15 January 2013

Avoiding the Wars That Never End

January 15, 2013 


By George Friedman

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States would transfer the primary responsibility for combat operations in Afghanistan to the Afghan military in the coming months, a major step toward the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Also last week, France began an intervention in Mali designed to block jihadists from taking control of the country and creating a base of operations in France's former African colonies.

The two events are linked in a way that transcends the issue of Islamist insurgency and points to a larger geopolitical shift. The United States is not just drawing down its combat commitments; it is moving away from the view that it has the primary responsibility for trying to manage the world on behalf of itself, the Europeans and its other allies. Instead, that burden is shifting to those who have immediate interests involved.

Insecurity in 9/11's Wake

It is interesting to recall how the United States involved itself in Afghanistan. After 9/11, the United States was in shock and lacked clear intelligence on al Qaeda. It did not know what additional capabilities al Qaeda had or what the group's intentions were. Lacking intelligence, a political leader has the obligation to act on worst-case scenarios after the enemy has demonstrated hostile intentions and capabilities. The possible scenarios ranged from additional sleeper cells operating and awaiting orders in the United States to al Qaeda having obtained nuclear weapons to destroy cities. When you don't know, it is both prudent and psychologically inevitable to plan for the worst.

The United States had sufficient information to act in Afghanistan. It knew that al Qaeda was operating in Afghanistan and that disrupting the main cell was a useful step in taking some action against the threat. However, the United States did not immediately invade Afghanistan. It bombed the country extensively and inserted limited forces on the ground, but the primary burden of fighting the Taliban government was in the hands of anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan that had been resisting the Taliban and in the hands of other forces that could be induced to act against the Taliban. The Taliban gave up the cities and prepared for a long war. Al Qaeda's command cell left Afghanistan and shifted to Pakistan.

The United States achieved its primary goal early on. That goal was not to deny al Qaeda the ability to operate in Afghanistan, an objective that would achieve nothing. Rather, the goal was to engage al Qaeda and disrupt its command-and-control structure as a way to degrade the group's ability to plan and execute additional attacks. The move to Pakistan at the very least bought time, and given continued pressure on the main cell, allowed the United States to gather more intelligence about al Qaeda assets around the world.

LoC killings: media drives hard line on Pakistan

By Ajai Shukla 

Since the Jan 8 killing of two Indian soldiers and the mutilation of their bodies in a Pakistani attack on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the government has faced a growing clamour from hard-line nationalist sections of the media --- especially electronic media --- for “action” to be taken against Pakistan. 

After a relatively restrained response in the immediate aftermath of the killings, the government --- apparently due to relentless media pressure --- shifted to a harder line against Pakistan. On Jan 8, first reports from the army’s Northern Command of the deaths of two Indian soldiers in a “ceasefire violation” in the Mendhar sector, had mentioned that the bodies had been mutilated. Although the press release made no mention of beheading, senior army officers quickly leaked the shocking news that one soldier had been beheaded and the head taken away. Only four days later, on Jan 12, was this news corroborated by a MoD spokesperson. 

But on the evening of the incident (Jan 8), with a crop of retired generals baying on television for the army to be “unleashed” against Pakistan, Foreign Minister Salman Khursheed appeared on television, conveying serious concern but also restraint. The next morning, Pakistani High Commissioner Salman Bashir was summoned to the foreign ministry and conveyed India’s concern. Statements from Pakistan, including one by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, also sought to put a lid on the incident. 

From New Delhi’s perspective this was unsurprising, given the government’s wish to prevent this incident, howsoever brutal, from derailing a ceasefire that had held for almost a decade, saving countless lives. MEA sources emphasise that the Indo-Pak dialogue should not be disturbed, since it is going India’s way. Discussions focus on the issues important to India (commercial ties, liberalisation of visa regime, terrorism, and people-to-people contacts); while there is lesser emphasis on the issues that New Delhi wanted to avoid (Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek). 

Army chief: "Will retaliate at the time and place of choosing”

By Ajai Shukla 
Business Standard
15th Jan 13 


Army chief says family of Indian soldier beheaded on the LoC as important to him as the families of the 90 other soldiers who died this last year 

Six days after two Indian soldiers were ambushed and mutilated on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, and just minutes before a senior Indian commander conveyed a strong protest to his Pakistani counterpart at a flag meeting near Poonch, in J&K, India’s army chief, General Bikram Singh ratcheted up the rhetoric, warning Pakistan that India would retaliate. 

“We reserve the right to retaliate at the time and place of choosing,” said the army chief. 

Gen Singh asserted that Indian troops would respond aggressively whenever provoked, instead of restraining themselves by the ceasefire, as in the past. “I wish to assure you that I have given very clear directions in this regard. I have told the Northern Army Commander that we must maintain and retain moral ascendancy (over Pakistani troops) at all costs.” 

