Fdd's overnight brief

March 31, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisers are shielding him from how badly the invasion of Ukraine is going, top U.S. officials said Wednesday, as the conflict raged on despite peace talks and the number of Ukrainians who have fled their country topped 4 million. – Washington Post  

After initially plummeting, the ruble has rebounded and is edging closer to the value it held before the war began, according to the official exchange rate. And the banking system is gradually stabilizing as panicked customer withdrawals subside, economists say. – Washington Post 

Moscow dismissed a diplomatic overture by Ukraine in peace talks, while Russian forces hit targets around Kyiv on Wednesday despite saying they would limit attacks there as they stepped up ground and air assaults in eastern portions of the country. – Wall Street Journal 

In imposing economic sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials created exceptions. Their worry was that oligarchs like Mr. Usmanov had interests so deeply woven into the global economy that curtailing their businesses could trigger broader economic pain and legal blowback, said current and former Treasury officials. – Wall Street Journal 

The head of Britain’s GCHQ spy service said on Wednesday that new intelligence showed some Russian soldiers in Ukraine had refused to carry out orders, sabotaged their own equipment and accidentally shot down one of their own aircraft. – Reuters 

The US has continued to express doubt that Russia was curtailing its military ambitions in Ukraine despite new Kremlin claims that it was wrapping up operations around Kyiv and had made progress in peace talks with Ukrainian negotiators. – Financial Times  

Russian troops are beginning to pull out of the Chernobyl nuclear facility and moving into Belarus, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday. The retreat comes a day after Russian officials said military operations in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv would scale back and over a month after Vladimir Putin’s army seized the site of the catastrophic 1986 nuclear disaster. – Washington Examiner 

Ukrainian forces have the right to target munitions depots in Russia, according to a senior government adviser who made the case for such operations while denying Ukraine’s responsibility for an explosion in Russia this week. – Washington Examiner 

Russian warships ply the waters off the Odessan coast, blockading the city. They are relatively safe from positions just beyond the horizon, though entering the port is a non-starter: the Ukrainians mined the waters surrounding the port, denying the Russian ships a haven. – New York Sun 

The US State Department issued a new security alert late on Tuesday warning US citizens to leave Russia, saying that Americans could be targeted by Russian security officials for harassment or detention. – Business Insider  

Samir Puri writes: Russia may try to secure a stretch of land from the Donbas to Crimea even if it faces insurgency later on. Ukraine will never willfully give up its territory, but barring an unforeseen escalation that brings other countries into the fight, a total Russian rout looks unlikely. Even if Ukraine dislodges Russian forces from the 2022 territorial gains, evicting Russia from the 2014 gains will be almost impossible. – Wall Street Journal 

Daniel Henninger writes: We’ve drawn a line in the sand all right—around ourselves. For all that, Ukraine seems different. It is an opportunity to raise our security game against adversaries who don’t recognize physical borders or moral limits. Any sustained effort to meet this threat is going to require political leadership. Presidential election 2024 anyone? – Wall Street Journal 

Joshua Muravchik writes: The century-old American vision hangs in the balance. The Ukrainian outcome will help to determine its fate. If Russia is clearly defeated, the imagined order will become more real than it has ever been. States everywhere, including China, will think hard before attacking others. But if Mr. Putin succeeds despite the initial setbacks, then the order will be history, an American pipe dream that too few others took seriously and that America did not try hard enough to nurture and sustain. – Wall Street Journal 

Sen. Joni Ernst writes: Putin is pushing on Ukraine today, but he is also pushing on us. Will we honor the nearly 28-year-old Budapest agreement or surrender a key U.S. partner to a lawless dictator? The choice is clear. Ukraine is ready to fight and win. And with our help, I believe it can. – NBC 

Mason Clark, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: Russian forces will likely capture Mariupol or force the city to capitulate within the coming days; Russian reinforcements may enable a renewed Russian offensive through Slovyansk to link up with Russian forces in Luhansk Oblast; Russian withdrawals from near Kyiv and Chernihiv will become significant if Russian troops begin to pull back from front-line positions around either city. – Institute for the Study of War 

