26 November 2023

The War That Remade the Middle East

Maria Fantappie and Vali Nasr

Before October 7, 2023, it seemed as if the United States’ vision for the Middle East was finally coming to fruition. Washington had arrived at an implicit understanding with Tehran about its nuclear program, in which the Islamic Republic of Iran effectively paused further development in exchange for limited financial relief. The United States was working on a defense pact with Saudi Arabia, which would in turn lead the kingdom to normalize its relations with Israel. And Washington had announced plans for an ambitious trade corridor connecting India to Europe through the Middle East to offset China’s rising influence in the region.

There were obstacles, of course. Tensions between Tehran and Washington, although lower than in the past, remained high. Israel’s avowedly right-wing government was busy expanding settlements in the West Bank, prompting anger from Palestinians. But U.S. officials did not see Iran as a spoiler; it had, after all, recently restored ties with various Arab governments. And Arab states had already normalized relations with Israel, even though Israel was not making meaningful concessions to the Palestinians.

Then Hamas attacked Israel, throwing the region into turmoil and upending the United States’ vision. The militant group’s expansive assault from the Gaza Strip—in which its fighters broke through a high-tech border wall, rampaged across southern Israeli towns, killed roughly 1,200 people, and took more than 240 hostages—made it clear that the Middle East is still a deeply explosive region. The attack prompted a ferocious military response by Israel that created a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, with large numbers of dead and displaced Palestinians, and raised the risk of a wider regional war. The plight of the Palestinians is again front and center, and an Israeli-Saudi deal is infeasible. Given that Iranian support accounts for Hamas’s resilience and military abilities, Iran’s own regional military capabilities now seem quite powerful. Tehran also seems newly assertive. Although not keen on a broader conflict, Iran has still basked in Hamas’s show of force and, since then, upped the ante as Israel exchanged fire with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and as other Iranian-backed groups lobbed rockets at U.S. troops.

Why the Palestinian Prisoners Are Central to the Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal


The release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel—a number Palestinian officials and nonprofit organizations say has ballooned during the current war—has been critical in negotiations over any temporary truce and release of Hamas hostages.

Israel has experienced division over what concessions to make to Hamas in order to bring hostages home, with the families of some pushing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Palestinian prisoners in exchange, per Hamas’ initial demands.

Hamas took more than 200 people hostage during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Hamas has already released four hostages—an American mother and daughter on Oct. 20 and two Israeli women on Oct. 23, both for “humanitarian reasons” according to the militant group—in deals brokered by Qatar and Egypt’s governments.

As of November, Israeli nonprofit organization HaMoked reported that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) was holding 6,704 Palestinian prisoners on security grounds, a jump from 5,192 in October and months before, based on government data. TIME has reached out to IPS to confirm this number.

What are the terms of the exchange?

The two sides in the war came to an agreement for Hamas to release at least 50 women and children held hostage over the course of four days in exchange for Israel pausing fighting and freeing 150 Palestinian prisoners.

A New Approach To The Israel-Palestine Issue

Both Israelis and Palestinians have been hurt and hurt by the dispute for a long time. A circle of violence and injustice in the area has destroyed many lives and pulled communities apart. It is very important to recognize the problems and pain of the Palestinian people and deal with the reasons of this strife. But instead of trying to get payback, we should work for peace, justice, and unity. There is no denying the plight of the Palestinian people. People have lived under occupation for generations, and every day they face threats to their basic human rights and respect. The world needs to know about the pain that Palestinians are going through, and that includes Muslims and people who are not Muslim. Solidarity and understanding for their position can help make things better.

Boycotts have been used by many groups throughout history to bring attention to wrongs and push for change. There is no desire for payback behind the call to boycott Israeli goods. Instead, the goal is to put pressure on the Israeli government to listen to the Palestinians’ worries and start real peace talks. However, it is important to make it clear that banning a whole country or its goods can have unexpected effects and should be done carefully and with care. A general ban could hurt good people and businesses by accident and make things even more divided. People and groups should instead think about taking a more focused action by not buying from companies that are directly involved in activities that support the occupation. You can protest by not buying something, but it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind. For the Israel-Palestine issue to end in a fair and lasting way, diplomacy and talks are very important.

