August 30, 2008

US: Cyberwar turf battle continues

The US Air Force undergoes a re-evaluation, as other agencies vie for the cyberwarfare lead in a government turf war.

By Peter A Buxbaum in Washington, DC for ISN Security Watch (28/08/08)

It seemed rather odd that just as reports were arriving in Washington about the cyberwarfare dimensions of the Russo-Georgian conflict, the US Air Force shut down its Cyber Command operations - at least temporarily.

That does not mean that the US military is giving up on developing cyberwar capabilities, of course. But the US Air Force Cyber Command - although the Air Force has never quite admitted it - was positioning itself to become the key strategic cyberdefense agency, not only within the US Department of Defense, but government-wide.

Officially, Cyber Command, which was set up provisionally last year and was to begin operations on 1 October, is to be the subject of review by the Air Force's new leadership, Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz. Reading between the lines, it appears the Air Force may have lost, or at least has been set back, in a turf war to dominate US cyberwarfare activities.

The fact that the Air Force recently inaugurated a new leadership is one clue to the jockeying that has been going on behind the scenes. The previous Air Force secretary and chief of staff were both sacked by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after it was discovered that the Air Force had mishandled nuclear weapons. In another scandal, the Government Accountability Office overturned an Air Force decision on a multi-billion dollar procurement of refueling tankers, saying that the Air Force had acted unlawfully and misleadingly. In response, Gates took the decision away from the Air Force and gave it to one of his deputies.

Given these events of the last several weeks, the other pretenders to the "cybercrown" may have perceived an opportunity to strike. The US Navy, with the encouragement of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, may wish a larger role for itself in cyberwarfare. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, although not a warfighting entity, may see itself as the most appropriate actor at the national level. It is also possible that Gates wants to keep the domain within his own office.

There is no question that the Air Force will continue cyberoperations, as will the other armed services. The question is whether the Air Force's operations will be confined to its own activities, or whether it will exercise department-wide and national leadership.

"The cybermission is important, and it will go forward for the Air Force," Donley said at a Washington press briefing on 13 August. "The issue is in what context, form and national framework. This is not just about the Air Force. It has to fit with the Strategic Command and the broader national security community, and we're going to make sure all those pieces fit together as we proceed."

In other words, it is the Air Force's cyberwarfare role at the highest level that is in contention. It is likely, then, that the re-evaluation of the Cyber Command will involve not only internal Air Force reflection, but also high-level external scrutiny.

From strategic bombing to strategic warfare

The Cyber Command's position within the US Strategic Command, an overarching department-wide policymaking organization, was important to the Air Force's assertion of a national role in cyberspace. The Cyber Command's inclusion as an operational unit of the Strategic Command carved out a pre-eminent space for the Air Force among the armed services in the cyberwarfare arena. The Navy's NAVNETWARCOM and Army's NETCOM, the cybersecurity agencies within those armed services, were never part of the Strategic Command.

There were also other indications of the Air Force's ambitions in cyberspace. One was a revision of its mission statement last year to add cyberspace to its air and space mission areas. The Air Force also touted its capabilities in television and web advertisements and in a series of presentations conducted by its commander, Major General William Lord.

In recent months, the Air Force has stirred some controversy by taking up the possibility of developing its own offensive and defensive botnet capabilities. (Botnets are groups of compromised computers which are used to launch various kinds of attacks on other systems.)

Colonel Charles Williamson, in a recent article in Armed Forces Journal, advocated the deployment of a such a capability by the Air Force, which could take out offending systems by launching distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against them. A DDOS attack involves launching huge volumes of e-mail or other messages, more than the target system can handle, from multiple locations, thus disabling the target.

In yet another recent development, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) posted an announcement in May which cryptically indicated its desire to develop a "Proactive Botnet Defense Technology." Elsewhere in the announcement, the AFRL indicated it was seeking the capability to infiltrate offending systems, to exfiltrate information undetected and, if necessary, to destroy the system.

For those who supported the Air Force move into cyberspace, all of this made perfect sense.

"The military is thinking more about the non-kinetic effects of warfare," Barry Watts, a senior fellow at Washington's Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told ISN Security Watch. "It makes sense to have the guys delivering most of the precision ordnance from the air to have control over both the kinetic and the non-kinetic aspects of the operation."

Cyberwarfare is also consistent with the Air Force's strategic focus, according to James Lewis, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"Strategic operations often target infrastructure, including economic infrastructure," Lewis told ISN Security Watch. "Traditionally, the Air Force has carried out strategic bombing. Strategic cyberwarfare could be seen as an extension of that mission."

Air Force overplays its hand?

But the Air Force may have overplayed its hand with its hard charge into cyberspace, provoking a turf war with other armed forces and other government entities. The US military's mission in space is an example of how these turf wars can fester.

"Fifty years later, they are still squabbling over which is the lead service in space," said Lewis.

As in other warfare and intelligence arenas, the involvement of multiple organizations in cyberoperations creates the potential for mission conflicts, giving rise to the argument for an overarching central authority to coordinate policy and activities.

"The National Security Agency may have tapped into a foreign command and control system while the Air Force simultaneously has plans to take it out," Ira Winkler, an author and former NSA analyst, told ISN Security Watch.

"I would love to say there should be an information warfare czar to coordinate these types of activities, but we often find there is not good coordination even at the higher levels."

Lewis agreed there was no substitute for appointing an overall authority "to sit the responsible managers down together to coordinate activities jointly."

It is perhaps with this role in mind that some say that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was behind the abrupt halt of the Air Force Cyber Command. After all, whichever agency emerges as the cyberspace lead is likely to attract substantial federal budget funding in the coming years.

The decision to put the kibosh on the Cyber Command may have come from Mullen, who advocates a greater role for the Navy in cyberspace.

The Navy's Network Warfare Command and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center have led the way in cyberspace, according to Philip Coyle, a senior adviser with the Center for Defense Information, a security policy research group in Washington, and a former assistant secretary of defense. Coyle also speculated that the Air Force's public thrust into cyberspace led to a pushback from which the Cyber Command now suffers.

In all likelihood, the review of the Air Force Cyber Command will result in the continuation of that organization in some form, although with more modest ambitions for national leadership in cyber space. The new Air Force leadership will probably want to tread lightly, lest they suffer the same fate as their predecessors.




Peter Buxbaum, a Washington-based independent journalist, has been writing about defense, security, business and technology for 15 years. His work has appeared in publications such as Fortune, Forbes, Chief Executive, Information Week, Defense Technology International, Homeland Security and Computerworld. His website is www.buxbaum1.com.

Russia-NATO: Return of the great game

16:26 29/ 08/ 2008

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military correspondent Ilya Kramnik) - After the breakup of the Soviet Union, many intellectuals in Russia and the West announced "the end of history." It seemed that the United States' complete domination of the world was not disputed by anyone.

The subsequent decade, during which Russia lost its foreign policy positions, and its former satellites and even provinces became U.S. and NATO allies, seemed to have buttressed this idea.

The first signal that the situation could change came on September 11, 2001, when it suddenly transpired that U.S. domination did not guarantee Washington absolute security. Moreover, for the first time since the Soviet Union's collapse, the United States had to bargain in order to guarantee the loyalty of its allies. With the start of the Iraqi conflict, U.S. domination was called into question even more openly, despite obvious successes in the post-Soviet space such as the admission of the Baltic nations into NATO and permission to use bases in Central Asia.

The second half of the first decade of the new century saw a new trend. Russia's consolidation, buoyed by a favorable economic situation and political stabilization, raised the issue of spheres of influence, at least in the post-Soviet space and Eastern Europe. Many analysts saw the series of colored revolutions that spread across the post-Soviet space as the final renunciation of peaceful settlement of disputes between Russia and the West; but this was not true - Russia did not give up attempts to come to terms with pro-American governments.

The issues of missile defense and the Kosovo problem proved the Rubicon of East-West relations. The West demonstratively ignored Russia's position, and this was bound to evoke response. Russia had to face military confrontation and settle disputes in the CIS to its own benefit, without looking to the West.

Almost as soon as Mikheil Saakashvili came to power, many observers began to see Georgia as the most probable arena of an armed conflict with Russia. All the prerequisites for this were in place - Georgia's conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the presence of many Russian citizens in these republics, and Tbilisi's open desire to subjugate the rebellious territories.

There is no need to describe the history of the five-day war again. Its main geopolitical result is not the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia but the return of political confrontation between Russia and the West. What could it lead to?

Nobody wants a military solution to the conflict, which could be fatal for the whole world. Both sides will have to prove their cases by political and economic means. Russia's integration into the world economy over the last 15 years has led to a situation where the West cannot inflict serious damage on us without hurting itself as much, if not more.

As a result, Russia's main lobbyists to Western governments are the Western companies, for which a quarrel with the eastern neighbor could be financially ruinous.

