Fdd's overnight brief

April 15, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


President Biden urged Israel to use caution in any response to Iran’s unprecedented attack and pressed allies Sunday for a united diplomatic front in a bid to stop the hostilities from spiraling into open warfare that could engulf the Middle East and entangle the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

The Israeli military is sending troops to the West Bank to quell settler attacks on Palestinian villages after a 14-year-old Israeli Jewish boy who had gone missing was found dead in the area on Saturday.  – Wall Street Journal

Saturday’s Iranian strike on Israel was huge by any standard. Tehran launched more than 170 explosive-laden drones, around 120 ballistic missiles and about 30 cruise missiles, according to Israel. The damage could have been catastrophic. As it turned out, almost all were intercepted. – Wall Street Journal

On Sunday morning, Israelis awoke to find their country relatively unscathed, fortified by widespread global support after months of international isolation. The nightmare scenario leaders here had long warned about — a direct attack from Iran — provided a public showcase of the regional coalition and high-tech systems built to repel such an assault. – Washington Post

The hospital waiting room was quiet on Sunday: There was no crowd of relatives, no flood of patients. Israel’s air defenses had just fended off a large-scale Iranian attack, with only one serious casualty recorded. – New York Times

U.S. forces, supported by U.S. European Command destroyers, on Saturday and Sunday destroyed more than 80 one-way attack drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the U.S. will not take part in a counter-offensive against Iran, an option Netanyahu’s war cabinet favors after a mass drone and missile attack on Israeli territory, according to officials. – Reuters

The Israeli military said on Sunday it will soon call up two reserve divisions for operations in Gaza, where it has been conducting a war against Islamist militant group Hamas. – Reuters

Israeli airlines said operations were returning to normal on Sunday after an overnight attack by Iranian missiles and drones closed the airspace and led to flight cancellations. – Reuters

Thousands of Gazans flooded the coast road north on Sunday after hearing that several people managed to cross a closed checkpoint towards Gaza City, despite Israel denying it was open. – Agence France-Presse

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British military jets shot down drones launched by Iran in its attack on Israel and called for “calm heads to prevail” to avoid an escalation of the conflict. – Reuters

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has rejected an Israeli ceasefire proposal, saying on Saturday it had handed to mediators in Egypt and Qatar its response to the proposal it had received last Monday. – Reuters

British security firm Ambrey said on Sunday that Israel Defence Forces (IDF) intercepted an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) near Eilat, stating that it assessed the UAV was launched from Yemen. – Reuters

The United Nations Security Council was set to meet late Sunday afternoon in New York on Iran’s overnight missile and drone attack on Israel. – Jerusalem Post

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Arabic spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Avichay Adraee, spoke with the Saudi Arabian-based newspaper Al Arabiya on Sunday and claimed that the “Iranian attack failed to achieve its objectives.” – Jerusalem Post

After over three hours of deliberations on Sunday afternoon, Israel’s five-person war cabinet did not reach a decision as to how the country would respond to Iran’s massive missile and drone barrage on Saturday night. – Times of Israel

The Israel Defense Forces said overnight that it was lifting Home Front Command restrictions that had been put in place as a precaution against the threat of missiles and drones from Iran, which had shuttered the education system and day camps across the country. – Times of Israel

Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. writes: Some are calling for Israel to destroy the Iranian nuclear enterprise. Now isn’t the time for that. What’s needed is a carefully calibrated response on a scale that reinforces Israeli technical mastery. That would reset deterrence. Informed observers, whatever their sympathies, all know who won this engagement. The hard part, as always, is translating battlefield success into lasting policy advantage and an opportunity for peace. That’s the task for Israel. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: Military success likely creates space for other actions. Some Israelis will doubtless want to go harder on the offensive now that Iran’s rocket attack has been routed. But perhaps the show of force will create an opportunity for defusing a conflict that had, until this weekend, seemed damaging and demoralizing for Israel. After Saturday night’s fireworks, that momentum may have shifted. – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: The key decisions of the past half-century that have driven the Middle East to the place it is in today have a common origin: Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, which brought to power a theocratic despotism intent on sowing fanaticism, brutalizing its own people, destroying Israel and causing misery across the region for the sake of its ideological aims. Saturday’s missile attack is the latest example of a long and ugly record. But as Israelis decide how to react, they would serve their interests best by recalling the useful adage that revenge is a dish best served cold. – New York Times

