Fdd's overnight brief

October 26, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


The Israeli military has built a replica of a generic Palestinian village nicknamed “Little Gaza” at a base in the Negev Desert, where soldiers train for combat against armed terrorists in narrow streets and a labyrinth of tunnels. – Wall Street Journal 

Israel has agreed, for now, to a request from the U.S. to delay its expected ground invasion of Gaza so the Pentagon can place air defenses in the region to protect U.S. troops, according to U.S. officials and people familiar with the Israeli planning. – Wall Street Journal 

By setting free four hostages in pairs in recent days, Hamas is playing its most effective card for delaying an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza and extracting concessions from the Israelis, officials and analysts said, as international pressure grows on Israel to negotiate the release of all the captives.  –Wall Street Journal 

The U.N. Security Council failed again Wednesday to adopt a unified position on stopping the carnage in the Middle East, with the United States and Russia vetoing each others’ resolutions. – Washington Post

On the 19th day of the Israel-Gaza war, the pressure around the Middle Eastern enclave built to a new intensity as health conditions in the Gaza Strip reached what Palestinian authorities called a state of collapse, and a war of words among political leaders around the world exploded with threats of travel bans and broken diplomatic relationships. – Washington Post

Far below densely populated neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip, Hamas militants have long used an intricate network of tunnels as a base for military operations, weapons storage and even as living quarters. – Washington Post

Wael Dahdouh has been a steady face of wartime news out of Gaza for Al Jazeera Arabic viewers. But on Wednesday night, his work turned personal when he learned that the strikes he had covered from the ground all day had claimed the lives of his wife, teenage son, daughter and grandson. – Washington Post

Fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip have grown so dire that the U.N. agency that has helped feed, school and shelter Palestinians there for decades said Wednesday that it might have to start shutting down operations. – New York Times

President Biden expressed forceful support for Israel on Wednesday and cautioned that the country should do everything in its power to protect civilians but added that their deaths were ultimately “the price of waging a war.” – New York Times

Israeli ground forces operated within the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, attacking multiple Hamas targets before withdrawing, the military said in a statement on what Israel’s Army Radio described as the biggest incursion of the current war. – Reuters

Israel is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised statement on Wednesday, but he declined to provide any details on the timing or other information about the operation. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he has “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using” for the death toll in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, where the health ministry says over 6,500 have been killed in Israeli attacks. – Reuters

Gaza needs billions of dollars in international economic aid to compensate for years of restrictions that have stifled its economy and curbed its development, according to a report published on Wednesday by the United Nations trade body. – Reuters

Japan has called on Israel to temporarily suspend fighting to allow humanitarian assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip, its foreign ministry said. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that Israel’s conflict with Hamas could spread well beyond the Middle East and said it was wrong that innocent women, children and old people in Gaza were being punished for other people’s crimes. – Reuters

More than half the estimated 220 hostages held by Palestinian group Hamas have foreign passports from 25 different countries, including 54 Thai nationals, the Israeli government said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Economic crises are rippling through the countries bordering Israel, raising the possibility of a chain reaction from the war with Hamas that further worsens the financial health and political stability of Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon and creates problems well beyond. – Associated Press

Mahmoud Shalabi did not evacuate his home in northern Gaza despite the frightful Israeli warnings of a looming, far more brutal assault to come as it presses ahead with its war against the Hamas militant group. – Associated Press

Israeli officials expressed outrage Wednesday over U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ remarks that the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel “did not happen in a vacuum,” saying his comment at a Security Council meeting amounted to a justification for terrorism. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden on Wednesday spoke out against retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. He also said he was redoubling his commitment to working on a two-state solution to end the decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict. – Associated Press

The Health Ministry on Wednesday announced a “protocol for the treatment” of those returned to Israel after being taken captive in the deadly onslaught by Hamas on October 7, after a freed hostage’s appearance at a press conference was slammed as a public relations win for the Gaza-ruling terror group. – Agence France – Presse

The Pentagon plans to send two Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel as the country continues to shoot down missiles fired at it from the militant group Hamas, a Defense Department official confirmed to The Hill. – The Hill

The legacy media’s widely panned coverage of last week’s Gaza hospital exposition has had a ripple effect across the world that goes beyond the usual ramifications of a journalistic error. – Fox News