Apart from oil and gas, I could recall agreements on the supply of titanium spare parts for the world's biggest aircraft-builders, the Russian market for cars and other hardware, and many other spheres where cessation of economic cooperation will deal substantial damage to Western interests.

And there are political, as well as financial, interests that would be damaged by confrontation with Russia. Space cooperation between Russia and the United States, the air corridor granted by Russia for NATO flights to Afghanistan and some other programs, not as obvious as oil and gas supplies, are too important to be jeopardized over Moscow's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

What will global confrontation be like now? It is clear that the point of no return has already been passed. Russia is not prepared to renounce its positions as it did in the 1990s. The West may be indignant, but it will have to face reality - it has become too expensive to risk.

Revision of values is inevitable. The weight categories of the political players will be revised, and many countries which had been seen as subjects will come to be viewed as objects - bargaining chips in a big power game. Their elites will not welcome this change. This is why some East European and Baltic countries quickly expressed their unreserved support for Georgia.

Where will the next round of confrontation take place? It is hard to predict with certainty, but it is likely to be in Ukraine, where not only the destiny of the Black Sea Fleet but also Russia's influence in Eastern Europe is at stake. This round will be bloodless. At any rate, I would like to hope that Ukraine is not going to oust the Black Sea Fleet from the Crimea by force.

However, the propaganda confrontation will be much more intense than in Georgia. A world event is not the one in which 10,000 take part, but the one which is being filmed by 10 TV cameras.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

The `Al-Yamamah Factor' In Musharraf's Ouster

This article appears in the August 29, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

by Jeffrey Steinberg


In the days leading up to the forced resignation of Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, on Aug. 18, a combined British and Saudi delegation was on the scene, to ensure that the embattled head of state would quit. Mark Lyall Grant, director-general of the Political Directorate of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was in Islamabad, along with a delegation of Saudi officials, all demanding Musharraf's departure.

In stark contrast to these Anglo-Saudi manuevers, Lyndon LaRouche issued a dramatic warning, on Aug. 15, about the consequences for Pakistan and the entire region, if Musharraf caved in to the pressure and left office.

"It is precisely because of the 'Al Yamamah' complication that I urge a halt in the drive to remove President Musharraf from power. The Bandar crowd in Saudi Arabia should not be allowed to control the destiny of Pakistan, and that is exactly where we are headed if Musharraf's removal is allowed. There is a serious narco-terrorist factor to deal with, centered around the Taliban and al-Qaeda nexus, which enjoys continuing support from the relevant British and Saudi factions."

"Given half a chance," LaRouche concluded, "they will wreak havoc on the entire region, and that does not serve U.S. or regional interests in the least."

The "Al-Yamamah" complication cited by LaRouche refers to the oil-for-weapons barter deal, first struck between Britain and Saudi Arabia in 1985, which has generated an offshore, off-the-books covert operations slush fund, estimated to be far in excess of $100 billion. Former Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin-Sultan was one of the key architects of the Al-Yamamah program, and in a 2006 authorized biography, Bandar boasted that the covert funds had been used to bankroll the Afghan mujahideen, out of which both the Taliban and al-Qaeda emerged.

Despite grave warnings from U.S. intelligence circles about the consequences of Musharraf's outster, the Bush White House did absolutely nothing to stop it. In an Aug. 20 statement, LaRouche accused the White House of "another massive act of strategic stupidity." "The Bush White House is absolutely indifferent to the situation on the ground," LaRouche charged. "It is looking more and more like the White House has been outright bought up by the Saudis, judging from some of the policies coming out of Bush and company."

Indeed, one of the most important of the "bad actors" who led the charge against Musharraf is former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif is known to be bankrolled by the Saudis (he lived in exile in a Saudi palace, after he was removed from power in a military coup led by General Musharraf nine years ago), and to take his cues from Riyadh. He maintains a base of support among the very fundamentalists whom Musharraf had been battling—fundamentalists bankrolled from Saudi Arabia and from other Persian Gulf Arab states.

LaRouche warned: "President Musharraf's regrettable retirement will only make matters worse. And, for that, I hold President Bush and the Bush White House responsible. Any serious American President would have put his foot down, and demanded that the Saudis, and their British allies, stop the interference in the Pakistan situation."

A Russian Voice Concurs
On Aug. 19, a senior Russian television journalist, Mikhail Leontyev, weighed in with a similar assessment of the post-Musharraf situation in South Asia, in a broadcast on Russian Channel One. After his co-anchor reviewed Musharraf's role in cracking down on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and in suppressing other radical Islamists, Leontyev added, "Musharraf was the only leader who could maintain stability in an extremely complex country like Pakistan, restrain radical Islamists, and guarantee that the nuclear potential would remain under control. The so-called opposition's corrupt leaders, let out of an Anglo-American jar, hate each other and are incapable of ensuring either. In the view of responsible American analysts, the Pakistani bomb is much more dangerous than the non-existent Iranian one. Who gets it and what happens to this not quite low-priority, and not the least-populated region? This is what the United States' European partners should be thinking about, not about the moaning of a whipped Georgian paranoid man."

LaRouche added to Leontyev's picture: "The whole thing was obvious to me. It was obvious in the discussions I had with people, that while Pakistan was already a mess, by this concession of dumping Musharraf, you actually unleash all the instabilities in the area. And, Pakistan is a nuclear power in a sense, but the more significant thing is that the whole thing was done by the Saudis. That's what has to be said. And this thing is an Anglo-American Saudi operation."

LaRouche further elaborated: "The Saudi Bandar-Al-Yamamah operation is what's key here. And the whole region is in trouble, because the Saudis are the center of the whole destabilization of the region. It's a Saudi-British operation in which Prince Bandar is crucial. The Bush family is deeply indebted, in a sense, to these Saudi types. The corruption goes right inside the United States government. The Bandar Saudi operation and the Bush connections to that, are absolutely crucial."

LaRouche concluded: "Leontyev is right; he's absolutely correct. It's just that he's left out this one part: that this is a case in which the London-Saudi operation, the BAE-connected operation, is the key monster in this thing, which is a controlling factor in the U.S. behavior. You don't need to have a President Barack Obama, because the real Presidency is the Saudi monarchy. The White House is a dependency of the Saudi monarchy."

Pakistan Implodes

Just as LaRouche warned, within days of the announced resignation of President Musharraf, in the face of a threatened impeachment proceeding, the fragile governing coalition came unraveled.

But more significant, the departure of Musharraf, and the American acquiescence to his ouster, signaled that any obstacles to a new eruption of asymmetric warfare were removed.

On Aug. 21, suicide bombers killed 59 people at the massive Pakistan Ordnance Factory in Islamabad. Pakistani Taliban, an offshoot of the Afghan organization, claimed credit, just nine days after they had declared a state of war against the state. In an incident several days before the factory bombing, 14 air force personnel were killed in a bombing attack in Peshawar, a city in the Northwest Frontier Province that is virtually in the hands of Islamist insurgents.


Between Aug. 19 and 20, a series of Taliban attacks was launched in Afghanistan, including the targeting of French paratroopers, and a full assault on a U.S. military base near the Pakistan border in Khost.

U.S. intelligence sources confirm that Musharraf's departure, following months of Anglo-Saudi efforts to weaken him, opens the door to a far-reaching insurgency, based in the tribal areas of Pakistan, targeting Kashmir, Afghanistan, and the western provinces of China, where Uighur separatists are active. The insurgencies, which reach into Turkey and North Africa, are funded by the proceeds of the vast Afghan opium trade, which generates an estimated $160 billion a year in revenue, much of it now laundered through unregulated Persian Gulf banking centers, like Dubai. The source emphasized that some of these opium trade profits are then funneled to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other insurgent groups, in the form of "charitable" contributions.

"This is not a situation that lends itself to a military solution," one senior U.S. intelligence official told EIR. "This requires serious strategic planning, and a wide range of actions, including hard-nosed diplomacy. This is a war that the United States cannot win with boots on the ground. The Musharraf departure means a whole new situation."

August 29, 2008

Narendra Modi met PM over national and Gujarat related security issues


Ahmedabad, DeshGujarat, 30th of August, 2008


Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (August 29) met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and made a strong demand for giving assent to a bill to combat terror and organised crime(GUJCOC) in the state. National Security Adviser M K Narayanan was also present in this meeting. Meeting went on for 45 minutes in Prime Minister office.

READ GujCOC Bill : Union Government haven't sorted out "policy issues" yet ?

Modi explained to the Prime Minister that the law similar to the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act was already operational in Maharashtra, then why not in Gujarat? Modi harped on the need for “strong laws” to prevent youngsters from falling prey to terrorists who were looking to recruit them for their anti-national activities. Modi said there was a need for border fencing and special training and providing modern equipment to the forces engaged in border security. Modi said he was not interested in playing politics on the issue of terrorism.

