Counci on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Jan. 9, 2023

Daily News BriefJanuary 9, 2023
Top of the Agenda

Bolsonaro Supporters Attack Government Buildings in Brazil

Brazilian police arrested at least three hundred people after thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed and vandalized (AP) Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace yesterday in scenes reminiscent of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The rioters protested the results of last year’s presidential election, which Bolsonaro lost to left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro has for years pushed false claims about the credibility of Brazil’s election system, and many of his supporters say the 2022 election was stolen from him.
Multiple world leaders condemned the events (NYT) and voiced support for Lula, who said there was “incompetence or bad faith” on behalf of police who allowed the events to unfold. Bolsonaro, believed to be in Florida, tweeted a condemnation (NYT) of the attack several hours after it began.

“Given [Bolsonaro’s] self-imposed exile in Florida, and relative silence since losing the election, the race to succeed him as the leader of Brazil’s conservative movement will now gain even more momentum. Just as January 6 accelerated [former U.S. President Donald] Trump’s decline, we are already seeing opposition figures distance themselves from the former president,” Americas Quarterly’s Brian Winter writes.   “Today’s sad episodes represent yet another attempt to destabilize democracy and demonstrate that the authoritarian, populist radicalism of Brazil’s extreme right remains active under the command of former President Bolsonaro, the ‘Trump of Latin America,’” the University of Brasília’s Paulo Calmon tells the Associated Press.

Leaders of U.S., Canada, Mexico Meet in Mexico City

The leaders are expected to discuss (WSJ) immigration, antidrug enforcement, and supply-chain resilience during their two-day summit. Tensions over Mexico’s drive to increase state control over its energy grid will not be a substantive part (Bloomberg) of talks, U.S. and Mexican officials said. In Foreign Affairs, CFR’s Shannon K. O’Neil discusses the importance of focusing on regional trade ties.
Pacific Rim

Japan’s Kishida Visits France’s MacronIn Paris,

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and French President Emmanuel Macron are set to discuss (RFI) cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the war in Ukraine. Kishida is on a weeklong tour (Kyodo) of Europe, Canada, and the United States in preparation for hosting the Group of Seven (G7) summit in May. 

Indonesia/Malaysia: The countries’ leaders discussed “discrimination” (SCMP) against palm oil exports at a meeting in Jakarta. The European Union plans to phase out palm oil–based fuels by 2030 over deforestation concerns. Indonesia and Malaysia are the top exporters of palm oil.
This article examines how countries, including Indonesia, are working to prevent deforestation and achieve a global conservation goal.
South and Central Asia

Pakistan Seeks Climate Finance at Conference 

Pakistan and the United Nations are cohosting the conference, which seeks $8 billion (Dawn) over the next three years to help the country repair damage from last summer’s devastating floods.

Sri Lanka: In a statement released to the Guardian, 182 economists and development experts from around the world warned that hedge funds and other private investors are blocking debt relief for Sri Lanka.
Middle East and North Africa

Iranian Protests Mark Three Years Since Downing of Passenger Plane

Videos shared online appeared to show demonstrators (Bloomberg) in Tehran and several other cities decrying Iranian forces for shooting down a passenger plane over Tehran in 2020. More than 170 people were killed in the event.

UAE: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will begin teaching about the Holocaust (AP) in schools, its embassy in the United States tweeted. The tweet referenced the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized Israel-UAE relations. 
Sub-Saharan Africa

China’s New Foreign Minister Begins Africa Tour

Qin Gang traveled to Ethiopia (AP) for a five-day trip that will end in a meeting with Arab League envoys in Egypt.

South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa said he will invite other African nations (Bloomberg) to this year’s BRICS summit in South Africa. The BRICS grouping consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Sweden Says It Cannot Meet All of Turkey’s Demands for Its NATO Membership 

Stockholm has resisted extraditing people (Bloomberg) who Ankara links to terrorism to Turkey, as Ankara requested it do to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  This In Brief discusses how NATO will change if Finland and Sweden become members.
Ukraine/Russia: Ukrainian authorities rejected Moscow’s claims (NYT) that Russian forces killed six hundred people in an attack in Kramatorsk, while some pro-Russia bloggers accused Russian officials of overblowing the story.
United States

McCarthy Oversees Vote on House Rules After Election as Speaker

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will oversee a vote today (NYT) on institutional changes to the House of Representatives. To win a drawn-out election for the speakership, he agreed that the package of new rules would reflect concessions to hard-line conservatives.
CFR Fellowship Opportunity
Applications are open now through March 1 for the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship.
CFR is seeking applicants for the 2023–24 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship. The program aims to promote the quality of responsible and discerning journalism that exemplified the work of Edward R. Murrow. The fellowship offers a distinguished foreign correspondent or editor the opportunity to spend ten months in CFR’s New York office conducting sustained analysis and writing. Qualified applicants need to be U.S. citizens and possess a strong record of professional achievement. Visit or email for more information.Learn More
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