Fdd's overnight brief

April 2, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

World Central Kitchen, the biggest provider of food aid in the Gaza Strip after the United Nations, said Tuesday that it was pausing operations across the Middle East after seven of its workers including a U.S.-Canadian dual citizen were killed in what it said was an Israeli airstrike. – Wall Street Journal

Israel says its forces arrested or killed hundreds of militants and gathered significant intelligence. But the renewed fighting highlights the difficulties for Israel of defeating an insurgency in the absence of a governing authority to replace Hamas. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli lawmakers passed a law on Monday allowing the government to temporarily shutter foreign media outlets that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has determined undermine the country’s national security, and the Israeli leader said he would use the new law to block Al Jazeera broadcasts and activities in Israel. – New York Times

Japan on Tuesday said it will lift its suspension of funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) as the relief body works to regain trust after an allegation that some of its staff were involved in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. – Reuters

The Palestinian Authority wants the United Nations Security Council to vote this month to make it a full member of the world body, the Palestinian U.N. envoy told Reuters on Monday, a move that can be blocked by Israel’s ally the United States. – Reuters

Israeli officials agreed on Monday to take U.S. concerns about a planned offensive in Rafah into account, said a joint statement issued after a virtual meeting with U.S. officials on alternative ways to root out Hamas militants in southern Gaza. – Reuters

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets in Jerusalem on Monday, continuing a three-day protest against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and demanding new elections. – Reuters

Australia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it was seeking to confirm reports that one of its citizens died in a suspected Israeli airstrike in Gaza. – Reuters

France on Monday proposed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that seeks options for possible U.N. monitoring of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and proposals to help the Palestinian Authority assume responsibilities. – Reuters

As America has been welcoming a “revitalized” Palestinian government, at least two leaders in that revamped Palestinian Authority have a history of antisemitism, including calling Jewish people “apes and pigs” and calling for them to suffer the “worst torment.” – New York Sun

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday called for further reforms in the Palestinian Authority, after the naming of a new government, AFP reported. – Agence France-Presse

William McGurn writes: “What is so shocking about a decent and principled man siding with a democratic state that respects human rights and is defending itself against Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that just massacred and raped 1,200 mostly Jewish Israelis and kidnapped 250 more, while promising to commit this inhuman horror again and again?” asks Morton Klein, a friend of Mr. Kennedy and president of the Zionist Organization of America. “What is shocking is that Joe Biden is aiding the Hamas terrorists by attempting to reward them with a Palestinian state and demanding a cease-fire against Israel’s wishes, enabling Hamas to regroup and rearm.” – Wall Street Journal

Louis René Beres writes: If Hamas leaders really believe their own “sacred” promises to “martyrs” of a life everlasting, why are they unwilling to “sacrifice” themselves or their families for the sake of “Palestine?” Why do they choose instead to inhabit luxury hotel suites in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia? It is only when such core questions are asked and answered that Israelis can finally understand why acceding to expectations of Palestinian statehood would inevitably “miss the point.” – Jerusalem Post

Iran

Syria and Iran accused Israel of a missile attack on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus that killed a senior Iranian general, in a potential escalation of a shadow war between Israel and Iran that has intensified during the war in Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. told Iran that it “had no involvement” or advanced knowledge of an Israeli strike on a diplomatic compound in Syria, Axios reported on Monday citing a U.S. official. – Reuters

Iran has vowed to retaliate after it accused Israel of bombing its embassy complex in Syria on Monday, in a deadly escalation of regional tensions over the war in Gaza that once again appeared to raise the risk of a wider Middle Eastern conflict. – CNN

The senior Iranian military commander who reportedly was killed Monday in a suspected Israeli airstrike in Syria has played a “key role” in the Islamic Republic’s support of Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization, the U.S. says. – Fox News

Political prisoner Shahriar Bayat, 64, imprisoned for participating in the 2022 protests, has been sentenced to public hanging by the Tehran Criminal Court on charges of “insulting the Prophet.” – Iran International

