Fdd's overnight brief

November 17, 2023

In The News


When Hamas launched the Oct. 7 attacks that killed some 1,200 people across southern Israel, Maher Skaik, a 62-year-old from the Gaza Strip, was working in the Tel Aviv neighborhood where he had been a pastry maker for more than two years. A week later, Skaik said police officers came to the apartment he shared with several other Palestinian workers and took them into custody. Skaik was detained for a few days in a small cell where a group of detainees, several of whom he said were beaten by guards, slept on the floor squeezed together. – Wall Street Journal

The Gaza Strip was plunged into another blackout Thursday afternoon after telecommunications companies ran out of generator fuel and backup batteries shut down, leaving Palestinians cut off from the outside world — and one another — as the war rages on. – Washington Post

Israel is preventing some Palestinian Americans from entering the country from the West Bank, an apparent violation of a recent agreement in which citizens from the United States and Israel can travel to the other nation without a visa. – New York Times

Israeli soldiers have recovered the body of one of the hostages kidnapped during the Hamas-led attack on Israel last month from a building next to the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, the Israeli military said on Thursday night. – New York Times

France on Thursday condemned violence by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, calling it a “policy of terror” aimed at displacing Palestinians and urging Israeli authorities to protect Palestinians from the violence. – Reuters

Images released by Israel of weapons it says it soldiers found inside Gaza’s biggest hospital are not sufficient to justify revoking the hospital’s status as protected by the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. – Reuters

Three Palestinian assailants opened fire at a checkpoint on a road between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Thursday, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding others before the attackers were shot dead, Israeli police said. – Reuters

A group of United Nations experts said on Thursday there was “evidence of increasing genocidal incitement” against the Palestinian people in what it said were “grave violations” committed by Israel. – Reuters

The United States will not share any Israeli intelligence or elaborate on its own intelligence assessment that Hamas used Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital as a command center and possibly as a storage facility, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday. – Reuters

After raiding the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, Israel appears close to completing its takeover of the besieged territory’s northern sector, which it has described as the headquarters of the ruling Hamas militant group. But as the military sets its sights on southern Gaza in its campaign to stamp out Hamas, key challenges loom: International patience for a protracted invasion has begun to wear thin, and with nearly 2 million displaced Gaza civilians staying in overcrowded shelters in the south, a broad military offensive there could unleash a new humanitarian disaster during the cold, wet winter. – Associated Press

As concerns grow for patients stranded inside Gaza’s biggest hospital, experts warned that transporting vulnerable people, including babies, is a perilous proposition under even the best circumstances. – Associated Press

South Africa has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said. – Associated Press

Laura Blumenfeld writes: Today Benjamin Netanyahu says there will be “no cease-fire without the release of our hostages.” Civilian casualties are painfully high, and rising. Mr. Netanyahu has set a stiff military objective: total elimination of Hamas, with Messrs. Deif and Sinwar as top targets. Israel had both years ago and let them go. They’re now in Gaza, underground, almost certainly laughing. There is no light at the end of Hamas tunnels. And no end to regret until they’re dead. – Wall Street Journal

Marc Champion writes: Those numbers wouldn’t normally be enough to give the ultra-orthodox a decisive voice, even when combined with religious nationalists such as Smotrich. Yet they do because Netanyahu depends on them for his political survival. Hence the 13.7 billion shekels of annual subsidies to be handed out as part of his deal with the ultra-right coalition. A small proportion of that would be part of the 4 billion shekels of departmental cuts — the precise figure is as yet unclear — but these funds are simply bad for Israel. Not only do they destroy economic and human potential, but by financing the expansion of illegal settlements they also destroy Palestinian rights and paths to peace. – Bloomberg

Sean Durns writes: The PA not only lacks legitimacy with its own people, but it also lacks the will to fulfill its already existing obligations. Indeed, the PA’s unpopularity led to Fatah losing the 2006 elections to Hamas in Gaza. Absent serious reforms, a PA return to Gaza seems unlikely to bring peace for Israelis and Palestinians. – Washington Examiner

John Bolton writes: Resettlement raises substantial practical questions, and would be difficult and contentious, but this is not a convincing objection — so are all the alternatives. Recreating the status quo ante October 7 is clearly impossible, totally unacceptable to Israel. Having the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza is almost as bad. Who can seriously argue that Mahmoud Abbas’s corrupt, dysfunctional regime, which barely governs the West Bank, will improve by expanding? – The Hill

