Fdd's overnight brief

April 9, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

After Israel pulled back its forces from Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, this weekend, civilians began to return. But following four months of war, the place they found was not the one they left.- Washington Post

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns presented a new proposal here to help advance a deal between Israel and Hamas to end the six-month war in Gaza and release remaining hostages. – Wall Street Journal

The Israeli military’s departure from southern Gaza over the weekend has left the territory without a major battlefield for the first time since a brief truce with Hamas in November, raising hopes that the two sides might reach another cease-fire. – New York Times

Hamas said early on Tuesday Israel’s proposal that it received from Qatari and Egyptian mediators did not meet any of the demands of Palestinian factions. However, the group added in a statement it would study the proposal, which it described as “intransigent”, and deliver its response to the mediators. – Reuters

The United Nations Security Council president on Monday referred the Palestinian Authority’s application to become a full member of the world body to the committee on the admission of new member. – Reuters

A boy staggered between tents in a Gaza displaced camp on Monday, his arms around a cardboard box of aid ahead of Islam’s Eid al-Fitr festival, six months into an Israeli air and ground campaign that has devastated the Palestinian enclave. – Reuters

Hamas rejected an Israeli ceasefire proposal made at talks in Cairo, a senior Hamas official said on Monday, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a date was set for an invasion of Rafah, Gaza’s last refuge for displaced Palestinians. – Reuters

A deal to release hostages held in Gaza is difficult but “doable”, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said on Monday after he and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the need for Israel and Hamas to resolve their conflict. – Reuters

Amnesty International on Monday said Israel must release the body of Palestinian Walid Daqqa, who died a day earlier in Israeli custody after a long battle with cancer. – Reuters

The White House welcomed on Monday the arrival on Sunday of more than 300 aid trucks in Gaza, but said it was pressing Israel to increase that number to around 350 a day, as talks continued on a hostage-release-and-ceasefire deal. – Reuters

The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has prompted calls for Washington to put conditions on the billions of dollars in military funding and other assistance it provides to Israel, which has received more U.S. foreign aid since World War Two than any other country. – Reuters

Pope Francis met Monday with relatives of hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, marking the six-month anniversary of the attack in southern Israel with an hourlong audience. – Associated Press

The U.S. is awaiting Hamas’s response to the latest ceasefire and hostage release offer, a White House official said on Monday. CIA Director Bill Burns was in Cairo, Egypt, over the weekend to participate in the negotiations, which are being brokered by the U.S., Egyptian, and Qatari governments. – Washington Examiner

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently suggested international offices could find Israel’s bombardment of Gaza constitutes as genocide in the enclave. – The Hill 

On Monday night, directed by IDF intelligence, IDF fighter jets struck and eliminated the terrorist Hatem Alramery, head of Hamas’ Emergency Bureau in the Gaza Central Camps. – Arutz Sheva

Senior Israeli officials said progress has been made in negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza that would include the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners, a move that drew criticism from far-right ministers who threatened to bring down the government. – Bloomberg

Far-right ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday over the IDF’s scaling back troops from Gaza and reports that Israel is willing to make concessions in a hostage deal that it had not been willing to make previously. – Jerusalem Post

Opposition leader Yair Lapid vowed to continue working for the freedom of the hostages in Hamas captivity and slammed those who were not speaking up in their defense at a Washington DC rally for Israel and the hostages on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli and Palestinian officials on Monday downplayed reports that a truce and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas could be reached as early as this week. – Times of Israel

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday he believes Israel has reached an “opportune moment” to bring about the release of hostages held in Gaza, but that such a move will require “difficult decisions.” – Times of Israel

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday released footage from the interrogation of the spokesman for the political wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, in which he admitted that the terror group tried to hide the fact that one of its rockets struck Al-Ahli Arab Hospital at the beginning of the war, as well as saying that terror operatives use “all hospitals in the Gaza Strip.” – Times of Israel

A ship-mounted version of the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted an apparent drone that entered Israeli airspace near the southernmost city of Eilat shortly before midnight on Monday, the military said, in what marked the first-ever operational use of the system. – Times of Israel

