9 September 2016

*** Indo-Pak War of 1965

By Bharat Verma
08 Sep , 2016

Nehru’s death in 1964 had created political uncertainty in the country and an impression in Pakistan that India was no longer politically or militarily strong. In Pakistan, Field Marshal Ayub Khan was well entrenched in power and liberal American arms aid and assistance had provided him with the latest aircrafts and battle tanks.

By 1965, the Pakistan Army had been trained and poised itself to go on an offensive in Kashmir. It appeared that Pakistan’s aim was to keep the war confined to J&K, but the leadership lacked the courage to attack openly. A secret plan of armed infiltration was therefore adopted. The invasion was carried out in three stages as under:- 

A limited offensive was launched in the Kutch region in May 1965 to test the political waters and to draw India’s forces away from Punjab –the main battle front.

Armed infiltration in J&K was launched with a view to seize power and declare independence of J&K. The idea was to tell the world that it was a local uprising. A revolutionary council was formed to appeal for military assistance from various countries including Pakistan.

In Jammu, a major offensive was to be launched to capture Chhamb and Akhnur Bridge, soon after the uprising in Srinagar had taken place. 

The main miscalculation on Pakistan’s part was to believe that the Kashmiris would help the infiltrators and rise against the established government in J&K. The other miscalculation was to presume that India will not counterattack in Punjab due to her political and military weakness. 

Battle in the Rann of Kutch 


Benjamin Franklin

“If you would persuade, speak of interest, not reason.”

While teaching a class on intelligence and analysis last year, I asked my graduate students why the media’s shocking picture of the drowned Syrian boy seemed to have such an incredible effect on policy, whereas all of the other information had not. Their answer was immediate and insightful — “pathos,” or emotional appeal. When I asked them whether or not there are many examples of pathos incorporated into the finished intelligence reports they analyzed for class, the answer was a definitive “no, but we should carefully consider ways to use more.”

Centuries ago, Aristotle divided the means of persuasion, or appeals, into three categories — ethos, pathos, and logos. While he personally preferred the power of logos (logical appeal), the other two appeals surged to the forefront in everyday argumentative discourse.

The media and advertisers realized that the most important type of persuasive appeal to popular culture was through an abundant use of pathos, sometimes sprinkled with a dose of ethos (ethical or character appeal). The incorporation of colorful adjectives, vivid visuals, and the addition of senior “experts” that offer an opinion are examples of the use of pathos and ethos in these forums. Each appeal is exploited in articles and commercials to gain readership and retain interest in an information crowded world.

** Pakistan Conquered

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
08 Sep , 2016

Speaking on the occasion of Defence Day of Pakistan on September 6, army chief Raheel Sharif stated, “I want to make it clear to all enemies of Pakistan that Pakistan has always been strong and today it is invincible…… Be the challenge military or diplomatic; on the borders or within the cities, we know our friends and foes all too well.” He said the greatest example of a relationship based on mutual respect and principle of equality in the region is the Pak-China friendship, adding, “CPEC is the paramount evidence of this relationship… I would like to assure that we shall not allow any external force to obstruct it and any such attempt will be dealt with iron hands.”

Raheel’s assertion “we know our friends and foes all too well” sounds hollow because the Nawaz duo (Nawaz and Raheel) have sold the country to China…

The Pakistani media went hyper quoting Raheel Sharif in saying Pakistan is “unconquerable”.

But the unsuspecting Pakistani public is unaware that this emphasis on invincibility and unconquerable is to hide the fact that Pakistan stands conquered already. Raheel’s assertion “we know our friends and foes all too well” sounds hollow because the Sherif duo (Nawaz and Raheel) have sold the country to China with whom Pakistan claims its friendship is “higher than the mountains and deeper than the ocean”.

Pakistan has been duped thoroughly by China; conquering Pakistan without firing a shot in line with teachings of Sun Tzu. A cost benefit analysis of the $46 billion Kashgar-Gwadar 3000 kms CPEC reveals that only $11 billion are coming from Chinese government for construction of roads and rail links. Pakistan will have to repay 80% of this investment to China, so in actual term this Chinese investment will only be 20%. At the moment the terms of repayment are not publicized but if China is charging interest and in case of default repayment, China is capable of extracting all $11 billion repayment back from Pakistan, if not more. The worst part is that bulk of the construction force and labourers are coming from China despite Pakistan footing 80% or more of costs.

