Fdd's overnight brief

May 13, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Every evening on TV news, Israelis get the latest on the Gaza war—cease-fire and hostage talks, Israeli military casualties, battlefield analysis and coverage of the Oct. 7 attacks by Islamist militant group Hamas that sparked the conflict. One thing that is almost always missing: the people of Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

Rachel Goldberg-Polin has spent seven months counting the days since her son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, was kidnapped by Hamas and taken to Gaza on Oct. 7. It wasn’t until Day 201 that she and her family had proof of life. That was when Hamas released a hostage video of her son. – Wall Street Journal

A long-awaited Biden administration report on Israel’s use of American weapons during its seven-month long offensive in Gaza paints a critical picture of the Israeli military’s efforts to avoid harm to civilians. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli forces continued to advance on the southern city of Rafah on Sunday and launched another operation against Hamas in the north, setting off a desperate scramble among war-weary civilians across Gaza. Humanitarian agencies warned that no place was safe and that essential aid had nearly run out, almost a week after Israel captured and shut down the border crossing with Egypt. – Washington Post

After Hamas attacked Israel in October, igniting the war in Gaza, Israeli leaders described the group’s most senior official in the territory, Yahya Sinwar, as a “dead man walking.” Considering him an architect of the raid, Israel has portrayed Mr. Sinwar’s assassination as a major goal of its devastating counterattack. – New York Times

Israeli tanks, under cover from heavy fire from air and ground, pushed further into Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, residents and Hamas media said, while airstrikes hammered Rafah in the south. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said Israel lacked a “credible plan” to protect some 1.4 million Palestinian civilians in Rafah and warned an Israeli attack could create an insurgency by failing to kill all Hamas fighters in the southern Gaza city. – Reuters

Israel’s military said on Saturday that a new field hospital had been established in the central Gaza Strip and was being run by a non-governmental organization, the International Medical Corp. – Reuters

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said on Saturday that another one of the hostages abducted during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel has died. – Reuters

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday overwhelmingly backed a Palestinian bid to become a full U.N. member by recognizing it as qualified to join and recommending the U.N. Security Council “reconsider the matter favorably.” – Reuters

The absence of a final resting place is being felt acutely now, as Israel marks its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, when cemeteries are brimming with relatives mourning over the graves of their loved ones. – Associated Press

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant instructed the head of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Research and Development (DDR&D, or MAFAT in Hebrew), Danny Gold, in a private conversation to develop a type of weapon that no one knows about and that has no equivalent in the world. – Jerusalem Post

The Biden administration has reportedly offered to give Israel “sensitive intelligence” on the whereabouts of senior Hamas leaders if it agrees to hold off on a long-promised major military operation in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah. – Times of Israel

Editorial: The news media’s left-wing straitjacket no longer allows reporters to see themselves, even in appropriate circumstances, as Americans first. If you’re just a “citizen of the world,” you refuse to see American hostages as being of any particular concern, and certainly less important than castigating Israel when bombs fired by terrorists fall on Gazan hospital parking lots. Hostages Edan Alexander, Omer Neutra, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Sagui Dekel-Chen, and Keith Siegel deserve better from our nation’s president and its news media. The silence is shameful. – Washington Examiner

Amit Segal writes: An American statement used to be like the U.S. dollar—universally coveted and esteemed. But times have changed and the dollar’s value, much like presidential assurances, has diminished. It should come as no surprise that countries such as Saudi Arabia now have a new list of demands for Washington, from a nuclear reactor to a defense alliance. Now, instead of delivering promised support to an ally, the U.S. is hindering efforts. By halting the shipment of weapons to Israel, it is effectively sending Hamas the most potent weapon of all: hope. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Singh writes: It was on his watch that regular military and economic aid to Israel began, that the first U.S.-Israel strategic memorandum of understanding was signed, and that the close coordination we now take for granted was set in motion. Under Reagan, the U.S. learned that these mechanisms of partnership—rather than threats and punishments—were our most effective tools for shaping Israeli policies. This is the lesson and the legacy that Mr. Biden ignores, to America’s peril as well as Israel’s. – Wall Street Journal

Avi Weiss writes: How I wish someone at this year’s Holocaust Memorial Museum commemoration challenged Mr. Biden in a similar manner. During the Shoah, Jews were helpless to defend themselves. Today, at a critical time in the war against Hamas, America seeks to limit the Jewish state’s ability to defend itself. As in 1978, we shouldn’t accept the Holocaust at the expense of Israel. – Wall Street Journal

Tamar Hofnung writes: Without accountability and increased pressure on Hamas, the suffering of Gaza’s residents and the Israeli hostages it holds — including five American citizens — will only intensify, complicating any hopes for resolution and leading to further loss of life. Continued failure to confront Hamas’s destructive tactics not only worsens the humanitarian crisis in Gaza but also suggests that, under certain framing, acts of terror could lead to significant political advantages. – The Hill

Moshe Terdiman writes: Future developments in the Gaza war will impact Israel’s ability to fully integrate into the northern Red Sea basin. In that sense, a continuation of the conflict is detrimental to Israel’s regional situation. Ending the war and taking steps toward an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution is necessary to pave the way for such integration, enabling normalization with Saudi Arabia and reducing tensions with Jordan and Egypt. – Middle East Institute

Iran

India expects to secure a “long-term arrangement” with Iran on the management of the Iranian port of Chabahar, India’s foreign minister said on Monday as the country’s shipping minister left on a visit to Iran. – Reuters

Iranians voted Friday in a runoff election for the remaining seats in the country’s parliament after hard-line politicians dominated March balloting. – Associated Press

After the head of the United Nation’s atomic watchdog agency warned that Iran has enough uranium to produce “several” nuclear bombs, a firebrand Iranian lawmaker declared on Friday that the Islamic Republic of Iran possesses atomic weapons. – Fox News

The leadership of Tehran’s tiny Jewish community announced its participation in a Tuesday conference, attacking the Jewish state and promoting the Palestinian movement in Gaza. – Jerusalem Post

Ido Gadi Raz writes: To conclude, Raisi’s visit to Pakistan is a turning point for the American MENA strategy. Pakistan’s decision to warm ties following the recent escalations in Israel, Gaza, and Iran points to the erosion of American influence in the region. Therefore, Washington should rethink its deterrence strategy and build more robust cooperation with Pakistan. And Israel? Israel, as America’s closest ally, should closely monitor Iran’s external strategy and actively participate in America’s efforts to counter it. – Jerusalem Post

Alexander Langlois writes: Indeed, Israel and Iran were essentially at war for a month for the first time, striking each other’s sovereign territory and risking the lives of millions. World leaders should have condemned both states for their irresponsible actions. Yet, unfortunately, geopolitical considerations and political interests continue to dominate the actions of world leaders as states protect their allies at the expense of international law and broader efforts to keep people safe. The world is worse off as a result. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday replaced his defense minister Sergei Shoigu, a longtime ally, nominating an economist to take his place in the most substantial shake-up to the military’s command structure since Moscow launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022. – Wall Street Journal

Russia launched armored attacks across the border in Ukraine’s northeast, opening a new front against Ukrainian forces already struggling to hold the line as they await U.S. aid. The attacks will force Ukraine to make hard choices about where to deploy depleted troops and limited weaponry against mounting Russian offensives along a front line stretching hundreds of miles. – Wall Street Journal

The operation has been so successful that Ukraine’s seaborne grain and oilseed exports — an economic lifeline for the war-torn nation — are now approaching prewar levels, according to data shared with The New York Times. – New York Times

Canada will contribute C$76 million ($55.7 million) to a German-led initiative that aims to quickly source and deliver air defense systems to Ukraine to fend off Russian attacks, Defence Minister Bill Blair said on Friday. – Reuters