The Biden administration on Monday welcomed the uptick in humanitarian assistance that entered Gaza over the weekend following a series of steps unveiled by Israel, but reiterated that it was reserving judgment until the amount of aid increases further and is sustained over a long period of time. – Times of Israel

Editorial: As mentioned, everyone was looking in fearful anticipation towards the North, so when the announcement came, the fear was that the conclusion of the active invasion was a sign of something amiss. The IDF can be questioned on the micro-level, but what has it done in the past six months to warrant distrust on the macro level? Trust your military. It knows what it’s doing – and that is all we can hope for. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Israel’s commitment to preserving freedom of worship for all religions was upheld, and the Muslim worshipers behaved in a manner attuned to an awareness that their actions could curtail that freedom. Both sides won during Ramadan. The big loser? Hamas. – Jerusalem Post

Gerard Baker writes: Israel suffered an atrocity on Oct. 7 comparable to the Blitz yet has worked with restraint to limit inevitable civilian losses. If it can’t even be allowed to do that, we are placing impossible shackles on the fighting ability of democratic nations.Condemning and isolating our only real friend and ally in the Middle East will leave in place the people who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre and their sponsors. If this is the way we fight modern wars, our enemies will have freedom to commit acts of bestial savagery on us, knowing that our own scruples will give them an insuperable advantage. – Wall Street Journal

Andrew J. Tabler writes: Both Moscow and Abu Dhabi have close relations with Israel, which for nearly a decade has focused not only on the Syrian war but also on a settlement that has al-Assad remaining in control of the country, with Iran playing a subordinate role. Syria’s continued de facto partition between the U.S., Turkey, Russia and Iran, and notably the latter’s militias that spent months hitting U.S. forces in Eastern Syria (leading to the deaths of three American soldiers and multiple U.S. retaliatory strikes), shows good reason for Moscow and Abu Dhabi’s advice. – Al Majalla 

Kalman H. Ryesky writes: Biden has admonished the Jewish state in order to achieve the goal of capturing the votes of terrorist-supporting Arab citizens in Michigan and Minnesota for the November election. As a result, he has failed to blame Hamas for the death of Arab non-combatants, and instead, he condemns Israel. Hopefully, American voters will remember his falsehoods at the ballot box this November. – Jerusalem Post

Jason Silverman writes: The Israeli government needs to tap into some of Zionism’s root characteristics: A clear vision for creating a different reality than the one that exists today; the ability to have an open discussion on creative ideas for what that reality might look like; decisiveness regarding decision-making even amid disagreement; taking Jewish destiny into our own hands to bring about that envisioned reality. Otherwise, we’ll remain stuck in the same loop and, God forbid, another October 7 will befall us in the future. – Jerusalem Post

Ted Flum writes: “With this incentive, I am confident that the Gazan people and even perhaps Hamas members themselves will understand that there is no future with Hamas leadership in place and that the Gazan people will act to reclaim their future. The time to end this war is now but how it ends it is up to Hamas’ leadership and the people of Gaza.” – Jerusalem Post

Moran Zer Katzenstein writes: As Israel approaches a time of celebration and reflection, the need for unity and reform becomes more apparent. It is up to the citizens, united in their love for the country, to steer it towards a brighter future. By standing together against fear and division, Israel can rebuild and move forward, reclaiming its place on the world stage and within its own borders. – Jerusalem Post

Tzvi Joffre writes: These are all questions the IDF must ask itself – not after the war, not somewhere down the road, but right now. The excuse that “it’s the middle of a war” can no longer be used when this issue deeply affects the war effort itself. For the sake of our national security and moral code, they can not be kicked any further down the road. – Jerusalem Post

Susan Hattis Rolef writes: However, I believe that sticking to the facts in what one says is also of importance under the circumstances I have described. Lying, and perverting the portrayal of facts, might work for the Hamas as a fanatic, even criminal religious movement, and for dictatorships around the world. As long as we still view ourselves as a democracy – even if less of a liberal democracy and more as an electoral democracy – we should try to stick to facts, even if we sometimes have difficulty in agreeing among ourselves what the facts are. – Jerusalem Post

