10 January 2013

Intelligence and Human Networks

January 10, 2013


By Tristan Reed

Stratfor views the world through the lens of geopolitics, the study of hard, physical constraints on man's ability to shape reality. Political decisions are limited by the geography in which they take place, eliminating many of the options concocted by ideologues and making their human decisions easier to predict. But the study of geopolitics only takes the understanding of global affairs so far: It identifies the geographical constraints but leaves an array of options open to human actors. So when forecasting on a shorter time frame, analysis must go beyond geographical constraints to more specific, temporal constraints. For this reason, predicting the short-term activities of human actors requires an understanding of the constraints they face in the human terrain within which they operate.

As a result, one task common to any intelligence organization is defining the human network of a state, criminal organization, militant movement or any other organization to better determine and understand a group's characteristics and abilities. A human network in this sense is a broad term used to describe the intricate web of relations existing in an organization and within a specific region. For anyone or any organization with interests in a given geographic area, understanding the networks of individuals with influence in the region is critical.
Intelligence and Analysis

People use human networks to organize the control of resources and geography. No person alone can control anything of significance. Presidents, drug lords and CEOs rely on people to execute their strategies and are constrained by the capabilities and interests of the people who work for them. Identifying these networks may be a daunting task depending on the network. For obvious reasons, criminal organizations and militant networks strive to keep their membership secret, and it is not always apparent who gives the orders and who carries out the orders in a political body. To discern who's who in a group, and therefore whether an individual matters in a group, requires both intelligence and analysis to make sense of the intelligence.

Stable Pakistan not in India's interest

Date : 10 Jan , 2013 

Map depicting export of terrorism from Pak soil 

Indians pose the biggest threat to the union of India. The reason is simple. An average Indian does not constitute a nation but is merely an individual. His personal well-being overrides all other considerations including the national interests. 

Therefore, many have begun to propagate parting of Kashmir in their write-ups, since it does not belong individually to them. However, imagine the hue and cry if their personal property and family is held hostage by the terrorists. They will sing a different tune! 

Many conveniently propose the myth that a stable Pakistan is in Indias interest. This is a false proposition. The truth is that Pakistan is bad news for the Indian Union since 1947-stable or otherwise.

The blame lies with New Delhi. For the past sixty years, instead of consolidating the Union, leaders encouraged divisiveness on the basis of religion and caste for sheer vote bank politics. Instead of unifying its citizenry with good governance and increasing their stakes through prosperity, so that they may serve the cause of the nation with honor, it has treated its citizens with unprecedented shabbiness. The result is groups of citizens have risen against the state, mostly for lack of economic progress and denial of justice. Such disgruntled groups are being taken advantage of by the external forces inimical to India. 

There can never be unity in diversity. Unity requires a fair amount of uniformity in laws throughout the Union. 

That New Delhi is its own enemy became obvious, when it permitted the creation of a pure Islamic State on its borders. This nation-state contradicts every democratic and multi-cultural values dear to India. 

Therefore, if New Delhi has not slept a wink since the creation of Pakistan, it has no one except itself to blame! 

Islamabad, besides the wars it imposed on New Delhi, extended its so-called Islamic purity to the Kashmir Valley by instigating the locals to carry out ethnic cleansing of the minority communities. 

The self-destructive path that Islamabad chose will either splinter the state into many parts or it will wither away-a case of natural progression to its logical conclusion.

The UN Internal Review Panel Report and Sri Lanka’s Urgent Need for Accountability

January 9, 2013 

The Report of the United Nations’ Internal Review Panel1 was released one year after Sri Lanka’s self-appointed commission of inquiry, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, submitted its findings to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The LLRC was established in May 2010 to investigate events between the February 2002 ceasefire with the LTTE and the end of the conflict in May 2009 and make recommendations aimed at ethnic reconciliation. When the LLRC Report was submitted, it was assumed that it was merely going to clear the government of any accountability, especially in relation to allegations of violations of International Humanitarian Law during the final military offensive against the LTTE in 2009. The outcome was, however, an unsuccessful attempt to bury questions of war crimes, with the LLRC Report stating that even though the military gave highest priority to protecting civilians, many had been killed, albeit accidentally. This was a step forward as it clearly contradicted the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) previous stance insisting that there were no civilian casualties.2 Given the prevarication on the part of the GoSL with regard to the implementations of the recommendations put forth by the LLRC, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution in March 2012 titled “Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka”. Although one of the results of the UNHRC resolution was the formulation of the “National Action Plan”, it did nothing to change the country’s culture of impunity and the fact that the government continues to resist any independent investigation into alleged war crimes or other human rights violations. This situation and the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on Sri Lanka of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have raised many difficult questions for those interested in genuine peace and reconciliation in the country. The GoSL has consistently rejected suggestions that it allow an international role in human rights monitoring and accountability efforts, both in the context of the first UPR in 2008 and subsequently as well when calls for an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes intensified. Three and a half years since the final battle was fought and won, the GoSL continues to be evasive. Against this backdrop, the release of the Petrie Report has refocused international attention on the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka. 

The Petrie Report and the UN’s failure 

During the internal conflict that started in Sri Lanka three decades ago, several UN agencies, along with various other Intergovernmental Organisations (IGOS) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOS), were based in the war-torn North and East, serving people affected in the conflict zone. The situation provided ample opportunity for these international organisations to attain an insiders’ view and a better understanding of the difficulties faced by civilians living in these areas, while providing them with much needed aid. It has been widely reported that towards the end of the war, on the directive of Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry, the UN agencies as well as the other local and international organisations were compelled to leave the areas demarcated as the war zone, in spite of the large number of civilian demonstrations pleading with the UN agencies to stay because of the protection their presence would ensure. The Petrie Report asserts that the closure of offices and the subsequent withdrawal of UN agencies from the war-affected regions represent a failure on the part of the UN to “...act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities” (pp. 27). 

