29 July 2016

** Terrorism: The Thing We Have to Fear the Most is Fear Itself

July 27, 2016 

Terrorism is all too real a threat, and mass attacks cause a special kind of fear. Terrorist movements like ISIS kill innocents for the worst of causes and the worst of reasons. They seek to use fear to separate the West from the Muslim world, and to divide the Muslim world and dominate it. They try to use alienated Muslims in the West to create a growing climate of anger and distrust with Europe and the United States. They deliberately seek to get the West to overreact and lash out against all Muslims and Islam, just as they try to use extremism and violence to try to get the populations of Muslim countries to attack their own governments.

They also feed on Western ignorance of Islam, and the fear of new and unfamiliar risks. We in the West have learned to live with most forms of our mortality. We accept the fact that life has a wide range of risks, almost all of which are far more serious than terrorism: Lightning, suicide, traffic, disease, home accidents produce far more deaths than terrorism.

However, we are just beginning to learn a reality at the popular and political level that many security and counterterrorism experts have known for years. Even the most effective counterterrorism efforts can contain and limit terrorism, but stops short of “defeating” it. It is possible to sharply reduce the levels of terrorism, and to contain and deter many attacks. It is not possible to fully secure open societies, prevent sudden attacks by the alienated and disturbed, or defeat Islamic extremism by any mix of counterterrorism and military force than does not address the causes of Islamic extremism.

The Forces that Will Maintain the Threat for At Least the Next Decade

** The Uncertain Trends and Metrics of Terrorism in 2016

July 27, 2016

Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy 

There are no simple or reliable ways to estimate the trends in terrorism, and the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) no longer provides any declassified estimate of global trends. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) does, however, provide a useful database for tracking media reporting. In addition to the START database, graphical analyses by key media sources provide additional information that is current, and helps illustrate the sharp contrasts in given sources and estimates. Several NGOs have also made useful estimates that provide additional perspective.

The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a report that compares the wide range of such data and trends. It does focus on ISIS and similar extremist groups, but also shows global trends for all forms of terrorism and key trends by region. A case study for the Middle East and North Africa highlights the kind of more detailed trends data available on given regions, countries, perpetrators, and types of terrorism.

This report is entitled The Uncertain Trends and Metrics of Terrorism in 2016, and is available on the CSIS website at https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/160727_Metrics_of_Terrorism.pdf.

It is intended to highlight the range of key trends, differences, and uncertainties in reporting, rather than draw a clear set of policy conclusions. At the same time, it does raise the following key issues:

After sticks and stones, it’s cyber war in Kashmir

Jul 27, 2016

As pro-azadi protests and stone-pelting incidents go unabated in the Kashmir Valley, a cyber war is also under way and was only intensified on Tuesday when Facebook blocked some more pages of its users, including that of key separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani or deleted posts, photographs and videos placed on these, citing “community standards”.

Also, the Facebook page of leading Srinagar English newspaper, Rising Kashmir (RK), was hacked by a group that calls itself “Cyber Caliphate-black flags are coming”. Given the nature of posts, photographs and videos it posted on the page in quick succession, the hackers’ group owes allegiance to Daesh or ISIS. It also placed “Daulat e Islamia Iraq o Sham’s” anthem and other “revolutionary” and “rebellious” songs on the RK’s hacked Facebook page to encourage mujahedin or “holy fighters” in Kashmir, promising them that the “dawn of freedom” was about to break.

The newspaper’s Twitter account was also hacked for being interlinked with that of its Facebook page. “Muslims of Kashmir: Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you”, said a tweet on it from the hackers. Another tweet said, “This is a warning to all the prestitutes of Kashmir, who have sold their conscience and for Indian salaries have...” A post warns J&K police, “For the eunuchs of J&K Police, we know this is going to be a long war, a day will come when we will use kitchen knives, cars, buses against you and you would not even know what hit you.”

Syed Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of the daily, said, “We’re trying to recover the page.”

Earlier, the online social networking site Facebook deleted the page of Mr Geelani who said they did it because he had shared an image of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander who was killed by security forces on July 8 and whose social media campaign had an outreach among a section of Kashmiri Muslim youth.

Self Reliance In Defense Manufacturing: The Indian Example, Some Reflections – OpEd

JULY 27, 2016

For several experts in the field of National Defence and Security, ‘Make in India’ has been more than just a mere slogan, and an amalgamation of all the ongoing projects, procurements and forward planning in India’s security sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his bid to transform the otherwise lackadaisical approach of India’s Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and Defence Research and Development Organisations (DRDOs) as well as Private Companies envisioned a progressive approach strongly backed by a strategy built on the ethos of credibility and immediate deliverables, job creation, thus adding strength to India’s indigenous defence industry under his mission “Make in India”.
Some Reflections

Marred by project delays and issues of Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposals (RFP) and Transfer of Technology (ToT), licensing issues with Russia, United States, India’s defence sector is currently undergoing massive transformation, a natural corollary to Modi’s frequent visits to other countries and subsequent discussions with his counterparts on defence and security. The revised Defence Procurement Policy is also being projected as the game changer. However financial, political and strategic investments in projects meant to modernise India’s defence industry exhibit a very uneven path. Whether it is the MMRCA, Tejas or AWACS statistics reveal that India is yet to achieve a great breakthrough in defence, compared to China or Pakistan as in the case of AWACS.

