8 April 2024

Chinese and Indian Weapons May Be Clashing in Ukraine

David Brennan

The insatiable appetite of Russia's war on Ukraine is drawing in weapons and munitions from all over the world, as both sides seek an edge in a devastating attritional contest now more than two years old.

The dynamic is pitting arms from many nations against each other. Many such contests are planned and approved by suppliers. Ukraine's use of Western military technology against the Russian invasion force is the most visible example of NATO backing for Kyiv.

Moscow's use of Iranian kamikaze drones against Ukrainian cities being defended by Western anti-air systems, meanwhile, touches on the decades-long simmering conflict between Tehran and Washington, D.C.

Ukraine and Russia—whether at the state, military, or individual level—are also turning to the private market to fill gaps in their arsenals. The many degrees of separation provided by international trade networks have prompted some more surprising battlefield matchups.
A Ukrainian soldier loads a British-made L119 howitzer on February 18, 2024, in an undisclosed location close to Lyman, Ukraine. Ukrainian and Russian forces have both been using foreign-produced weapons through two years of war.

Multiple photographs have emerged in recent months of Ukrainian gunners using what appear to be Indian-made artillery shells to attack Russian positions, where Moscow's troops are increasingly outfitted with Chinese weapons ranging from artillery rounds to quadrocopter drones and even golf cart-style buggies.

Countering China’s Influence in Myanmar

February 1 marked the third anniversary of the Myanmar Military Junta (Tatmadaw) ’s 2021 coup that overthrew the civilian-led government. Since then, according to Amnesty International, nearly 3,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million internally displaced, and more than 13,000 detained in inhumane conditions. In addition to domestic strife, this conflict has created headaches for Myanmar’s neighbors, including China.

While civil war is nothing new in Myanmar, this particular conflict’s trajectory has deviated from the traditional pattern in a way that could benefit the United States’ interests in the region. A stable, friendly, and democratic Myanmar could be a geostrategically critical partner in an area where China has dramatically expanded its influence. To accomplish this goal, the United States should develop closer relations with the Ethnic Armed Organizations and the National Unity Government.

The international community first noticed a significant change when the Three Brotherhood Alliance, an ethnic armed organization (EAO), launched Operation 1027 in October 2023. The Alliance achieved substantial victories against Tatmadaw forces, capturing over 300 Tatmadaw bases and twenty towns across two states and three regions. This campaign started unprecedented victories for EAOs and the National Unity Government (NUG) forces.

Since then, there has been a surge in EAO military actions nationwide. In January alone, ethnic rebels took control of a critical regional command center in Laukkai, shot down multiple fighter jets, and captured a whole military battalion headquarters. Continued successes by the EAO and NUG forces and the lack of ability of the Tatmadaw to “divide and rule” the various ethnic forces may eventually lead the Junta to negotiate with the NUG and ethnic insurgent groups and even potentially to its demise.

China Is Targeting U.S. Voters and Taiwan With AI-Powered Disinformation

Dustin Volz

SAN FRANCISCO—Online actors linked to the Chinese government are increasingly leveraging artificial intelligence to target voters in the U.S., Taiwan and elsewhere with disinformation, according to new cybersecurity research and U.S. officials.

The Chinese-linked campaigns laundered false information through fake accounts on social-media platforms, seeking to identify divisive domestic political issues and potentially influence elections. The tactics identified in a new cyber-threat report published Friday by
Microsoft are among the first uncovered that directly tie the use of generative AI tools to a covert state-sponsored online influence operation against foreign voters. They also demonstrate more-advanced methods than previously seen.

Accounts on X—some of which were more than a decade old—began posting last year about topics including American drug use, immigration policies, and racial tensions, and in some cases asked followers to share opinions about presidential candidates, potentially to glean insights about U.S. voters’ political opinions. In some cases, these posts relied on relatively rudimentary generative AI for their imagery, Microsoft said.

Taiwan Fights Onslaught of Chinese Disinformation Ahead of Key ElectionPlay video: Taiwan Fights Onslaught of Chinese Disinformation Ahead of Key Election In the run-up to Taiwan’s presidential election, government officials and NGOs said the island was targeted by thousands of disinformation attacks, which authorities said was an attempt by China to influence the pivotal vote. China denied it was trying to interfere. Photo composite: Diana Chan

U.S. officials see China’s rising clout in global influence operations as a concern because of the evolving tradecraft and ample state resources. Last fall, for example, the U.S. State Department accused the Chinese government of spending billions of dollars annually on a global campaign of disinformation, using investments abroad and an array of tactics to promote Beijing’s geopolitical aims and stifle criticism of its policies.

Behind the Deadly Mistakes of Israel’s Military in Gaza

Jared Malsin, Stephen Kalin and Margherita Stancati

A convoy of three vehicles ferried workers with aid group World Central Kitchen along the Gaza Strip’s coastal road on Monday night.

In the darkness above, an Israeli military drone scanned for enemy forces. The aircraft’s operators identified the convoy as a hostile target and opened fire. Missiles slammed into the vehicles, one after the other, killing seven people heading back from bringing food to the hungry.

The deaths have crystallized a broad international backlash against Israel’s war in Gaza. President Biden called for an immediate cease-fire during a phone conversation Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden suggested that further U.S. support would depend on Israel taking steps to protect aid workers and civilians.

“This is not a stand-alone incident,” Biden said Wednesday about the deadly strike. “Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians.”

The Israeli military on Friday said its investigation into the incident found that troops lacked the evidence to order the strikes and twice violated its operating rules. It said it had dismissed two officers and reprimanded three.

For six months, Israeli forces, responding to the Oct. 7 attack that killed more than 1,200 men, women and children, have waged a broad campaign to destroy the Islamist militant group Hamas. More than 20,000 people who shouldn’t have been targets are believed to have been killed by the army—the majority of them Palestinian civilians, but also captive Israeli hostages, relief workers and journalists, according to Palestinian health officials, the U.N. and organizations tracking the war. Israel said it doesn’t target civilians.

Is Israel's plan to draw the US into a war with Iran?


The latest Israeli heightening of violence in an already violent region presents the Biden administration with one of its biggest challenges yet in keeping the United States out of a new Middle East war.

Israel’s bombing of an Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus, killing a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and several other Iranian officials in addition to at least four Syrian citizens, was a marked escalation. Besides being as much an act of aggression in Syria as many previous Israeli aerial attacks, hitting the embassy compound constituted a direct attack on Iran.

Iranian leaders will feel heavy pressure to respond forcefully. The extent of that pressure can be appreciated by imagining if the roles were reversed. If Iran had bombed an embassy of Israel or the United States, a violent and lethal response would be not just expected but demanded by politicians and publics alike.

In Iran, too, popular sentiment can play a similar role in such situations, as illustrated by the outpouring of public emotion when a U.S. drone strike assassinated prominent Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani four years ago. In a more calculated vein, just as a need to “restore deterrence” is often heard as a justification for violent responses by the United States or Israel, so too can such calculations figure in Iranian decision-making.

Speaking a day after the attack, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed revenge and said “Israel will be punished.” The Iranian representative at the United Nations Security Council asserted Iran’s right to a “decisive response to such reprehensible acts.”

Iranian leaders feel pressures in the other direction as well. Involvement in a new war would not be in Iran’s interests, and its leaders have not been seeking such a war.

Iran: At Least 29 Dead In Clashes Between Militants, Security Forces In Southeast


(RFE/RL) — More than two dozen Iranian government forces and militants from Jaish al-Adl, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Iran and several Western countries including the United States, have been killed in clashes in the southeast of the country in a flareup of violence in the underprivileged province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Law enforcement officials told local media that the clashes lasted nearly 14 hours, leaving left 11 government troops and 18 militants dead in the cities of Rask, Sarbaz, and Chabahar. The deputy security minister of the Interior Ministry confirmed the deaths and injuries of security personnel and said the number of fatalities could potentially rise on both sides.

