8 November 2023

Israel's Navy Is Ready for War Against Hamas

Maya Carlin

On October 7, Hamas terrorists breached Israel from many points of entry. Paragliders, weaponized bulldozers, and boats were just some of the vessels that Hamas used to enter Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. While the Gaza-based terror group slaughtered at least 1,400 people and injured thousands more, Israel’s Navy singlehandedly prevented many more fighters from entering the Jewish state by water. Earlier last month, the IDF released footage that shows the Navy’s efforts to eliminate terrorists attempting to gain access to Israel by water. In the video, Hamas speedboats are sunk by Israel’s Dvora-class patrol boats.

The IDF said “Snapir fighters opened fire on the terrorists, amid a naval pursuit. The fighters thwarted a number of terrorists at sea, and from there they continued to thwart terrorists when they reached the coastline.” According to the military, dozens of terrorists were also killed in Hamas’ attempted naval infiltration.
Israel’s Navy: Small But Mighty

Since October 7, Hamas militants have continued to try to access Israel via water to wage additional terror attacks against the country. Last week, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari revealed that Naval forces spotted terror cells entering the sea from a tunnel. According to the official, Israel’s Naval forces killed them all and continued to search for additional terrorists. As the Israel-Hamas war continues, the Gaza-based group with undoubtedly make continued attempts to infiltrate the Jewish state by water.

Since the IDF’s imminent full-scale Gaza incursion is monopolizing the media at the moment, Israel’s Navy is often overlooked.

Western defence companies scale up production, but Gaza moves goalpost

Robert Wall

The Ukraine war has driven high demand for more artillery shells and other military equipment, prompting Western defence companies to ramp up. The Hamas–Israel war has made keeping pace with demand only more challenging.

Western defence companies are starting to enjoy higher financial returns from scaling up production in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But the Hamas–Israel war has made meeting demand even more challenging and highlighted the need for a sustained effort to address industrial-capacity shortages.

Companies began increasing production of artillery ammunition and other items last year after European countries and the United States provided military assistance to Kyiv, which quickly exposed how much inventories and production depth had atrophied. Although output has started to increase, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at an Alliance-defence industry forum on 25 October: ‘We need to ramp up production. To meet Ukraine’s needs, but also to strengthen our own deterrence and defence.’

General Dynamics said that it now makes about 20,000 artillery rounds per month, up from 14,000. ‘We’re working ahead of schedule to accelerate that production capacity up to 85,000, even as high as 100,000 rounds per month, and I think the Israel situation is only going to put upward pressure on that demand’, the company’s finance chief, Jason Aiken, said on a 25 October earnings call.

Ramping up

A day later, Saab Chief Executive Micael Johansson said that European companies ‘are working hard, not only Saab, to boost capacity’. The company has expanded output in Sweden and India and is looking to do so in the US, he said, as Saab reported third-quarter earnings.

The Global Consequences of the Israel-Hamas War


War has returned to the Middle East. Nearly a month after Hamas militants carried out their brutal rampage, Israel’s military retaliation continues with an intensifying ground offensive in Hamas-controlled Gaza. For people living, or with family, in Israel – including me – this is a deeply personal crisis. At the same time, many people around the world identify with the thousands of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. But, personal connections aside, this is also a geopolitical crisis, possibly even more profound and far-reaching in its global impact than the Ukraine war.
The most immediate consequences will be felt in the Middle East. For years, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu operated under illusions that have now been shattered. The biggest was the expectation that Israel could normalize ties with the Arab world without addressing the Palestinian question, which he apparently believed could simply be wished away.

Now, that question has become impossible to ignore. Regardless of the outcome of its offensive in Gaza, Israel will have to do some serious soul-searching, possibly rethinking its strategy toward the moribund Middle East peace process entirely. Saudi Arabia, which was on the verge of normalizing relations with Israel, will now probably demand some concessions for the Palestinians before moving forward, lest it incur the ire of its population and the wider Muslim world.