The Cabinet Committee on Security has time and again sanctioned several projects, but uneven investments have often defeated the very purpose of rapid military transformations, to tackle new asymmetrical threats. If statistics provided by the defence ministry are to be believed, India has signed five deals of more than Rs 2,500 crore since May 2014. Projects for Tactical Communication Systems (TCS), Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) (worth $ 7.5 billion) for the Indian Army, construction of seven Shivalik class frigates (Project 17 A) for the Navy, by Mazagon Docs Limited and Garden Reach Steel Industry, amounting to Rs 45201 crores are currently under consideration. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is currently in the process of building basic trainer aircraft HTT 40 and Sukhoi MK 1 aircraft in line with the 272 target set for 2018 by the Indian Air Force. There are several such deals being planned. But deadlock over Rafale continues to make headlines. Meanwhile, reacting to the commercial deadlock over Rafale prices with Dassault, other players such as Lockheed Martin (F 16), Saab (Gripen) are now streamlining their business strategy, to meet the requirements of the Indian industry under Make in India. Saab is willing to partner with Indian companies, giving India complete software control to build the Gripen fighter in India. Saab is also keen on setting up an aeronautic training academy in India.

Aviation: The Future is Unmanned

By Air Marshal Anil Chopra
28 Jul , 2016

The Indian Armed Forces operate nearly 150 mid-sized UAVs and many more handheld ones. India needs to push its ‘Make in India’ initiative for UAVs. Mumbai and New Delhi police are on the verge of acquiring UAVs. Aviation may come to the rescue of India’s dismal population-to-police ratio of 130 to every 1,00,000. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) along with DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and National Aeronautical laboratory (NAL) Bangalore have developed mini and micro UAVs of three-kilogramme class. HAL designers are working on eight to ten kilogramme UAVs, which are expected to receive certification by early 2016. India’s indigenous capability has to be built up through a leapfrog by joining up with Israel, the world leader in UAV technology.

The entire concept of aerial warfare will see a change as UAVs become a part of all our day-to-day chores…

Whether tiny quadcopters that fly within a few hundred feet of their operator or huge winged craft piloted via satellite thousands of miles away, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are taking to the skies in ever increasing numbers for a variety of applications. The exotic military reconnaissance UAVs of Iraq and Afghanistan War have now grown in numbers and sophistication and are now undertaking full-fledged combat engagements and ground strikes in near autonomous operations.

In April 2013, a BAE Systems Jetstream, a standard commercial propeller plane converted into an UAV research aircraft, autonomously flew an 805-km journey without a pilot onboard heralding a huge revolution in civil aviation. The main difference between this and hundreds of other UAV projects was that this was an unmanned airliner. UAVs are already being employed as eye-in-the-sky in roles such as policing, law enforcement, border control, sea lane monitoring, traffic control, crime scene photography, searching for missing persons, monitoring wildfires and combating drug trafficking. They could replace hundreds of CCTV cameras. The applications are as wide as human imagination.

The entire concept of aerial warfare will see a change as UAVs become a part of all our day-to-day chores and the day will come when we may be passengers onboard an aircraft without a conventional cockpit.

The era of UAVs began with the concerns of the United States Air Force (USAF) over losing pilots in hostile territory. This was more so after a U-2 was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. UAVs were first used in Vietnam. Israel developed the first UAV after the 1973 Yom Kippur war. UAVs helped Israel completely neutralise the Syrian defences in the beginning of 1982 Lebanon War in the famous Bekka Valley operation. UAVs were used in the 1991 Gulf War.
Initial generations were primarily for surveillance but others such as General Atomics MQ-1 Predator were armed with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.

Unstable Politics Jolts Nepal More Than Earthquakes

By Dr S Binodkumar Singh
28 Jul , 2016

On July 24, 2016, after spending 287 days in Singha Durbar (Lion’s Palace), the seat of Nepal’s government as Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli resigned from his post minutes before the Parliament was to vote on a no-confidence motion he was likely to lose. Consequently, on July 25, 2016, President Bidya Devi Bhandari asked the political parties to elect a new Prime Minister and form a government on the basis of political consensus within seven days. 

Earlier, on July 22, 2016, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairperson of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Centre) and also a major coalition partner with 82 seats in the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)-led coalition government, tabled a no-confidence motion in Parliament against Prime Minister Oli. Bimalendra Nidhi, a central-level leader of the Nepali Congress (NC), the largest opposition party with 206 seats, seconded the no-confidence motion tabled by Dahal. The Parliament also rejected three key Bills – the Finance Bill, the Bill to Raise Domestic Debt and the Loan and Guarantee Bill – tabled by the incumbent government right before Dahal tabled the no-confidence motion against the incumbent Prime Minister. Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar allotted three days for debate on the no-confidence motion and the motion was to be put to vote on July 24, 2016.

