Fdd's overnight brief

June 10, 2024

In The News


The two Israeli commando teams had just pulled off a historic rescue mission, freeing four hostages from homes where they were held captive in central Gaza. Now came the hardest part: getting out of Gaza alive. – Wall Street Journal

The searing midday sun afforded the Israeli commandos the element of surprise. The daylight raid was an unusual tactic, and risky. The fear, Israeli military officials said, was that Hamas guards would kill the four hostages as soon as they detected the specialist Israeli counterterrorism teams approaching. – Wall Street Journal

A centrist member of Israel’s war cabinet quit the government on Sunday over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza, after a daring Israeli commando mission rescued four hostages but threatened to trip up efforts to end the conflict and free the remaining captives. – Wall Street Journal

The United Nations alerted Israel that it would be added to this year’s list of warring entities whose actions in conflict have harmed children, prompting condemnations of the world body by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s U.N. ambassador. – Wall Street Journal

Humanitarian aid recommenced flowing over a floating pier deployed by the U.S. military to the Gaza coastline on Saturday, the U.S. military said, following a days-long suspension of operations prompted by the structure breaking up in heavy seas. – Washington Post

The United States provided some intelligence that aided in Saturday’s rescue of four Israeli hostages, according to several people familiar with the matter. An American team based in Israel furnished the information, these people said, though it appeared to be secondary to intelligence gathered by the Israelis ahead of the operation. – Washington Post

More than a week after President Biden declared a “decisive moment” in the eight-month Israel-Gaza war and beseeched both sides to quickly approve a U.S.-backed cease-fire deal, there is dwindling evidence that either has bought what he is selling. – Washington Post

Israel said it struck three classrooms used by 20 to 30 Palestinian militants, including some who participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, and that it was unaware of civilian casualties. Gazan health authorities said that among the dozens of people killed, many were children and women. – New York Times

A senior Hamas official urged the United States on Monday to pressure Israel to end the war in Gaza, ahead of the planned visit on Monday by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region to push forward ceasefire efforts. – Reuters

Hamas’ armed al-Qassam Brigades said in a video posted on its Telegram channel on Sunday that three hostages were killed, including a U.S. citizen, in an Israeli military operation on Saturday in which some hostages were freed. – Reuters

A ban on Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel was extended for another 45 days by Israel’s telecoms regulator on Sunday after the cabinet agreed its broadcasts posed a threat to security. – Reuters

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Sunday called for talks next week to draft the 2025 state budget which he said would be “marathon discussions” aimed at moving the economy on from a war that has strained public finances to boosting growth. – Reuters

Bodies of at least 55 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on Al-Nuseirat and other areas in central Gaza, and dozens wounded, in the attacks, arrived on Saturday at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said. – Reuters

The D-8 group of developing nations called on Saturday for the U.S. to lift its veto on the full membership of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state in the United Nations. – Reuters

An American cargo plane dropped more than 10 metric tons of rations into northern Gaza on Sunday, the US military said, after a suspension of such deliveries due to Israeli operations in the area. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Hamas started the war with a massacre, took these hostages and hid them in a crowded civilian area. Then, when Israel came to free them, Hamas responded with heavy fire, including RPGs—yet people are condemning Israel. It makes us wonder if the West has lost the moral discernment and instinct for self-preservation needed to defend itself in a world of killers. Hamas could not survive if not for its enablers around the world. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The impact of Saturday’s hostage rescue on prospects for a deal is unclear. It might harden both sides’ positions, by making Mr. Netanyahu confident of military victory and Hamas determined to avenge an embarrassing defeat. Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to the Middle East this week for more long-shot negotiation. Those who genuinely seek a better day for the Palestinians — and Israelis — will be wishing him success. – Washington Post