David Horovitz writes: For official Israel then, six months after October 7, the war is not at an end. Which makes sense, since its goals have not been achieved. Israel certainly still faces those “three big problems” cited by Dvori — how to return the hostages; how to bring the residents back home in the south and north; and how to set up an alternative to Hamas. And it needs to deal with all of this amid global hostility, diminishing US support, and rising internal division. Israel’s major ground war in Gaza is over. The state of war into which Israel was plunged by Hamas on October 7 is anything but. – Times of Israel

Brian Katulis, Randa Slim, and Vincent Carchidi write: The US has proposed a roadmap for resolving the ongoing conflict involving a series of security arrangements that would address the two sides’ respective demands while falling short of a full implementation of UNSCR 1701. This would entail Hezbollah withdrawing its troops, particularly its elite Radwan Forces, north of the border to the Litani River and the Lebanese army and UNIFIL increasing their presence in the area vacated by Hezbollah militants. In addition, the US would engage in a mediation effort between the two sides to resolve disputes over their land border, along the lines of its successful mediation effort on the maritime border. –  Middle East Institute

Kerry Anderson writes: Some Democratic politicians have suggested that Netanyahu is the problem. Schumer — a long-time supporter of Israel — recently called for new elections in Israel. If Netanyahu was no longer in power, it might blunt some of the criticism within the Democratic Party. However, the Israeli government currently includes many further right figures, and centrist politician Benny Gantz may not share U.S. goals such as a two-state solution. It is unlikely that changes in Israeli leadership would tamp down growing Democratic willingness to criticize Israel for long. Much may also depend on developments in the region. If Israel maintains a hard-right government and the civilian death toll in the current conflict continue to rise, it will reinforce these trends. – War on the Rocks

Iran

Iran’s foreign minister Monday accused the United States of giving Israel the “green light” for a strike on its consulate building in Syria that killed seven Iranian military officials including two generals. – Associated Press

In January, rebels fighting the Sudanese army shot down a drone near Khartoum. As jubilant gunmen posted video of the wreckage on social media, they offered a fresh data point on how Iranian technology is remaking the global weapons trade. – Bloomberg

The Islamic Republic of Iran is reportedly offering to forgo retaliating for the killing of its terrorist master in return for a Gaza cease-fire — even as its top terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, is taunting a “humiliated” Israel and its capitulation to American pressure. – New York Sun

The United Nations is kicking the can down the road when it comes to demands by the Palestinian Authority to be recognized as a permanent member state, a move which Israel’s UN envoy says would give legitimacy to “evil.” – New York Sun

The Islamic Republic of Iran is stoking violent discontent against the Hashemite Kingdom, with a view toward gaining control over Jordan as part of an expanded “Shiite Crescent.” – Iran International

As everyone waits for Tehran’s response to the alleged Israeli assassinations of a senior IRGC official, the former head of the IDF Operations Directorate, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, spoke on Sunday on Radio 103FM about how he sees the security situation. – Jerusalem Post

Ashdod’s Mayor Yehiel Lasri released an odd statement regarding the possibility of war with Iran and how to prepare for it, Maariv reported on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Neville Teller writes: However, the current sustained attacks on the world’s shipping by the Houthis, Iran’s agents, may have put a different complexion on the issue, while the blatant attempt to assassinate the journalist Zeraati on a London street could prove the clincher. Time will tell. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

When President Biden proposed an additional $24 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine in August, Moscow spin doctors working for the Kremlin were ready to try to undermine public support for the bill, internal Kremlin documents show. – Washington Post

Drone strikes hit Europe’s largest nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in occupied Ukraine, on Sunday, significantly increasing the risk of a major nuclear accident, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. – Washington Post

Russia and Ukraine are trading fresh accusations over renewed threats to Europe’s largest nuclear plant that has been caught up in the war, with Moscow alleging Ukraine was behind drone attacks on the facility that were witnessed by U.N. inspectors and Kyiv accusing Russia of disinformation tactics. – Associated Press

Russian attacks dispersed through different regions of Ukraine killed five people on Monday, officials said. A missile strike killed three people and injured at least eight in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, regional governor Ivan Fedorov said. – Reuters

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday his country had called an emergency meeting of the watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors over what it says are Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). – Reuters

Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, added his voice on Monday to growing calls from prominent Republicans to pass billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, after some party members accused aid opponents of succumbing to Russian propaganda. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin’s failure to halt a lethal terror attack by Tajik militants in Moscow last month has had some crushing side effects for Russia’s immigrants and ethnic minorities. – Politico

Forty years after 1984, the Big Lie is alive and well in the former Soviet Union. In the two weeks since terrorists killed or wounded almost 800 concertgoers at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, Russia’s state-controlled television has pumped out the fantasy that Ukraine was behind the attack. – New York Sun

Editorial: Every day the House delays makes Ukraine’s fight harder — and cuts the chance of a positive outcome to the conflict, even if U.S. assistance finally arrives. Mr. Johnson is reportedly preparing an aid package, despite his months-long quest to avoid alienating Mr. Trump and his supporters. Ukraine is out of time. Reality must finally prevail among House Republicans — or all they will be left with is shame. – Washington Post

Editorial: Japan’s humanitarian support goes beyond financial aid. Ukraine is now the most heavily mined country in the world, and Japan will help with the cleanup, drawing on expertise from removing mines and unexploded ordinance in Cambodia. Japan has provided portable X-ray and ultrasound machines and other life-saving equipment for regions of Ukraine where health facilities are under attack. – Wall Street Journal

Alexander Gabuev writes: And while they should not tolerate Russian and Chinese disinformation and attempts to subvert the functioning of international institutions, Western countries should seek to make some of these institutions, such as the United Nations and its related agencies, functional again even with Beijing and Moscow on board. When considering how to protect European and Asian security, rein in climate change, govern new disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, and address the challenges facing global financial architecture, Western policymakers must now reckon with the reality of an increasingly resolute Sino-Russian axis. – Foreign Affairs

Turkey

Turkey announced restrictions on exports to Israel after it opposed planned Turkish aid drops over the Gaza Strip and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced criticism for not stopping trade with the country. – Bloomberg

Israel has denied Turkey’s request to join air drops of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and Ankara will take new measures against Israel in response, its foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, said on Monday. – Times of Israel

Israel vowed Tuesday to take steps against Turkey, accusing it of violating trade deals between the two countries. – Agence France-Presse

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said dialogue was needed to resolve heightened friction between arch-rivals Pakistan and India during a meeting in Riyadh with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. – Reuters

The commander of a European Union naval mission in the Red Sea wants to significantly increase its size to better defend against possible attacks by Houthi rebels based in Yemen, as just four warships are patrolling an area twice the size of the 27-nation bloc. – Associated Press

The U.S. military said late Monday it destroyed a Houthi missile system in Yemen and an aerial drone launched by the militants over the Red Sea. – Voice of America

Middle East & North Africa

Pascal Sleiman, a coordinator in the Christian Lebanese Forces party, was kidnapped and killed in the Byblos District of northern Lebanon on Sunday, with officials expressing concerns the kidnapping could exacerbate already heavy tensions between various factions in Lebanon. – Jerusalem Post

A confidential report by a team of veteran US and Israeli intelligence professionals working on behalf of lawyers for the families of October 7 victims contends that Qatar should not be allowed to continue to serve as a key mediator in the Gaza conflict, notably in negotiations for the release of hostages. – Times of Israel

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian wrapped up a visit to Oman and was heading to Syria’s capital Damascus a week after Iran’s consulate there was targeted in a suspected Israeli attack, Iranian state media reported on Monday. – Times of Israel

An Iranian general killed in a strike in Syria’s capital last week was a member of Hezbollah’s Shura Council, the powerful Lebanese terror group’s decision-making body, a source close to the movement said. – Agence France-Presse

