Fdd's overnight brief

February 16, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israeli troops entered the main hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, after Israel said it had intelligence indicating that hostages kidnapped by Hamas had been held there and that the bodies of some of them could be on the grounds. – Wall Street Journal  

International alarm over Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in Rafah, in southern Gaza, has intensified in recent days, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to press ahead with plans to invade the city near the Egyptian border. – New York Times

With its troops poised to attack Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city and possibly Hamas’s final stronghold, Israel is confronting a dilemma largely of its own making: what to do with nearly a million and a half displaced Palestinians whom its military has corralled along the Egyptian border. – Washington Post

Israel has asked the International Court of Justice to dismiss a request by South Africa to issue additional emergency measures because of Israel’s plan to extend its offensive in Gaza into the city of Rafah. – Reuters

The leaders of Canada, Australia and New Zealand on Thursday called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, according to a joint statement released in response to reports about Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday again told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he should not proceed with military action in Rafah without a credible and executable plan to protect Palestinian civilians, the White House said. – Reuters

Top ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government rejected Palestinian statehood on Thursday following a Washington Post report that Israel’s main ally the United States was advancing plans to establish a Palestinian state. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that a deal on the release of hostages held by Hamas remains possible but “very hard” issues remain to be resolved. – Reuters

Ireland announced 20 million euros ($21.46 million) in support for the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) on Thursday and urged countries that have suspended funding to resume and expand support to the agency. – Reuters

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday that the United Nations has failed to resolve international conflicts and harshly criticized Israeli actions in Gaza. – Reuters

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on Israel to fully open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow for the delivery of international aid to Gaza through Ashdod port, in a call to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said on Thursday. – Reuters

Is the Washington-Jerusalem rift reaching critical mass? At least three recent developments point to this being the case. First, Washington is seeking a “firm timeline” for creating a Palestinian state, which Israelis see as rewarding Hamas’s atrocities. Second, America is probing Israel for possible “misuse” of U.S. arms to kill civilians. Third, the CIA chief, William Burns, is pressuring Israel to return to negotiations over Hamas’s demands for hostage releases. – New York Sun

The family members of hostages taken by Hamas demanded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately continue negotiations Thursday, as efforts for a cease-fire have stalled. – The Hill

The IDF, Shin Bet, and Border Police arrested three suspects in the West Bank on Thursday night and seized thousands of shekels that were suspected of being intended for terrorist operations. The suspects were arrested in Aqaba and Silat ad-Dhahr. The terrorist funds were seized in Hebron. – Jerusalem Post

Major General Ghasan Alyan, head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), wrote on the unit’s X account on Thursday that, for three days, the UN has not collected about 500 trucks of humanitarian aid that are waiting on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing. – Arutz Sheva

Palestinian workers from Hebron are constructing the new barrier on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, despite the Security Cabinet’s decision not to allow workers from the West Bank to leave the Palestinian territories and work inside Israel, Ynet learned on Thursday. – Ynet

Israel and Hamas are working to complete the terms of a hostage deal over the next month, foreign diplomatic sources involved in the negotiations told Haaretz on Thursday. – Haaretz

When the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker group that is pushing for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, wants to push its message, its Middle East lobbyist turns to tactics like playing guitar with schoolchildren in the occupied West Bank and sharing video messages about their fears with members of Congress on Capitol Hill. – New York Times

Editorial: Kol yisrael areivim zeh la’zeh (All are responsible for one another) is not just a phrase. Adopting a mandatory draft plan that is socially equal is the direct actionable manifestation of it, and it is the duty of this people’s government to bring it forward. Halevi said: “We have an historic opportunity to expand the IDF’s recruitment sources” when it is sorely needed. Some Likud MKs have started to realize it too – they must push it forward, otherwise, the schism will only deepen, putting us at an even greater security risk. – Jerusalem Post

 Editorial: Now, the challenge has been posed not to Netanyahu and his government, but to all of Israel’s other political forces. Only they can breathe life into this plan and avoid missing the opportunity once again. Consequently, all eyes are on them. Will they do everything in their power to rise to the challenge? More than ever before, the alternative – that Israel will miss yet another opportunity – bodes ill for its future. – Haaretz