Israel has an incontrovertible right to self-defense. But there is a risk that, in his desperation to regain control of the narrative and preserve his political position, Netanyahu will draw out the war or encourage a regional escalation. With his nominal allies in the Gulf on the fence, Netanyahu may be hoping to restore his preferred geopolitical constellation: Israel and the Sunni Arab states face off against Iran’s “axis of resistance,” with the Palestinians once again reduced to a sideshow in a much broader confrontation.1

Israel’s cyber defense chief tells CNN he’s concerned Iran could increase severity of its cyberattacks

Sean Lyngaas

After suspected Iranian hackers claimed a string of recent attacks on Israeli security cameras, Israel’s cyber defense chief told CNN he is “very concerned” that Iran could escalate its long-running covert battle with Israel in cyberspace with more serious attacks on infrastructure as the war between Israel and Hamas shows no sign of ending.

“They [Iran] know that they can act there more freely [in cyberspace] than in the physical space,” said Gaby Portnoy, the head of the Israel National Cyber Directorate. “We are prepared for that as much as we can.”

Portnoy said there would be a “cost” to any Iranian escalation in cyberspace, implying that Israeli hackers could retaliate against Iran with their own operations. But Portnoy, who is in charge of cyber defense and not offense, said his goal is to keep cyberspace from becoming “another front” in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Iranian hacking groups have proven adept at crippling computer systems at companies in Israel, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. Israel has its own elite cyber operatives that are, alongside the US, widely suspected to have conducted a cyberattack on an Iranian nuclear facility in 2009. And Israeli covert cyber operations against Iran have continued in recent years.

In the four weeks since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, suspected Iranian hackers have claimed hacks of a slew of security cameras in Israel and posted an instructional video on how to make Molotov cocktails to “attack the Israeli and American embassies,” according to interviews with private cybersecurity experts who track the hackers and CNN’s review of the social media posts.

What Will The Gaza Strip Look Like The Day After The War?

On Saturday, 7 October 2023, the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, launched a sudden attack on Israel, which has so far resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Israelis, with approximately 3,000 people wounded, and the capture of around 240 soldiers and civilians. On the first day of the attack, Israel declared a state of war, called upon reserve forces to prepare for a ground intervention and initiated an extensive campaign of aerial bombardment in the Gaza Strip, resulting in over 10,000 casualties.

There is no doubt that the operation launched by Hamas was an incredible endeavour that has shaken Israel in a manner reminiscent of the October War of 1973, initiated by Egypt and Syria exactly half a century ago. It is evident that Hamas symbolically chose this anniversary date to commence its operation with a spectacular breach of the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, evoking the historical crossing of the Egyptian army over the Suez Canal to reclaim the occupied Sinai. Hamas’s operation took place on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which falls on a Saturday, paralleling the pick of the religious holiday of Yom Kippur by Arab forces half a century ago.

Hamas’s militants breached the renowned ‘impassable barrier,’ equipped with sensors, cameras, and other surveillance equipment, and encircled by an underground metal wall several meters deep. The security wall stretches for a length of 65 kilometres, starting from the border with Egypt, encircling the Gaza Strip, and extending to the sea. It is regarded as a ‘high-tech jewel’ intended to ensure a hermetic siege of Gaza.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Tries to Walk a Fine Line on Israel-Hamas War

Daniel Byman

On Friday, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, gave his first public address since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. As expected, Nasrallah praised the attack, excoriated Israel in general and for its operations in Gaza, and blamed the United States for the war due to its support for Israel. However, he was also careful to avoid committing Hezbollah to any escalation or otherwise widening the low-level war that his group is fighting against Israel.

Nasrallah repeated common themes in his remarks, scorning Hezbollah’s enemies and praising its and Iran’s friends. He mocked the supposedly invincible Israeli army and Israel’s need for U.S. support while reiterating his long-standing argument that Israel is really a frail “spider’s web” that can be swept away with effective “resistance.”

He also nodded toward Iran and its broader network of clients in the Middle East. Referencing the recent attacks against U.S. forces by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria as well as the missiles and drones that Iran’s proxies in Yemen, the Houthis, have launched toward Israel in the last several days, Nasrallah praised the “strong and brave Iraqi and Yemeni hands who are now involved in this holy war.” And he declared that the Hamas operation would have “strategic and existential repercussions” for Israel.

Nasrallah’s remarks have been eagerly awaited. Since the Hamas attack, violence between Israel and Hezbollah has increased, with the latter firing rockets and anti-tank missiles into Israel and Israel responding by striking Hezbollah targets, killing 55 of its fighters so far. Hezbollah has also used explosive drones for the first time in its fight with Israel. U.S. officials have warned Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsor to stay out of the conflict. Should Hezbollah decide to engage in all-out war, it would be a dramatic escalation: Hezbollah’s 100,000-plus rocket arsenal dwarfs that of Hamas, and its fighters are well-trained and battle-hardened.

Netanyahu Can't Stick Around: Former Mossad Chief


Legendary former Mossad boss Efraim Halevy says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is living in a world which is not real” and cannot stay in office much longer.

“I do believe there are many people in his own party who have reached a conclusion that it's very dangerous to allow him to continue for any long period of time. He is living in a world which is not real. It's not reality,” Halevy said in an overlooked interview Thursday with PBS Newshour.

“Let's imagine we win the war and Mr. Netanyahu will get up and say, ‘I won the war,’” Halevy told Newshour Special Correspondent Leila Molana-Allen. “Maybe it's true he won the war, but what will people say the day after?”

A longtime critic of Netanyahu and policies encouraging rightwing nationalist Israeli settlers to encroach on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, Halevy also said the failure of Israeli intelligence to detect and deter the Oct. 7 Hamas assaults on Israel would have long lasting effects.

For one thing, Netanyahu shifted blame for the catastrophic attacks onto his military and intelligence agencies—which alone added impetus for his removal. Millions of Israelis had been demanding his resignation in mass street protests for months before the war. Biden also now thinks his days are numbered, “and the president has conveyed that sentiment to the Israeli prime minister in a recent conversation,” according to Politico, citing anonymous “top aides.”

Why, 100 Years Later, the Power of Aircraft Carriers Is Still Unmatched


On October 8, just hours after the unprecedented attack on Israel, the Pentagon very publicly reached for its biggest stick. As pitched gun battles between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists continued across southern Israel, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The deployment made it crystal clear that the U.S. had taken notice of the crisis and was preparing to respond. It also made it clear that—despite recent pronouncements questioning their worth given their staggering cost and vulnerability— aircraft carriers are still very much a part of modern warfare.

A Century at the Top

HMS Argus, widely considered the world’s first aircraft carrier, in zebra camouflage.

The aircraft carrier is just over one hundred years old. First conceived as a scout for battleships to locate the enemy fleet with its aircraft, the Imperial Japanese Navy demolished that concept during World War II, teaming multiple carriers together to create a strike force with longer range and heavier striking ability than a line of battleships. The attack on Pearl Harbor, when six aircraft carriers struck the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, catapulted the carrier to the top as the dominant weapons system of the seas.

Dear world: I don’t care

Avi Lewis

I don’t care that you sympathize with Hamas.

I know you wouldn’t tolerate any of the things they did to us if they would’ve done it to you.

I don’t care that you’re outraged by Israel’s response to the massacre more than the massacre itself.

I know you would do everything to eliminate such pure evil if you experienced it yourself.

I don’t care that this doesn’t fit neatly into your carefully constructed narrative of ‘Israel as aggressor’ and ‘Palestinian as victim.’

The truth hurts sometimes, but hey, don’t let facts get in the way of your feelings.

I don’t care if you think we are at fault, that we had it coming, that Hamas’ actions’ didn’t occur in a vacuum (or to deny they ever happened).

If you feel that the poster of a kidnapped child hurts your cause, maybe yours is a lost cause.

I don’t care about your calls for a premature ceasefire, about your demand that we provide them with electricity, that we stop fighting for ‘humanitarian reasons.’

What of a humanitarian gesture to release our 230+ hostages – elderly, children, babies – snatched from their cribs?

A Global Intifada: Oct. 7 Terrorized Not Just Israelis But the Jewish Diaspora

Yoni Michanie

If Oct. 7, 2023, will be engraved in the consciousness of Israelis for generations to come, the events that followed will similarly haunt the collective memory of Diaspora Jewry. Hamas’s vicious attack, in which terrorists killed 1,400 Israelis and took 240 people captive, is the worst tragedy to befall the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Hearing chants of “Free Palestine, from the river to the sea” is not new for those of us who monitor the proliferation of antisemitic terror-apologists at North American universities. For years, administrators on many campuses have ignored or condoned the calls to “globalize the intifada.” Even as the Second Intifada was raging in Israel two decades ago, and more than 1,000 Israelis were being murdered in attacks, many by Hamas, on buses and in restaurants and nightclubs, the student council’s wall at Montreal’s Concordia University reportedly had signs in 2002 saying, “America is a Terrorist State” and “Globalize the Intifada.”

