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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open Newsletter – march 15, 2022 p.m.

BANGLADESH

  • Bangladesh will ban questions probing the “immoral character” of rape victims in criminal cases, authorities say, after a long campaign by rights groups against humiliating interrogations of traumatised survivors. Experts say the country’s Evidence Act, a 19th-century relic of the British colonial era, has been routinely used to discredit the testimony of survivors during court cross-examinations and police investigations. Al Jazeera – Bangladesh to ban ‘immoral character’ evidence in rape cases

CHAD

  • Chadian authorities have handed over a former Central African Republic militia leader accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, to the International Criminal Court. On Monday, the Hague-based court said in a statement that Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka, who is suspected of crimes committed in 2013 and 2014 “in Bangui and other locations in the Central African Republic,” was now in its custody. Al Jazeera – Chad surrenders Central African ex-militia head to ICC

CHINA

  • China’s foreign minister has told his Spanish counterpart his country does not want to be impacted by Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine last month, according to state media. “China is not a party to the crisis, still less wants to be affected by the sanctions,” Wang Yi said, according to a readout of a phone call with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares that was published on Tuesday. Al Jazeera – China says it does not want to be impacted by Russia sanctions

IRAN

  • The recent proposal by a senior Iranian politician for a constitutional change has revived the debate around the possibility of introducing a parliamentary government system to the Islamic Republic. Proposals for constitutional changes have been raised on several occasions over the past decade, and the complex relations between the last four presidents and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have encouraged initiatives designed to pave the way for a replacement of the presidential system with a parliamentary system. Although these proposals have thus far produced no outcome, it is possible that this time, both main political camps and even Khamenei himself have an interest in promoting the change. The reformist-pragmatic camp may consider constitutional change an opportunity to regain some of its political influence, following years of exclusion. The conservatives, on the other hand, could exploit their control of all three government branches to promote constitutional change that will ensure conservative hegemony in the regime’s institutions, particularly in view of the expected struggle over the succession following the death of Khamenei. Raz Zimmt – INSS – The Second Republic of Iran: Is Iran Moving toward a Constitutional Change?

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow has received written guarantees from Washington that Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine will not affect cooperation with Iran within the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal. Lavrov’s remarks on Tuesday – delivered as he hosted his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, for talks in the Russian capital – could potentially signal that Russia’s demand that the sanctions would not impede its future dealings with Iran has been fulfilled. Maziar Motamedi – Al Jazeera – Russia says it has received US guarantees over Iran nuclear deal

IRAQ – IRAN

  • Twelve short-range ballistic missiles, fired from Iran, landed close to the U.S. consulate in Erbil, which is in the building stage, and to the offices of the Kurdish television network Kurdistan24 in northern Iraq. U.S. security forces and intelligence operatives are stationed in the region. American, Kurdish, and Iraqi security personnel launched an investigation, and initial findings are that the missiles were of the Fateh-110 model (a ballistic missile with a short range of up to 300 km; the different models include the Zulfiqar, which was fired at the United Arab Emirates from Yemen, with a range of up to 700 km). Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall – JCPA – In Response to the Killing of Two IRGC Colonels, Iran Fired Missiles near the U.S. Consulate in Erbil

ISRAEL – PALESTINE

  • Israeli forces have shot three Palestinians dead, including a teenager, in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank and in the Naqab (Negev) desert. In an Israeli raid on the sprawling Balata refugee camp in the northern city of Nablus early on Tuesday, 17-year-old Nader Rayan died after being shot in the head, chest and hand, the Palestinian health ministry said. Al Jazeera – Several Palestinians including teen killed by Israeli forces

MIDDLE EAST

NIGERIA

  • The impact of climate change on Nigeria’s environmental and socioeconomic systems is compounding the country’s fragility risks. Extreme weather patterns—fiercer, longer dry seasons and shorter, more intense rainy seasons—are exacerbating challenges confronting local communities. Extensive cultivation and overgrazing have been compounded by desertification, rendering large swaths of land in northern Nigeria unproductive. Unpredictable and higher-intensity rainfall in southern Nigeria is resulting in a loss of crops and the displacement of communities. Depleting environmental resources in every part of the country pose a serious food security challenge in the face of a rapidly growing population. In fact, the 2021 Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index ranks Nigeria as the 53rd most-vulnerable country and the 6th least-ready country in the world to adapt to climate change. Amara Nwankpa – Brookings – Managing existential risk and climate resilience: The case of Nigeria

NUCLEAR

  • Diesel generators had been providing back-up electricity to the site. The damaged power line was initially fixed on 13 March, but Ukraine’s energy company Ukrenergo said it was damaged again “by the occupying forces” before the power supply could be fully restored. World Nuclear News – Power supply restored to Chernobyl : Regulation & Safety
  • Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) attained first criticality on 21 December, after which its power output has been gradually increased to approximately 27%. At 12.01pm on 12 March, the unit was connected to the grid at a power output of 103 MWe. World Nuclear News – Finnish EPR starts supplying electricity : New Nuclear

