30 October 2023

Gaza is plagued by poverty, but Hamas has no shortage of cash. Where does it come from?

Dan De Luce and Lisa Cavazuti

Gaza is plagued by poverty, but Hamas has no shortage of cash. Where does it come from?

Hamas has an investment portfolio of real estate and other assets worth $500 million, say experts, and an annual military budget of as much as $350 million.

Members of the Hamas-led government executive security forces take part in an armed exercise inside their base in 2007.Abid Katib / Getty Images file

The unemployment rate in Gaza is 47% and more than 80% of its population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations. Hamas, however, has funded an armed force of thousands equipped with rockets and drones and built a vast web of tunnels under Gaza. Estimates of its annual military budget range from $100 million to $350 million, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.

As the U.S. House and Senate will be asking in separate hearings Wednesday and Thursday, where does all that cash come from?

Since coming to power in the Gaza Strip 17 years ago, Hamas has filled its coffers with hundreds of millions in international aid, overt and covert injections of cash from Iran and other ideological partners, as well as cryptocurrency, taxes, extortion and smuggling, according to current and former U.S. officials and regional experts.

EU's vaunted unity is disintegrating over Gaza crisis


Back in 2019, when the current European Commission assumed its term, its president, German conservative Ursula von der Leyen, proclaimed the ambition to build a “geopolitical Commission,” or to bolster the EU’s ability to act collectively in shaping the international order on a par with such players as the United States and China.

The crisis in Gaza, sparked by the horrific atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist organization Hamas, and concerns about the extent to which the Israeli response would conform to international law, has shattered that ambition, giving way to cacophony and an image of deep divisions within the EU.

That, perhaps, was inevitable given how divisive the Israel-Palestine issue is in the EU — unlike the Russian war in Ukraine that elicited a remarkably unified response from the bloc. The divisions run through the EU’s 27 member states reflecting their different historical experiences and public opinion sensitivities, with Ireland and Spain seen as traditionally most sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause, while Germany, Austria and eastern European states, like Hungary and the Czech Republic, leaning towards Israel.

There are also divisions between the EU institutions themselves, such as Von der Leyen’s Commission, the European Council chaired by the former Belgian prime minister Charles Michel and the European External Action Service, the EU’s fledgling diplomatic service led by the veteran Spanish politician Josep Borrell.

Israeli poll finds 49% support for holding off on Gaza invasion

JERUSALEM, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Almost half of Israelis want to hold off on any invasion of Gaza, according to a poll published on Friday, in what may indicate a dip in support for the planned next stage of the counter-offensive against Hamas militants holding some 200 hostages.

Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas in response to the Palestinian Islamists' killing and kidnapping spree in its southern communities on Oct. 7, and has been stepping up tank and infantry raids in concert with heavy shelling of the enclave.

Asked if the military should immediately escalate to a large-scale ground offensive, 29% of Israelis agreed while 49% said "it would be better to wait" and 22% were undecided, the poll published in the Maariv newspaper said.

The daily said the results contrasted with its Oct. 19 poll that found 65% support for a major ground offensive.

"From a breakdown of the answers, it emerges that there is no division in accordance with political camp or demographics, and that it is almost certain that the developments on the matter of the hostages, which is now topping the agenda, have had a great impact on this shift (in opinion)," Maariv wrote.

Hamas freed four hostages over the last week amid efforts by regional mediator countries to arrange a larger-scale release.

Why Russia and Hamas Are Growing Closer

Moscow’s relationship with the militant group Hamas is part of a Middle East strategy meant to boost its standing in the Global South: an effort that has long involved building ties with both Israel and its sworn enemies.

The Kremlin purports to take a hard stance on terrorism. Yet since the massacre in southern Israel carried out by Hamas militants on October 7, it has only grown closer to the group.

Despite the killing of 16 Russian nationals, and even as Muscovites laid flowers at the Israeli embassy, the Kremlin declined to condemn Hamas’s actions, expressing only “grave concerns.” Some might see its overtures toward the group as an attempt to sow chaos. In fact, Moscow’s goal is to cement its status as a friend of the Global South.