Alireza Daliri, the deputy law enforcement commander in Sistan-Baluchistan, said the militants had also precipitated a hostage-taking situation, but that it had ended with “all” of the attackers being killed. It was not clear whether those casualties were part of the numbers law enforcement had quoted earlier.

Jaish al-Adl, which ostensibly seeks greater rights for the ethnic Baluch minority, operates mostly in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province but is also suspected to be in neighboring Pakistan.

In an assault by the militants on the regional headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and police military bases in Rask and Chabahar, at least five security personnel were killed, according to security reports. The state-run news agency IRNA said the casualties included a soldier, an IRGC member, a Basij paramilitary member, and two law enforcement officers.

IRGC ground forces Commander Mohammad Pakpour said the attackers targeted several locations in simultaneous operations.

Opinion: 6 months since October 7, there are no winners here

Frida Ghitis

A man looks at the destruction in a ravaged neighborhood in the Gaza Strip Jabalya Refugee Camp on October 11. Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.

Almost exactly six months ago, Israelis awoke to a nightmare. Civilians in the southern part of the country, areas near the border with Gaza, were under a brutal, ongoing attack. It would become the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust and a prelude to unspeakable suffering on both sides of the border.

Six months after Hamas launched that deadly rampage, knowing that Israel’s response would be ferocious, there are only losers in this terrible war.

It’s hard now to find many winners with the death toll mounting among Gazans and hunger growing in the strip. And with Israeli hostages still held captive, perhaps in dank Hamas tunnels.

For Hamas, the fact that war continues may count as a victory, but thousands of Hamas’ fighters — the exact number is disputed — have been killed. Hamas may be decimated, perhaps unable to hold on to power, but that’s no victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under growing global pressure and besieged by protesters at home, and whose legacy will be forever darkened.

Israel's and US interests in the Middle East are the same - opinion


IDF SOLDIERS conduct maintenance work on a Merkava tank, on the Israeli side of the Gaza border this week. The Israeli government must instruct the army on how to proceed, for time is inexorable and the imprint of the IDF’s impressive achievements is fast fading, the writer warns.(photo credit: Hannah McKay/Reuters)

As the war in Gaza rages, the IDF is yet to achieve its clearly stated aim, unable to sanction Hamas’s formula for the release of the hostages, who live in mortal danger.

The Israeli government must instruct the army on how to proceed, for time is inexorable and the imprint of the IDF’s impressive achievements is fast fading. Israel must urgently find a way to bring back those abducted by Hamas, who are the daily victims of violence and looming mortality. Additionally, it is becoming progressively and painfully clear that there is still no “day after” plan in place – nor is the end of the war in sight.

Although the IDF aims for the complete destruction of the enemy, Hamas, its hands are tied. In the absence of agreement not only within the Israeli government but also with the United States – demanding a humanitarian ceasefire and hinting at threatening to stop supplying military equipment to Israel – we must think outside the box. Looking to the future, what do we want? And how do we get out of this trap?

Military pier project in Gaza could be 'on ice'


The Israeli killing of seven international aid workers this week has already had a chilling effect on the prospects of President Joe Biden’s aid surge project, which is supposed to deploy the U.S. military to build a causeway off the coast of Gaza to deliver food into the strip, ostensibly next month.

Meanwhile, fielding questions from reporters at the White House yesterday after the killing of the World Central Kitchen workers, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the temporary pier would be operational “in a couple of weeks.”

This is highly ambitious and likely not true. An Army spokesman claims the ships carrying the supplies for both the floating pier and the causeway that is supposed to be anchored to the yet-to-be-known location on the Gaza beach are “streaming” (POLITICO’s words, more on that below) toward the region, but they still have to build the infrastructure, and most estimates don’t expect completion until May.

More importantly, POLITICO reports that the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) was likely tapped by the U.S. to deliver the aid into Gaza once it the hit the beach, but is now having second thoughts because of the World Central Kitchen killings. As reported, Chef Jose Andrés’s organization had been coordinating for months with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and their convoy was known to the IDF the day of the deadly strikes. They were targeted and blown to bits anyway.

