The absence of overt conflict in Antarctica does not mean cooperation is thriving. Missing the elements of coercion and mistaking cooperation for a static concept in the Antarctic means stakeholders are at risk of strategic complacency.
Leaders of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom have announced a new trilateral security pact. Their brief, though momentous, statements were notable more for what they did not say.
The United States has designated Lebanon- and Kuwait-based members of a financial network that funds Hizballah, as well as members of an international network of financial facilitators and front companies that operate in support of Hizballah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). Together, these networks have laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems and conducted currency exchange operations and trade in gold and electronics for the benefit of both Hizballah and the IRGC-QF. This action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority within Executive Order 13224, as amended.
Hizballah uses revenues generated by these networks to fund terrorist activities and to perpetuate instability in Lebanon and throughout the region. The United States will not relent in targeting these networks, and we will continue to take actions to disrupt their activities.
Hizballah is increasingly looking for additional sources of revenue to bolster its coffers. We call on governments around the world to take steps to ensure Hizballah and other terrorist groups do not exploit their territory and financial institutions.
For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.
In the midst of ongoing violence, abuses against civilians, and growing humanitarian plight in Ethiopia, President Biden today signed an Executive Order (E.O.) establishing a new sanctions regime in response to the crisis. With it, the United States will be able to impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities in connection with the conflict, including those responsible for threatening peace and stability, obstructing humanitarian access or progress toward a ceasefire, or committing serious human rights abuses. Designated individuals are also subject to visa restrictions. This conflict has sparked one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with more than five million people requiring assistance, of which over 900,000 are living in famine conditions. This new tool underscores our resolve to use every appropriate tool at our disposal to bring relief to the long-suffering people of the region.
For too long, the Government of Ethiopia, the Government of Eritrea, the Amhara regional government, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have failed to stop fighting and invest in diplomacy required to solve the ongoing crisis. Instead, violence has escalated and spread, and human rights abuses and obstruction of humanitarian access continue. The Administration, in concert with our international partners, including in the region, has employed a range of diplomatic tools. Most recently, the United States designated Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) Chief of Staff General Filipos Woldeyohannes under the Global Magnitsky sanctions authority in connection with serious human rights abuses committed by the EDF in Ethiopia. In May, we also announced a visa restriction policy on the issuance of visas for individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the resolution of the crisis in Tigray.
The United States calls on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to cease ongoing hostilities and enter into ceasefire negotiations immediately and without preconditions. Talks to achieve a negotiated ceasefire should lead to a broader dialogue to find a durable political solution to the conflict. Eritrean forces should immediately and permanently withdraw from Ethiopia. If the parties take immediate steps in this regard, the United States is prepared to delay imposition of sanctions and focus on supporting a negotiated process.
Absent clear and concrete progress toward a negotiated ceasefire and an end to abuses – as well as unhindered humanitarian access to those Ethiopians who are suffering – the United States will designate imminently specific leaders, organizations, and entities under this new sanctions regime. Any sanctions imposed under this new authority would target those responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that are prolonging the conflict in northern Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access and a ceasefire, or committing serious human rights abuses. We have taken a series of steps to help ensure legitimate humanitarian assistance (including COVID-19 related assistance), as well as personal remittances, food, and medicine continue to reach the Ethiopian and Eritrean people and that the activities of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia and Eritrea can proceed.
Today’s action demonstrates that the United States will continue to use all appropriate tools at our disposal to end the conflict.
A glimpse inside the black hole of Russia’s corridors of power reveals that the fault line within the regime is getting deeper, and the current campaign for the upcoming State Duma elections on September 17–19 is one of the factors determining that line.
This German federal election is crucial for Europe’s future. Angela Merkel’s successor has the choice of leading Europe toward more integration and strategic relevance or abetting its gradual, inexorable decline.
The Strategic Compass for the EU’s security and defence policy, to be adopted in 2022, must generate immediate action. The best way of ensuring that is to prepare new capability initiatives and, potentially, new operational engagements now, so that they can be launched simultaneously with the Strategic Compass. In that light, “the development of an initial-entry force as a pool of Member State forces that train and exercise together and are made available to the EU” (as summarised in an EEAS working paper), is one of the most promising ideas on the table. How to make it work?
The EU-US Summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set an ambitious joint agenda for EU-US cooperation post-COVID-19. The new Biden administration offers the EU the opportunity to re-establish transatlantic relations, which reached their lowest point since World War II under the turbulent Trump administration, and to address the bilateral disputes and tensions that have emerged, partly as a result of Trump’s ‘America First’ policies. One of the key deliverables of the Summit was the establishment of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC aims to deepen EU-US relations on trade and investment and to avoid new technical barriers to trade by cooperating on key policies such as technology, digital policy issues and supply chains. Despite the optimism in Brussels and Washington about renewing and strengthening transalantic cooperation, there are several challenges for EU-US cooperation. In the areas of trade, digital and climate in particular several differing views or outstanding disputes (most of them inherited by the Trump administration) will need to be addressed by the new TTC (the first meeting is scheduled on 29-30 September 2021) or other joint bodies. Only then will the EU and the US be able to deliver on the new ambitious transatlantic agenda. This paper will therefore discuss the key challenges and opportunities for EU-US cooperation in the three interrelated areas of trade, digital and climate. For each of these areas, the outcome of the June 2021 EU-US Summit will be discussed and the challenges and opportunities for delivering on the renewed transatlantic agenda will be analysed. Moreover, this paper will present several policy recommendations, for the TTC or on EU-US cooperation in general, on how to advance the transatlantic partnership.
Climate change is expected by many to produce new and/or intensified mobility patterns, including migration and displacement. However, only limited research exists on the relationship between climate change and human mobility, specifically on the implications of increasingly intense slow-onset climate change, such as weather variability and extremes. This DIIS Working Paper provides initial data and analysis on climate, mobility and governance in Ghana as an input to the Governing Climate Mobility Research Programme.
In parts of Ghana, temperature increases have now topped 1.5 ºC, weather patterns and seasons are shifting, and all of this is occurring on the backdrop of other environmental and agrarian changes. This paper documents such changes through multi-decadal analyses of temperatures and rainfall as well as vegetation change. However, it also links these changes, and how they are experienced locally, to existing governance and mobility dynamics in the programme’s case study areas in the Upper West Region and Eastern Region. For instance, the paper indicates how governance interventions, including failures, have affected agrarian livelihoods as seen in the deteriorating irrigation infrastructure in the Upper West Region, and how existing mobility patterns are linked to resource access and rural livelihoods.
This working paper is a scoping study and therefore provides a detailed introduction to such environmental, socio-economic, governance and mobility dynamics in the study areas, as well as identifying key dynamics and possible linkages for further study. It builds on a previous GCM working paper that explores the historical linkages between climate, mobility and governance in Ghana.
Energy security used to be about uninterrupted flows of affordable and available resources. This article argues that it is much more than that. By taking a historically informed social science approach to energy politics, the article includes issues pertaining to national independence, identity, future aspirations, and the role of technology and natural resources.
