Fdd's overnight brief

November 9, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Thousands of Palestinians are fleeing the besieged northern Gaza area, some carrying white flags or pushing wheelchairs, seeking safety from the advancing Israeli military. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. on Wednesday called for limits on Israel’s control over Gaza after its war with Hamas, sending a public message to Israeli officials about expectations for an expansive Palestinian role there. – Wall Street Journal

More than 10,500 people have been killed, most of them women and children, according to health authorities in Hamas-run Gaza. The figures don’t distinguish between civilians and militants. The voices of people living there provide a picture of how life has changed for them under siege and bombardment. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli troops set on ousting Hamas pushed into the heart of Gaza City on Wednesday, sending thousands of civilians fleeing the Palestinian enclave’s largest city as international pressure built on Israel to agree to a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting — to allow in more aid and facilitate the release of hostages. – Washington Post

With the war between Israel and Hamas intensifying and more than 10,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, there is a growing consensus that a halt in fighting is needed to protect civilian lives — but the nature of such a move has proved contentious. – Washington Post

Days before Israel launched its ground invasion of Gaza, it was closing in on a deal for Hamas to release up to 50 hostages in exchange for pausing the bombardment unleashed in response to the militants’ Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, according to Arab and Western officials with knowledge of the talks. – New York Times

Thousands have been killed in Gaza, with entire families wiped out. Israeli airstrikes have reduced Palestinian neighborhoods to expanses of rubble, while doctors treat screaming children in darkened hospitals with no anesthesia. – New York Times

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the number of civilians killed in the Gaza Strip shows that there is something “clearly wrong” with Israel’s military operations against Hamas Palestinian militants. – Reuters

The Israeli air strike hit Mohammed Hamdan’s Gaza home soon after Islam’s evening prayer on Tuesday, he said, killing 35 members of his extended family across three generations from Kamal, aged 70, to Rasmi, aged seven. – Reuters

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday war crimes had been committed by both Israel and Hamas in the conflict that erupted just over a month ago. – Reuters

G7 foreign ministers on Wednesday called for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas war to allow in aid and help the release of hostages, and sought a return to a broader peace process. – Reuters

The Gaza Strip faces an increased risk of disease spreading due to Israeli air bombardments that have disrupted the health system, access to clean water and caused people to crowd in shelters, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday. – Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday called for a significant humanitarian pause in the Gaza conflict to allow for the release of all hostages and the delivery of enough aid to address civilian needs. – Reuters

Italy will send a hospital ship close to the coast of Gaza to help treat victims of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t elaborate when he said this week that Israel would maintain indefinite “overall security responsibility” in Gaza once it removes Hamas from power in response to a deadly Oct. 7 cross-border raid by the Islamic militant group. – Associated Press

The family of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi insists she didn’t write the words for which she now sits in an Israeli jail. – Associated Press

The Israeli military escorted international journalists into the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, giving them a glimpse of the aftermath of 12 days of heavy fighting in the area. – Associated Press

Officials from Western and Arab nations, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations are gathering Thursday in Paris for a conference on how to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s war with Hamas, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals. – Associated Press

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said both Israel and the Palestinians need new leadership in order to have a chance of achieving a peace deal once the current war in the Gaza Strip ends. – Bloomberg

Israel’s military offensive in Gaza has no time limits to achieve the objective of destroying Hamas, according to a top member of the country’s war cabinet. – Bloomberg

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said there’s no alternative to a two-state solution to ensure peace between Israelis and Palestinians, warning they otherwise risk endless conflict. – Bloomberg

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is stoking a “disinformation campaign” that benefits Hamas, a senior Republican lawmaker argued amid a general critique of the United Nations posture toward Israel. – Washington Examiner

Muslim Bedouins living at Israel have declared their own war on Hamas after one of their own was murdered along with the hundreds of other Israelis on October 7. – New York Sun

While the people of Gaza live in poverty and have suffered under the horrors of Hamas, the terror group’s leaders apparently are living high on the hog. – Fox News

