Fdd's overnight brief

March 25, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israeli forces are fighting in a growing number of places in the Gaza Strip that they previously took and withdrew from, showing how Israel is struggling to eliminate Hamas and bring the Palestinian enclave under its control. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. is trying to dissuade Israel from launching a ground assault in the Gaza border city of Rafah. Israel says it isn’t going to listen: Taking Rafah from Hamas is too important to its strategy for winning the war. – Wall Street Journal

A U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza failed to pass the United Nations Security Council on Friday, as permanent members Russia and China vetoed the measure. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is heading to Washington on Sunday, at a time of increasingly strained relations with his country’s main military backer and ally, as Israel continues to defy U.S. calls to reduce the suffering in Gaza. – Washington Post

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres visited Egypt’s border with Gaza on Saturday, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to send forces into the packed city of Rafah near that border, despite warnings from U.S. and world leaders. – Washington Post

Congress voted early Saturday to strip hundreds of millions of dollars from the United Nations agency that distributes most of the food, medicine and basic services to Palestinians in Gaza and across the Middle East, marking what critics say is a devastating blow to a region in crisis. – Washington Post

More than 60,000 Israelis who live far from Gaza but close to the front line of another spiraling conflict have in recent months been ordered from their homes along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon — the first mass evacuation of the area in Israeli history. – New York Times

A member of Israel’s war cabinet said on Sunday he would quit the national emergency government should proposed legislation that continues to exempt ultra-Orthodox Jews from mandatory military service be passed into law. – Reuters

US Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday did not rule out consequences for Israel if it moves forward with a major ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians are sheltering, over American objections. – Agence France-Presse

Israel on Friday declared the appropriation of some 8,000 dunams, or 1,976 acres, of land in the Jordan Valley and declared it state land, meaning it can now be used for development projects. – Agence France-Presse

After more than 24 hours of letting the story run freely, Qatari mouthpiece Al Jazeera deleted the page featuring their former story, which accused Israeli soldiers of allegedly perpetrating rape against women during the IDF’s latest excursion against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who barricaded themselves inside the former hospital-gone-terror headquarters. – Jerusalem Post

Israel has agreed to release between 700-800 Palestinian prisoners as part of a ceasefire and hostage release deal, Israeli media reported on Sunday evening, citing Israeli officials. – Jerusalem Post

IDF’s Southern Command defined the raid of the Hamad neighborhood in Khan Yunis as one of the most creative maneuvers of the war in Gaza. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday evening to kill Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, just as the Jewish People brought the death of Haman in the tale of Purim. – Jerusalem Post

Israel is considering Hamas’s demand for a commitment not to assassinate the organization’s senior officials if they are exiled from the Gaza Strip, Kan reported Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for weekly Saturday night protests against the government and for a hostage deal, with speakers at both types of demonstrations drawing from the themes of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which began on Saturday evening. – Times of Israel

David Brooks writes: Israel and the Palestinians have both just suffered shattering defeats. Maybe in the next few years they will do some difficult rethinking, and a new vision of the future will come into view. But that can happen only after Hamas is fully defeated as a military and governing force. – New York Times

Will Sussman writes: Yet winning our cases won’t solve the problem nationwide, as UE represents graduate students at a dozen other universities, including Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Princeton and Stanford. We need a national solution. Congress must act to protect our freedom of religion and association—our right to decide for ourselves how to be Jewish. – Wall Street Journal

Douglas Altabef writes: There is a reason why we have the highest birth rate among developed Western nations. We look forward to bringing our new ones into this crazy, but ultimately magnificent undertaking that is called the State of Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Herb Keinon writes: If this were just a war of words between Guterres and Israel’s senior diplomat, that would be one thing. But more is at stake here: the ability of the UN to play any constructive role at all during the current crisis or to have any impact whatsoever on Israeli policy. – Jerusalem Post

Susan Hattis Rolef writes: However, short of early elections, which under the current political setup seem unlikely, only an agreement between Israel and Hamas, which would be rejected by both Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit on ideological grounds, could bring about a change in the make-up of the government at this stage. Is Netanyahu likely to accept an agreement that will lead the leaders of the two extreme-right parties to leave the government? I doubt it. – Jerusalem Post