Saeideh Fard writes: This is not only about protecting the rights of our sisters in more dangerous places, it is also about protecting our own rights here in the West in a future where political convenience or “context” could erode them. The rights of women all across the world are not disconnected from each other. They are one and the same. – The Hill

Meir Finkel writes: This is a narrow view, as occupying territory serves multiple purposes on all levels of warfare. On the tactical level, it can be used to capture advantageous positions from the enemy. On the operational level, it can disrupt enemy formations. On the strategic level, the enemy’s capital can be occupied for the purpose of regime change. On the diplomatic level, occupied territory can be a bargaining chip for negotiation. There are three reasons why it is a serious mistake to devalue the achievement of occupying territory. – Algemeiner

Rachel O’Donoghue writes: The Knesset has started advancing a bill that would give the government the power to close the offices of foreign media channels that are found to be likely to harm the security of the state, including, potentially Al Jazeera. But the foreign press attitude toward Al Jazeera remains stubbornly positive. How much more evidence of the network’s terror ties does the media need for that to change? – Algemeiner

Michael Oren writes: That success, however, is nothing to be celebrated. On the contrary. Israel’s goal for its terrorist-to-civilian fatality ratio should always be one-to-zero. Outrage at the civilian casualties, meanwhile, must be directed at those who cynically and barbarously engineer them. Hamas’s goal is to delegitimize Israel and brand us as war criminals. That is precisely the objective served by accusations of “over the top” reactions, indiscriminate bombing, and dehumanization. – Times of Israel

Yossi Yehoshua writes: This doesn’t mean that the IDF can’t face these challenges, but rather that a significant conceptual change is required in the management of the next battle, from the main command to the last soldier dozens of kilometers into Lebanon, unlike in Gaza which is very close to the border. In short, this will be a completely different fight – Ynet

Amos Harel writes: Numerical inferiority also existed that morning on the northern border – where Hezbollah, taken by surprise by Hamas’ move, did not attack – until the arrival of reservist reinforcements during the day. This disastrous situation must never be allowed to recur – and yes, imposing the draft on some Haredi young men could also help prevent it in the future. – Haaretz

Raphael Cohen writes: But the two issues—the welfare of Gazans and the destruction of Hamas—are fundamentally intertwined. If Israel wants to maintain what Netanyahu has called “overall security responsibility” of Gaza, it must also assume responsibility for Gazan wellbeing. Ultimately, if Swords of Iron is to be successful, Israel needs to solve not just its 3,000 and 30,000 problems, but its 3.5 million one, too. – Foreign Affairs

Rob Geist Pinfold writes: Israel’s declared war aims — destroying Hamas’ military infrastructure and rendering it incapable of governing a post-war Gaza — are a contemporary manifestation of these lofty goals. But by refusing to engage in Gaza’s civilian governance, while denying other non-hostile actors a role in post-conflict reconstruction, Israel is providing Hamas with the silver platter of legitimacy that it needs to survive the conflict. – War on the Rocks

Iran

Iran’s arms industry is growing rapidly, turning the country into a large-scale exporter of low-cost, high-tech weapons whose clients are vexing the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East, Ukraine and beyond. – Wall Street Journal 

The US Coast Guard seized a shipment of weapons from Iran in the Persian Gulf that was headed to Houthi rebels in Yemen, the US announced Thursday. – Bloomberg

Sweden’s foreign minister said Thursday he had confronted his Iranian counterpart after reports Tehran’s intelligence service sent an undercover couple to murder Jews in the country. – Agence France-Presse

In a bombshell revelation, a U.S. Navy official revealed on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops are working on the ground with Houthi rebels in Yemen, providing assistance to the group that has escalated attacks on U.S. military targets in the region and shipping vessels in the Red Sea, as U.S. forces step up counter-measures amid fears of an escalating Middle Eastern conflict. – Forbes