Gabriel Diamond writes: As Israel and its allies consider the future of Gaza and Palestinian leadership, they would be wise to take the Palestinian Authority’s own words and actions seriously. Gaza will require a new vision — one that leaves behind the Palestinian Authority’s corruption and oppression of the Palestinian people. – The Hill

Tara D. Sonenshine and Henri J. Barkey write: It needs to draw upon a wealth of experienced diplomats, generals, former leaders and members of the Knesset to band together now and figure out how to get all hostages home, resolve the humanitarian issues, envision a post Gaza scenario, reconcile with the West Bank and help create an international plan that allows decent Palestinians to live with dignity and without fear — something every human being deserves. – The Hill

Neomi Neumann writes: Even so, the Gaza war will continue posing three key challenges to this status quo: intensified Israeli security operations in the West Bank; restrictions on Palestinian local movements and job opportunities inside Israel; and worsening violence by emboldened Jewish extremists. The first two challenges are inevitable security conditions necessitated by the unprecedented Gaza crisis. Yet the third is something Israel can certainly curtail if it makes a more concerted and effective effort to counter Jewish extremist activity. Failure to do so could tip the West Bank population past the breaking point and into full-blown confrontation with Israel, opening another front in the war and dramatically complicating the IDF’s ability to secure the borders and protect citizens. – Washington Institute


France’s foreign minister said she had told her Iranian counterpart on Thursday that Tehran would bear a heavy responsibility if the conflict in Gaza spreads across the region. – Reuters

The top commander of Iran’s Quds force said the resistance front supported the Tehran-backed Hamas militant group in its war with Israel in Gaza. – Reuters

The United States and its allies have few routes left to rein in Iran’s nuclear work with prospects for talks long buried and tougher actions against Tehran running the risk of stoking tensions in a region already enflamed by the Gaza war. – Reuters

Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to nearly weapons-grade levels, according to a report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog seen by The Associated Press on Wednesday. – Associated Press

Editorial: Secrecy has been the Biden pattern on Iran, and for good reason: Its policy is unpopular. A Nov. 10-13 poll finds that 70% of Americans, including 58% of Democrats, think the President has been “too accommodating” to Iran. Obama-era habits have proved hard to break. – Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth write: As evidenced by the U.S. targeting and killing Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of Iranian forces, during a visit to Iraq, a bloody nose is the only response Iran understands, and precisely the response the U.S. must deliver. U.S. messaging must now exact a price. It can no longer be business as usual in the Middle East. – The Hill

Hamidreza Azizi writes: Currently, the axis members seem to regard time as an ally, anticipating that growing global disapproval of the Israeli campaign in Gaza will pressure Israel into a ceasefire without completely undermining Hamas. Should this strategy fail, the axis likely plans any escalation to be incremental, eschewing a full-scale offensive or a comprehensive declaration of war by Hizballah. Step-by-step escalation could serve to measure the other side’s responses while maintaining the option to recalibrate and avert an unmanageable crisis. But even this approach does not rule out the possibility of a dangerous miscalculation at a critical juncture. – War on the Rocks

Assaf Zoran writes: Now, more than ever is a crucial time for preparing negotiations for additional agreements in the Middle East, including the pact between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Boycotting talks, postponing discussions to an uncertain future, or unilaterally criticizing parties involved only diminishes the prospects of heeding and incorporating moderate voices into the dialogue. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

As Russian President Vladimir Putin looks toward the second anniversary of his all-out assault on Ukraine, his self-confidence is hard to miss. A much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive has not achieved the breakthrough that would give Kyiv a strong hand to negotiate. Tumult in the Middle East dominates the headlines, and bipartisan support for Ukraine in the U.S. has been upended by polarization and dysfunction in Congress, not to mention the pro-Putin leanings of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. – Wall Street Journal

Some of the riskiest battles in Ukraine are being fought not by soldiers but by cops. In many recent operations on the eastern front — including the liberation of a key village near Bakhmut — police officers boldly advanced on occupying Russian forces, attacking with grenades and gunfire. Ukrainian police have long been reviled as corrupt and ineffective, and citizens united against them during the Maidan revolution of 2013-14, which led to a sweeping overhaul and rebranding. – Washington Post

The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on maritime companies and vessels for shipping Russian oil sold above the G7’s price cap, as Washington seeks to close loopholes in the mechanism designed to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine. – Reuters

