31 October 2023

What Would Teddy Roosevelt Say About Russia, Hamas, And China?

James Holmes

Remarks delivered at Theodore Roosevelt Association Annual Symposium, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington, DC, October 26, 2023.

I think Theodore Roosevelt would be dismayed at the state of global order today. It seems to be in retreat, or rather under concerted assault, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to East Asia. But TR would not be surprised or daunted. His goal was a world presided over by an international League of Peace, a kind of superempowered world tribunal with the authority to enforce its decisions. But he understood that the journey toward that destination would be a long and uneven one. Progress would be fitful; reverses were far from unthinkable along the way. In fact, he prophesied that the time when societies could set aside their differences, constitute a world fellowship, and consent to such a league was “eons distant.”

Roosevelt set forth the logic underwriting such a court in his 1910 address accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. He declared that “it would be a masterstroke if those great powers honestly bent on peace would form a League of Peace, not only to keep the peace among themselves, but to prevent, by force if necessary, its being broken by others.” I should point out that TR did not espouse universal membership in such a league. Hence his reference to great powers honestly bent on peace. Members needed to be likeminded for a league to flourish. Spoilers could ruin it.

Israel-Palestine: India’s Surprising Change Of Course

Herbert Wulf

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement immediately after the Hamas attack left no room for ambiguity: We are ‘deeply shocked by the news of the terrorist attack in Israel … In solidarity, we stand by Israel in this difficult hour.’ The newspaper Indian Express concluded on 8 October: This ‘is an unmistakable shift away from the carefully choreographed balancing act that characterised New Delhi’s earlier responses to clashes between Israel and Palestinian militants.’

But why then the restrained response after Russia’s war began in February 2022? India has always seen itself as a non-aligned country. The Indian government enters into what it calls ‘multiple alliances’ and chooses partnerships that suit its own interests. Samir Saran, president of the major Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation, which also advises the government, argues that today’s geopolitics is characterised by the perception of self-interest. He speaks of ‘limited liability partnerships among nations’. India’s differing behaviour towards Ukraine and Israel, both of which were attacked in violation of international law, can be explained by this balancing policy, which some observers also call a seesaw policy.

Unlikely unity

India has long maintained a friendly relationship with Russia, which was firmly established with a treaty of friendship between India and the Soviet Union in 1971. Thereafter, the Soviet Union, and later Russia, became India’s main supplier of armaments. To this day, the Indian armed forces depend on Russia’s cooperation for their arsenal of weapons. India also imports energy from Russia on favourable terms, despite having already reduced its dependence and actively seeking to diversify.

Iran And The ‘Axis Of Resistance’ Vastly Improved Hamas’s Operational Capabilities

Colin P. Clarke

For the past several years, Hamas has often been overlooked in discussions regarding the top global terrorist threats. The Islamic State and its worldwide network of affiliates occupy much of the counterterrorism bandwidth, along with al-Qaeda affiliates such as al-Shabaab in Somalia. Even Lebanese Hezbollah has ranked higher on the agenda of terrorist organizations that the United States and Israel are chiefly concerned with.

There are several important reasons why Hamas has been relegated to something of an afterthought, related to both its intent and capabilities. Israeli intelligence agencies had wrongly assumed that Hamas was content with enjoying the economic benefits of assistance to Gaza and had little desire to fight. This belief was reinforced when Hamas remained on the sidelines of recent fighting between Palestine Islamic Jihad and Israel in the West Bank, where the Israelis had shifted significant resources to deal with the rising threat in that territory. Relatedly, Hamas’s capabilities were believed to be limited. When skirmishes did break out, Hamas would fire rockets from Gaza, most of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

So how is it possible that Hamas was able to stage such a complex terrorist attack on October 7, an attack that killed more than 1,400 Israelis and wounded hundreds more? Put simply: Iranian support. As journalist Kim Ghattas noted, “the highly choreographed, multipronged, day-long operations and incursion into Israel itself … required months of planning and training that only Iran and Hezbollah could have provided.” There is a long and sordid history linking Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. After Israel deported more than 400 Hamas figures to Lebanon in 1992, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and Hezbollah worked closely with the Hamas fighters, training them on how to build and deploy suicide bombs, long a Hezbollah calling card. Cooperation between the triumvirate continued through the Second Intifada (2000–2005), when suicide bombings became a hallmark of Hamas attacks against Israel.