Marc Champion writes: The Iranian bombardment has created a window through which Netanyahu can begin to refocus international attention on the malfeasance of Iran and Hamas, rather than on Israel’s. It won’t be easy. There are a lot of mistakes for him to correct or bury, the minimum levels of trust needed for any political settlement in Gaza are long gone and Israel’s enemies won’t sit still while he tries. Even so, he should take the other, implied, element of Napoleon’s advice, and let himself be interrupted. – Bloomberg

Andreas Kluth writes: Meanwhile, Biden must punish Iran in every way short of the military option. This he seems to be preparing to do, by calling emergency meetings of the Group of Seven and the UN Security Council. Since Oct. 7, the Middle East, and by extension the globe, has teetered on the edge between various terrible but localized wars and a wider conflagration that may set the whole world ablaze. If anybody can prevent that nightmare, it’s Biden. – Bloomberg

Shira Efron writes:  Israeli leaders, for their part, need to see evidence that the sky does not fall when they let the PA work in Gaza. Starting small and putting some of the onus on the PA can slowly decrease Israeli opposition. But starting small does not mean thinking small. Beyond just addressing the immediate problem of improving humanitarian assistance, working to enable the PA and, in due time, advancing a meaningful peace process can prevent Gaza from again presenting the threat to Israel that it did under Hamas. – Foreign Affairs


Iran launched a wave of more than 300 drones and cruise and ballistic missiles toward Israel, setting up a direct military confrontation between the two nations and raising the risks of wider regional war. – Wall Street Journal

The moves by the U.S. that are part of an effort to avoid a wider conflict in the Middle East came after a warning from a person familiar with the matter about the timing and location of the potential Iranian attack. A person briefed by the Iranian leadership, however, said that while plans to attack are being discussed, no final decision has been made. – Wall Street Journal

With its first-ever direct military attack on Israel, Iran crossed old red lines and created a precedent in its decades-long shadow war with the Jewish state. Iran “decided to create a new equation,” said the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, in an interview with state-run television Sunday. – Washington Post

Iranian forces seized a container ship with links to Israel in the Persian Gulf on Saturday, as leaders in the Middle East and beyond watched for a retaliatory strike by Iran against Israel. MSC, a major shipping company, said on Saturday that the MSC Aries, which is registered in Portugal, had been boarded by “Iranian authorities” via helicopter as it passed the Strait of Hormuz. – New York Times

Leaders of the G7 nations condemned Iran’s attack on Israel and said on Sunday they would work to try to prevent an “uncontrollable regional escalation” in the Middle East. – Reuters

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned on Sunday the ambassadors of Britain, France, and Germany to question what it referred to as their “irresponsible stance” regarding Tehran’s retaliatory strikes on Israel, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported. – Reuters

Turkish, Jordanian and Iraqi officials said on Sunday that Iran gave wide notice days before its drone and missile attack on Israel, but U.S. officials said Tehran did not warn Washington and that it was aiming to cause significant damage. – Reuters

Several Iranian airports including Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International have cancelled flights until Monday, Iranian state media reported on Sunday, as tensions flared in the Middle East with Iran’s attack on Israel overnight. – Reuters

Iran informed Turkey in advance of its planned operation against Israel, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters on Sunday, adding that Washington had conveyed to Tehran via Ankara that any action it took had to be “within certain limits”. – Reuters

Yemen’s armed Houthi movement said on Sunday that Iran’s attack on Israel was a legitimate act in response to a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1. – Reuters

