Fdd's overnight brief

May 16, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


For days, senior Biden administration officials have pressured Israel to plan for postwar Gaza as the long-anticipated Rafah offensive gets under way. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally delivered his response: Not so fast. – Wall Street Journal

Five months later, Israeli forces are back in Jabalya. Ground troops are pushing into the densely packed camp, backed by artillery and airstrikes — one in a string of recent “re-clearing” operations launched by the Israel Defense Forces against Hamas, whose fighters have rapidly regrouped in areas vacated by the IDF. – Washington Post

Many Palestinians have been directed to an area along the coast designated by the Israelis as a “humanitarian zone.” Maps and analysis of satellite imagery show that the zone is already overcrowded, frequently damaged by strikes, and lacking sufficient medical services. – New York Times

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken warned on Wednesday that recent gains in getting desperately needed humanitarian aid to people in the Gaza Strip risked being undone by the fighting in southern Gaza. – New York Times

The U.S. military has started moving a pier towards the Gaza coast, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, one of the last steps before the launch of a maritime port promised by President Joe Biden to speed the flow of humanitarian aid to Palestinians. – Reuters

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel on Wednesday for a deadlock in Gaza ceasefire negotiations and reiterated key demands including that any agreement provide a framework for a permanent end to Israel’s offensive in the enclave. – Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly challenged about post-war plans for the Gaza Strip on Wednesday by his own defence chief, who vowed to oppose any long-term military rule by Israel over the ravaged Palestinian enclave. – Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to present a highly contested bill that seeks to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military to a ministerial committee on Thursday. – Reuters

Israel’s Arrow defense systems helped thwart Iran’s massive missile and drone attack last month, and a number of countries are now interested in purchasing the technology, said the developer’s chief executive. – Reuters

The Israeli military said on Thursday that five soldiers were killed in the northern Gaza Strip when they were struck by Israeli tank fire. Israeli ground forces re-entered parts of northern Gaza this month to crack down on attempts by the Islamist group Hamas to regroup. – Reuters

The United Nations’ top court opens two days of hearings on Thursday into a request from South Africa to make sure Israel halts its military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population has sought shelter. – Associated Press

Palestinian officials said Israeli troops killed a man on Wednesday as clashes broke out after a West Bank march commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba,” or catastrophe, of Israel’s creation in 1948. – Agence France-Presse

Hezbollah managed to hit a sensitive military facility in the Lower Galilee with an explosive drone on Wednesday evening, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed Thursday, as fighter jets responded by striking targets belonging to the terror group in northeastern Lebanon. – Times of Israel

Editorial: If you continue on this path, you may solve a political problem, but the State of Israel will remain with the full force of the problems of national service and fairness.” Indeed, what is needed is a decision – a proper decision, with no room for more deliberations or cop-outs. This is not the time for games. We are at war, and Israel needs its soldiers. Netanyahu: Stop playing tricks and get the job done; get Israel what it needs: people on the ground. – Jerusalem Post

David Ignatius writes: Gallant said of his proposal to rely on Palestinians for basic postwar security: “This is not a perfect solution. I have been fighting Palestinian [terrorism] since 1976. I know the risks. But the other option is to have Israel or Hamas controlling Gaza,” which are both unacceptable, he said. The bottom line is that “any military action has to end in a political solution,” Gallant told me. What I took away from the conversation is that significant new debate is beginning in Israel — and with its partner, the United States — not just about ending the war in Gaza but also creating stable Palestinian governance there after it’s over. – Washington Post

Roger Zakheim writes: Oct. 7 was one of the deadliest days for Americans since 9/11. And yet President Biden has found it more expedient to treat Hamas as Israel’s enemy — not the United States’. At this point in the war, we are doing a disservice to our citizens by relying solely on Israel to handle what should be the primary U.S. interest in Gaza: saving American lives. It is time to demonstrate that the United States does not leave its citizens behind. There is no higher calling or priority in U.S. foreign policy. – Washington Post

Alan Dershowitz writes: Israel is not Hamas, and the rules of the ICC are not the same for democracies that live under the rule of law and terrorist groups that live under the rule of lawlessness. This distinction is central to the legitimacy of the ICC and its rule of complementarity. Without recognizing it, the ICC would become a partisan “court” of politics rather than a neutral court of objective law. – The Hill

Melissa Parke writes: At the same time, Israel should engage with the process to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. This proposal was first made in the 1970s, but it has gained traction since 2019 with the establishment of a negotiating conference at the UN that is scheduled to meet annually until a treaty is achieved. While it enjoys strong support from Arab states and Iran, Israel has so far failed to participate.  The Hill

Yisrael Medad writes: All other plans and proposals such as those of Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon, Menachem Begin, and the Oslo Accords similarly and consistently floundered on the bedrock of rejectionism. Moreover, there appears to be an authoritarianism in pro-Palestine rhetoric restricting the ability of those Arabs who assert themselves as Palestinians and that of their international supporters, to exit this paradigm of rejectionism. They are stuck in rejectionist rut. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Knights writes: Stating the obvious, if Iraqi militia attacks on Israel intensify, result in casualties, or even just maintain harassment of vital ports, then the risk of Israeli action inside Iraq will rise. Israeli strikes tend to raise the level of agitation among Iraqi militias and political blocs, not only against Israel, but toward the U.S. presence as well. – Washington Institute


The celebrated Iranian film director Mohammad Rasoulof said he had fled the country to Europe, after a court sentenced him to eight years in prison for his movies. Mr. Rasoulof — known for his award-winning film “There Is No Evil” — had been barred from leaving Iran in 2017 after his work criticized the authoritarian rule in the country. – New York Times

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller is on a working visit to Iran, the company said on Wednesday, just as President Vladimir Putin prepares to visit China with a high-level delegation for talks with Xi Jinping. – Reuters

The United Nations’ atomic watchdog reported that despite the growing presence of inspectors in Iran last year, its understanding of the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear ambitions deteriorated amid spiking regional tensions. – Bloomberg


Russia & Ukraine

Russian forces are fighting inside the northeastern border city of Vovchansk, as Moscow grinds forward on a new front while Kyiv is still waiting for much-needed U.S. weaponry to reach the battlefield. – Wall Street Journal

Russia launched a satellite into space in February 2022 that is designed to test components for a potential antisatellite weapon that would carry a nuclear device, U.S. officials said. The satellite that was launched doesn’t carry a nuclear weapon. – Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday scrapped a planned trip to Spain in order to stay in his capital and address Russia’s expanding front-line assault, his spokesman said, a measure of the rapidly increasing anxieties over the Kremlin’s military advances in recent days. – Washington Post

Victory is precisely the message that President Vladimir V. Putin, 71, has sought to project as he has been feted with pomp and pageantry after another electoral success, while his army sweeps through Ukrainian villages in a stunning new offensive in the northeast. – New York Times

The Kremlin said a planned summit that Switzerland hopes will pave the way for a peace process in Ukraine will be futile without the participation of Russia. “Without Russia, discussing security issues that concern us is absolutely futile,” Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. – Reuters

Russian forces have taken control of two more settlements in Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv region and one in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, building on a run of incremental gains that have alarmed Kyiv. – Reuters

Russian missile and guided bomb strikes on Ukraine’s southern cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson injured at least 25 people, local officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russian forces shelled the central Shevchenkivsyi district of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, on Wednesday, injuring two people and damaging a five-storey building, the regional governor said. – Reuters

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv looked like a sign of Washington’s growing alarm over the frontline situation and what it called Ukrainian military failures. – Reuters

The European Union backed sanctions on four media outlets accused of spreading Russian propaganda, commission vice president Vera Jourova said in a post on X. – Bloomberg

Michael Kofman and Rob Lee writes: If Ukraine can limit Russia to modest gains this year, then Moscow’s window of opportunity is likely to close and its relative advantage may begin to diminish in 2025. This is not just a matter of Ukraine getting ammunition or weapons from the West, but also of effectively managing forces, addressing the long-running deficit of manpower and establishing proper defenses. Ukraine will have to defend itself while at the same time working to reconstitute its military. In the coming months, much hangs in the balance. – New York Times

Jeffrey H. Fischer writes: Ironically, a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine could threaten the one thing such weapons should protect. In effect, Russian nuclear use causes an existential threat to Russia. A unified global response post-detonation would fundamentally risk Russia’s current existence. Therefore, it is irrational to believe that Putin would consider nuclear weapons as long as Russia’s existence remains secure. – The Hill


Turkey hit northern Iraq with air strikes on Wednesday and claimed to have killed 12 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) sheltering there. – Reuters