Editorial: Biden was not in Washington while the anti-Israel protesters displayed his plastic head outside the White House gates […] Biden has done as much as he can to slow Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza. He has instead focused on trying to trade the continued existence of Hamas for peace. At some point, he may finally realize Hamas has no interest in a lasting peace with Israel. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: The narrative that Israel’s military operations are solely aggressive or unwarranted is a gross misrepresentation of the reality on the ground. The actions taken by the IDF are in direct response to Hamas’s continuous and deliberate acts of terror. The international community must recognize that Israel’s right to defend itself is non-negotiable. The broader context of this conflict is essential to understanding the necessity of Israel’s military operations. By continuing these operations, the Jewish state is not only responding to immediate threats but also working to dismantle the infrastructure that enables these acts of terror. – Jerusalem Post

Eugene Kontorovich writes: Mr. Khan’s selection of heavily prejudiced advisers calls into question the weighing of the evidence and credibility determinations that underlie the allegations. If despite these fundamental flaws in the process—and all the underlying legal and substantive problems—the ICC judges confirm the arrest warrants, sanctions against the ICC will be fully justified. – Wall Street Journal

Jessica Kasmer-Jacobs writes: “But if there is one thing we are certain of, it is this: we live in a country of heroes. We live in a country in which strangers feel like family. A country in which other men and women will sacrifice their lives to liberate us, to bring us home.” In this case, it took 246 days. Noa Argmani’s mother has terminal brain cancer. Her dying wish was to see her daughter, who arrived at her hospital bedside that very afternoon. Almog Meir Jan’s father died hours before Almog was liberated, apparently of a broken heart. – The Free Press


Iranian authorities approved a list of six candidates—almost all conservatives—to run in a presidential contest on June 28 following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last month. – Wall Street Journal

A prominent Iranian whistleblower was arrested and sent to prison to serve a 13-month sentence after he was convicted of “spreading lies to disturb the public mind,” Iranian media said Sunday. – Associated Press

The main coalition of reformists in Iran said on Saturday that it would only participate in this month’s presidential election if at least one of its candidates is approved to run. – Agence France-Presse

Tehran hosted the second meeting of the regional contact group for Afghanistan on Saturday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported. The gathering, which included special representatives from Iran, China, Russia, and Pakistan, was held at the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies. – Jerusalem Post

The Islamic Republic of Iran purchased 300 tons of refined uranium from Niger in a secret deal that is part of Tehran’s drive to amass the resources for the construction of a nuclear weapons device. – Jerusalem Post

Paul Webster Hare writes: When states engage in peace-making diplomacy their motives had better be sincere for peace rather than their own nations’ or leaders’ interests. The Palestine/Israel issue has long been on the diplomatic to-do list. Too often the can has been kicked down the road. The United States’ and China’s diplomacy did not intend to cause the devastating conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hopefully the conflict will eventually lead to more productive diplomacy over Palestine which does not again give Iran upper hand. – Jerusalem Post

Marie Abdi writes: In the absence of a force powerful enough to drive such a transformation, the Iranian regime may even survive highly unstable conditions following the death of the supreme leader. In turn, it is possible that a weaker successor will ultimately emerge to take on the leadership of a different type of Islamic Republic: a political regime that is weakened, with the military playing a more prominent role than ever, but one that nonetheless continues to survive. – Middle East Institute

Russia & Ukraine

In a sign of the Ukrainian military’s desperate need for fresh troops, Kyiv is taking a leaf out of Russia’s playbook by recruiting inmates from prisons to serve in its armed forces. The government says that 4,656 convicts have already applied for the program in which prisoners will have to serve till the end of the war before winning their freedom. – Wall Street Journal

Westinghouse Electric, which for two decades struggled to challenge Russia’s dominant position in Ukraine, now makes fuel bundles that are compatible with all of the country’s reactors and is working on a plan that could allow Ukraine to start making some of that fuel itself. Ukraine also plans to build nine Westinghouse-designed reactors. – Wall Street Journal

But in a bid to be certain that the country’s ballooning military and security spending results in more soldiers, weapons and other equipment and supplies on the front line, the Kremlin has suddenly undertaken an aggressive crackdown — purging officials with extravagant lifestyles or who have been critical of the military command. – Washington Post

