Fdd's overnight brief

September 22, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


3M has agreed to pay more than $9.6 million to settle a probe by the U.S. Treasury Department into sales to an Iranian entity controlled by the country’s law enforcement forces. – Wall Street Journal

An Iranian court has given two death sentences to a Tajik man convicted of carrying out a gun attack that killed two people at a major Shiite shrine in the southern city of Shiraz, the judiciary website reported Thursday. – Associated Press

A fire in a storage area of an Iranian defense ministry’s car battery factory north of the capital has been extinguished, state TV reported Friday. The fire happened around midnight in a 2-square-kilometer (about 500-acre) storage area of plastic items in the factory north of Tehran. The TV footage showed a black column of smoke rising in the nighttime sky. – Associated Press

The Saudi crown prince has confirmed his country would seek to acquire a nuclear arsenal if Iran developed one, throwing fresh doubt on a possible US-Saudi nuclear cooperation deal currently under negotiation. – The Guardian

Atena Daemi writes: While the resistance might seem more quiet today, the greatest hope remains in the streets — in the knowing glances exchanged among people who have tasted rebellion, in the expressions of solidarity on the bread line, in the spontaneous compliments extended to women who dare to appear on subways, buses and city streets without a hijab. This is what Amini died for, and to those who would silence our voices, we say: There is no going back. – Washington Post

Russia & Ukraine

Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest backers in the fight against Russia’s invasion, said it was halting new weapons shipments to Kyiv, as tensions over grain exports continued to escalate between Ukraine and its Central European neighbors. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian forces have breached the main Russian defensive line in the southeast of the country with armored vehicles, a significant milestone in the 3½-month counteroffensive aimed at cutting Russia’s occupying army in two. – Wall Street Journal

Russia launched a barrage of missiles at targets across Ukraine on Thursday, the same day Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was expected to meet with President Biden to discuss critical aid for Kyiv in its efforts to oust Russian forces from its territory. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine fired missiles and drones at the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, Russian and Ukrainian officials said on Thursday, as Moscow’s forces attacked regions across Ukraine. – New York Times

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will speak to the Canadian Parliament on Friday as part of his campaign to bolster support from Western allies for Ukraine’s war against the Russian invasion. – Associated Press 

Oleksandr Shulga writes: Looking back on Putin’s rule over the last 23 years, it is fair to assume that he will not focus on economic betterment for the ordinary people. Instead, he will need to win the Russo-Ukrainian war — which seems impossible on his terms — or start a new conflict against a weaker opponent. Whether this is Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, or some other country isn’t so important. What matters is that Putin pretends to have a vision for the future — even if that means the shedding of yet more blood and further geopolitical mayhem. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Alexandra Chinchilla and Sam Rosenberg write: Western training, for example, taught Ukrainian soldiers how to skillfully use the long-range rockets that help neutralize Russian command posts and logistics hubs. If advisers begin working from inside Ukraine and at multiple levels of the country’s defense apparatus, they will strengthen the country’s democracy and fully prepare it for NATO membership. Advisers will, in other words, help bring about the war’s endgame: a free Ukraine integrated into the institutions at the foundation of Europe. – Foreign Affairs

Sam Greene writes: Alas, those same analysts—this author included—remain flummoxed by events within Russia itself. Over time, this problem will be addressed, and the gap between awareness and analysis will narrow. Until it does, however, Western policy should focus on the things Westerners understand rather than the things they do not. – Foreign Affairs


A young Palestinian man allegedly stabbed an Israeli security guard at a Jerusalem light rail station on Thursday and was then shot and wounded by police. – Associated Press

Violence from Israeli settlers has displaced over 1,100 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2022, according to a U.N. report released Thursday, with officials describing the exodus as unparalleled in recent years.- Associated Press  

Israeli authorities are trying to figure out how a heavily armored, but unarmed, tank was stolen from a military training zone after finding it discarded in a junkyard. The Israeli Merkava 2 tank disappeared from a training zone in northern Israel near the coastal city of Haifa, the Israeli army said Wednesday. The training zone is closed to the public when in use, but is otherwise accessible to passersby. – Associated Press

