Fdd's overnight brief

October 16, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israeli forces struck Gaza in the south on Sunday ahead of an imminent ground attack and amid a growing humanitarian crisis, as fighting between Israel and Islamic militants along its northern border with Lebanon intensified. – Wall Street Journal

A week after Hamas militants launched their deadly attack on southern Israel, world leaders and their intelligence agencies are scrambling through regional backchannels to contend with a hostage crisis of seemingly unprecedented global dimensions. – Wall Street Journal

Israel’s devastating bombing campaign on Gaza after last week’s Hamas attack has fueled deadly violence in the West Bank, where concerns are rising that the territory could erupt into another front in the war. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. officials are urging Arab leaders to take steps to prevent or contain any escalation triggered by a potential Israeli invasion of Gaza. – Wall Street Journal

Written orders carried by Hamas fighters sent to attack Israeli towns and settlements last weekend contained the same chilling command: Kill as many people as possible. – Wall Street Journal

The fusion of inexpensive, high-tech weapons and low-tech brute force that Palestinian militant group Hamas used to attack Israel on Oct. 7 echoed tactics used on the battlefields of Ukraine that could transform the future of warfare. – Wall Street Journal

For years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pursued what he called a “complex” relationship with the Kremlin, maintaining cordial relations with an increasingly isolated Russian President Vladimir Putin. – Wall Street Journal

Biden administration officials signaled Sunday that they were trying to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of an expected Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, even as the Palestinian death toll from airstrikes continued to rise and aid earmarked for the enclave remained stuck in Egypt. – Washington Post

The Biden administration has grown increasingly anxious in recent days that Israel’s enemies may seek to widen the war with Hamas by opening new fronts, a move that could compel the United States to enter the conflict directly with air and naval forces to defend its closest ally in the region. – New York Times

President Biden warned Israel in an interview aired on Sunday not to reoccupy Gaza, his first significant public effort to restrain America’s ally in the wake of the Hamas assault that killed more than 1,300 people, including at least 29 Americans. – New York Times

A pair of classified C.I.A. intelligence reports issued in the days ahead of a major Hamas attack on Israel warned about a potential escalation in violence but did not predict the complex, multipronged attack that Hamas gunmen launched against Israel, according to U.S. officials. – New York Times

The 10 gunmen from Gaza knew exactly how to find the Israeli intelligence hub — and how to get inside. After crossing into Israel, they headed east on five motorcycles, two gunmen on each vehicle, shooting at passing civilian cars as they pressed forward. – New York Times

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sunday he believes the Hamas militant group must be eliminated but there should be a path to a Palestinian state, after top U.S. officials warned the war between Israel and Hamas could escalate. – Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to return to Israel on Monday, after meeting Arab leaders to discuss the war and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza. President Joe Biden is also weighing a trip to Israel, adding to the US diplomatic push. – Bloomberg

Hamas has attempted to block Palestinians from evacuating the northern Gaza Strip, placing roadblocks on evacuation routes designated by the IDF, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

President Isaac Herzog showed CNN a guide on Sunday found on Hamas terrorists which laid out how the terrorists would torture and kidnap hostages as they stormed southern Israel. – Jerusalem Post

An unprecedented 1,200% escalation in online calls for violence against Israel, Zionists, and Jews in the chilling aftermath of the IDF Swords of Iron operation against Hamas was seen in a new report. – Jerusalem Post

Hamas used small drones, converted to carry munitions, in its attacks on Israel on October 7, a new video published by the terrorist group claims. It shows Hamas members using them to attack IDF observation posts, including one equipped with a remote machine gun. This indicates that Hamas has invested heavily in new technology to fight Israel; what is known now is the full extent of this plan, including how Hamas used maps and tried to invest in air defenses. – Jerusalem Post

Military vessels and surveillance aircraft are among the assets Britain is deploying to the Eastern Mediterranean in response to the attack on Israel by Hamas, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced. – Defense News

