Fdd's overnight brief

April 17, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Members of a United Nations commission said on Tuesday that Israel was obstructing their efforts to investigate possible human rights violations on Oct. 7 and in the ensuing war between Israel and Hamas. But they said the commission had still shared large amounts of evidence with the International Criminal Court. – New York Times

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain was facing a chorus of calls to cut off arms shipments to Israel because of its devastating war in Gaza. On Monday, Mr. Sunak saluted the British warplanes that had shot down several Iranian drones as part of a successful campaign to thwart Iran’s attack on Israel. – New York Times

The near-complete defeat of Iran’s drone-and-missile barrage against Israel on Saturday marked a success for air–defense systems, but was also a sobering reminder that weapons capable of intercepting these sorts of attacks are in short supply.[…] Israel would likely struggle if it was faced with many waves of attacks, such as Ukraine has experienced in more than two years of its war with Russia, defense analysts say. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s military has long followed a clear policy: When enemies strike, hit back so hard they won’t do it again. That deterrence is no longer working. Iran, after launching a massive missile-and-drone attack on Israel over the weekend, is threatening to strike again if Israel retaliates. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli tanks pushed back into parts of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday which they had left weeks ago, while warplanes conducted air strikes on Rafah, the Palestinians’ last refuge in the south of the territory, killing and wounding several people, medics and residents said. – Reuters

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Wednesday she did not see a U.N. resolution recommending the Palestinian Authority become a full U.N. member helping lead to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – Reuters

Slovenia and Spain agree on the need to formally recognize a Palestinian state as a way to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the leaders of the two countries said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel is vowing to retaliate against Iran for its weekend drone and missile attack, the first strike on the Jewish state from Iranian soil and which brought into the open a years-long shadow war. As the US and Europe urge restraint, Israel is weighing its choices. – Bloomberg 

The United Nations appealed for $2.8 billion on Tuesday to provide desperately needed aid to 3 million Palestinians, stressing that tackling looming famine in war-torn Gaza requires not only food but sanitation, water and health facilities. – Associated Press

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday called for an immediate cease-fire and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid in Gaza. – Associated Press

An Israeli humanitarian aid group has helped provide thousands of tents to shelter Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are fleeing the ongoing war between Israel and the terror group Hamas. – Times of Israel

The government has told the High Court of Justice that it has already taken action to increase the supply of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, including opening a new crossing into northern Gaza, increasing operation hours for goods crossings into the territory, the addition of aid coordinators inside Gaza, and the entry of over 100 trucks for internal distribution of the aid. – Times of Israel

Nearly three-quarters of the Israeli public oppose a retaliatory strike on Iran for its massive missile attack on the country if such action would harm Israel’s security alliance with its allies, according to a poll published Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Editorial: The best hope on the horizon is from Iran’s miscalculation in striking Israel directly. This gives Mr. Biden an opportunity to reset his policy and exert real pressure. When Rafah is on the table, and the terrorists in fancy suits are threatened with expulsion from Qatar, there will again be a reason to talk. – Wall Street Journal

Elliot Kaufman writes: Mr. Biden asks Israel to put its faith in deterrence while its enemies become stronger and Israel is the one deterred. When the president threatens that Israel will be isolated, on its own if it defends itself properly, he is asking it to stick to the strategy that left it fatally exposed on Oct. 7 and that it swore off the same day. – Wall Street Journal

Ben-Dror Yemini writes: However, with such flexibility, Saudi Arabia, which has already experienced a harsh backlash from Iran, could unite with Israel and Jordan to demonstrate collective resistance against Iran. If this fails to materialize, the appetite of Iran and its proxies will only increase, leading to continued attacks on Israel. Worst of all, Jordan might succumb to Iran’s control. – Ynet

Ron Ben Yishai writes: Other targets that could be subject to attack are covert and may be struck in a Mossad operation that could be denied, including the targeting of senior officials who were involved in the attack on Israel. The Israeli intelligence agencies are familiar with Iran’s vulnerabilities, of which there are many, but must be careful not to provoke an Iranian response that would start a broader war. – Ynet

Ilan Berman writes: Nevertheless, from an Israeli perspective, doing nothing isn’t an option. Simply put, inaction would enshrine a dangerous new status quo in the region—one in which future direct attacks by Iran on its enemies are normalized. Whatever steps Israel takes next will be designed to ensure that doesn’t happen. – National Interest