Who Sets the Agenda? Does 'Prime Time' Really Pace Policy?

IDSA Monograph Series No. 13 

This monograph has tried to demonstrate the dynamics of the growing interface between diplomacy and the news media within the Indian context. The focus has been broadcast media, specifically television and the change it has ushered in bureaucratic and political responses to crises. TV news coverage in India seems to have a higher impact in the realm of domestic policy vis-à-vis foreign policy. Its exponential growth in a competitive ratings driven market has given it the image of a pressure group that has not yet attained the political maturity to be taken seriously by policymakers. However the “real time response” and accountability component introduced into the arena of diplomacy has proved to be a vital pressure point in many foreign policy considerations. 

Recent foreign policy crises episodes - The immediate fall out on Indo-Pak relations post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks; the Indo-US Nuclear Deal (2005-2008); the border relations with China after incursion reports, and the 'race row attacks' in Australia in 2009 are studied in detail. The media's agency has been versatile in the case studies examined: pressure group, track II platform, international political broker, critical observer and feedback mechanism. 

Unpacking this “perceived influence” of the media specifically in the area of foreign policy and its multifaceted agency in the Indian context is the dominant theme of this monograph which examines three basic issues: Does the Indian media influence and shape the policy agendas? If it does, then what is the role and extent of this influence? Is the influence independent or contingent upon conditions? 

The Aggressor Will Always Get Away


January 10, 2013 

One of the biggest weaknesses of India’s security discourse is the failure of the Indian leadership to truly understand the nature and psyche of its Western neighbour. Pakistan, like any other country, does not like to lose face, is always ready to up the ante, initiate audacious and precipitous action, make noise, co-opt its benefactors especially the United States and China, demand international intervention and establish a sort of moral and psychological ascendancy and superiority over India. Once the dust settles down, it is business as usual including demands for a dialogue to resolve the core issue of Kashmir before bilateral relations can be improved. The rest is cosmetics. The Indian leadership seems to repeatedly fall prey to such ruses. 

India, on the other hand, mistakenly believes that because Pakistanis talk, eat, speak and very often behave like us they are indeed like us; our long lost brothers whose wayward behaviour can only be corrected through sustained and sincere peace building as well as disproportionately large concessions because India is after all a big country which is focused on its economic development and can ill afford to be distracted by resort to arms. India is also convinced that Pakistan’s benefactors will not let that country sink beyond a point and intervene to ensure its survival. There is much truth in this assessment but history tells us a somewhat different story. 

Right from the time of its birth, Pakistani leaders including Jinnah had convinced themselves that India had somehow cheated and short-changed Pakistan with British help and that is how Jinnah got a ‘moth eaten Pakistan’. Although legal, the accession of Jammu & Kashmir was also seen as another case of Indian treachery conveniently forgetting that it was brought on by Pakistani aggression and attempts to wrest control of the state by force. India committed its first blunder by prematurely taking the issue to the United Nations and compounded the folly by choosing the ‘wrong’ article/clause of the Charter, thus allowing Pakistan to become an equal party to the ‘dispute’ when in fact Pakistan was simply the aggressor and nothing more. 

Thereafter, through the last 65 years, Pakistan has tried to settle the matter by resort to force whenever its leadership felt that the circumstances were propitious and favourable. A major mistake that Pakistan has always made and continues to make even today is to underestimate the resolve of India’s leadership and the capability of the Indian military. The defensive defence policy that India has followed in preference to military retaliation has unfortunately emboldened Pakistan, which continues to believe that it can always get away. Repeated attacks by Pakistan at Haji Pir, Kargil and Chhamb are examples of such aggressive behaviour. 

Trans-Loc Incidents in J & K: An Assessment

Paper No. 5352 Dated 09-Jan-2013 

by B. Raman 

There have been two very serious incidents across the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir. 

1. PAKISTANI STATEMENT: One Pakistani soldier was killed on January 6, 2013, in an alleged Indian raid on a Pakistani Army post. On January 7, the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad protested over the incident to the Indian Deputy High Commissioner. According to the Indian version of this incident, on January 6, Pakistani troops fired mortar shells at Indian Army posts in the Uri sector to help insurgents infiltrate into India. The Indian Army had retaliated. 

INDIAN STATEMENT: Two Indian soldiers were killed and two others injured on the morning of January 8, when Pakistani army troops entered Indian territory near Mendhar, about 220 KMs north of Jammu, and attacked an Indian post. The body of one of the Indian soldiers was found decapitated and the severed head was missing. The Pakistani Army has denied the allegations and described them as Indian propaganda to divert attention from the incident of Jan.6. 

2. There was a similar incident of decapitation when Gen. Pervez Musharraf was the Chief of the Army Staf (COAS) under then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999. Ilyas Kashmiri, a former member of the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, and his men entered Indian territory, killed an Indian soldier, decapitated him and carried his head as a trophy to Pakistan. He allegedly presented the head to Musharraf who congratulated him and his men and rewarded them. The incident was reported in sections of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir media. 

3. Musharraf’s action in receiving Ilyas Kashmiri and rewarding him indicated the Pakistan Army’s complicity in the incident. The Indian Army reportedly believes strongly that there was Pakistan Army’s complicity in the latest incident too. 

4. The two incidents indicate the continuing fragile and sensitive nature of the trans-LOC ground realities. The incidents appear to have been handled till now at the Army-Army level through the existing hotline between the Directors-General of Military Operations of the two countries. 

5.The serious nature of the latest incidents underline the need for a political hotline between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan to supplement the existing hotline between the DGMOs to ensure prompt political handling of such trans-LOC incidents amenable to escalation detrimental to peace in the area.