“We shall uphold the ceasefire as long as the adversary upholds it. But we shall not be passive when we are fired at. When we are fired at, when we are provoked, we will respond immediately. And also to heinous acts of this kind which were committed at Mendhar sector on the 8th,” he said. 

Terming the killings and mutilation of Indian soldiers “a gruesome act, a most unpardonable act… that is against the very ethics of soldiering and professionalism,” General Bikram Singh warned that the beheading of a soldier’s body would impact on broader Indo-Pakistan relations. 

“Militarily this operation is at the tactical level but it has got strategic nuances… and our concerns have been conveyed to the Government of Pakistan by our government,” he said. 

Even while recognising the potential for tactical actions to spiral out of control, unleashing strategic consequences, Gen Singh paradoxically claimed his LoC commanders would respond as aggressively as they deemed fit to provocations by Pakistan. 

“Operations would be undertaken as per the plans made at the theatre level. We would not be (vetting) these plans at the Army HQ, where we operate in the strategic arena… Tactical is left to the corps commanders, the div commanders. 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which manages the Indo-Pak dialogue process, is watching the rhetoric carefully. A senior diplomat, speaking off-the-record to Business Standard, said that the MEA understood the need to cater to outraged public sentiment, but was also concerned that the dialogue process could be destabilised. 

The dialogue currently centres on issues that New Delhi holds important, i.e. trade and commerce, transit and travel and terrorism, with inconvenient subjects like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek placed on the back burner. During nine years of relative peace on the LoC (the ceasefire came into effect on Dec 26, 2003), Pakistan has moved out some 70,000 soldiers for counter terrorist operations in the tribal areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 

Even though the last year has seen 117 ceasefire violations, many of them during 62 bids by militants to infiltrate across the LoC, the army chief termed the LoC as largely peaceful. Most violations took place in just two sectors: Uri and Poonch. 

With firing along the LoC claiming over a hundred Indian soldiers’ lives each year before the ceasefire, at least a thousand soldiers’ lives have been notionally saved over nine years of ceasefire. 

While citing the mutilation and beheading of Indian soldiers as the reason for his outrage, Gen Singh conceded that this was not the first such instance. He admitted that Pakistani soldiers had beheaded some soldiers of 20 Kumaon last year, and others from a Rajput battalion in 2011. 

Mr Defence Minister: Thousands deprived of their due emoluments

Military & Aerospace 

Issue Net Edition | Date : 08 Jan , 2013 

MoD letter dated 27 Dec 2012 is against the spirit of Supreme Court Judgement in Rank Pay Case: Thousands deprived of their due emoluments 

Mr. Antony Sir, the MoD letter not only denies the pay scale upgradation of defence officers but also as a result leaves out the re-fixation of pensions of those who retired before January 1986 as well as consequential benefits to all officers arising out of the implementation of the fifth and sixth pay commissions. Sir, how can you allow such a perjury on your officer soldiers? 

Dated: 01 Jan 2013 

To Shri A. K. Antony, Defence Minister, 104, South Block, 13, Parliament House, New Delhi – 110001 

Dear Shri A K Antony, 

1. Once again MoD has betrayed its soldiers. The Supreme Court Judgement in Rank Pay case has not been implemented in letter and spirit making it largely redundant and thus denying the due emoluments to thousands of officers. This is another case of bureaucratic manipulation against the soldiers. The MoD letter is applicable to only about 20000 officers who were holding the rank of Captain to Brigadier on 01 Jan 1986 whereas it should have covered all officers who are in receipt of pay or pension or the family pension which should approximately works out to over 80000. 

…the MoD letter not only denies the pay scale upgradation of defence officers but also as a result leaves out the re-fixation of pensions of those who retired before January 1986… 

2. Mr. Antony Sir, the MoD letter not only denies the pay scale upgradation of defence officers but also as a result leaves out the re-fixation of pensions of those who retired before January 1986 as well as consequential benefits to all officers arising out of the implementation of the fifth and sixth pay commissions. Sir, how can you allow such a perjury on your officer soldiers? 

3. Supreme Court Judgement clearly accepts that the rank pay granted by 4th CPC was wrongly deducted from the basic pay of officers of the rank of Captain to Brigadier and ordered re-fixation of pay with effect from 01.01.1986. Even a person with some common sense will infer that the implementation of SC judgement would not only involve re-fixation of pay and pension by adding the wrongly deducted amount with effect from 01 Jan 1986 and cumulatively carry forward to 5th and 6th CPCs but also the upgradation of scales in the respective CPCs. The letter issued on 27 Dec 2012 in Para 8 states that the judgement has no bearing on 5th and 6th CPCs. However, it is important to point out to you that in the 5th CPC exactly the same kind of a parallel anomaly was there and it was also there on record in various petitions in the SC in the same case and also in the affidavits filed by the UOI on which ultimately the SC ordered that the anomaly shall be corrected w.e.f 01-01-1986 and NOT as on 01-01-1986 as has been stated in the Govt letter. 