Russian forces appear to be making headway towards their longstanding goal of capturing the strategic Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar, according to reports on Sunday from both sides of the more than two-year-old conflict. – Reuters

The leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, said on Sunday that Russian forces, led by a Chechen-based special forces unit, have seized control of a Ukrainian border village. – Reuters

Two civilians were killed in Ukrainian attacks on Russian-controlled areas of eastern and southern Ukraine, Moscow-installed officials there said on Sunday. – Reuters

Ukrainian forces have for the first time hit a latest-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet at an air base inside Russia, Kyiv’s GUR defence intelligence agency said on Sunday, showing satellite pictures which it said confirmed the strike. – Reuters

The Russia-installed governor of Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson accused Ukrainian forces on Friday of killing 22 people and wounding 15 in shelling of the small town of Sadove. – Reuters

Russia-installed officials in the partially-occupied Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Luhansk said Ukrainian attacks left at least 28 people dead as Russia and Ukraine continued to exchange drone attacks overnight into Saturday. – Associated Press

Russia has put former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on its wanted list, Russian state media reported, citing the Interior Ministry’s database.  – Associated Press

The Kremlin has forced thousands of migrants and foreign students to fight alongside Russian troops in its war against Ukraine, adding extra manpower for its offensive in the Kharkiv region, according to assessments from European officials. – Bloomberg

Ukraine’s top bureaucrat tasked with reconstruction will miss this year’s showcase conference for donors because of internal political bickering, risking the impression that recovery’s not a priority in Kyiv. – Bloomberg

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: But the U.S. still won’t let Ukraine use long-range ATACMS missiles inside Russia, and Washington has been vague about where in Russia Ukraine can target. Gen. Holubtsov declined to comment on the specifics of the new permissions and restrictions. But the U.S. half-measures won’t eliminate Russia’s sanctuary, merely push it further back. – Wall Street Journal

Benton Coblentz writes: At this year’s NATO summit, President Biden has the chance to prove Vladimir Putin wrong. By clearly defining Ukraine’s long-term future in NATO and institutionalizing long-term support for Ukraine’s struggle against current and future Russian aggression, this year’s summit can show that NATO’s commitment to Ukraine can withstand even the most contentious of elections. – The Hill

Tom Rogan writes: Yet Russia’s greater risk here is that the U.S. has some pretty unique capabilities (some science fiction-esque) to get close to things without being seen. In the end, Putin must hope that Biden’s risk aversion will translate to his prohibiting some of the riskier but more creative means of collecting intelligence on Kazan. But I’d argue that the Russian strategic benefits of this deployment are plainly outweighed by their tactical risks. – Washington Examiner

Anastacia Edel writes: But if Ukraine can begin to prevail, Putin’s narrative as the grand defender of Russia will no longer hold, and regime change will become possible once more. Until then, the world’s security will always be at risk from “the nation of victors,” as Russia likes to call itself. Meanwhile, for Russians themselves, the independence they are told to celebrate on June 12 is simply a pledge of allegiance to a state that treats them as disposable assets of its imperial designs – The Atlantic

Richard Levine writes: Isolationism is not a strategy; it is its abdication. In aiding Ukraine in obtaining victory, we must not forget that the lessons of this conflict constitute nothing less than a blueprint for how we may contest and ultimately defeat Russia, China, and Iran. Part of this knowledge will permit us to reform our defense industrial base so that it remains unequaled during a time of immense technological change.  – National Interest


Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said on Saturday it had fired a salvo of Falaq 2 rockets at a military command centre in northern Israel. – Reuters

A cell of Hezbollah operatives launched anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli fighter jets over southern Lebanon on Sunday, the military said, amid intensifying cross-border skirmishes between Israel and the Iran-backed terror organization. – Times of Israel

Waves of rocket and drone attacks on northern Israel set off sirens repeatedly throughout Sunday and sparked fires in the Golan Heights, as Israel and Hezbollah once again traded fire throughout the day while international allies called for a de-escalation. – Times of Israel


Iraq’s Oil Minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani said there has been progress in talks with Kurdistan region officials and representatives of international companies operating there for a deal to resume oil exports via a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. – Reuters

