Fdd's overnight brief

March 13, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Hostilities flared between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, threatening to broaden Israel’s war to its northern border amid an impasse in negotiations to reach a cease-fire in Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

When Israeli soldiers released Baha Abu Rukba near a Gaza border crossing after holding him for nearly three weeks, the 24-year-old Palestinian said he was in pain and struggling to walk after being hit repeatedly with rifle butts and kicked in the groin. – Wall Street Journal 

Rice, flour, milk, pasta and canned food glided out the back of this transport plane in 400-pound bundles, hurtling toward the bombed-out terrain 2,000 feet below where hungry Palestinians scrambled for a scrap of desperately needed humanitarian aid. – Wall Street Journal 

A group of Democratic senators urged President Biden on Monday to stop providing offensive weapons to Israel for the war against Hamas until it lifts restrictions on U.S.-backed humanitarian aid going into Gaza. – New York Times

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel would press forward with its military campaign into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, amid rising international pressure. – Reuters

The U.S. may urge partners and allies to fund a privately run operation to send aid by sea to Gaza that could begin before a much larger U.S. military effort, said three people familiar with the planning and a U.S. official. – Reuters

The White House on Tuesday urged Hamas militants in Gaza to release women, elderly and wounded hostages and accept a temporary ceasefire in the fighting with Israel in order to secure a more lasting one. – Reuters

A deepening rift between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Gaza red lines has set up a potential showdown between the two leaders and raised questions about whether the U.S. might restrict military aid if Israel goes ahead with a ground offensive in the south of the enclave. – Reuters

The United Nations used a new land route on Tuesday to deliver food to northern Gaza for the first time in three weeks as global pressure grows on Israel to allow more access to the coastal enclave amid a looming famine. – Reuters

An Israeli drone strike on a car outside the southern Lebanese city of Tyre on Wednesday killed a member of Hamas from the nearby Palestinian camp of Rashidieh, a source from the faction told Reuters. – Reuters

U.S. officials are preparing for a pause on funding the main U.N. agency for Palestinians to become permanent due to opposition in Congress, even as the Biden administration insists the aid group’s humanitarian work is indispensable. – Reuters

While much of the world increasingly turns critical of the Jewish state, the Israel Defense Force announced Tuesday that one of six remaining Israeli-American hostages in Gaza, 19-year-old Itay Chen, was killed on October 7. His body is held by the terrorist group that attacked that day, Hamas. – New York Sun

A top Iranian official on Monday demanded that Israel be expelled from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for its ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip. – FoxNews

68 Palestinian children, along with 11 caretakers, were evacuated from an orphanage in Rafah, Gaza Strip, to Bethlehem in the West Bank as part of a humanitarian operation approved by Israel, the German Embassy in Tel Aviv announced on Tuesday. – Haaretz

The commander of the Central Unit of the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District said Tuesday in the Knesset that half of the complaints that Palestinians in the West Bank have filed against settlers since the war in the Gaza Strip began have proved to be false. – Haaretz

Two people were injured in a stabbing attack at a checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem early on Wednesday morning, the IDF confirmed. The attack took place at a tunnel checkpoint in Gush Etzion. – Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is slated in the coming days to announce his appointment of economist and former senior government official Mohammad Mustafa as the next prime minister of the PA, three officials familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Tuesday. – Times of Israel

An annual threat assessment compiling US intelligence warned that Israel will be challenged by Hamas for years to come, as the country continues its military campaign aimed at destroying the Gaza-ruling terror group in response to its devastating October 7 attack on southern Israel. – Times of Israel

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday levelled new accusations at Israel, telling the UN Security Council that hunger was being used as a “war arm” and criticizing the lack of aid entering Gaza as a “manmade” disaster, AFP reported. – Arutz Sheva

More pieces of the extensive Pentagon effort to build a pier and establish a sea route for humanitarian aid to Gaza departed from the East Coast this week.On Tuesday, four Army watercraft left the pier at Fort Eustis, Va., sailing down the James River, to the Chesapeake Bay and the open Atlantic. – USNI News

Editorial: As Katz said, every member of the council – and Guterres – must urgently do all in their power “to end this hell on earth” and return the hostages home to Israel. “Today every one of you has the opportunity to save 134 innocent lives,” Katz declared. “By doing so, you will show the world that the Security Council can be a shining beacon of justice and hope for all humanity. It is in your hands.” – Jerusalem Post

