23 April 2016

Patriotism In Bastar

School teachers go and hoist the national tricolor. After that Maoists come and hoist a black flag. Teachers are not harassed even for hoisting the tricolor. It has become a routine from many years.

GK Pillai was one of our finest home secretaries in recent times. He is a man of few words and a thorough gentleman. He was speaking on “how to tackle Maoist problem” in a closed door meeting organized by Indian army and I had to interrupt.
I said, it is very rude on my part Mr Pillai, but I will have to stop you here. Mr Pillai was giving details of how many schools Maoists have blown up and how many roads and bridges have got destroyed by them, how many innocent people they have killed. I requested him to also give details of how many teachers and health workers have been killed by Maoists. “We have heard about these figures for far too long”, I said.
I don’t have these figures, he replied.

GK Pillai was talking about Capture, Hold and Develop doctrine of former Home minister P Chidambaram as a possible way to solve this problem. It is odd that when GK Pillai is no more Home Secretary and P Chidambaram is not our Home Minister, we are still discussing old policies and old people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi promptly visited Dantewada soon after taking charge of office and all were enthused that we may see a clear policy but we are yet to see anything substantial after that. So, we are forced to continue to discuss Mr Chidambaram and his policy -- which looks like it is continuing.
The participants in the closed-door meet were also giving statistics of rapes by Maoists.

We also have rapes in our society but we do not call the whole society rapist. Are Maoists not punishing the rapists amongst them? We know they are and Home Secretary and IAS officers should also know.
Maoists are politicians and we may not agree with their politics. They want to bring a new world order using violence, we may disagree. They feel democracy is a waste of time, we may differ but if we use our statistics to prove them a bunch of criminals then we are wasting our time.
Maoists have not harassed any school teacher or a health worker for their work in their entire history of failed revolutions of many decades now. Of course, it is a different matter if a school teacher starts passing on information and a good doctor starts couriering money.
I have seen many blown up school buildings by Maoists. And have also seen a mud hut next to that building which was built with support from Maoists so that the school can function. I have seen Maoists with guns pleading with government school teachers to come to school regularly and asking what they can do to make their life better in the village. Can we help make you a new house for you, what more can we do for you, please tell us, I heard them say. I had also witnessed a Maoist rally demanding teachers to attend school regularly in Narayanpur area in Chhattisgarh some time back.

Ramkrishna Mission health workers work in remote Maoist-controlled areas in Abujhmad region of Chhattisgarh, which is the headquarters of Maoist movement today. But we have never heard of any of them being stopped. Doctors Without Borders is doing good work in remote Bijapur district.
Nearby Narayanpur town has a teacher’s colony, occupied by many of teachers and panchayat workers appointed in the remote Abujhmad region. They do not go to school or panchayats but go to government treasury to collect their monthly salary every month. In Abujhmad villages these teachers are called Jhanda (flag) teachers because they go to their schools only twice a year, once on 15th August and next on 26th January.
They go and hoist the national tricolor. After that Maoists come and hoist a black flag. Teachers are not harassed even for hoisting tricolor by Maoists. It has become a routine from many years.
These teachers have been deshbhakts (patriots) in the time of Chidambaram Ji also.

AFT seeks list of mod properties for attachment after disabled officer denied pension

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Published:April 19, 2016
Lieutenant Amit Vasudev was invalided out of the Army in 2002 just after he was commissioned on account of Spondylolisthesis (displacement of vertebra) but was not released disability pension and was informed that his disability was ‘neither attributable to, nor aggravated by service’.
Annoyed over the denial of disability pension to a Lieutenant who had been medically invalided out of the Army in 2002, the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has asked the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide a list of its properties worth Rs 30 lakh for attachment for non-compliance of the decision.

The bench, headed by Justice Surinder Singh Thakur, passed these orders after learning that the officer had not been released his pension till date despite judicial orders to this effect.
Lieutenant Amit Vasudev was invalided out of the Army in 2002 just after he was commissioned on account of Spondylolisthesis (displacement of vertebra) but was not released disability pension and was informed that his disability was ‘neither attributable to, nor aggravated by service’. In the year 2013 however, when he obtained his documents under the RTI Act, it was discovered that his disability had actually been declared ‘attributable/aggravated’ and pension was illegally denied to him.
When Lieutenant Vasudev approached the AFT for relief, pointing out that he was made to suffer all these years and made to live a life of indignity without any financial support or healthcare, the Army admitted that his case was not processed for release of pension for more than a decade due to an ‘oversight’ at their end. The Tribunal had then directed the authorities to release his pension with 10 per cent interest.
When pension was still not disbursed, the officer was forced to file an execution petition before the Tribunal and finally the Army issued him the sanction letter for pension but without interest but still pension was not released to him.
Observing that the disabled officer who was illegally denied pension for the last 14 years was still being made to run from pillar to post despite a judicial order in his favour, the Chandigarh Bench has directed the MoD to submit a list of its properties for attachment.

** Diffident Dialogue At its own party, India found itself alone and defensive

By Pravin Sawhney
At the recently concluded Raisina Dialogue few essential messages were received, understood, appreciated and acknowledged. India’s enthusiasm to shape the emerging Asian security architecture — by ignoring Pakistan and positioning itself as China’s rival — was not reciprocated by its foreign partners. China’s message that India join its ambitious Asian and global connectivity project got a lukewarm response from Delhi.
The United States’ message that the Indian Navy move beyond joint exercises to joint operations for freedom of seas in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans sent Delhi scurrying for cover. And Pakistan was not found fit enough by India to be mentioned in the regional context let alone join its Asian and global connectivity debate.
The first Raisina Dialogue tipped as India’s flagship conference engaging with geopolitics and geo-economics was organised by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Union ministry of external affairs. Held from March 1 to 3 in New Delhi, it had two themes: To assess prospects and opportunities for Asian integration and Asia’s integration with the world, and to examine India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region. To understand why the Dialogue was flaccid, it is necessary to appreciate the perspective of key players who participated in the Raisina conclave.
The United States was represented by the US Pacific Commander, Admiral Harry Harris responsible for security of the Asia-Pacific region. He proposed that the US and Indian navies move from joint exercises to joint patrols (operations). This set the cat amongst the pigeons. India had perhaps not applied itself that joint patrolling was the natural outcome of joint exercises it had been doing on sea, land and air with the US Pacific Command since 1992.

Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken the decisive step of signing the ‘Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region’ with the US President Barack Obama’s during his India visit in January 2015.
Explaining the rationale of the Joint Strategic Vision, the US ambassador to India, Richard Verma had told the Indian Defence Services Staff College on 24 August 2015, that “both of our countries affirmed that our belief in regional prosperity depends on ensuring freedom of navigation and over flights throughout the region, especially in South China Sea.” Admiral Harris had merely translated the unambiguous political declaration by suggesting joint patrols, a definitive next step towards interoperability. However, for India, which has been unable to develop interoperability within its three defence services — army, navy and air force —, forging interoperability with the US forces was not understood by its political leadership. What was understood was that joint patrols especially in South China Sea, far away from India’s backyard, would annoy China, leading to unpredictable military and economic consequences.
Within days, Admiral Harris’ call for joint patrols was shot down by the defence minister, Manohar Parikkar saying that India was not considering such a move. Leading Indian commentators expressed consternation at US’ penchant for public diplomacy. It was argued that the Modi government, unlike the earlier Manmohan Singh government, had been audacious in reaching out to the US and Japan. However, it would prefer quiet rather than public diplomacy conducted by Admiral Harris.

** Does Heightened Security Really Matter After Terrorists Strike?

-- this post authored by Scott Stewart
Brian Michael Jenkins and his team at the RAND Corp. recently released the results of a statistical analysis of terrorist attacks. Designed to determine whether terrorist attacks occur in clusters, the study examined terrorist activity in the United States and Western Europe from 1970 to 2013.
In conducting their analysis, Jenkins and his team divided data on attacks from the Global Terrorism Database into three eras: 1970-1993, 1994-2002, and 2003-2013. The statistics showed that in the first two time periods, additional attacks were more likely to follow in the wake of a "triggering event" such as a significant attack. During these eras, the study found that domestic terrorist organizations in the United Kingdom (Provisional Irish Republican Army) and Spain (Basque ETA) accounted for 75 percent of the clustering. In the most recent era, however, there was no evidence of clustering.

The study's conclusion has serious implications for authorities and citizens. Although clustering was not detected in the 2003-2013 period, the researchers noted that the incidence of terrorist attacks in the United States and Western Europe has dramatically fallen since 9/11 because of increased security. And even though Jenkins and his team noted that their findings do not imply that locally increased security is unwarranted after an attack, this is the conclusion many have drawn. It's dangerous to base security policy merely on historical statistics - especially if one attempts to apply it universally.
The Limits of the Study
Universal conclusions should not be drawn from the study because it accounts only for terrorist attacks in the United States and Western Europe. Despite an increase in the number of terrorist attacks worldwide, attacks in the United States and Western Europe have declined.

The nature of jihadist terrorism often requires transnational groups to send operatives from abroad to attack hostile territory. Conducting terrorist attacks from a distance is cumbersome for operations security purposes, and the attack cycle for long-range attacks can be quite protracted. For example, both the 9/11 and 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks took years to plan and execute. Coordinating consecutive long-range, long-distance attacks can be all the more difficult because a cell's logistical channels are often discovered and cut off after the first incident. Al Qaeda's failure to conduct its oft-threatened follow-up attack to 9/11 is good evidence of this complication. Jihadist groups have therefore shifted their operational model to include leaderless resistance initiatives for equipping grassroots operatives. Groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula adopted a strategy to attack the United States by targeting American aircraft with bombs sent from abroad.

Of a strong man and a beautiful woman

Thursday, 21 April 2016 | Claude Arpi |
Manohar Parrikar's four-day visit to China will accelerate India-China security dialogue, but it’s unlikely the Defence Minister will discuss about the difficult situation faced by people living in border area of Demchok
As Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived in Beijing on a four-day visit, The Global Times asserted: “India would like to continue to be the most beautiful woman wooed by all men, notably the two strongest in the house, US and China.” The mouthpiece of the Communist Party was particularly referring to the Logistics Support Agreement, signed when the US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter came to Delhi a few days earlier.
The usually hard-hitting newspaper explained: “This is not an unfamiliar role to India. We can still recall how its diplomatic manoeuvring had earned itself a special role between the two competing blocs during the Cold War.”
Well, it is doubtful if Beijing will fall in an Indian honey trap during the Defence Minister’s visit and agree to some of the Indian demands. Apart from the usual requests, such as China providing maps of their perception of the Line of Control, the difficult situation of the border populations in Ladakh should be taken up. Let me explain.
While the number of Chinese intrusions across the LAC is slightly less due to the mechanisms put in place between Delhi and Beijing, the Chinese refuse the ‘permission’ to the villagers in the Demchok area to undertake basic work on the Indian side of the border.

On April 13, just four days before Parrikar’s departure, The Daily Excelsior reported: “Frustrated with the Chinese Army’s frequent intervention raising objection on carrying out any kind of developmental activities near the borders areas, the inhabitants of Demchok village, residing on the Indo-China border, have demanded resettlement.”
On April 8, the Scientific Advisory Committee from Nyoma tried to pacify the inhabitants of the 39 households in Demchok who refused to end their dharna; later a delegation approached Prasanna Ramaswamy, the Deputy Commissioner in Leh, demanding to be shifted; the People’s Liberation Army had raised some objection over the villagers laying a pipe line from a hot spring for drinking water. The residents of Demchok listed several instances, when the PLA stopped them to undertake developmental work.
According to The Daily Excelsior: “The residents had put up a tent at bank of Demchok nallah with national flag on its top, insisting the administration to shift them somewhere as the Chinese objected to carry out any kind of developmental activities in their village since 2000.”
On their side of the nallah, which for centuries marked the border, the Chinese do not face any Indian objections. In the last couple of years, Beijing has invested millions of yuans to develop the area along the Indus river from Tashigong, the first Tibetan village, to a place they call ‘Dian-jiao’ (the Chinese pronunciation for Demchok). They have even roped in the Shaanxi Province which provides the necessary funds for development. New buildings (particularly guest houses) can clearly be seen from the Indian side.

Though Demchok has been the first Ladakhi village since immemorial times, during the negotiations for the Panchsheel Agreement in 1954, China refused to acknowledge this. Due to China’s reticence to recognise Demchok, the talks went on for four months (from December 1953 to April 1954), instead of the expected three or four weeks. The main Chinese objection was mentioning Demchok on the route to Western Tibet.
On April 23, 1954, a few days before the final signature of the Agreement, N Raghavan, the Indian Ambassador to China, wrote to RK Nehru, the Foreign Secretary, that Chang Han-fu, the Chinese negotiator ‘vigorously’ objected to the inclusion of Demchok in the Agreement: “(He) conceded that traders customarily using this route might continue such use but said an oral understanding to that effect between two delegations would suffice. We strongly contended inclusion of route in Agreement.”
Very cleverly, another Chinese diplomat ‘privately’ told TN Kaul, his Indian counterpart, that he was objecting because they were not keen to mention the name ‘Kashmir’ as they did not wish to take sides between India and Pakistan. Though Kaul could see through the game, India finally gave in. Kaul later wrote: “However, their real objection was, I believe, to strengthening their claim to Aksai Chin which they needed for linking Sinkiang (Xinjiang) with Western Tibet.”
Finally it was agreed that: “the customary route leading to Tashigong along the valley of the Indus river may continue to be traversed in accordance with custom was worked out and Delhi approved it.”
Demchok was not mentioned. The issue faced by the villagers is the outcome of this formulation. In 1954, instead of using the opportunity to clarify the already contentious border issue, the Chinese were allowed to walk away with a vague statement which opened the door for future contestations.

** Mukesh Ambani could own every journalist in the next five years: P Sainath


By : P Sainath Last Updated: Wed, Apr 20, 2016 
“One problem with the fourth estates of democracy i.e. the media, is that of the four it’s the only one that is profit seeking. And in this city (Mumbai) it is very difficult to tell the difference between the fourth estate and real estate. India has a society that is incredibly diverse, heterogeneous and complex, reported by a media that is shrinking to narrower control. The more your society is heterogeneous, the more your media is getting homogeneous. That is an incredible, irreconcilable contradiction. Look at the nature of panels and debates on Television. What is their social composition? Who are the columnists in newspapers? It’s an extremely small, incestuous circle. The most sympathetic response to farmer suicides I have received, have come from institutions associated with the armed forces. Why? Because many of our jawans are kisans in uniform. A senior officer at a training institute for soldiers once told me that he was worried about the boys from Maharashtra. They fear a call from village. When they call their families they are happy but not if they get a call from home. They don’t’ want to know what happened to whom.
There is such a close relationship between a jawan and kisan.. they are practically the same class. Where does the national vs. anti-national debate come from? From people whose ideological forebears never participated in national struggle, who gave whining apology to the British to be let out of prison while others died. People who assassinated the father of the nation will now teach you nationalism. Today you have an entire generation robbed of its history. They have no clue what happened in the national struggle, who did what, who were the nationalists and who were the collaborators of British imperialism. Major changes have taken place. Angry though I am at individual editors and anchors, I think there are much larger processes at work destroying journalism. Without addressing these, just changing anchors won’t help. These anchors are there because they are allowed to be there. In the last 20 odd years we have reduced journalism to a revenue stream. This has happened because of the corporatisation of media. Entities controlling the media today are larger, more powerful than we have ever known. In the last 25-30 years the concentration of media ownership has taken place rapidly and massively. 
Take the case of the largest network: Network 18. It is owned by Mukesh Ambani. All of you know the many channels of the ETV network. How many of you know that except the Telugu channel, all others are also owned by Mukesh Ambani just as he owns many other channels across the country? If we all remain in journalism for five more years, we could all be owned by him. He does not know the names of all the channels he owns. Yet he could issue a fatwa stating that Aam Aadmi Party will not be covered during elections and it will be done. The commercial interests of these channels represent the commercial interests of the largest corporations of the country. So you are going to have extreme tightening and control of content. In the last 20 odd years, the owners of the corporations that own and control media have been the biggest beneficiaries of neoliberalism and privatisation of public resources. Everyone seems to forget that Manmohan Singh was treated like a god for the first five years. All those great anchors in 2009 had said this victory was not of the Congress party but is Manmohan Singh’s victory, that it is the victory of economic reforms. Now keep watch, the next round of privatization is on the anvil. And who would gain from these? If mining is being privatised - the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, Adanis all of them will be the big beneficiaries. When natural gas is privatised, Essar and Ambanis will benefit. And from the Spectrum - Tatas, Ambanis, Birlas. Your media owners are poised to be the biggest beneficiaries of policies of the privatisation of public resources. They will get into the banks as well when those are privatised. Now here’s the bite. They invested a few years in building up a fuehrer like figure called Narendra Modi, reducing all his rivals to dust consigned to the dustbin of Gujarat and Delhi. But he has not been able to deliver. And they don’t know what to do. He has not been able to push his land acquisition bill. He has not been able to do a lot of things you have been salivating for. They are angry with Modi but they don’t have a replacement. What do they do? So finally we are seeing some amount of leeway in the media, a little bit of whining now and then. I say again that the Indian media is politically free but imprisoned by profit. That is the character of Indian media. 

HRD ministry for IPR status to massive open online course,to make it global brand


By Anubhuti Vishnoi, ET Bureau | 21 Apr, 2016, 

Why It’s Best To Stay Away From Buying LIC Policies

Vivek Kaul,  April 21, 2016
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India is also India’s biggest investment firm.
The insurance policies that LIC sells are basically investment plans with a dash of insurance.
Data tells us that LIC is doing a terrible job of managing public money.
The investment management capabilities of LIC are very bad
The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India is India’s biggest insurance company. It is also India’s biggest investment firm.
It is so big that it keeps coming to the rescue of the government now and then, when the government cannot find enough buyers for the financial securities that it wants to sell.
Nevertheless, the question is, how good is LIC when it comes to generating returns on the investments it makes?

