Fdd's overnight brief

September 26, 2022

In The News


Antigovernment protests in Iran gathered strength Sunday with new demonstrations in scores of cities and indications that unrest was growing, posing one of the biggest challenges the country’s conservative Islamic rulers have faced in years. – Wall Street Journal

Iranian security forces have escalated their use of force to suppress a largely peaceful protest movement, moving from nonlethal riot control tactics to firing live rounds, according to rights groups, raising fears of a higher death toll as the unrest spreads. – Wall Street Journal

As Iranians take to the streets to protest the country’s strict Muslim dress code, they have chanted for the death of a man who once wielded power in secret and now has a growing public profile—Mojtaba Khamenei, son of the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader. – Wall Street Journal

It has been a week since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who fell into a coma after being detained by Iran’s “morality police.” But the anti-government protests she inspired are still raging across Iran. Demonstrators, many of them women, are burning hijabs and fighting back against police; they are tearing down posters and setting fire to billboards of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader. – Washington Post

The 22-year-old woman emerged from the Tehran subway, her dark hair covered with a black head scarf and the lines of her body obscured by loose clothing, when the capital city’s Guidance Patrol spotted her. They were members of Iran’s notorious morality police, enforcers of the conservative Islamic dress and behavior rules that have governed daily life for Iranians since the 1979 revolution, and newly energized under a hard-line president who took office last year. – New York Times

The protests that have thrust Iran into turmoil since the death of a young woman in police custody have been striking for the way they have cut across ethnic and social class divides, but there is one group that has risen up with particular fury. – New York Times

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it summoned Britain’s ambassador to protest what it described as a hostile atmosphere created by London-based Farsi language media outlets. The move comes amid violent unrest in Iran triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody. – Associated Press

U.S. support for “rioters” is contrary to Washington’s diplomatic stance towards Iran, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency on Sunday. – Reuters

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has said Tehran will give “an appropriate” response to Ukraine’s decision to downgrade diplomatic ties over the reported supply of Iranian drones to Russia. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding the range of internet services available to Iranians despite U.S. sanctions on the country, amid protests around Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman in custody. – Reuters

Iran’s current round of protests are unlike anything the Islamic Republic has seen before and place the country at a pivotal moment in its history, an Iranian-American writer told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. – Jewish Insider 

An Iranian court filed an indictment against 14 citizens who were allegedly involved in the assassination of Iran’s nuclear program chief, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Maariv reported, citing media reports in Iran on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday condemned the United States over its alleged support for rioters who have been protesting the death of a young woman who was arrested by the morality police. – Arutz Sheva

The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said on Saturday he will meet next week with the chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, as attempts to revive the country’s nuclear deal stall. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: The Obama Administration failed to support the Green Revolution in 2009 as it sought a nuclear deal. So far the Biden Administration is supporting the right to protest, but it can help Iranians the most by helping them know the truth about their leaders. – Wall Street Journal

Karim Sadjadpour writes: Iran’s transition from theocracy to democracy may not come easily, peacefully or soon. But it is the single most important key to transforming the Middle East. – Washington Post

Jon Gambrell writes: A battle over leadership could turn Iran’s focus further inward. There is no designated successor for the 83-year-old Khamenei, though some analysts suggest his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, might be considered by clerics to become the next supreme leader. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to the supreme leader, has grown increasingly powerful both militarily and economically during the recent tensions with the West. The US Treasury said the Guard has smuggled “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of sanctioned oil into the international market. – Times of Israel 

Roya Hakakian writes: Americans have waited four decades for Iranians to reject the regime’s propaganda and stop seeing them as the enemy. This is a historic opportunity for the two nations to forge a new bond if the U.S. chooses to support Iranians in their hour of need. Those who wish to see democracy regain momentum around the world must do their part. – The Atlantic

Robert Satloff writes: Again, I never liked the original JCPOA, and I certainly don’t like the diluted version that the Biden administration is offering Iran now. But I like American passivity even less. If Washington truly believes that a new nuclear deal is the most effective way to stop Iran’s runaway nuclear program, it’s not good enough just to wait for Iran to accept a deal whose value shrinks with every day that it sits on the bargaining table. We must act, and now. – ​​Washington Institute

