Fdd's overnight brief

October 11, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israeli commanders said Tuesday that they had gained control of the border around the Gaza Strip and were preparing major military action “to change the reality” there as fighting continued three days after Hamas militants launched devastating attacks in Israel. – Washington Post

As new evidence emerges of atrocities committed by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilians, and as Israel’s military begins its offensive into Gaza, a debate is unfolding about Hamas’s long-term strategic aims and what impact Saturday’s dramatic incursion will have on the politics of the Middle East. – Washington Post

Sa’ed Darabeh was on his way to the hospital when an airstrike ripped through his neighborhood, destroying a building and a market. The 29-year-old doctor never made it to work. His wife, also a doctor, was at another hospital and survived, as did their infant son who was with his grandparents, a family friend told The Washington Post. – Washington Post

The entrance to this small farming community was lined with bullet-riddled cars, paved with shattered glass and flanked by two dead Hamas fighters. A cluster of Israeli soldiers squatted by one of the bodies, their weapons trained toward a distant ridge and the sound of machine gun fire. – Washington Post

When Hayim Katsman received his doctorate from the University of Washington in 2021, friends encouraged him to stay in the United States. He could build a good life there, they said, maybe even in Seattle, a city where his family had long roots. – Washington Post

The Israeli military has summoned roughly 360,000 reservists to join the fight against Hamas — marking one of its largest mobilizations in history and upending lives in Israel and around the world. – Washington Post

For years, Israel’s government pursued a policy of containment against Hamas, using a mix of economic incentives and military force to keep the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza in check and protect Israeli citizens from violence. – Wall Street Journal 

Hamas upended the stability of the entire Middle East when its militants surged into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. Israelis across the political spectrum were shocked by the scale of the assault and the extent of the violence. Some called it Israel’s 9/11 for how some of the world’s best trained and equipped security forces were caught unprepared and powerless to ward off the incursions. President Biden said at least 1,000 people were killed in his address to the nation Tuesday. Dozens of others were taken hostage. – Wall Street Journal 

If Israel considers itself in a battle for its life, its longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is battling for his reputation and his legacy. – New York Times

Four U.S. lawmakers met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government leaders in Israel on Tuesday, in what they described as a show of solidarity after Hamas’s surprise attacks over the weekend. – New York Times

Shortly before attackers from Gaza poured into Israel at dawn on Saturday, Israeli intelligence detected a surge in activity on some of the Gazan militant networks it monitors. Realizing something unusual was happening, they sent an alert to the Israeli soldiers guarding the Gazan border, according to two senior Israeli security officials. – New York Times

Hamas fighters launched coordinated attacks on at least four communications towers close to the Gaza border in the initial phase of their cross-border assault on Israel — the most sophisticated operation yet to disrupt the infrastructure in the area. – New York Times

Israel’s defense minister’s order to place a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip came on top of a 16-year blockade that Israel, often along with Egypt, has imposed on the coastal territory. – New York Times

Palestinians in Gaza say Israeli bombardment has been so heavy they feel they are living their own “Nakba,” the Arabic word for catastrophe that refers to the 1948 war of Israel’s creation that led to their mass dispossession. – Reuters

Israel’s military has rallied after an initial chaotic scramble to halt an assault by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and is retaliating with airstrikes on roads, buildings and other sites in Gaza while sending huge reinforcements towards the enclave. – Reuters

Israeli retaliatory air strikes against the Hamas militant group struck residential buildings and schools across the Gaza Strip, U.N. Human Rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday, adding that “sieges” were illegal under international law. – Reuters

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations on Tuesday described Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip and vow to impose a complete siege on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave as “nothing less than genocidal.” – Reuters 

The U.S. is talking with Israel and Egypt about the idea of a safe passage for Gaza civilians as Israel strikes the enclave after a deadly Hamas attack over the weekend, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Israel calls last week’s devastating attack by Hamas its 9/11 moment. The secretive mastermind behind the assault, Palestinian militant Mohammed Deif, calls it Al Aqsa Flood. The phrase Israel’s most wanted man used in an audio tape broadcast as Hamas fired thousands of rockets out of the Gaza strip on Saturday signalled the attack was payback for Israeli raids at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque. – Reuters 

A French leftist party, the New Anti-Capitalist Party, is being investigated for glorifying “terror” over comments following the deadly and devastating Hamas invasion of Israel, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

The families of Thai laborers held hostage by Hamas spoke Tuesday of their fears for their safety, after the Palestinian terror group threatened to kill civilian captives. – Agence France-Presse

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said members of his governing coalition had authorised him to negotiate a unity government with the opposition in the wake of the worst attack within Israel in the country’s history. – Financial Times

Biden administration officials want Israel to retaliate against the vicious Hamas attack in a “proportionate” manner, but they won’t say if there are any lines Jerusalem shouldn’t cross. – Politico

With Israel suffering the worst attack on its soil since the 2006 Lebanon War at the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, all eyes are on what its government chooses to do next. – Newsweek

An Israeli lawmaker is calling for her nation’s military to use nuclear warfare in response to attacks by Hamas. – Newsweek

The IDF said on Tuesday, that their preliminary reviews showed Hamas had some 20 vehicles disguised to appear as Israeli, that were used to transport terrorists into Israel at the start of their murderous attack. – Ynet

For the first time since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel over the weekend, mortar shells were fired from Syria into Israel, landing in an open area, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said Tuesday night. – Ynet

The IDF on Wednesday announced that intelligence collected from the battle with Hamas on the Gaza corridor proves that the terror group’s plan was to conquer the area and hold it for an indefinite period. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: President Biden spoke Tuesday with welcome moral clarity about Hamas’s butchery. The next step is doing everything in his power to recover American hostages, which includes making clear to Hamas and its terror sponsors in Tehran that there will be hell to pay if Hamas decides to execute these innocents. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Which brings us back to Chaim Bialik. We have come  a long way since Bialik staggered through the streets of Kishinev. We like the way Conrad Black put it when he said Israel has been given a casus belli the world will understand. Now there is a war to wage, a Jewish state to declare it, Jewish soldiers to fight it, and a Jewish people — and others — to pray to God that the sun will, like it did for Joshua over Gibeon, stand still over Zion. – New York Sun

Editorial: The American clarity here and the concrete steps it has taken to bolster Israel’s position – both by positioning the strike force in the region and by rushing air defense capabilities and munitions to Israel – are welcome and appreciated. After Saturday’s horror, there is some comfort in knowing we do not stand alone. – Jerusalem Post

David Ignatius writes: Israel must answer Saturday’s terrible attack. The country’s very existence was shaken by the assault. And perhaps the aftermath will bring a happier future for Palestinians, who are one of modern history’s most ill-fated people. But as a colleague warned me many decades ago, when it comes to the Middle East, it’s an unfortunate truth that “pessimism pays.” – Washington Post

Mosab Abu Toha writes: In the days ahead, I know that we will hear more bombs falling. We will wait in dread and think: “Is it my turn this time?” When we see the flash of the explosion, we know that we’ve been spared, because if you’re hit you only see death. It was someone else’s turn. And then we remember to mourn. – Washington Post

Seth Cropsey writes: The worst choice would be to continue the Biden administration’s policy of equivocation toward Iran and pressure on Israel. This war will spiral out, either directly or indirectly, absent clear guardrails. American power need not be applied, only demonstrated, to deter another Eurasian rimland war. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Milshtein writes: Instead, Hamas must be weakened and a heavy price exacted for any future aggression. This condition must persist until such a time as internal protest undermines Hamas’s rule, though the likelihood of such a development remains unclear. Until then, Israel must adopt a pragmatic stance while bracing for a prolonged conflict against an organisation driven by ideological fervour, resolute in its determination to destroy the Jewish state. – Financial Times

Martin Oliner writes: Finally, Biden must seek a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia along the parameters of the Abraham Accords, with no Palestinian involvement or concessions to the corrupt Palestinian Authority or the terrorist organizations. That would prove that lessons have been learned from mistakes. Moving forward while never forgetting the atrocities of October 7, that should be the end game of the war in Gaza. – Jerusalem Post

Raphael Benlevi writes: A weak Israeli response will certainly encourage Hezbollah to embark on a similar surprise attack on Israel, including both missile attacks and infiltration to Israel communities along the border, but on a much greater scale than Hamas was capable of. Therefore, it may even be preferable for Israel to take the initiative to disarm Hezbollah now, on Israel’s schedule, rather than wait to be dragged into another war in the near future at a time of Hezbollah’s preference. – Jerusalem Post

