Fdd's overnight brief

September 6, 2023

In The News


Saudi Arabia’s first ambassador to Iran since the resumption of diplomatic relations arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to start his new mission there, the Saudi state news agency said. – Reuters

Iranian authorities on Tuesday arrested an uncle of Mahsa Amini, the young Iranian Kurdish woman who died in custody sparking months of protests, just ahead of the first anniversary of her death, reports said on Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

Sweden and the European Union are responsible for securing EU official Johan Floderus’ release from an Iranian prison, European Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Tuesday. – Politico

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: That the IAEA is keeping up any pressure on these issues is positive from Israel’s perspective. But once there is a full enrichment freeze, will the IAEA and the West let up, or go the distance in getting Tehran to reduce its existing uranium stockpile and resolve the questions about its nuclear program’s military dimensions? Reports will not answer that critical question, only decisions by the West’s leaders at decisive moments in the near future can do so. – Jerusalem Post

Tamar Adelstein writes: This mad rush to automatically blame the Jew before the facts are in, let alone the injustice of ignoring the obvious, depicts an image of fright over “the sound of a driven leaf” and flight “fleeing, eventhough no one is chasing them” and tragically emboldens Israel’s enemies into believing that, indeed, they can get away with murder. More than35 Jewish lives have been lost to terrorist barbarians this year. Will you, Min. Gallant, act out of the box to stop it? – Arutz Sheva

Ashka Jhaveri, Annika Ganzeveld, and Nicholas Carl write: The acquisition of Russian Su-35s may enable Iran to more readily and independently project air power. Iran requested Russian intervention in 2015 in the Syrian civil war to help defend the Bashar al Assad regime. Iran lacked a modern air force capable of supporting its military operations in Syria and instead benefited from Russian air power. Russia has militarily deprioritized Syria since it invaded Ukraine, leaving Iran with less military air support in Syria. Obtaining Su-35s would help Iran build a modern air force for use in theaters abroad, such as in Syria. – Institute for the Study of War

Russia & Ukraine

Rock star Roger Waters was in Switzerland when he heard from his friend Randy Credico, a comedian and radio personality who rose to prominence during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Credico told Waters, a Pink Floyd co-founder, that Russia was eager to have him speak at the U.N. Security Council, the premier venue for diplomats and—increasingly—entertainers.

Wall Street Journal

A Russian military pilot who defected to Ukraine last month said he flew his Mi-8 helicopter low over fields with its transponder off to evade detection, capping an operation planned over months with Ukraine’s military intelligence agency. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to reinstate — but postpone by a year — a key anti-corruption rule that would require them to openly disclose their assets, potentially raising new questions about the country’s commitment to fighting graft at the highest levels of government. – Washington Post

The Cuban government says it’s discovered a Russian human trafficking network that has been recruiting its citizens to fight for Vladimir Putin’s government in Ukraine — and it’s warning they’d better cut it out. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s counteroffensive, launched in early June, aims to reclaim land in the south and east of the country. Its goal in the south is to reach the Sea of Azov and drive a wedge through Russian-occupied territory, and its main effort so far has been in the direction of the city of Melitopol. – New York Times 

The removal of Ukraine’s minister of defense after a flurry of reports of graft and financial mismanagement in his department underscores a pivotal challenge for President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wartime leadership: stamping out the corruption that had been widespread in Ukraine for years. – New York Times

When Ukraine discovered civilian mass graves in an area recaptured from Russian troops, Russia’s ambassador in neighboring Slovakia countered with his own discovery. – New York Times

The G7 and allies have shelved regular reviews of the Russian oil price cap scheme, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, even though most Russian crude is trading above the limit because of a rally in global crude prices. – Reuters

A Russian-appointed official has acknowledged that Moscow’s forces have abandoned the Ukrainian village of Robotyne, more than a week after Kyiv announced its recapture. – Reuters

Ukrainian lawmakers voted on Tuesday to restore a requirement that officials declare their assets, a measure sought by the International Monetary Fund, but included a loophole critics say dampens its effect. – Reuters

Ukraine said on Monday its troops had regained more territory on the eastern front and were advancing south in their counteroffensive against Russian forces while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited two front-line areas. – Reuters

Wagner, the Russian mercenary group, is set to be proscribed as a terrorist group by the UK government – meaning it will be illegal to be a member or support the organisation. – BBC

