11 December 2023

Israel Expands Its Military Operation Across Gaza

Israel intensified its attacks across Gaza Saturday and expanded its evacuation orders in southern Gaza, a day after the United Nations Security Council failed to pass a proposed resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the war between Israel and the U.S.-designated terror group Hamas.

Israel ordered residents Saturday to evacuate the center of Gaza’s main southern city, Khan Younis, while the dead and wounded are piling up at the overwhelmed Nasser hospital there.

So far, the vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents already have been forced from their homes, many fleeing several times. With fighting raging across the length of the territory, residents and U.N. agencies say there is effectively nowhere safe to go now. Israel disputes this.

The World Health Organization’s executive board is scheduled to meet Sunday to discuss the health situation in Gaza.

More than a dozen WHO member states already have expressed “grave concern” about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the enclave. Gaza residents “are being told to move like human pinballs — ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday.

“The people of Gaza are looking into the abyss,” Guterres said. “The international community must do everything possible to end their ordeal.”

U.S. veto

Israel’s expanded military operations come on the heels of Washington’s veto of the proposed Security Council resolution Friday, diplomatically isolating it from the rest of the group.

Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs called the impasse a “complete disappointment.”

“Our friends once again expressed that America is now alone on this issue, especially in the voting held at the United Nations today,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said in an interview Friday with state broadcaster TRT, after he and his counterparts from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.

UN chief uses rare power to warn Security Council of impending ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a rarely exercised power to warn the Security Council on Wednesday of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged its members to demand an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.

His letter to the council’s 15 members said Gaza’s humanitarian system was at risk of collapse after two months of war that has created “appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma,” and he demanded civilians be spared greater harm.

Guterres invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which says the secretary-general may inform the council of matters he believes threaten international peace and security. “The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis,” he said.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he expects the secretary-general to address the Security Council on Gaza this week and to press for a humanitarian cease-fire.

Petraeus says Israel should try U.S.-style counterinsurgency in Gaza

Todd South and Meghann Myers

CARLISLE, Pa. – Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, who led a surge of U.S. troops and shifted Iraqi militia alliances to help turn the tide of the Iraq War, now says a similar, counterinsurgency-based approach could work for the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The former CIA director, who was later tasked with stabilizing the Afghanistan War, spoke on Nov. 30 at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center near the home of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, following the October release of the book “Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine,” which he co-authored with military historian Andrew Roberts.

The book centers on political-military strategy following the end of World War II and how those changes resonate in current and future conflicts.

Part military history, part memoir, the general draws on his experiences in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan for some of the more recent parallels. Petraeus also dissects the failures of the Vietnam War, a conflict he analyzed for his doctoral dissertation as a young Army officer in the 1980s.

The retired general largely champions the counterinsurgency, or COIN, approach in conflicts such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also notes how difficult it can be, how precarious its gains are and how quickly those successes can disintegrate without sustained support.

Arab Strategic Miscalculations

Hilal Khashan

Countries of all stripes – whether developed or underdeveloped, democratic or authoritarian – have been known to commit strategic military miscalculations. The U.S., for example, won decisive wars against developed countries such as Germany and Japan, but blundered in wars against much lesser powers like Vietnam in the 1970s and Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

Strategic military miscalculation usually results in the collapse of authoritarian regimes. The decision of Argentina’s military junta to invade the Falkland Islands in 1982 led to its defeat in the war against Britain and the fall of Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri’s regime. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 led to a military disaster for the Iraqi army following Operation Desert Storm, paving the way for the 2003 U.S. invasion of the country and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Successful countries eventually accept the need to revamp their political systems, initiate democratic reforms and champion world peace. It took Germany, whose army fought exceptionally well operationally and tactically, two world wars to metamorphose. It took Japan’s disastrous defeat precipitated by the Pearl Harbor attack to convince Tokyo to change. Under U.S. direction, the two countries transformed into full-fledged democracies.

Since the turn of the 20th century, political leaders, heads of state and political movements in the Arab world have also shown a propensity for massive miscalculation. Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack is a prime example, but it was precipitated by several other cases that have shaped the region since World War I.

