For most of 2023, a polarising internal political crisis has paralysed Israel and put the very identity of the country at stake. Then, on 7 October 2023, on almost the exact 50th anniversary of the attack that started the Yom Kippur War, Hamas launched an audacious assault into south Israel. The Israeli political establishment, military leadership and intelligence services having been consumed by domestic disarray and internal struggles and diverted to other tasks, were apparently caught again by surprise.
Ukraine’s audacious pre-dawn cruise-missile strikes on Sevastopol on 13 September did more than severely damage a Russian Black Sea Fleet Improved Kilo-class submarine and a Ropucha-class amphibious landing ship and potentially put out of commission an important dry-dock complex. They reinforced a sense of the rising naval stakes in the war in Ukraine and undermined the narrative that Russia still holds a strategic advantage in those waters.