3 March 2024

Israel’s Escalation With Hezbollah: Possible Scenarios – Analysis

Dr. Mohamed ELDoh

Border tensions between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, have been rising over the past two months. Following Israel’s counteroffensive on Hamas in Gaza, after the latter’s actions on the 7th of October, Hezbollah has vowed to support Hamas in their war against Israel.

Despite Hezbollah’s statements during these two months, no actual support was provided to Hamas by Hezbollah. In fact, during one of its operations, the Israeli army reportedly found documents confirming that Hamas’s Sinwar was dissatisfied with Hezbollah and thought that Hezbollah and Iran would become more engaged in war, which was the complete opposite to what unfolded on the ground.

There are three arguments as to why Hezbollah and Iran have not become more directly involved in providing support to Hamas. Firstly, the presence of US forces in the Mediterranean has created enough deterrence to keep the zone of conflict from expanding, which is in line with reports indicating that Iran cautioned Hezbollah not to spark a full-scale war.

Secondly, reports have shown that Hezbollah was not fully aware of Hamas’s planned timing for the offensive that took place on the 7th of October, thus causing Hezbollah to reassess their involvement with Hamas.

Thirdly, it is believed that Iran did not build Hezbollah’s armed capabilities at a significant cost over decades to serve as a force multiplier for Hamas, but rather to act as the first line of defense and separate front against Israel should it engage in any direct attack on Iran or its nuclear facilities. This further emphasizes the fact that a full confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah would be a dangerous one.

Hamas Is Losing Every Battle in Gaza. It Still Thinks It Could Win the War.

Marcus Walker,  Anat Peled and Summer Said

Senior members of Hamas’s leadership in exile met in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month amid concerns that its fighters were getting mauled by an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Enemy troops were killing dozens of militants each day as they methodically overran Hamas strongholds.

Then a courier arrived with a message from Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, saying, in effect: Don’t worry, we have the Israelis right where we want them.

Hamas’s fighters, the Al-Qassam Brigades, were doing fine, the upbeat message said. The militants were ready for Israel’s expected assault on Rafah, a city on Gaza’s southern edge. High civilian casualties would add to the worldwide pressure on Israel to stop the war, Sinwar’s message said, according to people informed about the meeting.

Hamas’s military wing in Gaza is waging an unequal fight with the strongest military in the Middle East—a war brought on by the U.S.-designated terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. But Sinwar, the mastermind of that attack and one of Israel’s prime targets, is playing a different game. His goal is for Hamas to emerge from the rubble of Gaza after the war, declare a historic victory by outlasting Israel’s firepower, and claim the leadership of the Palestinian national cause.

The militants, commanded day-to-day by Sinwar’s brother Mohammed, have changed their tactics since a short cease-fire in November. Hamas fighters are now trying to avoid large firefights and instead use small-scale ambushes—using tools ranging from rocket-propelled grenades to recorded voices of hostages to lure Israeli troops into traps.

The ambushes have little chance of holding territory against Israel’s armored maneuvers. But they’re tailored to Hamas’s limited capabilities, and to Sinwar’s war aim.

“It’s a very sound tactical logic,” said Eyal Berelovich, a civilian analyst for Israel’s armed forces and a military historian at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. “Their strategic goal is to survive.”

Persian Partners—From Sparta to Hezbollah

Siamak Tundra Naficy

Iran's proxy warfare strategy extends beyond mere command and control dynamics, encompassing complex alliances with both state and non-state groups. These partnerships, collectively known as the "Axis of Resistance," shape regional power dynamics. The term emerged in 2002 as a response to the US labeling Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an "axis of evil," emphasizing resistance to US hegemony as the defining characteristic.

While these actors operate under the umbrella of the “Axis of Resistance,” their differences outweigh their similarities, making their political, economic, and security cooperation rather peculiar. For instance, Iran is a Persian-dominated Shia theocratic republic, while Hezbollah, though Islamist, is an Arab armed political group within the state of Lebanon. Syria, on the other hand, portrays itself as a secular state and a chief defender of Arab nationalism.

This curious cooperation is understood by realist scholars as ‘an axis of convenience.’ In this view, such partnerships represent a strategic realpolitik response to Iran's comparatively constrained conventional military strength, constituting a significant aspect of its regional security policy. A group’s Islamic credentials (or lack thereof) matters less than its willingness to converge with the Iranian leadership’s aim at self-preservation. In this way, for many decades Iran, a self-styled Islamic Shia republic, has supported a variety of secular, leftist, and Sunni Islamist groups.

Contrary to common assumptions, Iran's use of partners predates the 1979 Iranian Revolution and reflects long-standing geopolitical goals rather than religious or cultural imperatives. Before ‘79, it was often carried out through the Shah’s secret service—the SAVAK—which, like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard today, specialized in external operations and internal repression to build up potential allies and undermine the state’s opponents. SAVAK delivered weapons to Lebanese Christian Maronites and CIA archives demonstrate knowledge aiding and abetting Israeli military aid to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga. Its support of the Lebanese Shia was channeled through the Pahlavi Foundation (Bonyade Pahlavi), and continued, as the Alavi Foundation, after the revolution.

“Crippled At The Starting Gate”

Martin Stanton


I recently finished Kurt Schlicter’s excellent book THE ATTACK which is written as a retrospective on a massed October 7th style terrorist attack on the United States that occurs in the late summer of 2024. Schlicter’s book is a page turner, both easy to read and compelling. The premise of THE ATTACK is simple: Large numbers of terrorists’ infiltrate across our open southern border (past our distracted, improperly focused, and politically hamstrung law enforcement and intelligence agencies) amidst the current flood of illegal aliens. They assume hiding positions within the US and wait for the “GO” order. Their attacks happen over several days and cause mass casualties and crippling economic damage. THE ATTACK captures the savagery of Oct 7, 2023, and transfers it to an American setting on a far broader scale. Schlicter’s descriptions of the atrocities committed by the attackers are not for the faint of heart but are basically taken directly from both testimony of Israelis who survived the Hamas attack on October 7 and the captured Hamas footage of what happened to those who did not. The balance of the book is about the various reactions to the attack across America.

Schlicter makes no secret of his political leanings, but no one can deny the plausibility of his scenario. THE ATTACK is a well written and thought-provoking book. It certainly caused me to freshly consider my own community and how it would react to such an event. It also got me thinking about how vulnerable the US is; not just to non-state actor “terrorist” attacks, but to attacks by conventional and special operations forces of enemy nations in the event of hostilities with the US.


The United States has almost no living memory of an attack by the forces of an enemy nation on our mainland. The closest we have left are the few 90–100-year-olds, who can recall the handful of Japanese submarine gun attacks on the Pacific coast and the ferocious U-boat campaign off our Atlantic shores in early 1942. The last time we faced an enemy capable of stopping our maritime traffic and projecting power into the continental United States was in the war of 1812. None of our modern enemies in the 20th century had the capability to conventionally attack military targets on the US mainland in any meaningful way. America was too far and their ability to project power too limited.

Developing effective deterrence—from the war fighters’ perspective

Nishank Motwani

The state of deterrence against China in the Indo-Pacific is constantly adapting to the evolving threat Beijing poses to the United States and its allies on multiple fronts. But a growing number of US military service members warn that deterrence is unravelling.

The Houthi attacks targeting international shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden show that the status quo is cracking, fast.

Perspectives from individuals actively engaged in deterrence operations can help shape effective policy. Such insights were gained in conversations between ASPI DC analysts and officers across the services at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey Bay, California. These ‘deterrence from the deck’ discussions demonstrated a multifaceted analysis of some of the key political and military issues needed to inform policy to build and sustain deterrence. The emergence of security compacts such as AUKUS took on significant importance. It became clear from our interactions that there were substantial gaps in policy and in public discourse on the purpose of AUKUS and deterrence aims in the Indo-Pacific.

It is critically important to bridge these gaps to garner public support and safeguard the global system that has come under attack.

AUKUS serves two essential purposes. The first is that it offers the opportunity to act cohesively to shape the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific. Although the headlines for AUKUS are dominated by nuclear-powered submarines, the agreement presents an opportunity to articulate and implement an overarching strategy to build deterrence that could alter Beijing’s cost-benefit calculus and restrain its aggressive behaviour. Responding to China’s threat is necessary though that will not necessarily restore deterrence. However, applying an overarching strategic effort possibly will.

India’s Anti-Piracy Missions Were Years in the Making

Khyati Singh and Gaurav Sen

India seems to have a considerable amount of influence in the Indian Ocean, even though China’s assertive advancements have placed India under a substantial amount of pressure. Today, the Gulf of Aden and Western Arabian Sea are seeing the greatest deployment of the Indian Navy (IN) to date, as India seeks to secure global shipping lanes against attack by non-state actors. This deployment is separate from the current U.S.-U.K. military campaign in Yemen against the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.

Twelve warships make up the IN’s extraordinary naval armada. Two of the most modern ships are stationed in the Gulf of Aden, while the other 10 are spread around the northern and western Arabian Seas. Both in terms of strength and the scope of the mission being carried out, this deployment represents a substantial departure from earlier ones in these regions. The IN’s continuous mission around anti-piracy and anti-hijacking activities demonstrates a profound shift in its approach.

India’s Maritime Approach: A Recap

India has always been a seafaring nation; its vast coastline necessitates a robust naval strategy to fend off both traditional and non-traditional security threats. But it took a long time for India to contemplate threats coming from its coastline. For decades after independence, the threats emanating from land borders with Pakistan and China monopolized India’s security strategy.