As Israeli army ground units prepare for their assault into Gaza, a diplomatic offensive is being mounted by the families of those Israeli men, women, and children kidnapped and murdered by Hamas on October 7. – New York Sun

Dressed in black, her bare face etched with determination and the indomitable will of a sleepless mother desperate to rescue her son, Rachel Goldberg spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday. – New York Sun

The story of Zina and her friends is but one of hundreds that are emerging in the weeks after October 7, and as the weeks go on, Israelis are discovering these stories sometimes days and weeks after the events and sometimes on social media. – New York Sun

Shani, May, Ofir, and Moran, four strong Israeli women, arrived in Paris Wednesday morning to tell decision-makers in France the stories of their loved ones, hostages in Gaza, and to win their commitment to bring them home. – Jerusalem Post

A handwritten note discovered on the body of a Hamas terrorist encouraged the fighters to carry out a merciless massacre, including decapitation and dismemberment of the victims’ bodies. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) eliminated Taysir Mubasher, the commander of Hamas’s North Sector Battalion in Khan Younis, who over the years had led a number of deadly attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens, the army said on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post

The infamous Hamas tunnels have played a central role in this worrisome development. Prof. Joel Roskin, a geomorphologist and geologist at Bar-Ilan University’s geography and environment department, has followed the changes in the Gaza tunnels over the years, analyzed the conditions that allowed their formation and expansion and revealed what geological and security conditions have enabled their speedy development. – Jerusalem Post

Israeli fighter jets are heavily striking terror targets across the Gaza Strip, Israeli and Palestinian media reported on Wednesday afternoon. – Jerusalem Post

President Joe Biden admitted he advised Israel to delay its Gaza ground invasion to ensure he could secure the release of over 220 hostages, but said he hasn’t pressured Israel on the issue. – Jerusalem Post

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday rejected “misrepresentations” of his remarks a day earlier that Hamas’s October 7 massacre “didn’t happen in a vacuum,” decried by Israel as justifying terror. – Times of Israel

Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets toward central and southern Israel on Wednesday evening, lightly wounding six people, following several days with fewer missiles fired from Gaza. – Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that “everyone will have to give answers,” including himself, on the failures that led to Hamas’s bloody invasion on October 7, the closest he has come to taking responsibility for not anticipating the devastating attack. – Times of Israel

The Spanish government is intensifying diplomatic pressure on Israel to curb its military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas atrocities, with its prime minister on Wednesday demanding an immediate ceasefire and its foreign minister declaring that without the creation of an independent Palestinian state, “I do not think we can guarantee the security of Israel.” – The Algemeiner

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been engaged in a campaign of “demonization and tokenism” against Israel in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of the Jewish state and massacre of civilians, according to a new analysis published on Wednesday. – The Algemeiner 

Israel is collecting digital evidence as part of a war crimes and crimes-against-humanity investigation it is conducting into the Hamas terrorists who perpetrated the October 7 mass slaughter of a thousand Israeli civilians and the kidnapping of hundreds into Gaza. – Haaretz

The renovation of Kibbutz Nir Oz will take about two years, the administration for renovating the western Negev communities destroyed by the October 7 Hamas attack told kibbutz members on Wednesday. – Haaretz

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News on Wednesday that asking Israel to reach a ceasefire with Hamas is “untenable”, adding Israel has “a right” to “go after” Hamas after its terrorists killed more than 1,400 on October 7 and abducted over 220 others. – Arutz Sheva

US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have remained in regular contact since the start of the fighting against Hamas on October 7, spoke once again on Wednesday. – Arutz Sheva

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday reiterated its call for the immediate release of all the hostages who were abducted to Gaza by Hamas on October 7, along with urgent access to each of them and delivery of medical care. – Arutz Sheva

Editorial: Civilians are dying because Hamas deliberately targeted Israelis and now uses Gazans as human shields, as Mr. Guterres had to acknowledge Tuesday. By calling for Israel to accept a cease-fire, Mr. Guterres is effectively rewarding the terrorists’ civilian-killing strategy while denying a U.N.-approved state the same ability to defend itself that every other country enjoys. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Especially since Guterres and the UN bureaucracy are calling for a ceasefire — which would let the savages escape any consequence for their atrocities, and leave them free to commit more. The United Nations is largely useless, but often worse: Its permanent bureaucracy is hopelessly biased against Israel and deeply complicit in the cruel weaponization of the Palestinian people. Guterres and his institution are no solution to anything; usually, they’re a big part of the problem. – New York Post