Prior to this, on July 12, 2016, CPN-Maoist Center withdrew its support from the incumbent government saying that the CPN-UML was reluctant to implement the gentlemen’s agreement and the nine-point agreement made with it on May 5, 2016. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said:

Dhaka Attacks and Fallouts on India

By Abhinav Pandya
28 Jul , 2016

The attack on a restaurant in the Gulshan area, the high-profile diplomatic enclave of Dhaka, marks the formal arrival of ISIS in the Indian sub-continent. The attack is one of the typical ISIS styled terrorist attack in which a bunch of tech-savvy and educated young Jihadis goes on a rampage at high-profile targets like airports, stadiums and diplomatic areas across the cosmopolitan capital cities like Istanbul, Paris and Brussels.

Although the government of Bangladesh has always been in a denial mode about the presence and spread of ISIS in Bangladesh, the ISIS’ spread in Bangladesh has been going on for quite some time now and prestigious global intelligence portals like STRATFOR had informed well in advance of the strong Jihadi activity going on inside the social, cultural and political crevices of Bangladesh.

This incident has major political and security implications on India. So far Indians have rejoiced in the fact that despite having the world’s second-largest Muslim population, not more than 25 Indians have joined ISIS in Syria as foreign fighters. This is indeed, a matter of great pride in deep-rooted traditions of liberal Sufi Islam in India and the secular-liberal ethos of Indian society and polity, but in the euphoria, somewhere Indians have missed the realistic aspects of the said issue. The reasons for Indians not joining the ISIS in Syria are myriad. The geographical distance, strict surveillance and counter-terrorism measures of Ajit Dobhal and his team, cultural alienness and a disconnect with the socio-political milieu of Middle East have been the major factors that prevented the Indian Muslims from joining ISIS en masse. Additionally, and very importantly Indian Muslim fighters were not treated at par by the Arab fighters, and they were made to do menial jobs like cleaning toilets.

The advent of ISIS in South Asia should never be a surprise for us. It was in the offing for quite some time. Before discussing, its immediate repercussions on India a brief historical background needs to be mentioned. The roots of the fascination of Mujahiddins with India can be traced back to the Quranic concept of Ghazwa-I-Hind.

Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security collaborate with Dedrone to counter the threat posed by small drones

By IDR News Network
27 Jul , 2016

Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security (EBS) and Dedrone, San Francisco, have signed a cooperation agreement and are joining forces to counter the threat posed by small drones. The partners intend to jointly offer counter-UAV systems that allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) invading critical airspace to be detected reliably so that electronic countermeasures can be initiated at an early stage.

“All over the world, incidents with universally available small drones have revealed a security gap with regards to major events or critical installations such as airports,” said Thomas Müller, Managing Director of Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security (EBS). “By pooling the capabilities of Airbus, with our long-range radar and jamming functions, and those of Dedrone, with their market-leading multi-sensor platform, we have a wide deployment range covering both urban and extra-urban areas.

Dedrone CEO Jörg Lamprecht added: “Small drones are conquering the airspace. But criminals have also discovered this technology and use it to smuggle, to spy and in the worst case to even carry out terrorist attacks. We are therefore delighted to offer, together with Airbus, an effective, complete solution for this new challenge. Our systems complement each other ideally, combining the early detection of drones at short and long range with the capability to automatically initiate effective countermeasures.

The Counter-UAV System to be jointly offered by the companies will have a modular design and will offer the capability to combine various sensors – cameras, radar systems, microphones, direction finders – with different ranges of up to 10 kilometres. The data provided by these sensors will be combined by means of the latest data fusion and signal analysis technologies. On the basis of an extensive database of UAV patterns and signatures as well as real-time analysis of control signals, a jammer then interrupts the link between drone and pilot or disrupts its navigation. As a rule, the drone then flies back to its starting point or lands at its current location. Furthermore, the direction finder tracks the position of the pilot in order to arrest him subsequently.

Indian Uranium Reserves

PIB Press Release

Jul 21, 2016 

Uranium Reserve

Consequent upon Civil Nuclear Cooperation, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been importing Uranium Ore to meet the Fuel requirements of Safeguarded Nuclear Power Plants. Agreements for import of uranium have been signed with M/s. JSC TVEL Corporation, Russia; M/s. JSC NAC Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan, and M/s. CAMECO, Canada. 

Russia, Kazakhstan and Canada are the countries supplying uranium as on date for creating uranium reserve.

The country-wise details of imports of uranium during the last two years:

Name of the Firm & Country/Year

Quantity in (MT)
M/s. JSC TVEL Corporation, Russia
M/s. JSC NAC Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan
M/s. Cameco, Canada

* In the form of Natural Uranium Di-oxide Pellets.
$ In the form of Enriched Uranium Di-oxide Pellets.
# In the form of Natural Uranium Ore-Concentrate.