“A political will is needed to further strengthen the police force including giving them more legal powers and resources. I requested the Prime Minister to immediately pass Gujarat’s law against organised crime, which has been passed twice by the Assembly, and has been lying with the Centre for the past four years. It is important to understand that this law exists in Maharashtra and if a bomb blast takes place they can use it, but if it happens in Gujarat just 50 km away I don’t have the law. I want to tell those politicians who have their minds filled with vote bank politics that there were terrorist activities even when POTA was in force and that despite having Section 302 (of IPC which gives death penalty for murder) murders do take place. Does this mean we remove this clause? I apprised them about the information revealed by the terrorists arrested for their involvement in the Ahmedabad blasts. There is a need for co-ordination between the Centre and states and also among the states to combat terror. It has come to light that states which are doing well economically are especially being targeted. I requested the Prime Minister to call a meeting of such states and he has agreed to it. I also requested the Prime Minister that since Gujarat is a border and coastal state there is a need to re-look and upgrade its security.I am not here as a BJP leader but as a voice of the Gujarat Assembly which represents 5.5 crore people. We should face terrorism as a united force,” he said, when asked if he felt the BJP-ruled states were being discriminated against by the Centre in the fight against terror. I hope the Prime Minister and the government in Delhi will show political will and take a decision soon” Modi said after his meeting with the Prime Minister.

LTTE's Air Raid on Trincomalee and the Offensive Operations

Souce: South Asia Analysis Group

Col R Hariharan

The night raid by two light aircraft of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) air wing on the Trincomalee naval base on August 26, 2008 may be termed as moderately successful. The two aircraft were similar to the ZLIN piston-engined ones that had raided Katunayake air base on March 27, 2007 and in the subsequent attacks on Palali air base on April 24, 2007 and the Anuradhapura air field on October 22, 2007. As in all the four air raids earlier they evaded both the ground fire and the chase by Sri Lanka air force fighters to return safely to their home base.

There had been discrepancies in the reports on the raid both in the number of casualties and on how the LTTE raid was conducted out. Broadly the raid went somewhat like this. Around 9 PM the LTTE aircraft flew in undetected and managed to sneak into the air space of the high security zone of the naval complex housing the Eastern Naval Headquarters and the Trincomalee dockyard. After dodging the anti aircraft gunfire when they were detected, one aircraft managed to drop two improvised bombs. Though the Eastern Naval Headquarters was not struck, at least four sailors were killed when one of the bombs struck a sailors' billet. Ten to 20 persons (depending upon the source of the report) were reported injured. It seems the intruding aircraft were detected a little late to engage them by fighters. Evading the anti aircraft fire the LTTE aircraft flew off after the strike on the sailors' barracks. As in the earlier cases, one bomb did not explode. In retaliation the air force fighters took off to hunt the raiders but could not succeed in doing so. After that the air force bombed Iranamadu air strip and its assets.

Though the defence spokesman called it an abortive raid, it was not wholly so. The LTTE raiders succeeded at least partially in fulfilling their mission. And they managed to inflict casualty on the security forces while escaping unscathed. Two inquiries are being held
apparently to find out how the LTTE planes managed to infiltrate through the air defence network without detection and carried out the raid.

Though the raid did not create the panic reaction among the public seen last year after the Katunayake raid, it will surely give a psychological lift up to the sagging morale of the LTTE's support network both at home and abroad. So far they had to console themselves
only with the rhetoric of the political commissar Nadesan on the impending LTTE response to the successful Sri Lankan offensive going on now for two years. The raid will also come as a shot in the arm for LTTE's defenders in frontlines who had been having a tough time for the last few months as the offensive gathered momentum. A far as the Sri Lanka public is concerned they appear to be taking it in the stride as one of the necessary evils of pursuing the military option. Thus the LTTE air raids appear to have lost their public threat potential enhanced by the very audacity of their ability to carry out such a raid well away from the LTTE home grounds in Wanni.

Otherwise, the air raid would be classified as a small scale raid daringly carried out. But in comparison with the scale of the happenings in the battlefronts of the north, the air raid does not have the potential to cause significant impact on the ongoing operations. Except for tasking a special commando force to seek and destroy the LTTE's secret hangars in Wanni as the operation progresses, no other special action would probably be taken at the
battlefront. The LTTE operational planners probably know this limitation. The pressure on them must be mounting as the security forces advance had been causing exodus of civilians in thousands from battle zones. So they probably carried out the air raid for want of any other manageable operational task that could create some impact immediately.

At the same time, operationally the raid gives some interesting insights –

The ability of the LTTE air wing to penetrate the airspace in high security zones remains undiminished, despite the counter measures taken so far. As discussed in my earlier articles on the subject, light aircraft with small radar signatures, flying below the horizon can escape early radar detection. This is more so if they follow a flight path hugging the coastline contours to escape early detection.
To overcome this weakness the anti aircraft defence network should include integrated ground observer posts along likely air ingress routes. This is a very time tested civil defence method against air raids in vogue for over seventy years! However, to be successful it needs committed people with well rehearsed procedure for identification and reporting.
On detection, the anti aircraft guns need to put maximum number of shots in the air in the fastest time to get a hit. In a night raid visual firing is fraught with serious limitations as the city lights in the horizon confuse the vision. This will again require a lot of practice firing.
In the past also the fighters had never been able to chase and kill the raiding aircraft. This is not surprising. Rarely will the fighters be able to respond in time unless they are positioned in operational readiness platforms (ORP) on the runway at the airfield. The mute point is, do such occasional raids by light aircraft merit tedious ORP status involving expensive hi-tech fighters designed for not only air combat but also ground support operations in counter insurgency? Only the security chiefs can answer this question.
It is surprising that despite the large number of modern surveillance and early warning devices available to monitor the intruding aircraft from take off to reaching target area, the LTTE pilots had always managed to prevent detection till the last moment when they gain height. Perhaps the security forces would do well to study the successful tactics of these "amateur fighter pilots" a little more seriously to eliminate the air threat.
There has been high rate of failure of the improvised bombs of the LTTE. This would show the LTTE has not been able to refine both the aerodynamics of the bomb design and the use of appropriate fuses to reduce the strike failure rate.

I would only reiterate that such air raids of limited fire power are more effective only when carried out in tandem with ground operation. This was proved in Anuradhapura air base raid last year. The chances of the LTTE carrying out such a coordinated ground-air raid is more likely now than ever before, given the growing tail of administrative
echelons of the advancing forces on long lines of communication from Kandy upwards. Looking at the well planned operations so far, the security forces would have already catered for such a possibility in their contingency plans.

(Col. R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served as the head of intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987-90.He is associated with the South Asia Analysis Group and the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail:colhari@yahoo.com)

US-PAKISTAN TOP SECRET MILITARY TALKS

B.RAMAN

The "New York Times" reported as follows on August 28,2008: "Top US and Pakistani army commanders had a highly unusual secret meeting on board an American aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean to discuss how to combat the escalating violence along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The leading actors in the day long conference were Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.The meeting had been convened on Tuesday (August 26) by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While officials of the two allies offered few details on Wednesday about what was decided or even discussed at the meeting - including any new strategies, tactics, weapons or troop deployment- the star-studded list of participants and an extreme secrecy surrounding the talks underscored how gravely the two nations regarded the growing militant threat.".

2.The top secrecy surrounding the talks between Admiral Mullen and Gen.Kayani brings to mind a similar top secret meeting between Gen.Jehangir Karamat, the then Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), and Gen.Anthony Zinni, the then chief of the US Central Command, on the tarmac of a Pakistani airport before the US launched Cruise missile strikes against Osama bin Laden and the training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghan territory in August,1998, in retaliation for the Al Qaeda-organised explosions outside the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.

3.The US had fixed the Cruise missile strikes on a day (August 20,1998) when bin Laden was expected to visit a training camp to meet a group of Al Qaeda volunteers, who had completed the training. Nawaz Sharif was then the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The US did not want his Government to know in advance about the planned Cruise missile attacks lest the information leak to Al Qaeda. At the same time, it was worried that if the Pakistani Army detected the incoming Cruise missiles, it might mistake them for missiles launched by India and this could lead to a war between India and Pakistan.

4.Just before the launch of the missiles, Gen.Zinni landed in a Pakistani airport secretly. Only Karamat was informed in advance about his landing. Zinni had requested him to meet him secretly for a discussion on the tarmac of the airport. He also asked Karamat to come alone to the airport without being accompanied by any of his officers. As the two took a stroll on the tarmac, Zinni told Karamat about the impending missile strikes and asked him not to tell Nawaz or anybody else about the strikes. Immediately thereafter, Zinni took off. Shortly thereafter, the missiles were launched from US naval ships.

5.The missiles destroyed only some training camps of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) of Pakistan in Afghan territory. Al Qaeda camps had been evacuated from the area targeted by the Cruise missiles. Bin Laden had cancelled his visit to one of the camps. He and his camps escaped the strike.

6.Till today, it has been a mystery as to how bin Laden and his Al Qaeda came to know of the date and time of the strike. Did they get their information from their own sources? Or did Karamat inform his officers and Nawaz in violation of the assurance given by him to Zinni and did any of them leak out? No answer is available to any of these questions.

7.Recently, US military officers have been complaining in their testimonies to the Congressional committees as well as in their briefings of the media that the collusion between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Taliban has reached such an extent that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had come to know in advance in some cases about planned strikes by US Predator aircraft on the hide-outs of these organizations in Pakistan. While some Predator strikes were successful, many others were not.

8.It is learnt from reliable Afghan sources that the NATO officials based in Afghanistan suspect that the leakages had been taking place not only from the ISI and some sections of the Pakistan Army, but also from some members of the Pakistan Government headed by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani. The US suspicions are particularly focussed on the Awami National Party of Afsandyar Wali Khan, and the Jamiat-ul-Islam Pakistan of Maulana Fazlur Rahman It is understood that this matter of leakages of information was raised by President George Bush with Gilani when the latter visited Washington DC in the last week of July,2008.

9.It is likely that one of the purposes of the top secret meeting between Mullen and Kayani on board a US aircraft-carrier was to discuss how to prevent such leakages.(29-8-08)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Poor and powerful - the rise of China and India and the implications for Europe

Source: German Development Institute
Poor and powerful - the rise of China and India and the implications for Europe
DOWNLOAD

The new map of Georgia

Moscow redraws the map of Georgia, recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as the dust settles and it becomes clearer where power lies on Europe's borderlands, Ben Judah writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Ben Judah in Tbilisi for ISN Security Watch (27/08/08)

Hours before the Russians pulled their forces out of the strategic Georgian town of Gori, self-declared commandant General Vlachyslav Borisov stopped his vehicle and gruffly threw open the door to speak to journalists. Sweating and smelling faintly of cognac, he barked: "I'm out of here. I'm withdrawing my combat forces form the area. But peacekeepers are staying." Then he slammed the door.

Russian officials accidentally dropped another hint to their intentions. ISN Security Watch managed to see a roughly drawn ink diagram left behind after a meeting of Russian and Georgian officials on 21 August. This is the new map of Georgia.

The map showed two circles emanating from the center of both the Ossetian and Abkhaz enclaves that reached out to touch the Georgian cities of Gori and Senaki. These are the buffer zones where Borisov plans to leave his troops. However, the future of these territories is still uncertain.

Inside Enclavia
Just outside the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, the peacekeeping barracks that once hosted a 500-strong Russian contingent is a burned-out wreck. The Kremlin's spokesman and one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's chief aides, Alexander Machevsky, accompanies a tightly controlled press tour through the enclave to inspect the damage.

Standing in front of the rubble, pointing through the smashed walls of the base to the dozens of scorched bare metal bed frames, Machevsky makes his point clear. "There can be no return to the status quo ante."

He trudges over a floor littered with bullet casings from AK-74s, pieces of burned clothing and the shredded personal belongings of the soldiers, stressing the brutality of the Georgian attack. Unnoticed by their superiors, a few troops are sitting around drinking heavily in the evening gloom. None look happy.

In Tskhinvali, the de facto South Ossetian president bellows to the crowds from a podium on Stalin Street: "The Caucasus is a Russian region. It has always been that way. We are not going to let adventurers like [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili or [US Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice change that. We are going to be an independent state within Russia. It's logical."

The poorly dressed and glum looking huddle drifts away, perhaps contemplating the implications of that speech. The Kremlin's flag flies from government buildings and paramilitaries wear little ribbons of Russian and Ossetian colors.

Russia is clearly in control - but for the moment this is nothing like a permanent settlement.

On 26 August, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced he had recognized Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations. It is highly unlikely they will return to Georgian control.

In Tbilisi, Keti Tsikhelashvili of the think tank European Stability Initiative (ESI) advances a more nuanced view of how the situation might play itself out.

"There are several possible outcomes considering these territories. The first is that the Europeans have been dropping hints about the possible internationalization of the conflict. This would involve the stationing of observers and maybe peacekeepers in Ossetia and Abkhazia and their futures being brought under intense discussion," she tells ISN Security Watch.

However, the ESI believes such an outcome to be unlikely.

"The EU and the US remain committed to Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity. The most likely outcome I can imagine will be the North Cyprus situation. The world will recognize Georgia's territorial integrity, while Russia and maybe a few of its satellite states will acknowledge South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent," Tsikhelashvili says.

She continues: "The South Ossetians already can see what an example of Russian rule in the Caucasus is like if they look to North Ossetia. How many schools there teach in Ossetian? The answer is none. In a few years the concern of cultural autonomy will mount and they will begin to realize the trap they are in."

Crushed rose
This is not how Georgians hoped the "Rose Revolution" would turn out.

In 2003, a wave of nationalism and a desire for western living standards and true democracy swept Saakashvili to power. Young and intensely charismatic, he led his country on an adventure that has turned sour.

"The president turned this country from a sort of post-Soviet ruin into a modern country," a senior western Europe diplomat tells ISN Security Watch, gesturing at perhaps the rather unrepresentative setting of the ornate restaurant in the Tbilisi Marriott hotel to prove his point.

"However, Saakashvili's definitely in until September. Then I can't say. There will be serious questions asked about what has happened and those questions will have consequences."

The Russian invasion has put a stop to those "rose" aspirations for now, and Georgia is reckoning with defeat. Tbilisi may not look miserable on the surface, but you only have to venture into one of the public buildings being used to house over 60,000 displaced people, or drive for under an hour to some of the burned-out villages to find misery waiting for you.

Reconstruction will take years. Georgia's transport infrastructure has been badly damaged, communities in the conflict zone have been hit hard, national parks have reportedly been set alight, commercial shipping has taken a massive blow, the economy has been shaken, but above all, Georgia's diplomatic and military position has been smashed. The armed forces that Saakashvili painstakingly built up though clever arms deals with Israel, the US and former communist states simply no longer exists.

Diplomatically, Georgia is in a disastrous position. Seen as unreliable and even a liability by many EU member-states and now most likely shorn of Abkhazia and South Ossetia for good, Georgia is reaping the consequences of its failed attempt to join the West.

Nona Varanadze, a retired professor and opposition supporter, blames Saakashvili for what has happened.

"Under Shevernadze, we practiced a political balancing act between Russia and the West. Just look at where we are on a map. When the balance got upset, we angered a neighbor and it destroyed so much of the good development that was going on. We could have avoided this and just got rich."

The ESI's Tsikhelashvili stresses that "though my political and cultural values are completely western. I am starting to think that Georgia put all of its eggs in one basket."

In many ways the EU and the US should hold themselves responsible for Georgia's current predicament. Having ostensibly supported a country's bid to remove itself from what Russia considers its exclusive sphere of influence, they failed to give Georgia the necessary security guarantees to make such a transition possible. With Russian forces stationed inside their territory, where EU flags still fly hopelessly from most major buildings, the promise of the West is starting to sound like a deadly siren to many Georgians.

The new order
The recent conflict has achieved a primary Russian objective, in proving that American power cannot be solidified along borderlands. This leaves only two powers that can actually integrate or control these territories - the EU or Russia.

The post-Soviet space can either seek to emulate the Baltic republics and find security inside the Union or embrace and hope to benefit from Russian dominance, as have Armenia and Belarus. Both are asymmetrical in how they wield influence.

Russia's strength lies in the areas of hard power such as its military capacities, energy power, cyberwarriors, pro-Russian parties and ethnic minorities or former KGB networks. However, it lacks the powers of persuasion.

Bulgarian expert Ivan Krastev argues in a recent article that "Russia is a born-again 19th-century power that acts in the post-20th-century world where arguments of force and capacity cannot any longer be the only way to define the status or conduct of great powers. The absence of 'soft power' is particularly dangerous for a would-be revisionist state. For if a state wants today to remake the world order, it must be able both to rely on the existing and emerging constellation of powers and be able to capture the international public's imagination."

The EU has the opposite strengths. Its power is soft and lies in the promise of membership, cultural appeal, diplomatic influence and financial clout. However, just as the Kremlin's failure to convince the world its actions are legitimate should force a re-think in its inner circles about a return to great-power status, the EU needs to learn that it does not exist in a vacuum.

Russia's strategy may be 19th century - but Europe is stuck in the future.

The great source of instability for the borderlands is that neither the EU nor Russia have reached their final destinations. Both are lost in transition.

The EU is caught between a disunited vague confederacy and a near-federation capable of speaking with a single voice in foreign policy and acting purposefully in a single direction. Its foreign policy mechanisms may slip into irrelevance and its own stability is far from assured. The news from Brussels is still frustration and malaise following on the heels of the French and Dutch "No" votes in 2005. The Irish "No" vote earlier this year does not bode well.

Russia itself is in a similar unsettled position. Its own territory is too large to be run in a conventional democratic manner and the state is still too weak to dominate its neighbors successfully. In the long run, further disintegration cannot be ruled out and the Kremlin is well aware of this.