The Kremlin’s relationship with terrorism has a complicated history. The Second Chechen War—a defining episode for President Vladimir Putin early in his rule—was justified as a response to the threat of Islamist terrorism. Not long after, Russia reacted to the 9/11 attacks by lending its support to the United States and backing the invasion of Afghanistan, to the extent that it even countenanced the deployment of U.S. troops to Central Asia. Later, in 2015, Moscow linked its intervention in Syria to the struggle against terrorism.

In Syria, Russia claimed to be targeting “thousands” of ISIS militants from Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union, to which it feared they would spread their ideology if unchecked. And, of course, the Kremlin has not shied away from labeling its political opponents terrorists, from supporters of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny to Ukrainian activists and Crimean Tatar dissidents.

Saudi Arabia Is Mysteriously Absent in the Israel-Hamas War

Steven A. Cook

On Oct. 23, at around the same time the world was learning that the Qatari and Egyptian governments had won the release of two Israeli women who had been held hostage by Hamas, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was featured on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Instagram. The Portuguese soccer star met the crown prince at a panel discussion on the future of esports—that is, competitive video gaming—where the Saudis announced they would host the first-ever Esports World Cup. Important stuff.

Israel’s Military Tech Fetish Is a Failed Strategy

Franz-Stefan Gady

We are still in the early phase of Operation Swords of Iron, the name of the Israeli military response to the horrific Hamas-led massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has predicted a “long war.” Amid an intensifying aerial bombing campaign, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are gearing up for a large-scale ground invasion of densely populated Gaza. The IDF is expected to face stiff resistance on the ground by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other groups, which will try to leverage the urban terrain, civilian population, and vast labyrinth of underground tunnels—dubbed the Gaza metro—for asymmetric advantages in this fight.

Israel’s 4 Bad Options in Gaza


Israeli forces carried out a second ground raid into Gaza this week, backed by fighter jets and drones, the Israel Defense Forces said on Friday. The move comes a day after Israel announced on Thursday that it had conducted an overnight military raid into northern Gaza against several militant targets in order to "prepare the battlefield." Hours later that day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised statement that Israel is readying a ground invasion but declined to offer details around timing or the operation.

Israel’s stated goal is to wipe out Hamas as both a militant group and political force in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army has already carried out thousands of airstrikes in the densely-populated Gaza Strip that has left at least 7,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that left 1,400 people dead in Israel.

But experts say Israeli officials are not thinking strategically enough about long term plans for Gaza as they weigh up what is expected to be a costly ground offensive in the Strip.

“We call for the collapse of the Hamas regime, but these are slogans,” says Michael Milshtein, a professor of Palestinian affairs at Reichman University in Israel. “As Israelis, we need to really drill down and understand what are the implications of this move.”

India’s AI Regulation Dilemma

Shaoshan Liu

While most discussions about artificial intelligence (AI) regulations focus on advanced economies, such as OECD countries, this series of articles systematically examines the AI regulation challenges in emerging economies of the Global South. In this piece, I explore India’s AI regulation dilemma, particularly the question of whether India should regulate AI now and, if so, what approach it should take.

India has been on a rapid path of economic development, poised to become a major player in the global tech supply chain. There are several key factors driving this trajectory. First, India’s high-tech labor force is experiencing rapid growth. Second, India’s economic potential is attracting increasing international investment. A recent report predicts that India will attract over $475 billion in foreign direct investment over the next five years.

Building upon the foundation of India’s talent pool and the influx of capital, the AI sector has experienced significant growth. AI technologies are making inroads into various industries in India, including healthcare, education, and public utilities.

The burgeoning AI sector reflects the Indian government’s ambition. India recognizes the pivotal role of AI and aspires to position itself as a “global AI hub.” India’s leadership in the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) underscores these global aspirations. However, it is essential to assess India’s readiness, considering factors such as infrastructure, regulation, and public discourse.

The Taliban and Central Asia

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

An Afghan man and children sell Taliban flags on a street during a celebration marking the second anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops from Afghanistan, in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2023.Credit: AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq

The collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in August 2021 directly impacted the country’s Central Asian neighbors from the very beginning. When the Taliban took Kabul, Afghanistan’s former President Ashraf Ghani fled to Uzbekistan; however, Tashkent’s strained relationship with Ghani resulted in his subsequent transfer to Abu Dhabi.