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Iran early Sunday in a show of support for the unprecedented drone and missile attack against archfoe Israel. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Leaders in both parties should also start telling the truth to Americans about the new world of global threats. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are all on the march and working together. That won’t magically change if Mr. Trump wins. The U.S. needs an urgent program of rearmament to restore deterrence. Saturday’s attack won’t be the last against our allies or the U.S. homeland. – Wall Street Journal

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: That means leaning into winning a decisive victory in Ukraine and ensuring that Israel also wins decisively against Hamas and Iran. Anything less will be essentially asking for more of the same from our country’s enemies. Iran opted to be unpredictable on Saturday. Yes, they telegraphed it. Yes, it had elements of Kabuki theater. Nonetheless, Tehran forced an inflection point upon Washington and Jerusalem, and how each continues to react will decide whether this turns into a full-scale war, or whether the Temple Mount becomes ground zero of yet another “forever war.” – The Hill

Sheila Nazarian writes: Iran’s war on the West is not just Israel’s problem, it is and has always been America’s problem. We need a leader who recognizes and acts upon this, not a leader who can only offer empty words and spineless policy. Sadly, as the Middle East and the US now brace for what may well be an ugly regional conflict, the dangers of the man we’ve chosen have never been clearer. – Jerusalem Post

Erfan Fard writes: This support should not merely be rhetorical but material, providing the means for Iranians themselves to reclaim their country from the clutches of tyranny. As Iran teeters on the brink of deeper conflict, the global community must not only advocate for peace but actively participate in building it. This involves a concerted effort to support opposition groups and civil society initiatives within Iran that align with democratic values and human rights. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the United Nations atomic agency that the Kremlin plans to restart Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, currently under Russian occupation, further flaring the risks of an incident at Europe’s biggest nuclear station. – Wall Street Journal

Supercooled gas has quickly become one of the world’s most important energy sources—and a flashpoint between Russia and the U.S. Nowhere is that contest more apparent than in Russia’s Arctic north. An enormous new coastal facility is being built there to produce liquefied natural gas, a key project for Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Wall Street Journal

So many drones patrol the skies over Ukraine’s front lines — hunting for any signs of movement — that Ukrainian and Russian troops have little ability to move on the battlefield without being spotted, and blown up. – Washington Post

As Ukrainian officials plead for more Western arms and a U.S. aid package remains stalled in Congress, Russia is advancing on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, seizing new territory and intensifying attacks to capture the town of Chasiv Yar and others in the Donetsk region. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s top commander said on Sunday Russian forces aimed to capture the town of Chasiv Yar by May 9, setting the stage for an important battle for control of high ground in the east where Russia is focusing its assaults. – Reuters

Ukraine will receive another Patriot missile defense system plus ammunition from Germany, equipment the nation needs urgently to boost protection from Russian missile attacks following several heavy strikes on its power grid. – Bloomberg

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged allies and partners “to take extraordinary steps” to provide more air defense units to Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Iran’s attack on Israel Saturday night is a “wake-up call” for Washington to get moving on supporting American allies. – Politico

Julia Davis writes: A clearly imperialist Moscow poses as a fighter against Western imperialism, while Putin’s oppressive regime tells gullible Westerners that they are the ones being oppressed at home — and that opposing US aid to Ukraine is an assertion of their liberty. The Kremlin’s propagandists routinely explain that the best way to destroy the West is from within, by undermining its principles and compromising its vital alliances. And, they explain, there is more to come. As Putin’s mouthpieces routinely say: “Ukraine is just the beginning.” – Center for European Policy Analysis

Brandon J. Weichert writes: American and NATO naval observers must not confuse the apparent failure of the Lada-class with a larger failure of Russia’s naval industrial base. The fact of the matter is that the Russians have bounced back from the doldrums of the 1990s and 2000s. Whatever one thinks about Russia’s system or its leadership, the fact remains that the Russian Federation is stronger than it was in the 1990s. – The National Interest