Hamas’ Miscalculation

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Psychology of Trauma

Jessica Stern and Bessel van der Kolk

Every perpetrator of terrorism sees himself as a victim. Such is the case not only with individual terrorists, who often compete with their enemies over who is more victimized, but also with terrorist groups and nation states. Terrorism is psychological warfare, and so it requires a psychologically informed response. Those who study trauma know that “hurt people hurt people,” and the adage holds true for terrorists. People who live in a state of existential anxiety are prone to dehumanizing others. Hamas, for instance, calls Israelis “infidels,” while the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has referred to members of Hamas as “human animals,” and both sides have called the other “Nazis.” Such dehumanizing language makes it easier to overcome inhibitions against committing atrocities.

Just as individuals can relinquish their righteous rage and compulsion to punish indiscriminately, so, too, can groups and nations. But doing so requires leaders who can reach across divided communities and provide hope in a seemingly hopeless time to override the all-too-human drive to retaliate. They must understand that a legacy of trauma makes Israeli Jews and Palestinians vulnerable to reactive violence, leading to a seemingly endless cycle of bloodshed.

Although terrorists rarely achieve their political aims, they often succeed at one goal: forcing the enemy to overreact. Terrorists try to provoke a disproportionate response, hoping to win sympathy and radicalize a new generation of victimized youth. Hamas exemplified such a strategy when it attacked Israel on October 7, which triggered in many Israelis an intergenerational memory of trauma from pogroms, the Holocaust, and expulsions from European countries, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen. And Israel’s indiscriminate retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza, which have killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more, have triggered in Palestinians a reliving of the nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”), the violent displacement of Palestinians during the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are now locked in a snare of Hamas’s creation: a traumatic embrace of death and despair in which each side—understandably seeing itself as a victim, feeling righteous rage, and desiring retribution—is vying for global sympathy.

The Gaza War Has Convinced Russia It Was Right All Along

Nikita Smagin

Events in the Middle East have helped the Kremlin convince itself that Russia’s foreign policy in recent years has been the right one.

The conflict in the Middle East is the perfect crisis for Russia, which is reaping a whole host of political benefits. The confrontation between Israel and Hamas has not only boosted the Kremlin’s hopes of changing the mood around the war in Ukraine, but also strengthened its belief that the Western-centric system of international relations is breaking down.

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 put an end to most internal Western disagreements when it came to Russia, uniting countries on both sides of the Atlantic. But the Israel-Hamas war has seen divisions resurface at a state level: while the United States insists Israel has a right to self-defense, there have been bitter disagreements between European countries about what position the European Union should take.

There are also societal divides, with protests by opponents and supporters of Israel taking place regularly from Washington to Stockholm. Even state agencies are not immune to these differing views, with media reports of widespread discontent among U.S. officials with the White House’s pro-Israel stance.

Against this backdrop, the war in Ukraine has slipped down the agenda. The United States has said it will provide help to both Israel and Ukraine. But how long can it really be fully engaged in two major conflicts? Moscow’s hopes that the West will eventually tire of providing open-ended support for Kyiv have never looked so justified.

In addition, Washington’s pro-Israel stance undermines the legitimacy of the West’s broader reasons for supporting Ukraine in the eyes of many in the Global South. The moral argument against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now looks like empty words, particularly in Middle East nations.

This war could spread far beyond Gaza


While Western media focus on the death and devastation in Gaza, almost out of sight the ramifications of the Israel-Hamas war continue to destabilise the wider region, emboldening Islamist militias and unsettling neighbouring nations. The risk of this war turning into a wider, regional conflict remains very real.

That risk was brought home last weekend after it emerged that a United States warship had thwarted a drone and missile attack on three commercial vessels in the southern Red Sea. The attack had been launched by Yemen’s Houthis, the Iran-backed rebel group, on the openly anti-Semitic grounds that two of the ships were believed to be Israeli-owned. Although the US has since cast doubt on their ownership, the intent of the attacks was clear enough. The Houthis were demonstrating their support for Hamas, and were living up to its miserable motto, ‘Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam’.

This particular skirmish didn’t amount to very much – the vessels stayed afloat and there were no reports of injuries or fatalities. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan has certainly tried to downplay the incident. Although the US is now considering sending a naval taskforce to the Red Sea, Sullivan claims this would be a ‘natural’ response to an incident of this sort.

