An effective European security and defence policy would allow the EU to ‘project influence globally’, argues Maria Eleni Koppa. European security and defence is a topic that has been attracting a lot of attention after the decision of the European council to hold a special discussion dedicated on security and defence – for the first time since 2008 – at the forthcoming December summit. In this context, on 21 November, the European parliament adopted the report on the implementation of European security and defence policy, concerning the positions of the parliament for the future of the common security and defence policy (CSDP).
Nasrallah rarely mentions Saudi Arabia by name, only referring to the monarchy in vague terms in order to maintain plausible deniability. But that all changed on Tuesday, when he accused Saudi agents of being behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month that claimed 23 lives. In doing so he has openly declared a war that has long been fought in the shadows, first in Lebanon where Hizballah-allied parties are at a political impasse with the Saudi-backed Future Movement of Saad Hariri, and now in Syria.
Ukrainians taking to the streets to protest their government’s refusal to strike a trade deal with the European Union may be the first of several post-Soviet states facing the choice between Russia and Europe as Georgia and Moldova gear up for their place on the bargaining table.
Decades have passed since they each gained their sovereignty, but post-Soviet states west of the Eurasian divide continue to struggle between their European identities and the influence and benefits that can come from allying with Russia.
“The maritime domain in general has got more complex, with the undersea domain a huge part of that with more sophisticated submarines and the emergence of long-endurance, unmanned or remotely operated vehicles,” he said. “You see it just in oceanographic capabilities. Frankly the way countries globally are using technology in the undersea domain is going to make it a very interesting operational space. You’re going to have to bring a lot more capability into that operating space to ensure you stay dominant — economically as well as militarily.
The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) operates Boeing E-767s, 160-foot airplanes stuffed with radar and electronics that enable them to detect aircraft from 200 miles away. They confirm that the Chinese drone is wheeling above the Senkakus, and Japan dispatches F-15Js to intercept it—and shoot it down—obviously ignoring China’s Air Defense ID Zone. Chinese long-range, back-scatter radar spots the F-15Js in the air, and China dispatches quad-prop Y-8X maritime patrol for a better-resolution look. They also alert their best fighters—Sukhoi Flankers (Su 30) and Chengdu J-10s—to prepare to take off.
India is now the world’s third-largest grain producer after China and the United States. The adoption of higher-yielding crop varieties and the spread of irrigation have led to this remarkable tripling of output since the early 1960s. Unfortunately, a growing share of the water that irrigates three-fifths of India’s grain harvest is coming from wells that are starting to go dry. This sets the stage for a major disruption in food supplies for India’s growing population. In recent years about 27 million wells have been drilled, chasing water tables downward in every Indian state.
The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China’s Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bihar in Northern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region. This interconnectedness would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, minimise overland trade obstacles, ensure greater market access and increase multilateral trade. Leaders hope the economic corridor will bring back to the days of the ancient Silk Road and its south-western trade route.
There are different views in Russia. Some people believe that we have to block any improvements in US – Iranian relationship. For example, they say, the current “special” relationship is based largely on Tehran’s being burdened by the sanctions and having nowhere else to turn but to Russia. But as soon as Iran has other opportunities, it will immediately reorient itself toward more influential Western countries. Of course, there is always the risk that the country that was eager to be “friendly” in times of trouble will turn away as soon as the grip of isolation loosens.
November has been a torrid month for France, rapped by the European Commission for failing to reform its economy and hit by a new sovereign debt downgrade. Nationwide anger at rising taxes has sparked often violent protests, notably by Breton livestock workers up in arms over a planned road freight levy. Yet abroad, it has exuded self-confidence and strength: it played hard ball in major-power nuclear talks with Iran that brought a landmark deal on Sunday; it is gearing up for a risky new peace intervention in ex-colony Central African Republic.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the two kamikaze attack on November 19 against the Iranian embassy in Beirut took place on the eve of the resumption of nuclear talks between the 5 +1 ( United States , Russia , China, France, Britain and Germany) and Iran in Geneva on November 20. If last summer, two attacks had hit the southern suburbs of Beirut , a stronghold of Hezbollah, the Shiite party backed by Iran, this is the first time that Iranian interests were directly affected by a terrorist act (25 dead, including the Iranian cultural advisor and four guards, and 146 injured).
Espionage, especially spying on friends, has always involved a cost-benefit calculation – weighing the benefits of eavesdropping against the costs of being found out. But the expansion in sheer information gathering and storage capabilities since the 9/11 terrorist attacks has swamped any efforts to set limits and the proclivity to weigh the pros and cons, analysts say. And the downsides of that, they add, could be many and even lead to a damaging of the counterterrorism efforts that lie at the core of international intelligence cooperation.
Although the term “energy security” is now ubiquitous in political speeches and the media, international relations scholars have only just begun to rediscover the topic after a 30-year hiatus. The 1970s oil shocks prompted a wave of research in the 1970s and 1980s but did not produce systematic theories about oil and war. Emerging scholarship assesses the potential threats to energy-importing countries and examines how energy security issues shape importers’ foreign policies, including their decisions to use military force.
It was 1993, and Shahid Javed Burki, then director of the World Bank’s China operations and later Pakistan’s caretaker finance minister, was calling on the then vice-premier in Beijing. China’s “all-weather friend” is an integral part of its “look west” policy to find economic sustenance for landlocked western provinces. This is why China in 1986 started working on a 600-kilometre highway across the Karakoram mountain range connecting Kashgar in Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s northeast.