Russian forces attacking Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region were engaged in fighting on the outskirts of the border town of Vovchansk, Kyiv’s troops said on Sunday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described heavy fighting there and in the east. – Reuters

At least 15 people were killed and scores injured on Sunday when a section of a Russian apartment block collapsed after being struck by fragments of a Soviet-era missile, launched by Ukraine and shot down by Russia, Russian officials said. – Reuters

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska arrived in Belgrade on Sunday, the first visit by a top Ukrainian dignitary to Serbia since Russia’s invasion in 2022 and a signal of the Balkan country’s swing away from Moscow, its traditional ally. – Reuters

Russia’s Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat oil processing, petrochemical and fertiliser complex located in the Bashkortostan region has stopped its catalytic cracker after being attacked by a drone on 9 May, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. – Reuters

An upcoming Ukraine peace summit, ostensibly the most ambitious bid in years by neutral Switzerland to mediate a major conflict, is instead showing how Swiss economic and security interests increasingly align with Western Europe over Russia. – Reuters

The aim of nuclear exercises planned by Russia is to work out the response to any attacks on Russian soil which the West has allowed Ukraine to carry out with the weapons it supplies, senior Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday. – Reuters

The United States is preparing a $400 million military aid package for Ukraine, as the U.S. returns to a regular pace of supplying weapons to Kyiv after lawmakers passed a $95 billion bill, the White House said on Friday. – Reuters

South Korea is closely investigating the possible use of a North Korean rocket launcher by Russia in an attack on Ukraine, Yonhap reported, citing the spy agency. – Bloomberg

Minxin Pei writes: Sanctioning major Chinese banks, as the US has threatened to do, would not only cause chaos in international trade. It would put Xi in a position where he has nothing more to lose. In this case, the West has the same incentive as the Chinese leader — to play for time. The underlying tensions between Russia and China will persist in the next two to three years and could become harder to manage if Putin starts losing again on the battlefield. The skeptics could yet be proven right. – Bloomberg

Leon Aron writes: In his marathon race with Ukraine and the West, Putin has embarked on another lap. “We will pray for the Lord to grant you help in your life and in the governance of our Great Motherland, the Sacred Russia,” Patriarch Kirill assured his temporal master. Time will determine the effectiveness of this prayer but Russia’s president did start the contest on the inside track: the West above all wants peace while Putin’s inauguration confirmed that he must have victory. – American Enterprise Institute

Iraq

Chinese companies won five more bids to explore Iraqi oil and gas fields, Iraq’s oil minister said on Sunday, as the Middle Eastern country’s hydrocarbon exploration licensing round continued into its second day. – Reuters

Powerful Iraqi Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is laying the groundwork for a political comeback two years after a failed and ultimately deadly high-stakes move to form a government without his Shi’ite rivals, multiple sources said. – Reuters

Iraq is committed to voluntary oil production cuts agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is keen to cooperate with member countries on efforts to achieve more stability in global oil markets, Iraq’s oil minister told the state news agency on Sunday. – Reuters

Iraq has requested that a United Nations assistance mission set up after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country end its work by the end of 2025, saying it was no longer needed because Iraq had made significant progress towards stability. – Reuters

Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree a ceasefire in Gaza, after Palestinian militant group Hamas’ move to accept a truce proposal. – Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit Turkey on Monday for talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan aimed at maintaining the positive momentum achieved in bilateral ties in recent months despite lingering problems between the neighbours. – Reuters

Turkish forces have killed 17 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) across various regions of northern Iraq and northern Syria, the defence ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said Adolf Hitler would be “jealous” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what he called Israel’s “genocidal methods” in the Gaza Strip, doubling down on his past comparisons of the Israeli premier to the Nazi dictator. – Times of Israel

