Fdd's overnight brief

March 18, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday sharply rejected Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call for new elections in his country, dismissing the push as “totally inappropriate” and harmful to Israel’s war against Hamas. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s military appears locked in a holding pattern in Gaza, set on entering Rafah, the last significant Hamas holdout, yet unable to do so without providing an escape route for more than a million civilians who have converged on the southernmost city in the strip to escape the fighting elsewhere. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said it would send a delegation to Qatar after Hamas made concessions in cease-fire talks that brought the positions of the two sides the closest they have been in weeks, mediators said, renewing hopes of a deal to pause fighting in the Gaza Strip. – Wall Street Journal

Since the start of the Gaza war five months ago, President Biden has repeatedly called the U.S.-Israel bond unbreakable. But his nearly 50-year relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has steadily deteriorated, cleaved by their clashing political agendas and conflicting war aims.It now appears close to an open rupture. – Wall Street Journal

The first shipment of aid to reach Gaza by sea in almost two decades was fully unloaded on Saturday on a makeshift jetty in the Mediterranean, marking a milestone in a venture that Western officials hope will ease the enclave’s worsening food deprivation. – New York Times

A teenager who sold cigarettes. A singer on the rise. An engineer at a local bottling plant. They are among thousands who have been reported missing in Gaza. Many disappeared under the rubble after airstrikes. Others are believed to have been detained at Israeli checkpoints while fleeing south or trying to return to the north. Some simply left one day and never came back. – Washington Post

The United Nations human rights office has documented more than two dozen attacks on Gazans waiting for desperately needed aid since January, with hunger spreading as a result of Israel’s near complete siege, preventing most food and water from entering the tiny enclave. – New York Times

A heavy Israeli police contingent checked worshipers on Friday entering the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, where the threat of unrest loomed over the end of the first week of Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims and one that has taken on added significance during the war in Gaza. – New York Times

The Israeli military said on Monday its troops raided the compound of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, in an operation Palestinian health authorities said had caused multiple casualties and set off a fierce fire in one of the buildings. – Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz questioned the “terribly high costs” of Israel’s offensive on Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza on Sunday, saying the world could not simply stand by and watch as Palestinians risk starvation in the enclave. – Reuters

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that Gaza was facing famine and there had to be a rapid ceasefire agreement in the war between Israel and Hamas. – Reuters

The International Court of Justice on Friday said it would hold hearings on April 8 and 9 in Nicaragua’s case against Germany for giving military aid to Israel and defunding the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA). – Reuters

The Islamist group Hamas on Friday criticized the “unilateral” designation by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of an ally and leading business figure as prime minister with a mandate to help reform the Palestinian Authority (PA) and rebuild Gaza. – Reuters

The European Union is close to agreeing sanctions on Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank after Hungary signalled an end to its opposition, European diplomats said on Friday. – Reuters

The party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is now blaming Hamas for the “catastrophe” unfolding in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. – Fox News

A Palestinian gunman opened fire Saturday at an Israeli settlement neighborhood in the West Bank city of Hebron, according to the military, before being shot dead by troops. – Times of Israel

A Bedouin Israeli man who crossed into the Gaza Strip in 2016 and allegedly joined Hamas before being detained while trying to cross back into Israel during the ongoing war, has died in custody, authorities said Saturday – Times of Israel

Editorial: In this case it’s the reality that today’s Palestinian leaders don’t want Israel to exist. Even in the West Bank, Mr. Abbas hasn’t held an election since 2006 because he fears he’d lose to Hamas. What’s Mr. Blinken’s plan for reassuring Israelis that a two-state solution isn’t a guarantee of another final solution for thousands more Israelis as on Oct. 7? – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Most Israelis reject a two-state solution, so promoting one must honor the principles of sovereignty and self-determination. Let’s encourage dialogue, support and cooperation, but also remember the importance of allowing nations to chart their own course democratically. – Jerusalem Post

Nicholas Kristof writes: The truth is that we don’t know how much leverage Biden has because he hasn’t truly tested his power. When Biden seemed to suggest this month that invading Rafah would cross a red line and might have repercussions, the White House immediately walked his statement back. – New York Times

