Fdd's overnight brief

November 13, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


In mid-2019, Israel’s military used a precision strike on a narrow street to kill a Hamas commander whom it called Iran’s money man in Gaza. […]His replacement, a Palestinian businessman called Zuhair Shamlakh, changed strategy to evade the Israelis: He turned to digital currencies. – Wall Street Journal

Israel said it is pressuring Hamas to surrender its position inside Gaza’s largest hospital on Sunday, as it engaged in intense fighting with militants in the area. – Wall Street Journal

Israel is diverging from the U.S. and Arab world on a postwar solution for Gaza, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a role for the Palestinian Authority, which Washington and some Arab leaders prefer to take over from Hamas. – Wall Street Journal

In the days after Hamas militants stormed into Israel, killing at least 1,200 people and kidnapping scores of others, Egyptian officials spent hours on the phone with the Islamist group’s leaders pressing a seemingly simple question: How many Israeli hostages did they hold? Hamas didn’t have an answer. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. intelligence community has growing confidence that reports on the death toll from health authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza are roughly accurate, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Where years ago Israeli forces faced stones and molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians, they now confront weapons such as laser-guided missiles and antitank munitions in Gaza. Hamas has been “arming itself to the teeth,” one military analyst said. – Washington Post

The evidence, described by more than a dozen current and former intelligence and security officials from four Western and Middle Eastern countries, reveals an intention by Hamas planners to strike a blow of historic proportions, in the expectation that the group’s actions would compel an overwhelming Israeli response. Several officials who had not previously spoken about the matter said the intelligence about Hamas’s motivations has become stronger in recent days. – Washington Post

A month into the Gaza war, President Biden’s steadfast support for Israeli leaders, even as the Palestinian civilian death toll mounts, risks lasting damage to Washington’s standing in the region and beyond, Arab leaders and analysts say, warning that the perceived U.S. acceptance of attacks on refugee camps, hospitals and apartment buildings could shatter American influence for years to come. – Washington Post

President Biden faces growing pressure from allies in Congress to publicly disclose the scope of U.S. arms being funneled to Israel, as the enormous civilian death toll in Gaza draws international condemnation and increasingly unsettles Democrats. – Washington Post

Even as Israeli tanks and ground troops continued to battle Hamas militants in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday outlined a postwar vision for the territory, one that he said would not involve the Palestinian Authority in its current form. – New York Times

Israel said it was poised to impose quiet on the Lebanese front as hostilities spiked on Sunday, with Hezbollah wounding civilians in a cross-border missile attack and the Israeli air force bombing sites linked to the Iranian-backed group. – Reuters

The U.N. human rights chief on Friday called for an investigation into what he called Israel’s use of “high-impact explosive weapons” in Gaza, which he said was causing indiscriminate destruction in the besieged Palestinian enclave. – Reuters

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to offer a straight-forward condemnation of the fighting near Gaza’s largest hospital Sunday, pointing to “open source information,” that indicates “that Hamas uses lots of different civilian institutions, including hospitals, to store weapons, for command and control, to house its fighters.” – Politico

The IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and Border Police arrested 19 suspected terrorists in the West Bank overnight Friday, including nine Hamas members, it was reported Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Air Force used the ‘Arrow 3’ air defense system today to intercept a missile launched at Eilat by Houthis in Yemen. It was the first-ever use of the system, and came on the heels of the first successful use of the ‘Arrow 2’ system for the same purpose last week, which marked the first-ever instance of combat outside Earth’s atmosphere. – Jerusalem Post

Republican US presidential candidate Chris Christie eschewed calls for a ceasefire in Gaza during a visit Sunday to a kibbutz devastated by Hamas during the terror group’s October 7 attack, saying it would not make sense for Israel to halt fighting now. – Times of Israel

Editorial: “What we have to see,” Mr. Netanyahu said, “is Gaza demilitarized, deradicalized and rebuilt. All of that can be achieved.” While Biden Administration pessimism led it to withdraw from Afghanistan and surrender the territory, 6,000 miles away, to the Taliban, Israel doesn’t have that option. Gaza is next door. Ensuring “no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism” will require a decisive Israeli victory and more flexibility than “Nos” and “Musts” allow. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: America can do better. As our Benny Avni reports, Washington has a lot of leverage over Qatar and other Hamas benefactors. It’s high time President Biden starts taking those players to the woodshed. The right move is for our Arab allies to insist that their terrorist cohorts stop using civilians as human shields and, while at it, to secure the unconditional and immediate release of all 239 hostages they are holding. The liberation of Gaza can’t come too soon. – New York Sun