Less than a month before Hamas fighters blew through Israel’s high-tech “Iron Wall” and launched an attack that would leave more than 1,200 Israelis dead, they practiced in a very public dress rehearsal. – Associated Press

Israel’s air force is getting more U.S.-made bombs to help it destroy the labyrinth of tunnels used by Hamas militants in Gaza to conceal weapons, fighters and hostages. In the aftermath of Hamas’ surprise attack across Israel’s southern border on Oct. 7, Israel has carried out a relentless bombardment of Gaza to try to take out Hamas’ weapons stockpiles and its vast tunnel system. But Israeli ground forces likely will be needed to clear out the tunnel network known as “Gaza’s Metro,” according to former U.S. officials and military officers. – NBC News

E.J. Dionne Jr. writes: The left should not stop advocating on behalf of justice for Palestinians. And Israel’s center and left should not stop demanding that Netanyahu’s plans to undercut the country’s judiciary be shelved permanently. But terrorism will not create a more democratic Israel or lead to self-determination for Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is rife with ambiguities and conflicting moral claims. This cannot be said of what Hamas did. Its actions are, exactly as Biden said, unambiguously evil. – Washington Post

Perry Bacon Jr. writes: And in the next few weeks, the Biden administration should articulate a broader policy vision for Israel and the Palestinian territories, one rooted in what’s best for Israelis and Palestinians, not grounded in Biden’s relationships with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders or anger at Hamas. The goal is a Middle East where Hamas has no power, but everyday Palestinians do, where Israeli civilians and Palestinian ones are safe and secure. – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: We ought to be able to get this right. The central cause of Gaza’s misery is Hamas. It alone bears the blame for the suffering it has inflicted on Israel and knowingly invited against Palestinians. The best way to end the misery is to remove the cause, not stay the hand of the remover. – New York Times

Tunku Varadarajan writes: Israel, with its advanced economy, is a magnet for foreign workers in spite of all the dangers. The presence of Sisterey and others in the Jewish state also tells us that there are thousands in the non-Western world who see Israelis not only as Jews but as people who offer them opportunity—for work, for advancement, for a better life. […]Hamas might have sought to wipe Israel out, but she hopes to work there for many more years. And as Sisterey digs in for the long haul, she prays for Angeline, her fellow traveler from the Philippines, who died in pursuit of her own modest ambitions. – Wall Street Journal

Eric R. Mandel writes: We should defend Israel in the United Nations, remind Americans of how we responded to 9/11, and resupply Israel with whatever it needs to defeat Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Iran. – The Messenger 

Michael R. Bloomberg writes: For its part, Israel should remember that a mounting civilian toll in Gaza will only serve Hamas’ interests, and that the longer the conflict lasts, the less international support it will have. Maintaining discipline, minimizing casualties and upholding the laws of war will buy the Israeli military more time to act and preserve the possibility of better relations with Israel’s neighbors in the future. If US intelligence and advice can help Israeli operations — especially attempts to rescue hostages — it should be provided unstintingly. – Bloomberg

Conrad Black writes: The conditions are now ideal to destroy Hamas once and for all, to propose a genuine two-state solution, to shatter Hezbollah if it dares to intervene in Israel, and to mete out to the terrorist-sponsoring hypocrites in the malignant theocracy of Iran the chastisement they have earned. – New York Sun

Boaz Ganor writes: In any case, the main losers will be the Palestinians, and if Hezbollah joins in, also the Lebanese. Iran is prepared to sacrifice the last drop of Palestinian and Lebanese blood in their zeal to fight Israel. Although the State of Israel is enduring an unprecedented blow, when the dust settles the Palestinians will face a response of a magnitude they have never encountered before. The same fate awaits the Lebanese if Hezbollah opts to enter the fray. – Jerusalem Post

Devorah Margolin writes: Hamas is firmly aware that it cannot defeat Israel on its own — and aware of Israeli statements heralding a decapitation campaign against the group’s leadership — and thus is seeking to rally others in the hopes of achieving “horizontal escalation.” Such escalation could include a potential war with Hizballah in the north, uprisings in the West Bank, internal struggles fomented by Arab citizens of Israel, and targeting of both Israeli and Jewish targets abroad. In the immediate days after the attack, such trends appear to be surfacing. – War on the Rocks

Josh Hammer writes: Everyone the world over now faces a decision: Are you with the Islamist savages who committed unspeakable Nazi-level atrocities, or are you against them? Some conflicts are not so black-or-white; some have a third way. But there is really no third way here. One must choose a side. In the meantime, the Jews do what we have always done: Live. Am Yisrael Chai. – Newsweek


Last weekend’s attack on Israel by Hamas has brought renewed scrutiny of the armed Palestinian group’s longstanding relationship with Iran, and questions about whether the Gaza-based group could have pulled off such a sophisticated and devastating operation on its own. – New York Times

Dariush Mehrjui, a prominent Iranian filmmaker, was killed in his home near Tehran on Saturday along with his wife, according to the police. – New York Times

Iran warned in a social media post on Saturday that if Israel’s “war crimes and genocide” are not stopped then the situation could spiral out of control with “far-reaching consequences.” – Reuters

Iran warned Israel of escalation if it failed to end aggressions against Palestinians, with its foreign minister saying other parties in the region were ready to act, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday. – Reuters

Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, warning that the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer “a huge earthquake.” – Associated Press

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday in Qatar, where they discussed the Palestinian militant group’s deadly attack in Israel “and agreed to continue cooperation” to achieve the group’s goals, Hamas said in a statement. – Reuters

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened Iran on Sunday, calling the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah “a proxy of Iran” and warning that Iran would face consequences should Hezbollah escalate the tense situation along Israel’s northern border. – Politico

Israel’s decision to evacuate Sderot this week and also 28 communities on the northern border, has raised eyebrows in pro-Iranian media. Al-Mayadeen media, which is pro-Iran, has celebrated this turn of events. This is important because the attack by Hamas on October 7 was designed to strike at 29 points and attack 20 communities. However, it is unlikely Hamas believed it could take most of those areas, rather it wanted to entrench in one or two and claim “victory.” – Jerusalem Post

The Wall Street Journal overrode some objections inside its own Washington bureau to publish an explosive, disputed Oct. 8 report that Iran “helped plan” last week’s attack by Hamas. The article cited senior members of Hamas and Iran-backed military group Hezbollah, as well as an adviser to Syria and a European official, who told the paper that Iranian security officials helped plan and ultimately greenlit the attack on Israel. – Semafor

Editorial: The Ayatollahs in Tehran need to understand that more than their terrorist proxies are at risk. They need to know that their nuclear sites and oil fields are also on the target list. If they think Mr. Biden fears a larger war, they are more likely to escalate this one, and many more people, including Americans, will die. – Wall Street Journal

Ori Wertman writes: Hence, the first thing that countries of the enlightened world must do, at all costs, is prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Any nuclear agreement with the murderous regime in Iran only gives it more time on the way to achieving a nuclear capability, with the help of which it will be able to enslave all the countries of the Middle East, and after them the enlightened West. For the sake of peace in the Middle East, it’s time to stop the terrorist regime in Iran. – Jerusalem Post

David Makovsky writes: This Gaza crisis is likely to frequently test the Biden-Netanyahu relationship in the coming weeks, especially if the war goes awry. It would be a mistake for Netanyahu to take Biden’s commitment for granted: not because the US president doesn’t care, but because he believes he has spent a life demonstrating that he truly does. – Washington Institute

Daniel Byman and Seth G. Jones write: Yet a protracted Israeli military occupation of Gaza is not ideal for Israel or for people in Gaza. As difficult as the military campaign will be for Israel, finding even a temporary political and governance solution for Gaza will be the most challenging part of the conflict. As a result, Israel may find its best option is to hit Hamas hard but eventually withdraw to avoid an indefinite and grinding occupation. – Foreign Affairs