Alton Frye writes: Eisenhower’s decisiveness in 1956 brought the fall of Anthony Eden’s government in the U.K., ending the career of a notable leader. In 2024, will it be Netanyahu or Biden who pays the greater political price? How perverse it would be if the colossal tragedy of the Gaza war were compounded by the political defeat of the American president standing against the excesses of both Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump. – The Hill

Russell A. Berman writes: Nor is it only a question of an abstract principle of a right to national self-determination, since that ideal ought to apply equally for the Kurds and the Sikhs as well. For the U.S. the Palestinian question should be foremost about the effectiveness of American power in the region — particularly with regard to Iranian adversariality — and credibility throughout the world. Rushing toward a Palestinian state will be deleterious on both those scores. – The Hill

Ben Basat writes: “What Hamas is experiencing now at the hands of the IDF is only a down payment on a long reckoning. Israel will eliminate everyone who was connected to the October 7 massacre. We have a long memory and for those who have already forgotten, let us recall that of the damned terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich 1972 Olympics, not a single one was left standing.”. – Jerusalem Post

Susan Hattis Rolef writes: What all this means is that the current government might actually linger on until the end of October 2026, even if the opposition to it will continue to mount, and a national commission of inquiry is actually formed in order to investigate the misconceptions and lacunae that led up to the catastrophe of October 7.Whether Netanyahu will actually manage to survive all of this is yet to be seen. In the meantime, there will be an American presidential election, which could actually shuffle the cards for everyone. – Jerusalem Post

 

Iran

Niger’s decision to end its counterterrorism alliance with Washington came after senior U.S. officials accused the country’s ruling junta of secretly exploring a deal to allow Iran access to its uranium reserves, Nigerien and U.S. officials say. – Wall Street Journal

Iran and the United States held secret, indirect talks in Oman in January, addressing the escalating threat posed to Red Sea shipping by the Houthis in Yemen, as well as the attacks on American bases by Iran-backed militias in Iraq, according to Iranian and U.S. officials familiar with the discussions. – New York Times

The United States and six other major world powers warned Iran on Friday not to provide ballistic missiles to Russia to aid Moscow’s war against Ukraine and threatened to retaliate if it does by cutting off Iranian air travel to Europe, among other measures. – New York Times

G7 nations are prepared to respond with severe new penalties that could include a ban on Iran Air flights to Europe if Iran proceeds with the transfer of close-range ballistic missiles to Russia, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. – Reuters

The US Treasury Department sanctioned an oil tanker it says is involved in shipping Iranian commodities in support of Houthi rebels. – Bloomberg

Iran sealed contracts on Sunday worth billions of dollars with domestic companies to boost its oil production in the face of Western sanctions. – Agence France-Presse

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting focusing on “big steps” in the field of artificial intelligence, Iran’s pro-government Tasnim News reported on Sunday. Iran has already invested in cyber capabilities, and the use of AI is one of the technologies many countries are now investing in. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Ansieh Khazali, has called to form an international coalition against Israel, Iranian-state-backed Mehr News Agency reported on Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

While Israel will need to investigate its own failures on and leading up to October 7, there is also enough blame to go around Western nations. – Jerusalem Post 

Editorial: The G-7’s newfound assertiveness on Iranian missile transfers to Russia is welcome, but its deterrent value is undermined by President Biden’s waiver 48 hours earlier. His Iran policy has remained stuck in the world of Oct. 6, desperate to buy peace and quiet from a regime with no interest in either. – Wall Street Journal

Maggie Hassan writes: America must continue to be clear eyed about the danger Iran represents and demonstrate that the United States will not waver in the face of Iranian aggression. Through targeted use of military force and strong sanctions enforcement, we can limit Iran’s ability to target our service members and demonstrate that Americans will always stand strong in our fight against terrorism. – Fox News