Andie Parry, Ashka Jhaveri, Annika Ganzeveld, Brian Carter, and Peter Mills

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.

Note: CTP and ISW have refocused the update to cover the Israel-Hamas war. The new sections address developments in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as noteworthy activity from Iran’s Axis of Resistance. We do not report in detail on war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We utterly condemn violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

Key Takeaways:
  • Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip conducted rocket attacks into Israel at roughly half their usual rate on October 27.
  • The IDF conducted five raids into the Gaza Strip on October 27, and IDF ground forces will expand their operations overnight.
  • Palestinian militants clashed with Israeli security forces across the West Bank at a higher rate on October 27, amid Israeli arrest raids.
  • Iranian-backed militants, including Lebanese Hezbollah (LH), resumed attacks as part of an ongoing attack campaign targeting IDF radar and sensor sites and military targets.
  • The United States conducted two self-defense airstrikes targeting “IRGC-affiliated targets” in response to drone and rocket attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria.
  • The Iran-backed Houthi movement conducted a drone attack targeting southern Israel on October 27.
  • Iran and its Axis of Resistance are continuing to signal their willingness and capability to escalate against the United States and Israel from multiple fronts.

The U.S. is walking a familiar tightrope on Israel

David Ignatius

For all the changes in the Middle East, the United States’ core problem there hasn’t changed in 60 years: How can it protect Israel, its closest ally in the region, while also bolstering stability and maintaining its partnerships with Arab neighbors?

The same dilemma has recurred with numbing frequency over the decades: Israel is attacked by Palestinian or Arab foes; it retaliates decisively in an effort to restore deterrence; Arab civilians are killed; and calls mount for a cease-fire. The United States works to broker a formula that defuses the crisis. And an eventual U.S.-brokered cease-fire sets the stage for the next catastrophe.

Because of the monstrous terrorist attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, this time appeared different. The world seemed to understand the need for Israel to take decisive action. But memories proved short: As Gaza was hit by more than 7,000 airstrikes and Palestinian civilian deaths soared, international support for Israel weakened. Now, the United States is trying to keep faith with the Israelis as it also seeks to calm the Arabs and avert a wider war.

President Biden has been among the most skillful practitioners of this art of the impossible. He has embraced and consoled Israelis with his gift for empathy. But at the same time, he has quietly whispered in the ears of Israeli officials that they need to go slow, be careful, avoid a broader conflict and gradually move toward a two-state solution that can provide security.

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s juggling act would be familiar to their predecessors: They are preserving Israel’s military options against Hamas, while simultaneously helping Qatar negotiate a deal to free Israeli hostages, warning Iran and Hezbollah against widening the war, and protecting U.S. forces against what have been more than a dozen direct attacks by Tehran’s proxies.

US ‘forced to EVACUATE Syria bases after huge wave of Iran-backed attacks’ as region set to blow amid Israel-Gaza war

Iona Cleave

American officials said that over 24 of its soldiers across Syria and Iraq have been injured in the past week as chaos threatens to descend across the Middle East.

For the past week, Washington has complained that Tehran is stepping up its attacks on American targets using its regional proxies in revenge for Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

White House spokesman John Kirby said that Iran was "actively facilitating" the assaults and "spurring on others who may want to exploit the conflict".

But a report from Tortoise Media claims that the US has been keeping "quiet" about the true scale of the attacks on their military bases in the region.

