3 July 2017

*** How will the Belt and Road Initiative advance China’s interests?

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the leaders of 28 countries and representatives from several other countries at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14-15, 2017. Announced in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (also known as One Belt, One Road or OBOR) aims to strengthen China’s connectivity with the world. It combines new and old projects, covers an expansive geographic scope, and includes efforts to strengthen hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, and cultural ties. At present, the plan extends to 65 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product of $23 trillion and includes some 4.4 billion people.

Supporting a diverse array of initiatives that enhance connectivity throughout Eurasia and beyond could serve to strengthen China’s economic and security interests while bolstering overseas development. At the Belt and Road Forum, President Xi notedthat “In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries and achieve economic integration and interconnected development and deliver benefits to all.”

The BRI is an umbrella initiative which covers a multitude of investment projects designed to promote the flow of goods, investment and people. The new connections fostered by the BRI could reconfigure relationships, reroute economic activity, and shift power within and between states. In March 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disseminated an action plan (issued by the National Development and Reform Commission) that fleshed out specific policy goals of the BRI. 

*** The closest look yet at Chinese economic engagement in Africa

By Kartik Jayaram, Omid Kassiri,

Field interviews with more than 1,000 Chinese companies provide new insights into Africa–China business relationships. 

In two decades, China has become Africa’s most important economic partner. Across trade, investment, infrastructure financing, and aid, no other country has such depth and breadth of engagement in Africa. Chinese “dragons”—firms of all sizes and sectors—are bringing capital investment, management know-how, and entrepreneurial energy to every corner of the continent. In doing so they are helping to accelerate the progress of Africa’s economies

Yet to date it has been challenging to understand the true extent of the Africa–China economic relationship due to a paucity of data. Our new report, Dance of the lions and dragons: How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve?, provides a comprehensive, fact-based picture of the Africa–China economic relationship based on a new large-scale data set. This includes on-site interviews with more than 100 senior African business and government leaders, as well as the owners or managers of more than 1,000 Chinese firms spread across eight African countries1that together make up approximately two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP. 

** ISI Plotted Attack On Indian Parliament As Diversion To Help Osama Cross Into Pakistan, Says Book

Arihant Pawariya

Authors of The Exile: The Flight of Osama bin Laden argue that the ISI-funded terror attack on Indian Parliament in 2001 was nothing but a diversionary tactic to allow the al-Qaeda leader to quietly cross over into Pakistan.

More than 100 days had passed since al-Qaeda had carried out the biggest terror attack on American soil, killing 2,977 people. The world was struggling to come to terms with the fact that a bunch of terrorists hiding in the caves of Afghanistan had launched such a daring attack on the world’s most powerful country. The terrorists expected retribution, but when they saw those planes striking the twin towers in New York and people jumping off them, they knew it was going to be like nothing they had ever faced before.

The United States (US) was hell-bent on bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age if that’s what it took to send Osama and Co to Jannah. The American military had launched a war on both al-Qaeda and Taliban, which was ruling the country at the time. The indiscriminate bombing of their strongholds was in full swing by the second week of December.

Let’s pause for a moment and recall what else happened at the time. On 13 December, Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists launched an attack on the Indian Parliament around noon, led by a useful idiot from Kashmir. Useful idiot because, as it turns out, this Inter-Services Intelligence-sponsored attack was nothing more than a diversion, a part of a grand design to save Osama from the wrath of the American military. Or, at least, this is what Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, authors of The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj Hotel, have to say in their new book on Osama’s years in hiding.

** China’s Bid To Alter Border With India Thwarted, For Now

Jaideep Mazumdar

Chinese troops transgressed into Doka La, Sikkim, two weeks ago, on the eve of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US.

While such a transgression from the Chinese side is not new, the nature of this move is different from that of the earlier transgressions.

India should not see this as a one-off move and focus on increasing its preparedness along the border.

The latest border face-off between India and China in Doka La sector of Sikkim holds significant geopolitical and strategic implications, and lessons, for India. This is the first time in recent years that China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) has made a determined bid to not only transgress into Indian territory but also hold onto it.