Matthew Continetti writes: Draw the line here. U.S. officials say they have made their final offer to Iran. Fine. The ayatollah rejected it. Now America must reject him as well. Isolating and punishing the Iranian regime for its malign behavior abroad and oppression at home would further American interests in the Greater Middle East. It would undermine one of Russia’s few allies. And it would help the Iranian people in their struggle to put their government where it belongs: on the ash heap of history. – The Washington Free Beacon

Fatemeh Aman writes: The Iranian government has put all its efforts into defeating militant Sunni groups using military means, neglecting the important task of winning the hearts and minds of Iran’s Sunni population. Tehran’s discrimination toward and harsh treatment of Iranian religious minorities has proven counterproductive. These policies have alienated those populations and, in the process, created a breeding ground for violent extremism. The Islamic Republic might be more successful in its fight against extremist Sunni groups if it tried to win the trust of Iranian Sunnis and provide them with fundamental religious freedom. – Middle East Institute 

Sajjad Safaei writes: That’s why Iran’s ruling elites would do well to make concessions on the hijab issue—if not for the sake of the Iranian people, at least for their own sake. It remains to be seen whether the current protests will lead to the complete abolition of mandatory hijab and the policing of women’s attire. But they have already achieved what would have been unthinkable not long ago. From now on, it will be costlier for the Iranian government to punish women for something the vast majority of Iranians do not consider an offense, let alone a crime. – Foreign Policy

Aaron David Miller writes: A verifiable JCPOA agreement would prevent Iran from becoming a true nuclear threshold state for at least eight years and provide time and space to develop options to perhaps extend the accord, to focus on checking Iran’s regional activities, and to create sufficient military deterrence to dissuade Iran from ramping up its nuclear program once key provisions began to expire. – Foreign Policy

Dore Gold writes: Contesting the action of an aggressor is a military mission above all. But it is also a diplomatic operation that must be pursued in parallel. That certainly is what is what drove Churchill before the outbreak of the Second World War and perhaps is what has recently been influencing those speaking for Israel at present. Undoubtedly the next Israeli government will have no choice but to act more intensely and consistently in this regard. – Jerusalem Post 

Michael Arizanti writes: These are not simply demonstrations against the regime’s brutal oppression but the voices of people unwilling to tolerate further subjugation by a theocratic regime, demanding the end of the current totalitarian ruling system and the creation of a pluralist, decentralised, modern democratic civic state. – Times of Israel 

Ali Deilami writes: It’s important for us, the Iranian people, that the world knows this fact, because it’s really bad when your country is ruled by a dictator, but When the dictatorship in your homeland brings suffering and pain for other countries, It’s something else. like what Islamic republic of Iran did in Lebanon, Syria , Iraq, Yemen and all the region. The question is, are Iranians guilty like Germans because of the dictator who ruled their country? Now, with these innocent bloods splashing on the streets of Iranian cities, we hope the answer will be No, and tomorrow no one writes about the question of Iranian guilt. Now everybody knows the right title of our country isn’t Islamic republic of Iran, but it’s Islamic republic Vs Iran. – Times of Israel

Russia & Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the conversation with Ukraine over the supply of U.S. weapons to aid the country’s war efforts is “ongoing,” including a request from Kyiv for Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, as the long-range missiles are commonly known. –Washington Post

Kremlin-backed forces in Crimea are mobilizing Tatars to fight in Kherson, in a “catastrophic” attempt to put ethnic minorities in harm’s way, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday, the same day that protests in an impoverished Russian region led to clashes with police. In Russia and areas that its troops control, the Kremlin has begun to mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight its foundering war in Ukraine. – Washington Post

In the occupied city of Kherson, some Ukrainian men believe that if they break their own arms, maybe the Russians will not force them into military service. Others are hiding in basements. Some are trying to run even though they are forbidden to leave the city, residents said, and virtually everyone is afraid. – New York Times