Iraqi media reported part of an Iranian missile has been found in the Soran district of Irbil in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq following Iran’s direct attack on Israel. – Sky News

Mina Al-Oraibi writes: Most important, such an agreement would help bring much-needed stability, putting a spotlight on the need for Iraq’s political leaders to address the country’s domestic challenges. As Washington prepares for the U.S. elections later this year and deals with the fallout of the war in Gaza, Iran will be looking for ways to undermine the United States in the region. Going through with an exit from Iraq would be a political win for Tehran—and a strategic loss for Iraq, as it risks getting pulled further into the Iranian orbit. – Foreign Affairs

Yesar Al-Maleki writes: The results of Sudani’s visit will be a test of his premiership. His backers in the SCF will assess whether he can strike a compromise with Washington, especially given the potential prospect of another Donald Trump presidency. For the Americans, an agreement will serve as a test of the Iraqi leader’s ability to appease hardliners at home and keep them in check. Success on both sides could determine whether Sudani can keep his position against a future challenger. – Middle East Institute


Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed the need for restraint in phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Israel on Sunday, Egypt said. – Reuters

The prospect of Gazans crossing into Egypt from the border town of Rafah to escape a military assault would make the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible and cause an “atrocious dilemma” for the people fleeing, the U.N. refugee chief said on Friday. – Reuters

The EU on Friday said it would provide Egypt with 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) in short-term financial aid to help stabilise the country’s economy. – Reuters

Gulf States

Gulf states are pushing to stop a full-blown regional war after Iran’s unprecedented retaliatory strikes on Israel, sources in the region said, fearing new escalation could put them on front lines of a conflagration and ruin plans to reshape the region. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian late on Sunday, during which they discussed developments in the region after Iran launched drones and missiles on Israel, Saudi state news agency reported. – Reuters

The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed its “deep concern” regarding what it called “the developments of the military escalation in the region” after the Iranian attack against Israel on Saturday night. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

As hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles winged across the Middle East Saturday night, a defensive line of radars, jet fighters, warships and air-defense batteries from Israel, the U.S. and a half dozen other countries was already activated against the long-feared attack from Iran. – Wall Street Journal

After Iran launched a retaliatory wave of missiles and drones toward Israel, a rare direct attack by Tehran, much of the Middle East found itself in uncharted territory: bracing for further violence while scrambling to interpret the new rules of confrontation between the region’s most powerful adversaries. – Washington Post

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said on Sunday any escalation in the region would lead to “dangerous paths” and that there was a need to reduce escalation by all parties. – Reuters

A U.S. judge has tossed out a series of civil lawsuits against a Libyan military commander who used to live in Virginia and was accused of killing innocent civilians in that country’s civil war. – Associated Press

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s finance minister stepped up warnings on Monday that the government is ready to act to counter any renewed volatility in currency markets after the won has extended declines against the dollar to hit the lowest in a year and a half. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un affirmed his position to develop long-standing ties with China, state media KCNA said on Sunday, citing Kim in his meeting with Chinese top legislator Zhao Leji. – Reuters

China’s top legislator Zhao Leji met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Saturday, expressing Beijing’s willingness to work with its counterparts to deepen trust and boost cooperation, Chinese state media said. – Reuters



Those who live on this tiny island joke that the Chinese mainland, just 3 miles away, is close enough that roosters crow to chickens on the other side. The Kinmen archipelago has been the front line of friction between China and Taiwan for decades. Those tensions have been heating up again recently. – Wall Street Journal

American universities sign contracts around the world to sell their research and training expertise, and some of their most lucrative agreements have been with companies based in China. The decadeslong trade thrives despite a deepening U.S.-China rivalry and rising sensitivities about Beijing’s influence on American campuses. – Wall Street Journal

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia will travel to China on Sunday, the State Department announced, just days after President Biden met with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines in Washington as part of a broad diplomatic outreach in the region to counter China’s aggression. – New York Times