Russia & Ukraine

Russia has agreed to free four Ukrainian children — ranging in age from 2 to 17 — and allow them to return them to their families in Ukraine after Qatar intervened as a mediator, according to a government official briefed on the matter. – Washington Post

Ukraine, still locked in fierce combat with Russia along hundreds of miles of front line, also finds itself grappling with what are seen in Kyiv as worrying shifts in the geopolitics of the war. The attention of key allies is pivoting to the war in Gaza, military aid from the United States is bogged down in the Republican fight over leadership in Congress and cracks in European support have emerged during elections in Poland and Slovakia. – New York Times

The Biden administration is pushing for Congress to take up an emergency assistance package that would pair support for Ukraine and Israel, according to a senior White House official and multiple lawmakers. – New York Times

President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that suggestions the United States should prepare for a war against Russia and China were nonsense, and warned the West that any war against Russia would be on a whole different level to the conflict in Ukraine. – Reuters


Israel’s defence minister said on Sunday that Israel has no interest in waging war on its northern front and that if the Lebanese group Hezbollah restrains itself then Israel will keep the situation along the border as it is. – Reuters

Militant group Hezbollah attacked Israeli army positions near the border with Lebanon, killing at least one person, in the latest deadly violence in Israel’s north as it prepares a ground offensive on Gaza to the south. – Bloomberg

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said it was prepared to act against Israel over its war in Gaza after its sponsor, Iran, warned the continued blockade of the Palestinian enclave could open up a new front in the conflict. – Bloomberg

Iran ordered Hezbollah to escalate against Israel on Sunday, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said in his Monday morning press conference. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Friday discussed Israel’s war against Hamas with the head of the powerful Tehran-backed Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which has launched its own cross-border attacks on Israel. – Reuters


A suicide attack by the Islamic State at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan killed at least 17 people on Friday, according to hospital officials and eyewitnesses, in a bloody reminder of the insecurity that remains in the country and has spread to Pakistan two years after the end of the U.S.-led war. – New York Times

The Taliban will attend China’s Belt and Road Forum next week, a spokesman said on Saturday, underscoring Beijing’s growing official ties with the administration, despite its lack of formal recognition by any government. – Reuters

Senior figures in Downing Street were calling in 2016 for the SAS to have its “wings clipped” as it emerged that a growing number of suspected murders of Afghan civilians were being investigated by military police. – The Guardian


Israel has launched an air strike against Syria’s Aleppo Airport late on Saturday that put it out of service, the Syrian defence ministry said. – Reuters

A senior Israeli official accused Iran on Sunday of trying to open a second war front by deploying weapons in or through Syria as Israel steps up a counter-offensive in Gaza to the south. – Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces confirms rocket were launched at northern Israel from Syria, and says that it is responding with artillery fire at the source of the fire. – Times of Israel


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of undermining Turkey’s national security by supporting “terrorists” in Syria as he challenged a White House statement that accused Turkey of hurting American interests in the Middle East. – Bloomberg

Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have signed 24 framework agreements to bolster cooperation among their defense industries, Emirati conglomerate Edge Group announced Wednesday. – Defense News

Turkey stands with Egypt in rejecting the exile of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in the face of Israel’s war with the Hamas militant group, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said alongside his counterpart in Cairo on Saturday. – Reuters


A Reuters videographer was killed and six other journalists were wounded Friday in southern Lebanon when the area they were reporting from was struck by Israeli shelling, according to two colleagues who spoke to the injured journalists in the hospital, as well as an eyewitness. – Washington Post

The Lebanese army said on Saturday that Israel had fired a missile that killed a Reuters journalist in southern Lebanon, with a Lebanese military source saying the country had conducted a technical on-the-ground assessment after the attack that supported its claim. – Reuters

Once again, the Lebanese are glued to their TV sets and are compulsively checking their cell phones, following every twist and turn of skirmishes on the border, trying to weigh up whether another war is imminent. – Politico

Threats to northern Israel are increasing on a daily basis as there are small clashes. These clashes are always initiated by Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon and Syria and Israel is forced to respond. This comes in the context of Hamas feeling confident after a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister in Qatar. – Jerusalem Post


