27 February 2013

Afghanistan’s partition might be unpreventable

by Brahma Chellaney
Feb 27, 2013 

NEW DELHI – America’s unwinnable war in Afghanistan, after exacting a staggering cost in blood and treasure, is finally drawing to an official close. How this development shapes Afghanistan’s future will have a significant bearing on the security of countries located far beyond. After all, Afghanistan is not Vietnam: The end of U.S.-led combat operations may not end the war, because the enemy will seek to target Western interests wherever located. 

Can the fate of Afghanistan be different from two other Muslim countries where the United States militarily intervened — Iraq and Libya? Iraq has been partitioned in all but name into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, while Libya seems headed toward a similar three-way but tribal-based partition, underscoring that a foreign military intervention can effect regime change but not establish order. 

Will there be an Iraq-style “soft partition” of Afghanistan, with protracted strife eventually creating a “hard partition”?

Afghanistan’s large ethnic minorities already enjoy de facto autonomy, which they secured after their Northern Alliance played a central role in the U.S.-led ouster of the Afghan Taliban from power in late 2001. Having enjoyed autonomy for years now, the minorities will resist with all their might from coming under the sway of the ethnic Pashtuns, who ruled the country for long. 

For their part, the Pashtuns, despite their tribal divisions, will not rest content with being in charge of just a rump Afghanistan made up of the eastern and southeastern provinces. Given the large Pashtun population resident across the British-drawn Durand Line that separates Afghanistan from Pakistan, they are likely sooner or later to revive their long-dormant campaign for a Greater Pashtunistan — a development that could affect the territorial integrity of another artificial modern construct, Pakistan. 

The fact that the ethnic minorities are actually ethnic majorities in distinct geographical zones in the north and the west makes Afghanistan’s partitioning organically doable and more likely to last, unlike the colonial-era geographical line-drawing that created states with no national identity or historical roots. The ethnic minorities account for more than half of Afghanistan — both in land area and population size. The Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara communities alone make up close to 50 percent of Afghanistan’s population. 

After waging the longest war in its history at a cost of tens of thousands of lives and nearly a trillion dollars, the U.S. is combat-weary and even financially strapped. The American effort for an honorable exit by cutting a deal with the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban, paradoxically, is deepening Afghanistan’s ethnic fissures and increasing the partitioning risk. With President Barack Obama choosing his second-term national security team and his 2014 deadline to end all combat operations approaching, the U.S. effort to strike a deal with the Taliban is back on the front burner. 

Withdraw and Win: “Go” for Victory in Afghanistan

by Joshua Thiel and Douglas A. Borer
February 25, 2013 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the official policy of the US Army, US Navy, DOD, or Government of the United States. This article was submitted for internal review in October 2012. It has been approved for release by USASOC, USASFC, 1st SFG(A), SOJTF-A, and CJSOTF-A. All information is from unclassified resources or from the authors’ experience. All maps are from open source websites. Research for this article was made possible by the Combating Terrorism Archive Project (CTAP) at the Naval Postgraduate School. 

The war in Afghanistan can still be won. There, we have said it. Let us begin by answering the skeptics’ question: what does “victory” mean? Victory is defined by Afghanistan becoming a territorial entity from which terrorists cannot gain sufficient safe haven to organize, train, equip, and launch attacks against the USA and its allies. This means the Taliban must be denied the opportunity to return to unchecked power in Afghanistan. If the Taliban return to unilateral power, sooner or later Afghan soil will again be used by al Qaeda or similar violent radicals to strike the both the West and neighboring South Asian states. The pre-9.11.01 status quo will have been recreated and the last ten years will be wasted. This must not happen. Although we are sympathetic to those who define “victory” as meaning democracy, human rights, and other western liberal notions of individual and economic freedom, our definition of strategic victory does not require these things. 

Now we are going to explain how to win by presenting an operational level plan called “Go” that will help the Afghan government maintain enduring control over key nodes in the geo-political space. Doing so will set the conditions for the eventual evolution of a viable Afghan state. Again, the goal of this plan is to deny terrorists the ability to launch 9.11-like attacks from Afghanistan after most US troops leave the country in 2014. We are not offering a new grand strategy; however, we are offering focus and synchronization to create optimal synergy for the approach that is now working, Village Stability Operations. The benefits include: a reduction of US resources, the elimination of terrorist basing, and mitigating the loss of US prestige if the war is judged as lost. Our approach does not require a new "surge" of forces or a delay in the present draw down. However, as occurred in the wake of the last time the United States witnessed a surprise attack in1941, our plan may require that some US personnel remain deployed to the theater for a long time. 

After 10 years in Afghanistan, America stands at a critical historic juncture. We believe re-energizing the allied Village Stability approach is important because it is the best approach on which to build a clear plan for victory. Some people may think that the primary American interest is simply to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as politically possible, and hope that things turn out. We agree that hope is a good thing, but it is a poor strategy. If indeed the intent is only to withdraw, without also trying to win, then we believe most combat operations should stop, and all personnel should work to reduce risk by focusing almost unilaterally on force protection. Of course doing this would mean leaving our Afghan allies to fend for themselves. Doing so would enhance instability in South Asia and foment further unrest by violent radicals in a nuclear-armed Pakistan. Additionally, an immediate pullout out would mean abandoning the initiative that the Village Stability approach has invigorated. We call a complete and rapid withdrawal a "hope without a prayer" strategy, and categorically reject it as being unnecessarily defeatist. Afghanistan, America, and the international coalition can still win. 