The Vikramaditya has a lot in common with China’s first aircraft carrier the Liaoning, that was commissioned in September last year. Both carriers are symbols of great national maritime pride and manifest the blue water ambitions of the world’s fastest growing economies. There is also a reason why these two carriers with their majestic bow ski-jump are nearly identical to Russian naval flagship, the Kuznetsov. All three carriers are designs of the St Peterburg-based Severonye design bureau. These designs were translated into reality at the only warm water egress of the Soviet empire: the Nikolayev South Shipyard on the Black Sea (now in Ukraine).
The European Union’s (EU’s) relationship with Eastern Europe and the Caucasus is at a turning point. Russia’s increasingly assertive tactics have chipped away at the ties that bind the six Eastern Partnership countries to the EU, and the entire Eastern Partnership is on the verge of unraveling. To rescue its association with its Eastern partners, the EU must deliver more tangible results. Europe can be both geopolitical and committed to reform—but to strike the right balance, the EU must be more strategic.
China’s decision to set up a powerful national security committee has spurred deep fears in the country of society slipping further into a police state. “This worry is not unfounded, since China’s rulers have always managed to blur the line between ‘national security’ and the security for them to govern,” wrote Jin Manlou, a Shanghai-based writer on weibo. “Often in China, the army is used in domestic situations instead of in international conflicts.” Others speculated about the high status granted to the new agency, comparing it with that of the KGB.
Two arch-rivals, RAW and the ISI have been always trying to outwit each other, to dictate the terms for Bangladesh. At times RAW was successful, a few times the ISI was successful. Ill-prepared security networks, paid and unpaid agents, friends, and loyalists in Bangladesh also played significant roles here. Members of the Indian or Pakistani intelligence forces were patted on the back by their seniors and the government for doing a good job, though not necessarily good for Bangladesh.
There is international consensus that failing states should not become havens for the next wave of terrorists keen to attack the West. The aim is to do so without committing troops, with the Central African Republic a potent example. As the UN warns of impending genocide, it has become the lethal playground for indigenous Seleka rebels along with fighters from al-Qa’ida in the Maghreb, Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Sudan’s Janjaweed, the Lord’s Resistance Army and Malian Islamists. France has kept around 400 troops in the capital, Bangui, to keep the airport road open.
In the past, every time North Korea sets off a nuclear bomb or launches a missile into orbit, the event is preceded by a number of things occurring in North Korea, in the region, and in the international community. What are those things? Is it possible to somehow register them and then look at present day activity to see if the same or similar things are occurring? And if they are, would that not be a pretty good indication that North Korea will, soon, once again light the fuse on one of its nuclear playthings?
Let’s define strategy as the intellectual framework guiding individuals and/or organizations towards sustained success, which in turn can be defined as a sustainable outcome that is valuable and satisfying over time. Strategic thinking has been systematized into what this article’s co-author, USAF Col. (Ret) John A. Warden III, terms the “Prometheus Process.” Prometheus was the Greek god who gave man the capacity for forethought and the ability to make fire. In essence, Prometheus gave mankind the power to create the future, to strategize.
Despite growing ties between Taiwan and China, Beijing has never abandoned the option of using force to bring about ‘reunification’ and continues to regard the island as a core strategic interest. The balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait has shifted decisively to China’s advantage and will continue to do so over the next decade, making armed intervention by Beijing theoretically practicable. Nevertheless, strategic developments will weigh on Beijing, including the extent of the US’s rebalancing of policy towards Asia, the outcome of Taiwan’s 2016 elections, social order on the island, and the situation in Hong Kong.
As the latest militant-Kurdish military showdown eases in northeast Syria, Baghdad is keeping a close watch on a battle which threatens even greater instability in Iraq. Kurdish forces and al Qaeda-linked groups have for weeks fought over territory, with the Kurds taking over a key border point late last month. But with the likelihood of more fighting to follow, Baghdad is worried of militants securing a wider corridor between eastern Syria and western Iraq.
A former officer said: “The primary goal the authorities will have had is to present Bouteflika as strong and in control of the state—including the security apparatus. On the other hand, the big changes taking place in the region, the security deterioration along Algeria’s borders, and the corruption scandals that have come to light have forced these actions and changes in military and government officials. But to say that there is a struggle between the intelligence service and the presidency—this is just to distract public opinion. There is no struggle whatsoever; they are in perfect harmony.”
Asia is now more prone to conflict than at any time in recent memory, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) academic Michael Auslin wrote in an article published in the Wall Street Journal. “The East China Sea may see the world’s first war started by aerial drones,” Auslin wrote in the article, which also appeared on the institute’s Web site. The British version of the Journal also published an editorial this week titled “Alarm over the Taiwan Strait, which said it is time for Taipei and Washington to shore up Taiwan’s deteriorating defenses.
Did the Obama Administration ever spy on Mitt Romney during the recent presidential contest? Alex Tabarrok, who raised the question at the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution, acknowledges that it is provocative. Until recently, he would’ve regarded it as a “loony” question, he writes, and he doesn’t think that President Obama ordered the NSA to spy on Romney for political gain. Let’s be clear: I don’t think so either. In every way, I regard Obama as our legitimate head of state, full stop. But I agree with Tabarrok that today, “the only loonies are those who think the question unreasonable.”