Ahmed Charai writes: Iran’s biggest oil buyer is China. With its economy cooling, China is reducing its oil purchases. For Iran, those oil sales are essential to funding its public works projects, and Iranians are demanding more electricity and water. So, Iran’s slowing oil exports mean more unrest in Iran’s power-starved cities and larger budget deficits. This time, new U.S. sanctions could be uniquely impactful. A consensus report of intelligence agencies presents a dire warning, which could easily become an accusation if tragedy strikes. The best answer to “Why didn’t they do something?” is “Actually, we did.” – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine is about to receive large shipments of the ammunition it needs most. It won’t come from the U.S., or any other pillar of NATO. Rather, the deal was clinched by a landlocked country of 10 million people sandwiched between Germany and Poland famed for its picturesque capital and the quality of its beer, but which was also home to a large arms industry. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday he had agreed to exchange Alexei Navalny with prisoners in the West days before the Russian opposition politician dropped dead in an Arctic penal colony. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin secured a further six years in power after a carefully managed election that saw his most credible challengers sidelined, setting him on a path to matching Stalin as Russia’s longest-serving leader. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. officials foresee a range of bleak scenarios in Ukraine if the military aid President Biden has requested doesn’t materialize, including a catastrophic breakdown of Ukrainian lines in the grimmest contingency and the likelihood of massive casualties in the best. – Washington Post

As Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, passed the first checkpoint on her way to the Russian Embassy in Berlin to vote in the presidential election, a group of young Russians holding anti-Vladimir Putin posters yelled out: “Yulia, we are with you! Don’t give up!” – Washington Post

The soldiers are Russians who have turned against the government of their country’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and are now fighting for the Ukrainian side by making incursions back into Russia. – New York Times 

Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, United Nations investigators say they have uncovered new evidence of systematic and widespread torture of Ukrainian prisoners held by Russian security forces. – New York Times

A Russian missile attack on Odesa killed at least 20 people and injured 73 others, Ukrainian authorities said on Friday, the latest in a series of deadly air assaults on the southern Ukrainian port city. – New York Times

Ukraine fired a volley of exploding drones at Moscow and other targets on the final day of Russia’s presidential vote on Sunday, the local authorities said, continuing a flurry of attacks over the past week timed for the rubber-stamp election. – New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Monday that a direct conflict between Russia and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would mean the planet was one step away from World War Three but said hardly anyone wanted such a scenario. – Reuters

Ukrainian air defence systems shot down 17 out of 22 Russian drones over nine Ukrainian regions in an attack that caused a fire in a residential building in the early hours of Monday, officials said. – Reuters

South Ossetia, a region that broke away from Georgia and calls itself an independent state, has discussed becoming part of Russia with Moscow officials, Russian news agency RIA cited the head of South Ossetia’s parliament as saying on Sunday. – Reuters

A Russian ballistic missile attack struck a residential area in Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa on Friday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 70, in Moscow’s deadliest attack in weeks, Ukrainian officials said. – Reuters

The Kremlin on Friday said that the United States has been trying to conduct a covert influence campaign against the Russian authorities, but that Moscow’s security services had taken action to minimise its impact. – Reuters

Ukrainian explosive drones targeted the Russian capital city overnight, according to local authorities, as unverified footage appears to show uncrewed vehicles approaching one of Moscow’s main airports. – Newsweek

Lester Feder writes: The stories we remember from the past are the foundation upon which peace is built. And that matters far beyond Ukraine at a time when anti-democratic forces are trying to erase queer people in many parts of the world. If the world forgets how homophobia was turned into a weapon in this war, what hope is there that queer people will be included in a democratic peace? – New York Times

Lionel Laurent writes: But these risks call for closer cooperation between the traditional suppliers and their nimbler, smaller offshoots — like Saab AB’s partnership with AI software specialist Helsing GmbH. Europe certainly needs to make up for past mistakes in defense, from a lack of investment to a deficit of integration across EU industry. But it can’t ignore the future either. – Bloomberg

Philip Wasielewski and William Courtney write: This self-deterrence ought not stay the West’s hand in helping Ukraine with irregular warfare. This is unlikely to pose escalatory risks that worry some in the West. A strategy to attrit Russian army logistics and undermine morale is optimal for indirect, irregular warfare. It will support the more substantial conventional offensive operations needed to expel Russian forces from Ukraine. – DefenseNews

Hezbollah

A Lebanese migrant who was caught sneaking over the border admitted he’s a member of Hezbollah, he hoped to make a bomb, and his destination was New York, The Post can reveal. – New York Post

Overnight between Sunday and Monday, Israeli fighter jets struck a Hezbollah military structure and an observation post in the area of Ramyah in Lebanon, the IDF reported.  – Jerusalem Post

While the war in Gaza rages on, much of northern Israel has been continuously hit by Hezbollah rocket fire, prompting residents to evacuate from their homes until further notice. – Jerusalem Post