Bringing India-Nepal Ties Back on Track

By Rajesh Singh
Date : 08 Sep , 2016

India heaved a sigh of relief after Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ assumed charge as Nepal’s Prime Minister earlier this month. New Delhi had got tired of and frustrated with the predecessor KP Sharma Oli regime, which appeared determined to undo the new warmth that had crept into the India-Nepal bilateral after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in May 2014. Modi was quick to congratulate Prachanda and invite him to India.

Note the contrast: When Prachanda had become Prime Minister for the first time in mid-2008, India had viewed the development with some alarm. After all, the Maoist leader didn’t exactly have a track record of being India-friendly. New Delhi’s worst fears were soon realised. Ironically, India had played a crucial role in clearing the way for Prachanda’s elevation, by persuading the monarchy to walk into the sunset; nudging the dominant Nepali Congress to do business with the Maoist leader; and convincing the Prachanda-led Maoists to give up arms and join the political mainstream. New Delhi had not reckoned, though, with the prospect of Prachanda forming a Government.

This change in attitude from 2008 to 2016 speaks volumes about how and where India-Nepal relations have progressed. There are indicators that the new Prime Minister will make his first official visit to India — as per a long-standing convention. It could be in September or October. New Delhi will view this positively, given that Prachanda had chosen China over India for his first official visit when he became Prime Minister in 2008.

The first few steps that the new Nepalese Prime Minister takes will set the tenor for the development of the relationship between New Delhi and Kathmandu. Prachanda has demonstrated some indication of change in style. He has admitted, “Last time I was inexperienced in the ways of competitive democracy. We (the Maoists) still had a mind-set from the insurgency years.”

Swarajya-Indic Academy Webinar: Dr Aroup Chatterjee’s ‘Chargesheet’ Against Mother Teresa

September 06, 2016

The highlights from the Swarajya-Indic Academy webinar with Dr Aroup Chatterjee about his book, Mother Teresa: The Untold Story.

Swarajya and Indic Academy hosted a webinar with Dr Aroup Chatterjee, author ofMother Teresa: The Untold Story on Sunday, 4 September 2016.

Dr Chatterjee spoke about the false notions underlying Mother Teresa’s canonisation by the Vatican and the truth behind her “miracles”. Here are the highlights:

On canonising Mother Teresa

Dr Chatterjee says that this canonisation itself was a lopsided affair. He argues that if these miracles attributed to her were, say, attributed to a Hindu or Muslim, or if any Hindu or Muslim had called abortion the biggest evil, the liberals everywhere and especially the West would have revolted fiercely and created a ruckus. However, since Teresa was a nun, this did not happen, and most of the world celebrated these “miracles”.

Mother Teresa’s relationship with the media

Dr Chatterjee says that the notion that Teresa was “media-shy” is not true, as she had, for instance, spent a whole day in an interview with Hello magazine. He says he had himself written to Teresa asking for an interview in 1994 but never got any response. Dr Chatterjee adds that his criticism of hers started while she was alive and that it was not wrong to criticise someone’s legacy, especially when they were treated like an icon.

He also points out that most of the world outside of India wanted to know the other side of the story. He also says that we should hang our heads in shame at the way in which Indians behaved about this whole saga as it is merely a victory for superstition and witchcraft.

Rise of Teresa’s stardom

Taliban Capture Another District in Eastern Afghanistan

Bill Roggio
September 5, 2016

The Taliban and Afghan officials confirmed that the jihadist group overran the district of Omna in the eastern province of Paktika after Afghan forces retreated earlier today. The district is the second in the east to fall to the Taliban in the past week as the group continues to press operations in all areas of the country.

Afghan soldiers and “special unit personnel” were sent to the district to halt the Taliban advance, but “beat a tactical retreat,” an anonymous Afghans security official told Pajhwok Afghan News. An Afghan official confirmed the Taliban had seized control of Omna.

The Taliban said it was able to “completely liberate Omna district” after four days of fighting in two separate statements that were released on its official website, Voice of Jihad.

“The attack in which heavy and light weapons were used resulted in the district administration buildings and all 6 defense posts overrun, 7 enemy personnel killed, 5 wounded and the rest utilizing the dark to flee,” one statement declared. “Similarly Mujahideen also seized 6 pickup trucks, a motorbike as well as a sizable amount of weapons and ammunition.”

The Taliban also claimed that 21 Afghan security personnel were killed and 16 more were wounded, while five of its fighters were killed and four were wounded. The Taliban’s claims on casualties cannot be independently confirmed; the group frequently exaggerates casualties sustained in its operations.

Omna is the second district in the Afghan east to fall to the Taliban since Aug. 26. On that day, the Taliban overran Jani Khel in neighboring Paktika province after laying siege to the district center for more than two weeks. Afghan officials in the district pleaded for reinforcements to prevent the collapse of the district but the Ministry of Defense failed to send any. [See LWJ report, Taliban storms district in eastern Afghanistan.]

Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia

September 7, 2016

We were huddled in the cramped quarters of the US Secretary of State’s airplane, planning for our next stop in Sydney, Australia. The most coveted space on the Boeing C-32, the Secretary’s suite, comes complete with a foldout couch and flat screen TV. But given the numbers in the room, we were all seated cross-legged on the floor like overgrown boy scouts around a campfire, in shirts and ties, rumpled from the seven-hour flight from Jakarta.

We ran through the policy items for the meetings with Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, with each staff person briefing on his or her area of expertise: China, UN reform, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, North Korea. The last issue was the East Asia Summit (EAS). A new organization created largely through Malaysia’s initiative, EAS had gained the interest of many countries in Asia as the first true indigenously created regional institution. The Singaporeans were hosting the next meeting and the Australians and Japanese sorely wanted the United States to join this new grouping, in no small part to prevent the Chinese from dominating the organization. There were benefits to being included in the grouping. Membership would constitute a good representation opportunity in the region for the United States.

At the same time, a US commitment to EAS, which still had not evinced a clear agenda or mission as a region-wide institution, would detract from the work of the other regional body, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (APEC). Moreover, it would be hard to convince domestic staff within the White House to send the president halfway around the world to participate in a “talk shop” among leaders with no clear agenda. In the run-up to the Sydney visit, the Australians were pushing for the United States to begin informal participation in EAS as a non-member by sending the Secretary (rather than the president) to the next meeting.

Chinese coast guard involved in most South China Sea clashes: research

September 7, 2016

Chinese coast guard involved in most South China Sea clashes: research

FILE PHOTO - Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21,…

HONG KONG Increasingly assertive action by China’s coast guard ships in the South China Sea risks destabilizing the region, according to the authors of new research tracking maritime law enforcement incidents across the vital trade route.

While the risks of full-blown naval conflict dominates strategic fears over the disputed waterway, the danger of incidents involving coast guards should not be underestimated, said Bonnie Glaser, a regional security expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

China claims much of the South China Sea, which carries the bulk of Northeast Asia’s trade with the rest of the world. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims.

CSIS researchers have detailed some 45 clashes and standoffs in the South China Sea since 2010 in a survey published on its ChinaPower website on Wednesday. (here)

Why America and China Today Are Like Pre–World War I Europe

September 7, 2016

In November 1912, a war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary nearly broke out over a question of small importance: whether Serbia would own an Adriatic port on the coast of Albania. Had Austria intervened to oppose Serbia’s imperialist objective, Russia would have entered the conflict on the side of her Serbian client. France and Britain would have followed Russia for the sake of their Entente; Germany, likewise, would have entered the arena on Austria’s side, eager to protect its only serious ally. World War One would have begun twenty months earlier than it eventually did, over an issue of no concrete interest to any Great Power save Austria-Hungary, whose position in the Balkans was becomingincreasingly threatened by Serbia’s expansion.

In order to deter Austrian intervention in Albania—which Serbia and its ally Montenegro were busy conquering—the czar and his minister of war drew up orders for a partial mobilization on November 22, 1912. Had these orders been issued, Germany almost certainly would have responded according to the dictates of the Schlieffen Plan: with war. Russia’s mobilization was not implemented because one courageous Russian leader, Count Kokovtsov, chairman of the Russian Council of Ministers, opposed them when, on November 23, he learned of the plan for their issuance. “A mobilization remained a mobilization, to be countered by our adversaries with actual war,” he warned the czar. Since Russia was not yet prepared for a general war, such a policy was simply foolish.

Why The New India-Vietnam Bonhomie Annoys China (Hint: South China Sea)

September 06, 2016

With over 50% of India’s trade with East Asian partners passing through the South China Sea (SCS), it is important for New Delhi to establishment relations with countries in the region to secure its interests.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Vietnam before he landed in China for the G-20 summit. 

India and Vietnam agreed to upgrade their limited defence engagement to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership- thereby sending a strong signal to Beijing. 

The South China Sea forms an indispensable part of India’s regional security architecture for the South Asian littorals as it acts as a strategic buffer between China and the Indian Ocean Region. Should China establish a dominant posture in the South China Sea, the scope of its naval operations and interference in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) can also expand.

