7 July 2016

*** ISI and Jihadi Terrorism in South Asia

By Brig Anil Gupta
05 Jul , 2016

The recent terror attack in a highly secure zone of Dhaka where 20 hostages were brutally killed by the terrorists has sent shock waves throughout the civilised world. As per eye witness account the terrorists went about segregating the hostages by asking them to recite religious verses from holy book of a particular religion. Those who could not were brutally killed with sharp edged weapons as if they were making sacrifices. No religion in the world teaches/ encourages such barbaric acts. There is no denying the fact that terror has no religion. But the terrorists do belong to a religion. The analogy of blood is identical.

All blood is of same colour but when it flows in the veins of human beings it is associated to the religion of the individual like ‘blood of Hindus/Muslims/Sikhs/Christians’. It is also true that professed aim of all jihadi terrorist organisations is to establish an ‘Islamic Caliphate’ or Khurasan Wilayate encompassing; India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka; the South Asian landmass. One can also not deny the fact that most of the terrorists or so called jihadis are followers of Islam and their mentors/trainers use certain tenets of Islamic ideology to motivate them and prepare them for jihad. But reverse is also equally true that all followers of Islam are not terrorists. Most of the Muslims world over condemn such acts and term them un-Islamic. Another interesting fact is that most of the leaders of the jihadi-terror groups have not graduated from any famous Islamic university but are self-proclaimed interpreters of Islam.

While ISIS has claimed the ‘Dhaka attack’ as its handiwork, the government of Bangladesh is in a denial mode and is blaming home-grown terrorist groups and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). ISI has been in the forefront of spreading jihadi terror in South Asia particularly India as part of terrorism as a state sponsored policy. What happened in Dhaka does not portray well for India and the signs are ominous. Have the preparations for launch of Ghazwa-i-Hind reached the final phase?

* Is Terror Attack in Dhaka Part of Ghazwa-E-Hind?

By Brig Narender Kumar (Retd.)
05 Jul , 2016

The terror strike at Dhaka should not be taken as an attack on Bangladesh alone, rather it should be seen as part of larger plan of ISIS and Al Qaeda to sound the bugle for Ghazwa-e-Hind (Battle for India).ISIS and Al Qaeda refer Hind and Khurasan to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. In the month of April 2016 during a lecture on “Conflict in West Asia and Rise of ISIS” I was asked to deliberate on the threat from ISIS to India.

My answer was that Bangladesh is the most ideal bridge that ISIS would like to use to gain entry into India because Jamaat-e-Islami has support of close to 15% population of Bangladesh and foot prints of home-grown terror groups such as JMB (Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh known sympathisers of ISIS and Al Qaeda) and international terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Islamic State exist on ground. Therefore, Bangladesh offers an opportunity and ideal fertile ground for ISIS and Al Qaeda to commence the so called Ghazwa-e-Hind.

The ISIS threat from Pakistan is lesser because Pakistan can be irrational but can’t be stupid to allow ISIS to transit through Punjab Province and march into Kashmir. The blow back impact will burn Pakistan as a state itself and Pakistan can’t make such a humongous strategic blunder of allowing ISIS and even Al Qareda to use their territory to attack India.Maritime threat does exit with radicalization of Maldives but most potent threat to India from ISIS and Al Qaeda will remain through Bangladesh.

Bangladesh a Corridor of Peril


JULY 5, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is adapted from the author’s recent article in the Journal of Strategic Studies, “Beyond the Double Game: Lessons from Pakistan’s Approach to Islamist Militancy.”

Last month marked the two-year anniversary of Pakistan’s long-awaited military incursion into the North Waziristan tribal agency. The operation, named Zarb-e-Azb, is still ongoing, and many assessments are mixed. Pakistan’s civilian and military officials promised they would no longer differentiate between “good” militants and “bad” ones and Pakistani officials claim they have not. In reality, the Pakistan military remained selective in its approach. The Haqqani network, which pledges allegiance to the Afghan Taliban and was headquartered in North Waziristan, is still off-limits. Haqqani militants were tipped off before Zarb-e-Azb began and conveniently relocated once the operation got underway.

Many analysts assert that operations like Zarb-e-Azb will never succeed until the Pakistani security establishmentstops making a distinction between good and bad militants. Others have observed that the military has at least begun to target some groups that previously received a pass, which is progress. Could this translate into a more consequential shift down the road? In “Beyond the Double Game: Lessons from Pakistan’s Approach to Islamist Militancy,” which the Journal of Strategic Studies recently published, I argue that interpreting Pakistan’s actions vis-à-vis the militants on its soil requires doing away with the binary concept of “good” and “bad” militants.

Sharif vs Sharif: Pak Military Wrests Control over Government

By Jai Kumar Verma
05 Jul , 2016

A few days ago, General Raheel Sharif summoned the whole Pakistani cabinet to the Army Headquarters Rawalpindi to discuss foreign policy as well as security of the country. However, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the interior minister was not present in the meeting which indicates that the internal security issues were not significant and that the summoning of the politically chosen Cabinet was to discuss external issues. Nonetheless, even if external issues had to be discussed, the Cabinet meeting could have been held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. 

The analysts mention that General Sharif called the Cabinet meeting in Army Headquarters with the ulterior motive to show the civilian government, public of Pakistan and world at large that the real power continues to lie with the Army, and more specifically, with him.

In the cabinet meeting, the Army chief gave a strident message to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif that the Army is unhappy over Pakistan’s relations with India, Afghanistan, Iran, and most importantly, the United States. Army bosses made it clear that they are dejected over the growing clout of India in the world arena while Pakistan is totally sidelined, and which is the failure of Pakistani foreign policy.

Appointment of Lieutenant General (Retd) Naseer Khan Janjua as the National Security Advisor in place of Sartaz Aziz in October 2015 was also a clear message that Pakistani army has clipped the wings of civilian government.

Bangladesh: Radical Escalation – Analysis

By Ajai Sahni* 
JULY 5, 2016

The July 2, 2016, hostage crisis and slaughter at the Holey Artisan restaurant in upscale Gulshan, Dhaka, was unprecedented in its character and scale in the history of terrorism in Bangladesh. It reflects an abrupt escalation of the challenge for the state apparatus and raises complex questions of counter-terrorist (CT) responses in the past, and of future imperatives.

CT strategies and tactics are unlikely, however, to be better informed by the shrill cacophony of global commentary on this incident, and on initiatives of the Bangladesh Government to contain Islamist radicalization and terrorism in this country. Such commentary has been overwhelmingly unaware of, or has studiously ignored, the history of state-backed Islamist radicalization under preceding regimes over decades, and the inextricable intermeshing of the principal political parties in Opposition – the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) – and processes of radicalization and violent Islamist mobilization. Worse, much of this commentary, particularly a powerful stream emerging from the West, has been actively hostile and obstructive to the Sheikh Hasina Government’s efforts to reverse trends towards radicalization in the country, including her extraordinary commitment to bring the guilty of the 1971 War Crimes to justice.

Given the sheer ignorance of or disinformation implicit in, much of the discourse, it is necessary to reiterate, here, that those who participated in the atrocities during the Liberation War of 1971 (an estimated three million were killed and 10 million were displaced in nine months of genocidal war and campaigns of mass rape waged by the Pakistan Army against its own people) were the very groups and individuals who came to dominate the processes of Islamist radicalization in the country once they were ‘rehabilitated’ to political prominence after the assassination of the country’s first President and subsequently Prime Minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the slaughter of almost his entire family, in 1975. Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana (who were outside Bangladesh at the time of the coup), were the only members of Mujibur Rahman’s immediate family to survive the massacre. Zia-ur-Rahman, an Army General who seized power after two years of chaos thereafter, and declared himself President, promulgated an Indemnity Ordinance which conferred immunity from prosecution on the Army officers who plotted and executed the bloody coup against Mujibur Rahman. Begum Khaleda Zia, the chief of the Opposition BNP, is the widow of Ziaur Rahman. There is deep, enduring, personal and bloody history here, and current incidents and trends in terrorism in Bangladesh cannot be correctly assessed unless they are placed squarely within its context.

How to Keep the Bangladesh Powder Keg from Exploding

July 4, 2016

On the evening of July 1, seven young men, heavily armed with guns, bombs and machetes, stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Gulshan, an affluent neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They held several dozen people hostage, many of them foreigners, and sought to separate out, and spare, the Muslims among them. Unlucky hostages were hacked to death. Eventually, early the next morning, Bangladeshi commandos raided the restaurant, killing all but one of the attackers. The death toll currently stands at 28—20 hostages, 2 police officers, and 6 of the attackers.

One brave hostage who died, 20-year-old Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, had been given the opportunity to leave the café during the siege, but he declined, preferring to remain with his two friends, who also died. One of us (Atif) is friends with Faraaz’s brother, who is of course absolutely heartbroken.

All in all, it was the deadliest single terrorist attack in Bangladesh’s 44-year history.

It was also utterly unsurprising.

And that’s because, in recent weeks and months, the news from Bangladesh has been one terrorist horror show after another.

China Confirms Air Confrontation with Japan Over East China Sea

July 5, 2016
Source Link

BEIJING (AP) — China's defense ministry confirmed that Chinese and Japanese fighter jets had a confrontation over disputed waters in the East China Sea last month, adding to concerns that such close encounters could lead to mishaps that threaten regional stability.

The two Chinese jets were only carrying out a routine patrol when two Japanese fighters approached at high speed, Beijing said Monday. The Chinese pilots took "tactical measures" before the Japanese planes fled, its statement said. No details on the measures were given.

"Such provocative acts by the Japanese jets could easily cause accidents in the air, harming personal safety on both sides and destroying the peace and stability in the region," the Chinese statement said. "We demand Japan to cease all provocative acts."

Yohei Haneo, a spokesman for the Japanese defense ministry, on Tuesday denied the Japanese fighters took any provocative actions during the encounter, saying the jets were scrambling against Chinese aircraft.

The June 17 encounter took place near a set of barren islets claimed by both countries, called Diaoyu islands by Beijing and Senkaku islands by Tokyo. China in 2013 set up an air defense identification zone that covers the islands and overlaps with Japan's claim of air space for defense.

Is China’s Mysterious New Satellite Really a Junk Collector—or a Weapon?


The Chinese say the high-tech satellite they launched will clean up space debris, but its extendable robotic arm has some wondering whether it could have a more sinister purpose.

China just boosted a high-tech, mysterious new satellite into orbit. It might a weapon. It might not be a weapon. There’s no way to be certain, either way—and that’s a problem for all spacefaring countries.

Especially the United States and China. Washington and Beijing are lofting more and more of these ambiguous satellites into orbit without also agreements governing their use. In failing to agree to the proverbial rules of the orbital road, the two governments risk ongoing suspicion, or worse—a misunderstanding possibly leading to war.

The Roaming Dragon satellite rode into space atop a Long March 7 rocket that blasted off from Hainan in southern China on June 25. Officially, Roaming Dragon is a space-junk collector. Its job, according to Beijing, is to pluck old spacecraft and other debris from Earth’s orbit and safely plunge them back to the planet’s surface.

For sure, orbital debris poses a real hazard to the world’s spacecraft. In the summer of 2015, astronauts aboard the International Space Station—including two Russians and an American—sought shelter inside an escape craft when a chunk of an old Russian satellite appeared to be on a collision course with the station.

Luckily, the debris missed the space station. All the same, NASA and other space agencies have voiced their concern over the accumulation of manmade junk in space—and have taken initial steps to remove the most dangerous chunks.


Jul 4th 2016

Three scenarios illustrate the threat of a nuclear device in rogue hands

TO SEE a nuclear horror story unfold, look no further than YouTube. In “My Nuclear Nightmare”, a five-minute graphic film, Bill Perry, a former American defence secretary, describes how a breakaway faction of a rogue state’s security forces enriches 40 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium in a secret facility and then constructs what appears to be a crude bomb, similar in design and yield to the kind that obliterated Hiroshima. It then transports the bomb in a box labelled “agricultural equipment” by civilian cargo aircraft to Dubai and on to Washington, DC. It is soon loaded onto a delivery truck and driven to Pennsylvania Avenue, where it is detonated at the halfway point between the White House and the Capitol building.

What follows is excruciating. More than 80,000 people are instantly killed, including the president, the vice-president and every member of Congress present. Another 100,000 are severely injured. Phones are down. A little later, it gets even worse: TV news stations have received a message that there are five more such bombs hidden in five more American cities. One bomb will be triggered each week unless all American troops serving abroad are immediately sent home. Panic ensues as people stream out of cities, and with the administration wiped out by the blast there is a constitutional crisis. Martial law is declared as looting and rioting spread; military detention centres spring up across the country.

Saudi Soccer Crisis: Microcosm Of What Reform Means For Kingdom – Analysis

JULY 5, 2016
A match fixing scandal and a financial crisis in Saudi soccer provide a microcosm of the daunting task and pitfalls involved in Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s plans to reform and diversify the kingdom’s oil dependent economy, streamline its governance, and upgrade its autocracy.

The Saud Arabian Football Federation’s handling of the scandal and the crisis offer a glimpse of how the government and the ruling Al Saud family hope to root out corruption, introduce a degree of transparency, and cater to the aspirations of a young population without surrendering absolute political control.

Cleaning up soccer, the kingdom’s most popular sport, further serves to achieve the goals of greater international competitiveness and engagement by Saudis in exercise that were spelled out in Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030, a framework for economic and social reform announced last April.

Sources close to the federation say 1st League soccer club Al Mojze FC could become the first team in Saudi football history to be relegated as a result of match fixing. Based in the city of Al-Majma’ah, Al Mojze, which graduated from the 3rd to the 1st League in a mere two years, is suspected of having achieved its success through match fixing.

“Something is wrong. They have no experience and no important players. They have no super talent,” said a source close to the federation.

Welcome to Generation War

July 4, 2016

SINCE WORLD WAR II—the largest military effort ever by the United States, and one ending with clear victory—the use of U.S. military force overseas has exhibited two patterns. One is the increasing frequency and duration of the application of force. This trend has become especially noticeable since the turn of the twenty-first century, with the United States fighting its two longest major military campaigns, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Simultaneously, Washington has conducted combat operations in Libya, Syria and elsewhere, all under the indeterminate rubric of “war on terror.” An entire generation of Americans has come of age with its country perpetually at war.

This state of permanent warfare is hard to explain in terms of national self-image. Americans have traditionally seen themselves as peace-loving folks who strike back only when someone else picks a fight. In the words of John Quincy Adams, they tend not to seek out “monsters to destroy.” The United States has not been a latter-day Sparta, defining its virtue in terms of martial spirit.

The second pattern makes the first even more difficult to comprehend: the overall results of all this fighting overseas have been poor. Uncle Sam has regularly cried “uncle.” The Korean War ended in a draw. The only major U.S. war since then to register a win was Operation Desert Storm, the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991. The other large U.S. military campaigns of the last sixty years fall on the opposite side of the ledger. They include the Vietnam and Iraq fiascos, as well as a war in Afghanistan that has gone on for fourteen years and shows no sign of ending. More modestly sized uses of air power have brought only mixed results: some success in the Balkans in the 1990s, but extremist-infested chaos in Libya after the intervention in 2011. Smaller U.S. operations on the ground also have had mixed outcomes, ranging from achievement of some modest objectives in the Caribbean to significant U.S. casualties in, and an embarrassing withdrawal from, Lebanon in the early 1980s.

Iran Stirs Up More Trouble in the Gulf

July 4, 2016

Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ external operations wing the Quds Force, issued a scathing condemnation last week against Bahrain’s revocation of the citizenship of a top Shia cleric. Soleimani proclaimed Sheikh Isa Qassim to be Tehran’s “red line,” and warned that any harm coming to him would spark an “armed intifada,” and “a fire in Bahrain and across the region.”

Bahrain, a small island monarchy in the Persian Gulf, is a strategic nation to Washington, hosting the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet—responsible for the Gulf and surrounding areas. It is also, however, strategic to Tehran. The population is 70 percent Shia, but ruled by the Sunni Al Khalifa clan. Bahrain has a decades-long history of discriminating against the Shia majority, and the ruling elite tends to treat Shiites’ demands for greater freedoms as evidence that they are Iranian fifth columns. Iranian officials and commanders have not helped that perception, as they often describe the country as the Islamic Republic’s rightful “fourteenth province.”

The Arab Spring reached the kingdom in early 2011, and the Gulf Cooperation Council—led by Saudi Arabia—promptly intervened to safeguard their fellow Sunni monarchy. Reconciliation talks since then between the government and opposition havebroken down several times, and intermittent clashes have persisted.

The surge in alleged IRGC-linked plots in Bahrain and the Arabian Peninsula has alarmed the island nation’s authorities. Since 2011, Bahraini security forces have intercepted large quantities of advanced weapons shipments, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, bound for radical revolutionary groups like the February 14 Youth Coalition and Saraya al-Mukhtar.

A brief Brexit blueprint

It is doubtful Remainers would have shown any decency to Brexiteers if they had won. But we must not stoop to their level. A solid plan for Brexit must be inclusive of all Britons' views. Here's how, says Matthew Ellery from Get Britain Out
Let's get Britain out, and do it with honour

The dust has now settled on Brexit Britain, and the question is no longer why, but how? It is clear the referendum result must be respected as 51.9 percent of voters from a turnout of 72.2 percent voted for Brexit. This means 17,410,742 members of the Great British Public voted to leave the EU.

This was an historic result. It was a victory for democracy and for sovereignty. However, a victory by such a narrow margin means we Brexiteers must create a future for this country which also takes into consideration some of the legitimate concerns of those who voted ‘Remain’.

Compassion is required. I’m doubtful any compassion would have been shown to Brexiteers if we had lost, but now is the time to prove we are better than them.

Before we get into the details of Brexit Britain, it is necessary to point out that Brexit Britain is, in fact, where we are heading. A petition calling for another referendum should be treated with the contempt it deserves. There are questions over the petition’s validity, with individuals from other nations using a UK address in order to sign the petition, along with possible hacking occurring: more people signed the petition from Vatican City than actually live there.

Listening to the Echoes of the American Revolution

July 04, 2016

"The struggle had opened in a grey dawn at Lexington; its last shot was fired eight years later on the other side of the world outside a dusty town in southern India."

So ends Piers Mackesy's 1964 book "The War for America; 1775-1783." Not, perhaps, the common narrative of the American Revolution, but through 500-plus pages, Mackesy traces the war from a British perspective, one that seeks to understand not the questions of battlefield technique or specific battles, or even the politics of independence, but rather the broader context of a nearly seven-year conflict with a distant colony amid a global competition for economic and strategic security.

Mackesy helps us see beyond the story of a scrappy band of rebels cleverly hiding behind trees and using backwoods marksmanship to defeat an outdated rank-and-file military organization, an image still pervasive in Americana today. Instead, what emerges is a cautionary tale of just what it means to be an empire with global interests and relations. Writ large are the choices and responsibilities that ultimately limit possibilities, require prioritization and can lead to unexpected catastrophic results.

Published in the same year as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the book in retrospect appeared to offer a set of potential lessons learned for the United States to study. In today's global environment, it may be even more relevant to reconsider the War of Independence, not to critique British policies then or American policies now, but to see how the complexities of a global system often exert unexpected pressures. Economic constraints and domestic political concerns shape and are shaped by international policies. And distance, logistics, cultural misunderstanding and resource limitations leave even the most carefully thought-out plans at the mercy of the day-to-day volatility of human endeavor.

A Global Hegemon

Considering a Domestic Intelligence Service

JULY 5, 2016

After the San Bernardino terrorist attack there were the usual cries “to do something” to better protect the nation. We will surely again hear similar concerns in the face of the brutal massacre in Orlando. To this point, however, not much, if anything, has happened. However, another domestic terrorist attack—especially during a Presidential election cycle— will certainly lead to increased calls to reform our domestic counterterrorism (CT) and intelligence systems.

Unfortunately, the way we tend to make big and important change is to wait until it's too late, overreact to a crisis, slap together a hasty bill of available options, re-order some organizational blocks, and then have a politically-inspired fight that produces a solution that satisfies no one.

That’s what happened after 9/11.

Here's an idea: Let’s not wait until there is yet another crisis and the certain resulting hyper-partisan atmosphere before we think about how best to manage our domestic intelligence and counter-terror system. 

According to numerous scholars and practitioners of the intelligence craft, one of the biggest mistakes following 9/11 was the failure to debate the necessity of creating a domestic intelligence service separate from the FBI. 

Most developed democratic countries have domestic intelligence agencies focused 100 percent of the time on preventing attacks. They believe that separating intelligence from law enforcement functions allows them to be more effective in collecting and analyzing intelligence—to be forward looking rather than focused on investigative functions following an attack. For example, former Israeli Mossad Director Efraim Halevy commented that, “nowhere in the world, except in the United States, are the two functions combined. As long as there is no security service in the United States, there shall be a yawning gap in the defense of that great nation.”

Brexit: Britain’s Big Mistake Will Take It Back Several Years – OpEd

By Geethanjali Nataraj 
JULY 5, 2016

June 23, 2016, is a sad day in British history. Nearly 52% of the population has decided to leave the European Union, reversing the decision taken in 1975 to join the common market. Discussions and political activity to have a Brexit government have already begun and the campaigners of “leave” are exulted; they have called the referendum a sort of reformation to save Britain from a dying EU.

There will be a major reshaping of the politics of Westminster, with David Cameron having already announced his resignation and is now essentially a caretaker Prime Minister. The person who gave a huge impetus to the “leave” campaign from the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, is likely to take over in a few months’ time. It is unfortunate for Cameron, who has been one of Britain’s best leaders in recent times and strongly advocated for Britain to remain in the EU to help the country stay strong and safe, but it appears it is not meant to be.

The repercussions of Brexit are serious. It is also a referendum on Cameron. One wonders if the British voter even understood the consequences of exiting before voting. A country that believed in divide and rule has just had one stuck on its backside. Whether they like it or not, the fact is that it is a lot of East Europeans and Indians who roll up their sleeves and work hard to keep the British economy growing. The local guys, instead of upping their game and remain competitive, have decided to keep the EU guys away who actually work to make a living. Now it is time for action and moving forward.

Flight Of Corporate Profits Poses Biggest Threat To South Africa’s Economy – OpEd

By Patrick Bond*
JULY 4, 2016

The South African Reserve Bank Quarterly Bulletinhas confirmed that foreign corporations are milking the economy, drawing away profits far faster than they are reinvested or than local firms bring home offsetting profits from abroad. Can anything be done to stop the hemorrhaging?

First, the appalling numbers: South Africa’s ‘current account deficit’ fell to a dangerous -5% of GDP because the ‘balance of payments’ (mainly profit outflows) suffered rapid decay; the other component of the current account, the trade deficit – i.e., imports minus exports – is trivial in comparison. The net outflow of corporate dividends paid to owners of foreign capital reached R174 billion ($11 bn) in the first quarter (measured on an annualised basis), 30% higher than the equivalent 2015 level. The quarter’s trade deficit was just R38 billion ($2.5 bn).

Hitting a 5% current account deficit is often a signal that speculative investors will start a currency run, as occurred even in strong East Asian exporters in 1998. Today only one other country (Colombia) among the 60 largest economies has a higher current account deficit.

Another destructive signal is foreign debt. Because repatriating profits must be done with hard currency (not rands), South Africa’s external debt has soared to about R2 trillion (39% of GDP, $125 billion), from less than R100 billion (16% of GDP, $25 billion) in 1994.
Who’s to blame?

UN, Russia, US, EU Urge ‘Meaningful’ Israel-Palestinian Talks – Analysis

By Jaya Ramachandran
JULY 5, 2016

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have rejected a report by the so-called Middle East Quartet – comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union – urging both parties to indulge in “meaningful negotiations that resolve all final status issues”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the report, saying that it “perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace.” The Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly said the report doesn’t meet the Palestinians’ expectations ‘as a nation living under a foreign colonial military occupation.’

The report was released on July 1, two days after the killing of a 13-year old girl by a Palestinian youth. It calls on Israel and Palestine to “independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution” and to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudice the outcome of the final negotiations”.

Subsequent to the publication of the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Israel and the Palestine Authority to engage with the Quartet to implement the findings “to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations”.

Report: To Aid Combat, Russia Wages Cyberwar Against Ukraine

April 28, 2015

The rules of War 2.0 (or 3.0) are murky. Experts and pundits say that cyberwarfare is happening. And it makes sense. But it has been very hard to prove.

A new report adds to the body of evidence, charging that the Russian military is waging a sustained cyber campaign against Ukrainian military and law enforcement agencies, and the purpose is to extract a steady stream of classified documents that can aid violence and on-the-ground combat.

A Sustained Campaign Targeting Military

Lookingglass, a security firm based in Arlington, Va., and Baltimore, publishes a report Tuesday documenting a real-life instance of a cyberwar campaign.

CEO Chris Coleman says the attacks are persistent, but not sophisticated. "We're not claiming we found some big exploit in the Windows operating system," he says. "We tracked malware that was in emails, and it shows full-scale coordination."

Lookingglass says a dedicated group of hackers is getting Ukrainian military, counterintelligence, border patrol and local police to open emails with malicious attachments.

Only, they look legit. It's masterful — so far as manipulation goes — because of the "lure documents" that attackers use as bait.

New Technology Could Improve Use Of Small-Scale Hydropower In Developing Nations

JULY 5, 2016

Engineers at Oregon State University have created a new computer modeling package that people anywhere in the world could use to assess the potential of a stream for small-scale, “run of river” hydropower, an option to produce electricity that’s of special importance in the developing world.

The system is easy to use; does not require data that is often unavailable in foreign countries or remote locations; and can consider hydropower potential not only now, but in the future as projected changes in climate and stream runoff occur.

OSU experts say that people, agencies or communities interested in the potential for small-scale hydropower development can much more easily and accurately assess whether it would meet their current and future energy needs.

Findings on the new assessment tool have been published in Renewable Energy, in work supported by the National Science Foundation.

Remembering the Battle of the Somme

July 5, 2016
Source Link

The recent commemoration ceremonies in Britain and France on 1 July marked the 100th anniversary of the worst military disaster in British history. On that day in 1916, a large force of 13 British divisions and 5 French divisions launched a combined assault against fortified German trenches in the Somme region of France. From early morning, waves of British troops left their trenches and advanced across no man’s land, in many places directly into heavy German machine-gun fire. By the day’s end, the British had suffered over 57,000 casualties, including almost 20,000 dead, all for little measurable gain. The shock of this tragic loss is still felt today; the causes of the disaster and those accountable continue to be debated.

The British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Haig generally receives most of the opprobrium. Haig had conceived the plan for a large-scale attack by British and French forces across a wide front to capture the German trench system and breach the defences which had long deadlocked the trench warfare on the Western Front into a stalemate. But from February, when the French came under increasing pressure from a relentless German attack on the fortress city of Verdun, the main responsibility for the Somme offensive shifted to the British. The attack proceeded, but with fewer troops and hasty preparation. These deficiencies were compounded by failures of weapons systems, tactics, and intelligence about the state of the enemy.

Warrior Ethos

This essay was written in 2012 en route to my second deployment to Afghanistan with a reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition squadron. A family friend and Vietnam veteran recommended I keep a journal to remember my deployments. I used this journal to create “dispatches” that I sent to my family back home. 

“The dictionary defines ethos as: The moral character, nature, disposition and customs of a people or culture...The Warrior Ethos is a code of conduct—a conception of right and wrong, of virtues and of vices. No one is born with the Warrior Ethos, though many of its tenets appear naturally in young men and women of all cultures. The Warrior Ethos is taught. On the football field in Topeka, in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, on the lion-infested plains of Kenya and Tanzania. Courage is modeled for the youth by fathers and older brothers, by mentors and elders. It is inculcated, in almost all cultures, by a regimen of training and discipline. This discipline frequently culminates in an ordeal of initiation. The Spartan youth receives his shield, the paratrooper is awarded his wings, the Afghan is handed his AK-47." 

—From The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield 

NATO Warsaw Summit: Symbolic And Critical – Analysis

By Hasan Selim Özertem *
JULY 4, 2016

From the establishment of NATO in 1949 to the Wales Summit in 2014, 26 summits have been taken place. The Warsaw summit, which will take place on 8-9 July 2016, will go down as the 27th summit. That summit will have a historical symbolic significance; Warsaw is the city which gave its name to the pact which established by the Soviet Union against NATO during the Cold War. Considering the Warsaw Pact dissolved while NATO has managed to survive until the 21st century, it is very meaningful for NATO to hold its heads of state summit in Warsaw.

Interestingly, although issues on the summit agendas have centered on the enlargement of the organization, Kosovo, the future of security forces in Afghanistan, and international terrorism have been since 1999, this summit’s linchpin will be Russia. Since the occupation of Crimea, all dialogues with Russia have been fragile and have ultimately failed. Accordingly, this summit’s docket could be dominated by the threat posed by Russia, although this threat is not of the same level as that of the Cold War, as well as a cooperative response to this threat.


JULY 4, 2016

Fellow-citizens: I am very glad to see you to-night. But yet I will not say I thank you for this call. But I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called. [Cheers.] How long ago is it? Eighty odd years since, upon the Fourth day of July, for the first time in the world, a union body of representatives was assembled to declare as a self-evident truth that all men were created equal. [Cheers.]

That was the birthday of the United States of America. Since then the fourth day of July has had several very peculiar recognitions. The two most distinguished men who framed and supported that paper, including the particular declaration I have mentioned, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the one having framed it, and the other sustained it most ably in debate, the only two of the fifty-five or fifty-six who signed it, I believe, who were ever President of the United States, precisely fifty years after they put their hands to that paper it pleased the Almighty God to take away from this stage of action on the Fourth of July. This extraordinary coincidence we can understand to be a dispensation of the Almighty Ruler of Events.

Another of our Presidents, five years afterwards, was called from this stage of existence on the same day of the month, and now on this Fourth of July just past, when a gigantic rebellion has risen in the land, precisely at the bottom of which is an effort to overthrow that principle “that all men are created equal,” we have a surrender of one of their most powerful positions and powerful armies forced upon them on that very day. [Cheers.] And I see in the succession of battles in Pennsylvania, which continued three days, so rapidly following each other as to be justly called one great battle, fought on the first, second and third of July; on the fourth the enemies of the declaration that all men are created equal had to turn tail and run. [Laughter and applause.]


JULY 4, 2016

Gentlemen of the Diplomatic Corps and My Fellow Citizens:

I am happy to draw apart with you to this quiet place of old counsel in order to speak a little of the meaning of this day of our Nation’s independence. The place seems very still and remote. It is as serene and untouched by the hurry of the world as it was in those great days long ago when General Washington was here and held leisurely conference with the men who were to be associated with him in the creation of a nation. From these gentle slopes they looked out upon the world and saw it whole, saw it with the light of the future upon it, saw it with modern eyes that turned away from a past which men of liberated spirits could no longer endure. It is for that reason that we can not feel, even here, in the immediate presence of this sacred tomb, that this is a place of death. It was a place of achievement. A great promise that was meant for all mankind was here given plan and reality. The associations by which we are here surrounded are the inspiring associations of that noble death which is only a glorious consummation. From this green hillside we also ought to be able to see with comprehending eyes the world that lies about us and should conceive anew the purposes that must set men free.


JULY 4, 2016

Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

This is a very special occasion. Here in Washington tonight, up in Philadelphia, and throughout our whole country, we are celebrating an anniversary of great importance. On this day 175 years ago the representatives of the American people declared the independence of the United States.

Our forefathers in Philadelphia not only established a new nation—they established a nation based on a new idea. They said that all men were created equal. They based the whole idea of government on this God-given equality of men. They said that the people had the right to govern themselves. They said the purpose of government was to protect the unalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These were sensational proposals. In 1776 a nation based on such new and radical ideas did not appear to have much chance of success. In those days power centered in Europe. Monarchy was the prevailing form of government. The divine right of kings was still widely accepted.

The new Nation was small, remote, poor, and, in 1776, apparently friendless. Europe did not for a moment believe this new kind of government would work, and, to tell the truth, fully a third of our own people did not believe it would work, either.

We can hardly imagine the courage and the faith it took to issue the Declaration of Independence in those circumstances.

Bacevich's Middle East Misdiagnosis: Everyone is Terrible

July 4, 2016

ANDREW J. BACEVICH and President Barack Obama share a number of things in common. Both are convinced that the United States has relied far too heavily on its military forces to intervene in the Middle East. Both assert that these interventions have not addressed, much less resolved, the deep-rooted challenges that confront the region. Both refer to Reinhold Niebuhr as a source for national-security policy formulation. And both evince complete disdain for the “establishment,” whose first instinct, they assert, is to apply military force.

But there is a difference between the two. Obama is cerebral; Bacevich, angry. Obama does not hesitate to use force; Bacevich sees America as a militarized state constantly “hell bent on war.” Obama considers today’s national-security establishment—the nexus of think tankers, Hill staffers, pundits and professors that congregate along the Boston-Washington axis—to be enthralled by military solutions to every problem, and therefore to have it all wrong. Bacevich goes much further. As he reiterates ad nauseam in his latest tract, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, no one in the past forty years—with the possible exception of David Petraeus, who he says “proves the rule”—has lived up to his standards of either civilian leadership or military generalship, especially with regard to the region he terms “the Greater Middle East.” Lastly, Obama is no neoisolationist; Bacevich is.

BACEVICH’S TAKE on Franklin Roosevelt is particularly revealing in this last regard. He asserts that Roosevelt

“maneuver[ed] his country toward war by relying on demagoguery while playing fast and loose with the facts. . . . Prior to U.S. entry into World War II, Franklin Roosevelt had slandered anti-interventionists as ‘Copperheads,’ a Civil War–era term equivalent to calling someone ‘pink’ or a ‘fellow traveler’ in the 1950s.”

When the Robots Rise

July 4, 2016

IN LEVIATHAN, Thomas Hobbes observes:

“Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of the body, and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend as well as he.”

This peculiar thought—that, in the most important respects, and despite their manifest differences, all men are equal—has laid the intellectual foundation for democracy’s unlikely triumph. But will society retain its belief in equality when it is no longer just man against man? Can democracy thrive when more and more benefits accrue to machines that are stronger in body, and quicker in mind, than any mere mortal? And will the machines’ owners remain willing to honor the claims of their social inferiors when they no longer need them to make their food, or to staff their companies, or to fight their wars?

Machines are about to get very good at doing a range of tasks that human beings have historically been paid to perform. By some estimates, half of current jobs are in danger of being replaced. If anything close to this happens, a smaller and smaller share of the human population will possess skills that make them more productive than machines. As a larger supply of labor competes for fewer jobs, wages will fall for most, or dry up entirely. The owners of capital and property, physical and intellectual, will triumph. “With less need for human labor and judgment,” venture capitalist Vinod Khoslapredicts, “labor will be devalued relative to capital and even more so relative to ideas and machine learning technology.”