Fdd's overnight brief

February 7, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israel said it would send ground troops to fight Hamas in Rafah, a southern Gaza city on the border with Egypt where more than one million civilians are sheltering from war, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued his latest shuttle diplomacy effort in the region to secure an agreement that might lead to a pause in fighting. – Wall Street Journal

As many as 50 of the hostages taken from Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7 could be dead, a figure that is considerably higher than the 29 deaths Israel has publicly acknowledged, according to an Israeli assessment shared with U.S. and Egyptian officials. – Wall Street Journal

Sheryl Sandberg, billionaire, feminist and corporate star, is using her fame to turn the world’s attention to Israeli victims of sexual violence on Oct. 7. – Wall Street Journal

Four years ago, when President Biden clinched the Democratic nomination, he aggressively courted progressives, forming an alliance that helped propel him to the White House and has largely stayed intact. Now, deep cracks between him and the left are emerging that threaten his chances of re-election in 2024. – Wall Street Journal

The Republican-led House on Tuesday failed to pass a bill that sought to provide billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, extending an impasse over how to address some of the United States’ top national security concerns in a Congress increasingly paralyzed by political infighting. – Washington Post

A group of U.S. ambassadors stationed in the Indo-Pacific region is urging congressional leaders to secure passage of legislation providing assistance to Ukraine, Israel and allies in the Pacific, saying America’s credibility with its strategic partners is on the line. – New York Times

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttles across the Middle East in the hope of easing regional tensions and winding down the war in Gaza, far-right Israeli ministers are pulling in the opposite direction. – Bloomberg

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Tuesday as he attempted to seal a truce in the four-month-old Gaza war. – Agence France-Presse

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday that Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar was “moving from hideout to hideout” and no longer leading the group’s military actions. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Hamas wants this war to end so it can regroup, rearm and start the next one. It is open about that. That’s what makes the Americans blocking traffic with “Cease-Fire Now” signs today’s example of people who in the time of the Soviet Union were known as useful idiots. Israel’s best reply is to push forward on the ground. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Segal writes: For Israel to negotiate with military action as a credible option, it needs to overcome not only its own cultural attitudes about hostage negotiations, but also an American mindset that seems to have forgotten the importance of winning a war. The U.S. is attacking the rebel Houthis in Yemen but limiting the attacks so as not to topple the Houthis or even endanger their cease-fire with the official government of Yemen. It is a different attitude from that of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, whose Proclamation No. 1 on entering Germany declared a goal of total victory. Both Israel and the U.S. need to return to the simple principle that decisive victory is the best way to restore peace. – Wall Street Journal

Bret Stephens writes: It’s fine to oppose settler colonialism, but in that case, one also must be consistent and principled. To say that Israel alone must be eliminated on grounds of settler colonialism while giving a pass to other cases of settler colonialism is a double standard that is hard to describe as anything but antisemitic. […]Settler colonialism deserves discussion in the classroom — just like other interesting, but fatally flawed, academic theories. – New York Times

Tom Rogan writes: Put simply, both Israel and Ukraine should receive new American aid as part of any congressional compromise. But Ukraine presently has a greater need for immediate American aid than does Israel. Johnson should go back to the drawing board to secure a bipartisan compromise. – Washington Examiner

Iran

U.S. forces probably did not detect the approach of the Iranian-made drone that killed three American soldiers last week at a remote base in Jordan, and there was no air defense system on site capable of shooting it down, the military’s initial assessment of the attack has found. – Washington Post

Iranian military officials attended the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia this week, a sign that ties remain cordial between the two despite the ripple effects of the Israel-Hamas war across the region. – Bloomberg

As America and Britain are seeking to deter the Iranian-backed Houthis from launching further attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, one of Tehran’s reconnaissance ships, the Behshad, is being allowed to ply the waters untouched. Why would the Yemeni proxy army end its Red Sea siege if its masters at Tehran are immune from attacks? – New York Sun

