The Most Dangerous Conflict No One Is Talking About | The 7 Reasons Iran Won’t Fight for Hamas | Does Democracy Really Die in Darkness?, and more

But none of that would necessarily matter, because long before Congress convenes to discuss the treaty, the damage will have been done. 

Foreign Criminals Will Serve Shorter Sentences Than Britons Under Emergency Plan  (Charles Hymas, The Telegraph)
Foreign prisoners will serve shorter sentences than Britons under an emergency government measure to cut prison overcrowding.
Under the scheme, overseas citizens can be freed from UK jails and deported to their homelands up to 18 months earlier than a British prisoner would be released if serving the same sentence. 
The plan has been criticized by a leading House of Lords committee and one of Britain’s most senior former judges.
It means that if a British man and a Polish man run a drugs gang together, and both get six-year sentences, the Briton would serve three years in jail while the Pole could serve only one-and-a-half years before being sent home. He would not have to serve time in Poland, but would be barred from returning to the UK.
The extension to the time limit on the Early Removal Scheme was one of a series of steps announced by Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, to tackle the shortage of prison places.

How Israel’s Military Underestimated Hamas  (Michael Evans, The Times)
Taken by surprise when Egypt and Syria launched a joint attack on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur in October 1973, Israel fought them off and in 19 days the Egyptians and Syrians had lost 15,600 men, 440 combat aircraft and 2,250 tanks.
Now Israel is facing an enemy which, while incapable of launching a full-scale offensive and lacking the sort of military capabilities to threaten the whole country, is using a combination of underground urban fighting, hostage retention and psychological warfare to put maximum pressure on an opponent with far superior technology, firepower and manpower.
The inexplicable intelligence failure prior to the Hamas onslaught on October 7 laid the groundwork for what looked like a hurried operation to try to eliminate the terrorist-designated organization by mass airstrikes, artillery bombardment and tank warfare.
The revelation that the high command of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had received and dismissed a detailed intelligence analysis report that outlined precisely what Hamas was planning to do a year ago, according to The New York Times, has underlined how Tel Aviv totally underestimated the enemy across the border.
Israeli intelligence on the underground network beneath Gaza also appears to have been out of date.

The 7 Reasons Iran Won’t Fight for Hamas  (Arash Reisinezhad, Foreign Policy)
Since its start, the war in Gaza has been thought of as potentially foreshadowing a direct conflict between Iran and Israel. Hezbollah continues to threaten to open a new front in the war, and Iranian hard-liners have welcomed their country’s direct intervention. Last month, Iran’s former foreign minister, Javad Zarif, mentioned a letter written by hard-line officials to Iran’s supreme leader attempting to persuade him to engage in the conflict with Israel on behalf of Hamas.
The likelihood of an expanded regional war, however, is low. Despite the slogans echoed by Iranian hard-liners, the reality of Iran’s strategic thinking is more circumspect. There are at least seven reasons Tehran is likely to avoid starting a war with Israel on behalf of Hamas.

Does Democracy Really Die in Darkness?  (Bronwen Everill, Foreign Policy)
In 2010, Wikileaks rocked the diplomatic community. Thousands of secret cables were suddenly available to all. And while some revelations were shrugged off as pure gossip, others shed light on the kinds of relationships the United States was cultivating abroad—and the U.S. government’s sometimes hypocritical views of foreign leaders. Since the Cold War, Washington has been using various means to keep tabs on, manipulate, and outmaneuver governments around the world.
This bit was hardly news. The effect of Wikileaks was not so much to make these facts public, but to make them embarrassing. For instance, the Tunisians’ open secret was a corrupt and excessive regime. But it was their open secret. Egypt’s sham democracy was spoken about among its citizens, but not written about in the press. And Libya’s Qaddafi family had hands in every pie, but for it to be made public that Libyans did nothing about this? Well, that was a step too far.
Public knowledge and transparency aren’t the same thing, in other words. And democratic revolutions—even the failed ones of the Arab Spring , which some have linked to the Wikileaks disclosures—call for transparency. As democratic revolutions have occurred time and again in states around the world, both external observers and the participants themselves have framed democracy as the form of government that is the antithesis of state secrecy.
But what if democracies actually require secrecy?
This is the provocative question posed by historian Katlyn Marie Carter’s thought-provoking new book, Democracy in Darkness. Circulating back and forth across the Atlantic, Carter’s book looks at the evolution of different ways of thinking about the relationship between secrecy and democracy in the origins and the outcomes of the U.S. and French revolutions.

The Most Dangerous Conflict No One Is Talking About  (Timothy McLaughlin, The Atlantic)
The South China Sea is perhaps the most contested waterway in the world. China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Taiwan all have competing claims there. But no actor has pursued those claims as belligerently as China. The Philippines complains that Chinese forces menace its sailors and fishermen on an almost daily basis, and the government of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos has taken to airing videos, photos, and eyewitness accounts of these encounters. In late October, officials released footage of Chinese vessels twice colliding with Philippines ships.
Such incidents don’t concern only Manila: The Philippines, a former U.S. colony, is America’s oldest ally in the Indo-Pacific, and the two countries have signed a mutual-defense treaty. In fact, of all the world’s conflicts, which today include wars in Ukraine and Gaza, Chinese-Philippine tensions in the South China Sea may be the least remarked on but among the most potentially explosive. Earlier this year, a former high-ranking Chinese military official said that a conflict between the United States and China was more likely to occur in the South China Sea than around Taiwan.