What’s upsetting is that many Islamic states haven’t done enough to solve the Israel-Palestine dispute. But it’s important to remember that small groups and individuals can also bring about change. Boycotts at the state level would send a strong message, but regular people can still make a big difference by buying things with knowledge and giving money to groups that are working for a peaceful settlement.

Conflicting Visions Leave Future Governance Of Gaza In Doubt

The issue of who will govern Gaza if Israel succeeds in dethroning Hamas poses one of the most challenging questions facing the world’s diplomats, with Israel, the United States and the region’s Arab leaders offering seemingly contradictory solutions.

The United States has proposed that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority should ultimately govern Gaza and floated the idea that some international coalition — presumably including Arab states — provide security in the interim. Arab leaders have demanded an immediate end to the fighting without addressing the governance question, and they have rejected any security role in the territory.

And Israel, while reluctant to occupy Gaza as it did before 2005, has suggested it would maintain a security role there for some indefinite period.

U.S. President Joe Biden laid out his vision for the future of Gaza and of Israel-Palestinian relations in a November 18 commentary in The Washington Post, arguing that the Palestinian people “deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas.”

“Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,” Biden wrote.

In the meantime, he continued, “The international community must commit resources to support the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, including interim security measures, and establish a reconstruction mechanism to sustainably meet Gaza’s long-term needs.”

Israeli hostage deal: What makes Israel special and vulnerable


The government’s expected approval last night of the deal to release dozens of hostages from Hamas captivity in return for a temporary ceasefire, a significant supply of fuel, and the release of female and minor-aged terrorists from Israeli prisons shows what makes Israel special, yet also very vulnerable.

This is a quintessential Israeli moment: placing responsibility for its citizens above everything else, even at the risk of endangering other citizens – soldiers and civilians – somewhere down the road.

It is this feeling of mutual responsibility that makes Israel different. It is doubtful that many other countries would agree to halt a raging war, giving the enemy a much-needed respite to regroup, in order to release a few dozen hostages.

But this is what sets Israel apart. This sense of mutual responsibility is part of the Zionist ethos – that no Jew is left alone, that Israel will go literally to the ends of the Earth to rescue Israelis and other Jews in distress.

This is a fundamental building block of Israeli solidarity. And solidarity is critical for the resilience and unity in a crisis that allows the country to flourish and thrive.

Washington’s Looming Middle Eastern Quagmire

Jennifer Kavanagh and Frederic Wehrey

The aftermath of Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack on Israel, which killed an estimated 1,200 people, has prompted what is arguably the most severe challenge to U.S. strategy in the Middle East since the uprisings and civil wars that rocked the Arab world beginning in 2011. Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip and the massive loss of life it has incurred—over 12,000 Palestinians have died as a result, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry—have spurred widespread anti-Americanism across the region and prompted attacks by Iranian proxies on U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Syria. How U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration manage the actions of Israel, a close U.S. ally, as well as the broader geopolitical reverberations of the war, will have far-reaching consequences for regional stability as well as for Washington’s ability to confront and deter adversaries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

That the stakes are high is evident in the rapid flow of additional U.S. military forces into the region over the past month, including aircraft carriers, fighter aircraft, over 1,000 troops, and the deployment of additional air defense systems to Arab partners such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These moves were intended to signal U.S. resolve and deter Iran from seeking to escalate the crisis in Israel by using its network of proxies, such as Hezbollah, to launch attacks on Israel from Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere. But by expanding its military presence in the Middle East, Washington may aggravate regional tensions and raise the risk and costs of miscalculation—and thus inadvertently provoke the very conflict it is desperate to avoid.

Washington’s injection of military hardware and personnel could also end up entangling the United States in open-ended security commitments to a region from which it had, until recently, been trying to extricate itself. By the time U.S. forces finished withdrawing from Afghanistan and ended combat operations in Iraq in 2021, the United States’ habitual security-first approach to the Middle East had proved both costly, in terms of dollars and lives lost, and devastating for the region, having contributed to years of war, insurgency, and economic ruin. As the United States’ presence increases once again, its deepened military involvement in the Middle East could endure beyond the end of the current crisis and contribute to an overstretch that would create dangerous gaps elsewhere over the longer term, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. In that scenario, much of the Biden administration’s work to pivot toward the Indo-Pacific to counter China would be undone—and key strategic arenas such as Taiwan would be left more vulnerable to Chinese aggression.

Our warnings on Hamas were ignored, Israel’s women border troops say


Did Israel’s security chiefs brush off warnings from women border surveillance soldiers who had evidence that something was brewing in Gaza ahead of the murderous attacks by Hamas militants on October 7?

That’s the explosive accusation coming from several soldiers in Israel’s predominantly female border surveillance forces — known as the tatzpitaniyot, or look-outs in Hebrew. The soldiers are telling the media their superiors did not heed warnings of unusual activity inside Gaza, such as Palestinian guerrillas training with explosives or rehearsing attacks on a replica tank and a mock observation post.

Their statements to the media are piling pressure on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a firestorm over last month’s catastrophic intelligence blunder. The country’s fabled spy services ultimately failed to detect an impending Hamas onslaught, in which an estimated 3,000 Palestinian fighters killed some 1,200 Israelis and abducted about 240.

In addition to the implications of sexism, the charges feed a sense that Netanyahu and his security services were complacent, believing they had nothing to fear from Hamas in Gaza. Netanyahu’s opponents even argue he was actively boosting Hamas in Gaza, with support from Qatar, in a risky game of “divide-and-rule” that played the Islamists off against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Fighting in Disputed Kashmir Kills 5 Indian Soldiers and 2 Suspected Militants

Aijaz Hussain

Five Indian soldiers were killed in gunbattles with rebels fighting against New Delhi’s rule in disputed Kashmir, officials said Thursday. The Indian army said two suspected militants were also killed.

The fighting started Wednesday, days after Indian troops started searching for militants in dense forests based on information that at least two rebels were hiding there, a military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with official policy.

Intermittent firing continued at regular intervals all day Wednesday, the official said, killing four soldiers and injuring at least two other soldiers.

The army wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that rebels were also injured in the gunbattle and were surrounded by Indian troops. It did not specify how many militants were in the battle.

Troops continued their search, resulting in a fresh exchange of gunfire Thursday in the mountainous and forested area of the southern Rajouri district, near the highly militarized line Line of Control that divides the Himalayan region between India and Pakistan.

Two suspected militants and a soldier were killed in the fighting, according to another Indian army officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. The officer said one of the militants was a Pakistani national, a trained sniper and an expert in handling explosives, and had been operating in the area for the past year.

Japan’s Intervention in a Taiwan Contingency: It Depends

William Choong

In recent years, Japan has faced increased threats from various directions: from Russia to the north, and from North Korea and China to the west. No wonder, as John Mearsheimer once put it, Japan’s defense posture needs to be more like Godzilla and less like Bambi.

This quandary is not new. In fact, for decades, Japan has been on a trajectory of adopting a more muscular defense posture. What is new, however, is Japan’s focus on Taiwan, and the possibility that Tokyo could intervene in a future conflict in the Strait.

The shift toward Taiwan was given fresh impetus in 2021, when Abe Shinzo argued forcefully that a Taiwan emergency would constitute a Japanese emergency, and therefore a contingency for the Japan-U.S. alliance. Last month, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio appointed two new ministers who are more hawkish and inclined towards Taiwan.

But the biggest change in Japan’s defense posture, with significant consequences for Taiwan, is its Defense Buildup Program for FY2023-2027, which will see defense spending increase to 43 trillion yen (nearly $286 billion), a 56 percent increase over the corresponding FY2019-2023 period. Apart from the 9 trillion yen that will be set aside for the repair of defense equipment, the procurement of stand-off defense capabilities is the biggest item in the program, with 5 trillion yen allocated for this purpose. These weapons can be fired at long distances of 1,000-1,500 kilometers, with the mobility and survivability that would enable Japanese forces to reduce the risk of counterattack. They would be instrumental in any Taiwan crisis.

Myanmar military says drone attack by ethnic armed groups in northeast destroyed about 120 trucks

Grant Peck

Myanmar ’s military-controlled government said Thursday that almost half of more than 250 cargo trucks stranded by fighting against ethnic minority armed groups near the northeastern border with China have been destroyed in a fire caused by bombs dropped by drones.

Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, spokesperson of the ruling military council, said in a statement phoned to state television MRTV that trucks parked in a compound near a trade zone in Muse township caught fire after drones belonging to ethnic armed organizations launched an attack at about 9:45 a.m. on Thursday.

The action was one of the most dramatic, and in terms of property damage, most extensive since the self-styled Three Brotherhood Alliance of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army launched a coordinated offensive in northern Shan state on Oct. 27. The trucks are used to carry goods to and from China.

Zaw Min Tun said about 120 of 258 trucks, which were parked near the Kyin-San-Kyawt Border Gate, were destroyed in the fire, which he blamed on the alliance.

Yak-38: The Russian Aircraft Carrier Fighter Jet That Was a Failure

Peter Suciu

The Yak-38 went on to see limited service with the Soviet Navy, but it wasn't all that popular with pilots for quite a few reasons.

Meet the Yak-38: During the Cold War, the Royal Air Force developed the Harrier "Jump Jet," an aircraft that went on to be a favorite of Hollywood. As Harrison Kass, writing for 19FortyFive in December of last year noted, the AV-8B Harrier was almost as much of a star in 1994's True Lies as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Thanks to that film and others, the Harrier has become legendary.

By contrast, it is doubtful that even the most patriotic Russian filmmaker will want to put the Yak-38 (NATO reporting name "Forger") in a film. It was the Soviet's attempt to mimic the vertical/short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) operations of the Jump Jet, but it was far from a success.

Though it attempted to fulfill roughly the same role as the Harrier, the Yak-38 had numerous shortcomings, which prevented the aircraft from reaching a greater operational service career.

Origins of the Yak-38

Since the Second World War, military planners have considered the advantages of VSTOL aircraft, which could take off and land vertically or on short runways.

Russia's MiG-41 Stealth Fifghter Looks Like a Certified Failure

Maya Carlin

MiG-41, Explained: The U.S. military has long boasted air superiority over enemies across the globe. In 1997, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor took to the skies for the first time, emerging as the world’s first fifth-generation fighter.

In the years since, American adversaries have worked hard to develop formidable counters to U.S. stealth fighters.

Moscow and Beijing in particular have been modernizing aerial capabilities in order to compete with America’s next-generation platforms.

In 2018, the Kremlin revealed that it was developing a sixth-generation fighter.

Over the last five years, few details have emerged regarding this platform, but Moscow insists that the MiG-41 will blow its American counterparts out of the water once produced.

Considering Russia’s scarcity of funds and resources amid its war effort in Ukraine, there is probably little room for it to develop this mysterious fighter.
The MiG-41’s Known History

The MiG-41 is being developed by the manufacturer Mikoyan, and it is known in Russia as the Mikoyan PAK DP.

Initial details remain a mystery, but the fighter’s design was reportedly finalized in 2019.

Kursk Disaster: A Russia Missile Submarine Was Killed by Its Own Torpedo

Peter Suciu

The Kursk Disaster, Explained: The loss of the Titan submersible that was operated by American tourism and expeditions company OceanGate in June of this year served as a reminder that the ocean depths aren't all that friendly to visitors.

Military submarines are also arguably one of the most dangerous environments to work in, as the crews literally operate in a metal tube surrounded by water at depths and pressures that rightfully should crush the boat. Even a minor mistake can be deadly – a fact that is noted as there have been several dozen mishaps with military submarines.

Throughout the Cold War, there had been a number of tragic accidents involving Soviet submarines due to lax safety measures. Since 2000, the Russian Navy further had its own share of submarine disasters. The first one was also the worst when in August 2000, the nuclear-powered Kursk sank in the Barents Sea due to an explosion in its torpedo room, which killed all 118 of its crew.

The submarine – named after the July 1943 Battle of Kursk, the largest tank engagement in history – was one of eleven nuclear-powered Project 949A Antey (Oscar II) cruise missile submarines built at Seveorvinsk and was one of the five assigned to the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet.

The other six were assigned to the Pacific Fleet, and while three more were planned, construction was eventually halted.

Top 10 Security, Technology, and Business Books of 2023


The year 2023 felt incredibly disruptive and my annual reading list probably reflects that fact as I sought out books that focused not only on managing risk and chaos, but recognizing and fostering disruptive technology opportunties. Five years ago, I recommended Kevin Roberts’ excellent book “64 Shots” which talked about surviving in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world and 2023 definitely qualified as a VUCA year. It was also a year to remember that there are bad actors in every domain and that being in the cultural zeitgeist doesn’t automatically qualify you as a good leader.

The 2023 List

This is likely the most important book of the year. Suleyman is a practitioner in the AI domain, but has incredible insights into the challenges and opportunities of the emerging artificial intelligence era.

This was a disturbing book, but essential reading. Dalio has captured the zeitgeist of the nation over the past several years and his book made this list last year. It is important to understand the motivation, history, and dynamics behind such an influential person and Copeland’s book has some incredibly disturbing revelations.

US Endorses Responsible AI Measures For Global Militaries

David Vergun

The United States government is leading global efforts to build strong norms that will promote the responsible military use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Last week, the State Department announced that 47 states have now endorsed the “Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy” that the government first launched at The Hauge on Feb. 16.

AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence, such as recognizing patterns, learning from experience, drawing conclusions, making predictions or generating recommendations.

Military AI capabilities includes not only weapons but also decision support systems that help defense leaders at all levels make better and more timely decisions, from the battlefield to the boardroom, and systems relating to everything from finance, payroll, and accounting, to the recruiting, retention, and promotion of personnel, to collection and fusion of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data.

“The United States has been a global leader in responsible military use of AI and autonomy, with the Department of Defense championing ethical AI principles and policies on autonomy in weapon systems for over a decade. The political declaration builds on these efforts. It advances international norms on responsible military use of AI and autonomy, provides a basis for building common understanding, and creates a community for all states to exchange best practices,” said Sasha Baker, under secretary of defense for policy.

The Defense Department has led the world through publishing a series of policies on military AI and autonomy, most recently the Data, Analytics, and AI Adoption Strategy released on November 2.

Drastic Increase In Anti-Semitism In The World

Matija Šerić

After Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7 this year and after Israel’s fierce counterattack in the Gaza Strip, where the number of dead Palestinians far exceeded the number of dead Jews in the Hamas attack, anti-Semitism throughout the world experienced a drastic rise. The old evil is back at the big door again. Current trends – the flare-up of the war in the Gaza Strip and the mass suffering of Palestinians – are the driving fuel of anti-Semitism, the rise of which favors the deepening or revival of social conflicts in many communities.

United States

The situation in the United States, where the largest Jewish community in the world lives – 7.3 million, is particularly worrying. Many Jewish schools canceled classes. Synagogues are locked. Social networks were filled with hatred for Jews, leaving a vulnerable minority community in the lurch. The growth of hatred is more than palpable. The Jewish non-governmental and lobbying organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported at the end of October that anti-Semitic incidents in the US after October 7 increased by about 400% compared to the previous year.

And the data was not good last year either – the FBI registered 1,124 reported hate crimes against the Jewish people or Jewish institutions in the US. This is the highest number of anti-Jewish crimes since 1993. Now the situation has worsened. Americans of Jewish origin studying at the prestigious Cornell University are so afraid for their lives on campus that they are not allowed to eat with other classmates after receiving death threats on the Internet. Pro-Palestinian protests at some universities have crossed the line into anti-Semitism, prompting some Republicans and Democrats to warn that universities are in the hands of left-wing radicals. In essence, radical left and right groups have the upper hand in anti-Semitic outbursts.

US soldiers using their new electronic warfare tool


The US Army has deployed a new artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled tool to support electronic warfare missions.

Called the Advanced Dynamic Spectrum Reconnaissance (ADSR), the technology allows the service’s wireless communications networks to sense and dodge enemy jamming.

It can also lessen radio frequency emissions, reducing risks for friendly forces targeted by enemies.

According to the US Army, the state-of-the-art tool was recently deployed by an electronic warfare unit during a multinational exercise in Germany.

Soldiers were able to further test the system and provide training to NATO allies.

“Sensing capabilities that provide a real-time understanding of the spectrum drive our efforts to identify the enemy’s electromagnetic signature so we can rapidly deliver effects on the battlefield,” cyber warfare officer Brenden Shutt said.

“We rely on the continuous innovation of our tactics and technology to maintain dominance in electronic warfare.”

Maintain US Military Dominance

The ADSR is one of the first projects under the Army Research Laboratory’s Pathfinder program that aims to solve some of the service’s toughest problems on the battlefield.

Why US-led sanctions on Russia are a failure


Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has meted out economic punishment both as a means of coercion and a moral warfare tool, rendering it a de facto accompaniment in the naming and shaming of various foes of the United States.

The largest sanctions of all have been imposed on Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, this case has also become the greatest example of the failure of sanctions to achieve their desired results. Together with the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, this has contributed to the growing belief that this war may end in stalemate, or even Russian victory.

By 2021, the U.S. had already imposed over 8,000 sanctions on individuals and companies globally, targeting regional sectors in a range of countries. In the last two years, this number has seen an astronomical increase. According to a Columbia University database, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) holds comprehensive sanctions on six countries and three regions. Targeted export sanctions extend to 19 countries including Belarus, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, prohibiting under U.S. law any financial and commercial relations with designated companies or individuals.

On multitudinous occasions, these U.S.-led sanction regimes have been found to inflict asymmetrical burdens on impoverished foreign citizens, hinder democratization, and in the most serious cases exacerbate humanitarian crises in violation of international law.

Russia believes key to victory is internal destabilisation in Ukraine, Head of Foreign Intelligence Service says

Ukrainska Pravda

Oleksandr Lytvynenko, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, believes that Russia is determined to fight "as much as necessary", and the war has entered the stage of exhaustion. Russia will concentrate on three tasks regarding Ukraine: gaining advantage on the battlefield, destroying infrastructure and undermining social unity, Lytvynenko says.

The war entered the stage of a war of attrition. There is more and more evidence that the Kremlin is ready to wage war for as long as necessary."

Details: Lytvynenko thinks that Russia is already incorporating "the special military operation" (as the war against Ukraine is called in Russia – ed.) into the plans for the 2024-2025 recruitment of the Russian Armed Forces.

The Kremlin believes that it has enough military, technical, economic and human resources for hostilities with Ukraine at the current level for a long period.

At the same time, Moscow is convinced that Ukraine's internal resources are allegedly "approaching complete exhaustion."

Lytvynenko says that the Kremlin plans to adjust its strategy, following Russia’s FSB order, and stated that the key to the victory of the Russian Federation is internal destabilisation in Ukraine.

