Fdd's overnight brief

December 12, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

U.S. public opinion remains favorable toward Israel in its war with Hamas, but just over a third of Americans say they are equally sympathetic to both the Israeli and Palestinian people, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds. – Wall Street Journal

Since the Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel, Liran Kaminer has been sleeping with an ax, a knife and a first-aid kit within arm’s reach. He has stashed away empty beer bottles and gasoline for Molotov cocktails. And he has applied for a gun license. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said it had tightened its grip on Hamas strongholds across Gaza with heavy airstrikes and ground fighting overnight Sunday, as its forces raced to deliver a decisive blow to the militant group before international outrage over civilian deaths and a humanitarian collapse compels it to ease its attacks. – Washington Post

Four Palestinians were killed on Tuesday in a drone strike during an Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin and its refugee camp, the Palestinian health ministry and the Palestinian official news agency WAFA said. – Reuters

Israeli Sharon Alony-Cunio survived 52 days as a hostage in Gaza with her two little girls before she was released in an Israel-Hamas swap deal. But she fears for the life of her husband who is still captive in the bombarded Palestinian enclave. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday alluded to the complex relationship he has with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, suggesting the prime minister is in a “tough spot” and that the two have had their share of disagreements over the years and at present. – Reuters

Under U.S. pressure, Israel reversed its decision and is allowing Palestinian Americans who live in the occupied West Bank to enter its territory for the first time since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. – Axios

Walter Russell Mead writes: For all this, Israel’s worst enemies have only themselves to thank. The haters continue to build the Jewish state even as their barbarism frustrates the hopes of thoughtful Palestinians and those who wish them well. – Wall Street Journal

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: The Mossad is also reaching out in an unprecedented degree to allied foreign intelligence agencies to keep Israelis and Jews safe around the world in the current heightened post-October 7 threat environment. All of this is taking place at the same time that the agency continues needing to be the world’s lead player on preventing Iran from crossing the line to a nuclear weapon. At least for a moment on Sunday, the Cyprus announcement brought a reminder of the constant vigilance of Israel’s warriors in the shadows. – Jerusalem Post

Iran

Iran has put a European Union official from Sweden on trial for allegations that include spying for Israel and a charge that could carry the death penalty, according to Iranian state media, prompting renewed calls for his release. – New York Times

An Austrian man carried out “hostile reconnaissance” against a London-based television station critical of Iran’s government to collect information which could have been used in an attack on the channel, prosecutors told a London court on Monday. – Reuters

The only thing Iran and Israel share is that both do not believe in a two-state solution, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Monday via translation at an international forum in Doha. – Reuters

A legal complaint called Monday for Swiss authorities to arrest Iran’s president during an expected visit and charge him with crimes against humanity connected to a 1988 purge of dissidents. – Agence France-Presse

The continuation of the Gaza war will lead to a regional explosion, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the Doha Forum on Monday, as he explained that the scope of the conflict had already expanded to include Lebanon and Yemen. – Jerusalem Post

Muhammad Bakr Ghbeis writes: Yet Tehran claims to support the interests and ambitions of the region’s people. As Syria and Gaza suggest, this assumption is far from the truth. In Syria, millions revolted against Assad in support of democracy — moves the Islamic Republic actively worked against. The results are obvious — Syria has mostly devolved into a failed state, resulting in disastrous security implications across the region given Syria’s role as the “heart of the Middle East.” Gaza is another unfortunate repeat of this story. – The Hill

Russia & Ukraine

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s leading opposition figure, is missing from the penal colony where he has been imprisoned and his whereabouts are unknown, his spokeswoman and other allies said, prompting concern in Washington about his condition. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will hold high-level meetings in Washington on Tuesday as he faces his toughest test since Russian tanks bore down on Kyiv in late February 2022. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky enjoyed a hero’s welcome when he came to Washington almost a year ago, a dramatic 10-hour visit that included an address to Congress complete with several standing ovations. – Wall Street Journal

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) said Monday he was sticking to his position that any package delivering aid to Kyiv would have to include strict new border-security measures, underscoring the stalemate gripping Congress on the eve of a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. – Wall Street Journal