Neglect of Welfare & Honour of Ex-Servicemen

Paper No. 5363 Dated 15-Jan-2013 
By B. Raman 

1. The barbaric Pakistani attack on Indian soldiers in the Jammu area on January 8, 2013, and the brutal killing and mutilation of two soldiers with one of them beheaded called for a three-pronged response: 
  • An exercise to express the solidarity of the nation with the families of the martyred soldiers and to initiate action to maintain their honour and dignity. This should have been the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office which should have taken a series of gestures like the PM visiting the families of the martyred soldiers, asking one of his senior officers to represent him at their cremation, a televised address to the armed forces to assure them of the solidarity of the nation and working for an all-party consensus on the subject to prevent partisan exploitation of the issue. One has an impression that these important aspects were totally neglected by the PM and his entourage. 
  • A second exercise to determine how the Pakistanis were able to carry out this barbaric attack well inside Indian territory without resistance from the Indian troops posted in the area and to tighten up the prevention of trans-LOC violations. This was the total tactical responsibility of the Army. In his media briefing on January 14, Gen. Bikram Singh the Chief of the Army Staff, firmly and lucidly explained the action taken by the Army in this regard. He clearly explained that trans-LOC aggressions will be dealt with aggressively and offensively with appropriate retaliation not ruled out as an option. The Army, which has been entrusted by the Government with the responsibility for protecting the LOC, is empowered to take whatever measures are necessary and the COAS made it clear that it will do so. 
  • The third exercise was to ensure that the Pakistan Army’s tactical barbarity across the LOC did not seriously disrupt the strategic dialogue between the political leaderships of the two countries. This has been competently handled by the Foreign Office. 
2. In my view, the serious deficiency has been with regard to the first exercise due to lack of appropriate leadership initiatives from the Ministry of Defence and the PMO. In cases like this, taking initiatives for reassuring the forces of national solidarity and for building up a national consensus is the responsibility of the head of the Government. In the US, whenever the Armed Forces suffer a serious set-back, it is the President who steps forward and exercises leadership in dealing with the situation instead of leaving it to his Defence Secretary. So too in other Western countries. 

3. Dr. Manmohan Singh, who prefers to operate from the background instead of from the forefront, chose to let the Defence Minister handle the first exercise. He failed to handle it himself. As a result, there was no leadership either from the Defece Minister or the PM. This created an unfortunate impression of neglect and indifference in the minds of the relatives of the martyred soldiers and possibly in the minds of other soldiers too. 

4. The inept handling of the first exercise has again drawn attention to the insensitivity, indifference and casualness with which successive Governments have been handling matters relating to the welfare and honour of our ex-servicemen, whether retired or martyred. This needs urgent corrective steps. The over-all responsibility in this matter should be transferred to the PMO and the PM should set up a standing Task Force to deal with the welfare and honour of our ex-servicemen, retired or martyred. 

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. Twitter: @SORBONNE75)

Delhi, Monster Metropolis

 Jan 14, 2013 12:00 AM EST 

William Dalrymple, the acclaimed history and travel author, writes about the messy megacity that he calls home. 

Delhi has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late. The horrific gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman on her way back from seeing Life of Pi has lifted the lid on the casual violence of the Indian capital. For the rape is very much a Delhi story: while violence against women is a problem everywhere in India, it is generally agreed that women are most in danger in this vast, rough, messy megacity that I call home. 

Martin Roemers/Panos Pictures 

No one really knows how big Delhi is. Delhi the federal district has about 11 million inhabitants, but that figure disguises the fact that over the political boundaries in neighboring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh there sprawl suburbs that together contain millions more. By some estimates this greater urban Delhi contains more than 21 million people and is one of the most populous urban areas on Earth. 
As the city has expanded it has swallowed up hundreds of ancient villages, where people’s lives and attitudes have changed little since the Mughal Middle Ages. It is the cheek-by-jowl coexistence of a deeply conservative patriarchal rural society alongside the very different world and moral norms of a modern urban city that has helped create the tensions that resulted in the recent tragedy. 

These enveloped villages can be sad places. There are two near my house: Shahpur Jat and Khirki, both of which have been swallowed alive. Shorn of their fields and exploited by corrupt bureaucrats and unscrupulous real-estate agents, the villagers now find themselves besieged. Shahpur Jat has undergone a “boutiquification,” and its ponds full of leathery water buffaloes are now bizarrely edged with designer shops—which are visited by women in short skirts, high heels, and Dior sunglasses—while the villagers remain deprived of even the most basic facilities. 

Beijing's Map Aggression Now and Then

Date:12 Jan , 2013

Claude Arpi Writes regularly on Tibet, China, India and Indo-French relations. He is the author of 1962 and the McMahon Line Saga, Tibet: The Lost Frontier and Dharamshala and Beijing: the negotiations that never were

Chinese maps showing Arunachal as part of China 

Yesterday, Xinhua reported that China “has inked for the first time South China Sea islands on its new official maps in equal scale to that of the Chinese mainland.” 

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG) announced that “the new vertical-format maps of China, published by Sinomaps Press, include more than 130 islands and islets in the South China Sea, most of which have not been featured on previous maps of China.” 

The Indian Prime Minister had still not realised that the Five Principles were a one-way road; but he was much too engrossed in his future role not only as the ‘neutral’ chairperson of the cease-fire commission for Indochina but also the self-appointed leader of the newly independent nations of Asia and Africa. 

Zhou Beiyan, the editor of the new maps declared: “The old maps, which were in horizontal format, only featured bigger islands such as the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands. These were illustrated in the bottom-right corner at half the scale used for the Chinese mainland.” 

The new maps will not be available to the public until the end of January. 

But according to the Communist mouthpiece: “The maps will be very significant in enhancing Chinese people’s awareness of national territory, safeguarding China’s marine rights and interests and manifesting China’s political diplomatic stance. 

The publisher of the maps asserted that “the new vertical maps have marked clearly the major South China Sea islands and demonstrated their geographic relations with surrounding island countries as well as surrounding islands and islets”. 

This reminds me of the map aggression against India in the early 1950s, at the time the infamous Panchesheel Agreement was negotiated and the foolishness of the Indian Government which did not react to the Chinese ‘map’ aggression. 

Cooperation Between Indian and Myanmar Armed Forces: Need to Move Away from a Weapons & Equipment Supply-Based Relationship

January 15, 2013 

India and Myanmar have been maintaining relations at an adequately high level between their Defence forces and particularly between the Indian Army and the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw). Relations between the two armies have been substantive especially since the early 1990s. This was but natural considering geographical contiguity, the 1463 km long land boundary, the sensitivity of the security situation in India’s northern eastern states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur that border Myanmar, and China’s expanding economic and military links with Myanmar. 

India has also had an arms-equipment supply-based relationship with the Myanmar armed forces. After 1992, a radical change in this respect was discernible when India started supplying weaponry and equipment including 105 mm guns, T-55 tanks, light helicopters, transport planes, artillery ammunition and some naval craft. However, during the NDA regime in India, counter-espionage authorities at the behest of the Defence Minister George Fernandes had ham-handedly and without suitable precautions supplied some quantity of infantry and artillery weapons to the Tatmadaw. The outcome was evident recently, when, some of these weapons having `batch numbers` from the lot exported by Sweden to India, fell into the hands of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), leading to adverse international publicity and consequent embarrassment for New Delhi. 

Ewa Bjorling, Sweden’s Trade Minister, has confirmed to the Swedish Parliament that Swedish Carl Gustaf M-3 anti-tank rifles and related ammunition originally exported to India have ended up in the hands of the Myanmar Army, which is using them in its operations against the KIA. Consequent to the above and related media coverage, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has had to respond to this revelation during his recent visit to Myanmar. He indicated that a suitable enquiry would be carried out on the matter. A more cautious and supervised military assistance process to the Myanmar Army during the NDA regime could have averted this embarrassing incident. 

India’s political relations with the Tatmadaw-dominated regime in the post-Ne Win period had a logic of its own. The northern tribal region of Myanmar has been neglected and been in ferment for more than two decades. The Nagas of India have some of their ethnic stock in north-western Myanmar. In this milieu, insurgents from India’s north-east had tried to exploit the ferment in north-western Myanmar. Even now, the NSCN (Khaplang) maintains regrouping areas and rear bases in this region. India justifiably had to build up a relationship with the Myanmar junta to neutralise the operational facilities Indian insurgents have tried to develop in Myanmar’s territory. The Myanmar Army did place some curbs on hostile Indian insurgents in its territory, but could do so only up to a degree keeping in view its own political priorities as well as material limitations. 

"Red October" Diplomatic Cyber Attacks Investigation

Posted By John Reed
January 14, 2013

Shocker! It looks like the Russians might be cyber spying on the countries that make up their former empire. IT security firm Kaspersky Lab just announced that it has found a new cyber espionage tool called Rocra. 

The malware, active since 2007, targets mostly former USSR states and Eastern European countries, along with a limited number of diplomatic and government installations in Western Europe , North America and other places. It is designed to collect "geopolitical intelligence, credentials to access classified computer systems," and data from smartphones, routers, and even deleted info from removable disk drives as part of an espionage operation dubbed Red October (seriously), according to Kaspersky Lab's announcement. 

The lab believes the "attackers have Russian-speaking origins" based on forensic evidence found in the malware and the registration data for Rocra's command-and-control servers. (Hey, it could be Western intelligence posing as Russian speaking spies, who knows.) 

