Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Oct. 10, 2022

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Russian Missiles Strike Across Ukraine Following Bridge Attack

Russia launched (FT) its most extensive air strikes on Ukraine in months after a Russian bridge was bombed over the weekend. At least ten people were killed across Ukraine, including at least five people in the capital, Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the strikes a retaliation for Ukraine’s “terrorist attack” on a bridge linking Russia to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack.  The Russian strikes hit at least ten Ukrainian cities, targeting infrastructure and civilian areas. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the attacks (Reuters) “horrific and indiscriminate.” Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he ordered troops to deploy (Reuters) alongside Russian fighters near Ukraine.

“News from Ukraine revealing but not surprising as Putin and Russia, losing on the battlefield, turn cities into battlefields. Expect it will harden Ukraine’s determination to persist until it has regained all of its territory & to pursue reparations & war crimes accountability,” CFR President Richard Haass tweets. “The [bridge] explosion struck a symbolic, physical and logistical blow to Russia, exposing a weakness in its readiness to protect important infrastructure and threatening to stifle commercial traffic to Crimea, some Russian analysts said,” the Wall Street Journal’s Ian Lovett, Isabel Coles, and Mauro Orru write.
Pacific Rim

Malaysian Premier Dissolves Parliament to Trigger Early ElectionsThe move comes after months of pressure (Nikkei) from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which performed well in recent local elections and has ruled Malaysia for all but about two years since independence in 1957. 

China: Shares in several Chinese chipmakers lost more than $8 billion in value (FT) as markets opened today. On Friday, the United States announced new export controls aimed at hindering Chinese companies’ ability to make advanced computer chips. 
South and Central Asia

U.S. Officials Meet With Taliban in DohaIn the Qatari capital, CIA and State Department officials met with the Taliban’s head of intelligence, suggesting that they discussed counterterrorism, CNN reported

India: The central government waited three days (The Wire) before sending extra forces to quell communal violence during New Delhi’s 2020 riots, allowing them to escalate, a fact-finding committee led by a former Supreme Court judge found. 
Middle East and North Africa

Iranian State TV Hacked With Protest Message On Saturday, hackers supporting Iran’s ongoing women-led protests broadcast an image on state television that briefly showed the message (AFP) “the blood of our youth is on your hands” written beneath a photo of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. For Foreign Affairs, Sanam Vakil discusses Iran’s crisis of legitimacy

Palestinian territories: Two Palestinians were killed (NYT) during an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin over the weekend. A gunman killed one Israeli soldier in a subsequent attack on a security checkpoint in East Jerusalem.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Trial Opens in Paris for Liberian Fighter Accused of Crimes Against HumanityKunti Kamara is accused (AP) of complicity in atrocities committed against civilians during Liberia’s civil war in the 1990s. Kamara was arrested near Paris in 2018. He is being tried under a French law that recognizes universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity. 

Nigeria: Seventy-six people died after a boat capsized (Vanguard) in a flooded area of Anambra State.

Preliminary Results Suggest Austrian President Reelected By Wide Margin President Alexander Van der Bellen won more than 54.6 percent (Bloomberg) of votes in yesterday’s election, according to early results, allowing him to avoid a runoff. His closest challenger, far-right candidate Walter Rosenkranz, received 19.1 percent of votes.

Haitian Government Requests Aid From Foreign ForcesThe U.S. government said it is reviewing Haiti’s request for a “specialized armed force” to help combat gang-fueled insecurity. In a letter seen by Reuters, UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposed that one or more countries send a “rapid action force” to Haiti. This Center for Preventive Action report discusses a smarter U.S. assistance strategy for Haiti

Venezuela: A mudslide triggered by heavy rains in the central state of Aragua killed (MercoPress) at least twenty-two people. More than fifty people are missing.
United States

NYT: Political Favors Hindered California High-Speed Rail ProjectPolitical compromises have significantly increased the cost of the nation’s first bullet train and decreased its travel efficiency, the New York Times found. The investigation comes as the United States prepares to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. This Backgrounder discusses the state of U.S. infrastructure.
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