Fdd's overnight brief

April 30, 2024

In The News


A new assessment from Amnesty International asserts that Israel has used U.S.-supplied weapons against Palestinian civilians in alleged violations of international law, a finding certain to inflame the heated debate about whether the United States should curtail support to its closest Middle Eastern ally. – Washington Post

Mediators expressed hope Monday, once again, that Israel and Hamas were inching toward an agreement to halt fighting in Gaza and release dozens of Israeli hostages — a last, best chance to prevent a return to full-scale war. – Washington Post

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched an uphill push here Monday to pause the bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip as it takes a heavy toll on civilians, inflames anti-Israel sentiment in the U.S. and complicates President Biden’s path to re-election. – Wall Street Journal

Hamas’s military wing said on Monday that it had launched a salvo of rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel, an apparent attempt by the group to signal that it is still capable of striking within Israel’s borders even as it studies the latest proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza. – New York Times

Prosecutors from the International Criminal Court have interviewed staff from Gaza’s two biggest hospitals, two sources told Reuters, the first confirmation that ICC investigators were speaking to medics about possible crimes in the Gaza Strip. – Reuters

The United States found five units of Israel’s security forces responsible for gross violations of human rights, the first time Washington has reached such a conclusion about Israeli forces, the State Department said on Monday, though it has not barred any of the units from receiving U.S. military assistance. – Reuters

The U.S. has seen measurable progress in the humanitarian situation in Gaza, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, but he cautioned that it still wasn’t sufficient and vowed to press Israeli officials later this week to do more. – Reuters

Israel is trying to stop the International Criminal Court (ICC) from issuing arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and senior military officials, it has been reported. – Newsweek

Several European member states are expected to recognize Palestinian statehood by the end of May, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday at the sidelines of a World Economic Forum special meeting in Riyadh. – Times of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to stop, for now, the plans to conduct a military operation in Rafah, Kan Reshet Bet reported. – Arutz Sheva

Mousa Abu Marzook, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, denies reports regarding the Hamas leadership leaving Qatar, calling them ‘media propaganda with no basis in reality’. – Arutz Sheva

During the most recent telephone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden reaffirmed his opposition to an Israeli military operation in the city of Rafah. – i24news

Editorial: If the schools want to know where the politics of this is headed, they might read a letter Monday to the Columbia trustees from 21 Democrats in Congress. The letter urged the school “to act decisively, disband the encampment, and ensure the safety and security of all of its students.” These Democrats can see that the campus protests, as they spread, may hurt their political cause in an election year as the protesters target President Biden’s policies. Students can’t be left to run U.S. campuses. – Wall Street Journal

Neville Teller writes: But Hamas is increasingly concerned with projecting a confident image and challenging the idea it is becoming more isolated. So when the HuffPost contacted Naim again on April 21, he had somewhat changed his tune. He pointed to a statement he had recently issued rejecting the WSJ article as “complicit with the Israeli misleading propaganda.” Claims that Hamas “is considering leaving Qatar for another country,” he said “have no basis.” Time will tell. – Jerusalem Post

Alan Baker writes: People like myself who were heavily involved in negotiating, drafting and creating the ICC and who are intimately familiar with the aims and purposes set out in preambular provisions of the ICC Statute, cannot but shudder in fear at the unbelievable abuse of that Statute and of the noble aims and intentions of its founding fathers, who are doubtless turning in their graves. – Jerusalem Post

Robert Satloff writes: It is repugnant to see their freedom as just one item on the bargaining table with Hamas, as though they were chattel. These are Americans—and they deserve to be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Of course, we stand here today to demand the unconditional release of all hostages, hostages of all nationalities, hostages of all faiths and none. They are not “unfortunate victims of war.” They are not “collateral damage.” They were purposefully taken as a tool of war. And victory over barbarism begins with their freedom. So, let us say together those four words Moses demanded of Pharaoh three thousand years ago: “Let my people go!” – Times of Israel