More than 300 people were killed and over 600 wounded by cluster munitions in Ukraine in 2022, according to an international watchdog, surpassing Syria as the country with the highest number of casualties from the controversial weapons for the first time in a decade. – Associated Press

The Zaporizhzhia region of southeast Ukraine has become the most recent hot spot for battles in the 18-month war, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday, as Kyiv’s forces press ahead with their counteroffensive. – Associated Press

Russia warned Tuesday it will treat any US move to station nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time in 15 years as an “escalation” after media reports indicated plans to deploy the bombs on British soil. – Bloomberg

A new Russian drone strike has hit Ukrainian port facilities in the Izmail area on the River Danube, killing one person, the local governor says. – BBC

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, dozens of Russian officials and conspirators have been assassinated both in occupied Ukrainian territory and Russia. – Business Insider

David Ignatius writes: Support for Ukraine and the Global South are sometimes juxtaposed, but, in truth, they converge. This simple fact is that there won’t be a just peace to end this terrible conflict without support from the fence-sitters. To put it in stark terms: The United States won’t achieve its national security interests without becoming more involved in global development issues. – Washington Post 

Alexander J. Motyl writes: Small wonder that thousands of ethnic Ukrainians who had been indifferent to which language they spoke before the 2022 re-invasion have abandoned Russian for Ukrainian. Small wonder as well that Ukraine’s government and intellectual class are actively pursuing policies of “decolonization.” Streets, cities, towns and villages are being renamed, monuments torn down or reconfigured, and Ukrainian language and culture promoted. – The Hill 

Margarita Konaev and Owen J. Daniels write: These challenges and adjustments do not mean that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is failing, and they certainly do not mean that Russia is poised to win. Instead, they mean that Ukraine will need patience from its partners as it tries to wear down its enemy. The West will need to recalibrate its expectations to match reality, which is that this is a war of attrition. In the near term, NATO states must continue transferring weapons and other capabilities to Ukraine. They will need to give Kyiv political and military support for the long term, as well. More than anything, what Ukraine needs right now is time. – Foreign Affairs

Daniel Baer writes: All three of these measures would bolster Ukrainians’ sense of capability and their sense that their plight is understood. To be able to exact military costs inside Russia, just as Russia has done since the start of the war in Ukraine, would provide a partial leveling of the playing field. It would remind Ukrainians that as Putin tries to break them, they have the ability to resist in new ways that hurt Putin and his military. The announcement that a real Ukraine reconstruction fund—which ultimately needs to be hundreds of billions of dollars—is beginning with Russian reserves as seed funding would indicate that Ukraine’s partners are planning for a hopeful future for the beleaguered country and its people. And crucially, such commitment to the defense of Ukraine will speed the clock that Putin now finds himself racing against. – Foreign Affairs

Kseniya Kirillova writes: That does not augur a return to the policy of pre-war days; it suggests the Kremlin will have little option than sooner or later to intensify the conflict and appease the jingoists. As Andrei Soldatov and Irina Bogoran similarly concluded, sooner or later Putin will need to conjure up a new Prigozhin. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Dmitri Alperovitch writes: Razborki and elite infighting are back in Russia after more than 20 years of Putin-enforced stability, and with them comes the increasing likelihood that Russia devolves further and further into chaos, which could one day endanger Putin’s own hold on power. – Foreign Policy


The White House said Tuesday that President Biden intends to nominate Jacob J. Lew, who was a chief of staff and a Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, as the next ambassador to Israel. – Wall Street Journal

When Palestinian security forces last week tried to remove barricades preventing Israeli soldiers from entering a refugee camp here, local residents were incensed. A resulting gunfight between militants and Palestinian security forces ended with a 25-year-old man shot dead and a growing sense of resentment among ordinary Palestinians who see their government as inept, corrupt and, some say, a collaborator with Israel in occupying the West Bank. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday delayed the first of three pivotal hearings on the legality of the judicial overhaul, spearheaded by the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu, after the country’s attorney general expressed staunch opposition to the plan. – Associated Press

Israel will begin deducting money from funds it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help pay down the PA’s growing debt for electricity use in the West Bank, a spokesman for Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rivals to reach a compromise that would end the judicial crisis just a week ahead of a crunch court hearing. – Reuters

Palestinians demanded on Tuesday that Israel lift a ban on exports from the Gaza Strip imposed over what Israel called an attempt to smuggle explosives, saying it would hit thousands of families and ruin precarious livelihoods in the blockaded enclave. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday spoke with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the State Department said. – Reuters