In 2004, Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian-American academic, currently a senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, spoke at an anti-war rally and asked participants: “How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?” In April 2004, the group Al-Aw, held its annual convention at Hunter College in New York City, where attendees marched to the Israeli consulate to protest the assassination of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader. Signs waved by some in the crowd included “Globalize the Intifada.”


Ashka Jhaveri, Andie Parry, Brian Carter, Annika Ganzeveld, and Frederick W. Kagan

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.

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 and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

Key Takeaways:

1. Israeli ground forces advanced along the northwestern Gazan coast amid reports of clashes with Hamas in the area. The IDF continued its advance into Tal al Hawa on November 5.

2. Clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces in the West Bank continued at their usual rate on November 5, indicating that November 4’s calls for uprisings across the West Bank failed to materialize.

3. Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) and other Iranian-backed militants continued cross-border attacks into northern Israel on November 5 at their normal rate.

4. Iranian-backed Iraqi proxy militia Kataib Hezbollah threatened to escalate attacks against US forces in Iraq and to target “US regional interests” ahead of Blinken’s visit to Iraq, which indicates that Iran and its proxies and partners may target US interests outside of Iraq and Syria.

5. Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh discussed the Israel-Hamas war with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran on November 5.

India’s Cyber Vulnerabilities Grow

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

India has been pushing its Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) initiatives within the region and globally, most recently during India’s G-20 presidency. India made important advances in DPI during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the notable DPI initiatives include a digital national ID (Aadhaar) as well as a payment infrastructure through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which is an instant payment system developed by India indigenously.

However, with the extensive digital networks that India has managed to create, one major concern is the security of that data. There have been repeated reports that inspire deep concern about the security of India’s digital infrastructure.

A few days ago, Indian media reported that an American cybersecurity firm, Resecurity, had revealed an alarming cybersecurity incident in which the personal information of more than 800 million Indian citizens was put up for sale on the dark web. This appears to have been one of the worst data breaches that India has ever experienced. It goes without saying that this incident yet again brings out the urgent need for India to augment its cyber security measures. Resecurity now says that the post on the dark web has been removed, though a cached version still remains available.

Quoting Resecurity reports, Indian media reports stated that the compromised data includes names, phone numbers, addresses, Aadhaar details, and passport information, all of which was apparently available for sale. The cybersecurity firm’s HUMINT (human intelligence) division, HUNTER, said after contact with the perpetrator that they are “willing to sell [the] entire Aadhaar and Indian passport database for $80,000.”

Is Indonesia At Risk Of Terror Attacks During The Presidential Election?

Aisyah Llewellyn

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Indonesia, and the wider Southeast Asia region, was viewed by many as a hostile place.

On Christmas Eve 2000, churches across the country were bombed, leaving 18 people dead. On October 12, 2002, a further series of bombs ripped through Kuta in Bali, killing 202 people and injuring over 200 more. The following year, the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing 11 people. In the Philippines, just six days after the Christmas Eve Church bombings in Indonesia, bombs tore through Metro Manila, killing 22 people.

The group that claimed responsibility for all of the attacks was Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a hardline Islamic group with links to al-Qaida.

In 2001, the al-Qaida-orchestrated attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took place in the United States.

Yet, following the terror of the early 2000s, and the subsequent U.S.-led “War on Terror” that sought to eradicate it, countries such as Indonesia saw a downturn in attacks and a splintering of the groups that had at one point seemed impossibly deadly.

The last JI attack in Indonesia was the 2011 bombing of a police compound in Cirebon in West Java.

Is Australia Really All-in on AUKUS?

Rod Lyon

The AUKUS program—sweeping in the intimacy and level of its proposed cooperation—has enjoyed a high level of bipartisan support among the Australian political elite. First agreed by the Coalition government in September 2021, it was reaffirmed by the Australian Labor Party—then in opposition—within 24 hours, subject to a small number of caveats. The Labor government under Anthony Albanese has taken more fulsome ownership of the program since its election in May 2022. The prime minister was in Washington last week, meeting with President Joe Biden and making the case for AUKUS with some recalcitrant members of the US Congress.

That bipartisanship is unsurprising, given the golden chalice that AUKUS holds out to Australia: namely, assistance in the acquisition of eight nuclear-powered submarines (Pillar 1), a capability exercised by few countries worldwide, and a seat at the top table in exploring the potential of a range of cutting-edge technologies (Pillar 2).

