💣 Hamas-inspired terrorism in Brazil,
🇺🇦 The ‘stalemate’ in Ukraine,
🤝 The upcoming Biden-Xi meeting 🔒,
And everything else you need to know.
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A ‘stalemate’ in Ukraine
What’s happening: General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, recently indicated the Russian war against Ukraine has stalemated. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed back against his general, but a study revealed almost no land has changed hands on either side for the past year. Ukraine has only re-taken about 10 miles of territory.
Why it matters: It will be harder for Ukraine to get aid from Western leaders who have reportedly pushed Ukraine to imagine what a realistic peace deal might look like. Other decisions, like Ukraine delaying elections, will come under tougher scrutiny from allies.
No elections: Zelenskyy has said it’s “not the right time” for elections, even though Western pressure to hold elections has been growing in recent months. Zelenskyy has argued doing so would be difficult in wartime, but allies fear that it will be hard to sell Ukraine as defending democracy.
No peace deal?: Zelenskyy has denied that anyone is pressing Ukraine to deal with Russia and has instead pressed forward with his own 10-point peace plan. But the plan — involving the return of all of Ukraine’s territory and Russia paying for all damage caused by the war — is highly unlikely to ever be carried out.
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WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
🇺🇦 Corruption hurting Ukraine’s chances for the EU. Ukraine is struggling to meet European leaders’ conditions for joining the European Union. Known as one of the world’s most corrupt states, the Ukrainian government has fulfilled four out of seven steps for reform required by Europe. The union will check on the country’s progress again in March.
🧑🏫 Democrats flip school boards. Two left-wing education groups saw strong majorities of their endorsed candidates win in Tuesday’s school board elections. The conservative group Moms for Liberty only saw 44 percent success, indicating a drop in success for the GOP’s parental rights agenda. Liberals did particularly well in districts divided over restrictions on library books.
📸 CNN suspends Hamas-linked journalist. CNN said it has “suspended all ties” with photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah, who was embedded within Hamas as the group invaded Israel. One of Eslaiah’s photos shows Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar kissing him on the cheek. The photographer has worked freelance for the Associated Press and other media outlets around the world.
WHAT WE’RE HEARING
The White House refuses to accept the GOP’s “Israel-only” legislation that doesn’t fund Ukraine.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) says in a new report that U.S. weapons systems are too low to help Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel simultaneously.
Trump calls the GOP primary debates “not watchable,” defending his refusal to participate.
Major GOP donors Bernie Marcus and Robert Bigelow now support Trump for 2024, with the latter giving up on DeSantis.
Hamas-inspired terror becoming new normal across the globe
What’s happening: Brazil’s Federal Police and Israel’s Mossad recently thwarted a Hezbollah terrorist plot against Jewish synagogues and other Israeli targets in Brazil. The Lebanon-based terrorist organization, which is funded by the mullahs in Iran, was caught red-handed recruiting Brazilians for the attack.
Not the first: There’s already been two terror attacks since the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war — one in France and one in Belgium. They are fueling concern additional attacks are coming.
Heightened awareness: Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned of new lone-wolf terrorist attacks in the U.S. This lines up with a recent Upward News report detailing similar warnings from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security concerns that members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad may try to enter illegally through Mexico.
There’s more: The number of people apprehended at our southern border who are on the terrorist watchlist has exploded from two in 2017 to 151 so far in 2023.
Why it matters: Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel inspired an unprecedented level of unapologetic support for terrorism. Polls show a majority of young people and Muslim Americans believe Hamas’s attack was justified, and large anti-Israel rallies especially on college campuses demonstrate that kind of support for Hamas.
Context: Terror attacks against Jews in Latin America are not new. A Hezbollah-linked Palestinian jihadist group killed 29 in a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina. Then, in 1994, it killed 85 in a suicide bombing in Buenos Aires. That same year the group killed 21 in Panama by blowing up a plane.
Who holds the cards at upcoming Biden-Xi meeting
Both sides hope for wins, but China doesn’t need one as much as Biden does.
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POLL RESULTS FROM YESTERDAY
How important is the border crisis to you?
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 👍 Very important (732)
⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🤔 Semi-important (13)
⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 👎 Not important (6)
👍 Very important: “The border is key to our nation’s safety and sovereignty.” — Jill
👍 Very important: “I live in Texas and can see the effects almost everyday. It’s very important and very unsettling.” — Anonymous
🤔 Semi-important: “Many immigrants embrace the American Dream more than Americans.” — Pede
IN THE LOOP
Israel will begin implementing short humanitarian “pauses” each day in the fighting in Gaza.
House Republicans have subpoenaed Hunter and James Biden for testimony on their family’s business affairs.
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) says Republicans must understand “how much voters mistrust” them on abortion in light of his state making it a constitutional right.
Jewish activist groups have planned a giant pro-Israel rally at Washington, D.C.’s National Mall on Tuesday.
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