Knowing Where and How Criminal Organizations Operate Using Web Content

by Robert Bunker
February 26, 2013

Very significant work with SWJ El Centro counter non-state OPFOR (opposing force) implications. Presented at the 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2012) October 29 to November 2, 2012 in Maui, Hawaii. The MOGO (Making Order using Google as an Oracle) discussed in this paper is highly cost effective and provides very significant OSINT (open source intelligence) analytical capabilities via a web crawler approach. See the trafficker distribution figures, politician-municipality significant relations, and cartel migration patterns for applications. Also note the acknowledgement section re institutions supporting this project. 

Knowing Where and How Criminal Organizations Operate Using Web Content

Michele Coscia and Viridiana Rios

KddLab - ISTI CNR/ Department of Government - Harvard University

We develop a framework that uses Web content to obtain quantitative information about a phenomenon that would otherwise require the operation of large scale, expensive intelligence exercises. Exploiting indexed reliable sources such as online newspapers and blogs, we use unambiguous query terms to characterize a complex evolving phenomena and solve a security policy problem: identifying the areas of operation and modus operandi of criminal organizations, in particular, Mexican drug trafficking organizations over the last two decades. We validate our methodology by comparing information that is known with certainty with the one we extracted using our framework. We show that our framework is able to use information available on the web to efficiently extract implicit knowledge about criminal organizations. In the scenario of Mexican drug trafficking, our findings provide evidence that criminal organizations are more strategic and operate in more differentiated ways than current academic literature thought. 

Pentagon Wants a ‘Family of Devices’ as It Makes Big Move Into Mobile Market

By Spencer Ackerman

A U.S. Army paratrooper takes a picture with his cellphone while waiting to board an Air Force C-17, December 2010. Photo: U.S. Army
The next big customer for smartphones and tablets? The U.S. military. Finally.

The military has begun talks with device and mobile operating-system manufacturers, as well as the major carriers, to supply troops with secured mobile devices. The idea is for the manufacturers to offer the Pentagon an already-secure device and OS, rather for the military to laboriously build a bespoke mobile suite that inevitably won’t keep pace with commercial innovation. 

And the military has a significant amount of purchasing power on its side: hundreds of thousands of customers for the winning bid. 

The architects of the Pentagon’s new Commercial Device Mobile Implementation Plan, unveiled Tuesday, want to be clear they’re not talking about soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines all buying, say, an iPhone 5 — and being stuck with it for years after the companies come out with improved, upgraded mobile products. And they’d prefer to let the troops pick from a selection of secured, approved smartphones and tablets, not issue everyone a mobile device like they issue rifles. 

“We’re device-agnostic,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, the Pentagon’s deputy chief information officer, told reporters. “What we’re looking for is a family of devices that are available depending on the operator. … And we’re going to continue to update as they update.” 

That’s going to be a significant change from the top-down way the Pentagon often buys hardware. The Pentagon plan calls for giving security guidelines to the mobile companies, from secure to classified — data-security standards that have been worked out with the National Security Agency — and then shopping around for the best family of products that can meet the standard. It’s going to publish those security guidelines, for both devices and for the mobile applications they’ll run, within 120 days. 

Hard National Security Choices

By Gregory McNeal
February 25, 2013

Kill-Lists and Network Analysis

In my previous post I discussed how law creates three broad categories of potential targets (AUMF targets, Covert Action targets, and Ally targets). Those broad categories mean that many individuals may be targetable based on their status as members of an organized armed group. Working from these broad legal categories, the U.S. next relies on multiple levels of bureaucratic analysis to sort out the persons worth adding to a kill-list from the universe of potential targets. The goal is not merely killing people, but to kill those persons whose elimination will have the greatest impact on the enemy organization. I briefly described a systems based approach to targeting that looks at potential targets, their value to enemy organizations, their ability to be replaced, and their contributions to the enemy’s warfighting effort. In this post I dive a bit deeper into the targeting bureaucracy to discuss network based targeting analysis. (Internal references have been omitted in this post but can be found in the paper once it is available). 


To outside observers, some targets such as senior operational leaders are obviously worthy of placement on a kill-list, while the propriety of adding other persons to a kill-list may be more hotly disputed. While it may be clear that killing a bomb-maker (to draw from the example in my last post) is an obvious choice as it can create a gap in an enemy organization that may be hard to fill, removing other individuals (even if they are quickly replaced) may similarly pressure or disrupt terrorist organizations. As CIA director Hayden stated in 2009: 

By making a safe haven feel less safe, we keep al-Qaeda guessing. We make them doubt their allies; question their methods, their plans, even their priorities… we force them to spend more time and resources on self-preservation, and that distracts them, at least partially and at least for a time, from laying the groundwork for the next attack. 

When personnel within the targeting process are developing names for kill-lists, they will look beyond the criticality and vulnerability factors (described in my prior post) and will supplement that analysis with network based analysis. Networked based analysis looks at terrorist groups as nodes connected by links, and assesses how components of that terrorist network operate together and independently of one another. Those nodes and links, once identified will be targeted with the goal of disrupting and degrading their functionality. To effectively pursue a network based approach, bureaucrats rely in part on what is known as “pattern of life analysis” which involves connecting the relationships between places and people by tracking their patterns of life. This analysis draws on the interrelationships among groups “to determine the degree and points of their interdependence.” It assesses how activities are linked and looks to “determine the most effective way to influence or affect the enemy system.” 

Deploying an Army of Smartphones to Stream Images of Everything

By Sarah Mitroff

Koozoo’s suction-cup camera mount attaches an old smartphone to your window so you can livestream the world outside. Photo: Koozoo

If you’ve ever wanted to scope out the line at your favorite restaurant before you get there, or enjoy the same view that someone high up in a skyscraper sees, it’s worth checking out Koozoo. The San Francisco-based startup is assembling a network of live video cameras from cast-off smartphones to stream everything from the basketball court in the park across the street to a seascape halfway around the globe. 