Jon Hoffman writes: The United States is already deeply engaged in assisting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion and trying to deter China in the Indo-Pacific while carrying a national debt north of $34 trillion and running $1.5 trillion-plus peacetime budget deficits each year. Getting dragged into a war with Iran while maintaining Washington’s stated objectives in Europe and the Indo-Pacific risks plunging America toward a crisis. The Biden administration should draw a bright line and make clear that Americans will not be pulled into a war with Iran. – The National Interest

Jack Detsch writes: “The fact that we were so proactive and quick in going through the United Nations Security Council, the fact that [Biden] placed a phone call immediately with the Israeli prime minister to tell him that we do not support retaliation—those two factors should reduce the chances of a more aggressive Israeli strike against Iran right now,” Saab said. – Foreign Policy


For two decades, Iran stayed in the shadows and relied on militias that it funded around the Middle East in its deadly fight with Israel. Its direct attack on Israel last weekend marked a strategic shift, and a major gamble. – Wall Street Journal

The European Union will prepare to expand its sanctions on Iran in response to Tehran’s attack on Israel, EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Tuesday after an emergency video conference of the bloc’s foreign ministers. – Reuters

Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Morteza Shahmirzaei told a conference in Moscow via video link on Tuesday that his country was working to ensure that energy exports in the Middle East region are carried out without interruption after an attack on Israel. – Reuters

The US will impose new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s missile and drone program following its weekend attack on Israel that threatened to push the Middle East into a wider conflict. – Bloomberg

Iran’s attack on Israel over the weekend is complicating plans by the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister to visit New York for a United Nations session on Thursday. – Bloomberg

Congressional leaders are discussing how to push ahead with legislation that would place sanctions on importers of Iranian oil, with the issue gaining momentum after the nation’s direct attack on Israel, Senator Ben Cardin said Tuesday. – Bloomberg

The BBC on Tuesday urged United Nations experts to condemn the “ongoing targeting and harassment” of some of its Persian language journalists after Tehran convicted some for “propaganda” against the state. – Agence France-Presse

While many Western leaders rushed to issue statements supporting Israel and condemning Iran’s unprecedented attack, Russia took the opposite approach, justifying the massive attack on several occasions. – Ynet

Editorial: The House sanctions bill is a test of whether Mr. Biden is serious about punishing Iran for its unprecedented attack on a U.S. ally. The bill is aimed at limiting imports to China’s independent refineries. Democrats in Congress don’t want gas prices to rise anymore than Mr. Biden does, but keeping open China’s financing spigot enables Tehran to continue waging its terror campaign. This increases the risk of future supply disruptions.- Wall Street Journal

Jason Rezaian writes: The Biden administration recognizes that a retaliation by Israel, which would be orders of magnitude stronger than anything Tehran can muster — but would very likely result in Iran unleashing these asymmetrical tactics — is not in U.S. interests. This is why President Biden has wisely declared that the United States would not participate in any Israeli offensive actions against Iran. –  Washington Post

Nahal Toosi writes: Arab anger with Iran also is unlikely to offset anger with Israel over the war in Gaza, at least not anytime soon. The Islamic Republic of Iran could face a transition soon: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is in his 80s and frail. A Biden strategy on Iran could find an opening there — a leadership change is always a moment of vulnerability for a dictatorship. If there were a strategy. – Politico

Arman Mahmoudian writes: However, this strategic goal does not imply that Iran intended no harm. Given the scale of the strike and the accompanying political maneuvers, it seems plausible that Iran hoped to replicate the impact of the Al-Asad strike in Iraq by inflicting serious damage on a key Israeli facility without causing casualties—a scenario that could force Israel to respond more aggressively. Nevertheless, Israel thwarted this attempt with the assistance of the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan, and France. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday for his diplomatic efforts in Beijing to resolve Kyiv’s 25-month-old war with Russia and said China could play a role in securing peace. – Reuters

A lack of air defense missiles prevented Ukraine from thwarting a Russian missile attack last week that destroyed the biggest power plant in the region around the capital Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a controversial law Tuesday, days after it was passed by parliament, potentially helping Kyiv to boost conscription to replenish depleted forces to fend off Russia’s continued aggression. – Associated Press

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has laid out four principles that he says are imperative to finally achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine. – Newsweek

Ukraine’s requests for more long-range air defense systems to repel Russian attacks highlight a weak spot in the production capabilities of Kyiv’s allies, according to analysts. – C4ISRNET