A former brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, Amir Avivi, who once served as a deputy division commander at Gaza, says that blocking Iran and its proxies —  not recognizing a Palestinian state — is crucial to peace between Israel and its Arab allies. – New York Sun

Swedish radio reported Tuesday that an Iranian couple, believed to be working for Iranian intelligence, were deported after being suspected in a plot to kill Swedish Jews. – Agence France-Presse

John R. Bolton writes: By torquing Iran’s menace into the still-unresolved issue of the Palestinians, Biden has fused multiple problems into a larger, even harder problem. Instead, the United States and Israel should focus first on thwarting Tehran’s multiple offensives, then more intensively focus on other issues. Whatever their public commentary, Arab leaders fully recognize that cementing ties with Israel is critical to their own security, especially facing a possible future with a feckless American president. Every day that passes without consolidating like-minded states against Iran renders achieving any of Biden’s multitudinous goals more difficult. The Middle East has never been an easy problem set. Biden is making it unnecessarily more difficult. – Washington Post

Hal Brands writes: Today, the US is trying to restrain Iran and its proxies in another confrontation. Among its options are strikes aimed at Iranian personnel in Iraq and Syria, against Soleimani’s successors atop the Quds Force, or perhaps even within Iran itself. Such tactics could potentially help manage the present crisis, by reminding officials in Tehran — as Trump did four years ago — of how existentially overmatched they might be in a showdown with a superpower. But don’t assume such attacks will prevent Tehran from seeking revenge or bring more than a temporary respite. As Soleimani’s death reminds us, the present crisis is just one round of a protracted strategic rivalry. If the US intends to hit Iran harder, it had better get ready for Iran to hit back. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: No one doubts that the administration does not want a broader war. Very few people want that outcome. But when Ryder openly states the desire to avoid war so directly and soon after American deaths, he only plays to Iran’s perception that it has untapped latitude to kill Americans without serious riposte. Put another way, the Biden administration’s deterrence strategy for Iran is entirely unserious. – Washington Examiner

John W. Miller and Ari Cicurel write: The United States has engaged in an occasional tit-for-tat with the Iranian regime’s proxies as Tehran has waged a concerted strategy of proxy warfare. If the United States does not impose prohibitive costs on the Iranian puppet master, its puppets’ aggression will only get deadlier. – The Hill

Erfan Fard writes: In conclusion, the initiation of targeted strikes against Iranian-backed proxies is a testament to a renewed US resolve. It marks a departure from past policies of appeasement and engagement with a regime that has shown no inclination toward peace or reform. As the US navigates the complexities of Middle Eastern politics, it does so with a clear-eyed understanding of the threats it faces and the imperative to act. This campaign against Iranian aggression is not only about retribution; it’s about setting the stage for a future where peace and stability are not just aspirations but realities. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Senators threw in the towel Tuesday on a $118 billion national-security and border package after sharp opposition from Republicans scuttled the deal, forcing frustrated lawmakers to urgently seek for a backup plan to deliver aid to Ukraine as it loses ground in its campaign to repel Russia. – Wall Street Journal

Tucker Carlson said he is interviewing Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow, making him the first member of the U.S. media to be granted an interview with Russia’s president since that country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. – Wall Street Journal

A Russian man who reportedly defected from a high-ranking position in the Wagner Group has been given permission to stay in Norway but was refused permanent asylum, a Norwegian newspaper reported Tuesday. – Associated Press

Security at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remains fragile amid worrying recent staff cuts enacted by Russian authorities occupying the facility, which is one of the 10 biggest atomic power plants in the world, the United Nations nuclear watchdog chief said Tuesday. – Associated Press

Some Russian banks appear to have maneuvered around a ban on shipping dollars and euros to the country by trading gold in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, according to research from a financial-intelligence company. – Bloomberg

Russian metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov lost his fight against European sanctions over his links to President Vladimir Putin, the EU’s General Court ruled Wednesday dismissing the appeal. – Bloomberg

The Kremlin is poised to crack down on the flow of information online ahead of Russia’s elections in March amid growing public discontent over mounting war casualties in Ukraine. – New York Sun