Yet there is nothing to say that the Houthis’ next attack won’t prove more consequential. That it won’t open the door to a likely US-led retaliation, which could, in turn, provoke a fierce response. Because there will certainly be further attacks from the Houthis. Having publicly announced they had joined the war against Israel on 31 October, by firing missiles at the Jewish State, the Houthis have since attempted four separate attacks on ships supposedly owned by Israeli businessmen. Armed with ballistic missiles and armed drones, they have pledged to continue mounting attacks until, as one official put it, ‘the Israeli aggression [in Gaza] stops’.

Israel could open second front in Lebanon, defense minister hints


Despite increasing pressure from the U.S. to rein in the war in Gaza, Israel’s defense minister is now suggesting his forces could soon open a northern second front to push Iran-backed Hezbollah back from the Lebanese border.

Speaking to mayors and municipal leaders from the north, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday the government would not encourage some 80,000 residents evacuated from northern communities near the Lebanese border to return home before Hezbollah is driven back beyond the Litani River in southern Lebanon.

The persistent fear from northern communities is that they are at serious risk of rocket attacks and incursions by Hezbollah.

In remarks cited by the Times of Israel and Haaretz, Gallant said in a meeting in Nahariyya, the northernmost coastal city in Israel, that the government hoped to push Hezbollah back through diplomatic means but, if that failed, would “act with all the means at its disposal” using military action.

The southern stretch of the Litani river runs parallel with the Israel-Lebanon border and 18 miles to its north. Under the terms of U.N. resolution 1701 that brought the 2006 Lebanon war to a close, Israel agreed to withdraw all its forces from southern Lebanon and Hezbollah was required to maintain no presence south of the river.

Hezbollah has not, however, honored its part of the bargain and over the years has entrenched itself in southern Lebanon in positions directly overlooking Israel’s border communities, launching rocket and missile strikes in recent weeks and days.

Nationwide Alert Sounded as Hacker Group Plans 'Cyber Party' to Attack India's Critical Digital Infra | Exclusive

Ankur Sharma

The heightened concern is attributed to the health sector remaining on the radar of such hacker groups, especially in the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Central agencies are particularly vigilant, anticipating that the health sector's cyber infrastructure might be the primary targetFollow us:

A nationwide alert has been sounded as one of the largest hacker groups has announced an impending cyberattack on Indian websites and critical infrastructure.

The gravity of the situation is underlined by the fact that ministries and departments are now actively engaged in enhancing their cybersecurity measures to stop any unauthorised access. They have been instructed to adhere to Cyber Hygiene Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) and perform necessary tasks to safeguard data from potential hacking or breaches.

Central agencies are particularly vigilant, anticipating that the health sector’s cyber infrastructure might be the primary target. This heightened concern is attributed to the sector remaining on the radar of such hacker groups, especially in the aftermath of the global pandemic. The agencies have proactively alerted relevant ministries and departments, urging them to execute tasks that will thwart any unauthorised access attempts.

A Chinese Pearl Harbor-style attack could end America’s days as a superpower

Harry J. Kazianis

As Americans pause to reflect on Imperial Japan’s brutal attack on Pearl Harbor — 82 years ago Thursday — the US military faces an even bigger threat coming from Asia once again.

There’s ample evidence that if China were to go to war against America, it would use the same strategy as Japan to try to achieve a quick and dirty victory — but with a modern twist: a massive “bolt-from-the-blue attack” that could, in not even a day, wipe out most of our military assets in the Indo-Pacific region and perhaps forever mark the end of the United States as a superpower.

And the saddest part of this scenario is that the Biden administration is well aware of it and has done almost nothing to reverse the threat.

First, a bit of history.

Back in the 1990s, China became obsessed with trying to neutralize US military power in Asia.The Biden administration is doing nothing to prepare for a potential attack from China, according to Post columnist Harry J. Kazianis.REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Beijing realized it had no ability to target, attack or destroy US military bases in Asia or the powerful warships that protected vital sea lanes and commerce all over the Pacific.

That problem became more acute when America and China faced off in multiple crises over Taiwan in the mid-1990s.

The Navy Has Good Reason To Focus on Cyber Warfare With China

James R. Holmes

Released last month, the Department of the Navy’s inaugural Cyber Strategy starts off with a startling claim, namely that “the next fight against our major adversary will be like no other in prior conflicts.” Why? The strategy’s framers go on to prophesy that “the use of non-kinetic effects and defense against those effects prior to and during kinetic exchanges will likely be the deciding factor in who prevails.”