However, India’s increasing maritime might, coupled with the tumultuous global situation, has encouraged the country to modernize its navy. The process began when the country started a blue water navy modernization program in the mid-1990s and significantly increased military spending. The Indian Navy released “Freedom of use of seas: Indian maritime military strategy,” its inaugural maritime doctrine, in 2004. It was later revised in 2007. The budget for the IN increased by 5 percent between 2000 and 2005 and by 10 percent between 2005 and 2008, along with an increase in the navy’s portion of the yearly defense budget.

Should Bangladesh Recalibrate Its Myanmar Policy, Especially Toward the Arakan Army?

Ali Riaz

Since the Three Brotherhood Alliance. a coalition of three ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) — the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA) — launched Operation 1027 against the military junta on October 27 last year, Myanmar’s long-running civil war has taken a new turn.

Its impact is not only being felt within Myanmar. Increasingly, the conflict is becoming a regional security issue with implications for neighboring countries, including Bangladesh.

Fighting in various regions of Myanmar has intensified in the past months and news of the Army’s defeat in three states – Rakhine, Chin, and Shan – is reported almost every day. Rakhine State, where the AA is undertaking a military offensive, has been restive for years and is home to the Rohingya community. In 2017, more than a million Rohingya fled their homes to take refuge in Bangladesh after the military perpetrated a genocide. Myanmar has been dragging its feet to take back these refugees, despite China’s half-hearted mediation that culminated in a bilateral agreement signed with Bangladesh in 2017.

The clash between the rebels and the military is not confined to Myanmar’s territory but is spilling over the Myanmar-Bangladesh border as mortar shells are landing on the Bangladesh side. Two Bangladeshis have died and panic among people living along the border has spread in the past weeks.

In addition, at least 340 members of the Myanmar security forces have fled to Bangladesh. While the chief of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) warned that the Myanmar junta is trying to wage a war against Bangladesh, security analysts have discounted the possibility of a full-scale war. But the recent developments within Myanmar, especially in Rakhine State, have engendered the possibility that the junta will be severely weakened and that some of the states will be able to secure autonomy. This will usher in a new era in Myanmar.

Where Have All the Mekong River’s Fish Gone?

Tom Fawthrop

The Mekong was once a river teeming with fish, providing food security for millions of poor farmers as well urban centers. These days, that river of abundance has disappeared, replaced by forlorn fishers who say they’re lucky if they can secure a catch at all, as more and more hydropower dams are being installed.

A peer-reviewed academic paper by Richard Friend et al, “Hydropower Development and the Neglect of Inland Capture Fisheries,” looks at how the importance of freshwater fisheries has been sadly overlooked and marginalized by Mekong policymakers.

Friend, an associate professor at the University of York and a former Mekong River Commission (MRC) consultant told The Diplomat, “Despite the substantial scientific evidence on the critical importance of fisheries to food security, nutrition and the devastating impact of dams on fisheries, there has been no shift in hydropower policy.”

Graphic courtesy of the Stimson Center’s Mekong Dam Monitor.

China Could Do the Unthinkable: Sink a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier

Harrison Kass

Summary: The escalating tensions between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific raise concerns about the possibility of conflict, specifically focusing on whether China could sink an American aircraft carrier. China possesses the capabilities to do so, utilizing its submarine fleet and hypersonic missiles. However, China is seen as a rational actor unlikely to take such a drastic step without readiness for all-out war, considering the catastrophic implications of sinking a carrier, including massive loss of life and expertise, significant financial losses, and the potential to spark a global conflict. The US response to such an act could escalate into open military conflict, risking World War III.

Much attention has been paid to the possibility of conflict between the US and China. As China rises and the US grips to the status quo in the Indo-Pacific, the likelihood of conflict rises.

Accordingly, pundits are considering what an actual conflict might look like.

One premise that keeps popping up is the sinking of an American aircraft carrier patrolling Indo-Pacific waters. The sinking of an aircraft carrier would be catastrophic – in terms of the event itself, and in term of the inevitable response. Let’s consider what the sinking of an American aircraft carrier might entail.

But first, let’s consider whether the Chinese possess the capability to sink an aircraft carrier in the first place.

How China Would Do What Would Be The Unthinkable

Short answer: yes.

While an aircraft carrier is a hulking and formidable vessel, it is still a manmade object, engineered from steel and screws. Sinking an aircraft carrier is no easy task – not even when aircraft carriers were relatively simple, as demonstrated in World War II’s Pacific theater. But an aircraft carrier can break. And China has a variety of options for breaking an aircraft carrier.

DF-21D: China's Ultimate Weapon to Sink U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers

Brandon J. Weichert

Summary: The DF-21D missile, part of China's strategic anti-area/access denial (A2/AD) arsenal, represents a pivotal component of Beijing's military posture against US naval power in the Indo-Pacific. Stemming from a long history of prioritizing innovative defense mechanisms, the DF-21D is designed to thwart US military influence near China's borders, particularly concerning Taiwan. China's reliance on a vast ballistic missile arsenal, including the DF-21D, aims to deter US intervention by posing significant threats to US Navy assets, leveraging China's strategic advantages to potentially reshape regional dynamics without direct confrontation, reflecting Beijing's calculated approach to expanding its maritime and territorial influence.

The DF-21D: China’s Ultimate Trump Card Against the US Navy: The People’s Republic of China is vulnerable to US military power. Since the 1960s, Beijing has striven to create radical, advanced technologies designed to rebuff US military power projection. The Dong Feng-21, which was first conceived in the 1960s, was completed by the early 1980s and first deployed by China’s military in 1991.

For Chinese strategists, the idea of preserving the core of China has dominated their great nation’s foreign policy discourse. This is not merely a product of the modern Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This is a key theme repeated throughout their 4,000-year history.

Constantly worried about barbarian invasions, China’s rulers historically strove to outpace these foes technologically and deploy innovative defensive weapons and tactics—including what Taylor Fravel called “Active Defense.” Writing in the Marine Corps Gazette in 2021, Maj. Timothy A. Ornelas reminds readers that China’s war planners describe their “active defense” strategy as, “strategically defensive but operationally offensive.”


China’s maritime militia, once a shadowy and ill-understood actor in the South China Sea disputes, has become visible to international observers in a very tangible way over the last year. Increasing numbers of militia vessels have been involved in collisions and tensions with the Philippines at Second Thomas Shoal, and their close coordination with the China Coast Guard has been well documented by photographs and video made available in mainstream media coverage. But while the dozens of militia deployed to Second Thomas Shoal to confront the Philippines have been made plain to see, the question of just how many militia vessels are active across the South China Sea, and where are they, remains approachable only through a quantitative review of remote sensing data.

Tracking the Militia

AMTI examined Planet Labs satellite imagery for the calendar year of 2023 at nine features across the South China Sea known to be frequented by Chinese militia ships. This study counted ships from both Chinese militia fleets active in the South China Sea: the professional militia that operate purpose-built vessels out of Hainan province, and the “Spratly Backbone Fleet” consisting of commercial vessels subsidized to operate in disputed waters to support Chinese sovereignty claims. Militia vessels were counted in imagery an average of 4 times per month at each feature, and data on days between observations was interpolated linearly between the two nearest observations to enable comparison across features.

Although by regulation militia vessels can be as small as 35 meters in length, only vessels falling between 45 to 65 meters were counted as militia for the purposes of this study. This is both the most common length for Chinese militia trawlers and a range rarely seen in other vessels active in disputed waters, such as Chinese coast guard or fishing vessels of other coastal states.

China grows domestic bio weapons tech industry

Bill Gertz

China is advancing its domestic, dual-use biological research capabilities with applications for the People’s Liberation Army germ warfare programs, according to an open-source intelligence report.

Recent virology studies “demonstrate that China is now able to operate its own dual-use virology research agenda on-shore and without international inputs or considerations,” according to a new report by the Chinese Communist Party Biothreats Initiative, a think tank.

China now has robust domestic capabilities that potentially provide Beijing with a range of asymmetric options against perceived adversaries,” the report said.

The development of biological weapons by China has been overshadowed by many intelligence and strategic analysts who have instead focused on Beijing’s large conventional military buildup. China, however, remains overmatched militarily by the U.S. and its allies, and thus its biological arms development provides a major asymmetric advantage, the report said.

China is continuing high-risk pathogen research on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and the work is a major strategic worry, the report said. Studies published in China show Beijing is continuing work banned in the West on the virus that killed millions during the global pandemic.

So far, none of China’s recent SARS-CoV-2 research has been linked to a current vaccine, therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic, the report said, raising questions about the potential for using the virus for military purposes.

“The fact that this work continues, including in Wuhan itself, likely demonstrates that there is a broader strategic logic underpinning this continued high-risk pathogen research,” the report said.


Robert Kitchen


China and the United States see each other as the pacing challenge,1 with Taiwan the obvious potential flashpoint. Correspondingly, different governments and think tanks repeatedly featured the Taiwan conflict in wargames. However, results from these studies varied significantly, ranging from swift Taiwanese capitulation and pyrrhic United States victories to bloody Chinese failures. This review compares several studies, explaining differences in the objectives, outcomes, and implications. As such, it is the first review to collate findings from a broad sample of wargames held over eight years between 2016 and 2023. It identifies a clear, regressive trend in the United States and Taiwanese chances of victory over the period and crucial factors influencing the outcomes for the People’s Liberation Army, the Republic of China, the United States, and allied forces. It concludes with recommendations for future wargame iterations.


This review focuses on published United States military rather than economic or non-kinetic influence studies. These studies were unclassified or substantively reported in open sources and addressed a conflict in the Western Pacific, usually involving Taiwan and the United States. However, similar studies were undertaken in China, Japan, and Taiwan, which have established military wargaming capabilities.2 The United Kingdom also has wargaming and net assessment capabilities.3 While this paper looks at published studies, it also includes officially announced insights about classified ones.

For comparison purposes, this review groups studies into three discrete eras: before 2017, 2017 to before Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and those conducted afterward. The timeframes were chosen as they represent three distinct trends. Pre-2018, wargames tended to end favorably for the United States, Taiwan, and allies, albeit at great cost. Between 2018 and February 2022, outcomes grew increasingly pessimistic for the United States and Taiwan, with only one victory, four losses, and two stalemates. Finally, in the two games since February 22nd, 2022, the immediate insights from the larger Russian invasion of Ukraine have tilted the outcomes towards the defender.

Is the US-led counter ISIS campaign 'mission accomplished'?


Against the backdrop of the ongoing Gaza war and an enraged Arab street, the future of 2,500 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq is once again in question.

Despite a full withdrawal in 2011, the government of Iraq “invited” U.S. forces to return in 2014 to combat Daesh, or ISIS. But seven years after the “Caliphate” was pronounced defeated, the multinational Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve maintains a large military presence in Iraq, ostensibly to “work by, with and through regional partners to militarily defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, in order to enable whole-of-coalition governmental actions to increase regional stability.”

Despite those laudable intentions, attacks against U.S. military personnel have intensified and so has political pressure to conclude the mission, far beyond similar calls for expulsion following the targeting of Qassim Soleimani in 2020. The presence of foreign forces in general and the U.S. troops in particular is vexing to Iraq with its long history of occupation (although calling 2,500 non-combat forces an occupation is a bit of a stretch), but is also an opportunity, particularly among Iranian-backed political parties and militias, to create a strawman responsible for all of the country’s ills.

For many Iraqis the counter-ISIS coalition is like the guest who has overstayed his welcome.

“The presence of U.S. military forces on Iraqi soil has been increasingly causing problems to Iraq and its neighbors; it also gives a pretext to terrorists to resume their attacks on Iraqis,” said Dhia Al-Asadi, former minister of state who headed the Al-Ahrar (Sadrist) Bloc in parliament. “These forces should withdraw immediately so that a legitimate, nationalist Iraqi government can take the lead and build its military and security capacity without unsolicited U.S. interference.”

Huge Boost To Army’s Air Defenses Planned In New Force Structure


The U.S. Army has laid out plans to significantly expand its air and missile defense units, with a particular focus on counter-drone and counter-cruise missile capabilities, as part of a larger restructuring of its forces. This reflects U.S. military concerns about these and other aerial threats that have been growing for years now. This is also a major turn-around for the service, which has been very much playing catch-up with these threats, as The War Zone has highlighted in the past.

The Army released a white paper earlier today that details various force structure changes it plans to implement between now and the end of the decade. The force structure transformation includes completing the standing up of five Multi-Domain Task Forces (MDTFs). These task forces will include air and missile defense units, as well as ones equipped with new long-range missile systems, including hypersonic types. They will also have new electronic and cyber warfare systems and other advanced capabilities. Additional air and missile defense units separate from the MDTFs are set to be established.

The Typhon system, elements of which are seen here and that is capable of firing multi-purpose SM-6 missiles and Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, is one of the key components of the Army's new Multi-Domain Task Forces. U.S. Army

"Bringing these and other capabilities into the Army requires adding roughly 7,500 more authorizations for soldiers in high priority formations," according to the white paper. "Given the addition of 7,500 new authorizations needed to bring new capabilities in the force, the Army needed to identify some 32,000 authorizations across the rest of the force that could be phased out."

Shock Therapy Killed Navalny


The world was stunned, though perhaps not surprised, by the death this month of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition politician and Kremlin critic, in an Arctic penal colony. The converted gulag in which he died, called “Polar Wolf,” reserved for hardened criminals rather than political prisoners, was known for its harsh conditions, and Navalny had been tortured extensively.

Still, the circumstances of the sudden death of Navalny – who had made a cheerful court appearance the previous day – were mysterious. At 47, Navalny was still young, and the plans he was actively making suggested that he remained hopeful for the future. So, the signs don’t point to a death from “natural causes,” as the Russian authorities claimed.

Navalny was, of course, living on borrowed time after years exposing the corruption of President Vladimir Putin’s regime. In 2020, the most serious attempt on his life – a near-fatal poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent, Novichok – failed when he was flown to Germany for emergency treatment. Aware of the fate that awaited him in a country where the line between a prison sentence and a death sentence is dangerously thin, he nonetheless chose to return to Moscow, where he was arrested on arrival and ultimately handed a 19-year prison term.

