Fdd's overnight brief

November 30, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the temporary truce by one day, following the release of 16 hostages held by militants in Gaza. Qatar announced the extension early Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

As Israeli forces prepare for a renewed offensive targeting Hamas’s top leaders in the Gaza Strip, Israeli military and political leaders are confronting the challenge of what to do about the thousands of fighters that represent the group’s power base. – Wall Street Journal

Four days after Hamas militants tore through southern Israel, a mournful procession of local officials here in Thailand’s bucolic east came to tell the family of Wichai Kalapat that the 28-year-old fruit farmer was among those killed. His girlfriend, Kittiya Thuengsaeng, hung a picture of him outside her front door. – Wall Street Journal

After more than 50 days, Liat Beinin was freed from Hamas captivity Wednesday. Beinin, 49, was one of nine Americans and one legal permanent resident who are believed to be among the roughly 240 hostages taken during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, according to U.S. officials. So far, only she and 4-year-old Abigail Edan have been released. – Washington Post

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will spend Thursday in Israel, where he will press its leaders to significantly enhance protections for Palestinian civilians in Gaza when the war’s next phase begins and promote a U.S.-favored governance plan for both the West Bank and Gaza once the fighting ends. – Washington Post

Israel should expand the scope of hostage negotiations beyond the release of women and children to also include men and military personnel, the families representing several Americans believed to be in Hamas captivity in Gaza said Wednesday. – Washington Post

The Biden administration is increasingly concerned that an upcoming Israeli offensive in southern Gaza will result in thousands more Palestinian civilian casualties, derail further hostage releases and interrupt the expanding flow of humanitarian aid, leading to stepped-up domestic and international criticism that Washington is complicit in Israel’s actions. – Washington Post

For weeks, humanitarian workers at the United Nations’ migration agency have detailed their concerns over the Israel-Gaza war in emails, town-hall meetings and an internal letter to their director — demanding “a clear, public stance against forced displacement” of Palestinians. – Washington Post

The prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi and more than two dozen other women and children were released from Israeli prisons early Thursday, Israeli and Palestinian authorities said, in the latest exchange for hostages held in Gaza. – New York Times

Two children were shot dead by Israeli soldiers during a raid in the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry and a local official said. The Palestinian Authority’s news agency, Wafa, said the two were Adam al-Ghoul, 8, and Basil Abu al-Wafa, 15. Mohammed Sabbagh, the head of a leadership council in Jenin, said two members of armed groups were also killed during a raid by Israeli forces that began Tuesday night. – New York Times

Concern for members of the Bibas family — a mother and her two young children who have become symbols of the hostages held in Gaza — deepened on Wednesday afternoon when Hamas’s armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, claimed the three had been killed in Israeli airstrikes. – New York Times

As international pressure grows to extend a temporary cease-fire with Hamas, some right-wing members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government are threatening to bring it down if he does not resume fighting in Gaza. – New York Times

An aunt of Avigail Idan, the girl who was taken hostage by Hamas after she saw her parents brutally killed and who turned 4 a few days before being released, says that her niece shared one piece of pita bread per day with four others, and did not have a shower or bath during her 50 days in captivity. – New York Times

China called on the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to formulate a “concrete” timetable and roadmap for a two-state solution to achieve a “comprehensive, just and lasting” settlement of the Palestinian issue. – Reuters

Two Palestinian attackers opened fire at a bus stop during morning rush hour at the entrance to Jerusalem on Thursday, killing at least two people and wounding eight others, Israeli police said. – Reuters

A U.N. commission of inquiry investigating war crimes on both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict will focus on sexual violence by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and is about to launch an appeal for evidence, its chair told Reuters on Wednesday. – Reuters

The United Nations on Wednesday called for the international community to move towards a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying Jerusalem should serve as the capital of both states. – Reuters

It has become an Israeli mantra throughout the latest war in Gaza: Hamas is ISIS. Since the bloody Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the conflict, Israeli leaders and commanders have likened the Palestinian militant group to the Islamic State group in virtually every speech and public statement. – Associated Press