Tunku Varadarajan writes:

Many Arab politicians in the Middle East and beyond were equivocal in criticizing Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Not Mansour Abbas. “The massacre,” Mr. Abbas said on Nov. 6, “is against everything we believe in, our religion, our Islam, our nationality, our humanity.” He has also rejected the idea that Israel practices “apartheid” and has declared that “the state of Israel was born as a Jewish state, and it will remain one.” Wall Street Journal

Bret Stephens writes: That analogy is false and offensive on many levels. Israel is fighting a war it didn’t seek, against an enemy sworn to its destruction and holding scores of its citizens hostage. If Israel had wanted to wipe out Gazans as Germans sought to wipe out Jews, it could have done so on the first day of the war. Israel is fighting a tough war against an evil enemy that puts its own civilians in harm’s way. Maybe there should be more public pressure on Hamas to surrender than on Israel to save Hamas from the consequences of its actions. – New York Times

Robert Satloff writes: If the U.S. negotiates a “temporary ceasefire” in which Hamas commits to release hostages and stop shielding its gunmen behind innocent women and children, that would be a worthy achievement. But the American government should not fall for well-meaning calls to urge Israel to display one-sided military restraint — or, even worse, suspend military operations against Hamas — out of deference to Ramadan. Of one thing we can be sure — Hamas (or what’s left of it) won’t be devoting the next month to introspection, service and worship. Quite the contrary. – The Hill

Dennis Ross writes: Both need to understand the reality that Israel after October 7 is not the same as it was before. Its tolerance level for threats is low—and so is that of the United States. This is an imposing list of tasks that requires intensive and carefully coordinated efforts, which will need a whole U.S. government effort. Just as it organized itself to support Ukraine before and after the Russian invasion, so, too, must Washington do now to support Gaza and the Middle East. The catastrophe of October 7 and its aftermath calls for nothing less. – Foreign Affairs


European Union leaders are ready to respond with new and significant measures against Iran amid reports that Tehran may transfer ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, draft conclusions of a summit to be held next week said. – Reuters

Iran and Venezuela are trying to patch together an oil alliance that began to fray last year, according to six people familiar with the matter, after the South American country fell behind on oil swaps that had boosted crude exports and helped stem domestic fuel shortages. – Reuters

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four individuals in Iran for aiding the Bahrain-based, U.S.-designated terrorist group al-Ashtar Brigades, the Treasury Department said in a statement. – Reuters

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed on Tuesday that “the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip has humiliated the Zionists who are not capable of annihilating it”. – Arutz Shiva

Mordechai Kedar writes: Independent ethnic states will have closer relations with the West, Russia will lose its arms supplier, and China will have to change its policies vis-à-vis the West, which will have good relations with the Arab state of Ahwaz, the source of Iranian oil and gas. In conclusion, after the collapse of the Iranian conglomerate and the emergence of five to six ethnic states from its ruins – just like happened in the former Soviet Union, when Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia separated into individual, peaceful ethnic countries –the world will be a better and safer place. – Jerusalem Post

Efran Rard writes: Until the destructive regime in Tehran sees a radical shift towards genuine peace and diplomacy, the United States, and indeed the world, must remain on high alert. The threat posed by these sleeper cells is not just a matter of national security but a stark reminder of the enduring struggle between the forces of terror and the ideals of freedom and peace. – Jerusalem Post

Marie Abdi writes: All of this suggests that it is insufficient for the sixth Assembly of Experts to adhere to the supreme leader’s current views; this assembly must be flexible enough to unequivocally adhere to his future views too, both about his successor and other key issues. These traits seem to correspond well with the make-up of the new, “obedient” Assembly of Experts that emerged from the recent election, although it is of course hard to predict how the members of this assembly may behave in the future and how that might shape the fate of the Islamic Republic more broadly. – Middle East Institute

Russia & Ukraine

The Biden administration said it was sending $300 million more in ammunition and other weapons to Kyiv in a stopgap move to boost Ukraine’s forces while Congress debates a new aid package. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine struck oil facilities deep inside Russia overnight and into Tuesday, expanding a campaign of drone attacks on refineries and other petroleum infrastructure that aims to disrupt fuel supplies to the front line and damage Moscow’s most important export industry. – Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Wednesday Russia was technically ready for nuclear war and that if the U.S. sent troops to Ukraine, it would be considered a significant escalation of the conflict. – Reuters

