24 October 2023

Evidence Shows Hamas Militants Likely Used Some North Korean Weapons in Attack on Israel

Hyung-jin Kim, Kim Tong-hyung and Jon Gambrell

Suspected North Korean-made F-7 rocket-propelled grenades, many with a distinctive red stripe on their warhead, are seen at an Israeli military base in southern Israel.

Hamas fighters likely fired North Korean weapons during their October 7 assault on Israel, a militant video and weapons seized by Israel show, despite Pyongyang’s denials that it arms the militant group.

South Korean officials, two experts on North Korean arms, and an Associated Press analysis of weapons captured on the battlefield by Israel point toward Hamas using Pyongyang’s F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, a shoulder-fired weapon that fighters typically use against armored vehicles.

The evidence shines a light on the murky world of the illicit arms shipments that sanction-battered North Korea uses as a way to fund its own conventional and nuclear weapons programs.

Rocket-propelled grenade launchers fire a single warhead and can be quickly reloaded, making them valuable weapons for guerrilla forces in running skirmishes with heavy vehicles. The F-7 has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip, said N.R. Jenzen-Jones, a weapons expert who works as the director of the consultancy Armament Research Services.

Why We Should Fear China More Than Middle Eastern War

Ross Douthat

On Thursday, Joe Biden gave a speech linking the Israel-Hamas conflict and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and framing American involvement as part of a grand strategy to contain our enemies and rivals. “When terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression,” he declared, “they keep going. And the cost and the threats to America and the world keep rising.”

Broadly speaking, Biden is correct; the United States has a strong interest in preventing rival powers from redrawing maps or undermining America’s democratic allies. But the difference between the president’s strategic analysis and the kind I’ve tried to offer recently is twofold: the general absence, in Biden’s words, of any acknowledgment of difficult trade-offs and the specific absence of any reference to China as a potentially more significant threat than Russia or Iran.

These absences are not particularly surprising. It’s normal for American presidents to say chest-pounding things like “There is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity” rather than to talk about possible limits on our strength. And since we don’t actually want to be at war with China, it makes a certain sense to avoid lumping Beijing in with Moscow and Tehran.

But presidential rhetoric and policy are inevitably linked, and the China threat that doesn’t exist in Biden’s speech barely exists in his funding request: The administration is asking Congress for over $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel and just $2 billion for the Indo-Pacific. Likewise, a president’s rhetoric lacunas inform political priorities, at least within his own coalition. If you can’t talk about why we need to worry about Chinese power alongside Russian or Iranian aggression, the people who listen to you may assume there’s nothing to worry about.

India’s Digital Footprint on the Israel-Gaza War

Antara Chakraborthy and Yasmine Wong

In the wake of the Israel conflict, Aditya Raj Kaul, an Indian journalist known for his pro-BJP views, posted on X (formerly Twitter) about the atrocities committed by Hamas, alleging that a pregnant woman was dissected by Hamas, killing the unborn child. As of writing, the post has been viewed 10.2 million times with more than 21,000 retweets, including one from Ben Shapiro, who disseminated it to his large following.

However, this story remains unverified.

The Israel-Palestine conflict was a hotbed for conspiracies and false information even before the current flashpoint. While researchers so far have found minimal evidence of disinformation of foreign origin, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has nonetheless observed a surge in misinformation. This reveals the significance and salience of the digital battlefield in modern day warfare and combat, engaging the participation of citizens beyond the Middle East in a battle of discourse and ideology.

Amid this fragmented information sphere, the manufacture of and engagement with pro-Israel content among Indian nationals, more significantly among right-wing Hindu nationalists, have not escaped popular attention.

BOOM, a reputable Indian fact-checking service, found several verified Indian X users at the front and center of a “disinformation campaign” that targets Palestine with negative news while supporting Israel. In one instance, a video purporting to show young girls taken by a Palestinian fighter as sex slaves was circulated on X. This video had no context and was likely from a school trip to Jerusalem, but this was shared widely by Indian accounts.