Jan Kallberg writes: There is nothing for the Russians to strategically gain by unleashing their full, advanced cyber arsenal against Ukraine or NATO at this juncture. In an open conflict between Russia and NATO, the Kremlin’s calculation would be different and might well justify the use of advanced cyber capabilities. In reality, the absence of cyber-attacks beyond Ukraine indicates a very rational Russian fear of disclosing and compromising capabilities beyond its own. That is the good news. The bad news is that the absence of a cyber-offensive does not mean these advanced capabilities do not exist. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


The United States continues to violate a United Nations resolution that enshrines a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, despite its claims of wanting to revive the pact, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Washington on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a procurement agent in Iran and his companies and accused them of helping to support Tehran’s ballistic missile program following missile attacks by suspected Iran-backed proxies against countries in the region. – Reuters 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said Moscow would work with Iran to take practical steps in an effort to circumvent Western sanctions, the RIA news agency said. – Reuters 

Iran has once again denied women entry to a football stadium to watch an international match, leaving hundreds of ticketed fans locked out, Iranian media said Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse 

Iran’s Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, warned the governments of the region and the “Zionist movement” against any role in the Persian Gulf. This comes in the wake of the Negev Summit, where Bahrain and the UAE, which are in the Gulf, attended an unprecedented and important summit in Israel. – Jerusalem Post  

Douglas Schoen and Andrew Stein write: If the United States stands for regime change in Russia — as Biden indicated in his speech on Saturday and a follow-up with reporters days later — we should certainly advocate a similar policy for Iran, where the mullahs lack popular support, the economy is in free fall and protests have been frequent over the past few years. – New York Post 


The U.N.’s aid coordination office, backed by Britain, Germany and Qatar, is launching its biggest-ever appeal for funds for a single country in hopes of collecting $4.4 billion to help Afghanistan, a decidedly ambitious call to assist the impoverished country again run by Taliban militants when much of the world’s attention is on Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday issued strong backing for Afghanistan at a regional conference, while making no mention of human rights abuses by the country’s Taliban leaders. – Associated Press 

Editorial: Afghanistan became a sanctuary for al Qaeda the last time it was ruled by the Taliban, which hasn’t cut ties with the terror group. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie of Central Commandsaid recently that the U.S. is tracking terrorist activities in the country but hasn’t made an over-the-horizon strike since U.S. troops departed. The chaotic and deadly U.S. withdrawal eroded U.S. security and credibility, but spare a thought for the Afghans now ruled by barbarians. They will suffer most. – Wall Street Journal 


Israel is beefing up its military forces in the West Bank and carrying out a wave of arrests as its leaders grapple with the deadliest surge of terrorist attacks on the country’s soil in years. – Wall Street Journal 

Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians during clashes in Jenin on Thursday morning as tensions between Israel and the Palestinians spiked, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said, while unconfirmed reports put the death toll at three. – Times of Israel 

Authorities early Wednesday identified three of the five victims of a deadly terror shooting spree in Bnei Brak the previous night, including two young fathers and a police officer who helped kill the gunman. – Times of Israel  

Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon openly gloated on Wednesday following the latest attack in a wave of terrorism that struck Israeli cities in recent days, claiming the lives of eleven people — five of whom were murdered by a Palestinian gunman on Tuesday night. – Algemeiner 

Israel’s security cabinet decided Wednesday to revoke work permits of terrorists’ relatives amid a wave of terror attacks that began in Israel last week and left 11 people dead. – Haaretz 

The March 29, 2022 shooting in the city of Bnei Brak in central Israel, which was perpetrated by Diaa Hamarsha (26), a Palestinian from the town of Ya’abad near Jenin in the West Bank, was met with celebrations and with expressions of praise in the Palestinian Authority, especially in the Jenin area. Although Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud ‘Abbas condemned the attack, in which five Israelis were killed, other elements in the Fatah movement, which ‘Abbas heads, condoned the attack and its perpetrator. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and a senior member of the terrorist organization, said on Wednesday that the Israeli government’s policy against the Palestinians and the provocations of “Jewish extremists” near the start of the month of Ramadan will cause the “enemy” to deal with the escalation of “heroic actions,” which means terrorist attacks. – Arutz Sheva 

Alex Fishman writes: Now the ball is in Israel’s court: any wrong, emotional and hasty move could take us back to the dark days of countless suicide bombings within the Green Line. This will allow the Islamist Salafist movements and the Hamas terrorist group to realize their main goal: igniting the third intifada.. – Ynet 

Khaled Abu Toameh writes: Abbas knows that in order to survive, he has to continue walking a fine line: he has to placate his friends in the US, Israel and the European Union countries, but he also needs to prove to his people, day and night, that he is not a “traitor” and “puppet” in the hands of Israel and the US. – Jerusalem Post 

Arabian Peninsula

A Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis began observing Wednesday a unilateral cease-fire in the yearslong war, despite the rebels’ rejection of the proposal. – Associated Press 

United Nations and United States envoys on Wednesday welcomed unilateral truce moves by Yemen’s warring sides as encouraging steps, while stressing the need for a more comprehensive ceasefire that would help alleviate a dire humanitarian crisis. – Reuters 

Some Gulf Arab states are pursuing a written agreement with Washington that could primarily provide defense support after an escalation in attacks from fighters in Yemen on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. – Bloomberg 

Middle East & North Africa

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened existing strains in the Biden administration’s relationships in the Middle East, even as it has brought new unity to NATO and transatlantic ties. – Washington Post 

Tunisia’s president dissolved Parliament on Wednesday, after lawmakers voted to block emergency powers he had given himself last year, trying to harden his sole grip on the government and courting what could be the country’s severest political crisis since the 2011 revolution. – New York Times 

In talks this week with the top American diplomat, Arab leaders made clear they wanted a concrete sign of the Biden administration’s support: the opening of U.S. consulates in both Jerusalem and the disputed territory of Western Sahara. – New York Times 

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced a $5 billion aid package to cash-strapped Egypt, where the economy is under mounting pressure, in part because of the economic fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Iraqi lawmakers were Wednesday set to try for a third time to elect a new national president after two previous attempts failed because of boycotts by a Shiite Muslim coalition. – Agence France-Presse 

Asli Aydintasbas writes: But for all its tragedy, the war itself seems to have eased Turkey’s dilemma. It has provided new capital for the creaky Turkish economy, a new opportunity to mend Turkey’s ties with the West and a new role for Turkey’s president offering good offices to both sides in the conflict. For once, Turkey has managed to maintain a delicate geopolitical balance. – Washington Post 

Danielle Pletka writes: If the reality is that the United States has genuine geopolitical interests in the Middle East—setting aside false pronouncements about the imperative of democracy or human rights—then the second question is how to pursue them, having royally mucked up Washington’s relationships with even its closest friends, the Israelis. – The Dispatch 


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn parallels with Taiwan, a global flashpoint far to the east with the potential for an even more destructive conflict. – Wall Street Journal 

An Australian journalist stood trial in China around 19 months after being detained on suspicion of disclosing state secrets overseas, deepening a rift between two countries that have clashed over trade, political interference and military provocation. – Wall Street Journal 

Britain is withdrawing its judges from Hong Kong’s highest court, citing a “tipping point” where the presence of its judges would “risk legitimizing oppression,” in a rebuke of the territory’s claims that its courts are independent of political interference. – Washington Post 

China’s diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan represents a threat to all democracies and the United States is committed to helping the island defend itself, the top U.S. diplomat in Taipei said. – Reuters 

Moscow and Beijing are “more determined” to develop bilateral ties and boost cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday following a meeting in eastern China with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, amid the Ukraine crisis. – Reuters 

As China continues to assert its economic might, it is using the global social media ecosystem to expand its already formidable influence. The country has quietly built a network of social media personalities who parrot the government’s perspective in posts seen by hundreds of thousands of people, operating in virtual lockstep as they promote China’s virtues, deflect international criticism of its human rights abuses and advance Beijing’s talking points on world affairs like Russia’s war against Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Leaders of the EU and China meet for a “difficult” virtual summit on Friday with two other countries at the top of the European agenda: Russia and Ukraine. – Financial Times 

The last time western sanctions hit Russia after it annexed Crimea, President Vladimir Putin turned to Huawei to rebuild and upgrade the territory’s communication infrastructure. Now the controversial Chinese technology company is positioned to aid the Putin regime on a much larger scale, despite the threat of Washington hitting it with more sanctions. – Financial Times 

Now, the tide is turning. As reported by the Financial Times this month, Russia has requested military assistance from China to maintain its invasion of Ukraine. According to intelligence the US shared with allies, Russia requested supplies including surface-to-air missiles, drones, intelligence-related equipment and armoured and logistics vehicles. – Financial Times 

South Asia

The political opposition in Pakistan said it had enough votes to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, after convincing several small parties allied with the government to switch sides. – Wall Street Journal 

As international outrage over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine boiled over, foreign ministers and envoys filed in to New Delhi, hoping to pull India off the fence and into clearer condemnation of Russia, its longtime ally. – New York Times 

British foreign minister Liz Truss will visit India on Thursday as part of a “wider diplomatic push” on the war in Ukraine, her office said, a trip which coincides with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov travelling to the country. – Reuters 

A significant increase in Russian oil imports by India could expose New Delhi to a “great risk” as the United States prepares to step up enforcement of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, a senior U.S. administration official said. – Reuters 

Ruth Pollard writes: Russia and China are attempting to sway India in one direction — toward a more forceful statement in support of Moscow’s actions. Its other partners are trying to encourage it in the other — an outright condemnation, a vote with the West in the UN and some considerable distancing from Moscow. For now, however, New Delhi is holding its nerve. Even its warming relations with the U.S., which have led to a strengthened defense and security partnership and an increasingly proactive role in the regional Quad grouping, have not swayed India’s hand. – Bloomberg 

C. Raja Mohan writes: In the new situation created by Russia’s war, India’s dependence on Moscow for weapons has also gotten the Biden administration’s attention. Although India’s massive reliance on Russian arms and spare parts is unlikely to come down quickly, the United States can play a critical role in accelerating India’s diversification. The government of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi now has the opportunity to push for U.S. and other Western investment in the modernization and indigenization of India’s defense industrial base. – Foreign Policy


Nearly seven months after Myanmar’s parallel government declared a “people’s defensive war” against the military junta, pro-democracy rebels are hanging on — not winning, but not losing either — using explosives, black market weapons and widespread popular support to keep junta soldiers out of key territories. – Washington Post 

Azerbaijan has put Russian State Duma member Mihail Delyagin on an international wanted list through Interpol, opening charges against him following his statements against Baku’s actions in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. – Jerusalem Post 

Sasha Toperich and Debra Cagan write: There are a few issues the U.S. could address immediately that would help solidify good will in Kazakhstan and help facilitate the entry of Western businesses. […]Only time will tell how seriously such measures will be implemented, but a robust economic rapprochement between the U.S. and Kazakhstan would also significantly help those efforts — and would be a blow to Russia, one Putin certainly failed to anticipate. – The Hill


In the second month of war, Ukraine’s front-line soldiers are more confident than they had expected to be when Russian forces invaded. In areas north of the capital, the Russian advance has been stopped, while in Moshchun and other areas, Ukrainian forces have mounted counteroffensives with American-made weapons such as the Javelin antitank missiles and pushed the invaders out of some towns and villages. – Washington Post 

Western officials are balking at Ukraine’s proposal for a NATO-style mutual-defense pledge that could draw their military forces into a war with Russia, even as they expressed some receptiveness to the idea of international security guarantees as part of a deal to end hostilities. – Wall Street Journal 

Mindful of the angry and still-unhealed wounds left by NATO’s bombing of Serbia more than 20 years ago, Ukraine’s ambassador appeared on Serbian television after Russia invaded and bombed his country in the hope of rousing sympathy. – New York Times 