Egypt is coming under intense pressure to allow refugees to cross the border and escape an Israeli bombing campaign and expected ground invasion. But for Cairo, opening the border—and for whom—is a tough call. – Wall Street Journal

A diplomatic effort to evacuate U.S. citizens from Gaza faltered after Egyptian officials said they would only allow foreigners to cross the border if aid could pass in the opposite direction. – Wall Street Journal

Egypt has delivered drones to the Sudanese military to bolster its fight against a powerful warlord, security officials said, a potentially dangerous escalation of a conflict that is drawing in more regional players. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. government had negotiated a deal to allow American citizens to leave Gaza and cross into Egypt during the five-hour window, U.S. officials said Saturday. But Palestinian and Egyptian officials failed to communicate about opening it, an official at the border said. By the end of the day, no one had been able to cross. – Washington Post

An Egyptian-controlled border crossing into Gaza is expected to reopen amid diplomatic efforts to get aid into the enclave that has been under intense Israeli bombing since the rampage by the militant group Hamas killed 1,300 people. – Reuters

Egypt has sent invitations to host an international regional summit aimed at addressing the recent developments relating to the Palestinian issue, the Presidency said Sunday in a statement. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The timing is bad for Mr. Sisi, but unless he budges Egypt will become partly responsible for what could become a terrible humanitarian crisis—and that’s if Israel succeeds in rooting out Hamas. If Hamas’s strategy succeeds and Israel is forced by international pressure to scale back its defensive operations, Egypt will have to live with an entrenched and emboldened Hamas on the other side of the Rafah crossing. – Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced stiff resistance from the Arab world’s most powerful strongmen on Sunday, trying to convince Egypt’s Abdel Fatah El-Sisi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to embrace Washington’s view of the Israel-Hamas conflict, despite deep public sympathies for the Palestinian cause in the respective countries. – Washington Post

Saudi Arabia has paused diplomacy to normalize ties with Israel amid the violence between Hamas militants and Israeli forces, people familiar with the matter said, in a major blow to President Joe Biden’s ambitions for the Middle East. – Bloomberg

Fareed Zakaria writes: Israel’s goal should be to respond to Hamas and deal with the Palestinian issue in a way that still allows for the resumption of negotiations on Saudi normalization. That is the strategic prize. The establishment of normal relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be the severest setback for Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. – Washington Post

Gulf States

Qatar, the energy-rich Middle East emirate, is emerging as both the U.S.’s partner and potential antagonist as Israel escalates its war against the militant Palestinian group Hamas. – Semafor

Alex Vatanka writes: Perhaps most urgently, the littoral Gulf States today do not have a forum that can enable crisis management in the event of escalation in territorial and resources disputes. The potential for such crises is significant, whether around the Iranian-Emirati dispute over three islands in the Gulf or the Iranian claim on the Dorra gas field that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia claim to be in their territorial waters. The stakes are high, and the Middle East would surely benefit from a more sober Iranian-Gulf dialogue. – War on the Rocks

Ghaith al-Omari writes: As for other Gulf countries, the United States should publicly acknowledge the principled positions taken by the UAE and Bahrain. Conversely, Washington should explicitly call out Qatar for its support of Hamas. Once the fighting ends in Gaza, the United States should explore the role of Arab states in post-conflict reconstruction and, if Hamas is dislodged, in the management of Gaza. In addition, Washington should consider steps to stabilize the West Bank through urgent economic and security measures. – Foreign Affairs

Amir al-Kaabi and Michael Knights write: Those Iran-backed groups with the most direct ties to Hezbollah and the Syrian theater – Nujaba and KSS – were strongly supportive of the Axis of Resistance but were also disciplined and stayed on-message about not broadening the war. This shows Iraqi muqawama players slotting into the extended deterrence system of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. – Washington Institute

Robert Silverman writes: Qatar has been a U.S. security partner in the Gulf for decades. It certainly doesn’t want to become a state sponsor of terrorism. Qatar’s supporters in Washington realize this and are urging it to eliminate the now toxic Hamas presence. Changing policy on Hamas is the right thing for Qatar and the world. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Former ambassador David M. Satterfield has been appointed as special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, a role in which he will focus on “ensuring lifesaving assistance can reach vulnerable people throughout the Middle East,” the State Department announced Sunday. – Washigton Post

The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency published comments on Sunday by President Mahmoud Abbas that criticized Hamas over its actions but later removed reference to the militant group without providing an explanation. – Reuters

The United States is bolstering its firepower in the Middle East to prevent the spread of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas and deter Iran from getting involved as international fears of a wider regional war grow. – Reuters

Like Middle East wars of the past, the conflict between Israel and Hamas that broke out this past week has the potential to disrupt the world economy — and even tip it into recession if more countries are drawn in. – Bloomberg

Robert Satloff, Dennis Ross, Michael Singh, and Patrick Clawson write: The fact that America faces urgent strategic challenges around the world does not mean we have the luxury of faltering in the vital work of protecting our interests in the Middle East—not least because the region’s resources and geographic centrality affect long-term global competition. Whether we like it or not, the Middle East demands our consistent attention and focus. – Washington Institute

Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights write: Media reports noting U.S. intelligence support for Israeli preparations to respond to a potential Houthi strike by hitting their missile and drone forces or leadership targets might help deter the Yemen-based group. And beyond the threat of a forceful U.S. military response to attacks on American personnel and interests in Syria and Iraq, the most useful way to keep Iraqi militias out of a war with Israel involves threats by the U.S. Treasury Department to prioritize and expedite the blacklisting of banks associated with such militias for abuses of the U.S. dollar. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

Russian ships linked to military transport networks have collected cargo from North Korea and delivered it to an apparent Russian military port on multiple occasions over the past two months, according to new satellite images providing the clearest evidence yet that Pyongyang may be helping Moscow’s war effort. – Washington Post

South Korea will kick off its largest-ever defence exhibition this week, as the country seeks to turbocharge its arms sales and showcase a rare appearance by a U.S. nuclear-capable bomber. – Reuters

Moscow does not violate United Nations sanctions against North Korea, but is categorically against new restrictive measures on Pyongyang, a high-ranking Russian diplomat told the RIA state news agency in remarks published on Sunday. – Reuters

North Korea lashed out Friday at the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in South Korea, calling it a provocation and again raising the specter of using nuclear weapons to defend itself. – Associated Press

North Korean threats to inflict a “first strike” on American forces in South Korea places this sprawling base 60 miles below the North-South line in the crosshairs of the North’s atomic bombs and missiles a week after Hamas’ onslaught against Israel. – New York Sun


Since the start of the recent turmoil in the Middle East, one word has been absent from China’s official statements: “Hamas.” China has called for peace and de-escalation in the region but has avoided any condemnation of the deadly assault on Israel by the Gaza-based militant group, which shocked the world on Oct. 7. – Wall Street Journal

An employee of the Israeli Embassy in China was stabbed in central Beijing, prompting the U.S. to warn its citizens in the capital to be vigilant as the war between Israel and Hamas escalates in the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. will take steps to prevent American chipmakers from selling semiconductors to China that circumvent government restrictions, a U.S. official said, as part of the Biden administration’s upcoming actions to block more AI chip exports. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet this week with Chinese leaders in Beijing on a visit that underscores China’s economic and diplomatic support for Moscow during its war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The Palestinian envoy to China called for Beijing to play a role in ending the war in the Gaza Strip amid concerns of a wider conflict and rising humanitarian toll. – Bloomberg

China’s foreign minister said Saturday that Israel has gone too far in responding to last week’s invasion by Hamas, China’s official news agency reported. – Politico

