Fdd's overnight brief

September 13, 2022

In The News


Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was ‘unlikely’ the US and Iran would reach a new nuclear deal anytime soon, adding to Western officials’ downbeat assessment over the prospects for reviving an accord that President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. – Bloomberg

Iran has agreed to release the crews of two Greek tankers it seized in May in response to the confiscation of oil by the United States from an Iranian-flagged tanker in Greece, a Greek seafarers union said. – Reuters

A credible US military threat is needed to pressure Iran to negotiate a stronger tougher deal and to halt Tehran’s production of atomic weapons, an Israeli official said Monday after Prime Minister Yair Lapid wrapped up his two-day visit to Germany. – Jerusalem Post 

The US wants to be involved in joint regional missile defense against Iran, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Security Mira Resnick said at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel does not have a credible military threat that could destroy Iran’s entire nuclear program, but it still can do it in other ways, according to former prime minister Ehud Olmert. – Jerusalem Post 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday revealed to United Nations diplomats that Iran has vastly increased the number of its advanced centrifuges capable of enriching weapons-grade uranium, saying that the world needs to prepare sanctions against Tehran. – Times of Israel 

The US State Department rejected on Monday remarks made by a senior Israeli official who claimed that the Biden administration has effectively given up on the Iranian nuclear talks, insisting that Washington’s efforts to reach an agreement with Tehran were ongoing. – Times of Israel 

A senior Israeli official called on Europe and the US on Monday to begin talking about demands for a “longer, stronger” nuclear agreement with Iran, saying current talks aimed at reviving a 2015 pact were dead after Jerusalem provided proof that Tehran had not been forthright during negotiations. – Times of Israel 

Mossad chief David Barnea on Monday said Israel would not participate in the “charade” of a renewed nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, and warn that the emerging agreement would “not provide immunity” for Tehran from the spy agency’s operations. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: Most important, the US should make sure Iran understands that its patience isn’t infinite. It should quietly lay out potential red lines — such as enriching uranium to weapons-grade — and develop credible options for enforcing them. The White House should support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by speeding delivery of key systems such as refueling tankers for long-range air strikes, and should continue to conduct joint exercises to prepare for a conflict. – Bloomberg

Benny Avni writes: The country’s ailing supreme leader would rather drag out the negotiations than complete a deal, and he seems to enjoy humiliating European and American diplomats, exposing them as the deal-eager party. Unlike them, Israel refuses “to avert our eyes” and ignore Iran’s long term intentions, the Mossad’s Mr. Barnea said. – New York Sun

Benny Avni writes: With the IRGC’s dominance over so much in Iran, the Guards will seek a similarly convenient partner in Mr. Khamanei’s successor. That is, of course, unless Mr. Khamanei manages to last as long as Hyman Roth even as rumors of his death continue to swirl. – New York Sun

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran says it has warned countries in the region against hosting US and Israeli forces. It does not name the countries specifically. Clearly, Iran is upping the rhetoric against US Central Command and Israel and also the Gulf states as a warning. The two-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords takes place this month, and Iran is indicating its increasing concern. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Since the ground forces announced this drone, it may mean that it is not at the forefront of Iran’s anti-Israel capabilities. Usually, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its units based in places such as Syria are the ones that threaten Israel. The ground forces have recently conducted a series of drills using drones, as well as a new Fateh-type missile. The ground forces want to prove that they are relevant. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Too often, Western diplomats behave as if they have endless time to bargain and cajole in Vienna. They blame the spike in Iran’s enrichment on President Donald Trump’s exit from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the Iranian leadership’s loss of fear following President Joe Biden’s election and rationalize that Tehran is only enriching to augment its negotiating position. […]It is past time the U.S. military and intelligence community plan and drill for the necessity to secure Iran’s fissile material lest it gets lost in potential chaos following Khamenei’s death. – 19FortyFive

Russia & Ukraine

Russia withdrew more forces from the Kharkiv region on Monday, retreating from a swath of northeastern Ukraine as Kyiv’s forces continued their push into Russian-occupied territory and the government pledged that all areas seized by Moscow would be retaken. – Wall Street Journal

Jubilant residents came out to welcome Ukrainian forces back to dozens of towns and villages after six months under Russian occupation as the work of unraveling their rule began. – Wall Street Journal