Health ministers of Israel and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding, cementing their commitment to bolster cooperation between their respective health ministries, on Thursday. During his official visit to the US, Health Minister Moshe Arbel of Israel and his American counterpart, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, formally sealed this groundbreaking agreement, aimed at fortifying collaboration across several critical domains of healthcare. – Jerusalem Post 

Jews must abandon Israel, the Palestinian Authority president told the United Nations General Assembly Thursday in a speech that is unlikely to promote any diplomacy with Jerusalem. – New York Sun 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to back away from demands on Israel and would agree to an interim understanding with the Jewish state to pave the way for a larger Saudi quadrilateral agreement, according to a report on N12 that was confirmed by The Jerusalem Post. – Jerusalem Post

A security guard at Givat HaMivtar light rail station was stabbed in a terror attack in French Hill, Jerusalem on Thursday night. – Jerusalem Post

Israel Defense Forces tanks struck two temporary Syrian military structures that it said were built in an area between Israel and Syria in violation of a 1974 Agreement on Disengagement, the IDF Spokesperson said on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post 

A man was killed on Friday by Israeli army gunfire in the village of Dan, northwest of Jenin, in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. – Haaretz

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit the Palestinian Authority (PA) in October, Xinhua reported on Thursday, citing the PA’s official news agency WAFA. – Arutz Sheva 

Editorial: Before jumping into a mutual defense pact, one important question needs to be asked: Would such a pact be so superior to the current understandings with the US as to warrant giving up the IDF’s freedom of action and possibly limiting Israel’s military options? – Jerusalem Post 

Col. Richard Kemp writes: With a craven – or perhaps more accurately an electoral –  opportunist White House, Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two state solution. – Ynet


The Israeli military said tanks struck two structures inside a demilitarized zone in Syria on Thursday, claiming the buildings violated a half-century-old cease-fire agreement between the two countries. – Associated Press

Anti-migrant sentiment, economic woes and political pressures are leading some of the 3.3 millions Syrians living in Turkey to plan a return to Syria or seek shelter in Europe, according to migrants interviewed by Reuters. – Reuters

Syrian non-official news outlets are reporting that an Israeli drone strike on a motorcycle in the village of Beit Jan, southeast of Damascus, has left its two riders dead. According to the reports, the two dead were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization. The Syrian government has yet to confirm the reports. – Arutz Sheva 


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he does not agree with the negative approach other leaders are showing towards his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkish broadcasters quoted him as saying on Thursday. – Reuters

Turkey and Israel will soon begin taking joint steps in energy drilling, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited by Turkish media as saying on Thursday, adding the two countries would also operate energy networks to Europe through Turkey. – Reuters

Turkey is using “all means”, including military training and modernisation, to support its close ally Azerbaijan but it did not play a direct role in Baku’s military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a Turkish defence ministry official said on Thursday. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

Yemen’s Houthi movement displayed ballistic missiles and armed drones in a massive military parade in Sanaa on Thursday, a message to their foes in a Saudi-led coalition as they continue ceasefire negotiations with Riyadh. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates is considering introducing export licenses for a list of items including chips and other components sanctioned by the U.S. and European Union and used by Russia’s military in Ukraine, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

Ibrahim Jalal writes: Nevertheless, Oman’s strategic positioning and wide relationship-building will support its diplomatic role as Yemen continues the search for a durable, just peace. Oman’s delicate balancing act between its ties with the GCC and its strategic relationship with Iran amid regional de-escalation will likely enable Muscat, in cooperation with regional and global actors, to play a key role on a wide range of files, including Yemen. The growing tensions between the UAE and Saudi Arabia are likely to boost Oman’s strategic gains as a future conduit for Saudi Arabia but also to become the Gulf’s window to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. – Middle East Institute


Saudi Arabia

In his 2020 election campaign, U.S. President Joe Biden said that once in office, he would do everything to make Saudi Arabia into a “pariah state” after the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, but not only is Saudi Arabia far from being ostracized by his administration, his efforts to make a deal with the Gulf Kingdon is the keystone of his foreign policy and could deliver peace in the Middle East. – Ynet