Shira Goren, the sister of 29-year-old Shani Goren, who was kidnapped in Gaza, told Walla about a call she received on Wednesday morning from the family of Eitan Yahami, who was one of the hostages recently released from captivity. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF operated early Thursday in the city of Tulkarm in the West Bank, accompanied by bulldozers, according to Palestinian reports. – Jerusalem Post

The Palestinian Delegation to the UN in Geneva presented an exhibit of the faces of children they claim have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Of the faces presented, one stood out as immediately false – as it depicted the face of 5-year-old Ido Avigal, an Israeli child killed by Hamas rocket fire in Sderot in 2021. – Jerusalem Post

Chief military censor Brig. Gen. Kobi Mandelblit has issued a complaint with senior IDF officers that sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have exerted extraordinary pressure on him to prevent publication of various events in the media, without any security justification for doing so. – Haaretz

The mother of Noa Argamani, 26, whose kidnapping from the Nova festival on October 7 was captured on video and shared around the world, is dying of cancer, and she released a video on Wednesday pleading to see her daughter before the disease takes her life.  – Jerusalem Post

IDF soldiers have established a synagogue in the heart of the Gaza Strip during the ground invasion, according to Walla. – Jerusalem Post

A Thai foreign worker who was released from Hamas captivity in recent days has testified that Israeli hostages with whom he was held were beaten by their captors, including with cables. – Times of Israel

After receiving a security briefing from commanders and visiting one of Hamas’ terror tunnels, Netanyahu told the soldiers: “We have three goals in this war: Eliminate Hamas, return all of our hostages and ensure that Gaza will not go back to being a threat to the State of Israel.” – Jewish Insider

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, responded to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ comments about sex crimes committed by Hamas. – Artuz Sheva

US President Joe Biden said in a statement released on Wednesday night that he remains committed to the return of all the hostages still held by Hamas. – Arutz Sheva

Nearly two months after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged on Wednesday that Hamas terrorists performed acts of sexual violence against Israelis. – Arutz Sheva

Minister Benny Gantz gave a speech this evening (Wednesday) and emphasized that Israel will continue the war against Hamas immediately after the conclusion of the current ceasefire. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: Israel knows from prior swaps that freed Palestinian prisoners often return to the terrorist ranks, and no one should be surprised if those recently released take up arms again against Israelis or others. These are the ugly choices that Hamas’s terrorism and Palestinian violence are forcing Israel to make. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The hostages Hamas has already released suffered through a living hell. The hostages Hamas still has in captivity are no doubt still in a living hell. Israel should make all reasonable efforts to free them as soon as possible, but not at the expense of letting Hamas survive to fight another day. The elimination of Hamas is the highest strategic objective. The Biden administration should not press Israel to lose sight of this fact. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: The minister of national security cannot be expected to take responsibility for this disgrace. Nor can the prime minister, who is looking out for his political survival more than anything else. All that remains is to demand that Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai order his subordinates to enable protest, even if it consists of “disruptions of order,” by those whose lives have been ruined through the fault of the government, and especially through the fault of the person heading it. – Haaretz

Daniel Henninger writes: A word returning to fashion in national-security circles is “deterrence.” Deterrence is a bow to the dangers of accommodating disorder. The Netanyahu government’s accommodation of Hamas in Gaza was a deterrence failure. Communist China’s military expansiveness is a deterrence failure, as are the attacks by Iran’s proxies on U.S. forces and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Virulent antisemitism on U.S. campuses is a deterrence failure. The border is a deterrence failure. So is urban crime. It adds up. – Wall Street Journal

Adam Taylor writes: Some argue that the price is worth paying. “The costs of war are short term, relative to the long-term benefit of people going back to living safely,” one Israeli official told The Post’s David Ignatius last weekend. Yet with so much uncertainty about the next round of fighting, thousands of noncombatants killed or injured, and no clear plan for what happens to Gaza once the conflict is over, it may not be such a simple calculation. – Washington Post

Tom Rogan writes: Still, I believe U.S. interests and those of Israel and the Palestinians are best served by an American focus on eventual negotiations similar to those of 2000 and 2008. Of course, such a deal won’t be possible until a Palestinian leadership emerges that has both the respect for Israeli security concerns and the domestic credibility to make concessions. But that shouldn’t mean giving up on that prospect. – Washington Examiner