It was the simple night-time act of watering flowers on his street in Mosul’s Old City that made Saqr Zakaria stop and think about just how safe this last bastion of Islamic State militants had become since it was liberated in 2017. – Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani inaugurated a new gas processing plant in the Halfaya oil field in Maysan province on Saturday. The facility, with a daily production capacity of 300 million standard cubic feet, aims to reduce gas flaring, contributing to a cleaner environment. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: The simple fact is this: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is not a symbol of American grandeur or effectiveness but instead testimony to Foggy Bottom’s culture of waste and ineffectiveness […] Hiding in fortified castles does more harm to American diplomacy than having no embassy whatsoever. Self-deterrence also encourages enemies and allows them to depict themselves as the strong horse around which locals should rally. – Washington Examiner


Turkey will impose a 40% additional tariff on imports of vehicles from China to halt a possible deterioration of its current account balance and protect domestic automakers, the trade ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

Turkey will soon implement a national emissions-trading system in line with the European Union (EU) Green Deal, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz said on Friday at an event on climate economy and sustainability financing in Istanbul. – Reuters

Nick Danforth and Aaron Stein write: Washington appears to have recognized that with shared interests dwindling, it need not prioritize cooperation with Turkey as a goal in itself. In doing so, policymakers have tacitly agreed to the perspective often voiced by Turkish interlocutors: Turkey cannot be lost because its policy is driven by its own interests […] Ankara will find its own way, and Washington will find what it needs in the Middle East elsewhere. – War on the Rocks


Two people were killed on Saturday in an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese town of Aitaroun, Lebanon’s state news agency NNA said on Saturday. – Reuters

The conflict between Hezbollah and Israel is unfolding against a backdrop of deep financial and political crises in Lebanon, adding to the risks for the fragile country should hostilities spiral into full-blown war. – Reuters

The Biden administration made it clear to Israel that the US does not believe that a “limited war” in Lebanon or a “small regional war” are realistic options, as it would be difficult to prevent them from expanding. – Jerusalem Post

Arabian Peninsula

The European Commission will open a formal in-depth probe soon into Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Telecommunications’ (e&) (EAND.AD), opens new tab proposed acquisition of Czech PPF group’s telecoms assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia, the Financial Times reported on Saturday. – Reuters

Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian energy major Rosneft (ROSN.MM) said on Saturday that an increase in spare oil production capacity offset efforts by OPEC+ to reduce oil output. – Reuters

Simon Henderson and David Schenker write: Although U.S. Central Command maintains a forward headquarters in Kuwait with 13,000 service personnel, and Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally, successive U.S. administrations have paid surprisingly little attention to the state. With so many crises in the region, a stable Kuwait has been taken for granted. Yet Kuwait borders an Iraq increasingly dominated by Iran and is the target of intensifying Chinese interest and investment. – Washington Institute


Britain’s defence ministry said on Sunday a statement by Yemen’s Houthis that they had fired ballistic missiles at a British destroyer in the Red Sea was false. – Reuters

Yemen’s Houthi damaged two commercial vessels in missile attacks in the Gulf of Aden in the last 24 hours as part of the militia group’s ongoing campaign against international ocean shipping, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday. – Reuters

Houthi security forces have detained 11 United Nations personnel in Yemen over the past three days and the U.N. is seeking their safe and unconditional release as soon as possible, U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday. – Reuters

U.S. and British forces carried out six airstrikes on targets in Yemen on Friday, a Houthi-run television station said. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia

The Biden administration is close to finalizing a treaty with Saudi Arabia that would commit the U.S. to help defend the Gulf nation as part of a long-shot deal to encourage diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Israel, U.S. and Saudi officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will join at least 12 other heads of state and government invited by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to take part in next week’s Group of Seven (G7) summit, officials said on Friday. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia is poised to raise more than $11.2 billion selling shares in oil giant Aramco (2222.SE), to help fund its spending plans, after pricing the stock at the lower end of its expectations, the company said on Friday. – Reuters

