Fdd's overnight brief

January 3, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

A suspected Israeli attack targeted a Hamas gathering in Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least seven members of the Palestinian militant group, including one of its most influential founding members, according to Lebanese and Palestinian security officials, sending shock waves through the Middle East and bringing weekslong hostage negotiations to a halt. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. spy agencies believe that Hamas and another Palestinian group fighting Israel used Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to command forces and hold some hostages, according to new American intelligence declassified on Tuesday. – New York Times

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition signaled on Tuesday that for the sake of national unity with Israel at war, it was not planning any immediate countermove against a Supreme Court decision striking down the government’s signature campaign to rein in the court’s powers. – New York Times

The decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to reject legislative control over the judiciary ends for now the languishing effort by the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu to diminish the courts, which had already sparked nine months of protests that only ended when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. – New York Times

Only 15% of Israelis want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stay in office after the war on Hamas in Gaza ends, though many more still support his strategy of crushing the militants in the Palestinian enclave, according to a poll published on Tuesday. – Reuters

U.S. spy agencies assess that Islamist group Hamas and another Palestinian group fighting Israel used Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital to command forces and hold some hostages but largely evacuated the complex days before Israeli troops entered it, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, citing declassified U.S. intelligence. – Reuters

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said the movement had delivered its position to Qatar and Egypt which is based on “a complete cessation of the aggression” against the Palestinians, helping them and responding to their rightful demands. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday slammed recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir that advocated for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza, calling the rhetoric “inflammatory and irresponsible.” – Reuters

When Israel’s Supreme Court late Monday struck down a judicial overhaul law of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Likud party assailed the justices for ruling during the war on Hamas, when national unity is paramount. – Bloomberg

After South Africa turned to the International Court of Justice with an accusation that Israel is committing genocide, Jerusalem on Tuesday announced it would defend itself at the Hague against being libeled with a crime label most often associated with attempts to annihilate the Jewish people.  – New York Sun

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the relatives of hostages held in Gaza that the exile of the Hamas terror group’s leadership from the Strip was a possible outcome of the war, several media outlets reported Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Israeli security chiefs are reportedly set to propose a plan by which Palestinian clans in the Gaza Strip will temporarily administer the coastal enclave after the ongoing war to remove Hamas ends, with each clan handling humanitarian aid and resources for their local regions. – Times of Israel

At a ceremony in Jerusalem on Tuesday marking the beginning of his tenure as foreign minister, Israel Katz said Israel was “at the height of World War III against Iran and radical Islam.” Katz, who replaced Eli Cohen as Israel’s top diplomat according to a previously agreed rotation agreement, also pledged in his address that Israel “will achieve our goal of toppling Hamas.” – Times of Israel

Editorial: In the long run, the court may find that it has harmed itself while killing a reform package that was politically all but dead. Benny Gantz, the opponent of Benjamin Netanyahu who could be Israel’s next Prime Minister, now says that after the war, “We will need to decide relations between the branches of government and legislate a ‘Basic Law: Legislation’ that will anchor the status of Basic Laws.” – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: That’s a basis for talks and discussion, not the shoot-from-the-hip bluster of Smotrich and Gotliv. For the good of the country, its ties with the US, and its future unity, Netanyahu must rein in those loudmouths and face the huge challenges facing Israel and Gaza before the day after. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: There are surely those who will think the court has once against overstepped its power and that it is trying to prevent our democracy from legislating its role. All of these debates will be had in good time; there is no urgency now. We must defeat our enemies, including Hamas as well as the other parts of the Iranian-backed terror nexus that shrouds the region in darkness. As that task is completed – and it may take months or even years – the country will need to revisit the judicial reform. These are healthy debates to be had, and we will have them. – Jerusalem Post

Eugene Kontorovich writes: The existence of safe Jewish communities in Gaza could eventually make Israel confident enough to withdraw. By contrast, as we’ve seen in recent months, if Jews aren’t safe in Gaza, they won’t be safe in Israel either. – Wall Street Journal