During this time, over 50 members of the Afghan Air Force fled in their planes. Some landed in Tajikistan and more touched down in Termez, Uzbekistan. The Taliban demanded the return of the planes, but Uzbekistan, in particular, handed them over to the United States instead, insisting they were U.S. property.

Initially, humanitarian agencies expressed grave concern about a potentially overwhelming refugee flow over the borders into Central Asia. However, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan did not allow average Afghan citizens to enter their territories, with only a few high-level delegations being granted access. The presence of over 10,000 Russian troops in Tajikistan helped maintain stability and protect the border between the Central Asian states and Afghanistan.

Preventing War in the Taiwan Strait

What’s new? Tensions are rising over Taiwan. The fabric of political understandings that contributed to cross-strait peace and security for decades has begun to unravel as China’s power and assertiveness grows, competition between the U.S. and China spreads, and the Taiwanese people develop a distinct identity increasingly disassociated from the mainland.

Why does it matter? A Chinese military offensive to take over Taiwan is unlikely in the near term, but conflict risks are rising. Taiwan remains the most likely flashpoint between the U.S. and China. A direct confrontation between the big powers could mean global conflagration, global economic shocks and the potential for nuclear escalation.

What should be done? The parties should assure one another that the political understandings hold. China should reduce its military, economic and political coercion of Taiwan; the U.S. should clarify and uphold its “one China” policy; Taiwan’s next president should seek to resume dialogue with the mainland and strengthen the island’s defence.

Executive Summary

Tensions over Taiwan are rising, raising the prospect of a direct conflict between the U.S. and China that could bring with it global economic shocks and the potential for nuclear escalation. Political understandings that preserved peace for decades are fraying under the pressure of U.S.-China competition, a stronger and more assertive China, and the growth of a Taiwanese identity that sees itself as separate from the mainland. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely any time soon, but the risk of conflict is rising. Managing it requires the parties to reestablish a baseline level of trust by shoring up longstanding political understandings. Washington should credibly assure Beijing that it does not seek to keep Taiwan permanently separated from the mainland. Taipei should credibly assure Beijing that it does not seek formal independence. Beijing should credibly assure Washington and Taipei that it has not decided to unify with Taiwan through military force. At the same time, Taipei’s military vulnerability is also an issue: it should develop better defensive capabilities to give deterrence the best odds of success.

Why negotiating with China feels different

In this analytical piece on "Negotiating with China" Vijay Gokhale argues that the secretiveness, stage-setting and theatricality of Chinese counterparts should not throw Western negotiators off their game. It is the result of a workshop held at MERICS in Spring 2023. Another piece resulting from the conference by Charles Parton can be found here.

How do you negotiate with a government like the People’s Republic of China when you are constantly reminded of its glorious past, its venerable strategic and diplomatic culture, and its capacity to win against all odds? China evokes fear, awe, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy or a sense of being in exalted company. Negotiators arrive at the table already convinced that China’s rise is unstoppable, that it is a world power and that its demands, however egregious, must be accommodated for those reasons. If these mind games succeed, the negotiation will be lost even before it has begun.

Understanding the psyche of Chinese counterparts is critical in preparing for negotiations. It starts with the simple fact that the party-army, known as the Chinese Communist Party, became the state in 1949. In other words, the People’s Republic of China is really the CCP. Therefore, China is driven by two key sources of conduct that motivate the party. First, the imagined reality that China has historically been the center of the world and the world should accept the CCP’s dominance because it is the natural order of things. Second, the sense that there is a deep-rooted conspiracy by outsiders to subvert and overthrow the CCP and, therefore, China. This means the outside world’s negotiating partner is not the PRC but the CCP. In addition, the CCP’s self-perception of dominance is laced with a deep-seated sense of besiegement. This insight should inform any negotiating strategy and tactics.