The Biden administration on Thursday approved a major $500 million sale to fund spare and repair parts for Saudi Arabia’s military, Al-Monitor reports. – Arutz Sheva 

A bipartisan group of more than two dozen nuclear and Middle East experts sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday urging him not to allow Saudi Arabia to have a uranium enrichment program on its soil, according to the letter first shared with Axios. – Axios

Middle East & North Africa

A framework U.S.-brokered deal for forging relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia could be in place by early next year, the Israeli foreign minister said on Thursday after the three countries signalled progress in the complex negotiations. – Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday that Middle East peace was not achievable until the Palestinians are granted full rights. – Reuters

US President Joe Biden’s administration is considering signing formal defense treaties with both Israel and Saudi Arabia as part of its effort to broker a normalization agreement between the two countries, the Bloomberg news site reported Thursday.- Times of Israel

After meeting U.S. President Joe Biden and some world leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will on Friday, address the UN General Assembly for the first time since 2018. His speech will concentrate on the opportunity for a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia on the one hand and the threat to Israel, the Middle East and the world from Iran on the other. – Ynet

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said a normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia would be a welcome development but Israel must never agree to Saud development of nuclear capabilities or of uranium enrichment in the Gulf Kingdom. Lapid said in a social media post that the cost of an Israeli-Saudi deal cannot be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. – Ynet

Palestinian officials are working to promote the inclusion of concessions from Israel as part of a prospective Saudi-Israeli normalization deal, as Washington and Riyadh continue negotiations. – Haaretz

Matthew Levitt and Assaf Orion write: Regardless of the language adopted in Security Council resolutions, UNIFIL’s independence and freedom of movement are ultimately decided on the ground by UNIFIL commanders, who have thus far capitulated to Hezbollah coercion and Lebanon’s collusion. Given the explosive situation along the Blue Line, UNIFIL must now use its renewed authorities to push back against Hezbollah provocations in the south. And its first line of defense in this battle is honest and detailed reporting. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discussed follow-up measures to his recent visit to Russia during the first formal meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful politburo since his return, state media KCNA said on Friday. – Reuters

South Korea Thursday imposed new sanctions on 10 individuals and two entities for involvement in illegal financial transactions related to North Korea’s nuclear program and arms trade with three countries, including Russia. – Voice of America

Jong Kun Choi writes: Those who argue that the Moon administration failed do not appreciate the fact that peace-making is a long, arduous process. The current cease-fire regime between the two Koreas is, at best, what sociologist Johan Galtung referred to as “passive peace”: a fragile state that could ignite into a war at any time. In five years, the Moon administration took meaningful steps forward. But no one, not even the critics, can fundamentally transform the security landscape of the Korean Peninsula in just five years. The establishment of a peace regime and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will require wisdom for diplomacy, patience for negotiation, and courage to face a hostile counterpart. We need to be courageous again. – Foreign Policy


China has sent some of its largest swarms of jet fighters and warships into the air and waters around Taiwan this month. They have been accompanied by an unusual silence. While previous Chinese drills of similar scale were paired with waves of propaganda meant to intimidate the self-ruled island, Beijing has said next to nothing about the recent exercises. – Wall Street Journal

They were trusted and favoured by Xi Jinping. Now, they seem to be vanishing. In recent months, the disappearances of several high-ranking Chinese officials have sparked intense speculation over whether Mr Xi is embarking on a purge, particularly of those linked to the military. The latest person who appears to have fallen from grace is defence minister Li Shangfu, who has not been seen in public for some weeks now. – BBC

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Friday that over the previous 24-hour period it had detected 24 Chinese air force aircraft entering into Taiwan’s air defence zone, part of a regular pattern of what Taipei calls Chinese harassment. – Reuters

Aleksandra Gadzala Tirziu writes: In its current form, the Atlantic Cooperation initiative fails to deliver to Global South nations what they covet most — a meaningful say in global economic and security architectures. Once again, the Biden Administration’s ham-fisted green agenda and its indulgence of the American left have bungled a chance to portray America as a credible alternative to China. – New York Sun

