Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts

19 March 2017

Dawn of the Jihadi Drone Wars

By Patrick Megahan and John Cappello

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported February 23 that it had downed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Mediterranean after it was launched from the Gaza Strip. According to IDF sources, an Israeli F-16 shot down the UAV, which it said belonged to Hamas, before it was able to cross into the country’s airspace. Details of the type of drone and its mission remain sparse, but the flight demonstrates Hamas’s determined pursuit for UAV capability even after the death of its chief drone engineer last month in Tunisia. While Hamas’s nascent drone program has yet to produce any tactical or strategic advantage, the use of drones by terrorist organizations elsewhere in the region underscores the challenges they can pose.

Hamas reportedly tested its first drone in 2012, after which the IDF quickly targeted the site believed to house the program. A year later, Palestinian security forces foiled Hamas operatives in the West Bank plotting to launch UAVs packed with explosives that would strike targets in Israel. It was not until summer 2014, however, that Hamas launched a UAV that breached Israeli airspace, reaching the seaside city of Ashdod before being quickly downed by a Patriot surface-to-air missile. Hamas attempted to fly a UAV into Israeli airspace in June 2015, but it crashed just after crossing the border fence. Last September, another UAV appeared above the Gaza coast before also being quickly downed by an Israeli fighter.

18 March 2017

Israel-UK cyber-security lessons - shared concerns, shared responses

by Tony Morbin

Israel is under constant threat and conscription gives its army access to its brightest students - what can the UK learn from its approach to and understanding of cyber-terrorism? 

Israel-UK cyber-security lessons - shared concerns, shared responsesUnit 8200 is the largest unit in the Israel Defence Forces, comprising several thousand soldiers responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. Conscripts with an aptitude for cyber-security, often identified while still at school, provide a constant refresh of new talent, with 25 percent annual turnover. Many of its alumni have gone on to be highly successful cyber-security entrepreneurs – including some of those who gathered at the Israel-UK Ambassadors roundtable at the Royal Society last week, held under the auspices of the Anglo-Israel Association.

Key themes included cyber-warfare, cyber-terrorism and the overlap with cyber-crime, as well as innovation and resilience. The roundtable was not about Israel-Palestine issues.

Israel's newly appointed deputy ambassador to the UK, Sharon Bar-Li, noted the shared democratic ideals of both countries before describing some of the factors that make Israel such a leader in the sector. Not least among these is that Israel is ‘a start-up nation', plus the perspective that: “The future is one where we have to keep a technological upper hand to prevent these threats... [adding] strength in cyber-security stands behind our economic, military and intelligence strength.”

16 March 2017

THE IMPERATIVE OF INTEGRATED ISRAELI POWER

YAIR LAPID

The role of Israel’s Prime Minister in creating an integrated national security system.

Any defense doctrine must start with one basic question: what is the objective?

On this there was rare agreement between two of Zionism’s founding fathers, David Ben-Gurion and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Ben-Gurion based the defense strategy document that he submitted to the government in 1953 on Jabotinsky’s well-known “Iron Wall” essay from 1923. They both stated the basic principle that remains the cornerstone of Israeli strategy: Israel must be so strong that its enemies know in advance that they will lose any war against it.

Israel’s strength must be disproportionate to the challenges it faces, and its enemies need to understand this so that they are sufficiently deterred. Any other situation will encourage our enemies — whether state actors or terrorist organizations — to test Israel’s strength. If foes try to test that strength, Israel must be strong enough to win any war or military operation, within a reasonable timeframe, while demonstrating complete superiority.

And if Israel hopes for comity and cooperation with its neighbors, that too requires superior strength. Israel’s military superiority must be even more pronounced if it aspires for a lasting agreement with its neighbors. Even if someone believes that an agreement with the Palestinians is the solution to all of Israel’s security problems, it is worth remembering the sober warning of the former head of Israel’s National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror from July 2015 when he wrote for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies:

14 March 2017

THE IMPERATIVE OF INTEGRATED ISRAELI POWER

YAIR LAPID

The role of Israel’s Prime Minister in creating an integrated national security system.

Any defense doctrine must start with one basic question: what is the objective?

On this there was rare agreement between two of Zionism’s founding fathers, David Ben-Gurion and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Ben-Gurion based the defense strategy document that he submitted to the government in 1953 on Jabotinsky’s well-known “Iron Wall” essay from 1923. They both stated the basic principle that remains the cornerstone of Israeli strategy: Israel must be so strong that its enemies know in advance that they will lose any war against it.

