11 October 2023

Israel’s 1973 October War: A 50-year perspective

Itamar Rabinovich

During the past five decades, the Middle East has been shaped by several significant events and developments: the Iranian Revolution (1979), the fall of the Soviet Union (1991), the two Gulf wars (1991 and 2003), the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty (1979), and the Oslo Process (1993-1995), to name a few. Among these events, the October War of 1973 (the “Yom Kippur War” as it is known in Israel, and the “October War” in Egypt and Syria) stands out as particularly influential.

A limited Egyptian-Syrian partnership

Egypt and Syria launched the October War on October 6, 1973. The Egyptian-Syrian partnership was limited. Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad did not fully share Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s war aims. Sadat had in mind a limited war, a crossing of the Suez Canal, and the establishment of an Egyptian presence on the canal’s eastern bank in order to force Israel and the United States to enter into a diplomatic process designed to redress the consequences of the 1967 Six-Day War. The initial attack was unexpectedly successful. Sadat devised an effective strategy of using advanced Soviet surface-to-air missiles to neutralize Israel’s air force and armored units. He was also successful in surprising Israel and was unexpectedly aided by the mindset that affected the judgment of Israel’s intelligence community and political leadership.

What to know as war between Israel and Hamas militants rages on for a third day


JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli government promised Monday to hunt down Hamas fighters and to punish the Gaza Strip following a surprise weekend attack that killed more than 900 people in Israel, including at least 260 at a crowded music festival that became the scene of one of the country’s worst civilian massacres.

A day after formally declaring war, Israel’s military worked to crush Hamas fighters who might remain in southern towns and intensified its bombardment of Gaza, where more than 600 people have died since Saturday’s unprecedented incursion.

The militants blew through a fortified border fence and gunned down civilians and soldiers in Israeli communities along the Gaza frontier during a Jewish holiday. Israel struck back with airstrikes, including one that flattened a 14-story tower that held Hamas offices.

Here are some key takeaways from the war:


Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday he had ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza and that authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel to the Palestinian territory.

Hamas, meanwhile, pledged to kill one Israeli civilian captive any time Israel targets civilians in the Gaza Strip without warnings. Hamas and other militants in Gaza say they are holding more than 130 soldiers and civilians taken from inside Israel.

Israel’s defense failures may change strategy toward Hamas and Gaza.

Ronen Bergman

The broad attack by Palestinian militants, which Hamas viewed as mostly successful, revealed some significant failures.

Hamas’s attack on Saturday took Israeli intelligence officials by surprise, particularly the methods the militants used to enter and leave Israel, according to a senior defense official familiar with the information collected about the group.

The broad attack, mostly successful from Hamas’s point of view, revealed some significant failures by the Israeli defense establishment. It also may change Israel’s overall strategic approach to Hamas and the Gaza Strip, said the official, who asked not to be identified when discussing security matters.

And that could have a far-reaching effect on the entire Middle East.

Until now, Israel has contained Hamas and Gaza with a strategy that hinged on an intelligence network that would warn against Hamas’s moves, and on the power of the Israeli Army to repel a ground invasion by Hamas. In the Hamas attack on Saturday, these two safeguards failed.

Israel is traditionally perceived as the strongest intelligence power in the region, with extensive coverage of the Gaza Strip. And in recent months, Israeli intelligence did repeatedly warn that a military conflict could flare up because Iran and affiliated militias have perceived Israel as weakened by the nation’s profound divisions over the judicial overhaul being pursued by the ultraright governing coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to four senior defense officials.

This is Israel’s 9/11. The consequences will be dangerous — and unforeseeable.

I had been planning to write this week about the negotiations among President Biden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to normalize Israel-Saudi ties in return for a U.S.-Saudi defense treaty. Analysts I talked to were cautiously optimistic that this megadeal might be concluded by early next year. Despite the continuing civil war in Syria, the region felt calm. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan remarked just last week that “the Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades now.”