Rebecca Lucas and Stuart Dee write: Regardless of its long-term viability, Kaan’s maiden flight has achieved significant strategic objectives. The aircraft program supports a posture of independence and resilience, whilst stoking a sense of national pride. It also serves as an advertisement for Turkey’s more commercially viable aerospace capabilities, namely a growing fleet of drones. If Turkey’s true objective is regional leadership, the military utility of complex platforms such as Kaan may be only a secondary consideration. – War on the Rocks

Lebanon

An Israeli strike on a village in south Lebanon killed a Lebanese technician contracted by a telecoms company to fix a phone tower, Lebanon’s telecoms minister told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

Lebanon’s Islamic religious authorities on Friday filed criminal complaints against a stand-up comedian and LGBTQ rights activist after a sketch of hers about Muslim Friday prayers sparked controversy online. – Agence France-Presse

Hezbollah fired a barrage of 35 rockets from Lebanon at the northern city of Kiryat Shmona sparking fires in the surrounding areas Friday, while the military responded with a wave of strikes on the terror group’s positions. – Agence France-Presse

Egypt

Egypt on Sunday said it would intervene in support of South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, citing the growing scale of Israel’s operations in Gaza and their impact on civilians. – Reuters

Egypt has refused to coordinate with Israel on the entry of aid into Gaza from the Rafah crossing due to Israel’s “unacceptable escalation”, Egypt’s state affiliated Alqahera News satellite TV reported on Saturday, citing a senior official. – Reuters

The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel is a “strategic choice,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is quoted as saying during a press conference, seemingly contradicting earlier comments from Cairo that the pact was at high risk. – Times of Israel

Arabian Peninsula

Kuwait formed a new cabinet headed by Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Sabah, according to a royal decree issued Sunday. Emad al al-Atiqi, Anwar Ali al-Mudhaf and Abdullah Ali al-Yahya retained their posts as oil, finance and foreign ministers respectively, according to the decree from the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. – Reuters

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah said in a televised speech on Friday that he has dissolved parliament. The Emir also suspended some of the constitutional articles for a period not exceeding four years during which all aspects of the democratic process will be studied. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates hit out at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday after the Israeli leader said the Gulf state could be involved in aiding a future government in Gaza after the war. – Reuters

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week to work on “climate cooperation” and other issues, two Biden administration officials told Reuters on Friday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisian police stormed the building of the Deanship of Lawyers on Saturday and arrested Sonia Dahmani, a lawyer known for her fierce criticism of President Kais Saied, according to three people present at the scene. – Reuters

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Tunisian capital on Sunday to demand the release of imprisoned journalists, activists and opposition figures, and the setting of a date for fair presidential elections. – Reuters

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organization said on Friday it had received a report of a failed hijacking attempt of a vessel 195 nautical miles east of Yemen’s Aden. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

South Korea is readying plans for a support package for chip investments and research worth more than 10 trillion won ($7.30 billion), the finance minister said on Sunday, after setting its sights on winning a “war” in the semiconductor industry. – Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday inspected the country’s artillery weapon system and attended the test-firing of such weapons, the North’s state media KCNA news agency reported on Saturday. – Reuters

Senior South Korean and Chinese diplomats are set to hold their first talks in Beijing in some six years, with US policies on semiconductor exports and North Korea’s atomic ambitions likely to dominate the encounter. – Bloomberg

China

Beijing’s newfound focus on a housing glut marks a sea change in how senior officials view China’s festering property crisis, setting the stage for rescue efforts that could range from unprecedented easing for home buyers to billions in state spending to buy up unsold projects. – Wall Street Journal

China’s military closely monitored and “drove away” USS Halsey that entered the territorial waters of Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on May 10, the Southern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement on Friday. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce new China tariffs as soon as next week targeting strategic sectors, including a major hike in levies on electric vehicles (EVs), according to three people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

Anne Stevenson-Yang writes: The government can’t turn to economic stimulus measures to revive growth — pouring more renminbi into the economy would risk crushing the currency’s value. All of this means that the “reform and opening” era, which has transformed China and captivated the world since it began in the late 1970s, has ended with a whimper. Mao Zedong once said that in an uncertain world, the Chinese must “Dig tunnels deep, store grain everywhere and never seek hegemony.” That sort of siege mentality is coming back. – New York Times

