Fdd's overnight brief

October 10, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israel prepared for what could be an extended ground assault in the Gaza Strip, and the Pentagon warned Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to “think twice” before joining the conflict and said it was prepared to come to Israel’s defense. – Wall Street Journal

Setbacks to President Biden’s efforts to bring stability to the Middle East and fund the war in Ukraine have undermined top foreign-policy goals for his first term, adding to difficulties the U.S. faces with a third priority—China. – Wall Street Journal

Markets on Monday morning reacted perfectly logically to the most serious attack on Israel in 50 years and the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis and Palestinians. Oil prices initially rose 3% or so, stock futures fell a bit, gold was up about 1% and Treasury futures rose, lowering yields. – Wall Street Journal

Israel spent three years building a 40-mile-long, state-of-the-art, high-tech security barrier along the Gaza Strip, with radar and sensors designed to detect furtive incursions by Palestinians bent on carrying out covert attacks in Israel. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s unprecedented hostage crisis took an even graver turn Monday when Palestinian militants threatened to begin executing prisoners unless the government ratchets back its bombardment of their Gaza sanctuary. – Wall Street Journal 

Foreign nationals from around the world have been reported killed or missing in Israel, as the country’s leaders declared war against Hamas and the combined death toll among Israelis and Palestinians crossed 1,000. – Washington Post

The Biden administration raced to deliver military support to Israel on Monday in its spiraling conflict with Hamas, as U.S. officials vowed to account for Americans killed or potentially held hostage in the Gaza Strip. – Washington Post

At least 11 U.S. citizens have been killed in Israel and an unknown number are still unaccounted for, President Biden said in a statement on Monday evening, saying that “we believe it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas.” – New York Times

Hundreds of cars abandoned in the scramble to flee a massacre at an Israeli music festival where Hamas gunmen killed 260 people and took captives back into Gaza underline the scale of the deadliest attack on Israel in decades. – Reuters

Israel’s port of Ashkelon and its oil terminal have been shut in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Islamist group Hamas, shipping and trade sources said on Monday. – Reuters

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas deployed a force of about 1,000 fighters to stage the most devastating attack on Israel in decades, organising them into specialised units, a source close to the group told Reuters. – Reuters

Israel said on Tuesday it had re-established control over the Gaza border and was planting mines where Hamas militants had toppled the barrier during their bloody weekend assault, after another night of relentless Israeli air raids on the enclave. – Reuters

A senior Hamas official said the group is open to discussions over a possible truce with Israel, having “achieved its targets.” – Reuters

Israel increased airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and sealed it off from food, fuel and other supplies Monday in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants, as the war’s death toll rose to nearly 1,600 on both sides. Hamas also escalated the conflict, pledging to kill captured Israelis if attacks targeted civilians without warnings. – Associated Press

For Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s eyes are never very far away. Surveillance drones buzz constantly from the skies. The highly-secured border is awash with security cameras and soldiers on guard. Intelligence agencies work sources and cyber capabilities to draw out a bevy of information. But Israel’s eyes appeared to have been closed in the lead-up to an unprecedented onslaught by the militant Hamas group, which broke down Israeli border barriers and sent hundreds of militants into Israel to carry out a brazen attack that has killed hundreds and pushed the region toward conflict. – Associated Press

The night was a getaway. Thousands of young men and women gathered at a vast field in southern Israel near the Gaza border to dance without a care. Old and new friends jumped up and down, reveling in the swirl of the bass-heavy beats. – Associated Press

Israel ordered the shutdown of a major gas field run by Chevron Corp. in the eastern Mediterranean, citing safety concerns as fighting between Hamas and the Israeli military rages for a third day. – Bloomberg

Israel is preparing to destroy the Hamas military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip after the horrific attack that killed hundreds of Israelis, most of them civilians. Political divisions, which have driven anti-government protesters into the streets for nine months, have vanished in the face of Hamas’s slaughter at the weekend and fears the conflict could spread to Lebanon. – Bloomberg

IDF troops exchanged fire with several terrorists at the Sa’ad junction, located near the border with the Gaza Strip, overnight Monday. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: Donald Trump didn’t rebuild U.S. defenses as much as he claims, and his political competitors should say so. Former Vice President Mike Pence was correct when he said over the weekend that the awful scenes abroad are what happens when political leaders are “signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world.” Nikki Haley sounded similar notes. They seem to know what time it is. The rest of Washington needs an alarm clock. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: Hamas fighters hide behind Palestinian civilians so they can play to Western sympathy, but that is another reason for eliminating Hamas and Islamic Jihad as threats. They terrorize Palestinians as well. The time for a ceasefire is when Israel has defeated its enemies. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: Mr. Biden’s challenge now is to support Israel, and help it vanquish Hamas, while somehow preserving talks on peace and normalization among Israel, the Arab states and — inescapably — those Palestinian parties that are willing to engage. This is not quite the challenge he was planning for, and certainly not an easy one. – Washington Post

Editorial: The violence in Israel may also strengthen calls to cut military aid to Ukraine. That is a false choice; America’s duty as Israel’s friend is to stand firm in its support, to join the Israeli people in their grief and to continue to work toward an end to the cycle of violence. – New York Times

Editorial: Yet the future shape of Israel’s government is one of the issues that the new war leaves less clear, at least for now. Other questions include whether Saudi-Israeli diplomacy can survive this shock; how widely beyond Israel and Gaza the fighting might spread; the potential impact on the global economy if oil prices spike; and whether any hope of compromise between Israel and the Palestinians could somehow emerge from this unprecedented assault. – New York Times

Editorial: Like those Palestinian terrorists who hijacked airliners and cruise ships in decades past, Hamas claims that its ultimate goal is the liberation of the Palestinian people. We now have proof that Hamas’s strategy for freedom is not one of violence pursuant to political negotiation but rather of genocide. For Hamas, a free Palestine is not something to be constructed by peace talks and land swaps but by the construction of a great new Auschwitz. Having tasted that bitter ambition, Israel has the right to use great force to prevent its further construction. – Washington Examiner

Walter Russell Mead writes: Fecklessness in Washington breeds recklessness abroad. Standing by Israel in a confrontation with Iran carries risk, but yielding to Iranian threats is more dangerous still. As Winston Churchill said to Neville Chamberlain after Munich, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Unless Israel and the U.S. acting together can deter Iran from more aggression, Mr. Biden could soon face a similar choice. – Wall Street Journal

Gerard Baker writes: But the Biden administration has turned Afghanistan from a U.S. protectorate to a terrorist state, has seen a nuclear-armed adversary invade a European nation on the borders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and has now watched helplessly as our closest ally in the Middle East has been raped by terrorists backed by a state the administration has been busy appeasing. The primary responsibility for the monstrosity in Israel lies with the terrorists. But American weakness will always embolden the worst people in the world. – Wall Street Journal

Mitch McConnell writes: In the days and weeks ahead, the brave people of Israel will continue to reclaim their territory, rescue their countrymen, and mourn the innocent men, women and children the terrorists have slaughtered. They deserve the support of the free world, in both word and deed. – Wall Street Journal

Gil Troy writes: That sense of purpose is why Israel will prevail. It makes clear what seems from afar the great anomaly of Israel, which every Israeli understands up close. Israel may have brutal enemies and continuing political challenges. But Israelis rank as among the world’s happiest people, because they share a sense of common destiny, a sense of community, and a sense of purpose that gives their lives meaning amid the danger. – Wall Street Journal 

Daniel Pipes writes: Once Gaza has been secured, Israel would find a great number of its inhabitants ready to start over and build productive lives rather than focus endlessly and hopelessly on the destruction of Israel. Gaza could aspire to become the “Singapore of the Middle East” of which optimists dreamed decades ago. None of this can happen as long as Iran’s medieval-minded agents run the enclave. – Wall Street Journal

Eugene Kontorovich writes: Finally, there is the question of what can be done with Hamas in Gaza. False doctrines of international law have given the terror group an insurance policy: No matter what atrocities they commit against Israel, they will come out of any conflict with no less territory than before. They may lose men, but they gain gruesome honor. Hamas’s war aim isn’t to minimize its own casualties but to drive out the Jews. To defeat and discredit its leadership, the Palestinians must pay a permanent territorial price. – Wall Street Journal

Natan Sharansky writes: The horrific events of this past Saturday can have no silver lining, but the world would benefit immeasurably if the attack were to prompt free nations, together with leading human rights organizations, to finally unite completely in the fight against terrorism — and in the belief that every state, Jewish or not, has the right to defend itself against the indiscriminate murder of its citizens. – Washington Post

David Ignatius writes: A final thought: When we say that the Gaza outrage was an Israeli version of 9/11, we should remember the other big lesson of that catastrophe, other than our failure to see it coming. The United States overreacted. It didn’t simply take revenge and destroy its enemies. It sought to remake the Middle East, with long, mostly fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: It’s too soon to tell how closely this war will resemble the one that nearly destroyed Israel 50 years ago. It’s not too soon to start thinking about how this disaster could have the best possible outcome. – New York Times

Shimrit Meir writes: Saturday was a good day for the jihadists and their supporters around the world, for the people who celebrate the murder of civilians, who thrive on hatred and violence. Tomorrow Israelis will bury their dead. Israelis will think about the people taken captive, regroup and go out to win this battle. But the soul searching will eventually have to come. – New York Times

Javier Blas writes: History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the world’s first oil crisis, the parallels between October 2023 and October 1973 are easy to draw: A surprise attack on Israel and oil prices rising. But the resemblance ends there. – Bloomberg

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Israel is certain to prevail, but the cost of this war is already far too high. The list of dead and of hostages keeps rising, and is likely to rise some more before the shooting stops. But military operations are not enough. Israel has been wracked by civil strife unlike any in its 75-year history. And that can only end with urgent political change and the departure from the top of the man behind that strife, Benjamin Netanyahu. – The Hill

Benny Avni writes: Mr. Netanyahu, in his speech, said that “divisions inside Israel are over,” and called for a unity government. Yet, an already apparent lack of public trust in the government may well erode further as the current international support weakens, and as second-guessing of the IDF strategy comes to dominate global commentary. – New York Sun