Noah Feldman writes: It seems all but certain that proponents of constitutional democracy in Israel will mythologize this historic decision as speaking for the will of the people — that is, against authoritarianism and for the rule of law. The truth is more complicated. Israel’s public remains divided on the country’s future, including on what its democracy should look like. When the Gaza war finally ends, Israel will have to return to these constitutional questions. Only then will it be possible to see if the high court’s decision functions as a unifying rather than a divisive force. – Bloomberg

Theodore Lapkin writes: The South African complaint to the ICJ is little more than a gossamer web of dubious politicized arguments glued together by partisan hostility toward Israel. It ignores the most basic imperative of all sovereign nations — the safety and security of their people. – New York Sun

Eric Mandel writes: Americans, as well as Israelis, must see this video to understand why Hamas needs to be destroyed. These brutalities are not the result over-zealous rage pertaining to a regional conflict over land. They are representative of a decades-long struggle against radical Islam in all of its forms. – The Hill

Matthew Levitt writes: Even Hamas’s own propaganda points to the group’s lackluster weapons production capabilities three months into the war. Last week, Hamas published a video of an Israeli Skylark 2 drone it claimed to capture in the northern Gaza Strip. Sitting on top of a Hamas flag, the drone is being reassembled as the videographer zooms in on Israeli military stickers identifying the Elbit drone as belonging to the 10th Central Wing of the IDF ground forces. Another sticker indicates the drone was deployed as part of the “Iron Swords 3.1” military campaign in Gaza. Next to these Hamas then added its own marker, a patch rebranding the drone as property of the military branch of Hamas. – The Hill

Jehuda Haddad writes: The government must take action – not by bringing the peripheral settlements closer to the country’s central region, but by reinforcing these areas. They should become independent centers of education, culture, and employment. Significant improvements should be made in the education and health services of these border areas. Improvements need to be made in the residents’ standard of living, which will empower them and enable financial growth. – Jerusalem Post

Hanin Ghaddar and Matthew Levitt write: Saleh al-Arouri’s death is a significant loss for Hamas. He played a critical role as one of the group’s primary and most effective liaisons to both Hezbollah and Iran, meeting regularly in Beirut and from time to time in Tehran. […]The loss of someone so intimately involved in both tactical operations and strategic diplomacy is a serious setback for Hamas. What remains to be seen is how the group’s allies, especially Hezbollah, react to the attack. – Washington Institute

Iran

Iran’s dispatch of a warship to the Red Sea is its most audacious move yet to challenge US forces in the key trade route, emboldening Houthi militants whose missiles have disrupted shipping over the past two months. – Bloomberg

Iranian anti-government activist ​​Vahid Behashti visited Israel to speak at a Knesset event held by Knesset members Ohad Tal and Evgeny Sova regarding Israel’s post-war plans for the Gaza Strip. – Jerusalem Post

Dawood Abdullahi, a Kurdish prisoner of conscience, has been executed in Iran’s Qazalhasar prison, local media reports said, after spending more than 14 years in prison. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Marking the third anniversary of the January 3, 2020 killing of the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. air strike, along with the December 25, 2023 killing of senior IRGC officer Gen. Razi Moussavi in Damascus in an Israeli air strike, IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif said that the Hamas massacre of Israelis on October 7, 2023 was “one of the resistance axis’s acts of vengeance against the Zionists for the killing of [IRGC Qods Force commander Gen. Qassim] Soleimani.” (See below for screenshot of Fars News publication of Sharif’s statements). – Middle East Media Research Institute

Allison Meakem writes: Regardless of how many candidates make the ballot for both the Majlis and Assembly of Experts, the more consequential question is whether Iran’s reformists will boycott the vote. For Raisi and Khamenei, low turnout could be a double-edged sword. A reformist boycott would almost guarantee their hard-line camp a victory. But by laying bare their government’s waning public legitimacy, it would also make them look weaker than ever. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

Russia launched another mass drone-and-missile attack against Ukraine, the latest in a growing campaign to break Ukrainian morale and wear down its air-defense systems. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine launched 12 missiles and several drones in the early hours of Wednesday on Russia’s southern region of Belgorod, Russia’s defence ministry and local authorities said. – Reuters

Turkey said on Tuesday it would not allow two minehunter ships donated to Ukraine by Britain to transit its waters en route to the Black Sea since it would violate an international pact concerning wartime passage of the straits. – Reuters

William A. Galston writes: This arrangement would be a bitter pill both for the Ukrainians, who are passionate about regaining all their territory, and for Mr. Putin, who fears the prospect of a new power linked to the West on Russia’s border. But it is the only realistic path to a lasting peace in Europe. – Wall Street Journal

Mikhail Zygar writes: Even if Putin’s vision does not come to full fruition, a “far-right international” would help strengthen his hand. He hopes that it might prompt Western states to weaken sanctions, for example, or to cut back on support for Kyiv. The result might be a more durable Kremlin regime. And for Putin, that in itself would be a win. – Foreign Affairs

Jack Watling writes: The United States and its European allies face a choice. They can either make an immediate plan to bolster the training they provide to the Ukrainian military, clarify to their publics and to Ukraine that the October 2024 deadline to liberate territory must be extended, and underwrite Ukraine’s materiel needs through 2025, or they can continue to falsely believe the war is in a stalemate, dithering and ceding the advantage to Russia. This would be a terrible mistake: in addition to expanding its partnerships in Africa, Russia is strengthening its collaboration with China, Iran, and North Korea. And if a loss in Ukraine ends up demonstrating that the West cannot meet a single challenge to the world’s security architecture, its adversaries will hardly believe it can deal with multiple crises at once. – Foreign Affairs

Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu writes: Another reason is the desire to capitalize on the market vacuum created by those countries that have cut ties with Russia. They are already preparing for the post-war period and ensuring they will have a foothold in the market. Questions remain about the sincerity of Western countries on Ukraine. No one knows how effective and deep the sanctions really are. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Hezbollah

Hasan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group with widespread political influence in Lebanon, is expected to make a speech Wednesday that could signal how the group may respond to the killing of a senior Hamas leader. – Washington Post

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Tuesday it had targeted a group of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of Marj with missiles. – Reuters

Avigdor Lieberman’s call for Israel to reoccupy a portion of southern Lebanon is at the top of the news from the Middle East. During the weekly meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party on Monday, the Times of Israel first reported, the former minister of defense of Israel said that Lebanon should “pay in territory” for the damage that Hezbollah has caused since October 7 with its rocket strikes on northern Israeli towns. – New York Sun

Gulf States

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is facing a new set of federal bribery allegations in a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday that accuses him of providing assistance to the government of Qatar as well as Egypt. – Washington Post

The United States has reached a deal to extend its military presence at a base in Qatar for another 10 years, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters

An armed drone was shot down on Tuesday over Erbil airport in northern Iraq, where U.S. and other international forces are stationed, two security sources said. – Reuters

Saudi state TV said on Tuesday that the kingdom had officially joined the BRICS bloc of countries. – Reuters

Editorial: South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham put the point squarely in a tweet on Tuesday: “Does the United States Senate view a country joining BRICS as an effort to enhance that nation’s relationship with the U.S.?” He also asked whether a country aligned economically with Iran—“a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law”—would be subject to U.S. sanctions against Iran. The Biden Administration may not be warning off the Saudis from joining the BRICS. But somebody should if the Crown Prince really wants a defense pact with the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

Middle East & North Africa

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk MAERSK.B 6.38%increase; green up pointing triangle said it will pause all transit through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden until further notice following the attack on its vessel Maersk Hangzhou on Dec. 30. – Wall Street Journal

Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague to contest South Africa’s genocide accusations over the war with Hamas in Gaza, an Israeli government spokesman said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Southern Red Sea, though no damage was reported, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said late on Tuesday. – Reuters

British maritime security firm Ambrey said on Tuesday that a Malta-flagged container ship reported seeing three explosions towards its port quarter, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Yemen’s Mocha. – Reuters

A Syrian military statement said an Israeli air strike early on Tuesday that came from the direction of the Golan Heights targeting positions in the outskirts of Damascus caused some material damage, Syrian state news agency (SANA) reported. – Reuters

