Interfor’s Weekly Digest | Global Security and Policy Insights – November 21, 2023
Global Security Matters
- Yemen’s Houthi rebels hijacked an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea. A spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi group confirmed that 25 crew members were taken hostage due to the ship’s ties to Israel. The spokesperson wrote on X that “The Yemeni armed forces reiterate their warning to all ships belonging to or dealing with the Israeli enemy that they will become a legitimate target for armed forces.” A recording of the hijacking was distributed online less than a day after, indicating the operation had a preplanned media component.
- North Korea gave notice to Japan that it plans to launch a satellite in the direction of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea between Wednesday and December 1. This would be the third attempt to launch spy satellites, as two attempts earlier this year failed. South Korea’s state maritime safety agency warned vessels of the planned launch. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that Japan will work with the United States and South Korea as well as others to “strongly urge” North Korea not to proceed with the launch.
Military & Defense
- In an unannounced visit to Ukraine, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov that the US will continue to support Ukraine. Austin announced a new security package valued up to $100 million and includes air defense capabilities, artillery ammunition, antitank weapons, and other materials. Since the war began, the US has provided Ukraine with $44.2 billion in security assistance.
- On Saturday afternoon, a group of around 20 people carrying Nazi flags and swastikas walked up to the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison and then rallied at James Madison Park. The neo-Nazi group calls themselves the ‘Blood Tribe’ and was established by ex-US marine Christopher Pohlhaus. Many leaders in Wisconsin have condemned the actions of the group. Congressman Derrick Van Orden stated he is working on removing federal funding for public universities that don’t publicly condemn the neo-Nazi groups.
Cyber, Technology, & Media
- Experts are urging shoppers to be careful as the holiday season is approaching and as fake online stores have more than doubled from last year. Since the end of October 2023, there was a 135% increase in the number of blocked fake online stores, as cyber criminals exploit the discounts expected during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, impersonate authentic websites but with discounted prices, and then steal payment information. Authentic logos, trademarks, and products are copied to create credibility in the fake sites.
Check out this op-ed in the Hill about how everyone’s a security expert — until the conflict’s outside of Gaza, penned by our own Don Aviv and Jeremy Hurewitz.
- Up-to-date messages to US citizens from the US embassy in Israel.
- US Department of State Travel Advisories
- CISA: nation-state cybersecurity threats and other resources for cybersecurity matters.
- Our most recent blog posts discuss Hezbollah’s role as Iran’s proxy and what it means for the US and the Middle East.