Ehud Olmert writes: The war in Gaza is not the war of Ben-Gvir, Smotrich and their friends. It’s our war, the war of the development towns, the moshavim and the kibbutzim (to whom the prime minister has yet to refer directly), who want to live in peace and security in their communities, but don’t want a perpetual messianic war with the Palestinian people. We will want and be able to live in peace and security alongside the state that they will establish. – Haaretz

Tamar Sternthal writes: Also released last night were 17-year-old Noam Or and his 13-year-old sister, Alma. Their mother Yonat was murdered by terrorists on October 7, and their father Dror remains hostage in Gaza, along with his 18-year-old nephew Liam. One of the terms of the agreement with the terror group, brokered by Qatar and Egypt, was that no child should be separated from their mother when released. Despite that, Hamas delayed the release of the hostages last night, claiming that in fact it was Israel that was violating the agreement. – Algemeiner

Ronn Torossian writes: All this is unnecessary, and all this is untrue. You cannot believe in anything in the world, if you admit even once that perhaps your opponents are right, and not you. This is not the way to do things. There is but one truth in the world, and it is all yours. If you are not sure of it, stay at home; but if you are sure, don’t look back, and it will be your way.” Yes, Israel alone is right. We are truly living in historic times. Let’s hope history doesn’t look at these times for the Jews as we do today at the Jews of Europe in 1938.  – Arutz Sheva

Marc Weller writes: The question is whether, after the trauma of Oct. 7, Israel will find the courage to engage in a process as complex and challenging as this one, perhaps after a change in government. But the truth is that the Palestine issue will not go away. It cannot be resolved through security control over millions of Palestinians for the indefinite future. – Foreign Policy

Jim Geraghty writes: Kat Rosenfeld, among others, lays out the evidence that “Maree Campbell” is not a real person — “account created in March 2023, no internet footprint apart from a clearly phony LinkedIn page, no other pics of her apart from this one, the syntax of her tweets suggests they’re being written by a nonnative English speaker, etc.” In other words, this outraging nonsense contention was likely written by someone who knows darn well that it’s outraging nonsense, and who simply wants to muddy the waters and put out the counter-narrative that the thugs of Hamas are actually kind and gentle guys, well-known for their compassion to women. – National Review


Neither Washington nor Tehran wants the conflict in the Gaza Strip to trigger a wider war in the region, officials in both capitals say. – New York Times

The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had imposed sanctions on 21 Iranian and foreign nationals and entities for their involvement in financial networks to benefit Iran’s defense ministry and other parts of its military. – Reuters

Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday flatly denied that the Tehran regime controls proxy terrorist groups across the Middle East, insisting that such groups act on their own volition when targeting US and Israeli interests. – Algemeiner

Tom Rogan writes: The Biden administration should bear close heed to this truth when the militias recommence their fire. If Americans are killed once fighting resumes, Iran must face direct retaliatory consequences. Few want an escalation of this conflict, but allowing Iran to use its proxies with impunity enables unacceptable harm to U.S. interests and undermines America’s broader deterrence posture. Moreover, tolerating American casualties will only make broader conflict more likely. Iran has shown it is responsible for the militia attacks and must be held culpable as such. – Washington Examiner

Russia & Ukraine

Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen who has been held in Russia since 2018, was assaulted by a fellow inmate after a conflict at his prison east of Moscow, according to the Russian prison service and Whelan’s family. – Wall Street Journal

The Russian government is proposing a new law to force foreigners entering the country to sign a loyalty agreement restricting what they can say about government policy and social values, the latest clampdown on freedom of expression by the Kremlin since its invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that there was “no sense of fatigue” among NATO allies when it came to helping Ukraine. – Reuters

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it had received a lot of requests for one-on-one meetings with Sergei Lavrov, Moscow’s top diplomat, on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting in North Macedonia. – Reuters

The European union has delivered about 300,000 of its promised million shells to Ukraine so far, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday while attending a NATO meeting in Brussels. – Reuters

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba insisted on Wednesday that NATO allies are showing no sign of war fatigue and remain committed to helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia and take back occupied territory. – Associated Press