Syria

Israeli airstrikes hit several sites in southern Syria early Sunday wounding a soldier, Syrian state media reported. – Associated Press

For years, Syria’s civil war has been a largely frozen conflict, the country effectively carved up into areas controlled by the Damascus government of President Bashar Assad, various opposition groups and Syrian Kurdish forces. – Fox News

Alexander Langlois writes: Spiraling instability is the result of this situation, ultimately worsening peace prospects in the country and other conflicts while expanding the risks of broader war and humanitarian suffering. At a certain point, world leaders with influence must make tough decisions that are people-centric and pragmatic if they hope to improve the geopolitical situation and mitigate the ongoing slide into broader regional and global instability and competition. – The National Interest

Yemen

The Biden administration is expanding efforts to surveil and intercept Iranian weapons being smuggled to Yemen, where Houthi militants have staged a deadly campaign of violence against commercial shipping that has proved resilient to six weeks of military strikes, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter. – Washington Post

The U.S. military said it destroyed a drone fired by the Yemeni Houthis on Saturday, with another presumed to have crashed into the Red Sea. – Reuters

British maritime security firm Ambrey and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported on Friday an incident near Yemen’s Hodeidah where the Iran-aligned Houthis continue to attack shipping lanes in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war. – Reuters

The US Treasury Department sanctioned an oil tanker it says is involved in shipping Iranian commodities in support of Houthi rebels. The Marshall Islands-flagged Lady Sofia is en route to China after receiving an unspecific cargo from another sanctioned vessel, Mehle. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

The Jordanian army said on Monday its air defence radar system had detected suspicious aerial movements from an unknown source along the border with Syria, which a regional security source said were most probably missiles fired by pro-Iranian militias from Iraq. – Reuters

Lebanon sees a French proposal meant to end hostilities with Israel and settle a border dispute as a possible “significant step” towards peace, according to a letter by Lebanon’s foreign ministry dated Friday and seen by Reuters. – Reuters

If the summer of 2023 was one of growing optimism that the country at the center of the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia, was about to take its first steps towards normalizing ties with Israel, the world’s only Jewish state – and that the path to a blooming peace would be via Washington – today, it seems that any possibility of reaching such a historic agreement begins and ends in Gaza. – Jewish Insider

Michael Rubin writes: Rather than a cakewalk, however, Gara will likely be Erdogan’s Waterloo, Khorramshahr, or Donestk. The PKK has nowhere else to go. Purges have transformed the Turkish Army into a shell of its former self, and President Joe Biden’s gift of F-16s will not come in time (or, perhaps, at all should Biden lose reelection). Much like Galtieri, Saddam, and Putin, Erdogan now directs his country into the abyss rather than admit his own financial incompetence. – American Enterprise Institute

Mona Deeley writes: Although the European Commission contends that the EU has modified how it executes international development projects since the lessons learned from supporting Lebanon’s waste-management facilities, RITE’s analysis shows more work remains to be done on improving risk mitigation on the ground. Success is more likely if Lebanon’s key funders better coordinate their efforts and work hand-in-hand with civil society. – Middle East Institute 

 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Monday for the first time in two months, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Seoul for a conference hosted by President Yoon Suk Yeol on advancing democracy. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un publicly rode in a car given to him by Russian President Vladimir Putin in “clear proof” of the strengthening friendship between the two countries, state media reported on Saturday. – Reuters

U.S. special operations troops in South Korea are training and preparing for unexpected threats at a time when global crises are more interconnected than ever, their commander said during an exercise this week. – Reuters

North Koreans defectors spoke at a U.N. event in Geneva on Friday to expose human rights violations in a country one of them described as “hell” and to advocate for a strengthened U.N. mandate to investigate and document them. – Reuters

China

China’s government is rolling out a charm offensive to lure back foreigners, part of an effort to shed years of pandemic-induced isolation that is sapping the world’s second-largest economy. – Wall Street Journal

Fiji will maintain a policing cooperation deal with China after a review of the agreement which has sparked concern in Australia, the Guardian Australia news site reported. – Reuters

China says it wants to strengthen communications with New Zealand and work to maintain peace and stability in the region as the foreign ministers of the two countries met on Monday. – Reuters