South Asia

India went on the diplomatic offensive against Canada on Thursday, ordering the country to reduce staffing at its embassy and suspending the issuance of new visas for Canadians, as the fallout from allegations that New Delhi was behind the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia widened dramatically. – Washington Post 

The markers of separatism are everywhere at the temple. Dozens of yellow flags of Khalistan — a homeland that Sikh separatists want to create in the Punjab region of India — fly in and around the grounds of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple near Vancouver. – New York Times

U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders expressed concern to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit this month about Canadian claims that New Delhi was involved in the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. – Reuters

Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande write:  India and Canada need to work not only on mending fences for now, but on a long-term strategy of dealing with Khalistan supporters. India cannot expect Canada to silence peaceful critics, but Canada should also not ignore the potential for Sikh diaspora politics unleashing violence in India, given the historical precedents of the 1980s. – The Hill

Betsy Joles writes: Modeling the impact of the climate crisis on river basins and focusing on domestic water policies could be key to minimizing the risk of water scarcity, which has become political tinder in the Indus Waters Treaty disputes. But building greater resilience into the treaty requires both countries to find middle ground over the issue of climate change, or at the very least to see it as a starting point for an approach to water sharing that takes shared risk into account. This will ultimately require bridging the trust gap that has so far proved a fundamental barrier in resolving disputes. Both countries face similar threats of catastrophic flooding and droughts that can be mitigated through cooperation—not solved by infrastructure projects alone. – Foreign Policy


Two prototype U.S. drone ships have arrived in Japan for their first deployment in the western Pacific, testing surveillance and attack capabilities that the Navy might find useful against China’s larger fleet. – Wall Street Journal

Endorsing yet another cease-fire in the conflict that embroils two of Moscow’s closest partners — Armenia and Azerbaijan — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “noted with satisfaction” on Wednesday that the Russian peacekeepers he sent to the region to enforce an earlier, failed truce had helped quell the renewed fighting. – New York Times

One day after Azerbaijan used force to assert its authority over a mountainous breakaway region in the South Caucasus, its officials met with representatives of the pro-Armenian enclave on Thursday to discuss the future of the residents there under new rule. – New York Times

The Philippines is exploring legal options against China accusing it of destruction of coral reefs within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, an allegation rejected by Beijing as an attempt to “create political drama”. – Reuters

Thailand’s new Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin met with U.S. companies including Microsoft (MSFT.O), Google (GOOGL.O), and Estee Lauder (EL.N) in his first trip abroad since coming to power last month, looking to draw investment to boost a flagging economy. – Reuters

Vanuatu Prime Minister Sato Kilman won’t attend a Pacific Isands summit with U.S. President Joe Biden next week, an official from his office told Reuters, because all government lawmakers need to be in parliament on Monday for a no-confidence vote. – Reuters

The United States will provide an additional $116 million in humanitarian aid for Myanmar, Bangladesh and the surrounding region to support Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday. – Reuters

Eugene Kontorovich writes: The final lesson is historical. Religious or ethnic solidarity used to be one of the dominant motives in international wars and politics. Turkey is Azerbaijan’s principal ally, but such considerations no longer seem to drive the Christian West. And God help those states that must stand alone. – Wall Street Journal

Alex Little writes: The United States should leave security matters in Central Asia to regional great powers, namely Russia and China. While the United States has been involved militarily in Central Asia, now is the time to recharacterize its engagement in the region by further distancing itself from this militaristic past. – The National Interest


President Biden told President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Thursday that the United States would be “staying with you” as its grinding war with Russia continues, even as a growing faction of the Republican Party has threatened to hold up aid that Mr. Zelensky said could cost his country the war. – New York Times

Bulgarian police on Thursday scuffled with supporters of the ultra-nationalist Vazrazhdane (Revival) party protesting against the policies of the pro-Western government, calling for the government to resign and for the closure of NATO military bases. – Reuters

The defense ministers of France and Germany expect to begin negotiations for their next-generation tank project with industry leaders KNDS and Rheinmetall in 2024, after which other European countries could join the initiative. – Defense News 

Matthew Boyse writes: If PS also fails to form a government, the task would likely fall to Mr. Pellegrini, whose HLAS party is polling third even as it has been falling in popularity and is in the low teens. He would presumably look for MPs from SMER, PS and the smaller parties to join under his leadership. He governed somewhat responsibly as prime minister in 2018-2020 and as the acceptable face of the then-SMER government. For example, he signed off on the largest military purchase in Slovak history – F-16s in December 2018. He has tried to calm concerns about Slovakia’s foreign and domestic policy, observing in July that he “can’t imagine being in the same cabinet with Fico.” He has staked out middle positions on Ukraine, condemning Kremlin aggression but prioritizing Slovak interests. Most insiders do not consider this scenario likely. – Hudson Institute


The image, reminiscent of a revolutionary Che Guevara, is of 34-year-old Dmitry Sytii, the current frontman of the Wagner paramilitary group in Africa. Since his boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, died in an apparent assassination last month, Sytii has been thrust to the center of an emerging battle over the fate of Wagner’s sprawling multibillion-dollar African empire of mercenaries, gold, lumber and diamonds. With his intimate knowledge of Wagner’s front companies and smuggling networks, the polyglot, Western-educated Sytii is likely to play a pivotal role. – Wall Street Journal

A State Department contractor stole classified documents that included satellite imagery and other sensitive information about military activities in Africa, federal prosecutors said in a criminal complaint unsealed on Thursday. – New York Times

For weeks, Bahaadin Adam had heard nothing from family members stuck in the fighting that convulsed Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state and the second-largest city in Sudan. Mr. Adam, who had fled weeks before to neighboring South Sudan, remained jittery, constantly checking his phone for updates. – New York Times

U.N.-appointed investigators warned on Thursday that more atrocities were likely in Ethiopia and called for continued scrutiny of Addis Ababa’s human rights record as their work faces termination amid strong African-led opposition. – Reuters

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu urged the United Nations to become more proactive in addressing his African nation’s poverty and security issues and helping to fight illicit resource extraction, his spokesman said on Thursday. – Reuters

Guinea’s military leader Mamady Doumbouya told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that the Western model of democracy does not work for Africa, as evidenced by a recent wave of coups. – Reuters

Kenyan President William Ruto urged the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to formally back a security support mission to Haiti, which Kenya has shown a willingness to lead, saying the Caribbean country “deserves better from the world.” – Reuters

A U.S. government contract employee for the Justice and State Departments was arrested on espionage charges unsealed on Thursday, prosecutors said, accusing him of passing on classified information to Ethiopia. Abraham Teklu Lemma, 50, was charged in a complaint from late August, which was unsealed on Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. – Reuters

The heads of Sudan’s rival military factions gave competing addresses to the United Nations on Thursday, one from the podium at U.N. headquarters in New York and the other in a rare video recording from an undisclosed location. – Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo will move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday. – Reuters

Kenya’s president has committed his country to lead a multinational force in Haiti to combat gang warfare, even as residents of both countries question the plan being pushed by Washington. – Associated Press

Two French journalists have been expelled from Morocco this week in a move denounced by media outlets and press freedom advocates. – Associated Press

Attacks in northern Mali have more than doubled since U.N. peacekeepers completed the first phase of their withdrawal last month after a decade of fighting Islamic extremists, resulting in more than 150 deaths. In one brazen attack, militants targeted a triple-decker passenger boat, killing 49 civilians. And this week, another group of rebels attacked Malian army camps in the Lere locality on the border with Mauritania, leaving several security personnel dead and wounded. – Associated Press

Three South African navy personnel died and a senior officer was in critical condition after seven crew members of a submarine were swept off its deck by big waves as a helicopter was attempting to transfer supplies, the Department of Defence said Thursday. – Associated Press

The Nigerien president detained since July by the soldiers who deposed him has petitioned a regional court demanding his release and reinstatement, according to court documents seen by The Associated Press on Wednesday. – Associated Press

Stephen Blank writes: Algeria’s selective opposition to foreign intervention and cooperation with Russia is mainly for purposes of regional status. Russia’s efforts are to make Africans and other observers believe that it is the great global power it obsessively pretends to be. It is difficult to see what is in this for Africans. After all, the nearest analog to Russian policy is the British East India Company; a poster child for European imperialism that offers nothing to Africans except a new form of colonization. – The Hill

Samuel Ramani writes: While Mauritania’s track record of human rights abuses and fractious civil-military relations render its long-term stability an open question, it has become an appealing destination for external power investment in a volatile region—especially after the Niger coup. Mauritania’s efforts to act as a bridge-builder between military juntas and their neighbors, which is evidenced by its support for Mali’s reinstatement in the G5 Sahel bloc and its key role in a proposed $900 million trans-Sahel power transmission line that will pass through Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, could bolster its diplomatic profile as ECOWAS considers whether to intervene in Niger. Ghazouani’s ability to pair Mauritania’s growing diplomatic profile with long-term economic growth and effective counterterrorism measures will determine whether it can avoid being dragged into West Africa’s coup belt. – Foreign Policy

Yasir Zaidan writes: A U.S. presidential special envoy to Sudan is needed to signal the White House’s strong engagement and to coordinate between the Africa and Near East bureaus at the State Department. But more importantly, the U.S. government should prevent the RSF from funding and arming its genocidal campaign through proxy companies in the UAE. Biden must not allow another genocide under his watch. – Foreign Policy

The Americas

At a Mexico City shelter, the nun in charge made another difficult announcement to the mothers and children arriving Wednesday: There was no more space. Five hundred migrants were already crammed into a facility built for 100. Near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, frustrated people stormed a refugee aid office on Monday after waiting weeks for appointments to receive the necessary documents that allow them to travel farther north. – New York Times

A U.S. trade official stressed Mexico’s need to address “serious concerns” from the United States of its energy measures, which were raised during consultations under a regional trade pact, the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office said on Thursday. – Reuters

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said he has decided against attending an international summit in San Francisco in November where he was due to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, and floated the idea that the two leaders instead get together in Washington that month. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, underscoring their shared commitment to shoring up democracy, launched an initiative on Wednesday to advance the rights of working people, a key focus for both leaders. – Reuters

Oliver Stuenkel writes: All this suggests the overall environment for countries such as Argentina and Brazil, keen to strengthen ties to China but also eager to preserve ties to the West, is becoming more challenging. It may be only natural that China would like to gain greater control over the BRICS grouping in response to a far more unified G-7. At the same time, platforms that seek to build broader consensus, such as the G-20, are struggling enormously—and middle powers such as Argentina are getting stuck, well, in the middle. – Foreign Policy

Anna Mahjar-Barducci writes: Instead, Milei wants to reclaim for Argentina its role as a member of the West and not of a Global South that feels victimized by the Global North. Milei’s election could also become a push for the West itself, to rediscover its lost values.  Meanwhile, in La Libertad Avanza’s presidential campaign, the word “liberty” keeps on resonating powerfully, bringing people from all spectra of society to yearn for dignity and freedom to pursue happiness. – Ynet

North America

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will visit Canada to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and address the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, Trudeau’s office said in a statement late on Thursday, after Zelenskiy’s U.S. visit wrapped up. – Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday called on India to cooperate with an investigation into the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia and said Canada would not release its evidence. – Reuters

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in Parliament and said India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, the muted international response offered a lesson in modern geopolitics. India, it seems, may be too powerful to alienate. – Associated Press

United States

The demand that President Biden ease the migrant crisis threatening to overwhelm American cities came privately, from the New York governor to top White House officials. It came publicly, in angry statements from Democratic and Republican officials around the country. It came from scores of immigrant rights groups. – New York Times

Mark Esper writes: With threats from China and elsewhere growing, we cannot ignore this issue. Most solutions will take years to bear fruit. But if we are to deter war, be victorious if it comes and safeguard our democracy, we will need to maintain a sizable high-quality force of volunteers. That means today’s leaders must act now to entice the next great generation of Americans to serve. – Washington Post 