Editorial: The stakes, as Iran considers its options, are high. Tehran needs to hear a clear message from the White House. Not criticism to undermine the Israeli government but steadfast support that makes the Ayatollahs think twice before giving an order they would come to regret. – Wall Street Journal

Robbie Gramer writes: Based on Tehran’s past behavior, the menu of options could include actions that bring Israel and Iran closer to a direct war—such as a direct Iranian missile strike on Israel—or more indirect counterpunches, such as Iranian strikes on alleged Israeli intelligence service targets in Iraq, or larger or more frequent attacks on Israel by Tehran’s various proxy groups in the region.- Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

A Russian court extended the pretrial detention of a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, one of a growing number of U.S. citizens detained in Russia as relations between Moscow and Washington plummet to their lowest since the Cold War. – Wall Street Journal

Russia and Ukraine claimed to have downed each other’s drones over the Black Sea on Monday, with both sides apparently devoting increasing attention to developing and using unmanned aircraft in their more than two-year-old war. – Reuters

Ukraine struck one of Russia’s biggest refineries on Tuesday with a drone 1,300 km (800 miles) from the front lines in Ukraine and said it had inflicted significant damage on a military target. – Reuters

Iran tipped off Russia about the possibility of a major “terrorist operation” on its soil ahead of the concert hall massacre near Moscow last month, three sources familiar with the matter said. – Reuters

Russia has used five of its new hypersonic Zircon missiles to attack Kyiv since the start of the year, the city’s military administration said on Monday. – Reuters

Recent Russian attacks have caused significant damage to the Ukrainian power system, but a total collapse is unlikely, the head of Ukraine’s national grid company Ukrenergo Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said on Monday. – Reuters

A top official in Russia’s Security Council said the United States was imposing economic obligations on its NATO partners and setting conditions for buying specific weapons and equipment. – Reuters

Russia’s top security agency said Monday it has broken up what it called a “terrorist cell” in southern Russia whose members had provided weapons and cash to suspected attackers of the Moscow concert hall. – Associated Press

There’s a loud buzzing sound as a small silhouette approaches in the air. The noise is eerily reminiscent of Russian drone strikes on Ukraine, but this episode was recorded closer to Moscow than to Kyiv. […]The attacks have been made possible by the use of drones with longer ranges and more advanced capabilities – CNN

Gerard Baker writes: The strength it is intended to project is in the end no match for the strength of a good man in pursuit of truth, freedom and justice. – Wall Street Journal

Chris Miller writes: So long as China sells Western chips to Russia, the US should impose more frequent sanctions against Russian and Chinese firms involved in the illegal chip trade, with the aim of enhancing the disruptive effect. Russia cannot be fully cut off from access to chips, but the existing controls are probably already causing bottlenecks in Russian defense production. Ramping up enforcement will intensify this effect. – American Enterprise Institute

John C. Stanko and Spenser A. Warren write: Going nuclear would pose significant risks for Russia. Russian leaders could miscalculate a strike’s effectiveness or incorrectly assess the risk of a Chinese nuclear response. The decision to employ nuclear weapons would be a political one. Russian leaders would weigh the expected risks and rewards of a strike, as well as those of a non-nuclear response, and select what they perceive as the best option. – War on the Rocks

Iraq

A pro basketball team in Iraq is owned by a paramilitary group, and some of its forces recently attacked U.S. troops. But this hostility toward Uncle Sam has its limits: The team is banking on a high-scoring American to help lead them to a championship. – Associated Press

As Iran adds Iraqi militias to the list of its proxy armies at war with Israel, and as Israel hits a major Iranian terror master at Damascus, is it time for President Biden to cancel a White House reception for Baghdad’s top political leader?  – New York Sun

The sister of Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Russian-Israeli doctoral student at Princeton University who was kidnapped a year ago in Iraq by an Iranian-backed militia group, is urging the Biden administration to pressure the Iraqi government to secure Tsurkov’s release. – Jewish Insider

