10 December 2023

As it planned for Oct. 7, Hamas lulled Israel into a false sense of calm

Shira Rubin

TEL AVIV — Hamas spent more than a year planning its historic assault on Israel, following battle plans built on open-source materials and high-level intelligence, Israeli intelligence officers told a small group of journalists this week.

The sophistication of the attack, and the growing evidence of long-term, strategic planning by Hamas, sheds new light on the reach of the group’s intelligence apparatus and the complacency of Israel’s vaunted security state.

Even the location of Monday’s briefing was telling: the headquarters of Amshat, a previously defunct intelligence unit within the Israel Defense Forces charged with gathering documents and other technical materials relevant to war.

Amshat was disbanded five years ago, according to the IDF. “Israel, essentially, had decided it was done with war,” said a person familiar with the unit, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters. It was revived after Oct. 7 — the bloodiest day in the country’s history, when 1,200 people were killed.

The assault stunned Israelis, who, for years, had been assured by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and military leaders that Hamas had been deterred, its fighters safely fenced off inside Gaza. But across the Israeli army, analysts had warned for months that a multipronged attack was in the works: an unprecedented infiltration of Israel by land, air and sea.

Many of the 3,000 combatants who stormed Israel’s billion-dollar border fence with Gaza as dawn broke on Oct. 7 carried battle plans with specific instructions, the Israeli intelligence officers said. Some involved plans to hit military bases as far north as Rehovot and as far east as Beersheva, as well as two spots — code named points 103 and 106 — deep in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel has increased offshore natural gas production in recent years, although it is unclear whether energy installations were the target.

Inside Israel’s Plans to Assassinate Hamas Leaders Around the World: ‘This Is Our Munich’

Peter S. Green

Israeli officials have confirmed their intention to wage a campaign of targeted assassinations against Hamas leaders around the world, with the latest affirmation coming from Ronen Bar, the head of Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service, speaking on a recording leaked to Israel’s state radio Kan.

“This is our Munich,” Bar said in the recording, referring to Operation Wrath of God, Israel’s multi-year effort to wipe out the Black September Palestinian terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. That campaign was celebrated in the 2005 Steven Spielberg epic “Munich,” starring Eric Bana.

“In every location, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar, everyone,” Bar said in the recordings, which were aired by Kan last weekend.

“It will take a few years, but we will be there in order to do it.”

Bar's remarks echoed an order given by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service: “I have instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are,” he said on November 22.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people in a single day, and saw Hamas take another 240 Israelis and foreigners hostage, Israeli leaders have said the war's mission is to decapitate Hamas' leadership and eliminate its military and governing capacity.

The recent statements make clear the Israelis don't intend to limit that mission to Gaza.

Exclusive: Biden's Plan for Gaza Wins Palestinian Backing

Daniel Bush

The Palestinian Authority is prepared to take back full control of the Gaza Strip as soon as the war between Israel and Hamas is over and is willing to hold its first national elections since 2006 as part of a broader long-term peace deal, a senior Palestinian official told Newsweek.

The Palestinian Authority would accept the Biden administration's proposal for a reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under the authority's control if the international community supports the reconstruction of Gaza and pushes Israel to agree to a two-state solution, Ahmad Majdalani, a senior member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said Wednesday in an interview at a government office in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian administration in the Israeli occupied West Bank.

As part of the arrangement for taking full responsibility for Gaza, the Palestinian Authority would be willing to hold its first national election since the one in 2006 that swept Hamas into power in Gaza, said Majdalani, an ally of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We're ready for a reform political agenda with a free, democratic general election," he said. But the Palestinian Authority won't come to the negotiating table if Israel won't let it decide Gaza's future, he added.

"We're not returning on an Israeli tank," Majdalani said. "It will be done with a political solution."

The Palestinian Authority could start governing Gaza once the current conflict is over, Majdalani said, and could hold an election following a "transitional period" of one to two years. Majdalani added that if Abbas, who is 88 years old, is still in office at that time it would be up to him and his political party to decide whether he should seek reelection.