This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Disposal of Nuclear Waste in India

PIB Press Release

Jul 21, 2016 

Disposal of Nuclear Waste

A comprehensive radioactive waste management system is established taking into account the operational capability for the management of radioactive waste and an independent regulatory capability for its overview. The radioactive solid wastes generated during operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants are segregated and volume reduced prior to its disposal. Disposal of waste is carried out in specially constructed structures such as stone lined trenches, reinforced concrete trenches and tile holes. These disposal systems are designed on multi-barrier principle for ensuring effective containment of radioactivity. The areas where the disposal structures are located are kept under constant surveillance with the help of bore-wells laid out in a planned manner. This policy is on par with international practices following the guidelines of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The quantity of low and intermediate level waste to be stored at site is about 0.15 cubic meters/year/MW.

The low level radioactive solid waste generated during O & M of nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities is disposed in specially constructed structures such as stone lined trenches, reinforced concrete trenches and tile holes within the boundary of facilities after volume reduction. These disposal facilities are co-located near reactor/nuclear facilities to avoid transportation of radioactive waste through public domain.

Of curbs to free speech

July 27, 2016  

How Nehru and Patel amended the Constitution to rein in Syama Prasad Mookerjee

July 6 this year marked the 115th birth anniversary of Syama Prasad Mookerjee. A Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet, Mookerjee had resigned to form the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, to which the Bharatiya Janata Party traces its origins. However, a little known fact about him went unnoticed. Mookerjee was one of the primary targets of the first amendment to the Constitution, by which the words “friendly relations with foreign States” were introduced as an exception to the right to free speech.The Nehru-Liaquat pact

In 1949-50, there were large-scale communal riots in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), which led to a huge exodus of Hindus into West Bengal. In the wake of these riots, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, signed an agreement known as the Nehru-Liaquat Pact or Delhi Pact aimed at securing peace and ensuring that both countries would protect their respective minorities. Clause (C)(8) of the pact required the governments of both countries to prohibit propaganda inciting war between the two countries. However, it was felt that this clause in the treaty could not be enforced under Indian law.

In March 1950, about a month before the pact was signed, Nehru wrote to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel alarmed by the fact that Mookerjee’s Hindu Mahasabha was speaking about “Akhand Bharat” (or unified India), which was “a direct incentive to conflict”. Nehru was worried that war with Pakistan was “openly (being) talked about”. Patel responded by telling Nehru that the Constitution was getting in the government’s way. In a letter to Nehru, he wrote: “We are now faced with a Constitution which guarantees fundamental rights — right of association, right of free movement, free expression and personal liberty — which further circumscribe the action that we can take.”

Is Pakistan Becoming New Haven For International Investors? – OpEd

JULY 27, 2016

Pakistan succeeded in becoming the frontrunner in the recent MCSI`s Annual Market Classification Review. Morgan Stanley Capital International promoted Pakistan to the emerging markets’ (EM) list, an accomplishment even China could not achieve.

The global index provider declined to include China’s Class-A mainland shares to the EM index referring to market approachability problems in the country. Despite the fact that they guaranteed that Chinese A shares will again be checked on in its 2017 cycle, for the time being the choice is a hit to China’s aspiration to join international capital markets.

For Pakistan, on the flipside, the inclusion is a great prospect even though the it weighs a meager 0.19% in the EM index in contrast to a comparatively solid 8.8% it held in the MCSI Index. Some analysts are cautious about Pakistan`s mere non-existent placement in the index especially comparing it to Pakistan’s strong position as the 4th largest country in the EM Index, while others are optimistic mainly because of Pakistan’s image restoration as a credible state in terms of foreign investment, a ground on which China lost.

Also, this change is not simply restricted to the nation’s business sector credibility and consistency. Since the recent couple of years, Pakistan has figured out how to stay in the news for all the right reasons. The nation has finally understood how to detect the ideal harmony among financial and political euphoria since its non-military personnel authority chose to amalgamate its powers with the much persuasive military. As a result of which the nation has not only witnessed a decline in terrorism but also favorability in its economic indicators, which is recognized by the global entities.

The ‘ASEAN Way’ Or The Chinese Way? – Analysis

By K. Yhome* 
JULY 28, 2016

Meeting for the first time since the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the South China Sea, the foreign ministers of the 10-member ASEAN adopted a joint communiqué on July 25. Despite countries like the Philippines and Vietnam being members of the grouping, the communique had no mention of the verdict. This has once again raised the question of the utility of consensus diplomacy often referred to as the “ASEAN way” — one of the grouping’s guiding principles since its formation.

Ever since The Hague-based, UN-backed tribunal’s July 12 verdict invalidating China’s claims in the South China Sea, much of the focus has been on the reactions of China and other major powers, including the United States, India and Japan. It is only now that ASEAN’s reaction or the lack of it on the verdict is getting some attention in the context of the 49th ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting (AMM) that was held in the Laotian capital of Vientiane on July 24 and 25.

