12 February 2016

India's resolute troops: Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad symbolises every soldier in Siachen

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
Feb 12, 2016

Going by queries of media friends about how soldiers live on the Siachen glacier 32 years after India’s occupation of the Saltoro Range one is not surprised that some are so outwitted by the news of an avalanche striking Sonam post held by 19 Madras on 3 February that they suggest Indian Army (IA) should vacate the area, albeit without any inkling about the ground and its strategic significance. Incidentally, George Fernades was the only defence minister who took journalists with him on his numerous visits to the Siachen area, to bring awareness about the region, including its strategic significance and why India pre-empted Pakistani move to occupy the Saltoro Range. There are some who ask why the post was located at such place where such an avalanche could occur, again without knowing the ground realities. The post of Sonam where the avalanche occurred is an essential piece of ground which guards the approach to Bana Post (the highest on the Saltoro Range) from being cut off, Bana being the erstwhile Qaid-e-Azam post of Pakistan at a height of 6,500 metres (21,326 feet) that was captured by Indian troops in 1987 under the leadership of Honorary Captain Bana Singh who was later awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy Indian Army

Expect the unexpected: What the first day of my command at Siachen taught me

I write this piece when the whole country is praying for Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad who remains in coma and on ventilator support, following a miraculous rescue effort that found him alive with a weak pulse, after being buried 25 feet under ice for six days.
Courtesy: Indian Army

On February 8, Hanamanthappa was found in a fibre-reinforced hut that was buried deep in ice, saved because of an “air pocket”, where he had been trapped since February 3 when a wall of concrete-like ice came crashing down on the Sonam army post in Siachen, killing nine of his colleagues of the 19 Madras regiment.

At Siachen, every day is a battle of body, mind for troops

February 12, 2016

PTINehru Institute of Mountaineering team paying respects to Lance Naik Hanamanthappa at the Kedarnath temple on Thursday.

Behind the endurance is a rigorous training regimen to prepare soldiers for life in the unforgiving terrain.

Brigadier H.P.S. Bedi (retd) was commanding the 102 Brigade in 2003 when a company commander and a doctor serving in a post at 19,000 feet on the central Siachen glacier went on snow scooters to a post where someone was sick. But in between, the doctor went missing as he fell into a crevice. Till now, his body has not been found.

Sonam a Legend whose Legacy will Go On: A Tribute to Legends of Siachen

By Brig Narender Kumar
11 Feb , 2016

I vividly remember during one of the interaction Brig (then Col) Pushkar Chand Deputy Commandant HAWS telling us how he and his team set out to accomplish the assigned task to occupy Siachen Glacier (Saltoro Ridge) in 1984. He was given no time to prepare because it was a race against time and weather. The task force consisted of troops from Ladakh Scout, Kumaon Regiment and Special Frontier Force.

Troops had very limited glacier clothing and old pattern extreme cold climate clothing (ECC) was issued to these men. The task was to occupy Saltoro Ridge before Pakistani Army could do so.

Col Pushkara seasoned mountaineer and experienced soldier knew that every patrol had to be led by an officer; therefore, the existing strength of officers with the companies was inadequate. Volunteer young officers from Northern Command and from other commands were selected under High Risk Mission, because the enemy here was not only Pakistan Army but terrain and even extreme weather.

The Nehruvian empire strikes back at Modi

By Minhaz Merchant
27 January 2016

India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru

The Nehruvian consensus was rudely shattered by an arriviste called Narendra Modi. 

The consensus had held firm for 67 years - from 1947 to 2014. 

What were its core principles? First, secularism. Second, socialism. Third, non-alignment. Fourth, dynasty. Just to make sure, Indira Gandhi injected the words “secularism” and “socialism” into the Constitution during the Emergency, without a trace of irony.


Even through the six Vajpayee years, 1998- 2004, the consensus held. Its long duration nurtured an ecosystem composed of a curious amalgam: Marxist historians, Macaulay’s colonially-seduced bureaucrats, faux secular intellectuals, compromised journalists, and sycophantic politicians worshipping at the altar of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. 

These common threads formed the architecture of a secular, socialist democracy. Muslims were appeased, not empowered. They were kept in secular ghettos, paraded out every five years to vote for the Congress and its fairweather allies. Dalits were paid lip service. Like Muslims, they formed a rich vote catchment - however poverty-stricken they remained. Poverty and socialism went hand-in-hand. 

Maqbool Bhat: Pakistan’s perfidy and a lost cause

By Col Jaibans Singh
11 Feb , 2016

Maqbool Bhat a resident of Trehgam in Kupwara District of Kashmir was hanged to death in Tihar Jail on 11 Feb 1984 on charges of committing a double murder.

Bhat entered the political arena of Kashmir with an ideology of Jammu and Kashmir existing as an independent state. To further his political agenda he founded the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) along with his friend, Hashim Qureshi and others.

Being young and impressionable, he came under the devious spell of Pakistan. He and his friends generated anti-India propaganda and committed a number of crimes, including hijacking and murder. They were too young to realise that Pakistan had no love lost for Kashmir or its people; its objective was to use the state as a tool to disintegrate India and seize its rivers.

As Maqbool Bhat spoke more and more about an independent Kashmir, free from both India and Pakistan, he became persona non grata for the Pakistani military establishment. He publicly stated that the military rulers of Pakistan had never supported the peoples’ armed struggle in Kashmir for which reason he and his comrades became the target of brutal torture and humiliation. He was forced to flee from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) back to Jammu and Kashmir where he was arrested for his crimes, tried as per law and sentenced to death.

Asia Should Not Delay Settling South China Sea Disputes – Analysis

By Humphrey Hawksley*
FEBRUARY 10, 2016

Asian nations could unite and resolve South, East China Sea conflicts – showing they don’t need US as enforcer.

Having moved at a snail’s pace for years, the international dispute over control of the South China Sea is reaching a new stage. The United States military is openly challenging China’s claim of some 90 percent of this 3.5 million square kilometer global trade route.

Both governments have warned of the risk of miscalculation, creating a specter of South East Asia returning to its role of half a century ago when it was combative arena for super-power rivalry.

The unpredictability of the American presidential election now heightens the risk because inevitably it will come with ramped-up anti-China campaign rhetoric. This begs the question as to whether it would be better for the East Asian region to sort out the dispute itself and ask the United States to step back.

Opposition to that concept within the United States itself comes from the criticism and perceived failure of President Barack Obama’s non-interventionist brand of foreign policy. But the testing ground for this has been in the Middle East where neither intervention nor holding back has worked well.

Chinese Cyberspies Are Now Focusing on Russian Targets

Kelly Jackson-Higgins
February 9, 2016

Chinese Cyberspies Pivot To Russia In Wake Of Obama-Xi Pact

TENERIFE, SPAIN – Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit 2016 – Cyber espionage attacks by Chinese advanced persistent threat groups against Russian targets have increased by 300 percent in the past two months, according to a top security expert with Kaspersky Lab.

Costin Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab, says his firm’s researchers witnessed a dramatic drop in Chinese-speaking APTs going after US and UK organizations’ intellectual property in September after President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping came to a historic agreement not to conduct cyber spying attacks for economic gain. Kaspersky Lab refrains from confirming the actual actors behind advanced groups such as nation-states, so it refers to these attackers as “Chinese-speaking” cyber espionage groups.

“Immediately after the signing of the agreement, there was silence” in attacks against the US, Raiu said in an interview with Dark Reading. “Then there were some small bits and pieces of random noise … but after that, they [Chinese-speaking APTs] completely went silent in the US and UK,” Raiu said, referring to Xi’s similar no-hack deal in October with Prime Minister Cameron in the UK.

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What Is Known About the Reorganization of the Chinese Military That Is Now Underway

Kenneth Allen, Dennis J. Blasko, and John F. Corbett

February 4, 2016

Note: This article is part of a two-part series examining changes to China’s Military organizational structure and personnel. Part 1 examines what is known and unknown. Part 2 contains speculation as to changes that may occur in the future.

On December 31, 2015, the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began its eleventh major reorganization since 1952. Most previous reorganizations focused on reducing the size of the infantry and bloated higher-echelon headquarters, turning over entire organizations, such as the railway corps, to civilian control, and transferring units to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the People’s Armed Police (PAP). [1] To date, most Western analysis of the current reorganization has addressed the reasons for and policy implications of the current reorganization. Instead, this article addresses what is known about changes to the PLA’s organizational structure—the essential factor needed to inform any credible analysis of the reasons for and the implications of the current reorganization. [2]

Although there are lots of media reports and blogs writing about the reorganization, much of what has been written has been incorrect or based on speculation. As a result, the “known” component of this article is based on official Chinese reporting in Chinese and English from the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND) website, China Daily, and Xinhua.