India, which has as a substantial stake in the SCS, has called for peaceful resolution of the dispute in adherence to the provisions of The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China: The New Space Superpower

28 August 2016

For years, its space programme was shrouded in secrecy. Now, with plans for lunar and Mars missions, and crowds at its launch sites, China is ready for liftoff

The Long March 7 carrier rocket blasts off on 25 June 2016 at the Wenchang launch site in the Hainan province of China. 

At 8pm Beijing time on 25 June this year the tropical darkness over China’s Hainan province was temporarily banished by a blinding orange light. Accompanied by the thunderous roar of engines, a 53m-tall rocket pushed itself into the sky.

China is developing rapidly into one of the major space players

Fabio Favata, European Space Agency

An increasing number of Chinese rockets have launched in the past few years but this one was significant for three reasons. It was the first launch of the new Long March 7rocket, designed to help the Chinese place a multi-module space station in orbit. It was the first liftoff from China’s newly constructed Wenchang launch complex, a purpose-built facility set to become the focus for Chinese space ambitions. And it was the first Chinese launch where tourists were encouraged to go along and watch.

For a space programme that has long been shrouded in secrecy, it’s a major step. The Wenchang complex has been designed with large viewing areas, and in the sultry heat of that June night, tens of thousands of spectators stood cheering as the rocket began its 394km journey above the Earth and into orbit.

Canadian Reconnaissance Planes Collecting Intel on ISIS in Iraq

Lee Berthiaume
September 7, 2016

Canadian planes providing intelligence for allies’ IS bombing campaign

Despite the withdrawal of Canada’s fighter jets from Iraq and Syria last spring, a senior officer says Canadian military aircraft are providing vital intelligence to allies for air strikes and other operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Liberal government announced in February that it was ending Canadian combat operations in Iraq by withdrawing six CF-18s that had been part of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIL since October 2014.

But the Liberals left behind a Polaris air-to-air refueller and two Aurora surveillance aircraft. Those aircraft have continued to support the bombing campaign against ISIL, also known as Daesh, even as public attention has turned to the role of Canadian special forces operatives in northern Iraq.

National Defence says the Polaris has flown 544 missions and delivered more than 14,200 tonnes of fuel to allied aircraft over the last two years. The Auroras, meanwhile, have flown 575 reconnaissance missions over ISIL territory.

Brig.-Gen. Shane Brennan, commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force-Iraq, says at the same time the number of Canadian intelligence officers assigned to the anti-ISIL effort has grown to 50. Their mission is to analyze the pictures taken by the Auroras so the coalition can plan air strikes and ground operations.

“What we do is gather the trends and the activities of what is happening with Daesh,” Brennan said from the task force’s headquarters in Kuwait. “That is used to support what you would call targeting, whether that’s munitions-based or lethal targeting, or other types of targeting.”

What Comes After Mosul and Raqqa?

September 6, 2016 

It should scarcely have come as a surprise to President Obama that he could not reach an agreement with Vladimir Putin on Syria at the G20 meeting. The President and Secretary Kerry have now been strung along for nearly a year over discussions of some kind of ceasefire, meaningful relief effort, coordinated approach to operations against ISIS, and form of government for Syria. 

The first Russian air strikes occurred on October 1, 2015, and Russia has steadily used its military intervention to promote its own interest in Syria and the Middle East, attack the Arab rebels, and support the Assad regime. Russia has also built new ties to Iran, shipped Iran advanced S300 surface-to-air missiles, and managed to reach out Saudi Arabia in spite of this—seriously discussing agreed limits on their petroleum production and exports. 

The United States, in contrast, has focused on defeating ISIS as a Caliphate—and its ability to control key population centers in eastern Syria and Western Iraq—without declaring any clear strategy for what happens afterwards. It has never clearly defined its objectives or what such a “victory” would mean. 

U.S. military spokesmen have warned that such a “defeat” of ISIS in Mosul and Iraq could leave it with the ability to uses its fighters for months afterwards, and that many fighters might escape and disperse. It also seems clear that “liberating” Iraqi and Syrian cities to date has generally meant nearly destroying them—leaving much of their populations without a source of income, homes, or basic services. 

The Administration has never presented any clear strategic objective for either Syria or Iraq. It keeps talking about Arab rebels in Syria as if they had some degree of unity. It talks of “moderates” as if they were both strong enough and experienced enough to govern all or part of Syria, when the vast majority of the actual Syrian’s fighting ISIS are Kurds that have very different goals and objectives from most Arab fighters—who see Assad as the real threat, and large portions of which are Islamist and have some ties to Al Qaida. It has talked about coordinating its Arab efforts with allies like Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, but never really shown such coordination is serious or actually taking place. 

Syria and Iraq: What Comes After Mosul and Raqqa?