Johanna Moore, Ashka Jhaveri, Annika Ganzeveld, Kathryn Tyson, Amin Soltani and Brian Carter

The Iran Update provides insights into Iranian and Iranian-sponsored activities abroad that undermine regional stability and threaten US forces and interests. It also covers events and trends that affect the stability and decision-making of the Iranian regime. The Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) provides these updates regularly based on regional events. For more on developments and in Iran and the region, see our interactive map of Iran and the Middle East.

Key Takeaways:
  1. Palestinian militias continued indirect fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel on October 20. Hamas also released two American hostages held in Gaza, marking the first time Hamas has released any hostages since its October 7 attack into Israel.
  2. Clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli security forces in the West Bank increased following Hamas calls for protests on October 18. The Israel-Hamas War may be driving Palestinian militia coordination in the West Bank.
  3. Iranian-backed militants targeted US forces stationed at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) and al Harir Air Base on October 20, marking the third consecutive day of attacks against US forces in the Middle East. Iranian-backed Iraqi militias have threatened to continue attacks on US forces in the Middle East.

Israel is trapped by Western guilt


“Great wars in history eventually became great wars about history,” wrote the Israeli-American historian Michael Oren in 1999. It’s hard to think of a country for which this is more obviously true than Israel, though Ireland, Ukraine or even today’s United States might have something to say about that. Either way, the truth of Oren’s insight remains.

History is not some dry mathematical exercise, events mere beads on an abacus. It is built on human imagination: on the myths and ideas that define us. After all, most history today is told as national history — and what is a nation but a group of people who decide they are one? What, for that matter, is an ummah, a diaspora, race or religion? None of these things are facts, but make-believe constructs that are no less real for being so.

And so we return to Israel. On the one hand, we have the brute facts of the past fortnight — the abacus of despair. On 7 October, a coordinated attack by Hamas saw hundreds of Palestinian men break into Israel with the aim of murdering and kidnapping as many Jews as possible. The result was the worst loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust; the worst terrorist attack in Israeli history; more than 1,400 dead and 199 captured. Then came the inevitable response: the air assault on Gaza which has killed at least 3,000 Palestinians. 
And now the fog of war.

Today, a simple recounting of events is all but impossible, each story revealing far more about its narrator than the battle between Israel and Hamas. For some on the Left, for example, it is now “racist” to say the mass slaughter of Israelis was in any way antisemitic. Apparently, to do so is to project European values onto the Palestinians — who do not care about ethnicity, only occupation. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a take come so close to genuine insight, only to fall into the mud at the last. Can there be anything more obsessively Western than such an insistence on framing everything through the lens of colonialism and racism?

West Bank on verge of explosion as Israel-Hamas war rages into week 3

Ahmad Melhem

A woman draped in a Palestinian flag prepares to hurl stones toward Israeli forces during clashes with them at the northern entrance of the West Bank city of Ramallah near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on October 20, 2023.

As the Hamas-Israel war rages in Gaza, Israel is intensifying raids and arrests in the West Bank in an attempt to prevent an eruption on another front.

The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah reported that at least 81 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or settlers in the West Bank since the Gaza conflict erupted on October 7.

Palestinians in the West Bank are enraged by the bombardment of Gaza along with the silence of the Arab states and the international community, which they view as complicit in Israel's actions. Their anger is also directed at the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its stance, which they believe does not meet the moment of what Israel is doing to Gaza.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds flooded the streets of major West Bank cities and towns after a deadly airstrike, initially blamed on Israel, hit al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, killing hundreds of Palestinians.

Hezbollah 'recalculating' Israel's deterrence after Hamas attack, US aid

Ben Caspit

US President Joe Biden’s brief visit to Israel in the midst of a war, his repeated statements of unequivocal support and a proposed aid package estimated at $14 billion have resonated deeply with Israelis across the political spectrum.

Even the most tenacious followers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were left dumbstruck. For months, they had mocked Biden for his advanced age, and now they find themselves busy trying to scrub posts, tweets and statements accusing him of meddling in the government’s planned judicial overhaul by urging Netanyahu to seek broad consensus for such a controversial move.