Dominic Tierney writes: Polls in Israel suggest that confidence in the country’s security is waning. Perceptions of failure could have profound consequences for Israeli politics and society. Inside the country, the result could be a siege mindset, a hardening of Israeli politics, and a search for scapegoats. But recollections of loss could also spur a greater willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians, much as the perceived defeat in 1973 made Israelis more willing to trade land for peace with Egypt. The tyranny of expectations is a tough problem for powerful countries. But sometimes, self-criticism is necessary to make peace. – Foreign Affairs

Jon Hoffman writes: This would entail Washington ending its willingness to turn a blind eye to Israeli affronts to U.S. interests, by providing huge amounts of aid, and pushing for a swift end to this disastrous war and a permanent political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Biden administration faces a choice: continue following the Netanyahu government into the abyss, or forcefully pressure it to change course. – Foreign Policy

Iran

Iran says its latest drone can carry as many as 13 bombs with a turboprop engine that can power it over 1,000 miles at 35,000 feet. But its most distinctive feature is the name stenciled on the matte gray fuselage: “Gaza.” – Wall Street Journal

Iran’s currency fell to a record low on Sunday, plunging to 613,500 to the dollar, as its people celebrated the Persian New Year. – Associated Press

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Sunday that the difference between democratic and authoritarian regimes is that Russia and Iran would not tell the United States if there was going to be a terrorist attack in the U.S. – The Hill

In a phone conversation between the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement Ziyad al-Nakhaleh on Friday, the Iranian FM said the recent developments in Gaza displayed Israel’s anti-human nature and the White House’s support for “the genocide against the Palestinians,” Iranian state media reported. – Jerusalem Post

Purim, the Jewish festival commemorating the salvation of Jews of the Achaemenid Empire from the evil extermination plot of the king’s adviser Haman, has taken an alarming twist during the past few years in Iran. This includes accusing Jews of perpetrating crimes against Iranians in ancient times, as well as limiting or hindering Jewish celebrations of the holiday. – Jerusalem Post

In late July 2020, an industrial production workshop in the Shadabad area of Tehran was reportedly set ablaze by an individual named Masoud Rahimi, accompanied by eight others. – Iran International 

Farhad Rezaei writes: Israeli leaders should take notice. From an Iranian perspective, the first test of the ring of fire not only failed but exposed the regime’s fear of the type of economic dislocation that the pipeline attack has brought. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed American warnings of an imminent terrorist attack and urged leaders of the country’s security services to focus on catching Ukrainian spies instead. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine’s armed forces desperately need fresh troops to hold back massed Russian offensives. But political dithering is leaving front-line units threadbare. – Wall Street Journal

As Russia mourned the victims of the worst terrorist attack in the Moscow area in more than two decades on Sunday, differing narratives about the attack were spreading and taking hold in the country. – New York Times

Four men accused of staging the Russia concert hall attack that killed more than 130 people appeared before a Moscow court Sunday on terrorism charges showing signs of severe beatings. One appeared to be barely conscious during the hearing. – Associated Press

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says it issued the necessary documents for a Spanish journalist to stay in the country although the reporter claims he was forced to leave because his visa was not renewed. – Associated Press

Russia struck an underground gas storage facility in western Ukraine during Sunday’s missile and drone attack, underlining threats to the country’s energy system. – Bloomberg

Ukraine said the Black Sea port city of Odesa was facing more power outages after Russia launched a combined missile and drone attack on the country’s southern regions overnight. – Bloomberg

Russia’s largest air strikes yet on Ukrainian critical infrastructure left nearly 1.5 million people without power overnight and into Friday. – The Record

Garry Kasparov writes: If a suspected serial killer is at large, the first thing to do when there’s a murder is to check his alibi. Mr. Putin is under indictment for war crimes, and his bloody track record makes him suspect No. 1. There can be no common cause against terror with Russia when the world’s most accomplished terrorist rules the Kremlin. – Wall Street Journal

