Fdd's overnight brief

September 12, 2022

In The News


The United States imposed sanctions on Friday on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and its minister, accusing them of being tied to a disruptive July cyberattack on Albania and engaging in other cyber activities against the United States and its allies. – Reuters

France, Germany and Britain have urged Iran to agree to a proposed relaunch of the agreement limiting its nuclear program, saying final texts of a deal have been readied but Iran “has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity.” – Associated Press

Albania’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that one of its border systems was hit by a cyberattack that came from the same Iranian source as an earlier attack that led the country to break diplomatic relations with Iran. – Associated Press

France, Britain and Germany on Saturday said they had “serious doubts” about Iran’s intentions to revive a nuclear deal, comments that were rejected by Tehran and called “very untimely” by Moscow. – Reuters

Iran is ready to continue its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, calling on the agency “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” over Tehran’s nuclear activities. – Reuters

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have seized a foreign vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling 757,000 litres of diesel out of the country, the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. – Reuters

Iran rejected as “unconstructive” a statement by France, Britain and Germany on Saturday that said Tehran’s demands were jeopardising talks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iranian state media reported. – Reuters

Israel does not anticipate a renewal of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers before the U.S. mid-term elections in November, an Israeli official said on Sunday, after European parties to the negotiations voiced frustration with Tehran. – Reuters

The feasible timeline for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has passed, and negotiation with Tehran should focus on a new, stronger text, a senior Israeli official told reporters prior to Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s arrival in Berlin on Sunday night. – Jerusalem Post

An Iranian opposition outlet on Sunday named the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander and other officials allegedly behind several cyberattacks over the past year, including the recent hack on Albania that led Tirana to sever diplomatic ties with Tehran. – Times of Israel

The Mossad thwarted dozens of terror attacks against Israelis and Jews worldwide, Mossad chief David Barnea revealed on Monday in the first public speech he gave since taking office last June.  – Jerusalem Post

Tehran has avoided official comment on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, but some Iranians expressed outright hostility, accusing Britain of having supported the late shah’s regime. – Agence France-Presse

The connection between Iran and al Qaeda remains one of interest and concern two decades after the attack on 9/11, with some questions still unanswered as families of victims from the attack continue to seek clarity. – CNN

Iran will gain immediate access to billions of dollars in cash assets on the day a new nuclear accord is signed, money that will flow to Tehran’s top terror organizations before Congress has a chance to review the deal, former senior U.S. officials and experts told the Washington Free Beacon. – Washington Free Beacon

Dennis Ross writes: Instead, sooner or later, Iran will draw closer to a weapons capability, and either the Israelis will act militarily with uncertain results or the Barak prophecy will materialize. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, so will Saudis and others in the region, and the NPT will unravel. That there are many serious people already beginning to argue for the outcome Barak feared should be a wake-up call. It’s time to change it.- Washington Institute 

Russia & Ukraine

The hasty flight of Russians from the village was part of a stunning new reality that took the world by surprise over the weekend: The invaders of February are on the run in some parts of Ukraine they seized early in the conflict. – Washington Post

After months on the edge of Russian occupation, and two days of heavy bombardment, residents of this beleaguered town came out Saturday to clean up — and celebrate, as a fast-moving Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed Russian forces into a stunning retreat from key strategic areas in the northeast Kharkiv region. – Washington Post

As Russian forces hastily retreated in northeastern Ukraine on Saturday in one of their most embarrassing setbacks of the war, President Vladimir V. Putin was at a park in Moscow, presiding over the grand opening of a Ferris wheel. – New York Times

A lightning Ukrainian offensive in the country’s northeast has reshaped what had become a grinding war of attrition. In a matter of days, Russian front lines have buckled, Moscow’s troops have fled and one village after another has come once more beneath Ukraine’s yellow and blue banner. – New York Times

Ukraine’s rout of Russian forces this weekend is creating a new kind of political challenge for President Vladimir V. Putin: It undercuts the image of competence and might that he has worked for two decades to build. – New York Times

In a war that has for months been defined by grinding battles between two armies along largely static front lines ranging 1,500 miles, the stunning speed of Ukraine’s advance in the country’s northeast has reshaped the conflict in a matter of days. – New York Times

The US is threatening to impose sanctions on buyers of Russian oil that rely on western services and fail to abide by the price cap proposed by G7 countries, as the Biden administration vows to strictly enforce the policy once it takes effect. – Financial Times

Ukraine’s rapid territorial gains have caught Russia off guard at a vulnerable section of their front line in an attack that threatens an important supply hub used by Moscow in the east, military analysts said. – Reuters

Russia’s invasion caused over $97 billion in direct damages to Ukraine through June 1, but it could cost nearly $350 billion to rebuild the country, a report released Friday by the World Bank, Ukrainian government and European Commission shows. – Reuters

The United States is deeply concerned by the Russian government’s treatment of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday. – Reuters

Operations at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine have been fully stopped as a safety measure, Energoatom, the state agency in charge of the plant, said on Sunday. – Reuters

Russian nationalists called angrily on Sunday for President Vladimir Putin to make immediate changes to ensure ultimate victory in the Ukraine war, a day after Moscow was forced to abandon its main bastion in northeastern Ukraine. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address U.S. defense contractors later this month when he headlines the annual Future Force Capabilities Conference and Exhibition hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). – The Hill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was surprised by former President Trump’s continued praise of Russian President Putin even after Moscow invaded Ukraine, given how much information Trump was privy to about the fellow world leader. – The Hill

The chief political leader of Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas Ismail Haniyeh landed in Moscow on Saturday ahead of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Gaza-based terror group said. – Jerusalem Post

The rapid success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in recent days has left Russian forces retreating and yet more videos on social media of abandoned tanks and artillery units. And for Russia, every piece of hardware destroyed or abandoned on the battlefield underlines a growing consensus among Russia watchers that Moscow’s losses of both personnel and equipment in Ukraine are reaching a potential breaking point. – Breaking Defense

Editorial: A nuclear escalation can’t be accepted as normal warfare. Radiation fallout could reach NATO territory. NATO will have to increase its military aid and let Ukraine take the fight inside Russia. We hope Western leaders are making clear to Mr. Putin that he will become a global pariah if he does go nuclear. The prospect is horrific to contemplate, but this is the reality of a world with dictators on the march after decades of Western complacency. Ukraine’s advances are encouraging, but Mr. Putin’s threat to the world is far from over. – Wall Street Journal 

Ross Douthat writes: Throughout the war, the immediate policies of Ukraine hawks have been mostly vindicated even as their long-term strategy has remained more doubtful. This is likely to be the season where that gap closes, where the speculative becomes reality, and we learn more about what war in the longer term will mean. In which case we should hope both for rapid Ukrainian advances, and for wisdom, care and caution to accompany any victories they may win. – New York Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It’s unclear if Russia will react to the recent Ukrainian offensive. If it prefers to use separatists and proxies to fight and then abandons them or blames them for the debacle, Moscow could be setting up a stratagem that enables it to save face by blaming others. If Russia feels it is losing too much material, it might respond with more attacks on Ukrainian cities. The question is whether NATO powers have equipped Ukraine with the right weapons and defenses to stop any Russian reaction. – Jerusalem Post

Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth write: The EU must impose measures to lessen the blow of Putin’s plan to weaponize winter. Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo perhaps said it best: The EU needs to “stop the bleeding” of high energy prices. Its energy ministers must work with Ukraine, NATO and the International Atomic Energy Agency to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear disaster at the ZNPP, its containment and clean-up. This war is bigger than Ukraine and victory can be secured only through offensive action. The Russian military is approaching its most vulnerable moment. – The Hill

William Courtney writes: Russian business leaders have obligations to employees, owners, suppliers and customers. They must make reasonable efforts to protect those interests. Although business leaders may fear Kremlin power, they may also realize that Russia’s war, isolation and economic erosion pose rising threats to their businesses. The choice is theirs to make. – The Hill

Giselle Donnelly writes: The United States can make this the moment when the previous “Ukraine can win” proposition becomes a “Ukraine will win” prospect. The Biden administration has traveled a long road from Kabul to Kyiv. It must now press on, not only to restore Ukrainian sovereignty and liberty but to revive the world’s faith in American power and principle. – American Enterprise Institute

Maxim Starchak writes:  Any agreements on a demilitarized or nuclear safety and security protection zone will be difficult to implement — the whole concept would collapse in the event of a provocative act; in the event of shelling, for example, either side could immediately withdraw from the deal. […]It can only be hoped that the plant will remain a peaceful site of nuclear deterrence, and that the Kremlin is not interested in a nuclear catastrophe on the territory under its control. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Ben Cahill writes: The oil market is full of clever, rapacious people with strong incentives to bend or break rules. If the price cap is imposed, economic theory will collide with the messy reality of the market. Still, this is a better option than the EU embargo and insurance ban. […]It will avoid the worst-case scenario of a market shortage and a huge price spike—but probably will not dramatically cut Russia’s oil revenue. – Center for Strategic and  International Studies

Anthony B. Kim writes: Unsurprisingly, there is nothing “humanitarian” in the new doctrine either. […]Mr. Putin clearly has imperialist ambitions, and has no compunction about using naked, violent aggression to expand his empire. As long as his barbaric invasion of Ukraine grinds on, he deserves no seat at a gathering of supposedly civilized world leaders. Russia should be unseated from the G-20 before the heads of state descend on Bali this November. – Heritage Foundation

Lionel Beehner and Thomas Sherlock write: The revival of the appeal of Putin’s Russia for the Western cultural right will depend on several factors, including how long the carnage lasts in Ukraine. While many in the United States are repulsed by Russia’s brutality, others wonder whether the mounting cost of defending Ukraine, given growing inflation and a looming recession, is necessary to safeguard U.S. core interests and values. […]The combined, if uncoordinated, political influence of these strange bedfellows may allow for the creeping rehabilitation of Putin and his cultural policies. – Foreign Policy

Brian Whitmore writes: How Moscow would react to a new liberation of Eastern Europe would depend on how a defeat in Ukraine changes the internal political dynamics inside Russia. But in any scenario, Russia would be weakened militarily, economically, and politically. Its capacity to resist the new reality would be diminished. Inevitably, there would be calls in some Western capitals not to “humiliate” Moscow. But such appeals should be resisted. […]A free Belarus combined with a truly independent, sovereign, and whole Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova would be a game-changer. – Foreign Policy


In his just-completed role as head of the Israeli military’s Home Front command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin was in charge of bolstering a network of early-warning systems and shelters in case of rocket attacks. It may have been the ideal preparation for his new assignment. – Associated Press

The U.S. mediator in a longstanding maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon said on Friday that the negotiations to resolve the conflict have made “very good progress” but more work was required to reach a final agreement. – Reuters

In the latest of nightly raids by Israeli security forces — dubbed Operation Break the Wave — the IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police operated at a number of towns in the West Bank overnight, arresting 12 suspects, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced. – Jerusalem Post

Palestinian officials on Sunday dismissed claims by Israeli security sources that the Palestinian Authority has lost control of areas in the northern West Bank, especially in Jenin and Nablus, and warned of more violence and bloodshed due to Israel’s ongoing counter-terrorism operations. – Jerusalem Post

Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar on Sunday said terrorist influences from social media algorithms that sensationalize online information are the most complex challenge the Israel Security Agency confronts in defending Israeli democracy. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Yair Lapid is traveling to Germany this week to emphasize the deep strategic and historical relationship between Israel and the largest country in the European Union, and will discuss the threat posed by Iran with German leaders, Israel’s ambassador in Berlin said on Sunday. – Times of Israel

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides participated on Sunday in the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism of The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at Reichman University and argued that the leadership in Jerusalem must support the two-state solution. – Arutz Sheva

Israel has asked Qatar to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas into ordering Palestinian Authority security forces to step up their activities against Palestinian militants in the West Bank, particularly in Jenin and Nablus, amid an increasing number of attacks and attempted attacks on Israelis. – Haaretz

Editorial: The end of an era also marks the start of a new one. We send our condolences to the Royal Family, the British people and the British Commonwealth, and wish King Charles III the wisdom and fortitude necessary to carry out his duties successfully in challenging times. And we hope to see King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla visit Israel in their official capacity as the heads of the British Royal Family. They would receive a royal welcome. – Jerusalem Post

Stephen M. Flatow writes: How King Charles III interacts with Israel, and whether or not he visits his illustrious family’s graves in Jerusalem, remains to be seen. But the facts about why his relatives are buried there, and who the city and the country belong to, are part of a historical record that cannot be denied. – Jerusalem Post 

Eric R. Mandel writes: The false promise by the Biden administration that sanctions relief won’t benefit the Revolutionary Guards Corps will be on full display as folly with an enriched Hezbollah threatening Israel from Lebanon and coordinating with the Revolutionary Guard’s proxies in Syria, Iraq and Judea and Samaria (West Bank). If a new intifada draws its lifeblood from American sanctions relief, Israeli civilians will be the first to pay the price. The repercussions for the rest of us follow. – Jerusalem Post


According to Matthew Levitt, director of the Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hezbollah wants to “scratch their resistance itch.” – Jerusalem Post

IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen.) Aviv Kohavi stressed that the quiet on the northern front is “more deceptive than ever,” warning that “the state of Lebanon and Hezbollah will bear the consequences if the State of Israel’s sovereignty is harmed,” during a ceremony marking Maj.-Gen. Ori Gordin’s entrance as the head of IDF Northern Command on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

In a new military assessment cited by Channel 12 news Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces are said to believe there is a “reasonable possibility” of a confrontation with the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group as tensions heighten amid US-mediated talks over a maritime dispute. – Times of Israel


Mr. Samim is the first Afghan pilot to make the transition to flying in the U.S. after a harrowing escape through Kabul airport with his wife and three young children last year. He upgraded his qualifications here with the assistance of a network of American veterans, who helped him navigate the U.S. system and raise the $10,000 needed to cover the cost of training. – Wall Street Journal

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the ruling Taliban on Sunday to re-open girls’ high schools and applauded female students in the eastern province of Paktia who residents said have been publicly protesting against the measure. – Reuters

Retired Gen. Frank McKenzie on Sunday warned about what he sees as a reduced intelligence capability in Afghanistan after the United States withdrew ground troops last year. “I think that we have a very, very limited ability to see into Afghanistan right now,” McKenzie told CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan during an appearance on the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. – Reuters

Beth Bailey writes: Economic and security concerns only increase as allies remain stuck in Afghanistan. Sources tell me the Taliban have commenced again carrying out door-to-door searches in parts of Afghanistan. They continue killing their enemies with impunity. A lack of international donations and a series of natural disasters portend a dire winter for many economically struggling Afghans, with famine possible for 6 million . If the Biden administration does not rapidly increase the pace of evacuations, its promises will mean little for our imperiled allies. – Washington Examiner

James M. Page writes: What remains uncertain is not only how far the United States is willing to go in exercising its “over the horizon” capacity, but also the details of the conditions to which it is subject (i.e., airspace access, basing, and on-the-ground intelligence, etc.), and the reactions and responses it will result in. […]Thus, a careful reconsideration of policy and strategy toward Afghanistan is necessary, including how drones are used and how the “over the horizon” approach can be used to address current and emergent threats. – The National Interest


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will urge Moscow to send goods though a U.N.-backed Black Sea corridor when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, broadcaster Haberturk said on Friday, seeking to keep Russia engaged in the arrangement. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Friday that it expected President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the implementation of a deal on Ukrainian grain exports, which both have criticised, when they meet in Uzbekistan next week. – Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkish security forces had arrested a “senior executive” of the jihadist Islamic State group. – Agence France-Presse

Nicholas Danforth writes: He offered no concessions on sanctions over Turkey’s S-400 purchase, and — despite a brief flurry of interest in Turkey running the Kabul airport after America’s withdrawal — did not go out of his way to solicit Turkish cooperation on other issues. Whatever policies Turkey has carried out with regard to Ukraine, it has carried out against this backdrop. To the extent Ankara’s advocates believe the West should be pleased with these policies, that suggests a more solicitous approach to Erdogan was not necessary. To the extent Washington is still frustrated with Turkey’s behavior, it can at least take comfort in the fact it is a consequence of Russia’s failure.  – War on the Rocks

Gulf States

Iraq has received requests to increase the quantities of crude oil it exports to Asia, the head of state oil marketer SOMO told state news agency INA on Friday. China and India will not give up on Iraqi crude oil even if Russian oil is currently offered to them at a discount, Alaa al-Yasiri said, adding that his country is exporting all surplus quantities of crude that are available for export. – Reuters

Four Turkish soldiers were killed in a clash with militants in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defence ministry said late on Sunday. The ministry said the incident took place in a region where Turkey was carrying out a cross border operation. – Reuters

David Pollock writes: In addition, Bahrainis of both sects are nearly twice as likely as their Saudi or Emirati counterparts to agree with this statement: “We should listen to those among us who are trying to interpret Islam in a more moderate, tolerant, and modern way.” A remarkable 64% of Bahrainis agree with that assertion today. This finding most likely reflects, at least in good part, a widespread desire on the island to soften the edges of the deep sectarian demographic divide, and marginalize the militants on either side, whether inside or outside the country. – Washington Institute

Middle East & North Africa

A Syrian doctor working for the Mossad was arrested by Lebanese authorities at Beirut Airport, Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet Al-Akhbar reported on Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

Katherine Zimmerman and Brian Carter write: Current trends in southern Yemen will favor AQAP. Factional infighting within the Yemeni government diverts attention from AQAP. The UAE’s shift away from Yemen has reduced its ability and willingness to prevent the forces it had trained from focusing on the ongoing power struggle in southern Yemen rather than counterterrorism. […]Now is the time to work with the various Yemeni factions to better unify the nascent coalition government and thereby keep AQAP down and out. – American Enterprise Institute

Mohamed Abdelaziz writes: Fewer Egyptians appear open to another of the government’s policy efforts when it comes to interpretations of Islam. Despite the Egyptian government’s promotion and support for religious reform, less than a quarter of Egyptians now agree with this proposition: “We should listen to those among us who are trying to interpret Islam in a more moderate, tolerant, and modern direction.” These numbers, too, remain unchanged over the past year, though represent a drop from when 31% supported such a proposition in October 2017. – Washington Institute

Jonathan M. Winer writes: Convening municipal leaders to update Libya’s constitution with provisions to share the country’s wealth at the local level might unleash new energies and unlock new solutions. At the very least, it would provide an alternative to relying on national figures who have proven themselves incapable of forming a unitary and inclusive government or even agreeing on a schedule for elections. Going local could avoid the trap of relying on those with vested interests in maintaining the destructive Libyan status quo, as sha’biyah leaders have much to gain from a more inclusive approach to sharing the country’s power and wealth. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

The United States has made clear it has no hostile intent toward North Korea and continues to seek diplomacy with the country, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday aboard Air Force One. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply concerned” by North Korea’s new law enshrining a right to use pre-emptive nuclear strikes to protect itself, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday. – Reuters

North Korea’s strongman leader, Kim Jong-un, has an explicit message for the world: His country is a nuclear state and it could make use of its nuclear warheads at any time. – New York Sun

Ellen Kim writes: The timing of the North Korean statement, in addition to the commemoration of the founding of the state, may also have something to do with the start of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) scheduled for next week and the recent conclusion of joint military exercises. While stating the conditions under which North Korea would carry out a preemptive strike helps to reduce opacity about North Korean intentions (when such conditions were previously not enumerated), the reported commitment to automation of command and control at lower levels of authority also raises implications for crisis instability. – Center for Strategic and  International Studies


Chinese state media say the country’s top legislator decried sanctions against Russia during a recent visit to the country, underscoring China’s backing of Moscow in its war on Ukraine despite claims of neutrality. – Associated Press

Western countries face a dilemma as the U.N. Human Rights Council opens on Monday: confront China over human rights violations in its Xinjiang region and risk failing or miss the biggest opportunity to bring accountability in years. – Reuters

Xi Jinping will leave China for the first time in more than two years for a trip this week to Central Asia where he will meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin, just a month before he is set to cement his place as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. – Reuters

The Biden administration plans next month to broaden curbs on U.S shipments to China of semiconductors used for artificial intelligence and chipmaking tools, several people familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Friday that Beijing would not cooperate with the U.N. human rights office following the release of a long-awaited report on alleged human rights abuses in the far western region of Xinjiang. – Reuters

Arthur Herman writes: In the case of the oceans, for 200 years that was the British navy; in the 20th century it was the U.S. Given what we know of China’s behavior in other circumstances, American leadership in space is essential for the future of humanity. Kennedy himself struck this note in his Rice University speech. “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won,” he said. […]Sixty years later, we face a similar choice when it comes to the space race. How we respond will determine the future of space and the future of freedom in the 21st century. –  Wall Street Journal

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: Xi will come under pressure in Uzbekistan. The Chinese leader’s balancing act is more uncomfortable than ever — but it isn’t over yet. Not least because Beijing knows all too well that Putin has nowhere else to turn. – Bloomberg

Adrian Wooldridge writes: Every technological innovation puts more power in the hands of surveillance capitalists who prosper by solving our everyday problems. […]The problem with surveillance is not just that it produces obvious monstrosities such as concentration camps. It is that it addresses very real problems — from identifying terrorist threats to making it easier to pay for lattes — even as it puts untold power in the hands of our masters. – Bloomberg

Gary Clyde Hufbauer writes: It’s in the U.S. national interest to back the $80 billion capital increase proposed by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and embrace an IDB that will do a lot more than simply lend money. And the U.S. would be foolish to think that it alone can counter China in the region. – International Business Times

Max Primorac writes: Congress must take on the leadership role and reject IDB Invest’s multi-billion-dollar funding request. It should investigate how a development bank, established by the U.S. government and meant to raise Latin America out of poverty, has been transformed into an agent of influence on behalf of Chinese expansionism in our own backyard. – The Hill

South Asia

The United States is ramping up support for Pakistan and beginning a days-long military airlift into the country as it struggles to battle devastating floods that are expected to take years to recover from. – Washington Post

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday visited several areas of Pakistan ravaged by floods, calling for increased global financial support at the end of a two-day trip aimed at raising awareness of the disaster. – Reuters

Sri Lanka’s president on Friday asked officials to resolve obstacles to projects backed by India, a government statement said, without specifying what the obstacles were. – Reuters

Indian and Chinese soldiers will disengage at a disputed area along a remote western Himalayan border by Sept. 12, India’s foreign ministry said on Friday, after more than two years of a standoff following a deadly clash. – Reuters


The drones are adding to tensions between the two sides which have escalated in the past month to new highs. China, which claims self-governed Taiwan as its territory, has intensified the presence of its military in the Taiwan Strait, flying jets and sailing ships ever closer to the island, testing its defenses and raising the risk of conflict. – New York Times

The U.S. Army’s Pacific commander, General Charles Flynn, said he is in no rush to withdraw rocket launchers and other equipment from a Japanese army base at the edge of the East China Sea even after the joint training they were used in ended. – Reuters

Japan and the United States are working on arranging a summit between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Joe Biden in New York around Sept. 20 to discuss security issues in East Asia, Kyodo news reported on Saturday. – Reuters

Seventeen Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, on Saturday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, as Beijing continues its military activities near the island. – Reuters

Lithuania is set to open its first representative office in Taiwan this week, setting the course for further tensions with Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday. – Bloomberg

John C. Hulsman writes: It is also worth remembering that democracy has less chance of bearing fruit in the absence of national security and regional stability and that consistent U.S. engagement can strengthen both. There is a magical middle intellectual ground here between over-involvement and under-involvement. Greater U.S. diplomatic and economic ties with Uzbekistan, and Central Asia as a whole, serve American interests in the challenging era we find ourselves in. – The Hill


France, Germany and three other European Union countries said they would press ahead with the implementation of a 15% minimum tax on large companies as soon as next year, despite a veto by Hungary on the internationally agreed plan. Since each of the EU’s 27 member states holds a veto over most tax decisions, Hungary’s move has made bloc-wide legislation to implement the plan impossible. – Wall Street Journal 

White House officials are growing increasingly alarmed about Europe’s energy crisis and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to force a bleak winter on the continent. – Washington Post

An area of northern Switzerland near the border with Germany will be proposed as the site for a planned deep-underground nuclear waste site on which construction is due to start in 2045, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE) said on Saturday. – Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday that Athens would try to keep communication channels with Ankara open despite recent “unacceptable” comments from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday met with the head of Turkish defence firm Baykar and said the company would set up a factory in Ukraine to build unmanned aerial vehicles. – Reuters

The European Union’s Brexit chief Maros Sefcovic said he could reduce physical customs checks across the Irish Sea to just a few lorries a day, the Financial Times reported on Monday. – Reuters

Poland is interested in buying power from Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi nuclear plant, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in Kyiv on Friday after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. – Reuters

European Union finance ministers on Friday backed a 5 billion euro ($5 billion) loan for Ukraine to help keep its schools, hospitals and other needed operations running as it fights against Russia’s invasion. – Reuters


Members of an Islamic State affiliate in Mali killed about 30 civilians in an attack this week on a town in a violence-plagued area bordering Burkina Faso and Niger, a coalition of pro-government militia said late on Friday. – Reuters

Rwanda may provide logistical support to help Benin tackle a worsening Islamist insurgency that is threatening parts of the West African region, a Benin government spokesperson said on Saturday. – Reuters

The Tigray forces battling Ethiopian troops say they’re willing to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and participate in a peace process led by the African Union, a significant shift to which the government has not yet responded. – Associated Press

Latin America

Venezuela will seek the extradition of a former top energy official and launched fresh legal action against a former oil minister, who it is also trying to extradite from Europe, the state attorney-general’s office said on Friday. – Reuters

The Venezuelan government defended the detention of United States citizens, rejecting an earlier statement from the Department of State marking the two-year confinement of a Marine veteran. – Associated Press


A lawmaker in Greece’s main opposition party filed a complaint with the top court’s prosecutor on Friday over what he said were repeated attempts to infect his mobile phone with the Predator malware, the latest incident in a phonetapping scandal. – Reuters

Hackers continue to abuse the endemic Log4j vulnerability months after its discovery, according to a new report from Cisco researchers who discovered a campaign targeting energy companies across the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries. – The Record

At the government headquarters in NATO-member Montenegro, the computers are unplugged, the internet is switched off and the state’s main websites are down. The blackout comes amid a massive cyberattack against the small Balkan state which officials say bears the hallmark of pro-Russian hackers and its security services. – Associated Press


The U.N. nuclear watchdog is satisfied with the engagement shown so far by the United States, Britain and Australia on their AUKUS alliance’s plan to supply Australia with nuclear submarines, a report by the watchdog seen by Reuters showed. – Reuters

Although the results of an investigation are pending, it’s unlikely that a Chinese alloy built into a magnet connected to the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter’s engine presents a security risk or safety issue to the operational aircraft, the chief weapons buyer for the Defense Department told USNI News on Friday. – USNI News

Japan, Canada and the United States wrapped up Noble Raven 22 this week, an exercise that took place in the waters from Guam to the South China Sea, according to a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force news release. – USNI News

Ligado Networks’ plan to establish a terrestrial 5G network could jeopardize some older U.S. Defense Department satellites, according to a congressionally mandated report released Friday. The company is preparing to start operationalizing its system as soon as next month. – Defense News

When the United Nations working group attempting to hammer out international norms to govern military activities in space reconvenes on Sept. 12, on the table will be a formal resolution offered by the US for a ban on testing of destructive anti-satellite missiles, Breaking Defense has learned. – Breaking Defense

Kris Osborn writes: The growing cyber-reliance of weapons systems reinforces the need to harden command and control networks and computer processing systems for America’s new ICBMs, as advanced connectivity can introduce both novel advantages and risks.[…]Finally, along with designing and building the missiles themselves, prototypes of which already exist, the joint Northrop Grumman-Air Force effort will rebuild the entire ICBM infrastructure, including new launch facilities and launch centers. Northrop Grumman is reconstructing as many as 450 launch facilities. – The National Interest

Long War

Twenty-one years after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Biden promised to never forget “the precious lives stolen from us” as he honored victims of the worst terrorist strike in American history with a somber wreath-laying ceremony under the pouring rain at the Pentagon. – New York Times

More than 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President Biden has shifted the way America fights the war on terror by launching fewer drone strikes, embracing an over-the-horizon approach to killing terrorists in Afghanistan and leveraging alliances. – The Hill

David Von Drehle writes: Though the American public is tired of war, and the United States’ leaders prefer to act as if it is all over, American warriors must continue to fight because our enemies still have a vote. As another 9/11 anniversary comes and goes, we owe it to those warriors to remember them, to care for them, and to honor their sacrifices of body and soul. – Washington Post

Dovid Efune writes: They are nestled precariously in the remote mountains of the Hindu Kush. It is to our great shame that we have forgotten the lesson of 9/11 and abandoned wholesale the War on Terror. It is also to our own great peril. – New York Sun