Hemin Hawrami writes: Looking forward, Iraq is in real danger of losing its checks and balances and failing as a constitutional democracy due to the rapid collapse of a separation of powers. […]Maintaining a functional separation of powers is also an international, and particularly an American responsibility, as the United States and the international community convinced Kurdistan to remain part of Iraq post-2003 on the condition of ensuring Iraq’s federalism in the new Constitution. – Washington Institute

Turkey

Turkey’s local elections on Sunday were competitive and gave citizens many options but took place in a “starkly polarised environment” where more needs to be done to ensure freedom of expression, a European group of observers said on Monday. – Reuters

Some analysts said on Monday the outcome was a warning and that they expect Erdogan’s government will pursue a path of “normalization” that also includes soothing ties with NATO allies such as the United States and neighboring Greece — and adopting less antagonistic programs at home. – Associated Press

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been attacking Israel since the war in Gaza began, he actually wants to improve diplomatic relations with Israel, Maariv reported on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Turkey needs better governance, and the West needs a better NATO ally in Ankara. The mercurial Mr. Erdoğan has bought missile defenses from Vladimir Putin despite U.S. objections. He has been a troublesome friend to Europe and the U.S., including arresting Americans on dubious charges. Sunday’s results suggest that Turkish democracy isn’t dead yet. – Wall Street Journal

Marc Champion writes: Erdogan has been a trailblazer for other populist strongmen who have bet on culture wars to bring them to power. His spectacular missteps on the economy should have cost him his position last year, but they didn’t, and he is probably safe for now. That means his political opponents, and Turkey’s democratic institutions, probably aren’t. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may raise the official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light crude in May after Middle East benchmarks strengthened last month, industry sources said. – Reuters

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan plans to travel to Saudi Arabia this week for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid a U.S. push for progress toward normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. – Reuters

Ilan Berman writes: For their part, Saudi rulers are well aware of the potential benefits that deeper interplay with Israel could bring. The Saudi people, however, aren’t nearly as well versed. It stands to reason that the sooner the House of Saud launches a serious campaign to convince its own subjects rapprochement with Israel is in their long term interest, the better off the Kingdom will be.  – American Foreign Policy Council

Middle East & North Africa

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said on Monday it received a report of an incident 150 nautical miles northwest of Yemen’s Hodeidah. – Reuters

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by signs that demand may improve China and the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consuming nations, and growing concerns of a widening conflict in the Middle East that could affect supply from region. – Reuters

Russia condemned an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria, called on the Jewish state to cease such “completely unacceptable” actions, and has requested a meeting with the UN Security Council regarding the strike. – Jerusalem Post

Sirens warning of a suspected infiltration of a hostile aircraft were activated shortly after 11:00 p.m. in many localities in the southern Golan Heights on Monday evening. […]Later, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that, following the alerts in the north, a suspicious aerial target had been detected that made its way towards Israeli territory from the direction of Syria. – Arutz Sheva

As the Abraham Accords Peace Institute (AAPI) states in its 2023 Annual Report, provided exclusively to Jewish Insider ahead of its publication on Tuesday, Israel’s 2020 normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, plus Kosovo and prior peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt, “survived, and diplomatic and trade relations have continued.” – Jewish Insider

David Schenker writes: Ultimately, fixing UNIFIL and deploying the LAF to the south may not be sufficient to prevent a future conflagration. Yet Washington and Israel still have an interest in deferring escalation. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile off its east coast on Tuesday, an indication that the country was continuing to develop missiles capable of targeting American military bases in the Western Pacific. – New York Times

South Korea is seeking to arrest two men for allegedly helping a YouTuber to install dozens of spy cameras at voting stations. – BBC

The US is asking South Korea to adopt restrictions on semiconductor technology exports to China similar to those Washington has already implemented, another sign the Biden administration is stepping up efforts to thwart Beijing’s chip ambitions. – Bloomberg

China

China on Monday promised to import more high-quality products and services from France, after a European probe into Chinese electric vehicle exports supported by Paris threatened to spark a tit-for-tat trade dispute between the two countries. – Reuters