In other words, brute force might not make the difference.

Now, it’s long been plain that antagonists can do not-strictly-violent things in the cyber realm to unhinge an opponent’s fighting forces. Even pop culture has gotten into the act. Think about the 2004 pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica. The Cylons, a cybernetic species created by humanity, recruit a traitor among the government of the human “Twelve Colonies” to gain access to the Colonial Fleet’s “defense mainframe,” or fleet-wide battle-management computer. The Cylons learn how to smuggle a virus into the Fleet’s networked defenses, disabling navigation, command-and-control, propulsion systems and weapons. Then they launch a sneak attack against the hapless force. After disabling the Colonial Fleet, the Cylons destroy it, to almost the last ship of war, at their leisure.

Only vintage human ships without networked systems survive and escape. The virus can’t leap from system to system. Hope is almost, but not wholly, lost.

That’s the premise of the Galactica saga, and it’s ripped from the headlines. Consider China. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed a strategic concept dubbed “systems-destruction warfare.” By that, PLA strategists mean that if China squares off against a combatant such as the U.S. military that fights as a “system of systems,” whether that refers to a naval fleet, squadrons of warplanes, or ground armies, it should concentrate on disrupting whatever networks that system of systems together, rather than physically destroying the hostile force.

In Taiwan, China is covertly preparing for battle

Elizabeth Green

Preparations for Taiwan’s presidential elections on 13th January are in full swing. The eight-year tenure of Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, is ending. Buildings and billboards are plastered with the beaming faces of the remaining presidential candidates. In the coming weeks, they will stage grand campaign rallies, complete with elaborate performances and laser shows.

The festival-like atmosphere jars with the purported stakes of the competition: for Taiwan’s political heavyweights, the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT), the vote is a choice between autocracy and democracy, or war and peace.

Taiwan is a flashpoint for great power conflict. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) regards Taiwan as an inalienable part of its sovereign territory, and “reunification” as an “inevitable requirement for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. ­Beijing would prefer a peaceful reunification with Taiwanese “compatriots”, but if Taiwan crosses the PRC’s “red lines” and moves towards formal independence, Chinese law enshrines the right of the Communist Party (CCP) to respond with violence.

Despite growing geopolitical isolation and aggression from the island’s expansionist, communist neighbour, Tsai has nurtured Taiwan’s hard-won democracy with cool determination. For Beijing, the rule of her pro-sovereignty, independence-leaning DPP has become ever more of an affront. Accordingly, the CCP’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric about unification has been accompanied by the rapid modernisation and development of their armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This includes advanced missile systems, capabilities in cyber warfare and in blocking adversarial forces from entering a theatre of war, and the further expansion of what is already the world’s largest navy. Shortly before stepping down, former Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced a military budget of 1.55 trillion yuan (roughly $224.8bn) for 2023, explicitly calling for heightened “preparations for war”.

China’s Hackers Are Expanding Their Strategic Objectives

Alyza Sebenius

On Nov. 15, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in an effort to stabilize ties between the U.S. and China and to discuss issues ranging from fentanyl to artificial intelligence safety. The meeting took place against the backdrop of a shifting landscape in cyberspace, in which U.S. officials see China expanding its strategy and focusing on critical infrastructure. This threat was not addressed in the readouts or press accounts of the meeting. Nevertheless, while the leaders did not appear to discuss cybersecurity or the possibility of setting norms in the digital domain, the question of how the two powers will interact in the digital domain looms large.

In October, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Executive Director Brandon Wales described China as “the number one geostrategic challenge for the United States, both broadly and then absolutely within the cyber realm.” This may come as a surprise to some readers given the pressing national security concerns in Ukraine and the Middle East, each with their own set of hacking operations by Russia and Iran to deter. But while these digital threats may be most urgent, recent analyses by U.S. government officials suggest that China may be the most important cyber threat at the moment.

