20 December 2013

*** Gauging the Jihadist Movement, Part 1: The Goals of the Jihadists


By Scott Stewart 

Editor's Note: The following is the first installment of a five-part series examining the global jihadist movement. Click here for Part 2, which analyzes insurgent and terrorist theory. Part 3 defines the jihadist movement and evaluates its various elements. Part 4 looks at franchises and grassroots jihadists and Part 5 scrutinizes the al Qaeda core as well as gauging the overall implications for security. 

Quite often when I am doing speaking engagements, client briefings or press interviews, I am asked questions like: “Given the events in Syria and Libya, is the jihadist movement stronger than ever?” It is a good question, but it is also one that is not easily answered in a five-second sound bite or a succinct quote for print media -- it really requires some detailed explanation. Because of this, I’ve decided to take some time to provide a more thorough treatment of the subject in written form for Stratfor readers. As I thought through the various aspects of the topic, I came to believe that adequately covering it requires more than one Security Weekly, so I will dedicate a series of articles to it. 

When gauging the current state of the jihadist movement, I believe it is useful to use two different standards. The first is to take jihadists' goals and objectives and measure their progress toward achieving them. The second is to take a look at insurgent theory and terrorism models to see what they can tell us about the state of jihadist militant networks and their efforts. This week we will discuss the first standard: the jihadists’ goals and objectives. Next week we will discuss insurgency and terrorism theories, and then once we have established these two benchmarks we can use them to see how the various elements of the jihadist movement measure up. 

Jihadist Goals and Objectives 

There is a widely held narrative that jihadists are merely crazy people who employ violence for the sake of violence. This is clearly false. While there are unquestionably some psychotic and sociopathic personalities within the movement, taken as a whole, jihadists' use of violence -- both terrorism and insurgency -- is quite rational. 

It is also worth remembering that terrorism is not associated with just one group of people; it is a tactic that has been employed by a wide array of actors. There is no single creed, ethnicity, political persuasion or nationality with a monopoly on terrorism. Jihadists employ terrorism as they do insurgency -- as one of many tools they can use to achieve their objectives. 

Arguably, the objectives the jihadists are pursuing through the employment of violence are delusional. Although we can question whether or not they will be able to achieve them through violent means, we simply cannot dispute that they are employing violence intentionally and in a rational manner with a view to achieving their stated goals. With that in mind, we will take a deeper look at those objectives. 

Dogfight duke: The MiG that forced an army’s surrender

December 19, 2013

The MiG-21 FL was the force multiplier that allowed other IAF aircraft to go in for the kill without having to watch their back during the 1971 War, thereby hastening the fall of the Pakistani military.

The MiG-21 proved to be a highly effective air defence weapons system. Source: AP

The MiG-21 may be the only aircraft in aviation history to have forced a nation to surrender. The devastating attack on the Governor’s House in Dhaka in East Pakistan by MiG-21s proved to be a turning point in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

India’s blitzkrieg strategy against the Pakistani military had brought the Indian Army to the outskirts of Dhaka within just nine days. Holed up in the huge building, the puppet government of East Pakistan had declared it would not surrender to the Indians.

At 11am on December 14, 1971, a detachment of four MiG-21 FL fighters spotted the Governor’s House. After circling around it once, they went in for their strafing runs, targeting the massive central dome with rockets and bombs. The Governor became so fear stricken that he promptly resigned and took shelter in the UN’s air raid shelter.

It was the MiG-21 – codenamed Fishbed by NATO – that dealt the most severe blows to the Pakistan Air Force. With their air cover blown away, more than 93,000 Pakistan Army troops and 7,000 civilian aides surrendered unconditionally.

Fishbed fury

The Russians had designed the aircraft to be a high-altitude “spot interceptor” but India used it for a multitude of roles. Besides air defence, the MiG-21 was used for high-level ground attack, providing top cover to IAF strike aircraft, luring enemy aircraft away from strategic targets, and combat air patrol.

When the war started on December 3, six squadrons of MiG-21FLs were part of the IAF's order-of battle, participating in operations both in the eastern and western sectors. By the time hostilities ended on December 16, the MiGs had downed four F-104 Starfighters, two F-6s, an F-86 Sabre and a C-130 Hercules of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

India in a tough neighbourhood


India’s approach in crafting a good neighbour policy with its South Asian sisters comes from the strategic calculation that our security does not exist in a vacuum

As in economic affairs, the tide in global strategic affairs has definitely “pivoted” to the East, to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This shift, coupled with the web of challenges that populate the environment in India’s immediate neighbourhood in South Asia, and in the Gulf region, makes policymaking complex. For India, the perils of proximity have only grown. This does not mean we turn our back on the world or our neighbours. Rather, we must grow our comprehensive national strength in the economic, scientific, technological, military and communication fields, in order to craft astute responses to the challenges.

By virtue of geography, territorial size, economic heft, extent of development, military capability and, the size of our population, India has a preponderant and central presence in South Asia. Each of our neighbours needs to understand, as the late Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Lakshman Kadirgamar noted, where they stand in relation to India, in terms of geographical location, historical experience and national aspirations; how the region also needs to collectively understand India’s “unique centrality” to the region.

Hub for South Asia

None of our neighbours (except Afghanistan vis-a-vis Pakistan and vice versa) can interact with the other without traversing Indian territory, land, sea or airspace. India and its neighbours in South Asia are integrally bound by ties of ethnicity, language, culture, kinship and common historical experience. The Himalayas and the Indian Ocean are the physical boundaries for India, and equally for South Asia, as a region. India exists as the hub for South Asia. There is merit in the reasoning that India should concern itself with the nature of any external influence or presence within the confines of South Asia since threats to its national security can emanate from the working of such influences.

India’s approach in crafting a good neighbour policy with its South Asian sisters is no afterthought. It comes from the strategic calculation and grasp of the core idea that our security does not exist in avacuum. Our neighbourhood will remain tough as long as our neighbours harbour tendencies and foster elements that see the targeting of India as adding incrementally to their (false) sense of security and well-being. This is a calculus that is self-destructive as the growing tide of domestic terrorism and insurgency in Pakistan created out of a sustained fostering of terror groups by some sections of the establishment would indicate. The incursions and military provocations from across the Line of Control are another manifestation of this calculus. We are yet to see any realisation in Pakistan that pointing the gun at India in Afghanistan through terror groups and their affiliates who wage a proxy war can never bring peace to the Afghan people. Neither will treating Afghanistan as an instrument to build strategic depth against India help Pakistan. India has always stated its intention to continue to invest and to endure in Afghanistan because the Afghans need us and we will not abandon them. The rising tide of democracy in Pakistan, we hope, can alter the trajectory of mayhem and violence that emanates from its soil. While bilateral issues that create conflict and contestation between India and Pakistan need to be resolved by the two themselves, in the larger international arena India must step up its campaign. It makes sense for India to substantively develop its partnership with the U.S. and demonstrate strategic foresight to plan and provide for this relationship.

Toothless defence

Published on The Asian Age (Source Link)
By editor
Created 18 Dec 2013 - 00:00

A toothless chairman, Chiefs of Staff, would not serve any purpose. Our imperative is for a CDS unshackled from bureaucratic stranglehold, and combined theatre commands.

A toothless chairman, Chiefs of Staff, would not serve any purpose. Our imperative is for a CDS unshackled from bureaucratic stranglehold, and combined theatre commands.

In a democracy, the civil, represented by the political executive and not civil servants, is supreme. The military must be subordinate to it. The Indian military has never questioned the supremacy of the civil.

Ministries in the Government of India have attached departments and their heads work under the concerned secretary. After Independence, a similar pattern was sought to be introduced in the defence ministry. A committee of secretaries proposed that the defence secretary be given higher protocol status than the Service Chiefs. Lord Mountbatten advised against this and the proposal was rejected. Service Chiefs continue to have higher protocol status than the defence secretary, though the latter now has functional superiority, operating virtually like a Chief Defence of Staff (CDS). Any proposal to appoint a CDS, or to integrate Services Headquarters with the ministry, as in all democracies, is anathema to the bureaucrats. They conjure the fear of a military coup to which our political leadership is very susceptible. Thus, the appointment of CDS or organising an integrated defence ministry has been stalled.

The Services Chiefs are also to be blamed for our not having a CDS. The Navy has always been all for it and Admiral A.K. Chatterjee was very vocal in this regard. The Army has been for it too, but based on its preponderant size and role in 1947 and 1962 wars, has occasionally urged that the CDS must be from the Army. During the 1965 and 1971 wars, the Army Chiefs were also chairmen, Chiefs of Staff Committee. They established personal rapport with Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. The Air Force felt ignored. Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal strongly opposed India having a CDS and since then the Air Force has been opposing it. Under Air Chief Marshal Browne, the current chairman, Chiefs of Staff, for the first time there is now consensus among the services over a CDS in India.

Maj. Gen. Lord Ismay — with vast experience of the functioning of defence, both in war and peace, at the national and international levels — was Lord Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff. He took stock of the prevailing conditions in India. Units of the defence services had been split on communal lines between India and Pakistan. This massive reshuffle was in the process of being completed. Indian military officers had to suddenly take over from British officers, who had many more years of service than them. No Indian officer had experience of serving at the national level nor had anyone attained general and equivalent rank. No drastic changes could then be carried out to bring India’s defence organisation in line with other democracies.

An army in search of artillery

December 20, 2013
Rahul Bedi

Despite the efficacy of artillery firepower unleashed by the Bofors howitzers during Kargil, the Army’s longstanding Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan stands stymied

God, Napoleon said, fights on the side with the best artillery. The legendary French general’s foot and horse artillery repeatedly demonstrated its lethal capacity against his European adversaries by degrading their formidable formations before his cavalry and infantry moved in to victoriously conclude the fighting.

But applying Napoleon’s adage to the Indian Army’s prevailing dismal artillery profile is absurd.

It would preclude God’s cooperation to the Artillery Directorate, whose 180-odd field regiments employ six different gun calibres, a majority of them obsolete.

And if that were not enough cause for worry in an increasingly turbulent region, the Army’s catastrophic artillery woes just got progressively worse.

Lack of communication

Unsurprisingly, these have been triggered yet again by the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) extended stoic silence on acquiring 145 desperately-needed M777 155mm/39-calibre BAE Systems light-weight howitzers (LWH) and Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems via the U.S.’s government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.

Due to the inexplicable lack of communication by the MoD regarding the LWHs and the absence of any other orders in the pipeline, BAE Systems was forced in October to shut down its M777 facility at Barrow-in-Furness, northern England, where around 30 per cent of the 4,200-kg gun is fabricated.

The remaining 70 per cent — including its notable titanium barrel and other aluminium alloys which make it lighter are made at the BAE Systems plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which also undertakes the final assembly of howitzers. The Hattiesburg plant too is expected to close by March 2014 following the lack of communication from the MoD.

But more crucially, nearly half of around 200 technical experts — including engineers — laid off at the BAE’s Barrow facility have been absorbed into the company’s submarine-building operations in the same town. Industry officials said they were unlikely to return to the M777 line, which is almost certain to be revived at some point to execute the Indian order.

Consequently, recruiting and training new technicians to build the M777s will not only add to the already-inflated cost of re-opening and re-certifying the terminated LWH line for India, but further delay the much-postponed procurement.

Cost escalation

Acquiring the LWH howitzers is a priority for the Army, according to the Artillery Directorate, which is highly displeased by the MoD’s delay in furnishing the M777 contract. The acquisition will equip the Army’s proposed Mountain Strike Corps and fourth artillery division for deployment along the unresolved northeastern Chinese frontier. However, acquiring the M777s will now cost India $885 million, 37 per cent more than the earlier offer of $647 million valid for nearly three years till August 2013.

The extra charge is tacked on to cover the expenses BAE Systems undertook in having kept production lines open for over 12 months in anticipation of the Indian order, having resurrected extended component supply chains since terminated and, now, having trained over 100 and possibly more technicians for the LWHs Barrow plant.

Middle Kingdom eyes our islands and oceans

20 December 2013 | G Parthasarathy

The establishment of an ADIZ, the addition of an aircraft carrier and many outrageous territorial claims prove that China wants unchallenged access to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean

The symbolism of Emperor Akihito’s visit to Delhi and India’s extraordinary gesture of the monarch being personally received on arrival by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not have passed unnoticed in Beijing and other Asian capitals. The visit happened while Beijing was taking unprecedented steps to declare large areas beyond its land borders as an ‘Air Defence Identification Zone’, challenging the sovereign rights of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, over islands and reefs controlled by them. Under its new notification, China required all foreign powers to give prior notification of their aircraft — civilian and military —flying over the ADIZ, and reinforced it by the threat to scramble fighter aircraft to challenge any violations. These extraordinary measures by China, which are known to have been taken following years of internal discussions, were undertaken almost immediately after the Third Plenum of the Communist Party’s 18th Congress.

The Communist Party Plenum put the seal of President Xi Jinping’s virtually unchallenged leadership. Apart from populist measures like doing away with the one child policy, eliminating repressive labour camps and providing relief to migrant labour, strong anti-corruption measures were promised, together with removing Government control over allocation of resources. But, perhaps the most significant announcement was the establishment of an apex National Security Committee under President Xi, which would give him powers on national security issues, akin to those exercised by Deng Xiao Ping. Deng wielded these powers when China was relatively weak, economically and militarily, and had to follow his wise advice: “Hide your strength and bide you time”.

The Deng era has been followed by an economically vibrant and militarily robust China flexing its muscles across its entire neighbourhood. Having added an aircraft carrier to its fleet to project power, China clearly intends to expand its reach across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, defining its maritime frontiers unilaterally in the South China Sea under its ‘Nine Dotted Line’. It has militarily seized the Paracel islands from Vietnam and claimed the Spratly Islands, overriding objections from the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. It has used force to seize the Mischief Reef, located barely 51km from the Philippines but 590km from its Hainan Island. China’s extraordinary claims on its maritime borders do not conform to the provisions of the UN Convention of the Laws of the Seas.

China’s assertion of its ADIZ has been challenged by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The US has challenged the legality of the ADIZ by sending unarmed B-52 bombers into the Zone. But, US commercial aircraft have been advised to observe China’s requirements. Japan and South Korea have, however, refused to comply with Chinese demands. Chinese threats of overflying the disputed Senkaku Islands have been have been met by Japan scrambling F-15 fighters. The South Koreans proclaimed: “We expressed deep regret and reaffirmed our jurisdictional rights to the waters surrounding the (submerged rock) Leodo, would not be affected by neighbouring states air defence zones”. The Chinese announcement of its ADIZ has exacerbated the existing disputes with South Korea over fishing rights in the Yellow Sea.

US Vice President Joe Biden expressed his solidarity with allies Japan and South Korea over China’s border claims during his visits to Tokyo and Seoul. The US has also sent P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft to Japan. China’s aim is to get Japan to accept that the Senkaku Islands are disputed territories. According to the Hong Kong-based Asia Weekly, China sees its maritime boundary in the East China Sea as stretching from the southern-most Japanese Island towards the East Coast of Taiwan and joining the South China Sea. China is now clearly seeking unchallenged access to the Pacific Ocean. In 2009, the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Admiral Timothy Keating told Indian interlocutors that one of his Chinese counterparts had suggested to him that when China acquired aircraft carriers, the US should leave maritime security in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans to the Chinese navy, with the US confining itself to security of the Eastern Pacific.

Even as Japan and others facing security challenges from China are upgrading their defences, India’s defence spending this year has reached an estimated all time low of 1.79 per cent of GDP. Even as the Chinese build up their communication networks across their borders with India and across Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan, our Armed Forces take days to reach the outer periphery of our borders. Our Army is woefully short of mountain artillery, the understrength Air Force desperately needs multi-role combat aircraft and the Navy has only an aging and obsolescent submarine fleet. Essential reforms to our archaic defence structures recommended by the Naresh Chandra Task Force 18 months ago remain unimplemented. Sadly, South Block has no dearth of apologists for China’s policies who have even sought to downplay Chinese transgressions in Ladakh. These continuing intrusions have crossed the Karakoram Range, the great watershed that separates China from the subcontinent. They have been accompanied by Chinese claims to the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, reiterated recently to protest the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to the State.