American and Ukrainian military leaders are searching for a new strategy that they can begin executing early next year to revive Kyiv’s fortunes and flagging support for the country’s war against Russia, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials. – New York Times

Russia’s presidential election next March will include voting in four regions of Ukraine that Russia claimed as its own territory last year, Interfax news agency quoted the central election commission as saying on Monday. – Reuters

A Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s capital early Monday destroyed several homes and left more than 100 households without electricity. – Associated Press

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved the disbursal of $900 million in aid to Ukraine, and urged other countries and lenders to follow through on their pledges to a $122 billion international package announced earlier this year. – Bloomberg

The House on Monday passed legislation that would bar imports of Russian uranium for nuclear power plants. – The Hill

Editorial: All of this temporizing has slowed Ukraine’s progress, and has led Mr. Putin to believe he can outlast Western support. Mr. Biden has also failed miserably to make a public case to Americans about Ukraine, which has played into the hands of Trumpian critics. In saner political times Republicans would criticize Mr. Biden for this weakness. Instead some want to give him a political excuse by abandoning Ukraine. A Commander in Chief with more fortitude would be working to forge a bipartisan coalition by laying out a strategy to help Ukraine win on the battlefield. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: There’s no simple answer, but there are choices to be made. The Biden administration should further tighten sanctions on Russia, especially the oil loophole that is allowing Russia to evade a West-imposed price cap and earn billions of dollars to fund the war. The United States should deliver a military package sufficient to see Ukraine through the hard year ahead, including much-needed ammunition, air defense munitions and more sophisticated weapons, such as air power. It is up to Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Biden and Congress to show the man in the Kremlin that democracy does work. That’s what Ukraine is fighting for. – Washington Post

Michael Rubin writes: Both Russians and those partial toward appeasing the Kremlin should beware: They may believe Russia can profit from its war in Ukraine, but they may instead be sowing the seeds for the end of the de facto empire that has existed under the guise of Russian statehood since the end of the 16th century. Putin may lament that the country he runs is 25% smaller than that ruled over by his Soviet predecessors, and he may dream of returning to Soviet borders. By reestablishing the fluidity of borders, however, he sets the stage for Russia’s contraction to its size during the reign of Feodor I. – Washington Examiner

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: Ukraine should get this aid package. Ukraine’s fight is noble and necessary for Western security. But Zelensky needs to do more to consolidate America’s support. Johnson’s emphasizing of these two concerns offers key ways to do so. – Washington Examiner

Mark Temnycky writes: Now, Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe must work together to make another push against the Russians. Should American and EU public support remain strong for Ukraine, and if American and European leaders can increase the speed at which they provide defense aid to Ukraine, then the Ukrainians will win. A Ukrainian victory is achievable. But the U.S. and Europe need to decide if they are determined to help Ukraine finally end the war. – The Hill

Afghanistan

The United States said on Monday it put sanctions on two former Afghan officials and 44 related entities for a corruption scheme in which they allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in U.S. government funds meant for Afghan security forces. – Reuters

Humanitarian concerns have been raised over Afghanistan being left out of United Nations climate negotiations for a third year in a row, as the country grapples with worsening drought and floods. – Reuters

About 200 members of Afghan special forces, trained and funded by the UK, face imminent deportation to their Taliban-controlled homeland, the BBC has learned. – BBC

Wahab Raofi writes: Sadly, the Pakistani government’s decision to deport Afghan refugees is fueling anti-Pakistani sentiment. This move risks creating a refuge for the TTP within Afghanistan, reminiscent of the hospitality extended to Afghans in Pakistan during Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. To counter the threat of extremism, Pakistan could leverage its soft power to build genuine economic ties with the Afghan population. Resorting to collective punishment by deporting refugees is not the solution. – The National Interest

Iraq

Dozens of attacks on U.S. military facilities by Iran-backed factions in Iraq over the past two months as the Israel-Hamas war has raged have forced Baghdad into a balancing act that’s becoming more difficult by the day. – Associated Press

A drone and rockets targeted two military bases in Iraq and Syria on Monday housing forces of the international coalition against the Daesh group, a US military official said. – Agence France-Presse

The Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq, which hosts U.S. military forces, was attacked, the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese network Al Mayadeen reported Monday evening. – Ynet

Turkey

Turkey’s military conducted air strikes in northern Iraq on Monday and destroyed 13 Kurdish militant targets, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, adding many militants had been “neutralised” in the attack. – Reuters

Turkish Cypriot authorities have denied an “unfounded and malicious allegation” by Israel that Iran was using northern Cyprus for “terrorism objectives”. – Reuters

The Turkish government is facing mounting pressure to seek the return of the Somali president’s son, who allegedly fled Turkey after causing a fatal traffic crash in Istanbul. – Associated Press

Turkey is in no rush to approve Sweden’s accession to NATO and may not discuss a protocol on it until the start of 2024, the head of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee said, the latest sign of delay in the military alliance’s drawn-out expansion. – Bloomberg

Lebanon

Israeli officials are warning Hezbollah to pull back its forces on the Lebanese border and stop firing missiles at Israel to avert another war as fighting also rages in the Gaza Strip. – Wall Street Journal

Israel used U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions in an October attack in southern Lebanon that injured at least nine civilians in what a rights group says should be investigated as a war crime, according to a Washington Post analysis of shell fragments found in a small village. – Washington Post

An Israeli shell killed the mayor of a Lebanese village on Monday, a relative and Lebanon’s National News Agency said, as Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah kept up hostilities ignited by the war in Gaza. – Reuters

Benny Avni writes: Ending in 2006 a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah, the UN Security Council passed its Resolution 1701. It purported to assure that no armed militia would be present south of Lebanon’s Litani River, located 18 miles north of the Israeli border. Yet, the resolution lacked teeth. Backed by Iran, Hezbollah, armed with 130,000 missiles, dominates southern Lebanon. With its elite Radwan force it is constantly intimidating residents of the Galilee. It’s one of the most dangerous situations in the Middle East. – New York Sun

Arabian Peninsula

The United Arab Emirates is conducting a mass trial of nearly 90 prisoners on terrorism charges as it hosts the United Nations’ COP28 climate summit, including one man whose case was highlighted by demonstrators at the negotiations, an activist organization reported Monday. – Associated Press

The United Arab Emirates flew senior diplomats from China, Russia, the UK and other countries to view Egypt’s border area with the Gaza Strip, as the Gulf state deepens its push for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. – Bloomberg

Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania received $19,772,237 in donations from Qatari and Saudi entities over the past two years, including from both nation’s governments, according to data collected by the Department of Education. – Washington Examiner

Yemen

A commercial ship was hit and set on fire by an anti-ship cruise missile in the southern Red Sea, an attack U.S. officials say came from the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. – New York Times

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency has received a report of an entity declaring itself to be the Yemeni navy ordering a vessel to alter course to an unspecified Yemeni port, it said in an X post early on Tuesday. – Reuters

A French frigate that shot down two drones in the Red Sea was acting in self-defense after coming under attack from the unmanned aerial vehicles, the Foreign Ministry in Paris said on Monday. – Agence France-Presse

Korean Peninsula

South Korea and the United States will hold talks on nuclear deterrence on Friday as part of Washington’s commitment to share more insight with Seoul into planning in the event of conflict with North Korea. – Reuters

An F-16 crashed in the Yellow Sea near South Korea after the fighter jet pilot ejected from the cockpit, according to the U.S. Air Force. – The Hill

An attempt to smuggle a $70,000 Lexus into North Korea was foiled by Japanese police last week, authorities said. – Newsweek

China

American companies, under heavy pressure to reduce their exposure to China, are increasingly turning to factories in places such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico. – Wall Street Journal

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for a relatively rare trip abroad, seeking to elevate ties with an important neighbor just three months after President Biden visited Hanoi on a similar mission. – New York Times

China is probing potential security risks related to geographical information going overseas, vowing to “cut off the evil hands” that steal data, another sign President Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on data flows. – Bloomberg

A Chinese national was taken into federal custody Thursday for allegedly covering Hanukkah decorations outside a Michigan Chabad with swastikas. – Washington Examiner

Dan Hannan writes: The trouble is that Rubio’s case, though inaccurate, is intuitive. Most people think that making stuff is more valuable than offering services; that growth in another country is a threat, not a boon; that jobs are a benefit rather than a cost (or, more accurately, a means to the end of greater prosperity); and that things were better in the good old days. I remember when Rubio blamed his defeat in the 2016 primaries on being too optimistic. Sadly, the Right as a whole has since descended into grumpiness. – Washington Examiner

South Asia

India’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld one of the most controversial decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the 2019 move to scrap the autonomy accorded to the disputed Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. – Wall Street Journal

A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle at a police station’s main gate in northwest Pakistan early Tuesday, killing at least six officers and wounding 25 others, officials said. Part of the building collapsed upon impact, local police officer Kamal Khan said. – Associated Press

India’s stock market value has overtaken Hong Kong’s to become the seventh largest in the world as optimism about the country’s economic prospects grows. – CNBC

Megha Mandavia writes: The alternative is a lot more coal power. About 29 GW of coal capacity additions are in the planning stages, according to Wood Mackenzie—but final investment decisions haven’t all been made. That is over and above the 25 GW of plants that are under construction. And the International Energy Agency estimates India’s average energy demand growth through 2024 at 6.5%. The world needs India’s support to win the climate war. Domestic reforms are also needed, but strong arming or guilt tripping won’t cut it. – Wall Street Journal

Asia

Taiwan’s new de facto ambassador to the United States, Alexander Yui, arrived in Washington on Monday, according to a tweet from a U.S. official, taking up Taipei’s highest-profile diplomatic post at a sensitive time ahead of the island’s election in January. – Reuters

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Monday he would draw the country closer to intelligence partners the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia, part of a renewed focus on security under the new right-of-centre government. – Reuters

Myanmar, already wracked by a brutal civil war, has regained the unenviable title of the world’s biggest opium producer, according to a U.N. agency report released Tuesday. – Associated Press

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet met with his Vietnamese counterpart on Monday on an official visit to boost relations between the neighboring Southeast Asian countries that are close but historically complicated. – Associated Press

Myanmar’s ruling junta said China is helping broker discussions with an alliance of rebel groups that has ramped up attacks along the border in recent months. – Bloomberg

Malaysia’s government can’t rule out whether a local charity funneled millions of dollars to Hamas, according to officials familiar with the matter, as it probes the group for allegedly supporting a conservative Islamist organization in the Southeast Asian nation. – Bloomberg

The U.S. slammed China for “reckless disregard” and provocative action after Chinese coast guard boats shot water cannons at Philippine ships and collided with a vessel in the South China Sea over the weekend. – The Hill

Donald Kirk writes: Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, in the first address ever by a Japanese leader to the Philippine congress, assured the Philippines that “trilateral cooperation to protect the freedom of the sea is underway.” Washington has joined Japan and the Philippines in recent exercises in the South China Sea — a portent, perhaps, of much more serious cooperation in defense of Philippine interests. – New York Sun

Europe

In a cathartic moment for many in Poland, centrist political veteran Donald Tusk got the nod on Monday to be the country’s next prime minister, marking the end of eight years of right-wing nationalist rule and a dramatic shift in the European political landscape. – Washington Post

Germany expects Israel to adapt its military strategy to better prevent suffering among Palestinian civilians, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday, marking a slight shift in Berlin towards a more critical stance of its ally. – Reuters

A 16-year-old teenager has been arrested for allegedly planning to attack a synagogue in Vienna, Austria’s top security official said Monday. – Associated Press

The European Union is considering punitive measures on Hamas leaders and Israeli settlers in response to violence stemming from the Israel-Hamas war, with both proposals discussed by the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. – Bloomberg

Bulgaria’s ruling coalition set out plans to drop a controversial tax on the transit of Russian gas through its territory, as the Balkan nation seeks to improve ties with European Union peers and join the Schengen visa-free travel area. – Bloomberg

European Union member states are growing frustrated with Hungary’s attempt to block funding for Ukraine and obstruct the opening of accession talks, risking a showdown at a meeting of its leaders just as US funding for Kyiv is also in doubt. – Bloomberg