The 7th Brigade of the IDF’s Armored Corps encountered and successfully neutralized terrorists who had been launching attacks from a well-coordinated position in the Gaza Strip, the IDF announced in a statement. – Jerusalem Post

National Unity party leader and Minister-without-portfolio Benny Gantz on Wednesday said that the government has not decided who will run Gaza after the IDF topples Hamas, but that whoever it is, the IDF will need to maintain an extended security presence. – Jerusalem Post

A shooting attack occurred at the Itamar and Gigit intersection in the northern portion of the West Bank, Israeli media reported shortly after midnight on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post

IDF soldiers located a Hamas weapons production and storage facility inside a residential building, right next to a children’s bedroom, an IDF source said. – Arutz Sheva

IDF soldiers from the Nahal Brigade on Wednesday night completed an operation to take control of Post 17, a military fortress belonging to the Hamas terror group and located in western Jabalia in northern Gaza. – Arutz Sheva

The Israel Defense Forces says it located and destroyed a Hamas tunnel adjacent to a UNRWA school in the northern Gaza Strip. – Times of Israel

Thomas L. Friedman writes: It’s a remarkable story of grass-roots mobilization that showed how much solidarity is still buried in this place and could be unlocked by a different prime minister, one who was a uniter, not a divider. Or as Scherf put it to me: “When you go to the front, you are overwhelmed by the power of what we lost.” – New York Times

Mark Mellman writes: If Hamas cared a whit about its people, if it had an iota of concern about their civilians, it would immediately repatriate the hostages, surrender unconditionally and give up its weapons and themselves. Those around the world who truly care about the Palestinians should be urging Hamas to choose surrender. – The Hill

Dan Senor and Saul Singer write: “The intensity of military service helps create a strong feeling of belonging,” he said. “Any soldier who has contributed to his or her country feels that this country belongs to them more than ever. And the importance of belonging doesn’t stop there. It also has a profound impact on the individual level.” – New York Post

John Aziz writes: But hope still matters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, a historian, once compared Israelis and Palestinians to two goats on a bridge. The goats, he thought, would ram their heads together until one of them fell into the water below. After this war is over, I dream that Israelis and Palestinians will have the opportunity to choose a better path. – The Atlantic

Yair Rosenberg writes: When Jewish institutions around the world are targeted for vandalism and violence, when Jews are hunted by a mob in a Russian airport, and when Jewish students are threatened and physically assaulted on college campuses, it is not some freak accident or aberration. It is the inevitable end result of a movement unwilling or unable to expel its extremists. – The Atlantic


American fighter jets struck an Iranian weapons facility in eastern Syria on Wednesday, the Pentagon said, marking the latest use of military force in the Middle East as President Biden seeks to halt a surge in attacks on U.S. troops amid the war in Gaza and broader fears that any escalation could engulf the region in violence. – Washington Post

Washington’s hawks are demanding that President Joe Biden’s administration tighten US sanctions on Iran as punishment for its support of Hamas, the militant group behind the attacks that triggered the current conflict with Israel. Tehran, they argue, has been exporting more oil over recent months than it has in years. – Bloomberg

An Iranian court has ordered a five-year jail sentence against a French national tried on national security charges and held in prison for over a year, his family announced on Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

Mordechai Kedar writes: The time has come to fight the oppression against the Iranian Jewish community, the Azerbaijani community, and other religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran. There must be a change in regime in Tehran. The time has come for the women and minorities of Iran to live in freedom, and for the mullahs in Tehran to stop supporting the ISIS-like brutality of Hamas. The Iranian people deserve better. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

The U.K. government has sanctioned 29 entities and individuals operating in and supporting Russia’s gold and oil sectors, in an effort to cut off revenue streams funding its war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Members of Ukraine’s 128th Mountain Assault Brigade gathered Friday morning for a medal ceremony near the front line in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia — continuing a military tradition dating back to Soviet times, which Ukrainian officials had sustained to prop up morale among exhausted troops. – Washington Post

