Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Spet. 7, 2022

Top of the Agenda

U.S. Officials Say Russia Seeks to Buy Weapons From North KoreaNew U.S. intelligence shows Russia is seeking to purchase artillery shells and rockets (Reuters) from North Korea, American officials said yesterday. While Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations denied the allegations, White House spokesperson John Kirby said Moscow’s inquiry shows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desperation amid the war in Ukraine. 

UN sanctions currently bar North Korea (AP) from selling weapons to other countries. It has attempted to strengthen relations with Russia since the start of the war and also expressed interest in sending workers to rebuild Russia-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.


“The only reason the Kremlin should have to buy artillery shells or rockets from North Korea or anyone is because Putin has been unwilling or unable to mobilize the Russian economy for war at even the most basic level,” the American Enterprise Institute’s Frederick W. Kagan tells the New York Times. 

What does North Korea get in return? Lots of possibilities: cash, fuel, food, Russian assurances of non-enforcement of other sanctions (on raw material inputs for ballistic missiles, for instance), continued geopolitical support at [the UN Security Council], etc.,” tweets Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  This Backgrounder discusses sanctions on North Korea. 

Pacific Rim

Washington Announces Limits on CHIPS-Funded Companies’ Activities in ChinaThe U.S. Secretary of Commerce said tech companies that receive money under the new CHIPS and Science Act will be prohibited (SCMP) from building “advanced” chip factories in China for ten years. For the Net Politics blog, CFR’s Adam Segal previewed the CHIPS and Science Act

Thailand: Lawmakers are set to vote (Bloomberg) on whether to strip the junta-appointed Senate of the power to choose Thailand’s next prime minister. Opposition parties have failed to advance several similar motions in the past.  

South and Central Asia

Flooding Stalls Productivity in Indian Tech Hub Torrential rains in the city of Bengaluru, known as India’s Silicon Valley, have blocked access (Bloomberg) to offices and cost tens of millions of dollars in productivity losses locally, according to an industry group. 

Afghanistan: Tribal elders in Paktia Province reopened (TOLOnews) five schools for girls above the sixth grade, a local official said. Since taking power a year ago, the Taliban have prohibited most girls from attending secondary school. 

Middle East and North Africa

Syria: Aleppo Airport Forced to Close After Israeli AttacksSyria’s transportation ministry said Israeli air strikes took the airport out of service (Times of Israel) for the second time in a week.  

Middle East: The Gulf Cooperation Council—which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—told Netflix to remove content (Anadolu) that offends “Islamic and social values.” In a segment on the issue, Saudi state television showed blurred animated clips (Reuters) that appeared to depict two girls embracing. 

Sub-Saharan AfricaUN Denounces Civilian Deaths in South Sudan ClashesClashes between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition led to the deaths of 173 civilians between February and May, a new UN report said

Zimbabwe: Officials have launched (Bloomberg) a measles vaccination drive after an outbreak of the disease killed nearly seven hundred children over the past five months. 


UN Nuclear Watchdog Calls for Safety Zone Around Ukrainian Power PlantRussian and Ukrainian officials called for a more detailed proposal after UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi said the countries should establish (AP) a “nuclear safety and security protection zone” around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. 


Bolsonaro Calls for Supporters to Rally on Brazilian Independence DayTo bolster his reelection campaign, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called on his supporters (AFP) to attend military parades marking the country’s bicentennial today. At last year’s parades, his supporters threatened to invade the country’s supreme court. For Foreign Affairs, Oliver Stuenkel discusses how Bolsonaro threatens Brazilian democracy.

Chile: President Gabriel Boric replaced five cabinet members (AFP), rebalancing his cabinet with more centrist figures after voters rejected the country’s new draft constitution in a referendum on Sunday. 

United States
Health Officials: COVID-19 Could Be Treated More Like Flu Going ForwardWhite House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said most Americans will likely need a single, annual vaccine (NPR) to provide yearlong protection against severe illness. This Backgrounder looks at global COVID-19 vaccination efforts.Council on Foreign Relations58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 100651777 F Street, NW — Washington, DC 20006

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