Editorial: At the same time, civilian casualties are inevitable in war, but this is a war Hamas ignited. And by basing fighters and war materiel in hospitals, churches, schools, etc., Hamas is responsible under the laws of war for resulting civilian deaths. Obama, and many on the left, reflexively feel the need to call out abuses by both sides. Yet it’s only one side — Hamas — that’s committing the war crimes. He, Biden and like-minded lefties need to focus on that. – New York Post

Editorial: With his speech, Guterres has demonstrated a stunning degree of moral bankruptcy – even by the UN’s low standards. If Guterres does not retract those statements, if he does not make it clear that he understands that no vacuum in the world justifies beheading babies, then he has no business leading the United Nations and should step down. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: The end of the war and the conclusion of this difficult, brutal chapter of the Jewish-Arab conflict cannot be seen on the horizon yet. But like in previous chapters, two nations will remain here interwoven, and many of their sons and daughters want to live together, in dignity and security. Israel is obliged to protect the silent majority that wants to live safely in its state. Protecting the citizens from racism and violence is imperative so that we can live together at the end of the war. – Haaretz

Daniel Henninger writes: It is up to President Biden to resist the inevitable conventional wisdom that both Hamas and Israel bear responsibility for any deaths that occur now. From there we move to the familiar modern policy goal known as “stop the killing.” When that moment arrives, Hamas wins. – Wall Street Journal

Adam Taylor writes: Can Israel afford to wait this time? Given the public anguish in Israel itself, it may not be politically tenable. But there is much at stake, both in the short term and the long term. As Haaretz’s Amos Harel wrote Wednesday: “A failed offensive in Gaza could be one blow too much for Israeli morale.” – Washington Post

William Drozdiak writes: Almost two decades after Rantisi’s passing, Palestinians are still waiting for their own version of Nelson Mandela to reconcile with the enemy and bring peace to their lives. – Washington Post

Thomas L. Friedman writes: In other words, Biden has created diplomatic working capital — that comes with a time limit — for both Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. They must both use it wisely. – New York Times

Marc Champion writes: Ultimately it is up to Israel and its generals to decide how to defend their country, and Bloomberg News has reported that a recalibration could already be underway. Yet the advice from close friends against letting anger — and therefore Hamas — decide the pace has few downsides. Netanyahu surely knows that even if dramatic action is popular now, that would change quickly if the war went badly. Such a mistake would not be forgiven. The potential human, military and strategic costs of rushing in are large. – Bloomberg

Jonathan Bernstein writes: One of the virtues of the US system is supposed to be that anyone who reaches the presidency has the political skills needed to handle the tensions that will inevitably arise from both policy proposals and unexpected crises. As the war between Israel and Hamas proceeds, one of the things we will learn is how well Biden can deploy his talents. – Bloomberg

Amos Guiora writes: Voices will be raised regarding the dangers involved in releasing 6,000 prisoners. Those concerns are legitimate and understandable, given the concern of recidivism and adding fuel to the fire, particularly when a conflagration is literally upon us. But those anxieties must take a back seat to the government’s basic duty to the hostages and its responsibility for the events that led up to Oct. 7. – The Hill

Marsha Blackburn writes: It is in the best interests of Israelis, Palestinian civilians and Americans to destroy Hamas once and for all and to demilitarize Gaza. Only then can Palestinians have the opportunity to thrive and achieve peace with Israel. Biden must understand the reality on the ground: We can only help the people of Gaza by aiding Israel in its mission to obliterate Hamas. This is the only way Israelis and Palestinians can move forward together. – New York Post

Yossi Klein Halevi writes: History imposes on Jews the responsibility to confront the moral consequences of power. But October 7 wasn’t a response to the abuses of Jewish power; it was a reminder of the necessity of Jewish power. In a world in which genocidal enemies persist, powerlessness for the Jewish people is a sin. – Times of Israel

