5 July 2015

The Years of Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai

By Claude Arpi
03 Jul , 2015

During the years following the signing of the Panchsheel Agreement, Delhi continued its efforts to champion the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa. The intellectual elite in Delhi looked at the Chinese revolution as part ‘of the great Asian Resurgence’; its politicians thought that India could enhance her image by becoming the champion of China’s cause in every possible forum and became the promoter of Beijing’s entry into the United Nations.

Zhou stopped in Delhi for three days and had five long sessions with Nehru. The most surprising aspect of these talks was that Tibet as well as the border problem which had been the main issues between the two nations, were not mentioned even once.

Why India Should Join China's New Maritime Silk Road

By Geethanjali Nataraj
July 03, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the concept of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) — now a part of the One Belt, One Road initiative — during his visit to Indonesia in October 2013.

The MSR is an attempt to promote economic cooperation and connectivity by reviving the ancient maritime Silk Road trading route. To this end, China has pledged US$40 billion in the Silk Road Fund to develop infrastructure along the route.

The main aim of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is to develop its landlocked western provinces and enable them to access the markets of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, thus shaping China’s regional periphery by exercising economic, cultural and political influence. India was cordially invited to be a part of the new MSR but so far its response has been lukewarm.

UN Sanctions Must Be Imposed On Pakistan

Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal
04 Jul , 2015

On June 22, 2015, the Afghan Parliament was attacked by Jihadi extremists while it was in session. According to Haseeb Sediqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency the National Directorate of Security, preliminary investigations had revealed that Bilal, an ISI officer, had helped the Haqqani Network’s operational commander Maulvi Sherin plan the attack.

In a meeting of the United Nations Sanctions Committee on June 23, 2015, India’s efforts to have Pakistan censured for having released Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai, were blocked by China on the specious plea that India had not provided sufficient information.

Pakistan’s ISI has for long been directing trans-Durand Line hit-and-run strike operations from safe havens on Pakistani territory against targets in Afghanistan.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will change the region: Andrew Small

July 3, 2015

Andrew Small, a fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, is an expert on Chinese policy in South Asia. His most recent book, The China-Pakistan Axis, explores Pakistan's role in China's geostrategic ambitions and its emerging struggles with Islamic militancy. In this interview with Hardnews, Small explains Beijing's changing relationship with Islamabad

Two months ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and announced Beijing's biggest investment in recent times: $46 billion, to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Is there a message in the fact that this occurred just weeks before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Beijing?

Afghanistan and The Stinger Myth

July 01, 2015

What actually forced the Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan in 1989?

The Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan lasted almost an entire decade, from 1979 to 1989. Estimates over the exact amount of casualties during the brutal nine-year conflict vary, but the general consensus among scholars is that at least one million civilians were killed, in addition to 90,000 Mujahedin fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers.

Yet, to this day there is controversy over what forced the Soviets to withdraw its combat troops from Afghan soil in 1989. For many former American Cold War hawks the answer is clear: The Stinger surface-to-air-missile (SAM).

As Congressman Charlie Wilson told the Washington Post in 1989: “Once the Stinger made their helicopters useless, that put the Russians on foot against the Mujahedin and there’s no one on Earth who can fight the Mujahedin on Foot.” This sentiment was also widely propagated in the American media during the conflict. For example, in an influential 60 Minutes Special by CBS News on Afghanistan in October 1988 the host announced: “The Stinger is generally credited with having won the war for the Mujahedin.”

China's Anti-Corruption Campaign Enters Phase Two

July 02, 2015

The second phase of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign will require an intensification of legal efforts. 

While most ordinary Chinese focus their attention on the roller-coaster-like stock market in recent days, a quiet but fundamental reform is unfolding with regard to anti-corruption. On June 26, at the Politiburo collective study session, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of laws and regulations in the anti-corruption campaign.

According to Xi’s speech, though China has made great achievements in anti-corruption campaign since the 18th Party congress, the overall situation is still serious. Xi stressed that anti-corruption campaign will not stop despite some skeptical views in Chinese society. What is most important now is the building of institutions, which includes the attendant laws and regulations. Xi also emphasized that the Party will not allow the so-called “broken window” effect to occur.

What to Do About an Imperial Iran

JUNE 30, 2015 

Tehran has regional ambitions of glory and influence dating back to the Persian Empire. And here’s why that should worry the West. 