Understanding the mindset

The political factors behind China’s disappearing leaders

Mark Parker Young

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping has shaken China’s military and foreign affairs establishments in the past two months by abruptly replacing several senior military officers and China’s minister of foreign affairs. The removals were all the more surprising because Xi had promoted many of these same officials to lead their organizations less than a year earlier. A close look at the officials involved suggests that a variety of personal and institutional factors contributed to their downfall, but the disruptive impact of the sudden disappearances indicates underlying mistakes and misjudgments on the part of Xi and the personnel apparatus he oversees.

The recent removals suggest that Xi has approved prosecutions of several discrete pockets of corruption and misconduct rather than a repeat of the sweeping and interconnected purges of his first term. The senior officials involved had crucial roles within their respective military and civilian bureaucracies, but none was part of Xi’s core apparatus of political control.
Interpreting patterns among ousted officials

The reshuffles in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) constitute its most significant internal upheaval since 2017. Recent anti-corruption investigations appear to be radiating outward from the traditional locus of military corruption: procurement and logistics. In the last two months, investigators have reportedly detained Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu, Rocket Force Commander Li Yuchao, Rocket Force Political Commissar Xu Zhongbo, and several of their deputies. Li Shangfu served from 2017 to 2022 as chief of the PLA’s armaments and procurement department and the Rocket Force is an extremely capital-intensive service that has expanded rapidly in the past decade, likely affording numerous opportunities for graft. Xu also previously served as political commissar of the Joint Logistics Department and is the latest in a long line of its former leaders to fall under suspicion. The new Rocket Force leaders have no prior experience with the force and its incoming political commissar significantly outranks the new commander in the CCP hierarchy, signaling Xi’s determination to uproot their predecessors’ personal networks and reimpose discipline.

U.S. Strikes Iranian-Linked Targets in Syria

Eric Schmitt

The Pentagon said the airstrikes against facilities used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxies were in retaliation for recent rocket and drone attacks on American forces.

Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, said attacks last week by Iranian-backed militants had left 19 U.S. service members in Iraq and Syria suffering from traumatic brain injuries.Credit...Kevin Wolf/Associated Press

The United States carried out two airstrikes against facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its proxies in eastern Syria early Friday in retaliation for a flurry of recent rocket and drone attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria.

The strikes by Air Force F-16 jets, against a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility, were intended to send a strong signal to Iran to rein in the attacks the Biden administration has blamed on Tehran’s proxies in Syria and Iraq without escalating the conflict in the Middle East, U.S. officials said. The targets, while limited in number, represent an escalation in striking facilities used by Iran’s own forces in the region, not just the militias in Iraq and Syria that Tehran helps to arm, train and equip.

“These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement.

Will Lebanon Be Safe or Sorry?


Many Lebanese are playing a morbid game these days—assessing the probability that their country will be destroyed if Hezbollah enters the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. On several occasions the Israelis have warned that in any future war with Hezbollah, they would send Lebanon “back to the stone age.”

The assumption is that once Israel begins a ground invasion of Gaza, the prospect of a Lebanon conflict will greatly increase. Backing this up are reports that Iran has warned Israel that if such an operation were to go ahead, Iran would intervene. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was even more specific in his public statements, for example when he told Al-Jazeera, “If the measures aimed at immediately stopping the Israeli attacks that are killing children in the Gaza Strip end in a deadlock, it is highly probable that many other fronts will be opened. This option is not ruled out and this is becoming increasingly more probable.”

However, the real question is not whether Hezbollah will escalate against Israel if an invasion goes ahead, but how it does so and for what purpose. A southern Lebanese front has already been opened, though both Hezbollah and Israel are caught up in a sort of Kabuki dance, where each side is carefully measuring its actions and reactions to avoid a situation that may spin out of control and spread to the region.

So, can Lebanon dodge a bullet if Hezbollah responds to an Israeli entry into Gaza? Let’s answer with a question: Why has Iran supplied Hezbollah with between 150,000 and 200,000 rockets and missiles? The Iranians have used Hezbollah’s arsenal to deter Israel from attacking Lebanon, but more importantly to prevent Israel or the United States from striking Iran—the mother ship from which regional power and influence flows. While Lebanon is valued as the place where Tehran’s most effective proxy is based, it is not more important than Iran itself.