More specifically, it looks like Rocra is designed to steal access codes to classified networks at diplomatic missions, research installations, "energy and nuclear groups," and "trade and aerospace targets" (see: defense firms), according to Kaspersky. The bug is installed via targeted email attacks (spear phishing) that convince recipients to open up a Microsoft Office file that installs malware on their machines via a security flaw in Office. 

Once on a victim's computer, Rocra looks to steal passwords used to access sensitive information and even steals files from Acid Cryptofiler, cryptography software used by "NATO, the European Union, European Parliament and European Commission since 2011 to protect sensitive information," states the announcement. 

"The attackers often used information exfiltrated from infected networks as a way to gain entry into additional systems," reads the announcement. "For example, stolen credentials were compiled in a list and used when the attackers needed to guess passwords or phrases to gain access to additional systems." 

The best part: once Rocra is found by a victim and removed, its masters can regain access to the infected computer via a secret "Resurrection module" that has been hidden by Rocra in the machine's copy of Office or Adobe Reader. 

The module provides "a foolproof way to regain access to a target system if the main malware body is discovered and removed, or if the system is patched," states the announcement. "Once the [command and control servers] are operational again the attackers send a specialized document file (a PDF or Office document) to victims machines via email which will activate the malware again." 

The good news is that Kaspersky Lab reports that it found only about 250 Rocra infections between November 2012 and now. This fairly limited number of infections echoes other advanced spy tools like miniFlame that we've seen recently. miniFlame is a very advanced piece of malware designed to steal loads of information from its victims found on a few dozen specifically targeted computers in the Middle East 

Just another day in the world of cyber spying.


Executive Summary 

In October 2012, Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team initiated a new threat research after a series of attacks against computer networks of various international diplomatic service agencies. A large scale cyber-espionage network was revealed and analyzed during the investigation, which we called «Red October» (after famous novel «The Hunt For The Red October»). 

This report is based on detailed technical analysis of a series of targeted attacks against diplomatic, governmental and scientific research organizations in different countries, mostly related to the region of Eastern Europe, former USSR members and countries in Central Asia. 

The main objective of the attackers was to gather intelligence from the compromised organizations, which included computer systems, personal mobile devices and network equipment. 

The earliest evidence indicates that the cyber-espionage campaign was active since 2007 and is still active at the time of writing (January 2013). Besides that, registration data used for the purchase of several Command & Control (C&C) servers and unique malware filenames related to the current attackers hints at even earlier time of activity dating back to May 2007. 
Main Findings 

Advanced Cyber-espionage Network: The attackers have been active for at least several years, focusing on diplomatic and governmental agencies of various countries across the world. 

10 Technologies the U.S. Military Will Need For the Next War

By Eric Beidel, Sandra I. Erwin and Stew Magnuson 
November 2011 

Throughout U.S. history, advances in military capability have been fueled by innovation. All branches of the military consistently have managed to use technology in new and creative ways to gain an edge over the enemy. 

The wars of the past decade exposed an “innovation gap” that forced the U.S. military to play catch up, and react to enemy tactics — such as roadside bombs and sniper attacks — rather than anticipating them. The Defense Department’s research-and-development apparatus was slow to respond with new and improved weapons based on changing threats. Critics have called for the Pentagon to stop wasting money on science projects that target undefined hypothetical future wars, focus on systems that they know deployed forces need, and to move them to the field in weeks or months, not years or decades. Innovation is not helpful if it’s not assisting troops at war. As many senior Pentagon officials have noted, an 80-percent solution that can be available in months is better than a perfect outcome that could take years or decades to achieve.

In this special report, National Defense identifies 10 key technologies that U.S. forces likely will need to fight the next war. Regardless of where or when that conflict might be, there is widespread consensus that advances in certain key areas would benefit U.S. forces. 

Examples are faster and quieter helicopters, advanced crowd-control weapons, lighter infantry equipment that doesn’t overburden troops, ultra-light trucks and better battlefield communications. In the maritime realm, Navy leaders have for years been seeking stealthy mini-submarines that can be remotely operated, and fast bulletproof power boats for anti-piracy and coastal security operations. 

Accurate intelligence about the enemy is always on the military’s wish list, and success in future conflicts will require technologies that can perform persistent surveillance to help identify enemies and friendly forces. Robots that can operate autonomously also will be essential tools of war, not necessarily to fire weapons, but to conduct mundane tasks such as delivering cargo. 

Also on the wish list is renewable energy that reduces the military’s dependence on fuel supplies. Transporting fuel to war zones has become one of the most dangerous missions because enemies know that it is the lifeblood of the U.S. military machine. Almost anything that helps reduce that demand is likely to be welcome.

The list of 10 technologies that follows is in no particular ranking order.