Timothy Frye, Henry Hale, Ora John Reuter, and Bryn Rosenfeld write: Moreover, despite the Kremlin’s best efforts, even staunch Putin supporters are largely ambivalent about the war. That the Kremlin devotes so much energy to snuffing out even trivial forms of antiwar activity suggests that it is acutely aware of the danger that such discontent poses—a danger that even an overwhelming electoral victory cannot hide. – Foreign Affairs

Kateryna Odarchenko writes: Ukraine’s servicemen and women need to return to productive life after their time in uniform. This is not an optional issue; it is critical and the government must ensure this. A reformed system will help offer new possibilities to those who have served and bled. It will also stimulate the war-torn Ukrainian economy, which will need all the self-help it can get. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Edward Lucas writes: Russia cannot match North Korean levels of political, social, and cultural control. Instead, conspiracy theories mushroom. They include the idea that the authorities may enable the terrorist attack to create a pretext for more repression, mobilization, or some other political stunt. That’s the problem with making ruthlessness your hallmark. It affects your reputation. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Julia Davis writes: Alleged ties to Ukraine, on the other hand, are deemed useful to undermine global support for Ukraine’s ongoing fight against the Russian invasion. The attack can also be used as a justification for even more brutal measures against Ukrainians and the tightening of screws on the domestic opposition. It’s clear why the claims of so-called Ukrainian ties suit the Kremlin, and why — as so often — the truth does not. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Adrian Karatnycky writes: Russia’s transformation into a neo-Stalinist, neo-imperialist power represents a rising threat to the United States, its European allies, and other states on Russia’s periphery. By recognizing how deeply Russia has changed and how significantly Putin is borrowing from Stalin’s playbook, we can better understand that meeting the modern-day Russian threat will require as much consistency and as deep a commitment as when the West faced down Stalin’s Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. – Foreign Policy

Johannes Lichtman writes: “Everything I’ve done in my life has only come to be by overcoming great fear,” Maljartschuk said in an interview following the 2022 invasion. Fear, as Zabuzhko wrote, lives in the genes. But fear need not paralyze. “Ukrainians are no longer victims,” Maljartschuk added, “but fighters.” – Foreign Policy

Yemen

U.S. forces engaged six Houthi unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over the southern Red Sea after the group launched four anti-ship ballistic missiles toward a Chinese-owned oil tanker, the U.S. Central Command said on Saturday. – Reuters

The head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, said on Saturday there have been “reckless” American-British attacks on Yemen. – Reuters

U.S. fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier struck three underground storage facilities in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen late Friday, according to a U.S. official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a military operation not yet made public, said the ship is in the Red Sea. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: Far from colonialism, this would be liberation. Red Sea coastal culture is as different from Yemen’s capital Sana’a and the Houthi center in Sa’dah as Germany is from Austria. Just as in Somalia, unity and peace are mutually exclusive. It is time for a fresh approach. – Washington Examiner

Middle East & North Africa

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is travelling to the Middle East on Sunday because not enough help is getting to Gaza and the Israeli government must open the border crossings to a lot more aid, she said in a statement. – Reuters

The Tunisia public prosecutor detained prominent journalist Mohamed Boughalleb on Friday on suspicion of insulting a public official, which the journalists union said was aimed at silencing the voices of journalists. – Reuters

Foreign oil firms operating in Iraq’s Kurdistan region are partly to blame for the delay in resuming crude exports after failing to submit contracts for revision, Iraq’s oil ministry said. – Reuters

Turkey said on Saturday it had “neutralised” 12 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq’s Metina region as part of a cross-border military campaign that it has warned could expand in coming months. – Reuters

Lebanon will file an urgent complaint with the U.N. Security Council over what it called Israel’s violation of its sovereignty by disrupting its navigation systems, the foreign ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

Soner Cagaptay writes: Polls show a competitive race for Istanbul on March 31. Although the contest is technically just for the city’s mayor, the results will have significant ramifications nationwide, as Erdogan’s legacy and the future of the U.S.-Turkey relationship may hang in the balance. – Washington Institute

Michael Knights, Hamdi Malik, and Ameer al-Kaabi write: In addition, the group is part of the Sudani-commanded PMF, a state organ that receives around $2.3 billion of Iraqi government money per year and is controlled by senior KH figures who have likewise been sanctioned as terrorists by Washington. Among KH’s long list of violations, it is also still holding Princeton University researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov, who was kidnapped in Baghdad on March 21, 2023, and has been unlawfully detained ever since. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

