdependent, and both Russia and China are fully and inextricably enmeshed in them all. – The Hill

South Asia

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday officially introduced a domestically developed light-combat helicopter into the Indian Air Force, hailing the aircraft’s addition as a big step for India’s self-reliance in the defense sector. “For a long time, India has had to be dependent on foreign attack helicopters,” said Mr. Singh, speaking at an Air Force base in the western desert state of Rajasthan. “This is an important milestone in India’s defense production.” – Wall Street Journal

India’s air force (IAF) said it had scrambled fighter jets after receiving information of a bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration passing through Indian airspace. The air force said it later received information from Iran’s capital Tehran to disregard the bomb scare and the flight continued its journey. – Reuters

The chief of the prison service in Indian Kashmir has been murdered, police said on Tuesday, as the powerful interior minister visited the disputed Himalayan region that has been riven by a decades-long insurgency. – Reuters

Nepal’s ruling coalition will provide incentives for exporters and lift import curbs as part of efforts to put the economy on a higher growth trajectory if it is returned to power in a general election next month, the finance minister said. – Reuters

The resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday that policy commitments made by Pakistani authorities to resume the support programme continue to apply. – Reuters

The United Nations has revised up its humanitarian appeal for Pakistan five-fold to $816 million from $160 million as it seeks to control a surge in water-borne diseases following the country’s worst floods in decades, an official said on Monday. – Reuters

Rhea Mogul writes: While New Delhi’s ties with the West have been growing ever closer since Modi’s election in 2014, India, the world’s largest democracy of 1.3 billion, isn’t thinking along the same lines as the US. For years after its independence, India’s international relations were defined by its policy of non-alignment, the Cold War era stance that avoided siding with either the US or the Soviet Union. – CNN 

Tanvi Madan writes: On their part, India’s partners, including the United States, have wondered to what extent India can be brought onside in an alignment against China. […]But they should not have too little ambition, assuming India will reject deeper cooperation—after all, New Delhi’s traditional diffidence has turned to more willing engagement in recent years. India will steer its own ship, but it is tacking in the direction of those interested in balancing Chinese power and influence in the region and around the world. – Foreign Affairs


The armed forces of the United States and Philippines launched two weeks of joint naval exercises on Monday, reinforcing a close military alliance at a time of regional uncertainty over tensions between Washington and Beijing. – Reuters

Solomon Islands agreed to sign an accord between the United States and more than a dozen Pacific nations only after indirect references to China were removed, the Solomon Islands foreign minister said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

A news radio host who had been a prominent critic of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines was fatally shot in his car during an ambush near his home, the authorities said on Tuesday. – New York Times 

Michael Rubin writes: To go ad hominem may win applause in Baku but, in Washington, it forfeits influence because it suggests an inability to win an argument based on fact. So, has my position shifted with regard to comparative U.S. policy toward Azerbaijan and Armenia? Absolutely. Not only is the region not static, but I also listened and learned. – 19FortyFive

Jason Matheny writes: Such a strategy, already proving successful in Ukraine, could yield results within a couple of years, rather than decades. One holdup in the process of arming Taiwan as quickly as America might like is a bottleneck in U.S. arms manufacturing caused by—you guessed it—microchips. The problem is temporary, but it only goes to underline what a priority it is for the U.S. to ensure that Taiwan has the right defense systems to project its own security, in the most timely way possible. – The Atlantic

Simon Maghakyan writes: Few would be surprised to hear that the United States is involved in supporting a democratic nation that was recently invaded by its authoritarian neighbor. But many Americans are likely unaware that their country is doing so for two such post-Soviet nations: not just Ukraine, but also Armenia, which has been suffering from Azerbaijan’s invasion for almost three weeks now. – TIME


Russian energy giant Gazprom PJSC will allow Hungary to delay payments for natural gas if necessary, as soaring imports threaten to upend the country’s already strained budget. – Bloomberg

European Union countries edged closer to a deal on a new sanctions package, as they face strong pressure to punish Russia for escalating its war in Ukraine and illegally annexing four occupied territories there. – Bloomberg

Poland made official its claim seeking World War II reparations from Germany after its controversial report published last month estimated the costs of damage wrought by the Nazi regime at about $1.3 trillion. – Bloomberg

Lithuania’s defense ministry is pushing for NATO membership negotiations to begin immediately, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine. – Newsweek 

Europe faces “unprecedented risks” to its natural gas supplies this winter after Russia cut off most pipeline shipments, the International Energy Agency said Monday, warning that European nations could wind up competing with Asia for already scarce and expensive liquid gas that comes by ship. – Associated Press 

James Stavridis writes: Russia will continue to drive a wedge between the Balkans and the West. Serbia and Bosnia need to understand that while Moscow can offer natural gas supplies, that is a tactical temptation that pales in comparison to the strategic value of broad membership with Western Europe. – Bloomberg

Thibault Muzergues and Kenneth M. Pollack write: 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


Burkina Faso’s new junta leader said Monday that the West African nation will still aim to hold an election by 2024 or even earlier, as regional mediators delayed their visit following the country’s second coup this year. – Associated Press 

Calm returned to Burkina Faso’s capital on Monday after the country’s military leader fled to neighbouring Togo following the second coup in less than nine months. – Agence France-Presse 

Russian mercenaries may be poised for further expansion in Africa’s strategically important Sahel region after the latest coup d’etat in the region, western officials and analysts fear. – The Guardian