Douglas J. Feith writes: The perverse strategy of harming Israel by harming Palestinian civilians is bad for Israel but worse for the Palestinians. If people around the world grasped that Hamas aims to maximize, not minimize, harm to its own civilians, they would assign blame to Hamas, not Israel. People who want to protect civilians during wartime should refuse to play the role assigned them in Hamas’s strategy, which would then fail and be abandoned. – The Algemeiner

Yossi Verter writes: The Prime Minister’s Office and bureau – whose senior staff are shown to be unfit each day anew – did nothing. Except, that is, to lay the blame on the Ichilov spokesperson’s office. Yes, it is the hospital that should have instructed Mrs. Lifshitz on the dos and don’ts following a traumatic abduction experience by terrorists. From now on it should be clear: This is not the failure government. This is the ongoing failure government. – Haaretz

Matthew Levitt and Delaney Soliday write: The group’s efforts at damage control speak volumes. Hamas sees that it is being criticized for its barbarity, so it is lying in an attempt to pin the blame elsewhere. But many countries around the world—not least those whose citizens were killed, injured, or kidnapped—may forever see the group in a new, more dangerous, light. – Washington Institute

Matthew Levitt writes: It is important to put the Hamas massacre in context and acknowledge it as one of the worst acts of international terrorism ever on record, both overall and in terms of American casualties. Secretary of State Antony Blinken minced no words describing the massacre after viewing evidence of the brutality of Hamas attackers, saying the Hamas atrocity “brings to mind the worst of ISIS.” – Washington Institute

Jessica Davis, Tricia Bacon, Emily Harding, and Daniel Byman write: Perhaps most important, political leaders also have a hand in shaping the threat itself. Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, and toward Gaza in general, affect both Hamas’s intent and capability as well the attitudes of ordinary Palestinians. Determining why Hamas acted when it did requires assessing how the Netanyahu government’s policies shaped the terrorist group—an assessment of one’s own government that is politically fraught for any intelligence agency. – Center for Strategic & International Studies


In the weeks leading up to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, hundreds of the Palestinian Islamist militant group’s fighters received specialized combat training in Iran, according to people familiar with intelligence related to the assault. – Wall Street Journal 

President Biden faces mounting pressure to strike Iranian proxies that have repeatedly attacked — and injured — U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria this month, but he is weighing any decision to retaliate against his broader concern that the war in Gaza could be on the precipice of erupting into a regionwide tempest, according to U.S. officials and others familiar with the administration’s deliberations. – Washington Post

Iran is quietly rebuilding ties with Sudan, stoking concern the Islamic Republic will widen its military influence on the fringes of the Middle East and deepen a disastrous civil war. – Bloomberg

President Joe Biden warned Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday that the U.S. would respond if Iran or its allied proxies attacked U.S. service members stationed in the Middle East. – POLITICO

Josh Rogin writes: On Monday, White House spokesman John Kirby said Iran was not only spurring on these attacks but also in some cases facilitating them. He pledged the United States would not allow Iran to use proxies to attack Americans with impunity. It’s time for the Biden team to match those words with action. – Washington Post

Glenn Kessler writes: There are several problematic elements to these statements. The numbers are off, especially McCarthy’s, and they exaggerate the extent to which Iran had managed to boost its oil sales and foreign exchange reserves. Cruz all but says that the Biden administration is responsible for all the money Iran has received from oil sales, when it’s virtually impossible to cut off a major oil exporter from worldwide markets.  – Washington Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: One of the deadliest aspects of a major and confusing national security crisis is that it blindsides most people when other potential crises emerge and are underestimated in the distraction of the moment. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Russia has freed up to 100,000 prison inmates and sent them to fight in Ukraine, according to government statistics and rights advocates — a far greater number than was previously known. – Washington Post

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said a Russian drone attack early on Wednesday in the western Khmelnitskyi region had probably targeted the area’s nuclear power station. – Reuters

Russian forces are disregarding heavy losses and pressing on with a drive to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russia’s parliament completed the passage of a law on Wednesday withdrawing ratification of the global treaty banning nuclear weapons tests, evidence of the deep chill in relations with the United States as Moscow pursues its war in Ukraine. – Reuters