The situation in Gaza is “catastrophic, apocalyptic,” with destruction proportionally “even greater” than that which Germany experienced in World War II, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said Monday. – Agence France-Presse

Africa

The Sudanese army and the rival paramilitary force it has been fighting for eight months have both cast doubt on an announcement by regional mediators that they had committed to a ceasefire and political dialogue. – Reuters

A 72-hour ceasefire has been agreed to by the parties involved in the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is backed by both the DRC and Rwanda, the White House said on Monday. – Reuters

Niger expects to export its first barrels of crude oil through a new Niger-Benin pipeline in January, the country’s military leader Abdourahamane Tiani said on state television. – Reuters

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso are eyeing a political and monetary alliance, Niger’s military leader said on national television of a move that could mark a further break with the West African regional bloc. – Reuters

The United Nations ended its 10-year peacekeeping mission in Mali on Monday following the government’s request that alleged the force was inadequate to respond to growing violent extremism in the West African nation. – Associated Press

Tensions between Congo and Rwanda have escalated, heightening the risk of a military confrontation that could draw in Burundi, the top U.N. official in Congo warned the Security Council on Monday. – Associated Press

A man charged with terrorism and other offenses over a 2022 fire that badly damaged South Africa’s historic Parliament complex in Cape Town was declared unfit to stand trial by a court on Monday. – Associated Press

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s attempt to block further court challenges to his migrant deportation policy raises major constitutional questions for the UK that may need to be thrashed out by judges before any flights can leave for Rwanda. – Bloomberg

West African leaders threatened to impose further sanctions or use force to restore civilian rule in Niger after a coup earlier this year. – Bloomberg

Latin America

When the anticorruption crusader Bernardo Arévalo won a landslide victory in Guatemala’s presidential race, voters streamed into the capital of Central America’s most populous country to celebrate. But as Mr. Arévalo’s foes intensify efforts to bar the president-elect from taking office just weeks from now, the mood on the streets has changed. – New York Times

Three Cubans are facing up to 30 years in jail for anti-government propaganda and violence, state-run media said, in attacks authorities allege were funded from outside Cuba and aimed to destabilize the island’s government. – Reuters

The leaders of Guyana and Venezuela have expressed their intentions to cooperate as they prepare to meet this week to address an escalating dispute over a region rich in oil and minerals. But their diametrically different positions over the role the International Court of Justice should have in the disagreement appeared impossible to reconcile on Monday. – Associated Press

Oil majors operating in Guyana’s waters are “moving ahead aggressively” with production plans despite Venezuela’s threats to take over the region in an escalating border conflict, according to President Irfaan Ali. – Bloomberg

The border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana is unlikely to escalate into a military conflict despite the growing hostile rhetoric between the South American nations, according to Chevron Corp.’s top executive. – Bloomberg

Argentina agreed to host a summit with Latin American leaders early next year as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy seeks to win support from the so-called Global South in the war with Russia, Ukraine said. – Bloomberg

Argentina’s central bank is restricting access to dollars at the official exchange rate until President Javier Milei’s administration announces the first measures of a promised shock-therapy program aimed at eradicating inflation. – Bloomberg

United States

U.S. officials were once shy to trumpet their willingness to bargain for American hostages’ freedom, believing it could encourage rogue groups to take more of them, but an unprecedented rise in detentions by hostile foreign governments has led Washington to turn that policy on its head. – Wall Street Journal

Special counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court on Monday to take up Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution and can’t face criminal charges related to efforts to overturn the November 2020 election, in an unusual effort to expedite a judgment crucial for moving the case speedily toward trial. – Wall Street Journal

Police in major cities including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco have seen a rise in reports of hateful events, including hate crimes, after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the nation’s subsequent military campaign in Gaza. Jews are often on the receiving end, according to cities that have broken down data, while reported attacks on Muslims—which include some of the most violent instances reported recently—are also on the rise. – Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump changed course on Sunday and said he wouldn’t testify again in his civil-fraud trial, an unexpected pivot in his defense against allegations that threaten the Republican presidential front-runner’s business empire. – Wall Street Journal