September 6, 2016

It should scarcely have come as a surprise to President Obama that he could not reach an agreement with Vladimir Putin on Syria at the G20 meeting. The President and Secretary Kerry have now been strung along for nearly a year over discussions of some kind of ceasefire, meaningful relief effort, coordinated approach to operations against ISIS, and form of government for Syria.

The first Russian air strikes occurred on October 1, 2015, and Russia has steadily used its military intervention to promote its own interest in Syria and the Middle East, attack the Arab rebels, and support the Assad regime. Russia has also built new ties to Iran, shipped Iran advanced S300 surface-to-air missiles, and managed to reach out Saudi Arabia in spite of this—seriously discussing agreed limits on their petroleum production and exports.

The United States, in contrast, has focused on defeating ISIS as a Caliphate—and its ability to control key population centers in eastern Syria and Western Iraq—without declaring any clear strategy for what happens afterwards. It has never clearly defined its objectives or what such a “victory” would mean.

U.S. military spokesmen have warned that such a “defeat” of ISIS in Mosul and Iraq could leave it with the ability to uses its fighters for months afterwards, and that many fighters might escape and disperse. It also seems clear that “liberating” Iraqi and Syrian cities to date has generally meant nearly destroying them—leaving much of their populations without a source of income, homes, or basic services.

Phony Alarms about the Iran Nuclear Deal

Daniel R. DePetris
September 7, 2016

Phony Alarms about the Iran Nuclear Deal

Rarely does a think-tank report produce much buzz with people outside Washington. Most of them are usually skimmed and thrown in the trash once the executive summary is read. But allegations published by the Institute for Science and International - one of the most respected nuclear watchdogs in the entire country - that the United States and its P5+1 allies permitted certain exemptions in the nuclear deal in order to save Iran from embarrassment has lit a fire under the pants of JCPOA opponents. This disclosure comes several weeks after the White House was forced to admit that the $400 million settlement to Iran was sent on the same day as Tehran released four imprisoned Americans. 

The report is littered with jargon and terminology that only an arms control expert or nuclear physicist can understand, but the bottom line is clear: the P5+1 allowed the Iranian Government to keep more low enriched uranium in its facilities than the 300 kg the deal stipulates; Iranian scientists were granted an exemption to operate more hot cells that are used for medical isotope production; and Iran was permitted to keep more heavy water in its custody than the 130 tons that the JCPOA mandates.

The Joint Commission approved all of these decisions, but did so in an “overly secret” fashion that “amounts to the generation of additional secret or confidential arrangements directly linked to the JCPOA that do not have adequate oversight and scrutiny.” David Albright and Andrea Stricker sum up their report with a worry that congressional Republicans and anti-JCPOA advocates were concerned about since the negotiations started: “Iran is exploiting the exemption mechanism, outside of any public oversight, to systematically weaken as many JCPOA limitations as possible.”

Ukraine’s Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

September 7, 2016

By tradition, the Ukrainian political season begins the week after independence day—August 24. This year’s celebration was especially poignant, as it marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence.

What was the public’s mood on the eve of this silver anniversary? A survey conducted this August by SOCIS, one of Ukraine’s best known sociopolitical research and marketing companies, provides a rather striking answer.

The survey, which was conducted in Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city, suggests that over half of Odessans describe their city as “tense,” while nearly ten percent say it is “explosive.” But even more interesting is that Odessans view the situation in Ukraine overall as much worse, with over ninety percent describing it as either “tense” or “explosive”!
Lest readers think that Odessa is an anomaly, I should point out that these results do not differ substantively from surveys conducted in February or June2016, which show a steady decline in public trust in government since the 2014 Maidan uprising.

How did things get so bad? Part of the fault certainly lies with the IMF’s austerity recommendations, which the vast majority of Ukrainians view as both harmful and pointless. But no downward spiral in public confidence could ever be so complete without the connivance of government officials. To put it bluntly, government policies have seemed, at times, almost intentionally designed to fuel public anger.



The Turkish government made the decision to intervene directly in the Syrian conflict, sending tanks and a mechanized infantry battalion across the border into Jarablus and the Ar Rai. The first phase began while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Ankara for a visit. The Turkish military is fighting alongside rebels hailing from various factions, first, to clear Islamic State from the border; second, to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking more territory west of Manbij; and, third, to hold territory taken. This combined force has succeeded in the first and second goals, is preparing for the third, and now there are is talk of a fourth goal: a push further south to take the city of Al Bab from the Islamic State. The forces deployed are small in number and were adequate for retaking territory from the Islamic State (ISIL) along the Turkish-Syrian border. To push to Al Bab, Turkey would have to increase the number of ground forces to offset the weaknesses of the Arab and Turkmen militias fighting in the area.

