Fdd's overnight brief

December 7, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

The southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis is a critical target for Israel’s military—strategically and symbolically. The centuries-old market town is the suspected hiding place of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and the militant group’s most significant remaining military stronghold. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said it has killed about half of Hamas’s midlevel commanders in Gaza and is pressing on the suspected hiding place of the group’s leader, deploying a deliberate strategy to disrupt the militants’ ability to fight in the enclave. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip has reduced entire neighborhoods to dust. The resumption of fighting and intensified airstrikes on southern Gaza after a week-long pause could mean that even more of the territory could meet the same fate. – Washington Post

On a military base in the center of this biblical desert city, Israeli officials sit in a small control room lined with maps and monitors, charged with directing the movement of panicked civilians in war-ravaged Gaza. – Washington Post

Hamas spent more than a year planning its historic assault on Israel, following battle plans built on open-source materials and high-level intelligence, Israeli intelligence officers told a small group of journalists this week. – Washington Post

Faced with fierce fighting in the south of Gaza, large numbers of civilians have fled to a tiny seaside village where Israel has said they can find safety. Its name is Al-Mawasi — and once there, Gazans have found no shelter, no humanitarian aid and little in the way even of basic infrastructure. – New York Times

The Israeli military has released a photo of 11 senior Hamas military leaders gathered in a tunnel beneath Gaza and said that five of them had been killed. – New York Times

The U.S. would object to any proposed buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip as it would violate Washington’s position that the size of the Palestinian enclave must not be reduced after the current conflict, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Yemen’s Houthi group launched several ballistic missiles at military posts in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, the group’s military spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

Israeli troops battled Hamas in the heart of south Gaza’s biggest city and said they had surrounded the militant leader’s house as thousands of displaced civilians sought shelter near Egypt and in a desolate seaside area of the enclave. – Reuters

Turkey rejects plans to establish a post-war buffer zone in Gaza because it would be disrespectful to Palestinians, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Wednesday. – Reuters

Jerusalem is seething over the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who is activating, for the first time during his tenure, a special power to convene the organization’s most powerful body to call for Israel to end its offensive against Gaza. – New York Sun

The Biden administration is urging Israel to open a second Gaza crossing so more humanitarian aid can reach Palestinians, three U.S. officials and three aid group leaders said — but Israel has so far rebuffed those requests. – Politico

Advocacy organizations supporting Israel in its war with Hamas have spent roughly 100 times more on advertising via Meta’s social media platforms in the last month compared to groups aligned with Palestinians and Arabs, according to an analysis by POLITICO. – Politico

Hamas provided Israel with intelligence on fellow Gaza-based terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the months leading up to the former’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel, The Washington Post reported on Thursday morning. – Jerusalem Post

Israel on Wednesday approved a “minimal” increase in fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip to prevent a humanitarian crisis, two months into a war with the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers following the terror group’s unprecedented assault on Israel on October 7 when terrorists killed 1,200, mostly civilians, and took some 240 hostages. – Times of Israel

On Oct. 10, al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, claimed responsibility for launching the first barrage of rockets from southern Lebanon toward Galilee. This act was in support of the Islamist movement’s Al-Aqsa Flood operation in Israel. Before this incident, Hamas’ political wing had maintained a relatively low profile in Lebanon, operating within and outside the country’s 12 Palestinian camps. – L’Orient-Le Jour

The Justice Department is investigating the deaths and kidnappings of Americans during the Hamas attack against Israel on Oct. 7, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Qanta A. Ahmed writes: Zimeray is also seeking an international arrest warrant for wealthy Hamas leaders who have been able to travel the world — until recent U.S. and British sanctions — more or less with impunity. So the wheels of justice have begun to turn, however slowly. In the meantime, the work of identifying the victims of this crime against humanity continues. The world may never know the names of all who died, but it has an obligation to recognize what was done to them — and to punish the perpetrators. – Washington Post

Chris Van Hollen writes: Ensuring these standards are upheld — and providing the mechanisms to monitor them — should not be controversial. It is in our strategic best interest and in the best interest of Israel and all our partners. Even during this bleak time in Israel and Gaza, we must keep one eye on the future and the need to not only prevent a regional war that could burn for more than a decade but also to advance a political solution to enable millions of Israelis and Palestinians living side by side to do so in peace and dignity. How that future unfolds will depend on how the war in Gaza proceeds — and how it ends. As Israel’s closest friend, we have an outsize role to play in that story. – Washington Post