In the past, border transgressions by PLA troops have generally been shows of strength aimed at reaffirming the disputed nature of the borders between the two countries, or to send a strong political message. But the transgressions in Doka La, the destroying of at least two fortified bunkers of the Indian Army, and the determined bid to hold on to the area tell a different story altogether. To understand the Chinese design, it is thus important to understand the importance of Doka La.


Arunachal-Myanmar border has become a safe route for militants from that side

As per reports, ultras currently based in Myanmar have found a new route to enter India. Revelations made some months ago — and still relevant — by security agencies in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh highlight the fact that the Arunachal-Myanmar border is turning out to be a safe route for movement by militants. Earlier, the militants sneaked into the region mostly through the porous Nagaland-Myanmar border. This information, although not very new, should alarm the State of Arunachal Pradesh and its new Government. The State can face trouble if strong action is not taken. Militants in the North-East get sanctuary in either Bangladesh, Bhutan or Myanmar. In the 1990s, Bangladesh and Bhutan were safe havens for most of the insurgents. Media sources say that one of the reasons behind the influx of militants was a secret understanding between India's intelligence agency, the Research & Analysis Wing and the Burmese rebel groups such as the Kachin Independence Army, the Chin National Front and the National Unity Party of Arakans. The objective of forging such ties was strategic — denying a safe passage to all the North-East ultras in Myanmar. But in course of time, the insurgents, with the help of both, money and rediscovering their ethnic roots in Myanmar, tuned the situation in their favour. And, the clandestine network of the militants of the region continued in that country throughout the long rule of the junta. The situation has not improved much, even as a democratically elected Government has taken charge in Myanmar. However, after having reached considerable understanding with Governments of Bhutan and Bangladesh, the ultras have quietly shifted their bases to Myanmar. Indeed, top terror organisations like the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (I-M), have used Myanmar for training and recruiting purposes.

India-Israel Nuclear Cooperation: It’s A Radical Idea But One That’s Worth Exploring

Jaideep A Prabhu

Perhaps the most substantial show of friendship that India can make towards Israel is to offer cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. Some might argue that a complete disavowal of the Palestinian cause and close diplomatic alignment with Israel would be a greater commitment, especially given Jerusalem's craving for international recognition and normalisation, but an alliance with a middle power that does not have veto power in the United Nations has too many limitations to be worth much.

Nuclear cooperation, however, holds far more allure for two critical reasons: one, it has an immediately utilitarian dimension, and two, pace what some academics have argued about prestige, nuclear commerce is tightly controlled by an international cabal who have deemed Israel ineligible to receive nuclear material.

Yet what will nuclear cooperation with Israel look like? Is Israel even interested in nuclear energy? Can India conduct nuclear commerce with a country that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or have any sort of tacit acceptance such as the waiver India received from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)? Will it invoke sanctions? What would be the ramifications for India? Is India capable of becoming a nuclear vendor? There are several questions that deserve careful thought before either country embarks upon such a venture.

Pride of Britain? No, HMS Queen Elizabeth is a £6bn blunder that should be scuttled, writes MAX HASTINGS

By Vidya Sagar

India is taking dedicated steps to acquire space assets that can safeguard its national security and enable it safeguard global commons as a responsible leading power. Even as the existing capabilities were able to deliver during critical times, there are certain urgent requirements to be fulfilled. A dedicated roadmap could be developed for this purpose in addition to signalling to the adversaries that India is prepared to protect its space assets.

India had successfully launched another satellite in the Cartosat-2 series recently. This adds to the existing series of earth observation satellites providing operational pictures in different ranges that can be used for national security purposes. India placed in orbit dedicated communications and remote sensing satellites for defending its borders and maritime areas from impending threats. However, it is yet to secure certain space capabilities for ensuing foolproof national security.

Protecting an Investment


Summary: Despite the current uncertainty surrounding bilateral ties, India ought to approach the United States with confidence, assured that the evolving competition in Asia makes a strong partnership between Washington and New Delhi destined for success.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump today will perhaps be his most important encounter with an American leader in recent years. This meeting matters greatly because unlike Trump’s recent predecessors, who valued the strategic partnership with New Delhi both for its own sake and because of its importance for larger American geopolitical interests, Trump’s commitment to preserving the US-led order in Asia and the unique American affiliation with India are both uncertain.

