Fdd's overnight brief

April 16, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel intends to punish Tehran for the drone and missile barrage that represented Iran’s first-ever direct attack on its territory, Israeli officials said, but it faces a difficult challenge of finding a way of doing so that avoids further escalation, preserves the partnership that helped fend off the assault and doesn’t derail its war aims in Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden’s tightrope on Israel—and his re-election bid—got even more perilous over the weekend as images of hundreds of drones and missiles launched by Iran threatened to escalate the Middle East conflict and push gasoline prices higher. – Wall Street Journal

Six months into the conflict against Hamas, the Israeli public is deeply divided about how to win the war in the Gaza Strip. So, too, are the three top officials in the war cabinet meant to foster unity in that effort. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s war cabinet deliberated Monday how to respond to Iran’s unprecedented aerial assault without rankling allies and squandering an opportunity to build an international alliance against Tehran. – Washington Post

When Iran launched a five-hour barrage of more than 300 drones and missiles toward Israel, the country’s vaunted air defense systems and a network of U.S.-led allies staved off the unprecedented air attack. – Washington Post 

It was so close. Had just one missile or drone gotten through and killed a lot of Israelis, American officials feared, the region could have gone up in flames. – New York Times

Israel’s war cabinet on Monday met to weigh possible responses to Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, as the United States, Britain and other allies strongly urged Israel to show restraint and sought to de-escalate tensions between the two regional powers. – New York Times

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which had relied on proxies across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. All eyes are now on whether Israel chooses to take further military action, while Washington seeks diplomatic measures instead to ease regional tensions. – Associated Press

Israel’s military chief said Monday that his country will respond to Iran’s weekend attack, but he did not elaborate on when and how as world leaders urged against retaliation, trying to avoid a spiral of violence in the Middle East. – Associated Press

Iran’s dramatic aerial attack on Israel follows years of enmity between the countries and marks the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel. – Associated Press

The United States on Sunday highlighted its role in helping Israel thwart Iran’s aerial attack as President Joe Biden convened leaders of the Group of Seven countries in an effort to prevent a wider regional escalation and coordinate a global rebuke of Tehran. – Associated Press

The Israeli military renewed warnings on Monday for Palestinians not to return to northern Gaza, a day after witnesses and medical officials said Israeli troops opened fire and killed five people among throngs of displaced residents trying to walk back to their homes in the devastated area. – Associated Press

An Israeli court on Monday ordered the eviction of a Palestinian family in a contested neighborhood of east Jerusalem, the latest in a legal saga that has come to symbolize the conflicting claims to the holy city. – Associated Press

Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran. – Associated Press

Israel has moved in a “significant way” but Hamas is the barrier to a deal that would see fighting in Gaza paused and hostages released, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday. – Reuters

Israel’s foreign minister said on Tuesday he was urging countries to place sanctions on Iran’s missile programme and proscribe its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation after Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel. – Reuters

Israel’s war with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas led to a doubling of the country’s borrowing last year, the Finance Ministry said on Monday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden’s “ironclad” support for Israel following Iran’s weekend strike isn’t curtailing the U.S. pressure campaign on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protect civilians in Gaza, four Biden administration officials said. – Politico

In a gesture of compassion that could be interpreted as an act of defiance against the inflexibility of the IDF, President Isaac Herzog on Monday awarded special certificates of recognition to the families of Yotam Haim, Samar Talalka, and Alon Shamriz, who were among the hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7. – Jerusalem Post

Israel vowed to respond to Tehran’s missile and drone attack against the Jewish state early Sunday morning, as the international community urged it to hold back from a direct strike against Iran that would spark an all-out war. – Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Israel Katz writes to 32 countries worldwide urging them to impose sanctions on Iran’s missile program and to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization after Tehran’s weekend attack on Israel. – Times of Israel

Israel has reassured Arab countries in the region that its response to Iran’s attack will not place them in danger, the Kan public broadcaster reports, amid concerns from several countries that they would be held accountable by Tehran in the event of an Israeli retaliatory strike. – Times of Israel

The US believes that Israel’s response to Iran’s unprecedented attack early on Sunday morning is likely to be limited, and may focus on striking key targets outside of Iran, four US officials tell NBC. – Times of Israel

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi warned Monday that Iran’s missile and drone attack on the country a day earlier, which caused slight damage to an airbase, “will be met with a response.” – Times of Israel

The United States on Monday accused Hamas of being the barrier to a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, adding that Israel had moved in a “significant way” to submit a reasonable proposal in the ongoing hostage talks. – Times of Israel

Israel’s war cabinet convened for a second day on Monday to discuss how to respond to Iran’s weekend attack on Israel. “We reserve the right to do everything in our power, and we will do everything in our power to defend this country,” Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said. The cabinet’s voting members—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and opposition leader Benny Gantz—also debated diplomatic options to further isolate Iran. – Foreign Policy