Russia’s armed forces are stepping up their efforts to recruit veterans of the Wagner paramilitary group, according to former fighters and military bloggers, as the Kremlin tries to avoid another round of mobilization and salvage some of the force’s fighting potential in the wake of its leader’s mutiny and death. – New York Times

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday lauded what he described as important “high-tech” Russian military cooperation with China at a meeting in Moscow with a top Chinese general who is a close ally of President Xi Jinping. – Reuters

Russian forces, their numbers swelled by reserves, tightened their vise around the shattered eastern city of Avdiivka on Wednesday, but Ukrainian forces are holding defensive lines, Ukrainian military officials said. – Reuters

Russia has attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure 60 times in the last several weeks as winter approaches and temperatures drop, driving up public energy consumption, officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that strategic dialogue with the United States over nuclear weapons was “definitely necessary” but that such talks could not happen while Washington was “lecturing” Moscow. – Reuters

Slovakia’s new government rejected on Wednesday a previously drafted plan to donate rockets and ammunition to Ukraine, following through on a pledge by incoming Prime Minister Robert Fico to halt military aid to Kyiv as it fights a Russian invasion. – Reuters

Ukraine’s parliament approved a law on Wednesday to allow funds raised from income tax paid by military personnel to be used to fund arms purchases and production, the finance ministry said. – Reuters

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Reuters NEXT on Wednesday that it will be difficult to revive a landmark deal that allowed the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain, which Russia quit in July over complaints about its own exports. – Reuters

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the latest senior federal official to visit Ukraine, announced in Kyiv on Wednesday a new American infrastructure adviser for the country. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday Ukraine would still try to deliver battlefield results by the end of the year and that he remained sure Kyiv would eventually have success in the war despite difficulties at the front. – Reuters

Russian authorities on Wednesday demanded an eight-year prison term for an artist and musician who was jailed after speaking out against Moscow’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

Ukraine’s intelligence agency claimed responsibility for a car bombing Wednesday that killed a member of the Russia-backed authority in the illegally annexed Luhansk region. – Associated Press

Russia is sending Ukrainian prisoners of war to the front lines of their homeland to fight on Moscow’s side in the war, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. – Associated Press

Ukraine’s military said a commercial ship on the Black Sea was struck Wednesday by a Russian missile, a rare attack that may threaten to undermine the passage of key exports such as grain. – Bloomberg

Marc Champion writes: Any eventual settlement will be much more than a cease-fire. It will represent the culmination of Ukraine’s multi-century struggle for nationhood and independence from a domineering eastern neighbor, an effort that spanned multiple wars and genocides long before NATO was even imagined. It must also achieve the first necessary step for Russia – like so many fallen empires before it – to come to terms with its loss. – Bloomberg

Mark Temnycky writes: This underscores the urgency of continued U.S. and Western support for Ukraine. If Russian forces are not defeated, they will continue to commit unspeakable acts during their ongoing invasion, and this will only lead to additional loss of life. – The Hill


Israel carried out an aerial attack targeting military sites in southern Syria leading to some material losses, Syrian state media said on Wednesday, citing a military source. – Reuters

The Islamic State group ambushed pro-government militiamen in an overnight attack in eastern Syria, killing at least 21 fighters, pro-government media and an opposition war monitor said Wednesday. – Associated Press

A three-year drought that has left millions of people in Syria, Iraq and Iran with little water wouldn’t have happened without human-caused climate change, a new study found. – Associated Press


Iraqi government oil officials for the first time met with representatives of the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR) on Wednesday to discuss the resumption of flows from the embattled export pipeline from Iraq to Turkey. – Reuters

An armed drone targeted al-Harir airbase hosting U.S. forces in northern Iraq, two security sources said on Wednesday, following sirens warning of a possible attack at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. – Reuters

A defective drone in Iraq may have helped keep America from being dragged deeper into a widening Middle East conflict. – Reuters


The European Commission’s annual report on Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership bid criticized on Wednesday its “serious backsliding” on democratic standards, the rule of law, human rights and judicial independence. – Reuters

