Fdd's overnight brief

November 16, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel released footage from Gaza’s largest hospital on Wednesday that it said proved the site was being used by Hamas militants, after searching buildings in an operation that carries high stakes for both sides of the war. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. assessment this week that Hamas and other Palestinian militants were operating within Gaza’s largest hospital complex was based in part on intercepted communications of fighters inside the compound, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

With fears rising about the safety of hostages held in Gaza, the White House sent its top Middle East adviser to the region Wednesday in search of a breakthrough in halting efforts to secure their release from Palestinian militants. – Wall Street Journal

The Israeli military on Thursday said it continued to search through Gaza’s largest hospital for further evidence that it is used by Hamas for military purposes, as Israel faced growing pressure to justify sending troops into a medical facility. – Wall Street Journal

The solar energy company Sunbox paid its 15 full-time employees in Gaza this month. But next month is uncertain: The company’s main offices in Gaza City were destroyed in an Israeli strike, said Kamal Almashharawi, 24, the company’s head of operations. – Washington Post

Israeli tanks surrounded the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital Wednesday as troops launched their long-anticipated raid in pursuit of the Hamas militants they accuse of operating a warren of tunnels under the facility. – Washington Post

Rarely has a military operation against a major hospital been telegraphed so clearly. Israeli officials have been asserting for weeks, while offering little public evidence, that the Hamas militant group has a command center below Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital — a refuge for thousands of terrified patients, overworked doctors and displaced civilians — making it a legitimate military target. – Washington Post

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday calling for immediate and urgent dayslong humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas war to allow desperately needed aid to reach civilians in Gaza. – New York Times

Though only 9 at the time, May Pundak knew that when her father was often away in the early 1990s, he was involved in some kind of mission for Israel, one so secret that she could not breathe a word about it to friends at school. – New York Times

President Biden said on Wednesday that the endpoint of the Israel-Hamas conflict has to be a Palestinian state that is “real,” existing alongside an Israeli one. – New York Times

Israel believes that Wednesday’s raid on Al-Shifa Hospital will put pressure on Hamas to finish a deal to trade dozens of Israeli captives for Palestinian prisoners, according to two senior Israeli officials. – New York Times

The World Health Organization head said on Wednesday that the Israeli military incursion into Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza was “totally unacceptable”. – Reuters

British and Irish ministers called for accelerated flows of aid into the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip during separate visits to the Egyptian capital Cairo on Wednesday. – Reuters

Twenty-three Irish citizens left Gaza on Wednesday through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, the first Irish group to do so since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, local media quoted foreign minister Micheal Martin as saying. – Reuters

U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths on Wednesday implored Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel as part of a 10-point plan to respond to the population’s needs. – Reuters

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said a “very strong force” may need to remain in Gaza for the near future to prevent the Hamas militant group re-emerging after the war, but U.S. President Joe Biden warned that occupying Gaza would be “a big mistake”. – Reuters

Qatari mediators on Wednesday sought to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel that included the release of around 50 civilian hostages from Gaza in exchange for a three-day ceasefire, an official briefed on the negotiations told Reuters. – Reuters

Palestinian health authorities said on Wednesday it was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain accurate casualty figures from Gaza due to the collapse of the hospital and health system in parts of the Israeli-besieged enclave. – Reuters

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell was injured in a car accident in Egypt on Tuesday while traveling to the Gaza Strip and has had to postpone a visit to Israel due to her injuries, a UNICEF spokesperson said on Wednesday. – Reuters

President Joe Biden defended Israel’s military operation at Gaza’s largest hospital, standing behind the US ally in the face of international criticism of the raid. – Reuters

Germany has floated that the United Nations could take control in Gaza once the Israel-Hamas war is over, according to a document seen by POLITICO. – Politico

A woman abducted into Gaza by Hamas terrorists on October 7 has given birth in captivity, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara said in a letter released by the premier’s office Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

The head of the UN children’s agency said Wednesday she had witnessed “devastating” scenes on a visit to war-ravaged Gaza and urged Israel and Hamas to “stop this horror.” – Agence France-Presse

Five years ago, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, scrawled a note on a document that he knew Egyptian intermediaries would hand to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Take a “‘calculated risk’ on a ceasefire,” Sinwar wrote in Hebrew, according to former National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat. – Bloomberg