The Iranian attack on Israel over the weekend is likely to complicate efforts by progressives in Washington to condition certain types of military aid to Israel over the spiraling humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Gaza. In a letter sent on Sunday night, more than 100 Republicans and Democrats urged Mike Johnson, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to hold a vote on a multibillion-dollar military aid package for Israel as soon as Monday evening. – Foreign Policy

Even though Israel and its partners say they downed more than 99 percent of the hundreds of drones and missiles that Iran fired at it over the weekend in a major moment of escalation in the Middle East, Israeli leaders say they have no choice but to respond. – Foreign Policy

Editorial: The first step would be a six-week truce that Israel and Hamas have been negotiating on and off for weeks, including the release of hostages held by Hamas. After this weekend, Hamas’s leaders, who have been holding out, should understand that no Iranian or Iranian-backed offensive will rescue them — in part because the United States, despite its recent quarrels with the Netanyahu government, remains committed to Israel’s security. Both conflicts still appear far from resolution. As it did over Israel’s skies this weekend, the United States can leverage its unique capabilities to stave off the worst. – Washington Post

Editorial: The events of April 14 should serve as a decisive moment for Israel to reaffirm its strategic imperatives and underscore its commitment to national and regional security. The necessary response from Israel should be robust and multi-dimensional, designed not only to neutralize the immediate threats posed by Iranian aggression but also to project an unambiguous message to both Iran and the international community. This message must articulate that Israel, along with its allies, is fully prepared and capable of confronting and overcoming any threats to its security and stability. Such a stance is vital for deterring future conflicts and reinforcing the integrity of emerging diplomatic relationships in the Middle East. – Jerusalem Post

David Ignatius writes: For generations, Israeli leaders have insisted that their unyielding position is essential for survival in a brutal and unforgiving Middle East. You can question, as some U.S. officials do, whether this logic has truly been successful for Israel. But the mood Monday night was a reminder that whatever outsiders might think is best, Israel will make its own decisions about security. – Washington Post

Sean Durns writes: Top line: Iran is running roughshod over the United States. Israel’s failure to restore deterrence will only encourage more attacks. Israel must be willing to do what the Biden administration can’t — or won’t — do. The future of the Jewish state depends on it. So too, does the future of the American interests in the Middle East — whether the Biden administration realizes it or not. – Washington Examiner

Michael Rubin writes: If Biden will not act, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) should. Erdogan plans a stop in Texas, a state whose legislature outlawed contracting with businesses that boycott or discriminate against Israel. Erdogan is not a U.S. citizen, but he fits the bill. His efforts to drum up Texas business should fall flat. Abbott should demonstrate what moral clarity means, even if Biden and Sullivan will not. – Washington Examiner

Louis Rene Beres writes: All things considered, if ongoing or future war with Iran is inevitable, it would be much safer for Jerusalem to proceed as the sole nuclear combatant. Accordingly, this is not a moment for Israeli strategic thinking to become confused or shortsighted — to “take the win.” Calculating that war curtailment is necessarily the best available option would subject Israel to future instances of existential harm. – The Hill

Omer Dostri writes: Israel’s neighbors and adversaries are closely observing its actions. Such a decisive strike would send a clear, powerful, and deterring message to Iran and the entire region, especially following Hamas’s October 7 attack. It would demonstrate that any aggression against Israel would be a grave mistake with severe consequences. – Jerusalem Post

Hana Dorsman writes: There is no doubt that the State of Israel is an anchor for the Jews, especially in this difficult time, and that at the same time, the various communities in the world provide support, strength and assistance to Israel. Just as the communities all rallied for the State of Israel, the surge in antisemitism and its reaching enormous proportions requires us here in Israel to take immediate and continuous action to support Jewish schools and educational institutions worldwide. – Jerusalem Post

Asher Fredman writes: President Biden warned Iran before it launched its attack with one word: “Don’t”. But Iran did. Now is the time to turn words into actions. Israel must demonstrate that it has learned the lessons of October 7, and will no longer make do with mere defense. The United States must show that its repeated assurances of “ironclad” support for Israel include the Jewish state’s ability not just to block blows, but to strike those who threaten its people. – Jerusalem Post

Helit Barel writes: In the early hours of April 14, the sky over Israel lit up in a surreal aerial combat. It is estimated that the cost of this astounding showdown may have reached a billion dollars, resulting in what would seem to some as a stalemate. But that could not be farther from the truth: One side, the offender, achieved the severe wounding of a seven-year-old child. The other side successfully defended the lives of over 9.5 million people and completely denied the attacker’s operational goals, as the entire Middle East closely watched and took notice. – Jerusalem Post


