Fdd's overnight brief

February 12, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, raising the stakes in his widening rift with President Biden during a tempestuous election year, took his message directly to American voters in two television interviews Sunday, arguing that Israel must pursue Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah until the militant group is destroyed. – Wall Street Journal

Whenever Mahmoud Abbas is quizzed about who he wants as his successor, the 88-year-old president of the Palestinian Authority gives his standard reply: no one yet. – Wall Street Journal

Hidden deep below the headquarters of the United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinians here is a Hamas complex with rows of computer servers that Israel’s armed forces say served as an important communications center and intelligence hub for the Islamist militant group. – Wall Street Journal

Palestinians in Gaza braced for an Israeli ground offensive in the southern city of Rafah after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military to draw up plans for an attack there and neighboring Egypt fortified its border to prevent a rush of people fleeing the potential violence. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s military said it rescued two hostages and carried out a series of strikes in southern Gaza in the early hours Monday local time, sparking confusion and panic in Rafah, where more than 1 million people have fled to escape conflict elsewhere in the Palestinian enclave. – Washington Post

Moody’s Investors Service said it downgraded the foreign-currency and local-currency issuer ratings of Israel to A2 from A1, and changed its outlook on the country to negative. – Wall Street Journal

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, denied Saturday any knowledge of a Hamas data center found by Israeli troops underneath its Gaza headquarters, with the Israeli military and Foreign Minister Israel Katz immediately casting doubt on his claim. – Agence France-Presse

A series of Israeli strikes early Monday hit Rafah, the city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip where 1.4 million Palestinians have fled to escape fighting elsewhere in the four-month Israel-Hamas war. – Associated Press

A collection of pro-Palestinian activists collected and published the names, photos, and social media accounts of 600 people from the creative industry whom they deem “Zionist,” according to multiple media reports from Friday and a statement from the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. – Jerusalem Post  

The IDF paused its operations in the Al-Jneina neighborhood of Rafah in southern Gaza on Sunday in order to facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced. – Jerusalem Post

At the same time that the country wakes to a hopeful morning with news of the rescue of two hostages, the IDF also announces the deaths of two soldiers during operations in Gaza (the two were not killed in the rescue operation, in which there were no fatalities). – Times of Israel

As the world woke up Monday morning to the news of the dramatic rescue by Israeli special forces of two of the hostages held by Hamas, the Office of the Argentinian President thanked the IDF and the Special Forces who conducted the operation. – Jerusalem Post

A teacher from northern Israel was arrested after providing Hamas with the location of a defense industry plant in the north to help Hamas fire rockets toward the plant, the Shin Bet and police said on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF caught and arrested 20 Hamas terrorists hiding in the Al Amal Hospital without disrupting the continued operation of the hospital, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said Sunday evening. – Jerusalem Post

Al-Jazeera journalist Mohammed Wishah had a side job as a commander in Hamas’s anti-tank missile units until 2022, evidence retrieved by the IDF revealed, the IDF’s spokesperson for Arabic media, Avichay Adraee, announced on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Unrwa’s function is to prevent Palestinians from moving on with their lives. It blocks resettlement and state building, keeping third- and fourth-generation refugees waiting in terrorist-incubating camps for an eventual return after the destruction of Israel. The day after the Gaza war will be a brighter one if Unrwa and Hamas exit the stage together. – Wall Street Journal

Isaac Herzog writes: The South African case, brought in support of Hamas, is a blood libel against the nation-state of the Jewish people—a shameful low for an international system that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust. This abandonment of moral clarity, the desertion of the vision of international justice and its replacement by cynical politics and outright falsehoods, will have repercussions far beyond Israel. – Wall Street Journal

Tunku Varadarajan writes: Few Israelis any longer disagree, especially those who lived through the carnage at Nir Oz. They reject the view that Israel must forswear force if civilians might be hurt. That would give barbarians immunity, allowing them to destroy civilization because it is civilized. – Wall Street Journal