The war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has drawn in the Houthi rebels who have controlled northwestern Yemen for nearly a decade. Like Hamas, the Houthis are hostile to Israel and backed by Iran. The rebels have disrupted traffic in the Red Sea by repeatedly attacking ships there. They say they’re targeting Israel-linked vessels, though ships with no such direct connection have been affected. The Houthis have also attempted to strike Israel with missiles and drones. – Bloomberg

Fouad Siniora and Basem Shabb write: President Biden, in an op-ed in The Post, categorically stated that “a two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” He might have added, “as well as the whole region.” The hand of the Arab world is extended to Israel. A farsighted Israeli leadership would do well to reciprocate — and start working with its partners on fashioning a durable and meaningful peace. – Washington Post

Neville Teller writes: On the other hand, Morocco has not the slightest intention of withdrawing from the Abraham Accords. This became clear on November 11 when, at an Arab Islamic summit in Riyadh, the delegation from Morocco, together with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Mauritania, Djibouti, Jordan, and Egypt, blocked a proposal to cut ties with Israel. So in complex and shifting circumstances, the Abraham Accords seem in good health. They may yet come into their own in helping rebuild Gaza once the war has ended. That is when, in the recent words of Jared Kushner, one of their architects, they may become “more important than ever”. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for a “radical improvement” in the country’s farm machinery sector, state media reported on Wednesday, as the reclusive state pushes for agricultural modernisation to tackle chronic food shortages. – Reuters

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has derided South Korea’s conservative president for being “foolishly brave” but called his liberal predecessor “very smart” — rhetoric likely meant to help stoke domestic divisions in South Korea. – Associated Press

South Korea has protested to Japan over a tsunami advisory issued by its neighbour following the powerful New Year’s Day earthquake that featured a map displaying a group of its islands also claimed by Tokyo, officials in Seoul said on Tuesday. – Reuters

China

Prosecutors opened the trial of media tycoon and dissident Jimmy Lai on national security charges by citing his tweets, comments in interviews and a photograph of him publicly meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence to allege he was the “mastermind” of a conspiracy to urge Western governments to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials. – Wall Street Journal

The expelled officials included some of the brightest rising stars in President Xi Jinping’s military: two generals who oversaw satellite launches and manned space missions; an admiral who helped entrench Beijing’s presence in the disputed South China Sea; and a missile commander who had honed China’s ability to respond to a possible nuclear war. – New York Times

The arms race across the Taiwan Strait and Chinese military pressure against the island Beijing claims as its “sacred” territory is unlikely to end no matter who wins Taiwan’s closely watched elections. – Reuters

Chinese state media unveiled new images of China’s most advanced aircraft carrier yet, including next generation launch tracks that can catapult a wider range of aircraft from its deck. – Reuters

ASML Holding NV canceled shipments of some of its machines to China at the request of US President Joe Biden’s administration, weeks before export bans on the high-end chipmaking equipment came into effect, people familiar with the matter said. – Bloomberg

China’s military emphasized its intent to crack down on corruption in 2024 as turmoil continues to ripple through the upper echelons of the world’s largest armed forces.- Bloomberg

Henry Sanderson writes: To create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs, Western governments will need to make viable investments in clean energy manufacturing that are supported by the market and customers. That is the only way to really build up popular backing for climate action. Starting a clean energy trade war, which would likely provoke China into taking retaliatory action, or overpromising on industrial policies is not the solution. The West should keep in mind this tricky balancing act when designing a strategy for China. – Foreign Affairs

Asia

India’s economy is booming. Stock prices are through the roof, among the best performing in the world. The government’s investment in airports, bridges and roads, and clean-energy infrastructure is visible almost everywhere. India’s total output, or gross domestic product, is expected to increase 6 percent this year — faster than the United States or China. – New York Times

A senior Chinese official on Wednesday urged Taiwan’s people to make a “correct choice” on the island’s upcoming elections, which he described as being about peace and war, prosperity and decline. – Reuters

Three Chinese balloons flew across Taiwan island on Tuesday and near an air base, the Taiwanese defence ministry said, the first time it has reported them crossing the island since reporting a spate of such balloons in the Taiwan Strait starting last month. – Reuters

