Fdd's overnight brief

September 9, 2022

In The News


The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it is levying sanctions against four Iranian companies that it says were involved in sending drones to Russia last month for use in Moscow’s war against Ukraine. Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services, Paravar Pars Company, Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines, and Baharestan Kish Company were all hit with the new sanctions. – Associated Press

France said it was “extremely concerned” by Iran’s ongoing lack of cooperation with the U.N. atomic watchdog and was consulting with its partners on the issue ahead of an IAEA Board of Governors meeting next week. – Reuters

Albanian counter-terrorism police searched the empty Iranian embassy in Tirana on Thursday, hours after Iranian diplomats burned papers inside the premises following the severing of diplomatic ties over a cyberattack. – Reuters

Iran announced Thursday the arrest of 25 people during protests last month against severe water shortages and a lack of response from officials in a western province, local media reported. – Agence France-Presse

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is urging President Biden to deny necessary “entry visas” for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation to attend the upcoming 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York City due to the foreign president’s record of supporting terrorism and violating human rights. – FOX News

Much has changed in the nearly 18 months since Iran and world powers started trying to salvage their nuclear deal of 2015. Three of the seven parties to the accord have new leaders. A fourth invaded its neighbour. What was meant as a brief run of negotiations became a marathon. Yet negotiators flock back every few months for more meetings at the home of the un’s watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) in Vienna. – The Economist

A Republican-sponsored resolution seeking to force the administration to provide Congress with the still-pending draft text of the Iran deal is headed to a vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week, a spokesperson for the bill’s lead sponsor, Alex Ives, a spokesperson for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), told Jewish Insider. – Jewish Insider 

On September 14, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley will brief members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, in a classified session. – Hudson Institute

Chaim Lax writes: Due to the location of the Baha’i faith’s world headquarters in Israel, this gives the Islamic Republic a convenient excuse for persecuting the Baha’i minority in Iran: claiming that they are spies trained by Jerusalem. As Iranian state persecution of the Baha’i minority continues, it is imperative to ensure that Iranian state propaganda does not seep unimpeded into the mainstream media. – Algemeiner

Farhad Rezaei writes: The slogan “Die, Mojtaba, may you never achieve leadership” is very popular among Iranians. It is also worth mentioning that Khamenei naming his son as his successor would blatantly disregard Ayatollah Khomeini’s portrayal of hereditary succession as a symbol of corruption. Whether Mojtaba will succeed his father or not, only time will tell. What is quite clear is that such a decision could trigger a popular uprising, and opponents of Khamenei would fight fervently against him to prevent it. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

The Biden administration is sending the Ukrainian military more radar-hunting missiles, U.S. officials said Thursday, a move intended to bolster its aerial-attack capabilities against invading Russian forces. – Washington Post

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken paid a surprise visit to Kyiv on Thursday, pledging $2.8 billion in military aid for Ukraine and other countries at risk of Russian invasion as the United States backs a Ukrainian effort to gain fresh military momentum. – New York Times

European Union countries announced fresh restrictions Thursday on Russian tourists coming to the bloc, with the Baltic states and Poland saying they will restrict entry for most Russian visa holders because of the war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal  

Russian President Vladimir Putin mooted on Wednesday reopening a U.N.-brokered deal for Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea saying that Moscow and the developing world had been “cheated”. – Reuters

The Ukrainian army said on Thursday it had recaptured territory from Russian troops in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, in the eastern Donbas region and in southern Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse

The head of Ukraine’s atomic energy operator accused Russia on Thursday of trying to “steal” Europe’s largest nuclear plant by cutting it off from the Ukrainian electricity grid and leaving it on the brink of a radiation disaster. – Associated Press

Russia demanded at the United Nations on Thursday that the United States and Britain provide evidence to support their allegations that Moscow was seeking drones from Iran and rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to use in Ukraine. – Reuters

Heavy fighting has been raging into Thursday in areas near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine after Kyiv warned that it might have to shut down the plant to avoid disaster. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin’s threat to completely cut off energy supplies to the West in a deepening confrontation over Ukraine could prove to be a double-edged sword for Russia. – Reuters