So much for that. Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas fighters into Israel is a grim reminder that, in the Middle East, war-fighting usually takes precedence over peacemaking. It is hard to imagine the Saudi-Israeli peace talks making much progress as Israel reels from the worst surprise attack it has suffered since the 1973 Yom Kippur War — and as it mobilizes for what is likely to be its largest ground assault into the Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Indeed, though we don’t know for sure why Hamas chose to strike exactly now, this could well be part of a larger attempt by Iran and its proxies — including Hamas — to prevent a historic reconciliation between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

It is shocking enough to see internet footage of the Hamas attack as an American witnessing events from afar. The shock must be many times greater for Israelis who have to process the calamity that has befallen their country. This is Israel’s 9/11, and, just as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks rippled out across the world from Afghanistan to Iraq, so, too, will the 10/7 attacks ripple out in ways that are as dangerous as they are unpredictable.

What’s behind the violence in Israel and Gaza? Here’s what to know.

Brian Murphy, Adam Taylor, Sammy Westfall, Bryan Pietsch and Steve Hendrix

More than 1,000 people in Israel and Gaza have been killed and thousands more injured after Palestinian gunmen from Hamas infiltrated Israel on Saturday, launching attacks on troops and massacring civilians in the most brazen militant operation in years that led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare war against the group.

The violence erupted suddenly but comes after a year of rising tensions between Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, which has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 2007. This year alone has seen a spate of deadly attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, an escalation that followed Netanyahu’s move to cobble together the most far-right government in Israeli history.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and carried out Saturday’s attacks, said the operation was in response to the blockade, as well as recent Israeli military raids in the West Bank and violence at al-Aqsa Mosque, a disputed religious site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

As of Sept. 19, before Saturday’s outbreak of violence, 227 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli troops or settlers this year, according to U.N. figures, with most of those deaths — 189 — occurring in the West Bank. At least 29 Israelis, mostly in the West Bank, were also killed this year as of the end of August, according to the same U.N. database.

September: Growing fears of all-out conflict

Revisiting India’s China Challenge

Araudra Singh

Relations between India and China have grown increasingly acrimonious prompting India’s Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar to describe them as “abnormal.

There is a Chinese idiom that says: “One mountain cannot hold two tigers.” As the border standoff enters its fourth year, it is evident that China is seeking to become the sole tiger in the Asian mountains.

Recently, China’s President Xi Jinping decided to skip the G-20 summit in New Delhi, sending Premier Li Qiang in his place. Unlike Russia, which offered an explanation for President Vladimir Putin’s non-attendance at the summit, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning provided no reason for Xi’s absence, showing scant regard for its neighbor’s G-20 presidency. This came after China skipped two G-20 meetings held earlier this year, while also repeatedly objecting to the inclusion of the theme, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The World is One), in G-20 documents.

Several factors including the role of the United States, the Tibet issue, the contested border, and the Chinese perception of itself and India have inhibited normalization of relations.

China’s Self-perception

Sino-Indian tensions are rooted in part in Beijing’s self-perception as a “Middle Kingdom,” envisioning itself as the epicenter of civilization surrounded by what it considers barbarians. This has led to its neglect of other cultures, including India’s. This is evident by historical and official reluctance in China to acknowledge ancient India’s cultural contributions through Buddhism and Sanskrit.

Pakistan’s Uncertain Economic Future

Arhama Siddiqa

The Pakistani populace has been burdened by unprecedented electricity bills at a time when unemployment is rampant and inflation has reached unparalleled levels.

The intricate dance of political agitation and economic turbulence has been a defining feature of Pakistan's landscape for the past three decades. This dynamic interplay between the realms of politics and economics has not only steered the nation's course but also illuminated the multifaceted challenges that have marked Pakistan's enduring quest for stability and prosperity. During former president Imran Khan’s tenure, the government grappled with the formidable task of enacting pivotal reforms. A case in point was its initial agreement to slash subsidies as part of a $6 billion bailout programme. However, Khan deviated from this path by opting to reduce fuel prices and instituting a freeze, a decision that bore profound economic consequences, particularly amid the backdrop of soaring Brent oil prices, which ranged from $100 to $120 per barrel. These policy choices, entangled with the tumultuous terrain of domestic politics, ultimately culminated in Khan's ouster through a vote of no confidence in April 2022.

To regain the confidence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government of Shehbaz Sharif swiftly raised fuel prices, nearly doubling them within a week. This abrupt escalation triggered a ripple effect of inflation across various sectors, encompassing the cost of electricity, food and other essential commodities.