A Russian missile slammed into two apartment buildings in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring at least 38, with rescue teams sifting through rubble late into the night in a search for survivors. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin said in remarks published on Wednesday that Russia does not interfere in any elections and it will work with any leader the American people elect. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin said Russia would demand security guarantees to consider talks to end the war in Ukraine, telling a state news agency that “realities on the ground” should be the basis of any negotiations. – Bloomberg

Ukraine Readies Reform Plan to Unlock €50 Billion of EU AidEU plans to send first €4.5 billion payment this monthCash-for-reforms program to meet Kyiv’s budgetary needs – Bloomberg

A European Union plan to use the profits generated from frozen Russian central bank assets will face resistance next week when the bloc’s leaders discuss the controversial proposal. – Bloomberg

Hundreds of armed Russians stormed the country’s border from Ukraine in an attempted incursion against the Russian government, which the country’s military stopped, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday. – The Hill

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: Military spending went from 1.2% of GDP to 5.1%, whereas defense spending has shrunk in real terms during Mr. Biden’s three years in office. Who wins in November may matter less than how much mandate he brings with him. Resources available, rather than who’s president, will define the options and drive U.S. policy in Ukraine after 2024, as it does now. – Wall Street Journal 

William A. Galston writes: This would bring Mr. Putin closer to his long-term goals—obliterating Ukraine’s sovereignty, weakening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and restoring Russian control over the peoples and territories of the former Soviet bloc. After his Mar-a-Lago visit, Mr. Orbán called Donald Trump a “man of peace.” So, I suppose, was Neville Chamberlain. The problem, as Chamberlain discovered, is that your own pacific intentions don’t matter much if the other side doesn’t share them. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael Kimmage and Maria Lipman write: This is a pattern that forever Putinism might replicate. Because Putin has anointed no successor, a struggle for power could well follow Putin’s exit from the scene. Those within this struggle, if they can prevent a bloodbath, would have many incentives to perpetuate the existing system. They would keep their grip on the powers lodged in the military and the security services. They would not want to see internal strife imperil Russia’s geopolitical position, and they would not want to give up the ideological constructs Putin has assembled. This raises the sobering possibility that forever Putinism, which now revolves around a single man, could outlast the tenure of Putin himself. Putin has done enough to ensure that whoever follows him is likely to be his heir. – Foreign Affairs

Gary Clyde Hufbauer writes: Russian, European, and American workers all have practically no say in the trade actions their leaders choose to enact, yet they bear the eventual consequences. Decades of research and historical insight attest to the harm inflicted by punitive sanctions. National leaders should put time and effort into designing alternative policies to punish international wrongdoing. – The National Interest


The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fired more than 100 rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday morning, according to Israel’s military. It was one of the heaviest barrages in the months of cross-border strikes that have fed fears that the war in Gaza could expand to another front. – New York Times

A pair of Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday in northeastern Lebanon killed at least two people and wounded 20, marking a continued escalation between Israel and Hezbollah over the war Israel is waging against Hamas militants in Gaza. – Associated Press

Amos Harel writes: If there is an increase in the White House’s criticism of Israel’s moves – threats to enter Rafah, increasing the range of attacks in Lebanon – Israel could pay a price with a halt to America’s veto of UN Security Council resolutions against it and perhaps even limitations on its shipments of weaponry and munitions. Somewhat disappointingly from Israel’s standpoint, the Biden administration has been taking an approach of containment toward aggression in the region by Iran and its proxies. Netanyahu’s recent moves aren’t consistent with Biden’s approach, certainly not when there are constant reports about the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. – Haaretz


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for increased international pressure on Israel to ensure more humanitarian aid is allowed into Gaza, and said Ankara will increase its support during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday any steps that would exacerbate the war in Ukraine and possibly spread the conflict to NATO must be avoided, adding he would host Russian President Vladimir Putin after elections later this month. – Reuters

Parker Miller writes: From its actions this year alone, Turkey has cemented itself as the most questionable addition to Western security. Considering its historical hostility to Jews, Christians, and Western society, this should not be such a surprise. The longer the West pretends that Turkey is a part of it, the further it integrates itself into messy political situations and possibly even more wars in the near future. – Washington Examiner

Middle East & North Africa

Switzerland’s Attorney General’s Office said on Tuesday that it would put an uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity dating back to his time as a military commander in 1982. – Reuters