Eitan Charnoff and Hussein Aboubakr Mansour write: For any Israeli administration, the political feasibility of granting substantial concessions to the PA, crucial for restoring its sovereignty in Gaza, is contingent upon the cessation of the PA’s previous practices. Although establishing a viable framework for PA governance in Gaza might seem like a distant goal, initiating this reform could serve as the basis for constructive dialogue and compromise. Such discourse could pave the way for a pragmatic agreement that serves the interests of Israelis and Palestinians and offers a progressive path for all parties involved. – The Hill

Neomi Neumann writes: The task of weakening Hamas thus cannot be limited to dismantling its military wing in the Gaza Strip. Beyond the challenge of dealing with the group’s ideology, Israel will have to focus on other geographic areas, including the West Bank, where Hamas will use all the tools at its disposal—religious, social, and political—to become the dominant Palestinian movement and realize its vision. – Washington Institute

Eli Lake writes: It is important to know that there is a long tradition of converts who work hard to credential the libels of the enemies of the Jews. But we must also  acknowledge the tradition of righteous Gentiles who have debunked them—even if those who advance these slanders testify to these lies “as a Jew.” – Commentary


U.S. officials say recent airstrikes in Syria and Iraq have dealt a withering blow to a dangerous adversary: Iran. They’ve punished Iran’s notorious Quds Force and allied militias for lethal attacks on U.S. troops, they say, and sent a potent message of deterrence. – Washington Post

Hundreds of thousands of people chanted “Death to Israel” in rallies across Iran to mark the Islamic Revolution’s 45th anniversary on Sunday, with some burning U.S. and Israeli flags amid the ongoing war between Israel and Tehran-backed Hamas. – Reuters

Iran and the United States have exchanged messages throughout Israel’s four-month-old war on Hamas in Gaza, including about Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, the Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday. – Reuters

More than a month before a deadly drone strike that killed three U.S. soldiers in Jordan, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sought to reassure U.S. troops about the military’s ability to withstand attacks by Iran-backed militants. – Reuters

Iran’s foreign minister vowed after arriving in Beirut on Friday to keep supporting the militant Hezbollah group, saying Lebanon’s security affects that of Iran and the region. – Associated Press

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi repeated a plea to other governments to isolate Israel and said the country should be removed from the United Nations for its continued offensive on Gaza. – Bloomberg

Salem Alketbi writes: Therefore, Iran is working to create as much chaos as possible to reinforce the idea that it is both the problem and the solution, and that dialogue with Tehran is the only way to achieve security and stability in the Middle East. For all these reasons, Iran will not risk direct war with any party. Tehran is aware that the current phase requires strategic patience and risk limitation in order to achieve the goals it has long sought by investing years in this plan. – Jerusalem Post

Jason M. Brodsky writes: The Biden administration often appears more afraid of Iran than Iran is of the Biden administration. That is a very dangerous dynamic for the United States. While the military action President Joe Biden has ordered this week to counter the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its axis of resistance is degrading Iran’s capacity, it is not deterring its will. – Spectator

Mohammed Hassan writes: Following this incident, Iran is likely to rethink its strategy vis-à-vis its proxies in the region to prevent an escalation that Tehran wishes to avoid at present, especially since it has reiterated on every occasion that it does not seek a direct confrontation barring an attack on Iranian soil. – Middle East Institute

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to replace his top general last week was arguably his most consequential choice since opting to stay in Kyiv rather than flee in the early days of Russia’s invasion. – Wall Street Journal

Russian forces are using SpaceX’s satellite internet system near the front line in occupied parts of Ukraine, Kyiv’s military intelligence agency said, potentially undercutting a major battlefield advantage for Ukraine’s army. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lengthy European history lesson, presented during a two-hour interview with Tucker Carlson a few days ago, may have seemed arcane to many viewers. – Wall Street Journal

Over the past few months, a Russian political scientist named Valery Solovei has stoked a global frenzy with a sensational claim: that Vladmir Putin died last year and today is represented in public by a body double. The Kremlin’s elite, Solovei tells his half-million online followers, controls the double and has stuffed Putin’s body in a freezer. – Wall Street Journal