In January, emergency sirens blared across this tiny South Korean island less than 2 miles from North Korean shores. Kim Joung-bae, a local village chief, leapt into action. – Wall Street Journal

A senior North Korean official leading a delegation to China met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday and called for a strengthening of ties between the two neighbours, state media KCNA said on Monday. – Reuters

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida communicated his intention to meet with Kim, a month after she indicated a summit may be possible. – Bloomberg

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol offered flexibility and talks in a pair of potential concessions amid a long-running standoff over a government plan to boost the number of medical students. – Bloomberg

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a tank exercise and encouraged his armored forces to sharpen war preparations in the face of growing tensions with South Korea, the North’s state media said Monday. – Associated Press

Mark F. Cancian and Chris H. Park write: Field artillery remains a cornerstone of battlefield lethality and combined arms. Indeed, as in earlier wars, artillery does most of the killing in this war. In the next phase of the war, a steady supply of artillery munitions—in tandem with other types of Western military assistance—will be crucial for the Ukrainian army to defeat Russian attacks and regain the offensive. An influx of South Korean 105 mm shells would enhance Ukrainian firepower and bridge a gap until U.S. aid is resumed. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Peter Suciu writes: Already KAI is looking ahead to a Block 2 version that will offer full air-to-ground capability. The ROKAF is expected to receive 80 of these variants, with the delivery of the Block 2 aircraft expected to begin in 2028. The timing would allow for the aircraft to reach full operational capability status. – The National Interest

China

A small island controlled by Taiwan a few miles off China’s coast lived for decades in constant readiness for war. At one point in 1958, troops there hunkered in bunkers as Communist forces rained hundreds of thousands of shells on them. – New York Times

A new national security law came into force in Hong Kong on Saturday despite growing international criticism that it could erode freedoms in the China-ruled city and damage its international financial hub credentials. – Reuters

China’s defence ministry warned the Philippines against “provocative” actions and said China would safeguard its territorial sovereignty on Sunday, a day after an incident in disputed waters of the South China Sea. – Reuters

The Houthis launched five anti-ship ballistic missiles at a Chinese-owned and operated oil tanker, U.S. Central Command announced on Saturday. – USNI News

Parker Miller writes: The mental health of this near-geriatric world leader is so depleted that he confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico. Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed him for reelection due to his predictability. Biden cannot be president next term. If he is, and Aquilino’s warning that China wages war on Taiwan and, by proxy, the U.S. in 2027 is true, then thousands will suffer under the elderly president’s regime. – Washington Examiner

Christy Un writes: For Gulf states, balancing the use of the dollar and the RMB will become a way of maintaining strategic neutrality amidst global geopolitical fragmentation. This approach to realpolitik entails pragmatic development and economic relationships. While the region will register the growing use of the RMB, this will hardly entail the subduing of the dollar. – The National Interest

South Asia

For two decades, Muhammad Asim ran a small jewelry shop in central Islamabad with his older brother and slowly amassed the trappings of a dignified middle-class lifestyle. – Wall Street Journal

The ISIS affiliate that American officials say was behind the deadly attack in Moscow is one of the last significant antagonists that the Taliban government faces in Afghanistan, and it has carried out repeated attacks there, including on the Russian Embassy, in recent years. – New York Times

Narendra Modi, over his 10 years as prime minister, has made it his mission to turn a complex and diverse country of 1.4 billion people into something approaching a monolith dominated by his sweeping Hindu nationalist vision. – New York Times

Mihir Sharma writes: Or, in particular, Elon Musk, given his history of missed deadlines and impulsive business decisions? The government may have bet on Tesla, but it’s not taking any chances, either. Any company choosing to take India’s deal will also have to put up a bank guarantee in case it fails to follow through on its promises of investment and local sourcing. Trust, but verify bank details first. – Bloomberg

Asia

New Zealand said on Monday a free trade agreement with the European Union would come into effect on May 1, after the country’s parliament ratified the deal. – Reuters