Afghan parliamentarians and analysts are concerned about the Iranian regime’s machinations in Afghanistan. “Iran is quite busy inventing crisis in Afghanistan,” Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, a writer and director of the Regional Study Centre in Kabul, said. “Iran has two goals,” he told Central Asia Online. “First, it wants to create barriers to Western countries, and second, it wants to build up its own influence by establishing pro-Iran universities, religious seminaries and media outlets.” Nazir Ahmadzai accused Tehran of supporting insurgents in order to destabilise Afghanistan before its April elections.
Iran will lead a club of the world’s biggest natural gas exporters as its own shipments abroad are hampered by U.S. and European Union sanctions that force the country to burn off billions of dollars worth of the fuel. Mohammad Hossein Adeli, the country’s former deputy foreign minister, was elected secretary-general of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, whose 13 member countries hold 60 percent of the world’s reserves, the group said in a statement. Adeli, vowed to turn the Persian nation into a “major player among the gas exporting countries,” he told reporters after a group meeting in Tehran.
The recent endorsement by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of a multibillion dollar construction corridor encompassing Bangladesh, China, India and Burma—if it materializes—could redraw the economic and geopolitical map of Asia. Termed “an international gateway to South Asia,” the BMIC corridor, as it is known, was the highlight of Li’s recent visit to India. The Chinese premier’s office commented that the link “will surely release enormous growth energy and provide new vitality for the Asian economic integration and global growth.”
In a world where budgets are tight, and bottom lines daunting, it makes sense that governments around the world have to do more with less, or they just have to do less. Surprisingly, one part of the state apparatus that most countries seem happy to outsource is one of its most fundamental—security. At home, cash-strapped American cities, and even communities, are turning to private forces to protect public order. And a report out of the UN on Monday shows that the private security industry is experiencing a global economic boom that many of its customers would love.
Ukraine is leaving Russia for Europe. That’s what many observers see as the likely consequence of the Association Agreement that Ukraine and the European Union are expected to sign at a summit meeting in Vilnius at the end of this month. But those who expect Ukraine to embark on a fast transformation should not be complacent. Bitter disputes persist within the Ukraine-E.U.-Russia triangle, complicated conflicts that are about selfish interests, not universal values.
It’s an election in name only: even the challengers to Tajikistan’s autocratic president have praised him and the only real opposition candidate has been barred from the race in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation. Emomali Rakhmon, 61, who has led the mountainous, Sunni Muslim nation neighboring Afghanistan and China for more than two decades, is all but certain to win a fourth presidential term in Wednesday’s vote. He polled 79 percent in the previous election seven years ago. Western monitors criticized it as lacking any genuine competition.
On 28 October, work started at the former airbase at Deveselu in southern Romania on installing elements of the US missile defence system, specifically an Aegis system with SM-3 interceptors. This means that the missile defence project is being implemented on schedule. The move confirms the close, fast-growing military cooperation between Romania and the United States, and means Bucharest is now one of Washington’s main security partners, not just in the region, but increasingly on the European scale.
France receives almost 80% of its energy from nuclear power, more than any other country in the world. The state-owned energy giant, Areva, which mines for uranium and builds and operates nuclear plants, gets a third of its uranium (French) from two mines in Niger, where it is the second largest employer after the state. Later this year, Areva is expected to begin extracting uranium from a site called Imouraren, which is thought to contain the second largest uranium deposit in the world.
Many times I have been asked to assess whether one nation or another is “increasing influence,” usually to categorize as “good” or “bad” developing events for someone with little time or understanding of the situation. Frequently, the right answer – “It depends…” – has to be discarded due an enforced sense of urgency that limits the ability to explain or discuss fully the individual’s thoughts or concerns. The next best answer is to highlight the particular situational gain or loss in specific terms, such as economic, diplomatic, or security..
By fate, Poland has always found itself in a geopolitical quagmire forcing the Polish nation to struggle to maintain its own sovereign state, and at the worst of times fight to keep its own nation alive. It comes as no surprise that prominent historian Norman Davies decided to title his book regarding Polish history God’s Playground. The pivotal location of Poland on the map of Europe has made it yet another point of interest for another recent geopolitical play: missile defence.
Security in Sana’a has deteriorated since popular unrest pushed President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office in 2011. Dozens of intelligence and security officials have been assassinated, al-Qaeda continues to attack government targets and Shiite-Muslim Houthi rebels, who are fighting Sunni Islamists in the north, are encamped in the city. “Yemen is slipping into chaos,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said by phone. “Assassinations of intelligence figures and threats to foreigners are rising.”
A paper on German foreign and security policy prepared by two leading think tanks calls for a consolidation of national defense industries to ensure that Europe’s defense industry stays competitive in the long term. The paper, “New Power New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a Changing World,” was presented here Oct. 30 by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. It drew on expertise from working groups made up of government officials, parliament officials, think tanks and nongovernmental organizations.
Oxford academic Paul Collier is well known for his book The Bottom Billion in which he maps the links between the world’s poorest people and the world’s most war-torn countries. In a chapter in a new book for IPPR, edited by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, Collier argues that what Africa needs is an “African NATO”. He writes that the international community oscillates between “pusillanimous passivity” and “gung-ho intervention”.