In Norway, the relation to oil and gas is so deeply ingrained in what it means to be a proud and independent Norwegian state, that given up drilling for oil nearly means giving up the idea of the nation. At the same time, the Norwegian identity is so closely tied to the natural resource of hydropower that any attempt of integration of electrical grids with continental Europe meets fundamental critique and risks failure. These issues are closely tied to the historical process leading to independence from Denmark and Sweden.
In conflict-ridden Ukraine obtaining energy security means attaining sovereignty and dignity after centuries of foreign reign. With a total natural gas dependency on Russia, day-to-day negotiations of reverse gas flows with neighbours become fundamental to upholding identity and trust in the future of the state. And building a new renewable alternative means much more than securing energy supply. It means building a strong nation in charge of its own destiny.
This article seeks to develop a model for tying issues of identity together with energy visions and day to day energy politics. By filtering through historical and current sources, the article argues that energy needs to be approached in a new way. If we miss the deeper and more stabilized parts of the energy story central drivers behind current climate and energy politics in the two countries are lost. The article will be of interest to energy analysts, academic researchers, people interested in Norwegian and Ukrainian affairs, and students.
In this brief, the authors discuss the long-term implications and effects of the pandemic on Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) (taxation) in sub-Saharan African (SSA). The authors do not address the immediate short-term consequences of the pandemic on DRM as there is much attention on this issue already.
The pandemic’s largest impact on economic growth so far has been in tourism-dependent economies. In Tanzania, for example, the GDP growth rate fell from 5.8% in 2019 to 2.0% in 2020 and per capita growth turned negative for the first time in 25 years because of the pandemic.
For poor countries, which already faced significant underfunding of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the pandemic has both increased the need for more revenue and made its domestic resource mobilisation more difficult.
North Korea announced on September 13 that it had tested long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. It described the missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance.” The test caused alarm in North Korea’s neighbors — South Korea and Japan, both U.S. allies — as the revelation now puts both countries within striking distance. But despite the test, a spokesperson for the Biden administration said the United States remains prepared to engage with North Korea. USIP’s Frank Aum discusses the significance of the tests, the arms race on the Korean Peninsula, and what signals North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be sending to the United States with this latest test.
The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has left European capitals skeptical about such missions and critical of American leadership. The debacle should lead to frank discussions about NATO’s role and the EU’s defense ambitions.
The downward slide in US-China relations continued as the two countries wrangled over Hong Kong, COVID-19, Taiwan, the South China Sea, Xinjiang, and cyberattacks. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Chinese officials met in Tianjin but appeared to make no progress toward managing intensifying competition between the two countries. The US rolled out a series of measures against alleged Chinese forced labor practices and strengthened the prohibition against US investments in the PRC’s military industrial complex. Deteriorating freedoms in Hong Kong prompted the Biden administration to impose more sanctions on Chinese officials and issue a business advisory warning US companies of growing risks to their activities in Hong Kong.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will leave active politics after the German federal elections on 26 September 2021. As Merkel’s departure after sixteen years will resonate across Europe, the Clingendael Spectator invited several international experts to offer their personal reflections on her legacy. In this seventh episode of the series ‘Europe after Merkel’, Anand Menon takes a UK perspective: the key lesson of the Merkel years is a chronic and repeated inability to understand the German chancellor.
A cohort of Hoover fellows, all of whom served in prominent leadership and military positions in the administration of George W. Bush, reflected on their personal experiences during the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
Participants in the conversation included Condoleezza Rice, White House national security advisor from 2001 to 2005; John B. Taylor, undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs from 2001 to 2005; and James Mattis, who then was serving as a US Marine brigadier general and deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The conversation also included Karen Hughes, the White House communications director from 2001 to 2002. The program was moderated by Peter Robinson, Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow and host of Hoover’s flagship public affairs interview hour, Uncommon Knowledge.
Rice recalled the events of that fateful day that began when her assistant alerted her that a commercial plane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Shortly thereafter, she had been escorted to the White House bunker. Rice explained that at the time, the president had been visiting a school in Florida. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Peru for a meeting of the Organization of American States. Rice was also unable to reach Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by phone. An hour after the second plane hit the south tower, another commercial jet exploded on impact at the Pentagon and people working in the fortress building had been forced to evacuate. In the bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney had a phone conversation with President Bush that concluded with the president providing the authorization to shoot any aircraft that wasn’t communicating with air traffic control centers.
“For an awful few minutes when that plane went down in Pennsylvania, we thought we’d shot it down,” Rice remembered.
When the five Caspian littoral states signed a maritime delimitation pact in August 2018, they additionally agreed not to allow any outside power to have a military role in this landlocked sea (RITM Eurasia, August 14, 2018). But in the three years since that accord was adopted, the geopolitical situation in the region has shifted for a whole host of reasons: namely, Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia last year, the growth of the navies of the littoral states (see EDM, May 28, 2020 and June 24, 2021), burgeoning and reorienting trade among Caspian ports (see EDM, May 23, 2017 and April 6, 2021), as well as the increasing involvement of Turkey and China (see EDM, October 16, 2020; TRT, February 23, 2021). In response, Russia has taken three important steps designed to promote cooperation between itself and the four other states around the Caspian to ensure that outside powers—especially Turkey and China—continue to be excluded.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is reverting to his earlier, forlorn hopes of improving relation with Russia through a personal meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian president is eager to meet Putin “any time, any place”—whether bilaterally or in the framework of a “Normandy” summit (Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France). The chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, is negotiating the conditions for a Zelenskyy-Putin meeting in either of those formats. This track ended badly for Zelenskyy in 2019 (see EDM, October 3, 16, 17, December 5, 2019).
The massive, Russo-Belarusian Zapad 2021 operational-strategic war games have ended. The scenario of this year’s iteration of Zapad (September 10–16) envisaged an attack on the Russo-Belarusian Union State by a hostile outside force depicted as the fictitious “Polar Republic.” The invaders were eventually defeated and pushed back. A joint force of Russian paratroopers, armor contingents of the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army and Belarusian units, supported by Russian jets and anti-aircraft missiles, participated in the Zapad 2021 exercises in western Belarus: some 2,500 Russian and 10,300 Belarusian troops plus a token contingent of 50 men from Kazakhstan (see EDM, September 9).
In this edition of Wilson Center NOW, Sadek Wahba, a Senior Fellow with NYU’s Development Research Institute and Chairman and Managing Partner of I Squared Capital, joins us to discuss his new paper, “Integrating Infrastructure in U.S. Domestic & Foreign Policy: Lessons from China.” The paper examines the many reasons why U.S. and Chinese infrastructure policies have diverged over the past decades. Also joining the discussion is Duncan Wood, the Wilson Center’s VP for Strategy and New Initiatives. Sadek Wahba is a member of the Wilson Center’s Global Advisory Council.