TV anchor Tikhon Dzyadko started getting telephone death threats just days after Russia attacked Ukraine. Then the website for his independent Russian station, Dozhd, was blocked amid rumors of an imminent police raid. He fled the country with his family. – Washington Post

Officials in Russian-occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine were forcing people to vote “under a gun barrel,” residents said on Saturday as staged referendums — intended to validate Moscow’s annexation of the territory it occupies — entered their second day. – Washington Post

Hundreds of people were arrested Saturday during demonstrations in Russia against the nation’s “partial mobilization” of troops that the Kremlin plans to throw into its invasion of Ukraine. Some who had participated in demonstrations earlier in the week had been given military summonses, state media reported. – Washington Post

Multiple drone strikes hit a building in the center of the southern port city of Odesa on Sunday, the second day in a row that unmanned aerial vehicles have struck there, the Ukrainian military said. – New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has thrust himself more directly into strategic planning for the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, American officials said, including rejecting requests from his commanders on the ground that they be allowed to retreat from the vital southern city of Kherson. – New York Times

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany gets right to the point when asked why his country will not send battle tanks to Ukraine: It is “a very dangerous war,” he said. Ukraine has made gains recently against Russia, which invaded the country in February, and has been asking the West for reinforcements. But Germany has declined to lead the way in sending that aid. – New York Times

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine encouraged Russians to resist their country’s conscription drive on Saturday, his latest effort to blunt President Vladimir V. Putin’s attempts to broaden the war. – New York Times

Biden administration officials have expressed concern that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could detonate a tactical nuclear weapon — perhaps in a demonstration blast over the Black Sea or Arctic Ocean, or in Ukrainian territory — but on Saturday said there is no evidence yet that he is moving those weapons or preparing such a strike. – New York Times

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday to lash out at the United States and its Western allies and divert attention from recent developments in the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Ukrainian forces defiantly pushed back against threats by Russia to annex territory it controls on Saturday, while Moscow replaced a top general in charge of logistics after a series of snafus that contributed to recent battlefield losses by Russian troops. – New York Times

Opponents of Vladimir V. Putin’s call-up that could sweep 300,000 civilians into military service continued to show their disapproval across Russia on Saturday, with at least 745 people detained, according to OVD-Info, a human rights watchdog that monitors police activity. – New York Times

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a high-level leadership shake-up on Saturday after an embarrassing rout of its forces in northeast Ukraine. – New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin’s surprise draft to reinforce his invasion of Ukraine has run into growing resistance across Russia as villagers, activists and even some elected officials asked why the conscription drive appeared to be hitting minority groups and rural areas harder than the big cities. – New York Times

Russian soldiers, wearing balaclavas and wielding guns, flanked election workers. Ukrainians were forced to vote while Russian officials or their proxies stood guard. Some residents even hid in their homes, terrified that voting against Russia’s annexation would lead to their being abducted, or worse. – New York Times

President Biden and leaders of the Group of 7 nations on Friday condemned Russia’s hastily called referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine, a possible prelude to annexation of those territories, calling the votes a flagrant violation of international law. – New York Times

Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was “pushed” to invade Ukraine, remarks that drew fierce criticism days before an election. – New York Times

The Ukraine war is entering a risky period in which the guardrails for averting military escalation between the U.S. and Russia are increasingly imperiled, current and former U.S. officials say. – Wall Street Journal

The grain elevator towering over the eastern edge of Kupyansk, the former seat of Russian power in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, was supposed to be defended by soldiers from an elite Russian unit. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s rush to mobilize hundreds of thousands of recruits to staunch stinging losses in Ukraine is a tacit acknowledgement that its “army is not able to fight,” Ukraine’s president said Sunday, as splits sharpened in Europe over whether to welcome or turn away Russians fleeing the call-up.- Associated Press

Tehran said on Saturday it regretted a decision by Ukraine to reduce its diplomatic presence in Kyiv over alleged arms deliveries to arch-foe Russia.“Iran expresses its regrets over the decision of the Ukrainian government concerning diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement. – Agence France-Presse