Iran’s ayatollahs play the Middle East’s most dangerous game

The warning signs that Israel’s war with Hamas may become a wider Middle East conflagration are flashing ominously. America has sent a second carrier strike group led by the uss Eisenhower to the Persian Gulf. “There’s a likelihood of escalation,” said Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state, on October 22nd. The chances of further attacks by Iranian proxies on American forces are growing, he continued: “We don’t want to see a second or third front develop.”

Fears are also growing in Lebanon that Israel could use America’s cover to launch a pre-emptive strike. Israel has evacuated its towns near the border with Lebanon and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has cautioned that if Hizbullah, an Iran-backed militia in Lebanon, enters the fighting, the consequences for Lebanon will be devastating. One reason Israel has delayed its offensive in Gaza may be to bolster its preparations for escalation on its northern front. Iran’s foreign minister has said the region is like a “powder keg”.

World of Warfare


BERLIN – When German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a speech to parliament on February 27, 2022, described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “Zeitenwende” (turning point), the risk of the war spreading was already apparent. But did he anticipate that we would be witnessing a chain of regional wars, or that tensions between great powers would begin to ratchet up almost daily? Sadly, that is where we are today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression was merely the first domino. Now, Hamas has launched a brutal terrorist attack on Israel from Gaza, killing 1,400 Israelis – most of them civilians – and abducting more than 200 others. How could such a deadly blow be struck against the Middle East’s strongest military and intelligence power? Can a terrorist organization like Hamas have accomplished such a feat on its own?

Consider the precision of the attack, and all the planning that went into it. Clearly, the goal was not simply to stage a blood-soaked display of ruthless brutality against Israeli civilians, including grandmothers and infants. More than that, it was intended to reactivate Jewish trauma by reprising the atrocities of the Shoah – the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish people. The message for Jews is that they should never feel safe, even with Israel’s military superiority. Of course, Hamas is not alone in promoting this goal. So, again, we must ask if there was a state behind the attack. For obvious reasons, suspicions have fallen on Iran.

Whatever the case, the October 7 attack has left the entire Middle East on the brink of a major war. With Israel’s very existence at stake, the United States and Europe have inevitably been drawn in. But so, too, have others, with China (a major importer of Iranian hydrocarbons) reportedly deploying warships to the region.

The Evolution of Modern Political Power


From the rise of large, bureaucratic states in the early twentieth century to the triumph of neoliberalism more recently, shifts in governance models cannot simply be reduced to the natural political instincts of those who find themselves in power at any given moment. There are much larger, and subtler, dynamics at work.

CHICAGO – Where power truly lies is not always clear. In 1998, US President Bill Clinton was certainly among the most powerful people in the world. Having triumphed in the Cold War, the United States had become what French Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine called a hyperpuissance – a superpower in terms of both hard and soft power. Notwithstanding the Monica Lewinsky scandal, America’s “New Economy” was roaring, and Clinton was still polling well after his smashing re-election victory in 1996. American-led globalization was on the march, as was representative democracy.

A central feature of the neoliberal globalization of the late 1990s was the increasing cross-border mobility of short-term financial capital. When such “hot money” fled many East Asian economies in 1997, it caused a global financial crisis. Privately pondering convening the G7, Clinton wondered about the creation of a “Bretton Woods II” to succeed the international monetary system that had underpinned the national regulation of global financial capital since the end of World War II.

The George Kennan Who Wasn’t

Peering through the clouds of vapor emitting from U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s various profilers and character witnesses over the years, here is what we learn: Sullivan is a “once-in-a-generation intellect,” according to Joe Biden, and a “once-in-a-generation talent,” “a potential future president,” according to Hillary Clinton. “The sky’s the limit,” says former Deputy Secretary of State and Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott. “He is somebody of extraordinary intelligence and temperament.” Sullivan has an admirable “habit of continually questioning his own assumptions” and a “methodical, hyperanalytical style.” He is “a genuinely nice guy” and “a good human being” with a “self-deprecating Midwestern modesty” who is a “really good listener” and “loved by everyone.”