“The president has proven his commitment to Israel's security not only in words, but also in deeds,” a senior Israeli war cabinet official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “In addition to the two aircraft carriers [deployed to the Mediterranean] and his visit to Israel, he will pass an unprecedented security aid package in Congress that will include means never before provided to us by the United States and will enable us to deal with the most difficult threats and challenges as well as greatly enhance our ability to conduct a prolonged military campaign.”

The Americans are planning to fill Israel’s arsenals with ammunition of all kinds, especially smart bombs and Iron Dome anti-missile interceptors, to prepare for the coming weeks and months and avoid having to mount an emergency airlift if war breaks out with Hezbollah in addition to fighting Hamas.

Impact of Hamas Attack on American Politics Could be Significant

Bill Schneider

The rule in American politics is this: Foreign policy may not save you — but it can defeat you.

Lyndon Johnson presided over a period of record prosperity and domestic achievements in the 1960s. But the deeply unpopular Vietnam war made it impossible for him to run for re-election in 1968.

After the Gulf War in 1991, President George H.W. Bush, who had overthrown Saddam Hussein, stood astride the world like a colossus. His job approval was at 89%. But the recession of 1990-1991 took its toll. Bush’s job approval sank to 29% in July 1992. He was defeated for re-election a few months later.

President Biden is drawing broad acclaim for his staunch support of Israel following the murderous October 7 assaults on Israelis, which saw more than 1,300 Jews killed. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) called it “the largest single-day mass murder of Jews since the Holocaust.” Biden’s October 10 remarks were a model of moral clarity: “In this moment, we must be clear. We stand with Israel. We stand with Israel. … Let there be no doubt. The United States has Israel’s back.”

In politics, timing is everything. There were scattered utterances of pro-Palestinian sentiment on the far left, but they were quickly repudiated. The New York Times quoted Stu Loeser, an adviser to New York Democrats, saying, “This is not a time for nuance. … It is an important ‘Which side are you on?’ moment.”

Ships, Planes, Weapons, Troops: Here’s All the Military Support the U.S. Is Readying for Israel


Within hours of the horrific Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the U.S. began moving warships and aircraft to the region to be ready to provide Israel with whatever it needed to respond. On Tuesday, more ships and forces were heading toward Israel, and other troops in the U.S. were preparing to deploy if called on.

One U.S. aircraft carrier and its strike group are already in the eastern Mediterranean and a second one has left the U.S. and is heading that way. In addition, three Marine warships are moving into the region. Scores of aircraft were dispatched to U.S. military bases around the Middle East, and American special operations forces are working with Israel's military in planning and intelligence.

As of Tuesday, five shipments of U.S. weapons and equipment had arrived in Israel.

The buildup reflects growing U.S. concern that the deadly fighting between Hamas and Israel will escalate into wider regional conflict. So the key mission for American ships and warplanes is to establish a large and visible presence that will deter Hezbollah, Iran or others from taking advantage of the situation.

A look at what weapons and assistance the U.S. military is providing:

Navy ships and planes

One of the most visible examples of the U.S. response is in the waters surrounding Israel — an array of massive warships are in or moving toward the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Does Israel have effective nuclear weapons? Chinese military experts have doubts

Victoria Bela

As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on in Gaza, international organisations have expressed their concern over a widening of the conflict, which has the potential to involve nuclear weapons.

On October 7, the surprise Hamas attack on Israel began a war that has taken the lives of thousands of civilians. As Israel continues to enact what United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called “collective punishment” against Palestinian civilians, fear and anger have grown.

The attack on Israel also exposed a weakness in its military defence, with many questioning whether Israel could still defend itself with conventional weapons.

In an October 9 post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Israeli lawmaker Revital Gotliv urged the government to unleash a “doomsday weapon” carried by Israel’s Jericho ballistic missiles.

But the extent of Israel’s nuclear capabilities – and whether the country could use them effectively in battle – remains an open question.