The New Jihadist Strategy In The Sahel – Analysis

By Obi Anyadike*
FEBRUARY 10, 2016

Security has been intense over the last few weeks in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, with police and soldiers on the streets, vehicle searches, and round-ups of alleged Islamist militants.

It’s the response to the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attack in Burkina Faso on 15 January that left 30 people dead. Until the assault on the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel, next door on Ouagadougou’s trendy Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Burkina Faso, like Senegal, felt safe from the jihadist violence that has destabilised other countries in the region.

“We thought we were not really concerned by terrorism, that we were shielded by our armed forces and our diplomacy,” Ousmane Ouedraogo told IRIN outside his cellphone shop on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue. “But now we know we are vulnerable.”

Amid Low Oil Prices, OPEC's Divisions Deepen

10 February 2016

Oil prices hit new lows in January, but the world's biggest producers still can't seem to agree on how to respond. Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino returned home empty-handed after concluding on Feb. 7 a week of visits to major oil-exporting countries. His aim was to organize an emergency meeting between OPEC members and non-OPEC states. The topic they would have discussed, had del Pino been successful, would have been how to coordinate a cut in global oil production.

But his failure shows that a bloc of OPEC's key Gulf members - namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - is resisting the pleas of other producers to intervene in the market on their behalf.

Since November 2014, Saudi Arabia and its allies have made it clear that they prefer to let the market correct itself. In the meantime, they are not willing to unilaterally slash production without other important producers, including Russia, Iran and Iraq, agreeing to do so as well. Of course, pragmatic cooperation among the world's oil exporters becomes more appealing as oil prices sink and financial crises deepen. However, a substantial production agreement - and one that is actually enforced - will probably remain elusive as geopolitical impediments and fundamental disputes among Saudi Arabia, its allies and other oil-producing countries persist. And with no cohesive bloc at its helm, the global oil market will be at the mercy of market forces, promising further price volatility and uncertainty.
A Consistent Strategy, but a Painful One

Leadership in context

by Michael Bazigos, Chris Gagnon, and Bill Schaninger
January 2016 

Organizational health matters more than you might expect.

Great leaders complicate leadership development—a notion that may seem paradoxical until you stop and consider just how much has been written about Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Golda Meir, Ernest Shackleton, and countless other celebrated leaders. The sheer volume is overwhelming, and the lessons that emerge from one leader’s experience may be completely inapplicable to another’s.

The complications run deeper for business leaders. In the corporate context, effectiveness depends less on the traits of any one executive (or of that person’s direct reports) and more on a company’s competitive challenges, legacies, and other shifting forces. If only we had a clear set of keys to effective organizational leadership—a “decoder ring” to understand which practices produce the best outcomes. Our latest research, however, does point to one major element of the equation: organizational health. For people seeking to lead companies effectively and for organizations seeking to develop managers who can deploy different kinds of leadership behavior when appropriate, recognizing and responding to a company’s health is far more important than following scripts written by or about great leaders. And that’s true even of great leaders whose circumstances might, on the surface, seem relevant under a given set of conditions.


FEBRUARY 9, 2016

Bitter tears are being wept in Beijing, Moscow, and other hives of scum and villainy around the world. Last week, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivered heartwarming news for any U.S. Navy surface warrior — indeed, for anyone who wants America to shore up its strategic position in Eurasia. The surface fleet has acquired a new anti-ship missile almost overnight. Secretary Carter announced that weaponeers have secretly repurposed and tested the SM-6 — the latest version of the Standard Missile that has guarded task forces against aerial assault since the 1960s — for use against fellow surface armadas.

The SM-6 gambit helps redress a dangerous shortfall in the surface fleet’s arsenal. Since the Cold War, the U.S. Navy and Air Force have grown accustomed to “standoff” weaponry. Gee-whiz bombs and missiles, that is, boasting such range and precision that U.S. ships and aircraft can strike targets from a safe distance. Outranged foes never get off a shot because their firing range is too short. Hence the low casualty figures among U.S. mariners and airmen during post-Cold War conflicts.


