Fdd's overnight brief

July 10, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Years of pro-Palestinian campaigning for a global boycott against Israel once found limited support. But in the months since the war in Gaza began, support for the isolation of Israel has grown and widened well beyond Israel’s war effort. – Wall Street Journal 

Hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip are struggling to treat patients and offer desperately needed medical services amid Israeli operations in Gaza City, according to local officials and hospital administrators. – Washington Post

Palestinian officials said an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza Strip killed more than two dozen people while advancing tanks in Gaza City forced residents to flee under fire as Israel on Tuesday stepped up an offensive that Hamas warned could jeopardise ceasefire talks. – Reuters

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant approved a plan on Tuesday to start drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military, a move likely to further strain relations within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fractious right-wing coalition. – Reuters

Negotiations to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza war will resume in Doha on Wednesday, with the intelligence chiefs of Egypt, the United States, and Israel in attendance, Egypt’s state-affiliated Al-Qahera News TV and sources said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The recent deaths of several more children from malnutrition in the Gaza Strip indicate that famine has spread throughout the enclave, a group of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) (ISRAI.UL) has entered a $1 billion contract to supply one of its systems to an unnamed third party, the state-owned defence contractor said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The pier built by the U.S. military to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza will be reinstalled Wednesday to be used for several days, but then the plan is to pull it out permanently, several U.S. officials said. It would deal the final blow to a project long plagued by bad weather, security uncertainties and difficulties getting food into the hands of starving Palestinians. – Associated Press

Israel has informed Ukraine that it is prepared to receive Ukrainian children with cancer who were left homeless after the Okhmatdyt Hospital in Kyiv, where they were being treated, was bombed on Tuesday by Russia. Israel is now awaiting a response from Ukraine. If the children do come to Israel, they will be admitted to the Sheba Medical Center. – Ynet

Yoel Guzansky and Udi Dekel writes: This includes striking a deal to release the hostages, taking the veto power from Hamas so that it cannot torpedo a positive process in the Palestinian arena, establishing a “renewed” and moderate Palestinian regime to control a demilitarized Gaza Strip while maintaining military freedom for the IDF, and defining a diplomatic horizon for resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. – Jerusalem Post

Bilal Y. Saab writes: So right now, Washington, in parallel with Hochstein’s mediation, must show that it is laying the groundwork for implementing a new, more robust UN Resolution 1701 by providing material and financial assistance to the Lebanese army to assume its new responsibilities, by forging international consensus on a beefed-up UNIFIL, and by pushing Israel to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza – reports that Hamas updated Hezbollah Friday it had agreed to a proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is an encouraging sign – and abide by the new rules of an arms control agreement. – Haaretz

Iran

The election of relative moderate Masoud Pezeshkian as Iran’s president has lifted the hopes of Iranians yearning for social freedoms and better relations with the West, but few expect big policy changes. – Reuters

The White House on Tuesday accused Tehran of trying to take advantage of Gaza-related protests in the U.S. and described such behavior as unacceptable, following a warning by the top U.S. intelligence official that Iran was trying to stoke discord in American society. – Reuters

The Iranian Navy frigate Sahand entirely sank in shallow waters on Tuesday in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, Nournews agency said, after it was briefly repositioned following its initial capsizing on Sunday. – Reuters

Police in Iran shut down the Turkish Airlines office in the capital of Tehran, Iranian media reported Tuesday, after female employees there apparently refused to wear the mandatory headscarf, or hijab, in an act of defiance of the country’s law. – Associated Press

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard forces have dismantled armed bandits in the northwest of the country, state TV reported Tuesday. The report said ground forces of the Revolutionary Guard, known as IRGC in West Azerbaijan province, dismantled a counter-revolutionary terrorist team that was planning to enter Iran from its northwestern borders. – Associated Press

Karim Sadjadpour writes: The future of Iran, and its relationship with the United States, will be shaped most profoundly not by what happens after the arrival of a new Iranian president, but what happens after the death or departure of Khamenei. Until then, Iranians will continue to chafe under a regime they cannot tolerate, reform or depose. And the United States will continue to face an Iranian regime that remains far more committed to fighting America than advancing the interests of its people. – Washington Post