Israel’s strength must be disproportionate to the challenges it faces, and its enemies need to understand this so that they are sufficiently deterred. Any other situation will encourage our enemies — whether state actors or terrorist organizations — to test Israel’s strength. If foes try to test that strength, Israel must be strong enough to win any war or military operation, within a reasonable timeframe, while demonstrating complete superiority.

10 March 2017

Israel Is India’s BFF: Modi’s Visit Will Bring This Critical Relationship Out Of Purdah

R Jagannathan

For its own reasons, Israel has been one of our most reliable friends. Isn’t it time we also demonstrated our friendship based on hard-nosed realities?

Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor, has spent two days this week in Tel Aviv to prepare for Narendra Modi’s visit to the Jewish state around mid-year. When that happens, Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, and that sends its own political message.

That it has taken India a quarter century after the establishment of diplomatic relations to formally acknowledge Israel’s existence at the top-most political level speaks much for the pusillanimity of our strategic approach to important allies. If we can confabulate only in secret with a country that ought to be considered one of our best friends ever shows how much the Indian diplomatic establishment has been held prisoner by the morality-driven Nehruvian vision of national interest. Nehru believed that Palestinians were the wronged party in West Asia, and subsequent governments, with one anxious eye cocked at the domestic Muslim vote, have religiously mouthed this platitude. We have always talked our Palestinian ties up and our Israeli ties down.

Antecedents Of Non-Alignment: The Hope That Was USSR, The Question That Was Israel


Jaideep A Prabhu

At a time when India’s foreign relations and geopolitical strategy are undergoing a realignment, the republished edition of Bimal Prasad’s book from 1960 is a very useful read

Prasad, Bimal. The Making of India's Foreign Policy: The Indian National Congress And World Affairs, 1885-1947. Delhi: Vitasta Publishing, 2013. 301 pp.

It is easy to forget, sometimes, that the roots of a country's foreign policy are always embedded in its domestic politics and experiences. Postcolonial states are no exception to this rule, but a rupture in the continuity of self-rule - usually at a critical time in world history when the global order was undergoing major economic, technological, and political upheavals - left them inexperienced in the ways of the international community. Some states, such as India, were newly created and had no memory of ever having had to navigate international politics while holding together a state that defied every understanding of nationalism. Originally published in 1960 but reprinted in 2013 at the urging of former foreign secretary Muchkund Dubey and columnist C Raja Mohan, Bimal Prasad's The Making of Indian Foreign Policy: The Indian National Congress and World Affairs delves into the formative period of a modern Indian international outlook to suggest the antecedents that have informed Indian foreign policy in its independent era.

The Alternative Report on Operation Protective Edge

Amir Rapaport

Operation Protective Edge was the first significant military operation since The Six-Day War (1967) that was not investigated by a state commission of inquiry. This could indicate that after all, the public does not conceive this operation as a total failure.

1. Processes rather than Decisions

Wars being what they are, Operation Protective Edge uncovered profound failures and tactical faults from which lessons should be derived at all levels. The main problem is the fact that the State Comptroller's office cannot be the organ that would draw the significant lessons from any operation, military or diplomatic. This may be explained by many reasons, the primary one being the fact that the State Comptroller's office is authorized and accustomed to investigating processes – not the quality of decisions. This is a significant difference, which led the State Comptroller to investigate in depth a number of serious failures like the tunnel omission (which, to a considerable extent, was known in advance), while completely missing the truly important lessons.

Report Finds Botched Israeli Leadership and Intelligence Failings During 2014 Gaza Strip War


TEL AVIV – Two and a half years after Israel’s summer 2014 Gaza war, Israel’s comptroller general on Tuesday released his report on the 50-day conflict, with findings ranging from ill-preparedness vis a vis the tunnel threat and inappropriate reliance on military brass for strategic decisions that should have been made by civilian government authorities.

In his voluminous report on what is known here as Operation Protective Edge, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira admonished Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet for insufficient attention to strategic objectives regarding the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Cabinet meetings on the issue, he wrote, were “limited,” particularly regarding alternative options to use of military force.

War objectives that were authorized by the government, he wrote, were determined by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and not by the security Cabinet.

“The Cabinet is the long arm of the government, and according to basic law, the military is subordinate to it,” he wrote. He took Netanyahu and former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to task for not involving other relevant ministers in decisions taken between the two of them at the recommendation of the IDF.

9 March 2017

The New Arab–Israeli Alliance

Michael J. Totten

During the early years of the Obama administration, conventional wisdom in Washington held that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict trumped everything else in the Middle East, that no problem could be resolved until that one was out of the way. “Without doubt,” former president Jimmy Carter said, “the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” The reason, said his former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, now a professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, is because, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world”.