Russia’s rocket forces loaded an intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with the nuclear-capable “Avangard” hypersonic glide vehicle into a launch silo in southern Russia, according to a defence ministry TV channel broadcast on Thursday. – Reuters

Three oil tankers, newly sanctioned by Washington, regularly shipped Russian Sokol crude to India in recent months, shiptracking data from LSEG and Kpler showed. – Reuters

North Korea’s premier Kim Tok Hun met with Russia’s natural resources minister Alexander Kozlov and held talks on Thursday, North Korean state media reported. – Reuters

Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been closing in on those who challenge the Kremlin. Protesters and activists have been arrested or imprisoned, independent news outlets have been silenced, and various groups have been added to registers of “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations.” – Associated Press

Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan writes: It is quite possible that the prospects for a mutually agreed cease-fire and follow-on negotiations over territory will improve markedly after the 2024 presidential election in the United States. If the winner is committed to the continuation of transatlantic solidarity and further efforts to ensure Ukraine’s security and sovereignty, Putin would have little reason to presume that time is on Russia’s side. But the U.S. election is a year away, and it could lead to an outcome that leaves Ukraine in the lurch. Neither Washington nor Kyiv should run that risk. The United States needs to work with Ukraine now to pivot to a new strategy that reflects military and political realities. To do otherwise is to recklessly gamble on Ukraine’s future. – Foreign Affairs


Defence Minister Yasar Gular said on Thursday the Turkey was in talks with Britain and Spain to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, though Germany objected to the idea. – Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected in Berlin on Friday on a short visit to Germany as the two countries’ stances on the war between Israel and Hamas are poles apart. – Associated Press

Turkey’s military carried out air strikes in northern Iraq and killed 13 Kurdish militants, the defence ministry said on Friday. – Reuters


Shelling intensified across Lebanon’s frontier with Israel on Thursday, with Lebanese armed group Hezbollah saying it had fired missiles at eight positions across the border and Israel saying it had retaliated with artillery. – Reuters

A military prosecutor in Lebanon has issued a warrant against Lebanese journalist Layal Alekhtiar after she conducted an interview with the IDF spokesperson for Arabic media, Avichay Adraee, on al-Arabiya last month, Alekhtiar said on Thursday night. – Jerusalem Post

Hezbollah fired a small number of rockets and anti-tank missiles, but Thursday was a rare day where the small volume and lack of danger posed by the attacks meant that the IDF did not even send out a formal public message about the attacks. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

Jordan won’t sign a deal to provide energy to Israel in exchange for water that was planned to be ratified last month, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told AL Jazeera TV on Thursday. – Reuters

Syria shot down Israeli missiles fired from the Golan Heights towards the surroundings of the capital Damascus in the early hours of Friday, the Syrian army said. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry about efforts to increase humanitarian aid to Palestinians in urgent need, the State Department said on Thursday. – Reuters

Lina Khatib writes: The likelihood of the various Iran-backed groups in the region sacrificing their domestic gains and objectives for the sake of Hamas is low. But further escalation could be driven by their calculations that the ongoing Hamas-Israel war offers more opportunities to claim local authority. The longer the war, the more such opportunities they have — and the greater the risk of a catastrophic miscalculation that sets off a wider conflict that most ultimately wish to avoid. – Bloomberg

Christopher P. Costa writes: Understandably, passions are running high as a result of Qatar still hosting Hamas political leadership. But rather than shutting down a crucial channel for recovering hostages, the U.S. and Qatar have prudently acknowledged the need to revisit an apparent agreement to reassess Qatar’s ties to Hamas after the Gaza hostage crisis is resolved. For what it’s worth, I believe that is smart diplomacy. – The Hill

Colby Connelly writes: As the war continues, uncertainty over the future of the East Med gas industry and its potential to become a major exporter to European or other markets will linger. Without a doubt, an escalation that results in major damage to gas assets, intentional or otherwise, would represent the most dire turn of events for the sector to date. However, nothing of the sort has yet taken place, and absent such an outcome, it is difficult to assert that the war has shifted the outlook for the region in a way that is either unprecedented or fundamentally changes the nature of the challenges it faced prior to Oct. 7. – Middle East Institute

Joseph Epstein writes: Since the start of the Israeli war in Gaza against Hamas, France has warned Hezbollah and Iran to stay out of the conflict to prevent it from becoming regional. On November 2, Lecornu said, “Lebanon doesn’t need war.” Yet France’s arming of Beirut will not only do nothing to prevent war but will greatly assist Hezbollah should a war break out. – The National Interest