The Turkish military has taken advantage of favorable terrain to advance quickly along the border, taking sparsely populated territory ISIL appears to have retreated from. A fight for Al Bab, an urban area with a pre-war population of 130,000,would be more difficult (Estimates on the current population vary between 20,000 and 60,000). ISIL has reportedly withdrawn to the city from the border areas. The city’s urban terrain would offer a challenge for advancing armor and mechanized infantry, negating the advantages Turkey relied on for operations along the border.

Obama’s Last Sally For A Safer World – Analysis

By Rakesh Sood 

This year, the 71st session of the UN General Assembly will formally open in New York on September 13 and over a fortnight, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers will take the podium. There is widespread speculation that this being US President Barack Obama’s last plenary, he is considering an address that could have significant implications for US nuclear policy and for the global nuclear disarmament agenda which has now remained frozen for decades.

Since Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, announced on June 6, “I can promise you today that President Obama is continuing to review a number of ways he can advance the Prague agenda over the course of the next seven months. Put simply, our work is not finished on these issues,” the White House has maintained a studied silence on the subject despite the debate under way in the arms control community and among US allies, especially those that enjoy the security of its nuclear umbrella.

Mr. Obama’s speech in April 2009 at the Hradcany Square in Prague electrified the world when he announced that “as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act” and pledged “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” He promised that “to put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same.” The citation for his Nobel Peace Prize later in 2009 praised his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”
Obama’s nuclear record

Assessment Of President Obama’s Foreign Policy – Analysis

By K. P. Fabian 

As President Obama approaches the end of his eight-year tenure, it is time to assess his foreign policy. Any reasonable assessment should take into account two considerations. One, Obama inherited from his predecessor, George W. Bush, a toxic legacy. The much bruited about Global War on Terror (GWOT), including the eminently avoidable military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which terminated ‘the unipolar moment’ over-celebrated by Charles Krauthammer following the collapse of the Soviet Union, only globalized terror and made the world more vulnerable to terror and in the process abridged civil liberties in the US and elsewhere. The second consideration is that many IR (International Relations) scholars in the US and some outside still believe that the international system resembles the solar system, with the US occupying the place of the sun and others orbiting around it. They believe that the acts of commission and omission by the US alone provide a complete account of what happens or does not happen in a crisis situation. For instance, the ongoing, seemingly unstoppable, carnage in Syria is Obama’s fault according to some scholars who exaggerate what the US can do to influence the rest of the world.

Keeping these considerations in mind, this article evaluates Obama’s foreign policy on eight major issues likely to shape his legacy.
Reconciliation with Cuba

Why Is Russia Blowing Smoke (Literally)? The Military Uses Of Artificial Fog – Analysis

By John R. Haines*

The artificial fog—called “smoke” (dyma) in some reports—is said to be an aerosol that Russian armed forces were testing to assess its effectiveness in concealing military (in this case, naval) assets.

(FPRI) —“The fog comes on little cat feet.
It sits looking over harbor and city
on silent haunches and then moves on.” — Carl Sandburg, Fog

Russian armed forces caused the closed city of Severomorsk[1] to “plunge into the fog” for three days (10-12 August), reported Novosti Kratko and other Russian language news portals.[2] Special-purpose “stationary and mobile smoke screening (dymopuska)” devices[3] operated by the Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Troops[4] generated the chemical fog that blanketed the Northern Fleet’s homeport.

Severomorsk, Murmansk Oblast 

The artificial fog—called “smoke” (dyma) in some reports—is said to be an aerosol that Russian armed forces were testing to assess its effectiveness in concealing military (in this case, naval) assets. Other reports reference “radiation, chemical and biological protection,” implying the aerosol may have some unspecified prophylactic quality.

The Russian media portal Vesti published this screenshot from a broadcast on the Russian government-owned Rossiya-24, which carried the caption “Chemical defense troops make the Northern Fleet’s naval base disappear.”[5]

Broadcast on the Russian government-owned Rossiya-24. Source: Rossiya-24

The report continued:

The Russian Army Order of Battle in the Ukraine

September 6, 2016

The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Service has placed online a powerpoint presentation which includes a slide detailing the organizational structure of all Russian army units current operating along the border with the Ukraine as well as inside the pro-Moscow breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. There is also a complete order of battle and personnel roster of the Russian air defense unit which is widely believed to have behind the shootdown of Flight MH17. Very nice document to have stashed in your files.