Zhou Bo writes: As great powers, China and the United States may never become great friends. But they can resist becoming enemies. Level heads and cautious optimism will help maintain the stability of the world’s most important relationship. Fatalism and recklessness will only drive the countries toward a conflict that neither wants – Foreign Affairs

Frederick W. Kagan, Jonathan Baumel, Cindy Chen, Francis de Beixedon, Logan Rank, and Alexis Turek write: The US and Taiwan need to take a greater risk of provoking the PRC today in order to insulate themselves from the PRC’s manipulation in the future. The two governments must focus their efforts today on enforcing sovereign rights, preparing to break blockades, ensuring high levels of societal and governmental resilience under pressure, and countering massive information campaigns – American Enterprise Institute

South Asia

India’s ruling party has in recent days sharpened campaign rhetoric that its critics say pits Hindus against Muslims. It has posted videos depicting Muslims as invaders attacking Hindu temples and seizing jewelry from Hindu women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is campaigning for a third term in office, has described Muslims as “infiltrators” in India. – Wall Street Journal

India voted on Monday in the fourth phase of a seven-week long general election, as campaign rhetoric became more strident over economic disparities and religious divisions, while soaring summer temperatures was a challenge for some voters. – Reuters

India’s top court gave temporary bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a graft case on Friday, allowing him to campaign in the ongoing general elections, boosting the opposition alliance of which he is a prominent figure. – Reuters

India’s opposition said the nation’s election commission was allowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue “unchecked and brazen” violations by not taking action on opposition complaints of religious hate speech and misrepresentation. – Reuters

Opposition leaders in India’s troubled Kashmir valley have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration of denying or cancelling permissions to hold campaign events, to help his party’s “proxies”. – Reuters

Indian security forces killed at least 12 Maoist rebels in a gun battle in central India on Friday, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh state said, the third major encounter in recent weeks amid ongoing national elections. – Reuters

Downside risks for the Pakistani economy remain exceptionally high, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday, in its staff report on the country, ahead of talks with the fund on a longer term programme. – Reuters

Asia

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Georgia’s capital over the weekend to protest a deeply contentious draft law to crack down on “foreign agents” — seen by critics and rights groups as a threat to democracy in the South Caucasus nation. – Washington Post

In the open sea off the coast of Malaysian Borneo, industrial rigs extract massive amounts of oil and gas that fuel the economy of Malaysia. Slightly beyond that, in waters Malaysia also considers its own, Chinese coast guard vessels and maritime militia boats maintain a near-constant presence, say Malaysian officials. For 10 years, their country has done little to contest them. – Washington Post

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is committed to sustaining a presence in a disputed area of the South China Sea to ensure China does not carry out reclamation activities at the Sabina Shoal, its spokesperson said on Monday. – Reuters

The Philippines said on Saturday it has deployed ships to a disputed area in the South China Sea, where it accused China of building “an artificial island” in an escalating maritime row. – Reuters

As Indonesia’s president elect Prabowo Subianto prepares to enter office in October, he looks set to take a more assertive stance in foreign policy, saying that diplomacy, negotiations, and the “Asian way” have helped to defuse tension. – Reuters

A former U.S. Marine pilot, fighting extradition from Australia on U.S. charges of training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers, unknowingly worked with a Chinese hacker, his lawyer said. – Reuters

Marc Champion writes: The delay is unlikely to be long, though. Georgian Dream has a sufficient majority to override Zurabishvili’s veto, both on the offshore law and the foreign agent legislation, once that reaches her desk. This is a rare occasion when freezing the assets of a single unelected official would directly affect the same person who finances and controls the government. If that can be done, it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. – Bloomberg