In its October report to Congress reviewing China’s military and security activity over the course of 2022, the Department of Defense warned that hackers in China—who have targeted U.S. government systems, including within the department—are stealing “sensitive information from the critical defense infrastructure and research institutes.” The report identified three possible motives, describing the attacks as designed for “economic and military advantage and possibly for cyberattack preparations.” In the event of a conflict, China-based hackers have developed tools to attack U.S. critical infrastructure, including the “disruption of a natural gas pipeline for days to weeks,” the department assessed.

Would China Dare Launch a Second Pearl Harbor on America?

Brent D. Sadler

On December 7th, 1941 – 82 years ago today – Imperial Japan caught our nation by surprise and killed 2,479 Americans and sunk 19 warships at Pearl Harbor. The nation was lucky that critical logistics like the fuel depot, or tanker ships vital to keeping the fleet at-sea were not attacked. A modern foe like China won’t make that mistake. Then and now, the only proven guarantor of peace is strength, and today, that margin is too narrow.

By the late 1930s, it was clear the world and our nation were heading to war, but the attack that December day, at that location, was a shock – even though students of history know that it should not have been. Today, we are once again sleepwalking into a war. However, it isn’t too late to exercise effective deterrence. Time is of the essence, as this decade shapes up to be a very violent one, with the prospect of war with China becoming all too real.

Repeated throughout history, technology has enabled battlefield surprises that must be heeded. The Pearl Harbor attack was enabled by the then-unconventional use of aircraft carriers and their long-range aircraft to strike without detection. The modern version of such a strike would come not from aircraft carriers, but from cyber, ballistic and cruise missiles launched from submarines off our coast or missiles launched from mainland China. Unlike 1941, the homeland is no longer beyond the reach of our principal foe: China.

This 2023 vulnerability makes it vital that the homeland’s industry be protected as the nation is not the world’s factory – that title is held by China. Industry’s most likely and demonstrated vulnerability is from a massive, coordinated cyberattack enabled by what has become too common daily cyber breaches and system-weakening assaults. Doing better is vital, but winning in the cyber domain won’t deter a war with China – that requires viable hard power.

The new world disorder

Robert D Kaplan

Forget multipolarity. A worldwide, ­bipolar military conflict has begun. It will unfold in stages, feature hot war in certain places for extended periods of time, and cold war in other places and times. It will be the organising principle of geopolitics for years to come. It is not a “clash of civilisations” as the late Harvard professor Samuel P Huntington put it in the early 1990s, but it is a clash: a clash of broad value systems that, while emerging out of national cultures and age-old traditions, are essentially modern and postmodern in their origins.

It is a bipolar struggle that combines the global war on terrorism with great-power conflict. Rather than the latter supplanting the former – as the conventional wisdom had observed – following the end of America’s post-9/11 Middle East wars and Russia’s 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the two dramas now run together. One side of this bipolar world features gangster states such as Russia and North Korea; totalitarian states such as China and, again, North Korea; a revolutionary and ­terrorist state such as clerical Iran, with all of its proxies in the Middle East; and a movement that is at once age-old, industrial and post-industrial: anti-Semitism. These enemies of the West are more formidable and nihilistic than the old Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China.

Leveraging AI to enhance American communications

Nicol Turner Lee

Chair Latta, Ranking Member Matsui, and distinguished members of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, I want to thank you for the invitation to testify on the important issue of how we can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance communications and infrastructure nationwide. I am Nicol Turner Lee, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, and Director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution. With a history of over 100 years, Brookings is committed to evidence-based, nonpartisan research in a range of focus areas. My research expertise encompasses data collection and analysis around regulatory and legislative policies that govern telecommunications and high-tech industries, along with the impacts of digital exclusion, artificial intelligence, and machine-learning algorithms on vulnerable populations. My forthcoming book, Digitally Invisible: How the Internet Is Creating the New Underclass, will be published by Brookings Press next spring, and explores in detail the U.S. digital divide.


The state of the communications infrastructure in the United States has been important to the Biden-Harris administration and to this Congress, including the expansion of access to high-speed broadband networks for all. This work is especially urgent after the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of being connected to the internet for critical services, including health care, education, employment, remote work, and government services. Given the centrality of the internet to so much of our lives, it is imperative that we enhance our nation’s communications infrastructure, and do so in ways that promote equity and close the digital divide. Having “affordable, reliable, high-speed internet access,” as well as equipment, digital skills, and financial resources, is a gamechanger, and for those without those things, it is an adverse determinant of their economic prosperity and quality of life.1 As of May 2023, 8.3 million homes and businesses lacked access to high-speed broadband.2 Consequently, life becomes more difficult to navigate as former activities that used to be done over analog communications are no longer easily available to everyday people, and the modern gateway to advanced communications systems requires broadband service, an internet-enabled device, and some type of general literacy on available digital resources.

Putin’s Weak Link to Crimea

Ben Hodges, Led Klosky, Robert Person, and Eric Williamson

When Russia annexed Crimea in February 2014, the peninsula became crucial to Moscow’s strategy to dominate Ukraine and the Black Sea region. Critical to that domination is the bridge spanning the Kerch Strait, the narrow strip of water that separates Crimea from mainland Russia. Built by Moscow at enormous cost, this bridge opened in 2018 to great fanfare. Since then, it has been a major conduit for the transportation of Russian soldiers and arms required for the war in Ukraine.

The bridge is currently under Russian control and is of fundamental importance to the Russian war effort. It may, however, prove to be the key to Ukraine’s victory—not just in Crimea but in the wider conflict. No single event could more quickly turn the tide of the war, reset the narrative, and restore confidence in Kyiv’s ability to win than crippling the most potent symbol of Russia’s occupation of Ukraine.

But destroying the bridge will be a difficult task. It has been expertly constructed to bear heavy traffic. Its size, strength, and durability are such that it has withstood repeated Ukrainian attacks. For Kyiv to succeed in permanently disabling or destroying the bridge, Ukraine’s Western allies must provide far larger numbers of powerful precision-guided missiles. This will be a matter of both quantity and quality: a debilitating attack will necessitate a massive salvo of missiles to overwhelm Russia’s formidable missile defenses in Crimea and strike multiple vulnerabilities on the bridge simultaneously or one critical element repeatedly. Either strategy requires greater numbers of sophisticated missiles, including U.S.-made Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles and German Taurus missiles. Until Ukraine’s allies provide these or similar bunker-busting precision weapons—and lots of them—the bridge is likely to continue serving the Russian war effort.


UK accuses Russia of attempted election interference through cyberattacks

Moscow rejects UK claims about a campaign of malicious cyber-activity against British politicians, journalists and civil society.

The UK government has accused Russian security services of engaging in a sustained cyber-espionage campaign with the aim of meddling in the country’s next general election, a claim Moscow has denied.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Thursday said Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was behind “unsuccessful attempts to interfere in UK political processes” and that Russia’s ambassador to London had been summoned.

Two Russian operatives were sanctioned for their involvement in the preparation of so-called spear-phishing campaigns and “activity intended to undermine the UK”.

“In sanctioning those responsible and summoning the Russian ambassador today, we are exposing their malign attempts at influence and shining a light on yet another example of how Russia chooses to operate on the global stage,” Cameron said.

He added that Russia’s attacks were “completely unacceptable and seek to threaten our democratic processes”. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to call a general election next year.

The Foreign Office said Centre 18, a unit within the FSB, was accountable for targeting parliamentarians from several political parties, with some attacks resulting in documents being leaked in an operation from at least 2015 through to 2023.

How Will This War End? How Can the Next One be Prevented?

Zaha Hassan, Daniel C. Kurtzer, Omar Dajani, Diana Buttu, Peter R. Mansoor, Daniel Levy, Ehud Olmert, Eugene Kontorovich, and Elliott Abrams

A Palestinian is seen from behind as they look outside through a large broken window. Some shards of fractured glass remain in the frame, but the rest of the opening reveals dark smoke billowing from a dense street of buildings in Gaza City. The sky is otherwise light but hazy.

The war between Israel and Hamas—now in its ninth week after a brief cease-fire—has made talk of peace processes and hopes for final-status agreements seem more remote than ever. But the brief pause in fighting and the successful hostage exchange brokered with the assistance of Qatar—along with Egypt and the United States—suggested that there is space for diplomacy even amid a brutal war.

How an Army of Drones Changed the Battlefield in Ukraine

Franz-Stefan Gady

Ukraine’s top military commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, recently
in the Economist that the war against Russia had entered a stalemate in which neither side currently seems capable of a strategic breakthrough. His comments came after five months of heavy fighting, during which the much-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive failed to achieve significant territorial gains. Reasons for the lack of progress include the Russians’ formidable system of layered defenses, willingness to take high losses in lives and materiel, and fierce local counterattacks. Ukraine’s initially uncoordinated and poorly executed attacks, as well as some delays in the delivery of Western weapons and limits to the amounts and types of arms given to Ukraine, surely played a role as well.