Fatima Abo Alasrar writes: Addressing the Houthi threat requires a balanced approach, blending robust security measures with diplomatic efforts to tackle the root political and social issues fueling the conflict. This includes fostering a political resolution in Yemen, curbing Iran’s regional influence, and addressing humanitarian concerns. Crucially, disrupting the flow of arms and financial support to the Houthis, particularly from Iran, is essential. Targeted sanctions and diplomatic pressure could limit their operational capabilities and encourage participation in peace talks. Underestimating the Houthis or failing to address the broader context of Iran’s regional strategy could lead to devastating consequences, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive, coordinated international response to ensure regional stability and security. – Middle East Institute

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: God is omnipotent and omniscient, and his will is not subject to negotiation. Reducing terrorist recruitment would be served by a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution, fewer wars, and improved rights in the Middle East. But al Qaeda wants a lot more than American forces out of the Middle East. – Washington Examiner


Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s suggestion that China would send new pandas to the U.S. was a minor gesture in an otherwise bitter rivalry but symbolic of attempts by both governments to find areas to cooperate. It was also a reminder of how pandas have long occupied a special place in U.S.-China diplomacy. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden addressed a wide range of issues — including tensions around Taiwan, the war in Gaza and the fentanyl crisis — in a news conference on Wednesday, after his first meeting in a year with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. – Washington Post

When President Biden met President Xi Jinping on Wednesday on the edges of Silicon Valley, there was a subtle but noticeable shift in the power dynamic between two countries that have spent most of the past few years denouncing, undercutting and imposing sanctions on each other. – New York Times

The fur balls might be coming back to Washington and San Diego. Xi Jinping, China’s leader, said in a speech on Wednesday night that his nation’s best diplomats, giant pandas, might soon return to zoos in the United States that have recently sent bears back to their homeland. – New York Times

President Biden said Thursday that the United States has “real differences with Beijing,” one day after he held an hourslong meeting with President Xi Jinping of China at a moment of deep tension between the two countries. – New York Times

China’s narcotics control agency has warned against the manufacture and sale of substances that can be used to make illegal drugs, a day after President Xi Jinping said China would stem the export of items used to make the opioid fentanyl. – Reuters

Editorial: All of this will hurt their image in the U.S., especially among those on the political right who are increasingly skeptical of big business but whom business needs to fend off regulatory and tax assaults from the political left. Shareholders might ask whether cozying up to Mr. Xi really serves their interests. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: But engaging with China is better than disengagement or trying to decouple, which would hurt growth on both sides of the Pacific and raise the likelihood of conflict. Dealing with China is a delicate balancing act. Yet a recalibration based on reality, not hyperbole, will make the world a bit safer. – Washington Post

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: Restraining Chinese military ambitions becomes primarily a matter of American deterrence, meaning the thoughtful dangling of carrots and swinging of sticks. Those carrots and sticks aren’t available if they’ve been wasted securing Mr. Xi’s agreement to measures he’ll struggle to deliver anyway. If we’re going to have more of these summits—again, not a bad thing in principle—next time let’s try to do the reverse. – Wall Street Journal

Hal Brands writes: That’s a depressing thought, but retaining the ability to preserve the international system America has constructed first requires realism about the challenges that system confronts. If Xi’s statements are any guide, he won’t deceive himself about what this or any other diplomatic meeting can achieve. Washington shouldn’t deceive itself, either. – Bloomberg

Jeff Moon writes: Readers can decide for themselves how and why the U.S.-China relationship has fallen into disrepair, but all can lament the fact that the San Francisco summit merely restarted bilateral cooperation already under way a decade ago. The long list of cooperative activities in the 2011 Joint Statement exists in 2023 as just a wish list of frozen action items. – The Hill

South Asia

New challenges are emerging from the situation in western Asia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a speech at the Global South Summit on Friday. – Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged leaders of developing nations to unite in the face of growing challenges due to the Israel-Hamas war as he convened a virtual summit of more than 100 countries Friday. – Associated Press

United Nations Human Rights Chief Volker Türk said he is “alarmed” by reports that Afghan refugees are being abused in Pakistan as the country carries out its policy of forced mass deportation. – CNN


A 53-year-old man was arrested in Tokyo on Thursday after crashing a car into a barricade near the entrance of the Israeli embassy and injuring a police officer, authorities said. Police said the suspect was a member of a right-wing organisation, without elaborating, and that a policeman in his 20s sustained non-life threatening injuries. – Reuters