The head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Tuesday called on Taiwan’s people to promote the process of “peaceful reunification”, saying it was the common desire of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

Hackers accessed the court recordings database in Australia’s Victoria state and disrupted the audio-visual in-court technology network, impacting recordings and transcription services, an official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ordered an inquiry into why 20-year-old Cabinet documents relating to Australia joining the United States-led Iraq invasion remain secret, saying Wednesday that Australians have a right to know why their country went to war in 2003. – Associated Press

James Durso writes: Local imams can continue their mutually beneficial relationships with the governments as they try to regain influence lost to Soviet atheism and the hardline polities of former Uzbek president Islam Karimov. Governments will cooperate with the imams, all of whom are state officials, as the capitals are conscious of the region’s Islamic heritage but must also secure the modernizing, secular state structure. – The Hill

Dana Masalimova writes: The Middle Corridor’s strategic significance extends beyond being just an alternative transit link between Europe and China; it’s a pivotal pillar for Central Asia’s regional trade architecture and a litmus test for its cooperative policymaking with the West. – The National Interest

Europe

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has called on Western allies to tighten sanctions on Russia and to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles in response to the latest series of air strikes. – Bloomberg

Victor Rud writes: The rules-based international order will be shredded. Throwing Ukraine under the bus — again — will not save the United States and its allies. Instead, it will tip the world into a sinkhole of global war on multiple fronts. And future generations will have reason to curse those who allowed this shoddy, short-sighted outcome. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Elisabeth Braw writes: Liberal democracies will never be able to fully thwart every attack on critical national infrastructure. On the contrary, the continued advance of digital services and infrastructure will make advanced economies even more vulnerable to such attacks, and they may never be able to conclusively establish the identity of the perpetrator. That, of course, means they won’t be able to mete out punishment either. […]That makes societal resilience indispensable. Just like pilots know what to do if GPS is jammed, the rest of us should know what to do in case GPS is jammed, and it won’t be nearly as complicated as the skills involved in flying a plane. In fact, it may simply involve using a paper map or asking a fellow citizen for directions. Societal resilience – and thus national security – begins with every citizen. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Africa

Somalia on Tuesday rejected a pact its breakaway region of Somaliland signed with Ethiopia allowing it to use a major port with access to the Red Sea in return for recognition as an independent state, saying the agreement had no legal force. – Reuters

Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said on Tuesday it was open to an immediate, unconditional ceasefire through talks with the Sudanese army as it signed a declaration with the Taqadum civilian coalition and invited the army to do the same. – Reuters

Paris on Tuesday said its embassy in Niger was now closed, confirming previously announced plans, after relations between the two countries deteriorated following a military coup in the African country. – Reuters

Javier Blas writes: Splitting Somalia into two (or even three, as another breakaway region of Somalia called Puntland could follow suit) could create further failed states in a region that controls the mouth of the Red Sea. As such, the deal between Ethiopia and Somaliland is more than a historical oddity; it could deepen difficulties in a crucial choke point for global trade. – Bloomberg

United States

Companies from China, Russia and other countries blacklisted by the U.S. no longer can buy land near military sites in Missouri under an order enacted by the state’s governor Tuesday. – Associated Press

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs writes: Deterring two hostile nuclear peers is America’s highest priority. The nuclear posture designed to do this will require more deployed systems than were planned when China wasn’t considered America’s primary challenger. But as military-related targets inside China and Russia multiply, so will the demand on the U.S. deterrent. As the risks rise, national leaders must work together and with America’s closest allies to strike the right military posture. Now is not the time to resort to shortcuts. – Wall Street Journal

Chris Stirewalt writes: Haley is prone to error when she is trying too hard to please, as her misadventures on the causes of the Civil War and online anonymity demonstrate. And as she heads into the finals, even meaningless gaffes will be frothed up by her rivals and the press. Remember, there is a correlation between a candidate’s viability and criticism from the media, especially for Republicans. But if she can cultivate the image of the outsider and the insurgent, Haley may indeed be a new sensation. – The Dispatch

