Daily on Defense: Hostages freed but Gaza ceasefire illusive, US provided intelligence but no boots, Blinken heads to region, Russia retains sanctuary space, Tuberville speaks

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BY JAMIE MCINTYRE

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FOUR RESCUED, SCORES KILLED: It was an audacious daylight rescue mission that began with clockwork precision reminiscent of the famed 1976 raid on Entebbe but quickly devolved into a fierce firefight that required Israeli airstrikes to rescue the rescuers and resulted in mass casualties with almost 100, and perhaps as many as 270, left dead in the streets. Many of the fatalities were Hamas militants who were attacking the Israeli commando force, but many others were civilians caught in the crossfire.

The mission, months in the planning, resulted in the freedom of Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, and the loss of one Israeli military member. "All four were taken from the Nova Music Festival on October 7, and Hamas filmed the horrific abduction of Ms. Argamani for the world to see," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "We commend the work of the Israeli security services that conducted this daring operation." 

"Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number, we don’t know, but innocent people were killed. And that is heartbreaking. That is tragic," Sullivan acknowledged on CNN on Sunday, placing the blame for the deaths on Hamas. "The Palestinian people are going through sheer hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire, that holds hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas, that puts military emplacements right in the heart of crowded civilian areas."

RESCUE OF ISRAELI HOSTAGES LAUDED AS OFFICIALS EYE CEASEFIRE

US INTELLIGENCE PLAYED A PART: Israeli intelligence, with help from the United States, determined the four hostages were being held in two apartment buildings in the Nuseirat neighborhood in central Gaza, the men in one building and the woman in another.

"I’m not going to get into the specific operational or intelligence-related matters associated with that because we need to protect those," Sullivan said on CNN. "I can only just say that we have generally provided support to the IDF so that we can try to get all of the hostages home, including the American hostages who are still being held."

"The United States has been providing support to Israel for several months in its efforts to help identify the locations of hostages in Gaza and to support efforts to try to secure their rescue or recovery," Sullivan said. "One thing I can say is that there were no U.S. forces, no U.S. boots on the ground involved in this operation. We did not participate militarily in this operation."

The Israeli commando team managed to surprise the captors holding Argamani in a first-floor apartment, but a second Israeli team that freed the three men in another building nearby was unable to maintain the element of surprise, according to a detailed account of the raid in the Washington Post.

"A Yamam commander was shot as they entered the building. A firefight erupted, exposing the covert mission," it reported. "The soldiers were able to get the three hostages and the injured man into a vehicle, but it broke down under Hamas fire from rifles and rocket-propelled grenades."

Forced to abandon the vehicle and seek refuge in a building nearby, the Israelis called for airstrikes to clear the way for them to get to waiting helicopters. 

ISRAELI WAR CABINET MEMBER BENNY GANTZ RESIGNS

BLINKEN TO PRESS FOR CEASEFIRE: Secretary of State Antony Binken leaves today on his eighth trip to the region since the war began in October and will be pressing for Hamas to accept the Israeli peace plan announced by President Joe Biden on May 31. Blinken is making stops in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar to "discuss with partners the need to reach a ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all hostages," the State Department said. 

"The United States will not rest until every hostage is returned home," Blinken said in a Saturday statement. "The proposal that President Biden outlined eight days ago would bring relief to both the people of Gaza and the remaining hostages and their families through an immediate ceasefire that could lead to the release of all hostages, a surge of humanitarian assistance, Gaza's reconstruction, and an enduring end to the war. The only thing standing in the way of achieving this ceasefire is Hamas. It is time for them to accept the deal."

"Why is President Biden going out publicly and calling for a ceasefire and hostage deal? It’s because he thinks the best way to get all of the hostages home is in a deal where they’re brought out diplomatically, where there’s no need for military operations to get every last hostage out," Sullivan said. "What we would much prefer to see is a ceasefire where the hostages come out peacefully. That is available. Israel has said yes to it. Now Hamas needs to say yes to it."

BLINKEN TO TRAVEL TO MIDDLE EAST TO PUSH CEASEFIRE PROPOSAL

Good Monday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre's Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Stacey Dec. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at DailyonDefense.com. If signing up doesn't work, shoot us an email and we'll add you to our list. And be sure to follow me on Threads and/or on X @jamiejmcintyre

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GRAHAM: 'WE’VE GOT A CHANCE TO RESET THIS WAR': In an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Ukraine war hawk, argued that with enough help, Ukraine can regain the momentum it lost when House Republicans blocked military assistance for six months.