The AMM meeting was an opportunity for the regional bloc to use the verdict to further boost its standing as a forum that upholds and respects international law. But the joint communiqué, described as a “compromise” document, was more to save the bloc’s “unity” — a feature that it prides itself — and also with the hope that the “watered-down” statement would lower tensions in the region.

Though these factors are important, the joint statement has yet again exposed ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) that it is today a deeply divided regional body and is unable to take strong position on critical issues affecting long-term regional peace and stability. More importantly, the failure of ASEAN to mention the ruling in the joint statement will affect the implementation of the verdict. China has already rejected the ruling.

Does China Think America Is Using a 'Wedge Strategy'?

July 27, 2016

The permanent court of arbitration (PCA) ruling from The Hague earlier in July once again has directed the world’s attention to a set of rocks and reefs in the South China Sea. One of the valuable roles of this ruling is to reinforce the notion that these features are indeed “rocks” and not “islands” that would have been entitled to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In theory, the resulting negotiations should now be considerably simpler.

However, in practice many see the future scope for a negotiated settlement as actually having become more complicated. That conclusion derives from the basic fact, well known to readers on this forum for realists that power remains the key arbiter of outcomes in world affairs and not international law. Such a world may be far from ideal, but that is the one we live in. In fact, China’s humiliation or “loss of face” (丢面子), when combined with heated nationalism at home and the gradually shifting military balance in the western Pacific, suggests that Beijing may lean ever more heavily on coercive tools in this dispute.

If an escalating situation in the South China Sea inaugurates a more alarming Cold War-type rivalry between Beijing and Washington, it is more than just academically interesting to wonder what form such a strategic competition might actually adopt. A spring 2016 article from the Chinese-language journal China’s Foreign Affairs (中国外交) may offer some hints regarding Beijing’s possible embrace of “dark arts” within such an escalating rivalry. The article, “Research on Wedge Strategies: Review and Evaluation” discussed in this edition ofDragon Eye is by author Ling Shengli, a scholar at the Foreign Affairs College (外交学院) in Beijing. There is reason to view the article as significant, since it was published earlier in the prestigious journal World Economics and Politics(世界经济与政治) and was supported by government research grants.

China's Huge 'One Belt, One Road' Initiative Is Sweeping Central Asia

July 27, 2016

Having overbuilt in many domestic industries—such as coal, cement and even solar panels—the Chinese government is redirecting its capital abroad. The aim is to reduce excessive industrial capacity at home while increasing financial returns. U.S. policymakers ought to be watching this very closely.

One of Beijing’s most ambitious foreign economic development initiatives aims to recreate the legendary Silk Road. Nicknamed One Belt One Road (OBOR), the project wields plenty of financial muscle. It launched in February 2014 with $40 billion—mostly drawn from Beijing’s bountiful foreign exchange reserves.

Since then, OBOR has begun attracting other foreign investors. Singapore’s state-owned development board has agreed to partner with China Construction Bank, committing about $22 billion to finance OBOR projects. International pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and private equity funds have also thrown in on OBOR projects in search of higher financial returns. Chinese infrastructure investment projects now span the globe.

Chinese companies have funded and built roads, bridges and tunnels across Central Asia, increasing trade and making China the dominant economic power in the region. In 2013, trade between China and the five Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)totaled $50 billion, while the five states’ trade with Russia—previously the region’s top economic player—amounted to only $30 billion.

Over 100 Chinese Fighters Have Joined Islamic State in Syria

July 25, 2016 

An Indonesian court in 2015 sentenced three members of China’s Muslim Uighur community to prison terms after they attempted to join an Islamic extremist group.PHOTO: 

BEIJING—Leaked Islamic State records provide the first solid evidence that more than 100 Chinese nationals have joined the jihadist movement in Syria, according to two recent studies, findings that come as Beijing is seeking closer cooperation from Western governments to counter terrorism.

The studies by two U.S. think tanks found that almost all Chinese fighters in the records said they came from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, where some members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group have been resisting Beijing’s rule for decades.

Some Chinese recruits didn’t specify their origin, but gave names, noms de guerre or other details suggesting they were Uighur.

The research from the New America think tank and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point was based on Islamic State registration forms, leaked by a defector, for recruits entering Syria from Turkey from mid-2013 to mid-2014. It corroborates Chinese officials’ assertions that there are about 300 Uighurs fighting with Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. It’s unclear if more Chinese fighters joined the group outside the period covered by the leaked documents.

However, the findings cast doubt on China’s frequent assertion that many Uighur militants had trained and worked with al Qaeda and other foreign groups over the past nearly two decades. One of the studies found none with former jihadist experience and the other found four, with two listing experience in Pakistan, one in Afghanistan and one in Xinjiang, which Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.

China’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A Chinese Port in the US Storm

By Jacob L. Shapiro
July 27, 2016

Leaders of the two countries have recently overlooked some disagreements to emphasize their common interests.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice from July 24 to July 27. Susan Rice meets with many people, often to great fanfare but with little political result. What caught our eye about this meeting was how it was structured and what China’s most powerful leader since Mao had to say about U.S.-China relations. Vice Chairman of the Chinese Military Commission Fan Changlong was there and said what you would expect from a Chinese military official: Chinese sovereignty in the South China Sea will never be violated and U.S. missile defense deployments in South Korea are bad. But Yang was the junior official in attendance. Xi, according to Xinhua News Agency, said that China-U.S. “common interests outweigh their differences.” 