What’s next: three main scenarios for Ukraine

We need to understand the possible future scenarios, at least in general terms.

At the very least, businesses need this to plan their activities. So, the scenarios for the development of events at the moment look like this: We are taking a time frame of at least two years here to consider the effects of elections in key countries. You will not like everything I have to say, but someone has to say it. If you prefer not to know, stop here and read no further.

Inputs we know so far:

1. Positional warfare does not lead to a significant change in the contact line. Military analysts say each side's defense capabilities exceed the other's offensive capabilities.

2. The West does not currently consider the scenario of Russian defeat acceptable, given the consequences for the quantity and quality of arms supplies.

3. Putin has chosen a strategy of war of attrition, in which authoritarian Russia has more chances than Ukraine, which depends on democratic allies whose position may change after elections (in which Russia will certainly interfere for this purpose).

This leads to three main scenarios for Ukraine.

1. Continuation of the war of attrition.

The worst-case scenario, and so far, everything is moving along this trajectory. A change of government in the West will lead to a decrease in support to the point where Ukraine will not be able to continue the war and will be forced to negotiate peace on Russia's terms. Even if political support remains at the current level, the number of tension points in the world will increase, distracting from Ukraine. The West's ability to provide weapons will begin to dry up. At the same time, no one will put the American or European economy on a war footing (Ukraine cannot provide itself with enough modern weapons, although it must take all possible steps in this direction).

Is Leftism At The Dawn Of A Global Retreat?

Ben Solis

Nonconformist anti-left firebrand Javier Milei’s victory in Argentina’s presidential election has shocked the global political establishment and ended decades of leftist rule in the South American nation. But far from an isolated incident, Milei’s meteoric rise is just the latest in a growing backlash against failed liberal policies around the world.

Throughout his campaign for president, Milei often launched into tirades against Argentina’s “useless and parasitic” political class, and even employed a chainsaw in his demonstrations of disdain for excessive government spending and bloated bureaucracies. Viral videos now making the rounds on social media show the 53-year-old economist vehemently denouncing what he calls the evils of leftism.

Across the Atlantic in Spain, conservatives delivered a similar shock to the European liberal establishment by dominating the country’s local elections earlier this year. Shortly thereafter, the conservative Popular Party saw a nearly 13 percent net gain in its overall vote share, becoming the largest faction in parliament.

However, the results of that election left no one ideological faction with enough support to form a government. In an underhanded attempt to cling to power, acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of the Socialist Party is attempting to offer major concessions to Catalan separatists, including an amnesty deal for separatists who led a failed secession attempt in 2017, in exchange for their support.

The Russian Way of War

Bob Seely

In September, I visited the command post of Ukraine’s Tsunami regiment: a volunteer unit of several thousand soldiers fighting in the east of the country. It was the first time I had been inside a post since serving in the United Kingdom’s armed forces during its campaign against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in northern Iraq seven years earlier. From a cramped basement near the city of Kramatorsk, I watched on screens as Tsunami frontline teams crept between rubble-strewn houses, clearing a village of Russian soldiers. Lieutenant Colonel Olexandr Gostyschev, the regiment’s commander, deliberated, via gaming software, with his frontline, mortar line, and drone line as his team prepared to strike the shell of a house hiding three Russian soldiers. The Russians were lying prostrate, as if willing themselves to meld with the ruins around them. Eventually, Tsunami hit the house with a single mortar shell. Once the smoke drifted away, we could see the Russians were no longer moving. There were no celebrations from the Ukrainians. Instead, the men edged forward to the next Russian position.

A week later, after I had returned to the United Kingdom, the regiment texted to say that it had recaptured the village—the latest in a series of small victories. That month, Tsunami had liberated just under a mile of Ukraine, but at the cost of 15 lives and many injuries. (The soldiers are coy about exact figures.) That translates into one fatality for every 300 feet of land. The regiment has many miles yet to travel.

