19 April 2024

What Would Modi’s Third Term Mean for India-China Relations? - OPINION

Scott N. Romaniuk & Animesh Roul

India will hold its 18th general election on April 18, 2024, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are poised to win a third term. Similar to his first and second terms, a significant amount of historical and contemporary political and economic baggage will burden Modi’s third term and his relations with China. While his anticipated election victory would likely result in the continuation of complex India-China issues and tensions from his previous years as prime minister, Modi appears to have a stable but delicate relationship with China to manage.

Competing perspectives of Modi

The vast majority of Chinese internet users have a positive view of India’s leader, calling him ‘Immortal Modi’ or ‘Modi Laoxian’ (‘不朽的莫迪’). Based on data from the popular microblogging platform Weibo (China’s version of Twitter), which has more than 598 million active monthly users, many Chinese people also think that Modi is crucial to preserving the balance of power in the world.

Competing perspectives of Western-style liberal democracy and China’s political model commonly, though unfairly and inaccurately, portray the former as the stable foundation of a well-functioning society, whereas the latter, marked by ardent nationalism and a supreme leader, is viewed as volatile. Weibo users’ comments shed light on their perceptions of democracy as a fundamentally unstable political system beset by internal conflicts, corruption, and misrepresentation. Indeed, they frequently dismiss the concept of democracy as a whole process. Many Chinese people believe that larger nations, even ones that claim to be democratic, tend to adopt authoritarian characteristics.

Supply Chain and Market Scale: India as the Next China?

Manoj Kewalramani


Through much of 2023, “Peak China” was among the buzzwords hotly debated within China. A January 2024 report by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies estimated that from August to December 2023, more than 160 articles had been published in prominent Western media outlets discussing China’s economic woes.1 The report characterized this as an “absurd narrative” (荒谬的叙事). Despite that, the discourse around China’s economic challenges and the search for alternative investment destinations has grown. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into China totaled $33 billion on a net basis in 2023, falling 82% from 2022, the lowest since 1993.2 This shift has evidently resonated at the highest levels of the Chinese leadership. Trying to counter growing worries, President Xi Jinping argued during a speech at the APEC CEO Summit in November 2023 that China remained the “best investment destination”, adding that “the ‘next China’ is still China”.3 Within this framework, Chinese narrative strategy has entailed emphasizing the country’s strengths while highlighting the weaknesses of its potential competitors, starting with India.

Why it’s China’s turn now


In the second half of the 20th century, scholars and macrohistorians like Alvin Toffler, Francis Fukuyama and Paul Kennedy developed so-called grand narratives to predict future trends. They covered different aspects of society including ideology, technology, religion and culture.

The macrohistorians used these models to predict major historical changes in economics, power relations and geopolitics. Curiously, none of them predicted that China would emerge as a challenger to US global preeminence.

In the late 20th century, grand narratives fell out of favor. Postmodernists argued that grand or meta-theories overlooked differences between civilizations. By not acknowledging different cultural perspectives, microhistories tended to articulate a Eurocentric view of the world.

The emergence of China as a global power is less surprising when seen in a historical context. For much of recorded history, including the colonial period, China was the world’s largest economy, rivaled only by India. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the US took the top spot.

Three takeaways from China’s upbeat Q1 growth


China’s first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed market expectations, indicating a promising start to the year for the world’s second-largest economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics said, “Generally speaking, the national economy got off to a good start in the first quarter . . . laying a good foundation for . . . the whole year.”

After jumping into the figures, I see three main takeaways from the announcement.

1.) Mixed signals persist

The 5.3% increase in GDP outperformed expectations, with analysts initially forecasting a growth rate of 4.6%.

This positive surprise suggests that China’s efforts to create a manufacturing-led economic revival are gaining traction.

However, amid the headline-grabbing growth figure, concerns linger over other economic sectors, particularly retail and property.

These sectors appear relatively weak, raising questions about the sustainability and inclusivity of China’s economic growth.

The Fates of Nations

Michael J. Mazarr, Alexis Dale-Huang, John Deak, Gregory Weider Fauerbach, Stacie Goddard, Timothy R. Heath, Joshua Shifrinson

The United States, according to official U.S. national security statements and an avalanche of commentary since about 2016, is engaged in a long-term strategic rivalry with China and a lesser — but still critical — rivalry for influence with Russia. Many U.S. strategy documents refer to the concept of strategic competition, but the core idea — and increasingly the reality — of these relationships matches the classic historical concept of a great power rivalry. These rivalries, especially with China, promise to define U.S. foreign policy and national security challenges for decades. Yet most assessments of these rivalries tend to ignore the critical question of outcomes.