Similar views were expressed across the political spectrum, from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel and General David Petraeus.

“If we can solve the Israeli-Palestinian process,” Obama said in 2008, then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf states to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region. If we’ve gotten an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon.

2 March 2017

** State-sponsored hackers turn to Android malware to spy on Israeli soldiers


A cyber-spying campaign targeting Android devices used by personnel within the Israeli Defence Force has been discovered by security researchers.

According to a blog post by Lookout and another by Kaspersky, more than 100 soldiers of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) became victims when the Android devices were infected by malware, called ViperRat. This malware extracted audio and images from the devices as well as hijacking the device camera to take pictures.

Researchers at Kaspersky said that the spying campaign has been operational since July 2016 with attacks reported as recently as February this year. They said that this campaign is not only active but likely to increase.

The campaign relies heavily on social engineering techniques, using social networks to lure targeted soldiers into both sharing confidential information and downloading the malicious applications. So far the hackers have only targeted members of the IDF, most of them serving around the Gaza strip.

“We've seen a lot of the group's activity on Facebook Messenger. Most of the avatars (virtual participants in the social engineering stage) lure the victims using sexual innuendo, eg asking the victim to send explicit photos, and in return sending fake photos of teenage girls. The avatars pretend to be from different countries such as Canada, Germany, Switzerland and more,” said Ido Naor, researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Once hackers have built up a relationship with the victim, they suggest installing other applications to communicate. These apps are installed from a malicious URL, the attacker expects the victim to install the package manually. 

How IDF soldiers’ phones got turned into spying devices



For many months now, an unknown threat actor has been tricking servicemen in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into installing Android spyware. Israeli media says that the threat actor is likely Hamas, but Lookout researchers aren’t so sure.

“ViperRAT [as the researchers dubbed the malware] has been operational for quite some time, with what appears to be a test application that surfaced in late 2015. Many of the default strings in this application are in Arabic, including the name. It is unclear whether this means early samples were targeting Arabic speakers or if the developers behind it are fluent in Arabic,” they researchers noted, but pointed out that “Hamas is not widely known for having a sophisticated mobile capability.”

The malware

The malware comes in two forms: 

A first-stage app that functions as a low-level device profiler and a downloader for the 
Second-stage app – spyware that is able to extract contact information, images, SMSes, call logs, audio files, device network and device handset metadata, geolocation information, browser search history and bookmars, record video and audio, and take screenshots. 

ViperRAT samples can communicate with command and control servers through an exposed API as well as websockets.

24 February 2017

Israel’s SIGINT Organization, Unit 8200, Has Helped Make Israel a Leader in Cybersecurity and Surveillance Technology


Israel, with a population of just eight million people, has become a powerhouse in cybersecurity. Only the United States has greater strength in the field.

“In Israel, there are 420 companies in the field of cybersecurity that get funded by venture capital,” said Lior Div, chief executive and co-founder of Cybereason, a company with offices in Boston and Tel Aviv.

A good number of the Israeli companies have one thing in common: Their founders emerged from an elite division of the Israel Defense Forces known as Unit 8200, a legendary high-tech spy branch that also has become a prolific technology incubator.

Unit 8200, which comprises several thousand cyber warriors, is the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency and is under the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Among the unit’s missions are offensive strategy, cybersecurity, encryption and signals intelligence.

Most of its members are still teenagers, selected for their math and science skills but still untrained at formal universities. Nearly all Israelis must serve a stint in the IDF but only a select few are recruited into 8200.

“This is a unit that has first pick to take the one percent of one percent of people who have a specific capability,” said Div, who won a medal of honor for his work in the unit.

22 February 2017

ISRAEL WELCOMES THE RETURN OF THE U.S. SUPERPOWER UNDER DONALD TRUMP


BY RON PROSOR 

The meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu was full of promising signs for Israel and the Middle East. 

Israel PM Netanyahu: 'There Is No Greater Supporter Of The Jewish People Than Donald Trump'

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met President Donald Trump at the White House they looked to melt the ice that had formed under the previous administration. They set out to put the trust and intimacy back into the relationship between Israel and the U.S., without surprises or betrayals.

Netanyahu was the fourth foreign leader to visit the new president, after only the U.K.’s Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian neighbour Justin Trudeau. The president had warm words for Netanyahu personally and for the “unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel.” Obama’s overtures to the Middle East started with his Cairo Speech, reaching out to the Muslim world, and ended with a U.N. Security Council Resolution opposed to settlement building, with a bad deal with Iran in the middle. In contrast, Trump seems to be hugging America’s traditional allies close.

On three key issues Trump and Netanyahu see eye to eye: the fight against radical Islamist terror, the threat of Iran, and Israel’s importance as a strategic asset for the U.S. in the Middle East. These provide building blocks to recalibrate and reaffirm the U.S.-Israel alliance and, with renewed warmth, they present historic opportunities.

21 February 2017

Israel's Walls Do They Work?

By Amos Harel

On January 28, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to construct a wall on the U.S.–Mexican border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” Netanyahu was right. Although it is hard to say whether Trump’s plan for a wall along the U.S.–Mexican border is viable, Israel’s border-security projects were both popular and successful at achieving most of their stated aims.

Israel has built three major barriers over the past 15 years, and despite provoking heated debate and international criticism, its experience with them has been mostly positive. The first, a separation barrier between Israel and the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, helped contain a Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in the mid-2000s. The second, a border fence on the Egyptian–Israeli border finished in 2013 (which Netanyahu referred to in his tweet as a “wall”), completely put a stop to unauthorized African immigration. And a third fence, hardly noticed by the international community, secured Israel’s border with Syria after the latter descended into a devastating civil war.

SHARON'S GAMBLE

Each of Israel’s three barriers was built at a different time in response to a different threat. The most important of the three, because it directly helped to stop a deadly terror campaign, is the West Bank barrier. Israel began considering the possibility of building a fence along the “Green Line” (which marks Israel’s borders up until 1967, excluding East Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights) in the 1990s. At the time, the Oslo Accords, which promised peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, were in the process of being implemented, but groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad had begun to send suicide bombers from the Palestinian territories into Israeli cities. No actual construction work on the fence was done, however, because Israeli governments feared that doing so would be perceived.

16 February 2017

India-Israel Ties Finally Out Of The Closet – Analysis


By Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty

India and Israel were born as independent nations within nine months of each other in 1947 and 1948. Partition was a common feature of their creation, as modern nation states. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel and joined the United Nations. Then American President Harry S. Truman recognised the new nation on the same day.

The USA had supported the British initiative of 1917, which called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in, an initiative which became known as the Balfour Declaration (Arthur Balfour was then the British Foreign Secretary). Britain, responsible for the mandate of Palestine, until May 1948, later went on to oppose both the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine. Arab and Muslim countries never reconciled to the Jewish state in the heart of Arab lands and had to struggle for recognition by the international community.

Arguing for a composite State, wherein Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish people would live side by side in a secular State, India had voted against the United Nations’ partition plan for Palestine. India’s vote was overruled by a majority vote approving the creation of Israel and Palestine as two independent States. (The Partition Plan got a two-thirds majority: the vote was 33 for and 13 against, with 10 states – including the UK – abstaining.)

Hamas upgrades cyber espionage capability — report

Sue Surkes

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in the Knesset in Jerusalem, September 20, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)An American cyber security company founded by an Israeli has identified a new cyber espionage campaign originating in the Gaza Strip and aimed at government ministries in Israel, Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.

Experts say that the infrastructure behind the attacks and the way that different servers have been used to hide their source reveals that the suspected organization — known as the Gaza Cybergang Group — has upgraded its capability to a level “which would not embarrass countries with reasonable cyber capabilities,” The Marker, a daily business newspaper, reported Wednesday.

The Gaza Cybergang Group is thought to be backed by the Hamas terror group which controls the Strip

Gangs of hackers sent emails to their targets from a source which looked legitimate, such as a work colleague. The emails contained fake news headlines aimed at encouraging the reader to click on an attached link or file.

Opening of the file triggered installation of a program which sent the computer user’s identifying details to a control center manned by the hackers. If the details were sufficiently interesting, spyware was installed onto the unwitting user’s computer — spyware that could eavesdrop on conversations, read correspondence and operate the camera.

4 February 2017

Speed, agility seen as Israel’s edge in cyber-war


Source Link
BY SHOSHANNA SOLOMON 

Israel’s proven agility to come up with solutions quickly is one the key factors that puts the nation in a leading position in the battle against cyberattacks, said Erez Kreiner, a former director of information security at Israel’s Shin Bet security service.


“We act as a speedboat as opposed to a naval carrier, and that is our advantage,” he said in an interview with The Times of Israel. “In the war against cybercrime you need immediate reactions.” Some countries are good at coming up with robust and thorough solutions over a period of time — the naval carriers. Israel’s advantage is its quick ingenuity in the face of new challenges, he said.

Cyber-challenges are moving very fast and becoming more and more intense, he said, and they are sponsored both by individual hacker groups and by nation states.

Kreiner, who was also a director at Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority, today heads his own cybersecurity consulting company.

As the world moves toward greater digitalization, it becomes more vulnerable to cyberattacks. At the end of 2015 hackers shut down power in Ukraine. In February 2016 more than $80 million was stolen from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and US intelligence services have blamed Russia for hacking attacks during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

“Definitions about what is considered a cyberattack and how many there are a day or a month vary,” he said. “What is important to note, however, is the intensity and sophistication of the attacks,” which have been growing over the years.

State-sponsored attacks are more intense than those perpetuated by individual hackers, he said: nations have more resources and less fear of being discovered. In addition, as opposed to conventional weapons, for cyberwarfare requires less investment and development times are faster.

3 February 2017

The New Arab–Israeli Alliance

By Michael Totten

During the early years of the Obama administration, conventional wisdom in Washington held that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict trumped everything else in the Middle East, that no problem could be resolved until that one was out of the way. “Without doubt,” former president Jimmy Carter said, “the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” The reason, said his former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, now a professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, is because, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab world”.

Similar views were expressed across the political spectrum, from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel and General David Petraeus.

“If we can solve the Israeli-Palestinian process,” Obama said in 2008, then that will make it easier for Arab states and the Gulf states to support us when it comes to issues like Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also weaken Iran, which has been using Hamas and Hezbollah as a way to stir up mischief in the region. If we’ve gotten an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, maybe at the same time peeling Syria out of the Iranian orbit, that makes it easier to isolate Iran so that they have a tougher time developing a nuclear weapon.

This has long been a dubious theory and events in the meantime have proven it. The main drivers of chaos in the Middle East are conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims, between Arabs and Persians, and between secularists and Islamists. This has been true for decades, but with civil war in Syria, the rise of The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), anarchy in Libya, a region-wide proxy war in Yemen, and an Iran unshackled by sanctions, it is obvious now even to casual observers. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been reduced almost to an asterisk.

The effect of all this is something no one would have predicted a couple of decades ago and only the most astute predicted even a couple of years ago—the Sunni Arab world, unofficially led by Saudi Arabia, is quietly forging a de facto alliance with Israel against Iran.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have always been terrible, but they have been improving over time at a glacial speed.

When Israel declared independence from Britain in 1948, no Arab state recognized the Jewish state’s right to exist. After losing several pointless wars against Israel, Egypt signed a peace treaty based on the Camp David Accords in 1979. Jordan followed in 1994, but the rest of the Arab world, with the partial exception of Morocco, remained rejectionist.

The Saudis scoffed at the Camp David Accords, but a quarter-century later in 2002 they floated a peace initiative of their own, which was later ratified by an Arab League meeting in Beirut, Lebanon. Fifty-seven Muslim states—including all Arab states—would exchange “full diplomatic and normal relations” with Israel for a “comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians”.

In 2007, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni openly praised it and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the initiative must be taken seriously. “On the surface,” wrote Gilad Sharon, son of then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, “the proposal looked appealing with its provision that the Arab states welcome peace with Israel—something they had been unwilling to do since the state’s inception. But the details made the offer unacceptable”.

18 January 2017

Israel says Hamas hacked Facebook accounts, cellphones of army recruits

By Ruth Eglash 

TEL AVIV — The Israeli military said Wednesday that its archenemy Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, used a series of fake Facebook accounts to connect with young recruits in an attempt to gain access to sensitive army information. 

A senior intelligence officer, who could not be identified under Israeli army rules, told journalists that over the past few months, dozens of soldiers, mostly from combat units, were enticed into chatting with people they believed were young, attractive women in Israel and abroad. 

Using Facebook as the main medium to engage the soldiers in intimate conversations, those running the fake accounts encouraged the soldiers to download a “chat” application to their cellphones. 

The app, for both Android and iPhone, was used by Hamas to access vital data on the phones — contacts, personal text messages and photographs. The app also allowed Hamas operatives to listen to conversations and take covert photos, the officer said. 

15 January 2017

Iran to Increase Military Spending on Missiles, Drones and Cyber Warfare


Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country's long-range missile programme which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.

The vote is a boost to Iran's military establishment - the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defence ministry - which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.

But it could put the Islamic Republic on a collision course with the incoming Trump administration, and fuel criticism from other Western states which say Tehran's recent ballistic missile tests are inconsistent with a U.N. resolution on Iran.

The resolution, adopted last year as part of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear activities, calls onIran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry such payloads.

Tasnim news agency said 173 lawmakers voted in favour of an article in Iran's five-year development plan that "requires government to increase Iran's defence capabilities as a regional power and preserve the country's national security and interests by allocating at least five percent of annual budget" to military affairs.