Ukraine aims to produce tens of thousands of drones every month by year-end as it ramps up its defence industry output despite the challenge posed by Russian attacks, the minister for strategic industries said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russia’s military said on Wednesday its air defence forces had shot down two long-range U.S.-made ATACM missiles fired by Ukraine at Russian targets in what state media said was the first downing of its kind. – Reuters

President Vladimir Putin oversaw drills of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, raising the stakes in a confrontation with the US and its allies over the war in Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Hanna Notte writes: Supporting Ukraine over the past 600 days, and now standing with Israel in the wake of its darkest hour, Western officials have tried to convince the rest of the world that the global order is on the line and that democratic values are under threat. But as Israel and Hamas tumble into a whirlwind of violence, the West is far from winning the battle of narratives. The Ukraine war has receded into the background; U.S.-led diplomacy in the Middle East is in disarray; and the West and the rest face each other over an abyss of mutual incomprehension. From this state of affairs, Russia will do its best to pocket the gains. – New York Times

Michael O’Hanlon, Constanze Stelzenmüller, and David Wessel write: In November 2022, when Russia was bombing Ukrainian energy infrastructure, Zelensky hosted 18 high-level officials, including two delegations. In early October of this year, 23 E.U. foreign ministers and senior officials from four other E.U. countries visited Kyiv with Josep Borrell, the E.U.’s top foreign and security official; this was the first time this group had ever met outside the E.U.’s borders. And it came at a time of special need in Ukraine — as the country grapples with slow progress on the front lines and faces its second winter of war. – Washington Post


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey lashed out at Israel and defended Hamas during a televised address on Wednesday, taking positions likely to increase tensions between his government and those of other NATO members, including the United States. – New York Times

​Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told Pope Francis in a phone call on Thursday that Israel’s attacks on Gaza amounted to a massacre, and that the silence of international community was “embarrassing,” the presidency said. – Reuters

Turkey’s parliament may schedule a debate next week in the foreign relations committee over Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week asked lawmakers to start proceedings. – Bloomberg


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday that his country was playing a “very positive role” trying to de-escalate and find a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. – Reuters

Eugene Kontorovich writes: The United States provides Egypt with $3 billion a year in aid and is thus in a position to pressure it to live up to its international obligations. Those who believe in welcoming refugees should be at the forefront of such pressure. Once the international community accepts the notion that there can be no escape from the Gaza War, it will be easier to accept calls to open other international borders to asylum seekers. – The Hill

Daniel Byman and Jon B. Alterman write: Yet Egyptian leaders also have a long history of engagement with Hamas, particularly after it became the de facto ruler of Gaza after seizing power in 2007. In past crises, Egypt has served as an interlocutor with the organization, facilitating prisoner swaps and helping negotiate cease-fires. – Center for Strategic & International Studies

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Wednesday that he believes talks on normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia will resume immediately after the conclusion of the war in Gaza. – Arutz Sheva

A major conference of international business and finance leaders in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh about economic transformation has been overshadowed by the only thing on everyone’s mind: war involving Israel. – Bloomberg

Michael Segal writes: These are big steps, but the bold leader of the wealthy country that serves as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest sites can take them. The Hamas attack on Israel is likely to have been motivated in part by a desire to derail the Israel-Saudi peace initiative. If MBS has the courage, he can use the widely condemned actions of Hamas and its backer Iran to undercut them both and establish the Saudis as visionaries in the Middle East. – Wall Street Journal

Gulf States

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi on Wednesday described diplomatic intervention by Qatar in humanitarian aspects of the war with Hamas in Gaza as “crucial at this time”. – Reuters

As Doha signals a major breakthrough in negotiations over the release of Israeli abductees in Gaza, a delicate diplomatic dance involving Washington, Jerusalem, and a wily Hamas supporter, Qatar, is becoming ever more awkward. – New York Sun

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken asked Qatar’s prime minister to tone down the state-owned Al Jazeera’s rhetoric about the Gaza war, the Axios news site reports. – Times of Israel

Middle East & North Africa

Weeks before Hamas’s deadly attack plunged the region into turmoil, a senior official from the United Arab Emirates hailed his nation’s recent diplomatic accord with Israel as a success. – Washington Post