King Abdullah II, Emmanuel Macron, and Abdel Fatah El-Sisi write: We stress our determination to step up our joint efforts to effectively bring about the two-state solution. The establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of the two-state solution, in accordance with international law and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, to live side by side in peace and security with Israel, is the only way to achieve true peace. The Security Council must play a role in decisively reopening this horizon for peace. – Washington Post

Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson write: Although the current crisis may reflect a serious regional breakdown, it has also starkly exposed the limits of American power in the region and illuminated the risks that the large and enduring U.S. presence in the region poses. The irony in the situation is that the United States has had greater influence in Tehran than in Jerusalem. Even leaving aside the question of American power and influence, there is really no power vacuum for Washington to fill. The major states in the region are figuring out, albeit sloppily and improbably, how to manage their problems themselves. It is a self-regulating system. In that light, Washington may be best able to protect its interests in the Middle East from a distance. – Foreign Affairs

Korean Peninsula

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will travel to the heavily armed Korean border and meet North Korean defectors in South Korea, her office said on Monday, amid faltering U.N. efforts to ensure sanctions enforcement against the North – Reuters

North Korea’s state-controlled media has called President Yoon Suk Yeol of its neighbour South Korea a “fascist dictator” and a “warmonger” a day before elections that will determine the makeup of parliament, currently dominated by Yoon’s opponents. – Reuters

A top Chinese leader will lead a delegation to North Korea this week, both countries announced Tuesday. Zhao Leji, who is chairman of the National People’s Congress and considered the No. 3 official in the ruling Communist Party, will visit North Korea from Thursday to Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. – Associated Press

China

The United States will not accept another wave of cheap Chinese goods that flood global markets and hurt both American businesses and American workers, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in Beijing on Monday at the end of a four-day visit through the country. – Washington Post

Chinese officials have dismissed concerns raised by the U.S. Treasury Secretary that it should scale back on industrial production, saying that the country is developing its economy appropriately and warning against the use of protectionism. – Wall Street Journal

China is intensifying a dangerous game in the South China Sea, in ways that risk drawing the U.S. into its fight with the Philippines.  In early March, two Chinese coast guard ships slammed a Philippines boat with high-pressure blasts of water cannon, smashing its windshield and preventing it from delivering supplies to a military outpost. – Wall Street Journal

China constantly uses coercion and pressures other countries, including Japan and the Philippines, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said on Monday. – Reuters

Russia and China have agreed to discuss ways to deepen security cooperation across Europe and Asia to counter attempts by the United States to impose its will on the region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks in Beijing. – Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Beijing Monday to display the strength of ties with close diplomatic partner China amid Moscow’s grinding war against Ukraine and an ongoing effort to align their foreign policies against the U.S. and its allies. – Associated Press

China cultivated TikTok influencers in Taiwan and elsewhere to spread specific disinformation, even as U.S. lawmakers and free-speech advocates debate threats posed by the social-media platform, Taiwanese researchers said Monday. – Defense One

Walter Russell Mead writes: Better security cooperation with Japan, a goal of this week’s talks, can help at the margins, but a serious policy for the Indo-Pacific requires larger investments from the U.S. than Team Biden is currently ready to provide. As a result, American policy in Asia is to speak loudly while brandishing a small stick. If we persist, it won’t matter how many toasts American and Japanese leaders drink together or how many memos of understanding they sign. Unless we get the basics right, Mr. Xi’s China will one day call our bluff. – Wall Street Journal

Minxin Pei writes: Doubters should recall that US-Soviet detente did not transform the two adversaries into friends. It was never intended to do so. What it accomplished was to avoid a calamity. If more jaw-jaw between the US and China manages to do the same, both nations should count themselves lucky. – Bloomberg

Karishma Vaswani writes: China under Xi has drawn suspicion from both sides of the political spectrum in the US. That’s meant a harsher, more strident approach toward Beijing— and that has benefited Taiwan. Still, the island knows all too well how quickly things can change: A new president in the White House could reverse course dramatically. Taipei is used to braving it alone, but a little help from its friends never hurts. – Bloomberg