A number of oil-importing countries are considering joining the G7’s plan to cap the price of Russian oil, Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said on Thursday, adding that the group would issue related rules in the next few days. – Reuters

The United States sees no indication that a U.N.-brokered Ukrainian grain export deal is unraveling, the White House said on Thursday, after President Vladimir Putin triggered fears that Russia could withdraw support. – Reuters

Ukraine has struck over 400 Russian targets with U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems, General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday. – Reuters

The Department of Defense said on Thursday there would be a new military aid package to Ukraine valued at roughly $675 million. The package of additional arms, munitions, and equipment comes from a presidential drawdown authorization, which means the weapons come straight from U.S. stockpiles. – Washington Examiner 

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday said Russia’s strategic objectives in its attack on Ukraine have “been defeated.” “The war is not over, but so far the Russian strategic objectives have been defeated,” Milley said at a news conference alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.  – The Hill 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has swag. In the midst of a successful counterattack in the north — where Ukrainian forces pushed 30 miles into occupied territory –, the ministry boasted its latest tally of Russian kills with a lyric from Bronx-born rapper Pusha T: “I put numbers on the boards.” – New York Post 

As Ukrainians celebrated reclaiming a slew of territories, many Russian propagandists went into overdrive to cover the furthest thing they could from the war: the health of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday afternoon. – The Daily Beast

Josh Rogin writes: A world divided into blocs is not a good outcome. Any responsible policy must include diplomacy aimed at engaging these adversaries and attempting to preserve the overall multilateral system. But if the axis of autocrats continues to grow, the United States and its partners must be ready. – Washington Post

Leonid Bershidsky writes: As long as Ukraine can maintain pressure on the invaders and retake territory — even if it’s just a village here and there — it makes sense for its allies to keep sending money, equipment and ammunition. Under the same laws of voter-pleasing democratic politics that Putin seems to think are on his side, giving up while it’s demonstrably not too late would be a loser’s move. By making a credible grab for initiative, Ukraine has already proved that the long game isn’t necessarily Putin’s game. Russians — perhaps not Putin, but those who want their country to have a future — should consider the very real possibility of defeat. – Bloomberg

Liz Cookman writes: She sought to secure both safety and an education for the children. “Soldiers with weapons patrol the school and tell the children to study, and there are fines for those who don’t attend.” “Nothing will ever be the same. Nobody asked to be ‘liberated’ from Ukraine, and now, after heavy, attacks my children point to the sky and say, ‘Afraid’,” said Andriy, who was only allowed to escape because he has five children. “The people who did this to us are not human.” – Foreign Policy 


Amos Hochstein, the US diplomat mediating maritime border demarcation talks between Lebanon and Israel, arrived in Israel on Thursday to meet with National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata and Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Ushpiz. – Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem is holding direct discussions with Doha with the aim of reaching an agreement that would see Israel be able to provide consular assistance to Israelis planning to travel to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, taking place in Qatar this winter. – Jerusalem Post

Mossad chief David Barnea on Thursday wrapped up a trip to Washington for high-level talks with US officials as part of Israeli efforts against a restored nuclear deal with Iran. – Times of Israel

An Israeli Air Force drone crashed into the sea along Israel’s maritime border with Lebanon on Thursday, before being retrieved by the Navy, the military said Friday. – Times of Israel

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will visit Israel next week to mark two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Channel 12 reported on Thursday. – Times of Israel

A Palestinian man carrying a makeshift firearm and two bombs was arrested by officers in Jaffa on Thursday, and later admitted he sought to commit a major terror attack in Tel Aviv, police said. – Times of Israel

Senior Israeli officials believe that the dispute between the Biden administration and Israel over the rules of engagement, in light of the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, was more directed at their domestic bases than reflecting any serious rift between the two countries. – Haaretz 

But make no mistake: There is no prime minister in Israel who would sit in the Prime Minister’s Office, receive intelligence that Iran has started building a bomb and not order action, no matter the price, the risk and the lack of training. This is a potential existential threat for Israel that needs to be stopped. – Jerusalem Post

Amos Harel writes: The person who changed his mind was Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, on whom Jerusalem wields no influence. Lapid is right about one thing: It’s better to talk to the Americans behind the scenes than to scold them or embark on an unnecessary speech in Congress. – Haaretz