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah met top leaders of the Palestinian militant factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and discussed what their alliance must do to “achieve a real victory for the resistance”, Hezbollah said on Wednesday. – Reuters

United States-led coalition forces have started live-fire exercises at military bases in Iraq and Syria, after more than a dozen attacks on American troops over the last week left more than 20 soldiers injured. – Fox News

Several American troops stationed in the Middle East have reported symptoms of traumatic brain injury following rocket and drone attacks launched by Iran proxies over the past week, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the incidents. – POLITICO

Syrian media report an alleged Israeli airstrike against Aleppo International Airport, causing damage. – Times of Israel


Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Wednesday, as part of an ambitious weeklong mission to negotiate climate partnerships. – New York Times

President Joe Biden is expected to speak with Wang Yi when China’s top diplomat visits the White House this week, according to two U.S. officials familiar with planning for the visit. – Reuters

China’s defense ministry on Wednesday denounced the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on China, saying it distorts the country’s security policy and military strategy. – Reuters

U.S. officials “frankly raised areas of disagreement” with China at the first meeting of a new financial working group, where financial stability, supervision and regulation were discussed, the U.S. Treasury said on Wednesday. – Reuters

With the Israel-Hamas war further dividing a world shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and elevated inflation, US-China ties are suddenly providing cause for some optimism. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Many foreign-policy sages said Vladimir Putin wouldn’t really roll into Ukraine or thought that Israel had subdued the threat from Hamas. They were wrong, and war now rages in Europe and the Middle East. War still may be preventable in the Pacific—if President Biden and Congress start to change course. – Wall Street Journal 

Walter Russell Mead writes: Having seen how great a price Team Biden has been willing to pay in trying to park Russia and Iran and how slow Washington has been to grasp the adversarial nature of these relationships, the Chinese may be tempted to toy with the administration as Vladimir Putin and Iran did, pocketing more concessions for an agreement that never quite comes. – Wall Street Journal 

Andrew Latham writes: Add to this the related phenomena of what Chinese people call neijuan and tangping — the “endless cycle of self-flagellation” associated with ceaseless competition for limited educational and economic opportunities and resisting neijuan by “lying flat” or doing the minimum amount of work necessary — and you know all you need to know about why the Chinese century is already over. – The Hill

South Asia

Pakistan is setting up deportation centers for migrants who are in the country illegally, including an estimated 1.7 million Afghans, officials said Thursday. Anyone found staying in the country without authorization from next Wednesday will be arrested and sent to one of centers. – Associated Press

India on Wednesday announced an easing of its visa ban on Canadian nationals imposed more than a month ago after Canada alleged that India was involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist in Canada. – Associated Press

A Chinese research ship docked at a Sri Lankan port on Wednesday, likely adding to neighboring India’s concerns about China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean. – Associated Press


Abandoned by its traditional Russian ally and squeezed between two hostile neighbors, Armenia is reaching out for Western support as it fears another war. This week, the landlocked country of three million people signed a deal to purchase from France modern air defenses, moving to fill a key capability gap that allowed Azerbaijan to rout Armenian forces in 2020. – Wall Street Journal 

Taiwan’s defence ministry said that it had detected 15 Chinese air force planes entering Taiwan’s air defence zone on Thursday morning, including fighter jets and drones, accompanying Chinese warships carrying out “combat readiness patrols” and drills. – Reuters

South Korea, Japan and the United States strongly condemned the supply of arms and military equipment by North Korea to Russia and said they had confirmed “several” deliveries of such weapons, a joint statement issued on Thursday said. – Reuters

North Korea’s foreign ministry accused Israel of bombing a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Oct 17., saying it had openly committed a war crime “under the undisguised patronage of the United States”. – Reuters

Relatives of victims of alleged war crimes committed by Myanmar’s military filed a criminal complaint in the Philippines against their nation’s ruling generals as they increasingly seek to hold them accountable in courts outside the violence-wracked country. – Associated Press

President Joe Biden warned China that the US would be forced to intervene if Beijing attacks Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, after two separate collisions in the disputed waterway over the weekend. – Bloomberg

John Lee writes: AUKUS will fail without wholehearted Australian commitment, on which Biden should press Albanese this week. If the pact stalls, the United States and the region will be worse off. Albanese needs to spend more money on developing and deploying the weapons Australia needs, make that decision quickly, and offer a clearer picture of Canberra’s commitment in various contingencies that might arise. Over the next few days, he needs to reassure the administration and doubters in Congress that he is serious about righting AUKUS and that the United States and Britain were justified in taking a huge punt on Australia. – Foreign Policy

Samuel Ramani writes: Despite the mood of euphoria in Baku and despondence in Yerevan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s resolution could benefit faraway powers even more than regional stakeholders. As external powers scramble to capitalize on new transport infrastructure projects and court an empowered Azerbaijan, human rights are likely to be put on the backburner. That is a tragic outcome for the more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians who saw their lives upended by Azerbaijan’s rapid-fire offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh. – Foreign Policy


EU leaders are poised to call for humanitarian corridors in Gaza and for pauses in bombardments into and out of the enclave to enable access for aid, after days of wrangling that highlighted divisions within the bloc over the Israel-Hamas conflict. – Reuters

Estonia’s investigation into a damaged Baltic Sea telecoms cable will focus on the actions of a Chinese-owned vessel, the country’s prosecutor general said, after Finland blamed damage to a nearby pipeline on a ship. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron sought to promote — with little success so far — the creation of an international coalition to fight the armed Palestinian group Hamas, during a two-day trip to the Middle East that started in Israel. – Associated Press

Not so long ago, a European Union leader could heartily call Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a “dictator” in public and it’d be chuckles all around. […]There are very few laughs now. Orban’s handshake last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, just about the EU’s public enemy No. 1 after invading Ukraine, made sure of that. – Associated Press

The European Central Bank is ready to leave interest rates unchanged Thursday for the first time in over a year as the Israel-Hamas war spreads even more gloom over already downbeat prospects for Europe’s economy. – Associated Press

The European Union is falling behind on plans to provide Ukraine with a million artillery shells by March, people familiar with the matter said, potentially giving Russian forces an advantage in the supply of ammunition. – Bloomberg


The World Bank said on Wednesday that its board had approved a $1 billion loan to help South Africa reform its energy sector, as the country tries to overcome regular power cuts that have curbed economic growth. – Reuters

Sudan’s army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said they will return to the U.S.- and Saudi-convened negotiations in Jeddah on Thursday, as a six-month war has taken its toll on the country and on both forces. – Reuters

Nigeria’s Supreme Court will rule on Thursday whether to uphold President Bola Tinubu’s disputed election victory, a court notice showed on Wednesday, after two of his main contenders challenged the decision of a lower court last month. – Reuters

The Americas

Illegal border crossings by Venezuelans have dropped 50 to 60 percent since the Biden administration announced Oct. 5 it would begin deportation flights to the South American nation, according to preliminary U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained by The Washington Post. – Washington Post

Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek Saab said on Wednesday his office has launched a criminal investigation into the opposition’s weekend presidential primary, potentially risking the wrath of the U.S. which has relaxed some sanctions on pledges of a free and fair election. – Reuters

The U.S. could apply sector-based sanctions against Guatemala if democratic processes there are not respected, a top U.S. official said, stepping up warnings over a dispute centering on the country’s recent presidential election. – Reuters

More than 260 charter flights believed to be carrying migrants from Haiti have touched down in Nicaragua in recent months, according to flight data and experts in the region, adding to a historic crush of migration by people hoping to reach the U.S. – Associated Press

United States

The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass a resolution declaring solidarity with Israel, pledging to give its government whatever security assistance it needs to fight and win its war with Hamas. – New York Times

Biden administration officials, worried that a growing conflict in the Middle East could send global oil prices soaring, are looking for ways to hold down American gasoline prices if such a jump occurs. – New York Times

President Joe Biden will ask lawmakers for more than a billion dollars in additional humanitarian aid, amid growing worries over the impact of the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East on global food availability. – Bloomberg

Federal law enforcement officials warned on Wednesday that Israel’s ongoing war with Palestinian militants could encourage more hate crimes in the U.S. – POLITICO

Critics have urged the United States to consider reclassifying the Houthis in Yemen as a terrorist organization as the Iran-backed group has mounted attacks against Israel and U.S. military assets.  – Fox News