David Fickling writes: In acting as the standard-bearer for this policy, Yellen is rejecting fundamental principles of economics to justify a policy of restricting public access to affordable and clean technology. It’s a protectionist disaster in the making — for both the US, and the planet. – Bloomberg

Asia

The leaders of the United States and Japan this week will commit to modernizing their military alliance, with the aim of eventually creating a truly operational hub for the most consequential defense partnership in the Pacific. – Washington Post

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is transforming the small Japanese farm town of Kikuyo into a key node in Asia’s chip supply chain. – New York Times

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making an official visit to the United States this week. He will hold a summit with President Joe Biden that’s meant to achieve a major upgrading of their defense alliance. – Associated Press

Guerrilla fighters from Myanmar’s Karen ethnic minority claimed Monday to be close to seizing control of a major trading town bordering Thailand, as soldiers and civil servants loyal to the military government appeared to be preparing to abandon their positions – Associated Press

Taiwan’s annual war games this year will practice “kill” zones at sea to break a blockade and simulate a scenario where China suddenly turns one of its regular drills around the island into an actual attack, the defence ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United States’ military presence in Japan has always been a stumbling block in Moscow and Tokyo reaching a peace treaty, the Kremlin said on Monday. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is due to hold a summit in Washington this week with U.S. President Joe Biden, the first state visit by a Japanese leader in nine years. – Reuters

Australia has hosed down speculation Japan may be formally invited to join the Aukus security partnership, saying Tokyo’s involvement would be limited to cooperation on developing advanced technologies. – Bloomberg

A new era of global rearmament is gathering pace, and it will mean vast costs and some tough decisions for western governments already struggling with shaky public finances. – Bloomberg

James Stavridis writes: Over time, the idea of more formally connecting the world’s democracies is appealing, especially in an era of authoritarian aggression. Perhaps Biden can get the discussion rolling with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines this week. And it certainly merits serious consideration in Asian capitals and at NATO headquarters in Brussels. If the college sports icons of Los Angeles can join those of the Rust Belt, anything can happen. – Bloomberg

Japan is poised to emerge as a military industrial heavyweight to help the United States counteract China, President Joe Biden’s administration believes. “Our military industrial capabilities are not equal to the challenges and commitments we have,” Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, the lead U.S. envoy to Japan, said Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Japan … [is opening up] an industrial capacity of Japan to be part of a solution that is a global challenge.” – Washington Examiner

Europe

Britain said on Monday that consultations on future cooperation between its AUKUS security pact partners, the U.S. and Australia, and other nations including Japan were set to begin this year. – Reuters 

Austria faces its biggest espionage scandal in decades as the arrest of a former intelligence officer brings to light evidence of extensive Russian infiltration, lax official oversight and behavior worthy of a spy novel. – Associated Press

Lithuanian leaders hailed a “historic event” as Germany on Monday began deploying troops in the Baltic country — a NATO member — marking the first time since World War II that German forces will be based outside the country on a long-term basis. – Associated Press

Police on Monday arrested a Tajik national accused of being an active member of the Islamic State group after he landed at Rome’s international airport on a flight from the Netherlands, authorities said. – Associated Press

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron is expected to urge U.S. lawmakers to approve a new package of aid for Ukraine when he visits Washington this week, warning Congress that it is putting the security of the West at risk by continuing to hold up the funding. – Associated Press

Africa

The U.S. must boost commercial ties with African countries to curb reliance on China for supplies of critical minerals, a Washington-based think tank said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund on Monday said its staff reached agreement with authorities from Ivory Coast on a review of two lending programs, which will pave the way for disbursement of $574 million, once approved by the IMF’s executive board. – Reuters

Alex de Waal and Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe write: Fomenting instability in the Red Sea arena is in no one’s interest. The United States should be working with all its Middle Eastern allies—and with partners in Asia and Europe, as well as the African Union—on a formula for collective security on both shores of the Red Sea. Part of this formula must be an Ethiopian government that plays by the rules and is not offered powerful incentives to break them. – Foreign Affairs