This report is part of a larger project on the societal sources of national dynamism and competitive advantage. This research aims to identify historical modes of strategic success and failure in great power rivalries that offer lessons for the United States. The authors define categories of success and failure (in terms of such variables as control over territory, relative power, victory or defeat in war, international legitimacy, and social stability) and present detailed case studies on specific historical examples that are associated with success and failure. They also discuss the implications of the typologies of both kinds of outcomes for the rivalry with China.

Proxy battles: Iraq, Iran, and the turmoil in the Middle East

Hamzeh Hadad

  • The war in Gaza has deepened the Middle East’s fault lines. Iran and its proxies and the US and Israel have engaged in a cycle of tit-for-tat attacks across the region, with the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria and Iran’s direct retaliation against Israel threatening to escalate into a regional war.
  • Iraqi paramilitaries operating as part of Iran’s ‘axis of resistance’ have also attacked US forces in Iraq, who responded with reprisals of their own. This, and the increasing risk of a wider war, imperils the relative stability Iraq has enjoyed over the past few years and the country’s fledgling role as a regional mediator.
  • Iran’s influence in Iraq increased following the US invasion of 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein – but their relationship is far from being a simple agent-proxy arrangement. Iran’s strongest influence is through its paramilitaries’ presence in Iraq’s security apparatus, but Iraq has also exhibited some political independence from its neighbour and maintains financial leverage over Iran.
  • Europeans can help increase Iraq’s autonomy. In the economic sector, they should strengthen its financial institutions through global integration and digitisation. European countries can also work alongside Gulf states to broaden their ties with Iraq, including in foreign investment and a shift from a development or humanitarian aid framework towards normal bilateral ties.
  • However, for any European policy to be successful in Iraq, it must be designed within a broader framework of ending the war in Gaza and resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – without which the dangerous escalation across the Middle East may continue.

Since Hamas’s attacks sparked the war in Gaza on 7 October 2023, a dangerous cycle of escalation has played out across the Middle East. Iran and its proxies – such as the Houthis in Yemen, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and Iraqi paramilitaries operating as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq – have exchanged attacks with Israel and the US military presence across the region. This threatens to erupt into a wider war, particularly since Iran’s unprecedented direct attack against Israel on 13 April 2024 in response to Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria on 1 April.

The Guardian view on Iran and Israel: they need to step back from the brink of open warfare

It is troubling that what started with Israel’s attack on Iran’s consular building in Syria on 1 April may not end with Tehran’s Operation True Promise. The bombing in Damascus, which killed at least two top Iranian generals, resulted in the first-ever direct strikes launched against Israel from Iranian territory. For the Islamic regime, unpopular at home, crossing the Rubicon would have been very hard, if not impossible, to avoid. As British foreign secretary, David Cameron, admitted, the UK would “take very strong action” if a hostile power had flattened one of its consulates.

This is a defining moment in the Middle East. The world does not know what’s been unleashed here. But it is unlikely to be anything good. That is why it is right for world leaders to urge Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to show restraint. The wise choice for Mr Netanyahu would be, in US president Joe Biden’s words, to “take the win” of having seen off the strikes and not respond militarily. Israel’s prime minister could then turn his attention to the on-and-off talks with Hamas to free Israeli hostages and seek an end to the fighting in Gaza. Trading military restraint for international support might appeal to Mr Netanyahu’s opportunism.

Despite Iran sending over 300 drones and missiles from its soil, Israel survived the deadly assault – mercifully – with barely a scratch. This was largely because of Iran’s defective missiles, its ample warning, Israel’s effective missile shield and the help provided by an international military coalition, led by the US, Britain, France and several Arab states. The operation exposed Israel’s dependency on partners Mr Netanyahu has done his best to snub in recent months.

America Fueled the Fire in the Middle East

Stephen M. Walt

Iran’s decision to retaliate against an Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus, Syria, by launching drone and missile strikes reveals just how badly the Biden administration has mishandled the Middle East. Having convinced itself on the eve of Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023, attack against Israel that the region was “quieter than it has been for decades,” U.S. officials have since responded in ways that made a bad situation worse. The most one can say in their defense is that they have plenty of company; the Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations mostly made a hash of things, too.

IDF Northern Command conducts intense cyber and combat drill as Iran confrontation looms


The IDF on Tuesday announced a drill testing the interface between its cyber and technology units and its Northern Command operational units.

The announcement of the drill comes as Israel considers potentially imminent attack options against Iran following the Islamic Republic's attack of around 350 aerial threats on Israel on April 14.

Part of Israel's response could be in the cyber domain, and it is quite possible that an attack by the Jewish state will lead to a further counterstrike by Tehran and its senior proxy, Hezbollah.

The IDF Northern Command has responsibility for handling threats from Hezbollah and was in Iran's crosshairs on April 14.

Drill combined combat and cyber units to simulate response

As part of the drill, both combat and cyber and technology forces deployed throughout the North, on every separate front, to simulate readiness for an all-out hybrid digital and kinetic war.

Cyber Operations Intensify in Middle East, With Israel the Main Target

Robert Lemos

As tensions in the Middle East continue to escalate, cyberattacks and operations have become a standard part of the fabric of the geopolitical conflict.

Last week, the head of Israel's National Cyber Directorate blamed Iran and Hezbollah for "around the clock" cyberattacks against the country's networks, government agencies, and businesses, tripling in intensity as Israel's military operations continued against Hamas in Gaza. Following Quds Day — Iran's commemoration of its pro-Palestinian Jerusalem Day on April 5 — dozens of denial-of-service attacks disrupted Israeli targets, according to data from cybersecurity firm Radware.

While the volume of cyberattacks are running at a lower level so far this year, renewed tensions between Israel, Iran, and Lebanon could easily lead to more cyber activity, says Pascal Geenens, director of threat research for Tel Aviv-based Radware, a maker of cloud security solutions.

"There are two planes that we need to consider here," Geenens says. "One is more nation-state aligned, meaning purposely doing attacks against another nation, while the other is all the hacktivist activity — they just want to share their message [and] show that they're not happy with the situation."

Overall, Israel should be ready for more destructive cyberattacks, as Iran and other regional cyber groups have shown little restraint in such attacks, Google conclude in its "Tool of First Resort: Israel-Hamas War in Cyber" report, published in February. As Iran and Hezbollah appear ready to use destructive cyberattacks against both Israel and the United States, Israeli-linked groups likely will continue to target Iran, and hacktivists will likely target any organization they deem associated with their perceived enemies, the report stated.

Amid Escalating Iran-Israel Conflict, Understanding the Hybrid Nature of Cyber Threats

Cyber Threats and Iran-Israel Tensions

On April 13, Iran launched an unprecedented barrage of aerial munitions at Israel in a claimed retaliation for the April 1 attack on the Iranian Consulate in Syria that killed IRGC Brigadier General Mohammed Reza Zahedi and 11 others.

In the hours leading up to the barrage, a global audience took to Telegram and other social media platforms to share relevant information. However, cyber threat actors also utilized the increased international media attention to elevate their notoriety. As the global reporting environment continues to adapt to the mass sharing of live events through social media platforms, cyber threat groups have solidified utilizing brazen claims during periods of unrest as a means of gaining notoriety, regardless of the validity of their claims.

These tactics demonstrate our continually evolving understanding of the role and impact of cyber warfare during times of military conflict, including:
  • The importance of threat intelligence that spans—and provides insights across—cyber and physical realmsThe need for a deep and contextual understanding of all cyber groups involved, including the targets they seek to exploit, their motivations, their affiliations, and their TTPs.The impact of cyber attacks (and claims, for that matter) across varying degrees of severity and sophistication—from impacting critical infrastructure to website defacements
Below, we explore these elements through the lens of three specific cyber threat groups of note involved in the recent escalation of tensions between Israel and Iran.