Cameron Khansarinia writes: Supporting this movement means acknowledging the legitimacy of the people’s demands and standing in solidarity with their call for a truly democratic and representative political system. Pezeshkian’s portrayal as a reformist is a lie peddled by Khamenei and his Western lobby to buoy a sinking regime. He doesn’t deserve your attention, the brave Iranian people do. – The Hill

Erfan Fard writes: In conclusion, the ascent of Pezeshkian underlines a continued trajectory of authoritarianism and disregard for genuine democratic reforms in Iran. Despite the outward appearance of change, the regime’s foundational structure, characterized by suppression, propaganda, and manipulation, remains unaltered […]The international community must recognize these realities and reconsider their engagement strategies with Iran. – Jerusalem Post

Patrick Clawson writes: This outcome would not serve U.S. interests—not with Iran, and not with U.S. allies. Washington would be better served by expressing interest in renewing initiatives that Tehran and other actors believe will actually be implemented no matter who wins in November. After the election, U.S. officials can open secret negotiations and offer modest proposals that benefit each side. In short, kicking the can down the road may be the wisest policy—as long as Washington kicks loudly. – Washington Institute

Russia & Ukraine

Senior U.S. and European leaders opened this week’s NATO summit with a pledge to increase the alliance’s investment in military industrial production, while acknowledging that more than two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, the allies are still struggling to produce enough weapons and equipment to help Kyiv win the war. – Wall Street Journal

Facing an uncertain outcome in U.S. elections in November and no clear pathway to NATO membership for his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to a traditional vision of U.S. leadership in a speech Tuesday at the beginning of the alliance’s summit. – Wall Street Journal

A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of fierce Kremlin critic and opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who died earlier this year, as the country’s authorities move to silence any whisper of political dissent. – Wall Street Journal

The United States and its allies have agreed to provide additional air defenses to Ukraine following devastating Russian missile attacks Monday that killed at least 38 people across Ukraine and destroyed a Kyiv children’s hospital. – Washington Post

The U.S. has not seen Russia shift on its preference from previous U.S. presidential elections on who it prefers to win this year, a U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday, indicating that Moscow again favors Republican Donald Trump. – Reuters

A U.N. rights mission said on Tuesday there was a “high likelihood” that Kyiv’s main children’s hospital took a direct hit from a Russian missile during a series of airstrikes on Ukrainian cities, as the Kremlin continued to deny involvement. – Reuters

Russia’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that its forces took control of Yasnobrodivka settlement in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, it said in a report on the Telegram messging app. – Reuters

Ukraine’s state-owned arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom has opened its first foreign office in Washington as Kyiv seeks to work more closely with allies to step up weapons production and counter Russia’s invasion. – Reuters

Russia’s foreign spy agency accused the United States on Tuesday of plotting “regime change” in Georgia after the South Caucasus country holds a parliamentary election on Oct. 26, a claim Washington called “completely false.” – Reuters

Russia’s state-run nuclear energy agency said it is looking at potentially building six new high-power nuclear power units and low-power nuclear power plants in India, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. – Newsweek

Jaroslaw Kuisz and Karolina Wigura write: And if there are not yet Russian drones flying over European Union countries, fighting is already underway on other fronts — if only, for now, in the form of disinformation, spying and hacking. Our view is that NATO members should put the alliance’s arsenal of resources at Ukraine’s disposal to ensure Russia is defeated. That’s how we see things. In Washington this week, countries have a chance to take off their glasses, look one another in the eye and set a new course. – New York Times

Andreas Kluth writes: To remain credible that vow has to be binary — you’re all in or all out — and unconditional: An attack against you is an attack against me. The correct communique would simply say two things: Sorry, Ukraine, we can’t defend you. But we’ll give you everything you need — and much more than we’ve given so far — so that you can beat Putin on your own. – Bloomberg

John Tefft writes: Of special concern are technologies and weapons that can help Russia’s war effort. The summit will have a complex Russian agenda. The alliance is challenged to come up with new approaches to deal with Moscow’s rogue behavior and an international order that is becoming more complex and less stable. – The Hill

Elena Davlikanova writes: Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also announced the formation of the 5,000-strong Demining Corps, which will conduct surveys in potentially contaminated areas, clear territory in combat zones, and carry out humanitarian demining. Coordination by governments, international institutions, businesses, charities, and volunteers will assess the effectiveness of the joint effort. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Eric Ciaramella writes: If Washington can lead its allies in articulating a credible cease-fire enforcement mechanism now, Ukraine is far more likely to win the peace—whenever that day comes. Putin’s theory of victory is to exhaust Ukraine’s will to resist and the West’s will to support it. That strategy will no longer be viable if the United States and its allies properly coordinate and fund the commitments they have made to support Ukraine’s defense and deterrence capabilities over the long term. – Foreign Policy