The Americas

Canada, under U.S. pressure to boost defense spending, on Monday pledged billions more for the armed forces and said military expenditures would be closer to the NATO target by 2030. – Reuters

A former Venezuelan general with close ties to the late leftist president Hugo Chavez was sentenced to 21-2/3 years in prison in the United States on Monday for supplying weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group. – Reuters

Canada’s domestic spy agency concluded that China interfered in the last two elections, an official probe heard on Monday, the firmest evidence so far of suspected Chinese meddling in Canadian politics. – Reuters

A bipartisan group of US senators urged President Joe Biden to punish Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro for attacks against his top opposition rival, saying that an upcoming election fails to meet the promise of a free and fair vote. – Bloomberg

The global condemnation of Ecuador’s government for its decision to break into the Mexican Embassy snowballed Sunday with more presidents and other leaders expressing disapproval, shock and dismay. – Associated Press

United States

“There’s no desire to over-militarize or create a theme of a contested battlespace in the Arctic,” Vice Adm. Douglas Perry, the commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet, said at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference Monday. – Defense News

Jacob Shapiro and Liam Collins write: If the nation fails to diversify its national security investments to retain hard-earned irregular warfare skills and capabilities, the United States will have more costly failures and fewer inexpensive successes. And the Cold War teaches us that this combination is a recipe for failure in long-run great-power competition. – War on the Rocks

Eric Lies writes: AUKUS demonstrates that the United States will stay involved in the region and bolster its allies’ capabilities through cooperation. This does not mean the United States is getting nothing in return. The U.S.-led system has provided Americans access to high-quality and reasonably priced goods and services. It has given American businesses opportunities to expand overseas and support American jobs that otherwise would never have existed. It has kept the United States safe for seventy years and has cost far less than going alone would have. AUKUS deepens these relationships, strengthens collaboration, and primes the United States strategically for an increasingly volatile world. AUKUS helps the region. AUKUS helps Australia and the UK. AUKUS helps the United States. That’s why the United States needs AUKUS. – The National Interest

Cybersecurity

The government of Palau denied several new claims by a ransomware gang that the two sides were in contact following an attack last month. The DragonForce ransomware gang officially posted Palau to its leak site on Sunday, threatening to publish data stolen from the island-nation’s government in three days. – The Record

A comprehensive data privacy bill unveiled Sunday would offer historic privacy protections and appears to have momentum on both sides of the aisle. – The Record

Beijing-linked influence operations have begun to use generative artificial intelligence to amplify controversial domestic issues in places like the U.S. and Taiwan, according to new research. – The Record

Russian prosecutors initiated a rare criminal case against two executives of a local flight booking platform, called Leonardo, after hackers breached the company’s systems last year, as reported by local media. – The Record

Officials in Westminster are being urged to put more money behind operations to disrupt ransomware gangs in the wake of a growing number of attacks impacting a wide range of services. The Record

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it has signed memorandum of understanding and cooperation in cybersecurity with the National Bank of Ukraine. The Memorandum renews the shared understanding on cybersecurity and operational resilience, which has been in place since 2020. As a part of that effort, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) facilitates an ongoing exchange of information between the National Bank of Ukraine and the Treasury Department. – Treasury Department

Thomas P. Vartanian writes: Old-world solutions have been tried in response to these new-world problems. Ransomware insurance, for example, reimburses companies for payments made to unlock their data. But this is precisely the wrong way to eliminate a business built upon the extortion of money, telling cybercriminals that there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Making the payment of ransomware illegal would, as in Italy, undercut the reason to engage in the business. But that would make it imperative that organizations isolate their data in secure, reliable and immediately available backup systems — an aspirational goal at best. Not much will change until policymakers decide to reconfigure the internet and control the financial lubrication that allows crimes like ransomware to work: cryptocurrencies. – The Hill