Russian authorities on Sunday promised to fix the mistakes in their troop call-up for Ukraine, after some public outrage over students, older or sick people being mistakenly ordered to report for duty. When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation on Wednesday, he said only people with “relevant” skills or military experience would be concerned. – Agence France-Presse

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia’s decision to seize Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was a “flagrant breach” of its past commitments to safety. – Bloomberg 

Turkey stands with Ukraine in the war and will defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.  – Bloomberg 

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh at the end of August as part of talks that led to Russia and Ukraine swapping prisoners of war, according to three people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg 

Twenty wounded Ukrainian service members will be treated in Israel for the first time, Israel’s envoy to Ukraine said, amid an intense push from Kyiv for support from Israel. – Times of Israel 

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations of shelling in southern Ukraine as four Ukrainian territories partially occupied by Russian forces continued to vote in so-called referendums on joining the Russian Federation. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Ukraine’s president said late on September 25 that there was fierce fighting taking place on the front lines of its 7-month-old defense against Russia’s invasion but that Kyiv was seeing “positive results.” – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that the United States would respond decisively to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine and has spelled out to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: Mr. Putin is straining the fabric of the nuclear taboo. Bluff or not, he escalates danger for all. The Biden administration is right to deliver private warnings to Mr. Putin of grave consequences for nuclear use. Mr. Putin should remember the wise words of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” – Washington Post

Ross Douthat writes: In a battle for their very freedom, the Ukrainians, no less than Buckley, want their children to look back and say that in the greatest crisis, the blood of their fathers ran strong. But just as Reagan’s horror of nuclear war turned out to be crucial to his legacy, the policies of Joe Biden — so far successful — will be judged not only on what they achieve for the embattled Ukrainians, but for the peace of the entire world. – New York Times

Seth Cropsey writes: All wars must end. The U.S. cannot allow this one to end on Putin’s terms. It is not that nuclear threats are a bluff, or that Russia is a paper tiger. The U.S. must do the hard work of ensuring escalation dominance and managing a nuclear crisis. – The Hill

Liam Denning writes: High prices for energy and crops, combined with an ascendant dollar, will suck away more of the most vulnerable countries’ income even as the need to restructure their economies intensifies. The temptation to bargain with Russia, however reluctantly, will be strong. With over 200 million people in an acute food crisis, and ten times that number facing some form of food insecurity — today — this is existential. – Bloomberg 

Lara Williams writes: It’s not clear what method of de-escalation would lead to the best outcome. But there is one thing for certain: The world is, once again, in a very sobering situation. Even if Putin is bluffing, his threats are a reminder that the world isn’t truly safe as long as nuclear weapons lie in wait. – Bloomberg 

Lawrence Freedman writes: The mobilization he has announced will not turn this around, and the use of nuclear weapons would make a bad situation catastrophic. Putin is on course to lose, and given the many thousands of lives already sacrificed, he fully deserves to do so. – Foreign Affairs

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran now seems to have sealed its ties with Russia, creating a dénouement with countries like Ukraine. No longer can Tehran claim it only opposes Israel and the US. Today, it is on the side of the authoritarians, such as Russia and China. At the recent meetings in Uzbekistan as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Tehran was clear about how it wants to work closely with Moscow and Beijing. Iran has also continued to threaten the Gulf States. All of this shows that Iran may be isolated and is lashing out – and doesn’t fear the consequences. Ukraine, whose cause is backed by the West, has now shown that Iran doesn’t have impunity to traffic weapons. – Jerusalem Post


Thousands of Hasidic Jews from Israel and other countries are making their way to Uman, a city in central Ukraine, for a traditional pilgrimage over Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, defying stern travel warnings issued by the Israeli government and the pleas of Ukrainian officials who had asked them to stay away because of the war. – New York Times

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian militant on Sunday during an army operation in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, in the latest in a series of incidents in recent months around the volatile town of Nablus. – Reuters