Last March, a Russian arms maker invited a delegation of Iranians to a VIP shopping tour of its weapons factories. The 17 visitors were treated to lunches and cultural shows and, on the final day, toured a plant that makes products long coveted by Tehran: advanced Russian air defense systems for shooting down enemy planes. – Washington Post

When Iran agreed to a deal in 2015 that would require it to surrender 97 percent of the uranium it could use to make nuclear bombs, Russia and China worked alongside the United States and Europe to get the pact done. – New York Times

Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone strike on Israel is unlikely to prompt dramatic sanctions action on Iran’s oil exports from the Biden administration due to worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China, said analysts. – Reuters

China said it believed Iran could “handle the situation well and spare the region further turmoil” while safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity, referring to an attack on Iran’s embassy in Syria and its retaliatory strike over the weekend. – Reuters

A Portuguese-flagged container ship, the MSC Aries, was seized by Iran on April 13 for “violating maritime laws”, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday, adding that there was no doubt the vessel was linked to Israel. – Reuters

Iran will respond to any action against its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Tuesday, according to the Iranian Student News Agency, a day after Israel warned it will respond to Tehran’s weekend drone and missile attack. – Reuters

China’s top diplomat told Iran that the nations can work together across a range of areas in the future, signaling their ties remain solid following Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel. – Bloomberg

Iran’s weekend drone and missile attack on Israel was an “embarrassing failure,” the US said, stressing that it highlighted the IDF’s defensive prowess as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet weighed reprisal actions. – Jerusalem Post

The United Nations Security Council debated, but did not condemn, Iran’s missile and drone attack against the Jewish state early Sunday morning, as the United States and Israel called on it to do so. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel showed that the Islamic Republic has learned key lessons from Russia’s war in Ukraine, employing a strategy to overwhelm air defenses with a layered assault including swarms of drones and missiles traveling faster than the speed of sound. – The Hill

The Republican-led House on Monday voted in favor of a series of bills aimed at squeezing Iran financially in response to an unprecedented drone and missile attack launched by the Islamic Republic against Israel over the weekend. – The Hill

The Biden administration has granted Iran’s foreign minister a U.S. visa so that he can attend upcoming United Nations proceedings in New York City, generating outrage in the wake of Tehran’s weekend strike on Israel. – The Washington Free Beacon

While supporters of the Islamic Republic are celebrating Saturday’s missile attack on Israel, most ordinary Iranians are deeply concerned about the economic consequences of further escalation and possibility of a full-scale war. These worries immediately became evident after Iran announced it had launched drones and missiles that would reach Israel within the next few hours. In several cities long queues formed at gas stations. – Iran International

Editorial: Israel’s long-term security requires peaceful relations with its neighbors, including the Palestinians, coupled with containment of Iran and its proxies. Rigorous and assertive diplomacy is needed to accomplish those objectives and prevent a wider war. – Bloomberg

Gerard Baker writes: ‘Don’t.” The word had scarcely left the president’s lips when the military planners in Tehran began sending their missiles and drones flying toward Israel on Saturday night in an extensive but mercifully futile attack on the Jewish state. – Wall Street Journal

Jon Gambrell writes: A new push for hijab enforcement may reignite that anger, particularly in Tehran. Meanwhile, rumors persist that the government may soon raise the country’s heavily subsidized gasoline prices. A price increase in 2019 grew into nationwide anti government protests that reportedly saw over 300 people killed and thousands arrested. Those tensions, coupled with hard-liners’ grip on power and Khamenei’s age, signal more changes loom for the country. And while Iran said of its attack Saturday that “the matter can be deemed concluded” even before missiles reached Israel, that doesn’t mean there won’t be further retaliation from the country.- Associated Press

James Stavridis writes: While air-defense operators and commanders the world over are doing quiet high-fives over the coalition’s successful performance against Iran, it is no time for overconfidence. Making sure the US military can defend our nation, partners and allies will require more dedicated resources, smart technology and creative effort in the decade ahead. – Bloomberg

Marc Champion writes: Weakness versus toughness are playground terms ill-suited to decisions of war and peace. They say nothing about what will work or whether the costs and uncertainties of war are outweighed by the benefits. The reality, as the US found in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Israel is finding in Gaza, is that tough action without a solid political framework and achievable goals tends to backfire. – Bloomberg

Steve Israel writes: There’s one clear truth: Iran’s reckless decision has astronomically raised the potential for a range of catastrophic scenarios. We’re best served observing and calculating not in the moment, but over the foreseeable future. – The Hill

Ahmed Charai writes: A robust set of sanctions and alliances is the best deterrent to Iran. To prevent a wider war and the economic and political catastrophe that will come with it, the United States needs to strengthen its friends and discourage its enemies. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

A week after Russia’s leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny died in an Arctic prison colony in February, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, met with his grieving aides to ask: What next? – Wall Street Journal