A new poll in Ukraine showed that two fifths of respondents back joining NATO even if it means territories outside Kyiv’s control remain outside the alliance. – Bloomberg

Josh Rogin writes: The Ukrainian people have made it very clear they won’t repeat the mistakes of 2014 and 2015, when Kyiv negotiated an unfavorable cease-fire with Moscow under pressure from the Obama administration (in which Kupchan served) only to have Putin launch an even bigger attack a few years later. Pressuring Ukraine to stop fighting simply won’t work. Ukrainians aren’t going to give up, so the United States must not give up on them. The war will end only when Putin has finally learned aggression doesn’t pay. – Washington Post

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan writes: Any lingering illusion that this sort of danger concerns only Russian citizens vanished when two American journalists — Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal, and Alsu Kurmasheva, of Radio Liberty/Free Europe — were thrown into Russian jails, where they remain. Andy Stone needs to think very carefully about traveling outside the US. Some countries still accept Russian requests for extradition. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Kurt Volker writes: Indeed, America’s 2024 Presidential election adds a yet greater sense of urgency to the discussion. With the outcome completely unknown, it may be too difficult to advance Ukraine’s NATO membership after the election. Yet America’s and Europe’s security depends on a secure Ukraine that defeats Russia. This provides all the more reason to act swiftly to bring Ukraine into our great alliance. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Anna Nemtsova writes: President Vladimir Putin has undermined the country’s already patchy justice system by pardoning even the worst of sentenced murderers if they agree to go and murder more in Ukraine. After serving in the mercenary Wagner Group or so-called Storm-Z units of convicts on the Ukrainian front, killers and thieves return to Russia, where they go free. – The Atlantic


The Israeli military said it intercepted an “aerial target” that crossed from Lebanon on Thursday, in an incident that jolted the calm prevailing at the frontier since the Palestinian group Hamas and Israel agreed a temporary truce. – Reuters

Editorial: As Metula local council head David Azulai said in the meeting with Halevi, “Israel needs to understand that if Hezbollah is not pushed back beyond the Litani, there will not be a state here. We are facing a second War of Independence for our existence. Every Arab state, Iran, and Hezbollah are watching us, and if we do not deal with the northern threat, they will see our weakness.” The IDF and the government, he said, “have to remove the threat from the northern border.” We wholeheartedly concur. – Jerusalem Post

George Monastiriakos writes: Meanwhile, with every passing day, Israel only grows wealthier and more powerful than at any other point in history. Five years ago, Israel’s economy was roughly seven times bigger than Lebanon’s. Today, it is more than 20 times bigger. If the status quo remains unchanged, this trend is likely to continue, not reverse. – The Hill

Arabian Peninsula

The choice of a leading oil producer, the United Arab Emirates, to host this year’s U.N. climate talks has angered environmental activists. But for the Emirates and other countries both highly dependent on oil and deeply vulnerable to rising temperatures, grappling with climate change is an urgent dilemma for them, too. – New York Times

Saudi Arabia has approached Iran with an offer to boost cooperation and invest in its sanctions-stricken economy if the Islamic Republic stops its regional proxies from turning the Israel-Hamas war into a wider conflict. – Reuters

Commercial ships face increasing dangers at sea after armed groups have attacked and seized vessels in waters around the Red Sea and off the coast of Yemen, adding to perils for seafarers, shipping officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Britain has sent the Royal Navy ship Diamond to help bolster regional security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, the government said on Thursday. – Reuters

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog is planning a quick visit to Dubai later this week to take part in COP28, the United Nations climate talks, several people familiar with the situation said. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

A U.S. Navy warship in the Red Sea shot down an Iran-produced drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday, in the latest defensive move by the U.S. military in the region in recent weeks. – Reuters

The Middle East plays host to its second straight U.N. climate conference over the next two weeks, with countries hoping to agree on new ways to keep the planet from heating too much by the end of the century. Distractions abound, most notably war between Israel and Hamas. – Associated Press

Elisabeth Braw writes: Other companies might try to increase their ships’ security, though private outfits are barred from using heavy military weapons like missiles and rocket launchers. Governments could alert shipping lines at any indication of an impending attack, and navies could also escort selected ships. Doing so would signal to the world which sectors and goods Western countries consider particularly strategic. Other sectors would do well to bring their supply chains closer to home. – Wall Street Journal

Korean Peninsula

North Korea said it would never negotiate its sovereignty with the United States, criticising Washington as “double-faced” for offering talks while ramping up military activities in the region, state media KCNA reported on Thursday. – Reuters

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a virtual currency mixer the Treasury Department said has processed millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from major heists carried out by North Korea-linked hackers. – Reuters

Dozens of South Korean and U.S. combat engineers build a pontoon bridge to ferry tanks and armored vehicles across the water, all within easy range of North Korean artillery. – Associated Press

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday dismissed U.S. calls for a return to diplomacy and lambasted its condemnations of the North’s recent spy satellite launch, vowing more launches in violation of U.N. bans. – Associated Press

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un would do well to stop gloating over the images that the North says he’s receiving from a spy satellite his regime launched last week in defiance of America and South Korea. – New York Sun


Chinese state media mourned the death of Henry Kissinger, the 100-year-old who was at the heart of the United States’ rapprochement with China half a century ago and had visited Beijing only this summer. – Washington Post

China’s leadership is too “overwhelmed” with its internal problems to consider an invasion of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen said in an interview with the New York Times. – Reuters

David Ignatius writes: Now, after what many analysts saw as an overly aggressive drive for power that alienated many countries in Europe and Asia, Xi might have decided on a tactical pause. A clinch, as the U.S. official says the president has termed it in internal guidance for party members, is where he holds his American opponent close. Xi proclaimed at the San Francisco summit that “Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.” Let’s hope so. For now, the value of the San Francisco summit was to keep the long-running U.S.-Chinese competition inside the ring — with better consultation about the rules. – Washington Post

Michael Singh writes: The Gaza crisis also demonstrates the limits of China’s “friends with everyone” approach to diplomacy. Beijing previously sought to avoid taking sides in conflicts it was not directly involved in, preferring to position itself for trade and influence while forgoing the security partnerships favored by the United States and Europe. More recently, however, it has appeared to view such conflicts as opportunities to turn international diplomatic pressure and public opinion against Washington—an approach that has essentially forced it to take sides against U.S. allies. – Washington Institute

South Asia

An Indian government employee tried to have a vocal Sikh critic of New Delhi assassinated in New York earlier this year, U.S. prosecutors alleged, a dramatic development that threatens to cause new rifts in the deepening relationship between Washington and New Delhi. – Wall Street Journal

The Taliban have taken de facto control of diplomatic missions in India, more than two years after the group ousted the US-backed government in Kabul. – Bloomberg

Rana Ayyub writes: WhatsApp messages exhort Indians to vote for Modi as the only way to avoid such a massacre. The intense support India is extending to Israel should be viewed through one lens: Islamophobic politics. General elections will be held in April and May — and every seat in the lower house of Parliament is at stake. The Israel-Gaza conflict has come at just the right time for Modi and his party. – Washington Post


A U.S. Air Force Osprey aircraft with eight people on board crashed Wednesday into the sea off southern Japan during a routine training mission, the Air Force said. The condition of the airmen was unknown, the Air Force said, but the Japanese coast guard said one person was confirmed dead, with search and rescue efforts continuing. – Wall Street Journal

China’s hopes for political turnover in Taiwan — to a government more favorable to Beijing — appear likely to be dashed, with the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party on course to secure an unprecedented third term. –  Washington Post

Taiwan again reported Chinese warplanes and warships around the island on Thursday, including aircraft crossing the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing keeps up its military activities ahead of Taiwan’s January election. – Reuters

Indonesia’s outgoing president has approved a 20% increase in defense spending through the end of next year, to upgrade the country’s military hardware in response to geopolitical developments, its finance minister said – Reuters

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Thursday his country would seek to strengthen engagement with the United States on strategic and security challenges while also looking to unlock potential in their economic relationship. – Reuters

Taiwan on Wednesday appointed a veteran diplomat as its new de facto ambassador to the United States, Taipei’s highest-profile global posting despite a lack of formal diplomatic ties, after the previous ambassador quit to run for vice president. – Reuters