Editorial: The Arab world was finally becoming reconciled to Israel’s existence, with real peace dawning. Hamas enacted the worst pogrom since the Holocaust to prevent peace, and the protests around the world aren’t really about the plight of Gazans now but the existence of Israel. Consider the lines drawn. – New York Post

Dovid Efune writes: It’s time the international community recognizes what many Israelis and some Gazans have already learned. For the foreseeable future, Israeli control of Gaza will bring the best possible outcome for the beleaguered civilian populations of the region—both Arab and Israeli. – Wall Street Journal

Qanta A. Ahmed writes: Israel, the West and the Muslim world must respond with necessary moral clarity: Define the Oct. 7 attacks as genocide. Legally designating the horrors as such ought to become a priority, independent of the war against Hamas, because the attacks need to be documented and prosecuted as crimes against humanity. Doing so is a matter of Jewish survival. The world has been silent in the face of Jewish genocide before. When we now say never again, we must mean it. – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: This conflict has raised excruciating issues that I can’t begin to resolve. But here’s what it looked like on the ground Sunday: Israeli soldiers along Salah al-Din Road were trying, they said, to protect a mass of Palestinian refugees fleeing violence inflicted by Israel. An observer could only hope the line was moving toward safety rather than more death and destruction. – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: Will they understand that the ultimate purpose of Zionism is self-rule for the Jewish people, not indefinite rule over others? A plausible Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel may be years or even decades away, given the wretched state of Palestinian politics. But Israel also has a long-term responsibility to safeguard the possibility of such a state against attempts to abort it. – New York Times

Marc Champion writes: Yet the lessons for Gaza are there to be applied, remembering that whether a UN force is weak or strong is not up to the institution’s bureaucrats, but the member states of the Security Council. Any transition force should, first of all, be heavily armed and have a clear mandate to use those weapons as needed. […]The force should be substantial, include trained police, and its composition should be chosen carefully to ensure locals trust the peacekeepers they meet, while Israel can trust its overall commanders. This is hard but it can be done, and by the UN, because it has been done before. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: The continuation of Jordanian air drops and the formation of international safe zones in Gaza would be positive developments. Expanded Israeli humanitarian corridors that allow Gazan civilians to evacuate areas of intense combat are also preferable. […]The best path forward, then, should be clear: a continuation of Israel’s war effort, alongside expanded humanitarian provisions. – Washington Examiner

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Speaking to a wide range of IDF officials at all levels, it is clear that they know they have created a new kind of integrated warfare, which has transformed the battlefield with Hamas. But whether the impressive gains of this new kind of warfare are sufficient to deter Hezbollah, Iran, and other Shi’ite proxies from crossing certain Israeli red lines, is still unclear. – Jerusalem Post

Daphné Richemond-Barak writes: Destroying Hamas’s tunnel network is the most difficult aspect of the Israeli military’s mission today, but it is also among its most important. It is at least as important as the elimination of Hamas’s chain of command. The destruction of the tunnels will leave Hamas with a compromised infrastructure and a depleted arsenal, resources more difficult to replace than fighters. It is crucial that Israel not lose sight of this as the fighting intensifies. – Foreign Affairs

Sam Harris writes: Of course, we can do our best to turn the temperature down now. And we can trust that the news cycle will get captured by another story. We can direct our attention again to Russia, or China, or climate change, or AI alignment, and I will do that on this podcast, but the problem of jihadism and the much wider problem of sympathy for it isn’t going away. And civilized people—non-Muslim and Muslim alike—have to deal with it. As I said in a previous podcast on this topic: we all live in Israel now. It’s just that most of us haven’t realized it yet. – The Free Press

Gil Troy writes: Clearly, the Palestinians and their propagandists have developed a whole lexicon, a series of talking points and slogans that distort words, negate history and obscure Palestinian intentions. Israel went along with these lies for too long, often bullied into guilelessness by a gullible international community. […]The challenge now is creating a new reality—and a new lexicon to acknowledge that reality—and build a better, fairer and genuinely safer new Middle East from there. – JNS

Daniel Goldman writes: Israeli society has shown enormous resilience in response to the terrible events of Simchat Torah, and we cannot know where that will lead us. If this tragedy generates a new confidence and optimism with a shift from the cynical politics of our era, then the future of Israeli society may be brighter than it currently feels. If Generation V becomes Israel’s Greatest Generation then we have much to look forward to. – Jerusalem Post


Iran’s president joined dozens of Arab and Muslim leaders at a summit in Saudi Arabia on Saturday—the first such visit to the kingdom in more than 15 years—as the Islamic world sought to project unified opposition to Israel’s military operations in Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

British lawmakers and members of the upper house of parliament have called on the government to proscribe Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation, saying it would be a step towards restoring stability to the Middle East. – Reuters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that the time had come for action over the conflict in Gaza rather than talk as he headed to Saudi Arabia to attend a summit on the war between Israel and Hamas militants. – Reuters

China’s oil imports from Iran have hit record highs as Iran ramps up output despite the threat of further U.S. sanctions. – Reuters

The former deputy head of the Mossad Ehud Lavi said Sunday that he believed it was unlikely that Iran did not know in advance of the devastating assault on October 7 perpetrated by the Tehran-backed terror group Hamas. – Times of Israel

As protests have erupted across the world in response to the war in Gaza, members of the Iranian Diaspora have been increasingly recognized for their representation in demonstrations supporting the Jewish State. In several Western cities, Iranian dissidents have been among the main speakers in pro-Israel rallies, and Iranian flags (with some modifications from that of the Islamic Republic) have flown alongside Israel’s. – Jerusalem Post

The free world must back Israel’s war against Hamas, a terror group that is an integral part of the Iranian terror front that endangers Western nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night. – Jerusalem Post

The EU is discussing ramping up sanctions against Iran over its support for Hamas — but there is a wide split among EU diplomats over whether that’s a good idea. – Politico

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Lesley Stahl reported on a type of proxy war Iran is waging around the world: hiring hitmen to intimidate, abduct and assassinate perceived enemies. Among the dissidents the Iranian government is increasingly targeting are journalists working abroad to report Iranian news. – CBS News

Editorial: If the Biden Administration wants to limit the flow of oil money to Tehran, it knows what to do: enforce the law and sanction the complicit banks, purchasers, insurers, tankers, ports and other players that facilitate the trade. Does the President have the will to break from his strategy of appeasement? – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The central fact is that Iranian proxies are now routinely trying to kill American service members abroad, while the U.S. is responding by shooting at ammunition. The militias will continue to do this, and eventually they may succeed. The Biden Administration has been touting its addition of air defenses to the region and an Ohio-class submarine is lurking in the neighborhood. But what’s the point of military assets if America’s enemies don’t fear that the U.S. will use them? Iran’s mullahs are testing Mr. Biden and his commitment to restoring an eroded American deterrence. This is dangerous, and it puts American lives at risk. – Wall Street Journal

Russia & Ukraine

Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade was equipped with Western armored vehicles and trained for a lightning summer counteroffensive that was supposed to tip the war firmly in Kyiv’s favor. These days, after advancing only a few miles over several months in the south, the brigade is fighting to fend off a Russian attack on a small industrial city in eastern Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

A senior Ukrainian military officer with deep ties to the country’s intelligence services played a central role in the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, as well as other people knowledgeable about the details of the covert operation. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that it had shot down a Russian ballistic missile hurtling toward Kyiv, the first such attack on the capital in weeks, while cities across the country were targeted by a Russian air barrage that damaged several buildings. – New York Times

Editorial: In the end, Ukraine may face the reality that it needs to negotiate with a Russian foe willing to endlessly sacrifice treasure and lives on the battlefield. That point has not been reached, but the West should give Ukraine the leverage to drive the best possible bargain if the time comes. And that leverage means preserving Ukraine’s chance to survive and grow as a thriving European democracy, not a vassal of the Kremlin. – Washington Post

Editorial: Democrats have come some distance on immigration. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is demanding immigration reform. Chicago leaders want to repeal their city’s sanctuary city policies. The Democratic Party’s evolution on border security will continue as their constituents’ anger grows. But this will take time. Ukraine does not have that time. Congress should pass Ukraine funding now and revisit Biden’s request for a sanctuary city bailout later. – Washington Examiner