Nepal’s Geopolitical Crossroads: Balancing China, India, and the United States

Rishi Gupta


Nepal is navigating between India and China, while the United States rediscovers an interest in broader South Asia. Given the tense geostrategic and security environment in the Himalayas, China has viewed the growing role of the United States as a development partner for Nepal in recent years as a potential threat to China’s presence in the region.

As a long-standing buffer state between China and India, Nepal’s strategic location has historically shaped its delicate balancing act. However, recent developments have ruffled feathers, particularly in Beijing. China perceives any external efforts to fortify ties with Nepal as a direct challenge to its regional dominance, raising concerns about potential shifts in the delicate balance of power. The United States, in particular, has presented an alternative vision through initiatives such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which serves as an alternative to China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Nepal.

Additionally, China is disquieted by deepening bilateral cooperation between the United States and India, including shared Indo-Pacific interests and collaborative efforts to uplift Nepal’s energy sector. The interplay of these factors adds intricate layers to Nepal’s geopolitical landscape. Against this backdrop, this issue paper delves into the complex dynamics and interests of China, India, and the United States in Nepal, unraveling the historical context that shapes their involvement. By dissecting the geopolitical complexities at hand, the paper sheds light on the strategic decisions Nepal faces and the road ahead it needs to navigate.

China’s Interests in Nepal

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Beijing’s Nepal policy has been driven by two primary sets of objectives — strategic and economic. With the takeover of Tibet by Communist China, Nepal became a critical geostrategic consideration for Beijing as it was used as a gateway for Tibetans in 1959 to escape Chinese brutalities. After the Dalai Lama escaped to India,

Bhutan-China border demarcation talks inching towards completion: Bhutan PM Tshering


With a month remaining in his current tenure, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering says he hopes for another round of border talks with China and the possibility of completing the demarcation of the boundary between both countries. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu in Thimpu, Dr. Tshering, who will hand over charge to a caretaker government in November ahead of general elections due by January-end, accepted, when asked that a possible exchange agreement between land to Bhutan’s North that is under Chinese control, with Bhutan’s Doklam area, was amongst proposals being discussed. The agreement is of particular concern to India due to its proximity with India’s Siliguri corridor or “chicken’s neck” that connects to the Northeastern States.

When asked about whether India was in the loop on the negotiations, Dr. Tshering said that it would be in Bhutan’s interest to make sure both India and China are happy with the decisions it makes. “We obviously do not want to solve one problem and give birth to another problem,” he added. He also clarified, for possibly the first time, that the “3-Step Roadmap” signed between Bhutan and China in October 2021 comprises first agreeing to the demarcation of the border in talks on the table, after which the two sides would visit the sites along the demarcated line on the ground, before finally and formally demarcating the boundary between them. “We hope to see a line being drawn- this side Bhutan and that side China. We don’t have that right now,” Dr. Tshering told The Hindu. He did not indicate however, whether a boundary settlement would change Bhutan’s present policy against diplomatic relations with UNSC permanent members including China. “Theoretically, how can Bhutan not have any bilateral relations with China? The question is when, and in what manner,” Dr. Tshering said.

A Dangerous Disease Spreads in a Hotter Nepal

Bibek Bhandari

The district of Dolpa is remote and high, from 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level up to more than 7,500 meters (24,606 feet). Its Himalayan peaks, the turquoise Phoksundo Lake, and arduous trekking trails draw travelers from across the world. But climate change has brought unwanted visitors—mosquitoes. And with them has come a viral infection that was previously unknown to the region.

In September 2022, locals started visiting the only government hospital in the district headquarters of Dunai with bouts of fever and body aches, recalled Akhada Upadhaya, a medical officer at Dolpa District Hospital. There were thousands of people with similar symptoms in the low-lying, hotter plains of Karnali province, where Dolpa is located, and elsewhere in the country—and they were testing positive for dengue at alarming rates that year. Dunai, a small settlement on the bank of Thuli Bheri River at about 2,000 meters (6,562 feet), also reported its first infection then.

“It was alarming,” Upadhaya, who grew up in Dolpa, told Foreign Policy. “Before, there were no mosquitoes here. But the change in weather patterns and increase in people’s mobility is raising the risk of infections like dengue—that wasn’t prevalent in the region before.”