But it would be wrong to imagine that AUKUS is above political debate. Indeed, quite the opposite. The program has provoked the revival of some old areas of contention in Australian strategic policy and encouraged a few new ones. I intend to explore five: three that relate directly to AUKUS and two others that reflect older, wider divisions.

The two broader debates are about:

-the near versus the far in Australian strategic policy priority-setting

-the relative balance between Asia and the Anglosphere in Australian strategic linkages.

The three that touch directly on AUKUS are about whether the program will:

China’s Cold War with America Has Already Gone Hot

Anne Pierce

It’s time to move beyond the question of whether the United States is, or should be, in a cold war with China, for China’s cold war with the United States is well underway.

In fact, China’s multi-pronged “struggle” against America and the Free World has hot war dimensions. In the varied research areas of human rights and international institutions, cyber and information domains, military strategy, and global economics, analysts use words in common to describe China’s behavior. In collectively pointing to China’s coercion, aggression, deception, violations, threats, and attacks, they portray the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) domestic, regional, and global policies as definitively hostile.

China today is expansionist, fiercely anti-democratic, and determined to subvert the post-World War II, U.S.-oriented world order. Toward that end, it is deploying every grey-zone tool conceivable while building a massive military arsenal, honing war plans, and mobilizing forces to seize Taiwan. A drive for internal and external predominance that eschews accommodation is manifest everywhere: in omnipresent domestic repression and terrible atrocities against “minorities”; in the exploitation, intimidation and control that accompanies the CCP’s expansive military and economic footprint; in the worldwide exportation of authoritarianism, surveillance, and propaganda; in bellicosity and territorial and maritime encroachments against neighbors; and in the China-Russia-Iran-North Korea axis which aggressively challenges the West and backs other dictators and extremists.

The United States has no choice but to quickly regain a secure lead in hard and soft power. U.S. foreign policy must fire on all cylinders, and that includes, along with allies, containing China’s military, confronting China’s sabotage and espionage, and challenging China’s ideology. In other words, the United States must engage in a cold war that pulls from the previous Cold War the best practices for success.

The Case for Joint Patrols in the South China Sea

Chester Cabalza, Joshua Bernard Espeña, & Ralph Romulus Frondoza

The collision, which saw two Chinese vessels ramming a Philippine coast guard ship near the Second Thomas Shoal, can either be viewed as proof that the Philippines urgently needs diplomacy with China or, perhaps, to begin employing “diplomacy by other means.” Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has lost all hope in the former option, saying that Beijing’s diplomatic outreach to Manila is “all for a show”; instead, he favors consulting with allies and partners to conduct multilateral joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea with the hope of altering Chinese behavior.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has finally adopted a clear-cut national security policy, in which he considers external defense a top-tier priority. From what follows, his government is on a tightrope on whether to exercise restraint or use big sticks amid China’s dangerous maneuvers at sea. The Philippine Coast Guard has been documenting these moves, which may reflect growing impatience in Beijing to tighten loose ends along its controversial 10-Dash Line.

Manila is weighing potential escalatory effects to diminish Beijing’s aggressive naval actions and disingenuous narrative following the latest collision during a resupply mission to the grounded Sierra Madre at the Second Thomas Shoal.

Such is the policy crossroads that forms the context for the Philippines’ consideration of joint patrols as its diplomatic ‘rod.’

The Battle for the Soul of the Dalai Lama

Lobsang Sangay

In 1954, China’s paramount leader Mao Zedong met Tenzin Gyatso, the then 19-year-old who was the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. “Religion,” Mao acerbically observed to the young Dalai Lama, “is poison.” Five years later, Chinese forces would roll into Tibet and take over the country, driving the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans into exile. The communists, who espoused atheism and derided religions, sought to yoke Tibet to China by squashing its local culture and historical institutions; destroying Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, nunneries, and cultural artifacts; and suppressing the practice of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

In more recent times, however, Beijing has taken an inordinate interest in the ins and outs of Tibetan Buddhism. The Global Times, a Chinese state mouthpiece, has published in the last two years a series of articles asserting the Chinese state’s control not just over territory but over souls. The articles claim that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has the final say over the traditions that guide the Tibetan belief in reincarnation—particularly over the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama.

As the Dalai Lama gets older, China has become increasingly invested in the question of his succession. When a high lama—an important priest—dies, his post is typically filled by someone identified as his reincarnation. This tradition is deeply entrenched in the spiritual and cultural fabric of Tibetan Buddhism. Communist China, which under Mao was so vigorously and uncompromisingly atheist in its orientation, now seeks to control the process that will identify the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. This audacious move points to China’s drive to consolidate its hold over Tibet, a strategy that not only seeks to fatally undermine the institution of the Dalai Lama but also encroaches on the Tibetan people, their rich culture, and their civilization.

How Saudi Arabia Could Use Hamas-Israel War To Change Regional Power Dynamics In Middle East

Timothy Hopper

The international system has changed from a top-down to a bottom-up structure due to globalization and its effects. Regional actors, such as Saudi Arabia, have become more influential in shaping the security of their areas and the world. However, Saudi Arabia’s deterrence has been weakened by its reported willingness to be involved in the Abraham Accords, which has alienated the Arab public. The recent attack by Hamas on Israel, which was praised by the Arabs, has challenged Israel’s integration with the region. This could be an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to restore its power and influence in the Middle East if it acts wisely.

The attack by Hamas on Israel was a pivotal moment in the Middle East’s dynamics and the geopolitical shift in the region’s power balance. It marked a clear distinction between the pre-and post-October 7th developments. The Arab countries, who had previously followed the US-led regional order and sought to normalize relations with Israel – despite the opposition of the Arab masses – now face a dilemma. They have to reconsider their policies in light of the popular support for Hamas and its resistance against Israel.

The Arab world should recall the era when the major Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq had a significant role in the Middle East’s power game and each of them claimed the leadership of the Arab world. Although these countries are still relevant, they have lost the power, influence, and ability to project the power that they once had. The Arab Spring and various internal challenges have disrupted their normal state and new power centers have emerged.

A Patchwork of rules and regulations won’t cut it for AI


This year has marked a turning point for artificial intelligence. Advanced AI tools are writing poetry, diagnosing diseases, and maybe even getting us closer to a clean energy future. At the same time, we face new questions about how to develop and deploy these tools responsibly.

The past two weeks have been a milestone in the young history of AI governance — a moment of constitutional creation. The G7 just released an international code of conduct for responsible AI; the United Nations announced its AI advisory group; the U.S. Senate continued its “AI Insight Forums,” the Biden Administration’s Executive Order directed federal agencies to use AI systems and develop AI benchmarks; and the UK just held an international summit on AI safety.

As a result, we’re beginning to see the emerging outlines of an international framework for responsible AI innovation.

It’s a good thing too, because while the latest advances in AI are a triumph of scientific innovation, there is no doubt we need smart, well-crafted international regulation and industry standards to ensure AI benefits everyone.

If we don’t put such a framework into place, there is a very real risk of a fractured regulatory environment that delays access to important products, makes life harder for start-ups, slows the global development of powerful new technologies, and undermines responsible development efforts. We’ve seen that happen before with privacy, where a patchwork of rules and regulations has left people with uneven protections based on where they live, and made it harder for small businesses to navigate conflicting laws.

Hungary’s Alternative to the ‘Unwavering Solidarity’ Crowd

Michael O’Shea

Since the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7, Western leaders have been saying the right things—in a sense.

U.S. president Joe Biden described the United States’ “rock-solid and unwavering support” to Israel. “You are not alone,” he asserted on an October 18 trip to the country, soon after a similar trip by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“This is the time to stand in solidarity with Israel and its people,” said EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen during her own visit to the country, “And this is why I am here.” French president Emmanuel Macron decried the “blind murderous hatred” and “absolute cruelty” of Hamas.

Events at home have forced an uncomfortable reckoning from these same public figures. While leaders have professed support for Israel, cities like Washington, DC, London, and Sydney have contended with the political and logistical pressures of pro-Hamas protests. The story has been similar at major universities.

More significantly, anti-Semitic violence has proliferated. France has recorded 1,040 incidents since the October 7 attacks. Unrest in Berlin’s largely immigrant Neukölln and Kreuzberg districts sparked riots. Online posts encouraged “turning Neukölln into Gaza.” One Berlin synagogue was the victim of a Molotov cocktail attack, and buildings spraypainted with the Star of David hark back to ugly events from the last century.