It’s rare for Israel’s presidents and past presidents to participate in demonstrations. As apolitical figures, they must be careful when accepting invitations. But when it’s a strong humanitarian issue, such as the return of the hostages in Hamas captivity, there is no way that President Isaac Herzog or former president Reuven Rivlin would remain uninvolved. – Jerusalem Post

Israel has condemned the decision made by the Belize government on Wednesday to suspend diplomatic ties. – Jerusalem Post

Six people were wounded, including one critically, in a shooting attack targeting the “tunnels” checkpoint on the West Bank’s Route 60, south of Jerusalem, police and medics said Thursday morning. – Times of Israel

Previously unaired bodycam footage from a Hamas terrorist rampaging through southern Israel on October 7 was broadcast by CNN on Wednesday, showing him crossing the two Gaza border fences, killing an IDF soldier, filming himself with the body in celebration, and gleefully celebrating the sight of dead civilians on the road before he is shot dead at the gates of a military base. – Times of Israel

The savage attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7 and the atrocities the terror group committed on that day plunged Israel into war and brought about the greatest security threat to the Jewish state in half a century. – Times of Israel

Opposition leader Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid Party, on Wednesday called for the ouster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the establishment of a broad unity government headed by another representative from the Likud Party. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: The problem is that the winds of revenge and dreams of a Jewish return to Gaza are blowing in the government, too. Instead of being preoccupied with the future of his base and government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must make it clear that these fantasies and cravings have nothing to do with Israel’s aspirations. – Haaretz

Bert Stratton writes: On Tuesday a man named Simcha Bloomenstiel called me about possibly booking my band for his Orthodox Jewish wedding in February. Bloomenstiel. Stratton. We’re both Jews; I’m sure Hamas would agree. I’m a Zionist, also, for good measure. When Baraa went to her senior prom in Cleveland, she wore her hijab and a modest dress that covered her arms and shoulders. Now she’s dead. Thanks, Hamas. – Wall Street Journal

Daniel Henninger writes: Hamas knew that the humanitarian-crisis narrative after the IDF chased them into Gaza’s teeming neighborhoods would isolate Israel politically. In that crude sense, the day of slaughter was a success. But even more cynical than their naive Western counterparts, Hamas always knew their isolate-Israel narrative had no practical solution. It was zero-sum from day one. – Wall Street Journal

Charles Lane writes: The essence of the matter is: Hamas does not surrender because it believes, fervently, that Israel has no right to exist and that armed “resistance” to it, even at the terrible human cost currently being paid by both Israelis and Palestinians, is justified. That belief is accepted, or at least not fundamentally challenged, by many on college campuses, social media and elsewhere who are demanding, in effect, that Israel surrender. Talk about naive. – Washington Post

Adam Taylor writes: Despite the dueling views of its relevance to the Israel-Gaza war, al-Shifa is also a surprising example of Israel-Palestinian cooperation. For years, Israeli doctors working with groups such as Physicians for Human Rights have been helping train their Palestinian colleagues at hospitals like al-Shifa. Despite the lack of supplies and out-of-date facilities, some have been impressed, Haaretz reported this week. “My impression was that they are quite professional,” one Israeli doctor told the newspaper. “I was even a bit surprised, because at first I thought that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.” – Washington Post

Nicholas Kristof writes: If you weep only for Israeli children, or only for Palestinian children, you have a problem that goes beyond your tear ducts. Children on both sides have been slaughtered quite recklessly, and fixing this crisis starts with acknowledging a principle so basic that it shouldn’t need mentioning: All children’s lives have equal value, and good people come in all nationalities. – New York Times

Moshe Emilio Lavi writes: Anything less will only continue to polarize the public in dangerous ways, as we witnessed in the past few weeks. Addressing the plight of hostages is not a diversion from the broader political and military issues at the heart of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Freedom for our captives — freedom for Omri — will affirm our universal commitment to human rights, justice and compassion. Please help us, the heartbroken families, to bring them home. – New York Times

Michael Barone writes: Israel, rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage much like the English-speaking settler-initiated cultures, is responding to vicious attacks determinedly while subjecting itself to limitations more exacting than international law. The academic-fostered oppressor/oppressed analysis gets everything about this conflict wrong. – Washington Examiner

Alan Dershowitz writes: Israel has now produced videos of the military bases underneath the hospitals, as well as of Hamas terrorists stealing fuel that was intended for medical use. It has also shown videos of an armed Hamas terrorist walking into a hospital with a rocket launcher clearly visible on his shoulder. But these images are largely ignored by viewers and commentators in favor of the more dramatic images of the dead babies. That too is part of the Hamas strategy. – The Hill

Tom Mockaitis writes: The agreement does, however, reveal that Washington has considerable leverage over Jerusalem. Making continued U.S. aid to Palestinians and Israelis contingent upon agreeing to negotiate could restart the peace process. Negotiating a lasting settlement will be extraordinarily difficult, but the alternative is perpetual war. – The Hill

Stephen J. Romano and Jeremy Hurewitz write: Consistent pressure must be put on the hostage takers to release the people they have abducted. That’s why we believe that calls for a ceasefire are misguided if they are not accompanied by the demand for the release of all the hostages. It is important to keep in context why the current violence is taking place — the horrible pogrom unleashed in Israel on 10/7 and the abduction of over 240 hostages. – The Hill

Joe Buccino writes: There are no easy answers ahead. Regardless of who comes in behind Hamas or the method of administration of security and services, Gazans must feel they have agency in this process. Otherwise, Israel will remain mired in a low-grade war in Gaza for years to come. – The Hill

Simon Henderson writes: While redundancy in Israel’s gas infrastructure diminished the impact of the Tamar shutdown, the country’s vulnerability remains high. Amid continuing tensions on the northern border with Lebanon, the danger persists that despite the 2022 Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement, Hezbollah could threaten the Leviathan platform or the activities of the floating gas recovery installation operating in the northern Karish offshore field. – Washington Institute

Arash Azizi writes: Neither Israelis nor Palestinians are going anywhere, and neither will give up their national identity. Those who truly want peace and justice in the Holy Land should start by recognizing this reality. Israel can and must be pushed to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories and stop the obstruction of Palestinian sovereignty. But neither it nor Palestine can be pushed to commit ethno-national suicide. – The Atlantic

Anchal Vohra writes: Some, particularly in the West, argue that as the main architect of the Oslo Accords, Abbas is still the best bet to peacefully resolve the conflict instead of getting mired in another round of insurgency and even more bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. Others, including many Israelis and Palestinians, say they are happy to wait him out and deal with a new leadership whenever it emerges. – Foreign Policy

Francesca Block writes: And, in a separate post earlier this month, he praised the tens of thousands who attended the November 4 Free Palestine rally in D.C., co-organized by the Forum. “I’m proud of my fellow organizers & the movements that made this moment possible. We came together to build this in [a] little over 2 weeks. We didn’t bow down to demands to be respectable, we refused to be intimidated by the state & we dared to build on the momentum of the struggle. “There is no turning back now.” – The Free Press


Iran continued to expand its nuclear program, including its stockpile of near-weapons-grade enriched uranium in recent months, although it hasn’t accelerated the pace of its production of nuclear fuel amid the current turmoil in the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal

The US will enforce oil sanctions against Iran amid the renewed conflict in the Middle East, a White House Energy adviser said Wednesday. – Bloomberg

As American forces are attacked by the Islamic Republic’s proxies and in the aftermath of Hamas’s unprecedented horrors, the Biden administration is seeking to ease sanctions on Iran — a move that will mean more money for Hamas, though Congress is pushing back. – New York Sun

Daniel Yergin writes: China is also by far the largest buyer of Iranian oil. It would certainly be in Beijing’s interest to use its influence to keep the oil flowing unimpeded and, facing its own economic challenges, help keep oil prices from spiking. That is a topic for further dialogue between China and the U.S. – Wall Street Journal

Avi Melamed writes: The infrastructure Iran has and continues to establish in Syria is intended, among other things, to logistically and militarily support Hezbollah and thus ensure Iran’s continued proxy control of Lebanon through Hezbollah. Ending Hamas’ rule in Gaza and smashing Tehran’s land corridor in Syria — proving the “unify the arenas” narrative to be false — will substantially disrupt Tehran’s master plan. – New York Post

Farzin Nadimi writes: Currently, no UN sanctions preclude Iran from selling and transporting air defense systems to its allies unless the recipient is itself under sanctions. And with Russia and China sitting on the Security Council, there is zero chance of imposing any new UN-sponsored measure against Iranian weapons exports. Accordingly, Washington will need to keep a close eye on Tehran’s air defense transactions with the help of U.S. partners in the Middle East, if necessary using its regional leverage and other tools to prevent or disrupt transfers of key systems by land or sea. – Washington Institute

