Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 27, 2022

Top of the Agenda  

Moscow Admits to Problems in Military Mobilization as Russians Protest, Flee Draft

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has admitted to errors (NYT) in Russia’s ongoing military draft as protests against it erupt nationwide and men flee the country by the tens of thousands. While Moscow originally said only men with military experience would be required to fight in Ukraine, draft officers have attempted to conscript (FT) a broader group. Peskov blamed local officials for the problems. 
Ethnic minorities appear to be disproportionately targeted (Moscow Times) in the draft. Yesterday, a man shot and wounded a recruitment officer at a draft office in Siberia. Since last Wednesday, an estimated 261,000 men have fled the country, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported, citing official sources. 

“[Russian officials] only know how to implement their ideas with violence. And violence, war and mobilization weren’t part of the social contract,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Andrei Kolesnikov tells the Financial Times.  
“Mobilization will bring politics back to Russia. It will eat away at the public indifference that has long been crucial to Putinism,” the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Michael Kimmage and George Washington University’s Maria Lipman write for Foreign Affairs.
    Pacific Rim  

Japan Holds State Funeral for Abe Amid Protests   U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris was among the foreign dignitaries attending the funeral (Nikkei) of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Thousands of protesters gathered nearby; some in Japan have opposed the funeral’s high cost and criticized Abe’s alleged ties to the controversial Unification Church.   For the Asia Unbound blog, CFR’s Sheila A. Smith discusses Abe’s legacy.  

China: The Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing is planning to scale down its Belt and Road Initiative, through which Chinese banks and companies fund infrastructure projects around the world, after several lower-income countries struggled to pay back their loans.   This tracker by CFR’s Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca shows how the Belt and Road Initiative has changed countries’ economic relationships with China.
    South and Central Asia

  In Shift Away From China, Apple to Produce iPhone 14 in India    Apple announced that India began producing (TechCrunch) current models of the iPhone for the first time. Previously, only older models were made in India. Earlier this month, JP Morgan Chase analysts estimated that India will produce a quarter of all iPhones by 2025.  

U.S./India/Pakistan: In separate meetings with officials from India and Pakistan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the countries (The Tribune) to maintain a “responsible” relationship with each other. New Delhi has objected to Washington’s proposed aid for Islamabad’s F-16 fighter jet program. 
    Middle East and North Africa

Iran Strikes Kurdish Separatist Groups in Iraq   For the second time in three days, Iran launched drone and artillery attacks (NYT) against what it said were bases belonging to Iranian Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Iranian state media reported.  

Qatar: Doha is conscripting hundreds of civilians to serve as security workers for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, Reuters reported.
    Sub-Saharan Africa

Large South African Province Backs New Candidate to Lead Ruling Party   KwaZulu-Natal Province nominated (Bloomberg) former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa for leadership of the African National Congress party.  

Kenya: A lawyer charged with bribing witnesses in the 2016 International Criminal Court trial of President William Ruto was found dead (NYT) in his home outside of Nairobi, local media reported. The man’s lawyer said he suspected foul play.

Russia Grants Citizenship to Former NSA Contractor Snowden   Russia granted citizenship (CNN) to U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, who had applied for it in 2020. 

  UN Agencies Decry Crisis in Haiti   Haiti’s UN envoy said nearly $5 million worth of food aid was lost (BBC) in recent weeks as looters raided World Food Program warehouses amid the country’s political and economic crisis. The director of the program said 40 percent of Haitians rely on food aid to survive.    This report from the Center for Preventive Action imagines a smarter U.S. assistance strategy for Haiti.

Cuba: The country’s election commission announced that voters approved (NYT) marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in a referendum on Sunday. 
    United States  

Seditious Conspiracy Trial Begins for Far-Right Group Linked to January 6 Attack   A trial for the founder of the Oath Keepers and four other individuals linked to the group opens today (NPR) with jury selection in Washington, DC. 
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