The dispute between President Zelensky of Ukraine and his top military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, comes right at the bloodiest period of fighting in the nearly two-year-old war. With Ukrainian troops dug in on the defensive, Russia is launching a winter offensive that is costing 1,000 Russian casualties a day. In January, Russia gained only 56 square miles, reports Harvard’s Belfer Center — at the price of 473 men killed or wounded per square mile. – New York Sun

Casey Michel writes: Contra Chamberlain, the war in Ukraine is hardly a faraway quarrel. Those pushing appeasement appear to know nothing of Mr. Putin or the Kremlin’s ultimate designs. The idea that appeasing him will bring peace in our time should be dismissed out of hand—and has no place in the White House. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: The best weapons today, agree the Russian and Ukrainian generals, might be small, cheap systems such as “first-person view,” or FPV drones that fly into targets like tiny suicide bombers and can be almost impossible to stop. The chilling fact is that these silent killers can be bought and used by almost any combatant, anywhere on Earth. It is, as the generals agree, a new day in warfare. – Washington Post

Amy Knight writes: As Russian opposition politician Leonid Gozman observed, Putin’s administration might have seriously misjudged the people’s mood: “There now exists an open wound — the war in Ukraine. Whichever issue you press upon now, the pain will radiate in that wound.” And an emboldened antiwar movement is likely to press on. – Washington Post

Afghanistan

An “expansion of terror networks” being organized in Afghanistan “highlights the enduring alliance between the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” the head of foreign relations for an insurgent group there, the National Resistance Front, Ali Maisam Nazary, tells The New York Sun. – New York Sun

Over two years after the Biden administration abruptly pulled out of Afghanistan, China is sliding in with its eyes on the war-torn country’s natural resources. China is being welcomed with open arms by the ruling Taliban government, according to a Pentagon audit. – Washington Examiner

When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan Ambassador to Austria Manizha Bakhtari faced a serious dilemma. Should she continue to represent the former government from her Viennese post or abandon her title and role? – Fox News

Iraq

For years, Iraq has managed to pull off an unlikely balancing act, allowing armed forces tied to both the United States and Iran, an American nemesis, to operate on its soil. Now things are getting shaky. – New York Times

The head of the United Nations political mission in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, told the Security Council on Tuesday she expected to step down at the end of May, adding the country was “on a knife edge”. – Reuters

Iraq’s government is focused on avoiding a domestic or regional spillover of the Israel-Hamas war but continuing attacks on the country threaten its hard-won stability, the U.N. envoy for Iraq warned Tuesday. – Associated Press

Iraq is working for regional “de-escalation,” Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani said Monday as he welcomed a senior Iranian security official to Baghdad, with tensions high over US strikes in the country and the war in Gaza. – Agence France-Presse

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby apologized Tuesday for initially claiming the U.S. notified Baghdad before major airstrikes in Iraq last week. – The Hill

Turkey

Turkish defence company Baykar has started building a factory near Kyiv that will employ around 500 people and where it will manufacture either its TB2 or TB3 drone models, the company’s chief executive told Reuters. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in Ukraine and the Black Sea Grain Initiative during a visit to Ankara by the Russian leader, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. – Reuters

A civilian was killed and six others were wounded when leftist militants shot at a police checkpoint in front of a courthouse in Istanbul on Tuesday, in what Turkey called an attempted terrorist attack. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said police had killed the two shooters, whom he said were believed to belong to the DHKP-C group. Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc told reporters 34 people had been detained, without giving further details. He said the three police officers wounded were in a good condition. One of the four civilians wounded died in hospital, he added. – Reuters

Lebanon

Black clouds loom over grapevines in northern Israel on hills that stretch to the Lebanese border, where months of violence have raised fears of a wider war. – Agence France-Presse

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib rejected an international proposal for Hezbollah to withdraw away from Israel’s northern border to behind the Litani River, as set out under United Nations Security Council 1701. – Jerusalem Post