Hovering between a post-modern empire and joining the club of post-imperial European great powers alongside the UK, France and Germany, Russia will continue its struggle to find institutional stability at home and a place in the state system - to the great detriment of both its citizens and surrounding countries.

Trapped between two uncertain creatures the post-Soviet states need to learn from the Georgian experience and tread carefully to avoid its fate.







Ben Judah is a senior correspondent for ISN Security Watch, currently writing from the Caucasus and Russia

IRAN : Middle East space race heats up

The test launch of a faux Iranian satellite earlier this month has again drawn attention to nascent efforts to counter Israel's dominion as a regional celestial power, Dominic Moran writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch (29/08/08)

Iran launched the dummy satellite into space on 17 August taking an important step in its quest for an autonomous satellite program. In an earlier test on 4 February, the indigenously fabricated Safir launch vehicle did not reach orbital velocity in what was apparently the second apparent launcher systems test ahead of this month's launch.

Analysts' responses to this month's launch have been mixed with some viewing it as an important indicator of progress. Others sought to present the test as a further indicator of the perceived dangers posed by Iranian ballistic missile and nuclear programs, while some have cast doubts on Iranian claims that the launch was successful.

Stockholm International Peace Research Center researcher Shannon Kile told ISN Security Watch that there is "no doubt" that Iran has made significant progress in space R&D in recent years, adding, "There was a launch a few days ago of something and it is not quite clear what it was."

Initial Defense Ministry claims that the country's first domestically produced telecommunications satellite, Omid, had been launched with the vehicle were quickly refuted by government officials.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed that Omid had not been launched in a speech last Saturday in Arak in which he was quoted as saying that Iran now had the "advanced technology to launch its first remote-sensing telecommunication satellite into space."

The speech came shortly after the head of the Iranian Space Agency announced plans for Iran's first manned space flight within 10 years. Iranian officials have repeatedly made statements regarding the development and capacity of space systems and related plans that have turned out to be grossly overoptimistic.

In February, Ahmadinejad presided over the opening of Iran's space center and second launch site at Emamshahr in a remote northern desert region. He retains at least titular authority over the Iranian space program as head of the governing Iran Space Council, which has authority over Iranian Space Agency activities.

Seeking autonomy
While the paucity of reliable, independent, extant information on the Iranian space program makes it all but impossible to ascertain actual progress, this month's Safir launch appeared to constitute a significant step on the path to an independent satellite imaging capacity which, if achieved, would be seen as a major strategic threat by western and allied Arab powers and Israel.

"I think their [Iran's] intentions are very, very broad," Shapir said. "They want to be able to build their own satellites; they want to be able to launch their own satellites."

Iran is reportedly working on five satellite programs, though little information is available on the development status of several of these. Iranian claims in January 2006 that the Mesbah research satellite - developed with Italian assistance - would be launched within three months came to nothing and no launch further launch date has been announced.

Iran does have a presence in space through the Russian-made Sinah-1, launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia on 28 October 2005.

Asked if Iran now enjoys a significant imaging capacity through the Sinah-1, Shapir said, "No. the satellite that was launched has a camera, but […] it is not a camera that can bring you pictures good enough for any other purpose […] not a resolution that would allow you any military significance."

The fact that Iran was forced to turn to Russia's Polyot company both for the launch vehicle and satellite fabrication points to developmental problems with Iran's launcher and satellite fabrication which may, or may not, have been overcome in intervening years.

The Zohre (Venus), a telecommunications satellite, is being produced for Iran under the terms of a 2005 deal with Russia, but the launch date has reportedly been put off until next year at the earliest with the delay apparently caused by contractual issues.

Asked if there had been launch vehicle progress through the three Iranian launcher tests, Kile said, "Yes, they are definitely making technical progress." He cautioned that the Iranians were not necessarily going to have a system that was "able to deploy immediately."

"I think one of the issues people are looking at is: Is the technology Iran is developing now purely indigenous or are they getting outside assistance," he said. "The most likely source of outside assistance would be possibly North Korea but more likely Pakistan. The recent [ballistic] missile that the Iranians launched, the so-called Ashoura missile, may be a derivative of a Pakistani design."

Dual use potential
While the specter of an independent Iranian satellite program raises concerns in the west, the identity of the launch vehicle is itself a potentially important indicator of progress in Iranian ballistic missile development.

Kile notes that the launcher is "where everyone is concerned because that technology is dual use and could also be used directly in military applications with warheads."

According to some reports, the rocket used in this month's test is a derivative of the Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missile, for which the Israeli Arrows anti-missile system is being developed as a direct counter, with US funding.

Referring to the second launch, Shapir said: "What they showed on television in February was definitely a Shahab-3. [However] at least one of the sources I read said that what was actually launched or tested in February was not a Shahab and that the footage that they released did not belong to the vehicle actually tested."

The use of a Shahab-3 derivation for this purpose can be seen as confirmation of the shelving of the Shahab-4 - an impression bolstered by the reported extension of the range of the Shahab-3B (C and D are also reportedly in mass production) to encompass the initial intended range of the Shahab-4. Again, speculation abounds.

"It looks like the Iranians are moving away from liquid fuel missiles to solid fuel missiles and that is a big technological leap," Kile said.

"If you are looking to have a military program solid fuel rockets are the way to go because you don't have to have all the fuelling trucks, you don't have to have all the associated infrastructure, you can fire them on much shorter notice," he said. "So if it is the case that Iran is indeed moving towards solid propellant ballistic missiles that would have important military implications."

It is important to note that there does not appear to be significant credible evidence of the militarization of Iranian Space Agency activities, which appear clearly aimed at this point at civil scientific R&D and the related deposit of space vehicles into Low Earth Orbit (160km-2000km).

The Iranian Defense Ministry was involved in the fabrication of the rocket launched in February 2007, which carried research created material created by the ministries of science and defense. The Defense Ministry has also made it clear that it sees the development of a satellite capacity as an important national priority.

With the potential relationship of Iranian missile programs to the country's nuclear intentions a key source of concern in western capitals, the utilization of the Iranian space program as a potential driver of ballistic missile development may attract unwanted international attention to the space program.

Asked what the strategic import of Iran developing a satellite capacity would be, Kile said: "It is not so much the satellite capability per se […] [but] if Iran were to eventually develop the capability to launch satellites into medium and high earth orbit, to have that capability means that you are also going to have the capability to manufacture ballistic missiles that can deliver a military payload to quite some distance, well in excess of 2,000km."

Developing programs
"Most countries in the Middle East have their own communication satellite which they bought, Egypt has one; Turkey has several; Saudi Arabia has [too]; the UAE has the most advanced communication satellite in the world." Shapir said, adding, "The Iranians have been trying to do the same for the past 30 years and the project is not getting off the ground."

Egypt launched its first imaging satellite, EgyptSat1, in April 2007 in a cooperative venture with a Ukrainian firm. The planned launch of a second reconnaissance satellite, Desertsat, by the end of 2007, has come and gone without further statements of intent.

According to reports, EgyptSat's multi-spectral camera is the first of its kind deployed by a Middle East state, transmitting black-and-white, color and infrared images. Some Israeli analysts believe the launch caused a significant shift in the strategic balance between the countries and in the wider Middle East.

Shapir disagrees: "It has a camera but I don't think it has any military significance. It is a research satellite with the goal of training engineers to be able to build satellites, to be able to conduct experiments in space."

The Saudis also appear to have long-term plans for achieving a significant presence in space with Saudisat 3, launched in April 2007, utilizing imaging technology provided by a South African firm.

Asked how advanced the Saudis are in satellite R&D, Shapir said, "They are building, with the help of some western companies, their own research satellite but this is very, very rudimentary."

Israel: building capacity
Israel is seeking to maintain its strategic edge in space, launching the Eros B in April 2007, whose imaging system is said to be capable of pinpointing objects as small as 70cm across, as opposed to EgyptSat1's estimated 4m across, and highly advanced TecSAR this January.

"Israel is much, much more advanced than any other countries in the Middle East with the Ofeq and EROS military imaging satellites," Shapir said.

Israel has far greater indigenous development capacities than its Middle East competitors and a clear preference for autonomous development of highly sophisticated imaging and satellite systems.

The Shavit launcher utilized by the Israeli program has encountered significant problems in the past leading to two launcher failures - including the loss of the multimillion dollar Ofeq 4 and 6 reconnaissance satellites.

In response, Israel's January launch of the TecSAR spy satellite was conducted from an Indian facility utilizing an Indian rocket. Shapir explained that the heavier weight of the Indian launcher allowed for the deposit of a far larger satellite payload than the Shavit is capable of deploying through the latter's retrograde westward launch.

The decision provoked significant discord in the Israeli space industry where opponents reportedly saw it as directly undercutting Israel's autonomous development model. This, despite the prior launch of the Eros A and B from a Russia cosmodrome, utilizing Russian Start-1 rockets.