Thousands of Syrians living in government-controlled regions have already made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, the country’s top airport official says, exemplifying Saudi Arabia’s ongoing reproachment of President Bashar al-Assad’s once-exiled regime. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar and Egypt have told Hamas leaders in recent days that they face possible arrest, freezing of their assets, sanctions and expulsion from their haven in Doha if they don’t agree to a cease-fire with Israel, officials familiar with the talks said. – Wall Street Journal

Mr. Blinken is scheduled to travel to Israel, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan from Monday through Wednesday, Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman, said in a statement on Friday. The trip, which will be his eighth visit to the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks that set off the war, comes at a particularly tense moment. – New York Times

Ishtar al-Shami writes: Peaceful demonstrators in northern Syria have supported the Suwayda uprising since its inception, considering it an extension of the Syrian revolution that ignited in 2011. Likewise, after the recent protests began against HTS and Al-Jolani in the northern Syrian region, demonstrators in the Karama Square in Suwayda carried banners supporting this peaceful movement against Al-Jolani and HTS, affirming that Syrians from every part of Syria stand together against oppression and tyranny as long as they are able to do so. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

After North Korea recently sent thousands of waste-filled balloons to South Korea, activists here responded with airborne deliveries that the regime up north might find even more despicable than garbage: K-pop and K-dramas. – Washington Post

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned of a new response against South Korea if the South kept on loudspeaker broadcasts and scattering leaflets amid simmering tensions. – Reuters

South Korea and the United States were set to hold talks on Monday in Seoul on better coordinating an allied nuclear response during a war with North Korea, amid anxiety over Pyongyang’s growing arsenal, Seoul officials said. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit North Korea and Vietnam in the coming weeks, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Monday, citing a diplomatic source. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol embarked on a trip to Central Asia on Monday to hold talks on strengthening diplomatic ties and cooperating in areas such as energy and minerals, Yoon’s office said. – Reuters


China and Pakistan have agreed to boost mining cooperation and promote the implementation of a pact on strengthening mining development and industrial cooperation, according to a joint statement from the two countries. – Reuters

The U.S. poses the largest security challenge in the South China Sea as its military deployment there is turning it into “the whirlpool of an arms race”, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong said in remarks published on Sunday. – Reuters

Chinese air force jets circled a Dutch frigate and approached a Dutch helicopter in the East China Sea in a way that “caused a potentially unsafe situation,” the Netherlands’ Defense Ministry said on Saturday. – Reuters

U.S. officials expect the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy democracies to send a tough new warning next week to smaller Chinese banks to stop assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions, according to two people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

China is strongly opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and urges Washington to withdraw them immediately, the defence ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

Sweden’s defense chief has expressed alarm over Beijing’s repeated dangerous maneuvers against Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, saying such actions threaten global security, undermine stability and underscore the need to invest “for our security and freedom.” – Associated Press

Editorial: This explains why a formerly renowned center of international trade now has 1,870 political prisoners, according to the Hong Kong Democracy Council. It also explains the sanctions legislation in the U.S. Congress against judges in Hong Kong. Soon the only vestige of the common law left will be the wigs that judges and lawyers wear in court. – Wall Street Journal

Matt Quan writes:  The island is divided, there is a passive fear of antagonizing China, denial that war will not happen, that they are too valuable to the world, or that everyone respects their right to exist. China has said it will invade. Their history mandates unification. It’s probably too little, too late to deter, and 2027 if not sooner is the best chance China will ever have – and so it will. – National Interest

South Asia

The Indian National Congress party’s seats had dwindled to 52. Its most visible face was a featherweight, or so the thinking went, incapable of taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the powerhouse of Hindu nationalism. But on Tuesday, the party and its allies flipped the script. – Wall Street Journal

Days after shock election results forced him to form a coalition government, Narendra Modi signaled an emphasis on continuity as he was sworn in Sunday for a third five-year term as India’s prime minister, and unveiled the 71 members of his council of ministers. – Washington Post