US authorities have begun a new effort to target fundraising and other forms of support for Hamas, including any tentacles the terrorist group has into the United States, current and former US officials tell CNN.  – CNN

Editorial: Whatever else happens with aid to Ukraine, aid to Israel, and the expiration of the continuing resolution that is keeping the rest of the government running, the top priority for Republicans in Congress should be to block Biden’s efforts to make the border crisis worse. There is only so much the GOP can do to force Biden to follow the law and protect sovereignty, but at a bare minimum, Republicans should give him not 1 cent more to make it worse. – Washington Examiner

John Bolton writes: Finally, the commissioners emphasize nonnuclear capabilities, particularly “integrated air-and-missile defense systems” for homeland and theater-focused protection. The report may at last end the debate on “deterrence by denial,” the core purpose of strategic and tactical missile defenses. The commission recommends national missile-defense systems “that can deter and defeat coercive attacks by Russia and China,” Ronald Reagan’s seminal vision. – Wall Street Journal

Sadanand Dhume writes: By turning their backs on Jewish suffering, Indian Muslims are rejecting the universal values that their enemies seek to undermine. Muslim politicians and intellectuals who can’t see this are doing their people no favors. – Wall Street Journal

Charles M. Blow writes: A lot will happen next year, and public attention will inevitably turn to other issues and controversies, but in a tight presidential race, an increasingly disaffected activist base on the left could be disastrous for Biden, and in a rematch with Donald Trump, that could be disastrous for our democracy. – New York Times

Lawrence Kudlow writes: When will the Bidens stop appeasing Iran and their terrorist puppets and begin a serious campaign of deterrence? Will they ever? We need warriors in the White House. Not Yale faculty lounge discussions.  – New York Sun

Peter Laffin writes: Given his administration’s failure to pursue the priorities it laid out from the beginning, not to mention its historically blundered exit from Afghanistan in 2021 and its bizarre preoccupation with a leftist diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda , it is difficult to swallow Biden’s bullishness regarding his administration’s ability to further the interests of the U.S. overseas. – Washington Examiner

Michael McFaul writes: Biden may fail. People judge crises and wars only by how they end. No one will praise Biden and Blinken for their initial efforts if this conflict causes an enormous number of civilian casualties or pulls in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, or, most alarming, the United States. Biden and his team face only hard choices with difficult trade-offs, and no easy diplomatic solutions are in sight. – The Atlantic


State Department officials have linked the article to what they describe as a covert information operation to spread Russia propaganda in Central and South America by producing articles that appear to originate with local media organizations, not the Russian government. – New York Times

Hackers believed to be based in Kazakhstan are targeting other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States in a wide-ranging espionage campaign, according to new research. –The Record

A group of pro-Ukraine hackers recently compromised the Spotify accounts of several well-known Russian musicians, swapping out their profile pictures for images of Ukraine’s flag and a Ukrainian rapper, along with messages to stop Russia’s war in Ukraine. – The Record

Bronte Munro writes: The United States is already throwing everything it can at slowing down China’s access to the technology and the expertise it needs to gain a competitive advantage in key technology areas. Access to talent, research and innovation, and advanced semiconductor manufacturing are vital ingredients in achieving quantum computing leadership. As global technology competition continues to intensify, a strong history of allied partnership is an advantage that the United States holds over adversaries, and it needs to be bullish about leveraging it. – Foreign Policy


The U.S. submarine industrial base can and will support the AUKUS defense technology partnership to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines and will itself be strengthened by that project, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The prospect of Israeli forces launching an assault into Gaza’s dense urban neighborhoods, where militants use civilians as human shields, brings back searing memories of the deadly battles the U.S.-led coalition fought against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. – Associated Press

The Pentagon’s legislative proposals for the current fiscal year are crucial to Australia’s pursuit of nuclear-powered attack submarines, officials told Congress on Wednesday. – USNI News

Matthew Bondy writes: While multilateral intelligence-and-technology sharing initiatives have a vital role to play in the defense of the democratic community, no multilateral agreement can replace the value of US hard power. American ships, planes and troops underwrite global freedom of navigation and the rules-based international order in finance and international law. – New York Post