The comments represent the first substantive response by the Palestinian Authority leadership to the White House vision for a post-conflict Gaza that Vice President Kamala Harris described in detail in a speech last Sunday.

‘The Gospel’: how Israel uses AI to select bombing targets in Gaza

Harry Davies, Bethan McKernan and Dan Sabbagh 

Israel’s military has made no secret of the intensity of its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. In the early days of the offensive, the head of its air force spoke of relentless, “around the clock” airstrikes. His forces, he said, were only striking military targets, but he added: “We are not being surgical.”

There has, however, been relatively little attention paid to the methods used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to select targets in Gaza, and to the role artificial intelligence has played in their bombing campaign.

As Israel resumes its offensive after a seven-day ceasefire, there are mounting concerns about the IDF’s targeting approach in a war against Hamas that, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, has so far killed more than 15,000 people in the territory.

The IDF has long burnished its reputation for technical prowess and has previously made bold but unverifiable claims about harnessing new technology. After the 11-day war in Gaza in May 2021, officials said Israel had fought its “first AI war” using machine learning and advanced computing.

The latest Israel-Hamas war has provided an unprecedented opportunity for the IDF to use such tools in a much wider theatre of operations and, in particular, to deploy an AI target-creation platform called “the Gospel”, which has significantly accelerated a lethal production line of targets that officials have compared to a “factory”.

The Guardian can reveal new details about the Gospel and its central role in Israel’s war in Gaza, using interviews with intelligence sources and little-noticed statements made by the IDF and retired officials.

Will Israel Flood Gaza Tunnels To Force Out Hamas? What We Know

David Brennan

The Israeli military is reportedly mulling an effort to flood the labyrinthine network of militant tunnels under the Gaza Strip as part of its campaign to "eradicate" the Hamas militant group.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday—citing unnamed American officials—that Israeli forces constructed five large water pumps near the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City in November, in the northern portion of the Strip already under Israeli control.

The pumps, the newspaper reported, could flood the underground network of tunnels within weeks, by pumping thousands of cubic meters of water into them every hour. Israeli officials, WSJ reported, have informed U.S. allies about their discussions, but have not yet decided whether to go ahead with the plan.

"We are not sure how successful pumping will be since nobody knows the details of the tunnels and the ground around them," an unnamed source familiar with the plan told the WSJ. "It's impossible to know if that will be effective because we don't know how seawater will drain in tunnels no one has been in before."

'Decolonizing' the Holy Land? A Story of Peace, Power, and Privilege

Dan Perry

The Oct. 7 invasion by several thousand Hamas terrorists will be a national trauma for the foreseeable future in Israel. It is simply unbelievable that the military and government ignored the ample intelligence and warnings and left the border almost unprotected. And the savage brutality, which involved not just the murder of 1,200 Israelis but a campaign of rapes and torture, was gleefully filmed for posterity.

There was briefly some clarity around the world, for a few days, that this pogrom crossed every line and that Hamas had to be removed from power in Gaza. But Hamas is entrenched among civilians and hides—along with the scores of Israeli hostages it holds—in tunnels underneath. Israel is not strenuously denying claims that its counterassault killed 15,000 people, saying only that a third were Hamas "fighters."

Make no mistake: Hamas is happy about the carnage. All has gone according to plan. The high death toll in Gaza opens the door to a devil's workshop of jihadist false equivalence. When everything is reduced to "narratives" Hamas can present everyone as savages. In the eyes of many "progressives" who get their information from TikTok, Hamas is the preferable savage since Palestinians are the "oppressed."

Israel moves into Gaza’s second-largest city and intensifies strikes in bloody new phase of the war


Israel said Tuesday that its troops had entered Gaza’s second-largest city as intensified bombardment sent streams of ambulances and cars racing to hospitals with wounded and dead Palestinians, including children, in a bloody new phase of the war.

The military said its forces were “in the heart” of Khan Younis, which has emerged as the first target in the expanded ground offensive into southern Gaza that Israel says aims to destroy Hamas. Military officials said they were engaged in the “most intense day” of battles since the ground offensive began more than five weeks ago, with heavy firefights also taking place in northern Gaza.

