Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 14Feb11.

Ideology Shadows Fight to Rule New Egypt
Egyptian army set to ban labor strikes, report says
Friday Prayers Fed the Egyptian Revolution
Is the army tightening its grip on Egypt?
Ten Assumptions About Egypt Worth Discarding
Field Marshal Tantawi committed to status quo
Mubarak’s military vital to free elections
Hamas: Muslim Brotherhood more democratic than West
Egypt Should Take Its Time Building a Democracy
Iranian protesters call for ‘death to dictator’
Clinton praises Iran protesters
Hacker Collective Targets Iran Sites
More clashes in Bahrain and Yemen; calls in Iran to punish opposition leaders
Iraqis in Baghdad protest bad services, corruption
Fayyad dissolves Palestinian Authority cabinet
Palestinian Arab “democracy” in action
The World From Berlin: ‘The Revolution Isn’t Over, It’s Only Just Beginning’
Arab leaders to meet in Baghdad
Middle East leaders’ wives become target of rage
The roots of the uprisings can be found in Jordan too
Algeria sees state of emergency over in days
Tunisian migrants flee to Sicilian island
Iraq Diverts F-16 Budget for Food Rations
U.S.-Pakistan Row Intensifies
Momentum in Helmand is ‘shifting’
China Cracks Down On Uprising Chatter
Russia: Foreign Power May Have Disabled Satellite
Turkey’s Gul, in Iran, urges respect for people power
Egypt: Doubts cast on Turkish claims for model democracy
Turkish police search dissident website office
Turkey’s Opposition MP: “AKP Uses the Police as Revolutionary Guard”
Gul, army chief consult over plot trial arrests
U.K., Turkey Near Military Accord
Moscow Learns to Play by Asia-Pacific Rules
Australian Defense Strikes Delicate Balance With China
Suu Kyi’s party risks ‘tragic end’
Burma benefits as UK targets aid money on fight for democracy
Turkish-Armenian Accords Pronounced Dead By Yerevan
Anonymous claims to have Stuxnet access
Record snowfall blankets S Korea
More than 100,000 Italian women, supporters protest against Berlusconi

U.S. Deficit Expected to Spike
McConnell: Obama agenda is ‘over’

Debt now equals total U.S. economy
More Homeowners Underwater
Chinese inflation climbs to 4.9%
Oil jumps with Middle East unrest
Where and What Is U.S. Trading Internationally?

Gates sets new Pentagon bottom line
Mullen: U.S. depends on alliance with Israel
Ten Ships in U.S. Navy’s Budget Request
In defense of the Pentagon’s budget

HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Appearance
The World Still Loves Amphibious Ships
Royal Navy attacks Somali pirates
Colombia Captures Smugglers’ Submarine

Religious Actors Can Be Democratizers
Muslims are grappling with models of statehood
China: Harmony & War
Adultery Incorporated — The Infidelity Industry
Start-up Indiana church uses sex to sell message
Christian News Agency Ordered To Register With Hungary’s Media Authority
How Much Information Did God Put in Your DNA?

  Security News Today – 10/7/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 07Oct10.

Russian Navy Update
Dmitry Gorenburg has an excellent four part review regarding the state of the Russian Navy and Russia’s shipbuilding plan over the next decade.

On food, Asia can’t keep pace with rising middle class demand
WSJ story on how Asia’s food demand continues to rise while the amount of land devoted to food production is pretty much capped this decade due to urbanization and planned investments just aren’t happening as envisioned (so yield per acre not rising enough to cover the delta in demand).

Top Advisor to Iranian Regime: Prepare for Nuclear War
A top advisor to Iran’s Defense Minister has written an article published by a website run by the MOIS about when Iran could use nuclear weapons against its enemies. Its publication of a state-connected website should be seen as an unofficial statement preparing the way for Iran to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and officially develop nukes, a game plan I laid out here.

Is Hizbullah trying to take over Lebanon with Iran’s help?
The Lebanese guerrilla group is about to have its true face unmasked by the UN Hariri investigation – of course it’s panicking.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage .

  Security News Today – 9/24/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 24Sep10.

Japan to release Chinese boat captain
Japan on Friday announced the release of a Chinese fishing boat captain whose arrest 16 days ago sparked a furor between the Asian neighbors, bringing relations to their lowest point in years.

Dispute with Japan highlights China’s foreign-policy power struggle
The increasingly bitter dispute between China and Japan over a small group of islands in the Pacific is heightening concerns in capitals across the globe over who controls China’s foreign policy.

China’s Back-Door Yuan Strategy
It has been widely reported that China has dramatically reduced its purchases of US Treasuries over the past year. But it would be wrong to conclude that China has stopped intervening in currency markets or even that it is dumping the dollar.

North And South Korea On the Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns
North and South Korea are on the brink of war, a top Russian diplomat has warned, calling for both countries to exercise restraint and sit down for talks. In Moscow’s bleakest assessment of the situation on the Korean peninsula yet, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin said tensions between the two countries were running at their highest and most dangerous level in a decade. “Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict,” he told foreign policy experts at a round table on the subject in Moscow.

Washington Take Note: The Era of Great Power Politics Is Far from Over in Asia
The key factor in Asia’s underlying instability may be China’s rise relative to Japan’s decline, so it will be important to managing the growing Sino-U.S. security competition so that rivalry does not lead to conflict.

Karzai on India and Pakistan
There were some insightful observations made during a discussion on the topic ‘Afghanistan Today and Tomorrow,’ at the Indian think-tank Observer Research Foundation on September 17. Noted journalist Saeed Naqvi shared experiences from his recent two-week tour of Afghanistan, and the highlight was his informal hour-long meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Naqvi informed the gathering at ORF that although his conversation with Karzai was off-the-record, the leader was willing to make an exception and be quoted on three ‘issues’.

Asia Driving Global Arms Sales
For a while at least, it looked like there was one trade that was immune from the global financial crisis. Governments continued buying foreign weapons in 2008 despite the economic turmoil that summer. But in 2009, the financial downturn finally caught up with some of them. Striving to contain soaring budget deficits resulting from declining tax revenues and rising social welfare expenditures, leaders of several developing nations cancelled or deferred many arms purchases, reducing international weapons purchases and deliveries to their lowest levels in years. But the cutbacks in arms purchases weren’t universal — Asian governments in particular continue to purchase large volumes of foreign weapons.

U.S. General: Iran Behind Attacks on Green Zone
U.S. Brig.-General Ralph Baker, commander of U.S. forces in central and western Iraq, told a news conference held in the Green Zone that recent attacks directed at the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone was meant to send a message to the world and foreign investors that the Iraqi capital is not safe. He also said that Iraq is flooded by cheap imports from Iran to slow down economic progress.

Iran Gives Shi’a Parties In Iraq Five Days To Agree On A PM Candidate
In his meetings in Baghdad with the leaders of the two Shi’a parties, Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and al-Hakim/al-Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance, Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian official in charge of the Iraqi dossier in the Qods Brigade of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned them to chose one of their two rival candidates – Nouri al-Maliki or Adel Abd al-Mahdi – or Iran will support a compromise candidate.

New START Treaty’s China Challenge
Discussion of the US-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — a k a New START — has so far pretty much skipped one very important consideration: China.

If NATO disappeared, would anyone notice?
NATO is by common consensus the most successful political-military alliance in modern history. It has lasted longer than almost all others, incorporates more members, and it achieved its central purpose(s) without firing a shot. After the Cold War ended, it managed to redefine itself by taking on a broader array of security missions and has played a modest but useful role in the war in Afghanistan. By surviving well beyond the demise of the Soviet Union, it has also defied realist predictions that its days (or at least its years) were numbered.

Terrrorism at Sea Warning
A reliable source indicates that there is a “terrorism warning” in effect for ships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage .

  Security News Today – 9/13/10

Posted by Chris van Avery on 13Sep10.

Iraq Ambassador to U.S.: Iraq No Longer a U.S. Priority
In an interview with the liberal electronic daily Elaph last week, Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Samir al-Sumaida’i said that the Americans are currently preoccupied with Afghanistan, the domestic economic situation, and Iran, and that Iraq has …

Wikileaks Preparing A Massive Dump Of U.S. Intelligence Files On Iraq
A London-based journalism nonprofit is working with the WikiLeaks Web site and TV and print media in several countries on programs and stories based on what is described as massive cache of classified U.S. military field reports related to the Iraq War.

China’s rise triggers natural military cooperation among those made nervous
Great WAPO piece by the always good John Pomfret that highlights a recent theme of mine: no great need to “encircle” China, because the more the neighbors worry over its economic rise and foolish threats about the South China Sea, they will simply come to us–for arms and alliance.

West Needs New Missile Shield Against Iranian Nuclear Threat, Nato Chief Says
Nato’s Secretary-General has urged the construction of a new missile defence system to protect Europe from the threat of Iranian nuclear attack.

Turkey referendum shows secularism eroding – but still a potent force
Turkey’s ruling party cast its referendum win as a vote of confidence for further democratic reforms. But the 42 percent ‘no’ vote signals a polarized nation.

Putin and Medvedev Stage Contrasting Political Shows
Two high-profile international events occurred in Russia last week: on Monday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, held a traditional meeting with the Valdai club; and on Friday, President Dmitry Medvedev participated in the Yaroslavl forum, which is designed to become a new tradition. Some Western participants were given a chance to compare the roundtables, but Putin clearly favors think-tankers like Fiona Hill or Samuel Charap, while Medvedev invited such renowned sociologists as Immanuel Wallerstein and Craig Calhoun. Even more telling is the difference in the list of Russian participants: the Valdai club is run by traditionalists like Sergei Karaganov and Vyacheslav Nikonov, while Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the presidential administration who supervises the Yaroslavl event, granted favors to his protégées, Gleb Pavlovsky and Valery Fadeev, and also allowed for some critical views from Igor Yurgens and Vladislav Inozemtsev.

Jihadist Makes Cyber Attack
Last week’s rapidly spreading computer virus has been traced back to a cyber-jihad group called Tariq ibn Ziyad. Information security company SecureWorks was able to link this cyber jihad group to the ‘Here you have’ malicious worm. The worm was able to crash systems, computer networks and bring down email servers. IDG reported the worm was able to disrupt large U.S. organizations including Disney, Proctor and Gamble, AIG, Wells Fargo, Comcast and NASA.

Taliban increasingly eyeing its role in politics
Although Taliban leaders have denounced Afghanistan’s parliamentary election and threatened violence at the polls on Saturday, some are discreetly making overtures to candidates, apparently in hopes of building political clout in Kabul, according to the top United Nations envoy here….

NATO says new contracting rules will help eliminate Afghan corruption
KABUL – Following new guidelines designed to stimulate local business development and combat corruption, NATO has contracted with three Afghan companies owned by women to provide boots and clothing to Afghan soldiers, officials said Monday.

India Navy Plans Sub Buys
The potential regional maritime threat India faces from a rising China, including in the Indian Ocean, has been well covered in this magazine. So with this in mind, India is reportedly in the market to buy six modern, conventional submarines under Project-75 India. According to reports, at least four of these submarines will be built in two Indian yards under transfer of technology, while the other two will be imported after being built overseas by a foreign collaborator. India is set to retire its last two Foxtrot submarines later this year, effectively leaving it with 10 Kilo-class and four HDW submarines.

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