Faster, Quieter, Safer Helicopters

When Taliban fighters shot down a special operations MH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan this summer, killing 30 U.S. troops, it was seen as proof that U.S. forces need faster choppers. Special operators and medical evacuation units, in particular, need more speed not just to reach critical areas of the battlefield more quickly but also to be able to dodge enemy fire.

Secret missions such as the one that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden also have shown the need for agile, quiet, less detectable rotorcraft. A modified stealth helicopter used in that operation crashed, highlighting another issue with the current crop of military choppers: They are most prone to accidents during takeoff and landing.

These speed, noise and safety demands are forcing manufacturers to stray from conventional helicopter designs, which experts say caps an aircraft’s speed at around the 170 knots that the CH-47 Chinook currently reaches.

Tilt-rotor advocates say the military should buy more V-22 Ospreys, which can reach cruise speeds of about 250 knots.

“In 50 years, a lot of aviation will be this kind of machine,” said Emilio Dalmasso, senior vice president of commercial business at AugustaWestland, which is partnering with Bell on the BA-609 tilt-rotor. “One that has the capacity to take off and land like a helicopter but then fly as an airplane.”

Top Five Threats to National Security in the Coming Decade

November 2012 
By Sandra I. Erwin, Stew Magnuson, Dan Parsons and Yasmin Tadjdeh 

Defense technologists are most successful when they hone in on specific problems. The Pentagon’s research agencies and their contractors were asked in 2003 to come up with ways to foil roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and although they did not defeat the threat entirely, they did produce a number of useful detectors, jammers and other counter-explosive systems. More recently, military researchers received marching orders to help tackle the so-called “anti-access area-denial” threats, which is Pentagon-speak for enemy weapons that could be used to shoot down U.S. fighters and attack Navy ships.

The next wave of national security threats, however, might be more than the technology community can handle. They are complex, multidimensional problems against which no degree of U.S. technical superiority in stealth, fifth-generation air warfare or night-vision is likely to suffice.

The latest intelligence forecasts by the Obama administration and other sources point to five big challenges to U.S. and global security in the coming decades. 

Biological Weapons: The White House published in 2009 a National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats with an underlying theme that biological weapons eventually will be used in a terrorist attack. To prevent deadly viruses from being turned into mass-casualty weapons, officials say, one of the most difficult challenges is obtaining timely and accurate insight on potential attacks. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has a team of researchers working these problems. But they worry that the pace of research is too slow to keep up with would-be terrorists.

Nukes: Large stockpiles of nuclear weapons are tempting targets for nation-states or groups set on attacking the United States and its allies, officials assert. Black-market trade in sensitive nuclear materials is a particular concern for U.S. security agencies. “The prospect that al-Qaida or another terrorist organization might acquire a nuclear device represents an immediate and extreme threat to global security,” says an administration report. No high-tech sensors exist to help break up black markets, detect and intercept nuclear materials in transit and there are no financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade. A much-hyped Department of Homeland Security effort to detect radioactive materials at U.S. ports has been plagued by technical hiccups. Analysts believe that although a full-up nuclear weapon would be nearly impossible for an al-Qaida like group to build, a more likely scenario would be a low-yield “dirty bomb” that could be made with just a few grams of radioactive material.

Pakistani cleric: catalyst for change or military stooge?

By Matthew Green and Mubasher Bukhari 

India celebrated the 65th anniversary of the formation of its national army with soldiers from various regiments and artillery on display. 

(Reuters) - A month ago, Muhammad Tahirul Qadri was living quietly in Canada, immersed in the affairs of his Islamic charity and seemingly far removed from the pre-election power games shaping the fate of politicians in his native Pakistan. 

In the past three weeks, he has returned home to lead a call for electoral reforms that has earned him instant celebrity, sent a stab of anxiety through the ruling class and raised fears of trouble at a planned rally in Islamabad on Monday.

"Our agenda is just democratic electoral reforms," Qadri told Reuters in the eastern city of Lahore, the headquarters of his Minhaj-ul-Quran religious foundation. "We don't want the law-breakers to become our lawmakers."

Qadri's platform hinges on a demand that the judiciary bars corrupt politicians from running for office and that the army plays a possible role in the formation of a caretaker government which is due to manage the run-up to elections this spring.

But his sudden ascent has prompted speculation that the military, which ruled Pakistan for decades, may be using him as a proxy to delay the polls and install a compliant interim administration to serve at the generals' pleasure.

On Sunday afternoon, television channels broadcast images of several thousand supporters leaving Lahore in a convoy of buses bound for the capital of Islamabad.

It was not clear if they would reach the capital on Monday. Several roads leading into Islamabad were sealed off and lines of shipping containers moved into place to block off the streets containing top government offices.

The cleric's overnight transformation from a scholar-philanthropist into a media sensation commanding huge crowds has thrust a new wild card into the fraught run-up to the polls.

For Defense, Less Beef, More Chuck

Why Hagel's critics need to turn down the heat. 