Avi Mayer writes: And the effect this will have on our collective psyche and our shared consciousness, on our very sense of security and our confidence in our ability to live freely and securely in this land – it will be felt for decades if not generations. The full scope of the catastrophe is, as yet, unknown, but one thing is clear: the events of October 7, 2023 – one of the darkest days in the country’s history – will change everything. This is Israel’s 9/11. Nothing will ever be the same. – Jerusalem Post

Daniel Byman and Alexander Palmer write: For deterrence to work in the long term, Hamas needs other options to maintain its political legitimacy, which rests on its opposition to Israel. Deterrence involves only dissuading an adversary from doing a hostile action it might otherwise do. But if the adversary believes that it has no choice, then deterrence is far harder. In theory, Israel could give Hamas more freedom to govern the Gaza Strip and offer it a greater role in Palestinian politics. These concessions might make Hamas even stronger, however, and a wrathful Israel is less likely than ever to be willing to take such chances. – Foreign Affairs

Jacob Olidort writes: Given the possible intensity of Israel’s response and the potential for escalation, the United States should proactively defend the Israeli Defense Forces and their compliance with the law of armed conflict, especially since Hamas and Iran’s other proxies intentionally violate the law of armed conflict by placing civilians in harm’s way. Washington should also vigorously emphasize its continued commitment to Israeli-Saudi normalization. Indeed, rather than derailing that process, this war should have the opposite effect, giving more reason for the United States to provide defense guarantees to Israel and Saudi Arabia, as has been reportedly discussed as part of these negotiations. – JINSA

Iran

Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group. – Wall Street Journal

For several hours on Friday, while people around the world celebrated her selection as the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Narges Mohammadi had no idea she had won. Female inmates at Evin Prison in Tehran, where the 51-year-old Iranian human-rights activist is serving a decadelong sentence, aren’t allowed phone calls on Fridays. It wasn’t until inmates at the men’s ward got a message to her that she learned about the prize, according to her family. – Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back Sunday against unsubstantiated claims that Iranian assets that were recently freed up facilitated Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, noting that none of the money has been spent yet and that it can be used only for humanitarian purposes. – Washington Post

The United States’ top general on Monday warned Iran not to get involved in the crisis in Israel and said he did not want the conflict to the broaden, as Lebanese armed group Hezbollah fired a salvo of rockets onto northern Israel. – Reuters

Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Sunday that Tehran was not involved in one of the bloodiest attacks in Israel’s history when Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens more. – Reuters

Iran has called for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces raged following a weekend assault on Israel, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday. – Reuters

An unprecedented attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas has renewed the world’s focus on a shadow war that’s shaped the Middle East for decades. Of the many conflicts that have roiled the region, the one between Israel and Iran — sponsor of Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah as well as Iraqi and Yemeni militia — has long been among the most explosive. Their battles have often been fought through those proxies, avoiding an escalation into direct war in a major oil-exporting region. It’s not clear what role Iran had in the Hamas incursion, but as the shadow war enters a deadly new phase, here’s a look at how we got here. – Bloomberg

Iranian government officials congratulated Hamas on its surprise attack on Israel early Saturday morning, expressing support for “anti-Zionist resistance” across the region. – Politico

Iran’s fingerprints are “all over” Hamas’ attack on Israel, President Trump’s ambassador to Jerusalem, told the New York Sun in an interview Sunday. His remarks come as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told reporters at UN headquarters that the violent attack will fundamentally alter Israel’s strategy in fighting the terrorist group. – New York Sun

Editorial: It’s fair to ask if the Administration has let Iran and Russia evade sanctions because it doesn’t want to be blamed for higher gas prices as it continues to add regulations to limit U.S. production. In any case, Tehran isn’t using the $30 billion to $40 billion it has generated from oil exports this year to buy food and medicine. It’s been arming Israel’s enemies and supporting Russia’s war machine as they seek to destroy America’s allies. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Ms. Mohammadi’s prize follows the tradition of peace prizes for Soviet-era physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov and Chinese political reform activist Liu Xiaobo. Her award brings moral clarity to the dissident cause in Iran that is too often ignored in Western capitals. For a year at least the Nobel is where it belongs. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Which brings us back to Mr. Biden’s initial vow to arm and stand with Israel. It will not be helped by his administration trying to put the gloss on the Iranian ayatollahs. If the goal is to create a pro-American Mideast bloc of Arabs and Israelis, Mr. Biden will have to abandon his instinct for appeasement. Why should that be so hard when it was money, arms, and training from Iran that delivered the horrors that the ayatollahs are now celebrating? – New York Sun

Editorial: The horrors inflicted on Israel should wake the president from his daydreams. He must acknowledge what Iran really is — a terrorist sponsor determined to murder Americans and Israelis. There should be no appeasement of the terrorist state or its network of terror organizations. Biden must reverse course and deal with the world as it really is rather than as, in his somnolent fantasies, he has till now believed it to be. – Washington Examiner

John Authers writes: Real life isn’t chess. What happened over the weekend in Israel and the Gaza Strip has involved bloodshed and death for innocent civilians in the hundreds. It’s nothing like a game played on a board with pieces shaped like knights and castles and the rest. All can agree that another human tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. – Bloomberg