Iran on Monday criticized a police crackdown in the United States against university students protesting against the rising death toll from the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. – Agence France-Presse

It has let us map what happened to 16-year-old Nika Shakarami who vanished from an anti-regime protest in 2022. Her body was found nine days later. The government claimed she killed herself. We put the report’s allegations to Iran’s government and its Revolutionary Guards. They did not respond. – BBC

An official delegation from North Korea is in Tehran to attend a trade show and have trade talks with the government and private sector, a spokesman said. – Bloomberg

The Iranian government’s ongoing crackdown against non-governmental charitable organizations has struck another blow, resulting in the closure of the Mehre Shams Afrid NGO safe house. – Iran International

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of increased collaboration with and among the Persian Gulf states to develop an integrated defense strategy aimed at countering Iran’s regional influence. – Iran International

A report from the German newspaper Bild says a Düsseldorf-based subsidiary of Iran’s Mapna Group — Mapna Europe — may be involved in circumventing international sanctions. – Iran International

Shahram Kholdi writes: In the end, if the EU and US fail to substantially implement the many sanction regimes that they have created over the past several years, they may lose much in prestige in credibility in the eyes of the world community where Russia and China have been jockeying to replace them as global powers. The last curtain in this segment is yet to draw. – Iran International

Russia & Ukraine

Russian forces have seized several villages in eastern Ukraine over the past week, making swift but relatively small gains against threadbare Ukrainian forces who have ceded ground amid a desperate wait for promised U.S. military aid. – Wall Street Journal

NATO countries haven’t delivered what they promised to Ukraine in time, the alliance’s chief said Monday, allowing Russia to press its advantage while Kyiv’s depleted forces wait for military supplies to arrive from the U.S. and Europe. – Associated Press

A group of militants attacked a police checkpoint in Russia’s North Caucasus region, killing two officers, officials said Monday. – Associated Press

Two Russian journalists were arrested by their government on “extremism” charges and ordered by courts there on Saturday to remain in custody pending investigation and trial on accusations of working for a group founded by the late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. – Associated Press

A Russian missile attack on an educational institution in a popular seafront park in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa on Monday killed at least five people and injured 32, local officials said. – Reuters

Sophie, Britain’s Duchess of Edinburgh, has visited Ukraine, meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his wife in the first trip to the country by a British royal since the conflict with Russia began, Buckingham Palace said on Monday. – Reuters

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has given a fresh impetus to the European Union’s drive to admit more countries, the bloc’s chairman said on Monday, adding he hoped the 27-nation club and prospective new members would be ready by 2030. – Reuters

About 30 Ukrainian men have died trying to illegally cross Ukraine’s borders and avoid fighting in the war against Russia which started in 2022, the spokesman for Ukraine’s border service told Ukrinform news agency. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates and Ukraine concluded an economic agreement aimed at increasing their bilateral trade, which has fallen sharply from its pre-war level. – Bloomberg

Thousands of Russian soldiers are deserting the army, more than two years into the war started by President Vladimir Putin, according to Kyiv.Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR) said Monday that troops under Russia’s Southern Military District deployed to fight in the war are increasingly deserting their posts. – Newsweek

Alia Brahimi writes: To illustrate, last year the Libyan National Oil Corporation spent $17 billion importing fuel—in 2021 that figure was only $5 billion. Availability on the domestic market in no way reflects that increased supply—there are still queues around the block for petrol—meaning that the fuel is being smuggled out of Libya systematically and at record rates. And much of that fuel is being bought in the first place from Russia, through upstart brokers registered in Dubai and Turkey. Furthermore, despite an unprecedented budget of roughly $12 billion over two years, which exceeds even its funding during the Gaddafi era, there is little sign that the NOC is capable of ramping up production to help Europe cope with the fallout from Ukraine. – Newsweek