China said it hopes Fiji will continue to give ‘firm’ support to it on issues concerning Beijing’s core interests and major concerns, state media cited President Xi Jinping as saying to Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida committed to pursuing mutually-beneficial relations in their first face-to-face talks in a year, a sign that Asia’s two largest economies are looking to patch up strained ties. – Reuters

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Friday he will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the APEC Summit in San Francisco to discuss tensions and formulate ways forward in the South China Sea. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met with U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday in San Francisco, according to Yoon’s office. – Reuters

The U.S. and its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework partners will regroup their trade pillar negotiations early next year after three negotiating rounds in the past two months fell short of substantial agreements, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

In the pre-dawn darkness on Monday, a 22-year-old Myanmar rebel fighter approached a hill-top military camp in remote Chin State with dozens of comrades for an assault that opened up another front in a mounting nationwide offensive against the junta. – Reuters

Myanmar’s military has launched attacks from the air and the sea to recapture a port town on the Bay of Bengal, an opposition alliance said on Friday, as junta forces face the fiercest offensive from their enemies in years. – Reuters

The United States and the Philippines on Friday signed a landmark deal that would allow Washington to export nuclear technology and material to Manila, which is exploring the use of nuclear power to decarbonise and boost energy independence. – Reuters

Vietnam has been ramping up its dredging and landfill work in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, creating another 330 acres of land since December last year, a U.S. think tank said in a report. – Reuters

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it could not take part in a meeting with Armenia’s foreign minister planned for Nov. 20 in Washington because of the “one-sided approach of the United States”. – Reuters

Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday in San Francisco that he had been invited by U.S. President Joe Biden for a formal state visit to Washington, the first for a Japanese premier in several years. – Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping, fresh off his meeting with President Joe Biden, courted Indo-Pacific leaders in a flurry of meetings Thursday at a time of intensifying competition with the United States. – Associated Press

Karishma Vaswani writes: Those difficult discussions will no doubt focus on how much control China has over what goes on in Taiwan, although neither of the opposition parties have suggested in any way the island’s sovereignty is up for grabs — it would be politically foolish to do that. But if avoiding a Chinese invasion and reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the objective, then the island’s opposition parties may present the best possible shot at that yet — as long as they keep the electorate’s distinct identity in mind. – Bloomberg


European governments are boosting their assistance to Ukraine as worries grow that Washington’s failure to approve new aid could cause Ukraine to lose ground in the war against Russia. – Wall Street Journal

Finland said on Thursday that it was closing part of its border with Russia after a dramatic increase in migrant crossings that it blamed on Moscow, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the neighbors since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times

Former Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, in his new role as foreign secretary, vowed on a surprise visit to Ukraine that his country would maintain military support for Kyiv “however long it takes,” an effort to offer reassurance amid fears that Ukraine is being forgotten as much of the world’s attention focuses on the war in Gaza. – New York Times

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has suffered a significant rebellion in Parliament over its policy on Gaza, in a sign of the hardening of opinion in Western Europe against Israel’s military action in the enclave. – New York Times

The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission delayed a vote on Sweden’s NATO membership bid on Thursday in a further setback to the Nordic country’s hopes of joining the Western alliance after 18 months of waiting. – Reuters

Poland will tell the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) that it wishes to join in the first weeks after a new government is formed, the man widely tipped to be the next justice minister told Reuters, as Warsaw seeks to unblock European Union funds. – Reuters

German police conducted raids early on Thursday in seven states over the Islamic Centre of Hamburg’s suspected support for the militant group Hezbollah, the interior ministry said. – Reuters

Joshua C. Huminski  writes: The changes underway within NATO would continue, nonetheless. While the outcome of the war in Ukraine is unclear — though NATO member countries’ commitment to Kyiv’s ultimate victory is unquestioned — Moscow certainly appears to have suffered a strategic defeat with NATO’s expansion and renewed sense of purpose. We are only beginning to see the long-term implications of the reinvigoration of NATO, but it is clear that the benefits for European defense and security are undeniable. – The Hill


After weeks of political violence, voters on the island nation of Madagascar went to the polls on Thursday to elect a president, even though 10 of the 13 candidates called for a boycott, accusing the man they are vying to replace of unfairly tilting the process in his favor. – New York Times

Sudan asked the United Nations on Thursday to “immediately terminate” the U.N. political mission in the country (UNITAMS), Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Ali Sadeq, told the U.N. Security Council in a letter seen by Reuters. – Reuters