Nearly one year ago on September 15, 2020, the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain signed the historic Abraham Accords. With this accomplishment, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain charted a new course in the history of Arab-Israeli relations by recognizing the State of Israel and normalizing diplomatic relations. Later that year, two other Arab nations, Sudan and Morocco, followed suit and joined the Abraham Accords, raising the number of Arab States with formal diplomatic ties to Israel from two to six. Today, with the new coalition government in Israel led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, there are new political realities at play.
This discussion brought together some of the Ambassadors from the Abraham Accords signatory countries for their perspective, one year later. This important diplomatic initiative is key to maintaining and strengthening peace and stability in the region while collaborating on areas of mutual interest. We also broadcast a special video message of Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and United Nations.
The recent Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed only narrow pathways to preventing the Earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. While the risks for natural and human systems remain high even below this threshold, they will only increase without aggressive and immediate international efforts to stem emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Indeed, even if governments worldwide collectively move to stop using fossil fuels and fully transition to clean sources of energy by midcentury, given the amount of existing GHGs already in the atmosphere, additional measures are needed to achieve negative emissions and keep the Earth within 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
As Congress and the Biden administration look to enact a major part of the Build Back Better agenda through the budget reconciliation process, one critical aspect of the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed legislation would put Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)-eligible individuals, and essential workers—including farmworkers—on a pathway to citizenship. The Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center have previously estimated that doing so would bring big benefits to both the U.S. economy as a whole and ordinary Americans all across the country. Indeed, providing citizenship to these groups would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, create 400,000 new jobs, and raise the annual wages of all Americans by an average $600 over the next decade.
Federal law requires all public school students in grades three to eight to take an annual assessment in reading and math at the end of the year and requires students to take an assessment once during high school. The goal of this assessment is to measure the extent to which all students are meeting the state’s academic standards. These standards must align with the knowledge and skills in reading and math that students need to succeed in first-year college reading and math courses. Ensuring all students are held to rigorous standards is a key goal of equity in education.
Despite the often-negative discussion about testing in schools, assessments are a necessary and useful tool in the teaching and learning process. This is especially true when it comes to diagnostic and formative assessments, which give teachers real-time direction for what students need to learn to master course content. It is this space where the advancements of technology can particularly benefit teaching and learning, as there is growing recognition in the field of psychology that tests help students learn. Sometimes called the testing effect, this theory suggests that low-stakes quizzes help students gain knowledge—and improve instruction.
Assessments are a way for stakeholders in education to understand what students know and can do. They can take many forms, including but not limited to paper and pencil or computer-adaptive formats. However, assessments do not have to be tests in the traditional sense at all; rather, they can be carried out through teacher observations of students or portfolios of students’ work. Regardless of form, when assessments are well designed and a component of a system of teaching and learning that includes high-quality instruction and materials, they are part of the solution and not a source of the problem. Thus, debates on whether or not to assess students fail to create a worthwhile discussion about testing in schools and how to make assessments better.
Newly released data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage from the U.S. Census Bureau provide insights on the economic well-being of individuals and families in 2020. Today’s new data are limited; they don’t reflect the totality of economic hardship experienced across the country in 2020 or the current political and economic reality. They do, however, give clear evidence that the historic federal aid provided last year—including expanded unemployment insurance, nutrition support, and direct cash assistance through economic impact payments—worked to reduce poverty, lifting millions of people above the poverty line in a year of significant economic insecurity.
The United States will lose an estimated $7 trillion over the next decade from people and corporations not paying the taxes they owe. That is twice the $3.5 trillion of investments that Congress is now considering in the budget reconciliation bill.
The richest 1 percent of taxpayers alone are responsible for an estimated $163 billion in unpaid taxes each year. Yet, due to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget cuts, the IRS has lost thousands of experienced enforcement personnel capable of thoroughly examining complex tax returns. Audit rates of high-income Americans and the largest corporations have plummeted, draining revenue and resulting in an increased share of examinations focused on recipients of the earned income tax credit (EITC), who are much more inexpensive for the IRS to audit. The status quo benefits wealthy tax cheats to the detriment of ordinary Americans. It also reinforces economic inequality, including the stark income and wealth inequities by race.
Security researchers spotted a new malware that uses Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to evade detection in attacks against Windows machines
The FBI, CISA, and the Coast Guard Cyber Command (CGCYBER) warn of state-sponsored attacks that are actively exploiting CVE-2021-40539 Zoho flaw
Verifying that a satellite will resist the sheer noise of the rocket launching it into orbit is a very important test that every mission must successfully pass.
Maharloo Lake, a seasonal salt lake in Iran, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.
ESA confirmed a contract signature yesterday with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) to be the main customer for their Lunar Pathfinder satellite launching in 2024 that will provide communications services around the Moon.
Microsoft revealed that multiple threat actors are exploiting the recently patched Windows MSHTML remote code execution security flaw (CVE-2021-40444)
Researchers from Bitdefender released a free master decryptor for the REvil ransomware operation that allows past victims to recover their files for free
An Indonesian Airforce’s F-16 Jet Fighter flies over Indonesian navy warship during an operation in Natuna islands, in the South China Sea in January 2020 [File: M Risyal Hidayat/Antara via Reuters]
Indonesia’s navy has increased patrols around its Natuna islands in the South China Sea after Chinese and US vessels were detected nearby in international waters, despite saying there the vessels had not caused any disturbance, a navy official said.
Five navy vessels, assisted by an air patrol, have been deployed in North Natuna Sea to secure the area, Indonesian Navy western fleet commander Arsyad Abdullah told reporters on Thursday.
Many European leaders have long pushed for a bigger military role, one that is independent of the US-led NATO alliance.
The need for this increased military capability was recently made clear during the chaotic evacuations from Kabul airport.
European nations had to rely almost entirely on the US.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc needs the political will to stand on its own.
She says the EU should be able to deploy a military force without relying on the US or NATO.
But what is holding it back from achieving this goal?
Presenter: Nastasya Tay
Theresa Fallon – Director of Centre for Russia Europe Asia Studies
David DesRoches – Associate professor at National Defense University
Nicholas Whyte – International affairs strategist
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has yet to officially accept or reject the resignations from the ministers amid speculation about the potential breakup of his coalition [File: Gabriel Bouys/Reuters]
Argentina’s centre-left President Alberto Fernandez is battling a spreading cabinet rebellion, sharpened by criticism from his powerful Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The crisis comes in the wake of a bruising primary election loss by a spate of resignations tendered by left-wing ministers allied with the more hardline “Kirchnerist” wing of the ruling part
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech next to a bodyguard during opening ceremony of the judicial year at the Supreme Tribunal of Justice building in Caracas [File: Yuri Cortez/AFP]
Judges and prosecutors in Venezuela have played a significant role in serious rights violations against government opponents, UN investigators have said.
In a new report released on Thursday, the UN team tasked with probing the rights situation in Venezuela slammed a dire lack of judicial independence in the country while detailing how deficiencies in the justice system have allowed certain violations, including the use of torture, to continue with impunity.
Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry, pictured, has replaced the country’s justice minister as the country’s political crisis grows [File: Matias Delacroix/The Associated Press]
Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has replaced the country’s justice minister, days after firing a chief public prosecutor who had called for Henry to be charged in connection with the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The latest fractures in a deepening political crisis in the Caribbean nation also included the resignation of the secretary-general of Haiti’s Council of Ministers, Renald Luberice, who said in a letter on Wednesday he could not remain under the direction of a prime minister who “does not intend to cooperate with justice, seeking, on the contrary, by all means, to obstruct it”.
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton, who is visiting the US, said on Thursday that Australia will also be ‘significantly enhancing’ cooperation with the US on the development of missiles and explosive ordnance [File: Peter Parks/AFP]
Australia has announced that more US troops will rotate through the island nation and that the allies will cooperate on missile development, the latest joint steps amid shared concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.
Australia earlier announced a three-way alliance with the United States and Britain in which Canberra will acquire nuclear-powered submarines, enraging France whose own key contract for conventional submarines was scrapped.
An Indian army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangir in Indian-administered Kashmir’s Ganderbal district [File: Danish Ismail/Reuters]
India has told China their bilateral relations will develop only when both countries pull their troops back from a confrontation on their disputed Himalayan border, the Indian foreign minister said.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar shared India’s position when he met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on the sidelines of a regional conference in Dushanbe on Thursday.
Afghan women take part in a protest march for their rights under the Taliban rule in the downtown area of Kabul on September 3, 2021. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]
I left Afghanistan, my beloved country, just a few days after the Taliban took control of Kabul.
I did not want to leave, but I had no choice. Soon after the Taliban assumed control of the capital city, its fighters started to look for me. They showed up at my house (which I had already left in fear of my safety) and harassed my family members and people working for me. They beat up my security guards and violently interrogated people who know me in an effort to find me.
A vendor selling Taliban flags stands next to posters of Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Amir Khan Muttaqi (L) as he waits for customers along a street in Kabul on August 27, 2021. [Aamir Qureshi/ AFP]
The Taliban has complete control over Afghanistan right now. The US and its allies fought against the movement for the last 20 years and tried hard to root it out. They spent more than two trillion dollars and more than 3,000 foreign soldiers lost their lives.
In spite of all this war effort, the Taliban are ruling Afghanistan once again.
A Zimbabwean farmer walks through his maize field outside Harare [File: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]
A decade ago, Lloyd Gweshengwe migrated to Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, lured by the region’s abundant rainfall, fertile soils and good grazing land for his livestock.
In the low-lying, parched areas of Gutaurare area in Manicaland province, where Gweshengwe used to live, rain-fed agriculture was longer sustainable. Recurring droughts would frequently wiped out crops, while clean water sources would dry up.
The move on Thursday was agreed at an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States in Accra [Kweku Obeng/Reuters]
West Africa’s main regional bloc has imposed sanctions against the military government in Guinea and those slowing Mali’s post-coup transition – its toughest response yet to a run of military takeovers.
The move on Thursday was agreed at an emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra to respond to last week’s putsch in Guinea and perceived slow progress towards constitutional rule in Mali following a coup last year.
Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble [File: Feisal Omar/Reuters]
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has suspended Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble’s power to hire and fire officials, the latest development in a destabilising feud that has plunged the country into fresh crisis.
The dispute between the two leaders marks an escalation of months of tension, threatening to throw an already fragile electoral process into deeper peril.
The French military has killed several high-ranking members of ISGS under its strategy of singling out its fighters since the start of its military intervention in Mali in 2013 [File: Michele Cattani/AFP]
France says that the leader of ISIL (ISIS)-affiliated Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, known for its deadly attacks in the so-called tri-border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, has been killed by French forces.
“[Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi], leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara was neutralised by French forces,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet on Thursday.
People carry national flags as they hold a moment of silence marking the one-year anniversary of Beirut’s port blast, near the site of the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2021 [File: Emilie Madi/Reuters]
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for the EU to adopt targeted sanctions on Lebanese officials engaged in corruption and obstructing the Beirut Port explosion investigation.
In a vote on Thursday, 571 out of 681 members of European Parliament backed the resolution, which condemned Lebanese political parties for the country’s devastating economic crisis, which has plunged about three-quarters of the population into poverty and for delaying any semblance of economic recovery and accountability.
El-Sisi stressed the importance of the upcoming elections [File: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/Pool via AFP]
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has pledged support for elections in Libya in talks with the North African country’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Sisi “stressed the importance of the upcoming Libyan elections in respecting and activating the free will of the … Libyan people,” a presidency statement said on Thursday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Downing Street, London, United Kingdom [Hannah McKay/Pool/Reuters]
The United Arab Emirates will invest 10 billion pounds ($14 billion) in post-Brexit Britain, targeting infrastructure, clean energy and technology over the coming years as the Gulf state seeks to strengthen trade ties beyond the Middle East.
The pledge came during the visit of de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to London and was unveiled by Abu Dhabi wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co., which has $243 billion under management, and the U.K. Office for Investment.
Y4GATE (AIM: CY4) – società attiva nel mercato cyber a 360°, comunica di essere parte di un importante programma europeo finanziato da una Agenzia Europea per la Difesa Cibernetica, che doterà i partners di una avanzata ed innovativa capacità di contrasto alle incombenti e persistenti minacce cibernetiche.
È uno dei progetti che si inseriscono nel contesto dello European Defence Fund (EDF) con il primario obiettivo di rendere autonomi i Paesi dell’Unione, nel settore della difesa e promuovere la cooperazione militare tra i membri. Il Progetto, del valore superiore a 300.000 euro, avrà un significativo impatto sulla crescita tecnologica e di competenze di Cy4Gate nello specifico segmento.
Il capo del gruppo jihadista dello Stato islamico del Grande Sahara (EIGS l’acronimo in francese), Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahrawi è stato ucciso dalle forze francesi dell’Operation Barlhane secondo quanto annunciato oggi dal presidente francese Emmanuel Macron su Twitter. “Questo è un altro grande successo nella nostra lotta contro i gruppi terroristici nel Sahel” ha detto Macron senza fornire dettagli. sull’operazione che portato all’uccisione del leader jihadista.
La Corea del Nord ha lanciato il 15 settembre due missili balistici al largo della costa orientale, non uno come detto in precedenza. Lo hanno riferito le forze armate sudcoreane, due giorni dopo che il Nord ha affermato di aver testato un nuovo missile da crociera nel suo primo test sulle armi in sei mesi. I due missili balistici lanciati da un sito nella regione centrale sono volati verso laorientale della penisola coreana mercoledì pomeriggio, ha dichiarato il capo di stato maggiore della Corea del Sud in una nota.