India’s War Preparedness Neglected and Worrisome

Paper No. 5354 Dated 10-Jan-2013 

By Dr Subhash Kapila 

War clouds may not exactly be hovering over India but the seeds of war lay overwhelmingly strewn on India’s borders with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and China Occupied Tibet. China and Pakistan, singly and jointly constitute a potent military threat to India’s national security. War can suddenly erupt on India’s militarily turbulent borders and this dictates the imperatives of peak-high state of war preparedness. 

Taking into account the historical propensity of China and Pakistan to resort to armed conflict on contentious issues of territorial sovereignty, the contextual restiveness in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir which includes Northern Areas and in China Occupied Tibet, India needs to be wary of the strategic intentions of its proven military adversaries------China and Pakistan 

The prevailing international setting which has a bearing on the South Asia strategic landscape does not provide any assurance or confidence that Pakistan and China can be restrained internationally from any military adventurism on India’s peripheries. The United States as the global and regional countervailing power for its own strategic considerations can be expected to stand aside in any potential military conflict imposed by China and Pakistan, singly or jointly. 

With such an unsettling and threatening security environment it would have been a logical expectation that India’s war preparedness should have been maintained at peak-high levels, especially when the seeds of war strewn by Pakistan and China on India’s peripheries could sprout at short notice without any long lead times of warning or military preparation. 

Regrettably, India’s current state of war preparedness, going by open reports, does not induce confidence that India stands well prepared to meet Chinese and Pakistani military threats, both direct and indirect. Matching the propensity of China and Pakistan to resort to armed conflict is the ill-matched propensity of India to lapse into prolonged periods of complacency on India’s war preparedness prompted by vain hopes that China and Pakistan share India’s yearnings for peace. 

India’s propensity for lack of peak-high war preparedness arises not from any lack of professionalism or competency of Indian Armed Forces but primarily arises from India’s political leadership’s over-reliance on the “piousness of intentions” of China and Pakistan. This Indian political leadership’s misreading of intentions of its military adversaries arises from Indian political leaders personal inclinations for peace at any cost to avoid ‘hard decisions on Indian security’ and out-sourcing India’s foreign policy to Washington. 

Maldives: Is President Waheed in Control?

Paper No. 5356 Dated 10-Jan-2013 

By Dr. S.Chandrasekharan. 

Looking at the developments in Maldives, one gets the feeling that President ( by accident as some prefer to call him) Waheed does not appear to be in control of the events. In a moment of frustration he is said to have remarked that "Everybody runs the State as they please" and this has been widely reported in the press. 

He is aware of the remarks of his own adviser Dr. Hassan Saeed who said that President Waheed is "politically the weakest person in the country" and yet Saeed is merrily carrying on and some suspect that he may even join hands with Waheed to contest the next presidential elections in 2013. 

President Waheed’s own official spokesperson Abbas Adil Raza broke all diplomatic protocol and openly called the Indian High Commissioner as a "traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people" over the controversy surrounding the GMR agreement. Though he tried to distance himself away, it took a while for him to remove Raza from the post of official spokesperson, only to be given a ministerial post later. 

When President Waheed dismissed his minister for transport and communications Dr. Ahmed Shamsheed for acts of indiscipline, the Chief of Jumhoree party Gasim Ibrahim threatened to review the alliance of his party with the government. Gaasim was met by the President twice and another Jumhoree party candidate has been posted as minister for transport. 

No action was taken against Dr. Shamsheed for unilaterally extending the lease of the private airport at Maamagile belonging to his chief from 30 years to 99 years. Though the sacking of the minister has not been reversed, President Waheed has not dared to reverse the lease order ! 

In another incident two members of Majlis were arrested for possessing and consuming alcohol in a remote island ( Kasshidhoo constituency member Abdulla Jabir and another MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor) on the eve of voting on a crucial issue in the Majlis for which the presence of the two members was necessary. The President was not aware of the operation and it was done entirely by the Defence Minister’s outfit. 

India-Pakistan dialogue must continue


But New Delhi must create strong disincentives for hostile actions by Islamabad

The validity of our strategic objectives towards Pakistan should not be allowed to be distorted by any jingoistic reaction to the incident in Jammu & Kashmir on January 8, 2013, in which two Indian soldiers were killed well inside Indian territory by a Pakistani Army group and where one of them was allegedly decapitated. 

While Pakistan has denied any decapitation, it has sought to project the incident as in retaliation for an earlier incident on January 6 in the Uri sector in which, according to it, a Pakistani soldier was killed by a raiding Indian Army unit. This has been denied by the Indian Army. According to it, it merely countered covering fire by Pakistani units in the area to facilitate the infiltration of some militants into J&K across the Uri area. 

In the present state of contentious relations between the two countries, it would be difficult to establish the real sequence of events. Each government and Army will assert the veracity of its version. 


Our strategic objectives are to work for good neighbourly relations marked by normal trade, people to people contacts, greater sporting and cultural interactions, hassle-free travel and a confidence-building mechanism. A sustained dialogue process is necessary to achieve these objectives. 

It will be unwise and short-sighted to allow our justified anger over the incident of January 8 to undermine the dialogue process. It will be in the interest of the people of both countries to resist the urge to discontinue the dialogue process. 

At the same time, one has to recognise that such incidents of tactical gravity will continue to mar bilateral relations so long as there is no genuine change of mindset in the Pakistan Army towards India. This mindset is marked by sustained hostility towards India and a determination to annexe J&K and keep India destabilised through the use of terrorism as a strategic weapon against India. 

