Fdd's overnight brief

October 27, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


In the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, some expected Israel to almost immediately launch a ground offensive against Gaza. Speaking to the nation shortly after that attack, which left 1,400 Israelis dead, according to official figures, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered “an extensive mobilization of the reserves to fight back on a scale and intensity that the enemy has so far not experienced.” – Washington Post

Israel’s military said Thursday it had conducted an overnight raid into the northern Gaza Strip as part of “preparations for the next stages of combat,” a reference to an expected ground offensive that has alarmed rights groups, Arab governments and humanitarian officials. – 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

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

As Gaza runs out of fuel to power its generators, hospitals in the besieged Palestinian enclave fear they will have to turn away patients and unplug lifesaving machines. Shelters housing tens of thousands of families are switching off the lights. Bakeries are shutting down. – Wall Street Journal

As Israel signals that it is closer to launching its anticipated ground offensive, U.S. and European officials are urging caution in an effort to minimize a prolonged urban war that could result in even more casualties and a turbulent future for Gaza, U.S. and foreign officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Palestinian militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,400 people, abducted over 200 civilians and soldiers and brought them back to the Gaza Strip. Israel has taken part in negotiations for the release of hostages while carrying out military efforts to crush Hamas, the militant group that is holding most of them. – Wall Street Journal

Its troops are massed on the Gaza border and described as ready to move, but Israel’s political and military leaders are divided about how, when and even whether to invade, according to seven senior military officers and three Israeli officials. – New York Times

Before the deadly Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was running a divisive government widely seen as the most conservative in Israel’s history. Amid anticipation of a protracted campaign to eradicate Hamas, Mr. Netanyahu responded to political pressure and formed a unity government that included opposition leaders. – New York Times

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has released a list of 6,747 people it said had been killed in Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Palestinian territory in retaliation for the Hamas-led raid on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,400 people in Israel. – New York Times

U.S. President Joe Biden and his team have markedly shifted their tone on the Israel-Hamas crisis in recent days, moving from unfettered support of Israel to emphasizing the need to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza ahead of a looming Israeli ground invasion. – Reuters

Almost half of Israelis want to hold off on any invasion of Gaza, according to a poll published on Friday, in what may indicate a dip in support for the planned next stage of the counter-offensive against Hamas militants holding some 200 hostages. – Reuters

After Hamas’ shock attack on Israel, Shimrit Ben Arosh, a mother from an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, drove up to a shooting range in central Kfar Saba for gun license firearms training. – Reuters 

Overly stringent checks on trucks at the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza were slowing the flow of humanitarian aid to a “dribble” as hunger grows among Palestinians there, U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Cindy McCain told Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

Paris will send an aircraft filled with humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, including tents, medicine and emergency medical equipment, the French foreign ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco on Thursday condemned the targeting of civilians and “flagrant violations of international law” in Gaza which has been under heavy Israeli bombardment. – Reuters

Israel will provide compensation for ships that are damaged due to the war in Gaza and the government is taking steps to minimise risks for vessels using the country’s ports, government advisories said. – Reuters

Demonstrators set up more than 200 empty chairs and strollers outside the United Nations in Geneva on Thursday to draw attention to the plight of Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas and to call for their release. – Reuters

“Stop the bombs and save lives!” the Palestinian ambassador pleaded at an emotional U.N. meeting Thursday on the war in Gaza. But Israel’s envoy was adamant, declaring again, “We will not rest until Hamas is obliterated.” – Associated Press

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister told reporters Thursday that the authority would not interfere with an International Criminal Court investigation into Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel and will support the court’s overall probe of actions in the Palestinian territories. – Associated Press

Israeli forces backed by fighter jets and drones carried out a second ground raid into Gaza in as many days and struck targets on the outskirts of Gaza City, the military said Friday, as it prepares for a widely expected ground invasion of the Hamas-ruled territory. – 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

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

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the war in Israel may have gone way beyond just flying medical supplies to the country and ferrying out Americans, including trying to aid the shipment of weapons and ammunition — though his administration provided few details. – Politico

The Israel Defense Forces have released audio recordings of a phone call between an army officer and a resident of Gaza during which the resident tells the officer that Hamas has blocked one of the main routes out of northern Gaza and is shooting at people attempting to flee to safety from the Israeli airstrikes. – New York Sun 