Benny Avni writes: Mr. Modi has all but ended the insurrection. Now he is angry that separatists continue to operate abroad, mostly in Canada. America has an interest in ending the feud, which means that we can expect the June murder to never be solved. If the two leaders continue to go at each other, though, Washington would best ignore its northern neighbor, and instead back the country that is the West’s most important ally on the Asian side of the new cold war. – New York Sun

Ritwik Gupta and Andrew W. Reddie write: Of course, legal and regulatory policies — and particularly the Outer Space Treaty — have yet to fully catch up to these rapidly unfolding developments in technology and doctrine. The balancing act between enabling economic growth and preserving national security advantages in space will remain a difficult one. With a pragmatic perspective and sufficient foresight, policymakers can craft solutions that allow humanity to benefit from the opening space frontier while mitigating the most destructive manifestations of unavoidable competition. – War on the Rocks


An Iranian cyberattack targeting Israeli jobseekers was uncovered by the National Cyber Directorate on Thursday, with the directorate warning that the hackers were leaking the personal information of the people targeted. – Jerusalem Post 

The United Kingdom and the United States finalized an agreement Thursday allowing for the free flow of online data between the two nations starting Oct. 12. – CyberScoop

Canada’s largest airline announced a data breach this week that involved the information of employees, but said its operations and customer data was not impacted. – The Record

One of the first North American organizations to suffer a data breach because of a vulnerability in the MOVEit file-transfer software says it has notified more than 165,000 people that their personal information was stolen. – The Record

A cyber insurance firm reported a significant jump in the number of claims during the first half of the year, adding that damages caused by attacks has also increased. – The Record

Officials from the United States, United Kingdom and Netherlands completed their latest training session with Ukrainian law enforcement officers this week in an effort to help them trace cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions. – The Record

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggested several new ideas for how to make federal cyber incident reporting rules simpler for victim organizations — including the concept of a single reporting web portal. – The Record

Ola Mohajer writes: With the most advanced AI economy in the world, the U.S. has a unique opportunity to lead. The chance to revolutionize peacemaking and achieve a world without violent conflicts in our lifetime is very real. Embracing AI for peace is not merely a choice — it is a necessity, and the time to do it is now. – The Hill

Kirk R. Arner writes: Yet ultimately, there’s a reason the majority of Internet users choose Google over its rivals.  Google isn’t a monopoly.  Instead, it’s built a better mouse trap than its contemporaries, and has continued to do so for decades.  Google has gone toe-to-toe with and out-competed Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and more. Yet, far from being dominant, Google’s search engine is facing more competition than ever before—particularly from the world of AI, as well as social media apps like TikTok. In the end, the DOJ’s case against Google is far from rock-solid. – RealClearMarkets


Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker pilots are inching closer to normal operations after incremental software fixes to the tanker’s glitchy autopilot have led the service to ease flight restrictions on the jets. Airmen are now allowed to fly KC-135s with the Block 45 software upgrade — which includes the autopilot in question — at altitudes below 10,000 feet, Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Mike Minihan said Sept. 11. – Defense News

Four unmanned ships are now operating out of Japan for the first time, as part of the U.S. Navy’s Integrated Battle Problem 23.2 exercise aimed at folding these unmanned vessels into routine fleet operations. – Defense News

President Joe Biden on Thursday named Melissa Dalton as his pick to serve as the next under secretary of the Air Force, a shift from her current Pentagon post as the top civilian defense leader on homeland security issues. – Defense News 

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gen. Eric Smith to serve as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps. – USNI News 

Just 55% of the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet was mission capable as of March 2023, a disappointing statistic driven by factors like a lack of depot capacity, insufficient supply of spare parts and overreliance on contractors, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. – Breaking Defense 

Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman has, in essence, sent the Space Force’s draft Commercial Space Strategy back to the drawing board, seeking to flesh it out with more specifics on what exactly the service believes it needs from industry for each of its mission areas. – Breaking Defense 

Chad Heitzenrater writes: Without government investments and policies to drive transparency and a clear understanding of what cybersecurity tools do, how well they work, and how securely they are built, the U.S. risks continuing to offer its adversaries the means to undermine its systems and, ultimately, its security. – Defense News