Saudi Arabia’s declining power : The kingdom’s frustrations with President Obama are tied to its own weakness
This clash of interests has been brewing for some time. In 2011, during the early days of the Arab Spring, the Saudi royals expressed their alarm at Obama’s refusal to rescue Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from his street-demanded ouster (as if any American president could, much less should, have saved Mubarak’s skin). This past summer, the Saudis were once again enraged by Obama’s less-than-full support for the Egyptian generals’ overthrow of the elected president, Mohammed Morsi—and even more flummoxed by his calls for them not to ban Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party.
China’s interest in a peaceful Middle East is enormous, by contrast. Beijing is not only the biggest customer of precisely those oil powers who presently are fanning the flames of conflict in Syria; as a VIP customer, Beijing has growing political influence, which it should use openly. The word of the Chinese foreign minister has just as much weight in Tehran and Riyadh as that of his American counterpart. China’s situation, Zand continues, is rather like Germany’s after reunification: a state whose economic power is growing will eventually be asked what it puts on the table politically.
The GCC countries spent about $130 billion in 2012 to bolster their defences, according to ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’. While most of their requirements are currently sourced from Western manufacturers, there is change in the offing. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Saudi Arabia made a $15-billion weapons contracts proposal to Russia in July 2013. And, if the possibility of Turkey choosing a $4 billion Chinese missile defence system materialises, at the cost of Western firms, it will create big openings for the Asian giant in the Gulf.
By virtue of our unique geography”, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in a 2011 Foreign Policy article, “the United States is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power.” Russia, meanwhile, has seen itself as a Euro-Asian country, as Vladimir Putin has argued from the start of his first term in the Kremlin. The American attitude, which in Secretary Clinton’s locution is about as uncontroversial a statement as an American Secretary of State can make, reflects the country’s historic “maritime” vocation. The Russian one reflects the longstanding fascination with the country’s continental scale and reflects its traditional terrestrial focus.
ABDUL MEJID I, the Ottoman’s 31st sultan, had a dream. the determinedly Western-leaning sultan envisaged the construction of a submerged tunnel under the Bosphorus Straits connecting Asia to Europe. A French architect duly came up with a blueprint. But a dearth of technology and cash stood in the way. The sultan’s dream is now coming true, 150 years later. The world’s first sea tunnel linking two continents will be inaugurated on October 29th. Stretching over 76km (47 miles), and with 1.4km of it laid at the bottom of the sea, the $3 billion “Marmaray” rail system will “eventually link London to Beijing, creating unimagined global connections” .
While the revelations of Snowden open new fronts of Datagate for Usa, interesting details emerge on electronic intelligence system of Russia. Different lenses but a common risk, you need to stop now. Thus there are at least 3 versions of the Russian system: Sorm-1 for the interception of fixed and mobile phones; Sorm-2 for the surveillance of the Internet; Sorm-3 that collects information from all forms of communication that are stored for a long period of time. Among the information collected there are both content (recordings of telephone conversations, text messages, email) and metadata (time, duration and location of the call or connection, etc..).
Beijing considers Central Asia as a region of its own, if not a testing ground for China’s foreign policy, while publicly stating that the region remains under Russia’s sphere of influence. The post-Cold War Chinese approach to Central Asia is based on the concept of Zhoubian, or peripheral strategy, meaning that security has to be reached in the bordering Chinese territories through the development of a belt of stable neighbors based on peaceful coexistence. Thus, Central Asia represents a continental bridge between China and Europe: regional stability is paramount for Beijing because turbulences on the bridge could endanger the whole sub-system.
A security strategy paper by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says EU countries should use military-grade drones for border surveillance. The EU chief is set to debate security ideas with MEPs in the plenary chamber in Strasbourg. Her plan, which outlines priorities in the lead up to an EU summit on defence in December, notes that there is “an urgent need to prepare a programme for the next generation” of so-called Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) drones. It adds that: “The objective is to promote a European approach for developing this key future capability.”
The U.S. Army has proved over its 238-year history that it can fight and win almost anywhere — in the jungles, deserts or mountains. The next venue, however, might prove to be the most difficult: oceans. President Barack Obama’s strategic “rebalance” to the Western Pacific was good news for three military services: the Navy, whose ships sail on or under the vast ocean; the Marine Corps, whose troops deploy from them; and the Air Force, which needs long-range weapons and aircraft to cover the skies. Less so for the Army with its heavy tanks and infantry formations.
Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the US in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said. Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.”
Algeria plays a critical role in the international oil and gas market. It is the third largest natural gas producer in the Arab world after Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the leading gas exporter in Africa and an energy supplier to France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, US and China. The EIA estimates Algerian proven crude oil reserves at 12.2 billion barrels but its real geological prize is its 160 trillion cubic feet reserves of natural gas. Opec economists in the Vienna secretariat estimate that Algeria could well double its oil and gas production in the next decade.