Now, WFP is denying there was any formal agreement between the aid organization and the U.S., and says it wants more assurances of its people’s safety before going ahead with any such contract.

“Any decision regarding the UN participation in the maritime corridor setup needs to be fully agreed on with the humanitarian agencies operating in Gaza, under conditions that allow for safe, sustained and scaled-up assistance to reach people in need,” Steve Taravella, a spokesman for the WFP said Wednesday.

Stuck in Gaza

Daniel Byman

Six months after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, Israel seems stuck. Its war in Gaza has inflicted grievous blows on Hamas, and the group is unlikely to be able to carry out another comparable attack for some time, if ever. The price for this success is high, however, both in terms of Palestinian lives and Israel’s reputation. Israel remains far from its goal of destroying Hamas, and it seems trapped in a military campaign that is likely to make only incremental progress at huge cost.

After October 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore to “destroy Hamas” by killing its leaders,

Russia Abandoned by Allies as US Tightens Sanctions Noose

Isabel van Brugen

Russia is being abandoned by its key allies amid tightening U.S. sanctions imposed in response to the war in Ukraine.

Recent moves by a number of Russian President Vladimir Putin's longtime allies, including China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and India, suggest they are becoming more cautious of U.S. secondary sanctions.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with the Moscow State University rector at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 3, 2024. Russia is being abandoned by its key allies amid tightening U.S. sanctions imposed in response.

A number of large banks in China have stopped accepting payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions, and banks in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are no longer accepting cards that use the Russian Mir payment system, Moscow's alternative to Visa and Mastercard, after they suspended operations in the country over the war in Ukraine.

India, once a top purchaser of Russian oil, is reported to have stopped paying for Russian premium crude oil. Meanwhile, Russian oil firms are facing delays of up to several months to be paid for crude and fuel as banks in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) fear retaliation from the United States, Reuters reported on March 27.

These nations have maintained their ties with Russia throughout the war, and Moscow has increasingly turned to them to help the country sidestep existing sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

In December, President Joe Biden issued an executive order which allows the U.S. to directly sanction foreign banks facilitating significant transactions for Russia. Washington threatened to block such banks that conduct business with firms that support Russia's defense industry from its financial system.

"We expect financial institutions will undertake every effort to ensure that they are not witting or unwitting facilitators of circumvention and evasion," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at the time. "We will not hesitate to use the new tools provided by this authority to take decisive, and surgical, action against financial institutions that facilitate the supply of Russia's war machine."

Israel Unleashed?

Dalia Dassa Kaye

On April 1, Israel launched its latest attack on Iran in the two countries’ ongoing shadow war, with an airstrike that flattened a section of Iran’s embassy complex in Damascus and reportedly killed at least 12 people. Among the dead was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who headed Iran’s military operations in Syria and Lebanon, where he worked for decades and became a close interlocutor with Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah. The strike also killed Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, Zahedi’s deputy, and at least five other officers in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Israel crossed a new line with the strike on Iran’s diplomatic compound, which Iran and many other governments see as tantamount to striking Iranian territory itself. The decision to target high-level officials at that location may reflect the Israeli government’s belief that now is its moment to act against Iranian military targets, wherever they may be, with relative impunity. From Israel’s perspective, Iran is constrained enough that it will be unlikely to respond in ways that could lead to an uncontrollable outbreak of regional war. That is, Israel may view the Gaza war as expanding rather than constraining its room to maneuver against Iran and its allies. If that is the case, it’s possible that the Israelis are underestimating the unpredictability of the current regional climate. The attack may prove to be a miscalculation that leads to dangerous outcomes, not just for Israel but also for the entire region.


Ukraine staged major attack on Russia's Morozovsk military air base, Kyiv source says

KYIV, April 5 (Reuters) - Ukraine attacked Russia's Morozovsk military air base in the Rostov region, destroying six Russian warplanes in a joint operation conducted by the SBU security service and military, a Kyiv intelligence source told Reuters on Friday.

Reuters could not independently verify the claim. The source did not say how the attack was conducted but that eight more warplanes had also been damaged.