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a televised address Wednesday, gave the first indication that the military debacle suffered by Israel on October 7 could mean the end of his political career. – New York Sun

In the shadow of the negotiations for the release of hostages abducted by Hamas into Gaza – negotiations which according to the reports is one of the reasons for the delay in the beginning of the ground war in the Strip – the protest of the hostages’ families continues. On Thursday in Tel Aviv they held a public news conference, aimed at both the local and international media. Just before it began in the plaza of the Tel Aviv art museum – which has been renamed by the families “Kidnapped and Missing Square”, rocket warning sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and environs, and those attending it had to evacuate to a protected area. – Ynet

Israeli security officials estimate that the war against Hamas will last at least three months, including a ground incursion in Gaza, ideally resulting in destroying the terror organization’s military and managerial capabilities. This is going to cost a lot of money and will have an impact on Israel’s defense budget. – Ynet

Two Jewish youths sustained injuries, one of them suffering serious wounds, on Thursday morning following an altercation with Palestinians on an agricultural farm near the West Bank settlement of Rimonim. They said they were assaulted with rocks and stones and that the Palestinian suspects managed to escape to one of the neighboring villages. – Ynet

At least 1,350 Israelis – men, women, babies, children and elderly – were murdered on the first day of the war against Hamas, and the numbers are increasing every day – while the identification process continues to move forward and families are notified. – Ynet

National Unity leader Benny Gantz said on Thursday that Israel was working tirelessly to achieve its moral and national duty to bring the hostages held in Gaza, home.  “We are using all means at our disposal,” he said.  Ynet

Officials in the Religious Scholars Association of Palestine in Gaza issued a decree calling for the killing of Israeli soldiers and “settlers,” inside and outside the Gaza Strip. – Ynet

After unequivocally condemning the massacre of Israeli citizens by Hamas on October 7, King Charles on Thursday met with representatives of charitable organizations operating in the Middle East – including in Gaza – to discuss the humanitarian crisis acutely. “The king was updated in the palace by aid agencies about the growing crisis in Gaza,” the palace’s official Instagram page said.- Ynet

European Union leaders will call for the establishment of “humanitarian corridors and pauses” to get urgently-needed aid into Gaza, according to the final draft of a text to be approved at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. – Ynet

The current war between Hamas and Israel has been a devastating experience for nearly all Israelis, with the shocking images and stories that continue to come out and the disruption in daily life in most areas of the country. New Israelis who have difficulty with Hebrew and have not lived through a terrorist war in their country, are having an even harder time figuring out what to do and where to go, especially the immigrants who live near both the northern and southern borders. – Ynet

Israeli air defenses intercepted an anti-aircraft missile that was fired from Lebanese territory toward an Israeli drone, the IDF said late on Wednesday. The army said “In response, IDF aircraft struck the source of the launch.”  – Ynet

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

Peggy Noonan writes: I was with a more peaceable group the other night at the Al Smith dinner, the big annual bipartisan dinner of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. One of the speakers, Mary Erdoes, told the audience that anti-Semitism appears to be on the rise and our friends need to know who’s with them. There was an envelope at each plate, she said, and if you open it you’ll find a blue lapel button. Wearing it is meant to show identification and affiliation with our brothers and sisters. Suddenly at that madly noisy dinner, all you could hear was one sound, envelopes being torn open, and the sight of buttons being affixed. It was a great moment of making it clear. – Wall Street Journal

Tevi Troy writes: I am tremendously grateful to my friends who stand with me and with Israel. As for my fellow Jews who are in the progressive camp, I hope in the future they will be able to find more comfort in friendship than in “allyship.” – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: When U.S. power has been strong and clearly communicated, wars in the Middle East have been followed by peace agreements that usually lasted. The United States needs to be forcefully involved now, and friends and adversaries need to listen. – Washington Post

Jason Willick writes: U.S. interests are rarely identical to those of its allies, and the Biden administration has every right to try to influence Israel’s decisions. But Israel remains a regional superpower, committed above all else to its sovereignty and survival. The United States has no good strategic options in this crisis, but the best path to containing Middle East violence in the long run is to leave Israel with maximum freedom to maneuver. – Washington Post