"The delay in weapons because of House inaction, we did lose momentum," Graham said. "Now we’ve got a chance to reset this war, that they have the weapons."

Graham, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at last week's D-Day commemoration ceremonies in France, said he is pushing for the seizure of some $300 billion in Russian sovereign wealth assets that could be given to Ukraine. "When I suggested that to President Zelensky, he lit up like a Christmas tree."

"Either we’re going to help Ukraine or we’re not. It’s now time to give them the F-16s, let them fly the planes, long-range artillery to hit targets inside of Russia. Go after Putin’s assets wherever they’re at, all over the world. Go on the offensive," Graham said. "I think this summer, Ukraine will regain military momentum. Everything we’ve done with Ukraine has been slow. It’s been indecisive."

PUTIN SHOULD NOT DETER NATO FROM ARMING UKRAINE, TOP OFFICER WARNS

ISW: 84% OF RUSSIAN BORDER REGION SAFE FROM UKRAINE: The Biden administration's narrow authorization for the use of U.S.-weapons for cross-border strikes in the Kharkiv region has left Russia with plenty of "sanctuary space" where it can mass troops and launch attacks against Ukraine with impunity, according to the latest analysis by the Institute for the Study of War.

"President Joe Biden's limited policy change in late May 2024 regarding the use of U.S.-provided weapons against military targets in Russia removed a maximum of 16% of Russia’s ground sanctuary," the ISW said. ​​"U.S. policy still preserves at least 84% of Russia’s ground sanctuary — territory within range of Ukrainian ATACMS."

Russia exploits that sanctuary "to shield its combat forces, command and control, logistics, and rear area support services that the Russian military uses to conduct its military operations in Ukraine," the ISW said. "U.S. policy still protects the vast majority of Russia's operational rear and deep rear, and U.S. policy forbids Ukraine from using ATACMS anywhere in Russia."

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed to have successfully hit a Su-57, one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets, while it was parked on a runway deep inside Russia. 

"For the first time, a Russian Su-57 jet was hit," the ministry said, "on the territory of the Akhtubinsk air base in the Astrakhan region," 365 miles from the front line. "The Su-57 is the most modern fighter jet in Russia, and there are a few units of such jets in service with the enemy army," the ministry said in a post on X, which included satellite imagery to support its claim.

TUBERVILLE AN 'OUTLIER': A video clip of Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), repeating Kremlin talking points blaming Ukraine for provoking Russia's 2022 invasion and parroting Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda, has drawn a strong rebuke from some fellow Republicans. In an interview with Steve Bannon, Tuberville called the media coverage of the war "one-sided" and questioned why the United States is backing Zelensky, whom he described as "a dictator." 

"He doesn’t want Ukraine. He doesn’t want Europe," Tuberville said of Putin. "Hell, he’s got enough land of his own. He just wants to make sure that he does not have United States’s weapons in Ukraine pointing at Moscow."

"Sen. Tuberville’s analysis really misses what Putin’s all about. He’s an outlier, I think, in the Republican Party," Graham said on CBS. "If you spent 15 minutes studying Putin and what he wants, he wants to re-create the Russian empire. He’s not going to stop in Ukraine. … It’s not about NATO. It’s not about American weapons in Ukraine. It’s about a megalomaniac wanting to create the Russian empire by force of arms."

"I think Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it's infected a good chunk of my party's base," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in April. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

THE RUNDOWN: 

Washington Examiner: Blinken to travel to Middle East to push ceasefire proposal

Washington Examiner: Rescue of Israeli hostages lauded as officials eye ceasefire

Washington Examiner: Kamala Harris grieves for 'innocent' Palestinians killed in Israeli raid to save hostages

Washington Examiner: Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz resigns

Washington Examiner: Putin should not deter NATO from arming Ukraine, top officer warns

Washington Examiner: Border agents told to release migrants into US despite Biden asylum ban

Washington Examiner: Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake electors case

Washington Examiner: Biden makes jab at Trump for skipping visit to WWI cemetery as he closes out trip to France

Washington Examiner: House lawmakers jump from plane to honor D-Day veterans

Washington Examiner: Russian submarine's Cuba visit is a big US intelligence opportunity

Washington Examiner: EPCOT to unveil veteran-inspired art exhibit painted by George W. Bush

AP: The far right's election gains rattle EU's traditional powers

AP: Macron dissolves the French parliament and calls a snap election after defeat in EU vote

