25 April 2018

What is Happening in Tibet

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM(Retd)

On November 26, 2017 a 63-year-old Tibetan popular monk and volunteer teacher of village children named Tenga from Kardze self-immolated in Sichuan province's Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He called out for freedom in Tibet before he set himself aflame. These self-immolation protests have explicitly called for greater freedom for the Tibetan people. They represent the deep frustrations and yearnings of the Tibetan people. Since 2008-2009, the unrest of resorting to self immolation by the Tibetans to protest against the Chinese has gained huge momentum and till now more than 150 Tibetans have resorted to this extreme step of protest. Even sending a picture like this abroad can, and has, cost Tibetan men and women their freedom and resulted in lengthy prison sentences. Read More.......

Isro to launch slew of military satellites soon

Surendra Singh

Isro is gearing up to launch a slew of important satellites in the coming months. Some of these satellites will help military keep an eye on hostile neighbours & safeguard our land & sea borders.  Amid preparations for its high-profile Rs 800 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission scheduled for an October launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is also gearing up to launch a slew of important satellites in the coming months. Some of these satellites are significant for strategic reasons as they will help the military keep an eye on our hostile neighbours and safeguard our land and sea borders.

India’s new think tank for military strategy planning misses the mark

By PRAKASH KATOCH

India is setting up a Defense Planning Committee (DPC), described as the new “Strategic Think Tank,” to formulate national military and security strategy and oversee foreign acquisitions and sales. Amusingly, the ‘Top Comment’ in the above news link reads, “Hats off to Modi for buying new Tanks to powerful our army defense systems” – the commentator interpreting “think tank” a type of new military tank. Headed by the national security adviser, the DPC also includes the principal secretary to the prime minister, three service chiefs, the defense secretary, the foreign secretary, and the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) heading the headquarters of the Integrated Defense Staff (IDS).

Q&A: How strong is the Islamic State group in Afghanistan

An upstart Islamic State affiliate that first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 is becoming increasingly deadly and their attacks on the country’s minority Shiites have grown bolder. In Sunday’s devastating bombing, a suicide bomber walked up to a crowd outside a voter registration office and blew himself up killing 57 people. Most of the dead were ethnic Hazaras, who are Shiites Muslims. Another 119 people were wounded, many of them seriously. It was the latest in a series of attacks by IS against the country’s minority Shiites. Following last year’s attack on the Iraq Embassy in Kabul, the extremist group issued a warning to Shiites that they were coming for them. Since then, they have carried out a number of horrific assaults targeting their places of worship in Kabul and Herat in western Afghanistan.

Manzoor Pashteen: The young tribesman rattling Pakistan's army

By M Ilyas Khan

Tens of thousands of Pashtuns are demanding an end to extrajudicial killings and abductions they blame on the Pakistani state - and a charismatic young man has become their spokesman. A compelling, bearded tribesman in his early 30s, Manzoor Pashteen is the unlikely figurehead for protests that have now mushroomed into a wider movement that threatens to upset a precarious balance ahead of general elections. He represents people who say they were brutalised during decades of war in the border areas Pakistan shares with Afghanistan. NGOs say thousands of people have been reported missing in regions such as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan.

Where Countries are Tinderboxes and Facebook is a Match

by Amanda Taub and Max Fisher

… We came to this house to try to understand the forces of social disruption that have followed Facebook’s rapid expansion in the developing world, whose markets represent the company’s financial future. For months, we had been tracking riots and lynchings around the world linked to misinformation and hate speech on Facebook, which pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest — a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions. Time and again, communal hatreds overrun the newsfeed — the primary portal for news and information for many users — unchecked as local media are displaced by Facebook and governments find themselves with little leverage over the company. Some users, energized by hate speech and misinformation, plot real-world attacks.

Why Is Bangladesh Booming?

KAUSHIK BASU

As a result of progressive social policies and a bit of historical luck, Bangladesh has gone from being one of the poorest countries in South Asia to an aspiring "tiger" economy. But can it avoid the risk factors that have derailed dynamic economies throughout history?  Bangladesh has become one of Asia’s most remarkable and unexpected success stories in recent years. Once one of the poorest regions of Pakistan, Bangladesh remained an economic basket case – wracked by poverty and famine – for many years after independence in 1971. In fact, by 2006, conditions seemed so hopeless that when Bangladesh registered faster growth than Pakistan, it was dismissed as a fluke.