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, a prominent supporter of China who has criticised Australia’s AUKUS nuclear submarine deal with the U.S., said he would meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this week in a bid to improve bilateral ties. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would support Chinese firms that invest in Angola’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors, state media reported on Friday, as the African oil producing nation seeks help in diversifying its economy. – Reuters

Taiwan on Saturday warned off Chinese coast guard ships that entered its restricted waters near frontline islands close to China for a second day in a row, as tensions simmer across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

China is considering taking part in a Ukraine peace conference planned by Switzerland, according to Wang Shihting, its ambassador to the European country. – Bloomberg

Andy Langenkamp writes: China will not have it any easier in a world where mistrust and hostility towards Beijing have increased greatly. However, this should not be exaggerated because, in many respects, China has a very strong position in relation to the rest of the world that won’t change from one day to the next. – The Hill

 

South Asia

The latest round of trade talks between Britain and India has concluded without a deal, with a British official saying an agreement could not be finalised ahead of the upcoming Indian elections. – Reuters

Militants attacked a military post in Pakistan near Afghanistan early on Saturday using a vehicle laden with explosives as well as suicide bombs, killing seven security force members, Pakistan’s military said. – Reuters

Pakistani airstrikes targeted multiple suspected hideouts of Pakistani Taliban inside Afghanistan early Monday, two days after insurgents killed seven soldiers in a suicide bombing and coordinated attacks in the northwest, two security officials said. – Associated Press

Authorities in western India have launched an investigation after far-right Hindus allegedly attacked foreign university students offering prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as religious tensions simmer ahead of a crucial general election. – CNN

India has approved a design and prototype program for a fifth-generation fighter jet intended to counter the growing asymmetry in air power with China. – Newsweek

Mihir Sharma writes: Modi certainly bears his share of blame for the erosion of India’s liberal institutions. Yet he remains unabashedly enthusiastic about Indian electoral politics. Given that this election has largely failed to stir Indians’ imaginations, I wonder if the person most excited about them may be Modi himself. – Bloomberg

Asia

The police officers asked the man what he meant when he said that involving an Australian government minister in a charity event could benefit “us Chinese.” Was he talking about mainland China and the Chinese Communist Party, or the local Australian Chinese community? Depending on the answer, he faced up to 10 years in prison. – New York Times

With China aggressively asserting its claims on the South China Sea, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of the Philippines spent his first year on the job beefing up Manila’s alliance with its oldest ally, the United States. Now he is shoring up support from a wider and new network of partners. – New York Times

Hong Kong’s legislature will convene Tuesday to resume reading of a new security bill that’s being fast-tracked by the government. – Bloomberg

Indonesia said two of its nationals are involved in a South Korean investigation into a possible data leak around a fighter jet that’s being jointly developed by both countries. There are no conclusive findings yet in the probe and the Indonesian embassy in Seoul is assisting the two engineers involved, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lalu Muhamad Iqbal told reporters on Sunday. – Bloomberg

Michael Cunningham writes: As a result, China’s military provocations will likely further intensify while Lai is in office. That’s far from ideal, but it’s familiar territory for both Taipei and Washington. On the potentially explosive issue of declaring independence, however, U.S. officials have no reason to worry. Their efforts will be best served working hand in hand with Taipei as both seek to preserve Taiwan’s de facto sovereignty. This requires beefing up Taipei’s defenses while also managing tensions with Beijing. – Newsweek

Ani Chkhikvadze writes: U.S. engagement in the South Caucasus significantly weakened over the years leading up to the war in Ukraine because of shifting international priorities and the general decline of U.S. engagement abroad under the administrations of former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, a trend that has continued through the administration of President Joe Biden. The inability to deter Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has left populations in the region wary of Western promises and afraid for their security. Armenians may not trust Russia—but they don’t place much more faith in the West. – Foreign Policy

Europe

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that European countries would use the windfall profits generated by nearly $300 billion in frozen Russian assets to support weapons purchases for Ukraine, the first time Berlin has voiced support for the idea. – Wall Street Journal

A St. Patrick’s Day visit by Ireland’s Taoiseach to the White House took on a somber tone this year, as the leader of President Biden’s ancestral homeland pushes for a cease-fire in Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

President Zoran Milanovic called for a “government of national salvation” on Saturday as Croatia’s constitutional court said it would consider the constitutional and electoral implications of his shock bid for the more powerful post of prime minister. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron called President Vladimir Putin’s Russia an adversary that would not stop in Ukraine if it defeated Kyiv’s troops in the two-year-old conflict, urging Europeans to not be “weak” and to get ready to respond. – Reuters

Polish farmers started blocking a key highway near the German border to protest against food imports from Ukraine and the European Union’s climate initiatives regarding agriculture. – Bloomberg

In 2023 the number of UK residents aged 17 years or under being arrested for terrorism-related offenses reached a record high of 219 arrests, the UK Counter Terrorism Police announced on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

The European Union has named a host of local ammunition firms it will supply with more than half a billion euros, or almost $560 million, in combined funding to help them beef up production in a bid to push the bloc’s annual output of shells to two million a year by the end of 2025. –  Defense News

Africa

Niger said it is revoking its military cooperation deal with the United States, ordering 1,000 American armed forces personnel to leave the country and throwing the United States’ strategy in the region into disarray. – New York Times

A day after his release from jail, Senegal opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye drew hundreds of supporters at his first public appearance as a presidential contender on Friday for March 24 elections, promising to tackle corruption. – Reuters

Nearly five million people in Sudan could suffer catastrophic hunger in parts of the war-torn country in the coming months, United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths warned the Security Council on Friday in a note seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Indian naval forces including special commandos seized a cargo vessel that had been hijacked by Somali pirates, rescuing 17 crew members, a spokesperson for the navy said on Saturday. – Reuters

Repairs on damaged subsea cables that are causing internet outages across West and Central Africa are expected to take at least five weeks before completion and full service restoration, Ghana’s communications regulator said on Saturday. – Reuters

South Africa is serving as a diplomatic proxy for Iran as both the continent and Israel combat jihadist attacks, Union of Orthodox Synagogues of South Africa Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein said at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Mesfin Tegenu writes: Every crisis — even one as deadly and terrible as the recent bloodshed in Amhara region — is also an opportunity for something better to emerge on the other side. That’s why it is so critical that any IMF deal for Ethiopia become more than just a fiscal life raft for a brutal and corrupt regime. What Ethiopians need is a down payment on a renewed partnership between two great nations, structured around shared principles of human rights. – The Hill

The Americas

“Unlike many Haitians wounded by gunfire in the middle of a vicious gang takeover of the capital, Port-au-Prince, Ms. Cenatus was actually lucky that day — she made it to a clinic. But she is still in pain, her wound swelling, and she cannot get any relief, with more and more hospitals and clinics abandoned by staff or looted by gangs.” . – New York Times

Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company curtailed mobile internet service in parts of the Communist island Sunday afternoon as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to protest hourslong power outages and a lack of food, according to residents and a network monitoring firm. – Wall Street Journal

Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday he does not fear being put on trial, one day after a police investigation revealed the far-right politician tried to co-op the country’s military chiefs in a coup plan to overturn his 2022 election defeat. – Reuters

The U.N. children’s agency said on Saturday one of its aid containers at Haiti’s main port, stocked with “essential items for maternal, neonatal and child survival,” was looted, as gangs increasingly control the capital. – Reuters

Colombia will suspend its months-long ceasefire with the Estado Mayor Central (ECM) armed group in three provinces on Wednesday, a government decree said on Sunday, citing incidents of violence that broke the ceasefire. – Reuters

U.S. aid chief Samantha Power is set to announce $25 million in humanitarian assistance for Haiti on Friday, according to a statement seen by Reuters in advance, as the Caribbean nation faces a long-running political and humanitarian crisis. – Reuters

Brazil wants to use the nation’s presidency of the Group of 20 nations this year to push for changes at the United Nations to make the organization more relevant for solving the world’s conflicts, according to a top envoy from the country. – Bloomberg

Guatemala’s new leader is seeking billions of dollars in US investment after Washington helped him defeat a powerful alliance of “malign actors” who schemed to keep him out of office. – Bloomberg

Russian messaging and media are growing in Mexico, which is holding federal elections in June and whose proximity to the United States makes it an invaluable intelligence target. – The Hill