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact, reactions, consequences) 

  • Many of the world’s democracies are employing financial and economic countermeasures to oppose Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24. In the period since, these sanctions have come from the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other governments around the world at a dizzying speed, targeting a wide range of Russian government officials, oligarchs, citizens, banks, and corporations. They include many individuals and entities in Putin’s orbit who have long been the subject of scrutiny by anti-corruption analysts, activists, and authorities. The extent of the sanctions is staggering: It is the “most comprehensive set of multilateral economic sanctions ever applied to a major global economy.” Norman EisenRobin J. LewisAaron KleinLilly BlumenthalMario PiconScott Johnston, and Charlie Loudon – Brookings – Mapping financial countermeasures against Russian aggression: Introducing the Brookings Sanctions Tracker 
  • Despite having acquired key defense equipment from Ukraine since the 1990s, Russia’s invasion of the country will not cause support issues for Pakistan, as this weaponry was already being phased out, an industry source has told Defense News. The largest Pakistan-Ukrainian defense deal was for 320 T-80UD/Ob’yekt 478BEh tanks, built by the Kharkov Machine Building Design Bureau, or KMDB. The tanks were ordered in 1996 and delivered during the 1997-1999 time frame, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Usman Ansari – Defense News – How is Pakistan’s military equipment affected by the Russian invasion?

  • The fighting in Ukraine invites some important conclusions regarding the use of force in the world taking shape before our eyes. This is the first clash between two militaries for a long time, and the Ukrainian army is not operating according to the concept of “conventional warfare,” but using an upgraded version of the war of the weak. On the other side, Vladimir Putin is caught in a trap, because although Russia is actually fighting in Ukraine, its real purpose is to create a new balance with the West, which is not part of the fighting on the ground but is waging a powerful economic war against Russia. Once Moscow’s plan to achieve a quick decision failed, the current war was no longer a means to achieve political ends, and in fact now threatens to frustrate any possibility of achieving them. There are many lessons to be learned for those who seek to use military force in today’s world. Ofer Shelah – INSS – Putin’s Dilemma
  • Questions of the “what would have happened if” are irrelevant to historical research, unless they add a current perspective. Such a perspective exists insofar as Ukraine is not part of NATO or the European Union, unlike other European countries that were part of the Soviet bloc and were accepted into these organizations following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And now, when parts of Ukraine have been captured by Russia, and two regions have even been recognized by Russia as independent, this question arises anew. The rigid conditions posed by the Kremlin for an end to the war leave little room for implementation, and there is therefore a need for “creative” ideas that can perhaps help stop the fighting. It is possible that if the talks with Russia progress, members of the European Union and NATO may be required to produce formulas that resolve the tension between the moral obligation to a European country under attack and “realpolitik,” that is, the need to reach a settlement and establish coexistence with an enemy that is challenging the existing order in the Eurasian space. Oded Eran, Shimon Stein – INSS – Is Ukraine Poised to Join NATO and the European Union?
  • The IPCC’s latest warning of the adverse impact of climate change on global security has been largely overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, explains Shiloh Fetzek. But could the swift energy-policy decisions of the past weeks offer hope of an accelerated shift away from fossil fuels? Shiloh Fetzek – IISS – Could the Ukraine crisis accelerate a longer-term policy shift away from fossil fuels?
  • The United Kingdom has added 350 more Russians to its sanctions list, hiked tariffs on a swath of imports from vodka to steel, and banned exports of luxury goods in retaliation for Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Tuesday said the asset freeze and travel ban now extended to 51 oligarchs and their families, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “political allies and propagandists”. Al Jazeera – UK blacklists 350 more Russians, imposes new import tariffs
  • Russian prosecutors have called for jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny to serve 13 years in prison on new embezzlement and contempt of court charges. Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal domestic critic, was jailed last year after surviving a poison attack he blames on the Kremlin. He is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence. Al Jazeera – Russian prosecutors seek new jail term for Kremlin critic Navalny
  • Kyiv will impose a 35-hour curfew from Tuesday night amid a “difficult and dangerous moment” after several Russian strikes in the capital, according to Mayor Vitali Klitschko. The curfew from 8pm (18:00 GMT) on Tuesday until 7am (05:00 GMT) on Thursday was a “decision of the military command”, Klitschko, a former boxing champion, said on Tuesday. Al Jazeera – Kyiv to impose 35-hour curfew amid fresh Russian attacks
  • The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict has disrupted India’s edible oil market which gets more than 90 percent of its sunflower oil from those two countries, experts say. The resultant increase in retail prices could worsen if the war continues to rage on. India consumes about 25 million tonnes of edible oil each year, of which it imports about 55 percent, making it the largest importer of edible oils in the world. In the financial year ending March 2021, it imported about 13.35 million tonnes of edible oils worth more than $10.5bn, according to government data (PDF). Of this, palm oil accounts for about 56 percent, soybean oil for 27 percent, and sunflower for about 16 percent. Mayank Aggarwal – Al Jazeera – Ukraine-Russia war jolts India’s import-dependent edible oil mkt
  • The United Nations and human rights organisations have warned Russia against punishing a Russian journalist who appeared on state TV brandishing an anti-war sign. In an act of dissent on Monday, Marina Ovsyannikova held up a poster behind the studio presenter of Russia’s state TV Channel One and interrupted a live news bulletin by shouting slogans denouncing Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Al Jazeera – Fears mount over ‘missing’ Russian anti-war TV protester
  • For years, Ukraine has aspired to join NATO, a move that would significantly boost its military in the face of Russian aggression, but the chances of membership remain slim even as the war devastates the former Soviet country. Russia refuses Western allegations that it wants to influence Ukraine, and claims its main desire is for Ukraine to be neutral, a buffer state, and out of NATO. Thomas O Falk – Al Jazeera – Ukraine: What does neutrality mean, and could it lead to peace?