Joseph Bosco writes: In 2018, for example, Haley said the Trump administration would impose new sanctions on Russia for supporting Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its people, an action Obama had said would cross a U.S. “red line.” But other White House officials said Trump wanted to defer secondary sanctions in the interest of cultivating good relations with Putin. His administration never followed the tougher line Haley advocated against the Russians. During these perilous times, America needs such a steady hand in the White House. No Labels should help clear the way. – The Hill

Cybersecurity

Crypto platform Orbit Chain said it is working with the Korean National Police Agency and Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) to address a cyberattack that led to the theft of more than $81 million worth of cryptocurrency. – The Record

Ukraine’s security officers said they took down two online surveillance cameras that were allegedly hacked by Russia to spy on air defense forces and critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. – The Record

Klon Kitchen writes: To put it plainly: President Biden’s administration must urgently address its internal policy contradictions. By fostering a coherent and strategic approach to AI, it can not only safeguard American technological leadership but also influence the global discourse on AI governance. This is not just about protecting American interests; it’s about shaping a future where AI is harnessed for the greater good, underpinned by values of openness, innovation, and fair competition. As AI redefines the contours of power and influence in the global arena, America must lead with vision and unity. – The Cipher Brief

Jen Easterly, Scott Schwab, and Cait Conley write: Voters can do their part, too. There is always the opportunity to serve as a poll worker or as an election observer. And everyone can support their state and local election officials by being careful not to amplify or exacerbate the actions of nefarious actors who want to undermine the security and integrity of American democracy. Election security should not be a matter of politics or partisanship but rather preserving the integrity of the country’s most sacred democratic process. Americans must work together so that the malicious use of generative AI is just another line in a long list of challenges that the American electoral process can and has overcome. – Foreign Affairs

Fiona Alexander writes: The immediate impact of the US choice is to postpone digital trade talks under the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.  With artificial intelligence seemingly a priority as evidenced by a lengthy Executive Order, what restrictions on data flows could result from the Tai choice?  What about the ongoing discussion in the United Nations about digital cooperation?  Is the United States still committed to a global interoperable Internet? Hopefully, the Biden Administration can find a meaningful way to course-correct Tai’s calamitous choice. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Defense

New radars and interceptors are headed to soldiers for testing in 2024 as the Army seeks to upgrade its air defense capabilities. – Defense News

Rear Adm. (ret.) Tim Gallaudet writes: The political appointees in the Pentagon who attended COP28 stated that energy-resilient installations, hybrid-electric tactical vehicles and shipboard fuel efficiency measures will make our military a more agile, stronger and lethal fighting force. Such a claim is not only nonsense, it is also a delusional and dangerous distraction to meeting the urgent need to prepare for the defense of Taiwan. To this end, the DOD needs to ditch its emissions reduction directives and invest in climate related capabilities that increase combat power. – The Hill

J. Brian Atwood writes: Even despite current tensions, diplomatic channels remain open between the U.S., China and Russia. Are these three major powers mature enough politically to de-link concerns over other volatile issues to prevent outer space from becoming a theater of war? To resume arms control negotiations? To negotiate ways to prevent AI from being used to substitute for human decision-making in combat? – The Hill

Long War

Police in Argentina have arrested three people for suspicion of planning a terrorist attack at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Buenos Aires, according to police reports from Argentina. – Jerusalem Post

Vanni Cappelli writes: A deft combination of focused hard power and pragmatic soft power is needed. Honest self-criticism is the only way for the U.S. to project a strength providing something true in which people in other nations can believe — liberty. – The Hill

Idan Roll writes: Media narratives often simplify complex situations, and the distinction between “uninvolved” and “unaffiliated” is frequently lost. War, by its nature, is brutal and tragic, and while some innocent lives are undoubtedly lost (often as a result of terrorist groups like Hamas using civilians as human shields while obstructing their way from evacuating the war zone) the role of “unaffiliated” individuals in acts of violence cannot be ignored. It is our responsibility to question and critically assess the narratives and numbers presented to us, understanding the complex realities of the Israel-Hamas war beyond the simplistic labels. – Jerusalem Post