Many international organisations and countries – including China – believe that Israel has nuclear weapons. But Israel has conducted few, if any, tests. The mystery that surrounds its nuclear programme has sparked questions among military experts about the nation’s actual deterrence capabilities.

A Year on, Billions in Afghan Assets Linger in Switzerland

Catherine Cartier

Billions of frozen assets from Afghanistan’s Central Bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), face an uncertain future in Switzerland, over a year after a fund was established to disburse them. In September 2022, the Fund for the Afghan People was created with a mandate to disburse $3.5 billion in DAB’s assets in support of Afghanistan’s macroeconomic stability. But since then, no disbursements have been made.

The future of the assets will be decided by two Afghan economists and a pair of representatives from the U.S. and Swiss governments. The U.S. government maintains that DAB has not met the conditions for disbursements, but has not shared the results of a U.S.-funded audit of the bank with the Fund’s board. “We should be able to see that,” said Dr. Shah Mehrabi, a board member of the Fund and member of the Supreme Council of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, in an interview with The Diplomat.

On August 15, 2021, the day the Taliban seized power, the Biden administration froze over $7 billion in Afghan government funds held in U.S. bank accounts. In February 2022, the administration issued Executive Order 14064, which blocked the reserves and consolidated them into a single account.

The order set aside half of the funds for the families of 9/11 victims, a decision later rejected by a federal judge in New York. The other half was designated “for the benefit of the Afghan people,” the White House stated. The Fund for the Afghan People was subsequently established in September 2022 to undertake this mission.

Philippine Military to Create ‘Cyber Command’ to Combat Online Attacks

Sebastian Strangio

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is creating a “cyber command” to bolster its defenses amid a wave of recent online attacks on Philippine companies and government institutions, its commander said yesterday.

Speaking at a media forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Gen. Romeo Brawner said that the AFP planned to relax its recruitment rules to ensure it can attract the experts necessary to fortify its cyber-defences.

“Instead of recruiting soldiers for infantry battalions, this time we will recruit cyber warriors,” Brawner told reporters. “There is this general realization that this new breed of warriors does not have to be muscle strong.”

The Philippines military already has a cyber security group that tracks and protects the country from attacks. But the plan was to expand this into a full-fledged “Cyber Security Command or Cyber Command” that will be equipped with vastly more resources and personnel. Brawner said that the cyber domain “is one of the more important domains in warfare, especially in the future.”

“Our plan is to create a cyber armed forces occupational service,” he added. “So the soldiers we are going to recruit for this will not have to go through the normal process because we understand that some of them will not be able to cope. What we are after is their skills and intellect when it comes to cyber.”

China vs US Approaches to AI Governance

Adam Au

As artificial intelligence (AI) barrels into every facet of life, its relentless momentum brings escalating perils. Differing attitudes toward governance have forked the policy roadmaps of two AI superpowers: China and the United States. With the most advanced AI capabilities and industries globally, both countries set influential norms that ripple worldwide. Their regulations carry global significance as an AI arms race unfolds between the two fierce rivals.

In the United States, comprehensive AI legislation has been extremely slow to materialize, if not completely absent. Substantial investments have been made in AI R&D, yet governance remains decentralized and inconsistent. The U.S. lacks a unified AI strategy similar to the European Union’s upcoming Artificial Intelligence Act. Instead, Washington is taking a fragmented approach spread across voluntary recommendations and non-binding regulations.

With limited bipartisan appetite for sweeping AI legislation, targeted laws concentrated on urgent issues like privacy may be more viable in the near term. After all, given that the concept of the right of privacy was arguably popularized by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis over a century ago, a federal data privacy law akin to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation remains long overdue. While regulators have been slow to act, signs point to Main Street demanding oversight to rein in AI’s risks before the genie fully escapes from the bottle.

Don’t Count on China’s Belt and Road Initiative to Disappear

Jacob Gunter

While China hosted a multitude of partners at the Belt and Road Forum this week in Beijing, many of us in Western capitals are pouring over a decade of entrails to try to determine the fate of Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative has developed over the last 10 years to cover much of the globe and to bring China’s financial, industrial, and commercial strength to bear in infrastructure development.

However, as the years have passed, the scale of BRI activity has ebbed, and some have predicted (or even hoped for) the policy’s imminent fading into the ether. As we enter the second decade of the BRI and consider its impact, we should keep in mind three things.

First, the diminishing amount of capital allocated to the BRI is not indicative of the initiative’s failure. Over the years, the BRI has been compared to the Marshall Plan, and while hardly a one-to-one comparison, there is some value in this framing. The vast bulk of the capital injected into the Marshall Plan came in a surge over just a few short years, and it would be absurd to judge it as a failure because the scale of capital flows diminished over time. The BRI should similarly be judged not on capital flows, but on the impact that the projects under its umbrella have had.

With Putin by His Side, Xi Outlines His Vision of a New World Order

David Pierson, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Tiffany May

The leaders of China and Russia hailed each other as “old” and “dear” friends. They took swipes at the United States and depicted themselves as building a “fairer, multipolar world.” And they marveled at their countries’ “deepening” trust.

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, used a Beijing-led conference of leaders from mostly developing countries on Wednesday to showcase his ambitions to reshape the global order, as the world grapples with a war in Ukraine and a crisis in Gaza. He cast his country as an alternative to the leadership of the United States. And he gave a prominent role to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, underscoring how central their relationship is to Mr. Xi’s vision.

The event, the Belt and Road Forum, is centered on China’s signature foreign policy initiative, which aims to expand Beijing’s influence abroad with infrastructure projects. Mr. Putin was treated as the guest of honor and often pictured by Mr. Xi’s side. The two leaders also met for three hours in Beijing on Wednesday.

While Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi huddled, President Biden landed in Israel on a visit aimed at preventing the war between Israel and Hamas from spreading. Though Mr. Xi did not publicly remark on the war, Mr. Putin, at a news briefing, blamed the United States for increasing tensions in the Middle East by sending warships to the region. He said that such regional conflicts were “shared threats that only strengthen Russo-Chinese relations.”

China’s Great Leap Backward


China’s ongoing economic slowdown is partly the result of its failure to implement crucial structural reforms that would have enabled it to escape the middle-income trap. While previous Chinese leaders saw economic prosperity as the key to maintaining popular support, Xi Jinping has prioritized political control over growth.

Ten years ago this November, the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its Third Plenum, outlining a series of far-reaching reforms designed to sustain China’s rapid economic growth. Around that time, a naive extrapolation based on the difference in growth rates between China and the United States suggested that China’s GDP would overtake America’s by 2021. Some speculated that this could happen as early as 2019.

These predictions have been far off the mark. With the US economy outperforming expectations and the Chinese economy slowing, Goldman Sachs and others now estimate that China’s GDP may not catch up with that of the US until 2035, if ever. And even if it does, it would likely be only temporary. China’s GDP is now projected to peak around mid-century, after which its shrinking labor force will offset any productivity gains.

To be sure, in purchasing-power-parity terms, China already overtook the US in 2017. But for many purposes, such as estimating military capabilities or determining International Monetary Fund quotas, it is more useful to compare national GDPs at current exchange rates.

What is most significant in the Pentagon's China military report?

Idrees Ali and Michael Martina

The Pentagon this week released its annual report on China's military, which touches on wide-ranging issues related to some of the most important developments in China's national security over the past year. Here are some key highlights:


China has more than 500 operational nuclear warheads in its arsenal and will probably have over 1,000 warheads by 2030, the report said.

In a previous report, the Pentagon estimated that Beijing had more than 400 operational nuclear warheads in 2021.


The report said China probably completed the construction of its three new silo fields in 2022, which has at least 300 new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos.

The report said China may be exploring developing conventionally armed intercontinental-range missile systems, which, if developed, could allow Beijing to threaten the United States.


China has been expanding its global military footprint, though it is still much smaller than the United States' network of bases.