Russia & Ukraine

On a blazing hot day in November, Raibel Palacio and three neighborhood friends boarded a flight at Cuba’s Varadero beach resort, taking selfies and chattering in excitement. They had a job offer that promised a way out of the island’s misery. A few weeks later, Palacio was killed by a drone as he tried to tie a tourniquet to staunch the bleeding from a leg wound on the freezing front lines of Ukraine, said Danelia Herrera, his mother. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he preferred President Biden to Donald Trump in the U.S. election, describing the president as “more experienced” and “predictable” in his first public comments on the race. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine’s top military-intelligence officer said Russian invasion forces in his country are using thousands of Starlink satellite internet terminals, and that the network has been active in occupied parts of Ukraine for “quite a long time.” – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian soldiers are withdrawing from positions in the shattered town of Avdiivka after advancing Russian forces breached a critical supply line and threatened to encircle scores of Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian military officials and soldiers said on Thursday. – New York Times

French President Emmanuel Macron will sign a bilateral security agreement with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Friday in Paris to provide “long-term support” to the war-ravaged country which has been battling Russia’s full-scale invasion for nearly two years. – Associated Press

A missile strike on the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border on Thursday killed six people, including a child, and injured 18 others, a Russian official said. It was the latest in exchanges of long-range missile and rocket fire in Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Associated Press

Russia launched new missile attacks on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting infrastructure, damaging residential and commercial buildings, and injuring at least 11 people in different parts of the country, officials said. – Reuters

Germany and France will sign bilateral agreements on security commitments with Ukraine on Friday during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to their respective capitals, both governments said on Thursday. – Reuters

Britain said on Thursday it would supply thousands of more drones to Ukraine as part of its 200 million pound ($251 million) drone package, in an international effort it is co-leading with Latvia. – Reuters

A coalition of allies aims to deliver 1 million drones to Ukraine within a year, as the country struggles to cope with ammunition shortages and a funding fight in Washington. – Bloomberg

Russia’s Supreme Court on February 15 rejected two appeals filed by anti-war presidential hopeful Boris Nadezhdin related to a decision by election officials not to register him for next month’s election. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner, warned in an ominous statement on Wednesday that President Biden should declassify intelligence related to a “serious national security threat.” ABC News reported that the threat is related to Russian advances on a new, space-based nuclear weapon designed to destabilize America’s satellites.  – New York Sun 

NATO has announced that it is joining forces with Ukraine to open a joint training center in Poland. Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, said during a press conference in Brussels on Thursday that the new center would “allow Ukraine to share lessons learned from Russia’s war” and “create a structure for Ukrainian forces to learn and train alongside their allied counterparts.” – Newsweek

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: Mr. Poroshenko says he remains optimistic Washington will come through. But as Ukraine waits for weapons, “the price for every single day, or the price for every single hour, is rising dramatically. . . . Those who will read your article cannot imagine what does it mean, every single week, to be at the funeral of your friends.” – Wall Street Journal

Marc Champion writes: In the longer term, an independent postwar Ukraine could also help with the critical issue of lowering production costs. Germany’s Rheinmetall AG and the UK’s BAE Systems Plc both established presences last year, with a view to producing in the country. It’s a start, but if the US goes AWOL on Ukraine, Europe will have to step up in ways it never has before. – Bloomberg

James Stavridis writes: Yes, any reset must include changes by the Ukrainian military command and new technologies. But unless a real effort is made to restore the truthful narrative — that Ukraine’s fate is tied to Americans’ own, and the best mechanism we have to win is NATO — there is real danger ahead. Zelenskiy can’t do this by himself. It will require leadership in Washington from both sides of the aisle. – Bloomberg

Andrew Latham writes: But there isn’t. And the sooner policymakers and influencers on both sides of the Atlantic grasp this, the sooner we can get to a negotiated cessation of hostilities that stems, at least for the moment, the obscene carnage that has come to define this war. And, as Romans 4:18 of the Christian Scripture would have it, we must “hope against hope” that this epiphany comes sooner rather than later. – The Hill

Hezbollah

Israel’s military launched new attacks on targets in Lebanon on Thursday, a day after its strikes in southern Lebanon killed at least 10 civilians, the most in months of cross-border fighting. – New York Times