China’s top official on Hong Kong affairs said the city should “tightly hold” onto the bottom line of national security to safeguard development, in a speech coming weeks after the enactment of sweeping new security laws. – Reuters

Russian Copper Company (RCC) and Chinese firms have avoided taxes and skirted the impact of Western sanctions by trading in new copper wire rod disguised as scrap, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia will visit China starting on Sunday, the State Department said, just days after President Joe Biden held a summit with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines that focused on China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea. – Reuters

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US wouldn’t take “anything off the table” in response to China’s manufacturing capacity, including the possibility of additional tariffs to stem what she has described as a flood of cheap goods into the US market. – Bloomberg

The country in which China has gained most influence in the South Pacific, Solomon Islands, goes to the polls on Wednesday in an election that could shape the region’s future. – Associated Press

Editorial: Still, addressing climate change requires more aggressive progress from the big emitters outside the club of the rich. And they are not moving fast enough. In 2023 China added almost 50 gigawatts of capacity in coal-fueled power plants, about the same as the total installed capacity in Indonesia, Germany or Japan. If China faced penalties, as well as incentives to clean up, this picture would change more quickly. No one wants to be banned from the clubhouse. – Washington Post

South Asia

Narendra Modi once looked up to China. As a business-friendly Indian state leader, he traveled there repeatedly to attract investment and see how his country could learn from its neighbor’s economic transformation. China, he said, has a “special place in my heart.” Chinese officials cheered on his march to national power as that of “a political star.” – New York Times

A Saudi Arabian delegation, led by foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, will visit Pakistan on Monday and Tuesday as part of efforts to boost economic cooperation, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday. – Reuters

Gunmen shot and killed nine men after abducting them from a bus in a troubled province in southwestern Pakistan bordering Afghanistan and Iran, officials said on Saturday. – Reuters

Pakistan’s central bank has repaid $1 billion in Eurobonds, it said on Saturday, a scheduled payment ahead of the South Asian nation seeking a long-term bailout from the International Monetary Fund. – Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are increasingly wielding strong-arm tactics to subdue political opponents and critics of the ruling Hindu-nationalist party. – Associated Press

Mihir Sharma writes: Indian political analysts long assumed that the country’s politics was deeply insular and that foreign affairs didn’t win elections. This prime minister is proving them wrong. He won in 2019 after a cross-border clash with Pakistan. Now, he is handily dominating the opposition by hammering home the world’s approval of his stewardship. Indian politics is still about India — but now it is about how the world sees India. – Bloomberg

Andy Mukherjee writes:  A seemingly democratic election gives Modinomics a fig leaf of legitimacy for policies that have made India among the most unequal societies on earth. If the credibility of elections comes under doubt, then the fig leaf drops. In that case, the average voter must be resigned to accept whatever deal is thrown up by the confluence of strongman politics, crony capitalism and a machine that blesses both — in perpetuity. – Bloomberg

Hartosh Singh Bal writes: In the meantime, the BJP marches on. It seems certain to win in the coming election, so the next five years are all but guaranteed to feature further authoritarianism and increasing marginalization of Muslims. But if the party scores big, it may be able to irrevocably restructure the Indian polity. The margins, therefore, matter. The fate of over 1.4 billion people hangs in the balance. – Foreign Affairs


The U.S. and Japan have outlined plans to invest in infrastructure, semiconductor and nickel projects in the Philippines as the three countries seek to deepen ties amid tensions with China. – Wall Street Journal

Australian police shot and killed a man on Saturday after a knife attack that left six people dead and several injured, including a nine-month-old baby, at a shopping mall near Sydney’s Bondi Beach. – Wall Street Journal

Resistance forces seeking to oust Myanmar’s military regime captured a key trade town on the Thai border this week, one of their most significant gains since the junta seized power in a coup more than three years ago. But thousands of residents were fleeing on Friday as the regime’s troops prepared to mount a counteroffensive. – New York Times

Indonesia’s military on Saturday denied using air strikes in a remote, restive part of the country, after a video of a New Zealand pilot kidnapped by Papuan rebels featured him saying military actions had made his position unsafe. – Reuters

A cooperation agreement by the Philippines, the United States and Japan will change the dynamic in the South China Sea and the region, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday, while seeking to assure China it was not a target. – Reuters


Belgium said it had opened an investigation into a Russian disinformation network seeking to influence coming European elections and weaken support for Ukraine, the latest attempt to confront efforts by Moscow to undermine European democracies. – Wall Street Journal

A prominent British Palestinian doctor said he was “forcibly prevented” from entering Germany on Friday, with the Palestinian solidarity conference he was slated to speak at shut down by police who detained dozens of activists in the process. – Washington Post

To enter a secret session of Germany’s Parliament, lawmakers must lock their phones and leave them outside. Inside, they are not even allowed to take notes. Yet to many politicians, these precautions against espionage now feel like something of a farce. – New York Times

The roiling water can be treacherous, the banks are steep and slick with mud, and the riverbed is covered in jagged, hidden boulders. Yet Ukrainian border guards often find their quarry — men seeking to escape the military draft — swimming in these hazardous conditions, trying to cross the Tysa River where it forms the border with Romania. – New York Times

Europe’s aviation regulator reaffirmed advice to airlines to use caution in Israeli and Iranian airspace though it said no civil overflights had been placed at risk during weekend tensions surrounding Iranian drone and missile strikes on Israel. – Reuters

Croatia’s upcoming parliamentary election, set for Wednesday, follows a campaign that was marked by heated exchanges between the country’s two top officials, sparking a political crisis in the Balkan country that belongs to both the European Union and NATO. – Associated Press

Daniel Kochis writes: There is a sense that on defense spending, NATO members have perhaps crossed the Rubicon for good. While the bridge hasn’t been detonated (there is still some possibility of retreat), Putin’s appetite I believe, will keep allies on the new bank. The turnaround in defense investment is an ongoing NATO success story. Here in the U.S., it deserves to be told. – The Hill

Hikmet Karčić writes: In confronting these challenges, the international community must navigate a delicate balance between honoring the victims of atrocities like the Srebrenica genocide and addressing the complex political realities that shape responses to such acknowledgments. The imperative remains clear: to ensure that the truths of history are preserved and honored, not as a means of exacerbating division, but as a foundation for building a more just, peaceful, and unified future for the Western Balkans. – The National Interest


One year into a deadly war for power between Sudan’s top two generals, the country of 47 million people is in the midst of one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history. – Wall Street Journal

Russian military personnel arrived in Niger this week, according to Nigerien state television, less than one month after the military junta announced that it was ending military agreements with the United States. – Washington Post

The United States on Sunday will announce an additional $100 million in aid to respond to the conflict in Sudan, according to a statement seen by Reuters, as Washington seeks to spur international response ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the war. – Reuters

The British parliament is set to finally approve a divisive law this week to pave the way for asylum seekers to be deported to Rwanda, but further legal hurdles could yet hold up or derail one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s key policies. – Reuters

Somali pirates released a hijacked ship, MV Abdullah, and its crew of 23 early on Sunday after a $5 million ransom was paid, according to two pirates. – Reuters

Niger has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) worth $400 million linked to the sale of crude oil from its Agadem oilfield, Niger state television RTN reported late on Friday. – Reuters

Somalia will never accept Ethiopia’s plan to build a naval base in its breakaway region of Somaliland, but would consider granting Ethiopia commercial port access if discussed bilaterally, a senior Somali official said on Friday. – Reuters

Suspected Islamist rebels killed at least 10 civilians in an attack on Friday near the city of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local authorities and a U.N. source said. – Reuters