The Turkish competition authority said on Thursday that it decided to fine Google over its failure to fulfil obligations regarding a part of its local search services. – Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday claimed that Israel would “set its sights” on Turkey if it succeeded in defeating Hamas in the Gaza Strip. – Agence France-Presse

The shutdown, which Turkey’s Islamist-leaning president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on May 3, is putting pressure on prices in Israel, cutting off a major trade route for kosher food and affecting people on both corners of the eastern Mediterranean. – Times of Israel


Yemen’s Houthis said on Wednesday that they had targeted a U.S. warship and a vessel called “Destiny” in the Red Sea, part of an ongoing campaign of attacks that the Iran-backed group says is designed to show solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. – Reuters

The U.S. navy’s destroyer the USS Mason intercepted an inbound Houthi anti-ship missile over the Red Sea on Monday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, after Yemen’s Houthis said on Wednesday that they had targeted the warship. – Reuters

Yemeni authorities deployed security forces and armored vehicles across the port city of Aden Wednesday, as protesters were expected to take to the streets in the latest in a series of protests over hours-long electricity outages caused by a shortage of fuel for power stations. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate held at 1.6% in April, the same as the previous month, government data showed on Wednesday, underpinned once again by an increase in housing rents. – Reuters

A radical Sunni scholar whose criticisms of Saudi Arabia’s government and the West drew praise from the late al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden should be immediately tried or released from a yearslong arbitrary detention by the kingdom, independent experts working with the United Nations said Wednesday. – Associated Press

A UK government trade summit in Saudi Arabia has been criticised for helping to promote businesses linked to a string of senior Conservatives, including peers and the former chair of the party, Ben Elliot. – The Guardian

Middle East & North Africa

A Tunisian judge on Wednesday ordered the imprisonment of two prominent journalists pending trial, their families and lawyers said, reinforcing fears of a widespread campaign aimed at silencing dissent and curbing free speech. – Reuters

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco are reportedly considering a US proposal to provide troops for an international peacekeeping force to secure the Gaza Strip and prevent Hamas from regaining power there after the war ends. – Times of Israel

Ibrahim Murad writes: Generally, “early recovery” goals have long focused significantly on supporting local services and moving towards activating the internal economy and public sector in particular. These goals are nearly impossible to achieve unless stability, even partial, is ensured across all Syrian regions. Russia’s brutal bombardment of northwest and Turkey’s continuous strikes in the northeast are immediate hindrances to any recovery efforts in those regions. Therefore, it is imperative that the “early recovery” process includes international political efforts to pressure all parties to ensure de-escalation and the necessity of sparing civilians and infrastructure from targeting. – Washington Institute

Andrew J. Tabler writes: At the same time, Congress needs to be sensitive to continued “de-risking” activities by banks who shun transactions with NGOs providing aid to Syria for fear of violating U.S. sanctions. This means thinking more creatively about sanctions, including a potential “white channel” for humanitarian aid that establishes a payment mechanism for legitimate exports to Syria while avoiding manipulation by the Assad regime. A longer and smarter Caesar Act remains the best means of producing the leverage needed to advance a viable solution to the Syria war. – Washington Institute


Korean Peninsula

The Biden administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal by international deals broker Blenheim Capital alleging it was cut out of a multibillion-dollar transaction involving South Korea’s purchase of F-35 fighter jets and a satellite. – Reuters

South Korea’s state-run think tank on Thursday raised its economic growth forecast for this year and said inflation is expected to ease at a slightly slower pace, as it noted the need for gradual easing of monetary policy. – Reuters

Sue Mi Terry writes: Now is not the time to lift sanctions, either. Now, in fact, is the time to double down. If Biden wants to prevent North Korea from acting out, he needs to first provide the government with new incentives to talk—and that means new restrictions Washington can use as carrots. Biden, in other words, needs to take North Korean policy off autopilot and launch a proactive effort to deter Pyongyang. Otherwise, he risks encouraging an already emboldened Kim to stage a major provocation. – Foreign Affairs


For Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a useful partner in opposing a U.S.-dominated world order. But the relationship also represents a liability for China as American and European officials warn Beijing against aiding Russia’s efforts to rebuild its military. – Wall Street Journal

Microsoft is asking hundreds of employees in its China-based cloud-computing and artificial-intelligence operations to consider transferring outside the country, as tensions between Washington and Beijing mount around the critical technology. – Wall Street Journal

Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a red-carpet welcome when he arrived in Beijing early Thursday to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, with the pair expected to make a show of their close political and economic ties as they present themselves as the leaders of a world order that sits in contrast — and in opposition — to the one led by the United States. – Washington Post

Lai Ching-te takes office as Taiwan’s president on Monday, facing a China that calls him a “dangerous separatist” and has ramped up military drills, as well as a fractured parliament at home where no party has a majority. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping have signed a joint statement on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and China. – Associated Press

Nick Frisch writes: The United States, meanwhile, can use the space created by Taiwan’s political muddle to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to the status quo. U.S. policymakers and pundits can begin by winding back their own inflammatory and unhelpful rhetoric over the issue. If Washington aims to bolster asymmetric deterrence through arms sales and training, for instance, policymakers should take care to expand such programs without fanfare or political posturing. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was granted bail in a land corruption case on Wednesday, but will remain in prison on other charges. The 71-year-old former cricket star who has been in jail since August last year has been convicted in four cases, of which sentences in two have been suspended. – Reuters

India granted citizenship on Wednesday to a first batch of 14 people under a controversial law that has been criticised for discriminating against Muslims, midway through general elections in which religious divisions have taken centre stage. – Reuters

India’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of the founder-editor of a news portal accused by police of receiving illegal funding from China, saying his arrest was invalid more than seven months afterwards, his lawyers said on Wednesday. – Reuters

India said on Wednesday it was working to repatriate the body of a former Indian Army officer serving as a U.N. staffer, who was killed in Gaza when his vehicle was hit by what the U.N. said was tank fire in Rafah where only Israeli tanks are present. – Reuters

India’s election is past the halfway mark, with campaigning between the main political parties heating up just like the soaring temperatures across the country. Thousands of candidates across national and regional parties, as well as independent hopefuls, are seeking the attention of nearly a billion eligible voters. – Bloomberg

The US Commerce Department on Wednesday opened an investigation into allegations that solar cells and panels imported from four Southeast Asian countries are being unfairly subsidized and priced below their production costs. – Bloomberg


France declared a state of emergency on the Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia, the government said Wednesday, after a police officer and three other people were killed in riots over electoral reform. – Washington Post

New Caledonia’s Pacific neighbours called for de-escalation and a return to dialogue between France and the island territory’s political parties, after a third night of violent riots that have killed four people and led to hundreds of arrests. – Reuters

Meta Platforms (META.O) has restored Facebook posts by Malaysian media covering Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s meeting this week with a Hamas leader, saying they were removed in error. – Reuters

Donald Trump gave the AUKUS defence pact a “warm reception”, during a meeting with former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the latter said, one of the few public signs about Trump’s view of the deal. – Reuters

President Joe Biden will dispatch former U.S. officials to Taiwan as its new president takes office, a show of support for the island calibrated to avoid enraging Beijing. – Reuters

Singapore’s Lawrence Wong was sworn in on Wednesday as its fourth premier since independence, promising to lead the wealthy city state his own way after completing a carefully calibrated power transfer aimed at ensuring continuity. – Reuters

About 100 Filipino activists on wooden boats have decided not to sail closer to a fiercely disputed shoal in the South China Sea on Thursday to avoid a confrontation with dozens of Chinese coast guard and suspected militia ships guarding the area. – Associated Press

Australia will spend a record AU$55.7 billion (U.S. $36.8 billion) on defense during the next fiscal year, according to budget documents unveiled May 14. The figure equates to 2.02% of gross domestic product and represents a 6.3% increase from last year. – Defense News


Slovakia’s populist prime minister and longtime leader, Robert Fico, was in critical condition Wednesday night after being shot multiple times at close range in what officials in the central European country said was likely a politically motivated attack. – Wall Street Journal

About 100 yards from the rear of the rustic, wood-paneled inn, just past a child’s swing set, cuts the runway where the Swiss military had agreed to base several F-35s, the world’s most advanced jet fighter. The airstrip, only partly fenced, is so accessible to passersby that farmers sometimes lead cows across it, bells clanging from their necks. – Wall Street Journal

Slovakia, which was left reeling on Wednesday after an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Robert Fico, is a relatively young country whose history is closely intertwined with that of its central European neighbors. – New York Times