Japan said it has asked the U.S. to suspend all non-emergency V-22 Osprey flights over its territory after one fell into the sea on Wednesday in western Japan, marking the country’s first fatal U.S. military plane crash in five years. – Reuters

Editorial: In Hong Kong today, anyone can be arrested for any concocted reason under the national-security law. The preposterous targets include Adam Ma Chun-man, who dressed up as Marvel comics’ Captain America and chanted pro-independence slogans—and got five years for it. And a young Hong Kong woman charged and convicted for pro-independence tweets she posted on social media while studying in Japan. – Wall Street Journal


After a temporary cease-fire was extended this week in Gaza, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization sought to reaffirm their commitment to eastern Mediterranean countries closest to the conflict amid concerns it could spread across the region. – Wall Street Journal

Just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to revitalize a German military that had fallen into disrepair since the end of the Cold War. – New York Times

France said on Wednesday that the European Union should consider sanctions on Israeli settlers who have targeted Palestinians in the West Bank as an option and that talks at the EU to impose sanctions on Hamas commanders were progressing. – Reuters

Turkey has told Sweden it expects to ratify its long-delayed accession to the NATO military alliance within weeks, Sweden’s foreign minister said on Wednesday. But Turkey denied it has given any timetable for the ratification. – Reuters

Britain said on Thursday it will send seven Royal Navy ships and a maritime patrol aircraft to take part in Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) patrols of areas with vulnerable undersea infrastructure next month. – Reuters

Ukraine and the European Union cannot be “taken hostage” by Polish truckers blockading the Polish-Ukrainian border in protest at competition from Ukrainian hauliers, the European Commissioner for Transport said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Switzerland is taking part in a multi-country group that includes the US and Germany that aims to disrupt funding for Hamas. – Bloomberg

Germany’s domestic intelligence chief on Wednesday warned that the risk of Islamist attacks is “real and higher than it has been for a long time” because of the Israel-Hamas war. – Agence France- Presse

The European Union has privately urged the UK not to backtrack on international human rights agreements that underpin ties between the two sides, illustrating the risk Rishi Sunak is facing as he weighs options to force his deportation plans past the courts. – Bloomberg

The Netherlands wants to join Europe’s Organisation for Joint Armament Co-Operation, as it seeks to be a driver of European defense cooperation and better position its industry, the Dutch Defense Ministry said on Thursday. – Defense News

Alexander Wooley writes: To U.S. eyes, it may all be far from the 6,000-ship U.S. Navy that finished World War II, or the 600-ship navy that finished the Cold War. But Britain’s navy turned to Japan for help in the early 1900s covering the Pacific when it was under strain; Americans stepped in to help Britain in World War I, and they helped each other in the second. It is time, it seems, to get the band back together again. – Foreign Policy


Madagascar’s army warned on Wednesday against any attempt to destabilise the country after the island nation’s top prosecutor announced that two officers had been charged with inciting rebellion before the Nov. 16 presidential election. – Reuters

The European Union has cancelled its election observation mission for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Dec. 20 general elections, saying it would not be able to deploy people across the country for security reasons. – Reuters

Somalia’s maritime police force on Thursday intensified patrols in the Red Sea following a failed pirate hijacking of a ship in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week. – Associated Press

Mali’s military government has announced an investigation into the Tuareg rebel leaders who signed a peace agreement in 2015 and now accuse the government of failing to comply with it, as experts worry that the deal crucial to establishing a measure of stability in the country’s north is collapsing. – Associated Press

At least 40 civilians were killed last weekend by al-Qaida-linked rebels trying to take control of a besieged town in Burkina Faso’s hard-hit northern region, the United Nations’ rights office said, calling the attack a war crime. – Associated Press

Members of South African political parties, civil society organisations and other supporters marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday demanding a permanent cease-fire in Gaza as they marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. – Associated Press

Latin America

Brazil “has intensified defensive actions” along its northern border as it monitors a territorial dispute between its neighbors, Guyana and Venezuela, the country’s defense ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Bolivia is set to become a full member of the South American Mercosur trade bloc following a decision on Tuesday by the Brazilian Senate to approve the country’s admission. – Reuters