The setup is simple. Using an old smartphone (how about that iPhone 3G you have in the drawer?) with the Koozoo app loaded, and a suction-cup window mount and a power cord, you point the little sucker at something outside your home or office that others might find valuable or interesting. Tap record in Koozoo, and you’re streaming live to the Koozoo website where fellow streamers can choose among the video feeds. 

“You can see what’s going on near you or around the world through your phone,” says co-founder Drew Sechrist. “I can see if there is line at the coffee shop around the corner, so I can avoid it or wait for a lull.” 

Lines at the coffee shop are just one of the use cases that Sechrist and his co-founder Edward Sullivan have discovered since they launched Koozoo’s private beta earlier this year. The 100 or so people in the beta group have been using Koozoo streams to check the weather at the Marina Green (a notoriously foggy part of San Francisco), share views of their apartments with family, and witness the neighborhood celebrations that followed the San Francisco Giants winning the 2012 World Series. 

Number 1 on Army’s Shopping List: Wireless Broadband

By Spencer Ackerman

A paratrooper plays with his phone while waiting to board a C-17. Photo: U.S. Army

The most important element of the Army’s effort to modernize itself doesn’t shoot. You can’t ride in it. You can’t wear it for protection against homemade bombs. And it doesn’t spy on an enemy. You transmit data on it. 

“The network,” says Lt. Gen. William Phillips, the Army’s acquisitions chief, “is our number one program going forward.”

Yes, a data network for dismounted soldiers. Since the war in Afghanistan began, officers have been frustrated by the difficulties in sharing timely, relevant tactical information with small units and infantrymen. 

The Army definitely wants to buy better blast-protected trucks, upgrades to its rifles, and other gear. But 10 years of war taught the soldiers that a data network needs to come first — and the light at the end of the Afghan tunnel that President Obama promises provides the soldiers with their opportunity. 

“We haven’t always gotten it right,” Phillips conceded. “In many cases, we’ve taken systems downrange to our warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan and they’ve had to work out the bugs in those systems.”

That’s why the Army is pulsing its new data networks in semi-annual tests called Network Integration Exercises. They’re buying Android smartphones off the shelves of big-box stores to see how they play with the network, and checking how the nets hold up as more and more devices come online. They’ve even got their own app store built and ready to go. 

Army Taps Android Phones for ‘Wearable Computers’

By Spencer Ackerman

Officials running the Army’s long-awaited program to equip soldiers with a wearable computer system are sick of hearing about smartphones.

Smartphones embarrass them: The Nett Warrior program and its predecessors have spent two decades trying to give soldiers tools for communications and mapping that smartphones currently offer. The results? Mixed, at best

Back in April, the officer then overseeing Nett Warrior, Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, sounded irritated when Danger Room brought up the subject of smartphones. “Every kid’s going down to whatever local store they want, and they’re buying some smart device and saying, ‘Well, this is modern, and it lets me know where I am, where my friends are … it gives me all that capability, how come I can’t get that?’” 

Of course, it’s not as simple as that: Civilian smartphones rely on billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure to work, and they don’t have to be built to survive Afghanistan. But now, with little choice, Nett Warrior is taking the plunge and embracing the smartphones it once tried to avoid. 

In late July, the Pentagon’s acquisitions overseers put Nett Warrior on ice while they reviewed whether it made any sense to make soldiers wear eight pounds of gear to do less than what a phone weighing a few ounces (plus a tactical, encrypted radio) can offer. Evidently, the answer is no. A new solicitation from Nett Warrior is basically preparing to go shopping for smartphones. 

It’s a spree that’ll make Google happy: The Army is insisting that the phones be powered by Android.

Arab Rockets, Iranian Missiles, and Israeli Air Defenses

by David Rodman
February 26, 2013

Rocket and ballistic missile attacks against the home front presently constitute the most potent threat to Israel’s national security. Consequently, Israel has invested heavily in both active and passive defenses against rockets and ballistic missiles, to the point where it now possesses a formidable defensive shield against such weapons. Indeed, the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, which has been in action on numerous occasions since early 2011, has already proven itself quite capable of destroying short-range rockets, even when the latter are fired in salvos. Israel’s defenses against rockets and ballistic missiles provide important strategic benefits to the state, and they may change the face of Middle Eastern warfare in the future. 

Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the threat to Israel posed by conventional warfare—that is, warfare waged against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by the armies of the country’s foes—has dwindled to a considerable extent. Concomitantly, the threat posed by unconventional warfare—that is, attacks against the Israeli civilian populace by both state and non-state foes—has risen dramatically, particularly since the turn of the twenty-first century. Currently, the most potent non-conventional threat to Israel is the one posed by large-scale rocket and ballistic missile attacks against its home front. 

Indeed, Israel has fought two wars in recent years—the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah and the 2008–9 Gaza War (or Operation Cast Lead) against Hamas—in which its non-state foes’ main mode of warfare consisted of intensive rocket fire against its civilian populace. And, in late 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas, Israeli villages, towns, and cities were again subjected to intensive rocket fire. The arsenals of ballistic missiles in the hands of Iran and, to a lesser extent, Syria represent an even greater potential threat, as at least some of these missiles could be armed with chemical, possibly biological, and, in the not-too-distant future, possibly nuclear warheads. 

Predictably, then, active and passive defenses against rockets and ballistic missiles today occupy a rather prominent place in Israel’s national security doctrine. Not only do they enhance Israeli deterrence against potential Arab and Iranian aggression, but they also reduce the amount of death and destruction inflicted on the Israeli home front when deterrence fails. Furthermore, these defenses provide Israel with a freer hand to pursue—or not to pursue—specific military options in support of vital national security interests. Anti-rocket and anti-ballistic missile defenses, in other words, might well become a strategic “game changer” for Israel. 

Anti-Rocket and Anti-Ballistic Missile Defenses

Israel has at its disposal a combination of offensive and defensive means with which to protect the home front against rockets and ballistic missiles. The category of offensive means includes such measures as air strikes to destroy rocket and ballistic missile launchers and stockpiles, like the series of strikes that knocked out most of Hizbullah’s long-range-rocket arsenal at the outset of the Second Lebanon War, and ground incursions into enemy territory to seize known launching areas, like the one that occurred during Operation Cast Lead. Though the present discussion restricts itself to a consideration of defensive means only, it must be kept firmly in mind that the most effective defense against rockets and ballistic missiles depends upon a combination of offensive and defensive means. 

How Israel beat the drought

By David Horovitz
February 26, 2013

This country was on the brink of water catastrophe, reduced to running relentless ad campaigns urging Israelis to conserve water even as it raised prices and cut supplies to agriculture. Now, remarkably, the crisis is over 

Until a couple of years ago, Israeli radio and TV regularly featured commercials warning that the country was “drying out.”

In one of the most powerful TV ad campaigns, celebrities including singer Ninet Tayeb, model Bar Refaeli and actor Moshe Ivgy highlighted the “years of drought” and the “falling level of the Kinneret.” As they spoke plaintively to camera, their features started to crack and peel — like the country — for lack of moisture. 

Ninet Tayeb in the no-longer-broadcast ‘Israel is drying out’ commercial (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

So compelling was this ad, so resonant its impact, I hadn’t actually realized it was no longer on the air. Alexander Kushnir put me straight. “We decided it simply wasn’t justified to alarm Israelis in this way any longer,” said Kushnir, who heads Israel’s Water Authority. 

How so? Israelis don’t need to watch their water use any more? Isn’t this region one of the world’s most parched? Haven’t we been warned for years that the next Middle East war will be fought over water?

Kushnir’s answers: Yes, Israelis must still be wise with their water use. Yes, emphatically, this is a desert region, desperately short of natural water. And yes, we have indeed been worried for years about the possibility of water shortages provoking conflict. 

Twenty Years after the WTC Bombing

By Andrew C. McCarthy
February 26, 2013 

Today is the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing. It also marks three weeks since the attempted murder of Lars Hedegaard, the intrepid Danish champion of free speech. These events are not unrelated. 

Back in 1993, there was a tireless effort to limn the WTC bombers as wanton killers. They were, we were to understand, bereft of any coherent belief system, unrepresentative of any mainstream construction of Islam. In reality, though, they were devout Muslim operatives who belonged to a jihadist cell formed in the New York area by Omar Abdel Rahman — whose notoriety as the shadowy “Blind Sheikh” obscured the basis of his profound influence over Islamists across the globe. 

Sheikh Abdel Rahman is an internationally renowned Islamic jurist, having earned a doctorate in the jurisprudence of sharia — Islam’s societal framework and legal code — from Egypt’s al-Azhar University, the center of Sunni Islamic learning for over a millennium. Blind from early youth and plagued by several other maladies, Abdel Rahman was physically incapable of building a bomb, hijacking a jetliner, carrying out an assassination — in short, of performing any blood-soaked activity that would be useful to a terrorist organization . . . other than leading it. 

It was nothing other than Abdel Rahman’s indisputable mastery of Islamic doctrine, and hence his capacity to give present-day vitality to a seventh-century summons to holy war, that vaulted him to the forefront of the jihad. 

The World Trade Center bombing was Islamic supremacism’s declaration of war on the United States. It was a blunt statement by the savage shock troops of a worldwide movement that America — “the head of the snake,” as the Blind Sheikh called us — could be struck at home, right in the beating heart of economic liberty. 

Despite serial atrocities, thousands of deaths, and a decade of war, we are today more willfully blind to the reason we were attacked than we were back in 1993 — back when our ignorance might have been excused by our homeland’s seeming invulnerability to the scourge of jihadist terror. Regardless of our reluctance to see it, mainstream Islam — the dynamic Islam of the Middle East, unadulterated by incentives to moderate, at least for a time, while settling in non-Muslim lands — is aggressively hegemonic. As proclaimed by another iconic supremacist, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated.” 

How the other half dries

By P. Sainath
February 27, 2013 

MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In Maharashtra, even tigers do not have "an attached forest reserve." A hoarding on the Mumbai-Pune Highway. 

How we use water can be as important as how much water we have. Who owns or controls that water will prove crucial 

“Every apartment is a dream come true — the coronet that tops the king-sized lifestyle of true blue blood.” So run the ads. Yup. The blue bloods do it big. Each apartment has its own private swimming pool. These are, after all, “super-luxurious, supersized designer apartments.” The kind that “match the royal lifestyles.” There are also the villas the builders proudly announce as their “first gated community project.” And yes, each of them ranging from 9,000 to 22,000 square feet also offers its own private swimming pool. In yet other buildings coming up, the duplex penthouses will each have, you guessed it: private swimming pools. 

MAN-MADE DROUGHT: In rural Maharashtra, you take water when you find it, wherever you find it. 

These are just in Pune alone. All of them with other amenities needing still more water. A small but proud trend — with the promise of more to come. All of them in regions of a State lamenting their greatest drought in 40 years. In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s view, one of our worst droughts ever. In a State where thousands of villages now depend on visits from water tankers. A daily visit if you’re lucky. Once or twice a week if you’re not. Yet it’s as if there is no connection between the swimming pools and the drying lakes. There’s very little discussion about it, for sure. As little as there was during two decades when the State rejoiced in the spread of dozens of “water parks” and water-theme entertainment parks. At one point, a score of them in the Greater Mumbai region alone. 

Five years after 26/11, India faces intelligence famine

February 27, 2013 

Even as MHA promises to set up new, Rs. 3,400-crore spy centre, intelligence services say little effort has been made to enhance existing capacities

Even as the Ministry of Home Affairs has renewed efforts to set up a new Rs. 3,400-crore National Counter-Terrorism Centre, highly placed government sources told The Hindu that little effort had been made to address crippling shortages of capacity in the domestic intelligence service, the Intelligence Bureau, or in State police intelligence services. 

The Ministry’s renewed push to set up a NCTC, driven by last week’s terror attacks in Hyderabad, is being criticised within the Intelligence Bureau as a wasteful effort.

“It’s plain silly,” a senior Intelligence Bureau officer said. “Instead of fixing the problems of the institutions we have, we’re committing to spend a fortune on creating yet another bureaucracy.” 

Five years after the 26/11 attacks, the headquarters of the IB’s operations directorate in New Delhi — the cutting edge of the organisation’s counter-jihadist operations — makes do with just 30-odd analysts and field personnel, a tenth or less of the numbers employed at similar organisations across the world. Personnel shortages have also meant that small groups of counter-terrorism specialists set up at the IB’s State offices have often been committed to other forms of intelligence work. 

In 2009, then Home Minister P. Chidambaram authorised the Intelligence Bureau to hire 6,000 new personnel, part-meeting long-standing human resource deficits in the organisation. The IB’s training facility, however, trains an estimated 600 staff each year. This barely covers the numbers of personnel who retire each year from the estimated 28,000-strong organisation. 

A senior intelligence official said: “In all, I would estimate that our manpower has grown by just about 5% since 2009.”

Electronic intelligence gathering capacities, which have received massive investments since 26/11, are also less than optimal. The super-secret National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), intended to meet the technological needs of the intelligence services, has become a communications-intelligence empire in its own right. In addition, the NTRO has been beset by successive financial scandals “The IB desperately needs better technology for Internet monitoring,” an officer said. “The NTRO has it, but doesn’t use it in the ways operators on the ground need.” 

Last year, the IB launched a large-scale effort to recruit personnel from the regions most affected by political violence and terrorism. New its chief, Asif Ibrahim, sources said, would be placing emphasis on improving human intelligence skills — in essence, focussing on penetrating terrorist groups rather than relying on technology alone. 

The steel frame is not stainless

By S.K. Sinha
Feb 27, 2013 

During Emergency, Indira Gandhi dealt a death blow to the civil service by demanding a committed bureaucracy. The bureaucracy soon became a malleable frame. 

My gener-ation grew up under British rule, deeply resenting our subject status as a nation. Our sense of national pride demanded that the sooner we got rid of the shackles of colonial rule, the better. The British had exploited our country and ruined its once flourishing economy, reducing us to penury. 

Many of my friends at college joined the Quit India Movement. On attaining the age of 18, when the movement appeared to have died down with most of our leaders in jail, I joined the Army.
Though British rule was an unmitigated disaster, the British connection also did some good to us. Lord Macaulay may have introduced English for his own reasons, but it proved to be a boon in some respects. It opened the doors of modern and scientific knowledge. Today this gives us an edge over all non-English-speaking countries, including China. The freedom struggle gave us a sense of nationhood. Our political leaders were all educated in English medium institutions, most having studied in England. Mountbatten would say that he was up against a battery of barristers. The British also established excellent institutions of governance — the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the Army and the police.

By the 18th century, the Mughals had become decrepit. There was rampant corruption and the British were happy to put their hand in the till. Robert Clive, whose victory in Plassey set up British rule in India, was highly corrupt and so were the Company civil servants, carrying out private trade. Clive was impeached in Parliament. In his defence he claimed that in view of all the temptations, “he was astounded by his own moderation”. Warren Hastings, despite his contribution in promoting Indian culture and civilisation, including establishing the School of Oriental Studies, was also corrupt. He too was impeached in Parliament. Lord Cornwallis introduced land and administrative reforms towards the end of the 18th century. Civil servants were given higher emoluments and denied private trade. After the 1857 Uprising, to improve the quality of administration, recruitment to the Indian Civil Service (ICS) on nomination by the directors of the East India Company was abolished and competitive examination introduced. Candidates from leading English public schools and graduates from Oxford and Cambridge started being recruited into the service. They were encouraged to play the role of benevolent administrators, carrying what came to be known as “white man’s burden”. They discharged their duties faithfully and also contributed to Indian history through their exploratory efforts, particularly the ancient period and Indian culture and civilisation, including various tribal languages. In Punjab, Sir Henry Lawrence insisted that deputy commissioners administer their districts.

Don’t trust separatists; they can say all’s well

By  Rajesh Singh
27 Feb 2013

Rahul Pandita’s book, Our Moon has Blood Clots, is a moving first-hand account of the tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee their homes in the Valley. It also lays bare the designs of the ‘azaadi’ brigade 

Those who believe that the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir valley in the late eighties and the early nineties was encouraged, if not planned, by Central authorities like Mr Jagmohan, who was the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, should read Rahul Pandita’s moving account of the development in his recently published book, Our Moon has Blood Clots. The book will dispel the impression that many people with vested interests have generated — an impression no doubt created and promoted by separatists in the Valley who do not wish to take the responsibility for driving out a large section of Kashmiris from their homes — that the Pandits had perhaps over-reacted and played into the hands of elements who were averse to an inclusive Kashmir. 

Yet, Our Moon has Blood Clots is not a political narrative. Nor is it a biased account of the machinations that were played out even as thousands of Kashmiri Pandits saw their world collapse before their eyes. Pandita sees the event as a first-hand experience because his family (and he) were one of the thousands of those who were compelled to abandon their home and hearth when separatists and goons who had the support of influential people let loose mayhem, and threatened and maimed and killed Pandits who were as much a part of Kashmir as any other. 

The author offers many instances in the book to demonstrate just how lawless and dangerous the Valley had become for the Pandits. It was the beginning of 1990 and Kashmir was getting accustomed to cries of “Hamein kya chahiye, azaadi!” from mobs who roamed the streets and targeted their ‘enemies’, even as their masters looked the other way and in cases even offered warped justifications for the abominable conduct of the street-fighters. One instance of the terrible hate that the Pandits had to endure is reflected in the following passage of the book: 

“One of the Pandit leaders, HN Jattu, wrote an open letter to the JKLF, asking them to make their stand on the Kashmiri Pandits clear. The JKLF took it seriously and responded the next day… In Tankipora, one of Jattu’s close associates was accosted by three men. While two men held him, another shot him in his knees. As he collapsed on the road, they kicked him, making him fall into a drain. One man unzipped his trousers and sprayed piss over him. As he writhed in pain, the men fired a few more shots and killed him. His killing was the JKLF’s answer to HN Jattu’s letter.” 

China Strengthens its Missile Defence Capabilities: Implications for India

Brig (retd) Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow, VIF
22 Feb 2013

China conducted another ground-based mid-course missile-defence (GMD) test in January end to signify its increasing potential in missile interception capabilities. This test builds upon an earlier test in January 2010 which was again carried out to test its evolving capabilities in missile defence technologies. For long China has been opposed to the U.S developing its missile defence system as it undermines China’s strategic deterrence; American argument that the US missile defence systems are designed to deal with missile threats from rogue nations like North Korea and Iran does not carry much credibility with either China or Russia. Chinese spokesmen also emphasise that these tests are only technology demonstrators and have not been conducted with a view to build a missile defence system and they are not targeted against any country. The Chinese Foreign Ministry emphasized the test was defensive and was conducted over Chinese territory. 

While China took strong positions on the ABM treaty and attempts to develop BMD systems, China was never lax on the potential of and requirement for BMD systems. The earliest Chinese effort to indigenously develop a BMD system was initiated in 1969 but the project was terminated during the 1980s after the 1972 ABM treaty between the US and erstwhile USSR. China launched Project 863 (in March 1986) which included research on missile interception technologies. However, China’s interest in continuing development of BMD systems received fresh impetus after US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 and developments in Taiwan. 

On 11 January 2007, China surprised the entire world by successfully testing a direct ascent Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon. It was assessed that the ASAT system employed a KT-1 space launch vehicle (SLV), itself a modified DF-21 medium range ballistic missile (MRBM). The missile destroyed an ageing Feng Yun 1C (FY-1C) polar orbit satellite at approximately 865 kms above the earth’s surface through kinetic impact. The test drew widespread condemnation, both for the manner in which it was carried out (resulting in a large amount of space debris, a major threat to low earth orbit satellites) and the major shift in China’s position concerning weaponization of space. 

According to a classified State Department cable that was made public by WikiLeaks, the January 2010 test had used an SC-19 missile as interceptor to strike the CSS-X-11 medium range target missile launched near-simultaneously. The SC-19 is said to have also been used in China’s anti-satellite test of January 2007 and both the January 2010 and January 2013 GMD tests are seen as also advancing China’s capabilities in ASAT weapons’ domain. Despite the WikiLeaks report there is not much clarity about the exact type of the missile used for January 2010 test though it could be an advanced/modified version of SC-19; some analysts think that the missile used in the test was a HQ-9, HQ-12, or DF-21 variant. Similarly, while the test in January this year apparently achieved its expected results, the exact missile used has not been confirmed. 

The Prime Minister's Men

By B. Raman

Inder Gujral only ordered the R&AW operations for covert action in Pakistan to be abandoned, not for intelligence collection. And Vajpayee continued with the same policy. 

The Hindu of February 26,2013, has carried an article titled No Solace In This Quantum of Accountability written by Samir Saran, Vice-President, and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Programme Co-Ordinstor of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It is about the accountability of the intelligence agencies.

My views on accountability are well known and I do not feel the need to repeat them. I wanted to comment on the following observation by the two writers: “ If folklore has it right, if R&AW had a charter, it would have legally pre-empted a former Prime Minister’s order to abandon operations in Pakistan. It cost India 30 years worth of accumulated ground assets and priceless reach.”

The reference is apparently to former Prime Minister Inder Gujral. It is not correct that Gujral ordered the R&AW operations in Pakistan to be abandoned. The R&AW had two kinds of operations in Pakistan— for intelligence collection and covert action.

He ordered only the operations for covert action to be closed since he felt that such a gesture might facilitate his efforts to improve relations with Pakistan under the so-called Gujral Doctrine. He did not order the intelligence collection operations to be discontinued. It would have been stupid on his part to have done so. He, like all our Prime Ministers before and after him, understood the importance of a good intelligence collection capability in Pakistan. What he ordered to be closed accounted for only about 15 per cent of the R&AW’s operations in Pakistan. He encouraged the remaining 85 per cent to continue.

There was a debate in the intelligence community over the wisdom of his order to wind up the covert action operations. Many senior officers met him and explained to him that building a covert action capability took a long time. If one day the government felt the need for resuming covert actions, there would be no trained and experienced assets on the ground. It was suggested to him that if he felt strongly on the subject, the covert action operations should be suspended, but not discontinued. He could not be convinced.

When the NDA government under Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee came to office, the intelligence community was hoping that he would cancel Gujral’s decision and order the resumption of covert action operations in Pakistan. To their surprise, they found that Vajpayee too, like Gujral, wanted the R&AW to focus on intelligence collection in Pakistan and avoid operations for covert action.