Saudi Arabia Energy Profile: World’s Top Crude Oil Exporter

Saudi Arabia was the world’s third-highest crude oil and condensate producer, the world’s top crude oil exporter, and OPEC’s top crude oil producer in 2022.1

Saudi Arabia is a key member of OPEC+, and in October 2022, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members agreed to crude oil production cuts intended to rebalance the global oil market, hedge against downside risks of decreased oil demand, and raise falling crude oil prices.2 In May 2023, Saudi Arabia and several OPEC+ members further reduced crude oil production and extended cuts through 2024. Saudi Arabia voluntarily decreased oil production by an additional 1 million barrels per day (b/d) from July 2023 through December 2023, with possible extensions that depend on the status of the oil market.3

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 supports extensive renewable energy and nonassociated natural gas development throughout the country and seeks to decrease oil- and associated natural gas-fired electricity generation in favor of renewable-sourced generation.4 Saudi Aramco expects Jafurah, the largest unconventional natural gas field in Saudi Arabia, to begin production in 2025, and the Saudi National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) expects renewable energy sources to account for 50% of generated electricity in Saudi Arabia by 2030.5

Petroleum and other liquids

Saudi Arabia produced 12.1 million b/d in total liquid fuels in 2022, up 12% from 10.8 million b/d in 2021.

Saudi Arabia produced 10.4 million b/d of crude oil in 2022, 14% higher than the 9.1 million b/d in 2021.6 This increase drives Saudi Arabia’s increased total liquid fuels production, reflecting a gradual reversal of OPEC+ production cuts from 2020.7

The failed lessons of Libya


On 11 September, massive floods created by Storm Daniel ruptured two dams built in the Seventies to protect Derna in eastern Libya, exposing its denizens to unstoppable torrents of water. The smell of rotting bodies and sewage seeping from busted pipes suffused the air. Bridges were broken, homes demolished. Contaminated water, wrecked sanitation systems, and the shortage of potable water has raised fears about the outbreak of cholera. The UN reports that 43,000 people have been displaced, with 11,300 killed and 9,000 still missing.

Though forgotten by the media in the face of more immediate Middle-Eastern tragedies, a UN mission is attempting to restore order. But such ambitions, reasonable in theory, fundamentally depend on the domestic political situation and whether the government in charge is competent or, as in Libya’s case, broken. Such analysis of Libya as a “failed state” is a longstanding characterisation in the West, and has similarly been revived in recent months as an explanation for the renewed flow of refugees to Europe.

But while blaming this on the breakdown of governance in Libya is a logical first step, we mustn’t stop there. That would be to ignore the roots of the dysfunction, which can be traced to the Nato-led intervention launched on 19 March, 2011. Libya’s state didn’t passively “fail”; the West triggered its failure through its programme of so-called humanitarian interventionism.

This isn’t to say that the description of state failure inside Libya is incorrect. It’s undeniable — indeed at present there isn’t a “state” to speak of. Not only does the country contain two rival governments (one in the capital, Tripoli, the other in Tobruk), but a Gaddafi-era general, Khalifa Haftar, acts autonomously and answers to neither administration, though he nominally backs the one in the east. Beyond him, a multitude of armed militias dominate fragments of the country and thrive by running illicit businesses. Terrorist groups and drug and human trafficking networks add to the mayhem. Outsiders — including Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Syria and the United Arab Emirates — have worsened the turmoil and violence by backing different Libyan clients.

How War in Grenada Built U.S. SOCOM

Forrest L. Marion
In mid-October 1983, a “sordid little Leninist dictatorship” on the Caribbean Island of Grenada crumbled, resulting in the British Commonwealth country’s takeover by a more-leftist military junta. The situation immediately raised concerns in Washington regarding the potential for a large-scale hostage crisis in addition to the threat of regional instability within the Cold War’s context.

From 1979 to 1983, the revolutionary Grenadian government, led by Maurice Bishop, established close ties with Cuba and the Soviet Union. Probably its most important project was the construction of an international airport with a 9,000-foot runway. The government stated the airport was for tourism, but, inexplicably, the hotels to support the anticipated increase in visitors were lacking. Tellingly, the Point Salines airport on Grenada’s southern coast was to be capable of handling Soviet military aircraft. President Ronald Reagan called Grenada “a Soviet-Cuban colony being readied as a major military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy.”