The Ukrainian president said his country’s defense against the Russian invasion is at a “turning point” and again pressed the United States for more help, hours after the Kremlin’s forces reneged on a pledge to scale back some of their operations. – Associated Press 

Germany said Wednesday that its military no longer will provide training to Libya’s coast guard because of concerns about their treatment of migrants. – Associated Press 

Hungary’s foreign minister on Wednesday accused Ukraine’s leadership of attempting to interfere in the upcoming Hungarian election, a charge later denied by his Ukrainian counterpart in an episode that put further strain on relations between the two countries. – Associated Press 

Adam Taylor writes: Sending arms to Ukraine and sanctioning oligarchs are comparatively simple moves, both of which are popular with British voters. But the far more complicated task of weaning Britain’s economy off illicit money from Russia and elsewhere may be far harder to do. And given rising prices, if Britain goes through with plans to phase out Russian energy, it could well alienate voters already wary of inflation. – Washington Post 

Clive Crook writes: For the moment, the main channel allowing Russia to avoid the full impact of the allies’ sanctions — the gas market — remains open. For as long as that’s true, Europe should be looking at a tariff on gas, not a ban, as the most cost-effective way to hit Russia’s economy. – Bloomberg 

Andreas Kluth writes: Poles and Hungarians must understand — and the EU should never be coy to repeat — that the two struggles are related. Europe and the West must stand for liberty. That’s just as important at home as in Ukraine. – Bloomberg 

Robert Creamer writes: The United States should continue to sanction the Serbian government to end corruption, ensure a free press and fair elections. And it should help mobilize American allies to do the same. Americans cannot afford to ignore the battle for democratic values in Serbia. – The Hill  

Tony Barber writes: For the more degraded the rule of law in some EU countries, the harder it is to ensure the smooth functioning of the single market, to prevent misuse of EU resources and to make a success of the bloc’s ambitious debt-financed recovery fund. Upholding the rule of law is inseparable from boosting the EU’s strength and credibility and exposing militaristic Russian misrule for what it is. – Financial Times 

Sergi Kapanadze writes: There is no time to waste. Both Georgia and Moldova should swiftly update the territorial defense strategy, similar to the approach used by Ukraine. Active reserve and professional military should be reoriented to resist Russian aggression. Both countries should seek new defensive weapons and fast-track their reforms and integration into the EU and NATO. In parallel, both must seek robust security guarantees from the EU and NATO. Strong Western commitments will be instrumental. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Benjamin Jensen writes: The war in Ukraine demonstrates the need for the concept of integrated deterrence to move beyond platitudes about technology and partners. The Biden administration will need to articulate how the concept works to manage escalation thresholds as well as how it provides options that counter the Russian approach to coercion and emerging Chinese concept of war control. Ukraine is the beginning, not the end of a new era of competition. Reframing deterrence and competition to guide competitive strategy is thus the central task for the new National Defense Strategy. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Harun Karci writes: While NATO is strengthening its eastern flank and reinforcing allies, it must keep a close eye on the Balkans, where its soft underbelly lies. NATO should beef up its military presence in Bosnia, for which it derives its peacekeeping legitimacy directly from the Dayton Peace agreement, and invest more resources to secure its most exposed partner states, Bosnia and Kosovo, against Serbian and Russian interference. A more visible and potent NATO military presence will send the right message to Putin’s proxies. – Foreign Policy 


Uganda’s military has killed 309 people in an eight-month-old operation against cattle rustling in a northeast region rich in minerals including gold, limestone and potentially oil, the armed forces said. – Reuters 

A new front in Ethiopia’s war in the Afar region is imperilling efforts to get enemies to sit down to peace talks, three regional officials and three diplomats said, and a ceasefire declared last week may have been breached in some places. – Reuters 

Congo’s M23 rebel group denied on Wednesday that it shot down a United Nations helicopter that crashed in eastern Congo, killing all eight people onboard. – Associated Press 

Hundreds of Ethiopians arrived back in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, the first contingent of some 100,000 nationals to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia over the coming months. – Agence France-Presse 

