Nils Peterson on the People's Republic of China's theory of hybrid warfare.

Fred Kagan writes about why the positional war in Ukraine is not a stable stalemate and how the current balance could readily be tipped in either direction by decisions made in the West.

ISW and AEI’s Critical Threats Project have launched a high-fidelity interactive map of Israeli ground operations in the Israel-Hamas War.

By Mason Clark and Karolina Hird

The first installment of ISW's series on the structure and capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces.

Nataliya Bugayova, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan explain why Putin invaded Ukraine and how the war must end.
October 1, 2023

Latest from ISW

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 6, 2023

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov credited Western security assistance for empowering Ukrainian forces to liberate half of the territory that Russia occupied since February 24, 2022. Umerov credited Western security assistance for previous Ukrainian counteroffensive success during an interview with Fox News on December 5 and stated that the Ukrainian forces have a plan for 2024. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on November 8 that the Ukrainian forces have planned for several paths of future advance in 2024 to liberate more of the occupied territories. ISW continues to assess that Ukraine must liberate strategically vital areas still under Russian occupation to ensure Ukraine’s long-term security and economic viability. Umerov also stated that Ukraine plans to conduct all calculations for procurement, acquisition, planning, and operations according to NATO standards and that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) first priority is Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The adoption of NATO standards throughout the Ukrainian military and defense establishment will facilitate NATO oversight of current and future Western security assistance to Ukraine.

Iran Update, December 6, 2023

Israeli forces are operating in Khan Younis as part of the Israel Defense Force (IDF)’s effort to target senior Hamas commanders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on December 6 that the Israeli military had encircled Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar’s house in Khan Younis. Residents in the area told Reuters that Israeli tanks neared his home. IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that Sinwar is likely underground in Hamas’ extensive tunnel network. Israel has claimed repeatedly that senior political and military Hamas leadership, including Sinwar and Hamas’ military chief Mohammed Deif, are hiding in Khan Younis.

Iran Update, December 5, 2023

Palestinian militia fighters continued to use more sophisticated tactics to target Israeli forces throughout the Gaza Strip on December 5. This is consistent with the tactical shift CTP-ISW has observed since the end of the humanitarian pause. The al Qassem Brigades—the militant wing of Hamas—claimed that its fighters detonated a house-borne improvised explosive device (HBIED) targeting Israeli forces east of Khan Younis on December 5. The HBIED collapsed the building. The group claimed that it detonated multiple claymore-type, anti-personnel mines in an ambush east of Khan Younis on December 5. The al Qassem Brigades also targeted an Israeli tank with an EFP north of Khan Younis on December 4. Al Qassem Brigades fighters inside an Israeli cantonment filmed Israeli soldiers relaxing inside the position near Juhor ad Dik. The group claimed that they filled a tunnel under the cantonment with explosives and detonated it "among 60 Israeli soldiers.”

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 5, 2023

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against Russian military targets in occupied Crimea on the night of December 4 to 5. Ukrainian media reported on December 5, citing sources in the Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) and Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), that GUR and SBU elements struck a Russian military oil terminal in Feodosia, a Nebo-M radar system near Baherove (13km west of Kerch), and a helicopter landing pad, P-18 Terek radar system, and a Baikal-1M anti-aircraft missile control system in unspecified areas of Crimea. Russian sources, including the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), claimed that Russian air defenses, electronic warfare (EW) systems, and small-arms fire downed up to 35 Ukrainian drones near Baherove, Feodosia, Cape Chauda, and over the Sea of Azov but did not say that any Ukrainian drones struck their intended targets. Another group of Russian sources, including Kherson Oblast occupation head Vladimir Saldo, claimed that Russian air defenses downed up to 41 Ukrainian drones over northern Crimea and the Sea of Azov and claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted to strike Russian air defense systems and fuel storage facilities.

Iran Update, December 4, 2023

Israel continued to conduct clearing operations in the northern Gaza Strip to encircle Hamas in Shujaiya neighborhood and Jabalia city. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant observed Israeli forces in Shujaiya and Jabalia on December 4 and noted that the forces have returned there to “close the circle.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have cornered Hamas fighters in the last two strongholds in the northern Gaza Strip. An IDF spokesperson issued a warning to Hamas commanders in Shujaiya that they are targets and that Israel will use extreme force in the neighborhood to dismantle Hamas military infrastructure on December 3.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 4, 2023

Russia continues to reckon with the economic ramifications of labor shortages partially resulting from the war in Ukraine. Russian state media outlets reported on December 4 that Russian consulting company Yakov and Partners has recorded increased labor shortages in domestic production that will likely grow to a deficit of two to four million workers by 2030, 90 percent of whom are likely to be semi-skilled workers in critical industries. Yakov and Partners noted that this supply shortage will place upward pressure on workers’ wages that will outpace GDP growth and make Russian companies even less attractive to foreign investment.