On October 19, 1983, Bishop – considered not leftist enough by some of his fellow Marxists – was murdered. Within days, Reagan approved the chairman of the joint chiefs’ recommendation to develop plans for possible hostilities on the island, should the Grenadians and/or the Cubans – 450 of the latter were building the airport – oppose a U.S. evacuation of its citizens. Of greatest concern to the Reagan administration was the presence of several hundred medical students on the island. It feared “another Tehran” – referring to the hostage crisis in 1979-80 that contributed to President Jimmy Carter’s failed reelection bid.

Yes, the U.S. Can Afford to Help Its Allies

David Frum

As his address to the nation from the Oval Office last night underlined, President Joe Biden is expected to send a defense-appropriations request to Congress for perhaps as much as $100 billion to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, and to improve U.S. border security. It’s a big request—and it will galvanize a debate about whether the United States is doing too much.

Existing critics of Ukraine aid are already complaining that to add an effort to resupply Israel will prove too crushing. Is that true?

Let’s carefully tally American resources and American commitments.

Thanks to its remarkable rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, the American economy will this year produce $27 trillion in goods and services. In the fiscal year that ended on September 30, the U.S. spent about $850 billion of that $27 trillion on national defense. That rounds out at a little more than 3 percent of GDP. That’s only about half of the burden of defense spending that the U.S. shouldered during the final decade of the Cold War.

To date, aid to Ukraine has cost a fraction of that percentage. By mid-September, the total value of the aid provided to Ukraine by the U.S. amounted to about $75 billion. Nearly a third of that sum (about $23 billion) was the value of old equipment from Pentagon stockpiles, material that was on its way to becoming obsolete anyway. The remainder included funding U.S. government operations to support Ukraine—training, logistics, and so on—and direct assistance to the Ukrainian government.

Biden Wanted to End ‘Forever Wars.’ Now He Looks Like a Wartime President.

Sabrina Siddiqui and Vivian Salama

President Biden entered the White House with the goal of ending the “forever wars” that had consumed America for two decades and instead focusing on domestic priorities and girding the U.S. to compete with China.

The Hamas-Israel war—and Biden’s response—risks overwhelming that agenda.

Following Hamas’s onslaught on Israel two weeks ago, Biden has given steadfast U.S. support to Israel, illustrated this week by his unprecedented wartime visit to Tel Aviv and embrace of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Hamas’s stronghold, nevertheless has magnified a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, and the conflict threatens to spread.

After an explosion at a Gaza hospital that each side blamed on the other, a planned Biden meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders in Jordan fell apart, skewing the trip’s optics in favor of Israel. Biden tried to balance that impression by announcing a $100 million humanitarian-assistance package for the West Bank and Gaza and issuing pleas to Israel to minimize civilian casualties.

The conflict is the second hot war Biden has invested with U.S. power and prestige—if not American troops—after Russia’s assault on Ukraine. By Thursday, Biden was looking very much the wartime president, sitting in the Oval Office behind the Resolute desk and appealing to the American public and Congress to support Israel and Ukraine.

Ukraine Must Prepare for a Hard Winter

Dr Jack Watling

The lack of a breakthrough in Ukraine’s summer offensive and the shift in materiel advantage mean that Kyiv must fight carefully if it is to retain the initiative.

Despite the determined efforts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), five months of offensive operations have not breached Russia’s defence lines in Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine retains some options to make Russian dispositions uncomfortable, but it is highly unlikely that there will be a breakthrough towards Tokmak this year unless Russian forces decide to withdraw. The Ukrainians now face a difficult set of competing imperatives: to maintain pressure on the Russians while reconstituting their units for future offensive operations.