The head of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia, Hassan Nasrallah, said on Saturday that his group intended to keep up pressure on Israel and claimed that it was striking deeper into Israeli territory with powerful new weapons. – New York Times

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said Saturday his fighters have introduced new weapons, including a missile with a heavy warhead in the ongoing fighting along the Lebanon-Israel border, adding that they will keep using the tense frontier to pressure Israel. – Associated Press

Attacks by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group Sunday wounded seven Israeli troops and 10 other people, Israel’s military and rescue services said. – Associated Press

Israel’s security cabinet has approved emergency measures allowing the blocking of Hezbollah-affiliated media outlet Al-Mayadeen and Qatari state-owned Al Jazeera, which the government deems as “harmful to the State of Israel.” – Jerusalem Post

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed concern to his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant in a call on Saturday about Israel’s role in escalating tensions along the border between Israel and Lebanon, according to three Israeli and U.S. sources briefed on the call. – Axios

“Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon to a possible war, and is making mistakes,” Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said at a situational assessment near the Lebanese border Saturday, adding that the Lebanese citizens would be the first to pay the price for this kind of mistake. “What we can do in Gaza, we can also do in Beirut.” – Jerusalem Post

Officially, it was Hamas that fired these rockets, but it is clear that Hezbollah pulled the strings. The Shi’ite organization is playing a dangerous game that could lead to the opening of a full second front. If not for the October 7 attack against the Gaza area communities, Israel would already have been deeply immersed in a war with Hezbollah. – Haaretz


The Pentagon on Sunday announced a new round of airstrikes on Iranian facilities in Syria that officials said were linked to dozens of recent attacks targeting U.S. troops there and in neighboring Iraq, this time causing an undetermined number of fatalities among proxy fighters backed by Tehran. – Washington Post

Russian forces have killed 34 fighters and wounded more than 60 in air strikes on targets in Syria’s Idlib governorate, Russia’s Interfax reported late on Sunday, citing the deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria. – Reuters

The Iranian militia operating in Syria, which, according to the IDF’s assessment, launched the drone that hit the school in Eilat on Thursday, launched another aircraft that was intercepted. – Jerusalem Post

Kasra Aarabi and  Jason M. Brodsky write: However, especially as Fatemiyoun and Zainabiyoun militants mobilize toward the Israeli border against the beat of the IRGC’s Mahdist drum, it would be a fatal error to underestimate this threat from Syria and beyond. The IRGC recruited, radicalized, and designed these militias with the stated objective of fighting Israel. What might have seemed like mere propaganda almost a decade ago is perhaps much closer to reality today. – Foreign Policy


Iraqi oil minister Hayan Abdel-Ghani expects to reach an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and foreign oil companies to resume oil production from the Kurdish region’s oilfields within three days, he said on Sunday. – Reuters

U.S. forces were targeted in three attacks in Iraq on Thursday but suffered no casualties, a U.S. military official and security sources said, in the most widespread single day of strikes on U.S. assets since the Israel-Hamas conflict started. – Reuters

Yerevan Saeed writes: Thus, extending the successful model implemented by Crescent Petroleum to other oil operators in Kurdistan holds the potential to establish a comprehensive conflict resolution framework, facilitating Erbil and Baghdad in their efforts to address one of the enduring conflicts between them. Such a resolution also sets the stage for the enactment of the country’s hydrocarbon law, a pivotal step that will definitively delineate the respective powers of the federal government and the regional government concerning natural resources. Moreover, Iraq would be poised to finally surmount a divisive issue that has impeded its progress for decades. – Washington Institute


President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday parliament may pass a legal amendment to resolve a judicial crisis involving an unprecedented clash between two of the country’s top courts. – Reuters

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that an international peace conference should be convened to find a permanent solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. – Reuters

Turkey said on Friday it had sent a ship loaded with field hospital equipment, ambulances and generators to Egypt to treat war casualties from Gaza, where Israeli’s devastating siege has caused a humanitarian crisis with medical care collapsing. – Reuters

After a bloody October 7 raid by Hamas fighters triggered Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, Erdogan initially sought to position Turkey as a mediator. But this apparent ambition evaporated last month after the Turkish leader portrayed Hamas not as a terrorist group but as “liberators” or “mujahideen” fighting for their land. – Agence France-Presse