The European Commission’s annual report on Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership bid is “unjust and biased”, the Turkish foreign ministry said. – Reuters

They are among a growing number of young and educated looking to leave Turkey, where rights and freedoms are being eroded and inflation is surging under increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – Associated Press

Turkey’s highest court on Wednesday upheld a controversial media law that mandates prison terms for people deemed to be spreading “disinformation,” rejecting the main opposition party’s request for its annulment. – Associated Press

Bobby Ghosh writes: Giving Erdogan the respect he craves also carries potential payoffs for Biden elsewhere: The US needs Turkey to work its good offices with Russia to reopen the Black Sea conduit for Ukrainian grain exports, and Erdogan’s endorsement is crucial to any potential peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. – Bloomberg


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi met with Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns and rejected a proposal for the North African country to manage security in the Gaza Strip until the Palestinian Authority can take over after Hamas’s defeat, according to senior Egyptian officials. – Wall Street Journal

The Rafah border crossing into Gaza was closed on Wednesday due to an unspecified “security circumstance” but U.S. officials were working with Egypt and Israel to get it reopened, U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said. – Reuters

U.S. Under Secretary of State Uzra Zeya and special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues David Satterfield will meet with Egyptian and UN officials in Cairo to discuss facilitating humanitarian assistance into Gaza, the State Department said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

Negotiations mediated by Qatar are ongoing to secure the release of 10 to 15 hostages held by Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas in exchange for a 1-2 day humanitarian pause in Gaza, a source briefed on the negotiations said on Wednesday. – Reuters

A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down on Wednesday by Yemen’s Houthis, two U.S. officials and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement said. – Reuters

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly on Thursday arrived in Saudi Arabia to drive diplomatic efforts to find a resolution to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Powerful Russian anti-ship missiles acquired by Hezbollah give it the means to deliver on its leader’s veiled threat against U.S. warships and underline the grave risks of any regional war, sources familiar with the group’s arsenal say. – Reuters

Andreas Kluth writes: The reality, a month after the Hamas attack, is that US foreign policy risks becoming collateral damage in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Biden and Blinken are proving themselves unwilling to impose, when necessary, costs or consequences on one ally, Israel, while trying to support but also manage and restrain other friends, such as Ukraine against Russia, Taiwan against China or South Korea against the North. – Bloomberg

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

Korean Peninsula

In recent weeks, Seoul officials have vowed to learn from the Hamas attack and promised to beef up their defenses. Washington and Seoul recently held joint exercises simulating a response to a Hamas-style surprise attack. – Wall Street Journal

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

From the observation tower in the northeastern corner of South Korea you can see the distant crags of Mount Kumgang inside North Korea. Down steep steps from the tower, a rocky trail leads to the 2.5-mile-wide demilitarized zone that’s divided the two Koreas since the Korean War ended in an armed truce 70 years ago. A yellow-painted board crosses the trail marking the southern side of the DMZ. – New York Sun


A Chinese coast guard ship attached itself like a shadow to a group of boats from the Philippines, trailing them for hours. The Philippines had sent two wooden boats and two coast guard vessels to resupply an unusual outpost in the South China Sea: a decrepit World War-II era ship preventing Beijing from taking control of a reef called Second Thomas Shoal. –Wall Street Journal

The Chinese government on Thursday told Britain to stop its efforts to “enhance” ties with Taiwan after a high level meeting in London and the signing of a new trade agreement between the island and Britain. – Reuters

Minxin Pei writes: At home, Xi should tone down his national-security campaign and dispel widespread fears among foreign businesses that their executives and staff could be wrongfully ensnared in China’s anti-espionage dragnet. – Bloomberg

South Asia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will hold talks with India this week that officials say will focus on security challenges in the Indo-Pacific and concerns over China, rather than the wars in Gaza and Ukraine. – Reuters

Pakistan said on Wednesday that its move to expel hundreds of thousands of undocumented Afghans was a response to the unwillingness of the Taliban-led administration to act against militants using Afghanistan to carry out attacks in Pakistan. – Reuters