Defense

The U.S. Army is introducing a joint battlefield training in the Philippines to improve combat readiness including by ensuring adequate supply of ammunition and other needs in difficult conditions in tropical jungles and on scattered islands, a U.S. general said. – Associated Press

The U.S. and its partners are not aiming to create a contested environment in the Arctic – despite an uptick in presence and exercises in the region. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will study amphibious warship readiness and how the services can get ahead of ship maintenance challenges, the top Navy officer told reporters today. – Defense News

Shield AI in the next year plans to have its Hivemind digital pilot working aboard three additional types of aircraft, bringing the total to nine. The California-based company has already folded the autonomous flight software into three classes of quadcopters, its own V-Bat drone, the F-16 fighter jet and the Kratos-made MQM-178 Firejet drone. – Defense News

Two defense companies separated by vast stretches of water are collaborating on drone boats capable of spotting submarines. U.S.-based Saildrone and Thales Australia, a division of France-based Thales Group, on April 8 said they would outfit the former’s Surveyor unmanned surface vessels with the latter’s BlueSentry towed arrays capable of detecting and classifying crafts on or below the waves. – Defense News

Big deck amphib USS America (LHA-6), other U.S. Navy ships, and a submarine wrapped up the Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training 24 drill with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Philippine Sea on Saturday. – USNI News

Another one of the Navy’s big-deck amphibious warships could deploy late, as the service faces maintenance backlogs for the amphibious fleet. Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1), which is currently in the middle of workups ahead of deployment, may leave later than expected, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said on Monday. – USNI News

Six months into his tenure, the newest Army chief of staff canceled plans for a sleek, futuristic helicopter, a decision that reflects new priorities for the service—and just might epitomize a new era of agility. Unlike earlier multibillion-dollar programs scuttled for bad program design or cost overruns, Gen. Randy George axed the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, or FARA, to accommodate major changes in warfare—in particular, those seen in Ukraine—that demand new tech such as loitering munitions and drones. – Defense One

The Marine Corps is leaning into its transformation into a lighter service of futuristic weapons, advanced logistics, and leaner formations, but it could move even faster if its budget weren’t flat. – Defense One

Reports that Russia might be developing a nuclear space weapon underscore what Pentagon officials have been saying for a few years now: space is no longer an uncontested domain. That’s why the Space Force is shifting its focus to a “warfighting posture” and spending money on programs to help fend off attacks in space—even in a year when the young service’s rising budgets are being brought down to Earth. – Defense One

The great strategic reorientation of the past decade—from counterterrorism to great power competition—is now unfolding against changes in the conduct of war itself. Air Force leaders are working to meet the challenges through a dramatic reorganization, rethinking how to deploy forces, and a renewed focus on uncrewed systems and next-gen technologies. – Defense One

Officials from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia today seemed to express confidence that new members could be added to the AUKUS agreement without becoming a distraction from the already-underway submarine work — only for the Australian prime minister to tempter expectations. – Breaking Defense

After decades of enjoying authority over how the US defense enterprise and Intelligence Community get access to satellite-gathered intelligence, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is in the midst of battle on two fronts to protect its turf in the heavens, each of which threatens to chip away at the storied agency’s founding purpose. – Breaking Defense

Jerry McGinn, Mikhail Grinberg, and Lloyd Everhart write: Another promising avenue the DOD can use to incentivize investment by the larger primes revolves around program performance. Secretary del Toro has justly emphasized in his recent remarks that “industry must deliver platforms and capabilities on time and on budget for the sake of our warfighters who are in harm’s way.” How about, for example, rewarding contractors with substantial profit-margin expansion opportunities for delivering ahead of terms, and punishing them more severely for missing the mark? The beauty of a commercially viable defense industry is that its participants are responsive to incentives. – Defense News

Long War

Editorial: At the very least, Afghanistan’s neighbors have a shared interest in improving security training and tightening border crossings to disrupt the flow of weapons and fighters. All countries should back the return of United Nations counterterrorism monitors to Afghanistan, to enable a common assessment of the threat. – Bloomberg