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

Open newsletter – march 17, 2022 a.m.

CAMBODIA

  • Cambodian court convicted 19 opposition politicians and activists on March 17, 2022, after an unfair trial in which no credible evidence was brought against the defendants, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial appears to have been aimed at sidelining political opponents of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). HRW – Cambodia: Opposition Politicians Convicted in Mass Trial

CHINA

  • Technology giants from the Chinese mainland listed in Hong Kong’s stock market reversed the recent plummet and rebounded sharply on Wednesday’s trading after a special meeting, held by China’s Financial Stability and Development Committee under the State Council, released positive signals to restore market confidence. Global Times – Biz Quick Take: Era of Chinese tech listings is far from over
  • The Fuzhou, the second Sovremenny-class destroyer and one of the last imported vessels of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, has recently returned to active service and joined exercises after undergoing a refit and modernization, with experts saying on Wednesday that the warship is now even more powerful and adapted to the PLA Navy’s combat system. Liu Xuanzun – Global Times – PLA Navy’s 2nd Sovremenny-class destroyer returns after upgrades
  • In what Chinese industry insiders compared to as a “fireside chats,” China’s top financial affairs watchdog pledged to bolster steady economic growth and capital markets in a meeting convened on Wednesday. The meeting had sent a fresh signal that the world’s second-largest economy will not pull punches in shoring up its economy for the year despite the downward pressure. Li Xuanmin
    and Xie Jun – Global Times – Chinese official clears monetary policies, platform management

CHINA – HONG KONG

  • China’s permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu introduced the positive changes brought by the National Security Law for Hong Kong and reform of the SAR’s electoral system during a side meeting at the ongoing 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Over a dozen country representatives voiced sound support for the one-China principle, saying that some countries have been spreading false information and smearing China, and that their political intentions will never succeed. Global Times – Over a dozen countries including Russia and Iran voice support for China’s Hong Kong policy at side meeting of UN

CHINA – USA

  • The US has the obligation to abide by the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and clarify the concerns of the international community on its military biological labs around the world, Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The ministry made the comments after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed the importance of establishing a verification mechanism as US-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine have caused concerns. Global Times – US obliged to clarify the concerns of intl community on its military bio-labs around the world: Chinese FMU

CYBER SECURITY

GREECE

HONDURAS – USA

  • A Honduran judge has authorised the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernandez to the United States on drug-trafficking and firearms charges. The decision was announced on Wednesday on the Twitter account of the Central American country’s judicial authority. Al Jazeera – Judge approves extradition of former Honduras president to US

INDIA

  • In October 2020, in the lead-up to the assembly elections in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ran an advertisement on Facebook insinuating that rival Rashtriya Janata Dal’s chief ministerial hopeful Tejashwi Yadav was instrumental in getting a politician killed. The advertisement headline read: “Tejashwi Yadav threatened RJD worker Shakti Malik and said, ‘I am Lalu Prasad’s son and deputy chief minister, if you raise your voice I shall get you killed.’ The threat was real. Shakti Malik was killed.”. Nayantara Ranganathan & Kumar Sambhav – Al Jazeera – What helps India’s BJP get lower Facebook rates? Divisive content

INDIA – AUSTRALIA – CHINA

LIBYA

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (impact, reactions, consequences) 