A Ukrainian counteroffensive that has sent Russian forces into a hasty retreat could mark a turning point in the war and raise pressure on Moscow to call up additional forces if it hopes to prevent further Ukrainian advances, U.S. and Western officials said Monday. – Washington Post

After a weekend of steep battlefield setbacks for Russia, the Kremlin’s top spokesman said Monday that the war in Ukraine would continue until President Vladimir Putin’s aims are reached. – Washington Post 

Against a backdrop of tightening press freedom and repression amid the war in Ukraine, Russians voted overwhelmingly for pro-Kremlin candidates in regional and municipal elections over the weekend, according to results published on Monday. – New York Times 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will speak with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters, as Ukraine continues to press the global lender for a full-fledged financing program. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that it was still early days in Ukraine’s counteroffensive against the Russian military, but Ukrainian forces have made “significant progress.” – Reuters

U.S. leaders from President Joe Biden on down are being careful not to declare a premature victory after a Ukrainian offensive forced Russian troops into a messy retreat in the north. Instead, military officials are looking toward the fights yet to come and laying out plans to provide Ukraine more weapons and expand training, while warily awaiting Russia’s response to the sudden, stunning battlefield losses. – Associated Press 

Trump national security adviser John Bolton on Monday said the threat of nuclear war with Russia is “a lot closer” than before. – The Hill

The leader of Chechnya is criticizing the Russian army as it loses occupied territory to a Ukrainian counteroffensive. – The Hill

Nearly 100 civilians have been killed in Ukraine so far this month, bringing the total civilian death count to nearly 6,000 since the war began, according to a new United Nations (U.N.) report on the war. – The Hill

The extraordinary speed and success of Ukraine’s northern counteroffensive is raising possibilities that few entertained when Russia invaded Ukraine in February: That its military could be defeated, or that it might even collapse. – Bloomberg

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the political head of the Hamas terror group in Moscow on Monday, in a move likely to aggravate an already strained relationship between Israel and the Kremlin. – Times of Israel 

A Russia state-media host has called for the country’s generals to be “shot” for having allowed troops to retreat from huge swathes of Ukraine — part of a wider meltdown among President Vladimir Putin’s cheerleaders. – Business Insider

Editorial: The forces of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have demonstrated ingenuity and exploited the powerful artillery and other weapons provided by the United States to wreak havoc on Russia’s supply lines. But one counteroffensive does not make a victory. Ukraine must keep the pressure up to expel Russia from other areas […]. The exhilaration of recent days must be a reminder to the U.S. Congress and to Europe that a maximum effort to supply Ukraine now is an investment in a successful outcome later. – Washington Post 

David Ignatius writes: The Biden administration has consistently stressed three points about this war. It is committed to support Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself; it doesn’t want a war with Russia; and it believes that, eventually, this conflict must be settled by diplomacy. All three goals should come into sharper focus after Ukraine’s successful offensive. With its courage in battle, Ukraine is rewriting the history of the 21st century. In stopping a dictator’s brazen invasion, it has become a symbol of the values that the West cherishes. – Washington Post 

Walter Russell Mead writes: Difficult as it may be, President Biden should not blink. The use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would imperil the security of our NATO allies and set an example of nuclear-backed aggression that would profoundly destabilize the international system. With the support of congressional leaders in both parties, Mr. Biden needs to tell Russia that a nuclear attack on Ukraine would be an act of war against the U.S. If Vladimir Putin chooses the path of Nikita Khrushchev, Joe Biden needs to stand like JFK. – Wall Street Journal

James Stavridis writes: Our job in the West is to put the right weapons in the hands of the Ukrainians so that they can achieve the best results on the battlefield and the strongest position at the negotiating table, which is probably still months away. But the danger of a widening conflict is rising, and we will clearly have a dangerous autumn ahead of us. – Bloomberg

Leonid Bershidsky writes: No plans were made for pessimistic scenarios — and none seem to exist today. In a war, the side that isn’t prepared for setbacks can come apart at the first signs of trouble; overconfidence and panic are opposite sides of the same coin. Russians went in without the will to win, but they were also not primed for the risk of losing. Any setback then becomes a catastrophic blow to national pride. This will rankle even if Russia manages to halt Ukraine’s current momentum. These factors could be the ingredients of a historic defeat. – Bloomberg