Abe Silberstein and Yaël Mizrahi-Arnaud write: In formulating its plan for Gaza, the United States should take a decisive turn away from conflict management and finally work toward conflict resolution. Today, a Palestinian who was a young man in 1993 when the Oslo peace process began is now a grandfather approaching the end of his career. After nearly 20 years of failed policy, conditions in both the West Bank and Gaza have only deteriorated, and Israel is no more secure as a result. Indefinitely delaying Palestinian statehood to the point where it becomes almost impossible has only strengthened violent actors like Hamas. Washington can help break this cycle by strengthening the Palestinian Authority and recognizing a Palestinian state. – War on the Rocks

Steven A. Cook and Eni Enrico Mattei write: Whether the Israeli public wants to occupy the Gaza Strip remains an open question, but as Israeli friends and interlocutors have relayed to me over the past two months, they are confronted with an impossible situation in the current conflict. They want nothing more than to wash their hands of the Palestinian issue and to have security. They thought withdrawal from Gaza would advance those goals, but the Oct. 7 attacks shattered that belief. That is why no one should be surprised when the Israelis reoccupy Gaza. For Israelis who crave security, there is likely no other choice. – Foreign Policy

Iran

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two oil tankers carrying about 4.5 million liters of fuel on Wednesday, claiming that the tankers were smuggling fuel, according to Iranian media. – Jerusalem Post

Iranian security forces used rape and sexual violence to torture, punish and inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on protesters as young as 12 during the country’s nationwide protests last year, a report says. – The Guardian

A Tehran court has ordered the U.S. government to pay nearly $50 billion in damages for assassinating a top Iranian general nearly four years ago, the judiciary said Wednesday. – Voice of America

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: By press time, neither Israel nor the US had responded. This is not because they have not responded in the past and declared such launches threats, but rather it seems that they do not want to draw attention to their lack of a response when their hands are full with Gaza. The next question is will the Islamic Republic take the lack of a reaction as an invitation to press forward faster? – Jerusalem Post

Joe Buccino writes: Supreme Leader Khamenei is a rational actor. As president and supreme leader, he has held power in the world’s most volatile region for four decades. He understands violence and its cost. He must be made to understand precisely how far he can go in provocations without prompting a war between two states looking to avoid one. Washington must be willing to impose significant costs on Iran for its actions – Military.com

Russia & Ukraine

U.S. prosecutors accused four Russian military personnel of abducting and torturing an American in Ukraine, the first war crimes the U.S. has formally charged in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a procedural vote to advance a national security bill that includes billions of dollars in Ukraine aid because it includes no changes to border security policy. – Washington Post

The nation’s top law enforcement officials on Wednesday announced war crimes charges against four Russian soldiers accused of torturing an American in the Ukraine war — saying it was the first time the United States has brought an indictment based on a war crimes statute passed nearly 30 years ago. – Washington Post

As Ukraine steps up efforts to press for more military support for its conflict with Russia, political frictions have emerged at a critical moment for the country. – New York Times

Ukraine’s latest list of U.S. weapons it says it needs to fight the Russian military includes sophisticated air defense systems, F-18 “Hornet” fighter jets, drones, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, according to documents seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff on Wednesday said he wanted to arrange a meeting between the Ukrainian and Hungarian leaders amid Budapest’s opposition to a proposal to start talks on European Union membership for Kyiv. – Reuters

A driver was killed and grain infrastructure damaged by a Russian drone attack on Ukrainian grain infrastructure near the Danube River, the governor of Odesa region said on Thursday. – Reuters

A former Ukrainian lawmaker regarded by Kyiv as a traitor was shot dead near Moscow on Wednesday and a Ukrainian source said he was killed by the country’s security service. Illia Kyva was a pro-Russian member of Ukraine’s parliament before Moscow invaded in February 2022, but had been in Russia throughout the war and frequently criticised Ukrainian authorities online. – Reuters

Russia launched a major drone attack on southern, central and eastern Ukrainian regions overnight, damaging privately-owned and commercial buildings as well as infrastructure, Kyiv officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

With parliamentarians in Washington and Brussels wrangling over Ukraine military aid packages totaling $114 billion, Western pledges to Ukraine are down 87 percent this fall from a year ago. That’s according to new data released to The New York Sun by the Germany-based Kiel Institute. The Institute also reports in a new survey to be released Thursday that this year the EU topped the United States as top provider of heavy weapons to Ukraine – New York Sun