The assault into the south threatens to fuel a new wave of displaced Palestinians and a worsening of Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe. The U.N. said 1.87 million people — more than 80% of Gaza’s population — have been driven from their homes, and that fighting is now preventing distribution of food, water and medicine outside a tiny sliver of southern Gaza. New military evacuation orders are squeezing people into ever-smaller areas of the south.

Bombardment has grown fiercer across the territory, including areas where Palestinians are told to seek safety. In the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah, just north of Khan Younis, a strike Tuesday destroyed a house where dozens of displaced people were sheltering. At least 34 people were killed, including at least six children, according to an Associated Press reporter at the hospital who counted the bodies.

Footage from the scene showed women screaming from an upper floor of a house shattered to a concrete shell. In the wreckage below, men pulled the limp body of a child from under a slab next to a burning car. At the nearby hospital, medics tried to resuscitate a young boy and girl, bloodied and unmoving on a stretcher.

Why Israel Will Probably End Up Reoccupying Gaza

Steven A. Cook

Over the last two months of war in the Middle East, no one in Washington or anywhere else has come up with a good idea about what should happen in the Gaza Strip when the fighting there ends. At the same time, everyone seems to agree that Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza is a bad idea. The Biden administration has already
warned the Israeli government that it would not support such a return to military administration of the area.

The Great Himalayan Chessboard: China, India, And The Geopolitical Gambit In Nepal – Analysis

Nara Sritharan, Kritika Jothishankar and Sarah Wozniak

(FPRI) — Nepal’s geographical and topographical attributes have endowed it with a newfound significance in the foreign policy realm, where nations strategically pursue power and influence. This significance is particularly pronounced in hydropower development, where the confluence of ambitions between China and India has transformed Nepal into a focal point of their intricate power play.

Regarding geography and geopolitics, Nepal occupies a hazardous place on the map. The country sits where the Indian subcontinent meets the mighty Himalayas, leaving it subject to frequent earthquakes. At the same time, Nepal remains uncomfortably poised between Asia’s two leading powers, China and India. The longtime diplomatic rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi for political influence in Nepal now has a new focus—the country’s hydropower sector.

Nepal endows immense hydropower potential with its 6,000 rivers. According to our interviewed policymakers and recent studies, Nepal’s hydropower potential is 42,000 megawatts (MW). Its rivers hold the promise of a substantial energy source that could address the country’s own energy needs and create a surplus for export. In 2023, the hydropower sector produced 10,536 GWh, of which 9,358 GWh was consumed domestically, 1,346 GWh was exported to India, and 1,665 GWh was a wasted surplus. This potential has prompted both China and India to view Nepal’s hydropower resources as a means to secure their respective energy futures, shape regional dynamics, and assert dominance.

During this investigation, we conducted qualitative interviews with a wide range of policymakers and stakeholders, gaining invaluable insights into the intricacies of Nepal’s hydropower development landscape. These interviews not only shed light on the nuanced perspectives, concerns, and aspirations of key actors actively shaping Nepal’s hydropower policy, but also highlighted the geopolitical competition between China and India for Nepal’s hydropower potential. The United States should closely monitor these dynamics to balance its regional interests and support Nepal’s development goals, considering the challenges uncovered in our interviews, such as political instability, bureaucratic red tape and underdeveloped infrastructure.

The Evolution Of The Modern State System: Does Pakistan Meet The Criteria Of A Modern State? – OpEd

Sher Khan Bazai

Concept of the state system

Historical records reveal that the very concept and nodes of the modern nation-state system can be traced back to the creation of Greek city-states when first they came to prominence around 700 BCE followed by the Roman city-state system in 753 BCE, later on, converted into kingdoms and empires and their re-emergence with the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. This system began in Europe and spread elsewhere in the world, which established the concept of State Sovereignty.

The origin of the existing modern state system which provides a history of the division of global space into independent states with defined principles and boundaries in Asia and the rest of the world took place after decolonization due to the First and Second World Wars from 1914 to 1945. The modern nation-state was identified with its four essential elements: Territorial integrity, Sovereignty, Nationalism, and Equality.
Responsibilities of the Modern State

The first and most important duty of the State is to protect the life and property of its people. For this purpose, the State agrees with citizens called social contact or constitution, and makes laws to prevent others from interfering in the affairs of the individual. If any individual violates the law of the State, he is punished. In this regard, the idea of Socrates is most relevant in that the “goal of sharing wealth within in state was not just to make one class happy, but to achieve maximum possible happiness for the nation as a whole”. The Roman scholar Cicero writes, about the behavior of the state, “He who takes care of only one group of citizens and neglects the rest perpetrates to introducing the deadliest element in the city, by which I mean anarchy and hatred.”

Emperor Ashoka (about the state), also seems in one of his inscriptions wishing for protection, self-control, justice, and happiness for all within the state system. I think the quote of 4th US President James Madison is the most recent and relevant in this regard, he says, “All governments depend on opinion. The states appear bigger than tall buildings, mirrors, and armies, but they all depend on whether people trust them or not”.
Is Pakistan meeting the criteria of statehood or fulfilling its responsibilities as a state?

The Taliban’s Plan to Rebuild and Legitimize al-Qaeda

Sajjan M. Gohel & Victoria Jones

In addition to plunging the Middle East back into turmoil, the Israel-Gaza crisis has resulted in entities around the world seeking to exploit the palpable tensions, and has even led some young Americans to re-evaluate al-Qaeda’s past comments on Palestine. At the same time, the global jihadist group itself is showing concerning signs of revival, having found refuge in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

The current Taliban regime has renewed its symbiotic relationship with the remnants of al-Qaeda. And though their global return may not be imminent, it must be remembered that the terrorist group is laying low by choice. Under this arrangement, al-Qaeda has agreed to stay under the radar, for now, in order to aid the Taliban’s international image of upholding their promise to prevent extremist organizations from using Afghanistan as a safe haven. Yet al-Qaeda views the Taliban-controlled country as precisely that—a base in which they can regrow and expand.

Those who lobby to recognize the Taliban make the case that they have changed and acknowledged their missteps. These individuals claim that security in Afghanistan has increased under the Taliban, seeming to forget or ignore the fact that the Taliban themselves were the biggest threat to civilian lives prior to seizing power. They argue the Taliban has stopped opium production, but appear oblivious to the fact that that’s due to the group’s diversification into methamphetamines. They insist that the Taliban is committed to rebuilding the nation and that engaging with the group will help to moderate them when it comes to issues like state-sanctioned misogyny and harboring terrorists. There is even a perception that al-Qaeda is unlikely to reconstitute in Afghanistan. But ground realities prove otherwise.

Top US General Warns Everyone Should Be 'Worried' About War With China

Thomas Kika

General Charles Q. Brown Jr., the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military, warned in a Sunday interview that everyone should be "worried" about a war with China.

Brown is the 21st and current chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, having taken over the role in October following the retirement of General Mark Milley. During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Brown was asked by host Shannon Bream about growing concerns over a war between the United States and China, citing recent Reagan Institute polls finding that 51 percent of Americans view China as the biggest foreign threat to the country and 74 percent are concerned about such a conflict breaking out within five years.

In response, Brown first stressed the strength of the U.S. military, while also conceding that everyone should be concerned about such a conflict with China, specifically with regard to a possible invasion of Taiwan.

"The first thing I'd tell them is they ought to be very proud of their military, we're ready for whatever comes our way," Brown said. "At the same time, we want to be so ready that we don't have a conflict. And you know, as we're here, it says 'peace through strength.' Our strength that we demonstrate as a military will bring that peace."

He later added, on the subject of a possible Taiwan invasion: "The first thing I would say is we want to be, and we all should be, worried whether it's going to happen or not. And [that is] part of the reason why deterrence is so important, so that conflict does not occur."

In response to another poll finding concern from a majority of respondents that China will soon outpace the U.S. both militarily and economically, Brown said that it's his "real role here and job...to actually make sure that...on the military side that doesn't occur."