Tempting Fate: The Implications of Iran’s Attack on Israel

Afshon Ostovar & Aaron Stein

On Saturday, April 13, the Islamic Republic of Iran launched an unprecedented aerial attack on Israel. The Israeli military and its allies and partners were successful in defending against the attack. FPRI Senior Fellow Afshon Ostovar and Aaron Stein, President of FPRI, discuss the attack and its implications below.
Tempting Fate

Afshon Ostovar, Senior Fellow

The Iranian-Israeli feud has steadily escalated over the last decade and Iran’s missile attack on Israel over the weekend marks a dangerous new phase. The shadow war, as the Iranian-Israeli conflict is often called, has been typified by a tempo of tit-for-tat attacks playing out across a wide geography. Israel has focused its efforts on disrupting Iranian weapons proliferation to militant groups in Syria and Lebanon and on sabotaging strategic facilities linked to Iran’s nuclear and defense industries. Israel has also been reportedly responsible for the assassinations of high-level military officials in Iran. The Iranian government has responded to those attacks mostly indirectly, primarily through its loyal proxies in Iraq and Syria. Yet, up until the airstrikes this past weekend, Iran has avoided attacking Israeli territory overtly or directly. Iran’s latest military action thus changes the game.

Outwardly, Iran’s leaders will view the attack as a success: They proved that Iran, when provoked, has the courage to fight its own battles. Iran’s weapons are sophisticated, accurate, and when launched en masse can penetrate Israel’s vaunted defenses. Those aspects alone will give Iran’s regime something to celebrate. But once the elation has passed, I believe Iran’s leaders will also realize that even if some of their weapons struck their intended targets, ninety-nine percent did not. Some of that might be due to the advanced notice that Iran reportedly gave neutral parties about their intentions—information that undoubtedly made its way to American and Israeli officials. Even so, Israel’s defenses proved effective, and perhaps more significant was the support provided to Israel by the United States, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. More than anything, the participation of those Arab states in support of Israel exposed Iran’s failure to galvanize the region to its side. Iran’s military may be strong but its diplomacy continues to falter—a weak position from which to tempt war.

Europe’s Decade of Failure in Ukraine

Aliide Naylor

The leaders who oversaw the bloc’s timid response to Vladimir Putin’s seizure of his neighbor’s territory in 2014 have been speaking about their reasons for standing back. It provides a clear warning to EU capitals not to repeat the same mistakes.

When Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, “little green men,” unbadged Russian soldiers, entered the East of the country to foment a faux-organic uprising against the government in Kyiv. In February and March of that same year, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

By August, Russian soldiers’ mothers were asking where their sons had disappeared to, amid reports that troops had been buried in unmarked graves to hide their role in the conflict.

The message from the European Union (EU) was “not to use arms” in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the former Latvian ambassador to Ukraine Argita Daudze recalled at a symposium hosted by the Cambridge University Centre for Geopolitics in April. Ukraine was discouraged from fully defending itself against an aggressive Russia in 2014, she said.

Meanwhile, in the eyes of Ukrainians, the world’s reaction was woefully inadequate. “The response internationally was pretty muted, Kyiv felt alone,” said Catherine Ashton, the EU high representative for foreign affairs between 2009 and 2014.

One of the major issues in terms of the bloc’s response was the fact that the EU isn’t a military power. It has no army and relies on the protection of NATO and its constituent nations’ nuclear capabilities.

Reducing the risks of war between the major powers


President Biden is right to urge Tel Aviv not to retaliate against drone and missile attacks that struck Israel on April 14 ― attacks that were made in retaliation for the April 1 Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate building, in Damascus, Syria, that killed senior Iranian military commanders. Tit for tat measures will only escalate the conflict throughout the region as Teheran continues to support its “Axis of Resistance”of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Houthis, while likewise threatening to develop nuclear weaponry.

On a global strategic level, Iran’s attack reveals its burgeoning military capabilities — plus its confidence that it is increasingly backed by a new Eurasian Axis of Russia China, and North Korea — after Russia and China announced their “no limits partnership” just before President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

To “stand up against this stronger alliance of authoritarian powers,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged NATO to work with other countries beyond its mandated geography, such as Japan and South Korea, given mutual Iran-North Korea-Russian-Chinese military assistance. While strengthening their ties to Iran, both Moscow and Beijing have consequently denounced NATO enlargement and stronger U.S.-NATO defense ties to Japan and South Korea — plus the new U.S.-UK-Australian (AUKUS) defense pact — as new forms of “encirclement.”

The present danger is this: The longer the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas-Iran wars persist, the more the global system will polarize between states that are pro-U.S. and those that are pro-Russia and pro-China. And as these two alliances widen, so too will new/old conflicts explode into other regions — whether against U.S. global interests or against the interests of Russia and China. Much as the Israel-Hamas war has now brought Iran more directly into the fray, a number of ongoing conflicts, plus that between China and Taiwan, could soon bring the US, NATO, Russia and China into direct confrontation.

