13 March 2013

Marines: An Over-Anxiety to Oblige The Italian Govt

By B. Raman 

1. An over-anxiety on the part of the Government of India to oblige the Italian Government on the issue of the two Italian Marines, who have been charged with killing two Kerala fishermen wrongly mistaking them for pirates in an incident that took place on February 15, 2012, has created suspicions in public mind on the bona fides of the Government of India. 

The Italian Marines were posted as sentries on board a private Italian tanker at the time of the incident. 

2. The following two questions arose as a result of the incident: (a). Was the Italian contention that the fishermen approached their ship in an aggressive manner thereby giving the impression that they were pirates corroborated by other evidence? (b)Did the incident take place in Indian territorial waters or outside? 

3. The Italian contention was that the incident took place outside Indian territorial waters and that the fishermen definitely appeared to be approaching the Italian tanker with hostile intention, which gave the Marines the right to open fire in self-defence. 

4. The Indian contention was that the incident took place in Indian waters and that the Kerala fishermen were unarmed. Hence, the question of their approaching the Italian vessel in a hostile manner did not arise. 

5. India rejected Italy’s demand that the case should be tried before an Italian court in Italy. Having rejected the Italian contention, India should have vigorously gone ahead in prosecuting the Italian Marines. It did not do so. 

6. On the contrary, special facilities were given to the accused Italian Marines and there was a definite half-heartedness in proceeding against them. They were released on bail and allowed to stay in a hotel at the expense of the Italian Embassy. They were allowed to go to Italy to spend Christmas with their families---an extraordinary gesture to under-trials in a murder case. Even though they were supposed to be in Indian judicial custody, they were not accompanied to Italy by Indian guards. However, they returned from Italy after Christmas as promised by the Italian Embassy in New Delhi. 

7. On January 18, 2013, the Indian Supreme Court had ruled that the Kerala Government had no jurisdiction to prosecute the marines and had directed the Union government to constitute a special court in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for fresh trial. 

8. There was a delay in constituting the special court, which led the Supreme Court to observe as follows: "Why is the Centre dragging its feet over the matter? Nobody has initiated any consultation process till now." 

‘How long this silence?’

By B.G. Verghese

Fratricidal war in Pakistan

DR Manmohan Singh is a man of few words and slow to anger. He has sincerely sought to pursue peace negotiations with Pakistan against heavy odds, staking his prestige on this high endeavour. But he was compelled to tell the Rajya Sabha last week that "there cannot be normalisation of relations between our two countries unless and until the terror machine that is still active in Pakistan is brought under control". Islamabad's concept of peace talks seem to embrace periodic sub rosa attacks on India as "peace" appears more a tactic than a deeply held strategic goal. 

The proof of this is self-evident in Pakistan's murderous killings of its Shia population almost as a routine. Hundreds have perished in cowardly bomb attacks on innocent people. Cross-border attacks continue on India through jihadi groups that have high patronage. Pakistan's narrow and pernicious two-nation theory, its foundational principle, has fractured into a multi-nation theory, with fratricidal war being relentlessly waged within its so-called Islamic brotherhood. The overthrow of this medieval barbarism is even now being celebrated in Bangladesh where the cry is for just punishment against those who committed terrible war crimes against what were their own countrymen who were ultimately disowned and derided. 

Even the head of Ajmer's Dargah Sharif, the famed sufi shrine, refused to welcome the Pakistan Prime Minister, when he visited there last week to offer prayers, as he has condoned military atrocities and not protected minorities and their places of worship. Pakistan's military leadership too has warned President Zardari that the internal situation is fast spiralling out of control. This drift to chaos could jeopardise Pakistan's forthcoming elections and the constitution of an agreed caretaker administration. This spells danger. 

It is at this juncture that Lt-Gen Shahid Aziz (retd) has courageously written his autobiography, "How Long This Silence?", narrating the truth about Pakistan's blatant aggression in Kargil, an ill-planned fiasco that ended in disgraced wrapped in a tissue of lies, with Musharraf claiming "victory". This was known since the Musharraf-General Aziz (CGS) intercepts were published with Nawaz Sharif's interjections at the very commencement of the perfidious assault under cover of promising peace negotiations.Others, like Group-Captain Kaiser Tufail, Director of Ops, PAF, have exposed Musharraf's lies earlier. But now comes a full confession by someone who monitored the bizarre unfolding from a key perch in the ISI. 

What Vali Nasr Gets Wrong

MARCH 12, 2013 

A former State Department insider has written a blistering account of the Obama administration’s missteps in Afghanistan. But is he right?

Former State Department Advisor Vali Nasr has set Washington abuzz with his gloves-off denunciation of the Obama administration's conduct of foreign policy, in particular the war in Afghanistan. Rarely does a recently former government official let loose with such an unalloyed vilification of the administration he served -- especially when it is still in power. 

But "The Inside Story of how the White House Let Diplomacy Fail in Afghanistan" is more conventional than it may at first appear. Nasr's is merely the latest salvo in ongoing interagency skirmishing to define the narrative on Afghanistan, to tell a story that lays the blame for the policy's failure at someone else's door. 

In this case, the originality is that the tale's main villain is not the military, but the White House (albeit described as bewitched by the military). The hounded victims are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the late Richard Holbrooke -- who happen to have been Nasr's friends and bosses. 

What this account is missing -- what so many such accounts are missing -- is the humility and intellectual honesty to take a candid look inward, to strive for a nuanced assessment of our shared missteps, in what I, like Nasr, believe will be a grim outcome for Afghanistan, and ultimately for international security. 

When Nasr was senior advisor to Holbrooke, I was serving in a similar capacity, first for two commanders of the international troops in Afghanistan, and then for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I took up these positions on the heels of seven years working in downtown Kandahar, where I ran an NGO and then a manufacturing cooperative. 

So my perspective on the events Nasr describes, and in which I participated, differs from his in two respects. I came to them bathed in the aspirations of ordinary Afghans, in their attitudes to what was happening in their country, and to the international intervention. And I was privy to the actual views of senior military officials regarding the appropriate balance between military and civilian instruments of power in conducting the Afghanistan mission. 

To Hell With Karzai

Mar 12, 2013 

The Afghan president sticks his verbal bayonet in Hagel’s and America’s eyes, and what do we do, again? Nothing! writes Leslie H. Gelb. 

Hamid Karzai is beating up on the United States to score domestic political points once again, this time on the occasion of Chuck Hagel’s maiden visit as Defense secretary to that sad country. Yet the Obama team and America’s foreign-policy cognoscenti can’t seem to draw the obvious conclusions—stop letting these Karzai guys play us for suckers and speed up our exit, and stop wasting American lives and dollars. Digest his latest mal mot in the wake of new suicide bombings in Kabul and Khost: “Those bombs, set off yesterday in the name of the Taliban, were in the service of the Americans to keep foreigners longer in Afghanistan.” Disgusting! (Rand Paul, where are you when we need you to express practical outrage?)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, not pictured, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 4, 2013. (Ahmad Jamshid/AP) 

This clown is proclaiming that we are colluding with the enemy to prolong our stay in Afghanistan. And yet I already hear my foreign-policy colleagues’ familiar excuses for these rhetorical knives. “You know old Hamid,” they’ll say. “He’s just doing this for the home audience, trying to score a few harmless points. Forget about it; the Afghan people are with us.” Think about that response. These excuses are tired, because we’ve been pardoning hateful stuff like this for more than 10 years now. And when have we heard any of those Afghan people coming to our defense? It would be foolish to think for a moment that this problem is limited to Karzai. Because he’s no fool himself. He says this smelly stuff because he truly believes it will go down well with his fellow Afghans. He reckons he gains popularity by accusing Washington of working with the Taliban so U.S. troops can stay in their country and extend the suffering of the Afghan people. Really, think about this. 

Maybe Karzai’s message actually is meant for the non-Pashtun Afghans, so they’ll worry about Americans’ collusion with the Pashtun-heavy Taliban, and he’ll somehow build support for next year’s elections. This explanation makes even less sense. The non-Pashtuns, who make up around 60 percent of the Afghan people, are the most pro-American in the country. If anything, the non-Pashtuns would like to see Americans fighting in and for their country, against their Pashtun enemies, for the next century. To Northern Afghans, we’re the best guarantee against a Pashtun takeover—the last thing the non-Pashtuns want. 

Spreadsheet of Major Dams in China

Xiaowan Dam on the Lancang River
This excel spreadsheet of major dams on the Nu,Lancang, Yangtze, and Yarlung/Tsangpo mainstream is based on information collected from Heng Duan Shan Society's online dams database. Sources of information include the government's published 2003 Review of the Achievements of Hydropower Resources of the People's Republic of China 《中华人民共和国水力资源复查成果(2003年)》, published research, field visits, and media reporting. It is updated monthly, includes a glossary of terms, and links for further reading. 

As of 1 March 2013: 
  • The Nu River has 27 dams. 6 are planned, 7 are still in the proposal stage, 12 have undergone site preparation, and 2 are already completed. 
  • The Lancang (Upper Mekong) River has 37 dams. 11 are planned, 1 has undergone site preparation, 7 are under construction, 7 are already completed, 2 have been cancelled, and the status of 9 is unknown. 
  • The Yangtze Watershed (including the Jinsha, Yalong, Min and Dadu tributaries) has 103 dams. 36 are planned, 31 are under construction, 23 are already completed, and the status of 13 is unknown. 
  • The Yarlung/Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) River has 9 dams. 4 are planned, 4 are still in the proposal stage, and 1 is under construction. 
Please be aware that not all entries in this spreadsheet may be up to date. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of all the data. While some projects on the list may not go forward, others may be missing. We welcome any corrections and additions you may have. 

Special thanks to Tiancheng Deng and Sabine Johnson-Reiser for their expert assistance in producing this spreadsheet.

Panchen Lama in top Chinese panel

By Ananth Krishnan
March 12, 2013 

In this March 3, 2013 photo, the 11th Panchen Lama, in red clothes, and delegates leave after attending the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. 

To “make greater political contributions”: state media

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has elevated the role of the 11th Panchen Lama on a top political advisory body, a move State media said would pave the way for the Chinese-appointed religious leader to “make greater political contributions”. 

The Panchen Lama was chosen as member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a top political advisory body that is in charge of minority issues, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. 

His appointment, Xinhua said, showed that he “has been entrusted with a more important role of advising China on state affairs”. 

The 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, was chosen as a member of the CPPCC in 2010, and has been seen by many Tibetans as a controversial figure. 

The 23-year-old was chosen as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama — the second most important figure for the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism after the Dalai Lama — in place of Gendun Choekyi Nyima. Nyima was first chosen as the reincarnation with the Dalai Lama’s backing, but subsequently disappeared. 

The 11th Panchen Lama has faced a tough balancing act, trying to win the support of monks in China while at the same time conveying the government’s position in public appearances. 

He remained largely silent in 2011 and early 2012 amid the series of self-immolations in Tibetan areas, where more than 100 people have set themselves on fire to protest policies. 
‘Safeguard stability’

Nuclear Weapons and U.S.-China Relations

A Way Forward

By PONI Working Group on U.S.-China Nuclear Issues

Contributor: Elbridge A. Colby and Abraham M. Denmark, cochairs; John K. Warden, executive director 

MAR 12, 2013

This report addresses the increasingly important set of issues surrounding the nuclear forces of the United States and China. It focuses on a series of policy and posture recommendations for the United States, but it does so with an eye toward U.S. allies in the region and Chinese audiences. The report also includes two appendixes—one detailing the Working Group’s assessment of China’s nuclear strategy, policy, decisionmaking, posture, and capabilities, and one summarizing the Working Group’s discussions in Beijing in September 2012. 

For over a century, the United States has maintained a strong and enduring presence in the Asia-Pacific region, buttressed by a number of alliances and partnerships and undergirded by a robust military capability, ultimately including U.S. nuclear forces. It remains committed to this approach to the Asia-Pacific region and has redoubled its focus through its recent “rebalance” toward the region. The United States has long seen China as a central factor in its strategy in Asia. Since the 1970s, U.S. policy has sought to encourage China’s economic reforms and development and to integrate China into the existing international political and economic order. While hopeful that China will develop into a constructive stakeholder, the United States and much of the Asia-Pacific region share continuing concerns about some aspects of China’s behavior that, it is feared, could undermine regional stability and U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific. 

Unfortunately, significant sources of tension and disagreement between the United States and its allies, on the one hand, and China, on the other, remain. These sources of discord could, in the worst case, lead to conflict. Needless to say, a large-scale conventional war between the United States and China would be incredibly dangerous and likely tremendously damaging. Nuclear war between the two would be devastating for all involved. Even though a conventional war between the two nations currently seems unlikely and nuclear war even more so, the possibility that war could break out, posing dramatic dangers and damage, clearly indicates that active steps should be taken to avoid conflict and successfully manage U.S.-China nuclear dynamics. 

Publisher CSIS

Cyberwar and Secrecy Threaten China's Dams

By Patricia Adams, Executive Director, Probe International

When China's top generals warned against building the Three Gorges Dam in the 1980s, fearing it would become a "strategic target" for China's enemies, they imagined the weapon of choice would be dam buster bombs. 

Now, 25 years later, as the threat of cyber warfare grows, China's military men must worry about modern day weapons -- malicious software infiltrating computers that control critical systems like pumps, motors, alarms, and valves that could allow an attacker to take control of the world's largest dam, along with other critical infrastructure. 

This nightmare scenario isn't just the material of spy thrillers.

In 2010, when Stuxnet, a computer virus dubbed the world's "first cyber superweapon," infected Siemens' control systems and caused Iran's nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control, it also attacked six million computers and nearly 1,000 industrial control systems in China, according to Beijing-based antivirus service provider Beijing Rising International Software. Siemens, a German multinational, is one of China's biggest overseas suppliers of industrial computers. 

While the China Information Technology Security Evaluation Center downplayed the malware threat, saying that no severe damage had been reported, according to the South China Morning Post, neither Beijing nor Siemens would provide a full list of the industrial facilities affected by the virus. Nevertheless, it is widely known that Siemens's control system is used throughout China by airports, railways (including the Shanghai Maglev), nuclear power plants, and the Three Gorges Dam. 

Others were less sanguine about the threat. Professor Sun Jianping, a hydropower expert who led a study on the reliability and stability of the generators at the Three Gorges Dam, told the South China Morning Post: "If someone hacks into the system and takes over, we will be blinded and disabled. It could cause more destruction than a bomb." According to U.S. hydrologist Dr. Philip Williams, catastrophic dam failure at Three Gorges would "rank as one of history's worst man-made disasters."

To the best of anyone's knowledge, Stuxnet did no harm to the Three Gorges Dam or other industrial facilities in China. But it was a wakeup call. "Alarm bells have been sounded in almost every key industrial sector ‒ steel, energy, transport ... This has never happened before," Wang Zhantao, a network security engineer with Beijing Rising International Software told the South China Morning Post. 

China's generals considered dams "strategic targets" because of their potential to suddenly release vast quantities of water, causing massive loss of life and chaos to civil defences. Bunker busting bombs could cause such catastrophic releases. So could uncontrolled overtopping caused by the failure of sluice gates to open. That nightmare scenario was narrowly averted at the Zipingpu Dam in 2008 when workers racing against time freed sluices jammed when the Wenchuan earthquake cracked the dam. 

The U.S. is not ready for a cyberwar

March 12, 2013

A RECENT report by a task force of the Defense Science Board on cyber-conflict makes clear that all is not well in preparing for this new domain of warfare. 

The U.S. military often uses “red” teams to challenge established “blue” teams in exercises. According to the report, small red teams, with only a short amount of time and using tools downloaded from the Internet, have been able to “significantly” disrupt blue team military operations. The task force said, “If this level of damage can be done by a few smart people, in a few days, using tools available to everyone, imagine what a determined, sophisticated adversary with large amounts of people, time, and money could do.” In another part of the report, the task force hints that U.S. nuclear weapons, hardened to survive an atomic blast in the Cold War, may not be ready to survive a cyber-onslaught. While the task force didn’t say what the vulnerability might be, they called for “immediate action” to make sure the nuclear weapons would survive. 

Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board. News reporters and editors never contribute to editorial board discussions, and editorial board members don’t have any role in news coverage. 

What would cyberwar be like? Potentially, “hundreds” of simultaneous, synchronized offensive and defensive cyber operations would be needed, and yet the task force found the U.S. military is not ready. The task force said it “could find no evidence of modeling or experimentation being undertaken to better understand the large-scale cyber war.” In a recommendation that underscores the larger direction of U.S. policy, the task force declared, “time is of the essence in developing a broader offensive cyber capability.” 

A major offensive cyber capability now seems essential in a world awash in cyber-espionage, theft and disruption. Cyberwar may be over the next horizon. But the task force offered an important caution: In the past, on nuclear weapons, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and all manner of conventional military missions, we’ve had decades of policy debate. “In contrast,” they said, “relatively little has been documented or extensively debated concerning offensive cyber operations.” 

Cyber Command fielding 13 "offensive" cyber deterrence units

By John Reed 
March 12, 2013

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of United States Cyber Command, dropped several interesting nuggets about the military's cyber forces during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today. 

First off, the command is fielding 13 offensive cyber teams that are tasked with deterring destructive cyber attacks against the United States. While Alexander said these are offensive teams, he insisted their role is defensive: "Let me be clear, this defend-the-nation team is not a defensive team, this is an offensive team that the Department of Defense would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace." 

If you have trouble making sense of that, you're not alone. After the hearing, Alexander compared the teams to missile defenses. (Click here to read some of the Defense Science Board's recent suggestions for deterring destructive cyber attacks with some pretty offensive weaponry.) 

"We are already developing the teams that we need, the tactics, techniques, and procedures and the doctrine for how these teams would be employed, with a focus on defending the nation in cyberspace," said Alexander in his opening statement. 

In addition, the command is developing 27 teams that will provide assistance in planning offensive cyber operations to the regional combatant commands -- the military organizations around the globe that are tasked with actually fighting wars. 

Finally, the command is organizing a number of teams, Alexander didn't say how many, aimed at defending the military's networks against cyber attacks. 

"Those three sets of teams are the core construct for what we're working with the services to develop our cyber cadre," said Alexander. "The key here is training our folks to the highest standard possible." 

One third of these teams will be stood up by September 2013, the second third in late 2014, and the final third will be in place a year after that, he told lawmakers. 

The Army four-star also said in his written statement that in addition to 917 troops and civilians at Cyber Command headquarters in Maryland (with a budget for FY13 of $191 million), there are more than 11,000 people from all four armed services working cyber issues for the command. (Click here for Killer Apps' recent look at the total expected number of cyber troops in the U.S. military. The numbers we saw were a lot higher than 11,000.) 

Defining the qualities of cyber warfare

By Jarno Limnell, director of cyber security, Stonesoft 

Cyber war is one of the hottest buzzwords trending through newsfeeds. But even though many are quick to use the term, not everyone fully understands the concept. 

Cyber warfare is a reality, but the reality of the situation may be far different than many believe.

Governments are taking potential threats seriously, with at least 12 of the world's 15 largest military powers building cyber warfare programs that assess tactics and capabilities that will be critical in any future cyber war. It has also been reported by intelligence sources that the number of intrusions and attacks have increased dramatically over the past several years. 

Accusations of cyber attacks are also on the rise worldwide, with Iran ranking high on the danger list. Iran has become “a force to be reckoned with,” U.S. Air Force's Space Command leader Gen. William Shelton reportedly said in a January speech in Washington, D.C. Additionally, it has been reported that Iran has been fortifying its own cyber attack capabilities following the Stuxnet attacks, which are believed to have resulted in the explosion of several Iranian nuclear centrifuges. 

The world is moving toward a greater strategic use of cyber weapons to persuade adversaries to change their behavior. Past conflicts required soldiers that were physically and mentally tough enough to succeed in battle. However, physical strength need not be an issue at all for the new brand of soldiers who instead must possess a sophisticated knowledge of computer security and code. 

F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen reportedly noted at the recent DLD13 conference in Munich that hackers have morphed from the “happy teen hacker” type that is just hacking for fun to those who engage in it with a motive and for a proverbial kill. 

“Hackers now are either criminals out to make money, activists out to protest or governments engaged in targeting their own citizens or attacking other governments, whether for espionage or cyber warfare,” he said, according to The Guardian. 

The 'Foreign Policy' roundtable (II): What we should have done in Iraq and A'stan

March 12, 2013 

Ricks: What I hear from around this table is a remarkable, surprising consensus to me. I'm not hearing any tactical problems, any issues about training, about the quality of our forces. 

Instead, again and again what I'm hearing is problems at the strategic level, especially problems of the strategic process. To sum up the questions, they are asking: Do our military and civilian leaders know what they are doing? And that goes to the process issues and to general strategic thinking. That's one bundle of questions. The second emphasis I'm hearing, and this also kind of surprised me, is, should we have, from the get-go, focused on indigenous forces rather than injecting large conventional forces? That is, in Iraq and Afghanistan, have we tried to do El Salvador, but wound up instead doing Vietnam in both, to a degree? 

Mudd: Just one quick comment on that as a non-military person: It seems to me there's an interesting contrast here between target and space. That is: Do we hold space and do we help other people help us hold space, or do we simply focus on a target that's not very space-specific? And I think at some point fairly early on we transitioned there [from target to space], which is why I asked my initial question. A lot of the comments I hear are about the problem of holding space, and should we have had someone else do it for us? And I wonder why we ever got into that game. 

Ricks: Into which game? 

Mudd: Into the game of holding space as opposed to eliminating a target that doesn't really itself hold space. 

Alford: It's our natural tendency as an army to do that. To answer another question, it's also our natural tendency as an army to build an army that looks like us, which is the exact opposite of what we should do. They're not used to our culture. One quick example, if I could: the Afghan border police. The border police, we tried to turn them into, essentially, like our border police and customs agents. Right across the border, the Pakistani Army uses frontier guardsmen. Why do they do that? They use their culture -- a man with a gun that fights in the mountains is a warrior. He's respected by his people. He's manly. All those things matter, and it draws men to that organization. We always talk about how our borders on [the Afghan] side are so porous; it's because we don't have a manly force that wants to go up into the mountains and kill bad guys, because we didn't use their culture. 

The Iraq War That Might Have Been

MARCH 12, 2013 

Ten years on, newly published secret documents shed new light on potential turning points the United States missed. 

In October 2003, a team of Pentagon intelligence analysts identified a promising twist in a war that seemed to be going terribly wrong: Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq's hostile Anbar province had come forward with offers to help secure western Iraq. 

"Leaders of these tribes -- many of whom still occupy key positions of local authority -- appear to be increasingly willing to cooperate with the Coalition in order restore or maintain their influence in post-Saddam Iraq," noted the memo, which was approved by Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., the major general who served as the director for intelligence on the Joint Staff and would later rise to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. 

The classified memorandum was duly forwarded to American civilian and military officials in Baghdad. But the suggestion largely fell on deaf ears. It would take three more years before Sunni tribes would help turn the war around in the "Anbar Awakening." 

In our years of research on the Iraq war, we have uncovered a number of similarly hidden forks in the road -- lost opportunities that might have dramatically shortened the Americans' ordeal in Iraq or decisions whose full significance was not apparent until years later. Many are chronicled in internal government documents, thousands of pages that we reviewed in the course of our reporting -- in effect, amounting to a secret Iraq archive that sheds new light on the nearly nine-year-long war. 

These memoranda, 23 of which are being published today in the new ebook edition of Endgame, our history of the conflict, cover the whole long arc of the war. 

The documents, many of which are being published for the first time, include the dawning awareness that the United States had stumbled into an intervention that would be more taxing and prolonged than it had anticipated -- a point driven home in a blunt 2004 cable from John Negroponte, the first American ambassador in post-Saddam Baghdad, warning President George W. Bush that the United States was "in a deep hole with the Iraqi people" and needed at least five years to get the country on its feet. (Bush's response: "We don't have that much time.") 

The Putin Doctrine

March 8, 2013

Russia's Quest to Rebuild the Soviet State

Since coming to power in 2000, Vladimir Putin has added an overarching goal to Russian foreign policy: the recovery of economic, political, and geostrategic assets lost by the Soviet state in 1991.

LEON ARON is Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991. 

A Vladimir Putin float in Nice, France. (Eric Gaillard / Courtesy Reuters) 

Much in Russian foreign policy today is based on a consensus that crystallized in the early 1990s. Emerging from the rubble of the Soviet collapse, this consensus ranges across the political spectrum -- from pro-Western liberals to leftists and nationalists. It rests on three geostrategic imperatives: that Russia must remain a nuclear superpower, a great power in all facets of international activity, and the hegemon -- the political, military, and economic leader -- of its region. This consensus marks a line in the sand, beyond which Russia cannot retreat without losing its sense of pride or even national identity. It has proven remarkably resilient, surviving post-revolutionary turbulence and the change of political regimes from Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin. 

After his election as president in 2000, Putin added to this agenda an overarching goal: the recovery of economic, political, and geostrategic assets lost by the Soviet state in 1991. Although he has never spelled it out formally, Putin has pursued this objective with such determination, coherence, and consistency that it merits being called the Putin Doctrine. Domestically, the doctrine has guided the regime to reclaim the commanding heights of the economy (first and foremost, the oil and natural gas industries) and reassert its control over national politics, the judicial system, and the national television networks, from which an overwhelming majority of Russians get their news. In foreign and security policy, the doctrine has amounted to a reinterpretation of Russia's geostrategic triad, making its implementation and maintenance considerably more assertive than originally intended. Although U.S. President Barack Obama has signaled lately that he will attempt to revive the "reset" with Russia, Washington's best option may well be a strategic pause: a much-scaled-down mode of interaction that reflects the growing disparity in values and objectives between the two countries yet preserves frank dialogue and even cooperation in a few select areas. 


By  K.P. Nayar 
13 Mar 2013

 The presidential visit will secure India’s interests in Bangladesh 

Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Bangladesh pivoted around a single word. The one word which made the president’s travel to Bangladesh different from any other foreign trip that he will make from Rashtrapati Bhavan was Bengali: dwiragaman. It was bandied about throughout Mukherjee’s stay in Dhaka in the context of his lightning helicopter trip to visit relatives of the first lady, Suvra Mukherjee, in Bhadrabila. The president himself spoke about the custom of dwiragaman when a bride returns to her parental home, accompanied by her newly-wed husband. 

It has become rare since the end of the Cold War for bilateral engagements to profit from words, catchphrases or slogans. The last time that happened in South Asia was probably when Indians and East Pakistanis, who wanted to see the birth of Bangladesh, worked together. Joy Bangla became a battle cry which both sides could relate to. 

It is unlikely that there has been another dwiragaman in the annals of Indian high-level diplomatic trips abroad. It did not matter that accuracy was a casualty in this context. Mukherjee had not visited his wife’s ancestral home in the first place, but he was willing to be swept up by the custom after 56 years in his marriage. So were the members of his entourage and the president’s official hosts in Bangladesh. 

So much so that Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the prime minister of Bangladesh, joked that since Mukherjee had finally visited his wife’s ancestral home, it will have to be followed up by another custom, Jamai Sasthi. Hasina even told the president in jest that she is willing to substitute the family of his in-laws and send him the gifts on the sixth day of Jyestha, the month when sons-in-law get a treat from their wives’ families. 

There are not many foreign prime ministers any more who can take the liberty of such conversations with an Indian president or head of government. By a curious coincidence, Mukherjee has just completed his second overseas visit to another country which could boast of a similar relationship with Indian leaders. The prime minister of Mauritius, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, and his wife, Veena, ventured such liberties with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but that is another story. 

Hasina’s personal bond with Mukherjee was forged when she and her sister, Sheikh Rehana, lived in exile in India after the assassination of their father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The full story of the support that he extended to the only two children of Sheikh Mujib who were to survive the night of the long knives in Dhaka on August 14-15, 1975, will only be told when Mukherjee writes his memoirs. 

Asia-Pacific:Security Situation-Retrospects and Prospects

March 12, 2013 

Major General BK Sharma, SM** (Retd)



Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton in her speech titled America’s Pacific Century delivered in Hawaii in Nov 2011, described the Asia –Pacific region as, “Stretching from the Indian sub- continent to the western shores of America, the region spans two oceans-the Pacific and the Indian that are increasingly linked by shipping and strategy”. General Xiong Guangaki, former Deputy Chief of General staff and Chairman of China Institute of International Strategic Studies at the 3rd meeting of the 2nd Track High Level Dialogue on Sino – US relations, remarked that Clinton’s definition of the region is colored by the area of responsibility of the US Pacific Command. He argued that Asia –Pacific generally refers to the region that is best represented by APEC, comprising 21 member countries of the Pacific Rim region. Other strategic analysts term Asia-Pacific as a system of systems, consisting of the traditional East Asian, Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific sub systems. The South Asian sub-system, though geographically segregated, is integrated because of common maritime security dynamics, trade linkages and non-traditional threats. Therefore, from a broad strategic perspective, Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Western Pacific connected through South China Sea (SCS) form a common strategic space for power shifts of the 21st century. 

Geostrategic Importance 

The region encompasses almost half of world population, three of ten largest economies, more than fifth of world GDP, 1/3 of world exports and half of the world’s maritime tonnage. It is estimated that even at a conservative growth rate of about 6.5%, China, India and South East Asian states will be the engines of world economic growth. The region is the maritime trade highway of the world. It joins South East Asian states with Western Pacific, functioning as the throat of sea routes punctuated by Strait of Malacca, Sunda, Lambok and Makassar. Roughly two-thirds of South Korea’s energy supplies, nearly 60 percent of Japan’s and Taiwan’s energy supplies, and about 70 percent of China’s crude-oil imports come through SCS. East China Sea (ECS) and SCS are rich in fisheries and provide an important source of protein for millions of people, while the seabed is reputed to hold valuable reserves of energy deposits. As for IOR, China imports more than 60% its oil from the Middle East and its dependence is estimated to exceed the 65% mark by 2030. Uninterrupted flow of oil, natural resources and goods is extremely crucial for developing economies, like India and China. 

The Big Story Out of Herzliya Might Be About China and Israeli Drones

By Eli Lake 
Mar 12, 2013

The keynote address at this year’s gathering of Middle East policy wonks in Israel was hardly earth-shattering, but the attendance of a certain Chinese Communist Party School fellow caught Eli Lake’s attention—as did his comments on drones. 

For the globalist CEO, there is Davos. For the comic book nerd, there is Comic-Con. For the Middle East policy professional, there is Herzliya. And while you may never have heard of the annual conference held at the Israeli seaside hamlet named for Theodore Herzl, the intellectual godfather of Jewish nationalism, the Zionist wonk in your life almost certainly has.

A Skylark drone comes in to land during a drill on January 16, 2012 near Bat Shlomo, Israel. (Uriel Sinai/Getty)

The four-day conference at Herzliya, which began Monday, is in its 13th year. In the past the conference has been a forum for major announcements from Israel’s leadership. In 2003, for example, then prime minister Ariel Sharon announced his plan to withdraw from Gaza at the conference. In other years the conference has been the first major international exposure for new Israeli politicians like Avigdor Lieberman. This year the big keynote address came from Benny Gantz, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. But it wasn’t his speech that will make waves but perhaps the attendance of a certain Chinese Communist Party research fellow. 

The key theme from the man in charge of Israel’s military was that in the future Israel would have to be prepared to send its army into “the tunnels of Gaza, into the fox holes and the villages.” Israel cannot be content, Gantz said, to “play video games”—a clear reference to drones, the preferred method of fighting terrorism for the United States. As for Iran, Gantz told the audience that he preferred not to get into specifics. 

Israeli forces have entered the villages and tunnels of Gaza before, so the announcement from Gantz was hardly earth-shattering. But the country’s political leadership is putting the finishing touches on a new governing coalition, and it’s doubtful the IDF’s top general would want to make too much news before next week’s visit from President Obama

Still, plenty of other nuggets came out of this year’s conference. One was an exercise from leading international think-tank types on how Israel would react when and if the Syrian regime collapsed. I would tell you more, but the half-day mock exercise was entirely off the record. 

Other sessions, however, promise to be potentially more newsworthy. One session, “Iran and the Red Line: Time for Sword or Time for Diplomacy,” features a few former senior Israeli and U.S. officials for a discussion about what appears to be a perennial question during the Obama presidency. 

Cyber Incidents Attributed to China

Contributor: Laura Saporito

MAR 11, 2013 

Many times in discussion of cybersecurity with Chinese colleagues one hears the charge that there is no evidence that China and Chinese hackers are responsible for the many incidents attributed to them. CSIS did a review of open source literature identifying China as the source of hacking and cyber espionage incidents. This is an initial list, as we know of major cyber incidents attributed to China by officials in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, and others. We have broken our list into two parts. The first section refers to reports that identify specific individuals and entities; the second section refers to incident ascribed generally to China. 

India, U.S. sources of cyber attacks: Chinese firm


A Chinese Internet security firm has claimed that India, along with the United States, South Korea and Japan, was “a major source” of cyber attacks directed at the government and companies here last year. 

A report released by the Beijing Rising Information Technology company said at least 60 per cent of attacks targeting “large companies, government, and scientific research institutions come from overseas” with the “major sources of the attacks” in India and the three other countries, the official The China Daily reported on Tuesday. 

Chinese officials in recent days have sought to rebut allegations from the U.S. suggesting the involvement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in organised cyberattacks, pointing out the threats faced by China. 

Echoing their argument, the Rising report said “nearly 200,000” Chinese websites had been hacked in 2011. 

“The situation in 2013 will not change much. Although we do not know who initiated those attacks, we do know which country the hackers are from,” Liu Siyu, director of the security research team at Rising, told The China Daily. He said China was the world’s “second-largest target” for hackers globally after the United States. 

Only on Monday, U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon called on China to stop the theft of data from U.S. government departments and companies and to follow “acceptable norms” in cyberspace, in the most direct public comments on the issue from Washington. 

His statement followed a recent report by a U.S. private cyber security firm that claimed a PLA unit based in Shanghai was linked to a spate of attacks targeting U.S.-based organisations. 

Last week, outgoing Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi hit out at the allegations, saying “they may have caught the eyes of people but they are built on shaky foundations”. 

“Anyone who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve a political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others or whitewash oneself,” he told reporters in his last press conference as Foreign Minister. 

“All countries in cyberspace are closely interconnected,” Mr. Yang said. “Cyberspace needs not war but rules and cooperation. We oppose turning cyberspace into a new battlefield or using the Internet as a new tool to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.” 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Iran's Air Force

Iran has the largest and most diverse inventory of long-range artillery rockets and ballistic missiles in the Middle East. It is estimated to have between 200 and 300 Scud-B and Scud-C missiles, which Iran has renamed the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2. It also owns hundreds of Zelzal rockets and Fateh-110 semi-guided rockets. 

These systems allow Iran to threaten targets throughout the Gulf littoral, but they are not accurate enough to be decisive militarily. Iran would need at least 100 missiles armed with 500-kg conventional warheads - and potentially many more - to destroy a specific target with a moderate level of confidence. 

If fired in large numbers, Iranian missiles might be able to harass or disrupt operations at large U.S. or GCC military targets, such as airfields, naval ports or fuel depots. But such attacks are unlikely to not halt activities for a significantly long time. 

Iran is also unlikely to be able to improve the accuracy of its short-range missiles for at least the next five to ten years. The addition of more sophisticated inertial guidance units - or Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers - could improve accuracy by only 25 percent if properly incorporated into a Shahab or Fateh-110 missile, and then thoroughly tested. 

To further enhance its accuracy, Iran would have to develop the capacity to terminate missile thrust precisely or add correction systems for the post-boost phase. But adding these mechanisms would also require flight testing likely to take four years or longer. 

Iran's longer-range missiles - the Shahab-3 and Ghadr-1 - are capable of striking targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, as well as portions of southeastern Europe. But these missiles are highly inaccurate. And Iran's stockpile likely totals less than 100. 

This could change once Iran completes development of the solid-fuelled Sajjil-2 missile. Iranian engineers are widely believed to have the capacity to manufacture this system, although they still rely on foreign sources for fuel-production ingredients. Development may have stalled, however, since Iran has conducted only one flight test since 2009. 

The utility of Iran's ballistic missiles is likely to remain weak for years, yet they could be used effectively as a psychological weapon on population centers. The most vulnerable cities are Baghdad, Kuwait City and Dubai, since they are within range of the Zelzal rockets that Iran has in large quantity. Abu Dhabi, Manama, Doha and Saudi coastal cities are far enough to require the longer-range Shahab-1 and -2 missiles, which are in shorter supply. 

What are Iran's air force capabilities? And how do they compare to the U.S. air forces in the Gulf?

The Islamic Republic's air forces and ground-based air defense systems offer limited protection of Iranian air space. They are no match for the combined capacity of the United States and its six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies. In a prolonged and intensive conflict involving the United States, Iran would have difficulty protecting its strategic assets, including its nuclear facilities, air bases, and command-and-control centers. 

How the world forgot about Iraq

By Patrick Cockburn

It is 10 years since the start of the war in Iraq, which led to the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The diplomatic map of the world has been redrawn as a consequence. What is the state of Saddam’s former empire? 

A combination of two file pictures taken in Iraq, shows on the left the reflection of women in the glass protecting a large photograph of late former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on January 25, 2003, in Baghdad and on the right the reflection of women in a mirror displayed by a street vendor on February 4, 2013, in Baghdad’s central Karrada neighbourhood. Iraq is due to mark the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein on March 20, 2003. AFP Photo 

IRAQ is disintegrating as a country under the pressure of a mounting political, social and economic crisis, say Iraqi leaders. They add that 10 years after the US invasion and occupation the conflict between the three main communities — Shia, Sunni and Kurd — is deepening to a point just short of civil war. “There is zero trust between Iraqi leaders,” says an Iraqi politician in daily contact with them. But like many of those interviewed by The Independent for this article, he did not want to be identified by name. 

The escalating crisis in Iraq since the end of 2011 has largely been ignored by the rest of the world because international attention has been focused on Syria, the Arab uprisings and domestic economic troubles. The US and the UK have sought to play down overwhelming evidence that their invasion and occupation has produced one of the most dysfunctional and crooked governments in the world. Iraq has been violent and unstable for so long that Iraqis and foreigners alike have become desensitised to omens suggesting that, bad as the situation has been, it may be about to get a great deal worse. 

Far from normal life

The record of failure of post-Saddam governments, given the financial resources available, is astounding. One of the reasons many Iraqis welcomed the fall of Saddam in 2003, whatever their feelings about foreign occupation, was that they thought that his successors would restore normal life after years of sanctions and war. To their astonishment and fury, this has not happened, though Iraq now enjoys $100bn a year in oil revenues. In Baghdad, there is scarcely a new civilian building to be seen and most of the new construction is heavily fortified police or military outposts. In Basra, at the heart of the oilfields, there are pools of sewage and heaps of uncollected rubbish in the streets on which herds of goats forage.

Why the U.S. has not had an attack after 9/11

By Vappala Balachandran 
March 12, 2013 

Given the turf wars and lack of coordination among the police and intelligence agencies in India, the National Counter Terrorism Centre will not enhance security 

The debates on the proposed Rs.3,400 crore National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) have seen extreme views from both sides. Its protagonists claim that it is a “Batman” who will swoop down on terrorists anywhere. Those opposing it feel it is a “Joker Villain” who will trample upon State autonomy. 

Doubts about the Home Ministry’s scheme surfaced when a senior official, who was in office during Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s 2009 visit to the United States to study its NCTC system, wrongly told a national daily in February 2012 that the American NCTC worked under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As a matter of fact, USNCTC, which is under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in the White House, is one of three new instruments that has kept the American mainland comparatively safe from terrorism since 9/11. By itself, the NCTC could not have achieved that. Although the CIA has had a Counter Terrorism Centre (CTC) since 1986, it was felt by the 9/11 National Commission that more coordinated intelligence efforts were needed. 
Gilmore Commission 

The idea of a national office under the President for combating terrorism was mooted earlier by a U.S. Congressional advisory panel known as the “Gilmore Commission,” which commenced its work from 1999. Until 9/11, broad security intelligence integration in the U.S. was done by the National Security Council’s three-tier “Inter-Agency Groups”. The 9/11 Commission suggested the creation of a Director, National Intelligence (DNI), and under him a multi-agency NCTC. The “Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act” of 2004 (PL 108-458) codified this scheme. The DNI’s charter was coordinating with the 16-member national intelligence community, establishing priorities, resolving conflicts in collection process and sharing intelligence. 

Section 119 (d) (3) specified that the NCTC “shall not direct the execution of any resulting operations.” This follows the traditional NSC philosophy of not directly conducting any operations from the White House, after the disastrous Iran-Contra Affair of the 1980s. One important component of NCTC is its Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG), a team of State and local civil and law-enforcement officials posted by turn. They examine intelligence which would be of interest to the local authorities. They also seek what local “first responders” want to know.