When Iran unleashed hundreds of deadly missiles and drones at Israel this weekend, Israelis relied on a crucial tool that Ukraine still does not have: instant, direct assistance from the United States and other partners with military assets in the region.- Washington Post

When Vice President Harris met privately with Volodymyr Zelensky at the Munich Security Conference in February, she told the Ukrainian leader something he didn’t want to hear: Refrain from attacking Russian oil refineries, a tactic U.S. officials believed would raise global energy prices and invite more aggressive Russian retaliation inside Ukraine. – Washington Post

For people in eastern Ukraine, where nightly barrages of drones from Russia outpace the military’s overwhelmed air defenses, the response by Western allies to Iran’s aerial assault against Israel this weekend produced uncomfortable comparisons. – New York Times

The success of Israel and its allies in largely thwarting a massive Iranian missile and drone attack shows what Ukraine could achieve against Russian aerial barrages if it had more support from its partners, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday. – Associated Press

More civilians died across Ukraine on Sunday as analysts warned that delays in U.S. military assistance would see Kyiv struggle to fight off Russian offensives. – Associated Press

President Voldoymyr Zelenskiy and Ukrainian commanders on Monday considered action at the front of the 25-month-old war against Russia and the acquisition of weaponry from Kyiv’s allies. – Reuters

Russia and Ukraine negotiated for two months with Turkey on a deal to ensure the safety of shipping in the Black Sea and reached agreement on a text that was to be announced by Ankara but Kyiv suddenly pulled out, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

Russian forces killed two people and injured four more after hitting an education facility in the Kharkiv region on Monday, its governor said. – Reuters

Russia has been able to swiftly repair some of key oil refineries hit by Ukrainian drones, reducing capacity idled by the attacks to about 10% from almost 14% at the end of March, Reuters calculations showed. – Reuters

The Russian broker organising a frozen asset swap scheme that could free up stranded funds for Russian and non-resident investors has seen tens of billions of roubles of demand from foreigners including U.S. banks and funds, it said on Monday. – Reuters

The spate of recent strikes into Russia by Ukraine is showing a heretofore unknown capability for Ukrainian drones — especially the innovative use of the A-22 small civilian plane, which could potentially represent a deep-strike option at a time when Western nations are still reluctant to provide long-range missiles to Kyiv’s aid. – Breaking Defense

Peter Fairley writes: While Mr. Putin may never face consequences for plunging Ukraine into darkness, General Kobylash and Admiral Sokolov may never leave Russia, for fear of being picked up outside its borders to face trial. If they do, a reckoning could yet lie ahead for those who would thrust civilians into darkness. Prosecutors who pursue war criminals can keep hunting for decades. – New York Times

Samuel Charap and Sergey Radchenko write: After the past two years of carnage, all of this may be so much water under the bridge. But it is a reminder that Putin and Zelensky were willing to consider extraordinary compromises to end the war. So if and when Kyiv and Moscow return to the negotiating table, they’ll find it littered with ideas that could yet prove useful in building a durable peace. – Foreign Affairs

Michael Peck writes: As the police would say, the best way to prevent a burglary is by not making it easy for the burglar. To keep Russia off your property, guard your airport. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Aliide Naylor writes: As murdered Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s widow has said, in order to defeat President Vladimir Putin, you have to “become an innovator . . . You have to stop being boring.” Europe should take note. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Suriya Jayanti writes: But if the country doesn’t get the military, financial, and energy equipment support it so urgently needs, it will have no way of fixing the damage faster than Russia can continue to inflict it.  Without the West, Ukraine may go dark.  – Center for European Policy Analysis


Marines who survived a devastating suicide bombing during the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan were mistaken in their belief that they had the attacker in their gun sights hours before the blast, a new military review determined, disputing allegations made before Congress and in the media. – Washington Post

Friba Rezayee, the first woman to represent Afghanistan at the Olympics, has been appalled by the treatment of women since the resurgence of the Taliban and is now campaigning for the country to be kept out of the Paris Games. – Reuters

Elliot Ackerman writes: We should be extremely cautious of wars fought with this indirect approach, designed mainly to insulate a domestic constituency from the costs of war. Proxy wars have long been elements of strategy in great-power competition, but a war fought under our flag by mercenaries is different from a proxy war. A nation that requires private armies to sustain popular support for wars is likely fighting those wars for the wrong reasons. The “good wars” — wars that must be fought and are typically fought for the right reasons — seldom rely on private armies. Beware of the nation unwilling to do its own fighting. – Washington Post


President Joe Biden on Monday hosted Iraq’s leader at the White House as his administration worked to prevent an escalation in Mideast hostilities following Iran’s weekend aerial assault on Israel. – Associated Press

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of aircraft contractor logistics support and training to Iraq for an estimated cost of $140 million, the Pentagon said on Monday. – Reuters

Iraqi Airways announced the resumption of flights between Iraq and Iran, starting Tuesday, Iraqi state news agency said on Monday. – Reuters

Iraqi lawmakers postponed voting on Monday on a bill that includes the death penalty or life in prison for same-sex relations – a measure that diplomats from Western countries said could have serious consquences for Iraq’s political and economic ties if it goes through – Reuters

Michael Knights writes: As Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani visits Washington DC, it is important for all media organs and all Congressional officials to directly ask Sudani about the Prime Minister’s relationship with U.S.-designated terrorist group Kataib Hezbollah. – Washington Institute


A Lebanese money changer hit with U.S. sanctions over his alleged role as a financial middleman between Hamas and Iran was found shot to death at a villa just outside Beirut, Lebanon’s state news agency reported. – New York Times

Four Israeli soldiers were wounded in an explosion hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory, an Israeli military official said on Monday. – Reuters

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, declared on Monday that his country rejected the violation of its airspace by Israel. – Arab News

Gulf States

Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states have tried to avoid taking a position on America’s geopolitical rivalries in recent years, staying neutral in the Ukraine war and building ties with China. With Israel and Iran in open conflict, they might be forced to choose a side. – Wall Street Journal

Kuwait’s Emir on Monday appointed Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as prime minister, state news agency KUNA reported. – Reuters

Any action by Israel or its allies that is deemed to be against Iran’s interests will be met with a “severe, extensive and painful response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi tells Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in a call a day after Israel said it will response to Tehran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack over the weekend. – Times of Israel

Middle East & North Africa

The trial of a former Syrian army general over his alleged role in war crimes committed in 2012 in his home country started at a Stockholm court Monday, a first according to a human rights organization. – Associated Press

Efforts to end wars in the Middle East and Ukraine will dominate this week’s meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers, host Italy’s top diplomat Antonio Tajani said on Monday, with the West struggling to get its voice heard. – Reuters

Global airlines faced disruptions to flights on Monday after Iran’s missile and drone attacks on Israel further narrowed options for planes navigating between Europe and Asia. – Reuters

Israel has reportedly sent messages to Arab countries across the Middle East saying that it will not respond to Iran’s drone and missile attack in a way that would endanger these countries or their governments, KAN reported early on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Jordan was thrust into the spotlight in the early hours of Sunday as an inadvertent — and to some, unwanted — Israeli ally, after its jets shot down dozens of the Iranian missiles and drones fired at Israel that crossed into its air space. – Financial Times

Editorial: Finally, Biden must respond consistently and forcefully to Iranian proxy attacks on American forces. Tehran has proven that when its force is not met with force, more aggression follows. The Democratic Party’s belief that Iran could be coaxed into becoming a responsible regional power has been exposed as a naive daydream. Renouncing former President Barack Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not enough. The United States needs bipartisan commitment to containing and defanging Tehran. We can’t wait for an election in November. We need a change of course now. – Washington Examiner

John Hannah writes: This past weekend’s events have provided MBS with a powerful reminder of all he has to gain from moving forward boldly. A US-Saudi defense treaty and nuclear partnership, together with Israeli-Saudi normalization, would trigger a strategic revolution in the Middle East and consolidate the kingdom’s security and well-being for decades to come. Few more powerful blows could be dealt to the Iranian axis. Whether it gets delivered will largely depend on the decisions that MBS makes in the next few weeks. – Jerusalem Post

Nave Dromi writes: The other is where Israel regains its spirit of 1948, 1967, and even 1973, and takes care of its interests. It goes alone if it has to, forcing Iran to retreat and signifying a defeat for the regime. The Sunni nations understand that they have backed the right “strong horse” and will choose full regional normalization with Israel, bringing peace, security, and prosperity to the entire region. The second vision is the one Washington should subscribe to and back the Jewish State to the hilt. President Biden should be telling the Israelis, “Do!” – Jerusalem Post

Keith Johnson writes: There’s one further sanctions-related risk to oil prices. European parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear deal that the United States is no longer a party to, could call for a veto-proof snapback of sanctions at the United Nations. Such a move would further tighten the screws on newly rejuvenated Iranian oil exports, which would make an already almost-tight oil market genuinely tighter. – Foreign Policy

Kevin D. McCranie writes: Currently, engagements in the Red Sea have approximated a stalemate. The naval powers have proven effective at stopping the vast majority of Houthi attacks, albeit by expending costly defensive weapons. Yet, the attacks continue and the commercial costs increase […]It is important to consider whether the cost to commercial carriers and the latest technological advances work together to favor a Jeune École-type argument or if navies can sustain their presence and continue to effectively exercise command of the sea. – War on the Rocks

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s foreign ministry summoned a Japanese diplomat on Tuesday to protest a claim in Japan’s annual diplomatic policy Bluebook over a group of islands between the countries at the centre of a longstanding territorial row, Yonhap news reported. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday there should be preemptive response to any risk factors arising from the tensions in the Middle East following Iran’s attack on Israel due to the country’s energy dependence on the region. – Reuters