Marc Champion writes: The pressure on both Israel and Iran to expand Operation Iron Sword against Hamas into a regional war is real. But a wider war is far from inevitable. Iran’s ultra-conservative leadership “will lionize Hamas as this fight goes on, but the time will come when it is under pressure to put its money where its mouth is, because Hamas will have its hat out there for help,’’ says Raine. In Syria and Iraq, that meant sending IRGC personnel to the front lines, but the stakes in Gaza are much higher. – Bloomberg

Eugene Chudnovsky writes: Responding to the news about her Nobel Peace Prize, Mohammadi said, “I will continue to fight against the relentless discrimination, tyranny, and gender-based oppression by the oppressive religious government until the liberation of women.” It will inspire many in Iran, but the United States should not stay out of that fight. It must pursue human rights and gender equity in all negotiations with Iran. – Washington Examiner

Kitaneh Fitzpatrick writes: The regime’s failure to make any concessions to protesters, such as abolishing mandatory veiling or the morality patrol, will likely fuel these anti-regime sentiments further. The supreme leader’s flawed soft-war strategy carries the additional risk of widening intra-regime fissures at a particularly sensitive juncture in Iran’s history as 84-year-old Khamenei prepares to eventually be succeeded. – American Enterprise Institute

Danielle Pletka writes: Iran envisions a future of multifront, city-to-city fighting of the kind Israel has not seen since 1948. From Jerusalem, that plan may have looked like a fantasy in the face of a vastly superior Israeli force. And the fact that Salami seems incapable of operational security—laying out his vision for Israel’s defeat in explicit terms—should have meant that the country was well prepared for something like this weekend’s attack. In the event, it was not. – Foreign Policy

Russia & Ukraine

A year ago, Ukrainian forces swept through this region of eastern Ukraine, liberating it from Russian control. Economic recovery has been slow to follow, threatening lasting damage for Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

After an initially balmy fall, temperatures are dropping in Ukraine — and Russia has already begun pummeling Ukraine’s energy system, in a reprise of its brutal attempt last autumn and winter to demoralize Ukrainians by plunging them into darkness and cold. – Washington Post

But after Hamas militants carried out a brutal surprise attack in which hundreds of Israeli civilians were killed or kidnapped, Russia stopped short of condemning the Palestinian militant group, referring instead to what happened as “a spiral of violence” and pointing fingers at the West. – Washington Post

At least 52 people have been declared dead, and as body identification got underway Friday, it became apparent that the vast majority of them were civilians, making the hit on Hroza one of the deadliest civilian strikes of the war. – Washington Post

As Ukrainian forces press ahead with their closely watched counteroffensive, another battle is underway: the fight to control the story and influence how the world sees the war. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday linked the assault by Hamas on Israel with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and criticised Iran over both conflicts. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that two Ukrainian nationals had died in unrest in Israel and that more than 100 citizens had contacted the country’s embassy. – Reuters

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s Chechnya region and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, proposed on Saturday that a presidential election due next March should either be postponed due to the war in Ukraine or limited to one candidate – Putin. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has replaced the commander of Ukraine’s Territorial Defence Forces, which have played an important role in helping defend the country since Russia’s invasion. – Reuters

Lawrence J. Haas writes: To be sure, Biden won’t move mountains with a single speech. FDR certainly didn’t on that warm October day in 1937. But what he can do — especially if he reiterates his arguments in other important settings in the coming months — is shore up support from those who already back aid to Ukraine, and perhaps soften the opposition to it. That, in turn, would further embolden lawmakers who have supported aid to continue to do so, and it might give aid-supporting lawmakers with more skeptical constituencies a bit more leeway to follow their own instincts. With so much at stake in Ukraine, a president who has done an admirable job in rallying the West should leave nothing to chance. – The Hill

Thomas Graham writes: The United States cannot afford to look at Russia solely through the European prism. It needs to appreciate the varying roles Russia plays across Eurasia. Total victory in Ukraine through Russia’s crushing defeat would create strategic problems for the United States elsewhere. Despite its revulsion at Moscow’s conduct, Washington will still need a Russia strong enough to effectively control its own territory and to create regional balances of power in Asia that favor Washington. The United States need not fear Russian power. – Foreign Affairs

Kurt Volker writes: The American interest in renewing military aid for Ukraine is very strong. It will be supported by the American people if our leaders set a clear goal, assure measures of accountability, and make the fundamental case that defeating Russian forces in Ukraine is an act of self-interest, not merely an act of charity for suffering Ukrainians. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Hezbollah

As Israel combats the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, it faces the strategic question of whether Iran will direct its other protégé, the Lebanese Hezbollah, to open a second front in the north. – Wall Street Journal

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it targeted Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms on Sunday, saying it was acting “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people after an unprecedented attack by Hamas gunmen from Gaza into Israel. – Reuters

Israeli shelling on Lebanon killed at least three Hezbollah militants on Monday, and Israel said one of its officers was killed during an earlier cross-border raid claimed by Palestinians in Lebanon. – Reuters

