Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Monday, May 23, 2022, 4:01 PM

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A senior member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was assassinated on Sunday, reports the New York Times. According to a statement by the Guards, Col. Sayad Khodayee was shot and killed by foreign “terrorists” associated with enemies of Iran’s Islamic revolution. Khodayee was killed outside of his home after two men on motorcycles fired five bullets into his car. At the time of publication, no person or entity has claimed responsibility for the assassination. Iranian President Ebrahum Raisi vowed to seek revenge on those responsible for the assassination of Col. Sayad Khodayee, writes AP.  “I have no doubt that revenge against the criminals for the blood of this martyr is assured,” Raisi said. The Iranian president also asserted that Khodayee’s death was the result of the “hand of global arrogance,” referring to the United States, Israel and their allies. 

A Russian soldier on trial for war crimes committed in Ukraine was sentenced to life in prison by a Ukrainian court, according to AP. Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced for shooting and killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian on the side of the road in Ukraine’s northeastern Sumy region. Shishimarin is the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes committed since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. The Russian soldier reportedly plans to appeal the Ukrainian court’s decision. A spokesperson for the Kremlin reported that while Moscow cannot defend Shishimarin “on the ground,” Russian officials will consider trying to help him “through other channels.” 

Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev has resigned over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reports the Washington Post. The diplomat at the Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva announced his resignation in a letter to his colleagues which he also posted on LinkedIn and Facebook. In the letter, Bondarev wrote that he was “ashamed of his country” and stated that “the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine … is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia.” Bondarev continued, writing that all “hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in [Russia]” were crossed out “with a bold letter Z,” in reference to the Russian military symbol. 

President Biden said that the United States would be willing to use military force to defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China—one of the most forceful statements given by a U.S. president in support of Taiwan in decades—writes the Hill. Biden stated that an attempt by China to take Taiwan by force would not be “appropriate” and would cause global instability similar to what happened after Russia invaded Ukraine. The statement departed from the U.S. position of “strategic ambiguity,” which made it deliberately unclear how far the United States would go if China invaded Taiwan. After his comments at a press conference in Tokyo, the White House said that Biden’s statement did not reflect a shift in policy and emphasized that Biden reiterated the “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing as the only representative government of China but only acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China.  

Rudy Giuliani testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol for nine hours, according to NBC News. Giuliani—a lawyer and Trump ally—was subpoenaed by the select committee in January, but he did not appear before the panel until Friday. The select committee issued the subpoena to Giuliani to gain information about his correspondence with Trump and members of Congress around Jan. 6, 2021, and his alleged involvement in the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Herb Lin discussed the emergence of physically mediated cyberattacks. 

Henrik Larsen argued that NATO’s new Strategic Concept will need to clearly define the alliance’s mission so it can withstand Russia and China. 

Hadley Baker shared an episode of Lawfare No Bull in which Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco spoke at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics about the role of the Department of Justice in a time of intense partisan division. Monaco discussed the rule of law, impartiality, institutional reform at the Justice Department and more. 

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