We said two weeks ago that the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling against China would not matter much in the grand scheme of things. We also noted last week that much of China’s posturing in the South China Sea comes from a place of weakness, not strength. The third point that follows on top of this, and which Xi made explicitly clear yesterday, is just how much China currently depends on the United States. China depends on free movement in international waters to deliver its exports; the U.S. guarantees that movement. The U.S. consumes more Chinese exports than any other country – 18 percent of all Chinese exports went to the United States last year. 

China and the U.S. have their differences and they are not going to simply drop those disagreements. If China is able to massively restructure its economy away from a dependence on exports in the long term and if it continues improving its military (particularly its naval forces) over the course of the next decade or two, the U.S. and China might very well come into direct conflict. But those are a lot of ifs – and we are not sure they will ever come to fruition. And besides that, they are far ahead in the future. In the here and now, China needs the U.S. and Xi knows it. 

Exclusive: Inside Kurdistan's Anti-ISIS Training Camps

July 27, 2016

In December of 2015, the Iraqi Army retook Ramadi from Islamic State. Eighty percent of the city of five hundred thousand lay in ruins, and many of its buildings were laced with IEDs and booby traps. The first Iraqi teams sent in to demine the buildings suffered 80 percent casualties.

Standing in the 110-degree baking sun at Bnaslawa training base near Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the experience of Ramadi was in the minds of the trainers who are helping the Kurds learn combat skills, ranging from infantry tactics to the use of mortars, before being sent into the field. In one area Kurdish peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government, were training to clear a dry riverbed so that an infantry column could pass through. Walking three abreast the men swept the dirt and gravel for fake IEDs and marked the “safe” path. “Our experts say they have never seen things like what ISIS has done, even in Afghanistan. The motivation of ISIS is destruction,” said a coalition trainer.

Under the umbrella of the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center of the Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve, seven partner nations are providing what they call “capacity building” for the Kurds. This includes Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway and the UK. Among the training is the work to detect and demine explosive devices left behind by ISIS.

Poland, Not Brexit, Is the Real Threat to Europe's Unity

July 27, 2016

What a difference a year makes. At this time in 2015, Poland enjoyed more influence in Europe than at any point in its history. After reforming and growing its economy in the years following its admission to the EU, Poland—the union’s sixth most populous member with its eighth-largest economy—earned a seat at Europe’s head table from which it had long been excluded by partition, war and great-power struggle. Then in 2014, in a highly symbolic gesture, the union’s leaders elevated Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, to the presidency of the European Council. Now an island of political and economic stability, Poland’s voice and opinion became sought after in a way they had never been before.

Fast forward to summer 2016. Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is back in power. Poland is now sidelined in the EU, subject to its rule-of-law mechanism following the ruling party’s assault on the Constitutional Tribunal. Polish leaders have soured relations with their hugely important neighbor, Germany, by railing against perceived German bullying of Polish interests. Poland’s reputation as a reliable European partner is tarnished after its leaders refused to cooperate on migration and climate change. Even President Obama, speaking at a press conference alongside Poland’s President Andrzej Duda during the recent NATO summit, called on Poland not to erode its democratic achievements. Once hailed as a success story of European expansion, the success and vitality of Poland’s democracy are being called into serious question for the first time since its emergence from the Cold War.


On October 24, 2006, the first Angela Merkel government issued its first white book on defense and the future of the German Armed Forces. Four years later, on May 31, 2010, the president of Germany and official head of state, Horst Köhler, resigned. He stepped down over harsh criticism, after alluding to the fact that Germany should consider military force abroad in order to guard maritime supply routes and to combat regional instabilities. These were precisely some of the key policies of the 2006 White Book, yet the outcry in the German public four years later was so tremendous that it forced the president’s hand. Although the role of the head of state in Germany’s parliamentary system is more ceremonial in nature, this was highly significant because Köhler was the first president to resign in the history of the Federal Republic.

Earlier this month, the most recent German white book (the first since 2006 and only the third since the end of the Cold War) was issued by the current and third Merkel government. And in February 2017, the 12th President of Germany will be elected for a new five-year term. Should he or she be more careful when commenting on security and defense policy, and perhaps even order a moving van for the year 2021? Well, not so fast. Germany’s coming-of-age since its reunification a quarter of a century ago and the tectonic shifts in the international security environment have contributed to a sobering but ultimately necessary ‘normalization’ of the German strategic mindset. Most recently, this was symbolized by the resurgence of Russia and military conflict on European flanks, more than 1.14 million immigrants in 2015 alone, the E.U. crises, and the rise of Islamic extremism.. It appears that the international order, from a central European point of view, is eroding (including a cooled off relationship with the United States in the wake of transatlantic turmoil over the NSA affair). Indeed, the West as a whole has lost much of its global soft and hard power projection capabilities. The 2016 white book seeks to reflect much of that. The process to which the document is but an outcome informally builds on a debate that has been going on in informed German think tank and academic circles since 2013. That year, two leading think tanks came together to publish an influential paper on the future of German defense and security policy. Some of that language found its way into speeches at the Munich Security Conference 2014, where Secretary of Defense Ursula von der Leyen (a conservative), Secretary of State Frank-Walter Steinmeier (a Social Democrat) and — low and behold — current German president Joachim Gauck (a former pastor and opposition member in East Germany during the division of the country) all underlined that requirement for more military engagement in the world should the need arise. This set the scene for the new German capstone document.