Turkey has told its NATO allies that Ankara will back the Netherlands’ outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s candidacy for the military alliance’s secretary general position, a senior Turkish official said Monday. – Associated Press 

Henri J. Barkey writes: As the Van crisis demonstrated, he will probe, push, and harass his opponents, including Imamoglu, and otherwise test the limits of what he can do. Opposition to Israel may satiate his need for international visibility on foreign policy. Still, he will find himself highly frustrated once the war is over and finds Turkey blocked from any future participation in the reconstruction of Gaza. – The National Interest 

Kate Johnston and Gibbs McKinley write: Turkey has a long way to go before it can be considered a liberal democratic country. Its democracy has declined precipitously in the past 15 years; but this election signals that there are pockets of resilience. That’s worth paying attention to. A more resilient Turkish democracy merits encouragement and hope—not least because, as a global swing state, the choices that Turkey makes may have an impact beyond its borders. – Foreign Policy


A missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels damaged a ship in the Red Sea on Monday, authorities said, the latest assault in their campaign against shipping in the crucial maritime route. – Associated Press

An explosive device detonated and killed six troops loyal to a United Arab Emirates-backed secessionist group Monday in southern Yemen, a military spokesman said, the latest attack blamed on al-Qaida militants in the impoverished Arab country. – Associated Press

Yemen’s Houthis said they targeted the MSC Orion container ship in a drone attack in the Indian Ocean as part of their ongoing campaign against international shipping in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel’s military actions in Gaza. – Reuters

An Italian navy ship shot down a drone fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels and targeting a European cargo, the Italian defence ministry said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Like other governments across the Middle East, Egypt has not been shy about its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its denunciations of Israel over the war in Gaza are loud and constant. State media outlets broadcast images of long lines of aid trucks waiting to cross from Egypt into Gaza, spotlighting Egypt’s role as the main  conduit for aid entering the besieged territory. – New York Times

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call on Monday from U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss the latest developments in negotiations over a ceasefire in Gaza and the dangers of a military escalation in Rafah, Egypt’s presidency said. – Reuters

Leaked photographs of the son of Libya’s late dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the tiny underground cell where he has been held for years in Lebanon have raised concerns in the north African nation as Libyan authorities demand improvements. – Associated Press

Syria has avoided getting embroiled in the Gaza war, experts said, despite a strike on a building near Iran’s Damascus consulate, blamed on Israel, that threatened to ignite a regional conflagration. – Agence France-Presse

Qatar was supposed to announce that if Hamas did not progress towards a prisoner swap deal, its leaders should have been removed from Doha by the Qatari authorities – but Qatar failed to keep its commitment on this, Israel Hayom reported. – Arutz Sheva

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné arrived in Lebanon on Sunday as part of diplomatic attempts to broker a de-escalation in the conflict on the Lebanon-Israel border. – Associated Press

Iraq has repatriated hundreds more of its citizens linked to the Islamic State group from a sprawling camp in northeastern Syria, Iraqi and Syrian officials said Monday. – Associated Press

Korean Peninsula

Emboldened by his party’s recent election win, South Korea’s opposition leader Lee Jae-myung pressured President Yoon Suk Yeol to accept special investigations into allegations involving top officials and his wife, as they met Monday for talks on bipartisan cooperation. – Associated Press

The debris from a missile that landed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Jan. 2 was from a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile, United Nations sanctions monitors told a Security Council committee in a report seen by Reuters on Monday. – Reuters

Timo Kivimäki writes: In the case of North Korea, the United States came closer to a peace agreement than ever before following the successful negotiation of the 1994 Negotiated Framework. Although it may not be feasible to resume talks from where Trump and Kim Jong-un left off during Trump’s presidency, a businesslike, relational, self-interested approach could at least avert a path toward conflict between North Korea and the United States. – National Interest

Victor Cha writes: The United States should help facilitate a larger global role for South Korea in nuclear security and safety, including a role in a second generation of nuclear security summits; a Korean director-general for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy and gold-standard safety and security; and a South Korean convening role in a Seoul-based Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) secretariat. – Centre for Strategic and International Studies


Chinese President Xi Jinping is heading to the European Union for the first time in five years with a clear message: Beijing offers much more of an economic opportunity for the bloc than the US wants to admit. – Bloomberg

Tesla received some encouraging news during CEO Elon Musk’s two-day visit to China, overcoming a major data security hurdle and sealing a deal to use maps created by China’s biggest search engine, moving it one step closer to being able to use its Autopilot technology in the country. – Washington Post

Brahma Chellaney writes: Throwing good money after bad and hoping for a miracle isn’t a strategy. Yet that exactly is the basis of the new foreign assistance package. A wise course for Biden would be to leverage the package by quietly pushing for a ceasefire in the Ukraine war through back-channel diplomacy. The alternative is to sap America’s strength by continuing to invest heavily in a failing war, thereby creating more strategic space for China to overthrow U.S. global preeminence. – The Hill

South Asia

The White House went to extraordinary lengths last year to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a state visit meant to bolster ties with an ascendant power and potential partner against China. – Washington Post

The disbursement of $1.1 billion by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will help Pakistan achieve greater economic stability, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday, amid discussions for a new loan programme. – Reuters

Born and raised in Pakistan to parents who fled neighboring Afghanistan half a century ago, an 18-year-old found himself at the mercy of police in Karachi who took his cash, phone and motorbike, and sent him to a deportation center. – Associated Press

Afghanistan’s Taliban face criticism over their human rights record at a U.N. meeting on Monday, with Washington accusing them of systematically depriving women and girls of their human rights. – Reuters

The White House said on Monday it viewed the reported role of the Indian intelligence service in two assassination plots in Canada and the United States as a serious matter. – Reuters


Four years ago, the U.S. and its oldest ally in Asia were close to breaking up. The Philippines had declared it wanted to exit a cornerstone defense pact between the countries. Then-President Rodrigo Duterte favored a realignment toward Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

The Philippines on Tuesday accused China’s coast guard of harassment and damaging one of its boats in a disputed area of the South China Sea, and rejected Beijing’s position that it had expelled two vessels from the hotly contested shoal. – Reuters

Manasseh Sogavare, the Solomon Islands prime minister who drew his nation close to China, sharpening the United States’ focus on the strategic importance of the Pacific Islands, has bowed out of the race for leader after an inconclusive election. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday his governing party’s major defeat in last weekend’s by-elections was largely due to a political fundraising scandal and that he would not step down or replace party executives to take responsibility. – Associated Press

Thailand’s foreign minister abruptly resigned in dissatisfaction over a Cabinet reshuffle that removed him as one of the country’s deputy prime ministers. – Associated Press

U.S., Philippine, and French amphibs and frigates drew the attention of Chinese surveillance ships and surface combatants as they sailed out of Philippine territorial waters into the disputed waters of the South China Sea over the weekend during Manila’s largest annual military exercise. – USNI News


NATO troops from 14 nations amassed last month in a wooded area here to take part in the alliance’s biggest military exercise since the Cold War. Once again, the focus was Russia. – Wall Street Journal

The leader of Scotland, First Minister Humza Yousaf, abruptly resigned Monday, roiling Scottish politics before general elections later this year. – Washington Post

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain declared on Monday that he would not resign, nearly a week after publicly raising the possibility in response to corruption accusations against his wife that he and other officials denounced as a smear campaign. – New York Times

Britain’s newly ratified plan to put asylum seekers on one-way flights to Rwanda has drawn objections from human rights groups, British and European courts, the House of Lords and even some members of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party. To that list, add another aggrieved party: Ireland. – New York Times

The European Union has decided to restrict its visa provisions for Ethiopian nationals due to a lack of co-operation from Ethiopia’s government over repatriating those who stay illegally, the EU Council said on Monday. – Reuters