Hezbollah

After nine months of cross-border conflict with Hezbollah, Israel says it is preparing for a full-scale war in Lebanon, warning the time for diplomacy is running out. Hezbollah […]has been preparing for this moment since 2006, when Israeli forces last invaded the country. – Washington Post

An apparent Israeli drone strike in Syria on Tuesday prompted the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to respond with rocket fire into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the group said, an attack that killed two people as fears continued to mount over the threat of a full-scale war. – New York Times

Coded messages. Landline phones. Pagers. Following the killing of senior commanders in targeted Israeli airstrikes, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, has been using some low-tech strategies to try to evade its foe’s sophisticated surveillance technology, informed sources told Reuters. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s Hezbollah published an almost 10-minute video on Tuesday showing footage of 17 military sites in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights which it said had been gathered by the armed group’s surveillance aircraft. – Reuters

Amatzia Baram writes: If there is a general ceasefire agreement, Nasrallah will comply […]This, however, could only materialize if a joint Israeli-American position is reached. Israel would announce that if Hezbollah does not withdraw, it will start an all-out war, and the United States will undertake to support it with weapons, intelligence, and support in the Security Council. Israel will have to concentrate very large forces in the North in order to convince Nasrallah of the sincerity of its intentions. – Jerusalem Post

Gadi Ezra writes: These examples do not necessarily indicate that Hezbollah is about to face an inner Lebanese rebellion tomorrow morning. And, of course, the Lebanese people are not becoming pro-Israel suddenly (far from it). But they are symptomatic of something more profound and indicate that a substantial portion of the population, on unprecedented scales these days, understands the consequences of a war, and objects to it. This, despite Nasrallah’s claims that they stand behind him. – Jerusalem Post

Turkey

Turkey launched its first domestically-produced communications satellite, Turksat 6A, into orbit early on Tuesday, in a move Ankara said would widen the country’s satellite coverage and meet its television broadcasting needs. – Reuters

Alp Aslandogan writes: Fixing Turkey’s enormous democratic deficit is no less important for NATO than protecting it against an external aggressor. If NATO is not protecting democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law in countries like Turkey, then it simply is protecting an authoritarian regime that is no different from the very threat NATO was initially formed to fight. – Newsweek

Evren Balta writes: While this defeat might not directly signal a shift in Ankara’s foreign policy, it undoubtedly challenges the claims to legitimacy of Erdoğan’s government, thereby constraining its domestic and foreign policy options. Whether this signifies a disruption in the consolidation of transactionalism or prompts Western allies to find ways to engage with the opposition (and democracy) remains to be seen. – Middle East Institute 

Robert Ellis writes: Cyprus was understandably delighted when an agreement on strategic dialogue was signed in Washington, drawing Greek Cyprus into the U.S. sphere of influence as a bulwark against Turkey. Turkey showcased its advances in defense technology during a joint military exercise EFES-2024 held in May. But it should not be forgotten that Turkey’s foreign policy, like Vladimir Putin’s, is essentially irredentist and, as such, incompatible with NATO’s aims and objectives. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

The U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday that his office was following up on reports of a mass grave in the desert along the Libya-Tunisia border, after the bodies of at least 65 migrants were found at another site this year. – Reuters

An attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted a ship in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, the latest assault claimed by the group on the crucial maritime trade route. The captain of the ship reported an explosion in close proximity to the vessel off the coast of Nishtun. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia privately hinted earlier this year it might sell some European debt holdings if the Group of Seven decided to seize almost $300 billion of Russia’s frozen assets, people familiar with the matter said. – Bloomberg

Dario Sabaghi writes: And so long as the Lebanese government continues to detain Syrians and threaten them with deportation, the abuse is likely to continue. For those sent back to Syria, a worse fate awaits. As a relative of one deportee told Foreign Policy, “They can kill him by torture and bury him in a mass grave, as happened with thousands of detainees; they can execute him by firing squad, or he can die as a result of diseases and malnutrition.” – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s trash balloon campaign, missile launches and the emergence of GPS “spoofing” have increased risks in South Korean airspace, aviation experts say, complicating airline operations as tensions rise between the rival nations. – Reuters

North Korea’s arms trade with Russia is a threat to global peace, and strength and alliances among liberal democracies are critical in safeguarding freedom from “reckless elements”, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday. – Reuters

South Korea and the U.S. will reach agreement on sharing the cost of U.S. troops in the country if Donald Trump is elected president, even though he is likely to pressure Europe to increase defence spending, a former Trump security adviser said. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Tuesday vetoed a bill mandating a special counsel probe into allegations that military officials and the presidential office interfered in an internal investigation into the death of a marine last year. – Reuters

Ukraine needs artillery shells. South Korea has millions and there is a push to convince its President Yoon Suk Yeol to change a government policy that prohibits Seoul from sending lethal aid to countries at war. – Bloomberg

China

China’s consumer inflation remained tepid last month while factory-gate prices continued to fall, pointing to persistently lackluster demand despite Beijing’s efforts to juice up consumption. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese aircraft carrier the Shandong passed close to the northern Philippines on its way to drills in the Pacific, Taiwan’s defence minister said on Wednesday, as Taipei reported dozens of warplanes joining the ship for exercises. – Reuters

China will examine whether European Union investigations of Chinese enterprises amounted to “trade barriers,” its commerce ministry said on Wednesday.  – Reuters

China’s coast guard said it had on humanitarian grounds “allowed” the Philippines to evacuate a person who had fallen ill on a rusting warship beached on the Second Thomas Shoal, a claim Manila’s coast guard said was “ridiculous”. – Reuters

The United States’ new top envoy to Taiwan promised Wednesday that Washington will help the self-ruled island defend itself as China ramps up its military threats. – Associated Press

South Asia

As Modi makes his first visit to Russia since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the images emerging from Moscow of Modi wrapping the Russian president in a hug send a clear signal that the South Asian giant will maintain deep ties with Russia despite the Biden administration’s efforts to woo its prime minister. It also shows that Putin is not as isolated as the White House has hoped. – Washington Post

Across Pakistan, authorities are hurrying to bolster security for Chinese workers after a surge in militant violence targeting Chinese-funded megaprojects. The attacks have threatened infrastructure, energy and trade projects that have kept Pakistan’s economy afloat through a dire economic crisis. – New York Times

India’s relationship with Russia gives it an ability to urge President Vladimir Putin to end its war with Ukraine, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. – Reuters

India plans to spend $1 billion to expedite the construction of 12 hydropower stations in the northeastern Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh, two government sources said, a move that could raise tensions with China that lays claims to the region. – Reuters

Sri Lanka’s parliament approved amendments to a decades-old law on Tuesday to allow Elon Musk’s Starlink, the satellite unit of SpaceX, to set up operations in the South Asian island nation. – Reuters

Russia has promised to discharge Indians who were falsely induced to join its army, an issue Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised at talks with President Vladimir Putin, an Indian official said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The head of the U.N. refugee agency and Pakistan’s prime minister held talks Tuesday about Afghan refugees living in uncertainty in Pakistan following the government’s anti-migrant crackdown that started last year as militants stepped up attacks on security forces. – Associated Press

The Taliban’s morality police are contributing to a climate of fear and intimidation among Afghans, according to a U.N. report published Tuesday. Edicts and some of the methods used to enforce them constituted a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the report said. – Associated Press

Asia

Malaysia said on Wednesday it will seek to finalise plans and sign a full-fledged pact with Singapore to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) between the countries in September. – Reuters

Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday set July 24 as the next hearing date for a case seeking the dismissal of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin as it seeks more evidence. – Reuters

There are many examples in history of smaller militaries beating larger opponents, Taiwan President Lai Ching-te told air force officers in comments released on Tuesday, offering encouragement ahead of annual war games being held later this month. – Reuters

Russia’s deepening military cooperation with North Korea has underlined the need for Japan to forge closer ties with NATO as regional security threats become increasingly intertwined, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told Reuters. – Reuters

The Philippine senate threatened on Wednesday to arrest a small town mayor for contempt during a hearing investigating her alleged ties with Chinese criminal syndicates, a case that has captivated the nation amid tension between Manila and Bejing. – Reuters

Derek Grossman writes: For the United States, the best policy will be to resist being hyperbolic—particularly about the Russia-North Korea defense pact—and recognize that the threat of a Russian military intervention in the Indo-Pacific is improbable for now, not least because Moscow’s attention is fixed on Ukraine. As long as Russian interference does not fundamentally challenge the United States’ own Indo-Pacific strategy, then Moscow’s interference is just part and parcel of the emerging multipolar order. – Foreign Policy

Europe

It was one of the greatest political upsets in French history, and an outcome that pollsters failed to predict […]Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party ended up not only falling short of a majority but coming in third, behind a surging left and even President Emmanuel Macron’s ailing centrist alliance. – Washington Post

Germany and eight other countries on the Baltic Sea aim to jointly procure naval mines, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday, as Russia is taking an increasingly assertive stance in the Baltic Sea region. – Reuters

Switzerland has expanded its sanctions against Russia to include additional measures recently taken up by the European Union against Moscow over its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, the Swiss government said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The leftist coalition that won the most seats in France’s National Assembly in surprise results demanded on Tuesday the immediate right to form a government, even though no grouping won a majority of seats. – Associated Press

NATO countries are moving to shore up their weapons production capabilities as a hedge against the November presidential vote, signing a nearly $700 million contract for more Stinger missiles and making pledges to boost their own defense production. – Associated Press

Georgia’s accession to the European Union has been halted, and some of the bloc’s financial support to the South Caucasus country has been frozen after the Georgian authorities adopted a new law that critics feared would curb democratic freedoms, the EU Ambassador in Georgia said Tuesday. – Associated Press

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Tuesday it opened a preliminary investigation last week into suspicions of illicit financing of far-right French leader Marine Le Pen’s campaign during the 2022 presidential election. – Associated Press

France’s Socialist party extended an olive branch to some lawmakers of Emmanuel Macron’s movement as political jockeying gained steam in the aftermath of a messy vote that left parliament divided. – Bloomberg

Keir Starmer signaled Ukraine can use Britain’s Storm Shadow missiles to strike military targets inside Russia, confirming he would continue the previous UK government’s policy on the use of its long-range weapons in the Russia-Ukraine war. – Bloomberg

Moldova’s pro-Russia Socialist opposition unexpectedly backed a controversial former top prosecutor as its candidate in this year’s presidential election as the current administration charts a path toward the European Union. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: In this speech, then, Sunak offered a dose of humility, respect, and ultimate confidence in British democracy. His primary message was clear: Parties can win and lose power, but the key point is that public service must ultimately be about, yes, serving the public and that partisan acrimony for acrimony’s sake is no ally to democracy. Biden and Trump would do well to take note. – Washington Examiner

Maciej Bukowski writes: Europe now is home to 100 nuclear power reactors that generate 97 gigawatts, about one-quarter of the continent’s electricity. With two reactors currently under construction, seven planned, and 25 proposed across the EU, that percentage is bound to grow. The US needs to play a big role. Both sides of the Atlantic can meet their climate change and energy security goals only by embracing nuclear. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Africa

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will pause its withdrawal, with no timeline set for the next phase following the initial one in June, the government and mission said. – Reuters

Cameroonian President Paul Biya secured approval from lawmakers on Tuesday to delay parliamentary and local elections until 2026, a move opposition parties fear could make it harder for them to mount a challenge in next year’s presidential election. – Reuters

Ethiopian Premier Abiy Ahmed met Sudan’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Tuesday, becoming the first foreign leader to visit him in his war capital Port Sudan since the start of the conflict between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). – Reuters

The ballooning debt in East Africa’s economic hub of Kenya is expected to grow even more after deadly protests forced the rejection of a finance bill that President William Ruto said was needed to raise revenue. He now warns “it will have huge consequences.” – Associated Press

The Americas

Foreign law enforcement officers started arriving in Haiti late last month, more than a year and a half after the prime minister there issued a plea to other countries for help to stop the rampant gang violence that has upended the Caribbean nation. – New York Times

As the new prime minister of Haiti, a country with no president or Parliament, where gangs have destroyed dozens of police stations and killed thousands of people, Garry Conille has arguably one of the toughest jobs of any leader in the Western Hemisphere. – New York Times

With Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolás Maduro, trailing badly in polls ahead of the July 28 vote, the government has imposed stringent rules making registering to vote nearly impossible for millions of Venezuelans living abroad, including in the United States, Spain and Latin American countries. – New York Times