A Western intelligence source told the outlet: "From what we’re seeing, the attacks against them have gone through the roof around the region."

The source added: “In north-east Syria, we’re hearing that the Americans have already had to evacuate around a dozen forward operating bases because they can’t protect them anymore.”

However, another anonymous US official told VOA News today that the US is not looking into evacuating any bases in the Middle East despite the rumours.

The report comes after US officials revealed plans are being drawn up to evacuate as many as 600,000 Americans from the region in a "worst-case scenario".

Tell Me How This Ends

Franklin Foer

In the year leading up to the invasion of Iraq, technocrats in Washington deployed their laptops and prepared for war. Their plans for the governing structures that would replace Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship filled bulging white papers, organizational flowcharts that spilled across thick binders, and dense memoranda for managing esoteric ministries.

Israel is on the brink of testing a far different approach to regime change. Its leaders have announced a desire to dismantle the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Rather than entering battle with a carefully constructed blueprint for what might follow victory, though, they are winging it, improvising in the dazed aftermath of a devastating massacre that left its military and political leadership in a state of shame and confusion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government announced its war aims before it had fully sketched out how it might effectively realize them.

But the Israeli operation faces the same question that ultimately vexed the American project in Iraq: What comes next? Removing murderous Islamists from power solves one problem, but it creates another. Who will govern Gaza after Hamas?

Israel announces ‘expansion’ of ground ops in Gaza, but is it a full invasion?


With the world on tenterhooks wondering whether Israel has decided to follow through with a full-scale invasion of Gaza, an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman said late today that the military is “expanding” ground operations. The Foreign Minister of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, directly accused Israel of launching a ground war on Gaza.

But it’s unclear if a full ground invasion has begun, or if the spokesman was instead signaling that the ramping up of smaller “raids” into Gaza will intensify.

Undoubtedly, this evening local time has brought intensified efforts. A Hamas spokesman reportedly claimed an Israeli ground operation was underway, while the IDF warned international media that it could not guarantee reporter safety in Gaza. Earlier today saw a particularly intense round of airstrikes, which, combined with the IDF comment, could presage an increase in military activity to come.

And yet, indications right now are that Israel will continue to be focused on more limited ground operations as had been seen in the last week, even if it’s unclear how long that will last. The rhetoric still indicates a full invasion of Gaza is coming: Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant gave a speech on Thursday evening saying that Israel was “creating the necessary conditions to continue this campaign,” and said a ground operation would come eventually.

Despite Israel bringing in over 300,000 reservists and massing forces along the border with Gaza, Jerusalem has relied on the use of air strikes and raids into Gaza as its response to the Oct. 7 Hamas assault that left 1,400 Israelis dead. The Washington Post reported today that the White House is pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to go in full force into Gaza and instead rely on a more “surgical” campaign.

A Plan for Peace in Gaza

Salam Fayyad

For the past decade, it has been clear that the “peace process” between Israelis and Palestinians long ago devolved into little more than an extended exercise in kicking the can down the road. Still, in recent years, the absence of sustained large-scale violence produced the illusion of stability. Even those who had not been lulled into complacency were shocked, however, by the outbreak of the devastating war that has been raging since Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7.

The past three weeks have seen a loss of life on a horrific scale. 

Why India Is Resilient Directly To Hamas-Israel Conflict, Russia-Ukraine War, But Faces Spillover Impacts

Subrata Majumder

The peculiarity of Hamas-Israel war is that unlike other wars or conflict, India is not directly impacted by the war. It is the spillover impact, which causes concern for India.

Israel is not a major trading partner or a major foreign investor in India. Nor is Palestine. Israel accounts for less than 2 percent of India’s total trade. Trade between India and Palestine is not conducted directly. It is through Israel. Therefore, comprehensive trade statistics with Palestine are not available. However, according to an estimation by the Ministry of External Affairs, India-Palestine bilateral trade was US$ 67.7 million in 2020.

Nevertheless, the war will take a turn for the worse if Arab world joins the war. Arab nations are important economic allies to India. It is oil that brings India closer to the Arab world. Given this, an oil crisis could emerge as an important impact and deterrent to the economy. Currently, the Arab world supplies more than 55 percent of India’s total import of crude oil. India is an oil import dependency nation. More than 90 percent of crude oil requirements are met by imports. Import dependency is inelastic due to the paucity of oil minerals domestically.

Another important fallout of the spillover impact of the war on India is the religious schism among Muslims, viz, Sunni and Shia. This could play an important role in stoking an oil crisis, if Arab world joins the war. A larger share of crude oil that is imported from Arab world is from Sunni dominated nations. For instance, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE are the major suppliers of crude oil and they are Sunni dominated Muslim populations.

Fog of war: Myanmar’s armed conflict is not a stalemate


Amid the last torrential storms of the 2023 monsoon, the fog of war is thickening over Myanmar. And growing numbers of observers monitoring the country’s unfolding implosion are in danger of getting lost in the gloom.

No one doubts that hostilities between the country’s embattled State Administration Council (SAC) coup regime and a plethora of armed opposition forces are escalating sharply, punctuated by a steady string of atrocities visited on the civilian population by the military.

But against the backdrop of a bitterly fought information war playing out in social and mainstream media, making sense of the daily rash of clashes, raids and airstrikes is proving more challenging than at any time since the February 2021 coup.

In response, many in newsrooms, embassies and foreign ministries around the region and beyond are increasingly falling back on an interpretation of events beguiling in its overarching simplicity: the war is locked in an inevitably extended “stalemate” that denies either side any prospect of military victory and sooner or later will require a negotiated settlement.

Viewed from these echo chambers, the plausibility of the stalemate narrative rests on some indisputable realities: Myanmar’s military faces unprecedented challenges, but remains ruthless, disciplined and well-resourced.

US-China stuck in a cycle of tit-for-tat ironies


Successful development like China’s leads to a crucial international transition. When countries are poor and weak, they receive special forbearance to encourage their development. All successful developing countries, including the US, stole intellectual property, denied foreigners access to their markets, and heavily subsidized their companies.

Rich countries reluctantly tolerate this and celebrate successful growth in poorer countries. For instance, the US and Europe complained about but took minimal action against Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore during the early and middle levels of their development. There is still substantial tolerance for extensive trademark theft by Malaysia, Thailand and India.

In my youth, I bought most of my books as knockoffs at Caves bookstore in Taipei and most of my CDs and video disks as knockoffs in Singapore, and later I bought clothes for my family at the Silk Market in Beijing.

But success brings huge scale that begins to distort global markets and create intolerable damage. That threshold occurred in the 1980s for Japan and later for South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Japan’s subsidized and protected cars and consumer electronics threatened to destroy all competitors through unfair competition. The US and EU reacted strongly with tariffs, quotas and other measures.

After a difficult decade, Japan (mostly) accepted the rules of fair competition. Since then, Toyota has often been the world’s biggest car company, but Americans and Europeans welcome Toyotas because Toyota’s victories are achieved by building better cars, not by theft and subsidies.

China, U.S. Look to a Biden-Xi Summit While Wrestling Tensions

Charles Hutzler

China’s Foreign Minister Replaced After Unexplained AbsencePlay video: China’s Foreign Minister Replaced After Unexplained Absence
Beijing reappointed top diplomat Wang Yi to replace Qin Gang as foreign minister during an emergency session, without addressing Qin’s mysterious absence. Chinese leader Xi Jinping had handpicked Qin seven months earlier. Photo: Florence Lo/Pool Reuters/Associated Press

WASHINGTON—President Biden held a pivotal meeting with China’s foreign minister on Friday as both governments try to brighten the way for a presidential summit and keep in check the gamut of issues driving the countries’ tensions.

Both sides confronted a lengthy agenda, including over two hot spots, during the talks between administration officials and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that began Thursday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Beijing’s help in keeping the Israel-Hamas war from widening. China’s harassment of Philippine ships trying to resupply a South China Sea outpost also drew a sharp warning from Biden earlier this week not to attack a U.S. ally.

US DoD report a warning of China’s AI war powers


The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) latest annual report to Congress on the state of China’s military and security highlights the rising role of artificial intelligence (AI) in Beijing’s military strategy, capabilities and modernization, raising new concerns about a possible AI arms race between the two superpowers.

The report ‘s opening warns that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is accelerating the development of capabilities to strengthen its ability to “fight and win wars” against a “strong enemy”, counter a third-party intervention in a conflict in its periphery and project power globally. It says that China “largely denied, canceled and ignored bilateral defense engagements,” including DoD requests for military-to-military communication.

In particular, the DoD report notes the PLA discussed a new “core operational concept” known as “Multi-Domain Precision Warfare” (MDPW) that aims to use AI and big data advances to identify quickly vulnerabilities in the US operational system and then combine forces from multiple domains to launch precision strikes on those weaknesses.

The report says that MDPW is designed to be atop an “operational conceptual system-of-systems,” suggesting that the PLA will develop subordinate operational concepts and employ simulations, war games, and exercises to test, evaluate and improve these AI-driven capacities.

It notes that the MDPW’s appearance alongside China’s new strategic guidelines and military doctrine suggests that the operational concept connects them, reinforcing themes and guidance while focusing on what the PLA must be able to do to win future wars.

What America Wants From China

Ryan Hass

In recent years, American officials have spoken publicly at great length about competition with China. In February, U.S. President Joe Biden declared in his State of the Union speech that the United States seeks “competition, not conflict” with China. But despite all the speeches, press conferences, and panel discussions, policymakers have not directly answered an essential question: What is the outcome they seek in this competition? When pressed, they often highlight the result the United States hopes to avoid: a new cold war or, even worse, a hot one. Privately, they add that the goal is to tilt the global balance of power toward the United States and its partners as much as possible.

The absence of a compelling vision of success for the United States’ strategy with China is dangerous. First, if the American people do not know the purpose of their country’s strategy, they will be less likely to support U.S. policy or make sacrifices in service of it. The absence of a vision also creates a vacuum in which American demagogues can frame the competition in ethnic terms, sowing the seeds of xenophobia and racism and tearing at the country’s social fabric. Likewise, framing the contest in existential terms pushes the United States to pursue policies that seek China’s collapse, while airbrushing the danger and self-harm that such a strategy would invite.

The absence of a clear goal also risks squandering the United States’ greatest advantage in a long-term competition with China: the cohesion of its global network of allies and partners. Governments aligned with Washington will hedge when they do not know the desired destination of U.S. strategy. They will not want to get trapped in a confrontation with China only to see the United States abruptly shift course and leave their countries exposed to Beijing’s retaliation.

China Expands Its Political Influence In Russia East Of The Urals – Analysis

Paul Goble

Beijing is increasing its political influence in Siberia and the Russian Far East to better support its expanding economic activities. These efforts are directed at the political and business elites who are the major stakeholders in deciding which firms can operate in their respective regions (Kommersant, May 20; Vybor Naroda, October 25).

This pattern follows the Chinese playbook from Central Asia, where Beijing has used a wide range of tools to promote its “soft power” and even opened the way for deploying elements of “hard power,” including private security companies (see “The Role of PSCs in Securing Chinese Interests in Central Asia,” February 22). China has done so by providing funds and opportunities that Moscow can no longer offer to support the authoritarian tendencies of regional elites. These means go to sponsoring ethnic unrest and then supporting elite crackdowns, even using outright corruption to win over government officials and business leaders (see EDM, January 30, 2018).

Now, China is doing many of the same things inside the Russian Federation, especially east of the Urals (see EDM, September 21, 28). So long as Moscow is distracted by its war in Ukraine, China is likely to have ever-more opportunities to expand its political and economic influence in Russia.

The Sudden Death of China’s Former No. 2 Leader Li Keqiang Comes as a Shock

Kanis Leung

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang meets his Belgian counterpart, Charles Michel, in Brussels, Belgium on Jun. 2, 2017.Credit: Depositphotos

The sudden death of China’s former second-ranking leader, Li Keqiang, has shocked many people in the country, with tributes offered up to the ex-official who promised market-oriented reforms but was politically sidelined.

Li, who died early Friday of a heart attack, was China’s top economic official for a decade, helping navigate the world’s second-largest economy through challenges such as rising political, economic, and military tensions with the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Li was extolled as an excellent [Chinese Communist Party] member, a time-tested and loyal communist soldier and an outstanding proletarian revolutionist, statesman and leader of the Party and the state,” the official Xinhua News Agency said in its brief obituary.

Li was known for his advocacy of private business but lost much of his influence as President Xi Jinping accumulated ever-greater powers and elevated the military and security services in aid of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

A hashtag related to his death on the Chinese social media platform Weibo drew over 1 billion views in just a few hours. On posts about Li, the “like” button was turned into a daisy – a common flower for funerals in China, and many users commented “rest in peace.” Others called his death a loss and said Li worked hard and contributed greatly to China.

How Many Wars Can America Fight at the Same Time?

Emma Ashford

Matt Kroenig: Hi, Emma. I hope you are great. We sometimes debate what to debate, but this week I think the topic is clear: the Middle East.

Emma Ashford: Are you sure? As U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote in an essay made available this week, “The region is quieter than it has been for decades.” That’s a moment of dark humor in an unpleasant time. I guess he finished his draft before Oct. 7? It’s certainly emblematic of how this administration has handled the region over the last few years.

MK: Things like this make me glad that our column is online and published almost immediately. (What is the value of a printed magazine these days?) You are often wrong, of course, but at least you are never overtaken by events.

EA: Whereas you are never wrong, I’m sure.

But the administration has certainly been more active in the last few weeks. U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to the region was well received in Israel but a poorly timed catastrophe in Gaza—where an off-course missile hit a hospital—meaning that his trip to Israel’s Arab neighbors got canceled. It made the whole thing look really one-sided.

He also gave a speech upon his return to the U.S.—a rare Oval Office address to the nation, in which he tried to build a fairly tortuous connection between Israel and Ukraine, afterward asking Congress for $106 billion in extra defense spending.

What did you think of the speech?

MK: My bottom-line assessment is that it fell short. I am glad he made his case directly to the American people. After more than 18 months of war in Ukraine, he had yet to deliver a prime-time speech to the nation explaining why the conflict matters for the United States. That was sorely overdue.

Allies Fear US Is Overextended as Global Conflicts SpreadAllies fear US power may be overtaxed as Mideast war spreads

Peter Martin, Courtney McBride, and Cindy Wang

Joe Biden came to office declaring America is back. Now, facing hot wars in the Middle East and Ukraine and a simmering cold one with China, the US is beginning to look overextended.

The US defense industry — Biden’s “arsenal of democracy” — is struggling to produce enough artillery shells to ensure Ukraine can keep firing them at Russian forces. The Pentagon is bombing targets in Syria as it rushes air defenses to the region to protect troops in case Israel’s war against Hamas prompts new attacks by enemies. Taiwan, another American ally, has stepped up orders for American weapons as China confronts it over strategic sea lanes.

In capitals across Europe and Asia, officials are growing worried that some partners might ultimately be shortchanged as the surge in simultaneous challenges strains the US ability to respond and its defense industry struggles to produce enough weapons for all these conflicts. Rivals in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran, they fear, won’t miss the openings that creates.

Adding to the alarm is the presidential election just over a year from now that may return Donald Trump to the White House with his talk of pulling out of alliances, making deals with Russia and openly confronting Iran and China. Already, Biden’s $106 billion budget request for aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan is running into headwinds from Republicans in Congress.

Biden has raced to reassure leaders around the world that the US would be able to confront all the threats at once and deliver on its promises of support.


Christina Harward, Nicole Wolkov, Grace Mappes, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan

Ukrainian forces marginally advanced on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Geolocated footage published on October 27 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced further south under the Antonivsky road bridge north of Oleshky (7km south of Kherson City and 4km from the Dnipro River).[1] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in the Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) direction.[2]

Russian forces launched a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of October 26 to 27. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces launched one Iskander-M ballistic missile from Voronezh Oblast and six Shahed-131/136 drones from the near Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Krasnodar Krai, and that Ukrainian forces destroyed five Shaheds over Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts.[3] Ukrainian Air Force Command Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat reported on October 27 that Russian forces launched over 500 Shaheds targeting critical infrastructure and military facilities in Ukraine in September 2023.[4] Ihnat also stated that the composite materials for the fuselage of modernized Shaheds make them harder to detect and that weather conditions do not affect Russian Shahed operations.[5]

Germany and Denmark announced new military aid packages to Ukraine on October 27. The Danish Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced a package of military materiel support for Ukraine valued at 3.7 billion kroner (about $520 million) that includes T-72 tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, artillery ammunition, and drones.[6] The German government announced a military aid package valued at around 5.4 billion euros (about $5.7 billion) that includes MARS II anti-aircraft missiles and an additional IRIS-T SLM air defense system.[7]

Wartime Deepfakes Really Are Blurring Reality, First Major Study Finds

Mack DeGeurin

On March 14, just around a month after Russian troops stormed across Ukraine’s western to begin a year’s long bloody battle, Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky appeared on a Ukrainian television station and announced his unconditional surrender. The president, wearing his now iconic military green long-sleeve shirt appeared to stare into a camera and claim the Ukrainian military was “capitulating” and would “give up arms.”

Another brief video appeared on social media sites around the same time appearing to show Zelensky’s foil, Russian president Vladimir Putin, similarly pronouncing a peace deal.

But even though the two videos were quickly debunked, their rapid proliferation online led to a flurry of commentary and news articles warning of the real danger of alter videos being used to confuse and divide the public during a time of war. New research suggests this uptick of deepfakes and anxiety around their distribution could be contributing to an even more difficult problem to solve: people quickly disregarding legitimate media as deepfakes. That, in turn, leads to further erosion of trust in what’s real online.

Those were some of the findings researchers from University College Cork observed as part of a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE. The researchers picked out nearly 5,000 tweets posted during the first seven months of 2022 in an effort to analyze the role deepfakes may play in wartime misinformation and propaganda. It’s the first study of its kind to empirically analyze the effect of deepfakes during a time of war.

As Biden Responds to Iran-Linked Attacks With Air Strikes, Fears of a Wider War Grow


When President Biden issued an order on Thursday for two airstrikes, the targets were in eastern Syria but the intended recipient of the message he was sending was not. Both the weapons depot and the ammunition dump blown up by F-16 jets were linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who defense officials say have employed proxy forces to execute a string of attacks against US bases in the region.

Biden is hoping to convince Tehran to end the conflict before things go too far. But escalating to stop things from further escalating requires a delicate touch, and some observers in the region fear Iran’s leaders have no interest in pulling back now.

Since Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack on Israel, U.S. forces have been increasingly getting drawn into hot engagements with forces armed, trained and advised by leaders in Tehran. Over the last three weeks, Iranian-backed militias have launched 19 ballistic drone attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, injuring some 21 American troops. Last week, a U.S. naval ship in the Red Sea blew up a long-range rocket heading toward Israel that was launched by Iranian-backed forces in Yemen.

Iran’s actions seem designed to draw the U.S. deeper into direct conflict, says Ryan Crocker, a retired diplomat who served as ambassador across the MIddle East, including Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Suspected Russian GPS Jamming Risks Fresh Dangers In Black Sea Region – Analysis

Georgi A. Angelov

(RFE/RL) — An avid Bulgarian plane spotter heard odd chatter from commercial pilots preparing to land their aircraft in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, around 10 o’clock in the evening of August 31.

Tuned in to a Sofia Airport radio frequency, the plane spotter, who requested that they remain anonymous, said several pilots were speaking about problems they were experiencing with GPS, or the global positioning system, a network of U.S.-owned satellites that are used to determine locations on Earth.

The next day, September 1, it was happening again. Pilots approaching Sofia complained of the same problem, according to transcripts seen by RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service of recordings from a Sofia Airport radio channel. The plane spotter’s findings were also confirmed by GPSJAM, a website documenting jamming activity.

The jamming had also happened before. Romania experienced a similar problem with its GPS system, a glitch that the army’s chief of staff blamed on Russia and said posed a significant risk to shipping in the region. While Bulgarian officials are being careful not to directly accuse Russia, they have said that the problems with GPS largely date from the start of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Asked by RFE/RL who was behind the jamming and how Sofia is countering it, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry was circumspect, only saying that the jamming was being carried out “with radio-electronic warfare systems.”

‘No more sticky notes’: Army consolidating 43 incompatible data systems to just 2

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” Sun Tzu said two millennia ago. But how does the Army “know itself” when it has almost half a million active-duty personnel, organized into thousands of units, located at hundreds of bases around the world?

Today, officials say, assessing readiness is a laborious process that requires a lot of manually reentering information from one database into another. That’s because the Army alone uses at least 43 separate and largely incompatible systems to track different types of readiness data. Such data includes how many troops a unit is supposed to have, how many are actually assigned, how many are available for duty as opposed to out sick or on leave, what their ranks and specialties should be and what they actually are, who’s trained or certified in what skills from foreign languages to tank gunnery, what equipment they have on hand and in what condition, what kind of supplies are in stock where, and on and on and on.

The result has been decades of laborious workarounds that burn the time of over 170,000 users across the Army, contractors and civil service. Much of this work is what’s sarcastically known as “swivel chair integration,” because the least-bad solution is often to read a number off one screen linked to one system, then turn your chair and manually type the number into another computer linked to another, incompatible system. Many times the only place that related information from separate systems gets pulled together is in an Excel spreadsheet or on a PowerPoint slide. And in the worst cases, staff may just end up scribbling vital data on sticky notes.

Here’s the Truth Behind the Biggest (and Dumbest) Battery Myths


For an object that barely ever leaves our palms, the smartphone can sometimes feel like an arcane piece of wizardry. And nowhere is this more pronounced than when it comes to the fickle battery, which will drop 20 percent charge quicker than you can toggle Bluetooth off, and give up the ghost entirely after a couple of years of charging.

To make up for these inadequacies, we’ve made all kinds of battery myths. Whether it’s avoiding leaving your phone on charge overnight, or powering off to give the battery a little break, we’re forever looking for ways to eke out a little more performance from our overworked batteries, even if the method doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

To help sort the science from the folklore, we asked a battery expert to give their verdict on some of the most pervasive myths, explain the science behind the rumors and, just maybe, offer us some sage advice on extending the life of our smartphones.

Even when your battery is at 100 percent, there’s still room for some more charge


There is more juice in your smartphone battery than the percentage displayed suggests, but if you used that juice you’d end up dramatically reducing the overall lifespan of the battery. At the crux of this problem is a delicate trade-off played by manufacturers. Increasing the available charge within a battery reduces the number of times that battery can be charged and discharged without being damaged internally. To make batteries last for hundreds or thousands of charge cycles, manufacturers place limits on the amount of juice that batteries can discharge.