The UN urged Israel Tuesday to refrain from mass deportations of Eritreans following weekend clashes involving asylum seekers, warning it would “contravene international law” and could have dire human consequences. – Agence France-Presse

Israel on Tuesday handed down indictments against two suspects, charging them with arms smuggling across the Israel-Jordan border. A resident of the West Bank city of Tulkarm was also indicted.  – Ynet

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday there was no imminent breakthrough for a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. – Arutz Sheva 

Israel is holding secret negotiations with Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world and the fourth-largest democracy in the world, Yediot Aharonot reported. – Arutz Sheva

The IDF on Wednesday morning entered the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank for the second time this week, after a nearly two-month hiatus. – Times of Israel 

Israel continued to sell advanced weapons systems to Myanmar’s armed forces until at least early 2022, a year after the rise of its junta regime. According to documents and sources who spoke with Haaretz, the government-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and the Israeli arms maker Elbit Systems maintained their trade with Myanmar despite an international arms embargo on the country, and despite a 2017 ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice and the Israeli government’s own 2018 statement saying it stopped such sales. – Haaretz

Orly Azoulay writes: Biden recognizes that Netanyahu has difficulty keeping promises, and will welcome him with respect and suspicion. Therefore, Netanyahu is expected to receive there, if invited, not only a sweet carrot but also a large stick. The sanctions are already on the table, wrapped in cellophane of polite words. Biden will not be satisfied with just promises, he will demand a timetable for implementation. – Ynet

Moshe Dann writes: Why are anti-Israel NGOs, like Diakonia, allowed to operate freely in Israel? Steinberg explains: “Political advocacy NGOs like Diakonia, disguised as humanitarian organizations, are given visas under this facade. Instead of control and oversight by the MFA or MOD, humanitarian NGO visas are the responsibility of the ministries of Social Welfare and Interior. These ministries lack the expertise and intelligence capabilities necessary to provide oversight and monitoring of NGO activities, allowing the humanitarian charade and abuse to continue.” This self-defeating policy can and must be changed. – Arutz Sheva

Barry Shaw writes: Amotz Asa-El’s rhetoric was applied to an American experience and expresses the hysteria of a Democrat establishment trembling in fear of losing power in the next election to a resurgent Trump. But we hear the same increasingly hysterical language in Israel from protest leaders who refer, in their delusion, to bodies floating on the Yarkon River as did Ehud Barak in his attempt to take over the country in a military-type coup. And they do it, they claim, in the name of democracy. May America and Israel be saved from people who control such levers of language in order to keep or regain power, for these are the people who are the real danger to our country. – Arutz Sheva

Brian Michael Jenkins writes: Israelis can reach back millennia to the battle of Mount Zemaraim, Israel’s bloodiest clash in a civil war that divided Judah from the Kingdom of Israel in the 10th century BCE. The division left the two kingdoms vulnerable to the subsequent Assyrian conquest. Civil war still seems unlikely in either country. That does not rule out escalating turmoil with the real prospect of political violence. The wars in Lebanon, the Balkans, Syria, and elsewhere remind us how quickly societies can descend into sectarian carnage. – Jerusalem Post

Neomi Neumann writes: These recommendations aside, the unsettling question persists: why, thirty years after Oslo, has the diplomatic track gone so quiet? And why has Abbas, an architect of the Oslo paradigm, failed to establish a Palestinian state in his time? The answer, alas, is complex, relating to the history between the two peoples, interactions between their leaders, and internal developments in each national arena. After successive failures to achieve peace, Abbas may have given up on achieving his vision, settling instead for a (perishable) legacy that boils down to “I did not give up on my principles.” Whatever the case, the prerequisites for any revival of diplomatic progress are clear: courageous leadership, public legitimacy for making difficult decisions, and persistent efforts to undermine opposition forces so they cannot stand in its way. – Washington Institute

Ehud Yaari writes: As Rabin came to realize that the PLO was not the best counterpart, so should we now: the PLO has degenerated since Oslo and lost its strength. There are strong—though mostly silent—forces within Palestinian society eager to serve their nation, who are disenchanted with “armed struggle” and who believe that cooperation with Israel is their preferred course. We had better give them a chance and a helping hand. – Washington Institute