China’s global hunt for crucial energy supplies is taking it into America’s backyard, with two Chinese state firms winning production rights to a multi-billion-barrel deepwater oilfield off Brazil. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) each took a 10 per cent stake in Brazil’s “Libra” field, alongside three other companies, at an auction on Monday. Beijing is seeking oil, natural gas and other raw materials to keep the world’s second largest economy moving. “Everyone is scrambling for resources worldwide,”
Renewed protests against president Omar Al Bashir in Sudan have led to speculation about whether the Arab Spring has belatedly reached the country’s borders. Last year, however, similar demonstrations disappeared soon after they began and it is highly likely that matters will turn out the same this time around. There are direct parallels with Syria, however, where the regime has confounded expectations by clinging to power against an uprising that is in its third year.
What the EU’s founders in the 1950s intended as “ever closer union” now risks going in the opposite direction: Britain is threatening to secede; the euro, battered by the four-year debt crisis, remains at risk of splintering; anti-euro forces are advancing in France, the EU’s heartland; separatists are pushing to burst the U.K., Belgium and Spain. Economic lethargy combined with a deepening political quagmire and mounting debt load as leaders struggle to tame the legacy of the financial crisis risk condemning Europe to lag further behind emerging powers like China.
The Chinese currency may have just moved a step further in that direction with the October 10 signature between the European Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China (the country’s central bank) for the establishment of a “currency swap” mechanism. The terms of the deal are a bit technical but the goal is simple: facilitating commercial exchanges between the Eurozone and China by giving European banks access to 350 billion yuan (42.4 bllion euros) or “RMD” and giving Chinese banks access to 45 billion euros.
Indeed, China is the first-mover in the Afghan resource space, having won the massive copper concession at Aynak in Logan Province — with routes to the mining project patrolled up by US and British troops — and China oil giant CNPC pumping the first Afghan crude under a 25-year contract, concluded in late 2011. Most recently, Chinese President Xi Jing Ping declared 2014 a “key year” for Afghan-Chinese relations, and when Xi met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leader’s two advisors were the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Mines and Petroleum.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on his way to Brussels to have a difficult conversation with his fellow defense ministers in NATO. The point of contention is the continued reduction of the military capabilities of our allies and their growing dependence on U.S. support. Hagel will repeat to European allies the stark message made by Robert Gates on his last trip to Brussels as defense secretary. Gates made international headlines with his warning of “a dim, if not dismal future” for NATO if it continues to be divided “between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership… but don’t want to share the risks and the costs.”
Australian academics have pointed to dangers that Antarctic bases are for the first time being militarised, despite the continent officially being called a land of peace and science. Satellite systems at polar bases could be used to control offensive weapons, according to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and little could be done to prevent it due to the loose nature of the Antarctic Treaty rules. The report highlights a Chinese base inland in the Australian Antarctic Territory for its satellite intelligence gathering potential and also flags Iran’s recent interest in establishing a polar presence.
‘The Saudis’ worst nightmare would be the administration striking a grand bargain with Iran. ” Robert Gordon, US ambassador to Riyadh in 2001-2003, so highlights the potential significance of this week’s constructive talks in Geneva between Iran and six world powers, chaired by the European Union. They are to reconvene in three weeks, encouraging speculation that a larger geopolitical shift might be possible if agreement is reached on Iran’s nuclear programme and economic sanctions are lifted.
Published this week, China and Taiwan: Possible Storm Signals for Cross-Straits Relations Underscore Need to Provide for Taiwan’s Defense says the growing economic relationship between China and Taiwan has served to promote political dialogue and strengthen trade ties. However, Cheng argues that a “militarily overwhelming People’s Liberation Army [PLA]” would be able to intimidate and coerce Taiwan which would in turn have political and economic implications. Two public statements highlight the potential return of tension to the region, he says.
Budget reductions could render the Army at “high risk to meet even one major war,” according to documents obtained by USA TODAY, a warning the Army is sounding because it sees another war as inevitable before long. The dire assessment by top Army officials to Pentagon leaders provides a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes struggle for the future of the military in a time of declining budgets. The Army provided its assessment as each of the services is conducting a four-year scrub of its strategy and the resources needed to meet it, a process called the Quadrennial Defense Review.
“Karzai has a mental map of the incredibly Byzantine patronage networks and small balancing acts among local leaders that have formed the spiders’ web of connections that is the current government,” he said. That may not please NATO planners, who privately say they are running out of time to strike a deal for forces to remain. This week Mr. Karzai gave a reminder of his short fuse, railing against international forces for causing “great suffering” for the past year.
The military doctrine defines the operations of sea denial as those organized to prevent the use of the sea by an opposing force. The sea denial usually occurs in cases of asymmetric warfare and provides a defensive posture , leaving the initiative leading to the actor who leads an attack, with some exceptions. The means used to implement the sea denial are small high-speed missile ( fast-attack craft ), anti-ship shore batteries, mines and especially submarines . Sea denial describes a situation in which a power has freedom of use to a maritime for its objectives and is able to prevent the use of an opponent .
Chinese military strategists have for millenniums been fascinated by asymmetric methods of warfare. China has no illusions about its military inferiority vis-à-vis the United States and knows that the status is likely to endure for at least two decades. As such the PLA has been developing a full range of asymmetric strategies to deter the US until its military reaches maturity. Aware of the US dependence on space and satellite communications to conduct even the most basic military operations, the PLA has for the past decade invested significant amounts to develop anti-satellite weapons.
The countries in the ASEAN aim to achieve full economic integration by 2015. Given how poorly integration has turned out for the EU, that might not seem like such a good idea. But, if nothing else, at least the ASEAN can learn from the EU’s mistakes. Economic integration would allow free flow of goods, services, and labor. Under the plan, tariffs would become almost non-existent. This would help the ASEAN corner more foreign direct investments, which at the moment go mostly to China and India. However, there are a series of economic, religious, and political problems that threaten to derail the ASEAN’s attempts at economic integration.
Vladimir Putin is inching closer to his goal of turning Russia into a major transit route for trade between eastern Asia and Europe by prying open North Korea, a nuclear-capable dictatorship isolated for half a century. Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The European Union took another step to shore up its battered banking sector after Britain agreed to new rules placing many of the largest lenders in the euro area under the supervision of the European Central Bank. The British decision, which was announced at a monthly meeting of the bloc’s finance ministers here, clears the way for the E.C.B. which is expected to have direct oversight of about 130 of the largest financial institutions in countries using the single currency by the end of 2014.
China is largely in line with international treaties governing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but its global dealings in small arms are shadowy and potentially helpful to anti-U.S. factions abroad, a new study finds. Most Chinese weapons for export lack the quality of weapons from the United States, Russia or other developed nations. China is therefore a cheaper source of weapons for poor countries with unsophisticated militaries, like many in Africa, the Middle East and South America. China is seen to have a “guns-for-oil” relationship with some African nations.
Rather than create a European army all at once, Germany should focus on building it bit by bit, according to a paper published this month by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (kaf). Germany should develop “islands of cooperation”—small groups of countries whose militaries work together—that can be used as “building blocks” of a pan-European military power, it wrote. The kaf sees the “islands of cooperation” approach as “only the second-best solution” compared with a combined European military. Germany still wants build a combined military if it can; the “islands” approach is simply more practical right now.
China is not yet a unified great power. This is a humiliation to the Chinese people, a shame to the children of the Yellow Emperor. For the sake of national unification and dignity, China has to fight six wars in the coming fifty years. Some are regional wars; the others may be total wars. No matter what is the nature, each one of them is inevitable for Chinese unification. The 1st War: Unification of Taiwan (Year 2020 to 2025) Though we are enjoying peace on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, we should not daydream a resolution of peaceful unification from Taiwan administration (no matter it is Chinese Nationalist Party or Democratic Progressive Party).
Engaged in what they see as a life-and-death struggle for the future of the Middle East with arch-rival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious that the international body has taken no action over Syria, where they and Tehran back opposing sides. Like Washington’s other main Middle Eastern ally, Israel, the Saudis fear that President Barack Obama has in the process allowed mutual enemies to gain an upper hand. The alliance between the US, the biggest economy and most powerful democracy, and Saudi Arabia, the Islamic monarchy that dominates oil supplies, is not about to break.
France’s foreign minister heads to the Central African Republic (CAR) on Sunday aiming to drum up international interest for a largely forgotten crisis that risks dragging Paris into a new military intervention in one of its former colonies. The nation has descended into chaos since mostly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in March, the latest coup in the country that remains one of the world’s poorest despite resources ranging from gold to uranium.
Fidan’s rise to prominence has accompanied a notable erosion in US influence over Turkey. Washington long had cozy relations with Turkey’s military, the second-largest army in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). But Turkey’s generals are now subservient to Erdogan and his closest advisers, Fidan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who are using the Arab Spring to shift Turkey’s focus toward expanding its regional leadership, say current and former US officials. “Hakan Fidan is the face of the new Middle East,” says James Jeffrey, who recently served as US ambassador in Turkey and Iraq. “We need to work with him because he can get the job done,” he says.
The notion of foreign support for Baloch insurgents rests on a slippery slope. If a country accuses others of aiding separatism (India’s position on Pakistani support for Kashmiri separatists, or Pakistan’s allegation of Indian backing for the Pakistani Taliban or Baloch separatists), how can it prove them? Does an intelligence outfit leave its footprint? Do intelligence agencies use their own currency, weapons and gadgetry? The latest revelation is that former Indian army chief General VK Singh created a Technical Services Division (TSD) for covert operations in Pakistan — going after the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attacks and Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.
The number of nuclear warheads globally is about 17,000, estimates the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), down roughly 75 percent over the last thirty years largely because of cuts by the United States and Russia. Last June the US president proposed further cutting nuclear arsenals by a third but Russia responded that the shield, intended to protect against attack from Iran and North Korea, would require Moscow to hold more missiles or lose its deterrent capability. Russia fears the system’s interceptors could shoot down its long-range nuclear missiles.
As the U.S. struggles to avert a debt default, Asia’s policymakers have trillions of reasons to believe they may be shielded from the latest financial storm brewing across the Pacific. From South Korea to Pakistan, Asia’s central banks are estimated to have amassed some $5.7 trillion in foreign exchange reserves excluding safe-haven Japan, much of it during the last five years of rapid money printing by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Data this week showed those reserves continued to pile up, with countries having added an estimated $85.2 billion in the July-September quarter, according to data for 12 Asian countries.
The Indian Ocean is distant, its littoral states largely irrelevant, unfriendly, or unimportant to American interests, and a pain to navigate from the Atlantic-Pacific vantage point of the American strategist. Kaplan rejects this. The Indian Ocean is the strategic heartland of the 21st century, and much of this emerges from American oversight in the 20th century. From the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz in the West, to the Strait of Malacca in the East, the Indian Ocean is the transit passage for goods and commodities between East and West.
“[Syria] is the corridor that connects Lebanon and Iraq, and the combination of activities in both regions, with the hopes of creating instability in Jordan and crushing Israel,” he tells U.S. News. Kahlili says the Guard has been operating in Syria through small bases since the early days of Iran’s revolutionary government. It has established command and control centers and monitors Islamic extremist movements from there. It also trains and supplies organizations such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant political party that has sent an undisclosed number of fighters in support of the Syrian regime.
To date, China occupies more than 20,000 square kilometer of Gilgit-Baltistan covering Shaksgam, Raskam and Aghil valleys. Chinese nationals are once again in the newspapers of Gilgit-Baltistan, this time for smuggling heavy precious metals and gems out of the region. Similar reports also appeared last year when they tried to smuggle uranium, gold and copper from Gilgit-Baltistan. The Chinese model of mineral exploration fails to support Gilgit-Baltistan’s economy since the corporations do not provide jobs to the locals and deny a share in the revenue to the resource-owners.
Azerbaijan’s big presidential election, held on Wednesday, was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Even still, one expects a certain ritual in these sorts of authoritarian elections, a fealty to at least the appearance of democracy, if not democracy itself. So it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan’s election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started.
World community is waiting with fainting heart for 2014, when NATO will start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. air base leaves the International Manas Airport at the same time; financial flows to the budget of Kyrgyzstan will reduce along with increasing threat of destabilization in the region. Central Asian countries can not cope with the threats coming from Afghanistan without the help of a strategic and influential partner. However, the highest echelon of Kyrgyz power stiffly speaks about the organization as if it does not understand its importance.
Middle East oil and gas production growth prospects have been dimmed by a slump in exploration license awards, drilling activity and average reserves found per well over the last few years, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie.
There was a sharp rise in licensing for international oil companies in the Middle East in the last decade – ranging from Iraq oil exploration to Qatari LNG projects – with drilling activity and the reserves found per well surging in the years that followed as a result.
The news came three days ahead of the German federal elections on September 22 and went nearly unnoticed: Eon, Germany’s biggest energy group, signed a gas deal with Azerbaijan. The company will import 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas over the next 25 years from the Shah Deniz field, Azerbaijan’s biggest natural gas field in the Caspian Sea. The natural gas will be imported starting in 2019 through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The construction of TAP was decided in June of this year.
Saudi Arabia, exasperated with U.S. vacillation related to Syria’s chemical arsenal and now its effort to reconcile with Iran, Riyadh’s foremost adversary, is forging a new alliance of Islamist rebels in Syria under a pro-Saudi warlord to supersede the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army. Riyadh also wants to foment an Iraq-style “Sunni Awakening” to unite Syria’s majority sect to topple the minority Damascus regime of President Bashar Assad. “The Saudis have enlisted ’50 brigades’ and some thousands of fighters under a new structure headed by Zahren Alloush, head of Liwa al-Islam, the new group’s most powerful Salafist brigade.”
The basic conceit behind a LAR is that it can outperform and outthink a human operator. “If a drone’s system is sophisticated enough, it could be less emotional, more selective and able to provide force in a way that achieves a tactical objective with the least harm,” said Purdue University Professor Samuel Liles. “A lethal autonomous robot can aim better, target better, select better, and in general be a better asset with the linked ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] packages it can run.”
The indelible factors of geography in terms of ‘location,’ ‘space’ and ‘terrain’ in shaping the destiny of nations remains profound. The conflict that has been going on ‘for’ and ‘in’ the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for seven decades is a prime example; it is the State’s locational position on the face of the earth for China, India and Pakistan that is driving the triangular competition in which Pakistan’s virulence is being used both as the means to ‘contain’ India, and her territory, including what she occupies to act as a spring board for China’s regional outreach.
There have recently been two noteworthy developments in the long-running saga of Burma’s reported interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In different ways, both were welcome but, inevitably, concerns remain. And it certainly is short, even more so than the first two reports, which briefly covered developments in 2009 and 2010. The latest report simply states that during 2011, Burma’s main suppliers of weapons and military-related technology were China, North Korea, Russia and Belarus. Also, firms based in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand apparently assisted Burma’s defence industries in acquiring unspecified production technology.
Moscow issued a decree last month “in the name of security,” which said “the suppression and neutralization of the terrorist and criminal threat… is especially important in connection with the holding of the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.”
The order bans meetings and limits movement around Sochi for a month before the games through a month after them. He has also called for “mobilizing all force structures and improving the coordination, quality and results.”
In Britain, the words “East of Suez” hold a special meaning. In 1968, post-WWII weariness with imperial adventures, a deficit of cash and political will and anticolonial hostility forced acceptance of a greatly diminished world role. Specifically, London retreated from positions ‘East of Suez,’ i.e. beyond the Suez Canal, leaving it to America to keep postcolonial order in a Cold War world. Now looking at the Arc of Instability from North Africa to Pakistan, it is difficult to escape the question: Is the United States approaching its own East of Suez moment?