Michael Rubin writes: Turkey does not differentiate between toddler and terrorist; farmer, or fighter. By Turkey’s own account, it has eliminated thousands of Kurds in Syria since 2016. Some in Washington blindly repeat Turkey’s characterization of Syrian Kurds as Marxist, anti-American terrorists, but anyone who has observed the region firsthand disagrees. […]For Erdogan, who considers Kurds corrupted Muslims, this is the sin. Erdogan may slam Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are arrogant, unpleasant men, but, when it comes to crimes against humanity, Erdogan sees his own reflection. – Washington Examiner 

Arabian Peninsula

The exhibition stands of Israeli weapons makers Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems were empty at the start of the opening day of the weeklong Dubai Airshow on Monday, amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates plans to maintain diplomatic ties with Israel despite international outcry over the mounting toll of the war in Gaza and hopes to have some moderating influence over the Israeli campaign while safeguarding its own interests, according to four sources familiar with UAE government policy. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about developments in Gaza and “urgent ongoing efforts” to secure the release of hostages being held by the Hamas militant group, the White House said. – Reuters

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Friday to discuss recent developments in Gaza, state media reported. – Reuters

President Joe Biden spoke with the ruler of Oman, amid US concerns about China’s efforts to deepen its defense presence in the Middle East. – Bloomberg

David Ignatius writes: The Qatari prime minister said he will keep working with his Israeli contacts. “We believe in stability. We believe in peace. We believe that the strongest factor for both Israeli and Palestinian safety and stability is to have a peaceful resolution of this conflict.” But he said he fears that if the current Gaza war ends like previous ones, Israel and the region will face an even worse conflict a few years from now. – Washington Post

Jordan Cope writes: One thing remains certain, however. A nation that bolsters terrorism against another is no friend. No less one that has American blood on its hands. It’s time to designate Qatar as a state sponsor of terrorism. – Jerusalem Post


Jonathan Spyer writes: The remaining question is whether, and for how long, Israel and the West will continue to indulge the obvious fiction of the Houthis’ independent advanced missile capacity. On the one hand, this is a clear absurdity. On the other hand, pointing that out would mean acknowledging that Iran has launched drone and missile attacks on Israel – i.e., carried out clear acts of war – on four occasions since October 7. – Jerusalem Post

Yoel Guzansky writes: While the Houthi attacks are not as imminent a threat as other regional conflicts, they should not be underestimated, and careful consideration of responses is crucial. – Jerusalem Post

Veena Ali-Khan writes: This is a complex war, and there are no quick fixes. The sooner Riyadh acknowledges this, the more likely that substantive intra-Yemen talks can start. Otherwise, a hastily brokered deal that lacks durability could plunge Yemen back into turmoil. – Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on Friday called for an end to the war in Gaza, a stance later echoed in a declaration with African leaders attending a summit in Riyadh. – Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a peace deal with Saudi Arabia was still possible, despite intense fighting in the Gaza Strip. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia on Saturday helped to block a bid by Arab and Muslim countries to militarily and economically isolate Israel, according to Israeli media reports. – JNS

At Saudi Arabia’s flagship investment conference in October 2018, a defiant Prince Mohammed bin Salman took to the stage to promise that a new era was dawning for the Middle East.[…]Five years later, as the world’s top executives are expected to flock to Riyadh for the latest edition of the Future Investment Initiative — dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert’ by many — fresh comparisons with Europe are being drawn. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

As Hamas intensifies its cynical ploy of using the hostages it holds to further its war goals, diplomatic negotiations at Cairo and Doha are moving into high gear. Yet, is Washington doing enough to lean on Arab allies? – New York Sun

Ed Husain writes: That isn’t so far-fetched. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttled across the Mideast last month, he visited the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, a multifaith structure that features a synagogue, mosque, church, all in one complex. The project seeks to embrace Jews as equals—as our forebears in faith. If after centuries such a model can exist in the U.A.E., it can exist in Jerusalem too. – Wall Street Journal

Francisco Serrano writes: It is in the Western Sahara itself that fighting will most likely escalate. Regional tensions will continue to ratchet up, feeding skirmishes between Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front in the territory. Besides the loss of life and damaged infrastructure, the revival of armed conflict will further delay a sustainable solution to the disputed territory’s future. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