The authorities in Vietnam have arrested one of the country’s most prominent journalists and accused him of “abusing democratic freedoms” by posting articles on Facebook that “infringed on the interests of the state and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals.” – New York Times

A bomb blast targeting a military truck killed seven soldiers on Sunday in northwestern Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan, the army said. The incident took place in the Lakki Marwat district which is on the edge of a lawless tribal region divided on both sides of the border. – Reuters

At least nine people were killed and 33 injured when a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims plunged into a deep gorge after a suspected militant attack in the Indian federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, police said. – Reuters

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated on Monday arch rival India’s Narendra Modi on being sworn in as prime minister for a third term, in the first response by Islamabad to election results across the border. – Reuters

Pakistani police on Sunday arrested a man accused of killing two members of the minority Ahmadi community in separate attacks in the eastern Punjab province, police and officials said. – Associated Press


A majority of Thais are dissatisfied with the government of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who took office nine months ago, as it has not been able to resolve the country’s problems and implement policies, an opinion poll showed on Sunday. – Reuters

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said on Monday that China’s Premier Li Qiang would visit the country this week, in the first trip to the nation in seven years by a Chinese premier. – Reuters

New Zealand’s government said on Sunday it would introduce legislation to remove a controversial ban on offshore petroleum exploration to attract investment to the country’s oil and gas sector. – Reuters

The Philippines will continue to maintain and supply its outposts in the South China Sea without seeking permission from any other country, the country’s national security adviser said. – Reuters

Malaysian authorities defended their decision to evict hundreds of sea nomads from their homes off the coast of Sabah state this week, saying it was aimed at boosting security and combating cross-border crime. – Reuters

Japan’s main opposition party urged Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to call a snap election to seek a fresh mandate from voters, saying the public had “completely lost trust” in his leadership over a slush fund scandal within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. – Bloomberg

Philip Shetler-Jones writes: Indonesia exemplifies how U.S. policies work at cross purposes to its priorities in the Indo-Pacific. In a fracturing global order and economy, all arms of government must work in the same direction to maintain and develop crucial alliances. The U.S. can start by economically embracing the world’s second-largest democracy. – The Hill


Right-wing parties put on a show of strength in European Union elections, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to call national elections and underscoring German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s position lagging behind two rival parties, according to initial projections. – Wall Street Journal

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was dissolving France’s National Assembly in a surprise move that scrambled the country’s political firmament Sunday after Marine Le Pen’s far-right party trounced his forces in European elections. – Wall Street Journal

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that a coalition of countries has agreed to send military trainers to Ukraine, suggesting that plans could come together in the coming days but not offering concrete details. – Washington Post

A man attacked Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the capital on Friday, two days before Danes vote in the European Parliament elections, the prime minister’s office said. The man was arrested, it added. – Washington Post

Voters in Belgium handed a victory to a conservative Flemish nationalist party, disproving polls that had predicted a sweep to first place by Flemish secessionists, preliminary results showed on Sunday. – New York Times

President Biden and President Emmanuel Macron of France stressed on Saturday how much they agreed with each other about world affairs, including the war in Ukraine, even as their countries have expressed sharply different views of the fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. – New York Times

Germany is looking into buying eight additional F-35 fighter jets made by U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), a military source told Reuters on Friday, on top of the 35 jets it has ordered. – Reuters

Germany’s defence ministry believes it will need at least 75,000 additional troops to fulfil its NATO commitments as the alliance adapts to face what it sees as an increasingly hostile Russia, Spiegel magazine reported on Friday. – Reuters

The Dutch Defense Ministry is investing €54 million ($58.8 million) to boost its military drones production capacity to help Ukraine, according to State Secretary of Defense Christophe van der Maat. – Bloomberg

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats crashed to their worst-ever result in European Parliament elections Sunday, falling to third place behind the far-right Alternative for Germany. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Governing hasn’t always been a happy experience for insurgent parties. All of this sounds like the cut and thrust of normal democratic politics rather than the descent into fascism conjured by alarmist elites on the left. If that seems strange and unfamiliar for the European Union, all the more reason the EU deserves the rebuke voters have delivered. – Wall Street Journal