Modi, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, doubled down on deepening ties with the United States. Casting aside decades of animus and uncertainty, he boldly announced to the US Congress in June 2016 that the bilateral relationship had indeed “overcome the hesitations of history.” It was a bet that made sense at the time because the US was both the world’s strongest power and determined to protect the international order it had built in its own image. That was then.

Beyond Transactional Ties, A 10-Year Roadmap For India-Israel Relations

Jaideep A Prabhu

To move beyond transactional ties, India and Israel must make an effort to encourage cultural connections. This is best done through education, tourism and the arts.

Here we present a ten-year roadmap that both countries can tread to forge people-to-people connections.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his trip to Israel, many await the outcome of this historic visit. Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to ever visit Israel and symbolically, will not stop to visit the Palestinian Authority while in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rumoured to share a good personal chemistry with Modi and has tweeted warmly, welcoming the Indian leader to Israel. Netanyahu has cleared his schedule for the two days Modi is in Jerusalem and plans to spend the entire time in discussions with him.

Ahead of Modi's visit, the Israeli cabinet has proposed several measures to strengthen relations with India. They include a joint fund to encourage Indo-Israeli business cooperation, an expansion of cooperation in water management and agriculture, and the promotion of tourism. There is already some speculation about several arms deals the Indian Prime Minister will also be signing during his trip.

Pentagon To Help India Provide Improved Defence Support To Afghanistan In Fight Against Taliban

The Pentagon has been asked by a key Senate panel to identify ways so that India can play a larger role in providing increased and coordinated defence-related support to war-torn Afghanistan.

A resolution moved in this regard by Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan was unanimously passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday as part of the the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-2018), which approved $ 640 billion in critical defence spending for fiscal year 2018.

“This provision encourages the Department of Defence to identify ways that India can play a larger role in providing increased and coordinated defence related support to Afghanistan, a critical part of overcoming the current “stalemate” in the fight against the Taliban,” said a statement issued by office of senator Sullivan.

‘Encourage increased role for India in Afghanistan’ was one of the 24 amendment moved and passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee. NDAA-18 now moves to the full senate for consideration.

A similar version of the bill has also been passed by the House Armed Services Committee and has been sent to the House of Representatives.



Osama bin Laden evaded the world’s greatest manhunt for a decade. The Exile reveals for the first time exactly how. What makes this account unique is the unprecedented access that the authors, the renowned British investigative journalists Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy, secured to bin Laden’s four wives and his surviving progeny; an astonishing array of al-Qaeda commanders, foot soldiers, ideologues, and lackeys; and the American and Pakistani officials, soldiers, and intelligence officers respectively responsible for hunting or sheltering him. The Exile, accordingly, provides the most definitive account available of bin Laden’s increasingly fraught existence in an over-crowded, ramshackle villa just a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s version of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The book’s main argument is that neither bin Laden nor the movement he created could have survived without the active support of persons at the apex of both Pakistan’s and especially Iran’s intelligence services. The critical roles played by both countries in sheltering and protecting key al-Qaeda leaders and their families has of course long been known. But no other publicly available source comes as close to The Exile in presenting this familiar story either in as much detail or from the first-hand perspective of the key dramatis personae. New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall’s 2014 book, The Wrong Enemy, for example, had forcefully advanced the same claim regarding Pakistan’s complicity. The Exile goes considerably further: both in fleshing out the story and providing additional substantiation through the new information from multiple first-hand perspectives that Scott-Clark and Levy rely on.

Ex-C.I.A. Chief Stirs War Debate in Australia. Also: How Much Is the Great Barrier Reef Worth?


The Breakdown aims to put a selection of Australia’s daily news into context. Today’s picks:

• Experts are debating David H. Petraeus’s warning that Australia will be dealing militarily with the Islamic State in Southeast Asia for decades.

• The Great Barrier Reef is worth tens of billions of dollars, but will attaching a big number help save it?

• Russell Crowe continues his war on weekly magazines.