China’s $18.6 trillion economy has skirted some near-term downside risks as suggested by recent indicators, analysts said, buying officials more time to convince investors they can fire up a new growth engine for 2024 and the years ahead. – Reuters

Gordon Crovitz and Mark L. Clifford write: The Chinese Communist Party has already crushed freedom in Hong Kong. Now it’s beating a dead horse.[…] Communist officials are willing to destroy Hong Kong’s prosperity if that’s the price of crushing its freedom. – Wall Street Journal

Karishma Vaswani writes: But in a China where Xi and his thoughts have increasingly greater control over everything — from how to fight wars, to running businesses, to what happens in your bedroom — a wild and strange world, created from the imagination of a unique storyteller with an alternative viewpoint, can only be a good thing. – Bloomberg

Nicholas R. Lardy writes: China will likely continue to contribute about a third of the world’s economic growth while increasing its economic footprint, particularly in Asia. If U.S. policymakers underappreciate this, they are likely to overestimate their own ability to sustain the deepening of economic and security ties with Asian partners – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

The World Bank raised its forecast for Sri Lanka’s economy on Tuesday, projecting a growth of 2.2% for 2024, as the crisis-hit nation makes a faster-than-expected recovery from its worst financial crisis in decades. – Reuters

An Indian court renewed detention on Monday for key opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal until April 15 in a graft case, his lawyers said, less than three weeks before voting begins in general elections. – Reuters

An old land mine found by children in eastern Afghanistan exploded while they were playing with it, killing nine children, a Taliban spokesman said Monday. – Associated Press

Pakistani counterterrorism police in multiple raids arrested at least 12 suspects in connection with last week’s suicide bombing that killed five Chinese workers and their Pakistani driver in the volatile northwest, officials said Monday. – Associated Press

A Pakistani appeals court on Monday suspended a 14-year prison sentence for former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife in a corruption case, but the couple won’t be released because they are already serving prison terms in other cases, officials said. – Associated Press

Editorial: Both parties in Congress should work to extend the SIV program further and at a minimum authorize additional visas for all those who qualify, as well as to offer a path to green cards for evacuees. The US betrayed its Afghan partners once by leaving their country so ineptly. The least Congress can do is ensure they’re not forgotten. – Bloomberg

Asia

Australia is planning a costly overhaul of its military to prepare for regional threats including a more assertive China. That’s attracting overseas interest in one of its flagship defense companies. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. State Department on Monday raised concerns about convictions of rights advocates in Vietnam, including five since January, and called on the country’s government to respect freedom of expression, association, and religion. – Reuters

Indonesia’s president-elect Prabowo Subianto visited Beijing on Monday on his first foreign trip since his election, and was quoted by Chinese state media as telling President Xi Jinping he aimed to continue the close ties under predecessor Joko Widodo. – Reuters

The Philippines on Tuesday said its national security adviser and his U.S. counterpart discussed “coercive, aggressive and deceptive actions” by Beijing in the South China Sea, as a diplomatic row intensifies between the two Asian neighbours. – Reuters

China has dethroned the US to become the top alignment choice for Southeast Asians as Washington loses ground on a range of key issues from regional economic engagement to the Israel-Hamas War, according to a new survey. – Bloomberg

Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is visiting China to help build social and cultural links on a trip that might include a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping despite heightened tensions. – Associated Press

A popular equities strategy to “buy India, sell China” has reached an inflection point for some investors. – Bloomberg

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets to intercept a Chinese surveillance aircraft on Monday. – Newsweek

Europe

German cannabis campaigners and aficionados lit celebratory joints at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate at midnight early Monday, gathering for a legal “smoke-in” to mark the nation’s newly liberalized law on marijuana coming into effect. – Washington Post

Finnish police detained a 12-year-old student Tuesday on suspicion of opening fire and injuring at least three fellow students, also 12, at a school in Vantaa, northeast of the capital Helsinki. – Washington Post

A sweeping law targeting hate speech went into effect in Scotland on Monday, promising protection against threats and abuse but drawing criticism that it could have a chilling effect on free speech. – New York Times