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fired dozens of rockets and shells on Sunday at three Israeli positions in a disputed area along the country’s border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. – Associated Press

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: Hezbollah knows that this carrier strike group could impose significant costs on it. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and his patrons in Tehran must thus now factor in an additional risk as they consider their next moves. – Washington Examiner

Daniel Byman writes: As Palestinian casualties inevitably increase due to what is likely to be a devastating Israeli response, Hezbollah may face pressure to do more in solidarity. Small actions could also unexpectedly spiral. The 2006 war began, in part, due to misunderstandings, where Hezbollah thought that a limited operation would not provoke a massive Israeli response. The usual rules do not apply today to a wounded and furious Israel, and Hezbollah should step carefully if it wants to avoid an all-out conflict. – Foreign Policy

Afghanistan

One day after powerful earthquakes struck western Afghanistan, government officials estimated Sunday that more than 2,400 people were killed and thousands injured. – Washington Post

An inquiry investigating allegations that British special forces carried out dozens of extra-judicial killings in Afghanistan a decade ago will begin hearing evidence in public on Monday. – Reuters

The Taliban are suspending consular services at two Afghan embassies, London and Vienna, over their lack of transparency and cooperation with authorities in Kabul, a foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday. – Bloomberg

Syria

North Korea on Monday condemned “hostile forces inside and outside Syria” for a drone attack last week that caused many casualties in the country, calling it a terrorist attempt to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. – Reuters

Turkey’s military conducted air strikes in northern Syria on Sunday night and destroyed six Kurdish militant targets, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, adding many militants had been “neutralised” in the attack. – Reuters

The Netherlands and Canada are taking Syria’s government to the United Nations’ highest court on Tuesday, accusing Damascus of massive human rights violations against its own people. – Associated Press

Turkey

Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, said on Sunday it was too early to talk about mediation offers between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, adding the attacks showed that Hamas should not have any presence in Turkey or elsewhere. – Reuters

Turkish authorities have captured 2,554 fugitives as part of a nationwide counter-terrorism operation launched after Kurdish militants detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara a week ago, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on Sunday. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey was determined to ramp up diplomatic efforts to achieve calm in the fighting between Israeli and Palestinian forces, but added that a two-state solution was the only way to achieve regional peace. – Reuters

Lebanon

The United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon said on Saturday it had enhanced its presence in its areas of operations near Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, including “counter rocket-launching operations”. – Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces said they killed armed infiltrators entering from neighboring Lebanon on Monday, the third day of fighting since Hamas militants from Gaza launched a surprise attack against Israel. – Bloomberg

Adnan Nasser writes: The Lebanese people are waiting to see how this new round of violence will develop and if it will drag them into a new war with Israel. Something both countries cannot afford. One source told The National Interest that although the conflict in Gaza is still in its early stages, it may spread to Lebanon if it continues and Israel “crosses the red lines.” This attack may trigger a wider war. If it continues and Israel crosses various red lines, Lebanon will be dragged into it. – The National Interest

Egypt

A video of paratroopers skydiving at sunset over the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairo has been falsely claimed online to show fighters with the Islamist militant group Hamas launching its surprise attack on Israel. – Reuters

Egypt has been in close contact with Israel and Hamas to try to prevent further escalation in fighting between them and ensure the protection of Israelis taken hostage by Palestinian militants, two Egyptian security sources said on Monday. – Reuters

An Egyptian policeman opened fire on a group of Israeli tourists in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Sunday, killing two of the holidaymakers and a local guide, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported. – Bloomberg

Solafa Magdy writes: Today, I appeal to American congresswomen to step in, to work to strengthen protections and the international rule of law, defeating the corruption that leads repeatedly to these arbitrary arrests and detentions in Egypt and beyond. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” Now is a vital opportunity to reexamine the role of the U.S. and the specific attacks, targeting and treatment of women journalists and human rights defenders that affect greater society in Egypt. Nothing less than the freedom of the press, the great bulwark of democracy, is at stake. – The Hill

Arabian Peninsula

The United Arab Emirates on Sunday described attacks carried out by Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas against Israeli towns as a “serious and grave escalation.” – Reuters

Qatari mediators have held urgent calls to try to negotiate freedom for Israeli women and children seized by the militant group and held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel’s prisons, a source briefed on the talks told Reuters. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates has warned the Assad regime in Syria not to intervene in the Hamas-Israel war or to allow attacks on Israel from Syrian soil, according to two sources briefed on the Emirati diplomatic effort. – Axios

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has told the White House it would be willing to boost oil production early next year if crude prices are high—a move aimed at winning goodwill in Congress for a deal in which the kingdom would recognize Israel and in return get a defense pact with Washington, Saudi and U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden’s top aides scrambled on Sunday to reaffirm their commitment to the idea of potential normalization of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, even as Israel prepares for the start of a full-scale war against Palestinian militants. – New York Times

In the latest indication of progress toward a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters last week that a “basic framework” for a deal has already been reached. – Jerusalem Post