The United Nations released $125 million from its emergency relief fund Tuesday to boost underfunded humanitarian operations in 14 countries around the world, saying needs are skyrocketing. Afghanistan and Yemen top the list of recipients, with each getting $20 million, followed by Burkina Faso and Myanmar at $9 million each and Mali, Haiti and Venezuela at $8 million each. –  Associated Press

Editorial: The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said in a June report that the Taliban might be responsible for “gender apartheid.” This term should stick. Notably, South Africa’s representative to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council urged the international community to treat gender apartheid “much like it did in support of South Africa’s struggle against racial apartheid.” The United States might have surrendered most of its leverage. But that does not mean the United States should fail to use all it has left. – Washington Post

Michele Groppi and John Devine write: Back to reality, our loss is twofold. Abroad, frolicking in a sea of Western embarrassment and hypocrisy, the Taliban have magically turned time backward and purchased one-way tickets for the Dark Ages. At home, with hordes of supposedly sympathetic feminists and woke activists mysteriously gone missing, not only have we stopped caring – we appear incapable of publicly confronting even the most ridiculously grotesque forms of extremism. But it’s okay; we are progressives and, as such, we do not really need constructive debate, for we know it all already. – Jerusalem Post

Gulf States

Saudi Arabia and Russia on Tuesday said they would extend voluntary oil cuts to the end of the year, despite a rally in the oil market and analyst expectations of tight supply in the fourth quarter. – Reuters

Tom Rogan writes: That said, the top line is clear. Russia and China pursue policies that are often explicitly designed to damage U.S. interests. As a close U.S. ally, the UAE should not be a party to those Sino-Russian efforts. If the UAE continues on this path, the U.S. should reconsider the nature of this alliance. – Washington Examiner

Paul Salem writes: Saudi Arabia and Israel are moving toward normalization. It’s unlikely to happen in the short term, but more likely around the 2025 timeframe. They and the U.S. have an interest in the U.S. being the global broker of this event. Such an agreement will be transformative in terms of the economic, political, and security relations of the region. While there are many issues that would have to be worked through before such a deal is possible, one of the most important stakeholders in such a deal are those with no seat at the table: the Palestinians. The Americans and the Saudis, at least, and thoughtful Israelis as well, have an interest in using the leverage of this potential deal to rescue the Palestinian-Israeli situation from the dangerously desperate and dead-end state that it is currently in, and put it back on a path where a two-state solution is imaginable again. – Middle East Institute 


Middle East & North Africa

The weeklong clashes between rival U.S.-backed militias in eastern Syria, where hundreds of American troops are deployed, point to dangerous seams in the coalition that has kept a lid on the defeated Islamic State group for years. That could be an opportunity for the radical group to reemerge. – Associated Press

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is in close contact with the United Nations on reviving the Black Sea grain initiative and he will discuss it with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at its general assembly this month, Turkish media reported. – Reuters

Frances McDonough writes: In Washington, the Biden administration has lately focused on advancing a $1.9 billion IMF loan, while lawmakers have proposed cutting bilateral assistance to incentivize change. So far, Saied has resisted the IMF’s required economic reforms, calling them “diktats.” Instead, he signed a memorandum with the European Union that could net as much as 1 billion euros for various projects, partly in exchange for controlling migration across the Mediterranean. Days later, Saudi Arabia committed $100 million in direct budgetary support and $400 million in loans. How the White House’s approach will be affected by these developments remains to be seen. – Washington Institute 

Adnan Nasser writes: In the end, no one knows for sure. But everyone knows what happened when he was gone. The best way to honor Sadr’s timeless influence is to build the Lebanon that he struggled to see in his lifetime. One of peace, coexistence of all, and support for your fellow citizens who fall on hard times. – The National Interest

Korean Peninsula

For more than four years, Kim Jong Un has stayed inside his country’s borders, focused on a deadly virus, a stifled economy and a corrupt elite. – Wall Street Journal

Arms negotiations between Russia and North Korea are actively advancing, a U.S. official said on Tuesday and warned leader Kim Jong Un that his country would pay a price for supplying Russia with weapons to use in Ukraine. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected five major munitions factories within a single week last month, calling on engineers and officials to increase production of weapons ranging from intercontinental ballistic missile launchers and cruise missile engines to sniper and assault rifles. – Financial Times

Editorial: A vogue view on the right and left is that the U.S. drove Russia and China together. But the Russia-North Korea summit is a reminder that these are partnerships of ideology and opportunity. The first step to breaking up the party is rendering Mr. Putin’s Ukraine play a miserable failure. – Wall Street Journal

Choe Sang-Hun writes: North Korea has also twice attempted to launch its first military spy satellite into orbit since May, but both attempts failed. The country is also trying to build its first ballistic missile submarine and is believed to face technical hurdles there as well. “I don’t think that any economic assistance from Russia could be more than symbolic,” Mr. Sung said. “But North Korea needs technological help from Russia. North Korea’s five major weapons projects are all based on original Russian technology.” – New York Times

Tom Rogan writes: That support offers Kim a chance to overcome complicated obstacles to his military development and thus pose a heightened threat to the U.S., South Korea, and Japan — a more significant threat, Kim will hope, that he can then leverage to extract economic concessions. Even if Putin limits his sharing of technical knowledge, Kim will surely receive energy supplies and foreign capital in return for his provisions to Russia. The decrepit state of the North Korean economy and its starving population make those supplies highly desirable. – Washington Examiner


In Xi Jinping’s strategy for securing China’s rise, the Communist Party keeps a firm grip on the economy, steering it out of an old era dependent on real estate and smokestack industries to a new one driven by innovation and consumer spending. – New York Times

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday she does not expect any revisions to U.S. tariffs on China imposed during President Donald Trump’s administration until an ongoing review is completed by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. – Reuters

China turned down Japan’s proposal that it take part in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s system in which countries excluding Japan can analyse the results of sea water monitoring off Fukushima, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources. – Reuters

China’s Great Wall has been pierced by Genghis Khan, the Manchus, and now, allegedly, a couple of construction workers named Zheng and Wang who wanted a shortcut. – Associated Press

China’s public is expressing concern about a potential legal change that would allow for fines and even jail time for people who offend the government’s sensibilities by wearing the wrong clothing. – Bloomberg

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has asked China to set aside its issues with India and play a “constructive role” in the upcoming G20 summit. – BBC

Joseph Bosco writes: The cumulative effect of these successive inflection points has been to strengthen the position of the West’s enemies and weaken the capacities and will of many in the West, though the final outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine hangs in the balance. If U.S. will to defend Taiwan remains as opaque as it is under the policy of strategic ambiguity, and as dilatory as it has been in helping Ukraine, China will continue to press its advantage until strategic miscalculation brings the world to perhaps the final inflection point. – The Hill

John Authers writes: Thus far, Chinese authorities have resorted to a drip-feed of targeted measures instead of the hoped for single package, as was deployed during the 2008 GFC. That, it appears, is no longer an option. Instead, the currency is inexorably weakening, while the rest of the world seems almost totally unconcerned. Can this last? – Bloomberg

Robin Harding writes: Deep reform and collaborative management of the world economy would require the US and China to work together — something that seems today more distant than ever. What world leaders can do at the G20 is signal — to everybody, not just China — their objection to policies that seek to stabilise domestic economies on the back of demand from others. – Financial Times

Mark N. Katz writes: Like it or not, the Russia-Ukraine war does not just have ramifications for the two countries at war with each other or for Russian-Western relations, but also for Sino-Western relations. […]America’s support for Ukraine, then, is not a distraction from but connected to its concerns about China. Similarly, America’s concern about China does not make Washington less concerned with countries in regions of the world distant from Beijing for the simple reason that China is active in them all. Just as it was with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, America’s competition with China now is worldwide. – Newsweek

Bryan Clark and Dan Patt write: Washington’s current military strategy aims to prove to Xi that an invasion would be defeated in battle—a notion that presupposes continued U.S. military dominance in the region. Instead, campaigning would focus on lowering his preference for aggression in the first place, making other paths more attractive. This strategy of dissuasion would require U.S. leaders to accept that China will not fade away, Xi will not give up on his goals, and U.S. military preeminence is no longer guaranteed. But focusing on a campaign of dissuasion may be the only path to peaceful coexistence in a world no longer dominated by the United States. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

The annual Group of 20 summit brings together world leaders in pursuit of a lofty goal: coordinating policy for the global economy. But how much progress has the G20 made toward its ambitions? And what can be expected from this year’s meeting in India on Saturday and Sunday? The agenda in New Delhi includes climate change, economic development and debt burdens in low-income countries, as well as inflation spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine. If members can reach consensus on any or all of these subjects, they will produce an official joint declaration at the end. – New York Times

China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin skipping this week’s G20 summit in New Delhi is not unusual and has nothing to do with India, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told the ANI news agency. – Reuters

Indian President Droupadi Murmu’s reference to herself as the “President of Bharat” in a dinner invitation, instead of “President of India”, sparked controversy on Tuesday, with critics saying the name of the country is being distorted. – Reuters

A presidential election in the Maldives on Saturday could be decisive in determining whether China or India win a competition for influence over the tiny Indian Ocean island chain. – Reuters

Pakistan’s government expects to hold federal and provincial elections within four months as it comes under pressure from mounting protests over rising living costs. – Bloomberg



Days before a visit by President Joe Biden to Vietnam in which he aims to upgrade diplomatic ties, a U.S. government commission accused the country of backsliding on commitments to ensure religious freedoms. – Reuters

Myanmar has ceded its turn to chair the Southeast Asian regional bloc, an official confirmed on Tuesday, after the group agreed that an existing but widely criticised peace plan will continue to guide its response to the bloody conflict there. – Reuters

Japan will strengthen its support and cooperation with Southeast Asian nations in six areas including transportation infrastructure and maritime patrols, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China wants to work with Indonesia to expand cooperation in various areas including green energy, the digital economy, biomedicine, and artificial intelligence, China’s foreign ministry reported on Wednesday, citing Premier Li Qiang. – Reuters

Australia is aiming to ramp up its engagement with Southeast Asia in the face of rising trade and geopolitical uncertainties and growing concerns over China’s slowing economy. – Bloomberg

The youngest son of Myanmar’s detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she has been denied urgent medical care. – BBC

Matthew C. Mai writes: The perennial American complaint that NATO members don’t pay their fair share or take their defense seriously doesn’t apply to Australia. Instead, U.S. policymakers have an ally that is pulling its weight by making meaningful investments in hard power. And by not waiting until a war breaks out to begin the process of rearming, Australia is making such a calamity less likely. – The National Interest

Michael J. Green writes: But never say never. If concerns about deterring and stopping a destructive and dangerous regional war surpass concerns about trade, regional cohesion, or retaining strategic autonomy, the current patchwork of arrangements among the United States, its bilateral allies, and like-minded partners could very well move in the direction of collective security. The basis of common values, similar threat perception, basic operating structures, and decades of experience with cooperation is there. Even without any overt Chinese use of force, Beijing’s coercive behavior against its neighbors could create this outcome in piecemeal fashion. That need not be Washington’s goal, but it should remain an option that quietly guides alliance priorities. Then it will be up to Chinese President Xi Jinping whether a NATO in the Pacific ultimately becomes reality. – Foreign Policy 


As evening fell on a recent Monday in this eastern German city of Gothic spires and Renaissance museums, hundreds of protesters began to gather, just as they have nearly every Monday for at least two years. – Wall Street Journal

Belarus’ authoritarian president on Tuesday banned citizens from renewing their passports while staying abroad, which could force those who fled the country amid growing repression to return to maintain their travel documents. – Associated Press

Belgium’s energy minister has urged the EU to curb imports of Russian gas by weaning itself off fossil fuels after a report showed that her country was among the world’s biggest recipients of liquefied natural gas thanks to its status as a transit hub. – Financial Times

Poland awarded a 16 billion-krone ($1.5 billion) contract to Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen ASA for a coastal missile system as it bolsters its defenses after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The European Commission has appointed Belgium’s Didier Reynders as the EU’s competition chief, while incumbent commissioner Margrethe Vestager takes a leave of absence to run for the top job at the European Investment Bank. – Financial Times

Andrew A. Michta writes: The war in Ukraine has made clear how dangerous our current round of great-power competition is and reinforced the basic principle of deterrence and defense: There’s no substitute for military power and a permanent forward presence. The critical point of contact for NATO going forward is Poland. If Washington wants to ensure that European deterrence holds, its deployments should reflect that. – Wall Street Journal

Kelly Alkhouli writes: Lukashenko hoped hosting Wagner troops, thanks to his mediation efforts during Yevgeny Prigozhin’s failed mutiny in June 2023, would provide greater security from Russia. The bold assassination of Wagner’s leadership two months after the mutiny served as a message to Russians and allies alike, including Lukashenko, that betrayal is an unforgivable sin. Lukashenko has inadvertently traded his country’s sovereignty to remain in power for a few more years. – The National Interest


France has started talks with Niger’s military over the possible withdrawal of French troops from the West African country, according to French officials, in the wake of a coup that ousted the country’s elected president. – Wall Street Journal

Every day, Vélina Élysée Charlier drives past barricaded neighborhoods and frequently sees dead bodies lying on the street, she said, a result of score-settling between gangs and vigilantes in Haiti’s capital. – New York Times

Nigeria’s presidential election tribunal is due to rule on Wednesday on whether Bola Tinubu should stay as president after two rivals challenged his victory in February’s disputed vote. – Reuters

Central African Republic President Faustin Touadera held closed-door talks with Gabon’s junta-appointed leader in Libreville on Tuesday in the wake of the main regional bloc’s condemnation of the Aug. 30 coup. – Reuters

At least two people were killed in Guinea’s capital Conakry when armed security forces attacked the neighbourhoods of political activists on the eve of planned demonstrations against the junta that seized power in 2021, protest organisers said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United States envoy to the United Nations arrived in Chad on Wednesday to meet Sudanese refugees who have fled ethnic and sexual violence in Darfur, which she described as “reminiscent” of atrocities 20 years ago that Washington declared a genocide. – Reuters

Six soldiers were charged on Tuesday for their involvement in the killing of 56 people during an army crackdown on anti-U.N. demonstrations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week. – Reuters

The mandate of an East African force set up to curb militia violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been extended to December, the regional bloc that formed it said. – Reuters

Seventeen soldiers and 36 volunteer fighters have been killed in heavy clashes with militants in northern Burkina Faso, the army said on Tuesday, the worst attack in months in the West African country that for years has been overrun by hardline militants. – Reuters

Ahmed Charai writes: Third, America could also work to stabilize African currencies—perhaps through currency boards that would peg those monies to the U.S. dollar—to defeat the scourges of inflation and devaluation. American leadership, within the framework of international institutions, would allow Africa to emerge from underdevelopment and allow the world economy to benefit from its reservoir of growth. Otherwise, dictatorships will continue to make Africa synonymous with misery. – The National Interest

The Americas

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday officially recognized two Indigenous territories, granting them legal protection as reservations to defend against invasions by illegal loggers, gold miners and cattle ranchers. – Reuters

Priests from poor districts in Buenos Aires held a mass on Tuesday to defend Argentine Pope Francis after radical right-wing presidential candidate Javier Milei denounced him as an “imbecile” and “representative of evil”. – Reuters

Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum held a comfortable advantage in the race to be the leftist ruling party’s 2024 presidential nominee, according to opinion polls published on Tuesday, the eve of the announcement of the winner. – Reuters

Ryan C. Berg and Emiliano Polo write: Mexico’s new militarism is rapidly transforming and politicizing a storied and indispensable Mexican institution. More importantly, militarism has already spawned profound and pernicious consequences on Mexico’s young constitutional democracy. Candidates would do well to address the impact of the still underappreciated offshoots of militarism and how it can be rolled back as they gear up for elections in 2024. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Huawei Technologies’ breakthrough in making an advanced chip underscores China’s determination and capacity for fighting back against U.S. sanctions, but the efforts are likely very costly and could prompt Washington to tighten curbs, analysts said. – Reuters

An infamous Russian cyberespionage group was caught attacking a critical energy facility in Ukraine, a government agency said on Tuesday. – The Record 

More than a year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv has seen remarkable success repelling Russian cyberattacks. That’s due in part to expansive cybersecurity assistance from Western governments and private sector players paired with Ukraine’s remarkable investments in building up its computer response teams after repeated Russian cyberattack on its electrical grid. – CyberScoop

Bobby Ghosh writes: History suggests this is a fool’s errand. The US “can always tighten its sanctions regimes and strengthen the safeguards to slow the proliferation,” says Chua-Eoan. “But commerce will almost always force out technological secrets.” – Bloomberg



Germany has delivered the first shipment of new ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft weapon system to Ukraine, manufacturer Rheinmetall and the German Defence Ministry announced Tuesday. – Defense News 

Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said the government aims to negotiate a lower price in the potential deal to buy 183 Stryker combat vehicles from the United States than the $1.5 billion estimate published by the U.S. government. – Defense News

Japanese naval units carried out antisubmarine warfare drills in the South China Sea on Monday while the U.S and Philippine navies conducted a joint sail in the South China Sea the same day. Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) commenced the joint naval and marine forces drill Blue Strike 2023 on Sunday, which takes place around the Gulf of Thailand and Eastern Thailand. – USNI News