They offered grateful devotions typical of a harvest festival but also asked for peace for their community amid what they see as an existential threat. Their village, Surama, is part of Guyana’s Essequibo region — a territory larger than Greece and rich in oil and minerals that Venezuela claims as its own and whose future it intends to decide Sunday with a referendum. – Associated Press

North America

Margarito Flores has the jitters. Once one of the top kingpins in the U.S. for Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, he is starting a second career—teaching law-enforcement officers how to catch drug traffickers. – Wall Street Journal

Canada on Wednesday pressed India to cooperate in an investigation of the murder of a Sikh separatist in British Columbia after the U.S. revealed it had foiled an assassination attempt against a Sikh separatist on its soil. – Reuters

Canada is set to announce on Thursday a multi-billion dollar sole-source contract for Boeing Co’s (BA.N) P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the country’s military surveillance planes, a senior government source familiar with the matter told Reuters.  – Reuters

United States

U.S. congressional armed services committee leaders vowed on Wednesday that a must-pass $886 billion defense policy bill will be enacted this year, despite disputes over social issues dividing Republicans and Democrats. – Reuters

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told lawmakers this week that the White House is not seeking to place conditions on U.S. military assistance to Israel, days after President Joe Biden signaled openness to the notion that was being pushed by some Democrats as the civilian death toll in Gaza from Israel’s war against Hamas climbed. – Associated Press

The US Central Intelligence Agency issued staff guidelines reiterating the need for objectivity after a senior analyst shared pro-Palestinian posts online. – Times of Israel

Greg Sargent writes: The bottom line: Senate Republicans are demanding that Democrats add numerous extreme concessions to a package that already gives Republicans many border security measures they ordinarily support, in exchange for Ukraine aid that many already back anyway. Tillis and Lankford can either be “reasonable” in these negotiations or they can satisfy Trump and Miller. But they can’t do both. Unfortunately, they appear to be privileging the latter. – Washington Post

Marc A. Thiessen writes: But if those arguments are not persuasive, then this should be: Our military aid to Ukraine is revitalizing manufacturing communities across the United States, creating good jobs here at home and restoring the United States’ capacity to produce weapons for our national defense. Helping Ukraine is the right thing to do for U.S. national security. It is also the right thing to do for American workers. – Washington Post


A new front has opened in the intensifying U.S.-China tech war: This time, it’s over the metals needed to power electric vehicles and make the computer chips and electronics that fuel the U.S. economy. – Washington Post

Researchers have uncovered more than 200 fake mobile apps that mimic major Iranian banks to steal information from their customers. – The Record

Kai-Fu Lee writes: Some in the media have described 01.AI as China’s answer to OpenAI, the developer behind ChatGPT. We see ourselves as the more “open” answer to OpenAI. In our view, the key competition isn’t China vs. the U.S. Rather, it’s open vs. closed systems. Even with only modest resources, we are determined to develop high-quality models for more languages to make this technology accessible to more people globally. We don’t want AI to leave anyone behind. – Wall Street Journal

Caitlin Chin-Rothmann writes: As technology continues to transform society, the global community will face more difficult questions over the application of traditional privacy standards to the new digital realm. As one example, for over half a century U.S. courts have distinguished between public areas (like sidewalks and roads) and private areas (like the interior of one’s home) to determine whether individuals maintain a reasonable “expectation of privacy.” – Center for Strategic and International Studies


An annual poll commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Institute found strong public support for arming Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as Congress negotiates a path forward on President Joe Biden’s $106 billion supplemental spending request to arm all three security partners in the weeks ahead. – Defense News

China has become a major player in seabed science, exploration and mining, the secretary general of the U.N.’s International Seabed Authority said Wednesday. – USNI News

After training in the Philippines since October, a forward-positioned Marine Corps task force kicked off another exercise in Indonesia last week. – USNI News

Jan Kallberg writes: War is a practical business, and in the future peer-on-peer conflict, today’s force outline, with large numbers of special forces, is much like a toolbox with 20 screwdrivers, but no wrench. The wrench is represented by a sufficient number of maneuver battalions to stop an invasion, to retake terrain, and to defend frontlines that may be hundreds of miles long. That change in Western military thinking can tweak the trajectory of history before we find ourselves in trouble. – Center for European Policy Analysis