War is not a numbers game. Yet critics of former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next secretary of defense are utterly driven by three numerically defined matters. First, Hagel's opposition to the "surge" in Iraq six years ago is seen as a tremendous liability. Conservative commentator Ross Douthat has judged Hagel "dead wrong" on this issue, given the real improvements in Iraq that followed in the wake of the surge. Next, Hagel has made supportive noises about drawing down American forces swiftly in Afghanistan -- over and against the many cautionary voices of senior military leaders. Last, he has bluntly stated that the Pentagon budget is "bloated," something that everybody knows but few will ever admit. 

By the numbers, then, it appears that Hagel will be in deep trouble should Republicans choose to mount sustained opposition to his nomination -- a seeming surety. But this could be just the sort of confirmation fight that is needed to raise the level of public discourse about military and security affairs. These matters were hardly discussed, much less debated, in the nearly substance-free presidential campaign last fall. It is high time that we should shift our gaze back to the Iraq war once again, that we should parse its key lessons for Afghanistan, and that we should think very hard about whether to keep the Pentagon spending spigot wide open. 

Perhaps the most important question to ask about Iraq is, "What caused the collapse of the insurgency in 2007?" Some 30,000 additional troops were indeed sent during this period, but there was also a dramatic shift in the concept of operations employed. This change took the form of building a physical network of small (i.e., platoon-sized) outposts all over Anbar province and engaging in "outreach" toward the very insurgents who were opposing coalition forces. These were the developments that energized the "awakening" in Iraq, defeated al Qaeda there, and gave hope for peace. 

Who is Tahir-ul Qadri?

By Shamila N. Chaudhary  
January 14, 2013

Tahir-ul Qadri, a Canada-based Pakistani preacher and former politician leads a massive protest today from Lahore to Islamabad calling for regime change in Pakistan. If it is electoral change Qadri is looking for, he won't be the one to get it. Qadri's been politically irrelevant since he departed the scene in 2004, when he resigned from his post as a Member of the National Assembly. Qadri himself does not even occupy a seat in Parliament, nor does anyone in his party, Pakistan Awami Tehreek. 

However, his religious organization Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran, is a force to be reckoned with. The organization has an expansive school network in Punjab and maintains massive support among Pakistanis attracted to his meshing of modern values with conservative Islam. But this following was not enough for Qadri to deliver the "millions" of protesters he promised. 

Could Qadri be another Imran Khan prototype, informally sponsored by the military? At least Khan can deliver the people. Despite the lackluster showing at today's march, we should not overlook the meaning behind Qadri's interestingly timed, well-organized and well-funded return. He says he wants to put "true democracy on track," but Qadri comes at a time when the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led government and the main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), are near agreement on the timing of elections and the caretaker government setup, a process bolstered by the 20th amendment that mandates the government's cooperation with the opposition in setting up a neutral caretaker government in advance of elections. 

In addition to seeking specific changes, such as ensuring electoral candidates pay their taxes before running for a seat, Qadri's push for a caretaker government in lieu of the current regime resonates with some in the security establishment who had been rumored to be informally floating the idea last year of installing temporary leaders a la Bangladesh in the mid-1990s. Supporters of the idea believe such moves are justified on by the PPP's poor performance and corruption. 

Get the Deal or Get Out of Afghanistan

January 15, 2013 

The war that Barack Obama once called a war of necessity no longer seems necessary to his administration. 

The president and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, made it clear at their joint press conference last week that the United States will hand over control of all Afghan territory to that country’s security forces in a few months, several months sooner than anticipated. “Afghanization” is therefore proceeding apace. Of course the administration prefers not to use the term because its analogue, “Vietnamization,” did not exactly prove to be successful. Whatever it is termed, however, the trajectory of the administration’s policy indicates that the current variant in Afghanistan is unlikely to meet with any more success than did its southeast Asian analogue four decades ago. 

Numerous analysts have already pointed out that the police component of the Afghan security forces is rife with the corruption that plagues the entire country. Nor is it clear that the Afghan military is sufficiently ready to operate on its own. The warlords that dominate various Afghan regions remain in place, as do the Taliban and the Haqqani Group. Obama yielding to Karzai’s proposal that the Taliban open an office in Qatar, from which it would negotiate with the Afghan government, smacks of the Paris Peace Talks that ultimately did little to prevent North Vietnam from overrunning the South. The portents for Afghanistan’s future are ominous at best. 

The Taliban has virtually no incentive to negotiate in good faith. It sees an America that cannot escape from Afghanistan quickly enough and a Karzai government that has alienated its people by failing to provide the services they expect and doing virtually nothing to stem the tide of corruption that has engulfed the country and created an elite that launders its ill-gotten gains abroad. 

India, Pakistan Back to Ground Zero?