Four right-wing parties in the Netherlands said on Wednesday that they had reached a preliminary agreement to form a government that would exclude Geert Wilders, a populist politician, from becoming prime minister. – New York Times

Interpol issued an alert on Wednesday for a French inmate who was freed during a violent ambush of a prison convoy a day earlier, an attack that left two guards dead, deeply shocked France and set off a large-scale police manhunt. – New York Times

The British government triggered emergency measures to release some criminals from prisons early and to delay the start of certain court hearings to prevent overcrowding in jails. – Reuters

Finland plans to change its conscription rules to allow thousands of reservists to help patrol its border with Russia should there be a sudden wave of migrants, the government said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Estonia’s parliament has approved a proposal allowing the use of frozen Russian assets to pay compensation for war damage in Ukraine. – Reuters

Ireland will recognise a Palestinian state before the end of this month if not on May 21 as first thought, Irish Foreign Minster Micheal Martin said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The incoming Dutch government led by nationalist Geert Wilders’ PVV party will look to opt out of European Union migration rules, as its says it is facing an asylum crisis. – Reuters

Nearly 300 signatories have signed an open 10-point letter before next month’s European Parliament election, saying lawmakers should be putting democracy at the top of their agenda in an increasingly authoritarian world. – Associated Press

The UK will caution the European Court of Human Rights not to overstep its role, as Rishi Sunak’s government prepares to begin its controversial plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda.Minister for Europe Nusrat Ghani will call for coordinated action to tackle illegal migration at a Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg on Thursday. – Bloomberg

Crowds began gathering outside the parliament building in central Tbilisi early Wednesday, just a day after security forces beat back and detained demonstrators protesting the government’s controversial plans to label NGOs, media outlets and campaign groups receiving funding from abroad as “foreign agents.” – Politico


A U.S. delegation will present the government of Niger this week with detailed plans for shuttering two key American bases and withdrawing all troops, officials said, as the Biden administration moves after months of strained negotiations to comply with the African nation’s decision to terminate a valued counterterrorism mission. – Washington Post

A former interior minister and enforcer for a violent and autocratic Gambian president was convicted of crimes against humanity on Wednesday for the torture and executions of civilians and sentenced to 20 years in prison by Switzerland’s federal court. – New York Times

Benin has provisionally reversed its decision to block exports of crude oil from Niger via its port and agreed to hold a meeting between the two countries, the West African nation’s mines minister said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United States Treasury said in a statement on Wednesday that it has imposed sanctions on two top commanders of Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) following attacks in North Darfur. – Reuters

The last two suspects sought by a U.N. tribunal over their alleged role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide died in 1998, the U.N. war crimes prosecutor tasked with finding them said on Wednesday. – Reuters

At least 24 worshippers, including four children, were injured in northern Nigeria’s Kano state after a man attacked the mosque where they were praying early Wednesday morning, resulting in an explosion, the police said. – Associated Press

Nicholas Kristof writes: Leading countries can also impose sanctions on Sudanese figures and press the African Union and the African members of the Security Council to show leadership. A Security Council visit to the border with Chad would highlight the crisis, as would other high-level visits and statements. “Darfur has been abandoned by everyone,” said Tirana Hassan, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. So, in impoverished Darfur, the vow after every genocide of “never again” risks becoming “one more time.” – New York Times

The Americas

Argentina will post a budget surplus in April for the fourth consecutive month under the new government, the country’s economy chief said Wednesday, touting the trend as a reflection of stronger finances in the midst of an economic slump. – Reuters

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte will travel to China in June to meet with her counterpart Xi Jinping, her agriculture minister announced on Wednesday, adding that beef exports to the Asian giant are among the topics likely to be on the bilateral agenda. – Reuters

Brazil’s central bank is firmly committed to pursuing its 3% inflation target, board members said on Wednesday, noting that they share concerns about rising price expectations despite disagreements about lowering interest rates at last week’s monetary policy meeting. – Reuters

President Gustavo Petro appointed Luis Gilberto Murillo as Colombia’s new foreign affairs minister in the aftermath of cutting diplomatic ties with Israel and as it plans to mediate Venezuela’s political crisis. – Bloomberg

Ecuador’s market-friendly government is aiming to provide long-term stability to attract more foreign investment, Production and Trade Minister Sonsoles Garcia told Bloomberg TV. – Bloomberg