Marc Champion writes: With a starting gun now fired on mobilization, the most important of these decisions will fall to Western leaders. Johnson, in particular, will bear a heavy and personal responsibility for the consequences, if Ukraine’s allies should fail or continue to procrastinate. – Bloomberg

Mark Temnycky writes: Every contribution toward Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts makes a difference. Using the frozen $60 billion in Russian assets in the U.S. will not end the war, but the U.S. should do everything it can to help the Ukrainian government rebuild during this crucial period in the war. Passing the REPO Act will help with this process. – The Hill

Jamie Dettmer writes: What would Putin do if Ukraine doesn’t get the Western help it needs to win? “He would completely destroy everything. Everything,” Zelenskyy told Axel Springer media. Ukrainian cities will be reduced to rubble; hundreds of thousands will die, he said. “People will not run away, most of them, and so he will kill a lot of people. So how it will look like? A lot of blood.” – Politico

Frederick W. Kagan writes: A victorious Russia that succeeds in its aim of destroying Ukraine entirely, on the other hand, will pose a major conventional military threat to NATO in a relatively short period of time. It will be much harder to deter future Russian aggression and both more difficult and far more costly to defeat it if deterrence fails.  The choice before the US today is thus stark, but the answer is clear. American interests now and in the future are served far better by resuming aid to Ukraine now than by allowing Russia to win. – American Enterprise Institute


Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon on Tuesday killed three people including a Hezbollah field commander, Lebanese security sources said, an uptick in violence after at least a week of relative calm in more than half a year of hostilities. – Reuters

In the area of Kfar Dounine, an IDF aircraft struck and eliminated the terrorist Muhammad Hussein Mustafa Shechory, the Commander of the Rockets and Missiles Unit of Hezbollah’s Radwan Forces in Lebanon’s central and western region. – Arutz Sheva

Amos Harel writes: That would mean giving up, at least temporarily, on Israel’s vain dreams of total victory. But if Iran and Hezbollah are becoming the focus of the war, it’s worth making a last effort to free the hostages before they disappear forever in the tunnels of Gaza. – Haaretz

Middle East & North Africa

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Tuesday said Iraq has not received any reports or indications that missiles or drones were launched from Iraq during Iran’s attack on Israel. – Reuters

The Qatari embassy in the U.S. expressed surprise on Tuesday at comments made by a U.S. Democratic congressman regarding the Gaza hostage crisis and his threat to “reevaluate” the U.S. relationship with Qatar. – Reuters

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli leadership are solely responsible for the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged all sides in the Middle East to refrain from action that would trigger a new confrontation which he warned would be fraught with catastrophic consequences for the region, the Kremlin said. – Reuters

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday the international community should stop Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from “stealing” attention away from Gaza by escalating his confrontation with Iran. – Reuters

The United Nations Libya envoy said on Tuesday he had tendered his resignation to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying his mediation efforts had been met with “stubborn resistance, unreasonable expectations and indifference to the interests of the Libyan people”. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called for maximum “self-restraint” in the Middle East to spare the region “from the dangers of war and its dire consequences,” in an unusually frank joint statement Wednesday. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia assisted Israel and the United States during the Iranian attack on Israel, by providing with the UAE, “intelligence that contributed to an overwhelmingly successful defensive response,” the report said although the Saudis stopped short of allowing the U.S. to operate from its airspace. – Ynet

Editorial: In the post-April 14 Middle East, Israel’s security will be based on two pillars. The primary pillar is its might and deterrence, which necessitates a robust response to Iran’s brazen attack. The second pillar is a regional defense architecture that is still a work in progress but whose benefits were already evident in Sunday’s early hours. To ensure the success of this regional architecture, Israel must now carefully weigh its response to Iran, ensuring that it does not undermine this regional cooperation, which, in the darkness currently enveloping the Middle East, is one flicker of hopeful light. – Jerusalem Post

Hal Brands writes: The future of the Middle East will be fought out in a contest between Iran and its proxies on one side and a coalition involving America, Israel and an array of Arab states that fear the chaos Tehran sows and the hegemony it seeks, on the other. That struggle will be protracted, tense and sometimes brutal. Welcome to the Middle East that Oct. 7 and its aftermath have revealed. – Bloomberg

