5 min read

A breather before the big election.

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend. I'm taking a little breather before a news-heavy week in Washington. The U.S. midterm elections take place on Tuesday. Until then, go outside. Enjoy the beautiful, if concerningly warm, weather. Take deep breaths. Smell the flowers that are still in bloom. Hug your loved ones. Enjoy these unfiltered photos of my garden, where the roses are thriving! Think of it as a pallet cleanser for your eyeballs.

Until next week,

What I'm writing:

• My colleagues and I wrote about the 10 key races for policy in the 118th Congress, including foreign and defense policy. This is unlocked and free to read.

• I interviewed Nury Turkel, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, about his travels to Uzbekistan and why he disagrees with the State Department's decision to remove Tashkent from its Special Watch List.

• I wrote about how U.S. foreign policy would change if Republicans win the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday's midterm elections. In recent weeks, experts and Democratic lawmakers in Washington began raising alarm bells that newly elected House Republicans could end U.S. aid for Ukraine.

• You can also listen to me discuss my recent reporting trip to Poland, which Warsaw bar you should visit, and what I'm reading for fun on this episode of National Journal Radio, if you want to hear my voice ;-)

What I'm reading:

• In just two days, the United States will hold a midterm election that could provide a preview of what's to come in the 2024 presidential election. Republicans are expected to flip the House of Representatives. "The race for the House will be less about who will win the majority but rather how much Republicans will win it by," my colleagues at National Journal report.

• U.S. Treasury Department officials are considering whether they have the legal authority to investigate Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter because of his ties to foreign governments and investors, the Washington Post reports. A Saudi prince’s holding company and a Qatari sovereign wealth fund subsidiary are backing Musk’s Twitter purchase.

• Russia may be on the verge of a significant setback in its war on Ukraine, amid signs that its troops might withdraw from the west bank of the Dnipro River at Kherson, NBC News reports.

• Ukrainian government officials and experts, however, expressed concern that the comments from a Russian-appointed official in Kherson could be disinformation used to set a trap, Reuters reports.

• Afghan special forces soldiers who fled to Iran after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan are now being recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine, the Associated Press reports.

• A secretive Lithuanian partner of Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenka's once most infamous "wallet," Yury Chyzh, has run billions of dollars through a Singapore vehicle during Belarus's suspected contraband oil boom, JournalismFund.EU reports.

• A think tank funded by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is set to launch this month in Brussels, Politico Europe reports.

• Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced he would run for President in the next Czech election, Prague Morning reports. The populist billionaire is currently accused of EU subsidy fraud.

​​Finland's Prime Minister urged Hungary and Turkey to approve the Swedish and Finnish applications for membership to NATO swiftly, Reuters reports. Hungary and Turkey are the only remaining NATO members who haven't yet ratified the applications.

• Political leaders in the U.K. called for an investigation into the government's handling of national security after an unconfirmed report claiming that suspected Russian hackers targeted the personal phone of former Prime Minister Liz Truss, CBS reports.

• Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's center-left "red bloc" of parties secured the 90 seats needed to form a government, the BBC reports.

• In Israel, leftwing and pro-Arab-rights parties were left licking their wounds after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right partners won by a comfortable majority in this week's elections, the Guardian reports.

• The Biden administration is weighing options to respond to what could soon be a mass exodus of migrants from Haiti, including temporarily holding migrants in a third country or expanding capacity at an existing facility at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, NBC News reports.

• Voters in Brazil ousted far-right President Jair Bolsonaro after just one term and elected the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to replace him, the New York Times reports.

• Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro vowed to respect the constitution after he lost the presidential election to Lula. His comments broke a tense 45-hour silence in which he refused to acknowledge the election results, the Wall Street Journal reports.

• Israel’s weeks-long siege of Nablus and lockdown of its surrounding villages reflect a form of “Gaza-fication” that is underway in the shrinking Palestinian pockets of the West Bank, Yara Asi writes for Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)'s journal.

• Russian mercenaries in Mali are accused of yet another massacre of civilians following a major military operation, the Guardian reports.

• After two years of fighting that left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced and facing starvation, a surprise truce between Ethiopia and Tigray forces came out of peace talks convened by the African Union in South Africa, the New York Times reports.

What the State Department says:

You can write to me for any reason: c.maza@protonmail.com.