The US ambassador to the United Nations went to the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas, where she criticized Pyongyang for endangering peace and invited it to return to stalled nuclear disarmament talks. – Bloomberg

Australian shipbuilding giant Austal shot down a takeover offer worth $662 million from South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean. The deal was deemed unlikely to gain approval from regulators due to Austal’s crucial role in building military vessels for both Australia and the United States. – Defense One


Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany tried to strike a delicate balance on a trip to China this week, promoting business ties with his country’s biggest trading partner while criticizing its surge of exports to Europe and its support for Russia. – New York Times

Co-operation between China and Germany was not a “risk” but a guarantee for stable ties and an opportunity for the future, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday, amid complaints by the EU about Chinese goods flooding the bloc’s markets. – Reuters

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia discussed Middle East developments, the South China Sea and Taiwan issues with Chinese counterparts in Beijing, the State Department said on Monday, the latest effort by the two countries to stabilize rocky ties. – Reuters

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Monday aimed at countering China’s purchase of Iranian crude oil as part of a package of bills being brought to the floor in response to Iran’s attack on Israel. – Bloomberg

W.J. Hennigan writes: Under Mr. Xi, China appears to have left its policy of minimum deterrence behind. If the Biden administration is serious about arms control, it’s time to look for common ground with Beijing to build new agreements for a safer future. – New York Times

Eric Cooper writes: Establishing a Combined Maritime Forces focused on law enforcement as a soft power approach would provide a cohesive structure, improved partnerships, and a clear way to push back against Chinese gray-zone tactics and overt aggression. – War on the Rocks

South Asia

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Monday led a high-level delegation on a two-day visit to Pakistan, which is seeking help in overcoming one of its worst economic crises. – Associated Press

The Indian government will take a policy decision to mitigate any effect on its trade from the conflict between Iran and Israel after it has fully understood the impact, the country’s trade secretary said on Monday. – Reuters

Gunmen shot dead a man once charged with the 2013 killing of an Indian national jailed in Pakistan for alleged spying, according to officials and a police report, against a backdrop of fraught relations between the rival South Asian powers. – Reuters

Pakistan Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said on Monday he would hold talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his visit to Washington and hoped to get a new loan agreement in place as soon as possible. – Reuters

Andy Mukherjee writes:  The ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has one product: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 24 key promises in the BJP manifesto are all “Modi ki guarantee,” Hindi for Modi’s guarantees […]There is no “Modi’s guarantee” on keeping India’s democracy alive. – Bloomberg


Taiwanese President-elect Lai Ching-te is preparing to stock his national-security team with holdovers from the current administration, a signal to the U.S. that his incoming government won’t rock the boat too much as the White House grapples with geopolitical crises in Ukraine and Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

A Christian leader who was stabbed during a livestream at a church in Sydney’s western suburbs was the victim of a religiously motivated terrorist attack, authorities said, putting a renewed focus on lone-wolf incidents that can be difficult to prevent. – Wall Street Journal

The Philippine president said Monday his administration has no plan to give the United States access to more Philippine military bases and stressed that the American military’s presence in several camps and sites so far was sparked by China’s aggressive actions in the disputed South China Sea. – Associated Press

The operator of the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said on Monday that it has obtained permission from safety regulators to start loading atomic fuel into a reactor at its only operable plant in north-central Japan, which it is keen to restart for the first time since the 2011 disaster. – Associated Press

Azerbaijan asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to throw out a case brought by its Caucasus neighbour Armenia accusing it of ethnic cleansing and violating a U.N. anti-discrimination treaty. – Reuters

A Kiribati court has ruled that a High Court judge in the Pacific Island nation who has been suspended by the president cannot be deported to Australia where he was born until parliament considers the findings of a tribunal examining a complaint against him. – Reuters

Myanmar resistance fighters on Monday burned the flag used by the military government and raised their own banner at a newly captured army base, as a senior rebel commander vowed they would hold the strategic area near the Thai border. – Reuters

Thousands of Georgians protested on Monday and lawmakers came to blows as ruling party legislators gave the initial go-ahead for debate on a bill on “foreign agents” that has been criticised by Western and domestic critics as Russian-inspired. – Reuters

The new attack submarine design the United Kingdom and Australia will share through the AUKUS trilateral arrangement is in a “mature” state and will be finalized in the next year or two, leaders said this month. – Defense News

Karishma Vaswani writes: These are not insurmountable challenges, but they require a deftness in managing both foreign policy and the domestic agenda. Singapore has always managed to stand out as the little country that could. The new leader has big shoes to fill. – Bloomberg