Allies of President Yoon Suk Yeol are attacking what they see as an existential threat to South Korea, and they are mincing few words. The head of Mr. Yoon’s party has called for the death sentence for a case of “high treason.” The culture ministry has vowed to root out what it called an “organized and dirty” conspiracy to undermine the country’s democracy. – New York Times

South Korea and the United States on Monday revised a bilateral security agreement aimed at deterring North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats, and vowed to maintain pressure on Pyongyang despite global distractions. – Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he and South Korea’s foreign minister Park Jin share “profound” concerns about the growing military cooperation between North Korea and Russia. – Reuters

North Korea on Monday called for the United Nations Command to be dissolved calling it an “illegal war organization” over a meeting which is scheduled to take place between the member states in South Korea later this week, state media KCNA reported. – Reuters

Defence chiefs from South Korea, Japan and the United States have agreed to start as planned a real-time data sharing scheme on North Korean missiles in December, South Korea’s defence ministry said on Sunday. – Reuters

Timothy S. Rich writes: Both sides may also find mutual interests in limiting the expansion of the Israel-Hamas war or preventing North Korean escalation. More broadly, both sides should manage expectations and, instead of expecting significant breakthroughs, view the summit as a means to ensure an open dialogue that can lead to an incremental thawing of relations. – The National Interest

Gordon G. Chang writes: By January 20, 2025, when Donald John Trump or someone else is sworn in, the United States could be in a hot war with North Korea. Then, there will be no more “love letters” between Washington and Pyongyang. – The National Interest


With only weeks to go to prepare for a possible summit with President Biden, Chinese officials floated a plan: If Xi Jinping agrees to meet, he first wants to sit down for a banquet with American business leaders. The White House said no. With a lengthy agenda of friction points to go over, Xi should see Biden first before the CEOs, American officials told their Chinese counterparts last month, according to people briefed on the plans. Beijing backed down and rescheduled the dinner for after the summit. – Wall Street Journal

For most of the past decade, China’s story in the Middle East has been straightforward: endlessly rising investment, trade and influence. Having brokered a return to diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran earlier this year and given its strong economic relationship with Israel, China has also found itself in the spotlight as the conflict in Gaza has boiled over. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden’s top military adviser has told China that the United States is open to resuming military-to-military communication that Beijing suspended last year to protest then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. – New York Times

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will visit China again next year at her counterpart’s invitation, as officials in the world’s two biggest economies seek to boost contact further and improve tense relations. – Bloomberg

Thomas J. Duesterberg writes: Finally, Mr. Biden ought to inform Mr. Xi that he will expand investment restrictions more broadly to American portfolio investments in any Chinese firm subject to sanctions by the U.S. or its allies. Perhaps such straight talk at a time of growing domestic problems will induce Mr. Xi to rethink at least his support for Russia and Iran. It’s clear that concessions won’t do the job. – Wall Street Journal

Taylor Fravel, Henrik Stålhane Hiim, and Magnus Langset Trøan write: Such steps will almost certainly only strengthen China’s drive to expand its nuclear arsenal. Beijing could further increase its stockpile of nuclear weapons, deploy new delivery systems, and develop a low-yield nuclear warhead—all steps that the United States would view as threatening. Thus, the U.S. response to China’s recent plans, which are themselves heavily influenced by shifts in U.S. nuclear strategy, could speed up what has become a dangerous action-reaction cycle and potentially set off a major nuclear arms race. – Foreign Affairs


The Chinese and Pakistani navies are holding weeklong drills in the Arabian Sea days after the Russian Pacific Fleet and Myanmar practised repelling attacks in their first maritime exercise, while India and the United States pledged security cooperation. – Reuters

Japan on Sunday conducted a tsunami evacuation drill on its westernmost island, an exercise that could also help residents respond to an emergency arising from any attempt by China to take control of nearby self-ruled Taiwan, an official said. – Reuters

India and the U.S. underlined their commitment to boosting security ties Friday as their top diplomats and defense chiefs met to discuss regional security, China and the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. – Associated Press

Japan’s navy on Saturday announced the start of a joint annual military exercise, with the Philippines observing the operations for the first time as the two countries seek closer maritime cooperation. – Reuters