Australia vs. Petraeus

David Petraeus, the retired American general who came to prominence running counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and later served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, began an Australian debate on military intervention when he spoke at a Liberal Party gala in Sydney on Friday.

China Tests New Tank in Tibet

By Franz-Stefan Gady

A new Chinese light main battle tank has purportedly been tested on the Tibetan Plateau. 

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has tested a new tank on the Tibetan Plateau in western China, the Chinese Ministry of Defense announced on June 29.

“Recently, a new-type of tank has undertaken trials on the Tibet Plateau. The trials were aimed to test the tank’s performance and are not targeted at any country,” PLA spokesman Colonel Wu Qian said during a regular press briefing at the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on June 29.

The statement came in response to a (prepared) question about U.S. media reports of a new-type of 35-ton light main battle tank (MBT) that was seen during a recent military exercise conducted by a mechanized infantry brigade of PLA Tibet Military Command on the Tibet Plateau.

The spokesperson did not reveal details on the tanks, but it is likely that he was referring to the so-called ZTQ light tank, dubbed Xinqingtan, pictures of which first emerged in 2010. It remains unclear whether this new type of light MBT with a combat weight of between 33 to 36 tons has already been inducted into the PLA.

Unpacking China’s White Paper on Maritime Cooperation under BRI

The revival of the centuries-old ‘Silk Road at Sea’ into a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is an integral part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It has been flagged by China as a Chinese solution to global economic revival. The Silk Road Economic Belt on land connects China to Europe through Central Asia, while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) at sea connects China to the European Market through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. In keeping with the proclaimed tenor of the BRI initiative, on 20 June 2017, China unveiled a white paper on “Vision towards enhancing maritime cooperation in building a peaceful and prosperous 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. The vision document, prepared by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Oceanic Administration (SOA), outlined that “China is willing to work closely with countries along the Road, engage in all-dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation and build open and inclusive cooperation platforms, and establish a constructive and pragmatic Blue Partnership to forge a “blue engine” for sustainable development.”1 Notwithstanding constant reiteration from China about the centrality of the economic dimension in the Belt and Road initiative, there has been a constant focus by commentators about its sublime geostrategic design.2

The vision on maritime cooperation outlined by the White Paper (MSR Vision 2017) is largely a reiteration of the vision for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road proclaimed in March 2015 (BRI Vision 2015).3 However, MSR 2017 also contains several new elements. This article unpacks the Chinese proposals for enhancing maritime cooperation along the MSR. “Blue Economy” and “Sustainable Development” are largely advertorial embellishments in the document. The vision document considers maritime security cooperation as a lynchpin in the MSR and attempts to redesign the existing maritime security architecture in the oceanic arena of MSR. The proposed Asia Africa Growth Corridor, a joint initiative of India and Japan, needs to take into account the extant Chinese vision on maritime cooperation in order to provide a viable alternative.

Bhutan issues demarche to China over road construction

New Delhi: Bhutan on Wednesday said it has issued a demarche to China over the construction of a road towards its Army camp in Zomplri area of Doklam and asked Beijing to restore status quo by stopping the work immediately.

The demarche by Bhutan comes amid the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam (also known as Donglang) area of Sikkim sector. “We have issued a demarche to China through its diplomatic mission here.

Recently, the Chinese army (People’s Liberation Army) started construction of a road towards Bhutanese Army camp at Zomphlri in Doklam area which is in violation of an agreement between the two countries,” Ambassador of Bhutan to India Vetsop Namgyel told PTI.

“Doklam is a disputed territory and Bhutan has a written agreement with China that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, peace and tranquillity should be maintained in the area,” said Namgyel. The Bhutanese envoy also asserted that under the agreement, both Bhutan and China should refrain from unilaterally changing the status quo.

“We have asked China to stop the road construction,” he said. Meanwhile, China on Thursday virtually accused India of having a “hidden agenda” in the current military stand-off with it in the Sikkim sector where Beijing has a territorial dispute with Bhutan.