Judge Nawaf Salam, Lebanon’s representative to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, was elected today (Tuesday) to a three-year term as President of the ICJ in a decision which could have significant ramifications for South Africa’s attempt to charge the State of Israel with genocide at The Hague. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: Now is the time. It has been four months of war in Gaza. Israel has enabled many reservists to return home, at least briefly. Several divisions are on the northern border, and our soldiers are doing vital work to defend us. However, we must not enable this routine to become part of everyday life. Our people have a right to return to their villages on the northern border. It is time to end the Hezbollah impunity. – Jerusalem Post

Egypt

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with leaders in Egypt and Qatar on Tuesday, the second day of a Middle East tour aimed at preventing an exchange of attacks with Iran-backed militias from spiraling into a broader regional war and to rally allies around a proposed cease-fire agreement for Gaza. – New York Times

Egyptian officials said on Tuesday they have received Hamas’ response to a framework ceasefire agreement for the Gaza Strip, a statement from Egypt’s State Information Service said. – Reuters

Former Egyptian presidential hopeful Ahmed Tantawy was found guilty on Tuesday of forging election documents and ordered to pay a fine and barred from upcoming elections, four security and judiciary sources said. – Reuters

Yemen

Soon after his country began bombing Yemen in 2015, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates confidentially reached out to an old friend: retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who also served as the deputy supreme commander of the Emirati military, needed help. The UAE was part of a coalition of Arab countries that had intervened in Yemen’s civil war to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels. But the coalition’s bombing campaign was killing large numbers of civilians and doing little to deter the Houthis. – Washington Post

The leader of Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis said on Tuesday that the group will further escalate if the Israeli attack on Gaza does not stop. – Reuters

Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they targeted two ships sailing in the southern Red Sea on Tuesday. – Bloomberg

Noam Raydan and Grant Rumley write: Biden should have appreciated the Houthis’ dedication in November. Had Washington responded then, it would at least be further along in defeating them, and ships would be closer to again transiting a central global trade path. The next time the Houthis threaten the Red Sea, the United States and its partners would do well to remember today’s lesson. – Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia

State oil giant Saudi Aramco is in investment discussions with companies in India, a senior executive said on Wednesday. – Reuters

South Korean defence firm LIG Nex1 has won a $3.2 billion deal to export a mid-range surface-to-air missile defence system to Saudi Arabia, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet issued a decision to approve the accession to the agreement on the privileges and immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Saudi state agency reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry informed President Joe Biden’s administration there will be no diplomatic ties with Israel unless the “aggression” against Gaza is stopped and Israel recognizes the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that would quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months, during which all hostages would go free, Israel would withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and an agreement would be reached on an end to the war. – Reuters

Doth the United Nations protest too much? The world body is ordering “independent” investigations into alleged terrorist ties within its main agency at Gaza. If history is any indication, even those charged with abusing their authority could manage to regain power within the UN. – New York Sun

The families of 40 Tunisian migrants who went missing in the Mediterranean Sea last month protested in Tunis on Tuesday, asking authorities for answers. – Agence France-Presse

Israeli strikes on Syria’s Homs killed five people including three civilians Wednesday, a war monitor said, with Syria’s defense ministry reporting an unspecified number of civilians dead. – Agence France-Presse

Korean Peninsula

The United States accused Russia on Tuesday of firing at least nine North Korean-supplied missiles at Ukraine, while Moscow labeled Washington a “direct accomplice” in the downing of a Russian military transport plane last month. – Reuters

China hopes South Korea will pursue a “positive, objective and friendly” policy towards Beijing, foreign minister Wang Yi said in a phone call with his South Korean counterpart on Tuesday. – Reuters

The defence ministers of South Korea and Qatar have agreed to expand joint military training and strengthen bilateral cooperation, Seoul’s defence ministry said on Wednesday, amid a push by Seoul to boost global arms sales. – Reuters

Russia and North Korea are working on a “very good” package of agreements to be signed when President Vladimir Putin visits Pyongyang, Russia’s envoy to North Korea told the Russian TASS state news agency in remarks published on Wednesday. – Reuters