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a minibus explosion in the Afghan capital late on Tuesday that killed at least seven people. The Sunni militant group said its members detonated an explosive device on the bus carrying Shiite Muslims. – Associated Press


Rebel groups in Myanmar say they have scored a series of battlefield victories against the ruling junta, mounting what security analysts believe is the biggest threat to the military’s grip over the country since ousting a civilian government and seizing control in a 2021 coup. – Washington Post

Taiwan’s military has sent forces to keep watch on a Chinese naval formation led by the aircraft carrier Shandong sailing through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters

Indonesia’s leader Joko Widodo said on Thursday he would convey to United States President Joe Biden in their meeting on Monday that the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas should be stopped. – Reuters

Pacific Islands nations that want closer economic ties with Beijing will benefit from improved relations between Australia and China, Papua New Guinea’s minister for state Justin Tkachenko said on Thursday. – Reuters

Taiwan and Britain signed an Enhanced Trade Partnership on Wednesday that Taipei hopes will further boost its case to join a major pan-Pacific free trade pact and bolster the island’s ties with other European states. – Reuters

Hundreds of Azerbaijani soldiers paraded Wednesday through Khankendi, the capital city of the Karabakh region that came under full control of Azerbaijan in September after a lightning rout of ethnic Armenian forces. – Associated Press

Russian troops stationed in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia shot and killed a Georgian civilian near the line of control in what the Georgian authorities denounced as “the most heinous act.” – Associated Press

A group of South Pacific leaders was due to travel to the stunning island of Aitutaki on Thursday to discuss climate change and other regional concerns. – Associated Press

Singapore’s leader downplayed the likelihood of an imminent conflict over Taiwan, saying China isn’t “trigger happy” about taking over the self-governing island it has long viewed as its territory. – Bloomberg

Australia’s prime minister is likely to face some pointed questions over climate action and a nuclear submarine deal on Thursday, as a growing number of Pacific nations push to strengthen a signature anti-nuclear treaty. – Bloomberg

Sadanand Dhume writes: In reality, most developing countries—including those that take public positions hostile to Israel—would benefit from the annihilation of Hamas. Many nations in Asia and Africa face a genuine threat from the bloodthirsty jihadism the group exemplifies. – Wall Street Journal

Karishma Vaswani writes: Wong does not have Lee’s foreign policy experience, although it is apparent that he’s trying to build up his profile, making a trip to the US recently, ostensibly to cement ties with his American counterparts. All of these issues will weigh heavily on him as he takes on the role of running Singapore. – Bloomberg

Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu writes: Armenia is currently at a crossroads. The abandonment of traditional policies in favor of regional integration is in its earliest stages.  The government’s aspirations will be clear in any final peace agreement with Azerbaijan, but bypassing an already hostile Russia could create consequences. The Pashinyan government will need the support of Western countries more than ever. – Center for European Policy Analysis


The resignation of Portugal’s prime minister has come as a surprise to markets but despite potential domestic implications there is little risk of any turmoil spreading to the wider European economy. – Wall Street Journal

The European Union’s executive recommended on Wednesday that the bloc starts membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina once it meets outstanding conditions. – Reuters

Finland on Wednesday said China had promised to fully cooperate in the investigation of the destruction last month of the Balticconnector gas pipeline, which happened on the same night that three subsea telecoms cables in the area were also damaged. – Reuters

German defence export approvals to Israel so far this year have risen nearly tenfold from last year, with Berlin treating permit requests as a priority since Hamas militants attacked Israel last month, a German government source said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Belgium’s deputy prime minister called on the Belgian government on Wednesday to adopt sanctions against Israel and investigate the bombings of hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza. – Reuters

Denmark’s domestic and foreign intelligence services on Wednesday won a case against a Dane of Syrian origin who claimed he worked for them in Syria in 2013 and 2014 and spied on Danish jihadi fighters. – Associated Press