  • CSIS’s Andrew Lohsen joins the podcast to discuss Ukrainian President Zelensky’s plea to the U.S. and the West, the grave situation on the ground in Ukraine, and Russia’s efforts to control the narrative. CSIS – 9/11 Every Day in Ukraine
  • Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the West has coalesced around a cohesive sanctions strategy aimed at crippling Russia. Several tranches of sanctions have ensued. G7 leaders recently announced a series of sanctions that includes revoking Russia’s most favored nation (MFN) status, and the United States has banned the import of Russian oil and gas. (CSIS’s Gerard DiPippo and Matthew Reynolds have a more comprehensive overview of the sanctions here.) In a matter of weeks, Russia has surpassed North Korea and Iran to become the most sanctioned country. William Reinsch, Emily Benson – CSIS – International Business and Russia: A New Cold War or a Temporary Pause?
  • CSIS Global Food Security Program director Caitlin Welsh and CSIS Humanitarian Agenda director Jake Kurtzer join the podcast to talk about the Ukrainian refugee crisis, the growing food insecurity in Ukraine, and the internationalization of food insecurity due to Russia’s invasion. CSIS – Ukrainian Refugees and Food Insecurity
  • As sanctions imposed by the US and some of its allies against Russia continue to rattle the global market, especially global energy trade, more and more countries are seeking alternatives to US dollar-dominated settlement systems to avoid risks and losses, with some exploring the possible use of the Chinese yuan.  Chu Daye – Global Times – Reported Saudi move toward yuan shows payment diversification trend amid US sanctions
  • Global financial markets could be on the verge of suffering another shockwave as the US and its allies are attempting to crush Russia’s economy with sweeping sanctions. Global Times – GT Voice: An eventual Russian default is fault of US, its allies
  • On March 10, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense reported that the illegal Armenian armed detachment in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, in the direction of the Aghdam, Khojavend and Fuzuli regions (Mod.gov.az, March 10). According to the Ministry, the Azerbaijani side responded proportionately, and the clashes calmed down without any casualties on their side. The Armenians also reported no casualties in the exchange. In contrast, on March 7, the Armenian side reported that one of its soldiers was killed along the border with Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan—a charge that Baku has denied (Panorama.am, March 7; Azernews, March 8). Vasif Huseynov – The Jamestown Foundation – Post-War Status Quo in South Caucasus Trembles While Russia Fights on in Ukraine
  • Since launching its massive re-invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russia has already lost (as of March 11) 353 tanks, 1,165 armored vehicles, 57 airplanes, 83 helicopters, 125 canons, 31 air-defense systems, and over 12,000 troops (Radio Svoboda, March 11). This is the highest sustained casualty rate the Russian Armed Forces have experienced in decades. Mykola Vorobiov – The Jamestown Foundation – Ukraine Turns Into Hub for Foreign Fighters
  • The Ukrainian military’s employment of the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB-2 combat drones showcases some categorical differences from how the Azerbaijani Armed Forces utilized this system during the 2020 Second Karabakh War. The difference is most visible in the target-set priorities. While Azerbaijan mainly attacked Armenian armor, artillery, air defenses and troop concentrations, the Ukrainians are predominantly going after already over-stretched Russian logistics strings.  Can Kasapoglu – The Jamestown Foundation – A Dangerous Drone for All Seasons: Assessing the Ukrainian Military’s Use of the Bayraktar TB-2
  • Welcoming the International Court of Justice’s Order Directing the Russian Federation to Immediately Suspend Military Operations in UkraineUS Department of State
  • For decades, the idea of holding the Russian state accountable for atrocity crimes in a court of law was unthinkable. The country’s status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, as well as its refusal to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), have allowed those Russians responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity—against Chechens, Georgians, and Syrians—to escape prosecution. Moscow has also benefited from a lack of political will from other states worried about disturbing the global world order. Gissou Nia and Jomana Qaddour – Atlantic Council – Punish Putin for past and present crimes
  • With his country under constant bombardment by Russian forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy beamed into Washington on Wednesday with a video message for Congress: “We need you right now.” Apparently recognizing that the United States and its NATO allies are unlikely to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine, he asked for other forms of firepower to help fend off the Russian assaults that are decimating his cities. Shortly after, US President Joe Biden answered Zelenskyy’s call by pledging to send him drones along with anti-aircraft and anti-armor weapons. In a Twitter Space following his speech, our experts reacted to Zelenskyy’s emotional appeal—and weighed in on whether US thinking on defending Ukraine could continue to shift as the war worsens. Atlantic Council – Reading between the lines of Zelenskyy’s address to Congress
  • The war has transitioned from a lightning offensive designed to take the capital (if not the whole country) to a brutal war of attrition designed to suffocate Ukraine. In the north, Russia is transitioning into siege tactics around Kyiv, and the immediate risk of Ukrainian defeat seems to have passed. Still, Russia has adopted the so-called Grozny tactics of indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and near-complete razing of cities. In the south, Russia is using such tactics to demolish Mariupol, and it is nearly finished reinforcing the land bridge from Crimea to the Donbas. Russia will soon turn to Odesa and try to establish a land bridge from Crimea to the Transnistria region of Moldova. Once these objectives are achieved, we assess that Russia will likely settle into a war of attrition, starving Ukraine of supplies, blocking access to the Black Sea, and eventually prompting famine as Ukrainian farmers are unable to tend to their harvest. Atlantic Council – Russia Crisis Military Assessment: The weapons Ukraine needs most to win the war
  • A national news broadcast on the television channel Ukraine 24 was breached by hackers on March 16. The program’s news ticker was hacked to display messages to appear as though they were coming from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The messages urged Ukrainians to stop fighting and give up their weapons, while claiming that Zelenskyy “wanted to take Donbas” but was unsuccessful, so he had fled Kyiv. Atlantic Council – Russian War Report: Hacked news program and deepfake video spread false Zelenskyy claims
  • There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen,” said Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov—better known as Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin—during his exile prior to the 1917 Revolution. Today though, the quote describes what Europeans and others in the world are experiencing. The abruptness of the change the world is witnessing—which happened, quite literally, overnight—in conjunction with the violence in Ukraine relayed by the media, generates deep uneasiness and fear. How will this affect the rest of the world? Ana Palacio – El Mundo, Atlantic Council – China will define the next phase of the Russia-Ukraine war—and the shifting world order
  • $1 Billion in New U.S. Security Assistance for Ukraine This WeekUS Department of State
  • Russia must immediately suspend military operations in Ukraine, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Wednesday, in The Hague. UN News – International Court orders Russia to ‘immediately suspend’ military operations in Ukraine

SOMALIA – USA

TAIWAN

VENEZUELA

  • On March 17 and 18, oral updates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela (FFM) will provide an opportunity for UN Human Rights Council (HRC) member states to shed light on the three ongoing human rights crises in Venezuela; the crackdown on dissent, the humanitarian emergency, and the migration crisis. Tamara Taraciuk Broner – HRW – Venezuela Under Scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council