Latin America

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in South America as part of an effort to engage some of the continent’s new leftist leaders who are shaking up traditional alliances at a time when China is increasingly offering itself as an alternative to Washington. – Wall Street Journal

For months, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had argued that the unfavorable opinion polls ahead of Brazil’s presidential vote Sunday were wrong. He was right. The right-wing ex-army captain secured 43.2% of the vote in the first round of presidential elections, more than 51 million votes and almost 10 percentage points more than some polls had predicted. – Wall Street Journal

The White House on Monday said information indicated Brazil’s election over the weekend was “free” and “fair” after President Jair Bolsonaro and his leftist predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva secured spots in a Oct. 30 runoff vote. – Reuters

Former President Trump on Monday took some credit for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s performance in Brazil’s elections a day earlier, where the right-wing incumbent outperformed polling expectations to force a runoff. – The Hill

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: The unexpected success for Bolsonaro, a second wind, suggests the route to the runoff on October 30 will be bumpy. And even if he is defeated, as still seems likely given high rejection rates among voters, Bolsonarismo looks set to outlast him. – Bloomberg

Daniel F. Runde and Ryan C. Berg write: Each of these maneuvers represent a different level of pressure against Nicaragua, but all represent a significant increase against the status quo. All these options will demand greater diplomatic and economic efforts, and potentially sacrifices, on behalf of the United States and its allies. However, as the ongoing abuses against the Catholic Church and broader Nicaraguan society demonstrate, there is no time to waste in developing an effective strategy for stymieing the Ortega-Murillo regime’s dictatorial consolidation. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

United States

The landmark sedition trial of five members of the far-right Oath Keepers opened Monday with prosecutors telling a jury the group mounted an “armed rebellion” at the US Capitol last year in a bid to keep Donald Trump in power. – Agence France-Presse

Talks between the United States and Mexico to resolve a dispute over energy policy will extend beyond an initial consultation period as the two sides narrow differences, officials said on Monday. – Reuters

Thomas Spoehr writes: To counter these dangers, America needs a national strategy that clearly articulates our national security goals. It must present a clear-eyed appraisal of these threats, describe realistic ways to counter these challenges and muster the necessary resources to make it all work. What we have seen thus far from this administration does not rise to this level. Let’s hope the final product gets it right. – The Hill


The Supreme Court’s decision that it will hear a battle over the broad protection afforded to Big Tech by Section 230 signals that the era of immunity enjoyed by social media companies thus far could soon be ending. – New York Sun

There are no specific threats to US voting systems for the coming midterm elections, but messages that the result can’t be trusted are being amplified online, with Russia the most aggressive influence among foreign foes, the FBI said. – Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to federal protections for internet and social media companies freeing them of responsibility for content posted by users in a case involving an American student fatally shot in a 2015 rampage by Islamist militants in Paris. – Reuters

Australia’s largest telecoms firm Telstra Corp Ltd (TLS.AX) said on Tuesday it had suffered what it called a small data breach, a disclosure that comes two weeks after its main rival Optus was left reeling by a massive cyberattack. – Reuters

Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) said on Monday it was assessing the potential cost of a massive cybersecurity breach at its Optus arm, Australia’s second-largest telco, 12 days ago. – Reuters

Stephen L. Miller writes: Disrupting hostile foreign online disinformation efforts is a noble cause. The problem is that Meta has proven to have a clear conflict of interest on these matters. Meta owes increased transparency to the voting public and its users when it comes to relaying its methodology in targeting what the company sees as misinformation. At a minimum, Stone should be nowhere near communications on these issues. – Washington Examiner


A retired three-star Coast Guard vice admiral has publicly criticized both the Biden administration and the Department of Defense for continuing to discharge service members who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine. – Washington Examiner

The U.S. Army is subjecting unvaccinated soldiers to punishments, including prohibiting off-base travel, halting promotions, and enforcing involuntary terminations from the service, which active-duty service members claim is a strategy to pressure them to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs. – Fox News

The Marine Corps University, the Marine Corps’ professional military education university, recently launched its Wargaming Cloud, a wargaming informational library. – The National Interest

With the start of the federal government’s new fiscal year, and as required by law, the Space Development Agency formally transitioned into the U.S. Space Force on Oct. 1. – Defense News 

Keith Holcomb writes: Said more bluntly, articles should not be viewed as “partisan political positions” or “political narratives” that are rigidly held and result in DC-style “doubling down” when met with constructive criticism. Rather, if the Marine Corps truly values learning, then articles should be seen as a means of improving the learning and understanding of all, author and readers alike. Ultimately, what matters is whether or not articles or papers contribute to accomplishing missions and making Marines. – The National Interest

John Ferrari writes: The strategy and budget prepared by the Pentagon in 2020 is no longer appropriate for the world we now face. We have only a few years to refill the magazines, reset the force, and prepare for a very dangerous second half of the 2020s. – Breaking Defense

Long War

The U.S. military said it killed a leader of the Islamist militant al-Shabaab group with an air strike in Somalia over the weekend, while the insurgents claimed responsibility for a new attack. – Reuters

Islamic extremist fighters on Monday targeted the local Somali government headquarters in the Hiran region, leaving 20 people dead and 36 wounded in a town at the center of a recent mobilization against the extremists, officials and witnesses said. – Associated Press 

Nine people, including senior regional officials, were killed in twin car bombings claimed by Al-Shabaab in central Somalia on Monday, police said, as the government escalates an offensive against the Islamists. – Agence France-Presse 

Overnight and Monday morning, IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria, including the towns of Si’ir and Shuyukh Al ‘arrub. – Arutz Sheva