Opening a New Chapter for ROK-U.S. Nuclear Cooperation

Sang-Gil Park

2023 marks the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the United States-Republic of Korea Mutual Defense Treaty, which is the foundation of the ROK-U.S. alliance. But 2023 is also the seventieth anniversary of U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative, which became a foundation for developing international cooperation on civil nuclear energy and on non-proliferation. These two Cold War milestones serve as important reminders of the importance of the ROK-US relationship in times of intense international competition and the promise of nuclear power in addressing global challenges.

Nuclear energy is receiving special attention today as a way to strengthen energy security and to combat climate change by decarbonizing power generation, heavy industry, shipping, and other energy-intensive industries. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) incorporate multiple emerging nuclear reactor technologies and are especially well-suited to these tasks. For this reason, there are reasons to expect that nuclear energy markets could evolve rapidly away from conventional large nuclear power plants to SMRs.

The United States, China, Russia, and other nations are fiercely competing to be the first mover in the global SMR market. As reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year, the United States is currently developing twenty-one SMR designs, followed by Russia (seventeen SMR designs), and China (ten designs). Yet Russia and (to a lesser extent) China dominate today’s nuclear market. Russia’s state nuclear energy firm Rosatom has ongoing cooperation with many countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Soviet bloc, though some of these (such as Poland and Ukraine, among others) are now seeking other partners. Rosatom is also building nuclear plants in Turkey and the Middle East. For its part, China is heading to developing countries along the historical Silk Road through its One Belt, One Road program.


Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that the war in Ukraine is not a “stalemate” in a comment to the media about Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s essay on the positional nature of warfare in Ukraine.[1] Zelensky stated during a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on November 4 that the current situation on the frontlines is “not a stalemate” even if “time has passed” and “people are tired.” Zelensky emphasized that Ukraine prioritizes the safety of its servicemen and needs US F-16 fighter aircraft and air defenses to gain an advantage over Russian forces. Zelensky recalled that many observers were quick to call the battlefield situation in 2022 “a stalemate,” but that Ukrainian forces with several “tricks, tactics, [and] military operations” were able to liberate Kharkiv Oblast and west (right) bank Kherson Oblast. Zelensky added that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop at Russia’s currently occupied lines and noted that Ukraine “has no right to even think about giving up.” Zelensky’s statements largely mirror the main arguments in Zaluzhnyi’s essay entitled, “Modern Positional Warfare and How to Win It.”

Zaluzhny’s long essay, “Modern Positional Warfare and How to Win It,” outlines Zaluzhnyi’s consideration of the changes Ukraine must make to overcome the current “positional” stage of the war more clearly than the shorter op-ed and the Economist article it accompanied. Zaluzhnyi wrote that the war “is gradually moving to a positional form” and noted that Ukraine needs to gain air superiority; breach mine barriers in depth; increase the effectiveness of counter-battery; create and train the necessary reserves; and build up electronic warfare (EW) capabilities to overcome positional warfare.[2] Positional warfare refers to military operations that do not result in rapid or dramatic changes to the frontline despite both sides‘ continuing efforts to improve their positions. Zaluzhnyi notably did not say that the war was stalemated in his essay or suggest that Ukraine could not succeed.

SpaceX selling ‘Starshield’ will be a gamechanger

Logan Nye

Space Force and SpaceX announced that they've reached a deal for a brand-new military capability: Starshield. Is it a new laser defense shield against nuclear missiles? An Ultron for our time to destroy alien armadas? Or Starlink, but with new branding and (probably) a new fleet of satellites?

Yup, the last one. But with how clutch Starlink is in Ukraine, a military-controlled version of the network could change operations there. And it would dramatically improve U.S. and allied military communications in future conflicts. Now, the American military will lead military space-based communications with the start of Starshield. But expect allies to clamor aboard and other nations to try developing rival platforms.

Space Force's "Proliferated Low Earth Orbit" Program

Space Force has one of the most descriptive, succinct names in the modern military, but it appears to be even worse at naming its programs than the other branches. Still, its Proliferated Low Earth Orbit Program, or "PLEOP," for acronym addicts who want to hear the sound of a dump every time they discuss the program, is promising.

Space Force has set aside $900 million through 2028 to build "space architecture" in low Earth orbit. The first major contract has now gone to SpaceX. It's not surprising since SpaceX already has a civilian version, Starlink, of the "low-latency data transport" that Space Force needs.