L’operazione di trasferimento del personale afghano in Italia “non si è conclusa”. Lo ha annunciato questa mattina in audizione alle commissioni Esteri e Difesa della Camera, il generale Luciano Portolano, alla testa del Comando operativo di vertice interforze (COVI) che ha gestito le operazioni di evacuazione da Kabul.
“Siamo in contatto con quasi tutti i collaboratori della Difesa, ma anche con tutti coloro che hanno fatto richiesta di aiuto, ma che non è stato possibile evacuare a causa del deterioramento delle condizioni di sicurezza sul terreno e dalle limitazioni imposte dal breve arco temporale in cui si è svolta l’operazione. Ciò in previsione di eventuali attività future che dovessero svilupparsi al miglioramento delle condizioni.
Leonardo ha annunciato il lancio del Team AW149 UK, la sua catena di fornitura onshore per l’elicottero AW149. Con oltre 70 aziende provenienti da Inghilterra, Scozia, Galles e Irlanda del Nord, la catena di fornitura AW149 di Leonardo rappresenta uno spaccato del meglio dell’ingegneria e della produzione britannica.
Al Salone DSEI 2021 in corso a Londra Leonardo ha messo in luce nove di queste aziende, che stanno tutte supportando l’AW149 come “la scelta del Regno Unito” per il requisito del New Medium Helicopter del Ministero della Difesa.
Si chiama AUKUS (acronimo di Australia, United States Kingdom e United States) il “nuovo, vecchio asse tripartito” nell’Indo-Pacifico che rinsalda l’alleanza anglo-americano-australiana già in auge all’epoca deIla guerra fredda con l’obiettivo oggi di rafforzare il fronte anti-cinese.
Il presidente degli Stati Uniti, Joe Biden, il primo ministro britannico, Boris Johnson, e il premier australiano, Scott Morrison, hanno annunciato oggi una nuova intesa militare e industriale basata sulla condivisione di tecnologie avanzate nell’ambito della Difesa.
The Marines are looking for a few older people—at least, a few years older than typical recruits. That’s because the Corps will need troops with new combinations of tech skills and mature judgment to meet the challenges and threats expected by 2030, according to the service’s trainer-in-chief.
“If we think about what the commandant is asking us to do as part of the inside force—a force that will live, compete, contest, and then have to possibly transition to crisis and conflict later on—we need very, very intelligent Marines,” Lt. Gen. Kevin Iiams, who leads the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command, said during Defense One’s State of Defense event Thursday.
Just after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Gen. Mark Milley faced an impossible choice: should he allow President Trump to retain sole authority to start nuclear war, or should he intervene to block such an order?
Convinced that Trump had suffered “serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election,” Gen. Milley decided to intervene, ordering his staff to come to him if they received a strike order from the president.
A new world is beginning to take shape, even if it remains disguised in the clothes of the old.
The United States, Britain, and Australia have announced what is in effect a new “Anglo” military alliance. The basics are these: In 2016, Australia struck a deal with France to buy a fleet of diesel-powered submarines, rejecting an Anglo-American alternative for nuclear-powered vessels. In March this year, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (or, “that fellow down under,” as Joe Biden referred to him), began talking with Washington about reversing its decision. Then, last night, in a live three-way public announcement, Biden, Morrison, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that the Australians would scrap their agreement with France to team up with Britain and the U.S. instead, forming a new “AUKUS” military alliance in the process.
The British Army is crafting its new Land Industrial Base Strategy, meant to move the service toward a more collaborative relationship with industry as it develops a force capable of fighting on the future battlefield, according to Col. Tobias Lambert, the British Army’s assistant head of industrial strategy.
“The challenge for me is working out how we grease the wheels of the machinery that allows us to work in concert from strategic planning … through the delivery and through life [cycle] management of our capabilities, through how we partner internationally, work collaboratively and do exports,” Lambert said at the DSEI defense exhibition in London on Sept. 15.
The British Army is leaning heavily into robotics, artificial intelligence and hybrid-power technology as part of a new acquisition process dubbed Mercury, according to a British Army leader involved in future procurement planning.
The Army is grappling with how to acquire technologies that it believes it will need in the future, how to spiral in those technologies across its equipment programs and how to cultivate skills in its soldiers to use capabilities as they come online, Col. Christopher Coton, the service’s assistant head for concepts, said at the DSEI defense exhibition in London on Sept. 15.
American defense company Lockheed Martin is continuing to update its bid to build the Hellenic Navy’s new frigates and modernize its current ones, with Greece set to choose a path forward for its surface fleet by the end of the year.
Greece has asked for a three-part solution to modernize its surface fleet amid increases in Russian submarine presence in the Mediterranean Sea, migration from Africa across the sea and tension with neighboring Turkey. The Hellenic Navy wants to buy four new frigates, modernize the combat capability of its four current Hydra-class MEKO 200 frigates and receive some kind of interim capability to operate while the MEKOs undergo their upgrade process.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace admitted if he were French he would be extremely disappointed over the Australian decision to ax a $65 billion deal with Naval Group to build diesel electric-submarines, but he said the move was done for strategic, not industrial, reasons.
“I understand Frances’s disappointment at the cancellation of the diesel-electric deal,” Wallace said at the DSEI defense exhibit here on Sept. 16. “It was a big deal, done in 2016. I would be deeply disappointed on behalf of the industry I represent, of course I would, but fundamentally this is about Australia changing its capability requirements.”
British defense analysts have access to more data and information sources than ever before, but are desperate for mature automation tools to properly sift through them all, said the nation’s top intelligence officer.
The U.K.’s defense intelligence arm has “ambitious plans” to increase the use of automation systems across its enterprise, and relieve its human analysts of performing repetitive tasks, said British Army Lt. Gen. James Hockenhull, chief of defense intelligence.
The Air Force Research Laboratory is marking the next step in the development of its space-related infrastructure at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, beginning construction on a facility dedicated to simulation and analysis last week.
The $6 million, 10,685-square-foot Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation (WARS) Laboratory will house wargaming and simulation branches for both the directed energy and space vehicles directorates.
China on Thursday officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), in a landmark move that attests to the country’s commitment to global trade liberalization despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and intensifying efforts by the US to isolate and contain China’s development.
The EU released on Wednesday its State of the Union 2021, in which it described China as “a competitor, even a rival, but also a partner for the EU in terms of tackling global environmental challenges and trade with 1.4 billion consumers.”
The Global Gateway scheme, which some observers believe aims to compete with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is likely inspired by the success of the BRI and will serve to fully demonstrate the effectiveness of Chinese-initiated global infrastructure program, Chinese analysts said on Thursday.
Although relations between China and Japan are facing complicated and serious issues, both sides should take a broader strategic vision while carefully examining the crux of the relationship, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou said in a meeting with Japanese business representatives on Thursday.
China hopes all parties in South Asia, including India, will make constructive efforts in maintaining peace and stability in the region, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday in response to India’s plan to conduct a trial of intercontinental-range ballistic missile that covers Beijing and other Chinese cities, citing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1172. The resolution condemned India’s nuclear bomb tests in 1998 and demanded it to refrain from engaging in further tests.
To understand the interesting relationship between the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistani Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban, one must peep into history to see how the linkages developed and why the Afghan Taliban are not responding in equal measure to Pakistan’s repeated appeals to take conclusive action against the TTP.
In August 2021, under India’s presidency, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted a statement recognising the importance of technology in peacekeeping. At the high-level Security Council open debate on “technology and peacekeeping”, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar stated that “21st-century peacekeeping must be anchored in a strong ecosystem of technology and innovation”.1 In the meeting, Secretary-General António Guterres outlined elements of a digital transformation strategy for peacekeeping. Another significant development of that day was the launch of UNITE AWARE, a technology platform developed by India in collaboration with the UN, aimed at providing terrain-related information to the UN peacekeepers to ensure their safety and security. These developments suggest that future peacekeeping operations will be technology-enabled. India shows enthusiasm and interest in this envisioned transformation. India is one of the largest troop-contributing countries (TCC) to UN peacekeeping missions, however, the question is whether it can become a technology-contributing country (TecCC) as well.
The common narrative about the Communist Party of China (CPC) is that even though it has been successful in eradicating extreme poverty, it has done so by exerting overwhelming control over the Chinese society. The Party has no doubt been praised for ushering in economic development, however, it has also drawn criticism for ruthlessly penalising any dissent shown against exercising such control. Many point out to certain sections of the elite speaking out against the tightening political control under the Chinese President Xi Jinping. It raises the question whether the Party is indeed failing if it can no longer elicit loyalty among its own members.
Despite more than six years of Saudi-led military offensive against the Houthis, the situation in Yemen remains extremely complex and challenging for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have captured large parts of the Yemeni territory in the north-west of the country including the capital Sanaa. The Saudi-led military coalition’s twin objectives of pushing the Houthis back from Sanaa and reinstating the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi remain unfulfilled.
The beginning of the rollout of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) between 2013–2015 has already redefined the vocabulary of international relations, especially that of engagement between major economic powers and developing nations. The concept of ‘connectivity’ has since then risen to the top of the foreign policy agenda of virtually all global players, including the European Union (EU) and India. Determined, at least on paper, to offer a competitive, more sustainable alternative to the BRI, Brussels and New Delhi have committed to increase cooperation on connectivity initiatives by signing the “EU-India Connectivity Partnership” on 8 May 2021.
As Russia prepares to vote for the State Duma elections from September 17-19, the ruling United Russia (UR) party is expected to retain control of the lower house of parliament. Despite the approval ratings that have stayed well below 30 percent over the past year, most analysts believe that the party will be able to secure a majority, if not a super-majority, in the 450 member parliament. Yet, the situation today is much different from the 2016 Duma elections that saw UR attain a record 343 out of 450 seats in the Duma, benefiting from favourable public opinion following the annexation of Crimea.
Lebanon’s new government is expected to lift all subsidies by the end of this month. Over the last two years, Lebanon’s economy collapsed, and the state went bankrupt. Early August, the Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh, said that the state could no longer afford subsidies as the country’s foreign reserves have severely depleted. The decision was opposed by the caretaker government. But, last week, as Lebanon’s political factions finally formed a new government, Prime Minister Najib Mikati endorsed the lifting of subsidies as an unpleasant but necessary step to lead the country towards economic recovery.
The Taliban’s “inclusive” government has turned out to be a farce. It is 100% male, mostly Pashtuns, including some notorious internationally designated terrorists, only two Tajiks and one Uzbek among 33 ministers. Afghanistan’s ethnic, tribal and regional fault lines are apparent, with different Taliban factions vying for power. The pragmatists have been marginalised and the hardliners, like the ISI-Haqqani network, have got an upper hand with help from Pakistan’s ISI. The Haqqani-ISI alliance had bombed the Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2008, killing 58 people, including Indian diplomats. Infighting led to a rumour of Deputy PM Mullah Baradar having been wounded, resulting in his eventual death in a Pakistani hospital. He has since issued a video message to dispel this rumour. The Al Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a deputy of Osama bin Laden believed to be holed up in Pakistan, has also issued a video message. He too is alive. The Taliban calling the government an interim one is a prophylactic for avoiding international criticism. They have adopted a double-faced policy of catering to international demands and domestic policies. The oath-taking ceremony, scheduled for September 11, has been deferred. Regret has been expressed for the 9/11 attacks. These flip-flops, based on ISI advice, is to seek legitimacy and acceptance, vital for international aid. Afghanistan is sinking deeper into a humanitarian crisis.
Heightening great-power rivalry has impeded consensus-making in multilateral institutions. This has given rise, in recent years, to minilaterals especially in the Indo-Pacific. Even as there are criticisms that minilaterals are too informal and lacking in structures that are required for focused debates, China’s belligerence has galvanised support for, and focus within minilateral groupings in the region. Over the past year, the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed the vulnerabilities of existing multilateral institutions, further driving the emergence of both strategic minilaterals and more targeted ones focused on various issues, including supply chain resilience. This brief weighs the potential of minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific, and argues that in the foreseeable future, it will endure.
Few things are more frustrating than when the government releases statistics that require an explanation from technical experts for anyone to make sense of them. But flaws and unduly complicated formulas leave us in exactly that situation when it comes to poverty in the US. This year’s release of poverty data for the US is even more challenging to explain than usual because the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) suggests an increase in poverty from 2019 to 2020, while poverty rates according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) decreased.
Great-power arms control negotiations are back on the table as the United States and Russia prepare for new “strategic stability talks” following the Joe Biden–Vladimir Putin summit in June 2021 in Geneva. As American negotiators prepare for these talks, a consensus is growing in Washington that future agreements must place limits on Russian shorter-range nuclear weapons rather than limiting only long-range weapons, as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) does.
Four multilateral peace operations were deployed in Afghanistan during the 20 years between the start of the United States-led intervention that toppled the Taliban government in the country in 2001 and the withdrawal of US and allied troops this year. One of them, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), was the largest multilateral peace operation ever deployed, and was also the first peace operation mounted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) outside Europe. ISAF functioned in parallel to Operation Enduring Freedom, a counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan led by the USA from 2001 to 2014.
Japan is headed into a consequential election season. On September 29th, the ruling political party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), will determine within its own ranks who will be their next president and effectively the next prime minister of Japan following the current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s announcement he will not seek re-election as LDP leader. After which Japan’s parliament, the National Diet, will officially choose Japan’s next prime minister on October 4th. This then sets the stage for the election for Japan’s House of Representatives on October 17th—the first lower house election since 2017.
Last month, while the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan unfurled, the office of the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released a thorough 140-page report on lessons from Washington’s two-decade presence in the country. Amid details of political decisions and missed opportunities, the report offered a run-through of the one element the United States consistently overlooked during its occupation: corruption. Specifically, the SIGAR report details the American choices that, time and again, “increased corruption”—corruption that rotted the U.S.-backed regime and that allowed the Taliban to topple the government far more quickly than many assumed.
When Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton arrive in Washington this Thursday to meet with their American counterparts for the annual bilateral talks known as AUSMIN, China will loom larger than ever.
For many years, a few members of the Sikh diaspora located in North America have supported the creation of a separate state for Sikhs—to be called Khalistan—in the Indian state of Punjab bordering Pakistan and the volatile Jammu and Kashmir region. While demands for a separate Sikh state were voiced prior to the dissolution of British India in 1947, Sikh militants did not begin employing violence to advance their demands until the late 1970s and continued to do so through the early 1990s.
The 20th anniversary of 9/11 finds American foreign policy in a peculiar place. The U.S. hasn’t stabilized the Middle East, permanently remade Afghan society or ended jihad. But no terrorist has managed to inflict another attack on the scale of Sept. 11 on the American homeland. As a result, the War on Terror has receded to the margins of U.S. politics as fears that the liberal world order is crumbling rise to the fore.
This article explains the history of terrorism in Africa, its causes, and future efforts to bring peace and stability. It focuses on certain nations in West and East Africa – Mali, Nigeria and Somalia.
To discuss terrorism in Africa it is essential to recognize the complexities involved. First, ‘terrorism’ is a problematic term. If terrorism is defined as the use of violence and intimidation against civilians, then some African governments have allegedly committed terrorist acts.
The US, the EU and the UK hold a leading position in international trade and the global economy, and enjoy wide-reaching economic partnerships with Asia-Pacific nations. Governments in the US and Europe have a critically important role to play in supporting firms’ efforts to build visible, agile and sustainable supply chains that have resilience against unexpected disruptions.
Geopolitical and trade tensions in recent years, and the shift towards digital, service-led and low-carbon economies, have driven the rethinking and restructuring of traditional, efficiency-oriented, global production networks, even before the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This paper offers insights into how US and European governments can harness an array of public policy tools to protect strategic supply chains without sliding into protectionism and while managing resultant trade-offs.
The most sustainable opportunities will require a mix of approaches, ranging from reshoring production to establishing stockpiles of critical inputs, while collaborating at bilateral, regional and global level to reinforce the international trade system.
Morocco’s experience with Islamists sets it apart from its neighbours. While Egypt and Tunisia have resorted to military and constitutional means to remove Islamists from power, Morocco’s moderate Islamist party, the PJD, were removed by the country’s citizens through the ballot box, without any direct intervention by the monarchy. This is the first time since the Arab Spring protests of 2011 that an Islamist party has been removed from power through the electoral process.
15 September 2021 marks the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, the agreements that normalized ties between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. At the time, the accords were portrayed as a barter ending Israeli annexation of the West Bank in exchange for normalization of ties with the UAE.
The Trump administration viewed them as a model for outsourcing regional security that would allow the US to prioritize its interests beyond the Middle East, a tectonic regional shift brokered by the United States. However, only Morocco and Sudan have so far followed suit and signed normalization agreements with Israel.
At COP26, the governments of highly emitting countries will have a critical opportunity to accelerate emissions reductions through ambitious revisions of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
If emissions follow the trajectory set by current NDCs, there is a less than 5 per cent chance of keeping temperatures well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and less than 1 per cent chance of reaching the 1.5°C target set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Unless NDCs are dramatically increased, and policy and delivery mechanisms are revised accordingly, many of the climate change impacts described in this research paper are likely to be locked in by 2040, and become so severe they go beyond the limits of what nations can adapt to.
As well as the immediate physical and socio-economic consequences of changes in climate, the paper captures the systemic cascading risks likely to arise as these direct risks and impacts compound to affect whole systems, including people, infrastructure, the economy, societal systems and ecosystems.
July was a busy month for US diplomats who have been traversing the Indo-Pacific region, reinforcing US commitment to the region in light of growing concern that Southeast Asian states are moving closer to China.
Until recently, it may have been hard for the average person to grasp how deadly and damaging disasters and shocks can be. No longer. Few anywhere in the world have emerged from the past year and a half without a strong appreciation of the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Along with COVID-19 taking more than 4.5 million lives and upending health systems, business revenue and global logistics, other acute and long-term shocks and stressors have affected communities around the world, including bushfires in Australia, North America and Europe, lethal heatwaves in Oregon, and mudslides in Japan.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Cambodia’s economy contracted by 3.1 per cent in 2020. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) predicts that Cambodia’s poverty rate will rise to 17.6 per cent, around 8 percentage points higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final months ahead of the elections to the Russian State Duma (lower chamber of parliament) were marked by a total cleansing of the political field (see EDM, September 13). This included an aggressive crackdown on the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) (RIA Novosti, June 9), entailing reprisals against everyone who supported the structures of Alexei Navalny (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, May 17), and the denouncement as “foreign agents” of the overwhelming number of opposition media outlets (BBC News—Russian service, August 20).
As new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi forms his government, Baku and Tehran are expected to enter the next uneasy and uncertain phase in their bilateral relations. In particular, issues relating to the unfinished railway segment of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) and the controversial hydropower projects on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border remain unresolved. On top of those, the augmenting Azerbaijani-Israeli partnership is a major factor that continues to complicate Tehran’s perspective on Azerbaijan.
The principal outcome of the Russian-Belarusian summit on September 9 was the announcement that all 28 “roadmaps”—now called “Union State Programs”—have finally been endorsed. Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed that the agreed documents deal with the integration of Russia’s and Belarus’s currency systems (but short of issuing a single currency) as well as with the harmonization of tax collection. In addition, the parties are pursuing a common industrial policy and guaranteed equal access to government procurement. The formation of a single natural gas market is scheduled for late 2023.
Gen. Mark Milley did not go outside the chain of command when the Joint Chiefs chairman reached out to Chinese leaders to reassure them the U.S. would not attack China in the unsteady weeks before and after the 2020 election, his office said Wednesday.
Milley, who is guaranteed another two years in his job, has faced pressure from Congressional Republicans to resign following revelations in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book Peril that the chairman took unusual steps to prevent war. Those steps included reminding flag officers of their specific roles and responsibilities if a nuclear launch were ordered during former President Donald Trump’s erratic final days in office.
Australia will get its first nuclear-powered submarines under a new trilateral relationship with the United States and United Kingdom intended to improve security in the Pacific, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
The move will put nuclear-powered submarines, which have longer range than Australia’s current conventional subs and can stay underwater for months, in China’s backyard as the administration seeks to pivot its foreign policy to the Indo-Pacific region.
Defense officials are seeking input by October 25 on how they can make the department’s contracting opportunities more attractive to small businesses.
“The participation of dynamic, resilient, and innovative small businesses in the defense industrial base is critical to the United States’ efforts to maintain its technological superiority, military readiness, and warfighting advantage,” said a request for comments in the Federal Register on Sept. 8. “The department seeks public input on the barriers that small businesses face in working with the department. This input will be used to update the department’s Small Business Strategy led by the DoD Office of Small Business Programs.”