Soldiers fight in freezing, muddy trenches bombarded by artillery, or in warrens of burned and blown-up houses in urban combat. Casualty rates are high, and dangerous missions, like storming enemy-held tree lines, abound. – New York Times

Ukraine’s air defence systems destroyed 14 out of 17 drones that Russia launched overnight and one Kh-59 cruise missile, Ukraine’s Air Force said on Monday. – Reuters

Russia launched drone attacks overnight on Kyiv and southern Ukraine, injuring at least one civilian and damaging a gas pipeline and residential buildings in the river and sea port of Mykolaiv, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday. – Reuters

Russia’s registration of candidates for the March presidential election has closed, TASS reported on Sunday, with a list including President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to win, and three politicians who all support Moscow’s war in Ukraine. – Reuters

Josh Rogin writes: National-security-minded Democrats and Republicans must move quickly to pass the full funding through both chambers, using whatever maneuvers it takes. If MAGA obstructionism continues to go unchecked, Congress’s impotence will have negative consequences far beyond the Ukrainian battlefield. – Washington Post

Michael Rubin writes: Americans tend to project strength onto adversaries while highlighting American division. Self-flagellation and self-deterrence snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. To deter enemies and win the struggle against revisionists requires the opposite. It is time to call out Russia’s weakness and ridicule Putin’s mistakes. – Washington Examiner

Nico Lange writes: It is now in the hands of Ukraine’s European supporters to quickly help with a new military assistance effort, to deny Putin the achievement of his next war aims, and to deter him from further military ambitions beyond Ukraine. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Edward Lucas writes: But the ‘useful idiots’ could at least plead idealism: a belief in a utopian future, however misty. Carlson’s hard-edged conservative credentials, deployed in the service of a hostile foreign power, leave him no such defense and require another, harsher word. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Andreas Umland writes: In 2014, Kyiv tried to implement some popular pacifist formulas such as “Imagine there is war, but nobody attends” (in German: “Stell Dir vor, es ist Krieg und keiner geht hin”) or “Building peace without weapons” (in German: “Frieden schaffen ohne Waffen”) in Crimea. This Ukrainian behavior occurred ten years ago with the West’s explicit approval, if not under active Western pressure. The result has been the largest European war since World War II. A lesson learned from this disaster is that Kyiv’s and Western behavior should be guided by empirical analysis of actual challenges rather than well-motivated but futile intentions and irrelevant historical references. – The National Interest


Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis said on Monday they had targeted a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the latest such strike since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. – Reuters

Yemen will receive a second $250 million instalment from a Saudi one-year $1 billion grant on Sunday or Monday to support salary payments, its central bank governor told Reuters. – Reuters

Yemen’s Houthi militia held a funeral on Saturday for at least 17 militants killed during joint U.S.-British airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed militants, the Houthi-run Saba news agency said. – Reuters

Gulf States

Qatar has released eight Indian ex-naval officers after dropping their death sentences, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday, crediting the Qatari emir for the decision more than 18 months after their arrest challenged diplomatic ties. – Reuters

Bernard Haykel writes: Whether meaningful steps are possible given Israel’s hardened politics and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own political ambitions is anyone’s guess. But Hamas’s attack has made the Palestinian cause an important element in how Riyadh now thinks about its national interest. It has, therefore, made Saudi Arabia reengage as a staunch supporter of Palestinian statehood. In this respect, Hamas has secured a victory for the Palestinians—although perhaps not for itself. – Foreign Affairs

Harley Lippman writes: Even at a time of conflict between Israel and Hamas, Riyadh and Jerusalem may very well continue to tiptoe toward each other. The world watches with bated breath. The Biden administration has a historic opportunity to broker a groundbreaking deal encompassing Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian Authority, not merely despite Israel’s conflict with Hamas but because of it. Whatever the outcome, the implications of Israel and Saudi Arabia’s decisions will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of the Middle East and, by extension, the world at large. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