Amir Bar Shalom writes: It’s not only Iran waiting to see how Israel will react. So, too, are the members of the new alliance. And it’s not only Israel they are looking to, but the US as well. Biden’s room for maneuver is limited. He could buy quiet in the short term, but he cannot stay on the fence indefinitely. At some stage, the US will have to take greater action against Iran if it wants to strengthen the alliance and be able to act decisively against Iran’s nuclear program. After this weekend’s attack, figuring out how to tackle Iran’s nuclear ambitions has become an even more urgent problem. – Times of Israel

Hamza Hadad writes: In this tumultuous regional climate, and as Iran grows more isolated, it will have every incentive to strengthen its hold on Iraq. Europeans are faced with a choice: they can either play into Iran’s hands by adopting a punitive and distant stance from Iraq or they can promote Iraqi efforts at carving out its autonomy. – European Council on Foreign Relations

Brian Katulis writes: It could also close off opportunities in the short run for advancing some of the more proactive engagement steps the Biden administration was pursuing before Oct. 7. The wider Middle East region still hangs on the precipice of a deep abyss as the war grinds on, simultaneously adding to broader geopolitical uncertainties in Europe and Asia. The current crisis will likely shape and define America’s relationship with the region for years to come. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

The U.S., South Korea and Japan are pushing for a new multi-national panel of experts, possibly outside the U.N., to ensure sanctions enforcement against North Korea after Russia and China thwarted monitoring activities at the world body, three sources said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United States and its allies are discussing options “both inside and outside the U.N. system” to create a new mechanism for monitoring North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, the American ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday. – Associated Press

North Korea is putting surveillance cameras in schools and workplaces and collecting fingerprints, photographs and other biometric information from its citizens in a technology-driven push to monitor its population even more closely, a report said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The US ambassador to the United Nations said Russia’s arms trade with North Korea breaches international sanctions and Washington will seek ways to watch for violations after Moscow vetoed a measure to keep alive a monitoring panel. – Bloomberg

Sung-Yoon Lee writes: The U.S. must initiate a global campaign of concerted counter-proliferation and sustained sanctions enforcement against Putin and Kim, while steadfastly speaking the truth to their people. The more the international community imposes financial costs on both warring Russia and warmongering North Korea, the more inclined Beijing will be to take heed and temper its unabashed support for the two pariah regimes. – The Hill


Western governments are stepping up pressure on China to use its influence to help settle conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal

China will hold air defence and live-fire drills near its border with Myanmar from Wednesday, state media said, in this month’s second round of such exercises as fighting between Myanmar’s ruling junta and rebel forces intensifies. – Reuters

A U.S. Navy patrol aircraft flew through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, just hours after a conversation between the Chinese and U.S. defence chiefs, in which Beijing warned Washington of the ultra-sensitive nature of the Taiwan issue. – Reuters

China and the United States should explore ways for a pragmatic and cooperative relationship between their militaries, and “gradually accumulate mutual trust”, the Chinese defence minister was cited as saying by the ministry on Wednesday. – Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with China’s defense minister on Tuesday, the first engagement the two have had in more than a year as the two countries seek to restore military ties. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on an upcoming visit to China is expected to raise U.S. concerns Beijing is helping Russia build up its defense industrial base to fight the war in Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden is calling for higher tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, part of a series of steps to shore up the American steel sector and woo its workers in this year’s election. – Bloomberg

Editorial: This means Mr. Xi’s economic plan amounts to foisting an economic growth plan that worked two decades ago onto a China and global economy that have changed considerably. It’s been clear all along that Beijing would find ways to meet its economic-growth target, but achieving the growth China needs through sustainable policies is another matter. – Wall Street Journal

Minxin Pei writes: Potential changes of administration in Seoul, Manila, and Washington could quickly erode support for deeper ties. A second Donald Trump administration might well be more interested in bullying allies than wooing them. China has created many of its own problems in the region. Its best bet now may be to hope the US does the same. – Bloomberg

Grant Rumley writes: Now, however, the region has witnessed China’s open support for an Iranian attack that violated the sovereignty of several Arab countries and demonstrated once again how Beijing’s relationship with Tehran threatens their interests. At this fraught moment, the United States should vocally remind countries in the Middle East and around the world about the limits of China’s “respect for sovereignty.” – Washington Institute

Mike Studeman writes: Deep magazines of long-range fires and more forces forward — especially many small, mobile, lethal, persistent, and uncrewed types — will not increase the chance of war, as some mistakenly fear. Rather, they would dissuade a would-be aggressor from a strategic blunder of epic proportions.  In facing the rising danger of a country that seems only to respect muscular opponents, not being fully prepared for war will be the surest invitation to naked aggression across the strait. – War on the Rocks

South Asia

Sri Lanka on Tuesday rejected international bondholders’ proposal to restructure more than $12 billion in debt, putting at risk critical International Monetary Fund support and delaying its efforts to resolve a two-year-long debt crisis. – Reuters

Police in India killed at least 29 suspected Maoist rebels in the central state of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, authorities said, three days ahead of the start of a national election in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term. – Associated Press

James Durso writes: The Central Asian republics want good ties with the U.S., but Washington must avoid policies that damage their economies and endanger needed projects like the Trans-Afghan Railway that will link Uzbekistan (and all Central Asia) to Pakistan. Otherwise, U.S. policies will ensure Russia and China will make gains with minimal effort. – The Hill


The Philippines and the United States are preparing to hold their most ambitious joint military exercise yet next week as tensions between the Philippines and China escalate in the South China Sea, according to more than a dozen officials – Washington Post

Australia is boosting its defense budget and rethinking its defense plans as strategic competition between the U.S. and China heats up in the Indo-Pacific region. – Wall Street Journal

The Solomon Islands began voting in a national election on Wednesday, the first since Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in 2022 struck a security pact with China and drew the Pacific Islands nation closer to Beijing. – Reuters

Taiwan’s homegrown submarine programme will remain on track, the defence minister said on Wednesday, after the head of the programme resigned due to what he said were unfair attacks against him and the military. – Reuters

The U.S. ambassador to Japan urged Tokyo on Tuesday to take a greater role in developing, producing and supplying weapons “to enhance our collective security” amid conflict in Ukraine, Gaza and elsewhere. – Associated Press

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will dispatch both its Izumo-class big decks on their largest deployment to date, officials said on Tuesday – USNI News

The United States, Japan and other partner nations are bringing high-quality infrastructure to the Philippines, including clean energy and port modernization projects to further economic growth. – Share America 

The Mid-Range Capability missile has landed in Luzon, Philippines, as part of the Salaknib exercise taking place there, marking the first deployment of the new capability deemed vital for the U.S. Army’s strategy in the region. – Defense News

Tim Culpan writes: If, on the other hand, the goal is to use protectionism to try and seed a local wind-power industry, then Taiwan must be willing to spend orders of magnitude more for its electricity and accept a high chance of failure. Should that be the choice, then Taiwanese citizens and companies should brace for more power blackouts in years to come. – Bloomberg


The operations of the European Union’s naval mission to the Red Sea have not been affected by Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel but the force needs more combat ships to protect merchant vessels sailing through “a vast area”, its commander told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will travel to Israel on Tuesday for discussions on how to prevent an escalation of tensions in the region following Iran’s attack over the weekend, she said in Berlin. – Reuters

A UK Labour government would recognize that the Chinese Communist Party poses “real security threats” due to its expanding military and support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to shadow foreign secretary David Lammy. – Bloomberg

Latvia is preparing to make its first shipment of drones to Ukraine as a coalition of countries aim to provide a million unmanned aerial vehicles to Kyiv. – Bloomberg

Liechtenstein, the world’s second-richest country, is set to become the newest member of the International Monetary Fund. – Bloomberg

Nicholas Nelson, Andrew  Stiles, and Kyra Terenzio write: Private sector funding will be harder to find, making government involvement a requirement. As a result, startups and mature companies alike face a constrained market opportunity, and constrained private investment, for developing defense and dual-use technologies suited for the High North. Addressing these challenges will require NATO nations, particularly the seven Arctic members, including the US, to seed demand through conception and funding to production. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The United Nations on Tuesday received financial pledges for about two-thirds of the $1 billion it was seeking to raise to boost humanitarian aid to Ethiopia, which has been hit by conflict, drought and floods. – Reuters

South Africa’s PetroSA expects the first flows of gas into the country from a deal with Mozambique’s national energy company ENH later this year, officials said, amid efforts to shore up supplies ahead of a potentially crippling shortage. – Reuters

Dame Touré rushed to quickly gather what she could as bulldozers rolled into her neighborhood in Ivory Coast’s fast-growing economic hub of Abidjan. Her three children joined her, stuffing plastic bags with clothes and whatever other items they could grab, before their home was reduced to rubble as armed security forces looked on. – Associated Press