Rivalry with China and Russia, as well as external events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, pose serious risks to the integrity and availability of the U.S. Defense Department’s critical supplies. The department is seized with concern about supply chain risk management, or SCRM — as it should be — but its approach is subscale, fragmented, resource-inefficient and too narrowly focused. This must change, and Congress must help.
Despite the fact that SCRM is a hot topic that has received priority attention from presidential administrations, the department lacks a comprehensive SCRM strategy. Unfortunately, beyond a few high-profile supplies — semiconductors, critical minerals and pharmaceuticals — the department has not delved deeply and systematically into its supply chain risks.
The U.S. and U.K. will aid Australia’s ambitions for a nuclear-powered submarine fleet as part of a new trilateral security partnership that leaders of the three counties are set to announce Wednesday.
While the new defense technology-sharing pact is yet another step by Western allies to counter China’s strength, it will also upend Australia’s largest-ever defense contract, a AUS$90 billion deal to build submarines designed by the French company Naval Group, the Australia-based ABC News was first to report.
The first step in improving the United Kingdom’s space domain awareness is bringing existing data together, said the head of the country’s new Space Command.
“There are so many different sensors out there already, it is about initially bringing that data together, understanding that data, using that data so we’ve got a single picture and understanding of what is going on,” said Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey at the DSEI 2021 trade show in London Sept. 15.
Britain’s Army chief came to DSEI to make a keynote speech about the Army’s transformation plans and efforts to embrace data, digitization and cutting-edge technologies. But reporters were more interested in asking him about Afghanistan and the recent withdrawal, in which the British military played a significant role.
Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith, the chief of the general staff, told reporters following a Sept. 15 speech at the London event that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan carriers potential international risks.
Leonardo has announced more details of the 757 test bed aircraft it will use in the Tempest program, including a 28 ton payload for equipment and six locations for sensors.
Dubbed Excalibur, the aircraft has been remodeled with a pointed nose to mimic the likely Tempest design by Leonardo’s partner, UK firm 2Excel.
The F-16 screeched across the sky Wednesday before landing on a highway cut through pineapple fields in southwestern Taiwan to refuel quickly and take off again.
The Taiwanese military exercise envisioned a Chinese attack taking out the island’s main airfields, necessitating the use of rural roads as runways to carry on the fight.
A U.K.-based industry team led by Italian defense company Leonardo has successfully demonstrated a new system to protect tanks and armored vehicles from incoming missiles, according to a Sept. 15 statement issued by Leonardo at the DSEI defense exhibition in London.
Integrating active protection systems onto vehicle fleets is a challenge shared by countries worldwide, including the United States, which has its own efforts to develop a modular system capable of protecting combat vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided weapons.
Japan could be the next partner nation for the trinational, British-led next-generation fighter program, an official hinted at the DSEI arms trade show in London.
The United Kingdom, Sweden, and Italy are jointly developing cutting-edge technologies to feed into the Future Combat Air System effort. The FCAS is to eventually lead to a core fighter aircraft and a raft of new capabilities alongside it by 2035.
An ongoing Global Posture Review and a 2022 update to the National Defense Strategy will provide the U.S. Navy more clarity on what its roles and expectations are in the future, as the maritime space increasingly sees activities that the service considers aggressive but under the threshold of war.
Both China and Russia are taking part in these gray zone activities — in the competition phase of the warfare spectrum, but not yet reaching the crisis phase. In these instances, the Navy can’t respond kinetically like it would in conflict, but a lack of any response is not a precedent the service wants to set.
Leonardo and Northrop Grumman have joined forces to pursue the nascent vertical-takeoff-and-landing unmanned systems market.
The two companies have worked together on multiple efforts since the mid-1990s, but formally decided to enter a strategic partnership focused on global opportunities for uncrewed rotorcraft systems, representatives announced Wednesday at the biennial DSEI technology conference in London.
The growth of China’s retail sales, a key economic indicator, slowed down significantly in August as the latest coronavirus flare-up and extreme weather conditions constrained consumption during the summer vacation, according to official data on Wednesday, underscoring lingering challenges and uncertainties for the country’s economic recovery.
The Chinese economy added a total of 9.38 million urban jobs in the first eight months of 2021, accounting 85.3 percent of an official target for new jobs for the full year, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday.
Despite the increasingly tough voices over the so-called financial decoupling between China and the US, the resumption of the China-US Financial Roundtable (CUFR) may be a sign that the idea is not popular to all.
It is no secret that the US and its allies have been busy setting up barriers to block Chinese technology development in recent years. With the Biden administration attempting to lure its allies to form an anti-China clique, they are reportedly weighing on a new step to form a united front to restrict Chinese investment.
A senior Chinese diplomat on Wednesday issued a stern warning to Germany and the EU over their discriminatory actions against Chinese businesses, vowing that China will not “sit idle” regarding such actions and urging relevant parties in Europe to not take a condescending attitude toward China and behave like a teacher.
China’s industry and information regulator vowed to strengthen the regulation of data security for the car network sector and will supervise the international transmission and process of data generated by car network.
The long-anticipated southbound leg of the bond trading linkup between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will be launched next week, officials announced on Wednesday, ending the suspense of the last four years after the availability of the northbound trading.
Syngenta Group, the agriculture giant owned by Sinochem Holdings said on Wednesday that its business of Modern Agriculture Platform (MAP) has grown into a modern agricultural service platform with the largest service scale and the fastest growing service network in China.
Port of Guangzhou, the world’s fifth-largest port, has opened a trade route carrying food from Central China to Africa, utilizing the multi-mode transportation of rail and sea freight, the port’s operator said on Wednesday.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday that the slowdown in consumption growth in August was mainly due to the impact of the epidemic and flooding in parts of the country, and that the overall recovery of consumption has actually not changed.
A naval flotilla belonging to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that crossed multiple strategic sea lanes near Japan and sailed near US waters since August has reportedly returned to the East China Sea recently, displaying the PLA Navy’s strong far sea capabilities that can break the so-called island chains that the US hoped to contain China, observers said on Wednesday.
The US, UK and Australia have announced a new alliance named “AUKUS” to target China, and they even made a deal to provide nuclear submarines to Australia. Chinese military experts warned that such a move will potentially make Australia a target of a nuclear strike if a nuclear war breaks out even if Washington said it won’t arm Canberra with nuclear weapons, because it’s easy for the US to arm Australia with nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles when Australia has the submarines.
Chris Tang Ping-keung, Secretary for Security in Hong Kong, said on Wednesday that he had issued a freezing order for Apple Daily’s printing factory located in Tseung Kwan O (TKO), in accordance with the rule of the national security law for Hong Kong.
A number of countries, including Venezuela, South Sudan and the Maldives, have spoken at the UN Human Rights Council praising China’s human rights achievements and opposing interference by outside forces in China’s internal affairs, including those related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet.