Security

Afghanistan: the Hazaras are not safe

In late October 2018, the Taliban in Afghanistan launched a new campaign of attacks, taking them into areas which until then had been “peaceful”. Niamatullah Ibrahimi and William Maley Lowy Interpreter The attacks started in the Khas Uruzgan district, part of the very province where Australian defence personnel served as part of their lengthy deployment in Afghanistan. In the first week of November, the Taliban extended the campaign into the Jaghori and Malestan, districts of the neighbouring province of Ghazni. ... Read More »

The Coming War over Ukraine?

The danger of escalation is real and must be treated as such On November 25, Russian warships attacked and seized three Ukrainian navy boats that tried to cross the Kerch Strait. Jonas J. Driedger The National Interest The Ukrainian navy reports that Russian vessels opened fire and wounded at least six Ukrainian naval officers. On the same day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Military Cabinet passed a resolution to impose martial law in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament is scheduled to decide on ... Read More »

Xi-Duterte deals stir a furor in the Philippines

Chinese President and Philippine leader entered 29 new agreements that opposition critics claim lack transparency and could undermine sovereign interests in the South China Sea Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times One week after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to the Philippines and domestic opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s engagement policy towards Beijing is on the boil again in Manila. The nationalistic criticism has flared up periodically during Duterte’s two-years in office and underscores the structural challenges ahead for Philippine-China ... Read More »

Even a ‘Diplomat’s Diplomat’ Can’t Solve Syria’s Civil War

The United Nations’ Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is stepping down. Is there any role left for the international community to play in ending Syria’s slaughter? David Kenner The Atlantic BEIRUT—If the only thing you knew about Syria was UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s briefing to the Security Council this month, you might assume dramatic events were afoot. There had been an important meeting in Istanbul, he said, while equally vital summits in Astana, Kazakhstan, and of the G-20 countries in ... Read More »

Ukraine imposes martial law after Russia seizes naval ships

Seizure of Ukrainian military boats marks ‘a new stage of aggression’, says president The Irish Times Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law for 30 days in parts of the country most vulnerable to an attack from Russia after president Petro Poroshenkowarned of the “extremely serious” threat of a land invasion. Mr Poroshenko said martial law was necessary to bolster Ukraine’s defences after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and took their crews prisoner at the weekend. Parliament approved the introduction of martial law after ... Read More »

Meet Russia’s S-500: Can It Kill an F-22 or F-35?

Here’s all we know… As to when the S-500 will first come online, Lt. Gen. Viktor Gumenny, the Deputy Commander of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, said last year that deliveries of the initial systems should occur sometime around 2020. Zachary Keck The National Interest Russian state media have begun leaking some information about the country’s next-generation air and missile defense system, the S-500. (This first appeared… While maintaining that “most of the new system’s technical characteristics remain under wraps,” Sputnik this week began shedding some ... Read More »

Tensions Flare as Ukraine Says Russia Fired on Its Ships

Tensions escalated late Sunday as Ukraine accused Russia of attacking its navy near Crimea. By Aliaksandr Kudrytski , Daryna Krasnolutska , and Ilya Arkhipov Bloomberg Russian warships opened fire on a group of Ukrainian military vessels that had previously tried to enter the Kerch Strait near the disputed peninsula, Ukraine’s Navy said on Facebook. Two men were wounded as the Russians “fired to kill,” according to the statement. Ukraine said three of its ships were captured. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency cabinet meeting ... Read More »

Managing American Decline

In Twilight of the Titans, two scholars provide a warning to a rising China, and a road map for the United States to regain its standing. Kori Schake The Atlantic America’s decline relative to a rising China has sparked interest among academics about power shifts in the international order—whether they can happen peacefully and under what conditions; what precedents exist and what they tell us. Now comes an important book, Twilight of the Titans, by Joseph M. Parent and Paul ... Read More »

How to Halt Yemen’s Slide into Famine

A Saudi-led coalition attack on the city of Hodeida risks plunging millions of Yemenis into famine and will meet fierce resistance from Huthi rebels. ICG The U.S. should stop enabling coalition offensives and international stakeholders must quickly place Hodeida under UN control. What’s new?  At the end of October, fighting reached the outer edges of the city of Hodeida, a gateway on Yemen’s Red Sea coast for trade that is a lifeline for some two thirds of the country’s population. ... Read More »

China uses the cloud to step up spying on Australian business

China’s peak security agency has directed a surge in cyber attacks on Australian companies over the past year, breaching an agreement struck between Premier Li Keqiang and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to not steal each other’s commercial secrets. Nick McKenzie, Angus Grigg & Chris Uhlmann The Age A Fairfax Media/Nine News investigation has confirmed that China’s Ministry of State Security is responsible for what is known in cyber circles as “Operation Cloud Hopper”, a wave of attacks detected by ... Read More »

How China diverts, then spies on Australia’s internet traffic

Internet traffic heading to Australia was diverted via mainland China over a six-day period last year, in what some experts believe may have enabled a targeted data theft. Nick McKenzie, Angus Grigg & Chris Uhlmann The Canberra Times The diverted traffic from Europe and North America was logged as a routing error by the state-owned China Telecom, according to data released for the first time by researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Naval War College in the US. “We ... Read More »

Julian Assange latest: ‘Secret charges against Wikileaks founder revealed in cut-and-paste blunder’

Secret criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may have been accidentally revealed in a “cut and paste error” by US prosecutors. Tristan Kirk Evening Standard Mr Assange is wanted in America over the leak of classified military documents in 2010, but has spent more than six years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden, but insisted that he could not face the claims as he then be would be extradited to the ... Read More »

Mike Pence announces US-Australia military pact to expand Manus Island naval base

United States Vice-President Mike Pence has declared his nation will partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to boost operations at a Manus Island naval base amid rising tensions over China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Nicole Hasham WAtoday The federal government had been working with PNG to develop the strategically important base at Lombrum, announcing in September a $5 million contract to upgrade wharf and shore-based infrastructure. Mr Pence told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in ... Read More »

Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly

Beijing: Tensions between China and the United States were on full display at the APEC CEO summit in Port Moresby, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning of the need to uphold the global institutions pivotal to peace shortly before US Vice-President Mike Pence launched a blistering attack on China to the same audience. Kirsty Needham Brisbane Times Warning of the painful lessons of World War II, Xi said: “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a ... Read More »

Rebuilding the Gaza Ceasefire

A ceasefire agreement has brought Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas back from the cusp of yet another calamitous war. ICG However fragile, it offers a rare opportunity for all parties to finally break the cycle of recurring hostilities that has killed thousands since 2007. What’s new?  For the first time since the 2014 war, a plan for a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel started to take hold in early November, only to be disrupted by the… The ceasefire ... Read More »

The Death of Democracy in Bangladesh

Democracy in Bangladesh hangs in the balance, and an upcoming election will mark a critical inflection point. Atif Ahmad, Michael Kugelman Image: Reuters The National Interest It’s not often that armed motorcyclists attack a U.S. ambassador, but that’s exactly what happened to Marcia Bernicat, Washington’s envoy in Bangladesh, one night this past summer. Bernicat was leaving a dinner party in Dhaka on August 4 when men on motorbikes chased her vehicle and threw bricks. No perpetrators were named in the ... Read More »