Hezbollah said on Thursday it fired dozens of rockets at a northern Israeli town in a “preliminary response” to the killing of 10 civilians in southern Lebanon, the deadliest day for Lebanese civilians in four months of cross-border hostilities. – Reuters

The IDF on Thursday publicly took credit for assassinating two senior Hezbollah terrorists and a third minor player, including the mastermind of the March 2023 Megiddo terrorist attack, which shocked the country at the time. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Egyptian authorities, fearful that an Israeli military push further into southern Gaza will set off a flood of refugees, are building an 8-square-mile walled enclosure in the Sinai Desert near the border, according to Egyptian officials and security analysts. – Wall Street Journal

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis will press on with attacks on Red Sea shipping in solidarity with the Palestinians as long as Israel continues to commit “crimes” against them, their leader said on Thursday. – Reuters

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed Jordan’s efforts to airdrop humanitarian aid to Gaza, his office said in a readout on Thursday following a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah at Downing Street. – Reuters

Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree on Thursday to dissolve the parliament, state news agency KUNA reported. – Reuters

The U.N. special envoy for Libya warned the country’s feuding political actors Thursday that if they don’t urgently form a unified government and move toward elections the oil-rich North African nation will slide into “disintegration.” – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: Sometimes, there is no substitute for accountability and corruption. If Barzani wants to continue the tight U.S. relationship with Iraqi Kurdistan, there can be no substitute for clean government. It is time to pay salaries, return stolen money, and compensate those Kurds victimized by what amounts under U.S. law to a grand criminal conspiracy. – 1001 Iraqi Thoughts

Alex Welz writes: As Iran continues to exacerbate the growing fissures across the region, moderate Arab leaders have abandoned any delusions of grandeur that omit Israel from the solution. This does not discount the genuine enmity Israel engenders among even Arab elites, but Iran and its proxies remain the much more urgent threat. Arab realpolitik is clouding the West’s formulaic sense of diplomacy and foreign policy. Don’t let the strongly worded speeches fool you. Many of the same countries leveling rhetorical haymakers at Israel are also the ones most quietly rooting for them. – The National Interest

Ben Fishman writes: If any progress on the elections does occur, armed groups must be part of the agreement to hold the voting. This will require significant pressure from outside actors who have influence over the local parties to ensure they do not get involved in pre or post-election violence. This process will be all the more challenging given the region’s overwhelming focus on Gaza and rising tensions in Lebanon and the Red Sea. Bathily must pay more attention to the militia paradox than prioritising political agreements. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

The South Korean government unleashed a wave of panic across the internet industry: The country’s antitrust regulator said it would enact the toughest competition law outside Europe, curbing the influence of major technology companies. – New York Times

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that there is no impediment to closer ties with Japan and that there may come a day Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Pyongyang, state news agency KCNA said on Thursday. – Reuters

Jonathan Corrado and Markus Garlauskas writes: Developing and executing a reinvigorated international strategy to counter North Korean proliferation would not be a distraction from defeating Russia, stabilizing the Middle East, or even deterring Chinese aggression. Rather, it is vital to making progress on these goals. – Foreign Affairs

China

China’s massive property market is crumbling. Xi Jinping wants to revive socialist ideas about housing and put the state back in charge. – Wall Street Journal 

Leaders of strategic U.S.-allied Pacific Island nations have become increasingly anxious about the U.S. congressional budget impasse that has delayed approval of vital new funding packages and warned that China is actively seeking to shift their allegiances, including over Taiwan. – Reuters

An expected full return of civil demand in Asia is being tested by an industry-wide supply crunch and macroeconomic headwinds, however – especially in the world’s second-largest aviation market, China – while geopolitical tensions have put weapons in the spotlight. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday, two sources familiar with the planning tell POLITICO. – Politico

John G. Ferrari and Mark Rosenblatt writes: No one knows if or when tensions with China could spiral into armed conflict. But there’s no doubt that the world is becoming more dangerous. The U.S. must send a message to Beijing that we are prepared to prosecute a long war if needed. And the U.S. must also send a message to Taiwan that it will be able to support the island in a time of need. Without ending China’s chokehold on our defense supply chains, we will be hard-pressed to send either. – Defense News

South Asia

India’s Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a contentious fund-raising mechanism that allowed individuals and corporations to make anonymous political donations, a system that was widely seen as an advantage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party. – New York Times

The World Bank Group said on Thursday its executive board endorsed a new approach to aiding Afghanistan that will deploy some $300 million from the bank’s International Development Association fund for poor countries through United Nations agencies and other international organizations. – Reuters

The Myanmar’s military conscription plan reveals the heavy toll that months of incessant fighting against rebels have had on its troops and the struggles the generals are facing to replenish their ranks, analysts, diplomats and a defector said. – Reuters

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led government says Azerbaijan has officially reopened its embassy in Kabul, following through on a pledge made last year. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Patricia Lopez writes: American credibility is at issue here. US troops must be able to rely on locals in future conflicts. Betraying the trust of Afghans who risked so much for US efforts would send the world a terrible message. Our allies deserve better. – Bloomberg

Asia

The Japanese economy contracted at the end of last year, defying expectations for modest growth and pushing the country into a recession. – New York Times

The Philippines is firmly committed to negotiations for a code of conduct between China and Southeast Asian countries to avert confrontations in the South China Sea, its foreign minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

Mihir Sharma writes: The profits from this surge can go to processing companies, mainly in China — or they can remain in the emerging economies that need the money to fund their development. The only country capable of designing a global minerals policy that works for developing nations, and is acceptable to both the West and China, is Indonesia. If Prabowo can kick off that process, then Indonesia’s central role in the economic story that will define the 21st century will be assured. – Bloomberg

Europe

Greece on Thursday became the first majority Orthodox Christian country to legalize same-sex marriage — a watershed moment for the country’s LGBTQ community, which has long fought for visibility and rights in the shadow of the highly influential Greek church. – Washington Post

Poland’s president has met the CEO of U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin about strengthening security in the region and continued U.S. investment in Poland’s military weapons and equipment, the country’s National Security Bureau said Wednesday. – Associated Press

The head of NATO warned member countries on Thursday against allowing a wedge to be driven between the United States and Europe, as concern grows about Washington’s commitment to its allies should Donald Trump return to office. – Associated Press

Leading politicians, military officers and diplomats from around the world gather in Munich on Friday for a security conference that will be dominated by the wars in Israel and Ukraine as well as fears over the U.S. commitment to defending its allies. – Reuters

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she discussed the potential seizure of Russian assets with European leaders in recent days but had no progress to report on convincing key skeptics of the plan to move ahead. – Bloomberg

Ukraine would need to receive as much as double the military support from the European Union to bridge the gap if US assistance remains stalled, according to estimates by a German research group. – Bloomberg

Africa

Senegal’s top election authority on Thursday voided the government’s postponement of a presidential election scheduled for Feb. 25 and its rescheduling for December, ruling that the moves were unconstitutional. – Associated Press

Ethiopia’s government on Thursday dismissed allegation its soldiers massacred scores of civilians last month in the country’s restive Amhara region as the West is demanding an investigation into the killings. – Associated Press

Ghana’s new finance minister, Mohammed Amin Adam, pledged on Thursday to keep its $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme on track as it aims to finish restructuring its overseas debt before an election in December. – Reuters

Nigeria is considering the introduction of state police in its 36 states to bolster its national police force as it struggles to contain widespread violence and insecurity, the information minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

Junta-led Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger plan to proceed with the establishment of a confederation, the Malian foreign ministry said on Thursday, as the three countries deepen ties via an alliance that threatens broader West African integration. – Reuters

France will hold a ministerial meeting in mid-April to help Sudan and neighbouring countries cope with the fallout of a civil war that has seen millions displaced and prompted warnings of famine, its foreign minister and diplomats said. – Reuters

South Africa is leading a regional force that’s deploying into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and risks being caught up in a conflict that has displaced 7 million people. – Bloomberg