As global temperatures rise, many high-altitude and low-income countries are on the front lines of the climate crisis. Since Nepal detected its first dengue case in an inbound traveler in 2004, only a few hundred locally transmitted infections were found until 2015. The infections then suddenly grew at almost exponential rates in 2019 and reached a record of nearly 55,000 cases in 2022, causing at least 88 deaths. Cases were also found last year in districts, including Mustang and Humla, with an average elevation of more than 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). But doctors said the actual caseload could be much higher, as many dengue patients are either asymptomatic or don’t visit hospitals for mild symptoms.


Jeffrey Biller

Attempts to influence public support for armed conflicts through strategic targeting of civilians and civilian objects during armed conflicts have had a mixed record of success, at best. Belligerents on both sides of the Second World War targeted civilian objects to reduce civilian support for the war. While dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly ended the war in the Pacific, Axis and Allied powers’ overall efforts to reduce civilian morale through strategic bombing were limited. More recently, the Russian military has targeted Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in a similar vein, including attacks on schools and hospitals. Investigators have catalogued other war crimes against civilian targets to erode the resolve of the Ukrainian people and press Russian territorial and political demands.

Although devastating to civilians in these conflict zones, such strategic targeting often has the opposite effect, hardening rather than weakening civilian resolve. It should perhaps be unsurprising that seeing their village or neighborhood destroyed and their countrypeople killed has produced visceral anger and a willingness to fight in civilian victims. Why not fight when so much has already been lost? Additionally, any lack of clarity as to the illegality of the intentional violent targeting of civilians and civilian objects has been long resolved. The precise reasons for international support for Ukraine are difficult to discern, but surely much support stems from public sympathy for Ukraine’s losses to Russian atrocities against civilians.

Red Cross releases ethical guidelines for hacktivists in war

Daryna Antoniuk

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has released the first-ever ethical guidelines for civilian hackers — or hacktivists — engaged in armed conflicts.

The organization asks hacktivists to comply with eight “humanitarian law-based rules” to protect themselves and avoid harming others.

The ICRC said that international humanitarian law doesn’t prohibit hacking military targets during armed conflicts, but those involved in such operations must adhere to basic humanitarian principles.

According to the guidelines, hacktivists shouldn't target civilian objects or deploy malware that can impact both military and civilian infrastructure.

“Stop the attack if the harm to civilians risks being excessive,” one of the rules said.

Certain targets, like medical and humanitarian facilities, drinking water systems, and hazardous plants “must never be targeted.” The ICRC also urges hackers not to threaten civilians or attempt to enlist other hackers in the cause.

“Civilian hackers must comply with these rules even if their enemy does not,” the guideline said.

Worrying trend

Hacktivism has played a role in armed conflicts and political turmoil for many decades, from the late '90s when Cult of the Dead Cow hackers helped Chinese citizens access blocked websites, to the current cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia.

Is US security dependent on limiting China’s economic growth?

Cameron F. Kerry, Mary E. Lovely, Pavneet Singh, Liza Tobin, Ryan Hass, Patricia M. Kim, and Emilie Kimball

Dozens of freighters dock for loading and unloading at the Qingdao section of the Shandong Pilot Free Trade Zone in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, Sept 27, 2023.

The Biden administration’s National Security Strategy identifies China as “the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.” Given this assumption, does China’s continued economic growth present an intolerable risk to America’s national security? Should the United States seek to limit China’s economic growth in order to protect itself? Is it possible for the United States to champion both free and open markets while placing sweeping limitations on a rival state’s access to goods and services? What kind of limits should Washington place on trade with China to protect U.S. national interests?

To answer these questions and articulate the policy choices U.S. policymakers are facing, Ryan Hass, Patricia M. Kim and Emilie Kimball, co-leads of the Brookings Foreign Policy project: “Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World,” convened a group of leading experts — Cameron F. Kerry, Mary E. Lovely, Pavneet Singh, and Liza Tobin — to engage in a written debate examining how the United States should manage its economic relationship with China.

Will Xi’s Military Modernization Pay Off?

David M. Finkelstein

For months, all eyes have been on the high-level personnel turmoil in the Chinese military. Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu has not been seen in public for weeks, raising questions about whether he still holds his position. Li Yuchao, the commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force, which oversees China’s arsenal of conventional and nuclear missiles, has also been replaced. Many observers have interpreted these shakeups as a sign that deep problems plague the highest reaches of the Chinese military or that Chinese President Xi Jinping intends to continue consolidating his power. 