Andreas Kluth writes: And so the 200-odd innocent people cowering in the tunnels under Gaza, and the 2 million innocents whimpering above, now take center stage in world politics. Their fate is intertwined with people in the future taken hostage by imitators, and with hatreds and wars to come in distant places. Americans are at risk, Israelis are at risk, all of us are at risk. This is what Hamas has wrought, the tenth circle of hell. – Bloomberg

Saralyn Mark writes: Today, we are surviving yet another collective trauma. Our voices need to be heard loud and clear to honor those we have lost and to give hope for the day that evil will be shattered. – The Hill 

Tara D. Sonenshine writes: The story of peacebuilding is not over. Much to the contrary, our lives remain inextricably linked across borders and barriers, leaving human beings to address the past, the present and the future. – The Hill

Stephen Blank writes: Israeli operations must strive to be legitimate, attainable and politically viable, but Israel must deal with realities. Those facts were and remain stubborn and will obstruct any progress towards a lasting and viable solution if we continue to disregard them. – The Hill

Eliyahu Berkovits writes: In many ways, the “modern Haredi” phenomenon has not been able to transform itself into a real movement until now. It has not produced a system of flourishing institutions, active political leaders, and a strong religious leadership. But in recent years, it appears that things are finally falling into place. Time will tell whether the recent events prove to be the spark that lit an important new fire, or simply a spark that flickered for a short time before fading out. – Jerusalem Post

Eva Weiss writes: Have we survived the millennia only to be beaten in the 21st century? If, even for a split-second, we forget who we are and why we are still here, we have voices to remind us. Among those that resonate with me the most strongly, is that of the journalist and humanist Lucy Aharish. She, a native Arabic speaker, reminds us and the world, in English and Hebrew, of why we are still here. Stand with us on the right side of history. Her words ring true. – Jerusalem Post

Yuval Benziman writes: A more honest and measured approach to terminology and promises will sustain the overwhelming national unity displayed since the beginning of the conflict, ensuring a stronger collective effort toward a resolution that aligns with the realities of the “war of consciousness.” Setting unrealistic expectations may undermine public trust in leadership and damage the willingness to commit to the national effort. – Jerusalem Post

Ehud Yaari writes: The Israeli “Swords of Iron” counter-offensive must be given ample time to carry out its mission, including its focus on minimizing losses of Israeli soldiers and Gazan civilians. No one should expect a quick campaign. The IDF can break through in few hours into the heart of Gaza and sit on top of the large tunnels network, but will not opt to send soldiers underground and has to keep in mind that hostages are held there. This dilemma may translate into attrition tactics, waiting for Hamas to exhaust its fuel supplies used to ventilate the tunnels. We may be looking at a series of major raids instead of one decisive offensive, while the air force maintains pressure by hunting down Hamas operatives and destroying infrastructure.  Whatever the tactics chosen by the IDF, the ultimate responsibility falls on the Israeli public to disprove Nasrallah’s fragile cobweb description of their society. – The Jewish Strategic Tribune

Neomi Neumann writes: But the situation could change for the worse, animated by built-up resentments linked to the social, economic, and political problems facing these populations, as well as identity-related challenges. Such dynamics could prove combustible when mixed with the current high sensitivity of Jewish Israelis to statements or actions that could signal a threat to “coexistence.” The bloody Israel-Hamas struggle is not likely to end soon, presenting all sides with the increasingly difficult task of preserving the functional if uneasy dynamic between Arabs and Jews in Israel, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. – Washington Institute

Salam Fayyad writes: Since then, internal discord and factionalism have undoubtedly gotten in the way of their consideration, much less their adoption. But given the gravity of the current situation, their time may finally have come—although too late, of course, for the thousands who have perished already. But with the encouragement and backing of Arab countries, this plan could offer a credible way forward. Whatever its flaws or complications, it would certainly be preferable to the options that Israel is evidently considering now, all of which will lead to more violence and bloodshed with little chance of yielding a lasting peace. – Foreign Affairs

Asa Kasher writes: The spirit of the two-state solution will need to be revived and allowed to prevail, through the introduction and implementation of confidence-building measures over a longer timeline. But the full elimination of the terrorist threat from Hamas and affiliated groups could do much to set this process in motion. Policies of pursuing lasting peace, all the more so policies in the spirit of the two-state solution, must rest on the practical assumption that the dangers to Israel and its citizens, as nurtured and practiced by terrorist organizations, have been permanently eliminated. – Foreign Affairs