Paper No. 5364 Dated 15-Jan-2013 
Guest Column by Rajeev Sharma 

Familiar arch-rivals India and Pakistan are back with their familiar hate game. The trigger point is also familiar – the volatile Line of Control (LoC). What has happened between the two nuclear-armed adversaries is that on January 8 the Pakistani soldiers made a deep incursion into the Indian side of the LoC, according to New Delhi, and killed two Indian Army personnel and injured as many more. 

The Indians also alleged that the Pakistani soldiers badly mutilated bodies of the two killed Indian army men and left behind a decapitated body of one of the killed, imputing that the alleged marauding Pakistanis had decamped with the head of the Indian soldier. 

The incident has triggered headlines in the Indian print and electronic media and evoked jingoistic sentiments at this kind of scale for the first time since the November 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai. 

This is the most serious flash point in India-Pakistan bilateral relations since the terror carnage in Mumbai in November 2008 which has since been proved to be choreographed by elements in Pakistan – something which Pakistan denied initially but has since accepted. 

The obvious implication of the incident is that the India-Pakistan bilateral relations are virtually back into the deep freeze. The Indian responses to the Pakistani act are worth examining. 

The most immediate response came from the Indian Army . Within hours of the incident, the Indian Army issued the following statement: 

“In a significant escalation to the continuing series of Cease Fire Violations and infiltration attempts supported by Pak Army, a group of their regular soldiers intruded across the Line of Control in the Mendhar Sect on 08 Jan 2013. Pak army troops, having taken advantage of thick fog & mist in the forested area, were moving towards own posts when an alert area domination patrol spotted and engaged the intruders. The fire-fight between Pak and own troops continued for approximately half an hour after which the intruders retreated back towards their side of Line of Control. Two soldiers Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh laid down their lives while fighting the Pak troops. This is yet another grave provocation by Pak Army which is being taken up sternly through official channels.” 

The next day on January 9, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid remarked that the Indian response will have to be “proportionate” and said: “We need answers from the Pakistani side. We may have to go beyond the procedures.” 

One should look at the timing of the incident which came soon after the Indo-Pakistan cricket series in India ended. Islamabad also ignored India’s good gesture of proving visa to Pakistani cricket icon Javed Miandad, despite the fact that Miandad is a close relative of “global terrorist” Dawood Ibrahim. Miandad’s son is married to Dawood’s daughter. Miandad, however, cancelled his India visit after getting the visa. 

Pakistan: Implications of Sectarian Violence

Paper No. 5365 Dated 15-Jan-2013 
By Kazi Anwarul Masud

Once again Pakistan is ravaged by sectarian violence. Persistent stories of savagery in the name of religion is causing worry not only to Pakistanis but to her South Asian neighbors and to the international community. 

Sectarian or inter and intra-religious violence should have reduced with the passage of time and the advancement of society into post-modern state where people try to think beyond the confines of the past and interrogate beliefs and concepts held sacred and inviolable. 

Sectarian violence also arrests human progress founded on challenging exclusivity, intellectual and moral rigor, orthodoxy and religious tradition. 

Yet in the post-secular world religion that had been confined to religious institutions and mullahs and priests were thought to have been relegated to tending their flocks has staged a comeback, sometimes in violent forms, resulting in destabilization of a yet fragile global structure trying to find its moorings in the post-Cold War slippery slope. Perhaps the creeping advance of religion in a secular world has been given a push, if any one incident can be cited credibly, by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that for decades has divided the world into camps not so much defined by levels of economic development but by the religion the people profess. Though controversial yet oft quoted is the controversial thesis of Samuel Huntington titled Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order where he writes “The West is and will remain for years to come the most powerful civilization. Yet its power relative to that of other civilization is declining. 

As the West attempts to assert it values and to protect its interests, non-Western societies confront a choice. Some attempt to emulate the West and to join or to “band-wagon”with the West. Other Confucian and Islamic societies attempt to expand their own economic and military power to resist and to “balance” against the West. A central axis of the post-Cold War world politics is thus the interaction of Western power and culture of non-Western civilization” .Influence Samuel Huntington and others who thought alike had on Western perception resulted in consequent actions by Western political to the detriment of the Muslims. 

The aberrant behavior by a section of the Muslims towards fellow Muslims is giving credence to people who propagate millennial rivalry between Islam and Christianity. Such behavior is palpably evident in Pakistan, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and some other countries where sectarian conflicts and deaths of the innocent do not even raise eyebrows of fellow citizens because they have got used to such tragic and senseless killings. 

Sectarian conflict in Islam can be traced to the difference the two sects have on the politico-theological questions. Professor N. D. Danjibo (Islamic fundamentalism and Sectarian Violence in Northern Nigeria) writes “The earliest known sects in Islam are perhaps the Sunni and the Shi’a (Shiites).Whereas the Sunni believe in integrating religion and society by adopting religion to state structures, the Shiites believe in religious Puritanism such that Islam must be practiced in its pure form and must be guarded from being adulterated by the society.