Council on Foreign Relations: Daily newsbrief Nov. 15, 2022

November 15, 2022
Editor’s note: For the duration of the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27), the Daily News Brief will include a special section dedicated to developments at the climate conference.
Top of the Agenda

G20 Summit Focuses on Ukraine War

A draft communiqué from today’s Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, Indonesia, said “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” and its consequences for the world economy, the Financial Times reported. The draft also denounced using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the summit, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video address.  Deals on climate policy and funding were also announced, with the U.S. and Indonesian presidents unveiling a $20 billion plan (Bloomberg) to move Indonesia away from coal power. Ahead of the summit, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia said they will cooperate on forest preservation (Reuters). The countries collectively contain more than half the world’s tropical rain forests.

“With the return of great power tensions and the closing of the post-Cold War parenthesis, even the beginning of a new cold war between China and the U.S., it remains to be seen what the future of the G-20 will be,” The Diplomat’s Sebastian Strangio writes. “The Bali summit is the first in a series of Global South G20 presidencies: India in 2023, Brazil in 2024, and South Africa in 2025. In the midst of major power rivalry and a growing divide between rich and emerging countries, shifting the focus to developing countries’ issues with four continuous Global South presidencies is not only most welcome but also urgently needed,” the Argentine Council for International Relations’ Carola Ramón writes for the Council of Councils. This Backgrounder explains the role of the G20.
Pacific Rim

Crowds Protest China’s Strict COVID-19 Restrictions

Videos posted online showed crowds breaking through barriers (Reuters) in the southern city of Guangzhou in defiance of movement restrictions. 

U.S./Philippines: Manila said it will speed up implementation (Nikkei) of a deal that allows U.S. troops to access local military bases.
South and Central Asia

Khan: Pakistan Needs Better Relations With U.S.

In an address to his supporters, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he wants “good relations” (Bloomberg) with the United States, China, and Russia. He has previously claimed that the United States helped oust him. 

Pakistan: The government banned the film (The Guardian) that will be Pakistan’s contender at the Academy Awards due to its depiction of a romantic relationship between a man and a transgender woman.
Middle East and North Africa

U.S. Launches Probe Into Death of Palestinian American Journalist 

Washington will investigate (WaPo) the May killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. He called the probe “a grave mistake” and said Israel will not cooperate. In July, a U.S.-led analysis found that the Israeli military likely killed Abu Akleh unintentionally during a raid in the West Bank. 

Iran/Iraq: Iran launched missile and drone attacks (NYT) targeting exiled Kurdish Iranian opposition groups in Iraq, killing at least two people. Tehran has blamed the groups for fueling Iran’s nationwide anti-government protests. This In Brief looks at Iran’s influence in Iraq.
Sub-Saharan Africa

UK Troops to Leave Mali Peacekeeping Force Sooner Than Planned

A military official from the United Kingdom (UK) said that Russian mercenary groups are undermining stability (AP) in Mali and blamed Bamako for allowing them to operate in the country. He did not give an exact timeline for the departure of around three hundred British troops. 

Nigeria: Separatists seeking an independent Biafran state shot and killed (Africanews) Eze Ignatius Asor, the traditional ruler of the Obudi-Agwa community in Imo State. 

UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution Calling for Russian Reparations in Ukraine

Ninety-four countries voted in favor (UN News) of the resolution, fourteen opposed it, and seventy-three abstained. 

U.S./Turkey/Russia: CIA Director William J. Burns met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin, in Turkey to warn Moscow against using nuclear weapons (Reuters) in Ukraine, the White House said. CFR’s J. Andrés Gannon lays out three scenarios for Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Haitian Prime Minister Sacks Justice, Interior MinistersPrime Minister Ariel Henry did not give reasons (AP) for the dismissals, which come as the U.S. government revokes the visas of current and former Haitian officials linked to gangs.  

Canada/China: Canadian police charged an electric vehicle battery researcher (The Guardian) with sending trade secrets to China.
United States

Court Blocks Biden’s Loan-Cancellation Plan

A federal appeals court issued an injunction (NYT) blocking the plan, saying President Joe Biden’s move to wipe out up to $20,000 in student debt per borrower would exceed his authority. The Department of Education said it will seek to overturn attempts to block the plan. This Backgrounder explains how student debt affects the U.S. economy.

Rich Countries Launch Climate-Disaster Insurance Fund for Poor Countries

Countries including Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland collectively pledged over $200 million (DW) to an initiative that aims to quickly provide cash to low-income and climate-vulnerable countries after climate disasters. Critics called for a dedicated fund for loss and damage caused by climate change to be established instead. A survey [PDF] by a coalition of climate and anti-disinformation organizations found that between 55 and 85 percent of people surveyed in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, and the UK believed at least one of thirteen false statements about climate change provided in the coalition’s questionnaire. 
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