Hamas on Sunday lashed out at the chief of the Shin Bet internal security service, after Ronen Bar issued a warning to the head of the terror group in Gaza.The exchange of verbal fire came after the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, arrested several Hamas members in separate West Bank raids in recent weeks, accusing them of carrying out or planning terror attacks. – Times of Israel 

Itamar Marcus writes: Fatah, which is very weak today, and possibly stands to be defeated by the terror organization Hamas if elections were to be held, is taking this opportunity of the Oslo Accords anniversary to remind Palestinians that it was Fatah’s Arafat who decided both to sign the Oslo Accords and to launch and direct the “second intifada.” The text posted by Fatah with the video also points to this: “Watch how the moment of igniting the [second] Intifada arrived. #Yasser_Arafat” – Algemeiner

Ben Lynfield writes: Ultimately, the legacy of the accords—and their explicit decoupling of the Palestinian question from regional recognition—has given Israel an excuse to put off answering fundamental questions about what kind of country it wants to be: a Western democracy or a Jewish ethnic state? Unless and until Israel’s new international partners put the Palestinian question back on the front burner, the link between normalization and real peace is likely to remain tenuous at best. – Foreign Policy

David M. Weinberg writes: This will require a total Israeli government inter-agency effort, involving the ministries of defense, public security, justice, finance (tax, land, and social service authorities), and the IDF, GSS, and police. (For more on this in the coming months, watch Regavim’s website, and see the work of Dr. Doron Matza of Israel’s Defense and Security Forum.) Most needed is Israeli leadership with the guts and grit to embark on this difficult task. Might any of the politicians currently running for election care to relate to this urgent challenge? – Jerusalem Post

Avi Meirstein writes: Creating an institution with the mandate, resources, credibility, and expertise to change the dynamics of this conflict is a bigger project than any one nation or donor can achieve alone. As international support grows and before time runs out, now is the moment to secure MEPPA’s longest-lasting legacy: launching a long-term push to help the next generation find their partners and their way out of this mess once and for all. – Jerusalem Post


Dozens of Iraqi and Iranian Kurds rallied in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil on Saturday over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in the custody of Iranian police. – Reuters

Iraq has started trial operations at the Karbala oil refinery south of the capital Baghdad, the oil ministry said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard on Saturday attacked a Kurdish militant group’s base located in the north of neighboring Iraq, state media said, a week after widespread anti-government protests began over a young woman’s death in police custody. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: It is time for the State Department to engage regularly with Kurdistan human rights activists and independent journalists rather than Rudaw, Bas News, and Kurdistan24 employees who prioritize their personal sponsors and the Barzanis’ funding over the truth. The State Department should shine light on the credible human rights abuses dating back to the murder of Sardasht Osman allegedly at the hands security apparatus Masrour and Waysi ran. – 19FortyFive


Prime Minister Yair Lapid, on Sunday convened a security consultation to discuss the launch of operations in the Karish gas rig off the coast of Israel. – Ynet

The Biden administration is on the verge of a significant breakthrough in Middle East relations as it quietly pursues an agreement between Israel and Lebanon on territorial maritime borders. – The Hill

Hanin Ghaddar writes: Once a deal is finalized and the maritime borders are secured, the U.S. government and its European allies need to follow up with diplomatic pressure to make sure that the financial benefits of Qana’s gas—if the field does in fact contain any—go to the Lebanese people, not into the black hole of corruption. Only a serious push to reform the country’s energy sector—such as creating a sovereign wealth fund—would provide such assurance. Otherwise, Lebanon will never truly benefit from the deal even if ample gas is found beneath its waters. – Washington Institute

Arabian Peninsula

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz planted a tree at a mangrove park in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, a token nod to environmentalism during a two-day visit to the Gulf region focused mainly on securing new fossil fuel supplies and forging fresh alliances against Russia. – Associated Press

German utility RWE has signed a deal with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to deliver liquefied natural gas to Europe’s largest economy by the end of December, RWE announced on Sunday. – Reuters