Military-ruled Myanmar plans to have an election if there is peace and stability in the country but may not be able to hold it nationwide, its top general said, as the junta battles to contain a rebellion on multiple fronts. – Reuters

New Zealand said on Monday it will dispatch defence personnel, helicopters and a naval ship to the Solomon Islands to assist in a national election due next month, where relations with China will be a key issue. – Reuters

Former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou will make his second trip to China next month, leading a group of students on an 11-day journey to visit locations including Beijing, his office said on Monday, at a time of continued tension across the Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

Thailand delivered its first batch of humanitarian aid to war-torn Myanmar on Monday, in what officials hope will be a continuing effort to ease the plight of millions of people displaced by fighting. – Associated Press

The camp of Indonesia’s losing presidential candidate filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court on Saturday alleging widespread fraud at the polls and demanded a revote. – Associated Press

The Philippines protested the “aggressive actions” by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea over the weekend, summoning Beijing’s envoy in Manila as tensions between the two nations over the disputed waters escalate. – Bloomberg

Singapore’s former transport minister S. Iswaran faced more corruption charges Monday, expanding the biggest political scandal to hit the city-state that has prided itself on a zero-tolerance stance against graft. – Bloomberg

Karishma Vaswani writes: The government needs to ensure that there is a transparent legal framework to continue its efforts to clean up graft in both the public and private sectors, to avoid any hint that these measures are a way to remove factions or political enemies from the party’s rank and file. Otherwise, the glow that the Southeast Asian nation has caught from being China’s +1 may not shine for much longer. – Bloomberg

Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday he “regrets” the Senate’s vote to reject legislation to ratify a trade deal between the European Union and Canada that has been criticized by farmers as bringing unfair competition from abroad. – Associated Press

Poland demanded an explanation from Russia on Sunday after one of its missiles strayed briefly into Polish airspace during a major missile attack on Ukraine, prompting the NATO member to activate F-16 fighter jets. – Associated Press

Three men were charged with terror offences Sunday after attempting to storm a police station in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, detonating hand grenades that injured two of the attackers, an internal affairs ministry official said. – Associated Press

A pro-western career diplomat defeated a close ally of Slovakia’s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico in the first round of the presidential election Sunday to set up a runoff between the two to decide who will succeed Zuzana Čaputová, the country’s first female president. – Associated Press

A Cyprus government proposal to enable repatriations of Syrian refugees by designating specific areas within the country as safe zones is “gaining ground” among the island nation’s fellow European Union member states, the Cypriot interior minister said Friday. – Associated Press

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is committing hundreds of millions of pounds to Britain’s nuclear deterrent and energy infrastructure as part of a “critical national endeavour” to safeguard the industry and protect the country. – Bloomberg

Ireland’s Higher Education Minister Simon Harris was named leader of his Fine Gael party on Sunday, putting him on course to become the next prime minister in a matter of weeks. – Bloomberg

Is London meddling too much in Jerusalem’s affairs? The British foreign secretary and former prime minister, David Cameron, appears to have gone down a rabbit hole of virtue signaling at an inopportune time, just as Israel is closing on the last remaining vestiges of Hamas terror units in the Gaza Strip. – New York Sun

The industries of Germany and France will have an equal share of work in developing and producing a future tank, the countries’ defense ministers announced March 22. – Defense News

Africa

Voters in Senegal cast their ballots Sunday in what is among the most wide-open elections in the country’s history, following weeks of uncertainty about when the election would take place and months of confusion about who would be allowed to run. – Washington Post

Dozens of Nigerian schoolchildren who were kidnapped this month have been released, officials said on Sunday. The Nigerian military said that 137 children had been freed by security forces in the northwest of the country. – New York Times

At least 17 people were killed in Somalia on Saturday after Islamist group al Shabaab attacked a military base. – Reuters

Chad’s Constitutional Council on Sunday cleared 10 candidates for this year’s long-awaited presidential election, including interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby and the country’s recently-appointed prime minister. – Reuters

Southern African regional leaders on Saturday reiterated their commitment to their peacekeeping mission in restive eastern Congo and condemned a letter of protest by Rwanda written last month opposing United Nations support for the mission. – Reuters