Argentine President Javier Milei signed a long-delayed pact with provincial governors early on Tuesday, in a push to broaden support for economic reforms and strengthen his nearly seven-month-old minority government. – Reuters

Nicaragua’s government decreed on Tuesday the closure and seizure of assets of Radio Maria, the station formerly run by Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a prominent government critic now in exile at the Vatican. – Reuters

Even as Mexican-made fentanyl continues to flood into the United States, Mexico’s efforts to seize the drug have declined dramatically, according to figures released Tuesday by the Defense Department. – Associated Press

Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is pressing forward with his attempt to unify Bolivia’s splintered socialist movement, a task so tough even a failed coup against President Luis Arce couldn’t make it happen. – Bloomberg

United States

Democrats on Capitol Hill have thus far largely fallen in line behind President Biden or stopped short of calling for him to withdraw from the race, as he continues to try to assure Democratic voters and donors that he can effectively campaign against, and ultimately defeat, Donald Trump. – Wall Street Journal

Hawaii is banning deep-sea mining, as rifts along party lines begin to show in the U.S. over the practice following calls to extract rare minerals from the ocean floor for defense applications. – Wall Street Journal

Not since Barack Obama’s first term have the White House and Downing Street both been in the hands of center-left parties. After years of tensions over Brexit, Northern Ireland and frustrated British hopes for a trade deal, this could augur a new era of harmony in the trans-Atlantic relationship. – New York Times

U.S. targeting of certain investments in artificial intelligence in China is narrowly targeted at clear national security risks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers on the U.S. House panel on financial services on Tuesday. – Reuters

John Ondrasik writes: Jimmy Carter had his flaws as president but at least, with Operation Eagle Claw, he attempted to rescue our hostages from Iran. President Biden rarely mentions our fellow citizens who are being held by barbaric terrorists. Their freedom doesn’t seem to be a high priority for his administration. Frankly, the plight of our hostages doesn’t seem to mean much to most Americans. It makes me wonder: Who are we anymore? – Wall Street Journal

Jake Sullivan writes: We must continue to deepen our alliances and strengthen deterrence. We must keep working to integrate Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic community to help support a long-term foundation for peace and stability in Europe […]Ultimately, the way to make America more secure and to persuade our allies to do more is to commit to our alliances and to work together to counter shared threats and to build a better world. – New York Times 

Frederic Wehrey and Andrew S. Weiss write: But by offering its partnership to countries that want it and leaving the door open to future cooperation with those that, for now, do not, the United States can craft more effective policies without pressuring leaders across the continent to take sides in a Cold War–style battle for influence. – Foreign Affairs

Robert Silverman writes: However, that pressure went away after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015, and production climbed. Then, during the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran’s oil exports again plummeted. When that pressure eased under Biden, Iran’s oil export revenue went back up, allowing it to fund Israel’s enemies. – The National Interest

Cybersecurity

Australia’s government cybersecurity agency on Tuesday accused a China-backed hacker group of stealing passwords and usernames from two unnamed Australian networks in 2022, adding that the group remained a threat. – Reuters

Deborah Lipstadt, the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, on Tuesday welcomed the announcement by Facebook parent company Meta that it will classify the use of the term “Zionist” as a euphemism for “Jew” as antisemitic and as Tier 1 hate speech. – Arutz Sheva

The FBI dismantled two websites and nearly 1,000 accounts on the X social media platform that were used by Kremlin spin doctors to run an AI-powered campaign that sought to spread disinformation within the U.S. and abroad. – Defense One

An established cybercrime group with a track record of attacking political targets posted on Tuesday roughly two gigabytes of data from the Heritage Foundation, a prominent conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. – CyberScoop

 

Defense

The Senate will pursue a spending increase next year of about 3.4% for defense and 2.7% increase for nondefense programs under an agreement reached by top Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee, setting up a certain clash with the House, which is pursuing less spending in both categories. – Defense News

The Army wants its leaders to tout the use of generative artificial intelligence to the rank and file as a means to make work easier for soldiers, according to a new memo, even as other services have been hesitant to approve those tools for regular use. – Military.com

Arthur Herman writes: Our NATO allies and other democracies have far more to contribute to our collective defense—and shaping a safer, more stable world—than simply checking the box of 2 percent of GDP defense spending. It’s time for U.S. policy to focus on defeating our enemies instead of fighting with our friends. – The Dispatch