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, has signed an agreement with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that covers accelerating energy security and industrial growth, the state news agency (WAM) reported on Sunday. – Reuters

State-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy signed on Saturday a deal with Total Energies for the Northfield South Expansion. The partnership deal was signed by Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s Energy Minister and Patrick Pouyanne, Total Energies chief Executive, and took place in Doha, Qatar. The deal comes at a time when Europe is searching for alternative sources of energy away from Russia. – Associated Press

Fatima Abo Alasrar writes: To avoid falling into a pattern whereby the Houthis become accustomed to having a monopoly on violence, the international community should pay attention to the issue of governance and power-sharing by holding the militia accountable for its commitments during the conflict. Waiting until after the conflict or a political settlement to hold the Houthis accountable for violations or wrong-doings in their areas of control only gives them carte blanche to perpetuate the status quo. – Middle East Institute

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s stock market tumbled on Sunday, leading declines across Middle East, in response to Friday’s fall in energy prices and on fears that aggressive interest rate hikes by major central banks to tame inflation could cause a global recession. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia appears to be leaving behind the stream of negative coverage that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi elicited since 2018. The kingdom is once again being enthusiastically welcomed back into polite and powerful society, and it is no longer as frowned upon to seek Saudi investments or accept their favor. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Turkey’s Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati and Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman and chief foreign policy adviser, in Jeddah on Saturday, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Sunday night in the capital against poverty, high prices and the shortage of some foodstuff, escalating pressure on the government of President Kais Saied, as the country suffers an economic and political crisis. – Reuters

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt on Saturday met with Sudan’s leader in Cairo for talks that focused on ties between the two neighbors, officials said. – Associated Press

Israel is facing a dilemma. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in its defense industry, eyeing lucrative deals directly with foreign firms or that involve international partnerships. But Jerusalem, which recently normalized relations with some Gulf nations but not the Kingdom, is being left out, much to the chagrin of some Israeli defense firms that haven’t been able to get permission from the defense ministry to sell their wares. – Breaking Defense

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast on Sunday, Seoul and Tokyo officials said, Pyongyang’s first such weapons test in nearly four months as provocations slowed during the country’s Covid-19 outbreak. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. aircraft carrier and its battle group launched drills with South Korean warships off the Korean Peninsula’s east coast on Monday in their first such training in five years, a day after North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile in a possible response to the exercise. – Associated Press

North Korea and China resumed freight train service Monday following a five-month hiatus, South Korean officials said, as the North struggles to revive an economy battered by the pandemic, U.N. sanctions and other factors. – Associated Press

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday accused the country’s media of damaging its alliance with the United States after a TV broadcaster released a video suggesting that he insulted U.S. Congress members following a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York last week. – Associated Press

Daehan Lee writes: Peace without strength is crippled. Those who criminalize South Korea’s survival instinct to build its own nuclear arsenal seem to be obsessed with the naïve and weak logic that staying as a non-nuclear free-rider that completely relies on the United States could permanently guarantee East Asian security. Doing so would only put South Korea in a more dangerous position. – The National Interest


President Biden’s repeated statements that the U.S. would defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack is chipping away at longstanding American policy meant to keep the hostile sides at bay. – Wall Street Journal

China’s foreign minister promoted one issue above all others in a flurry of diplomatic meetings at the United Nations this week: Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Addressing the U.N. on Saturday on behalf of President Xi Jinping, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described Taiwan as China’s sovereign territory since ancient times and vowed resolute action to forestall separatist activity. –  Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, focusing the conversation on rising tension over Taiwan, a senior Biden administration official said. – Bloomberg 

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, in her first major speech at the United Nations, called on China to leverage its relationship with Russia and pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

Ukraine’s president said he would like to renew relations with China, whose position on the Russian invasion he termed “ambiguous.” – Bloomberg 

Sebastian Mallaby writes: None of this is good news — for China or the rest of the world. Russia has recently shown how a declining power can be more dangerous than a rising one, and the combination of scientific might and economic malfunction is a scary cocktail. There is not much the West can do to stop China from being China. But it can at least prepare. – Washington Post

