Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 4

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The PLA’s Evolving Outlook on Urban Warfare: Learning, Training, and Implications for Taiwan

The West should pay close attention to the Chinese military’s preparations for urban combat, as these efforts will have profound effects on China’s policy toward Taiwan and elsewhere. 

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 4

Nov 4, 2022 – Press ISW

The Russian military is likely trying to use mobilized personnel to restart the Donetsk offensive but will likely still fail to achieve operationally significant gains. Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Valerii Zaluzhnyi reported on November 4 that Russian forces have tripled the intensity of hostilities in certain sections of the front with up to 80 daily assaults. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are currently focusing those offensive operations in the direction of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and western Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainian Eastern Group of troops spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi stated on November 4 that Russian forces are likely trying to seize Bakhmut and Soledar in Donetsk Oblast so that Russia can declare some type of success by announcing the “liberation” of the Donbas (even though those gains would not give Russia control over the entire region). Cherevatyi also noted the presence of mobilized men in the Bakhmut direction, an area that should not in principle see many mobilized personnel given the extensive presence in this area of Wagner Group and proxy units that should not be receiving large numbers of Russian reservists. ISW previously assessed that Russian forces prematurely impaled an insufficient concentration of mobilized personnel on offensive pushes near Bakhmut and Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast on November 3. The apparent intensification of Russian assaults in Donetsk Oblast likely indicates that Russian forces are repeating that mistake throughout this section of the front. The increased quantity of personnel at frontline positions may allow Russian forces to achieve some gains in Donetsk Oblast, but poor training, logistics, and command will continue to prevent Russian forces from making operationally significant gains that would materially affect the course or outcome of the war.

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Iran Crisis Update, November 4

Nov 4, 2022 – Press ISW

Parents of Iranian youth spearheading ongoing demonstrations are increasingly describing protests as a revolutionary movement, mirroring their children’s rhetoric. The father of one killed protester told mourners that his son described Mahsa Amini’s death as an impetus for change and stated that ”there will be no revolution until blood is shed” at his 40-day commemoration ceremony on October 29. Another father of a killed protester similarly described his son as a martyr of freedom at his funeral on October 31. The mother of another killed protester described her son as someone who gave his life to the Iranian nation at his 40-day commemoration ceremony on November 4. The parent of a young Iranian protester told Reuters that she felt compelled to ”reclaim Iran” for her daughters and all Iranian girls in an article published on November 3.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 3

Nov 3, 2022 – Press ISW

Russian forces are continuing to withdraw some elements from northwestern Kherson Oblast, but it is still unclear if Russian forces will fight for Kherson City. Kherson City occupation deputy Kirill Stremousov stated on November 3 that Russian forces “will most likely leave for the left (eastern) bank” of the Dnipro River urging civilians to evacuate from Kherson City “as quickly as possible.” ISW has observed that Russian forces are continuing to prepare fallback positions on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro River while continuing to set up defensive positions northwest of Kherson City and transporting additional mobilized forces there, despite Stremousov’s statement. Some Russian elite units — such as airborne forces and naval infantry — are reportedly continuing to operate on the right (western) bank of the Dnipro River and their full withdrawal from northern Kherson Oblast would be a clearer indicator that Russian forces will not fight for Kherson City or settlements on the right bank.

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Iran Crisis Update, November 3

Nov 3, 2022 – Press ISW

Violent clashes erupted between security forces and protesters in Karaj, Alborz Province on November 3. Mourners and protesters gathered around Karaj, which is just outside Tehran City, to commemorate the 40th day since the regime killed Hadis Najafi. Security forces blocked roads leading to the cemetery where Najafi is buried and fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters. Protesters attacked security forces stations and vehicles. Protesters stabbed and killed a Basij member and injured five Law Enforcement Command (LEC) officers. Protesters also severely injured a cleric.

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Iran Crisis Update, November 2

Nov 2, 2022 – Press ISW

Iran is signaling its readiness to attack Saudi Arabia and possibly Erbil ostensibly in retaliation for the Shiraz terror attack but primarily for the alleged role of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in stoking protests. The regime raised the red flag of Imam Hossein above the Shah Cheragh Mosque—the target of the terror attack—in Shiraz, Fars Province on October 30. The red flag represents revenge for an unjust death in Shia Islamic tradition. The regime takes down the flag once it has taken revenge. The regime raised the red flag last in Qom after the US killed Qassem Soleimani and before the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) conducted a ballistic missile attack on US forces in Iraq in January 2020. IRGC Telegram channels posted videos depicting a hypothetical Iranian drone attack on Saudi energy infrastructure on November 2.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 2

Nov 2, 2022 – Press ISW

Russian force generation efforts combined with Western sanctions are having long-term damaging effects on the Russian economy, as ISW has previously forecasted. Financial experts told Reuters that the Kremlin will face a budget deficit that will “drain Moscow’s reserves

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