FEBRUARY 9, 2016

In one more night, Russian military intelligence would have been without a director for almost a full month. But an appointment was finally made — and it was the obvious, continuity candidate. So is there anything to be read in this delay and this seeming non-story? There certainly is.

We learned three things. That the Kremlin wants to put trusted men in key security positions. That the military, while kept out of much of the decision-making process these days, still knows how to stonewall. And that the new chief is starting already in an uncomfortable position: Does he try to rebuild bridges with the Kremlin by sugarcoating the intelligence?

Gen. Igor Sergun, head of the agency, died of heart failure on January 3. He led an organization stranded in limbobetween its old name, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU: Glavnoe ravzedyvatel’noe upravlenie), and the ambiguous alternative, the Main Directorate (GU).


FEBRUARY 9, 2016

Recent gains by the Assad regime in its ongoing northern offensive — in particular, the recapture of the Shiite towns of Nubl and Zahra — pose asignificant geostrategic threat to Turkey and the opposition groups based in and around Azaz. The regime and its allies are now in a favorable position to cut the lines of communication between the Turkish border areas and the rebel-held city of Aleppo. Such an outcome now seems inevitable given major Russian and Iranian support for regime forces. As a matter of fact, the regime, backed by the Russian air-ground campaign, has been successfully advancing towards the Turkish frontier areas at the time of writing. In this regard, it should be noted that the Russian air force detachment in Syria enjoys high sortie rates as a result of Hmeymim Airbase’s proximity and an effective sortie-to-strike ratio stemming from good intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). An expansion of Russian military advisors on the ground has enabled efficient coordination between close air support platforms and advancing Syrian Arab Army units, while the elite Iranian Quds Forces and Lebanese Hezbollah drive forward fueled by sectarianism and experience in hybrid conflicts.

Nuclear Power In Middle East: Strategic And Economic Significance – Analysis

By Giancarlo Elia Valori*
FEBRUARY 10, 2016

If we look at the latest data, the OPEC countries – or anyway the Middle East countries – are those which are investing more resources in nuclear power. Iran, for example, was the first State to directly place a nuclear reactor into the electricity grid for civilian uses in 2011.

Despite the JCPOA recently signed by Iran with the P5+1 which, however, will certainly not stop the Iranian military-civilian research, the Shi’ite country is playing on nuclear power, together with the other countries, for the following reasons: a) nuclear power makes available crude oil quantities which shift from the internal market to foreign sales; b) nuclear power extends the life cycle of oil wells, most of which are now aging, since it reduces domestic demand; c) the use of nuclear power allows a civilian-military “dual use “, independent and autonomous from the old regional alliances, which are now all definitively under crisis.

CIA Releases New Unclassified Edition of “Studies in Intelligence”

February 8, 2016

The CIA just released online the latest unclassified edition (Vol. 59, No. 4) of the Agency’s in-house professional journal STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE. Here are the articles contained in the new unclassified edition:

Intelligence in Public Media

DNI’s 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper’s Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Why aren’t Indians using Wikipedia to hold the government to account?

Feb 06, 2016

Thanks to modern science and technology, the treasury of human material as well as intellectual and cultural wealth is overflowing. Enormous quantities of information are exchanged today at lightning speed, and incredible numbers of people separated by great distances are in constant touch with one another. Two contrasts characterise this world: on the one hand, disparities are growing in material wealth, and on the other, there is growing equality in access to informational and cultural resources.

The inequities in material wealth has accelerated the rate of degradation of the natural world, but at the same time progressive laws flowing from equality in intellectual wealth are helping people combat the degradation. This is one reason why, as much as ever, a well-informed citizenry is the lifeblood of social progress. Ensuring that citizens have ready access to reliable information is the prime responsibility of all of us, including obviously of our governments.

Wayward rulers

US Intel Sees Georgia’s Western Orientation At Risk – OpEd

By Joshua Kucera
FEBRUARY 10, 2016

United States intelligence believes that Georgia could reverse its strategic orientation toward the West under Russian pressure, the country’s top intelligence official has said.

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress on Tuesday, offering the U.S. intelligence community’s annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment.” The short section dealing with the Caucasus and Central Asia offers some interesting insights into how American government spooks and analysts see developments in the region. Perhaps the most intriguing statement is that on Georgia, which suggests that Georgia may be rethinking its Euro-Atlantic orientation, in part due to Russian efforts:

Even as Georgia progresses with reforms, Georgian politics will almost certainly be volatile as political competition increases. Economic challenges are also likely to become a key political vulnerability for the government before the 2016 elections. Rising frustration among Georgia’s elites and the public with the slow pace of Western integration and increasingly effective Russian propaganda raise the prospect that Tbilisi might slow or suspend efforts toward greater Euro-Atlantic integration. Tensions with Russia will remain high, and we assess that Moscow will raise the pressure on Tbilisi to abandon closer EU and NATO ties.

N. Korea rocket appears to have longer range: Seoul

By Park Chan-Kyong
Seoul (AFP) Feb 9, 2016

The rocket launched by North Korea at the weekend seemed more powerful than its 2012 predecessor, but Pyongyang still lacks the expertise to transform it into a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland, South Korean officials said Tuesday.

The comments came as leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan discussed how to punish the North for its latest defiant launch and nuclear test, eyeing "strong and effective" UN sanctions.

The rocket, carrying an Earth observation satellite, blasted off on Sunday morning and, according to North Korean state TV, achieved orbit within 10 minutes.

The launch, which violated multiple UN resolutions, was widely seen as an act of open defiance just weeks after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.

It sparked strong international condemnations and resulted in an agreement at the UN Security Council to move quickly to impose new sanctions.

The Pentagon said it wanted to send a sophisticated missile defence system to South Korea and that the two sides would start formal discussions on placing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) on the North's doorstep.

Obama unveils national cybersecurity action plan

Clay Dillow
9 Feb 2016 

President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University in Palo Alto on February 13, 2015.

The White House's Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) unveiled today to fortify America's digital defenses is the latest effort to protect Americans, government agencies and companies against the growing number of cyberattacks aimed at everything from national defense and health care to personal consumer data.

It's not surprising that Obama has a request to Congress to boost cybersecurity spending to $19 billion for fiscal year 2017, a 35 percent increase over this fiscal year. The White House also wants to launch a $3.1 billion Information Technology Modernization Fund to retire and replace aging systems in the federal government. To oversee all initiatives, President Obama plans to create a federal chief information officer who would coordinate cybersecurity practices across agencies.

DOD and Silicon Valley X Men

The Pentagon’s Struggle With Electronic Warfare Technology

Thomas Gibbons-Neff
February 10, 2016

‘We don’t have the gear’: How the Pentagon is struggling with electronic warfare

In the future, many of the most effective weapons used against the U.S. military are likely to be unseen: electromagnetic waves that disrupt radios or jam global positioning systems, paralyzing units.

This realm of fighting is called electronic warfare, and since the 9/11 attacks it’s been relegated to a lower priority than fighting insurgent groups with precision guided munitions and drones. Now, defense officials say they’re worried that the U.S. military’s ability to counter and wage electronic warfare has atrophied and is lagging behind countries such as Russia and China.

“We don’t have the gear,” Col. Jeffrey Church, the head of the Army’s electronic warfare division, said in a recent interview. “We’re working on getting it, [but] we’re talking years down the road, when our adversaries are doing this right now.”

One place where the United States’ adversaries have displayed their proficiency in electronic warfare is in eastern Ukraine, where the Pentagon has watched Russian forces with a wary eye, gleaning what they can from the country’s reinvigorated military.

NSA Merging Its Cyberwar and Hacking Operations Into a New Organization

February 9, 2016

National Security Agency merging offensive, defensive hacking operations

The U.S. National Security Agency on Monday outlined a reorganization that will consolidate its spying and domestic cyber-security operations, despite recommendations by a presidential panel that the agency focus solely on espionage.

The NSA said the reorganization, known as “NSA21,” or NSA in the 21st century, will take two years to complete, well into the first term of whoever is elected president in November.

A review board appointed by President Barack Obama recommended in December 2013 that the NSA concentrate solely on foreign intelligence gathering. The board’s recommendations came as the United States was reeling from disclosures from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the collection of vast amounts of domestic and international communications data.

Under the board’s plan, a separate agency would have been housed within the Department of Defense with responsibility for enhancing the security of government networks and assisting corporate computer systems.

Yet Another Cybersecurity Manager Position Added to US Intelligence Community Bureaucracy

Obama administration plans new high-level cyber official

Associated Press

February 9, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is creating a new high-level federal official to coordinate cybersecurity across civilian agencies and to work with military and intelligence counterparts, as part of its 2017 budget proposal announced Tuesday.

The $19-billion increase in cybersecurity funding across all government agencies — up more than from 35 percent from last year — is entitled the “Cybersecurity National Action Plan” and is an effort touted by the White House as the “capstone” of seven years of often faltering attempts to build a cohesive, broad federal cybersecurity response. Measures include more cybersecurity training for the private sector, emphasizing multi-factor authentication on tax data and government benefits and efforts to reduce the use of Social Security numbers as identifiers.

The tasking of a single high-level official with tracking down cyber intruders in federal government networks establishes a position long in place at companies in the private sector. The lack of such a government role has been especially notable after hackers stole the personal information of 21 million Americans, whose information was housed at the Office of Personnel Management. The U.S. believes the hack was a Chinese espionage operation.


FEBRUARY 9, 2016

On January 28, the congressionally mandated National Commission on the Future of the Army released its much-anticipated report. It weighs in at about 200 pages and offers 63 recommendations that range from the size of Army endstrength (about right) to the amount of artillery and watercraft (need more). The commission took its task seriously, and the report is generating many important discussions. But in one vital area, the commissioners fell short — offering concrete suggestions on how to integrate the active Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard into a truly unified force, especially through multicomponent units.

The report gets many important things right. It validates the essential role played by the Army Guard and Reserve and suggests they be used more routinely for predictable overseas deployments. It rightly attacks the wide range of budgetary and management challenges that stand in the way of fully utilizing the Guard and Reserve. It recommends changing authorities to facilitate current-year funding so the reserve components can be accessed with shorter notice, and it argues for more training and readiness dollars. It wisely suggests unifying the separate personnel systems maintained by each of the three components. Perhaps most strikingly, it recommends keeping some Apache attack helicopters in the National Guard, effectively reversing the last Army chief of staff’s ill-advised decision to putall of this key combat capability in the active force.


FEBRUARY 10, 2016

In late January, Libya’s internationally recognized parliament overwhelmingly rejected a slate of candidates to lead a proposed national unity government. Several days later, the rival parliament reportedly expelled eight of its own members for supporting the plan. The actions of both bodies undercut the U.N.-brokered attempt to end to the country’s civil war. They were also predictable. The biggest obstacle to peace is not that Libyans cannot find common ground, but that they dare not trust each other to share the same ground at the same time.

Recent months have seen a growing urgency surrounding negotiations to resolve the Libyan civil war and form a unity government between the House of Representatives (HoR), the nationalist-leaning and internationally recognized parliament based in Tobruk, and the General National Congress (GNC), the Islamist-leaning parliament based in Tripoli. The urgency is fueled by U.S. and European fears that Libya is emerging as the most dangerous home to the self-proclaimed Islamic State outside of Syria and Iraq, a concern illustrated by President Obama’s recent direction to the National Security Council to provide him with options for confronting the group’s rise in Libya. Over the past year, the Islamic State has expanded its presence over areas of central Libya in fighting against HoR- and GNC-aligned forces. Its fighters have launched audacious attacks against the country’s largest oil terminals and staged suicide bombings across the country. Libya is also a key departure point for migrants heading to Europe and policymakers in Brussels hope ending the conflict can help to stem the human tide.

Lithuanian-Belarus Relations Are On The Rise – Analysis

FEBRUARY 10, 2016
The success of any country’s foreign policy is very often measured by the stance of relationship with neighbors.
Situated in the Western Europe Lithuania shares borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and Russia’s exclave, the Kaliningrad Oblast.

For a long time Lithuania lived in the “shared compartment” – the Soviet Union. Such position for a long time suppressed the national identity of the Lithuanian people and inhibited the development of the State.

But it should be said that restoration of independence in 1990 brought not only long-awaited freedom but challenges to build its own successful foreign policy. Maintaining good relations with all neighboring countries turned out not an easy matter for Lithuania.

More or less predictable and fruitful relations in the region Vilnius has built with Latvia. The relations with Poland still need deep improvements. Ties between Lithuania and Russia almost fully negated. As far as Belarus is concerned, the latest positive achievements show progress in bilateral relations.