Women slain with babies wrapped against their bodies, lifeless children intertwined together, a 2-month-old face-up on the ground with puppies crawling on his tiny frame. The scenes were horrifying, but the 32-year-old farmer felt he had to document them, as proof of the carnage in his central Burkina Faso village. – Associated Press

Editorial: South Africa has benefited from the halo effect of Nelson Mandela and the country’s fight against apartheid. But today’s South African rulers are squandering that goodwill, and Congress is right to put Pretoria on notice. – Wall Street Journal

The Americas

Take 2010, when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook Port-au-Prince flat, killing some 220,000 people. Aftershocks were still rattling the capital when Pat Robertson took to the Christian Broadcasting Network to pinpoint the disaster’s cause. – Washington Post

Mexico’s president said Friday he won’t fight Mexican drug cartels on U.S. orders, in the clearest explanation yet of his refusal to confront the gangs. – Associated Press

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: So get ready to hear all about how the Americans are starving the Cuban people. And about how it could all be fixed if only the U.S. would change its Cuba policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. – Wall Street Journal

Latin America

María Corina Machado, whom voters chose to challenge the Venezuelan regime in presidential elections, said Friday that she is stepping aside and that a little-known university professor will take her place in the July vote. – Wall Street Journal

A former fighter pilot jailed in Venezuela in February for his ties to a prominent human rights attorney is an employee of U.S. oil firm Chevron, The Associated Press has learned, an arrest that combined with other recent repressive acts by Nicolás Maduro’s government is straining efforts by the Biden administration to pave the way for free and fair elections in the South American country. – Associated Press

Brazil’s federal police arrested two men Sunday for allegedly ordering the killing of a popular Rio de Janeiro councilwoman in 2018, a long-awaited step after years of society clamoring for justice. – Associated Press

United States

President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion funding package that keeps the US government running through Sept. 30, averting a partial shutdown. – Bloomberg

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene took the first steps Friday to remove Mike Johnson as House speaker, threatening another potential GOP shake-up and more infighting ahead of the November elections. – Bloomberg

Yona Schiffmiller writes:  This vetting must rely on all publicly available information — including publications and statements made by potential grantees, implementing partners, or beneficiaries, and their officials. Only by instituting stricter policies can the U.S. ensure that taxpayer funds do not line the pockets of terror groups threatening the U.S. and its allies. – The Hill

Zachary Faria writes: They continue to want Israel to be more sensitive to Biden’s reelection than to eliminating the terrorists who threaten the country’s very existence. They resort to shaming Israel for not prioritizing Biden’s campaign, and the shaming will only grow worse as the election inches closer and Biden remains historically unpopular. – Washington Examiner

Christine Rosen writes: It’s a clever posture. Criticize her or fire her, and you’re persecuting all Christians; by expressing outrage at her anti-Semitism, you’re ensuring the further abuse of Christians like her who are “just asking questions.” Her self-described brand is that she is “the most controversial black woman in America.” The reality? Her toxic mix of combative and ignorant extremism should have no place in the conservative movement. – Commentary

Ivan Eland writes: Yet, just because Congress failed to enforce the Constitution and War Powers Act in the past doesn’t mean it should not start now. This episode is an easier call than most because Biden’s military actions to ensure freedom of navigation on a major international shipping route have bipartisan and international support. If Congress cannot reassert its constitutional duty to approve consequential U.S. military actions now, will it ever? – The National Interest

Cybersecurity

Gayatari Mohanty always wanted to be a dancer. But her father, who washes cars for a living, and her mother, a domestic helper, didn’t have enough money for lessons. So the 19-year-old New Delhi native taught herself. – Wall Street Journal

Britain will give details of the cyber security threat it says is posed by China on Monday, and may blame Beijing for a hack on its electoral watchdog, as worries about interference grow before an election expected later this year. – Reuters

A hacking group linked to Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) known for targeting governments, embassies and diplomatic missions for political intelligence has expanded its targeting to German political parties, according to new research from Mandiant. – CyberScoop

A bill proposed Friday in the Senate would allow health care providers who suffer cyberattacks to qualify for advanced and accelerated payments through government programs so long as they and their vendors met minimum cybersecurity standards. – CyberScoop

A United Nations panel said it is investigating 58 cyberattacks allegedly conducted by North Korean hackers that allowed attackers to rake in about $3 billion over a six-year span. – The Record

Russian state-backed hackers are likely behind recent attacks on four small Ukrainian internet providers, disrupting their operations for more than a week. – The Record

Emily Harding writes: A ban on TikTok is likely unenforceable and too controversial, but regulations aimed at social media would not be fast enough or strict enough. Forcing a sale to a U.S. ownership group is the best of both worlds — it cuts off China’s ability to manipulate 100 million Americans and lets the fun roll on. – The Hill

Jonah Prousky writes: So, while this bill undoubtedly leaves something to be desired, it’s too early to judge it a failure. If it forces ByteDance to divest, everybody in the West is better insulated from security threats real and partially imagined by Congress. – The Hill 

Defense

The U.S. Congress has passed a bill that involves a total of $228 million in military and defense aid to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this year under the Baltic Security Initiative, Estonia’s defense officials said Saturday. – Associated Press

Congress early on Saturday passed the fiscal 2024 defense spending bill, nearly halfway through the fiscal year that began in October and hours after funding for the Defense Department and several other agencies expired on Friday. – Defense News

The Space Force asked Congress for more than $1 billion for a largely classified slate of high-priority efforts it didn’t include in its fiscal 2025 budget request. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force would receive enough money to buy 51 F-35A fighter jets in fiscal 2024 under the compromise Pentagon spending bill lawmakers released Thursday — three more than the service originally requested. – Defense News

Lionel Laurent writes: For all the strong words coming out of Brussels, “as long as it takes” doesn’t quite cut it. Maybe Europe’s current predicament isn’t yet considered a crisis; and maybe it will take another Trump reign to deliver what Macron in boxing gloves couldn’t. But that isn’t a reassuring message. It’s time to deliver — whatever it takes. – Bloomberg

Long War

A recent security sweep inside a sprawling fenced refugee camp holding 44,000 people turned up a raft of weapons, dozens of Islamic State militants and a Yazidi woman who had been held by the group for nearly 10 years.  – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and its liberal democratic allies may be facing off with authoritarian powers Russia, Iran and China as wars in Ukraine and Gaza inflame global rivalries. But to Islamic State, they’re all enemies of the Muslim faith that should be annihilated. – Wall Street Journal

Five years ago this month, an American-backed Kurdish and Arab militia ousted Islamic State fighters from a village in eastern Syria, the group’s last sliver of territory. – New York Times

The Islamic State on Saturday claimed responsibility for an attack on Niger’s army that it said had killed 30 soldiers on Wednesday. – Reuters

An attack by al-Qaida in southern Yemen killed at least two troops loyal to a secessionist group, officials said Monday, in the first attack since the extremist group’s branch in the Arab country announced the death of its leader earlier this month. – Associated Press

The U.S.-backed force that defeated the Islamic State group in Syria five years ago warned Saturday that the extremists still pose grave dangers throughout the world and called on the international community to find solutions for thousands of fighters still held in its jails. – Associated Press

Editorial: The ISIS comeback also argues for the House to overcome its disagreements and reauthorize Section 702 authority to surveil foreign communications even if it accidentally catches some Americans in the sweep. The House Intelligence bill contains enough safeguards without adding bureaucratic and political obstacles to rapid surveillance of real threats. Americans don’t want another attack on U.S. soil like last week’s horror show in Moscow. – Wall Street Journal

Marc Champion writes: Yet the trade and economic integration that it relied on placed some basic boundaries — and required a minimum of mutual acceptance among governments that made space for the kind of warning the US gave to Moscow to be believed, even when relations in other areas were poor. That minimal level of confidence also allowed for organizations such as the United Nations and G-20 to function as more than gladiatorial arenas for performative diplomacy. But no more. – Bloomberg

Lynne O’Donnell writes: For Western governments that might be pondering a closer relationship with the Taliban regime or even diplomatic recognition, Schindler of the Counter Extremism Project sounded a note of warning. The Taliban, he said, are “not a viable counterterrorism partner, even on a tactical level.” Instead, the group “remains one of the prime sponsors of terrorism” worldwide. – Foreign Policy