David C. Hendrickson writes: Instead of taking the Saudi demands at face value, we should infer that what MBS really wants is the demonstration that the United States cannot deliver on most of the agenda he has set forth. That demonstration would justify his refusal to yield ground on Israel and his desire to maintain good relations with Russia and China while not wholly alienating the United States. Saudi diplomacy today is not about the ways and means of reaffirming its status as an American protectorate but about accumulating points for the blame game to follow the collapse of the negotiations. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, told fellow Arab countries on Saturday that Israel cannot provide them with any protection despite recent diplomatic rapprochements. – Reuters

Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit headed to Moscow on Sunday for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the situation in Gaza after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years. – Reuters

The head of Islamic Jihad denounced Arab attempts to normalise relations with Israel on Friday, as the militant group staged demonstrations in the Palestinian territories and neighbouring states amid Israeli efforts to make peace with Saudi Arabia. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

The South Korean government said on Monday that the country’s semiconductor manufacturers have secured waivers from U.S. government rules that threatened to limit their businesses in China. – New York Times

North Korea’s spy satellite program is an “indispensable” measure to counter U.S. space militarisation aimed at beefing up the United States’ preemptive nuclear strike capability and securing “world supremacy,” state media KCNA said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and SK Hynix (000660.KS) will be allowed to supply U.S. chip equipment to their China factories indefinitely without separate U.S. approvals, South Korea’s presidential office and the companies said on Monday. – Reuters

North Korean state media on Tuesday blamed Israel for causing bloodshed in Gaza, weighing in the military clashes between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas for the first time. – Reuters

The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is due to dock at the South Korean port of Busan on Thursday, as Seoul warned of a greater threat from North Korea and held joint maritime drills with the United States and Japan. – Reuters

South Korea’s defense minister said Tuesday he would push to suspend a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement in order to resume frontline surveillance on rival North Korea, as the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas militants raised concerns in South Korea about similar assaults by the North. – Associated Press

Rail traffic between North Korea and Russia spiked after a summit between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, a Washington-based think tank said, citing satellite imagery. – Bloomberg

In an age of artificial intelligence, crypto-currency, and other high-tech puzzles, South Korea intends to get ahead of the game with an elaborate program for imposing rules and regulations in an area that might appear ungovernable if not out of control. – New York Sun

China

The spiraling war between Israel and Hamas is complicating efforts by the U.S. and China to stabilize their relationship and pave the way to a potential summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Biden next month. – Wall Street Journal

Even as the U.S. and China are trying to repair ties ahead of an expected summit between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Washington and Beijing are jockeying for the upper hand. – Wall Street Journal

A former U.S. Army sergeant was arrested Friday at San Francisco International Airport for allegedly trying to deliver defense secrets to Chinese authorities. – Washington Post

Israel expected to see a “stronger condemnation” of Hamas from China, a country it views as its friend, Yuval Waks, a senior official at the Israeli embassy in Beijing, said on Sunday. – Reuters

China called for an “immediate ceasefire” and reiterated support for an independent Palestinian state after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel that shattered regional stability. – Bloomberg

Yet his government’s reaction to the Israel-Hamas conflict is exposing the limits of Xi’s ability to bring lasting solutions to some of the world’s most intractable clashes. Much like his proposal on Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s initial statement on Sunday sought to avoid naming an aggressor and failed to offer any specific offer of immediate assistance. – Bloomberg

Dov S. Zakheim writes: In recent months, and especially with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s recent visits to the region, Washington has increased its efforts to upgrade its relationships with both the larger and smaller Pacific states. The events of the past few weeks demonstrate that China has no intention of sitting back as the U.S. does so. The lesson for Washington is unequivocal: It cannot slacken its efforts both to expand and deepen its ties throughout the wider Pacific region. And it must do so even as it continues to devote high-level attention, military equipment and billions of dollars to help Ukraine drive back Russia’s invading forces. – The Hill

South Asia

Nepal said on Monday at least 10 of its nationals were killed in Israel after the attack by Palestinian group Hamas, and the cabinet will hold an emergency meeting to discuss how to evacuate thousands of others working and studying there. – Reuters

India is discussing trade in local currencies with Tanzania, a foreign ministry official said on Monday adding that New Delhi has pushed for trade in rupees. – Reuters

UK envoys are due in New Delhi this week as the two countries seek to bring almost two years of trade negotiations to a conclusion, people familiar with the matter said. – Bloomberg

Pakistan’s jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan will be formally charged for leaking state secrets on Oct. 17 after the Federal Investigation Agency submitted the result of a probe to the court. – Bloomberg

Editorial: India’s dangerous combination of militant Hindu nationalism and pliant or overwhelmed social media shows how illiberalism can spread in a wired world. To halt it now would require a major change by the BJP, which is not likely, or far more aggressive policing by the platforms, which is hardly assured. But left unchecked, this toxic mix risks turning even more corrosive, eating away at the heart of India’s democracy. – Washington Post

Asia

China on Monday extended an investigation into what it calls Taiwan’s trade barriers against it by three months to the eve of the island’s presidential election, prompting Taipei to accuse Beijing of attempting to interfere in the vote. – Reuters

China on Monday warned the Philippines against further “provocations” at an atoll in the South China Sea, saying such acts had violated Chinese territorial sovereignty, contravened international law and disrupted regional peace and stability. – Reuters