Editorial: The President may take some short-term heat from his left, but improving border security will help him with swing voters next year by addressing an urgent problem. He would also avoid the political ignominy of presiding over the collapse of a foreign-policy priority, and perhaps of our allies in Ukraine. Mr. Biden campaigned as a pragmatist who could cut bipartisan deals. Well, here we are. Ukraine and Israel are political emergencies, and the Commander in Chief has to do what it takes to get a deal done. – Wall Street Journal

Ariel Cohen writes: Much will depend on the levels of Russia’s support to militant Islamists, yet it looks like Moscow is reverting to its old Soviet-style hard-core anti-Israel and anti-Western stance in the Middle East. The de-facto alliance with Iran against Israel, the moderate Arab states, and the United States may make things worse, not better, as Putin discards any pretense of balance. – The National Interest

Robbie Gramer, Amy Mackinnon, and Jack Detsch write: Across the pond, European Union officials have also said that they are far short of the 27-nation bloc’s target to produce 1 million 155 mm rounds by early 2024. Any break in the deliveries of U.S. weapons and ammo might give Russia more opportunity to reconstitute its devastated ground forces in Ukraine, meaning the political battles on Capitol Hill could have very stark consequences for the real battles in Ukraine. – Foreign Policy

Franz-Stefan Gady writes: It may well be true that the massed armor attacks taught by the NATO training books will be extremely difficult on a more transparent battlefield, but the idea that pervasive surveillance has put an end to decisive offensive operations is incomplete at best. The timing and synchronization of military operations, when factoring in the environmental conditions of the battlefield, creates windows of opportunity to escape surveillance. While seizing these windows of opportunity may not immediately lead to decisive outcomes, it can help set the conditions for future larger-scale assaults and ultimately contribute to breaking the deadlock. To say that larger-scale attacks are a thing of the past and that the deadlock will define future warfighting in Ukraine—and perhaps elsewhere—is certainly premature. – Foreign Policy

Hezbollah

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday met with local northern authorities from evacuated communities and told them that Hezbollah would need to choose between a negotiated process where it backs its forces off of Israel’s border, or the IDF would take action to ensure that. – Jerusalem Post

Eleven IDF combat soldiers were wounded recently by an anti-tank missile in Beit Hillel, highlighting the growing threat of Hezbollah just kilometers from the Israel-Lebanon border. – Jerusalem Post

Despite increasing pressure from the U.S. to rein in the war in Gaza, Israel’s defense minister is now suggesting his forces could soon open a northern second front to push Iran-backed Hezbollah back from the Lebanese border. – Politico

Arabian Peninsula

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other top regional leaders Wednesday in a visit Russian diplomats portrayed as a decisive rebuttal of the U.S.’s attempts to isolate the Russian leader over his war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia has asked the United States to show restraint in responding to attacks by Yemen’s Houthis against ships in the Red Sea, two sources familiar with Saudi thinking said, as Riyadh seeks to contain spillover from the Hamas-Israel war. – Reuters

Senior Biden administration officials agree that striking Houthis in Yemen is the wrong course of action for now, per three U.S. officials, even though some military officers have proposed more forceful responses to the militants’ attacks in the Red Sea. – Politico

Middle East & North Africa

The war in Gaza that followed the attack has not only laid bare a chasm between many Arab leaders and their people; it has widened it. – New York Times

U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein said on Thursday he did not think hope should be lost with regards to normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel and it remains a goal for his country despite the ongoing war in Gaza. – Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel on Wednesday that Israel would “pay a very heavy price” if it attempted to eliminate Hamas members in Turkey. – Times of Israel

Korean Peninsula

South Korea and the Netherlands, two of the leading players in the global semiconductor market, will establish a “chip alliance” during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit next week, Yonhap news agency said on Thursday, citing Yoon’s office. – Reuters

Up to 600 North Koreans have “vanished” after being forcibly deported by China in October, a Seoul-based human rights group said on Thursday, warning they may face imprisonment, torture, sexual violence and execution in the isolated state. – Reuters

Anthony Kuhn writes: North Korea needed to shift to a new strategy because its previous one — of trying to bargain away part of its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief and normalized ties with the U.S. — fell apart. […]And if things go badly for Russia in Ukraine, Pyongyang could suffer a repeat of what happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when a drop in aid contributed to a famine in North Korea that killed up to 3.5 million people. – NPR