Amos Fox writes: Sieges will likely accompany any Israel offensive into Gaza that looks to gain physical control of territory. Sieges will likely accelerate military casualties, civilian deaths, and damage to civilian infrastructure. Below the surface, sieges will complicate things such as civilian, noncombatant medical care and access to food stuffs and water within Gaza. The international community, to include nongovernment organizations focused on caring for noncombatants in war zones, should proactively prepare for what might well be inevitable and not wait until it is too late, and they are forced to play catch-up. – War on the Rocks

Ali Demirdas writes: Netanyahu is banking on the presumption that the US will become militarily involved in the conflict. However, it will be difficult for the Biden administration to sell to Americans another forever war in the Middle East on the eve of the 2024 presidential elections. Accordingly, Israel should not expect American boots on the ground. Iranian-backed militias have already stepped up harassment of the U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq, the latest of which resulted in the injury of twenty-four American servicemen. The arrival of coffins shrouded by American flags will hurt Biden, which will be a strong disincentive to fully support Israel militarily. – The National Interest

David Makovsky writes: After the October 7 massacre, there is now widespread agreement across the Israeli political spectrum, shared by President Biden, that Hamas must be removed from power. The President repeatedly likened Hamas to ISIS, an implacable and zealous jihadist foe whose name is synonymous with cruelty and brutality. Hamas is on Israel’s doorstep. Israel must maintain the distinction between Hamas, with whom there can be no coexistence and the bulk of Palestinians who do not share that absolutist ideology. This is bound to become increasingly difficult as the war progresses. – The National Interest

Eric Lob writes: Neighboring Arab states could step in but would not want to be seen by their citizens and other Arabs and Muslims as ruling over or subjugating the Palestinians and being complicit with Israel, the United States, and other Western countries. International peacekeeping forces like UNIFIL along the Israeli-Lebanese border have a mixed record and are no substitute for local leadership and governance. At the same time, and as previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas have shown, both sides cannot revert to an unsustainable status quo. Finding a feasible or viable political solution will require courage and creativity by local, regional, and international actors—which seem to be in short supply. – The National Interest

Franz-Stefan Gady writes: At the political and more strategic level, the continued belief in qualitative military superiority based on superior technology could lead Israelis to be overly optimistic compared with the reality of the war. This could allow the Netanyahu government to muddle through despite the likely failure—at least for a while. – Foreign Policy

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: There have been 14 attacks on American bases in the Middle East by Iran’s proxies in the war so far. About 24 American soldiers received minor injuries, and the damage was minor. However, if and when Israel enters Gaza, the number of attacks could increase significantly. Israel needs to enhance its preparedness for a full confrontation with Hezbollah on the northern front. – Ynet


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

The U.S. military conducted airstrikes on two sites in eastern Syria associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and “affiliated groups” following attacks on U.S. personnel there and in neighboring Iraq, the Pentagon said late Thursday night. – Washington Post

Iran’s Foreign Minster Hossein Amirabdollahian warned at the United Nations on Thursday that if Israel’s retaliation against Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip doesn’t end then the United States will “not be spared from this fire.” – Reuters

President Joe Biden has sent a rare message to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning Tehran against targeting U.S. personnel in the Middle East, the White House said on Thursday after a spate of attacks on American forces in the region. – Reuters

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

Iran’s clerical establishment has championed the Palestinian cause for decades and refused to recognize Israel. – Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

The head of a newspaper in Tehran has been summoned to appear in court following the publication of a poll on the “Hijab and Chastity” bill currently being debated by lawmakers, Mizan, the news agency of Iran’s judiciary, said. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Pierre Pahlavi writes: Sticking to their trademark asymmetrical approach, Mullahs and Revolutionary Guards will continue to rely on their powerful propaganda apparatus to exploit Israel’s “humiliation” to restore the image of the Islamic regime heavily tarnished by the recent veil uprising. Generally speaking, Iranian leaders will be playing, as during the 33-day war in the summer of 2006, the psychological card to promote a reconfiguration of the regional game to their advantage —even if, in doing so, they also know that they are playing with fire. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Russian authorities charged a U.S. journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty with neglecting to register herself as a “foreign agent,” her employer said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

A group of high-ranking members of Hamas arrived in Moscow on Thursday, meeting with a senior Russian official in what looked like an affront to the West aimed at demonstrating how the Kremlin still holds sway over key players in the bloody conflict in the Middle East. – New York Times

An article that appeared in August on an international news outlet, Pressenza, recycled a false Russian claim that the West was looting religious relics and art from a monastery in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, one of the holiest sites in Russian Orthodoxy. – New York Times

Russian drone strikes near a nuclear power plant in western Ukraine this week have revived anxiety among Ukrainian officials and civilians over one of the most oppressive hardships of the war: a winter assault on their nation’s energy grid. – New York Times

The United States has information that the Russian military is executing soldiers who do not follow orders related to the war with Ukraine, the White House said on Thursday. – Reuters

A Russian missile hit a fire department building in the northern region of Kharkiv on Friday, injuring at least eight rescuers, Ukraine’s interior minister said. – Reuters

The United States will on Friday open its northernmost diplomatic station in the world, a symbol of the Arctic’s increased importance in Washington, at a time when cooperation among Arctic nations has been hit by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

China is not expected to attend a meeting of national security advisers in Malta this weekend where officials from more than 55 nations will discuss Ukraine’s drive to build support for its so-called peace formula. – Bloomberg

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested that Russia is benefitting from war in the Middle East as senior officials from Hamas arrived in Moscow for talks. – Politico

The United States announced additional security assistance for Ukraine on October 26 valued at $150 million, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The package provides arms and equipment authorized under previously directed drawdowns, Blinken said in a statement.  – Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty

David M. Herszenhorn writes: Navalny reiterated the need to compensate Ukraine. “This would be ethically correct,” he wrote. While such comments are applauded in the West, it is hard to imagine average Russians endorsing the idea of compensating Ukraine. He concluded: “Recognizing our history and traditions, we must be part of Europe and follow the European path of development. We have no other choice, nor do we need any.” – Washington Post

Ben Dubow writes: Whether or not suspicions of clandestine backing prove true, Russia has long-established lines of communication with Hamas. Having seen its partner’s genocidal aims were more than just talk, the Kremlin now grapples with the volatility embedded in its own strategy of fomenting chaos.  – Center for European Policy Analysis

Agathe Demarais writes: What’s the best long-term option for sanctions on Moscow, then? Slow-acting measures that deprive Russian oil and gas firms from Western technology are the surest way to provoke a slow asphyxiation of the Russian energy sector. Russian hydrocarbon fields are depleting, and developing new fields will require Western know-how that will not be forthcoming. Such sanctions have been in place since 2014, and they still represent the most effective long-term measure against the Kremlin. However, they will take time to work. Sanctions are a marathon, not a sprint. – Foreign Policy


A senior Hamas official told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Palestinian militant group had expected stronger intervention from Hezbollah in its war with Israel, in a rare public appeal to its allies in the region. – Associated Press

With an economy in ruins and a crumbling state, Lebanon can ill afford another war between Hezbollah and Israel. – Reuters

The United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL said on Thursday it was working with Lebanese authorities to extinguish wildfires that have spread for several kilometres in south Lebanon after being started by gunfire along the Lebanese-Israeli border. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia

As the curtain rose this week on an annual investment forum hosted by the Saudi crown prince, dancers in silver bodysuits undulated through the crowd, and a teenage boy in a sequined suit sang an operatic solo while an image of a white dove — a symbol of peace — flew across the screens surrounding the darkened room. – New York Times

John Hannah and Blaise Misztal write: MBS may be a visionary, but he’s also young, mercurial, and prone to making rash decisions. He’s now in the eye of an unprecedented regional whirlwind. What he needs is the steady hand, cool head, and counsel of the most powerful man on earth about the priority of the US-Saudi relationship and the importance of denying Iran the triumph it seeks by torpedoing the opportunity for peace. Biden is perfectly positioned, through both temperament and experience, to play that mentoring role. But it will take finally embracing MBS, warts and all, as his full partner in making history and changing the Middle East for the better. – Jerusalem Post

Steven A. Cook writes: For Mohammed bin Salman to be more constructive in the Gaza conflict would mean dealing more with both Washington and Israel. The Saudis could be more straightforward in their criticism of Hamas, offer safe haven for Palestinians in need of medical care, and use their good offices with the Israeli government to privately shape the Israeli response to the Oct. 7 attack. Yet the crown prince has evidently concluded that it is better not to be exposed in this way. From his perspective, issuing statements, criticizing the international community, calling his counterparts, and hanging out with soccer stars is a better strategy. Perhaps it is. But it also reveals Saudi Arabia for what it currently is—weak. – Foreign Policy

Middle East & North Africa

Oil prices rose by over $1 on Friday as reports that the U.S military struck Iranian targets in Syria raised concerns of a widening of the Israel-Hamas conflict that could impact supply from the key Middle East producing region. – Reuters

A missile launched as part of fighting between Hamas militants and Israel struck an Egyptian resort town about 220 km (135 miles) from the Gaza Strip early on Friday, Egypt’s Al Qahera News reported, citing sources. – Reuters

About 900 more U.S. troops have arrived in the Middle East or are heading there to bolster air defenses for U.S. personnel amid a surge in attacks by Iran-affiliated groups, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters

As desperate Palestinians in sealed-off Gaza try to find refuge under Israel’s relentless bombardment in retaliation for Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 attack, some ask why neighboring Egypt and Jordan don’t take them in. – Associated Press

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

Editorial: The massacre of civilians by Iran’s client organization Hamas has exposed the folly of Obama’s decision to empower it. The Middle East is now a far more dangerous place thanks to the billions of dollars that Obama and now Biden have given Iran, funding terrorism throughout the region. It would be best for everyone if Obama thought more about why his Iran strategy failed and wrote less about how Israel should protect itself. – Washington Examiner

David Brooks writes: Some events alter the models we use to perceive reality, and the events of Oct. 7 fit that category. It feels as if we’re teetering between universalist worldviews that recognize our common humanity and tribal worldviews in which others are just animals to be annihilated. What Israel does next will influence what worldview prevails in the 21st century. – New York Times 

Ibrahim Jalal writes: In maritime security, given Kenya’s strategic partnership with the U.S. and the U.K., the latter two countries could strengthen bilateral cooperation and expand multilateral efforts with Yemen in anti-trafficking and anti-piracy, efforts to combat illegal fishing, and identification of active threats. Horn of Africa-focused initiatives could be expanded to include countries from across the Gulf of Aden to broaden their scope, reach, and influence in the policy domain. The signing of bilateral agreements, establishment of border surveillance controls, exchange of security intelligence, and implementation of signed security agreements can occur after the two countries sign a political consultative protocol and launch bilateral working groups at the ministerial level. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

Russia said on Thursday that it planned to build close ties with North Korea in all areas, a day after South Korea, Japan and the United States condemned what they said were weapons supplies from Pyongyang to Moscow. – Reuters

South Korean and U.S. troops have been conducting live-fire exercises this week to hone their ability to respond to potential “Hamas-style surprise artillery attacks” by North Korea, South Korea’s military said Friday. – Associated Press

South Korea, the U.S. and Japan strongly condemned what they call North Korea’s supply of munitions and military equipment to Russia, saying Thursday that such weapons shipments sharply increase the human toll of Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press


China’s jet fighters are harassing American military aircraft and stepping up sorties around Taiwan. Its coast guard is confronting a U.S. security treaty ally in the South China Sea, leading to a recent collision. – Wall Street Journal

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi arrived in Washington on Thursday for a brief visit that was unlikely to yield agreement on much beyond the need to stabilize fraught ties between the world’s two most powerful countries. – Washington Post

The United States and China have disagreements and need “in-depth” and “comprehensive” dialogue to reduce misunderstandings and stabilize ties, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said on Thursday, kicking off a long-anticipated visit to Washington. – Reuters

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said China will boost its cooperation with Mongolia under a Eurasian security bloc, which this year admitted its ninth member Iran, gently nudging its smaller neighbour to join a regional group that also includes Russia. – Reuters

The European Union has announced a raft of multimillion dollar deals at a forum for its Global Gateway program, the bloc’s new infrastructure partnership plan that’s seen as an alternative to China’s worldwide Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

John Lee writes: Swimming within China’s preferred lanes also includes minimal commentary about human rights abuses and playing down the issue of the urgency of deterring China from using force in Northeast Asia, even though this is what much of the AUKUS Pillar Two initiative is about. Beijing also wants Australia to cease rallying countries to oppose Chinese attempts to dominate global bodies such as the various specialized agencies in the United Nations pertaining to geopolitically important areas such as development, health, human rights, intellectual property rights and aviation. This is the motivation behind Beijing’s resetting of bilateral relations with Australia and the reason it offered Albanese the first leaders’ meeting since 2016. It also explains the US President’s candid warning. – Hudson Institute

South Asia

A Qatar court has announced the death penalty for eight Indians arrested in the country last year, the Indian government said on Thursday, adding it was “deeply shocked” by the verdict. – Reuters

Pakistan on Thursday gave a last warning to all immigrants in the country illegally, including hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals, to leave voluntarily before a Nov. 1 deadline, the country’s caretaker interior minister said on Thursday. – Reuters

A Pakistani court declined bail on Friday to detained former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a case in which he has been indicted on charges of leaking state secrets, his lawyer said. – Reuters

India is setting up a surveillance system with drones across its borders to wade off surprise attacks like the one from Hamas in Israel, according to people familiar with the matter. – Bloomberg

Maldives intends to be “fully independent” and will ask Indian troops stationed in the island nation to leave, says President-elect Mohamed Muizzu, as New Delhi and Beijing both vie for influence in the region. – Bloomberg


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday and said he hoped the U.S. Congress would pass legislation related to the AUKUS submarine project this year. – Reuters

A U.S. congressional committee questioned the U.S. Navy on Thursday over what it called “alarming delays” in weapons deliveries to Taiwan, asking why production sometimes languished for months or years after purchasing deals were signed. – Reuters

The United States does not have the right to get involved in problems between China and the Philippines, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday, as tensions simmer over conflicts in disputed waters of the South China Sea. – Reuters

China is seeking to refashion the global order into a system more pliant to its interests in the Asia-Pacific and world, Australia’s prime minister said, urging leading democracies to protect the foundations of their security and prosperity. – Bloomberg

Even as concerns mount in the US over a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, the flashpoint most likely to spark a conflict between the world’s largest economies is currently an immobile World War II-era ship sitting in waters further to the south. – Bloomberg

Sergi Kapanadze writes: If Georgian Dream manages to win the 2024 ballot with its rampant anti-Western rhetoric, it will mark an unprecedented shift in Georgia’s political landscape as, for the first time, the country will have a government elected on an anti-Western platform. Such an outcome would jeopardize not only the interests of the Georgian people but also the strategic interests of the US and the EU. – Center for European Policy Analysis


Slovakia, a small Eastern European nation that has been in the vanguard of sending arms to Ukraine, says it is halting all military aid to its embattled neighbor, a policy shift that is unlikely to change the balance of forces on the battlefield but that delivers a symbolic blow to Kyiv at a time of growing fatigue in parts of Europe after 20 months of war. – New York Times

In front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, 10,000 people rallied in solidarity with Israel. Major political parties backed the event. In a rousing speech, Germany’s president heralded a national responsibility to “protect Jewish life.” – Washington Post

EU leaders called on Thursday for pauses in Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket attacks to get humanitarian aid into Gaza after days of wrangling that highlighted divisions within the bloc over the broader Israel-Palestinian conflict. – Reuters

The leaders of Estonia and Luxembourg on Tuesday criticised their European Union peer, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban over his recent encounter with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, which was held to great pomp as Moscow wages a war against Ukraine. – Reuters

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov denied on Thursday reports by Ukrainian and British firms that the new Black Sea export corridor had been suspended. – Reuters

Poland risks losing access to frozen European Union funds if it drags out the process of forming a new government, opposition leader Donald Tusk said after the president opted on Thursday not to appoint a new prime minister. – Reuters

Serbia and Kosovo were told to dial back mounting tensions during a meeting with the leaders of Germany, France and Italy on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels. – Bloomberg

Slovenian drone maker C-Astral recently provided reconnaissance systems to Ukrainian troops, the company told Defense News this week. – Defense News


Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday he would not invade any nation, in comments aimed at quelling neighbouring countries’ concerns that he might use force to secure access to a sea port. – Reuters

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly rejected legislation that would have forced President Joe Biden to withdraw U.S. troops from Niger, a West African nation where military officers seized power in July. – Reuters

The United States should make changes to its flagship trade initiative with Africa that would increase its impact as part of a potential reauthorisation by Congress, a senior U.S. trade official said on Thursday. – Reuters

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces that have been battling Sudan’s army for control of the country said they had seized Nyala, its second largest city, on Thursday. – Reuters

The Americas

Anderson Giraldo delivered a smooth sales pitch to migrants, peddling clandestine trips across open sea or thick jungle like vacation packages. – Wall Street Journal

Hurricane Otis, the most powerful hurricane to hit Mexico’s Pacific Coast, left at least 27 people dead and four missing in the popular beach resort of Acapulco amid widespread flooding and devastation, officials said Thursday. – Wall Street Journal

Muslim and Jewish civil rights groups say they’ve seen large increases in reports of harassment, bias and sometimes physical assaults against members of their communities since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. – Associated Press

Joseph Bouchard writes: The region might soon be populated with more regimes with a #resistance streak and a penchant for supporting autocrats and terrorist groups in the name of populism. Despite ultimately losing in the second round, the leading candidate for most of the presidential election in Ecuador, held on October 15, had aligned herself with former president Rafael Correa, who himself condemned “Israeli genocide against Palestine.” Elections in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay in 2024 could also be at risk of bringing in new leadership that fits with this new ideological movement on the left. – The National Interest

United States

From around the world, they come to the halls of power in Washington seeking one thing: a commitment from the American government to protect their countries in a time of rising geopolitical crises. – New York Times

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved Jacob Lew to be ambassador to Israel, moving quickly to get him in place during the country’s new war with Hamas. – Associated Press

Kimberley A. Strassel writes: Priorities might even help ease the House’s passage of Ukraine and Israel aid. While a small minority of Republicans remain opposed to foreign dollars on isolationist grounds, a larger number are simply wary of perpetually signing off on a nonstop flow of omnibuses, minibuses, emergencies, and supplemental appropriations. It’s past time for the Republicans to live up to their claim of fiscal responsibility. The Biden administration just handed them a contrast begging to be made. – Wall Street Journal

Thomas Wheatley writes: For its own interests, the United States must preserve today the legal means necessary to secure victory on whatever battlefield it may be forced to fight tomorrow. At this hour in history, that means protecting Israel’s power to do the same.  – The Hill

Francis Ronney writes: Leaders from both parties should seize on this opening, challenge preconceived notions about political feasibility and provide the pragmatic, common-sense leadership that America needs to tackle these critical challenges head-on. – Politico


An investigation into an apparent cryptocurrency miner revealed a highly sophisticated, yearslong spying framework with similarities to malware associated with the National Security Agency, researchers with Kaspersky said Thursday. – CyberScoop

A catalog of exploited vulnerabilities run by the top cybersecurity agency in the U.S. is having a significant effect on the security of federal civilian agencies, according to Congressional testimony from a senior official. – The Record 

Pablo Chavez writes: The so-called race between the US and the EU to regulate artificial intelligence can – and should – be less of a competition and more of a move toward a common goal informed by different approaches to meeting the same challenge. – Center For European Policy Analysis


The Biden administration is pulling an additional $150 million in military equipment from US stockpiles to aid Ukraine, sending more air defense missiles, rockets, artillery ammunition, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons as Kyiv continues its counteroffensive against Russia. – Bloomberg

The U.S. Navy intends to buy its next two aircraft carriers in a single contract, but factors including delays on carriers now under construction are influencing discussions about when to begin the process. – Defense News

The U.S. nuclear attack submarine inventory will experience a nearly decade-long dip due to the AUKUS partnership, according to a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of U.S. naval shipbuilding. – USNI News

The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is more than halfway across the Atlantic on its way to join the mass of U.S. naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East following the Hamas attacks on Israel earlier this month. Meanwhile, the French deployed an amphibious warship to join U.S. and U.K. ships to deter the conflict from spreading beyond Israel. –  USNI News

BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based electric aircraft startup, today deployed its ALIA aircraft to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida — in what the company and Air Force are saying is the first manned electric aircraft to be delivered to the service. – Breaking Defense

Two titans of the tech world, Google and Microsoft, announced major investments on Tuesday in the Indo-Pacific, focused on improving internet speeds, connectivity and security for Australia. – Breaking Defense

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential $957.4 million sale of Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles to the United Kingdom, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement. – Military.com