Why China Won't Yield to Trump

Jeffrey Frankel

China may give Donald Trump some face-saving way out from the trade war he has started, but it won't offer any substantive concessions. In other words, Trump's tariffs will do nothing to improve America’s external balance, output, employment, or real wages. Last month, US President Donald Trump enacted steel and aluminum tariffs aimed squarely at China. On April 2, China retaliated with tariffs on 128 American products. Trump then announced 25% tariffs on another 1,300 Chinese products, representing some $50 billion of exports. In response, China threatened 25% tariffs on 106 US exports (including soybeans, cars, and airplanes), to go into effect whenever the US tariffs do.

Room for Maneuver: China and Russia Strengthen Their Relations

By Brian G Carlson for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

Brian Carlson believes that for both the US and Europe, the extent of China-Russia coordination deserves close watching. As a result, Carlson here explores 1) China-Russia bilateral ties, particularly in terms of economics, energy and arms; 2) the two countries’ ‘friendly neutrality’ regarding the other’s regional affairs; and 3) how China-Russia relations have been gaining momentum at the global level. He also highlights how shared concerns about US power and resistance to liberal norms provide a strong basis for a continued close relationship, albeit one increasingly tilted in China’s favor.

The Tibetan Factor in 1962: The importance of stable operation base


As the 19th Congress approaches, the Chinese authorities have banned foreigners to travel to the Tibetan plateau from October 18 to 28. During this period, the Congress, which is expected to the nominate a new leadership, will be held in Beijing. On September 22, Radio Free Asia (RFA) asserted: “The ban was announced by telephone about ten days ago”. A Tibetan working in a travel agency in Xining (in Qinghai province) told the radio’s Tibetan Service: “During this period, it is not just foreigners but also Tibetans living in the Amdo region of Qinghai who are not allowed to travel in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).”
Usually, foreign visitors and Tibetans living in the Chinese western provinces are not allowed to visit Tibet in March, at the time of the Two Meetings and the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising on March 10.

A Tale of Two Realities

JAVIER SOLANA 

The material and moral progress made possible by the Enlightenment is evident across a wide range of metrics, from human rights to life expectancy. But today's political leaders seem inadequate to the task of managing the Enlightenment's more troubling legacies. MADRID – The opening line of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Citiesretains its universality to this day. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Dickens writes, “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

The dark side of solar

Varun Sivaram

This paper is second in a series from the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate. An excerpt from the paper's introduction follows. Additional papers in the series will be forthcoming throughout 2018. View the full series hereIn recent years, solar power has surged to become the cheapest and fastest-growing source of electricity on the planet. Over the last decade, solar installations have grown annually by over 30 percent on average, thanks to costs that have plunged more than 90 percent. This red-hot growth suggests that in the near future, solar power could challenge fossil fuel dominance and help the world reduce its carbon emissions. As a result, solar has become the poster child of a putative clean energy revolution.

Rhetoric aside, the US commitment to preventing nuclear terrorism is waning

BY NICKOLAS ROTH, MATTHEW BUNN AND WILLIAM H. TOBEY

With the world focused on the United States and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that every president for a quarter-century has said preventing nuclear terrorism was a national security priority. This includes the Trump administration, which identified in its Nuclear Posture Review that nuclear terrorism is one of “the most significant threats to the security of the United States.” It appears, however, despite this strong rhetoric, the administration may not be putting its money where its mouth is.

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy

So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could gravely erode the distinction between the United States’ official relationship with the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) and its unofficial relationship with Taiwan. The Taiwan Travel Act declares that “the United States Government should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels,” including “Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials.” These provisions are inconsistent with U.S. commitments in a set of agreements known as the Joint Communiques, which together with the Taiwan Relations Act provide the framework for the official relationship between Washington and Beijing.

Germany’s Deportation Dilemma

ANCHAL VOHRA

On February 20, German authorities rounded up 14 Afghan men to return to their home country in spite of protests and the very real threats they would face upon their return. These forced returns of rejected asylum seekers had become an issue in Germany’s elections last September: In part due to the growing political influence of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), Angela Merkel’s CDU has embraced a harder line on migration, and celebrated a decision made by the German foreign office in August of 2017 to bolster the deportation process.

Making Water-Smart Energy Choices

BRAHMA CHELLANEY

Just as the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere contributes to climate change, so does the degradation and depletion of water resources. If the world does not adopt a more holistic approach that recognizes this reality, it will be impossible to save the planet. Climate change undoubtedly poses a potent – even existential – threat to the planet. But the current approach to mitigating it, which reflects a single-minded focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions, may end up doing serious harm, as it fails to account for the energy sector’s depletion of water resources – another major contributor to climate change.

Nation state attacks – the cyber cold war gets down to business

Cyber weaponry is moving to new frontiers: yours. Businesses are the next target on the nation state menu. Are you protected or vulnerable? Nation state attacks, and the threat of them, appear to be evolving. The theory that these state-backed cybercriminals are focused on hacking into military or diplomatic data for competitive intelligence now needs to be broadened to other motivating factors. Nation state hackers are expanding their targets to not only government institutions, but also businesses and industrial facilities. They are using more sophisticated techniques to disrupt organizations, and their respective countries, by leaking confidential, often sensitive, information.

Palantir Knows Everything About You

By Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson

High above the Hudson River in downtown Jersey City, a former U.S. Secret Service agent named Peter Cavicchia III ran special ops for JPMorgan Chase & Co. His insider threat group—most large financial institutions have one—used computer algorithms to monitor the bank’s employees, ostensibly to protect against perfidious traders and other miscreants. Aided by as many as 120 “forward-deployed engineers” from the data mining company Palantir Technologies Inc., which JPMorgan engaged in 2009, Cavicchia’s group vacuumed up emails and browser histories, GPS locations from company-issued smartphones, printer and download activity, and transcripts of digitally recorded phone conversations. 

The EU Remains Unprepared for the Next Migration Crisis

STEFAN LEHNE

By removing internal border controls, countries party to the Schengen Agreement effectively abandoned a core element of state sovereignty in favor of freedom of movement. But they embarked on this federal project without building the necessary legal and institutional foundation and without setting up crucial common arrangements to secure their external borders and manage migration and asylum. And just as Europe’s 2008 financial crisis exposed the design flaws of the monetary union, the 2015–2016 refugee crisis revealed the brittleness of the Schengen system. However, this is where the similarity ends; the political dynamics of the two crises played out much differently.

The dark side of solar

Varun Sivaram

This paper is second in a series from the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate. An excerpt from the paper's introduction follows. Additional papers in the series will be forthcoming throughout 2018. View the full series hereIn recent years, solar power has surged to become the cheapest and fastest-growing source of electricity on the planet. Over the last decade, solar installations have grown annually by over 30 percent on average, thanks to costs that have plunged more than 90 percent. This red-hot growth suggests that in the near future, solar power could challenge fossil fuel dominance and help the world reduce its carbon emissions. As a result, solar has become the poster child of a putative clean energy revolution.

Future cyber threats will come from inside the architecture

By: Kelsey Atherton

“The Five Most Dangerous Attack Techniques” read the marquee guiding attendees of the RSA cybersecurity conference to this morning’s keynote panel. As the audience shuffled to find seats in the bluely lit room, the four panelists from SANS institute launched into a rapid fire assessment of multiple threats, some of which certainly seemed dangerous. Alan Paller, research director and founder of SANS Institute, together with SANS instructor Ed Skoudis, SANS Dean of Research Johannes Ullrich, and SANS Head of R&D James Lyne, are in the business of training people in threat response. So, what threats lurk in the shadows of 2018, waiting to ruin the lives of any government agency or contractor that uses computers? They ranged from de-anonymizing data stored in the cloud to infiltrating server farms primarily to steal processing power to finding new exploits against industrial controls.

The Artificial Intelligence Race: U.S. China and Russia

By Ecatarina Garcia

Artificial intelligence (AI), a subset of machine learning, has the potential to drastically impact a nation’s national security in various ways. Coined as the next space race, the race for AI dominance is both intense and necessary for nations to remain primary in an evolving global environment. As technology develops so does the amount of virtual information and the ability to operate at optimal levels when taking advantage of this data. Furthermore, the proper use and implementation of AI can facilitate a nation in the achievement of information, economic, and military superiority – all ingredients to maintaining a prominent place on the global stage. According to Paul Scharre, “AI today is a very powerful technology. Many people compare it to a new industrial revolution in its capacity to change things. It is poised to change not only the way we think about productivity but also elements of national power.”AI is not only the future for economic and commercial power, but also has various military applications with regard to national security for each and every aspiring global power.

On Seeing America's Wars Whole

By Andrew Bacevich

Congratulations on assuming the reins of this nation’s -- and arguably, the world’s -- most influential publication. It’s the family business, of course, so your appointment to succeed your father doesn’t exactly qualify as a surprise. Even so, the responsibility for guiding the fortunes of a great institution must weigh heavily on you, especially when the media landscape is changing so rapidly and radically. Undoubtedly, you’re already getting plenty of advice on how to run the paper, probably more than you want or need. Still, with your indulgence, I’d like to offer an outsider’s perspective on “the news that’s fit to print.” The famous motto of the Times insists that the paper is committed to publishing “all” such news -- an admirable aspiration even if an impossibility. In practice, what readers like me get on a daily basis is “all the news that Times editors deem worthy of print.”

The Changing Face of the Country

By DER SPIEGEL Staff

Many Germans feel foreign in their own country and are afraid that immigration is changing their homeland rapidly. Every fifth person in Germany comes from an immigration background and that number will continue to climb. What does that mean for the country? Maike Manz runs her hand across the patient's belly and hopes that the young woman in the hospital bed will at least have an inkling of what she's trying to tell her. "We're going to conduct an ultrasound now and then we will decide how to proceed," the gynecologist says, slowly and as clearly as she can. The pregnant woman is from Guinea-Bissau and has only been living in Germany for the past nine months. She peers on helplessly as the doctor does a miming gesture to try to help her to understand. Adhered to her stomach is the sensor of a CTG device that measures babies' heart rates. She's in her 36th week of pregnancy and is expecting twins. Aside from the word "baby," she hasn't understood anything, because she doesn't speak any German.

Globalization Backlash Paradox

ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN

Today, the very countries that have spent 70 years building multilateral institutions and establishing global trade rules are busy undermining them. In this context, the absence of even a whiff of protest against financial integration demands explanation. Most economists wax eloquent about the benefits of “real” global integration – that is, virtually uninhibited cross-border flows of goods, labor, and technology. They are less certain when it comes to global financial integration, especially short-term flows of so-called hot money. Yet today’s anti-globalization backlash is focused largely on real integration – and almost entirely spares its financial counterpart.

The U.S. Should Amend Its Constitution to Reflect the Changing Character of War

Steven Metz

In the horrible days following the 9/11 attacks, America’s full attention was on punishing the culprits and reinforcing its defenses against terrorism. While these tasks clearly had to take priority, the attacks also demonstrated that the United States needed to decide whether its 18th-century Constitution was adequate for national defense in the 21st century. Yet this issue still has yet to receive the consideration that it deserves. Although the United States has poured immense effort, money and blood into the fight against transnational extremism and dramatically augmented homeland security, it has not assessed its constitutional framework for national defense. But there comes a time with any system when repairs, patches and upgrades are not enough. That’s where the United States is today: The security environment and the character of war have changed so much that it is time to seriously consider amending the Constitution.

24 April 2018

Stand Up Against China

Lt Gen Prakash Menon

India should not seek a reset with China that is based on our inferiority. We can and must assert ourselves.

Some of India’s chickens of statecraft have come home to roost. India has embarked on a “reset of relations” with China and simultaneously seeks to “redefine ties” with the USA. The simultaneity is structurally imperative when it comes to India’s role in the context of great power tensions.

In the case of China, it is based on its enormous economic and military power. The Indian political leadership seems convinced that China’s coercive power does not call for a confrontation, but instead demands a form of adjustment that would serve to preserve our national development goals. With the USA, a partnership founded on common interests is expected to provide political, strategic and technological support that can further Indian goals. The reset would also involve a tilt away from the USA, to perhaps, a slightly less-than-neutral position.

How Tibet lost its independence and India its gentle neighbour


It relates to the sequence of events and the role of KM Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador in China, during the weeks after the invasion of Tibet. Claude Arpi, holding the Field Marshal KM Cariappa Chair of Excellence from the United Service Institution of India (USI), for his research on the Indian Presence in Tibet 1947-1962 (in 4 volumes), has extensively worked in the National Archives of India and well the Nehru Library (on the Nehru Papers) on the history of Tibet, the Indian frontiers and particularly the Indian Frontier Administrative Service. The Last Months of a Free Nation — India Tibet Relations (1947-1962) is the first volume of the series, using never-accessed-before Indian archival material. Though Tibet’s system of governance had serious lacunas, the Land of Snows was a free and independent nation till October 1950, when Mao decided to “liberate”it. But “liberate” from what, was the question on many diplomats' and politicians' lips in India; they realised that it would soon be a tragedy for India too; Delhi would have to live with a new neighbor, whose ideology was the opposite of Tibet’s Buddhist values; the border would not be safe anymore.

The Brahmaputra Diversion and the Tsinghai Clique


Some fifteen years ago, a Chinese engineer Li Ling and a retired PLA General Gao Kai, seriously worked on a scheme for the diversion of the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra. Li Ling published a book called Tibet's Waters will Save China in which he detailed the diversion project, also known as Shuomatan Canal (from Suma Tan in Central Tibet to Tanjing in China). At that time, 'experts' denounced the plans of Li Ling and Gao Kai. Beijing also decided to cool down India’s legitimate worries.In 2006, the Chinese Water Resources Minister Wang Shucheng, a hydraulic engineer, affirmed that the proposal was "unnecessary, unfeasible and unscientific. There is no need for such dramatic and unscientific projects."

China develops the Indian border


Che Dalha (alias Qizhala), the head of the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s (TAR) Government (and TAR’s Senior Deputy Secretary) visited Chayul area in the vicinity of Yume village adopted by Xi Jinjing. Che, who is also director of the district border defense committee, inspected a Hero Memorial Park in Chayul area. He told the villagers that the masses should deeply cherish the memory of the revolutionary martyrs. He laid a wreath for 447 Revolutionary Martyrs' War Memorial. Why and where these ‘martyrs’ died?

When the snows melt


Every year during the months of May and June, the high passes of Himalayas witness activity as the Chinese cross over and intrude on Indian territory. The Himalayan snows will soon start melting. Every year during the months of May and June, the high passes witness activities not in consonance with the majestic peace-conducive surrounding peaks. This year again, the Chinese will cross over and intrude on the Indian territory, or to put it nicely like the spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs does, “in what we perceived our side of the border”.

EU Ambassadors Condemn China’s Belt and Road Initiative

By Ravi Prasad

On Wednesday, it was reported by Handelsblatt that 27 out of 28 EU ambassadors to China signed a report criticizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hungarian ambassador was the only exception. It is unclear when the report will get published, and whether Handelsblatt saw a draft of the report or a finished version. However, if Handelsblatt’s claims turn out to be true, it will mark one of the biggest setbacks the BRI has seen to date.

CPEC's Environmental Toll

By Shah Meer Baloch

Pakistan’s virgin beaches are located in District Gwadar, which is the major coastal town of Balochistan, and also said to be the epicenter of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). But the beaches are in danger of being badly affected by a newly planned 300MW coal power plant in Gwadar. Besides the beaches, there will be a significant impact on human lives and the environment. Pakistan is already on suffering from climate change. Will the environment and people remain safe as Pakistan carries out plans to invest billions of dollars in imported coal power plants through various projects under CPEC?

China’s Belt and Road, and implications for ASEAN connectivity

By ANUSHKA KAPAHI

The ASEAN Master Plan for Connectivity (AMPC) and China’s Belt and Road Initiative have major commonalities. Both envisage transport connectivity as a way of bringing countries closer to one another, facilitating better access to trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. Similar to the BRI project, AMPC calls for a system of roads and railways to link contiguous members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with one another, as well as a system of ports for vessels and short shipping routes to link Southeast Asian countries with one another.