For the first year of Ukraine’s war against Russia, the endeavors and sacrifices of regiments like Tsunami served as inspiration for Western populations. Millions of people across Europe and the United States flew Ukrainian flags and cheered as desperate Ukrainian defenders halted Russia’s brutal advance. Weapons flowed to Kyiv, and Western militaries trained thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. The European Union gave the country billions of dollars in economic support.

What is Project Q*? OpenAI board was warned of 'dangerous' AI discovery before Altman ouster

In a fresh revelation, it has now surfaced that several researchers at OpenAI wrote to the board of directors warning of a powerful AI discovery that could threaten humanity, said a report, citing sources.

The letter and the discovery of the AI algorithm were the major developments at the San Francisco-based startup before the board pushed out Sam Altman on Friday, Reuters reported, quoting two sources familiar with the matter.

Altman was reinstated as OpenAI CEO on Wednesday after pressure from the company's biggest financial backer Microsoft and its CEO Satya Nadella as well as warning from over 700 employees who threatened to quit in support of the fired chief.

Talking to the news agency, the sources said the letter was one important factor that prompted the board of director to fire Altman amid concerns over commercialising the AI discovery without gauging the aftereffects.

Project Q*

OpenAI, in an internal message to staffers, acknowledged a project called Q* (pronounced Q-Star) and a letter to the board before the weekend's events, one of the people said.

ChatGPT Is Apparently a Great Surveillance Tool

Lucas Ropek
Source Link

Welcome to AI This Week, Gizmodo’s weekly roundup where we do a deep dive on what’s been happening in artificial intelligence.

This week, Forbes reported that a surveillance company called Social Links had begun using ChatGPT to conduct sentiment analysis. The creepy field by which cops and spies collect and analyze social media data to understand how web users feel about stuff, sentiment analysis is one of the sketchier use-cases for the little chatbot to yet emerge.

Social Links isn’t exactly a stranger to controversy. The company, which characterizes itself as an open source intelligence (or, OSINT) business, was previously kicked off Facebook and Instagram after Meta accused it of surveilling users. Social Links has since denied the accusations. This week, the firm showed off its unconventional use of ChatGPT at a security conference in Paris, weaponizing the chatbot’s ability for text summarization and analysis to troll through large chunks of data, digesting it quickly. In a demonstration, the company fed data collected by its own proprietary tool into ChatGPT; the data, which related to online posts about a recent controversy in Spain, was then analyzed by the chatbot, which rated them “as positive, negative or neutral, displaying the results in an interactive graph,” Forbes writes.

Obviously, privacy advocates have found this more than a little disturbing—not merely because of this specific case, but for what it says about how AI could escalate the powers of the surveillance industry in general.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY HORIZONS: A Roadmap to Modernized Defense Microelectronics

Michael Fritze and Jacob Winn

Although microelectronic components underpin nearly all military systems, the Defense Department often struggles to upgrade them when modernizing its defense systems.

Even though many key capabilities continue to use legacy microelectronics today, the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute’s new report found an urgent need for the department to systematically overhaul the way it modernizes its microelectronics. Doing so will support efforts to field defense systems most capable of meeting the anticipated threats and operational requirements of the future.

ETI wrote the “Improving DoD’s Ability to use Modern Microelectronics” report after hearing the concerns voiced by experts during an ETI-led microelectronics modernization workshop. To produce the report, ETI conducted interviews with subject matter experts ranging from those with a lifetime of service at the department, to commercial microelectronics industry veterans, to defense industrial base engineers and businesses executives. The report provides a number of findings and recommendations to address microelectronics modernization challenges.

The report found that the Defense Department lacks an organization with sufficient authority, resources and expertise to assist program offices with acquiring, sustaining and modernizing their microelectronics. While a variety of agencies provide this kind of support, no single entity provides the much-needed push across the department and services to systematically pool technical and acquisition expertise or assess the microelectronics needs of the military as a whole.