The Taliban and the Abu Dhabi-based firm GAAC Solutions signed a contract Thursday for the Emirati company to provide flight services and manage planes landing and taking off on key airports in Afghanistan. – Associated Press

Canada will accept some 1,000 Afghans who fled the Taliban takeover of their homeland and have been held for months in a makeshift refugee centre in the United Arab Emirates awaiting resettlement to the United States and elsewhere, seven sources said. – Reuters

The Taliban’s Finance Ministry wants its employees to be more than number crunchers — it’s requiring that everyone in its ranks must pass a test of faith to stay employed. A source within the ministry has provided RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi with a letter detailing orders for all employees to be given a test to gauge their knowledge of Islam. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

In recent months, the manoeuvres of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (i.e., the Afghan Taliban) to get its jihadi government in Kabul recognized by the UN and the Western nations have attracted international attention. Some countries, such as Pakistan and Qatar, have almost recognized the Taliban government, but its decision to ban girls’ education beyond the sixth grade has set back its attempts at diplomatic recognition. – Middle East Media Research Institute 


Turkish police captured senior Islamic State figure Bashar Hattab Ghazal Al Sumaidai, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency as saying. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he wanted grain from Russia to be exported too, adding Vladimir Putin was right to complain that grain from Ukraine under a U.N.-backed deal was going to wealthy rather than poor countries. – Reuters

Greece is calling on its allies to condemn Turkey over recent aggressive rhetoric from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has hinted at the possibility of open conflict as tensions rise between the two countries. – Business Insider

James M. Dorsey writes: Those in Turkey willing to risk the wrath of an increasingly autocratic Erdogan joke that, if he had been president during World War Two, Turkey would be fighting the Germans, British, and Russians all at the same time. – Algemeiner


After the invasion, Iraq’s long-sidelined Shiite Muslim majority came to dominate government, and the power struggle between Shiite and Sunni political groups fueled a sectarian war. Now, in a dangerous threat to the country’s already tenuous stability, rival Shiite armed groups, the most powerful among them tied to neighboring Iran, are fighting each other, and are beyond the control of the central government. – New York Times

Bernard-Henri Lévy writes: But we ought to understand that Kurdish oil and gas are a serious alternative to Russian supplies—that Kurdistan is now, as it was when it served as our rampart against ISIS, a shield against Vladimir Putin’s energy blackmail and the ensuing chaos. […]The U.S. and its European allies should recall the wisdom of Cicero and see “the whole world as if it were a single city.” – Wall Street Journal  

Randa Slim writes: The Marja’iyah, the body of top Shi’a religious authorities, has proven on numerous occasions an unwillingness to mediate political conflicts. Only when such conflicts threaten civil peace have these clerics intervened and managed to force all parties to step away from the brink. (…) The current crisis is, therefore, here to stay until the Iraqi leaders can come to a compromise solution among themselves. The short-term challenge will be to prevent this political turmoil from spiraling into an all-out civil war. – Middle East Institute 


A bomb detonated outside of a Hezbollah-backed Lebanese minister’s home on Thursday in the eastern Bekaa valley. The press office of caretaker Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh said in a statement that the explosive wrapped in electrical wires was detonated in his garden outside his home in the village of Taraya. – Associated Press

Gordin is set to soon take over the Northern Command — putting him at the forefront of Israel’s efforts to contain Hezbollah. At a time of heightened tensions, the Lebanese militant group is believed to possess tens of thousands of rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel, dwarfing any threat posed by the Palestinian militant groups in Gaza that have battled Israel in recent years. – Associated Press

A London-listed company licensed by Israel to extract gas from a maritime field that is in part claimed by Lebanon announced Thursday that it would begin yielding output within weeks. – Agence France-Presse

Five months after Lebanon’s draft IMF deal raised hopes it could finally pull together an economic reform plan to address its financial meltdown, political and financial elites are obstructing prospects of securing any rescue package. – Reuters

The document describes Israel’s military involvement in Lebanon’s affairs from the 1950s to the preparations for the First Lebanon War at the beginning of the 1980s. The connection was first created in 1958, at the request of the Lebanese president at the time, Camille Chamoun, who feared falling from power, in coordination with the Shah’s regime in Iran, which was sending arms to Lebanon by plane. – Haaretz

Middle East & North Africa

The editor of independent news outlet Mada Masr and three journalists have been charged in Egypt over an article about a pro-government political party. Prosecutors summoned the four women for questioning on Wednesday following complaints from Nation’s Future. Mada Masr said they were later released on bail on charges including publishing false news and defaming party members. – BBC

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran also doesn’t pay a major price because it can simply wait and fly its munitions to another site. The question is whether the price is being raised for the Syrian regime and its partners in Russia and Iran, and whether this may encourage Iran to shift tactics and strategy. – Jerusalem Post

Batu Coskun writes: Turkey’s already complicated relationship with Washington could become the subject of further scrutiny from American officials, particularly if the United States feels that Turkey is acting at the behest of Putin. While Turkey has indeed orchestrated a delicate sequencing of normalization, Erdogan’s likely rationale, which sees a victory in elections as the ultimate goal, could possibly derail the success of the process. Turkey’s endeavors feel increasingly hasty, uncalculated, and, ultimately, over-ambitious. – The National Interest

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared his country would never relinquish its nuclear weapons, as the regime’s leadership codified in law its right to launch preemptive nuclear strikes, state media said Friday. – Washington Post

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was “closely monitoring” any military activity on the Korean peninsula, shortly after North Korea officially enshrined the right to use preemptive nuclear strikes, state-owned news agency RIA reported. – Reuters

American and South Korean officials will meet next week to discuss “comprehensive measures” to deter North Korea, Seoul said on Thursday, as the two sides revive high-level deterrence talks for the first time since 2018. – Reuters

The government is proposing an additional six nuclear plants by 2036 on top of the current 24 reactors in a country the size of the U.S. state of Indiana, raising deep concerns among hundreds of Korean residents living in the most densely built area in the world for nuclear power. – Reuters

South Korea on Thursday offered to hold talks with North Korea on reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, in its first direct overture under President Yoon Suk-yeol despite strained cross-border ties. – Reuters

North Korea has seized upon Russia’s international isolation following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to foster closer ties, threatening international efforts to pressure Pyongyang over its illicit nuclear weapons programme. – Financial Times


Wealthy and powerful entrepreneurs in China were once idolized by the public, doted on by the government and courted by foreign investors […] Now, billionaire tycoons are the outsiders in an increasingly state-driven economy that puts a priority on politics and national security over growth. As the government cracks down on business and the economy weakens, they are keeping low profiles, stepping down from their companies or leaving the country entirely. – New York Times

In August, China’s ambassador to Zambia took to the stage at a new conference centre in the capital Lusaka, which he called “a gift from the Chinese government to our Zambian friends”, to speak about lending to the debt-laden southern African country. – Reuters

Switzerland called a meeting with China’s ambassador to express its concern about the human rights situation in the western region of Xinjiang, the foreign ministry in Bern said on Thursday, correcting its earlier comment that it had “summoned” the envoy. – Reuters

Mr. Xi has been elusive in the past about Mr. Putin’s war, saying at one point that the Ukraine invasion “sounded the alarm for humanity.” Concerns about rising food and energy prices may have led to some trepidation at Beijing about full-throat backing of Mr. Putin. – New York Sun

Weifeng Zhong writes: According to a 2020 Lawfare survey , dozens of Chinese government websites had not implemented the more secure HTTPS protocol at the time. Two years have passed, and about half of them have not made that change. Reasons to be concerned about Chinese surveillance abound, but perhaps that cuts both ways and Big Brother is weaker than we think. That should give hope to those seeking to understand the opaque regime better. – Washington Examiner 

Hal Brands writes: The State Department’s Global Engagement Center is gradually getting better at rebutting mistruths in real time. Yet the scale of the autocracies’ disinformation effort is probably greater than during the Cold War, while America’s capabilities for addressing the problem are weaker. All things equal, truth will eventually prove more persuasive than lies. But there’s nothing equal about the information war in the developing world today. – Bloomberg

Blake Herzinger writes: Pledges of game-changing asymmetric weapons will matter little if Beijing elects to send an invasion force across the Taiwan Strait before U.S. defense corporations can fill their backlogged orders. Taiwan’s friends must not be seduced by the idea that because an after-the-fact effort worked in Ukraine, it can work in Taiwan too. Geography is working against Taipei, not for it, and years of strategic misalignment and inattention have left Taiwan’s defense forces ill-suited for the challenge they are facing. To survive, Taiwan needs its weapons prepared ahead of time—and ready on Day 1. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faces being barred from electoral politics, after judges ordered Thursday that he be put on trial for contempt of court. A conviction would disqualify him from electoral politics for the next five years. Given that Mr. Khan turns 70 this year, that could spell the end of his ambitions to return to power. – Wall Street Journal

Indian and Chinese troops have begun disengaging from the Gogra-Hotsprings border area in the western Himalayas, both sides said, two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. – Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to the world for massive help for Pakistan on Friday as he arrived to support its response to a flood disaster that both he and the government have blamed on climate change. – Reuters

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran appeared in court on Thursday and refused to formally apologize in a case in which he faces contempt charges over his verbal threat to a female judge during a political rally last month. – Associated Press


The Philippine government on Thursday officially rejected a request by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to resume an investigation into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which left thousands of people dead. – New York Times

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

Economic ministers from the United States and 13 Indo-Pacific countries launched negotiations on Thursday on Washington’s first major pan-Asian trade engagement effort in nearly a decade, but this time any deal will not cut tariffs. – Reuters

The Chinese navy’s “unusual behavior” in shadowing Australian warships in the South China Sea had not deterred operations in the contested waters, Australia’s navy chief said. – Associated Press

Japan’s governing party said Thursday that an internal survey found that nearly half of its national lawmakers had ties to the Unification Church, in a widening controversy that emerged after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. – Associated Press

Indian and Chinese oil buying has offset most of the fall in Russian shipments to Europe, raising questions about the impact of sanctions on Moscow that have led to soaring energy bills for European consumers. – Financial Times

Bich T. Tran writes: So far, Vietnam has a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with China, a comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, strategic partnerships with United Kingdom and France, but only a comprehensive partnership with the United States. From now until the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership, Blinken will still have the opportunity to meet with Vietnamese leaders to prepare for President Biden’s visit to Vietnam next year. Then, the two countries can formally upgrade their relationship to a strategic partnership. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


The European Central Bank on Thursday announced its largest-ever increase in interest rates, as officials confront a nightmare scenario of soaring inflation coupled with an economy that appears to be stalling. – Washington Post

The accession of King Charles to the British throne has stirred renewed calls from politicians and activists for former colonies in the Caribbean to remove the monarch as their head of state and for Britain to pay slavery reparations. Charles succeeds his mother, Queen Elizabeth, who ruled for 70 years and died on Thursday afternoon. – Reuters

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday approved the appointment of Austria’s Volker Turk as the next U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. – Reuters

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will visit Kyiv on Friday, government spokesman Piotr Muller told private broadcaster Polsat News. “There will be a series of several meetings, important things that we will discuss in connection with the geopolitical situation, also the energy market, energy and military security”, Muller said. – Reuters

Russia said on Thursday it was ordering a Romanian diplomat to leave the country in response to the expulsion of one of its diplomats from Bucharest. Romania, like other European Union member states, was designated an “unfriendly country” by Moscow after it imposed sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Reuters

The body of a British aid worker who died after being captured by Russian-backed forces in Ukraine showed signs of “unspeakable torture,” according to a Ukrainian government official.Paul Urey, 45, was taken prisoner by forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic in April and accused of being a mercenary. Officials for the DPR reported his death in July due to “chronic diseases” and “stress,” but Ukraine’s foreign minister alleged Wednesday that after receiving his body, it appears that he may have been tortured. – Washington Examiner 

William Nattrass writes: There’s a political imperative for Eastern Europe to become militarily self-sufficient without jeopardizing the international cooperation that gives NATO its strength. The region will remain socially riven between West and East as long as it labors under a sense of geopolitical dependency that molds old resentments into new forms. As the Polish government has realized, the creation of a powerful Eastern European military deterrent would establish a crucial pillar of regional self-respect within the Western alliance. – Wall Street Journal  

Maya Jasanoff writes: The queen’s very longevity made it easier for outdated fantasies of a second Elizabethan age to persist. She represented a living link to World War II and a patriotic myth that Britain alone saved the world from fascism. […] Now that she is gone, the imperial monarchy must end too. It’s well past time, for instance, to act on calls to rename the Order of the British Empire, a distinction that the queen has bestowed on hundreds of Britons every year for community service and contributions to public life. – New York Times

Michael Rubin writes: A war with Greece is likely coming, not because of anything Athens has done but instead because Erdogan is desperate to distract from failure and bankruptcy. The questions the Biden administration will likely need to answer within a year are what can be done to prevent Turkey’s aggression, what the United States can do to enable Greece better to blunt Turkey’s drone, aircraft, and missiles, and whether the United States can really sit on the sidelines if one NATO member attacks a faithful NATO ally. – 19fortyfive


The European Union said on Thursday it would provide additional support to an African military mission in Mozambique, as Islamist attacks threaten gas projects meant to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian energy. – Reuters

Frantic civilians are drowning as they flee a new eruption in fighting in South Sudan and perhaps hundreds have died in the attacks, the United Nations said Thursday. – Associated Press

Sierra Ballard and Emilia Columbo write: Despite extensive international investments to support the government of Mozambique and its coalition security forces, the crisis in Cabo Delgado is far from over. Intensifying violence across the province has generated new risks for civilians and the security of neighboring regions. There are clear insufficiencies in the ability of coalition forces to combat the insurgency and to respond to intensifying humanitarian needs that should be addressed. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Americas

Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to restore their access to classified material seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, saying their ongoing criminal probe needs to determine if there are sensitive government papers that have not been found yet, and signaling that they plan to appeal the issue to a higher court in the interest of national security. – Washington Post

The president of the Dominican Republic has barred Haiti’s former interim prime minister — who is now an aspiring presidential candidate — from entering the country, a move that further heightens tensions between two nations that share the island of Hispaniola. – Associated Press

Israel and Guatemala on Thursday signed a free trade agreement that will include industry, food and agriculture goods, the Israeli Economy Ministry said. – Reuters 

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday declared a public emergency over buses of migrants sent by Republican governors from the U.S.-Mexico border states of Texas and Arizona. – Reuters


The United States has seized over $30 million in cryptocurrency stolen by North Korean-linked hackers Lazarus from the popular online game Axie Infinity, crypto intelligence firm Chainalysis said on Thursday. – Reuters

Republican lawmakers have warned Apple that it will face intense scrutiny from Congress if the California company procures memory chips from a controversial Chinese semiconductor manufacturer for the new iPhone 14. – Financial Times

The State Department’s program offering rewards of up to $10 million for tips leading to the apprehension of cybercriminals is paying off, FBI Assistant Director for Cyber Bryan Vorndran said Wednesday. – CyberScoop

Iranian hackers spy on journalists and government officials, researchers warn. Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered another Iranian state-sponsored hacking group that has been targeting government officials, journalists, academics, and opposition leaders around the world for at least seven years. – The Record

Ophir Barel writes: Even so, the nature of the internet suggests that at least a few attacks will still break through even the most robust cyber security systems. As such, Israel must strengthen the digital literacy of its citizens. […]  In May, it released a survey conducted among Ukrainian middle school and high school teachers who were trained by IREX which revealed that 90% of the teachers used the knowledge they gained to help friends, family members, and colleagues better navigate the virtual information environment. – Washington Institute


This week, Mike Brown wrapped up his four-year term as director of the Defense Innovation Unit — an organization tasked with helping the U.S. Defense Department more quickly field commercial technology and shepherding non-traditional companies through the Pentagon’s often arduous acquisition system. – Defense News

Six months after pre-dawn airstrikes first launched Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the skies over Ukraine remain contested. Ukraine’s success in denying air superiority to a larger and more technologically sophisticated Russian Air Force continues to puzzle military pundits. But in focusing mainly on Russian deficiencies, Western analysts have often missed the point: The air war in Ukraine, where neither side controls the skies, offers an alternative model of air control — mutual air denial. – Defense News

The Department of Defense projects the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility will be defueled six months earlier than previously announced, according to an update to the June 30 plan submitted Wednesday. – USNI News