Thailand’s foreign ministry on Monday said 12 Thai nationals had been killed in unrest in Israel, plus 11 more kidnapped and eight injured. – Reuters

Australian police said on Tuesday they were investigating a pro-Palestinian protest outside Sydney Opera House, after footage emerged of a small group appearing to chant anti-Semitic slogans at the demonstration. – Reuters

Taiwan seeks “peaceful coexistence” with China with free and unrestricted interaction but the island will be democratic for generations to come, President Tsai Ing-wen said in her last national day speech on Tuesday. – Reuters

Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) on Tuesday said the ruling military was responsible for an attack on a refugee camp that it said killed at least 28 people. – Reuters

With Russia in retreat in its southern neighborhood, Western nations are trying to prevent Muslim Azerbaijan from moving into the power vacuum and settling scores with Christian Armenia. Azerbaijan is flush with a victory two weeks ago that ended a 35-year-old separatist “republic” of Armenians. – New York Sun

Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday condemned the attacks against Israel, and said he had discussed the situation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other regional leaders. – Reuters

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday Britain was standing with Israel “unequivocally” following the attacks by Hamas and that London was working to ensure the world speaks in one voice. – Reuters

Germany debated on Sunday whether it should stop aid to Palestinians following the biggest attack on Israel in years by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, with the government saying it was reviewing the way it spent development funds in the region. – Reuters

European Union foreign ministers will meet in an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Israel and the region, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. – Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is calling for a rapid de-escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as its widening would have “incalculable consequences”, her office said on Monday. – Reuters

Britain supports Israel’s right to take proportionate action that is within international law to bring an end to violence, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said on Monday, following Israeli retaliation to a shock attack by Hamas militants. – Reuters

Two Spaniards have been “affected” by the Hamas assault on Israel, Spain’s acting foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Monday. – Reuters

Hungary has evacuated 215 people from Israel by air on two planes overnight and they have safely landed in Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook post on Monday morning. – Reuters

Austria said on Monday it was suspending its aid to Palestinians in response to Islamist group Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel, while Germany appeared to do the same, saying no aid payments were currently being made. – Reuters

The European Union backtracked in disarray on Monday on an announcement that aid to Palestinians had been suspended in response to the attack on Israel by Hamas after EU countries complained the bloc’s executive had overstepped the mark. – Reuters

Moldova’s pro-European President, Maia Sandu, said Russia’s Wagner paramilitary force was the main force behind an attempt to foment a coup against her, she told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday. – Reuters

The British government said it had updated its travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, advising against all but essential travel as fighting continued near Gaza after a bloody incursion by gunmen from Islamist group Hamas. – Reuters

Poland will send military planes to evacuate its citizens from Israel, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Sunday, a day after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. – Reuters

Flights to and from Hamburg Airport were suspended for about 1 1/2 hours on Monday after authorities received a threat to a plane from Iran, officials said. – Associated Press

Cyprus authorities said Friday they arrested a Russian journalist for “security reasons,” prompting the Russian Foreign Ministry to demand a formal apology from the Cypriot government over the “provocation.” – Associated Press

A Swedish court on Monday released a Russia-born Swedish citizen charged with collecting information for Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, for almost a decade. – Associated Press

The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in ethnically split Cyprus said Monday that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have reached an “understanding” over a contentious road inside a U.N.-controlled buffer zone whose construction had stirred up tensions not seen in years. – Associated Press

Keir Starmer branded Hamas’s attack on Israel “appalling,” a condemnation that highlighted how the Labour leader has changed the party’s stance on a key foreign policy debate since replacing Jeremy Corbyn. – Bloomberg

The leaders of the French National Rally party, Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella, in a sharp turn that could change the pattern of politics in France, have issued separate statements of support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas terrorist onslaught. – New York Sun

Africa

The United States will resume food aid to refugees in Ethiopia, more than four months after suspending it because of large-scale diversions and theft of rations meant to feed millions of hungry people. – New York Times

Iran and Sudan agreed on Monday to restore diplomatic relations, both said in a joint statement, seven years after they were severed and three months after a meeting between their foreign ministers. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Monday with Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted in a military coup in July, to reiterate Washington’s support for the African country’s democratically elected government, the State Department said in a statement. – Reuters

Latin America

Ecuador’s national police chief and the head of the penitentiary institute were ousted Saturday after seven suspects in the assassination of a presidential candidate were killed in prison under mysterious circumstances. – Wall Street Journal

The international police mission approved by the United Nations to restore order in Haiti faces risks of violent confrontations with heavily armed gangs, while the government it seeks to help is viewed as illegitimate by many Haitians. – Wall Street Journal

The Venezuelan authorities said on Thursday that they were seeking the arrest of Juan Guaidó, the former opposition leader who is in exile in the United States. – New York Times

Brazil hopes to prevent escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday, after his country called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to address the crisis. – Reuters

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday that he has decided after all to meet with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden between Nov. 14-15 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. – Reuters

A Mexican woman and man are believed to have been taken hostage by the Hamas group in Gaza on Saturday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena announced on social media platform X on Sunday. – Reuters

The Mexican army is carrying out humanitarian flights aimed at bringing home nationals from Israel amid the attack on the country by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the government said on Monday. – Reuters

Venezuela’s government is set to approve a return to Mexico-based negotiations with the country’s political opposition, almost a year after the last meeting, six sources with knowledge of the matter said in recent days. – Reuters

Venezuela’s Supreme Court ordered the extradition of three exiled opposition leaders as the government intensifies its attacks on political dissent ahead of the 2024 presidential vote. – Bloomberg

United States

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives face new pressure to select a speaker after Israel declared war on Sunday, following a rare attack by Hamas militants that has prompted calls for more U.S. military aid. – Reuters

The United States on Monday led a moment of silence at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to commemorate the lives of people killed in the major Hamas attack on Israel. – Reuters

Senator Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, safely departed Israel on Sunday after sheltering in place during the attacks from Hamas, according to a statement from his spokesperson. – Bloomberg

A group of US lawmakers proposed that the Biden administration pursue a joint aid package for Israel and Ukraine that would capitalize on broad bipartisan support for the Jewish state to overcome opposition from some Republicans to continued funding for Kyiv. – Bloomberg

Senate Democrats are pushing aggressively for quick confirmation of Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel after the attack by Hamas on Saturday. – Politico

Both Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were in Israel over the weekend while extremist group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack at the country’s border with Gaza. Both congressmen have since left the country, according to their offices. – Politico

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul condemned a rally in support of Palestinians set to take place Sunday in the wake of the Hamas-led attack in Israel over the weekend, calling the event “abhorrent and morally repugnant,” in a statement Saturday night. – Politico

Cybersecurity

A wave of hacking attacks on Israeli targets has added a cyber dimension to the conflict with Hamas. The most significant measures by the Palestinians may prove to be preparation early in the year, when a Gaza Strip group that Microsoft calls Storm-1133 went after energy, defense and telecommunications companies inside Israel. – Washington Post

Vietnamese government agents apparently targeted several U.S. lawmakers and journalists with spyware using public posts on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, according to an investigation by Amnesty International and a consortium of media outlets. – The Hill

Michael O’Rielly writes: It doesn’t take an expert to see that USF is fiscally and structurally unhealthy. But pushing a new standalone tax on the U.S. technology industry under the guise of reform will not fix the fund’s problems. Instead, it would cost consumers and allow our trading partners to fleece American innovation. – Washington Examiner

Joe Buccino writes: The U.S. must lead the development of an international body to that end. Just as we’ve taken collective action in the past to confront existential threats, we must now rally to ensure the dawn of AI benefits humanity rather than endangers it. The consequences of failure may be disastrous for all of us. – The Hill

Defense

The U.S. Army wants to help supply both its Ukrainian and Israeli allies with as many bombs and other equipment as they need in their separate wars. But it can’t happen as long as Congress is in chaos. – Politico

US Army planners with the service’s newest cross-functional teams are considering the development of a new class of small, unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to handle resupply and logistics for US armed forces in the Indo-Pacific region. – Janes

Peter Garretson writes: The U.S. Marine Corps, though formally part of the Department of the Navy, boasts its own independent Office of Legislative Affairs led by a two-star general, equal in rank to the leadership of the Navy’s own legislative affairs office. If that balance was struck for the Marines, it makes all the more sense for America’s newest service branch to be able to tell its own story to Capitol Hill. Congress, for its part, seems to grasp this state of affairs. Now, it just needs to make it a reality. – The Hill

Cody Kennedy writes: The point in asking these questions is not to dismiss arms control or argue that it has no place in U.S. national strategy. If arms control is a realistic option to address U.S. security concerns, we should pursue further arms control agreements. But more questions need answering before deciding whether arms control should remain a focal point of national strategy. – The National Interest

Long War

Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhala said on Sunday that his faction was holding captive more than 30 of the Israelis who were abducted in the Gaza Strip since Saturday after Hamas launched attacks on Israel. – Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s options for hitting Hamas over its deadly incursion into Israel could be reined in by concern for the many Israelis seized in the raid, as a nation scarred by past hostage crises faces perhaps its worst one yet. – Reuters

The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting behind closed doors Sunday, with the United States demanding all 15 members strongly condemn “these heinous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas,” but they took no immediate action. – Associated Press

Israel is calling up 300,000 army reservists as it prepares for an escalation in the conflict with Hamas after the militant group’s deadly attacks. – Bloomberg

Footage of senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar calling for world domination has resurfaced online. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Evil is hard to face and even harder to tackle, but the world needs to realize that terrorism is exactly that: evil. Hamas is a terrorist organization, the same way that ISIS and al-Qaeda are terrorist organizations, and they need to be treated as such. Downplaying the threat of terrorism when it is perpetrated against Israel endangers the entire world. – Jerusalem Post

Zachary Faria writes: Along with emboldening Russia to invade Ukraine (thanks to the pathetic, botched Afghanistan withdrawal), Biden’s foreign policy has been a disaster. Terrorists are in a better position now than they were three years ago. If Biden and Blinken’s reaction to these attacks are any indication, that isn’t going to change in the coming year either. – Washington Examiner