China

The chief executive officer of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has stepped down to take on other responsibilities, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

China would never allow any Chinese entities or individuals to conduct illegal activities such as cyberattacks or use Chinese facilities for such attacks, the Chinese embassy in the Netherlands said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

The Chinese government does not tolerate any form of cyberattacks and will not allow any country or individual to engage in such illegal activities using Chinese infrastructure, its embassy in the Philippines said. – Reuters

The warming of relations between Beijing and Canberra hangs in the balance this week after a Chinese court delivered a suspended death sentence to Australian writer Yang Hengjun on Monday. – Bloomberg

Switzerland said it asked China to participate in a peace conference on the war in Ukraine, stepping up pressure on Beijing to play a role in ending the fighting nearly two years after the conflict began. – Bloomberg

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to visit China this year, a US delegation told officials in Beijing, evidence that ties between the two economic superpowers are further stabilizing. – Bloomberg

South Asia

Two days later, the venue of the meeting in the northern city of Rawalpindi was ransacked by security forces. The candidate, Muhammad Basharat Raja, is a member of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party. He and other party members are facing arrest, threats and a de facto ban on campaigning in large parts of the country ahead of Thursday’s election. – Wall Street Journal

Bangladesh summoned neighbouring Myanmar’s ambassador on Tuesday to protest the escalating border violence that killed two people on the Bangladeshi side as fighting between Myanmar’s rebel forces and its junta regime intensifies. – Reuters

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the largest sovereign wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is setting up a $4-5 billion fund to invest in India through a tax-neutral finance hub in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. – Reuters

A bomb exploded at an election office of an independent candidate in southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, the day before parliamentary elections are to be held, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than two dozen others, officials said. – Associated Press

The United Nation’s top human rights body warned Tuesday of a “pattern of harassment” against members of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party ahead of this week’s parliamentary election. – Associated Press

Nine members of the United Nations Security Council condemned “indiscriminate” airstrikes by Myanmar’s military against civilians before an envoy briefed the council Monday as part of regional efforts to implement a peace plan that has so far been largely ineffective. – Associated Press

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella urged countries to aggressively invest in artificial intelligence, making the case in India that his birth country has an unprecedented opportunity to drive economic growth by capitalizing on the technology’s promise. – Bloomberg

Mihir Sharma writes: Under these circumstances, political jostling will not stop once the elections are over. But Pakistan cannot afford to let that hold up essential economic reforms. The winners and losers should at least find tacit agreement on a minimum reform program which could be launched, perhaps, by an apolitical finance minister. Otherwise, the main casualty will be Pakistan’s economic prospects. – Bloomberg

Asia

A rebel group in Indonesia’s eastern region of Papua on Wednesday ordered its armed faction deep in the jungle to release a New Zealand pilot it has held hostage in the past year. – Reuters

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape will seek to assure Australia of close security and historical ties during a visit that began on Wednesday even as the Pacific nation boosts trade with China. – Reuters

Germany and Mongolia are entering into a strategic partnership, as both countries want to work more closely on a number of policy areas including in the mining industry, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Manet on Wednesday made his first official visit to neighboring Thailand since becoming his country’s leader last year, seeking to renew the close ties the two countries have maintained in recent times. – Associated Press

Kazakhstan’s president appointed his chief of staff Olzhas Bektenov to the post of prime minister following the resignation of the previous cabinet. – Bloomberg

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is poised to extend his rule well into a third decade at snap elections Wednesday in the energy-rich Caspian nation. – Bloomberg

The Philippines aims to boost military presence and infrastructure in the country’s northernmost province near Taiwan, according to its defense chief, amid tensions with Beijing over the South China Sea. – Bloomberg

Zachary Weiss writes: America’s embrace of great power competition in the South Caucasus has incited Russian aggression by threatening Russia’s perceived regional influence. Overall, these mistakes have reduced the likelihood that the United States and Russia, two nuclear superpowers, can engage diplomatically and effectively. – The Hill