China

This year was supposed to be a turning point for China, a time when the economy headed toward recovery. It turned out to be the opposite. It’s hard to remember now, but at the start of 2023, the country’s prospects couldn’t have been brighter—in part because of the terrible human price leaders had elected to pay for getting back to growth by ripping off the Band-Aid of its zero-Covid policy toward the end of 2022. – Wall Street Journal

European Union leaders plan to warn Chinese leader Xi Jinping that the bloc is prepared to impose new sanctions and trade penalties on his nation unless it acts to address economic frictions and rein in exports to Russia of goods used for its war in Ukraine, EU officials said before a summit in Beijing Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

Leaders of the European Union pressed China on the country’s trade imbalance with Europe and its support for Russia during a visit to Beijing on Thursday that highlighted the growing tensions between the two sides. – New York Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday warned top EU officials that China and Europe should not view each other as rivals or engage in confrontation due to their different political systems, in the first in-person China-EU summit in four years. – Reuters

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that promoting healthy, stable and sustainable China-U.S. relations is an important task, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. – Reuters

Italy has officially informed China that it is leaving the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), dismissing fears the decision could sour relations and damage the Italian economy, government sources said on Wednesday. – Reuters

China has started commercial operations at a new generation nuclear reactor that is the first of its kind in the world, state media said on Wednesday. – Reuters

David Daokui Li writes: Mr. Kissinger was a refugee of the Nazi regime and unquestionably loyal to the United States. His strategies served American interests: The United States won the Cold War and enjoyed the peace dividend with years of economic prosperity. Of course, China, too, has risen fast, but just because China has done well does not mean that the United States is losing. Don’t blame Mr. Kissinger’s China strategy for America’s domestic problems today. Just focus on solving them. Reviewing the past helps one to understand the present, Confucius said. Re-examining Mr. Kissinger’s views about China upon his death would be a good learning exercise for American statesmen today. – New York Times

Brent D. Sadler writes: One way to do this: handing Beijing defeats in today’s great game centered on the Indo-Pacific. This positional competition has seen a series of defeats as China’s military secure strategic footholds around the world – Ream, Cambodia just days ago opened a new base hosting Chinese warships, and Solomon Islands signed a security pact with Beijing seeing security forces arrive there. In short, to avert war the nation must begin winning in the great game for strategic position, while investing and delivering on a viable military and industry able to wage a long war. Without this, a modern Pearl Harbor and a subsequent long war occurring is only a matter of time. – The National Interest

South Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is focussed on combating Sikh separatism, despite its scant support among the country’s small religious minority, due to security and political concerns, officials and experts say. The movement for a Sikh homeland in northern India, crushed decades ago, has burst onto the global stage in recent months as the United States and Canada accused Indian officials of involvement in assassination plots against Sikh separatist leaders in North America. – Reuters

A roadside bomb went off near a school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding at least three passersby and damaging windows of a nearby bank and several shops, authorities said. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: The United States may ultimately take the partnership with India to the next level. It is in the interest of both countries. That Indians are so cynical about U.S. promises, rhetoric, and commitments is perhaps the most visible legacy of Kissinger in South Asia today. The problem with prioritizing the short term—as Kissinger too often did over long-term interests—is that the short term is fleeting. Kissinger was nearsighted as a time when the United States needed a visionary. That so many secretaries of state subsequently embraced Kissinger as a model for diplomacy (and in their retirement business) only compounds the long-term harm Kissinger’s real legacy represents. – American Enterprise Institute

Asia

China hopes Myanmar achieves national reconciliation quickly and continues its political transformation, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Australia and neighbouring Papua New Guinea (PNG) signed a security agreement on Thursday that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his counterpart James Marape said showed the closeness of the two nations. – Reuters

The United States is monitoring reports of Chinese warships docking in Cambodia and has serious concerns about Beijing’s plans to have exclusive control over parts of the main naval base there, a State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday warned France and India against providing Armenia with weapons he deems a threat, saying such supplies could trigger a new war in the region. – Bloomberg

Malaysian police said on Wednesday they have arrested a 36-year-old man and were conducting a sedition investigation over statements he made suggesting the country should establish diplomatic relations with Israel. – Reuters

Eliot Wilson writes: The most effective way it can achieve this is through security partnerships. Japan is ready to take a more substantial role in international affairs, and should fit hand-in-glove with America. Each country now needs to make sure it is psychologically prepared, as the 80th anniversary of Imperial Japan’s surrender on the deck of the U.S.S Missouri in Tokyo Bay approaches in 2025. What better occasion to acknowledge the past and recognize a major transition in the partnership between the two countries? – The Hill

Victor Cha writes: In this regard, the United States and Japan should consider revising the G7 and expanding its membership to a G7 Plus to include like-minded actors like Australia and South Korea, among others. While this body could not pass binding resolutions like the UN Security Council, it could serve as an arena for making consensus statements about illegitimate behavior in the international system, as well as impose sanctions through coordinated policies among its members. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Ivy Ganadillo writes: Via minilateral engagements, the Philippines can leverage specific strategic partnerships to address immediate and pressing maritime concerns. Engagements with countries like the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, whether through bilateral, trilateral dialogues or the Quad, and with other maritime Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, provide the Philippines with avenues for targeted training exercises, advanced technological collaborations, and capacity-building endeavors. Such minilateral efforts facilitate a deeper, more nuanced collaboration that can address specific maritime challenges, from IUU fishing to maritime piracy, ensuring a safer and more secure maritime environment for the Philippines and the broader region. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Europe

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Athens on Thursday with a delegation of ministers for meetings with Greek counterparts that both countries hope can turn a new page in relations after years of tensions. – Reuters

Moldova has put itself forward as a candidate for the presidency of next year’s U.N. climate summit and Serbia is also considering throwing its hat in the ring, according to people familiar with the matter and a document seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Charities and NGOs supplying military aid to Ukraine’s armed forces are facing delays of several weeks to critical supplies of drones, electronics and pickup trucks due to border protests by Polish truckers, three industry sources told Reuters. – Reuters

Shea Bradley-Farrell writes: But the U.S. can still reverse course. The journey that Hungary took to throw off authoritarian oppression and later to say “no” to the European Union’s woke agenda is a model for us, and it is fascinating. Hungary’s example is full of hope and despair, courage and fear, unbearable brutality and great, enduring humanity. The time to heed its warning is now. – Washington Examiner

Ariel Muzicant writes: To great fanfare this year, member states of the European Union, including Spain, announced their grandiose plans to combat antisemitism and foster Jewish life. We are still waiting for Belgium. The actions last week of the current president of the Council of the European Union and his Belgian colleague are fostering antisemitism, and destroying Jewish life in Europe. – Jerusalem Post

Ben Dubow writes: Russian threats of retaliation have so far amounted to a ban on Moldovan fruit, which Moscow had already banned a year ago. Where Russia could once dictate terms to Moldova through economic dominance, especially gas supplies, and the troops stationed across the Dniester, the war has proven Russia a paper tiger both militarily and economically. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Africa

A blast at an explosives store wrecked buildings and caused massive damage to an industrial zone on the Seychelles’ main island Mahe, officials said, prompting the president to declare a state of emergency on Thursday. – Reuters

The United States on Wednesday formally determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as Washington increases pressure on the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to end fighting that has caused a humanitarian crisis. – Reuters

Cameron Hudson writes: In a region beset by political, security, ethnic, and even demographic threats, where coups d’état are no longer a thing of the past, continuing the charade that Chad is still a stable and reliable security partner only undermines Chadians’ hope for genuine reform and puts at risk the United States’ long-term security interests. It is time to end that charade before the dam breaks. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Latin America

Venezuela’s top prosecutor accused several top opposition figures of treason and ordered their arrest on Wednesday, the latest blow to prospects for credible elections that the government has agreed to hold next year in exchange for the lifting of crippling U.S. economic sanctions. – New York Times

The Biden administration announced new sanctions and indictments against Mexican nationals on Wednesday as it seeks to deepen cooperation with the Mexican government to curb flows of the opioid fentanyl to the United States. – Reuters

Brazil rejects any use of force by Venezuela to occupy the Esequibo territory in Guyana and will urge the Caracas government not to threaten its neighbor, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s top foreign policy advisor said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has assigned loading windows this month to two vessels bound for India under crude spot deals with Italy’s ENI (ENI.MI) and U.S.-based Chevron <CVX.N>, an internal company document showed. – Reuters

Presidents of the four Mercosur nations meet for their annual summit on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro with black clouds hovering over the fate of a trade deal with the European Union, as well as the future of the South American common market itself. – Reuters