The Philippines’ coast guard said on Saturday it would maintain its regular supply missions to troops stationed on a disputed atoll in the South China Sea even though it expects more Chinese vessels to be sent to the area. – Reuters

While wars rage thousands of miles away in Gaza and Ukraine, Washington focuses this week on keeping the peace in Asia, a region also on the brink of conflict. President Biden is due to meet Communist China’s party boss, Xi Jingping, on the sidelines Wednesday of a gathering at San Francisco of leaders of 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference. – New York Sun

Malaysia unexpectedly jumped into the fraught politics of the Israel-Hamas war when Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim vowed to maintain ties with Hamas even if his government were to come under outside pressure. Anwar has become one of the most vocal leaders in publicly criticizing Israel, calling its military operations in Gaza the “height of barbarism.” While political observers say that has made him popular at home by appealing to the Muslim majority, it puts Malaysia at odds with the US, its third-largest trading partner. – Bloomberg


More than 100,000 demonstrators in Paris and cities across France took to the streets on Sunday to show their solidarity with the country’s Jews and to deplore antisemitic acts that have multiplied across the nation since Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7. – New York Times

The brewing brawl between the leader of the Fifth Republic and the premier of the Jewish state underscores how the war against Hamas has failed to stiffen Europe’s spine to stand beside Israel as it works to dismantle an enemy it has compared to ISIS. – New York Sun

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said there was “no justification” for Israel’s bombing of “these babies, these ladies, these old people” in the war against Hamas and reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Gaza. – Agence France-Presse

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: Still, the debate is a start toward discussing how European states can defend their values. Voters have demanded this for some time as they’ve drifted further toward political fringes on the left or right that promise to defend national sovereignty. After Oct. 7, even Europe’s perennially aloof political class is starting to notice. – Wall Street Journal


The Sudanese-Arab militia worked its way systematically through the tents, shacks and mud houses of the Ardamata camp, shooting male residents. The settlement in western Darfur was home to about 30,000 non-Arab Sudanese people who had fled earlier bouts of fighting in the country’s civil war, which started nearly seven months ago. – Wall Street Journal

The European Union (EU) condemned on Sunday an escalation of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, warning of the danger of “another genocide” after conflict there between 2003-2008 killed some 300,000 people and displaced more than 2 million. – Reuters

The Saudi Fund for Development will sign agreements worth 2 billion riyals ($533 million) with African countries, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said on Thursday during the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh. – Reuters

Editorial: For the sake of the hostages, and in the name of justice, we urge South Africa to reverse its pro-Hamas stance while pushing for peace, and stand on the right side of history. – Jerusalem Post

North America

The police in New York City are searching for vandals who scrawled “Hamas” and antisemitic graffiti on several Upper East Side apartment buildings last month amid a sharp increase in hate crimes directed at the Jewish community. – New York Times

TikTok is back in the cross hairs of Washington, with Republican lawmakers again calling to ban the popular short-form video app amid accusations that it is amplifying pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel videos through its powerful algorithmic feed. – New York Times

Administrators of MIT suspended a number of students Thursday from the prestigious technology school after Israel-Hamas war protesters took over a prominent building for much of the day and then some refused to leave by a set deadline. – Associated Press

A Jewish school in Montreal was hit by gunfire early on Sunday, making it the third time in less than a week that a Jewish school in the Canadian city was hit amid heightened tensions over the conflict between Israel and Gaza, police said, according to local media. – Reuters

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has acknowledged that the reason it did not follow through with threats to suspend students participating in an unauthorized anti-Israel protest this week was its concern that they could face deportation because they were not U.S. citizens. – Haaretz

A plan to prohibit a pro-Palestinian student group from state university campuses in Florida has been temporarily shelved while officials reassess the proposal. – Associated Press

In the early days and hours after the horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden spoke with stark declarations and unqualified support for the longtime U.S. ally. Now, a month on, that unambiguous backing has given way to the complexities and haunting casualties of the war, and the Biden administration is imploring Israel to rein in some of its tactics to ease civilian suffering in Gaza. – Associated Press

Amid news of vast in-house dissatisfaction with the Biden administration’s Israel-Palestine policies, Washington is getting all the umbrage and sense of betrayal that accompanies a leaked internal divide — but none of the benefits that flow from a strenuous public debate. – Politico