Russia & Ukraine

The European Union has proposed new measures aimed at tightening sanctions against Russia, which has largely succeeded in resisting Western efforts to undermine the Kremlin’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

For month after endless month, nights in Kyiv were punctuated by the wail of air raid sirens and the sound of explosions from missile and drone attacks. Now, an unusually long lull in nighttime bombardments of the city by Russian forces is allowing residents to do something they have been dreaming of — finally getting some sleep. – New York Times

A Russian artist who replaced supermarket price tags with messages calling for an end to Moscow’s war in Ukraine is expected to learn her fate in court on Thursday with a state prosecutor asking for her to be jailed for eight years. – Reuters

A Ukrainian civic group said it has confirmed the deaths of nearly 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers since Russia’s February 2022 invasion by using open sources, and puts the total toll at more than 30,000. – Reuters

A Russian missile smashed into an apartment block in the sleepy eastern Ukrainian town of Selydove on Wednesday, killing two people and wounding at least three others, Ukrainian officials said. – Reuters

Russia’s State Duma took a step forward Wednesday towards approving its biggest-ever federal budget which will increase spending by around 25% in 2024, with record amounts going on defense. – Associated Press

Ukraine’s closest European allies are increasingly concerned about the US’s ability to sustain support for Kyiv amid a thorny political spending debate ahead of next year’s presidential elections. – Bloomberg

Key sectors of Russia’s economy are adapting and in some cases completely rebounding from unprecedented international sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

The European Union has proposed banning the export of machine tools and machinery parts that Russia uses to make weapons targeting Ukraine, according to documents seen by Bloomberg. – Bloomberg

Arabian Peninsula

A U.S. Navy warship shot down a drone in the Red Sea that emanated from Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday, in what appeared to be only the second time the United States has brought down projectiles near its warships since the Israel-Hamas conflict began. – Reuters

For years, the Houthi rebels controlling northern Yemen have chanted slogans at their mass rallies calling for the destruction of Israel. But they never acted on it until the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7. – Associated Press

The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is expected to extend its additional voluntary supply cuts to at least the first quarter, if not the first half of 2024, Amrita Sen, co-founder of consultancy Energy Aspects said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

French investigative judges have issued an international arrest warrant for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that accuses him of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity over the deadly use of chemical weapons against his own people, a judicial official said on Wednesday. – New York Times

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Egypt and Jordan on Nov. 18, an EU Commission spokesperson wrote on X. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Israel was a “terror state” committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza, sharpening his repeated criticism of Israeli leaders and their backers in the West. – Reuters

From his office overlooking the border with Israel, Dr. Mounes Klakesh can hear the thump of artillery rounds and air strikes landing on nearby Lebanese towns. The increasing frequency of those strikes has the staff of his small hospital on edge. – Reuters

The leader of the United Arab Emirates toured the Dubai Air Show on Wednesday as a sanctioned arms supplier displayed an attack helicopter used in Russia’s war on Ukraine, highlighting his country’s continued ties to Moscow despite Western sanctions targeting it. – Associated Press

The European Union is trying to speed up efforts to deepen its relationship with Egypt and help the country address the growing fallout from the Israel-Hamas conflict on its border. – Bloomberg

Bobby Ghosh writes: Given the fraught history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this approach has no guarantee of success. But the Arab states hold the strongest cards they’ve ever had in their dealings with Israel — and now’s the time to play them. – Bloomberg

Korean Peninsula

North Korea on Thursday criticised a recent visit to South Korea by top U.S. defence officials and vowed more “offensive” responses to what it called military threats from the United States and its allies, state media reported. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol heads to the United States on Wednesday to attend an APEC summit where he plans to seek support from other leaders for a coordinated response to growing military ties between North Korea and Russia. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates is negotiating the purchase of South Korean helicopters, with the aim of signing a deal by year’s end, according to an official with the manufacturer. – Defense News

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II+ short-range infrared-guided air-to-air missiles (AAMs) to South Korea. – Janes


Foreign capital is fleeing China. Yet on his first trip to the U.S. in six years, Chinese leader Xi Jinping didn’t make a pitch to win back American businesses and investors. Instead, at a dinner with U.S. corporate chiefs and other guests, Xi sought to enlist corporate America’s help in easing bilateral tensions, emphasizing the room for both nations to work together—a theme of his meeting with President Biden earlier Wednesday. –  Wall Street Journal

President Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, face a host of thorny geopolitical issues as they meet Wednesday in San Francisco: trade, Taiwan and the war between Israel and Hamas. – New York Times

President Biden said on Wednesday that four hours of discussion with President Xi Jinping of China had brought about two significant agreements, on curbing fentanyl production and on military-to-military communications. – New York Times

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Biden was an unmitigated success, according to the Chinese version of events, as state media made an about-face so abrupt it caused whiplash on social media. – Washington Post

The Philippines is not obliged to notify China about its resupply missions in the South China Sea, saying these operations, including the “upkeep” of a grounded navy ship are legitimate, its foreign ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters

A demonstrator draped in a Free Tibet flag climbed a flagpole in front of the hotel where Chinese President Xi Jinping was due to meet with U.S. CEOs on Wednesday evening, capping a day of demonstrations against, and for, the Chinese leader. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he had not changed his view that Chinese President Xi Jinping was effectively a dictator, a comment likely to land with a thud in Beijing after the two leaders held straightforward summit talks after months of preparation. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Joe Biden during their four-hour meeting on Wednesday that Taiwan was the biggest, most dangerous issue in U.S.-China ties, a senior U.S. official told reporters. – Reuters

Japanese and Chinese trade ministers have agreed to establish a framework to discuss export controls, Japanese media reported on Wednesday, indicating steps on economic cooperation after a period of strained ties between the neighbours. – Reuters

Editorial: The decline of American deterrence has let the world’s rogues think they can take advantage of weaker neighbors in Europe and the Middle East. Let’s hope Mr. Biden sent a sterner message to Mr. Xi and backs it up soon with more hard power. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: More visibly, both leaders should recognize that certain modes of communication are too important to be used as bargaining chips. They should resume military-to-military talks and promise to keep those channels open regardless of other disputes. The same goes for newly commenced nuclear talks. Similarly, the two sides should continue working-level economic discussions to manage expectations and foreshadow actions that might otherwise be misconstrued. – Bloomberg

Editorial: We sincerely wish that Biden succeeds in communicating to Xi that an invasion of Taiwan is not in his interest. We also hope the citizens of San Francisco enjoy their week of vacation from homelessness. Because come next week, the security zones will be gone, and San Francisco will go back to being the cesspool it has become. – Washington Examiner

Michael Hirsh writes: Jannuzi said that, during its first two and a half years, the Biden administration took the proper approach to the China threat by shoring up its alliances and talking tough to Beijing, often in public forums. The problem, he said, is that “they have not done much yet on task No. 2, which is negotiating with China to make sure the world’s two largest economies are not at knife point. That job remains undone.” – Politico

Minxin Pei writes: The fact that attitudes toward America appear to be growing friendlier in China itself suggests that such an approach could find support at home, too. All these actions would help China if Biden is re-elected, too. If Xi means what he told his US counterpart about wanting to avoid conflict, now is the time to prove it. – Bloomberg

South Asia

At Pakistan’s main border crossing with northern Afghanistan, the narrow path into an uncertain future runs between two rusty iron fences and ends beneath a black-and-white flag of the Taliban-run government. – Washington Post

Two days after rebel forces in Myanmar’s Chin state overran the junta’s two military bases close to the border with India, they have taken control of a border crossing point between the two countries across the tiny hilly Indian state of Mizoram. – Reuters

Southeast Asian defense ministers called Wednesday for an end to the Israel-Hamas war and for the world to collaborate on setting up humanitarian aid corridors in Gaza, but they struggled on how to address the prolonged civil strife in Myanmar. – Associated Press

Bangladesh’s expected parliamentary elections will be held on Jan. 7, electoral authorities announced Wednesday, but the opposition reiterated its vow to boycott the polls unless the government hands power to a caretaker administration. – Associated Press


Trade ministers from members of an Asian free trade pact abandoned by the United States affirmed on Wednesday a desire for more countries to join the bloc if they can meet its standards. – Reuters

Myanmar’s junta has reported “heavy assaults” by insurgents and told government staff to get ready for emergencies, an official said on Thursday, while media reported a call for those with military experience to prepare to serve. – Reuters

Defence ministers and officials from the United States, China, Russia and Southeast Asia gathered in Indonesia on Thursday for a meeting where they are expected to discuss geopolitical crises in and outside the region –  Reuters

A United Nations expert on climate change and human rights urged the Philippines on Wednesday to “disband” its anti-communist task force, which he said was “operating with impunity” and sought an independent investigation into its operations. – Reuters

Australia said on Wednesday China could lift all its remaining trade blocks by next month as relations between the commodity trade partners stabilise and after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Beijing earlier this month. – Reuters

Taiwan will take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco this week, a rare opportunity for the self-governing island democracy of 23 million people and its high-tech economy to break the diplomatic embargo on it imposed by authoritarian China. – Associated Press

A Myanmar army battalion based near the Chinese border surrendered to an alliance of ethnic armed groups that launched a surprise offensive last month against the military, a spokesperson for one of the groups said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Lucy Hornby writes: For Taiwan, the best outcome in San Francisco may be a mutual agreement to defer any agreement. This “not today” strategy would allow Taiwan to survive another day—until the fifth Taiwan Strait crisis resets the game again. – Foreign Policy


A U.K. plan to send some migrants who arrive illegally to live in Rwanda suffered a setback after a top court said the central African country isn’t a safe place to house asylum seekers. – Wall Street Journal 

Hungary on Wednesday sought a review of the European Union’s policy towards Ukraine, disagreeing with Germany, Lithuania, Finland and Ireland that backed bringing Kyiv closer to the bloc swiftly and granting it more aid amidst a Russian invasion. – Reuters

A deal allowing Italy to build reception camps in Albania for thousands of migrants arriving by sea does not breach EU law which is not applicable, the bloc’s top migration official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The European Union reached a deal on Wednesday on a law to place methane emissions limits on Europe’s oil and gas imports from 2030, pressuring international suppliers to clamp down on leaks of the potent greenhouse gas. – Reuters

The Czech government said on Wednesday it froze Russian state-owned properties in the Czech Republic, expanding a sanctions list set up in retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

Further groups of asylum seekers arrived on Wednesday at Finland’s southeastern border via Russia, part of a sudden surge that the president said appeared to be Russian revenge for his country’s defence cooperation with the United States. – Reuters

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Wednesday defended his controversial amnesty deal for Catalonia’s separatists in parliament a day before the Socialist leader seeks the endorsement of the chamber to form a new government. – Associated Press

Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has signaled her interest in becoming the next secretary general of NATO when the top job at the Western military alliance falls vacant next year. – Associated Press

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer was hit by a string of resignations from his frontbench in the House of Commons on Wednesday night, after facing a rebellion from his MPs over his refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza. –  Agence France-Presse

A free-trade agreement between Australia and the European Union looks unlikely before Europe’s election season in mid-2024, Trade Minister Don Farrell said, pushing back any potential deal to the second half of the year. – Bloomberg

About 100 members of the French National Assembly are in shock, having watched yesterday a 43 minutes film provided by the Israel Defense Forces: a succession of videos about the atrocities in South-West Israel, many of them triumphantly released by Hamas itself. While most people in the audience belonged to the France-Israel Friendship Caucus, some did not. Several burst in tears in the middle of the projection and had to leave hastily. – New York Sun

Quentin Letts writes: More important than these foreign policy values, he brings a civilizing, optimistic polish to the Conservatives. Paradoxically enough, his presence could even allow Sunak to embrace more right-wing policies while appearing centrist. In St. John’s Gospel, when Jesus directs Lazarus’s grieving family to open his tomb, they warn him about the corpse’s odor. But David Cameron, even in his darkest moments, has only ever come up smelling of lavender and roses. – Washington Post

Moya Lothian-McLean writes: Tory dysfunction is back at the top of the news, safe ground for Britain’s commentariat. As the papers pored over Mr. Cameron’s bombshell return, Gaza City’s biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, was becoming a living tomb. Doctors trapped there by heavy fighting shared images of premature babies in their care: Removed from incubators after oxygen supplies were exhausted, their frail forms were stark against turquoise blankets. In the sight of such horror, Britain’s politicians avert their gaze. But its public is bearing witness. – New York Times

Matthew Brooker writes: There’s also a pragmatic reason, expressed succinctly by Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Why root out every vestige of the party-state in Britain when we can study it instead? Confucius, or David Cameron, might hesitate to embrace the concept. Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, who’s credited by some with originating the phrase, surely would. – Bloomberg


