Global Crisis Watch 261

You are invited to join us for Global Crisis Watch 261, on Friday 2 February at 10.00 GMT.

The highlighted topics will include:

Israel’s Establishment of Buffer Zone in Gaza Sparks International Concerns

Israel is continuing to establish a buffer zone inside Gaza, demolishing buildings in multiple areas near the border. The buffer zone, potentially extending 1km into Gaza, has led to significant destruction of infrastructure despite warnings from the US against any long-term reduction of the enclave’s territory. Meanwhile, the UN is facing a funding crisis for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after several countries, including the US, suspended contributions. The withdrawal of funds threatens to further collapse Gaza’s humanitarian system.

Hungary’s Veto on Ukraine Fund Stalls EU Effort for Military and Economic Support

EU leaders have convened in Brussels to address Hungary’s presidednt, Viktor Orbán, blocking a €50bn aid package for Ukraine. Amid concerns about Ukrainian economy’s liquidity and military support, EU officials have become increasingly exasperated by Orbán’s obstructionist tactics in both the EU and NATO. Efforts to persuade Orbán to back down have included a compromise for annual debates on the fund’s usage, rather than revisiting the budget yearly. The bloc has spent more than €40bn to support Ukraine’s budget and €27bn in military aid since the war began. This year, Ukraine’s budget faces a $48 billion shortfall.

Yemen Conflict Intensifies with Alleged Houthi Strike and US Airstrikes on Drone Sites

The Houthi movement in Yemen claims to have struck a US-operated merchant ship in the Red Sea, the KOI, another conflicting report on threats targeting commercial shipping. In response, the US has continued to launch airstrikes targeting Houthi drone capabilities in order to safeguard maritime vessels in the region. Amidst these tensions, Houthi spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, has continued to threaten strikes against US and British ships, intensifying concerns over the safety of international maritime trade routes.

US Lawmakers Push for Deepfake Criminalisation Due to Taylor Swift Image Scandal

Explicit deepfake images of Taylor Swift, viewed millions of times online, have sparked renewed calls for the criminalisation of AI deepfake creation in the US. Despite efforts to remove the images from social media, the incident points out the increasing threat of abuse and the use of AI in generating realistic fake content. A bilateral group of US politicians are pushing for federal legislation against deepfake pornography, criminalising the spread of non-consensual, sexualized images generated by AI.

Plus, all the stories that are catching our attention wherever we live in the world. Feel free to join us and add your voice to the conversation.