James D. Zirin writes: So whether Trump can be tried over Jan. 6 is in the hands of our highest court. We will know the answer before too long. Once the Supreme Court rules on the immunity and double jeopardy arguments, there will either be no reason for further pre-trial delays — or maybe no case at all. – The Hill

Cybersecurity

Google lost an antitrust case over the market power of its app store on Monday, a blow to the search giant as it faces other legal challenges to its search dominance and ad tech business. – Wall Street Journal

The Chinese military is ramping up its ability to disrupt key American infrastructure, including power and water utilities as well as communications and transportation systems, according to U.S. officials and industry security officials. – Washington Post

The Biden administration announced on Monday that BAE Systems, a defense contractor, will receive the first federal grant from a new program aimed at shoring up American manufacturing of critical semiconductors. – New York Times

A federal judge in Texas on Monday upheld a ban that prevented state employees from using TikTok, the Chinese-owned short-form video app, on government devices and networks, rejecting a challenge by lawyers who argued that the prohibition had violated the First Amendment. – New York Times

Taiwan’s financial system undergirds a $760 billion high-tech economy, but its vulnerability to advanced hacks has raised fears of a worst-case scenario: a full-blown cyberattack from China that sends its currency and markets into a tailspin. – Bloomberg

Members of Congress are asking the FBI to provide a classified briefing on its investigation into TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, citing “heightened” concern that the popular social platform poses a threat to American consumers and their data. – New York Sun

Microsoft has formed an alliance with a coalition of 60 labor unions to discuss the ramifications of the rise of artificial intelligence for employment. – Washington Examiner

Defense

The Air Force said Monday it has disciplined 15 military officers for dereliction of duty following an internal investigation of how Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman charged with taking and sharing highly classified information, went undetected for months. – Wall Street Journal

A top Pentagon official is stepping down at the end of the month, deepening the gap in confirmed leaders within the Defense Department’s policy shop as Sen. Tommy Tuberville continues his blockade of senior military and civilian nominations. – Politico

The U.S. must dominate in space and the technologies deployable there to maintain an advantage in future wars, according to Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy. – Defense News

The latest version of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Interceptor for homeland missile defense intercepted an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile in test Monday. – Defense News

The Defense Department would get limited authority to start working on urgent new programs before they are officially funded under a provision in the proposed fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. – Defense News

Stratolaunch’s massive Roc aircraft, named after the griffin-like creature, can carry as much as 500,000 pounds of payload, the equivalent of more than 33 large elephants. With a wingspan that stretches 385 feet, it’s the widest airplane in operation — and it takes up an entire hangar at the company’s manufacturing and test facilities at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. – Defense News

Long War

Editorial: The FBI has earned public skepticism after its abuses of power. But the 702 program provides vital intelligence that informs decisions at the highest level, and surveillance remains one of America’s few asymmetric advantages against terrorist networks and cells that only need to evade detection once. Section 702 has helped prevent another terrorist attack akin to 9/11, but al Qaeda and ISIS are still in business. War in the Middle East has increased the threat. The barbarism the world witnessed on Oct. 7 is a reminder that sometimes quietude means that enemies are merely biding their time. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Remember too that Hamas, as a paramilitary terror organization, flagrantly violates the laws of war. As witness its multiple and ongoing war crimes, including the unthinkable atrocities it committed on Oct. 7, its continued firing of rockets at Israeli civilian areas and its attacks on Gazan civilians trying to evacuate from combat areas. Efforts to draw moral equivalencies between Israel’s justified self-defense measures and the bloodthirsty, brutal-for-its-own-sake attacks on children, women and the elderly that define Hamas’ tactical approach are absurd — and horrifying. – New York Post

Editorial: But Hamas may also fear what they’ll say (particularly the women) if freed: “They don’t want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” the State Department’s Matthew Miller warned last week. Indeed, some freed hostages have already exposed the abominable conditions Hamas imposed. Israel’s goals remain the same: Free every hostage it can, and destroy Hamas completely. And the terrorists’ latest threat mainly shows why their destruction is a must. – New York Post