Transition in Afghanistan: A War of Perceptions

Journal Article | Jan 10 2013


A decade after the military intervention that dislodged the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine, peace and stability continues to elude Afghanistan. There is still no consensus in Western capitals on what constitutes the ‘end-state’ in Afghanistan. The Western public's frustration with a long-drawn war has coalesced with the global economic slowdown, the Euro crisis and the pressures of electoral campaign politics in the United States – thereby complicating the efforts for the long-term stabilisation of Afghanistan. Premature announcements of exit and dwindling financial assistance have added to the Afghan anxieties of being ‘abandoned’ once again. This paper brings to light the divergent perceptions among the key stakeholders in Afghanistan and in the international community (IC) on the trajectory of the ‘inteqal’ (transition) process. The paper argues that the war in Afghanistan is essentially a war of perceptions on progress made thus far. This widening gap in perceptions is bound to complicate the transition and long term stabilisation process. 

The Af-Pak Strategy, Surge & Exit 

President Barack Obama, in emphasising on a renewed focus and more resources to the ‘good war’ in Afghanistan, announced a troop surge in his speech at West Point on 1 December 2009. Along with the surge, by setting the end of 2014 as the date for drawdown of forces, he ended speculations of the United States’ intent in that country and at the same time provided some clarity to his domestic constituency. It assuaged the concerns of the civilian team, led by Vice-President Joe Biden who had opposed the military commanders' (General Stanley McChrystal and General David Petraeus) request of deploying additional troops for a population-centric counter-insurgency (COIN) campaign. However, the announcement of a date of drawdown sent a different message to the ‘friends and foes’ in the region. While it evoked concerns particularly among the Afghans, the message fed into the propaganda of the Taliban-led insurgency.[1]

The US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta exacerbated the situation in early 2012 by stating that the transition process could be completed by 2013[2], a year earlier than 2014. Likewise, calls for early withdrawal by NATO allies have further added to the concerns inside Afghanistan and the region. Although the declaration arrived at the 2010 Lisbon summit had stated that the ‘transition will be conditions-based, not calendar-driven, and will not equate to withdrawal of ISAF-troops’[3], there was a perceived turn around at the Chicago Summit in May 2012. President Obama and the NATO leaders agreed to end their role in the Afghan war, stating it is time for the Afghan people to take responsibility for their own security and for the US-led international troops to go home.[4] The Summit decision called for the beginning of full transition in all parts of Afghanistan by mid-2013 and the Afghan forces taking the lead for security nation-wide. As per the plan, the ISAF will gradually draw down its forces to complete its mission by 31 December 2014.[5]

Politics and economics, not troops, will decide Afghanistan's future

By John Podesta and Caroline Wadhams
January 10, 2013

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington to discuss a bilateral strategic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, policymakers and the public are debating the pace of troop drawdown and the residual force post-2014, when the security handover to Afghan authorities finishes. Missing from these discussions is a focus on the political and economic transitions underway in Afghanistan - areas that will serve as greater determinants of Afghan stability than whether there are zero, 4,000, or 9,000 U.S. troops. Politics ultimately drive the Afghan conflict, and its resolution will require a broader political consensus and stronger economic foundation than currently exists. 

President Karzai's visit offers an opportunity for the Obama administration, members of Congress and others to drill down and express support for a number of political and economic priorities, which could assist in strengthening the legitimacy and competence of the Afghan state as the United States and NATO drawdown. The current Afghan state is deeply flawed and has alienated many Afghans due to its exclusive and predatory nature. The constitutional system, which vests great power in the hands of the executive without real checks and balances, lends itself to abuses of authority. Officials often use formal state institutions to support their patronage networks, fueling high levels of corruption, cronyism, and nepotism on the national and local levels. What's more, the dependency of the Afghan government and its security forces on high levels of international assistance for the foreseeable future, especially in a time of global austerity, threatens to undermine a sustainable transition. 

Creating a stronger political consensus and a more solid economic foundation for the Afghan state will be required for long-term stability in Afghanistan. In their meetings with President Karzai and his team, senior U.S. officials must state their expectations about these political and economic processes, clarifying that long-term security support is contingent on Afghan progress on these efforts. Expectations should include the following: 

First, a free, fair, inclusive and transparent presidential election is required in which President Karzai transfers power to a legitimately elected successor. President Karzai must work to ensure that the electoral bodies, including the Independent Electoral Commission and an electoral complaints mechanism are independent and credible. The United States hopes to see parliamentary approval of the electoral laws and the implementation of a plan to ensure a successful election. 

Education as strategy in Afghanistan

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks 
January 9, 2013 

By Chris Taylor 

Best Defense guest columnist 

After eleven years of combat that ultimately will culminate with a troop withdrawal in 2014, Afghanistan is neither settled nor solved. Long-term success in the region demands more nuanced approaches and gives cause to reimagine not a legacy, but a new engagement with smart investment in other levers of influence. 

Eminent Harvard professor Joe Nye, who coined the phrase "soft power," recently said, "soft power is the ability to get outcomes through attraction rather than through force or payment, and education has always been an important resource to achieve that." 

Education has already proven to be a powerful attraction in Kabul. Enrollment at the American University of Afghanistan rose from 56 students in 2006 to 1,800 in 2012, and continues to grow. Founded in 2004 by Afghan business and civic leaders, and modeled after the successful American Universities of Beirut and Cairo, the AUAF is a non-sectarian, co-educational institution with undergraduate, graduate, and professional development curricula. 

In May 2011, the AUAF graduated its first class of 32; nine women and 23 men with two Fulbright Scholarships awarded. In 2012, 52 graduated with six more Fulbright Scholars named. 

The university attracts Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Nuristanis, Turkmen, Aimaks, and many others. In doing so, it creates an intercultural environment where young Afghan minds interact, leveraging many tribal narratives into one sense of Afghan unity and progress. 

But by far, the fastest growing demographic at AUAF is women. With an average enrollment of 25 percent in undergraduate and professional development curricula (11 percent in the newly minted MBA curriculum), Afghan women are defying archaic norms and risking their lives to educate themselves so they can lead in their communities, in business, and in the national government. These are the same women who have been disfigured by acid attacks and mutilation, raped by relatives, married against their will, and received death threats from the Taliban -- yet they still come to the AUAF because they believe they can change their future, and that of their nation. 

Technical Challenges of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program: Working Paper 2012-15

November 6, 2012 
Read complete document (pdf, 2901 kb) 


The U.S. Army plans to spend about an additional $34 billion in 2013 dollars to develop and purchase a new armored vehicle for its infantry, the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). The GCV is supposed to operate across the full range of potential conflict types while providing unprecedented levels of protection for the full squad of soldiers it will carry. To achieve the Army’s goals, the GCV would weigh from 64 to 84 tons, making it the biggest and heaviest infantry fighting vehicle that the Army has ever fielded—as big as the M1 Abrams tank and twice as heavy as the Bradley, the Army’s current infantry fighting vehicle. Designing such a vehicle presents important technical challenges. 

To aid the Congress in its oversight of the GCV program, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has prepared two reports. This CBO working paper provides background information for understanding the technical challenges that the program faces. It presents the Army’s technical goals for the GCV program, examines the threats that the vehicle could face in combat, and explores the variety of approaches that vehicle designers can take to protect the vehicle and its passengers and to meet the Army’s other requirements. A companion report, The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program and Alternatives, examines the GCV program (including the number of vehicles, the production schedule, and the cost) and alternative approaches that the Army could take that would cost less but still provide substantial improvements over today’s fleet of combat vehicles.

Jewish Influence and US Foreign Policy

Paper No. 5355 10-Jan-2013 

By Kazi Anwarul Masud 

The Palestinian problem that has remained unresolved for decades unless brought to fruition can fuel Islamic extremism however much the international community including the Islamic world may like to avoid such a possibility. 

Generally it is believed that Israeli intransigence encouraged by the US’s unflinching support to the Israeli policy of destruction and domination are the two main impediments in the way to a just solution of this issue. The international community already bruised by global economic downturn would prefer a multipolar world where conflicts are settled more through negotiations and less through force of arms and see the United Nations as the preferred destination for solution of problems and the UNSC less paralytic. But pious intentions may not necessarily be translated into reality and President Obama’s second term of office may witness a series of conflicts, including the Palestine problem, inherited from earlier administrations and from his First. 

In the last Presidential debate when asked to name the biggest foreign or security threat to the US President Obama replied it was "terrorism." While terrorism has assailed both the Western developed and the developing nations naïve description of terrorists points to radical Islamists as the single most destabilizing element in the present global structure inviting some Western intellectuals to lend their weight to peoples’ fear of Muslim "invasion" of the Western shores. 

Tiffany Lynch, a senior Africa policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan watchdog that makes policy recommendations to the US government, speaking of the Islamists’ capture and occupation of a part of Mali, urges the US government to take a firm stand against these marauders or risk the emergence of the Malian safe haven in a region of notoriously weak borders leading Islamist movements to develop more sophisticated links across the continent, from Mali to Libya to Nigeria to Somalia – all of which until recently had been viewed primarily as isolated problems. 

The Conservatives who would spare no opportunity to criticize President Obama for making the US weak predict that the Islamist threat is likely to get worse in Obama’s second term. They contend that there are an estimated 200 million Islamists across the world who share views that are radically different than Americans. For them their faith and government are one and they are obligated to do whatever is necessary to replace secular with Islamic rule (Shariah law). That is happening, complain the conservatives, before their eyes vis-à-vis the Arab Spring which President Obama allegedly encouraged. The Conservatives complaint is endless. Middle East, they say, is riven by tensions with Islamists seeking to expand control. Obama encouraged the transition in Egypt to a Muslim Brotherhood-run government, the replacement of the Libyan dictator with the current chaotic situation marked by al Qaeda-linked groups and criminal militias, and he failed to act resolutely to hasten the end of the Syrian dictator’s genocidal campaign. 

A Future for Armor in an Era of Persistent Conflict

SWJ Blog Post | January 9, 2013

Examination of the expected characteristics of the US Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) by the Congressional Budget Office in early November 2012 has sparked a debate not only about what that vehicle should be reasonably expected to look like and perform, but also about what the needs for armor are as in the Army as a whole. Fears about what problems with the GCV program could entail for the Army’s remaining Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT) miss an important question: Should we be trying to preserve them at all? 

The HBCT is the product of decades of lessons learned about the interaction between armor and the forces they are expected to support. After years of the doctrine expecting the differing types of vehicles and forces to work in concert, the HBCT introduced Combined Arms Battalions, where tanks and infantry fighting vehicles and their support elements were organized together from the start. Organized together, it was felt that units would have a better understanding of such combined arms operations, being able to train regularly and be otherwise familiar with each other. Unfortunately, it has made the organization less flexible overall. 

In addition to being utilized in its traditional role, since the end of the Second World War, armor has been deployed to crises to provide important capabilities despite a lack of enemy armor or other threats armor might have been otherwise expected to engage. In 1958, when the US Army intervened in Lebanon, a small contingent of M48 tanks and M42 anti-aircraft vehicles were deployed with the force, never operating above platoon strength. During the conflict in Vietnam, M48 and M551 tanks assigned to three tank battalions and numerous armored cavalry units provided dispersed support to units across the country. They rarely operated as organized and in the face of institutional reticence toward their deployment. In fact, the organic companies of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor were so rarely under its operational control that the headquarters was used to control multi-company task forces, sometimes without any armor at all. In the twilight of the Cold War, a limited number of M551 tanks were again utilized during Operation Just Cause in Panama, where, like in Lebanon, they operated at platoon strength. 

In spite of these historical examples, after a decade in Afghanistan, the Army has deployed no tanks or infantry fighting vehicles there. A common retort is, as expected, that such vehicles are not broadly useful in the Afghan terrain or for the type of fighting there. This, however, stands in stark contrast to the historical record, where small amounts of armor have been deployed to support similar contingencies and have been found to be useful as a specialized capability. It is as a specialized capability that the armor can best serve the Army. This is not a new concept either. For instance, during Operation Just Cause, Lieutenant General Carl W. Stiner, at the time commander of XVIII Airborne Corps and commander of Joint Task Force – South viewed the M551s available to him as a means of providing “surgical firepower,” just like the AH-64A helicopters available to the task force. 

Why the Left Should Embrace John Brennan

The architect of the drone program is the only one who can fix it. 

Critics of the U.S. counterterrorism drone program can't seem to catch a break. After a presidential campaign in which the promiscuous use of American drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia was largely given short shrift, President Obama is placing the architect of that program, John Brennan, into a position of even greater power, as head of the CIA. 

Brennan, from his perch inside the White House and away from the prying eyes of congressional overseers, has been the engineer of Obama's targeted killing campaign and intimately involved in its implementation. In fact, according to the Washington Post, when operations are planned, it is Brennan who goes to President Obama for his approval. As my colleague and FP columnist Micah Zenko succinctly put it, "No politically appointed official in U.S. history has played such a prominent role in killing so many people outside of a war zone as John Brennan." 

So by this logic, the selection of Brennan is a disaster for drone critics and will likely lead to an increase in U.S. targeted killings. 

Well, not so fast. Because at the same time that Brennan is the architect of the drone program, he is also one of the most prominent critics in the administration of its usefulness and secrecy. According to a recent profile in the Post, Brennan is the person inside the president's national security team "who questions the justification for each drone attack, who often dials back what he considers excessive zeal by the CIA and the military, and who stands up for diplomatic and economic assistance components in the overall strategy." 

A New U.S. Grand Strategy

Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral diplomacy are the future of American power. 

The strategic landscape of the 21st century has finally come into focus. The great global project is no longer to stop communism, counter terrorists, or promote a superficial notion of freedom. Rather, the world must accommodate 3 billion additional middle-class aspirants in two short decades -- without provoking resource wars, insurgencies, and the devastation of our planet's ecosystem. For this we need a strategy. 

The status quo is untenable. In the United States, the country's economic engine is misaligned to the threats and opportunities of the 21st century. Designed explicitly to exploit postwar demand for suburban housing, consumer goods, and reconstruction materials for Europe and Japan, the conditions that allowed it to succeed expired by the early 1970s. Its shelf life has since been extended by accommodative monetary policy and the accumulation of household, corporate, and federal debt. But with Federal Reserve interest rates effectively zero, Americans' debt exceeding their income, and storms lashing U.S. cities, the country is at the end of the road. 

Abroad, Washington's post-Cold War pattern of episodic adventurism and incremental crisis management only creates further uncertainty, and rising powers will not lead. Other major economies have little appetite for altering the global order and hence are doubling down on the old system, exacerbating trade imbalances and driving record resource extraction. As commodity prices rise, global powers are hedging ever more aggressively -- stockpiling resources and increasingly becoming entangled in conflicts in resource-rich areas. As the global economy falters, unrest rises and the great unresolved conflicts of the 20th century -- the Middle East, South Asia, North Korea, Taiwan -- grow increasingly enmeshed in the power dynamics of this new era. 

Simply put, the current U.S. and international order is unsustainable, and myriad disruptions signal that it is now in a process of collapse. Until the United States implements a new grand strategy, the country will face even more rapid degradation of domestic and global conditions. 

He gave us back our dignity

Published: January 10, 2013 
Prema Nandakumar 

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Swami Vivekananda faced innumerable difficulties and disappointments in moves towards women’s empowerment and caste equality, but he won in the end. 

Does one write deliberately as a woman or man when taking up pen and paper? I do not know. But right now, I am writing as an Indian woman. The Indian woman who has held up the torch of cultured living for millennia through self-sacrifice, incredible feats of physical and mental endurance and abiding compassion. I know that the pen is a sacred object; if used unthinkingly as Sanjay Srivastava has done (The Hindu, Op-Ed, “Taking the aggression out of masculinity,” January 3, 2013), it might do more harm than good to the position of women in India. 

Two portraits have been constant companions in my longish life as a housewife and writer. They have both infused in me the needed strength to face life despite scores of disappointments, frustrations and tragedies. One is the figure of Bharat Mata, rider on the lion, as though telling me: are you a weakling? You are as strong as this land, endowed with hurrying streams and gleaming orchards. Never give up! I learnt the connection between nature and the Indian woman when I read Sita say in Kavisamrat Viswanatha Satyanarayana’s Sri Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu that she has no fear of rivers and forests. Is she not the child of Mother Earth? 

The other portrait has been that of Swami Vivekananda, with the caption: “Strength is life: weakness is death.” It is a message for men and women of India. Yes, indeed it was Swami Vivekananda who gave us back our dignity as women, our education, our strength of purpose and reminded us again that no woman is a zero. Inspired by him, a host of social reformers all over India opened a new, glorious page for Indian women. They educated themselves, took part in the Gandhian movement in vast numbers and became equal partners in work everywhere. Interestingly enough, they preferred not to jettison the received tradition that had helped them all along not go down under during the dark centuries in the past. 