The Americas

The Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday suspended the operations of the local United Nations human rights office and ordered its staff to leave the country within 72 hours, in a sharp escalation of tensions with the international community following the arrest of a prominent human rights activist in the country. – Washington Post

A recent spike of violence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, is preventing the World Food Programme (WFP) from reaching hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need of supplies, as conflicts between armed gangs worsen an escalating humanitarian crisis. – Reuters

Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa on Thursday ratified two military cooperation agreements with the United States, including one for joint naval operations, amid a security offensive against criminal gangs in the Andean country. – Reuters

Editorial: The Treasury Department said it would keep sanctions lifted “only if the representatives of Maduro follow through with their commitments and take continued concrete steps toward a democratic election by the end of 2024.” Mr. Biden can snap back the previous sanctions or impose new ones. The only thing the United States cannot do is look the other way as Mr. Maduro crushes democracy. – Washington Post

United States

An FBI informant has been charged with fabricating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company, a claim that is central to the Republican impeachment inquiry in Congress. – Washington Post

The House Education and the Workforce Committee escalated its fight with Harvard University by issuing subpoenas to produce documents, including minutes from its powerful leadership board and the endowment, as part of a months-long probe into antisemitism at the school. – Bloomberg

Editorial: In related news, the U.S. House on Thursday passed a bill, 224-200, to reverse the Administration’s LNG moratorium and strip the Energy Department of its role over permitting. Republicans finally can agree on something, but it’s a shame that so many Democrats who claim to support Ukraine voted in favor of abetting Mr. Putin’s energy coercion. – Wall Street Journal

Bethany Ehlmann writes: Space missions are modern-day cathedrals, generational endeavors. We show the world what American ingenuity can do and team with other nations in peaceful missions of exploration that bond our cultures. We also excite children about science, engineering, exploration and what can be accomplished by working together. In 2024, our leaders need to unite, support our space workforce and show the willpower to move forward for America to continue leading the world in our exploration of the cosmos. – Washington Post

Cybersecurity

The F.B.I., working with other countries, disrupted a Russian hacking operation that infiltrated more than 1,000 home and small-business internet routers in the United States and around the world, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. – New York Times

The United States recently carried out a cyberattack against an Iranian military vessel that the Pentagon says was gathering intelligence on merchant ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and relaying that information to Houthi fighters, a U.S. military official said on Thursday. – New York Times

The United States on February 15 announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of any of the leaders of the Russian-based criminal group known as BlackCat. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

A Ukrainian man accused of playing key roles in two prolific malware groups that bilked millions from victims around the world over a decade pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court in Nebraska on Thursday. – CyberScoop

Russian interference in the European Union’s forthcoming parliamentary elections could endanger society, Margaritis Schinas, the vice-president of the European Commission, warned Thursday. – The Record

Defense

Capt. Alex Campbell, director of the Defense Innovation Unit’s naval portfolio, said the second tranche of Replicator systems will emphasize the software needed to connect the sensors and drones it wants to field over the next 18 months. – Defense News

The Navy plans to establish a second unmanned surface drone squadron in May, the head of U.S. Pacific Fleet told the West 2024 conference here Wednesday. – Defense News

The Marine Corps wants to “shamelessly integrate” the various Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) efforts from the military services to become an integrator for the joint force under its newly dubbed Project Dynamis program, a service official said today.  – Breaking Defense

Across the Marine Corps, installation commanders and unit leaders are hustling to inspect every barracks room and facility ahead of a March 15 deadline that will produce long lists of repair and maintenance requests. – USNI News

Secretary of Navy Carlos Del Toro took a hard line with Department of the Navy suppliers, promising a campaign of accountability actions for contractors that could target individuals. – USNI News

Editorial: Political complacency about space war is part of a larger refusal by American elites to educate the public about U.S. vulnerability to new military technologies. The liberal internationalists in the Biden Administration don’t want to highlight growing threats on their watch—and in any case think they can be meliorated with treaties. The GOP’s isolationist wing wants to spend less on defense and cede global spheres of influence to Russia, China and Iran. – Wall Street Journal