A military helicopter carrying seven people vanished Wednesday near Guyana’s border with Venezuela, with authorities saying there was bad weather in the area and stressing there was no indication it may have been hit by hostile fire as tensions escalate between the countries. – Associated Press

Editorial: President Biden does not want a dispute with Mr. Maduro now, while the rest of the world is feeling the instability caused by two wars. And Mr. Biden no doubt wants to see lower gas prices going into an election year. Mr. Maduro, who falsified earlier balloting, might think he can hold on to office next year, but he is also taking pains to minimize the chances he could lose. Apart from his ban on Ms. Machado’s candidacy, his government held a strange weekend referendum in which voters approved taking over a sizable portion of neighboring Guyana — an effort to rally support for the government before the election. Mr. Maduro then moved to further threaten Guyana, proposing legislation to seize the oil-rich region and make it a Venezuelan province. – Washington Post

United States

Daniel Henninger writes: The real political threat this wave of left-wing protesters presents to the Biden Democrats is that they are so unhinged, always at the edge of violence. We are living in disturbed times—crime, inflation, post-pandemic challenges, global disorder. It resembles the 1970s. Now comes the spectacle of unrelenting anti-Israel protests in American cities. Elected Democrats are starting to push back. But it may be too little, too late to save Joe Biden or any conceivable replacement. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Barone writes: That’s unfortunate because this alliance of totalitarians, which with its allies controlled almost all of Europe and half of the land mass of Asia by spring 1941, was what inspired George Orwell’s dystopia in 1984. Had Hitler not attacked Stalin in June 1941, could beleaguered Britain and technically neutral America have ended their totalitarian tyranny? Young people and their elders who cheer the gleeful torture and murders of Oct. 7 do not understand what true evil is like. They could get a better idea at the Victims of Communism Museum. – Washington Examiner

Jane Harman and Eric Edelman write: As threats continue to grow, the basic strategic math problem at the heart of the U.S. defense strategy will only grow worse. Whether China and Russia’s “no limits” friendship, Iran and North Korea’s aid to Russia, or Hamas -Iran – Russia ties, our adversaries are increasingly tied together via transfers of military equipment and dual use technology. We need to compete globally, all at once. And we simply cannot do that alone. American military aid to countries like Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan presents a cost-effective and strategically prudent way to protect American security. – The Hill

Joseph Bosco writes: If recent polls showing Haley rising against both Trump and Biden continue, she would become the giant-killer in 5-inch heels. Reprising Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, she would do more to curb the advances of authoritarianism than either Biden or Trump. Other GOP candidates should rally behind her. – The Hill

Cybersecurity

Policymakers in Brussels remain locked in late-night negotiations Wednesday to reach a deal on the world’s most ambitious law to regulate artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, senators signaled that the U.S. Congress is taking a divergent approach from the European Union on the emerging technology, with lawmakers raising concerns the bloc’s approach could be heavy-handed and risk alienating AI developers. – Washington Post

Indonesia has drafted ethics guidance for developers using artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent potential misuse of the new technology, a ministerial draft showed. – Reuters

The life of foreign spying tools set to expire in a few weeks could be briefly extended until April 19 after congressional leaders inserted a short-term renewal into the annual defense policy bill. – The Record

Defense

The U.S. Army selected Shift5, a cyber defense and predictive maintenance company, to harden its prized M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems against virtual threats. – Defense News

Delays to the F-35 fighter’s Technology Refresh 3 upgrades will have a cascading effect that will hinder a major follow-on modification to the jet, a leading House lawmaker said Saturday. – Defense News

The U.S. Army plans to start a new program in fiscal 2025 to develop and field a new high-altitude platform capable of deep sensing, according to Brig. Gen. Ed Barker, the service’s program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors. – Defense News

Long War

French prosecutors are pressing preliminary terrorism charges against an alleged Islamist radical accused of stabbing a tourist to death here last weekend, raising fears that the Israel-Hamas war is stirring extremists across the continent. – Wall Street Journal

A Brazilian man arrested on suspicion of ties to Hezbollah had taken videos and photos of two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery in Brasilia just weeks before he was arrested on terrorist charges last month, court documents show. – Reuters

A new generation of French teenagers is being wooed by the Islamic State terrorist group — infamous for its on-camera immolations of captives in Iraq — and seems ominously susceptible to the group’s propaganda, according to the head of France’s DGSI internal security directorate, Nicolas Lerner. – Politico