SAHEL

  • More than 40 years after a catastrophic famine struck the region, the Sahel has once again become the focus of global attention. Poor economic performance, growing instability, and deteriorating climate conditions have combined to produce a vicious circle of increased poverty, instability, and communal violence. By drying out sources of livelihoods for populations mainly dependent on natural resources, climate change reinforces long-existing rivalries and increasingly triggers violence. In this paper, we argue that while climate change is a proximate cause of violence, institutional failures and clientelism are the actual root causes.  Ahmadou Aly Mbaye and Landry Signé – Brookings – Climate change, development, and conflict-fragility nexus in the Sahel

SENEGAL

SYRIA

TURKMENISTAN

  • Turkmenistan authorities have said the son of the Central Asian country’s leader won the presidential election after an unusual vote-counting delay, establishing a political dynasty in one of the world’s most tightly controlled countries. Serdar Berdymukhamedov, 40, secured 72.97 percent of votes in Saturday’s election to lead the gas-rich country and succeed his father Gurbanguly, the central election commission said on Tuesday. Al Jazeera – Turkmenistan leader’s son wins presidential election

USA

  • The next 30 years are pivotal for the future of the global climate. To have a fighting chance at limiting warming to 2°C, a threshold beyond which Earth may not be able to sustain human life, we need reductions in the range of 25 to 55 percent of cumulative global emissions by 2050. Potentially halving the world’s carbon output in thirty years requires innovation and mobilization on a scale greater than the most ambitious projects ever attempted, like harnessing the potential of atomic energy or landing humans on the moon. Johannes Urpelainen and Chetan Hebbale – Brookings –Net-zero innovation hubs: 3 priorities to drive America’s clean energy future 
  • A bipartisan group of almost two dozen senators requested a briefing from top U.S. security officials regarding ongoing pursuits to shield America from Russian-linked cybersecurity and disinformation threats—specifically in the wake of what they called “Russia’s violent and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”. Brandi Vincent – Nextgov – Senators Ask DHS for Strategy to Protect U.S. Critical Infrastructure from Russia
  • As the government looks to tighten procurement regulations for critical software, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a special publication detailing appropriate ways to assess an organization’s adherence to the agency’s go-to list of enhanced security requirements for protecting controlled but unclassified information.  Mariam Baksh – Nextgov – NIST Releases Guidance for Assessing Compliance with Core Cybersecurity Publication
  • Appropriators opted not to add projects to the Defense Department’s software pilot program in fiscal 2022, but did slightly increase funding. Lawmakers only allotted funding for eight programs to experiment with the concept of “colorless money” in the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill, instead of the 12 listed in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Lauren C. Williams – Nextgov – Funding for DOD’s Software Pilots Holds Strong in 2022

  • A team of national security experts have launched a new venture capital fund targeting entrepreneurs developing critical dual-use commercial and defense technology. Courtney Albon – Defense News – New venture capital fund focused on high-need, dual-use technology
  • Prices paid to U.S. producers rose strongly in February on higher costs of goods, underscoring inflationary pressures that set the stage for a Federal Reserve rate hike this week. The producer price index for final demand increased 10% from February of last year and 0.8% from the prior month, Labor Department data showed Tuesday. That followed an upwardly revised 1.2% monthly gain in January.  Bloomberg, Al Jazeera – US producer prices increased 10% in February from a year ago

USA – IVORY COAST

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has welcomed Patrick Achi, prime minister of Ivory Coast, for bilateral talks on a number of trade and security issues at the US Department of State. “We join Côte d’Ivoire in the worldwide condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Blinken said in a tweet late Monday, after meeting the Ivorian leader. Al Jazeera – US’s Blinken meets Ivory Coast PM to discuss trade, security | News | Al Jazeera