The prime suspect in Navalny’s death is obvious. “Putin is responsible,” said US President Joe Biden. Other world leaders and a chorus of commentators have gone on the record in agreement. Navalny, an adept grassroots organizer who ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013 and president in 2018, was by far the most credible and charismatic voice to speak out against Putin, calling his party one of “swindlers and thieves.”

Even behind bars, Navalny remained a credible threat to Putin. So, his death, suspiciously close to the presidential election in March, in which Putin is campaigning for a fifth term in office (having removed constitutional term limits in 2020), would point, at least circumstantially, to a clear culprit. But, while Putin’s role in Navalny’s death is all but undeniable, there is a silent accomplice whose part in this tragedy must not be ignored: the economic policies adopted in the early 1990s.

Deglobalization And Glocalization In The Current World – Analysis

He Jun

In today’s world, the impact of deglobalization on global economic and trade activities has become increasingly stronger, continuously and profoundly changing the pattern of global economic, trade, and investment activities.

Researchers at ANBOUND have previously analyzed that the transition from globalization to deglobalization is not only a surface change in economic and trade activities, but also a fundamental change in the underlying logic of economic operation. During the smooth period of globalization, trade and investment followed the logic of efficiency, with capital seeking low-cost areas globally. “Free flow of capital + low-cost manufacturing + free trade” became the standard mode of economic activity in the era of globalization. However, in the era of deglobalization, there has been a fundamental change in economic logic, with efficiency logic giving way to geopolitical logic. Political factors strongly intervene in economic activities, and investments by multinational corporations must prioritize political factors and “national security” considerations.

This change has a significant impact on industrial investment. Reflected in economic and industrial layout, the past economy was market-centered, while in the future, it will become industry-centered. During the time when it was market-centered, investors emphasized market proximity, and market participants agreed to exchange technology for market access. However, in the industry-centered era, the emphasis is on the strength of the industry, its ownership and control, and aims to be close to manufacturing centers while expanding manufacturing centers. The latter is the “close produce ” model as mentioned by ANBOUND’s founder Kung Chan. Some researchers also refer to it as the “geopolitical manufacturing” model shift, moving from the “offshore manufacturing” of the globalization era to “nearshore manufacturing”, “friendly shore manufacturing”, and “return shore manufacturing” in the era of deglobalization.

Putin warns West of risk of nuclear war, says Moscow can strike Western targets

Vladimir Soldatkin and Andrew Osborn

President Vladimir Putin told Western countries on Thursday they risked provoking a nuclear war if they sent troops to fight in Ukraine, warning that Moscow had the weapons to strike targets in the West.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the worst crisis in Moscow's relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Putin has previously spoken of the dangers of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, but his nuclear warning on Thursday was one of his most explicit.

Addressing lawmakers and other members of the country's elite, Putin, 71, repeated his accusation that the West was bent on weakening Russia, and he suggested Western leaders did not understand how dangerous their meddling could be in what he cast as Russia's own internal affairs.

He prefaced his nuclear warning with a specific reference to an idea, floated by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, of European NATO members sending ground troops to Ukraine - a suggestion that was quickly rejected by the United States, Germany, Britain and others.

"(Western nations) must realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilisation. Don't they get that?!" said Putin.

Speaking ahead of a March 15-17 presidential election when he is certain to be re-elected for another six-year term, he lauded what he said was Russia's vastly modernised nuclear arsenal, the largest in the world.

"Strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness," he said, noting that new-generation hypersonic nuclear weapons he first spoke about in 2018 had either been deployed or were at a stage where development and testing were being completed.

The Implication of Russian Orbital Nuclear Weapons

Mark B. Schneider

In February 2024, Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH) courageously made public the fact that, “Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has made available to all Members of Congress information concerning a serious national security threat. I am requesting that President Biden declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the Administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat.” (Emphasis in the original). It was immediately reported in the press that this was a Russian program to place nuclear weapons in orbit for anti-satellite purposes. Although the full story is not known and the White House is attempting to minimize public perceptions of the significance of this Russian threat, it has confirmed the main elements of the press reports. In addition, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan revealed that before Congressman Turner’s statement, the Biden Administration intended to inform only very few members of Congress, limiting the briefing to the most senior leadership, the so-called “Gang of Eight.” Moreover, the public would have been kept completely in the dark.

The White House has confirmed Russia’s development of a nuclear anti-satellite weapon (ASAT). However, it is playing down its significance. According to White House National Security Communications Advisor Rear Admiral (U.S. Navy, ret.) John Kirby, “First, this is not an active capability that’s been deployed. And though Russia’s pursuit of this particular capability is troubling, there is no immediate threat to anyone’s safety. We are not talking about a weapon that can be used to attack human beings or cause physical destruction here on Earth. That said, we’ve been closely monitoring this Russian activity and we will continue to take it very seriously.” He also acknowledged this would be a violation of 1967 Space Treaty. The White House gave no indication of when this weapon would become operational.