The American Way of Economic War

Paul Krugman

Suppose that a company in Peru wants to do business with a company in Malaysia. It should not be hard for the firms to make a deal. Sending money across national borders is generally straightforward, and so is the international transfer of large quantities of data.

But there’s a catch: whether or not the companies realize it, their transactions of both financial information and data will almost certainly be indirect and will probably pass through the United States or institutions over which the U.S. government has substantial control. When they do, Washington will have the power to monitor the exchange and, if desired, stop it in its tracks—to stop, in other words, the Peruvian company and the Malaysian company from doing business with each other. In fact, the United States could prevent many Peruvian and Malaysian companies from trading goods in general, largely cutting the countries off from the international economy.

Part of what undergirds this power is well known: much of the world’s trade is conducted in dollars. The dollar is one of the few currencies that almost all major banks will accept, and certainly the most widely used one. As a result, the dollar is the currency that many companies must use if they want to do international business. There is no real market in which the Peruvian company could exchange Peruvian soles for Malaysian ringgit, so local banks facilitating that trade will normally use soles to buy U.S. dollars and then use dollars to buy ringgit. To do so, however, the banks must have access to the U.S. financial system and must follow rules laid out by Washington. But there is another, lesser-known reason why the United States commands overwhelming economic power. Most of the world’s fiber-optic cables, which carry data and messages around the planet, travel through the United States. And where these cables make U.S. landfall, Washington can and does monitor their traffic—basically making a record of every data packet that allows the National Security Agency to see the data. The United States can therefore easily spy on what almost every business, and every other country, is doing. It can determine when its competitors are threatening its interests and issue meaningful sanctions in response.

AI: What’s next in 2024

Daniel Howley

It’s been a little more than a year since OpenAI’s ChatGPT hit the web, setting off an explosion in interest in generative AI. In the months since, tech giants including Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Meta (META), and others have debuted or announced they’re working on their own generative AI chatbots and products.

But that’s so 2023.

We’re interested in what we can expect from generative AI in the year ahead. What kind of surprises does 2024 have in store for the tech industry — and how will generative AI influence them?

“2024 is going to be the year when it really explodes, because every day people are going to use [AI],” TECHnalysis president Bob O’Donnell told Yahoo Finance.

Think PCs and smartphones running generative AI programs, and generative AI-powered video and audio platforms.

That’s not all, though. According to experts, generative AI will become more targeted. Systems like ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Microsoft’s Copilot — previously called Bing Chat — are general purpose platforms. They’re basically designed to answer everyone’s questions. But they’re not experts in individual fields.

Why It Took Meta 7 Years to Turn on End-to-End Encryption for All Chats


Mark Zuckerberg personally promised that the privacy feature would launch by default on Messenger and Instagram chat. WIRED goes behind the scenes of the company’s colossal effort to get it right.

Since 2016, the social behemoth now known as Meta has been working to deploy end-to-end encryption in its communication apps. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even promised in 2019 that the data privacy protection would roll out by default across all of the company's chat apps. In practice, though, it was a wildly ambitious goal fraught with technical and political challenges, and Meta has only been able to move toward it in gradual, incremental steps. But this week the company is finally starting its full rollout.

“It's been a wild ride," says Jon Millican, a software engineer within Meta's messenger privacy team. “I suspect this is the first time that something’s been end-to-end encrypted with all of the constraints that we’re working with. It’s not just that we’re migrating people’s data, but it’s actually that we're having to fundamentally change a bunch of the assumptions that they work with when they’re using the product.”

Meta has had to stake out a position as a committed proponent of end-to-end encryption amid pressure from law enforcement and victim advocacy groups that the privacy feature—which makes data unintelligible everywhere except on the devices of the sender and recipient—limits necessary oversight and impedes crucial police investigations. Meanwhile, the company has spent the past four years, not to mention the better part of a decade, developing the technology to retrofit two massive communication platforms—Messenger and Instagram chat—such that they could still offer the features and general experience users expect under the technical constraints and usability challenges of end-to-end encryption.