Tomohiko Taniguchi writes: And yet policies aimed at bolstering Japan’s defense capabilities and expanding its alliance networks are now broadly popular, as indicated by a series of polls. Times have changed since Abe put the country on the path to collective self-defense alongside the United States and other partners […] The nation is apprehensive about the rise of China, but it has managed to remain calm, reassured by strengthened ties with its democratic allies. – Foreign Affairs


Hundreds of survivors of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing attack have filed a lawsuit against the British government intelligence agency MI5, their lawyers said. – New York Times

The U.S. secretary of state assured allies bordering the Black Sea on Monday that they could depend on his country’s support to make the region more secure, prosperous and integrated. – Associated Press

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven major democracies (G7), is open to new sanctions against individuals engaged against Israel following the weekend Iranian drone and missile attack, its foreign minister said on Monday. – Reuters

European governments due to move to support their solar power manufacturers this week will be too late to stop solar panel maker Meyer Burger packing up a German factory to send production to the United States. – Reuters

Britain on Monday sought to reassure its community of Hong Kong citizens that they were safe from the reach of national security laws that have been introduced in the former British colony. – Reuters

Canada is imposing another round of sanctions against Belarus officials over continuing human rights violations after a 2020 presidential election that the opposition denounced as fraudulent, Ottawa said on Monday. – Reuters

A British teenager who planned a terrorist attack on the Isle of Wight music festival was sentenced to seven years’ detention on Monday. – Reuters

The hostile new world Emmanuel Macron has been warning Europeans about is rapidly emerging but the French president is still struggling to persuade partners to trust his judgment. – Bloomberg

Poland plans to join a project to develop a European-wide air defense system to deter potential drone and missile attacks, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. – Bloomberg

During a meeting of EU leaders in March, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer confronted Josep Borrell on his months-long outspoken critique of Israel as the death toll in Gaza mounted, according to two officials briefed on the exchange. – Politico

In the immediate aftermath of Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel Saturday and Sunday, the uneasy pas de deux between Jerusalem and Europe found itself on unusually even footing. – New York Sun

Belgium postponed the deployment of the frigate Louise-Marie to the Red Sea for “an indefinite period of time” after the vessel failed a number of technical tests during training, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Monday. – Defense News


The forces of two rival generals have laid waste to Sudan for a year now, unleashing a wave of violence that has driven 8.6 million people from their homes — now one of the largest waves of displaced people in the world. – New York Times

World donors pledged more than $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Sudan after a yearlong war that has pushed its population to the brink of famine, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. – Associated Press

On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in an upscale neighborhood in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. At gunpoint, they whipped and slapped the woman, and terrorized her children. Then they expelled them from the fenced two-story house. – Associated Press

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

A cargo vessel seized by pirates off the Somali coast has been freed along with its crew after more than a month, the European Union’s maritime security force said Monday. – Associated Press

Britain on Monday imposed sanctions against three businesses which it said were funding military groups behind the conflict in Sudan and reiterated its calls for a lasting ceasefire – Reuters

Ghana has failed to secure a workable debt deal with two bondholder groups in its push to restructure $13 billion of international bonds, the government said on Monday, in a blow to its efforts to swiftly emerge from default and economic crisis. – Reuters

The OPEC+ oil producers group, having lost Angola and other players in recent years, is eyeing Namibia for possible membership as it sets up what could be Africa’s fourth-largest output by the next decade, an African industry official and sources told Reuters. – Reuters

Keith B. Richburg writes: Some foreign policy analysts I spoke with said South Africa also suffers from a communication problem: Its diplomats do not always adequately explain the rationale behind their policies or consider how certain actions will be perceived — as with trying to stay nonaligned on the Ukraine war. “It opens itself up to criticism,” said Philani Mthembu, executive director at the Institute for Global Dialogue, a think tank. “South Africa needs to improve how it anticipates its partners will react.” – Washington Post

John Micklethwait writes: The US, UK and the European Union have a vested interest in democracy being embedded in South Africa, given efforts by China and Russia to build influence on the continent. So if the ANC is forced to share power, it will be historic. It may not initially feel great but, longer-term, this is the way to a better South Africa. – Bloomberg

Cameron Hudson writes: The road out of Sudan’s conflict is going to be long, and prospects for things like civilian rule and democratic elections are today more of a distraction than a serious aspiration. Regrettably, on the one-year anniversary of the conflict, goals must be substantially more modest: slowing the pace of war, choking off weapons supplies, raising humanitarian resources, accessing desperate populations, saving lives, and avoiding a worst-case scenario for Sudan. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Daniel Twining and Will Meeker write: Robust democratic governance is directly tied to Africa’s long-term stability and prosperity. The United States must show Africans that it sees them as equal partners in democratization, not pawns in a new era of great-power competition. Washington’s interest in and ability to support civilian-controlled security forces, inclusive economic growth, and sustained democratic development give it a unique advantage over competitors such as Moscow and Beijing, which strike deals with elites at the expense of citizens. – Foreign Policy