The Ukrainian powerpoint presentation can be accessed here.

What is Putin Up to in the Ukraine?

By Kathleen Weinberger
September 5, 2016

Putin’s Gambit in Ukraine: Strategic Implications

Vladimir Putin has mobilized military forces in Crimea and on Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders. He has raised the level of fighting in eastern Ukraine to levels not seen in over a year and then arranged a ceasefire. He has moved advanced air defense systems into Crimea and is raising new Russian divisions near Ukraine. Analysts are baffled. Some note that this unprecedented mobilization makes little sense if Putin does not mean to fight Ukraine soon. Others dismiss it as the normal activities of a great power’s military. Neither view is correct. There is nothing normal about this mobilization, but neither does Putin desire a war with Ukraine. He intends, rather, to use this mobilization and escalation of conflict to create leverage to weaken EU sanctions, destabilize the Ukrainian government, undermine NATO, and present the next American president with a series of faits accomplis. He is likely to succeed in all these aims.

Escalation against Ukraine

Putin has maintained a significant military presence in Crimea and eastern Ukraine since the Russian invasion in 2014. Putin and the separatists he supports have failed to resolve the conflict by either military or diplomatic means. Putin has steadily increased Russia’s military presence in and around Ukrainian territory and the Black Sea since early 2016, with much of the groundwork having been laid in 2014. He announced plans to move the advanced S-400 air defense system to Crimea in July. The recent escalation, however, has been much more sudden, rapid, and substantial than his previous undertakings.

Putin seized on rumors of a Ukrainian sabotage operation in Crimea on August 7th and 8th to shift his operations into high gear. Local sources began reporting many Russian troops and much military hardware moving to the de-facto border between Ukraine and Crimea, onto the Crimean Peninsula from Russia, and along Ukraine’s northern border on those very days. The S-400 system appeared in Crimea on August 12th. Russian rhetoric during this period hyped the threat of war while framing these measures as defensive. Putin said on August 10th that Russia would take “additional measure to provide security, including serious additional measures.” These actions and threats are likely intended to press Ukraine, France, and Germany to make significant concessions to Russia in order to avoid further escalation.

Reforming Intelligence: A Proposal For Reorganizing The Intelligence Community And Improving Analysis

Despite significant post-9/11 reforms, the U.S. intelligence community (IC) is still not as effective as it could-and should-be. As soon as the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act passed, security experts warned that the act had not fully dealt with the challenges facing the IC. The critics pointed to lack of strategic analysis, politicization of intelligence, and the difficulties that the IC has learning from failures. The need for reform is made more urgent by the increasingly complex national security environment that the United States is facing, dominated by violent non-state Islamic extremists; anti-status-quo states China, Russia, and Iran; and weakened or alienated allies and partners around the globe on which the U.S. must depend for support in dealing with these threats and challenges. There are also well-grounded fears that this situation will be the “new normal” for at least the next decade. The IC must, therefore, become the kind of federated enterprise-organizationally, analytically, and culturally-that can constantly learn from, and adapt to, this highly volatile environment.


Despite deep reforms of the U.S. intelligence community (IC) post-9/11, much more remains to be done to keep Americans safe. 

Over the past seven years, the IC failed to predict the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda’s resurgence, Putin’s adventurism, China’s aggressiveness, and multiple terrorist attacks on the U.S. 

The intelligence failures surrounding the Arab Spring were especially important, since the IC had not understood the implications of seismic shifts in the strategic landscape, suggesting that there are serious problems with the analytical side of the community. 

The need for reform is made more urgent by the increasingly complex environment-dominated by violent non-state Islamic extremists; anti-status-quo states China, Russia, and Iran; and a weakened or alienated set of partners around the globe on which the U.S. must depend for support in dealing with these threats. 
The IC must become an enterprise that can constantly learn from, and adapt to, a highly volatile environment. 

Charles “Cully” StimsonManager, National Security Law Program and Senior Legal Fellow
Center for National Defense
The Current Situation


August 31, 2016 

The CIA’s Venture-Capital Firm, Like Its Sponsor, Operates In The Shadows
In-Q-Tel provides only limited information about its investments, and some of its trustees have ties to funded companies

The idea for a CIA-funded venture-capital firm came from former CIA director George Tenet, shown above in 2015, in the late 1990s.

Forterra Systems Inc., a California startup focused on virtual reality, was in need of money and its products didn’t have much commercial appeal. Then funds came in from a source based far from Silicon Valley: In-Q-Tel Inc., a venture-capital firm in Virginia funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.