Pakistan's perplexing election process

By Shamila N. Chaudhary 
February 25, 2013 

Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh resigned last week - a curious move since the government will soon dissolve in the coming weeks after it announces a date for national elections. It has been speculated that he left because of economic policy disagreements with the government, but Shaikh himself told several sources that he left because he is under consideration for the post of caretaker prime minister. If so, he joins a well-respected group of professionals considered for the post; Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jehangir, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) politician Raza Rabbani and former Supreme Court justice Nasir Aslam Zahid are among the names that have already floated. 

The caretaker prime minister will assume charge of an interim government as soon as the PPP coalition announces an election date, at which point the caretakers have up to ninety days to govern before elections. 

Much ado has been made about the candidates and the process to set up a caretaker government, perhaps even more than the elections date itself. There are two reasons why such emphasis is warranted: because of its importance to the future of procedural democracy in Pakistan and because of the possible impact on the country's short-term economic stability. 

First, the current procedure to establish a caretaker government requires agreement between the sitting government and the opposition, as mandated by the historic 20th amendment passed in 2012. Given the acrimonious past the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) share, this is no small feat. So far the two sides seem to be committed to cooperation, if not full reconciliation. 

In the event the participants cannot reach agreement on a candidate - still a very real possibility - the 20thamendment has delineated specific steps to resolve the gridlock. The process would involve each side forwarding two names to a parliamentary committee that includes equal representation from the government and opposition. The committee can then take up to three days to settle on a name. If the committee is also unable to reach agreement, the Election Commission, as the final arbiter, must decide on a candidate within two days. 

The Taliban's New, More Terrifying Cousin

By Jeffrey Stern
Feb 26 2013

How a virulent Pakistani terrorist group is trying to annihilate an ethnic rival--and why we should be worried

A boy stands at the site of a bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area of the Pakistani city of Quetta on February 17, 2013. (Naseer Ahmed/Reuters)

Abdul Amir (as we'll call him), a chemistry teacher in Quetta, Pakistan, was taking an afternoon nap on Feb. 16 when his house began to shake and the earth let out an almighty roar. His mother and sisters started screaming and ran out of the house, but by the time they gathered in the street, the noise had already stopped. He climbed to the roof to get a better view of what happened and saw a thick cloud of bright white smoke, a mile south, suspended above the market place where his students would be buying snacks after their weekend English classes. He rushed back down to the ground, started his motorcycle and took off toward ground zero, knowing all the while that this was foolish - during a bombing five weeks before, the people who came to help were killed by a second explosion. 

Still he raced through the streets, swerving around people running away from the bomb, finally arriving at a scene even worse even than he'd feared. The blast had been so powerful that the market hadn't been destroyed so much as it had been deleted, as had the people shopping there and those in buildings nearby. Everything within 100 meters was simply flattened, and all that remained were the metal skeletons of a few flaming vehicles and the chemical smell of synthetic materials burning. Abdul would find more than fifty of his students were injured. One of his favorite students would die from her wounds six days later. 
They believe their government is at best uninterested in protecting them, and many are so traumatized they believe it's complicit. 

In all, 17 students and two teachers in just one school would be killed, their bodies mostly unrecoverable. No secondary bomb went off that day, but it didn't need to, because the message to first responders had been heard: So few ambulances showed up that people were relegated to ferrying their dead and dismembered in their own cars. 

Economics and Business

By Zachary Keck 
February 27, 2013

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari arrives in Iran today to sign a series of economic agreements, including one that finalizes the Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline. 

At the end of January, the two sides agreed to set up a joint construction company to build the portion of the pipeline that will be on Pakistani soil. Iran is providing $500 million to finance a third of the project with Pakistan covering the remaining $1 billion. 781 km of the 1,881 km pipeline will be on Pakistani soil. 

The two sides initially said construction of the Pakistani pipeline would be finished in 15 months. More recent reports from Iran’s state media have said it may take up to 22 months. Construction began on February 20th. 

Iran has said it has nearly completed the pipeline on its side of the border.

Once finished, the pipeline will carry 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian gas to Pakistan daily. On the Iranian side the pipeline will stretch from the South Pars gas fields in southwestern Iran to the Pakistani border in southeastern Iran. In Pakistan, the pipeline would travel through Baluchistan on its way to Islamabad’s energy grid in the southern part of Sindh province. The pipeline could conceivably be extended in the future to India or China. 

Pakistan has faced an acute and worsening energy crisis for years.The country currently has an electricity shortfall of approximately 5,000 megawatts (MW) per day despite the fact that nearly a third of the population does not have access to grid electricity according to a June 2012 report by the U.S. Institute of Peace. Even where electricity is available blackouts are a daily occurrence. 

**China Tests Japanese and U.S. Patience


By Rodger Baker, Vice President of East Asia Analysis
February 26, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned Beijing that Tokyo is losing patience with China's assertive maritime behavior in the East and South China seas, suggesting China consider the economic and military consequences of its actions. His warning followed similar statements from Washington that its patience with China is wearing thin, in this case over continued Chinese cyberespionage and the likelihood that Beijing is developing and testing cybersabotage and cyberwarfare capabilities. Together, the warnings are meant to signal to China that the thus-far relatively passive response to China's military actions may be nearing an end. 

In an interview The Washington Post published just prior to Abe's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, Abe said China's actions around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and its overall increasing military assertiveness have already resulted in a major increase in funding for the Japan Self-Defense Forces and coast guard. He also reiterated the centrality of the Japan-U.S. alliance for Asian security and warned that China could lose Japanese and other foreign investment if it continued to use "coercion or intimidation" toward its neighbors along the East and South China seas. 