North America

The U.S. removed Cuba from a short list of countries the United States alleges are “not cooperating fully” in its fight against terrorism, a State Department official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United States on Wednesday imposed visa restrictions on more than 250 members of the Nicaraguan government and levied sanctions on three Nicaraguan entities in retaliation for “repressive actions” and a failure to stem migrant smuggling through the Central American country. – Reuters

After a brief period of fluctuating support, opens new tab, Canada’s federal government is throwing its full backing behind the nuclear industry, announcing life extensions, opens new tab at major plants, billions of dollars in planned investment, and granting nuclear a key position in the latest federal budget. – Reuters

United States

Gordon Black, a U.S. soldier being held in the Russian city of Vladivostok, has pleaded guilty to theft charges and is cooperating with investigators, Russia’s RIA state news agencies reported on Thursday. – Reuters

An increasing number of foreign actors, including non-state actors, are seeking to influence U.S. elections, and Russia, China and Iran, while the most significant, are far from alone, U.S. officials told a Senate committee on Wednesday. – Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court restored a Louisiana electoral map that has two of the state’s six congressional districts with Black-majority populations for use in the Nov. 5 election – a ruling on Wednesday with potential implications for which party will control the U.S. House of Representatives. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican rival Donald Trump on Wednesday agreed to face off in two debates on June 27 and Sept. 10, setting up the highest stakes moments yet of the race for the White House. – Reuters

An Interior Department staffer on Wednesday became the first Jewish political appointee to publicly resign in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza. – Associated Press

The bill, H.R. 3935, cleared on a 387-26 vote, would inject $105 billion into the Federal Aviation Administration over five years and guide policy for everything from drones and air taxis to technology intended to help planes avoid runway collisions. – Politico

Editorial: The White House is whipping Democrats hard against the House measure, and Democrats will likely block it in the Senate, no doubt because a broad bipartisan vote would embarrass the President. The White House promises a veto of the House resolution because, in a line for the ages, a mere messaging bill “would undermine the President’s ability to execute an effective foreign policy.” Mr. Biden’s real problem is his foreign policy, which is making America’s closest friends think twice about relying on the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

George F. Will writes: But respect for the First Amendment has collapsed, and government has a propensity for claiming that every novel exercise of power legitimates the next extension of its pretensions. It is prudent to assume this: TikTok will not be the last target of government’s desire to control the internet and the rest of society’s information and opinion ecosystem. Government will, as usual, say that its steadily enlarged control of our lives is for our own good. Regarding TikTok, the government says its control is to protect us from influences we cannot be trusted to properly assess. And, of course, to enhance “national security.” – Washington Post


A bipartisan group of senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, on Wednesday called on Congress to approve $32 billion in funding for artificial intelligence research to keep the U.S. ahead of China in the powerful technology. – Reuters

A trio of bills focused on limiting deepfakes and other forms of fake generative artificial intelligence content in elections is on the way to the Senate for a final vote after passing through a markup Wednesday with the chamber’s Committee on Rules and Administration. – Cyberscoop

The FBI, the Department of Justice and a range of international law enforcement agencies seized on Wednesday a notorious website used to buy and sell stolen and hacked data. – Cyberscoop

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched a new service on Wednesday to prevent cyberattacks targeting the mobile phones of high-risk individuals. – The Record

Martin Casado and Katherine Boyle write: Our firm has met with thousands of startups that are building software applications on top of open-source large language models. Many do amazing work that wasn’t possible a few years ago. The new AI Safety and Security Board sends the wrong signal to these companies: that we’d rather be at war with the startup community than with our adversaries. Instead of repeating the mistakes and fighting the battles of the 1990s, let’s do the right thing and give little tech a seat at the table. – Wall Street Journal


Japan and the United States on Wednesday signed an arrangement to jointly develop a new type of missile defense system as the allies seek to defend against the growing threat of hypersonic weapons, which are possessed by China and Russia and being tested by North Korea. – Associated Press

A subcommittee’s section of the House Armed Services Committee’s proposed fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Air Force and the Pentagon to set up a working group dedicated to transitioning its Agility Prime concept into programs that can be used operationally. – Defense News

A powerful member of the House Armed Services Committee has said in no uncertain terms that Congress would force the Navy to buy two Virginia-class attack submarines in fiscal 2025, regardless of the service’s reasons for deviating from its plan and requesting one instead. – Defense News