The pressure on Egypt is building. More than half of Gaza’s population is squeezed into miserable tent cities in Rafah, a small city along Egypt’s border, left with nowhere else to go by Israel’s military campaign. – New York Times

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working “tirelessly” to solve the Red Sea crisis, which is severely disrupting the global transport of goods, its head Arsenio Dominguez told AFP. – Agence France-Presse

Jordan’s King Abdullah participated in an airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza, in a move highlighting his kingdom’s role in pushing Israel to stop restricting efforts to help fend off illness, hunger and starvation in the war-torn enclave, officials said on Sunday. – Reuters

Syria has extended permission for the United Nations to deliver aid to opposition-held areas in the northwest of the country via two Turkish border crossings for another three months, said Syria’s U.N. envoy. – Reuters

Air defence systems operated by U.S.-led coalition troops based in eastern Syria halted six drone attacks targeting their base at the Conoco oil field on Saturday, a security source said. – Reuters

A woman was wounded in an armed attack on Saturday during Turkey’s ruling AK Party’s mayoral election campaign in Istanbul, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said. – Reuters

Turkish authorities detained 17 people in connection with an attack at an Istanbul campaign event for upcoming municipal elections, Turkey ‘s interior minister said Sunday. – Associated Press

It was a warm handshake between the unlikeliest of statesmen, conducted under the beaming gaze of President Jimmy Carter. Sunlight streamed through the trees at Camp David, Maryland, as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin solidified a landmark agreement that has allowed over 40 years of peace between Israel and Egypt. It has served as an important source of stability in a volatile region. – Associated Press

An Israeli drone struck a car near Lebanon’s southern port city of Sidon on Saturday, killing at least two people and wounding two others, security officials said. – Associated Press

Korean Peninsula

North Korea has successfully developed a new ballistic control system for a multiple rocket launcher along with controllable shells, state media KCNA reported on Monday. – Reuters

The U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues, Julie Turner, will travel to Tokyo and Seoul from Monday, the State Department said. – Reuters

U.N. experts say they are investigating 58 suspected North Korean cyberattacks between 2017 and 2023 valued at approximately $3 billion, with the money reportedly being used to help fund its development of weapons of mass destruction. – Associated Press


Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday it had detected eight Chinese balloons crossing the Taiwan Strait in the previous 24 hours, of which five flew across Taiwan, the second day in a row is has reported a large number of balloons. – Reuters

The Philippines’ coast guard (PCG) on Sunday accused China of “dangerous and blocking” manoeuvres while its vessel patrolled near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea this month. – Reuters

A Nasdaq-listed Chinese technology company that makes parts for self-driving vehicles is threatening to sue the U.S. government after it was included in a list of companies the Pentagon says have links to the Chinese military. – Associated Press

Donald Trump’s China trade war frayed economic ties between the two global superpowers. His second-term plans risk cutting them entirely. – Bloomberg

John Authers and Richard Abbey write: That contagion would come through the economy rather than through securities markets. If China continues to ward off a major economic recession, the rest of the world can enjoy the Year of the Dragon. – Bloomberg

South Asia

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held talks Sunday with other parties to form a new government in Pakistan, as followers of jailed opposition leader Imran Khan took to the streets to protest the alleged rigging of this past week’s election. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: It is a lesson that the United States has often learned the hard way, and often too late: Strongmen in foreign nations promise both reliability and order. But long-term stability rarely comes through military interference in politics. In the case of Pakistan, the army’s unwillingness to cede control to civilians — or voters — has created a fundamentally broken politics. This election is a reminder. – Washington Post

Nicholas Eberstadt writes: Prime Minister Modi envisions India as a “developed nation” by 2047. To go by these figures, though, it may be decades before India’s population reaches even the current “basic skills” levels of the OECD’s newest, poorest, and least developed members—and generations before it can hope for levels comparable to currently developed OECD countries. – American Enterprise Institute

Lynne O’Donnell writes: It’s more likely, he said, that Noorzai will sell shares in the company to his Chinese partner, which will then sell its interests to small-scale Chinese companies, which in turn will further salami-slice their shares, keeping the money flowing in what he called a “chain reaction of corruption.” In this rentier scenario, the mine is not developed, no profits flow to the Afghan state, no jobs are created, and all investments from small-scale subcontractors are lost, Noorani said. Everyone loses but Noorzai and his cohorts in the Taliban leadership. – Foreign Policy


The numbers are staggering. More than 100 million people are expected to vote, many for the first time. They’ll do so in booths across thousands of islands and three time zones, hammering nails into ballots to mark their choices. And within hours, if history is any guide, the world will know the outcome of the biggest race of the day: the one for Indonesia’s presidency. – New York Times

Hundreds of Indonesian students and activists will stage protests on Monday over what they see as outgoing President Joko Widodo’s abuse of power to sway voters in this week’s election in favour of frontrunner, Prabowo Subianto, organisers said. – Reuters

A court in Kyrgyzstan has ruled to dissolve a non-governmental organisation that ran a popular news website often critical of the government. – Reuters

Myanmar’s junta made military service mandatory for all young men and women, state media said, as it struggles to contain armed rebel forces fighting for greater autonomy in various parts of the country. – Reuters

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will address a rare joint sitting of Australia’s parliament in a sign of Canberra’s deepening ties with Southeast Asian nations at a time of strategic competition in the region. – Bloomberg

Dewi Fortuna Anwar writes: The return of great-power rivalry and the resulting uncertainty in the region has made Indonesia’s traditional free and active foreign policy doctrine and its adherence to the principle of nonalignment all the more important. But the country won’t just be a bystander. The rivalry between the two superpowers will encourage Indonesia to play a more active role in the region, crafting a web of diplomatic groupings and partnerships that will help Southeast Asia—and even the wider Indo-Pacific—avoid polarization. Stability, Indonesia knows, lies not in picking sides but in taking as many as possible. – Foreign Affairs

Emil Avdaliani writes: Even so, what matters most is not the signing of a peace deal in itself but whether the dominant parties — Azerbaijan and Turkey — show the sense not to push too hard. In that case, the South Caucasus will be set for more years of disputes. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Ivan Eland writes: The Chinese threat must be put in perspective. Xi Jinping’s recent purge of generals in the PLA indicates that he fears that the rot exhibited by Russia’s military and its botched invasion of Ukraine could afflict his own military in an attack on Taiwan. As in autocratic Russia, no one in despotic China has any incentive to tell the emperor that his military has no clothes. Also, Xi has increased party and state involvement in the economy, which has already added to China’s huge economic problems caused by existing inefficient state-owned industries and banks. Therefore, the increasing relative GDP of the East Asian region and the potential of a rising China should require most of the United States’ attention and resources, but not to the point of excessive alarm or hysteria. – The National Interest


Finns elected the center-right politician Alexander Stubb as their new president on Sunday, in the first national election since the country joined NATO, filling a post that will be critical to shaping Finland’s role in the alliance at a time of increasingly fraught relations with Russia. – New York Times

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will travel to Israel in the middle of next week, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Sunday, a trip in which she said she plans to urge for a ceasefire as Israel prepares to advance on Rafah. – Reuters

Antifascist activists gathered in Hungary’s capital on Saturday to oppose an annual commemoration held by far-right groups, underscoring diplomatic tensions between Budapest and Rome over the detention of an Italian citizen in a Hungarian jail. – Associated Press

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo sparred at the United Nations over the latter’s ban of the use of the Serbian currency in areas where minority Serbs live, the latest crisis between the two governments. – Associated Press

The three parties in Germany’s unpopular ruling coalition suffered losses in Sunday’s partial repeat in Berlin of the 2021 federal election, continuing a national trend that is likely to be repeated in four key votes this year. – Bloomberg

Sworn into office in December, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he will overhaul his country’s relations with both Ukraine and the European Union, a shift that could help Poland spearhead further Western-driven armament of the Ukrainian military against the ongoing Russian invasion. – Defense News

Ghazi Ben Ahmed and Andrea Cellino write: Africa must not be reduced to a role of detention zone for Italy. For many African observers, right now the Mattei plan looks increasingly like a proposal with fascist undertones where Giorgia Meloni would recklessly pump African gas and carelessly deport migrants. – Washington Institute

Minna Ålander writes: Thanks to growing Nordic-Baltic cooperation, and their outsize contribution to Ukraine’s defense (the region accounts for eight of the top 11 contributors by share of GDP), a region that was NATO’s Achilles heel until this decade is now one of the alliance’s most well-prepared and capable. It is united by a shared threat perception and willingness to do what is needed. Other European allies need to do the same. The opportunity to deter Russia is now, using the time that Ukraine has provided for the rest of Europe. – Center for European Policy Analysis


In August, Ali Bongo, then-president of the Central African nation of Gabon, made a startling revelation to a top White House aide: During a meeting at his presidential palace, Bongo admitted he had secretly promised Chinese leader Xi Jinping that Beijing could station military forces on Gabon’s Atlantic Ocean coast. – Wall Street Journal

The crises here keep compounding. Armed gangs have forced more than 300,000 from their homes. The police are outgunned and overmatched. Half the people don’t have enough to eat. – Washington Post

British maritime security firm Ambrey said on Monday that a Marshall Islands-flagged, Greece-owned bulk carrier was targeted by missiles in two incidents within two minutes while transiting through the Bab al-Mandab Strait. – Reuters

The death toll amid protests in Senegal over the postponement of the presidential election until December has climbed to three, as concerns grow that one of the remaining democracies in coup-hit West Africa is under threat. – Reuters

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo said its staff and vehicles were attacked in the capital Kinshasa on Saturday as a worsening eastern security crisis fuels a backlash against the mission. – Reuters

The U.S. is calling for an investigation into an alleged massacre of civilians in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, where a local rights group says more than 80 people were killed last week following clashes between soldiers and armed groups. – Associated Press

The controversial leader of South Africa’s third largest political party promised Saturday to create jobs for millions of the country’s unemployed and turn around its economy as he seeks to attract voters ahead of a much anticipated general election. – Associated Press

A new political party in South Africa backed by former president Jacob Zuma may end the dominance of the African National Congress, which has ruled the country since the end of apartheid, the Social Research Foundation said. – Bloomberg

Latin America

A funeral procession for former two-time Chilean President Sebastian Pinera wound though Santiago on Friday, past La Moneda presidential palace as thousands of people lined streets and rooftops holding flags and photos of him. – Reuters

Colombia’s government and a dissident faction of the former FARC rebel group known as the Second Marquetalia said on Friday they have started a peace process. – Reuters

Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek Saab said on Sunday that lawyer and human rights activist Rocio San Miguel has been arrested for her alleged involvement “in the conspiracy plot and attempted assassination” of President Nicolás Maduro. – Reuters

A Brazilian army colonel wanted by police in an investigation into am attempted coup by associates of Brazil’s former far-right president was arrested on Sunday when he returned from the United States. – Reuters

Panama denied a request from Nicaragua to allow safe passage for ex-President Ricardo Martinelli to leave the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday, after Nicaragua granted asylum to the former Panamanian leader. – Reuters

Guyana’s government said Saturday that it has satellite imagery evidence from friendly western allies showing Venezuelan military movements near the South American country’s eastern border with Guyana. – Associated Press

Christopher Hernandez-Roy, Henry Ziemer, Rubi Bledsoe, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., and Jennifer Jun write: Policymakers need to be attentive to both the words and actions of the Maduro regime in navigating the Essequibo dispute. Negotiations should not overlook provocations on the border. In doing so, Anacoco Island, Punta Barima, and likely other locations, stand out as areas to monitor as the March meeting between Presidents Maduro and Ali approaches. The United States, Brazil, and international community can play a vital role in raising awareness about Maduro’s duplicitous actions and ensure his efforts to coerce Guyana find no purchase. This will require sustained attention, but, as Schelling notes, it is always harder to compel another player to act than it is to deter a bad actor from making a move. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

