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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 1, 2023

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 1, 2023

Dec 1, 2023 – ISW Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi signaled intent to increase Ukrainian defenses and fortifications around the Ukrainian theater, but notably did not include Zaporizhia Oblast in discussions of ongoing and future defensive measures. Zelensky stated on November 30 that Ukrainian forces will strengthen their fortifications in all critical directions of the front, including the Kupyansk-Lyman line, oblasts in northern and western Ukraine, and Kherson Oblast, but particularly emphasized the Avdiivka and Marinka directions and other areas of Donetsk Oblast.

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Salafi-Jihadi Movement Weekly Update, December 1, 2023

Dec 1, 2023 – ISW Press

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.

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China–Taiwan Weekly Update, November 30, 2023

Nov 30, 2023 – ISW Press

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.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 30, 2023

Nov 30, 2023 – ISW Press

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.

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Iran Update, November 30, 2023

Nov 30, 2023 – ISW Press

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.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 29, 2023

Nov 29, 2023 – ISW Press

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.

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