Europe

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, was isolated, the sole holdout to a landmark European Union fund for Ukraine worth billions. As pressure mounted on him on the eve of an emergency E.U. summit last week, he needed someone to talk to. Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s prime minister, who had long shared his antagonism to the E.U, was that sympathetic ear. – New York Times

Swedish officials said Wednesday that they have decided to close their investigation into the September 2022 explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which were built to carry Russian natural gas to Germany, because they don’t have jurisdiction. – Associated Press

With the embattled U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza teetering on the brink of financial collapse, one of its biggest donors is wavering over whether to extend it a lifeline worth tens of millions of dollars within the next few weeks. – Associated Press

The Czech government plans to discuss whether the country should make the first formal move toward joining the euro area as the ruling parties argue about the pros and cons of the currency switch. – Bloomberg

The French are leaving their mark on the Middle East, comme toujours. In Israel on Monday, the country’s untested new foreign minister, the 38-year-old Stéphane Séjourné, called for “an immediate and lasting cease-fire” and an “influx of humanitarian aid.” He added at a press conference that Gazans are unable to “feed themselves,” though that is not true. Five million people, though, are close to starving in Sudan. – New York Sun

US President Joe Biden confused his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron with France’s long-dead former leader Francois Mitterrand, in a speech that went viral in video footage Monday. – Agence France-Presse

Africa

Senegal’s parliament voted late on Monday to postpone elections for almost a year, to Dec. 15, amid concerns over the state of democracy in this West African nation. – Washington Post

A doomsday cult leader whom the Kenyan authorities say ordered his congregants to starve themselves to death was charged on Tuesday, along with 29 others, with the murder of 191 children — in a case that has drawn global attention and brought widespread scrutiny over religious freedoms in the East African nation. – New York Times

Several blasts at a popular open-air market in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu killed at least 10 people and left many others injured on Tuesday, local residents told Reuters. – Reuters

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has played down fears of a war with Somalia over his quest for sea access for his landlocked country, saying Tuesday that Ethiopia is only interested in peace with its neighbor. – Associated Press

The Economic Community of West African States has called on the political leaders of Senegal to quickly restore the country’s electoral calendar, a day after lawmakers amended the constitution to delay presidential votes by 10 months. – Bloomberg

If the military leaders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso walk away from West Africa’s economic union, the biggest losers will be the nations themselves, the International Monetary Fund warned. – Bloomberg

In a rare moment of triumph for pro-Israel voices at the Hague, the International Court of Justice is promoting a defender of Israel, Judge Julia Sebutinde of Uganda, as its vice president. – New York Sun

Latin America

A Haitian prosecutor has recommended charges against 70 people for the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Among the former Colombian soldiers and Haitian government officials accused in the case is one unexpected name: former First Lady Martine Moïse, who was seriously injured in the attack. – New York Times

Guatemala is considering reaching out to develop formal trade ties with China, the Central American country’s foreign minister told Reuters on Monday, although it plans to maintain its existing relations with Taiwan. – Reuters

Colombia’s government and the nation’s largest remaining guerrilla group have extended by six months a ceasefire that began last year, with the National Liberation Army rebels also promising to stop kidnapping civilians for ransom. – Associated Press

A former rebel leader made a surprise appearance in Haiti’s capital on Tuesday amid large protests across the country for the second consecutive day, demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. – Associated Press

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele is savoring what appears to be a landslide reelection victory, and is railing against his international critics and the press. The populist leader has declared himself a harbinger of democracy, not the case study for 21st century autocracy that some fear. – Associated Press

Palestinian Territories: Palestinian militant group Hamas on Tuesday said it “strongly condemns” Argentinian President Javier Milei after he announced plans to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Bukele is set to redouble his efforts. Others across Latin America are taking notice of his success and, presumably, the electoral favor it has won him. Bukele is highly popular in other crime-ridden nations such as Ecuador and Honduras, leading the Honduran government to attempt to replicate his get-tough strategy. Opposition leaders are winning favor by calling for similar steps in their own nations. And voters are getting the message. The contrast between Bukele’s strategy and that of other leaders, such as Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, bought and paid for by criminal syndicates, is increasingly hard to ignore. – Washington Examiner