The headlines: A charismatic and wily Iranian leader seeks to expand the borders of his nation, pushing aggressively against neighbors in the region and especially to the West. Iran exerts dominance in a wide range of regional capitals, from Baghdad to Beirut. Trade routes are opening, and wealth will begin into flow to the nation, enabling further adventurism. Sound familiar?

Actually, this describes the foundation of the Persian Empire about 2,500 years ago by Cyrus the Great. The empire at its peak ruled over 40 percent of the global population, the highest figure for any empire in history. It stretched from the littoral of the eastern Mediterranean to the coast of the Arabian Gulf, encompassing what are today Libya, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Afghanistan. Cyrus the Great said, “You cannot be buried in obscurity: You are exposed upon a grand theater to the view of the world.”

Nurturing Extremism in Gaza

Paul R. Pillar
July 3, 2015

The histories of many lands have repeatedly demonstrated two patterns in the relationship of extremism to political and economic conditions. One is that the combination of miserable economic circumstances and a lack of peaceful political channels for pursuing grievances tends to gravitate people toward extremist groups and ideologies. The second is that the resulting extremism is on a sliding scale. What may have been seen at one time as an extreme response to circumstances may, as misery continues and possibly worsens, come to be seen as part of an inadequate status quo and is eclipsed by something even more extreme.

Such a process is taking place today in the Gaza Strip, the open air prison in which 1.8 million people endure what for some time have been genuinely miserable circumstances. Blockade by Israel, aided to varying degrees by Egypt and punctuated by repeated Israeli military assaults, has destroyed much of the Gazan economy and kept residents in squalor. The estimated unemployment rateis around 44 percent, and the Strip is still strewn with rubble from the most recent Israeli assault last year, with lack of materials and other impediments permitting only minimal reconstruction so far.

July 4th Nightmare: What If America Lost the War For Independence?

July 4, 2015

What would the world be like today if there never was a United States of America?

What if America’s most patriotic holiday was not July 4, but December 25?

It could have been the day the British crown got its best Christmas gift ever. All it would have taken was a simple slip by a colonial rebel. His rifle, crashing to the frozen ground, discharges… the shot echoing clearly through the crisp, clear winter night. On the river banks, the alarm sounds. The Hessian garrison at Trenton rouses to its posts. Washington’s troops are trapped crossing the Delaware.

The British counterattack drives the rebel forces from their encampment at Valley Forge. George Washington is captured. The Continental Army evaporates. The rebellion is crushed. What would life be like today, in a world in which there never was a United States of America?

Russia's 5 Most Dangerous Warplanes

July 4, 2015

A look at Russia's most dangerous fighter jets and bombers today.

When it comes to air power, it’s no secret that the United States and the West have often held an edge over Russia.

This dates at least as far back to World War II, when the United States and Britain were allied with Russia. While Russia supplied much of the manpower that ultimately defeated Nazi Germany, it was the United States and UK that took the lead in the strategic bombing campaigns against Germany. These trends largely continued during the Cold War, when the Warsaw Pact was numerically superior to NATO but the latter held the technological advantage, including in terms of aircraft. And even today, Russia’s Air Force doesn’t yet boast anything comparable to the latest American fifth-generation fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The American Colonel Who Changed Asia

By Colonel Robert Farley
July 03, 2015

Who is the most famous Kentuckian? 

Who is the most famous Kentuckian? Among the living, the best candidates would probably be George Clooney (born in Lexington) and Muhammed Ali (a native of Louisville). Including the dead, Abraham Lincoln might take pride of place, although Lincoln always considered Illinois his true home.

Internationally, there can be little debate; Harland Sanders is the face of Kentucky in a way that no other individual can match. Kentucky Fried Chicken (now known as KFC in most of the U.S.) has become one of the most successful fast-food brands in the world, and the commodification of Sander’s image and persona has been key to that success.

Colonel Harland Sanders (the term “Colonel” is an honorific authorized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky; in the interests of full disclosure, the author of this article is also a Kentucky Colonel) founded Kentucky Fried Chicken in the 1950s, and began franchising it in the 1960s. The chain achieved tremendous success domestically and internationally, although growth within the United States began to fade in the 1990s as tastes changed.

Cuba's Own Napoleon III

Fabio Rafael Fiallo
July 2, 2015

Last week's commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo brought to mind a satirical poem, The Expiation, written by Victor Hugo about the decline of Napoleon Bonaparte's glory. The poem kicks off with a reference to the French emperor's first major military reversal: the fiasco of his Russian campaign in 1812. Aware that the retreat would severely hobble his ambitions to rule the European continent, Napoleon in the poem wonders whether the setback was inflicted by a divine force in retribution for some of his wrongdoings. He asks the God of armies: "Is this my punishment?" A mysterious voice replies, "No."

Cue the Waterloo rout. Napoleon asks once again the same question, and again hears the same voice telling him, "No".

The Man Who Would Not Be George Washington

July 2, 2015
By John Waters

“I once read an interview where the great American historian David McCullough said, “I try to write the kind of book that I would like to read.” That’s the goal I had in mind when I started this book. There is nothing more fun to do.” – Author Jonathan Horn speaking to Fox News about his book “The Man Would Not Be Washington”

Does America need another book about the Civil War? In the case of former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn’s debut book, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, the answer is “yes.”

The book begins with the heroic exploits of Robert E. Lee’s father, “Lighthorse Harry” Lee, during the American Revolutionary War. After describing the elder Lee’s calamitous business career and troubled personal life in the years after the war, Horn follows young Robert through West Point, his marriage to Mary Custis (step-great-granddaughter of George Washington) and his early service as a military engineer. The story continues with the legendary Confederate general’s leadership in the Civil War and ends in Lexington, Virginia, where Lee served as president of Washington College (now called Washington and Lee University) and died in 1870.

The Real, Great Greek Dilemma

George Petrolekas
July 3, 2015 

"If Greece leaves Europe, or is kicked out, the consequences might well be far beyond financial. Nations also react from pride, not just dollars, euros or drachmas."

During the Second World War, Italy invaded Greece and received such a thrashing Hitler was obliged to come to Mussolini’s aid. Against the combined Axis nations, Greece held out longer than any country conquered by Nazi Germany, and German forces were so mauled in the invasion of Crete, they never conducted another airborne operation again. The holiday celebrating when Greece said "no (Οχι)” to Italy’s surrender demands almost eclipses Greek Independence Day; not surrendering and fighting back is in the national psyche. All to say, Greeks are an intensely independent and proud people.

5 Most Underrated U.S. Presidents of All Time

Robert W. Merry
July 3, 2015 

Poor Warren G. Harding. The country’s twenty-ninth president just doesn’t seem to get any respect from historians or citizens. He’s viewed as a kind of political laughing stock. People roll their eyes at the spectacle of this man carrying on a fifteen-year affair with his best friend’s wife. They snicker at the even more ludicrous spectacle of his White House liaison with a starry-eyed young woman named Nan Britton, thirty-one years his junior. They pursued their sexual trysts in a White House coat closet.

He is excoriated for the famous Teapot Dome scandal involving his attorney general, interior secretary and postmaster general, venal characters who brought into the government a collection of freebooters and scoundrels bent on grabbing whatever booty they could. Their exploits, once exposed shortly after Harding died in office, cast a pall over the nation and placed a blot upon the reputation of the inattentive executive under whose nose they operated. It doesn’t seem to matter that he was never involved in any scandalous behavior himself.

Sorry, France: Russia to Build Powerful Mistral-Style Assault Ships

Zachary Keck
July 2, 2015 

Russia will build its own amphibious assault ship in the wake of France refusing to sell Moscow two Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

In 2011, France and Russia signed a $1.5 billion deal for Paris to build two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships for Russia. The ships have already been built and the first one was scheduled to be delivered last November, but France pulled out of the agreement at the last minute over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

Ever since Paris began to reconsider the agreement, there have been periodic reports that Russia might build its own helicopter carriers to replace the Mistral vessels.

Dignity: The Hidden Factor in the Iran Nuclear Talks

Trita Parsi
July 2, 2015 

Explaining what is happening in Vienna right now in the nuclear talks is virtually impossible without accounting for the dignity factor.

There are few concepts as important yet as misunderstood and unaccounted for in explaining international affairs as dignity. Explaining what is happening in Vienna right now in the nuclear talks between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany is virtually impossible unless this critical variable is taken into account.

On the American side, the limitations of the negotiators are oftentimes explained in terms of domestic political constraints. Those constraints, in turn, are mostly rooted in the contradictory interests of various groupings and factions within the American political system. While the term dignity appears foreign to the American narrative, it does nevertheless exist in concept, though not in name.

The Mystery Surrounding North Korea’s Alleged Missile Launch From a Submarine

Sean Gallagher
July 3, 2015

North Korea brags some more about submarine-launched ballistic missile

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s government has released a bit more information about what North Korean media has claimed was the successful test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile in May. NKNews.org reports that a description of the test was published in the monthly magazine Pictorial Korea, explaining its purpose and results.

“The test-firing proved that the noise level inside the submarine, recoil, missile’s speed at the surface of waters, flying angle and all the other elements of launch fully satisfied the requirements of the latest military science and technology,” the article reported. However, it’s still not clear that the missile was actually launched from a submarine, as some evidence points to it being launched from a submerged test barge.

How to Prevent Violent Extremism in Central Asia

July 03, 2015

Kazakhstan hosted a conference on countering violent extremism in South and Central Asia in Astana earlier this week. The conference follows an event held in February in Washington, D.C., both of which are part of a series of conferences leading up to the United Nations General Assembly in September. Violent extremism is a global problem, which most nations struggle with in one form or another. Washington noted the breadth of violent extremism in February: “Violent extremist threats can come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL.”

Exile From Extremism in Bangladesh: A Conversation with Ananya Azad

July 02, 2015

The options for him were either exile or death. He chose the former. Ananya Azad, 25, left Bangladesh on a self-imposed exile to save himself from attack by Islamic fundamentalist forces, who have marked him as a top target. A decade ago Humayun Azad, his father, became the first victim for radical Islamists for his writings against fundamentalism. The young Azad has also faced constant threats on his life and he was one of the names on the list of 84 bloggers that Bangladeshi extremist groups have marked for targeting.

The Diplomat’s Sanjay Kumar spoke to Ananya Azad just a day before he left Bangladesh. An excerpt of the interview follows.

The Diplomat: Why you are leaving the country?

Rise of Terrorism in Africa: An Era of Religious Militancy

By Anant Mishra
03 Jul , 2015

Terrorism is not a ‘rare occurrence’. The word ‘terrorism’ that we refer to today (which we are using regularly since September 11 attacks), refers to religiously motivated terrorism. As a matter of fact, political actions that indicted fear in the hearts of civilian populations, (the same methodology which is now practiced by nationalistic groups, revolutionaries, and many autocratic regimes), have long predated religious terrorism.

The inability to control regions and the absence of anti-terrorism tactics makes the region a perfect safe haven for revolutionary forces and transnational crime organizations.

Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, July-September 2015

Commemorating 50 years of the 1965 India-Pakistan War, the July-September 2015 special issue provides a broad overview of the war by covering a range of actions and events spanning the diplomatic, tactical and strategic space, with the additional scope of relating them to the present conditions prevalent with Pakistan.

-- Shruti Pandalai 

-- P.K. Chakravorty and Gurmeet Kanwal 

-- P.C. Katoch 

-- Rahul K. Bhonsle 

-- Arjun Subramaniam 

-- Ramesh V. Phadke 

-- Ali Ahmed 

-- M.A. Zaki 
Review Essay 
-- S. Kalyanaraman

Operation Gibraltar: An Uprising that Never Was

P.K. Chakravorty and Gurmeet Kanwal
July 2015

Launched in early-August 1965, Operation Gibraltar was designed to infiltrate several columns of trained and well-armed Mujahids and Razakars, led by Pakistan Army Majors into Jammu and Kashmir. Under the cover of fire provided by the Pakistan Army deployed on the Cease Fire Line (CFL), the columns managed to infiltrate, but failed to create large-scale disturbances and did not receive support from the people. In fact, locals often provided information about the columns to the Indian Army, which led to their being captured or neutralised. By the third week of August, the Indian Army’s counter-infiltration operations had been successfully concluded. Trans-CFL operations were then conducted to capture the Haji Pir Pass and important heights in the Kargil sector. This article revisits Operation Gibralter, the thinking behind it and the tasks set, the execution of the operation, the Indian response and the lessons learnt.


When Is the F-35 Not a Dogfighter? When It’s Convenient


In January 2015, a single-seat F-35A Joint Strike Fighter fought a mock aerial battle with a considerably older, two-seat F-16D … and lost. That’s according to an unclassified test report that highlighted a number of serious and potentially deadly flaws in the basic design of the new, Lockheed Martin-made F-35.

Lockheed’s public relations team fired back. The company insisted that the JSF will be just fine in combat — and it’s not really a close-in dogfighter, anyway.

“The media report on the F-35 and F-16 flight does not tell the entire story,” Lockheed stated in a July 1 press release. “The F-35’s technology is designed to engage, shoot and kill its enemy from long distances, not necessarily in visual ‘dogfighting’ situations.”

It’s Time for a Direct Fire Breech-Loaded Mortar

By William I. Oberholtzer 
July 2015 

After a decade of fighting against the United States and its allies, enemies have become increasingly elusive and adaptable.

The United States faces a kaleidoscope of enemy combatants from all over the world having a common thread of unbridled savagery and brutality. Like a cancer, this threat is metastasizing. At present, the armed conflict is centered in the Middle East. Current weapon systems are ideally suited for the European theater, and to a lesser degree, mountainous terrain. Conflict in urban environments does not lend itself to the application of many of these systems.

The 6 greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of

JULY 2, 2015

1. The Polish Resistance Agent who got himself sent to Auschwitz — on purpose

Nazi concentration camps were one of the most hideous and disturbing tragedies to arise out of the second world war, but few countries were aware of their existence before the Allied liberation in 1945. Fewer still had any idea what atrocities were taking place within their gates — which is exactly why Witold Pilecki, a Polish resistance agent, decided to see the inside for himself. How’d he do it? By getting himself arrested and sent to the worst death camp of them all: Auschwitz.

He gathered intelligence inside Auschwitz and sent it to the underground Polish army for two years, enduring brutal conditions and near-starvation to detail Nazi execution and interrogation methods. When the Allies continued to put off any aid (some even accused him of exaggerating his reports,according to NPR) he broke out of the camp and escaped. Pilecki continued to gather intelligence throughout the war, and didn’t let up afterwards either, though now it was against a different government — the Soviet regime in Poland.

F-35s played the US Army’s primary CAS providers during Green Flag. And were not shot down in the process

By David Cenciotti
Jul 01 2015 

Two F-35 Lightning II took on a primary role as Close Air Support providers during GF 15-08.

For the first time, F-35s belonging to the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron played a major role during one of the 10 yearly iterations of Green Flag, an exercise conducted on the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, where more than 5,000 U.S. Army soldiers against simulated enemy forces in a 14-day long pre-deployment trial by fire.

Although the JSF has sporadically taken part in past Green Flag drills in the past, this was the very first time the F-35 had the primary exercise role of CAS providers: the pricey stealth multi-role planes penetrated a “contested and degraded battlespace” waiting for calls for support from JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) and liaison officers on the ground.

Michael Byers: The F/A-18 Super Hornet — a better fighter jet

Michael Byers
June 30, 2015 11:38 AM ET

U.S. Navy Media Content Services via APAn American F/A-18F Super Hornet prepares to launch off the flight deck aboard aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Pity Canada’s fighter jet pilots: their 33-year-old CF-18 Hornets are suffering from metal fatigue, to the point where strong G-forces could rip off their wings.

Some of the CF-18s are being refitted in a move that officials claim will extend their lives to 2025. But metal fatigue is difficult to address through refits and for safety reasons, the planes are no longer used for training in aerial combat, or sent to places where they might become involved in a “dogfight.” Instead, they drop precision-guided bombs in places where there are no enemy jets.

The need to avoid air-to-air combat helps explain why the six CF-18s deployed with great fanfare to Romania and Lithuania last year for NATO support were quietly withdrawn just seven months later. The Canadian planes were of limited use for training Eastern European pilots and of little deterrence value vis-à-vis the Russian Air Force.

The US Military Should ‘Go Small’ to Defeat ISIS

JUNE 30, 2015

Static, fortified bases cede the initiative to the enemy. Unconventional and light is the better approach—even if it carries a higher degree of tactical risk.

As Iraqi government forces struggle to hold their own against the self-declared Islamic State, the limitations of the current U.S. strategy have become clear. Our side is losing both individual battles and the larger war. Although the fight against the Islamic State will not be won by ground combat alone—Vietnam taught us too well the gap between tactical success and strategic victory—we must begin by winning on the battlefield. In turn, this will require a reexamination of howU.S. forces in the region operate, as well as what level of risk senior leaders are able to accept.


Mark Stout
July 3, 2015 

The Fourth of July often makes me think of President Ronald Reagan, the modern political master of the patriotic demonstration in the United States. Also, the holiday is meant to be a day of unity in the United States — the one day set aside to celebrate our nation in its entirety. Accordingly, today’s historical piece is a World War II-era training film entitled “Fighter Combat Formation: Attacks and Escort” that starred Reagan and is available on YouTube.