Daniel Moss writes: Wong will be Singapore’s fourth prime minister. The first three knew the keys to success lay in covering bets and that every sweeping measure is a mix of daring and gradualism. There’s no small amount of trial and error. If the free flow of capital and talent truly runs into trouble, you will see it in Singapore. Those with a stake in robust world commerce should wish Wong well, asterisks and all. – Bloomberg

Davit Aprasidze and David S. Sikory write: Harmonizing external and internal pressure is necessary to keep Georgia on the democratic path. The European Union and the United States should send strong messages to Georgian authorities to act differently, and work with state bureaucrats in Georgia who are ready to act according to their professional ethics. – The Hill

Alexander Tah-Ray Yui writes: Taiwan’s inclusion in the international community is not just a matter of fairness: It is a necessity for global stability and prosperity. It’s time for the world to recognize Taiwan’s contributions and grant us the opportunity to participate fully in addressing global challenges. Together, we can build a better and more inclusive world for all. – The Hill

Azeem Ibrahim writes: This regional community should include, in the long term, the two final “Stans,” Afghanistan and Pakistan, which would open up routes for a “southern corridor” to a deep warm-water port in the Arabian Sea, integrating the landlocked nations of the continent’s center within the global maritime economy. It would also offer Afghanistan a proper future, with economic and political integration with its neighbors. That is the only way to ensure that Afghanistan doesn’t become an exporter of terrorism again. Crucially, regionalism will prevent Russia from realizing its nineteenth-century ambitions for a southern corridor to the Persian Gulf. – The National Interest

Europe

Spain’s governing Socialist party emerged on Sunday as the winner of regional elections in Catalonia that had been widely seen as a litmus test for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s polarizing amnesty measure for separatists. – New York Times

The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, received a gift of fine cognac at the Élysée Palace in Paris and was cheered in Belgrade by Serbians waving Chinese flags, albeit most of them were bused-in government workers. – New York Times

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda appeared on track to secure his second and final term in office after the first round of voting on Sunday, following a campaign focusing on security concerns across the Baltics amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. – Reuters

This year’s “Choose France” event – an annual summit aimed at attracting foreign investment to France – will result in 15 billion euros ($16.2 billion) worth of foreign investments, up from last year, said the French presidency on Monday. – Reuters

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday that Poland is starting work on further strengthening the entire eastern border, as the country faces what he called a growing “hybrid war” in illegal migration from Belarus. – Reuters

Stopping British arms sales to Israel if it launches a ground assault on Rafah in the Gaza Strip would strengthen Hamas, Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Sunday. – Reuters

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is in talks with the British government to build a nuclear power station off the coast of Wales, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Hungary on Friday, concluding a tour of three European nations meant to meant to reinforce China’s growing influence on the continent. – Associated Press

The UK will probably use contractors in the US-led operation to deliver humanitarian aid on the beaches of Gaza rather than deploying its own forces, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said. – Bloomberg

Rishi Sunak will pitch himself as the best candidate to achieve a “more secure future” for Britain in a political speech designed to re-capture the narrative ahead of the UK general election, just over a week after his party suffered heavy losses in local votes. – Bloomberg

Africa

Dozens of people were killed in fighting in the Sudanese town of El Fashir this weekend, a civil society group said Sunday, raising fears for more than 2.5 million civilians trapped there as paramilitary forces encircle the city — the last one in the region outside their control. – Washington Post

The mass killings in Daouda’s village and a nearby hamlet in February were among the deadliest in a decade of upheaval in Burkina Faso, a country torn apart by the Islamist insurgencies that have swept across parts of western Africa. – New York Times

The 500 or so demonstrators brought to a standstill parts of the city, in KwaZulu-Natal Province — the traditional stronghold of Mr. Zuma, a past president of both South Africa and the African National Congress, the party that has governed the country for three decades. – New York Times

Niger’s Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine said on Saturday that Benin’s blockade of Niger’s oil exports, imposed in response to a border closure, violated trade agreements between the two countries and with Niger’s Chinese partners. – Reuters