Russia's RIA news agency cited the Russian defence ministry earlier as saying Russian air defences had downed 53 Ukrainian drones overnight, most of them over the Rostov region.

The source said the Morozovsk air base was used by Russian tactical bombers like the Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-24M that Moscow's air force uses to fire guided bombs at the Ukrainian military and frontline towns and cities.

The source later clarified that the planes used at the base were Su-27 and Su-34 aircraft.

The source described the operation as an important one.

Ukraine has significantly stepped up its drone attacks on targets in Russia in recent weeks, focusing on oil refineries in an effort to reduce Russian oil revenue.

A senior government official told Reuters earlier this year that Ukraine hoped to produce thousands of long-range drones in 2024, part of a priority defence programme in its war with Russia.

Unable to rapidly produce long-range missiles and with limited access to those made by Western allies, Kyiv has focused on developing long-range uncrewed vehicles to strike back at Russia, which has used a sprawling arsenal of missiles and drones to bomb Ukraine.

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Israel braces for Tehran’s response after deadly Damascus strike

Kareem Fahim, Susannah George, Shane Harris and Suzan Haidamous

BEIRUT — Israel’s military was on high alert Thursday as the country braced for Iran’s promised revenge after an Israeli strike in Damascus this week killed senior Iranian commanders and stirred fears of widening war across a region on edge.

The strike — in broad daylight, on a diplomatic building adjacent to Iran’s embassy in Syria — was an escalation in Israel’s multi-front battles against Iranian-backed groups, which have intensified during its war in Gaza. The Israeli strike drew threats of retaliation from Tehran’s leaders and condemnation from their Arab neighbors. The European Union, which also condemned the strike, said in a statement that “further escalation in the region is in no one’s interest.”

“We will make them regret this crime and other similar ones with the help of God,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a statement Tuesday, the day after the attack.

For all of Iran’s muscular rhetoric, though, it would probably carefully calibrate any response, according to analysts, Western officials and people close to Iranian-backed militant groups. The country still hoped to avoid being goaded into a costly war, they said, while maintaining its ability to support proxy forces that have traded fire with Israel and attacked its main ally, the United States, throughout the Middle East.

The Iranians “believe the Israelis are intentionally dragging them into reacting, to spark a regional war or expand the current one,” said a person associated with Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party that is backed by Iran.

The Damascus strike was viewed as an attack on Iranian soil and, as a result, any retaliation would be likely to come from Iran itself, rather than its allies, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Russia Erodes North Korea Sanctions

Geopolitical Futures

How Ukraine Can Defeat Russia

Dennis Soltys

A member of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment fires a Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW)...Paratroopers have demonstrated the firepower that they could bring to bear during combat missions as the British Army’s global response force. ..As the culmination of a course in support weapons skills, paratroopers staged a firepower demonstration on Salisbury Plain. ..The Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) is the first, non-expert, short-range, anti-tank missile that rapidly knocks out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above...NLAW utilises predicted line of sight guidance and has overfly top and direct attack modes, and it is easy to use, making it a valuable tank destroyer for light forces that operate dismounted in all environments, including built up areas...It also has night vision capability and is designed for all climate conditions and environments..

The White House and collective West have been widely criticized for their unwillingness to devise a consistent strategy for helping Ukraine win its defensive war against Russia.

Illustrative of this prevarication, the Financial Times circulated a story (March 22) that the White House had asked the Ukrainian government to stop its drone strikes on Russian oil refineries, because this ostensibly would raise the price of fuel in the United States during Joe Biden’s presidential election campaign. But though the Russian production of diesel and gasoline has declined, compensatory exports of raw crude seem to be increasing.

If the White House had indeed called for a halt to Ukrainian drone attacks, this it would be tantamount to a cynical or very misguided attempt to trade Ukrainian blood for West-bound oil, even as Ukrainian civilians remain heavily exposed to Russian terror bombing. Kyiv itself denied that the request was made and stated that it would not accede to such a request in any case.

The truth is unclear, but the Times story (possibly Kremlin-inspired to create discord) indicates that the West remains lost for a strategy to defeat Russia.

Europe only has itself to blame for its economic decline


Europe’s economies remain in trouble as growth falters, budget deficits explode, and price levels remain stubbornly elevated. Unsurprisingly, these troubles have increased tendencies to find scapegoats for the continent’s decline. One argument is that it is a US-led conspiracy, with Washington planning to turn Europe into a vassal and deny Brussels its deserved position on the global stage. The sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — which may or may not have been executed by the United States — was a plan to destroy the German economy, and the war in Ukraine is a proxy war waged to weaken Europe and sow division between Russia and the EU.

Certainly, blaming others is always easier than admitting mistakes. While it is true that the US is profiting from becoming Europe’s main supplier of gas, the true question is why the old continent has to depend on anyone but its own constituent nations in the first place. The problem is not a US conspiracy against Europe, but instead the latter’s tendency to try and have its cake and eat it. Take, for example, European energy policy during the Cold War: while it was comfortable under American military protection, Western Europe relentlessly pursued pipeline projects with the Soviet Union — much to the chagrin of the US, which feared the “Soviet oil offensive”. To put it differently, current US LNG policy is just the mirror image of the Soviet oil and gas policy which Moscow pursued for decades.

The true gamechanger occurred towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, when the US underwent its shale revolution and Europe began to embark on its “energy transition” by focusing primarily on renewables. Nobody feared fracking more than Vladimir Putin, who called shale gas “barbaric” and who realised that Russia’s days as the continent’s main energy-provider would end if the Europeans obtained this new technology. Yet — luckily for him — instead of becoming energy-independent, almost all major European economies banned fracking outright.

The Army Has a Plan to Kill Drones: Frickin' Laser Beams And missiles and microwaves.


The U.S. Army revealed last month that, back in January, it had deployed laser weapons for the first time to a war zone: a platoon of three Directed Energy or DE-Stryker armored vehicles detached from the 4th Battalion of the 60th Air Defense Artillery Regiment to help defend bases in the Middle East against constant drone, rocket, and mortar attacks from various Iranian-backed militias.
Wikimedia Commons
Platoon of the first four delivered DE M-SHORAD vehicles delivered to the 60th Air Defense Artillery regiment. These were redeployed for operational testing in the Middle East.

This news dropped at the same time as newly released plans explained that the Army was re-allocating human resources away from its special ops units. The intention is to instead stand up a larger force of short-range air defense with the goal of protecting soldiers from attacking drones, mortar rounds and cruise missiles. The urgency for such defenses was reinforced after an Iranian-designed kamikaze drone killed three U.S. soldiers in Jordan on January 27.

Ukraine Maps Reveal Continued Russian Advances Near Bakhmut

David Brennan

Russian forces are still creeping forward at reportedly high cost in eastern Ukraine, as political and military leaders in Kyiv warn their Western partners that the risk of battlefield defeat remains.

The Institute for the Study of War's latest update noted recent success for Moscow's forces around Bakhmut. This is the destroyed city emblematic of Russia's plodding and bloody war of attrition in the eastern Donetsk Oblast.

"Russian forces recently also advanced northeast and west of Bakhmut amid continued positional fighting in the area," the ISW wrote. Geolocated combat footage, the think tank added, indicates Russian gains around the settlement of Vesele to the northeast of Bakhmut, close to Berestove to the northeast of Bakhmut. It shows that troops "seized a large portion of southern Ivanivske" to Bakhmut's west.

Fighting has been constant around the devastated city since the summer of 2022. It became the focus of Russia's grinding eastern offensive later that year, eventually falling to Moscow's forces—led by Wagner Group mercenaries augmented by fighters recruited from Russian jails—in May 2023.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry by email to request comment.

Innovation Lightbulb: Foreign-born Share of the U.S. STEM Workforce

Julia Yoon

In 2022, the United States Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, which aimed to increase national semiconductor manufacturing capacity and innovation. Amid concerns over the U.S.’s dwindling share of global chip-making, policymakers and industry leaders were confronted with another challenge: a shortage of skilled technical workers, scientists, and engineers. Despite efforts to ramp up U.S. STEM education capacity, including efforts to broaden the workforce pipeline by drawing in demographics historically underrepresented in these fields, the U.S. remains highly reliant on foreign-born individuals for its high-tech workforce needs, particularly in the short term.

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s 2024 Indicators Report on the state of U.S. science and engineering (S&E), foreign-born workers comprise approximately 19 percent of the overall U.S. STEM workforce in 2021, inclusive of citizens and non-citizens. However, among the U.S.’s most highly educated STEM workforce cohort, foreign-born representation is dramatically higher, with nearly 60 percent of doctorate-level computer and mathematical scientists (58 percent) and doctorate-level engineers employed across all S&E fields (56 percent) in the U.S. are foreign-born.

The NSF report further states that, upstream from the workforce, international students who hold temporary visa status are more likely to pursue degrees in S&E compared to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. A staggering 83 percent of all doctorate degrees earned by temporary visa holders were in S&E fields, with many recipients reporting a strong desire to remain and work in the U.S. after graduation. The “stay rate” for temporary visa holders with doctorate S&E degrees is approximately 71 percent after five years and 65 percent after ten years, with the highest rates in fields crucial for national security and economic competitiveness like engineering.

20th Century Ideology, Modern Mixed Economies – Analysis

John C. Goodman

All political regimes need an ideology. This is a set of principles or beliefs that explain what the government is doing and why it is doing it. Ideally, the ideology justifies the government’s role in terms of some ethical principles that are commonly accepted by the governed – even if the government is not acting in accordance with those principles and even if it is blatantly violating them.

In general, the more compelling the ideology, the more successful the state will be in carrying out its objectives. In the twentieth century, the most successful ideology-based regimes emerged in Russia, China and Germany.

The idea of taking from each according to his ability and giving to each according to his needs is a powerful idea. It loosely describes the ethos that governed the communal existence of our ancestors – living in small tribes, say, 50,000 years ago. As a practical matter, however, neither the Chinese communists nor the Russian communists ever redistributed significant resources from the able to the needy. If anything, they did the reverse. The leaders lived a life of luxury while the peasants struggled to survive. That practice was continued in subsequent communist regimes – in Cuba and North Korea, for example.

National socialism in Germany was based on the idea that individuals have a duty to sacrifice for the good of the whole. This is another idea that would have been common among our primitive ancestors.

The reason I mention our distant ancestors is because the way they thought may have been passed down to the modern era by means other than culture alone. It may, to a certain extent, be part of our genetic inheritance.

The communist moral imperative was a very effective way to explain why people shouldn’t be allowed to selfishly pursue their own happiness. The fascist moral imperative had the same end. And as I show below, a similar function was served by 20th century liberalism in the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Clutches At Straws – Analysis

James M. Dorsey

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clutches at straws as he seeks to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza while attempting to create building blocks for a compliant post-war Palestinian administration of the Strip.

Mr. Netanyahu’s problem is that Gazan clans hostile to Hamas, Arab states, and even private military and security companies have rebuffed his requests for assistance.

Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war, its rejection of a post-war resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its refusal to adhere to international law, and its lack of empathy for the plight of innocent Palestinian civilians compound the prime minister’s problem.

To be fair, Hamas is no less cynical about innocent Palestinians bearing the brunt of the Gaza war.

Similarly, Western nations and Gulf states have allowed political concerns to override humanitarian needs in their reluctance to fund the controversial United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the foremost humanitarian organisation in Gaza, following Israeli allegations that 12 of UNWRA’s 13,000 employees in the Strip participated in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

“If the Gulf states choose not to follow through with pledges of additional support, then UNRWA’s continued ability to operate may be at risk. The Gulf states would be unlikely to shoulder the financial burden of humanitarian and economic aid for Gaza so long as their own geostrategic interests are not clearly served in the process,” said Middle East scholars Hasan AlHasan and Laith Alajlouni.

Samsung Doubles Down on Texas as U.S. Chip Center

Jiyoung Sohn, Asa Fitch

Samsung 005930 -0.94%decrease; red down pointing triangle Electronics plans to more than double its total semiconductor investment in Texas to roughly $44 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, a significant breakthrough in the U.S.’s quest to make more of the world’s cutting-edge chips.

The South Korean company’s new spending will be concentrated in Taylor, Texas, located just outside of Austin, where Samsung is building a semiconductor hub and has other nearby existing operations, the people said. The additions include a new chip-making factory, and a facility for advanced packaging and research and development.

Samsung is one of just three firms, along with
Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, capable of producing advanced logic semiconductors vital to artificial intelligence and national defense. These companies sit at the heart of the Biden administration’s push to strengthen the U.S.’s chip-making capabilities, as Washington simultaneously seeks to undercut Beijing’s tech advances.

To help finance the broader Texas expansion, Samsung is expected to receive billions of dollars in subsidies from the U.S. Chips Act, the people said. Talks with the Commerce Department remain ongoing, though Samsung is expected to receive one of the largest payouts given to a single company.

An event to announce Samsung’s broadened investments is expected to be held on April 15 in Taylor, according to the people familiar with the matter. Samsung declined to comment. The Commerce Department declined to comment, saying that it is unable to discuss any specific company projects.

Samsung’s additional investments add to the $17 billion that the company had previously committed more than two years ago to Taylor for a cutting-edge chip-making plant.

How two brigades are leading the Army’s charge toward cutting-edge tech


As the Army chief of staff pushes to put more experimental tech into the hands of average soldiers, two brigades at opposite ends of the globe are already pressing forward on everything from commercial drones to translation apps.

One—the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or IBCT, of the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division—is putting commercial drones at the core of every operation, a program that got a boost in the Army’s recent budget submission.

The other—the Europe-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment—is experimenting with cutting-edge software and other tech, including virtual reality, that increases units’ ability to survive on a modern battlefield.

The 2nd Cav’s work has even become a template for the broader transformation that Gen. Randy George wants to see in the Army.

The regimental commander “understands the challenges of large-scale combat operations and is adapting in real time to be more mobile, low-signature, and lethal,” the chief of staff said in his October AUSA address.

Out in Hawaii, 2nd IBCT commander Col. Graham White has been seeding drones across his unit for the last year.

The division is “really baking [small drones] into our culture,” White said. “For all maneuver training we do in the 25th Infantry Division,” White said, “that all now includes [small drone] employment.”

He said soldiers from logistics to infantry are trained on the use of commercial drones by the brigade’s helicopter pilots in a two-day course. They get additional practice flying the drones on the units’ ranges. Finding the area to fly drones without violating airspace regulations has been a challenge for Army units.

How to fix the military’s software SNAFU


The only institution more mired in acronyms than the U.S. military is, in my experience, the software industry. The former’s thorough embrace of the latter is reflected, for example, in this recent piece by serious commentators that includes a four-page glossary. To be sure, software’s ability to supercharge military operations make this alphabet soup palatable—but it also conceals a dangerous security SNAFU.

If software is to be more of a benefit than a liability, its inevitable flaws must be spotted and fixed before they can be exploited by China, Russia, and other adversaries. Unfortunately, in an analysis I conducted of popular open source software made available by the Pentagon for its units and contractors to use, there is strong evidence that the U.S. military is shipping software that is insecure and contains many known software vulnerabilities—CVEs, in software-speak.

Fortunately, the U.S. military, elected leaders, and the public don’t need to accept this situation as normal. There are technical and organizational solutions that would allow the military to embrace software safely. Creating safe and toil-free software requires, at a minimum, rethinking the links in the military’s software supply chain and preferring software that is rapidly updated. It also requires reconsidering the idea that there should be a single, free military-run repository of safe software. The software industry loves the idea of a “single source of truth,” but this totalitarian thinking, which military bureaucracies sometimes prefer too, is a recipe for disaster in the fast-moving world of software.

An unacknowledged underbelly

The military, like corporate America, has embraced digital transformation enthusiastically. There are now dozens of military “software factories.” Military contractors want to be “software primes.” The Atlantic Council has even recently created the Commission on Software-Defined Warfare.