Fdd's overnight brief

October 30, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a rare apology Sunday that inadvertently framed the political crisis that has engulfed him. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli soldiers pushed at least 2 miles deep into the densely populated Gaza Strip Sunday in moves that analysts said seemed designed to trap Hamas in the enclave’s north, as the U.S. pressured Israel to restore communications in the territory. – Wall Street Journal

Three weeks into Israel’s massive bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip, the exact scope of Palestinian casualties has become yet another controversy after President Biden questioned statistics published by the Hamas-run Gaza health authorities. – Wall Street Journal

In a factory in Israel not far from the Gaza border, Jews and Arabs have for years worked side by side making SodaStream seltzer machines for homes around the world. Together, the colleagues feasted at Ramadan and lighted candles for Hanukkah. They visited one another’s homes and attended the weddings and funerals of their co-workers’ family members. Throughout past conflicts in the region, they have called their workplace an “island of peace.” That harmony is now being tested. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden’s steadfast support for Israel is facing increasing pressure as some of his staunch supporters from within his party are warning about the ways in which the Israeli response is being carried out. – Washington Post

The expanded military operation with ground troops caught her by surprise. Israeli officials had not warned the families of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, that the military was intensifying its siege, despite concerns that the captives could be imperiled by the government’s offensive. Samerano weighed two deep urges: one for her son’s release and the other for the decimation of the group that kidnapped him as he fled a music festival in southern Israel. “I’m not afraid of what my government does in Gaza,” she said. “I’m afraid of what Hamas can do to Israel.” – Washington Post

Charles Lane writes: Perhaps, in some complicated way, Chaim Peri’s plight can help his brand of moral clarity gain traction. To be sure, decent people around the world share his assessment. However, too many self-styled progressives in the United States and elsewhere have suggested that what Hamas did in Nir Oz somehow qualifies as “resistance” to Zionism or settler colonialism. Noam Peri has a message for them, too: “What Hamas did in Nir Oz and in other places has nothing to do with resistance. It’s an act of genocide. We haven’t seen this or heard these stories since the Holocaust.” – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: But the question isn’t whether Bennett’s plan is perfect or if there are gaps to fill. It is whether it’s better than the alternatives for achieving Israel’s core aims: destroying Hamas, exacting justice, protecting the innocent, deterring the wicked and, as David Petraeus once asked about Iraq, explaining to the world “how this ends.” By those counts, it’s a plan worthy of attention and respect. – New York Times

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Netanyahu views this war as Israel’s “second War of Independence.” It can and should also be the Middle East’s own war of independence from extremism. Biden can help make that happen by ensuring that Hamas is destroyed, Iran marginalized and a glidepath set in motion leading to a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. – The Hill


An Iranian teenage girl, whose collapse in a Tehran metro raised public anger and suspicion that she had been attacked by morality patrol officers for not covering her hair, has died in hospital, according to Iranian state media. – Wall Street Journal

For decades, the Shiite Muslim ayatollahs who came to power in Iran through the 1979 Islamic Revolution have worked to build an arc of like-minded proxy forces across the Middle East. – New York Times

The American strikes on two Iranian military munitions stockpiles in Syria on Friday were carefully designed, President Biden’s aides said, to send two distinct messages to Tehran. – New York Times

Just hours after U.S. fighter jets bombed facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxies in Syria early Friday, the proxies fired back — launching an attack drone at U.S. forces in western Iraq. – New York Times

Iranian authorities arrested a leading human rights lawyer Sunday after she attended the funeral of a teenage girl who died after being injured weeks ago in a mysterious incident on Tehran’s Metro. – Associated Press

A senior Iranian envoy met with Hamas representatives in Moscow following talks with Russian diplomats that underscored Moscow’s efforts to expand its clout as a power broker in the latest Israel-Hamas war, Russian and Iranian media said Friday. – Associated Press

Iran’s foreign minister warned that new fronts would open against the US if it keeps up unequivocal support for Israel, escalating a rhetorical back-and-forth that has stoked fears the Israeli conflict with Hamas will spread into a wider regional war. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The threat to U.S. troops and Israel could increase in the coming weeks as Israel’s defense campaign against Hamas continues. Bill Roggio of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes that some U.S. bases in Iraq in Syria are “sparsely manned and are in remote locations, and likely would be in danger of being overrun if the militias brought the full weight of their military power to bear.” Restoring U.S. deterrence against Iran after nearly three years of appeasement won’t be easy. But doing so is crucial to preventing a much more dangerous confrontation. – Wall Street Journal

Russia & Ukraine

When the U.S. ambassador presented herself at the Kremlin in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin railed at Washington during the televised ceremony, accusing it of sparking the war in Ukraine. With Putin set off behind a podium at the other end of the Alexander Hall, there was no way for Lynne Tracy or the other new ambassadors to respond. – Wall Street Journal

More than 20 people were injured when protesters stormed a Russian airport in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan and ran onto the tarmac Sunday night following calls on social media to block a flight from Tel Aviv. – Washington Post

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s immediate and forceful support for Israel in its fight against Hamas has imperiled almost a year of concerted efforts by Kyiv to win the support of Arab and Muslim nations in its war against Russia. – Washington Post

Russia and Ukraine are once again locked in a fierce battle for control of a dead city. In recent days, Moscow’s forces have gradually advanced to the north of Avdiivka — about three miles north of the occupied regional capital of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine — hoping to encircle the city and seize control of one of Ukraine’s most well-fortified points on the front. – Washington Post

A Ukrainian former lawmaker whom the Kremlin had handpicked to lead a puppet administration in Kyiv, Ukraine, was shot and wounded in occupied Crimea in an apparent assassination attempt, Ukrainian and Russian officials said on Saturday. – New York Times

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday the United States is fueling geopolitical tensions to uphold its “hegemony” and warned of the risk of confrontation between major countries. – Associated Press

Talks on Ukraine’s plan for peace kicked off in Malta on Saturday, with the participation of more than 65 countries — but not Russia, Maltese and Ukrainian officials said. – Associated Press

Mark Temnycky writes: Finally, the provision of defense assistance to Ukraine has actually helped America rebuild its stockpiles and enhance its domestic defense production capacity. In other words, assisting Ukraine is a win-win proposition. Not only is the U.S. helping Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s unprovoked invasion, but it is also helping improve American defense capabilities. This will only make the U.S. safer. Every American should want that. – The Hill


U.N. agencies have reported a sharp increase in Afghans returning home since Pakistan launched a crackdown on people living in the country illegally. They urged Pakistan to suspend the policy before it was too late to avoid a “human rights catastrophe.” – Associated Press

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an explosion in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in Afghanistan’s capital that killed at least four people. – Associated Press

Amanullah Mughal has spent the past four decades in Karachi’s Malir neighborhood, in a one time refugee camp that is today a bustling informal settlement housing 150,000 people, many fellow Afghans like him […]Now, Mughal and many other Afghans in Pakistan face a grim future. – Bloomberg


Turkish real estate investment fund Trend GYO responded to the U.S. imposition of sanctions on three of its shareholders on the grounds of providing aid to Hamas, saying on Sunday it does not provide financial support to any organisation. – Reuters

Turkey’s government marked the 100th anniversary of the creation of the modern, secular republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire on Sunday with a firework and drone show in Istanbul as well as a procession of 100 hundred navy ships but little else in the way of pageantry. – Associated Press

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) said Turkey is becoming “The Squad” of NATO in Saturday comments, referring to an informal group of House Democrats. – The Hill

Israel on Saturday said it is recalling its diplomats from Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke out against Israel during a pro-Palestinian rally. – The Hill

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent the ratification protocols for Sweden’s NATO accession to parliament this week, but it’s unclear whether that’s enough to lock down the $20 billion sale for 40 new F-16s that Ankara seeks. – Defense News

Benny Avni writes: Prior to Mr Erdogan’s ascent, Turkish leaders adhered to the Kamelist ethos. Security, commercial, and diplomatic relations with Israel were close. Mr. Erdogan, though, scoffs at Kamelist traditions. When landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, he has declined to utter its eponymous name. Finally in 2019, a new airport was built — without the country founder’s name. Hosting Hamas and stoking anti-Israel and antisemitic feelings may end up hampering Mr. Erdogan’s goals. At some point even Washington may finally turn its back on its NATO ally, Turkey. – New York Sun

Michael Rubin writes: While the White House is reticent to sanction Turkey given its role in NATO and its potential to disrupt, withholding the economic boon of a port call is not a sanction; it is simply a judgment call that Turkey merits no reward. Turkish authorities will notice as they struggle to fill hotel rooms by tourists spooked by regional developments. In recent years, Turkey has even delayed the start of the school year to encourage domestic tourism. At the same time, Greece and Cyprus are now open for business, unabashedly pro-American in foreign policy, cooperative militarily, and far more deserving of the Navy’s economic largesse. It is time to replace Antalya with Athens or Bodrum with Larnaca. It is time the Big Navy sees the big picture. – 19FortyFive


The message was from an armed faction allied with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that also wields significant political power in Lebanon. Even before the banner went up, shelling was being exchanged daily between Israel and armed groups in Lebanon, including Hezbollah and a wing of Hamas. – Washington Post

Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Sunday it shot down an Israeli drone over southern Lebanon with a surface-to-air missile, the first time it has announced such an incident, as clashes on the Lebanese border escalate. – Reuters

Sebastien Lecornu, France’s minister of the armed forces, will meet with officials in Lebanon from Wednesday, including caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as visit a base of United Nations peacekeepers, his cabinet announced on Sunday. – Reuters

Reuters visuals journalist Issam Abdallah was killed on Oct. 13 in southern Lebanon by a “targeted” strike from the direction of the Israeli border, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday, based on preliminary findings of its investigation. – Reuters

The Biden administration on Friday issued a new recommendation for U.S. citizens to “leave now” from Lebanon — while flights are still available. – The Hill

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi officials have firmly warned the United States in recent days that an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza could be catastrophic for the Middle East. – New York Times

Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman will visit Washington on Monday to meet with senior Biden administration officials as the Israel-Hamas war threatens to spill over into a wider conflict. – Bloomberg

The Kuwaiti Air Force received four Eurofighter Typhoons this week, bringing its fleet size to 13 out of the 28 on order, the country’s official Kuwait News Agency announced. – Defense News

Qatari Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani writes: The release of several hostages over the past week shows that Qatar’s policy of engaging with all sides can yield positive results. Avoiding the further loss of civilian lives and securing the release of hostages should be the priority for all. Open channels of communication can lead to lasting peace. Qatar will continue to pursue such engagement, supported by the U.S. and other partners around the world. – Wall Street Journal

Karen Elliott House writes: With war clouds covering much of the region, one thing is clear. Saudi Arabia, having flirted with China and Russia, recognizes that the U.S. is its best—its only—security option. Whether that will lead it to recognize the Jewish state in the current environment is unclear. But if lawmakers put aside their negative perceptions of Saudi Arabia to ratify a deal, it will be because Israel throws its support behind Riyadh. – Wall Street Journal

Tiana Lowe Doescher writes: And why wouldn’t he? As Kushner correctly alluded to, MBS is angling for a defense deal with the U.S. in exchange for normalizing ties with Israel, and MBS, who has made the Saudi economic transformation the cornerstone of his reign, sees the economic potential of a relationship with Israel that Affinity is angling to capitalize on. While Saudi must pretend to care about the Palestinian project in the abstract, Israel ending Hamas once and for all is as much a boon to despotate as it is to democracy. – Washington Examiner

Abraham D. Sofaer writes: Given this context, it is profoundly wrong to think that the Saudi-Israeli normalization process be put on hold. The Saudi leadership should see through Hamas’s destructive purpose and affirm support for normalizing relations with Israel. Saudi’s interests strongly favor that objective. And by continuing to pursue a normalization agreement with Israel, Saudi Arabia will be able, more effectively than any other country or group of countries, to advance legitimate Palestinian interests, minimize the dangers triggered by Hamas’s attack and greatly enhance its own international stature. – The Hill

Middle East & North Africa

Staunch U.S. ally Jordan asked Washington to deploy Patriot air defence systems to bolster its border defence at a time of heightened regional tensions and conflict, the spokesperson for the country’s army said on Sunday. – Reuters

Drones caused explosions that rocked two Egyptian towns on the Red Sea on Friday, the Egyptian army said, while Israel said Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement sent them to strike Israel. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi committed to the significant acceleration of assistance flowing into Gaza beginning Sunday, the White House said. – Reuters

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday warned against any expansion of the conflict in Gaza, saying the region risked becoming a “ticking time bomb”. – Reuters

Explosions struck a city in a Moroccan-controlled part of the Western Sahara, killing at least one person and signaling a potential flare-up in one of Africa’s most protracted territorial disputes. – Bloomberg

Korean Peninsula

The United States and South Korea began major air exercises on Monday, involving 130 warplanes from both countries to simulate 24-hour wartime operations. – Reuters

North Korea said on Saturday it was the “steadfast will” of Pyongyang to expand ties with Russia, criticising a recent condemnation by the United States and its allies on Pyongyang’s suspected arms deliveries to Russia as politicised and distorted. – Reuters

Bereaved relatives of victims of last year’s devastating Halloween crush in Seoul and their supporters demanded an independent investigation of the disaster as they marked the anniversary Sunday with a massive memorial service. – Associated Press

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


China and the U.S. moved closer to holding a summit between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping after months of careful diplomatic maneuvering to repair ties. – Wall Street Journal

Li Keqiang was being tipped as China’s possible next leader in March 2007 when he visited the Beijing residence of then-U.S. Ambassador Clark T. Randt Jr. Over dinner, the rising Communist Party official made a frank declaration: China’s official economic statistics are “man-made,” and therefore unreliable, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. – Wall Street Journal

A Chinese fighter jet came within 10 feet of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber over the South China Sea this week in a nighttime maneuver that nearly caused a collision, the United States military said on Thursday. – New York Times

Four former student leaders from the University of Hong Kong were sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for inciting people to wound others through their praise of a man who stabbed a police officer before killing himself in 2021. – Associated Press

A Hong Kong court dismissed a gun charge Monday against a Washington state senator who had been arrested after he carried a gun into the Chinese territory in what he called an “honest mistake.” – Associated Press

China accused the US of stoking global unrest as it opened its premier military forum, casting President Xi Jinping as a force for stability in an address to defense chiefs and experts largely from the Global South. – Bloomberg

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis focused on the challenge presented by China in a foreign policy address, saying the country posed a “formidable threat” to the US and accusing Beijing of contributing to global instability through its economic links to Russia and Iran. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Whatever China’s precise rationale might be, it’s imperative that the administration send constant reminders to Beijing and to America’s allies in the region that the United States is a Pacific power and can deal with multiple crises at once. President Biden, speaking this week alongside Australia’s visiting prime minister, sent the right signal, emphasizing that the United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines “is ironclad.” He added that any attack on Philippine vessels, aircraft or troops would trigger the 1951 mutual defense treaty between the two countries, which commits the United States, in the event of such an attack, “to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.” Restating this deterrent commitment is the right way to reinforce it. And reinforcing it is the right way to make sure China is not tempted to test it. – Washington Post

South Asia

India expressed shock after a court in Qatar sentenced eight former Indian Navy personnel to death on charges of spying, a ruling that risks sparking a diplomatic dispute between the two countries. – Wall Street Journal

Maldives will work to return Indian military personnel from its shores “as soon as possible,” President-elect Mohamed Muizzu told Reuters on Sunday, insisting it was the top foreign policy priority for the tiny Indian Ocean island chain. – Reuters

A former Jehovah’s Witness has been detained on suspicion of setting off an explosive device that killed three people and wounded 50 others at a denomination gathering in southern India, authorities said Monday. – Associated Press

Two Pakistani soldiers and one militant were killed in a roadside bomb explosion and in a separate shootout during an overnight military operation against militant activity in the northwest alongside the border with Afghanistan, the military said Saturday. – Associated Press

Bangladesh authorities arrested a senior opposition leader after deadly clashes at an anti-government rally killed at least two people, including a policeman, and injured many others. – Bloomberg

Scores of opposition supporters clashed with police in Bangladesh’s capital on Saturday and renewed demands for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign before elections next year, a development that risks inciting more violence in the days to come. – Bloomberg

India’s trade chief said his country condemned terrorism and stressed its support for the Group of Seven nations in the wake of the escalating crisis in the Middle East. – Bloomberg

Mark R. Whittington writes: Most, if not all, space-faring countries in the mid-21st century will be signatories to the Artemis Accords like India. Space flight will no longer be an arena of superpower competition, but something that involves cooperation, science and economic development. This new model will be more sustainable in the long run. – The Hill


Taiwan’s two main opposition parties said on Monday they will team up for parliamentary elections in January in a bid to win more seats but said more discussions are needed on a joint ticket for a presidential vote. – 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 United States has for the first time begun buying Japanese seafood to supply its military there, a response to China’s ban on such products imposed after Tokyo released treated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. – Reuters

A former high-profile Myanmar army officer who had served as information minister and presidential spokesperson in a previous military-backed government has been arrested and charged with spreading false or inflammatory news, a statement from the current military government said Sunday. – Associated Press

Indonesian police said Saturday they arrested at least 27 suspected militants believed to have links to banned extremist groups, in a nationwide crackdown as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country gears up for elections in 2024. – Associated Press

An alliance of ethnic rebel groups on Friday launched a coordinated offensive in northeastern Myanmar to seize military targets in areas near the Chinese border, the groups and residents of the area said. – Associated Press

Malaysian activists on Friday slammed the government’s plan for a weeklong program in schools nationwide to support the Palestinian cause after pictures of teachers and students toting toy guns went viral on social media. – Associated Press

Indonesian security forces said Saturday they have recovered the bodies of six traditional gold mining workers who had been missing since a separatist attack at their camp in the restive Papua region almost two weeks ago. – Associated Press

Bonnie S. Glaser writes: In the meantime, China’s rhetoric and aggressive maneuvers should be viewed not as a sign of imminent attack, but for what they are: a demonstration of Chinese resolve that it will not accept Taiwan’s permanent separation from China, and a chance for the P.L.A. to hone its skills — should Beijing one day feel compelled to use them. – New York Times


Western defense officials worry that with Israel going to war as the West battles Russia by proxy in Ukraine, there won’t be enough artillery shells and other weapons to keep both allies in the fight. – Wall Street Journal

On the streets of Europe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is testing some of the Western world’s most basic tenets: the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. – Washington Post

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday said he supported granting a controversial amnesty to those involved in Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid, in the hope of persuading the region’s parties to back him in government. – Reuters

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy called on Serbia on Friday to “deliver on de-facto recognition” of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 but which Belgrade has continued to regard as its province. – Reuters

Hundreds of Serbian officers were dispatched Saturday into a border area with Hungary, where they detained several people after a shooting between migrants killed three people and injured one, police said. – Associated Press

The authoritarian president of Belarus invited Hungary’s prime minister to visit his country, which has faced increasing isolation over the government’s relentless crackdown on dissent and support of ally Russia’s war with Ukraine. – Associated Press

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he is open to succeeding Jens Stoltenberg as the next secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. – Bloomberg

Prime Minister Frederiksen of Denmark showed no patience for moral whataboutery when challenged by a local journalist over Denmark’s pro-Israel stance in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terrorist massacre. – New York Sun

The Czech ministry of defense has confirmed that it will spend $120 million on the procurement of 48 long-range, air-to-air missiles made by Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Systems. – Defense News


King Charles III wants to look to the future when his state visit to Kenya starts on Tuesday. But first he will have to confront the past. – Associated Press

Protests in Mozambique over disputed local election results resulted in the deaths of a police officer and a civilian Friday, a corruption watchdog group said. Police reported a total of 70 arrests in four cities but not any fatalities. – Associated Press

Germany is eyeing imports of natural gas from Nigeria in an effort to secure and diversify its energy supply, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to the country. – Bloomberg

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the use of US dollars for transactions in the economy by another five years, a move aimed at allaying market concerns about a possible policy change in the nation’s multi-currency regime. – Bloomberg

Michael Rubin writes: A small investment in election observation might have forestalled the current crisis, but silence in the face of Weah’s fraud will not bring peace or stability to the region. Biden may be distracted and his aides late to the game, but it is time both to demand a full, manual recount and perhaps even consider Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on Weah and those involved in the massive election fraud. – 19FortyFive

Latin America

Argentina urged a U.S. judge not to enforce a $16.1 billion judgment arising from the government’s 2012 seizure of a majority control in state-controlled oil company YPF (YPFD.BA), while the cash-strapped country appeals the judgment. – Reuters

A U.S. judge on Friday refused to block the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from terminating a Puerto Rican bank’s access to the U.S. central banking system, as part of a crackdown on lenders with links to Venezuela. – Reuters

Panama has been removed from the gray list of financial crime watchdog FATF, a register which includes countries deemed to be doing too little to combat money laundering, according to a government statement on Friday. – Reuters

A federal judge in Miami on Friday sentenced a retired Colombian army officer to life in prison for his role in plotting to kill Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, which caused unprecedented turmoil in the Caribbean nation. – Associated Press

Allies of President Gustavo Petro risk losing control of nearly all Colombia’s major cities in regional elections Sunday, signaling potential paralysis as new mayors clash with the government. – Bloomberg

Colombia, traditionally one of Washington’s strongest allies in Latin America, has just signed a “strategic partnership” with Communist China. The nation’s guerrilla-turned-president, Gustavo Petro, signed the deal at Beijing this week. He has complained that his nation’s foreign policy was “subordinate” to Washington. – New York Sun

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: Mr. Petro, whose progressivism is also favored at the White House, is even more of a problem for U.S. security interests. Iran’s soft-power network has been getting closer to the government in Bogotá, which has been entertaining Iranian ambassadors from around the region. Mr. Petro has refused to condemn the Hamas attacks and has called Israel’s response “genocide.” Colombia has been facilitating migration from South America through the Darién Gap and, like Venezuela and Nicaragua, it may be helping Middle Easterners who want to inflict harm on Americans get into the region so they can get to the U.S. border. Mexico’s alignment with these Iranian proxies is a warning to Washington. – Wall Street Journal

Richard M. Sanders writes: The Biden administration sees the Trump-era “maximum pressure” approach as a dead end. Biden may decide that if oil prices and illegal immigration rise, he would prefer to avoid a return to that approach. Meanwhile, even a highly flawed election process could give the opposition political space, sending the message that it should bide its time and build on its efforts for a chance to run again at some later, somehow more favorable date. This might sound like the worst case scenario for those hoping to reestablish democracy. But in Venezuela, worst case scenarios are par for the course. – The Hill

United States

A federal judge late Sunday reinstated a gag order barring Donald Trump from publicly criticizing prosecutors, potential witnesses and court staff involved in the criminal case charging him with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. – Wall Street Journal

Ms. Patel’s could be one of many Democratic primary challenges buoyed by the confrontations between staunch defenders of Israel and lawmakers promoting Palestinian rights. In Minneapolis, Sarah Gad, a defense and civil rights lawyer, has challenged Representative Ilhan Omar, the former Somali refugee known for her clashes with Jewish colleagues. – New York Times

A man accused of murder, attempted murder and a hate crime in an attack on a Palestinian-American woman and her young son is scheduled to appear in court on Monday following his indictmen t by an Illinois grand jury. – Associated Press

Hal Brands writes: For all Biden’s success in strengthening America’s coalitions, his fundamental failing has been the tendency to underestimate the malevolence — and risk acceptance — of the country’s enemies and thus to under-resource its ability to respond to the threats they pose. He’s not alone: For years, a chasm has been emerging between America’s commitments and its capabilities because leaders of both political parties have struggled to comprehend how badly the international system is eroding on multiple fronts. The task for Biden, in the next — and possibly the last — phase of his grand strategy, is to start correcting that mistake by putting America on the prewar footing the moment demands. – Bloomberg

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Hopefully Speaker Johnson will quickly demonstrate his bona fides in that regard by supporting passage of both an Israel and Ukraine supplemental, whether in tandem or separately, and thereby reassure allies, partners and friends that America can still be relied upon to act in a manner befitting the leader of the Free World. – The Hill


As war erupts between Israel and Hamas, a wave of antisemitic comments is sweeping through China’s social media. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden will issue an executive order on Monday outlining the federal government’s first regulations on artificial intelligence systems. They include requirements that the most advanced A.I. products be tested to assure that they cannot be used to produce biological or nuclear weapons, with the findings from those tests reported to the federal government. – New York Times

Social media platform TikTok said on Friday accusations by the Malaysian government that it was blocking pro-Palestinian content were “unfounded”. – Reuters

Editorial: As the Justice Department argues in its amicus brief, the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation could subject much of the “speech of public officials and employees to constitutional restrictions” that would “make those officials and employees less willing to speak in the first place” and “reduce, not enhance, free speech and public discourse.” Americans have many platforms to criticize public officials without invading their personal social-media pages. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The Telecommunications Act’s complex, archaic classification scheme has never been well-suited to the modern internet. How could it be, when in 1996 the narrow swath of American society that could get online at all had to dial up? Ideally, Congress would write a new law for a new era. And, ideally, lawmakers would also consider other elements of the internet technology industry that define Americans’ online experience, including app stores, social media sites and more. In the less-than-ideal present, however, the FCC is the only body proposing any version of internet governance. It would be better than nothing. – Washington Post

Stephen Kent writes: We all want AI to work for us, not against us. But what America needs to realize is that the natural discomfort with this emerging technology does not necessitate government action. The innovation is unfurling before our very eyes, and there will be natural checks on its evolution from competitors and consumers alike. Rather than rushing to impose a flawed regulatory model at the federal level, we should seek to enforce our existing laws where necessary and allow regulatory competition to follow the innovation rather than attempt to direct it. – Washington Examiner

Lee Hepner writes: The path forward is clear and achievable. The Judicial Conference, a body of federal judges overseeing the operation of our federal courts, must adapt to the way the modern world accesses information and revise its rules to permit the broadcast of trials. They have studied the effect of cameras in the courtroom since at least 1988, with numerous committees recommending their introduction for both civil and criminal proceedings. The technology for enabling that access has undergone paradigm shifts in that time. We saw a glimpse of what’s possible when audio access was permitted during the pandemic, and it’s clearly within the court’s power to make this a reality once more. We should not burden the public with the fight for access. The court must lead the way, by embracing transparency in the 21st century. – The Hill


The Pentagon on Friday in a ceremony renamed the U.S. Army base in August, Ga., to honor the service of former President Eisenhower. – The Hill

The U.S. Defense Department on Friday announced the government is moving forward with developing a new version of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb. – Defense News

National Security Cutters are the Coast Guard’s largest and most capable general-purpose cutters; they are replacing the Coast Guard’s 12 Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters. NSCs have an estimated average procurement cost of about $670 million per ship. – USNI News

Long War

Islamist militants in Niger have significantly stepped up their attacks in the months since generals here ousted the elected president, jettisoning the counterterrorism support of French forces and throwing into doubt cooperation with the American military. – Washington Post

The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions aimed at cutting off financing for Hamas, targeting its investment fund and Iranians who funnel money and support to the group. – New York Times

Editorial: But there’s a difference this time. “There is no political solution with Hamas,” Mr. Ezra said, not after Oct. 7. Hamas in Gaza now “threatens the basic contract between Israel’s government and its citizens,” the never-again clause that Israel is a safe haven for the Jews. As Israel continues its just and necessary defense against Hamas in Gaza and around the world, its citizens will not forget the Hamas-recorded images of Oct. 7. Neither should the rest of us. – Wall Street Journal