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner sees scope for up to 9 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in additional defence spending from 2028 if the country can reduce its debt levels, he said in comments to the DPA news agency published on Tuesday. – Reuters

Belarus started military exercises on Tuesday in regions bordering Ukraine and European Union members Lithuania and Poland, the Belarusian defence ministry said. – Reuters

The arrest in recent days of a former Austrian intelligence officer on serious allegations of spying for Russia suggests that Austria needs to boost its security to thwart Russian infiltration, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said Monday. – Associated Press

Officials on the Greek island of Rhodes opened a new vacation visa terminal for Turkish visitors Monday as part of a diplomatic effort to ease long-standing tensions between the two countries. – Associated Press

Yet the peaceful and lucrative co-existence between Lukoil and the European Union’s poorest outpost was broken when Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine a little over two years ago. Now, decades of good business between Bulgaria and Russia face a moment of reckoning as Lukoil looks at selling up and leaving because of what it calls political pressure. – Bloomberg

Ahead of a tight election in November, U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered a temporary pause on approving new LNG projects, effectively freezing the country’s expansion of export infrastructure in a nod to climate-conscious voters. While green groups have praised the decision, Europeans are growing anxious about supply squeezes and price hikes.” – Politico

Rosario Iaconis writes: A smaller percentage fears that Italy could fall prey to jihadist terrorism. With the Middle East aflame and Russia regaining ground lost to Ukraine, such concerns are mounting. In attempting to ridicule Ms. Meloni’s approach to Italy’s global role La Stampa’s Flavia Perina wound up highlighting the prime minister’s steady hand. And people are starting to call it “Pax Meloniana.” – New York Sun

Africa

In Sudan’s post-apocalyptic cities, in the desert battlegrounds of Darfur and even in the war-ravaged farmlands of the south, families are beginning to starve. – Washington Post

More than 20 countries across Africa have loosened restrictions on abortion in recent years, but experts say that like Efua, many women probably don’t realize they are entitled to a legal abortion. – Associated Press

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday appointed the country’s first female prime minister, fulfilling a campaign promise and making an important step towards the formation of a new government after being reelected late last year. – Associated Press

Political parties in Mali have requested a time frame for presidential elections after the ruling junta failed to organise polls within a promised 24-month transition back to democracy. – Reuters

China has a unique opportunity to drive forward an energy revolution in Africa, but it must first reverse nearly two decades of neglect of green power investments there, research from Boston University showed on Tuesday. – Reuters

Peter Coy writes: The more that opportunities in cities multiply, the more farmers are drawn away from the land. The farmers are better off than if they didn’t have those outside options. “But it’s not the great productivity spiral that we did see in, say, American history,” Udry said. For sub-Saharan Africa to advance economically, fixing its farming must be a top priority. – New York Times

The Americas

An American YouTube personality who was kidnapped two weeks ago by a gang leader in Haiti was released over the weekend and was on his way home to the United States on Monday morning, according to his father. – New York Times

From Glocks to belt-fed machine guns and Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifles, the armory of crime gangs now bringing Haiti to the brink of disaster is expanding quickly as warlords led by Jimmy Chérizier strengthen their hold on the country. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. government has asked the Mexican government to review allegations that a parts factory in that Nuevo Leon has denied workers their labor rights, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said on Monday – Reuters

A candidate for mayor of a violence-wracked city in Mexico has been killed just as she began campaigning. – Associated Press

Pierre Esperance writes: For several years, U.S. officials said they stuck with Henry to avoid instability. Civil society leaders kept saying that Henry’s illegitimate and gang-enabling rule was the very thing promoting that instability. After years of backing corrupt and undemocratic leaders, the U.S. government has a chance to back Haitians promoting democracy and the rule of law. If it does so, the United States can help Haiti exit this hellscape at last. – Foreign Affairs

Latin America

Panic set in around downtown Port-au-Prince on Monday as wild shooting filled the streets of Haiti’s capital, with heavy gunfire near the national palace. – Reuters

The World Bank has approved a loan of $750 million to Colombia, to help the country become more resilient in the face of climate change by buoying up renewable energy efforts and reducing carbon emissions, the bank said on Monday. – Reuters

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte replaced six ministers after they resigned as her government is rocked by a political crisis fueled by an alleged illicit enrichment scandal involving luxury watches. – Associated Press

Argentina and Colombia have agreed to end a diplomatic spat that escalated over right-wing Argentine President Javier Milei’s visceral attack on his leftist counterpart in Colombia last week, prompting the country to order the expulsion of Argentine diplomats. – Associated Press

Farah Stockman writes: Demand for chips will only increase with the rise of artificial intelligence. How we navigate the challenges posed by A.I. — and a far more powerful China — will determine our future. We have a choice: face those challenges by ourselves or with friendly neighbors. – New York Times

Scott B. MacDonald and Alejandro Trenchi write: Chile and Peru will have to consider their prospects more carefully, especially if the U.S.-China rivalry intensifies, which is likely. Belatedly, the United States and other advanced economies are pushing back; to use a corny phrase, they are chasing the dragon. In this, securing supply chains assumes even greater importance. – National Interest

Oliver Stuenkel writes: Lula’s government sees Brazil’s 2004 to 2017 intervention in Haiti as a double defeat: Not only did MINUSTAH fail to stabilize Haiti, but it also seems to have created close bonds between a group of military officers, some of whom would, just five years after the mission’s end, come dangerously close to staging a coup at home. – Foreign Policy

United States

Reported discrimination and attacks against Muslims and Palestinians reached a record high in the U.S. in 2023, driven by rising Islamophobia and bias as the Israel-Gaza war raged late in the year, data from an advocacy group showed on Tuesday. – Reuters

A Republican and a Democratic member of Congress are calling on the Biden administration to add seven Chinese biotech firms to a list created by the Defense Department to highlight firms it says are allegedly working with Beijing’s military. – Reuters

The Congressional Budget Office warned in its latest projections that US federal government debt is on a path from 97% of GDP last year to 116% by 2034 — higher even than in World War II. The actual outlook is likely worse. – Bloomberg

The U.S. was the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) in 2023, according to federal data released on Monday. – The Hill

Congress is gearing up to give President Joe Biden a powerful new financial tool to strengthen Ukraine, in a move that could redefine modern economic diplomacy. – Politico

US Rep. Tim Walberg has released a statement saying he wasn’t calling for nuclear war after he came under fire for advising Israel to “get it over quick” with Hamas in Gaza, “like Nagasaki and Hiroshima,” the Japanese cities the United States hit with atomic bombs at the end of World War II. – Times of Israel

Conrad Black writes: Everyone knows how much is owed to America for the expansion of democracy and the free market. If America wishes to be taken seriously in the world, though, it will need a bipartisan consensus and reliable support of Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan soon. The nastier states in the world will not be inactive while partisan fools in both parties in Washington embarrass America with their infantile tantrums. – New York Sun

Rebecca Grant writes: China’s newest aircraft carrier, the Fujian is bigger and a technological leap ahead for China’s navy. The Fujian started dead-load catapult testing last November. China is serious about launching aircraft carriers to compete with the Ford-class designs. Their aircraft carriers are still not nuclear-powered, and overall are not as capable as the Ford-class, but they can cause plenty of trouble, especially for allies. If China keeps producing the Fujian class, Chinese carriers could lock out the U.S. and allies from the Strait of Malacca to the Sea of Japan. – Fox News

Cybersecurity

Like any democratic society, Taiwan is flooded with assorted types of disinformation. It touches every aspect of a person’s life, from conspiracy theories on vaccines to health claims aimed at promoting supplements to rumors about major Taiwanese companies leaving the island. – Associated Press

Google has agreed to destroy “billions of data records” collected during private browsing sessions to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the tech giant of improperly tracking people. – The Hill

Prudential Insurance — one of the largest insurers in the United States — said hackers stole the sensitive information of more than 36,000 during a February incident. – The Record

Hackers were able to access data from the servers of one of the world’s largest boat sellers during an attack last month, the company confirmed. – The Record

The Indian government says it has rescued 250 citizens from Cambodia, where they were enticed by job opportunities and then forced to carry out cyber fraud. – The Record

AT&T confirmed that a data set with the information of 73 million current and former customers is legitimate nearly two weeks after a hacker offered it on a dark web criminal marketplace. – The Record

A transnational effort produced stark revelations about the extent of China’s malicious cyberactivities last week, with indictments and sanctions against Chinese government-linked hackers accusing them of targeting foreign government officials, lawmakers, politicians, voters, and companies. The accusations, made by the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand, centered mainly on espionage and data theft but also involved what U.S. officials and experts said is an alarming evolution in Chinese cybertactics.  – Foreign Policy

The U.S. Department of Defense has established a dedicated cyber policy office, a move one official said underlines the significance of digital warfare. – Defense News

Larry Ellison and Seema Verma write: Autonomous databases and operating systems tip the balance of power to give defenders a technological advantage during a cyberattack. The sooner healthcare systems start using autonomous systems, the safer they and their patients will be. – Wall Street Journal

Defense

The Biden administration is close to approving the sale of as many as 50 American-made F-15 fighter jets to Israel, in a deal expected to be worth more than $18 billion, according to three people familiar with the matter. – CNN

The U.S. Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office is standing up a joint team to execute the Pentagon’s vision for an air and missile defense architecture for Guam, its director told Defense News. – Defense News

The outgoing chairman of the House’s China-focused committee and its top Democrat are asking the defense secretary to brief Congress on the Pentagon’s assessment of whether several Chinese biotechnology companies belong on a civil-military fusion list. – Defense News

Amphibious warship USS Boxer (LHD-4) departed from San Diego, Calif., on Monday for a delayed deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, two defense officials confirmed to USNI News. – USNI News

Liselotte Odgaard writes: Although Finnish and Swedish membership has seemingly enhanced NATO’s Arctic posture, the alliance still has a long way to go in the region. NATO must increase its footprint in the Arctic to credibly deter Russia’s military force posture. – Foreign Policy

Eric Lies writes: The United States is faced with mounting, but not insurmountable, challenges in the Indo-Pacific. If security throughout the region is to be maintained, then the United States should pay greater heed to the asymmetric capabilities of its armed forces. Integrated Undersea Surveillance Systems, autonomous vehicles, and mine warfare not only offer the best return on investment but would also align the security interests of the United States and Australia. This opens avenues for increased cooperation under AUKUS pillar two that would be foolish to pass up. Deterrence through denial will play to the strengths of America’s regional allies and mitigate the numerical advantage of Chinese forces. – War on the Rocks

Long War

The Islamic State Khorasan is growing “unabated” in Afghanistan, where the U.S. military has “almost no ability to strike,” according to retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, the former leader of U.S. Central Command – Washington Examiner

Rep. Michael Waltz writes: When Donald Trump became president he quickly addressed the ISIS threat and the caliphate was destroyed under his leadership. It’s going to take his clear-eyed approach to radical Islamic extremism and a real commitment to secure the border to fix this issue. Biden’s continual refusal to acknowledge the mistakes he made has only emboldened global terrorism – and thanks to his open-borders ideology, we are now even less safe at home. – Fox News

Dr. Yaron Friedman writes: ISIS lost the “caliphate” and now Hamas is close to losing Gaza and even the dream of a “complete Palestine.” It can be assumed that if and when Hamas becomes an organization that has no physical grip in Gaza, it will follow the path of ISIS and try to carry out attacks in the world, most likely focusing its activities against Jewish communities and Israeli tourists. Hamas, like ISIS, cannot be eliminated as an ideology, unfortunately. Nevertheless, the experience of ISIS shows that it is possible to significantly weaken Hamas, take away its grip on the territory, and make it go on the run. – Jerusalem Post