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said on Thursday that it would support a parliamentary motion calling for the Israeli embassy in South Africa to be closed. – Reuters

The Americas

For four seconds, Nathaniel Veltman floored the gas pedal, hurtling his pickup truck toward a Muslim family of five out for an evening walk in London, Ontario, killing four of them. The lone survivor was a 9-year-old boy. The jury, after less than a day of deliberating, found Mr. Veltman, 22, guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder involving the young boy in the June 2021 attack. – New York Times

Kenyan lawmakers voted on Thursday to support a request to deploy hundreds of police officers to Haiti in a U.N.-approved mission aimed at helping the Caribbean nation tackle gang violence. – Reuters

The FBI added a Haitian gang leader to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on Wednesday for the kidnapping and slaying of American missionaries in that country, but conceded capturing him will be a difficult task in the often lawless nation. – Associated Press

Mexico and China’s leaders met on Thursday and committed to working together and strengthening ties, while agreeing to battle illegal drug trafficking between their nations and to push for more trade and investment. – Reuters

Latin America

A top leader of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang will stand trial in New York on terrorism charges, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. El Salvador citizen Elmer Canales, known as “Crook de Hollywood,” was arrested by Mexican authorities last week and sent to Texas, where a federal court on Wednesday ordered him to face trial in New York. – Reuters

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte met with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday, discussing major infrastructure projects and possible investments, her office said on social media. – Reuters

The United States on Thursday imposed visa restrictions on eleven people for “undermining democracy and the rule of law” in Guatemala as it condemned attempts to undermine the transfer of power, the State Department said. – Reuters

President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, two strong allies who don’t always get along personally, will talk migration, fentanyl trafficking and Cuba relations on Friday. – Associated Press

United States

The U.S. Congress closed its doors for nearly two weeks on Thursday without passing emergency aid for Israel and Ukraine, as lawmakers argued over unrelated immigration policy and faced pockets of resistance from Republicans on continued aide for Kyiv’s war against Russia. – Reuters

Tiana Lowe Doescher writes: As with Jan. 6, it’s up for debate whether the DNC debacle constituted an actual attempt at an insurrection. But it is nonnegotiable that between the two demonstrations of the week — nearly 300,000 strong peacefully marching for Israel, democracy, and the humanity of Jews versus the jackbooted thugs who consider the only good Jew the Jew that lays down his weapons to die — there is zero comparison. – Washington Examiner

Tiana Lowe Doescher writes: There are plenty of reasonable questions to ask about the Gaza conflagration that won’t necessarily favor Israel. Who will be responsible for governing Gaza when Hamas is eradicated, and is the government under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu best suited to oversee Israel once the next stages of this war are complete? But that’s not what Mate wants: If he actually wanted an answer from Coons, he could have asked a serious question instead of one his caucus has answered repeatedly and negatively. But of course, Mate just wanted attention for himself, a one-way sounding board in which he could sound like a hero to a senator who clearly was not going to respond. Accosting Coons in the quiet car was a feature, not a bug, of Mate’s entire method. – Washington Examiner


U.S. government officials are struggling to determine the full scope of hacking activity carried out by an aggressive group that has rocketed to public prominence after breaching two Las Vegas resort operators, U.S. law enforcement and cybersecurity officials said during a briefing with reporters Thursday. – CyberScoop

The leading cybersecurity officials in the U.S. published a stark warning on Thursday about a group of hackers who have disrupted some of the largest companies in the country through social engineering and other tactics. – The Record

Zachary Faria writes: If you do not think that the “news” that TikTok’s algorithm is pushing to users is colored by the Chinese Communist Party and TikTok’s parent company that works closely with it, you would be naive. It is the best propaganda tool that the CCP has, and it takes excessive amounts of data from people while giving them anti-American propaganda and destructive trends in return. – Washington Examiner


The United States has seen the development of several so-called “X-planes,” the series of aircraft that have been used to test and evaluate new technologies and aerodynamic concepts. The concept was first initiated during the Second World War and has continued to the modern day. – The National Interest

Lockheed Martin is preparing to send the U.S. Air Force its advanced TPY-4 radar for further evaluation, following months of internal testing and tweaks at company facilities in rural New York. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy is pushing new technology to its undersea fleet to make it safer, smarter and deadlier, while also nearing a major step in developing its next-generation attack submarine. – Defense News