World War War III May Already Have Started—in the Shadows

“Britain’s signals intelligence spy chief raised eyebrows this week with warnings that Russia is coordinating both cyberattacks and physical acts of sabotage against the West. There’s evidence to back her claims—and the West may be returning the favor. Coming soon after FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that China is targeting American infrastructure, it looks like the world is not only fracturing once again, but that the hostile blocs are engaged in covert warfare.”

A Ukrainian commander had Russian troops in his sights but couldn’t attack. He says a US rule is to blame.

“A Ukrainian commander operating near the Russian border described how his unit watched as Russia amassed a huge force but had to wait for the troops to cross the border to hit them.
“There were a lot of Russians gathering, and we could have destroyed them on the way in, but we don’t have many ATACMS, and we have a ban on using them over there,” he told The Times of London.

Drago, a special forces commander with Ukraine’s Kraken detachment, was redeployed, along with his unit and other special forces troops, in April from the eastern Donbas region to Kharkiv to strengthen Ukraine’s forces there, per the Times.

But instead of hitting the Russians, he and his unit were forced to watch as the troops gathered on their side of the border, according to the outlet.

“We had to wait for them to cross,” he said, referring to a US policy that bans Ukrainian forces from using US-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia.”

As China and Iran hunt for dissidents in the US, the FBI is racing to counter the threat

“After a student leader of the historic Tiananmen Square protests entered a 2022 congressional race in New York, a Chinese intelligence operative wasted little time enlisting a private investigator to hunt for any mistresses or tax problems that could upend the candidate’s bid, prosecutors say.
“In the end,” the operative ominously told his contact, “violence would be fine too.”

As an Iranian journalist and activist living in exile in the United States aired criticism of Iran’s human rights abuses, Tehran was listening too. Members of an Eastern European organized crime gang scouted her Brooklyn home and plotted to kill her in a murder-for-hire scheme directed from Iran, according to the Justice Department, which foiled the plan and brought criminal charges.

The episodes reflect the extreme measures taken by countries like China and Iran to intimidate, harass and sometimes plot attacks against political opponents and activists who live in the U.S. They show the frightening consequences that geopolitical tensions can have for ordinary citizens as governments historically intolerant of dissent inside their own borders are increasingly keeping a threatening watch on those who speak out thousands of miles away.”

Ukraine reports no artillery shortages for first time in war, says Zelenskyy

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier this week that Ukraine’s forces had reported no shortages of artillery shells for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Kyiv Independent reported.
“For the first time during the war, none of the brigades complained that there were no artillery shells,” Zelenskyy said on May 16.

According to reports, the refreshed artillery is now helping to blunt Russian advances around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

In sharp contrast to battles in January-April, during which the US halted all military assistance to Ukraine, Ukrainian soldier and milblogger Stanislav Osman, author of the popular Hovoryat Snaiper channel, observed that Russian forces attacking in the Kharkiv sector have been facing punishing artillery fire and even attack helicopter strikes, The Kyiv Post reported.”

“Despite this, Russian artillery will likely outmatch Ukraine’s for most of 2024, officials and analysts told Foreign Policy.”

Paul Wolfowitz on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a Life in Foreign Policy | Uncommon Knowledge

Paul Wolfowitz on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a Life in Foreign Policy | Uncommon Knowledge

US aid to Ukraine is arriving too late to stop major advances by Russia, says ex-US military official

“The delay by the US Congress in approving a vital aid bill means Ukraine is now struggling to fight back Russian advances, a former US military official said.
In an interview with CNN, retired US Air Force Col. and military analyst Cedric Leighton discussed Ukraine’s increasingly desperate attempts to hold back Russian advances near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city.

He said that the delay in passing the $61 billion US aid bill, which was approved in April after being blocked for months by Republicans, had placed Ukraine at a disadvantage.

“The delay in aid was, frankly an inexcusable pause in the ability of the Ukrainians to fend off Russian advances. And right now what it means is that the Ukrainians are on the backfoot,” said Leighton.”

Keeping Up with the Pacing Threat: Unveiling the True Size of Beijing’s Military Spending

Beijing’s publicly released military budget is inaccurate and does not adequately capture the colossal scope and scale of China’s ongoing military buildup and wide-ranging armed forces modernization.
After accounting for economic adjustments and estimating reasonable but uncounted expenditures, the buying power of China’s 2022 military budget balloons to an estimated $711 billion—triple Beijing’s claimed topline and nearly equal with the United States’ military budget that same year.
Equal defense spending between the United States and China plays to Beijing’s benefit. As a global power, the United States must balance competing priorities in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere, which spreads Washington’s budget thinly across multiple theaters. Meanwhile, each yuan China invests in its military directly builds its regional combat power in Asia.
America’s spy community has confirmed that Beijing’s defense spending is on par with Washington’s, but questions remain. The intelligence community’s estimate of China’s $700 billion in annual military expenditures needs more transparency to better convey Beijing’s military budget breakdown and inform policy debates regarding US defense spending investments, gaps, and imbalances.”

Why Is the Biden Administration Whitewashing Azerbaijan’s Crimes?

Why Is the Biden Administration Whitewashing Azerbaijan’s Crimes?

Why Does the United States Operate Blind in Yemen?

“Southern Yemen’s stability is a more recent phenomenon than Somaliland’s, but it is just as real. While the Saudis struggled unsuccessfully to push back the Houthis, Emirati forces working in tandem with local forces drove out Al Qaeda elements who had occupied Aden, Mukalla and other towns and ports. Multiple flights depart Aden each day for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Djibouti; the Sana’a airport handles at most a single flight daily. Hotels in Aden thrive. Security has returned. Aden is safer today than Karachi, Peshawar, and many Latin American and African capitals. An American is more likely to be taken hostage in Beijing or Moscow than Aden.
That the United States has not at least temporarily relocated its Yemen embassy in Aden is itself an acknowledgment that Yemeni unity is a fiction. American diplomats know that northern Yemenis consider southern Yemen a foreign land and vice versa. Southern Yemen has more in common with Somaliland, with whom many southern Yemeni families share blood, than with the Houthi-dominated areas.

Just as with Somalia and Somaliland, however, neither the White House nor State Department have the foresight to acknowledge the benefits of Yemeni disunity. Even short of recognizing southern Yemeni self-determination, maintaining a diplomatic office in Aden would bring huge diplomatic and security rewards at little cost. Southern Yemen may be secure now, but it was not long ago that Al Qaeda filled the vacuum. A U.S. presence tips the balance further by providing Yemenis hope and encouraging both Western and Arab investment. Intelligence also matters. Just as U.S. Embassy in Somalia reporting is risible given its blindness to dynamics in Somaliland where the State Department has no presence, the lack of a diplomatic office in Aden denies diplomats and intelligence analysts insight into local dynamics, including that across the de facto border in northern Yemen.

Revisionist powers are on the offensive, while the American presence erodes. In Yemen, this takes the form of Iranian support for the Houthis, while China operates its first overseas naval base just a couple dozen miles away in Djibouti. Rather than rectify the problem, the State Department appears aloof to it. If the State Department cares about the Yemeni people and consolidating stability in a region where it is elusive, there can be no further delay to an official diplomatic office or consulate in Aden.”