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

Open newsletter – May 4, 2022 a.m.

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE
  • HORIZONS
  • TECH & CYBER

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Africa

  • May 3. By Iza Lejarraga, ECFR.  The new African Continental Free Trade Area is the first large-scale agreement on deep integration in Africa to cover areas such as services, investment, competition policy, intellectual property rights, and digital trade. (read more)

China

  • May 3. By   Jing Gu, East Asia Forum. China’s growing role as a provider of development assistance, and the broader impact of its international economic engagement, has been the subject of considerable interest both within and outside China. The question of whether Chinese development policy is about cooperation or competition has fascinated the world. Whether their intentions are benevolent or power driven often dominates discussions. China’s new aid and security pact with the Solomon Islands is the latest case to raise the question of whether Chinese aid is developmental or a political. (read more)

Eurasian Economic Union

  • May 3. By Kataryna Wolczuk, Rilka Dragneva, Chatham House. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – consisting of Russia with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan – represents the culmination of Russia’s pursuit of regional integration with its post-Soviet neighbours. (read more)

Finland – Russia

  • May 3. By World Nuclear News. Fennovoima signed the plant supply contract for Hanhikivi with Rusatom Overseas – Rosatom’s nuclear power plant exports subsidiary – in December 2013. Rosatom offered to build a plant using a 1200 MWe AES-2006 VVER under a fixed-price contract. The Hanhikivi project is owned by Fennovoima, majority owned (66%) by Voimaosakeyhtiö SF, a Finnish company with shareholders including major Finnish corporations and several local energy companies. The remaining 34% is held by RAOS Voima Oy, the Finnish subsidiary set up in 2014 by Rosatom for the purpose of buying a share in the company. (read more)

France

  • May 3. By Rakesh Sood, ORF. President Emmanuel Macron scored a decisive victory over his Right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen last week, polling 58.5 per cent of the national vote to win a second term. It is a tremendous political achievement for 44-year-old Macron who fought his first election in 2017, created a new political party, Le Republic En Marche (France On The Move) and has sought to enlarge the liberal-pragmatic-centrist space on the political spectrum at a time of increasing polarisation in Europe. Only two of his predecessors have won second terms, Francois Mitterand in 1988 and Jacques Chirac in 2002, and both were in politics for decades. (read more)

India

  • May 3. By ORF. The Government of India’s budget for 2015-16 revised the target for Renewable Energy (RE) power generation capacity to 175 GWp (gigawatt peak) by 2022, which included 100 GWp of solar power, 40 GWp roof top, 60 GWp of wind, 10 GWp of biomass, and 5 GWp of small hydropower. (read more)

Kashmir

  • May 3. By Manoj Joshi. The decision by the Jammu and Kashmir authorities to ban or restrict congregational prayers in the Jama Masjid and the Eidgah in Srinagar in connection with Eid is perhaps the best indicator that the situation in the Union Territory (UT) is far from normal. After the demotion of the state to a UT in August 2019 and the heavy deployment of security forces, the situation has settled into an ugly stability. (read more)

Rohingya – Myanmar – USA

  • May 4. By Cecilia Jacob, East Asia Forum. On 21 March 2022, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States has determined that the acts committed against the Rohingya minority in 2017 constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. This determination draws attention to the systematic and large-scale atrocities committed under the Myanmar military (the Tatmadaw) and strengthens international pressure on the military regime that staged a coup in February 2021. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine

  • May 3. By Cynthia Cook, CSIS. Russia’s continuation of the war in Ukraine against fierce resistance suggests that Russia must see the war as offering benefits. Russia has territorial designs on Ukraine, and Putin may be holding on for fear of looking weak. In response, Ukraine’s fight is an existential battle for freedom and independence. Ukraine’s partners providing equipment to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions on Russia are defending the democratic order and sending the message that that aggression will not go unanswered. (read more)
  • May 3. By Atlantic Council.  As Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) is keeping a close eye on Russia’s movements across the military, cyber, and information domains. With more than seven years of experience monitoring the situation in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s use of propaganda and disinformation to undermine the United States, NATO, and the European Union, the DFRLab’s global team presents the latest installment of the Russian War Report. (read more)
  • May 3. By Alan Riley, Atlantic Council. In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gazprom was already busy setting the stage. Its role was to soften up the European Union (EU) by keeping natural supplies low and prices high in advance of the conflict. Moscow wanted to keep the Europeans vulnerable and therefore less likely to intervene when Russia invaded Ukraine. (read more)
  • May 3. By Dumitru Minzarari, The Jamestown Foundation. Following the start of Russia’s large-scale military re-invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, concerns arose about the role that the Transnistrian region of Moldova could play in the Kremlin’s war plans. The territory has been under Russian military occupation since 1992, with Moscow’s military, security and civilian officials directing, assisting and funding its administration. It has de facto been run like another Russian province, all while maintaining the façade of a separatist entity. (read more)
  • May 3. By Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation. As Russian losses in Ukraine mount and resistance in the Russian army to being deployed there increases (Mediazona [1] [2], April 6), Moscow faces growing difficulties with mobilizing soldiers to fill the gaps. This problem is especially acute in places where the funerals of those who have died in combat are an ever more familiar part of life —such as in small non-Russian republics like Buryatia and Dagestan and smaller but predominantly ethnic-Russian areas far from Moscow. In those regions, no amount of state propaganda can hide the true costs of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which can depress locals’ willingness to take part. For now, no reliable figures exist on just how many potential soldiers are refusing to serve when drafted, but there are already clear indications that Moscow has been forced to shift to the vastly more expensive method of hiring “contract” soldiers, who can be dispatched somewhat more easily to Ukraine (see EDM, March 31April 19). (read more)
  • May 3. By IAEA. Ukraine informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today that there had been no significant developments related to nuclear safety and security in the country over the past 24 hours, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. (read more)
  • May 3. By Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan, ISW. Ukrainian officials reported with increasing confidence that the Kremlin will announce mobilization on May 9.Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate Chief Kyrylo Budanov said on May 2 that the Kremlin has begun to prepare mobilization processes and personnel ahead of the expected May 9 announcement and has already carried out covert mobilization. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said that high-ranking Russian officials are trying to legitimize a prolonged war effort as the Third World War against the West, rather than the “special military operation” against Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has hitherto framed Russia’s invasion. ISW has no independent confirmation of Russian preparations for mobilization. (read more)