Sullivan’s path to power is indeed impressive, from middle-class Minneapolis public school student to Yale graduate, Rhodes scholar, Supreme Court clerk, aide to the presidents of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution, chief counsel to the senior senator from Minnesota, adviser to the presidential campaigns of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, deputy chief of staff to the secretary of state, director of policy planning, national security advisor to the vice president, and finally, United States national security advisor—all before his 45th birthday. Such a meteoric rise to power indeed begs explanation, even for a coxswain of the Yale lightweight crew team.

There are two revealing anecdotes, often repeated in the creation of the Sullivan legend, which are meant to illuminate his dizzying ascent. The first is from June 2009, when President Obama pushed for the ouster of a member of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policy planning staff who had asked Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance of Twitter because members of Iran’s Green Movement depended on it for communication. In a meeting with Obama and White House and State Department officials, Clinton reportedly stood by her staffer and Iran’s anti-regime movement against the wishes of Obama, who claimed, implausibly, that he didn’t want to harm the protesters’ cause by appearing to interfere in Iran’s domestic politics.

Global Sanctions Dashboard: How Iran evades sanctions and finances terrorist organizations like Hamas

Kimberly Donovan, Maia Nikoladze, Ryan Murphy, and Yulia Bychkovska

Key takeaways

Tehran has been militarily and financially propping up Hamas for years, which ultimately advanced the terrorist group’s ability to launch the attack against Israel on October 7.

The UAE has become a haven for Iranian and Russian sanctions evasion and circumvention. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international coordinating body combating money laundering, has gray-listed the UAE.

UN restrictions on Iran’s trade of missile-related technology expired on October 18. Ballistic missile components to and from Iran can move more freely now.

The scale and sophistication of Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel has generated a lot of talk about the backing the group receives from Iran. Tehran has indeed been militarily and financially propping up Hamas and other terrorist groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah for years. But what does that support actually look like in practice? The map below visualizes Iran’s facilitation of terrorist activity in the Middle East, and depicts the financial and military support Tehran has provided to terrorist organizations encircling Israel.

The US Treasury has designated nearly one thousand individuals and entities to date connected to terrorism and terrorist financing by the Iranian regime and its proxies. Despite being heavily sanctioned, Tehran has continued to provide more than $700 million annually to support terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, and up to $100 million annually to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. It has also transferred artillery rockets to Palestinian groups. More importantly, Iran has transferred the know-how and equipment to give Palestinian terrorist groups the capability to build rockets and missiles locally. Given Tehran’s long-standing support of Hamas, the United States and Qatar on October 12 agreed to block Iran’s access to six billion in funds from South Korea that were transferred to Qatari accounts last month as part of a deal to release American hostages in Iran.

Israel’s Army Is Ready to Invade Gaza. Its Divided Government May Not Be.

Patrick Kingsley and Ronen Bergman

In the 20 days since Hamas attacked, Israel’s Air Force has pounded Gaza and its troops have gotten into position. But its leaders disagree about what to do next.

To understand the reasons for the delay to Israel’s invasion, the reporters spoke to 13 Israeli officials, military officers and foreign diplomats.

Its troops are massed on the Gaza border and described as ready to move, but Israel’s political and military leaders are divided about how, when and even whether to invade, according to seven senior military officers and three Israeli officials.

In part, they say, the delay is intended to give negotiators more time to try to secure the release of some of the more than 200 hostages captured by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups when they raided Israel three weeks ago.

But Israeli leaders, who have vowed to retaliate against Hamas for its brutal massacre of civilians, have yet to agree on how to do so, though the military could move as soon as Friday.

Some of them worry that an invasion might suck the Israeli Army into an intractable urban battle inside Gaza. Others fear a broader conflict, with a Lebanese militia allied to Hamas, Hezbollah, firing long-range missiles toward Israeli cities.

There is also debate over whether to conduct the invasion through one large operation or a series of smaller ones. And then there are questions about who would govern Gaza if Israel captured it.

Global Economic Trends, 2023

Geopolitical Futures

Continued US and allied integration is essential to deter Russian CBRN use

Natasha Lander Finch, Ryan Arick, and Christopher Skaluba

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Atlantic Council project, Conceptualizing Integrated Deterrence to Address Russian Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Escalation. The objective of this project was to develop an approach for incorporating European allies and partners into the US model of integrated deterrence against Russian CBRN use.

Key findings summary:Allies and partners already significantly contribute to US approaches to counter Russian CBRN threats in Europe. Future cooperation—bilaterally, multilaterally, and through NATO— should focus on areas of greatest need as mutually identified by the United States and its European allies and partners.

As a concept, integrated deterrence is a useful frame for examining cooperation with European nations to counter Russia’s CBRN threats, but the US Government should use this framing to identify new opportunities, rather than detract from or encapsulate ongoing cooperation.

Civil-military cooperation across a variety of sectors is essential to respond to CBRN threats, especially among public health agencies and law enforcement. To fully realize integrated deterrence in the next five to ten years, greater coordination among civilian and military communities—within the United States and among its European allies and partners—is essential to enhancing resilience.

Challenges for US cooperation with allies and partners to counter CBRN threats, especially as these threats become more complex. The United States and its European allies should remain vigilant about emerging threats, while leveraging new technological developments in detection and attribution systems and emergency response mechanisms to build comprehensive defenses against CBRN threats.

Pentagon’s CDAO queries industry about commercial data-mesh capabilities


The Department of Defense’s Chief Digital and AI Office issued a call to industry as it scouts for data-mesh capabilities to underpin the U.S. military’s future warfighting network.

The request for information was recently posted to the CDAO’s Tradewinds website.

The office has been tasked with developing a “data integration layer,” or DIL, to help the Pentagon achieve its vision for connecting the various sensors, shooters and information streams of the U.S. military services, allies and partners under a unified network. Officials refer to the concept as Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2).

“Warfighters continue to require the ability to maintain and improve the decision advantage through using a data centric approach for successful battlefield outcomes. DoD warfighters must be able to dynamically integrate and operate as one truly joint force. To inform possible future acquisitions and improve our operational advantage, the Department seeks information related to technologies designed to improve data visibility, simplify data connections, and automate data access for legacy and new globally distributed warfighting systems supported by the DIL,” the RFI states.

The Chief Digital and AI Office is eyeing commercial technologies that can be folded into a zero-trust cybersecurity model, which all Defense Department agencies are expected to implement by 2027.

SDA gets OK to begin limited testing of data satellites Link 16 nodes


Link 16 is a tactical military data network, used by US and NATO air-, sea- and land-base platforms. (Viasat image.)

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency (SDA) finally can begin testing Link-16 signals from its Transport Layer of data relay satellites in low Earth orbit, having just received approval from a key international regulatory body — although the agency remains caught up in a long-running Defense Department spat with the Federal Aviation Administration that is preventing use of the venerable military data/communications link over US territory.

“I’m glad to report SDA received approval from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for experimental use of Link 16 from space from the radios being flown on the York Tranche 0 Transport satellites. This approval allows SDA to test over international water and over the territory of a Five Eyes ally,” SDA Director told Breaking Defense in an email today.

He did not, however, reveal which of those allies — Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — are involved.

The ITU, headquartered in Geneva, manages electromagnetic spectrum usage that crosses borders to prevent interference. Individual nations, however, are responsible for allocating frequencies for various domestic uses and ensuring against interference inside their own borders. In the case of the United States, the semi-independent Federal Communications Commission is the chief regulatory body, but coordination of spectrum use among federal agencies is managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

What helped change the US Army counterinsurgency doctrine?

Christopher Goed

This article argues that the innovation of the US Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine between 2000 and 2008 was enabled by three factors. The first factor was that the relevant actors needed to have a common understanding of the need for change. Second, a consensus had to be achieved on which organizational actions should be undertaken. Last, external pressure was necessary to overcome the US Army’s inflexibility.

To demonstrate the above, this article will use a twofold approach. First, a framework will be identified to explain why and how militaries change. This will be done by providing an overview of the different theories on military innovation. It will be shown that there is no consensus on why armed forces innovate. Therefore, this article will use organizational learning theory and, within it, a model developed by Richard Downie. It provides a framework to track change and identifies factors influencing change. In the second step, this article will outline how the US Army counterinsurgency doctrine changed from 2000 to 2008. It will then use Downie’s model to identify the factors influencing innovation.