The International Monetary Fund urged Tunisia to focus on cutting its budget deficit and reforming state companies, describing the latest technical talks that could lead to crucial support for the North African nation as “constructive.” – Bloomberg 

United States

Gen. Tod Wolters, the head of U.S. European Command, admitted that the Biden administration’s attempts to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine did not work. – Washington Examiner 

President Joe Biden is weighing releasing a record amount of oil from US reserves as high gas prices persist. A plan being considered involves releasing around 1 million barrels per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the coming months, a person familiar with the deliberations says. – CNN 

Michael R. Pompeo writes: We must unleash the power of American energy; we must redouble our efforts to export clean energy, including liquified natural gas and clean coal, to our allies in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific. If President Biden is unwilling to do this, if he is unwilling to lead our country rather than listen to the singularly focused climate activists who are currently driving the White House’s failed policies, then we should ensure his administration is redirected by Republican acumen: by our winning big in the upcoming midterm elections, reversing his green-obsessed energy policy, and getting back to American energy dominance.  – Fox News 


A U.K. intelligence chief warned that the Kremlin is hunting for cyber targets and bringing in mercenaries to shore up its stalled military campaign in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

A malicious software command that immediately crippled tens of thousands of modems across Europe anchored the cyberattack on a satellite network used by Ukraine’s government and military just as Russia invaded, the satellite owner disclosed Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Facebook owner Meta gave user information to hackers who pretended to be law enforcement officials last year, a company source said Wednesday, highlighting the risks of a measure used in urgent cases. – Agence France-Presse 

A new law requiring critical sectors to report cyber breaches is “a good first step” but long overdue, experts said, as it is the first federal-wide mandate of its kind. – The Hill 

The FBI and global partners carried out an operation that resulted in the arrest of 65 U.S. individuals that allegedly scammed more than $51 million from U.S. businesses, the bureau announced Wednesday. – CyberScoop 

In a blog post, Google’s Billy Leonard said a “growing number” of financially-motivated groups as well as government-backed actors from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia are using the war as a pretext for several different kinds of attacks. – The Record 


The $773 billion budget request presented by the Defense Department this week proposed buying dozens fewer F-35s than expected, a reduction that military officials said is being made to focus on modernizing the fighter fleet. – Business Insider 

A top Pentagon official told lawmakers Wednesday the Biden administration is working to accommodate NATO ally Slovakia’s offer to send more S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion. – Defense News 

The U.S. Air Force wants to cut the total number of new combat rescue helicopters it plans to buy by one-third, a sign of how it is adjusting to a post-Afghanistan threat environment. – Defense News 

Grant Rumley and David Schenker write: Washington should change its approach by clarifying its implementation of Caatsa, streamlining the military procurement process, and making some of the crown jewels of America’s arsenal available to close partners. The U.S. can and should leverage the momentum against Russia’s invasion to correct a policy that simply isn’t working. – Wall Street Journal 

Emily Coletta, Zack Cooper, and Todd Harrison write: Overall, the users of the simulator have a clear desire for more focus on great-power deterrence and defense over either middle-power deterrence and defense or counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. These preferences equate to a greater focus on China and Russia, which is logical given the recent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and ongoing concerns about crisis scenarios involving Taiwan and Ukraine. This may also reflect user beliefs that the United States is overly focused on threats from Iran and North Korea. – War on the Rocks 

Long War

El Shafee Elsheikh has admitted in numerous media interviews that he helped the Islamic State seek ransoms from the families of Western hostages captured during the Syrian civil war, beating the prisoners and demanding personal information. – Washington Post 

Germany says it has brought home 10 women and 27 children from a camp in northeastern Syria where suspected members of the Islamic State group have been held. – Associated Press 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: For those following terrorism trends closely, it is known that the Fatah movement is not heterogeneous. Just as during the Second Intifada, when parts of Fatah aligned themselves with Hamas and violence while some remained anti-violence, that same discrepancy continues to this day. Part of the reason for the variance, though, is more about geography than labels. – Jerusalem Post