Abhijit Bhattacharyya 

It is a season of parroting foreign direct investment in New Delhi. Everyone is counselling the ruling class of India about how beneficial FDI in retail would be for farmers, shopkeepers, kirana traders and the unemployed youth. So much so that even the US ambassador to India has been emphatically pointing out the positive effects FDI could have on the economic scenario of India. However, none of the votaries of FDI has thus far come up with facts and figures, or a constructive plan of action, which may quantify how much the people of India will benefit, and how many jobs will be created. 

Ironically, one of the biggest (proxy) retail FDI operators in the Indian market appears to be Walmart. And the fact that Walmart faces probe into potential “violations of anti-corruption law extending to Brazil, China and India” makes matters highly controversial. Besides, investigation is on regarding allegations of bribes paid to secure new store permits in Mexico. Walmart is not yet operating officially in India; but it is already in the news for the wrong reasons. To make things worse, the existing probes by the US department of justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have expanded to cover Walmart through a bigger scanner. 

However, an astonishing counterpoint has been made by Walmart officials pertaining to India operations —“Our expectation is that each and every one of our associates will adhere not only to the letter of the law but also to the highest standards of personal integrity.” Only time will tell how much of this commitment to probity will be fulfilled. Reportedly, existing domestic retailers have felt that it is “difficult to open stores in India without greasing the palms of officials”. It is significant that Walmart has not opened any outlet in India yet. Its joint venture with Bharti Enterprises already operates 18 cash-and-carry outlets across the country. Even then, Walmart is facing the heat from the Enforcement Directorate probe for possible violation of foreign exchange rules, as it has already invested US $100 million in the holding company of Bharti Retail. 

Bigger picture 

This brings us to the bigger canvas of FDI. Understandably, the foreigner’s money would be directly invested in India, and this will require a basic definition of ‘investment’. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, it is an “expenditure to acquire property or assets to produce revenue”; for our understanding, let the word ‘revenue’ be substituted by the word ‘profit’. Therefore, a foreign investor will invest in India with the expectation of profit. And despite India’s reputation as a corruption-infested market if FDI is being advocated by the who’s who of the world, it speaks volumes of the potential of profit. 

‘Cash transfers can help make India less unequal, but are not a magic bullet’

Published: January 10, 2013
Sandeep Joshi 

It is not the modality of cash transfer that is the only issue, but also how much, and for whom, and also, instead of what, asks Amartya Sen. 

Photo: AP A tribal woman in Rayagada, Odisha waits to receive coupons to purchase subsidised rice from a fair price shop. The Union Government has launched the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) programme to give benefits like scholarships, pensions, NREGA wages, etc. directly to the bank or post office accounts of beneficiaries. There are also talks of direct transfer of subsidies for food, fertilizer and kerosene at a later stage. Will the scheme work? 

Cash transfer can be a good way of helping the poor in many circumstances. Indeed, many schemes that are not directly cash transfer schemes also work mainly through cash transfer, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme, which certainly has helped the poor through creating jobs and generating cash income for a great many poor people in rural India. Cash is easy to handle and can be, in many cases, easily monitored. It cannot be sensible to be generically against cash transfer schemes, in a country with a lot of poverty and a commitment to use public money to make the very poor a bit less poor. 

However, the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) programme is a particular scheme of cash transfer, and we have to ask what it may be displacing and whether the losers will not be plunged into more poverty. It is not the modality of cash transfer that is the only issue, but also how much, and for whom, and also, instead of what. If, for example, it is instead of subsidised food, we have to make sure that the people who depend on cheaper food will have enough cash to buy the unsubsidised food. 

There is also another issue — that of the distributional effects of different kinds of benefits within the family. There is a good deal of empirical evidence to suggest that direct access to food tends to favour children rather than only the adults, and also girls rather than only the boys, working against biased social priorities, common in the subcontinent, favouring adults over children, and boys over girls, which is a long-standing problem in Indian society. If the cash transfer is not additional to food subsidies, and is given “instead of” food subsidies, it would be important to make sure that the money given would be used for nutritional purposes and, equally importantly, that it would be divided within the family in a way that addresses the manifest problems of undernourishment and deprivation of young girls. 

Learning From the Soviets: How to Withdraw From Afghanistan

By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross 

The New York Times bungles history in predicting the upcoming departure of U.S. troops.

Soldiers work on vehicles that will be re-deployed to Britain, at Camp Bastion, outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on December 20, 2012. (Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

One unique feature of Afghanistan's history, in addition to the ubiquity of foreign invasions that stretch back for 2600 years, is the manner in which one would-be conqueror after another found its position compromised due to its failure to understand this history. "The British would repeat the blunders of the Romans," writes Peter Tomsen in The Wars of Afghanistan, arguing that their nineteenth century invasions overlooked lessons that could be gleaned from the defeat the Romans suffered at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 B.C. And, he added, "the Soviets would make the same mistakes a century later." 

The lessons of history extend not only to those looking to use military force to enter Afghanistan, but also to foreign armies on their way out. On January 1, The New York Times published an interesting article comparing the U.S.'s coming 2014 withdrawal to the Soviet exit in 1989. This is a worthwhile period to familiarize ourselves with, one that is understudied compared to the Afghan-Soviet war that preceded it. However, the analysis in the Times demonstrates not only what can be gleaned through historical comparisons, but also some of the pitfalls of undertaking them. 

Afghanistan's communist president at the time the Soviets withdrew, Mohammad Najibullah (sometimes known as Najib), is remembered primarily for his life's gruesome ending. After the Taliban lured him and his brother out of the U.N. compound where they had found shelter, they tortured and castrated Najibullah, then dragged him from the back of a vehicle. Tomsen writes that the following morning, both men's "bloodied bodies hung from a traffic pylon outside the palace walls, their cadavers mutilated." Symbolizing his corruption, decadence, and allegiance to a foreign power, "a wad of Soviet currency and cigarettes were stuffed into Najib's mouth and nostrils." 