Hunting Chinese Subs With AI: US-Led AUKUS Use P8 Poseidon & Artificial Intelligence To Track PLA Navy Acts

Sakshi Tiwari

Days after a Pentagon report warned of a burgeoning threat by China’s expanding submarine fleet, the United States and its AUKUS allies Australia and the United Kingdom have decided to take the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for tracking Chinese submarines in the Pacific.

The defense chiefs of the US, UK, and Australia stated on December 1 that crews operating US Navy top maritime surveillance and attack aircraft, the P-8 Poseidon, on Pacific operations will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to swiftly interpret sonar data collected by underwater devices from all three countries.

As the allies look for ways to counteract the effects of China’s rapid military modernization and growing global assertiveness, the technology may allow them to detect Chinese submarines more quickly and accurately.

A joint statement from US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles, and UK Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps read: “These joint advances will allow for timely high-volume data exploitation, improving our anti-submarine warfare capabilities.”

All three AUKUS allies fly the Boeing Company’s P-8 Poseidon naval aircraft. The warplane routinely patrols the Pacific, including the South China Sea, and is occasionally harassed by Chinese aircraft, as previously reported on several occasions by EurAsian Times.

The Poseidon has cruise missiles and torpedoes to attack submarines and surface ships. However, aircraft operations would become more robust and precise with the AI technology the partners are expected to explore in earnest.

The urgent need to innovate may be felt given that a US Pentagon report released in October this year said China’s submarine force will increase to 65 units by 2025 and 80 units by 2035. China is not only adding more conventional submarines to its arsenal, they are also more sophisticated and technologically advanced.

China using AI to ease economic woes, but focus is to stand at the 'center of the revolution,' experts warn

Peter Aitken
AI expert Marva Bailer tells Fox News Digital how the availability of artificial intelligence can have negative impacts and talks potential federal legislation to control it.

China may rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to manage approaching economic troubles, but that is just one part of the spectrum of goals Beijing has for the burgeoning technology, experts told Fox News Digital.

"Certainly, China has put artificial intelligence at the center of its economic and its military modernization efforts," Matt McInnis, senior fellow for the Institute for the Study of War's China program, said.

"[China] sees artificial intelligence as a potential way to achieve economic and military superiority and potentially even help, you know, kind of provide a long-term foundation for much greater prosperity than it has been able to achieve in the past five years or decade.

"I think China, in many ways, has almost put perhaps too many eggs in the AI basket, which I think is going to be concerning for them overtime, even though we all know that AI could be a real game changer in the world economy," McInnis added. "I don’t think that’s any different for China than it is for the United States. But China, as it’s looking at its economic problems as well as its desire to leapfrog its military over the U.S., is banking quite a bit on AI being key for that."

President Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit Nov. 14, 2022, in Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The formerly fastest-growing economy has faced a number of speed bumps this year, starting with a slowdown in GDP growth that has led some analysts to suggest China may not overtake the U.S. economy, a goal that many treated as an inevitability by some time in the 2030s.

Oman: A Key Geopolitical Intermediary – Analysis

Matija Šerić

There is often an opinion among the public that small countries cannot be influential and powerful because they are unimportant. Proponents of such a position claim that small states, due to their small surface area and small population, must submit to the larger powers in the region. Such a point of view is unconvincing assessment that does not take into account either history or the current geopolitical picture.

In any case, such an attitude is wrong. In history, there are many relatively small countries that had a huge influence on world events. It is enough to mention ancient Carthage, Athens, medieval Venice, modern Portugal and the Netherlands – both countries had huge overseas colonial empires. In the 20th century, communist Cuba stood out for its great influence on geopolitical processes. One of the countries that currently has great importance in international relations is Oman. Due to its neutrality but great foreign political influence, some analysts called Oman the “Switzerland of the Middle East”.
Strategically important geographical position

Oman is located on the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz across from Iran. Oman also borders the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the country in the Persian Gulf with the smallest coastline – 1,700 kilometers of coastline and 1,414 kilometers of land borders (676 km with Saudi Arabia, 450 km with the UAE and 288 km with Yemen).