Attrition and Initiative

Both Russia and Ukraine have struggled to generate offensive combat power in 2023. The heavy attrition of experienced junior officers and trained field-grade staff has limited the scale at which offensive action can be synchronised. Combined with terrain that contains fighting and the canalising effect of dense minefields, Ukrainian forces have been restricted to company-scale operations. When they have expanded the scale of operations, Ukrainian forces have found that they lose synchronisation with their supporting arms. Russia has similarly struggled to synchronise and coordinate larger-scale activities, but this has not prevented it from attempting them, at great cost in personnel and materiel.


Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, Karolina Hird, and Mason Clark

Russian forces launched a renewed offensive push near Avdiivka on October 20 and marginally advanced, indicating that the Russian military command remains committed to offensive operations in the area despite heavy materiel and personnel losses. Geolocated footage published on October 20 shows that Russian forces secured minor advances west of Krasnohorivka (5km north of Avdiivka).[1] Russian milbloggers and a Ukrainian military observer claimed that Russian forces captured a Ukrainian stronghold near the waste heap just northeast of Avdiivka, advanced to a rail station north of Avdiivka, and advanced near the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant south of Avdiivka.[2] One prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Sieverne (6km west of Avdiivka), south of Avdiivka, near Stepove (8km northwest of Avdiivka), and near Novokalynove (11km northwest of Avdiivka), however.[3] Other milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced up to one kilometer on the Stepove-Berdychi line (8-10km northwest of Avdiivka) on October 19 and that fighting is ongoing near Berdychi on October 20.[4] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka, Novokalynove, Stepove, Pervomaiske (11km southwest of Avdiivka), and Sieverne.[5]

The Ukrainian General Staff reported on October 20 that Ukrainian forces damaged and destroyed almost 50 Russian tanks and over 100 armored vehicles during the past day of fighting near Avdiivka.[6] Ukrainian soldiers operating in the Avdiivka area reported on October 20 that Ukrainian forces have destroyed 200 Russian armored vehicles in the past four days.[7] Avdiivka City Military Administration Head Vitaliy Barabash stated that Russian forces are attempting to repair damaged equipment while still in the field.[8] Footage published on October 20 shows Ukrainian forces striking a Russian TOS-1 thermobaric artillery system near Avdiivka.[9] A Russian milblogger complained that Russian counterbattery fire near Avdiivka is decreasing in effectiveness due to poor communication and the failure to stockpile munitions ahead of the offensive effort, very likely exacerbating material losses in the area.[10]

Are Fears of A.I. and Nuclear Apocalypse Keeping You Up? Blame Prometheus.

A.O. Scott

This painting shows a large man, naked except for an orange cloth draped around his groin and over one shoulder, kneeling on a flat boulder next to a much smaller, darker naked figure who slumps on the ground with closed eyes. The large man is holding a flaming torch aloft in his right hand.

Prometheus was the Titan who stole fire from the gods of Olympus and gave it to human beings, setting us on a path of glory and disaster and incurring the jealous wrath of Zeus. In the modern world, especially since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, he has served as a symbol of progress and peril, an avatar of both the liberating power of knowledge and the dangers of technological overreach.

Mary Shelley subtitled “Frankenstein,” her Gothic tale of a prototypical mad scientist and his monster, “The Modern Prometheus,” underlining the hubris of the monster’s inventor as well as his idealism — while also emphasizing the fragile humanity of his creation. Shelley’s husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, was less ambivalent. In the preface to his verse drama “Prometheus Unbound,” he described his hero as “the type of the highest perfection of moral and intellectual nature, impelled by the purest and the truest motives to the best and noblest ends.” Prometheus was an emancipator, a rebel on behalf of humanity against Zeus’ tyranny.

More than 200 years after the Shelleys, Prometheus is having another moment, one closer in spirit to Mary’s terrifying ambivalence than to Percy’s fulsome gratitude. As technological optimism curdles in the face of cyber-capitalist villainy, climate disaster and what even some of its proponents warn is the existential threat of A.I., that ancient fire looks less like an ember of divine ingenuity than the start of a conflagration. Prometheus is what we call our capacity for self-destruction.