Research (Insikt)

Navigating 2024's Geopolitical Fault Lines

Posted: 17th February 2024
By: Insikt Group®


New research from Recorded Future’s Insikt Group assesses the likelihood of four major conflict escalation scenarios that have the potential to materialize across the globe, detailing diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DIME) signposts and indicators of those scenarios transpiring, and analyzes other global conflict flashpoints.

It is unlikely that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will escalate into a NATO Article 5-linked conflict in 2024, as both Russia and NATO are actively taking measures to prevent direct military confrontation. Nonetheless, the potential for military incidents resulting from miscommunication or miscalculation remains, posing risks of NATO involvement, especially if Russia perceives NATO actions as threats to its national security interests in the Black Sea region.

In 2024, the Israel-Hamas conflict is unlikely to extend to a broader war on a second front involving Israel, Hezbollah, Palestinian militants, and Iranian proxies based in Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah is unlikely to initiate an invasion of Israel to avoid risking US intervention and Lebanon's stability. Instead, ongoing exchanges of fire serve to deplete Israeli resources and infrastructure without prompting a full-scale Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Similarly, Iran is unlikely to direct Hezbollah to provoke Israel, preferring to exert asymmetric pressure on the US and Israel indirectly. Israel, meanwhile, is unlikely to escalate actions against Lebanon, given its focus on eradicating Hamas and US pressure to prevent further escalation.

The conflict in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden between Iran-backed Houthis and the US-led military coalition is unlikely to expand into a wider Arabian Peninsula war. The Houthis are expected to achieve their objectives by targeting adversaries in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden without directly engaging American, British, or Israeli interests across the Arabian Peninsula. Low-intensity conflict is anticipated to persist in the region as Houthi rebels escalate their maritime campaign against American and British assets, despite coalition airstrikes aiming to degrade Houthi capabilities.

Furthermore, armed conflict between China and Taiwan in 2024 is very unlikely due to various political, military, economic, and diplomatic factors. Chinese leaders are very likely to continue military and non-military coercive efforts to dissuade Taiwanese independence while also promoting mainland unification through economic and cultural measures. Despite the high risks associated with a Taiwan conflict for China and the Chinese Communist Party, the party-state is likely to consider using armed force against Taiwan on a more urgent timeline if acute challenges present themselves.

To read the entire analysis, click here to download the report as a PDF.