Tyler Cowen writes: The path-dependence here is severe, as it is now very hard for Haiti to do anything that could convince the doubters. And all these factors are only a part of the broader comparative story about Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As the tragic story in Haiti unfolds, keep in mind that economic policy really matters, and human lives are at stake. – Bloomberg

Robbie Gramer writes: Widdersheim said the United States can’t dodge responsibilities. “Half measures won’t be good enough this time,” she said. “The U.S. government hasn’t in the past seemed to care enough to truly invest in Haiti’s long-term development, and it’s to our detriment because nothing ever sticks; we just get stuck doing half measures that always fail.” – Foreign Policy

United States

Mining the ocean floor for minerals often seemed like a fantasy, but U.S. national security concerns could be bringing it closer to reality. Thousands of feet down at the bottom of the ocean, small rocks holding vast quantities of nickel, manganese and cobalt—the perfect combination of minerals to make an electric-vehicle battery—sit untouched, as high costs to reach them, a lack of research and public opposition have kept deep-sea mining a pipe dream. – Wall Street Journal

President Joe Biden on Friday condemned what he termed an ugly resurgence of Islamophobia since the Oct. 7 start of the Israel-Gaza war but a leading Muslim advocacy group dismissed his comment and urged a change in U.S. policy instead.- Reuters

A Republican congressman is asking the Treasury Department to explain its handling of a US insurance company that covered dozens of tanker ships suspected of carrying sanctioned Iranian oil. – Bloomberg

As they scramble to finalize government spending for the remainder of the year, Republicans and Democrats are butting heads over whether to allocate funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which Republicans say they unequivocally oppose. – Jewish Insider

Larry Hogan writes: History’s lessons are clear: In the face of genocidal acts, we must all stand up to our enemies and for our allies. This isn’t just theoretical; Jews across our country and world are experiencing threats and harassment. Some politicians will say and do whatever seems popular to win an election, but I won’t join them. America’s relationships with our closest allies are too important to toss around as another partisan football. – Wall Street Journal

Cybersecurity

Turkey’s competition authority said on Monday that it imposed an interim measure on Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) meant to hinder data sharing between the company’s Instagram and Threads platforms. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday called fake news and disinformation based on AI and digital technology threats to democracy, as his country hosted a gathering of senior global officials including from Britain, the EU and the United States. – Reuters

A cyberattack on a payment processor that has crippled large parts of the U.S. health care system is inspiring calls in Washington to urgently implement cybersecurity regulations for the sector, setting up a showdown with hospital and health care groups that are stridently arguing against such a move. – Cyberscoop

In recent months, U.S. intelligence officials have issued a series of pitched warnings about Chinese hacking operations targeting American critical infrastructure, but at a gathering last week of the world’s foremost industrial cybersecurity experts, the conversations among those charged with protecting these systems were anything but alarmed when it came to China. – Cyberscoop

A cyberattack in February led to the compromise of 11 email accounts at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the organization said on Friday. In a brief statement, the IMF said the cyber incident was detected on February 16. – The Record

Defense

In both places, U.S. service members said their missions were unexpected, changing as the White House has moved rapidly to contain wider fallout from the Israel-Gaza war. But now, along with a U.S. Army crew on its way to Gaza to build a floating pier, they are firmly part of the U.S. military’s expanding footprint in the Middle East. It’s a region President Biden had hoped to de-emphasize — and one where American involvement has often been devastating and costly. – Washington Post

The top US military official got a whirlwind tour of a Lockheed Martin Corp. plant as the Pentagon attempts to assure contractors that it will provide predictable signals while it seeks more funding to send weapons to Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The future aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-80) will deliver a year and a half later than prior projections, according to the Navy. The Ford-class carrier, which is currently under construction at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, will deliver in September of 2029, 18 months later than its previous scheduled delivery date in March of 2028, according to the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget documents. – USNI News

The United States does not have enough icebreaker ships to compete in the Arctic the way Russia can with its much larger fleet, a U.S. military commander warned. – Military.com

The United States scrambled on Sunday to assess the future of its counterterrorism operations in the Sahel after Niger’s junta said it was ending its yearslong military cooperation with Washington following a visit by top U.S. officials. – Military.com

But the Marine Corps plans to retire its HIMARS over the next several years, instead prioritizing other platforms to pick up the capability a mobile rocket or missile launcher would offer, and heading full-tilt toward its coastal mission. – Military.com