Turkey – UAE – Saudi Arabia

  • May 3. By Jana Jabbour, IFRI. After the Arab uprisings, Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) broke down along sharp ideological lines. While Riyadh and Abu Dhabi sought to preserve the regional status quo by adopting a counter-revolutionary approach, Turkey emerged as an anti status quo, pro-revolutionary power supporting political islam. (read more)

UK

  • May 3. By World Nuclear News. The minister unveiled the new Welding Centre of Excellence at Bridgwater and Taunton College’s campus in Bridgwater on 28 April. The project has invested GBP8 million (USD10 million) into the three new training centres, in partnership with the college. The Welding Centre will train and qualify 500 welders a year, helping local people into work and meeting skills shortages in the South West and across Britain. (read more)

USA

  • May 3. By Courtney Buble, Patrick Tucker, Defense One. A top Trump administration official delayed and altered an intelligence product about the upcoming 2020 presidential election, leading to the perception that it was changed to help Donald Trump’s re-election bid, according to a federal watchdog. (read more)

Uzbekistan

  • May 3. By Fozil Mashrab, The Jamestown Foundation. On April 27, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev promoted Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov to the position of first deputy foreign minister and assigned him the responsibilities of the foreign minister of the country. Despite reports of deteriorating health, the outgoing foreign minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov, 74, was not retiring completely. He was instead appointed to the post of deputy secretary of the Security Council of Uzbekistan to handle foreign policy and security issues, leaving him some role to play in shaping the direction and goals of Uzbekistan’s foreign affairs (Mfa.uz, April 27). (read more)

DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE

  • May 3. By Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One. The addition of an anti-air battalion to the new Marine Littoral Regiments is just one of the changes under the Marine Corps’ 2022 aviation plan, the first in three years and the first since the commandant set the Corps on a radical course for lightness and agility. (read more)
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  • May 3. By Colin Demarest, Defense News. A Department of Defense pilot program designed to root out digital vulnerabilities among contractors identified hundreds of flaws over the course of one year, organizers said. (read more)
  • May 3. By Joe Gould, Defense News. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host his Japanese counterpart Wednesday for face-to-face talks about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as the war’s ripple effect creates fresh tensions between Tokyo and Moscow. (read more)
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  • May 3. By Jaspreet Gill, Breaking Defense. In a push to address critical joint warfighting capability gaps across the military, the Pentagon is seeking at least $377 million over the next five years to fund its rapid experimentation efforts. (read more)
  • May 3. By Valerie Insinna, Breaking Defense. Weeks after the Air Force issued a statement claiming that Boeing would pay for changes to the KC-46 tanker’s panoramic suite, the service has reversed course and now says the Air Force itself will pony up the cash for new panoramic sensors — a major and potentially costly element of the fix. (read more)
  • May 3. By Arie Egozi, Breaking Defense. The US army is considering adding an unusual, miniature new drone to its arsenal: the Israeli-made Spike-Firefly. (read more)
  • May 3. By Justin Katz, Breaking Defense. The Marine Corps today published its first aviation plan since 2019, in which it stressed a need to ensure the service’s aviation fleet maintains “digital interoperability” among the Joint Force and foreign partners. (read more)
  • May 3. By Andrew Eversden, Breaking Defense. The second generation of the Army’s Precision Strike Missile program will under early operational capability (EOC) in fiscal 2027, according to the Army’s FY23 budget documents. (read more)

HORIZONS

  • May 3. By Gerard DiPippo, CSIS. The United States and its allies have imposed a series of coordinated economic sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. They are the most comprehensive sanctions aimed at a major economy—previously the 11th-largest in the world—in more than 70 years. Their use has raised questions in Western capitals and Beijing about what similar sanctions could do if aimed at the second-largest economy, China, particularly during a crisis over Taiwan. But an equally important question is whether Washington and its allies would use similar sanctions against China, including as a deterrent. Judging from Western actions and preferences during the Ukraine crisis, the answer appears to be no. (read more)

TECH & CYBER

  • May 3. By Riana Pfefferkorn, Brookings. On April 27, two things happened with potentially significant ramifications for online privacy. First, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that, if it stands, may grant private companies huge influence in determining how much digital privacy their users are entitled to expect from the government. Next, the world’s richest man said something on Twitter.  (read more)