Spotting AI-generated content is too hard. Look for credible sources instead.

Nate Sharadin

If it follows a pattern set in the last two US presidential elections, the 2024 presidential race could be decided by less than 100,000 votes cast in fewer than four states. It seems possible that fake but credible-sounding audio of a presidential candidate using a racial slur released just prior to the election, without any time for adequate media or official response, could affect turnout in exactly the counties needed to swing the election.

Deep generative models, such as those that power OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall-E 3, Google’s Palm, and Meta’s (open-source) LlaMa 2, are capable of extraordinary things. These models can generate audio, visual, and text-based content that is indistinguishable from content created by humans. These capabilities are exciting. The prospect of cheap, easy-to-access image, audio, and text generation promises to revolutionize the way we work, play, and socialize.

But these new capabilities are alarming, too. Despite what some companies claim, it’s not currently possible to reliably detect whether a piece of text-based content was generated using a machine learning model. And the “watermarking” of model-generated audio-, image-, and video- based content is vulnerable to easy exploitation and evasion.

So, there’s growing interest in enabling human beings to spot the bot—that is, to distinguish model-generated content, also known as synthetic media, from human-generated content across a variety of modalities, including images and audio. But even that is proving ineffective: As generative AI continues to improve it’s becoming increasingly difficult for humans to spot model-generated content. The focus, thus, should be on educating the public on the capabilities of current AI models and on trusting only content that comes from verified sources, such as credible news organizations.


Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, and Frederick W. Kagan

Russian forces conducted a notably larger series of drone strikes throughout Ukraine on November 3. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces launched four dozen Shahed-131/-136 drones from Kursk Oblast and Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Krasnodar Krai, and a Kh-59 cruise missile from occupied Kherson Oblast at targets in Ukraine.[1] The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down the Kh-59 cruise missile and 24 of the Shahed drones.[2] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces intercepted over half of the roughly 40 drones that Russian forces launched at Ukraine.[3] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces struck targets in Kharkiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Odesa oblasts, and Zelensky stated that Ukrainian air defenses activated in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, and Lviv oblasts.[4] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces primarily struck civil infrastructure, and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Military Administration Head Svitlana Onyshchuk stated that Russian forces struck an unspecified military facility in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.[5] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched small groups of Shaheds to identify the locations of Ukrainian air defenses and then launched several waves of drones to complicate the Ukrainian response.[6] Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, stated that Russian forces plan to launch more damaging strikes throughout Ukraine as winter approaches.[7]

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced new military aid packages to Ukraine on November 3, primarily aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s air defenses. The US DoD announced an aid package of military materiel support for Ukraine valued at $125 million, including munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and HIMARS; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) anti-tank missiles; Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems; and over three million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades.[8] The US DoD will also allocate $300 million to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses over the long term. The US DoD will provide Ukraine laser-guided munitions to counter UAVs under USAI.

Global Competition for AI Regulation, or a Framework for AI Diplomacy?

Charles Mok

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken center stage in today’s global technology competition, especially since the commercial launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT a year ago. Now the race to technological leadership among companies and nations has been extended to the sphere of regulations and rule-setting, with national leaders and politicians proclaiming that they do not want to repeat the same mistakes of being late to regulate the internet and social media.

Within the last few weeks, we have witnessed major announcements from the United States, in the form of a presidential executive order on AI; an advocacy framework from China on AI governance emerging from the tenth-anniversary summit for its Belt and Road Initiative; and the AI Safety Summit being held in the United Kingdom. The slippery task of regulating AI, especially to do it globally, is gaining momentum, although in many ways countries still hold very divergent views and goals on AI regulatory and development issues.

It appears that a new framework for AI diplomacy is taking shape.

The United States’ AI Executive Order

First, let’s take a look at U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order on AI, announced on October 30. Washington has long been criticized for its lack of comprehensive legislations to regulate the “big tech” companies on issues ranging from data and privacy protection to the responsibilities of social media platforms. Given the political impasse on Capitol Hill and beyond, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon. However, ironically, this “executive-led” modus apparatus may allow the United States to take somewhat of a lead in the race to set the directions of the rules for the safe and secure deployment of AI in society, as others may be continuously caught in the mire of the details of how to regulate something as elusive and constantly evolving as AI.