Shapir went on to explain that space program cooperation appealed as an important way to cement warming relations with New Delhi in light of the Israeli military's refusal to buy proffered Indian helicopters and UAVs.

The TecSAR's synthetic aperture radar is reportedly capable of capturing and transmitting images of 10cm across and can operate in darkness and penetrate thick clouds. Israel's Defense Ministry plans to launch a further highly sophisticated imaging satellite, Opsat, by the end of 2009, details of which remain under wraps.

It is clear that the small Israeli reconnaissance satellite array provides Israel with a clear strategic advantage that the Iranian space program looks unlikely to bridge in coming years, including the capacity to intercept Iranian military and civil communications, potentially crucial in the event of an outbreak of hostilities.

With the world's focus understandably on regional flashpoints and conflicts and prospects for the Iranian nuclear program, the extension of regional tensions to space has largely been ignored, mired in a welter of competing claims and counter-claims.

Nevertheless, with several regional states channeling massive disbursements into long-term space R&D and communication satellite purchases and Iran seemingly on the verge of its first autonomous satellite launch, the regional space race promises to open a new front for regional tensions that look set to supersede changes on the ground.





Dr Dominic Moran, based in Tel Aviv, is ISN Security Watch's senior correspondent in the Middle East and the Director of Operations of ISA Consulting.

Related ISN Publishing House entries

Global trends: A perfect storm

Market opportunism seems to be running on empty when it comes to global trends, which are complex, borderless and changing everything. Are we prepared? Vivian Fritschi writes for ISN Security Watch.


Commentary by Vivian Fritschi for ISN Security Watch (29/08/08)


We find ourselves in the midst of fundamental changes brought on by trends that are, and will continue to, radically shape the world in which we live. These trends are better described as "meta" trends because as they give rise to changes that are complex, long-lasting, profound and borderless. Among other things, this long list of trends includes the growing scarcity of important resources (water, fuel and food), climate change and population growth.

These trends have many varied, overlapping, complex and highly interdependent primary, secondary and tertiary effects. The media is full of reports of how high oil prices, the water shortage, population growth and natural disasters have exacerbated the existing global food crisis. The complex nature of the trends means there are no clear singular causes, only a seemingly "perfect storm" of outcomes.

Despite the alarm, on the surface the outlook is "business as usual" (at least for those businesses and markets not adversely affected by these trends). Indeed, in many ways, climate change and the other trends represent little more than new business opportunities.

As world food shortages have exploded into a full-blown crisis, companies selling goods for agricultural production have increased their advertising. Many of these products rely on deliberately misleading advertising attesting to their alleged environmentally friendly nature (a practice dubbed "green washing").

In reality, however, many of these products would most likely intensify agricultural production practices that damage the environment. For example, selling advanced water pumps to water-strapped countries to increase crop production may help today's food crisis, but will only deepen tomorrow's water crisis.

Certainly, capitalism and open markets thrive on innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunism. There will always be individuals and organizations that stand to reap financial gains by finding an unexploited market niche, whether during times of stability or crisis. For instance, the computer and software company Apple is on one end of the spectrum, while the energy conglomerate Halliburton is on the other.

The vast majority of cases are less than straightforward. Market opportunism has shaped capitalist growth (and capitalism) throughout its history. At its best, it's a sign of a healthy and dynamic market; but at its worst, market opportunism is merely business with no regard for principles valued by society or for consequences.

An important critique of globalization is the tendency toward lawlessness of businesses on the world market. Companies and individuals exploit differences in local laws and knowledge between their host and home countries to engage in abhorrent practices to yield a global competitive advantage. This practice, unfortunately, is typical: Individual companies and businesspeople rarely claim responsibility for the outcome (whether direct or indirect) of their commercial activities.

In crisis situations, however, aggregated opportunism may ultimately exacerbate the problems we will face - problems to which very few of these opportunistic actors will be willing to freely commit resources (or profits). Most will instead look to governments (in other words, taxpayers) and grassroots movements to find and fund needed solutions.

But can governments alone be relied upon to lead the search for solutions? Sadly, this is not as clear as it should be. Much like businesses, governments and their officials can be notoriously short-sighted and strongly motivated by influential interest groups and other power-holders in society.

The trends we face are borderless, transnational and require international cooperation to solve. While policy responses can often be swift, when it comes to putting solutions to some problems in place, by design national policy is almost always meant to benefit the nation or some national power-based group.

(For instance, the BBC reported on 23 August that Peruvian policymakers had dissolved laws protecting tribal lands in the Amazon; The Guardian reported on 13 August that substantial areas of the Amazon would be cleared for oil and gas exploration. This is, of course, in addition to the areas currently being cleared for crops for the production of biofuel.)

In fact, the current controversy surrounding the "biofuels alternative" precisely demonstrates the complexity and interconnectedness of the fuel problem.

While initially heralded as the solution to high oil prices, biofuel production rapidly expanded as a result of government policy and explicit agricultural subsidies. However, the secondary and tertiary effects (driving up the costs of several related commodities, exacerbating the food crisis in some countries, and the expansion of agricultural production processes that in some countries profoundly harms the environment) were poorly explored.

Scientific American recently published an article - "The Ethics of Climate Change: Pay now or Pay More Later?" - in which the author, John Broome, presented some of the ethical considerations economists face when evaluating the well-being of future generations using cost-benefit analyses, among other tools.

Broome notes that in the ensuing debate about which tools should be used and how, many economists have resisted taking any stance on the question of ethics. Instead, many have preferred to leave ethical decisions to the public domain.

Specialist knowledge (ideally) informs public decision-making. While leaving ethics out of the debate may simplify the discussion among economists, doing so is a failure both to assume the leading role that experts are accorded and to address properly the magnitude of decisions that will be based on their calculations.

In all fairness to the ideal of free market capitalism, many will insist that the markets will adequately respond to any such crisis. While this is the case more often than not, the opposite can also be true.

Many have argued that commodity speculators bear some responsibility for the rapid rise in fuel and other commodity prices. But there is another aspect to bear in mind: How can one continue to assume that the market will be able to adequately respond when the market itself will be increasingly disrupted by events related to climate change and natural disasters - not to mention financial instability and crises cause by market activities such as the US housing market crisis?

Assumptions about market responses are ultimately assumptions that the profit motive will move the markets to meet the demand. The profit motive is of course at the heart of the market opportunism that sustains any drive to cash in on a crisis. But if all the dire warnings about the future are true and do lead to difficult times ahead, these trends may well force the decline of free market capitalism as we have come to know it.

Capitalism requires cheap labor, cheap transportation, open markets, a reliable legal fabric and relatively cheap/abundant inputs/supplies, among other things, to function well. The 19th century theorists who extolled the virtues of free markets assumed public goods were abundant and their supply unlimited.

Today, we know different; even under the best conditions, rising costs eventually outweigh returns and diminish profitability. Larry Rohter addresses this in the New York Times piece, "Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization," where he examines the impact of the cost of oil on world markets.

Heading off these worst-case scenarios will require a collective effort to encourage market activities that are not exclusively centered on ever-increasing profits and to engage in even more debate, not only in the public realm, but certainly among those specialists and experts who shape the decisions we make.

Difficult as it is, experts need to pick up the mantle and pitch into the messy forum of climate change and what it means for their work. They will also need to work more closely with governments and businesses to better understand the complexity of these problems and solutions. In fact, we will all need to do so for all the different aspects of our lives: as consumers, employees, businesspeople, etc. Long held concepts will have to reconsidered, reconfigured and some abandoned.

Eventually, profits and narrow political interests need to settle beside (or fall behind) the interests of cooperation, the public good and sustainability. Sustainability, once the derided buzzword of environmentalists, will increasingly shape the kind of approaches that will be needed to weather the coming changes. Would "sustainable capitalism" (whatever that might be) still be "capitalism"? Given the kind of future we face, does it matter?




---------------

Vivian Fritschi is the business development manager for ISN. Most recently, she worked as a research associate and director of the Young Leaders program at Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Honolulu-based research institute. She has a masters degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and received her bachelor degrees in international relations and in French literature from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She was also a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and studied at the University of Paris (IV)-La Sorbonne in Paris, France.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not the International Relations and Security Network (ISN).

August 28, 2008

The Evangelical Project in Orissa

Source: OFFSTUMPED

As Kandhamal burns, the BJD-BJP coalition in Orissa is under severe strain. It should be obvious to even the most amateur of political observers that the murder of Swami Lakshmananda was a pre-emptive strike at unravelling this coalition. The unabated violence against Christians is not just unacceptable but is plain stupidity to provoke it for it only widens chasm between the BJD and the BJP ahead of the elections to hand over Orissa on a platter to the Congress. The Naveen Patnaik Administration and the BJP must realise the stakes are too high for the NDA to not contain the violence and to bring the perpetrators of the murdee and subsequent violence to justice. READ MORE

India to raise Special Force "COBRA" to combat Naxal menace

ZEE NEWS

New Delhi, Aug 28: Nearly a year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described Left-wing extremism as a "virus", the government has given the green signal to raise a 10,000-strong special anti-Naxal force COBRA.

The nod to the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), under the command and control of the CRPF, was given last evening by the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by the Prime Minister.

K Durga Prasad, a 1981 batch IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh and an expert in handling the anti-naxal operations, is likely to take charge of the COBRA.

The new force will be set up at a cost of Rs 1,389.47 crore out of which Rs 898.12 crore will be spent on land and infrastructure while Rs 491.35 crore will be used for manpower training over a period of three years.

The CRPF, in the meantime, will provide its personnel till the recruitment and the training process of the fresh 10 battalions is completed.

The Prime Minister, during his address to the top police brass in October last year, had called for setting up a special force to tackle Left-wing extremism.

The COBRA personnel would be imparted special training in terrain and topography of their area of operation.

The COBRA will be headquartered in the national capital and will have battalion headquarters in every Naxal-affected state.

Naxalites have carried out several attacks this year which includes gunning down of more than two dozen personnel of Andhra Pradesh's elite force "Greyhounds" last month, killing of Orissa police personnel, political leaders and their kin.

Bureau Report


New Delhi (PTI): Nearly a year after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described Left-wing extremism as a "virus", a special anti-Naxal force -- COBRA -- has finally seen light of the day after remaining in bureaucratic wrangling for months.

The clearance to raise the 10,000-strong Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), under the command and control of the CRPF, was given on wednesday evening by the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by the Prime Minister.

It took nearly a year for the Union Home Ministry to translate the words of the Prime Minister into action. Singh during his address to the top police brass last year in October had called for a special force to tackle Left-wing extremism.

Though the CRPF, which is in-charge of the internal security in the country, had submitted a proposal to the Ministry about creation of a dedicated force, the Home Ministry was still mulling over it till it pressure was exerted from relevant quarters for its immediate presentation before the Cabinet.

The 10,000 odd men in the COBRA unit will focus on "effectiveness and operational success" and they would be imparted exclusive training in the terrain and topography of the area of operation.

RUSSIA : Tongue-in-Cheek Support

August 28, 2008

By Dmitry Babich
Russia Profile
Leaders of the “Shanghai Six” Give Russia Cautious Approval, but Stop Short of Denouncing Georgia

As Russia faces mounting international criticism over its decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe bore crucial importance. The Kremlin’s problem is that no country in Western Europe or in the Americas supported President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to recognize the two separatist regions. In this situation, support from the SCO would be very useful, psychologically as well as strategically.

The SCO includes Russia, China, and four former Soviet republics in Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. India, Pakistan, Mongolia and Iran are represented at SCO meetings as “observers,” and Afghanistan’s President Khamid Karzai visited the summit in Dushanbe as a “special guest.”

So, did Russia get the desired support? Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev thinks it did.

“During talks at the summit we came to the conclusion that the global order should be respected and the country which unleashed aggression should be held responsible,” Medvedev was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying. The final resolution of the summit, however, was worded in less clear terms, stopping short of denouncing Georgia: “The heads of SCO states welcome Moscow’s approval of the six principles of the South Ossetian conflict’s settlement, and support Russia’s active role in promoting peace and cooperation in this region,” the statement said.

Why was the wording so ambiguous? Experts suspect that the stumbling bloc could be China, which suffers from the problem of separatism itself. Having strong separatist movements in the Xinjiang region and in Tibet and combating international recognition of the Taiwan Island, which it considers a “rebel province,” China traditionally does not want to be seen as supporting separatism of any kind.

“The Chinese leadership called on Russia and Georgia to find a way to settle the dispute by negotiations,” said Professor Vilya Gelbras, a veteran Russian Sinologist from the Moscow State University’s Asia and Africa department. “This is just about as far as official Beijing can go in criticizing Russia, since both countries avoided criticizing each other during the last 20 years. In fact, the idea of SCO’s founders in 1997 was to unite the countries fighting against terrorism, separatism and other kinds of extremism. This was a Chinese idea, not Russian. In this situation, giving full support to Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be a loss of face for China.”

Experts note that until recently, Russia and China have been the greatest supporters of the foundations of the post-World War II order, but the aggressive remaking of the world map by the West in the last few years may force both countries to change their attitude.

“Russia was angered by the Western recognition of Kosovo and China suspects the United States of secretly aiding the Xinjiang separatists,” said Alexander Pikayev, the head of the department of conflict settlement at the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). “China is also angered by the official support which the Tibetan separatists got in some European capitals. In this situation, anger at the West may outweigh the fear of separatist precedents. Russia does not want to be in the situation of an ‘honest loser,’ which respects the territorial sovereignty of Georgia when the West does not respect the territorial integrity of Serbia. And China may, up to a certain point, close its eyes to this kind of behavior from Russia.”

In Pikayev’s opinion, Russian officials must have consulted with their Chinese colleagues before taking the decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. At least, the Chinese were not kept in the dark about Moscow’s plans--otherwise the summit in Dushanbe might not have taken place.

As for other participants of the summit, they avoided taking a clear stand on the situation in Georgia. The reason might be a fear that taking such a stand would oblige them to support Moscow’s actions in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO, or ODKB in Russian abbreviation), a loose defense alliance of former Soviet states, of which Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are all members.

“It would be very nice if the Russian peacekeeping contingent in South Ossetia and Abkhazia gained international status under the auspices of the CSTO,” said Leonid Ivashov, the president of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Problems, known for his anti-NATO views. “I would like to remind you that Russian peacekeepers in Georgia were moved in there under the mandate from the Community of Independent States (CIS) – the alliance of post-Soviet states where Russia traditionally played the main role.”

However, despite obvious sympathy for Russia in its diplomatic confrontation with the West, the presidents of the Central Asian states are obviously not ready to commit not only their troops, but even their diplomatic and political resources to the cause of punishing the Georgian regime. Only Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev went a bit further than the others in his support for Russia.

“The West just kept silent during the armed attack of Georgia against [South Ossetia’s capital] Tskhinvali,” Nazarbayev said at the meeting with Medvedev in Dushanbe. “This started the unhappy chain of events. We all think that the subsequent actions of Russia were aimed at protecting the population of that martyr city.” Nazrbayev also said that he saw Vladimir Putin in Beijing when he got word of the Georgian attack by phone, and that Putin was obviously surprised and approached the American president George Bush with the news.

“Bush said that the war was in nobody’s interest,” Nazarbayev remembered

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Dr.Wahid Baloch


"Let it be crystal clear that Balochistan was never a part of Pakistan. Trying to Pakistanize Balochistan at the gun point and through the slogan of Allahu Akbar has not worked for the last six decades and will not work in the future. Simply because the state of Pakistan in itself is not a very legitimate State by herslf. Just because the majority of Baloch are born Muslim, does not give the jihadi armies of Pakistan and Iran a license to continue to occupy our lands, conduct genocide of our people, loot and plunder our resources, and test their nuclear weapons in Balochistan. The world community must not close their eyes over the crimes against secular Baloch people."

Dr.Wahid Baloch , National Press Club, Washington DC on 15th August, 2008

India’s role in Afghanistan

The Tribune , Chandighar
Regional stability can’t be ignored
by Harsh V. Pant

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has just returned from Japan where he attended the G-8 summit as a special invitee, and many in the country are arguing that India deserves a permanent place in G-8 and other international institutions as India is already a major global player. Most of the challenges that the international community faces today cannot be resolved without India’s active participation.

There is some merit in this argument and many across the world are beginning
to realise the importance of India in the global inter-state hierarchy. Yet, India
itself has not shown that it is ready for this larger global role. After all, if India
is a major global power, what is it doing about the security environment in its
immediate neighbourhood?

Forget China’s rise, global climate change and the nuclear deal. All these dwarf in front of the challenge India faces in Afghanistan, which is on the brink of collapse even as New Delhi continues to dither on how to respond adequately to the rapidly changing ground realities there.

India no longer has the luxury to argue that while it is happy to help the Afghan government in its reconstruction efforts, it will not be directly engaged in security operations. The Taliban militants who blew up the Indian Embassy have sent a strong signal that India is part of the evolving security dynamic in Afghanistan despite its reluctance to take on a more active role in the military operations.

The progress towards stabilisation and development in Afghanistan is being heavily influenced by India and Pakistan, and the rivalry between them. Pakistan has always been suspicious of New Delhi and Kabul cooperating against it, and as India’s influence in Afghanistan has increased in the post-Taliban scenario, Pakistan remains stalled in its efforts to curb extremists. Pakistan’s failure to contain cross-border militancy has been a key factor behind its deteriorating relations with the Karzai government in Kabul.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been complex, with Islamabad’s military-intelligence establishment contributing to the defeat of Soviet troops before 1988; the overthrow of Soviet-backed President Muhammad Najibullah in 1992; and the capture of large areas of Afghanistan by the Taliban after 1994. Several long-standing strategic interests fuelled Pakistan’s involvement in these developments.

It has long believed that it can gain “strategic depth” against India by influencing politics in Kabul, something Islamabad felt it achieved in the 1980s and 1990s. It is keen to prevent “strategic encirclement” as a result of closer Delhi-Kabul ties. Pakistan is wary of Afghanistan (or India) exerting influence on its restive populations in border regions such as Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province.

However, the perceived gains of the last two decades have been increasingly under threat since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. After the terrorist attacks in the United States, President Pervez Musharraf had to choose between support for the US-led invasion of Afghanistan and its “war on terrorism”, and isolation as a backer of radical Islamic extremism. Mr Musharraf promptly signed Pakistan up as an ally of Washington. This committed Pakistan to supporting efforts to stabilise Afghanistan and to strengthen the administration of President Hamid Karzai.

However, there are considerable doubts about Islamabad’s capacity and commitment to crack down on militants. Kabul is deeply suspicious of Pakistan, on whom its security is largely dependent. Pakistan’s ISI is linked to the resurgence of the Taliban, whose leadership is thought to be operating from the tribal border regions. The rejuvenation of the Taliban has potential benefits for Pakistan in bolstering its role as a frontline state in the war against terrorism, thereby securing engagement from the United States.

The security problems in Afghanistan can be linked to the military’s continuing position as the predominant force in Pakistan, an institution that has, since the 1990s, viewed the Taliban as a means of controlling Afghanistan and undercutting India’s influence there. Having focused exclusively on the Taliban, it is struggling to abandon it now.

Meanwhile, as tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have increased, India’s relations with Afghanistan have steadily improved. Unlike Pakistan, ties between India and Afghanistan are not hampered by the existence of a contiguous, and contested, border. India’s support for the Northern Alliance (against the Pakistan-backed Taliban) in the 1990s strengthened its position in Kabul after 2001.

Many members of the Alliance are members of the government or hold influential provincial posts. New Delhi is one of Afghanistan’s top six donors, having extended a $750 million aid package and most of its aid is unconditional, directed largely at reconstruction projects as well as education and rural development. Kabul is also encouraging Indian businesses to take advantage of its low-tax regime to help develop a manufacturing hub in areas such as cement, oil and gas, electricity, and in services like hotels, banking and communications.

Mr Karzai may not be deliberately crafting a New Delhi-Kabul alliance against Islamabad, but he is certainly hoping to push Pakistan into taking his concerns more seriously. India has opened consulates in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad, in addition to its embassy in Kabul. Pakistan has accused the embassy in Kabul of spreading anti-Pakistani propaganda and views the establishment of the consulates as a way for New Delhi to improve intelligence-gathering against it.

After targeting the personnel involved in developmental projects and emboldened by India’s non-response, terrorists have now trained their guns directly at the Indian State. India must now respond with greater military engagement to support its developmental and political presence in Afghanistan. If India is to realise its aspirations of emerging as a major global actor, it must first learn to become a net provider of regional security.

This is a difficult task for India, given the wariness with which its neighbours view its capabilities. But India has a few good options given the instability that surrounds it. No major power has emerged historically without providing some measure of stability around its periphery. India should be using its growing capabilities to extend security in the region.

A stable, secure and prosperous neighbourhood is a sine qua non for the emergence of a great power. India cannot be merely seen as free-riding on the outside powers for regional stability. For all the rhetoric emanating from New Delhi about India’s rise, it remains unclear as to what India is ready to do to preserve and enhance its interests in its neighbourhood. India’s approach towards Afghanistan is a casualty of this short-sightedness, and it will cost New Delhi dear over the long-term.

The writer teaches at King’s College, London.

How Low Can It Go?

Comment by Georgy Bovt
Special to Russia ProfileIs a Military Confrontation Between Russia and NATO Impossible?

On more than one occasion in history, various crises demonstrated the ability to unfold according to their own, unnamed logic, and not according to the plans of the masterminds behind them. Such may also be the case with Russia’s present confrontation with the West over the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – just when it looks like the conflict has been exhausted, it turns out that the passed grievances have been the mere tip of the iceberg.

To optimists, it might seem that the worst has already happened in Russia’s argument with the West over Georgia; that all the formidable words and all the ritual threats have already been uttered, and now both sides will in some form or other return to the pragmatic policy of “business and nothing personal.” This could be true for many reasons: because we sell too much oil and gas to them, and because Russia still presents a somewhat attractive market for many in the West. Largely, these arguments can be agreed with. After all, Russia and the West have argued about many things in the past; this relationship has survived more than one crisis, but in the end, the situation was always resolved: diplomats sat down at the negotiating table, the countries’ chief executives began exchanging various tokens of attention that would have gone utterly unnoticed in ordinary situations (for example, sent condolences on the occasion of some national catastrophe, or, on the contrary, gave emphatically warm congratulations on a national holiday). The atmosphere slowly normalized itself; if any sanctions were imposed (and the meaning of any sanction is seen only when this sanction is finally lifted, otherwise it is meaningless as it doesn’t accomplish anything), they were cancelled, etc.

On the other hand, the history of human society knows many examples of situations (and especially critical situations) that would all of a sudden start developing according to their own logic, destroying all of the original plans by the politicians that created them, whether these plans were benevolent or malevolent. On the eve of World War I, for example, many European intellectuals were convinced that war is no longer an instrument for resolving international arguments. They maintained this with the same certainty demonstrated today by the overwhelming majority of analysts and intellectuals, along with the most determined politicians, who insist that a military conflict between Russia and NATO is absolutely impossible. And especially not over Georgia.

Over Georgia, in August 2008, it really might be impossible. But who would dare forecast further development of the situation, when the relationship between Russia and the West seems to be irremediably ruined, and when the situation itself is starting to develop according to its own logic, leaving political leaders in an increasingly narrow corridor of possible actions/ counteractions.

The leading roles are now played by the people who, until know, settled for the “posts” of either stooges controlled by other people or outcasts of big-time politics: field generals, leaders of unrecognized separatist groups, presidential candidates not yet elected by anyone anywhere, self-appointed “peacemakers” from all kinds of international organizations, or simply physical political persons drawn to the zone of military conflict like bees are drawn to honey. These people are driven not as much by the intention to “enforce peace” as by the chance to gain good personal or “corporate political” publicity.

Russia has long been accused of a “lack of democracy” and of “authoritarianism” as part of the general discussion among many European and, even more so, American intellectuals. And suddenly, it turns out that public politics in a country such as Russia is actually influenced by many factors at once, narrowing down possible actions by, say, President Dmitry Medvedev, much more than adventurist steps taken by such an impulsive politician as Mikheil Saakashvili, who on an August night suddenly launched an artillery attack on Tskhinvali.

There are army generals who have always treated the “so-called Georgian statehood” with great disdain (I even know one very high-ranking law-enforcement official whose milieu did not hesitate to openly request that a Russian journalist of Georgian nationality be removed from his press pool because the boss cannot stand Georgians). And if the Supreme Commander in Chief, even in a fit of inexplicable pacifism, ordered to hastily withdraw from Russia’s positions in Georgia (“as per NATO’s demand”), these generals would have simply “not understood” the order, which would have meant the end of the former’s functions as the Commander in Chief.

There is also the Russian public opinion, nursed by the official propaganda in the last eight years in such a jingoist, and, what is much sadder, such an anti-western spirit, that it has practically lost all ability to accept any complex arguments that do not fit into the black-and-white framework of the universal anti-Russian conspiracy directed by the Americans. This public opinion, even personified by its most authoritative leaders, is already losing the ability to see any long-term consequences of the blitzkrieg in Georgia. Such consequences as, for example, the fact that during this military operation the Russian army was actually very effective, according to many military experts, but its mistakes, miscalculations and weaknesses, made evident during combat with an obviously weaker enemy, were noted by interested parties, and might backfire against Russia in a very different situation in the future. And, finally, there is the informational policy carried out by many Western mass media, which is perceived by Russia’s ruling class only as an intention to “drive Russians into a corner,” to “make Serbians out of Russians,” etc. That is, this informational policy is not seen as balanced and objective even by the most liberal and pro-Western Russian analysts and politicians.

Today the tension, which is turning into a standoff between Russia and the West, is building up too rapidly for the Russian ruling elite to be able to elaborate and propose the most adequate tactics and strategy of behavior just as quickly and efficiently. Moreover, nobody right now – not only in Russia, but also in the West – is capable of predicting or assessing all the consequences such a standoff will have in the political, economic and social spheres. Even though they utter the ritual “scandalous” phrases, which, as they believe, are the proper way to react to the situation, nobody today can really answer the question of “what’s next?” where that “point of no return” is, after which even the most insightful, informed and reasonable experts will have no choice but to throw their arms up in the air in a helpless gesture, exclaiming: “The world has gone completely mad!”