Council on Foreign Relations – The World This Week September 30, 2022

Waiting for Thermidor: America’s Iran Foreign Policy Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht

A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps waves the Iranian flag during a rally in downtown Tehran. Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto/Getty ImagesThe Islamic Republic of Iran may be on an accelerated schedule for revolutionary decay, at least if compared to the USSR. Read the opinion
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 29, 2022

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Putin Announces Plan to Annex Four Ukrainian Regions

Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign a decree to annex (FT) the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia tomorrow, a Kremlin spokesperson said. This major escalation in the war in Ukraine comes after Moscow orchestrated votes, widely denounced as a sham, for the regions to join Russia. The regions compose some 15 percent of Ukrainian territory.
Russia’s annexation will be the largest forceful takeover of European territory since World War II, according to the Financial Times. The United States and European Union plan to impose new sanctions over the annexation, Reuters reported. Yesterday, military leaders from over forty countries met in Brussels (NYT) to plan long-term military support for Ukraine. 
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 27, 2022

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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. 
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily Brief Sept. 26, 2022

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Right-Wing Alliance Wins Sweeping Victory in Italian Elections 

A right-wing coalition headed by Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers of Italy party won a resounding victory (FT) in Italy’s parliamentary elections yesterday, earning over 44 percent of votes. Meloni’s far-right party won over a quarter of votes, putting her on track to become Italy’s first female prime minister and its first far-right head of government since World War II.
Meloni’s win was celebrated (Politico) by populist European leaders who have sought to distance themselves from Brussels. Still, Meloni has signaled (The Economist) that her government would seek to work with the European Union (EU), and unlike her coalition allies Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, she is a vocal supporter of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. 
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Council on Foreign Relations – The world this week

The World This WeekSeptember 23, 2022
Putin’s Gamble

Thomas GrahamDestroyed Russian military equipment in the center of Izyum, Ukraine, which was liberated after months of occupation. Wojciech Grzedzinski/Washington Post/Getty ImagesRussia’s moves to mobilize thousands more troops and to annex more of Ukraine’s territory signal a new, potentially more dangerous phase of the war. Get the quick take
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 22, 2022

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Iran Curbs Internet Access as Protests Over Woman’s Death Spread

Protests in support of women’s rights and Iran’s political opposition have spread to dozens of cities (NYT) in the country following a woman’s death after being detained by police last week. Authorities have deployed security forces and disrupted internet and cellular services to contain the demonstrations, Iran’s largest since 2019. Many of those protesting are women. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps called on the judiciary to prosecute (Reuters) anyone spreading “false news and rumors” related to the protests. 

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, who accused her of dressing immodestly and violating the country’s headscarf law. Iranian state television reported today that seventeen people, including demonstrators and police, had died (AFP) in the protests.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 21, 2022

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Putin Escalates Russian War Efforts With New Troop Mobilization ”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new mobilization of troops (FT) to fight in Ukraine in a televised address today. Three hundred thousand reservists will be called up to fight, Russia’s defense minister said. Putin also hinted at his willingness to use nuclear weapons, saying Russia “will use all the means at its disposal” if its territorial integrity is threatened. 

In addition, Putin voiced support for referendums that would let Russia illegally annex four occupied regions of Ukraine. The votes could happen as soon as this weekend. Yesterday, the Russian parliament increased penalties (RFE/RL) for soldiers who surrender or refuse to fight and used the words “mobilization” and “martial law” to describe the conflict in Ukraine for the first time. 
Analysis

“Mobilization…would radically upset the Kremlin’s careful management of the war at home. Dramatically increasing Russia’s manpower might seem a logical choice for a country with a population that is three times the size of Ukraine’s, but the war’s popularity has depended on it being far away,” the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write for Foreign Affairs. 

“If the Kremlin’s annexation gambit fails to stop the fighting and support to Ukraine, the Kremlin will need to lash out to show it is serious. That means escalation that could come in different forms,” the RAND Corporation’s Dara Massicot tweets. 
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Council on Foreign Relations -Daily news brief Sept. 20, 2022

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UN General Assembly Weighs ‘Interconnected Crises’

World leaders begin their annual addresses (NYT) to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today amid what the United Nations has described (Al Jazeera) as time of “complex and interconnected crises.” This year’s session will focus on the war in Ukraine and climate change. In addition, Western governments are expected to urge Iran to commit to rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal. The leaders of China, India, Ethiopia, and Russia will not attend. U.S. President Joe Biden will speak tomorrow. 

The United States, African Union, and European Union (EU) will hold a conference today to discuss food insecurity and rising prices. On Thursday, the UN Security Council is due to hold a session on the topic of Ukraine and impunity. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said last week that he doesn’t expect dialogue (NPR) between Russian and Ukrainian delegations.
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief Sept. 19, 2022

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Biden Again Says U.S. Military Would Defend Taiwan

In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that if China were to invade Taiwan, U.S. military forces would come to the island’s defense. It is at least the fourth time (NBC) that Biden has publicly made comments appearing to contradict the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, though the White House later said U.S. policy has not changed. The long-standing policy deliberately leaves unanswered the question of whether the United States would defend the island.  China’s foreign ministry said it lodged a complaint (Reuters) with the United States. A ministry spokesperson said Beijing “will not tolerate any activities aimed at [Taiwan’s] secession.”
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief Sept. 12, 2022

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Ukrainian Forces Make Sweeping Gains in Country’s Northeast

Ukraine’s military has recaptured (FT) 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of Russia-held territories in the Kharkiv region this month following a weekend blitz. The new counteroffensive struck the military’s strongest blow to Russian forces since repelling them from Kyiv in March. Russia’s defense ministry acknowledged the losses (BBC) of several cities in the region. Kyiv warned of Russian retaliation, and Russian air strikes hit Ukraine’s second-largest thermal power plant last night.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the advances demonstrated the effect of Western military support in the war. Separately, the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shut down (AP) yesterday to avoid the risk of a nuclear disaster.
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Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Spet. 7, 2022



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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.

Analysis

“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. 
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Sept. 1, 2022

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Delayed UN Report Details China’s Human Rights Violations in XinjiangA UN human rights office report [PDF] issued yesterday said the Chinese government’s detentions of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups in the Xinjiang region could constitute “crimes against humanity.” The report noted (NYT) that two-thirds of former detainees interviewed described treatment “that would amount to torture and/or other forms of ill treatment.” The report stopped short of calling China’s actions “genocide,” as the United States has done. 

Human rights groups have criticized UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet over a nearly yearlong delay in the report’s release. The report asks that Beijing (AP) release those who have been arbitrarily detained and disclose the whereabouts of individuals who are missing. Beijing denounced the report as a fabrication, while Uyghur activists celebrated its release.   
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Daily News Brief August 29, 2022

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Over One Thousand People Killed in Catastrophic Pakistan FloodsPakistani officials are appealing for international aid (CNN) as uncharacteristically strong monsoon rains cause nationwide flooding. The floods, which climate change minister Sherry Rehman called a “climate catastrophe,” have so far displaced more than three million people, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. While Pakistan usually sees four rainy periods per year, it is currently experiencing its eighth, Rehman said.
The flooding comes as Pakistan experiences an economic crisis (FT). Some preliminary estimates put the cost of the damages (Reuters) around $4 billion, though Pakistan’s foreign minister said it is likely higher.
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Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Aug. 18, 2022

CFR Daily Brief 

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Daily News Brief August 18, 2022

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Turkish, Ukrainian Leaders Hold First Face-to-Face Meeting Since Start of War

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is meeting (AFP) with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN Secretary-General António Guterres in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. They are expected to discuss diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine, as well as a deal that Turkey and the United Nations brokered to resume grain exports from the country. Tiếp tục đọc “Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Aug. 18, 2022”

Council on Foreign Relations – Daily News Brief July 25, 2022

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EU Approves Vaccine for Monkeypox in Wake of WHO Emergency DeclarationThe European Union (EU) followed Canada and the United States in approving Bavarian Nordic’s smallpox vaccine for use against monkeypox (Reuters), the Danish drugmaker said. The step comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern and urged countries to step up their disease surveillance and response efforts.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus overruled an inconclusive WHO panel of advisors to make the declaration, saying “too little” is understood (NYT) about the current outbreak. More than sixteen thousand monkeypox cases have been reported in seventy-five countries since early May. Vaccines have been made available in some countries, though their global supply is relatively small (Vox).
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