The Iranian-Israeli Cold War is Turning Hot

Ilan Berman

Any serious observer of the Middle East knows that, long before Hamas’ October 7 terror campaign and the resulting military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Israel was already embroiled in an undeclared war with another regional actor: the Islamic Republic of Iran. Jerusalem and Tehran have been waging a clandestine conflict throughout the region for decades. Over the years, that “shadow war” has entailed a great many things, from covert action to cyberattacks to targeted military strikes. But until now, it has been waged indirectly and largely away from the international spotlight.

All that changed on April 13, when the Iranian regime launched a direct attack on the Jewish state from its soil for the first time. The massive offensive, involving 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles, was ostensibly a response to an Israeli airstrike on Damascus days earlier that killed a high-ranking Iranian general. But it also marked a major evolution in Iranian strategy—one with significant ramifications for the Middle East as a whole.

Historically, the Islamic Republic has shied away from direct confrontation, preferring instead to rely on regional proxies (like Hamas, Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia, and more recently, Yemen’s Houthi rebels) to advance its radical, anti-Western agenda. By doing so, Iran has managed to besiege Israel strategically while maintaining plausible deniability. That makes this weekend’s direct offensive nothing short of a seismic strategic shift.

Iran’s new boldness can be attributed to a number of factors. One is the timid and risk-averse approach to the Middle East adopted by the Biden administration, which has given Iran’s ayatollahs a far freer hand in the region. Relevant, too, has been the very public tensions between Jerusalem and Washington over Israel’s recent conduct in Gaza, leading many to conclude that the long-standing “special relationship” between the two countries might be in trouble. These and other factors appear to have convinced Tehran that the time was ripe for a change to the regional status quo.

The Strategic Implications of the Iranian Attack on Israel


The Iranian attack on Israel was historic. For the first time since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Ayatollah regime violated Israeli sovereignty directly without using any of its proxies, such as Hezbollah or Hamas. Iran, in this sense, has created a new equation for its conflict with Israel. Likewise, the ability to counter hundreds of Iranian missiles and drones was also unprecedented, as it resulted from an American-led coalition—which included the U.K., France, Jordan, and other countries—that originated in the Abraham Accords and continued with multiple defense regional agreements. This pivotal moment bore strategic implications that exceeded the sole interest of Israel. Here are the top five.

First, the response to the Iranian attack on Israel could affect geopolitical relations as we know them.

The Iranian attack on Israel was not only a local or regional event but a multinational one. In an era of a global war where the U.S. is on one side and Russia and China are on the other, the Israeli response will reflect the U.S.’s credibility as the leader of the Western world. In other words, it will define Western assurances regarding any country deeming itself part of the free world.

Indeed, President Biden warned Iran from attacking Israel by declaring yet another important “Don’t.” Well, they did. And now the world is watching. An aggressive response may lead to anarchy and force other players in the arena. A soft—or lack of—response could teach Iran and its allies that acts of aggression could occur without consequences. A restrained reaction to such a violent act of aggression in a world in which Russia had already invaded Ukraine may be one step too far. The secret here, hence, will be to find the right balance for deterring potential chaos agents such as Iran, yet not to accelerate the already sensitive reality.

Secondly, Iran endangered its two most significant investments—the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the nuclear program.

How Israel could strike back against Iran: Experts outline high-risk options

Robert Tollast & Thomas Helm

Israeli retaliation against Iran after Saturday's drone and missile attack could take many forms despite the country's reliance on air power, analysts have told The National.

Israel has given little indication of the approach it plans to take in the days ahead. Early on Sunday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said “the campaign hasn't ended”.

The range of options Israel might explore is due to political and technical constraints that could shape the operation.

On the technical side, the Israeli air force would be challenged by a major long-range attack against Iran – a complex operation involving aerial refuelling for most of the aircraft involved, and long flying hours placing strain on crews. Once over Iran, they would face dense air defence systems, while military and nuclear facilities have been built underground.

An underground drone base in Iran. 

That is despite extensive planning, including a large exercise in 2022 that the Israeli air force said focused on “long-range flight, aerial refuelling and striking distant targets”.

Some available routes for hitting targets in Iran are about 2,000km one way, giving Israeli jets such as the F-15 little time to carry out missions before having to return to base, even with additional external fuel tanks.

How Israel Defended Against Iran's Drone and Missile Attack


On Saturday, Iran launched more than 300 drones and cruise missiles at Israel, a response to a strike earlier this month against Iran's embassy in Syria. As they made their way to their target, Israel invoked a number of defense systems to impede their progress. That starts with the Iron Dome.

The Iron Dome, operational for well over a decade, comprises at least 10 missile-defense batteries strategically distributed around the country. When radar detects incoming objects, it sends that information back to a command-and-control center, which will track the threat to assess whether it’s a false alarm, and where it might hit if it’s not. The system then fires interceptor missiles at the incoming rockets that seem most likely to hit an inhabited area.

“All of that process was designed for defense against low-flying, fast-moving missiles,” says Iain Boyd, director of the Center for National Security Initiatives at the University of Colorado. Which also makes it well prepared for an onslaught of drones. “A drone is going to be flying probably slower than these rockets,” Boyd says, “so in some ways it’s an easier threat to address.”

Things get more complicated if the drones are flying so low that the radar can’t detect them. The biggest challenge to the Iron Dome, though, is sheer quantity. Israel has hundreds of interceptor missiles at its disposal, but it’s still possible for the Iron Dome to get overwhelmed, as it did on October 7 when Hamas attacked Israel with a barrage of thousands of missiles.

Israel officials say that the Iron Dome and other systems successfully defended against 99 percent of the Iranian drones and missiles, although a 10-year-old boy was reportedly injured by shrapnel from an interceptor.

Why Russia Doesn't Want War Between Israel and Iran

Michelle Grisé

An Israeli airstrike on an Iranian embassy in Syria last week killed three IRGC-QF generals and four other Iranian military officers. Iran is expected to retaliate in the coming days or weeks. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vowed that Israel will “be punished” and “regret this crime,” while President Ebrahim Raisi said that the attack would “not go unanswered.” Fears are high that this could trigger an escalation of the Israel-Hamas war into a broader regional conflict and potentially even a direct confrontation between Iran and Israel. Although it has been argued that Moscow benefits from chaos in the Middle East—diverting Western attention and resources from Ukraine—it stands to lose a great deal if the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates into a wider war.

Russia has spent the last decade shoring up its influence in the region, often by taking advantage of localized conflicts. This was most evident in Libya, where Russia exploited the country's civil war to establish a foothold, and in Syria, where Russian intervention saved the Assad regime from imminent demise in 2015. Russia then expanded its footprint in Syria, establishing a permanent presence at military bases in Tartus and Khmeimim. After the U.S. withdrawal from Syria in 2019, Russia stepped into the void, helping Syrian government forces regain control of the northeast of the country. The same year, Russia held joint naval exercises with Egypt; the construction of a Russian-built nuclear plant in Egypt earlier this year demonstrated the continued growth of ties between the two countries.

Netanyahu Wants War With Iran. Biden Can Prevent It.

Trita Parsi

The Iranian missiles and drones had not even approached Israeli airspace when Tehran declared the matter concluded. Iran’s retaliation for Israel’s April 1 bombing of an Iranian consular building in Damascus was choreographed to be heavy on symbolism and light on destruction. The point was not revenge but the restoration of Iranian deterrence and evasion of a broader war. But the choreography suffered from one major flaw: A broader war with Iran is exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking for more than two decades.

3 Ways Israel Could Respond to Iran

Jack Detsch

Even though Israel and its partners say they downed more than 99 percent of the hundreds of drones and missiles that Iran fired at it over the weekend in a major moment of escalation in the Middle East, Israeli leaders say they have no choice but to respond.

Why Israel-Iran War Is a Lifeline for Netanyahu

Mairav Zonszein

Just days ago, much of the world’s attention was on the impending famine in Gaza, and on Israel’s failure to achieve its war objectives of toppling Hamas and returning hostages more than six months into the war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was under pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden to allow in sufficient humanitarian aid and reach a cease-fire, as well as appeals from Israeli protesters to seal a hostage deal and hold new elections.

How Israel Can Respond to Iran Without Escalating the War


Here’s an idea for how Israel could respond to Iran’s massive missile-and-drone strike without angering its Western and Arab allies or widening the war: Start preparing and slowly roll out a series of carefully disguised cyberattacks that devastate Iran’s military-industrial complex.

Remember Stuxnet? That was the joint U.S.–Israeli cyberwar operation that hacked into the Iranians’ nuclear infrastructure, sabotaging their ability to enrich uranium and thus build an atom bomb.

Not long after, the Obama administration devised a much more massive program, called Nitro Zeus, which, if enacted, would have shut down Iran’s air defenses, communications, and much of its power grid. The idea was to unleash Nitro Zeus if Iran developed nuclear weapons or attacked the U.S. or its allies. The operation was seen as a way to assure Israelis that we had the ability to defang their main foe without launching a risky attack.

Stuxnet was ended in 2010, after the virus was detected. Nitro Zeus was shelved in 2015, after the U.S. and five other nations signed the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement that appeared to render the plan unnecessary. Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear accord, which has since collapsed entirely. Now Tehran’s rulers have taken the brazen step of attacking Israel not through proxies but—for the first time ever—directly from Iranian territory.

It’s time to take Nitro Zeus out of storage and start putting some of its tricks online.

Fake Footage of Iran’s Attack on Israel Is Going Viral


IN THE HOURS after Iran announced its drone and missile attack on Israel on April 13, fake and misleading posts went viral almost immediately on X. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a nonprofit think tank, found a number of posts that claimed to reveal the strikes and their impact, but that instead used AI-generated videos, photos, and repurposed footage from other conflicts which showed rockets launching into the night, explosions, and even President Joe Biden in military fatigues.

Just 34 of these misleading posts received more than 37 million views, according to ISD. Many of the accounts posting the misinformation were also verified, meaning they have paid X $8 per month for the “blue tick” and that their content is amplified by the platform’s algorithm. ISD also found that several of the accounts claimed to be open source intelligence (OSINT) experts, which has, in recent years, become another way of lending legitimacy to their posts.

One X post claimed that “WW3 has officially started,” and included a video seeming to show rockets being shot into the night—except the video was actually from a YouTube video posted in 2021. Another post claimed to show the use of the Iron Dome, Israel's missile defense system, during the attack, but the video was actually from October 2023. Both these posts garnered hundreds of thousands of views in the hours after the strike was announced, and both originated from verified accounts. Iranian media also shared a video of the wildfires in Chile earlier this year, claiming it showed the aftermath of the attacks. This, too, began to circulate on X.

“The fact that so much mis- and disinformation is being spread by accounts looking for clout or financial benefit is giving cover to even more nefarious actors, including Iranian state media outlets who are passing off footage from the Chilean wildfires as damage from Iranian strikes on Israel to claim the operation as a military success,” says Isabelle Frances-Wright, director of technology and society at ISD. “The corrosion of the information landscape is undermining the ability of audiences to distinguish truth from falsehood on a terrible scale.”

Quantum Computing—The Future Is Here

Yehoshua Kalisky

Quantum theory developed 120 years ago and crystallized as a consistent, precise and experimentally-confirmed theory in the 1920s and 1930s. A quantum computer applies the properties of phenomena that occur in matter on the atomic or subatomic level, meaning in extremely small dimensions. At this level, the measured properties of matter are completely different from those measured in our familiar macroscopic physical world, so it is difficult to conceive of them using human intuition that is accustomed to the environment of a tangible environment in three dimensions. The strange properties of quantum systems have troubled many scientists, including founding fathers such as Albert Einstein. The great Danish scientist Niels Bohr even coined the saying: “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”

The special quantum properties that are applied in quantum computers are as follows:
  • A subatomic (quantum) particle can exist in several states. The overall state of the particle is a combination of all of the states, or in more professional language, a superposition of states. In the context of our physical reality, the concept of a “combination of states” can be illustrated by the example of a magnet, in which there is a combination of the states of two opposing poles at the same time. The basic quantum unit of information that is a combination of several states is called a qubit.
  • Identical quantum particles influence one another’s state immediately and at any distance. This characteristic is called “quantum entanglement.”
  • Any measurement process destroys the state of superposition (thereby collapsing the states) and provides information about a certain quantum state.
The Operational Principle of a Quantum Computer

The foundations of quantum computing lie in the application of the quantum properties of atomic or subatomic particles, and the construction of a suitable computational method based on these properties.