July Issue of the CTC Sentinel Now Online

July 27, 2016

July Issue of the CTC Sentinel Now Online 10:17am

Published by the Combating Terrorism Center

Issue Overview

On July 21 al-Qa`ida issued arguably its strongest rebuke ever to the Islamic State, warning that a pledge to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi meant being a “partner in every curse upon the Muslims” including “killing thousands of mujahideen.” Our cover story by Clint Watts outlines how despite such rhetoric, competition between the two global jihadist powerhouses and their satellite groups has moved from a “destructive” phase in which they clashed with each other in Syria in the first half of 2014 to an “escalating” phase resulting in a surge in attacks worldwide. He argues that with the Islamic State weakening at its center, escalating competition will be a strong feature of an increasingly fractured and “multi-polar” jihadist landscape in the future and assesses strategies available to get jihadist groups to turn their guns on each other. William McCants explores how the Islamic State’s aggressive campaign to obliterate all jihadist rivals has seen some jihadist groups around the world bandwagon to its cause but has also antagonized powerful local rivals. He argues the Islamic State’s lack of jihadist diplomacy will leave it with few allies if and when the caliphate collapses, potentially accelerating its demise.


July 26, 2016 

The CIA gained a major intelligence advantage by embracing something available to everyone: open source data sets.

The agency operates the intelligence community’s Open Source Enterprise and has been hiring open source specialists to analyze public data sets and combine them with classified data.

“It's been a tremendous, I think, advantage as far as trying to fulfill our various missions,” said CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan made the remarks at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event on July 19, where he discussed the CIA’s modernization efforts. Housing the Open Source Enterprise within the CIA’s new Directorate of Digital Innovation allows a combination of the right personnel and tools to get a more accurate analysis of world events, Brennan said.

“We're trying to deploy more and more of these open source specialists into our mission centers,” he said. “Having the ability to leverage those – the open source environment and the open source tools — and bring it together with your clandestinely acquired information is just so enriching in terms of how we're able to understand and create new knowledge.”

Combining the data sets offers a clearer picture of an event, he added.

The CIA’s push to emphasize open source tools and analysts mirrors other efforts going on within the IC. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, for example, is gobbling up imagery from DigitalGlobe, Planet Labs and Skybox Imaging to “see even more,” according to Deputy Director Sue Gordon. NGA officials, including Director Robert Cardillo, have trumpeted the need for NGA to invert its geospatial collection efforts to primarily open source efforts.


By Aliya Sternstein
July 26, 2016
Source Link

The White House has placed the Justice Department squarely in charge of responding to cyberthreats against the United States, under a presidential directive issued Tuesday. 

At the same time, the Homeland Security Department will immediately help agencies and companies, if requested, stanch the bleeding from a hacker assault on networks, or "assets,” President Barack Obama said.

For years, there has been confusion in the private sector and internally among agencies about who's in charge when hackers hit the homeland. 

Justice will take the lead in "threat response" or investigating a system attack on site, identifying the perpetrator and breaking up attack operations because foreign adversaries often are involved. 

"In view of the fact that significant cyberincidents will often involve at least the possibility of a nation-state actor or have some other national security nexus, the Department of Justice, acting through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, shall be the federal lead agency for threat response activities," the directive states. 

Should CYBERCOM be a combatant command?

Kevin Coleman, Independent Software3
July 26, 2016
In 2010 U.S. Strategic Command members — from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard — combined to form U.S. Cyber Command, a subordinate operational unit.

Think about what was happening back in 2010 and 2011. In 2010 multiple articles were published about a massive cyberattack that struck tech icon Google and other U.S. companies. Many associated the attack with a suspected Chinese government operation that used human intelligence techniques and high technology to steal corporate secrets. That was one of many cyber incidents that year.

Then in 2011, cyber espionage and sabotage were at the top of our list of cyber concerns. Those concerns were intensified as a wave of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) struck companies, international agencies and governments all over the world.

With all that has happened since 2010, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R- Texas, has raised an important question: “Isn’t it time for CYBERCOM to stand on its own as a combatant command?” As a combatant command, CYBERCOM will be the Unified Command Plan that establishes the missions and geographic responsibilities among the combatant commanders.

Few important decisions are ever clear cut. There a many pros and cons to strategic decisions such as this. One thing is for sure: The right decision is the one that allows CYBERCOM the greatest flexibility and minimizes the time to make decisions and respond. Their mission and criticality will only continue to increase.