Bodies littered the road out of El Geneina, a town in western Sudan, as Dr. Rodwan Mustafa and his family sped down a bumpy road that led to the border with Chad and, they hoped, safety. – New York Times

Madagascar’s voters headed to polls early on Thursday in a presidential election boycotted by 10 out of 12 opposition candidates and marred by weeks of violent protests. – Reuters

Food aid for more than half a million refugees who have fled from Sudan to Chad will run out next month without extra funding, a World Food Programme official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Liberian opposition leader Joseph Boakai has a slight lead over President George Weah in a run-off election after results from about 22% of polling stations, the West African country’s elections commission said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Authorities in Madagascar imposed a night-time curfew in the capital after some polling stations were set on fire ahead of Thursday’s presidential elections that most opposition candidates are boycotting. – Associated Press

Clayton Boeyink and Stephanie Schwartz write: The international community should not repeat its past complicity in assisting less-than-voluntary repatriation operations and should instead condemn governmental pressures to return, even if it risks operations on the ground. Likewise, international donors need to do more to financially support the Tanzanian government in hosting refugees, which has  caused tension and been central to the government’s public rationale for harsh encampment for decades. – Foreign Policy

Latin America

Argentina’s election has quickly become a testing ground for A.I. in campaigns, with the two candidates and their supporters employing the technology to doctor existing images and videos and create others from scratch. – New York Times

Paraguay and Venezuela have decided to reestablish diplomatic ties, the Paraguayan foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, after the South American countries broke off relations nearly five years ago. – Reuters

Global investors expect a large amount of financial pain out of Argentina no matter who voters pick on Sunday as their next president, with social unrest as top of mind as a much-needed fiscal adjustment will likely trigger even more inflation. – Reuters

Venezuela told the World Court on Wednesday that it will go ahead with a referendum on Dec. 3 over its rights to a potentially oil-rich territory that is the subject of a border dispute with Guyana, which asked the court to halt the vote. – Reuters

North America

Earlier this year, U.S. and Qatari officials met in Doha to simulate a hostage situation. The exercise was fast-moving and hazardous: Islamic State militants in Somalia had seized four aid workers, two Americans and two Qataris. One of the Americans was gravely injured, and the group had to decide whether to attempt a rescue. – Washington Post

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will meet with his Chinese and Canadian counterparts on Thursday in San Francisco during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. Senate took the risk of an impending partial government shutdown off the table on Wednesday as it passed a stopgap spending bill and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign into law before a weekend deadline. – Reuters

The head of the FBI told Congress Wednesday that federal law enforcement officials have launched “multiple investigations into individuals affiliated” with Hamas since the terrorist group attacked Israel last month, but they have not seen evidence of a specific credible threat. – CBS News

Editorial: But this isn’t how democratic government is supposed to work. Political appointees and bureaucrats are free to argue up the chain of command for a different course of action. If they don’t succeed, they can continue to do their jobs, or else they can resign. But it’s a dereliction of duty for federal workers to spend their time trying to stymie the policy of elected officials. – Wall Street Journal


Starlink, the satellite internet service of billionaire Elon Musk, has secured a 1.56 billion peso ($89.80 million) contract to offer free internet in Mexico until the end of 2026, a Mexican government official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Blacklisted Israeli spyware company NSO Group is looking to make inroads with the Biden administration amid the conflict in the Middle East, part of a larger effort to reverse sanctions against the company. – Politico

Of all the possible threats to the United States’ homeland security across domains, there is one that the dual-hatted chief of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command is acutely concerned about: attacks on critical infrastructure from cyberspace. – DefenseScoop


The US Defense Department failed for the sixth consecutive year to score a clean financial audit, a goal routinely achieved annually by businesses that have a fraction of its $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 billion in liabilities. – Reuters

NATO announced Wednesday it has opted to buy six new E-7A Wedgetail surveillance planes built by U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing as the 31-nation military alliance looks to update its eyes in the sky in coming years. – Associated Press

The Pentagon’s counter-drone office is making headway on pushing new capabilities as the military services and combatant commands adopt the technology, its director said. – Defense News

European missile producer MBDA is restarting production of its Cold War-era PARM directional anti-tank mine after Germany ordered thousands of the tripwire systems to replace stocks delivered to Ukraine. – Defense News

Last year, Ukraine put out an unusual crowdfunding request. It aimed to build 100 sea drones, which it would use to attack Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and ports. – USNI News