THE EVOLUTION OF ONLINE TERRORIST PROPAGANDA


Europol hosted the second conference of the European Counter Terrorism Centre Advisory Group to present and discuss new strategies against online terrorist propaganda and radicalisation. Terrorist propaganda constantly shifts on to new and diverse platforms and the quantity of information exchanged, either publicly or in private spaces, is increasing. In order to face these evolving threats, Europol hosted the second conference of the European Counter Terrorism Centre Advisory Group on 17 and 18 April 2018. During the conference several academic research papers were discussed, relevant to ECTC’s complex tasks in a way that is effective and in compliance with Europol’s high data protection standards. External and diversified contributions are fundamental to analysing a world-wide phenomenon as terrorist propaganda. This year’s event built on the success of the first conference of the ECTC Advisory Group in April 2017.

Iran's Army of Drones, Target of Syria Strike: Rising Force or Limited Threat?

by Yaniv Kubovich

The recent airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel has brought to the forefront Iran’s intentions of establishing a network of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) in that country. The project could expand the Islamic Republic’s capabilities of gathering intelligence and prepare the groundwork for possible attacks. Iran began producing drones in the 1980s, building dozens of them, mainly for spying and aerial photography. In recent years, since joining the fighting in support of the Assad regime, its drones have been seen in the skies of Syria and Iraq. Israel believes it still has the upper hand when it comes to drones, but that the Iranian ones do constitute a limited threat.

How Can We Know If a Chemical Weapons Attack Took Place in Syria?

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Every atrocity in the Syrian civil war provokes a furious row about whether it happened and, if so, who was responsible for carrying it out. The merciless brutality of all sides combines with partisan reporting and lack of access for independent investigators to make it possible for doubts to be generated about even the most blatant war crime. One good rule is that participants in the war are often accurate about the crimes of their opponents while they invariably lie or are silent about their own. This rule appears to hold good in the case of the poison gas attack on the city of Douma on 7 April, which killed at least 34 people and possibly twice as many. The Russian military claim that the attack was faked by pro-opposition activists and that samples taken from the site of where the civilians died were not toxic. The Syrian government issues blanket denials when accused of using poison gas.

Syria, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean


Two Eastern Mediterranean countries—Syria and Turkey—present some of the most vexing problems for U.S. foreign policy today. The Syrian civil war has become a magnet for both terrorists and U.S. adversaries. Turkey, a NATO ally, is facing terrorism and a refugee crisis. Domestically, it is increasingly turning away from democratic principles and making choices that are at odds with the United States. The United States needs to take a new strategic approach to the Eastern Mediterranean, outlined in a CSIS report forthcoming in May 2018. An urgent part of that strategy, outlined here, is recalibrating U.S. policy toward Syria and Turkey. 

A few weeks ago I gave an interview to a French periodical concerning the state of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).


A few weeks ago I gave an interview to a French periodical concerning the state of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Today, 19 April 2018, being Israel’s 70th Independence Day, I thought this topic would be of interest to the readers of this blog.

Can you give us an overview of the actual situation of the Israeli armed forces?

One could argue that, taking a grand strategic perspective and starting with the establishment of the State of Israel seventy years ago, some things have not changed very much. First, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) remain the armed organization of a democratic country, one in which it is the politicians who decide and the military which obeys. Second, the objective of the IDF was and remains to defend the country, a outrance if necessary, against any military threats that may confront it. Third, Israel remains in a state of war with several other Middle countries; nor is there any way in the world it can bring the conflict to an end by defeating them and compelling them to make peace against their will. Fourth, the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights notwithstanding, Israel remains a small country with very little strategic depth. Fifth, the lack of strategic depth implies a heavy reliance on intelligence to detect threats before they materialize. Sixth, and for the same reason, Israeli military doctrine remains basically offensive, with a strong emphasis on destroying the opposing armed forces.

A Thirty Years’ War?

Source Link

For those of you who have forgotten, here is a short reminder. The Thirty Years’ War started in May 1618 when the Protestant Estates of Bohemia revolted against the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II. They threw his envoys out of the windows of the palace at Prague. Fortunately for them, the moat into which they fell was filled with rubbish and nobody was killed. Had the revolt remained local, it would have been suppressed fairly quickly. As, in fact, it was in 1620 when the Habsburgs and their allies won the Battle of the White Mountain. Instead it expanded and expanded. First the Hungarians and then the Ottomans were drawn in (though they did not stay in for long). Then came the Spaniards, then the Danes, then the Swedes, and finally the French. Some did less, others more. Many petty European states, cities, and more or less independent robber barons also set up militias and joined what developed into a wild free for all. For three decades armies and militias chased each other all over central Europe. Robbing, burning, raping, killing. By the time the Treaty of Westphalia ended the hostilities in 1648 the population of Germany had been reduced by an estimated one third.

Russia Is Jamming US Drones Flying Over Syria

By Kyle Mizokami

Russian forces are actively trying to jam U.S. military drones flying over Syria, disrupting flight operations by interfering with the signal broadcast by the worldwide Global Positioning System (GPS). The jamming is “seriously affecting” U.S. drone operations, but it’s not yet clear how serious the Russian meddling really is. NBC News, citing four sources inside the Pentagon, reports that the jamming began weeks ago. It started shortly after suspected chemical attacks by the Syrian regime in the rebel-held Ghouta region. Russian forces were reportedly concerned that the U.S. military would retaliate for the use of chemical weapons and jammed drones to prevent U.S. forces gathering information.

Control of the Syrian Airspace: Russian Geopolitical Ambitions and Air Threat Assessment By Can Kasapoglu


Russia has mounted its anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) footprint in the Levant and also boosted the Syrian Arab Air Defense Force’s capabilities. Syrian skies now remain a heavily contested combat airspace and a dangerous flashpoint. Moreover, there is another grave threat to monitor at low altitudes. Throughout the civil war, various non-state armed groups have acquired advanced man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), which pose a menacing challenge not only to the deployed forces, but also to commercial aviation around the world. In the face of these threats, NATO needs to draw key lessons-learned from the contemporary Russian operational art, and more importantly, to develop a new understanding in order to grasp the emerging reality in Syria. Simply put, control of the Syrian airspace is becoming an extremely crucial issue, and it will be a determining factor for the war-torn country’s future status quo.

4 essential elements of a U.S. strategy on Syria

Michael E. O’Hanlon
In April 16’s Wall Street Journal, former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and I suggest how President Trump can build on the recent U.S.-U.K.-French reprisal attacks against Syrian chemical weapons facilities. In our view, this should be with an eye toward developing a fuller strategy for the Syria conflict that could prove at least moderately effective and durable at modest cost. The ideas build on related writings that Ambassador Crocker and I have done recently with Brookings nonresident scholar Pavel Baev of PRIO in Oslo. Specifically, we lay out the following four elements for a broad strategy, some of which build on ideas the Trump administration has itself supported at times:

How Jim Mattis Became Trump’s “Last Man Standing”

By Susan B. Glasser
Last Tuesday, after waking up to tweet about the previous day’s F.B.I. raid on his lawyer’s office (“a total witch hunt!!!”), President Trump called one of his outside Republican advisers to ask what to do about Syria, and its latest chemical-weapons attack on civilians. “We should bomb the shit out of them, Mr. President,” came the answer, which was exactly the one Trump seemed to be looking for. Over the weekend, the President, outraged by the photographs of dead children in the Syrian enclave of Douma he had apparently seen on TV, had tweeted vows of retaliation against “Animal Assad,” and the Syrian leader’s backers in Russia and Iran. Trump’s hawkish new national-security adviser, John Bolton, who had started work that Monday, was also pressing for punishing strikes. On the phone call, Trump listened approvingly to the hit-’em-hard advice: that, politically, “the minimum should be bigger than it was last year,” when Trump had launched a single-day strike on a Syrian airfield, designed—unsuccessfully, as it turned out—to deter future chemical-weapons use.

New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Make It Personal


Recently passed U.S. sanctions against key Russian oligarchs and officials probably won't have a major effect on the Russian economy, but they will hurt key companies such as aluminum producer Rusal. Given Rusal's importance to the global aluminum industry, the effects of the U.S. sanctions will extend beyond Russia, and Chinese companies are the logical replacement for the Russian giant on the international market. Russia will offer financial support to relieve the affected companies and oligarchs while pushing back against the U.S. sanctions, not only through political and economic means but also potentially on the battlefield in Syria and Ukraine. 