Niall Ferguson writes: With the right military and financial assistance, Ukraine could celebrate the first anniversary of this war by driving Russia further back, if not all the way to the status quo ante of February 23, 2022. Without it, a winter of discontent will inevitably blow some of the stardust off the former entertainer turned war leader — and confront the Ukrainian people with the harsh reality that few struggles for national liberation have ever been won inside 12 months. – Bloomberg

Avraham Shama writes: The U.S. must be ready for Putin’s cyberattacks against the American political, economic and social systems, this time on a much bigger scale than in the past. Better yet, the U.S. should be prepared to strike Russia back hard and fast, for this seems to be the only language Putin understands. The U.S. must not lose this new cold war. – The Hill

Anthony Grant writes:  It added that despite the drawdown, isolated pockets of Russian forces remained in the area, but also that since Wednesday, Ukraine had “recaptured territory at least twice the size of Greater London.” That is a lot of ground. The question is, as the Kremlin quietly scraps its misbegotten annexation schemes, when will Mr. Putin finally come around to admitting it? – New York Sun

Dalibor Rohac writes: Russia’s monumental defeat in the Kharkiv area provides momentum that Ukraine and the West must build on. Destroying the concentration of Russian forces in Ukraine’s south, from Kherson to Donetsk, means setting Russian imperialist ambitions back by a generation. That is not only in the interest of Ukraine, but also of the United States and the broader transatlantic community. No expense should be spared in providing the Ukrainians with what they need to finish the job. – New York Post

Rich Lowry writes: The United States is a marvel of soft power, binding allies to us, attracting people all over the world who want to come here and reaching the most far-flung places in the world. What we’ve been able to provide Ukraine that has been most telling, though, hasn’t been diplomatic or moral support but rather a system that can put a rocket directly on a target up to 50 miles away. – New York Post

Tim Lister and Darya Tarasova write: The Russian military can still bring considerable power to bear in terms of its rocket, artillery and missile forces. But despite one shuffle of the high command already, its ground operations seem poorly organized, with little autonomy devolved to commanders. […]Throughout the conflict, Putin has avoided a general mobilization, which might be unpopular at home. – CNN

Alexey Kovalev writes: Russia’s inevitable defeat, deep economic malaise, and loss of great-power status at the hands of a country whose existence the Kremlin didn’t even recognize will be fertile ground for extremists. That counts double should Putin’s regime fall and a struggle for the future course of Russia ensue. If the pro-war nationalists searching for enemies to blame are the only opposition left in Russia, the world may be going down a dark and dangerous track. – Foreign Policy


Germany has made a preliminary decision to buy Israel’s Arrow 3 air-defense system instead of a rival product manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Iran has developed an advanced long-range suicide drone “designed to hit Israel’s Tel Aviv, Haifa”, the semi-official Mehr News on Monday quoted Iran’s ground forces chief as saying. – Reuters

An Israeli man was assaulted and seriously hurt on Monday evening in an apparent brawl with Palestinians near the settlement of Ma’on in the South Hebron Hills area of the West Bank, law enforcement and local authorities said. – Times of Israel

The IDF has begun operating armed drones in Judea and Samaria, Channel 12 News reported on Monday. – Arutz Sheva

Seth J. Frantzman writes: On the other side of the coin, Iran has also not suffered many casualties despite its numerous attacks. This is the balance of operations currently. Despite the rhetoric in Israel and Iran, the overall implications of the Octopus Doctrine remain to be realized. – Jerusalem Post

Trevor Filseth writes: The prime minister’s visit comes after Iran’s most recent response to the European Union’s proposed final text of the renewed deal. Although the text of the response was not made public, Secretary of State Antony Blinken couched it in negative terms, calling it a step “backwards” from reaching a final agreement. During his time in Germany, Lapid will also visit Wannsee, the site of the infamous Wannsee Conference, where Nazi leaders planned the implementation of the Holocaust, alongside several Israeli Holocaust survivors. – The National Interest


Last night, leader of the Hizbullah terror organization, Hassan Nasrallah, met with the Iranian foreign minister in Beirut, Lebanon, according to the Israeli television’s Channel 12 news. – Arutz Sheva

Israel will begin extracting gas from the Karish rig the moment it will be possible to do so, a diplomatic source said on Monday, adding a warning to Hezbollah, the terror organization that has threatened to attack the natural gas rigs should Lebanon not get what it seeks in the negotiations on setting the maritime boundary between the countries. – Haaretz