President Biden’s statement further sugar coated Russian behavior.
  • “First of all, there is no nuclear threat to the people of America or anywhere else in the world with what Russia is doing at the moment.”
  • “No. 2, anything they’re doing or they will do relates to satellites in space and damaging those satellites potentially.”
  • “No. 3, there’s no evidence they’ve made a decision to go forward with anything in space either.”

SOCOM grants contract for new jammer-proof BlackWave radio system


PDW, a defense contracting company dedicated to drone technology, was awarded a $6.9 million contract from the U.S. Special Operations Forces Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics office to deliver BlackWave, a next-generation radio system designed to function in congested and contested radio frequency environments.

The war in Ukraine has shown what the modern battlefield looks like, and the U.S. military is taking notes. Small unmanned drones have wreaked havoc on entrenched battlefields, and radio wave jammers are causing technological failures in critical systems.

According to PDW, BlackWave is a secure digital link that can function in jammed and congested radio frequency environments. It passed the testing and challenges of the Joint Vulnerability Assessment Branch, called the Cyber Vulnerability Assessment, which is required for the BlackWave to be fielded by American forces.

“We believe BlackWave will be a game changer that contributes to a new era in radio development for American defense and small robotics,” said Trevor Smith, PDW’s CSO, in a statement provided to Task and Purpose.

Small drones on kamikaze missions have been a major concern since Russia invaded Ukraine. That’s led to a race to combat that threat using drone guns that use focused radio waves that jam a wide array of frequencies. The tech is being used on both sides, often making the difference between life and death for troops on the ground.

As the brutal war has trudged into its second year, Ukraine and Russia are both working toward solutions to make their drone warfare invincible to any sort of jamming. According to EurAsian Times, the Russians have acquired that capability.

Though America isn’t involved in direct combat in Ukraine, the U.S. military has been learning from the conflict and implementing training and now joins the jammer-proof drone and communications technology race.

Army units must trim command posts, add drones to survive

Todd South

Fighting in Ukraine and Gaza has taught Army leaders that units must shrink their battlefield headquarters to survive, and work drone and counter drone tactics at every level.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Randy George spoke with reporters Tuesday about Ukraine lessons and a range of topics at an event hosted by the George Washington Project for Media and National Security.

“There’s really no place to hide,” George said. “Nobody wants to be prominent on today’s battlefield. What being prominent will get you is it will get you killed.”

Wormuth echoed the general’s remarks, saying in a recent visit to Germany where she spoke with U.S. and Ukrainian troops training together at Grafenwoehr Training Area, the key takeaway was that units needed to stay mobile.

U.S. soldiers had cut what is typically a four-Stryker command post that includes large satellite dishes and full crews to a two-Stryker setup in which all communications and network equipment were housed in one vehicle.

The entire command post could be set up or taken down in under 15 minutes, she said.

George noted similar work going on out at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. A recent division headquarters conducted a rotation at the training center. The headquarters shrank its typically large footprint by 75% for the rotation.

“We’re done lugging around big satellite dishes, we’re done with server stacks, all of that’s got to change,” George said.

Directed Energy Weapons: Here Now? Or 5 Years Off?

Stew Magnuson

Depending on who you ask, directed energy weapons are either “here and now” or still not ready for prime time.

Their potential as a weapon of war has been touted since the science fiction character Buck Rogers showed up in newspaper comics in 1929 carrying an atomic pistol.

But almost 100 years later, soldiers still can’t say, “Set phasers on stun!”

Directed energy weapons come in two categories: high-energy lasers and high-powered microwaves.

The U.S. military has pursued this technology for decades, with promises of them being deployable “in just a few years.”

On paper, they look great. As long as a warfighter doesn’t have to shoot down anything past the curvature of the Earth — they can only fire in a straight line — users would have an almost “unlimited magazine.” Imagine not having to lug all that ammunition around.

A member of the “here and now” crowd is one of the Pentagon’s point persons on the technology, Mark Spencer, director of the Joint Directed Energy Transition Office, which is within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Critical Technologies created by Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu.

The future is now for directed energy weapons, he asserted during a panel discussion at the recent Association of Old Crows annual conference. It is a “game-changing technology,” he said.

“Is it the be-all and end-all of technologies that’s going to solve all of our problems? No. However, when we start to think of how we’re going to employ these future systems for these future fights, directed energy does play a role from a systems perspective,” Spencer said.

Wisdom from the Bloodlands

Toomas Hendrik Ilves

While we recognize Zbigniew Brzezinski and his student Madeleine Albright as leading thinkers in their field, both of whom saw the fundamental importance of democracy as the basis of security for the West and indeed the world, it is all too telling that these two giants of foreign policy, who are both from the part of Europe I come from—Central and Eastern Europe—had a broader vision, as well as a more profound effect on our continent and relations between Europe and the United States, than almost any other European of the past fifty years.

Indeed, it is more than odd that even today, more than a third of a century after the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe, it is our region—the region that gave Brzezinski and Albright their understanding of the Soviet Union, of Russia, and of the importance of human rights and democracy—has almost no impact on our continent’s foreign policy and security thinking. But two of the giants of the primary guarantor of European security come from areas subjugated and devastated by wars between East and West. Wars in which we played almost exclusively the role of the victim.

Our part of Europe—the Zwischenländer—the “lands in between,” have been the contested lands or die umkämpften Ländereien for more than a millenium. Or, to use Professor Timothy Snyder’s depressing but all too apt name, they are the Bloodlands.

Smaller than the lands to our east and our west, our part of Europe has been caught between Homer’s two great sea monsters, Scylla and Charydis. Only careful navigation by Odysseus between the crashing rocks and the whirlpool of death allowed him to survive to reach his beloved Penelope. And so too, in this century our own various leaders has occasionally allowed us to escape death and disaster on our road to our democracy.

Choreographing Influence: Expanding and Integrating Special Warfare

Ajit Maan

While the Pentagon’s front line Special Warfare Units are facing cuts, our near peer adversaries are advancing.

More reduction for funding for the non-kinetic activities of Special Warfare Units is on the table, but we, the undersigned, are advocating not only expanding SOF’s capability to conduct influence operations but we are arguing for reconfiguring, expanding, and creating more agility as a cost-effective alternative that capitalizes on SOF’s unique influence capabilities for engagement that promotes and projects the US values essential to achieving National Defense Strategy objectives at the tactical level.

Our adversaries and allies have recognized and embraced Narrative Warfare, which is the foundation of irregular warfare, and psychological operations, influence operations.

China and Russia are combining hard and soft power at the strategic and tactical levels. While China is rapidly building up its military capability and capacity, it also engages in psychological operations through its United Front Work Department and its blatant Three Warfares of influence (public opinion, psychological, and legal). Russia has combined its strength as a conventional military power with effective use of irregular warfare and influence operations. Despite its setbacks in Ukraine, Russia is learning and adapting its Special Operations for activities that are more about influence than kinetic activities.

It is not only our adversaries who prioritize the quantifiable measures of effect of Special Warfare as the best value for money; NATO and FVEY partners are also reorganizing around a prioritized tech-enhanced Special Operations model to spread and maintain influence globally. US case studies and data supporting Influence Operations and Unconventional Warfare activities are historically one of the best uses of defense dollars in Great Power Competition. Focusing on, and funding, lethality is not the best bang for our military buck. As Colin Gray puts it, “special operations forces (SOF) offer the prospect of a favorably disproportionate return on military investment. Moreover, SOF provide the possibility of a range of precisely conducted military activities more extensive than that reliably feasible for regular warriors conducting regular operations.”

William Hartung, False Job Claims Fuel Massive Pentagon Budgets

William D. Hartung

Imagine for a moment that I told you Congress was suddenly teetering at the edge of passing a $95-billion bill to give many more Americans reasonable health care. No, it really doesn’t sound likely, does it? Okay, then, how about Congress teetering at the edge of passing just such a bill to further arm Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan with American weaponry of all sorts? Oh wait, it may be to arm those countries further, but it’s also to fund the giant all-American arms-makers, those key components of the military-industrial-congressional complex, since money for weaponry meant for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan will actually go directly to them, as TomDispatch regular and Pentagon expert William Hartung explains today.

Oh, and just imagine for a moment that, should those arms companies get such near-record funding anytime soon, some of that money — count on it — will be poured into endless cost overruns and distinctly dysfunctional weapons systems. You want an example? Take Boeing, which should be considered the poster child for such a reality right now. If you’ve been watching the nightly news, I’m sure you’ve noticed those Boeing 737 Max 9 commercial jets that were discovered to be missing door bolts after a door plug from one of them fell 16,000 feet into an Oregon backyard.

What’s been far less noticed is that Boeing has an unnervingly similar record when it comes to building military aircraft. Take, for instance, the new Boeing aerial refueling tanker, meant to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of such planes. It simply doesn’t work. At the cost of a genuine fortune, it’s years behind schedule, plagued by major deficiencies, way over cost, and still not fully ready for use. Similarly, in early December, after a crash near Japan killed eight airmen, the Pentagon grounded its full fleet of Boeing CV-22 Ospreys (which have experienced 10 fatal crashes that have killed 57 people over the last 23 years). And that’s just to list the problems of two Boeing aircraft.

With that in mind, let Hartung explore an all-American world in which taxpayer dollars continue to pour into the military-industrial complex and how efficiently that “arsenal of democracy” responds by delivering ever less to Americans. He offers, in fact, a shocking vision of where our tax dollars are really going and why that’s bad for us. Tom