By Aliya Sternstein
June 12, 2015
Source Link

With no one agency coordinating the response to a network assault at the Office of Personnel Management, there are questions about who is liable for security lapses that ultimately laid bare private details on current and past federal employees.

The lack of a point person also complicates public outreach and crisis control, former government officials say. 

The response to the OPM breach is an interagency effort, according to officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House National Security Council. 

John Dickson, a principal at cyber consulting firm Denim Group and a former Air Force intelligence officer, said, "When I hear, 'It’s an interagency problem,' I suspect there is distributed responsibility, and hence, no one accountable.”

There is not a policy yet that specifies who takes charge when a significant government data breach is detected, even as reports of agency hacks mount.

In the past year alone, there have been breaches at the White House, Postal Service and State Department, as well as an earlier March 2014 intrusion at OPM. 

It is unclear whether any senior official has been removed from a position as a result of one of these incidents.

In a major cyber-hack, whom do you call? The White House spells it out.

By Ellen Nakashima 
July 26 2016

President Obama delivers remarks at the Advancing 21st Century Policing event on Friday in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

NEW YORK — President Obama approved a new directive Tuesday that spells out for the first time in writing how the government handles significant cyber-incidents.

The directive lets the public know which agency handles what, answering an oft-heard question after a breach: Whom do I call for help?

The administration also for the first time revealed how it grades the severity of an event — and how it determines what is significant.

The directive comes as the administration is grappling with its latest major cyber-incident: the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and the suspected release by the Russians of the embarrassing DNC emails that appeared Friday on the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks, days before the Democratic National Convention was to begin in Philadelphia.

This incident will certainly test the new directive, as officials are still weighing how severe the breach is. To be considered significant, an incident must be likely to result in at least a “demonstrable impact” to public health or safety, national security, economic security, foreign relations, civil liberties or public confidence.

Presidential Policy Directive: United States Cyber Incident Coordination

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Policy Directive -- United States Cyber Incident Coordination

July 26, 2016


SUBJECT: United States Cyber Incident Coordination

The advent of networked technology has spurred innovation, cultivated knowledge, encouraged free expression, and increased the Nation’s economic prosperity. However, the same infrastructure that enables these benefits is vulnerable to malicious activity, malfunction, human error, and acts of nature, placing the Nation and its people at risk. Cyber incidents are a fact of contemporary life, and significant cyber incidents are occurring with increasing frequency, impacting public and private infrastructure located in the United States and abroad.

United States preparedness efforts have positioned the Nation to manage a broad range of threats and hazards effectively. Every day, Federal law enforcement and those agencies responsible for network defense in the United States manage, respond to, and investigate cyber incidents in order to ensure the security of our information and communications infrastructure. The private sector and government agencies have a shared vital interest in protecting the Nation from malicious cyber activity and managing cyber incidents and their consequences. The nature of cyberspace requires individuals, organizations, and the government to all play roles in incident response. Furthermore, effective incident response efforts will help support an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable information and communications infrastructure that promotes trade and commerce, strengthens international security, fosters free expression, and reinforces the privacy and security of our citizens.

While the vast majority of cyber incidents can be handled through existing policies, certain cyber incidents that have significant impacts on an entity, our national security, or the broader economy require a unique approach to response efforts. These significant cyber incidents demand unity of effort within the Federal Government and especially close coordination between the public and private sectors.

I. Scope

The Future of U.S. Primacy: Power to Lead, But No Longer to Command

July 27, 2016

U.S. policy makers have to adjust from the power to command to the power to lead—from mostly coercive power to mostly strategic planning and maneuvering. America simply lacks the relative military and economic power it enjoyed in the twentieth century. Equally critical to understand, most international conflicts and problems now occur within nations more than between nations. Terrorists and civil wars are much more elusive military targets than troops fighting in battalions. Dealing with internal economic and political situations is far more baffling than simply telling governments what to do.

Our political and foreign-policy communities have not done well in explaining these new circumstances or what Washington needs do to manage them. Instead, too many have simply blown diplomatic or military hot air. Most have not done a serious and persuasive job of presenting precisely what they would do and how their plans would succeed. Sadly, our leaders have increasingly abandoned the common sense that made America great for the blue smoke that pleasures only television interviewers, irresponsible partisans and ideologues. If this sounds like dyspepsia, it is just that. The stakes are sky-high, yet our responses do little justice to ourselves or our nation.

The fact remains that the United States is still the number-one power in the world, and if we can’t figure out ways to manage and solve international problems, these problems won’t get managed or solved. They’ll only get worse. We need leaders who know how to lead and to make strategy.

Of course, in making strategy we can and should argue about the relative utility of coercion in various situations today. It’s silly to think that such pressure no longer counts. But in almost every imaginable circumstance, it’s hard to see the U.S. acting alone. We will need allies, which means having a strategy that accounts for their interests as well as ours. Which again calls for strategy. Here are some shorthand examples: