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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia is preparing to unleash a new wave of strikes on the country. This comes as Ukrainian utility crews battle to restore power supplies destroyed by recent bombardments, in the face of increasingly cold weather. Matthew Mpoke Bigg reports for the New York Times.
Ukraine’s state-run nuclear energy company said yesterday that there were signs that Russian forces might be preparing to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin dismissed the statement, saying that the plant is still under Russian control and will remain so. Pavel Polityuk reports for Reuters.
E.U. officials are racing to finalize the proposed price cap on Russian oil before the December 5 deadline kicks in. Talks have stalled in recent days as Poland has led a push for a far lower cap than the European Commission advocates. E.U. governments have also clashed over whether the price cap should be linked to a wider round of sanctions. Sam Fleming and David Sheppard report for the Financial Times.
The Pentagon is considering a proposal by Boeing to supply Ukraine with 100-mile strike weapons. Boeing’s proposed system, dubbed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), combines small precision bombs with the M26 rocket motor, both of which are common in U.S. inventories. GLSDB would be capable of reaching far behind Russian lines, and could be delivered as early as spring 2023. Mike Stone reports for Reuters.
IRAN – PROTESTS
Iran will reject a newly-appointed independent U.N. investigation into the country’s repression of anti-government protests, the foreign ministry said. Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani also said that Iran has proof that Western nations were involved in the protests that have swept the country. “We have specific information proving that the U.S., Western countries, and some of the American allies have had a role in the protests,” he said, without giving details. Elwely Elwelly reports for Reuters.
Major Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander in chief of the Islamic Revoluntionary Guard Corps, visited an eastern province yesterday to warn locals against further unrest. The province, Sistan-Baluchistan, is home to Iran’s Baloch Sunni Muslim minority, who Salami praised for their “chivalry, zeal, love, loyalty and sacrifice,” whilst alleging they had been manipulated into protesting by foreign powers. Benoit Faucon reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Iran’s football federation has complained to FIFA after the Islamic Republic emblem was removed from its flag in social media posts by the U.S. team. The U.S. said they decided not to use Iran’s official flag to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights”, amid mass protests in the country. A U.S. spokesperson later said that the posts had been removed and replaced with ones using the correct Iran flag, but added: “We still support the women of Iran.” BBC News.
CHINA – PROTESTS
Protests erupted in major Chinese cities over President Xi Jinping’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19. The protests in Beijing and Shanghai followed demonstrations in Urumqi, capital of the remote region of Xinjiang, where residents claimed COVID-19 restrictions had delayed the response to a deadly fire that killed 10 people. In a rare show of defiance given the crackdown on dissent over the past decade, protestors denounced Xi and his COVID-19 strategy and called for the ruling Communist Party and Xi himself to step down. Lingling Wei, Brian Spegele and Wenxin Fan report for the Wall Street Journal.
A BBC journalist covering the protests in Shanghai was assaulted and detained by Chinese police, the British public service broadcaster has said. The incident drew criticism from a senior British minister who said the detention was unacceptable. China disputed the account and said the journalist had not identified himself as a reporter. David Milliken and Martin Quin Pollard report for Reuters.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked a hotel popular with government officials in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu yesterday. The scale of the attack remains unclear, as the police have yet to release any information about casualties. The militant group Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Hussein Mohamed reports for the New York Times.
Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Saturday that his party would withdraw from Pakistan’s national and provincial legislature, whilst continuing to push for new elections. Addressing his supporters during a rally near the capital of Islamabad, Khan made clear that he would use peaceful tactics to push for elections, rather than pursue any illegal or violent actions against the government. Pamela Constable reports for the Washington Post.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is planning to build “the world’s most powerful” nuclear force, the country’s state news agency reported yesterday. The “ultimate goal” behind North Korea’s nuclear program is to possess an “absolute force, unprecedented in the century,” the agency reported Kim as saying as part of an order promoting dozens of military officials. Radina Gigova, Larry Register and Tara Subramaniam report for CNN.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Mexico’s capital yesterday in a show of support for leftist President Manuel López Obrador. The march marked four years in office for the leader and was a response to a large opposition march two weeks ago to protest his proposals to reform the country’s electoral authority. AP reports.
Violence broke out in the Belgium capital of Brussels yesterday following the country’s 2-0 defeat to Morocco in the FIFA World Cup. A hundred police officers were dispatched against the football fans who destroyed cars and street furniture and threw projectiles at the police. At least 1o people have been arrested. Eddy Wax reports for POLITICO.
Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei has died, the country’s foreign ministry said Saturday. Makei has been a close ally of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for years, becoming foreign minister in 2012. Russia’s foreign ministry responded to Makei’s death calling him a “true friend of Russia.” The circumstances of his death have not been released. Bryan Pietsch reports for the Washington Post.
The U.S. Treasury on Saturday granted Chevron a license for a limited expansion of energy operations. The move, which signals the possible beginning of the country’s re-entry into the international oil market, came in response to the resumption of talks between Venezuela’s authoritarian president Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition. Foreign investment in the oil sector is something that Maduro desperately needs to improve the economy. Julie Turkewitz and Zolan Kanno-Youngs report for the New York Times.
U.S. government and congressional officials fear that the war in Ukraine is further delaying U.S. efforts to arm Taiwan as tensions with China escalate. The backlog of weapons deliverys to the self-governing island now stands at $18.7 billion, according to officials familiar with the matter. The weaponry is part of Washington’s “porcupine” strategy to arm Taiwan in a way that raises the cost to China should it decide to invade. Taiwanese officials have previously expressed concerns about the delays. Gordon Lubold, Doug Cameron and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
Jan. 6 committee member Adam Schiff (CA-D) said yesterday that he does not believe the committee’s report will focus almost entirely on former President Trump. His comments came in response to a recent Washington Post story about how the report could potentially leave out investigations in other areas. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” he said that the committee will decide what goes in the final report in a “collaborative manner.” Danielle Diaz reports for CNN.
Trump dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye, at his Mar-a-Lago estate last week. Fuente has been labeled a “white supremacist” by the Justice Department, and frequently promotes racists and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates denounced the dinner, saying, “Bigotry, hate, and antisemitism have absolutely no place in America – including at Mar-A-Lago.” Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report for Axios.
COVID-19 has infected over 98.568 million people and has now killed over 1.08 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 641.674 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.63 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
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