The Americas

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of his government’s embassy and two consulates in Ecuador in protest of Ecuador’s detention of former Vice President Jorge Glas, the Venezuelan information ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. – Reuters

Honduras is recalling its senior diplomat in Ecuador, the Central American country’s foreign minister announced on Tuesday, in the latest action taken in response to Ecuador’s shocking raid this month on the Mexican embassy in Quito. – Reuters

A renowned Venezuelan activist was arrested for his alleged involvement in a reported assassination attempt against President Nicolas Maduro last month, the country’s Attorney General Tarek Saab said late on Monday. – Reuters

Haiti’s government on Tuesday named the members of a transitional council set to take power when Prime Minister Ariel Henry steps down – inching closer to putting in place measures that could restore security in the violence-wracked country. – Reuters

Argentina’s defense minister signed a deal Tuesday worth about 2.1 billion kroner ($300 million) to buy 24 of Denmark’s aging F-16 fighter jets. – Associated Press

United States

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the nation’s most heavily used airports, onto the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and on a busy West Coast highway.Associated Press

U.S. Democrats said on Tuesday they would wait to decide how to respond to a proposal from the Republican-led House of Representatives to consider national security assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan separately, rather than as one bill. – Reuters

Josh Rogin writes: Even if it succeeds, a larger lesson must be learned about not pitting U.S. allies against each other. By pointing to Israel as a reason to abandon Ukraine, Republicans such as Greene and Gaetz are further politicizing the Israel issue, exacerbating the suffering of Ukrainians, and preventing U.S. leaders in both parties from finding the political compromises needed to ensure the security of Israel, Ukraine and the United States alike. – Washington Post 

Joseph Bosco writes: Though he has repeatedly pledged a U.S. defense of Taiwan, administration officials have diluted each message. Washington must dispense with its dangerous policy of strategic ambiguity, which simply encourages Beijing to continue pushing the envelope of aggression against Taiwan. – The Hill


Microsoft will invest $1.5 billion in a technology company backed by the United Arab Emirates, a deal that includes an intergovernmental pact to ensure artificial-intelligence security as the U.S. and China increasingly compete for influence in the Gulf. – Wall Street Journal

Western militaries intend to “leverage” opportunities to “enable individuals to operate beyond normal human limits or abilities,” according to a new NATO strategy document. – Washington Examiner

Google employees in two different offices protested the company’s work with the Israeli government on Tuesday, objecting to a billion-dollar contract it signed with the U.S. ally in 2021. – The Hill

Cybersecurity researchers have detailed the operation of little-known Russian backdoor malware that has been used in attacks against victims in Eastern Europe since at least mid-2022. – The Record

Rishi Iyengar writes: They haven’t formulated an overall cyber strategy,” said Freilich, who is currently a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “Offensive cyber operations require pretty much a very similar approval process to kinetic operations; with anything significant, it’s going to go up the chain and reach the prime minister himself.” The forms that such Israeli operations against Iran could take range widely, from attacks aimed at compromising nuclear facilities to damaging military or even civilian infrastructure. – Foreign Policy


The US Navy has fired nearly $1 billion in missiles to counter threats from Iran and its proxy forces over the past six months, the sea service’s top civilian official revealed on Tuesday. – Business Insider

US Navy warships used a missile interceptor for the first time in combat over the weekend as they defended Israel from an unprecedented Iranian attack. – Business Insider

The Air Force is using new authority from Congress to get a head start on two development efforts yet to be approved as part of a formal budget cycle. – Defense News

The size of the U.S. Navy’s fleet and the debate over how to increase it took center stage at a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing Tuesday. In particular, senators expressed concern after a recent study found multiple important shipbuilding programs are running years behind schedule. – Defense News

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro today told lawmakers his service is out at least $1 billion in critical munitions because of recent operations in the Middle East, a shortfall the Pentagon is banking on a congressional supplemental to help replenish. – Breaking Defense

Defense contractors Silvus Technologies and Kagwerks unveiled a combination of their products they said will reduce the burden of gear on troops while also streamlining battlefield communications. – C4ISRNET

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: For the next fiscal year, Congress must work to restore real growth to the defense budget—something appropriators seemed inclined to support. Lastly, government customers must take a longer view of what will be required to redress years of neglect. Sustained funding for procurement is needed for the foreseeable future to bring the armed forces, and their partners in industry, back to good health. – 19FortyFive