Kosovo is setting up an institute to document Serbia’s crimes against its population in the 1998-1999 war, the country’s prime minister said Wednesday. – Associated Press

Even before last month’s Hamas attacks in Israel, the leader of Hungary had long promoted his country as the safest in Europe for Jews. Now the Israeli men’s soccer team is taking his word and heading to a tiny Hungarian village as it prepares to play its remaining home games in the Euro 2024 qualifying tournament. – Associated Press

European nations need to adopt Finland’s approach to national security by boosting their defense forces and ammunition supplies to deal with the risks from increasingly confrontational Russia, according to the official in charge of the region’s largest military reserve. – Bloomberg

Switzerland is preparing to start talks on a new relationship with the European Union, more than two years after pulling the plug on previous negotiations. – Bloomberg

British police came under mounting government pressure on Wednesday to ban a pro-Palestinian rally scheduled to take place in London on the day the country commemorates its war dead. – Agence France-Presse

The United States said that it welcomes Germany’s decision to ban activities supporting Hamas, which builds on the EU’s designation to fully restrict and criminalize support of the terrorist group, US state department spokesperson, Matthew Miller stated on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

Emil Avdaliani writes: Candidate status also has broader implications for European influence in the South Caucasus. First, the EU decision will push Georgia to limit its burgeoning relations with Eurasian states. It is also critical for the EU, which is increasingly reliant on energy supplies from the South Caucasus and from other energy producers whose pipelines run through the region. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Elisabeth Braw writes: And given how hard it is to define a ship’s nationality, the opportunity to block Russian ships will at any rate not present itself. Watching suspect ships in the Baltic Sea and elsewhere (and hopefully catching them red-handed) would be far more useful and practicable than blocking them. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Sudanese paramilitaries and allied militias have seized control of cities in the western region of Darfur from the government army, with mass killings reported in one regional capital and in an area housing a camp for displaced families, eyewitnesses said. – Washington Post

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu will attend the Saudi-Africa summit in Riyadh this week to attract foreign direct investment to Africa’s largest economy and mobilize capital to build needed infrastructure, his office said on Wednesday. – Reuters

South Africa will call in Israel’s ambassador to issue him with a “demarche”, or formal reprimand, a senior foreign policy official said on Wednesday, potentially deepening divisions between the two countries over the war in Gaza. – Reuters

Fighting broke out on Wednesday between the army and a regional militia in Ethiopia’s medieval holy city of Lalibela, a World Heritage site, four residents told Reuters, but the government said the area was peaceful. – Reuters

Groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have been spreading for years from the vast arid expanse south of the Sahara Desert — the Sahel — into wealthier West African coastal states like Benin. – Associated Press

About 200 people may have been killed by Sudanese militias allied with the Rapid Support Forces, after the group that’s fighting for control of the nation overran an army base in the western Darfur region, humanitarian officials said. – Bloomberg

Editorial: This week, red beach towels with the names and photographs of 240 hostages were laid out on the beach in Durban – the same city that hosted the infamous World Conference Against Racism in 2001 that gave birth to BDS. For the sake of the hostages, and in the name of justice, we urge South Africa to reverse its pro-Hamas stance while pushing for peace, and stand on the right side of history. – Jerusalem Post

Latin America

For more than a year, Qatar quietly hosted talks between senior U.S. and Venezuelan officials that led to a breakthrough last month when Washington lifted sanctions on Venezuela’s crippled energy industry. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s spy agency Mossad worked with Brazilian security services and other international agencies to foil an attack in Brazil planned by the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Suriname hopes to strike a deal with China by mid-December over rescheduling interest payments on its debt beyond 2024, its foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday, the final piece in a push to restructure its international debt. – Reuters

The Organization of American States said Wednesday that it will continue closely monitoring Nicaragua’s democracy and human rights record even after the country’s imminent exit from the regional body later this month. – Associated Press

United States

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to hold summit talks in San Francisco next week as they seek to stabilize tense ties by meeting in-person for just the second time in nearly three years, but little bonhomie and no grand bargains appear in the offing. – Reuters