Tom Rogan writes: To be clear, these technologies will have been used to enable the People’s Liberation Army to identify, target, and kill American service personnel in war better. The theft of these technologies has thus caused profound damage to U.S. national security. Put simply, the U.S. government must ensure that China is less able to steal the most sensitive research. If academics don’t like that, then they should quit. – Washington Examiner

Dean Cheng writes: For several decades, the Taiwan Strait has been a potential flashpoint between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Nowhere else in the Western Pacific do the interests of the PRC and the U.S. collide so directly. The rise of the Information Age has added techno-economic considerations to historical and geopolitical factors. Navigating these waters, literally and figuratively, will be a major challenge for current and future American Administrations. – Heritage Foundation

South Asia

About 380 children have been killed in the bloodshed that began when Myanmar’s army seized power early last year. But the Sept. 16 strike on the school, in Let Yet Kone village in central Myanmar, killed more of them than any single episode since the coup. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, condemned the attack. – New York Times 

On the margins of a summit meant as a show of force for a Russian leader seeking a turnaround on the battlefield, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India leaned in with a different message. “Democracy, diplomacy and dialogue” — not war — is the answer, he told Vladimir V. Putin as the cameras rolled this month, before declaring that the two would speak more about how to bring peace in Ukraine. – New York Times

A retired high-ranking officer in Myanmar’s military was shot dead at his home in the country’s biggest city, Yangon, in the latest such killing attributed to militants opposed to army rule. – Associated Press


For nearly two decades, public discussion of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties with the Unification Church was taboo in Japan. Now, the organization’s decades-long influence in Japanese politics is at the forefront of a political outcry. – Washington Post

The Biden administration is exploring an arrangement to expedite Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to respond to China’s growing military might by producing the first few subs in the U.S., Western officials said Friday. – Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in New York this week for the first direct talks since more than 180 people were reported killed last week in fighting between the two countries. The flare-up subsided within days, but the high-level meeting reflects worries that the causes of the conflict — and the full-scale war that preceded it in 2020 — are nowhere near resolved. – New York Times

Japan expressed grave concern about Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine as the top government spokesman on Monday announced an additional ban on exports of chemical weapons-related goods to Russia. – Associated Press

The Philippines is interested in renewing talks with China on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea to expand and diversify its sources of energy, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.  – Bloomberg 

Kazakhstan, one of Russia’s close ex-Soviet partners, will not recognise the possible annexation of Ukraine’s eastern regions by Russia through referendums held there, the Central Asian nation’s foreign ministry said on Monday. – Reuters

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will discuss a partnership on Taiwan security issues, a senior U.S. administration official said on Monday aboard Air Force Two. – Reuters

There were long lines of cars at a border crossing from Russia to Mongolia on September 25, with thousands of new arrivals to that East Asian country since a Kremlin call-up announcement threatened Russian men with conscription. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


Italian voters appeared to shatter several precedents Sunday, backing parties that are now set to form the country’s farthest-right government since the fall of Mussolini, led by its first female prime minister. – Washington Post

One of the big dividends of Brexit was supposed to be a U.K. trade deal with the U.S., helping offset the economic pain of putting up trade barriers with the European Union, Britain’s largest trading partner. – Wall Street Journal

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas warned that Russia could be preparing to disconnect the three Baltic countries from its electricity grid, leading to potential blackouts amid a broader energy crisis. – Bloomberg 

The European Union is united in seeking to extend economic sanctions against Russia, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said. “There is a clear political will that these sanctions should continue, either being rolled over or even new,” Plenkovic said in a Bloomberg TV interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meetings Friday.  – Bloomberg 

The Defence Secretary has said Britain will increase the size of its armed forces spending by at least £52 billion in response to Russian aggression. – Bloomberg 

Greece won’t allow any country to cross the “red line” of challenging its sovereignty, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the United Nations, while also suggesting peaceful coexistence with Turkey is possible. – Bloomberg 

Russian ally Serbia has said it won’t recognize the current votes in Russian-held parts of Ukraine that Kyiv has called “sham” referendums, dealing another international blow to the Kremlin’s hastily organized effort at consolidating early gains in its 7-month-old invasion. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Editorial: ​​Ms. Truss’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, talked a good game on trade but refused to budge on such issues as the British ban on chlorine-washed chickens. This is a relatively small matter in value but is emotive in British politics. Financial regulations are another obstacle, but two countries that were serious about getting to a deal would find a way to overcome these issues in the national economic interest. Ms. Truss will now have to focus on her daring domestic reform agenda, but it’s too bad Mr. Biden let growth in trade slip away. – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: Mr. Putin could openly declare energy war on Germany. He hasn’t. He could announce a genuine draft rather than a hurried, collapse-preventing mobilization of ex-soldiers that is already being resisted. He could have blown a patriotic horn in revealing this step but instead said he was yielding to his increasingly discredited general staff. He also promised the move would be “fully adequate” to meet the military situation. A few hours later, his government authorized a large prisoner exchange with Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal


At least one soldier was killed and six others injured in Somalia on Sunday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a military base in the west of the capital Mogadishu, a soldier and a hospital worker told Reuters. – Reuters

A gang of armed men killed at least 15 people at a mosque in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state, residents said on Saturday. – Reuters

Mali’s prime minister lashed out Saturday at former colonizer France, the U.N. secretary-general and many people in between, saying that the tumultuous country had been “stabbed in the back” by the French military withdrawal. In the same remarks, Abdoulaye Maiga praised the “exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia.” – Associated Press

At least two soldiers and two civilian auxiliaries died in a “terrorist” attack on a patrol in eastern Burkina Faso, the army said Sunday. A military unit and VDP volunteer auxiliaries were ambushed on Saturday between Sakoani and Sampieri in Tapoa province, bordering Niger and Benin, an army statement said. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

U.S. diplomats have assured Brazil’s leading presidential candidate, leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, that they will swiftly recognize the winner of next month’s election, two sources told Reuters, seeking to avert any attempt to contest a legitimate result or sow chaos after the vote. – Reuters

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss a Mexican peace plan for the Ukraine conflict that he presented to the U.N. General Assembly this week. – Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday agreed to deepen cooperation on critical minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs) batteries as both countries seek to cut emissions to fight climate change. – Reuters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking sweeping action against what he says are threats posed by the Communist Party of China and the governments of six other countries through a series of executive actions and legislative proposals. The measures “will curtail the nefarious intentions” of countries of concern in the areas of cyberspace, real estate, and academia to protect Floridians, he said. The countries of concern include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, and Venezuela. – Washington Examiner


Australia plans to toughen privacy rules to force companies to notify banks faster when they experience cyber attacks, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday, after hackers targeted the country’s second-largest telecoms firm. – Reuters

The Uyghur community was targeted with an Android-based malware campaign for over seven years, according to researchers with cybersecurity firm Check Point. – The Record

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a new bill this week intended to address the security risks of open source software in government. – The Record

The U.S. agency that maintains and modernizes the country’s nuclear stockpile was criticized by a government watchdog this week for lackluster cybersecurity policies that endangered both IT and operational technology networks. – The Record

The U.S. Department of Treasury said it is carving out exceptions within its stifling sanctions on Iran for technology companies providing internet access during recent protests. – The Record


Democrats on Capitol Hill are divided on whether it’s time to start providing Ukraine with more advanced weapons systems as Kyiv proves itself capable with its recent counteroffensive. – The Hill

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan conducted a port visit in Busan, Republic of Korea, on Friday — marking the first time the carrier has pulled into Busan in almost five years. The Reagan, which departed its homeport in Yokosuka, Japan, in May, is slated to host several U.S. and ROK dignitaries for a “Big Top” reception while other leadership engagements will be held ashore. – Military Times

The Air Force’s array of 48 fighter squadrons and nine attack squadrons are today being asked to do the work of 60 squadrons, the head of Air Combat Command said Wednesday. – Defense News