United States

Former president Donald Trump’s claim that he would encourage Russia to attack U.S. allies if they failed to spend enough on their defense pact set off fresh tremors Sunday across Washington and in European countries already worried about America’s reliability as an ally in a potential second Trump administration. – Washington Post

A Florida resident is the latest person to plead guilty in a U.S. court case in Miami concerning the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s last president, Jovenel Moise, a judicial filing showed on Friday. – Reuters

Editorial: The U.S. should be having an election debate over the growing dangers to U.S. security and how to counter them. Instead we have an incumbent who has presided over the collapse of U.S. deterrence, and a GOP front-runner who dotes on dictators. No wonder Mr. Putin is looking so confident these days. – Wall Street Journal

James Holmes writes: So Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell advanced a hypothesis about power and perception that, while unproven in this particular instance, is well-grounded in military theory. The U.S. armed forces and their political masters must burnish America’s reputation for martial prowess—or see deterrence fail again and again. – The National Interest


China’s Xiaomi has told New Delhi that smartphone component suppliers are wary about setting up operations in India amid heavy scrutiny of Chinese companies by the government, according to a letter and a source with direct knowledge of the matter. – Reuters

ByteDance’s TikTok has lost its bid to suspend its designation as a gatekeeper, which makes it subject to onerous obligations under EU rules, after Europe’s second top court dismissed its request because it failed to show the urgency for such a move. – Reuters

Israel’s Tower Semiconductor (TSEM.TA), opens new tab has submitted a proposal to India’s government to build an $8 billion chipmaking facility in the South Asian nation, national daily Indian Express reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Meta on Friday confirmed it is assessing when the word “Zionist” should be deemed hate speech as online antisemitism escalates amid the Israel-Hamas war. – Agence France-Presse

In the two months since Russia-linked hackers attacked Ukraine’s largest telecom operator, many questions have emerged about how they gained access to the company’s systems and lingered there, likely for months, undetected. – The Record


Indonesia has ditched a controversial plan to buy 733 million euros ($790 million) worth of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets previously used by Qatar, the defence ministry spokesperson said late on Saturday. – Reuters

As Poland’s new government weighs whether to continue acquisitions of South Korean weapons initiated by the previous Cabinet, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz criticized Seoul’s financial terms for further deliveries as unfavorable to Warsaw. – Defense News

More than a dozen coders handpicked from across the U.S. Department of Defense spent a week chipping away at data and software challenges associated with swatting down drones in the Greater Middle East, Central Command said. – Defense News

Francis Harris writes: The point was illustrated by UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin, who acknowledged that the British division promised to NATO was not in the condition it should be: “We are investing like crazy in our warfighting division to improve it for 2030.” Quite what the UK and its allies will do in the meantime is anyone’s guess. NATO may be forced to fight with the armies it has rather than those it needs. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Long War

The al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab claimed an attack that killed four Emirati troops and a Bahraini military officer on a training mission at a military base in the Somali capital, authorities said Sunday. – Associated Press

Iraq and the U.S.-led military coalition resumed meetings Sunday on how to draw down troops who have been deployed there for years combating the Islamic State. – Associated Press

Ilana Winter writes: It remains to be seen whether IS’s ideological lack of adjustment to the post-10/7 reality will hurt its appeal going forward, but it is unlikely that the group will substantially change its priorities to reflect the Palestine-centric jihadism of other extremist groups. Even so, the group’s ability to capitalize on chaos remains, and they are likely biding their time to see how the growing instability among many state and non-state actors in the Middle East will best serve its interests, and particularly whether a US withdrawal from Iraq and Syria would provide them with the opening they have been waiting for to expand their operations. – Washington Institute