United States

Donald Trump isn’t immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn the 2020 election, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled Tuesday, handing the former president an expected defeat that he suggested he would contest at the Supreme Court. – Wall Street Journal

Special Counsel Robert Hur has finished his investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified material and has written a sharply critical report, according to people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal

Police took into custody more than 100 people protesting the Pennsylvania state government’s investments in Israel on Monday, shutting down a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. – Associated Press

Senators on Tuesday confirmed a veteran of U.S.-Asian engagement and security as the State Department’s second-ranking diplomat, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. – Associated Press

A man who worked for the State Department as a diplomatic security officer was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday in Washington in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. – NBC News

Cybersecurity

A company best known for its posts on Instagram announced on Tuesday that it will try to capitalize on young people’s growing use of social media for news by teaming with a well known TikTok creator for political coverage this year. – Washington Post

New Hampshire’s attorney general Tuesday announced a criminal investigation into a Texas-based company that was allegedly behind thousands of AI-generated calls impersonating President Biden in the run-up to the state’s primary election. – Washington Post

As virtual reality programs are booming, so are reports of attacks, harassment and sexual assault. Some activists argue these incidents should be treated as serious — even criminal — acts. And authorities are starting to pay attention. – Washington Post

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged financial institutions, regulators and market participants to deepen their expertise and monitoring capacity in the field of artificial intelligence, highlighting the critical role and potential risks the technology can have for financial services. – Bloomberg

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday objected to a request to pass by unanimous consent a bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee to strip big tech companies of legal immunity for child pornography and other child predatory material posted on their social media platforms. – The Hill

Google is calling on the government to provide more action when it comes to combatting spyware sales and the misuse of surveillance software, according to a new report. – The Hill

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said Tuesday it is ramping up its capability to detect and label images generated by artificial intelligence (AI) ahead of elections in the U.S. and abroad. – The Hill

Jim Albrecht writes: The details could turn out very differently, of course. It depends on the outcome of these current copyright disputes and on the ability of publishers to envision a future that looks very different from their past. But one thing is certain: As with the web 30 years ago, those details will determine whether the news business reclaims its status as the premier vendor of reliable information or falls into a final, unrecoverable decline. – Washington Post

Roger Cressey writes: The Biden administration must take serious action to hold the government’s largest software provider accountable and pause new funding for Microsoft’s products until they see a different result on security. Otherwise, we will keep living through the insanity of relying upon vulnerable software that places our nation at risk. – The Hill

Kirsten Gillibrand writes: It hasn’t been long since the generative AI arms race began. But just in the last year, we’ve seen our world change exponentially before our very eyes. Unless we act quickly to regulate this digital Wild West, the consequences could be catastrophic for our communities, our families, and our children. – The Hill

Defense

The Pentagon believes it has identified the mechanical failure that led to a fatal crash of an Osprey aircraft in Japan and the grounding of the fleet for two months, a U.S. defense official told The Associated Press. It is now weighing how the aircraft can be returned to service. – Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has agreed to testify in front of the House Armed Services Committee about his decisions to keep his recent hospitalization a secret from top Biden administration officials. – Washington Examiner

The Alaska Army National Guard is planning a deployment to the U.S. border with Mexico. – The Hill

Long War

Kurdish security forces allied with the United States military against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have faced unprecedented drone attacks in recent months. – Forbes

A popular drill rapper who used a cupcake emoji as a secret symbol for bombs as he planned his martyrdom in a suicide bombing has been jailed for five years. – Daily Mail

Zachary Faria writes: It is not “Islamophobia” or bigotry to notice that a lot of people in one city, including the mayor and prominent city leaders, are siding with Hamas terrorists and falsely accusing the victims of a terrorist massacre of war crimes. The takeaway should not be how “Islamophobic” people are for noticing terrorist apologia. It should be how alarming it is that so many people are siding with terrorists over people whom the terrorists want to slaughter. – Washington Examiner