That designation and the Somalia and Libya raids highlight how governmental breakdown and increased lawlessness across a swath of Africa. Increasingly the wide geographical region is referred to in congressional testimony and reports by Pentagon officials and diplomats as an “arc of instability” – a designation that caught on in January when Islamist militants associated with AQIM threatened to topple the government of Mali, while others raided a natural gas operation in southern Algeria, killing 40 foreign workers.
The SCO summit in Bishkek clearly affirmed China’s ambitious intentions and strategy for the SCO. As policy, China appears to be using multilateralism as a tool and a tactic, and not as an intergovernmental mechanism or institutional arrangement. According to Professor Song Xinning of Renmin University, “Since the 1990s, China has used multilateralism to solve bilateral issues — to this end, multilateral meetings are a useful platform to negotiate bilaterally. But we are still uncomfortable with multilateralism, and prefer bilateralism and multi-polarity.”
These days, when we talk about emerging market growth in wealth management the conversation tends to focus on Asia, or possibly the Middle East and Latin America. Africa, meanwhile, remains largely forgotten. But there is mounting evidence that global banks and asset managers are turning their attention towards Africa in a drive to harness investment opportunities, as well as the chance to connect with the region’s emerging wealthy. Bank of China (BoC) last month announced a strategic business partnership with South Africa’s fourth biggest lender, Nedbank, to increase business between China and Africa.
A recent U.S.-Australian military exercise down under, one of their largest ever, underscored Australia’s growing importance in a U.S. strategy to counter China’s rise as a regional military power.
The highlight of the biennial Talisman Saber, which dates back to 1997, then called Tandem Thrust, were simulated war games against a fictitious enemy that one Australian defense expert identified as China.
The FSB is much more than just an ordinary security service. Combining the functions of an elite police force with those of a spy agency, and wielding immense power, it has come a long way since the early 1990s, when it was on the brink of imploding. Today’s agency draws a direct line of inheritance from the Cheka, set up by Vladimir Lenin in the months after the Bolshevik revolution, to the NKVD, notorious for the purges of the 1930s in which hundreds of thousands were executed, and then the KGB. As the Soviet Union disbanded, the KGB was dismembered into separate agencies, and humiliated.
China proposes to build a Maritime Silk Road with Southeast Asia countries where it is locked in a vexed dispute over the South China Sea to boost its foreign trade, state media here reported today. The Maritime Silk Road (MSR) formed the basis the plans to enhance trade between China and ASEAN countries during the current visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Indonesia and Malaysia where he stated the MSR would help turn the “Golden Decade” between China and the region into “Diamond Decade”.
The Chinese presence in the Tanzanian economy is growing rapidly as the eastern giant intensifies its quest for natural resources and a gateway to other African states. But many Tanzanians are concerned that their country will not be the main beneficiary of the big government-to-government deals and worry about the secrecy surrounding them. Details are hard to uncover as the infrastructure contracts are not awarded by competitive tender and government ministries are extremely reluctant to provide information. Tanzanian MP John Mnyika complained that not even Parliament is informed.
The Pentagon has spent the last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center for US military power. Especially since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the military has been shifting its European center of gravity south from Germany, where the overwhelming majority of US forces in the region have been stationed since the end of World War II. In the process, the Pentagon has turned the Italian peninsula into a launching pad for future wars in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
Israel, alarmed at the prospect of a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement, is reported to be discussing the possibility of an anti-Iran alliance with longtime Arab adversaries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a project that could have immense ramifications in the Middle East.
If talks are under way, they’re in large part the result of many secret meetings between Israeli and Arab intelligence chiefs and other senior officials that have been held over several years, often in the Jordanian capital Amman.
Libya has morphed into the Wild West of northern Africa just two years after the fall of the Gadhafi regime. In particular, the Libyan Desert has become a sanctuary for radical forces. Mohamed Abdelkader, the mayor of Ghat, does not beat around the bush when he says, “The borders are wide open. Drugs and weapons flow in and out and the army has no capacity to catch smugglers or extremists.” An army, in the conventional sense, does not exist in Libya anyway. Out of fear there could be attempts to overthrow him, Gadhafi, when he was alive, kept the army weak.
If managed well, the theory goes, the mining sector could be the backbone of a sustainable economy, fund national security, and stabilize the government. But the country’s natural resources could just as easily undercut Kabul’s efforts to stand on its own by exacerbating corruption, forcing a sell-off of prized assets to foreign investors, and becoming yet another source of violent conflict. Based on its handling of the mining sector, observers say, it looks like Afghanistan is on course to join the raft of countries afflicted by the “resource curse.”
Want to be an Asian superpower? Then an aircraft carrier, it seems, is the minimum requirement for joining this elite club. In China, a retro-fitted former Ukrainian carrier dating back to the Soviet era is the flagship of the country’s hopes for a “blue water” navy — a fleet that can operate on the high seas thousands of nautical miles from base. India has launched its first home built aircraft carrier as part of a plan to operate three carrier battle groups by 2020.
Less than 500 miles northeast of Syria, another secular Muslim dynasty is clinging to its fifth decade in power amid increasing calls for greater freedom and less corruption. What Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has that his counterpart Bashar al-Assad doesn’t is strong U.S. relations and a steady stream of oil cash to temper the opposition. Buoyed by the third-largest oil reserves in the former Soviet Union and $40 billion of investment from BP Plc (BP/) and its partners, Aliyev is betting he can overcome protests and avoid the fate of other Muslim autocrats.