The Saudis’ PR ‘Roads’ Show

Even before the “Arab spring” revolts — indeed, ever since the 9/11 attacks on American soil by mostly Saudi terrorists — the Saudi royal family has assiduously waged a public-relations campaign to improve its image by sponsoring major cultural initiatives in the West. In 2012 alone, these included the opening of the King Abdullah interfaith-dialogue center in Vienna, an Islamic-art wing at the Louvre in Paris, and “Roads of Arabia,” an archaeological exhibition now on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution. 

All these are sophisticated and lavish attempts to throw sand in our eyes. At home, meanwhile, the Wahhabi-partnered monarchy has yet to shed its grossly intolerant ideology and policies toward other religions, which it so dangerously has spread to Muslim communities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and other countries. 

No church or other non-Muslim house of worship is allowed in Saudi Arabia. This, despite the fact that, as Christoph Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna observed last June to an influential Washington audience, Saudi Arabia may now be home to one of the Middle East’s largest Christian populations. Over a million of Saudi Arabia’s foreign workers may be Christians, and some, like the Filipino chauffeur who drove me around Riyadh in 2011, have lived there for several decades. 

Foreign workers who attempt to gather quietly in house churches are hunted down by the religious police. Such was the fate of 35 Ethiopian Christians in Jeddah who were arrested, strip-searched, and jailed without due process for nearly eight months last year for secretly holding a Christmas-season worship service. 

Bibles cannot be distributed in the kingdom. Christian signs and symbols cannot be displayed; religious garb, rosaries, and crosses are prohibited from view. When an Italian soccer team came to play a match in Saudi Arabia, it had to blot out part of the cross on the team’s jerseys, turning their logo into a stroke instead. Even secular symbols associated with Christmas are banned; one year, in the American school, a Santa Claus barely dodged the religious police by escaping through a window. 


By admin on January 8, 2013 

2013-01-08 (China military news by China-defense-mashup) — On Jan 4th, “International Herald Leader”, a Chinese state-run newspaper under Xinhua News Agency, publishes a commentary to advise PLA Navy to build oversea naval bases to protect its energy line in Indian Ocean area. 

The article says, as China’s first “Liaoning” aircraft carrier’s service in PLA Navy, along with the successful landing of the J-15 carrier-based fighter, the Chinese navy has become the focus of world attention after 2012. In future, the construction of PLA Navy aircraft carrier battle group will lead the system transformation, warship building, training and naval combat doctrine research. In Hu’s report at 18th Party Congress, he urges to build strong national defense and powerful armed forces that are commensurate with China’s international standing and meet the needs of its security and development interests. In this context, Chinese first aircraft carrier battle group will quickly enter operational stage with the delivery of new guided-missile destroyer, amphibious warship and nuclear submarine. 

China believes that a strong naval force can protect its energy line in Indian Ocean area, especially in Strait of Malacca. However, even China has more warships, PLA Navy still can not play a key role in blue water without overseas military bases. 

China’s future 18 overseas military bases 

The article mentions that the Chinese navy is not to establish a U.S.-style military bases, but does not exclude the establishment of a number of so-called “Overseas Strategic Support Bases” in accordance with international prevailing rules. China has right to build oversea replenishment, staff rest and berthing-maintenance bases in foreign countries under equality, mutual benefit and friendly consultations. 

The article also predicted that in future the Chinese Navy will establish its first batch of support bases in Indian Ocean. The article summarizes that these bases can be divided into three levels: First, ship fuel and material supply bases in peacetime, such as the Port of Djibouti, Aden port of Yemen, and Salalah Port of Oman. The replenishment method is in the light of international business practices; the second is relatively fixed supply bases for warship berthing, fixed-wing reconnaissance aircraft and the naval staff ashore rest, such as the ports of Seychelles. China can build those bases by sign a short-term or medium-term agreement with Seychelles; the third is fully-functional center for replenishment, rest and large warship weapons maintenance, such as in Pakistan under medium-and long-term agreements. 


By admin on January 8, 2013 

2013-01-08 — 1. China’s first aircraft carrier, the “Liaoning” ship, was officially delivered to PLA Navy. 

After the construction, test and trial navigation were completed as scheduled, China’s first aircraft carrier was formally delivered to the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on September 25, 2012. 

Approved by the Central Military Commission (CMC), it was named the “Liaoning” ship of the PLA Navy with a designated hull number of “16″. Related scientific experiments and military trainings continued following the official delivery and commissioning of the “Liaoning” ship. 

On November 25, Chinese Navy’s first batch of carrier-borne aircraft pilots successfully flew the home-made J-15 fighters to accomplish the arrested deck landing and ski-jump takeoff on the “Liaoning” ship. 

2. The U.S. announced new military strategy. 

US President Barack Obama announced a new military strategy on January 5, 2012 to shift U.S. focus to the Asia-Pacific region. According to the strategy, the U.S. will slim down its army’s scale, reduce its military presence in Europe and strengthen its military presence to the Asia-Pacific region. 

The US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta expounded the “rebalance strategy in Asia-Pacific region” at the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 2, 2012 and stated that the U.S. would deploy 60% of its warships in the Pacific Ocean by 2020. 

3. Russia’s first fifth-generation strategic missile corps established 

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the establishment of its first fully-equipped missile corps of the fifth-generation guided missiles, namely “Yars” and “Aspen-M”, on September 20 in the State of Ivanovo near Moscow. After the fifth-generation guided missile system is equipped, Russia further enhanced its capability to break through the anti-missile system. 

Prior to that, the NATO announced the official launch of the European anti-missile system on May 20.