Drones Level the Battlefield for Extremists

By Alexander Harper

In early 2016, I contributed to an Armament Research Services (ARES) report on the use of commercially available drones by non-state actors in contemporary conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine. We predicted that the use of commercial drones, which up until that point had been used for reconnaissance purposes predominantly, would soon be regularly weaponised. As recent events in Syria have shown, weaponised commercial drones are now a regular feature in a range of conflicts, notably involving non-state actors. Drone use by non-state actors in the Middle East is not a new phenomenon. Libyan rebels spent more than US$100,000 buying a drone in 2011 to aid their fight against forces loyal to Gaddafi. Hezbollah has been operating Iranian-built drones against Israel for years, but these have been predominantly military-grade models and thus fairly sophisticated.

The Right Way to Coerce North Korea

By Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz

When it comes to North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies have been whiplash inducing. On February 23, he appeared to be gearing up for a conflict when he said that if sanctions against Pyongyang didn’t work, Washington would have to move to “phase two,” which could be “very, very unfortunate for the world.” But just two weeks later, Trump abruptly changed course and accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—a decision that caught even his own White House and State Department by surprise. 

How to build resistance to cyberattacks in 2018 and beyond


If one were to ask who the strongest nation-states of all time were, who would come to mind? The Roman empire, the Ottoman empire (which would span six centuries), the Qing dynasty, France in the 18th century, Great Britain at the turn of the 20th century, The United States post-WWII. What did all of these empires have in common? They were part of major world wars, and they were constantly under attack or in a mode of conquest for land, wealth, and/or resources. Simply put, they were “battle ready.” Resistance to attack builds strength. The best defense is offensive: it’s proactive, aggressive, and anticipating. In the evolving cyber war, we’ve traded physical weapons for malware attacks, but there is no reason we should abandon the tactics that once provided strength and national security to empires that spanned multiple centuries. Today’s cyber leaders, in the private sectors and the public sectors alike, should take a few pages out of the military playbooks throughout history. How can we be the Winston Churchill, the Napoleon, the Dwight Eisenhower of our security teams?

Nation state attacks – the cyber cold war gets down to business

Source Link

cyberwarfare defense illustrationCyber weaponry is moving to new frontiers: yours. Businesses are the next target on the nation state menu. Are you protected or vulnerable? Nation state attacks, and the threat of them, appear to be evolving. The theory that these state-backed cybercriminals are focused on hacking into military or diplomatic data for competitive intelligence now needs to be broadened to other motivating factors. Nation state hackers are expanding their targets to not only government institutions, but also businesses and industrial facilities. They are using more sophisticated techniques to disrupt organizations, and their respective countries, by leaking confidential, often sensitive, information.

What Will Space Exploration Look Like In The Future? – Analysis

By Nayef Al-Rodhan*

The process of assembling the International Space Station (ISS) started in 1998 and was completed in 2011, with five partners involved: Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States. It was initially planned to operate only until the year 2020, but in 2014 the US decided to extend its life until 2024. Since then Russia has proposed to extend further the life of the ISS to 2028, and the US space agency NASA seemed ready to accept this new extension. However, major space policy changes happened in the US in 2017, with the revival of a high-level White House body, the National Space Council (NSpC), chaired by the Vice President. The new priority of the White House is a return to the Moon in the 2020s, as a step towards Mars in the 2030s.

The Pursuit of AI Is More Than an Arms Race

BY ELSA B. KANIAADJUNCT 

Dealing wisely with the challenges of artificial intelligence requires reframing the current debates. Are the U.S., China, and Russia recklessly undertaking an “AIarms race”? Clearly, there is military competition among these great powers to advance a range of applications of robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems. So far, the U.S. has been leading the way. AI and autonomy are crucial to the Pentagon’s Third Offset strategy. Its Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, Project Maven, has become a “pathfinder” for this endeavor and has started to deployalgorithms in the fight against ISIS. The Department of Defense also plans to create a “Joint Artificial Intelligence Center,” which could consolidate DoD AI initiatives.

What was Boyd Thinking?

Source Link

And when did he think it?

In his own words:

For the interested, a careful examination will reveal that the increasingly abstract discussion surfaces a process of reaching across many perspectives; pulling each and every one apart (analysis), all the while intuitively looking for those parts of the disassembled perspectives which naturally interconnect with one another to form a higher-order, more general elaboration (synthesis) of what is taking place. As a result, the process not only creates the Discourse but it also represents the key to evolve the tactics, strategies, goals, unifying themes, etc., that permit us to actively shape and adapt to the unfolding world we are a part of, live in, and feed upon. Abstract (c. 1987)