Lionel Laurent writes: The outcome could see investors rethink their assumption that Europe inevitably advances in crisis and that closer financial integration is a given. “Macron is asking the French: ‘Do you really mean it?’” says Catherine Fieschi of the European University Institute in Florence. “It’s a dangerous question to ask.” Rather like Britain’s Rishi Sunak, who is also mounting a monthlong campaign to paint his rival as the devil voters don’t know, Macron may find this next election fight to be a particularly lonely one. – Bloomberg


South Africa’s ruling party is holding talks with the largest opposition party and other potential partners as it seeks to form a government of national unity a week after losing its absolute majority in national elections. – Wall Street Journal

Groups that have declared allegiance to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are on the march. Military coups have toppled civilian-led governments in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. The new leaders have ordered American and French troops out, and in some cases invited Russian mercenaries in to take their place. – New York Times

The main hospital in Sudan’s al-Fashir city has been attacked by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and put out of service, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which supports the facility, told Reuters on Sunday. – Reuters

More than 50 defendants, including six with U.S., British, Canadian or Belgian citizenship, appeared in court in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday charged with taking part in a failed coup and other offences that carry the death penalty. – Reuters

The death toll has risen to 41 following an attack on Friday by suspected Islamist rebels on villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a Congolese army spokesman said, bringing the total toll in the region to more than 80 since Tuesday. – Reuters

The Americas

Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced on Saturday that his country will suspend coal exports to Israel over the war in Gaza, as relations sour between two countries that were once close military and commercial allies. – Associated Press

With its decades-long grip on power under threat, Venezuela’s ruling party on Sunday tested a voter organizing campaign aimed at shoring up President Nicolás Maduro’s bid for a third term. – Associated Press

Ecuador’s high court ruled that former Vice President Jorge Glas’s arrest in Mexico’s embassy in Quito was legal, in a case that has strained relations between the two countries. – Bloomberg

The chairman of Brazilian sugar giant Cosan SA criticized the fiscal policy of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government, saying the reforms don’t reduce public debt and will keep interest rates high. – Bloomberg

A senior adviser to Argentine President Javier Milei expects the administration to announce significant investments from technology companies within the next eight weeks after visiting Silicon Valley in May. – Bloomberg

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric will bring his clean energy pitch to Europe as he works to keep the country at the forefront of the global green transition. Boric will embark this weekend for a trip to Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and France, according to a press release. – Bloomberg

Argentine President Javier Milei backed out of a scheduled meeting with France’s Emmanuel Macron, while zigzagging on his attendance at the Group of Seven summit in Italy next week, according to people with knowledge of his plans and local media. – Bloomberg

North America

The cocaine raid was carried out with intelligence from Homeland Security Investigations, Mexican and U.S. officials said. It was a prime example of how Mexico’s new president-elect, Claudia Sheinbaum, quietly built strong relationships with U.S. law enforcement over five years as mayor of the country’s capital. – Wall Street Journal

Mexico’s ruling Morena party and its allies have won a super-majority in the lower house of Congress but not the Senate, the party’s president said on Sunday, falling just short of the two-thirds majority needed in both houses to change the constitution. – Reuters

President Joe Biden’s administration is prepared to defend in court the sweeping asylum policy put into place at the U.S.-Mexico border last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. – Reuters

Four Russian ships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, will arrive in Havana next week, Cuban officials said Thursday, citing “historically friendly relations” between both nations and as tensions escalate over Western military support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. – Associated Press

Ryan C. Berg and Rubi Bledsoe write: Mexico remains in the crosshairs of foreign investors seeking to extricate supply chains and nearshore them closer to the United States—if the proper reassurances of stability and rule-of-law are provided. The challenge for Sheinbaum is that in a world of shifting supply chains, capital appreciates basic checks and balances, and in Morena’s Mexico, checks and balances will now be few and far between. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