Jehanne Henry writes: But these are not enough. What’s missing, and what the new special envoy must now address, is a strategy to end the war and build a sustainable peace. What will it take to support Sudan’s pro-democracy civilian constituencies and prevent a repeat of the failed transition from 2019 to 2021? The US should signal that it is thinking seriously about this through high-level engagement, diplomatic savvy, and a willingness and ability to influence regional relationships. Crucially, the first step must be to halt any assistance to the warring sides that prolongs the fighting and deepens the human suffering that comes with it. – Middle East Institute

The Americas

Elon Musk and Argentina President Javier Milei, who for months have engaged in a digital bromance, met at last on Friday at the billionaire’s electric-vehicle plant in Austin, Texas. – Wall Street Journal

The United States on Friday announced an entry ban on former Surinamese President Desi Bouterse and six former military officials, citing alleged involvement in the extrajudicial killings of political opponents in the 1980s. – Reuters

U.S. officials met representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Mexico this week to express concerns about Venezuela’s electoral process, a White House official said on Friday. – Reuters

The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state must compensate victims of stray bullets during military and law enforcement operations. – Associated Press

Venezuela’s government arrested two high-level energy officials on Sunday following the detention of a former oil minister amid an investigation into billions of lost Petroleos de Venezuela SA revenue. – Bloomberg

North America

Haiti’s government formalized the creation of a nine-member transitional presidential council on Friday, a long-delayed move intended as the first step in restoring security to the gang-ravaged Caribbean country. – Reuters

El Salvador is more likely to get a new IMF deal in the next 18 months rather than the multiple credit rating upgrades it has set as a target in a pioneering new bond, Moody’s has told Reuters. – Reuters

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will have to find ways to amp up savings or raise taxes when she delivers the budget on Tuesday, as new heavy spending plans in the run-up further risks weakening government finances, economists say. – Reuters

United States

The Justice Department is under growing pressure to reach a plea deal with Julian Assange, after a request to do so from the WikiLeaks founder’s native Australia and questions from a U.K. court that could prevent his extradition to the U.S. for many more months. – Wall Street Journal

Speaker Mike Johnson said on Sunday after Iran’s overnight attack on Israel that the House would vote in the coming days on aid for Israel, and he suggested that aid for Ukraine could be included in the legislation. – New York Times

A former U.S. diplomat was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday after admitting to acting as an agent of Cuba in what the Justice Department has called one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the U.S. government. – Reuters

President Joe Biden is set to host Iraq’s leader this week for talks that come as tensions across the Middle East have soared over the war in Gaza and Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli military strike against an Iranian facility in Syria. – Associated Press

Editorial: The United States has had Israel’s back, diplomatically and militarily, through decades of wars and crises. Alliances are not one-way relationships, and most Israelis, including Israel’s senior military commanders, are aware of that. Yet Mr. Netanyahu has turned his back on America and its entreaties, creating a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations when Israel’s security, and the stability of the entire region, is at stake. – New York Times


The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $4.1 billion to continue to field, maintain and upgrade its battle command system, according to an April 11 contract announcement from the Defense Department. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force expects to receive its first operational F-15E Strike Eagle upgraded with an advanced electronic warfare system this summer. – Defense News

Alex Zerden and Leland Smith write: By coordinating capital mobilization for infrastructure investment alongside the deployment of novel financial tools like debt-for-nature swaps to reduce sovereign debt burdens, economic statecraft can enhance economic growth for American partners as well. A combined economic statecraft doctrine with adequate resources will prepare the national security bureaucracy for current and emerging threats. America has unrivaled economic tools at its disposal. It should be able to wield them forcefully and nimbly in pursuit of its foreign policy objectives. – War on the Rocks

Brandon J. Weichert writes: And the lack of submarines could be decisive in any conflict with China. This is especially the case, considering that Chinese anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) will likely do unbelievable amounts of damage to America’s surface fleet at the onset of a direct war. This will leave only the ailing submarine fleet as a possible option for responding to Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. There is an insufficient number of submarines available, and the shipyards cannot produce enough of them to replace any subs lost in combat in a timely manner. – The National Interest