Dr. Ori Wertman writes: These graphic images remind the Western world of the disturbing videos they have witnessed from Syria and Iraq over the past decade. The average American internet user or European television viewer struggles to differentiate between Hamas and Islamic State, and they comprehend the formidable adversary Israel faces. By documenting these barbaric acts, we gain immediate legitimacy to take action against the Gaza Strip. Seizing this opportunity and acting swiftly would be advantageous. – Ynet

Yossi Yehoshua writes: Despite the bravado, the objections of the political leadership in Israel remain unclear. “disabling Hama’s military capabilities,” as a senior official said in a briefing, does not mean the dissolution of the organization, nor does it mean conquering the Strip. So we must wait to see how the IDF interprets that instruction and if an extensive ground incursion, the first since 2014, will occur. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “The Middle East would be changed,”  and if that statement is translated to forces entering Gaza, Israelis must be prepared for the ensuing cost. – Ynet

Dr. Adi Schwartz writes: All countries, international organizations and institutions, must demand that Hamas uphold its obligations under international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross must demand immediate access to each and every one of the hostages. – Ynet

Eliezer Hayun writes: Such gestures are touching. The debate over the Haredi participation in the IDF remains open and is not addressed in the letter of the Yeshiva head or by donations of blood. The rift between our societies is still great and maybe heal over time but we are now faced with a new and most important need that may confirm Israeli solidarity, at this difficult time, and is a recognition that Haredis are doing their best to contribute, however they can and perhaps we would all use this rare opportunity, to live together, cope together and fight together and not only die together. – Ynet

Lazar Berman writes: Will Israel return to its offensive mindset, and maneuver deep into Gaza to achieve a decisive victory over the organization that snatched its children and shot its senior citizens in the head? Or will it look for other ways to tell its citizens it has given them security, while dangerous enemies continue to plot just over its borders? – Times of Israel

David Schenker writes: In just one day, the more than 900 killed in Israel would, in terms proportionate to population, be equivalent to a body count of over 32,000 Americans—which is over 10 times more than were actually killed on 9/11. And remember, that number could keep rising. Regrettably, in the current environment, the standard IDF operating procedure of “mowing the grass” increasingly seems to be kicking the can down the road. On October 7, the proxy problem became strategic for Israel. – Haaretz

Catherine Cleveland and David Pollock write: At the same time, majorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE view Israel as internally weak and divided, an viewpoint that may have impacted Hamas calculations as well. […]By comparison, about 17% in either country support the proposition that the protests show Israel as “a strong and resilient country, where different opinions are respected.” Nevertheless, the same Saudi survey revealed that around a third of citizens there wanted business ties with Israel, even without a formal agreement on normalizing ties. – Washington Institute

Leon Hadar writes: If anything, the defeat of Hamas could provide an opportunity for a regime change in Gaza under which the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) takes control of the area. Financial support from the Saudis and other Arab oil states could help reconstruct the Gaza Strip and a multinational Arab force led by Egypt and possibly establish order there. That could open the road to the renewal of the American-sponsored talks to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and shift the balance of power again from the Iranian-led bloc to America and its regional allies. – The National Interest

Amy Zegart writes: But Israel will, eventually, need to examine what happened. Interrogating the past—systematically, thoughtfully, and independently—will be essential for enabling a more secure future for Israel and its people. Answering these questions will also be essential for the United States. In today’s complex and uncertain threat landscape, American intelligence has never been more important. Washington must study Israel’s failures so that it does not repeat them. – Foreign Affairs

Kiron K. Skinner and Russell A. Berman write: However, the key reason for America to act against Iran now is to make it clear to our adversaries that their acts of aggression—whether via proxies or not—come at a cost. In this great power competition, we should play to win. – The National Interest

Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware write: The big question at the moment is whether the fighting will remain confined to Gaza and restricted to Israel and Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad, the terrorists directly responsible for Saturday’s attacks. […]In other words, if anything approaching the worst-case scenario — a full-scale, full-theater, total war in the Middle East, involving Israel defending itself against Iran and its proxies — comes to fruition, the security and stability of the world will be affected in ways that would eclipse the impact of the 9/11 attacks 22 years ago. – War on the Rocks 


Powerful Iraqi and Yemeni armed groups aligned with Iran have threatened to target U.S. interests with missiles and drones if Washington intervenes to support Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza that already shows signs of expanding to further fronts. – Reuters

Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel and the war it launched has raised new questions about the influence of its main sponsor, Iran, and whether it had anything to do with the assault. – Associated Press

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday denied any Iranian involvement in Hamas’s weekend massacre in Israel despite Tehran’s strong support for the Palestinian terrorist group. – Agence France-Presse

Biden administration officials are taking to the airwaves to defend a transfer of frozen assets to Iran, as the administration’s critics seek to draw a connection between an unprecedented surprise attack against Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the terms of a prisoner swap with Iran announced last month. – Politico 

The surprise attack by Hamas against Israel on Saturday has put a focus on Iran. And this attention calls into question how much money the U.S. government has given Iran and whether those funds could have been used to stage the Hamas attack on Israel. – Newsweek

Elliot Kaufman writes: How about with Iran? Like the Psalmist, the Biden administration is all for peace. Its plan is to pay as much as it takes for Iran to stand on the nuclear threshold without tipping over. But Iran is for war. It doesn’t stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and it sustains 19 terrorist proxies, including Hamas, on Israel’s borders. For 20 years, Israel has sought to buy time and establish deterrence by striking Iran in the shadows. Once considered aggressive, this policy, too, may come to be seen as remarkably dangerous—because it is so restrained. – Wall Street Journal

Jessica Karl writes: Speaking of Iran, Marc Champion says Tehran is no longer as isolated or vulnerable as it once was. “The Hamas attack is precisely the kind of ostentatiously disruptive operation Iran has wanted to see for years, and offers a welcome distraction from its many internal problems,” he writes. Since Day 1 of Hamas’ brutal invasion, Iran’s leaders have applauded the terrorist organization’s “victory,” and it will be very difficult for Israel and the US to break that belief. – Bloomberg

Jason Greenblatt writes: I hope everyone will join me in holding your parents, spouses, children and loved ones tighter and recognizing that for peace to take hold and for Palestinians and Israelis to have a better, brighter future, Hamas, all those like Hamas, and the ideology of Hamas must be utterly and thoroughly rejected. Hamas is the same as ISIS and they are just as much my enemy as they are the enemies of most of Israel’s Arab neighbors, both those who have signed the Abraham Accords and those who have not yet signed those accords. May God protect all of us from evil. – Newsweek

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran also operationalizes small terror groups in Syria that it uses as cut-outs for its larger threats. It prefers to use small groups so Iran has plausible deniability for these efforts. In some ways, Iran’s policy looked in the past like a lot of little attacks, but this “thousand paper cuts” strategy has now bloomed. – Jerusalem Post

Farhad Rezaei writes: Moreover, the scale of the attacks makes it virtually inconceivable that they could have occurred without Iran’s prior knowledge and complicity. Overlooking these facts will not alter the underlying reality that Iran is orchestrating these events from behind the scenes. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

A Russian court upheld the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on Tuesday, denying his lawyers’ latest appeal to free him since he was taken into custody during a reporting trip in Russia. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia failed to regain a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council after a majority of countries in the General Assembly voted against it on Tuesday, a sign that support for international efforts to isolate Moscow for its war in Ukraine remains significant after nearly 20 months of fighting. – New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the explosion of violence between Israel and the Palestinians showed the U.S. policy had failed in the Middle East and taken no account of the needs of the Palestinians. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his silence on Tuesday on Hamas’s brutal onslaught against Israel Saturday, voicing concern at the “catastrophic increase” in the number of civilian victims in both Israel and Gaza. – Agence France-Presse

Vladimir Putin will visit Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, the presidential office of the Central Asian country said, in what would be the Russian leader’s first known trip abroad since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest. – Reuters

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of carrying out preparations at its nuclear test site in Nevada but said that Moscow would not restart its own nuclear testing programme unless Washington did. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy ahead of the country’s next election may hurt Moscow’s already weary troops along the front lines of the war in Ukraine. – Newsweek

Russian forces reportedly bombarded the village of Avdiivka Tuesday as Moscow attempts to push back the Ukrainian frontline near Donetsk City. – Newsweek

Russian propagandists have attempted to pass off footage circulating on social media of a Russian T-90M tank being blown up in the war in Ukraine as an Israeli Merkava tank being destroyed by Hamas militants. – Newsweek

The U.S. has sent Ukraine more than 1 million rounds of Iranian ammunition that had been seized last year, the U.S. military said on Wednesday. – Ynet 

Elisabeth Braw writes: The result is that the more Russian and Chinese spies are arrested, the higher the threat to westerners travelling in those countries. The threat is not only to those with a security service or government background — and this is something that tourists and business travellers would do well to understand. “It’s obviously regrettable . . . I’d like to see the Hermitage,” Karlson says. “But you can live with it.’ – Financial Times

Melinda Haring writes: After he stubbed out his cigarette, we visited a dank, windowless basement shelter that houses about twenty senior citizens. There was no toilet or running water. Each resident has transformed a storage space into a bedroom fit with a padlock. One woman proudly showed me her bedroom, outfitted with a fuzzy pink blanket and an electric kettle. She and her husband live there on twin mattresses. She said that everyone gets along well in spite of the cramped quarters. People go home to bathe, do laundry, and use the toilet. – The National Interest

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write: In truth, Russia’s targeted assassination campaign has had mixed results. Opponents have been killed but the political and diplomatic costs were enormous, and the Russian security service’s reputation was hardly helped after botched attacks like the 2018 Salisbury poisonings. They arguably even laid the groundwork for the West’s united response to Russian aggression in 2022. And whatever the failings of the Israeli military and security services (which are clearly very serious indeed), it does little to improve the image of Russia’s military, which has been badly damaged by its campaign in Ukraine. That doesn’t seem like anything to celebrate. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


Shelling sounded out along Israel’s volatile northern border with Lebanon for a third consecutive day Tuesday, stoking fears on both sides of a repeat of 2006, when Israel fought a bloody monthlong war with Hezbollah, the Shiite group committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. – New York Times

Testing the limits of President Biden’s resolve, Iran’s most prized proxy, Hezbollah, is slowly escalating attacks on northern Israeli towns. – New York Sun

At approximately 10:30a.m. on Wednesday morning, a missile was launched from Lebanese territory towards Israel. – Arutz Sheva 

Brian Katz writes: The United States also has an important role to play. It can bolster Israeli efforts by deploying its own air and naval forces in the region and by communicating to Iran and Hezbollah that further escalation will lead to more crippling sanctions and, in the event of all-out conflict, U.S. strikes on the group. But for now, a strong deterrent should prevent the situation from coming to that. – Foreign Affairs

Nadav Pollak writes: Second, Israel needs to restore its deterrence quickly, which is not an easy task. The image of Israeli military strength was damaged this past week. […]The war in Gaza will be destructive and hard for both sides. And yet, it will result in a fraction of the damage that a war between Israel and Hizballah would cause. It is in all parties’ interests to make sure that a second front does not open between Israel and Hizballah. This should be on the top of everyone’s agenda. – War on the Rocks


Turkey has escalated its use of airstrikes in its fight against the PKK and allies in Iraq and Syria in recent years. Many of the strikes are carried out by armed drones, including the Bayraktar TB2, according to local officials in Iraq and weapons experts. The drone’s maker, Istanbul-based company Baykar, is run by brothers Haluk and Selcuk Bayraktar. The latter is married to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s daughter. The company was founded in the 1980s by their father Özdemir and began to focus on drones in 2005. The company did not respond to a request for comment. – Reuters

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday criticised the United States for moving a carrier strike group closer to Israel, saying that it would commit “serious massacres” in Gaza. – Reuters

Turkey’s leading drone maker, Baykar, will invest $100 million for three projects in Ukraine, including a production units for its Bayraktar TB2 attack drone, the company’s top executive said. – Defense News

Samer al-Ahmed and Mohammed Hassan write: The recent events in Deir ez-Zor and the current military operation following the Ankara blast put pressure on the AANES to take a clear stance and distance itself from the PKK. This is especially true given the explicit positions of major actors in eastern Syria, including the Global Coalition, towards the PKK; they have condemned the latter’s treatment of the local population and its attempts to destabilize the region and turn it into a battleground with Turkey, with no regard for its 3 million civilian inhabitants. – Middle East Institute

Middle East & North Africa

Egypt is moving to prevent a mass exodus from the Gaza Strip into its Sinai Peninsula, as Israeli bombardment halted crossings at the main exit point from the Palestinian enclave on Tuesday, Gaza officials and Egyptian security sources said. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates does not mix trade with politics, the country’s trade minister said on Tuesday when asked whether the conflict between Israel and Hamas would impact economic agreements. – Reuters

Syria boycotted a hearing at the United Nations’ top court on Tuesday where the Netherlands and Canada accused Damascus of a years-long campaign of “institutionalized” torture against its own people. – Associated Press

Israeli troops fired artillery and mortar shells toward Syria on Tuesday after a number of shells launched from its northern neighbour landed in open areas on Israeli territory, Israel’s military said. – Reuters

Smadar Perry writes: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged to avoid steps that might escalate the situation further. In a statement he gave on Sunday he said, “Turkey is always ready to provide any help it can to ensure that the developments in question do not escalate further and get taken under control without spreading to a wider region.” […]Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, didn’t surprise anyone in Israel when he posted a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), saying the “Zionist regime is dying.” – Ynet

Suzanne Maloney writes: Washington needs to deploy the same tough-minded realism toward Iran that has informed recent U.S. policy on Russia and China: building coalitions of the willing to ratchet up pressure and cripple Iran’s transnational terror network; reinstating meaningful enforcement of U.S. sanctions on the Iranian economy; and conveying clearly—through diplomacy, force posture, and actions to preempt or respond to Iranian provocations—that the United States is prepared to deter Iran’s regional aggression and nuclear advances. The Middle East has a way of forcing itself to the top of every president’s agenda; in the aftermath of this devastating attack, the White House must rise to the challenge. – Foreign Affairs

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s central bank governor said on Wednesday he sees headline inflation slowing to just above 3% by the end of this year as price pressures would cool towards the year-end despite uncertainties including global oil prices. – Reuters

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is heading to the Busan Naval Base in South Korea after wrapping up a trilateral exercise in the East China Sea on Tuesday. – USNI News

Timo Kivimäki writes: The current priority is to find ways that offer security for both Koreas under the existing circumstances, with North Korea possessing nuclear weapons but not a nuclear warfighting capacity. One should no longer focus on the efforts of the past to prevent North Korea from getting nuclear weapons. Those efforts have already failed. – The National Interest



A Chinese-Australian journalist who was convicted on murky espionage charges and detained in China for three years has returned to Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Wednesday. – Associated Press

China is touting its 10-year-old Belt and Road Initiative as an alternative model for economic development, releasing a government report that praises the program while glossing over criticism that it has saddled poor countries with too much debt. – Associated Press

China’s coast guard claimed Tuesday to have chased a Philippine navy ship from a disputed shoal in the South China Sea as tensions between the two countries over rich fishing areas escalate. – Associated Press

A U.S. Navy sailor charged with providing sensitive military information to China pleaded guilty in Los Angeles on Tuesday to conspiring with a foreign intelligence officer and receiving a bribe, federal prosecutors said. – Associated Press

China’s special envoy for the Middle East called for humanitarian support for the Palestinian people in his first public response to Hamas’ attack on Israel — an assault that is testing Beijing’s ambitions to play peacemaker in the region. – Bloomberg

China was one of 15 members elected to the UN Human Rights Council by secret ballot Tuesday morning, granting it a second term despite deep and well-documented concerns over its human rights record, while Russia failed to garner enough votes to rejoin the body. – Newsweek

A quartet of Chinese coast guard ships steamed through the East China Sea to the Japan-held Senkaku Islands on Monday, becoming the latest to dare a Japanese response in an area the United States says it is treaty-bound to defend. – Newsweek

South Asia

The Taliban released four Britons who were detained in Afghanistan on allegations that they broke the laws of the country, the U.K. government said Tuesday. – Associated Press

New Delhi’s financial enforcement agency has arrested an employee of Chinese mobile phone company vivo, reigniting fears of a renewed crackdown on Chinese companies operating in India. – Financial Times

Canada and India are continuing talks about the fate of several dozen Canadian diplomats in New Delhi even as an Indian government deadline for Ottawa to slash its diplomatic presence elapsed on Tuesday. – Financial Times


Outside the old Meghri train station in southern Armenia, a rusting locomotive, emblazoned with a fading emblem of the Soviet Union, sits on the tracks, as if still waiting for the passengers who stopped coming long ago. – Washington Post

Suppliers to Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor manufacturing industry are plotting an entry into Europe as the construction of the first advanced chip factories on the continent in decades reshapes its supply chains. – Financial Times

Taiwan has unveiled its first domestically built submarine, a major step forward in bulking up the island’s naval combat capabilities. The vessel’s ability to carry a powerful heavyweight torpedo capable of defeating ships and submarines — the US-made Mark 48, or Mk-48 — is a real eye-catching feature. Armed with this weapon, Taiwan’s submarine represents a new challenge for China. – Business Insider


Damage to a natural gas pipeline and a communications cable in the Baltic Sea is raising alarm in Europe, with Finnish officials Tuesday suggesting sabotage as the most likely explanation, though they held back from identifying any potential culprits. – Washington Post

Buoyed by the polls and brimming with confidence, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, declared on Tuesday that he was ready to assume the mantle of power. But first he had to shake the glitter off his suit jacket. – New York Times

A NATO top commander said Tuesday the alliance equipped its peacekeeping force in Kosovo with weapons of “combat power” following a recent shootout between masked Serb gunmen and Kosovo police that left four people dead and sent tensions soaring in the region. – Associated Press

Bulgarian police have arrested 12 people accused of illegally exporting dual-use goods to Russia that can be used by the Russian military in the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

Several more people suspected of being involved in planning a far-right coup and plotting to kidnap the German health minister were arrested in raids in a number of regions on Tuesday, authorities said. – Associated Press

Poland’s two highest-ranking military officers have resigned days before a key election and amid the war in neighbouring Ukraine. – BBC

The Czech energy minister has warned that attacks on him by a newspaper owned by the billionaire Daniel Křetínský should raise questions about how the businessman uses his media assets in other countries. – Financial Times

Defense ministers flying into the Belgian capital for a NATO meeting starting Wednesday were expecting to spend their time backing Ukraine — instead, they find their intel briefings full of a region mostly forgotten in the past two years: the Middle East. – Politico

Raphael Minder writes: The decades-long fight between the two politicians has also underlined a generational divide that could have an impact on turnout. Younger voters struggle to understand their history of vengefulness, even if some see it as strangely entertaining. “The story should not be about two older ambitious politicians,” says Filip Augustyniak, a 22-year-old student. “But yes, they’ve added some spice to the election, it’s almost fun how they poke each other using 30 years of material, stuff that I never even read in my history textbooks.” – Financial Times


More than two months after military forces deposed Niger’s democratically elected president, the Biden administration Tuesday designated their actions a coup, a move that will slash aid and cooperation with a country that had been a rare success story in a region battling Islamist militant insurgencies. – Washington Post

A former soccer superstar won the presidential election in the West African nation of Liberia in 2017 by promising to fix the country’s economy, build more roads and address endemic graft. – New York Times

A lawyer sought to assure the U.K. Supreme Court on Monday that the British government had adequately analyzed the risks of sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda and would have people “on the ground” to make sure it’s safe and that deportees’ rights are protected. – Associated Press

Congo’s government spokesperson has said that the East African regional force would have to leave the country by Dec. 8 because of a “lack of satisfactory results on the ground” as agreed on during a regional meeting. – Associated Press

Latin America

Argentina’s firebrand populist presidential candidate Javier Milei, the front-runner to win the election later this month, is coming under fire from his rivals who blame him for a sharp depreciation of the local currency in the parallel market. – Associated Press

Riot police began efforts Tuesday to clear roadblocks by protesters that have paralyzed parts of Guatemala for more than a week, just hours after President Alejandro Giammattei vowed to clear the country’s roadways. – Associated Press

A former Haitian senator pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the United States to charges related to the 2021 assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse. – Associated Press

United States

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is flying to Israel on Wednesday in a show of support for the country as it begins a major offensive campaign in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in response to a wave of deadly cross-border attacks by the militant group. – Washington Post

President Biden condemned Hamas’s attack on Israel as an “an act of sheer evil” that left more than 1,000 civilians dead, including at least 14 U.S. citizens, as his administration weighs how to support America’s closest ally in the Middle East without being pulled into another regional conflict. – Wall Street Journal 

Congressional leaders in both parties have pledged to approve emergency military support to Israel for its war against Hamas, but gridlock over federal spending and the Republican leadership crisis engulfing the House have raised questions about how and when such aid could be delivered. – New York Times

A U.S. official said Tuesday the government believes the driver who crashed into the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco the day before did so “with malign intent,” but police haven’t shared details about the driver’s identity or motive for what the Chinese government has branded a “violent attack.” – Associated Press

Josh Rogin writes: The U.S. game plan for both Ukraine and Israel is essentially the same. It should support the partner countries that are the victims of aggression, give them the weapons they need to fight and build a diplomatic coalition around them. GOP isolationists want to pretend the United States can fight aggression in one place by yielding to aggression in another. But that’s a foolish and false choice. – Washington Post

Shany Mor writes: Which will be a good thing for the Palestinians more than anyone else. Once their conflict with Israel becomes about borders, security, economic arrangements and the like, rather than a cosmic battle supercharged by fantasies of undoing Israel’s existence, they can finally do what every other liberation movement in history has done: They can grudgingly accept statehood on less land than they may have wanted and start the business of building their own society in freedom, with all the benefits and costs and risks that involves. – Newsweek

Douglas J. Feith and Cole S. Aronson write: President Biden has identified serious challenges to American interests in Israel and elsewhere. To meet those challenges he will have to reexamine and alter his national security policies. His strong statement Tuesday night does not jibe with some of his policies. Coherence is crucial. Pro-Israel rhetoric is not enough. – Newsweek


Hamas’s lightning strike on Israel last weekend has raised the question how the group financed the surprise operation. One answer: cryptocurrency. During the year leading up to the attacks, three militant groups—Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their Lebanese ally Hezbollah—received large amounts of funds through crypto, according to a review of Israeli government seizure orders and blockchain analytics reports. – Wall Street Journal 

Hacktivist groups say they are hitting Israeli targets online amid the war in Israel and Gaza, disrupting and defacing websites like the Jerusalem Post. – Reuters

The social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, says it is struggling with a flood of posts sharing graphic media, violent speech and hateful conduct about the Israel-Hamas war. But it has received a broadside of criticism, including from a top European Union official, questioning the adequacy of the response. – Associated Press

Saudi-Chinese collaboration in artificial intelligence has stirred fears within the Gulf kingdom’s premier academic institution that the ties could jeopardise the university’s access to US-made chips needed to power the new technology. – Financial Times

After going quiet for nearly a year, a potent hacking group with suspected links to the Israeli government reemerged online Monday, an indication that as the conflict between Israel and Hamas drags on, digital actors could play a greater role. – CyberScoop

A previously unknown government-backed hacking group is targeting organizations in the manufacturing, IT, and biomedical sectors across Taiwan, Vietnam, the U.S. and an unnamed Pacific island, according to new research from Symantec. – The Record

Video game clips purporting to be footage of a Hamas fighter shooting down an Israeli helicopter. Phony X accounts spreading fake news through fictitious BBC and Jerusalem Post “journalists.” An Algerian fireworks celebration described as Israeli strikes. – The Record

Politically-motivated hackers from all over the world have leapt into the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. – The Record


The U.S. could soon have two aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean, according to Defense Department officials, a move that would mark a major escalation in U.S. military power in the region as fighting intensifies between Israeli forces and Hamas militants. – Politico

The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group arrived on Tuesday in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement, “in order to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war.” – Arutz Sheva

The IDF spokesperson RAdm. Daniel Hagari said in a briefing on Tuesday morning that the military is receiving assistance from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and is in full coordination with them both in intelligence and in operational capacities. – Ynet

The U.S. Army is trying to rein in the unwieldy Foreign Military Sales process following a series of Pentagon and State Department reforms meant to speed up weapons transfers to allies and partners. – Defense News

Kongsberg is sending its integrated counter-drone system to Ukraine to help guard against incoming Iranian-made loitering munitions, and hopes to convince the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to consider the system for future vehicle programs. – Defense News

Canadian and U.S. Army officials are determined NATO efforts to train Ukrainian forces will last long term, despite uncertainty over whether Congress will continue to fund additional military assistance for Kyiv. – Defense News

The suppression of GPS signals in Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion is informing the development of next-generation U.S. Army navigation and targeting technologies. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force sent a C-17 to pick up U.S. troops on the ground in Israel after the terror attack Saturday by Hamas. – Defense One

Norway has decided against exercising an option for 18 German-made Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks to instead invest in air defense and long-range fire capabilities, the country’s top army official told Breaking Defense. – Breaking Defense