United States

President Biden used the spot where U.S. forces helped turn the tide of World War II to drive home what has become the core argument for his re-election effort: He will preserve democratic freedoms, as American troops did here 80 years ago, while Donald Trump will undermine them. – Wall Street Journal

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Washington converged around the White House on Saturday, urging President Biden to stop all military aid to Israel and calling for an immediate cease-fire in Israel’s war in Gaza. – New York Times

A senior Biden administration official warned on Friday that “absent a change” in nuclear strategy by China and Russia, the United States may be forced to expand its nuclear arsenal, after decades of cutting back through now largely abandoned arms control agreements. – New York Times

The White House declined to say on Sunday whether President Joe Biden will meet Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits Washington next month to address the U.S. Congress. – Reuters

Editorial: The war has exposed the weakness of the U.S. military industrial base, and of American deterrence. Hamas’s strike against Israel has reinforced that deterrence failure. Mr. Biden has responded by putting more diplomatic pressure on Israel’s government to end the fighting than he has on Iran to rein in its militias attacking U.S. bases and our allies. – Wall Street Journal

Patricia Lopez writes: That may be the case, but extending even limited voting privileges to these residents creates confusion and invites the backlash we’re seeing now, which could result in hardship and disenfranchisement of eligible voters. Voter suppression is antithetical to the broad turnout that should be the goal of every election. Regrettably, allowing noncitizens to vote — even in local elections — is being used by some to justify ever higher barriers for all voters. – Bloomberg


Three U.S. lawmakers have called for more scrutiny of NewsBreak, a popular news aggregation app in the United States, after Reuters reported it has Chinese origins and has used artificial intelligence tools to produce erroneous stories. – Reuters

The boom in artificial intelligence will increase banks’ dependence on big U.S. tech firms, creating new risks for the industry, European banking executives said. – Reuters

Microsoft on Friday said that it would make major changes to a recently announced AI product that relied on screenshots of users’ screens to make a searchable log of past activity, a move that comes after withering criticism from security researchers.  – CyberScoop

A pro-Russian hacker group known as Vermin has resurfaced after two years of inactivity to target Ukraine’s military in a new espionage operation, according to a recent report. – The Record


The Marine Corps has announced a new pilot program that will allow some signals and cyber recruits to enter the service at high enlisted ranks, including up to gunnery sergeant. – Military.com

The Navy to date has invested $500 million into working with the Texas-based non-profit BlueForge Alliance to strengthen the submarine industrial base — and that investment will likely continue to rise, the service official leading the effort says. – Breaking Defense

The US Army is sourcing the marketplace for companies that can produce a large drone to scan the skies and attack targets with the new, developmental munitions — a requirement that, on paper, seemingly could help fill a gap created by a recent service aviation shakeup. – Breaking Defense

The Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up its draft of the annual defense authorization bill this week, but most of the work will take place behind closed doors and out of sight of the public. – Military Times

Rahm Emanuel writes: While the Tokyo forum can’t solve all our defense-industry challenges, it can serve as a blueprint for how to leverage allies’ industrial strengths. Rebuilding America’s readiness for war—and peace—will require determination, adaptability and comprehensive reform. Patience isn’t my strong suit, but the defense industrial bureaucracy could use a dose of urgency. Business as usual no longer suffices, and there is no time to lose. The credibility of our deterrence and ability to defend our global interests is at stake. – Wall Street Journal

Graham Alison and Michael Morell write: For the past two decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the efforts of thousands of Americans in the military and intelligence communities have spared the country a second 9/11—or worse. This is an extraordinary achievement, but the work is not done. A terrorist attack is a preventable catastrophe. As the threat increases, policymakers must rise to the challenge to protect the U.S. homeland. – Foreign Affairs

Brandon J. Weichert writes: Indeed, recent war game simulations show that the US military is going to lose significant numbers of aircraft on the ground to Chinese missiles when Beijing starts its war for dominance over the Indo-Pacific. Those bases are part of America’s strategy for waging a winning war against China. Should they be destroyed of disabled for large portions of such a war at the outset of a conflict, then the US will lose to China as its ability to fight China will have been degraded. – National Interest