Before we figure that out, it is good to point out that LIC is basically an investment firm which also sells insurance. A major portion of the money that it collects as premium from Indians, against the so called insurance policies that it sells, is invested in stocks and bonds (both private as well as government).
The insurance policies that LIC sells are basically investment plans with a dash of insurance. And given that the premium that it collects and in turn invests, should be generating decent returns for the policyholders (actually investors). Of course, the tragedy is that most of these policy holders don’t even know that they are actually investors.
So how do things look? The accompanying table gives us the investment track record of LIC between 2005-2006 and 2014-2015. As is clear from the table the investment record of LIC has been dismal to say the least.
In 2014-2015, the investment firm earned a return of 7 percent on its investments. The average return on the 10-year government bond during the course of the year was 8.3 percent. The investment return of LIC was 130 basis points lower than the average return on a 10-year government bond. One basis point is one hundredth of a percentage. [These numbers may not reflect mark-to-market on certain investments and hence the investment income may be higher, though it cannot meaningfully alter the returns.]

Modi govt is acting like a bull in China shop


Ten years back, the in-house journal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had carried an article – penned by none other than the incumbent foreign secretary S. Jaishankar who was heading the America Division at that time – passionately arguing that India and America should jointly work to promote democracy in China.
I’d read it with amusement as the maverick view of an immature mind and thought the author was probably only imitating the neocons in America during the George W. Bush presidency whose dogmas were fashionable among the Indian foreign-policy elites at that time.
But, apparently, S. Jaishankar was merely ahead of his time by a decade. He was spelling out an agenda whose time has come 10 years later under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship of India’s ‘defining partnership’ with the United States.
The Deccan Herald newspaper reported today that the Modi government proposes to promote democracy in China. The government is pioneering a Track II event that espouses the liberation of Xinjiang from the Chinese yoke.
The venue of the Track II is the abode of the Dalai Lama up in the Himalayas in the vicinity of Xinjiang – Dharamsala. The World Uyghur Congress leader Dolkun Isa, whom Beijing has listed as a ‘terrorist’, will be the star performer at the 4-day conference that begins on April 28.
Indeed, Chinese dissidents of all hues are flying in, including, curiously, a US-based Chinese activist who was behind the Tiananmen Square incidents of 1989. (Deccan Herald)
From all appearance, India is dusting up an old CIA file that had worked on the democracy project to stifle the communist system in China in its cradle. This is a plausible meaning of what is unfolding. From a mile, the participants at the Track II in Dharamsala resemble CIA “assets”.

Now, we have just about 3 years in hand before China celebrates the 70thanniversary of the communist revolution of 1949. It’s a tough call for the Modi government to spoil the party – even with the CIA’s backing.
So, India now becomes an exponent of ‘liberation movement in China. However, with the solitary exception of Bangladesh, India had traditionally steered clear of democracy projects in neighbouring countries. But then, Modi government is also selective. It steers clear of promoting democracy in Saudi Arabia and the UAE or the Central Asian states – although Modi knows these authoritarian regimes first-hand.
Herein lies the paradox, which only throws into relief the failure of diplomacy towards China. Indeed, India’s China policies have become curiouser and curiouser. A period of drift is giving way to a phase of chill and hostility. (See my article in Rediff It’s chill time for Indo-Chinese relations.)

India's Pakistan policy runs into China's Great Wall

April 21, 2016 
'China knows the best way of twisting the knife in its dealings with India: By launching a major incursion into Indian territory,' says Rajeev Sharma.
India seems to have run into the Great China Wall in its diplomatic attempts to talk China out of backing its all-weather friend Pakistan on the terror issue. Indications are that China will continue to rebuff India every now and then on matters pertaining to Pakistan.
This is a worrying sign for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government which will complete two years in office on May 26.
The Chinese have heard strong pitches made by two key Indian ministers on New Delhi's reservations about the Chinese policy of bailing out Pakistan on the issue of terror before world bodies like the United Nations, but have not held out any assurances to the Indians, thus giving important signals that this Chinese policy would continue.
Two Cabinet ministers have taken up with China in the past three days the issue of the Chinese 'hidden veto' before the United Nations Sanctions Committee in blocking the Indian move seeking action against Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar.

While External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the issue with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the RIC foreign ministers' trilateral meeting, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar broached the subject with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan during his maiden visit to China.
Another important Indian official, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is in China and has just held the 19th round of Special Representatives-level talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, is inevitably set to discuss the Azhar issue with his Chinese interlocutors even more substantively even though official versions may downplay it.
Doval is also scheduled to have a strategic dialogue with his Chinese interlocutors as he is visiting China not merely as SR, but in a much more exalted position as Prime Minister Modi's special envoy.
Doval's strategic dialogue with the Chinese, being held after a gap of over one year, will feature an in-depth discussion on the China-Pakistan relationship which has a direct impact on India-China ties.

Nawaz Sharif and the Panama Papers: A National Quagmire for Pakistan


* Pakistani Patronage of Haqqani Network Continues Undeterred as US Turns a Blind Eye


That the US continues to reward Pakistan’s patronage of jihadists will only lead to the vicious circle continuing uninterrupted, while Afghanistan and India will have to live with consequences of such dangerously aberrant behaviour in their immediate neighbourhood.

The National Security Archive at the George Washington University has published a cache of declassified documents from the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dating from 2008 through 2010, that gives a glimpse into the financial and logistical connections of the Haqqani network (HQN). Among these heavily redacted cables are two transmissions, fromJanuary 11, 2010 and February 6, 2010, which indicate that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate gave $200,000 to the HQN for the December 30, 2009 jihadist attack on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Chapman, a CIA facility in Khost, Afghanistan. The cables note that until the end of 2009, regular monthly meetings were held between HQN ringleader Sirajuddin Haqqani (who has lead the group since 2005 when his father and HQN founder Jalaluddin retired), his brother Badruddin Haqqani and some ISI officers. The cables name some ISI officers – a Colonel Nasib and a Major Daoud [sic] – who participated in a meeting in which an unknown amount of funds were disbursed to the HQN to launch attacks in Khost. In another meeting the ISI handlers told the HQN “to expedite attack preparations and lethality in Afghanistan”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has since rejected the charge, calling it “preposterous” and added that “Pakistan has through a series of military operations, severely damaged and weakened the TTP and other militant and terrorist organizations”.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had indeed claimed the FOB Chapman attack and released a video featuring Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi aka Abu Dujanah al-Khurasani with TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud. The attack, the video and now the DIA cables, however, corroborate what is known about the HQN’s overlap and links with the TTP and the al-Qaeda on the one hand and the ISI on the other. In their 2013 authoritative book, Fountainhead of Jihad: Haqqani Nexus, US scholars Vahid Brown and Don Rassler note, “The first organization to celebrate the attack publicly was al-Qaida, which noted in its media release that the ‘the appropriate media entity will publish his [the suicide bomber’s] story … in a proper production.’ This statement suggests that al-Qaida had prior knowledge of the attack and that the TTP was soon planning to release a video about the incident.”