Another Cyberattack on Critical Infrastructure and the Outlook on Cyberwarfare

Carrie Pallardy

At a GlanceCyberAv3ngers hacked a system with Israeli-owned parts at a Pennsylvania water authority booster station.

The cyberattack on the water authority did impact OT, but the booster station shifted to manual operations.

Critical infrastructure attacks, like the one in Pennsylvania, have occurred in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

CyberAv3ngers, an Iranian Government Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-affiliated group, claimed credit for a Nov. 25 cyberattack on the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa in Pennsylvania. The threat group hacked a system with Israeli-owned parts at one of the water authority’s booster stations. The booster station was able to shut down the impacted system, which monitors water pressure, and switch to manual operations.

This cyberattack is one example among many of how critical infrastructure entities are being targeted by nation state and hacktivist threat actors. What was the impact of this CyberAv3ngers hack, and how will threat actors continue to pursue cyberwarfare?

The CyberAv3ngers Attack

CyberAv3ngers hacked a system known as Unitronics. During the attack, the following message appeared on the screen at the booster station: "You Have Been Hacked. Down With Israel, Every Equipment 'Made In Israel' Is CyberAv3ngers Legal Target."

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) released a cybersecurity advisory on IRGC-affiliated actors’ exploitation of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in multiple sectors. Unitronics PLCs are commonly used in water and wastewater systems, according to the advisory. PLCs operate with a human machine interface (HMI). “A human can walk over and touch a keypad and tell it what to do. Empty this tank or fill this tank or pump this water to this location. And those things can be controlled remotely,” Adam Meyers, senior vice president of counter adversary operations at cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike, explains.

10 Of The Most Advanced Cyber Warfare Tools


Militaries have fielded countless deadly weapons, ranging from muskets to tanks, and recently nations have leveraged the power of the internet in what is colloquially known as cyber warfare. Armies can now wage information wars by hacking into private servers and stealing information, spying on hijacked devices, and directly destroying federal property — everything Bond-era spies did, but executed remotely.

However, these tactics are also part and parcel with run-of-the-mill hackers and independent hacktivist groups, so what's the difference? A cyber attack occurs when any hacker, solo or otherwise, commits a cybercrime against a target, be they an individual civilian or a company. In contrast, cyber warfare occurs when government-backed organizations attack other nations using computers and the internet. Moreover, government and military foundations such as critical infrastructure or financial institutions are common targets, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

With this in mind, you might think you have a solid grasp on what constitutes an everyday cyber attack and what counts as an act of cyber warfare, but the difference isn't always cut and dry. Every example of cyber warfare is also an example of a cyber attack, but not every cyber attack is cyber warfare. Here are ten of the most advanced cyber warfare tools armies have at their disposal.

Data theft

How to Use Google’s Gemini AI Right Now in Its Bard Chatbot


GOOGLE JUST LAUNCHED its Gemini AI model. Want to try it out for free? A version of the model, called Gemini Pro, is available inside of the Bard chatbot right now. Also, anyone with a Pixel 8 Pro can use a version of Gemini in their AI-suggested text replies with WhatsApp now, and with Gboard in the future.

Only a sliver of Gemini is currently available. Future releases are expected to include multimodal capabilities, where a chatbot processes multiple forms of input and produces outputs in different ways. Just the text-based version has been added to Bard.

Gemini is also only available in English, though Google plans to roll out support for other languages soon. As with previous generative AI updates from Google, Gemini is also not available in the European Union—for now.

Despite the premium-sounding name, the Gemini Pro update for Bard is free to use. With ChatGPT, you can access the older AI models for free as well, but you pay a monthly subscription to access the most recent model, GPT-4. Details on future plans for Gemini remain scarce. Google teased that its further improved model, Gemini Ultra, may arrive in 2024, and could initially be available inside an upgraded chatbot called Bard Advanced. No subscription plan has been announced yet, but for comparison, a monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus with GPT-4 costs $20.

How to Access Google’s Gemini Pro

Do you already have a Google account? Using Gemini inside of Bard is as simple as visiting the website in your browser and logging in. Google does not allow access to Bard if you are not willing to create an account. Users of Google Workspace accounts may need to switch over to their personal email account to try Gemini.