Washington Post: US Intelligence Aided Israeli Hostage Rescue

New York Times: Israel's Euphoria Over Hostage Rescue May Be Fleeting

Wall Street Journal: Move by Benny Gantz is aimed at forcing early elections but could complicate U.S. diplomatic effort to end war in Gaza

New York Times: US Considers Expanded Nuclear Arsenal, a Reversal of Decades of Cuts

AP: U.N. Food Agency Pauses Its Aid Work At U.S. Pier In Gaza Over Security Concerns, In Latest Setback

Bloomberg: Putin Is Running Out Of Time To Achieve Breakthrough In Ukraine

The Hill: US Military Begins Slow Transition out of Niger Ahead of Troop Withdrawal

Long War Journal: Al Qaeda leader calls foreign fighters to Afghanistan

AP: Missile Attacks By Yemen's Houthi Rebels Strike 2 Ships In The Gulf Of Aden, U.S. Military Says

Air & Space Forces Magazine: The Need for Speed: Experts Say Ukraine Shows US Must Act, React Quickly in Acquisition

Stars and Stripes: Deterring North Korean Aggression Remains Primary Goal, New Fighter Wing Commander Says

AP: South Korea resumes broadcasting anti-North Korea propaganda at border in response to trash balloons

Defense News: House Bill Funds New Tranche of Philippines, Taiwan Military Aid

Aviation Week: US Army Seeks New Large, Long-Endurance UAS

AP: In Hawaii, Maui Council Opposes US Space Force Plan to Build New Telescopes on Haleakala Volcano

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Why the Space Force Wants to 'Flip the Script' On Space Domain Awareness

SpaceNews: Space Development Agency Calls on Satellite Builders to Diversify Suppliers

Breaking Defense: Space Rapid Capabilities Office Slates $1B for Dynamic Space Ops C2

Air & Space Forces Magazine: B-52 Crew Awarded for Averting In-Flight Catastrophe

Air & Space Forces Magazine: First Operational F-15EX Arrives in Oregon; Milestone for Air Guard

Military.com: Air Force Missileers Get New Workplace Inspections, Health Tracking amid Ongoing Cancer Cluster Study

Breaking Defense: Hide and Seek: Despite Sharper Eyes on the Heavens, Sneaky Sats Can Still Find Shadows

Defense Scoop: Why CENTCOM Wants 'Self-Service' Computer Vision for Warfighters

Task & Purpose: Apollo 8 Astronaut, Air Force Veteran William Anders Dies in Plane Crash

THE CALENDAR: 

MONDAY | JUNE 10

8 a.m. Berlin, Germany — German Marshall Fund of the United States forum: “All Reconstruction is Local,” with State Department Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery and former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Halyna Yanchenko, member, Ukrainian parliament https://www.gmfus.org/all-reconstruction-local-forum-eve-ukraine-recovery-conference

1 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: “U.S.-Republic of Korea Bilateral Dialogue for Strengthening US-ROK Alliance, with former South Korean National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun https://www.csis.org/events/us-rok-bilateral-dialogue-strengthening-us-rok-alliance

TUESDAY | JUNE 11

9:15 a.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research book discussion: The Melting Point: High Command and War in the 21st Century, with author retired Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, executive director, Florida Center for Cybersecurity and former commander of U.S. Central Command https://www.aei.org/events/unveiling-the-melting-point-a-book-event

9:45 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion of a new report, “Friendshoring the Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain,” with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK); Rory Heslington, vice president of government affairs at Autos Drive America; and Vanessa Sciarra, vice president of trade and international competitiveness, American Clean Power Association https://www.csis.org/events/report-launch-friendshoring

10 a.m. — Brookings Institution virtual discussion: “EU Can’t always get what you want: Unpacking the European Parliament elections,” with Carlo Bastasin, nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; Anna Grzymala-Busse, nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; Constanze Stelzenmuller, senior fellow and director, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; and Asli Aydintasbas, visiting fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe https://www.brookings.edu/events/eu-cant-always-get-what-you-want

11 a.m. — Atlantic Council discussion: “Debriefing the European Elections,” with Celia Belin, head, European Council on Foreign Relations Paris office; Rym Momtaz, research fellow for European foreign policy and security, International Institute for Strategic Studies; and Mark Scott, Politico chief technology correspondent https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/debriefing-the-european-elections/

11 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: "Latest developments on the Korean Peninsula and the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” with U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg https://www.csis.org/events/impossible-state-live-podcast-special

12 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW— Center for Strategic and International Studies in-person and virtual book discussion: The Melting Point: High Command and War in the 21st Century, with author retired Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, former commander, U.S. Central Command, and Emily Harding, deputy director, CSIS International Security Program https://www.csis.org/events/melting-point-book-talk-general-frank-mckenzie

1 p.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion of a new report, “Friend-Sourcing Military Procurement: Technology Acquisition as Security Cooperation," with report author James Hasik, executive in residence at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, and Brett Lambert, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, and managing director, Densmore Group https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/integrating-defense-capabilities

2 p.m. 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace discussion: “A Pivotal Year: Assessing the Russia-Ukraine War in 2024,” with former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk; Hanna Shelest, director of security programs, Foreign Policy Council Ukrainian Prism; Michael Kofman, senior fellow, CEIP Russia and Eurasia Program; and Dara Massicot. senior fellow, CEIP Russia and Eurasia Program https://carnegieendowment.org/events

WEDNESDAY | JUNE 12

9 a.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: beginning at 9 a.m., on a new report, “A Global South with Chinese Characteristics,” with Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times U.S.-China correspondent; David Shullman, senior director, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Niva Yau, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; William Piekos, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Oscar Meywa Otele, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; and Victoria Chonn-Ching, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Latin America Center https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/a-global-south

10 a.m. 2172 Rayburn — House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: “Great Power Competition in the Western Hemisphere," with testimony from Brian Nichols, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs; Todd Robinson, assistant secretary, State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Michael Camilleri, acting assistant administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/great-power-competition

11 a.m. 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center virtual discussion: “India’s Post-Election Foreign Policy,” with former Indian Envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria; Sohini Bose, associate fellow, Observer Research Foundation; and Jabin Jacob, associate professor at Shiv Nadar University https://www.stimson.org/event/indias-post-election-foreign-policy

12 p.m.  1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center discussion: “Opportunities for strategic partnership across the Indo-Pacific,” with Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell https://www.stimson.org/event/a-conversation-with-kurt-campbell/

12 p.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: “The New Iron Triangle: Achieving Adaptability and Scale in Defense Acquisition,” with Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA) https://www.hudson.org/events/new-iron-triangle

1 p.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual book discussion: Lost Decade: The U.S. Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power, with co-author Robert Blackwill, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, Council on Foreign Relations; co-author Richard Fontaine, CNAS CEO; and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post national security reporter https://www.cnas.org/events/virtual-event-lost-decade

2 p.m — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “Understanding the Growing Collaboration Between Russia and Iran,” with Jon Alterman, director, CSIS Middle East Program; Max Bergmann, director, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program; and Hanna Notte, nonresident senior associate, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program https://www.csis.org/events/understanding-growing-collaboration

3 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: “Integrating Space for the Joint Fight,” with Col. Bryon McClain, program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power at Space Systems Command; Shannon Pallone, program executive officer for battle management command, control, and communications at Space Systems Command; Stephen Kitay, senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space; Nate Notargiacomo, head of HEO USA; and Frank Di Pentino, chief strategy officer, True Anomaly https://www.csis.org/events/integrating-space-joint-fight

4:30 p.m. — Atlantic Council virtual book discussion: Battleground Ukraine: From Independence to the War with Russia, with author Adrian Karatnycky, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow, and David Frum, staff writer, the Atlantic https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/book-launch-battleground

THURSDAY | JUNE 13

TBA Brussels, Belgium — Meeting of NATO defense ministers June 13-14, with news conferences both days from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_225365.htm

8 a.m. 7920 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club 2024 Army Summit, with Doug Bush, assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology, and Army Chief Information Officer Leonel Garciga https://potomacofficersclub.com/events/poc-9th-annual-army-summit/

9:30 a.m. — U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission virtual hearing, “China’s Stockpiling and Mobilization Measures for Competition and Conflict" https://www.uscc.gov/hearings/chinas-stockpiling-and-mobilization-measures

10 a.m. 1501 Langston Blvd., Arlington, Virginia — Air and Space Forces Association discussion: "Air Force efforts to prepare for great power competition,” with Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Allvin https://www.afa.org/events/air-space-warfighters-in-action

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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He doesn't want Ukraine. He doesn't want Europe. Hell, he's got enough land of his own. He just wants to make sure that he does not have United States's weapons in Ukraine pointing at Moscow."
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), telling Steve Bannon in an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants peace, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a dictator
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