National security expert P Stopdan, who hails from Ladakh, recently voiced serious concern of Chinese ingress into the region. After explaining how the Ladakh-Tibetan border was defined in the Ladakh-Tibet Treaty of Tingmosgang in 1684, he dwelt on how Chinese territorial claims have grown in Ladakh ever since 1956. He has drawn attention to how China dealt with its borders with its Central Asian neighbours. He notes that China purports to give ‘concessions’ without actually giving any territory. He adds: “The Chinese will have a maximum claim and then they will settle for (what purports to be) the minimum territory. They will present it as a win-win situation, but in essence usurp what is far more than their legitimate claim”.

Russia new pivot of Eurasian geopolitics

Russia is back in the reckoning, taking centre stage in politics ever since the Petersburg G20 summit. This has come at the cost of US influence
Ramesh Thakur 

AS the year draws to a close, it is worth recording a remarkable transformation of the fortunes of Russia as a power with renewed clout since its nadir by the end of the 1990s. In 1999, as the humanitarian crisis in the Balkans with graphic photos of emaciated prisoners behind barbed wire fences brought back deeply unsettling memories of the Holocaust, NATO powers decided to act on the oft-repeated but not always honoured slogan “Never Again.” The crucial site where the key decision among the major NATO powers was hammered out on the principles to resolve the crisis was the G8 summit in Koenigswinter outside Bonn, Germany, on May 6, 1999.

(From top L) British Prime Minister David Cameron, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and (from bottom L) US President Barack Obama, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pose at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg. (From top L) British Prime Minister David Cameron, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and (from bottom L) US President Barack Obama, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pose at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg. Photo: AFP 

Russia was the Serb’s major ally but, despite being a G8 member, the weakened, exhausted and demoralised ex-superpower was in a position to challenge the expanding reach of the United States in its unipolar moment. Indeed Russia’s essential irrelevance had already been demonstrated in the peace talks held at Rambouillet, France, and the designed-to-be-rejected “ultimatum” given to Belgrade by NATO in February, whose rejection was the trigger to NATO’s sustained bombing campaign from March 24 to June 11, 1999. As a result of the Gulf War in 1991, influential members of Washington’s policy elite had concluded that post-Cold War, Russia lacked the capacity and will to thwart American use of military power in the Middle East to pick off clients and allies of the former Soviet Union. In Europe itself, the borders of NATO and its de facto sphere of influence had been pushed relentlessly eastwards, closer and closer to Russia’s borders, breaking the understandings on which Russia had acquiesced to the terms of its Cold War defeat. Moscow fretted and fumed but could not check the trans-Atlantic alliance.


Russia’s relations with the US became strained after Moscow’s decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden, who leaked documents about widespread US surveillance activity 

Moscow accused Washington of ignoring Russia’s appeals for proof of Syrian Government involvement in chemical weapons attacks in Syria during the country’s more than 2-1/2-year-old civil war 

On avoiding the use of force against Syria,Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said, “This will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust.” 

The 1999 Rambouillet talks and Bonn G8 summit marked the decline of Russian power and the collapse of its influence even in central Europe and highlighted the growing global clout and role of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA) as an exclusive western club. (Japan has never demonstrated any significant capacity to say no to Washington-led western powers on any major geopolitical issue.)

As power, wealth and influence seep from the old West to the still older Asian giants China and India, and the new kids on the block like Brazil, the institutions and sites of global governance are playing catch-up. Using purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars, the combined GDP of the five BRICS countries surpassed that of the 27 members of the European Union five or six years ago and, on present trends, will overtake the aggregate GDP of the old G7 countries around 2023.

While Diplomacy Dawdles

By Michael Krepon and Julia Thompson

This op ed was published in the December 19th edition of the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn. Content is drawn from a newly released Stimson Center book, "Deterrence Stability and Escalation Control in South Asia." Click here to access the book.

While diplomacy between Pakistan and India dawdles, nuclear capabilities are moving forward at a brisk pace. Since testing nuclear devices in 1998, both countries have flight-tested no fewer than 17 types of missiles that are capable of delivering nuclear weapons -- a pace of more than one per year. New families of cruise missiles are joining expanded families of ballistic missiles. Nuclear weapon delivery systems are moving out to sea. No other states possessing nuclear weapons have proceeded at a faster pace since 1998 than Pakistan and India.

In contrast, nuclear risk reduction agreements appear paltry by comparison. Efforts by New Delhi and Islamabad to seek more normal relations have proceeded at a snail’s pace. There have been modest overtures, such as the release of fishermen captured in contested waters, and promises to do more, but little has come of them. Since 1998, Pakistan and India have agreed to a cease fire along the Kashmir divide and two military-related confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures – a 2005 accord to provide prior notification of ballistic missile flight-tests, and a 2007 agreement to provide notification of nuclear accidents. The ambitious agenda to normalize relations and reduce nuclear dangers mapped out in the 1999 Lahore Memorandum of Understanding has been a dead letter since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

One of the arguments in support of nuclear testing in 1998 was that it would stabilize deterrence and permit greater diplomatic progress on the subcontinent. In actuality, deterrence has become less stable and diplomacy has been pursued minimally. Before the 1998 tests, Pakistan and India agreed to important steps to reduce dangers associated with misperceptions, including hotline agreements, advance notification of certain military exercises, and protocols regarding air space violations. They have accomplished less after 1998 than before. When one government wants to negotiate, the other is usually weak and on the defensive.

To their credit, the governments of India and Pakistan have taken steps to increase the security and command and control arrangements for their nuclear deterrents. They have not, however, made a priority of negotiating bilateral measures to reduce nuclear risks. Instead, they view these measures as bargaining chips for negotiating outcomes that are deemed to be more important.

It is a common conceit, regardless of nationality, to assume that more and better nuclear capabilities mean stronger deterrence. But a nuclear arms competition doesn’t result in added security or stability. Instead, the more one side builds up its nuclear deterrent, the more uncomfortable the other feels.

The Best Deal on Offer

DECEMBER 19, 2013

Negotiations around the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between the United States and Afghanistan are testing the countries' relationship to the limit. In a recent interview with French daily Le Monde, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of behaving like a colonial power, launching psychological warfare on the Afghan people, and, essentially, using the BSA to blackmail Afghanistan.

Mistrust and mismatched perceptions on both sides are fraying tempers and hardening negotiating positions. But they must not derail a security deal rooted in common interests. Too much is at stake, both for the United States and the long-suffering Afghan people, as well as the broader South Asia region.

In deferring the decision to sign the BSA and prolonging negotiations around the pact, Karzai is tempting fate. The stakes include the stability and security of Afghanistan and its neighbors, including volatile and nuclear-armed Pakistan. They also include the security of the United States and its allies, as 9/11 and the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, in 2004 and 2005, respectively, so tragically demonstrated.

Exercising the "zero option" to withdraw all troops by the end of 2014 would pull the rug out from under Afghanistan, serving no one other than the Taliban. Massive investments since 2001 by the US, its allies and the Afghans themselves would be put in jeopardy.

Prolonging the uncertainty around the BSA is already having a destabilizing psychological and political impact on Afghanistan. Many Afghans are emigrating or moving their financial capital out of the country. And anxiety is increasing about the worst-case scenario: international abandonment and a descent into chaos that sucks in Afghanistan's neighbors, with disastrous economic and humanitarian consequences, large-scale population displacement, sharp increases in narcotic production, and the return of transnational terrorist groups using the country as a safe-haven.

Many Afghans are just as exasperated as the United States by Karzai's refusal to approve the BSA, even after the consultative Loya Jirga (grand assembly) of Afghan leaders authorized him to do so. They argue that by not signing, Karzai is prioritizing his own self-interest over Afghanistan's interests, and that he will be ultimately responsible if the zero option becomes a reality.

By generating uncertainty around the BSA, Karzai is ensuring that he remains the central political actor in Afghanistan, despite being at the end of his presidency. It also gives him greater leverage over the candidates vying to replace him.

He also has his legacy in mind. Assuming the responsibility for a long-term presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan is no light matter, and Karzai does not want to be remembered as the leader who compromised Afghan sovereignty. This concern helps explain his sensitivity about international forces entering Afghan homes, and consistent criticism over civilian casualties caused by U.S. and NATO forces.

Karzai seems convinced that the United States needs the agreement for its own strategic objectives, including as a base for launching counterterrorist operations in Pakistan, and that he is therefore negotiating from a position of strength. This view is shared by many Afghans for whom it is beyond belief that, at a time when the insurgency is as vigorous as ever, their country can go, in U.S. eyes, from being strategically crucial to disposable, as the zero option implies.

Burma's Senseless Census

Burma's census disregards the complex ethnic identities of its people. Could this breathe new life into sectarian conflict?
DECEMBER 19, 2013

Next year, Burma will embark on its first census-taking process in more than three decades. It's an opportunity, but it's also a significant risk. One the one hand, the census could compel the state to finally recognize long-excluded people and foster a better collective understanding of the daily struggles that most Burmese face. But on the other, the census is set up to obscure Burma's incredible diversity by requiring that Burmese people choose just one ethnic identity, even if they identify with many ethnicities. This comes at a dangerous point in Burma's simmering ethnic conflict, especially since nationalists are now using conceptions of exclusive and timeless ethnicity to justify violence against populations suddenly deemed irrevocably "foreign."

Instead of fueling such demagoguery, politics around the census process should expose the inaccuracy of those narratives and highlight the wonderfully mixed-up nature of ethnicity in Burma. Otherwise, the census seems poised to be part of a new kind of Burmese state practice, one that simply goes from domination (direct and despotic) to a new kind of control (diffused and bureaucratic) that limits rather than enables Burma's people.

The current categories imply that every citizen fits snugly into one silo: only Shan, onlyKaren, only Burman.

Burma has 135 "official national races" (in addition to the Chinese, Indians, Rohingya, etc., who have yet to be recognized as autochthonous despite their long-standing membership in Burma's society). Observers use this number to remark on Burma's incredible diversity -- but this categorization is often myopic. It implies that every citizen fits snugly into one silo: only Shan, only Karen, only Burman. A closer look at Burma's ethnic make-up, however, shows a vast diversity not simply within the country, but within people themselves.

Over three months of field research in Yangon this summer, I asked dozens of Burmese about their lu-myo (race or ethnicity) and found that individuals often describe complex, mixed-ethnic genealogies. For example, a Burmese colleague explained that ethnic identity is highly dependent on context: "For people like me who live in cities and don't speak an ethnic minority language, don't have ethnic minority names, and who are Buddhists, I don't think it would be a problem to identify ourselves as ‘Bamar lu-myo' ['Burman'] at first. But as we talk more about ourselves we include more information about different ethnic roots we have.... I am Bamar, but I'm also Mon, Pa-O, and Chinese." As this suggests, in Burma, ethnicity is lived less as a pseudo-scientific racial category and more as a set of practices shaped by one's environment.

Because context matters, an individual's own lu-myo can also be "on the move," changing between generations or within individuals over their own lifetimes. For instance, a man told me about his father's shifting identity: he was born Rohingya Muslim, but after refraining from Islamic worship practices, marrying a Rakhine Buddhist, taking on Rakhine modes of dress, drinking habits, etc., he now is often considered Rakhine. There are countless examples of this phenomenon: a colleague identifies as Mon though a cousin of hers does not; another scholar found a Karen-identified brother and Kachin-identified sister.

Sorry Bangladesh…..Once Again

Source Link
Posted: 16 Dec 2013
Raza Habib Raja

One of my friends, who is from Bangladesh once told me in detail about the way his nation thought about years from 1947 to 1971 and about what happened during the war. He then told me that the scars of the brutal repression by the Pakistani armed forces have not completely healed. That was the time when Shahbag protests were taking place demanding capital punishments for those who had been convicted of war crimes. 

He then posed a question to me: “ Why doesn’t Pakistan apologize? A mere word of apology would make a lot of difference and allow us to move forward.” He countered the criticism that trials were nothing but a political stint by Haseena Shaikh’s government to extract mileage. “ Even if the government is benefitting, the fact is this is what Bangladeshis want”. 

I already have written on the need for apologizing to Bangladesh in my article titled as “Sorry Bangladesh” and I personally think that as Bangladesh grapples with the execution of Jamat-i-Islami leader and its aftermaths, the need for apology becomes even more significant. 

I find it strange that as Bangladesh puts to trial those nationals who allegedly participated in the 1971 massacre, the real culprits, the Pakistani military men, are still scot free thousands of miles away.
Frankly if Pakistan was a proper civilized country it would have itself put its generals and rank and file officers to trial for committing war crimes against its own citizens. Let us not forget at that time, those civilians who were killed were Pakistani citizens. Even if they had not been Pakistanis, a crime is a crime. 

However, I understand that perhaps this expectation is too far-fetched as even USA has not always put its soldiers for war crimes. And in this case, Pakistani soldiers were indulging in violence and rape in not merely in individual capacity. In fact it was state sanctioned massacre and consequently it is understandable that it won’t do so. 

But an apology is something which is the least Pakistan could do and yet even that has so far proven to be unforthcoming. In fact even the moral persuasion by the population is lacking as an overwhelming majority is still in denial with respect to the extent of Pakistani atrocities. In fact for many it was merely a military failure due to collaboration between Mukti Bahini and Indian army. And moreover according to them, it was just Mukti Bahini which committed atrocities against Pakistani citizens in Bangladesh. 

The fact that much more horrific was committed by their own armed forces is simply not acknowledged and in fact most of the population is simply in denial. Even today our discussions about 1971 revolve around number of killed by Mukti Bahini and in our collective psyche, the massacre conducted by Pakistan army either simply does not exist or is clearly less atrocious compared to killings by Mukhi Bahini. 

Debunking myths by ‘heart’…

Posted: 16 Dec 2013
Hamzah Rifaat 

‘Delhi By Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani traveler’, by Raza Rumi, an Islamabad based policy analyst and writer, is a fascinating read. The book dwells into the intricacies of cultural assimilation and sheds light on how his experience as an impartial traveler to a city such as Delhi, managed to debunk and challenge the myths and narratives from an ultra conservative right in Pakistan, about its adversary. 

His compilation is a fusion of historical information and considers magnificent examples of how differences can or should be bridged between the people of the subcontinent with reference to Sufi Saints and erudite sages, of whom the latter, graced the landscape of the subcontinent for decades. In a book launch in the prestigious Serena Hotel in the heart of the Adobe of Peace, Mr. Rumi quoted the 13th century Sufi saint, whom he witnessed as a survivor for a mind boggling 700 years in the city, as an example of prime advocacy for acculturation of different and diverse groups in the region, who have been divided on ethnic, lingual and religious lines. Hence it comes to no one’s surprise that the city of Delhi is considered by the writer to be the citadel of the subcontinent’s history alongside cities such as Lahore. 

The reading session at Serena was organized by the Asian study group and was met with active participation from a diverse pool of experts, analysts, members of the academia and the youth. During the session, the writer constantly mentioned how he felt at home, while traveling through the unique landscape of Delhi, which oozed with pluralism and a secular environment. His reference to these aspects was a direct contradiction of the narratives spewed by ‘India-Bashers’, of whom many consider India to be a hegemonic nation, hell benton defying the idea of pluralism and instead resorting to promoting concepts such as ‘ Hinduvta’. In response to a question raised by the audience, on his opinion about the hostile environment in Delhi, he replied with a smile by saying: 

“I found that the common, shared past and present were far more potent than imagined hostility…….” 

The fact that Raza travelled through the landscape of Delhi as an impartial traveler, with a mindset which was devoid of bias, was instrumental in ensuring that his compilation spoke volumes about how myths and stereotypes were nothing more than political constructs. In addition, his family’s strong connections with Sufism as a concept and a practice, is one of the prime reasons as to why he became strongly affiliated with Delhi’s cultural richness and diversity, which he considered to be similar to Pakistan. He also sheds light on the concept of the subcontinent as an ancient ‘Indo-Persian civilization’ which had an overarching character and was characterized by a commitment to pluralism and secularism by its inhabitants. According to Raza, the seeds of animosity and hatred are political constructs, which have been used to split a civilization, which was a model of peaceful coexistence. 

Yet to say his compilation is a travelogue would be to consider Albert Einstein to be a scientist. It would be a criminally bare claim to make. ‘Delhi by Heart’ is a deeply researched compilation, which considers socio-economic, historical and religious events in the region which all boils down to secularism and pluralism, which the writer has supported with factual evidence. The narrative of the book also rests on the story of a civilization which has borne the brunt of plundering, religious indoctrination and ‘ethnic centrism’, but continues to exist in true essence. To understand it however, would mandate a keen perspective that is devoid of religious biasness and hostility, which Raza has harbored throughout his visit to Delhi. 

However, despite Raza’s admiration for the city of Delhi, he is not in love with it which he has made clear in a number of book launches for his compilation. In fact it is his love and infatuation with the Indo-Persian civilization, which he considers to be a model of pluralism and diversity. His narrative on Delhi considers every aspect of the city from a historical and impartial perspective, where he advocates that the unique nature of the populace prior to partition is what defines the cultural fabric of the city, which inevitably lays credence to his claim about the people of South Asia belonging to one overarching civilization. 

The Colombo Confidence Building Process: New Missile CBMs for South Asia

Ever since India and Pakistan went nuclear in rapid succession in 1998, their paths to weaponisation and doctrine have differed considerably. Between the flexible response posture of Pakistan and the massive retaliation doctrine of India, the one thing that is common is that both have the power to completely and utterly destroy the other i.e. mutually assured destruction. While each has succeeded in creating an element of fear and terror in the others’ mind, deterrence can only work if the other is deterred. This involves a careful calibrating of the balance between fear on the one hand and reassurance on the other, because one without the other is a sure fire path to nuclear Armageddon. Sadly it is the “reassurance” aspect that is lacking in both their approaches.

Given the history of mistrust, recurrent crises and the prospect of rapid escalation even in case of limited conventional conflict the possibility of all out war therefore is real. So the best of intentions – seemingly logical, can generate panic alerts and responses in the other. In such cases the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is true. Of the many sparks that are likely to trigger such a panic reaction, one of the most pressing and immediate concerns is one of the accidental detonation of a short-range ballistic missile system deployed during a crisis. Even If such a missile explodes without detonating its payload, it can still be perceived as a pre-emptive strike or an act of sabotage, both of which are impossible to confirm till lengthy and detailed investigations are conducted. Time is an unaffordable commodity in war, and a panic response may eventuate in the fog of war. What is worse is if such a missile were to detonate its payload it would likely greatly exacerbate the “fog of war”. Either way an accidental detonation – though seemingly manageable – could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

This poses a dilemma – both countries need to talk and so as to be able to resolve such a situation but since they don’t trust each other to talk honestly and have limited exchange of information, given the deep sensitivities on both sides. This is why Brigadiers (retired) Gurmeet Kanwal (of India) and Feroz Khan (of Pakistan) came up with the idea of using the elimination of obsolete and retired missiles in a transparent manner purely as a confidence building measure. This way the contradictions of “enlightened self interest” can be avoided and the focus can remain fixed purely on selfish goals – the need to make ones military leaner and meaner and to ensure the safety of one’s strategic missile forces.

It was precisely to rectify the balance between fear and reassurance that the two authors agreed to experimentally take part in simulations exercises – going through the process of real world inspection and verification following the dismantlement of obsolete and retired missiles.

We had no clue about all this when we initially joined about two years ago with other young scholars from India and Pakistan and we all shared a healthy scepticism of the process. But one exercise led to another and we realised that practical expertise and practical demonstrations help a lot. We’ve had the opportunity of learning, not only the theoretical concepts, but applying them in near real world conditions. Understanding how to negotiate between two parties, how to actually carry out managed access without compromising each other’s sensitivities or securities, keeping in mind that each party would have its own expectations with a certain level of transparency.

Hunting for U.S. arms technology, China enlists a legion of amateurs

Filed December 18, 2013

VOICING REGRET: Lian Yang, above, spent nearly 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate U.S. arms trafficking laws. Today, he calls his attempt "wrong" but says the U.S. government "grossly exaggerated" what he did. REUTERS/JASON REDMOND

Beijing “floods the zone with buyers” for smuggled American military gear, leading to a 50 percent spike in arms trafficking cases since 2010, Reuters has found.

SEATTLE - In its quest to bypass embargoes and obtain the latest U.S. military technology, China isn’t only relying on a cadre of carefully trained spies.

It’s also enlisting a growing army of amateurs.

Their orders come indirectly from the Chinese government and take the form of shopping lists that are laundered through companies with ties to Beijing.

The recruits who buy the weapons and system components for those companies are scientists, students and businessmen, and they appear to be motivated more by profit than ideology. As one U.S. Homeland Security official put it, the Chinese “flood the zone with buyers” - a strategy that significantly complicates U.S. efforts to stop the flow of American armaments to China.

“When you have nation-states that go outside the normal intelligence agencies and open it up to any person … it just exponentially opens the door for bad guys,” said Robert Anderson Jr, assistant director for counter-intelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Today, investigations into arms trafficking linked to China have swelled to at least 350 active cases - up by more than 50 percent since 2010, according to a Reuters review of confidential U.S. government records. The total number is likely higher than 350 because the count does not include many cases that began as regulatory inquiries or investigations into other crimes. U.S. officials also say their China counter-proliferation caseload is growing at a faster pace than investigations linked to any other nation.

About two-thirds of the cases prosecuted by U.S. officials since 2005 involved people of Chinese ancestry, a Reuters analysis of court records shows. That includes Chinese citizens living in China or residing legally inside the United States, and U.S. citizens with family ties to China.

China’s defense ministry says Beijing’s efforts to modernize its military are rooted in research, not thievery. “Some people always accuse China of stealing other countries’ technology when China makes progress in weaponry development,” it said in a statement to Reuters. “Such notions are baseless.”

U.S. government agents say many past cases and active investigations demonstrate how individuals who have left China - and appear to hold little allegiance to the Chinese government - have become players in Beijing’s effort to procure military components.

Such was the case of Lian Yang, a 49-year-old software engineer who once worked for Microsoft Corp and had family ties to an anti-government group in China. In March 2011, the father of two pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate U.S. arms trafficking laws for buying radiation-hardened microchips and making plans to send them to China. Yang served nearly 11 months in prison and another four months under house arrest. He was released in March.

In interviews, Yang characterized his efforts as “stupid” and “wrong.” But he said the U.S. government “grossly exaggerated” what he did.

Yang said a college friend in China had approached him about buying the microchips. But that friend, Yang said, was simply a businessman like himself, looking to obtain the components for another buyer - and ultimately, for the Chinese government.

Reuters reviewed confidential investigative records gathered by the FBI, including hours of secret recordings, transcripts and emails. They show Yang as an arms trafficking novice, motivated by money and casting about for others willing to help him for a cut of the profits.

In emails and transcripts from an FBI undercover operation, Yang spoke of the urgency to obtain the U.S.-made components for China’s military and satellite programs.

“They’re very firm, and they want it yesterday,” Yang said on one FBI recording about his buyers in China. “They want it so badly. They have the funds.”

On recordings, Yang told a family friend - who had turned government informant - that they could share in $1 million a year in profits. Later, as his plans shrank, he was working on a much smaller sale to net a few thousand dollars.

“That’s your typical case, the kind you see almost every day,” the FBI’s Anderson said. “Here’s a guy who’s just trying to make a buck.”

GCHQ to Monitor Cybersecurity of Chinese Telecom Huawei Links in UK Because of Spying Concerns

December 18, 2013
Huawei to come under increased scrutiny from GCHQ
BBC News

The government is to increase its oversight of Chinese telecom giant Huawei amid fears its equipment could be used for spying.

The company has become a major player in the UK telecoms sector, leading toconcerns over compromised national security.

Intelligence agency GCHQ will be given a greater role at the firm’s Cyber SecurityEvaluation Centre (HCSEC).

A senior member of GCHQ will direct all senior appointments at the centre.

There have long been questions about links between Huawei and the Chinese government.

The concerns led Huawei to set up HCSEC to analyse equipment supplied by the firm to identify potential security vulnerabilities. It hoped the unit would allay concerns about cyber-espionage.

So far it has examined more than 30 types of product for both the mobile andfixed broadband networks.

But earlier this year the UK Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee voiced concerns about how independent staff at the unit were from Huawei headquarters.

It called for the unit to be staffed by employees of GCHQ.

It led to a review by national security adviser Sir Kim Darroch who has recommended closer involvement from GCHQ.

But he said that he was happy that in general HCSEC operated “effectively” and that vulnerabilities identified by the unit were “genuine design weaknesses or errors in coding practice”.

Staff at the centre will continue to be employed by Huawei in order to safeguard the non-disclosure agreements that the firm has with hundreds of third party-suppliers, he added.

National infrastructure

"We are pleased that the model of the UK government, the telecom operators and Huawei working together in an open and transparent way has been recognised as the best approach for providing reassurance on the security of products and solutions deployed in the UK," Huawei said in a statement.

In July the firm denied claims from a former US CIA chief that it had spied for the Chinese government.

The same month the UK government confirmed it would be reviewing the firm’s cyber security centre.

Huawei has been supplying network equipment for Britain’s critical national infrastructure since it was awarded a contract by BT in 2005.

Increasingly Hawkish Rhetoric Coming From Senior Chinese Generals

December 19, 2013
China’s hawks take the offensive
David Laque

HONG KONG - It was supposed to be a relaxed evening for a group of senior international military chiefs. Gathered at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, they had changed out of uniform for dinner and discussion.

China’s Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquan took the podium in a room overlooking the Yarra River last October 29 and began diplomatically enough. But as he neared the end of his speech, he went on the offensive.

"Some people" had ignored the outcome of World War Two and were challenging the post-war order, he told counterparts from 15 other nations. It was a pointed reference to Japan’s claim over islands in the East China Sea that Beijing insists are Chinese.

"One should never forget history and (should) learn from history," Ren said, according to a copy of his speech. "Flames of the war ignited by fascist countries engulfed the whole region, and many places, including Darwin in Australia, were bombed."

In a jarring coincidence, say officers in the audience, fireballs belched into the sky as he spoke, part of the casino’s hourly fireworks display.

Visibly displeased at the dig, the senior Japanese officer present, army Lieutenant General Yoshiaki Nakagawa, left with his fellow officers as soon as the speeches concluded, people in the audience said.

GRUFF COMMENTATOR: Retired army Major General Luo Yuan has proposed sending a fleet of fishing boats to uninhabited islands that China and Japan claim to fight a “people’s war at sea.” REUTERS/Stringer

Neither Ren nor Nakagawa were available for comment.


Ren’s provocative dinner talk was no isolated outburst. His message was typical of the increasingly hawkish rhetoric coming from senior officers in the People’s Liberation Army.

At issue these days are the disputed islands known as the Diaoyu (in China) or Senkaku (in Japan) and a string of islets in the South China that China is contesting with various Southeast Asian nations.

But the combative streak speaks to profound shifts in Chinese politics andforeign policy that transcend the heat of the moment. The more provocative of these officers call for “short, sharp wars” to assert China’s sovereignty. Others urge Beijing to “strike first”, “prepare for conflict” or “kill a chicken to scare the monkeys”.

They routinely denounce the Obama administration’s recent “pivot” to Asia - without naming the United States, Ren in his Melbourne speech accused “external countries” of complicating disputes in Asia.

In a political system where civilian officials hew to tightly scripted public positions, these uniformed pundits, both serving and retired, appear free to go well beyond the official line. Almost all of the most-outspoken generals are military academics or theorists.