The head of a watchdog group that identifies acts of antisemitism says she and her team are stunned by the Jewish hatred being expressed by so-called pillars of our society – including doctors, nurses and professors. – FOX News

Reported bombs at separate Jewish sites caused alarm on Saturday and prompted an NYPD response as antisemitic incidents sparked by the war in Gaza continue to rise, police said. – New York Daily News

The Biden administration’s top immigration official asserted before Congress that students visiting the United States on a visa ought to be ordered removed from the country if they support terrorist groups. – Washington Examiner

Mark Penn writes: After Oct. 7 the president gave a strong, unambiguous speech supporting Israel and decrying the horrors of the Hamas pogrom. He has somewhat muddied the waters since, which is unfortunate. To be successful, he has to work with Israel to end Hamas and form a new governmental entity for Gaza, keep Iran and Hezbollah at bay, and get peace with the Saudis back on track. This is a near-impossible job—but it is the kind of achievement that makes history. If things spin out of control and deterrence against Iran fails, then his presidency will also spin further out of control. – Wall Street Journal

Eli Lake writes: But Malley never learned the lessons of his father’s expired illusions—the bizarre fantasy that revolutionary violence would liberate the Third World. He has instead himself succumbed to the dangerous fantasy that engaging violent revolutionaries will persuade them to renounce their illusions. His security clearance may yet be restored and his name cleared, but Robert Malley should not be allowed inside the corridors of power ever again. – Commentary Magazine

Lawrence Kudlow writes: The Bidens should be expressing fury on a daily basis that Americans were killed and taken hostage on October 7. They should be furious that U.S. military assets are being attacked on a daily basis. Yet they respond in the weakest, lowest common denominator, milquetoast way — both rhetorically and militarily. Final thought: Save America, retire Joe Biden. He is most certainly not a wartime president. – New York Sun

Michael Rubin writes: Antisemitism is at its highest level worldwide since World War II. Biden is right to be very concerned, and Blinken is right to condemn it. If only the leader of the free world and his top diplomat had some control over whether antisemites overseas would have access to billions of extra dollars. – Washington Examiner

Mike Gallagher writes: So long as TikTok—and control of its algorithm—remain in the grip of the Chinese Communist Party, we are ceding the ability to censor Americans’ speech to a foreign adversary. Time for Congress to take action. Time to ban TikTok. – The Free Press


DP World Plc is struggling to work through a backlog of 30,000 shipping containers piled up at ports across Australia as the company resumes operations after a cyberattack. – Bloomberg

In the wake of Hamas’s attack on Israel, researchers and cybersecurity firms observed an uptick in operations by hacktivists and state-sponsored hacking groups. But more than one month into the conflict, researchers are increasingly concluding that cyberoperations linked to the war have been mostly opportunistic in nature and frequently exaggerated in terms of their impact. – CyberScoop

An Iranian hacking group targeted organizations in Israel’s transportation, logistics and technology sectors last month amid an uptick in Iranian cyber activity since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas. – The Record

Ukraine’s cybersecurity agency believes that Russia is behind recent hacktivist activities against Israel linked to its conflict with militant group Hamas, according to a senior Ukrainian official. – Politico


The U.S. military was set to display one of its prized Patriot missile-defense systems at the Dubai Airshow this week, part of the American showcase at one of the world’s biggest arms fairs. – Wall Street Journal

Five U.S. Army Special Operations troops died in a refueling “mishap” with a helicopter over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, defense officials said Sunday, in an incident that U.S. officials have handled with extra care as the Biden administration attempts to keep the war in Gaza from expanding throughout the region. – Washington Post

The State Department cleared an estimated $2.53 billion foreign military sale of M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to Romania, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Nov. 9. – Defense News

The U.S.-led effort to develop a common air-threat picture in the Middle East gets a “B-minus” for its “slow but steady progress,” Air Force Central Command’s second-in-charge said Sunday. – Defense One

Kristin Burke writes: The Strategic Support Force’s perception that the United States and Russia already have spacecraft capable of space-based jamming could cause miscalculation and escalation, especially without any military-to-military engagement. Working through the United Nations to deepen discussion on space-based intentional jamming would help inform a wider group of states on the threat, and further demonstrate American leadership in space. – War on the Rocks