The first asylum seekers to be deported from Britain to Rwanda will come from a group of 5,700 people that Kigali has agreed in principle to take, according to a British government document published on Monday. – Reuters

Russia is planning to target Moldova with a wave of so-called “hybrid” attacks in the run-up to its presidential election and referendum on joining the European Union later this year, according to people familiar with UK intelligence assessments. – Reuters

Polish farmers called off their protest at the last border crossing with Ukraine on Monday, lifting a blockade that has dragged on for months, soured bilateral relations and buffeted Ukraine’s trade. – Reuters

Nine people charged with terrorism in connection with an alleged far-right plot to topple the German government went on trial Monday in one of three linked cases. – Associated Press

Nearly all European Union countries are being targeted by pro-Russian online propaganda ahead of the bloc’s parliamentary elections in early June, France’s EU affairs minister said. – Bloomberg

Britain’s defense minister has stated that Italy has sent Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, lifting the lid on months of secrecy surrounding Italy’s supply of weaponry to Kyiv. – Defense News


Malian forces killed Abu Huzeifa, a commander for a West African affiliate of Islamic State, during a large-scale operation in the northern region of Menaka, the Malian authorities said in a statement read on state television on Monday. – Reuters

Voting got under way in legislative elections in Togo on Monday following approval of constitutional reforms by the outgoing parliament that could extend the 19-year-old rule of President Faure Gnassingbe. – Reuters

The United States and Britain on Monday called on Burkina Faso’s transition authorities to thoroughly investigate the killings of 223 civilians in two northern villages in February that were detailed in a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report and hold those responsible to account. – Reuters

The United States on Monday implored all countries supplying weapons to Sudan’s warring parties to halt arms sales, warning that history in the vast western Darfur region where there was a genocide 20 years ago “is repeating itself.” – Associated Press

 The United Nations has urged South Sudan to remove newly imposed taxes and charges that led to the suspension of U.N. food airdrops for thousands of people who depend on outside aid. – Associated Press

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov visited Sudan on Monday in a signal of support for the Sudanese army which is locked in a year-long war with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). – Reuters

The Americas

President Biden and the president of Mexico on Monday vowed combined action to prevent illegal immigration as Mr. Biden remains under intense political pressure from all sides to address the impact of surging border crossings ahead of the presidential election this year. – New York Times

Haiti’s new transition council is set to choose the country’s next president on Tuesday, but leaders of the gangs who have exerted increasing control are clamoring for political influence and amnesties and threatening violence if their demands are not met. – Reuters

Mexico is taking Ecuador to the top U.N. court Tuesday, accusing the nation of violating international law by storming the Mexican Embassy in Quito to arrest a former vice president who had just been granted asylum by Mexico. – Associated Press

The United Nations’ top court is ruling Tuesday on a request by Nicaragua for judges to order Germany to halt military aid to Israel, arguing that Berlin’s support enables acts of genocide and breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza. – Associated Press

Ecuador filed a complaint Monday at the top U.N. court over what it called Mexico’s illegal move to grant political asylum to a former Ecuadorian vice president, which led to Ecuador’s highly criticized raid on a Mexican embassy earlier this month. – Associated Press

The leading candidate to be Panama’s next president is a last-minute stand-in who promises to return the Central American country to a boom time that experts say will be difficult to recapture. – Associated Press

Haleigh Bartos, John Chin and Tyler Ashner write: Doing so will enable the United States to help put a foundation in place, ultimately, to build a lasting peace. Stabilizing Haiti will be a lengthy and resource-intensive process, but for now the best thing the United States can do is help curb the dire humanitarian situation and help intervening troops to effectively degrade the gangs. – War on the Rocks

William M. LeoGrande writes: Even though the current U.S. approach has no prospect of producing regime change, it is impoverishing the Cuban people who Biden claims to support, deepening the humanitarian crisis on the island and accelerating uncontrolled migration—none of which serves the interests of the United States, let alone the Cuban people. – Foreign Policy

United States

A new nuclear reactor reached commercial operation in Georgia on Monday, completing a project whose delays and sticker shock helped upend the near-term prospects for nuclear power in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

A coalition of lawyers domestic and abroad — including at least 20 that work in the Biden administration — are calling on President Joe Biden to halt military aid to Israel, arguing that its actions in Gaza do not comply with U.S. and international humanitarian law. – Politico

The International Criminal Court is being warned by members of Congress in both parties that arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials will be met with U.S. retaliation — and legislation to that effect is already in the works, Axios has learned. – Axios

Editorial: These are words to live by, for all colleges and universities. U.S. political culture is under stress but could emerge from this moment with its resistance to antisemitism and its commitment to free speech both strengthened. With enough firmness, fidelity to the Constitution and moral clarity, it will. – Washington Post

Jonathan G. Wachtel writes: Reprioritizing available resources across the U.S. budget to allocate more FMF dollars toward the Indo-Pacific is urgently required to achieve the U.S. Government’s National Security Strategy. It is time for Congress to make some tough calls by decisively increasing U.S. Foreign Military Financing to the region where the United States faces its most significant existential risk—the Indo-Pacific. – National Interest


Microsoft will invest $1.7 billion over the next four years in new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Indonesia — the single largest investment in Microsoft’s 29-year history in the country — Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday reported a 10-fold increase in operating profit for the last quarter as the expansion of artificial intelligence technologies drives a rebound in the markets for computer memory chips. – Associated Press

The Federal Communications Commission levied nearly $200 million in fines against four telecommunications giants Monday following an agency investigation that concluded the companies had sold location data of customers without their consent. – CyberScoop

The Telegram messaging app has restored access to chatbots used by Ukraine’s security services and intelligence agencies to collect data about Russian military activity after they were temporarily blocked, according to the Ukrainian state center of strategic communications. – The Record

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, the GUR, launched a cyberattack against the online services of Russia’s ruling United Russia party late last week, according to a source in the spy agency who spoke to several Ukrainian media outlets. – The Record

Jenny Jun writes: What is thus more important is to focus on the mediating factors and incentives that drive actors to develop, use, and apply AI in ways that favor U.S. strategic interests, rather than to conduct an overall net assessment of the technology’s impact on cyber operations or the cyber domain writ large. Doing so will also allow U.S. policymakers to prioritize focus on the most impactful and likely set of AI-enabled cyber threats, and how to best leverage AI-enabled capabilities to decrease the attack surface and respond more effectively to cyber threats. – War on the Rocks


The U.S. military’s cost estimate to build a pier off Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid has risen to $320 million, a U.S. defense official and a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

Helping island nations, like Vanuatu, protect their resources and enforce their laws is “a sweet spot” for the Coast Guard’s operations in the Pacific, Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan said Monday. – USNI News

An Air Force MQ-9 drone was forced to crash into the ocean due to a mechanical failure while flying over Africa last year, details in a new accident investigation report reveal. – Military.com 

U.S. Cyber Command, through the Defense Innovation Unit, has begun the process to standardize the gear that defensive cyber teams use to perform their missions. – DefenseScoop

Arun Seraphin and Diem Salmon write: Budget and resource allocation reform alone can’t guarantee the success of any DOD program. But without reform, the key to success to today’s multi-threat environment — having the agility to grow defense systems at the speed of innovation — will get harder and more expensive, while our ability to defend ourselves and our allies comes increasingly under question. – Defense News

Carmelia Scott-Skillern and P.W. Singer write: The landscape of war and geopolitics evolves relentlessly, demanding the adaptation of strategy, doctrine, structures, and equipment. It also demands the adaptation of the thing that makes all that possible: logistics. As the U.S. military looks to the future of the Army and its crucial role in deterrence and defense in the Pacific, far more effort and attention should be devoted to the questions of how to supply, support, and sustain the force. – War on the Rocks