Are The Japanese And Ecuador Earthquakes Related?

from The Conversation
-- this post authored by Mark Quigley and Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Japan on Friday, causing widespread injuries and property damage. Then on Saturday evening, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Ecuador on the other side of the Pacific, collapsing buildings and killing more than 350 people.
With two large earthquakes happening only days apart, it might look like they're connected. But how earthquakes influence each other is rather complex, particularly over long distances.
Large earthquakes are caused by the rupture of faults that are a few tens of kilometres long for magnitude 7, to more than 1,000 kilometres for magnitude 9 and above.
The local perturbations caused by the sudden shift of rock mass across a large rupture results in a cascade of smaller earthquakes, called aftershocks, at distances roughly equivalent to the length of initial fault rupture. Aftershock rates peak immediately following the mainshock and decay exponentially with time.
However, if nearby faults are locked and already stressed, more damaging earthquakes may be triggered in the short term. The 2004 Sumatra magnitude (Mw) 9.2 and 2005 Mw 8.6 Nias earthquakes are the best known examples of short-term "clustering" of very large quakes.

Sumatran earthquake sequence for the 12 month period from 26/08/2004 to 25/08/2005 encompassing the 2004 Boxing Day Mw 9.2 and 2005 March Nias Mw 8.6 quakes. The y-axis shows each earthquake's latitude. The initial 2004 Boxing Day ruptured some 1,300 kms northward from the initial rupture point near Banda Aceh (blue arrows), with aftershocks distributed all the way along the ruptured fault segment. The March 2005 Nias event ruptured an adjacent segment of the plate boundary to the south of the 2004 Boxing Day rupture, inducing a distinct aftershock sequence. In total almost 4,500 aftershocks of magnitude greater than 4 were recorded in the nine month period to late August 2005, of which about 560 were greater than 5. Note also how aftershock intensity tails off exponentially with time. Image by Mike Sandiford
A clear message from earthquake scientists to the public is that the most dangerous time for future large earthquakes in an affected region is immediately (within days to weeks) following a major earthquake.

The recent Nepal earthquakes in 2015 (Mw 7.8 and 7.3 within 17 days) provide further evidence for this.
Certainly, authorities in Ecuador, Panama, Colombia and Peru will be well aware of the importance of reiterating future hazards to the region posed by aftershocks, other strong earthquakes, tsunami, and other earthquake-triggered hazards in the aftermath of the Mw 7.8 earthquake on Saturday.
Remotely triggered earthquakes
But can earthquakes on one side of the globe trigger earthquakes on the other? And should we be concerned about the apparent global surge of earthquakes?
Large earthquakes send out seismic "shivers" that are recorded by seismographs around the globe. As these seismic surface waves pass through distant fault zones, they do occasionally trigger small earthquakes.

* No Exit in China

April 13, 2016

In the 18th century after a passing breeze caused him to lose his place in a book, a Chinese scholar named Xu Jun wrote this short poem: "The clear breeze is illiterate, so why does it insist on rummaging through the pages of a book?" Though this couplet was seemingly harmless, the Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty (1645-1911) executed Xu in 1730 for seditious thought. The Qing, invaders from the Manchurian steppe whose dynastic name meant "clear" or "pure," were acutely sensitive to the insinuation that they were illiterate barbarians despite adopting the trappings of Chinese civilization. Countless other poets shared Xu's fate during the dynasty's infamous literary inquisitions. While this paranoia appears excessive, it was a reflection of a very real problem for the Manchus.

The Qing, like all other Chinese central governments, struggled to contain dissent across a continent-sized empire. This proved doubly difficult because a small number of ethnic Manchus ruled over a far larger population of resentful Han Chinese. Han rebellion, which often coalesced around the purported superiority of Han culture, was a constant threat, shaking the foundations of the empire from the mid-19th century. Eventually, Han-led revolution swept away the Qing - and the entire imperial Chinese system - in 1911, leading to the formation of the Republic of China. This, in turn, quickly split along factional lines into warlord cliques. Truly effective central rule did not return until the Communists seized power in 1949.

Paranoia appears to be on the upswing in China once again as President Xi Jinping attempts to force painful structural reforms past resentful provincial and local governments, the bitter medicine for years of distortions imposed by China's wave of economic stimulus. Outwardly, he seems well poised to do this. Observers often call him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. On the outside, it appears to be true. Xi is in the midst of an epochal housecleaning with his anti-corruption campaign, which has disrupted countless power networks and, in the process, created numerous enemies.

Since 2012, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party's top anti-graft agency, has investigated and punished hundreds of thousands of officials. The campaign is set to continue, with all arms of the government completed before the 19th Party Congress in 2017. By doing this, Xi has eliminated political rivals, and seemingly, the system of consensus-based politics that had prevailed in China since 1978 - a system intended to be a hold on the emergence of individualistic dictatorship and the policy ills that flowed from it. It is a system now seen by Xi as unsuitable for handling China's entangled economic problems, such as overcapacity in heavy industry and ballooning corporate debt. But China's ruling authorities are behaving as if they are anything but secure - since February, Chinese censors have responded harshly to seemingly innocent slips in the press. Beijing's harsh response suggests that political struggle is more intense in China than it has been in decades.

Reading Between the Lines on China's Paranoia

Ahead of the annual plenary sessions of China's National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC), Xi embarked on a widely publicized tour of China's top three state media outlets. During the tour, the media was encouraged to swear unflinching loyalty to the party - effectively Xi himself, who had recently cast himself as the "core of the Party." The surname of the media, Xi demanded, must be "the Party." Within days, the CCDI launched an anti-corruption investigation targeting both the Central Propaganda Department and the government's top censorship agency. The message was clear - Xi was demanding even more obedience from the already heavily controlled state media.

The impact of China on Europe and Central Asia

Abstract The economies of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are facing complex challenges. In the eastern part of the region the task of governments is to orchestrate a coordinated crisis response. The collapse of oil revenues and the associated decline in remittances triggered a chain reaction of shocks. Adjustment to these shocks requires a new monetary policy regime, resolution of serious fragilities in banking sectors, fiscal reforms that put government finances on a sustainable path, while guaranteeing fair burden sharing, and facilitation of job creation in sectors that compete internationally. In the western part of the region policy coordination within the European Union is being tested by the refugee crisis and a possible Brexit. Meanwhile the Chinese economy has slowed down and is in the process of fundamental transformation. Also these developments have major impacts on the ECA region. The report analyses all these challenges and points at the opportunities to become more competitive in global markets. See Less -


Author Timmer, Hans; Bussolo, Maurizio; Gould, David Michael; Letelier, Raquel Alejandra; Nguyen, Tu Chi; Panterov, Georgi Lyudmilov; Shaw, William; Ushakova, Ekaterina; Burns, Andrew; Izvorski, Ivailo V.; Pigato, Miria A.; Sanchez, Carolina;
Document Date 2016/04/01 06:07:05
Document Type Publication
Report Number 104605
Volume No 1
Total Volume(s) 1
Country Europe and Central Asia;
Region Europe and Central Asia;
Disclosure Date 2016/04/07 06:06:18
Disclosure Status Disclosed
Doc Name The impact of China on Europe and Central Asia

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*The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.

How savvy, social shoppers are transforming Chinese e-commerce

By Kevin Wei Wang, Alan Lau, and Fang Gong
Our latest survey finds emerging sources of growth in the world's largest e-commerce market, creating opportunities for companies that act quickly. With the most Internet users of any country, China is the world’s largest and fastest-growing e-commerce market. Capitalizing on opportunities, however, is becoming harder for consumer-facing companies as e-commerce penetration rates plateau in high-tier cities and as digital attackers, especially in the online-to-offline space, cut into incumbents’ margins.

China’s digital evolution
How the country’s consumption habits are changing. According to McKinsey’s latest survey of China’s Internet users, promising sources of e-commerce growth are emerging. The research points to areas with major growth potential: the uptake of online shopping among consumers in low-tier cities, e-commerce penetration beyond first-mover product categories such as apparel, purchases initiated from social media platforms, and the use of cross-border shopping to supplement domestic channels.
Our research also revealed positive trends in multichannel services, known in China as online-to-offline (O2O) services. Some observers have speculated that O2O services have used investment capital to cut their prices and thereby win customers. While this is true for some categories, our survey suggests customers appreciate the convenience and quality of O2O services—particularly travel, dining, and transportation, on which they increase their total spending after they start to use O2O options.
This year’s survey, conducted online during January 2016, engaged more than 3,100 people across a wide range of income levels and household locations. Their responses confirmed our view that the e-commerce and O2O-services markets still hold enormous potential. In this report, we describe changes in Chinese e-commerce and consider the growth prospects associated with trends in low-tier cities, social media, and cross-border shopping. We then turn to the dynamics of the O2O sector and take a closer look at opportunities in travel, dining, and mobility services.

The evolving profile of e-commerce in china At approximately $630 billion of sales in 2015, China’s online retail market is the world’s largest, nearly 80 percent bigger than the United States’, which it overtook some two years ago. E-commerce in China accounts for 13.5 percent of all retail spending, a higher share than that of all large economies but the United Kingdom. Although Chinese e-commerce is forecast to grow strongly in the near term, our survey shows that companies need to prepare for new customer segments, product categories, and sales channels to emerge as dominant sources of future growth.

** China sitting on a tinderbox in Xinjiang

Apr 22, 2016,
Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh (retd)
It is the forbidden lands of Xinjiang that test the Chinese regime’s stranglehold over the global Pan-Islamic wave of puritanical militancy and secessionist tendencies
In the province, the majority Uyghurs (46.4%) aggressively jostle with Han (39%) to practise, preserve and perpetuate the Uyghur identity and relevance. Photo: Thinkstock China has been a cradle of religio-cultural diversities that were historically tolerated by the various ruling dynasties who claimed the ‘mandate of heavens’ to shape the overarching traditions, philosophies and cultures as opposed to the rigidity of a formal and definitive religion. However, since the Communist Party of China’s reign in 1949, Mao Zedong initially suppressed all expressions of societal religiosity, only to see a certain liberal acceptance of religious autonomy in recent times, as long as it didn’t conflict with regime survival. Amidst a total population base of 1.4 billion, an estimated 1.7 to 2 per cent are of the Islamic faith (approximately 25 million). In addition to the majority Han population (91.6%), the Chinese government officially recognises 55 ethnic minorities (8.4% of population), of whom 10 are predominantly Sunni Muslims. Old manuscripts claim the advent of Islam to the 620s when Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, uncle of the Islamic Prophet, supposedly came to China on a mission and established the Huaisheng Mosque, over 1,300 year ago. 
Broadly speaking, there are two distinct groups of Islamic adherents in China – the majority Hui people (who are similar to the majority Han Chinese in terms of ethnic-lingual profiles, spread across China) and the more restive Turkic ethnicity based Uyghurs, who are concentrated around the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Interestingly, official Chinese cartography encompasses the Indian territory of Aksai Chin, within the Xinjiang Autonomous region – affording it borders with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and Russia. Within the cauldron of Xinjiang, the majority Uyghurs (46.4% of population) aggressively jostle with Han (39% of population) to practise, preserve and perpetuate the Uyghur identity and relevance. It is the forbidden lands of Xinjiang that test the Chinese regime’s stranglehold over the global Pan-Islamic wave of puritanical militancy and secessionist tendencies – often, resulting in violence, popular unrests and hidden fissures that are kept away from the glares of the world. Chinese absolutism is practised to ensure the lid is kept on the region’s simmering dissent by the Uyghurs. However, the Chinese government’s Uyghur-specific discrimination has resulted in further alienation and hardening of the Uyghur Muslims and their causes of separatism. The famed Chinese ‘strike hard’ approach against the ‘three evils of separatism, extremism and terrorism’ has clearly divided the Islamic adherents into two groups – one of the ‘patriotic Chinese Muslims’, i.e., Hui people (they have no secessionist group or tendencies), who are allowed to practise their faith and beliefs, and the other of the discriminated Uyghur, who pray in different mosques from the Hui, and who have East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as the main secessionist group to form an independent ‘East Turkestan’. The divide-and-rule of the Chinese government is clinically effective with the Hui Muslims seamlessly integrated into the Chinese mainstream. The taint of Islamic terror and fundamentalism is restricted to the Uyghurs. Usual tactics of repressive security cover to blank out news, demographic resettlements of Hans and the economic discriminations have increasingly marginalised the Uyghurs and therefore turned Xinjiang into a veritable tinderbox.
 The footprint of the ETIM is visible from the cadres operating in Afghanistan (where they were trained by Al Qaida and 22 of them were arrested and detained in Guantanamo Bay), Pakistan (where they attacked Chinese engineers in the port city of Gwadar) and even in the ongoing conflict in Syria-Iraq, where the Uyghur cadres are seen fighting along the Al-Qaida affiliate, Nusra Front. However, the ETIM (or Turkistan Islamic Party, as they call themselves) have been designated as a terrorist group by the US under Executive Order 13224 (blocking financial transactions) and the US Terrorist Exclusion List (which debars members from entering US). This terror designation is further confirmed by the UN, UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and obviously China, thereby squeezing and limiting international support and funding. But, they have competing baiters amongst the ISIS, Al-Qaida and even the Taliban who empathise with the Uyghur cause and recruit their foot soldiers, arming and training the frustrated Uyghurs to the ultimate consternation of the Chinese. 
Strategically for China, the import of Xinjiang unrest goes beyond the fears of Uyghur Islamic fundamentalism and militancy – it also tests the Chinese ability to cover its intrinsic fault lines in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Taiwan, each of which has its own secessionist rationales against the mainland-Han Chinese rule. It forces doubts in the minds of the Chinese strategists and policy planners to invest in a restive area that is the principal highway of the strategic China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as indeed the gateway to the energy-flush Central Asian Republics that are key to keep the Chinese engines of economic growth running. So far, heavy boots on ground and providential international environment of most countries clamping down on terror groups has spared Xinjiang from going completely out of control, though over 200 acts of terrorist strikes have been attributed to the ETIM. There is no visible or credible Chinese governmental effort to economically or socially try and integrate the restive Uyghurs. On the contrary, it is the sole ‘strike hard’ approach, bereft of any inclusive imperatives, that is getting deployed and the same has diminishing returns in the modern era, especially for a religious movement and insurrection that knows no official border or emotional appeal amongst the adherents across the globe. Its appeal is theoretically more readily available than say for a Tibet or Taiwan that is restricted to its constituents, beyond a point. Xinjiang is the underbelly of a glaring Chinese reality that potentially posits the duplicitous Chinese stand of vetoing against India in the UN forum towards Indian efforts to designate Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist, as the Chinese still feel comfortable to egg on the Indo-Pak game of cloak and dagger as a willing accomplice of Pakistan. Though like Pakistan, which self-admittedly is atoning the sins of supporting fundamentalism, this is Chinese augury for chickens to come home to roost in Xinjiang. The dynamics and intrigues of international diplomacy may force the wary Western powers and the other stakeholders to recognise the tactical utility of the Xinjiang unrest as a counter-check to Sino aggression, duplicity and hegemony in the region. The writer is former Lt-Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Puducherry. 

Asia’s Silk Road Revival Shows the Age of the West Is Coming to an End

Peter Frankopan Historian at Oxford University; Director of the Oxford Center for Byzantine Research
At the start of his final State of the Union address in January this year, President Obama struck a somber note. “We live in a time of extraordinary change,” he said, “change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet, our place in the world.”
This should not be a cause for alarm, he went on, for “America has been through big changes before — wars and depression, the influx of new immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, movements to expand civil rights.” Citing the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, who warned that it was dangerous to adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past,” he urged Americans to once again think anew, and act anew — to make “change work for us.”
President Obama could equally well have referred to other figures in history who warned of the same perils of failing to adapt in a changing world. “A talent for following the ways of yesterday,” declared King Wu-ling of Zhao in northeastern China, in 307 BC, “is not sufficient to improve the world of today.”
Leaders in the past have always understood how important it was to keep up with the times.

George Yeo explains how trade and cultural inroads are forged not through force, but through a sort of osmosis and persuasion. (Berggruen Institute)
To many living in North America and Europe, today’s world looks unfamiliar, threatening and ominous. Sluggish economies, the closure of once-proud industries — like motor manufacturing and the steel industry — and rising levels of inequality have led the Financial Times to conclude that twenty-somethings in the Western world are part of a uniquely unlucky vintage, all but guaranteed to be worse off than the generation before them.
At home, elections are being fought out in terms of pessimism, exclusion and the raising of barriers. Literally. Talk of walls being built on the border between the United States and Mexico matches the reality of barbed wire being erected across the frontiers of the European Union. Anxiety about the future role of religious fundamentalism and the prospect of terror attacks strike fear into the hearts and minds of commuters, travelers and politicians alike. Marco Rubio even claimed to have spent his Christmas Eve buying a handgun “to protect [his] family” from the so-called Islamic State.

The age of the West is all but at an end when it comes to taking the lead and planning for the future.
The international picture is no less worrying. The dawn of the Arab Spring promised a wave of liberalism and a surge of democracy but has given way to a failing state in Libya, military dictatorship in Egypt and intolerance, suffering and fear across the Middle East. ISIS and its adherents seek to take control not only of territory and oil, but also of history — destroying monuments from the past that clash with a censored vision of what the past should have looked like.

Xi’s Purge Prepares the Chinese Army For Confrontation

By Derek Grossman and Michael Chase On 4/21/16
Much has been made of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s flurry of announcements in recent months signaling major structural reforms to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), scheduled for completion by 2020.
While understanding the details of Xi’s reforms is critical to assessing the direction of PLA modernization going forward, it is also necessary to consider the broader implications of the apparent nature of Xi’s relationship with the military.
Many observers have stated the obvious: Xi, who serves concurrently as China’s President, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), is as “large and in charge” in military circles as he is in Chinese politics more generally.
This certainly appears to be true, but the manner in which he holds sway over the PLA is worthy of more attention than it has received. Xi is relying on an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, echoing Mao Zedong’s dictum that “the party commands the gun,” and implementing a sweeping reorganization of the PLA to ensure his personal dominance over the military and to strengthen its ability to deter or win future wars.

When Xi assumed power in November 2012, he vowed to fight both “tigers” and “flies”—a reference to taking on corrupt leaders at the highest levels as well as lower-level bureaucrats engaged in corrupt practices throughout the Chinese system, and the PLA would be no exception.
The first shot over the bow came against the tigers. In 2014, Xi arrested a former CMC vice chairman, Xu Caihou, for participating in a “cash for ranks” scheme. After expelling Xu from the party, Xi followed up in 2015 with the arrest and purge of another former CMC vice chairman, Guo Boxiong, on similar charges.
The arrests were unprecedented in that Xu and Guo were the two highest-ranking officers in China’s military when they served as CMC Vice chairmen, and their arrests marked the first time the PLA’s highest-level retired officers faced corruption charges.
As of early March 2016, Xi’s anti-corruption campaign had reportedly resulted in the arrest of at least 60 military officers, although the actual numbers could be higher. The military anti-corruption drive is part of a much broader dragnet—all told, throughout China, more than 1,600 individuals are either under investigation for corruption or have been arrested, purged, or sentenced since Xi came to power.

** The Saudi and Gulf Perspective on President Obama’s Visit

APR 20, 2016
Americans have never been particularly good at seeing the world from the viewpoint of other countries. Perhaps it is the production of distance and two oceans, or never having had modern war on U.S. soil, but it seems exceptionally hard for Americans to realize that even friends and allies can have different strategic perspectives, different priorities, and values that differ strikingly from those of a Western secular democracy.
The fact is, however, that America’s strategic ties to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states — which in practice include Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE — have been critical to U.S. strategic interests ever since Britain withdrew from the Gulf, and the loose strategic partnership between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has been progressively more important ever since President Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud on the deck of the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal on February 14, 1945.

A Changing Saudi Arabia
There is no question that Saudis have different values than Americans. Modern Saudi Arabia emerged out of a war with Turkey during World War I, and in the face of British support for a different royal family. It was formed as a conservative and puritanical Sunni Muslim state comprised of a group of tribes under a monarchy. It was one of the poorest countries in the world for the first decades of its existence, and it was not until the first major rise in oil prices in 1973 that Saudi Arabia could afford serious modernization, public services, education, and a modern structure of government and defense.
At the same time, they have been under constant pressure or threats from at least one major neighbors ever since the rise of Nasser in the mid-1950s and British withdrawal from Yemen, and they have faced massive internal pressures for change as their population has increased from some 3.9 million in 1950 to 27.8 million in 2015 — an increase of over seven times with a projected further increase of 45% by 2050.
A once rural and nomadic society is now a hyperurbanized nation that is over 83% urbanized and becoming more urbanized at a rate of 2% per year. A young population — with a median age of 26 — is so young that 27% of the population is 14 years of age or younger, and another 19% is between the ages of 15 and 24.

A population that had virtually no schools for either sex until the early 1950s is now 94% literate, and has a school life expectancy of 16 years. Discrimination against women is all too clear in many areas, but gender bias gives men more social outlets than women, and women spend an average of a year longer in school. They now make up a larger portion of both secondary education and university education (60% are women) than men, and the gross enrollment rate for females is 36.1 percent as opposed to 24.7 percent for males.
Women also have the advantage that they tend to take modern courses while men must often devote significant time to religious instruction. At the same time, the Saudi government has created private universities that do not require religious training, has slowly reformed parts of the overall curriculum, and has tightened restrictions on its religious police. Change is carefully managed, and the rate is limited, but the net cumulative effect is both massive and deliberate. Moreover, it did not react to the tragedy of 9/11 by keeping its best students away from the United States. Instead, it not only created U.S.-managed universities in Saudi Arabia, it raised the number of Saudi students studying in the United States to well over 125,000 in 2015.

* The Underlying Causes of Stability and Instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region

By Anthony H. Cordesman, Abdullah Toukan
Apr 19, 2016
The Burke Chair at CSIS is introducing a two-volume survey of the underlying causes of stability and instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It draws upon the work of Anthony H. Cordesman, the Burke Chair in strategy at the CSIS, and Dr. Abdullah Toukan – a Senior associate at CSIS and President and CEO of Strategic International Risk Assessment (SIRA) in Dubai.
The New Stability and Risk Assessment Reports
The new reports include:
Stability in the MENA Region: Beyond ISIS and War, Volume One: Regional Trends, a comparative survey of the key quantitative civil factors and trends shaping stability and instability in the region. This volume is available on the CSIS website at http://csis.org/files/publication/160419_MENA_Stability_I_Regional.pdf. This volume begins by illustrating the sheer complexity of the forces now shaping the MENA region, and the difficulty of finding any overall model that fits the different variables involved. It explains the broad outline of the risk assessments used in the study — which compare a wide range of quantifiable longer terms trends drawn from a range international sources — with the full knowledge that many factors cannot be reliably quantified or ranked, and there are often serious uncertainties in the data.
The report then surveys various estimates of:

o Governance, Security, Regulation, Rule of Law, Corruption, and Effectiveness
o Corruption
o Authoritarianism, Repression, and Failed Governance: Popular Fears and Concerns
o Popular Perceptions of the State
o War and the Cumulative Human Impact of the “Arab Winter”
o Demographics, and Hyperurbanization
o The Size and Impact of “Youth Bulges
o Societal Change and Human Development
o How Religion and Ideology Interact with Sect and Ethnicity
o Budget Trends and Stability
o Economics, GDP Per Capita and Wealth Distribution
o Finance and Banking
o Ease of Doing Business Indicators
o The “Energy Curse” and the End of the “Petroleum Bubble”?
o Food Cost and Security
o Trade, Balance of Payments, Tourism
o Water, Climate Change, and Drought
o Environment
Stability in the MENA Region: Beyond ISIS and War Volume Two: Country-by-Country Trends, a country-by-country risk assessment and survey of the key quantitative civil factors and trends shaping stability and instability in the region. This volume is available on the CSIS website at http://csis.org/files/publication/160419_MENA_Stability_II_Country.pdf.