By LCDR Jake Bebber USN

The following is a two-part series looking at PRC use of cyberspace operations in pursuit of its national strategies and the establishment of the Strategic Support Force. Part 1 considers the centrality of information operations and information war to the PRC’s approach toward its current struggle against the U.S. Part 2 looks at the PRC’s use of international norms and institutions in cyberspace, and possible U.S. responses.

A recent article noted a marked shift in Chinese strategy a few short years ago which is only now being noticed. Newsweek author Jeff Stein wrote a passing reference to a CCP Politburo debate under the presidency of Hu Jintao in 2012 in which “Beijing’s leading economics and financial officials argued that China should avoid further antagonizing the United States, its top trading partner. But Beijing’s intelligence and military officials won the debate with arguments that China had arrived as a superpower and should pursue a more muscular campaign against the U.S.”1

The nature of this competition is slowly taking shape, and it is a much different struggle than the Cold War against the Soviet Union – however, with stakes no less important. This is a geoeconomic and geoinformational struggle. Both U.S. and PRC views on cyber warfare strategy, military cyber doctrine, and relevant norms and capabilities remain in the formative, conceptual, and empirical stages of understanding. There is an ongoing formulation of attempting to understand what cyberspace operations really are. While using similar language, each has different orientations and perspectives on cyberspace and information warfare, including limiting structures, which has led to different behaviors. However, the nature of cyberspace, from technological advancement and change, market shifts, evolving consumer preferences to inevitable compromises, means that while windows of opportunity will emerge, no one side should expect to enjoy permanent advantage. Thus, the term ‘struggle’ to capture the evolving U.S.-PRC competition.

For Russia, Putin Power Is Losing Some of Its Shine

Despite a show of strength and a charm offensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin's government is beginning to show its age. Russia is facing a dangerous protest movement against Putin's system, and he has responded with heavy-handed crackdowns and winsome public appearances. The message from the Kremlin is clear: Putin is a strong leader and a man of the people. But the message is beginning to sound stale, and a reckoning may be peeking above the horizon.

Even before his rise to power, Putin and his elites had been shaping the story behind the Russian leader. In that narrative, while under President Boris Yeltsin, Putin pushed out an unruly pack of diverse politicians to be the man to stabilize a country in chaos. As the first head of the Federal Security Service and then prime minister, Putin reined in dissident regions, and with a troop surge, he quelled insurgency in the Caucasus. Leapfrogging into the presidency in 2000, he consolidated power by ousting noncompliant oligarchs and reclaiming strategic and lucrative assets for the state. Putin began rebuilding and reorganizing the military and security services, transforming them into key tools and decision-makers. He purged the political system of disloyal parties and politicians. Overall, during Putin's first term as president, Russia emerged as a stronger and more stable country, and his esteem rose in the eyes of the people. The Kremlin's message was clear: Putin had saved Russia.

HACK PAYBACK Britain may go to war with foreign states attempting cyber attack on UK, Defence Secretary warns

By Harry Cole

FOREIGN state hackers could face a declaration of war from Britain if they are found to have targeted us again, the Defence Secretary warned tonight.

Sir Michael Fallon said the price of a crippling cyber attack on Britain could come “from any domain – air, land, sea or cyber.”

The chilling threat came as the Tory hawk revealed foreign enemy states are launching two “high level cyber attacks” on Britain every single day.

In a major speech be blasted “aggressor states like Russia, working overtime to disrupt and discolour our democracy” who launch around 60 attacks on Britain’s government IT, infrastructure and businesses every month.

Speaking to the respected Chatham House think-tank, the Defence Secretary said: “We now have the skills to expose cyber criminals, to hunt them down and to prosecute them.”

Russia’s Cyber War Against America: Will Any President Fight Back?

This is very tricky territory, but my short answer is yes.

There is no doubt about Putin’s command of his cyber resources that are dedicated to infiltrating and undermining not only the U.S. political machinery, but the political machinery of many Western nations.

If a Russian agent—a real person—was found on a U.S. military installation attempting to sabotage an airplane, or ship, or other mission-critical equipment, including computer gear, he or she would be subject to the harshest penalties, and could, with authority, be shot dead at that installation (there are signs posted on the fences and buildings of most military installations that remind trespassers that deadly force can be applied). Their act of sabotage would be tantamount to a military action against the United States, and, if there were simultaneous actions being carried out around the country, I cannot imagine that a sitting U.S. President would not consider those concerted efforts to be an act of war initiated by the Kremlin.

The American political system, supported in the 21st century by the mission-critical electronic systems and networks of voting records, voting machines, voter registration lists, etc., is no less important, in my mind, than a robust and secured military force.

Who Is Making U.S. Foreign Policy?

It’s a time of trial and tribulation for America’s allies and adversaries alike. Just what is U.S. policy these days? More fundamentally, who is deciding U.S. policy?

A presidential transition always creates uncertainty. Even when the Oval Office is passed between members of the same party, approaches and emphases differ. Personal connections vary. But today the differences are within a single administration.

Indeed, in virtually no area is policy settled.

President Donald Trump came into office committed to rapprochement with Russia. Yet even before taking office his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, sounded like bombastic Sen. John McCain in calling Moscow the greatest threat facing America. Later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded Russia’s withdrawal from Crimea—a political impossibility—before bilateral relations could improve. Now the U.S. military has shot down a Syrian plane, fielded by the Assad government, a Moscow ally, triggering Russian threats against U.S. aircraft.

Indeed, the latter threatens to drag America into the Syrian war as an active combatant, fighting not only the Islamic State but also the Assad government, Iran and Russia. In fact, his National Security Council was already pressing for a more active role against both the Assad government and Iranian-backed militias supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, which would turn America into an active combatant in the six-year-old civil war. Yet candidate Trump criticized the Iraq War as well as proposals for entangling the United States in additional Middle Eastern conflicts. When his Republican competitors threatened to shoot down Russian planes, he called ISIS the priority. He later criticized Hillary Clinton as a warmonger, in part for her hawkish approach to the Mideast.

June 27, 2017IsraelPalestinian Authority Gaza on the Brink How to Forestall Another Conflict Between Hamas and Israel

By Benedetta Berti

An ongoing electricity crisis is placing an inordinate amount of pressure on Gaza. If not addressed, it could end with a political implosion, a full-blown humanitarian disaster, and yet another round of violence between Hamas and Israel. 

A dangerous combination of intra-Palestinian rivalry, the lack of a long-term Israeli strategy for dealing with Hamas, international inertia, and the absence of a political process heightens Gaza’s dire predicament and the possibility of conflict. Even worse, these same factors are plunging the strip into the deepest humanitarian crisis it has seen in a decade. In short, Gaza is on the brink of a humanitarian, and possibly political, point of no return.

The episodes of escalation between Hamas and Israel over the past ten years follow a remarkably similar pattern. Although Israel has repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to remove Hamas from power by isolating Gaza, it continues to rely on that same system of restrictions to keep Hamas at bay. The guiding assumption has been that Hamas, interested in continuing to rule the Gaza Strip, can be kept from initiating military hostilities through the threat of increased economic sanctions and military action. Implicit in this reasoning is the belief that it is possible to put enough pressure on Hamas to keep it weak while not putting toomuch pressure on the group to make it desperate—left with nothing to lose and thus undeterrable.

Globalists, Nationalists And Patriots

-- this post authored by Reva Goujon

In times of global angst, we tend to organize ourselves into rival camps and casually hurl political epithets at each other as a matter of practice and principle. A couple of similarly angst-ridden generations ago, identifying yourself as a communist or capitalist could provide you with a medal or land you in jail, depending on where you were in the world and the company you kept. Now, it is self-proclaimed globalists and nationalists who are pitted against each other in a battle to passionately defend or radically reconstruct the global order.

Previous columns have examined the underlying forces - from aging populations in the advanced industrial world, to technological change compensating for lagging productivity, to major evolutions in global trade - that have put this most recent global rebalancing in motion. This rebalancing will take generations to play out but is growing more visible by the day. Just watch the battle lines being drawn by the "globalists" and "nationalists" from within the tense corridors of the White House to the flag-lined stage of the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg, where host German Chancellor Angela Merkel will once again face off against U.S. President Donald Trump. 