The tiny Omani enclave of Ruus al Jibal on the rocky Musandam Peninsula in the Strait of Hormuz is separated from the rest of Oman by the UAE territory. Madha is the second Omani enclave within the territory of the UAE located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the main part of Oman. In the main territory of the country, the Batina plain extends to Cape Ras al-Hadd, the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, on whose coast are located the important port of Sohar and the capital city of Muscat. The interior of Oman consists of a large desert area, part of the Rub al-Khali desert and the surrounding mountains. Some 1,200 kilometers south of Muscat lies the important region of Dhofar.

Sultanate of Oman

Yemen’s Houthis target Israel-linked ships in Red Sea. Here’s what to know

Maziar Motamedi

The Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen has launched a series of new attacks against Israel-linked vessels in the Red Sea that drew a response from a United States warship deployed in one of the world’s busiest maritime routes.

The powerful group, which controls Yemeni capital Sanaa and commands an expanding military, has promised more attacks will be launched if Israel and the US refuse to put a stop to the war on Gaza, which has killed more than 15,500 Palestinians since October 7.

Let’s take a look at the latest attacks, why the Bab al-Mandeb Strait where they took place is important, and how the situation could unfold as the Israeli war machine shows no signs of stopping.

What’s the latest?

The US military said late on Sunday that three commercial vessels came under attack in the strait – a narrow sea passage that separates the Arabian Peninsula from the Horn of Africa. The Houthis claimed strikes on only two ships.

Several projectiles are believed to have been fired at the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer, with at least one hitting its target and inflicting damage.

The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, said it shot down a drone that appeared to be headed its way, and also downed two more drones while responding to distress calls by the ships.

The other two commercial ships, the Panamanian-flagged bulk carriers Number 9 and Sophie II, were also struck by missiles. US Central Command did not report any casualties.

It said Washington has “every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran”.

Deadly but tricky to fly, suicide drones have Ukraine putting thousands of soldiers through pilot training


As Ukraine leans on suicide drones to wear down Russia’s invading forces, private, civilian-run training schools are working to supply the Ukrainian army with thousands of pilots.

That’s no mean feat. The drones are extremely hard to fly, requiring weeks of training before a pilot is ready to fight on the front line.

“The chance that you will literally fly into a wall during training is higher” than with other types of drones, said Ihor Dvoretskyi, a project manager with Ukraine’s Defense Ministry who also volunteers with Victory Drones, one of the country’s largest drone education centers.

More formally known as loitering munitions, suicide drones have emerged as a key weapon of the war, with both sides using them in large numbers. Some are sophisticated, purpose-built munitions, but many are hobbyist racing drones adapted to serve as flying improvised explosive devices. Such drones are also known as first-person view (FPV) drones, after the goggles used to fly them.

“In every area, they’re using FPV drones,” said Yehor Cherniev, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence. “They’re a cheap weapon, and a weapon that сan be used en masse.”

But it takes longer to learn to fly them than, say, the hardware-and-software-stabilized photography quadcopters used across Ukraine’s frontline to coordinate artillery.

“You are literally flying this drone like it was a Cessna [plane] from the 1960s,” said Dvoretskyi.

Expert Views: How do we restart the Middle East peace process?

Randa Slim, Moien Odeh, Nimrod Goren, Brian Katulis, Paul Salem, Emiliano Alessandri, Alex Vatanka


The negotiated pause in hostilities in war-ravaged Gaza this past week raised restrained hopes in some capitals around the world that the temporary truce and associated hostage-prisoner exchanges might lay the groundwork for talks on a more enduring cease-fire. Yet many experts cautioned that such hopes were premature. When this truce expired on Friday morning and the fighting resumed, that caution proved astute and underscored that peace remains a distant prospect for now. Nevertheless, the renewed violence, continued humanitarian catastrophe, and the war’s threat to wider regional stability accentuate the pressing need for a political solution to not just the eight-week-old Israel-Hamas war but to the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is time to start thinking now — even as the war rages on — about what a final peace settlement should look like and how to get there so that the right actors and elements are in place when a brief window for talks opens up. What would it take to start a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process that could actually have the prospect for enduring success? How and when will it be possible to bring the two sides to the negotiating table? Who should be involved? And what would be the proper sequencing and structure of such talks to ensure a fair, inclusive, and fruitful process? MEI has asked a group of regional and U.S. experts to weigh in on these and related questions. Read in PDF