Mozambique’s army is fighting Islamist insurgents who launched a major attack on the northern town of Macomia on Friday morning, President Filipe Nyusi said in a televised address. – Reuters

A European naval force detained six suspected pirates on Friday after they opened fire on an oil tanker traveling through the Gulf of Aden, officials said, likely part of a growing number of piracy attacks emanating from Somalia. – Associated Press

Fires being used as a weapon in Sudan destroyed more villages and towns in the country’s west in April than in any other month since the conflict began more than a year ago, an analysis by a U.K.-based rights group said Monday. – Associated Press

Armed rebels on Sunday attacked a Chinese-run gold mining town and killed at least four people in Central African Republic, authorities said. – Associated Press

Somalia is asking the United Nations to terminate its political mission in the country, which has been assisting the government to bring peace and stability in the face of attacks by the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab. – Associated Press

The Americas

The free-market revolution that Milei promised when he took office in December is causing deep economic pain in Argentina. Nearly 60% of Argentines are now living in poverty, up from 44% in December, according to the Catholic University. Government agencies have been closed, costing thousands of jobs. Construction activity has tanked as authorities say they have halted nearly 90% of public works. – Wall Street Journal

Minutes after it became clear that Javier Milei had been elected president of South America’s second-largest nation in November, Elon Musk posted on X: “Prosperity is ahead for Argentina.”Since then, Mr. Musk has continued to use X, the social network he owns, to boost Mr. Milei. The billionaire has shared videos of the Argentine president attacking “social justice” with his 182 million followers. – New York Times

Amid an economic and democratic crisis that has led more than seven million Venezuelans to abandon the country — considered among the world’s largest displacements — Nicolás Maduro, the country’s authoritarian president, has done something few thought he would: allowed an opposition candidate with widespread support to appear on the ballot. – New York Times

A court in Colombia granted conditional release to former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso, his defense team confirmed on Saturday. Mancuso, a former top commander of the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). – Reuters

Peruvian authorities said on Friday that they had launched an investigation into President Dina Boluarte for disbanding a special police force that had been investigating her brother, who was detained earlier in the day. – Reuters

Members of three South American indigenous communities have asked Spain and UNESCO to declare a Spanish galleon that sank 300 years ago with a bountiful cargo as “common and shared heritage” from which they too should benefit. – Reuters

The leader of a recently formed Cambodian opposition party has been charged with inciting social disorder, his lawyer said Saturday, in the third major legal action this month targeting critics of the government of Prime Minister Hun Manet. – Associated Press

North America

While illegal immigration by people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has risen to record levels in recent years, seaborne smuggling of migrants has surged as well—particularly in Southern California. Their dramatic arrivals, some of which locals, including Enright, have caught on video, have become an increasingly common sight for people who visit or live by beaches, sometimes sparking fear and anger. – Wall Street Journal

Organized crime groups are turning Mexico’s elections into a literal battleground, making the campaign this year one of the deadliest in the country’s modern history. More than two dozen candidates have been killed leading up to the June 2 vote; hundreds have dropped out of the race. More than 400 have asked the federal government for security details. – Washington Post

 A fourth person has been arrested and charged with the murder of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year, Canadian police said on Saturday, in a case that strained diplomatic relations with India. – Reuters

Cuba’s government and independent online news site El Toque exchanged blows this week after state-run media accused the website of manipulating the black market currency exchange rate to impoverish Cubans and stoke unrest on the Caribbean island. – Reuters

A growing number of civilians and police officers are demanding the dismissal and arrest of Haiti’s police chief as heavily armed gangs launched a new attack in the capital of Port-au-Prince, seizing control of yet another police station early Saturday. – Associated Press

United States

Nick Wilson has closely followed news on the war in Gaza since October. But Mr. Wilson, a Cornell student, is picky when it comes to his media diet: As a pro-Palestinian activist, he doesn’t trust major American outlets’ reporting on Israel’s campaign in Gaza. – New York Times