This morning, at the conference of the Institute for Anti-Terrorism Policy at Herzliya’s Reichman University, head of Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon Haliva, said: “If Hezbollah had not taken the state of Lebanon captive, it would have been part of the Abraham Accords.” – Arutz Sheva


A U.N. expert said on Monday that human rights had deteriorated under the Taliban, describing a “staggering repression” of women and girls and a “descent towards authoritarianism”, while Afghan women urged the global body to act. – Reuters

The United Nations’ Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Monday said three of its female Afghan employees had been temporarily detained by Taliban security agents and called on the group to stop intimidation of its local female staff. – Reuters

Afghan women made an impassioned plea at the UN Monday for solid international action to address the “gender apartheid” in their country since the Taliban swept to power last year. – Agence France-Presse

A Taliban pilot crashed a Black Hawk helicopter on Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing three people and injuring five others, a spokesperson for the group said. – Fox News

Quin Hillyer writes: That’s where Riou came in. The sometimes dangerous evacuation efforts were just the start of what the U.S.-friendly Afghans needed to make new lives away from the hateful, vicious Taliban. To be resettled in the Hudson Valley, near Bard, they needed massive amounts of what the Bard Center for the Study of Hate described as “the bureaucratic and legal details of resettlement that tend to baffle and dismay all but the most tenacious advocates.” As one colleague said, “Danielle has always been front and center. She actively pursues legal representation. She sorts clothes. She researches … and has quite a bit of contact with students seeking assistance. From my vantage point, she is a person who walks the walk on human rights.” – Washington Examiner

Beth Bailey writes: The events of 9/11 and almost two decades of subsequent war are filled with painful memories, particularly considering a clear return to the conditions in Afghanistan that presaged 9/11. Especially now, we must remember our difficult past and demand that our leaders pursue policies that thwart rather than empower terrorism. – Washington Examiner

Kamran Bokhari writes: Between the formal diplomatic channel via Qatar, Central Asian states like Uzbekistan, and others who are willing to help, a modus vivendi can be established that allows the United States to limit the extent to which the Taliban will engage in radical behavior. Meanwhile, it will be incumbent on American policymakers to counter outside spoilers—both allies and adversaries—whose support for a variety of Taliban factions is detrimental to U.S. interests. – Newsweek 

Carter Malkasian writes: Moreover, substantial U.S. financial assistance to the Taliban regime would likely draw reactions from China, Iran, and Russia, which would would back Afghans to oppose any U.S. influence. The same is even more true if the United States attempts to back proxies to supplant the Taliban regime. The best policy for Washington may be to monitor the situation closely rather than to inadvertently cause harm by trying to help one side or another. – Foreign Affairs


Six Syrian refugees, including three children, were found dead on a migrant boat that arrived on Monday in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said. – Reuters

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday revealed a map showing more than 10 different facilities in Syria’s Centre D’Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS) in Masyaf that are used by Iran to produce advanced missiles and weapons for its proxies. – Jerusalem Post

Samer Al-Ahmad writes: Iran’s goal of exploiting discontent with the SDF to gain tribal loyalty will not be so easy to achieve, however. Members of these clans are closely related to those in Iraq, which have suffered for many years from Iranian practices that threatened their identity, history, and very existence. – Middle East Institute

Gregory Waters writes: Ideally, the Syrian army would not need stand-alone quick reaction forces but would rather be able to reconstitute its decimated special forces, or at least create specialized units within broader formations (such as the new Parachute Regiment of the 25th Division) — structures more in line with a proper state armed force. With the sudden storm of rumors and stories earlier this year of Russia sending Syrians to Ukraine, one might think the 16th Brigade would be a perfect fit for shoring up Russian lines in Kherson or Donbas. But as this author argued in March, at present there is neither evidence of, nor motivation for, sending Syrians to fight Russia’s war. Whatever happens to the 16th Brigade, its fate remains tied to Syria. – Middle East Institute


A Turkish court ruled to release pop star Gülşen from house arrest, her lawyer said on Monday, after she was briefly jailed pending trial last month over a quip about religious schools. – Reuters

Last month, Russia’s head of military cooperation Dmitry Shugayev claimed that Turkey has signed a new deal to get a second batch of S-400 missile defense systems from Moscow. – Breaking Defense

Laura Pitel writes: Turkey has deported 9,000 alleged foreign terrorist fighters since 2011, the interior ministry has confirmed. Though the pace of deportations has slowed in recent years, 20 people were sent back to EU countries in the first seven months of 2022. An estimated 360 Britons who joined extremist groups in Syria and Iraq were “still somewhere in the region”, according to a UK government estimate in 2019. Britain has subsequently stripped some of them of their citizenship to prevent their return. But Ankara has said, quite rightly, that it will not serve as a “hotel” for foreign terror suspects. Davis needed to be sent home. – Financial Times


The Iraqi Air Defence Command (IADC) had held an inauguration ceremony for its first Thales Ground Master 403 (GM403) long-range air surveillance radar, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 11 September. – Janes

Azhar Al-Rubaie writes:  Nevertheless, the changes will likely result in a return to politics for al-Sadr, who will be eager to again participate in the electoral process along with his supporters, especially if amendments are made to allow political blocs to form alliances after the elections. If this is the case, analysts predict the amendments will largely work in al-Sadr’s favor during the formation of the next government, granting him an upper hand in the political sphere. – Washington Institute

Mohamad Bazzi writes: So far, Sadr has fallen short in his campaign to contain Iran’s influence, weaken other Shiite factions in Iraq, and exert control over the country’s power-sharing arrangement. The question now is whether Sadr’s opponents will try to exclude him from the government entirely—and risk unleashing a new cycle of bloodshed—or attempt to reach a compromise and thereby delay his grand ambition to become Iraq’s most powerful Shiite leader. – Foreign Affairs


Lebanon’s electricity crisis is a subset of a broader economic crisis plaguing the country, its worst in decades and one that the World Bank said could rank among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s in terms of its effect on living standards. – New York Times

Lebanon’s central bank said it has entirely ceased providing dollars for gasoline imports in a move that will likely lead to higher and more volatile prices as well as increased pressure on the local currency which has been steadily losing value. – Reuters

Touching on a possible maritime deal between Israel and Lebanon, Gantz said that Jerusalem is keen to make a deal. […]There has been cautious optimism that Jerusalem and Beirut are close to signing an agreement on the maritime border dispute after back-and-forth diplomacy by the United States. According to reports, the deal would see the Karish gas field remain in Israel while the Kana field will be owned by Lebanon. – Jerusalem Post


Developing country climate financing needs should start being reframed at the U.N. climate summit in November, in order to move beyond the outdated – and unfulfilled – $100 billion that rich nations had pledged to deliver each year, the U.N. high-level climate champion for Egypt said. – Reuters

An international human rights group called Monday on the United Nations to ensure that countries hosting its climate conference commit to meeting human rights standards after it documented instances of repression against environmental groups in Egypt, the host of COP27 later this year. – Associated Press

Human rights activists on Monday accused the Egyptian government — the host for November’s annual United Nations climate conference — of including local environmental groups in a general crackdown on civil society, in a way that threatened the country’s ability to meet its environmental and climate commitments. – Times of Israel

Gulf States

A United Arab Emirates judge on Monday rejected the extradition to Denmark of Briton Sanjay Shah, the main suspect in a Danish dividend tax fraud case, a lawyer representing Shah said. – Reuters

Like-minded Middle Eastern countries need to work together to defend their national security interests from Iran, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the US Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran has no preconditions in its talks with Saudi Arabia, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, calling on Riyadh to adopt a “constructive approach” to improve ties. – Reuters

Former senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on Monday lamented the failure of US President Joe Biden’s administration to expand the Abraham Accords between Arab countries and Israel which former President Donald Trump brokered in 2020. – Arutz Sheva

UN Watch calls on president of Human Rights Council to deny bid by Qatar’s ambassador over ‘racist tropes about Jews.’ – Arutz Sheva

An unofficial Abraham Accords delegation consisting of Utah governmental and economic officials made its first stop in Israel in the last few days, on a trip that will also see them visit the United Arab Emirates, in a furthering of ties following the landmark 2020 deal. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

South Korea on Tuesday warned North Korea that using its nuclear weapons would put it on a “path of self-destruction,” in unusually harsh language that came days after North Korea legislated a new law that would allow it to use its nuclear weapons preemptively. – Associated Press

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol will visit London, New York and Canada next week in his first trip to those countries, primarily to attend the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and visit the U.N. General Assembly, Yoon’s office said on Monday. – Reuters

Donald Kirk writes: Strong words — but who’s listening? Both the U.S. and South Korea would hope to avoid a war. The RAND/Asan report is more a cautionary note than a call to arms. Over the years, RAND has been quite influential. We can only hope that military planners in Washington and Seoul will be reading it and taking its advice seriously. – The Hill

Margaux Garcia writes: Dark fishing around North Korea remains a challenge for stability in the Indo-Pacific. The practice undercuts the efficacy of sanctions, erodes the sustainability of fish stocks, and threatens the livelihoods of ordinary North Koreans who have no say in their government’s decisions. It is encouraging to see the WTO and the Quad working in their own ways to combat the problem by eliminating the perverse incentives caused by subsidies and improving the monitoring of IUU fishing in Asia. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Mike Chinoy writes: But while attention has focused on China’s reaction to the Ukraine war, the partnership has another major security implication: North Korea’s decision to draw closer to both countries as Pyongyang categorically rules out negotiating with Washington over its nuclear weapons program – Foreign Policy


Chinese President Xi Jinping is widely expected to defy the Communist Party’s retirement norms by clinching a landmark third term in power next month. The question is whether the 69-year-old will rewrite the rules for others — or just himself. – Bloomberg

Editorial: While the Biden Administration does all it can to restrict U.S. fossil fuels, no matter the economic harm, Beijing is charging ahead with coal imports, coal mining and coal power to become the world’s leading economy. They must marvel at their good fortune in having rivals who are so self-destructive. – Wall Street Journal

Tom Rogan writes: Xi may push erstwhile partners like Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz into a corner where they cannot help but endorse a tougher EU policy toward China — Macron and Scholz’s alternative being to tolerate Beijing’s aggression and thus doom the European project by showing its vulnerable members that they can rely only on non-EU democracies like the U.S., Britain, and Australia for true support. – Washington Examiner

Christine McDaniel and Weifeng Zhong write: Beijing’s ambitions for taking over the island are serious and practical. Washington should work closely with its allies in the region to harden submarine cable security and sketch out contingency plans for severe disruptions to goods and digital trade. Increased cooperation is the only way to strengthen Indo-Pacific resilience against Chinese aggressions and minimize collateral damage to the U.S. economy. – The Hill

Lianchao Han and Bradley A. Thayer write: As Beijing’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy turns more aggressive, the West must anticipate that Xi will seek to conquer Taiwan. Equally important, Washington must expect that the intensity of Xi’s post-Congress belligerence will be greater than it has witnessed, and his ambition will be directed against the U.S. and its allies. The Biden administration likely is unprepared for this.  But an intellectual shift must be made now, and be followed immediately by tangible measures to deter Communist China’s aggression. – The Hill

Heberto Limas-Villers writes: For the CCP to maintain its rule, the party needs to drastically reform its practices to maintain legitimacy. It must enforce term limits among party leadership and reform succession rules to ensure fresh leaders can develop within the CCP. It must also bolster welfare and reduce inequality, particularly in China’s interior, to reinforce its popularity with its power bases. Finally, it must continue its steady track record of economic growth through industrial policy and private-sector innovation to provide stable employment for its youth. – The National Interest

South Asia

Bangladesh’s prime minister said Monday that the prolonged stay of more than 1 million Rohingya refugees in crowded camps in the country has become a serious security and stability concern. – Associated Press

A Pakistan anti-terror court extended preemptive bail for former premier Imran Khan until Sept. 20 following a police complaint seeking action against him under the country’s terrorism law for a speech he made last month. – Bloomberg

Sri Lanka should improve human rights and strengthen institutions to tackle the humanitarian challenges that have sprung from its worst financial crisis in seven decades, a top U.N. Human Rights official said on Monday. – Reuters

Financial advisory group Lazard (LAZ.N) is in the process of speaking to India, China and Japan for the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt, Ramesh Pathirana, the island nation’s acting cabinet spokesperson said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Devana Senanayake writes: The mass protests in Sri Lanka that led to the removal of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the appointment of a new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, in July have now stalled. As Wickremesinghe cracks down on dissent, and demonstrators figure out where to go from here, many critics and experts have overlooked the role the country’s left has played in the protest movement. – Foreign Policy


New Zealand will eventually become a republic and drop the British monarch as its head of state, but not anytime soon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. – Bloomberg

Indonesia and Norway have agreed to start a new partnership to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation in the Southeast Asian country, officials said on Monday, after Jakarta ended a similar pact last year citing a lack of payments. – Reuters

The Australian government said on Tuesday that the image of King Charles III would not automatically replace Queen Elizabeth II’s on A$5 notes, and it may be replaced by Australian figures. – Reuters

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

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling its territory as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appealed for an end to fighting that threatens to undermine a Russia-brokered cease-fire. – Bloomberg

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has said the country needs to look at “all of the options” as it considers joining other Asian economies including India and China in buying Russian oil to offset soaring energy costs. – Financial Times 

Taiwan’s air force is seeking a record NT$36.8 billion (US$1.16 billion) for equipment maintenance and installation next year, according to a proposed budget sent to the island’s legislature. – South China Morning Post

Michael Rubin writes: Withdrawal recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh that is more the vestige of Joseph Stalin’s cynicism than historic demography. The wisest secretaries recognize their mistakes and recalibrate their actions. When it comes to Azerbaijan, Blinken’s reset is long overdue. – 19FortyFive

Miles Yu writes: This calculation drives the current Taiwan Strait crisis. It is designed to raise the tensions along the Taiwan Strait to the maximum in order to intimidate a perceived weak and indecisive American leadership into cooperation, but on the CCP’s terms. It is meant to force America to abandon its resolve to support freedom-loving, sovereign and democratic Taiwan, and in so doing to sacrifice the United States’ global prestige and leadership. This may be a phony war. But it has a real enemy. – Taipei Times


The German government said Monday that it can’t stop a shipment of Russian uranium destined for French nuclear plants from being processed at a site in Germany because atomic fuel isn’t covered by European Union sanctions on Russia. – Associated Press

A surge in gas use to generate electricity in Spain is primarily due to demand for exports to neighbouring Portugal and France, whose domestic power systems are under strain, the Energy and Environment Ministry in Madrid said on Monday. – Reuters

Former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis stood trial on Monday over fraud accusations connected to a 2 million euro ($2 million) European Union subsidy that have marred his political career for the past five years. – Reuters

French scepticism about a new gas pipeline across the Pyrenees highlights the competing visions for Europe’s future energy mix as the continent urgently confronts a power crisis. – Reuters

When Jimmie Akesson joined the Sweden Democrats more than two decades ago, it was a pariah political force with a majority of its founders hailing from racist, fascist or neo-Nazi groups. He now leads the nation’s second-largest political force that’s become a kingmaker for the next government. And his ambitions don’t stop there. – Bloomberg

Britain and the EU are preparing to avoid a diplomatic confrontation this week over post-Brexit trading arrangements on Northern Ireland, according to officials on both sides. – Financial Times 

Pankaj Mishra writes: Let there be no doubt: Ongoing transformations in the economy and the environment will make the right more dogmatic, sterile and authoritarian, rather than more flexible, innovative and democratic. To deny this, or to chastise Biden for speaking the plain truth, is to become complicit in a ruinous political trend. – Bloomberg

Artin DerSimonian writes: By continuing to rely on the United States, Germany and its European partners may find themselves in an untenable position if Washington decides to reduce its regional commitments to attend to developments in East Asia or elsewhere. A new strategy from Berlin that prioritizes both the strategic and economic relationship with Moscow will be essential for long-lasting stability and prosperity across Europe. – The National Interest


William Ruto will be inaugurated as Kenya’s fifth president on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by dozens of global leaders and diplomats — a peaceful handover of power following a bitter election season that underscored the place of democracy in East Africa’s largest economy. – New York Times 

The US and Germany welcomed a call by Ethiopia’s dissident Tigray region for a cease-fire and peace talks without preconditions to end renewed conflict in the country. – Bloomberg

International Criminal Court (ICC) appeals judges on Monday rejected a decision to award a record $30 million in compensation for child soldiers and other victims of convicted Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda, sending the case back to a lower court for a new ruling on the reparations amount. – Reuters

Uganda has paid $65 million in the first instalment of a total $325 million it was ordered to pay neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo as compensation for losses caused by wars in the 1990s when Ugandan troops occupied Congolese territory. – Reuters

Gunmen in Nigeria killed five aides including security personnel during an attack on the convoy of a Nigerian senator in southeastern Anambra state on Sunday evening, the senator’s spokesman said on Monday. – Reuters

Latin America

Argentina will stick to a deal with the International Monetary Fund to gradually reduce the country’s budget deficit amid a surge in inflation, the country’s top economic official said Monday. – Wall Street Journal

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is extending an international trip to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London as he seeks to boost his re-election campaign by projecting the image of an influential, well-connected global leader. – Bloomberg

Brazil presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva continues to poll ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro, extending his lead to 15 percentage points, according to an IPEC poll published on Monday. – Reuters

In Venezuela’s El Callao mining region, countless small, artisanal miners that once sold gold to the government have left the area in the last year because accessible local supplies are depleted and President Nicolas Maduro has been striking deals with bigger miners, seeking more production and more revenue for the treasury. – Reuters

North America

U.S. officials wound up a day of high-level meetings with their Mexican counterparts optimistic that they can bring their southern trade partner on board with multibillion-dollar plans to boost regional production of semiconductors and renewable energy. – Wall Street Journal

Mexico on Monday voiced hope it could work out a major dispute with the United States over energy policy as it welcomed a top U.S. delegation and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador struck a conciliatory note in the critical stand-off. – Reuters

The 76-year-old Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo has been granted house arrest after three decades in jail by a district judge, prosecutors said on Monday. – Reuters

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday said his government would present a plan to the United Nations to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, moments after criticizing the world body and calling for it to be reformed. – Reuters

United States

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said in a court filing it would support one of the special master nominees put forward by former President Trump’s legal team to review documents seized during an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. – The Hill

Federal authorities have arrested a Texas woman who they say made death threats against the Florida judge overseeing a court battle between former President Trump and the Department of Justice over documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence. – The Hill

Former President Trump is fighting a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to allow its review of classified materials taken from Mar-a-Lago to continue, with Trump’s legal team arguing the investigation “at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control.” – The Hill

Former President Donald Trump and the US Department of Justice agree that Judge Raymond J. Dearie would be a suitable choice for an outside special master to review more than 11,000 documents taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last month as part of an investigation into his handling of government records. – Bloomberg


Cyber attacks are one of the top risks faced by Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco (2222.SE), on a par with natural disasters and physical attacks, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday at an artificial intelligence summit in Riyadh. – Reuters

The West is strangling Israel’s cyber forces’ capabilities for fighting its enemies in the digital sphere, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, will speak publicly for the first time since his bombshell whistleblower complaint that may be key to determining the company’s future. – Business Insider


The U.S. Department of Defense will need an extra $42 billion in the next fiscal year to make up for a shortfall in how much it can buy as rising prices eat in to its procurement budget, a defense industry group said in a report coming out this week. – Reuters

The US Army is looking for companies that can build up to 100 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers a year. The Army’s request for information (RFI) comes as Ukraine uses its new US-supplied M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to conduct devastating strikes against Russian forces. – Business Insider

The U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer bomber is being used to find and track illegal fishing in the Pacific around Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. This is a unique application for the massive strategic bomber but it is reportedly not the first time the B-1 has been used as a law enforcement tool. – The National Interest

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: While LaPlante is right to talk about the need for long-term contracts, it’s another thing to actually secure them. It’s past time for the Pentagon to do just that, and Congress should hold defense leaders’ feet to the fire. Given the glacial pace of the defense bureaucracy, these contracts need to be locked in soon, otherwise we may not have enough to share with partners like Ukraine, much less for ourselves if needed. – American Enterprise Institute

Long War

An appeal trial will begin on Monday in a Paris court as two men found guilty of helping Islamist militants prepare the 2015 deadly attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris seek to overturn their convictions. – Reuters

When the U.S. military targeted Islamic State commander Maher al-Agal with a drone strike in northern Syria in July, there was little chance it would miss. The reason? Revenge. – Reuters

The repatriation and reintegration of thousands of families of Islamic State militants languishing in a Kurdish-run detention camp in northeast Syria should be speeded up, the top U.S. general in the Middle East said on Monday. – Reuters

A married couple from New York City and Alabama have pleaded guilty in federal court to attempting to travel to the Middle East to join and fight alongside the Islamic State terror group, authorities said.  – Fox News

Al Qaeda leaders reportedly released a book over the weekend detailing the timeline leading up to the 9/11 terror attacks, coinciding with the 21st anniversary of the attacks that left almost 3,000 people dead in three locations. – Washington Examiner

The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military arm of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, has returned to terror activity. – Arutz Sheva 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned that the “threat landscape has evolved considerably” in the twenty-one years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. – The National Interest