One catalyst for the 2007 infusion, according to a former Forterra executive and others familiar with it, was a recommendation by a man who sat on the board of the venture-capital firm-and also on the board of Forterra.

In-Q-Tel pumped in cash, Forterra developed some tools useful to the military, and government contracts started coming in.

Like the agency that founded it, the CIA-funded venture-capital firm operates largely in the shadows. In-Q-Tel officials regard the firm as independent, yet it has extremely close ties to the CIA and runs almost all investment decisions by the spy agency. The firm discloses little about how it picks companies to invest in, never says how much, and sometimes doesn’t reveal the investments at all.

Even less well-known are potential conflicts of interest the arrangement entails, as seen in this Forterra example and others continuing to the present. Nearly half of In-Q-Tel’s trustees have a financial connection of one kind or another with a company In-Q-Tel has funded, a Wall Street Journal examination of its investments found.

In-Q-Tel’s hunt for promising technology has led the firm, on at least 17 occasions, to fund businesses that had a financial link of some sort to an In-Q-Tel trustee. In three instances a trustee sat on the board of a company that had an In-Q-Tel investment, as in the Forterra case, according to the Journal’s examination, which was based on a review of investment records and interviews with venture-capital and In-Q-Tel officials, past and present.

Were US spy satellites from the 70’s better resolution than Google Earth?

September 7, 2016

Were US spy satellites from the 70’s better resolution than Google Earth?

We recently came across this story in which a former engineer on the US spy satellites known as Keyhole-9, claims that the imagery they got from those satellites were ‘better than Google Earth’. We thought this was something worth looking in to.

Google Earth has imagery in a wide range of resolutions from a few centimetres per pixel to more than 15m per pixel. The highest resolution photos are taken from very close to the ground, such as some photos of the island of Manihi that Frank captured with a camera attached to a kite. Next highest is aerial imagery that is captured from aircraft and covers the continental US, much of Europe, Japan and a number of other locations around the world. Aerial imagery in general is better resolution than can reasonably be captured by satellite. So, for a fair comparison we need to look at satellite imagery only.

All references we have been able to find say that the best resolution that the KH-9 satellites provided was 2 to 4 feet. That translates to about 70 cm per pixel at best. If you look at this list you will see that many commercial satellites that provide imagery to Google Earth actually do a bit better than that, the best being DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 that can manage 31cm per pixel. WorldView-4, due to be launched this month will have similar resolution. So, although the resolutions achieved by the KH-9 satellites are certainly impressive, they were not actually better than Google Earth provides today.

The maximum possible resolution of a camera depends on the size of the collector (typically a mirror) and the distance from the target. The KH-9 satellites were in non-circular orbits with lowest altitude of about 150 km. Most modern commercial imaging satellites are in higher orbits anywhere from 400 – 800 km up. The lower orbit of the KH-9 satellites gave them a resolution advantage, but it may also be the reason why they were only in orbit for around 3 to 9 months each. The best imaging satellites today probably achieve their greater resolution despite the higher orbit through a combination of larger mirrors and better quality optics, although we could not find any actual data on the size of the mirror used in WorldView-3. The KH-9 satellites had 0.91 m diameter mirrors.

Offering a novel view on cybersecurity and cyberwar

September 6, 2016

Offering a novel view on cybersecurity and cyberwar

Tim Compston, Features Editor at Security News Desk, catches-up with P.W. Singer, the author of ‘Cybersecurity and Cyberwar’, and Ghost Fleet – ‘a novel of the next world war’, for his thoughts on how states are turning to the cyber domain as part of their current and future military planning.

P.W. Singer, who as well as writing a number of cyber-related books is a Strategist at New America, reckons that no other issue has grown more important to the 21st Century, more rapidly, affecting more people in government but also in regular civilian life, than cybersecurity, yet he suggests that: “There is no issue, arguably, less understood.”

Singer goes on to say that, to date, work on this area has been caught between two poles, either being framed as highly technical and tending to be focused on the hardware and software, but not dealing well with the wetware – the people side of things, or at the other end of the spectrum verging on the histrionic: “‘Get scared’, ‘cyber war is coming’, ‘the power grid is going down’ there is nothing you can do or you can ‘give me lots of money and I will solve all of the problems for you’.”

A realistic approach

In light of the cyber knowledge gap, Singer tells me that what he has sought to accomplish through the ‘Cybersecurity and Cyberwar book’, his articles and testimony to Congress, is to deliver a thoughtful, reasonable, and realistic account: “I point out that there are real [cyber] threats, there are real issues, and real dangers, here. They are not going away and we have to get serious about them.”

Cyber conflict