This project documents and identifies activity linked to and inspired by the Islamic State outside of the territory it claims as part of its physical Caliphate. In doing so, the project seeks to provide insights into how the influence, operational reach, and capabilities of the Islamic State are changing in certain locales over time.

To provide a nuanced analysis of the group’s operational activity, the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) has created a database that categorizes different indicators of such activity (see methodology overview here for details). The temporal starting point for the data collection is June 2014, when the group’s Caliphate was officially created. Since that point in time, CTC researchers have collected open-source data regarding the Islamic State’s operational activity in select locations outside of the physical territory claimed by the group.

As collection and analysis continues, the CTC plans to release a number of short country and regional reports that leverage the data CTC has collected. All releases will be available on this page.



On the eve of the June 1967 war in the Middle East, a small group of men in the Israeli elite considered a doomsday scenario. They all supported Israel having an overt nuclear strategy, but the dovish prime minister, Levi Eshkol, had resisted. Now, with war looming, they felt that their hour had come. Behind the scenes, these bureaucrats, scientists and officers prepared the ground for using Israel’s ultimate weapon: the nuclear bomb.

Three weeks ago, The New York Times revealed part of that story which the newspaper described as the “last secret” of the Six Day War. The truth is, evidence of these events has been out in the open for several years now. Yitzchak Yaacov, a top scientist who served as a senior officer in the Israeli army, had published his memoirs detailing the deliberations for the secret operation already in 2011. Based on this book as well as several interviews, Amir Oren, military correspondent for Haaretz, wrote in the same year a long analysis of the decision-making process surrounding this chapter in Israel’s history. And in 2014, Oxford University Press published a monograph by Or Rabinowitz that distilled all these Hebrew-language sources into an English-language text.

The Evil Military-Industrial Complex

By Frank Li

I had high hopes President Trump would attempt to address America's long-standing problem with the MIC (Fixing the Military-Industrial Complex!). But my hopes are quickly vanishing. Two main reasons:

But still, my fellow Americans must understand the MIC and its evil nature.

Please share this article - Go to very top of page, right hand side for social media buttons.

1. What is the MIC?

Below is President Eisenhower's definition of, and warning against, the MIC.

2. Why is the MIC evil?

The MIC is evil, because it is one of the two most powerful forces destroying America from the inside out (Democratic Socialism vs. Democratic Imperialism). Specifically, the MIC destroys America not only morally, but also economically. Let me elaborate on each …

Future Weapons: Rivals Push Pentagon to Boost Funding for Hypersonics Research

The Defense Department is seeking more funding to invest in hypersonics programs as China and Russia make their own push to develop the game-changing technology.

The proposed investments include funding for both offensive weapons, and the means to defeat them should these near-peer competitors succeed in creating missiles or aircraft capable of reaching speeds higher than Mach 5.

“We, the United States, do not want to be the second country to understand how to control hypersonics,” then-Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for research and engineering Alan Shaffer said in 2014. 

The Air Force — joined by the Army, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and several defense contractors — has long been working to develop precision munitions and aircraft that can fly at or above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. 

Meanwhile, military leaders and analysts have warned that countries including China and Russia have beefed up spending on hypersonic development and testing in recent years.

Pentagon Cyberwarriors Find Fertile Ground in Silicon Valley

By Sandra Erwin

It is virtually unheard of in government contracting for the Defense Department to be brief and straightforward in stating requirements.

So it was a surprise when a Pentagon solicitation this month for cybersecurity software was summed up in a single sentence: “The Department of Defense is interested in systems to automatically find previously unreported vulnerabilities in software without source code and automatically generate patches to remediate vulnerabilities with minimal false positives.”

The time window to bid on this opportunity also is unusually short. Responses will be accepted only from June 12 to June 20.

This is how business is done at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, known as DIUx. The Pentagon’s two-year-old enclave in Silicon Valley has moved rather quickly to shake up the contracting culture — and to prove that it is more interested in getting results than in forcing vendors to deal with red tape.

Necessity has forced the Pentagon to make innovation a top priority, especially in the cybersecurity field as the U.S. government and military information networks face unprecedented threats from hackers and malware. DIUx is being challenged to find solutions, and fast.

Electronic Warfare ‘Growing’; Joint Airborne EW Study Underway


ARLINGTON: After two decades of neglect, electronic warfare is — slowly — on the mend, the Pentagon’s Deputy Director for EW said yesterday. That includes a growing budget, a new (classified) strategy from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, increased interest from the leaders of all four armed services, and, most immediately, an ongoing joint study of future jamming aircraft.

“Give me about a month, maybe two,” and he’ll have a lot more clarity on what’s called the Analysis of Alternatives for Joint Airborne Electronic Attack, William Conley told the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute.

Some backstory on why this matters: Electronic warfare is the art and science of detecting, deceiving, and disrupting enemy radio-frequency (RF) transmissions — and since everything from wireless networks to radar relies on the RF spectrum, EW can make or break a modern military. After the Cold War, however, even though the Russians retained much of the old Soviet EW arsenal, the US Army and Air Force largely divested theirs. The Air Force in particular retired its last high- performance jamming aircraft, the EF-111 Raven, in 1998 — a small number of EC-130H turboprops remain in service — and largely ceded EW to Navy squadrons. For its own investments, the Air Force bet on stealth aircraft, the F-22 and F-35, that it deemed so undetectable they wouldn’t need Navy EW airplanes jamming enemy radar on their behalf, as one 4-star told Colin as recently as 2014.

Infographic Of The Day: The Cloud Is Your Friend?

Almost everyone who uses the internet uses the cloud, wittingly or no, but it seems that few people actually know what it is.

In much the same that when we think of farming we think of rolling green pastures and cute red barns while the reality is that most farming is an industrial endeavor involving big metal buildings and huge machinery when we think of the cloud, we think of, well, a cloud. I still catch myself doing that and I love watching video tours of Google’s huge data centers.

Metaphors aside, when we store files in the cloud they are really being stored on physical hard drives, though probably much bigger, nicer ones than the one in your computer. These hard drives live in vast warehouses that are constantly fighting tooth and nail to keep the temperature low enough for everything to run well. The hard drives and computers in there get warm the way your computer gets warm, but there are thousands and thousands of them. [click here to enlarge infographic]

Facebook's secret weapon for fighting terrorists: Human experts and AI working together

By Conner Forrest 

Facebook had declared that it is actively fighting terrorism online, and it is using artificial intelligence (AI) to do so. In a Thursday blog post, the company detailed its strategy for removing terrorist content from Facebook, and how it's working to protect users from such material.

The post said that radicalization typically occurs offline, but there's no denying that the internet is a major communication channel for terrorist groups around the world. The Islamic State (ISIS) is thought to have hundreds of social media accounts, even doing recruiting drives on social media.

It's a massive problem, and Facebook wants to help solve it.

"We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them," the blog post said. "When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny. And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities."

With billions of users speaking some 80 languages, the post noted, the challenge is enormous. But Facebook said it believes that AI can act as a solution.

WannaCry malware attack shows trend toward ‘economic’ cyber threats, rising regulatory risk

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence) - The cyber attack last month known as the WannaCry ransomware incident did little damage to U.S. financial firms but it sent a warning shot for the securities industry and its regulators. The self-replicating worm infected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries, showing the potential harm fast-moving attacks can inflict and fueling new calls from regulators for firms to manage cyber risk.

The WannaCry attack set off predictable alarms from technology firms and cyber security experts. But it was more than hype and the incident was seen as one of the largest in recent history. Risk professionals at financial firms should not dismiss the chance it offers to assess the state of the art in cyber space’s dark side.

With a month’s hindsight, it’s clear that the WannaCry attack was not a particularly innovative network exploit, known as a “worm,” and it did not approach the kind of damage past cyber attacks have wreaked on computer networks. Still it generated new insights on how regulatory changes, social media and digital currencies used in ransomware – which lets hackers take over a computer until they are paid – are posing new threats that risk professionals need to understand.

The malicious software behind the attack was a permutation of the decades-old “worms,” standalone software that can replicate itself and spread through computer networks.