A group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday urged U.S. President Joe Biden to allow Palestinian tourists, students and workers in the United States to remain in light of the conflict in the Gaza Strip and unrest and violence in the West Bank. – Reuters

Washington’s hawks are demanding that President Joe Biden’s administration tighten US sanctions on Iran as punishment for its support of Hamas, the militant group behind the attacks that triggered the current conflict with Israel. Tehran, they argue, has been exporting more oil over recent months than it has in years. – Bloomberg

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas seemed to suggest Wednesday that he could revoke the visas of any foreign visitors in the U.S. who can be shown to have endorsed or supported Hamas terrorists. – Washington Times

Editorial: This needed to get done yesterday; look for the pro-terror wing of the Congress (AOC, the just-censured Rashida Tlaib and others) as no votes. And remember: Whenever the self-anointed tribunes of the Palestinian people crow about “resistance,” they’re ringing the cash register with every needless death, Israeli or Palestinian. – New York Post


The notorious Russian hackers known as Sandworm attacked an electrical substation in Ukraine last year and caused a brief power outage, according to a report released Thursday by the cybersecurity firm Mandiant. – CyberScoop

The U.S. government has uncovered an ongoing Russia-funded disinformation campaign across Latin America aimed at undermining support for Ukraine and discrediting the U.S. and NATO. – The Record

Two prominent Chinese government hacking groups are targeting at least 24 Cambodian government organizations through cloud backup services, according to a new report. – The Record

Sometimes when malicious hackers meddle with open-source software development, the target isn’t the software — it’s the developers themselves. – The Record

Adonis Hoffman writes: ​​As AI continues to permeate our everyday lives, there is no doubt that regulation is necessary.  But its direction should come from industry, not government, and be guided by a set of industry-derived principles and best practices that are fair, transparent and enforceable. – The Hill

Alina Polyakova and Bill Echikson write: The natural venue for transatlantic discussions, the Trade and Transatlantic Council, never was consulted. EU officials, led by EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, say European domestic regulations are not negotiable. That’s a mistake. Both Europe and the US must stop avoiding their differences in tech policies. They must work together, not against each other. Nothing should be off the table when it comes to transatlantic security — including tech policy. – Center for European Policy Analysis


America’s long-promised pivot to Asia was finally gathering momentum — new security deals with the Philippines and India, expanded military exercises, and plans with allies to stay ahead of Chinese technology. But the Middle East, like a vortex, has pulled Washington back in. – New York Times

As the Navy continues to experiment with and expand upon its burgeoning drone fleet in the Middle Eastern patrolled by U.S. 5th Fleet, an unmanned surface ship fired missiles for the first time there during an exercise last month. – Defense News

“It’s counterintuitive,” the head of U.S. submarine forces acknowledges, but the Navy’s ballistic missile submarine force is spending more time operating at sea while also seeing better material readiness rates. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy is experimenting with launching and recovering medium unmanned underwater vehicles from submarines, even as a formal acquisition effort is ongoing. – Defense News

After another canceled test of the U.S. Army and Navy’s Common Hypersonic Glide Body due to a problem just prior to launch at the end of October, it is now “highly unlikely” the Army will field the weapon to the first unit by the end of the year as planned, Doug Bush, the service’s acquisition chief, told reporters in a Nov. 8 briefing. – Defense News

The U.S. Army plans to spend $3.1 billion in emergency fiscal 2024 supplemental funding to boost domestic 155mm artillery munition production if lawmakers approve the pending White House request, the service’s acquisition chief said during a Nov. 7 press briefing. – Defense News

The challenge to the Navy’s surface fleet came in from the U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters: deploy six littoral combat ships west of the International Dateline by 2025. – USNI News

Ed Lu writes: The exponential growth in space will create new markets, leading to new sources of wealth. This new space race also presents logistical and security challenges, but ultimately the scientific discoveries and new services it enables will improve life on Earth. – Wall Street Journal