A potential localized truce between Islamic State and al Qaeda–linked militants near the Malian-Nigerien border is likely aiding both groups’ efforts to strengthen their support zones in the Sahel and increasing their transnational threat risk. The Islamic State’s Sahel Province (ISSP) has spread its governance efforts in northeastern Mali and expanded governance and military activity closer to the Nigerien capital in recent months. Al Qaeda’s Sahelian affiliate has increased its military activity in northern Mali to exploit opportunities created by the end of the UN mission in Mali and renewed fighting between the Malian army and Tuareg rebels.
Members of the Israeli policy community have expressed concerns in recent days that Iran’s so-called “Axis of Resistance” has built the capability to attack Israel from the West Bank and Lebanon in addition to the Gaza Strip. An Israeli think tank published an article on November 29 describing the risk of a Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) ground attack into northern Israel in a way similar to Hamas’ October 7 attack. The article stated that LH “poses a significant challenge for the IDF and still poses a clear and present danger.” Mark Regev—a senior adviser to the Israeli prime minister—similarly warned on November 30 that Hamas seeks to attack Israeli targets inside and from the West Bank. Regev expressed concern that Hamas could conduct an escalation from the West Bank into Israel similar to Hamas’ October 7 attack. CTP-ISW has reported extensively on how Iran has invested in building military capabilities and infrastructure in the West Bank in recent months.
A recent Russian opinion poll indicates that the number of Russians who fully support the war in Ukraine has almost halved since February 2023 and that more Russians support a withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine than do not. Independent Russian opposition polling organization Chronicles stated that data from its October 17-22, 2023, telephone survey indicates that respondents who are “consistent” supporters of the war - those who expressed support for the war, do not support a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine without Russia having achieved its war aims, and think that Russia should prioritize military spending - decreased from 22 percent to 12 percent between February 2023 and October 2023. Chronicles stated that 40 percent of respondents supported a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine without Russia having achieved its war aims, and that this number has remained consistent at about 39 to 40 percent throughout 2023. Chronicles stated that 33 percent of respondents did not support a Russian withdrawal and favored a continuation of the war and noted that this number has been consistently decreasing from 47 percent in February 2023 and 39 percent in July 2023. Recent polling by the independent Russian polling organization Levada Center published on October 31 indicated that 55 percent of respondents believed that Russia should begin peace negotiations whereas 38 percent favored continuing the war.
Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Hou Yu-ih and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je registered as separate presidential candidates on November 24. The parties reconvened for eleventh hour talks on November 23 in a final effort to agree on who would lead a KMT-TPP joint presidential ticket before the November 24 candidate registration deadline. The failure of negotiations ended hopes for a joint ticket. Independent candidate Terry Gou, who mediated the negotiations, dropped out of the race on November 24. Hou and Ko both announced their running mates on the morning of their November 24 registration. Hou’s vice-presidential pick is media personality and former legislator Jaw Shaw-kong. Ko’s vice-presidential pick is TPP legislator Cynthia Wu.
Sydney Baum is an Operations and Development Coordinator at ISW. In this role, she supports the Operations team by focusing on office management and tech and IT management. Additionally, she assists with event logistics, donor relations, and data entry for the Development team.
Israeli officials and international mediators expect that the humanitarian pause with Hamas will be extended. The current pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas lasts until November 30. An anonymous senior Israeli official told the Washington Post that Israel expects the pause to continue for another two to three days after November 30. The Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson told CNN on November 29 that they are “very optimistic” that an extension will be announced in the coming hours. The New York Times reported that top officials from Qatar, Egypt, Israel, and the United States are discussing extending the pause to allow for further hostages/prisoner exchanges. Anonymous senior Egyptian officials told the Wall Street Journal that Hamas leaders said that Hamas would agree to an additional four-day extension of the truce, according to Egyptian and Qatari mediators.
The apparent Russian failure to establish a cohesive command structure among forces defending on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast continues to degrade Russian morale and combat capabilities. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 29 that elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet) operating near Krynky (30km northeast of Kherson City and 2km from the Dnipro River) are refusing to conduct assaults on Ukrainian positions due to a lack of artillery coordination, tactical intelligence transmission, and proper communication about the location of Russian minefields. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that maps of the Russian minefields are classified and that Russian commanders have not properly coordinated with assault units about the locations of these minefields, leading to 50 casualties among elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade in the last month.
Israel and Hamas both reported at least one violation of the temporary truce agreement in the Gaza Strip on November 28, but neither side escalated the situation to more general fighting across the strip. Both parties claimed that the other bore responsibility for the violations. Neither side indicated an intention to resume hostilities as a result of the violations, however. Israeli Army Radio reported that Palestinian fighters detonated three improvised explosive devices (IED) targeting Israeli forces in two separate attacks. Palestinian fighters detonated two remotely detonated IEDs targeting IDF soldiers boarding armored vehicles near Rantisi Hospital, which is along the agreed truce line, in one attack. Palestinian fighters also detonated one IED and fired small arms at Israeli forces in an unspecified location, according to Israeli Army Radio. Israel said the two attacks “slightly” wounded five Israeli soldiers. Hamas’ military spokesperson said that there was “field friction” in the northern Gaza Strip that was part of a “clear violation by [the IDF] of the truce agreement.” The spokesperson said Hamas remains committed to the pause in fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated a two-part conception of Russian identity in a speech on November 28: a “Russian nation” – claimed to include Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians – at the center of Russian identity; and a wider “Russian world” including other non-East Slavic ethnicities in both modern Russia and the former territory of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire.
Hamas and Israel completed the fourth swap of Hamas-held hostages for Israeli-held prisoners on November 27 in accordance with their humanitarian pause agreement. Hamas released 11 Israeli hostages.Israel is set to release three women and 30 others, including minors, in exchange. Palestinian media sources, including Hamas-affiliated outlets, reported that Israel released some of the prisoners at the time of writing. The parties had delayed the exchange briefly, as Israel and Hamas disagreed on which hostages Hamas would release. Hamas had sent a list of hostages to be released to Israel on November 26 that Israel renegotiated on November 27, causing the delay.