Britain will deploy its HMS Diamond warship to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to take over from HMS Richmond in defending commercial shipping in the region, the government said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said Tuesday that while a hostage and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas is not close to being agreed upon, Doha remains hopeful. – Times of Israel

An anonymous Saudi Arabian official told Al-Arabiya on Tuesday that the only possible route for Saudi to establish ties with Israel is through the establishment of Palestinian statehood. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday he supports Japan’s push to hold summit talks with North Korea, even if discussion about Pyongyang’s nuclear build-up is initially off the table. – Reuters

A South Korean missionary who has been arrested by Russia on spying charges was sent to do purely humanitarian and mission work and had no involvement in helping North Korean workers in the area to defect, the head of his Christian aid group said. – Reuters

South Korea expects no fundamental shift in relations with the United States even if U.S. voters elect a new president, but hopes to make progress on defence cost-sharing talks and other issues this year, a senior presidential official said. – Reuters

A Russian cargo plane under US sanctions touched down in Pyongyang this week for an unannounced trip that raised concerns about illegal arms transfers, a specialist news service reported. – Bloomberg 


In the United States, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have launched presidential campaigns focused on how different they and their leadership styles are. But China sees very little contrast between the two of them. – Washington Post 

Russian tanker Krymsk, hit by sanctions, docked on Wednesday at the Chinese port of Dongying in eastern Shandong province, home of independent refiners, to discharge 700,000 barrels of Russian Sokol crude, LSEG and Kpler shipping data showed. – Reuters

Tougher U.S. sanctions on Russia’s coal firms will keep global prices of high-calorific-value coal high in the near term, affecting a fifth of the latter’s coal exports, a Chinese industry group warned on Wednesday. – Reuters


South Asia

India’s government moved abruptly Monday to implement a citizenship law that excludes Muslims from a naturalization fast track. It stoked massive protests and deadly riots when it passed in 2019. – Washington Post

A domestically made fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed on Tuesday in the western state of Rajasthan, the first such incident since the jet was inducted nearly eight years ago. – Reuters

The United States is trying to help India negotiate lower prices for Russian oil as it deepens sanctions on tankers carrying the petroleum above Western price caps, President Joe Biden’s energy envoy said on Tuesday. – Reuters


Kairos, a small, solid-fuel rocket made by Japan’s Space One, exploded just seconds into its inaugural launch on Wednesday as the firm tried to become the first Japanese company to put a satellite in orbit. – Reuters

Eleven Filipino seafarers arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday nearly a week after they survived a Houthi missile attack off Yemen. – Reuters

Thailand is a top priority for U.S. multinational firms looking to diversify supply chains, and they are ready to “supercharge” investments into the country, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Tuesday his country did not reject China’s proposals on managing disputes in the South China Sea, but said that, since they stood on a questionable premise, it was “difficult to see a way forward”. – Reuters

Australia is confident the U.S. will follow through with the sale of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the AUKUS deal, a minister said on Wednesday, after mooted cuts to the U.S. program sparked concerns the deliveries could be delayed or scrapped. – Reuters

Vietnam’s large trade surplus with the United States may reignite tensions with Washington in the event of a second Trump presidency, analysts warned, as exports of solar panels and other sensitive electric products boom. – Reuters

The head of the U.N. atomic agency on Wednesday told local Japanese representatives at a meeting in Fukushima that the ongoing discharge of treated radioactive wastewater at the ruined nuclear power plant has met safety standards and that any restrictions on products from the region are “not scientific.” – Associated Press


Lithuanian police said on Wednesday they had launched an investigation into an assault on Leonid Volkov, the long-time aide to late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after he was attacked outside his home in Vilnius. – Reuters

Thousands of people took to the streets of Slovakia’s capital Bratislava on Tuesday to show support for Ukraine and protest against the Slovak government, which critics say has veered too close to Russia. – Reuters

Britain will on Wednesday sign a memorandum of understanding on trade with Texas, the biggest U.S. state so far to agree to such a pact aimed at boosting investment. – Reuters

European Union leaders are ready to respond with new and significant measures against Iran amid reports that Tehran may transfer ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, draft conclusions of a summit to be held next week said. – Reuters

The European Union’s executive arm will recommend that member countries open membership negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday, despite lingering ethnic divisions in the Western Balkan country – Associated Press

Polish President Andrzej Duda used a joint White House visit with his political rival, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, on Tuesday to call on NATO allies to significantly increase defense spending and press a divided Washington to break its impasse over replenishing funds for Ukraine at a critical moment in the war in Europe. – Associated Press

Romania’s president said Tuesday that he will enter the race to become the next leader of the 32-nation NATO military alliance, emphasizing his country’s proximity to Ukraine and the threat from Russia. – Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron is driving Ukraine to the forefront of the European Parliament election campaign, forcing far-right lawmakers – including those in the National Rally party of his nemesis Marine Le Pen — to clarify their support for Kyiv. – Bloomberg

European Union leaders will next week call for new sanctions targeting Belarus, North Korea and Iran over their role in helping Russia conduct its war against Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Parker Miller writes: The largely leftist and center-left EU is poised to lose many seats to the Right in its parliamentary elections. Disagreements over the war in Ukraine keep centrists and conservatives hesitant to work together. However, this would be a fantastic opportunity for Europeans to finally work toward healing some of its self-inflicted wounds: the green agenda and mass migration. The Right will by no means take over the EU this summer. However, all these polls and elections do prove one thing: the Right is on the rise. And the people are finally speaking up. – Washington Examiner

Jaroslaw Kuisz and Karolina Wigura write: To some extent, Poland will continue to be a country whose nationalism is at fever pitch. The new government can, of course, limit itself to meeting the expectations of its own electorate. But its long-term goal is something else: the stabilization of liberal democracy in Poland. To achieve this agenda, it will need to attract voters who did not vote for change in the fall of 2023. Thus, a new political experiment has begun in Poland, and the world will be watching closely to see if its post-populist era is here to stay. – Foreign Affairs


Twenty armed people have boarded a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia and have taken control of it, a maritime security firm said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Sudan’s army said it had taken control of the state broadcast headquarters from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Tuesday in what would be its most significant advance against its paramilitary rival in nearly 11 months of war. – Reuters

Gunmen in Nigeria kidnapped 61 people from a village in northern Kaduna state, days after nearly 300 students went missing in an attack by an armed gang, residents said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Food aid for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Chad, some of whom are close to starvation, will be suspended next month without more funding, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Americas

A proposal for a Haitian transitional council to pave the way to elections has already encountered resistance from powerful gang leaders, a sign of the challenges the body would face in its effort to lead the country out of a deepening crisis. – Wall Street Journal 

Haitian leaders scrambled Tuesday to meet a 24-hour deadline to set up a panel that will lead the deteriorating country to new elections following the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. – Washington Post

A deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti to help quell gang-fueled lawlessness is on hold until a new government is formed in the Caribbean nation, officials in Kenya said Tuesday, as leaders tried to figure out a difficult question: Who is going to run Haiti? – New York Times

Uncertainty hung over Haiti’s political future on Tuesday after its prime minister said he would step down, a move welcomed by many Haitians exhausted by months of escalating gang violence, but with questions over security still not settled. – Reuters

It will be difficult for the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) armed group to sign a peace deal with the Colombian government before President Gustavo Petro finishes his term in 2026, despite trust between the two sides, a major leader of the EMC told Reuters on the sidelines of peace talks. – Reuters

Brazilian police said Tuesday they released 17 hostages from a gunman that took over a crowded bus for three hours in Rio de Janeiro and wounded at least two people. – Associated Press

Lydia Polgreen writes: Haitian political leaders tend to blame outsiders for their manifold problems, and they do have a point. Foreign powers, especially the United States, have meddled in Haiti’s affairs, undermined its leaders and scuppered its democracy throughout its history. But Haiti’s political and economic elites have consistently failed the people of Haiti, too. And at a certain point the belief that outside powers are manipulating your country becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, sowing paranoia and suspicion at precisely the moment trust and solidarity are most needed. Imagining a new future for Haiti is the job of Haitians, but it will require a leap of faith, and a whole lot of help, financial and otherwise. – New York Times

United States

The United States must employ “all the tools at our disposal” to outcompete China, a top U.S. State Department official said on Monday, as the Biden administration unveiled its budget request for the 2025 fiscal year. – Reuters 

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats began collecting signatures on Tuesday for a potential bid to sidestep Republican Speaker Mike Johnson and force a vote on a $95 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. – Reuters

Fake gunfire would be banned from active-shooter drills in California’s public schools under legislation proposed Tuesday that would also require schools to notify students, teachers and parents ahead of time whenever a drill was planned. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden’s latest budget request draws a contrast with Republicans ahead of a November election rematch with Donald Trump. But a major proposal in Biden’s Pentagon request has his administration on the defensive with his fellow Democrats: a push to buy just one attack submarine. – Politico

Seth Mandel writes: The fact of the matter is Biden and the intelligence community know what’s best for America and are choosing to dissemble at a time when U.S. leadership is called for. This will continue to backfire until someone is willing to be honest with the anti-Israel caucus in the party and align American policy and the president’s rhetoric with what Biden knows to be true: Israel must win this war. – Commentary



Two weeks ago, executives from TikTok’s U.S. operations flew to their company’s international headquarters in Singapore with good news. They told bosses that after years of battling over its fate in the U.S., the popular video app wasn’t in imminent danger of being banned in its most important market, according to people familiar with the meetings. – Wall Street Journa

China could use social media app TikTok to influence the 2024 U.S. elections, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a House of Representatives intelligence committee hearing on Tuesday. – Reuters

In cybersecurity provider Radware’s situation room, a dramatic rise in cyberattacks on Israeli websites and companies was observed starting from October 2023, parallel to Hamas’s attack on Israel. This rise propelled Israel to the first place in the world among countries attacked in 2023. – Jerusalem Post

Over the past year, many nation-state adversaries have shifted the end goal of their advanced persistent threat cyberattacks from stealing intellectual property to establishing footholds across critical infrastructures. – C4ISR NET

The Russian independent media organization Meduza said that it has been targeted by an “unprecedented” cyber campaign ahead of the upcoming presidential election this month. – The Record

Editorial: But mostly they focused on the report’s language about Mr. Trump’s documents case and tried to turn the hearing into a trial of the 45th president. On the other side, some Republicans tried to make the case that Mr. Hur was applying a double standard by letting Mr. Biden off while Mr. Trump faces a trial on 40 felony counts for his handling of classified info. But the facts are clearly different. Throughout it all, the special counsel hewed closely to his report. But the contrast between Mr. Hur and his critics showed who the politically motivated hacks really are. – Wall Street Journal 



The Pentagon pulled out of a plan to spend as much as $2.5 billion on a chip grant to Intel Corp., people familiar with the situation said, putting the onus on another federal agency — the Commerce Department — to make up for the shortfall. – Bloomberg

The F-35 fighter jet program achieved full-rate production after the successful completion of a crucial series of tests last year, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The ongoing delay in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s latest upgrades was one factor in the U.S. Air Force’s recent decision to purchase fewer jets in fiscal 2025. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force’s proposed fiscal 2025 budget requests $517 million to keep developing its Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile — but the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon’s future is looking dim. – Defense News

The geospatial intelligence company on March 12 said it won the latest phase of prototype work on the service’s One World Terrain, which compiles realistic and, in some cases, extremely accurate digital maps of territory across the globe for military purposes. – Defense News

The U.S. Marine Corps plans to upgrade systems it already fielded during its Force Design modernization effort, with its fiscal 2025 budget request looking to boost sensing and striking capabilities. – Defense News

In April 2007, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency demonstrated the ability to refuel a satellite in orbit — equipping a spacecraft with a robotic arm, docking it to another spacecraft and transferring nearly 32 pounds of hydrazine into its fuel tank. The mission, known as Orbital Express, was full of technology firsts, according to Fred Kennedy, who led the project for DARPA. – Defense News

Editorial: The larger picture presented by this budget is that the U.S. military is in a state of managed decline. U.S. defense spending falls to a projected 2.4% of the economy in 2034, down from an estimated 3.1% this year, which is half the nearly 6% spent during the 1980s when the U.S. was rearming to win the Cold War. Interest on the national debt will cost more than the U.S. spends on defense this year, and the gap will continue to widen. The federal government gives more cash to state and local governments (e.g., Medicaid money) than it spends on its own defense. – Wall Street Journal

James Holmes writes: Constancy is a virtue on the demand side when courting the supply side. Assuming one were forthcoming, an initial burst of new-construction dollars would do little for builders if demand dwindled over the long term, leaving them operating at a loss with a wasting asset on their hands. They might rebuff a transpacific partnership rather than risk eventual ruin. In short, Secretary Del Toro has taken on an unenviable task: persuading Asian business leaders to invest in the U.S. shipbuilding complex at a time when domestic political headwinds are fierce. Profit, risk, time. Let’s wish him well. – The National Interest