In the film, Reagan plays a fighter ace with ten kills who is ordered to Army Air Forces headquarters in Washington to serve as a trainer. He is tasked with instructing a classroom of green pilots. Appropriately, given the era and the character’s cool, fighter pilot persona, he does so with cigarette in hand. He advises his students to be fully suited up while on


July 3, 2015 

Happy Fourth of July weekend to all of our readers! We’re sure you’ll all enjoy the festivities. What to do while you’re waiting for the grill to heat up, beer to cool, cocktails to be mixed, and fireworks to start? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best things we read this week.

Space is still hard. “As the business and policy implications of Sunday’s failure continue to be debated, it serves as a reminder that, more than half a century after the first satellite launch, placing a spacecraft into low Earth orbit remains challenging even for companies with good track records. It is still far less routine than other modes of transportation.” — Over at The Space Review, Jeff Foust offers an even-handed take on the implications of the failed SpaceX rocket launch for U.S. space policy, SpaceX itself, the International Space Station, and the current congressional spat over the Russian RD-180 engine.

Asia's Lethal Naval Arms Race

Sheryn Lee
July 2, 2015 

Claims that a destabilizing ‘arms race’ is underway in the Asia–Pacific have become commonplace and are supported by reports that regional defense spending has surpassed Europe for the third consecutive year. As my ASPI report released today shows, the corollary of this situation is intensifying naval competition in the region. The implications for Australia and the Australian Defense Force (ADF) are significant.

Decisions on arms acquisitions in the Asia–Pacific continue to be driven by a multitude of strategic rationales and domestic factors. The significant changes underway since 2008 raise questions regarding the primary motivation behind regional naval acquisitions, including their supporting air capabilities.

Kyrgyz Politics and the Killing of a Mob Boss in Belarus

By Ryskeldi Satke
July 02, 2015

The murder of an expat crime figure hints at the links between the underworld and politics in Kyrgyzstan. 

The killing of a top Kyrgyz gangster in Belarus remains a mystery, with the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Belarus resorting to swapped accusations. Although covered in the domestic press, the event has gone largely unremarked by the international media, perhaps given the murky circumstances surrounding the assassination itself. The murdered crime boss, Almanbet Anapiayev had been designated by the U.S. Treasury in 2012 “for acting for or on behalf of, or providing material support to, Kamychbek Kolbayev, who was designated under E.O. 13581 on February 23, 2012. Kolbayev had previously been designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act on June 1, 2011.

The Truth About the Diet Security Legislation Debate

By Ichiro Ozawa
July 03, 2015

The Japanese Diet is currently deliberating on legislation related to Japan’s security. As I have pointed out on many occasions since last July’s Cabinet decision to proceed with new security legislation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has failed to provide a logical explanation of why we need this legislation at this time. A year later, and still no convincing explanation has been forthcoming. Why not? Because the prime minister is concealing his real intention and trying to bluff his way through the Diet session by hiding behind fine-sounding words.

The most significant issue to consider with regard to Japan’s security is whether we should continue to keep the Japanese Constitution intact. In particular, we must consider how to interpret the renunciation of war set forth in Article 9 of the Constitution. Article 9 Clause 1 stipulates that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” In other words, Japan will not use the right to self-defense, whether individual or collective, as a means of resolving international disputes that have no direct connection to its national security. We should first discuss the new security legislation fully based upon this provision, the essence of our Constitution.

Will Military Conflict in Myanmar Derail its Elections?

July 02, 2015

Can Myanmar have true democracy without genuine peace? Widespread armed conflict, including intensified civil wars in the northern Kachin and eastern Shan States, will challenge the state appointed election commission to organize polls across vast areas of the country if and when constitutionally mandated elections are held in November. An incomplete and fraying peace process will jeopardize electoral security, maximum voter participation and the democratic legitimacy of the results.

Myanmar’s military, or tatmadaw, has quietly launched its largest war effort in the Shan State’s ethnic Kokang region since the country achieved independence from colonial rule in 1948, according to a recent Jane’s Defense Weekly report. The campaign against the rebel Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army represents the first time the tatmadaw has used large-scale combined-arms operations involving mechanized infantry, artillery, armor and air power during six decades of civil war, the Jane’s report said. It claimed “hundreds” of government troops have been killed since hostilities erupted on February 9.