A war over the city: Exploring Kirkuk’s multi-layered conflict

Siba Madwar

The struggle between the KRG and Baghdad as well as the conflict among Kirkuk’s ethnic groups have resulted in Kirkuk resembling a ‘powder keg’ waiting to explode. 


The recent crisis in Kirkuk, an oil-rich city located in northern Iraq, has once again highlighted the intricate historical ethnic and political factors behind the ongoing conflict. Kirkuk has historically been contested between the federal government in Baghdad and authorities in the autonomous Kurdistan region of the north. In 2014, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan region's security forces, took over Kirkuk after they defeated the Islamic State (IS). However, in 2017, federal troops expelled them following an abortive referendum on Kurdish independence; and since then, the city has been generally stable until the latest developments.

In late August 2023, Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani ordered his forces (i.e. army and the Popular Mobilisation Forces) to withdraw from security headquarters in Kirkuk and handover control to the Peshmerga forces, reverting to the situation that existed before 2017. This step comes in the context of improving relations between his government and the KDP, after the latter had given him confidence in parliament in 2022. The decision was met with rejection by the Turkmen and Arab residents who carried out demonstrations and closed the road linking Erbil to Kirkuk to prevent the Kurdish Peshmerga forces from entering the city. The Kurds took to the streets to hold rival demonstrations and express their support for the decision. This demonstration led to confrontations causing the deaths and injuries of a number of Kurdish and Arab protesters, and spreading chaos and panic in the city.

Hoover Institution Strategika, no. 87 The Russian Way of War

The Crusade Against Ukraine: Eurasia’s Last Medieval Power At War

The Russian Way of War

Ukraine and the Russian Way of War

Less freedom, weaker states, more conflict: can that cycle be broken?

Patrick W. Quirk and Owen L. Myers

State fragility threatens US security and economic interests. Ungoverned territory provides space for violent extremist organizations to organize and train. Fragile states are often vulnerable to adversaries like China and Russia, providing them with an opening to advance geopolitical interests that undermine US objectives and harm local populaces. People suffer as corrupt elites seize state institutions and resources to advance their own interests rather than deliver the goods and services expected from the government.

State fragility is often characterized by a breakdown in the government’s legitimacy and an inability to provide public services and security, among other key challenges. Given that democratic deficits often underlie state fragility, sustainably reducing fragility requires strengthening democratic institutions that fulfill the social contract, ensuring citizens have avenues to freely express their political views, and enabling robust political parties to translate citizens’ views into policy and address associated concerns.

The United States and like-minded allies have made important strides in addressing challenges from fragile states and appropriately prioritizing democracy and governance as a part of the solution. This includes, most recently, the United States creating its Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability (SPCPS), as mandated by the 2019 Global Fragility Act (GFA). In it, the United States argues for the importance of democracy and governance to addressing fragility: “Our efforts through the Global Fragility Act will advance the President’s call to action … to demonstrate that democratic governance and respect for human rights deliver for all people; that this approach is the best way to reduce fragility, advance sustainable development,

Unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential

Aubrey Hruby and Fatima Ezzahra Mengoub

The rise of agriculture technology (AgTech) solutions in Africa has opened significant avenues to transform food systems and tackle long-standing obstacles to enhance smallholder productivity. To effectively expand these promising, yet nascent, AgTech solutions, collaborative efforts involving African governments, development partners, and AgTech innovators are essential. Scaling these solutions requires African governments to establish comprehensive digital-infrastructure and development partners to prioritize investments in digital solutions tailored to alleviate market and financial barriers faced by smallholder farmers.

Fostering economic growth in Africa’s agricultural sector hinges on millions of smallholder farmers effectively implementing new technologies.

This issue brief explores the factors that have contributed to scaling prominent AgTech companies in Africa. Additionally, the brief examines a case study from India, where the digital revolution has helped AgTech solutions reach smallholder farmers. Drawing insights from this analysis, the brief provides recommendations to African governments and development partners to establish environments conducive to AgTech companies’ growth, thereby contributing to economic advancement and prosperity.

The Russian Oil Price Cap Can Work Again

Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld

As Mark Twain might say, reports of the death of G-7 Russian oil price cap have been greatly exaggerated.

Devised by the U.S. Treasury Department and adopted by all the G-7 and European Union countries, the novel oil price cap was designed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to limit the price of Russian crude oil to $60 per barrel while simultaneously ensuring global market stability. Over the past several weeks, a flood of media and expert commentators have argued that the Russian oil price cap is effectively dead. One opinion piece in Bloomberg was unambiguous, titled: “It’s Time to Scrap the Russian Oil Price Cap.”

We helped advise the U.S. Treasury Department in setting up the oil price cap and strongly disagree. Sure, there is no question there has been some reduction in the efficacy of the price cap from when it worked so well at the start of this year, as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently acknowledged and as leading economists from the Kyiv School of Economics helped expose.

The reasons why are hardly a secret. With global oil prices on the rise, and as U.S. policymakers have long expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin is becoming increasingly creative in devising ways to get around the price cap, including by building a Russian “shadow fleet” of ocean tankers that fall outside G-7 jurisdiction. As a result, since the summer, Russian energy revenues are up, and Russian oil is now trading closer to global oil prices—referred to as the Brent benchmark—than the price cap’s $60 ceiling.


Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Kateryna Stepanenko, Angelica Evans, and Mason Clark

Russia advanced legal mechanisms to reform the Leningrad Military District as part of ongoing large-scale military reforms. The Russian federal portal of draft regulatory legal acts published a presidential decree on October 8, prepared by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), which proposes stripping the Northern Fleet (NF) of its status as an “interspecific strategic territorial association.”[1] Russian state media noted that the proposal indicates that the NF will no longer be a separate military-administrative unit equal to a military district, suggesting that the NF and its four constituent regions (The Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk oblasts, and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug) will be transferred to the reformed Leningrad Military District.[2] Russian military analyst Yuri Fedorov noted that the recreation of the Leningrad Military District suggests that Russia is preparing for possible conflicts with Baltic states and NATO.[3] The Russian military merged the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts into the Western Military District in 2010.[4] The MoD created the Northern Fleet in 2014 out of territory covered by the Western Military District, and Russian President Vladimir Putin made the NF a military-administrative unit equal to a military district starting January 1, 2021.[5] Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed the recreation of the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts on the basis of the Western Military District (reversing the 2010 and 2014 changes) in December of 2022, and confirmed that these military districts were under active formation as of August 2023.[6] The MoD’s decision to re-divide the WMD indicates Russia sees the need to restructure its forces facing NATO and likely posture on the Finnish border, although it remains unclear how Russia will be able to mobilize, train, and organize these forces into new military district-level formations.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and marginally advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast on October 8. Geolocated footage published on October 8 shows that Ukrainian forces made limited gains north of Novoprokopivka (14km south of Orikhiv),

Army Adapts War Doctrine to Fight Cyberattacks


The war in Ukraine has further reinforced a growing US military information age are of emphasis, given the impactful extend to cyber and electronic warfare tactics being employed.

The use of cyber and EW techniques, some of which go back to 2014 for Russia, highlights the Pentagon and US Army's doctrinal adjustment to the dawn of the computer age in recent decades. This transition from a 20-year focus on counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq to conventional large-scale combat operations with near-peer threats has revealed that certain doctrines need of revision. The Department of Defense (DoD) has been intently focused on integrating these variables into plans and training exercises. Spearheading this is the DoD-established US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). USCYBERCOM is the dedicated combatant command responsible for defending against and conducting cyber warfare operations across all military branches. These operations can target enemy communications, command and control systems, and critical infrastructure, crippling an adversary's ability to wage war. With an equally focused mission on defending against cyber threats, they work to protect critical infrastructure, military systems, and sensitive information from cyberattacks.

Each branch of the military maintains a unique electronic warfare capabilities toolbox. The Army, for example, has begun to focus on jamming resistance, with the goal of enabling sustained operations in a degraded EW environment. The Army’s preoccupation with cyber capabilities is reflected by its decision to update FM 3-12, the doctrinal guide for cyber operations and electromagnetic warfare, in August 2021, superseding the previous version from 2017. As more sophisticated technology is integrated into equipment to help soldiers “Shoot, Move, and Communicate”, the ability to counteract attacks on these systems is vital to maintain an advantage on the battlefield.

With Turkish drones in the headlines, what happened to Ukraine’s Bayraktar TB2s?


BEIRUT — When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, an unlikely technological folk hero emerged as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance: the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle. The drone became intrinsically tied to the public’s perception of Ukraine’s underdog fight against Moscow, to the point that weeks into the fight a government-organized song about the system had become an international sensation.

But as the war crosses into its nineteenth month, the TB2 has largely faded from the conversation — or at least it had, until the US government announced on Oct. 5 that an American F-16 had shot down a Turkish drone over Syria, which Politico reported was a TB2.

It’s an awkward situation, with one NATO ally having shot down the aircraft of another. But it has brought Turkish drones, of which the TB2 produced by Turkish firm Baykar is the most high-profile, back into the spotlight, and raised the question of what the drone has been doing in Ukraine as it has faded from the spotlight.

Analysts tell Breaking Defense that there has been a shift in the TB2’s use as the direct result of Russia’s change in air defense tactics over the course of the war.

America’s framework to lead on AI


Technology and geopolitical power have a long and interconnected history. The nations that have harnessed new technologies to gain strategic advantages, and advanced their societies to new heights in the process, have been able to leverage their innovations to influence global affairs and shift power dynamics. Those that have failed to develop and adapt to these technologies have fallen behind at home and abroad.

Eras of human history are often defined by technological breakthroughs, from the Iron and Bronze Ages to those of Sail and of Steam. As technology has advanced, it has usually been scientists who have foreseen these new inventions. In 1939, it was Albert Einstein who wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt, predicting the dawn of the Nuclear Age. The same is happening today: our leading minds are observing the dawn of the Age of AI. Henry Kissenger and Eric Schmidt with Daniel Huttenlocher wrote, “[AI] bids to transform the human cognitive process as it has not been shaken up since the invention of the printing press.”

As we look to the future, we can see the transformative power of Generative AI (GenAI). The latest breakthroughs have rapidly transformed GenAI models from harmless novelties to powerful tools that can match or surpass human capabilities in many areas. Today — when coupled with accessible, easy-to-use user interfaces — nearly anyone with an Internet connection can create text, images, code and more with only a simple call to a Chatbot.

Ukraine cyber-conflict: Hacking gangs vow to de-escalate

Joe Tidy

On Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued the first list of rules for civilian hackers ever created.

Dubbed a "Geneva Code of cyber-war", it was initially criticised as unworkable.

But now Ukrainian and Russian hackers say they will comply with the rules.

Since the invasion of Ukraine there has been a steady stream of disruptive cyber-attacks against public services in both Ukraine and Russia with varying degrees of impact.

Hacktivist groups have been using largely unsophisticated forms of cyber-attack, but successfully temporarily disrupted banks, companies, pharmacies, hospitals, railway networks and civilian government services for Ukrainian and Russian citizens.

With few soft targets in government or military, hacktivists on both sides have revelled in causing friction for ordinary people to further their causes, often collecting angry social media posts from those affected by their attacks.

By vowing to comply with the ICRC rules, hacker groups will avoid cyber-attacks that affect civilians.

AI won’t realize its potential without web3

Max Yakubowski

Headlines touting the allure of artificial intelligence’s (AI) disruptive potential might make it seem like we’re already on the cusp of a completely automated and decentralized future. However, the reality is that, while this will be a transformative journey, it will likely be an incremental one over the next decade. First applications will be built by AI as a supporting developer tool. In the next phase of adoption, we will see a transition to applications with AI built-in. Here’s what to expect.

What is built-in AI?

Built-in AI is the natural progression of the AI app revolution from merely amplifying the production of apps to seeing the explosion of apps that use AI as a core part of their functionality. The difference here is that these apps aren’t simply built by AI, but are using AI to create unique value and business models.

Here are potential examples from three distinct sectors showing the difference between apps built by AI and apps with AI as a core functionality:

E-commerce app built by AI: An e-commerce app that is built by AI might have a set of pre-defined templates for product listings, filtering, and sorting. It could automate the process of uploading product images and descriptions by reading data from a spreadsheet, but its functionality might be quite standard and not adapt over time.