A former U.S. Marine pilot, fighting extradition from Australia on U.S. charges of training Chinese military pilots to land on aircraft carriers, unknowingly worked with a Chinese hacker, his lawyer said. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to pause shipments of thousands of bombs to Israel over the U.S. ally’s attacks on Rafah won praise from some critical Democrats, but won’t stop protests about Gaza that have dogged his reelection effort, strategists and organizers say. – Reuters

The FBI is investigating whether the Biden administration’s Iran envoy, Rob Malley, moved classified information onto his personal email, where it may have fallen into the hands of a foreign actor, according to a person briefed on the case and a letter from Republican lawmakers. – Politico

Editorial: AG Yost said protesters need to “own their advocacy,” and he’s right. The anti-Vietnam war protesters of the 1960s didn’t hide behind masks. If progressive political activists have the courage of their convictions, they’ll proudly show who they are. Masks can make it easier for protesters to think they can get away with crimes and violent acts. Kudos to Mr. Yost for enforcing the law. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Republicans are increasingly confident they can win this year, but the presidential race is still in the margin of error. Mr. Trump’s choice as VP is an opportunity to showcase a contrast to Ms. Harris, who could become President if Mr. Biden wins. He needs Haley voters, whether or not he chooses Ms. Haley. – Wall Street Journal

Cybersecurity

An Australian court on Monday rejected a bid by the country’s cyber safety regulator to extend a temporary order for Elon Musk-owned X to block videos of the stabbing of an Assyrian church bishop, which authorities had called a terrorist attack. – Reuters

Australia’s Iress Ltd (IRE.AX) over the weekend detected and contained an unauthorized access of the firm’s space on a third-party platform which is used to manage its pre-production software code, the financial software firm said on Monday. – Reuters

In a shift for Washington tech lobbying, companies and investors from across the industry have been pouring tens of millions of dollars into an all-hands effort to block strict safety rules on advanced artificial intelligence and get lawmakers to worry about China instead — and so far, they seem to be winning over once-skeptical members of Congress. – Politico

Leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee want Microsoft President Brad Smith to testify before their panel in the aftermath of accumulating cybersecurity incidents that have drawn ample negative attention to the tech giant. – Cyberscoop

Britain’s central government, local government and utilities sector were each impacted by more ransomware attacks last year than in all previous years combined. – The Record

Russian hackers recently targeted government websites in Kosovo, officials in Pristina said earlier this week. – The Record

Pro-Russian hackers are increasingly targeting Moldovan websites, likely as payback for the country’s support for Ukraine and its attempts to join the European Union. – The Record

Bruce Schneier writes: To summarize, the systems of governance we designed at the start of the Industrial Age are ill-suited to the Information Age. Their incentive structures are all wrong. They’re insecure and they’re wasteful. […] We need to rethink our systems of governance; more cooperation and less competition and at scales that are suited to today’s problems and today’s technologies. – Cyberscoop

Defense

Two Air Force fighter jets recently squared off in a dogfight in California. One was flown by a pilot. The other wasn’t. That second jet was piloted by artificial intelligence, with the Air Force’s highest-ranking civilian riding along in the front seat. – Military.com

Editorial: Now, the Pentagon needs a similar approach for air defense. Too many different agencies, running too many different programs, are developing sensors, networks and counter-drone systems. The Pentagon’s Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office lacks the authority and funds it needs to keep the individual services from thinking only about protecting their own forces. – Washington Post

Hans Binnendijk, R.D. Hooker Jr., and Alexander Vershbow write: After World War II, having learned the dangers of isolationism, the United States remained engaged and paved the way for the founding of NATO and 75 years of relative peace in Europe. The United States must not forget the painful lessons of the last century. To do so would risk undercutting U.S. global leadership, undermining the Washington-built international order, and making the world safer for authoritarian rule. – Foreign Affairs