The Americas

Russia’s Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov arrived in Havana for bilateral talks with his Cuban counterpart and other officials, the prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Cuba on Monday said it would insist the U.S. ease sanctions and end special treatment of Cubans illegally entering its territory at high level migration talks slated to begin Tuesday in Washington. – Reuters

The U.S. will not renew a temporary license that widely eased sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sector unless progress is made by President Nicolas Maduro on commitments for free and fair elections this year, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday, three days before the license is to expire. – Reuters

United States

House Speaker Mike Johnson plans to bring separate bills funding Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to the House floor, in a maneuver aimed at breaking a month long deadlock over a $95 billion foreign-aid package the Senate passed earlier this year. – Wall Street Journal

The investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security is launching a new effort this week to distance itself from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, its parent agency, because officials say the contentious politics of immigration enforcement have undercut its efforts to combat transnational crime. – Washington Post

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with finance ministers from U.S. allies this week to discuss a number of key issues, including shoring up supply chains, strengthening financial system stability and supporting Ukraine, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Monday. – Reuters

The House on Monday settled its procedural business on a bill to reform the nation’s warrantless surveillance powers, kicking the controversial reauthorization over to the Senate. – The Hill

Eli Lake writes: Tucker was correct when he punctured the relentless speculation and anonymous reporting that led so many journalists to believe President Trump was a Russian agent. He was right when he said the real story was the Democratic Party colluding with the FBI to smear the Trump campaign. But he is wrong when he asserts that Israel and America are no better than their enemies. Once Tucker was too smart to allow his ideological rivals to determine his opinions. Now he proudly apologizes for evil and calls it the truth. – The Free Press


Ukrainian hackers claim to have breached the Russian drone developer Albatross, leaking 100 gigabytes of data, including internal documentation, technical data and drawings of various types of unmanned aerial vehicles. – The Record

Nexperia, a Chinese-owned semiconductor company headquartered in the Netherlands, has announced being hacked after a ransomware group uploaded what it claimed were stolen confidential documents to a darknet extortion site. – The Record

A bipartisan data privacy bill unveiled last week by House and Senate leaders seeks to place boundaries around how large data brokers — firms that collect and combine massive sets of personal data and sell them to advertisers, governments and other interested parties — can operate. – CyberScoop


The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s total cost is expected to top $2 trillion over its entire life span given the U.S. military plans to fly it longer, inflation is rising, and the Pentagon’s efforts to rein in expenses are largely falling short, a government watchdog said Monday. – Defense News

Nearly a year prior to a deadline for two competing teams to reach a critical design review phase in the development of a Next-Generation Interceptor for homeland defense, the Missile Defense Agency chose Lockheed Martin to move forward rather than carry both teams through the next phase of technology development. – Defense News

U.S. naval jet trainers have been placed on an operational pause after an in-flight mishap over Mississippi on Friday, USNI News has learned. – USNI News

For the first time in combat, guided-missile destroyers fired missiles developed to intercept ballistic missiles during the U.S. response to the Iranian attack on Israel, USNI News has learned. – USNI News

Venture capital-backed US defense contractor Anduril Industries and top South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries have announced a strategic partnership focused on designing and producing autonomous naval systems. – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, equipped with advanced missile systems like the Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS), face a significant logistical challenge in prolonged conflicts due to their inability to rearm at sea. Unlike previous naval vessels, these modern warships require port visits to reload their long-range missiles, a process that could take weeks and diminish their combat readiness. – The National Interest

Editorial: The U.S. military needs to field new technology rapidly while also shifting closer to a wartime footing to produce more current munitions, including the Standard Missile that handles air defense on U.S. Navy destroyers. That means U.S. defense budgets will have to increase. Saturday night’s events are a lesson in why the U.S. never wants to be low on ammunition to defend itself. – Wall Street Journal

Peter Laffin writes: The American-led, postwar global order is crumbling in front of our eyes. Military deterrence must be restored in the near future. If not, the new authoritarian axis will sweep it away into the dustbin of history. – Washington Examiner

Paul J. Davies writes: OpenAI and its peers are likely to end up with enormous market power and look poised to become systemically important suppliers in the way that cloud services are already. As companies rush to get their own versions going, they should do everything they can to plan for that day — and avoid being held hostage by a single provider. – Bloomberg

Everett Pyatt writes: Another action to take is to roll back the nice-to-have changes to get back to the ship that was purchased under the contract. This will help eliminate contractor claims and massive legal fights. These basic steps will assure cost control and on-time delivery, but most importantly help return confidence regarding Navy shipbuilding. Failure to return the FFG-62 to the expected cost and schedule will further erode confidence in Navy acquisition management. Leadership urgency has been missing. It must be instilled now. – Defense News