The Global Credibility Gap

Jared Cohen

After decades of relative geopolitical calm, the world has entered its most volatile and dangerous period since the depths of the Cold War. Consider recent events. Despite U.S. President Joe Biden’s high-profile meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco last month, relations between their two countries have deteriorated so sharply that a war between them, though unlikely, is no longer unthinkable. The COVID-19 pandemic, although largely in the rearview mirror, unleashed political and economic shocks that continue to reverberate across the global system. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine plunged Europe into a destabilizing war with far-reaching consequences for trade and markets worldwide. And on Oct. 7, Hamas’s terror attacks against Israel sparked a new Middle East war that threatens to destroy years of progress toward economic transformation and regional stability.

Corporations Are Juicy Targets for Foreign Disinformation

Elisabeth Braw

We’re used to Russian disinformation targeting, say, Volodymyr Zelensky or U.S. presidential elections. But smear campaigns of uncertain provenance are increasingly targeting not just politics, but Western companies too. They’re not just a reputational nuisance, but a genuine economic threat, one that could be wielded by hostile states.

Clandestine online operations now require sign-off by senior officials

Ellen Nakashima

Good morning! I’m Ellen Nakashima, a national security reporter at The Post who covers national security and intelligence issues. You can follow me on Bluesky, Mastodon or X.

Below: The U.K. denies a report on nuclear site hacking, and U.S. agencies fall behind on meeting federal cybersecurity requirements. First:

Clandestine online operations now require sign-off by senior officials

Combatant commands continue to undertake information operations online using identifiable U.S. military accounts. But the practice of deploying sham accounts to attempt to influence overseas audiences has been dramatically reduced, senior Pentagon officials said. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Following a controversy over the Pentagon’s use of clandestine information operations, the U.S. military has eliminated dozens of false online personas it created in recent years and has curtailed the use of such operations overseas, according to senior defense officials.

Clandestine online operations now require sign-off by senior Pentagon officials, the CIA and the State Department, according to the officials, who spoke Monday on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

The new policy follows a review and pause initiated last year by the undersecretary of defense for policy, Colin Kahl, who stepped down in July. His review, first reported by The Washington Post, was prompted by an outcry following the publication of an August 2022 report by internet researchers Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory. The researchers revealed takedowns by platforms including Facebook and Twitter — now called X — of more than 150 bogus personas and media sites, and suggested that the accounts might have been created by the U.S. military.

Opinion: U.S. Must Win The Battle For The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Paul De Lia

We have all seen the grim images of tanks rolling through muddy fields and buildings reduced to rubble by missile strikes. However, some of the most crucial battles taking place in Ukraine are invisible to the naked eye. In recent months, the Russian military has stepped up its use of the electromagnetic spectrum, executing advanced electronic warfare tactics to disrupt, deny and/or degrade Ukrainian drones and other systems. Russia has demonstrated an ability to intercept and decrypt tactical communications in real time—capabilities that Ukrainian military leaders say are slowing their counteroffensive.

U.S. Air Force practitioners of electronic warfare (EW) are in a sense operating with one eye blindfolded. In today’s environment, they are relying on outdated information and are hamstrung by slow processes and systems that may fail to take advantage of all available information sources across the electromagnetic operating environment. They lack an integrated architecture connecting all echelons—from distributed jammers to edge nodes to U.S.-based processing centers—that would enable them to analyze, reprogram and command and control (C2) disaggregated electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) assets effectively at the speed of need.

Make no mistake: If the U.S. loses the fight over control of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), it loses the fight in all other domains. To ensure dominance in future conflicts, the U.S. Defense Department must significantly accelerate investments in building out EMSO capabilities. By modernizing an EMSO data architecture and taking full advantage of widely employed commercial technologies, we can give our warfighters a critical edge to outsmart and outmaneuver adversaries.