In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the Palestinian president in Beijing and invited the Israeli prime minister for an official state visit. Benjamin Netanyahu accepted, and China was on track for a bigger role in the region. Then came the Hamas attack against Israel, which has made Netanyahu’s late October trip uncertain and put Beijing’s Middle East approach to the test. China’s stated neutrality on the war has upset Israel, but Beijing may gain in the long run by forging closer ties with Arab countries, experts said. – Associated Press

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone on Saturday on the crisis in Israel and Gaza, a statement from his ministry said. – Reuters

Minxin Pei writes: For those still hoping to pull off a “reverse Nixon,” diplomatic engagement may offer an added benefit. The more frequent and productive Western outreach is, the more likely that seeds of distrust will germinate between Moscow and Beijing. The wisest thing the US could do is encourage each to fear that the other could sell out to the West if the price is right. – Bloomberg

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Meanwhile, China and Russia also want to expand into the Middle East in other ways. They want to use BRICS and the SCO to cultivate countries in the region. These organizations also exclude Israel. As such, the meeting in China amid the conflict in Gaza has larger regional ramifications. – Jerusalem Post

Mordechai Chaziza writes: More importantly, the intensifying great power rivalry created a highly precarious situation for future Sino-Israeli ties. Israel faces a complex geopolitical and commercial calculus, with new pressures on managing its national security and economic development. This complicates its efforts to maintain hedging behavior within certain limitations and forces it to choose between keeping the U.S. security partnership or strengthening its economic and technological collaboration with Beijing. Washington expects Israel, its closest ally in the region, to align with its strategic interests and positions in rivalry with China. – The National Interest

South Asia

Pakistan said Friday that police arrested several suspects behind this week’s killing of a member of an outlawed anti-India militant group in an attack inside a mosque. – Associated Press

Pakistan security forces killed six militants and wounded eight others in a shootout during an overnight raid in the country’s northwest, the military said Sunday. – Associated Press

Saudi Aramco is exploring a potential bid for Shell Plc’s assets in Pakistan, according to people familiar with the matter, possibly marking the Gulf oil giant’s first foray into the South Asian nation. – Bloomberg


Oriana Skylar Mastro writes: A war between the United States and China over Taiwan could be the most brutal since World War II. As politically difficult as it may be, U.S. leaders have a duty to try to prevent conflict, and that means speaking more softly but carrying a big stick. – New York Times

South Korean authorities cited the risk of Chinese economic retaliation when they charged marine technology firm SI Innotec last year with violating trade laws for its work on Taiwan’s new military submarine program, according to a police document seen by Reuters and two people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

The Philippine military has called out China to stop “unsafe actions” in the South China Sea, after a Chinese navy ship shadowed and attempted to cut off a Philippine navy vessel conducting a resupply mission late last week. – Reuters

Malaysia does not agree with Western pressure to condemn Palestinian militant group Hamas, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday, amid widespread outrage over this month’s deadly attack on southern Israel. – Reuters


Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party fell short of the seats needed to form a government on Sunday, an exit poll showed, putting the opposition on track for a majority coalition after a divisive election watched closely by the U.S. and Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

The French government raised its terrorist threat alert to the highest level on Friday after a knife-wielding man killed a teacher and injured three other people at a school in northern France in what officials described as an Islamist terror attack, deeply disturbing the country. – New York Times

As home to both the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe, France is feeling the strain of the Israel-Hamas war like no other country on the continent. – Bloomberg

The European Union will send its political director to Beijing next week for follow-up discussions with China, the EU’s top diplomat said as he ended a three-day visit to the Asian nation. – Bloomberg

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said there are no outstanding demands on his country from Turkey to secure the ratification of its entry bid for the NATO defense alliance, expecting the move to happen “relatively soon.” – Bloomberg

The Americas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he spoke by phone to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday about the situation in Gaza, and pressed for the establishment of a humanitarian aid corridor to help the local population. – Reuters

Israel, one of the main providers of arms to Colombia’s military, said Sunday it was “halting security exports” to the South American country due to remarks made by its president, which have included branding Israelis “Nazis” for their military response to a massive terror attack by Hamas that massacred over 1,000 civilians. – Agence France-Presse

Russia is expecting a visit by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, President Vladimir Putin’s oil point man Alexander Novak said on Monday. – Reuters

United States

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is tracking increased numbers of threats against both Jewish and Muslim Americans in the wake of the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, bureau officials said Sunday. – New York Times

The Senate will vote early next week on a bipartisan resolution condemning Hamas’s strikes on Israel and pledging to support the Jewish state’s war effort, said Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, who is spending the weekend meeting with Israeli officials to discuss the contours of a future assistance package. – New York Times

A 71-year-old Illinois man accused of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old boy and seriously wounding a 32-year-old woman was charged with a hate crime Sunday. Police allege he singled out the victims because of their Islamic faith and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas. – Associated Press

A draft House letter with nearly 50 signatures so far is set to urge the administration to hold Iran, Qatar and Turkey accountable for their roles in funding or otherwise supporting Hamas. – Jewish Insider

The Republican Party’s White House hopefuls are offering conflicting messages on the mounting foreign policy challenges as a presidential election long centered on domestic kitchen-table issues suddenly shifts its focus abroad. The rapidly evolving dynamics are testing the limits of the GOP’s drift toward an isolationist foreign policy and threaten to undermine the party’s broader argument that Democratic President Joe Biden has mismanaged U.S. relationships with the rest of the world. – Associated Press

According to a YouGov poll, only about half of Americans believe Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians on purpose, despite video documenting atrocities splashing across screens. Expect the terrorist group to ramp up efforts to soften the view of Jerusalem’s moral authority, hoping PR and propaganda can win what weapons cannot. – New York Sun

A congressionally mandated commission has recommended the United States update and build out its nuclear posture to defend against Russia and China, according to the findings in their report. – Washington Examiner

Paul Mauro writes: The success of the Hamas attack represents a major failure for Israel’s vaunted intelligence apparatus. But that isn’t the whole story. The public thinks about counterterrorism only when there’s been a failure; the successes stay buried. It can make for thankless work, but that comes with the terrain. – Wall Street Journal

Pamela Paul writes: In an academic atmosphere in which people can be divided between colonizers and colonized, oppressors and oppressed, with individuals judged by their identity, many students don’t seem to understand that you don’t have to be Jewish or Zionist to recognize terrorism. That you don’t have to be right-wing to denounce the slaughter of women and children. Condemning violence and the barbaric rape and murder of civilians doesn’t require taking a side. It takes basic morality. Everyone at Stanford should know that. – New York Times

Earle Mack writes: We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. The Biden administration must end negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program and seize this moment as an opportunity for Israel to cut the heart out of it. At the same time, America must approve additional aid to Ukraine. This continued show of solidarity will send a message to Russia that we will not be distracted and we will not be deterred from securing Ukraine’s freedom. – The Hill


In what Guatemalan authorities described as a national security incident, hackers affiliated with the activist group Anonymous disabled multiple government webpages Saturday. – Associated Press

Hackers sympathetic to Hamas are working to make the Israel-Gaza conflict the next front of cyberwarfare. Hacking groups with links to countries including Iran and Russia have launched a series of cyberattacks and online campaigns against Israel over the past week, some that may have even occurred in the runup to the Oct. 7 strike by Hamas. – Politico

The websites of two relief groups providing aid to Israel and Gaza were disrupted in recent days after hackers flooded them with traffic, following a series of hackivist group threats over the ongoing conflict. – Jerusalem Post


The bloody attack on Israel and inevitable retaliation have turned defense stocks into gauges of geopolitical risk, albeit imperfect ones. For now, they are flashing amber rather than red. – Wall Street Journal

Two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers deployed this week, with four carrier strike groups currently deployed across the globe, USNI News has learned. – USNI News

The US Army has placed an initial order for scores of AeroVironment’s Switchblade 600 loitering munitions — like those the Pentagon has sent to Ukraine’s front lines — with the aim to have them in American soldiers’ hands as quickly as possible, according to a senior official. – Breaking Defense