Abe's interview came amid warnings on Chinese cyberactivity from Washington. Though not mentioning China by name in his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama said, "We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems." Obama's comments, and the subsequent release of a new strategy on mitigating cybertheft of trade secrets, coincided with a series of reports highlighting China's People's Liberation Army backing for hacking activities in the United States, including a report by Mandiant that traced the activities to a specific People's Liberation Army unit and facility. The timing of the private sector reports and Obama's announcement were not coincidental. 

Although Washington has taken a slightly more restrained stance on the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, reportedly urging Tokyo not to release proof that a Chinese ship locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese naval vessel, clearly Washington and Tokyo hold the common view that China's actions are nearing the limits of tolerance. Given its proximity to China, Japan is focusing on Chinese maritime activity, which has accelerated in the past two to three years around the disputed islands, in the South China Sea and in the Western Pacific east of Japan. The United States in turn is highlighting cyberespionage and the potential for cyberwarfare. Both are drawing attention to well-known Chinese behavior and warning that it is nearing a point where it can no longer be tolerated. The message is clear: China can alter its behavior or begin to face the consequences from the United States and Japan.

China Keeps the Peace at Sea

By  Allen Carlson
February 21, 2013

Why the Dragon Doesn't Want War 

In the past few months, China and Japan have appeared to come close to blows over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Yet an outbreak of fighting is unlikely. War would run counter to Beijing's two most fundamental national interests: promoting stability in Asia to foster China's economic growth, and preventing the escalation of radical nationalist sentiment at home. So don't expect China to unsheathe its sword any time soon. 

Until recently, Asian countries' competing claims in the seas around China did not cause outright conflict. But now that drilling technology can tap gas and oil beds there, Asia capitals are stepping up their games. 

With little fanfare, Beijing has recently taken an unusually moderate approach in the seas surrounding its territory. With the friendlier policy, the country hopes to restore its tarnished image in East Asia and reduce the temptation for Washington to take a more active role there. 

A dragon-shaped lantern in Anhui province. The Chinese characters on the board in front of the lantern read "Diaoyu Islands," referring to the disputed islands called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan. (Courtesy Reuters) 

At times in the past few months, China and Japan have appeared almost ready to do battle over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands --which are administered by Tokyo but claimed by both countries -- and to ignite a war that could be bigger than any since World War II. Although Tokyo and Beijing have been shadowboxing over the territory for years, the standoff reached a new low in the fall, when the Japanese government nationalized some of the islands by purchasing them from a private owner. The decision set off a wave of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations across China. 

In the wake of these events, the conflict quickly reached what political scientists call a state of equivalent retaliation -- a situation in which both countries believe that it is imperative to respond in kind to any and all perceived slights. As a result, it may have seemed that armed engagement was imminent. Yet, months later, nothing has happened. And despite their aggressive posturing in the disputed territory, both sides now show glimmers of willingness to dial down hostilities and to reestablish stability. 

Increasingly Assertive China

Patrick M Cronin 

An increasingly assertive China is creating its own Monroe Doctrine for Asia’s seas - and threatening longstanding freedoms. 

China’s rising-power exuberance is becoming a problem.

There’s long been bipartisan policy support in the United States for emphasizing cooperation with China while minimizing competition. President Barack Obama, who has said that Sino-American relations would ‘shape the 21st Century,’ subscribes to this precept. But it was also generally assumed that a re-emerging China would be intelligent and self-interested. Instead, China’s recent diplomatic and military assertiveness, apparently fuelled by overconfidence, is creating consternation—especially over freedom of the seas. 

It’s logical that Chinese leaders would want a protracted period of quiescence rather than to draw attention to a gradual military build-up. China’s long history has focused on continental power and China’s eager, ‘let’s-do-business’ attitude has been successful around the globe. 
But as China has become more influential, it has also become uncharacteristically assertive in the diplomatic arena. This assertiveness is nowhere more evident than with its naval power, and is prompting many to ask if it is now verging on the reckless, particularly over the South China Sea. 

You Can't Hack a Steakhouse

FEBRUARY 25, 2013 

What China doesn't get about how Washington works. 

Last week, we learned that the Chinese government had hacked into the computers of some of Washington's most prominent organizations -- law firms, think tanks, news outlets, human rights groups, congressional offices, embassies, and federal agencies -- not to steal intellectual property or unearth state secrets, but rather to find out how things get done in the nation's capital. According to the Washington Post, hackers were "searching for the unseen forces that might explain how the administration approaches an issue … with many Chinese officials presuming that reports by think tanks or news organizations are secretly the work of government officials -- much as they would be in Beijing." In other words, it appears that Chinese hackers have a lot of time on their hands and don't know much about Washington. There are probably instances where a massive database and a fancy algorithm can tell you what you need to know about a place, but D.C. isn't one of them. 

"They're trying to make connections between prominent people who work at think tanks, prominent donors that they've heard of and how the government makes decisions," the Post reported one informed expert as saying. "It's a sophisticated intelligence-gathering effort at trying to make human-network linkages of people in power, whether they be in Congress or the executive branch." Well, it's possible to use espionage to learn the inside thinking at one of Washington's prestigious think tanks. Or you could just attend any of the dozens of daily seminars, issue briefings, and the like in town, raise your hand, and get a direct answer to almost any question. You might even get a free bagel and a cup of coffee. 

In Washington, you don't need a satellite to find out who is raising money for whom. Just look at the co-host list of an invitation to any fundraiser. And if the Chinese really want to get a look at where the power decisions get made, send an undercover eater to see who's dining with whom at the Four Seasons for breakfast, Tosca for lunch, and the Palm or Oceanaire for dinner. And here's a secret in Washington the Chinese haven't hacked into yet: Actual decision-makers will meet with the actual experts and affected parties in order to make as informed a decision as possible. Shhhh. Don't tell the Chinese.