The Inside Story of Microsoft’s Partnership with OpenAI

Kevin Scott

At around 11:30 a.m. on the Friday before Thanksgiving, Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, was having his weekly meeting with senior leaders when a panicked colleague told him to pick up the phone. An executive from OpenAI, an artificial-intelligence startup into which Microsoft had invested a reported thirteen billion dollars, was calling to explain that within the next twenty minutes the company’s board would announce that it had fired Sam Altman, OpenAI’s C.E.O. and co-founder. It was the start of a five-day crisis that some people at Microsoft began calling the Turkey-Shoot Clusterfuck.

Nadella has an easygoing demeanor, but he was so flabbergasted that for a moment he didn’t know what to say. He’d worked closely with Altman for more than four years and had grown to admire and trust him. Moreover, their collaboration had just led to Microsoft’s biggest rollout in a decade: a fleet of cutting-edge A.I. assistants that had been built on top of OpenAI’s technology and integrated into Microsoft’s core productivity programs, such as Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. These assistants—essentially specialized and more powerful versions of OpenAI’s heralded ChatGPT—were known as the Office Copilots.

Unbeknownst to Nadella, however, relations between Altman and OpenAI’s board had become troubled. Some of the board’s six members found Altman manipulative and conniving—qualities common among tech C.E.O.s but rankling to board members who had backgrounds in academia or in nonprofits. “They felt Sam had lied,” a person familiar with the board’s discussions said. These tensions were now exploding in Nadella’s face, threatening a crucial partnership.

Anduril’s New Drone Killer Is Locked on to AI-Powered Warfare


After Palmer Luckey founded Anduril in 2017, he promised it would be a new kind of defense contractor, inspired by hacker ingenuity and Silicon Valley speed.

The company’s latest product, a jet-powered, AI-controlled combat drone called Roadrunner, is inspired by the grim reality of modern conflict, especially in Ukraine, where large numbers of cheap, agile suicide drones have proven highly deadly over the past year.

“The problem we saw emerging was this very low-cost, very high-quantity, increasingly sophisticated and advanced aerial threat,” says Christian Brose, chief strategy officer at Anduril.

This kind of aerial threat has come to define the conflict in Ukraine, where Ukrainian and Russian forces are locked in an arms race involving large numbers of cheap drones capable of loitering autonomously before attacking a target by delivering an explosive payload. These systems, which include US-made Switchblades on the Ukrainian side, can evade jamming and ground defenses and may need to be shot down by either a fighter jet or a missile that costs many times more to use.

Roadrunner is a modular, twin-jet aircraft roughly the size of a patio heater that can operate at high (subsonic) speeds, can take off and land vertically, and can return to base if it isn’t needed, according to Anduril. The version designed to target drones or even missiles can loiter autonomously looking for threats.

Here are the Army’s new planned EW, signals programs


WASHINGTON — The Army is making progress on several programs on the electronic warfare, intelligence and sensors front, and the official in charge of making those efforts a success is gearing up for some new starts over the next fiscal year.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Ed Barker, program executive officer for intelligence, EW and sensors, provided some updates on already-established EW programs and new starts planned for fiscal 2025 and beyond. Those include:Theater Signals Intelligence Program: TSIG, a new start in FY25, will “provide the tactical commanders at echelons above corps with a forward deployable and remotely or even locally controlled signals intelligence systems and supporting potential … contingency operations,” Barker said. The effort is a “conglomeration of existing capability” that supports theater intelligence collection, Kenneth Strayer, project manager for EW and cyber, added.

High Altitude Platform for deep sensing: Another new start in FY25 which has gained interest across the military services, the Army will be looking at what capabilities it can acquire “from either a high-altitude balloon, solar and fixed-wing aircraft, really looking at affordability and the balancing of low SWAP and high efficiency sensors to take advantage of HAP capabilities,” Barker said. You can expect to see more requests for information come out for HAP in the next four to six months, he added.

Modular Electronics Spectrum System: This program, which uses electromagnetic techniques to confuse and disrupt adversaries, is planned to be a new start in FY26, and Barker said the capability is really important in the European theater right now.

Spectrum Situational Awareness System: S2AS, a new start in FY25, can provide sensing and visualization and would allow commanders to see their command post signature in real time, Barker said.